We have acquired few personal experiences from Japanese reasders. We have archived a Japanese graduation scene in 1939. A Japanese aid worker in the Philippines, Hiro Kawashima, asks the question, "Is school uniform necessary? He comments on his school in the Philippines as well as his own experiences in Japan. In Japan, apparently student leaders helped enforce the uniform regulations. We also have found some individual portraits, although we do not have any biographical details to go with many of these portraits. Hopefully more of our Japanese readers will share their school experiences with us.
We note a wonderful Anbrotype portrait of Matsuda Komataro who looks ready to sett of for school in 1885. This Japanese Ambrotype portrait is of Matsuda Komataro. Japanese cased portraits were commonly done in wood without guttaperca or leather covers and plush interiors. As a result of the wood, inscriptions are more common than in Western cased photographic portraits. The case herev is inscribed " Taken by WATANABE Tomio living in Kotohira Village ( Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Island ) on March 7, Meiji 18 (1885) ". The portrait was 5cm x 8.2cm. The boy looks to be about 10 years old. We would guess that the outfit he is wearing is what he wore to school. Note the school book and ruler. In addition to the traditiibnal outfit, note the separated toe socks.
This Japanese cabinet portrait shows a teenager wearing his school uniform. iven his age he would be attendng a secondary school. It is not unlike the uniform the boys still wear in Japan. The portrait was taken in Meiji 31 (1898). It was taken by the S. Hara photo studio of (and we must be reading this wrong) Bingo. The inscription on the back is rather difficult to read but part of it gives the young man's name and the date. Perhaps our Japanese readers will be able to make it out.
We have archived a Japanese graduation scene in 1939. We know less about secondary school than primary school. I am not sure if there is an important first day ceremony, but of course gradution is very important. We have a graduation photograph from 1939. It looks to be an unidentified boy who has just finished secondary school. Japan was at war with China, but had not yet attacked the United States. We see several uniforms in the portrait, but can not yet identify them. There are many things about the graduation photograph that we do not understand. Hopefully our Japanese readers will provide us some insights into these ceremonies.
A Japanese reader has provided us a fascination account about his experiences as a National Boy during World War II. "I am very pleased to hear that you are preparing a section on the post World War II American occupation of Japan. I was born in 1934 in Tokyo. I and my family were in Tokyo during the American bombing. The terror and destruction were overwealming, just like Dresden. Our house was destroyed by incendiaries and we went to live in a rural village. I think most Japanese were surprised with American occupation policy. I was second son of a publisher. My father was a socialist in pre-World War II Japan but there were strict Government controls. After Japan surrendered and the American occupation began, father enjoyed freedom to publish Marx, Engels, and Lenin under Macarthur's regulations. My memories are somewhat limited because I was only a young child, but you may find them of interest. I will tell you what I remember, both about life in Japan during and after the War." Keisuke San's account includes school experiences.
We also have found some individual portraits, although we do not have any biographical details to go with many of these portraits. The young Japanese boy who is the subject of this studio portrait appears attentive and serious, which is an appropriate mood for what is likely a photo commemorating his entrance into a particular school or grade level (figure 1). We would guess junior high school. The boy also shows evident pride in wearing his brand new school uniform and cap. Education has always been very important to the Japanese and this boy would have been keenly aware of his family's happiness and approval as they took him to the photographer's studio to have this picture taken. This original old photograph is in poor condition with creases as well as scratches, stains, fading and discoloration. The photo appears to have been previously mounted in an album as there is some torn paper from the album stuck to the back of the photo. The Japanese 'S. Takahayashi' is hand-written in English script across the front of the photo. The photo dates from the early to mid 20th century and was acquired in the historic city of Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji.
A Japanese aid worker in the Philippines, Hiro Kawashima, asks the question, "Is school uniform necessary? He comments on his school in the Philippines as well as his own experiences in Japan. In Japan, apparently student leaders helped enforce the uniform regulations.
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