The Unnan shinwa and Novelizations of the Taiping Rebellion
We have seen to this point a number of fictionalized treatments in late-Edo Japan of the Opium War, and I have inserted commentary into the discussion, but one work which I did not bring up at that time and which is also concerned with the Opium War I would now like to add. This work did not deal with the Opium War as its main or central theme, but was written as a daily chronicle of the subsequent anti-Qing revolution known as the ‘Taiping Heavenly Kingdom’ (or Taiping Rebellion). It was a piece of fiction in which the story line went as follows: Seeing that the ferocity of the Taiping military force would not in the end succumb to the Qing armies alone, the British — the Qing dynasty’s trading partner ever since the Opium War — dispatch a great armed force to aid the Qing court ‘unaware as it is of their [i.e., British] ulterior motives,’ and the joint Qing-British army destroys the Taipings.
KeywordsQing Dynasty Ming Dynasty Ulterior Motive Fictional Account County Gazetteer
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