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Special Exhibitions

Paper Weapons: Wartime Japanese Propaganda Publications

20 Jul 2012 ¡V 27 Mar 2013
Upper Gallery, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

Japan was greatly strengthened after the Meiji Restoration. The victories in Sino-Japanese War (1894) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) inspired Japan to spread her interests throughout Asia. The rise of strengthened Japan, however, threatened the interests of the western powers in China. Such rivalry led to serious antagonistic feelings of the powers against Japan, which further led to the discontent of Japanese militarists.

After the Mukden Incident in 1931, Japanese media sent reporters to the battlefront to cover detailed stories. With the support of the Japanese government and military departments, eye-catching photos related to the wars were featured on the covers of different periodicals and journals. Obviously, this type of publications was very attractive to the Japanese public, who were so uncertain about the future of the country hard hit by economic crisis. The sales of these publications continued to surge, yielding lucrative return for the publishers.

As television and radio broadcasting were not common at that time, these publications were the only available channel for the general public to acquire information on the wars. Initially, these publications were reporting the progress of various military conflicts and the situation of China. These were, however, actually the propaganda of the ¡§sacred war¡¨ (seisen). The publications banged the drum for the military with contents that were distortion of the truth, describing the action of invasion as self-defence. Almost all newspapers in Japan, regardless of their scales in business, had become the military mouth piece. With the display of about 100 original artefacts from the 1930s and 1940s, visitors will have a better understanding of Japanese militarists¡¦ ambition to annex Asia and to reign over the whole world.

Opening Hours:
  • 10 am ¡V 5 pm daily (July 2012 to February 2013)
  • The opening hours are extended to 6 pm during weekends and public holidays from 1 July to 31 August.
  • 10 am ¡V 6 pm daily (March 2013)
  • Closed on Thursdays (except public holidays), and the first two days of the Chinese New Year
Admission Fee:
  • General Open Days: HK$10 (for both Special Exhibition & Permanent Exhibition)
    (30% discount for group of 20 or more;
    50% discount for full-time student/ senior citizen/ people with disabilities)
  • Free admission on Wednesdays
  • Free admission for Museum Pass and Weekly Pass holders
Free Public Guided Tours (Cantonese)¡G
  • Each tour lasts for about one hour and admits 30 people on a first come, first served basis.
  • Assembly Place: Upper Gallery
  • Time: 3pm (Every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays)

Special Number of International Graphic Volume 4 features Japanese soldiers bidding their families farewell before leaving for the frontline, published by Kokusai Joho Sha, Tokyo, 1932.

Photographic Weekly Report features the first anniversary of the establishment of ¡§the alliance¡¨ among Japan, Manchukuo and China on the cover, published by the Printing Office of Cabinet Information Bureau, 1941.

Asahigraph, Volume 38, Issue 4 features Japan¡¦s attack on the oil depot of Asiatic Petroleum
Company in North Point (near present-day Oil Street) on the cover.
Published by Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo 21 January 1942

Cartoons in The Advance in Nippon,
published by the Toyo Bunka Kyokai,Tokyo in 1941,
depict anti-British and US sentiments as well as the alliance with Germany.

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Last revision date: 17 October, 2012