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Some accounts of the Japanese adventure in Manchuria from those who lived there.



Were it not for the Japanese conditions in Manchuria would indeed be chaotic ... The standard of living, hygiene, and comfort within the European and Japanese quarters is the result of years of constructive energy, and control of them should only be relinquished when there is a certainty of responsible government authorised to speak for China as a whole.
Col. P.T. Etherton. Manchuria: The Cockpit of Asia. London: Jarrolds, 1932. p. 64, 67.
To some extent Japan has profited directly from her activities in Manchuria, through profits from railways, mines, and industry and commerce, but, on the whole, the results have as yet been far from commensurate with the money and effort expended, and this is largely due to the fact that Japan's principal instrument, the South Mancuhuria Railway Company, regards itself as a civilizing force rather than a mere commercial enterprise for profit, and devotes huge portions of its earnings to cultural and eleemosynary work, by building and maintaining numerous modern schools, hospitals, and the like which can yield neither direct nor indirect financial returns. The value of this is, however, greater than that which it intrinsically represents, for it serves a valuable purpose by instructing the Chinese in the arts and means of modern civilization. An example is being provided which the Chinese are showing greater and greater inclination to follow, as is shown by the tremendous improvements of their own towns made through their own efforts. If the freedom from war which Manchuria has enjoyed, almost without interruption, for over twenty years, continue, it is certain that this region, which was until recent years considered by the inhabitants of China Proper as a wild and barbarous country, will become to them on a magnificent scale a demonstration of what may be done in the rest of China, an example which it will be well to follow.
Henry W. Kinney. Manchuria and the South Manchuria Railway Company. Dairen: Manchuria Daily News, 1927. p. 10.
That the benefits of the efficient administration of the territory under Japanese control are being appreciated and taken advantage of by the Chinese and by foreigners other than Japanese is evident from the fact that the increase of population therein has been rapid out of all proportion to that of other sections of Manchuria. Thus in March, 1907, the population of the Railway Zone was 29,500, of whom 12,400 were Chinese. In 1926 the population of the Railway Zone was 295,122 of whom 193,501 were Chinese and 1,478 foreigners. ... It has been estimated that while the Chinese population in Manchuria generally has almost doubled during the past twenty years, it has increased more than fourteen fold within the Railway Zone.
The reasons for the popularity of the Railway Zone are obvious. In the first place, it is far better policed than is the rest of Manchuria, where bandits, operating sometimes in bands of several hundreds, cause great and constant danger to life and property, even attacking villages and small towns. Modern sanitary systems and water works furnish other advantages. Furthermore, the taxes levied in the Railway Zone are very light...
ibid., pp. 20-21.
Japan's policy in Manchuria may be outlined in two brief sentences: Japan intends to maintain her rights and privileges secured by treaty. Japan has no ambitions in the way of political control or territorial aggression in Manchuria.
Henry W. Kinney. Manchuria Today. Dairen, 1930.
Passengers carried on SMRC1907-81929-30
1st class39,15213,473
2nd class925,493159,536
3rd class547,58610,237,780
Freight carried, in tons1907-81929-30
Etherton 1932, p. 110


[1931,] 19 September, the Kwantung Army occupied both Mukden and Changchun. This well-calculated invasion was undertaken without prior notification of or official approval from the Japanese government in Tokyo, but field commanders in Manchuria were supported by the General Staff and War Ministry of the Japanese government.
Kazuko Kuramoto, Manchurian Legacy (1999), p. 21
Reviewing this record of torn-up agreements, this denial of treaty rights to Japan, and the continuous forward pressure which Japan has maintained in Manchuria for years; remembering the vital importance of the maintenance of law and order in that region not only to Japan but to other nations, and bearing in mind the large amounts of Japanese capital which have flowed into the country during the past twenty-five years, it will be realised that without a complete change of heart on the part of either China or Japan, or both, something like an open breach was sooner or later unavoidable.
Etherton 1932, p. 138
At the same time, champion though she is of the Open Door and equal opportunities, the United States has not yet relinquished extra-territorial rights in China, by which American subjects, in common with British nationals, are immune from Chinese law.
ibid., pp. 182-183
[In October 1931] the Japanese Government issued the text of the point styled in Tokyo the "Five Fundamental Principles" ... These five points were ... (3) That China shall cease anti-Japanese propaganda such as boycotting Japanese goods in commerce, and schoolbook propaganda inculcating national hatred against the Japanese.
ibid. pp. 210-211
Despite briefly successful restrictions on the Kwantung Army's operations, the near-impotence of the civilian Government in Tokyo had been confirmed in this period, and the basis laid for permanent Japanese control over at least the southern part of Manchuria.
Christopher Thorne, The Limits of Foreign Policy. New York: Capricorn, 1973. p. 199.
Already, on 18 February [1932], new Chinese local authorities--Hsi Hsia of Kirin, Tsang Shih-yi of Fengtien, Ma Chan-shan of Heilungkiang, and others--announced the setting up of a new, independent Manchu-Mongolian state. On 9 March this new state of 'Manchukuo' was formally inaugurated, with Henry Pu-yi at its head as 'Regent'.
ibid., p. 203.
Wellesley had accepted that the difference between Japan's position in Manchuria and Britain's in Tibet was only one 'of degree'.
ibid., p. 295.
Up until now the Japanese have looked at Manchuria as an object of advantage, but we shall have to discard a philosophy of rights and privileges in Manchuria. In order to build a Manchukuo of one people we must work with the other races to establish an ideal state. This is the real meaning of racial harmony.
Ishiwara Kanji, quoted in Peattie 1975, p. 164


In the renamed Xinjing .. Japan erected 105 new public buildings ... 3,001 special residences, 5,550 ordinary buildings, 1,067 rental office units, and 421 other houses--all by the end of the first phase of construction in 1937. (244)
The Japanese, I reflected, are doing what is, by and large, considered good work in Manchuria.
One's Company - A Journey to China By Peter Fleming, p. 79
[The Japanese] poured into Manchuria with dreams of Utopia, in search of a quick fortune, or simply looking for a better life ... Japan, which for centuries had been confined to four overcrowded islands with few natural resources, was now well on her way to realizing her dream of long-needed expansion in Manchuria.
Kuramoto 1999, p. 21
Washington Conciliatory on Manchukuo And May Reverse Stimson on Recognition
New York Times, Feb 22, 1934. p. 1
BRITAIN MAY ALTER MANCHUKUO POLICY; Officials Admit Modification of Non-Recognition Stand Is Only Matter of Time.
New York Times, Mar 5, 1934. p. 1
In this day when dictatorships and so-called democracies are stifling the people's liberties and when all nations of the world are rearming for new wars, is it not a wholesome thing to have in Asia a country like Manchukuo, which is dedicated to peace and amity with all of the world and which guarantees freedom of conscience and creed to the individual? Is it not worth something to the world that Manchukuo stands at the crossroads between the Soviet Union and the Orient, as a bulwark against inroads of bolshevism in the Far East?
Emperor Puyi, New York Times, Mar 4, 1934
JAPAN'S MOVE SEEN AS WORLD MENACE; Doctrine for China Is Viewed as Challenge to Entire White Race.
NYT, May 6, 1934. p. E2
Japan has been a large buyer of raw materials in the world markets and also has been expending large sums of money in developing Manchukuo.
J.H. Carmical. "Far East a Rival in World Industry ... Tariffs Called Futile." NYT, June 10, 1934
Mr. Rogers Finds a Lull in Affairs in Manchukuo
To the Editor of the New York Times:
MUKDEN, Manchukuo, Aug. 17--I'd heard how nobody seemed to be able to recognize Manchukuo, and there's been such a lot of trouble about it, but I recognized it the minute I got in the hotel here.
It's not near as exciting as you might think.
There's lots of news, but it don't seem to be originating around here.
(New York Times, August 18, 1934; p. 11)

Helen Keller also toured Manchukuo.

More than 60,000,000 yen (about $17,000,000) has already been poured out in this inland capital [Hsinking] in its first five years, and double that amount is to follow in the next five.
A City Transformed
Hsinking is rising on the largely razed ruins of what, before the conquest, was one of Manchuria's shabbiest, most cramped, and worst situated cities, Changchun. In old Changchun 135,000 inhabitants were packed, in 1932, in an area too small for 10,000 to occupy with comfort. In new Hsinking 300,000 inhabitants are already scattered over a region where preparations are being made for more than a million to dwell in relative luxury.
Nearly a third of the new city's area is parks.
Dozens of wide boulevards make a grillwork of the place. Chief of these is Hsinking's version of Pennsylvania Avenue, before that famous street was cleared of its antiquities. ... Here the Japanese designers, while using modern concrete and steel, have molded an official city not on borrowed Greek or Gothic or modernistic lines, but in the ancient style of Japanese castles and Buddhist temples.
Sterling Fisher, "Manchukuo a Problem to Japanese Masters". New York Times, Mar 7, 1937, p. 67


Hsinking became a back-up capital for the Empire in case Tokyo fell.

[in 1945:] On the surface, Daizen did not seem to have changed at all. There was no trace of Russian soldiers, and none of the urgency and confusion of the defeated country. ... [T]his was Daizen, a metropolis.
Kuramoto 1999, p. 61
"I must commend you, though," the professor said calmly, sitting up straight to face me, "that you want to study Chinese in order to become a true citizen of Dairen. For all these years, this is exactly what I've been telling people; study their language so that you can work with them rather than act as their rulers; respect their culture, their way of life, then they will respect yours. I am sure some Japanese have understood me, but they were in a hurry. They were impatient, especially the Japanese military. They wanted to rule the Chinese instead of coexisting with them. They pushed their way. And they created a country without nation, without people, to justify their actions."
ibid., p. 74
Dairen, once a beautiful city, was now fast deteriorating. The Chinese government that had taken over Dairen simply did not have the time or funds for the city's maintenance. The roadside trees and shrubs, which had once been manicured lovingly, were now growing wild or dying from negligence. The trash-covered streets were covered with peddlers, beggars, and thieves.
ibid., p. 107

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