Japanese Propaganda in China
During our discussion in class, we covered at length the strong domestic propaganda machine that the Japanese government had crafted during the early 20th century. We saw that Japanese families were willing to send their children off to war, fully expecting them to die for the Emperor and the nation of Japan. However, the Japanese government, with all of its racially-charged domestic propaganda, actually targeted the Chinese with a barrage of propaganda in order to generate pro-Japanese sentiment.
On mainland China, the Japanese focused on gaining the trust and submission of the Chinese with similar techniques employed in the Japanese home islands. Pamphlets, books, and even movies were employed to convince the Chinese populace that the Japanese were benevolent, or perhaps more believably that the Nationalist government did not have the best interests of China at heart. The Japanese also used radio waves to push their message, so much so that Japanese broadcasts blocked out native broadcasts in Nationalist-controlled areas .
Propaganda sent to the Chinese depended on the area though. For instance, areas with large amounts of Chinese soldiers would be targeted with pamphlets emphasizing the inevitability of Japanese victory and the strength of the Japanese army . The Japanese also recognized that a majority of their targets were actually illiterate, and therefore emphasized pictorial propaganda . In the picture above, myths of Japanese cooperation with “liberated” populations or Japanese military superiority virtually everywhere are popularized. Such propaganda would have hit home with disillusioned Chinese who had watched their homeland ravaged by factionalism and Western exploitation. Unfortunately for the Japanese, this propaganda did little to change the tide of the war. In class we discussed the collaborationist government led by Wang Jingwei, but the Japanese never could win over the entirety of China, be it through peaceful convincing, or martial prowess. The harsh realities of war stood in stark contrast to Japanese propaganda, with the quagmire in China draining Japanese resources and the American string of victories in the Pacific serving as the proverbial writing on the wall for Japanese fortunes.
 Rowe, David Nelson. Japanese Propaganda in North China, 1937-1938. The Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct., 1939). http://www.jstor.org/stable/2744993 pg 567
 Rowe, David Nelson. Japanese Propaganda in North China, 1937-1938. The Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct., 1939). http://www.jstor.org/stable/2744993 pg 571
 Rowe, David Nelson. Japanese Propaganda in North China, 1937-1938. The Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct., 1939). http://www.jstor.org/stable/2744993 pg 569