Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China
Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China is a history book which investigates collaboration
Collaborationism is cooperation with enemy forces against one's country. Legally, it may be considered as a form of treason. Collaborationism may be associated with criminal deeds in the service of the occupying power, which may include complicity with the occupying power in murder, persecutions,...

 between the Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

s and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese, following the attack on the Chinese city of Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 in August 1937, just before the outbreak of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and during the subsequent military occupation
Military occupation
Military occupation occurs when the control and authority over a territory passes to a hostile army. The territory then becomes occupied territory.-Military occupation and the laws of war:...

 of the Yangtze River Delta
Yangtze River Delta
The Yangtze River Delta, Yangtze Delta or YRD, also called Yangzi, or Chang Jiang Delta, Rive Chang Delta Tai Lake Region or the Golden Triangle of the Yangtze, generally comprises the triangular-shaped territory of Wu-speaking Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province of...

 in China by Japan.

The book is written by Timothy Brook
Timothy Brook (historian)
Timothy James Brook , who writes as Timothy Brook and who has had many academic works published, is a distinguished historian specializing in the study of China...

, a distinguished Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 who specializes in the study of China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

Sinology in general use is the study of China and things related to China, but, especially in the American academic context, refers more strictly to the study of classical language and literature, and the philological approach...



Following the attack on the Chinese city of Shanghai by the Japanese forces in August 1937, just before the outbreak of World War II, and during the subsequent occupation of the Yangtze River Delta in China by Japan, despite the violence of the assault, many of the Chinese elite
Elite refers to an exceptional or privileged group that wields considerable power within its sphere of influence...

 came forward to collaborate with the occupying forces, mirroring collaboration with the Nazis
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in the occupied countries of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...


Brook analyzes both Chinese and Japanese archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

s in order to build up a picture of the collaboration, which extended from Shanghi to Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

. He argues that "collaboration proved to be politically unstable and morally
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 awkward for both sides, provoking tensions that undercut the authority of the occupation state and undermined Japan's long-term prospects for occupying China."


Lucian Pye
Lucian Pye
Lucian W. Pye was a political scientist, sinologist and comparative politics expert considered one of the leading China scholars in the United States...

, writing in the journal Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

states that Brook has carefully handled the subject of collaboration which the Chinese are still hesitant to address. He points out that "[Brook's] study concentrates on local collaboration in the Yangtze delta region in Shanghai's hinterland
The hinterland is the land or district behind a coast or the shoreline of a river. Specifically, by the doctrine of the hinterland, the word is applied to the inland region lying behind a port, claimed by the state that owns the coast. The area from which products are delivered to a port for...

, avoiding the more shocking cases of puppet regimes
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

 in north and northeast China and the 'national government' in Nanjing."
Despite there being "no shortage of Chinese elites ready to work for the Japanese, [...] the relationship remained complicated and tense."

David P. Barrett, writing in the Chinese Historical Review describes the book as a "finely researched" and "subtly nuanced" study. He says that "what is remarkable is that Professor Brook has uncovered from both the Chinese and Japanese sides archival and memoir literature of a quality that allows him to present case studies that illuminate the ambiguities
Ambiguity of words or phrases is the ability to express more than one interpretation. It is distinct from vagueness, which is a statement about the lack of precision contained or available in the information.Context may play a role in resolving ambiguity...

 and complexities of collaboration, not to mention the essential mechanics of how it was sought and arranged." The reviewer concludes that "this work is not only a major contribution to the history of the [Second] Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 and that of modern China; it also makes an invaluable addition to the comparative history of wartime collaboration through recounting the Chinese experience of survival under the occupation state."

R. Keith Schoppa writing in The American Historical Review describes the book as a "superb" example of the doing and writing of history at its best. In addition to painting a compelling picture of the multileveled and multidirectional complexity and ambiguity of politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 and society under the occupation, Brook's work is studded with notable insights." The reviewer goes on to say that "Brook's writing style is at the same time urbane and engaging. In sum, this is an excellent study and a great read as well."

Rana Mitter in the International History Review states that the book is "a welcome and necessary part of the new historical thinking about wartime China". It is "meticulously researched, subtly argued, and courageous study of a still delicate topic. It will be of value to all readers who wish to explore the dynamics of the 1937-45 Sino-Japanese War in more detail, and adds depth and maturity to a field that has sometimes seemed the prisoner of the type of nationalist paradigms that Brook seeks to undermine."

Prasenjit Duara in The China Journal states that "Brook has produced a superb book about the vexed problem of collaboration" and commends Brook for providing a most interesting perspective and for "the clear and methodical way in which it proceeds through its historical investigation."

See also

  • Comfort women
    Comfort women
    The term "comfort women" was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese...

  • Events preceding World War II in Asia
    Events preceding World War II in Asia
    This article is concerned with the events that preceded World War II in Asia.- Kuomintang and Communism in China :The revolution led by the Kuomintang and others ended the last Chinese dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, which was replaced by a republic, the Republic of China, in 1912...

  • History of China
    History of China
    Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

  • History of Japan
    History of Japan
    The history of Japan encompasses the history of the islands of Japan and the Japanese people, spanning the ancient history of the region to the modern history of Japan as a nation state. Following the last ice age, around 12,000 BC, the rich ecosystem of the Japanese Archipelago fostered human...

  • History of the Republic of China
    History of the Republic of China
    The History of the Republic of China begins after the Qing Dynasty in 1912, when the formation of the Republic of China put an end to over two thousand years of Imperial rule. The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, ruled from 1644 to 1912...

  • Military history of China
    Military history of China
    Ever since Chinese civilization was founded, organized military forces have existed throughout China. The recorded military history of China extends from about 2200 BCE to the present day. Although traditional Chinese Confucian philosophy favoured peaceful political solutions and showed contempt...

  • Military history of Japan
    Military history of Japan
    The military history of Japan is characterised by a long period of feudal wars, followed by domestic stability, and then rampant imperialism. It culminates with Japan's defeat by the Allies in World War II...

  • Military of the People's Republic of China
  • Military of the Republic of China
    Military of the Republic of China
    The Republic of China Armed Forces encompass the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Military Police Force of the Republic of China . It is a military establishment, which accounted for 16.8% of the central budget in the fiscal year of 2003...

External links

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