The newest history exhibit at the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital is inspired by the capital’s famous cherry trees.

, Girl Scout History Project

We timed the installation to coincide with the city’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

It was a great idea. Except that the coronavirus decided to come to Washington at the same time. The festival was cancelled, the Girl Scout offices closed.

While the city offers virtual strolls among the blooming trees, we can do the same thing with the exhibit.

, Girl Scout History Project
One of the three donated scrapbooks from Okinawa

The exhibit draws from three scrapbooks donated by the family of long-time Girl Scout Fran Phoenix. Each album has a heavy black lacquer cover with mother-of-pearl inlay, and each belonged to a different US Girl Scout troop in Okinawa, Japan, in the late 1950s.

Those Pesky Prepositions

(This may get complicated, so grab a buddy. )

The albums were created by US Girl Scout troops in Japan. Their activities are preserved, as well as their many activities with local troops. That means we have Girl Scouts in Japan, Girl Scouts of Japan, and combinations of both.

Plus, the Girl Scouts of Okinawa is a branch of USA Girl Scouts Overseas (which has had many names over time), and Girl Scouts of the Ryukyu Islands is a division of the Girl Scouts of Japan.

, Girl Scout History Project
This exhibit covers a range of Girl Scout groups in Japan

Not Japanese Girl Guides?

Oh my, this is confusing. Let’s go to the exhibit signs for help. First, the American context:

, Girl Scout History Project

Yes, Japanese Girl Scouts

Now, the Japanese side. Although their group briefly was Girl Guides, they have proudly been Girl Scouts for nearly a century.

, Girl Scout History Project
, Girl Scout History Project

In fact, the Japanese Girl Scout organization has a special online history exhibit marking their 100th birthday.

, Girl Scout History Project
Japanese Girl Guide troop, 1920s

Got it? We’ll look at some photos and clippings from those scrapbooks in Part 2.

In the meantime, enjoy these images of our exhibit.

5 responses to “Girl Scouts and Japan, part 1”

  1. […] a refresh? Return to Part 1 or Part 2 of this […]

  2. […] no one could see the exhibit in person, I did several blog posts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) that include photos and clippings from the Okinawa scrapbooks. Many came […]

  3. […] 1953 to 1954 she directed the Far East American Girl Scout Association in Japan. “These wives and daughters of our security forces’ personnel, State […]

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