Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

This is the first in a multi-post project on German geographers and intellectuals and their interaction with Japan in the 1930s and 1940s, with a nominal focus on Manchuria and the border region between Manchukuo and colonial Korea. These are themes which I have begun exploring tentatively in a new journal publication entitled ‘ ‘Owen Lattimore and Research on the Sino-Korean Borderlands, 1931-1945‘ (European Journal of … Continue reading Karl Haushofer and Japan (1): Geographers and Intellectual Links into the Fascist Period

Report on Opium in China from the German Embassy in Tokyo, 1944

On June 8, 1944, the German Embassy in Tokyo sent a report back to the Auswärtiges Amt, or Foreign Ministry. Unlike so many other files dealing with foreign affairs, at this particular dispatch showed no signs of Ribbentrop’s blue pencil — the German foreign minister was notoriously narcissistic and had to see the full text of every article mentioning his name. Instead the leader dealt … Continue reading Report on Opium in China from the German Embassy in Tokyo, 1944

Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

The German Chancellor was in Tokyo for a couple of eventful days. Although Merkel sees Abe Shinzo regularly, she noted before leaving  that she has not been to Japan, the country that she tactfully calls “Germany’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia” (after China, naturally), since 2008. There cannot be a great deal of desire on Merkel’s part to talk about World War II amid the rest of … Continue reading Angela Merkel and Japan’s Wartime Past

Nanking Film Trailers

Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, “Nanking,” 2007, a documentary interspersing authentic historical footage with reenacted readings of journals, diaries, and letters by Westerners who were in the Chinese capital city in 1937-38. Lu Chuan’s “City of Life and Death” (2009), a black-and-white cinematic masterpiece. Realism, and the Japanese point of view, is the advanced technique taken by this Chinese director.  “City of Life and Death” … Continue reading Nanking Film Trailers

Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

In his compact yet epic collection of short stories entitled Men Without Women, American writer Ernest Hemingway describes an Italian major who, bereft of a limb and then his wife, puts his broken faith in the new machines.  Hope, after all, has to be garnered in some fashion, even when the missing limbs continue to tingle, when one only wishes to stare out the window, … Continue reading Notions of Incompleteness and Hope: Fragments for Future Appropriation

From the Print World

Suggested Readings in Sino-North Korean Relations: Alisa Jones, “Nationalizing the Past: Korea in Chinese History,” Journal of Northeast Asian History, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Winter 2009): 103-140. [full text here as pdf.] CHO Kyeongran, “Contemporary Chinese Nationalism and East Asia,” Journal of Northeast Asian History, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Winter 2009): 31-75. [full text available here] KIM Jeonghyun, “Changes in the Historiography of Korean History … Continue reading From the Print World

Viewing Japan and China, circa 1937-38, via Nazi Archives

Among other things, I’ve spent a couple of days back in the Bundesarchiv here in Berlin, and found a new trove of materials in the R55 section, which is the Reichsministrium fuer Volksaufklaerung und Propaganda.  These are, in other words, documents from the Propaganda Ministry run by Dr. Goebbels.  To my knowledge, these files have never been used as the basis of a study of … Continue reading Viewing Japan and China, circa 1937-38, via Nazi Archives

On Potsdam’s “Hiroshima Plaza”

In describing German responses to the Hiroshima commemoration yesterday, I made reference to an editorial which appeared in a major Berlin daily paper last June 30: …probably the most interesting item on the Hiroshima commemorations to emerge of late in the German press…is an editorial by Robert S. McKay…[which] foregrounds [and disputes] all of the [Hiroshima] commemorations with the notion that Japanese focus on war … Continue reading On Potsdam’s “Hiroshima Plaza”