Here’s a bit of errata that didn’t make it into The Queen of the Orient. (There’s always room for a second edition, I suppose…)

To keep up with events in the world and China, English-speaking visitors can turn to the most popular morning edition newspaper in the Orient, the North-China Daily News, published by the Morris brothers in Shanghai. This paper can even be found, on occasion, in London and New York. The main competition of this newspaper is The Shanghai Times. For evening papers, the Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury was a fervently anti-Japanese publication. More balanced was the Evening Telegraph.

This was one of the snippets that hadn’t gotten fleshed out in the final editing passes, so I thought I would expand on it. Shanghai was, after 1932, the cynosure for Oriental reporting, eclipsing even Hong Kong. Journalists than had been stationed in Peking (Beijing) found themselves moving to Shanghai, where in 1937 they would have a front-row seat to the Japanese invasion of that city. “Nowhere else is a great metropolis likely again to have a ringside seat at a killing contest involving nearly a million men,” wrote Edgar Snow of the China Weekly Review.

One thing frequently noted by the journalists of the time was the disconnected, imperial attitudes of the Shanghailanders, both the Europeans and the Chinese. The European residents of the city acted as if all the troubles that had been plaguing China were in the past. While the Great Depression was still dragging on the rest of the world, it was a time of prosperity. A devil-may-care, live for today sensibility allowed the Chinese residents of Shanghai to scramble for what they could enjoy…because while everyone claimed nothing would come of the Japanese aggression, everyone knew a reckoning was in the offing.

Some of the English language newspapers that were popular in the city were the morning edition North-China Daily News, owned by the Morris brothers, and which had an international reach and could be found in London, New York, and Canberra. The main competition for this periodical was The Shanghai Times, another morning paper with high circulation in the city and Nanking.

Evening editions included the Evening Telegraph, which had an excellent advertising rate and was popular for its extensive classifieds section. The Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury was a smaller circulation rag with a fervently anti-Japanese editor, but was the best source for news from Northern China. Excellent reporting was also found in the Shanghai Evening Post, for which later New York Times luminary Tillman Durdin worked. The China Press rounded out the reputable English language evening periodicals and was American owned and operated. As such, the The China Press editorial style was a strange, schizophrenic combination of classic colonialism and liberalism. The evening edition of the Morris news company was the North-China Herald, which was not as influential as their morning paper, but still popular. The weekly China Weekly Review was also widely read inside and out of China, and was American-owned.

In the French Concession (or sometimes “Frenchtown”), there were several dialies, as well: Le Journal de Shanghai was relatively new, having started in 1928. L’Echo de Chine was a tabloid connected to Catholic foreign missions in the city and had a scathing view of the French government in Shanghai and “radical” views regarding the social situation in Shanghai. (This was one of the hardest bits and what held up this section of the book — information on the French publications of the period is very hard to come by, for some reason. I was going to attempt to look up titles in the Siccawei Library [which still exists], but hadn’t gotten to it… SCR)

For German language newspapers there was the eveningn daily Neue Zurcher Zeitung, which had particularly courageous reporters who would slipped behind the fighting during the 1932 Sino-Japanese War to do their reporting. Initially skeptical of the Nazi Party, they would bow to pressure from the Reich and tepidly carry water for the government in Shanghai. Their competition, beginning in 1932, was the Nazi Party supporting morning edition Deutsche Shanghai Zeitung, which would change it’s name in 1936 to Der Ostasiatische Lloyd — the name of another newspaper that was published from 1889 to 1936, and had the reputation of being one of the best and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the city. The original Der Ostiasiatische Lloyd was a weekly that also published Deutsche Zeitung für China, another weekly.

Easily the best and most honest reporting in Mandarin was the British owned Shen Bao, which was published in the International Settlement, and hence was not subject to the rigid guidelines and censorship of the Kuomintang that other Chinese tabloids were. The political affiliations of the newpaper in the 1930s leaned toward the quasi-communist, often supporting Sun Yat-Sen’s widow Soong Qingling’s positions whule she was in serving in the Legislative Yuan. Shen Bao was started in 1872 and would publish until the Chinese Revolution in 1949.

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The Fate version of The Queen of the Orient has been approved and a proof copy is on route. After I confirm there are no glaring errors, it should be ready for sale.

Our latest release, The Queen of the Orient, is now available for the Ubiquity and Fate role playing systems as an ebook on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow! It comes with a period-accurate map of Shanghai (in PDF).

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The Queen of the Orient features information on the history of the city and the three municipal entities — the International Settlement, the French Concession, and the native City Government of Greater Shanghai. There is information on the infamous Green Gang (Qing Bang) that ran much of the crime in “the most dangerous city in the world”, as well as their opponents: the yakuza, the Triads, and  the Shanghai Municipal Police.

Crime is a close cousin of espionage, and Shanghai was a hot-bd of that. Chinese communists and Soviet allies, the Nationalist government of the Republic of China, British intelligence, the Japanese kempaitai were all active in the city. Everything you need to create a living, breathing Shanghai for your 1903 pulp game is here.

The ebook/map is $9.99, the print version (which will include the ebook and map) should drop next week at $19.99.

Here are the links for the Fate version and the Ubiquity version.

A note on the map — there’s no print version right now because the size of the thing is not supported by DriveThruRPG’s POD service — it’s a whopping 86×55″! You could possibly find a local shop that could print the thing as a poster.