Friday, September 14, 2018

To the Victors Go the Spoils

Late 1940s. Japan. As soon as World war II came to a close, American and allied forces initiated what would become a seven year occupation of Japan.  The occupation involved upwards of 350,000 American troops, complemented by lesser numbers of British Commonwealth personnel. They were charged with demobilizing Japan's residual military infrastructure and keeping civic order through the ensuing economic reconstruction.  

Having endured four years of ferocious warfare in the Pacific, Americans were astonished that the Japanese offered no practical resistance to their occupiers.  What else could the Japanese do? With a destroyed economy and homelessness at 30 percent, the people of Japan sought opportunity by cooperating with the occupation forces. One of the earliest and most robust opportunities for the Japanese was to offer hospitality services, including restaurants, bars, shops, and ...personal services. 

American military personnel were very young; about half were teenagers. They had plenty of disposable income in a land where a little money went a long way. The Japanese learned to tweak their traditional products and services, making them more amenable to American consumers.  The photo above shows an American soldier enjoying bath house services, in this case administered by a lovely female "customer service" agent.

These same young men would serve as the vanguard of U.S. forces committed to the Korean War after June 25, 1950.  

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