An updated and revised version of this page is available at the new Re-Envisioning Japan.
In its earliest stages, this research project took shape during an NEH Summer Institute, “Modernity, Early Modernity, Postmodernity in Japan,” organized and led by Dr. Peter Nosco at the University of Southern California in 2002. A three-month Japan Foundation Short Term Research Grant during the 2003-2004 academic year provided the opportunity to conduct intensive research at the JTB Travel Library (旅の図書館), and to visit, photograph, and document historical sites and museums pertinent to my project. I was living in Japan when the long and transformative Shōwa (昭和) period (1926-1989) came to an end with the death of the Shōwa Emperor (昭和天皇), Hirohito (裕仁), on January 7, 1989. My Japan Foundation-funded research trip allowed me to immerse myself in the wave of “Shōwa nostalgia” that had taken hold since I returned to the United States in 1992. This trip was an experience that was vital to this project. Research funds from the University of Rochester have made it possible for me to collect the majority of items in the Re-envisioning Japan collection. Additionally, two University of Rochester faculty grants helped make this website a reality. I received a College Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtable Faculty Grant (2011-2012) for the purpose of cataloging the collection and planning the digital archive; a University of Rochester Pilot Research Award (2014-2015) covered the costs of digitizing 16mm, 8mm and Super 8mm films and recording and digitizing sheet music in the collection. Most recently, an NEH Summer Institute at the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, organized and led by Dr. David Jaffee in July, 2013, allowed me to engage with other scholars with similar investment in material culture research and gave me the priceless opportunity to present my work for their feedback.
Many individuals have facilitated this research and contributed to the successful development of this website. I must first thank the Re-Envisioning Japan Project Development team at the University of Rochester Digital Scholarship Lab . Dr. Nora Dimmock, Assistant Dean for IT, Research, and Digital Scholarship, has guided this project from the moment I approached her with the vague idea that “a website” would be an ideal venue for this research. She has been instrumental in giving the project both coherence and momentum. Dr. Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries generously gave me permission to house Re-Envisioning Japan on the RCL server, a critical first step in developing this site. I am indebted to Lisa Wright and Joshua Romphf for their expertise and resourcefulness in making my collection and research accessible. I am fortunate to be located in Rochester, with its abundance of local resources: Eastman School of Music alumnus Dr. Philip C. Carli (sheet music recordings); Senior Colorist Kyle Alvut (analog film digitization), and many students in the Selznick Graduate Program in Film Preservation, a collaboration between the University of Rochester and the George Eastman Museum. Jessica Johnston, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections at Rochester’s Visual Studies Workshop, graciously granted access to VSW’s rich collection of lantern slides of Japan. Several University of Rochester undergraduates have participated in this project, and the students in my ongoing “Tourist Japan” continue to enrich object metadata on an ongoing basis.
In New York, NY, Cynthia Sternau, Publications Manager for Japan Society, NY, scanned rare documents from the Japan Society archive for my reference, and subsequently assisted me with on site research.
I am grateful to Dr. Patrick Loughney, former Film Curator of George Eastman Museum, and former Director of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, and Jeffrey Stoiber, George Eastman Museum Assistant Curator and Administrator of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, for allowing me to attend the full nine-month course of their film preservation program during the 2007-2008 academic year. I am equally indebted to the staff of the George Eastman Museum Moving Image Department for teaching me the hands-on basics of caring for moving image collections, and the issues that complicate the preservation of film heritage. They continue to teach me through their invaluable contributions to the field of film and media preservation. I thank my friend and colleague, Dr. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of the Moving Image Department and Director of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, for envisioning, building, and sustaining both the Selznick Program and the Moving Image Department at George Eastman Museum, and for encouraging me at every step of this project. Sam Bryan, head of the International Film Foundation, was generous with his time and knowledge about the films his father, Julien Bryan, made about Japan in the 1930s and 1950s. He kindly gave permission for us to add Japan (Julien Bryan, 1957) and Japan: an Interdependent Nation (Sam Bryan, 1981) on the 16mm Timeline under “Moving Images.” The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts provided a digital betacam of their preservation print of Japan, which was made possible with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation.
This project would not have been possible without the assistance of archivists who helped locate and make accessible moving images that contributed to my research; some of these films are featured in the Moving Images section of this website. These individuals include Jared Case, Head of Collection Information, Research, and Access in the Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum; Hugh M. Hefner Archivist Dino Everett, Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, USC School of Cinematic Arts; Elena Rossi-Snook, Archivist, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; and Pam Wintle, Senior Film Archivist, Smithsonian Institute Human Studies Film Archive at the National Museum of Natural History.
I am grateful to the following organizations and institutions for funding at various stages of this project:
- University of Rochester: Pilot Research Award (Co-PI, 2014-2015). Re-Envisioning Japan as Destination in 20th Century Visual and Material Culture (with Nora Dimmock). Moving image and music digitization: inspection, repair and digitization of approximately 180 film titles (16mm, Regular 8mm, and Super 8mm) from the Re-Envisioning Japan ephemeral film collection and commissioned recordings of 46 songs in the sheet music collection.
- NEH: Summer Institute Fellow, July 2013. “American Material Culture: 19th Century New York, ”Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture. Material culture studies and digital humanities focus.
- University of Rochester: College Teaching, Learning, and Technology Roundtable Faculty Grant (2011-2012). Cataloging the “Re-Envisioning Japan” collection; architecting prototype for digital site.
- Japan Foundation: Short Term Research Grant (Nov. 2003-Jan. 2004). “Tourist Japan” field research in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto at various sites including: NYK Maritime Museum (日本郵船歴史博物館), Yokohama Archives of History (横浜開港資料館), Japan Travel Library (旅の図書館), The Museum of Kyoto (京都文化博物館), The Museum Meiji Mura (博物館明治村), Edo Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum (江戸東京ててもの園), Edo-Tokyo Museum (江戸東京博物館), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (東京都写真美術館), and The National Showa Memorial Museum (昭和館).
- NEH: Summer Institute Fellow, June 2002. “Modernity, Early Modernity, Postmodernity in Japan,” University of Southern California. Foundational research for the design of “Tourist Japan” course, Sept. 2002.
In addition to the staff of the Digital Scholarship Lab of the University of Rochester, the following individuals and groups have made critical contributions to this project’s development:
- Kyle Alvut, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
- Sam Bryan, International Film Foundation
- Dr. Philip C. Carli and Alice Carli (sheet music recordings)
- Jared Case, Head of Collection Information, Research, and Access, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
- Dr. Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
- Staff of the Digital Humanities Center, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
- Dr. Nora Dimmock, Assistant Dean for IT, Research, and Digital Scholarship, and Head of the Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Rochester
- Dino Everett, Archivist, Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, University of Southern California
- Dr. David Jaffee, Head of New Media Research, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
- Jessica Johnston, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections, Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester NY
- Faculty of the L. Jeffrey Selznick Certificate Program in Film and Media Preservation
- Dr. Patrick Loughney, former Film Curator of the Motion Picture Department, George Eastman House (currently George Eastman Museum)
- Eric Loy, Chris Patrello, and Serenity Sutherland, Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellows in the Digital Humanities, University of Rochester
- Dr. Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
- The Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
- Dr. Peter Nosco, Professor of Japanese History and Culture, The University of British Columbia
- Dr. Kyle Parry, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
- Elena Rossi-Snook, Archivist, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- Students of the Selznick M.A. Graduate Program in Film and Media Preservation at the University of Rochester (Almudena Escobar Lopez, Sophia Lorent, Joshua Yocum)
- Cynthia Sturnau, Publications Manager, Japan Society, New York
- Students of “Tourist Japan,” University of Rochester, 2002-2016
- University of Rochester students Malin Takikawa (’17), Ellen Boland (B.S.’15), Ramsey Ismail (B.A.’15), and Maura Rapkin (B.A.’12)
- Pam Wintle, Senior Film Archivist, Human Studies Film Archive, National Museum of Natural History