JAPANESE PSYOP DURING WWII

by SGM Herbert A. Friedman

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Note: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History requested and received permission to use images from this article in a lesson plan which will compare and contrast Allied and Japanese propaganda posters and be available to educators who wish to download the lesson.

I must preface this article with the admission that I am not an expert on the internal civilian and military Japanese psychological operations (PSYOP) organizations and that I do not speak or read Japanese. The definitive study of Japanese PSYOP will be written by someone else. My expertise is the history of PSYOP, and I can tell and show the reader numerous examples of Japanese propaganda used against the Allied powers and the conquered civilians under Japanese rule. We usually attempt to translate the leaflets that are illustrated, or at least give their title. In this case, that will sometimes be impossible. I do invite those that read Japanese or any of the other languages of the occupied nations under “The Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” and might wish to translate some parts of the leaflets depicted, to write to us at the address listed below. We are very grateful for any information sent to us, and will credit the correspondent if requested. We are lucky in that most of the Japanese leaflets are very visual and their message can be clearly defined even if we cannot read the text. This article is a work in progress. We will add new and important data as it becomes available. We have numerous more leaflet illustrations that have not been depicted due to the amount of memory required and to make the story load more quickly. In the future we might add more of these illustrations if there is a demand for them.

Paul M. A. Linebarger depicts a PWB G-2 (Intelligence Section) chart of the Japanese Board of Information (Joho Kyoku) in Psychological Warfare, Washington Combat Forces Press, Washington D.C, 1948. The chart indicates that there were three divisions.

The First Division prepared war guidance and propaganda planning and public relations control.

The Second Division was responsible for government announcements, newspaper communications, expositions and exhibitions. In addition they watched radio broadcasts, motion pictures, drama, and music. They were also responsible for censorship and weekly newspapers and pictorial reviews.

The Third Division covered foreign developments such as overseas broadcasts, cultural affairs and propaganda.

Linebarger says about the Japanese system, “the Japanese developed a close-knit system that combined public relations of both army and navy, all domestic government publishing, complete control of book publishing, magazines, press, radio, and film, propaganda intelligence and over-all psychological warfare.”

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Rise of Asia

This 1943 Japanese leaflet proclaims her role as Asia’s leader, breaking the chains of European domination and occupation.

He credits the Japanese system of organizing “independent” governments in the former colonial territories that they "liberated." Some of the so-called independent governments are Manchuko, Inner Mongolia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Indonesia, the Free Indian government-in-exile, and the independent Kingdom of Cambodia.

These puppet governments would have been wonderful PSYOP and made strong allies, except the Japanese were unwilling to give these new nations any true freedom. Although these governments were allegedly independent, the Japanese simply replaced the old colonial governors with their own people. Linebarger continues, depicting a situation that we would call “the loss of hearts and minds” today. “They bankrupted all non-Japanese business so that Japanese carpetbaggers could buy their way in cheap; businesses owned by white foreigners were expropriated out of hand.” He concludes, “Japanese psychological warfare failed because the real warfare behind it failed. The Japanese could not whip their over-docile troops into a fighting frenzy without allowing those troops to behave in a way which made deadly enemies for Japan among the people she came to ‘liberate.’ The Japanese did not have enough sense to be satisfied with 100% return per year on their money, but wrecked the conquered economic systems with inflation, poor management, and excess exploitation. Even the quislings became restless under the poor occupation policies of the Japanese, and before the war was over a considerable number of the Japanese quislings re-quislinged back to the United Nations side.”

John W. Dower mentions the puppets in War without Mercy – Race and Power in the Pacific War, Pantheon Books, NYC, 1986:

In China, the Japanese had persuaded Wang Ching-wei to head their puppet government. After Pearl Harbor, Indian and Burmese patriots formed independent nationalist armies in collaboration with the Japanese, while in Indonesia pro-Japanese sentiments were expressed by the rousing triple slogan of the AAA movement: Japan the leader of Asia; Japan the protector of Asia, and Japan the light of Asia. The Burmese Prime Minster spoke repeatedly of the solidarity of, “A thousand million Asians. President Roosevelt thought the same and told a confidant, “1,100,000,000 potential enemies are dangerous.”

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Churchill and Roosevelt feast on bones

This poster depicts caricatures of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt feasting on the bones of their victims. The text is:

Their true character is that of devils and beasts

Anthony V. Navarro discusses Japanese propaganda in "A Critical Comparison Between Japanese and American Propaganda during World War II." He says:

Throughout the war and the years leading up to it, Japan maintained that its campaign through Asia was virtuous and that their Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere would, in the long run, do good for all of Asia under their guidance. Seeing what Western countries were doing to Asia—the French presence in Southeast Asia, the British in Hong Kong and Singapore, and the United States in the Philippines—Japan sought to "liberate East Asia from white invasion and oppression." In 1942, the Japanese government published a booklet entitled The Greater East Asia War and Ourselves (Dai Toa Senso to Warera) describing how the relationship between Asian countries would be like that of a "branch family."

Japan promoted the idea that under their leadership, East Asia would come to know greater economic prosperity free from Western influence and independent of Western economic bureaucracy. Japan’s "Outline of Economic Policies for the Southern Areas" describes Japan’s plans "to assist the economic expansion of the Japanese people in the southern areas on the bases of overall national planning, and to advance economic changes within the Co-Prosperity Sphere." However, underneath all the rhetoric of a "Greater East Asia" lay hidden agendas as well.

Rei Okamote wrote a paper entitled "Iconography of Japanese Propaganda leaflets During World War II" for Northeastern University where he discussed the purpose of the Japanese propaganda. He said:

During World War II, numerous propaganda leaflets were produced by the Japanese military and distributed from airplanes to the Asian populace and enemy troops. The purpose of the leaflets for the former was to evoke antagonism toward the Western powers, while for the latter, to discourage the morale of enemy soldiers. These leaflets, which often contained full color cartoons, were secretly produced by the drawing group under the eighth section of the army general staff.

Cartoon leaflets were a means by which the state’s propaganda efforts were achieved through the use of iconography. Japan’s use of full-color cartoons on the leaflets stood out among countries involved in the war, in terms of the quantity and quality of production. Those designed for Asian populations contained messages aiming to pacify the local populace and accusing the Allies of being invaders and oppressors of Asians. On the other hand, those targeting enemy troops, often containing pornographic images of their wives and sweethearts in infidel situations, meant to lower the morale of the soldiers.

Barak Kushner says in The Thought War – Japanese Imperial Propaganda, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2006:

For Japan, the entire process of convincing China that Japan’s mission was to liberate Asia hinged on the idea of the “thought war” or “Shisosen.” The Japanese consistently used the phrase “thought war” to describe the fight for ideological supremacy in Asia and later against the West…The Japanese people believed the propaganda because the image reflected a Japan that could guide Asia through the twentieth century.

The Japanese military dropped Chinese–language propaganda leaflets that cited Confucian principals on Chinese civilians. Basic Confucian ideology held that when leaders failed their people morally, the dynasty toppled, having lost the “mandate of Heaven,” and new leadership took over. The Imperial Japanese military also attempted to bolster its support among the Chinese by offering rewards to Chinese citizens who reported broken power lines or train lines…Japanese propaganda photos showed Chinese POWs having fun in Japanese-supervised POW camps…Picture leaflets showed women crying, worrying about their men…The Japanese military carpeted villages in China with handbills and leaflets…extolled the virtues of the peace Japan had brought to Asia.

A general word about Japanese propaganda. It is quite different from that of the Allies. During WWII the American and British propagandists told the Japanese that they were fighting for a small military clique, that their equipment was inferior, that they were outnumbered, cut off, and would surely lose the war. The Japanese claimed to be fighting a war of liberation, promised to free the colonial peoples from their masters, said that the Allies were fighting a war of profit for big business, and used a divide-and-conquer technique in an attempt to split up the Australian, British and American forces arrayed against them. They insulted their enemies, called them cowards, and prepared sexual leaflets very much like their German allies. In fact, the Japanese PSYOP is very similar to the German in that both nations prepared a great number of leaflets and posters with messages that attempted to drive a wedge between, or claim that profit was the true motive of their enemy.

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"The Japanese Practice "Military Virtue."

The Japanese explained their theory of combat propaganda in an October 1937 army artillery manual published in Tokyo:

The main objects of an Army’s propaganda are to destroy the will to fight of the enemy and of the inhabitants on the enemy’s side; to deceive the enemy concerning our movements; and to make the inhabitants of the battle area respond to ideological and ethical appeals. It is important that the enemy and the inhabitants on the enemy’s side should be made to revere us by skillful dissemination of propaganda relating to our military glory, and we should practice military virtues so that they will be glad to serve us.

Philip M. Taylor discusses Japanese propaganda in Munitions of the Mind: A history of Propaganda from the Ancient World to the Present Day, Manchester University Press, UK, 2003:

The rivalry that existed between the Japanese Army and Navy meant that, both armed forces had their own propaganda organizations. The military control of the government also meant that all national propaganda was subject to the same control, and consequently was a victim of the same rivalry. Japanese overseas propaganda was also hampered by the shortage of broadcasters with appropriate accents and  understanding of western civilization and it was too quick to invent unlikely victories and atrocities that once exposed, critically devalued future propaganda efforts. The absence of any clear philosophy concerning a “strategy of truth” or “propaganda with facts” was to be a major weakness, as one Japanese writer subsequently realized:

Japan was hopelessly beaten in psychological warfare, not because of any particular adroitness on the part of the Allies, but because the Allies based their propaganda on truth – whereas Japan was unwilling to deal in truth, almost from the outset.

Dower points out that just as the Americans were shown propaganda documentaries like Capra’s Why we Fight; the Japanese were issued patriotic propaganda products to prepare them for warfare, including two well-known publications.

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Read this and the War is Won

The first was Kore dake Yomeba Ware wa Kateru (Read this and the War is Won). It was a 70-page pamphlet written by Colonel Tsuji Masanobu and his intelligence unit.  It was a small book handed out to all the soldiers before being sent off to the war in South and Southeast Asia. It told the Japanese soldier why he was fighting the war. The white Westerners were rich, arrogant colonists who subjugated the native people while they reaped the riches and lived lavishly above the poor. It was Japan’s duty to free the poor Asians from the grip of colonialism. 

Shinmin no Michi (The Way of the Subject) was issued by the Ministry of Education and directed toward Japan’s population to teach them what they should aspire to be as a people, nation and race.  The Allied powers were depicted as evil greedy people evident from their colonization of Asian countries. American history was discussed and its record of atrocities when dealing with slavery to blacks and the mistreatment of minorities and immigrants in their own country including Asians. They read about racially motivated violence and the herding of tens of thousands of Japanese immigrants into internment camps. The objective was clear. It was Japan’s divine purpose to defeat the enemy.

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Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek – Time Magazine 1 June 1942

What seems very strange is that although the Japanese people were propagandized against the enemy almost every day of their lives they also propagandized themselves. When the Japanese military or civilian government agencies, volunteer organizations, clubs and fraternities produced pro-war propaganda they considered it honest enlightenment. They had no Propaganda Minister like Goebbels. When the enemy distributed their message that was purely propaganda. The Japanese believed they were a noble people, far too honest and pure to lie, so when the world turned on them after the Nanking Massacre in 1937 where they raped, looted and murdered an estimated 260,000 civilians, they believed that it was because the Chinese had better propaganda. The fact that Chiang Kai-shek or members of his family appeared on a half-dozen American Time Magazine covers indicated to the Japanese that Chinese propaganda must be superior to their own. It never occurred to them that the world might have turned on them simply because of the nature of their actions. They did not look to change their methods; they looked instead for a better way to explain the rightness of their cause. For instance, they bribed newspaper and magazine reporters around the world to write pro-Japanese articles. They were quite successful in this, but the photographs of dead women and babies on the streets of China overcame any flowery stories, no matter how well written.

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The First Japanese Leaflet of WWII Aimed at the United States?

A U.S. Navy photograph of a dirty oil-stained Japanese propaganda leaflet was forwarded from Hawaii to San Francisco on 27 December 1941. The official U.S. Navy caption is:

Japanese flyers who bombed pearl harbor on December 7 came equipped with more than just high explosives. They carried crudely phrased propaganda leaflets and supplies of concentrated provisions for forced landings. Pictured here as it was reproduced by duplicating machines on rough foolscap, the propaganda leaflet advised in its English heading, “You Damned! Go to the devil!” Beneath this greeting were drawings of an aircraft carrier and battleship exploding, a fish spitting destruction and a caricature of President Roosevelt. In Japanese characters, a further admonition appeared, reading “Listen to the voice of doom. Open your eyes, blind fools.”

The photograph was distributed in January 1942 by the San Francisco Bureau of Wide World Photos who added their caption:

JAPS DROPPED THESE TOO

Honolulu T.H…Intended as awe inspiring warnings to the Hawaii population and armed forces, propaganda leaflets of a crude sort, as reproduced here, were dropped from Japanese bombers in the attack on Pearl harbor. In Japanese characters read “Listen to the voice of doom. Open your eyes, blind fools.” Accompanying are drawings of an aircraft and battleship exploding, a fish spitting destruction and a caricature of President Roosevelt.

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Crush Anglo-Americans

This 1943 Japanese poster shows a Japanese soldier over an encircled map of the Philippines and the text, “Build up the new Philippines.”

The Philippines

 

The first concentrated use of Japanese PSYOP occurred just days later when the Japanese bombed the Philippine Islands on December 8 and invaded on December 10. The 25,000-man American and 100,000-man Philippine military were not reinforced and as a result were gradually pushed back over a period of weeks to the peninsula of Bataan and to Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. The defenders of Bataan were forced to surrender on 9 April, 1942. The troops on Corregidor, although encircled and isolated, held out until 6 May.

The Japanese used a great deal of PSYOP in the Philippines. This was discussed in a 25 February 1945 classified document entitled Japanese Propaganda in the Philippines prepared by the Civil Censorship Detachment of Headquarters, United States Army, Far East. The report notes that the Japanese organized a Propaganda Section along the following lines:

  1. Headquarters – Planning and control of the affairs of the Army Propaganda Section.
  2. Cultural Propaganda Department - Propaganda for the enlightenment and culture of the Philippine people.
  3. Overseas Propaganda Department – Radio propaganda to foreign countries and areas,  especially India, Australia, Chungking and the Near East.
  4. Intelligence Department – Collection of propaganda information by interception of radio and telegraph broadcasts from India, Australia, Great Britain, America, Chungking, Germany, and liaison between army organizations.
  5. Materials Department – Collection of propaganda material and preparation of propaganda.

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Japanese all-text Leaflets asking for Philippine Support

As mentioned below, the Japanese wanted the Philippine people to rally behind their empire in a new all-Asian empire in the Pacific. The two leaflets below were directed directly toward the Filipinos and asked for their loyalty. They are illustrated in the William J. Sebald Papers of the Nimitz Library Digital Collection. There are some grammatical errors and I quote the text as written:

Dear Filipinos!

Have no fear any more! Fighting is now over! American Forces who have been squeezing your land and people with honey words and threatening swords for a long time have now entirely been driven away, by Protecting God of Asia, the Japanese Forces. The only aim of the Imperial Japanese Forces is to free Filipinos from the oppression of white men and establish a paradise for Filipinos on this beautiful land of Philippines.

Another leaflet says:

To the Citizens of the Philippines

The fighting is over. The tyrannical U.S. forces have been completely driven out of the Philippine Islands. Now comes establishing of the truly pleasant land of the Philippines where there is neither exploitation nor oppression of the white men. You, people of the Philippine Islands who are taking refuge, return to your homes promptly. Resume your former business, and work hard in confidence of the Japanese Forces. The Imperial Japanese Forces will swear to fully co-operate with you in reconstruction of the New Philippines

The Japanese published a “Most Secret” document that explained the basis of their PSYOP. I quote a few important points:

We must promptly revive in the Filipinos the spirit of the Far East. We must encourage them to live and die along with us by rousing their racial pride and valor and by getting them to blend those characteristics with the spirit of Imperialism and militarism.

Propaganda must be promptly adapted to the characteristics of the area, to the existing attitudes of the people, particularly where they are concentrated. If there are deeds worthy of praise, by all means see that they are praised. In every case where evil is to be punished and good rewarded, do so with concrete examples so that the people will be left with indelible expressions. Even though our speech might not be fluent, we must captivate the people with our sincerity.

The Japanese Chief of Staff adds:

Emphasize that America is responsible for starting the war. Disclose the history of the clever oppression and exploitation of the Philippines by America. Emphasize the futility of dependence on American resistance to Japan. Crush enemy propaganda and destroy faith in it.

Early Japanese anti-American propaganda made use of such terms as “American exploitation,” “American Imperialism,” and “American tyranny.” The Japanese even made use of anti-Semitism, using the German concept of the Jews running America and claiming that “It is a Jewish war led by the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt.” Other propaganda statement pointed out that Filipinos were not allowed into exclusive social clubs like the Army and Navy or Elks clubs. Much was made of the land owned by big American corporations and the lack of cheap housing and electricity by the Filipinos. The people were told that they were free and now their own masters.

On 14 October 1943 the Japanese marched out their token President of the Republic of the Philippines, Jose P. Laurel who stated in part:

Today we have proclaimed our independence. This independence is real, complete and total. The Republic of the Philippines is to be run by Filipinos for Filipinos.

Once the Japanese believed that the Philippines had been conquered and fooled into believing that they were truly independent they put in motion the third step of their propaganda campaign, the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” This was to be a “one for all and all for one” system, but the Japanese slyly introduced an addition to the concept, “under the leadership of Japan.” We find that subtle statement in all of the Japanese propaganda comments of the time. For instance:

This is true independence and freedom never before offered by any other people in the history of the world. It is very clear, that the role of the Philippines is one of collaboration with all member peoples benefit, under the leadership of Japan. Distribution, it goes without saying, will be fair and compensation always equitable, under the benevolent leadership and direction of Japan.

Japan now entered the final step of the propaganda campaign, the complete and total willingness of the Filipino people to submit to the guidance and leadership of the Japanese Empire. The Japanese reminded the Filipinos that they were Asians, the same race as the Japanese; and that it was the courage of the Japanese that had liberated them; that Japan was a loyal and faithful friend of the Philippines; and that Japan had lifted them to the exalted position of an honored member of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Commander of the Japanese occupation forces stated:

Always bear in mind that Philippine Independence was made possible by the life and death struggle which Japan ids now waging at a tremendous sacrifice.

The problem is that although the Japanese propaganda machine ran day and night, the treatment of the Japanese Army toward her new “ally” was such that the Filipino population quickly saw through the lies. They waited patiently for the return of the Americans, knowing that eventually true liberation and freedom would be theirs.

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Broken Beyond Repair

I have probably seen at least two dozen Japanese leaflets used in the Philippines. Stanley Sandler mentions several in Cease resistance: It's Good for You: A history of U.S. Army Combat Psychological Operations, 1999. Sandler says:

"The 'Battling Bastards of Bataan” (No Poppa, No Mamma, No Uncle Sam) were subjected to Japanese leaflet and loudspeaker propaganda which correctly summarized their hopeless position and played on the themes of abandonment and homesickness. Other messages portrayed the enemy as “liberating” the Filipinos. Two tiny leaflets proclaimed truly enough, “Last Hope for Retreat Shattered,” and (referring to any supposed reinforcements from the States) “Broken Beyond repair.”

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Crime does not Pay

The Japanese leaflet is in the form of a cartoon. A farmer is asked to join the guerrillas and fight the Japanese. He is informed that he can make lots of money by sabotaging Japanese communications. He tries to do so and is shot dead. The Japanese moral is stated by a Filipino husband and wife:

Yes. You’re right dear. Let’s be honest and happy!

Poor fool – If only he worked honestly!

Sandler goes on to describe a surrender pass:

TICKET TO ARMISTICE

USE THIS TICKET TO SAVE YOUR LIFE

YOU WILL BE KINDLY TREATED

Follow These Instructions:

1. Come towards our lines waving a white flag.

2. Strap your gun over your left shoulder muzzle down and pointed behind you.

3. Show this ticket to the sentry.

4. Any number of you may surrender with this one ticket.

JAPANESE ARMY HEADQUARTERS

(Signed) General Homma

Sing your way to pray for peace.

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Another Safe Conduct Pass

Richard Connaughton mentions another safe conduct pass in MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines, The Overlook Press, NY, 2001. The leaflet has Japanese and English-language text. It is, "Surrender card. Any Filipino or American soldier and their friends will received special consideration by presenting this card to the Imperial Japanese Forces." Connaughton says about the use of the card, "Three Japanese bombers dropped propaganda leaflets over Corregidor and Bataan, targeted at the Filipinos, urging them to surrender."

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The Vargas Leaflet

One all-text Japanese leaflet was signed by Jorge B. Vargas, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Provisional Philippine Council of State. The leaflet was later used as evidence when Vargas was tried for collaboration after the war. The text is long and therefore we will just mention the first two paragraphs which will give the reader the "flavor" of the collaboration:

To Our Sons and Brothers In Bataan. On behalf of the Filipino people, and as Chairman of a Provisional Philippine Council of State, I urge you to lay down your arms immediately and abandon cooperation with the American Army.

The present war was forced upon Japan by the American Imperialists headed by President Roosevelt who, under the hypocritical claim that they are fighting for democracy, wish to rule and dominate the whole world. America is now master of the Western Hemisphere which is one half of the world and the British Empire which one fourth of the area of the earth is now virtually a colony of the United States. Therefore, America controls three-fourths of the world today. And yet, she still craves for the remaining fourth, which is the Orient, because her greed is insatiable.

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Will the U.S. Army Come Back?

A similar long all-text leaflet is entitled “Will the U.S. Army Come Back?” The message is in English on one side and Tagalog on the other. The leaflet attempts to demoralize the Filipino patriots and American guerrillas fighting in the jungle by telling them that they are abandoned and the American Army will never return to the Philippines. Some of the text is:

…for America was completely defeated by Japan...We cannot ignore the fact that Japan now commands the sea and the air of the Pacific Ocean. No wonder that the American aid could not come here against the invincible armada of Japan in the Pacific Ocean

There is still less possibility as to the sending of many troops, for if they should try to come, they must be buried in a watery grave. IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE FOR AMERICA TO COME BACK HERE…

Hasn’t God sent Japan to liberate us from the prison of materialized civilization of America...Yes; the first step towards our independence is to make ourselves aware of our present actual situation. Brothers of the Philippines know well that you are an Oriental race, and an Asiatic people!

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The 40th Division

The Japanese produced many of these long all-text message leaflets. This one was found by a member of the American 40th Infantry Division in the Philippines. The division took part in the invasion of Lingayen, Luzon, on 9 January 1945. It took part in the battle for Manila, then on 15 March 1945 cut behind the Japanese and landed on Panay Island. The leaflet is a very interesting one, allegedly from a Filipino Christian. It blames the American for bringing the horror of war to the Philippines and says that the Japanese are such ferocious soldiers that more death and destruction can be the only result of the battle.

Other typewritten leaflets have similar messages. One double-spaced leaflet says in part:

TO AMERICAN FRIENDS!

Have you ever thought of your folks back at home? Your dear mother, wife and children are praying for your safe return, not knowing that your fate is doomed in this decisive campaign. How grievous they will be to find your name coldly printed on the casualty lists among the victims who have perished…

Another typewritten leaflet, apparently from the same organization says in part:

MAY WE ASK?

You ventured deep into the Luzon plain. But how long will your supplies continue to arrive from your homeland thousands of miles away?

Within 40 days of your landing on Luzon since January 9, over 40,000 American soldiers were killed and wounded according to reports we have received from our fronts. As the war develops the rate will be higher. Are you prepared for such a severe toll…?

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 You are our pals

Another leaflet mentioned by Sandler depicts a Japanese soldier lighting the cigarette of Filipino soldier while the American Army retreats in the background with the text, “You are our pals. Our enemy is the Americans.” One of these leaflets was handed to a Filipino family on 4 January 1942 at a Japanese checkpoint. They were also dropped by Japanese aircraft in December 1941

He also quotes a leaflet entitled “TO THE FILIPINO SOLDIER.” The grammatically incorrect text of this leaflet is:

All banks in the City of Manila are under the regulation of the Japanese forces, and newly issued war note is controlling more and more the financial activities of Manila day after day. For this reason, the money you are receiving from the American forces for salary is losing its value and will be wastepaper in the near future. In a word, you are exposing your life in danger without any remuneration. There is nothing so foolish as this! In Manila your fellow-countrymen are living peacefully with full co-operation with the Japanese forces. Give up useless fighting and surrender immediately to the Japanese forces.

Curiously as the war neared end, the American PSYOP to those peoples under Japanese occupation was very similar. The Americans told the Filipinos, Burmese, Malayans, and others that the Japanese occupation currency was worthless and urged them not to trade with the enemy or accept their money.

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To Deal the Foe the Fatal Blow

This is a great piece of propaganda by the Japanese military. It depicts battleships and submarines and goes on to tell the Philippine people that the Japanese Navy works so hard that there are no weekends. Their week consists of Monday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday.” Other such Navy songs are Through the day, throughout the week, which also implies that the Japanese Navy never rests. The song also pretends to ignore the threat of the American and Filipino guerrillas by saying:

The Imperial Navy of Nippon does not make a fuss about the enemy’s challenge for petty guerilla warfare…

I think they do protest too much.

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The Japanese knew that the Americans and Filipinos had a long history of friendship. One of their first missions was to turn the people against the Americans. They thought that a handsome reward might do the trick. One three-panel leaflet depicts Filipinos finding an American soldier and turning him over to the Japanese. The Text is:

A HANDSOME REWARD WILL BE YOURS

1. If you capture an American parachutist and deliver him to the Japanese forces.

2. If you report any knowledge of spies in American service.

3. If you inform promptly of any movement of American troops, whether land, sea, or air forces.

THE JAPANESE FORCES IN THE PHILIPPINES

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Don’t wait to die

One morale leaflet dropped on American soldiers on Bataan pictured a woman at the left and the text, “Don’t wait to die. Before the bombs fall, let me take your hand and kiss your gentle cheeks and murmur. Before the terror comes, let me walk beside you in garden deep in petalled sleep. Let me, while there is still a time and place. Feel soft against me and rest…rest your warm hand on my breast.

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Remember Caloocan

(Courtesy of Rod Oakland)

Another leaflet depicted a pile of skulls with American soldiers firing. The text is:

Remember Caloocan! To such inhuman deeds Theodore Roosevelt, the then President of the United States sent a congratulatory message to General Leonard Wood reading, ‘I congratulate you and the officers and men of your command upon the brilliant feat of arms wherein you and they as well upheld the honor of the American flag.’ History repeats itself but only to the heedless. Beware of American soldiers. They would be last to respect the chastity of Filipino women.

The battle of Caloocan was the bloodiest battle of the “Filipino Rebellion” and a victory won by the Americans in 1899. The Japanese obviously hoped to open old wounds and divide the Philippine and American forces guarding Bataan. The ploy did not work. The Filipinos remained faithful.

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HELLo Doughboys…

Another Japanese leaflet that utilizes a skull and bright red color has the text:

HELLo…

Doughboys! I’ll be your guide from now on!

The large 9 x 13-inch leaflet is blank on the back. It may have been used as a poster too.

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What are you fighting for?

A Japanese leaflet for Corregidor depicts several Americans on the tiny island surrounded by barbed wire. All around them are images of foods and desserts and drinks. The text is, “What are you fighting for?”

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Beware of the Triple Threat!

The above leaflet emphasized  the hardship that the American could expect to face while defending the Philippines.. The text on the back reads:

Beware of the triple threat!!! Hi Joe, I sure hate to be in your shoes! Your commander certainly chose a helluva place to land. Don't you know what dangers confront you in Mindoro? They are the Tamaraos, the Anopheles mosquitoes, and the Japanese Soldiers. The Tamaraos are the fiercest animal on earth, found only in Mindoro. When you march through the jungles, look out! They come at you unawares and your a dead man before you know what hit you. The Anopheles mosquitoes   are veritable "malaria bombers." And believe me, they don't give a damn when or where they hit and once hit, you're a goner. And the Japanese soldiers! They're even worse than the tamaraos or the anopheles mosquitoes. You should know without my telling you. By the way, Joe. Mindoro means "mina de oro" or "mine of gold" in your lingo. Dig for some in your spare time. Even if you fail to locate any, the hole will still serve as your grave. So long, pal.

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For the most part, Japanese leaflets did not show any great ingenuity. However, on rare occasions they attempted to produce "black" leaflets to turn the Filipinos away from their American allies. A case in point is a fake leaflet allegedly printed by the U.S. Army and insulting the morality and intelligence of Philippine women. The text is:

GUARD AGAINST VENEREAL DISEASES

Lately there has been a great increase in the number of venereal diseases among our officers and men owing to prolific contacts with Filipino women of dubious character.

Due to hard times and stricken conditions brought about by Japanese occupation of the islands, Filipino women are willing to offer themselves for a small amount of foodstuffs. It is advisable in such cases to take full protective measures by use of condoms, protective medicines, etc.; better still to hold intercourse only with wives, virgins or women of respective character.

Furthermore, in view of the increase in pro-American leanings, many Filipino women are more than willing to offer themselves to American soldiers, and due to the fact that Filipinos have no knowledge of hygiene, disease carriers are rampant and due care must be taken.

U.S. ARMY

This leaflet was disseminated by the Japanese during the Leyte campaign.

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American Gobs

Another interesting sexual leaflet might be considered “Grey.” The Japanese do not pretend that it is American like the one above, but they don’t mention themselves or make any reference to Japan. Instead, the leaflet leaves it up to the finder to decide who produced and disseminated it. The leaflet depicts a young American sailor dancing with a Filipino woman. It attacks the morality of the Americans and says in part:

AMERICAN GOBS AND DOUGHBOYS LOVE WOMEN

Yankees’ love of women is a widespread knowledge and they would stop at nothing in order to satisfy their desires. Whether she be a virgin or a wife makes no difference to them…American boys have strewn a countless number of “war babies” and broken hearts in their wake…

So beware you fellas. Hang on tight to your sweethearts, fiancés and wives. Let’s not allow them to repeat the tragedies they have sown and are sowing in Europe and Australia.

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In another clever leaflet, the Japanese try to teach the American soldiers how to fake neurosis and other problems that might have them medically removed from the front lines. The British and Germans regularly dropped such leaflets on each other in Europe, but this is a rarity in the Pacific. The front on the folded leaflet depicts a beautiful girl reading a letter and the text: PLEASE DO NOT OPEN. The back depicts a claw-like hand. When opened, the leaflet is entitled: IT IS DANGEROUS TO READ THE FOLLOWING, and contains 13 paragraphs that contain various hints on how one might be medically diagnosed as neurotic. Curiously, the Japanese never tell the soldier to use any of the methods or even recommend that the soldier act in a cowardly way. The paragraphs tell him what not to do. Of course, they hoped that the finder would realize that by reversing the message and acting in the ways identified, the soldier might be hospitalized and be one less that the Japanese would have to face on the firing line. One wonders where the Japanese determined these medical facts. Three of the thirteen paragraphs say:

Don’t fall into the habit of glancing sideways at your comrades-in-arms. Your surgeon dislikes such a habit, as it predicts the approaching menace of neuroses.

Don’t eat your own excrement or drink your own urine in the presence of others. If you do, you are sure to be branded as a lunatic, however warmly you may protest.

Don’t mumble the same words immediately after you have spoken them. If you practice it repeatedly, your surgeon’s verdict will inevitably be neurosis.

The Japanese disseminated this leaflet during 1944-1945. Paul Linebarger adds:

One of the favorite targets of black propaganda is the malingerer. Suspicion of successful malingering inevitably hurts the morale of a unit. Even if the enemy's instructions are not followed, the troops may suspect genuine psychoneurotics of having faked their troubles. Almost all participants in World War II issued such instructions.

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Deadly Snakes

Another interesting black leaflet was meant to terrify the Americans of the hazards of the jungle and slow both their advance and their retreat. It is a simple white leaflet with the text:

DEADLY VENOMOUS SNAKES RAMPANT – TAKE CARE WHEN PASSING THROUGH JUNGLE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        U.S. ARMY

Black to the Japanese

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Americans

This is one of the few pieces of Japanese black propaganda that is known. The same text is in Japanese on one side and English on the other. The black letter appears to be from the Japanese Army and berates the Americans who they acknowledge treat the Japanese prisoners well, for implying that the Japanese do not treat the Americans the same way.The letter, addressed to “Americans,” tells the Japanese that they will be treated well when captured by the Americans, and then claims that Americans receive the exact same good treatment when captured by the Japanese. This, by the same barbaric military that killed American and Filipino prisoners during the Bataan Death March. Just as the Indians used to tell the British that they were civilized while the English were still painting themselves blue, the Japanese tell the Americans in part:

Even though you are our enemy we appreciate the good treatment you are giving Japanese soldiers…However, we cannot condone your wanton lies about Japan violating international law and treating American prisoners atrociously like barbarians…American prisoners in our hands are receiving good treatment and living a peaceful and happy life…

Our history is ten times older than yours. While your ancestors were roaming around as savages, Japan was already civilized. We are civilized much more than you Americans.

THE GREAT JAPANESE ARMY

The true purpose of this propaganda leaflet is to make the Japanese soldier think that his government has acknowledged the good treatment of Japanese prisoners of war and this make it easier for the solider to make the decision to surrender.

An unnamed Marine from the 4th Marine Division wrote the following lyrics to the tune of the ' Marines' Hymn,' just before going into battle in Corregidor. The author of "The Corregidor Hymn" was captured by the Japanese in the battle, which ended 6 May 1942, and was never seen again. Note the mention of propaganda leaflets in the text:

First to jump for holes and tunnels
And to keep our skivvies clean,
We are proud to claim the title
of Corregidor's Marines.

Our drawers unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun.
We have jumped into every hole and ditch
And for us the fightin' was fun.

We have plenty of guns and ammunition
But not cigars and cigarettes,
At the last we may smoking leaves
Wrapped in Nipponese propaganda leaflets.

When the Army and the Navy
Looked out Corregidor's Tunnel Queen,
They saw the beaches guarded
by more than one Marine!

The Japanese used a Christmas card motif on a number of their propaganda leaflets in December 1944 during the American liberation of the Philippines. Five cards are known at present.

 

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Best Wishes

 

1. A Christmas card with blue bell and red ribbon formed into "Best Wishes" on front, and three bells on back. The card opens to reveal a biblical quote on the left from Matthew 10:36, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household", and an anti-American message on the right, "So it is with a country's foes. Of course you know that under the guise of Democratic America, there is a Plutocratic Dynasty of America's sixty wealthiest families, such as the Morgans, the du Ponts, the Rockefellers, the Drexels, the Sloans, the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts etc., etc. It is these dynasty rulers, you may well know, that plunged America into war in order to reap its fruits by the toil, sweat, blood and tears of you American soldiers."

2. A Christmas card on red paper with a candle lantern and "Greetings" on the front, holly and stars on the back. The card opens to reveal the same biblical quote from Matthew 10:36 at left, "A man's foes shall be they of his own household." An anti-American message on the right states, "Your foes are they of your own country – American Big Business which is driving you to the gigantic slaughter-house the world has ever known."

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Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

 

3. A Christmas card with an identical vignette on each side showing an outdoor scene of a house covered with snow. The text "Goodwill to Men" is on one side and "Peace on Earth" is on the other. The card opens to reveal a biblical quote at left "Ye cannot serve God and mammon. St. Matthew 6. 24," and on the right, "President Roosevelt cannot serve the people and the Big Business." 

4. A Christmas card with a large English town scene in the style of Currier and Ives on the front with the text "Greetings," and a smaller similar scene on the back. The card opens to reveal the full text of the Henry W. Longfellow poem "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," and a boxed anti-American quotation, "America provoked Japan to such an extent that Japan was compelled to attack the Americans at Pearl Harbor." Oliver Lyttleton, British Minister of Production allegedly made the comment at a luncheon arranged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in London on June 20, 1944.

 

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Life for Christmas

5. A Christmas card with a large red bell with the text "LIFE for Christmas" on the front. The card opens to reveal the text: “HERE's ALL YOU DO! 1. Come towards are lines waiving a white flag! 2. Strap your gun over your left shoulder, muzzle down and pointed behind you. 3. Show this ticket to the sentry. 4. Any number of you may surrender with this ticket. Japanese Army Headquarters.”

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Deep Sea Diver Leaflet

Another Japanese propaganda leaflet dropped on U. S. Troops in the Philippines. depicts an American deep sea diver going into a cave marked "PHILIPPINES." Numerous deep sea creatures attack his air hose, placing his life in danger. The text alludes to the Americans being cut off in the Philippines without hope of survival.

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Last Hope

Another cruder leaflet depicts an American soldier and sailor looking seaward as the American fleet is sunk by Japanese aircraft. The ocean is labeled “Philippine Deep,” and the text at the bottom of the leaflet is:

LAST HOPE FOR RETREAT SHATTERED!

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Capitalists Demand Red Endlessly 

Another leaflet to the Philippines depicted a hand squeezing blood out of soldiers almost like a tube of toothpaste. Dead soldiers are shown at the right and the word "Philippines" at the left. The text is:

CAPITALISTS DEMAND RED ENDLESSLY! It’s your blood doughboys! But more and still more is to be squeezed out.

2nd Class Petty Officer Frank Hoeffer took part in the Bataan Death March and was a prisoner of war of the Japanese for 42 months during WW2. He wrote a journal of his activities in the Philippines during WWII. He mentions propaganda leaflets, "Japanese dive bombers flew over American lines and dropped pamphlets, filthy postcards, and crude drawings supposedly sent by America Prisoners of War in Manila who had been captured with the surrender of Manila. They were supposed to be having the time of their lives after being treated royally by the enemy. Of course, the fighting Americans and Filipinos ignored this kind of propaganda. Before long, pamphlets were dropped to front line troops and on them were printed in English, the following: "American soldiers: arise, kill your officers, cease fighting and suffering. Give yourself up! Your officers are sacrificing you to preserve their own skins! They care nothing for you. While you are starving, they are gaining weight!" The Allies would drop very similar leaflets later in the war when the Japanese troops were starving on bypassed islands.

In his book But not in Shame, John Toland tells of a Japanese campaign waged in the Philippines. He states "The crudest leaflets featured sex. The most effective of these was a "striptease" series. First, the picture of the face of a beautiful woman was dropped from planes. Next came a view of the same woman from the waist up, with a shawl just covering her large breasts. The third showed the woman, full length, draped seductively with a shawl. In the fourth picture, the shawl was gone. The final picture showed the sex act."

 

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Farewell American Soldiers!

Late in the war as the Japanese saw the Americans approaching the Philippines they produced this leaflet in an attempt to threaten the Allies with the combined population of Asia. By this time most of their subjugated people in the Co-Prosperity Sphere had already turned on the Japanese due to harsh treatment and the realization that they were no better than the former European colonial powers. Some of the text is:

You are still alive! What a miracle! And marching, too. But WHERE? To the Philippines? To Tokyo? But do you know what awaits you in the Philippines? Let me tell you. It is the Japanese forces with the combined support, both moral and material, of all the awakened Asiatics - the Manchukuwans, Chinese, Filipinos, Annamese, Thailanders, Burmese, Indians, Malayans and Indonesians.

There is another thing waiting for you along the Philippines front. What is this thing? I will again answer you. It is your grave. YOUR GRAVE! You are heading west for your grave – as positive as the sun sets in the west. ..Today you are with the living – tomorrow with the dead. So again goodbye American soldiers! Farewell! Farewell!

There are many other Japanese propaganda leaflets and even series of leaflet for the Philippines and the other Asian nations coveted by the Japanese. I have fairly extensive files and one Japanese-language file mentions no less than 181 leaflets in all. For example, one series of leaflets for the Philippines was printed in English and seven different Philippine languages. The leaflet depicts a Filipino pointing at the reader and the text in part:

YOU ARE A FILIPINO

The independence of our beloved country is at hand. It will be complete and absolute. It rests with us Filipinos to make it real and enduring, truly the cherished fruit of the sacrifices of our heroic forefathers and brothers who died in our long struggle for racial vindication.

YOUR COUNTRY AWAITS YOU. COME LET US WORK TOGETHER.

Another series of leaflets depicts the Philippine flag and text in at least four local languages.

There are a number of patriotic song sheets prepared by the Japanese for the Filipinos such as: Pambansang Awit Ng Pilipinas [The Philippine National Anthem], Martsa Ng Bagong Pilipinas [Philippines March - 1942], Awit Sa Paglikha Ng Bagong Piipinas [Hymn of the Birth of the New Philippines - 1942], Kimigajo [Japanese National Anthem]and Aikoku Kòshinkyoku [Patriotic March - 1937].

The Japanese produced a 1944 illustrated calendar for the Philippines. The cover depicts a bustling metropolis and the text:

Without the victory of Japan the independence of the new Philippines cannot exist.

The back depicts a farmer with an ox, all twelve months of 1944 and the text:

Our salvation lies in the soil. We must plant, sweat and work: President Jose P. Laurel

There are four inside pages each containing three months; January to March, April to June, etc., and a different illustration. The text on the pages is:

The new Philippines - like the bright sky.
To work hard makes you happy and gives glory to your country.
Children are the jewels of the country. Let's look after them to be healthy.
Close cooperation with Japan makes our country happy and prosperous.

There is even a set of pictorial calisthenics charts designed by the Propaganda Corps, Imperial Japanese Forces, to be used with a daily Japanese exercise broadcast on Radio Taisu.

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Roosevelt, the World Enemy No. 1

I will end this Philippine section with another leaflet from the William J. Sebald Papers of the Nimitz Library Digital Collection. There are apparently at least three leaflets all done by the same artist and I assume all from the same Japanese propaganda unit. Each leaflet has been highlighted with some red color and caricatures U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The first is entitled “Roosevelt, the World Enemy No. 1.”

The leaflet depicts Roosevelt at the upper left looking down on a dead Filipino while his wife and daughter cry. The text is:

We the Japanese forces, pay the deepest homage to those who wounded or die on the battle fields. We pledge ourselves to make reprisal on our common enemy, America.

Another leaflet is entitled “To American Soldiers!” It depicts Roosevelt at the upper right, American ships sinking in the center, and a Japanese warship and a Filipino holding the Philippine flag at the left. There are some grammatical errors. The text is:

Japan has started its furious attak on you. There won’t be anything left for you but to collapse. With your handful force, you won’t get any place. While you still have your life, it is best for you to go home. Recognize the Japan’s New Order in Asia, and give the independence to Philippine. And if you wish to know, that is called the real Monroe Doctrine.

The third leaflet depicts Roosevelt pushing a Filipino into the tracks of an advancing Japanese tank. The text is rather long so I will just quote a few lines:

Tragedy of the Brother Filipino;

Look at this! It is pitiful to see the same Asiatic people suffer. We heartedly have sympathy for all of you. Japan’s enemy is only America. The American policy is to make you die for their own interests and nothing more. It is another form of the same “lynch” that you are facing right now...

[Authors note] The Japanese make an interesting argument in the first leaflet that they are the friends of the Filipinos and will revenge those killed by the Americans. And yet, it is the Japanese that are bombing the Philippines and killing its citizens. I doubt that many Filipinos wanted reprisals against their “common enemy, America” as Japanese bombs fell on their homes. The controversial Monroe Doctrine mentioned in the second leaflet declared on 2 December 1823 that efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention. The Japanese are saying that the Pacific is theirs and no Americans will be allowed to interfere with their control. The term “lynch” in the third leaflet is in regard to the lynching of blacks in the American South. The Japanese are telling the Filipinos that the Americans regard them as slaves to be sacrificed at will.

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