The Imperial Palace of Manchu State sits in Changchun, Jilin province, which used to be the official residence of China’s last emperor Puyi who was set as a puppet governor by the Japanese Army to control the northeast three provinces or Manchukuo during the World War II. Now the construction has been transformed into a museum, classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.
In 1931, the Japanese took control of the Northeast of China. The Japanese created a semi-autonomous state in Manchuria which they named Manchukuo but Manchuria was widely regarded as a puppet state of Japan. In an attempt to lend legitimacy to Manchukuo, the Japanese installed Puyi, the deposed last emperor of Qing dynasty China, as Emperor of Manchukuo. On the 8 August 1945, Soviet Union declared war on the Empire of Japan. The Soviet Red Army invaded Manchuria from the north. By 20 August 1945 the Red Army had overrun almost all of Manchukuo. The Japanese Empire surrendered unconditionally ending World War II and simultaneously Manchukuo ceased to exist. Puyi fled the palace, attempting to reach Japan by plane, but was captured by the Soviets. The palace and surrounding city were looted. In 1962 the structures were preserved and opened as the Museum of Imperial Palace of Manchukuo. The exhibits were expanded with that of the former Jilin Museum in 1982, and renovated in 1984. The entire complex was renovated in 2004. The palace was the actual setting in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1987 biographical film of Puyi, The Last Emperor - depicting Puyi's reign as Emperor of Manchukuo.
The Manchurian Imperial Palace was designed as a miniature version of the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was divided into an inner court and outer court. The outer or front court was used for administrative purposes and the inner or rear court was the royal residence. The palace covers an area of 43,000 square meters.
The inner court includes the private living quarters for Puyi and his family. Its main structures include Jixi Building on the west courtyard and Tongde Hall on the east courtyard. The outer court contained buildings for affairs of state. Its main buildings include Qianmin Building, Huanyuan Building and Jiale Hall. The architecture of the buildings is in a wide range of styles: Chinese, Japanese, and European.
Within the complex were gardens, there are rockeries and a fish pond, a swimming pool, air-raid shelter, a tennis court, a small golf course and a horse track. Around the courtyards were nine two-storey blockhouses for the Manchukuo Imperial Guard, and the entire complex was surrounded by high concrete walls.
The Imperial Palace of Manchu State is a representation and symbol of the end of Chinese feudalism, witnessing a chaotic and turbulent wartime. So this is an ideal place for tourists, especially foreign tourists, to get to know more about Manchu State and the invaded history of Chinese people. For those who are interested in traditional Chinese structure, the Imperial Palace of Manchu State is also a place which is worth visiting.