Popularization of Democracy in Post-War Japan

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Exhibit Summary

Popularization of Democracy in Post-War Japan

This exhibit showcases the Proclamation of Human Rights Slides (Jinken Sengen Gentō slides, 人権宣言 幻燈スライド)produced by the Constitution Popularization Society (Kenpō Fukyukai, 憲法普及会) to promote the spirit of democracy - sovereign power resides people, fundamental human rights, pacifism, and the establishment of separation of three powers - as embedded in the new Constitution of Japan which was enforced on May 3, 1947.  

The Jinken Sengen Gentō slideshow illustrates how the spirit of the new Constitution was born as the result of the historical human struggles for the realization of justice, universal human rights, and peace. This slideshow 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.

The slideshow originally consisted of one slide narration pamphlet and two boxes containing 32 slides to correspond with the narration text. However, only one box of 16 slides (slides 17 – 32) still exists today.  

This exhibit provides the Japanese narration, an accompanying English translation, and the existing 16 slide images. The first 16 slides do not exist; therefore, only text images are shown for slides 1-16.

One box of slides, books, The Photo Album of the Celebration ceremony of the Constitution , and the Alfred Rodman Hussey papers were donated to the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies by the will of Alfred Rodman Hussey in 1964. They are housed in the University of Michigan Library.

Curated by Keiko Yokota-Carter (Japanese Studies Librarian), Alice Register (MA Japanese Studies graduate student), Hana Washitani (Research Fellow of the International Institute for Children's Literature, Osaka, - Research advice)