Today, on Boing Boing, a link to a WWII-era Japanese propaganda pamphlet was posted. Unfortunately for many, the pamphlet was obviously in Japanese. I decided to translate the pamphlet for those who want to know what was said. Additionally, for those who are interested in the Japanese language during this era, it is a good study, I think. There have been various changes in the method of rendering words. This is especially noticeable in a pamphlet written almost entirely phonetically. For example, the verb 追い払う in it's あ form was rendered as おひはらは. Thus, ひ has become い and one は (but not both!) have become わ. Additionally, at the bottom of the cover page, we can see there are some kanji that have been changed to more simplified forms. For example, 弁 was written 辯, which is painful to even look at ;)
I also postulate that, since this pamphlet was written nearly completely in Katakana (a relatively modern script used to render foreign words; sound effects; and the effect of underline, bold or italics in English) with some Thai thrown in, that the book reflects the Japanese idea that
1) foreigners cannot learn Japanese fully (hence the lack of Kanji), and
2) foreigners are to be discriminated against. This foreign script is reserved almost completely for foreign loan words, so I postulate that, by using Katakana in this pamphlet, it is expressing a belief that foreigners are to be differentiated from Japanese, the same way loan words are differentiated in the language.
To describe to those who do not speak Japanese what this would be like, imagine all French-based words in English bolded such as:
I just moved into a cul de sac I swear I've seen in a dream. Talk about deja vu!
But I'm a Japanese language major, not Japanese culture. Before making any judgements like that for yourself, I'd suggest seeking out someone more knowledgeable than me and asking.
Now, without further ado, here is the translation.
Greater East Asia Cooperation Manifesto
[From left to right (kind of)]: Burma [now Myanmar], Rangoon [capital of Burma], Thailand, Bangkok, Indochina [now Vietnam], Hanoi
Various countries and cities listed:
China [known as Chuukwaminkoku at the time, which is taken from "Chuukaminkoku", the Republic of China], India, Burma, Ranguun, Thailand, Bangkok, Indochina, Saigon, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Palembang [capital of Sumatra], the Indian Sea [rendered as Indoyau instead of Indoyou (インド洋)], Java, Hong Kong, Manchuria, Nanking [Nanjing], Shanghai, Japan, Philippines, Manila, Borneo, Celebes Island, New Guinea, and Australia. There is also one city in China that I cannot make out, but appears to be Toukeku or something like that.
Also, it should be noted that in the Philippines, there are bags labeled "sugar" and "hemp". In Java, there is a bag labeled "sugar" as well.
Japanese text in the upper-right:
Please look at this. America, England, Holland and others, by military force, were suppressing and doing bad things like this to us of Greater East Asia.
The same countries and cities are depicted.
By our hand, Japan restored Greater East Asia and rose to our feet. [the verb カヘサウ is old, but I'm sure it is a more classical spelling of カエソウ which is the volitional form of カエス, to return or restore]
And, the strong Japanese expelled [this was very difficult to discern, let alone translate, because the verb is currently written オヒハライマシタ but was written オヒハラヒマシタ, with some of the 'h'+vowel losing the 'h' over time, but not all of them] the enemy from Greater East Asia.
Japanese books are read from R to L, top to bottom, so, from UR,
Manchuria, who will become prosperous.
China, who made an alliance with Japan.
Philippines, who became independent.
Thailand, which became more expansive.
the neighboring countries of burma, indochina [I guess, it's Indochina the country, but the text is illegible due to image compression].
Burma, who became independent.
The people of Java and Malay, who became happy.
The Indian army, who drove out England
Text at the bottom:
Currently, in Manchuria, everyone has begun to combining their power and work.
Japan and China formed an alliance. The Philippines and Burma became independent. Thailand grew larger. The people of Java, Malay and others, too, will, by important duties, come together to work. India, too, has driven out England.
From now, we will make the countries of Greater East Asia friendly to one another.
Our Military Commander
Our military commander,
Strong Japan's military commander
Rides a horse, clip clop clip clop,
From astride the horse,
The military commander also
granted us a salute.
Our military commander,
Gentle Japan's military commander.
Contribution to the Military for the World's Advancment ["shinun" is written phonetically, so I am left assuming it is 進運, which is composed of two characters, "advance" and "military", which makes sense in context of the following paragraph]
We of Greater East Asia will combine our power and bring about the destruction of America, England, and others [implying the other colonial powers]. However, we will become friends with the good countries of the world. Together we will study and spread our splended culture [trans. ブンカ was written ブンクヮ at this time, which romanizes to "bunkwa" instead of "bunka", which also explains why Lafcadio Hearn's tome of Japanese ghost stories is romanized as "Kwaidan" instead of "Kaidan", which is the modern rendering of the word] throughout the world.
Also, we will send to other countries necessary goods they now lack. Furthermore, we will improve the world more and more. Our hearts are one. Come on, with everyone let's walk upwards together.
page-width pane with teacher and students:
We study Japanese.
on the chalkboard:
Father of Japan.
[The text is too small to confirm, but, what looks like:]
nighttime, shark, father (ヤカン サメ オトウサン)
On the entrance gate to the schoolgrounds:
Japanese Language School
We will go to Japan to study.
Value of Culture [unclear because it is written phonetically, but this makes sense with the following paragraph]
No matter how we studied America, England, Holland and others [implies other colonial powers], and no matter how we worked, we were not able to achieve happiness. However, from now on, the more we work, the more we study, we will achieve happiness.
We will study hard.
We will work hard.
Then, increasingly, we shall become prosperous. Furthermore, the people of Greater East Asia shall study Japanese in order to conference with each other.
Coexistance, Mutual Prosperity [written both in Kanji and Katakana]
At the bottom:
Coexistance, mutual prosperity
The people of Greater East Asia, bring a correct heart from long ago. The bring various splendid languages and splended religions [this is an educated guess, due to the fact that it is an old word, but I believe the ケウ became キョウ due to phonological changes, which would make what appears to be シュウケウ into シュウキョウ, which is "religion". This also fits with the context].
The languages and religions are different. However, with our correct hearts, let's become friendly like brothers. Let's be this way through fun and pain.
America, Holland, England, and others fear that Greater East Asia will prosper, and we will not forget that together they made us compete. We will become friendly, and if we help each other out, we will definitely attain happiness.