Andrew Reed Hall: Constructing a 'Manchurian' Identity: Japanese Education in Manchukuo, 1931-1945.
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
This study investigates the creation and implementation of elementary and secondary education policy for Chinese-language schools by Japanese officials in the puppet state of Manchukuo. Using Manchukuo textbooks, education journals, and post-war memoirs, it examines the background of the policy-makers, the nature of the ideology they constructed, and the role language played in dissemination of the ideology. The study traces the efforts by the Japanese officials to create a new "Manchurian" national consciousness which they hoped would replace Chinese nationalistic identity among the majority Han Chinese. Originally they tried to shape this identity by employing familiar Chinese models which they expected would mask Japanese control. They used Confucian terminology and appeals to historical precedents to try to legitimize the creation of an independent northeastern state. In time, however, the weight of Japanese demands for empire-wide ideological orthodoxy led the Manchukuo leaders to abandon the Chinese models, and instead portray the state as client, dependent on the Japanese Emperor and in need of an injection of Japan's superior culture. Leading Japanese officials began to support forcing the Chinese to follow Japanese linguistic and ceremonial forms in hopes that it would cause them to appreciate and even willingly support the Japanese effort towards creating a unified Greater East Asia. In other words, their goals changed from securing an acquiescent population to creating willing allies, an effort in which they were ultimately unsuccessful. While the Manchukuo education bureaucracy supported the shift towards an emphasis on the Japanese language, as late as 1943 they resisted attempts at filling the curriculum with Japanese militaristic and imperial material, defying the current trend in Japan and Korea. This resistance was lead by a group of Japanese educators who were participants in the liberal "New Education movement" of the 1920s, who found in Manchukuo an opportunity to implement school reforms which had become impossible in the increasingly conservative atmosphere in Japan. Their success at keeping militaristic elements at bay demonstrates the Japanese empire was less monolithic than usually thought.