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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 of 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.

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Celebrating National Comic Book Day: Blondie

September 25th is National Comic Book Day!  To celebrate, we’re featuring an iconic American comic that also had an audience in Japan, Blondie.

Blondie was created by Murat Bernard “Chic” Young and was first published on September 8, 1930. It depicts the life of Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead and their American middle-class life in the suburbs of Joplin, Missouri.  Shukan Asahi, a popular Japanese weekly magazine, began serializing the strip in 1946. It was picked up by Asahi Shinbun, one of Japan’s major daily newspapers, in January 1949.

Dagwood and Blondie have a son, Alexander, a daughter, Cookie, and Daisy, the family dog. Other characters include neighbors Herb and Tootsie Tuttle, mailman Mr. Beasley, and Dagwood’s boss Mr. Dithers.  It is Dagwood’s antics, though, that figure prominently in the comic strip. He is often late for work and collides with the mailman when running out the door. He is often interrupted while taking a bath or napping on the couch. And he likes to create enormous sandwiches, which is why any towering sandwich with multiple layers can be referred to as a “Dagwood sandwich.”

Chic Young wrote and drew the comic until his death in 1973. Since then, his son, Dean Young, and other artists have created the strip. Blondie is still being published in many newspapers today.

The Prange Collection has two volumes of Blondie comic strips written in English and Japanese (Prange Call No. PN-0559v_1 and v_2).  A few interior pages are below.

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On this day in 1947… (September 23)

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

On September 23, 1947, Nihon Keizai Shinbun submitted a very short article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) with the headline, “長野の松葉ぼうき輸出 [Bamboo brooms made in Nagano Prefecture to be exported] (Prange Call No. 47-loc-0943). The article was placed on “Hold,” but later passed the censorship review.  It is unclear why this article was held.

According to the article, over 100,000 bamboo brooms made in Nagano prefecture were to be exported by March 1948.  A farmer and his family, the article stated, could make 4-5 brooms per day as a side business.

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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On this day in 1947… (August 26)

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

On August 26, 1947, Shinbun no shinbun (新聞之新聞) submitted an article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) with the headline, “共同宮崎記者結婚” [Miss MIYAZAKi got married] (Prange Call No. 47-loc-0651). A portion of the article was marked for deletion by the CCD examiner, but the reason for the censorship action is unclear.

According to the article, Ms. Mieko Miyazaki, who worked as a journalist at Kyodo Tsushin News Agency, got married to Mr. Patrick F Malloy.  Shinbun no shinbun was instructed to delete the following passage:

昨年末共同に入社したが、記者としても敏腕であり、美貌と外国語にものをいわせて前途を期待されていた [… and end of last year she joined the KYODO TSUSHIN Company.  She is an able newspaper women and,…]

The Japanese headline was originally “共同宮崎記者結婚,” but it was also changed to “宮崎嬢結婚.”

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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Preservation: Happy Abacus Day!

Today, August 8, is Abacus Day in Japan!  The Prange Collection has several books on how to use the abacus. These books are often bound at the corner, so that a student can easily turn the page with one hand while using an abacus with the other. Unfortunately, a corner-bound book is difficult to digitize without damaging the original. Therefore, these books are disbound before they are scanned. Below a Prange staff member demonstrates disbinding one of the abacus-related books.

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On this day in 1948… (August 1)

On August 1, 1948, Sun News/サンニュース submitted a photograph to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) entitled, “First Day of Working Women Conference/働く婦人の会第一日”  (Prange Call No. S212).

The woman on the stage in the photo is Ms. Kikue Yamakawa (山川菊栄), the first director of the Women’s and Young Workers’ Bureau.  The photo was taken on the first day of the Working Women’s Conference, which was organized by the Ministry of Labor to promote and improve the welfare and working conditions for working women.

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Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories now available in UMD Archival Collections!

Transcripts of the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories — 102 interviews with Americans who served in Allied Occupied Japan — are now available in the University of Maryland Libraries Archival Collections.  Check it out!

For highlights from the collection, see this series of posts.

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New Acquisition: Roy W. Simonson Slides

Roy Simonson in Palaus, 1948. Control No. I-070

Downtown Tokyo, June 4, 1947. Control No. G-022

Dance for Ungami in Shioya, Okinawa, September 6, 1947. Control No. H-111

Roy W. Simonson (September 7, 1908 – November 2, 2008) was a soil scientist who taught at Iowa State College from 1938 to 1943, until he assumed the position of Soil Correlator for the United States Department of Agriculture Division of Soil Survey.  He remained in that position until his retirement in 1973.

The collection consists of 342 Kodachrome color photographic slides of Simonson’s 1947-1948 trip to Japan, Okinawa, Palau, and Guam. 

To browse the collection and request items, go to the University of Maryland Libraries Archival Collections (click on Inventories/Additional Information to see the item-level inventory).

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Featured Movie-related Item: Random Harvest (1942)

Kokoro no tabiji : Screen kokusai tokushu-go (Prange Call No. PN-0228a)

The next film that we are featuring in this series is Random Harvest.  This MGM movie starred Ronald Colman and Greer Garson and was released in the U.S. on December 17, 1942.  It was nominated for seven Oscar awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, but lost out to another film, Mrs. Miniver (Garson won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in that film.) This post is to recognize the 72nd anniversary of  the release of Random Harvest in Japan on this day in 1947 (July 8).

The movie, set at the end of World War I, is about a soldier, known only as Smith, who is living in an English asylum with shell-shock and amnesia.  When he wanders into the nearby town, he meets a music hall entertainer named Paula Ridgeway. They marry, and he becomes a writer. While trying to sell a story in Liverpool, “Smithy” gets hit by a car and is knocked unconscious.  When he comes to, he remembers his life before the war, as aristocrat Charles Rainier, but not his current wife and child.  Of course, there are twists and turns to the story as Paula figures out how to reconnect with her lost husband.

One way to find out how the story turned out is to listen to the radio broadcast adaptation of the movie, either here or here.  You will hear the actual lead actors reprising their roles from the film.

Another way is to read the book that the movie is based on.  Random Harvest by James Hilton (Call No. PZ3.H5677 Ran) is available for check-out at McKeldin Library.

One of the Prange Collection holdings, Kokoro no tabiji : Screen kokusai tokushu-go/心の旅路 : Screen kokusai 特輯號 (Prange Call No. PN-0228a), features the movie.  It includes a detailed synopsis of the film, as well as biographies of the actors. This book 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.

Check out our other movie-related blog posts!