Debunking the myths of the Sino Japanese War

Discussion in 'Military History' started by OrangeFlorian, May 1, 2016.

  1. OrangeFlorian

    OrangeFlorian #GoldAndBlack Senior Member

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    Justifying the Japanese War


    Whenever a nation goes through a traumatic event, such as a world war, there is always an attempt to justify it in some way. Sometimes, this is easy, particularly for those who fought defensive wars; you fought because you were attacked and had to defend yourself. However, for those that fought offensive wars, some loftier, less tangible justification has to be put forward. For example, U.S. President Wilson attempted to justify American entry into World War I on the grounds that America had to “make the world safe for democracy”. In World War II, the British government, in the European theater at least, justified the declaration of war on Germany in the name of eradicating “fascism” from the globe (defending Polish independence would have hardly sufficed given what happened to Poland when it was over). In the United States, and this is partly why the war is viewed without the ambiguity of other conflicts, there was no need for any great justification. The U.S. fought Japan because Japan had attacked the United States and it fought Germany and Italy because those countries had declared war on America in solidarity with their Japanese ally. As far as the war in the Asia-Pacific theater was concerned, Britain could say the same. Britain fought because Japan attacked virtually every British possession or affiliated country in the region. Additionally, Britain also greatly needed U.S. support in fighting Germany so the British were very quick to stand alongside America against the Empire of Japan.


    The Japanese, however, had a more difficult position to defend. Given the consequences of the war, unprecedented in their history, with their forces utterly defeated, their empire destroyed, their homeland in ruins, the atomic bombings and their occupation when it was over, people were desperate to find some way to justify it all. Many claimed it was a war of self-defense and yet, while they did have facts they could point to, this was unconvincing. Japan had struck the first blow and the war was mostly fought on the lands and territory of other peoples. It was the Japanese who had attacked Pearl Harbor, invaded The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, Burma and later attacked India. The bulk of the Japanese army was fighting in China, a neighboring country, rather than on Japanese territory. As such, claims that Japan was simply defending itself was not going to pass muster with most people. This made justifying the war more difficult and yet, at the same time, even more imperative for some people since to do otherwise would be to admit that the whole thing had been a colossal mistake, which some, then as now, find too horrible to contemplate. Yet, in the ruin of immediate post-war Japan, there was a great deal of that. Many people who embraced the new direction Japan took after the war did so, not because they thought they themselves had done anything wrong, but because they hated the militarist regime which had pushed them into a disastrous war that was impossible to win and saw everything brought to ruin simply because they refused to admit to the mistake.

    It would, thus, be impossible to admit that the war should not have happened without condemning those who had taken Japan into the conflict and many have never been prepared to do that. The Empire of Japan, after all, had not just lost a war the way that other countries have lost wars. Japan lost badly. Many people fail to realize how badly. Allow the fact to sink in that, after the initial Japanese offensive throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific at the end of 1941 and early 1942, Japan was never victorious in any major operation again. This would be like the Germans never winning a battle after the fall of France. When the Allied counter-attack came, after the pivotal Battle of Midway in the summer of 1942, the story of the war for Japan was one defeat after another. None of the island outposts in the Pacific ever repelled a single American attack and, in southeast Asia, after the defeat of the invasion of India, Japanese forces were rapidly pushed back by the Allies, their defenses effectively collapsed and few reinforcements could be spared due to the need to maintain so many troops in China. Much depended on the imperial naval and air forces and these were crippled at Midway in 1942 and practically annihilated as an effective fighting force at the Philippine Sea in 1944. And, keep in mind, this was all while the bulk of U.S. military strength was being focused on the other side of the world in north Africa and Europe. Even under the best of circumstances, the Japanese knew that they could never hope for an outright victory over the United States, so vast was the American superiority in resources, manpower and industrial output. Their only hope was that the Americans would simply give up at some point and quit the war after suffering heavy losses, yet, in all but one engagement, Japanese losses throughout the war were invariably far greater than American losses. It was, all in all, a disaster and one that could have been foreseen.


    Japan had actually been prepared, after years of fighting in China, to abandon the conflict and withdraw their forces to focus on the defense of Manchuria and consolidating the hold on northeast Asia that Japan already possessed. Had they done so, the Empire of Japan might still be around today. However, the succession of stunning victories by the Axis forces in Europe caused Japan to think that the war in Europe would soon be won by their Axis partners and thus the European colonies in Asia would be ripe for the picking. As the saying at the time was, they didn’t want to “miss the bus”. They took a risk, betting everything on a crushing victory by Nazi Germany in Europe and decided to advance south. They first occupied Indochina and that then set off the chain of events that led to war. The U.S. placed an embargo on Japan, easily persuaded the British and Dutch to do the same and by that action Japan was backed into a corner. They would have to back down or fight and, as we all know, they chose to fight. They rolled the dice and ultimately lost everything. Had the Japanese high command stuck to their original plan, seeing no path to a decisive victory in China (the whole conflict being one that Japan had been drawn into with no clear goal in mind on their part) and withdrawn to consolidate in the northeast, Japan today might still hold control over Korea, Manchuria, Formosa, the South Pacific mandate and the assorted northern islands later lost to Russia; no small patch of real-estate that. For some, given all of that, justifying the war became a matter of dire necessity rather than admit to such a monumental waste and needless disaster.

    The most popular attempt at justification finally came with the help of the Allies themselves with the period of de-colonization and a wave of liberal guilt that swept the western world. A justification for the war was found and quickly seized upon: Japan had been fighting the war for purely altruistic reasons; to liberate their Asian brethren from the colonial domination of racist White people. This has taken on such dimensions that some today claim that the Empire of Japan had never been a colonial power at all on the grounds that Korea and Formosa were incorporated into Japan itself which would be rather like Britain claiming that Ireland was not a colony because it was made part of the United Kingdom or France claiming that Algeria was not a colony because it was incorporated into metropolitan France or for the U.S. to claim that there was nothing “colonial” about the acquisition of Hawaii because it later became a state in the union. However, Japan has been aided in this tactic simply because of the self-shaming adopted by the western colonial powers in regards to their own former empires. It is easy to attack a system that very few will bother to defend.


    Likewise, the areas occupied by Japan, as part of their own nationalist narratives, also make themselves complicit by binding up so much of their national identity in the fight for independence from colonial rule. For example, the pro-Axis Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose is widely respected by many people in India today. In Burma, Dr. Ba Maw is not without his admirers and in The Philippines, the leader of the pro-Japanese government that cooperated with the occupation forces, Jose Laurel, was recognized after the war as a legitimate former president by the Filipino government and who was allowed to carry on his political career. Consider, by contrast, how men such as Vidkun Quisling, Anton Mussert or even Marshal Philippe Petain are regarded today in Europe and one can, perhaps, see how different the situation is in Asia and how conducive it is to the idea that Japan was the lone noble hero of the conflict, fighting to liberate rather than conquer. Due to the post-war period of de-colonization, some in Japan have even gone so far as to say that they didn’t really lose the war after all because what they claim as their primary goal, the end of European colonialism in Asia, was finally achieved. Personally, even as someone very partial to Japan, this is rather horrifying when taken to its logical conclusion as it would mean that Japan is responsible for all the horrific, tyrannical regimes that sprang up in southeast Asia after colonial rule ended. There is also the rather pertinent point that the idea that Japan was fighting an anti-colonial crusade is completely untrue and that fact can be relatively easily proven.

    In the first place, setting aside the notion that ruling over the long-established, preexisting country of Korea should “not count” as colonialism, it is obvious that Japan had no animosity toward the idea of colonialism itself because it clearly had no objection to the institution beyond East Asia. For example, even before Japan was a member of the Tripartite Pact, Japan had no problem with the openly colonial ambitions of other countries Tokyo was in sympathy with. When the Kingdom of Italy (already a colonial power) launched the invasion of Ethiopia, never making any secret of the fact that Mussolini intended to retain control of the area, the Ethiopian government called on Japan to join in condemning the Italians. Mind you, the Ethiopians were not asking for any sort of support or material assistance of any kind, they knew that would be expecting too much of a country so far removed from Africa, but simply that the Japanese express their displeasure at Mussolini’s invasion. Japan refused to issue such a condemnation or to reproach Italy in any way. If Italy had not objected to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, how could Japan object to the Italian occupation of Ethiopia? Obviously, there was no problem from Japan with the principle of colonialism itself.


    During the war, Japan did try to cast itself as the liberator of Asian peoples, the great power that would be the helpful, guardian, ‘big brother’ of the region. This was part of the whole program of the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”. And, there were examples Japan could point to of countries which had been given at least nominal independence and their own national governments thanks to Japanese intervention. The big meeting of Co-Prosperity Sphere leaders during the war consisted of representatives of the Empire of Manchuria, the “Reorganized National Government” of the Republic of China, the State of Burma, the Second Philippine Republic and the Kingdom of Thailand though, of course, Thailand had always been independent. Bose also attended but only as an observer as India was still waiting to be “liberated” by the Japanese. One will notice that quite a few countries which were occupied by Japan are not represented among this group but even among these there are some problems. The pro-Japanese government from China never came close to holding power over the entire country nor was China under the outright rule of any power before the war. The Philippines, while a commonwealth of the United States at the start of the conflict, was already on its way out of the American colonial empire with the process and even date for independence already having been agreed to by the government in Washington before the war started. But what about the areas not represented? This points to the most conclusive evidence that Japan was not fighting an anti-colonialism campaign in World War II.

    The fact is that Japanese support for independence movements did exist but was clearly secondary to the national interests of Japan and the Japanese war effort. For example, French Indochina was occupied by Japanese forces prior to the outbreak of hostilities and yet Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia remained under French colonial rule for all but the final few months of the conflict. Japan left the colonial regime untouched and for most of the war the French population in Indochina was the only group of “White” people in the whole of the area occupied by Japanese forces that were not immediately put in concentration camps. This made sense for Japan as it meant that they could focus on the war effort while the French continued to handle administration, internal security and all of that. This cozy relationship only changed when the Vichy regime fell, France was occupied entirely by Germany and so it was 1945, when there could be no doubt about the eventual outcome of the war, that Japan acted to support the declarations of independence by the Kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia and the Empire of Vietnam. For almost the entirety of the conflict, Japan made no effort to “liberate” the peoples of Indochina from the colonial rule of France at all. However, after the war was over, there was enough support to carry on fighting against any “White” presence in Asia for about 600 Japanese troops in Indochina to join the communist-led VietMinh but that should hardly be seen as something to boast about given the horrid excesses of that regime, even perpetrated against the very government Japan had, for a few months in 1945, supported.


    In Malaysia, the Japanese certainly ended the colonial rule of the British, with whom they were at war, but not very much changed for the local Malaysian monarchs. The whole area remained under Japanese military rule for the duration of the conflict. In fact, Malaysia lost some territory as about four northern border provinces were handed over to the Kingdom of Thailand as part of the agreement for Thailand supporting Japan and becoming one of the lesser members of the Axis powers. In Singapore, likewise, British colonial rule was ended but, as with Hong Kong, there was no hint that this meant anything more than being ruled in the name of a Japanese monarch rather than a British one. When the Japanese forces captured Singapore (in one of the most brilliant and stunning victories of the war) the city was given a new Japanese name, “Shonanto” or ‘Light of the South’ and the local children in Singapore were required to attend new schools established by the new authorities to learn to speak Japanese. They bowed toward the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, sang the Japanese national anthem and for leisure could go to the local cinema where only Japanese films were shown. Any dispassionate observer would have to conclude that when you take control of an area, rename it and start teaching everyone to speak your language, it probably means you intend to be staying and holding on to that area indefinitely.

    Finally, there is also the case of the Dutch East Indies where the colonial rule of The Netherlands was ended (along with brutal treatment for the local Dutch or partly Dutch population) but no immediate granting of independence such as was nominally the case in The Philippines and Burma. Sukarno was released from prison and he was happy to collaborate with the Japanese and urge his countrymen to learn the Japanese language and assist in the Japanese war effort but Japan was not about to relinquish control of the vast resources of the archipelago which Japan desperately needed. Prime Minister Tojo himself admitted as much, saying of the Indonesians that they were not prepared to handle the vast mineral wealth their country possessed. As it was, Japan did finally support an Indonesian declaration of independence but only after they had already lost the war. In fact, the atomic bombing of Japan had already happened when Sukarno was brought to Japan to be wined and dined and told that the time had finally come for Indonesia to be given independence. Japan concealed the true state of affairs from Sukarno during this time and he only learned of the atomic bombing after returning to Indonesia and hearing an Allied broadcast from a secret radio.


    The bottom line is that the facts simply do not support justifying the Japanese war as an anti-colonial struggle. The Japanese abolished colonial rule in some areas, maintained it in others and simply replaced European colonial rule with their own in still others depending on what best served Japanese national interests. And, to my mind at least, acting in your own interests should not be considered a terrible thing. No one else is going to do it and trusting others to look out for your interests has been proven to be naïve and short-sighted. Some Japanese were genuinely motivated by their desire for a racial struggle to drive the “Whites” out of Asia but others were more pragmatic. The problem is not that the Japanese government acted in their own interest but rather that this post-war effort at justification endeavors to set Japan apart and claim a ‘holier-than-thou’ status; when Europeans ruled over foreign peoples that was evil colonialism but when the Japanese ruled over foreign peoples that was not colonialism. It could even be seen as the same as western hypocrisy regarding Japanese expansion into Manchuria or Italian expansion into Abyssinia. However, in each of those cases no one took military action because it did not effect anyone else directly. When Japan turned militarily on fellow colonial powers that naturally prompted retaliation. The post-war attitude has also made it very difficult to foster mutual support between traditional monarchists in Japan and the west. Each had colonial empires and each had their positive as well as negative aspects which are usually ignored. Even among monarchists, some westerners still enjoy bickering over whose empire was better or worse than the rest but most (again, that is ‘most’ of a small minority group) still prefer the world of colonial empires to the bi-polar world of the Cold War era or the current world of globalism and internationalism. It is different with Japan though and will remain so as long as the Japanese conservatives who defend their own empire attack those of others and claim that colonial empires were bad while denying that their colonial empire was *really* a colonial empire.

    For the Empire of Japan, justifying World War II is like trying to justify an earthquake. Japan was not motivated by a selfless concern for others anymore than any other of the combatants were. Japan entered the war due to a combination of pride, a wish to expand as well as economic pressure from other powers and provocations from the United States that wanted to get into the war but needed one of the Axis powers to shoot first. Roosevelt wasn’t able to get Hitler or Mussolini to shoot first but he was ultimately successful in goading Japan into doing so. The result was disastrous and for Japan in particular. Had the Japanese endured the provocations of other powers and simply sat out the war, the Empire of Japan would have survived, there would have been a better chance of the British Empire surviving but more importantly for Japan, given the post-war expansion of the Soviet Union and the onset of the Cold War, the same Anglo-American forces that had been more antagonistic toward Japan would have been forced by the international situation to not only drop their unfriendly attitude but support Japan as a regional bulwark against communist expansion. Things might have been much better for everyone if Japan had missed that bus.


    In the end, there is a degree to which Japan has no need to justify World War II. The occupation of Manchuria, whether it was done for the right or wrong reasons, was a case of Japan doing the right thing; restoring a land that had been unjustly seized and placing its legitimate ruler back on the throne. In the China incident, it was the Chinese who, evidence indicates, started it. The escalation of tensions that led to Pearl Harbor was partly due to ambition and overreaching by the Japanese military which alarmed the rest of the world by occupying Indochina but the American response was totally unjustified and needlessly antagonistic. The Roosevelt administration made a conscious choice to intervene in matters that were not their concern and they willfully backed Japan into a corner from which the only two means of escape were war or suffering the humiliation of submitting to the demands of a foreign power. Japan was not without some legitimate justifications for going to war in 1941. Beyond that, however, some actions were taken for which there can never be any justification and, in any event, just because one can be justified in going to war does not automatically make it necessary or wise to do so.

    Japan had been treated unfairly and could rightly ask why countries in Europe or America took exception to their actions when they never meddled in European or American affairs. They could rightly ask why there was a Monroe Doctrine for the Americas but an Open Door Policy in East Asia. The leadership in Tokyo was not, despite what Allied propaganda later claimed, out to conquer the world. They were motivated by a fear, irrational in retrospect, that their empire, despite being at the height of its power, teetered on the brink of success or failure and they undoubtedly wished to be the dominant regional power in East Asia. Achieving that did not necessitate the war that followed and that war was certainly not a selfless effort to eradicate colonialism. To a degree, it was a totally justifiable reaction to pressure and antagonism from foreign powers. Beyond that, it was an ultimately disastrous mistake. The move south, which came so close to never happening at all, was a gamble taken at a time when an Axis victory in Europe seemed certain. In that regard, Japan gambled and lost. The extent of that loss cannot be justified.

    Japan: Champion of Monarchy in Asia


    If there is one thing that warms my mad monarchist heart, it is seeing existing monarchies supporting each other and, just as if not more importantly, giving aid to the monarchist cause in countries overrun by republicanism. In our own time we have seen countries pull together out of a shared devotion to their own republican political ideology (liberal democracy on one side, communism on the other) but in recent years there has been very little of this from monarchial countries. It has happened in the past, such as when Tsar Alexis of Russia cut off all trade with England after they cut off the head of their King, when the Prussians sent troops to aid the royalist Orange Party in the Netherlands under attack by republican forces and when the crowned heads of Europe came together to declare war on republican France after the regicide of King Louis XVI, not excluding the British who had long been the traditional enemy of the Kingdom of France. We saw it when Tsar Nicholas I sent troops in to crush rebellion against the Austrian Empire in Hungary because it was recognized that revolution and republicanism are cancers that spread easily. There were other times, when such solidarity was called for but never achieved such as when the Queen mother of Spain (and the German Kaiser) called for monarchial solidarity against the United States in the Spanish-American War but such cooperation was not forthcoming.


    Once the twentieth century really got going, however, things seemed to change. Suddenly, the common bonds of monarchy seemed to be set aside in favor of agreements and alliances that (it was thought) would be more beneficial to the countries in question, though this was invariably not the case. The Orthodox and autocratic Russian Empire, probably the most devotedly monarchist power in Europe, allied itself with the very liberal French Republic. During World War I, monarchies made war on each other as never before and (since so many fell as a result) as they never would again, dragging the United States into European affairs in the process. There was not a great deal of monarchial solidarity displayed by the Allies (two of the major participants being republican France and America) and while there was more on the side of the Central Powers, even there Germany made the terrible mistake of, albeit very reluctantly and temporarily, making use of the communists in taking the Russian Empire down to get Russia out of the war. The aftermath saw even more bad decisions being made, such as the British Empire putting sanctions on the Kingdom of Italy while signing a naval treaty with Nazi Germany or breaking off their alliance with the Empire of Japan in favor of one with the United States of America. Remember that by the terms of that treaty, Japan was pledged to help defend the British Empire in Asia whereas, even after Britain and America became war time allies in World War II, the U.S. government under Franklin D. Roosevelt made it clear that he wanted the British Empire to be dismantled.


    In the midst of this unfortunate trend, although it can sometimes seem like few notice the facts sitting right in front of them, it was the Empire of Japan that was the rare exception, supporting the principle of monarchy and giving aid to monarchists of other nations -even former enemies. The Japanese were well aware of the dangers of revolutionary republicanism and had been for longer than most probably realize. During the period when Japan began to withdraw from isolation, the first to go overseas to Europe learned about the French Revolution and some began to advocate something similar once they returned home. Thankfully, the Japanese public was too staunchly faithful to the Emperor and the whole concept was too distastefully foreign for this to ever get very far but the imperial government recognized that this ideology was a danger that had to be resisted. Japan had looked on with alarm at the triumph of republicanism in China after the 1911 Revolution and the Empire of Japan had dealt with at least pseudo-republicans in the past such as on Taiwan in the First Sino-Japanese War and with some of the rebels who opposed the Meiji Restoration.

    When the Empire of Japan first emerged onto the world stage, monarchy was still dominant in the world and the only close neighbors of Japan; Korea, China and Russia, were all monarchies as well. Some conflict was probably inevitable. As Japan modernized, the need for resources grew greater and one early source of vital food imports was Korea. However, Korea was a vassal of China and the Chinese were not too pleased with the increased Japanese involvement in Korea and had a long history of being rather contemptuous toward Japan, mostly for refusing to recognize Chinese supremacy. The first two external wars fought by the Empire of Japan after the Meiji Restoration were, if you reduce it to the most simplistic level, over Korea. First they drove the Chinese out but were robbed of much of their victory when Russia, France and Germany ganged up on the Japanese, forcing them to give back some of their winnings. Russian power was expanding in the region and Japan offered to accept Russian dominance in Manchuria (Chinese power being on the decline) if the Russians would stay out of Korea. Their offer was not accepted and the Russo-Japanese War basically determined whether or not Korea would be a part of the Empire of Japan or the Russian Empire. The Japanese were victorious and in 1910 the short-lived “Great Han Empire” (Korea) was annexed by Japan.


    There is still a great deal of bitterness over this whole period on the part of Korea, some of it completely understandable and some of it incredibly petty. However, restricting ourselves to just the situation of the monarchy, the Japanese were much more careful than other powers in ensuring that the monarchial principle was not damaged. The Korean monarch was reduced in rank to what most Korean monarchs had always been but retained that title, remained in his palace and along with the aristocracy, received generous payments from Japan to allow them to live the lifestyle they had become accustomed to. Keep in mind, according to the modern Korean republics (or at least the south anyway) these were the inveterate enemies of Japan and the Japanese annexation, yet, this is how they were treated. The Korean crown prince was educated in Japan and treated like a son by HM the Meiji Emperor (in fact, some felt he was treated better than the Emperor’s own son). Members of the Korean Royal Family continued to hold prominent positions throughout the remaining years of the Empire of Japan. It was a far cry from the British exiling the last Mughal Emperor to Burma, the French exiling the monarchs of Vietnam or Madagascar to far away countries or even the United States in Hawaii imposing republicanism and abolishing all royal titles.


    The next major conflict for the Empire of Japan was the First World War, which Japan joined on the Allied side because of their treaty with Great Britain. The Japanese secured the capture of the biggest German base in the Far East and provided warships to escort troop ships from British possessions in Asia and Australia to the European battlefront. Toward the end of the conflict, republicanism and in particular communism became a more prominent concern for Japan. The two largest and most powerful neighbors of Japan, China and Russia, both fell into republican chaos and civil war. In both cases, the Empire of Japan responded by supporting the loyal monarchists wherever possible, even though these people represented the two empires that had previously been the enemies of Japan. In the face of the encroaching forces of communism in Russia and the republican chaos in China, however, that did not matter. Japan began to support and protect the last Emperor of China after his expulsion from the Forbidden City as well as Qing loyalists who hoped for his restoration. The Japanese sent the largest expeditionary force of any of the Allied nations that intervened in the Russian Civil War and the Empire of Japan was quick to support the White Russian forces in the field and even after they had been forced into exile, mostly in Manchuria.



    Along with supplying White Russian exiles with a safe haven, money, guns and military supplies, the Empire of Japan also provided sanctuary, support and security for the last Emperor of China and Qing Dynasty loyalists. Ultimately, as we know, the Japanese also made possible his restoration to his ancestral throne in Manchuria with the establishment of the Empire of Manchukuo. The importance of this should not be shrugged off. How rare is it that an overthrown monarch is ever able to regain their throne, even if only a part of the realm they once ruled? And this was not just for a few years but for more than a decade. It was also from their base in Manchuria that Japanese forces gave aid and assistance to the monarchists of Inner Mongolia who wished to see the communist client-state in Outer Mongolia overthrown and all Mongols reunited under a restored monarchy. The Mongol prince at the head of this effort was Prince Demchugdongrub (aka Prince De Wang) and his family. The Prince was a distant relative and long-time friend and supporter of the last Manchu Emperor and, for years, the Japanese had tried to coordinate a monarchist alliance of the Japanese, Manchu and Mongol peoples across northeast Asia. This was the reason behind the (short-lived) arranged marriage of the Japanese-raised Manchu Princess Kawashima Yoshiko to the Mongol Prince Ganjuurjab whose father would be a general in the Inner Mongolian Army of Prince De Wang.


    Even during World War II, the Empire of Japan promoted monarchy wherever possible. The earliest ally of Japan in southeast Asia was the Kingdom of Thailand and in Indochina the Japanese supported Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam becoming independent monarchies again while always respecting the reigning monarchs whether they were friendly toward Japan or not. In Vietnam, for example, the Prince Cuong De had long-established and friendly ties with Japan whereas the reigning monarch, Emperor Bao Dai, had spent much of his life in France. Yet, the Japanese worked with the reigning monarch and supported those sects who were monarchist (the Hoa Hao and Cao Dai for example) while the United States (short-sightedly) supported the communist-led Viet Minh. In Laos, the King was pro-French and so the Japanese worked with a prince who favored independence yet made no effort to depose or harm the pro-French King. In the states of Malaysia, the Japanese restored two monarchs who had unjustly been deprived of their thrones but never removed any reigning monarch even those that supported Britain over Japan. After driving the British forces out of Burma, the first instinct of the Japanese was to restore the native monarchy under a grandson of the last King Thibaw and it was only when they found no support for such an initiative that they turned to Dr. Ba Maw. Even then, when he was installed as head of state he did so with much of the ceremony of the old Kingdom of Burma which some took as a sign that he might have restored the monarchy eventually with himself as king which there was nothing to prevent him from doing given that Burma had no royal succession law and traditionally the throne went to whoever could take it. To further tantalize, Dr. Ba Maw was the son of a royal official to the last of the Burmese kings, and a staunch monarchist who opposed the British out of his loyalty to the Royal Family of Burma.


    Of course, I know there will be those who doubt the sincerity of the Japanese in these events as there are many anti-monarchy and/or anti-Japanese people who would decry anything Japan did for any reason. I am sure some would say that Japan only did this because it served Japanese interests. My only response to that is to ask, “So?” Do you really expect any country to act against their own interests? Do you expect a nation at war to give aid to those who oppose them and support their enemies? Would anyone expect that? Of course not. Thankfully, as a monarchy, it was in the interest of Japan to support monarchy and that just happened to be in the best interest of all those involved as well, in my view certainly. Others, monarchist opponents perhaps, might ask, ‘well, why didn’t Japan try to make the whole of China a monarchy again, or make The Philippines a monarchy?’ or, in other words, impose a monarchy on people who did not desire one. The obvious answer is that Japan was trying to solve problems, not create new ones by trying to impose a form of government on people who did not want it. However, to any who would downplay the pro-monarchy policies of the Empire of Japan, I have a simple question, “Who did more?” That is all. If what they did was not enough to be praiseworthy for proponents of monarchy, show me a country that did more. I would be glad to hear about it and give them all due praise as well. As for the Empire of Japan, the record speaks for itself. Some, I am sure, may be unable to get beyond old grudges but as a pan-monarchist if for no other reason, I for one will always have a heartfelt salute for the Empire of Japan, champion of monarchy from Russia to southeast Asia.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
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  3. OrangeFlorian

    OrangeFlorian #GoldAndBlack Senior Member

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    Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army



    Yoshiko Kawashima’s life has been the subject of novels, soap operas and movies since the 1920s.

    Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy, by Phyllis Birnbaum
    272 pages.
    Columbia University Press, Nonfiction.

    This Manchu Qing princess was sent to Japan after the 1911 revolution to be raised by Naniwa Kawashima, a friend of her father and a controversial Nationalist figure. Determined to restore her family to the Chinese throne, she set out to become a “Manchu Joan of Arc,” continually shifting loyalties. She cut her hair short, dressed as a man and broke countless taboos, shocking and delighting the press.

    Her colorful story is intricately linked with Japan’s misadventures in Manchuria. Transforming into “Commander Jin” and leading her own army, she was credited by the Japanese media with numerous feats of derring-do. In 1948, she was executed in Beijing as a spy.

    Phyllis Birnbaum’s book attempts to cut through the myths surrounding Kawashima, and is an excellent overview of her life. However, Birnbaum has little time for speculation and refuses to commit without evidence — a trait admirable in a historian but one that can cause frustration when myth is so central to the story. Understanding the mind of a subject requires a certain amount of imaginative leaping but Birnbaum’s line keeps Kawashima as a distant figure, with the holes in the story left intact. This is particularly striking in the early chapters where important sections of her youth are skimmed over: A suicide attempt is dealt with in a sentence and explanations for her desire to be a “third gender” are only hinted at. The pace picks up when recounting the latter half of her life because better sources exist.

    Kawashima was irrepressible and so is her story, refusing to conform to a conventional biography.
     
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  4. OrangeFlorian

    OrangeFlorian #GoldAndBlack Senior Member

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    Understanding the Last Emperor, Part I

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    The last Emperor of China is not a well known figure, and it is an unfortunate truth that most of the notoriety he does hold is on account of the famous Academy Award-winning film about his life. Though he lived not a very long time ago, the last Chinese Emperor remains a very enigmatic figure. The accounts of his life written by others invariably come from biased sources, people who have some agenda to push and in his case it involves the necessity of vilifying the Emperor. Yet, even reading his own accounts, it is hard to come to a very clear understanding of the man. In his youth in the Forbidden City of Peking, surrounded by traditionalist mandarins and submissive eunuchs he was a staunch Chinese imperialist. When he was head of state of Manchuria under Japanese protection he was a staunch ally of Japan and finally when he was taken by the Communists he voiced his disgust at his past life and praised the People‘s Republic. Which opinion was the sincere one? Where any of them sincerely felt? What sort of man was he or was his life spent so dominated by others that any individualism in him was stamped out? Regarding the last Chinese Emperor anyone will find that there are many more questions than answers.


    The last Emperor was born Aisin-Gioro Pu-Yi on February 7, 1906 to Prince Chun II; the half brother of Emperor GuangXu, and Princess Youlan; daughter of General Ronglu. He had very little time for a normal childhood however as he was summoned to the Forbidden City by the Empress Dowager Cixi when he was not yet three years old. Empress Dowager Cixi was ruling in the place of the nominal monarch, Emperor GuangXu, whom she had suppressed in a military coup after he tried to modernize the country. Now on her deathbed, Cixi wanted to make sure that the Emperor could not retake power after her death and ensure that the system she had in place would continue. An infant monarch would allow those she trusted to hold real power and bring up the child in line with their way of thinking and so she chose PuYi to be the adopted heir of his uncle and succeed as the next emperor. She possibly had GuangXu poisoned as he died on November 14, 1908 with Cixi herself dying the following day. The following month PuYi was officially enthroned as Great Emperor of the Great Qing Dynasty, Grand Khan of Tartary, Lord of 10,000 Years and the Son of Heaven with the reigning name of Hsuan-tung. Already the victim of circumstances beyond his control this occasion marked the beginning of the end of the ancient Chinese Empire.

    Because of his age, the little emperor was watched over by his adopted mother, Empress Dowager Longyu and his father who served as regent on his behalf. Opinion varies considerably on Prince Chun, encouraged by the fact that he was quite adept at being acceptable to the powers-that-be at all times. Some view him as a potential reformer, others as a hopeless reactionary. Regardless though, he had relatively little time at the helm of the Chinese Empire before the outbreak of the republican revolution in 1911. The revolt happened almost by accident and was led by the American educated Sun Yat-sen who received the aid of the notorious General Yuan Shihkai. This general had already betrayed the previous emperor, betrayed PuYi and would ultimately betray Sun Yat-sen when after being given the presidency in return for convincing the Qing Dynasty to abdicate he declared himself emperor and tried to found a new dynasty. The Qing were quickly overwhelmed, intimidated and through the persuasion of Yuan Shihkai convinced that they had to come to terms with the revolution in order to survive.


    Prince Chun gave up being regent on December 6, 1911 and passed the position to Empress Dowager Longyu who was left to deal with the disaster. It was she, on behalf of the Hsuan-tung Emperor, signed the "Act of Abdication of the Emperor of the Great Qing" on February 12, 1912. The agreement which brought about this abdication, an unprecedented event in world history, was extremely interesting. For one thing, it stated that the Emperor was bowing to the Mandate of Heaven as expressed through the will of the people; which had certainly never been done before in the history the succession of Chinese dynasties. Likewise, in return for the peaceful surrender of the monarchy, the newly born Republic of China agrees to the Articles of Favorable Treatment which guaranteed the title of the Manchu Emperor, the protection of the imperial tombs and monuments, imperial ownership of the imperial palaces within the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, the treatment of the emperor with the respect of a foreign head of state and the payment of four million dollars a year to the imperial court. It was a remarkable agreement in the history of fallen monarchies especially in that, even though China had embraced republicanism, a certain mystique still surrounded the child emperor and even the republic would not deny that the emperor was an emperor and thus worthy of a certain respect. Unfortunately, the republic did not ultimately live up to this agreement, especially in terms of the payments which were stopped fairly quickly, but neither did the imperial court which never accepted the republic as permanent and continued to hope for a restoration.

    During this period PuYi led a rather uneventful life. There were occasional ceremonies for him to participate in, dignitaries to be received and of course his education at the hands of the mandarins, particularly his tutor Chen PaoShen who was to be one of his closest advisors throughout much of his life. It is interesting to note how many of the republican officials treated the Emperor. China, especially during this period, was a place where everyone tried to keep all bases covered as to whom might one day be in a position to benefit them. When republican officials would come to the Forbidden City on some errand they would often enter in western clothes, deliver their speech on behalf of the republic in a dignified manner and then leave again, don traditional robes, come back in and bow down to address the Emperor as a private individual. There was a constant dance between the imperial court, the republican government and the military warlords who held most of the actual cards, each one paying lip service to the other for momentary support and looking for a chance to gain political power with the little emperor caught in the middle.


    General Chang Hsun
    This situation seemed to reach a pivotal moment for the Qing in 1917 when a monarchist warlord, General Chang Hsun, marched on Peking. His troops were known as the Pigtail Army because they retained the Manchu queue hairstyle as a symbol of their continued loyalty to the Qing. The General offered to restore the young monarch and with the assurance that the republican government was supportive, and that the President would step down, the court agreed and announced the official return of Emperor Hsuan-tung to nominal power on July 1. For a brief time dragon flags appeared on the streets and imperial-era robes were being worn again. There was even a rush on costume shops to obtain horse hair queues to give the appearance of having been ever loyal. Yet, not everyone was convinced, and vendors were selling imperial pronouncements with the advertisements that they would soon be antiques. True enough, the President of the republic did not go along with the restoration and soon Peking was besieged by republican forces under General Duan Qirui. There was even a brief air raid when a republican plane dropped a bomb in the Forbidden City which did little damage but caused considerable fright simply because of the novelty of it. By July 12, 1917 the Pigtail Army had been dispersed and Chang Hsun was forced to flee to the Dutch legation. Another abdication announcement was hastily issued on behalf of the young Emperor and once again China reverted to republicanism and warlord rule.

    Inside the Forbidden City life went on under the usual routine for PuYi. In the hope of gaining foreign aid and to give the Emperor a more western education a British official named Reginald F. Johnston was employed as tutor to the Emperor. He befriended his pupil and would remain a defender of the last Emperor for the rest of his life, even after certain political problems arose during the 1930's between Britain and some other friends of the last Emperor. It was with Johnston that PuYi chose a name for himself from a list of British monarchs, picking Henry in reference to Henry VIII and so became known by many in the English-speaking world as Emperor Henry of China. In 1922 it was decided that, as he was 16 years old, it was high time for the Emperor to marry. He was given a number of candidates to choose from, but his first choice, the Princess Wen Xiu, was deemed too ugly by the courtiers and so Princess Wan Jung was chosen for the job of wife and Empress with Wen Xiu coming along as concubine.

    Understanding the Last Emperor, Part II

    Continued from Part I

    Married life made the Emperor feel more like his own man and shortly thereafter he decided that if he could not rule China he would at least rule the Forbidden City in line with his own ideas. He had, especially through the influence of Johnston, become something of a radical liberal by the standards of the staunch Chinese traditionalists. He wanted reform and modernization and shocked the court when he cut off his queue and appointed a new chamberlain, Cheng Hsiao-hsu, and attempted a crackdown on the black market sale of antiques from the palace. When he met resistance on this front from those entrenched at court, particularly the eunuchs who had been his only constant companions since childhood, he expelled the eunuchs from the Forbidden City. This was quite an undertaking considering the ancient and powerful position of the eunuchs and the fact that there were still roughly 1,200 of them living in the Forbidden City. What would have come of this new effort to create his own society inside the palace walls we will never know. In 1924 another warlord seized Peking. This time it was a Communist, who ironically also claimed to be a Christian, named General Feng Yuxiang, who ordered PuYi and the entire court to evacuate the Forbidden City immediately.

    PuYi considered several destinations to relocate to but eventually settled in the foreign section of Tientsin, specifically in the Japanese legation. Here he had more freedom than he had ever enjoyed in the traditional confines of the Forbidden City and preferred the modern conveniences and cosmopolitan atmosphere he had never known before. He was generally treated with great respect by the representatives of foreign nations, still given the respect due an emperor and was able to dress in western clothes and adopt western practices. This is something most Chinese people were doing anyway but it upset some of his more traditional courtiers who thought it beneath the dignity of the Lord of 10,000 Years to look and act like a European playboy. He also never gave up hope of restoring the Qing Empire and was in constant contact with Chinese loyalists, his Manchurian relatives and the always fickle warlords who demanded a lot of money but delivered only promises. He was also conspicuously well treated by the Japanese who convinced him that they had his best interests at heart, and as fellow believers in the superiority of monarchy and the imperial system, were entirely supportive of his restoration.


    There were problems and worries for the Emperor too in Tientsin. The rest of China was engulfed in the civil war between the republican government and communist revolutionaries. In 1931 Princess Wen Xiu, tired of being the second class wife, sought and obtained a divorce from the Emperor, something unprecedented in Chinese imperial history but rather keeping with the more modern lifestyle he had adopted in Tientsin. Most significantly however was when republican troops raided and sacked the tombs of the Qing emperors. For any Chinese raised with the traditional Confucian moral code of filial piety this was a terrible outrage. PuYi was especially incensed to learn that the grave of the Empress Dowager had been desecrated and pearls from her headdress given to the wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to decorate the toes of her shoes. PuYi vowed to those around him to avenge this wrong and to restore the Qing and the dignity of his ancestors, declaring that if he did not do so then he was no Aisin-Gioro.

    What seemed like his chance to do so came in 1932 when the Japanese, who had occupied Manchuria with little resistance from official Chinese republican forces, approached the Emperor about returning to power in his ancestral homeland. It took a little negotiation to get PuYi to go along with the idea, especially when it was made clear that this would be a new state and not a restoration of the Qing Empire. Further, PuYi was rather insulted when the Japanese insisted that he be installed first as Chief Executive rather than as a monarch. The Japanese knew that an immediate restoration of the Qing Empire would be overreaching and could be little justified to the outside world. However, there was no doubt that the Emperor was the legitimate hereditary ruler of the Manchu people and this was where a restoration had to start. Japan also knew that if this was going to be accepted by the international community, they would have to play by the rules of the day, which meant "Chief Executive" before "Emperor". The Emperor's longtime advisor Chen Pao-shen was totally opposed to the idea and favored what seemed the safer course of trying to restore the Articles of Favorable Treatment and regaining the good graces of republican China. Others, however, like Cheng Hsiao-hsu and Lo Chen-yu impressed upon him that this was an opportunity that might never come again and the Japanese promised that he would resume his imperial status at an appropriate time in the future. PuYi finally agreed to the enterprise on a trial basis and if he did not become emperor after a certain amount of time he would resign and resume his life as an exile.


    PuYi was taken to Manchuria and on March 1, 1932 was formally installed as the Chief Executive of the State of Manchukuo. As the Japanese were continuing their expansion in China this attracted the attention of the League of Nations which sent a delegation to Manchuria to determine whether or not Manchukuo was a legitimate nation which reflected the will of the Manchu people or simply a puppet state of Japan. As was often the case, the commission seemed mostly concerned with the opportunities this offered for other foreign nations rather than focusing on the stated intent of their mission. Nonetheless, the commission, led by the British Earl of Lytton, eventually reported that Manchuria was and would remain Chinese though some degree of autonomy was suggested. This prompted Japan to resign from the League of Nations, deeply offended, and no further action was taken on the part of the international community. Once the Japanese were better entrenched and the Manchu government better established they agreed to restore the imperial dignity to the head of state.

    In 1934 PuYi was formally enthroned as Emperor of Manchukuo, taking the reign name of Kang Teh or Tranquility and Virtue of the Great Manchu Empire. This new status did not, though, ease his relationship with the Japanese which was difficult even at the very start of his new reign. The problems were not serious but should be mentioned simply because so many claim that the Emperor was only a pliant tool of the Japanese when, in fact, they two did not always agree completely on everything. For example, PuYi could not bear the idea of being enthroned in anything but the traditional robes of a Chinese emperor. The Japanese, on the other hand, insisted that he wear Manchukuo military uniform. This was, after all, Manchukuo and not the Qing Empire and this might cause difficulty with those who wanted a distinct and independent Manchuria, remaining apart from China. In the end it was agreed that PuYi would be enthroned in uniform but wear traditional regalia when he announced his accession to Heaven at a recently constructed earthen altar. PuYi was, nonetheless, filled with hope for the future, especially after a formal visit to Japan where he was warmly received by Emperor Hirohito. He announced that Japan and Manchukuo were partners and friends and that he intended to produce an heir to secure the succession.


    The Japanese, however, were not too enthusiastic about his talk of Japan and Manchukuo being partners, insisting on being treated as the actual power in the country which they were. Many in Japan did not see this as unreasonable and no different from the way the British, for example, interacted with client monarchies in the Empire of India. There were also those in Japan who disagreed and wanted a true and equal partnership between the Manchu and Japanese nations. Most western powers, not surprisingly, dismissed Manchukuo as no more than a Japanese puppet state, particularly after the start of World War II in the Pacific. Some countries did open diplomatic relations with Manchukuo such as of course Japan, the Kingdom of Italy and Nazi Germany as well as General Franco in Spain, Marshal Petain of the Vichy regime in France, Pope Pius XI, the pro-Japanese Republic of China under Wang Qinghui (the only Chinese republicans to recognize the restoration of their former emperor), El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and surprisingly the Soviet Union as well as a few others.
    Emperor "Henry" was never successful in producing an heir however and he was obliged to designate his brother, Prince Pu Chieh, as his successor who was married to the Japanese Princess Hiro Saga but even she bore only daughters. In 1939 the Emperor took another wife which also caused some friction with the Japanese who wanted him to take a Japanese wife. This also illustrates a hole in the logic of biased westerners who insist that the Japanese were full of racial bigotry against other Asians. They wanted to cement their alliance with a royal marriage, something very traditional and, to put it in a western context, no one at the time would have considered for a minute having a British princess married to a King of the Zulus for example. This was also nothing new as, at that time, the Crown Prince of Korea had also taken a Japanese wife and she very much adopted the Korean people as her own. Still, the Emperor of Manchukuo resisted the idea of having a Japanese bride and so, once again, another compromise was worked out by which PuYi married a Han Chinese girl named Tan Yuling. She was educated by the Japanese-operated school system, which made her acceptable to them, and was only a teenager so the Emperor hoped she would be politically innocent.

    Understanding the Last Emperor, Part III

    Continued from Part II


    The Emperor hoped he would finally have the opportunity to prove himself as an independent ruler but he was hampered by the degree to which Manchukuo depended on Japan for security and economic development. As Japan was the primary source of investment in Manchukuo, they naturally had the most influence in the country. Both then and in the years since this has been exaggerated to ridiculous proportions. However, because Japan was the primary source of support for the new regime and because the Emperor desired to show solidarity with Japan during times of increasing difficulty, the Emperor signed into law many directives to show that Manchukuo stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Japan. Some of these, such as Japanese being made the official language taught in Manchukuo schools, have since caused a great deal of unfair criticism to be heaped on the Emperor. However, in every government position it was a Manchu who held the top ministerial role with the Japanese being restricted to the position of deputy ministers. Many critics hold Manchukuo and Japan to an unfair standard in this regard, ignoring other countries which acted similarly. The United States, for example, recognized the independence of The Philippines after World War II but still imposed many conditions to give American interests a favored position and to maintain American military forces in the country.
    Enemies of the Empire of Manchukuo, in and outside the country, worked tirelessly to spread fear and paranoia about the Japanese presence in the country. Especially after the start of World War II any person who died or left the country was immediately accused of having been assassinated by the Japanese. Even the Emperor's consort, Tan Yuling, who died in 1944 is an example of this. Despite the lack of any evidence at all that she died of anything but natural causes it is still widely held, whether outright or through innuendo, that she was murdered by Japanese doctors after opposing their influence in Manchukuo. What is certain is that the Japanese officials always treated the Emperor with the utmost respect and, though he later expressed misgivings, the Emperor gave his full support to Japan and the "holy war" for Greater East Asia and showed this support by proclaiming Shinto as the official state religion of Manchukuo. And yet, the Emperor himself was not immune from the fear-mongering going on throughout the country. Concerns about security became causes for suspicion and in time the Emperor himself became very worried about his safety and constantly consulted Buddhist oracles and delved into divination to try to protect himself. Empress Wan Jung dealt with the situation by becoming addicted to opium, a fact which particularly distressed the Emperor as his mother had died of an opium overdose when he was young.

    In actuality, the life of the Emperor had in a way regressed to what it had been like for him as a boy in the Forbidden City, only with a change in handlers. He signed what documents the Japanese put before him, he followed their advice on who he was to meet and what he was to say and was not allowed to leave the palace unless the trip had been cleared by the Japanese and he was accompanied by an official escort. Today this is all portrayed in the most negative light possible, yet is little different from the role of any constitutional monarch and, indeed, was not terribly dissimilar to what life was like for the Emperor of Japan at the same time. There was a war going on and it would not be the first or only time that progress toward greater independence for a client state was put on hold because of an on-going conflict. Moreover, the conflict was increasingly going against Japan and by extension for Manchukuo. Japanese security around the Emperor and his own paranoia only increased as the defeat of Japan loomed closer. This is unfortunate because the Emperor was legitimately popular among the native Manchu people, if for no other reason than that he was one of their own. Even those who grumbled about the Japanese being too heavy-handed still felt sympathy for their Emperor in whom they saw a brief vision of their former glory and status. And though things were far from ideal, it was lost on no one that without Japan the restoration would never have hapened at all, and if they were defeated the restored monarchy was surely doomed. When the end finally came PuYi hoped to fly to Japan where he could surrender to the Americans, but unfortunately for him, he was overtaken by the Russian invasion, captured and placed under house arrest in the Soviet Union for five years. Having long held the Communists to be the worst of all revolutionary, republican groups, he was certain that his fate was sealed.


    His fear turned out to be misplaced. The Russians, for their own part, cared very little about him. The Soviet Union had, after all, originally recognized Manchukuo as a legitimate country and had only declared war on Japan at the last minute, after the atomic bomb had been dropped and Japan was all but defeated, in order to grab territory and extend their influence in the Far East. The actual state of mind of the former Chinese Emperor, at this period, is hard to estimate. He made gushing overtures to Joseph Stalin about how his mind had been liberated by reading Karl Marx, yet at the same time he named a cousin to be his successor in the imperial line. Was he genuinely being changed or was he simply throwing himself at the mercy of the powers that be as he had done before with the Chinese republic? He had, after all, testified at the war crimes trials in Tokyo in 1946 and claimed that he had been kidnapped by the Japanese, used against his will as their instrument and pleaded his total opposition to these people to whom he had once expressed his deepest thanks, loyalty and admiration to. Which stance represents his true beliefs? Only PuYi himself could say for sure and his story changed constantly. He was hardly in a position to be perfectly honest with anyone.

    Whatever his feelings about Marxist doctrine he certainly did not want to go back to China and fall into Red Chinese hands, certain that he would face death at their hands. The Soviets soon grew uncomfortable keeping him and realized they could not use him to their benefit. So, as a gesture of friendship to the government of Chairman Mao Tse-tung who had recently seized power; even standing triumphantly over the gates of the Forbidden City announcing that the world had stood up, and turned over the despised former monarch to them in 1950. PuYi and his entourage were returned to Manchuria and incarcerated in the Fushun prison for war criminals. He underwent a constant battery of communist indoctrination and reeducation through labor. Famously, he had to learn to dress himself, tie his own shoes, make his own bed, wash his own clothes; all of which he had no idea how to do since he had never had to do anything for himself. He was a tragic figure, especially at that time, being a man who had never known real personal freedom except perhaps for his few years in Tientsin, and yet even the comfort of his previous prisons denied him of any independence and self worth because of his pampering.


    In time, PuYi overcame his fear of being killed. The Communists had decided that he would be more useful to them alive than as a traditionalist martyr. Across China, as in most every Communist country, there was an effort to create a "new man" who would see no class distinctions, who would idolize the party, revere the Chairman and march lock-step with the dictates handed down by the absolutist government, even in terms of dictating thoughts and opinions. They saw in PuYi the chance for a great propaganda coup, that they could "reform", as they called it, the Emperor himself, the man once called the Son of Heaven and the Lord of 10,000 Years, as an ordinary working communist. Unfortunately, they were successful in this, though it took ten years to do it. It is hard to say how much individualism he ever had and the Communists have always been masters at denying the value of any individual and by the time of his release PuYi was praising his Communist captors, scorning his imperial background, voicing shame for his great crimes and thanking the Communist government for their charity, benevolence and wisdom.

    Chairman Mao officially pardoned PuYi who returned to Beijing and became a simple worker at the Botanical Gardens. Having abandoned his wives in Manchukuo, Empress Wan Jung died in Communist prison in 1946 and his surviving concubine divorced him, the government played matchmaker to see him married to a nurse, also a member of the Communist Party of course, who he stayed with for the rest of his life. PuYi served on the Chinese People‘s Political Consultative Conference from 1964 and wrote his memoir, "From Emperor to Citizen" in which he recounts the story of his life, remarking on how very wicked he and his compatriots were in his time as Emperor and lavishing praise on the Communists for saving his life and helping him to see the truth and be apart of their remaking of China into a much better country than it had ever been before -as he had been duly taught. The life of the last Emperor of China finally came to an end in 1967 when he died in a hospital in Beijing from cancer. At this time, China was at the height of the horrific Cultural Revolution and rumors began that he had been assassinated by Red Guards. The truth, as with much of his life, may never be known. The Cultural Revolution was a reaction against all things traditional, and as the former Emperor PuYi inherently represented the old China, yet as a reborn Communist he also represented the new China and it would seem a little late to kill him. Interestingly, that night the sky turned brown and eerie from a Mongol sand storm that was quite unheard of at that time of year. The strange light and sounds caused many elder Chinese especially to guess that the "last dragon" had flown into the clouds.


    Initially, after his death, PuYi was cremated and buried in a Communist Party cemetery alongside government elites and older graves of imperial concubines and eunuchs. Later, in 1995, his widow moved his body to a private cemetery near the old Qing dynasty tombs, paid for by a Hong Kong businessman who admitted that he hoped the presence of the last Emperor would help boost his sales for plots. He also stated that he planned to build a larger memorial for the Emperor and his later wives as a sort of tourist attraction. The Aisin-Gioro, never very taken by PuYi's last wife, were reportedly extremely upset about this action. Even in death, it seems, PuYi is still being used as an instrument for the cause of others.
     
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    The Second Sino–Japanese War Was Caused by China — A Criticism of the ―Japan-as-Aggressor‖ View — by Moteki Hiromichi, deputy chair, Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact Introduction

    The Marco Polo Bridge Incident is usually considered to have been the start of the Second Sino–Japanese War. It is no mistake that this incident served as the trigger for the Sino–Japanese conflict, but the incident itself was only a small conflict and it should not be called the start of a full-blown war. What must officially be considered to have been the start of the Second Sino–Japanese War was the concerted full-scale attack that was the general mobilization on Aug. 13, 1937, of 30,000 regulars under the Chiang Kai-shek government in Shanghai in opposition to the Japanese navy landing force stationed there for the protection of Japanese residents. Who, then, caused the actual war between China and Japan? In an Aug. 31, 1937, article in The New York Times by Shanghai correspondent Hallett Abend, we find the following: Foreigners Support Japan Official foreign observers and officials of various foreign governments who participated in various conferences here in seeking to avoid the outbreak of local hostilities, agree that the Japanese exhibited the utmost restraint under provocation, even for several days keeping all of the Japanese landed force off the streets and strictly within their own barracks, although the move somewhat endangered Japanese lives and properties. ―Opinions may differ regarding the responsibility for the opening of hostilities in the vicinity of Peiping early in July,‖ said one foreign official who was a participant in the conferences held here before Aug. 13, ―but concerning the Shanghai hostilities the records will justify only one decision. The Japanese did not want a repetition of the fighting here and exhibited forbearance and patience and did everything possible to avoid aggravating the situation. But they were literally pushed into the clash by the Chinese, who seemed intent on involving the foreign area and foreign interests in this clash.‖ The tenor of the article in The New York Times followed the general trend of the time to be critical of Japan and sympathetic toward China. The article still states that the start of the fighting in Shanghai was due to a one-sided strike by the Chinese army. Some 30,000 Japanese were living in the Shanghai concession and working in manufacturing or trade. Stationed to protect the residents was a 2,200-man landing force from the navy. The Chinese army violated a cease-fire agreement1 in sneaking a large number of soldiers into the demilitarized zone outside the concession, so reinforcements numbering 2,000 were hurriedly gathered. The ―all of the Japanese landed force‖ mentioned in the Shanghai article are those some 2,000 landing-force troops. On Aug. 9, the Chinese army murdered Sublieutenant Ôyama Isao and Seaman First Class Saitô Yozô, who were in their automobile and carrying out an inspection. 1 The Shanghai Ceasefire Agreement, agreed to between Japan and China on May 5, 1932, after the first Shanghai Incident. A committee was formed of American, British, French, and Italian members working alongside Chinese and Japanese members to observe that the terms of the treaty were carried out. The location for stationing troops of both Japan and China was decided by the agreement. 2 The Chinese obstinately insisted that they had been attacked and returned fire, bringing out the body of a Chinese Peace Preservation Corps soldier as evidence, but the bullet damage indicated clearly their deaths had not been because of the Japanese. The book Mao (by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Anchor Books, 2005) explains that the incident was orchestrated by Gen. Zhang Zhizhong, the defensive commander of Nanking and Shanghai and a Communist Party member who had infiltrated Chiang‘s high command, to force Chiang Kai-shek to decide to attack the Japanese forces.2 The Chinese regulars surrounding the concession numbered more than 30,000, the core of which was the elite 88th Division. On the 13th the offensive began, and on the 14th the Chinese began simultaneous aerial bombardment as well. I will show how these attacks led to the outbreak of full-scale war later. In any case, it was clearly the Chinese who were the ones who set the course for war. It is distinct truth that Japan was dragged into a war she did not want. The launching of a concentrated attack by regular army troops against civilians and soldiers stationed in accordance to treaty is, speaking in terms of international law, committing ―acts of aggression‖ — regardless of whether they are inside their own country. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident was also orchestrated by China The article in The New York Times said, ―Opinions may differ regarding the responsibility for the opening of hostilities in the vicinity of Peiping early In July.‖ It was a conflict that became the impetus for what followed, but in point of truth, this, too, was clearly a conflict that had been orchestrated by the Chinese. This is clearly written in the local cease-fire agreement3 that was concluded on July 11, four days after the actual shooting incident. The first item on the three-item cease-fire agreement says: ―The representative of the 29th Route Army expresses his regrets to the Japanese forces, and declares that those formerly responsible will be punished, and those who will in future be responsible will take precautions to never again provoke such an incident.‖ China clearly assumed the responsibility. The 29th Route Army was a force of approximately 150,000 controlling northern China under the command of Gen. Song Zheyuan. The opposing Japanese forces stationed there4 were no more than 5,600, so is impossible to say they were an overwhelming force in position to press for an unreasonable cease-fire deal. Afterward, China made out as if to say it did not exist, but that is preposterous. First of all, the document exists. The third item on the agreement says, ―In light of the incident resulting from guidance from the so-called Blue Shirts Society, the Communist Party, and all manner of other anti-Japanese organizations, we will in future undertake counter-measures against them and supervise them thoroughly.‖ The work of putting the particulars of the 2 ―But on 9 August, at Shanghai airport, an army unit hand-picked by ZZZ [=Zhang Zhizhong] killed a Japanese marine [sic.] lieutenant and a private [sic.]. A Chinese prisoner under sentence of death was then dressed in a Chinese uniform and shot dead at the airport gate, to make it seem that the Japanese had fired first. The Japanese gave every sign of wishing to defuse the incident, but ZZZ still bombarded Chiang with requests to launch an offensive, which Chiang vetoed.‖ Mao, p. 198. 3 Agreed to by Qin Dechun, acting commander of China‘s 29th Route Army, and Matsui Kyûtarô, head of the Japanese Army Beijing Special Military Agency. 4 According to the Boxer Protocol, agreed upon by eight nations, including Japan, Great Britain, America, and France, in 1901 after the Boxer Rebellion was put down, stationing troops for the defense of the residents in the Beijing and Tianjin areas was allowed. At the time, America stationed 1,200 and France 1,800, while Japan stationed 5,600. This was because the Japanese living in the Beijing area were more populous — some 33,000. Looking at the civilian-to-military ratio, Japan was 6:1, America 2:1, and France was 1:3. Proportionally speaking, Japan had far and away the smallest military force. 3 agreement into operation went forward, and later, on July 19, the pact was concluded. It is true that, for her part, Japan labored to that point to observe the terms of the agreement even while acts in violation of it frequently took place. Nothing could be done about China‘s repudiation of the existence of the agreement. In other words, not only did the Japanese military not set the course, the responsibility rests entirely on the shoulders of the Chinese. There was a need for a Chinese attack In the first place, there was absolutely no reason for Japan to make an attack. It goes without saying that it would be insane if the only 5,600 troops stationed there were to plan an attack on the 150,000-man 29th Route Army. Moreover, if one were to speak of the full might of the Japanese army — in Japan, in Manchuria, in Korea, and in China — it would have been roughly 250,000 men. Compared to this, China had 2.1 million. Of that number, 500,000 had received training in modern tactics and equipment from leadership under German military advisors. In addition, Japan‘s greatest potential enemy was the Soviet Union, and the Soviets had a large military force of 1.6 million, 400,000 of which had been dispatched to the Soviet Far East. Given all these conditions, it would have been foolish for Japan to open hostilities in northern China, and there were no plans for any such thing. In China at that time, however, there was an overwhelming predominance of those advocating war against Japan. Excluding the peasantry, the urban residents of China had a burning desire for war and were confident of victory. One could look at all of the newspapers published in China at the time, and the situation would be obvious. The book Nitchû Sensô: Sensô o nozonda Chûgoku, sensô o nozomanakatta Nihon (―The Second Sino–Japanese War: The China that wanted war, and the Japan that did not want war‖)5 provides a detailed account of this. Those advocating war at the time can be broadly broken down into three groups. First were the radical intellectuals, students, and urban citizens; second were members of the Chinese Communist Party; third were the provincial military cliques. As supporters of the radical public opinions of the leaders of the intellectuals and others, the Communist Party and the military cliques used their opposition to the stance of the government of Chiang Kai-shek and advocated war as a more profitable goal. The Communist Party in particular used the anti-Japanese stance as their most powerful political weapon. The Chinese Soviet Republic, established in November, 1931, in Ruijin in Jiangxi province, issued a proclamation of war against Japan in the name of the Central Government on Apr. 26, 1932. (On Sept. 18, they also issued an ―official‖ proclamation of war by telegram.) In addition, in August of 1935, in accordance with the Comintern‘s ―Anti-Fascist United Front‖ directive, they issued a declaration of anti-Japanese patriotism. Then, in December of 1936, the Xian Incident took place. Chiang Kai-shek, setting out to urge his soldiers to fight more vigorously in the subjugation of the Communist Party, was kidnapped by Marshal Zhang Xueliang, who was the north-eastern commander in charge of those activities. Chiang was pressured into working with the Communist Party to put anti-Japanese conflict into practice. The Nationalist Party‘s confrontational line toward the Communist Party was diverted, and the anti-Japanese sentiment swelled all the more. And then, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred 5 Kitamura Minoru and Lin Siyun, Nitchû Sensô: Sensô o nozonda Chûgoku, sensô o nozomanakatta Nihon (The Second Sino–Japanese War: The China that wanted war, and the Japan that did not want war) (Tokyo: PHP Kenkyûjo, 2008), pp. 3, 72–90. 4 Given the circumstances, it was only a matter of when and where that a not unexpected strike on the Japanese would happen. On July 7, 1937 the Marco Polo Bridge Incident took place. The 135 men of the Japanese army‘s 8th Company, having given prior notice to the 29th Route Army, conducted maneuvers on the dry riverbed near the Marco Polo Bridge. As the map (attachment 1) shows, the maneuvers began in front of the bridge at a position about 400 meters distant from the Marco Polo Bridge wall (the Wanping Fortress wall) and the embankments that were the Chinese army bunkers, and at about 10:40 PM, just before the maneuvers were to end after a 400-meter advance, several shots were fired into the Japanese positions. After that, ten-odd shots were fired from the direction of the embankments. A few hours later at 3:25 AM, there were three more shots; and at 5:30, after taking fire a fourth time, the Japanese forces finally responded with their own fire. This was seven hours after the first shots had been fired. It was therefore only natural that the 29th Route Army would admit total culpability in the cease-fire agreement signed on the 11th. As I have already shown, it said, ―In light of the Incident resulting from guidance from the so-called Blue Shirts Society, the Communist Party, and all manner of other anti-Japanese organizations, we will in future undertake counter-measures against them and supervise them thoroughly.‖ The commanders of the 29th Route Army, too, weren‘t completely certain who it had been that had fired the shots, but they certainly inferred that their suspicions were that it had been members of the Communist Party. It was natural that the Chinese Communist Party, who continued to cry for total anti-Japanese action, would try to continue causing clashes, but the truth was that at the time the Communist Party found itself facing a serious predicament. To be sure, with the Xian Incident, Chiang Kai-shek had ceased attacking the Communists and he promised to forge cooperation and connections with the Communist Party; but he thrust strict conditions one after another at the Communist Party, and half a year later, around June of 1937, relations between the Nationalist and Communist parties were on the verge of a breakdown. Edgar Snow wrote, But by June 1937. Chiang Kai-shek had scattered and demoralized the once-powerful Tungpei Army, moved his own forces into Shensi, and again was blockading the Reds---Once more they now seemed to face the choice of total surrender or encirclement and disaster, or retreat to the northern desert.6 The Communist Party was launching itself upon an enormous gamble to break the predicament. A large number of Communist Party members had slipped into the ranks of the 29th Route Army7 and fanned anti-Japanese sentiment, and those caught up in that fervor caused the shooting incident of 10:40 PM on July 7. Immovable proof that the Communist Party planned it: the 7-8 circular telegram 6 Edgar Snow, Random notes on Red China, 1936-1945, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1957. Preface. 7 Thanks to Chinese publications it is now clearly known that a large number of Communist Party members had slipped into place in the 29th Route Amy, including four staff officers (one of whom was the deputy chief of staff, Zhang Kexia), the local deputy propaganda chief, the intelligence bureau chief, battalion commanders, and others. Wang Jianying, ed., Zhonggong zuzhi ziliao bian [Compiled documents on the Chinese Communist Party organization] (Hongqi Publishers, 1983); He Husheng et al., ed., Zhonghua renmin gongheguo zhi guan zhi [People‘s Republic of China workers‘ and officials‘ aspirations] (Zhongguo Shehui Publishers, 1993). 5 It is now 100 percent clear that it was the Communist Party who had caused these incidents. On the 8th, the day after the shooting incident, the Communist Party sent a long telegram from Yan‘an in the name of the Central Committee to all the powerful people in China (starting with Chiang Kai-shek), the newspapers, those affiliated with the Nationalist government, the army, and other organizations and associations. In official Communist Party histories, it is given special mention as ―the 7-8 circular telegram.‖ Moreover, on the same day, the same kind of telegram was sent under the names of Mao Zedong and six other military leaders to Chiang Kai-shek, Gen. Song Zheyuan, and others. As I mentioned before, the Japanese army first began to return fire at 5:30 on the morning of the 8th. It follows from circumstances of transmission at the time that though the counter-offensive began on the 8th, for this intelligence to be in-hand on the 8th to comprise what had transpired and to create the long text, and to gain the approval of the Central Committee, then draw it up as an official telegram and to send it all over the country, etc., is totally impossible. The only possibility is that it had been prepared in advance. In point of fact, it had been prepared in advance. Evidence to that exists today. The chief of the China Expeditionary Force Intelligence Department Beiping (Beijing) Office, Col. Akitomi Jûjirô, said: ―Late at night immediately following the incident, the Tianjin Special Intelligence Section radio operator intercepted an urgent wireless transmission from a transmitter we believe to be on the grounds of Beijing University to the Communist military headquarters in Yan‘an. It repeated ‗Chenggong-le [success!]‘ three times.‖ (Sankei Shinbun, Sept. 8, 1994, evening edition.) He said that at the time they had no idea what it meant. It is clear now. They were relaying to Yan‘an that their stratagem at the Marco Polo Bridge had succeeded. The creation of that telegram was carried out immediately in Yan‘an. Then, on the morning of the 8th, after having confirmed that Japan had begun firing back, they sent the long telegram in great numbers all over the place. The criminals who started the war were the Chinese Communist Party. Edgar Snow wrote about the Marco Polo Bridge Incident as if the Japanese Army had caused it, which rescued the Communist Party from their great predicament of June. He wrote: Now a second stroke of luck opened up the broadest and most fertile opportunities for them. For it was in the following month that they were extricated from their precarious position only by Japan‘s ―providential‖ major invasion of China, which gave Chiang no choice but to shelve any and all plans for another annihilation drive. 8 While they planned it themselves, they repeatedly said that the Japanese attack had been a Godsend. As I have already presented, it was the Chinese who caused the incident. Above all, there is no way a Japanese force numbering merely 5,600 would have launched an attack, and that is not what happened. There was the cease-fire agreement on the 11th, but there were repeated violations of that agreement on the Chinese side — whether by the army itself, or by persons unknown. There were also large-scale cease-fire violations by the Chinese army such as the Langfang Incident and the Guang‘anmen Incident. On July 27, the Japanese government, which had consistently followed a policy of non-expansion of the conflicts since the incidents occurred, finally determined to dispatch three army divisions into the Chinese interior, and on the 28th sent notice to the 29th Route Army that it was war. 8 Snow, op. cit., Preface. 6 The Communist Party that planned on escalating the Marco Polo Bridge Incident While it is untrue that there was a concerted attack by the Japanese military, Snow, in his writings, let slip that the Chinese had desired exactly that. They were delighted that Chiang Kai-shek had had no choice but to abandon his operations to wipe out the Communists, but their true goal was going on and forcing him to fight the Japanese. Two of the items on a Comintern order issued after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident said: 1) You must stubbornly avoid localized resolutions and instead lead the way to full-scale conflict between China and Japan. 2) You must use every possible measure to accomplish the above goal and you must obliterate important people who betray the liberation of China with their localized resolutions and compromises toward the Japanese. 9 We can clearly understand that in addition to aiming directly at breaking the deadlock of the Communist Party‘s predicament, the true goal of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident was to create a full-scale outbreak of hostilities between Japan and China. The Communists called for opposition against Japan, but rather than directly engaging the Japanese military themselves, their true goal was to cause a full-scale war between the Japanese army and the army of Chiang Kai-shek. With this, they could achieve their objective of guaranteeing the security of the Soviet Union; and bringing about the exhaustion and mutual destruction of both China and Japan was their long-term strategy for realizing a Communist Party victory. It goes without saying that 1949 was the realization of the ultimate goal of the Chinese Communist Party, which had implemented this global strategy. The North China Incident and the Tongzhou Massacre The conflict expanded in keeping with the Communist Party‘s goal, and the Nanking government of Chiang Kai-shek also went forward with plans to send the army north. As I have already said, Japan was forced to change her policy of non-expansion and localizing the conflict, and decided to dispatch three divisions on July 27 and notified the 29th Route Army on the 28th that a state of war existed. It was an outnumbered military force, but with support from the Kwantung Army in Manchuria and the troops stationed in Korea, the Japanese army quickly gained total control of the Pingjin area (i.e., the Beijing and Tianjin areas). Chinese Peace Preservation troops, taking advantage of an opening left by the movement of the outnumbered Japanese army, carried out a massacre of Japanese residents of the city. There were about 420 Japanese living in the town of Tongzhou, some 12 km east of Beijing. On July 29, the Japanese defensive garrison numbered merely 110 as their forces had made for an offensive in nearby Nanyuan. Peace Preservation Troops of the autonomous government of pro-Japanese Yin Jukeng were stationed in the town, but seeing the situation, they suddenly swooped down and attacked the small remaining garrison and the ordinary townsfolk. A barbarous act of mass slaughter unfolded. It was later established that First Unit commander Zhang 9 Comintern Order (Directions to the Chinese Communist Party), July, 1937. All five items appear in: Political Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Asian Development, Kominterun ni kansuru kihon shiryô (―Fundamental documents concerning the Comintern‖). 7 Qingyu and Second Unit commander Zhang Yantian had been in contact with the Nationalist Party beforehand. All manner of brutalities such as looting, acts of violence, indignities, and slaughter were directed toward a great number of innocent people, including the old, the young, and women. The number of the slain totaled 250. In Asahiken (a Japanese restaurant) were seven or eight women, all of whom had been raped. They were shot dead, naked, with their privates exposed. Four or five had been stabbed in their privates with bayonets. Most of the Japanese men‘s bodies showed signs of having been strangled with ropes. Blood spattered the walls. It beggars description. (Testimony given at the Tokyo Trials by the witness Kayajima Takashi, commander of the 2nd Regiment, who rushed to the site on the 30th to rescue the town.) At the entrance to Kinsuiro (an inn), I saw the body of a woman who looked to have been the proprietress. Her legs were facing the entrance, and she was covered only on her face by a newspaper. I remember that it seemed as if she had resisted considerably; the upper and lower parts of her body were exposed, and there were signs of four or five bayonet thrusts. It looked like her privates had been gouged out with an edged weapon, and there was blood everywhere. ... In the house of a Japanese family behind, two people — a parent and child — had been slaughtered. All the fingers of the child had been cut off. At the store of a Japanese citizen near the South Gate, the body of what seemed to have been the proprietor had been left in the street, his ribs exposed and his organs scattered. (Testimony given at the Tokyo Trials by acting 2nd Regiment Infantry Commander Katsura Shizuo.) The cruel atrocities went on and on, and there are no words to describe them. The Nanking Massacre and the Tongzhou Massacre These witness statements do not speak of the Nanking Massacre, but it is possible that there are those who misapprehend that they do. To be sure, in the tale told by Chinese afterward purporting a Nanking Massacre, stories exactly like these, the manner in which things were done, examples of brutality and so forth, were common. I will write about the Nanking Incident later, but although no Nanking Massacre ever existed, it is an undeniable truth that there was a massacre in Tongzhou. An incident of brutality the like of which had never happened in Japan happened in China. In investigating the history of China, however, we find that such brutal incidents were not uncommon. In reading the book Chûgoku daigyakusatsu shi: Naze Chûgokujin wa hitogoroshi ga suki na no ka? (A history of massacres in China: Why do the Chinese like killing?) 10 by Shi Ping, a graduate of Beijing University, we learn that in China excessive by far massacres were repeated occurrences in ancient, medieval, and modern times, and even in the present day under the Communist Party rule. Particularly interesting is the fact that there was a Nanking Massacre. It was not in 1937, however, but in 1864 during the Taiping Rebellion, when Nanking, then the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, was attacked and entered by an army commanded by Zeng Guofan. After Zeng Guofan‘s death, one of his staff officers, Zhao Liewen, wrote Neng jin ju shi riji (Diary of a capable, quiet gentleman): Children, too, were the object of the slaughter, and many of the rank and file soldiery quite nearly made a game of the killing of the children and appeared to delight in it. As far as women were concerned, those under 40 were made instruments to slake the lust of the sol- 10 Shi Ping. Chûgoku daigyakusatsu shi: Naze Chûgokujin wa hitogoroshi ga suki na no ka? (A history of massacres in China: Why do the Chinese like killing?) (Tokyo: Business-sha, 2007). 8 diery, while those over 40 or those with unattractive faces were cut down indiscriminately with whatever came to hand.11 Notorious mass killings — a million slaughtered at the massacres in Sichuan, the massacre at Yangzhou, the massacres at Jiading, and on and on — fill the pages. Shi Ping‘s book is a must-read. To repeat, no such incident ever took place in the entire history of Japan. Something with which the Japanese were totally unacquainted, and which the Chinese were vehemently saying had been the work of the Japanese, was the ―Nanking Massacre.‖ In other words, the ―Nanking Massacre‖ was fabricated to indict the Japanese army; it was a tale made-up in imitation of the accounts of the mass killings that had occurred time and again in China as well in imitation of the recent massacre in Tongzhou which they had perpetrated. That is why it was a story that so closely resembled the conditions of the Tongzhou Incident. I will later present evidence to show why there was no ―Nanking Massacre,‖ and why there could not have been one. The Funatsu peace initiative and the murder of Lt. Ôyama The Japanese army had gained total control of the Beijing-Tianjin district and its northern environs, but the general staff headquarters issued an order that the limit for their forces‘ advance should be retained at about 100 km south of Beijing. That was a point some 1,000 km away from Shanghai. The Japanese government‘s objective was to end the ―North China Incident‖ and keep the conflict from spreading. The Japanese people were enraged at the news of the Tongzhou Massacre. All the newspaper headlines were full of demands to ―chastise the violent Chinese.‖ Public opinion seethed against the unforgivable Chinese atrocity and voices grew louder demanding the government take resolute measures. There is one note that must be added here. Namely, the murder of Chinese workers, merchants, and businessmen by angry, rioting Koreans at the time of the Wanpaoshan Incident.12 In contrast, there were Chinese workers, merchants, and businessmen in Kobe and Yokohama, but there were no incidences of attacks on the those in Japan. There was fury, but there was nothing resembling any retributive attacks. The government, however, sticking with its non-expansion policy despite such atrocities and such an outraged public opinion, went along with the emperor‘s suggestions and drew up a peace plan13 on Aug. 1, and receiving the assent of the foreign and army and navy ministers five days later, made the proposal to the Chinese. This peace proposal was a momentous, conciliatory document wherein most of the pending issues between China and Japan to that point (and in particular vested rights in north China) were renounced. 11 Ibid., p. 182. 12 In May of 1931, over 200 Korean farmers settled in the town of Wanpaoshan. In July, more than 400 Chinese farmers attacked them with the backing of Chinese authorities. Japanese authorities set out to protect the Koreans. Furious at this incident, Koreans attacked Chinese merchants in Seoul, Sinuiju, and Pyongyang, killing 109. 13 Draft of cease-fire negotiations: (1) The Tanggu Truce, the He–Umezu Agreement, the Qin–Doihara Agreement, and any other extant military agreements in North China are cancelled. (2) Special areas will be established as demilitarized zones. (3) The administrations of Ji Dong and Ji Cha are to be terminated. (4) The strength of the Japanese forces stationed shall return to their status quo ante bellum. Draft of diplomatic relations: (1) China must recognize or accept(acquiesce) [the existence of the state of] Manchuria. (2) China and Japan will enter into an anti-Communist pact. (3) Repeal of the free flight of Japanese aircraft, etc. ..... 9 Funatsu Tatsuichirô, formerly Japan‘s consul general in Shanghai and at that time the chairman of the board of the Spinning Association in China, was named to be the person responsible for the negotiations, so it came to be called the ―Funatsu peace initiative‖. Aug. 9, the day of the first meeting between Ambassador Kawagoe Shigeru and Gao Songwu, head of the Asia Office, was the day that Lt. Ôyama was killed. As I mentioned already, this was an act perpetrated by the Nanking and Shanghai Defensive Forces under the command of the crypto-Communist Zhang Zhizong to get Chiang Kai-shek‘s to fight the Japanese. It was also meant to be an obstruction to the peace process. As intended, then, peace negotiations collapsed. The secret Sino–Soviet non-aggression pact Chiang Kai-shek moved forward with preparations for war with Japan. While creating a central Chinese army and modernizing the equipment and training of fifty divisions under the direction of a corps of German military advisors led by Gen. Alexander von Falkenhausen, the Chinese prepared for war with the Japanese by building a solid defensive network in the Shanghai suburbs consisting of 20,000 bunkers which came to be called the ―Seeckt Line‖ (named after Gen. Hans von Seeckt, the fourth leader of the German advisors). Chiang Kai-shek was cautious about starting a real war. He was not very much in sympathy with the jingoism of Zhang Zhizong and his ilk, but anti-Japanese sentiment was growing and the murder of Lt. Ôyama being a fait accompli added to the situation, so at last he decided to go to war. The premier scholar of the recent history of the Republic of China, the late Prof. Lloyd E. Eastman of the University of Illinois, surmised that it was on Aug. 7, at a meeting where the top brass were assembled, that Chiang Kai-shek made the decision. ―Chiang Kai-shek was setting out on a great gamble, one which later would be argued as the greatest in his life.‖14 Something that may be considered a greater gamble than the one Chiang Kai-shek made then was China‘s secret agreement attached to the non-aggression pact,15 concluded with the Soviet Union on Aug. 21. With this treaty, the following support was to be provided by the end of 1937: 360 planes, 200 tanks, 1,500 trucks, 150,000 rifles, 120,000 artillery shells, 60 million rounds of ammunition; and in addition, engineers and technical experts in each of these fields were to be sent to China. Negotiations for this treaty began swiftly, and it is assumed that the secret items were set in early August at the latest. This promise of military supplies from the Soviet Union had to have been reassuring to China, who, though they had a large army of 2.1 million, lacked the ability to manufacture aircraft and tanks and the like themselves. Setting aside the beginning of the hostilities, if the fighting were to be drawn out even a little longer, such supplies would become absolutely essential. Without them, Chiang Kai-shek would probably not have been able make the decision to go to war. Indeed, it would seem that the Soviet Union had been pushing China toward war. As we can see from the Comintern orders, that was exactly in accordance with the goals of the Soviet strategy. The actual situation in the Second Sino–Japanese War was that China relied entirely on Soviet military aid for first half of the war, and for the second half on British and American military aid to continue fighting. It was not because mainland China 14 Lloyd E. Eastman, Seeds of Destruction: Nationalist China in War and Revolution, 1937–1949 (NYC: Stanford University Press, 1984), quoted in Suzuki Akira, Shin “Nankin daigyakusatsu” no maboroshi (New illusions of the ―Nanking Massacre‖) (Tokyo: Asuka Shinsha, 1999). 15 Source: The Lowdown (New York: January, 1939), p. 18. 10 was so huge that the conflict went on and on and became a quagmire, but rather because of the vast military assistance and intervention from the great powers. Still less was it because of Japanese aggression. The naval landing force’s struggle, and the dispatch of two army divisions On Aug. 13, the 30,000-strong elite Chinese force encircling the concession began its attack on the 4,200-man naval landing force stationed there. It is often said that the fighting leapt like a flame from northern China to Shanghai, but this is a manner of speaking that is considerably far removed from the truth. The Japanese forces in northern China did not move southward beyond their holding line, which was 1,000 km away from Shanghai. They were therefore no manner of threat in Shanghai at all. The battle in Shanghai was entirely the design of the Chinese who unilaterally started it, as The New York Times described it. On the 15th, Chiang Kai-shek ordered a nation-wide general mobilization, established a supreme command headquarters, and assumed the rank of commander-in-chief of all three branches of the military — the army, the navy, and the air force — for waging all-out war against Japan. Since 4,200 troops could not protect 30,000 residents, Japan decided to dispatch two divisions to China on the 13th, and on the 15th the Shanghai Expeditionary Force under the command of Gen. Matsui Iwane was formed. Mobilization and transportation took almost ten days before they disembarked at Shanghai, however. Until then, the naval landing force in Shanghai had to hold out against attacks from an elite force nearly ten times their size. What might have happened if they had been beaten down and allowed a Chinese force to penetrate the concession had already been proven in Tongzhou. It would have been a second Tongzhou Massacre. There was a possibility that thousands — or even tens of thousands — of civilians might have been slaughtered. One army division finally landed in Wusong near Shanghai on the 23rd. In those ten days, the small landing force had defended their position well. They fought amazingly bravely, and thereby were able to prevent a massacre in Shanghai. Due to the over 20,000 bunkers and defensive positions, the army forces that landed on the mainland became embroiled in a desperate campaign against nearly 300,000 Chinese soldiers. With the gradual drive forward by the reinforcement of three divisions, the Japanese couldn‘t avoid enduring heavy losses. Casualties ultimately totaled more that 41,000 killed and injured — the heaviest losses Japan had sustained since the campaign for Port Arthur during the Russo–Japanese War. On Nov. 5, the Japanese 10th Army Corps landed at Hangzhou Bay in a surprise assault planning to cut the Chinese army off from behind. The Chinese army immediately collapsed and made for Nanking in a rout. Chiang Kai-shek was not receptive to peace negotiations through the intermediation of German ambassador Oskar Trautmann and continued the resistance, so to bring the war to an end it was going to be necessary to occupy the strategic base that was Nanking. On Dec. 1, Gen. Matsui, now commander of the Central Chinese Area Army (the Japanese Central Chinese Area Army having been formed by combining the Shanghai Expeditionary Force and the 10th Army), was ordered to take Nanking. He pursued the fleeing Chinese army and on Dec. 9, after achieving the encirclement of Nanking, issued demands for the city to surrender. The capture of Nanking and the so-called massacre 11 After confirming that the 24-hour deadline for a reply had passed, the Japanese army commenced its attack. At the peak of the hard fighting on the 12th, Japanese forces were on the verge of breaking into the city. Despite not having given withdrawal orders to his subordinates, Tang Shengzhi, the commander of Nanking‘s defenses, fled the city on the night of the 12th, abandoning it and his men. There was a great deal of chaos inside the city with the defending forces making their confused escapes, ―friendly fire‖ going on at the Yijiang Gate (the shooting deaths of fleeing Chinese soldiers by their supervising unit), etc. When the Japanese forces entered Nanking on the 13th, most of the defenders had fled so there was virtually no fighting inside the city. Those soldiers who had been too late to escape fled into to the Safety Zone, later becoming the seeds of the problem. The entire Japanese force did not enter the city. Rather, a selected portion of each unit entered Nanking, so there was absolutely no disorder in the city. This is what was reported by the more than 100 journalists and cameramen who entered the city at the same time. Instead, what the soldiers of the units that entered Nanking were concerned about was that the city was silent as a graveyard and there wasn‘t a soul in sight. This is all written in the soldiers‘ diaries and so on. This was as it had to be, as virtually all of townsfolk of Nanking — totaling 200,000 — had assembled in the ―Safety Zone,‖ which was overseen by the International Committee. There were no townsfolk anywhere outside the Safety Zone. The International Safety Zone Committee left an English-language record of their activities. An agency of the Guomindang edited it and published it as Documents of the Nanking Safety Zone by Kelly & Walsh Co. in Shanghai. As the International Committee (headed by the German John Rabe) had American missionaries as its core, anti-Japanese sentiment was thick, but the following things, which they wrote in the Documents, are extremely important: 1) The population of Nanking at its fall was 200,000. Afterward throughout the month of December it remained 200,000, but a month after the city‘s fall, on Jan. 14, the number is recorded as 250,000. This is absolute proof that there had been no massacre of any sort. 2) In a list of the complaints of the townsfolk, twenty-six instances of murder were brought up. Only one of those, however, had an eyewitness, and that one had a deliberately appended note stating that it had been a lawful killing. The Safety Zone was about the same size as New York‘s Central Park, and 200,000 people were gathered there. If there had been a massacre it could not have happened without being seen, but there were no eyewitnesses to any massacre. Exactly how false the so-called massacre was can be explained with just these two points. For those who need more, to add another thing, there is a document bearing a ―top-secret‖ stamp titled An Overview of Propaganda Operations of the International Information Division of the Central Propaganda Bureau of the Nationalist Party: from 1938 to April 1941, that was discovered in the Guomindang Historical Documents Archive in Taipei.16 This was an internal document of the Guomindang, so any hints of propaganda within it are slim. It says that the International Propaganda Office invited foreign correspondents in Hankou to press conferences 300 times during the eleven months encompassing the Battle for Nanking. In the press conferences, called 16 Higashinakano Shudô, Nankin jiken: Kokumintô gokuhi bunsho kara yomitoku (The Nanking Incident: Decoding it from the top-secret documents of the Guomindang) (Tokyo: Sôshisha, 2006). 12 to criticize the Japanese forces, not even one time was there any talk of a massacre of civilians or the unlawful execution of prisoners in Nanking. If there had in truth been a massacre, would they really have said nothing about it? It is, of course, impossible. In short, the Nanking Massacre was nothing more than a trumped-up lie put forth when Japan were unable to substantially resist the American military occupation. It is simply pathetic and stupid that with such a lie as this people still talk as if the massacre was a given. To put a stop to such foolishness, the Committee for the Examination of the Facts about Nanking (Kase Hideaki, chair; Fujioka Nobukatsu, secretary general) presented an open letter of inquiry to President Hu Jintao of China when he came to Japan. It was disseminated to the world via press conferences and the Internet. (It appears on the website for the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact in Japanese, Chinese, and English. The English version is available at http://www.sdh-fact. com/CL02_3/17_S1.pdf) It comes as no surprise that Hu Jintao has yet to respond to it. That is because he cannot respond to it. With this, the issue of Nanking has been settled. Peace conditions after the Nanking occupation and Japan’s posture toward China On Dec. 22, after Nanking was occupied, the Japanese government decided once again to try for terms of peace mediated through the good offices of Germany‘s ambassador to China, Oskar Troutmann. The following four points were the basic terms: 1) China would renounce pro-Communist, anti-Japanese, and anti-Manchurian policies, and would cooperate with Japan and Manchuria‘s anti-Communist policies. 2) Demilitarized zones will be established in required regions, and special organizations will be established. 3) Close economic agreement will be executed among the three countries of China, Japan, and Manchuria. 4) China would pay reparations to Japan. The clause on reparations was not included in the peace talks before the occupation of Nanking, but it was included after taking into account the demands for it by the Japanese people. Even so, one cannot say that these are particularly severe conditions. These are not demands for a piece of territory or for certain special rights or interests. Instead, it mentions formalizing a relationship of economic cooperation. It also speaks of collaborative anti-Communism; but since Chiang Kai-shek was antiCommunist from the start, this item can hardly be said to be a harsh one. It was just that there was no way the Soviet Union (China‘s greatest supporter) and the Communist Party would accept this one. Chiang Kai-shek didn‘t go for the agreement probably out of concerns with his relationship with the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, as well as his relationship with America and Great Britain. Even when the deadline for his reply, Jan. 12, was reached, he did not respond. China‘s actions were apparently intended to just prolong the process, however, and the leaders of Japan‘s government — prime minster, Konoe Fumimaro, foreign minister, Hirota Kôki, and others, facing down strong opposition from the army‘s general staff headquarters — declared on the 16th, ―We will no longer deal with the government of Chiang Kai-shek,‖ and cut off negotiations. It is possible that there was some influence here by one of Konoe‘s close associates, Ozaki Hotsumi, who was a covert operative of the Comintern. It is also possible, however, that this decision was made to curry favor with a public who viewed China as insolent. 13 As a result, Japan was pulled into a protracted war against the government of Chiang Kai-shek, but calling this Japan‘s aggressive war is a total injustice. First, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident had been an event orchestrated by the Communist Party, and it had also been the Communists who expanded the conflict, based on the directive to ―stubbornly avoid localized resolutions and instead lead the way to full-scale conflict between China and Japan.‖ It had been Chiang Kai-shek‘s government who rebuffed the Japanese peace proposals amidst growing anti-Japanese sentiment and set the course for full scale war in Shanghai. The war was something that had been entirely caused by China. Afterward, Japan again proposed peace, but had been flatly refused. The onus for this is primarily on the Chinese. The result was that the war went on. No matter how one looks at it, calling that aggression is undeserved. According to international law the aggressor is the one making lawless attacks — even if it is within China‘s territory. There was Konoe‘s declaration, ―We will no longer deal with the government of Chiang Kai-shek,‖ but in November that year came the second Konoe declaration, and in December yet a third Konoe declaration appealing for peace. 1) Second Konoe declaration ―The establishment of a new order in East Asia‖ (Nov. 3, 1938) Calling for international justice, joint anti-Communism, and economic cooperation with the three countries of Japan, Manchuria, and China. 2) Third Konoe declaration (Dec. 22, 1938) Three necessary fundamentals: good neighborly friendship, joint defense, and economic cooperation. It may be fair to say that the declaration was belated. Still, where in these declarations can one find any aggression toward China, or any intention to control China? Was not the problem in fact Chiang Kai-shek‘s stubbornness in not taking peace and instead choosing to rely on support from powerful nations — first the Soviet Union, and then America and Great Britain? Because of this obstinacy, ultimately, he was undone by the Communists and faced with having to flee to Taiwan. The Second Sino–Japanese was not a war of Japanese aggression.
     

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