Today: Special Collections in Hornbake 10:00am - 4:00pm, by appointment only

Civil Censorship Detachment

On August 30, 1945, two weeks after Japan’s unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur landed on Japanese soil. General MacArthur's General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) issued the Code for Japanese Press, which essentially subsumed press freedom to the authority and the needs of the SCAP. The Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) was transferred from the Philippines to enforce its mission in Japan. Under the supervision of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence (G-2), the CCD reviewed all civilian communications, including personal correspondence, telephone calls, telegraph, radio broadcasts, and publications. The CCD operation continued from October 1945 to November 1949. The holdings of the Prange Collection are the materials of this period that once constituted the publication files of the CCD.

During the period of the CCD operation, Japanese publishers, including publishing houses, organizations, and individuals, were required to submit two copies of their proposed publications to the CCD for review. The publications were submitted in pre-publication form, such as galley proofs or manuscripts, or in published form. CCD examiners were Japanese and Japanese Americans with excellent English-Japanese bilingual skills. These reviewers wrote censorship markings directly on the publications in colored pencil and marked each item with CCD classification and accession numbers, the date received, a Romanized title, proposed circulation, and paper type. One copy of the publication was returned to the publisher with publishing instructions. The second copy was retained as a file copy by the CCD.

When CCD examiners identified possible violations of the Code for Japanese Press, they reported any concerns to supervisors, who were in charge of final determination of censorship action. Censorship action could include deletions, complete suppression, publishing delays, and other changes. No indication of censorship could appear in publications, such as blackening out of text or use of ellipses. Spaces left by the deletions had to be replaced with alternative texts. This reflected SCAP’s policy to protect the confidentiality of its censorship operation and to keep the general public unaware of SCAP’s censorship of Japanese publications.