Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Photography Goes to War

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the photography bureau continued to maintained close connections with the Kwantung Army. In 1941, the military sent several Manchuria Aviation Company members to shoot strategic locations in French Indochina, Siam, Singapore, and Sumatra, demonstrating the roundabout circulation of technological expertise in the Japanese empire. At its height, the unit maintained a fleet of ten planes and had a reputation of being one of the top producers of aerial images in the world, after Germany and the United States. The bureau grew to two hundred workers with branch offices in Beijing and Nanjing, captured 90 percent of Manchukuo on film, and conducted aerial surveys from Korea to Mongolia by the end of the war.

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