Thank You, Soldier

(between 1937 and 1941)

IHL Cat. #2674


A color lithograph patriotic fan sample print, likely created between 1937 and 1941 during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), depicting children thanking a soldier, who salutes in response, for his service to the nation, allowing them to go school and have dinner with their families.[1] The first verse of the song "Thank You, Soldier" (兵隊さんよ ありがとう Heitaisan yo arigatō), lyrics by Hashimoto Zensaburo 橋本善三郎 (1881-1957), composed by SasakI Suguru 佐々木すぐる (1892-1966), is inscribed on the print.


Kata o narabete niisan to

Kyō wa gakkō ni ikeru nowa

Heitaisan no okage desu

Okuni no tame ni

Okuni no tame ni tatakatta

Heitaisan yo arigatō

Today I can go to school

Shoulder to shoulder wih my brother

Thanks to the soldiers

For the nation

You fought for the nation

Thank you, soldiers

This song not only opened the school day for most Japanese children, but as with other patriotic Japanese songs, "Thank You, Soldier" was brought to the colonies in Asia and the Pacific Islands. In discussing this song, Sarah Jane McClimon in her dissertation on Japanese military songs writes "A recent documentary Sensō Daughters ended with a group of elderly women from Papua New Guinea in the late 1980s singing this song that they learned during their wartime childhood. Ironically, they had little to thank the soldiers for: the soldiers had stolen food from New Guinea locals and raped many local women, burned their homes, and destroyed their land with battles. But the song reinforced the familial discourse that children of the colonies were part of the family of Japan."[2]

The print carries the sample catalog number そ印 參百八拾號 (so in sanbyaku hachi jū gō [380]). 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.

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

[2] "Music, Politics and Memory: Japanese Military Songs in War and Peace," a dissertation by Sarah Jane McClimon, University of Hawai'i, 2011, p. 115.

Print Details