cartooning in war of resistance against Japanese invasion 
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                Chinese and American arts fight Fascism WWII
According to a paper "Anti-Japan War and propaganda" in the Journal of Guangzhou University (Social Science Edition, Jun. 2013) - ref1, propaganda is a decisive factor to win a modern war with national mobilization.    Since during the war of resistance against Japanese invasion, more than 80% Chinese are illiterate persons- ref2, pictures, particularly cartoons, function much better than complicated Chinese words for awakening & promoting patriotic sentiments and improving morale.  

Cartooning is a powerful weapon too.   A study by Bi Ker-Guan (畢克官), the former leader of Chinese National Academy of Arts - research institute of fine-arts, and a member of the national committee of CPPCC (Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee, "政協") comments ref3 that during the war against Japanese invasion, Chinese cartoonists completely matured in the aspect of arts, thoughts, consciousness, and did make an extremely outstanding contribution to the war.   In the first military strike on Japan's territory by Chinese Air Force, about one million propaganda leaflets ref4 summoning soldiers to surrender were dropped and spread to Japanese ordinary people, soldiers  and warlords, those cartoons on the sheets including evoking sweet memories with their lovely women may go deep into Japanese heart, these effects and influences only can be done by cartoonists within the whole arts field.

In addition to Mr. Bi's study, American cartooning  ref5 also frontal attacked Japanese army, e.g., all noses of fighters of American Volunteer Group (AVG) in China led by US General Claire Lee Chennault  (陳納德) were drawn with shark heads with bloody mouth and vicious-look which may scare a marine culture people.   However, many landlocked nation Chinese have never seen any shark, and prefer a familiar image "flying tigers", for this, Mr. Walt Disney, the founder of Disney Land, designed a "V-sign" logo for AVG air squadrons, this Disney's tiger is flapping two wings and soaring, diving, then swooping toward the enemy troops.   Another flying tiger with Uncle Sam's hat looks even more fierce. 



pic.: the article's another version was printed in International Journal of Comic Art, USA, 2017  (pic.: part of the article)


  US Cartoonists as well as US pilots gave hands to Chinese in the war of resistance against Japanese invasion.


pic.: another logo for Flying Tigers.
  pic.: Walt Disney (1901-1966) drew a logo for 'Flying Tigers', an American Volunteer Group in China.   pic.: a large, fierce-look cartoon on all noses of fighters of American Volunteer Group.

Innumerable cartoons by local artists also played an important role with the aim of boosting patriotism among the Chinese people.  For instance ref6 ,

Shanghai's Shun Pao (上海申報), founded by a British businessman Ernest Major since 1872, a land-mark and most social influential, longest-life newspaper in modern China, printed some cartoons depicting Chinese people's suffering hardships of , long-distance plodding

In many Chinese patriotic parades, organising rallies and other public events, cartoon-drawings in large size were on the banners and posters, e.g., a furious fist is punching Japanese soldier's head, or cartoon-portraits juxtaposing Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek  with US president Roosevelt, UK PM W. Churchill, and J. Stalin, Soviet dictator, which implies China already turned into one of Big Four in the world.

Both Nationalist Party  (KMT, ruling political party during WWII) and Communist Party used cartoons as propaganda tool during the anti-Japanese war.   In Jin - Cha - Ji border region, communist party displayed many cartoon posters on the walls, but their official pictorial (晋察冀畫報) still mainly used photos, instead of cartoons.

TIME Cartoon》was published as a reaction to Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931, which was described as a "tragic farce", according to Dr. John Lent's 《Asian Comics》.

Most "mainstream" cartoons were printed in two major cartooning periodicals Jeu-Won manhua》("救亡漫畫" or namely 《Salvation Cartoons》) andKang-Zhan manhua fortnightly periodical ("抗戰漫畫" or namely《anti-Japan Cartoons》) ref7.   Salvationstarted their publication at 9-20-1937, coming out one issue per 5 days, about 50 cartoons being collected for each copy.   The author-group includes major cartoonists like Liao BingXiong(廖冰兄), Ye Chen-Yu(葉淺予1907-1995)、zhang leping(張樂平1910-1992)、Te Wei(特偉1915~ n/a)Tsai RuoHong(蔡若虹~2002) etc.  Their works mainly exposed Japanese atrocities and enhanced we-shall-overcome confidence and patriotism.   The cartoon on the cover-page of the 1st publication is "violent storm and roaring waves against Japan", the heavy waves on the top are the essence of angry Chinese people, howling and staring at fiend incarnate Japanese soldiers sank beneath the waves.  This cartoon reflects Chinese unprecedented determination to win the war, very coincidently, Yellow river bank breach was happened in the next year at 6-9-1938 ref8.   Some studies, e.g., <The Battle of China> (1944) pointed out it's intentionally done by Chinese government to block and sink Japanese troops, although 893,303 Chinese died and 3,911,354 were homeless (China Exec. Yuan's statistics), but much less Japanese casualties and loss for this.   Salvation》was ended after being published 12 issues, Kang-Zhan manhuaperiodical founded by a propaganda team in WuHan city followed (1-1-1938) and printed 12 issues, the last 3 issues were published (5-15-1940) in Chongqing city and then quitted for lack of money sponsors ref9.  



  pic.: "The bad ending for  traitors", a cartoon by Chu Yu-Tsen   pic.: Japanese army turned into a tiger being stranded.  Another anti-Japan cartoon by Chu Yu-Tsen (朱育參), introduced by CTS (Chinese Television System, a major TV channel in Taiwan)  in 2011.

Basically speaking, most anti-Japan cartoons are eyeball-grabbing, to the point, and
simple ref10.  For example, a straight-forward cartoon by International Peace Campaign - China's branch depicted a strong manly Chinese soldier contrasting two ape-look escaping Japanese.  Many others are graphic news-reports, publicizing latest fighting status at the front as well as in the rear, and some miserable sights or Japanese atrocities being directly witnessed,  a cartoon exhibition in Nan-Jing's theater attracted 20,000 person per day, the most touching one there is a bloody baby reclining its mother just died for Japan's bombing still kept mom's nipple in its mouth.   To think aesthetically, although many of them already developed excellent drawing skills and style, as well as applied arts elements like analogy, contrast, exaggeration, but only a few are boundless imaginative, witty or clever cartoons, e.g., Hua JunWu(華君武) applied metaphor, literal similarity, and  mere appearance to depict snow men (Japanese army) will melt soon after the sun-rise (Japanese nation's emblem), and Republic of China's star emblem became ripples on the water.   Hua's using remote but associated elements to convey core messages, and unexpected but within-reason surprises to impress readers.   Another cartoon by Liao BingXiong compared Chinese with a sharp knife rooted in land so that Japanese failed to pull it down, about 50 years later, a cartoon illustration in TIME (Feb.,1990) drew an ax rooted in land have burgeoned forth.

Cartooning propaganda were also conducted overseas in Hong Kong by pictorial <China Today> (今日中國) and in Moscow by 45 pieces cartoon-exhibition (Jun. 1938), etc ref11.   In 2011, CTS, a major TV channel in Taiwan ref12, introduced a number of cartoons by Chu Yu-Tsen (朱育參), published in Malaysia in world war II, some shows the use of fear messages, which was rarely seen in Chinese anti-Japan cartoons One fear-based cartoon produced a variation on a well-known image from the past ―― the most notorious Chinese traitor Qin Hui (1090-1155 AD) kneels to the grave of the most devoted & loyal Chinese general Yue Fei (岳飛), to arouse all potential traitors the emotion of fear ― all their families will be condemned as a sinner through the ages.  Papers proved Intimidation usually is an effective and persuasive means, e.g., UK's propaganda "Daddy, what did you do in the war".  Chu's cartoon also trap the target audiences brain's "dictionary search"ref13 so as to be impressive, and those unspecific faces alarm that the potential traitors could be anyone around you.   Compared another often-seen cartoon , "a burning sun", which contrasts three rich traitors with a hard-working farmer, it shows a happy life led by traitors so as to possibly encourage more Chinese surrendering to Japan.  

Anti-fascism cartoons continued in today's Taiwan,  Zola Zu, Federation of Cartoonists Organisation president of Taiwan, had some anti-Japan and anti-fascism cartoons been published in the United Daily News system of Taiwan, his Courage World cartoon exhibition kept displaying some anti-fascism cartoons there.    Best-known cartoonist Ron Chu's humor-and-satire cartoon albums, e.g., <漏電篇>, <大刺蝟>, include a number of gag cartoons mocking warmongers and their political tricks.

"Hitler resurgence" is not, and should not be welcomed by Taiwanese as well as by the entire world.


pic.: No.1 on Bing, 2021-6-24; No.2 "cartooning in war of resistance against Japanese invasion " at 2022-12-9







ref    《Asian Comics》, University Press of Mississippi, Dr. John A Lent,  2015.



     "抗战与宣传_以国际反侵略运动大会中国分会的战时宣传为例" ( the Journal of Guangzhou University - Social Science Edition, Jun. 2013),  by Liu Z. N.(刘宗灵), Sichuan University,  Xia Y.(夏炎), University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.   (National Social Science Database)  (Baidu)


ref2    Documentary Channel (纪实频道) , Shanghai Television (STV)

  《  满江红:抗战珍稀影像全纪录》(Man Jiang Hong rare imges, sk collection in Anti-Japanese War, issues 1 ~ 10 ), first broadcasted in Phoenix Television (凤凰卫视) at 3-7-2011.


ref3    The Academy of Chinese Studies (中國文化研究院 )


ref4   Oriental Morning Post (東方早報), 8-7-2014, <抗日漫畫宣傳隊的烽火歲月> 1~3, by Huang Ko (黃可),

        At 5-19-1938 the Chinese Air Force from WuHan dropped 2 million propaganda leaflets including articles and cartoons in Kyushu, Japan.


ref5, ref6

     Documentary Channel (纪实频道) , Shanghai Television (STV)

  《 满江红:抗战珍稀影像全纪录》 (Man Jiang Hong rare imges, sk collection in Anti-Japanese War, 1 ~ 10), first broadcasted in Phoenix Television (凤凰卫视) at 3-7-2011.



  (1) The Academy of Chinese Studies (中國文化研究院)



  (2)  (中國新聞漫畫網)







 (1) Xinmin Evening News (新民晚报), 8-25-2015

      "诞生在抗日烽火中的《抗战漫画》" by Liu Xen. Wen (刘善文)

 (2) Art ifeng, Aug. 25, 2015,



    The Academy of Chinese Studies (中國文化研究院)





     Oriental Morning Post (東方早報), 8-7-2014, <抗日漫畫宣傳隊的烽火歲月> No.2, by Huang Ko (黃可)



   China Television System (CTS),  News Magazine,   Aug. 2011


   Visual Persuasion: The Role of Images in Advertising , by Paul Messaris , SAGE Publications, '97