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Why an American Quaker Tutor for the Crown Prince?An Imperial Household's Strategy to Save Emperor Hirohito in MacArthur's Japan

Hoshino, Kaoru (2010) Why an American Quaker Tutor for the Crown Prince?An Imperial Household's Strategy to Save Emperor Hirohito in MacArthur's Japan. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis examines the motives behind the Japanese imperial household's decision to invite an American Christian woman, Elizabeth Gray Vining, to the court as tutor to Crown Prince Akihito about one year after the Allied Occupation of Japan began. In the past, the common narrative of scholars and the media has been that the new tutor, Vining, came to the imperial household at the invitation of Emperor Hirohito, who personally asked George Stoddard, head of the United States Education Mission to Japan, to find a tutor for the crown prince. While it may have been true that the emperor directly spoke to Stoddard regarding the need of a new tutor for the prince, the claim that the emperor came up with such a proposal entirely on his own is debatable given his lack of decision-making power, as well as the circumstances surrounding him and the imperial institution at the time of the Occupation. From September 1945 to the end of his term in April 1951, General Douglas MacArthur led the operation of the Occupation. As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, MacArthur had a considerable effect on the affairs and decision-making processes of the imperial household, whose major concern was the emperor's life and sovereignty that had been at stake since Japan's surrender. To protect the emperor in MacArthur's Japan, the imperial advisers made a series of stratagems to project a new image of the emperor favorable to MacArthur who had a personal aim to Christianize Japan. Given these circumstances, this thesis argues that it is not coincidental that the emperor, or whoever was in charge of finding a tutor for the crown prince, requested that the new tutor be American Christian; the purpose of the new tutor was to provide the crown prince English-language lessons, which, from an objective point of view, could have been conducted by a non-American or non-Christian native English speaker. Ultimately, this thesis shows that the imperial household's effort to invite a new tutor for the crown prince was more politically-oriented than has been interpreted in the past.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hoshino, Kaorukah136@pitt.eduKAH136
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmethurst, Richard J
Committee MemberHashimoto, Akiko
Committee MemberChilVan Dorenson, Clark
Date: 1 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 April 2010
Approval Date: 1 June 2010
Submission Date: 26 March 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > East Asian Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Allied Occupation; Douglas MacArthur; Elizabeth Gray Vining; Emperor Hirohito; Imperial Household; SCAP; Tutor to the crown prince; Crown Prince Akihito; Japan
Other ID:, etd-03262010-150454
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:37


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