Japan’s New Empire and the Dōmei News Agency in Occupied Southeast Asia, 1942-45 日本のニュース帝国と占領期東南アジアにおける同盟通信社 1942年–45年


January 5, 2015

Japan’s New Empire and the Dōmei News Agency in Occupied Southeast Asia, 1942-45 日本のニュース帝国と占領期東南アジアにおける同盟通信社 1942年–45年
Japan’s New Empire and the Dōmei News Agency in Occupied Southeast Asia, 1942-45 日本のニュース帝国と占領期東南アジアにおける同盟通信社 1942年–45年

Volume 13 | Issue 1 | Number 3

Article ID 4246


Just before the outbreak of the Second World War, E.H. Carr finished his draft of Twenty Years’ Crisis. In it he observed:

[W]ithin twenty years of the armistice [of the First World War]… many governments were conducting propaganda with an intensity unsurpassed in the war period; and new official and non-official agencies for the influence of opinion at home and abroad were springing up in every country.1

In these twenty years, foreign policy makers had to figure out how to utilize globalized telecommunication (cable and wireless) networks. Overseas events were reported almost immediately to the public, many of whom were also demanding greater political, economic and social rights. Carr argued that the propaganda institutions developed in many countries in 1919–39 because of ‘the popularization of international politics’ and more effective ‘propaganda methods’. Meanwhile, the League of Nations elevated the idea of ‘international public opinion’ into a norm in international politics.2 Although Carr remained sceptical about the effectiveness of international public opinion as a moral force in international politics, he never lost sight of its potential impact.

In his view, all modern states had to respond to these new trends. Propaganda was, therefore, not a tool specific to certain political regimes, but a modern state’s inevitable and rational response to them. The difference between the propaganda of a totalitarian regime and that of a democracy was, Carr argued, ‘less clear-cut’ in practice than is often assumed.3 He predicted: ‘[e]ven in peace, propaganda seems likely for the future to be recognized as a regular instrument of foreign policy’.4 Soon after he made this observation, war broke out in Europe. What then happened to these ‘peacetime’ propaganda institutions during the war?

Most works on Japan’s propaganda and its information management during the wartime (1937–45) sharply differentiated the authoritarian nature of the Japanese political regime from that of the ‘liberal-democracies’. A majority of these works focused on analysis of domestic thought control, and Japan’s Board of Information (BOI: Jōhō kyoku, 情報局1940–45) has been understood as the main wartime thought control organization for this regime.5 A recent research initiative on the British Ministry of Information (MOI) provides a useful comparative perspective.6

Here, I draw attention to the role of the BOI in Japan’s external information policy (war propaganda and intelligence gathering overseas) and that of its operational agency, the national news agency, Dōmei (同盟通信社1936­–45), and see, where possible, how their wartime work compared to those of the ‘liberal-democracies’.

My two volume-study, Japan’s News Propaganda and Reuters’ News Empire in Northeast Asia, 1870–1934 (2012), and Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State: The Board of Information and Dōmei News Agency in Foreign Policy, 1934–45 (2014) suggests that those who worked to establish the predecessors of the BOI and Dōmei in the decades before the outbreak of the war clearly recognized the above-mentioned global trends. They developed separate institutions for two types of external propaganda operations (news propaganda and cultural propaganda) in an initial stage, and those for news propaganda evolved in tandem with official attempts to control external information (news propaganda and intelligence gathering). The Manchurian Crisis of 1931–33 prompted the Japanese state to coordinate diverse news propaganda operations both in Japan proper and in the newly occupied Northeast China (Manchuria). While military influence in politics grew, the institutions for such coordination developed within the framework of the Meiji Constitution, and resistance of existing ministries and interests remained formidable.

The creation of a cultural propaganda organization in Japan in 1934 was also a part of the global trends as much as the reflection of its need for new strategies for post-League diplomacy. In 1933–34, the Reuters’ news cartel system finally collapsed, and the global news propaganda race became fiercer. States also had to pay greater attention to propaganda in the age of mass-based politics. It was, therefore, not coincidental that Japan’s Kokusai bunka shikōkai (the association to promote culture internationally), Germany’s Goethe Institute, and the U.K.’s British Council all were created in 1934.

Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State further argues that war consolidated, not created or changed, existing news and cultural propaganda operations, which were ongoing global trends. The Japanese state developed a prototype of what we now call ‘public diplomacy’ during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This was best symbolized by the establishment of the Japan Institute at the Rockefeller Centre in New York in May 1938. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) identified New York as the centre for a global propaganda race, and created the institute, modelling it on the British Library of Information.7 By then, Rockefeller Centre already housed propaganda organizations of many countries (not only European countries, but also the U.S.S.R., China, and Mexico), as well as the headquarters of American media organizations. MOFA appointed a prominent internationalist as director of the Japan Institute.8 MOFA understood the institute as an important part of propaganda operations for the war with China and it was the culmination of MOFA’s response to the global trend of preceding decades. ‘Public diplomacy’ served war efforts, when the state was at war.

Was the Japanese case exceptional? Matthew Johnson’s recent analysis of the operation of the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) in China in 1942–45 suggests otherwise. He also indicates a blurring demarcation between wartime propaganda and peacetime information dissemination and public diplomacy in the U.S.9

War nonetheless brought forth new factors both in Japan and other countries as states moved to achieve greater and more effective information management. Having realized the significance of mass opinion in domestic and foreign politics, many countries had tried to create an office to coordinate propaganda operations in the 1930s. Nazi Germany established the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933. Japan attempted to create an inter-ministerial coordinating office during the diplomatic crisis in 1932. A plan to create the MOI in Britain also started in 1935. In Japan and Britain, such attempts generate strong resistance from existing ministries and media organizations. In Japan, for example, when the idea of establishing the Ministry of Propaganda was discussed in mid-1936, the Director of the Department of Information of MOFA opposed it. Two of the reasons were: it would be counterproductive for propaganda toward major liberal democratic countries; and such a model might work for the U.S.S.R., Germany and Italy, but not ‘for a parliamentary democracy like Japan’.10 The comment is worth noting as it was written only a few months after the biggest military coup in modern Japanese history.

In wartime, the state had a stronger incentive to not only coordinate, but also centralize control of these operations by creating an inter- (or supra) ministerial organization. In Germany, the above-mentioned ministry became the wartime central office. This was also the case in Italy and the U.S.S.R., where a similar ministry of propaganda had been in place by 1936. In many countries, however, inter-ministerial tensions continued to exist, and as Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State details, Japan was not an exception. In the U.S., President Roosevelt initiated such coordinating and centralizing moves, which Congress repeatedly questioned.

While Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State stresses a global trend in the state’s quest for more effective information management, it also argues that in Japan, such quests began to be formulated in the 1930s within a framework of a total war state. These total war state advocates envisaged what would become the BOI in December 1940 as the central civilian organization managing foreign policy relevant information, with Dōmei as its key operational agency overseas. They were in no way isolationist or reactionary. Rather it was their sense of urgency based on their knowledge of democratic trends, technological developments, and other countries’ preparedness for a new propaganda era that led them to argue for a systematic central state management.

The Meiji Constitution presented two problems for a civilian government’s wartime control of information. First, the constitution located the Imperial General Headquarters outside the jurisdiction of civilian government. Second, it did not define a war cabinet. In Britain, a war cabinet was constitutionally established. The MOI, for which domestic propaganda was as important, if not more so than overseas propaganda, worked closely with military commands for overseas operations. Coordination with the Foreign Office was more problematic. Similarly, in the U.S., where the President was the commander in chief, OWI policies reflected the priorities of the U.S. executive office, and were approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its U.S. offices with abundant staff could then supply materials for overseas operations, which worked under or with local military commands and/or U.S. diplomatic missions.11 In Japan, the BOI absorbed the departments of news propaganda, intelligence and cultural propaganda of MOFA. Its influence over the Imperial General Headquarters was, however, never accepted, and it met strong resistance from the Home Ministry. Furthermore, in contrast to the OWI that had a large number of staff for both policy making and local operations, the BOI depended on Dōmei, NHK and major daily newspapers for its operational staff. They came under the military commands in military-occupied areas, over which the BOI could suggest policies, but had little influence.

The following edited and abridged version of Chapter Eight of Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State examines the nature of Japan’s information management system by focusing on the central role of Dōmei in news management (intelligence gathering and assessments, and news propaganda) in Japanese occupied Southeast Asia and its relations with the BOI in Tokyo. Where possible, I compare this analysis with the experiences of other countries.


In December 1941, with the attack on the United States and its key allies, Japan expanded its war front beyond China to the Allied colonies and territories in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Its information policy responded to this new stage of the war with new roles for the BOI and Dōmei. For the BOI in Tokyo, Dōmei assessed overseas civilian intelligence, and with NHK, it conducted overseas propaganda. When the Japanese military occupied a large part of Southeast Asia, Dōmei became the central organization to control information in and out of these occupied areas under the Southern Area Command. Japan’s news empire emerged, spanning Japanese-occupied Asia.


While the national news agency, Dōmei, assumed new roles during the war, it had been a key operational organization for the strategic use of ‘news’ and a part of the information management system (overseas news propaganda and intelligence gathering and assessment) before the war with China began. Dōmei management had a strong sense of imperial mission as well as an ambition to expand its organization. The war furthered this ongoing effort, as well as fueling Dōmei’s ambition.

International propaganda races were already intensifying in the peacetime of the 1930s. The Italian Stephani, the German D.N.B., and the U.S.S.R.’s Tass were working publicly as state apparatuses. These news agencies strengthened their operations when the war threat loomed and war broke out. Did other ‘national news agencies’ in liberal democracies, such as Havas in France, AP and UP in America, or Reuters in Britain, have different relations with the state and play a different role in foreign policy? What happened to Reuters, which many news agencies, including Rengō, Dōmei’s predecessor, had regarded as the model organization for wartime propaganda during the First World War?

The document prepared by the Department of Information of MOFA in September 1938 detailed how Japanese diplomatic missions attempted to manipulate news disseminated through the French Havas, British Reuters, German D.N.B. and Italian Stephani.12 Italian and German organizations were, the report suggested, most accustomed to official dissemination of news, or sympathetic to Japanese officials’ views. In France and Britain, more subtle pressure was needed to place Japanese perspectives on the news. In the U.S., prior to the the outbreak of the war between Japan and the allied forces (and their colonies in the Asia and the Pacific), Japanese diplomats chose to approach not AP or UP, its leading news agencies, but prominent journals and influential local newspapers as the most effective channels for Japan’s news propaganda.13 Dōmei correspondents, who were instructed to assist MOFA missions, most likely were involved in these negotiations.14

Reuters, the leading news agency of the Allied countries, had conducted British news propaganda during the First World War. Yet it has been widely assumed that it had a more independent stance during the Second World War. This has been attributed to more liberal British policies towards media than those of totalitarian regimes, including Japan’s.15

During the Second World War, however, Reuters, as a ‘national news agency’, faced similar pressures to Dōmei. To be sure, during the First World War, Roderick Jones, General Manager of Reuters, had directed the government’s wartime news propaganda organization, Agence–Reuters, and was in charge of British news propaganda in 1917-18. The Foreign Office regarded Reuters as ‘the most important British agency’ in this area, and noted its ‘special relationship’ with Reuters. Soon after the war, Reuters and the Foreign Office concluded an agreement: Reuters would ‘send specific messages [mainly Ministers’ speeches] upon [Foreign Office] instruction’, and the Foreign Office ‘agreed to pay the cost of such extra wordage’. This contract was renewed in 1921. It ‘declared that Reuters would distribute only news “consistent with their independence and their obligations to [its client] newspapers” ‘. Reuters also concluded a similar agreement with the India Office. Donald Read argues that both agreements ‘remained in force throughout the inter-war period’.16 They created a contradiction for Reuters: it would disseminate information upon the instruction of the Foreign Office and the India Office to an extent that would not damage Reuters’ independence.

The relationship between Reuters and the Foreign Office became closer in 1936–39, when the Foreign Office sought to strengthen counter-German propaganda. Jones, as General Manager of Reuters, was again eager to assist. In November 1937, he argued to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain exactly the point which Iwanaga Yūkichi (Managing Director of Rengō, and then President of Dōmei) and Amō Eiji (Director of the Department of Information, MOFA) argued for Rengō/Dōmei in 1934–6: their national news agency needed a larger infusion of state assistance in order to remain internationally competitive. As Iwanaga and Amō did, Jones justified greater official subsidy by pointing out that Havas was receiving 250,000 pounds a year and D.N.B. even more.

The Foreign Office viewed the subsidy to Reuters as crucial in British news propaganda overseas. At the time of the Munich Crisis of September 1938, Jones ‘asked for, and received, extra Government money’ to expand Reuters’ overseas wireless news outputs. In December 1938, Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary, identified two major means of British news propaganda: ‘the British Official Wireless, which distributed official material’; and ‘Reuters, which handled “world news through British eyes” ‘. He argued that the state should give ‘an indirect subsidy to Reuters’ in the form of ‘low rates for wireless transmission for increased wordage’. Furthermore, Samuel Storey, a Reuters’ Director and a Member of a Parliament, argued at the House of Commons in March 1939, still half a year before the outbreak of the war in Europe, for a permanent, not ad hoc, expansion of Reuters’ service, and the need for the state’s assistance for this purpose.17

Like many other national news agencies, Reuters had to walk a fine line between being a credible source of information and being the ‘national’ news agency. As a national news agency, it had a ‘special relationship’ with the government, and assumed a special national mission. Was this perceived as a dilemma by national news agencies, as later scholars assume? Iwanaga and Furuno Inosuke, who succeeded as President of Dōmei (1939–45) when Iwanaga passed away, observed that Japan needed a strong national news agency, and for it to be strong, it had to be credible. It also needed the state’s subsidy for its overseas operations. Editorial independence was a great concern for Iwanaga. At the same time, he had no problem working closely with MOFA in order to serve the ‘national interests’, especially during diplomatic crises.

It appears that Jones felt the same. In a speech at the annual conference of the Empire Press Union in 1939, Jones stated:

The problem is, how to place British news in foreign countries financially in a position to counteract its competitors without exposing it to the taint of subsidy and to the loss of its reputation for independence. To expect to solve that problem with complete satisfaction to ourselves must seem very much like expecting to get the best of both worlds.18

In Jones’ mind, it was not a choice of one or the other. Reuters would seek to realize both. As Read points out, by September 1939, Jones believed that he had achieved both: ‘[Jones] had negotiated extra payment from the British Government for serving the national interest without sacrifice of Reuters’ independence’. Jones, Storey and other Reuters’ directors seemed to be troubled little by this ‘new arrangement’. They believed that a government subsidy did not threaten Reuters’ independence ‘so long as it retained complete editorial control’. This, of course, does not address the issue of Reuters’ self-censorship.

The timing of this new ‘arrangement’ between Reuters and the Ministry of Information (the MOI, September 1939–March 1946) is crucial. It was September 1939 when the war broke out in Europe. The arrangement was based on a ‘private and confidential’ letter of 24 August 1939 from the Director-General designate of the MOI, Lord Perth, to Jones, the ‘Perth letter’. While its precise ‘legal’ nature has since been disputed, the Reuters’ board accepted Jones’s interpretation of the agreement at that time: the government would pay for an expansion of Reuters’ news service and extra wordage, while ‘Reuters would bear in mind any suggestions made to them on behalf of H.M. Government as to the development or orientation of their news service or as to the topics or events which from time to time require particular attention’. In December 1940, the MOI proposed a joint committee of Reuters and the MOI to observe this agreement as well as a further expansion of Reuters’ news service.19 Both proposals were implemented. A similar joint committee was founded by the BOI in Japan with relevant ministries, Dōmei and NHK, when Japan began a war with the Allied forces.20

Scholars have interpreted the ‘retirement’ of Jones in February 1941 and the creation of the Reuters Trust as signalling a Reuters policy shift: Reuters then criticized Jones’ compromise of its independence from the government, and created the trust to secure this independence. A close reading of Read’s work, however, suggests that Jones was forced to retire partly because of an internal conflict within Reuters in response to his autocratic management style. More significantly, there was official pressure. The Foreign Office, the Treasury, and the MOI had wanted to remove Jones for some time, viewing him as an obstacle to more efficient and high-quality news propaganda.21

After February 1941, Reuters sought a new relationship with the government, which was not bound by the Perth letter.22 It tried to assert more independence, rejecting the MOI’s request that it not transmit enemy communiqués in its overseas service. Yet, as Read points out, Reuters could not ignore the impact of its service on British policy and war efforts. Accordingly, the joint committee of the MOI and Reuters, which had been created at the request of the MOI in December 1940, produced a document, ‘Some Proposed Methods of Combating the Effect of Enemy Communiqués Other Than by Suppression’. It suggested that as well as a persistent campaign to undermine confidence in the enemy, ‘counter-propaganda from the MOI could be included in the same overseas radio transmission [as the enemy communiqués were transmitted]’.23 The ‘special relationship’ between Reuters and the government, therefore, continued, underlining Reuters’ special status as the ‘national news agency’. The preamble of the foundation document of the new Reuters Trust noted that ‘the present national emergency and the uncertainties of the future render necessary special precautions to ensure in the national interests that Reuters be so established and consolidated that in every event it shall preserve its position as the leading world news agency’.24 The state needed to support the national news agency for it to serve the national interest, and it also needed to protect Reuters’ status as the leading (credible) news agency.

The Foreign Office was, however, not totally content with Reuters’ wartime service. It complained about the unsatisfactory effects of Reuters’ propaganda despite its large ‘subscriptions’ (that is, state subsidies of around 15,000 pounds a year). Reuters asked the Foreign Office for special help to improve its service in August 1942. In response, Eden, the Foreign Secretary, urged British foreign missions to render as much help as possible to Reuters overseas, but this help was also extended to other British and American news media organizations.25

Reuters nonetheless did play other special roles for the government. According to a document of February 1945, other operations included: the ‘internal uses’ of its foreign missions; the British Official Wireless; and the special service of ‘Forcereuter’ for ‘British servicemen abroad’.26

Paul Kratoska points to the most significant news propaganda role of Reuters for the Allied forces in the Pacific theatre, citing a report of 27 April 1942 on the propaganda activities of the Oriental Mission of Britain’s Special Operation Executive:

Through an arrangement reached with a world-wide news organization it was possible for us to release news presented from ‘our point of view’ and to release rumors on an international basis. Some seventy-two newspapers in British and Allied countries were secretly influenced…. [I]t was one of our most efficient anti-Japanese weapons.27

Like MOFA and the BOI in Japan, the British Foreign Office and the MOI expected Reuters to perform the national mission in news propaganda and wartime communication, and used it for these purposes. Like Furuno and Iwanaga of Dōmei, Reuters’ managers also had a strong sense of mission in leading the national news agency.


Dōmei took up a new role in Japanese military occupation in Southeast Asia. In September 1942, a few months after this administration had begun, the Ministry of the Army sent a note to the local military units on the role of the news agency and newspapers in the occupied Southern Area (Southeast Asia). A copy was forwarded to the Vice-Director of the BOI.28 Here, the Army elaborated what the BOI had proposed to Dōmei a few months earlier.29

Dōmei is expected to expand its operations in the occupied Southern Areas. The military will not establish a new news agency specifically for occupation purposes. Rather, it will put Dōmei’s regional head office and branch offices in significant locations. They will send news [from the Southern Area] back to Japan. The Army will closely monitor this news service and propaganda operations to foreign countries, as the situation in French Indochina and Thailand unfolds, and Dōmei’s offices in the region will become better equipped. [The military occupation administration] will not allow any foreign news agency to establish branch offices or gather information for a while. 30

The regional commands allowed Dōmei and Japan’s biggest metropolitan dailies, Asahi, Mainichi,31 and Yomiuri, to move into the occupied regions to report news to Japan. Dōmei had an extra privilege: exclusive access to wireless communication. The Ministry of the Army understood the occupation administration would need a central propaganda and communication organization. It did not contemplate using any other organization or creating a new one, but agreed with the BOI that Dōmei should take this role.

At the same time, according to Kitayama Setsurō, the Army and the Navy occupation administration units worked out how to expand and manage the infrastructure of radio broadcasting in the area. For this task, both the Army (on 17 July) and the Navy (on 8 October) asked NHK to send its staff to the occupied areas. On 1 September 1942, NHK’s headquarters in Tokyo established ‘the Office on the Southern Area’ in order to ‘deal with the military’s requests on the infrastructure and management of broadcasting services in the occupied areas in the Southern Area’. This organizational change at NHK headquarters occurred at the same time it expanded the department of overseas broadcasting. Kitayama suggests that NHK put a new priority on broadcasting to the Southern Area. It also paid greater attention to the content of news on Japan to this region, editing out what enemies might see as Japanese weaknesses (such as food shortages, distribution problems and illness).32

Government subsidies to Dōmei, 1937–44  
1937: 2,000,000 yen
1938: 2,300,000
1939: 3,160,000
1940: 3,960,000
1941: 5,310,000


(Overseas: 5,640,000,

Nanpō: 1,948,122)



(Overseas: 5,350,000,

Nanpō: 4,473,021)



(Overseas: 6,871,000, 

Nanpō: 4,893,920)

Source: ‘Seifu joseikin nendobetsu hyō’ [no date], in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei tsūshinsha, vol. 5, p. 190.  



The BOI and the Ministry of the Army envisaged Dōmei as coming under the regional military command, the Southern Area Command, in the occupied Southern Area, where it would play the central role in propaganda and intelligence gathering. Dōmei was eager to fulfil this new role. Although the post-war biography of Furuno stresses a conflict between Dōmei and the Southern Area Command,33 there is no evidence of this in his report on a trip to Southeast Asia in a company newsletter in December 1942. He was happy to see how much the Southern Area Command appreciated Dōmei activities .34

Furuno’s visit to Southern Area, October 1942.

Source: Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, p. 529.


Dōmei established its regional headquarters in Singapore in July 1942. Called the Southern Area General Headquarters (Nanpō sōshikyoku), it had twelve branch offices . It enjoyed great independence from the Tokyo headquarters,35 as the BOI had proposed around May 1942.36 Dōmei’s budget for Southern Area operations was distinguished from the rest of its overseas budgets, 37 and the Southern Area Development Bank (Nanpō kaihatsu ginkō, established in March 1942) most likely financed a large part of this budget.38

 Dōmei’s network in Asia, 1944

Source: Dōmei tsûshinsha, Dōmei no shimei to katsudo (Tokyo: Dōmei tsûshinsha, 1944), reprinted in Ariyama Teruo and Nishiyama Takesuke eds, Dōmei tsûshinsha kankei shiryô, vol. 6 (Tokyo: Kashiwa shobô, 1999), p. 324


A substantial increase in the state’s subsidy for Dōmei’s operations in the Southern Area in 1942–44 indicates the importance the government accorded Dōmei in the newly-occupied areas. The above table on government subsidies to Dōmei between 1937 and 1944 demonstrates a steady expansion of Dōmei’s overseas activities. Nishiyama Takesuke suggests that the subsidies roughly matched the cost of Dōmei (and its predecessor’s) overseas activities.39 Furuno himself stated in late 1945 that the government subsidies were used to cover the cost of Dōmei operations in this region and China.40 While Japan’s war with China and the outbreak of the war in Europe explain the increases in 1938 and 1939, the increases from 1941 to 1944 were far greater. This could be understood mainly as a result of the expansion of Dōmei’s operations in the Southern Area.

Dōmei appointed Matsumoto Shigeharu, Editor-in-Chief at the Tokyo headquarters, as General Manager of Dōmei’s Southern Area General Headquarters in Singapore in the critical initial several months following the attack on Pearl Harbor.41 As the head of Rengō/Dōmei’s Shanghai Office in 1932–38, Matsumoto had been engaged in delicate diplomatic negotiations and secret military operations as well as managing daily news routines in the environment of conflict and war. He was well equipped to set up the regional headquarters in Singapore .

The visit of Matsumoto Shigeharu (Head of the Editorial Bureau) to the front line in Southern Area, at the Dōmei’s field camp office

Source: Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, p. 529.

Matsumoto had another mission. Fujiwara Iwaichi had led ‘F kikan’ or the F unit, the Army’s special services unit set up in September 1941 to co-opt Indian soldiers in British Malaya force. In March 1942, F kikan was dissolved. Fujiwara recorded that Matsumoto was in Singapore in late April 1942, and assisted in sorting out the aftermath of F kikan operations.42 Matsumoto was probably on an official mission to investigate the conditions for establishing Dōmei’s regional headquarters in Singapore, which operations may have succeeded certain espionage activities.

Colonial news propaganda: Japanese language newspapers

Cable Network in Asia and Western Pacific, 1940
Source: Daniel R. Headrick, The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunication and International Politics, 1851–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); Bernard Finn and Daqing Yang eds, Communications under the Seas: The Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications (London: The MIT Press, 2009); and various other sources.

By autumn 1942, Dōmei had taken charge of telecommunications within and outside of occupied Southeast Asia, while Japan’s International Telecommunication Company dealt with infrastructure . The Army established news propaganda policy within the region on 20 October 1942 in ‘An Outline of Policy towards Newspapers in the Southern Area Command’s [Occupation] Administration’. It allocated Dōmei (and the Japanese provincial newspapers that were its associated members) and the three Japanese major dailies respective areas to control local newspapers. This involved two main tasks; establishing and running Japanese language newspapers, and controlling vernacular language newspapers. Dōmei’s assigned area was Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra, and North Borneo. Asahi was allocated Java, Mainichi the Philippines, and Yomiuri Burma.43 A note from the Ministry of the Army, which had been issued in September 1942, explained the role of Japanese language newspapers in the occupied areas.

Japanese language newspapers in the Southern Area are important because they could demonstrate how Japanese culture is infiltrating the region. They also would enlighten Japanese residents, and guide local

vernacular and foreign language newspapers. Considering that we need people who are competent in social interaction, experienced in, and have general abilities of [running these Japanese language newspapers], we will have leading newspapers in Japan provide the staff and equipment necessary for establishing these papers. We will have them run the papers under the supervision of the military administration …44

According to this plan, the operation was to be financed by the Southern Development Bank, supplemented if necessary by the local military administration.45

The Southern Area Command’s main target was Japanese residents in the region: it intended to mobilize them to ‘guide’ local public opinion and spread imperial culture among the locals. Such ‘colonial propaganda’ had developed in Japan’s formal colonies, Taiwan and Korea, where the imperial authority created the infrastructure of Japanization programs to ‘learn’ the imperial language and culture, and imposed the program on colonial subjects, especially the local elite. Japanese language-centred colonial propaganda was applied to Japanese military-occupied Manchuria,46 and then to occupied North China to a limited extent.47

The Southern Area Command tried to apply this ‘colonial propaganda’ in occupied Southeast Asia. In occupied North and Central China, complex layers of authority existed (the Japanese regional army commands, the Board of Development of Asia, MOFA missions, Japanese Navy units, and pro-Japan Chinese puppet regimes), making unified policies impossible. In contrast, occupied maritime Southeast Asia came under the Southern Area Command, which directed various Army and Navy occupation administrations. These regional administration units attempted to establish semi-colonial infrastructure for education, transportation, and health, and imposed Japanization programs.48

The programs were, however, hurriedly implemented with scarce resources. Watanabe Yōsuke, for example, reports that there was a scarcity of teachers and textbooks for Japanese education programs in occupied Singapore, pointing out the occupation administration’s unrealistic goals.49 Ariyama Teruo also stressed the ineffectiveness of Japanese education in the Philippines. The circulation of English and Tagalog papers for local propaganda and ‘education’ was, he argues, far greater than that of the Japanese newspaper, Manira shimbun.50 Japanese colonial propaganda floated like a balloon above the everyday lives of the locals. The balloon burst quickly as the locals realized that the goal of the occupation was resource extraction, which Japan would pursue with harsh measures against them.

When the Japanese military began to lose, radio broadcasting to comfort Japanese soldiers also began. Dōmei’s Romanized Japanese Morse news reported on 3 March 1945 that ‘the Java Broadcasting Control Bureau started powerful shortwave comfort broadcasts to troops fighting in Rabaul, New Guinea and other islands in the [South Western] Pacific’. The programs were daily and included news from Japan and Java, and Japanese and Javanese music.51

Local language propaganda

The occupation did not, however, dismiss the significance of local languages and vernacular news propaganda. Japan’s radio broadcasting services used many local languages as well as European languages in China and Southeast Asia.52 Already in December 1941 the BOI had called for an increase in Dōmei’s news services (in Morse) not only in Japanese and European languages, but also in Chinese and Malay. It projected a two-stage improvement of wartime services: in the first stage, it would increase the English news service from the current daily 8,200 words to 9,000 words, and French news from 800 words to 2,000 words, and it would add a Spanish news service of 1,000 words and a Chinese news service of 2,000 words. In the second stage, it would conduct daily 12,000 words of English news service, 4,000 words in French, 2,000 words in Spanish, and 3,000 words in Chinese. It would also add a Malay news service of 2,000 words, and increase the Japanese news service from 5,000 to 6,000 words.53

Dōmei was involved in local language newspapers. According to the above-mentioned Army directive of 10 October 1942, either an Army unit, Dōmei (and its member newspapers in Japan), or the three major dailies were allocated for each respective occupied area, and would manage local (and foreign) language papers in the area, as well as the newly created Japanese papers.54 Asahi was in charge of local language media in Java and Borneo,55 and Mainichi, all newspapers, including journals, broadcasting, and the Spanish paper in the Philippines.56

Dōmei was in charge of Japanese, local, and European language newspapers in Malaya, Singapore, Sumatra, and North Borneo. Its offices in Southeast Asia also delivered daily news in Japanese, English (in Singapore, Batavia, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok for local papers), French (in Hanoi and Saigon), Chinese (in Singapore), Malay (in Singapore and Batavia), and Thai (in Bangkok, which was not under the occupation administration). In Batavia, Dōmei established the Malay language department, after taking over Aneta News Agency and Antara News Agency. It distributed news in Japanese and English, the latter being sent to Singapore for local English language papers and radio programs. It also distributed news in Malay. The Malay language department of Dōmei’s Batavia office had at its peak about fifty local employees at the Batavia office and around 100 in total, including local correspondents in the area.57

As it had done in Japan and occupied China, Dōmei consolidated local papers into a newspaper association in Singapore in December 1942, which controlled Japanese, English and local language papers. In Singapore, the Army command took direct charge of strategically significant local language papers-the two major Chinese papers of Xingzhou Ribao (星洲日報) and Nanyang Ribao (南洋日報), and two Malay papers. This Dōmei-led newspaper association controlled Shōnan shimbun (Singapore Newspaper) (in Japanese and English). The association also co-opted other papers, such as Malay Xin Bao (馬来新報)(in English and Chinese) in Kuala Lumpur, Penang Xinwen (Penang Newspaper) (in English and Chinese) in Penang, Sumatra [Harian] (Sumatra Daily) (in Malay) in Medan, and Padan [Harian] (Padan Daily) (in Malay) in Padan.58 By mid-1944, the association had around eighteen members (five Japanese papers, five English, four Chinese, and four Malay, including one Sumatra paper). As war conditions deteriorated for Japan, in October 1944 the Army ordered Dōmei to take charge of all these newspapers in Singapore. Towards the end of the war, Dōmei began Macassar Xin Bao (in Chinese) in Makassar (Macassar or Makasar) in February 1945, and Palembang Newspaper (in Indonesian) in Palembang in May 1945.59

The Japanese imperial authorities paid attention to local language newspapers not out of respect for local customs and greater local autonomy, but in order to mobilize them for the Japanese military needs and to control the area.60 For these operations, Dōmei and Japanese dailies had to rely on local people, especially local elites and journalists.61 Most were coerced, as otherwise they would have faced severe punishment. Some cooperated as a pragmatic means to advance their own causes, including independence.62

There are several similarities between the above-mentioned Japanese propaganda operations in occupied Southeast Asia and in Japan-controlled China, and those of the U.S. OWI’s Overseas Branch China Division in ‘free’ China. First, while both conducted operations against the enemies or those in enemy zones, they also needed to win the support of people under their allies or in the areas they controlled. Second, a large part of their operations consisted of propagating not totally fabricated lies, but what I define as ‘news propaganda’. Third, both operations included propaganda and intelligence aspects. Fourth, both policy makers were careful not to emphasize ‘race’ aspects in order to avoid offending their allies or collaborators. Fifth, for both operations, how to handle decolonization presented a major problem.

Sixth, if not as systematically as Japan, the OWI China mobilized correspondents of American news media, such as the head of the Chongqing Office of UP, for its operations. Unlike the Japanese BOI, which relied on Dōmei and NHK for ‘news’ transmission, however, the OWI acted as a ‘press agency’, with its own broadcasting centre, the Pacific Bureau, at San Francisco. The bureau had more than 400 staff, which probably included a substantial number of former news media employees. Its ‘news’ was disseminated by the key centres in China, including that in Chongqing, to mainly non-Japanese controlled areas in China.63 Johnson also suggests close cooperation between the OWI and the British MOI and Psychological Warfare Executive for operations in the Pacific theatre.64

Seventh, like Japanese news propaganda, the OWI China maintained numerous propaganda outlets in diverse languages. The Pacific Bureau’s broadcasting service was done in twenty-two languages, while its airborne leaflets for enemy areas were written in Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Thai, and Korean. For all these operations both in San Francisco and at local spots in Asia, the OWI employed Japanese Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans), Japanese POWs, Korean exiles, Chinese, French, Thais, and Vietnamese.65 The OWI China also benefited greatly from communist Japanese attached to the Chinese Communist Party’s Eighth Route Army.66 It also used films far more extensively and effectively in free China,67 than Japan did in China or Southeast Asia.68

The status of the military occupations were differentiated by the use of existing local organizations by the OWI China and Japan. The Japanese military commands instructed Dōmei to create and supervise the pro-Japan news agencies of Japan’s puppet regimes in China.69 In occupied Southeast Asia, the Japanese military command took over the governing capacity, and allocated areas in which Dōmei and Japanese major dailies took over and ran local news agencies and papers. The OWI China’s relations with the Ministry of Information of the Chongqing government were far more precarious. As it could not establish its own radio stations, the OWI China used the existing four radio stations in non-Japanese controlled areas, and inserted its own propaganda contents in English and Chinese, with great limitations.70 These propaganda contents were still subject to censorship by the Chiang government in Chongqing, and the collaboration deteriorated further towards the end of the war.71

Images of Southeast Asia in Dōmei news: for the public in Japan

Despite suffering major military losses from the latter half of 1942 Japanese occupation continued until the end of the war. Dōmei controlled news networks in the region, and right up to the end of the war, it was almost the only source of information on Southeast Asia in a large part of this region, and one of the most important sources of information on the region for the people in Japan, Asia and the Pacific region, and the rest of the world.

Dōmei’s news, photos and movies on the region contributed to the formation of the knowledge of Southeast Asia among the public and policy makers in Japan in wartime.72 Dōmei published magazines on international current affairs with photos. They included many articles on the region, emphasizing economic information (for business) throughout the period of intense military conflict.73 Dōmei’s regional headquarters in Singapore also published other materials on the region, such as an annual Nanpō binran (Southern Area Handbook).

Articles and photos in Dōmei’s monthly journal of world affairs, Dōmei gurafu,74 at times appeared like a tourist guide for ‘exotic’ cultures, and emphasized respect for the precious heritage of past civilization or the unique art of the region.75 Manifesting an Orientalist discourse (modernized and advanced Japan versus traditional and exotic ‘Asia’), they were not dissimilar to articles in magazines such as National Geographic.

These articles and photos provided propaganda to serve Japan’s strategic objectives. More articles in Dōmei gurafu praised the success of Japanization projects and how well many people were speaking ‘simple’ Japanese words. The articles stressed ‘new Asia’, ‘new Singapore’ or ‘new Malaya’ under Japanese ‘guidance’. They suggested that the former Euro-American colonial rulers, as well as the climate, had made Asians ‘lazy’ and ‘docile’, while Japan ‘freed’ them, and made them ‘happy’. With their ‘new working morale’ under Japanese ‘leadership’, the articles argued, they ‘cooperated’ with the Japanese for economic development and the construction of ‘their own new Asia’.76 Even a glance at a few photos in the journal, however, makes one realize that these ‘highly motivated’ workers ‘happily’ cooperated and worked hard under the watchful gaze of Japanese (or possibly Korean) military guards .

‘Happy Philippines’

Source: Dōmei grafu, 9 January 1943

The journal also revealed Dōmei’s embedded nature. Writers for Dōmei gurafu were credited as Navy and Army press officers (Hōdō han in), and photos were provided by military photographers. Previously called ‘military embedded correspondents’ (Jūgun kisha), they were now called ‘military press officers’. Heavy censorship was evident, as no negative stories about Japanese actions or its rule in the region can be found in Dōmei gurafu. Images and stories were intended to raise the morale of the public in Japan and the region, and Japanese soldiers in the front lines. Yet as the above photos indicate, those of a cynical mind could doubtless see through this fabrication. We will see below that this indeed was the case.

Dōmei’s intelligence work for policy makers in Japan

Throughout the war, the number of Japanese experts on the region grew, and they were mobilized to work for the occupation administration. Dōmei, other media organizations, government departments, private companies, and universities strengthened or created think tank departments to research the region, while new think tanks were also established. These organizations published books on the region in 1941–45, the number of which peaked in 1943.77 The Diet Library, Tokyo, for example, has almost 1,200 books, which have Nanpō (the Southern Area) or Nanyō (the South Sea) in the titles and which were published between 1938 and 1945. They cover diverse, but predominantly economic topics. This suggests that the Japanese public was interested in the region (especially in business) during the war, and that various organizations also exploited this popular interest and tried to profit from it.

‘Le People, Natives [Dochaku no] of the Hainan Island, who cooperate [kyōryoku suru] with the Japanese Imperial Army in road construction’

Source: Dōmei grafu, 10 September 1941

While these publications were addressed to the public in Japan, Hara Kakuten points out that the occupation administration also demanded such information. Each military administration unit in occupied Southeast Asia had its own research section. Leading think tank organizations in Tokyo were allocated to these units, to which they sent researchers in January 1943 (they stayed until April 1944). The Greater East Asia Economic Research Institute of Tokyo Commercial University, for example, sent its research staff to the regional general headquarters of the Southern Area Command in Singapore; the East Asia Research Institute to the. 25th Army in Java; Mitsubishi Economic Research Institute to the 14th Army in the Philippines; the Research Institute of the Manchuria Railway Company to the 25th Army in Malaya and Sumatra; and the Research Institute of the Pacific to the 25th Army in Borneo. These researchers worked on topics directly relevant to the occupation administration, such as local economic and social conditions, and Japan’s war efforts in the region.78

Dōmei became a channel to convey policy-relevant information to top policy makers at the regional commands and in Tokyo. With the outbreak of the war with the Allied forces in December 1941, the branch office of the BOI at Dōmei headquarters was expected to be a clearing-house of such information.79 The information was based on intercepted wireless foreign broadcasts (in voice and Morse code) and news gathered by Dōmei correspondents. Dōmei’s branch office supplied BOI reports on raw materials with commentary. The office became a part of the BOI’s Wartime Reference Office around November 1943. Corresponding to the establishment of this new BOI office, Dōmei restructured the Research Bureau (founded in October 1940) into the Wartime Research Office in January 1944.80

As Dōmei headquarters in Tokyo strengthened its role as a clearing-house of intelligence assessment for the BOI, its offices in Asia and the Pacific intensified intelligence-gathering activities. With the war with China becoming secondary to Pacific theatre operations in late 1942, Dōmei’s South China Regional Headquarters at Guangdong became both a key relay station for news on Japan’s war campaigns in Indochina, and the central base for gathering information on Chongqing. The Guangdong Headquarters took over the role of Dōmei’s Hong Kong office, which had been the centre of intelligence gathering on Chongqing and Anglo-American operations. This was because after Japan occupied Hong Kong on 25 December 1941, Britain and the U.S. stopped sending important information to Hong Kong. As a result, the South China Regional Headquarters now acted as the regional centre for intelligence gathering.81 It set up the Special Materials Office (Tokubetsu shiryō shitsu) in May 1942, with several staff gathering and analysing information on Chongqing. Early in 1943, this regional headquarters absorbed a new Dōmei bureau at Amoy for intelligence gathering (set up in summer 1942). The Special Materials Office at Guangdong continued to operate until the end of the war.82

All of Dōmei’s offices in China were fully mobilized into Japan’s war campaigns in China in 1944 and 1945. The Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ) in Tokyo decided in February 1943 to refocus on war operations in China in order to ‘break China’s will to continue fighting’ and prevent Allied air operations from bases in China. For this purpose, the IGHQ conducted major military campaigns in 1944 and 1945. Dōmei’s offices in China were restructured in January 1944, with the General Central Headquarters of China in Nanjing, the General Regional Headquarters of North China in Beijing, that of Central China in Shanghai, and that of South China in Guangdong.

At the same time, Dōmei’s Tokyo headquarters created the above-mentioned Wartime Research Office for intelligence assessment in January 1944. In February, the Head of the General Regional Headquarters of South China became Director of the Shanghai branch office of this Wartime Research Office. The Regional Headquarters at Guangdong worked closely with the war campaigns in China in 1944 and 1945, while liaising with Dōmei operations in Southeast Asia. In Shanghai, Japan’s regional army command also created a special organization for propaganda to China in February 1945. This was called the Special News Organ (Tokubetsu hōdō kikan), which came under the above-mentioned Dōmei office in Shanghai.83 In May it became the joint propaganda organization of the Army, the Navy and the Ministry of Greater East Asia (founded in November 1942), and absorbed the Board of Development of Asia (Kōain).84 In Manzhouguo, the Japanese imperial authorities abandoned the rhetoric of independence and Dōmei incorporated the operations of the Manzhouguo News Agency.85

In occupied maritime Southeast Asia, Dōmei correspondents were engaged in intelligence-gathering operations. While some Army and Navy officers used the status of Dōmei correspondent as a cover, intelligence work was a part of Dōmei correspondents’ standard duties under the respective military authorities.

A report by the Australian Forces on the interrogation of prisoner-of-war and Dōmei correspondent, Ishida Niichi, gives insight on Dōmei operatons in Navy-occupied Southeast Asia towards the end of the war, and the conduct of intelligence, censorship, and propaganda activities.

Ishida, a Waseda graduate, was sent to the Southern Area in February 1944, having briefly worked as a political reporter at Dōmei’s headquarters in Tokyo. He had left Sasebo, a military port in Southern Japan, on 1 February 1944, worked in Soerabaja in March–June, in Bandjermasin in June-December, in Balikpapan in December 1944–March 1945, and in Tarakan in May 1945, where he was captured.86 Ishida was, therefore, in Borneo and Eastern Indonesia in February 1944–May 1945. The region was under the Japanese Navy administration, whose headquarters was located at Makassar in Celebes.

Ishida understood that Dōmei’s task was ‘to collect overseas war and economic news, and submit it to the Ministry of Information (sic) which virtually [controlled] D[ō]mei’. On Dōmei operations in occupied Southeast Asia, Ishida noted: Singapore was the ‘main office of the whole Pacific and Indian theatres of operations’. It ‘had sub-branches at Rangoon and Bangkok’, and information from these offices was ‘sent to Singapore, then to Tokyo’. Batavia covered ‘news concerning activities in Java with sub-branches at Soerabaja and Bandoeng, all of which forwarded information to Singapore’.

Ishida was most knowledgeable about the Dōmei office in Makassar, where he had worked, and where the Navy’s headquarters in the region were located. He noted that Dōmei’s Makassar office covered ‘news concerning activities in the Celebes-Borneo area’, and had sub-branches at Ambon, Tarakan, Bandjermasin, and the Hakmaheras (See Map B).

The setting of the Navy headquarters at Makassar was detailed in the memoir of a MOFA diplomat, Nakai Daisuke. Nakai, who was working at the Consulate-General office at Makassar (opened in January 1941), was taken to Java by the Dutch military forces after the outbreak of the war. When the Japanese Navy took control of the area, Japanese diplomats were brought back to Makassar to work in the propaganda section of this Navy occupation administration. Their job was to intercept, translate, and report on Allied forces’ transmitted information in English and other foreign languages. Such close cooperation between MOFA and the military happened more in the Navy administration than in the Army occupation administration, he noted, and the Navy hired a broad range of non-military people, including Dōmei correspondents.87

Ishida revealed how Dōmei correspondents gathered intelligence, and how intelligence materials were processed in the region. First, locally gathered intelligence materials by Dōmei staff were first sent to Dōmei’s regional headquarters in Singapore, not directly to Tokyo. Second, Dōmei’s intelligence gathering was embedded in military operations. Ishida understood that Dōmei operations under the Navy administration were divided into two areas. The first section was on Army news, and was ‘responsible for obtaining news concerning front-line dispatches and any political or economic situations’. The second section was on Navy news, and was ‘responsible for obtaining news concerning naval engagements and fleet activities’.88

Third, Ishida’s report indicated that there were a few layers of censorship before information on occupied Southeast Asia reached policy makers and the public in Japan. He noted:

Both [Dōmei’s] Army and Navy services submit the reports to the censorship bureau of the services. The censored reports are then sent through the Ministry of Information [the BOI] to the Propaganda Bureau, and the Bureau of Politics and Economic [Affairs], [which] present the final reports. These reports are then sent back to the D[ō]mei News Agency and are passed on to the Asahi, Mainichi, and Yomiuri Newspaper Companies. Also, the reports are sent to the Japan Broadcasting Commission [NHK] for radio announcements and news commentaries to be published in the D[ō]mei Sh[ū]hō, a weekly publication, and the D[ō]mei Gepp[ō], a monthly publication. The D[ō]mei also distributes a summary of articles to be published by the three main newspapers …. The War Correspondents of these newspapers submit their news items, after censoring by Military Authorities in forward areas, to the newspaper offices concerned. The news is further censored by the Ministry of Information [the BOI].89

Army and Navy censorship officers, who were located within Dōmei’s local offices, likewise censored information even before it reached Singapore. There was another censor at Singapore before it was sent to Tokyo, and another at the BOI in Tokyo.

As Ishida had worked in Borneo and Celebes in February 1944–May 1945, he was most likely referring to the BOI’s organizational structure before it went through the last change in April–May 1945.90 There was, however, no Propaganda Bureau, or Bureau of Politics and Economics at the BOI in this period. The Propaganda Bureau could be the propaganda section of the BOI’s Third Department, and the Bureau of Politics and Economic could be the Third Department’s intelligence section.91 Or they could be referring to the sections at the BOI’s Wartime Reference Office (founded in November 1943).

The interrogation team tended to dramatize or exaggerate the BOI’s influence. It translated, for example, the BOI as the Ministry of Information, which assumed a similar model to the British counterpart. In reality, the BOI struggled to increase its control and influence not only over the IGHQ, but also over other ministries throughout the war.92

As Ishida admitted, the BOI’s domestic propaganda was not as effective as the report indicated. Ishida noted that educated Japanese were not unaware of flaws in the ‘news’. The Allied forces’ extensive and systematic air raids on Japanese cities after mid-February 1944 forced the Japanese government and the BOI to be more truthful about the dire situation of Japan, and the Tōjō Cabinet resigned in July 1944. Ishida was sent to Southeast Asia at a time when people in Japan were beginning to realize that Japan was losing the war, despite the government’s propaganda.

Ishida described how Dōmei conducted news propaganda: ‘the news [was] studied by the Propaganda Bureau and [was] edited’ into three different categories-war news, political news, and radio commentaries. War news was edited in the following manner.

Reverses of the Japanese Army may be announced on a very limited basis. These reverses must appear as spiritual victories and must contain descriptions of the heroism displayed by the Japanese troops in the face of terrific odds. Losses in personnel and material are reduced considerably and enemy losses are exaggerated. Special emphasis is laid on fierce Japanese counter attacks. This applies also to the Air and Naval Forces.93

The method echoed how Roderick Jones described Reuters’ news propaganda in 1917, while an increasingly desperate war situation in Japan required greater manipulation.

[I]ts object is to secure that a certain class of news, of propaganda value, is cabled at greater length than would be possible in the normal Reuter service …. The principle observed in shaping the service is a simple one. While bearing in mind that the proper presentation of the Allies’ point of view is the main object of the service, the fact is not forgotten that this object can best be attained by a candid and exact description of events as they occur. A military operation, for example, in which the Allies have not been successful, is not ignored, but is set out soberly in its proper perspective. Nor are Allied successes made the subject of paeans of enthusiasm. They are recorded in measured language… Many years’ experience in the handling of news has shewn that these methods provide the best means of creating that intangible atmosphere of confidence which is indispensable if the service is to be trusted.94

Ishida further explained how political news was edited at Dōmei.

No news is published concerning Japan’s war position, nor reasons for cabinet reshuffles. Both these items are so presented by the Propaganda Bureau as to stress unity of the Japanese people. PW [Prisoner of War] said that announcement of all Japanese reverses was used as a means of stimulating greater effort for Japan’s victory. No political article that would possibly cause arguments or discussions … could be published. The items published were intended to be readily accepted by the less-educated Japanese. However, PW stated that the better educated could see flaws, but discussion was forbidden, as any opinion or criticism not in favour with the Ministry of Information [the BOI] was detrimental to the Japanese way of thinking.

Furthermore, Ishida distinguished voiced ‘news’ broadcast by radio from news transmitted by Morse code. In his view, radio news was less truthful and more a subject of ‘fabrication’ than Morse-coded wireless news, and the former would affect the morale of the Japanese public more immediately.95 Ishida also referred to the use of foreigners in Japanese propaganda overseas: four captured American journalists (three from UP and another from AP) worked for Dōmei in Guangdong, China. In Tarakan, five Indonesians worked for Dōmei. They had been working on ‘W/T operations’ at a Javanese radio company before the outbreak of the war.96 The OWI China also used left wing and communist Japanese or Japanese POWs for propaganda and intelligence gathering.97 Probably a major difference was that the OWI had a greater number of willing, as opposed to forced, staff from enemy countries.


As the war situation worsened for Japan, the Southern Area Command began to control Malaya in January 1943. A month later, in February 1943, Dōmei made the major branch offices in occupied Southeast Asia into company status. In January 1944, it did the same for all the branch offices. This was done in order to increase each company’s discretion and autonomy, and make them self-financed.98 The move was most likely caused by financial difficulties and problems in communication among offices in the region, as Japanese military dominance was crumbling rapidly and facilities were destroyed. Although the Southern Area Command moved its headquarters to Manila in March 1944, and then back to Saigon in November 1944, Dōmei’s regional operational centre remained in Singapore until the end of the war.99

Despite Japanese military losses, Dōmei’s news network reached the peak of its influence in 1944. It remained the dominant news network in Asia and the Pacific region until the end of the war. Reuters’ coverage of the region, which had once dominated the area, had been uncertain since 1942 and its network had shrunk.100 In contrast, by April 1944, Dōmei had twenty-nine offices in Taiwan, Manchuria, and the rest of China . It conducted massive operations in China with the central headquarters in Nanjing (28 staff), the regional headquarters of North China in Beijing (105), that of Central China in Shanghai (91), and that of South China in Guangdong (44).101 Also by April 1944, Dōmei’s Southern Area General Headquarters had forty staff, and thirty-one branch offices.102

MAP B: Dōmei’s network in China, 1941

Source: Dōmei tsûshinsha, Dōmei no soshiki to katsudo (Tokyo: Dōmei tsûshinsha, 1941), reprinted in Ariyama Teruo and Nishiyama Takesuke eds, Dōmei tsûshinsha kankei shiryô, vol. 6 (Tokyo: Kashiwa shobô, 1999), p. 257


In 1944 the agency boasted that ‘Dōmei had become the leading power of the East Asian news and communication network’.103 Was this a self-serving, inflated assessment in the face of the declining Japanese military domination?

For reports on war developments in Asia and the Pacific, the main sources of leading Anglo-American metropolitan newspapers were the Allied forces announcements, Dōmei and NHK (or Tokyo Radio, whose news was supplied mainly by Dōmei), AP, UP, Reuters, and their own correspondents. They quoted Dōmei extensively, and in that sense, Dōmei was one of the dominant sources of information on the region.104 There was, however, a pattern of how these papers used Dōmei sources. Dōmei became the main source of information on the battles for which there were no sources from the Allied side. Dōmei’s reports typically minimized losses of the Japanese side, and emphasized the damage to Allied forces. Anglo-American metropolitan newspapers sometimes qualified Dōmei’s reports, or noted that this was not confirmed. If the papers had the Allied sources, they used these sources first and Dōmei’s report was added to show how the Japanese were reporting the same battle.

Although these papers used Dōmei extensively, after December 1941 they no longer had a direct supply of news from Dōmei, nor could they have their own correspondents in the Japanese formal empire or its occupied territories. They therefore used Dōmei and NHK transmissions that the Allied forces intercepted.

The Allied forces successfully intercepted and decoded Japan’s official communications, NHK’s overseas radio broadcasting service (voice) and Dōmei’s overseas news transmission (in Morse). These services were transmitted in diverse languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Thai, Malay, Dutch, French, and Russian. The U.S. Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service (set up in February 1941, and succeeded by the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service in July 1942) of the Federal Communications Commission intercepted these news services.

The Federal Communications Commission especially focused on news transmission in Japan, its empire and its occupied territories in Manchuria, the rest of China and Southeast Asia. Dōmei sent news on Japan to these areas in Romanized and Katakana Japanese, which was called ‘East Asia transmission/service (Tōa hōsō)’. Kitayama suggests that the Japanese authorities soon realized that this Dōmei shortwave service was intercepted by the Allied forces, and therefore used it for a reverse propaganda purpose. Their contents was, therefore, not identical to that of its domestic news for the Japanese within Japan.105

Just as the Allied forces were attuned to the different nature of Japanese news propaganda operations, Anglo-American newspapers, especially American papers, were explicit about the nature of Dōmei ‘news’. The New York Times made it clear when using Dōmei’s English news, that it was a propaganda piece for Allied countries.106 When it used Dōmei’s Spanish news, it noted that this was for Latin American consumption.107

While the Allied forces and The New York Times dismissed Dōmei’s English news as propaganda, they regarded Dōmei’s domestic news service as a more credible source of information. For the same reason, they also valued Dōmei’s ‘domestic news’ service to Japan’s occupied territories in Southeast Asia, which was easier for the Allied forces to intercept than Japanese domestic transmission.

The Australian government was getting detailed information on Japan and its policies in the region through the Dōmei East Asia news service. The Australian Archives and the Australian War Memorial hold the records of Dōmei news that was intercepted by the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Shortwave Section at the Broadcasting Division of the Department of Information in December 1943–February 1944,108 and those records of news which was intercepted by the Far Eastern Bureau, New Delhi, of the Department of External Affairs (or intercepted news transmitted from Batavia) in December 1944–July 1945.109 Both were mainly the translations of Dōmei’s Romanized Japanese news (in Morse), ‘East Asia transmission/service’.

The latter file, created by the Department of External Affairs, suggested that they intercepted Dōmei’s English news as well, but regarded Romanized Japanese news as more accurate.110 These records show that Dōmei’s news (in Romanized Japanese and English) provided the Australian government with detailed information which did not appear in diplomatic cables. The quality of the translation suggests that it was made by highly competent translators.

The ‘news’, which the Allied Forces regarded as more accurate than some English news, was nonetheless still propaganda, mainly targeting Japanese people in and outside of the mainland. The Japanese authorities further edited it as news propaganda directed at the Allied forces: the news minimized the damage to people’s lives in Japanese cities and concealed news of Japanese battlefield defeats.

The news the Australian government selected to intercept, record and report was relevant to Australia’s strategic concerns. Despite the propaganda aspect and the select nature of the documents, Australian policy makers could learn about people’s lives in Tokyo and throughout Japan, the Japanese government’s plans for food production and for transferring major ministries from Tokyo to local cities, new government appointments, and developments at the Diet.111

Toward the end of the war, The New York Times also reported on 24 June 1945:

Japan’s own broadcasts, picked up by the monitors of the [U.S.] Federal Communications Commission and published through the Office of War Information, are naturally not dependable for their principal content, especially when beamed in the direction of the United States, but those overhead addressed to the Japanese people often inadvertently contain information that [affords] listeners an opportunity of forming a fairly accurate picture of conditions they reflect.112

The article then reported what it learned from this intercepted Dōmei news: the government pressured ‘Japanese workers to increasing efforts toward production’; it suppressed ‘peace agitators’ and actions ‘causing disunity at home’. It also noted that ‘an air of “unhappiness” … [could] only aid the enemy’, and ‘smiling [became] a duty’ of patriotic Japanese. Food and clothing were in short supply and rationed, it continued, and the private use of coal was not allowed. Public entertainments were eliminated. From this intercepted Dōmei news for domestic consumption, the article presented a picture of a tightly controlled society with a severe shortage of basic goods.113 It is also important to remind ourselves that this article in The New York Times, titled ‘Japanese Must Go Down Smiling’, written by Lansing Warren, itself had an inevitable element of Allied news propaganda for American readers. Whether they received ‘instructions’ or pressure from relevant state agencies, the content matches a principle of war propaganda, undermining enemy war efforts.

Dōmei’s news service also became an important news source for people in Southeast Asia under Japanese occupation and/or control. David Marr argues that Dōmei provided the only source of information on world affairs in Indochina towards the end of the war. Marr points out that people in Vietnam viewed Dōmei’s news as Japan’s official press release, and were aware of its character as propaganda.114 Yet, Marr points out, Dōmei’s news service ‘contained sufficient information’ to ‘enable educated Vietnamese’ to guess correctly what was going on in the world, that is, to realize that Japan’s defeat was imminent, and to ‘plot the course of events on the world map’.115 Like people in the Allied countries, people in occupied Southeast Asia were able to learn how the war was unfolding and what was happening in Japan and the region through receiving or intercepting Dōmei’s news service.


Directed by the BOI and the Ministry of the Army, Dōmei the Southern Area Command became the central news/propaganda/intelligence organization of Japan’s occupied areas in Southeast Asia. It took over Reuters’ hegemonic position in China and Southeast Asia, becoming the dominant or, more precisely, the only surviving news agency in the Japanese controlled area. Dōmei’s dominance in Southeast Asia and China depended on formal military occupation, not informal and unequal agreements among companies, or inter-state economic agreements, as well as its extensive use of Japan’s puppet regimes in Manchuria and Nanjing. Its dominance evaporated when Japan lost the war and the military withdrew from the region.

Dōmei directed its propaganda toward diverse groups with different objectives. It did not blatantly fabricate lies, but it was censored, and it presented, emphasized, or undermined ‘certain aspects of the truth’ in the service of Japan’s war efforts. Government agencies and news media in the Allied forces clearly understood the nature of Dōmei’s news service, and treated its news as propaganda. They nonetheless valued Dōmei’s news service directed towards the Japanese in the occupied areas in Asia, and used it to gain information about what was going on in politics, economy, and people’s lives in Japan.

In Japanese-occupied Southeast Asia, Dōmei’s main objective was to encourage local populations to support Japan’s war operations and occupation administration to secure the region’s material resources and encourage economic growth. The exploitive nature of the occupation, however, easily tore aside the facade of propagated messages.116

The public in Japan was presented with an optimistic prospect of military operations and positive aspects of the military occupation in the region, although some suspected that the military situation was worsening. Policy makers in Tokyo were not getting the best quality information from the region either. Dōmei’s intelligence was censored even before it reached Tokyo. Moreover, the BOI, which was supposed to be the central civilian intelligence assessment office, did not have sufficient power to control and process all information, especially on military affairs.117 Yet if educated Vietnamese could guess what was going on through Dōmei’s news in the Vichy French colony where the Japanese MOFA missions and military forces had significant influence, policy makers, as well as educated Japanese, could also suspect the information they were receiving in Japan.

A few comparative points can be made. The wartime mobilization of news media organization, especially Dōmei, was systematic in Japan. This was a reflection of the weakness, rather than the strength, of the BOI’s wartime information management system. It struggled to expand its influence over not only the Imperial General Headquarters, but also the Home Ministry. Its size, its expertise, and its resources were nowhere near those of the American OWI, which also coordinated its work with the British MOI. The BOI had no operational staff, and had to rely on media organizations for its operations on the ground.

Reuters’ special relationship with the British Foreign Office was noted at the beginning of this paper. There is, however, little systematic analysis on wartime operations of AP, UP, and INS, especially their relationships with the OWI’s overseas operations. Johnson’s article points to OWI mobilization of China correspondents, although whether this was systematic or ad hoc is not clear. To what extent, were the staff of the OWI recruited from media organizations, how much were their managements involved in policy making? These remain the subjects of future research. We presented an analysis of reports of The New York Times, which made use of reports by Dōmei, its own correspondents and American news agencies. They indicate, but do not document, the nature of war propaganda elements in these reports. Whether they were the results of voluntary editing or they received official instructions remains to be examined.

There were differences between the state’s management of external information (propaganda and intelligence gathering) during wartime between Japan and the Allied forces. But were there fundamental differences that might suggest that ‘liberal democratic’ systems managed information with greater respect for freedom of expression and fidelity to truth? It would be difficult on the basis of present research to make such a claim.

Here, and with the two books on Japan’s news propaganda, which cover the period between 1870-1945, I have sought to show that the problems of state’s propaganda and information management were not limited to a specific political regime, but were the very problems of the age of mass-politics and globalized telecommunications. As Carr predicted in 1939, we continue to live in an era in which international politics is popularized, and propaganda technics and methods constantly evolve. In a dying age of print news media, we are surrounded by information which is carefully shaped by spin doctors more than ever. Safeguarding citizens’ and journalists’ freedom to point out especially critical aspects of their own governments, is a fundamental base for democracy.  This is, however, being eroded by growing concern with threats of terrorism even in liberal democratic countries. It is, however, not only the state, but also the management of news organizations that may lead to self-censorship. The capacity of each one of us to read ‘news’ critically is perhaps most important not only in wartime. The challenge that peacetime public information activities will turn into wartime propaganda confronts us in all regimes.

Tomoko Akami teaches in the Department of Pacific and Asian History, School of Culture, History & Language of the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University and is the Co-Editor of History Australia. She is the author of Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State: The Board of Information and Domei News Agency in Foreign Policy, 1934-45 (2014) and Japan’s News Propaganda and Reuters’ News Empire in Northeast Asia, 1870-1934 (2012).

Recommended citation: Tomoko Akami, “Japan’s New Empire and the Dōmei News Agency in Occupied Southeast Asia, 1942-45”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue 1, No. 3, January 4, 2015.


1 Carr, The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919–1939, p. 139

2 Akami, ‘The emergence of international public opinion‘, p. 12.

3 Carr, Propaganda in International Politics, p. 5.

4 Ibid., p. 13.

5 See a full discussion in Akami, Soft Power of Japan’s Total War State, pp. 12-21.

6 See a new project on domestic thought control of the MOI by Simon Eliot, http://www.ies.sas.ac.uk/about-us/news/institute-english-studies-awarded-ahrc-grant-ministry-information-project

7 On the British Library of Information, see David A. Lincove, ‘The British Library of Information in New York: A Tool of British Foreign Policy, 1919-1942’, Libraries & the Cultural Record, 46 (2), 2011, pp. 156-184.

8 Akami, Soft Power, pp. 167–70.

9 Matthew D. Johnson, ‘Propaganda and sovereignty in wartime China: Moral operations and psychological warfare under the Office of War Information’, Modern Asian Studies, 45 (2), 2011, pp. 303-44.

10 Akami, Soft Power, p. 70.

11 Johnson, ‘Propaganda’, pp. 312, 325.

12 Gaimushō jōhōbu, ‘Shina jihen ni okeru jōhō senden kōsaku gaiyō’, September 1938, in the file of ‘Shina jihen kankei ikken’ (SJKI), Gaikō Shiryōkan (GS) [The Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs], Tokyo.

13 Ibid.

14 See Amō’s instruction in October 1936, Akami, Soft Power, p. 79.

15 Kurata Yasuho, Nyūsu no shōnin: Roita (Tokyo: Asahi shimbunsha, 1996, c. 1979), p. 259.

16 Read, The Power of News, p. 158.

17 Ibid., pp. 193, 194.

18 Ibid., p. 193.

19 Ibid., pp. 196–7, 206.

20 See Chapter Seven, Akami, Soft Power.

21 Read, The Power of News, pp. 192–212.

22 In June-September 1943, Reuters finally repudiated this ‘informal agreement’ of September 1939. Ibid., p. 298.

23 Ibid., pp. 296–7.

24 Ibid., p. 288.

25 Ibid., pp. 297–8.

26 Ibid., p. 299.

27 Cited in Paul H. Kratoska, ‘Introduction’ to Ken’ichi Gotō, Tensions of Empire: Japan and Southeast Asia in the Colonial and Postcolonial World (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2003), p. xviii. This operation is not covered in Read’s work, which is the most comprehensive history of Reuters.

28 Kawahara Naokazu [Aid at the Ministry of the Army] to Jōhōkyoku jichō, 16 September 1942; ‘Nanpō senryō chiiki ni okeru tsūshinsha oyobi shimbunsha kōsaku shori yōkō’, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Jōhōkyoku kankei shiryō (Jōhōkyoku), vol. 5, pp. 58–61.

29 See Chapter Seven, Akami, Soft Power.

30 ‘Nanpō senryō chiiki ni okeru tsūshinsha oyobi shimbunsha kōsaku shori yōkō’, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Jōhōkyoku, vol. 5, p. 59.

31 Mainichi meant both Osaka Mainichi and Tokyo Nichinichi.

32 Kitayama, Rajio Tokyo, vol. 2, pp. 221–5.

33 Furuno Inosuke denki henshū iinkai ed., Furuno Inosuke, p. 260.

34 Furuno Inosuke, ‘Nanpō ryokō yori kaette’, Dōmei tsūshin hō, no. 63, 10 December 1942, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei tsūshinsha kaikei shiryō (Dōmei), vol. 6, p. 333.

35 Dōmei tsūshinsha ed., Dōmei no shimei to katsudō: Taigai shisōsen ha ikani tatakawareteiruka (Tokyo: Dōmei tsūshinsha, 1944), reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei, vol. 5, p. 326.

36 Jōhōkyoku, ‘Nanpō hōdō tsūshin kikō kakuritsu ni kansuru ken’ [1942], (reprinted), pp. 456–7.

37 ‘Seifu joseikin nendobetsu hyō’, [No date], in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei, vol. 5, p. 190.

38 On the Ministry of the Army’s use of this bank, see ‘Nanpō senryō chiiki ni okeru tsūshinsha oyobi shimbunsha kōsaku shori yōkō’, 16 September 1942, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Jōhōkyoku, vol. 5, p. 60.

39 Nishiyama, ‘Tsūshinsha ni taisuru seifu no joseikin’, p. 83. These figures roughly correspond to, but do not match, the precise figures that are listed in government documents. One possible reason for this is that not all documents are currently available to account for all official assistance.

40 Ibid.

41 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, p. 625; ‘Yakuin oyobi shain meibo’, December 1942, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei, vol. 10, p. 512.

42 Fujiwara Iwaichi, Fujiwara kikan (Tokyo: Hara shobō, 1971, c. 1966), pp. 316, 320. Matsumoto left Singapore in the same flight with Fujiwara on 29 April 1942.

43 ‘Nanpō rikugun gunsei chiiki shimbun seisaku yōryō’, 10 October 1942, reprinted in Ariyama Teruo, Nihon no senryō to shimbun no ‘Nanpō daishingun’ (Tokyo: Nihon tosho centa, 1991), pp. 9–18.

44 ‘Nanpō senryō chiiki ni okeru tsūshinsha oyobi shimbunsha kōsaku shori yōkō’, 16 September 1942, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Jōhōkyoku, vol. 5, p. 60.

45 Ibid.

46 Kawashima, ‘”Teikoku” to rajio’, in Yamamoto ed., ‘Teikoku’ Nihon no gakuchi, vol. 4, p. 237.

47 See Chapter Five, Akami, Soft Power.

48 On Japan’s cultural policy in occupied Southeast Asia, see, for example, Akashi, ‘Nihon gunseika no Malaya Shingapōru ni okeru bunkyō shisaku, 1941–1945 nen’, in Kurasawa ed., Tōnan Ajia shi no nakano Nihon senryō; Goodman ed., Japanese Cultural Policies in Southeast Asia during World War II; Gōtō Kenichi, Nihon senryōki Indoneshia kenkyū (Tokyo: Ryūkei shosha, 1989), pp. 181–271.

49 Watanabe Yōsuke, ‘Singapōru ni okeru kōminka kyōiku no jissō’, in Ikeda Hiroshi ed., Daitōa kyōeiken no bunka kensetsu (Kyoto: Jinbun shoin, 2007), pp. 81–2, 106, 122–3.

50,Ariyama, Nihon no senryō, pp. 15, 16, 17.

51 This Dōmei news was intercepted by the Department of External Affairs of the Australian Government on 3 March 1945. In the file of A130322: 7C/1945, Australian Archives (AA), Canberra.

52 Kitayama, Rajio Tokyo, vol. 2, pp. 47–9.

53 [Jōhōkyoku], ‘Gaikō tsūshin tokubetsu hi tsuika yōkyū riyū setsumeisho’, 21 December 1941, (reprinted), pp. 169–71.

54 ‘Nanpō rikugun gunsei chiiki shimbun seisaku yōryō’, 10 October 1942, (reprinted), p. 10.

55 For the details of these activities, see Akami, Soft Power, fn. 41, pp. 286-7.

56 Ariyama, Nihon no senryō’, p. 14.

57 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 624, 625.

58 Ibid., pp. 627–8.

59 The official history of Japanese news agencies called this paper Parenban shimbun (Palembang Newspaper) in the Japanese translation, noting that it was published in Indonesian. Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 632–3, 639–40. This paper could have been called ‘Pewarta Palembang‘.

60 Nakano Satoshi emphasizes the role of local populations in shaping Japan’s rule and its disintegration. Nakano, ‘Shokuminchi gyōsei’, pp. 4, 25.

61 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 624, 625, 628, 632.

62 Some independence activists cooperated with the occupation in order to advance their own causes. Asahi shimbun ‘shimbun to sensō’ shuzaihan, Shimbun to sensō, p. 275.

63 Johnson, ‘Propaganda’, pp. 310-11, 313.

64 Ibid, p. 313.

65 Ibid, pp. 312–13.

66 Ibid, pp. 328–31.

67 Ibid, pp. 319-21.

68 Akami, Soft Power, pp. 159, 171, 172, 190

69 Ibid, pp. 157-61.

70 Johnson, ‘Propaganda’, p. 322-3, 338.

71 Ibid., p. 336–9.

72 Akami, ‘The making of an empire of information’, pp. 122–7.

73 Dōmei published many journals during the war. For the details, see Akami, Soft Power, f.n.50, p. 289.

74 The following analysis is based on the available issues of Dōmei gurafu of November 1940–December 1941, August 1942–February 1943, and January–December 1944.

75 ‘Biruma no hikyō Shan kōgen o iku’, Dōmei gurafu (August, 1942); ‘Nanpō no haikyo’, Dōmei gurafu (October, 1942).

76 Akami, ‘The making of an empire of information’, p. 125. Another message was that ‘White’ prisoners of war and their families in the region were treated ‘humanely and in a civilized manner’. ‘Futsuin hōkoku’, Dōmei gurafu (May, 1941); ‘Kainantō tōsaki’, Dōmei gurafu (September, 1941); ‘Futsuin fudoki’, Dōmei gurafu (November, 1941); ‘Serebesu [Celebes] ni katsuyaku suru kaigun rikusentai’ Dōmei gurafu (October 1942); ‘Shinsei Nanpō fūkei’, Dōmei gurafu (January, 1943); ‘Meirō Nanpōken’ Dōmei gurafu (November, 1944).

77 Hara, Gendai Ajia kenkyū, pp. 23–6.

78 Ibid., pp. 34–42.

79 See Chapter Seven, Akami, Soft Power.

80 See also Chapter Nine, Akami, Soft Power.

81 Yokota Minoru took charge of the headquarters.

82 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 613–14.

83 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 608–9, 614–15.

84 See Chapter Nine, Akami, Soft Power.

85 Akami, ‘Projecting a fiction of the nation-state to the world’.

86 ‘AFA Interrogation Report, No. 4’, 18 June 1945, in the file of AWM 54 779/3/85, the Australian War Memorial (AWM), p. 1. Dōmei’s staff directory of April 1944 listed his name at the Macassar [Makassar] branch office with a note, ‘not yet arrived’. Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei, vol. 10, p. 616.

87 Nakai Daisuke, ‘Nihon shihaika no Makassaru’, in Gotō ed., Nihongun senryōka no Indoneshia, pp. 525–39.

88 ‘AFA Interrogation Report, No. 4’, p. 2.

89 Ibid.

90 See Chapter Nine, Akami, Soft Power.

91 In the new structure of April 1943, the BOI consolidated all overseas-related activities at the Third Department. ‘Jōhōkyoku shin kikō’ [April 1943], in the file of Shuyō Bunsho Tsuzuri (SBT) 1, KB (Kōbunshokan), Tokyo.

92 See Chapter Nine, Akami, Soft Power.

93 ‘AFA Interrogation Report, No. 4’, p. 2.

94 Read, The Power of News, p. 134.

95 ‘AFA Interrogation Report, No. 4’, p. 3.

96 The two Indonesians were: Soetadie and Sarman. ‘AFA Interrogation Report, No. 4’, p. 4.

97 Johnson, ‘Propaganda’, pp. 328-31

98 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 628, 630.

99 Ibid., p. 635.

100 Read, The Power of News, p. 273.

101 Tsūshinshashi kankōkai ed., Tsūshinshashi, pp. 609, 612, 614.

102 The figures were from the Dōmei’s company directory of April 1944. Yakuin oyobi shain meibo, April 1944, reprinted in Ariyama and Nishiyama eds, Dōmei, vol. 10, pp. 610–17.

103 Dōmei tsūshin ed., Dōmei no shimei, 1944, (reprinted), pp. 323–4.

104 For this analysis, I examined The New York Times and British Commonwealth Papers, which included The Manchester Guardian, The Observer, The Irish Times, The Scotsman, and The Times of India. I thank Obiya Shunsuke for his assistance.

105 Kitayama, Pisu tōku, pp. 33–7, 40, 151.

106 See, for example, The New York Times, 19 February 1944.

107 The New York Times, 23 May 1944.

108 AWM80: 8/146/Part 1/Dec 1943–Feb 1944, AWM.

109 A130322: 7C/1945, AA.

110 The reports of 9 July and 10 July 1945, in the file of A130322: 7C/1945, AA.

111 See for example, the reports of 22 March; 14 June; 19 June; 20 June; 8 July; 12 July 1945, in the file of A130322: 7C/1945, AA.

112 The New York Times, 24 June 1945.

113 Ibid.

114 Marr, Vietnam 1945, p. 194.

115 Ibid., pp. 137, 194, 359.

116 Awaya, ‘Taiheiyō sensōki’, pp. 18–21.

117 See Chapter Nine, Akami, Soft Power.

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