The best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Agent YZ7

Agent YZ7. Agent YZ7 was created by Tsutomu Kitamura and appeared in the film Daigoretsu no Kyôfu (1942). Agent YZ7 is a Femme Fatale. A young Japanese scientist who has discovered the secret to a “soundless airplane engine” comes to the attention of Agent YZ7, a Chinese spy who has “the exotic charm of a Mata Hari.” She is working with Pastor Scott, a White Peril British spy, to get the inventor’s secret and sell it to the Allies. Fortunately, heroic agents of the Kempeitai discover the spies’ plans and kill them.

Daigoretsu no Kyôfu, and Agent YZ7, represent a number of interesting common elements of the time: pre- and during-WW2 Japanese popular culture obsession with Chinese women’s sexuality; the type of science fiction common to films of that era, about an inventor who creates an advanced weapon or engine and becomes the subject of a manhunt by competing national forces; the appearance of the White Peril, the Japanese (and, less commonly, Southeast Asian) popculture iteration of the Yellow Peril; and Japanese popculture propaganda films of the WW2 years, which are largely mirror images of American popculture propaganda films of the time.

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