Tokyo: Nakajima Toranosuke 中島寅之助. Stock ID #159847
Small colour poster, 31.5 x 43.5cm. Horizontal and vertical folds, browned, tiny hole at centre fold, a few notes in Japanese on the reverse. A good copy. This small propaganda poster was issued as the 1943 New Year's Day supplement to the magazine Ie no hikari 家の光 (volume 19, no. 1). Likely designed to promote feelings of patriotic pride it shows the portraits of the ten Japanese war heroes who died in action during the early phase of the Pacific war. Nine of these men were naval officers and sailors who took part in the Attack on Pearl Harbour. They were the crew of the five midget submarines, each piloted by two crew members: Commander Iwasa Naoji 岩佐直治; Lieutenant-Commander Yokoyama Masaharu 横山正治; Lieutenant-Commander Furuno Shigemi 古野繁實; Lieutenant Hiroo Akira 広尾彰; Special Ensign Sasaki Naokichi 佐々木直吉; Special Ensign Yokoyama Shigenori 横山薫範; Chief Warrant-Officer Ueda Sadamu 上田定; Chief Warrant-Officer Katayama Yoshio 片山義雄; and Chief Warrant-Officer Inagaki Kiyoshi 稲垣清.
Of the ten crew members of the five midget submarines, nine died but there was one survivor who is not illustrated here. The survivor was Ensign Sakamaki Kazuo 酒巻和夫 [1918-99], whose submarine hit the shallow ground. He was cast ashore after escaping from the submarine and became the first Japanese POW in the Pacific War.
The portrait in the middle on the upper row of the poster is an Army pilot of Hayabusa fighter airplane, Lieutenant-Colonel Katō Tateo 加藤建夫 [1913-42]. Katō was one of the Japanese ace pilots. As a commander of the 64th Squadron consisting of Hayabusa fighter planes, his unit contributed to the success of the Palembang Campaign in mid-February 1942. Katō received nine citations including his unit's. He died on 22 May 1942 when his plane was strafed by a British bomber over the Bay of Bengal, and posthumously he was promoted to Major-General. In Japanese culture number nine is not a lucky number as the sound of the kanji character 九 ["ku" in Japanese] is the same as the sound of the kanji 苦 which means "suffering". It seems likely that the creator of this poster rounding the number of heroes depicted on this poster to ten with the addition of the army war hero to the nine naval war heroes.
This poster is a supplement to the magazine Ie no hikari 家の光 (volume 19, no.1) issued on 1 January 1943. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 159847).