Monday, September 14, 2009

Losing A Little Bit Of Faith In America

You might have noticed on this blog that I am somewhat enamored of Japanese meida. Looking back over what I've posted, something like 90% or so of the stuff I write is either about anime, manga, or Japanese-developed video games. So I just got out of my Japanese History course (It's actually the first one I've had this semester, due to the fact that class only meets on Mondays. Two weeks ago, class started on Tuesday, and last week was Labor Day). The course is about Japan during and after WWII, which is a subject I have a bit of interest in. So we're going to be doing a metric fuckton of reading, as well as some movie viewing. Unfortunately for my mood, the first piece we got treated to was an old World War II propaganda piece. By the US War dept. So, good readers (...hello? hello?), I will treat you to my notes on the subject. Most of what I wrote is pretty much transcription from the film, but I apply my own commentaries simply because I couldn't help myself. So enjoy some really rather sickening US Propaganda!

US Propaganda: Know Your Enemy Japan (I’m probably going to have to indulge myself in some serious weeabooing to get over this one).
Wasn’t actually shown, as they thought that if US troops who were occupying Japan actually saw it, they’d be completely hostile to the citizens. Lovely, innit?
War department film.
Starts with laking about Japanese-Americans. Mentious a unit of Japanese Americans who served in Europe well…then goes right for the Japs.
Swords to start- Japanese in glasses hacking away at straw dummies. Various images of festival (Gion?) Very primitive-looking, which I suspect is entirely the point. Cut with footage of trains in Japan, mostly. Basically contrasting modern and primitive. Shinsengumi?
We don’t understand Japan, they don’t understand us. We’re trying to make you understand.
Average Japanese soldier. Basically calls them clones. Unsoldierly, apparently, but effective. Soldier is the highest achievement in Japanese culture, trained from birth, Japanese descended from gods. Brutality, rape, etc acceptable against nonjapanese. Death is infinitely preferable to surrender. Closes to hand-to-hand in a sort of blind fanaticism. Emperor is the ruler, a god, religion and politics all done by him. (Bullshit!) Hirohito supposedly the descendent of the sun (Amaterasu?) Bunch of stuff about how the emperor is so special. The emperor is responsible for everything, blah blah blah. IN his name they bring justice, truth, peace, coprosperity- combined with shots of suffering. (I love how we left this man in power). A japanese prayer- about their emperor #1- supposedly untranslateable. Japanese origin legend, is dealing with Amaterasu. 2600 years ago (from 1940), the emperor landed in Yamato and blah blah blah, and supposedly all Japanese are descended from divinity. Their blood is apparently superior to all others, thanks to the gods, and apparently they believe it. All their acts fall under Shinto.
Oh god, Shinto. WTF, is it gonna be Voodoo type shit? Gods, this is pathetic. How long until they mention the strong tradition of Buddhism?
Shinto dictates all actions for the living and the dead, so try to understand. All spirits are part of the nation and watch over them. Ghosts are apparently worshipped. Apparently, the average Japanese is identical to a ghost, except that he breathes. Constantly being watched to ensure obedience for the emperor. Bunch of talk about how local gods are worshipped. Christ, I know more about Shinto than these fuckers. Apparently Japan’s elaborate rituals and formality are all according to divine will. “A nice, quaint religion for a nice, quaint people”.
State Shinto- forced a mad doctrine that encourages war, causes the death of millions (I think there’s a grain of truth here). Supposedly that Japan wants to conquer the entire word by divine mandate. BUM BUM BAAAAMMMM! Buddhist bell being rung.
Japanese supposedly believe that Japanese war dead become war gods, placed in Yasukumi Shrine. “Greatest Honor” Supposedly mothers and wives take their soldiers’ ashes without grief or tears. Bunch of rituals for the dead supposedly perverted into fanaticism stuff. That’s apparently why Japanese don’t surrender.
If you are not Japanese, what of Japan? Supposedly comes from the Chinese, who said it’s the land where the sun comes from. Basic geographic facts. Tokyo is the 3rd largest city in the world. Japanese are supposedly a mix of Ainu, Mongol, Chinese, and Malaysian….I’m pretty sure most of that is bullshit. And supposedly the emperor ruled over the islands. Daimyo had the real power, Samurai were their knights. Perversion of Tokugawa and the right of the daisho and bushido into a history supposedly encompassing all Japanese history. Supposedly encouraged brutality and treachery. Holy moses this sis such bullshit. Japanese samurai had the right of hara-kiri, and more perversion ensues.
Supposedly endless civil war to become the Shogun. Oh my god, this is such BULLSHIT. Hideyoshi (who wasn’t even a shogun as I recall), invaded Korea, and apparently plundered a lot, supposedly taking back 30K ears and noses.
Supposedly after Mageallen, Chrisitanity was introduced by the Portugese. “Peace on earth and brotherhood towards all men”, and making it out to be the typical oh my god I can’t even type this. “They’re teaching equality to the peasants, and now there’s the evil foreign tyrants rounding up and killing good christians and Christ on a motorbike I want to shoot something. Christians were supposedly burned. Tokugawa era Japan became isolated, “Progress of mankind!” stuff. They never even CALL it the bloody Tokugawa era.
Perry’s black ships showed up. Japanese saw the weapons and guns, and so they needed to modernize weapons and their culture. Feuding barons stopped fighting and unified, and elevated the Emperor to power. OH MY GOD, did they just completely eliminate the Bakumatsu? THERE WAS A HUGE FUCKING WAR, PEOPLE!
Samurai were too few to be an army, so they allowed peasants to bear arms and become soldiers, and JESUS CHRIST, Japan doesn’t even have a noble class at this point. Supposedly the militaristic Shinto, blah blah blah.
Japan modernized quickly. The Japanese wanted to modernize and supposedly double-cross- “befriend the foreigner, use his weapons, then kill him.” British Naval advisors, German war advisors, apparent lack of democracy. Whatever Japan took from the west or the Chinese, no morality or anything. Everything is perverted by the ruling classes and handed down to the people as law. Bottom-up is preferable in the US.
Bows are for obedience to one’s superior. No right or wrong- whether you’re obedient to your superior. Lack of women’s rights. Japanese welfare does not matter, people still work hard, all for the divine mandate. They give up everything for the Emperor. White-collar salaryman supposedly puts on a kimono when he goes home. No chairs, tables, etc. Japanese standard of living is supposedly one of the worst in the world, and it was supposedly just for warfare.
Why don’t Japanese revolt? They believe in Japan’s divine mission to conquer, leaving them slaves to the social structure, led by the “Warlords” of the army and navy, and the corporation owners, as well as the political “stooges” who slavishly follow orders. At the bottom of the heap are the masses. Police, gendarms, Gestapo, and Japanese Ghosts wo watch over them. THOUGHT POLICE! YES! They arrest you if you think dangerous thoughts. The thought police decide who to arrest, and it’s supposedly 10,000 a year. There are Secret organizations to keep the nobles in line- the Black Dragons, who are supposedly in charge of everything. Bunch of deaths of prominent politicians supposedly attributed to them. Christ, I’m surprised they didn’t mention fucking ninjas.
Schooling is government-controlled, designed to mass produce students who all think alike, teaching only what’s required to make the kids servants of the emperor. They absorb only what they’re taught, and only those fanatically loyal are allowed to teach.
“Our race has an ideal to assimilate the earth and the universe. They’re born only to dedicate their lives to the emperor. I can’t make this shit up.
1894- Japan takes Formosa. 1904- Japan kicks Russia’s ass at Port Arthur, gained control in Pacific. Supposedly ambuished the Russians. 1910 they annexed Korea. Allied with the Allies, and took land from Germany. Japanese signed everything, but insited on keeping their own islands. “Tanaka Memorial” is Japan’s Mein Kampf. Japan needs to conquer Asia first, first Manchuria and then China, then Siberia, then Malaysia, then the US of A. Then the rest of the world falls like a ripe plum. Yayy, Japan wins! Many details to prepare before this. Make sure the home front, because despite all the brain control, they couldn’t keep everything out. Western music, dancing, movies. Axis powers. “Super-chess” called Go was favored over western card games.
Western books banned, “If we Fight,”, “Arguments against American Politics” required reading supposedly telling about Japanese conquest.
Baseball was popular, so apparently kendo, judo, and sumo were favored.. Judo- the act of giving in, then tripping. Isn’t Judo Korean? Kendo- no defense, only offense. Sumo- act of waiting, stalling for time, then a swift charge. Politicians think in terms of Judo, Army Kendo, the people Sumo.
Japan infiltrated the west with agents, who posed as fisherman and the like. Japanese posed as tourists to photograph sites supposedly for war. Barbers who didn’t talk. All this information was collected, studied, and filed away. Japanese spies brought propaganda- “Drive out the white man!”
Industrialists- Osaka, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Nagoya, etc. Cities were not the real machinery- small backroom factories in the slums produce 64%. The industrialists undersold all other nations, and dumped cheap goods, and added piracy- made US goods in Japan and sold them to Asia. Undersold Silk to Italy, Cotton to UK, Undersold US FLAGS! With the money they made, the Japanese didn’t do anything to improve Japanese life, but they imported various industrial goods and built up their power from war machines. Sweat for guns, sweat for planes, sweat for ships, sweat for war, sweat for KILL ME NOW!
The greatest weapon is the Japanese soldier- humanitarianism is beaten out of him, he’s beaten into the perfect Samurai, various images of Japanese soldier training and martial arts training, all to the sound of iron being beaten. Final product- the Japanese soldier ready to shoot Japanese superiority into all nonjapanese.
1931- Japan invades Manchuria. “Coprosperity, enlightenment, justice, etc, peace, al to dead people and news headlines of conquests. “BANZAI” Apparently no one in this film spoke Japanese, because Christ, they’re speaking basic Japanese and it says “Unintelligible, can’t be translated”.
Bataan Death March- “Insane arrogance and brutality of the Japanese soldier”. No food or water for 7 days. Blah blah blah atrocities. Unspeakable humiliation and torture in prison camps. Japanese burned most of Manillia, butchering civilians. (Ironically, that looked a lot like Hiroshima after the bomb). Shots of dead Philippinos.
That’s your enemy- a tough, seasoned, intact army, who can supply a million new conscripts a year, and they will outfight us, outlast us, outdie us. And they want to conquer the world or commit national suicide. Defeating them is as necessary as shooting a mad dog.
US propaganda about all our victories. This came out in 45! We had pretty much won by then! Mother of fuckstick. Marines took part in glorious history by killing 20,000 Japanese on Iwo Jima. Trapped and destroyed 100K of their best roops. Marines shooting Japanese, but apparently it’s now heroic. ¾ of their naval strength at the bottom…fuck it, this is all “THE US IS AWESOME WE ARE BLASTING THEIR FACTORIES” (and, might I add, hundreds of thousands of civilians. I’m fairly sure that the firebombing of Tokyo killed more than each individual atomic bomb. )
Jesus Christ, at this I want the Japanese to fucking win.


  1. So in some of the reading I'm doing for this class (my one book is spending a whole chapter on this thing), I found out that the film was released August 9, 1945. That date ring a bell to anyone? It's the day we dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Fortunately, MacArthur ordered that it be removed 2 weeks later.

  2. They did it too, probably just as badly. It's a common tactic in any war. The point was to make the Japanese seem inhuman, so it was easier to justify killing them, especially the civilians. It worked too, probably helped by the kamikaze pilots, to some extent.