Most people can tell you that Hitler ran Germany during World War II. A fraction of those know Mussolini dictated over Italy. Even less can name the Japanese Emperor willing to sacrifice his entire nation in order to win the war – and, mind you, this is in a post-Pearl Harbor world.
Notwithstanding Michael Bay’s oeuvre, the majority of films dealing with
the Second World War take place in the European theater, with the most famous
Pacific theater theatrical release being the ninth grade history class staple
Tora, Tora, Tora.
The Hammer museum hopes to remedy this with A Letter From Japan, wherein John
Swope photographed the post-war Land of the Rising Sun. While officially hired
by the Navy to photograph the release of Allied prisoners, Swope went above and
beyond the (literal) call of duty, snapping pictures of the local population of
Japan: a stately Japanese soldier looks stoically at the ground; a mother pushes
her child in a wooden stroller.
Coinciding with this exhibit is a screening of propaganda films, including the
Academy Award winning Design For Death directed by … Dr. Seuss? The fog of
And it’s Hirohito, by the way.
The UCLA Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles. Museum
hours: Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thurs. 11a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11a.m.-5
p.m. Price: $5 for Adults, free for students with ID, free on Thursdays for all
visitors. For more information, call (310) 443-7000 or visit www.hammer.ucla.edu.
Culture: Art [A Letter From Japan]
A Letter From Japan: The Photographs of John Swope
By Josh Herman
Article posted on 3/6/2006
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