Monday, October 30, 2017
Obscurity of the Day: Hari Kari the Jap
In the early years of comic strips, racial and national stereotypes were the bread-and-butter of many, many features. The Japanese came in for a comparatively small share of that, and here's a really obscure example, Hari Kari the Jap.
The strip about a household servant who doubled as a spy for the Japanese government was by H.C. Greening. Greening had just parted ways with his longstanding client, the McClure Syndicate, and spent a short time producing this strip for the Boston Traveler, which syndicated with very little success as the State Publishing Company. Hari Kari the Jap ran there as a weekday strip from November 4 1908 to January 14 1909. Greening kept shopping his wares around New York during this period, and soon found a new receptive client at the New York Herald, after which he dropped the Traveler like a man very relieved.
All samples above are from the collection of Cole Johnson.
Would the Boston Traveller weekday strips usually be seen under the trademark "Boston Traveller" or "Traveller company"? These examples came from the St. Louis Star-Chronicle, whose corporate name was "State Publishing Company", and I thought they for some reason "recopyrighted" them under their name.