Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Nagasaki-maru at N.Y.K. wharf, Shanghai
12020-04-30T18:05:41-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f355Postcard of the Nihon Yūsen Kaisha ship Nagasaki-maru at the Shanghai wharf, from the series "Shanghai meisho" [Famous places in Shanghai].plain2020-10-01T16:36:16-04:0031.2463,121.49736Shanghai1928-1937East Asia Image Collection, Lafayette College, Easton, PA.Showa CompanyPublic domain.David R. Ambarasimage/jpegDRA-0006Still ImageKandra Polatis4decfc04157f6073c75cc53dcab9d25e87c02133
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12020-04-30T18:05:33-04:00Embodied Mobilities6How to think about the materiality of movement? The Nihon Yūsen Kaisha's Shanghai ferry as example.plain2021-10-12T10:44:54-04:001928David R. AmbarasOgura NobuChen Zhaopin
We can say more: The story of Ogura Nobu (and Chen Zhaopin, though he is even more silent/silenced than she), highlights the need to explore the material and discursive experiences of border crossing and mobility, and the contextualized histories of the bodies that move. For example, part of a deep map of this subject would have to extend to the materiality of the route, including the third-class passage on the ferry that carried Ogura Nobu and Chen Zhaopin from Kobe to Shanghai for roughly 23 yen each. The poet Kaneko Mitsuharu, who traveled third class in 1928, depicted the journey as one of extreme discomfort:
The suffocatingly hot smell wafting up the companionway from the large tatami-matted area below where the general passengers travel is really quite something. This may be the genuine stench of that living thing called humanity. In addition to the odor of men's and women's sweat and other secretions, the smell of vomit in metal tubs, and the smell of dried paint all mixed together.…Because it was Shiwasu [the twelfth month of the old calendar], the cold would cling to one's face so it was impossible to go out on deck. But in the cabin, bodies were crammed so close together that no one could move, and as there were no ventilation systems or fans, everyone was lying around in a state of asphyxia from breathing each other's respiration. The food they had brought with them was already going bad before even half a night on board. Once at sea, the rolling and pitching was tremendous… (Kaneko 1976, 149-50).
This was a far cry from the posh amenities for the more affluent passengers and the lifestyle they advertised, with the most luxurious first-class compartments costing 180 to 230 yen (Kawata 2001, 98; see also Okabayashi 2006).
This history would also extend to the network of Chinese lodging houses, coastal steamers, and overland transport that conveyed migrants between Shanghai and Fuqing. It would also have to capture the careful preparation of stories, the altering of appearances (Ogura Nobu was hardly the only woman to try to pass as a Chinese for the journey), the tension and apprehension accompanying checkpoint interviews (comparable to that experienced by colonial subjects—Yom 2010), and so on. Mobilities research must attend to factors such as ethnicity, gender, class, age, place of origin, household structure, and prior experiences and future expectations—not mention the contingent political conditions—under which such movement was undertaken. Moving bodies took shape as products of social processes, what Leslie Adelson calls embodiment, the “making and doing the work of bodies” and “becoming a body in social space” (quoted in Canning 1999, 505).