Rebecca Corbett
University of Southern California. Associate University Librarian, Japanese Studies

Unpinning Japanese History: Handling Controversy over Visual Resources on Japanese Colonialism

Rare Taisho period posters from the USC Libraries collection include works promoting tourism in Japan’s Asian colonies, areas such as the Shandong Peninsula and Manchuria. This presentation will introduce a student curated digital exhibit of posters from 2020 and specifically draw attention to those posters which represent areas beyond the Japanese archipelago, highlighting their use as propaganda. The presentation will also address ethical issues around exhibiting such material in light of current geo-political tensions in the East Asian region, and discuss how we addressed criticism and complaints from some members of the Chinese American community about the exhibit. Questions asked will include what is the role of institutions, particularly those in the West, in preserving and making accessible such resources on Japanese and East Asian history, and how do we steward them responsibly?