Leave a comment

On this day in 1947… (October 20)

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

On July 18, 1947, Jiji Shimpo submitted an article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) with the headline, “なぜに咲いたか九段の櫻” [Why is the Kudan Cherry Tree Blooming?”], and portions of the article were deleted. (Call No. 47-loc-1279).

According to the article, one cherry blossom tree in the compound of the Yasukuni Shrine started to bloom on the morning of October 20, and a veteran visiting the shrine was “gazing earnestly” at the tree.  The final sentence was marked for deletion:


The CCD examiner translated the sentence as, “Comparing both, a branch of cherry-blossoms blooming madly amidst the Tokyo’s winter approaching sky, and the soldier.  Possibly it can be said an epitome of the world owing to recent rapid changings.”

A photograph is stuck to the back of one of the CCD documents with the image obscured (see the second image below).  The CCD markings are visible on the back of the photograph.  The Japanese galley of this article is available onsite in the Prange Collection and onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) through NDL’s Digital Collection.

Leave a comment

Featured Exhibit Item of the Month [October]

The Prange Collection exhibit, “Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” will be on display in the Maryland Room Gallery, Hornbake Library North, University of Maryland, from October 2018 through July 2019.  Each month, we will feature one or two items from the exhibit.  

Our first Featured Exhibit Item of the Month is the article, A Visit to the Kindergarten in Washington Heights/ワシントンハイツ 幼稚園見學記, published in the July 1949 issue of Katei Kagaku = Home Science/家庭科学.

Katei Kagaku [Home Science], July 1949

The Home Science Institute (Katei Kagaku Kenkyujo), the publisher of this magazine, sponsored a visit to the kindergarten at Washington Heights. In this report written by one of the students on the tour, the author expressed her surprise at what she witnessed in the classroom. She expected to see children simply playing, but what she found was a classroom where they were taught life skills through play. The children learned table manners when they had snacks and, using toy cars, they learned not only how to drive, but how to fill the car with gas if it broke down. The school, she reflected, taught the children how to be responsible citizens through these small acts.  To view the entire article, click the images below.


Upcoming Exhibit, “Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952”

We are pleased to announce that an exhibition of materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection entitled, Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952, will be on display in the Maryland Room Gallery in Hornbake Library North, University of Maryland, from the middle of October 2018 through July 2019.

On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the United States and Allied Powers, ending World War II. In the aftermath, thousands of U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families moved to Japan to oversee the rehabilitation of the defeated nation. This exhibition focuses on interactions between Japanese and Americans in communities built for U.S. personnel and in key contact zones in the surrounding city. Using materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection, Crossing the Divide reveals the “American dream” that these communities represented and shows how the Japanese people envisioned their own dreams as they rebuilt their lives and nation in war-torn Tokyo.

The opening reception will take place on Friday, October 19, 5:00pm – 7:00pm.  The event is free and open to the public.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP using this form.

Leave a comment

A Talk by W. Evan Young: Health & Home in Occupation-Era Japan

Dr. W. Evan Young, a Professor at Dickinson College and recipient of a 20th Century Japan Research Award, will give a talk on “Health and Home in Occupation-Era Japan: Promoting Medical Knowledge in Popular Women’s Magazines” on Thursday, October 4, 2018, 12:30-1:30pm in 2120 Francis Scott Key Hall, University of Maryland.

The event is free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by the University of Maryland Libraries and the Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies. Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to 301-405-4299 or  millercenter@umd.edu to reserve your lunch.

Leave a comment

Blog post series

Check out our blog post series!

Leave a comment

An Interview with William Kenneth Bunce from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

This post is the eighth in a series featuring interviews from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories.  Currently, 29 of the oral history transcripts are available online.  The remainder are available onsite in the Prange Collection.  For other featured oral histories, see this page

Today, August 31, is William Kenneth Bunce‘s birthday!

William Kenneth Bunce (August 31,1907 – July 23, 2008) was interviewed by Marlene Mayo, then Professor of History at the University of Maryland, on March 18, 1980. He was the individual primarily responsible for the formulation of the Shinto Directive, which was issued by the Japanese government in December 1945. According to Bunce, his experience teaching in a Japanese high school from 1936 to 1939 informed his work as Chief of the Religious and Cultural Resources Division during the Occupation. He saw first-hand how, “…Japanese emperor worship was inculcated into students in the Japanese education system and the degree of reverence extended to the Emperor and to all things pertaining to the Emperor, most notably the Imperial Rescript on Education and the Emperor’s portrait, formed a reasonably good background for my approach to these problems when I served in the Occupation.” (p.3 of the transcript)

Bunce was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Navy in 1943 and for nine months studied at the Navy School of Military Government at Columbia University. He arrived in Japan in mid-September 1945 and was assigned to the Civil Information and Education Section/Education, Religion, and Arts & Monuments Division. His work involved demilitarizing Japan’s cultural, religious, social, and academic institutions.  After the Occupation, Bunce worked in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.  When he returned to the U.S., he continued to work in government until he retired in 1971.

The transcript of the interview with Bunce is available here.

The National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) has a copy of the W. Kenneth Bunce Papers on microfiche.  The collection was obtained from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.

Leave a comment

Interview with Emily Cole, Research Award Recipient 2018

Each year, the recipients of the 20th Century Japan Research Awards visit the University of Maryland to use the materials in the Gordon W. Prange Collection.  They often spend a week or more on campus.  They are interviewed at the end of their stay about their research experience.

Emily Cole in the Maryland Room

One of the two recipients of the award for 2017-2018 is Emily Cole, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon.  Her research topic is “Life in the Ruins: Photography during the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952.”  She is currently working on her dissertation.


How did you learn about the research award, and why did you apply for it?

I first learned about the award through the HNET listserv. I have wanted to visit the Prange Collection since my first year of graduate school when I started researching Occupation-era Japanese photography, so I was excited to apply for the award once I finished my comprehensive exams.

What motivated you to focus on this research topic?

I stumbled into the world of postwar Japanese photography when I came across some images by photojournalist Domon Ken, taken during the Occupation period. I am visually oriented, and his photos really brought home to me the kasutori (“days in the dregs”) nature of occupied society.

My master’s thesis covered 1945 to 1970. I decided to focus solely on the Occupation period simply because it is virtually ignored in scholarship on postwar photography. Studies generally begin in 1950, when Domon began his realism movement. And yet, the five years preceding that are such a critical time, especially in understanding the Occupation’s impact on Japanese visual culture and Japanese cultural identity.

Which material in the Prange Collection left the biggest impression on you?

What really struck me in looking through not only photography magazines, but other periodicals such as weekly news periodicals and kasutori magazines, was the plethora of photographs of women. Many of the articles in the photography magazines were on how to photograph “beautiful women,” and the vast majority of the covers for titles such as Asahi Graph and Mainichi Graph featured women, even if the women on the cover had nothing to do with the contents of the magazine.

Before visiting the Prange collection, I had intended to focus my dissertation around urban street photography. However, given the lack of street photos, and considering the sheer number of photographs of women, I think I might have to reframe my study! Clearly, photographing women was a major trend in photography during this time. Considering most photographers were men, it makes me question what this dynamic says about Japanese identity more broadly, as well as gender identity.

How would you describe the research experience at the University of Maryland Libraries? Do you have any suggestions for fellow researchers using the collection?

I had an excellent experience at the University of Maryland. I am especially grateful to Kana, Yukako, and Amy for all the help they provided during my stay. The library staff were very friendly as well, and remained calm each time I sent a rather lengthy request for more documents.

I found it helpful to submit a few requests for materials before I arrived at the collection, to use my short time here more efficiently. I also found it helpful to continue to refer to the collection holdings, found on the Prange Collection website, throughout my stay.