Life along the South Manchurian Railway: The Memoirs of Ito Takeo

Life along the South Manchurian Railway: The Memoirs of Ito Takeo

Life along the South Manchurian Railway: The Memoirs of Ito Takeo

Life along the South Manchurian Railway: The Memoirs of Ito Takeo

Synopsis

Describes why young men were drawn to work on the Asian mainland for the largest Japanese colonial company. There is also a discussion of the right-wing groups associated with the SMR and their plans for assisting the military. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Excerpt

Joshua A. Fogel

Introduction: Itō Takeo and the Research Work of the South Manchurian Railway Company

In November 1906, following the Russo-Japanese War, Japan acquired the South Manchurian Railway (SMR). Gotō Shimpei was named its first president, and he immediately made plans for inaugurating a Research Department. "Research" was something Gotō considered utterly essential to colonial management. Tokutomi Sohō once said of Gotō: "Everyone has his own peculiarities. 'Research' is something that always hung close to Gotō like a briefcase." The Research Department began in April 1907 as a small agency and changed its name many times, at its height, around 1940, encompassing a total of 2,354 employees. It lasted for thirty-eight years, before the arrest of many of its main operatives by the Kwantung Army and Japan's defeat in World War II spelled its demise. Who came to work for it and why? How did they see themselves? To what use was their research put, and what did they think about that? These are a few of the questions to be addressed in this introduction.

With Japan as the major force in Manchuria after 1906, Gotō Shimpei proceeded with his master plan for colonial development through research. The SMR received a huge quantity of capital, 200 million yen, half from the government and half in a public offering. It was never simply a for-profit company, for the SMR had a sense of immense responsibility, of mission. Among other things, Gotō wanted to be sure Manchuria never ceased to be under Japanese control, and that necessitated the immigration of . . .

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