井底之蛙

5/12/2010

The Will of a Traitor

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 11:39 pm Print

Running Dog Wang JingweiThere is a lot of treason to be found in the vicinity of LOC number DS777.5195.W34 in the Harvard-Yenching library. It’s Wang Jingwei (汪精衛) territory, infamous puppet lord of wartime occupied China, and reviled former patriot turned running dog of Japanese imperialism. He is also known as Wang Zhaoming (汪兆銘 Wang Chao-ming), Wang Jingwei being his pen name. On the shelves nearby we find books by and on his underlings Chen Gongbo and Zhou Fohai, equally reviled figures who lived long enough to go on trial for being Chinese traitors, or hanjian (漢奸).

In the Harvard-Yenching library’s English language collections, this section houses an unusual volume only a few pages in length:

Will of Wang Chao-Ming
Translated by Bonggi Kim
The Korean Republic
Seoul, Korea

It opens, “This translation of Wang Chao-ming’s will into English is intended to look into his cause in collaborating with imperialist Japan.”1 Following a short introduction is the dozen page translation of what claims to be Wang Jingwei’s final written testament. It is signed October, 1944 — he would die in November, before Japan’s defeat and the text is now known as “My Final State of Mind” (我最後之心情), a document whose authenticity has been contested ever since the original was first published in the Hong Kong Chunqiu (春秋) in early 1964.2 Its publication was also widely reported in Japan, including the English language Japan Times.3

Justifying Collaboration

This text attributed to Wang, if real, is of historical interest because its author offers detailed justifications for collaboration with Japan, and writes about his plans for the postwar period.4 “We planned to hand over to the Nationalist government the areas recovered from the enemy occupation,” he writes, though at the time, the “enemy” Japan is his military ally. Using the famous “Shield” argument used to justify Vichy collaboration with Nazi Germany, Wang goes on to say, “the Nanjing government entered into an alliance with Japan as a means to fight for lost sovereignty and get as many materials as possible under Japanese occupation.”5 He writes of his successes so far in supporting Japan’s war effort including the overturning of unequal treaties, recovering foreign concessions, and claims that he has “not tolerated any foreign intervention in domestic affairs…”6 He worries about the fate of Manchuria, which Japan refuses to return to China, but claims that he must press on in his efforts. “I am well aware of the forthcoming surrender of Japan,” and is optimistic since the Japanese show renewed sincerity in their negotiations with him.7

In his closing, Wang even expresses hope for the future of Sino-Japanese relations after Japan’s defeat, which will ultimately hinge upon a thorough enlightenment of the Japanese people and the magnanimity of the Chinese government.8

Kim Bonggi – The Korean Translator

The translation of this text is, perhaps ironically, interesting for a similar reason. Following the copy of the translation, we find attached a letter from the translator, addressed to the chief librarian of the “University of Colombia” in New York.9 In it, Kim writes with what can only be interpreted as a significant degree of sympathy for Wang. In the letter, dated August 10, 1964, we find the following passage.

Wang, A leading political figure in modern China, played a vital role in the formation of the country. His collaboration with the [sic] however, tarnished his image as the great patriot with lifelong devotion to his country.

Many Chinese people, in fact, did not hesitate to call him a traitor, but others think that he was forced to bow to the inevitable and that what he did was a risk that had to be assumed in the interests of the Chinese people.

Whether servile collaboration with the Japanese militarists is precisely the term for the acts of Wang is still open to debate, but it is not difficult to suppose that his actions proceeded from the difficulty of finding solutions to the problem of a war that had been dragging on with no end in sight. He strove to regain the lost sovereignty of the Chinese people, but he fell short of the affecting it despite his determination. Even his death was at one time rumored to be an unnatural one.

Whatever his real motive was, it cannot be denied that the last words of Wang himself will be helpful in determining why he made the decision to establish the Nanking government with the support of the invading Japanese. As far as his will is concerned, it is apparent that he did not act for personal gain, but rather with the hope that he could restore the lost land of China through negotiations—not through force of arms against the overwhelming odds with which China was forced at the time.

In order to avoid attaching undue significance to his real motives which resulted in the establishment of the Nanking regime in collaboration with the invading Japanese militarists, I had better refrain from commenting on the issue; nevertheless, I sincerely hope thet [sic] the material which I send you will be of some interest in helping your studies on matters that concern the modern history of China.

Kim Bonggi, born in 1921 or 1920, was one of the founders, in 1953, of the English language newspaper, The Korean Republic, and at the time of writing this letter, its “President-Publisher.” That newspaper later became The Korea Herald but during the anti-government protests and martial law atmosphere of 1964 it was, like most of South Korea’s media, barely more than a propaganda pamphlet and devoid of criticism for the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee.

According to this biographical entry, 김봉기(金鳳基) was born in Seoul, graduated from Seoul University10 and held positions in two conservative newspapers, the Chungang ilbo and Chosŏn ilbo, as well as serving on the council of the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League.11

What led Kim to translate this Chinese text into English, or even if he merely posed as its real translator, go through the trouble to have it sent to an American university?

Kim was under 25 at the time of Japan’s defeat in 1945 so this did not leave him much time to progress along the careers paths under Japanese colonialism that could have given him the brand of collaborator.12 However, at the peak of Japan’s power in 1942, he was surely old enough to have been caught up in the excitement of Japan’s seemingly unstoppable military advances against the colonial powers of the West or to at least have begun thinking about what his place would be as a Korean in a Japanese empire.

On the highly symbolic March 1st and August 15th anniversaries in 1964, Kim’s Korean Republic was filled with stories of a valiant Korean resistance to Japan and reported on celebrations commemorating Korea’s final liberation from its colonial master, but reading Kim’s August letter I think we can see clearly the sympathy many Koreans who had lived through the Japanese colonial period felt for the collaborator’s dilemma, and believed, though they might be careful where and how they expressed their views, that even despised figures like Wang Jingwei might ultimately be remembered one day as national heroes.13

UPDATE: For one more location which has a more rich, if very dated, discussion about the mysterious document and the controversy surrounding it, see John Hunter Boyle’s bibliographical note in his China and Japan at War, 1937-45: The Politics of Collaboration (1972) on pages 395-397.

  1. Wang Jingwei, Kim Bonggi trans. Will of Wang Chao-Ming Unpublished manuscript in Harvard-Yenching library. Hollis number 009048141. []
  2. See 沈立行 《汪精卫的《日记》和“遗嘱”之谜》纵横 2000.2, 56-57 for an inconclusive discussion of its authenticity. []
  3. I haven’t checked the microfilm of their early May, 1964 issues to see if their reporting on the will included any translation of the document but if they did, it might be interesting to compare it to Kim’s. []
  4. The Chinese text can be found online at 人民网 here as of 2010.4.12. Wang Jingwei justified his collaboration in a number of other texts as well, including in a March 30, 1939 open letter “A Reply to an Overseas Chinese” (复华侨某君书). See 劉傑 「汪兆銘と「南京国民政府」―協力と抵抗の間 in 劉傑, 楊大慶, 三谷博 eds. 『国境を越える歴史認識―日中対話の試み』 (Tokyo, 東京大学出版会 2006) for the full text in Japanese. []
  5. ibid., 6. []
  6. ibid., 10. []
  7. ibid., 11. []
  8. It is remarkable that he sees only the need for the magnanimity of Chinese government policy, and not by the Chinese people who suffered under Japanese occupation. The original Chinese is, “將來戰後兩國能否有自動提攜,互利互賴,仍有賴于日本民族之徹底覺悟,及我政府對日之寬大政策。” []
  9. I assume Columbia University Starr East Asia library has the original letter and document. A CLIO library search reveals an entry for the translation and attached letter located at DS778.W3 []
  10. Unless he actually graduated from the Japanese run Keijō Imperial University and someone changed the name to its postwar equivalent, this would seem to suggest he completed his university education after the summer of 1946. []
  11. 亞細亞反共聯盟 in Korea, these organizations, founded throughout Asia in the 1950s still exist but have changed their names. They are national chapters of the World League for Freedom and Democracy, formerly the World Anti-Communist League. Kim was also involved in the 大韓公論社, which appears to have published a number of things, but I don’t know much about the organization. []
  12. Someone by the name 김봉기(金鳳基) is listed on a recently published list of suspected Japanese collaborators, in the category of “pro-Japanese” organizations, but I am not sure this is the same person. Another 김봉기(金鳳基) was executed in 1907 for his anti-Japanese resistance efforts. []
  13. The political cartoon shown here is by 麦非, and can be found in 沈建中 ed. 抗战漫画 (Shanghai, 上海科学院出版社, 2005), 206. []

11/24/2008

Lost Stories

Filed under: — gina @ 2:23 am Print

I recently came across a book called Some of Us[i], recommended to me by one of the contributing authors, Dr. Jiang Jin. The book is a collection of memoirs and stories put together by 9 women who lived through China’s Cultural Revolution and subsequently got their Ph.D.s and now are teaching (or in Jiang Jin’s case, was teaching) in the states. What brought them together was a discussion among 3 of them about such Memoirs as Wild Swans and Red Azalea, and the subsequent discovery that these memoirs do not accurately represent their feelings and experiences during the Cultural Revolution. Furthermore, what these memoirs had done was create a specific image of Maoist era people in the West, almost an Orientalizing process, if you will. Everyone was either a victim or a victimizer, and everyone’s families had either been killed, torn apart, or driven to insanity during the Cultural Revolution.

I personally have always loved the book Wild Swans. My high school history teacher made us read it, and it had originally sparked my interest in Chinese history. But is there a problem with teaching books like this in the classroom? Chen Xiaomei points out the problems with teaching Wild Swans, in that she was “unwittingly contributing to a discourse of China bashing occurring in America and the rest of the West.”[ii] Chen then tried to show different points of view by talking about her own childhood, and she claims in her narrative that she was “honestly happy.” I had always taken these kinds of memoirs for granted, and I admit, I am still shocked when Chinese people talk to me about their experiences as zhiqing and how they were truly positive experiences that helped to shape their own personas, unlike the way it is painted in Wild Swans. It also made me think of other historical events and how we imagine everyone to have lived the lives of the few whose lives we read about. Do we think of the Japanese army in such a holistic way in World War II because of the Rape of Nanjing? We probably make similar assessments about American history; even though I know it is not true, I can’t help but think of all Americans in the Great Depression as the Joad family from the Grapes of Wrath. Historians claim to know that their are too many narratives to possibly record, and there are millions of interpretations of one similar event; but how do we effectively, especially in a class, show the plethora of interpretations of one 10 year period?

Another issue that is broached in this book which I find important in the study of history is the concept of being “brainwashed,” and the negative connotations that carried. My favorite line in this book is from Wang Zheng’s memoir. She talked about an encounter with an American woman who told her with “apparent pride that her daughter was a cheerleader.” After discovering what a cheerleader was, Wang claimed “I just hoped that my eyes would not betray my disdain as I thought to myself, ‘I guess this American woman has never dreamed of her daughter being a leader cheered by men.’ I felt fortunate that I was ‘brainwashed’ to want to be a revolutionary instead of a cheerleader.”[iii] I couldn’t help but laugh at this because, as a woman growing up in the United States, I went through this phase of wanting to be a cheerleader which most, if not all, girls go through; and not once did it dawn on me to be a leader being cheered by men. I think that when we use the term “brainwash” we don’t think about our own experiences, and we certainly don’t think that perhaps we have been “brainwashed” as well. We, in America, I think often tend to think of the Maoist era as the “dark ages,” (which this book points out), but many of these memoirs very directly show how gender equality was actually far more advanced in Maoist China than in China (or America) today. In our discussions in a class I audit, Professor Jiang pointed out to us that Chinese women have actually taken a huge step backwards since the 1970s. Similarly, these 9 women show in their memoirs, most obviously in Wang Zheng’s memoir, that gender consciousness was something they didn’t experience until their 20s or 30s, where in America our teenage culture constantly drums it into our heads while still maintaining that women have the same opportunities as men.

As a student just exiting her undergraduate education, I think that more books like these should be taught if only to show the plurality of historical interpretation for a specific event. I came across this book auditing a class called “Women in Chinese history” at East China Normal, and many of the students in the class admitted that before reading this book, they all assumed the Wild Swans narrative worked for all people during the cultural revolution. Furthermore, part of history (I feel) is self exploration, and I think this book challenges a lot of assumptions we make about the contrast between China and the West concerning education, “brain washing,” and women’s rights (I believe most Americans still think that China is 20 years behind us). Since I’m not a professor yet, I can’t decide what to teach, but I found this book an effective means of getting across points that most historians want students to grasp, forcing them to challenge assumptions about historical events, personal experiences, and their own experiences.


[i] Xueping Zhong, Wang Zheng, and Bai Di, Ed. Some of Us: Chinese Women Growing Up in the Mao Era. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001).

[ii] Xiaomei Chen. “From ‘Lighthouse’ to the Northeast Wilderness: Growing Up among the Ordinary Stars,” in Some of Us, ed. Xueping Zhong, Wang Zheng, Bai Di, 55–57.

[iii] Wang Zheng. “Call me Qingnian and not Funü: A Maoist Youth in Retrospect,” in Some of Us, ed. Xueping Zhong, Wang Zheng, and Bai Di, 36.

6/7/2008

Show me the money

From the Times via CDT an article about a group of Chinese intellectuals who are asking for some new people to be put on Chinese currency. This is actually a big issue, since who nations put on their money is a political statement of some importance.1 The list of suggested people is pretty interesting. They are suggesting Qu Yuan, Li Bai, Yue Fei, and Wen Tianxiang. The Times calls Qu Yuan a poet, which he was, but of course he was much better known as a protester against political corruption. Li Bai is the “pure” poet in the group, and Yue Fei and Wen Tianxiang are both straight nationalist figures who died resisting foreign interference in China’s internal affairs. It is a well-thought out list (Not all Mao, but nationalistic enough to pass muster) and I wish them luck, but I suspect not much will change. Chinese money has always been very focused on politicians.

Sun1

Sun Yat-sen got most of the face time under the Republic, appearing on all sorts of notes.

Mao1

Mao has taken pride of place since.

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  1. I’ve always thought that American money had remained stuck in the 19th century because of a lack of national confidence. If someone did suggest changing our money some Democrat would probably suggest putting MLK on there and Republicans would go nuts about political correctness. Easier to stick with Jackson. Plus, if we went with more modern designs and colors like most of the world has done in might turn us gay. []

6/6/2008

Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis*

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:27 am Print

How did the modern Chinese historians create a national history? One aspect of this is the creation of protohistory, explaining what was going on in a place before there was much of a recorded history. This was a big problem in Europe in the 19th century. Having cut loose from the biblical narrative there were a lot of years to fill up, very little archaeological evidence, some vague references in classical works and a host of stories about ancient heroes. (Did you know that Adam was actually buried in England? I think Aeneas visited too.) A lot of work went into creating a reasonably accurate narrative of European protohistory, much of it built around successive waves of invaders.

Chinese historians took to this problem surprisingly well. Before the Qing there was not much on the origins of China, as distinct from the origins of civilization, although they did have a longer timeline and plenty of stories to fit in there. Liu Shipei and Zhang Binglin were both believers in the “Western origins” theory which held that the Chinese had originally been called the Baks and came from Mesopotamia. They roamed around Central Asia for a while then, under the leadership of Huangdi, they moved into the Yellow River valley, displaced the Miao and started calling themselves Han.

I get this from Peter Zarrow1 who says that it was a popular theory in the late Qing, especially with anti-Manchu revolutionaries (trying to draw a more clear divide between the Manchus and the Han?) but he does not know much about it.2  It strikes me as possibly having been influenced  by missionary writings, given that 19th century people seem (to my limited knowledge) very wrapped up in  tying their protohistory to the Bible and the Middle East (The first Irish person, for instance, was Cessair, the granddaughter of Noah). It certainly does not seem to have had much influence in the present, when popular understanding of Chinese history is pretty anti-diffusionist.

*and the rise of the sons of Aryas, obviously

  1. “The New Schools and National Identity: Chinese History Textbooks in the Late Qing” in Hon, Tze-Ki, and Robert J. Culp. The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China. BRILL, 2007. []
  2. he cites a couple of Taiwan articles I will try to get hold of []

5/12/2008

Different understandings of history

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 9:52 am Print

Charles links below to an interesting piece from China Digital Times (original from Sina.com ) It is a piece by Xiong Peiyun (熊培云) defending (sort of) Chinese nationalism. Thomas Bartlett analyzes the use of the term “tianxia zhuyi” 天下主义 in the piece, but what struck me was its odd (meaning different from mine) understanding of world history.

That Chinese popular understanding of world history is different from that elsewhere is not surprising, nor is it surprising that most Chinese people don’t understand non-Chinese history all that well. It is not a subject that the Chinese historical profession has (until recently) invested much effort into. One of Xiong’s goals is to deny that the Beijing Olympics should be compared to the Berlin Olympics of 1936. A lot of people have been making that comparison, but what I find interesting is the end of the piece Xiong suggests that this comparison actually works pretty well.

Western politicians and Western media have not made a lot of progress in their political wisdom in nearly a century. The Nazis in Germany were a product of World War I victor nations, whose fear of a rising Germany led to an over-punishment of Germany, thus sowing the seeds of hatred and revenge and feeding the German nation’s nationalism, which were the best yeast to ferment Hitlerism. And all this, of course, is something nobody, from the Chinese government to all others, wants to see happening.

So, if the West continues to hypothesize China as their “enemy,” and stoke up the “China threat” theory, it will surely fan up the emergence of China’s extreme nationalism, and provide support for those who oppose opening up and want to backpedal history.西方政治家和西方舆论界在政治智慧上并没有太大长进。德国纳粹也是“一战”战胜国亲手制造的祸患,他们对德国崛起的恐惧导致他们对德国的过度惩罚,使得德国的民族主义情绪裂变为仇恨和报复,这正是酿造希特勒主义的最好酵母。而这一切,显然是今日中国政府以及所有外国政府都不愿意看到的。

如上所述,如果“西方世界”继续将中国设为假想敌,鼓吹“中国威胁论”,势必激起国内极端民族主义的高涨,同时也为那些反对开放、想着开历史倒车的人提供支持。

I find this a weird sort of historical analogy. For one thing, if I were going to pick an analogy for the possible rise of an ultra-nationalist China (which I don’t see as likely) the obvious comparison would be Showa Japan.1 Perhaps more to the point he is using the Nazi analogy in a way that it is hard to imagine a westerner of any sort doing. If there is one universal lesson that almost everybody in the West takes from the rise of the Nazis it is the Munich analogy. I actually think this is often a bad thing, since any time a suggestion is made that negotiating with a unsavory types might have good (or less bad) results people will start yelling “Munich!” I can’t imagine too many people using Xiong’s argument here, which I think can be summarized as “China’s feng qing 愤青youth are like nascent Nazis. You (we?) should appease them.”

A lot of historical analogies are getting tossed around, by academics and others in China and elsewhere, and it seems to me that we are working not only from different sets of analogies (Who is Hai Rui?) but different understandings of the same events.

  1. Among other things while resentment of foreigners was part of the rise of Nazism, internal enemies, above all the Jews, were far more important. []

4/21/2008

East Meets West

Filed under: — C. W. Hayford @ 11:09 am Print

Yang Liu , a Beijing artist trained in Germany, comments in a series of banners on the differences between Chinese and German culture. Ms. Yang’s Website is here: http://www.yangliudesign.com/

The German is in blue, on the left, the Chinese in red, on the right, continued beyond the “more” marker!

YANG LIU EXHIBITION

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3/28/2008

Learning about Tibet III

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 5:27 am Print

Zhang daren

Having learned any number of things about Tibet recently I thought I would learn some more, and thankfully the new Modern China (34.2) arrived with an interesting article by Daphon David Ho “The Men Who Would Not Be Amban and the One who Would: Four Frontline Officials and Qing Tibet Policy, 1905-1911″ The article looks at the New Policies period attempts of the Qing court to establish control over Tibet, at the same time that the British were trying to do the same thing. In 1905 most Tibetans did not see themselves as citizens of a modern Chinese nation, or of a modern Tibetan nation, or as subjects of the British Empire and various people wanted to resolve this problem

Ho agrees with much of existing scholarship that one of the main events that split off Tibetan identity from Chinese identity was the brutality of the Chinese occupation of Lhasa in 1910, where Chinese behavior was, according to one Tibetan “worse than dogs and wild beasts.” Ho is mostly interested in showing how this mess was created by rivalries among Qing officials, but he also shows that there was at least the possibility that Tibet might have become China. The best hope for this came in the person of Zhang Yingtang, who served briefly as the Qing high commissioner for Tibet 1906-1907. Zhang promoted a peaceful version of Chinese-Tibetan reconciliation, and if you go to Lhasa today1 you will be shown Zhang Daren flowers, a symbol of the Tibetan people’s love for China.

As Ho points out, Zhang is a lot more interesting than modern Chinese propaganda makes him. He had been minister to the U.S., Mexico and Peru, and was very much a part of attempts to construct a new Chinese nation, and while in Tibet he tried to create a Tibet that was part of this new China.

In April 1907, [Zhang] published a treatise, “Improving Tibetan
Customs” (Banfa Zang su gailiang), in both Tibetan and Chinese. Zhang’s
plan can best be described as a peculiar blend of Confucian moral virtues,
modern hygiene, and military spirit. He began by admonishing Tibetans
about polyandry and sexual promiscuity, fretting about everything from
extramarital affairs to siblings, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, and even in-
laws sleeping in the same bed (QDZY: 1355-56). Zhang continued with a list
of recommendations that included bathing regularly, trimming down the
length of clothes (so as not to impede work), and studying Chinese, and a list
of injunctions that criticized Tibetan customs such as sky burial.

All of this is fairly typical Confucian nagging that could have just as well been directed at the Miao in 1740. Zhang goes on to urge a new level of militarism in Tibetan society.

1. When a boy turns eighteen, he should learn martial arts and the use of the
Mauser gun (Maose qiang) so that he can defend his hometown.

2. The Mauser is an essential piece of equipment for protecting yourselves
and your homes. Without it, you will surely be bullied. A Mauser costs
37 rupees, and 1,000 bullets costs 7 rupees. They are sold everywhere in
India and Sichuan. Everyone, man or woman, should spend 44 rupees to
buy a gun and bullets. When you are free, go hunting. Proceeds from the
sale of several white foxes, lynxes, or tigers will repay the cost of the gun
and bullets. After that, gains from hunting will be extra income. When
foreign enemies or robbers come, you can fight them with your guns, for
the sake of the Buddha.

later he said that

Today, the world is one of guns and cannons. There is no right
or wrong, only weak and strong. If we cannot achieve self-strengthening, we
will become prey. If people have the courage and uprightness to fight to the
death for the country, then foreign enemies will not dare to insult us. …
Military preparedness is something we cannot go a single day without deliberating.
Train troops every day; everyone discuss military affairs (riri lianbing, renrenjiangwu).
This is a vital eight-word formula.

This emphasis on arming the people would have seemed a bit radical in China proper, although the militarism itself was pretty standard New Policies stuff. Unfortunately for Zhang, if he had managed to militarize Tibetan society to the extent he wanted my guess is this would have led to more conflict with the Han rather than a single Han-Tibetan culture.

  1. I’ve never been []

2/20/2008

中华文化永恒精神价值

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 4:30 pm Print

早报有好奇怪的文件关于中国得婚姻制度。 作者 叶鹏飞谈到中国的离婚率上升。在一部分时一个建立在史学研究基础上的观点。 他说道国外婚姻制度的改变,特别斯泰芬尼·库茨(Stephanie Coontz) 的书。对我来说这是很有意思,因为在美国的报纸如果有一事可以说有”永恒精神“就是我们的婚姻制度。

但是,他也说道中国文化的最基本的特色。一个 是余英时的“一生为故国招魂”,和“回家过年”的文化精神。

“回家过年”的冲动显示着中国文化在基层的旺盛生命力,但愿中国人在现代化的过程中不会因此陷入“无家可归”的困境中去。

有一部分”日本人論 “的味道。在国外他可以分析历史变成,但在国内(或者文化内)他要识别中华的永恒精神。最有意思是他的文化特点是回家过年。美国的文化是一样。以前我们没有火鸡节,但是在二十世纪我们越来越多“在冰天雪地中艰难跋涉,坚持回家 ”. 是非常现代的文化传统

12/6/2007

Asian symbols

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 8:39 am Print

 

Useless Tree has a post up on the Chinese roots of the Korean flag. This post led me to look up an interesting, if rather old, article on the use of “the T’ai Chi symbol in Japanese wartime propaganda.”1 That Japanese governments in  China used “Chinese/Pan-Asian” images like the Great Ultimate was not news to me. What was new was his discussion of the use of the image in Korea. Obviously in the end it ended up on the Korean flag, but before that it was a very common symbol in Korean architecture, turning up on all sorts of gates and entryways, especially for official buildings, schools, temples, etc. Rowe also says that the symbol turned up on the Independence Arch in Seoul, which was erected right after the Russo-Japanese War and symbolized Korean independence. Soon after that the flag became a symbol of resistance against Japan. Has anybody done anything more recent than Rowe on Korean nationalist symbolism?

  1. Rowe, David Nelson. “The T’Ai Chi Symbol in Japanese War Propaganda.” The Public Opinion Quarterly 5, no. 4 (Winter 1941): 532-547. []

6/28/2007

(A Little) Chinese History at ASPAC

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 2:14 am Print

There was, I’ll admit, a lot of Chinese content at ASPAC which I didn’t see. Such is life. I did see two papers which I want to discuss here briefly, though, from the “Globalization and Cultural Links” panel: on Qing “Dragon Robes” and transnational adoption.

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