During allied occupation
In 1945, Japan suffered devastation when two of their capital cities destroyed when allied forces denoted ‘fat man’ and ‘little boy.’ Resulting in the allied victory. The aftermath of the bomb has changed the dynamic of the national ego and mindset. After the war, the allied force began occupying Japan (Fuller 2012 pp.9).
Figure 1: reproduced from Recommend Me Anime
Article 9 of the Japanese constitution stated that Japan to have no military force, but instead have a self-defense force. Even though the new constitution was very westernized, Frank (5th September) said that they didn’t impose the article, it is supervised by the allied.
When interviewed, Frank Fuller (5 September 2019), has stated that Article 21 of the Japanese constitution are not allowed to censor speech among its people. However, the contradiction here is any negative political press towards the occupying force in Japan, plus pornography censored.
Svoboda (2009) stated that the many rapes of Japanese women were censored to protect the service men. At the beginning of the occupation, many prostitution facilities were erected to ensure the population would protect the women from the allied men.
Figure 2 : reproduced from Wikipedia
It was in vain, as the facilities were closed down by general MacArthur due to the increase STDs among the allied soldiers. This context led to the rise of rape. There was more in other cities but was censored two weeks in by the occupation.
The US army was on Japanese soil, which leads to the widespread rape of Japanese women by the US soldiers, and Japanese civilians were unable to complain about the behavior of the occupying force.
Manga as commentary tool
During the occupation, the manga was the cheapest form of recreational commodity made available for the masses. One of the most innovative people at the time was Osamu Tezuka, the founding father of anime and manga (Fuller 2012 pp.1). Tezuka was one of many that lay witnessed to the devastation wrought upon Osaka, his place of birth.
The nuclear denotation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave Tezuka inspiration to create manga about the outcome of world war 2. During the period after the war, Tezuka sought to help the masses to cope with the tragedies (Fuller 2012 pp.3).
Figure 3: reproduced from Facets
In Frank’s dissertation (2012 pp.7), manga provided the perfect platform for Tezuka commentary on the war, as anime was a cheaper commodity to mass-produce. It’s easier to realize the Japanese psyche, being able to provide beautiful visual and compelling narrative drawing inspiration from the war.
The constitution forced Tezuka to be smarter and get past censorship, which is why so many of his works use semiotic. A cleaver way to past censor using the hidden meaning, and symbolism. Tezuka’s work became the perfect widespread commodity to raise morale among the victims of war.
Considering the two main religion of Japan is Shinto and Buddhism imported from the mainland (Sharf 1993 pp.26). It makes sense to include mythical religious figureheads to better relate to the Japanese.
In many of his artworks bring up the theme of death, and rebirth, which is in line with Shinto afterlife. This theme was further explained in Coar’s thesis (2017 pp.4), which addressed the research gap about religion in Frank’s dissertation.
That mankind should not have a grim look at death, and destruction. But look at it more ethically.
Fuller, F, R 2012, ‘The Atomic Bomb: Reflection in Japanese Manga and Anime’, Dissertations, Atlanta University Center, 156 Mildred st.
Fuller, F 2019, Interview, 5th September.
Svoboda, T 2009, ‘U.S Courts-Martial in Occupation Japan: Rape, Race, and Censorship, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol.7, Issue 21, No.1, viewed 9th September 2019,< https://apjjf.org/-Terese-Svoboda/3148/article.html>.