Propaganda Perspectives

It’s easy to forget,
sometimes that other
societies have a perspective
on things that is very
different from our own.

It’s probably a major reason
why we have so much conflict
in the world.

One way to understand
(of course, that doesn’t
mean you’re going to
agree with it ) things
from the other guy’s
viewpoint is to look at
his sources for information.

If he really doesn’t like you,
based on cultural reasons
alone, there’s a good chance
that he’s been taught that
you’re a big fink by the
educational and political
institutional media of his
society.

Some of the references
are rather random,
but most of it is part of
a larger and tightly controlled
frame of reference-
— a plan, if you will.

That ‘planned’ part is what
we call propaganda.

Most of us are familiar
with our own U.S. propaganda,
some of it made by Disney
Studios, during World War II.

And while we might look back
on it with considerable concern
about the stereotyping and
hate-conjuring that was being
reflected in similar publications
and media, we also should
remember our enemies were
doing likewise –
— and in many cases,
much more so.

The idea is to keep both the
warriors in the field and the
folks on the home front
completely sold on hostile
actions and/or a war effort.

Vilifying the enemy can
take many forms – and one
effective method is by
illustrating the peace-loving,
purely defensive and innocent
nature of ‘our side’ – and a
malevolent, aggressive and
monstrous face representing
the other.

An excellent example of this
can be seen in the Japanese
print art genre known as
‘ Shou Kokumin ‘ –

— very loosely translated
as ‘ Children Playing Soldier ‘ .

There were numerous pieces
produced, and both the term
and the genre was very often
utilized in pre-1945 Japan.

Take this card
for instance:

It was released
commemorating the
Russo-Japanese War and
the Battle of Mukden,
and was part of an effort
to justify the invasion of Manchuria.

The fact that the Japanese
during the Imperial Period
gave children extensive
military style training makes
the image even more startling
to us, and more effective as a
piece of domestic propaganda.

Another example features
a child soldier in samurai
costume standing guard
at the border of the newly
created Japanese puppet
state of Manchukuo –

— a result of the aforesaid
Japanese invasion of
Chinese Manchuria after
the Battle of Mukden.

It’s a distinctive and appealing style, that completely belies the
implications regarding children
and warfare.

Which, of course,
makes it very effective
propaganda, indeed.

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44 thoughts on “Propaganda Perspectives

  1. PoetSpeak says:

    This provided good food for thoughts with superb illustrations that highlighted the text. Thanks.

  2. shoreacres says:

    I arrived here via GP’s blog, and was greatly intrigued. I’ve never seen anything like these posters. I’m familiar with the posters popular during the Maoist revolution, and of course a good bit of Stalinist art, but this is rather different. If I’d just seen the posters without any context, they would have seemed little different than the toy soldiers we played with as kids: war as a game, perhaps. This is very, very interesting.

  3. fuzzysdad01 says:

    I had a great uncle that worked for Disney during the war and draw propaganda posters

  4. Excellent post!
    Disturbing. Especially the inclusion of children. But, a part of history we need to remember.
    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend, C! 🙂

  5. Argus says:

    Times change, outlooks change and yesterday’s ‘reporting’ is/would be today’s politically incorrect shock-horror-dismay.

    In the end all boils down to either your own independent rational thinking (based on what?) or current fashion.

  6. Tippy Gnu says:

    I feel pretty sad when I see the power of what you euphemistically calI “propaganda”. (I call it BS). wonder how surprised new recruits felt when the got to the front lines and saw that the reality of war was not nearly as innocent as their propaganda portrayed.

  7. georgiakevin says:

    Your post is well-thought out, well written and completely logical, write on!

  8. Glenys says:

    It certainly is an interesting and disturbing facet of conflict especially depicting children. Very sad.

  9. Hannah says:

    Those are all such cute posters! Who knew, right?

  10. GP Cox says:

    Reblogged this on Pacific Paratrooper and commented:
    We often see examples of Allied propaganda posters, but the other side had them as well…

  11. Winning hearts and minds at home is as important as the combat.

  12. YarrowHill says:

    …always found ‘kids in uniform’ disturbing , no matter the culture.
    These are really interesting.

  13. ktz2 says:

    An intriguing post about a topic with many layers.
    I’d guess that in WW2 Americans weren’t really considering that the propaganda was a 2-way thing, that the Japanese were portraying us as horribly vile child-killers…That was a diabolically devious method to achieve their objective in directing their peoples’ emotions!
    But in propaganda it’s dirty pool all around

  14. GP Cox says:

    Excellent post, Chris. I’ve got to keep this one in mind for Saturday!!

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