Choosing “Hell”: Family migrants from Shandong and Manchukuo’s food rationing system in Harbin, 1942-1944

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
2020-04-17
Authors/Contributors
Author: Li, Ji Feng
Abstract
This study examines the relationship between migrations from Shandong between 1942 and 1944 and Manchukuo’s food rationing system and the impact of rationing on the everyday life of migrants after their settlement in Harbin, the regional centre of North Manchukuo. Although Manchukuo’s food rationing policies discriminated against Chinese residents by providing them with inferior grains in insufficient quantities, they were nonetheless an impetus rather than an obstacle to migration from Shandong, especially to those who had family and relatives living in Manchukuo. After settling in Harbin, migrants still faced issues related to food because the Manchukuo government revised its food policies and reduced quotas. Moreover, they also faced urban population evacuations and vagrant sweeping campaigns designed to serve the needs of the Japanese empire. Therefore, migrants living in Harbin either purchased grain illegally or left the city as strategies for coping with Manchukuo policies that were unfavourable to them. Employing such theoretical frameworks as “extraordinary everydayness” and a grassroots approach and drawing from oral interviews conducted in Harbin, this project emphasizes the interaction between the state (Manchukuo) and commoners (Shandong migrants). It also emphasizes how Shandong migrants perceived and reacted to Japanese dominion in Manchuria, with a particular focus on the coping strategies they employed to maximize their chances of survival. This thesis argues that although Shandong migrants faced ethnically discriminatory wartime food policies in Manchukuo, they developed different strategies to ensure their survival after settlement, and many migrated voluntarily rather than as a result of Japan’s forced labour policy.
Document
Identifier
etd20833
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Brown, Jeremy
Member of collection
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