Readers who remember my discussions of Kokaryo(光華寮), the Kyoto student dormitory for overseas Chinese students which became the center of the longest duration lawsuit in Japanese legal history might be interested to know about Seikaryo (清華寮), a Chinese student dormitory located in Tokyo, which was purchased under significantly different, but also interesting circumstances.Seikaryo recently made the news due to a tragic fire that killed two women living there, which was brought to my attention via an email from Curzon. Seikaryo, like Kokaryo, was originally purchased as a dormitory for Taiwanese students studying in Japan, but where Kokaryo had been purchased by the Taiwanese Republic of China government (possible with funds that may have been repayment for property taken by Japan from mainland China-this and other vagaries led to the bizarre and complex circumstances of the lawsuit, about which one can read in my earlier pieces), Seikaryo was constructed in 1927 by a foundation belonging to the Japanese colonial Governor General in Taiwan, when Taiwan was an internationally recognized colonial possession of Japan.

According to this article, the property rights of the dormitory were unclear after the war, leading to problems involving such things as the assessment of taxes, but apparently-unlike Kokaryo- it remained a residence for students from both Taiwan and China. This article, from a mainland China source, claims that both Kokaryo and Seikaryo were purchased by the Taiwanese government while it was under Japanese occupation, and after Japan’s surrender became property of the People’s Republic of China, but since Kokaryo was in fact not purchased by Taiwan until 1952, when the ROC government had already lost the civil war, the Chinese article is clearly false. Last, this article from a Taiwanese source states that the actual land is owned by Japan, with a term that I believe means something like Right of Occupation (房舍產權) residing with Taiwan. It is unclear however if this refers to the situation at the time of construction (1927), or the present.

If anyone has more information on Seikaryo, particularly as it compares with the somewhat more famous Kokaryo, I would be very interested in hearing.

My original piece on Kokaryo is here, and my piece on the resolution (at least for the time being) of the legal battle is here.

More on fake Harry Potter

Today’s New York Times has published a moderate sized article on the Chinese phenomenon.

No one can say with any certainty what the full tally is, but there are easily a dozen unauthorized Harry Potter titles on the market here already, and that is counting only bound versions that are sold on street corners and can even be found in school libraries. Still more versions exist online.

These include “Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Relative Prince,” a creation whose name in Chinese closely resembles the title of the genuine sixth book by Ms. Rowling, as well as pure inventions that include “Harry Potter and the Hiking Dragon,” “Harry Potter and the Chinese Empire,” “Harry Potter and the Young Heroes,” “Harry Potter and Leopard-Walk-Up-to-Dragon,” and “Harry Potter and the Big Funnel.”

Some borrow little more than the names of Ms. Rowling’s characters, lifting plots from other well-known authors, like J. R. R. Tolkien, or placing the famously British protagonist in plots lifted from well-known kung-fu epics and introducing new characters from Chinese literary classics like “Journey to the West.”

Harry Potter and the Big Funnel? I’ve heard of that one somewhere before… 

In related news, of the 100 or so blogs and other websites that linked to my fake Harry Potter post, this post at the blog of the comic book fansite Newsarama may be the only one to offer a substantial contribution. Now, I had posted a couple of pages from a nice, wholesome Harry Potter Japanese fan comic (dojinshi), but someone at Newsarama had apparently dug into their personal bookmarks collection and dug out links to online archives of-ahem-less than wholesome product. The sort of thing that chronicles the sort of activity that English boarding school was famous for before Hogwarts. Am I going to paste the links here? No, but anyone curious enough to click can take that extra step.