Jin Moyu – The Last Princess of the Qing Dynasty




Jin Moyu
(public domain)

Jin Moyu was the last surviving Princess of the Qing Dynasty. Princess Jin Moyu was a cousin of Puyi, the Last Emperor of China. Her older sister was the notorious Yoshiko Kawashima. Because of her illustrious relatives, it is no wonder why the Last Princess of the Qing Dynasty would endure many hardships. She went from an imperial princess to a prisoner. However, Princess Jin Moyu was able to persevere and fulfil her ambitions.

On 14 September 1918, Princess Jin Moyu was born in Lushun, China. Her original name was Aisin-Gioro Xianqi. She was the youngest of Prince Su’s thirty-eight children and was his seventeenth daughter.[1] Her mother was Prince Su’s fourth concubine named Lady Janggiya.[2] One of her older sisters was Yoshiko Kawashima. She was a cousin of Puyi, the deposed Emperor of China. Even though the Qing Dynasty was deposed in 1912, the royal family were still allowed to retain their imperial titles and royal privileges.[3] 

When Princess Xianqi was four years old, both of her parents died. After Prince Su’s death, most of his children left to study abroad. However, three of Princess Xianqi’s half-sisters gave up studying abroad to raise her.[4] As a child, she loved watching Charlie Chaplin movies.[5] She also learned etiquette befitting a Princess of the Qing Dynasty.[6] Later, she enrolled in a primary school in Lushun and learned Japanese.[7] In 1934, she continued her studies abroad in Japan.

In 1937, the nineteen-year-old Princess Xianqi left Japan and returned to Lushun.[8] She changed her name to Jin Moyu and dreamed of becoming an actress or a journalist.[9] Instead, she secretly worked as a consultant at a Japanese company and had a steady salary.[10] Princess Jin Moyu also became a model at a photo studio. The photo showed Princess Jin Moyu with short hair and wearing a flower cheongsam.[11] Her photo was displayed in the window of the photo studio. One of Princess Jin Moyu’s brothers was passing by when he noticed his sister’s photo.[12] He was immediately ashamed and angered by the photo because a princess was not supposed to show her face to the public.[13] He bought the photo and scolded her.

Princess Jin Moyu’s siblings also pressured her to fulfil her duty as a Qing Dynasty Princess by marrying a Mongolian Prince.[14] However, Princess Jin Moyu refused to let her family use her as a pawn and wanted to marry for love.[15] To break free from her family’s expectations, she left Lushun and moved to her father’s princely mansion in Beijing.[16] On 18 August 1945, the puppet State of Manchukuo collapsed. Many of her siblings fled China.[17] However, Princess Jin Moyu decided to stay in China and brace for the storms that awaited her.[18] Prince Su’s mansion was often looted by the Chinese army, and her brothers had no choice but to sell it.[19] She sold all her possessions and rented a room in a courtyard house.[20] She made a living by knitting sweaters and selling them on the street.[21]

In 1952, Princess Jin Moyu used all her savings to open a restaurant that specialized in Sichuan cuisine. The restaurant became very popular.[22] Many famous Chinese celebrities of the day were her regular customers.[23] In 1954, Princess Jin Moyu was introduced to a painter named Ma Wanli. Ma Wanli had married twice before and had a daughter.[24] However, Princess Jin Moyu fell in love with him and married him that same year.[25] Their marriage was very happy.[26] Ma Wanli made a special seal for her. If she happened to like one of his paintings, then he would stamp her seal on it.[27] Princess Jin Moyu later worked as a Japanese translator for a translation agency.[28]

In February 1958, Jin Moyu was arrested by the Chinese government because she was a Princess of the Qing Dynasty.[29] Princess Jin Moyu was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. In order to not implicate her husband, she asked Ma Wanli for a divorce.[30] Ma Wanli initially refused. He told her he would wait for her until she finished her sentence.[31] However, his family pressured him to divorce her.[32] Even though Ma Wanli had divorced her, he still kept the photos of Princess Jin Moyu under his pillow until his death in 1979.[33] Thus, Ma Wanli continued to love her for the rest of his life.

In 1973, Princess Jin Moyu was finally released from prison and worked at a small farm in Tianjin.[34] She met her fellow farm worker named Shi Youwei, and they fell in love.[35] He made her a shovel and gave her a copy of People’s China in the Japanese language.[36] They married that same year. The marriage was happy, but she regretted that she had no children of her own.[37] 

Due to health issues, Princess Jin Moyu also struggled to keep a job.[38] In 1979, she wrote a letter to Vice Premier Deng Xiaojing to ask him for a job. Because she was a Princess of the Qing Dynasty, he quickly found a job for her as a librarian in Beijing.[39] In 1996, Princess Jin Moyu opened a Japanese language school in Langfang. She continued to live the rest of her years peacefully with her husband in Langfang and supervised her school.[40] On 26 May 2014, she died of a heart attack in a Beijing hospital. She was ninety-five years old.

The Last Princess of the Qing Dynasty went through many difficulties. However, she persevered and was finally able to open her own Japanese language school. Unlike her older sister, Yoshiko Kawashima, Princess Jin Moyu stayed in China and became an ordinary Chinese citizen. Even though Yoshiko Kawashima was more famous and attracted notoriety, Princess Jin Moyu led a simpler life and had a better ending. Thus, she finally found peace and happiness later in life. The death of Princess Jin Moyu marked the last living symbol of the Qing Dynasty.

Sources:

Birnbaum, P. (2015). Manchu Princess: Japanese Spy: The Story of Kawashima Yoshiko, the Cross-Dressing Spy who Commanded Her Own Army (Asia Perspectives: History, Society, Culture). NY: Columbia University Press.

DayDayNews. (November 27, 2021). “Jin Moyu: The last Gege in the Qing Dynasty, the sister of Yoshiko Kawashima, was interviewed by Lu Yu at the age of 88”. Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://daydaynews.cc/en/history/amp/1610292.html.

DayDayNews. (April 3, 2020). “The lowest-profile imperial family of the Qing Dynasty, lived incognito until 2014, and his neighbors did not know his identity until he died”. Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://daydaynews.cc/en/history/amp/463007.html.

iMedia. (n.d.). “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014”. Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://min.news/en/history/31058e4570248c64a899d5477afc82d2.html.

iNews. (n.d.). “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”. Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://inf.news/en/history/c212e0c4b78755d36c152b25243818b6.html.

iNews. (n.d.). “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.” Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://inf.news/en/history/6a7eeuedbb03b23b4f45676d80a8ab43e.html.

Laitimes. (July 25, 2022). “In the late Qing Dynasty, Ge Ge Jin Moyu changed his name to 2014, and before he died, he told a royal scandal”. Retrieved on 30 November 2022 from https://www.laitimes.com/en/articile/3r72y_47w2f.html.


[1] Birnbaum, 2015

[2] Birnbaum, 2015

[3] DayDayNews, 3 April 2020, “The lowest-profile imperial family of the Qing Dynasty, lived incognito until 2014, and his neighbors did not know his identity until he died”

[4] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[5] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[6] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[7] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[8] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[9] Laitimes, 25 July 2022, “In the late Qing Dynasty, Ge Ge Jin Moyu changed his name to 2014, and before he died, he told a royal scandal”

[10] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[11] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[12] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[13] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[14] DayDayNews, 27 November 2021, “Jin Moyu: The last Gege in the Qing Dynasty, the sister of Yoshiko Kawashima, was interviewed by Lu Yu at the age of 88”

[15] DayDayNews, 27 November 2021, “Jin Moyu: The last Gege in the Qing Dynasty, the sister of Yoshiko Kawashima, was interviewed by Lu Yu at the age of 88”

[16] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[17] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[18] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[19] DayDayNews, 27 November 2021, “Jin Moyu: The last Gege in the Qing Dynasty, the sister of Yoshiko Kawashima, was interviewed by Lu Yu at the age of 88”

[20] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[21] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[22] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[23] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[24] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[25] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[26] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[27] iNews, n.d., “Jin Moyu: Before the family fled, the elder brother left 6 children to be taken care of, but only 100 yuan was left in the whole house.”

[28] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[29] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[30] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[31] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[32] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[33] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[34] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[35] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[36] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[37] iMedia, n.d., “Jin Moyu: The last gege of the Qing Dynasty. He was imprisoned for 15 years by his sister Yoshiko Kawashima and died in 2014″

[38] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[39] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”

[40] iNews, n.d., “Gege Jin Moyu at the end of the Qing Dynasty: a patriot, but his sister Yoshiko Kawashima is the number one female traitor”






About Lauralee Jacks 178 Articles
I am a former elementary teacher in Tennessee. I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal and Civic Studies from St. Mary’s College of California, a master’s in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Mary. Because my family are from East Asia, I have a passion for historical Chinese and Korean television shows. I always wanted to separate fact from fiction in dramas. Writing articles from History of Royal Women gives me a chance to dig deeper and explore these royal women as they might have been in real life. Also, it gives me a chance to look at the history and culture of where my family originated. I love researching East Asian royalty because they rarely get enough attention in the West often being overshadowed by European royalty. I find these royal women to be just as fascinating and their stories deserve to be told. Thus, I am excited to write for History of Royal Women!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.