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.
Queen Elizabeth II and Emperor Hirohito toast glasses during the state dinner at the Imperial Palace on May 7, 1975 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
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.
**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.”
Tennō heika gojunkōki (DS-0894)
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.
Photos published in the 1947 book Tennō (DS-0888) originally ran in LIFE magazine in 1945
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.’
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.
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.
Control no.:47-loc-0686|Newspaper:Sekai Nippo (1)|Date:9/5/1947|Station:261800|Operator:mb|
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].
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:
[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.
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.
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.
Today 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.
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.”