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The photograph below reminds me of my previous post. Here is Aisin- Gioro “Henry” Pu-yi as the Emperor of Manchukou. I don’t think the Son of Heaven would have liked me associating him with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Eunuch of the imperial court of the last dynasty” photograph, but he probably wouldn’t like these pictures either.

At his enthronement he clashed with Japan over dress; they wanted him to wear a Manchukuo-style uniform whereas he considered it an insult to wear anything but traditional Manchu robes. In a typical compromise, he wore a Western military uniform to his enthronement (the only Chinese emperor ever to do so) and a dragon robe to the announcement of his accession at the Temple of Heaven. 

ca. 1940 --- Emperor Pu Yi (known as Henry Puyi in the west) was the last  emperor of China.  He was the first emperor of Manchuko from 1934-35, a puppet monarch for the Japanese. --- Image by © CORBIS

ca. 1940 — Emperor Pu Yi (known as Henry Puyi in the west) was the last emperor of China. He was the first emperor of Manchuko from 1934-35, a puppet monarch for the Japanese. — Image by © CORBIS

At the end of World War II, Puyi was captured by the Soviet Red Army on 16 August 1945 while he was in an airplane fleeing to Japan. The Soviets took him to the Siberian town of Chita. He lived in a sanatorium, then later taken to Khabarovsk near the Chinese border.

Soviet Union Military Officer and Puyi. 1946

Soviet Union Military Officer and Puyi. 1946

When the Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong came to power in 1949, Puyi was repatriated to China after negotiations between the Soviet Union and China. Except for a period during the Korean War, when he was moved to Harbin, Puyi spent ten years in the Fushun War Criminals Management Centre in Liaoning province until he was declared reformed. 

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NOTE: The Temple of Heaven was in Peking and fell into disrepair with the fall of the Qing Dynasty. I don’t know how the Son of Heaven could have worn a dragon robe there at the “announcement of his accession” as Emperor of Manchukuo.

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