Manzhouguo’s Forgotten Collaborators, 1932-1945

Jennifer Imber


Manzhouguo, the puppet state established in 1932 in the Manchuria by Japan, has become, for contemporary China, a humiliating mark on its history. In records of this event, many Chinese historians glorify the resistance fighters who challenged the invasion, while ignoring the multitudes of collaborators working within the new state. The examination of this high degree of collaboration contributes to scholar Prasenjit Duara’s argument that Manzhouguo’s goal was to become a sovereign and authentic state. This is shown by Manzhouguo’s survival, in a hostile region, for thirteen years. Therefore, it is imperative that one examines the forgotten lives of those who collaborated.  This paper looks at the various motivations that inspired collaborators to begin working with the Manzhouguo state. In addition, it studies the context in which these individuals are today remembered through Chinese monuments, museums, and textbooks. This paper pieces together motivations for cooperation with Japan by the use of primarily confessions and documents from war criminal management sites after the fall of Manzhouguo, an examination of the demographics of participants, and theories on the nature of collaboration. Upon completion of the research, it can be seen that the primary reasons for collaboration were extremely varied and could stem from almost anything, including: confusion, convenience, fear, different understandings of personal identity, and even defiance.


Collaborator; China; Colonialism

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