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Japanese propaganda films (1942-1945) made available online

About 70 Japanese films from 1941-1945 are made available online from September 1 2020. These films were used as propaganda in the former Dutch East Indies (Indonesia now) while under Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945.

About 70 Japanese films from 1941-1945 are made available online from September 1 2020. These films were used as propaganda in the former Dutch East Indies (Indonesia now) while under Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945.

still from Hari Pertemoeam Dengan Keloearga, 01-04-1944, Nippon Eigasha

All - Japanese - copyrights have expired, these films are in the public domain. So now this material is made available online, providing open access to researchers, educational institutions and the general public to watch, download and reuse these films.

Click the button below and watch this unique collection

 

The Japan collection can also be seen via zoeken.beeldengeluid.nl, YouTube and Wikimedia.

Propaganda

The films were used by the Sendenbu, the Japanese propaganda department of the military government on Java to influence the people’s minds and thoughts. The news films mainly report on the latest situation from the battlefield and the political movements. The cultural films covered different themes from teaching Japanese culture and language to introducing new policies and tips to improve people’s lives to gain health and hygiene. 

Many of these films were made in the local well equipped film studio called Multifilm Batavia which was already installed in Jakarta before the Japanese occupation. This studio, led by the Dutch film pioneer Jan Cornelis Mol, was technically and artistically prominent. Mol mastered various techniques such as micro-cinematography, accelerated and slow-motion filming, time-lapse and the use of animations. He also had a clear artistic view on filming. The Japanese forced Mol to make propaganda. Due to Mol's influence and techniques, the Japanese films not only have great historical value but they are of great importance as films on cultural history as well.

Unique collection at Sound and Vision
Soon after the Japanese capitulation in August 1945 these films were confiscated by the returning Dutch authorities in Indonesia and shipped to the Netherlands. The films were stored at Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (RIOD, now NIOD). Over time the films were given for conservation at the Film and Photo Archive of the RVD, one of the legal predecessors of Sound and Vision. The films are stored and digitized at Sound and Vision and now made available online. As far as we know this collection only exists in the Netherlands.

Compilatiefilm gemaakt door Natsuko Hayama

Cooperation NHK & Sound and Vision

The films were released by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision after research in cooperation with NHK Enterprises, the Japanese Public Broadcaster. In September 2019, Sound and Vision and NHK started a joint research project on this historically important and unique collection by having Natsuko Hayama from Tokyo, producer at NHK's Creative Business Center, to conduct research into this film collection at Sound and Vision for eleven months.

Making this collection available online provides a new starting point with opportunities for researchers and scholars for new conversations and discoveries about this sensitive history. 

Alongside you can view the compilation Natsuko made of the Japanese films.

Do you have any questions? Check out the Q&A document.