For the Sake of the Nation

(between 1939 and 1941)

IHL Cat. #2682


A color lithograph patriotic fan sample print, likely created between 1939 and 1941 during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)*, depicting Diakoku (大黒), the god of fortune and wealth and one of the Seven Lucky Gods, gathering gold jewelry and other personal gold items into his treasure sack for the war effort.[1]

The print carries the sample catalog number そ印 参百六拾四   (so in sanbyaku roku jū yon gō [364]). These numbered fan prints (uchiwa-e 団扇絵) were gathered into a sample book (uchiwa mihonchō 団扇見本帳, or uchiwa gachō 団扇画帖.) to show wholesale customers the range of available designs.

The print carries the patriotic saying "For the sake of the nation, I also respond to the call of public duty." (國の為 命も應 召御奉公 [Kuni no tame, Inochi mo ōshō, Go-hōkō]). This saying may be related to the “Gold Waste Collection Campaign” (Kin fuchaku haihin kaishū undō), organized by the Patriotic Women’s Association in Tokyo in September 1939. This campaign waged by Tokyo branches of the Patriotic Women's Association was a search for "the 'buried gold' which they said was to be found in household waste."[2] The collected items were sent to a facility which extracted the gold and other valuable metals, the proceeds being donated to funds for war widows and orphans. Their efforts were praised by the Asahi shinbun as a laudable expression of patriotism and they reported, “by helping the workers in the high-temperature scrap melting room […], they demonstrated the zeal of women of the home front.”[3]

Note: Transcriptions and translations are my own unless otherwise noted.

[1] The Second Sino-Japanese War is referred to in China as the "War of Resistance Against Japan." 

[2] “'The Waste of Society as Seen through Women’s Eyes:' Waste, Gender, and National Belonging in Japan," Rebecca Tompkins, thesis dissertation, Universiteit Leiden, 2019, p. 71.

[3] Ibid.

Print Details