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An Interview with Neal Henry Lawrence from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

This post is a part of the series featuring interviews from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories.  A majority of the transcripts of the interviews are now available in the University of Maryland Libraries Archival Collections.  For other featured oral histories, see this page.  

Today is Neal Henry Lawrence‘s birthday!

Marlene J. Mayo interviewed Father Neal Henry Lawrence on June 1, 1981 in Tokyo, Japan.  

Father Neal Henry Lawrence (January 22 1908 – November 3, 2004) was a naval officer, diplomat, monk, and scholar born in Clarksville, Tennessee. He received his B.A. in English from Harvard College in 1929. After graduation, he worked for the Lever Brothers Company, remaining with the company for 15 years. He joined the Navy in 1943 and attended the Military Government School at Columbia University. He participated in the siege of Okinawa, bringing him to Japan. During the Occupation, he became the Director of the Department of Economic Affairs for General Headquarters. Lawrence left Japan in August 1946 to get a Master’s Degree in Public Law and Government from Columbia, which he obtained in 1947. Soon after, he joined the State Department and was sent to Tokyo with the Diplomatic Section under the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP). He then joined the Foreign Service Section of U.S. Information Service, where he remained until 1951. During his work in diplomacy, he became interested in becoming a Benedictine monk. He attended St. Johns Abbey in 1954 to study, becoming a Benedictine monk in 1955. In 1960, he was ordained and returned to Japan for a mission. He was Associate Pastor of St. Anselm’s Parish from 1966 to 1999 and taught at various educational institutions. Father Lawrence is regarded as a pioneer in popularizing Tanka poetry in English. For his work, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government in 1993. He remained in Japan until his death at the age of 96.

In this excerpt from the interview, Lawrence recalls one of his first assignments in the Diplomatic Section: to obtain approval from the Finance Ministry for ingredients and materials requested by the embassies for entertaining. He also comments on how the Japanese relied on the black market to obtain goods.  

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Featured publication: Art and Women’s Liberation in a Newly Democratic Japan, with a Focus on Migishi Setsuko and Akamatsu Toshiko [U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal: Dec. 2020]]

Alicia Volk, Professor of Japanese Art at the University of Maryland, has published the article, “Art and Women’s Liberation in a Newly Democratic Japan, with a Focus on Migishi Setsuko and Akamatsu Toshiko” (「日本の民主化における美術と女性の解放ー三岸節子と赤松俊子を中心に」) in the US-Japan Women’s Journal 57 (2020): 21-56. muse.jhu.edu/article/776612

According to Volk, “Women were some of the earliest and most obvious beneficiaries of the Allied Occupation of Japan’s democratization policies. This article asks how female artists sought to capture the potential of social and political change for women in particular and society in general at this transformative moment in Japanese history. Focusing on Akamatsu Toshiko and Migishi Setsuko, two of early postwar Japan’s most successful female painters, it reveals how women artists across the spectrums of artistic practice and political conviction enacted women’s liberation in the public sphere and engaged in the democratization of art.”

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Newly Acquired Secondary Sources on the Occupation (2019)

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

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Happy New Year 2021!

“Oshogatsu dayori” Yonen bukku/幼年ブック (1/1/1948) (Prange Call No. Y294)

Happy New Year from the staff of the Prange Collection!

The Prange Collection will re-open on Monday, January 4, 2021.

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Closed for the Holidays (2020)

A 10,000 yen Christmas tree in a platform/プラット・ホームに一万円のクリスマス・ツリー –  A Christmas tree placed in Kamata station, Tokyo.  12/6/[1948]

The Prange Collection will be closed from Friday, December 25 through Sunday, January 3, 2021 for the winter holidays.

Happy Holidays!

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An Interview with John Aiso from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

This post is a part of the series featuring interviews from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories.  A majority of the transcripts of the interviews are now available in the University of Maryland Libraries Archival Collections.  For other featured oral histories, see this page.  

Today is John Aiso‘s birthday!

Marlene Mayo interviewed John Aiso, the first Japanese American to hold a judicial position in the contiguous United States, on March 29, 1979.

John Fujio Aiso (December 14, 1909 – December 29, 1987) was born in Burbank, California. He attended Brown University, from which he graduated in 1931 as their first Asian American graduate. He went on to attend Harvard Law School, receiving his degree in 1934, and then entered private practice. He was drafted in 1941. Originally stationed at Fort MacArthur, he was transferred to the Military Intelligence Service Language School, where he became Director of Academic Training. He remained in that position until October 1945, when he was assigned to the Civil Intelligence Section (CIS) of G-2 under General Charles Willoughby. There he screened Japanese in connection with the political purge. In 1947, he received the Legion of Merit before he retired from the military to practice law in California. He served as Superior Court Commissioner until he was promoted to a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge in 1952, becoming the first Japanese American to hold a judicial position in the contiguous United States. In 1957, he was elevated to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge and in 1968, Governor Ronald Reagan advanced Aiso to the 2nd District Court of Appeals. Aiso died on December 29,1987 from injuries he sustained during a mugging.

In this short audio clip, he talks about second-generation Japanese Americans who were students at the language school.  According to Aiso, the vast majority did not know the Japanese language, in part because they were trying to assimilate and to avoid discrimination that was prevalent at the time. 

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Thanksgiving holidays (2020)

“Imoban no moyo” Yonen Bukku (10/1/1947) (Prange Call No. Y294)

The Prange Collection will be closed from Thursday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29 for the Thanksgiving holidays.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

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On this day in 1949… (November 13)

On November 13, 1949, Sun News/サンニュース submitted a news photograph to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) entitled, “How to Make a Christmas Cake/クリスマスケーキの作り方” (Prange Call No. S4622).

 

The photo was taken at a school for nutrition studies in Tokyo. It shows the instructor demonstrating how to make the cake, while female students gather round and intently observe his work. The description accompanying the photo includes the cake recipe.

 

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An Interview with Edwin Reischauer from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

This post is a part of the series featuring interviews from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories.  A majority of the transcripts of the interviews are now available in the University of Maryland Libraries Archival Collections.  For other featured oral histories, see this page.  

Today is Edwin Reischauer‘s birthday!

Marlene Mayo interviewed Professor Edwin Reischauer (1910 – 1990), scholar, diplomat, and leading expert on East Asian affairs, on November 1, 1979.

Reischauer was born in Tokyo, Japan to American Presbyterian missionaries.  In his youth, he moved back and forth between Japan and the U.S. with his family.  He attended Oberlin College, where he received a B.A. in 1929 and Harvard College, where he received an M.A. in 1932 and a Ph.D. in 1939. From September 1943 until the end of the War, he was a major and than a lieutenant colonel in Army Intelligence supervising the liaison between G2, the Intelligence Section of the Pentagon, and the work in Arlington Hall, where Japanese radio intercepts were decrypted. After the War, he was a member of the State Department’s State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC), where he drafted the first policy on Korea and participated in the planning for the occupation of Japan. In the interview, he describes the training of recruits at Arlington Hall, the conditions in Japan during a four-month Cultural and Social Sciences mission in 1948, and reflects on the roles of the Emperor and of Douglas MacArthur in postwar Japan, among other topics.

In this short excerpt from the interview, Professor Reischauer gives his assessment of General Douglas MacArthur and his role in the Occupation, as well as the impact of many other Americans who planned for and served in Occupied Japan.

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Featured Publication: Kokosei undo no rekishi : shinsei koko seitokai rengo rokujunen anpo koko funso han kanri shugi

Takahashi, Yuzo/高橋雄造. Kōkōsei undō no rekishi : shinsei kōkō seitokai rengō rokujūnen anpo kōkō funsō han kanri shugi/高校生運動の歴史 : 新制高校・生徒会連合・60年安保・”高校紛争”・反管理主義. Akashi Shoten/明石書店, 2020

This book printed two newspapers from the Prange Collection’s holdings – 五高プラウダ: 日本共産党五高細胞機関紙 and 學生戦線.