Photos from the Biography of Aishinkakura Eisei: a strange journey of translation, 23 August

On 30 May 2015, Emeritus Professor Jim Breen (creator of the famous online Japanese-English dictionary) was contacted by a woman called Mona Shorow about an old manuscript she had found amongst her fathers’ belongings. She asked if it might prove of use to the scholarly community and whether we might house it here. This manuscript turned out to be a translation of a biography of Aishinkakura Eisei, who tragically died in Japan at the age of 19 in 1957: Eisei/Huisheng was the niece of the last emperor of China, Aisin Gioro Puyi (later Emperor of puppet state of Manchukuo). The story of the Aisin/Aishinkakura clan bridges not only the entangled histories of China and Japan, but the period before and after the war in Japan in all kinds of complex ways. The story of the translation, and how it ended up in Monash’s special collection, is similarly tangled. Japanese librarian Ayako Hatta, and Bea Trefalt, who specialises in the early post-war history of Japan, reflected on the significance and the strange journey of this translation.


Japanese librarian, Ms. Ayako Hatta (right) and Associate Professor Beatrice Trefalt introduced the manuscript and the historical context of the work.
Professor Emeritus Jim Breen, the original recipient of the manuscript.
details of the manuscript. It is available digitally through document delivery to Monash library subscribers.
Why Aishinkakura Eisei’s life was memorialised; historical background
the original manuscript.