1st Edition

Mei Niang’s Long-Lost First Writings Young Lady’s Collection

By Norman Smith Copyright 2023
    140 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In 1944, the novel Xie (Crabs) by Mei Niang (1916-2013) was honored with the Japanese Empire’s highest literary award, Novel of the Year. Then, at the peak of her popularity, Mei Niang published in Japanese-owned, Chinese-language journals and newspapers in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (1932-1945), Japan, and north China. Contemporaries lauded her writings, especially for introducing liberalism to Manchuria’s literary world. In Maoist China, however, Mei Niang was condemned as a traitor and a Rightist with her life and career torn to shreds until her formal vindication in the late 1970s. In 1997, Mei Niang was named one of "Modern China's 100 Writers." The collection that is translated in this volume, Xiaojie ji (Young lady’s collection), was published in 1936, when she was 19 years old. Long thought forever lost in the violence of China’s civil war and Maoist strife, the collection was only re-discovered in 2019.

    This is the first book-length, English-language translation of the work of this high-profile, prolific New Woman writer from Northeast China. Mei Niang’s Long-Lost First Writings will appeal to those interested in Chinese literature, the Japanese Empire, historic fiction, history, women’s/gender history, and students in undergraduate and graduate level courses. To date, English-language volumes of translated Chinese literature have rarely focused on Manchukuo’s Chinese writers or centered on those who left the puppet state by1935.

    This volume fills an important historical lacuna – a teenaged Chinese woman’s views of life and literature in Japanese-occupied Manchuria.


    1. Fate: Mei Niang and I

    2. The Life and Career of Mei Niang

    3. Introduction to Xiaojie ji (Young lady’s collection)

    4. Finding Young Lady’s Collection


    5. Mother Tao

    6. Chance Encounter

    7. The Neighbor

    8. Lingling

    9. Autumn

    10. Twilight

    11. Libra Scales

    12. Life’s Passing

    13. Perplexion

    14. Reaction of the Sea

    15. River Wind

    16. Raindrop

    17. Spring Night

    18. Flowers Play Shadows

    19. Fallen Flowers

    20. Vase Flowers

    21. First Meeting

    22. Letter

    23. Mother

    24. My Friends 


    Norman Smith is a professor of History at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Resisting Manchukuo and Intoxicating Manchuria. Edited volumes include Writing Manchuria; Translating the Occupation; Manchukuo Perspectives; Tian Lin zuopin ji qi yanjiu (Tian Lin’s Writings and Research on Them); Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria, select volumes of Wei Man wenxue ciliao zhengli yu yanjiu congshu, and Beyond Suffering. His work has been published in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. He is the cofounder and coeditor of the website, Manchuria, Literature and Culture: 1900-.