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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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A young Japanese teacher is instructing in Japanese

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: “This instructor is not very much older than 20 years old [sic]”.

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Japanese language is exclusively used in the classroom

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:  “Japanese language is exclusively used in the classroom”.

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“Great housewife” with the school bell [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: “The girls have to bring the bell in turn every day with the title of ‘great housewife’. Chinese girls have no conception of TIME but they know morning, noon and evening. Teaching the idea of time is the first fundamental step towards a better education [sic]”.

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