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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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 25 Jun 2013 05:52

Burma again.

Seized bagged items...looks like a manufacturing line or something.
Rice?Or minerals?
Caption attached as well.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 25 Jun 2013 05:59

1942...buying pineapples from the natives SW Pacific
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 25 Jun 2013 06:02

1942...Malaya meal break
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 26 Jun 2013 02:44

Peter H wrote:Burma again.

Seized bagged items...looks like a manufacturing line or something.
Rice?Or minerals?
Caption attached as well.
Caption says 'Imperial Army capturing tungsten and its firm at Dawei[a city in Myanmar]'.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 26 Jun 2013 02:59

Peter H wrote:Another one of those sugar cane munching pics...Burma 1942
Bottom of sugar cane is sweater than top. Once a famous painter and high-echelon bureaucrat of his day, Gu Kaizhi (3
44-406), always ate sugar cane from the top. He explained why he did so as 'gradually go to the best (漸入佳境)'. Even today they use the expression from his expression 'kakyo ni hairu' to describe 'go to peak/climax'.

The hungry soldiers seemed not in poetic mood.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 26 Jun 2013 03:44

Alan, thank you for reminding me of my own old post; I have totally forgotten it. Kanten was easily carried in form of powder so I don't think one made huge kanten just for transport.

According to the recalls of elderly bloggers, electricity was in short at war and for several years after the war, because of war damage [and perhaps from shortage of any kind of fuel]. Anyway very few richest families enjoyed most electric facilities in prewar era.

In prewar Japan, 'one family one light contract' was the cheapest form of contract. That was, a family could use one light (typically from the ceiling) at a fixed rate but no other outlet was available. In the early days, electricity provider changed bulb on request, but in Showa era bulb retail began. The pioneer bulb maker is now a part of Toshiba. Also pressing iron became popular as the first home electronic goods. So adapters to give outlet(s) from bulb plug, or brunching socket for an outlet and a bulb, sold well. It was the first success of Panasonic (Matsushita), and their main concern moved to radio. Sharp(Hayakawa) was also a major radio brand of early Showa Era. Hitachi was specialized in industrial use such as electric generator and began home business after the war.

I have an impression that it was poverty itself which hindered home electronics from Japanese families until 1960s.

Absorption refrigerator using petroreum gas was also imported but unreachable for the most people. In 1960s it sold some as still luxury item but soon conceded to modern ones.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 26 Jun 2013 05:26

hisashi wrote:
Peter H wrote:Burma again.

Seized bagged items...looks like a manufacturing line or something.
Rice?Or minerals?
Caption attached as well.
Caption says 'Imperial Army capturing tungsten and its firm at Dawei[a city in Myanmar]'.
Thanks hisashi.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 06 Jul 2013 09:19

I have seen a short story saying that Japanese style breadcrumbs (panko パン粉) has been recently known in the U.S. It is good for making crispy fries.

Crispy fries, such as tonkatsu, clearly came from Breaded cutlet. It was known in 1870s, as a beef cuisine. Cutlet prevailed among Jpanaese cookers as katsuretsu and bifukatsu =beef cutlet was one of typical western cuisines in Japanese restaurants.

Until the end of WWII, the price (per gram) of beef, chicken and pork was not so different in Japan. But Kanto plain was fiit for pig feedlot rather than cattle. In prewar Japan, Tokyo citizens became heavy consumers of pork while Osaka people preferred beef. So especially in Tokyo and neighboring cities they offered tonkatsu = pork cutlet. The oldest known tonkatsu began in 1899.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonkatsu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korokke

Tonkatsu and similar fried items became gradually popular among civilian restaurants and military barracks introduced those, both for soldiers and officers.

And... who invented Japanese style breadcrumbs? Original breadcrumbs is from dried bread. Japanese style breadcrumbs is pieces of bread while it is still wet. Apparently, Japanese small restaurant owners could not find any bag of breadcrumbs sold nearby and made it from breads. Of course it must be dried afterwards for preservation, but is believed non-dried panko is best for crispyness of fries. In Japanese supermarkets non-dried panko is available while I often let it moicy before used up. Perhaps Japanese styled panko available for foreign readers are well dried ones.

Today, another common dish using panko is 'Hamburg'. In Japan 'Hamburger' means a meat patty sandwiched with a pair of buns. 'Hamburg' means meat patty itself or those served separately. Mixing minced beef, minced pork, a raw egg and panko we make a group of patty, seasoned with (typically) salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic, and grill or fly them. Patty of this style seemed not popular before WWII, partly because egg was an expensive food until 1960s.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Wellgunde » 17 Jul 2013 04:35

Panko is indeed available at U.S. grocery stores. My wife is a user.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 21 Jul 2013 17:33

hisashi wrote: I have seen a short story saying that Japanese style breadcrumbs (panko パン粉) has been recently known in the U.S. It is good for making crispy fries.
As Wellgunde said, it is true that panko has become much available in America, at least in the larger supermarkets. My wife uses it too, mainly for chicken and shrimp fry.
hisashi wrote:. . . Crispy fries, such as tonkatsu, clearly came from Breaded cutlet. It was known in 1870s, as a beef cuisine. Cutlet prevailed among Japanese cookers as katsuretsu and bifukatsu =beef cutlet was one of typical western cuisines in Japanese restaurants.
I thought that cutlets came from British influence, although French cooking is sometimes cited as another early influence. Not so much from RN sailors, but rather merchant sailors in the port cities who were much more common visitors.
hisashi wrote:. . . Until the end of WWII, the price (per gram) of beef, chicken and pork was not so different in Japan. But Kanto plain was fit for pig feedlot rather than cattle. In prewar Japan, Tokyo citizens became heavy consumers of pork while Osaka people preferred beef. So especially in Tokyo and neighboring cities they offered tonkatsu = pork cutlet. The oldest known tonkatsu began in 1899 . . . Tonkatsu and similar fried items became gradually popular among civilian restaurants and military barracks introduced those, both for soldiers and officers.
This answers what I had wondered, about beef vs. pork in a modernizing Japan. As demand for meat rose up I had thought that Japan would have favored pork the same way China did long ago. This was because hogs took less space than cattle, bred faster, and ate food waste instead of valuable grain and scarce grazing. Geography of Japan’s Kanto plain added to this difference, as Hisashi said.

As with tonkatsu, Cwiertka mentioned a similar approach by the IJA in serving Chinese-style fried dishes. These were also introduced because of civilian popularity,
hisashi wrote:And . . . who invented Japanese style breadcrumbs? Original breadcrumbs is from dried bread. Japanese style breadcrumbs is pieces of bread while it is still wet. Apparently, Japanese small restaurant owners could not find any bag of breadcrumbs sold nearby and made it from breads. Of course it must be dried afterwards for preservation, but is believed non-dried panko is best for crispyness of fries . . . Perhaps Japanese styled panko available for foreign readers are well dried ones.
True again. Panko commonly available here in the US is always dried, packed in cardboard cans. Some are in plastic bags or canisters to show difference from other crumbs. Now they are available in many ordinary supermarkets as well as world supermarkets, because the former often follow the latter.

Most are made in the US, but will be labeled as “Panko, Japanese-style breadcrumbs.”
  • However, I easily found at least this one imported from Japan, shown below:
    Panko bread crumbs [imported].JPG
    A 198g bag. But it seems expensive to import such a simple item. This is labeled “Shirakiku” brand, packaged in Jaoan and distributed by Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd, offices in Santa Fe Springs, California. I bought it from a large Korean supermarket here (there are at least six of them within 50km of me).

    One of the world supermarket chains in the eastern Middle States, Wegman’s, explains on its panko can that it is made with the inside of the bread instead of the outside crust.
Panko would be chosen by those who know that it does make better fries, but who might not know that moist panko is even better. I hadn’t considered that it originated as long ago as the Western breaded dishes adapted by Japan. As with Calpis fermented milk drink discussed earlier, I first thought panko was a more recent Japanese product (that is, postwar). I would guess many other Americans who use Japanese products are similarly mistaken about them.
hisashi wrote:Today, another common dish using panko is 'Hamburg'. In Japan 'Hamburger' means a meat patty sandwiched with a pair of buns. 'Hamburg' means meat patty itself or those served separately. Mixing minced beef, minced pork, a raw egg and panko we make a group of patty, seasoned with (typically) salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic, and grill or fry them. Patty of this style seemed not popular before WWII, partly because egg was an expensive food until 1960s.
Salisbury steak or hamburger steak in the US is very similar to hamburg as Hisashi tells it.

It apparently dates from about the same time (1890s). The link also adds to what Hisashi said about the expense of eggs, in that meat was more affordable as hamburg by this same time (1960s).

If it’s true that hamburg first began in Meiji-era Yokohama, I wonder if it came through Americans in that port.
  • At home, Filipinos like me will easily eat a Salisbury steak or hamburger patty with rice. This might sound strange to some Americans, but maybe not to Japanese.

    In France biftek haché, steack haché, or boeuf haché in similar. There it is made best using finer beef cuts (like sirloin) ground into patties, rather than the cheaper beef chuck (shoulder) more common in the US. It does taste excellent but costs more. I have heard of it served from a French Foreign Legion field kitchen, though maybe not necessarily using the finer cuts.
I would like to try a MOS Burger, which I had heard of decades ago. Reportedly they have been marketed in Australia, but have not reached beyond Asia to the US.

===================================
hisashi wrote:. . . I am not sure to what extent Japanese military had small/many refrigerators. The first electric refrigerator for home appeared in 1927 as a test piece and on sale in 1933.
Sewer King wrote: Among its modern equipment, I have an impression that the IJN had more electric refrigerators [on its ships and bases] than most Japanese civilians, as well as the IJA . . .
Another note about refrigeration being well-provided in the Navy:
  • The IJN had long planned and built distant tropical bases. All of its food had to be shipped long distances in hot climate, whether stocked aboard ships or on isolated islands.

    By contrast, the IJA long planned and fought in temperate continental Asia, where its food could often be taken from the operating areas. Its troops could also use packaged combat rations or cook their own meals, which sailors at sea could not do.
So the difference began as a natural one, not just a technical advance of Navy equipment over that of the Army.

===================================
Peter H wrote:Another one of those sugar cane munching pics . . . Burma 1942
hisashi wrote:Bottom of sugar cane is sweeter than top. Once a famous painter and high-echelon bureaucrat of his day, Gu Kaizhi (344-406), always ate sugar cane from the top. He explained why he did so as 'gradually go to the best (漸入佳境)'. Even today they use the expression from his expression 'kakyo ni hairu' to describe 'go to peak/climax'.

The hungry soldiers seemed not in poetic mood.
Indeed, hungry soldiers seldom are. Maybe a few officers would be, because poetry was a gentleman's art. But I would agree with Gu Kaizhi’s philosophy.

Chewing pieces of sugar cane is common where it was grown all across tropical Asia, including Japan’s southern islands. But maybe it was not familiar to most soldiers from mainland Japan?

As Peter said, it seems a common theme for photos, like this one of tank crews enjoying sugar cane we saw earlier.

===================================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller sell446: Ice blocks? Was some form of basic refrigeration available to some?
Sewer King wrote:. . . I feel doubtful about it. Ice blocks of this size (say, 60x30x10cm) would be fairly heavy and not held up as casually as these look here . . . Could they be blocks of agar-agar, or kanten in Japanese? But I don't know if kanten comes in blocks as large as seen here. If they did, they would be light enough to hold up like that.
hisashi wrote:. . . Kanten was easily carried in form of powder, so I don't think one made huge kanten just for transport.
Yes, powder is the modern form -- but raw agar-agar in other countries, or in the past, could be thin dry sheets or strips. This is how I remember it in the Philippines though the sheets were small, the size of a book. But, you are right that these still seem large. I thought that sheets of raw agar-agar might have been fused together into blocks, since the sheets break easily.

If the lightweight blocks are neither ice nor kanten, then we are mystified for what they could be, for lack of caption or better clues.

====================================
Peter H wrote:Malaya meal break
They are beneath a kapok tree. A high ridge line and probably a riverbend in the background suggest the terrain they are on.

The men wear field caps and shirtsleeve uniform. But no steel helmets, ammunition belts, packs, or even rifles are in sight, although those could be outside the narrow view of the camera.

Wasn’t the Malayan campaign much more rigorous than this photo implies? But any army’s propaganda will show only the best situation.

-- Alan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 24 Jul 2013 05:33

What does the sign read? To me, this shape of wooden signboard with its “peaked roof” on top often seemed to be a formal kind of sign used in Japan.

There’s another, horizontal sign but what is written on it is largely hidden by those pressing with their pineapples. Bananas are also being offered. The people themselves here look Melanesian. But is it impossible to tell whether the Japanese is an IJA or IJN man?

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

From earlier discussion of available food refrigeration in Imperial Japan:
hisashi wrote: . . . In prewar Japan, 'one family one light contract' was the cheapest form of contract. That was, a family could use one light (typically from the ceiling) at a fixed rate but no other outlet was available. In the early days, electricity provider changed bulb on request, but in Showa era bulb retail began. The pioneer bulb maker is now a part of Toshiba. Also pressing iron became popular as the first home electronic goods. So adapters to give outlet(s) from bulb plug, or branching socket for an outlet and a bulb, sold well. It was the first success of Panasonic (Matsushita), and their main concern moved to radio. Sharp (Hayakawa) was also a major radio brand of early Showa Era. Hitachi was specialized in industrial use such as electric generator and began home business after the war.
Many thanks again Hisashi. Once again you answered my question before I even knew how to ask it. I feel sure there is a Japanese word for this kind of foreknowledge.

For some time I had wondered about the single ceiling lights, because they appear in different prewar photos of indoor Japan scenes. But it was not a military history topic for here, and I didn’t know where to look for answer. Now it is clear.
  • Of course, those brand names are now very common across the whole world (all of them are in my house, as I type this on a Toshiba laptop). But a summary of how they all began with simple lighting is interesting, Japanese appliances, cars, and other products were already common in the late-1960s Philippines where I grew up, before they became common in America. From that time I have a National brand (today Panasonic) rice cooker, still working after 45 years.
Just today I found a wartime geography study that adds to what Hisashi said about prewar electricity and its machines.
. . . A highly-placed Japanese worker, a bookkeeper in a modern office, or a foreman in a machine shop full of the latest equipment is back in the Middle Ages when he steps inside his own home. His wife or his servant cooks over a charcoal fire built in a box lined with clay. There is no plumbing in the house; even in the large cities the water tap is likely to be outside. Only one article in the house can be termed a “modern convenience” -– a 10-watt electric bulb that hangs from a cord from the paper ceiling. Nearly every house in Japan, no matter how poor, has its electric light. Electricity is used almost as universally in the country as in the city. Only a few mountain hamlets and some of the smaller outlying islands are not served by power lines.

Electricity is of tremendous social importance in Japan . . . if only because it is the first universal intrusion of the modern world into the . . . traditionalism in the Japanese home.

. . . When the government cut down on the production of all consumer goods, a considerable number of alternating current radios and lesser number of sewing machines and refrigerators were already being used by the wealthy in the larger cities. . .
It might not seem so at first. But this difference between “electricity at home vs. factory” parallels the difference between “food at home vs. the IJA / IJN rations.” Compared to his home, an average Japanese could first live in some modernity through his military service. It was lived in the surroundings of his Army fort, or machinery (and lights) of his Navy ship -- and served at his mess table.
  • Cwiertka makes this point between urban and rural Japanese in the 1930s, and Hisashi also explained it from the salary-earner’s viewpoint too.
Similarly, I compared an IJA conscript’s living standard to that of a WW1 US Army draftee. For many soldiers in both armies, home life was far from modernity -– in both electricity and nutrition.
hisashi wrote: I have an impression that it was poverty itself which hindered home electronics from Japanese families until 1960s.
This seems likely for a time after the Occupation years. Also, Carus and McNichols also suggested that Japan’s hydroelectric power was only 1/3rd developed by WW2. Writing in 1944, they looked to the postwar expansion of electricity in rural Japan as a way to reduce poverty, the same as in the US Rural Electrification program in 1930s..

These authors also say that much of Imperial Japan’s manufacture was for the export market, to earn currency. Less of it was for its people at home.

I have the impression, too, that the 1960s was an especially bright time for Japan.
  • The 1964 Olympics had been hosted there, the first one to be TV-broadcast worldwide by satellite. It was said to be the nation’s return to the world stage. Japan’s economic power was taking off. A generation of Japanese who had not lived the war was coming of age. These would be upward steps for a new consumer society that, among other things, could begin to afford home conveniences.

    In April 1970, my family visited Japan for several weeks of the Expo 70 world’s fair held at Osaka. From Japan of that time, I always remember an optimistic sense of the future, not only from the fair. I felt this even at my young age then, though maybe also because of it.
Recently I read Sam Kusumoto’s autobiography My Bridge to America: Discovering the New World for Minolta (Dutton, 1989). Kusumoto had grown up from Japanese Korea, through late-war and Japan’s reconstruction, and went on to be chief of Minolta Corporation. The book interested me because the author’s good fortune seemed to me like that of Japan itself. Also, his optimism for Japan and friendship for America reminded me of my visit there.

Despite his warm writing, Kusumoto also mentioned the hardships of late-war Japan and the possibility of dying in its hopeless defense against Allied invasion.

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

Because Japanese cuisine is enjoyed by enough Americans today, some of them may have an impression that so many Japanese are gourmands. TV shows like Iron Chef add to this, and led to several American imitations. In 2012 thre was a cook-off competition for an “Iron Chef” title in the US Navy, This kind of competition has become popular both afloat and ashore worldwide in the USN.

But even though fine cooking was always honored in old Japan, it seems to have belonged much more closely to the rich than it did in the West across the same time. I guess this partly because broad middle classes arose in the rising Western nations, compared to Japan during its long isolation. Sophisticated food seems told mainly about Edo, as with Tokyo during Imperial times.

Can it be said that wider popular enjoyment and exploration of good food also took off in the 1960s, like much else? Japan became a true consumer society, though things could still be expensive.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 24 Jul 2013 07:48

Sewer King wrote:
What does the sign read? To me, this shape of wooden signboard with its “peaked roof” on top often seemed to be a formal kind of sign used in Japan.
The sign reads 'Every Tuesday ** MARKET ** Naga-Naga '. Naga-Naga would be the location name.
Sewer King wrote:
But even though fine cooking was always honored in old Japan, it seems to have belonged much more closely to the rich than it did in the West across the same time. I guess this partly because broad middle classes arose in the rising Western nations, compared to Japan during its long isolation. Sophisticated food seems told mainly about Edo, as with Tokyo during Imperial times.

Can it be said that wider popular enjoyment and exploration of good food also took off in the 1960s, like much else? Japan became a true consumer society, though things could still be expensive.
Of course in medieval Japan the riches ate something, but in Edo era or preceding Muromachi era (14c-16c) all basics in Japanese cuisine became available. Soy sause, dashi or umami soupstock materials, sashimi and sushi bra bra.

Ordinary people enjoyed meals within their income. Even today, formal dinner course costs at least 3,000 JPY, usually more than 5,000, whether Japanese style or not. We often search good restaurants, say, within 1,000 JPY per meal and find something.

For a long time sushi using raw fish have been too expensive for ordinary men. Only sushi with vinegarred fish were affordable. Electric refrigarator and advanced cold chain distribution network changed the situation.

And prewar Japan was a class society than it is. So many poor peasants and factory workers could not eat curry rice until they were drafted. The real change is today most Japanese workers can afford Big Mac set or anything at similar price every day.
Sewer King wrote:
In France biftek haché, steack haché, or boeuf haché in similar. There it is made best using finer beef cuts (like sirloin) ground into patties, rather than the cheaper beef chuck (shoulder) more common in the US. It does taste excellent but costs more. I have heard of it served from a French Foreign Legion field kitchen, though maybe not necessarily using the finer cuts.
Japanese 'Hayashi Rice', hashed meats with brown sauce on rice, is also a cuisine appeared in Japanese civilian restaurants and more or less served in barracks. You see it is a variation of curry rice, brown sauce instead of curry sauce.

https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E3%8 ... 78&bih=572

For finer cut beef/pork Japaneses have several typical seasonings, including China-origin ones. It includes shoga-yaki (pork-ginger), seasoned with soy sause, ginger paste and garlic (and often sugar or sweet liquer). Using better pork (say, sirloin) we get better one. It is clear that IJA used ginger to season liver, but it's not clear whether pork-ginger had prewar origin.

https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=%E7%9 ... 78&bih=572

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 31 Jul 2013 07:11

Recently tuna and eel became scarce, but we are not so pessimistic. According to our government, in 2012 9592t (176000 fish) of aquacultured tuna came from our fish farms, 60% of which were 100% artificial, egg-to-fishmeat. Tuna sashimi is to be expensive but not prohibitively, by expanding aquaculture. The situation is harder for eel. Only in 2010 researchers closed the wheel of culture; egg-fish-egg from raised fish-egg again. And in 2012 (!) they found what eel baby eat in natural circumstance. They are busy in developing reasonable bait and expanding their system to commercial size. We might give up unagi for several years but not so long.
Sewer King wrote: A 198g bag. But it seems expensive to import such a simple item. This is labeled “Shirakiku” brand, packaged in Jaoan and distributed by Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd, offices in Santa Fe Springs, California. I bought it from a large Korean supermarket here (there are at least six of them within 50km of me).
Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd was found in 1912. Their website shows they exported Japanese rice to Seattle CA in 1930s. Also they state after the war they had businesses in occupied Okinawa. On one hand they sold Japanese foods for Japanese population overseas (recently for everyone) and on the other hand they worked with Sunkist Co. to sell imported foods in Japan. Nishimoto's subsidiary in the U.S. was involved in California rice business and they use the brand Shirakiku for one of their rice package.

http://www.ntcltdusa.com/

Shirakiku panko seems their private brand. I believe the OEM producer is a firm known to Japaneses by their own brand.


Mutual Trading Co. is another food trader since prewar era. It came from a cooperation buying group of Japanese food shops in California. In postwar era they struggled to sell Japanese foods to non-Japaneses while the first immigrant generation passed away. They argue the first sushi-bar was theirs.

http://www.lamtc.com/


I recaptured that my mother made panko by herself. She used oroshi-ki as follows.

http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/alternativem_n/21484954.html

Every Japanese kitchen has oroshi-ki to make daikon-oroshi. So Japanese chefs in Meiji/Taisho era can easily get panko if any bread was available.

http://japanesefooddictionary.blogspot. ... roshi.html

Oroshi-ki is a rough file to get scob-like fine piece of food. In modern Japan food-processor is also available. The bread souuld be dried on air for a day or so but frozen bread will do.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 09 Aug 2013 06:48

Peter H wrote:1942 . . . buying pineapples from the natives SW Pacific
Sewer King wrote:What does the sign read? . . . the people look Melanesian. . .
hisashi wrote:The sign reads 'Every Tuesday ** MARKET ** Naga-Naga '. Naga-Naga would be the location name.
The impression, then, is of IJA/IJN receiving fruit from local vendors in a rear area. Although vendors might not usually bring pineapples one by one, as it looks here. If so, the photo could be staged, though the market may be real. But if all this fruit is sold to the military, the garrison seemed well-fed.
  • Wasn’t it more the IJN, rather than the IJA, that had bases well-developed enough for this kind of food commerce?

    Does the sign also imply that local Melanesians were taught some simple Japanese? Because the sign would have been posted for their notice.
Can anyone tell where Naga Naga might be? I was unable to trace this geographic name.

===================================
Sewer King wrote: . . . Sophisticated food seems told mainly about Edo, as with Tokyo during Imperial times. Can it be said that wider popular enjoyment and exploration of good food also took off in the 1960s, like much else? Japan became a true consumer society, though things could still be expensive.
hisashi wrote:Of course in medieval Japan the richest ate something, but in Edo era or preceding Muromachi era (14c-16c) all basics in Japanese cuisine became available. Soy sauce, dashi or umami soupstock materials, sashimi and sushi bra bra.
Like panko bread crumbs becoming known in the US, the term umami is also recently becoming understood here. It would be another example of early Japanese advances in nutritional science, like IJA packaged meal rations and IJN study of beri-beri. Reportedly, umami was first studied as early as the 1910s.

In learning about the history of style for anything, there can be a tendency to look only at the highest parts of it. In many parts of food history we tend to have the cookbooks of noblemen, while peasants left few written records of what they cooked.

I think that some general writing in English about Japanese food history has this slant -- in looking more at cookery of the Edo nobility than ordinary people’s food in the rest of Japan.

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

An aside of small interest –- about history as mutually taught in each others’ countries, about each other’s history.
  • Hisashi once mentioned a classroom test question of the American Civil War in his Japanese high schooling.

    High school history courses in the US can vary from state to state, and over time. In my own first-year high school in New York City, 1974, general Japanese history was included. This was alongside China, Russia, and Mideast hstories, a half-semester for each. So, it may have reflected the politics of those days. For Japan this included from the time of the Soga clan to post-WW2, a very long time range, so it was naturally fairly general.
I need to review parts and periods of Japanese history. Here in this thread, I tend to refer to “old Japan” in meaning all of the history before Meiji era. Others of its history fields are also divided into periods, say, swordsmithing and artistry. But in Japan’s food history I thought at first that this was not done.

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hisashi wrote:Recently tuna and eel became scarce, but we are not so pessimistic. According to our government, in 2012 9592t (176000 fish) of aquacultured tuna came from our fish farms, 60% of which were 100% artificial, egg-to-fishmeat. Tuna sashimi is to be expensive but not prohibitively, by expanding aquaculture. The situation is harder for eel. Only in 2010 researchers closed the wheel of culture; egg-fish-egg from raised fish-egg again. And in 2012(!) they found what eel baby eat in natural circumstance. They are busy in developing reasonable bait and expanding their system to commercial size. We might give up unagi for several years but not so long.
On TV I have seen how tuna is farm-raised. But I had the impression that it was not easy, and neither did I know that Japan had scaled up to this much of it. Since eel live in fresh water but spawn in the open sea, would that be why it was hard to study what the young ones ate?

I cannot yet find the mention, but a Japanese author wrote that IJA soldiers carried a portion of dried eel in their field packs -- as emergency ration{?}
Sewer King wrote:A 198g bag (of panko brread crumbs). But it seems expensive to import such a simple item. This is labeled “Shirakiku” brand, packaged in Japan and distributed by Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd, offices in Santa Fe Springs, California. I bought it from a large Korean supermarket here . . .
hisashi wrote:Nishimoto Trading Co Ltd was found in 1912. Their website shows they exported Japanese rice to Seattle CA in 1930s. . . Shirakiku panko seems their private brand. I believe the OEM producer is a firm known to Japaneses by their own brand.
Thanks for this also, Hisashi. I thought it might have been this case, where some import-export companies change their brand-name product lines for one market or the other.
hisashi wrote:Mutual Trading Co. is another food trader since prewar era. It came from a cooperation buying group of Japanese food shops in California. In postwar era they struggled to sell Japanese foods to non-Japaneses while the first immigrant generation passed away. They argue the first sushi-bar was theirs.
The history timing seems right. In the US, sushi bars began to be widely popular from the late 1970s-early 80s onwards. I thought it followed the growth of Korean community and storefront business here, from that same time onwards. But I hadn’t realized that the passing generation was a reason also.
hisashi wrote:I recaptured that my mother made panko by "herself. She used oroshi-ki as follows.
http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/alternativem_n/21484954.html

Every Japanese kitchen has oroshi-ki to make daikon-oroshi. So Japanese chefs in Meiji/Taisho era can easily get panko if any bread was available . . . Oroshi-ki is a rough file to get scob-like fine piece of food. In modern Japan food-processor is also available. The bread shuuld be dried on air for a day or so but frozen bread will do.
I guessed why panko is best when moist – the water pops the crumb when it meets hot oil. Like the one where I bought the panko, some of the larger Korean markets here have sections selling kitchenware and appliances. I will look for [i[orosho-ki[/i] there.

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hisashi wrote:. . . Japanese 'Hayashi Rice', hashed meats with brown sauce on rice, is also a cuisine appeared in Japanese civilian restaurants and more or less served in barracks. You see it is a variation of curry rice, brown sauce instead of curry sauce.
My daughter found the following for me, in a traveler’s guidebook, to go with Hisashi’s references:
Hayashi-Raisu This dish is an adaptation of the Western dish hashed beef. It consists of thinly-sliced beef and onions fried in butter, flavored with tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and other seasonings, and served on top of rice. Hayashi-raisu is an excellent example of a Western dish adapted to the Japanese taste.
IJA rations Hayashi raisu 3.jpg
Eating in Japan Illustrated 5th edition (Japan Travel Bureau Inc, 1988), page 77
It looks as good a soldier’s dish as others we have seen. From this recipe we can also see that it should be easy to make in large amounts. like curry rice.

But, who was Hayashi?

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hisashi wrote:For finer cut beef/pork Japaneses have several typical seasonings, including China-origin ones. It includes shoga-yaki (pork-ginger), seasoned with soy sauce, ginger paste and garlic (and often sugar or sweet liquor). Using better pork (say, sirloin) we get better one. It is clear that IJA used ginger to season liver, but it's not clear whether pork-ginger had prewar origin.
This sounds partly similar to something in the 1935 survey of IJN sailors’ favorite dishes quoted earlier from Cwiertka’s Modern Japanese Cuisine (pages 74-75):
Pork simmered ‘cultured’ style

Deep-fried balls made of minced pork mixed with finely chopped onions and ginger, simmered in soy sauce with sugar.
I would guess that pork-ginger was long prewar in origin. Some meats.are cooked or served with sweets and spices that balance their fatty tastes. Thus, in different cuisines there are:
  • pork-and-apple, turkey with cranberries, and ham with sugar crusting in the US,
    lamb-with-mint, or duck a l’orange in Europe,
    lamb-with-raisins, mutton-and-preserves in Middle Eastern cooking.
Might pork-ginger fit among these? If Chinese in origin, like Hisashi noted about some dishes, then maybe adapted to Japanese style like many others.

Ginger in particular was long used by Chinese sailors, who pot-planted it aboard their junks to prevent-scurvy However, its vitamin C might be reduced when cooked. Some Americans might best know Japanese use of ginger as thinly-sliced pickled beni shōga, accompanying sushi today. But I would guess that in those days umeboshi, daikon, and tsukemono were main vitamin-C foods for most Japanese –- and IJA / IJN men.

-- Alan
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mateusztt
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Posts: 18
Joined: 24 Jan 2009 15:01

Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by mateusztt » 14 Oct 2013 15:02

From old japanese propaganda movie :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ynko9v_nPY
Prepairing meal for air crews ( sushi? ) time 18:25 and 24:48

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