Even though British comic publisher since the latter half of the 19th -century let the drums of war beat in their stories and let them reverberate into the 21st-century by depicting not only glorious victories but also the harsh defeats, there is still a knowledge gap in the occurrence and distribution of Japanese representation in Western, especially British, post-Second World War (WWII) war related comic books. This however is remarkable as during WWII Japan wanted to expand its empire by conquering Asian colonies of, for example, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain, of which especially soldiers of the latter came in close contact with Japanese a lot. These British-Japanese encounters, especially in the 1960’s, inspired British publishers of comics to print stories about these events as they were quick to identify the appeal that WWII war comics had on British post-WWII baby-boomers who wanted to know who their fathers, uncles, grandfathers and other Allied soldiers fought and what they had been through during WWII. Currently the American comics, that were printed during WWII and have presumably had an influence on other Western portrayals of Japanese during WWII, are the most investigated comics on the representation of Japanese during WWII. As a result, the dominant perception is Western post-WWII war comics portray Japanese in the same fashion as the American WWII-comics in which Japanese are portrayed as ‘inherently evil’ in the Yellow Peril trope and as the backward and strange looking other in the Orientalist trope. However, there are dissenting voices who say that these descriptions are “too American” and vouch for more in depth researches of Western post-WWII war comics that portray Japanese during the events of WWII. First of all, with my research I aim to fill a gap in the representation of Japanese in British post-WWII war comics by examining one of the most popular British post-WWII war comics Commando (1961- ). With this research I try to discover how Japanese are represented but also examine the developments over time by raising the question In what manner are Japanese soldiers and Japan’s involvement in WWII represented and which developments occur in the portrayal of Japanese in the British Commando comic books between 1961 -1980 and 1981-2000? Penultimately, before closing off the research I will also critically reflect on the (mis)use of the “too American” tropes applied to the representation of Japanese during WWII in Commando and will discuss whether I deem the tropes useful for future researches regarding the presentation of Japanese in British and other Wester post-WWII war comics.

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Anne Heslinga
Global History and International Relations
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Kayleigh Post. (2022, August 18). The drums of war: the development in the representation of Japanese in the British post-WWII Commando war comics (1961-2000). Global History and International Relations. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/65236