Thursday, November 17, 2016

Japanese ‘Propaganda Kimonos’

A political tradition began in Japan with the Sino-Japanese, and Russo-Japanese Wars in 1895 and 1905 and continued in the late 1920s when conservative and ultra-nationalist forces in the military and government of Japan started to assert themselves. The Japanese found a unique way to express their displeasure with these political events. They wore militaristic propaganda in a way that only close friends and family would notice—on ornate, specially designed kimonos which were only displayed inside the home or at private parties. After Pearl Harbor and the complete war footing it necessitated, Japanese propaganda in the form of clothing for men, boys, and more rarely, women, was produced and worn in Japan in support of the efforts overseas. These “propaganda kimonos” are called omoshirogara, denoting “interesting” or “amusing” designs.

Images of planes and locomotives superimposed over maps
of China and Manchuria.

The Mikasa, an important ship of Togo’s at the Battle of Tsushima during
the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

Detail on a 1933 kimono depicts the popular figures of “the Three Brave Bombers”
real-life soldiers who perished while
laying explosives to clear out the enemy’s barbed wire defenses.

Check out Norman Brosterman's Propaganda Kimono Collection



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