This past weekend was Alumni weekend, and the campus was filled with alumni remembering their college days. Among other things, there was an art exhibit in the campus center, a luncheon for alumni and crafty students who found their way in, and a bunch of other social events. Special Collections also set up an exhibit for anyone interested in visiting that included a little something from the collections that students have been working on. I selected the following very nifty document from the Cadbury collection along with the following description:
The William Warder Cadbury and Catharine J. Cadbury Collection
William Warder Cadbury was a Quaker medical missionary who, along with his wife Catharine, spent forty years in China between 1909 and 1949. While in China he was the superintendent of the Canton Pok Sai Hospital, a professor at Lingnan University, and the Canton Chairman of the International Red Cross. Cadbury witnessed and worked against the violent effects of two revolutions, a civil war, and Japanese invasion. This document, preserved in Cadbury’s papers, provides interesting insight into the geopolitical forces at work in the Japanese invasion and the lives that foreigners in occupied China lived. The Battle of Shanghai was one of the first large scale battles of the war, and represented a hope on the part of Chinese Generalissimo Chiang-Kai-Shek that foreign powers would intervene to prevent Japanese aggression. This hope was not fulfilled until much later, and upon taking control of the city the Japanese army tried to mollify those living in the international settlement while still projecting a sense of Japanese prestige and superiority. The measures in this document such as the imposed discount in foodstuffs, the promise of 2 free liters of sake per day to those who would toast the emperor, and the cryptic promise that “all single men will be supplied with mates” represent a part this effort.
I though the last section of this document that contained the measures catering to foreigners was especially interesting, especially the part of it that contained possible sexual undertones. The sexual politics of war is an especially hot topic in reference to the Japanese during World War II, especially with the increasing awareness of the comfort women. Comfort women were women, often Korean, who were forced to perform sexual services to Japanese soldiers during the war. Is Nei San (a bastardization of the Japanese word for older sister) a reference to comfort women? Is it just a reference to employing maid servants that was poorly translated or is only understood to be sexual because of a naturally anachronistic reading? Regardless, this document provides a unique look into Japanese military politics and the mechanics of occupation.
More about the cool stuff from Alumni weekend in my next post. I really enjoy blogging.