Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, and Culture)
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Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907–1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.
Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with many daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.
While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932―one reason she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan: some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the richest and most accurate portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.
newcomer, she went to Matsumoto Girls High School on her horse—which she claimed was a descendant of Napoléon’s favorite mount—and thereby brought Manchu warrior traditions to the streets of Matsumoto. One of her classmates never forgot her first impression of the school’s newest student. She really stood out. Think of it—she came to school on a horse! The first time I saw Yoshiko she was dismounting. In those days, not many people rode horses. The Fiftieth Regiment [stationed in Matsumoto] was
acquainted with the family. In fact, Ganjurjab had lived for a while in Naniwa’s home in Tokyo. Ganjurjab had just graduated from Japan’s Army Academy at the time of the marriage, and in the wedding photograph, he maintains his reserve, not revealing whether he is the man to carry on the martial exploits that had distinguished his father. A very young twenty-four, Ganjurjab wears Mongol wedding silks, while his bride, Yoshiko, sits beside him in her own flowing silk gown. She had herself arranged
her to dance or got her autograph or escorted her to restaurants. She stopped spending any time in our house. Afterward Ganjurjab took her away with him to Tushiyetu and tried to lead a quiet life there. But how could you expect her to have the patience to live on those bleak, lonely plains? … Then she just disappeared. We had no idea where she was. My brother felt that she was already sunk into depravity by then, and nothing could save her. So he didn’t go looking for her. Others disagree and
Russians could speak French. My office thrived.” His reputation soared when he won a case involving a White Russian doctor blamed for the death of a beautiful young Russian Communist patient during a hemorrhoid operation. Abe’s legal expertise seems less formidable, however, when he claims that he did not realize that the Japanese army had ignored the law in creating Manchukuo. “I shamelessly showed off my knowledge of legal theories, but only those that applied to the cultural centers in the
depend on, whom she loved from the bottom of her heart, who made her feel a woman’s true happiness.” Still, Sasakawa saw that too much of Yoshiko meant mayhem constantly coming his way, and when she offered to become his secretary so that they could be together all the time, he turned her down. He did try to use her skills as a lecturer, scheduling her to speak before members of his political party. This plan too went nowhere. “She would promise to lecture, but on the day of her talk, she would