Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another For Otakus, Know Your Enemy: Japan

Know Your Enemy: Japan. Should go
over well at any anime convention. Not!

                               Another For Otakus, Know Your Enemy: Japan


                                                                     Jay Agan

      Yes, anime fans. The kind of film to watch the day before attending a convention. Wartime anti-Japanese propaganda. So why should you see this one in particular? Because in spite of what it is I have found Know Your Enemy: Japan to be an excellent little quick & (very) dirty "rough guide" /summary of pre-1945 Japanese culture/history.

      Made by Frank Capra, though not part of his "Why We Fight" series of films, it follows the same style & format, with narrations by Walter Huston, & Dana Andrews. Released just after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, it was pulled from theaters at the end of August '45.

      You get a brief, detailed summary of geography, belief, history, & outlook of pre-45 Japan. There are some mistakes: Korea is not China. Actual Bushido is not the "death cult" the militarists twisted it into (And Americans accepted at "face" value.). If you can get around these & the fact it's wartime propaganda (Warning: This film is quite racist.) you may find Know Your Enemy: Japan to be informative. If you're getting your Japanese history/culture lessons through the "Patricia Martin school of thought", this film is definitely a cut or two above.

      The best copy I could come up with would be the one previously marketed by Digiview as a dollar disc. Any others out there seem to have a distracting defect or two. Again, this film is very much on the racist side. If you can get around the derogatory "jap" (small J) being used a lot (The onscreen intro is laughable in one place.) you may find a viewing interesting.

Article copyright © 10-5-2011 Jay Agan

YouTube link to Know Your Enemy: Japan here.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent. I love Capra! I get around the racist aspect by understanding it was wartime. Some thoughts about the usefulness of propaganda:

    Also, the predations of PC thought on cartoons and the enjoyment thereof:

    (be sure to read the comments!)