井の中の蛙

12/17/2010

When desperate to stabilize the currency

Filed under: — sayaka @ 9:06 am

I encountered these pages when I was flipping through a thick, unsorted bunch of materials regarding the industrial campaigns that the youth associations conducted in the immediate postwar period. Apparently this is a song promoted by the headquarters for the currency stabilization (通貨安定対策本部).  You can tell how desperate they were to persuade people to make savings in banks during the flaring inflation. The lyrics go (sorry for the rough translation):

What does that girl wait for at the counter of the bank? What are the bundles of bills that flow out every day doing? With whom are they now? Why are they coming home so late?

Bank Girl is alone, worried.

What does that girl look at during the lunch break? The bundles of cash that flooded into the city raise the price of what she wants. A shadow is cast over the shop window.

Bank Girl is alone and sad.

What does that girl do at the counter? The more cash flows out, the deeper the value goes down. Why do you not deposit that cash? The calculation does not make sense.

Bank Girl is alone, concerned.

Who does she wait for at the counter? The gentleman who always comes to deposit money. He is truly reliable — I wonder if he is single. I would love to see his bank statement.

Bank Girl is alone, longing for him.

11/10/2010

License to Hunt Japanese

Filed under: — K. M. Lawson @ 1:11 pm

John Dower’s book War Without Mercy does a great job at talking about, and showing images of the many ways that race played a role in the propaganda and deep racially coded hatred the United States and Japan had for each other. Any good history of Japan or US-Japan relations that covers the war can now hardly avoid the topic.

The wonderful online exhibit Dr. Suess Went to War also has a wonderful catalog of the kinds of images found depicting the enemy, including a whole section on Japan.

Many of the propaganda images dehumanize the enemy by portraying them as some kind of animal, monster, or insects. They go well beyond the kind of racial caricatures of the enemy that depict certain racial stereotypes in terms of exaggerated features. The latter can be found not only in propaganda images but was used even in official documents. To take one example of this I recently came across, the cover for 1945 Field Order 31 of the US 8th Army, which contained instructions for the early occupation of the Japanese islands, shows the 8th Army, represented by a large arrow, attacking the protruding ass of a Japanese soldier, depicted with standard slanted eyes and enlarged teeth.1

fieldorder.jpg

As Dower and many others have pointed out, the more dehumanizing portrayals of the enemy create an environment in which the soldier feels that the enemy race is itself a kind of disease or vermin that needs to be exterminated. Though examples abound, I recently came across a particularly elaborate example of this that I had never seen before and which I thought I would share: A “License to Hunt Japanese” issued to an American who did not fight in the Pacific War but would later serve as a US advisor in occupation Japan. The image and accompanying text simultaneously captures a number of the features found in the more disturbing propaganda images.

licenseweb copy.jpg

Full size version of the image can be seen here.2

The license, clearly designed to be a work of humor, is stamped by a fictional “Department of Jap Extermination” in the “Alaska Sanitation Commmission,” which is said to have as its motto, “Exterm the worm.” Imitating a hunting license, it declares an “open season” on the Japanese, with “no limit.”

Japanese are not the only ones mentioned or depicted in this mock hunting license. The body of the license, which refers to the Japanese as “genus bastardi” and “black-livered Japanese,” announces that “Germans taken incidental to the hunt will be counted two for one in claiming bounty. Italians will not be counted.”

UPDATE: I received an email which pointed out that the image of the soldier in the first image is a most likely a caricature of Hirohito.

  1. Robert Eichelberger Papers Box 62. Microfilm version: Japan and America, c1930-1955: the Pacific War and the occupation of Japan. Series 1 Reel 31 []
  2. I have blurred out the names on the license and I’d rather not publish the origins of the document here. Contact me if you want more information on how to find the original document. []

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