Food rations in the Japanese forces

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 21 Jan 2011 08:17

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 21 Jan 2011 08:19

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

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 21 Jan 2011 08:30

Future soldiers
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 21 Jan 2011 08:34

Eating among other assorted activities
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 22 Jan 2011 05:42

A review of the new book The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food Lizzie Collingham

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/29bea282-1f56 ... z1BfKZhY2v
In fact, the Allies, by careful management of resources, managed to keep fats in their soldiers’ and civilians’ diets, whereas the Axis often failed to; Collingham estimates that an astonishing 60 per cent, or 1m of the total Japanese military deaths of 1.47m, were caused by starvation or the diseases associated with malnutrition. By contrast, no Allied armies starved to death.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 24 Jan 2011 06:29

hisashi wrote:Here is a movie from US Army in Japan. In Dec 2009 they held a joint exercise Yama Sakura-57. Near the end of movie a group of US soldiers stayed in a farmer's house in Hokkaido. They experienced mochitsuki and BBQ party. One of Hokkaido's local speciality is 'Genghis Khan', mutton BBQ with soy sauce based seasonings. But I don't know typical Hokkaido farmers are used to having enoumous party as they are in the movie.
Thanks again, hisashi. From US Air Force Airman magazines of the 1980s or 90s I remember similar photos of JSDF troops meeting American counterparts in field exercises. Among other things, some Japanese were trying out US radios and night-scopes on M16 rifles, and the Americans tasted Japanese field cookery.

The “Genghis Khan'” dish sounds interesting as a Hokkaido specialty, one which might not be widely-known in many English-language cookbooks. Mutton itself, like venison and rabbit mentioned earlier, might not be better known abroad as parts of regional Japanese cooking.
Jingisukan nabe (Genghis Khan hot plate) For this dish, which comes from Mongolia, mutton and vegetables are cooked on a domed hot plate, which is ribbed and often has holes in it. The grilled food is dipped in a sauce strongly flavored with garlic and eaten. It is a kind of yakiniku [grilled meat and vegetables, which can be on skewers like kebab]
=============================
Peter H wrote:Tsingtao 1914
There seems to be little mention of the army ration by 1914. Presumably, it was little different from that of 1904-05? As explained earlier, rations were greatly improved during the 1920s, in time for combat in the 1930s.

=============================
Saké poured into a sakazuki (cup for sake; here a wide one).
Whether the saké is warm or cold, drinking with tokkuri [flask for warming and pouring] and sakazuki is one of the most enjoyable aspects of saké culture, for it is symbolic of a basic Japanese attitude toward drinking – that it is an act of communication and sharing. Small sakazuki empty quickly and need frequent refilling. In Japan, it is customary to perform o-shoku, that is, to pour for your drinking companion and to be poured for in return. This tiny ritual, repeated countless times over the course of an evening, can be a reaffirmation of an old friendship or the beginning of a new one, but it always implies a relationship, at least for that moment ...
Army field life, even if not combat, might not allow for the best of enjoying saké. Maybe this could be one reason to pour straight from the bottle here? Even though there is a tokkuri at hand.

=============================
Peter H wrote:From ebayseller, tugsbote last year. (Officers at table, under cover)
There are various photos and drawings of typical officers' mess kits, rectangular in shape and private purchase unlike the soldiers' kidney-shaped ones. But most of our photos so far show officers better served at table with bowls and dishes, as here.

=============================
Could this be a junior officer (at left) eating with his men? How likely or not was a lieutenant to do so? They seem to be eating boxed lunch. All the prints on the wall would be of interest but are too unclear.

=============================
Peter H wrote:Future soldiers
if future soldiers, could these boys be Young Men's Corps (Seinendan)? Did Seinen or other youth groups, students etc, typically have army-style mess gear and water bottles?

=============================
Men relaxing with tea and snacks, if posed for the flash photo. What setting might this be, with the low tables (zataki?) There seem also to be stuffed or modeled birds at background right. None of the men seem to have IJA rank insignia on the collar, although some show name-type tags on their chests.

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

I have seen a few references to IJA issue of creosote pills. As simple medicine for stomach problems.they are still available in modern-day Japan and east Asia under the common name Seirogan.

Creosote pills were IJA issue from the time of the Russo-Japanese War. The original name was Chuyu-Seirogan, which was based on Japanese phrasing for “Defeat Russia.” However, after Japan's own defeat and then Cold War with the USSR, the rendition of its name was altered to change its apparent meaning -- yet still allowing it to keep the familiar name “Seirogan.”
  • As a young US lieutenant in Japan, Douglas MacArthur wrote of first seeing reverence for the Emperor through these pills. Back then, they tasted so bitter that Japanese soldiers refused to take them, and threw them away. Then,MacArthur learned, they were labeled: “It is the Emperor's will that each soldier takes this medicine after each meal.” From then on, they promptly took the creosote pills without fail. (cf. MacArthur, Reminiscences)

    Today Seirogan is coated to prevent the bad taste. Some recent research was done with these creosote pills. Charcoal and charcoal pills (carbo medicinalis) -- and creosote pills -– have some similar history of use in America too, though less widely remembered. These too have returned to some modern study, and Seirogan is now available in the US and Canada.
Were creosote pills issued directly to each soldier to take them on his own responsibility? Or maybe distributed by medics when needed?

-– Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 28 Jan 2011 20:24

Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller tusgbote last year: (Field cooking and eating as a group)
It is hard to see, but what type of cooker could that be, in use at the other end of this field mess? Might it be a hibachi?

=======================================
Peter H wrote:A review of the book Lizzie Collingham’s A Taste of War
Thanks for the reference Peter, this is the kind of current study of unexplored sides of WW2. It looks like an interesting addition to the relatively small (and available) bibliography dedicated to food policies in the World Wars.

The matter of wartime food may intersect the fields of economy, culture, technology, geopolitics, and logistics. Food in itself is not ordinarily looked at from a global viewpoint. But it can be appreciated from those same fields, and that same wide viewpoint.
The subject has some inherent interest in itself, because food is such a universal, basic need. Food for soldiers and civilians might be unpopular memories because they are part of shortage and compulsion at the best, or desperation and hunger at the worst. Here and elsewhere in the Forum, we have even seen some mythos applied to it by the combatants.

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

More about Japanese rations in the Aleutians campaign -– from passing mention in a recent Alaska newspaper article commemorating that front:
FRESH COFFEE

Compared to Pearl Harbor or Iwo Jima -- or even neighboring Attu Island, where combined combat deaths reached 3,000, including nearly the entire Japanese force -- Kiska was a relatively peaceful battlefield.
The Japanese easily captured the 10 Americans at the weather station when they took the island on June 7, 1942. They quickly learned that bombs could not penetrate their sod-shod shelters. The garrison dispatched to the Alaska post was from Northern Japan, accustomed to and prepared for a climate much like home. The abundant seafood supplied the men with unlimited delicacies like [sea] urchin eggs. When they returned to strictly rationed Japan, they were accused of having grown fat.

… The American assault on Attu was famously ill-equipped. The Army was not prepared for either the weather or the ferocity of the resistance. Commanders determined they would take no chances with Kiska. Waves of warplanes dumped thousands of bombs … An armada of 95 ships closed in on the 5,200 defenders with a force of 34,426 American and Canadian troops.

… But there were no enemies. The Japanese had departed July 28 in a miraculously timed evacuation. An American admiral reported that they left "fresh brewed coffee" -- perhaps a greeting and taunt to the island's newcomers.
If it was true that Japanese at home thought their troops evacuated from Kiska looked fat, it might not only be that Japan was rationed. Arctic cold might have encouraged some weight gain even with an active life of outdoor field work. Unlike their comrades on Attu, they saw relatively little combat and were not short of food.
  • Sea urchin roe, called uni in Japan, is delicious. It is good for a forager's diet because of the fat, protein, and salt content of its eggs, which are easily gathered. When eaten raw, its taste reportedly sometimes varies between salty, sweet, or like shellfish. Otherwise it can be seasoned, or else fried. In the latter case it tastes –- perhaps naturally –- like ordinary scrambled eggs.
    • (Unfortunately, Alaska's commercial sea urchin fishery came to an end in 2006. It had helped supply the modern Japanese demand for uni up to that time. Now only artisan fishery remains of it, that is, non-commercial fishing by local people for their own use. It might be said that the Japanese troops in the Aleutians had done that in their brief time.)
As for coffee itself, there was a small industry for it in Japan. Demand first arose by the 1880s as an urban taste, but it grew so that by the 1920-30s the Key Coffee Company of Yokohama opened new offices throughout Japan, Korea, and even Manchuria. Today's Japan is said to be the world's third largest coffee-drinking nation.. But how important (or not) was coffee to the Imperial Japanese soldier? Though it was listed among Navy ration items, wasn’t tea a more important beverage, as it was for the British?

Whatever the origin of the “fresh brewed coffee” story, it is like my earlier question about a cave of good foodstuffs that was left at Kiska by the escaping Japanese garrison. This cave had a courteous welcome note posted for the Americans who would find it.
  • (condensed from an earlier post 30 Mar 08, for convenience here)
Sewer King wrote:… Has the following been mentioned anywhere else, or anything like it elsewhere? From Joseph D. Harrington's book about Nisei in US military service, Yankee Samurai (Detroit, Michigan: Pettigrew Enterprises, Inc, 1979), page 110:
... the Americans and Canadians found there were no occupants of [Kiska] except three yellow dogs and one cat. The Japanese, executing as slick a getaway as they had done from the western end of Guadalcanal six months before, slipped off Kiska days before.

They did leave the [American] Nisei a gift, however, a cave full of food with a sign in Japanese that said, more or less, "Help yourself. This food is not poisoned." {Nisei commander] John White's men did not seal the food caves as ordered by the task force commander. Instead, according to Shigeo Ito, "we partook voraciously. Such things as tsukemono, Mandarin oranges, nori, bamboo shoots, and so forth." White said there was "lots of rice, clams, and canned meat. The Nisei were their own chefs, and our intelligence detachment became the most popular unit in the command."
… Why did the Japanese leave these rations so courteously to the Americans, even meaning to allay suspicion of poison? It seems simply that they knew it was good food and wished to see it eaten, even by the enemy, rather than destroyed in waste.

My belief is that some particular Japanese officer felt this way. Aren't there similar stories from the civil wars of old Japan?
Akira Takizawa wrote:There is a famous proverb in Japan as ”Send salt to the enemy.”
One author attributed the “fresh brewed coffee” mention to Admiral Ernest King, Chief of Naval Operations. The Alaska news writer might well have cited it from him in the current Wiki link:
... Admiral King was visiting Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox when [the Aleutians commander, Admiral] Kinkaid reported the Japanese were gone, leaving only some dogs and hot coffee.

“What does this mean?” asked the mystified Knox.

"The Japanese are very clever,” King responded. “Their dogs can brew coffee."
  • (Miller, Nathan. War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II. (New York: Scribners, 1995). page 375)
=======================================

Without the primary source quoting Admiral King for it, “hot coffee” still sounds dubious -- at least by itself, as told. The Americans landed on Kiska almost three weeks after the Japanese evacuated it. Even though a gift of food was actually left there, hot coffee sounds unlikely. Could such a story have been exaggerated from a retelling of the food cave (which does have a reference)?
  • I like this mention of the Americans enjoying good food deliberately left by their enemy. Whoever he was, maybe the Japanese officer who did it would have liked to hear about it across the divide of war, although he could not have. Indeed, Ito Shigeo implied that the note for the food gifts said more than he told here in paraphrase. If so, I imagine it written in finely-worded Japanese, which would have been interesting to read in itself.

    It also compares to our earlier mention of some US Marines on Guadalcanal who were so tired of their own canned C Rations that they, too, appreciated Japanese food when it was captured. (They also much enjoyed the captured ice-making plant.)
Most historians would not pursue whether or not the escaping Japanese truly did leave coffee. Nor whether or not the US Chief of Naval Operations joked about it. But it is popularly told enough, as part of the end to the Aleutians campaign. There was at least one contemporary news mention below:

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

A LIFE magazine article showed some of the supplies and equipment left behind at Kiska, among other supplies and equipment.

In it, a US soldier was pictured eating some Japanese food, in the island's captured air HQ. Scroll down to page 30 of:
It repeated the mention of hot coffee and the dog left behind. Also, it answered my earlier question about what crops the Japanese grew there:
... Up from the bay –- littered with sunken or beached Jap ships -– the shores were strewn with caches of tinned kelp, crackers, rice and fish. Around them were little gardens of radishes, carrots, and onions which the Japs had evidently tended until the last day ...
These food stores pictured or described can't be matched to those in either an earlier photo from Cohen's The Forgotten War, or in Ito Shigeo's account. But the gardens would seem to be among those shown earlier in that book.

The walls of other fortifications were written with taunting graffiti of a kind that might be expected in wartime. Leaving a courteous note with one of the food caves might also be seen this way. Regardless, I like to think of it as apart, and coming from one Japanese gentleman officer. Moreover, he could not have known that Japanese-American nisei troops would especially enjoy his gift -– and remember it for the record.

Besides those at Rabaul, it seems that those at Kiska were among the few Japanese troops who always ate well in the far islands. The suffering of their comrades elsewhere for food is well known, even as the leading cause of IJA casualties.
  • And even to well-fed men at Kiska, hunger might not have been so far away from them –- at Attu.

    At the end of the battle for Attu, Colonel Yamazaki Yasuyo led some 500 remaining Japanese in a final pre-dawn charge against the Americans. According to one Japanese author Nishijima Teruo, he held small hope of breaking through to the beachhead at Massacre Bay to seize their weapons –- and food. At first they achieved surprise in vicious close-quarter fighting, killing many of the enemy in their tents.
    … But then a sort of mass hysteria seized Yamazaki's men. They began screaming and charging pointlessly hither and yon, breaking off in small groups. Some GIs who lived through the night of horror thought they were drunk. A few of the Japanese simply sat down among the Americans they had just killed and gorged themselves on American rations ...
    (Rigge, Simon; and editors of Time-Life Books. War in the Outposts, a volume in the World War II series (Time-Life Books, 1981), page 141)

    Gunfire of the surprised defenders alerted nearby support troops who backstopped the attack. Of course most of the attackers were very soon killed in their turn, or had killed themselves. It may seem unique to Attu that a few joined eating with battle in this way, but they did it out of great desperation.
In contrast, our member Kim Sung said there had been a Japanese war movie from 1965, 太平洋奇跡の作戦 キスカ Taiheiyo Kiseki no Sakusen Ki Suka (The Miraculous Operation in Kiska). It dramatized the evacuation. Whatever its quality, it was one of the few WW2-subject films with a happy ending. Except for report that troops returning from there were called fat, there seems relatively little about the Japanese view of that operation. I don't know how much food was a part of any such view –- even if dramatized. But it comes up this much in English-language sources.

Finally, the food gift was a strange but good end-note, for so remote a campaign that remains one of the war's “forgotten fronts.”

-– Alan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 28 Jan 2011 22:15

Thanks Alan,still a lot to learn on this subject.

Film stills from the documentary Apocalypse The Second World War ,Episode 4.

Flight crew enjoying a meal while in transit.Long patrol hauls across the Pacific were a necessary task.I dont know about toilet arrangements though---what goes in comes out.
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Mark V » 28 Jan 2011 23:01

Sewer King wrote:Thanks Taki and Peter, as always.
Akira Takizawa wrote:It is true that whale meat was widely used in the IJA. But, it needs to explain. Whale meat was eaten in Japan from ancient age. But, it was not a popular food, but a local food in Japan.
This seems much the same across most whaling nations and peoples. The practice was mostly local before it became organized in fisheries. But the use of whale meat did not spread to the wider populations of a country, partly because it could not sustain them year-round on the same scale as other meats.
Hi.

Japan was bit different in this matter, atleast since WW2. Whale meat, bad tasting or good, was very large proportion of all meat available in whole of Japan from 1930s till 1960s, all through national emergency times, well into after war rebuilding of economy. I mean nearly half of all meat available in some years. Popularity was minor issue, as it was meat, with quite plentifull supply, at times when other meats were exceedingly expensive, or simply unavailable.

Japan was active in coastal operations of whaling since centuries a go, which would supply localities. But in 1900s the coastal whaling operations turned to near pelagic operations with fast steam/diesel whale catchers, and Japan was also very active in Antarctic whaling since mid-30s. The total catch did rose astronomically within few decades.

In Antarctic operations, whenever meat fullfilled the quality criteria (time between killing and flensing of the whale) and there was storage space within plant in factory ship, or auxiliary reefer vessels, it was deep frozen. If quality criteria was not quite met for freezing, but meat was good otherwise it was salted. Everything beyond meat storage capability was boiled to whale oil.

Meat is the main reason why Japan continued whaling after early 60s when practically all others had given up (save USSR that did not give a damn about astronomical costs). There was market for meat, and it gave vastly higher price than whale oil. Almost all other whaling countries boiled all of the meat also to whale oil. Few western operations after WW2 had contract with Petfoods, and harvested meat for cat food. There was no sustainable markets for human consumption of whale meat outside Japan.

Regards

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 01 Feb 2011 13:22

海軍生活様式(The life in IJN)
2003 from dia press co.
ISBN 4924372463

This volume is a mook for IJN men's daily life by many anonymous writers; meals, clothes, accomodations, salary etc.

戦艦大和の台所 (The kitchen of BB Yamato)
by 高森直史(Takamori Naofumi)
2010 from Kojinsha
ISBN 9784769814740

Lt.Cdr. Takamori, born in 1939, have served in JMSDF as an accountant/cooking officer, and also a national registered dietitian. His book focused on BB Yamato, but his accounts very often deviated from that subject. Anyway complemented by the former, the two books provide clear explanations on the IJN rations, especially cooking personnels' organization.

1.Service-in-arm of cookers

In IJN cooking staffs shared their services-in-arm, shukeika(主計科) with accountants. It resembles the navy supply corps in USN. Shukeika dealt with war accounting, paying and purchasing, and cooking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_Suppl ... ed_States)

There was a school kaigun keiri gakko (海軍経理学校). The graduates of its regular cource became an officer-equivalent who deals with all accounting figures and many documents. They promoted as an officer but was not given leadership in combat. They also had courses for accountant sailors and NCOs.

On the other hand, some of fresh sailors were assigned as a shukeika sailor, and it meant they became cookers. Details of cooker training system seemed lost under burn-all-document order in the end of war, but clearly some training course for sailors existed in kaiheidan (navy barracks) in each naval station;Kure, Yokosuka, Maizuru and Sasebo. There were speciality insignia for the graduate of the course. Perhaps the owner of that insignia could apply for NCO service, and after joining and graduating advanced course of cooking, they served as a chef (烹炊員長 hosuiincho) of a kitchen.

http://www.b-b.ne.jp/yokaren/syukei.htm

Shows 4 good-service chevron (12 years' good record) and insignia for shukei petty officer 1st class on the right arm, and speciality insignia of advanced cooking course. Advanced cooking course was moved to kaigun keiri gakko in 1933 from each kaiheidan as a 6-months course.

Perhaps they must take accountants course as well to be promoted to warrant officer, because posts for them were more or less administrative and related to accounting.

2.The organization of cooking staffs in large vessels

There were some related pics and talks on this topic...

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1411112

In battleships, the head of supply officer was shukeicho (主計長), usually a Lt.Cdr.

Chief general affairs officer (庶務主任 shomu shu'nin) or Chief clothes and rations officer (衣糧長 iryocho) heads for the procurement/receiving of food materials and menu planning. But they were officer from kaigun keiri gakko regular course, so not a cooker. NCO in each kitchen was the leader adjusting plan to the situation. There were some NCOs and perhaps warrant officers sharing administrative works on supply.

There were hired civilians on the budget allowed at the disposal of the skipper. They were not only cookers but for example tailors. Typically they worked in the kitchen for the skipper.

In BB Yamato there were four kitchens. Roughly for skipper, for officer, for warrant officer and for others.

For 'other' about 2,500 men the largest kitchen area was reserved. The enlisted men's kitchen was about 200 square meter and 70 men served in three teams, alternating three roles in turn. The first team worked as the main team of the day. They served for lunch, supper, night snack if available and next day's breakfast. The breakfast was mostly prepared during last night and served by some in the team, usually the youngest boobies. The second team helps the preparations of lunch and supper. The third team share the work for lunch in the morning but in the afternoon they devote themselves to maintenance and sorting of storages, the hardest mustle work.

Fetching the meals to their living room was the task for sailors on duty from each divisions in the ship. For officer rooms, some selected sailors served.

Basically officers and warrant officers must pay for their meals. So they often had some choice from available menus. Alcohols are allowed on order at least in the peacetime.

3.The meals

The sailors' kitchenware consisted of four granitewares. Bowl for rice, a plain dish for side menu, a cup for soup and a cup for drink. So often various side menus made a platter. Because of restriction on cooking system, grilled dish was rare and boiled/stewed ones were in majority.

In peacetime battleships the meal for officers often became a full course dinner. In smaller ships cooking facility was relatively poor and dishes became somewhat simpler.

4.PX

In IJA shubo meant a store/cafeteria in the barrack. They sold letters, snacks, tobacco and alcohol at holidays. In IJN ships there were also a shubo, but a difference was that no cash were allowed to use in the vessel. Sailors on duty in each division 'bought' everything asked by mates onchit, and later it was subtracted from sailor's salary.

Some luxurious items (say, hte highest grade sake) was for officers only. For enlisted men buying alcohol in vessel was allowed only on special day. Especially in hot weather, ramune (transparent sweet soda) was a favorite, limited item. After officers' room kept many of them, enlisted men tried everything to get them, sold on a time in first-come-first-served basis. At wartime, those transaction stopped and men could enjoy them if and only if the officers ordered to distribute them for free on special occasion.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 02 Feb 2011 01:05

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 04 Feb 2011 15:46

Takamori's book above have some more trivia. In IJA their rice-ball (onigiri) was typically round. They often carried onigiri as combat ration (of the day) on the bottom of mess kit. Two round rice-ball was then typical.

On the other hand, in IJN, typical rice-ball was for combat ration eaten at personnels' battle station. They used bamboo sheath for wrapping them. Triangular onigiri was easier to wrap so in IJN typical onigiri was triangular.

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

In combat, supply officers helped to make onogiri because they were not trained to engage in combat. On the other hand, enlisted supply sailors took basic training as a sailor, so some of them were assigned to other station, typically as strechers for the wounded. Most of kitchen staffs kept preparing the next meal during the combat. Especially beef was delivered to the ship as a carcass, and porks are in the whole. The butchery work was time consuming and hard.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 07 Feb 2011 07:00

hisashi wrote:海軍生活様式(The life in IJN) 2003 from dia press co ...

This volume is a mook for IJN men's daily life by many anonymous writers; meals, clothes, accommodations, salary etc.

戦艦大和の台所 (The kitchen of BB Yamato)
by 高森直史(Takamori Naofumi), 2010 from Kojinsha

Lt.Cdr. Takamori, born in 1939, have served in JMSDF as an accountant/cooking officer, and also a national registered dietitian. His book focused on BB Yamato, but his accounts very often deviated from that subject. Anyway complemented by the former, the two books provide clear explanations on the IJN rations, especially cooking personnels' organization.
It is good to hear of these accounts, which sound like welcome treatments of the subject. Do their recent publishing dates imply various memoirs and sources that have not been published before? From earlier threads I understand some simple reasons why this might be so.
  • In 2000, Tamayama Kazuo’s Tales by Japanese Soldiers was published in English. That book wanders in its telling too, sometimes even inside single stories themselves. This is how I imagine the book Life in the IJN.
====================================
hisashi wrote:... In IJN cooking staffs shared their services-in-arm, shukeika (主計科) with accountants. It resembles the navy supply corps in USN. Shukeika dealt with war accounting, paying and purchasing, and cooking....

... Some of fresh sailors were assigned as a shukeika sailor, and it meant they became cookers. Details of cooker training system seemed lost under burn-all-document order in the end of war, but clearly some training course for sailors existed in kaiheidan (navy barracks) in each naval station;Kure, Yokosuka, Maizuru and Sasebo. There were specialty insignia for the graduate of the course. Perhaps the owner of that insignia could apply for NCO service, and after joining and graduating advanced course of cooking, they served as a chef (烹炊員長 hosuiincho) of a kitchen.
Hopefully, Navy petty officers in mess service did not have the common reputation of Army mess NCOs (deserved or not) for skimming rations for their benefit.

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

Elsewhere we saw that cooks wore the rank/trade insignia of the administrative (accounting/pay) department. Their insignia (below) looks like crossed ink writing brushes, similar to the USN yeoman's trade insignia of crossed quill feather pens:
Peter H wrote:(Sailor in whites: cap tally reads "Oita air squadron,"translation thanks to cloudy-joe)
Image
hisashi wrote:I noticed his marks tell very interesting things. Cross mark with a cherry indicated he was a leading seaman, kitchen staff. Two chevrons says he is in the 7th-9th year in the navy. He might be unhappy on his slow promotion.
====================================
hisashi wrote:[This IJN uniform coat] shows 4 good-service chevron (12 years' good record) and insignia for shukei petty officer 1st class on the right arm, and speciality insignia of advanced cooking course. Advanced cooking course was moved to kaigun keiri gakko in 1933 from each kaiheidan as a 6-months course … Perhaps they must take accountants course as well to be promoted to warrant officer, because posts for them were more or less administrative and related to accounting.
Here is a comparable trade emblem in today's US Navy:
USN culinary specialist's trade badge.jpg
In World War II this was a Commissary Steward, which had the same insignia but without the ledger book.

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hisashi wrote:2. The organization of cooking staffs in large vessels

There were some related pics and talks on this topic ...

In battleships, the head of supply officer was shukeicho (主計長), usually a Lt.Cdr.
Russell Spurr wrote close to this, about Yamato's executive officer Nomura giving orders for the grand feast before her famous Last Sortie (described earlier here). From Spurr’s A Glorious Way to Die, page 109:
... But the supply officers were worrying as usual about the paperwork. A bespectacled lieutenant commander was whining about his monthly returns. How would he account for all these extra rations?

“What's it matter?” retorted Nomura. “We aren't coming back!”
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hisashi wrote:… NCO in each kitchen was the leader adjusting plan to the situation. There were some NCOs and perhaps warrant officers sharing administrative works on supply.
These seem like the watchful petty officers often seen in the background of several earlier photos of galleys ashore, and also afloat. Those photos may be posed or partly posed. But I feel sure the NCOs were always just as watchful before and after the photos.
hisashi wrote:There were hired civilians on the budget allowed at the disposal of the skipper. They were not only cookers but for example tailors. Typically they worked in the kitchen for the skipper.
.
A few civilians were on board ship for special skills? I have an impression that this was only on the larger capital ships, or in peacetime.

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hisashi wrote:In BB Yamato there were four kitchens. Roughly for skipper, for officer, for warrant officer and for others.

For 'other' about 2,500 men the largest kitchen area was reserved. The enlisted men's kitchen was about 200 square meter and 70 men served in three teams, alternating three roles in turn. The first team worked as the main team of the day. They served for lunch, supper, night snack if available and next day's breakfast. The breakfast was mostly prepared during last night and served by some in the team, usually the youngest boobies. The second team helps the preparations of lunch and supper. The third team share the work for lunch in the morning but in the afternoon they devote themselves to maintenance and sorting of storages, the hardest muscle work …

Basically officers and warrant officers must pay for their meals. So they often had some choice from available menus. Alcohols are allowed on order at least in the peacetime.
Many thanks for the organizational side of Yamato’s galleys, wardrooms and messes! It greatly enlarges a picture of them I had believed was hard to assemble at all.
  • When I first quoted Russell Spurr’s description of messing aboard Yamato, it told a great kitchen and good meals for 2500 men but had no description to imagine.

    Then their photos, and comparable diagrams of Musashi’s galleys were found, showing modern appliances and efficiency.
Now, with Takamori’s account we can picture cooks bustling and hauling in there, 80 at a time in Spurr’s book though Takamori said 70. Same for the elegance of officers’ messes which took the first pick of food stocks on board.

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hisashi wrote: Fetching the meals to their living room was the task for sailors on duty from each divisions in the ship. For officer rooms, some selected sailors served.
Even though this earlier illustration is more a humorous comic, does it show the eating of meals in quarters? In it, we see bedding hanging up in the background. Spurr wrote that meals were carried up in large metal canteens which seem equivalent to the Army's wooden shokkan; our earlier photos show similar metal containers on board ship.

Sailors' meals in their quarters seems comparable to those of Army soldiers in the barracks. However, aboard ship wouldn't it mean a lot of plates also had to be hauled back to the galleys, regularly?

Another account mentions breakfast being brought up to Yamato's bridge for Admiral Yamamoto. Like the ship's captain, admirals had their own cabins and baths, but not their own mess? Does it seem likely that an admiral normally dined with his flagship's captain?

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hisashi wrote:... The sailors' kitchenware consisted of four granitewares. Bowl for rice, a plain dish for side menu, a cup for soup and a cup for drink. So often various side menus made a platter. Because of restriction on cooking system, grilled dish was rare and boiled/stewed ones were in majority.

In peacetime battleships the meal for officers often became a full course dinner. In smaller ships cooking facility was relatively poor and dishes became somewhat simpler.
From US Navy cook experience, our member Ron Sundby explained earlier the use of steam kettles and hot plates at sea to avert this same danger of open flame cooking.

The officers' table service had china plates and crystal glass. Before now, I had imagined the crew used Navy messkits, rather than granite ware.

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hisashi wrote:... In IJN ships there were also a shubo, but a difference was that no cash were allowed to use in the vessel. Sailors on duty in each division 'bought' everything asked by mates on chit, and later it was subtracted from sailor's salary.
In this same comic illustration asked after just above, is that a window below decks for a shubo where sailors are receiving goods and drinks?
hisashi wrote:Some luxurious items (say, the highest grade sake) was for officers only. For enlisted men buying alcohol in vessel was allowed only on special day. Especially in hot weather, ramune (transparent sweet soda) was a favorite, limited item. After officers' room kept many of them, enlisted men tried everything to get them, sold on a time in first-come-first-served basis. At wartime, those transaction stopped and men could enjoy them if and only if the officers ordered to distribute them for free on special occasion.
Presumably sailors also paid for their baths the same way, by chit?

The special days allowing alcohol might be (all I could think of) were the Emperor's birthday, New Year's, and Navy Day. Another earlier photo here of beer set out on deck would seem to be for such an occasion
  • Earlier we have seen compartments for making lemonade aboard Mogami-class heavy cruisers. Maybe this was for the larger and more modern warships, and not common to all types? I have seen no explanation but it would have been for vitamin C, as was lime juice in the Royal Navy. Still, all sailors in other ships also needed it.

    Spurr referred to bottled beer available to Yamato's sailors, at least at one moment, while her officers had sake and good whiskey at their table.
At least one current label of Ramune still has an anchor insignia out of its old association with the Imperial Navy. Ramune seems not to be as remembered with the Army. Maybe this is due to the Army's great size and far deployment -- and also because the Navy had reliable transport and refrigeration? In wartime Coca-Cola was marketed to the US Army and Navy, but the wealth of American logistics made it actually possible for both to have it.

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hisashi wrote:Takamori's book above have some more trivia. In IJA their rice-ball (onigiri) was typically round. They often carried onigiri as combat ration (of the day) on the bottom of mess kit. Two round rice-ball was then typical.
This could almost caption our earlier photo of rice balls being made in the field.

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hisashi wrote:... On the other hand, in IJN, typical rice-ball was for combat ration eaten at personnels' battle station. They used bamboo sheath for wrapping them. Triangular onigiri was easier to wrap so in IJN typical onigiri was triangular.
… In combat, supply officers helped to make onogiri because they were not trained to engage in combat. On the other hand, enlisted supply sailors took basic training as a sailor, so some of them were assigned to other station, typically as stretchers for the wounded. Most of kitchen staffs kept preparing the next meal during the combat.
This neatly answers and corrects my earlier question:
Sewer King wrote:Yoshimura Akira’s book Battleship Musashi: the Making and Sinking of the World’s Biggest Battleship paperback translation (Kodansha International, 1999), page 162, describes the tension among that ship’s AA gun crews awaiting a second wave of American attack planes:
Everyone knew the enemy aircraft would return. The galleys on the Musashi passed out lunches to the men, but most were too busy checking equipment to eat.
There is no knowing what these lunches were or how contained, although I imagined in tins .... Of course, men going into battle often do not want to eat ... or will only eat a few things ... but how unusual was it for send up a small lunch to men at their battle stations?
Now I see it was common. And, as someone who has long enjoyed origami, I imagine that bamboo sheaths were already cut to shape (more or less) so that edges or ends will tuck into folds, to hold the onigiri closed.inside.

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hisashi wrote:... Especially beef was delivered to the ship as a carcass, and porks are in the whole. The butchery work was time consuming and hard.
It must have been labor enough just for a ship's crew to receive beeves and hogs as whole or in sides, and haul them down below decks to the cold storage.
  • Butchery was traditionally a skilled trade where meat cuts differ from country to country. Australian butchers were contracted to supply beef and pork to the US Army in the southwest Pacific, but they had to learn American meat cuts and preferences. In the US itself, shankless beef had been developed around the time of World War I. There the American forces first widely used it to save shipping space on freighters and in frozen storage.
Live cattle were carried to the fleet on IJN catering ships like Mamiya mentioned earlier. These would provide the freshest beef possible, although not in large amounts by this way alone. Frozen meats are more efficient however. Japan did have a number of other refrigerated cargo ships in service, though these might have supported her fishing and whaling operations before the Pacific War.

–- Alan
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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 07 Feb 2011 14:14

It is good to hear of these accounts, which sound like welcome treatments of the subject. Do their recent publishing dates imply various memoirs and sources that have not been published before? From earlier threads I understand some simple reasons why this might be so.
Alan, real life is hard everywhere in the world, harder after Lehman Shock in the publishing industry. They are reprinting again and again popular, well known topics seeking for newcomer readers which might be almost exhausted, that is, paying any for printed matters. Takamori seems supervised Yamato (2005) on kitchen/ration issues so he took some topics from this film.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamato_(film)
Hopefully, Navy petty officers in mess service did not have the common reputation of Army mess NCOs (deserved or not) for skimming rations for their benefit.
It seems navy supply staffs did not have special bad image because skimming was so common regardless of services-in-arm.

A few civilians were on board ship for special skills? I have an impression that this was only on the larger capital ships, or in peacetime.
Takamori wrote that before the departure of Yamato IJN authorities ordered all civilian employees on her to get Yamato off. Six civilians, chef, washerman, barber and tailor (breakdown unknown) refused to leave Yamato and became missing with BB Yamato.
A few civilians were on board ship for special skills? I have an impression that this wEven though this earlier illustration is more a humorous comic, does it show the eating of meals in quarters?
Yes, usually. They set aside their beds (in older ships, hammock) and prepared wooden long table and long benches. The highest-rank officers perhaps had their lunchroom besides their bedroom...
Sailors' meals in their quarters seems comparable to those of Army soldiers in the barracks. However, aboard ship wouldn't it mean a lot of plates also had to be hauled back to the galleys, regularly?
Yes. They kept them near engine, where hot steam continually poured. Rinsing of plates were insufficient for economizing water, so disinfecting by steam was important for their health.
Does it seem likely that an admiral normally dined with his flagship's captain?
Perhaps yes. Large ships had specialized rooms for fleet staffs, so skipper's kitchen must be ready for highest-class officers. Here is pics of memorial ship BB Mikasa.

http://www.kinenkan-mikasa.or.jp/map/rear-sec.html

The five pics shows from above;

senior officers' living room
skipper's office
fleet commander's office
fleet commander's living room
stern work (exclusively for fleet commander's walking around)
In this same comic illustration asked after just above, is that a window below decks for a shubo where sailors are receiving goods and drinks?
Yes. 海軍生活様式 shows similar window in its illustration. It seems typical.
Presumably sailors also paid for their baths the same way, by chit?
For sailors, it was free. Former cartoon shows 帆布入浴 for sailors.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... h#p1474257

In large ships there were bathrooms for officers and one solely for the skipper.
The special days allowing alcohol might be (all I could think of) were the Emperor's birthday, New Year's, and Navy Day. Another earlier photo here of beer set out on deck would seem to be for such an occasion
Yes, if in peaceful situation. For example before planned attack alcohol and sweets might be given.

The word 'Ramune' came from Lemonade, so perhaps Mogami's lemnade maker was really a ramune maker. It seems IJN ramune machine took its power from ship's engine. IJA had ramune machine but was always short of fuels... In peacetime IJA shubo had ramune and/or its alternatives from civilian venders.

The special days allowing alcohol might be (all I could think of) were the Emperor's biNow I see it was common. And, as someone who has long enjoyed origami, I imagine that bamboo sheaths were already cut to shape (more or less) so that edges or ends will tuck into folds, to hold the onigiri closed.inside.
Here you are. Nowadays natural bamboo skin is expensive.
http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0011NF19U

Here is a replica food of the last combat ration in BB Yamato, two triangular onigiri in bamboo skin.
http://www.satsuki-so.com/musubi.html

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