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Celebrating National Comic Book Day: Right Around Home

Happy National Comic Book Day (#NationalComicBookDay)!  Today we’re featuring Right Around Home (Prange Call No. PN-0561) by Dudley Fisher.  The strip ran from 1938 until 1965.  After Dudley Fisher’s death in 1951, his assistant, Bob Vittur, created the strip until the end of its run.

The format of this comic was unusual — a single panel filling an entire page in the Sunday paper. Each strip captured numerous characters at an event in a suburban neighborhood, such as a family get-together, camping trip, or poker game.

Take a look at the images below with Japanese translations of the dialog below the frame.


Kirsten Gaffke is a preservation specialist at the Gordon W. Prange Collection and has been working in UMD Libraries since 2006.

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The Emperor’s New Clothes

On this eve of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on September 8, 2022, thoughts may turn to another long-reigning monarch, the former Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa (1901-1989). The two met twice, first in 1971, on the occasion of Hirohito’s trip to England, and again in 1975, when Elizabeth made a reciprocal visit to Japan. Each ascended to the throne at the age of 25, embracing and defining their roles as sovereigns in a modern age. 

In 1940, 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast to directly address the children of wartime Britain. Similarly, Hirohito took to the radio on August 15, 1945, asking  the nation to ‘endure the unendurable’ that would come with Japan’s unconditional surrender. The day became etched in the memories of many Japanese as the day the Emperor, who was then regarded as a quasi-deity, spoke in a human voice. 

By 1946, the Emperor had officially renounced his divinity in a New Year’s Day proclamation declaring himself to be human (Ningen Sengen). The following month, he embarked on an epic tour of the nation designed to bring his physical presence in contact with the people of Japan. Over the next eight years, Hirohito traveled  to most of Japan’s 47 prefectures; the Prange Collection holds a number of publications commemorating these Imperial visits.*

**The Prange Collection holds records of Showa Emperor’s tours to Kyoto, Osaka, Yamaguchi, Oita, Niigata, Tottori, Yamanashi, Fukushima, Toyama, Nagano, the Tohoku region (Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Akita), and the islands of Kyushu.

Some of these publications received censorship from the CDD (Civil Censorship Detachment) directed by SCAP (Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers). One example “Tennō heika gojunkōki” (Call number DS-0894) documents the Emperor’s tour of Nagoya City in October 1946. During his walkabout an elderly woman is described as being so overcome with emotion such that she cried out “Tenshi sama! Tenshi sama!” before collapsing into sobs. The term ‘Tenshi’ was literally translated as ‘Son of heavens’ by the examiner, and the passage marked as ‘violation,’ for reasons of ‘rightist propaganda.’ A second document, however, seems to nuance this action by noting that “It may be agreeable for us to make allowance for time-honored diction peculiar to the Emperor, since it is within limit.”

A pictorialization, perhaps, of desire to demystify the Emperor took form in a special feature which ran in LIFE magazine in December 1945. Titled “Sunday at Hirohito’s” the five-page spread showed the Emperor relaxing at home with his family, going for a stroll and sitting down to a Sunday meal, reading an English-language newspaper with his son, tending to his potted plants on his day off. 

The original photographs were taken by the Japanese agency Sun News Photos, which were later re-published by Toppan company. The Prange Collection holds a large color poster advertising the limited edition ‘deluxe’ photography book released in 1947. Prange also holds two copies of the publication (DS-0887, DS-0888). The striking poster illustration shows the Emperor peering through a microscope, alluding to his lifelong passion for marine biology. No longer aloof and inscrutable the Emperor was now presented as a family man with benign scientific hobbies, offering to us a fascinating view of his process of ‘humanization.’ 

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Color printed poster measuring 74.5cm x 49cm (Prange_042810)

The posters and wall newspapers in the Prange Collection have been digitized and are available here. The poster above is available here.


Motoko Shimizu Lezec is Coordinator at the Gordon W. Prange Collection in the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), University of Maryland.

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On this day in 1947…(September 5)

This post is part of a continuing series on the Censored Newspaper Articles (CNAs).

On September 5, 1947, Sekai Nippo submitted an article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) with the headline, “What the Japanese People Wish on the Anniversary of the Two-year Occupation of Japan.”  The article was suppressed. (Prange Call No. 47-loc-0686).

Most of the censored newspaper articles in the Prange Collection consist of the original Japanese article in galley proof form and an English translation by a CCD examiner. In this case, we have only the English translation. And because the piece was suppressed and, therefore, was not published, we have no way of knowing how accurate this translation is.

The author of this opinion piece, Nakamura Tetsu, is disparaging of the Japanese for their unreflective acceptance of the new “administration,” presumably the Allied Occupation and its mandates instituted by the Japanese government. “The character of the Japanese who are content only when things are proceeding smoothly is by no means a good sign. What is problematical is how is it that the Japanese are able to take the sudden turn around to follow whatever administration comes they [sic] way,” he wrote. He contrasts the Japanese compliance with the more intellectual interrogation of the political order by the Germans and the British.

This article has been digitized. In addition to being available in digital form at the University of Maryland, it is also available onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) through NDL’s Digital Collection.

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Featured magazines published in Chiba Prefecture

This post is Part XV in a continuing series on a portion of the Prange magazine collection that is now available in digital form onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL). (See the series in Featured Magazines.) 

In this post, we are featuring magazines published in Chiba Prefecture.

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Chiba Chingin Geppo/千葉賃金月報 [Monthly Report on Wages in Chiba Prefecture] provides important information on labor history in Chiba Prefecture, including the average wage, the number of companies by industry, and annual salaries for each age group. The printing is of poor quality, making it difficult to read. And it is unbound, just several loose 27 x 38 cm pages folded together.  It was published by Chiba Rodo Kijunkyoku/千葉労働基準局 [Chiba Labor Standards Bureau].

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  • 巷の声. [1号(1946年1月)-9号(1946年9月)]. (Call No. C110)

The Prange Collection has eight issues of Chimata no koe/巷の声, beginning with the inaugural January 1946 issue.  Almost all of the eight issues have either markings by the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) or actual censorship actions taken.  In the April 1946 issue, a portion of the following poem entitled, 街の女に/To the Girl in the Street, was marked for deletion:

戀を押賣するな

チョコレート二枚の

價値しかない戀を

シガレット一個の

價値しかない戀を

[The CCD censor’s translation as it appears on the CCD document reads: “Don’t sell your love, a love that is only worth two bars of chocolate. a love that is only worth a packet of cigarettes.]

The reason for censorship action: mentioning fraternization, i.e. an intimate relationship between a GI and a Japanese women.

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Featured Publication: Sakaguchi Ango Daijiten

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Ando, Hiroshi; Ohara, Yuji; Toeda, Hirokazu/ 安藤宏;大原祐治;十重田裕一編集代表.  Sakaguchi Ango Daijiten/ 坂口安吾大事典, 2022.

Sakaguchi Ango (1906 – 1955), best known for his discourse on failure and decadence, left a manifold legacy ranging from modernist works, historical fiction, detective novels, genre stories and plays, to essays and works of cultural criticism.  Based on latest new scholarly research Daijiten provides commentary on Sakaguchi’s entire oeuvre, and offers a comprehensive examination of the writer through keywords and personal networks.   

モダニズム小説、歴史小説、風俗小説、推理小説のほか、評論・文化論・笑劇・エッセイなど、多岐にわたって足跡を残した坂口安吾。最新の研究成果を踏まえ、全作品を解説するとともに、その人間像・作品を読み解くうえで重要なキーワードや、交流のあった人物を網羅的に解説。(勉誠出版より)

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Featured publication: Hokkaido no jido bunkashi

SocialMedia_HokkaidonoJidoBungakuBungakushi日本児童文学学会北海道支部編著. Hokkaidō no jidō bungaku bunkashi/北海道の児童文学・文化史, 2022.

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Newly Acquired Secondary Sources on the Occupation (2021)

We have acquired the following secondary sources on the Occupation period in 2020.  See also our acquisitions in 20142015 (Part I), and 2015 (Part II)2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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Featured Posters and Wall newspapers: Kabe koho

The posters and wall newspapers have been digitized and are available here. In the Featured Posters and Wall Newspapers series, we will share interesting posters/wall newspapers with you.

prange-042585-0001Today we are featuring “Kabe koho/かべ弘報” published by Shimane-ken Koho-ka/島根県弘報課 in October 1949.  It is 37 x 54 cm and color-printed.

This particular issue (No. 6, Koshu Hoken-ka ban/公衆保健課版) covers several public-health related topics, such as rabies prevention and the Eugenics Protection Act/優生保護法.  It also brings readers attention to the Food Sanitation Act/食品衛生法, which was established in December 1947.

This wall newspaper is available full-text here.

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Featured Publication: Dream Super-Express: A Cultural History of the World’s First Bullet Train

Congratulations to Dr. Jessamyn Abel, a former 20th Century Japan Research Award winner, for the publication of, Dream Super-Express: A Cultural History of the World’s First Bullet Train.  According to the Stanford University Press website, “A symbol of the ‘new Japan’ displayed at World’s Fairs, depicted in travel posters, and celebrated as the product of a national spirit of innovation, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen—the first bullet train, dubbed the “dream super-express”—represents the bold aspirations of a nation rebranding itself after military defeat, but also the deep problems caused by the unbridled postwar drive for economic growth. At the dawn of the space age, how could a train become such an important symbol? In Dream Super-Express, Jessamyn Abel contends that understanding the various, often contradictory, images of the bullet train reveals how infrastructure operates beyond its intended use as a means of transportation to perform cultural and sociological functions.”

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Spring Break Closure (2022)

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“Hana monogatari / 花ものがたり” (Prange Call No. 519-240), pp.14-15.

The Prange Collection will be closed from Monday, March 21 through Sunday, March 27 for the University of Maryland Spring Break.

We will resume our postings in late March.