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

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Go East, Young Man or: Manchuria, Land Of Opportunities (1922)

20140518_230946If I had been a young man in the 1920s and had gotten hold of Manchuria, Land Of Opportunities (1922), I just might have bought myself a one-way ticket on a slow boat to Manchuria. In terms of opportunities, in particular investment opportunities, it doesn’t come much better than as described in painstaking detail in this book. Did you know for example that in 1920 1,955,464 gallons of lubricating oil were imported into Manchuria? Don’t ask me why. No, don’t. And that in the same year 52,508,400 pounds of perilla leaves were exported from Manchuria?

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The Last Fist Of Fury (1977)

 

dragon-lee

No, this is not Bruce Lee. It just isn’t. Really.

lastfistHere is a treat. An authentic Dragon Lee movie! Starring Dragon Lee 巨龍 거룡, whose Bruce Lee impersonation is so perfect it borders on the surreal. Bruceploitation at its best, it is hard to tell that this was originally a Korean movie. The original version is lost,

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Hapkido (1972)

hapkido2Here comes the unbreakable china doll to give you the kicking of your life! That is a fair description of this early Hong Kong/South Korean co-production made by Golden Harvest. Three Chinese students (Angela Mao as Yu Ying, Carter Wong as Kao Chang and Sammo Hung as Fan Wei)have practised Hapkido in colonial Korea for five years, but have to flee the country under increasing Japanese pressure.

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Kill The Shogun (1975)

1killtheshogunzu0“In 1592, the Japanese shogun Hideyoshi failed in his attempt to invade Korea (and later, China through Korea). This Hong Kong kung-fu thriller is loosely based on that historical incident. Since the real Hideyoshi is not an issue, and kung-fu is the star of the movie anyway, historical narration does not overpower the action. Basically, the movie shows the Koreans fighting the Japanese against all odds– but as everyone knows, that one Korean officer with the fast kicking feet, is going to whomp the heck out of anything that moves and single-handedly send Hideyoshi packing.”

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Manchurian Tiger (1974)

manchurian-tiger (1)A title like this sure gets me going. Manchurian Tiger… with Han Yongcheol 한용철 aka Charlie Han, the guy who packs a punch and a kick or two. And directed by the dean of Korean action Lee Doo Yong 이두용.  The movie starts out great with Han extorting money from a dubious-looking character. We know we’re in Manchuria because the dubious-looking character is dressed in Chinese-style clothes (let me rephrase: cinema Chinese-style clothes).

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When The Sorghum Was High – John Joseph Considine, M.M.

20140514_112230I just bought this book, “a narrative biography of Father Gerard A. Donovan of Pittsburghm Pennsylvania, a Maryknoll Missioner slain by bandits in Manchukuo.” I haven’t read it yet, but the story seems to have made quite an impact back when. Enough at least to warrant at least eight printings. I bought the cheap 1952 paperback (original price $2.50), but the hardcover from 1940 looks much nicer and came with a dust jacket. A quick internet search also resulted in many, many hits in predominantly Catholic newspapers.

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