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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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 31 Mar 2008 00:55

It rather looks like Taro. Yam looks slim.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taro
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam_%28vegetable%29

In Japan a kind of Taro, satoimo is a popular vegetables. A well-known cooking style is imoni. In other part of Japan, stewed satoimo (nikkorogashi) is a popular side menu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imoni
http://repiko.yakan.net/satoimononikorogasi.html

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Akira Takizawa
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Akira Takizawa » 31 Mar 2008 03:13

Sewer King wrote:The lack of food was such a barometer of hardship for Japanese troops during the war. Why did the Japanese leave these rations so courteously to the Americans, even meaning to allay suspicion of poison? It seems simply that they knew it was good food and wished to see it eaten, even by the enemy, rather than destroyed in waste. My belief is that some particular Japanese officer felt this way. Aren't there similar stories from the civil wars of old Japan?
There is a famous proverb in Japan as "Send salt for the enemy". See below.

http://yuumiya.blog40.fc2.com/blog-entry-47.html
Kenshin Uesugi is famous samurai for his honest and sincere character.

『Send salt for the enemy』 is the wellknown japanaese proverb.
That means it is important to help innocent civilians living in enemy territory even if you are fighting against

Althouth Uesugi fought agiainst Takeda (his rival govern Mino area ) many times.
He could not help sending salt to save innocent people in Mino.
Takeda did not forget Uesugi's favor for his people. Even though Uesugi was his enemy for his life time
he paid great respect for Uesugi until he died.
Brave sumurai Uesugi's famous saying
『If you are determined to accept your destiny you will be protected.
If you are not afraid. of death you will survive. 』
Note; Mino is a mistake. It is Kai, correctly.

Taki

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Sewer King
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 01 Apr 2008 04:30

hisashi wrote:In Japan a kind of Taro, satoimo is a popular vegetables. A well-known cooking style is imoni. In other part of Japan, stewed satoimo (nikkorogashi) is a popular side menu.
Thanks to hisashi. I had not known that taro was as widely eaten in Japan itself, though often mentioned in soldiers' food during the war I had thought it was used for rations mainly because it was available in occupied Asia. We Filipinos also eat it often. My mother lived through Philippine occupation and Liberation, and remembers the taro leaf emblem of the US Army 25th Infantry Division.

Incidentally, it has been said that one reason the ordinary potato became so important a foodstuff in Ireland was that it survived under battlefields and would not be easily destroyed by the fighting on top.
Akira Takizawa wrote:There is a famous proverb in Japan as "Send salt for the enemy"
Thanks again to Taki. I could not find the sources for the similar stories I had read about old Japan:

-- a lord whose castle was about to fall to the siege of a rival. The lord called a truce to offer the enemy his fine collection of arms and armor before he died. The rival accepted them with many thanks, and honored the memory of his enemy after he was killed in the end of the siege.

-- a samurai who was being interrogated for useful information. In reply he asked for a paper and brush, and wrote a poem that said "they are asking me not about arts and poetry, but about mere things of this world!" His captors were so awed by his high-minded answer that he was spared execution.

These stories were not about food, and they were soldier-to-soldier, rather than soldiers taking care of civilians. But I am glad to hear of "send salt to the enemy" because many accounts of Japanese army food end with shortages, confiscation, and starvation.

It was often so. But when you identified for me the obscure Admiral Nisuke Masuda, who could boast before he died that no one had starved under his command at Jaluij Atoll, it reminded me distantly of one of the stories above. Nisuke's was also an honorable deed under great hardship, and further suggested what might have been possible to save more Japanese soldiers' lives elsewhere.

-- Alan

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hisashi
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Re:

Post by hisashi » 01 Apr 2008 12:53

Peter H wrote:Didn't the Japanese Navy have special catery ships?(or should I say ships that provided cooked meals for personnel on the major fleet vessels in times as required?)
BB Yamato had six 108 litter rice-boiling cauldrons. IJN had a specialized food-serving ship Mamiya, which could produce many Japanese foods. Every IJN men in operation waited for Mamiya arriving at their base.

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 01 Apr 2008 13:17

Thanks.Sounds like the IJN had the best food!

"It is as important to select proper food for the men as it is powder"-Baron Takaki Surgeon General of the Japanese Navy.

Curry was also adopted from the Royal Navy,karē raisu becoming a favourite navy dish usually on Fridays.

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Sewer King
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 06 Apr 2008 05:20

hisashi wrote:IJN had a specialized food-serving ship Mamiya, which could produce many Japanese foods. Every IJN men in operation waited for Mamiya arriving at their base.
So the refrigerated (reefer) supply ships also served meals directly to the fleet. These types are listed in such old books as A. J. Watts Japanese Warships of World War II (UK: Ian Allen, and US: Doubleday & Co, 1966, reprinted 1973), page 343-345. But Watts has little operational detail and even less for naval auxiliaries, so I had no idea they actually served meals to ships’ crews.

Was this true of other reefer ships such as the Nankai, or the Kinesaki-class auxiliaries? Were they specifically assigned to the various fleets? Or were they meant more to serve distant island bases such as Truk, since there were local food sources at other bases in Singapore, Indochina, and the Philippines?

Did these ships directly provision the warships in port, or did the crewmen go on board the reefers for meals? German U-boat crewmen did this with auxiliary ships that resupplied their submarines, and they looked forward to such rendezvous (for the chance to bathe as much as to eat well). I imagined that the same was true for Japanese I-boats and their submarine tenders like the Jingei. But arranging that would be more complicated with the large crews of capital ships.
hisashi wrote:BB Yamato had six 108 litter rice-boiling cauldrons.
The Yamato class seems to have had the best food in the Imperial Navy, but this seems to come from their modern design as much as anything else. Maybe their half-sister aircraft carrier Shinano was to have been similarly equipped

I finally have some use of a scanner! so here is a plan drawing of the Yamato-class battleship galley:

Image
from Vincent Murphy's translation of Akira Yoshimura's book Battleship Musashi: The Making and Sinking of the World's Biggest Battleship (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1991 and 1999; originally published by Shinchosa Ltd as Senkan Musashi), page 192.

There are a lot of small annotations on it. But if any are clear enough to read here I ask please, if our Japanese members can translate some of them. Which are the 108-liter cauldrons?

Maybe this one drawing, or others like it, is the only source of this detail of the Yamato interiors? Or there is more known from Japanese-language sources than in English? There seem to be relatively few photos of any IJN warship interiors at all, so this particular detail is especially welcome.

Yoshimura also mentions that during Musashi's long idle periods at Truk, her crewmen were detailed ashore to grow crops on Aki Shima (Autumn Island, or originally Fefan Island to the Trukese). They were not very successful because of interference by tropical weeds (page 141). This sounds ironic compared to the Yamatos' reputation for good food, but it could not be helped.

-- Alan

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Sewer King
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 10 Apr 2008 04:07

Here is a less-covered area of Japanese military food, in the English language at least – the Russo-Japanese War of 1904.

Incidentally, the 1904 war has been called the last one where foreign military attaches from around the world had so wide a chance to freely observe. As is well known, the Japanese victories led to great debate among the world powers about how future wars would be fought, especially at sea. But the same attention had also been paid to military medicine and troop feeding.

During World War I, US Army Medical Corps Colonel Valery Havard wrote an extensive Manual of Military Hygiene for the Military Services of the United States 3rd edition (New York: William Wood & Co, 1917), here available for download. Colonel Havard had been a US observer with the Russian Army in Manchuria, where he noted that the Russians had an excellent rolling field kitchen. Theirs was a single-axle, horse-drawn trailer that mounted boiler cookstoves and a cook’s toolchest. Valery reported that some of them were more refined with roasting ovens for officers' field mess, or carried larger units on two axles:

Image

He noted that the Russian-type design was generally adopted by European armies by the time of the First World War, though of course he could not have imagined their continued use through a Second.

Japan also adopted a kitchen trailer comparable to the above:

Image
from page 46 of Gordon Rottman's Japanese Infantryman 1937-45 (Osprey Warrior series volume 95) cited earlier.

Havard referred to attache reports of how the Japanese troops cooked and ate in the field during the 1904 war (page 378):
The Japanese field cooking outfit consists of a stove or segmental cylinder of sheet iron, 22 inches in diameter, without top or bottom; a thin cast iron kettle which fits into the stove; of the rice boiler or colander which rests by handle lugs on the rim of the kettle; and of various cans and small utensils. Four cooking outfits are allowed for a company of 235 men. They are transported on pack animals, each stove knocked down into six segments. Such outfit is specially adapted to a ration consisting chiefly of rice. The individual mess-can of the Japanese soldier contains several compartments for pickles, vegetables, and sauces, and is also used to cook rice.
Here those field stoves have been set up for use:

Image

… while disassembled stoves and kettles were carried in rope nets slung across the back of a pack horse:

Image

I assume Havard's photos here were credited to military attaches of his time. He described the 1904 Japanese Army field ration itself in very general terms (page 394):
Rice, uncooked, 30 ounces.
- or steamed and dried, 25 ounces
- or fresh bread, 20 ounces
- or hard bread, 13 ounces.

Meat, canned, 10 ounces.
- or fresh (with bones) 13 ounces (which may be increased to 20 if procurable).
- or salt, dry or smoked meat, 8 ounces.
- or fish.

Vegetables, dry, 8 ounces.
- or green, 32 ounces.

Pickles, sauces, and condiments. Tea and sugar. Sake, made from rice.

The Japanese soldier does not take readily to bread, either fresh or hard. During the Russo-Japanese War, the meat component was scant and issued irregularly; rice, fish, and vegetables formed the staple ration.

The Japanese medical regulations provide that the nutritive value of the ration should never fall below 2,580 calories.
I have the impression that Japanese military medicine was very good for this time, at least for the regional wars fought through 1904. The IJA Medical Corps would not be as painfully tested as that of other combatants later on in the First World War, but its attention to field hygiene and care of prisoners was noted by foreign observers. Soldiers' food was adequate, although after 1914 the Japanese would be the eager observers of European armies in this and other things.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Nathan Greenfield » 13 Apr 2008 21:18

I must say that this post is fascinating.
In a day when (just speaking of Canada) Canadian toops in Afghanistan can get a coffee and donut from the national obsession, Tim Hortons, pictures of the field kitchens, etc. makes one realize how primitive life was for the grunts on both sides.

Cheers,
Nathan

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 16 Apr 2008 14:00

Aircraft dining
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 16 Apr 2008 14:03

Plenty of beer on this boat. :)
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 16 Apr 2008 14:07

Living off the land
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Sewer King
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 17 Apr 2008 04:58

Nathan Greenfield wrote:I must say that this post is fascinating. In a day when (just speaking of Canada) Canadian troops in Afghanistan can get a coffee and donut from the national obsession, Tim Hortons, pictures of the field kitchens, etc. makes one realize how primitive life was for the grunts on both sides.
It's fascinating partly because food is one of the chief pillars of culture, including a military culture.

The old soldiers' field life may look primitive, but this is relative. Julius Caesar reportedly said that peasants make good soldiers because they live hard in peacetime, so they need little. In the American Civil War, soldiers were the world's best-fed, yet they sometimes ate raw pork and half-baked bread. After World War I an assistant US Secretary of War said how much better the doughboy was fed compared to his Civil War ancestor, though the doughboy sang rude songs about his food. In World War II a veteran sergeant of 1918 chided his young draftees as spoiled by 1942 C-rations. And our veterans of 1942-45 would say the same about today's freeze-dried army meals.

==============================
Peter H wrote:Aircraft dining
The aircraft is a Mitsubishi G4M BETTY bomber, to guess from the canopy glazing and the ammunition drums for the 7.7mm machine gun here . I never thought of IJN inflight meals, although they would seem likely because of the Navy's long-range flights over water.

Even more so for the large Kawanishi flying boats. A single H8K EMILY flying boat survives, but I don't know of any published study of its interior -- that would be a good research project, and would answer the question of whether it had any limited inflight kitchen.

Peter H wrote:Plenty of beer on this boat
Beer was part of the regular Navy ration. What might have been the occasion here?

Peter H wrote:Living off the land
I have a vague feeling this is in Malaya, though I cannot say why or prove it. There are a few fine Japanese shotguns today, but were there any from Imperial times?

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

From a recent, general book cited earlier in this thread, Leo J. Daugherty's Fighting Techniques of a Japanese Infantryman, (UK: Spellhurst Ltd, 2002), page 30:

Image
These two soldiers are preparing what look like pompanos, warm-water jack fish that should make a delicious meal for many of their comrades. Their photo is unlocated and undated. I assume it is somewhere in the South Pacific early in the war when easy fishing, cooking time, and apparent reasons to smile were more common.


Also cited earlier, George Forty's Japanese Army Handbook 1939-1945, (Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1999) where these photos on page 83 were credited to the Imperial War Museum, though unlocated and undated too:

Image
From this photo above I am not certain these are soldiers, because uniforms are not distinct among them -- although haircuts seem to be. Many metal bowls and some chopsticks are on the rough table but no mess kits, although soldiers did use bowls as well. Is something being served that was wrapped in rice straw?

Who would have been “soldier-settlers” in Manchukuo as captioned here? This sounds like the German soldier-farmers (Wehrbauern) the Nazis had hoped would settle and rule the occupied eastern territories after winning the war in Russia. Were these simply Kwantung Army troops?


Image
These troops in the above photo have small rectangular metal dishes that are not part of the standard mess kits they are eating from. The man at right foreground seems to be collecting or distributing these empty dishes.


Image
Forty, page 82.

Is the above a battalion field kitchen? Only part of the stove shows in this photo, with a large kettle, a cookpot and basin on it. Or is it a kitchen dismounted from its trailer and set on the ground?

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

Scenes of soldiers happily eating seem to be common propaganda subjects for any army. Maybe the hard reality and jokes about army food have to be met with repeated cheerful assertions that the food is good -- at least in someone else's mess kit, if seldom yours.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by aipaul » 17 Apr 2008 18:09

Who would have been “soldier-settlers” in Manchukuo as captioned here? This sounds like the German soldier-farmers (Wehrbauern) the Nazis had hoped would settle and rule the occupied eastern territories after winning the war in Russia. Were these simply Kwantung Army troops?
Yes, like the Nazis the Japanese sent civilian pioneers as well as soldiers to colonize Manchukuo.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 18 Apr 2008 14:24

Alan,sorry I can't answer your questions.

The mandatory good dining shot--New Guinea.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 18 Apr 2008 14:30

Manchuria 1939,at the time of Nomonhan.

Looks like soup,a la bulk.Note size of spoon.
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