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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!

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On this day in 1948… (June 21)

On June 21, 1948, Sun News/サンニュース submitted a photograph to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) entitled, “Display of Exporting goods: Seeking feedback from Foreign Ladies/輸出品の品評會 外國婦人の人気打診”  (Prange Call No. S165).

The Tokyo Chamber of Commerce organized this display of goods to be exported, mainly targeting foreign women who were in Japan as dependents of their husbands.  According to the description, the invited guests included the wife of the Director of the Tokyo Office of Northwest and the wife of the New York Times Tokyo Bureau Chief.

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Featured Movie-related item: Great Expectations (1946), on the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens

We’re celebrating the life and work of Charles Dickens on the 150th anniversary of his death. And as part of our series on movie-related items in the Prange Collection, we’re sharing with you, Great Expectations [大いなる遺産] (Prange Call No. PN-0220), a book dedicated to a film adaptation of his great work. The movie was released in May 1947 in the United States and in January 1949 in Japan.  In 1948, the film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

The book includes stills from the movie and a portion of the script in English and Japanese. Below are selected pages.

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On this day in 1948… (May 9)

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

Prange Call No. 48-loc-1157

On May 9, 1948, Boeki Nippo submitted an article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) with the headline, “邦人漁夫を迎へて:優秀な技術が買わる [Siam Invites Japanese Fishermen] (Prange Call No. 48-loc-1157).  Mainichi Shimbun submitted an article covering the same news (“招かれる日本漁夫 シャムカら技術員に”) (Prange Call No. 48-loc-1157a).  Both articles were “held” at first, but later passed.

According to the Boeki Nippo article, many Japanese fishermen (mainly Okinawans) were in Southeast Asia (particularly in Singapore) before the end of the war. Though the Peace Treaty had not yet been signed, the Siamese government was asking the Japanese government for permission to invite Japanese fishermen as “technical fishing experts” for training purposes.

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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An Interview with John Maki from the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

This post is the twelfth 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 Maryland Room, the reading room for Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland.  For other featured oral histories, see this page

Happy Birthday, John Maki!

John M. Maki (April 19, 1909 – December 7, 2006) was interviewed by Marlene Mayo, Professor of Japanese History at the University of Maryland, on November 3, 1979.  Maki was born in Tacoma, Washington to Japanese parents who had immigrated to the U.S. He was raised, and eventually adopted by, an American family, the McGilvreys. He received his B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Washington in 1932 and 1936, respectively. In 1936, he was awarded a fellowship to study in Japan sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he stayed until 1939. From 1939-1942, he taught at the University of Washington.

One of few Americans with knowledge of Japanese or Japanese culture at the time, he was invited to serve with the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service of the Federal Communications Commission. From there, he worked in the Office of War Information (OWI) on psychological warfare planning. In the interview, Maki spends considerable time reflecting on the activities at OWI, including how to talk about the Emperor in broadcasts. In 1945, Maki was recruited to work as a civilian in the Government Section in GHQ/SCAP during the Occupation to assist with writing the postwar Japanese Constitution. When he arrived in Japan, the first draft of the new constitution had already been completed.  He was still able to make comments, but quickly moved on to reviewing appeal applications from Japanese who were targeted to be purged, and reviewing and making recommendations for changes to the Japanese government ministries.

After his stint in Japan from February to August 1946, he went on to receive his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard.  He taught at the University of Washington from 1948 to 1966 and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst from 1966 to 1980. He authored and translated many books about Japanese government and politics, and in 1983, Maki was awarded the Third Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan for his contributions.

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Featured Publications: Research by Award Recipients

We are proud to feature the following recent publications by recipients of the 20th Century Japan Research Awards:

Bullock, Julia C. Coeds Ruining the Nation : Women, Education, and Social Change in Postwar Japanese Media. University of Michigan Press, 2019.

Thomas, Jolyon Baraka. Faking Liberties : Religious Freedom in American-Occupied Japan. University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Eubanks, Charlotte D. The Art of Persistence : Akamatsu Toshiko and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan. University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2020.

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Accordion Artwork Repair

In 2008, the Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), a part of the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C., dismantled an exhibit and was looking for a home for several of the very large pieces. They approached the Prange Collection staff, who was happy to receive the artwork and display it in the collection’s lobby.  The artwork has been displayed there ever since.

Two of the three pieces are oversized copies of well-known works that were cut into strips and applied to an accordion mount.  Each piece incorporates two artworks:  Utagawa Hiroshige’s, From the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Nihonbashi, Morning View, & Kitagawa Utamaro’s, At the Foot of Ryogoku Bridge, on one and Katsushika Hokusai’s, From the Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji:  Warm Breeze, Fair Weather, “Red Fuji,” & Utagawa Hiroshige’s, From the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido:  Kambara Night Snow, on the other.

Though the works have held up well over the years, they are now beginning to peel off of the mount. Watch as a Prange staff member glues them back down.

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Library Closure (2020)

Otomodachi / おともだち (Prange Call No. 520-221)

The University of Maryland Libraries is closely monitoring the university’s community guidance regarding the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic.  The Hornbake Library North, where the Prange Collection resides, will be closed to public from March 13 to April 10.  The staff members will be working so please contact us if you have any reference questions or duplication orders.

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Digitization of photo albums from the Mead Smith Karras papers

The photo albums in the Mead Smith Karras papers are currently being digitized and may not be requested for use.  Please contact us if you have questions about their availability.