Narrating War in Wartime Manchukuo: The Movement of Propaganda Films in Rural Northeastern China in 1932-1945


This research examines how the propaganda films made by Japanese colonial authority were screened in rural area of Manchukuo without any cinematic apparatus, and what the portrayals of the war and daily life in Manchukuo are in those films. The focus is on Manchurian Films, produced by South Manchuria Railway Company and Manchuria Film Association. Many existing studies have discussed the Manchurian Films screened in urban cinema in field of media studies, which facilitated the emergence of the colonial urban culture. What has received less attention is the rural context of these films.Manchurian Films were screened by the mobile film projection units active in rural areas. These units were a portion of pacification-propaganda activities that implemented by Kwangtung Army and local governments. Instead of the business of urban cinema, a network of mobile film projection was formed independently through the lectures and the utilization of multi-media. Based on the practice of propaganda campaign in rural areas, the text of films tends to describe the peaceful and prospering puppet state by portraying the daily life of Manchurian people.This research analyses the data from internal publications of the Manchukuo government, PR magazines as well as video copies made from actual films. This study argues that Manchurian Films narrated prosperous Manchukuo as an achievement of the war in Japan's propaganda scheme with the target of Chinese people. I want to examine the agenda behind Manchurian Films from the movement of projection activities and film texts.

Author Information
Le Wang, University of Tokyo, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2017
Stream: Media History

This paper is part of the MediAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon