Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:

Images of Mongolians and Hui-Muslims from Japanese Photographers’ Eyes: What the Kahoku Kotsu Photo Collection Tells Us

Tue, June 23, 11:05am to 1:00pm, South Building, Floor: 7th Floor, S719


Years of colonization and war during the 19th and 20th century coincided with the centuries of the development of technology, including the invention and general-use of camera, photographs and mass-publishing. For example, one of the first things colonizers did was taking pictures of indigenous people in peripheral areas. In Japan, it started with taking pictures of Ainu people in Hokkaido. After the colonization of Taiwan and Korea, colonizers and administrators were very keen to take more pictures of indigenous people, for the purpose of administration, academic research, and commerce. Picture postcards of indigenous people were very popular among Japanese people to “understand” the imagined “realities” of the colony and to make them feel proud of Japanese Imperial expansion and national identity. In this context, images of Mongolian and Hui-Muslims of North China after the Marco Polo Incident in 1937 represented their last frontier of the pseudo-colony. Both ethnicities were regarded as tools of Japan’s divide-and-rule policy. In this presentation, I will introduce the photo collection of Kahoku Kotsu (Huabei Jiaotong, or North China Transportation Company) and describe how Mongolians and Hui Muslims were represented in this collection. These pictures were used for war propaganda, which stressed the “safety and stability” of North China under the occupation of Japanese Imperial Army, while hiding the brutal reality of the battlefield and aggression. Examination of images of the Mongolians and the Hui-Muslims from Japanese imperialists’ camera-eyes may suggest us how images of race and gender of “others” can be manipulated under the occupation.