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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Constructing Empire

The Japanese in Changchun, 1905–45

Civilians play crucial roles in building empires. Constructing Empire shows how Japanese urban planners, architects, and other civilians contributed—often enthusiastically—to constructing a modern colonial enclave in northeast China. As Bill Sewell shows, Japanese imperialism in Manchuria before 1932 developed in a manner similar to that of other imperialists elsewhere in China—but thereafter the Japanese sought to surpass their rivals by transforming the city of Changchun into a grand capital for the puppet state of Manchukuo, putting it on the cutting edge of Japanese propaganda. Providing a thematic assessment of the evolving nature of planning, architecture, economy, and society in Changchun, Sewell examines the key organizations involved in developing Japan’s empire there as part of larger efforts to assert its place in the world order.

312 pages

Table of Contents


1 City Planning

2 Imperialist and Imperial Façades

3 Economic Development

4 Colonial Society


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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