Postcards from Manchukuo

20140527_114618I recently bought these two Japanese postcards, one depicting the most important weapon any army has employed in the quest for the ultimate whooping of the other guys’ ass: corporals (here portrayed as sentinels, but to me it seems they do suspiciously little sentinelling and lots of sitting down and telling improbable-but-probably-true-stories). Why do you think it is always SAS corporals (and sergeants) who basically do all of the work, all of the fighting, and all of the opening of cans of whoop-ass?

The other postcard portrays Tanggu harbour in Tianjin. Tanggu is where the Hai River enters the Bohai Sea, excuse me, the Parhae Sea (or Gulf). This is by the way where in 1933 the invasion of Manchuria by Japan came to an end with the Tanggu Truce. And to proceed to a loosely related topic: do check out the life of Zhang Xueliang, son of the erstwhile protector of Manchuria Zhang Zhoulin, who was blown to bits by the Japanese. His young son (27 at the time) was not as malleable as the Japanese had expected him to be. Nor was he as malleable as Chiang Kai-s20140527_114603hek wanted him to be, resulting in house arrest in Taipei for nearly fifty years. Yes, you read that right: fifty years. At the ripe age of 93, he emigrated to Hawaii, where he lived for another 8 years. You may want to read this book: Zhang Xueliang, The General Who Never Fought by Aron Shai.

 

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