Edward Moreno

At 94, Ed Moreno has accumulated nearly seventy years of service in media- broadcast, newsprint, and magazines. Ed has received a number of accolades for his work, as writer, editor and translator. His torrid love affair with Japanese culture began in 1951 and it seems it will never cool off. He is currently writing a column on Japanese-Nikkei cultural and historical topics for the “Newsette,” the monthly organ of the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, in West Covina, CA. Before its demise, The East magazine (Tokyo) published some of his original works.  He also writes for “Transactions, the Journal of the prestigious Asiatic Society of Japan”

Updated May 2015

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Orchid From The North - Part 5

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Again, we stray a bit from Yoshiko’s personal story to review the situation between China and Japan at the close of the Pacific War. Why? On the 75th anniversary of what President Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy” (December 7, 1941), many Western media outlets revisited the “safe versions” of World War II history—those that portray the Allies (China and Russia included) as icons of righteousness and Japan as a most ignoble country. Yoshiko had already become a significant artistic figure in that period, so we cannot talk about her and ignore ...

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Orchid From The North - Part 4

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China, for centuries adopted by Japanese poets and philosophers as their cultural beacon, had become a poor, filthy, confused, and opium-ridden mess, after years of autocratic government. After the death of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908), little seemed left to unite the nation.1 Internally, ambitious and brutal warlords arose everywhere, each one aiming to become “top dog.” Externally, every swashbuckler country seemed intent on devouring the immense country, whether piecemeal through concessions2 or in a single gulp by colonization. By 1920, every colonialist country had its own extraterritorial heelin China.3 

To prevent their ...

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Orchid from the North - Part 3

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In each of the previous chapters, we have seen young Yoshiko get a few tastes of the real political world around her: the killing of a Chinese bandit, witnessed from her window; the massacre of an entire town to avenge the burning of a coal mine; and the local police’s wrecking of her best friend Liuba’s home.

Consider for a moment the forces tugging from all directions at the girl’s psyche: her father’s demand that she become a solid bridge of understanding between the Chinese and the Japanese; masquerading as Chinese and being ...

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Orchid from the North - Part 2

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“Fengtian was my castle of dreams,” we heard Yoshiko say in our previous chapter, and she had myriad reasons to feel that way. Fengtian, also known as Shenyang (and Mukden to Westerners), was evolving into a marvelous new city. This very old place—which Qing Dynasty founder Nurhaci1 (1559-1626) made his capital in 1625, converted into the center of Manchu China, and promptly discarded—had become China’s fourth largest city and its most significant northeastern economic center.

During the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), Russia lurched to occupy it. She held it in her clutches until March ...

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Orchid from the North - Part 1

Introduction

On the 75th anniversary of the tragic bombing of Pearl Harbor, don’t you think it’s time to put to rest all the misinformation about Japan that is currently treated as “historical dogma?”

One of the most blatant misconceptions, which really irks me as an insatiable history buff, is the shibboleth that relations between Japan and China have always been antagonistic and tragic, because Japan has been China’s eternal enemy and worst oppressor, and China its childlike, innocent perennial victim. (Or words to that effect.)

Since the 1950’s, much has already been written to enable us ...

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