Art in Propaganda


In my Asian American Studies class, we have been focusing on the effect of propaganda on how we perceive and think about people. Propaganda, as we all know, is a tool of war used to dehumanize the enemy or motivate to fight. In WWII, we see an excess of anti-Japanese propaganda used to dehumanize the Japanese.

In this famous poster, This is the Enemy, we see the use of many different techniques that demonize the Japanese soldier. The dark shadows give a sinister overtone, the composition of the soldier and lady give a predator-prey symbiosis, the skin of the Japanese soldier is exaggeratedly yellow.

These different art techniques really help the artist get his or her point across. The American public became terrified and wary of the Japanese through the spread of such images. Sometimes, we underestimate the power of art and don’t realize the how easily it could change our perceptions of other ideas or people.

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