Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded…

Paperback | January 3, 2017

byPhyllis Birnbaum

not yet rated|write a review

Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907-1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawashima Yoshiko, to restore the Manchus to their former glory. Her fearsome dedication to this cause ultimately got her killed.

Yoshiko had a fiery personality and loved the limelight. She shocked Japanese society by dressing in men's clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted in Japan's media as a new Joan of Arc. Boasting a short, handsome haircut and a genuine military uniform, Commander Jin was credited with many daring exploits, among them riding horseback as leader of her own army during the Japanese occupation of China.

While trying to promote the Manchus, Yoshiko supported the puppet Manchu state established by the Japanese in 1932-one reason she was executed for treason after Japan's 1945 defeat. The truth of Yoshiko's life is still a source of contention between China and Japan: some believe she was exploited by powerful men, others claim she relished her role as political provocateur. China holds her responsible for unspeakable crimes, while Japan has forgiven her transgressions. This biography presents the richest and most accurate portrait to date of the controversial princess spy, recognizing her truly novel role in conflicts that transformed East Asia.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$21.36 online
$24.00 list price (save 11%)
Pre-order online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Aisin Gioro Xianyu (1907-1948) was the fourteenth daughter of a Manchu prince and a legendary figure in China's bloody struggle with Japan. After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1912, Xianyu's father gave his daughter to a Japanese friend who was sympathetic to his efforts to reclaim power. This man raised Xianyu, now known as Kawas...

Phyllis Birnbaum is a novelist, biographer, journalist, and translator. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. Her books include Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo: Five Japanese Women and a biography, Glory in a Line: A Life of Foujita-the Artist Caught Between East an...

other books by Phyllis Birnbaum

Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 3, 2017Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231152191

ISBN - 13:9780231152198

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

Main CharactersChronologyA Note on the Text1. Born to Chaos2. Little Sister3. Royalty in Exile4. Continental Adventurer5. A New Life in Japan6. Manchu Prince, Japanese Wife7. School Days8. The Beauty in Men's Clothing9. Extreme Measures10. Repercussions11. On Her Own12. Poisonous Devil's Brew13. Advance Into Manchuria14. An Emperor in Flux15. The Reluctant Empress16. Powerful Connections17. Woman of Influence18. A Growing Awareness19. Commander Jin20. Starting Over in Manchukuo21. In the Bright Light22. Wild Child23. A Daughter Looks Back24. China Nights25. Emergency Help26. An Old Love27. Adrift in Fukuoka28. Hopeful to the End29. Narrow Escapes30. Postwar Justice31. Go with a SmileNotesAcknowledgmentsIndex

Editorial Reviews

Named one of the 15 best books of the year by the Women in the World Blog at the New York Times