Organized Panel Session
Why did they go to Manchuria and what opportunities awaited them? Although some left their homes voluntarily, many were forcibly relocated. In Manchuria, they lived as soldiers, engineers, farmers, merchants, and even as prostitutes. It was a complex place where multiple nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures intermingled and, often, generated tensions. Focusing on Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese migrants to Manchuria, this panel recreates the ways these groups tried to survive through various challenges.
Zatsepine’s paper examines social transformations Russians underwent through the 1920s and the 1930s. The stories of individual sojourners or settlers depict the weakening of Russian communities that were eventually manipulated by the Japanese colonial forces. Suleski, on the other hand, brings the life experiences of early Japanese settlers in Manchukuo through translations of Tales of Opening Manchuria published in 1941. This is the first time this publication has been translated into English, and it reveals entangled relationships between Japanese colonists and other ethnic groups. In Manchukuo, while dealing with Japanese colonialists and other ethnic peoples, Korean women were confronted by the patriarchy that limited their ability to earn a living. Lee explores the experiences of marginalization that pushed them into prostitution. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Manchuria was transformed into a great granary. However, the contributions made by the rural Chinese youths who wrought this change are most often ignored. Sun analyzes the impact of origin, gender, time, and means of arrival to create new images of people in what was once known as Manchuria.