The best books on Manchukuo 📚

Browse the best books on Manchukuo as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Intoxicating Manchuria: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China's Northeast

Intoxicating Manchuria: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China's Northeast

By Norman Smith

Why this book?

This excellent book illuminates the culture of intoxicants in northeast China under Japanese occupation. Smith examines Chinese literature, advertisements, and popular culture to show how liquor and opium were depicted in contemporaneous mass media and impacted local urban communities. He also investigates how popular conceptions of "health" tied in with programs initiated by the Japanese authorities to control local populations, while advertisers of patent medicines, cordials, and tonics also picked up on these themes. Some of the highlights of Intoxicating Manchuria include masterfully vivid descriptions and illustrations of cartoons revealing the uneasy relationship between law enforcement, retailers, public health practitioners,…
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The best books on Manchukuo (Manchuria)

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Book cover of Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism

Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism

By Louise Young

Why this book?

When people ask for book recommendations on Japan’s empire, Louise Young's Japan’s Total Empire usually tops my list. Young focuses on the empire in Manchuria from 1931 to 1945, and highlights Manchuria as more than a Japanese military conquest—it was also a vast cultural project that mobilized the nation behind state intervention at home and imperial expansion abroad. To tell this story, Young focuses on much more than the army and civilian bureaucracy—she also shows how an ideal Manchukuo was imagined by multiple actors, from the mass media and business groups to intellectuals, settlers, and grassroots associations. Empire in Manchuria…

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The best books on the Japanese Empire

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Book cover of Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern

Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern

By Prasenjit Duara

Why this book?

One of the first scholars to write a full-length monograph on Manchukuo, Duara delves into the Chinese and Japanese writers who viewed northeast China under Japanese occupation as a means to envision their own Pan-Asianist ideals. He analyses this in the context of a broader "East Asian modern" in Manchukuo, and utilizes political and literary sources to unearth previous connections with previous iterations and currents of Chinese nationalism tied to the Pan-Asianism of the early twentieth century.
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The best books on Manchukuo (Manchuria)

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Book cover of Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production

Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production

By Annika A. Culver, Norman Smith

Why this book?

In this edited volume with contributions from scholars from China, Japan, Korea, and North America, we investigate the intellectual climate of Manchukuo and interrogate how writers found both opportunity and peril in this new state under Japanese control. This study approaches Manchukuo literature from a transnational perspective, and most importantly, not all of the scholars in our collection agree with each other! We contest the "collaboration-resistance" binary that had been so persistent in much scholarship related to China under Japanese occupation by illuminating the complex choices made by cultural producers during their careers. One of our chapters features an essay…
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The best books on Manchukuo (Manchuria)

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Book cover of Heaven and Hell: A Novel of a Manchukuo Childhood

Heaven and Hell: A Novel of a Manchukuo Childhood

By Toriko Takarabe, Phyllis Birnbaum

Why this book?

In tandem with the "Manshû bûmu" [Manchuria Boom] in Japan from the late nineties until early aughts, numerous memoirs have appeared on the market by former Japanese settlers of Manchukuo. One of the more chilling and nuanced accounts is that of Takarabe Toriko, a celebrated Japanese poet, who was a child and preteen during the 1930s and 1940s in a family where her father served as a Kantô Army officer near Jiamusi in Japanese-occupied northeast China. She herself experienced and witnessed life under Japanese occupation, as well as the brutal revenge exacted upon Japan's overlords after defeat, where both Chinese…
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The best books on Manchukuo (Manchuria)

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