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    "url_title": "Office of War Information",
    "title_sort": "officeofwarinformation",
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    "modified": "2024-02-18T22:33:49",
    "title": "Office of War Information",
    "body": "<div class=\"mw-parser-output\">\n <div class=\"floatright\">\n </div>\n <p>\n  The Office of War Information (OWI) was a federal agency established by President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9182 of June 13, 1942, to conduct the government's wartime information and propaganda programs. The office came into being by integrating several agencies—including the Office of Facts and Figures (OFF)—already engaged in information and intelligence activities. The President named popular CBS radio news commentator and former\n  <i>\n   New York Times\n  </i>\n  reporter Elmer Davis as the OWI director. Under Davis' leadership, the OWI was authorized to 'carry out, through the use of press, radio, motion picture, and other facilities, information programs designed to facilitate the development of an informed and intelligent understanding, at home and abroad, of the status and progress of the war effort and of the war policies, activities, and aims of the Government.'\n  <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref1_1-0\">\n   <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref1-1\">\n    [1]\n   </a>\n  </sup>\n  The OWI lasted until August 1945 when part of its function was transferred to the Department of the State, where it eventually became the United States Information Agency (USIA).\n </p>\n <div aria-labelledby=\"mw-toc-heading\" class=\"toc\" id=\"toc\" role=\"navigation\">\n  <input class=\"toctogglecheckbox\" id=\"toctogglecheckbox\" role=\"button\" style=\"display:none\" type=\"checkbox\"/>\n  <div class=\"toctitle\" dir=\"ltr\" lang=\"en\">\n   <h2 id=\"mw-toc-heading\">\n    Contents\n   </h2>\n   <span class=\"toctogglespan\">\n    <label class=\"toctogglelabel\" for=\"toctogglecheckbox\">\n    </label>\n   </span>\n  </div>\n  <ul>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-1\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#The_Question_of_the_Japanese_Language_Press_in_Wartime\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      1\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      The Question of the Japanese Language Press in Wartime\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-2\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Using_the_Japanese_Language_Press\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      2\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Using the Japanese Language Press\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-3\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Changing_the_Image_of_Japanese_Americans\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      3\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Changing the Image of Japanese Americans\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-4\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#For_More_Information\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      4\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      For More Information\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n   <li class=\"toclevel-1 tocsection-5\">\n    <a class=\"\" href=\"#Footnotes\">\n     <span class=\"tocnumber\">\n      5\n     </span>\n     <span class=\"toctext\">\n      Footnotes\n     </span>\n    </a>\n   </li>\n  </ul>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"The_Question_of_the_Japanese_Language_Press_in_Wartime\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"The_Question_of_the_Japanese_Language_Press_in_Wartime\">\n    The Question of the Japanese Language Press in Wartime\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    The aforementioned OFF was established by Executive Order 8922 of October 24, 1941, for basically the same purpose as the OWI, or to \"[facilitate] the dissemination of factual information to the citizens of the country on the progress of the defense effort and on the defense policies and activities of the Government.\"\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref2_2-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref2-2\">\n      [2]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    Roosevelt nominated\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Archibald_MacLeish/\" title=\"Archibald MacLeish\">\n     Archibald MacLeish\n    </a>\n    , a famed poet and then Librarian of Congress, to direct the OFF. As noted earlier, the OFF was taken over by the OWI in June 1942.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    During the first six months after Pearl Harbor, the OFF took an active role in the management and mobilization of the Japanese \"enemy language\" press in the mainland United States. When Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, more than a dozen Japanese-language newspapers were being published in Washington, Oregon, and California. Major titles included: the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Hokubei_Jiji_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Hokubei Jiji (newspaper)\">\n     Hokubei Jiji\n    </a>\n    and\n    <i>\n     Taihoku Nippo\n    </i>\n    in Seattle,\n    <i>\n     Oshu Nippo\n    </i>\n    in Portland,\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nichibei_Shimbun_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Nichibei Shimbun (newspaper)\">\n     <i>\n      Nichi Bei\n     </i>\n    </a>\n    and\n    <i>\n     Shin Sekai Asahi Shimbun\n    </i>\n    in San Francisco, and\n    <i>\n     Kashu Mainichi\n    </i>\n    Shimbun and\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Rafu_Shimpo_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Rafu Shimpo (newspaper)\">\n     Rafu Shimpo\n    </a>\n    in Los Angeles. Japanese Americans in Utah and Colorado were publishing the\n    <i>\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Utah_Nippo_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Utah Nippo (newspaper)\">\n      Utah Nippo\n     </a>\n    </i>\n    in Salt Lake City, and the\n    <i>\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Colorado_Times_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Colorado Times (newspaper)\">\n      Kakushu Jiji\n     </a>\n    </i>\n    and\n    <i>\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Rocky_Shimpo_(newspaper)/\" title=\"Rocky Shimpo (newspaper)\">\n      Rocky Nippon\n     </a>\n    </i>\n    (later\n    <i>\n     Rocky Shimpo\n    </i>\n    ) in Denver. The OFF sought to preserve and utilize, rather than ban, these publications to effectuate its own duties.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    As the United States declared war against Japan, the federal government faced the difficult question of how to treat Japanese Americans and their mass media written in an unreadable Asian language. Regarding the press problem, the government was divided into two schools of thought. One school consisted of relatively liberal officials of civilian agencies such as the OFF and Justice Department who preferred a moderate and restrained approach. The other school consisted of officers of the armed forces who demanded the immediate and outright ban of the entire Japanese-language press.\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/John_DeWitt/\" title=\"John DeWitt\">\n     John L. DeWitt\n    </a>\n    of the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Western_Defense_Command/\" title=\"Western Defense Command\">\n     Western Defense Command\n    </a>\n    and Fourth Army (WDC) was a leading figure in the latter group.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Within the OFF and later the OWI, it was the Foreign Language Division headed by Alan Cranston that took immediate responsibility for planning and practicing Japanese-language press policy. The division's task was to \"sell America's war\" to those who did not understand English and/or retained strong cultural or political ties with foreign nations.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref3_3-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref3-3\">\n      [3]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    Naturally, the first generation\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Issei/\" title=\"Issei\">\n     Issei\n    </a>\n    and Japan-educated\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Kibei/\" title=\"Kibei\">\n     Kibei\n    </a>\n    were the division's main targets. Cranston served as the Division Chief until 1944. After the war, he chose a political career and served as a U.S. Senator from California from 1968 to 1993.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Using_the_Japanese_Language_Press\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Using_the_Japanese_Language_Press\">\n    Using the Japanese Language Press\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Officials of the OFF and OWI viewed the Japanese-language newspapers as ready-to-use vehicles to approach Japanese Americans. The April 6, 1942 joint policy statement between the OFF and Justice Department bluntly stated that \"the loyal foreign language press serves a very useful purpose as a channel of communication through which the Government can reach the foreign born.\"\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref4_4-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref4-4\">\n      [4]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    On these grounds, the Director MacLeish declared that \"there should be no sweeping suppression of the Japanese press because much of it had the appearance of loyalty and sincerity.\"\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref5_5-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref5-5\">\n      [5]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    MacLeish and his staff, together with Justice Department officials, opposed the army's proposal to immediately terminate all Japanese-language publications. They also attempted to prevent mass incarceration, although their efforts were in vain.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    While contesting the army's dictatorial treatment of Japanese Americans, the OFF was realistic enough to make full use of the Japanese press to facilitate the mass incarceration policy. In so doing, the agency had three general objectives.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    First of all, the OFF mobilized the Japanese press as a medium to relay various government information to the Japanese-speaking populace. To remove an entire ethnic group from one place to another was an undertaking of enormous scale. In order to carry out this extremely delicate and complicated program in an orderly manner, it was necessary to inform the subject people of a number of detailed regulations, orders, and notices.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Secondly, the agency used the Japanese press to maintain and improve the morale of Japanese Americans. Mass exclusion orders inevitably aroused fear, anxiety, and anger in the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nikkei/\" title=\"Nikkei\">\n     Nikkei\n    </a>\n    community. The OFF officials regarded the Japanese-language press as an effective means to soothe such emotions and to legitimize the government's drastic actions. Ironically enough, officials even anticipated that they could truly \"Americanize\" or \"democratize\" Japanese Americans by providing their vernacular press with morale-boosting material.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Finally, although to a lesser extent, the OFF regarded the Japanese press as a defense against Axis propaganda. From the earliest phase of war, government officials were concerned about the menace of Japanese propagandists trying to reach the Nikkei populace. Officials expected that the Japanese-language press, if used properly, could serve as an effective barrier to block the entrance of enemy propaganda.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    These activities of the OFF were continued by the OWI. The OWI kept sending official information throughout the war to the remaining Japanese vernacular papers in Utah and Colorado, which survived mass incarceration. According to Greg Robinson, the OWI once considered to purchase one of them, the\n    <i>\n     Kakushu Jiji\n    </i>\n    in Denver, in order to literally make it a government mouthpiece, although the idea was eventually dropped.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref6_6-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref6-6\">\n      [6]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    The OWI also sent releases to \"relocation\" camp newspapers with the cooperation of the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/War_Relocation_Authority/\" title=\"War Relocation Authority\">\n     War Relocation Authority\n    </a>\n    (WRA). (See\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Newspapers_in_camp/\" title=\"Newspapers in camp\">\n     newspapers in camp\n    </a>\n    .) For the OWI, the news media of Japanese Americans, either inside or outside the camps, were in a sense public relations arms.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Changing_the_Image_of_Japanese_Americans\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Changing_the_Image_of_Japanese_Americans\">\n    Changing the Image of Japanese Americans\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Meanwhile, the OWI exploited Japanese Americans in its own mission to advance wartime propaganda both at home and abroad. First and foremost, the OWI hired a number of Japanese Americans, most of whom were bilingual and politically anti-Japan and/or pro-America, to develop counter-propaganda against Japan. Their prewar occupations included editors and publishers of Japanese-language newspapers, writers, artists, political activists, and educators. Principal figures who cooperated with the OWI included Shuji Fujii, Ryoko Ishigaki,\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Yasuo_Kuniyoshi/\" title=\"Yasuo Kuniyoshi\">\n     Yasuo Kuniyoshi\n    </a>\n    , Shigeki Oka,\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Taro_Yashima/\" title=\"Taro Yashima\">\n     Taro Yashima\n    </a>\n    , and\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Karl_Yoneda/\" title=\"Karl Yoneda\">\n     Karl Yoneda\n    </a>\n    .\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Working with the WRA and other federal agencies, the OWI also produced a variety of propaganda material on Japanese Americans for domestic consumption. Notably the OWI made a series of documentary films hoping to improve public understandings of mass incarceration. These documentaries included\n    <i>\n     Japanese Relocation\n    </i>\n    ,\n    <i>\n     A Challenge to Democracy\n    </i>\n    ,\n    <i>\n     Go for Broke\n    </i>\n    , and\n    <i>\n     The Way Ahead\n    </i>\n    . (See\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/OWI/WRA_documentaries/\" title=\"OWI/WRA documentaries\">\n     OWI/WRA documentaries\n    </a>\n    .)\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    In this connection, the OWI even took a role in creating the\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Nisei/\" title=\"Nisei\">\n     Nisei\n    </a>\n    -only\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/442nd_Regimental_Combat_Team/\" title=\"442nd Regimental Combat Team\">\n     442nd Regimental Combat Team\n    </a>\n    . In October 1942, the OWI Director Elmer Davis recommended to President Roosevelt that Nisei be allowed to voluntarily enlist in the military. Davis wrote that how the federal government would treat Japanese Americans \"is of great interest to OWI\" in order to combat \"Japanese propaganda [which] insists that this is a racial war.\"\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref7_7-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref7-7\">\n      [7]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    Eventually, approximately 33,000 Nisei served in the armed forces, and due in part to the efforts of the OWI the Nisei soldiers received wide and generally positive publicity in not only the Japanese American community but also general American public.\n    <sup class=\"reference\" id=\"cite_ref-ftnt_ref8_8-0\">\n     <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_note-ftnt_ref8-8\">\n      [8]\n     </a>\n    </sup>\n    (See\n    <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Japanese_Americans_in_military_during_World_War_II/\" title=\"Japanese Americans in military during World War II\">\n     Japanese Americans in the military during World War II\n    </a>\n    .)\n   </p>\n   <div id=\"authorByline\">\n    <b>\n     Authored by\n     <a class=\"encyc notrg\" href=\"/Takeya_Mizuno/\" title=\"Takeya Mizuno\">\n      Takeya Mizuno\n     </a>\n     , Toyo University\n    </b>\n   </div>\n   <div id=\"citationAuthor\" style=\"display:none;\">\n    Mizuno, Takeya\n   </div>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"For_More_Information\">\n    For More Information\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <p>\n    Bishop, Robert L. and LaMar S. Mackay. \"Mysterious Silence, Lyrical Scream: Government Information in World War II.\"\n    <i>\n     Journalism Monographs\n    </i>\n    19 (May 1971): 1-39.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Mizuno, Takeya. \"Federal Government Uses of the Japanese-Language Press from Pearl Harbor to Mass Incarceration.\"\n    <i>\n     Journalism &amp; Mass Communication Quarterly\n    </i>\n    82 (spring 2005): 148-166.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Mizuno, Takeya. \"The Federal Government's Decisions in Suppressing the Japanese-Language Press, 1941-42.\"\n    <i>\n     Journalism History\n    </i>\n    33 (spring 2007): 14-23.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Mizuno, Takeya.\n    <i>\n     \"Tekikokugo\" Journalism: Nichi bei kaisen to America no nihongo shinbun\n    </i>\n    . [\n    <i>\n     The \"Enemy Language\" Press in Wartime: The Pacific War and Japanese-Language Press in the United States\n    </i>\n    ]. Yokohama, Japan: Shunpu Sha, 2011.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Winkler, Allan M.\n    <i>\n     The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942-1945\n    </i>\n    . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978.\n   </p>\n   <p>\n    Yamamoto, Taketoshi.\n    <i>\n     Black Propaganda: Bouryaku no Radio\n    </i>\n    . Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 2002.\n   </p>\n  </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"section\" id=\"Footnotes\">\n  <h2>\n   <span class=\"mw-headline\" id=\"Footnotes\">\n    Footnotes\n   </span>\n  </h2>\n  <div class=\"section_content\">\n   <div class=\"reflist\" style=\"list-style-type: decimal;\">\n    <div class=\"mw-references-wrap\">\n     <ol class=\"references\">\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref1-1\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref1_1-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Executive Order 9182, June 13, 1942.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref2-2\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref2_2-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Executive Order 8922, October 24, 1941.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref3-3\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref3_3-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Alan Cranston, Chief, Foreign Language Division, OFF, to Raymond Rich, \"Work of the Foreign Language Division,\" February 1942, RG 208, Entry 222, Box 1079, File Foreign Language Division, National Archives, College Park.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref4-4\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref4_4-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        OFF and Department of Justice, \"Control of Foreign Language Press,\" April 6, 1942, RG 208, Entry 7, Box 11, File Committee on War Information, National Archives, College Park.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref5-5\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref5_5-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        \"Procedures of the Censorship Policy Board: Sub-Committee Meeting,\" April 16, 1942, Box 52, File Office of Facts and Figures, Minutes of Meetings, Archibald MacLeish Papers, Library of Congress.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref6-6\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref6_6-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Greg Robinson,\n        <i>\n         A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America\n        </i>\n        (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), 342.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref7-7\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref7_7-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Elmer Davis, Director, OWI, to President Roosevelt, October 2, 1942, RG 220, Box 119, File 9 (Protest and Disaffection), National Archives, College Park.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n      <li id=\"cite_note-ftnt_ref8-8\">\n       <span class=\"mw-cite-backlink\">\n        <a class=\"\" href=\"#cite_ref-ftnt_ref8_8-0\">\n         ↑\n        </a>\n       </span>\n       <span class=\"reference-text\">\n        Patricia A. Curtin, \"Press Coverage of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Separate -- Nisei): A Case Study in Agenda Building,\"\n        <i>\n         American Journalism\n        </i>\n        12 (summer 1995): 225-241.\n       </span>\n      </li>\n     </ol>\n    </div>\n   </div>\n   <!-- \nNewPP limit report\nCached time: 20240418160755\nCache expiry: 86400\nDynamic content: false\nComplications: []\nCPU time usage: 0.019 seconds\nReal time usage: 0.024 seconds\nPreprocessor visited node count: 168/1000000\nPost‐expand include size: 538/2097152 bytes\nTemplate argument size: 82/2097152 bytes\nHighest expansion depth: 5/40\nExpensive parser function count: 0/100\nUnstrip recursion depth: 0/20\nUnstrip post‐expand size: 3271/5000000 bytes\nExtLoops count: 0\n-->\n   <!--\nTransclusion expansion time report (%,ms,calls,template)\n100.00%   15.711      1 -total\n 21.56%    3.388      1 Template:Reflist\n  9.04%    1.420      1 Template:AuthorByline\n  8.90%    1.399      1 Template:Published\n-->\n   <!-- Saved in parser cache with key encycmw:pcache:idhash:253-0!canonical and timestamp 20240418160755 and revision id 36077\n -->\n  </div>\n </div>\n</div>\n<div class=\"toplink\">\n <a href=\"#top\">\n  <i class=\"icon-chevron-up\">\n  </i>\n  Top\n </a>\n</div>",
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