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 » 30 Mar 2010 06:59

From ebay,seller wwkochan

Hard to say what is being gathered here.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 30 Mar 2010 07:04

Same source.

Curious to know if this was edible either
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 04 Apr 2010 01:05

From ebay,seller eby071
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 04 Apr 2010 01:07

From ebay,seller wwkochan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 04 Apr 2010 01:09

From ebay,seller tugsbote
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 05 Apr 2010 05:20

Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller wwkochan: Hard to say what is being gathered here.
I think these are hawthorns (thornapples), which would explain the heavy gloves worn here for handling them. There are a species of Chinese hawthorns in particular.

=========================
Peter H wrote:Curious to know if these were edible either.
These are tobacco plants. I expect the scene to be in the Philippines, but other tobacco-growing regions also came under Japanese control.

I have not heard that any Japanese acquired the habit of tobacco-chewing as was done in the US, despite the association of it with baseball players.
  • Tobacco “chawing” was notorious, even when widespread in 19th century America. This was because spitting accompanied it. In the US chewing tobacco declined from about the turn of the 20th century onwards, with the rise of chewing gum and candies. Even the US Army took note of this in World War I, when gum and candies were part of its rations along with tobacco.

    {Crowell, Benedict: Assistant Secretary of War for Munitions. America's Munitions, 1917-1918 (US Government Printing Office, 1921), page 449}
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Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller wwkochan: Nurses toast
This photo gives the impression of nurses operating somewhere overseas and demonstrating good relations there. One of the women has her bandaged arm in a sling and does not look to share in whatever good spirits the others are in.

=========================
Peter H wrote:More sake drinking
Wartime photos of military hospitals anywhere usually show not only that our fighting men are recuperating, but that they do so happily.

Is the one pouring sake a junior officer? Previous photos of soldiers in hospital robes show some of them wearing rank insignia, name tags, and service caps. But is this man wearing his rank insignia on the headcloth, as it appears here?

=========================
Peter H wrote:One for the pot?
If so, hopefully some of the other ranks will have a chance to eat some of this goose, since the officers naturally got first pick of fresh foods.

The soldier at right carries what looks like a map case, while the truck is a cab-over-engine type. Is it a Nissan Type 81?.

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller wwkochan: ”Flag feast”
Another well-set table, at which I could wish to see what is served. Are there some of the square trays (seiro) and bowls (donburi) for serving? If so, it seems strange that three army-issue mess kits are also used at this indoor table, but they are unusually painted with kanji that might have a simple explanation if they were readable.
Peter H wrote:Another feast photo
This seems almost as if another part of the same celebration above, with similar national flags and garlands hung from the ceiling. Although the room does not look the same, the tables and benches being used do. Are there shōkadō bentō, full boxed meals, served here?

Three women are among the guests in this happy setting. The soldier seated at center for whom a cup is being poured, is wearing a sash. The one standing at far left holds a ball-ended rifle staff for the IJA school of the bayonet (jukenjutsu).

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay seller,joescollectibles: ”Cooks”
These broadly smiling cooks look like they would run a good garrison kitchen. Several of them are carrying mess kits hung together in threes by linking their wire handles together as mentioned earlier. What does the kanji on the bucket at center read?

Although the building in the background is seen only partially, is its exterior typical of some IJA barracks or posts?

=========================
Peter H wrote:"Aircrew eat breakfast under wing after sinking enemy's aircraft carrier" Dated Dec 17, 1943
As propaganda, the caption might better have read they ate breakfast “before sinking the enemy,” because their G3M bomber is still carrying its bombload.

G3Ms usually had a crew of five, as here. The sixth man here wears a white Navy deck cap and no flight equipment. Might he be their ground crew chief? In other air forces and air arms, a warplane's pilot or aircrew is often obliged to be on good terms with this man. Eating together with him would seem to be a good way to do that.

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller eby071: ”IJN “Meal”
This is the first among the light-hearted comic postcards we have seen so far that depicts sailors enjoying food while on board ship. It looks like a small lunch being issued from the window.
  • Is that rolled bedding (hammocks) in the background? I thought that rolled futons might be shelved in the back of this naval barracks messhall that we have seen earlier.
=========================
Peter H wrote:On ebay recently but can't remember seller: (indoor dining table)
Aren't the small white bottles tokkuri, flasks for serving sake? They also appear in a photo of NCOs at their dining table that we saw earlier.

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay seller,wwkochan: Mixing
Japanese Army “doughpunchers,” as the US Army called its own field bakers ...
Peter H wrote:Drink
… and “the pause that refreshes,” as the old American advertising line read –- except that this might likely be “somewhere in China” moreover.

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay seller, wwkochan: (Meal, water, and smoke break)
Use of chopsticks and forks seems mixed among troops eating from mess kits, as here.

=========================
Peter H wrote:(Army kitchen)
The kitchen in this comic postcard makes a passing comparison to the real-life garrison kitchen in this photo, especially for the cooking kettles – and the well-washed floor.

=========================
Peter H wrote:Looks like a Pacific location -- gardening?
I have the impression that the men are working on plumbing a small pipe. In front of the soldier in the center, is what looks like a pipe connection or valve. If so, those might be some pipefitter's tools next to the soldier at left, such as a screw-driven pipe cutter.

If in fact these soldiers are plumbing water pipe, it suggests an amenity for an established, semi-permanent camp that might include the tentage in the background.

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller eby071: (A shipboard galley ...)
… to tell from the gray metal bulkheads and overhead fittings. They look to be cutting root vegetables such as radishes. The illustration is a little like the cutting of renkon (lotus roots) that hisashi explained to us awhile back for a photo of this galley ashore.
  • The sailor lugging the basket looks as if he is saying something sardonic, as laboring soldiers and sailors often do.
=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller wwkochan: (pounding rice)
… for mochi (pounded rice cakes) as we have seen in earlier photos, but these might be made by Navy sailors this time, rather than soldiers. This is because an officer of SNLF might be at left with his darker uniform and Sam Browne belt. The photo's setting is not apparent, although striped buntings have been hung. Could mochi be made aboard ship in the traditional way, during peacetime at least?

=========================
Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller tugsbote: (group portrait)
The small table “laid on” here suggests a moment for toast. This does not look like a domestic setting, although two civilian women are here. What is the white clothing of the soldier at left?

– Alan

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 11:21

Thanks Alan.

From ebay,seller asaken
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 18 Apr 2010 05:17

Although much reconstructed, the naval relic of famous battleship Mikasa at Yokosuka today gives a glimpse of messing in the early Imperial Navy, at least for the officers.

Photo courtesy of punynari, a US Navy sailor currently in Japan, from whose blog of travels there (Moé Passion) this is used here with permission.
IJN Mikasa galley.jpg
For Mikasa's galley or pantry I don't know how accurate the reconstruction could get. Naturally its wooden racks and shelves here have holders built into them, to prevent crockery from sliding out with the roll of the ship. Dishes must be lifted up before pulling them out.

The counter top's surface is nailed all along its edge, and appears to be made of sheet copper in this photo, now tarnished to a dark color. If so, might copper have served as a sanitary cooking surface in the days before stainless steel? Of course, kitchen sanitation standards anywhere then were not as specific as they are today. But Japan was rich in copper. The malleable, non-corroding metal might have done well here as a counter top.

In most navies -– and through much naval history -- I believe that social class differences between officers and crewmen was readily seen in their messes. Unfortunately we can't see how the Mikasa's crew ate. The officers' wardroom and pantry aboard Mikasa are probably comparable enough to those of Victorian-era British warships.

Wouldn't some construction plans for her have survived in Britain, since she was built by a Vickers shipyard? US naval authorities had great respect for Admiral Togo, and that was one reason Mikasa survived Japan's disarmament. But since the USN contributed something to her restoration, would that have also meant research into any records of British plans?
  • A modern study of HMS Dreadnought, in fact, reaches down to her mess tables and food lockers. I wonder if there is a similar study for Mikasa, even if in Japanese only -- not just for her messing, but because she is the only pre-dreadnought battleship left in the world.
=============================

Beef stew (nikujaga) had its own historical controversy In Japan about its origins, detailed in the following article. Earlier, hisashi mentioned a related debate in Japan about curry (kare).
  • Cities claim signature dishes cooked up in navy galleys

    Asami Nagai, Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
    Yomiuri Shimbun, 2000 Feb 05
Maizuru, Kure, Sasebo and Yokosuka are four cities with one thing in common: they were all home to Imperial Japanese Navy bases, a dubious distinction that hindered their development after World War II. Despite a 1950 law privatizing the docks in all four cities to stimulate local economies, the stigma lingered. But today the tables have turned, and their naval histories are being seen as more of an asset than a burden. Take the way the cities are laying claim to well-known cuisines, cooked up -- supposedly -- in the galleys of warships. Even if apocryphal, such claims at least help bring in the tourists.

It all started in Maizuru, a city in Kyoto Prefecture that was the site of an Imperial Japanese Navy base from 1901 to 1945 and is currently host to the district headquarters of the Maritime Self Defense Force. Credit Takao Shimizu, vice-president of the city's sightseeing association, with the idea of reinvigorating the local economy by promoting the town as the birthplace of "Mom's home cooking." The idea came to him when he heard an MSDF official mention that the popular dish nikujaga originated in the galleys of warships.

Nikujaga is made of beef, braised potatoes, onions, carrots and stringed konnyaku [arum paste], seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. Today, it is a staple dish in many homes and a popular item at izakaya [bar-and-grill] taverns.
Although Shimizu read in a guide to Japanese cities that nikujaga originated in Maizuru, he could not verify the claim. Even so, he decided to promote the dish as a means of attracting tourists, and formed a kind of nikujaga awareness group in 1995.

The theory goes like this: [Japan's famous admiral] Heihachiro Togo (1848-1934) was assigned to Maizuru Naval Station as its first commander in 1901 and stayed there for two years. As it happens, Togo had studied naval science in Britain from 1871 to 1878, so Shimizu reasoned he must have eaten beef stew occasionally. "We concocted a story that Togo ordered the cooks to fix something similar to beef stew," he said.

Group member Setsuko Iba took it upon himself to "complete" the Maizuru-style nikujaga, adding green peas and carrots to the original ingredients of beef, konnyaku, potatoes and onions, as described in the navy cook book.
Then the plot started to thicken. While Maizuru residents were laughing it up, congratulating themselves on their creative interpretation of folk history, officials in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, did not think it was such a lark.

City assembly members believed Togo was stationed at the Kure naval base from May 1890 to December 1891, and theorized that he likely introduced nikujaga to the navy diet at that time to prevent vitamin B deficiency. They also pointed out that Togo, as the chief of staff at Kure, (as opposed to commander, his rank in Maizuru) seems more likely to have ordered the chef to improve the diet.

In 1997, the city government promoted a food festival with the claim that nikujaga originated in Kure. The following year, 750 posters were put up in Japan Rail stations around western Japan advertising Kure as the birthplace of nikujaga (a tiny question mark being the only indication of the ongoing controversy).

Shimizu countered repeatedly that Maizuru was the dish's authentic birthplace. Finally, he and Kure officials agreed that both municipalities would lay claim to nikujaga, resulting in a friendly rivalry that would hopefully draw more media coverage -- and more tourists.

Last year, Shimizu scored a coup. He persuaded Calbee Foods Co. to produce a nikujaga-flavored snack. Shimizu approached the company after some university students told him young women would like to have something to eat while walking around tourist spots.

He asked Calbee to consider making a new product that would be sold only in Maizuru. After much hemming and hawing, the manufacturer decided to flavor its potato snack Jagariko with nikujaga and sell it exclusively in Maizuru in October.

Stocks, all 72,000 packs of them, sold out almost immediately, as did 42,000 more that followed.

Apparently, the efforts of both cities are starting to pay off. When people think of Kure and Maizuru, they are beginning to think of nikujaga as much as the former naval bases.
  • "While talking about war itself is taboo, you can't avoid recognizing the navy's presence. But the situation has changed. We tell people Kure was a naval port and that nikujaga was born in the kitchens of the Imperial Navy," said Kure municipal official Satoshi Kanemitsu.
Curry Japan-style

In 1884, Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, became the site of Japan's first Imperial Japanese Navy base. Today, the city is home to MSDF district and fleet headquarters. The U.S. Navy also has a base there.

Yokosuka municipal officials have long had the task of finding and promoting local delicacies to attract tourists.
While Yokosuka was searching for its own culinary claim to fame (or trying to invent one), the nikujaga battle between Kure and Maizuru became national news. About this time, an official of the MSDF's Yokosuka district headquarters told the mayor he had heard that homemade curry could be traced back to the Imperial Navy.
  • "The thought of Yokosuka being the birthplace of Japanese-style curry was thrilling and completely new to us, so we started searching for historical facts (to back the theory up)," Masahiro Sato, a city tourism official, said.
Unlike Indian curry, which tends to be on the runny side, Japanese curry is a thick roux served with rice and fukujinzuke finely cut pickles. Potatoes, carrots and onions are essential ingredients, and it often contains pork, beef or chicken.

Extensive research seems to suggest that this style was indeed developed in the galleys of warships, Sato said. According to records at the MSDF Yokosuka district headquarters, during a voyage to South America in 1882, 160 of 400 sailors suffered from beriberi and 25 died. The sick were hospitalized in Honolulu for a month, prompting the navy to change its diet. Dishes were introduced courtesy of the British Navy, upon which the imperial navy had originally been modeled. A navy cook book published in 1888 included the curry rice recipe.

The Japanese, however, did not care for bread. So chefs added flour to make the stew thicker and they started serving curry and rice. It was usually served with a bowl of salad and a glass of milk. Today, about 45,000 MSDF members eat such curry for lunch every Friday.

As sailors returned home and told their friends and families about the curry, Yokosuka locals reason, "curry rice" quickly spread across the nation. Then in the 1960s, food manufacturers started selling packaged instant roux, and curry became all the rage. Today, curry and rice is said to be among children's top three favorite dishes.
  • "Since curry and rice is so popular among Japanese, I want servicemen at U.S. Yokosuka Navy Base to try it during their stay," Sato said.
According to the recipe in the 1908 revised navy book, the ingredients for navy curry included potatoes and carrots, which are not native to Japan.

Akiko Okawara, who runs a Japanese restaurant and a cooking school, makes curry according to the old recipe. She has often appeared on television programs featuring the navy curry project.
  • "Curry attracts people's attention. We received hundreds of phone calls inquiring how to get to our restaurant," she said.
Hamburgers made in Japan

Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, meanwhile, is the odd one out. Unable to boast a well-known cuisine cooked up in the galleys of warships, it had to scrabble around for the next best thing. Luckily, it already had a reputation for hamburgers.
  • "Around 1951, the first hamburger shop opened in an entertainment district. When this became popular, a few more followed," said Shinichiro Yoshiki, an official of the Sasebo municipal government.
This love of hamburgers saved the day last October when the city was asked to come up with a representative dish for a food festival held in Maizuru. The other former navy bases were there with their food stalls: nikujaga for Maizuru and Kure, curry for Yokosuka. Not to be outdone, Sasebo officials promoted hamburgers as the city's official dish.
A similar event will be held again come summer -- this time at Yokosuka. Shimizu, a tireless activist for his local community, believes such cooperative efforts are essential for the four cities if they are to overcome the stigma of their wartime histories. Ironically, navy-related food is a key ingredient in boosting their economies.
Sasebo's claim to origin of Japan's hamburgers would have begun with the American occupation, just as curry had spread from the British, but this is not explored in the article.

Potatoes and carrots for beef stew were noted in this article as not native to Japan. But as told in Katarzyna Cwiertka's book, cited earlier here (06 May 2009), the cultivation of those and other Western vegetables was already rising there following the 1904-05 war.

The article implies that the 1888 and 1908 Navy cookbooks are still known in Japan, even if they are obscure. They might be a small treasure trove for their subject, especially if they reflect some of the dietary changes led by the military through this time.

-– Alan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 23 Apr 2010 08:17

From ebay,seller eby071
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 23 Apr 2010 08:18

From ebay,seller wwkochan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 23 Apr 2010 08:20

From ebay,seller eby071

Barracks--for sleeping...and eating
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 25 Apr 2010 13:24

The first nation-wide Hamburger in Japan was to be McDonald's. They talked with the largest supermarket firm of the day, Daiei. The business talk failed and Daiei created their own Hamberger chain store Domdom Co.Ltd. in 1970, followed by McDonald's opening in Japan in 1971.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daiei

On the other hand, the animation Popeye was on air from 1959 in Japan and very popular. Even in prewar era they say some magazines introduced Popeye cartoons. It cannot be judged how Hamburger was known in Japan in early days, in 1960s many Japaneses knew Hamburgers as 'something Wimpy is always eating'.

In Sasebo, and somewhat in Yokosuka, the restaurants served Hamburger for US sailors from before Popeye's on air. In Sasebo not only foreigners, but also citizens liked them, so many local restaurants served them in various recipe. Only recently these variations became known in nationwide. Sasebo-burger is not a single menu but a group of many competent firms in Sasebo.

Maizuru's claim was originally from Citizen's group まいづる肉じゃがまつり実行委員会 (Maizuru Nikujaga Fest Program Commettee). Their first-hand accounts are informative on the order of events and claims.

http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/chiiki-collabo ... 105130.pdf

http://www.nikujyaga.info/about.html

They appealed Maizuru as Nikujaga's origin in 1995 and replicated navy's nikujaga from old navy manual preserved in Maizuru JMSDF base. In 1997, Kure noticed Maizuru's claim and asserted that Togo's appointment to Kure was earlier to Maizuru. Maizuru's group felt uneasy but noticed the media began to pick up their 'struggle' than when Maizuru appealed lonely.
On the other hand Yokosuka appealed Curry's origin in 1998. In 1999, Maizuru's group appealed the other three ex-Chinjufu navy towns, including Sasebo, to meet together for a joint-festival. Sasebo was reluctant, but after several encouraging from Maizuru, they opened Sasebo-burger's shop in the Yokosuka joint-fest in 1999. The reputation was good and after 2001 Sasebo city office pushed Sasebo-burger in various touring promotions.
This joint-festival has been still annually held in one of four cities. In 2009 autumn Sasebo was the host city.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 30 Apr 2010 23:12

How much of a IJA or IJN ration could stand exposure and decontamination to chemical agents.

The American c-ration was in a sealed can and stood up to both exposure and decontamination well.

Uncanned or jar sealed food is useless after exposure to WW2 era chemicals and decontamination agents.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Akira Takizawa » 01 May 2010 04:40

Japanese emergency ration was first canned. The chemical warfare was one of its reasons. However, it was later wrapped with water-proof paper, because canned ration was heavy and wasted metal.

Taki

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 01 May 2010 07:20

The problem of food logistics is mentioned by Edward Drea in his Japan's Imperial Army

Page 227
China 1942...a neglect of logistics..shortages of food,ammunition,and transportation left hungry Japanese soldiers mired in the mud during the heaviest rainy season in sixty years..

Page 238
Logistics support was poor in all theaters and collapsed completely in some..the late military historian Fujiwara Akira asserted that a majority of Japanese military deaths during the Asia-Pacific War resulted from starvation,not hostile action.Put differently,the army's incompetence killed more Japanese soldiers than did the Allies.In China,where Fujiwara served,logistics were left to his infantry battalion rather than specialised construction and transportation units.Although a more conservative recent analysis lowers Fujiwara's percentages,it generally concurs with his estimates.

Footnote: Fujiwara Akira Uejini shita eiyutachi [Starving Heroes] 2001...Hata Ikuhiko Dai niji seikai no Nihonjin senbotsusha zo [An image of Japanese war dead in the second world war] ,2006..

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