Wartime cartoons of Etsuro Kato

Etsuro Kato (1899-1959) drew cartoons for The Japan Times during the Pacific War. (The cartoons' credit line reads: "Specially drawn for The Japan Times and Advertiser by Etsuro Kato.")

As a cartoonist, Kato is said to have "exhibited a high degree of ideological flexibility", in that he began his career as a leftist, became a fascist/imperialist during the 1930s, and reverted to socialism during the American occupation. It should be remembered, however, that many Japanese displayed such protean characteristics, in response to the vicissitudes of life in the 20th century.

The cartoons, as reproduced here, are from photographs I took in 1966. Hence the poor quality, for which I apologize.

July 22, 1941: Uncle Sam juggles aid to Britain, aid to the Soviet Union and aid to Chiang Kai-shek.

December 10, 1941: Japan delivers a knockout blow to its hapless adversaries.

December 16, 1941: "Help!" cry the shipwrecked Roosevelt (front), Churchill and Chiang Kai-shek.

December 20, 1941: The two wounded sailors — Churchill, labeled "Asiatic Fleet", and Roosevelt, labeled "Pacific Fleet" — stagger along.

December 24, 1941: FDR is over a barrel, labeled "Lease-Lend Aid", "Arsenal of Democracies" and "Out of Order". He tries to plug a leak labeled "Hawaii Debacle", while Churchill manages to catch a few drops of US largesse in a jug.

Three views of the British in India

After the Japanese conquered Burma in 1942, they hoped the Indian demand for independence, represented in the first cartoon by a volcano, would prove impossible for the British to suppress. In the second cartoon, the Indian elephant throws the puny British imperialist out; while in the third cartoon, the same imperialist, restored to his paunchy proportions, murderously defends the jail in which he has incarcerated the Indian leaders.

From The Japan Times and Advertiser, August 11, 1942.

From The Japan Times and Advertiser, August 12, 1942.

From The Japan Times and Advertiser, August 14, 1942.