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Ironic censorship actions

As soon as censorship of the media was implemented in Occupied Japan, publishers quickly learned the importance of self-censorship.  The idea was to avoid submitting anything to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) that would be deleted or would cause an entire work to be suppressed (i.e., not published).    The majority of publishers couldn’t afford to reprint an entire book if issues were identified by the CCD.

It is surprising, therefore, that publishers, who must have been aware that any mention of the CCD or censorship was prohibited (“Reference to Censorship” was one of banned topics in the Key logs issued by GHQ on a periodic basis), still chose to include in the colophon statements such as, “This book passed censorship” or a CCD assigned number.  Below are examples of colophons with deletions.

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Selective survey results deleted

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

Below are censorship documents for two newspaper articles from 1947 reporting on survey results.  Both articles made it to print, but not before the CCD deleted a few of the results.

In the first article (Yomiuri Shimbun, November 4, 1947, Prange Call No. 47-loc-1532), the survey targeted 352 middle-school boys and asked them whom they liked/disliked the most. The majority said that they liked their mothers the most.  Second only to mothers, was General MacArthur, “… because he takes trouble to supply us our food-stuff.”  The MacArthur response was deleted.  No mention of GHQ SCAP/General MacArthur was permitted.  As for people they disliked, Stalin was mentioned, as well as Japanese Communists.  Stalin was deleted, as there was to be no criticism of the Allied nations. [Only CCD documents exist for this article. There is no Japanese galley proof in the Prange Collection.]

Similar CCD interference can be seen in a Sekai Nippo article (“ボールドウィン氏と日本學生問答”) dated May 29, 1947. (Prange Call No. 47-loc-0268) According to the CCD document, Mr. Baldwin, Chief-director of the American Civil Liberties Union, visited Tokyo University and hosted a round-table talk. The University students were asked this question: “Are you discontented with the U.S. occupation policy?”  The result was “6, discontented ; 12, good ; neither, 1.”  Both the question and results were deleted. Again, no mention and, especially no criticism, of GHQ SCAP was permitted. [The Prange Collection also has the galley proof of the original Sekai Nippo article in Japanese.  The electronic version of the article is only available onsite in the Prange Collection.]

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On this day in 1947… (May 13)

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

On May 13, 1947, Jean MacArthur, wife of General Douglas MacArthur, visited the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) and, naturally, many newspapers wanted to report on it.  The articles themselves passed censorship, but the photos of her in the court gallery (and, in some cases, part of the description of her) were suppressed or deleted.  Below are some of the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) documents related to these articles.   The Japanese galley proofs of the articles and full-size images of the photographs are available in digital form onsite in the Prange Collection.


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Book Digitization Project with the National Diet Library of Japan celebrates 10th anniversary

MOU signing, Mote and Kurosawa

Mr. Takao Kurosawa, Librarian of the National Diet Library of Japan, (right) and the UMD President C.D. Mote Jr. (left) signing the MOU, May 2, 2005.

On May 2, 2005, Takao Kurosawa, the Librarian of the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL), and University of Maryland President C.D. Mote Jr. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to preserve and provide access to the 71,000 books in the Gordon W. Prange Collection.

In the ten years that have passed, approximately 8,000 children’s books and approximately 6,500 general books have been digitized.  We in the Prange Collection celebrate this milestone and look forward to continuing our productive partnership with NDL.

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Featured magazines published in Hokkaido

This post is Part II in a series on the Prange Collection magazines for which digital images are now available in the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) Digital Collections.  Part I focused on magazines published in Kyoto Prefecture.

In this post, we are featuring magazines published in Hokkaido.  The magazines listed below are now available full-text in the National Diet Library of Japan Digital Collections (onsite access only). They continue to be available on microfiche at the University of Maryland and at various institutions in the U.S. and Japan.  For the list of institutions that have the magazine microfiche, see the Prange Collection website.


  • 断崖 [1号(1948年5月)-4号(1949年8月)] (Prange Call No. D87)
  • ちまた [1巻1号(1947年2月)-2巻4号(1948年9月)]  (Call No. C109)

“Dangai/断崖” was published by “Daisan gurupu/第三グループ” in Engaru-cho/遠輕町, which is located in northern Hokkaido.  This magazine includes essays, poems and tankas written by its members.  “Chimata/ちまた” is a magazine for Senryu/川柳.  It includes reviews of other senryu writers’ recent works.


    • 大地 [1号(1948年11月)] (Call No. D5)
  • 潮流 [2号(1948年7月)] (Call No. C158)
  • 大煙突 [7号(1949年8月)] (Call No. D17)

These three magazines were published by local labor unions. “Daichi/大地” was published by the “Zen Teishin Rodo Kumiai/全逓信労働組合” branch in “Yakumo-cho/八雲町.”  “Choryu/潮流” was also published by its branch in “Kamiiso-cho/上磯町.”  Both are located in Southern Hokkaido.  “Daientotsu/大煙突” was published by “Kokutetsu Rodo Kumiai/国鉄労働組合”, a branch in Nayoro-shi/名寄市.  These three magazines contain poems, songs and essays, many of which express union members’ opinions of and reflections on the labor movement.


  • 大和魂 [2巻11号通巻38号(1947年9月)-2巻14号通巻41号(1947年12月)]  (Call No. D67)

“Daiwakon/大和魂,” published in Kameda-shi/亀田市, is also a poetry magazine.  Some of the poems were written by well-known people; others were written by members of this group.


In one issue (Vol.2, No.12., published in 10/25/1947), six articles had portions that were “disapproved” by the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD).  One of these articles was about poems written by the Emperor Kokaku/光格天皇 in Gyosei hosho/御製奉誦 section.  One reads:

神様の国に生れて神様の 道がいやなら外國に行け

According to the CCD documents, this poem was disapproved because it was “Ultra-nationalistic and anti-foreign propaganda.”

In addition, in the Editor’s Note, it states:


About this statement, the CCD examiner wrote, “Above quotation is ambiguous, and it may imply indirect mention of censorship.  Disapproval Recommended.” (Click the last image to enlarge this section of the document.)

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TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program Visit

On March 25, the Prange Collection welcomed a group of university students from Japan, who were participating in the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program(TMWLP).  The program was launched in 2013 by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the TOMODACHI Initiative.  According to its website, “This 10-month mentorship program pairs highly-motivated Japanese female university students with Japanese female mid-career professionals to encourage networking among a select corps of Japanese women who show promise as Japan’s next generation of leaders.”

As a part of their stay in Washington D.C, the participants were divided into multiple groups and visited several local universities.  Ten students were sent to the University of Maryland.  During their visit to the Prange Collection, the participants took a tour of stacks and had a chance to view a display of original materials — primarily, magazines and photographs.

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Telephone Directories

How many of us use telephone directories today?  Not many.  Most Millennials probably don’t even know what the Yellow Pages are.  During the Occupation, however, telephone books were a prized commodity that were only available to privileged individuals or companies.  The telephone directories in the Prange Collection are valuable primary resources.  They can be used to locate information about local government offices that have moved or are no longer extant or to find the names of company executives. Telephone directories were disposable; updated versions were distributed annually or bi-annually. We suspect, therefore, that many of telephone directories in the Prange Collection are unique.

The telephone directories in the Prange Collection have been processed as part of the Prange reference collection and fall within the following call number ranges: AY-0001~0671 and AY-9001~9010.  They have been scanned.  The digital surrogates are available onsite in the Prange Collection and onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan.  You can search the telephone directories in the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) Digital Collections.   Type “AY-” in the search box and check the box “Available only at the NDL”.


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