On the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I thought I would post the covers of 2 relevant pieces of 1941 sheet music in the REJ collection. The covers (even “You’re a Sap, Mr. Jap”) are tame compared to the images and slogans on many anti-Japanese postcards, matchbook covers, stickers, and pins in the collection. They provide a stark contrast to the self-referential (and often reverential)
nationalistic spirit of Japanese propaganda objects in the collection, especially because I’ve focused on things that feature patriotic women on the homefront. (John Dower‘s excellent study, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, highlights the radical contrast between WWII era U.S. and Japanese propaganda.) Alas, current events evoke memories of WWII anti-Japanese racism in the U.S., most notably Roanoke Mayor David Bowers’ comparison between Roosevelt’s decision to “sequester Japanese foreign nationals” and the “threat” of Syrian immigration today. He later apologized, but I hear Donald Trump is planning a Pearl Harbor Day remembrance rally. I hope no one sings.