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Faculty Colloquium – Steven Day

February 24 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm CST

“The Princess Died: Gendered, Ethnic, and National Identity and the Tragic Tale of Kawashima Yoshiko”

Presented by: Steven Day, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Languages and Literature, College of Liberal Arts

February 24, 2023 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Community time before and after presentation)

On Campus and via Zoom

On Campus Location: Goodwin 416

Register for the Zoom Stream Here


This presentation examines the colorful yet tragic life of Kawashima Yoshiko, also known as Aisin Gioro Xianyu in her native Manchu language and Jin Bihui in Mandarin. Born a princess into the Manchu imperial clan in 1907, Kawashima was a cousin to the last Chinese emperor, Puyi. At the age of eight, Kawashima was “adopted” by a Japanese family sympathetic to the restoration of the Manchus after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. My talk will focus on Kawashima’s often ambiguous identity through the categories of gender, ethnicity, and nationality. I will look at representations of her as “Joan of Arc of Manchukuo,” Mulan, and the “Eastern Mata Hari” in newspapers, magazines, pulp fiction, film, plays, and manga. In the end, it was precisely the question of national identity (Chinese or Japanese) that sealed her fate during a trial that resulted in her execution as a traitor in 1948.

Questions? Contact Masoud Ghaffari | [email protected] | 630-829-2270


February 24
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm CST
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Goodwin Hall
Room 416
Benedictine University, 5700 College Road
Lisle, IL 60532 United States
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