Within the Japanese Empire, the Manchukuo bureaucracy was unique for its high level of centralization and standardization. This study argues that Manchukuo's bureaucratic recruitment and training processes molded civil officials into a paramilitary force, dedicated to developmentalism and a radical belief in the transformative power of the state. It approaches the institutional and cultural development of the Manchukuo bureaucracy as an evolutionary process. As pan-Asian radicals, military officials, and reform bureaucrats competed for control of Japan's imperial project, their ideas and agendas merged into a hybrid system of bureaucratic management that served as a model for the wartime empire. Looking past the temporal juncture of August 1945, this study also foregrounds the legacy of the Manchukuo bureaucracy on postwar East Asia. Manchukuo's government institutions recruited and indoctrinated not just Japanese but Korean, Taiwanese, and other imperial subjects in the name of ethnic harmony. Back in their homelands, these men adapted to their experience and training into the foundations of developmental nationalism and authoritarian state structures during the Cold War.