Archers, tiger hunters and horse-riders from beyond the Great Wall, the Manchu people made their first mark on history as founders of the Northern Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) before consolidating their influence in 1644 when their militaristic society swept south from Manchuria to drive the Ming Dynasty from power, establishing the Qing Empire and an astonishing three century period of rule over what would become the multicultural, pan-Asian state we know as China today.

Curious what happened to the Manchu? Or how to spot and chit-chat with banner-bearers lurking in your midst? In today's Sinica podcast, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn take a break from current affairs to take a look at China's Manchu legacy, as evident everywhere from the streets of Beijing to high Chinese fashion. So join us this week as we talk about what happened to the Manchu. Joining us for this discussion is Jeremiah Jenne, Qing historian, popular blogger and Associate Director for Chinese Studies at the IES Abroad program in Beijing.

Enjoy Sinica? Did you know it is possible to subscribe to this show via iTunes, in which case your computer will download new episodes of the show as they become available. To do this just select "Subscribe to Podcast" from the Advanced podcast menu and provide the URL when prompted. And if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics or guests, feel free to leave a comment or email Kaiser anytime at You can also download this show anytime as a standalone mp3 file.
 said on
July 2, 2012

Danwei Week - Holding up half the sky, but taking all the rap

The charms of Qing TV, The Economist


Jeremiah Jenne:

The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China, by Mark Elliott

Jeremy Goldkorn:

In Manchuria, by Michael Meyer

In Manchuria: Life on a rice farm in China's northeast, by Michael Meyer

Kaiser Kuo:

Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang-Hsi, by Jonathan Spence

 said on
July 6, 2012
Thank you Kaiser for this excellent podcast! I'm 1/4 of an ethnic Manchu person. My grandma's family was Manchu and she was raised in Beijing. Embarrassing enough, I believe this podcast is the first time I actually heard what Manchu language sounds like (I don't think my grandma spoke Manchu at any point of her life). It definitely has an imprint on Beijinghua! I would have thought I heard two laobeijing mumbling in Mandarin if Kaiser didn't say it's Manchu.
 said on
July 10, 2012
Hey, Kaiser,

Great podcast! I at least appreciated your queue-cutting joke, even if it seemed to slip by ...

I'd add to the reading list Pamela Crossley's A Translucent Mirror, and Evelyn Rawski's The Last Emperors, for excellent books on Manchu imperial self-conception, among other things.

Also, FYI Cao Xueqin was not Manchu- he was from an ethnic Chinese family who were bondservants (Ch. baoyi, Manchu: booi) to the imperial family. See Spence's excellent "Ts`ao Yin and the K`ang-hsi Emperor" for more.

Just subscribed after This American Life- keep it up, and thanks!

Mark Lesson Studied