Broadcaster of Chinese wartime propaganda found.
A Japanese female announcer who called on the Imperial Japanese Army to surrender in Chinese Communist Party radio broadcasts during the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese War has been found to be still living 54 years after the war. In a recent interview with Kyodo News, Kiyoko Hara, whose Chinese name is Yuan Chingchih, revealed for the first time that she cooperated with the Chinese communists in broadcasting their propaganda at the Japanese army during the war. The 86-year-old Hara said she made broadcasts twice a week under the guidance of the late Sanzo Nosaka, former leader of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP). The propaganda radio station was based in Yanan in Shanxi Province, where the Chinese communists had their base of operations. Japanese female announcer Teru Hasegawa's cooperation with the Nationalist Party in broadcasting propaganda against Japanese soldiers during the war is widely known. "The radio station was located on the top of a mountain and I went there by horse...The manuscripts I read were written by Susumu Okano (Nosaka's assumed name) and I was taught how to read them," said Hara, currently a resident of Shenyang in Liaoning Province. Hara's whereabouts were confirmed by Naoko Mizutani, a researcher on Japan-China relations. Hara said she went to China in March 1937 four months before the clash between Japanese and Chinese troops at the Marco Polo Bridge on the southern outskirts of Beijing that directly led to the Sino-Japanese war. Hara went to China shortly after marrying a Chinese student at Waseda University in Tokyo. Her husband then took part in the Chinese communists' underground activities and she followed suit. She was chosen as the Japanese announcer when the Chinese communists opened the Yanan-based propaganda radio station in 1940. The broadcasts started in December that year. Hara said in the interview, "I think I was chosen because I am a Japanese woman and because I was born and grew up in Tokyo and had no particular provincial accent." A Chinese who was in charge of propaganda for Japanese soldiers during the war was quoted as telling Mizutani that Hara's broadcasts caused some soldiers to surrender. Hara, who joined the JCP in 1930, said, "I did not feel any fear when I got involved in the communists' secret activities in Japan. Because Yanan was the heaven and earth of the Chinese Communist Party and I was given a responsible job, I was not in fear. I was free to broadcast and I liked the job." Haruki Wada, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, said, "I did not know that a Japanese woman who had engaged in radio broadcasts in Yanan was still alive. Yanan was the only location where Japanese made direct antiwar appeals, and those efforts should be remembered." "At that time, Mr. Nosaka reported to Moscow (the headquarters of the international communist movement) that radio broadcasts had started in Yanan. He put great importance on radio propaganda aimed at front-line Japanese soldiers," Wada said. The Chinese authorities are believed to have allowed Hara to speak of her wartime activities to other Japanese due to last year's restoration of ties after 32 years between the Japanese and Chinese communist parties.