Ogura Nobu Leaves Fuqing
Consular police report of Ogura Nobu's departure from Fuqing, 1934-06.
David R. Ambaras
Consular police officers touring Fuqing in June 1934 reported that Ogura Nobu had departed. They provided no further details about her (and the fact that the reported date of her departure is erroneous—“August 1929,” before she even arrived in Fuqing—suggests a lack of accurate information). Their manuscript report, some 90 pages in length in the extant version, provides detailed information on dozens of Japanese women and their children in the Fuqing area, as well as on social, economic, political, and infrastructural conditions. (Detailed reports on roads and airfields were excluded from the version in this part of the diplomatic archives, but their trace remains in the report's table of contents and in the included hand-drawn map.)
What caused Ogura to leave? We have no way of knowing. Nor do we know the route she took.
What we can say: As she moved about the region, Ogura Nobu clearly did not conform to social and political expectations: in choosing to depart or stay and to love or leave, she challenged and negotiated the various structures, from parental authority to community customs in multiple locations to state power and media discourses, that constrained her agency. But as the border encounters and consular police reports demonstrate, her movements themselves also enabled the operations of those forces, creating new moments of connection and separation that gave new shape to Japan and East Asia.
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