Rare Japanese manuscript discovered

Subject Librarian Ayako Hatta tells us about the strange journey of an old manuscript that has arrived at the Sir Louis Matheson Library.


The Library was contacted by the daughter of the Matsumoto-Shorow family in California about an old manuscript she had found amongst her father’s belongings. The type-written fragile paper manuscript might seem worthless, but she thought it may have either historical or entertainment value. She asked if the manuscript would be of any value to the scholarly community at Monash. It turned out to be a translation into English of a biography of Eisei Aishinkakura, who tragically died in Japan at the age of 19 in 1957.

The wedding of Pujie, brother of the Manchukuo Emperor and Hiro Saga, granddaughter of Kinto Saga of Japan, was held in Japan on 3 April 1937. Hiro Aishinkakura later became an author.

The author and the mother of Eisei, Hiro Aishinkakura decided to publish a book in  Japanese in 1959 with deep sorrow and profound grief of a loss of her daughter and her experience throughout the war between Japan and Manchukuo (puppet state created in 1932 by Japan). The book includes a foreword by Eisei’s father, Pujie, brother of the Manchukuo Emperor and the last Emperor of China.

Eisei in Chinese dress*
The official announcement of the marriage between Lieutenant Prince Pujie, brother of the Qing dynasty and Manchukuo Emperor, and Miss Hiroko Saga, granddaughter of Kinto Saga of Japan, was issued by the Manchukuo Embassy on 6 February 1937. This was a celebration for both Japan and Manchukuo, and was known as a political marriage initiated by the Kwantung Army for goodwill and friendship. The international wedding was held at the Gunjin-Kaikan in Kudan, Japan on 3 April 1937.

The couple first lived in Inage, Chiba Japan, and according to Hiro’s book, it was the happiest time in their life. As soon as Pujie graduated from the Infantry School of Japanese Army in September 1937, they moved their home to Hsinking, Manchukuo. Their two daughters, Eisei and Kosei were born in Hsinking, Manchukuo in 1938 and in Tokyo Japan in 1940, respectively.

When the World War II ended in August 1945, Pujie and his brother Puyi were detained by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was a miracle that Hiro and Kosei were rescued by the Imperial Japanese Army in Shanghai. They escaped to Japan and reunited with Eisei, who was then looked after by Hiro’s parents in Japan.

Many years past without knowing Pujie’s whereabouts, Eisei wrote a letter in Chinese to the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai. In her letter, she inquired about her father’s well-being and pleaded for permission to exchange letters with him. Soon after Eisei’s effort, the family received the first letter from Pujie saying that he had been a long time war prisoner in China. Sadly the tragic news that Eisei and her boy-friend had been found dead in Mt. Amagi in December 1957 was delivered to Pujie while he was still in prison.


The exchange of some 300 love letters between Hiro and Pujie and the family visit to China became possible with Zhou Enlai’s great support. It was not until 16 years later since the family was apart that they were finally able to reunite in Beijing after Pujie was released from prison in 1960.

Hiro’s book has been translated and published in Chinese but there is no trace of any English translation officially published. The library has obtained the original Japanese publication and some related resources after the arrival of the old manuscript. These resources are currently displayed on the first floor of the Asian Collections display area until the end of June.

Right - top

Hiro’s original Japanese publication
Aishinkakura, Hiro (1959) Ruten no ōhi: Manshū kyūtei no higeki. Tōkyō: Bungei Shunjū Shinsha.

Bottom
 Fukunaga, Kosei (2011) Ruten no ōhi : Aishinkakura Fuketsu Hiro ai no shokan. Tōkyō: Bungei Shunjū










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