Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Leonard V. Smith

Committee Member(s)

Emer Sinéad O'Dwyer
Clayton R. Koppes


Japan, Advertising, World War II, America, Magazine, Life, Time, National Geographic, Imagery, Post-War, US-Japan relations


By the close of the American Occupation of Japan in 1952, Japan was a sovereign nation, a lingering World War II menace, and much needed Cold War ally of the United States. American magazine print media imagery and advertising therefore had to erase its earlier wartime propaganda depictions of the Japanese while rebranding Japan as a harmless friend to the U.S. In the hundred years after Commodore Matthew Perry’s opening of Japan in 1853, American magazines have utilized several visual trends, stereotypes, and tropes in order to cast the Japanese as peaceful, simple, and eager followers of U.S. culture and foreign policy. I seek to uncover how this idealized representation of the Japanese and America’s relationship with the Japanese was depicted in U.S. magazine imagery of the 1950s. Ending with the revised U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in 1960, this project is an in depth visual analysis of magazine pictures and reveals how a new image of Japan was sold to a war-weary and prejudiced American public.

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