Although claimed as a nation-state, with a government, a territory, and citizenry, Manchukuo (1932–1945) is a colony of the Empire of Japan, appropriated from Northeast China. As such, Manchukuo’s literary identity complicates the relationship between nationalism and literature, inviting us to rethink the history of Chinese literature in specific and East Asian literary history in general. This article tackles the thorny problem of Manchukuo literary formation by going through Shuimei Shih’s concept of sinophone and Chen Pingyuan’s notion of the multiethnic, only to conclude via a reading of Deleuze and Guattari’s elaboration of Kafka that Manchukuo’s corpus is best approached as a minor literature of its own. The very colonial and local complexity of Manchukuo’s minor literature lies in its multiethnicity and multilingualism. A close reading of Mei’niang, Yokoda Fumiko, and Arsenii Nesmelov, through their deterritorialized Chinese, Japanese, and Russian stories, demonstrates the range of indigenous and exiled writers in their diverse imagination of Manchukuo’s ambiguous sovereignty.

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