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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Ron Sundby
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Ron Sundby » 30 Dec 2009 05:05

Alan wrote: I've tried unsuccessfully to look up some specialized history of the kitchen steam kettle itself,.apart from the better-known pressure cooker which dates back to 17th century Britain. The need to regularly feed large groups of men – like various other technical advances – would seem to have begun with the army and navy, late in the Industrial Revolution, and maybe with the British. And while the army could or would have used steam kettles in garrison, the navy would likely have needed them more with the advent of ever-larger and longer-ranging steel warships. But without any references as of yet, this remains conjecture.
Steam jacketed kettles were not invented in order to facilitate feeding larger crews on longer voyages. The wood, or coal, fired kettles used on sailing vessels of the 19th century were made in any size necessary and worked well enough. But in heavy seas, or if the ship was surprised and fired upon while the galley fires were lit the burning wood could easily be scattered, setting the ship on fire. Even at the best of times an open flame onboard ship is an invitation to disaster. So, when steam propulsion came into use aboard ships it was better to reduce the risk of fire by using excess steam from the boilers for cooking rather than an open flame.

The coppers in use today have changed very little from the original models. The first steam jacketed kettles were made of copper, thus the slang name still in use. Later they were made from iron, then steel, and finally stainless steel. Originally the inner and outer jackets were bolted together, as in Peter’s picture of the Yamato; now they are welded. Originally the steam pressure was only regulated by a standard hand valve. Now they also have steam gauges to regulate the pressure. You don’t want to over pressurize a copper too much. Image a 30 gallon sized hand grenade going off when it blows up; it’s been know to happen.
Alan wrote: I guess you’ve seen this earlier photo of an IJN galley ashore, with its coppers and a stern-looking petty officer. From their cap bands, hisashi identified for us the men cutting renkon (lotus root vegetable) as members of a naval aviation unit. What size do those kettles look to be? They seem to have pull-cord handles hanging down, which I guess are for pulleys that hoist up the pot lids? This differs from the coppers aboard Yamato, which have hinged lids, and maybe were spring-assisted to open them? Are the handwheels for tilting the kettle? Would there be some kind of lock-out that prevents turning the wheel while a kettle is running?
?
The coppers in the shore galley photo look like they might also be 30 gallon coppers. Navies usually use standardized sizes, it makes the logistics easier. The cords attached to the coppers, it looks like there is one on the smaller kettle in the Yamato photo too, are not normally for opening. The lids are typically very light, often thin tin, and easy to lift and everyone I’ve seen has always been hinged. There is normally a latch, or a line with a counter weight to keep them open until the cook pulls the lid closed. These look like that kind of line. Some coppers tilt, usually the smaller ones. It’s kind of hard to tell, but it looks like the copper at the far end of the line in Peter’s Yamato picture has a hand wheel for tilting it on the right (far) side. The nearest kettle in the shore galley photo is definitely a tilt kettle. The steam pipe enters tilt kettles through the centre of the pivot on one side. They can tilt while the steam is on without danger, so there is no lock-out.
Alan wrote: Are there similar steam kettles at rear left in this earlier photo from here, of an Army garrison kitchen? However, I don't see any steam piping or gauges for it as in the Navy galley.
I doubt that the Army would use steam jacketed kettles very much. Whereas the Navy is just drawing on excess steam from boilers already in operation the Army would have to make steam specifically to cook with. It would be more logical to use a direct heat source (electric, gas, coal, etc.) in Army messes.
Alan wrote: Use of coppered steam kettles in army rolling field kitchens seems to have been pioneered by the Imperial Russian army around the end of the 19th century. Other armies soon followed, and the general type was common enough by World War I. Cited earlier here, a US Army attaché covered the subject in the aftermath of the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. He noted that this type of cooker was especially suited for the soups and steamed groats (kasha] that were mainstays of Russian Army food. That would likewise be true for the rice-based ration of the Japanese, who would later adopt a comparable rolling kitchen of their own.
The pictures listed show mobile field kitchens, both of which have a smoke stack coming off of a fire box to heat the kettles. I believe that these use direct heat to cook with rather than heating water to make steam to in turn heat the kettles. That would be more efficient I would think.

Ron

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Ron Sundby
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Ron Sundby » 30 Dec 2009 05:38

Alan wrote: Here are the only diagrams I could find of Yamato's food storage and galley spaces. Aboard her, at least, cold storage was close by and inboard of the galley on the upper deck. But it' was also apparently two decks further below. I found no specific mention of bulk storage for rice, cooking oil, and pickled vegetables as aboard the cruisers. However, there were other spaces annotated here simply as “stores” near the galley in this elevation...Aboard IJN cruisers, at least, it almost certainly implies the frequent run of heavily-laden carts along the passageways.
Typically storerooms are almost an afterthought in ship design. They are often stuck in to fill voids whereever there is space after all of the more important considerations have been meet. Sometimes, such as in the diagrams Alan supplied of IJN Cruisers, that means that food storage is scattered all over the ship. But wherever the storage is on a warship it is normally carried to the galley by hand, no carts used. This is beacause of the watertight compartmentalization. doors through watertight bulkheads, and there are a lot of them to traverse, have a lip which comes up several inches from the deck. (See photo 1) It is just impracticle to run a cart down a passageway when you have to negotiate this kind of door every few yards. Hatches to go between decks are even worse. If the whole large hatch is open it is not too bad. You just have to go up or down a very steep stair way, so steep it is called a ladder. But if the hatch is closed and you are only allowed to open the small round scuttle in the middle of the hatch it is much more difficult to pass stores up or down. (See photo 2) At sea, and especially during war time, hatches are normally shut tight and the only access allowed is through the scuttles.

Normal practice would be to sort out whaterver was needed from a given storeroom for the day; then send down a party of several junior seamen to carry it all to the galley. These are normally the same seamen who are assigned mess duty in the galley to help the cooks with cleaning and other menial tasks. The US Navy calls them 'mess cooks.' I'ld be interested to know what they were called in the IJN.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 04 Jan 2010 05:51

A great many thanks to hisashi for the explanation and translation! I was not sure that the Yamato-class galley detail would copy clearly enough to be read here.

It seems surprising that the appended drawings about Musashi from where the detail drawing came are not cited in Skulski's book about Yamato. Japanese contacts are acknowledged but there is no bibliography for sources. I imagine that there would be still more detail where Yoshimura acknowledged it in turn, Matsumoto Kitaro's book Design and Construction of the Yamato and Musashi (Tokyo: Haga Shoten, 1971).

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

And many thanks to Ron also!

For what he explained and hisashi translated, analogies might be made from some equipment shown or mentioned in the restored galley of wartime destroyer escort USS Slater (DE-766), today hulked as a relic at Albany, New York.
Ron Sundby wrote:... Aboard ship I have used 2 types [of hot plates]. In the officers mess it was a set of four arranged in a square just like the burners on a standard stove top, each about 12 inches or 30cm square, where the heat for each could be individually adjusted. In the main galley, as shown on the Yamato drawing, they were a series of larger plates about 30 inches or 75cm square ...
Yamato had three officers' messes for some 150 officers in a crew of 2,300 (2,767 later in the war). How does this scale against officers' food service aboard US capital ships today? Might this imply separate wardrooms and galleys for each mess?
Ron Sundby wrote:[Electric hot plates] can be very hard to use in heavy seas. Try this: Use one hand to hold on to the counter top next to the stove (electric cooker) so that you don't fall over as the ship rolls. Use the other hand to hold a pan on the stove. Now, without letting go with either hand, stir the contents of the pan.
That is very evocative. The larger the pot or pan, the more the concern. Wouldn’t a range have had some sort of batten around its edge as well, as seen next to this German U-boat cook?

The Yamatos had a great displacement but also needed to fit in Japan’s shallow anchorages, so they had to have a very wide beam. It would then seem that they rolled less than smaller ships in the same rough seas, but roll they would.
Ron Sundby wrote:… Coppers are also very versitile, as well as boiling and steaming they work very well as woks for frying.
How to get the higher temperature for frying in the copper without direct flame heat? When frying with a wok I have never actually measured temperature of the oil to know exactly how hot it is. Was superheated steam used?

Mention of IJN fried dishes here included the use of lard, but soybean oil is described among ships' stores and sounds easier to use as a frying medium. A Navy ration table also cited earlier lists oils and fats (or lard) separately as components.
Ron Sundby wrote:Steam jacketed kettles were not invented in order to facilitate feeding larger crews on longer voyages. The wood, or coal, fired kettles used on sailing vessels of the 19th century were made in any size necessary and worked well enough. But in heavy seas, or if the ship was surprised and fired upon while the galley fires were lit the burning wood could easily be scattered, setting the ship on fire. Even at the best of times an open flame onboard ship is an invitation to disaster. So, when steam propulsion came into use aboard ships it was better to reduce the risk of fire by using excess steam from the boilers for cooking rather than an open flame.

The coppers in use today have changed very little from the original models ...
You've told more background about the origin of steam-kettle cooking than I was able to find for myself. That seems helped by their basic design remaining much the same today. The design of coppers aboard the Slater dates from 1940.

Early naval engineering of the 19th century was as close to the wider field of mechanical engineering as were better-known areas like railways and heavy manufacture. But I could not readily find specific history of naval food machinery and service, although it's probably somewhere in the extensive technical histories and sources of the RN and USN. The closest I could find were brief histories of development for shipboard air conditioning, laundries, and heads.

(R.W. King, Rear Admiral USN (Ret.), Naval Engineering and American Sea Power (Nautical & Aviation Publishing Co of America, 1988), pages 149 and 176-177)

I have seen some reference and illustration of typical galleys aboard the old wooden-hulled sailing warships. They had sizeable fireplaces made of brick and the kettles sat inside them but, as Ron said, firing them was always a circumspect thing. Fortunately for its sailors' messing, the early IJN did not have to evolve up from that in its steel-hulled fleet. And since its early capital ships were built in Britain, it might be assumed they followed at least some of the British model in galley practice and equipment.

I would expect that steam kettles had become common in the galleys of many other steel-hulled ships round the world as well, merchant and naval, Japanese or not.

=============================
Ron Sundby wrote: I doubt that the Army would use steam jacketed kettles very much. Whereas the Navy is just drawing on excess steam from boilers already in operation the Army would have to make steam specifically to cook with. It would be more logical to use a direct heat source (electric, gas, coal, etc.) in Army messes.
If these in fact were cooking kettles in an IJA kitchen, their photo, partly obscured as it is, did not show any kind of flue arrangement for the smoke of flame heating, though they were installed close to the wall. But it does make more sense that they would not be steam heated.

I have heard only incidentally of one Japanese Army installation that was steam-heated for the Manchurian winters, but that was a special case and made no connection to unit kitchens. Military photos anywhere tend to show the best of any one setting rather than the typical, especially wartime pictures taken for the homefront. Garrison kitchen photos seen here so far might fall into that category, though I do not know.

=============================
Ron Sundby wrote:The pictures listed show mobile field kitchens, both of which have a smoke stack coming off of a fire box to heat the kettles. I believe that these use direct heat to cook with rather than heating water to make steam to in turn heat the kettles. That would be more efficient I would think
Yes you are right, the rolling field kitchens cook with fireboxes, not steam kettles. I am corrected, having misread the old Imperial Russian design which could in fact be used as true pressure cookers. The US Army attaché of 1904 cited earlier described them in detail:
... The Braun type [of Russian field kitchen], which was by far the most numerous … [has a double-walled boiler], the inner one of copper, tinned inside, the outer of iron lined with asbestos. The lid can be screwed down air-tight so that the contents are cooked under considerable pressure, the danger of explosion prevented by a safety valve. A perforated aluminum bottom, for cooking grits or cereals, can be placed in the boiler. This type admits only of boiling or steaming, which is not much of an objection in the case of the Russian soldier accustomed to soup and boiled meat ...
Even a New York Times article of the 1904 war made a leading illustrative mention of the Russian rolling kitchen at the time.
  • The Soviet Army reportedly kept this pressure-cooking feature as late as the 1980s, in its PAK-200 rolling field kitchens. Vegetables and meat could be pressure-cooked at 1.5atm to turn them into a soup or stew, depending on the proportion of water added. (William P. Baxter, Soviet AirLand Battle Tactics (Presidio Press, 1986), page 226)

    Up to recent times I think some of Europe's field armies also continued using the old design principles of kitchen trailers -– although adapted to a wider range of fuels. Like the West German Bundeswehr, the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force began with American weapons and vehicles. But while the early West German troops also used US field cooking ranges, I haven't seen if the early JGSDF did. From strange-mecha.com. a glimpse of the modern-day JGSDF's kitchen trailers.
I don't know when the Imperial Japanese Army first adopted its own rolling kitchen, or if it had been modelled after any particular European design following World War I. In some photos seen here so far, the IJA continued using the older, simpler kind of kettles and stoves through the China and Pacific Wars. Of course these would have still served well enough under most conditions, particularly in rear areas.

The kettles are shown in Peter H's current photo of Field cooking, where two of them are set into a mounded earthen fireplace.

=============================
Ron Sundby wrote: Typically storerooms are almost an afterthought in ship design. They are often stuck in to fill voids wherever there is space after all of the more important considerations have been meet. Sometimes, such as in the diagrams Alan supplied of IJN Cruisers, that means that food storage is scattered all over the ship. But wherever the storage is on a warship it is normally carried to the galley by hand, no carts used. This is because of the watertight compartmentalization. doors through watertight bulkheads, and there are a lot of them to traverse, have a lip which comes up several inches from the deck. (See photo 1) It is just impractical to run a cart down a passageway when you have to negotiate this kind of door every few yards. Hatches to go between decks are even worse …
Thanks Ron, I had forgotten about that fact of navy shipboard life. Last year I visited missile cruiser USS Little Rock (CG-4, formerly CL-92), hulked at Buffalo, New York. Visitors on board modern naval relics are not allowed too far below decks, but there were enough of the watertight doors to pass through and I closed and reopened one. Their rubber gaskets were old but still held when the fast-acting wheel was turned.

It seems expectable then, that mess cooks on board the Yamatos may have had longer distances to cover below decks than on other ships. But maybe not so much longer than those of today's US aircraft carriers?

The storage afterthought does come out in section drawings I looked up for other warships. In the same “Anatomy of the Ship” book series as Skulski's The Battleship Yamato, there is an even more detailed volume for HMS Dreadnought of 1906.

As warship designs, Dreadnought and Yamato are very much the beginning and end of the naval era that took its name from the former. But as Ron said, naval machinery came first, so that Japanese warships kept their rice, pickled vegetables, and lemons in similar fore-and aft places like those of Dreadnought's storerooms for bread, flour, and limes. Nevertheless, cold storage has to have refrigeration plant, so would it necessarily have to be less an afterthought than dry storage?
Ron Sundby wrote:Normal practice would be to sort out whaterver was needed from a given storeroom for the day; then send down a party of several junior seamen to carry it all to the galley. These are normally the same seamen who are assigned mess duty in the galley to help the cooks with cleaning and other menial tasks. The US Navy calls them 'mess cooks.' I'ld be interested to know what they were called in the IJN.
This is the sort of detail about everyday sailor life and work that seem to be relatively few in English-language accounts of the IJN, and make me wonder what might have been told in Japanese ones.

–- Alan

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 15 Jan 2010 05:56

Whale meat? Is this true or a myth?

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/op ... 5819411957
In the early 20th century, canned whale meat became a staple food for the Japanese military...

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Akira Takizawa » 15 Jan 2010 16:07

Peter H wrote:Whale meat? Is this true or a myth?
In the early 20th century, canned whale meat became a staple food for the Japanese military...
It is true that whale meat was widely used in the IJA. But, it needs to explain.

Whale meat was eaten in Japan from ancient age. But, it was not a popular food, but a local food in Japan.

When Japan began modern whale fishing since 20th centery for exporting whale oil, whale meat was glutted in Japan, because most Japanese people did not like whale meat. Therefore, fishing companies offered whale meat to the IJA at cheap price. The IJA bought this cheap meat with pleasure and served it to soldiers for improving their physique. So, soldiers were forced to eat whale meat by fishing companies and the IJA.

The situation in some decades post-war was the same as pre-war. Whale meat was often served for school lunch. But, I did not like it.

Taki

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 16 Jan 2010 23:53

Thanks Taki.

Another claim: http://www.prideaux-design-co.com.au/eco/EcoIssue1.html
...there was very little whale meat consumption in Japan until after World War II. A handful of fishing villages historically caught a few whales by netting or harpooning - or salvaging dead whales - just as fishing villages did around the world for hundreds and even thousands of years. The few hundred tons of whale meat produced annually in Japan were only consumed by locals--there was no refrigeration or transportation to the cities. Until after World War II, there was no large-scale market for whale meat in Japan or anywhere else in the world. It was whale oil and whale bone that drove the hunt in every ocean for centuries.

Indeed, Japan entered large-scale, deep-sea whaling not to feed its people but to finance its conquest of Manchuria and China. Professor George Small described Japan's motives for industrial whaling in his landmark 1971 history of whaling, The Blue Whale:

"Japanese pelagic whaling began with the 1934/35 season, and by 1939 operations had expanded to a total of 6 floating-factory expeditions. During those years several international agreements, designed to prevent overexploitation of stocks of whales, were reached under the aegis of the League of Nations. The agreements included standard prohibitions such as the killing of the nearly extinct Right whales, suckling calves of all species, and females accompanied by a calf. Japan refused to abide by any of the agreements. Moreover, Japan refused to participate in the negotiations leading to the agreements even when for her benefit the North Pacific, her oldest whaling area, was specifically excluded.

"The reason for the refusal to accept even rudimentary conservation practices was the urgent demand placed on the Japanese economy by the country's war in Manchuria and China. All the pelagic fleets sent to the Antarctic were owned and operated by the Nippon Suisan Kabushiki Kaisha Company, the main shareholder of which was the Manchurian Heavy Industries Corporation. This corporation was the principal economic and industrial arm of the Japanese army in Manchuria. The objective of the Nippon Suisan Company, as stated in the 1941 Mainichi Yearbook, was the acquisition of foreign currency and food supplies for the Japanese armed forces."

Tens of thousands of tons of whale oil was sold by Japan in Europe, particularly to the Anglo-Dutch Unilever Company, which had developed the method of turning whale oil into edible margarine. Hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons, mostly from Germany and England, were purchased with the proceeds from the plunder of the whales.

But what happened to the billions of pounds of whale meat from the carcasses of tens of thousands of blue, fin, right and humpback whales slaughtered by the Japanese fleet in the Southern Ocean? Not one pound of it was sent back to Japan to feed the so-called "need" for whale meat there. It was all dumped overboard!

Why was this mountain of whale meat ditched at sea after the whale blubber was stripped off the whales? Because there was no demand for whale meat in Japan. Indeed, the Japanese fishing industry and farmers won a ban on whale meat imports from the pelagic whaling fleets, fearing rightfully that such a deluge of meat would destroy the domestic markets for fish, beef, pork and poultry.

It was only after World War II when the ruined, destitute nation needed quick supplies of food that Japan began consuming large quantities of whale meat....

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 24 Jan 2010 08:37

Imonbukuro gift bags reach Burma 1943
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 05 Feb 2010 23:03

From ebay,seller eby071

Comic 1-"Autumn tactical exercises".No stopping for a drink.

Comic 2-"Bivouac".Cooking.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:51

From ebay,seller wwkochan

A Navy ceremony on some short,followed by a meal
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:53

Travelling somewhere north.

Imonbukuro bags?
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:54

Rest stop,something going on?
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:56

Same source again.

Watermelon again
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:57

Cooking rice
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Feb 2010 01:58

Wounded getting well in hospital?
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 10 Feb 2010 05:35

From ebay,seller wwkochan

More dining
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