Tokyo calling : Japanese overseas broadcasting 1937-1945
Although largely ignored by Western historians, Japanese overseas radio propaganda during World War Two was sophisticated and wide-ranging. Regular overseas radio broadcasting began in Japan in 1935, after several European powers had already begun such services. Following the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in 1931, research into short-wave radio broadcasting was expanded, and after Japan left the League of Nations in 1933, overseas radio was considered essential to present the Japanese government's views abroad. Radio Tokyo broadcasts began in Japanese and English and were initially directed at the United States. Other languages were soon added and the range of broadcasts extended to Europe, South America and the Pacific region. At its height in 1944, Radio Tokyo broadcast to fifteen transmission regions in thirty-three languages. In addition, Japanese-controlled short-wave stations broadcast from fifteen Asian cities under Japanese occupation Themes used in broadcasts varied according to the war situation and the target country. However, certain common themes were used in broadcasts throughout the war, and to most regions. The Japanese analysis of the war situation often formed the central element of news broadcasts, and reconstruction in occupied regions under Japanese administration was frequently emphasised to indicate the benevolence of Japanese rule. Within Asia, independence from colonial rule was advocated, whilst in broadcasts to the enemy the strength of Japanese combat forces was emphasised. Entertainment programmes were developed gradually from 1935. Most such broadcasts were based on Japanese domestic broadcasts and consisted of serious talks, news and some classical music. It was recognised that this was not the format of popular Western broadcasts and several attempts were made to lighten the output of Radio Tokyo. It was allowed to play jazz music, which was banned within Japan, but it was only by using prisoners-of-war in the production of programmes that the Japanese created truly ''Western-style'' broadcasts. This thesis traces the development of Japanese overseas broadcasting from the first experimental broadcasts to the closure of Radio Tokyo by the American occupation forces in 1945. It also analyses the common themes of radio broadcasts in the China Incident and Pacific War and to assess how successful they were as propaganda. The thesis concludes that Japanese overseas radio propaganda was both sophisticated and flexible in its approaches. It showed little resemblance to the propaganda of Nazi Germany, but more to the propaganda of the wartime B.B.C. Many of its broadcasts contained a high degree of "truth," albeit "selective truth," favourable to Japan. The exception was the propaganda issued by the Army and Navy Ministries, which showed little of the sophistication of regular broadcast material.