Food rations in the Japanese forces

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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Sewer King
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Post by Sewer King » 16 Jan 2008 00:58

From Japanese efforts to fill their soldiers’ mess kits in Burma’s jungles, we return to the same in the Pacific. Naturally, rations are in decline all round.

The Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) distributed the following compilation of Combat Regulations for Japanese Garrison Units, translated from captured documents. From CinCPac CinCPOA Bulletin 115-44, 18 August 1944, page 14:
Chapter VI

Equipment, Supplies, and Rations


Because of the difficulty encountered in obtaining supplies at crucial times, it is necessary to ration war materials, make full use of maintenance facilities, preserve resources, attempt to live off the land and devise a means of holding the island for a long period of time. Commanders of all ranks must strive for the conservation of necessary war materials.

... Rations must be stored in such a way so as not to lose their nutritious value. They must be distributed, prepared, and consumed in such a way as to insure the health of the officers and men.

Avoid the use of food which spoils easily and endeavor to ration non-perishable foods. A large supply of charcoal, salt, fats, sugar, powdered soy sauce, and powdered bean mash should be on hand.

A vitamin deficiency will result when fresh foods are not obtainable. Such extras as liquor, sweets, and tobacco, as well as combat extras and special foods for sick and seriously wounded will be conserved, and a store of these goods will be built up,

Although all plans for the supply of other rations may be exhausted, the water supply must be maintained. If possible, wells and tanks will be established in the various positions. If this cannot be done, wells must be dug in covered places with ducts leading to tanks in the various positions. It is advantageous to set up a system for storing rainwater or to make arrangements for the purification of sea water. In the northern islands, snow and ice can be used to supply water. Water discipline must be followed.

When water sources are limited, all efforts will be exerted to prevent pollution. When withdrawing from a position, the water supply facilities will be destroyed. Poison will be used to make certain that the water cannot be used by the enemy.
Here again is the apparent translation of fermented soy bean paste (miso) simply as “bean mash” though it does refer to the dry product.

These regulations are very general guidelines, and refer to northern garrisons as well as island ones. Occupying US forces tested water sources in captured areas, but I wonder how often it was that the defending Japanese actually ever poisoned these as called for here. The only such incidences I know were biological warfare tactics in central China.


=======================


Cited above, Sakaida’s book described Navy food ashore at Rabaul. The following is about the Combined Fleet anchorage at Truk, in the Caroline Islands.

From John Prados’ Combined Fleet Decoded: the Secret History of American Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II (New York: Random House, 1995), page 538:
Seaman Hagimoto remembers the second set of Truk [air] raids, on April 29-30 [1944], as beginning the morning after local commanders issued sake, beer, cigarettes, and sweets to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday. Again the attacks were massive and all defending fighters were lost in the first hour of battle. The raids wiped out the last of two dozen fishing boats that had provided an important fraction of Truk’s food supplies, while Army reinforcements that had swollen the garrison brought high manpower levels that began to threaten the supply of local foodstuffs – principally pineapples and breadfruit – and thus brought tension with the local population.

Like Rabaul before it, [and after the great raids, Truk ended up] a backwater post, no more important or better supplied than many other Japanese island garrisons left behind by the war …
Here is another account of food shortage at Truk – and a grimmer one.

From William H. Stewart's haunting book Ghost Fleet of the Truk Lagoon (Missoula, Montana: Pictorial Histories Publishing Co, 1985), page 70:
Starvation

... For those ashore [at Truk] hunger would be a constant companion. Their diet would consist mainly of sweet potatoes and taro mixed with the rice the submarines delivered. This would occasionally be supplemented with small rations of vegetables and fish, both of which were increasingly in short supply. Every available plot of ground on the mountainous islands was planted in sweet potatoes to be eaten with bananas, coconut, and breadfruit when in season. Since there was no livestock, fresh protein was not available except for a decreasing supply of fish dynamited from the lagoon. For both the Trukese and the Japanese deaths from malnutrition and avitaminosis reached several hundred each month. Rats were everywhere and when captured by the soldiers, were eaten. Rat-bite fever went unrecognized, and the use of "night soil" to fertilize garden patches made matters worse.
Stewart includes a doubly disturbing report about food trouble with the Trukese as mentioned by Prados. From page 72:

A Trukese man named Pueni had a brother who had been taken into custody after trying to steal food from Japanese gardens. The brother was afterwards sent to at an Army hospital at Moen Island. Pueni found out long afterward that his brother had died from use in surgical demonstrations. In further inquiry after the remains, he was aghast to hear an awful rumor that they had then been eaten by the Japanese.

Apart from medical atrocities here at Truk and elsewhere in the Empire, this last was a rare occurrence. Other instances of cannibalism by a few Japanese are known from New Guinea, the Bonin Islands, and possibly China too. However, it should be remembered that there were other Japanese who repudiated such doings and testified against those responsible.

-- Alan

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Post by Pax Melmacia » 16 Jan 2008 03:00

The men found the boiled soybeans [the Japanese gave them] were given hard to digest, so several Dutch prisoners from Indonesia, who were familiar with tempeh, suggested fermentation. After obtaining a microbial culture, the men soaked the beans and fermented them outdoors in the hot climate. The resulting product was successfully used in treating protein and vitamin deficiencies" according to a British medical report ...
This sounds a lot like Japanese natto, except this is wrapped in straw and buried. I heard even some Japanese consider it an acquired taste..

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Post by Sewer King » 16 Jan 2008 04:53

From Dr. Tokuji Watanabe’s The Book of Soybeans (Tokyo: Japan Publications, Inc, 1984), pages 73 and 82:
Natto

The Japanese fermented food called natto, the production of which involves the action of the bacteria Bacillus natto, goes well with steamed rice foods (foods similar to natto are to be found in Thailand and Indonesia too). More popular in the eastern part of Japan, natto is generally seasoned with soy sauce. Though small domestic soybeans are preferred, reductions in crops have made it necessary to rely on small Chinese beans or on beans that have been sift-graded. Selected beans are washed and soaked in water overnight., They are then cooked in a steamer or a pressure cooker (from 1 to 1.5kg/cm2) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are about as soft as beans destined to be used for miso … After from 14 to 20 hours at 40deg C, the Bacillus natto will have covered the beans with a white coating.

In the past, steamed beans were wrapped in containers made of rice straw. The wild Bacillus natto living in the straw caused the fermentation that results in natto. But since contamination by other unwanted microorganisms reduced the quality of the natto, this method has largely been abandoned [today] in favor of inoculation with pure-cultured Bacillus. Dividing the steamed bean-mixture into 100g batches demands time and labor ...

Tempeh

The Indonesian food called tempeh is made by soaking soybeans in water, boiling them for an hour, cooling them to 40deg C, inoculating them with Rhizopus spores, and piling them up to submit them to prefermentation for several hours. They are then put into containers (traditionally banana leaves but today more often plastic or metal) and allowed to ferment at 30deg C for 2 to 3 days. Care must be taken to ensure that the temperature does not rise too high … At the conclusion of this process, the surface of the beans and the interstices among them will be covered and filled with a white mycelium …

To prevent spoilage it is sometimes dried or stored in salt … [Thus] tempeh can be kept for several months .. Though still in small amounts, tempeh is now produced in Japan ...
Although the PoWs made tempeh, there are natto-like foods in Indonesia after all.

The author also lists the following
Other Ways of Eating Soybeans – Simple Traditional Japanese Foods

Parched beans

… Parched beans are included in some varieties of mochi (glutinous rice cake) and in okoshi, a confection of puffed rice bound together with sugar syrup. In the past, [parched beans] were eaten with salt, miso, or soy sauce.

Boiled beans

Soybeans that have been allowed to stand overnight in water are boiled for a long time until tender and seasoned … Boiled soybeans flavored with soy sauce and sugar are still sold under the name of budo-mame (grape beans). Sometimes [they] are boiled only long enough to remove the raw odor. These are then eaten flavored with soy sauce …

Beaten and mashed soybeans

Since soaking and boiling take time, soybeans are sometimes crushed flat on a stone surface – in some instances after having been soaked or boiled. As well as being crushed one by one, soybeans are mashed into a gritslike material in mortars. When soaked soybeans are ground, mixed with water, and boiled, the resulting substance is called go (soy puree), which, after having been filtered to eliminate solid residue, can be used as soy milk or to make tofu. Go is itself employed as food. It may be added to miso soup, poured as a dressing on vegetables, or used as a substitute for red bean an (sweet paste). When fresh green soybeans (edamame) are used, they are boiled for ten to twenty minutes; ground; and flavored with salt, sugar, and soy sauce. The resulting dish is called zundu or jindu.

Molded soybean mash

Soybean meal may be mixed with water and molded into semicircular loaves that are then sliced, cooked, and flavored with salt or sugar. These slices were popular in western Japan. A similar effect can be made by water-grinding soybeans that have been allowed to soak in water overnight. The resulting mash may be formed into dumplings or other shapes, skewered, and grilled. In some parts of Japan, dumplings of this kind are used in miso soup. Though not the same as tofu, molded mashed soybeans are in some respects similar and for this reason are called jinta-dofu.

…[Molded mash is also] mixed with rice flour and ground in a mortar. They are then formed into rodlike shapes called shitogi thar may be sliced and either eaten as they are or toasted. In this case the rice flour is made digestible by repeated grinding.

Crushed or ground soybeans, mixed with a little water and some salt, are put down to ferment in lidded ceramic jars or other suitable containers. Barley koji added to the mixture causes rapid fermentation since the beans have been crushed. The soybean paste is said to be ready in about a week.
At least now I see that “soy bean mash” can possibly be more accurate in English translation than I thought.

We Filipinos also have tofu and sweetened glutinous rice cake (called tokwa and bibingka respectively). My mother grew up in occupied Rizal Province north of Manila and mentioned food shortages under the Japanese, but not what foodstuffs in particular.

Some minor interest. According to author info, Dr. Watanabe was a Tokyo native born 1917, graduated from the faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo, 1941. In 1945 he entered the National Food Research Institute, of which he became director in 1971. Any possible prewar or wartime service aside, he might well have a perspective all his own about food in wartime Japan.

Soybeans are not a staple of the Pacific islands and if shipped there, would have to be cooked and processed in these or other ways. They are more likely in the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and mainland Asia. China seems the most likely place for Japanese troops to eat soy foods more widely. Yet from the above they still take preparation time and labor that would seem to restrict it to rear-area garrison kitchens.

Any army’s food is often the lowest common denominators of its national cuisine, and some of these traditional Japanese soy foods sound like regional ones. Although as noted before, soldiers do not often have wide choices of food preferences.

-- Alan

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Post by Sewer King » 21 Jan 2008 04:28

Author John Prados (cited earlier) made only one passing mention of the tensions between Japanese troops desperate for food at Truk and the islanders they displaced for it.

There is much more about this in an interesting social and historical study by Lin Poyer, Suzanne Palgout, and Laurence Marshall Carucci, The Typhoon of War: Micronesian Experiences of the Pacific War (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001).

Allied campaigns to reduce or take Japanese bases across Micronesia are well-known. But the authors here look at life for the generations of islanders who lived first under the Japanese mandate, then the hardships and perils of the war, and the American administration afterwards. This is another of the largely unexamined sides of the Pacific war that modern scholarship looks to.

Much of the book is necessarily based on narratives from now-elderly Micronesians, and the authors account for these as such. By their telling the Japanese treated them as third-class subjects, somewhat after Koreans, Okinawans and Formosans -- but comparatively benevolently before the war. During the war Allied air attack and landings, reinforcement of the island garrisons, and above all supply shortages led the Japanese to treat the islanders more harshly. The latter were drafted for labor and farming, sometimes to the deprivation of their own food. However, they recalled instances where certain Japanese deliberately made sure to treat them fairly, or at least not violently.

Naturally food was a concern for the Japanese on these distant islands, at the farthest end of vulnerable supply routes. If a native population could live on their local foodstuffs in peacetime, how could it do so with large Japanese garrisons and under constant attack? From pages 171-75:
As the Japanese military prepared for siege, they took control not only of islanders’ land and buildings, but of all crops; in places they even managed wild foods and marine products. “This was the time that we felt hardships,” [a Kosrae native] said after the first American bombing … {Another] worked in a military mess, “but all the food was for the soldiers, we weren’t allowed to eat it.” So he says, “we would cook food every day for the soldiers – and steal some.”

Bypassed Marshall Islands

Though no large shipments reached the bypassed islands after January 1944, Imperial Headquarters had tried to supply its Micronesian garrisons with six months’ to a year’s worth of provisions, and three submarines reached Mili [Atoll] in the first months after American invasion. Rationing (begun as early as May 1943 on Jaluij) came in earnest when Kwajalein fell, disrupting the regional supply system. A [cook from Kiribati] who escaped from Mili in May 1944 reported that the food situation was fine, with soldiers receiving three meals a day … But this was not to remain the case. Not only did [American surveillance] block resupply, but constant air attacks napalmed gardens and prevented lagoon travel or use of marine resources. [Another islander said] “Well, things were different on account of food, but it was still okay. We ate coconut and fish, we fished every day. We ate breadfruit also. The Japanese on Maloelap had not yet begun to hate our eating as they did on the other atolls; we still ate breadfruit, we still made arrowroot, they did not hate us if we made these things. But we also made food for them. We helped the Japanese soldiers.”

Commanders of the vulnerable bases learned from Marshallese how to make local foods and accustomed their troops to the taste. (But the Japanese disliked pungent breadfruit: If there was preserved breadfruit they would say ‘What is it? Who brought all this shit?’) Such preparation paid off for the small garrison on Ronglap. Once imports stopped, Japanese there ate from their gardens, excelled at fishing, and learned to make and appreciate Marshallese foods such as arrowroot and coconut toddy (“Sometimes they were better at making coconut toddy than we were.”)

… at Pingelap islet in Jaluij … the garrison controlled food production, forwarding to the main base supplies of coconut toddy and toffee, pickled clams, salt fish, dried fish, ripe coconuts, breadfruit, and fish taken by dynamiting (much of the work was done by soldiers). Marshallese stretched their rations by scavenging [although] some work bosses shared the pot among Japanese and islanders .. but [they] could not harvest food except under supervision – “It was illegal for you, personally, to climb and harvest a breadfruit or throw down a drinking coconut; they would shoot you.” Eating was prohibited – “The Japanese hated it if we ate. They held onto the food and kept it from us, and there were many people who went hungry and died.” On Mili, food was considered Japanese property and was carefully allotted to islanders. [One recalled] “No one could say ‘eat.’ If you were caught [with something, it meant] you had stolen. You had to give everything to the Japanese.” Friday was food ration day. “But Monday and every other day, the foods were only for them, the Japanese. The Marshallese and the Koreans ate on Fridays, and then [we] would save things up for the other times.”
There is a bright spot among these accounts:
When [another islander] was called in to share a meal at military headquarters, he learned that the commander was eating the same poor food as the Marshallese. In fact, despite (or perhaps because of) the harsh discipline, Jaluij was the safest of these atolls on which to pass these perilous months. In dramatic contrast to the thousands of deaths from malnutrition and disease among troops and laborers on the other bypassed atolls, Jaluij had no starvation and adequate living conditions and medical care, largely due to effective leadership. The Japanese admiral in his dying statement “boasted that no one had starved on his atoll” – no small achievement (USSBS 1947a:50).
Elsewhere in Micronesia, from page 182-85:
[On Pohnpei], Pohnpeians in some areas were obliged to supply food to the military, including bananas, tobacco, tapioca, sweet potatoes, coconuts, yams, and breadfruit. “The Japanese soldiers really destroyed Pohnpei. They made the land their own and took their food. They dug up yams without asking; climbed breadfruit trees … they never asked permission for anything.” In some areas, soldiers destroyed resources (for example, felling palms to eat the hearts); some who had planted extra food in response to Japanese warnings [to do so] lost it all to soldiers when they moved inland to escape the air raids … The Japanese kept strict records of supplies such as chickens and pigs; to kill one’s own pigs amounted to theft. Soldiers also practiced unofficial confiscation … one couldn’t carry food from place to place … “If I wanted to go to Palikir, I couldn’t take anything because hungry soldiers would stop and take it from me.”
Pohnpeians, however, assisted Japanese civilians and their families made refugees by bombing, and who had been unable to be evacuated from the island. The islanders did not resent them as they did the soldiers, and the civilians were grateful in return. So much so, in fact, that they remained in contact with them long after the war, sending gifts and even revisiting.
Yap, like Pohnpei and Kosrae, saw its abundant food supply stressed but not exceeded by a large military population. In some areas, soldiers dug up and destroyed taro patches, but other commanders were more careful and ordered Yapese to supply taro. Since “the Japanese did not know how to tend the taro patches,” Yapese … exerted some control over food. As the Japanese consumed their stores and resupply failed, Yapese planted sweet potatoes and did other agricultural work under military control, and the military tagged and guarded food sources.

Sweet potatoes, though fast growing, had to be harvested before ripe, and even marginal food such as small coconuts were exploited. Soldiers would steal cooked food that Yapese had prepared in the morning and left in their cooking pots when they went to unassigned labor. [One] recalled cooking for the soldiers, gathering sprouted coconuts and sweet potato tips and mixing them with fish or meat in huge pots. To fill [their own] subsistence gap, Yapese women stole from their own taro gardens, and men stole fish. They also stole tobacco, sweet potato, and tapioca leaves from Japanese gardens … Stealing on Yap also took an additional form when the military commander of a village would send people out to forage for food – that is, to steal – from areas under another military unit. In this case the Yapese stole from each other, and from other Japanese, for the Japanese.

Of the two strongly garrisoned Carolinian atolls, Satewan and Woleai, the latter suffered the greatest food stress. The seven thousand troops that arrived in April 1944 to defend Woleai airfield lived a military epic of suffering. Fifteen months of bombing destroyed installations, but it was disease and starvation that killed most; fewer than sixteen hundred survived to be evacuated in September 1945 … Woleai people lived on resources from the small ungarrisoned islets, with men staying on even the tiniest islets to protect them from Japanese foraging … the Japanese would sometimes walk to other islets at low tide and steal food, or sometimes people would give them food, knowing that they were suffering. Higher-ranking Japanese traded hoarded rice and other imports for local foods; soldiers secretly bartered with blankets and sheets.

Mortlockese actively supported the large Satewan base. As in the bypassed Marshalls, some Mortlock islands supplied taro, copra, coconut, fish, and breadfruit to the eight hundred-man garrison after supply lines were cut. From April to October 1945 … at least ten tons of taro [were sent] to Satewan every three weeks; [it was told that] each island in the Mortlocks was assigned quotas [of food] …

The Japanese base at Pulewat sent military parties to Pulap where the malnourished soldiers could regain strength and grow food, which they then dispatched to Pulewat; Pulapese were detailed to feed these soldiers and work in the gardens. The Japanese used canoes to bring the vegetables they grew – and a quota of taro from the Pulapese – to Pulewat.

[One native] recalled the Japanese commander at Pulap as “a good man” who controlled his troops. And he recalled the condition of those who arrived from Pulewat: “They were so skinny … they would lie flat, and we had to carry them on a stretcher. They were like dogs – they would lie there, and if a fly came by their mouths, they would snap at it … We would feed them, and then when they were better, they would go back to Pulewat and more would come.”
On Palau, food was also in short supply as in the Marshalls and at Truk, and just as subject to commandeering. From page 185:
Palau

… Japanese soldiers and civilians and Palauans faced food shortages and tight security regulations. Agricultural and fishing projects were initiated to meet the increased demand [of the garrisons], but more than two thousand troops died of starvation and disease.

Eventually, Japanese resorted to violence to obtain food, and Palauans took to the woods to forage. Japanese reportedly ate their horses and dogs, then turned to lizards and snakes. Kyota Dengogi, who worked as a military messenger, described seeing food thieves imprisoned, put in wire cages, and exposed outside. As he moved around Palau, he saw Japanese, Okinawans, and Koreans dying from wounds, starvation, and disease. On his way, to Ngival one day, he passed [such] a group awaiting transportation, some lying down, others leaning on trees … some already dead …
The authors do mention the reported instances of Japanese cannibalism in Micronesia:
The desperate scarcity [in the bypassed Marshalls] gave rise to frightening stories from [one islander]: “Well, we do not know because we had distanced ourselves from [the Japanese soldiers], but we heard that they ate people. They ate the Koreans, they killed the Koreans and consumed them, that’s how far it went; their food supplies were exhausted.” Such rumors were not unfounded. The US Strategic Bombing Survey (1947a: 49-50) reports that on Wotje, Maloelap, and Mili, where almost four thousand soldiers and laborers died of malnutrition, the desperate turned to eating rats, grave robbing, and cannibalism.
Finally, the authors add the same reported instance of cannibalism at Truk cited by William Stewart in the "Starvation" chapter of his Ghost Fleet of the Truk Lagoon. In The Typhoon of War this is told differently, in some awful detail. Here it was said to be a deliberate experiment on the use of human meat. Whatever the truth about these incidents in Micronesia, the very idea of cannibalism seems so un-Japanese, even where isolated examples were confirmed elsewhere.

Now back to comparatively pleasant matters about food in the Japanese forces. It is well known that many garrisons were cut off and their provisions failing. But the depths to which it drove some of the Japanese, still some others among them resisting such, are not as well known as these authors have it. Or even as I excerpted them here.

-- Alan

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Post by Peter H » 21 Jan 2008 11:09

Heating meals with candles?? 8O

SNLF chef!

Obviously concealment of night positions was paramount.
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Post by Sewer King » 21 Jan 2008 15:05

Except to the photographer with his flash bulb, far brighter than any candles! He was promptly taken back to the rear of the cave and "re-educated" about front-line light and noise discipline :lol:

There are just two mess kits here for the effort and long heating time. This is only a guess, but it could be that water is being heated rather than food. If there was just one thing the Japanese soldier would want to have hot in the field, it might be tea -- like coffee for GIs and tea for Tommy Atkins.

If so, then some colorful Japanese words would follow if a sudden draft put out the candles, just as they would in English.


=====================


That is something I regret in my chosen topic -- that I have been unable to post pictures of troop feeding. There are a number in the cited books by Rottman, Forty, and others. But for the article Aipaul found, I hadn't seen any pictures of Japanese combat ration packages before. Naturally many photos tend to be of "ideal" situations that show how well the Emperor's soldiers can eat in garrison or in the field.

-- Alan

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Post by Akira Takizawa » 21 Jan 2008 16:28

Peter H wrote:Heating meals with candles??
I have read in memoirs of soldiers that it was actually done. It took almost one night to cook rice.

Taki

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Post by Sewer King » 21 Jan 2008 18:01

If soldiers had any choice in the matter, wasn't rice eaten only with dinner?

Wouldn't it normally be easier to cook a batch of rice in a larger pot and serve it out? Of course that pre-supposes having and carrying a larger pot. Although done, I thought that cooking rice in individual mess kits would be more troublesome even under good field conditions.

It seems that candles would be precious things also. Some British in Burma found that finely-shaved bamboo would make a smokeless fire, and conceivably the Japanese there knew this too.

=====================

Who was the Japanese admiral cited above who commendably saw that there was no starvation on his Jaluij atoll command? Note: the Typhoon of War authors use the corrected spelling of Micronesian geographic names, where we would commonly know Jaluij as "Jaluit" or Pohnpei as "Ponape."

-- Alan

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Post by Akira Takizawa » 22 Jan 2008 14:03

> Wouldn't it normally be easier to cook a batch of rice in a larger pot and serve it out? Of course that pre-supposes having and carrying a larger pot. Although done, I thought that cooking rice in individual mess kits would be more troublesome even under good field conditions.

The mass cooking was done by battalion and battalion had cooking tools. But, it was not always possible, especially in battle field. At front, soldiers often cooked by themselves.

> It seems that candles would be precious things also. Some British in Burma found that finely-shaved bamboo would make a smokeless fire, and conceivably the Japanese there knew this too.

Bamboo is not available on Pacific islands. There, copra was used as smokeless fuel.

> Who was the Japanese admiral cited above who commendably saw that there was no starvation on his Jaluij atoll command?

He is admiral Nisuke Masuda.

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Post by Peter H » 22 Jan 2008 14:10

Unloading food supplies?
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Post by Peter H » 22 Jan 2008 14:47

Beer!
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Post by Peter H » 22 Jan 2008 14:48

Mealtime
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Post by Akira Takizawa » 22 Jan 2008 15:43

Peter H wrote:Unloading food supplies?
No, they are Sake.

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Post by aipaul » 22 Jan 2008 23:07

Sewer King wrote:If soldiers had any choice in the matter, wasn't rice eaten only with dinner?
The Japanese traditionally have eaten rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Post by Sewer King » 25 Jan 2008 05:54

Thanks again to all!

Here are some modern-day but traditional sake barrels like that being unloaded from the truck in the first photo. And how one barrel would appear when opened.

I guess the first and second photos would seem to be in China, or at least not in the Pacific. The troops are wearing older-style temperate uniforms.

The fourth photo of soldiers eating from bowls has some interesting small details:

- Was it common for soldiers to use decorative-painted bowls like these in the field?

- Are these artillerymen? Those look like brass shell cases in foreground and background, but I am not sure.

- Does the fundoshi (breechcloth) normally show so high up on the waist, if the shirt is not being worn, as here? Or are these senninbari?


=========================


Meanwhile, some Japanese prisoners-of-war were recruited by the Americans to write Allied propaganda leaflets to be dropped on their former comrades. In two such leaflets, thoughts of food were used as a psychological weapon.

Allison B. Gilmore wrote an intriguing study of Allied psychological warfare against Japan, You Can’t Fight Tanks with Bayonets (University of Nebraska, 1998). The book's title is that of another Japanese-language leaflet cited inside. From page 115:
Divisive propaganda also sowed suspicion about Japanese commanders’ competence. [Psywar writers] played on the known grievances of the rank-and-file against their superiors. For example, a Japanese prisoner wrote a leaflet expounding on the callous attitudes of most officers toward their men. He conceded the existence of a few kind officers but questioned whether they constituted a majority. “There are some officers, extremely inconsiderate ones,” he wrote, “hoarding several months’ rations for their own use, while giving only one go or two go of Sac-sac to the patients, without any seasoning at all. Is it necessary for you to follow those inferior commanders?”

Another PoW wrote a leaflet recounting the hardships endured by the men in his unit – meat only once a month, ever-decreasing size of the rice ration, inadequate tobacco allotments – who were “slaved from daybreak to dusk. What have the Officers? All the best food, the best tobacco, sake, beer, and dances, on top of their high pay. They have no regard for the men whatsoever, and when the American bullets come flying, you can’t find them.”
Although others were shown, these two leaflets were not illustrated in the book. But the author cites them from Southwest Pacific Area records in US National Archives (FELO, SWPA, serial No. J-249, Box 18, entry 2831, Records Group 331).

What is sac-sac? Is it slang for sake? One go equals approximately ¾ cup US liquid measure, based on 1 go = 1/10 sho and 100 sho = 1 koku = 47.95 US gallons.

-- Alan

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