The United States Army presents “The Big Picture Occupation of Japan,” — a Signal Corps Pictorial Center produced weekly television report that highlighted the occupation of Japan at the end of World War II. The film also focused on the United States’ important role in rebuilding and strengthening Japan after the war. The 1953 U.S. Army training film begins with an introduction from Sergeant Stuart Queen (1919–1981), a World War II veteran and Korean War combat broadcaster, who says earnestly into the camera, “Japan is the key to the fate of the Far East. Once again for the second time in the march of modern history those words have urgent reality. But now there is a difference in their meaning.” He goes on to discuss the United States’ multi-level relationship with Japan (0:46). Next, we see footage of United States former occupation troops arriving back to their base in Japan and being greeted by a cheering Japanese crowd waving American flags in the next clip (1:35). The narrator reminds viewers that the troops are seen by the Japanese people “not as overlords, not as antagonist, not as men who are distrusted and feared and resented, but as friends.” The film then moves to American troop marching through the streets of Japan in the fall of 1945, while Japanese residents stood silent, worried and huddled near the streets (mark 2:57).
At mark 03:22, we’re shown a clip of Japan after the war, decimated cities and architecture, destroyed roads and displaced citizens, then at mark 3:52 we see a “new” Japan, now completely rebuilt with towering buildings, rebuilt roads and a bustling, active city. We see at mark 4:25 a large group of Japanese citizens at a rally listening to what appears to be a Communist leader. At mark 4:45 we see Japanese mob demonstration and a car set on fire. At mark 6:05, we see workers hard at work. At mark 6:23, the narrator discusses Japan’s new constitution, developed with America’s assistance and other reforms, including Japan’s new civil liberties, freedom of democracy and the redistribution of farmland. The film shows us the Army’s medical corp emergency aid transportation and heroic nurses and doctors who rushed to aid the sick after a floodwater catastrophe (mark 9:35). Industrious Japanese citizens are seen creating toys from discarded tin cans and fishermen combing the seas for one of the most important staples in Japanese diets (mark 10:50). Notable footage includes a mass production plant with busy Japanese laborers (01:03), American leaders and high ranking soldiers meeting Japanese citizens, American soldiers talking to Japanese citizens and exchanged customs from Santa Claus to Boys Scout (07:50). The military occupation of Japan ended on April 28, 1952, shown here during a signing of a peace treaty.
Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945, ending World War II. The Allied occupation of Japan at the end of World War II was led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, with support from the British Commonwealth. By the end of 1945, more than 350,000 US personnel were stationed throughout Japan. By the beginning of 1946, replacement troops began to arrive in the country in large numbers and were assigned to MacArthur's Eighth Army, headquartered in Tokyo's Dai-Ichi building. Of the main Japanese islands, Kyūshū was occupied by the 24th Infantry Division, with some responsibility for Shikoku. Honshu was occupied by the First Cavalry Division. Hokkaido was occupied by the 11th Airborne Division.
From the official government catalog: "THE BIG PICTURE is the official television report by the U.S. Army to its members and to the American people. Subject matter for episodes ranges from historic moments in the Army's proud history to up-to-the-moment coverage of current actions and accomplishments." After The Big Picture's run on ABC ended, it aired in syndication for several more years, running on some local television stations well into the early 1970s.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com