japanese-postcard

In 2015, Penn Ph.D. candidate Robert Hegwood, a scholar of Japanese/American cultural relations in the mid-20th century, purchased a rather innocuous looking “Scrap Book” at a used book store during a stay in Tokyo. Inside this commercially-produced scrapbook is a collection of postcards, welcome booklets, travel ephemera, and training documents collected by an unidentified Japanese sailor of the Renshu Kantai 練習艦隊, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s Training Fleet, during a 1936 voyage to the United States. From 1903 to 1940, the Renshu Kantai took such training deployment cruises almost every year, with graduates of the Imperial Japanese Naval Academy, the Naval Engineering Academy, and the Naval Paymasters Academy spending several months traveling around the Pacific Ocean, occasionally venturing as far as the Mediterranean Sea or the East Coast of the United States. The 1936 cruise (lasting from June 9 to November 3) saw Vice-Admiral Zengo Yoshida commanding the ships Yakumo and Iwate as they sailed across the Pacific Ocean from Yokosuka to Seattle, down along the West Coast and up through the Panama Canal as far as New York City. –Japanese Naval Cruise Books and the Renshu Kantai by Michael P. Williams

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a character that finds a vintage scrapbook that uncovers a mystery.

Journaling Prompt: How do you save things that you want to remember?

Art Prompt: Vintage Scrapbook
Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the value of keeping memorabilia and how they can easily and inexpensively get started.

Photo Credit: Charlton Clemens on Flickr

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