Japanese Concession

The Imperial Japanese Majesty's Consul issued this proclamation.Set up in 1898 in the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese Concession Zone symbolised Japan as a great world power, alongside the European maritime empires. The zone expanded in 1900 during the suppression of the Boxers and for this the Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Consul in Tianjin issued a proclamation in English in the style of the western powers (pic).

The Japanese paid the highest land price in the acquisition of the land because their zone was right under the southern gate of Tianjin City, with a dense population and high demand of land. Thus, the Qing China land markets manifested itself most strongly in the negotiation and establishment of the Japanese zone. By paying the market price, the harshness of transactions between states upon the population was to an extent smoothed out. The State and Capital came hand in hand in setting up the concession zones. Yet the Japanese zone was mostly bound up with political affairs. Not only did Japanese spies operate from the zone in preparation for a full invasion of China, which was launched in 1937, also the then underground Chinese communist party and other Chinese student patriotic movements also based in the zone took advantage of its relative political freedom.

The zone was theoretically under a self-governing body consisting of mainly overseas Japanese and other nationalities, Chinese in majority, residing or owning lands in the zone, but this political body was closely supervised by the Japanese Consulate in Tianjin. The returning of the zone was also politically laden, for Japan handed over the zone in 1943 to the Manchu Puppet Government controlled precisely by Japanese themselves. After the Second World War, the zone was returned to the Republic of China, ending its nearly half century history of existence.