Bubble at the Summit: Insecurities in Kim Jong-un Itineraries

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Borderlands / factionalism in North Korea / Kim Jong-un / Kim Jong-un health / Manchuria / North Korea / North Korean border region / Op-Ed / Sino-North Korean relations / Yanbian
KJU Wonsan

Is Kim Jong-un staggeringly confident, or do his behaviours and travel itineraries betray personal neuroses and structural fears? The short answer is that it depends on the issue under discussion.

Let’s take the economy for starters. Like a shrimp rediscovering its appetite after an awful oil spill, the North Korean economy appears to be improving, or so argue a number of indicators. Several smaller dams around the Huichon behemoth are coming online, meaning there is more power in Pyongyang, where the construction boom does not appear to be slackening. Although little headway appears to have been made in terms of actual drill bits biting into rock, North Korea does not seem to have problems attracting mineral exploration from Mongolian firms, including for offshore oil. The country also sits upon a perception that it is a potential rare-earth superpower. (This perception, by the way, has yet to be fully explored as truthful or not, although my colleagues and I are working on some deep-structure documentation on the matter.) So in spite of sanctions, rocky public discourse with China, and the ever-present possibility of the US Department of Treasury tightening the clamps on the country’s international financial flows, Kim Jong-un may indeed have cause to smile when he looks at things in this sector.

However, when it comes to his recent trip to Mount Paektu, I think a more cautious assessment is in order. In a working paper I published last month with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, I argued that Kim Jong-un and his handlers are actually rather nervous about his fragile domestic political legitimacy.

The execution of Jang Song-taek was never meant to, and could not, permanently anchor a culture of fearful obedience to the Kim family; ongoing coercive and persuasive pressure is needed. Moreover, the personality cult does not axiomatically replenish itself. There has been a huge effort made, therefore, to associate the young and inexperienced Kim with his father and grandfather in their respective periods of (allegedly politically experienced and militarily brilliant) youth. If Kim Jong-il was helping to run the Korean War at age 11 or unleashed the “Songun revolution” at age 18, the logic goes, then Kim Jong-un can run the Party, the National Defense Commission, the consumer economy, musical productions, the “outer space program,” the ever-important monument-and-memorial-paintings-and-statues sector, and foreign policy simultaneously at the ripe old age of 30. The same logic is being used for the rather delicate elevation of his younger sister into positions of high esteem and bureaucratic clout, though at less of a fever pitch.

So his trip to Mount Paektu makes imminent sense: He is simply trading on his only major asset, which is his bloodline, elevating it (and his physical resemblance to his grandfather, whose weight also yo-yoed over time) over all else. This is about as simple as it gets.

But I think we have to move beyond simply gasping, guffawing, or gnawing on the images produced at Paektu’s mighty and blustery summit. (Something, after all, needs to be left for political geographers who write about “landscapes of charisma” and North Korean volcanoes.) We need to think for a moment about Kim Jong-un’s itinerary in the context of recent news from North Korea’s northern frontier, and Kim’s pending (shall we say “probable”?) visit to Moscow.

Much as North Korean propagandists might like us to believe otherwise, Mount Paektu does not exist in some parallel universe; it spreads along the border with China and is in fact half-Chinese. More to the point, the mountain is also part of Ryanggang province and is relatively close to the resort town of Samjiyeon and the gritty border city of Hyesan.

If Kim Jong-un wanted to put on a show of real confidence which indicated he had matters under control — particularly in the realm of border security, where he is said by some sources to be extremely active — the place to do it would be Hyesan, and not Mount Paektu. But instead, Kim Jong-un left Paektu and turned up next (and in short order) at the east coast city of Wonsan, happily huffing down his self-prescribed nicotine and being photographed in front of an orphanage with the world’s most unsubtle inscription over the door: “Thank you, Respected General Kim Jong-un!”

In other words, Kim Jong-un, clearly enamored of flying around the DPRK, very likely flew from Pyongyang to Samjiyeon, was somehow conveyed to the top of Mt. Paektu, and then flew from Samjiyeon to Wonsan. In no case did he travel, nor has he ever apparently traveled to Hyesan. Perhaps the city is too loaded with smugglers and illegal activity for his retinue to encourage him to set foot there, or perhaps the North Korean security state really believes all the smoke it has been blowing for the past three years about assassins and vandals prowling around the Sino-Korean border.

In over three years of ostensibly governing North Korea, Kim Jong-un has yet to set foot in Sinuiju, Hyesan, Musan, Namyang, Onsung, Chongjin, or Rason. The farthest North he appears to have made it (with the exception of the Samjiyeon/Paektu bubble, into and out of which he can take his private jet) is Kanggye.

This is not the itinerary of a politician, and certainly not the behaviour of a confident dictator. The irony is that his grandfather used to turn up in these northern cities, spending hours in epic rants about corruption and inefficiency, going on long and windy tangents about the need for more rabbit breeding in elementary schools across the country. (Yes, this was the solution to the age-old “food problem” given by Kim Il-sung in a speech in Chongjin in 1980; for some reason it never seems to have worked.)

But Kim Jong-un, in spite of all the effort to resemble grandfather physically  — down to the large folds on the back of his neck and the reverse-engineering of statues of Kim Il-sung to look more like himself — nevertheless lacks the original dictator’s confidence and freedom of movement within the country over which he allegedly rules with an iron fist.

One clue can be found in the recent hour-long press conference that focused on North and South Korean intelligence operations in Dandong, which I covered here and which Stephan Haggard also analyzed. One of the core accusations made during that strange event was that South Korean spies were maneuvering in Manchuria to kill Kim Jong-il on one of his many train trips into the PRC in 2010-2011, doing so presumably absent any constraints from the Chinese comrades on whose territory they were operating. China hardly needs yet another signal to confirm that Kim Jong-un will not be taking his first foreign junket to Beijing, but I thought this was crystal clear: “We don’t trust you,” the North Korean state media was saying to Beijing in that press conference, “to keep our precious leader safe.”

A colleague of mine once told me that on Kim Jong-il’s train trips around the northeast of China in 2010-11, the Dear Leader’s feces were hoarded by the North Koreans as a kind of state secret, since they didn’t want Chinese intelligence to be able to do any type of test relating to the man’s failing health.

This is the kind of leadership, security system, and entourage we are dealing with. Wondering aloud about “opening up and reform” n North Korea seems particularly silly when it seems to have such a difficult time merely taking care of the basic things that heads of states are charged with, like allowing the leader to flush a toilet without a special investigation being called while on the occasional foreign trip. And yes, progress can certainly be made on Special Economic Zones and Economic Development Zones absent the Midas touch of a Kim Jong-un on-site inspection, but why should they be denied even the glancing fingertip of the alleged institutional creator, whose job it is not simply to show up and grin, but to assure that the model enterprise in question is well-supplied and politically safe?

The groundwork has clearly been laid for a Kim Jong-un trip to Moscow in early May. However, the aftermath of the Paektu visit and Kim Jong-un’s ongoing confinement to several plush pockets and well-bombarded testing sites do not inspire confidence that the young man will take the trip after all, assuming his health is up to it in the first instance.


Notes on Kim Ki-nam, and on North Korean Cultural Production

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Music / North Korea
Rodong Sinmun Singers 2015-04-18-04-02

The Chosun Ilbo carries the news that Kim Ki-nam, head of North Korea’s Ministry of Propaganda and one of the few remaining members of the famous funeral cortege of December 2011, has finally stepped down from his post.  I previously analyzed the possibility of Kim Ki-nam’s retirement, and his place in the North Korean system, in this June 2014 article on musical propaganda. Earlier in spring 2013, I described Kim Ki-nam’s unique role in the North Korean system and his ability to “be both been seen and heard,” unlike his soon-to-be-purged colleague.

If Kim Yo-jong (the younger sister of the present Supreme Leader) is indeed to update North Korea’s propaganda apparatus, she might consider bringing back the Moranbong Band from a rather long hiatus, getting over whatever stomach bug seems to be knocking her out in the middle of on-site inspections, and having more overt displays of historical analogies comparing her to the armed and bureaucratically formidable “mother of the nation” Kim Jong-suk.

On the Melodic Aspect of Political Purges | A key musical element to the Jang Song-taek purge was the song “We Only Know You.” However, from the North Korean state perspective, there were several songs that could have been used which were already in existence, such as “Let’s defend General Kim Jong-un with our lives!” This song certainly would have suited with its heaviness and more importantly its evocation of the “Paekdu bloodline” which Jang Song-taek was so manifestly lacking. (Note the guerilla images in the first stanza.) But this song, which I believe was composed in January 2012, was lacking in any connection to the more “future-oriented” Moranbong Band, and it had female voices, which presumably would not give sufficient weight to the post-purge messaging of heavy destruction for the enemies of state. Thus the song “We Only Know You” has Moranbong instrumental accompaniment, but no female voices. Perhaps it was necessary to have a new song, then, to demonstrate that a real clean break had been made, or was necessary.

The fundamental message of songs like “We will safeguard the leadership of the revolution with desperate courage,” another State Merited Chorus classic, would have suited, but the names shouted out would have had to been changed from “Kim Jong-il” to “Kim Jong-un.” While this method of pure transposition or cipher substitution is in a way at the heart of the whole enterprise of the management of the personality cult, it can’t be done overly obviously; the fiction (which then becomes reality) is that Kim Jong-un himself is undertaking acts which themselves guarantee the undying loyalties of the masses, who happen also to respect his Paektu lineage, an aspect explored further by Tania Branigan with regard to “Footsteps” (see “North Korea’s Kim Jong-un gets new official theme song,The Guardian, 6 July 2012).

Reading “Realism” in North Korean Art | A recent panel led by Koen de Custer in Chicago on the subject of cultural production on North Korea  engaged with many productive ideas, as did the Leiden University scholar’s paper. (See Koen de Ceuster, “Truer than Life: Reality in North Korean Socialist Realist Paintings,” paper presented at “View from Within and Without: Art, Architecture, and Archaeology of North Korea” panel, Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago, 28 March 2015.)

De Custer’s work is rather useful in that he describes some of the philosophical aspects of being a North Korean artist, and how one can engage in what he calls “truthfulness” in the North Korean sense even while (and in fact, through) making up aspects of the Kim’s lives, or in beautifying aspects of life in North Korea.

His former student Min-Kyung Yoon delves into this at somewhat greater length in her dissertation, leaning on Evgeny Dobrenko’s book Political Economy of Socialist Realism (translated by Jesse M. Savage [New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007]). Yoon writes:

“The original reality undergoes a facelift, passing through socialist realism, creating a brand new socialist reality. By displacing the destructiveness, violenc,e and poverty of state socialism, leaving the system unrepresented, unarticulated, and ultimately de-realized, socialist realism created a a new, substitute reality by aestheticizing it.” (Min-Kyung Yoon, “Aestheticized Politics: The Workings of North Korean Art,” PhD dissertation, Leiden University, 2014, p. 58.)

Cultural Unification: Tangible Goal or Phantasiebild? Hyesun Shin writes about North Korean defector performance groups in South Korea. In her paper, entitled “Impact of the Arts on Identity (Re)Construction: North Korean Defectors’ Performances on the South Korean Stage,” the question of transferability of North Korean art forms into a post-unification society arises via a fine array of interview data and performance statistics.

Is North Korea’s Moranbong Band being put out there as a sop to South Korea? I think not, but this question of cultural proximity is particularly interesting — as there are very few such moments or possibility, such as the Unhasu Orchestra tour to Paris in 2012.

We seem to be daily alerted by journalists and academics of indicators that the cultural threat to the DPRK’s state monopoly from information leaking in over the “porous” northern border with China is in some ways greater than ever. Yet the South “Korean Wave” has been penetrating in over the northern frontier since the time of the the Great Famine of the 1990s. Perhaps there should probably be a statue of limitations on people calling this a new thing, or, to use an Americanism, a “game changer”? Plowing through some of my paper archives in Seattle, I recently ran into a big piece on this theme by Barbara Demick in the LA Times in 2003 which argued that the information blockade of the regime is no longer effective. (See also Elisabeth Rosenthal, “The East is Blue and Orange as Hip-Hop Invades,” New York Times, March 8, 2001.)

Koreans and Military Training in Japan, 1947-48

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Korean War / US occupation of Japan

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in a single box at the US National Archives — otherwise known as RG331 (Allied Operational and Occupation HQ), SCAP Government Section, Administrative Division, Purge Miscellaneous File, 1945-51, box 2054, “Administration to Directives [Screened].”

This is a box of “screened” purge candidates. It is hugely disorganized, with no real folders, everything mixed in together, but amid the probably 2000 pages there are many single documents of great interest. Without comment, I’ll offer excerpts from two.

> Hans H. Baerwald to Major Napier, re: “The Korean Democratic National Defense Body,” 2 August 1948.

“For a period of about four months, [the Chiba Military Govt. Team, HW, Second Cavalry Brigade and 24th CIC Detachment] is reported as an organization affording military and quasi-military training to a group of Koreans within the meaning of paragraph 1f of SCAPIN 548….”

“The organization conducts military drills, has some uniforms made of the same material as uniforms of the Japanese army officers, and has as its main objective the formation of a Korean national defense army in Japan. The organization at present has a membership of 17 people of which 12 call themselves officers of the organization. To date the organization has not engaged in any strong-arm or terrorist activities, however…its existence [is] a definite violation of SCAPIN 548.”

“Inasmuch as the organization is composed of virulent Korean nationalists who wish to defend the Southern zone of Korea against the expected onslaught by the Korean communists residing North of the 38th Parallel, it is believed that, if possible, the officers and members of the organization concerned be given the opportunity to return to their fatherland and there to give aid to their fellow countrymen.”

> Application for Remaining in Office, by KABA Isao, 1 Dec. 1947, to First Demob Bureau; Letter by K Asakai, Director of General Affairs, Central Liasion office, re: “Request for Temporary Retention of KABA, Isao in First Demobilization Bureau,” 29 December 1947.

“Investigation of the missing ex-soldiers from Korea (Koreans) has been dealt with in the same manner as in the case of Japanese, but at present, as Korea is separated from Japan, the psychology of the family members of the demobilized or the dead is different from that of the Japanese, so in some cases they were not satisfied with such treatment…to transact this kind of work justly one who understands the psychology of the Koreans and who knows the conscription system applied to them is absolutely necessary but we had not been able to the suitable person for the business up to the present until we found him.”

“Mr. Kaba was naturalized as a Japanese in February 1938 to succeed to the linage of Kaba family. He was formerly a Korean, so he is of course well versed in the mentality of Koreans. Furthermore, he had served in a unit in Korea for three years since 1933. He was, in addition, in the Chosen Army HQs for eight years from 1937 up to the war’s end. Again, the is the only man who took charge of the business concerning the Special Volunteer System an the Conscription System applied to the Koreans, so he is the first man who knows the things pertaining to the ex-soldiers from Korea” Besides he is well acquainted with key men in Korea during his service in the Chosen Army HQs, and is a pretty famous person in that country.”

Ideology and Anti-Factionalism: A Survey of North Korean Workers’ Party Publishing Output in 1958

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history and memory / North Korea

In May 2010, the US Central Intelligence Agency released a file which it had had in its files for many decades: Korean Books (in Korean), No. 1, Catalogue of Books by Korean Worker’s Party Publishing House. 

While in most other contexts such a text would be open-source, finding the book (along with a hell of a lot of extremely interesting materials) during today’s foray into the CREST database at the US National Archives in College Park, Maryland, was eye-opening for me.

Since the late 1950s were supposedly an era of heightened nationalism and the beginning of the end of any pretext at Marxism for North Korea, the texts published in 1958 are particularly interesting. For fantastic reading on this theme, see the ongoing debate in Pacific Affairs (excerpted and analyzed by the singular Robert Winstanley-Chesters), reference Leonid Petrov’s short conference paper “North Korean Historians at the Helm of Power (1945-1950),” have a look at Petrov’s longer article “Turning Historians into Party Scholar-Bureaucrats: North Korean Historiography from 1955-58,” read extremely well-sourced research by the Wilson Center’s James Person (“We Need Help from Outside: The North Korean Opposition Movement of 1956“), buy Charles Armstrong’s new book (The Tyranny of the Weak), or just read what Andrei Lankov was rather busy with in the 1990s.

The 1958 catalogue provides not just titles and summaries of books published in Pyongyang that year, but also indicates how many copies were published — helpful information indeed. Marx receives prominent place: 20,000 copies of Das Kapital were published, along with 10,000 copies each of The Poverty of Philosophy and Holy Family (the latter co-authored by Engels). Lenin comes in a close second: 12,000 copies of each about half a dozen volumes from his Collected Works were published in Korean that year. Two volumes (1 and 2, naturally) were published of Kim Il-sung: Selected Works, of 50,000 copies each. Volume 1 begins in 1945 and ends with the close of 1947, texts largely focused on Party consolidation, with economic development being the secondary concern.

The appearance of Kim Il-sung in the catalogue is followed by a curious text: G.V. Prekhanov’s Role of the Individuals in the Development of History, issued in spring 1958 with some 10,000 copies. According to the summary, this text “explains the role played by the individuals in history and proves scientifically that the history is created by the people themselves” (p. 14). If this sounds something like juche philosophy, then perhaps Soviet comrades need a bit more credit in their role in helping to construct North Korea’s unique (or was it derivative?) ideology. Fortunately the concluding lines of the summary remind the reader that “This book is the work of a Marxist.”

With the Marx, Engels, Lenin, Kim Il-sung, and a sympathetic Soviet expert having held figuratively forth (in that order), the North Korean academy is finally able to open up its productive gates to unleash a flood of new titles, such as A Critique of Modern Bourgeois Philosophy (Ham Bong-suk, 15,000 copies), Development of Marxist-Leninst Theory on Socialist Revolution (Pak To-myung, 15,000 copies; his abstract only says that Marxism was developed by Lenin, with nary a Kim Il-sung reference), and What is Historical Materialism? (Kim Shi-joong, 40,000 copies, an easy introduction for the masses). These treatises are capped off by a 20,000 print run of Dialectical Materialism by Molis Kolkns, a British Marxist. Could a foreigner, even an ostensible friend to North Korea like Felix Abt, get a print run of 20,000 books today in Pyongyang?

The purges of the prior two years do rear their heads up: Kim Shi-joong, having published an easy pamphlet already, earns his salary with an 88 page short book on Sectarian Evils Inflicted Upon to the Korean Revolution and Struggle of the Korean People Against Them, which “analyses historically and exposes the true nature of the anti-Party sects in the Party in the past” and “shows how the Party, in the course of the struggle against the sects, ensured monolithic and protected the purity of Marxism-Leninism.”

While the scholar Kim Shi-joong clearly knew where his sympathies needed to lie with the text, it is worth noting that even such books that supported Kim Il-sung in his factional maneuverings in the late 1950s would not be considered sufficiently orthodox only ten short years later, when Kim Jong-il took control of Party history writing and began the process — hardly instantaneous but surely inexorable — of wrestling North Korea’s many narratives into a single story of the triumph of the Kim family.

Pu Yi as Witness

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history and memory / Manchuria / War Crimes / World War II
Pu Yi in captivity in Fushun, 1956; photo by Dave Lancashire

In his 1946 testimony at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (the Tokyo Trials), Pu Yi, the former Emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, proved to be an exceptionally difficult witness. The following extract from the IMFTE Proceedings (p. 4,085) seems to capture the obdurate and unproductive nature of his eight-day appearance at Tokyo.

Q. On what date was Manchukuo established as a country?

A. Please don’t ask me any more about the question of dates.

Reading through this material is, frankly, rather painful for the student of history, for Pu Yi is constantly interrupted, disingenuous about the state of his own notes, fearful, and shifty.

While my main interest in revisiting Pu Yi in the context of war crimes proceedings is connected to his appearance at the 1956 Shenyang Trials, his 1964 autobiography also offers the reader certain food for thought in this regard. Whereas in Tokyo, he had played the part of a wholly traumatized individual who had blotted out whole years of his once-remembered life (surely a familiar refrain for contemporary coaxers and readers of North Korean defector narratives), at times in his autobiography, written under the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party following his 1959 special pardon, Pu Yi recalls things with exceptional clarity. In the case of his return to the throne in 1931-32, Pu Yi is even able to recall his personal psychology in an almost Jungian fashion:  “I had been dreaming of re-ascending the throne for several nights running,” he wrote (vol. 1, p. 219).

Pu Yi is then perilously being smuggled in a car boot out of the Japanese concession at Tianjin, noting that “underneath the friction between the Japanese government and army there lay unity” (vol. 1, p. 233), thus speaking to debates over unitary vs. fragmentary views of the Japanese war effort.

When Pu Yi finally gets aboard a ship in Tianjin and lands at the northeastern port of Yinkou, there are no cheering crowds to welcome him, just Japanese agents. Other small details are interesting: Pu Yi breaks cigarettes in half when he gets made or upset (vol. 1, p. 240).He has very distinct views about the Manchukuo flag — he hates it — and about the need for a rectification of names. Speaking from a deep well of tradition (and thus in utter futility) he tells Itagaki Seishiro:

If names are not right, then speech will not be in order, and if speech is not in order then nothing will be accomplished. The people of Manchuria are not longing for me as an individual, but for the Great Qing Emperor (vol. 1., p. 245).

Later in the same conversation, he rages that “there are no good National Assemblies” (vol. 1, p. 246). Pu Yi seemed to see himself, at least in this reading, as the avatar of the 大清 (Great Qing), not as the front man for a new experiment in multiethnic metropolitan modernity undergirded by exploitation of massive natural resources and the sinews of Japanese technical and military expertise.

Manchukuo is then declared (vol. 2, p. 253). In Pu Yi’s telling, it is an inglorious beginning: “Itagaki had provided Japanese prostitutes for the guest, and he fondled and embraced them without bothering about the conventions of polite behavior.” Itagaki quickly becomes drunk. One of the prostitutes, making small talk with Pu Yi in distinctly unfluent Mandarin, asks if he is in trade.

For legal scholars, there is an absolutely dynamite moment with respect to command responsibility. Pu Yi writes: “If one compares the Kwantung Army to a source of high-tension electric current and myself to an electric motor, then Yoshioka was a wire of high conductivity” (vol. 2, p. 253).  This is the kind of statement the prosecutors at Tokyo would have salivated to hear at the time, but naturally Pu Yi said no such thing at the time, insisting that he was but a victimized and fully-controlled front.

While he is on the one hand “an electric motor” in his Autobiography, he is also preoccupied. Pu Yi seems rather focused in this text on his petty punishments for servants, and his Buddhist neuroses. While the extensive writing on these things (vol. 2, pp. 304-312) is clearly part of the CCP’s efforts to induce guilt among the gentry for having mistreated servants and peasants, it is also clear that he is able to argue thereby that he was disconnected in his petty tyranny from such functional issues as Unit 731, and movements of troops. Of course he must have been at least reading newspapers from his imperial quarters in Changchun/Xinjing, which was the center of a thriving publishing industry, as scholars like Norman Smith have demonstrated.

Citation: Pu Yi, From Emperor to Citizen: The Autobiography of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi , 2 vols, (Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1964).

Image credit: Pu Yi in captivity in 1956 Fushun, image by Dave Lancashire, via William Carter.

Chinese Journalists and the U.S. Occupation of Japan

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China / Chinese nationalism / history and memory / Public Diplomacy / Sino-Japanese Relations / US occupation of Japan / US-Japan relations / World War II
Wang Yunsheng in Office

At the conclusion of eight years of Japanese occupation of nearly every major city in the Republic of China, Chinese journalists were prepared not just to celebrate victory but to join the Allied nations in occupying Japan. The desire to undo the fundamental reorientation of the Sino-Japanese hierarchy of 1894-95  and restore China to regional preeminence was nearly universal, as was the consensus of seeing China finally turn the corner on economic dysfunction and to a assume a newly elevated seat among the global order. Instead, the Republic was plunged again into civil war, Japanese troops and civilians were slow in departing, the Soviets stayed on in new bases in southern Manchuria, and the US sent 50,000 troops to North China. Then, in 1947 and 1948, under the narcissistic leadership of Douglas MacArthur, the occupation of Japan took what appeared to be a rather rapid turn toward the conservation of Japanese power rather than its fundamental diffusion.

This coming 6 May, I will be presenting a paper about (and against) this historical backdrop at the Global History Research Seminar at the University of Leeds. This paper focuses on the role played by moderate Chinese journalists and left-wing cartoonists in shaping images of Japan in the era of US occupation (1945-1952), and aims at reperiodizing and reconceptualizing our view of the “international aspects” of that occupation. Recognizing that the rhetoric of anti-Japanese resistance was not easily sloughed off, the paper will struggle with the meaning of “anti-Japanese” in the early years of the postwar. Using archival documents, the paper will also delve into the ineptness of American propagandists connected to Douglas MacArthur. Along with looking at incidents and protests, this paper will highlight the difficulty of parsing out a truly “Chinese communist propaganda” role in terms of channeling anti-Japanese sentiment in China, putting moderate journalist Wang Yunsheng (王芸生) and his 1947 trip to Tokyo at the center of the argument.