Visible cultures, invisible politics: Propaganda in the magazine Nippon Fujin, 1942-1945

Andrea Germer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Nippon Fujin (The Japanese woman, 1942-1945) was the most prominent wartime women's magazine of Japan that shaped its propagandistic messages in gendered and culturalized forms. Scrutinizing the visual dimension of the magazine, I discern patterns of gendered visual representation that primarily produce highly visible cultural notions and thereby veil, obscure and render invisible assertions of political power over colonized people as well as enemies. Visibility is commonly associated with influence, power and political impact, whereas less visibility - or invisibility - often indicates the positions of those who are politically powerless, socially disadvantaged or culturally oppressed. Contrasting the visual propaganda in Nippon Fujin with visual examples from NS Frauen-Warte (NS women's outlook), the major Nazi women's magazine of the time, I argue that in the former case there are concepts of 'visibility' and 'invisibility' at work that do not fit neatly into the paradigmatic assumption of mediated political 'visibility' as a pre-condition for public acceptance in a mass culture. To a large degree, it is the 'invisibility' or coded visibility of political actors that forms effective strategic elements of visual propaganda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-539
Number of pages35
JournalJapan Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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