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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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 02 Dec 2012 14:52

My apologies, Hisashi. Sometimes I have a mistaken impression from a photo even after some study of it. But not usually twice in the same photo. :lol:
  • In the Philippines, our grade school years ended in April and the next year began in July. Although the Americans had set up the school system there, this differs from the school break of June-September in America. Originally, that was meant to allow rural students to work on the farms during summer harvest time.

    From the air force I remember certain senior NCOs who were much liked and respected. Farewell dinners were given for their retirements or reassignments. They were not necessarily teachers but often acted as good ones, informally. Even, they were like fathers to their men, who were happy to work for them. Although it was more than 25 years ago, I can still remember some of their good advice.

    I would like to imagine that the photo's scene had some of this too, if it is a farewell dinner for an IJA instructor going to the front.
I have heard of tai (red sea bream fish) served for supper in good luck wishes. But isn’t that available only for a short time in spring season? What other dishes might be typically served, or otherwise served, for farewell?

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

From Katarzyna Cwiertka’s social history of Modern Japanese Cuisine, we saw earlier a 1935 survey of favorite dishes served in the Imperial Japanese Navy. (pages 74-75)

The author also gave this sample of Army dishes, from a few years before that Navy survey. For us, it can be our nearest handy comparison between food in the two services back then. However, it does not tell if any of these dishes were particularly soldiers’ favorites. Even though they look good here.

Menus served in the 14th Cavalry Regiment, IJA, 21-30 March 1933
IJA sample menu 14th Cav Regt, March 1933.PNG
In the above table, for 25 March, udo is a vegetable shoot eaten in Japan and China.
  • Dinners for 23 and 24 March look comparable to the Navy’s beef stew and kare raisu, both as described in the 1935 survey.

    Lunch soup for 27 March looks like Satsumajiru.

    Ohagi of 21 March are sweet-coated rice balls, Traditionally they are for autumn, rather than springtime as here. But Cwiertka noted that:
    We may presume that [these] rice cakes were served especially on 21 March to celebrate the Spring Equinox, a national holiday at the time officially labeled Imperial Ancestors' Spring Memorial Day. [page 85n]
    Udon (noodles) is well-known abroad among basic Japanese dishes, but I had never before pictured it made from ship’s biscuits (kanpan?) Yet that is what was told here for 28 March, apart from simply udon on 21 March.
    • Did this mean that biscuits were crushed back into flour and remade into noodles? If it worked, it sounds like a good makeshift. But all the other dishes look fine enough for the kitchen not to need makeshift udon.

      Similar things are sometimes told about other armies’ food. In the American Expeditionary Force of WW1, there was an oversupply of matzo crackers for holiday meals of observant Jewish soldiers. They were disposed of by crushing them into meat hash for serving to all troops, Jewish or not. (DIckson, Paul. CHOW: A Cook's Tour of Military Food (New American Library, 1978), page 44)

      In the next war, very great surplus of US Army D Ration chocolate bars (117.8 million were produced in 1942 alone) was often used for baking cakes and other sweets.
    Aren’t these meals more truly side dishes, each one accompanying rice? If so, was it not redundant to list rice with some of them?
    • They seem more likely from a garrison mess, if made with fresh seafood. Surely most field kitchens cannot usually serve dishes this fine, even under good conditions?

      Mackerel and squid might even be fresh, since here they are not said to be canned like the salmon.
    In all, this seems very good Army food for one week. But could common soldiers in peacetime garrison eat this well much of the year?
In March 1933, where might the 14th Cavalry have been stationed -- or sent? The source does not say, but I would expect it to generally affect what food they ate at that time.

Would cavalry have had rolling field kitchens, same as the infantry? (Those kitchens discussed and detailed earlier, thanks to Taki.) No mention yet found whether tank units had them, either. We have seen tank troops eating well in a few previous photos.
  • (Apologies for repeating this table, which appeared in the thread a few years ago. But this time it is in context, discussed more closely, and shown more clearly. Also, it was uploaded directly to the Forum instead of an outside photo site.)
-- Alan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 08 Dec 2012 14:02

I have heard of tai (red sea bream fish) served for supper in good luck wishes. But isn’t that available only for a short time in spring season? What other dishes might be typically served, or otherwise served, for farewell?
tai sounds like medetai (auspicious). So we prepare this fish on any kind of congratulation. Graduation and entrance are naturally favorable news. It is not related to farewell, but if the transfer is more or less promotional, they have a good reason to serve tai. Sekihan (festive red bean rice) is also typically served for congraturation.

udo is a vegetable shoot eaten in Japan and China.
udo is a tree. Both buds from grown-up tree and artificially planted stalks (like white sparrowgrass) are in market.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_cordata

Tempura (above), fry (middle) and a salad with vinegar dressing (sunomono) are typical recipes for udo. But sunomono is usually a side menu. Perhaps something else was on the table together.

http://www.jaat.net/udo_recipe.html

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/salad/ ... Dishes.htm

Lunch soup for 27 March looks like Satsumajiru.
Satsumajiru typically use chicken (pork may be used). It looks like a variation of butajiru (tonjiru), a general expression for miso stew with pork. This high-calory miso stew is definitely for athletes and soldiers.

(pic of satsumajiru)
http://www.city.ryugasaki.ibaraki.jp/vi ... ageId=7891

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butajiru

Ohagi of 21 March are sweet-coated rice balls, Traditionally they are for autumn, rather than springtime as here. But Cwiertka noted that...
Perhaps noodle with salty soup and sweet-coated rice balls wer served separately...

Anyway, it is a Japanese custom to visit the tomb of ancestors and/or pray in front of family Buddhism altar on the two equinox. It is explained from both Buddhism and Shinto antecedent. Kōreisai is a Royal Family's Shinto ritual to worship their ancestors. In both equinox we dedicate sweet-coated rice balls to the ancestors and later eat them up. Hagi (Lespedeza) is a flower of autumn and we call rice balls in fall as ohagi after this flower, and in spring botamochi after botan (Paeonia suffruticosa). In effect ohagi and botamochi are the same sweet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lespedeza
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paeonia_suffruticosa


Udon is a farely good substitute of rice, though ohagi was perhaps a special side dish. IJN and perhaps IJA intentionarily used wheat-made menus to prevent beriberi.

Only very, very recently Japanese supermarkets began to offer raw mackerei. Fishers have said that 'Mackerei begins to be rotten while it is alive'. Surely it was salted. Squid might be dried to preserve. 'Mackerei in miso sauce' is in fact boiled mackerei chops with miso sauce.

Mackerei in miso sauce:pics
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E3%8 ... 03&bih=648

This regiment served in Mukden Incident and stationed in Manchuria-Soviet border thereafter. So they were well fed, though they stuck to local supply. Perhaps they already built their barrack with kitchen.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 23 Feb 2013 04:15

Ship board meal
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 23 Feb 2013 04:16

Catch
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 28 Feb 2013 05:56

Thanks still again Hisashi.

Some Japanese military authors have explained Japanese culture and traditions wherever these appeared in their memoirs. Of course that was needed only for their English-language editions. Still it brings their mentions of food not just to life, but to emotional life, since that subject always has some preoccupation for combat troops anywhere. Though westerners usually cannot know it firsthand, the tellings suggest that seasonal food might have emotional pull for IJA soldiers so far from home.
hisashi wrote:
Sewer King wrote:Ohagi of 21 March are sweet-coated rice balls, Traditionally they are for autumn, rather than springtime as here. . .
Perhaps noodle with salty soup and sweet-coated rice balls were served separately . . .

Anyway, it is a Japanese custom to visit the tomb of ancestors and/or pray in front of family Buddhism altar on the two equinox. It is explained from both Buddhism and Shinto antecedent. Kōreisai is a Royal Family's Shinto ritual to worship their ancestors. In both equinox we dedicate sweet-coated rice balls to the ancestors and later eat them up. Hagi (Lespedeza) is a flower of autumn and we call rice balls in fall as ohagi after this flower, and in spring botamochi after botan (Paeonia suffruticosa). In effect ohagi and botamochi are the same sweet.

Udon is a fairly good substitute of rice, though ohagi was perhaps a special side dish. IJN and perhaps IJA intentionally used wheat-made menus to prevent beriberi.
Maybe udon would be preferred over breads? We have seen much about soldiers’ and sailors’ preference for rice and against bread. But noodles seem neutral, as a staple.
hisashi wrote:Only very, very recently Japanese supermarkets began to offer raw mackerel. Fishers have said that 'Mackerel begins to be rotten while it is alive'. Surely it was salted. Squid might be dried to preserve. 'Mackerel in miso sauce' is in fact boiled mackerel chops with miso sauce.
Probably, mackerel spoils quickly because it has much oil in it. For the same reason in the past, Baltic herring had to be salted within 24 hours of catch. Even today, some kinds of Danish smoked herring cannot be enjoyed outside of Denmark for similar reason, they spoil too quickly.

Whether salted or canned, it seems like good supply conditions if mackerel could be sent to the Manchuria border areas. Railroad supply lines from Harbin, Mukden, Darien, and Korea remained securely under Japanese control.
hisashi wrote:
Sewer King wrote: In March 1933, where might the 14th Cavalry have been stationed -- or sent? The source does not say, but I would expect it to generally affect what food they ate at that time.
This regiment served in Mukden Incident and stationed in Manchuria-Soviet border thereafter. So they were well fed, though they stuck to local supply. Perhaps they already built their barrack with kitchen.
Soldiers in both World Wars often ate less well as they approached the front lines. Maybe this was sometimes true along the Manchuria border too? Even though it saw no large-scale combat until 1938-39, and the IJA kept its supply lines in Manchuria. I think that IJA supply in general, and in China especially, might not be well-studied in English – say, compared to Wehrmacht supply.

Were some IJA field units said to be better supplied than others? Not just food, but arms and anything else, under good conditions before the Pacific War?
  • For example, cavalry or tank troops better supplied than infantry,
    Imperial Guards better than other line regiments.
    Or the Kwantung Army better than other field armies, because it was facing the Soviets.

    If so, this would be like the elite or semi-elite status of some Waffen-SS divisions, or the US Army Air Forces, or some navies’ submarine services -– compared to the larger armies and navies they were parts of.
Better food supply could follow such favor, but maybe that could not be proved here.

====================================
Peter H wrote:Ship board meal
Earlier, we had a brief thread about how IJA troops were fed on board ocean transports. The tight crowding on deck was often mentioned and sometimes photographed, including at mealtime, as here.

Taki said that a kitchen hut would be set up on deck, so I inferred that meals would usually be served out on the weather decks too. Or at least, the terrible cramping aboard a maru or in a warship's bottom would make it hard to feed them below decks. Where could so many men wash out their mess kits?

I wondered a little why some photos show soldiers wearing their steel helmets and leather rifle equipment aboard ships in transit, while others do not wear them. Here, some of them seem to be wearing what look like cloth sun hats on top of the helmets too.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 11 Mar 2013 00:41

From ebay,seller Rwcmilitaria

Game
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 11 Mar 2013 04:07

Peter H wrote:Catch
Because the officers’ mess got first pick of food stocks on board ship, I thought they might get the same for whatever “extras” the sailors caught.

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

Author Katarzyna Cwiertka researched a Japanese general, Kawashima Shiro, who was a leading figure in the heyday of IJA rations. From Modern Japanese Cuisine widely cited here to date, pages 82-86:
There was also another reason for including foreign-inspired dishes in military menus -- they helped to bridge regional differences in taste [among Japanese soldiers]. Recruits hailed from all over the country and had been used to different kinds of food. For example, during the experiments conducted in the winter of 1926-7 by Major-General Kawashima Shiro (1895-1986) of the Army Provisions Depot, 22 per cent of soldiers who participated in the experiments found the miso soup served too sweet, while 10 per cent found it too salty. Military cooks experienced problems in making the food suited to the taste preferences of the majority of soldiers and sailors, and tried to overcome regional differences in diet by including local dishes, such as miso soup with pork, vegetables and sweet potatoes (Satsumajiru) from southern Kyushu, or Kantoni (also known as oden) from the Tokyo region, in the military menus. Methods were also developed to determine the ‘average taste’ of each unit, like the one described below:
In the case of military cookery, where in one kitchen meals for several hundred and even for more than a thousand people are prepared, the flavouring can by no means be adapted to the taste preference of each soldier. However, this does not mean that the aspect of taste is completely ignored. Of course, it is impossible to satisfy different likes and dislikes as to minute details, but it is possible to prepare food with a taste that is close to the majority of soldiers. In this way, the aim could be reached that, just as the age and bodily exercise of all soldiers are similar, so too can they have relatively similar taste preferences. For this reason, the problem is how to cook meals suited to the taste of as many soldiers as possible. The following points should be considered:
  • Determining the ‘standard taste’ of the Military Unit

    First, I shall explain with the example of miso soup how to determine the ‘standard taste’ of the unit, or in other words, which taste is favoured by the majority of privates. Prepare three sorts of miso soup containing different amounts of miso and let it be tested by as many soldiers as possible (when selecting soldiers, take into consideration their occupation before entering the military). The ‘standard taste’ of miso soup (the amount of miso soup to be used) will be the taste most favoured of the three . . . The amount of soy sauce and sugar used for cooking fish, and the quantity of vinegar used in sunomono (vegetable salad dressed with vinegar) can be determined in the same way. In addition to this, according to the same method it is possible to learn about the salt taste of each military unit, and to compare it with the salt taste of the entire army.
Food is a pillar of culture, and this generally stays true inside any army or navy. Every army is a state within a state, and a society within a society, It is often wiser for it to try working with the national culture and not against it. But by turning to Chinese- and Western-style dishes, the IJA had looked outside the culture for its food.
  • But miso traditionally varies by region across Japan, partly because of different local conditions. One Japanese expert compared it to the way that dairy cheeses vary across the West. (Watanabe, Tokuji, Dr. Agr., The Book of Soybeans (Japan Publications Inc, 1984), page 71)

    In looking for a “common taste” in rations -- a lowest common denominator –- it seems natural to do it for something as basic as miso soup. It’s part of the traditional Japanese breakfast, as seen earlier in military menu samples. As told above by General Kawashima, it took much study to find a compromise among regional food tastes in a national army.
As head of the Army Provisions Depot General Kawashima would have been able to put his study of food tastes into Army policy and practice. Hopefully he did not face so much of the resistance that the Navy’s Baron Takagi Kanehiro met with his anti-beriberi work. But all armies have natural inertia, especially large ones.
  • The “standard taste” research was similar to organoleptic study, which examines food effects on several human senses, not only taste. By one mention, the US Army had applied this since at least World War II, probably jointly with the US Department of Agriculture.

    Here again, the study of food tastes in the pre-war IJA may have been ahead of that of the US Army. For the Americans, the short period of WW1 had been more of a success for production than for scientific advance of rations.
Taki said that the IJA had begun improving its soldiers’ field rations as early as the 1920s, while Cwiertka detailed the wider scientific study for it. By comparison, the US Army had just come out of World War I and demobilization at that time. Any comparable study for American troops would largely have to wait for the next war, and beyond.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 12 Mar 2013 06:23

Peter H wrote:Catch
Very small caption on below right says 'On minesweeping they got this carp in Yangtze River'.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 23 Mar 2013 23:10

Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller Rwcmilitaria: Game
Thanks as always Hisashi. Are captions like this contemporary to the photo’s original release, or added to later reprint in a modern publication?

Presumably this game was caught in China? Although venison is available and eaten in Japan, IJA soldiers in garrison there were not usually free to hunt for game?
Other articles reported the encouragement to eat more venison in Japan today. Although we have mentioned venison as one of the first canned meats in early modern Japan, I have not found its traditional Japanese dishes yet.

===================================
hisashi wrote:
Sewer King wrote:
Peter H wrote:Catch
Because the officers’ mess got first pick of food stocks on board ship, I thought they might get the same for whatever “extras” the sailors caught.
Very small caption on below right says 'On minesweeping they got this carp in Yangtze River'
How might a good catch be divided among many sailors? Although wild game and other foods are welcome, the cook might already have planned for meals before then. He might have to adjust the plans to fit, and soon butcher the meat, or gut the fish. For example, this earlier pic of sailors happy for catching a turtle at sea.
  • Hisashi mentioned that on board ship, the sale of officers’ leftover ramune soft drinks to the crewmen was a serious matter, to be handled fairly by the petty officers. Might extra catches of wild foods be handled similarly?
Although commonly eaten in Asia and Europe, carp is less liked by some Americans. This prejudice is in the north and central states,maybe partly because they think of it as bottom-feeding in muddy or polluted waters, where other more popular fish will not be. I like carp but do not often have it, usually from southeast Asian restaurants (I imagined their carp came from fish farms).
  • There must be many more, but the only Japanese carp dishes I know are koikoku and umani.
Earlier we saw this pic of Japanese troops and their catch of a very large carp (?) in Burma. A fish this size seems no problem of dividing among many soldiers, although I wonder if it will taste different from smaller ones of the same carp.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 28 Mar 2013 05:55

Thanks Alan for your continual attention to this thread and bringing in aspects not talked yet.
Sewer King wrote:
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller Rwcmilitaria: Game
Thanks as always Hisashi. Are captions like this contemporary to the photo’s original release, or added to later reprint in a modern publication?

Presumably this game was caught in China? Although venison is available and eaten in Japan, IJA soldiers in garrison there were not usually free to hunt for game?
Other articles reported the encouragement to eat more venison in Japan today. Although we have mentioned venison as one of the first canned meats in early modern Japan, I have not found its traditional Japanese dishes yet.
The line below reads '20 sen [= 0.2 JPY], issued in 21 Oct'. So it was a back cover of a photo magazine. Caption was originally included in the first publication.

The possession of gun was allowed far commonly than it is today. But on the other hand, as it is, hunting was taxed; they must register as a hunter (hunt for joy was more expensive in registration fee) and must obey the rules on the list of games and seasons for each games and regions. It was rather rare that IJA had forestly field of their own, so hunting with military gun seemed not common, though many type 38 and Murata gun was used by hunters. Even today it is possible to have ones (though today ammo supply stopped), but some refix is required to disable the attachment for bayonet!

We have eaten deers and wikd hogs in a pot item, seasoned with soy sauce or miso, sharing among 3-5 people for a pot.

Deer pot item 'Momijinabe' (images)
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E9%B ... 00&bih=652

Wild hog pot item 'Shishinabe' (images)
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E7%8 ... 00&bih=652

Sewer King wrote:
hisashi wrote:
Sewer King wrote:
Peter H wrote:Catch
Because the officers’ mess got first pick of food stocks on board ship, I thought they might get the same for whatever “extras” the sailors caught.
Very small caption on below right says 'On minesweeping they got this carp in Yangtze River'
How might a good catch be divided among many sailors? Although wild game and other foods are welcome, the cook might already have planned for meals before then. He might have to adjust the plans to fit, and soon butcher the meat, or gut the fish. For example, this earlier pic of sailors happy for catching a turtle at sea.
  • Hisashi mentioned that on board ship, the sale of officers’ leftover ramune soft drinks to the crewmen was a serious matter, to be handled fairly by the petty officers. Might extra catches of wild foods be handled similarly?
Although commonly eaten in Asia and Europe, carp is less liked by some Americans. This prejudice is in the north and central states,maybe partly because they think of it as bottom-feeding in muddy or polluted waters, where other more popular fish will not be. I like carp but do not often have it, usually from southeast Asian restaurants (I imagined their carp came from fish farms).
  • There must be many more, but the only Japanese carp dishes I know are koikoku and umani.
Earlier we saw this pic of Japanese troops and their catch of a very large carp (?) in Burma. A fish this size seems no problem of dividing among many soldiers, although I wonder if it will taste different from smaller ones of the same carp.

In general, if scarce food was available, it was officers of higher echelon that enjoyed it. I have read a few scenes in soldiers' recall.

We have specially improved pet carp Nishikigoi. Once breeders tried to sell them to the U.S. in the name of 'Fancy Carp' but as exactly Alan pointed out Americans didn't like that name. Breeders noticed it and restarted their promotion as 'Nishikigoi' and got much better sales.

Nishikigoi (images)
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E9%8 ... 00&bih=652

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 31 Mar 2013 09:21

After Emperor Shōmu(701-756) passed away, his queen gave his collections to Todai-ji temple. Shōsōin, Todai-ji's treasury, keep many imports via Silkroad in 8th century.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sh%C5%8Ds%C5%8Din

The collection includes pepper and cinnamon. By Meiji Restoration, Japaneses knew most spices available in European countries. But many of them were too expensive for ordinary peoples' daily cooking. Sea salt was available even in inland area by trade.

Miso was originally salted soy beans, and one of samurai's typical rations. Only in these a few centuries they have produced ground miso paste as seasoning. Soy sauce started as squeezed liquid from miso and was somewhat luxurious in rural area even in early 20th century.

In these long introduction I wanted to show backgrounds why our ancestors were not attracted to grilled meats. I suppose it was because they did not have good spices. If only miso, or even salt were available, they had good reason to boil meats as a stew item, with some soup stocks.

Daimyo Tokugawa Nariaki (1800-1860) was known as an enthusiast of grilled beef. It was preserved beef with miso paste. This old seasoning method is still popular. The following are images of beef, but miso-preserved pork is also common. Long-preserved meat in this way is very salty, so keeping meat with miso only several hours in the kitchen is also a common method. Anyway, we grill them.

https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E7%8 ... 00&bih=652

After meiji restoration, many restaurants appeared for beef dishes. Pork became popular a little later. In Sukiyaki/Gyunabe restaurants of early Meiji, several style were tried. Even today the cooking style of 'Sukiyaki' varies among restaurants. Such as;

(1)At first enjoy all beef grilled on iron pot. After only gippo is left, put vegetables on pot and boil them. Typically seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.
(2)At first enjoy some beef grilled on iron pot. After that put vegetables and the rest of meat on pot and boil them. Typically seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.
(3)Boil them altogether. Typically seasoned with 'warishita' = soy sauce with some soupstocks (kobu, katsuobushi etc.).

Today (1) seems rare, (2) is common in Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe area and (3) is typical in Tokyo and surrounding area.

Foreigners might want to see who hit upon an idea to put sugar into soy sauce, or even pot item itself. In Edo period (17c-19c), sugar was an expensive food. I have eaten a Tamagoyaki(egg roll/steamed egg[only before specialized cooker was invented]) of an old shop in Tokyo 'keeping seasoning of Edo era' but it was sweeeeeeeet. It was really an egg cake. Seasoning with sugar might be a common idea for luxurious food in Edo/Meiji period.

Tamagoyaki (images)
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E5%8 ... 00&bih=652

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 30 Apr 2013 11:52

Japaneses eat shark meat. A common dish is simmered shark with soy sauce.
Images:simmered shark with soy sauce (meat pics included. leave off if you don't like a processed body of fish)
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E3%8 ... 05&bih=700

Japanese government recommends expecting mothers to limit having sharks once a week or less (assuming 60-80 grams per serve) avoiding (possibly) accumulated azoth. This recommendations are a little more moderate than those advised by the U.S. and EU.

Shark meat has some unpreasant stimuli affected by ammonia. So we strongly season it. In some region shark is a popular local dish but I don't believe that is typical in Japan. I ate it once in a few years.

We also eat ray fin. Dried ray fin was a preserve for summer (hard to go bad in hot weather) in some regions. Typical cooking was simmering or lightly grilling.
Grilled dried (salted) ray fin. Served with mayonnaise sauce and red pepper powder. A typical serving as a bar's snack with liquer.
http://hitosara.com/0005000597/photo/0005000597F62.html

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 22 May 2013 15:37

hisashi wrote:Thanks Alan for your continual attention to this thread and bringing in aspects not talked yet.
Greater thanks are to you. Also Peter H has always been supportive with wide range of related photos, and so far as he could tell there is no special work in English (print or on-line) about “Food in the Imperial Japanese forces.” By comparison, we have mentioned at least a few specialized sources about German and Allied army rations.

This thread has long had a cultural side along with its technical things. With your invaluable help, besides that of Taki and others, these are often better explained. Or, at least they have possible explanations.

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

Because few passers-by join in this thread, and fewer of them follow up, I have never been truly sure who our audience is. Still, I have always been glad of anyone’s interest, long or short, even if they don’t say anything. It’s natural that most might only glance here, compared to other threads with more detail or photos. So I have tried to keep as readable and interesting as possible, though it takes time for me to write well.
  • Here is another way to look at audience for IJA/IJN food study. If the Forum had a thread about food in the German Army, there would be no question of who the worldwide audience is. Same for American Civil War food, which is also easily found in many sources and widely re-enacted.

    Maybe we could not equal those discussions for detail, sources, recipes, photos, bibliography, accounts etc. Still I am glad we can assemble all we have –- especially if there is little in English dedicated to it. It is much more than I first envisioned. And there is still more in preparation.
One passerby here did say something missed by many buffs, though perhaps not by re-enactors:
Nathan Greenfield wrote: I must say that this [Japanese military food subject] is fascinating. In a day when (just speaking of Canada) Canadian troops in Afghanistan can get a coffee and donut from the national [coffee shop chain] Tim Hortons, pictures of the field kitchens, etc. makes one realize how primitive life was for the grunts on both sides.
From our well-fed viewpoint today, food of the old armies and navies was rough and plain. We noted how for many of their men it was better food than at home, sometimes even luxurious.
  • But I guess the difference was greater between soldiers' and civilians' food in Imperial Japan. Foreigners often know less about ordinary Japanese people’s life from that time, so it's harder for them to picture. Although Hisashi has told much about it where applicable, along with recent authors cited here.
Finally, pics of military cooking and messing are often interesting photo studies by themselves. Even if sometimes we can only guess about parts of them. Some might be partly posed, but others show real relaxation and banter.

===================================
hisashi wrote:Japaneses eat shark meat. A common dish is simmered shark with soy sauce.
Images: simmered shark with soy sauce (meat pics included. leave off if you don't like a processed body of fish) . . .
Long ago in this thread, an IJN sailor’s experience at Rabaul was quoted. He and his mates caught a large shark there in Simpson Bay, and they rejoiced at their good luck for dinner. But when the catch was being gutted, a human arm fell out of its stomach. Everyone’s appetite and anticipation turned to disgust and disappointment instead. They threw the shark’s carcass back into the sea.

Even among other grim things of war, that would surely be well-remembered. Likely they realized it was probably the remains of a fellow sailor.

Except for that one telling, I would guess that a shark catch was especially welcome. Because it can be large enough to be shared by many men, even if the officers still got their portion first.
hisashi wrote:. . . Shark meat has some unpleasant stimuli affected by ammonia. So we strongly season it. In some region shark is a popular local dish but I don't believe that is typical in Japan. I ate it once in a few years.
Doesn’t shark meat also spoil faster, because it is a more primitive fish? I think its simpler body breaks down faster than those of other fish. Also, the ammonia (or urea?) comes from the shark’s blood which has to be washed out well. For these reasons would shark meat usually be fresh, not canned or dried?
hisashi wrote:We also eat ray fin. Dried ray fin was a preserve for summer (hard to go bad in hot weather) in some regions. Typical cooking was simmering or lightly grilling.
Grilled dried (salted) ray fin. Served with mayonnaise sauce and red pepper powder. A typical serving as a bar's snack with liquor.
Ah, the salted bar snacks that make you drink more. I think eating shark has become more popular among some Americans in recent years. But here in Virginia at least, eating ray is mostly new to them. It is being promoted to save shellfish that the rays feed upon.

Just as the IJN had the best food in general, it seems likely that some IJN men would have had the best chance to eat any shark or ray. Especially, pre-war sailors at the farther shore stations and bases.

-- Alan

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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 23 May 2013 02:22

Sewer King wrote:
I have heard of tai (red sea bream fish) served for supper in good luck wishes. But isn’t that available only for a short time in spring season? What other dishes might be typically served, or otherwise served, for farewell?
Tai(sparidae) and koi (carp) may well sound confusing for Non-Japanese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparidae
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carp

It is tai that are commonly used for celebration dinner. In fact many fish families are called as **dai(tai), including those with little relation to sparidae but look alike. Not only available season, but also prices differ among them ... small, reasonable raw tai is available at 150 JPY or so.

Grilled tai with celemonial 0decoration (iwaidai):
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E7%A ... 80&bih=700

And it is koi that is available only for a short time in spring season. In inland area they have old tradition to eat koi as a precious food on celebration.

Miso soup/stew (koikoku) is a typical cuisine for koi. The following links include some sashimi pics but especially in prewar era koi's sashimi was risky of parasite. They dealt with this risk by slicing thin and killing them with salty seasoning (koi live in freshwater).
https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E9%A ... 80&bih=700

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JKindred
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by JKindred » 23 May 2013 17:42

Sewer King wrote:
hisashi wrote:Thanks Alan for your continual attention to this thread and bringing in aspects not talked yet.
Greater thanks are to you. Also Peter H has always been supportive with wide range of related photos, and so far as he could tell there is no special work in English (print or on-line) about “Food in the Imperial Japanese forces.” By comparison, we have mentioned at least a few specialized sources about German and Allied army rations.

This thread has long had a cultural side along with its technical things. With your invaluable help, besides that of Taki and others, these are often better explained. Or, at least they have possible explanations.

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

Because few passers-by join in this thread, and fewer of them follow up, I have never been truly sure who our audience is. Still, I have always been glad of anyone’s interest, long or short, even if they don’t say anything. It’s natural that most might only glance here, compared to other threads with more detail or photos. So I have tried to keep as readable and interesting as possible, though it takes time for me to write well.
  • Here is another way to look at audience for IJA/IJN food study. If the Forum had a thread about food in the German Army, there would be no question of who the worldwide audience is. Same for American Civil War food, which is also easily found in many sources and widely re-enacted.

    Maybe we could not equal those discussions for detail, sources, recipes, photos, bibliography, accounts etc. Still I am glad we can assemble all we have –- especially if there is little in English dedicated to it. It is much more than I first envisioned. And there is still more in preparation.
One passerby here did say something missed by many buffs, though perhaps not by re-enactors:
Nathan Greenfield wrote: I must say that this [Japanese military food subject] is fascinating. In a day when (just speaking of Canada) Canadian troops in Afghanistan can get a coffee and donut from the national [coffee shop chain] Tim Hortons, pictures of the field kitchens, etc. makes one realize how primitive life was for the grunts on both sides.
From our well-fed viewpoint today, food of the old armies and navies was rough and plain. We noted how for many of their men it was better food than at home, sometimes even luxurious.
  • But I guess the difference was greater between soldiers' and civilians' food in Imperial Japan. Foreigners often know less about ordinary Japanese people’s life from that time, so it's harder for them to picture. Although Hisashi has told much about it where applicable, along with recent authors cited here.
Finally, pics of military cooking and messing are often interesting photo studies by themselves. Even if sometimes we can only guess about parts of them. Some might be partly posed, but others show real relaxation and banter.

===================================
hisashi wrote:Japaneses eat shark meat. A common dish is simmered shark with soy sauce.
Images: simmered shark with soy sauce (meat pics included. leave off if you don't like a processed body of fish) . . .
Long ago in this thread, an IJN sailor’s experience at Rabaul was quoted. He and his mates caught a large shark there in Simpson Bay, and they rejoiced at their good luck for dinner. But when the catch was being gutted, a human arm fell out of its stomach. Everyone’s appetite and anticipation turned to disgust and disappointment instead. They threw the shark’s carcass back into the sea.

Even among other grim things of war, that would surely be well-remembered. Likely they realized it was probably the remains of a fellow sailor.

Except for that one telling, I would guess that a shark catch was especially welcome. Because it can be large enough to be shared by many men, even if the officers still got their portion first.
hisashi wrote:. . . Shark meat has some unpleasant stimuli affected by ammonia. So we strongly season it. In some region shark is a popular local dish but I don't believe that is typical in Japan. I ate it once in a few years.
Doesn’t shark meat also spoil faster, because it is a more primitive fish? I think its simpler body breaks down faster than those of other fish. Also, the ammonia (or urea?) comes from the shark’s blood which has to be washed out well. For these reasons would shark meat usually be fresh, not canned or dried?
hisashi wrote:We also eat ray fin. Dried ray fin was a preserve for summer (hard to go bad in hot weather) in some regions. Typical cooking was simmering or lightly grilling.
Grilled dried (salted) ray fin. Served with mayonnaise sauce and red pepper powder. A typical serving as a bar's snack with liquor.
Ah, the salted bar snacks that make you drink more. I think eating shark has become more popular among some Americans in recent years. But here in Virginia at least, eating ray is mostly new to them. It is being promoted to save shellfish that the rays feed upon.

Just as the IJN had the best food in general, it seems likely that some IJN men would have had the best chance to eat any shark or ray. Especially, pre-war sailors at the farther shore stations and bases.

-- Alan
Alan,

I suppose I am one of the passers-by. I have very much enjoyed this thread not only for the historical aspect but also for gaining ideas in learning how to prepare Japanese food.
Books: The original search engine.

Interested in original M1918 BAR and M1917A1 BMG related items.

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