The making of harmony and war, from New Year Prints to propaganda cartoons during China’s Second Sino-Japanese War
in Comic empires
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This chapter examines the media war unleashed on the Chinese population by the forces of Japan and China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), which comprised one of the essential steps in Japanese military expansion and imperialist strategy. Comparison and contrast is made of the mass-produced wartime cartoon posters – commissioned by governments and military agencies – which were aimed at the Chinese audience. Drawing on established traditions of ‘New Year Prints’, visual methods of persuasion and indoctrination appealed to both sides in the conflict, because of the low level of literacy in the country and the strong folk-oriented visual tradition of the Chinese people. To mobilise popular support for the respective military governments, political cartoonists relied not only on existing, centuries-old pictorial vocabularies, but created new ones as well. These political images were usually produced in large quantities and distributed among the general population, during a period which featured the emergence of a modern and media-conscious state system.

Comic empires

Imperialism in cartoons, caricature, and satirical art


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