Alfred Hussey Collection: Japan's Constitution Slides

[New constitution of Japan promotional slides] [slides]. 2.

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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 promulgated on November 3, 1946 and enacted on May 3, 1947 after World War II.

The Constitution Popularization Society was established on December 1, 1946, to promote the spirit of the new Constitution and to introduce concepts of human rights found within it to Japanese citizens. These concepts and rights had not been recognized or legally protected in the Constitution of the Empire of Japan. One of the ways the Society communicated and spread the new Constitution was through gentō slide-shows, which was one of the popular media forms utilized in post-war Japan.

The Jinken Sengen gentō slide-show places the new Constitution in a longer history of human struggle for the realization of justice, universal human rights, and peace. This slide-show aimed to educate Japanese citizens about political history around the world and in Japan that culminated in a new Constitution founded on "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. The images and the narration were created by Kondō Hidezō, 近藤日出造. However, only one box of 16 slides (slides 17 - 32) is preserved in this collection.

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 U-M 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 and art of gentō. Image description was provided by Dorothy Ma, Michigan Library Scholar (2019), in the project of Increasing Accessibility to Digital Image Collections in Japanese Studies with Stephanie Rosen, Accessibility Specialist, and Ben Howell, User Experience & Accessibility Specialist.

View the entire text of the accompanying pamphlet, either as Japanese text or the English translation. Alice Register, ScholarSpace Summer Graduate Fellow (2018), provided project assistance in translation.

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

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