Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Japanese Occupation of Manchuria - Some Background Might be Useful For Some

The Shanghaiist web site (which admittedly nobody would ever accuse of being an intellectual salon) decided to post some old footage of Manchuria in 1938 recently. It’s interesting but they rather glibly noted the province as being ‘under the Japanese’. A little more historical background might have been useful here as this is a startling piece of bold pro-Japanese occupation propaganda and needs a little context I feel.

The Japanese of course invaded Manchuria after the 1931 Mukden (Shenyang) Incident. This was a provocation staged by the Japanese and blamed on the Chinese as an excuse to annex Manchuria (see Japanese troops entering Mukden left and above). It was, in effect, round one in the Sino-Japanese War that was to escalate in 1937 – remember when you watch the video – that the bombing of Shanghai and the Rape of Nanking has already taken place so few could be in any doubt how horrific (and genocidal) life under Japanese occupation could be.

There was of course Chinese resistance to the occupation, most notably the divisions led by General Ma Zhanshan, who became a national hero for a while. Manchuria remained under Japanese occupation until 1945 (see Japanese Renault manufactured tank in Manchuria left). As well as the repression of Nationalist Chinese during the period, the rape and pillaging, enslaved 'comfort women', the Japanese asset stripping of Chinese industry and hoarding of their food, they also sought to infliltrate large amounts of opium into China to weaken the resistance of the army for what the Japnese high command in Manchuria knew was the coming war to take control of all of China. Koreans and Chinese became forced labourers and can be seen in the video working. It was a time of great evil.

Outside China the Japanese occupation of Manchuria is rarely talked about much these days though it was bloody (Japanese troops in Manchuria left). So people are able to glibly stick up unbackgrounded videos like this. I doubt a video of ‘Paris 1943’ would be put up without some more background on the occupation of the city by the Nazis, the acxtions of the French Resistance, the deporation of the Jewish community to the death camps etc.


Gary said...

Was Manchuria a province? Not saying it wasn't. But if it was, when did Liaoning and co come about? That's your homework

Paul French said...

Manchuria - Heilongjiang
Fengtian - Liaoning

Gary said...

That's not an answer. You get an F.

Anonymous said...

Were there any lasting effects of Japanese occupation on Manchuria? Either good or bad?

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