The 9.18 Historical Museum in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning province, is collecting items of interest to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Sept 18th Incident, also known as the Mukden Incident.
On that day in 1931, Japanese troops, in a staged event, detonated a blast on a section of the railway in northern Shenyang. They falsely accused the Chinese and used this as a pretext to attack a garrison in the Beidaying area of the city on the same night.
The incident was the start of the Japanese military occupation of Northeast China, then known as Manchuria.
The museum, founded in 1991, is located on the site where Japanese troops targeted the South Manchuria Railway.
According to Cui Junguo, assistant curator of the museum, the items they want to collect include files or messages on how the Japanese planned the incident, as well as weapons or other items of historical significance.
“In the past 20 years, we have collected more than 8,000 items from all over the world,” Cui said.
In early September, the museum received two tooth powder boxes donated by a local collector.
Their significance is related to the fact that, according to Cui, the Japanese dumped commodities and goods from their country into Northeast China. This was to boost sales of Japanese goods at the expense of Chinese ones.
Liu Kaiping, a patriotic businessman, decided to challenge this system and developed China’s first tooth powder, Old Locomotive, in a move that would ignite a boycott of Japanese goods.
In early 1932, he joined the Northeast People’s Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army. Later, he was captured and killed by the Japanese.
“It’s small and inconspicuous, but it’s very meaningful. It reflects people’s spirit and actions in resisting Japanese aggression at that time,” Cui said.
“We want to enrich our exhibition content by collecting more items and further explore the incident’s historical status and international influence,” he said. “It’s the best way to maintain the memory of those black days.”