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Memorializing Wartime Emigration from Japan to China: Local Narratives and State Power in Two Countries

March 15, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 6 | Number 1
Article ID 5263

As the most devastating conflict between China and Japan, the Second Sino-Japanese War became an integral part of national histories in both countries during the postwar period. To commemorate this war, monuments, cemeteries, and museums were established both in Japan and China. These war memorial sites also serve the purpose of education, presenting their audiences with diverse interpretations of the same history. Today, the commemorative sites of the wartime past in China and Japan possess not only historical, but also contemporary significance. The different perceptions of the war’s dark heritage intertwine with and exacerbate current politico-diplomatic tensions between the two countries, perpetuating their contest over historical narratives.

Among the focal points in these debates was Japanese migration to Manchuria. From 1931 to 1945, the state-sponsored migration project settled approximately three hundred thousand Japanese across today’s northeastern China. The migration produced dire – and in many cases, ongoing – memories for those who experienced it: for local Chinese, Japanese migrants’ activities in Manchuria were the embodiment of national humiliation. The inferior status of Chinese in Manchukuo, as well as the fact that Japanese migrants took Chinese farmlands with little compensation, was hard to bear.1 For Japanese migrants, the flight from Soviet incursion at the end of war, and the chaotic repatriation in the immediate aftermath of defeat were sources of bitterness. When Japanese migrants fled from settlements amid hostility from Chinese peasants and Soviet soldiers, they received little support, and many died before they could return home. In the postwar period, the dark aspects of this history were recorded and represented in popular culture – novels, movies, and newspaper reports – in both countries.

Despite the many popular culture and academic works covering Japanese migration to Manchuria, the attempt to commemorate this history through memorial sites has only gained momentum in recent years. The 2010s witnessed the creation of new memorials related to this migration in both China and Japan, and these soon became sources of tension in the mass media. In July 2011, the Chinese media highlighted the “Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden” (Zhongri Youhao Yuanlin) in Fangzheng County, Heilongjiang Province for its newly constructed Name Wall for Deceased Japanese Pioneers (Riben Kaituotuanmin Wangzhe Mingluqiang). On August 3rd, 2011, five people went to Fangzheng and vandalized the monument with red paint. Five days later, the local government quietly tore the name wall down amidst criticism of the monument in the national media. In Nagano Prefecture, in 2013, a museum dedicated to Japanese migrants to Manchuria was officially opened and named the “Peace Memorial Museum for Manchurian-Mongolian Development” (Manmō kaitaku heiwa kinen-kan), prompting criticism in the Japanese media about its naming and presentation, particularly from scholars and former migrants who believed that it downplayed the suffering involved in the process.

In spite of the different objectives behind the construction of each site, their creators encountered, though to different degrees, a conflict between local and outside interests. On one hand, since they received support from county/prefectural governments or local organizations, both sites came to be seen as representing local interests. On the other hand, narratives attentive to local interests are not necessarily always in complete agreement with national histories, prompting those who see themselves as the curators of national history to respond in various ways. In the case of the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden, the goal of promoting tourism among Japanese visitors motivated the local government to provide a narrative contradicting the official narrative promoted by the state. Meanwhile, in an effort to balance the already varied local perspectives on migration, the Memorial Museum in Nagano found itself contending with the national media, which reported aspects of its exhibition that fit pre-existing national narratives, and ignored those that did not.

Revisiting the narratives presented at the two memorials sites in Fangzheng and Nagano, this paper discusses how their respective narratives were formed and developed, and eventually were challenged or appropriated by the national media. In order to understand what was at stake when the site creators formed their narratives, I draw on A.V. Seaton and Pierre Nora’s definitions respectively to describe the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden as a thanatourist site – which turned histories of suffering into exploitable tourist resources – and the Memorial Museum in Nagano as a local lieu de memoire, a site to anchor memorial heritage for local communities. I then trace how the two narratives, reflecting particular local perspectives, maintained a difficult relationship with national histories, and eventually were either silenced or co-opted by the latter. Reflecting on the uneasy relationship between national history and local narratives, I then discuss possible interventions on the parts of academic historians, who may, by providing analyses of socio-economic factors behind local narratives, contribute to a balanced, dialectical understanding of these stories.


A Tale of Two Walls: Name Walls in Fangzheng County as Thanatourist Sites

Originally established in May 1963 as the Japanese Cemetery in the Fangzheng Region (Fangzheng Diqu Ribenren Gongmu), the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden in Fangzheng acquired its current name in 1994. Throughout the 1990s, the garden underwent several major renovations using funds donated by Japanese visitors.2 A major donor group were children adopted by local Chinese households after the war. The chaotic flight of Japanese migrants in 1945 had left many Japanese children behind, some of whom were adopted by Chinese families. As China and Japan re-established diplomatic relations in the 1970s, many adoptees returned to Japan, while maintaining close relationships with their Chinese foster families. In 1995, Endō Isamu, an adopted child who returned to Japan in the 1970s, donated money to construct the Name Wall for Chinese Foster Parents (Zhongguo Yangfumu Minglu Qiang) in the garden.3 In 2011, the local government’s decision to construct the Name Wall for Deceased Japanese Pioneers prompted criticism in the Chinese state media and Internet communities, leading the local government to tear down the newly constructed name wall and close the garden to visitors.

Picture 1: The Name Wall for Deceased Japanese Pioneers, from Mediachina, accessed 02/19/2019.

Revisiting national media coverage of the incident in 2011, it is clear that the decision to construct the name wall became controversial in several important ways. One line of criticism questioned the objectives behind the name wall’s construction. Journalists noted that the region’s economy depended heavily on its export of labor to Japan, and concluded that economic considerations had dominated the county’s construction plan. According to a 2010 article published in the Party-owned newspaper Legal Weekend (Fazhi Zhoumo), more than 110,000 local residents, constituting more than half of the local population, had worked or were currently working in Japan as guest workers.4 Remittances from local workers in Japan, the article continued, had made the county one of the wealthiest regions in the province. The article stated that this was recognized and even encouraged by the local government. In its annual plan, the Fangzheng County government claimed that its aim was to establish Fangzheng as the “foremost home for overseas Chinese (qiaoxiang) in the LongjiangArea.”5 Furthermore, local officials did not shy away from elaborating the economic incentives behind the construction. Recognizing the economic significance of its labor export to Japan, the local government issued a memorandum in 2010, emphasizing the need to initiate an “image-building project” (xingxiang gongcheng) in order to make the county “the base for overseas Chinese in Japan” (lǚri qiaoxiang).6 Connecting the construction project to the memorandum, the state-owned media made the link between the construction plan and the local government’s decision to promote a local “image-building project” aimed at Japanese audiences.

In addition to “image-building,” a more immediate motivation behind the decision to construct the name wall was its potential to boost local tourism, which depended heavily on visitors from Japan. Since 1984, Fangzheng County has been a popular destination for commemoration trips among former migrants and their descendants. Until 2010, tourists from Japan had constituted a significant part of local tourism.7 In addition to former migrants, adopted orphans who returned to Japan in the 1980s and 1990s also made frequent trips to Fangzheng County, and some provided financial support for various construction projects in the garden.8 Although it was popular among Japanese tourists, the garden was not accessible to a Chinese audience; it was open only for group tours from Japan via appointments with the local government, possibly to avoid outside attention on the controversies surrounding nationalist sentiment about the wartime past.9 The difference in the local government’s attitudes towards Chinese visitors and Japanese tourists fueled criticism when the garden came under the mass media’s spotlight in 2011.

Reflecting on the practical considerations behind the construction project, it is possible to interpret the name wall, along with the rest of the garden, as a thanatourist site for a designated group of Japanese visitors. The deaths of Japanese migrants in Fangzheng County at the time of Japan’s defeat and the Japanese settlers’ attempt to flee China in 1945, along with the related stories concerning their burial and commemoration, had become a tourist resource for local government. As A.V. Seaton defines it, thanatourism is a form of travel for “actual or symbolic encounters with death, particularly, but not exclusively, violent death, which may, to a varying degree be activated by the person-specific features of those whose deaths are its focal objects.”10 As a site articulating various elements of Japanese migrants’ deaths, the garden falls perfectly into this category.

The narrative provided at the site, therefore, sought to cater to the tourists’ needs. This lent momentum to Chinese criticism during the 2011 controversy. The official title of the “name wall” used the word “pioneer group” (kaituo tuan), and critics voiced strong opposition to including the word “pioneer,” or kaituo – the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese word kaitaku – in this context. The euphemism embedded in this vocabulary was, and remains, provocative for Chinese audiences, who are sensitive to any attempt to suggest a positive aspect to Japanese invasion during World War II.

What makes the use of kaituo/kaitaku a sensitive issue? One aspect is the connotations of the term itself. The word “kaituo/kaitaku” has similar meanings in Chinese and Japanese. According to Encyclopedia Nipponica, the word is used in Japanese to describe activities through which people increase productivity by reclaiming places with undeveloped or underdeveloped resources. As the encyclopedia explains:

[Kaitaku means that] in order to expand the sphere of production and settled communities, [people] develop underdeveloped land, wilderness, and mountains… While the vocabulary can be understood narrowly as an equivalent to the reclamation and cultivation of undeveloped farmland for agricultural purposes, kaitaku can also be used to describe the expansion of settled communities for the production of mineral and forest resources.11

It is worth noting that, whether used narrowly to describe agricultural cultivation, or broadly for the development of natural resources, the word kaituo/kaitaku suggests that the resources were previously unoccupied. The notion of ownership embedded in the word is a key reason why critics questioned the use of kaituo/kaitaku – and the use of kaitiuozhe/kaitaku-sha referring to people involved in such activities – in the description of Japanese migration. Put simply, Manchuria was not an unoccupied land when Japanese migrants arrived. Therefore, deeming Japanese migrants “pioneers” not only downplayed the aggression that enabled the migrants’ actions in Manchuria, but also touched on the issue war responsibility: a crucially sensitive issue in Sino-Japanese relations.

In this sense, the Chinese media found the use of kaituo unacceptable, as it lent legitimacy to the Japanese migrants’ endeavors, often at the expense of Chinese farmers, who lost their land in the process. For instance, China News Service, the second largest state-owned media outlet, cited journalist Yang Lan in an article deeming the name wall project “absurd,” since “a memorial wall not only serves the purpose of recording the history, it is also a sign of respect and commemoration. [Similarly], could people imagine a statue devoted to Nazi butchers in Auschwitz?”12 Following Yang Lan, critics argued that the name wall, as a form of commemoration, is itself inappropriate for memorializing the Japanese, whom they would term “invaders,” not “pioneers”.

In addition to the word kaituo, official media also touched on another sensitive issue, the victimhood of the Japanese migrants: were the Japanese migrants aggressors, or were they victims? Who was responsible for the suffering of local Chinese, if not the Japanese migrants directly? The problem is even further complicated when the social strata of the Japanese migrants is taken into consideration: bankrupted by debts and loss of farmlands at home during the agricultural crisis in the 1920s, many Japanese migrants were desperate peasants seeking a basic livelihood in Manchuria. They were both the spearhead of colonial incursion, and at the same time, “class brethren” (jieji xiongdi) of those whose farmlands were taken. The lack of attention to the complicated, if not contradictory, roles of the Japanese migrants on the name wall also invited criticism: as a thanatourist site for Japanese tourist groups mostly comprised of former migrants and their descendants, the name wall naturally emphasized their suffering and avoided discussing the “dark side” of immigration. This can be seen in the inscription on the name wall:

After Japan’s surrender in 1945, more than 15,000 Japanese migrants assembled in Fangzheng, and waited for their return to Japan. Because of hunger, cold, and disease, more than 5,000 died in the wilderness and did not receive proper burial. For twenty years, people of the Fangzheng County could not bear to see their remains scattered in the wilderness, so they collected the bones for reburial…The deceased in the cemetery were mostly without names. With efforts from all parties, some of the names were retrieved and inscribed in this wall. The goals are three: First, the goal is to inform [visitors of] their ancestors’ burial place, so they will not be forgotten. Second, the goal is to demonstrate that philanthropic love is the core of human nature. Third, it is important not to forget what happened, as it teaches lessons for the future. [The name wall] should reflect the calamity of the war, and manifest the preciousness of peace. This name wall is erected to teach people across the world.13

It is worth noting that the name wall only offered a description of the Japanese migrants’ experiences in the immediate postwar period, and avoided mentioning both their activities before 1945, and the conditions of the Japanese children adopted by Chinese families after 1945. While the inscription praised locals for their benevolent deeds, the damage the Japanese migrants caused them was absent in the inscription.

However, it would be unfair to simply deem the narrative provided at the site a monolithic one celebrating the actions of Japanese settlers. For instance, the inscriptions on the Name Wall for Chinese Foster Parents made it clear that the Chinese occupied the moral high ground by demonstrating benevolence towards former enemies:

People of Fangzheng were not indifferent [towards the suffering of Japanese orphans] because they were descendants of the enemy. Instead, they followed traditional Chinese morality and saved them…To recognize their honorable deeds, and to commemorate their benevolence in spite of former hostilities, this monument was erected to last and teach for generations to come.14

This inscription presents the Japanese migrants as ‘enemies’, and describes the local people’s superior morality as worthy of acclaim: local pride is served, and a sense of moral superiority over the former enemy is exhibited. While the site did not emphasize – as the national media would – land-seizures by Japanese migrants and condemn them for it, it did strive to show a sense of moral superiority through the Chinese foster parents’ acts of “repaying hatred with benevolence.”

Such an attempt, however, did not succeed. The national media did not recognize the narrative provided by the Name Wall for Chinese Foster Parents, and rejected the nuanced expression of the Japanese migrants’ dual identities as victims and enemies. In its article, China News Service called attention to the fact that the county’s cemetery for Chinese and Soviet soldiers had long been in disrepair, questioning whether the local government risked ignoring the real victims. The article stated:

The door to the cemetery for revolutionary martyrs is wide open, and the introduction panel erected at the front gate is broken and barely readable. Some of the inscriptions are already weathered. The Cemetery for Soviet Martyrs is without any protection and full of wild grass. It is next to the villagers’ woodpile and the iron chains around the tombstone are damaged. Meanwhile, the tombstones in the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden, which are dedicated to the invaders, are highly valued by the local government. Trees are well maintained, and the tombstone for “Pioneers” is being taken care of by workers. All buildings are tidy and clean.15

This contrast, the article suggests, shows that the local government is forgetting “national humiliation” (guochi) and hurting national sentiments.16 From the perspective of national history, the lack of commemoration for Chinese and Soviet soldiers, who were both the real victims in the Japanese invasion, and the eventual victors, clashes with the national narrative that hails the nation’s victory over Japanese invaders. In this way, by questioning whether the county had misplaced its commemoration efforts, the official media reminded its readers of the official narrative, and dismissed the one provided at the site. 

However, the dismissal of the local narrative presented at the site does not mean that national history has always denied the victimhood of the Japanese migrants. In the documentary “Unveiling Japanese Pioneering Groups” (Jiemi Riben Kaituotuan) produced by the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) in 2012, the suffering of the Japanese migrants is juxtaposed against their roles as invaders. As stated in the introduction on the CCTV official website:

In the last century, tens of thousands of Japanese migrated [to northeastern China] with a purpose. In the name of “development,” they came to invade. They scattered and fled after Japan’s defeat, but the military government of Japan abandoned them, making their escape full of misery and sufferings…Countless tragedies took place on the black soil [i.e. northeastern China], all in the name of the “migration” fantasy of Japanese jingoism.17

China’s state-owned television is forthright in holding the “militarist regime” (jun zhengfu) and “Japanese jingoism” (riben junguo zhuyi) responsible for the Japanese migrants’ suffering at the end of the war. The Chinese official media discusses the “dark side” of the Japanese migrants’ activities. However, the state media does not dive deep into the different roles – both as victims and as invaders – that the Japanese migrants played simultaneously during the war. Rather, the media gave a simplified, clear-cut definition by condemning pre-1945 activities as “invasion” (qinlue), and sympathizing with the migrants’ suffering after Japan’s defeat. This stance aligns closely with national historical narratives, which overwhelmingly emphasize Japanese aggression throughout the war.

Partly prompted by economic incentives, the garden emerged as a thanatourist site for Japanese tourists, and had to cater to its targeted visitors by adjusting its narratives accordingly. Consequently, the garden developed a narrative that emphasized the suffering of Japanese migrants, and diminished, if not entirely ignored, their roles as aggressors. This put the local narrative in direct conflict with the official account given by national history. In the end, this local challenge to the national narrative was dismissed and silenced.


The Memorial Museum in Nagano Prefecture as Lieu de Memoire

Like its counterpart in Fangzheng County, the Peace Memorial Museum for Manchurian-Mongolian Development in Nagano Prefecture is closely tied to local groups and prefectural authorities. This can be attributed partly to the prefecture’s embrace of the state’s migration project: the region saw widespread poverty among farming households during the agricultural crisis of the 1920s, and also faced political pressure to demonstrate loyalty to the central government, following the suppression of radical action among some local youth groups and others, so the prefecture was the first to send emigrant groups to Manchuria.18 According to the museum, more than 39,000 emigrants left Nagano Prefecture for Manchuria before the collapse of the empire in 1945, constituting more than one-seventh of all Japanese emigrants.19 As a result, the construction project of the museum received strong local support. In 2012, the Joint Committee of the Southern Shinano Prefecture (Minami-shinshū kōiki rengō gikai) approved forty million yen for the construction project.20 Thanks to broad support from village, city, and prefectural governments, the museum was completed and opened to the public in 2013. 

Not only was there local financial support, but also, the local community’s involvement in the museum project was ubiquitous: former migrant groups in the prefecture were active during the planning phase for the museum, and members of “the Association of Oral History Narrators of Manchurian Development” (Manshū kaitaku kataribe no kai) constituted the majority of the oversight committee for the museum.21 Local participation continued after the museum was constructed. In 2013, the Association of Oral History Narrators became a regular part of the museum’s educational activities. In the “oral history” (kataribe) exhibition room, former migrants told – and still tell, mostly through audio recordings and their descendants’ volunteer work – their personal experiences to visitors. Due to their continuous participation, the local population, especially former migrants from the prefecture, have a significant role in determining the narrative that the museum provides. 

Picture 2: The Peace Memorial Museum for Manchurian-Mongolian Development, from Achi Village Web Site, accessed 02/19/2019.

Material evidence of local perspectives in the museum is also abundant. First-hand materials in the exhibition – postcards sent by migrants in Manchuria, photos and drawings depicting their experiences, and diaries written by the migrants themselves – are largely procured through donations from locals whose households were involved in the migration project. The museum also has an exhibition room dedicated to local activist Yamamoto Jishō, who contributed to the rediscovery of Japanese infants adopted by Chinese families in the postwar period.22

Representing the collective local memory of emigration to Manchuria, the Memorial Museum is best understood as a lieu de mémoire for the local population. According to Pierre Nora, who popularized this concept in his Realms of Memory, a lieu de mémoire is “any significant entity, whether material or non-material in nature, which by dint of human will or the work of time has become a symbolic element of the memorial heritage of any community.”23 The local communities’ active participation in constructing the museum’s narrative helped articulate the previously unspoken, collective memory among former migrants from those local communities. As a lieu de memoire for the prefecture, the museum gave voice to a very local expression of a piece of national history.

Under such circumstances, it is not surprising to see that locals also left their mark on the way the museum presented the “negative legacies” (“fu no isan”) of migration, prompting debates among those who disagreed with its interpretation of historical events. Like its counterpart in Fangzheng, the museum also faced doubts concerning its naming, and the presentation of the roles Japanese migrants played in Manchuria. Before the opening of the museum in 2013, critics and proponents had been debating whether it was proper to include “kaitaku” in the name of the museum. It is important to note that the criticisms of the term kaitaku came largely from former migrants. As the Asahi newspaper commented on January 23rd, 2013:

Speaking of “kaitaku,” there were many cases where [Japanese migrants] took farmland-in-use from local Chinese and Korean communities. Under such circumstances, using kaitaku [in the name of the museum] raises concerns. According to a group of researchers who interviewed former migrants from lida-Shimoina, ‘migrants to Manchuria’ is a more accurate way to refer to this group.24

The former migrants’ concerns are well-founded. While Manchuria, especially its northern half (hokuman), was comparatively under-populated when the migration took place in the 1930s and 1940s, Japanese migrants rarely established settlements in complete wilderness. For instance, in the first migration sites established by migrants from Nagano Prefecture – Iyasaka, Chiburi, and Mizuho villages – all three settlements were located near existing Chinese and Korean settlements. To differing degrees, the migrants in these villages acquired farmland coercively – whether through forcible purchase or directly commandeering – from Chinese and Korean farmers.25 As the word kaitaku obscures the fact that the Japanese migrants occupied farmland belonging to Chinese and Korean peasants, critics of the term argued that use of the word concealed the suffering imposed on the Chinese and Korean farmers.

Proponents of the use of the word kaitaku, on the other hand, did not accept such criticism, and argued that kaitaku was used for historical accuracy, as it was the term used by the Japanese imperial government at the time. Because Japanese migration to Manchuria was historically defined as kaitaku, proponents argued, the term should be used to represent the historical phenomenon “as is” rather than adopting another set of words. Such reasoning became the official attitude of the museum. The current curator, Terasawa Hidefumi, explained this in an article published in the local history journal Shinano:

Of course, we must be extremely cautious about the feelings on the Chinese side, who were the victims of the invasion. Under such circumstances, the daring decision to use “Chinese-Mongolian kaitaku” is neither to beautify and justify, nor to honor and praise it. Rather, it is to inherit the historical fact faithfully as it was, by honestly using the vocabulary used at the time. It is to demonstrate that the museum’s attitude is to not distort history, but to face it properly.26

In addition to explaining the use of kaitaku, Terasawa further argued against the alternative name “migrants to Manchuria” (Manshū imin), contending that while imin was also used by the imperial government, the term “imin” failed to convey the “expansionist national policy” that the authorities were actively promoting.27 It is worth noting that although Terasawa acknowledges the expansionist nature of Japanese emigration to Manchuria, he mostly assigns the responsibility to the imperial government rather than to the emigrants. Such an explanation aligns with the museum’s overall narrative, in which the emigrants are exonerated as victims, and the blame for Japanese conduct throughout the empire falls almost exclusively on “national policy” (kokusaku).

Another reason why some former migrants support the use of the term kaitaku is the euphemism embedded in the word, which echoes their nostalgic sentiments towards their migration. The word carries a positive connotation since the word kaitaku is often used to express concepts of modernization and progress. According to the 3rd edition of Daijirin, one of the most authoritative dictionaries on the Japanese language, kaitaku is often used to describe “the breakthrough made in new areas, fields, career paths, and people’s ability.”28 Likewise, in the eyes of some former migrants, the use of kaitaku acknowledges the positive side of their activities. As Terasawa writes in his report on the museum’s construction, former migrants advocating the use of kaitaku in the museum’s name believe that their contribution to Manchuria should not be forgotten:

Although only a portion of the whole, some among the former members of migrant groups argue that “the Manchuria-Mongolia kaitaku was not a mistaken project. Because we went there, the agriculture and economy in Manchuria gradually developed.” People also argue that “we want the museum to present the fact that Manchuria-Mongolian development also had many positive sides.”29

Although Terasawa dismisses these arguments in his article, and insists that this does not make up for the damage kaitaku brought to the Chinese population, the museum is nevertheless influenced by such notions, and downplays the elements of invasion in its narrative. In the two exhibition rooms presenting Japanese migrants’ lives in Manchuria during the prewar and wartime period, the museum touches little on the topic of Japan’s “invasion”. Rather, the narrative focuses on the fertility and prosperity of Manchuria. In the room “To the Continent: Chinese-Mongolian Development in Films” (Tairiku e: eizō de miru manmō kaitaku), the museum screens a film shot in 1940 by Japanese migrants in the village of Kawaji, highlighting “the vast landscape and red sunset.”30 In the next room, “the New Land in Manchuria, the Land of Hope” (Shintenchi no Manshū kibō no daichi), the museum reconstructs a typical house that Japanese migrants lived in, and exhibits postcards sent from Manchuria depicting lives in the settlements.31 The two exhibition rooms present Manchuria as a bucolic paradise, without inquiring how Japanese migrants established themselves there. This is in stark contrast to the narratives provided in the other four rooms, in which the suffering of Japanese migrants in the immediate postwar period is discussed in great detail.

The locals’ personal experiences are not only reflected in the ambivalent attitudes towards the notion of kaitaku, but also prompt the museum to emphasize the victimhood of the Japanese migrants. From the perspectives of former migrants, their suffering in the immediate postwar period, during which they had to abandon their homes and flee in hunger and cold, is itself evidence that they were victims of the war. This emphasis is noticeable in the official pamphlet produced by the museum. Although the museum does not shy away – at least not entirely – from talking about the damage Japanese migration wrought upon Chinese communities, it approaches this topic in a very delicate manner. In the “greeting” (aisatsu) section, the pamphlet provides a brief introduction to Japanese migration to Manchuria, emphasizing how Japanese migrants were beguiled into migrating and suffered in the process:

Approximately 270,000 Japanese agricultural migrants went abroad to the illusory country of Manchukuo, which existed only for 13 years in northeastern China. They are called “the Manchurian-Mongolian Pioneering Groups.” [Although people] went to Manchuria with various dreams – “to become landlords of 20 chōbu [i.e. 2,000 acres],” “Manchuria is the life line of Japan” – the sudden attack from the Soviet Union on August 9th, 1945 turned Manchuria into a battlefield. Japanese migrants had to flee and were lost in the wilderness. Even after the war, they were unable to return to their motherland, and many died from hunger and cold in refugee camps. What, then, is the “Manchurian-Mongolian kaitaku” that exacted heavy sacrifices on both Chinese and Japanese? The memorial museum has been constructed to prevent this history from evaporating and to pass it on to future generations.32

In addition to its emphasis on the Japanese migrants’ victimhood, the museum further downplays the migrants’ role as aggressors by praising the active resistance of some Nagano Prefecture people against the imperial government’s “national policy.” In its oral history section, the museum provided a recording donated in 1987 by Sasaki Tadatsuna, the former village head of Ōshimojō-mura during the 1930s. According to the museum, Sasaki actively spoke out against the immigration policy at the time:

When I first visited [Manchuria] I went to Iyasaka, and the second time I visited Chiburi. I thought that they were under very progressive, capitalist management. When I visited Manchuria for the fifth time, I traveled across Manchuria and visited different settlements. Upon returning, I started to question [why] Chiburi village was already able to manage [its agriculture] for profit in the capitalist style, and their farmlands were already well-cultivated. Without doubt, these lands were forcefully taken [from Chinese peasants]. In Iyasaka, some traces of preexisting cultivation can be found as well…As a result, I returned to Japan with concern that these lands were commandeered rather than developed.33

While Sasaki’s narrative shows that land-grabbing took place between Japanese migrants and Chinese peasants in Manchuria, the museum does not directly address the land-grabbing practices of the Japanese migrants. In addition, by emphasizing Japanese citizens’ resistance to the national policy, the museum downplays, if not outright avoids, discussion about Japanese migrants as active participants in the expansionist national policy. Rather, it conveniently directs the blame to “national policy” and the aggressive imperial government that enacted it. In this narrative, Japanese migrants become both active resisters and victims without agency. Their role as aggressors against Chinese people is diminished.

As described above, in representing local interests and perspectives, the Memorial Museum maintains an uneasy relationship with divergent national histories in Japan. Gaining momentum at the turn of the 21st century, the tension between progressive and conservative views of Japan’s wartime experience reverberated not only among Japanese scholars, but also in the mass media. Serving diverse political agendas, various scholars and political groups produced and promoted conflicting narratives of Japan’s wartime past.34 Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that the Memorial Museum in Nagano likewise joined the ongoing debate, albeit in a rather passive way. In contrast to the Asahi Shinbun, the liberal media outlet that questioned the museum’s decision to use the term kaitaku, the conservative mass media focused mainly on the museum’s victimization narrative. For instance, when Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the museum in November 2016, the Yomiuri Shinbun provided a detailed introduction to the museum, highlighting its significance as a memorial to the suffering of Japanese migrants:

Many Japanese pioneers sent to Manchuria were poor peasants, who were attracted by propaganda that promised to give them large farms there. Nagano Prefecture sent the most migrants, with approximately 33,000 people sent across the sea. Because many pioneer groups were sent from the southern part of the prefecture, this private museum opened to the public in April 2013 in Achi village, which was one of these villages [that sent out migrants]. In addition to propaganda posters for national policy, the museum also exhibits letters and photos sent by former migrants, unveiling the tragedy of this history…The suffering of Japanese migrants continued even after they returned to Japan in the postwar period, as they had lost their land and home [in Manchuria], and had to rebuild from scratch again in a land far from their hometowns.35

The Yomiuri article depicts the Japanese migrants as victims of the imperial government. It is worth noting that while Yomiuri points to the loss of home and land in Manchuria as causing poverty among former migrants in the postwar period, it fails to mention that many of their farms were taken from Chinese peasants.

In this way, the Yomiuri unsettles the already fragile balance between the two narratives provided at the museum – the overt emphasis on Japanese victimhood and the subtle recognition of the migrants’ role as aggressors. For an audience that is not able to visit the museum and has to rely on media coverage, the already inconspicuous voices installed at the museum, reminding visitors of alternate narratives, are nowhere to be found. The museum is co-opted to speak to a national history dictated by national political agendas rather than by local ones.

As Nora points out, lieux de memoire in modern societies often involve a hegemonic relationship between national history and local memory, in which the former subordinates the latter. “In the past, then, there was one national history and there were many particular memories. Today, there is one national memory,” Nora writes, “but its unity stems from a divided patrimonial demand that is constantly expanding and in search of coherence.”36 In the case of the Memorial Museum, despite its intention to represent former migrants’ collective memory, the media, representing the conservative version of national history, appropriated the museum’s narrative to advance its own political agenda.

The two cases introduced in this paper examine different dynamics through which Nora’s “search for coherence” was achieved. In the case of the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden, the tension between national history and local narratives was much more apparent than in the case of the Memorial Museum. By presenting an alternative story obscuring the line between aggressor and victim, the narrative offered by the local government at Fangzheng County posed a direct challenge to the established national narrative of Chinese history. The national media, representing the official stance, rebuked and eventually silenced the alternative local narrative. The “coherence” of national history was achieved by eliminating possible alternatives.

In the case of the Memorial Museum in Nagano, the tension is subtler. This is largely due to the fact that former migrants and the national media tended to share a similar victimhood narrative. While the museum makes some efforts to provide critical views on the dual identities of migrants as both victims and aggressors, it is caught between local interests and the conservative voices of national history. Consequently, the national history narratives promoted by the conservative media are able to appropriate the convenient parts of local narratives for their own use. In this case, coherence was achieved not through eliminating, but by co-opting narratives that potentially share a similar political agenda.


What is to Be Done? – Historians’ Intervention through Socio-Economic Analysis

The relation between bottom-up, local narratives and top-down, national history has never been easy. While both the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden in Fangzheng County and the Memorial Museum in Nagano Prefecture developed their own stories regarding Japanese migration to Manchuria, they were rendered powerless in the face of national histories. Neither site was really able to challenge the national narrative. Rather, they were either silenced or co-opted by the national histories in their respective countries.

In addition to this uneasy relationship with national histories, local perspectives and practical considerations also prevented the two memorial sites from developing more balanced narratives. Due to the limited scope of analysis entailed by local perspectives, the two sites intentionally avoided or understated the historical facts they deemed inconvenient. As a thanatourist site designated for Japanese visitors, the Sino-Japanese Friendship Garden and its newly constructed name wall presented a narrative that downplayed Chinese suffering. Similarly, the Memorial Museum in Nagano Prefecture, as a lieu de memoire expressing the locals’ personal experiences, failed to fully address the damage Japanese migrants caused as aggressors on foreign soil.

A possible remedy to the dilemma memorial sites face, I suggest, is an intervention b y historians to treat all narratives, both national histories and local stories, in a critical and dialectical manner. A set of narratives that require historians’ attention is the recollections of former migrants in the postwar period. Migrants’ narratives, in the form of either oral histories in the Museum or documents in archives, are the basis on which local narratives were built.37 As stories were told by migrants living in different parts of Manchuria, their reflections on their experiences are diverse and sometimes even contradictory of one another. Under such circumstances, different agents have, as I demonstrate in this paper, selected, as well as presented, some narratives over others to promote their political agenda.

This is where historians could intervene, since the details of the Japanese migrants’ diverse narratives are still underexplored: even though historians have discussed the changes in Japanese rural life during the interwar and wartime years at length, such efforts have not been made, at least not to similar extents, for migrants’ communities in rural Manchuria.38 Admittedly, with the study of early 20th century Manchuria gaining momentum in recent decades, scholars have conducted studies on rural communities either in Manchukuo or under direct Japanese control. However, the existing literature on life in Japanese settlements – or as Inomata Yusuke puts it, the “migrants’ experiences in the colony” (Manshū imin no shokuminchi keiken) – focused on the economic dynamics in these villages, and paid little attention to how the diverse socio-economic conditions in different settlements might contribute to migrants’ memories formed in the postwar period.39 To supplement the lack of analysis on the interrelation between migrants’ socio-economic conditions and their postwar recollections, I suggest that it is possible for historians to trace migrants’ experiences in the longue durée, connecting their wartime experiences with memory formation after 1945. With more primary sources – from both Manchurian Railroad Archives and Manchukuo documents – made available, this line of inquiry is feasible and potentially fruitful.

Needless to say, connecting the socio-economic conditions to former migrants’ postwar narratives is not intended to diminish the value of their stories. It is not to doubt the validity and sincerity of historical narratives established through these recollections, regardless of the perspectives they derive from. Rather, it is to recognize the limits of all narratives, and at the same time, provide a dialectical approach to them. By doing so, historians are able to transform their research, and speak through narratives provided at various memorial sites. As Paul A. Cohen puts it eloquently in History in Three Keys, historians ought to concern themselves not only with the historical past, but also with its representations in the present. “Historians, in short, not unlike translators, must be acquainted with two languages, in our case those of the present and of the past,” Cohen argues, “and it is the need to navigate back and forth between these two very different realms…that is the ultimate source of the tension in our work.”40 Responding to Cohen’s argument, this paper aims to show that, in order to advance along the path of inquiry suggested, historians should reach out to broader audiences by organically connecting their research with the realm of public history. 



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Terasawa, Hidefumi寺沢秀文. “Kataritsugu `manmōkaitaku' no shijitsu - `manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan' no kensetsu jitsugen made -” “語り継ぐ「満蒙開拓」の史実 -「満蒙開拓平和記念館」の建設実現まで-,” Shinano信濃 65 no.3 (2013): 25-47.

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Certainly, the land-grabbing practices of the Japanese migrants not only targeted the Han-Chinese population, but also the ethnic Mongolians and Manchurians (among whom Korean migrants might have been included). Recognizing this point, I use “Chinese,” “Chinese peasant,” and “Chinese farmers” in this paper to refer to locals, including both Han ethnics and non-Han groups, in Manchuria.


See Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞. “Chūgoku hōseiken no nihonjin kōbo shūfuku ni bokin ken nichūyūkōkyōkai”“中国方正県の日本人公墓修復に募金 県日中友好協会,” Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞, October 4, 1994.


Heilongjiang Chenbao 黑龙江晨报. “Ri yigu hui Heilongjiang Fangzheng xingqin xie jiajuan kuayang saomu (tu)”“日遗孤回黑龙江方正省亲 携家眷跨洋扫墓(图),” Heilongjiang Chenbao 黑龙江晨报July 6, 2009. Accessed April 23, 2018.


Fazhi Zhoumo 法治周末. “Meiti fenxi Heilongjiang Fangzheng xian wei Riben kaituotuan libei yuanyin”“媒体分析黑龙江方正县为日本开拓团立碑原因,” Fazhi Zhoumo 法治周末, August 10, 2010. Accessed April 23, 2018.


Ibid, “不可回避的是,在年财政收入只有两个多亿的方正县,侨资已是当地经济发展的重要动力…2010年,方正县委提出制定侨乡发展的整体战略,加快侨乡建设,全力打造"龙江第一侨乡",促进县域经济快速发展。到2010年,方正县居民储蓄存款余额已达31亿元人民币,连续6年人均位列黑龙江省之首。"


Ibid, “方正县2010年9月发布的《侨乡形象工程建设调研报告》称,利用好侨经济是推动县域经济发展的庞大力量,打开“东北旅日侨乡”形象工程建设的突破口。”


Former migrants’ tours to Fangzheng County started in 1984, and remained a steady source for local tourists until 2010. See Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞. “Itamu kokoro eien ni `saigo no bosan'” “悼む心永遠に「最後の墓参」,” Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞, July 30, 2010; and “Shūdanjiketsu no moto kaitaku-dan izoku-ra, kyūmanshū e irei no tabi Chūgoku-hatsu no minkan dantai ukeire” “集団自決の元開拓団遺族ら、旧満州へ慰霊の旅 中国、初の民間団体受け入れ,” Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞, October 2, 1984.


See Asahi Shinbun, “Chūgoku hōseiken no nihonjin kōbo shūfuku ni bokin ken nichūyūkōkyōkai.”


Guo, Xu 郭绪. “Kaituotuan libei shijian zhong de Fangzheng xian: libei yiyu hewei?”“开拓团立碑事件中的方正县:立碑意欲何为?Zhonggong Xinwen Wang中国新闻网, August 10, 2011. Accessed April 23, 2018: “方正县政府官方微博称,中日友好园林并不是一处开放的旅游景点,而是专门接待来访日本团体的。平时大门都是紧锁的,入内需经过县外事部门批准。这里每年都接待日本民间访问团体20余个。”


Seaton, A.V. "Guided by the Dark: From Thanatopsis to Thanatourism." International Journal of Heritage Studies 2, no. 4 (1996): 240.


Shōgakukan小学館. “Kaitaku” “開拓,” in Nihon dai hyakkazensho (nipponika)日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ), accessed April 14, 2018: “生産地や定住生活圏の拡大、増強のために、未開、あるいはそれに準ずる荒れ地、山野を切り開くこと…やや狭義には農牧地を目的として未開の土地を切り開く開墾と同義に解されることもある。しかし鉱工業資源、山林木材などの獲得から行われる、未開の土地への生産のための定住生活圏拡大も開拓である。”


Zhongguo Xinwen Wang, “Kaituotuan libei shijian zhong de Fangzheng xian: Libei yiyu hewei?,” “电视节目主持人杨澜认为:“树碑本身是有祭奠崇敬之意的,不等同于记录历史。能想像在奥斯威辛集中营树一块纳粹屠夫的碑吗?荒唐!”


Dagongbao大公报, “‘Riben kaituotuan-min wangzhe minglu qiang’ xuyan quanwen” “「日本開拓團民亡者名錄牆」序言全文,” Dagong Wang 大公网, August 3, 2011: “1945年日本戰敗投降,日本開拓團民15000餘人集結方正,欲取道回國。因飢寒流疾,有5000餘人歿於荒郊野外,簡而掩埋。其間歷經近二十年,方正人民不忍其屍骨散落於荒野,遂以仁善之心將其集整…墓中亡者多無姓名,經各方努力,蒐集部分,故今將墓中亡者姓名刻錄,一為告之日本後人,其先人長眠於此,勿以忘之;二為展示人類至善大愛乃人性之根本;三為前事不忘,後世之師,反思戰爭之危害,昭示和平之可貴。故立此名錄,以警世人。”


Dagongbao大公报, “‘Yang fumu shizhe minglu qiang’ xuyan quanwen” “’养父母逝者名录墙’序言全文,” Dagong Wang 大公网, August 3, 2011: “方正父老不以其为敌国之后而漠然,而以炎黄传承之礼拯救其于水火…为彰表养父母养育之功,尽显其不计怨恨之德,故将养父母名字刻录其上,流芳于世,以育后人."


Zhongguo Xinwen Wang. “Kaituotuan libei shijian zhong de Fangzheng xian: Libei yiyu hewei?” “在革命烈士陵园,大门敞开,在门口的陵园和烈士介绍宣传栏,已经残破得不成样子,勉强能看清栏内的文字,有的已经全部脱落。苏军烈士墓没有任何保护设施,周边杂草丛生,与村民家的柴草垛紧连,墓碑周围的铁链已经破坏。而为当年侵略者修建的中日友好园林和墓碑,却得到当地政府的高度重视。园林内松柏错落有致,“开拓团”墓碑有工人维护,所有建筑均保持干净整洁的面貌。”


Ibid, “地方官员不仅忘掉了惨痛的国耻,而且为日本侵略者招魂,再次点燃了沸腾的民族情绪.”


China Central Television 中国中央电视台. “Zoujin Zhenxiang No. 56 Kangzhan beihou de lishi: Riben kaituotuan shimo” “走进历史 No. 56 抗战背后的历史: 日本开拓团始末” Accessed April 25, 2018: “来自上世纪数十万日本人有目的移民,名为开拓,实为侵略。日本战败,他们仓皇逃窜,而日本军政府的弃民政策,又使得他们的逃亡之路苦难重重……一幕幕人间悲剧在黑土地上频频上演,且看日本军国主义的“移民”大幻想。”


On the agricultural crisis during the 1920s and how Nagano Prefecture engaged with Manchurian immigration, see Smith, Kerry, A Time of Crisis: Japan, the Great Depression, and Rural Revitalization, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001; Young, Louise, Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Historians have also noted that since Nagano Prefecture had been sites for radical political movements during the 1920s, the local authorities felt the need to demonstrate loyalty to the central government. See Yoshikawa, Sadao, Fukushima Masaki, Ihara Kesao, Aoki Toshiyuki and Kodaira Chifumi. Nagano Ken no Rekishi. Tokyo: Yamakawa Shuppansha, 1997.


See Manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan 満蒙開拓平和記念館. “Manmōkaitaku kankei ryakuji” “満蒙開拓関係略史,” accessed April 26, 2018.


Manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan 満蒙開拓平和記念館. “Kensetsu jigyō no ikisatsu” “建設事業の経緯,” accessed April 26, 2018.


See Terasawa, Hidefumi 寺沢秀文. “Kataritsugu `manmōkaitaku' no shijitsu - `manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan' no kensetsu jitsugen made -” “語り継ぐ「満蒙開拓」の史実 -「満蒙開拓平和記念館」の建設実現まで-,” Shinano 信濃 65 no.3 (2013): 31.


Manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan 満蒙開拓平和記念館. “Kinen-kan panfuretto Naka-men”“記念館パンフレット ナカ面,” accessed April 26, 2018.


Nora, Pierre, and Kritzman, Lawrence D. Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past. European Perspectives. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996. p. xvii.


Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞. “Samazamana giron hete, seishiki kanmei ni kettei Achi no manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan”“様々な議論経て、正式館名に決定 阿智の満蒙開拓平和記念館.” Asahi Shinbun 朝日新聞, January 23, 2013: “さらに「開拓」というが、現地の中国⼈や朝鮮⼈を追い出し既耕地に⼊っ た例が多い。それなのに「開拓」と呼べるのか、との疑問も出た。飯⽥下伊那で体験者から聞き取りを進めているグループは、実態に合った「満州移⺠」と呼ぶようにしている。”


For reports on the conditions of three villages mentioned above, see Yamazaki, Yoshio 山崎芳雄, Iyasaka-mura yōran彌榮村要覽, Tokyo: Mitsuru Shima ijū kyōkai 滿洲移住協會, 1936; and Tsuchiya, Haruki 土屋春樹, “Hokuman imin-mura shisatsu-ki” “北満移民村視察記,” in Hokuman ijū-chi shisatsu-ki 北満移住地視察記, Tokyo: Nōson kōsei kyōkai 農村更生協会, 1937.


Terasawa, “Kataritsugu `manmō kaitaku' no shijitsu,” 39: “勿論、侵略を受けた側の中国側の思い等には極めて慎重ではなくてはならない。これらのこと等にも思いを馳せたうえで、それでも敢えて「満蒙開拓」という言葉を冠していこうとするのは、これを美化、正当化したり、顕彰、礼賛しようという意図からではなく、史実の忠実な継承と、当時使用されていた言葉を忠実に使用していくことが史実を歪めることなくこれにきちんと向き合っていこうとしている当記念館の姿勢を示すとこでもあると信ずるが故にである。”


Ibid, 40: “当時の日本が「開拓」と称して侵略性から目をそらせつつ国策として推し進めていた面もあることも客観的に伝えていくためにも…主として使用されていた「満蒙開拓」を使用するのが適切と思われるところである。”


Shōgakukan, Nihon dai hyakkazensho (nipponika), “新しい分野や領域、あるいは人の進路や人生・能力などを切り開くこと.”


Terasawa, “Kataritsugu `manmōkaitaku' no shijitsu,” 35: “一部ではあるも、元満蒙開拓団員のお方の中には、「あの満蒙開拓は間違ったことではなかった。我々があそこに行ったことにより遅れていた満州の農業や経済が発展した」、「満蒙開拓は良い面も沢山あったということ是非、記念館では主張して欲しい」という方もいる。”


Manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan満蒙開拓平和記念館. “Jōsetsu-ten no go an'nai” “常設展のご案内.” Accessed April 26, 2018. “2.5×5メートルの壁に映し出される赤い夕陽と広大な大地。満州の風景と開拓団の人々の様子を当時の映像と写真で紹介します。”


Ibid, “開拓団の住居の一部を再現した模型を正面に配し、各開拓団が入植した地点を表示した地図を大きくパネルにしました…満州から送られたハガキなど寄贈資料が並んでいます。”


Manmōkaitaku heiwa kinen-kan 満蒙開拓平和記念館, “Kinen-kan panfuretto Omote-men”“記念館パンフレット オモテ面,” accessed April 24, 2018: “中国東北地方にかつて13年間だけ存在した幻の国「満州国」。ここに日本から約27万人の農業移民が渡って行きました。「満蒙開拓団」です。 “20町歩の地主になれる” “満州は日本の生命線”―夢を抱いて渡った新天地でしたが、1945年8月9日、突然のソ連侵攻で満州は戦場と化し、開拓団の人たちは広野を逃げ惑います。終戦後も祖国に帰ることができず、難民収容所では飢えと寒さで大勢なくなりました。日中双方に多くの犠牲を出した「満蒙開拓」はいったい何だったのか。私たちはこの歴史を風化させることなく、後世に伝えるため、その拠点として記念館をつくりました。”


Sasaki, Tadatsuna 佐々木忠綱. “Kokusaku manmōkaitaku o kobanda sonchō Sasaki Tadatsuna ga mita `Manshū'” “国策・満蒙開拓を拒んだ村長 佐々木忠綱が見た「満州」” 1987, accessed April 17, 2018: “その時に第一次弥栄というとこを見、それから第二次千振郷という、これはまた非常に進歩的な資本主義的な経営をしておる、当時から見ればとても進歩的ということでありまして。それから第五次だとかいろいろな開拓地をずうっと見て、満州をずうっと一巡して、そして帰ったのでありますが、私が行ってみてちょっと疑問を感じたのが、第二次千振郷なんちゅうのはもう経営がほとんど資本主義的な営利主義な経営でありまして、それから耕地はもう全部立派な既墾地、これどうしても強制収用した土地だと思いました。それで第一次の弥栄というとこはやや開墾した痕跡もありました…。そして、これはどうも開拓ではなくて強制収用ということは、これはちょっと疑問点があるという、疑問を私は持って帰りました。”


For debates over the different narratives provided in these museums, see Lee, Jooyoun, "Yasukuni and Hiroshima in Clash? War and Peace Museums in Contemporary Japan," Pacific Focus 33, no. 1 (2018): 5-33; and O'Dwyer, Shaun, "The Yasukuni Shrine and the competing patriotic pasts of East Asia," History & Memory 22, no. 2 (2010): 147-177.


Yomiuri Shinbun 読売新聞. “Manmōkaitaku no higeki kōsei ni ryō heika kinen-kan e” “満蒙開拓の悲劇 後世に 両陛下記念館へ” Yomiuri Shinbun読売新聞, November 15, 2016: “満州などに送り込まれた開拓民の多くは貧しい農家で、現地で広大な土地を与えられると宣伝されていた。長野県からは全国で最も多い、約3万3000人が海を渡った。特に県南部の村々で多くの開拓団を出したことから、2013年4月、その一つの阿智村に民間施設として同館が開館。国策を宣伝するポスターのほか、元開拓民たちから寄せられた写真や手紙などを展示して、悲劇の歴史をたどっている…開拓民たちは、戦後に帰国した後も、住む土地や家を失っており、故郷から遠く離れた土地を再び開拓して住むなど、苦難が続いた.”


Nora, Realms of Memory, 635.


In addition to the oral histories section in the Peace Memorial Museum for Manchurian-Mongolian Development, former migrants’ recollection of their wartime experiences are also made available as documents. One collection is the multi-volume collection published by Heiwa kinen tenji shiryōkan under Ministry of Public Management in Tokyo. See Heiwa Kinen Jigyō Tokubetsu Kikin 平和祈念事業特別基金. Kaigai Hikiagesha Ga Kataritsugu Rōku 海外引揚者が語り継ぐ労苦, Tokyo: Heiwa Kinen Jigyō Tokubetsu Kikin 平和祈念事業特別基金, 1991. Vol. 1-19.


Some works dealing with Japanese experience in rural communities from 1920s to 1940s in English are Waswo, Ann and Nishida Yoshiaki, Farmers and Village Life in 20th Century Japan, London: Routledge Curzon, 2003; Smith, Kerry, A Time of Crisis: Japan, the Great Depression, Rural Revitalization, Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2001; and Partner, Simon, Toshié: A Story of Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.


Some examples of studies on Japanese settlements in rural Manchuria include Yu, Chunying, Wang, Fengjie 于春英, 王凤杰, “Weiman shiqi Dongbei nongye gugong yanjiu” "伪满时期东北农业雇工研究." Zhongguo nongshi中国农史 3 (2008): 115-123; and Ma, Wei 马伟, “Weiman shiqi Dongbei nonghu de shengcun: yi Ri yimin zhi gugong, diannong ji ‘guonei yimin’ wei zhongxin,” “伪满时期东北农户的生存——以日移民之雇工, 佃农及 ‘国内移民’ 为中心,” Waiguo Wenti Yanjiu 外国问题研究 3 (2013): 16-22. Japanese literature include Yasutomi, Ayumu 安冨 歩. “`Manshū-koku' no nōgyō kankei kinyū.” “「満州国」 の農業関係 金融.” 人文學報 78 Jinbun Gakuhō 78 (1996): 51-84; and Inomata, Yusuke 猪股祐介, “Manshū imin' no shokuminchi keiken: Gifu-ken Gujō-mura kaitaku-dan o jirei to shite” “「満洲移民」 の植民地経験--岐阜県郡上村開拓団を事例として,” Sōkan shakai kagaku 相関社会科学 12 (2002): 2-20.


Cohen, Paul A. History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.p. 293.


Dark Tourism and the History of Imperial and Contemporary Japan


Andrew Gordon, Introduction

Sara Kang, Contested Pilgrimage: Shikoku Henro and Dark Tourism

Jesús Solís, From “Convict” to “Victim”: Commemorating Laborers on Hokkaido’s Central Road


Raised in Nanjing, China, Bohao Wu began the Ph.D program in History at Harvard University in 2017, after graduating magna cum laude from Brown University. His undergraduate thesis, “Imagining Asian Modernity,” on Japanese technocrats in wartime Manchuria won the Christian Yegen Thesis Prize. In addition to Chinese, Bohao also speaks Japanese and Russian, and is currently learning Korean. In his leisure time, Bohao is a devout kendo enthusiast. Bohao’s research interests include transnational interactions and industrialization in East Asia, especially during the early Cold War period. His current project examines how land reforms and postwar reconstruction were carried out in Dalian under Soviet occupation from 1945 to 1955.