Resisting Manchukuo
216 pages, 6 x 9
25 b&w photos
Release Date:01 Jul 2008
Release Date:23 Apr 2007
Release Date:01 Jul 2008

Resisting Manchukuo

Chinese Women Writers and the Japanese Occupation

UBC Press

Norman Smith reveals the literary world of Japanese-occupied Manchuria (Manchukuo, 1932-45) and examines the lives, careers, and literary legacies of seven prolific Chinese women writers during the period. Smith shows how a complex blend of fear and freedom produced an environment in which Chinese women writers could articulate dissatisfaction with the overtly patriarchal and imperialist nature of the Japanese cultural agenda while working in close association with colonial institutions.

The first book in English on women’s history in twentieth-century Manchuria, Resisting Manchukuo adds to a growing literature that challenges traditional understandings of Japanese colonialism.

It will be of interest to those who study the history of East Asia, imperialism, and women.


  • 2009, Winner - Canadian Women's Studies Association Book Prize
This is a pathbreaking book. Norman Smith paints a complex and highly nuanced picture of a colonial society, which, for decades, has only been examined in starkly nationalist categories. One of the very first social histories of the Japanese occupation in the cities, Resisting Manchukuo is an artful blend of literary analysis and fascinating social history. Rana Mitter, author of A Bitter Revolution
Dealing with previously unexplored topics, Norman Smith illuminates new worlds for us. He casts light on what life was like for the Chinese living under Japanese rule and, surprisingly, the degree to which literary figures were able to thwart Japanese censorship. This book will be welcomed by all those interested in modern Chinese and Japanese history in the 1930s and 1940s and will probably spark debates about Chinese ‘collaboration’ with the Japanese during the Second World War. Ronald Suleski, author of Civil Government in Warlord China: Tradition, Modernization and Manchuria
Norman Smith is an assistant professor of history at the University of Guelph.


1 Chinese Women and Cultural Production in a Japanese Colonial Context

2 Foundations of Colonial Rule in Manchukuo and the “Woman Question”

3 Manchukuo’s Chinese-Language Literary World

4 Forging Careers in Manchukuo

5 Disrupting the Patriarchal Foundations of Manchukuo

6 Contesting Colonial Society

7 The Collapse of Empire and Careers

8 Resisting Manchukuo




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