The South Manchurian Railway and academia

As a Dutch nationalmansyu-s11 who braved the vagaries of Dutch public transportation daily (not anymore! Now I just cycle to the institute. Life is good, to quote what was once called Lucky Goldstar, yes, Lucky Goldstar – I wonder how many marketing millions went into trying the erase the memory of Lucky Goldstar, btw, but that is an entirely different matter), I probably have a tendency to underestimate (and severely so)

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Classified materials obtained in dark and sinister ways

I wasUntitled 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:

That is what it would have said had this been a 70s spy movie.

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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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Secret Agent of Japan – Amleto Vespa

542677722.0.mThis must be one of the best titles for a book ever. Period. Amleto Vespa was a spy for Japan, but claimed in the book he was forced to become one. If not, the Japanese would murder his family. The adult version of the premisse that underlies all decent martial arts flicks like The Karate Kid: I don’t want to fight, but you’re making it impossible for me not to open a can of whoop-ass on you. And boy, does the book deliver: here are some chapter titles that should wet the appetite for whoop-ass in print:

“White-Slave Traders”
“How Chang Tso-lin was Killed”

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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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