The authorities are going [illegible] about the effect of the propaganda pamphlets dropped on Tokyo and Yokahama. “The contents of the leaflets,” cries the Asahi today, “are of such a fantastic nature that anyone who reads them is provoked to laughter. But someone off his guard may play into the hands of the enemy. We should therefore believe in the sure victory of the imperial land and block the plot of the enemy.”
The commonest pamphlets, reports the vernacular, is a “letter from the American president, Harry S. Truman.” It gives a timetable of broadcasts from the south as well as the wave-lengths used. The pamphlet, with “reasons of a twisted nature, attempts to make the Japanese people tired of the war and to estrange them from the military.”
Other pamphlets, according to popular rumor, are reproductions of 10-yen bills with the legend: “You can buy only such-and-such a quantity of rice with this amount.” Or else they contrast the ordinary civilian ration of rice with the army ration.
The rice angle is one of the most effective that the Americans could have used. The life of the ordinary Japanese after a heavy raid is not one calculated to attract gourmands. In one neighborhood association the ration issued was five rice balls (the size of golf-balls) for three persons for two days. In another, two small onions were issued per family for two weeks. In the same association an allotment of two cigarettes was made for 40 persons; they had to be raffled off. Others have been luckier; they received special consolation rations of rice. The general rule however is bad organization worsened by the “squeeze” system. It is now almost impossible to draw the emergency rations of shoyu without slipping the distributor a bribe.