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.
Despite its geopolitical importance at the juncture between Soviet and Japanese claims, Xing An lay outside infrastructure networks connecting the region to larger populations centers and the interior provinces of China. Lacking even the roads, the successful development of the region required enormous capital and resource investments at a time when growing Japanese encroachment in the Northeast made large scale infrastructural projects nearly impossible to fund. A few tractors made for good photo opportunities, but did not essentially alter the balance between an unrelenting environment and the ill-coordinated efforts of a few military units and several thousand refugees.
For Japanese officers in the Kwantung Army, Zhang Zuolin’s assassination may not have led to the desired outcome, but the situation in Manchuria did not diffuse with Chinese appeasement. In 1931, another instigation, the Mukden Incident, would lead to the formation of the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo. Yet, the Xing An Land Reclamation Bureau was not wrong about the importance of the region nor about the Japanese interest. Within a year of the publication of the first Xing An Tunken Report, the research section of the Japanese-run South Manchurian Railroad had translated the report, minus the political rhetoric of Chinese nationalism but including two maps, which needed no translation. In that sense, modernizing officers had succeeded in their mission—from a blank space, Xing An came onto the map.