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Yaodi shengmiao jidian (Ceremony at the Emperor Yao Temple)

This poster was produced (almost certainly by the Japanese military) with the aim of advertising the re-opening of the Emperor Yao Temple (Yaodi shengmiao) in Linfen (Shanxi Province). This site was taken by the Japanese from communist resistance fighters, and was used by the Japanese as a symbol of the apparent iconoclasm and lack of religious sensitivity shown by the communists. The re-opening the temple to worshippers in the spring of 1938 by the Japanese was used to demonstrate the extent to which occupation supposedly included respect for Chinese religious traditions. The painted image of the female worshipper here was based on a photograph of a female worshipper at the same temple produced in other propaganda leaflets some months earlier.

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Qiantu wuliang (An immeasurable future)

Cover of a magazine which was published in Nanjing for children themselves during the Japanese occupation. The artist who created this image is not named. Publication details are: Ertong huakan (Children’s Pictorial) 9.10 (April 1941): cover image

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Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) cover, September 1944

This cover image from the Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) 6.9 (September 1944) shows Chen Juanjuan. Chen was a film celebrity active in wartime Shanghai. The New China Pictorial was a bilingual (Chinese-English) magazine published from 1939 through 1944 in Shanghai by the occupation journalist Wu Linzhi for distribution in China and throughout Southeast Asia.

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Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) cover, November 1943

This cover image from the Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) 5.11 (November 1943) shows an unattributed painting of the Beijing opera actress Huang Yuhua. Huang starred in Pansi dong (The Cave of the silken web), an opera film produced by the North China Film Company (Huabei Dianying Gongsi) in 1943. The image used here is from promotional material relating to that film. The New China Pictorial was a bilingual (Chinese-English) magazine published from 1939 through 1944 in Shanghai by the occupation journalist Wu Linzhi for distribution in China and throughout Southeast Asia.

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Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) cover, July 1942

This cover image from the Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) 4.7 (July 1942) shows Nancy Chan (Chen Yunshang). Chan was one of the most popular film celebrities in wartime Shanghai, and was favoured by the occupation regime in pro-government media, despite emulating Hollywood stars in terms of her dress and public image. The New China Pictorial was a bilingual (Chinese-English) published from 1939 through 1944 in Shanghai by the occupation journalist Wu Linzhi for distribution in China and throughout Southeast Asia.

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RNG leaders on steps of Government Headquarters, November 1940

Flanked by civilian and military staff, Wang Jingwei, Zang Shiyi (the Manchukuo ambassador to the RNG) and Chu Minyi (RNG foreign minister) pose for photographs in front of the ceremonial hall (litang) in the national government compound in Nanjing after the signing of the Japan-Manchukuo-China Joint Declaration on 30 November 1940, through which RNG China recognised Manchukuo.

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Park in Wuhan, spring 1943

Photograph of a park in Wuhan festooned to “Celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the founding of the Hankou Municipal Government” (Qingzhu Hankou tebie shi zhengfu san zhounian jinian). While Wuhan is often remembered as a centre of anti-Japanese resistance in the early war years, it was also incorporated into the RNG realm in 1940, and became a major political and cultural centre for that administration. Interestingly, the ROC flag shown here still includes the RNG pennant (which read “peace, anti-communism, and nation building”, and which had been added to the flag in 1940), even though Chinese authorities in occupied areas were, from January 1943 onwards, not obliged to include this pennant.

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Rural Pacification cadre making a speech

Photograph of a member of the RNG Central Propaganda Group’s Number 2 Rural Pacification Propaganda Team as he addresses a rural audience. The photograph was possibly produced by the RNG’s Central News Agency, which increased its capacity for photography in 1942 to compete with the propaganda work of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists in Chongqing.

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Huan women Dong Ya ren benlai de mianmu (Restore to we East Asians our original countenance)

This unattributed print was produced in a special 1941 booklet commemorating Wang Jingwei’s visit to Japan in June of that year. The phrase “Huan wo Dong Ya ren benlai de mianmu” (Restore to we East Asians our original countenance) is a deliberate play on the expression “Huan wo heshan” (Return to us the rivers and mountains). The latter was probably the single most commonly used phrase in the wartime propaganda of the resistance. The print is taken from Huang Qingshu (ed), Wang zhuxi fang Ri jinian huakan (Special pictorial in commemoration of Chairman Wang’s visit to Japan) (Nanjing: Xuanchuanbu, 1941).

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Huanan huabao (South China Graphic) inside cover, January 1941

This image is taken from Huanan huabao (South China graphic) 3.1 (January 1941). The illustration deploys one of the standard tropes of Japanese propaganda in occupied China, i.e., that of a Japanese woman and Chinese woman fraternising with each other. This trope was derived from Manchukuo propaganda and the notion of “gozoku kyōwa” (“the harmony of the five races”), as well as attempts to feminise the image of an occupied China. Note how the Japanese woman is pictured as being slightly higher than her Chinese peer.

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Two girls picked flowers for the dinner table [sic]

From a collection of staged photographs produced under the title “Life at a Girls School in Peking”, and produced at the Peking Jiyu Gakuen in Japanese-occupied Beijing. The original caption reads: “Two girls picked flowers for the dinner table [sic]”.

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Weixin zhengfu zhixia zhi minzhong shenghuo (The life of the masses under the Reformed Government)

This series of unattributed photographs is taken from the Daminhui publication Xin Zhongguo (New China) 3.1 (January 1940). They are used here to present scenes of life under the rule of the Reformed Government (Weixin zhengfu), or RGROC, which was a “client regime” established in 1938. The RGROC was eventually amalgamated with Wang Jingwei’s RNG in March 1940. The top image is entitled “xian’ge bu chuo” (“studying never stops, even in times of strife”); the middle image is entitled “qiu shou fengdeng” (gathering the autumn harvest); the image at the bottom of the page is entitled “fuxing jianzhu” (renovating buildings). All three are typical images of the sort that the Daminhui promoted in the period between 1938 and 1940, but also display a clear influence from Manchukuo propaganda photography from earlier in the 1930s.

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