Changchun (simplified Chinese: 长春; traditional Chinese: 長春; pinyin: Chángchūn) is the capital and largest city of the Jilin province of China. The name of the city means “Eternal Spring”. In the year 1800, the Jiaqing Emperor set up a trading post in a small village to trade furs and other goods. This village later became Changchun Ting.
In 1898, Changchun got its first train station, which was built by the Russian Empire.
After Japan invaded Manchuria in September 1931, the Japanese established the capital of the newly formed puppet state, Manchukuo, in Changchun. The Japanese renamed the city Shinkyō (kanji: 新京, meaning: New Capital), and it is here where the Japanese established the former Emperor Pu-yi as the Emperor of Manchukuo. During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese built much of the infrastructure that still stands today, including the Manchukuo Imperial Palace, the First Clinical Hospital of Jilin University, the Palace of Geology, and several others.
On August 20, 1945, the Soviet Red Army entered the city, captured Emperor Pu-yi, and drove the Japanese out. They stayed there until the Kuomintang drove them out in 1946. The KMT held the city until 1948, when it got overwhelmed by the communist PLA in 1948. During the Siege of Changchun, up to 80% of civilians starved to death.
Despite the hatred the Chinese have for the Japanese today, the Chinese took down few of the Japanese buildings because they were already so well-built that the Chinese thought it would be a waste to tear them down. Nonetheless, the tumblers that Starbucks sells in Changchun feature the Changchun Railway Station out of all the other monuments in the city, due to the fact that it itself is not a Japanese-made building.
Changchun is also the heart of China’s car-making business.