TYPE: Fan
DIMENSIONS: 20 inches in diameter when opened (about 50cm)
CONDITION: Superb artwork, fine colors, some separation of paper (could be repaired), generally good shape for the age.
NOTES: Previously unseen and very rare.
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Yoshiko Kawashima Biography in Chinese

ITEM ID: 1321
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Yoshiko Kawashima Manchukuo Propaganda Fan

DATE
Year: 1932
Decade: 1930s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

A Japanese propaganda fan and dated 1932. According to scholar Stephen Large of Cambridge University, “A puzzler! The flag with red, yellow, blue, white, and black bands dates from the early Republic of China, if I am not mistaken, and later used in Manchukuo to represent the propaganda vision of the unity of the five races (Japanese, Manchus, Han Chinese, Mongols, and Koreans) and later for the puppet state in northern China. It will probably have to be someone in Chinese history to help with this given that the scene to the left marks a patriotic victory of the five races led by our erstwhile lady warrior in some (sea? river?) battle.

My guess is that the whole thing is about a key event in the Manchurian Incident. It is almost certainly Kawashima Yoshiko (Japanese name), a fascinating and controversial figure in the Manchukuo story (see Wikipedia). A Manchu descendant, fighter, pro-Japanese darling known as a fighter and spy. Celebrated in film, etc etc. On the reverse the penultimate line reads: 渡満記念 昭和七年六月 (Celebrating crossing over to Manchuria June Showa 7 [=1932]). The last two lines on the back (at the extreme left) are handwritten and are what was written when the fan was presented to a Japanese person who had arrived in Manchuria in or before June 1932.”

Yoshiko Kawashima (川島 芳子, Kawashima Yoshiko, 24 May 1907 – 25 March 1948) was a Qing dynasty princess of Manchu descent. She was raised in Japan and served as a spy for the Japanese Kwantung Army and Manchukuo during the Second Sino-Japanese War. She is sometimes known in fiction under the pseudonym “Eastern Mata Hari”. After the war, she was captured, tried, and executed as a traitor by the Nationalist government of the Republic of China. She was also a notable descendant of Hooge, eldest son of Hong Taiji.

Scholar Peter Kornicki notes that, “There is a biography of her in Chinese here (see link). She is the same person known as Tuolong. So I tentatively suggest that this fan actually commemorates her and actually has nothing to do with the Manchurian Incident except for the fact that it was given to a Japanese man in commemoration of his arrival in Manchuria in 1932. The last two lines on the back (at the extreme left) are handwritten and are what was written when the fan was presented to a Japanese person who had arrived in Manchuria in or before June 1932.”