Know your Enemy Japan is a U.S. Government produced propaganda that comes in the form of an informative documentary intended to be shown to US soldiers and also the general public. The film was never released to these ends because the War came to a quick end right around the time that they were finished making this film. It wasn't shown to the public until many years later.
It should come as no surprise that Know your Enemy is very culturally insensitive and at least by today's standards, quite racist. But I suppose if you consider that the US was recently thrust into war with an enemy that a vast majority of people knew next to nothing about and it was a very different time as far as "feelings" were concerned, that i think it is kind of fun to see how blunt everything is in this. It is also just outright lies for a lot of it but it is the government, so that is not a surprise at all.
The Japanese traits that are presented in a less-than-wonderful light include:
- The average size of a man is 5 feet and around 115 pounds
- Shintoism is presented as idiotic with millions of gods
- Bushido is a coward's code
- When Christianity was introduced the Japanese executed all of them
- How they use slave labor and mistreat their children, selling them into prostitution and what not
Now, I don't know if any of these things were ever true but I seriously doubt it. It is, however, quite entertaining to see that the (then called) War Department just wanted to instill a feeling of hatred and fear in a video that was intended to do precisely that. It is funny that it was meant to be informative, but mostly it was just something to get soldiers all roiled up and ready to kill these strange people who seek to dominate the world.
The film made the Japanese not seem like individuals and the lessons inside of it tried to tear away any notions of humanity that they might have if they had a "Jap soldier" in their sights. Know your Enemy presented Japanese soldiers as uncaring for their children, as someone who was one step from being satanist and therefore was ok to kill, and how they will only kill themselves if they are captured (so don't bother trying to take prisoners.)
The film also portrayed Hirohito, and the history that lead to him becoming Emperor in the first place in a patronizing light. This would definitely get you beheaded in Japan and was pretty disrespectful anyway. Well, when they made the movie the Americans were already at war with Japan so what were they gonna do? Go to war more with the U.S? I guess you can kinda do whatever you want without fear of reprisal if you are already at war with someone.
This is on Netflix Asia (where it would be most likely to be banned) so I would imagine it is globally available as well. It is a mere hour long and for me anyway, it was a nice way to see how before social media, #fakenews was a lot more time-consuming to create I found it entertaining and after seeing it I probably know less about Japan and Japanese culture than i did before I watched it because I have no idea if any of it is true or not.