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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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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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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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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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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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Danish gymnastic [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: “Some graduate of the Jiyu Gakuen were sent to Danmark [sic] in order to study the gymnastics, and now the Chinese girls are given the new type of physical training in China [sic]”. “Danish gymnastics” was a form of mass athletic exercise popular in Europe in the inter-war period.

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Rural Pacification cadres rousing peasants

Photograph of members of the RNG Central Propaganda Group’s Number 2 Rural Pacification Propaganda Team leading a rural audience in the shouting of slogans. The photograph was possibly produced by the RNG’s Central News Agency. Note the watchtower in the background flying the Nationalist Chinese flag, suggesting this photograph was taken in a “pacified village”.

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Writing letters to their parents

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: “Writing letters to their parents describing their happy days at school”.

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