1942 to 1945 : Aesthetic Prejudices

Seizure of power by the Japanese in 1943 resulted in an armed uprising in the country, which saw a period of Japanese occupation for the next three years in Malaya. Life in this period had a defining impact on the handling of graphic arts, where all forms of printed media were turned into Japanese propaganda. The Japanese used a decisive lexicon of symbolism to obliterate icons of British imperialism, and confronted the people with imageries of the Japanese culture (most famously, the rising sun). Here, graphic design adapted and shifted its role appropriately, from commodification and trade to ‘persuasion’. In other words, design was used in the service of control and influence, in this case, for the promotion of Japanese values.

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