In the late 1920s, the Manshū nippō was the leading Japanese newspaper in Northeast China. Owned by the South Manchuria Railway Company, it played a semi-official role in the dissemination of imperial discourse among Japanese expatriates and the Chinese elite. The Manshū nippō watched with apprehension the rise of the Nationalist Party in China, which it perceived as a threat to Japan’s position in Manchuria. Previous studies have argued that from 1928 the newspaper advocated a hardline policy toward the Nationalists, thus preparing public opinion for the invasion of the Northeast and the subsequent establishment of Manzhouguo. This article investigates how the Manshū nippō discussed the “Manchurian question” in the second half of 1929, while Japanese diplomacy under minister Shidehara Kijurō was coping with a Sino-Soviet conflict in the northern part of the region. The analysis shows that the newspaper exploited that crisis, together with the resurgence of civil strife in China, to buttress its argument for regional autonomy from the Nanjing government. Commentators, however, did not attempt to build a narrative that would justify the overthrow of the Fengtian regime. Therefore, at the time the Manshū nippō was not yet being used to generate support for a military solution to Sino-Japanese rivalry in Manchuria.

Framing the Manchurian Question: The Manshū Nippō and Regional Autonomy After the Return of Shidehara Diplomacy in 1929

Andrea Revelant
2021-01-01

Abstract

In the late 1920s, the Manshū nippō was the leading Japanese newspaper in Northeast China. Owned by the South Manchuria Railway Company, it played a semi-official role in the dissemination of imperial discourse among Japanese expatriates and the Chinese elite. The Manshū nippō watched with apprehension the rise of the Nationalist Party in China, which it perceived as a threat to Japan’s position in Manchuria. Previous studies have argued that from 1928 the newspaper advocated a hardline policy toward the Nationalists, thus preparing public opinion for the invasion of the Northeast and the subsequent establishment of Manzhouguo. This article investigates how the Manshū nippō discussed the “Manchurian question” in the second half of 1929, while Japanese diplomacy under minister Shidehara Kijurō was coping with a Sino-Soviet conflict in the northern part of the region. The analysis shows that the newspaper exploited that crisis, together with the resurgence of civil strife in China, to buttress its argument for regional autonomy from the Nanjing government. Commentators, however, did not attempt to build a narrative that would justify the overthrow of the Fengtian regime. Therefore, at the time the Manshū nippō was not yet being used to generate support for a military solution to Sino-Japanese rivalry in Manchuria.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3740752
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