Section F: About the Japanese

Preliminary Report on the Trip Undertaken by Imperial Order Across Chinese Turkestan and the Northern Provinces of China to Peking in 1906–07 and 1908 by Col. Baron Mannerheim

Pages 156-159

Activities of the Japanese have enhanced considerably since the last war. Their presence in all the provinces of northern China proves the scale of their attention to these provinces. Within the last two to three years, the influx of their goods has been continuously increasing and now they can be found even in the remotest markets. I saw them from Kashgar and Gulja and beginning from northern Gansu Japanese cotton cloth and various [goods] make up a significant part of imports even now.

Before my arrival in Xinjiang province, there were five Japanese there. Two of them visited the Ili district: one lived in Suidung for some time, invited the canzan at his place and communicated continuously with mandarins. They visited Chuguchak but left it prior to my arrival, though one – Hayashida – was to come back to work as a teacher. There were no military among them. Two others arrived from inner China to Xinjiang province in early 1907.

In some night shelters, I happened to hear about their trip, but I managed to find out their route only as far as Turfan. I concluded that they went to Urumqi as it would be impossible for them to drive through Toksun and Karashara unnoticed. Major Hino, who crossed Urumqi, Chuguchaw, the Ili region, the Yulduz Valley, Karashar and travelled farther to the south in 1907, seemed to be the first military man in Chinese Turkestan. He wore a military uniform, rode a horse given to him as a gift by canzun Chang accompanied by several Chinese officers and made a road survey. In Karashar, a regional civilian official and military mandarins paid him a visit responding to the business cards sent to them. I am mentioning these cases as they make me think that Hino undertook his trip on canzun Chang’s request. There are no Japanese in northern Gansu. I heard several times that there were Japanese travelling in the area but I think they were probably the same persons. In Lanzhou, twho Japanese worked as teachers about a year in one of schools, but they were fired shortly before my arrival due to some disagreement between them and the school authorities.

From southern Gansu and farther on, I heard constantly about the Japanese who came there to familiarize themselves with the market or to sell medicines, but the prices were so high that they didn’t sell much. They have been seen more often in this region after 1907. Two reports said they were going to Xinjiang province.

In the province of Shaanxi, I found eight Japanese teachers in the city of Xi’an. Three Japanese live in the city of Sang-yuang, and three Japanese in northern Shaanxi head oil production and are paid by the local administration. As has been mentioned, surveys for the railroad of Xi’an-Tongguan were undertaken by the Japanese and most likely they were military men.

I also happened to hear about Japanese on my way to Kaifeng via [Louyang], and in the city of Kaifeng as well as Taiyuan there were several Japanese teachers. In the northern part of Shanxi province the Japanese visited all cities there. In Guihua [Hohhot], I was told about one who had recently departed to Ili riding a camel and about another who went north to Mongolia. A Japanese crossed Fengzhan in the direction of Mongolia and in Kalgan [Zhangjiakou] they mentioned several similar cases.

It is apparent that the activity of the Japanese in the provinces of northern China has increased considerably within the last two to three years. Although their influence is seen more in instructions and programs issued by the central government than by local administrations, one should take into account the fact that any of those “modest” Japanese teachers are or could be secret advisors of higher provincial officials. The trip undertaken by Major Hino seems to be the first sign of more active work by the Japanese in Xinjiang province. I have already mentioned the Japanese have played a significant role in the economic life of Shanaxi province. Except for the activities mentioned, I did not observe any actions undertaken by the Japanese. More often they appeared in the district close to the frontiers of wouthern Mongolia from Ordos (middle and southern Gansu) to the lands of the Chahars (the entire northern part of Shanxi).

In schools, they usually teach chemistry and other science subjects. They keep away from Europeans and missionaries, even English ones.

At the beginning of my report, I mentioned the opinion of the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province about the Japanese, the outcome of the last war, etc., and I can only add that there is a tangible dislike and distrust of the highest layers of the Chinese society towards them which only increased as I approached the Pacific coast.

They failed to gain the admiration of the Chinese after their astounding military victories; on the contrary, there is a feeling of anxiety and distrust due to their insatiable political appetite and incredible arrogance.

The Japanese impact on the revolutionary movement of southern China and the equivocal role played by Japan in weapon smuggling succeeded only in enhancing the dislike of the Chinese towards them. The hatred of the Chinese mandarins and others who visited Manchuria during the last war and the war between Japan and China is acquiring especially harsh forms. Chinese often criticize our actions too and unfortunately the criticism has grounds, but all the same, the Chinese give undoubted preference to us rather than the Japanese.

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CITATION: Mannerheim, Col. C.G.E. (transl. Eric Walberg and Anatoli Koroteyev, and ed. Eric Enno Tamm) “Preliminary Report on the Trip Undertaken by Imperial Order Across Chinese Turkestan and the Northern Provinces of China to Peking in 1906–07 and 1908.” In Collection of Geographical, Topographical and Statistical Materials for Asia 81. St. Petersburg: Military Publishing House, 1909. http://horsethatleaps.com/report.