National Geographic Goes to Japan, 1946 (1)

The photographs on this and the following page are from Sunset in the East, by Blair A. Walliser — "a Chicago newspaperman [who] became a Commander in the United States Coast Guard during the war and commanded a flotilla in Japanese waters for nearly a year".

The article begins rather melodramatically: "The thin gray dust that lies over Japan today like powder in the sun is more than the dust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tokyo and Osaka; more than the dust of blasted factories and shattered homes. It is the fine dry dust into which the mills of the gods slowly ground a dream of empire. Across the land the dust is worried and stirred by the wind, the rain, the treads of American tires, and the patient feet of the Japanese who trudge toward new goals down old paths."


Japanese children beg for candy.

Reconstruction begins in Hiroshima.

Communications workers demand a threefold wage increase.

The original caption reads: "To audiences grown weary of propaganda shows, the return of music and song was blessed relief. Toho Theater's English advertising did not attract many Americans. GI's couldn't understand the show, didn't like the fishy odors left by lunch-box parties, and also found many native theaters out of bounds."

Children, including girls, work as caddies for Americans.

Japanese girls — volunteers doing gardening or clean-up work? — bow to the Empress in the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The original caption reads: "This farmer-soldier converts tins into appliances. His sweet potatoes and beans dry on grass mats, his firewood under the house. Mother and her brood keep a safe distance from the photographer. Despite their intelligence, many Japanese show an unaccountable fear of the camera."

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