In the autumn of 1909, Natsume Soseki, already a well-known author in Japan, was invited to tour Manchuria and Korea. The invitation was extended by the South Manchurian Railway Company, the president of which was an old school friend. The company picked up all expenses, and the Asahi Shimbun, which published Soseki, encouraged the project. The young railway would profit by association with the author’s name, the newspaper would sell more copies when the results were published, and government policy would be gratified.
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