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The WWII Plan to Mess With the Japanese by Dyeing Mt. Fuji

Psychological warfare can be pretty strange. In devising ideas on how to shake an enemy's confidence, you can take the standard propaganda route or brainstorm to come up with something to give them nightmares -or at least confuse them. Such was the case at the tail end of World War II, when United States’ Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) psy-ops unit came up with an idea to target the revered symbol of Japan, Mt. Fuji.

That Mt. Fuji would then become a physical target of Allied psy-ops is not surprising. As detailed in a declassified 1945 memo from Col. Johnston to JICPOA’s commanding officer, General Joseph Twitty, the proposed operation would “give Fujiyama with some color other than that seasonably endowed by nature.” In other words, the plan called for the marshaling of considerable manpower and equipment to dye Mt. Fuji black.

It's always good to have at least one devil's advocate in the room, to point out the many flaws with this idea. Read about the plan to dye Mt. Fuji at Atlas Obscura.


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