Tokio Jokio – Racist WWII Propaganda

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In Japan itself, we see Japanese characters being portrayed in anime as opposed to their appearance in reality. Colored hair, big eyes and tall stature.

In the West, in certain designs such as South Park, its characteristics are exaggerated, being drawn with very small eyes, large glasses, horse teeth, goofy face and an extremely short stature with the intention of satirizing them.

But these caricatures today are nothing compared to a short film made by Warner Bros. Pictures in 1943, in the middle of World War II. The short is called Tokio Jokio and you can find it easily on YouTube because as Warner Bros did not renew the copyright, the animation became public domain.

The animation of Tokio Jokio

The short Tokio Jokio lasts about 7 minutes and the animation begins with the narrator saying:

"Attention please! This film released to the public was captured from the enemy! It is an example of Japanazist evil propaganda! ”

Then, the image changes to a rooster about to sing when, suddenly, a toothy vulture with big glasses comes out of the rooster saying: "Cocoricó, please!" in Japanese accent.

And then, the image changes to a text written "Civil Defense" and then changes to the image of a village while the narrator talks about the "best air raid siren" and shows two Japanese men pinning themselves in the back and screaming.

Then, the scene cuts to the “listening post” which is basically a pole full of keyholes and then cuts to the “aircraft painter” literally decorating a plane with spots.

The narrator then talks about the “fire prevention headquarters” with the scene showing debris from that headquarters. The narrator then says: “Oh, damn it! Too late!

The scene transitions to an image with an incendiary bomb lit with a text written "Incendiary Bombs: First Lesson" and then a Japanese man with an umbrella appears.

Tokio jokio - racist propaganda of the second world war

How does the animated short end?

Then, a text appears: "Stay away from incendiary bombs for 5 seconds" and the Japanese man looks at his watch and counts 5 seconds. Then he approaches and starts roasting sausage near the bomb that then explodes.

Then, the scene changes to the “Cooking Tips” where it shows Hideki Tojo (Japanese Prime Minister at the time) teaching how to make a sandwich out of paper and then punching himself in the head.

Then, the scene changes to the “Japanese victory suit in which there are no manga, pleats, lapels or even uniforms” while showing a semi-naked Japanese man going cold with a candle.

The scene changes to "Major Personalities" showing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (responsible for planning the attack on Pearl Harbor) walking on a pair of stilts to appear taller, explaining his intention to negotiate terms of peace at the White House.

A note from the editor appears covering the screen saying, "This is the room reserved for Admiral Yamamoto" and then shows an electric chair. The short film also features dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini being satirized.

What was Tokio Jokio's intention?

At the time, Japan and the United States were at war and the Americans produced such excitement to demoralize the enemy and make anti-Japanese propaganda. In the war, it was common for propaganda to demoralize the enemy (both on the Allied and Axis sides) and to improve the nation's self-esteem.

Nowadays, this type of propaganda is considered racist and would not be aired due to the content of the animation. Warner Bros. he purposely did not renew the copyright of the short film because he wanted to make the animation fall into oblivion.

Is that you? Did you know this Tokio Jokio advertisement? What is your opinion on the matter? We would like to hear more in the comments and have your possible share.

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