Yang Haiying, 46, Professor of Shizuoka University, graciously
accepted the 14th Shiba Ryotaro Award with his book ¡°Genocide on the
Mongolian Steppe --- Oral Histories of the Chinese Revolution¡±
(published in Japanese by Iwanami Shoten) documenting the tragic
history of the persecution of the Mongols of the Inner Mongolia
Autonomous Region of China. Professor Yang gave an interview to
Chunichi Shimbun on December 9.
¡°Shocked speechless by hearing about the cruelties, I could not hold
back my tears during the interviews with the victims,¡± Professor
Yang Haiying recalled his fieldwork interviews for his book that
describes in meticulous detail the persecution the Mongols suffered
during the Cultural Revolution in 1960s.
Born in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Yang Haiying came
to study in Japan in March, 1989, inspired by Tadao Umesao, founding
head of the National Museum of Ethnology (1920-2010). Married to a
Japanese woman, he obtained his Japanese citizenship in 2000.
Employed by Shizuoka University as a professor at the Faculty of
Humanities and Social Science since 2004, his main research has been
in Mongolian ethnology.
Vividly describing the ethnic cleansing and the forcible
displacement of the Mongolian people based on testimonials and other
materials, ¡°Genocide on the Mongolian Steppe --- Oral Histories of
the Chinese Revolution¡± is a masterpiece in two volumes that took
the author 18 years to research and write. The effort included
collecting a large number of official Chinese documents and
interviewing more than 100 eyewitnesses and survivors of the period.
Because the topic is still considered taboo in China, the author
revealed that he ¡°had received pressure and interference from
Yet, he never considered quitting his field work because of his
¡°commitment to revealing the untold history of ethnic genocide that
is a crime against humanity¡±. ¡°My own relatives were also
victimized. It was something one can hardly forget,¡± recalling his
own experiences at a young age during the Cultural Revolution of the
1960s in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The selection of the Award winner, sponsored by the Shiba Ryotaro
Memorial Foundation, was announced on December 8. The commentator
Takashi Tachibana and novelist Teru Miyamoto were also on the list
of former Shiba Ryotaro Award recipients.
¡°I didn¡¯t expect this type of theme would be selected for the Award
at this particular moment,¡± referring to the Chinese human rights
activist Liu Xiaobo¡¯s Nobel Peace Prize award that has provoked
China¡¯s extreme consternation.
¡°I feel like destiny is playing a role,¡± commenting on the fact that
Shiba Ryotaro was a graduate of the Department of Mongolian Studies
at the former Osaka University of Foreign Studies (currently Osaka
University School of Foreign Studies).