SHCY Outreach Grant: Child’s Play: Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan and Beyond

The SHCY is proud to be a co-sponsor of the interdisciplinary workshop CHILD’S PLAY: MULTI-SENSORY HISTORIES OF CHILDREN AND CHILDHOOD IN JAPAN AND BEYOND, to be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, February 27-28, 2015. The workshop is partly funded by a SHCY Outreach Grant.
Workshop website:​

Guest Post: Mark E. Lincicome on Conversations with Nakano Akira

Mark E. Lincicome is an Associate Professor of history at College of the Holy Cross. He specializes in early modern and modern Japanese history and culture, Japanese intellectual history, educational reform movements and the politics of education in modern Japan, and globalization in Asia.

My personal relationship with Nakano Akira, who is the subject of my essay, “In the Shadow of the Asia-Pacific War,” dates back some two decades. I first contacted him in the early 1990s seeking his advice and assistance as an expert on the so-called “Taisho liberal education” movement, which coincided with other “progressive” social and political movements in Japan between the two world wars. We soon became friends: my family and I hosted Professor Nakano and his wife at our house in Massachusetts for a week back in 1996, while I have visited their comfortable home in suburban Tokyo at least a half-dozen times since then, where I am always treated to a sumptuous sushi lunch after first sipping tea and talking with Professor Nakano about our respective research projects in their sitting room.
Photo 1
It is in the sitting room, on the top shelf of a bookcase in the corner (see photo #1, taken in October 2013), where Nakano displays a small, white plaster relief of famed Swiss educator Johann Pestalozzi (see photo #2). As I explain in my essay, this piece, which Nakano’s father cast during the early years of the Taisho liberal education movement, is steeped in symbolism. For Nakano it serves, among other things, as a poignant reminder of a life-changing conversation he had with his father during his youth, as he despaired over the meaning of Japan’s recent defeat in the Asia-Pacific War.
Photo 2
From my vantage point, this plaster relief also symbolizes the subjectivity that casts its own indelible mark on the work of every historian, whether he or she acknowledges it—as Nakano does—or not. Nakano’s candid expressions of admiration for the progressive ideals espoused by Taisho-era educational reformers like his father, on one hand, and his frustration over their inconsistent defense of those ideals in the face of political and bureaucratic opposition, on the other, stem from the doubts and despair he experienced as a patriotic “military youth” who proudly entered the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy (see photo #3) in the spring of 1945, only to witness his country’s long “holy war” and its promise of “certain victory” conclude with “unconditional surrender” and foreign occupation six months later.
For reasons that I explain in the introduction, Part Two of my article features my translation of an essay that Nakano wrote and published in Japanese in 2000. I wish to thank James Marten and the editorial board of the Journal of History of Childhood and Youth for allowing me to include it. I hope that their decision will encourage other journals in related fields to follow suit.

Ukiyo-e: a Search Engine for Japanese Woodblock Prints

Ukiyo-e is a dynamic research tool where researchers can search through over 213,000 Japanese woodblock prints from 1700s-present. There are two search options: by keyword or by image (upload or paste an image URL). John Resig, the site creator, has created this tool to address the need for “easily finding similar prints across multiple collections simultaneously.” This extends to unifying artist names, which often vary across collections or change, and translating the Kanji names. Resig lists all of the collections (museum, university, library, gallery, and private) that are searchable through the site.

A keyword search for “children” results in 1,183 unique images. An option called “Compare Prints” allows viewers to see different iterations of similar images, a huge help in seeing the changes in renderings over time. The site is clean and easy to navigate, providing as much information as possible about the prints as well as links to the collections in which they are housed.

The site is available at

Job: Research Position at University of Manchester

University of Manchester, Humanities Research Associate
Institution Type: College / University
Location: United Kingdom
Position: Research Professional
Closing date: 4 June 2013
Reference: HUM-02695
Faculty / organisational unit: Humanities
School / Directorate: Arts, Languages and Cultures
Division: History
Salary: 29,541-36,298
Employment type: Fixed term (start date 1st August 2013 for a period of 24 months)
Hours per week: 1 FTE
Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

This post is attached to the AHRC-funded research project, coordinated at The University of Manchester by Dr Peter Cave and Dr Aaron Moore.
This project investigates the experience of childhood, education, and youth in Japan between 1925 and 1945. It will record the memories of about 100 people who lived through this momentous period as children and adolescents, as well as examining surviving diaries of juveniles and other contemporary documents. These oral history and documentary records will be used to build up a picture of juvenile life and education in the period as experienced and remembered. The project examines: social and personal relationships of juveniles; the aims, content, and style of learning in schools; the development of consciousness (especially national consciousness) in juveniles; and the relationship of historical memory and consciousness to ideology and historical discourses.

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