Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

日本語讀本 Nihongo Tokuhon (Japanese Reader) (6 vols.)

Honolulu, T.H. [Japan]: 布哇敎育會 Hawaii Kyoiku Kai (Hawai Kyoikukai), 1936-1937. First edition. Softcover. Octavos. Vol.2: [1] 78pp. Vol.3: 108pp. Vol.4: 123pp. Vol.5: 122pp. Vol.7: 123pp. Vol.9: 109pp. Original multicolored illustrated stiff textured paper wrappers, with black lettering on the front covers. Spines reinforced with library buckram tape.

This collection consists of 6 of 12 known volumes of the now extremely scarce series of readers, produced for Japanese-American elementary school children in Hawaii. Included here are volumes 2-5, 7 and 9, of this series, which was published between 1936 and 1940. The volumes are all profusely illustrated throughout with multicolored images to accompany the Japanese text. All cover images are printed lithographically while all interior illustrations are finely printed using offset color lithography. Content throughout includes scenes of daily life in Hawaii, including in the domestic setting, animals, children's adventures, and Japanese folk tales. Japanese text throughout is printed in green and blue, including Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana, for reading comprehension.

Wrappers with light age toning, a few of which have a small number of minor to light stains or smudges. The cover of the second volume has a closed folding tear a long a small crease in the bottom right corner of the front cover. The crease also affects some of the initial pages of the book. Interiors of all volumes otherwise all clean and bright. Wrappers in very good- to near fine, interiors in near fine condition overall. All volumes protected in modern mylar. vg- to near fine. Item #51204

As part of a larger swath of nativist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments and trends in the United States from the late 19th-early 20th century, Japanese-language education was targeted. Asian immigration in the United States was seen suspiciously by many at the time and was related to the sociopolitical concept of the so-called "yellow peril". In the late teens and early 1920s a number of states and territories across the county enacted legislation restricting Japanese-language education. A 1920 report by the Federal Commission of Education declared that the 20,000 students of Hawaii's 163 Japanese schools were being "retarded in accepting American customs, manners, ideals, principles, and standards," and recommended the schools be taken over by the public education system. The Hawaiian Territorial Legislature passed the Gaikokugo Gakko Torishimari-ho (Foreign Language School Prohibition Law) in 1920 and the Gakunen Tanshuku Kitei (the School-year Reduction Law) in 1922, severely limiting Japanese instruction. The most prominent publisher of Japanese textbooks in Hawaii at that point, the Hawaii Kyoiku Kai (established in 1916) found itself in crisis. A group of schools who contested the law broke away and formed the Honolulu Kyoiku Kai during this time. In 1927, these and other similar laws were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. At this point Hawaii Kyoiku Kai began functioning again. Japanese-language education entered a period of relative stability, until the Bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Bibliographic resources: Japanese Language School Textbook collection at the University of Hawaii; Densho Encyclopedia.

Price: $1,500.00

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