Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Feature Article

PROPAGANDA OR DOCUMENTARY? The Showa Emperor and “Know Your Enemy: Japan”

For the past five years, I’ve been screening Frank Capra’s controversial Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945) in survey courses and upper division seminars. Stunning edits, provocative footage and a brilliant soundtrack make this last of the U.S. Army’s Why We Fight series a truly arresting documentary. To warn Americans that defeating Japan would require the nation’s utmost effort, Capra spliced together hundreds of menacing, exoticizing shots of festivals, parades, assembly lines, sporting ev...