Japanese occupation of China, between 1937 and 1945, was first and foremost about state building. While previous research has examined many aspects of this process, little is known about how it resulted in successive and often conflicting conceptions of China’s administrative map. The notion of “mapping” is used here in the sense of defining the spatial configuration of the occupation state; actual maps being only one medium among others for doing so. This paper makes the case that our understanding of the occupation state could greatly benefit from fully taking into account the spatiality of state power and the way conflicting political strategies translated into different topographies of the state apparatus.
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