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The Mask of Nippon

Directed by Margaret Palmer
Canada, 1942 (documentary, 21 minutes, black and white, English)
Also known as "Les Nazis jaunes"

Film Description:
"An anti-Japanese propaganda film produced during World War II."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Stuart Legg
Produced by: Stuart Legg
Narrator: Lorne Greene
Music: Lucio Agostini, Louis Applebaum
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada
(sources)

Notes about The Mask of Nippon

(sources)

Quotes about The Mask of Nippon

"The Mask of Nippon [...] used all the considerable skill and power characteristic of the series [The World in Action] to produce a message of hate worthy of Joseph Goebbels. 'The soldiers of the rising sun are little men,' booms Lorne Greene, narrator of the series, 'two faced; with a modern and progressive surface thinly hiding their savage and barbaric double character!' It was wartime and anything went, but the appeal of the film was clearly racist; in interesting contrast with the mild and reasonable manner in which similar films treated our Caucasian enemies."
-- Ronald Blumer (source)

"[The World in Action series did not] hesitate to bring the grim, if not revolting, reality of war to the screen. In The Mask of Nippon [...] captured enemy footage depicts a Japanese soldier throwing a child in the air and catching [the child] on his bayonet."
-- William Goetz (source)

"Besides their sometimes overbearing tone, the main weakness in the films [of the Canada Carries On and The World in Action series] is that the commentary plays the dominant role. Images are used simply to illustrate the verbal argument. The images often represent deceptively what is being said in the commentary. For The Mask of Nippon, for instance, shots of Japanese swimmers in a long-distance competition are used to represent Japanese navy swimmers preparing to sabotage British ships somewhere in the Far East."
-- D.B. Jones (source)

"John Grierson, the NFB's film commissioner as well as the head of the Wartime Information Board, envisaged a series for domestic and international audiences that would present the global strategy of the war [The World in Action]. [...] Grierson went to Hollywood and met with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford of United Artists (UA). He convinced them of the importance of distributing these films. [...] As with [the Canada Carries On series], some of the films were versioned into French and released in Quebec and New Brunswick as Le Monde en Action. The films in this series were the first Canadian films to receive extensive exposure throughout the world and more specifically in the United States."
-- Albert Ohayon (source)

"In 1943 and 1944, attitudes to Japanese in Ontario 'fluctuated' according to the state of the war or reports of atrocities in Asia. Ottawa's propaganda efforts did nothing to ease hostility. For example, late in 1942, a National Film Board production, The Mask of Nippon, portrayed the Japanese as a race that 'could practise deceit and treachery in such a manner that their every action held a double meaning.'"
-- Patricia E. Roy (source)

"The Wartime Information Board scorned only one ethnic minority: the Japanese Canadians. At the same time that government propagandists were persuading English Canadians that ethnic Canadians could be loyal to their adopted land, the National Film Board documentary The Mask of Nippon was portraying deceit and duplicity as integral elements of Japanese national character. "
-- John Herd Thompson (source)

Web Sites about The Mask of Nippon


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