Peter Van Buren on Propaganda: Imperial Japan and Modern Day

There are basically only two messages in propaganda: our side is good, strong and will win, and their side is evil, weak and will lose. Everything else is just music and narration.

So to demonstrate how little propaganda statements towards whomever happens to be America’s enemy of the time change, let’s have a look at the 1943 propaganda film here, made to help stir up Americans for the long fight ahead to defeat Imperial Japan during World War II. Everybody likes Japan now, but remember the country that now makes our anime, manga, and weird porn used to want to conquer us, even going as far as beheading hostages (sound familiar?)

In the video we learn many things about the evil Japanese (and ISIS):

  • They are fighting a “Holy War” against the West (no change with ISIS);
  • They are trying to establish a world government with everyone living their austere, Emperor-worshipping lifestyle, with their harsh laws (substitute Caliphate);
  • They fight “fanatically,” and are willing to give their lives for the Emperor, believing Shinto paradise awaits them (substitute Allah and the same Paradise, less virgins on the Japanese side);
  • You “cannot measure the way Japanese think by any Western standard. While their weapons are modern, their thinking and beliefs are 2000 years out of date” (no change with ISIS);
  • The Japanese believe they have a “sacred duty” to fight for the Emperor against all others (ISIS, infidels, Allah, you get it)
  • They are “fanatics, and we must kill them before they destroy our way of life” (no change with ISIS);
  • The Japanese are not nice to their women (no change with ISIS);
  • They hate us (no change with ISIS);
  • They behead hostages (no change with ISIS)

The Long Con

Now, this all begs the question: if the core propaganda messages the U.S. government promoted during World War II are nearly identical to those pushed out today via the mass media about ISIS, does that tell us something? Is it that our enemies, as varied as Imperial Japan and ISIS across some sixty-five years of conflicts, are just so much alike, or is it that when America needs a villain, it goes to the same playbook? After all, what works, works.

Why reinvent the scam?

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

7 thoughts on “Peter Van Buren on Propaganda: Imperial Japan and Modern Day”

  1. Our fairy tales are that we’re a “nation of immigrants” and that we enjoy an enlightened understanding of freedom. The former leads to globalism; the latter leads to imposing democracy.

    No one really believes in either; we just need some fairy tale to justify the warring.

    And yea I guess plenty in the US are Christian Zionists also, but the public narrative usually isn’t that we’re fighting for Israel.

    I disagree with this statement: “Countries and groups that are militaristic lack souls.”

    A type of militarism can be hollow, but people tend to fight for something. And being militaristic doesn’t suggest expansion and aggression. It can also suggest just being prepared to defend oneself, with the sole intent being defence.

  2. If someone were to drop a few nukes on the US would we drop our militaristic empire-building and turn to drawing anime and manga? LOL

    1. I have a feeling we will find out with the next president with the elite’s fixation on Russia. Hopefully, it would bring back the quality American animation of the 1930s and 1940s. Its odd that when the US was in a depression it put out its best animation. We have something to look forward to!

  3. Please define “lack souls”? Or is that just code for do not follow our group think? Even militaristic is a somewhat nebulous definition. Switzerland has universal military service until age 40, and up until recently provided for suffrage only on participation in such service. They also revere their revolutionary independence mythology as much as Americans. Except for the Swiss guard protecting the pope, they have not participated in foreign wars for centuries. Militaristic? No souls?

    1. The Swiss aren’t going around getting their jollies via murder from my understanding!

      Lack souls = Dark Tetrad. There is no empathy, compassion, or fear of making a mistake. If it is expressed it is a feint to manipulate the softer hearted fools among us and to self deceive the militarist themselves so they can feel like a “good person” when they are no different than Hitler or Mao. Militaristic as society is defined by militarism. They have to inflict violence on another as a compulsion. The US could have talked to the Taliban and went the diplomatic route to get Osama Bin Laden but that is not the character of the rulers of the US. I guess another word would be “evil.” The US engages in violence for pleasure. When the US goes bankrupt John McCain isn’t going to cry for the starving American children. We might get to see some crocodile tears but he doesn’t care. Whatever fake concern he shows is a means to an end for himself. As long as his corporate and foreign sponsors are happy and Lindsey Graham is tending to their love nest in the closet he is all good.

      Then there are the people capable of human emotions of empathy and compassion but its only for those they feel warm fuzzies for. They are governed completely by emotion and the mainstream media and political propaganda is for these people who I guess I would say have limited or stunted souls. They are like the horse and the sheep in “Animal Farm.”

  4. Japan imperial army fabricated Marco Polo Bridge Incident to start war against Chinese and Asian people in the name of defense. Roosevelt staged parharber tragedy to rush US people into the war against Japan until atomic bomb experiment was done over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People are emotionally mobilized and militarized despites their potentially compassionate nature.

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