March 9

This Day in History

General Interest

Mar 9, 1932:

China's last emperor is Japanese puppet

Henry Pu Yi, who reigned as the last emperor of China from 1908 to 1912, becomes regent of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, comprising the Rehe province of China and Manchuria.

Enthroned as the emperor Hsian-T'ung at the age of three, he was forced to abdicate four years later in Sun Yat-sen's republican revolution. He took the name of Henry and continued to live in Beijing's Forbidden City until 1924, when he was forced into exile. He settled in Japanese-occupied Tianjin, where he lived until his installment as the puppet leader of Manchukuo in 1932. In 1934, he became K'ang Te, emperor of Manchukuo. Despite guerrilla resistance against his puppet regime, he held the emperor's title until 1945, when he was captured by Soviet troops in the final days of World War II.

In 1946, Pu Yi testified before the Tokyo war crimes tribunal that he had been the unwilling tool of the Japanese and not, as they claimed, an instrument of Manchurian self-determination. Manchuria and the Rehe province were returned to China, and in 1950 Pu Yi was handed over to the Chinese communists, who imprisoned him at Shenyang until 1959, when Chinese leader Mao Zedong granted him amnesty. After his release, he worked in a mechanical repair shop in Peking. He died on October 17, 1967.

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