Seminar - Rural control in Manchukuo under Japanese rule: 1932-1945

Rural control was an enormous project in Japan’s engineering of Manchukuo. In the eyes of the Japanese rulers, the significance of rural Manchukuo was two dimensional: political and economic. Its political significance lay in the potential of the large agricultural population there to contribute in various ways to Japan’s colonial projects in Asia, and therefore they needed to be managed through effective control mechanisms. The economic significance lay in the productivity of its resourceful land as an importance base for the economic output for Japan. To achieve the purpose of effective political and economic control over the rural area of Manchukuo, the Japanese authorities devised a series of systems that included the baojia system (保甲制), jiecun system (街村制), and the National Neighbourhood Association (国民隣保組織). These institutions, although distinctive in varying degrees, carried both political and economic functions, and showed important aspects of the Japanese colonial practices in Manchukuo. This presentation demonstrates the structural and practical reach of the Japanese control into the rural administration of Manchukuo. The following questions will be addressed: What was the role of the above-mentioned institutions in rural control? What evidence of the Japanese control tactics could be drawn from the evolution of these institutions? What was the connection of the institutions with the tradition of social control in China and Japan? This presentation suggests that despite the armed violence and institutional control imposed by the Japanese authorities on the rural society of Manchukuo, the rural control of Manchukuo was essentially ineffective and dysfunctional.

Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute