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January 5, 2022

17 Amazing Vintage Japanese Gas Attack Posters, 1938

In 1938, the Japanese Red Cross worked with government authorities to create a series of posters to teach the public about the new Anti-Aircraft Defense Law, which was enacted in seeming anticipation of air strikes following the outbreak of the Japan-China War (1937–1945).

Among other things, the new law required citizens to take protective measures against gas attacks and prepare for disinfection, evacuation and relief. For the government, one purpose of the posters –– which were created as part of a military exhibition at the Red Cross Museum –– was to instill a pattern of “anti-aircraft defense thought” among the population.

Asphyxiant Gas: Evacuation and Aid
Do not allow victims to walk. Carry them gently.
Head to a nearby shelter.
Move to a safe location upwind.

Devastation of Urban Gas Attack

Gas Detection: Smell and Color
- Asphyxiant gas (chlorine, phosgene, etc.): Pungent or hay-like odor. White or yellowish in color.
- Blister gas (yperite/mustard gas, lewisite, etc.): Mustard or geranium-like odor. Colorless in gas form, reddish-brown in liquid form.
- Tear gas and sneezing gas: Odor resembles pepper, spicy mustard or bitter almond oil. White, yellow or colorless.

Blister Gas: Evacuation and Aid
Toxic area! Run! Flee!
Better to seek soap and water nearby than to travel to an aid center far away.

Poison Gas Symptoms
- Asphyxiant gas: Accumulation of fluid in lungs/ Suffocation (dry drowning)
- Blister gas: Blisters/ Respiratory inflammation/ Inflammation of the eyes
- Tear gas: Watery eyes
- Sneezing gas: Salivation and nasal discharge/ Coughing/ Chest pain/ Vomiting/ Sneezing

Gas Masks: Type and Purpose
Military use
- Full protection
- Rubber face mask
- Body suit (rubber)
- Filter
- Gloves (rubber)
- Boots (rubber)

Civilian use
- (Right) For any gas except blister gas and tear gas
- (Center) For various types of gas
- (Left) Transparent visor

Gas Attack and Emergency Escape
Quick emergency mask
- Gauze
- 2% sodium carbonate/water solution
- 10% urotropin-water solution

Simple homemade masks
- Can contains charcoal particles

Use when no gas shelter is available or when your home has been destroyed.

Making Gas Protection Tools
For small children, prepare a gas-tight baby carriage or bag with attached oxygen supply.
Keep this type of protection on hand at all times.

Phosgene Poisoning: Progression of Symptoms and Death
(Based on British Army research during the War in Europe)
Death rate by day:
- Day 1: 81%
- Day 2: 12%
- Day 3: 4%
- Day 4: 2%
- Day 5: 1%

Progression of symptoms
- Fluid begins to accumulate in lungs within 2 to 8 hours, causing difficulty in breathing.
- Fluid seeps into alveoli.
- Victim turns pale in mild cases, ashen white in severe cases.
- Fluid in lungs becomes increasingly evident.
- Absorption begins.
- Recovery.

Caution: Sudden death may occur within minutes or hours.

Yperite (Mustard Gas): Progression of Symptoms and Death
(Based on British Army research during the War in Europe)
Death rate by day
- Day 1: 1%
- Day 2: 2%
- Day 3: 5%
- Day 4: 8%
- Day 5: 23%
- Day 6 to 30: 61%

Progression of symptoms
- Initial 2 to 8 hours: Itchiness
- Day 2: Pain
- Day 5: Rupturing of blisters, intense itchiness

Recovery takes 2 to 7 weeks.

Treatment of Asphyxiant Gas Victims
1. Bed rest and warmth
2. Fresh oxygen supply
- Do not use an artificial respirator (victim may worsen if moved).
3. Blood draw
- Do not perform if the victim is pale.
4. Heart stimulants and beverages
- Strophantin/ Digitoxin/ Caffeine/ Camphor

Treatment of Blister Gas Victims (Part 1)
1. Undress.
2. Clean the skin of poisonous substance. (Use cotton or absorbent paper.)
3. Apply solvent (oil, benzene or alcohol).
4. Sterilize. (Apply calcium hypochlorite.)

Treatment of Blister Gas Victims (Part 2)
5. Wash thoroughly with soap. (Dispose of mask after washing.) Decontaminate with water if no medicine is available.

6. Wash eyes (2% baking soda/water solution) and put on clean clothes.

7. For poisoned lungs...
2% baking soda/water solution
Gauze mask

- Immediate action required, at least within 15 minutes of exposure.
- Treatment within the first few minutes of exposure may prevent the development of blisters.
- Symptoms begin to show within a few hours.
- Failure to quickly remove poison from the skin will result in death.

Effectiveness of Gas Masks
(Based on British Army statistics from the War in Europe)
- April 1915/ No masks/ Chlorine gas (weak)/ 7,000 casualties/ 85.7% casualty rate

- December 1915 - August 1916/ Primitive masks (cloth)/ Chlorine, phosgene gas (strong)/ 4,207 casualties/ 24% casualty rate

- July 1916 - July 1917/ Canister gas masks/ Phosgene, diphosgene gas (strong)/ 8,806 casualties/ 6% casualty rate

Canister gas masks reduced the casualty rate by a factor of 12. Primitive masks reduced the casualty rate by a factor of 4.

Gas-tight Room and Mosquito Net
1. Seal all gaps in the ceiling, doors and floor to create a gas-tight room.

2. To create a gas-tight tent, keep the bottom hem of the mosquito net pressed to the floor and place a layer of paper over the tatami.

3. Assuming there is one person per tatami mat and you stay calm, you can remain safely in the room for 7 hours and in the tent for 3 hours.

Blister Gas Decontamination (Part 1)
Chemical treatment
- For mustard gas, use calcium hypochlorite.
- Wash rubber products 30 minutes after exposure.

Wet-heat treatment
- Steam: 20 minutes
- Boil: 15 minutes
- Hot water (80 degrees Celsius): 30 minutes

Dry-heat treatment
- Incinerate

Blister Gas Decontamination (Part 2)
Wash and wipe

- Winter: 5 days
- Spring/Autumn: 1 to 3 days
- Summer: 8 hours

- Disappearance of gas odor is a sign of decontamination.
- Do not allow residual gas indoors when decontaminating.


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