Donnerstag, 23.05.2019 13:15 Uhr

North China Standard Online

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 14.02.2019, 10:57 Uhr
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Rome [ENA] The on line publication of The North China Standard sets out to be aimed squarely to scholars of Japanese and Chinese and journalists. It is a fair and fine work and without a doubt a welcome addition to the existing literature on journalism history in Asia. In the history of Asian journalism, The North China Standard (in Chinese, Huabei zheng bao) played a significant role and stands alongside the

Japan Times & Mail as an authentic newspaper, distributing real news written by real journalists in Japan’s network of newspapers reporting the national case for expansion and leadership in Asia. Ridiculed as a propaganda rag when it first began publication in December 1919, the Standard read better, and investigated and reported better quality news to a progressively growing readership in post-WW1 China and Japan, as extensive documentary evidence analyzed suggests. It was also a representative newspaper chosen for international conferences . The North China Standard was founded in December 1919 by John Russell Kennedy (1861-1928), Anglo-Irish master architect of Japan’s modern propaganda programmes.

Its most immediate functions, in the wake of propaganda failures at the Paris Conference and the Treaty of Versailles granting Japan continuing rights in Shandong Province, was to argue Japan’s claim to special rights and advisory powers in Chinese affairs, to question the ability of the Chinese to govern China, and to maintain British support for the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Throughout the 1920s it served as one of Japan’s representative newspapers at international conferences, delivered gratis to all delegates. Sticking to Japan’s propaganda mission would have made for a dull read, and the Standard made a slow start under Satoh Kenri, (known as Henry), in 1919. Nevertheless, the paper ameliorated under the British journalist,

John S. Willes in the 1920s. It took the gifted and imaginative George Gorman (1888-1956) to improve the North China Standard and make it into a real newspaper. Both Satoh and Gorman were experienced publicists in the cause of Japan. However, Gorman’s long experience in this role persuaded him that the best way to advance Japan’s cause was through polemic and debate. Under Gorman, the North China Standard served Chinese and foreign readerships vibrantly and meticulously, making this title a valuable primary source for scholars of Japan and China.

It is symptomatic that Brill, the publishing house founded in 1683, based in Leiden and Boston and with a rich history and a strong international focus, published in 2016 North-China Standard Online. That reflects a growing interest devoted to understanding and explicating Chinese and Japanese history in a “challenging moment” of the expansion as a superpower of People’s Republic of China. It is always good to see and appreciate new work on Asia in post-WW1.

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