The Japanese Censorship Collection at the Library of Congress contains documents censored by the Japanese imperial government's Home Ministry. These documents mostly come from the 1920s and 1930s, although a few lead up to the end of World War II and the Japanese government’s surrender. The Home Ministry focused on a few things when censoring monographs and galley proofs submitted for publication, or taken for review—these things included annei, or the protection of public order, and the maintenance of fuzoku, or the manner and morals of Japan. To do this, the government prohibited (kinshi), removed (sakujo), and revised (kaitei) documents they deemed contrary to these goals. The collection itself holds marked up copies of these documents, and shows the notes, stamps, and other markings that went along with the censorship process.

Beyond this collection, the Library of Congress website is an open-access resource available for students and teachers to browse. It boasts a wide selection of documents, many of which are free to use. These documents include photographs, books, films, web archives, legislation and more, from a range of subjects and time periods. The Library of Congress also offers some lesson plans making use of primary sources they host, a blog describing teaching methods, and other resources to enhance both the student and teacher experience. These resources, combined with its easy to use platform, make it, as well as this collection, great resources and guides for use in the classroom.

The censorship process and the primary sources of how it was conducted are valuable to learn about, as they show not only what the government valued and wanted reproduced in popular texts, but how citizens may have pushed that boundary. Full online access is not available for all sources, and requires you to be at the Library of Congress. Despite that limitation, many of the sources are still useful to preview and to gain an understanding of the types of things being censored, as well as what the collection itself has to offer.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University
How to Cite This Source
Carolyn Mason, Japanese Censorship Collection in World History Commons,