I was recently looking up the effects of the world war on Japanese Animation Industry after I made the following observations

  1. It is quite common to see German names in Japanese Anime which could be an effect of Japan's Alliance with Germany during the war. It has been discussed here

  2. Hitler looking characters are quite common to see-16 Times Hitler Showed up in Anime

  3. Many World War Depicting Series listed here

I want to know that how exactly did the animation and manga industry cope up during the World War and what effects did it have on them in terms of their funding, public image and how did they recover from the losses.

I have read the following but I feel they lack quantification- Source 1; Source 2

  • 2
    I just watched Castle in the Sky for the first time and when Muska demonstrates Laputa's cannon, the atomic bomb–like effect made me reflect that that event will probably forever echo in Japan's art. Muska says the explosion is "the heavenly fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the Ramayana's Arrow of Indra", but the final association is left unsaid, or visually only. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 13:09
  • @LukeSawczak One of the Best Comments I've Ever Read. Thanks for Sharing This
    – user38443
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 14:53
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    Somewhat broad question. The permeance of anti-war themes is probably the most notable outcome.German ... which could be an effect of Japan's Alliance with Germany during the war Eh. That's the superficial connection people like to jump to, but it's not supported by evidence. Rather, Germany was one of Japan's primary models for emulation during the Meiji Revolution (the other being Britain). In the post war period, German industrial reputation is also particularly appealing to Japan (and Asia in general, actually) and bilateral trade flourished. WW2 was a relative blip in the relationship.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 20:25
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    sorry. do you have any evidence that animation industry was a thing in pre-WW2 Japan? Steamboat Willie would barely qualify as pre-WW2. If you mean what effect did it have, after the war, as a theme to post-WW2 artists, then alter the question. Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 8:57
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    @ItalianPhilosopher I am not talking only about animation but manga as well
    – user38443
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


I would like to answer as one of few Japanese. ( focusing on only Manga )

I would like to quote this page to answer you. ( I will translate )


At war time, even Mangas were used as a tool ( for brainwashing? )

昭和も初頭の頃のマンガとなると、「マンガ」という表現形式の定義からして現在とは異なりますよ。まずは昭和17年『新理念 漫畫の技法』加藤悦郎(藝術学院出版部)(図1)から紹介しよう。


When the age comes to the beginning of the Showa period ( from 1925 - 1989 ), the definition how to illustrate "Manga" was completely different from the contemporary age. Now let's take a look at "The new idea, how to illustrate Manga" By Etsuro Kato" published in 1942 ( See the below image )

enter image description here

Its preface says,

「諸君もご承知の如く、今日は統制の時代である。(中略)漫畫の分類にもまた、当然、より合理的な統制が断行されなければならぬ」という前置きがあり、提示されるジャンルが「時局漫畫 社会漫畫 生産漫畫 生活漫畫 婦人漫畫 小国民漫畫 厚生漫畫 学芸漫畫 人物漫畫 科学漫畫 連続漫畫」である。


As every one of them knows, these days everything is under the control by our country. (Partially omitted). Therefore, the genre of Manga must be accordingly under the control grouping each genre by the rational category. ( such as )「時局漫畫 (Ji-Kyo-Ku-Manga) 社会漫畫 (Sha-Ka-I(e) Manga) 生産漫畫 (Sei-San-Manga) 生活漫畫 (Sei-Ka-Tsu-Manga) 婦人漫畫 (Fu-Jin-Manga) 小国民漫畫 (Sho' Kokumin Manga ) 厚生漫畫 (Ko' Sei Manga) 学芸漫畫 (Gaku-Gei(gay) Manga) 人物漫畫 (Jin-Butsu-Manga) 科学漫畫 (Ka-Gaku-Manga) 連続漫畫 (Ren-Zoku-Manga) 」



Yup, you would not understand at all what this sentence would mean without explanation. However, 科学漫畫 can be easily guessed to insinuate that these are for SF mangas, although it is old way of saying "少国民” means children at the time. 連続漫畫 could probably mean weekly or monthly subscribed mangas. Now, let's take a look at the explanation by the above book. 「 These 11 classification is my personal genre control. However, it goes without saying this my classification does not necessary to mean to be the true ( correct ) method. And the following is the explanation of each genre according to the author, Estruo Kato.

時局漫畫(Ji-Kyo-Ku-Manga) (前略)一般的に政治漫畫と呼ばれるものを中心とし、対外的な問題を取り扱う國際漫畫等をも一括してこう呼ぶ(後略)」  この頃はカーツンと呼ばれる一枚の絵で表現される、今で言う一コママンガも隆盛を誇り、世相を風刺したり、庶民の生活や不満を描く作品も多く、ドーミエやゴヤ等の絵画作品もマンガの範疇として捉えられていたんですな。


時局漫畫(Ji-Kyo-Ku-Manga) (Precedent) This genre deals with generally "political manga", including mangas dealing with the international situations (omitting the rest).These days, they are called "kartsoons" ( in English cartoons ( reflecting the age )), which is depicted by a page of picture, which is called today as one-shot manga, reflecting the public opinions, daily life and the dissatisfaction of people, IMO, pictures by such as Honoré-Victorin Daumier, Francisco José de Goya can be included here.

社会漫畫(Sha-Ka-I(e) Manga) 社会的な諸問題を主題とする漫畫である。所謂世相漫畫もこの種に属する」  これ時局漫畫に含まれてもいいのでは?


社会漫畫(Sha-Ka-I(e) Manga) These deal with the social problems in general. So-called Mangas reflecting the public opinions are included here. ( Shouldn't this be categorized under the 時局漫畫? ( by the page writer ))

生産漫畫 (Sei-San-Manga) これはその名称の示す如く、工場、農村、漁村、山村等における生産の諸問題を主題とする漫畫である(後略)」  分からんわ!! ちょっと昔だがエロマンガ以前の遊人描く『天高く豊かなり』(注9)って事!?


生産漫畫 (Sei-San-Manga) 「These deal with as the name stands for, production issues such as in factories, farming villages, fishery society, wood-working society mainly. 」 I have no idea! Could this genre include porn manga such as 『天高く豊かなり』(*9)? ( in terms of "production"? )

生活漫畫 (Sei-Ka-Tsu-Manga) 大小にかかわらず、生活一般の問題を取り扱う漫畫である(後略)」


生活漫畫 (Sei-Ka-Tsu-Manga) No matter if it is important or not, this manga deals with people's daily business in general 」.

婦人漫畫(Fu-Jin-Manga) (前略)女性としての特異性という角度から観察した漫畫と規定する(後略)」


婦人漫畫(Fu-Jin-Manga) I would like to define this manga as the one observed from the perspective of females, which is an unique existence. 」

小國(国)民漫畫(Sho' Kokumin Manga ) 単に小國民を主人公にする漫畫という意味ではない。(中略)小國民を教え、導き、育て慰める漫畫の事である。」


小國(国)民漫畫(Sho' Kokumin Manga ) This genre does not only deal with children, but also taking care of them, guide them, bringing up them and console their soul.」

厚生漫畫(Ko' Sei Manga) (前略)より深くスポーツの根本的意義を掘り下げ、そこから出発する國民体育の問題、または体育会の問題、更にまた國民の栄養問題、衛生問題、人口問題等を主題とする(後略)」


厚生漫畫(Ko' Sei Manga) By probing into the fundamental significance of sports more deeply, this genre deals with the issue of national sports, our country's athletic clubs, furthermore on the people's health and nutrition issue, and population issue too.」

学藝漫畫(Gaku-Gei(gay) Manga) 文藝、美術、演劇、映画、音楽上の諸問題を主題とする漫畫である(後略)」


学藝漫畫(Gaku-Gei(gay) Manga) This genre deals with literature, arts, plays, movies, musics. 」

人物漫畫(Jin-Butsu-Manga) 所謂似顔漫畫。しかしこれは決して人物の顔を似せるだけの漫畫ではなく、人物そのものを描写すべきものだ。よって、似顔漫畫なる名称を廃して人物漫畫と呼ぶ」


人物漫畫(Jin-Butsu-Manga) This deals with a person's portrait. But this should not be only to imitate the man's face but also depict the person him/herself. Then I would like to call this 人物漫畫(Jin-Butsu-Manga)」

科学漫畫(Ka-Gaku-Manga) (前略)この漫畫の使命は、要するに、國民に科学する心を植えつけるにある。したがって、一知半解的な知識をもってしては、とうてい科学の名に値する作品が出来よう筈もない。(後略)」


科学漫畫(Ka-Gaku-Manga) The objective of this Manga, in essence, to put into our citizens the heart to do the science. Therefore, half-done educated Manga writers are unable to make their products deserved enough to be named as scientific. 」

連続漫畫(Ren-Zoku-Manga) 正確に云えばこれは、漫画の一つの形式に過ぎず」


連続漫畫(Ren-Zoku-Manga) Precisely speaking, this manga is one of the formats that be printed ( meaning either weekly subscribed or monthly subscribed ) 」


So, some folks back then in Mange industry, as you can see above, were clearly "affected" politically, doing ( personally to me ) unnecessary "categorizing" in the name of "under the control". In my personal opinion, Manga should be given the complete freedom of painting.

Thank you.

  • thanks a lot. It's very well written and I appreciate your work for translating all the text for 1 answer. It's really remarkable
    – user38443
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 19:21
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    @StackUpPhysics Yes I am sorry it was too minute in detail..
    – user12387
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 19:23

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