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Race behind the Walls

Race behind the Walls

Contact and Containment in Japanese Images of Urban Manchuria

(p.180) 8 Race behind the Walls
The Affect of Difference
Kari Shepherdson-Scott
University of Hawai'i Press

During the 1930s, the South Manchuria Railway Company advertised the “Manchuria tour” to Japanese and foreign readers. It cast Manchuria (renamed Manchukuo, 1932–1945) as both a modern urban paradise and a wild frontier of different exotic cultures. Crucial components in this multi-faceted destination branding were photographs of walled Chinese cities. These old city spaces—repositories of “local color”—inevitably invited comparison with the new urban spaces and contributed to narratives of difference on the continent. These images circulated in the context of Manchukuo’s formative national slogan, gozoku kyōwa (or "the harmony of the five races"), as a means to code indigenous populations and cultures as exotic commodities for tourist consumption. The tensions at work in these representations—between desire, curiosity, proximity, anxiety, danger, and distance—are crucial indicators of the affect of difference at work in images of space and race in imperial media during this period.

Keywords:   Japan, Manchukuo, empire, race, tourism, media, exotic cultures, photography, gozoku kyōwa

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