The Cabinet Information Committee, which was officially established in 1936, was reorganized into the Cabinet Intelligence Department on September 24, 1937. In addition to “liaising and coordinating” the information operations the Cabinet Information Committee had undertaken, through this reorganization the Cabinet Intelligence Department was also entrusted with the added responsibilities of “gathering information not belonging to other government organizations, reporting, and conducting awareness-raising campaigns and publicity activities.”
As part of its activities, on October 20, 1937 the Cabinet Intelligence Department worked on a “plan to establish the Information Photography Association” as a “government agency in charge of photography and publicity matters.” The purpose of this proposed association was to “play a central role in conducting joint publicity activities between the public and private sectors both at home and abroad by using the records and information photographs taken by and provided to government and private organizations.” On February 16, 1938, the very first issue of Shashin Shuho was published by the Cabinet Intelligence Department as the first step towards realizing the plan to establish this association.
Shashin Shuho was initially published to “simply convey government policies to the nation through the camera… with a focus on the powerful effect of carrying out awareness-raising and publicity campaigns through photography (“Thoughts on first issue of Shashin Shuho” from first issue published).” However, at the same time the publication of the journal also involved a “hidden mission of gathering photographs used in publicity activities aimed at foreign countries.” Based on this mission, they “tried to conduct as effective intelligence activities as possible through the ‘camouflaged’ collection of information for government materials, under the name of Shashin Shuho, by gathering and taking a range of photographs for use in publicity activities aimed at foreign countries.” (Refer to Document 4: Intelligence Bureau’s Organization and Function 1941 May, p. 62-63 and p. 70-71 for details about how and for what purpose Shashin Shuho was published.)
Document 1 is an original manuscript signed by the Emperor on September 24, 1937 when the Cabinet Intelligence Department government organization was promulgated in accordance with the revision of the Cabinet Information Committee government organization. This Document stipulates not only the Cabinet Intelligence Department’s duties, but also the personnel in administrative positions, including the Department Chief, Secretary, and their subordinate officials, the Chairman (served by Chief Secretary of the Cabinet), who took an active part in Department operations along with officials, committee members (appointed by the Cabinet from among the higher ranking officials of related government organizations), counselors, and information officers in charge of reporting and conducting information activities and awareness-raising campaigns (appointed by the Cabinet from among the secretaries of the Cabinet Intelligence Department and the higher ranking officials of related government organizations).
Document 2 is a document in which the Cabinet made an inquiry to the Ministry of the Navy to see if they objected to the appointment of any of the Cabinet Intelligence Department committee members and information officers prior to the official establishment of the Cabinet Intelligence Department. In this document, Isoroku Yamamoto, the then Vice Minister of the Navy , was selected as one of the Cabinet Intelligence Department committee members (see the fifth image).
Document 3 is the very first issue of Shashin Shuho published on February 16, 1938. The twelfth image shows the “Thoughts on first issue of Shashin Shuho”, which describe the manner and reasons for the magazine’s publication, and also illustrates the “Structure of the Cabinet Intelligence Department.” In addition, “This Week’s Camera” shown in the bottom right of the same image indicates that cover photo and the photo in the 11th image entitled “A patriotic march in town” were taken by the famous photographer Ihei Kimura.
Document 4 is a pamphlet entitled “Intelligence Bureau’s Organization and Function.” It was issued on May 1, 1941 to provide information for reference about the duties and responsibilities of intelligence officers, as well as request the understanding and cooperation of government ministries when the Cabinet Intelligence Department was later reorganized into the Cabinet Intelligence Bureau. This booklet includes detailed explanations about the processes involved in establishing the Cabinet Intelligence Bureau, and the structure and official duties of organizations within the bureau. In relation to this, the booklet explains in detail on pages 62 to 63 and 70 to 71 the manner and reasons for publishing Shashin Shuho.
Document 5 is a document in which the Chief of the Bureau of Police and Public Security of the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order to prefectural administrators in response to a request from the Cabinet Printing Bureau Chief about running slide films to promote Shuho and Shashin Shuho at local movie theaters. In the written request from the Cabinet Printing Bureau Chief to the Chief of the Police Bureau, Home Ministry, the Printing Bureau Chief expressed his wish to further promote Shuho and Shashin Shuho, with a focus on the “growing significance of fulfilling the mission of the journals in the face of the trying nature of the times (see the third image).” In his response, the Chief of the Police Bureau, Home Ministry told prefectural administrators that he wanted the inserted promotion slide films to be run at local movie theaters “before or after regular shows from time to time.”
Document 6, the Ideological Warfare Exhibition Record Pictorial Book, is about the Ideological Warfare Exhibition organized by the Cabinet Intelligence Department at Takashimaya Nihombashi Store in February 1938. As noted previously, the Cabinet Intelligence Department considered one of the objectives for publishing Shashin Shuho to be “gathering photographs used in publicity activities aimed at foreign countries” as well as “helping to raise the awareness of the nation through photography.” The Cabinet Intelligence Department organized and held the Ideological Warfare Exhibition as part of its activities to inform the people of the importance of conducting these publicity campaigns both at home and abroad.
The “ideological warfare” in this context is defined as the “warfare without weapons” that is constantly carried out in peacetime, as well as during war and periods of incidents. The Ideological Warfare Exhibition Record Pictorial Book makes the following statement in regards to war and periods of incidents on page 1: “Ideological warfare is a means for conveying where our justice lies to the enemy, highlighting our strength, causing the enemy to lose its will to fight, correcting the perceptions of third parties, and ultimately making the enemy obey us, leading its attitude in a direction that is advantageous to us and brings the war to an end.” Based on the recognition that “ideological warfare is becoming increasingly significant” (at page 3) amidst the Sino-Japanese War, which had been raging since 1937, an exhibition was held on the structure of Japan’s ideological warfare, the development of global publicity ideologies, and the status of China’s publicity activities. You can see record photographs of this exhibition beginning on page 17.