'Negro Propaganda Operations': Japan’s Short-Wave Radio Broadcasts for World War II Black Americans

Title'Negro Propaganda Operations': Japan’s Short-Wave Radio Broadcasts for World War II Black Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMasaharu, Sato, and Barak Kushner
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Start Page5
Date Published08/2010

World War II defines America. It is described as a war between good and evil–a war that the good side won. As with World War I, World War ll did not limit itself to the bloody trenches or exotically named beaches in distant islands. World War II was a psychological war, waged on a national and international level. Governments on both sides realised that victory depended on more than military might. The Americans and the Japanese outlined elaborate plans for the mobilisation of their own domestic civilian forces and programmes to demoralise the enemy's. Propaganda was crucial to successful military intervention. In this manner, World War II was a watershed in defining a multicultural America. Faced with Japanese propaganda from the Pacific, the US Government had to compete with a foreign military and government for the support of its own citizens–its minorities, in particular.

This article examines the vast network of Japanese propaganda activities, with special attention paid to the short-wave radio broadcasts aimed at Black Americans during World War II. The Japanese labelled these ‘Negro Propaganda Operations’. The article analyses what motivated Japanese Government interest in the Negro Propaganda Operations as a foreign propaganda strategy and highlight the subsequent information-gathering activities related to the short-wave broadcast Hi no Maru Hour. The research considers how the policy content of the Negro Propaganda Operations fitted into the overall Japanese propaganda policy structure and how the US Government and public responded to such efforts. [Introduction]

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