February 22, 1942 – Java, Sumatra And Burma – According To Tokyo, A Cakewalk – According To Chungking, Not So Much.
February 22, 1942 – News in English from Radio Tokyo – News in English From Radio Chungking, China – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
February 22, 1942 – As a companion piece to the other report for this day from NBC Radio, or as a comparison to how the same stories were being reported by the Allied forces (i.e. the U.S.,Britain and China) versus the Axis (in this case Japan). It’s interesting to hear just how the same series of events were being interpreted. Obviously, depending on which side you were on, the set of circumstances would benefit your side. Radio Tokyo was proclaiming a rapid succession of sweeping victories and eliminating vast quantities of arms and planes as the Imperial Japanese Armies went from island to island, toppling the Western powers with relative ease.
In contrast, NBC Radio was reporting these sweeping Japanese victories were not the case, that the allies were stubbornly defending every inch of soil the invaders were landing on. And Radio Chungking was reporting the just-completed visit to India by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek as a triumph in India/China relations, which Japan reported as an act of desperation on China’s part. That India was in a state of revolt against Britain and colonialism and was eager to embrace Japan.
As is always the case, somewhere lurking in the middle the truth, or is close proximity could be found – and these news broadcasts were doing more for bolstering the morale of each side than actually reporting the series of events taking place. The purpose of Radio Tokyo’s English service broadcasts was to let whoever in America was listening that things were much worse than what was being reported in America. Similarly, it should also be noted, that the Allies were busy broadcasting their side of the story in Japanese to let whoever in Tokyo listening in to their shortwave radio, that things were not as rosy for their side as they’ve been told.
So these three broadcasts, when played back-to-back offer some idea of how the war was going. If for nothing else, you can see how the same event, when seen through different eyes, often gives very different interpretations.
True in 1942 – and true in 2022.
Here are those news broadcasts, as they were presented by Radio Tokyo and Radio Chungking (in not such good reception) for this February 22, 1942.
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