Alfred Hussey Collection: Japan's Constitution Slides Jinken Sengen 「人権宣言」gentō


Collection Information

The "Proclamation of Human Rights" (Jinken Sengen, 人権宣言) is a set of "lantern slides" (gentō, 幻灯) produced by the Constitution Popularization Society (Kenpō Fukyūkai, 憲法普及会) in an effort to promote the new Constitution of Japan enacted on May 3, 1947.

The Constitution Popularization Society was established on December 1, 1946, after the World War II, to promote the spirit of the new Constitution and introduce its human rights concepts to Japanese citizens. One of the activities in which the Society engaged was the creation and showing of gentō slide-shows, which was one of the popular media forms utilized in post-war Japan.

The Jinken Sengen gentō slide-show seeks to illustrate how the spirit of the new Constitution was born from historical human struggles for the realization of justice, universal human rights, and peace. This slide-show aimed to educate people about the trials and tribulations of humankind as they strove for "the preservation of peace and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression, and intolerance for all time from the earth", as stated in the Preamble of the Constitution. This gentō slide-show was shown and used for discussions in community gatherings all over Japan.

The Jinken Sengen gentō slides originally consisted of a Japanese language slide narration pamphlet and two boxes containing 32 color slides to illustrate and correspond with the narration text. However, only one box of 16 slides (slides 17 - 32) still exists today.

This slide-show is part of a larger collection gifted by the will of Alfred Rodman Hussey to the University of Michigan in 1964. Commander Alfred Rodman Hussey, an attorney and American military officer, belonged to the Government Section of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) during the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1948. Hussey worked closely with Hitoshi Ashida, the President of the Constitution Popularization Society.

This collection was curated by UM Japanese Studies Librarian Keiko Yokota-Carter. Hana Washitani, Research Fellow at the International Institute for Children's Literature (Osaka, Japan), was consulted regarding the history of gentō. Alice Register, ScholarSpace Summer Graduate Fellow, provided project assistance.

View the entire text of the accompanying pamphlet, either as Japanese text or the English translation.

Alfred Rodman Hussey papers (1944-1998, bulk 1945-1948)

Japanese law treats the slides as government works and thus they are in the public domain.

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission or licenses. Materials in the public domain are so noted in the individual record associated with the specific items.