Today, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives launched its first interactive online exhibition website, Fanning the Flames: Propaganda in Modern Japan which also shares the name of the accompanying publication, edited by Dr. Kaoru (Kay) Ueda, curator of the Japanese Diaspora collection at Hoover, and the forthcoming physical exhibition in Hoover Tower. An essential aspect to this project was the range of academic perspectives on select topics which included contributions from the world’s top scholars in the fields of Chinese history, the Japanese military, the media, intelligence, and art history. The online exhibition presents curated selections of rare nishiki-e (multicolored woodblock prints), kamishibai (paper plays), and other compelling material from the collections of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives on the history of modern Japanese propaganda, encompassing the Meiji Era (1868–1912) through to the Pacific theater of War II (1941–45).
There are a few features to take note of when visiting the online exhibition. In Digital Stories, visitors can view interactive, media storytelling pages that highlight collection materials in context with some of the core topics that are explored in the history of modern Japanese propaganda. It also includes scholarly research with digital features, such as interactive story maps. Collections highlights are more than just highlights; visitors will get even richer access to individual items—such as fully translated kamishibai scripts, which inspired the Fanning the Flames project. Using the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), high-quality digital records are served from the Hoover Institution Library & Archives digital collections site (currently in beta) and visitors can experience the collection up close. Visitors can engage even further by attending talks, watching recorded speaker events, and solving virtual jigsaw puzzles.
Dr. Ueda explains, “The online exhibition offers a dynamic exploration of Japanese propaganda, supported by cutting-edge scholarly research and worldwide digital collaboration. This online show aims to ask questions like the power of media, grassroots participation in war frenzies, and the accuracy of disseminated information—all pertinent to today’s world."
The online exhibition is an opportunity for anyone to learn about propaganda in modern Japan, and its impact, at their own pace. It is also a primer for the physical exhibition which is expected to open later this month.
Visit the online exhibition website https://fanningtheflames.hoover.org