Today we had quite an interesting visit to the Okinawa Prefectural Archives. The collection is similar to a public library, in that there are a lot of freely available materials, and it houses a lot of government documents from the USCAR period of US rule and more recent documents, as well as over 2500 motion pictures and 3,000 still pictures. Lots of the materials were purchased from the United States archives. Dr. Sakamoto of the University of Maryland showed us around the archives, and told us that the photographs cost on average $50 per photo, and that the prefecture itself has spent over $1.5 million on the pictures alone. The budget hasn’t been as good in recent years, however, and that’s why they haven’t been able to get more photos. The first thing that I noticed about the collection indeed was that it was smaller than I imagined. Only 2 main rooms held archives and one smaller room for videos. When looking at pictures of the US national archives and at the high price they charged for copies, however, I can see that money is probably part of the reason it isn’t larger.
We watched a film produced during the war by the US military about their various war strategies against Okinawa. It was very US biased and portrayed very strongly the idea of idea of us against “the enemy,” who was also referred to as a single “him.”
Later on in the night we listened to a great presentation by Dr. Jenkins of the Okinawa Prefecture University of Arts on Bernard Bettelheim, a Jew-turned-Christian missionary on a mission to bring western medicine and Christianity to Okinawa. A naturally gifted linguist, he knew over 16 languages and thought of Okinawa as the place to spread his religion because in Isaiah there was talk of “far away lands” and Bettelheim decided that meant Japan. He wasn’t extremely successful during his time, in part due to the harsh penalties for paying attention to his evangelizing. He published a journal, however, which has come to be quite famous, and Dr. Jenkins has transcribed it in 2 volumes. Part of his lecture discussed his practice of editing and how to be a good editor, and it was interesting to see inside the profession. I never knew what [SIC] or meant in editing, but I know now.
Overall, a very good and informative day.