Japanese Propaganda from World War II

My grandfather was a Chindit, which meant that he fought in the jungle war during World War II. The Chindits were assembled from the British Army to take the war to the Japanese. They were under the command of Major-General Orde Wingate. 

 The name ‘Chindit’ was a corruption of the Burmese word Chinthe for winged stone lion – the guardians of the Buddhist temples.  The soldiers wore an emblem of the Chindit as a badge.


General Wingate was considered a ‘borderline case’ by Churchill’s doctor when he came to examine him. Just to give one example of his eccentricity, Wingate used to walk around the camp stark naked except for his pith helmet. He also used to carry a raw onion around with him on a string, which he  would take bites out of from time to time. Apparently, he believed it would ward off disease. Such preventative measures did Wingate little good as he died in an air crash at the age of 41 before the war had ended.

The wartime experience of the Chindits was truly horrendous. They had to survive on limited supplies as well as to endure monsoon weather, and natural hazards such as leeches. The troops themselves were airlifted by night and dropped into the jungle behind enemy lines, tasked with such actions as harassing the Japanese army and cutting railway lines. At that time, there were fears that the Japanese army might invade India through Burma, which is why it had become a key theatre of war.

This jungle war was also a battle for hearts and minds. My grandfather preserved these three sheets of Japanese propaganda which had been dropped from planes. They clearly had the local population very much in their mind.

Page one shows British officers living like lords, while the Indians are left to do the real fighting.

In the second page, there is a bilingual message urging Indians to leave the service of the British army. The English is pretty good, although there is a missing apostrophe in there. I am not sure what language the second paragraph is written in, nor whether the text is the same as the English. Any readers who can read this, please help with a comment below!

65 propaganda page 2

The third and final page shows a bit of wishful thinking. It shows the Japanese advance from Imphal and Kohima. It looks good on paper, but it never happened.  The Japanese army was defeated at both places, and was never able to invade India.

I’m very happy for anyone to reproduce these images, but please link back to this blog as the source. Thanks.


17 responses to “Japanese Propaganda from World War II

  1. Sorry, I can’t help with any more information, but it was an interesting read. Good luck with the translation, it will be interesting to find out if it does say the same thing or something completely different. Lisa

      • Me too. It does seem like the survivors in Burma at least were not keen to discuss their experiences. Clearly many were suffering from what we would call PTSD and so much of the story has been lost. Let’s hope that more family records and histories of all these conflicts emerge over the coming year, prompted by the interest in the one hundredth anniversary of WWI and other events.

    • Over to my uncle… “The name ‘Chindit’ was a corruption of the Burmese word Chinthe for winged stone lion – the guardians of the Buddhist temples. The soldiers wore an emblem of the Chindit as a badge.” I have a picture of the badge too, which I will add to the bottom of the post. I think I will do another post on them later in the year because their wartime activities were astonishing.

  2. It does sound like the Chindits had it hard. My dad was in New Guinea for a short stint during the war – the jungle was unforgiving. He was never to happy as to find himself restationed in Australia.

    If you haven’t read it yet, you might be interested in a good book I read last year, War Without Mercy by John Dower that deals with propaganda on both sides in the Pacific War.

    • Thanks for the tip. I’d never heard of Dower’s book. War in New Guinea must also have been a horrendous experience. It seems unimaginable that all this was going on just a couple of generations back.

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