Li Xiang Lan

Li Xianglan(李香蘭、李香兰) was born in China in 1920. When she was 13, her Chinese foster father(養父)gave her name Li Xianglan. She lived as a Chinese singer and actress, hiding the fact that she actually was a Japanese named Yamaguchi Yoshiko(山口淑子). In order to avoid anti-Japanese movement against the invasion of Japanese army, she had hidden it till the end of the WW2 .

Once, there was an episode for her national identity. When she had a concert in Japan, a local newspaper scooped that she was actually a Japanese. Then she replied "I know the paper made my real name public, but I don't worry whether I fall out of my populality. The important thing is how well I act and sing on the stage. And I think my nationality is just an East Asian woman."

June 1945, she had a concert with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra(上海交響楽団) at the Grand Theatre(大光明大戯院). This video is the scene. The concert was so successful continuing 3 days. August 9th 1945, she had an encore concert for her fans at Shanghai horse race field(現在の人民広場). She knew that this could be the last message to China where she was born in, grown up and loved.

The war ended. Chinese government arrested her on the doubt that she helped Japan's propaganda by acting in Japanese movies. Many newspapers said that she would be killed. Finally, getting help from her Russian childhood girl friend, she got free and left out to Japan.

Feb. 1941, Li Xianglan (李香蘭、李香兰)went to Japan to have a concert as a Chinese singer at The Japan Theatre (日本劇場). Japanese fans believed that she was a famous and mysterious Chinese singer and movie star who could speak Japanese and who loved Japan.

In those dark and painful war days, Japanese people wanted fun time bringing some dream. On the first concert day, about 100,000 people gathered to see her though they didn't have a ticket. In the theater, more than 3,500 fans were standing up to sing a Japanese lyric song with Li Xianglan. The last part of this video shows the scene. The song was Italian opera "Libiamo"(乾杯の歌).

Li Xianglan, in her young ages, simply believed the Japan's slogan "Goodwill between Manchuria(満州国) and Japan". But the purpose of Japanese government was to utilize her popularity. The Japanese government aimed Japanese people feel that Manchuria was a dream land worth emigrating and aimed maintain the capital right. About 320,000 Japanese farmers emigrated to Manchuria with a dream of prosperity.

Four years later, August 1945, when Li Xianglan was still singing in Shanghai, the Japanese emigrants in Manchuria lost everything. 1/3 of them were able to go back to Japan. Others, mainly ladies and children, were violated and killed by Russian army and Chinese robbers.On the other hand, some Chinese kindly became the foster parents(養父母) for the Japanese lost children.

The hell for the Japanese emiglant continued for almost one year. This is behind the beautiful scene.


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