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An iSchool Student Reflects on her Field Study in the Prange Collection

[This is a guest post written by Ashley Victoria Haddix, an iSchool Field Studies Intern for Fall 2017 in the Prange Collection.]

Ashley Victoria Haddix

During my time with the Prange Collection, I was given the opportunity to process the Mead Smith Karras Papers, a gift collection of her personal and professional papers given by her husband George Karras. I had never fully processed a collection before, and was excited not only to learn more about the steps involved, but also learning more about Mead Smith Karras. I felt an affinity to her, since I had also spent three years living and working in Japan in my mid-twenties.

The initial stage of surveying and processing took longer than I had expected, but I wanted to be very careful with the material that was sometimes quite fragile. I also spent time going back through my notes and the collection in order to understand its strengths as well as to determine the intellectual order that would be a best fit for the pieces that were no longer in their original order. The monthly reports, office memorandum, and correspondence were placed in chronological order within their own series. Other materials, such as the nearly 2,500 photographs in over eight different albums or the various printed materials like the kamishibai (“paper theater stories”) or posters, were organized by size in order to make the most use of the space allotted for the collection. While completing the final step of writing the description and the finding aid for the collection, I spent a lot of time looking at other finding aids and studying how to express the information about the collection that I had gathered in a digestible way.

I learned a lot about the steps that go into processing a collection, even one of relatively small size like the Mead Smith Karras papers that I worked on for an entire semester. My favorite pieces to discover were the kamishibai as well as the question cards from a conference Karras spoke at in Osaka. The kamishibai were used as story lessons for youth in the workforce and were beautifully illustrated. The question cards, written by Japanese women who attended the conference, gave a tangible link to the women of that time and the concerns they had in the the workforce.

Working on the Mead Smith Karras papers was a great experience and I’m glad to have had the chance to both process and learn about the historical insight this collection has to offer.

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“New Japan” from the John R. Harold Papers

The John R. Harold papers focus on labor law and labor education in Occupied Japan.  Included in the papers is New Japan, a reflection on Japan as it entered the third year of the Occupation.  You will notice below one article about the establishment of the Labor Ministry and the enactment of the Labor Standards Act; both took place on September 1, 1947.  It also contains a pictorial section on women at work.

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Library Fair and Forum (Nov. 7-9, 2017), Yokohama, Japan

On November 7~9, 2017, Kana Jenkins, the Prange Collection Coordinator, presented a poster at the 19th Library Fair and Forum, held at Yokohama, Japan.  The Library Fair and Forum is the biggest annual conference for all library staff in Japan.  The poster was entitled, “The Gordon W. Prange Collection: Materials that are accessible in Japan.”  The poster aimed to introduce several catalogs, databases and inventories that people can access online.  The poster received one of the awards by the steering committee.  It was a great PR opportunity for the Prange Collection to library staff in Japan.  Thank you very much for everyone who stopped by at the poster!

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“Okinawa”, not “Okinawa-ken”

The people of Okinawa witnessed the landing of American soldiers on their beaches in the final stages of World War II.  A few short months after the bloody 82-day battle on Okinawa, other Japanese experienced another landing of American soldiers, this time as Occupation forces in August 1945.

During the Occupation years, as well as the following decades, the fate of the people of Okinawa was very different from the Japanese on the mainland.  The United States took over governance of the Ryukyu Islands. The islands were returned to Japan in 1972.  Until then, Okinawa (or the Ryukyu Islands) was not referred to as “Okinawa-ken.” In a few materials housed in the Prange Collection, the term “Okinawa-ken” or citing Okinawa as “a part of Japan” was deleted by the censors. Below are some examples:

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Preservation: cutting the folds

In the process of preparing the education books for digitization, we were surprised to find that many of the books in a section that is comprised primarily of textbooks in and about the German language, had pages that were uncut.  In a sense, these books dodged censorship, as the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) censors simply could not check the content on every page.

As unique as they are, we need to cut the folds before scanning these materials.

In the slide show below, a Prange staff member shows you how to open up uncut pages.

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Featured magazines published in Shimane Prefecture

This post is Part XI in a continuing series on a portion of the Prange magazine collection that is now available in digital form onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL). (See the series in Featured Magazines.) 

In this post, we are featuring magazines published in Shimane Prefecture.

Doudogawa/どうどがわ is a newsletter published by Shimane kenritsu Daito Koto gakko Koyukai Kyodo Chosahan/島根県立大東高等学校校友会郷土調査班 [Shimane Prefecture Daito High School Research Group].  It contains research reports by its teachers and students.  For example, the February 1949 issue includes, “八雲神話と出雲” [Yakumo Myth and Izumo] and “三刀屋城附近の傳説” [Mitoya Castle and Its Legends].

Chidori/千鳥 includes essays, reports, and directories of alumni of Shimashi Fuzoku Shogakko/嶋師付属小学校 [Shimashi Elementary School].  On the last page, there is a short report on the reconstruction of school buildings.  The Prange Collection has issue No. 3, which is 75 pages.  According to the document submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD), the circulation of that issue was 80.

  • 潮音. [1号(1947年1月)] (Call No. C-155)

Choon/潮音 is also a small publication of 60 circulation for the inaugural issue.   The printing condition is not good and it is very hard to read.  Yet, the publisher Minatomachi Seinenkai/港町青年会 used origami-like paper for the front cover to make it as appealing as possible.  Here is an ambitious comment by the editor in the first page:

終戦後混沌たる嵐に吹きまくられ人々はいたづらに右往左往するあはただしい時を送ってきたが今こそ吾々はこの混迷より醒め満ち溢れる熱き意気と力をもってあくまで正しき理念を持し新日本建設に努力せねばなりません。

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Wishing you all the best for 2018!

Happy New Year from the staff of the Prange Collection!

The Prange Collection will re-open on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.