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An exhibition at Nerima Shakujikoen Furusato Museum

Nerima Shakujikoen Furusato Museum/練馬区立石神井公園ふるさと文化館 and Tokyo Metropolitan Archives are co-sponsoring an exhibition, “独立70周年-練馬区誕生への軌跡, ” narrating the 70 years history of Nerima ward.   It will be held at Nerima Shakujikoen Furusato Museum between June 24 through August 15, 2017.  Several newspapers from the Prange Collection will be used for the panels.

(Click the image to enlarge)



For more details, visit the following websites:

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An Interview with Donald Keene : From the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories

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

Donald Keene, image from Wikipedia Commons

Donald Keene in 2012 (image from Wikipedia Commons)

Today (June 18) is Donald Keene‘s birthday!

On May 14, 1982, Marlene Mayo, then Professor of History at the University of Maryland, interviewed Donald Keene, as part of her project entitled, “Oral Histories with Americans Who Served in Allied Occupied Japan.”  Keene, in fact, did not serve in Occupied Japan.  He spent one week there in December 1945 and didn’t return to Japan until 1953, after the Occupation had ended.

It is clear from the interview that Mayo had several reasons for including Keene in the project.  He was trained at the Navy Language School, where many of the Americans who served in Allied Occupied Japan learned Japanese.  She was keen on gathering as much information about the school as possible.  She was interested in his experience in Japan during the one week he spent there in 1945 and, more generally, what his impressions of the Occupation were as a Navy man.  In addition, Keene had written about immediate postwar writings in the “A History of Japanese Literature” series, which would be published not long after the interview.  Mayo wanted a preview.  In the two hours that they spoke, they covered all of those topics and more.

The transcript of the interview with Keene is available here.

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Featured Gift Collection – Lois Beno Photographs and Oral Histories

In April 2014, Irish Jordan contacted the Prange Collection about a Japanese comic book, Toranku Kozo by Kaneso Masutaro. that her grandmother, Lois Beno (1922 – 2016), had given to her.  The Prange Collection staff soon learned that Beno had acquired the book while she was in Japan during the Occupation.  Already the repository for 100 interviews with Americans who served in Allied Occupied Japan (see the Marlene J. Mayo Oral Histories), the Prange Collection staff was eager for Beno to be interviewed and to add the interview to the Prange holdings.  Beno lived in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, however, and it was impractical for a staff member to interview her in-person.  One of Beno’s daughters, Mary Ann Herston, agreed to conduct the interview with questions provided by the Manager of the Prange Collection.  The interview took place on March 13, 2014 and was deposited in the Prange Collection soon thereafter.

Beno’s husband, who was in the U.S. Air Force but on loan to the Army, was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in Fukuoka Prefecture during the Occupation.  Beno and their two children joined him in 1947.  The family initially lived in Kurume and then moved to Fukuoka.

In addition to the interview, Ms. Beno donated 32 photographs taken in Japan during the Occupation, including family photographs and photographs that vividly depict the everyday lives of the Japanese, particularly in rural areas.

The Lois Beno Photographs and Oral History consist of:

  • 32 photographs
  • 15 pages of printed photographs and captions
  • One recorded interview
  • 3 pages of descriptions of Japanese customs written by Beno

The Lois Beno Photographs and Oral History are available for use onsite in the Prange Collection.

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Featured magazines – published in Fukushima Prefecture

This post is Part VIII in a continuing series on a portion of the Prange Collection magazines that are 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 Fukushima Prefecture.

Dokusho taimusu/讀書タイムス was a tiny magazine (15 cm tall) published by Meiro Kensetsusha Bunkabu Dokusho Group/明朗建設社文化部読書グループ in Bangemachi/坂下町.  The main function of the magazine was to act as a marketplace for readers who wanted to sell/buy books and magazines.  For example, there was an announcement for dozens of issues of “Eiga no tomo” for sale that were published between Showa 8 – 15.

Chimaki/ちまき was founded in 1930 (Showa 5) and celebrated its 20th anniversary in June 1949 (vol. 233).  This Haiku magazine included haiku submitted by readers and announcements/reports about haiku events.

  • 大地. [1号(1949年7月)] (Call No. D-7)
  • 団報. [4号(1949年1月)] (Call No. D-76)

Daichi/大地 was a school newsletter published by Shirakawa Nogyo Koto Gakko Shuppanbu/白河農業高等学校出版部 in Shirakawa-shi/白川市.  The president of the student group boldly stated in the foreward,  “…this newsletter represents a truly democratic school”…”of the students, by the students, and for the students.”

Asahimura Seinendan/朝日村青年団 published Dampo/団報 in Minami Aizu Asahimura/南會津朝日村.  In this January 1949 issue, readers were reminded to submit scripts to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) for review when planning to perform a play.  This entire page was marked with a “V” for violation with “Reference to Censorship” as the reason.  “Disapproved” was written on the front cover of this issue.

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On this day in 1948… (May 26)

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

Control no.:48-loc-1770|Newspaper:Kyodo Tsushin (118, Shimane)|Date:5/26/1948

On May 26, 1948, Kyodo Tsushin submitted an article to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) about the discovery of one of the largest radium springs in Japan situated at the base of Mt. Sanbe in Shimane Prefecture. The article was “suppressed,” meaning that it was not published at that time. (Prange Call No. 48-loc-1770)

The article reports that several atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima visited the springs for their healing qualities.  After bathing there for more than ten days, the injuries that they had sustained from the blast were healed and their hair began to grow back. Hearing about this, a professor from Okayama University conducted research on the site and concluded that there was a very high level of radium in the area.  Later, professors from Kyushu University, Kyoto University, and Tokyo University also conducted research on the radium in the springs.   Further animal testing confirmed the healing effects of high levels of radium.

The Japanese handwritten version 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.

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Newly Acquired Gift Collection: Addition to the Justin Williams Sr. Paper

Tokyo, fall of 1945: 東京一九四五年・秋. (1946). Tokyo: Bunka-sha. and Baker, F. (1949). Jeeper’s Japan. Tokyo, Japan: Toppan.

Justin Williams Sr. was Chief of the Legislative Division (later known as the Parliamentary and Political Division) of GHQ/SCAP during the Occupation of Japan. The Justin Williams, Sr. Papers provide an unequalled view of parliamentary, political and constitutional change in Japan after World War II.

In 2016, Justin Williams Jr., Justin Williams Sr.’s son, donated several additional items to the collection. Among them, we are featuring two interesting items here: “Jeeper’s Japan” and “Fall of Tokyo 1945.”

Please contact us if you are interested in using these materials.

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Featured Education book – Zenkoku koto gakko senmon gakko koka, ryokashu

In September 2015, we began digitizing the education books in the Prange Collection.  We’ll share interesting educational materials with you as the scanning project progresses.  A list of posts in this series can be found here.   

“Zenkoku koto gakko senmon gakko koka, ryokashu” (Tokyo: Kinkyojuku, 1946) is a compilation of school songs (Call No. 430-0020). Some of the school songs, especially those were written before or during World War II, used nationalistic or militaristic terms that were considered objectionable by the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD).  For example, “worship the Emperor as God” or “embracing the furious fighting mind” were marked for review by CCD examiners.  Although there are many markings in this particular book, it is unclear if the book was completely suppressed, withdrawn, or portions deleted, because the front cover is missing, which is where the examiners wrote censorship instructions for the publishers.

The third verse of the Matsue High School school song bears a X mark written by the CCD examiner.  See the excerpt below:

大和島根の宮柱 建業古きいしづゑを 流れて淸し簸の川も 糜爛の榮華怒るごと 夕波さわぎ風荒れて 我凋落の影ふかし

Similarly, the sixth verse of Hokkaido Teikoku University Yoka Ryoka also has an X mark:

潮に暮るゝ西の空 月も凍らむシベリヤの 吾が皇軍を思ひては 猛けき心の躍らずや

The school songs of several well-known schools are included in this book, such as Meiji University, Doshisha University, and Kansai University.  It seems as though the second verse of Waseda University’s school song received an X mark that was then changed to a check-mark.  See below.

This book is available in digital form onsite in the Prange Collection.  Please contact us if you are interested in using this book.