Japanese Propaganda Drawings
Early in the war, Japan produced drawings intended to create dissention in the
relationship between Australian and American troops. These leaflets may have been
released over Australia during 1942 when Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Darwin.
I am indebted to TV Asahi for these exhibits. They presented them to me during our
interview, and inquired if these might not be the ultimate source of the Tokyo Rose
rumors. I found that possibility highly unlikely for several reasons.
Tokyo Rose was an American legend created by American servicemen. Australians
had no Tokyo Rose mythology. Americans tend to be the villains in these salacious
cartoons. According to the propaganda, the Yanks were seducing Australian women
while the Australian men were off fighting. Although American troops were stationed
widely throughout the forward theater of the Pacific war, they were concentrated in
the Philippines. The Japanese defeated the U.S. rather quickly there (May, 1942) and
did not concern themselves with sowing dissent in Allied ranks. Americans also
fought on board ship, but if a Japanese plane could get close to an American ship, it
would not have dropped leaflets on it. Finally, Americans would have worried about
unfaithful wives and girlfriends relatively late in the war, at a time when Japanese air
power was too sparse to waste time on propaganda drops.
Click on thumbs to enlarge.
Tokyo Rose /
A Dual Biography
The first two leaflets clearly target Australians. In the left image, we witness an
American cad stealing the girl of an Aussie fighter whose shoes have come apart. The
Japanese had overrun Allied defenders in western New Guinea and Papua by the end
of March, 1942, so theJapapanese presumably produced the leaflet, aimed at the
home market, early in the war. In the right image, the soldier stationed at home
(American, English?) makes love to an Australian wife but the departed Aussie
husband is equally condemned for sex with an island woman. One supposes the
Japanese hoped to infuriate the women in Australia as much as the men.
The final three are timeless. Theoretically Japan could use them against servicemen
of any nation. However, as noted above, the Japanese became radically less able to
physically deliver these propaganda vehicles as the war progressed.