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Minguo xinzheng (New government for the Republic)

This poster was almost certainly produced to coincide with the founding of the PGROC in December 1937. The visual trope of the rising sun and city gates of Beijing emitting light are clearly reminiscent of Manchukuo propaganda. Note also the references to a tattered Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) flag, with its “white sun” emblem. The replacement of this flag with the “five coloured flag ” (wuseqi), which was revived by the PGROC in 1937, was indicative of a general approach under this administration to discredit Nationalist ideologies in favour of more conservative, Confucian ideas. Note also the rather ambitious designs that this regime had on the rest of China (the man is planting his flag on China as a whole, rather than the patchwork of territory in north China over which the PGROC actually ruled).

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Fengyang guniang (Maidens of Fengyang)

This woodcut, by an artist called Fang Wenxing, was reproduced in Zhonghua huabao (Chinese Pictorial) 1.4 (November 1943). The importance of the muke (woodcut) form to artistic practice in occupied China has been almost entirely overlooked in the literature. The muke form has hitherto been associated with the art of resistance in China, despite being an important part of “occupation” visual cultures as well.

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Signing of Japan-Manchukuo-China Joint Declaration

Flanked by courtiers, Zang Shiyi, the Manchukuo ambassador to the RNG (seated to the left), Noboyuki Abe, Japanese ambassador to the RNG (seated to the right), and Wang Jingwei (seated in the centre) sign the Japan-Manchukuo-China Joint Declaration on 30 November 1940, through which RNG China recognised Manchukuo. The Declaration was attached to the Sino-Japanese Basic Treaty, through which Japan formally recognised the RNG. Both documents were signed within the main RNG government compound in Nanjing. The flags of Japan, China and Manchukuo are on the wall behind the men.

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Ertong zuopin (works by children), II

This is a selection of images (most being pencil drawings) contributed to the magazine Ertong huakan (Children’s Pictorial) 9.10 (April 1941) by readers. The images offer a fascinating insight into the ways in which official ideas about the appearance of occupied China were reflected in the artwork of Chinese school children living in the RNG capital. Note the references to dawn, for example, the depictions of Japanese people, and the idyllic images of the Chinese countryside included in some of the drawings. Basketball remained a politically acceptable sport in occupied Nanjing despite its American provenance.

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Girls are all living in a dormitory [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: “They are doing their ‘home works’ [sic]”.

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Planting plum trees at Wang Jingwei’s tomb

RNG foreign minister Chu Minyi oversees the planting of young plum trees on Meihuashan (Plum Blossom Mount) in Nanjing, in the vicinity of Wang Jingwei’s tomb. The plum was (and remains) the national flower of the Republic of China, and the area around Wang Jingwei’s tomb was planted with plums as an act of patriotism after his death in late 1944. Very few photographs of Wang’s tomb survive.

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

This cover image from the Xin Zhonghua huabao (New China Pictorial) 6.5 (May 1944) shows a photograph of two unnamed Burmese women. 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. This magazine employed cover images of women from areas of Southeast Asia that had been conquered by Japan with increasing regularity over the course of 1943 and 1944, having previously focused on Chinese film celebrities.

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RNG troops with rifles

Photograph of RNG army recruits engaged in rifle practice, possibly as part of the Rural Pacification (qingxiang) campaigns.

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A chorus group [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.

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Damin cover image, May 1940

This is the cover image of the magazine Damin 3.3 (May 1940), published by the Daminhui (Great People’s Association) in Nanjing. The Daminhui was a propaganda and mobilization organization established by the Japanese in 1938, which was later folded into Wang Jingwei’s Kuomintang (Nationalist Party). The Daminhui specialised in public expressions of support for the occupation, and employed a staff of Chinese organisers, artists, and writers. The sun-and-moon logo of the Daminhui can be seen on this magazine’s cover.

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Huanan huabao (South China Graphic) cover, January 1941

This cover image is taken from Huanan huabao (South China graphic) 3.1 (January 1941). The staged photograph 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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Ertong zuopin (works by children), I

This is a selection of images (most being pencil drawings) contributed to the magazine Ertong huakan (Children’s Pictorial) 9.10 (April 1941) by readers. The images offer a fascinating insight into the ways in which official ideas about perceived notions of student behaviour in occupied China were reflected in the artwork of Chinese school children living in the RNG capital. Two of the drawings in this selection, for example, relate to the hardships of studying (in difficult weather, poor light, etc), while one depicts children playing in a classroom.

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