After the 1941 Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, a series of articles appeared simultaneously in American magazines. A 22 December 1941 article in Time gives advice to its Caucasian readers on “How To Tell Your Friends From the Japs,” as does an article in Life magazine entitled “How To Tell Japs From the Chinese.” From the perspective of the late twentieth century, the racism of these texts seems obvious. At the time of their appearance, how did this racism remain unmarked? This paper has two purposes: the first, examining the way racist statements about people of Japanese descent become established, as well as the way those statements become connected to pre-existing racist statements about people of Chinese descent; the second, examining how articles and photographs in magazines such as Time and Life negotiate this pre-existing “network of statements.”

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