I was just sent classified materials. 291 pages of classified, top secret data filled with numbers, analyses, tables, indexes. How do I know they are classified, you ask? Well, this here to the left is a dead give-away, the Chinese character equivalent of this immediately recognizable warning below:
Now how does a scholar of medieval Korea (who furthermore likes books, wears glasses and is fond of tweed jackets – yes, I fit the cliché) come into the possession of classified materials? Quite obviously it wasn’t kept under lock and key and was removed from the office. To mine, to be specific. Well, I can’t really tell you. Or if I did, I’d have to use my clandestine operations skills to silence you forever.
Okay, I don’t really know how they left the Japanese office they were once in and found their way to the outside. I bought them through that vibrant marketplace of illicit information exchange also called the internet. By then, these materials had resurfaced somewhere in China. Which given their contents makes sense: this is classified material related to Manchukuo and the South Manchurian Railway Company (in whose research department the research was done and the book was written). It goes into very much detail with regard to what was transported by the railways in Manchuria in 1934. It also offers a number of analyses on the present situation and on the future. It is in other words first-grade source material for the study of Manchukuo. No longer classified, of course, since both the Manchukuo Empire and the Greater Japanese Empire are things of the past. But do not begrudge a stuffy scholar his romantic imagination when coming across material such as this eminently useful book.