Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A-to-Z of Adventure: "E" Is for "Eastern Jewel"

Eastern Jewel, more formally known as Yoshiko Kawashima, was a Manchu princess brought up in Japan, who served as a spy in the service of the Japanese Kwantung Army and Manchukuo.

Born in Beijing as the 14th daughter to Shanqi, the 10th son of Prince Su of the Manchu imperial family, she was adopted at the age of eight by her father's friend, Naniwa Kawashima, a Japanese espionage agent/mercenary adventurer, and renamed Kawashima Yoshiko. Raised and educated in Japan, she married Ganjuurjab, the son of the leader of the Mongolian-Manchurian Independence Movement in 1927. Divorcing a scant two years later, she moved to the foreign concession in Shanghai where she met Japanese military attaché Ryukichi Tanaka, who used her contacts with the aristocracy to expand his espionage network.

Easter Jewel is probably best known for her relationship with former Qing Emperor Pu Yi as portrayed in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. Through this liaison she was able to persuade Pu Yi to return to the Manchu homeland as head of the newly Japanese-created state of Manchukuo.

Following Pu Yi's coronation, she became the mistress of Major General Hayao Tada, Pu Yi's chief military advisor, and formed an independent counter-insurgency cavalry force made up of 3,000-5,000 former bandits to hunt down anti-Japanese guerilla bands during the Pacification of Manchukuo.

The fame of her exploits, her popularity in Manchukuo society, her appearances on radio broadcasts, the release of a record of her songs, and the numerous fictional and semi-fictional stories of her exploits in newspapers and the pulp fiction press led to a demise of her usefulness as an intelligence asset to the Kwantung Army.

She was ultimately arrested, tried, and executed for treason by the Chinese Nationalists in 1948.

You can learn more about at your local library. Or just order a copy of The Private Papers of Eastern Jewel: A Novel by Maureen Lindley.

Oh, by the way, she even has her own gaming miniature.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

No comments: