During the War of Resistance against Japan (1937–45), China's leading cartoon artists formed patriotic associations aimed at repelling the Japanese military. Their stated propaganda goals were to boost morale among the troops and the civilian population by circulating artwork that would ignite the spirit of resistance among Chinese audiences. In keeping with the genre, racialized and sexualized imagery abounded. The artists created myriad disturbing visions of how militarized violence impacted men's and women's bodies differently. By analyzing the two major professional journals, National Salvation Cartoons and War of Resistance Cartoons, this article shows that depictions of sexual violence inflicted on Chinese women were integral to the artists' attempts to arouse the spirit of resistance. By comparing their depictions of different types of bodies (Chinese and Japanese, male and female, soldiers' and civilians') the article argues that the cartoonists believed that the depiction of sexually mutilated Chinese women would build resistance and spur patriotism while equivalent depictions of mutilated male soldiers would sap morale and hamper the war effort. The article concludes with a discussion about the dubious efficacy of propaganda that invokes a hypersexualized, masculine enemy other.

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