In This Review

Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China
Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China
By Timothy Brook
Harvard University Press, 2005, 302 pp

Brook has with great care taken up the sensitive topic of Chinese collaboration with the Japanese conquerors during the Sino-Japanese War -- a subject that the Chinese are still hesitant to address. His study concentrates on local collaboration in the Yangtze delta region in Shanghai's hinterland, avoiding the more shocking cases of puppet regimes in north and northeast China and the "national government" in Nanjing. China, unlike France after World War II, had no chance to work out the moral and psychological issues related to collaboration, and even today outrage at Japanese atrocities obscures questions of Chinese collaboration. Brook builds his thoughtful analysis on Japanese archival documents, Chinese memoirs, and interviews. By concentrating on the local level, he makes vivid the personal relationships between Chinese and Japanese administrators as they dealt with day-to-day problems. He concludes that there was no shortage of Chinese elites ready to work for the Japanese, but that the relationship remained complicated and tense.