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Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland

Manchus, Manchoukuo, and Manchuria, 1907-1985

Dan Shao

Publication Year: 2011

Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland addresses a long-ignored issue in the existing studies of community construction: How does the past failure of an ethnic people to maintain sovereignty over their homeland influence their contemporary reconfigurations of ethnic and national identities? To answer this question, Shao Dan focuses on the Manzus, the second largest non-Han group in contemporary China, whose cultural and historical ancestors, the Manchus, ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Based on deep and rigorous empirical research, Shao analyzes the major forces responsible for the transformation of Manchu identity from the ruling group of the Qing empire to the minority of minorities in China today: the de-territorialization and provincialization of Manchuria in the late Qing, the remaking of national borders and ethnic boundaries during the Sino-Japanese contestation over Manchuria, and the power of the state to re-categorize borderland populations and ascribe ethnic identity in post-Qing republican states.

Within the first half of the twentieth century, four regimes—the Qing empire under the Manchu royal clan, the Republic of China under the Nationalist Party, Manchuokuo under the Japanese Kanto Army, and the People’s Republic of China under the Communist Party—each grouped the Manchus into different ethnic and national categories while re-positioning Manchuria itself on their political maps in accordance with their differing definitions of statehood. During periods of state succession, Manchuria was transformed from the Manchu homeland in the Qing dynasty to an East Asian borderland in the early twentieth century, before becoming China’s territory recovered from the Japanese empire. As the transformation of territoriality took place, the hard boundaries of the Manchu community were reconfigured, its ways of self-identification reformed, and the space for its identity representations redefined.

Taking the borderland approach, Remote Homeland goes beyond the single-country focus and looks instead at regional and cross-border perspectives. It is a study of China, but one that transcends traditional historiographies. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of modern China, Japanese empire, and Northeast Asian history, as well as to those engaged in the study of borderlands, ethnic identity, nationalism, and imperialism.

20 illus., 5 maps

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press

Series: World of East Asia

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-ix

My first thanks go to Joshua A. Fogel, Mark C. Elliott, and Luke Roberts, whose scholarship inspired my interest in Manchuria, Manchus, and Sino-Japanese relations. I am indebted in particular to Francesca Bray, who first introduced me to anthropological theories on identity and nationhood, and to James Brooks, who introduced me to the rich literature on American ...

Abbreviations [Includes Map Plates]

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xix-xxi

... Only two blocks from my hotel, the monument did not attract my attention because I assumed that as a commemoration of the Chinese resistance against the 1931 Japanese invasion of Northeast China, it had nothing to do with the Manchus, the focus of my research. When I decided to walk through the monument park one day, I found ...

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pp. 1-21

The research reported in this book began in response to a long-ignored issue in existing studies of community construction: How does the past failure of an ethnic people to maintain sovereignty in their homeland influence their contemporary reconfigurations of ethnic and national identities? To help address this complex question, this book focuses on ...

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Part I: Remote Homeland, Lost Empire

In 1644, the Manchu rulers relocated their court from Mukden to Beijing, the capital of the Ming dynasty. The enthronement ceremony for Emperor Shunzhi (1638–1661; r. 1644–1661) took place at the Imperial Palace inherited from the Ming. The emperor, born outside the Great Wall, began to rule the vast territory within and without the ...

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1: Remote Homeland, Contested Borderland

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pp. 25-67

The banner system in the Three Eastern Provinces during the late Qing was both old and new. It was old because the original banner system, which officially began in 1601, had developed over hundreds of years. It was new because the military, political, and social roles of the banners began to change when new problems arose. The banner communities in ...

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2: Between Empire and Nation

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pp. 68-105

The 1911 Revolution finally forced the Manchu court to negotiate with the anti-Manchu revolutionaries, who had launched a series of failed revolts before the end of the Qing. On January 1, 1912, Sun Yatsen formally announced the establishment of the Republic of China at his presidential inauguration in Nanjing. In Beijing, the emperor abdicated ...

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Part II: Contested Borderland, Redefined Identity

Manchuria, with its vast and fertile land, rich natural resources, and strategically important location, was significant for both the Japanese colonial empire and the ROC. Aiming to protect Japan’s “interest line” beyond its territorial borders, Japanese leaders valued Manchuria as their nation’s “lifeline” ...

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3: Legitimizing Statehood, Revising History

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pp. 109-134

... For this occasion, Puyi changed from his field marshal uniform, in which he was regularly depicted in official photographs released by the Manchoukuo government, into a traditional Manchu costume, rarely seen in official photographs in Manchoukuo.4 In his Manchu costume, Puyi offered “fruits, wine, jade, a bullock, and a ram ...

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4: Ethnic Harmony, Colonial Reality

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pp. 135-165

... She was given a Japanese name, Emiko, and a decent education. She learned social etiquette, handcrafts, thread and needle work, and other skills and knowledge required of Japanese women. She thus became a “graceful and pure Japanese woman.” The family was praised in a newspaper as “a bright example of Manchurian-Japanese love, which crosses ...

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5: Historicizing the Manchus, Deterritorializing Manchuria

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pp. 166-191

Although the Manchus had to face another wave of suspicion in the ROC during the 1930s and 1940s, the ROC leaders perceived the Manchus as a Hanized subnational group and viewed the Three Eastern Provinces as lost borderlands. This perception, expressed in state rhetoric and diplomacy (as examined previously), was also well supported by ...

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6: Redefining the Manzu, Remapping Ethnic Autonomy

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pp. 192-218

As a minor—and sometimes illegal—political party in the ROC, the CCP could not conduct nationwide ethnological surveys or research projects. The CCP did, however, make efforts to win sympathy and support from minority peoples during its bitter struggles with the GMD.3 The CCP developed general policies for the border regions in its development strategies as early as its Second National Congress ...

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Part III: Experiencing Borderlands, Re-understanding Homeland

Changes in the territoriality of a community demand people’s reconsideration of their affiliation and allegiance. A community, though “imagined” or “constructed,” is what people live in and identify with. To reach a comprehensive understanding of the formation and re-formation of an ethnic community, it is essential for scholars to study the experiences ...

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7: A Trial of Treason

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pp. 221-244

... How did Aisin Gioro Xianyu, alias Kawashima Yoshiko, become the traitor Jin Bihui? Living in an era replete with ethnic tension and international wars, Xianyu’s repeated crossing of national boundaries puts her squarely within a generation of people who had complicated transnational and cross-ethnic profiles. Drawing on court ...

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8: Tales of Two Empires

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pp. 245-282

The Qing Empire came to an end in 1912, and Manchoukuo disappeared with Japan’s imperial empire in 1945. Yet collective and individual memories of the two empires persist in the Manzu’s narrations of their pasts. “The remembering and the telling are themselves events, not only description of events” (Portelli 1981b, 175). Manzu accounts of ...

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pp. 283-298

Opposing the abdication of the last emperor, Prince Su left Beijing for Lüshun (Port Arthur) in south Manchuria. He wrote the poem quoted above upon his departure. Although the Manchus had ruled China Proper for 267 years from their base of power in the Forbidden City in Beijing, this Manchu prince concluded that the Beijing area was not his homeland. ...

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pp. 299-303

In Northeast China, the early history of the Qing has promoted local tourism since the 1990s. Tours of the hometown and old palace of the Late Jin and early Qing dynasties have helped to teach the populace something about Manchu ethnohistory.1 At Hetu’ala and Xinbin, the early history of the emerging empire under Nurgaci is related through ...


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pp. 305-311


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pp. 313-355


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pp. 357-401


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pp. 403-413

E-ISBN-13: 9780824860226
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824834456

Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: World of East Asia