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Showa 23-nen Shina Jihen shussei kinen shashincho :Hokushi sensen hen [in Japanese: A photograph album in memory of soldiers at the front lines during the China-Japan Conflict of 1937-1938].

Tokyo: Nakatogawa Hiroyuki, March 20, 1938 Stock Code: 114232
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First edition of this uncommon Japanese propaganda piece recording the opening campaigns of the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Japan's failure to defeat China in this war became the key dynamic for what happened in Asia during the Second World War. In his award-winning study of the conflict - China's War with Japan, 1937-1945: The Struggle for Survival (2013) - Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the Institute for Chinese Studies at Oxford, opens his prologue by saying "In the spring of 1939 Europe was still, albeit uneasily, at peace. But some seven thousand kilometres to the east, the Second World War was already well under way". Just three copies on WorldCat, Manchukuo collection in the Harvard-Yenching Library, Stanford, and Princeton. Following Japan's successes in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-5) tensions had intensified, seeming to peak with the conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and the creation of the puppet state of Manchukuo, but continuing to rise steadily through the 30s. After a number of provocations in the summer of 1937. Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces joined with the warlords of Hunan and Szechwan provinces to fight the Japanese. Chiang believed that by attacking Japanese naval installations and troops in and around Shanghai, he would force the foreign powers to ally with China to fight against Japan to protect their considerable investments in southern China. For three months, the Nationalist Chinese armies held out in the face of an intense bombardment by Japan's Taiwan-based 'planes and ships on the Huangpu River, but were eventually forced to retreat to Nanking, under constant harrying attacks from Japanese reinforcements. The images in this "souvenir" album show the Japanese advance through Eastern and Coastal China; the build up of materiel; the destruction of Nanking; Japanese troops on the march, celebrating victories; the aftermath of the destructive bombardments.

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Landscape quarto. Original dark red textured paper-covered boards, green silk ties, die-cut image of the Great Wall to the front board, together with title gilt to the front board.


Illustrated title on yellow-tinted paper, 7 colour plates, numerous illustrations from photographs, some on tinted paper stock, all leaves with tissue guards, folding colour map, pictorial endpapers.


Minor edge-wear, spotting to the tissue-guards, overall very good indeed.


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