CHINA – QINGDAO – 2nd JAPANESE OCCUPATION / QINGDAO IMPRINT:

青島博文堂編輯部 [QINGDAO HIROBUNDO EDITING DEPARTMENT].

最新青島市街一覧圖 [Saishin seitō shigai ichiranzu / Latest Qingdao City Map].

Qingdao: Hakubundō Bookstore, Showa 13 [1938].

Colour photolithograph, with original printed paper slipcase (Very Good, clean and bright, light wear along old folds with some discreet repairs verso, slipcase in good form with just some minor chipping to blank lower margin), 54.5 x 78.5 cm (21.5 x 31 inches).

A rare and very high quality map of Qingdao, made during the second period of Japanese Occupation (1938-45), early in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), when the Japanese rapidly expanded the former German treaty port of ‘Tsingtau’ into ‘Greater Qingdao’, a massive industrial and military centre, and the foundation of today’s great metropolis; featuring a highly detailed overview of the bustling port’s streets, major industrial and military facilities, as well as the ‘New City District’, intended to house Japanese colonists and businesses; drafted by the Qingdao Hirobundo workshop and published by the Hakubundō Bookstore, long Qingdao’s premier Japanese-language establishment bookseller.

This very rare, detailed and attractive work is one of the earliest maps to showcase ‘Greater Qingdao’, which saw the ultra-rapid expansion of the Chinese coastal city into a colossal industrial and military centre, creating the foundation of today’s metropolis.  Qingdao was famously, from 1898 until the early days of World War I, the German treaty port of ‘Tsingtau’, famed for its Jugendstil architecture and Tsingtao beer!  The city was first occupied by Japan (1914-22), and while it grew substantially during that time, the city was returned to China before the Japanese, who believed the port to be imbued with awesome economic-military potential, were able to realize their full plans for its expansion.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), which dovetailed into World War II, Japan invaded China, considering the seizure of Qingdao to be a first-level priority.  In December 1937 and early January 1938, in anticipation of the invasion, mobs looted Japanese owned businesses, while 90% of Qingdao’s population fled, leaving only 50,000 on scene when the Japanese forces easily captured the city on January 10, 1938.

The Japanese were left in control of a largely empty city that still had the great majority of its buildings and infrastructure intact.  This vacuum made it easier for the occupiers to flood it with Japanese colonists, while not having to worry about suppressing a large, hostile Chinese population, giving them a free hand to build ‘Greater Qingdao’.  This is where the present map comes into play.

The map shows Qingdao perched upon a peninsula at the mouth of the stellar natural harbour of Jiaozhou Bay.  The coverage of the burgeoning cityscape is extremely detailed, labeling every street, noting all infrastructure, including railways, port quays and tram lines (shown as red lines with stations as dots), while the area’s hilly topography is expressed by contour lines.  Every major cadastral lot is defined and numbered, while all great edifices are outlined and labelled. 

The core of the ‘old town,’ first established forty years before by the Germans, is shown on the left-hand side, by the inner harbour, with its dense, but neatly ordered streets, while the newer areas, established in the 19-teens fan out in a less dense fashion to the northeast, south and southwest.  Along the bay, to the northeast, are the extensive port facilities and connected railway termini, which were in the process of being expanded into one of the largest military and commercial ports in Asia. 

In the interior, to the east-northeast, is the ‘New City District’, distinguished by its dense orderly grid of streets, that while established during the first Japan occupation period, was now in the process of being radically expanded, with new roads, grand public buildings and commercial premises and military facilities being built a breakneck speed, to house and occupy the thousands of new Japanese colonists and soldiers that were arriving in the city.  The area was also home to large Japanese army barracks, located in a secure, controlled environment.  The composition also features two inset maps, in the upper left and lower right, detailing Qingdao’s exurbs.

As such, the Japanese envisaged the city as having two nuclei, one, being the old city and port, with its more diverse population (including Chinese residents and foreigners), and two, the new town which would have an almost totally Japanese population, largely either directly or indirectly employed by the Japanese crown.  These grand development plans, at least on the front end, were extremely expensive money-losing ventures for the Japanese regime.  However, it was hoped that once Japan conquered all, or most, of China, that these funds would be recouped (and then some), as Qingdao would become a nationally important commercial-transport hub (which never transpired during the period of Japanese hegemony).

The present map is thus an intriguing artefact of the one of Japan’s most ambitious imperialist designs.  While highly impressive on a technical level, the Japanese occupation of Qingdao was brutally and gratuitously repressive of the Chinese population, so much so that it ended up hindering Tokyo’s plans.

The map was designed locally by a drafting workshop, the 青島博文堂編輯部 [Qingdao Hirobundo Editing Department], and was published by the 博文堂書店 [Hakubundō Bookstore], long the city’s premier Japanese-language stationer and booksellers.  Hakubundō had published maps and guidebooks of Qingdao for some years, with their production of Senba Konokichi’s 青島市街圖 最新 [Chintao shigaizu: saishin / Qingdao City: The Latest] (1920) being an early example.

The present map is rare; we can locate only 2 institutional examples, held by the National Diet Library and the the Toyo Bunko (Oriental Library), in Tokyo.  Moreover, examples only very seldom appear on the market.

Qingdao under German, Japanese the Chinese Administrations

Today Qingdao is one of China’s most important cities.  However, even though it lay at the mouth of the stellar natural harbour of Jiaozhou Bay, on the Shandong Peninsula, until the late 19th century it was the insignificant fishing village of “Jiao’ao”.  In 1891, the Qing Empire decided to upgrade the town’s defenses, finally recognizing its natural strategic location.

In 1898, Germany, taking advantage of the weakness of the ailing Qing regime, seized Qingdao.  The emperor was thus compelled to grant the ‘Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory’ to Germany for a 99-year term, which comprised 552 km2 (213 sq mi) of territory on the Shandong Peninsula, including all of ‘Tsingtao’.  The Germans quickly, yet methodically, constructed the city of ‘Tsingtau’ into one of most orderly, clean, pleasant and well serviced urban spaces in East Asia.  Thousands of Germans moved to the city, creating European-style businesses (such as Tsingtao Beer – still China’s favourite brew!) and Jugendstil buildings (many of which survive to the present day).  While an imperialist environment to be sure, Tsingtao became an extraordinary society blending German and Chinese cultures.  The Chinese Revolutionary leader Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, commented upon visiting Tsingtao in 1912, “I am impressed. The city is a true model for China’s future”.  The city’s population in 1913 was recorded as being 187,000.

Tsingtao’s peaceful and industrious German era came to a crashing halt upon the beginning of World War I.  Ominously for Germany, Japan joined Britain on the Entente side, sealing the Protectorate’s fate.  A Japanese-British fleet blockaded Tsingtao, leading the city to be defended by only 3,650 German soldiers and 324 Austro-Hungarian sailors.  As the blockade failed to convince the Germans to surrender, the Japanese-British side mounted what became known as the Siege of Tsingtao (October 31 – November 7, 1914), whereupon 23,000 Japanese troops and 1,500 British soldiers, backed by 10 large naval vessels, invested the city, after forming a line along the neck of land that connected Tsingtao to the larger Shandong Peninsula.  Tsingtao was surrounded, and the Japanese-British force proceeded to bring their lines ever closer to the city.  Finally, on the night of November 6, the Japanese proceed to attack the defenders’ final defensive cordon, compelling the Germans to fly the white flag and call for parley.  While the Germans had lost the battle and their fine city, they were nevertheless proud of the brave way that they for a time withstood being besieged by a force six times their size.

The Japanese permitted the Germans an honourable surrender and took 4,700 Germans as POWs (the Japanese also generously agreed to accord the captured civilian prisoners full Geneva convention protections).  The Germans were taken to Japan, and most were eventually housed at the Bando and Kurume POW camps, where the Japanese wardens were of a ‘Samurai’ background, which meant that they were honour bound by their ancient code to treat war captives with respect and kindness.  The ‘inmates’ were not only given ample access to quality food and recreational facilities, but were also permitted to organize regular musical concerts, sporting competitions and theatre performances, all held in a pleasant semi-tropical setting.

Japan proceeded to occupy the Tsingtao and Kiautschou Bay Territory as a base for it to exploit the natural resources of the surrounding Shandong Province.  It spent vast amounts upgrading the infrastructure, as well as buildings new schools, hospitals and government buildings.  The city also expanded rapidly up the harbour to the northeast (as seen on the present map), including the “New City District” of residential and commercial quarters for Japanese colonists (which were far more luxurious that than the established Chinese neighborhoods).

In 1922, under diplomatic pressure, Japan reluctantly agreed to hand Tsingtao back to China, although it was permitted to maintain extraterritorial privileges for the numerous Japanese residents in businesses that remained in the city.  Tsingtao continued to grow rapidly, reaching a population of 385,00 in 1937.

In 1938, during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), Japan conquered Qingdao and Shandong Province, placing it under a brutal regime of occupation that made its previous period of administration seem like a halcyon time.  The Chinese residents were mercilessly repressed and exploited, while the Japanese expanded the city into ‘Greater Tsingtao’, with an emphasis upon milking the economy for the home country’s benefit and providing the Japanese colonists with a pleasant lifestyle.

With Japan’s defeat in World War II in the late summer of 1945, Qingdao returned to Chinese Nationalist administration.  The city and surrounding province were taken by the Communists in 1949.  Mao’s rule ravaged Qingdao’s economy: however, from 1984, the city was one of the earliest and greatest beneficiaries of Deng Xiaoping’s economic liberalization programme.  Today it is one of China’s most economically and culturally dynamic cities with a metro population of over 8 million. 

References: National Diet Library:BB03051166.

780 EUR