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A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
bbryan@antiochcollege.edu
 

War Memories: Intergenerational, Intercultural Oral History Project

About the Project

War Memories explores memories of World War II by Japanese-speaking people who lived in the Japanese Empire during the war. Simplification of imperial honorifics—linguistic encoding of the emperor’s status— in newspapers after Japan’s defeat is considered as one of the most important changes in the use of Japanese language in the twentieth century. Initially as a part of her sociolinguistics dissertation project, Noriko  Sugimori began to interview Japanese people about their perceptions of drastic simplification of imperial honorifics. (http://www.bu.edu/applied-linguistics/files/2010/07/Noriko-Sugimoris-abstract.pdf) During these interviews, people who began to talk about their ideas about honorific use quickly digressed into telling their war memories. Being touched by their untold war memories, Sugimori continued to interview people after finishing her dissertation.

Sugimori interviewed more than one hundred people in total. Through years of fieldwork in Japan, her interview method changed from audio recording using a cassette tape, digital tape recording, and then to videotaping. She has collected twenty video interviews with survivors.  Recently she began to interview other Japanese-speaking people in the Japanese Empire, including resident Koreans as well as Japanese war brides residing in the United States.

Sugimori’s students have been involved with all the process of this project. They have interviewed people with Sugimori, transcribed the interviews in Japanese, indexed the interviews in OHMS, and have written about the project.

Based on the understanding that students are history makers as well as history recorders, students who are involved in this project will also be interviewed and videotaped. The students’ interview videos will be transcribed in English and translated into Japanese. For the demonstration of the transcription and translation, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) has been used. OHMS is an open source web application to enhance online access to oral history interviews. Its technology for bilingual use was completed in 2016, and this project became OHMS’s first bilingual project after its release. In the second and third years of this project, interviews with the family members of Japanese and of Kalamazoo College students who worked on this project will be added.

Project Team

Noriko Sugimori
Kalamazoo College, Faculty

Noriko is Associate Professor of Japanese Language at Kalamazoo, where she teaches courses including Advanced Japanese and Japanese Language in Society. Sugimori is a sociolinguist, currently working on videotaping interviews with Japanese and Korean people who were born in 1934 or earlier about their experiences during World War II.  She and her students transcribe the videos in Japanese, then translate into English. Her collection of video taped oral histories will be among the first bilingual project for the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS), an open source tool from the Nunn Center at the University of Kentucky.

 

Click here for Noriko’s archive, posts, and tutorials.

Noriko SugimoriKalamazoo College, Faculty

Noriko is Associate Professor of Japanese Language at Kalamazoo, where she teaches courses including Advanced Japanese and Japanese Language in Society. Sugimori is a sociolinguist, currently working on videotaping interviews with Japanese and Korean people who were born in 1934 or earlier about their experiences during World War II.  She and her students transcribe the videos in Japanese, then translate into English. Her collection of video taped oral histories will be among the first bilingual project for the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS), an open source tool from the Nunn Center at the University of Kentucky.

 

Click here for Noriko’s archive, posts, and tutorials.

Takumi Matsuzawa
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Takumi is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with degrees in Physics and Chemistry. Besides his interest in science, he also acts as an anti-war advocate. He is concerned about the apathy that the younger generation has towards war, and believes spreading the memoirs of soldiers and their families during World War II would enhance the anti-war movement. He contributes to Noriko Sugimori’s project by transcribing the interviews of Japanese or Korean people who experienced the World War II into English and provides technical assistance. Takumi’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Takumi MatsuzawaKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Takumi is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with degrees in Physics and Chemistry. Besides his interest in science, he also acts as an anti-war advocate. He is concerned about the apathy that the younger generation has towards war, and believes spreading the memoirs of soldiers and their families during World War II would enhance the anti-war movement. He contributes to Noriko Sugimori’s project by transcribing the interviews of Japanese or Korean people who experienced the World War II into English and provides technical assistance. Takumi’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Christa Scheck
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Christa Scheck is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Japanese. Ever since high school she has been strongly interested in working in translation of Japanese to English, and won 3rd place in a state-wide Japanese speech contest for a speech on the issues of literal translation. She was very excited to contribute to Noriko Sugimori’s project both to further improve upon her translation skills and to learn more about Japan in the context of World War II accounts. Christa’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in both 2016 and 2017.

Christa ScheckKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Christa Scheck is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Japanese. Ever since high school she has been strongly interested in working in translation of Japanese to English, and won 3rd place in a state-wide Japanese speech contest for a speech on the issues of literal translation. She was very excited to contribute to Noriko Sugimori’s project both to further improve upon her translation skills and to learn more about Japan in the context of World War II accounts. Christa’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in both 2016 and 2017.

Kiyoto Tanemura
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Kiyoto is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics. When Kiyoto arrived in the U.S. for high school, he struggled with the indifference some of his peers expressed toward war and other forms of human rights violations. He hopes his participation in Dr. Noriko Sugimori’s project makes direct accounts of World War II more available and help people look beyond facts and statistics to find the humans that were affected. Kiyoto’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Kiyoto TanemuraKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Kiyoto is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics. When Kiyoto arrived in the U.S. for high school, he struggled with the indifference some of his peers expressed toward war and other forms of human rights violations. He hopes his participation in Dr. Noriko Sugimori’s project makes direct accounts of World War II more available and help people look beyond facts and statistics to find the humans that were affected. Kiyoto’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Jamie Heywood
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Jamie is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with a degree in East Asian Studies. She has a passion for the Japanese language and believes that oral histories provide an important personal perspective that is often missing in academia. By participating in Professor Noriko Sugimori’s project, she hopes to improve her translation skills and encourage the valuing of oral histories. Jamie’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Jamie HeywoodKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Jamie is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with a degree in East Asian Studies. She has a passion for the Japanese language and believes that oral histories provide an important personal perspective that is often missing in academia. By participating in Professor Noriko Sugimori’s project, she hopes to improve her translation skills and encourage the valuing of oral histories. Jamie’s research was supported by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Research Fund in 2016.

Emma Metty
Antioch College, Project Manager and Digital Developer

Emma is part of the graduating class of 2019 at Antioch College currently working on her self design major Culture as a Historical Process. She completed her second and third co-op’s with OHLA and is working at OHLA again for her final co-op. Her skills include knowledge of audio and video editing and a love for photography.

Emma MettyAntioch College, Project Manager and Digital Developer

Emma is part of the graduating class of 2019 at Antioch College currently working on her self design major Culture as a Historical Process. She completed her second and third co-op’s with OHLA and is working at OHLA again for her final co-op. Her skills include knowledge of audio and video editing and a love for photography.

Min Soo Kim
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Min Soo Kim was born in South Korea and raised in Seoul. He graduated Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies and studied mathematics for two years in Imperial College London. When he decided to pursue something other than mathematics, he attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He is currently studying chemistry with a concentration on biochemistry and molecular biology.  Min Soo’s research was funded by the Mellon Foundation/GLCA in 2016 and by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Study Fund in 2017.

Min Soo KimKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Min Soo Kim was born in South Korea and raised in Seoul. He graduated Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies and studied mathematics for two years in Imperial College London. When he decided to pursue something other than mathematics, he attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He is currently studying chemistry with a concentration on biochemistry and molecular biology.  Min Soo’s research was funded by the Mellon Foundation/GLCA in 2016 and by a Kalamazoo College Faculty & Student Summer Study Fund in 2017.

Alex Fairhall
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Alex Fairhall is a Kalamazoo Class of 2019 student, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Japanese. He joined the project working with Professor Sugimori in order to advance his understanding of the Japanese language and to improve his perception of world events, both past and present. He believes this project has the potential to revolutionize the sharing of culture and history, and hopes he can aid in doing so. Alex’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Alex FairhallKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Alex Fairhall is a Kalamazoo Class of 2019 student, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Japanese. He joined the project working with Professor Sugimori in order to advance his understanding of the Japanese language and to improve his perception of world events, both past and present. He believes this project has the potential to revolutionize the sharing of culture and history, and hopes he can aid in doing so. Alex’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Reika Murakmi
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Reika Murakmi is a fourth year student of Doshisha University, studying for a major in law and political science, particularly international law and international relations. She studied abroad in Kalamazoo College for a year, during which time she worked as one of the teaching assistants for the Japanese classes offered at the school. She has been to Hiroshima as her graduation trip at primary school and has heard about some stories from people who survived the WWII. From this experience, she strongly felt that we should not forget such real memories. She believes that OHMS should help provide people around the world with better understanding about the WWII. Reika’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Reika MurakmiKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Reika Murakmi is a fourth year student of Doshisha University, studying for a major in law and political science, particularly international law and international relations. She studied abroad in Kalamazoo College for a year, during which time she worked as one of the teaching assistants for the Japanese classes offered at the school. She has been to Hiroshima as her graduation trip at primary school and has heard about some stories from people who survived the WWII. From this experience, she strongly felt that we should not forget such real memories. She believes that OHMS should help provide people around the world with better understanding about the WWII. Reika’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Yoji Hayashibe
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Yoji Hayashibe is a Japanese student studying at Waseda University. He is interested in American liberal arts, and is in a liberal arts department in Waseda. For this reason he went to Kalamazoo college for 2016 to 2017, studying Journalism, Greek philosophy, Judaism, and Psychology. Through studying liberal arts and working as a Japanese language TA, he came to be interested in OHLA. Yoji’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Yoji HayashibeKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Yoji Hayashibe is a Japanese student studying at Waseda University. He is interested in American liberal arts, and is in a liberal arts department in Waseda. For this reason he went to Kalamazoo college for 2016 to 2017, studying Journalism, Greek philosophy, Judaism, and Psychology. Through studying liberal arts and working as a Japanese language TA, he came to be interested in OHLA. Yoji’s research was funded by a Kalamazoo College Faculty Student Summer Research Fund in 2017.

Carolyn Topper
Kalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Carolyn Topper is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Japanese. She believes that in the United States, war is often discussed in terms of figures and ideology, often leaving out the people who are affected by it. She hopes that Noriko Sugimori’s project will bring light to the human aspect of war and inspire empathy for those who are the victims of it.

Carolyn TopperKalamazoo College, Research Assistant

Carolyn Topper is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College with a degree in Studio Art and a minor in Japanese. She believes that in the United States, war is often discussed in terms of figures and ideology, often leaving out the people who are affected by it. She hopes that Noriko Sugimori’s project will bring light to the human aspect of war and inspire empathy for those who are the victims of it.

Written by

Noriko is Associate Professor of Japanese Language at Kalamazoo, where she teaches courses including Advanced Japanese and Japanese Language in Society. Sugimori is a sociolinguist, currently working on videotaping interviews with Japanese speaking people who were born in 1934 or earlier about their experiences during World War II. She and her students transcribe the videos in Japanese, then translate into English. Her collection of video taped oral histories will be the first bilingual project for the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS), an open source tool from the Nunn Center at the University of Kentucky.

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