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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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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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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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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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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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An di Dongjing; li dashiguan (Arriving safely in Tokyo; visiting the embassy)

This photomontage 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). It includes images of Wang Jingwei arriving in Tokyo during his 1941 visit to Japan, and specifically his visit to the RNG embassy in Tokyo.

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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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Qingxiang biaoli guan (Within and beyond Rural Pacification)

In this artistic representation of a village which has undergone Rural Pacification, peasants are shown going about their business within the walls of a “pacified” village. Outside the village walls, resistance fighters starve to death and inflict violence upon local residents. The image is taken from the periodical Zhongguo manhua (Chinese Cartoons) 2.1 (October 1942). This was the house magazine of the Chinese Cartoon Associations (Zhongguo Manhua Xiehui).

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Zhong-Ri qinshan, tianzhen lanman (Sino-Japanese amity, innocent and unaffected)

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 “Sino-Japanese friendship”. In the top two images, Chinese and Japanese children greet each other and waves the flag of Japan and of the Reformed Government of the Republic of China (RGROC). In the image at the bottom of the page, some unnamed performers do an “autumn dance” (qiu wu) entitled “Xing Ya de shuguang” (The light of a revitalized Asia).

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Zong fenqi (Uprising)

This woodcut, by an artist called Tie Ying (lit. “iron eagle”), was reproduced in Zhonghua huabao (Chinese Pictorial) 2.2 (March 1944). 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. In this case, the image of Chinese men, dressed in their “New Citizens Uniforms” (Xin guomin zhifu) and waving the ROC flag as they run into battle against enemies unseen, looks almost identical to early wartime resistance muke.

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Kagayaku Tōa no michi (The road to a shining East Asia)

This postcard, featuring an illustration by the prolific Japanese artist Riichiro Kawashima, shows a Japanese soldier celebrating “kagayaku Tōa no michi” (the road to a shining East Asia), with Chinese civilians. Of interest here is the fact that the Republican Chinese flag appears to have been drawn onto the postcard (and made to look as if it is being held by the child dressed in white), while other figures in the image hold the “five-coloured flag (wuseqi). The “five-coloured flag” was used by the Reformed Government of the Republic of China (RGROC) up until March 1940, but was replaced by the Republican Chinese flag with the formation of Wang Jingwei’s government. This suggests that the postcard was made prior to March 1940, but used some time thereafter. Text reading “qing zhu xin zhongyang zhengfu chengli” (Celebrating the founding of the new central government) has also been added above the figures, while the phrase “Ri-Hua qinshan” (Japanese-Chinese friendship) has been added to the boy in white.

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