Food rations in the Japanese forces

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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 15 Oct 2013 09:51

According to flip on 18:25 they ate Maki-zushi, Dashi-maki, Takuan, milk coffee, pinapples, 'calory item' (=D-ration like block of sugar and milk powder), and Fruit punch (bottled in movie).

Maki-zushi (sushi-roll) In IJN movie they mainly rolled dried vegetables.


Dashi-maki (omelette seasoned with soy-sauce based soup)

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 14 Nov 2013 05:40

Thanks Mateustzz and Hisashi

Sea Eagles (1942) portrays a day and night of operations for Japanese Navy G3M bombers.

The film opens on a rural setting of farmers at work, paddy irrigation(?), and water buffaloes. These give way to more military settings:
  • (02:06) a round, crenelated fortification generally referred to as boro, or gun tower
    (02:31) Antiaircraft guns at elevation, under guard; another sentry walking past a barbed-wire knife rest
    (04:02) Japanese L2D transport plane (DC-3 American import or Japanese license-built; markings not visible) taxis on airfield
    (04:42) Two men in flight line tent(?), playing choo-hong kie? (Chinese chess, or xiangqi in modern Pinyin rendition)
    (04:48) Radio telephone operator at work in a communications tent, under guard
    (06:11) IJN sailors in white summer uniform, standing in ranks, most wearing aviation trade badges
And the detail for our thread:
  • (17:22) Steamed rice cooked in large kettle, scooped into IJN food carrier (seen and mentioned earlier here)
hisashi wrote: According to flip on 18:25 they ate Maki-zushi, Dashi-maki, Takuan, milk coffee, pineapples, 'calory item' (=D ration-like block of sugar and milk powder), and Fruit punch (bottled in movie).

Maki-zushi (sushi-roll). In [that] IJN movie they mainly rolled dried vegetables.
As in most of our IJN galley scenes, a petty officer is watchful over the cooks at work.

The metal lunch boxes might have some small interest, for a wartime Japan where metal had to be conserved. Were these common aboard ship also? In the US any such Japanese container might be referred to as a bento box, Would that be correct here, or might these metal ones have a different name?

Was the full menu on the sign truly the entire meal shown prepared and carried on the mission? It seems large, although good. Only the sushi and hot beverage are seen packed and consumed in the film.
  • (18:27) Cooks rolling sushi ,and packing them in metal lunch boxes
    (18:32) Cooks pack the lunch boxes into crates, together with bottled beverages
    (19:52) Aircrewmen in full flying kit stand to attention at briefing
    (21:04) G3Ms take off (some are not carrying bombs)
    (23:40) G3Ms in formation flight. Good luck charms hang in cockpits
    (24:30) Lunch boxes handed out to aircrews in flight. Four sushi rolls seen inside one.
    (25:40) A crewman pours a beverage for his co-pilot into thermos-type cup lid (coffee or tea, apart from bottled fruit punch shown earlier)
The target is bombed, at a river junction, just as seen in the mission briefing.

At first glance I imagined that this IJN airbase might be on Formosa. Not only because of the Chinese chess game, but because the galley is well-equipped enough to pack such a good lunch. In the wartime air forces, forward airfields were often not so well-fed, so maybe it would not be mainland China. Even though we have seen how well the IJN usually ate. However, propaganda movies of operations may not say exactly where they were filmed..

These particular G3M crews ate a little better than others we saw earlier, including a G4M1 crew eating directly from cans,

From a previous photo we saw some foods that IJN aviators could take aloft. But those were recovered from single-engine carrier planes, and shown as an assortment. Land-based, twin-engine IJN bomber crews (as in other air forces) had some opportunity to eat cooked meals inflight.

There seems little in English about IJN packaged special rations, as compared to packaged IJA rations. Since IJN air power was mostly destroyed ashore and afloat, there was little to be recovered. Although IJN rations were studied in reports of the postwar USN Technical Mission to Japan, those of fliers were not included.

The “calorie item” was issued as a block which Hisashi said was comparable to US Army D Rations. But in purpose it sounds like the candy-based USAAF Aircrew Lunch packets. The latter included a chocolate fudge bar among its other candies (as seen in photo).
  • Various sweets around the world are based on sugar and milk solids.

    The Polish milk candies called krówki are relatively “hard” ones.

    Softer, non-chocolate milk fudge has variations in Mexico (dulce de leche), India (dodha), Russia, South Africa, and the US
Earlier, we saw good examples of candy available to Japanese servicemen. But many were commercial name brands, a few of which are well-known abroad today. A calorie bar for IJN aviators would be especially interesting if it had been made just for them.

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

In this film Sea Eagles, the look at aircrew lunch stands out more than the other parts of life in IJN bomber units. Those other scenes show ground crews working on engines, armaments, refueling, etc, but these are mechanical routines. Everyone, including the cooks, is hard at work in the early morning because the G3Ms will fly a day mission.

As with our many previous pics of IJA / IJN men eating well, I believe that home audience interest in this film might pick up a little especially for the food shown in it. Or, that photographers and filmmakers would try to include it. That is not because food is our thread’s subject, but because it was a wartime film. Foodstuffs were already being rationed in Japan. It would be a natural interest to see good food, despite knowing it was reserved for soldiers and sailors.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 21 Nov 2013 06:59

There is something small I haven’t found. What is the Japanese name for the large, dished kitchen kettles widely seen in IJA use?

Some of the many examples we’ve seen previously:
Peter H wrote:Another oven of some sort.
Sewer King wrote:It looks like an open hearth, built a short distance from an entrance. The usual cooking kettle is set on the hearth, with a wooden lid. Unfortunately it does not seem clear what the men are preparing in the foreground.
Peter H wrote:Army kitchen [in the field]
Peter H wrote: Looks like some cook off competition? Note civilians in background watching.
Sewer King wrote:Maybe they are watching part of a demonstration of army field life?
Sewer King wrote: . . . The “great cauldrons” [of food seen by a PoW at Bataan] might simply have been the large IJA kitchen kettles we have seen in previous photos, including one dating back to the 1904 war.
Photos show them used in IJN galleys ashore, as well as in IJA kitchens. Could they have simply been ordinary civilian kettles widely used by the military? Or, were they more or less a standard size to fit field stoves?
  • They were used in both indoor garrison kitchens and outdoor field messing. A small advantage of simplicity -- they could easily be brought from the cookhouse whenever the unit went into action, or on exercise.

    Some of them showed hinged side handles. But not all did, which meant they could not be lifted when hot and full of food. I guess those ones stayed on the fireplace until cooled down after cooking.
    .
    Sometimes their flat all-wooden lids appear in pics, with simple bar handles. Are these lids especially used for steaming rice, as it seems in a galley scene of the IJN short film Sea Eagles (1942) discussed above?
From our earlier pic of a field kitchen in the 1904-05 war, we saw the kettles set up on round sheet-metal stoves. Would cooking and serving rice from them in wintertime need any precaution?
  • Hisashi told that Japanese troops in the Siberia expedition were unhappy about biscuit rations, in place of rice which froze. But I thought that was an unusual case of extreme cold. For the US Army, the difference would be like that of European winter 1944-45, compared to Korean winters 1950-53.
Clearly, I myself have never cooked rice in winter outdoors, in large amounts for many men, or over a wood fire.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 24 Nov 2013 15:07

Was the full menu on the sign truly the entire meal shown prepared and carried on the mission? It seems large, although good. Only the sushi and hot beverage are seen packed and consumed in the film.
In 2011 Tōhoku earthquake authority maintained refuges from March to August, when they finished to prepare makeshift housings for each families (if they needed). Authority supplied foods, at first only onigiri with meager side menu, then various foods for cooking on refuge, and at last ready-made lunchbox. In some case it was reported that the lunchbox went bad on long transport in hot season, but usually refugees did not complain for free foods.

On the other hand, there were many people living in houses of their own but needs food supply because local commerse and road network were gone. For them, authorities sometimes supplied sweet breads, say 'jam-pan' (a hot dog ban with jam in it), mainly for a lunch. It was disliked by some sufferers; basically Japanese dish consists of 'something solty + rice'. Anything sweet is a refreshment, enjoyed not as a meal but in snack/tea time.

So even supplied at once for a flight, they might well eat them not at once. They might eat sweets at any time they wanted and the situation allowed.

There is something small I haven’t found. What is the Japanese name for the large, dished kitchen kettles widely seen in IJA use?
Nabe is a general word for kitchen caldron/pan/(open-top) kettle. Usually nabe have grips and used with kitchen stove or other fire. Kama is a variation of nabe, specialized for oben with a round hole fit for kama. Typical kama, hagama, have broad edge to fix it on oben hole and has no grip. But huge nabe for boiling is often called as kama. The following example includes soba-gama, specialized for boiling noodles. They used hagama even on kitchen stove (after we left rural home with oben to urban area) and some hagama had grips to fit to new situation :-)

http://www.fukuji.net/nabe/hagama/index.htm

http://www.fukuji.net/nabe/hagama/0190-01.htm

Large pots in military catering seem called as suiji-gama (炊事釜).

I think extra-huge kama, say on the battleships, are special-made ones for military. But restaurants needed large pots so 'commercial use' suiji-gama and military ones had no clear distinction. I believe smaller units had family-size suiji-gama and field troops had smaller nabe so that they could cook without oben.
From our earlier pic of a field kitchen in the 1904-05 war, we saw the kettles set up on round sheet-metal stoves. Would cooking and serving rice from them in wintertime need any precaution?
Wehrmacht soldiers in ostfront ate their stew immediately as served because it got cold in seconds. A friend of mine, an excellent wehrmacht reenactor in Japan once told me that the problem of rice, in comparison with bread as military meal, is that rice needs much more water to boil than making bread. If it snowed little and the rivers frose the situation was desperate. And the scarcity of woods was also in favor of sending biscuits from backline area.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Felix C » 29 Nov 2013 01:25

Zenji Orita, author of I-Boat Captain, goes into detail regarding officer's rations during his submarine survice. Tempura, rice, something with plums, etc.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 21 Dec 2013 06:23

Orita’s book I-Boat Captain (Major Books, 1976) is one of the best-known English translations about IJN submarine service. It seems to be most quoted about life on board the subs, such as in Polmar and Friedman’s Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy (Naval Institute Press, 1986).
  • I-Boat Captain was translated with help of Joseph D. Harrington, who also translated Yutaka Yokota’s book The Kaiten Weapon into English as Kamikaze Submarine (Leisure Books, 1967; also Suicide Submarine by Ballantine Books, and Kaiten). Yokota’s book is remarkable alone as a first-hand account of the kaiten manned torpedoes. Maybe it is the only one by a kaiten pilot, even in Japanese language?

    Moreover, Yokota also knew Orita from being assigned to his boat, the I-47. This might be the only instance in English of two separate IJN authors who had been together in the war, let alone share the same translator/co-author. Both authors stated their trust of Harrington’s work.

    Harrington also wrote his own book about Japanese-American troops, Yankee Samurai (Pettigrew Enterprises, 1979), That book was cited earlier here too, about a gift of good food deliberately left for the Americans when the IJA successfully evacuated Kiska.
And both Orita and Yokota did mention much in context about food. Not only about Navy food, but also what they saw for the Army and civilians. Orita wrote about it from his operational experience on several subs -- some of it rather grim, including the food too. Yokota wrote about it from the privileges of a kaiten pilot.

My copies of both their books are in storage, but I will find them. Along with the other well-known translated Japanese book about IJN sub duty, Hashimoto Mochitsura’s Sunk!

======================================
hisashi wrote:In 2011 Tōhoku earthquake authority maintained refugees from March to August, when they finished to prepare makeshift housings for each families (if they needed). Authority supplied foods, at first only onigiri with meager side menu, then various foods for cooking on refuge, and at last ready-made lunchbox. In some case it was reported that the lunchbox went bad on long transport in hot season, but usually refugees did not complain for free foods . . .
.

Thanks Hisashi. Although the world knows that Japan is very experienced in disaster relief, it would not know how the relief is organized. I had imagined that stocks of preserved foods and water might be stored in ready positions. But Tōhoku recovery efforts seemed able to bring cooked food relatively fast, even if simple at first. Since onigiri and perishable box lunch cannot be stored in advance, so they would have to be quickly arranged after the quake and tsunami?

There is a distant similarity between the progress of food for quake relief told above by Hisashi, and that for US combat troops in WW2.
  • Naturally, relief preparations cannot forecast the exact time or scale of a quake and must send food after it happens. By comparison, field rations were deliberately sent forward with the GIs.
    • Troops would carry dry K Rations in pockets for first few days of assault.
      Then they were to be issued canned C Rations in their advance. In case they are cut off, they have condensed D Ration bars.
      As supplies and situation allowed, field kitchen-cooked B Ration meals would be served.
    Of course it did not always happen this way. But that was the theory of field ration issue as then envisioned by the US Army quartermasters.
Another difference –- as told, refugees will not usually complain about needed free foods. GIs did often complain about theirs, even though they ate more or better than their allies and enemies. But, mass feeding for emergency will owe something to military field messing.
hisashi wrote:. . . On the other hand, there were many people living in houses of their own but needs food supply because local commerce and road network were gone. For them, authorities sometimes supplied sweet breads, say 'jam-pan' (a hot dog bun with jam in it), mainly for a lunch. It was disliked by some sufferers; basically Japanese dish consists of 'something salty + rice'. Anything sweet is a refreshment, enjoyed not as a meal but in snack/tea time . . .
Part of disaster aid and relief is restoring some normal food -- after food of any kind at all. Here then, normalcy is “something salty + rice.”

Adding to what Hisashi linked earlier about modern-day JSDF rations -- with still more links in the following:
The above link mentions messages printed on emergency rations (ganbare-meshi), assuring “Help is on the way.” A field soldier knows that he will be fed, and “if I am wounded, I will be cared for.” It is normalcy for him. But on the other hand a disaster survivor, newly cut off, does not always have this self-assurance.
  • There are a few mentions of this food normalcy from the American Civil War, written by women nurses, Some Confederate casualties were reluctant to eat hospital food unless it was made like the dishes they knew from home.

    Very early in this thread, Taki mentioned that kanpan (hard bread crackers) are mainly used as emergency food in Japan, and not popular except in some snacks. But it seems after emergency use they must be followed with other, more “normal” foods as soon as possible.

    We saw that the festive dish sekihan (sweet red beans in rice) has long been a part of canned Japanese field rations, dating back to IJA days. It is still in JSDF field rations as a normal thing (seen in Japanese-language video link above) but Hisashi told how this caused some mistaken anger in the disaster relief of 2011, Apparently some survivors did not know it was a normal JSDF item and grumbled about a celebratory dish at a time of crisis.
Food norms can be resistant in these ways. Even for survivors of great trauma such as battle -- or an earthquake, as Hisashi said about sweet breads.

======================================
hisashi wrote:. . . So even supplied at once for a flight, [an IJN bomber aircrew] might well eat [its inflight meal] not at once. They might eat sweets at any time they wanted and the situation allowed.
For American bomber crews, there had been an unsuccessful AAF Combat Lunch for inflight meals. In use, the crewmen often picked some foods from it and left off the rest. Thie may be classic waste by the US military, but many air forces anywhere may tend to do that with abundant supplies.

Heavy bombers are usually based in rear areas, and the China air war was mostly going well for IJN aircrews. Like their USAAF counterparts, it seems they could afford to be as selective about their inflight food.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Felix C » 22 Dec 2013 16:27

First rate response SK. Thanks.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 12 Jan 2014 20:25

Most welcome, Felix C, and thank you for your interest and contribution. Seeing where some knowledge is shared helps in writing for that interest.

====================================
Sewer King wrote:There is something small I haven’t found. What is the Japanese name for the large, dished kitchen kettles widely seen in IJA use?
hisashi wrote:Nabe is a general word for kitchen caldron/pan/ (open-top) kettle. Usually nabe have grips and used with kitchen stove or other fire. Kama is a variation of nabe, specialized for oven with a round hole fit for kama. Typical kama, hagama, have broad edge to fix it on oven hole and has no grip. But huge nabe for boiling is often called as kama. The following example includes soba-gama, specialized for boiling noodles. They used hagama even on kitchen stove (after we left rural home with oven to urban area) and some hagama had grips to fit to new situation :-)
Thanks Hisashi for cultural history and context as always. Ordinary English-language history of Japan always says how fast it modernized from Meiji era onward. But often it does not include the gut sense of change for ordinary Japanese people -– or their household life –- in that time.

Some of the best English-language books on anything IJA / IJN introduce the Japanese terms wherever possible. Though most of us on the Forum cannot speak Japanese, learning some correct terms can at least give a starting sense of a subject in it.
  • Cooking is one of the most popular Japanese subjects widely-printed in English. In another craft, there are various detailed books in English about Japanese swords. But neither can be well-written without at least a basic vocabulary of terms, whether foodstuffs or sword parts.

    Even more broadly, it can be said that food and language are two of the engines of any culture, with religion and the arts among others.
Earlier we cited US Army attaché description of IJA field kitchens from the 1904-05 war. In those, nabe were called “kettles” as the nearest English term. But as Hisashi told, there would be more exact Japanese names for different types, or different applications, of the same basic design.

Since IJA field cookware is not weapons or uniforms, probably they would be less likely preserved, collected, or even studied? I would guess that if any pieces of it survived the war, they were naturally used up in Japan’s postwar years of shortage.

Sheet-steel kama would also seem to easily fit the IJA’s adoption of some Chinese-style stir-fried dishes, if used like a
wok.

I first thought that the term nabe meant the stews made in the kettles, because of turtle stew (suppon nabe), or rabbit stew (usagi nabe. Since it also means the kettles themselves, it sounds like traditional British Lancashire hot pot which has the same, where “hot pot” refers to the stew but also the pot for it. Mongolian firepot can refer to either the cooking style or the cookware for making it.

In Hisashi’s link there are the common flat lids for hagama like those visible in the IJA field cooking demonstration. Since they are all-wooden they seem best for steaming, and look heavy enough to hold down pressure from boiling.
hisashi wrote:. . . Large pots in military catering seem called as suiji-gama (炊事釜).

I think extra-huge kama, say on the battleships, are special-made ones for military. But restaurants needed large pots so 'commercial use' suiji-gama and military ones had no clear distinction. I believe smaller units had family-size suiji-gama and field troops had smaller nabe so that they could cook without oven.
The largest kama do seem right for Navy ships, since many sailors on watch must be fed. But sailor cooks at sea or ashore would probably not have to move theirs about very far, or often. On the other hand, soldier cooks must always carry their smaller ones on the march.

Suiji-gama would also go with the extra-large cooking spoons we noted earlier -- also serving as paddles for stirring. Both were also shown in a cartoon illustration Hisashi translated for us, about cooks happy to make tonjiru with found meat.

I guessed that military issue could be very close to the civilian make, but I had no clear idea of restaurant cookware. Sometimes armies also press civilian equipment into field service, when they have no time to order their own standard make.
  • Some years ago a traveler showed me large Japanese supply catalogs for supply of restaurant equipment. I cannot now remember its distributor or maker names out of Tokyo area, but the size and depth of these catalogs impressed me. Restaurant dining seems built-in as a wider and happier part of Japanese cultural life, more than in other countries. Even allowing for technology and economy differences, maybe restaurant supply was important business in prewar Japan too?
Our Forum has various photos of field baggage trains of IJA forces marching in China. But only one of those (from the 1904-05 war) shows portage of kama on the march. Almost none seem published from the Pacific War. Many English-language sources seem not to look at IJA logistics and field supply, so its kitchen cookware is little known that way either.
Sewer King wrote:From our earlier pic of a field kitchen in the 1904-05 war, we saw the kettles set up on round sheet-metal stoves. Would cooking and serving rice from them in wintertime need any precaution?
hisashi wrote:Wehrmacht soldiers in Ostfront ate their stew immediately as served because it got cold in seconds. A friend of mine, an excellent wehrmacht reenactor in Japan, once told me that the problem of rice, in comparison with bread as military meal, is that rice needs much more water to boil than making bread. If it snowed little and the rivers froze the situation was desperate. And the scarcity of wood was also in favor of sending biscuits from backline area.
Common focus is on Japan’s war theaters in the Pacific and China, where climate was tropical or temperate. Only in the Aleutians campaign did US ground forces fight the Japanese in frigid climate. So, for most Americans, the Pacific war blocks out attention to the IJA’s winter field life.
  • Many of our various pics of IJA / IJN winter field messing seem from north China campaigning. Few Japanese photos of the Aleutians campaign seem available in English at least, and fewer of mealtimes.

    As told earlier, Japanese troops starved on Attu but were well-fed on Kiska. Our earlier modern-day pic of one of their brick stoves in ruins on Kiska has flat iron rings on its holes. These rings would fit the kind of hagama with broad edges as Hisashi described.
Since rice could not be field-cooked on the IJA’s Siberian expedition, it seems this problem would have been greater for the Kwantung Army if it had to fight full-scale in the similar Manchurian winter.
  • Earlier we saw mention of some provisioning failures during its border combat with the Soviets, even report of malnutrition. If so, it differs from picture of the Kwantung Army as among the best-equipped IJA commands up to then.

    Any logistic limits or problems without combat would have been worse in sustained combat without swift victory. Indeed, this is commonly said of the IJA and IJN at large, and Japan’s war effort in general.

    Since biscuits had to substitute for rice rations in extreme cold, that might explain the reported experiments to see how long men can endure eating only those.
In Manchuria was rice itself a supply problem for the Army? I imagined it had to be shipped by railroad all the way forward from Korea. Relatively less rice was grown in Manchuria where wheaten breads were the norm. Also much of Manchurian rice was dry-farmed, not paddy rice –- and maybe disliked for IJA use? The Japanese did try to increase rice farming when they held that region.

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

Any IJA field kitchen could have had kama in needed sizes, whatever its unit’s rating or status. But, were certain units (say, cavalry or tanks) more likely to have the rolling field kitchens (yasen suijisha)? (photo courtesy of Taki)

As late as the 1980s, this same difference could still be found in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • Many of its units still cooked in kettles on earthen fireplaces in the ground, much like IJA suiji-gama. During China’s border war with Vietnam in 1979, her front-line troops there had simple field rations of rice, dried vegetables, salt, cooking oil, and tea. This also, was not so different from what wartime Japanese troops ate.

    At the same time, some of the PLA Main Forces were better-equipped, especially those in north and central China facing the USSR and Taiwan. Their first-line mechanized units could have trailer-mounted field kitchens and bakeries.

    I remember a PLA commentary from a Chinese military magazine in the early 1980s. It realized that “if the army continues the method of burying its cookpots in the ground, it will be difficult to meet the requirements of modern combat.”
So, as one of many modernization efforts since then, combat rations of foreign armies were studied. Like many of the latter, the PLA introduced its own freeze-dried rations of Meals-Ready-to-Eat type.

I imagine that the IJA had also realized somewhat the same about cooking in kama on the ground, when studying new developments in mobile warfare. Might the advanced electric field kitchen truck Type 97 (as Taki and Peter H showed earlier) have been part of this? Although it proved too expensive for wider service.

-- Alan
Last edited by Sewer King on 13 Jan 2014 02:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 13 Jan 2014 02:21

I first thought that the term nabe meant the stews made in the kettles, because of turtle stew (suppon nabe), or rabbit stew (usagi nabe).
Ah, dish using nabe is also 'nabe'. Stressing it is not the kettle but the dish, and refering to shared-from-nabe style stew in general, we call it as 'nabemono'. Sukiyaki, mizudaki(typically pork and napa cabbage)... All nabemono.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabemono
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napa_cabbage

On the other hand, if one serves a stewed food on each individual dish, we call it as 'nimono'(煮物, boiled dish). We serve nikujaga in this style, so it is not nabemono.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimono
Suiji-kama would also go with the extra-large cooking spoons we noted earlier -- also serving as paddles for stirring. Both were also shown in a cartoon illustration Hisashi translated for us, about cooks happy to make tonjiru with found meat.
Extra-large cooking spoons for stirring seems to have only a generic name kakimaze-bo(stirring stick). Using a simple stick for stirring is not common in household-sized pot. We use a ladle (otama).
Even allowing for technology and economy differences, maybe restaurant supply was important business in prewar Japan too?
Kappabashi in Tokyo has been known as a restaurant goods (both cooking and serving) dealers' town since 1920s.
http://www.kappabashi.or.jp/en/index.html
I have no idea the variation of Japanese cooking gears is richer than ones in other countries, but I can say modern Japaneses eat everything edible in the world, so restaurant setup shops may well have a huge catalog for any cooking style. I guess their business was much simpler in prewar era.
Earlier we saw mention of some provisioning failures during its border combat with the Soviets, even report of malnutrition. If so, it differs from picture of the Kwantung Army as among the best-equipped IJA commands up to then.
Until near the end of war, Kwantung Army could be free from field warfare except a short period in Khalkhin Gol. They could maintain barracks with cooking setup.
In Manchuria was rice itself a supply problem for the Army? I imagined it had to be shipped by railroad all the way forward from Korea. Relatively less rice was grown in Manchuria where wheaten breads were the norm. Also much of Manchurian rice was dry-farmed, not paddy rice –- and maybe disliked for IJA use? The Japanese did try to increase rice farming when they held that region.
According to civilian survivors from Manchuria, from 1943 rice began to be short and they mixed anything available there. Soybean, sweet potato, foxtail millet and sorghum bicolor. Perhaps soldiers had similar ration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorghum_bicolor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxtail_millet

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 26 Jan 2014 22:22

Sewer King wrote:. . . I first thought that the term nabe meant the stews made in the kettles, because of turtle stew (suppon nabe), or rabbit stew (usagi nabe).
hisashi wrote:Ah, dish using nabe is also 'nabe'. Stressing it is not the kettle but the dish, and refering to shared-from-nabe style stew in general, we call it as 'nabemono'. Sukiyaki, mizudaki (typically pork and napa cabbage) . . . All nabemono.

On the other hand, if one serves a stewed food on each individual dish, we call it as 'nimono'(煮物, boiled dish). We serve nikujaga in this style, so it is not nabemono.
The distinction between nabemono and nimono led me to suppose the following:
  • Serving from a shared pot or kettle (around the world and across history) was often informal style. This may be because it dates back to prehistoric times. Later it was considered humble or frugal, as when Hitler had one-pot meals (Eintopf) served at his Chancellery table, as example to Germany. Today one-pot style of cooking can also be primitive, as for camping or survival meals.

    Serving on individual dishes started as formal style in ancient times, though of course it’s ordinary today. Cooking methods had advanced, and cooks / kitchens became separated from diners / dining places.
Is this social difference also between nabemono and nimono? That is, one might be served with an informal meal but not a formal one.

Common soldiers and sailors might have less formality at most of their table settings, except for feast occasions. But it seems that their officers might have more, whether in Army garrison or on board Navy ships.

====================================
Sewer King wrote:. . . Even allowing for technology and economy differences, maybe restaurant supply was important business in prewar Japan too?
hisashi wrote:Kappabashi in Tokyo has been known as a restaurant goods (both cooking and serving) dealers' town since 1920s.

I have no idea the variation of Japanese cooking gears is richer than ones in other countries, but I can say modern Japaneses eat everything edible in the world, so restaurant setup shops may well have a huge catalog for any cooking style. I guess their business was much simpler in prewar era.
Many who learn about modern-day Japanese cuisine soon learn about Tokyo’s Tsukiji seafood market. (also see Tsukiji’s own page)
  • I have seen different descriptions in books, magazines, and TV that tell the busy hard work and community sense of Tsukiji, largest seafood market in the world’s top seafood nation. As a large sales area Kappabashi sounds a little parallel to it, if not as busy or unified.

    Although tours of Tsukiji have been reduced, foreigners are often fascinated by it. I think they admire it as a huge machine that combines Japan’s business energy, speed, organization, craft, and food culture. Japanese cars or appliances are well-known across the world, but those things are not as appreciably human as food is.
The latter difference is roughly similar to detailed information and interest in soldiers’ weaponry, compared to that about their daily lives and food.

Just a few days ago I heard mention of washoku (traditional basic Japanese cuisine) on a radio program. The talk was about UNESCO thinking to designate traditional cuisines of different countries as world heritage to be preserved. This is because globalization is crowding out those cuisines.
  • Washoku was especially mentioned because modern Japan has long taken up foreign cookery, fast foods foreign and domestic, and convenience foods. As Hisashi said, today’s Japanese eat everything edible in the world, so that most everything edible will be available in Japan, even if expensively or uncommon. All these conditions (and others) could erode the continuity of washoku over coming generations, same as in other countries’ cuisines.
    Today, Japan is inundated with foreign foods. Not only Big Macs, pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dairy Queen ice cream, A&W root beer, and bagels but also haute cuisine from every culture of the world is available and eagerly sought. In addition to, or more precisely because of the profusion of Western foods, Japanese cuisine washoku has made a phenomenal comeback. Streetcars and newspapers are full of advertisements by restaurants and inns featuring numerous courses of Japanese dishes,
    Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko. Rice as Self: Japanese Identities Through Time (Princeton University Press, 1993), pages 108-111
Everything edible may be eaten in Japan, but some Americans might well get a distorted view of this. It could be partly due to narrow focus of TV food shows and Internet. I work with a technician from Virginia mountain country, who thought that Japanese eat any fish raw, or any strange combination of tastes (after hearing about odori ebi and octopus ice cream). I told him that not all seafood is eaten raw, nor does every Japanese share every taste he might hear about. Rather, many of them have a certain joy and sense of adventure in trying new ways with all the world’s foods.

I imagine a smaller sense of this among young IJA / IJN men who were newly in service. But I have no clear idea of soldiers on pass and sailors on liberty while abroad.
  • Under good conditions (and before wider expansion of war), surely at least some would have been able to try foreign foods and dishes overseas?

    Previously we have seen many pics and mentions of wild foods eaten by Japanese soldiers and sailors. We have seen deer hunted and rabbit trapped by IJA soldiers, and turtle caught by IJN sailors. But even though dishes for these meats were historically known in Japan, I thought those would be more regional specialties, not well known by all Japanese.

    Among the men in those photos, many if not most might not know how to cook those foods. If so, that was because they (or their regiments) were not from parts of Japan where the foods were eaten. Instead they would cook the game meats as best they knew how, and enjoyed them, however new to their tastes.
These possibilities as told here are imagined too, but they have the sense of adventure I meant about Japanese trying different foods. Young men did not have so much of a worldly view back then. If so, perhaps such experiences were written more in IJA and IJN men’s diaries than elsewhere.

===================================
Sewer King wrote:. . . Earlier we saw mention of some provisioning failures during its border combat with the Soviets, even report of malnutrition. If so, it differs from picture of the Kwantung Army as among the best-equipped IJA commands up to then.
hisashi wrote:Until near the end of war, Kwantung Army could be free from field warfare except a short period in Khalkhin Gol. They could maintain barracks with cooking setup.
Apologies, it was my mistake -- thanks for correction. My reference should have been combat against the Chinese, not border skirmishes with the Soviets before the time of Khalkin Gol (Nomonhan)..
  • It was the two Kwantung Army brigades seconded to North China Expedition Army for the Battle of Xuzhou in spring 1938.

    There they reportedly took about 1,000 disease casualties, many of them fatal. In hospital, some were also found to suffer malnutrition. This might not reflect directly on the Kwantung Army as I mistook earlier. Would it have been more the sign of wider IJA logistic shortage over long distances, even when victorious?

    The Kwantung Army medical department conferred on this problem in fall 1938 and research followed. Even if malnutrition was not by itself fatal at Xuzhou, it would have lowered the men's disease resistance and recovery.

    Williams and Wallace, Unit 731 (Free Press, 1989), pages 47-48
Earlier we saw a good menu for 14th Cavalry Regiment in 1933, a unit that was later sent to the Manchurian border. Good dishes on it seemed more likely from a garrison cookhouse rather than a field kitchen. Because the Kwantung Army saw no large combat until the Soviet invasion, its forces could be fed relatively well as Hisashi said. But by late-war its strength was being taken away to reinforce the Pacific theater. I imagine that its provisions could also have declined through that time, as told below for civilians:
hisashi wrote:According to civilian survivors from Manchuria, from 1943 rice began to be short and they mixed anything available there. Soybean, sweet potato, foxtail millet and sorghum bicolor. Perhaps soldiers had similar ration.
These seem among the better substitutes for rice, compared to others like Deccan grass or mustard stalks which were not even grains. Truly poor substitutes were told here earlier from mainland Japan’s homefront. All sound comparable to various bread fillers used in wartime Germany -– soy or potato flour, turnip paste, beans or pea meals. In both Germany and Japan these declined down to the desperate use of acorns and sawdust.

Here is another comparison. The great need for skilled workers in Japan’s aero industry was made worse by military draft, which did not give them exemption or deferrals. Wasn’t the drafting of farm labor already a bigger problem for Japanese rice farming, dating back to the China war at least?

As general policy across the war years, did the military naturally take first claim on all rice stocks anywhere they were? I imagined that if civilians (Japanese or not) had to use substitutes, soldiers would be last to do so.
  • I imagined that rice from Japan or Korea would be preferred for Army rations. The Kwantung Army, at least, had direct sea and rail connections to those sources.

    By comparison, we saw earlier that in China and the Philippines, rice was commandeered or else bought with occupation money.

    The south Pacific islands had no rice at all. Troops there depended on its shipment, which would be cut off by their isolation.
Armies will eat what they must when there’s nothing else. But I thought Japanese make a distinction between their own domestic rice and foreign rice (gaimai). As with bread, might soldiers have felt that foreign rice did not give them the same strength as rice from home?

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 28 Jan 2014 15:43

Sewer King wrote:Is this social difference also between nabemono and nimono? That is, one might be served with an informal meal but not a formal one.
Implicitly nabemono style assume everyone is free to take any piece. It is a stereotyped scene in Japanese gag manga that a group of children aim the same piece of beef in sukiyaki.

So in military they never serve foods in such a manner. Soldiers' share should be equal. NCOs, and officers if they had no special meal for them, should be more.

Nabemono is mainly for families and close friends.

In formal treat, Japanese seldom serve nabemono, though smorgasbord-style formal party is common.

BUT... there is another situation they serve nabemono...almost intensively. What if they want to show up a friendship, or even solidality, insisting they are the one?

In bonenkai, end-of-the-year banquet held in every formal/informal group, we mainly eat nabemono of any kind. In office bonenkai exectives serve sake or beer on employees' cup/glass, and everyone behaves jolly. Often in realirty employees feel more or less stressed with their boss; they are smiling but they might memorize any impoliteness or rumor... Similarly bonenkai in a group of company owners' easily becomes a tough diplomatic field.

On the same reason, we often use nabemono restaurant for a welcome party. So in Japan famous shimofuri beef is consumed in Dec much more than in any other month. Of course producers aim at Dec in breeding so the price do not rise then.

----
UNESCO wrote:Washoku is a social practice based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions...
http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/00869

But I should note washoku is always changing, better or worse. Especially, sushi in modern style has very short history, after refrigerator became common in reasonable restaurants. Americans added avogado (California) role to its tradition but many others have been added by us ourselves.
Sewer King wrote:Under good conditions (and before wider expansion of war), surely at least some would have been able to try foreign foods and dishes overseas?
Rather in bad situation, IJA/IJN ate anything and cultivated them. Taro and yam were typical energy sources they harvested. Japaneses eat related variety of taro(satoimo) and yam(yamaimo/nagaimo).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sago#Nutrition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taro
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam_(vegetable)

For protein they ate anything...frog, snake, mice etc.

In Rabaul they could find drafted experts of any kind from numerically massive army/navy force, so they made miso, soy sauce and various commodities by themselves.
Sewer King wrote:It was the two Kwantung Army brigades seconded to North China Expedition Army for the Battle of Xuzhou in spring 1938.
Xuzhou itself was a crossroad city. So surrounding this city meant to cross all roads; not along with any road. It was no good for supply. Moreover Japanese force was numerically inferior, so individual troop was often surrounded by Chinese troops.
Sewer King wrote:Wasn’t the drafting of farm labor already a bigger problem for Japanese rice farming, dating back to the China war at least?
Japan must import materials for fertilizer, e.g. potasium nitrate. Shortage of fertilizer, draft and the comandeering of horse damaged agricultural production. Until near the end of war Japan did not trust Koreans as soldiers, so food import from continent (Korea, Manchukuo) was important.

Of course we cannot say gaimai is low-quality. Simply it do not meet Japanese cuisine style (unseasoned rice + something salty). It was a ploblem in the wartime and even recently. In 1993 we had very cold summer and terrible rice harvest. Thailand kindly exported unusual amount of long-grain rice to Japan, but its reputation was bad. It was really good for pilaf or paella (I sometimes buy long-grain rice to cook them even today), but simply boiled and served with miso soup, it was something different from those known to us as rice.

Poor Harvest May Force Japan to Import Rice(Los Angeles Times)
http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-23/ ... ce-growers

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 06 Mar 2014 05:26

Sewer King wrote:Is this social difference also between nabemono and nimono? That is, one might be served with an informal meal but not a formal one.
hisashi wrote:Implicitly nabemono style assumes everyone is free to take any piece. It is a stereotyped scene in Japanese gag manga that a group of children aim the same piece of beef in sukiyaki.

So in military they never serve foods in such a manner. Soldiers' share should be equal. NCOs and officers if they had no special meal for them, should be more.
Thanks again Hisashi for context as always. Cultural understanding is ultimately based on empathy, or at least the best of it is.

Children might argue over the favored piece of a meal, gag or not. Here the empathy is in knowing that soldiers will also argue over small inequalities, either real or perceived, and they often won’t forget them.
About equality at the table, I got a certain impression from earlier pics of small-unit mess scenes such as these:
Among the enlisted at least, was there usually a senior man who would automatically sit at the head of table?

Seniority can sometimes be reckoned not only by rank, but also by experience or years of service. Something similar might be found in any army’s tradition, but if so here I would guess it to be stronger in the IJA / IJN.
  • I imagine that if field soldiers sit on the ground to eat, they would get a rock or log for their squad leader or NCO to sit on. If they have benches, he would be given a chair.

    Sailors had their younger ratings fetch meals from the galley, but I can’t picture any other difference while they eat at their bunk spaces. Unless, the assignment of bunks or hammock spaces was itself a sign of seniority. In a film about Yokaren (navy aviator program) Hisashi linked us earlier, a leader of naval cadets sits at head of his squad’s mess table ashore.
Navy officers ate in their wardroom messes, but I imagine seating by groups of rank i.e., by lieutenants and commanders. I guess also that some mess etiquette in the IJA / IJN started with their foreign models? The Navy especially, following Britain’s Royal Navy as its “older brother.” Navies in general are outward-minded and well-traveled by nature, so social formality of this kind could always have been important.
hisashi wrote:. . . Nabemono is mainly for families and close friends . . . BUT . . . there is another situation they serve nabemono...almost intensively. What if they want to show up a friendship, or even solidarity, insisting they are the one?

In bonenkai, end-of-the-year banquet held in every formal/informal group, we mainly eat nabemono of any kind. In office bonenkai exectives serve sake or beer on employees' cup/glass, and everyone behaves jolly. Often in reality employees feel more or less stressed with their boss; they are smiling but they might memorize any impoliteness or rumor . . . Similarly bonenkai in a group of company owners' easily becomes a tough diplomatic field . . .
Ah, office politics –- same intrigue game around the world, similar rules, different details. Presumably bonenkai had some parallel in the IJA / IJN? Sometimes in this thread and Japan section, I mistakenly thought some things inJapan are modern-day and postwar. Afterward I learn instead that it came from very long before.

In a peacetime military, politics and budget are in front while combat is well in the rear. Yet troops must appear happy and united. As with company owners, so also with colonels, generals, and admirals? The higher the feast (and its hosts), the more grand the food, but in some corners tension might be higher too.

===================================
UNESCO wrote:Washoku is a social practice [for Japanese cuisine] based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions. .
hisashi wrote:But I should note washoku is always changing, better or worse . . .
Author Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, quoted earlier, wrote something similar about washoku. From her book Rice as Self, page 107:
. . . Japanese cuisine, whose prototype is the cuisine for the tea ceremony (kaiseki ryōri) in Kyoto, is [more a] contemporary ‘construction’ of Japanese culture. From picture of these colorful and aesthetically arranged dishes, contemporary Japanese ‘learn’ what Japanese cuisine is about, even though these dishes are by no means a faithful reconstruction of the traditional cuisine for the tea ceremony . . . Ironically, Japan now imports most of the ingredients for these ‘Japanese dishes.’ Amid a flood of Western foods, contemporary Japanese continue to reaffirm their collective self by constructing their own foodways [such as in washoku].
This suggests that for washoku there can be as much debate, if not more, as with some other parts of Japanese food history, Ohnuki-Tierney tells it here as a reaction to the tide of Western foodways in Japan {yōshoku).

We have seen that the IJA/IJN was first to introduce Western-style dishes on a wider scale to many men who had not known them beforehand. For them it was progressive in their time, and no reaction against it. But the wide establishment of yōshoku across all Japan today was perhaps unimaginable then.

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

About rice in Japan, she adds another distinction fitting various dishes that Hisashi has explained here to date. From page 108:
Rice that accompanies a Western dish such as steak is often referred to as raisu, that is, rice, as in “rice hamburger” (raisu hanbaga) . . . The code switch from gohan (the Japanese word for rice) to raisu (the English word rice in Japanese pronunciation) is a significant semiotic marker; the use of raisu signifies that the dish belongs to a different culinary system and is not, to a Japanese, washoku.

In contemporary Japan, the food for the poor continues to be envisioned as a large amount of rice accompanied by a pickled plum (umeboshi) or pickles (takuwan), just as the poor in bread-eating countries rely on bread with soup or salt pork. But regardless of quantity, rice remains “the kingpin of any meal’s architecture” in Japan.
In many peoples’ food histories, the food of the rich was often just a finer version of what the ordinary person ate, not necessarily “poor.” But in their armies and navies, the basic ration was mostly this same ordinary diet.
  • Up to WW2, the US Army's ration table was calculated from much the same basic foods eaten by Union troops in the American Civil War. Of course by the World Wars, there was a greater variety of substitutes, of better-quality, in good recipes made by trained cooks.

    The Imperial Russian Army’s rolling field kitchens typically cooked kasha (steamed cereal groats), along with various soups of cabbage, potatoes, fish, or beets. These were traditional, basic dishes of the peasants.

    Continental armies generally relied on breads, potatoes, peas, beans, and salt meat or fish cooked into simple dishes, with wines or beers to drink. Except for potatoes, those basics date back to the Middle Ages. And a typical 19th century soldiers' dish made from them would likely be familiar to soldiers of the 17th.
And in Imperial Japan, the classic Japanese meal pattern of “something salty with rice” told by Hisashi is echoed here by Ohnuki-Tierney. She did not look as closely at rice in the IJA/IJN. But author Cwiertka quoted a British Army observer who saw just the same meal of white rice with pickles for early IJA troops (see post 177).

So in these and other examples, armies’ rations were lower common denominators of their countries’ cuisines. The early IJA ration of rice-and-pickles differed by being higher than its men’s ordinary diet, along with new dishes later on.

Still another writer put it like this: as a Japanese son went off to his military service, his parents would happily say “Now he will eat rice every day.” There seems no comparable saying in other countries and times.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 10 Mar 2014 17:52

About equality at the table, I got a certain impression from earlier pics of small-unit mess scenes such as these:

Officers pictured eating separately.
NCOs also, and
other ranks at their own tables.

Among the enlisted at least, was there usually a senior man who would automatically sit at the head of table?
NCO had their small NCO-room and had their meal there. I am not sure whether a NCO watched mens' meal at the head of table [and later he had his meal] or he also had his there . NCO had the same menu as mens' but servers gave unequal huge portion for NCOs.

'Giving much' was something of a courtesy from sailor/soldier to his superior. If a navy officer ordered a cup of coffee, it was expected for serving sailor to pour coffee to the edge, till coffee slops a little.

Even today a typical serving style for sake in bars is as follows; put a glass on masu (wooden square cup). Serve sake until sake slops out to inside masu. In some bars they pour until sake nearly fill the masu. Of course they price a serve counting on their serving style.

More or less those of different rank must share a dinner table. The cost was shared by Dutch account (warikan), so young officers in Skipper's group sometines felt financially burdensome.

Except stealing, bonenkai usually use private(commercial) place even if budgeted by a company. Perhaps officers' club (shikan shukaisho in army barrack) had a bonenkai day, and if they could land navy officers enjoyed it at a restaurant with friends.

In new year Japaneses used to visit their superior, though after 1950s it was replaced by visiting parents living far away. They brought something for superior and superior served her/him drink and food. In military, often regimantal leader's home became a makeshift banquet hall, if only officers were welcomed.
So in these and other examples, armies’ rations were lower common denominators of their countries’ cuisines. The early IJA ration of rice-and-pickles differed by being higher than its men’s ordinary diet, along with new dishes later on.
I have an impression their meal, especially army meal, improved in 1910s. Nutrition problem on beriberi became clear in favor for various foods, and military service became unpopular in economic boom.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 02 Apr 2014 05:21

Thanks Hisashi as always. I am trying to be careful with photographic guesswork of many things here, beyond the usual caution for historical pics. I imagine it somewhat like this:
  • A foreigner would do well if he can identify things and places in s wartime Japanese photo.
    A Japanese may identify the occasion, the emotion, or the intents in the same photo.
    And a Japanese who was there (now very few, of course) might be able to say a little more.
Of course there are still more “filters” for looking at any war photos, some we have pointed out here and elsewhere:
  • Armies usually allow mostly the best scenes to be published,
    Propaganda will pose, crop, re-label, or doctor some scenes,
    Or, we see only one photo example of something without context.
And in the case of Imperial Japan (not only wartime):
  • Many photos themselves destroyed in the war, so we see only what remains
    Relatively few photos taken by soldiers themselves, and
    Many are not widely published, or available outside Japan?
===================================
hisashi wrote:NCO had their small NCO-room and had their meal there. I am not sure whether a NCO watched mens' meal at the head of table [and later he had his meal] or he also had his there. NCO had the same menu as mens' but servers gave unequal huge portion for NCOs.
I am not sure if I see too much in the NCOs who usually appear in our various kitchen photos. Some of those may have been posed, but the Imperial Japanese gun-so is often portrayed as driving his men with fist, boot, or wooden staff. Of course other armies and navies also had strict NCOs who might strike their men, Like many other parts of IJA/IJN life, it may be that a foreigner’s picture is necessarily limited even from his best sources.
hisashi wrote:. . . 'Giving much' was something of a courtesy from sailor/soldier to his superior. If a navy officer ordered a cup of coffee, it was expected for serving sailor to pour coffee to the edge, till coffee slops a little.
A recent small note about limiting a coffee cup’s fill by Starbucks Coffee Japan Ltd. However, it noted that customers could request more to be poured. This I suppose is a practical for modern fast-food-style, far apart from more formal serving where “giving much” might be done. Does coffee poured to top of cup continue as ordinary practice in today’s Japan?
hisashi wrote:. . . Even today a typical serving style for sake in bars is as follows; put a glass on masu (wooden square cup). Serve sake until sake slops out to inside masu. In some bars they pour until sake nearly fill the masu. Of course they price a serve counting on their serving style.
My limited understanding of saké drinking was that filling to top of wooden square masu (originally for rice measuring) was originally to show fair, exact measure of the drink you paid for. Perhaps this was the origin of pouring coffee to above top? In Japan the ways of saké are older than those of coffee.
hisashi wrote:. . . More or less those of different [IJN officers] rank must share a dinner table. The cost was shared by Dutch account (warikan), so young officers in Skipper's group sometimes felt [this] financially burdensome.
I like to imagine that some few captains or their messes secretly tried to ease this in small ways, or do good favors for the junior officers sometimes. Even as the war went on, it seems as if Navy officers were mostly able to keep up their mess arrangements aboard ship as they did in peacetime.

====================================
hisashi wrote:. . . Except stealing, bonenkai usually use private (commercial) place even if budgeted by a company. Perhaps officers' club (shikan shukaisho in army barrack) had a bonenkai day, and if they could land navy officers enjoyed it at a restaurant with friends.
It seems more than likely that there were excellent restaurants in the IJN port cities, popular ones that knew their officer customers well. Like the captains’ mess aboard a fleet commander’s flagship (see post 435), fine restaurants ashore would have to know the admirals and their serving preferences.
  • The German restaurant, Horcher’s, has operated in Madrid since 1944. It had originally been in Berlin since 1904, until its owner understood that Germany was going to lose WW2. According to Albert Speer, Horcher’s was a favorite of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels angered him by forcing it to close as a wartime luxury, but Göring was satisfied by reopening it as a Luftwaffe officers’ club.

    Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich: a Memoir. (Macmillan Co, 1970), pages 306-309
If the IJN admirals had any such favorite restaurants, it would be interesting if any survived the war, or carried on their names though the Navy itself is gone. Operating a fine restaurant under wartime shortages sounds problematic, however. If anyplace from prewar had been associated with the old Navy I would guess today it has no especial attention as such. Earlier a Yomiuri Shimbun writer was quoted that the cities of former IJN bases –- Kure, Maizuru, Yokosuka, and Sasebo -- had been stigmatized for development after the war (see post 338). However, their old naval association had become something of an asset in recent years.
  • Earlier we saw what was said to be a beer hall with a Rising Sun ceiling, but undated and unlocated. I had briefly thought that it might be an officers’ club, though doubtful for the uncertain uniforms and faces (not Japanese?) at left.
Expense of an officers’ club membership would be yet another obligation for the junior officers to pay, at least in prewar.

===================================
Sewer King wrote:. . . So in these and other examples, armies’ rations were lower common denominators of their countries’ cuisines. The early IJA ration of rice-and-pickles differed by being higher than its men’s ordinary diet, along with new dishes later on.
hisashi wrote:I have an impression their meal, especially army meal, improved in 1910s. Nutrition problem on beriberi became clear in favor for various foods, and military service became unpopular in economic boom.
Certainly the IJA was improving its organization of provisions in that time, by setup of a permanent Central Provisions Depot in 1897 {see post 183). This was in response to food supply problems in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, just as the US Army established its Cooks and Bakers School after its own problems in the 1898 Spanish-American War,

Though IJA / IJN life may have improved in this time, there seems little about it beyond these basics. I would guess that is because little was translated about the IJA soldier of WW1. Unlike those of WW2, are there fewer memoirs and accounts about WW1 maybe even in Japanese? Not only because of their smaller part compared to the Western Front, but due to destruction of WW2 and postwar demilitarization.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 03 Apr 2014 13:24

Sewer King wrote: Many photos themselves destroyed in the war, so we see only what remains
Relatively few photos taken by soldiers themselves, and
Many are not widely published, or available outside Japan?
Japaneses, including officers, were poor in European standard, so private photo was scarce from the outset. Unlike German PK, newspaper reporters took most of Japanese wartime pics. They know the copyright of them had expired, so they seldom publish them. They offer some of them only for private paper publication from their computer database, because the database is protected by copyright and by frequent maintenance it has endless copyright life. I once asked how much should I pay for a pic in my web site and they offered more than 30,000 JPY per a pic annually.

Sewer King wrote: Some of those may have been posed, but the Imperial Japanese gun-so is often portrayed as driving his men with fist, boot, or wooden staff.
Standardly it was not correct. Typically it was senior sailors/soldiers who physically abused juniors. Gun-so scolded the juniors and later the seniors 'educated' juniors by their fist. NCOs using their own fist were said "You must learn to delegate jobs". It was only extreme that an officer directly punched soldiers, but once it occured no help for the soldier was expected.
Sewer King wrote: Does coffee poured to top of cup continue as ordinary practice in today’s Japan?
No,no. I have never seen it.
Sewer King wrote: My limited understanding of saké drinking was that filling to top of wooden square masu (originally for rice measuring) was originally to show fair, exact measure of the drink you paid for. Perhaps this was the origin of pouring coffee to above top?
Aha, maybe. Until various package became available, sake, miso, rice were all sold by measure. So shops could blend various sake (etc.), or even water, in exchange for the risk to their reputation.
Sewer King wrote: If the IJN admirals had any such favorite restaurants, it would be interesting if any survived the war, or carried on their names though the Navy itself is gone.
http://hitosara.com/0004002534/special.html
Yamamoto Isoroku was an exective officer of Kasumigaura naval air group, a training wing, 1924-1925. Then he personally became close to the master's family of a restaurant Kagetsuro. It is still there and serving. Charles Lindberg had visited Kagetsuro when he visited Kasumigaura in 1931. (the 2nd pic from bottom)

Restaurant 'Komatsu' in Yokosuka is still calling themselves as 'Kaigun Ryotei Komatsu'.
http://www5f.biglobe.ne.jp/~ryoutei-komatsu/

Hotel/restaurant Banshoro in Sasebo was also famous among navy men.
http://www.banshoro.com/
Sewer King wrote: Unlike those of WW2, are there fewer memoirs and accounts about WW1 maybe even in Japanese?
There are, not as many as for WWII, basically because so few Japanese soldiers engaged in WWI relative to WWII. But very few of military buff are historian; mostly mechanic fan. They do not buy them so nobody publish old memoirs.

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