American planes in formation over a Shinto shrine torii gate in Japan

American planes in formation over a Shinto shrine torii gate in Japan

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When the American occupation began in 1945, the goal was to attempt to transplant Western democracy to Japan. The Americans would occupy the country; Japan would be monitored, demilitarized, and rehabilitated. Carl Mydans, having been named TIME-LIFE bureau chief in Tokyo, had a prime viewing spot for the changes that were taking place in the Pacific.
When the Korean War broke out nearly five years after the end of World War II, Japan's importance as a military base became clear. In this image, ancient and modern Japan stand in contrast: American jet fighter planes fly over a torii, the gateway to a Shinto shrine, as they return after a reconnaissance mission over the Pacific to an airbase on the island of Honshu.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
place made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 10 in; 20.32 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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