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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Known in China, little known beyond (7) - Kyoko Nakamura 中村京子

𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳’𝘴 𝘊𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢, 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭-𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘥-𝘶𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘺 (1921) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦’𝘴 𝘙𝘦𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢 (1949) 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘬𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘴 “𝘒𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢, 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘥”

Two sets of clothes have been part of her closet since her youth; one is a Japanese kimono, the only present from her mother; the other is her Eighth Route Army uniform that she wore more than 70 years ago. 𝗞𝘆𝗼𝗸𝗼 𝗡𝗮𝗸𝗮𝗺𝘂𝗿𝗮 中村京子 (91) was just 15 when she arrived from Japan at Jinzhou Nurse School, in Northeast China's Liaoning province in May 1945 (an area at the time still controlled by the Japanese army), to pursue her dreams of becoming a nurse. After 3 months, Japan surrendered to the allies, ending the occupation and the nursing school was taken over by the Eighth Route Army of the Communist Party. The 20 odd Japanese students were given two choices: Return to Japan, or join the Eighth Route Army. Nakamura weighed her options and joined the Eighth Route Army as nurse in the battlefields of the Liberation war.

In 1946, she was assigned as assistant of the famous 𝗗𝗿. 𝗛𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗠𝘂𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿 汉斯·米勒. Dr. Mueller, born in Duesseldorf 1915 from a Jewish father, fled Germany duzing the Nazi era and studied Medicine at the University of Basel in Switzerland. In 1939, he left Switzerland for China, became related with Mao Zedong and started working as a doctor and medical teacher in the Eighth Route Army and People’s Liberation Army during the wars.

During this period, Nakamura admired Mueller's skills while Mueller was drawn to her intelligence and diligence. But at that time they were only comrades and Nakamura was soon transferred from the frontline hospital. However fate brought them together again two years later in a clinic in the suburbs of Tianjin. And the story goes that she overheard people asking him why he didn’t get married as he was already 39 years. And he answered that he was in love with a Japanese girl. To much surprise for many, they got married in the spring of 1949, just before the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Their marriage left comrades confused, two “devils”, German and Japanese getting married while both fighting with their hearts for the cause of the People’s Liberation Army. But praise, wedding gifts and congratulations came from all over China.

After the founding, they stayed in Beijing and got a daughter and son in the early 1950’s. Nakamura continued to work as medical expert and Mueller worked as professor in different universities, including being Vice-President of the Beijing Medical University. In the early 1970’s Zhou Enlai granted the family to visit Nakamura’s relatives in Japan and Mueller used this time to discuss the causes and diagnosis of Hepatitis B with Professor Nishioka. Upon return, he continued to research and developed the Hepatitis vaccine B in China for which he is especially known in China today.

While Mueller is more well-known in China than his wife Nakamura, remember following saying in China 每個成功男人的背後,都有一個偉大的女人“Whenever there is a successful man, there is always a great woman behind the scene.”

Her husband passed away in 1994 and Kyoko Nakamura is living in a Beijing hutong, their home since decades. Some of Mueller’s last words to her: “We can have this kind of life today. It was given by the Communist Party. Over the years, what I believe most is the Communist Party. It's always for the people... After I die, you must stay in China and let my faith continue!"


Read other episodes of "Known in China, little known beyond" here :

Known in China, little known beyond (1) - Isabel Crook

Known in China, little known beyond (2) - Dwarkanath Kotnis

Known in China, little known beyond (3) - Edgar Snow

Known in China, little known beyond (4) - Anna Louise Strong

Known in China, little known beyond (5) - Rewi Alley

Known in China, little known beyond (6) - Nguyen Son


#china #chinesehistory #chinesesociety #cpc2021

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