Jack London’s brief visit to China

April 2, 2014

At the Northern California Independent Booksellers Trade Show in Oakland (NCIBA) back in 2010, I stopped at the University of Georgia Press booth searching for a book about Jack London (1876 – 1916).

In fact, Jack London, Photographer (ISBN 978-0-8203-2967-3) by Jeanne Campbell Reesman, Sara S. Hodson and Philip Adam was there, and I have a copy in front of me as I’m writing this post—that’s after I slipped it off my bookshelf where it sat since then.

It’s a beautiful book and proves that London had talent beyond writing stories such as White Fang or Call of the Wild.

London took photos in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War in Korea and Manchuria.

On page 57, the caption says, “London had his camera confiscated in Japan and was often detained by Japanese officials when he got too close to the front lines, especially as the war spread to the Yalu River, the boundary between Korea and Manchuria.” 

The experiences London had in Korea and China would lead to an essay and a story that ignited a debate that he was a racist.

Jack London, Socialist-Capitalist

He wrote the The Unparalleled Invasion, which takes place in a fictional 1975, when the West decides to destroy China (for no good reason) by using biological warfare. I guess the West couldn’t sell opium to China anymore.

While at the NCIBA, I had two conversations about London. One editor said she had heard that London was a racist and she had trouble believing that.  Later, another editor from the University of George Press also said he didn’t believe London was a racist.

London’s 1904 essay, The Yellow Peril, may have contributed to the claim that he was a racist. Using Google, I found sites that support this theory.

However, after seeing the pictures in Jack London, Photographer (Amazon link), it’s hard to believe he was a racist. There have also been rumors that London committed suicide but there is no evidence to support that theory either.

If London were a racist, why did his Japanese servant Tokinosuke Sekine stay loyal to the end even after London was bankrupt and his “fair weather” friends had abandoned him?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

The Sinophobia Epidemic

September 29, 2010

After being called “Pro China” and a “Panda Lover”, along with a few other tags, I wondered how many people in America have the mental illness called Sinophobia.

The Ramblings of a Political Psychology Major provided an answer. “There is a majority opinion in the US that China is a country we should be concerned with. In a February 2010 Gallup poll, 53% of Americans rated China as being unfavorable or very unfavorable.”

Sinophobia is especially common in Japan. If you don’t believe me, read what Japan did to the Chinese during World War II.

After that, check out what the British, French, Americans and a few others did to China in the 19th century during the Opium Wars.

Do you detect anger in this video?

The notion of “yellow peril” manifested itself in government policy with the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which reduced Chinese immigration from 30,000 annually to 105.

Jack London’s 1914 story, The Unparalleled Invasion, takes place in a fictional 1975, and describes a China with an ever-increasing population taking over and colonizing its neighbors with the intention of eventually taking over the Earth. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was Hitler’s German Nazis who wanted to do that.

Fili’s World provides an example of Sinophobia in the Israeli media. “You know something is wrong when you hear everyone in the media quoting the exact same clichés, even if they sound so moral and enlightened.… The Chinese have no way of winning the PR battle. If they perform well, they’re described as machine-like and cold. If they mess things up a bit, they are described as losing control. If they tighten up security, they’re violating human rights. If they’re loosening it up a bit, then it’s a sign that China is breaking apart. If they’re on time, they’re fascists. If they’re late, they’re incompetent.”

The Glittering Eye says, “I think I could devote an entire Blog to Sinophobia rather than just to an occasional post seen in the news media.”

Most Chinese Americans I know say they are afraid to speak out about this illness, because a white-faced, round-eyed, big nosed Sinophobe will tell them to go home.

Sinophobia is so serious, it even appears on the Phobia List.

If 53% of Americans have this illness, it should qualify as an epidemic. Along with the annual flu shot, there should be an anti-Sinophobia injection.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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