Eras Journal – McDowell, K. Abstract

Abstract of McDowell, K.”Japan in Manchuria: Agricultural Emigration in the Japanese Empire, 1932-1945″.

From 1932 to 1945 the Japanese government sponsored agricultural emigration to Manchuria designed to restructure rural society in Japan and create enclaves of Japanese communities in the outlying regions of north Manchuria. The agricultural emigration movement fused agrarian ideology with the racial harmony (minzoku kyôwa) concepts developed by colonial agencies in the region.

Agrarian activists and Kwantung Army officers collaborated in planning and organizing the agricultural enterprise. Emigration began in 1932 with a five-year trial emigration program and then grew into a plan to relocate 1,000,000 Japanese farming households in Northeast China over a twenty-year period.

Colonists were promised empty spaces, bountiful lands, elevated social status and a pioneering role in building a society rooted on racial harmony. Colonizing Manchuria, however, proved to be a difficult and disillusioning venture when propaganda images and racial harmony notions gave way to the complexities of farming on the Manchurian frontier.