Trouble in Tokyo: The West's Fight for the Mind of Cold War Japan
This presentation reviews the effectiveness of the Japanese affiliate office of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), an intellectual/cultural organization covertly funded by the CIA from 1950-1966. The CCF played a major role during the Cultural Cold War by platforming and sponsoring significant writers, philosophers, artists, and scientists in a cultural crusade against perceived and actual communist influence. Research on the CCF’s history typically centers on Western European and Anglophone countries, presenting a research gap since the CCF’s affiliate network comprised 35 countries around the world. Using archival documents, this research examines personal dynamics and cultural events that exemplify both difficulties and successes the staff of the Japanese affiliate faced combating leftist popularity in Japan with Western liberalism. As the modern world grapples with state-sponsored disinformation, the CCF represents the feasibility of clandestine cultural influence by foreign governments and the general importance of public diplomacy in the post-WWII world.