Propaganda Regarding The Japanese Americans

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Social Studies
World War II

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Propaganda Regarding The Japanese Americans

Propaganda Regarding the Japanese Americans

The cartoon on the left shows a Japanese soldier listening in through a keyhole. This shows the fear that Japanese-Americans were spying on Americans and reporting back to the Japanese what the Americans were planning for the war. This was designed make Americans fear the Japanese-Americans and get everyone on board with the interment of the Japanese-Americans. Also convincing Americans to be quiet and not mention anything war related was an aim of this cartoon.

The cartoon on the right shows Japanese-Americans from all up the west coast looking back to Japan through a telescope. There are also Japanese-Americans lined up from Washington to California to recieve TNT. This cartoon shows the fear that the Japanese-Americans were spying on Americans and were ready to destroy the United states. Also that they had been communicating with the Japanese and were ready to attack the United States once the signal came from Japan which is symbolized at the top where is says "waiting for the signal from home". This cartoon was actually drawn by Dr. Seuss when he made propaganda cartoons for the United States before he started writing childrens books


Another form of propaganda commonly used by Americans were films. These films were extremely racist but also intellgently constructed to persuade americans to hate the Japanese-Americans. One example of a propaganda film was one called My Japan. This film had a man pretending to be a Japanese man speaking like a stereotyical Japanese person (My 3/21). He was criticizing the Americans and saying that the Japanese were very strong and could easily fight and beat the Americans (Ibid). This convinced the Americans to work harder to win the war but made it look like the criticism was coming from the enemy and not from the Americans. In the film Japanese Relocation the American government defends the internment of the Japanese-American citizens (Japanese 3/22). It says thet the relocation was neccesary for the safety of the country (Ibid). It also says that the Japanese-Americans were treated well during the internment even though we now know that that was not the case (Ibid).

One common form of propaganda was cartoons. These cartoons were simple drawings that convinced Americans that Japanese-Americans were Japanese or Japanese-Americans were bad and not to be trusted (WWII 3/22). They were often drawn in certain ways to make them look scary, dumb or in certain cases both (Ibid). The most common characteristic was squinty slanty eyes (Ibid). These were often exagerated and even drawn simply as lines because this was a common way Americans thought of the Japanese (Ibid). They were also sometimes drawn with dopey smiles to make them seem unintelligent. In other cases they were drawn with large buck teeth and sometimes fangs to make them look like animals (Ibid). Another way that the artists made them look feral and wild was to draw them with untamed and long claws (Ibid). But occasionaly this wasnt enough because many artists would abandon making them look slightly like animals and drawing them as animals most commonly apes. (Ibid)


Common Themes

Most propaganda shared common points or topics that were often brought up or were the subject of the cartoon or film. One of these topics was the Japanese or Japanese-Americans spying on the Americans and reporting back to Japan what they had been hearing (WWII 3/21). Another thing shown in many different cartoons were Japanese-Americans ready to fight against the Americans once they recieved a signal from Japan (Ibid). These were both major fears that the Americans had so they spread these fears to bring hate on the Japanese-Americans (Ibid). After the Japanese were relocated there were multiple films that came out from the United States government defending the Internment camps to convince the American people that sending the Japanese away to camps was the right thing to do (Ibid). There was a lot of propaganda around rationing so that the American people were not wasting any food or other consumable material that could help with the war effort (Ibid). Finally saving scrap metal was very importat so that it was not sold to the Japanese so that they could make planes (Ibid).

"Japanese Relocation - 1943 / WW2 Japanese American Internment & Relocation Centres - Ella73TV." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 22 May 2014."My Japan (1945) - Anti Japanese Propaganda Film from U.S." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 22 May 2014."WWII Propaganda: The Influence of Racism – Artifacts Journal - University of Missouri." Artifacts Journal RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2014.


This is very important to the book because like in real life, a lot of characters from the book were heavily influenced by propaganda towards Japanese-Americans. In the book, much like in real life the propaganda convinced the greater population that sending the Japanese to Internment camps was the right thing to do. People who were swayed were kids like Chaz, who tried to attack Henry when he was out with Keiko's pictures. Chaz's dad was also very convinced that the Japanese were bad so he tried to buy Nihonmachi. Along with Chaz, other classmates of Henry's were affected by the propaganda. These included Denny Brown and Carl Parks who were also bullies and friends with Chaz. They believed that Henry was a "Jap lover" simply because he was Asian so they attacked him.

By Peter LenzNoji Period 1


  • amynoji 6 years ago

    amynoji's avatar

    Peter -
    Very nice work. Researched, written, and organized well. Your layout is neat and professional... just a little overwhelming. Watch out for the wall of words. An introduction to the topic would have helped the reader.