September 10 1944 Zhengyi Bao : Concerning Niubizi
Zhengyibao (Kunming) (10 September 1944), p. 4.
Concerning Niubizi: Excerpts from the Foreword to A Chinese Soldier (Yige Zhongguo bing) by Feng Yuxiang
I’m noticing that in a certain crowd there are more “cicadas” than “ants.” Without doing any work, they make a lot of noise, buzzing away as if their noise were intended for the ears of big shots and fancy scholars. The “muddy-legged folk” are totally mystified. Some people shout about “the masses” every day, but when the masses actually listen, they think they have to put the proverbial whip to their backs. That’s why I think what’s needed most is material that the real masses can understand. Mr. Huang Yao is working in this direction.
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Propaganda is crucial to the War of Resistance, but most among the Chinese masses are illiterate. Written propaganda produces next to no results. Service must take the form of drawing. But some “painters” turn their noses up at this kind work because they think that painting a “doughboy” or a member of the plain folk is less interesting than painting women’s thighs. Yet just looking at Big Brother Niubizi’s big feet, big hands, and big nose reveals the difference between him and some of those so-called “painters.”
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As for the question of form, it’s the picture that comes first, with a caption added on to make everything clear in a glance. People unable to read can understand, not to mention the literate.
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In conclusion, we must thank the War of Resistance, because during the war we have not only seen Niubizi Goes to the Countryside (Niubizi xiaxiang), Niubizi Joins the Army (Niubizi ruwu), and Niubizi Slays the Enemy (Niubizi shadi), but will certainly see Niubizi going all the way to the shores of the Yalu River, and to the summit of Mount Fuji, where he’ll be drinking a toast of victory with Japan’s oppressed masses and soldiers.
The rough words of a rough man.
(Translated by John A. Crespi, Henry R. Luce Associate Professor of Chinese, Colgate University)