*** war and social upheaval: World War II Japan home front publications

World War II: Japanese Home Front--Publications

World War II Japanese publications Yasukuni shrine
Figure 1.--This Japanese Military Photograph Weekly shows a boy in a naval uniform. It had 24 pages and was printed on a newsprint. There are articles on home front production, Naval aviation, youths naval training, and other war-related topics.

Japan moved toward a parlimentary democracy in the early 20th century. A lively if discreet press covered political and economic affairs. This began to change in the 1920s as the military began to exert its influence in the political arena. Extremists in the military began to assasinate politicans who spoke to boldly or actively opposed the military. The Communists in particular were targeted, but democrtatic politicans were also killed. The military during the 1930s seized almost complete control over the government. Military officers were appointed to head the various ministries. And eventually the post of prime minister. Using state agencies, the military formalized control over both publishing and education. The purpose of both became indocrinsting the Japanese people into politica and social attitudes deem appropriate by the militarty. The Japanese militarists absolutely controlled the press in Japan. The secret police were the Thought Police. One of their functions was to ensure that newspapers and magazines printed what the military wanted. Here publishers were not so foolish as to print anything questioning the War. The Thought Police wee more likely to be involved with individuals who did not quite understand what the military wanted. There of course could be no indication that Japanwas committing war crimes. But here the military's view was warped. Newspapers after the seizure of Nanking (1937) reported on contests among officers as to who could decapitate the most Chinese in a given period of time. And this became increasingly complicated as the War went against Japan. Only news of Japanese victories were allowed in the press and for the first 6 months there were plenty of those. When Japanese defeats began to occur, they were strictly prohibited in the press. When the sailors and surviving air men returned from Midway (June 1942) they were held incomunicano least news of the disastrous defeat leaked out. (Even Army commanders were not fully informed.) We are not sure when the Japanese people began to realize that their country was losing the War.


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Created: 7:28 PM 8/31/2007
Last updated: 1:40 AM 1/8/2008