Propaganda Kimono
Boy's Omiyamairi (christening robe)  |  Silk  |  43 x 34"

Close Window

Propaganda Kimono

Engineers of the 24th Kurume regiment, Eshita Takeji, Kitagawa Susumu and Sakue Inosuke became known as Bakudan Sanyushi - variously, "three brave soldiers," "three human bombs (or bullets)," or "meat bullet three brave warriors" when, at Byõkõchin (Miaohsing) near Shanghai in 1932, they carried a Bangalore torpedo - an explosive charge placed on the end of a long, extendible tube for clearing barbed wire, into the line of Chinese fortifications and died in the blast.

The event was celebrated in poetry, Kabuki theatre, cinema and many songs. Throughout the Spring of that year, "three human bullets" productions erupted throughout the entertainment world and at least six movie versions were produced in March alone. "Three brave soldiers" rice cakes, sake, and bean paste candy were marketed and the restaurant of an Osaka department store offered "three human bombs" meals.

Although the "three human bullets" craze faded by summer, these men, who it was determined later, may have died by accident, became the first kami, or "Military Gods" of the Showa era.

In spite of war theme pattern, dangling semamori threads were sewn to the back of this baby's garment as good luck protection through life.