Book Excerpt! Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy, By Phyllis Birnbaum (chapter 17)

Richly illustrated with rare photos, and enlivened by numerous interviews, Phyllis Birnbaum’s book is a balanced, well-written biography of one of the most notorious figures to emerge in the early twentieth-century contest for empire in northeast Asia. Anyone interested in the personal dimension of Sino-Japanese relations during the period of their most problematic intensity will find much profit in reading these stories.

~Mark C. Elliott, Harvard University

Kawashima Yoshiko was the daughter of a Manchu prince who grew up to shock Japanese society by dressing in men’s clothes and rose to prominence as Commander Jin, touted by the media as a new Joan of Arc. Yoshiko, now a figure of controversy between Japan and China, is the subject of Manchu Princess, Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy Who Commanded Her Own Army, by Phyliss Birnbaum. For today’s Women’s History Month posts, we are sharing this excerpt from chapter 17 on the extent of Yoshiko’s influence on those around her.

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