Food rations in the Japanese forces

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 04 Mar 2012 03:15

Peter H wrote:From ebay,seller tokyoexpress41

Looks like another meal break in background
○○町青野ヶ原演習場 *** town Aonogahara training ground

Agnogahara training ground was in Hyogo prefecture, north of Kobe city. Originally it was the ground for warhorse breeding and training. Later it was also used as troops' maneuver and in WWII era local railroad was improved enough to move tanks to the training ground.
A leaf of horse box and main gate (and today)
http://www.city.ono.hyogo.jp/~kokokan/aonogahara.html

In WWI era a part of German/Austrian/Hungarian POW was in the camp there.
Some pics and a stitchwork by POW craftsmen.
http://www.city.kasai.hyogo.jp/02kank/08sisi/huryo.htm

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 20 Mar 2012 05:23

From ebay,seller tradereast5gev

39th Inf Regt photo
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 02 Apr 2012 00:51

hisashi wrote:
Sewer King wrote:
Peter H wrote:Manchuria meal
. . . Moreover, the men seem to be wearing tabi and not their shoes, although keeping on their winter hats. More relaxed settings of a better meal?
Perhaps gaiters. They are really relaxed because no shoes are seen nearby. If raided must fight without shoes.
Indeed, they are probably far from their rifles and ammunition pouches.

Unless it is a special occasion, were such good meals rare for the common IJA soldier in China? If the photo had served propaganda for home, it might have meant to say “Our troops can eat this well while on campaign.”

====================================
alpinoinMT wrote:I look at these cooked dinners in the field! Good stuff. We never got rice in C-Rats and in my 27 years as a grunt I only saw rice in MREs about 2005.
Some recent Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) have been contractor-made for use by today’s American Muslim soldiers, as well as for allied Muslim troops. These are certified halal in manufacture.
  • The original American MREs were developed in the early 1970s. They began with freeze-dried rations such as the Long Range Patrol rations of the Vietnam War, and those of the US astronauts. They were accepted for service in 1975 with 12 dishes, but only began wider use by the early 1980s.

    Menus have changed since then, But the military often tries to use up its older supplies first , before issuing new ones. Possibly that is why it was only so much later that AlpinoinMT saw a rice dish among them.
    • After the First Persian Gulf War, MREs were improved with 24 entrees and dropped the least popular old ones. Some vegetarian MRE dishes were also included,
    (Tallmadge, Katherine E, “U.S. Military Refashions its Rations,” Washington Post May 12, 1998, page 9}
I had expected to find more rice among both the new standard-issue and the halal MREs. However, one Singapore-based manufacturer does include more rice among its entrees. This includes Japanese kare raisu as well as other dishes from elsewhere in the Near East and Southeast Asia.

The T Ration (Tray ration) for groups falls between the kitchen-cooked B Ration, and the MRE which replaced the C Rations. T Rations are large, foil-packed tray servings of whole, pre-cooked dishes. They are for field messing in groups, and are simply steam-heated without needing a kitchen. Its original 1980s menus listed only two rice dishes.

====================================
hisashi wrote:. . . Sometimes several military troops try each others rations in other countries.
One of our Turkish members proudly told about how his army’s field cookery was enjoyed by American allied troops, more than their own.
hisashi wrote:. . . Usually JSDF rations are rated as not bad, perhaps because rice ration is new to military men from most of countries.
It might be more that rice every day is new to some American soldiers, depending on their ethnic or regional background. Also, they might know mainly the bland, long-grain rice grown in the southern US.
  • Japanese cuisine became more widely popular with some Americans by the 1980s. But to many others among them, short-grain Japanese rice would still be new. I think they simply don’t know how much better rice can taste from other countries. Nor that rice is the world’s single most important food crop, since it feeds half of the world’s population.
Hisashi, many thanks for the detailed video of JSDF pack rations. As such things go, they do look good. It goes well with your earlier video of JSDF field kitchen cooking, as a good intro to the modern subject.
  • We see sekihan (red beans rice) in one can. From some previous mentions, I had first thought it was more for special occasions. But sekihan was also told among wartime Japanese rations in a US intelligence bulletin mentioned earlier. So it remains a favorite now as it was then.

    I was slightly surprised to see Vienna sausages and sliced mushrooms among the ration cans, because those are ingredients rather than complete dishes.
    • Coincidentally, we mentioned an American PoW at Bataan who saw IJA troops frying Vienna sausages with their rice. I supposed those had come from captured American rations, where they had been mentioned in US Army official history.

      Vienna sausages are like tiny liverwurst in brine. Since all armies often cook ordinary dishes most of their troops will eat, did they became an ordinary food item in Japan after postwar US food relief? Both Spam and Vienna sausages also remain popular in the Philippines and in South Korea for the same reason, One richly-made Korean dish called budae jiigae (military stew) uses both Viennas and Spam.
    Both saltine-type crackers and kanpan (hard bread crackers) are shown in the dry ration packs. While the saltines are packed airtight in filmwrap, the kanpan is bagged to keep it fresh (probably in nitrogen gas). I would expect the bags are packed in cans to protect them from breakage. The kanpan is shown eaten with honey from a squeeze tube. both being concentrated simple foods.

    As such, Taki said kanpan is stored for civil emergency use in Japan. During the atomic war scares of the 1950s, US Civil Defense also stored canned hardtack crackers this way. They included hard sugar candies, the same as kanpan included honey as shown. In the video, is the same emergency use told about kanpan issued by the JSDF, or are they eaten like any other ration item?
Some of the ration cans and packaging were labeled as copied below. Please excuse my inaccurate renditions, some of which also might be incomplete besides:
JSDF field ration labels.png
Other foods shown packed in retort pouches:
  • Ham steak,
    miso-shiru (or another soup?) reconstituted with hot water;
    yakitori, although not grilled on skewers of course
I have never tasted any rice freeze-dried for MRE-type meals. Although rice would be preferable from a field kitchen’s steam cooker, MRE rice may be good enough for its purpose. Taki mentioned that the IJA had developed an instant rice, but was it limited to use in certain rations?

-- Alan
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 07 Apr 2012 17:42

Hi Alan,
Unless it is a special occasion, were such good meals rare for the common IJA soldier in China? If the photo had served propaganda for home, it might have meant to say “Our troops can eat this well while on campaign.”.
In major cities it seemed that many restaurants served for Japaneses and they could relax. I am not sure soldiers could enjoy such a place commonly. Officers from front were welconed there by officers in local HQ and the combat-ready officer felt uneasy according to their recall.
We see sekihan (red beans rice) in one can. From some previous mentions, I had first thought it was more for special occasions. But sekihan was also told among wartime Japanese rations in a US intelligence bulletin mentioned earlier. So it remains a favorite now as it was then.
Rice in sekihan is mochogome, mainly used for rice cake. As I mentioned in another post, this rice is hard to be digested so hard workers prefer it because it takes long to be hungry again.

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... e#p1676469

In fact sekihan is mainly food for celebrating something but JSDF ration regularly includes it. In March 2011, many retweet was seen for suffered people NOT to blame JSDF men eating sekihan as their ration.
I have never tasted any rice freeze-dried for MRE-type meals. Although rice would be preferable from a field kitchen’s steam cooker, MRE rice may be good enough for its purpose. Taki mentioned that the IJA had developed an instant rice, but was it limited to use in certain rations?
Powder soy sauce and powder miso was a typical supply for militarymen in WWII. The former is nowadays popular worldwide; in cup noodle soup, ra-men etc. Powdered miso is not as successful as soy sauce. Small pack of miso paste is more popular as an instant soup.

Microwave-ready rice pack is recently common because for elderly people cooking for one or two persons is boresome. Steam cooking in households is somewhat time-consuming.
example of microwave-ready rice pack
http://www.satosyokuhin.co.jp/commodity ... ice01.html

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2012 06:06

From ebay,seller 21stcenturymusic

"Japanese fliers rations from Pearl Harbor"
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2012 06:12

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

Post by MurocFlight » 12 Apr 2012 02:41

What about Japanese sweets and chocolates during that era?

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 15 Apr 2012 02:45

hisashi wrote:. . . In fact sekihan is mainly food for celebrating something but JSDF ration regularly includes it. In March 2011, many retweet was seen for suffered people NOT to blame JSDF men eating sekihan as their ration.
Sekihan did seem widespread in wartime too, since even the Americans noticed it among IJA rations.

Presumably it had long been in the JSDF rations for many years? If some refugees grumbled about incidentally seeing soldiers' sekihan at the time, I would guess it was the scale of the disaster, besides not knowing it was always there.

Are military rations sometimes also given to civilians for modern disaster relief?

===================================
MurocFlight wrote:What about Japanese sweets and chocolates during that era?
There are many glimpses of them here, both below and previously:

Assorted candies were some of the typical contents of imonbukuro (cheering bags) distributed to Army units and Navy ships.
Sewer King wrote:It looks . . . like the soldier is giving the children something shaken out from a small can, such as sakuma fruit-flavored candy drops earlier pointed out by Hisashi in imonbukuro [cheering bags] . . .
===================================

See also the above photo of foods found in Japanese aircraft shot down at Pearl Harbor. At right, drops from candy maker Morinaga & Company can be seen.

At front right, an open package of what look like caramels. Caramel making in Japan also began with Morinaga.

Unfortunately we can’t tell how this assortment of food and drink was originally found or packed inside the downed planes –- or from how many of them. Candies at least were long-favored by many pilots in flight, since their sugar gives quick energy and they are handy in the cockpit.

This variety of food raises a few questions:
  • Was there a standard or typical pack of survival rations among IJN pilot gear?

    The cider bottle looks large to pack aboard, either for use in flight or when forced down. So does the Suntory whiskey bottle, if it is full-size.

    Japanese soldiers and sailors might drink a toast just before going into battle, but I have wondered from this photo: might some aircrews, too, have downed one “slug” of liquor en route to target? Although other air arms and air forces would likely not allow this in action.
The pack rations and other things would have served at Ni’ihau, the designated island for any forced landings after the Pearl Harbor attack.

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

The Japanese chocolate company Morozoff Ltd. was in business before World War II (Japanese-language site). Unfortunately I could not find any print reference to it in several recent histories of chocolate. Nor can I find what happened to it during the war. This would have some interest because commercial cacao beans were available mostly to the Allies and neutrals, not the Axis.

Both Morinaga and Morozoff remain well-known businesses today. Morinaga candies especially are widely available here in the US. The nearest WW2 American comparison might be Life Savers candies, made available to US servicemen.

In the war Economy section of the Forum, there was some discussion about where combatant nations got their chocolate. But no mention of Japan In it, parallel to the lack of English-language history about chocolate there.

Japan's cane sugar came from Formosa and the Marianas Islands. Some was grown on Iwo Jima, and in the Bonin Islands. But wartime demands upon merchant shipping, and fortification of the islands, would have also have affected sugar production.
  • A veteran used sugar as one small example of why many of his Taiwanese compatriots volunteered for the Imperial Japanese forces:
    When asked the reason for serving, many veterans stated that their reason for joining up was to receive better treatment. Veteran Chien Chuan-chih recounted his experiences: "While Japanese were rationed white sugar, Taiwanese were only given brown sugar; Japanese could have pork, and Taiwanese could only have a limited amount of lower grade meat. Only by joining the service can a Taiwanese be free of discrimination, and able to enjoy the same treatment as the Japanese. Therefore, many Taiwanese volunteered for the service."
Sugar was rationed on the home fronts of WW2, but was probably shortest of all in Germany and Japan. Author Mark Parillo wrote that its consumption in Japan dropped 90% by the last year of the war, a figure that seems likely. Candy would have been an early casualty of sugar rationing and shortage -– at least for civilians.

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

As often noted earlier, the IJN was better fed than the IJA. This seems to have continued almost up to the war’s end.
  • While he oversaw the fortification of Iwo Jima, the famous General Kuribayashi protested the Navy’s abundance of luxury foods there, including sweets –- while the Army had little to eat.

    Elsewhere, Yokota Yutaka was training at a Navy base to man a kaiten submarine. As a special attack pilot, he was encouraged to enjoy the availability of luxury foods there, which was even more than at other Navy bases. He recalled that candy was among these.

    An earlier mention of a great send-off feast aboard aircraft carrier Shinano emphasized how special it was to cook sweets for it, because of the scarcity of sugar.
Cited earlier, one IJN ration table allots 230 grams of sugar per man for a 10-day period. Ration tables might not literally say one man actually eats this much sugar. Instead they may give standards of consumption, for which there would be substitutes or equivalent issues of other foodstuffs. I haven’t yet found a similar figure for sugar as an ingredient in the IJA ration.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 15 Apr 2012 05:55

Alan, thank you for a well-balanced summary.

In peacetime army barracks had a shop with restaurant Shubo(酒保) for foods, sweets, drinks and commodities. Even navy ships had Shubo room inside. Each division (buntai in IJN word, task group of sailors on ship) made a memo summarizing orders from sailors and a (often rookie) sailor passed on it to bring the goods back to their room. The time Shubo was opened was rigorously specified so before open hour several sailors awaited to get popular items.

A popular item in IJN shubo was remune.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramune
Because navy ships had CO2 generator for extinguishing fire, They could make ramune in ship but iys capacity was limited. After officer room got lion's share, it was a serious negotiation matter among petty officers leading each group of sailors.

Usually their ration did not include sweets but sometimes leaders ordered to distribute shubo items from the budget of the ship to uprift mens' moral before critical battle.

I have read a sailor's recall on calpis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calpis
Wikipedia mention of various flavoes added after the war but original calpis was a lactic fermenting beverage, condensed in a bottle and add 3-4 times of water before drinking. One day the sailor's ship met a long-yime airraid. Nobody on board could not have time to eat. The sailor noticed large washtubs filled with calpis. Personnels drunk it as they had some time and got back to their position.

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 01 May 2012 04:39

Thanks in return Hisashi, I will try to keep this path for presenting. It is the only thread in the Forum where I can come close to a scholarly approach, so I am glad if it is balanced.

In fact, you have taught many examples of how to look at Imperial military history at large. It has been a great help even for the limited range of translated Japanese sources.
  • Broadly speaking, food is culture on the small scale since everyone appreciates and enjoys it in common. But it is also history in the large scale, because everyone needs it and works for it. And sometimes because nations have gone to war for it, even if as a secondary reason (as with oil today).
Sweets in wartime Japan had to be written in glimpses, because few sources were likely to focus on it. They are only part of the larger subject of food. And of course, food itself is naturally a very small part of war memoirs and accounts.

===================================
hisashi wrote:In peacetime army had a shop with restaurant Shubo (酒保) for foods, sweets, drinks and commodities. Even navy ships had Shubo room inside. Each division (buntai in IJN word, task group of sailors on ship) made a memo summarizing orders from sailors and a (often rookie) sailor passed on it to bring the goods back to their room. The time Shubo was opened was rigorously specified so before open hour several sailors awaited to get popular items.
A comic illustration we saw earlier. Now I can see it was simply titled “Shubo” at right, as Hisashi wrote in kanji.
  • Were they run by hired civilians on an army post? Although run by sailors aboard navy ships?

    Did officers ordinarily buy from the shubo, too? If so, it seems one of few places where officers and enlisted soldiers might be off-duty together.
Were some shubo naturally richer stocked than others, not only larger? Say, that of an Imperial Guards garrison in mainland Japan compared to a division post in Korea. Or, that of an aircraft carrier compared to a cruiser. This army shubo looks especially well-furnished.

====================================
hisashi wrote:A popular item in IJN shubo was ramune. Because navy ships had CO2 generator for extinguishing fire, They could make ramune in ship but its capacity was limited. After officer room got lion's share, it was a serious negotiation matter among petty officers leading each group of sailors.
I had long wondered about how ]ramune was made aboard ship. One profile drawing we saw of a Mogami-class cruiser pointed out a compartment for “lemonade production plant.”

Now I understand, many thanks to Hisashi as always. And it is understandable why it was limited.
hisashi wrote:Usually their ration did not include sweets but sometimes leaders ordered to distribute shubo items from the budget of the ship to uplift mens' morale before critical battle.
There is something remotely similar in US Army rations.
  • An Assault Lunch had been developed before WW2 ended, but cancelled when too late to be used there. It was said to be inspired by the German Nahkampfpacken (Close Combat Packet) of dried fruits, nuts, candy from second half of WW2 If the war had continued, the Assault Lunch might have been issued to troops for the invasion of Japan.
The cancelled Assault Lunch was followed by the Individual Assault Food Packet, or Assault Packet, This was issued to US Army and Marines in the Korean war. The packets had sweets, and some GIs joked that the army gave them just before the men were to die in attack. The true idea was the same as with the Nahkampfpacken –- men in first day of attack were too tense to eat a complete meal, even from combat rations. Also, sugar raises quick energy for ground troops in combat.

Because it raised morale, Japanese issue of sweets or alcohol is closer to Russian/French/British issue of vodka/brandy/ rum. But alcohol was more openly a common part of all four cultures -- and thus their armies –- than those of the Americans.
  • Although they drink enough alcohol, Americans as a nation have long been ambivalent about public drinking. This attitude became part of their armed forces too.

    There was a temperance movement in America when the US Army banned its alcohol issue in 1830s. When the US Navy banned it in 1862, it was because Northern temperance Congressmen voted to do so. They took advantage of Southerners who had left the Congress, but who would’ve voted to keep the alcohol issue.
Is there still an alcohol ration in the JSDF today, even if limited?

====================================
hisashi wrote:I have read a sailor's recall on Calpis.
. . . original calpis was a lactic fermenting beverage, condensed in a bottle and add 3-4 times of water before drinking. One day the sailor's ship met a long-time air raid. Nobody on board could have time to eat. The sailor noticed large washtubs filled with calpis. Personnels drunk it as they had some time and got back to their position.
Imaginably, similar stories took place aboard other warships of both sides, if not all sides, in battle.
  • A similar mention from aboard light cruiser USS Marblehead. She was badly damaged by G3M bombers in the Battle of Makssar Strait, February 1942, and her food stocks were flooded. Scattered canned foods were salvaged, but all their paper labels had fallen off in the seawater. The ship was still in danger of attack, and could not afford to waste food while unsure of reaching port. Since all cans now looked the same, the crew had to eat “mystery meals” made from whatever ones were opened.
Only a few years ago did I try Calpis (it is named Calpico in the US), since my young daughter likes a bottle of it sometimes. I thought that it was a modern Japanese drink, say postwar or later. Now I see from its company history, it is 95 years old. Although milk and ice cream were already in Japan back then, it was difficult for me to imagine a popular milk-based drink from that early time.
  • Fermented milk drinks have one advantage not often told. Many people who cannot drink much milk due to lactose intolerance, they can safely drink these. Many Asians are lactose-intolerant, something we had discussed earlier in this thread.
Also, we had wondered about the following item from an IJN rations table:
  • “Lache acid 0.6 grams” daily in rations for hot weather
Sewer King wrote:
Simon K wrote:Lactic (?) acid
That was the nearest explanation i could think of, too. But I didn't think lactic acid was a food additive, let alone an component of a naval food ration. Although it is part of some fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and soured milk products like yogurt.
Calpis would likely contain lactic acid, but it seems unlikely to supply the ration amount if not a regular issue. Also, 0.6g is a dry measure.

Was Calpis a common enough drink in the IJN, even if not as popular as ramune? Or, would it be simply one of various luxury foods sold in the shubo? Similarly, Taki explained that shōchu might be available in the Army, but it would not be so popular or common as beer or saké.

-- Alan

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 04 May 2012 07:14

The following link is a memoir of an IJA hired civilian.
http://knishiha.web.fc2.com/hantani/

She volunteered to a call for 'hired civilian in China'. She served from 1943 to thet end of war in China Expeditionary Army GHQ in Nanking. She had served in Shubo for a while during her 3-years service. I think on vessels no civilians served for this purpose. On IJA/IJN bases I think a merchant was often delegated the operation of Shubo.

In IJA barracks usually 将校集会所 (shoko shukaisho = officers' mess-room) was built. The following link shows ex-shoko shukaisho of 40th (infantry) regiment in Tottori prefecture. They took lunch there and drunk at night. I have read only one example but in that case a catering firm served lunch every day. I think officers let their men to buy goods at shubo and consumed them where they liked. In WWII alcohol was sold in vessels' shubo but JMSDF aborted this custom.

http://kanreport.blog58.fc2.com/blog-entry-155.html

In wartime, shubo's inventory depended on the situation and naturally higher-echeron HQ had better chance to get scarce things. I don't know in detail. But I should name food supply ship Mamiya. She was always welcomed by every fleet and base at war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_f ... hip_Mamiya



In WWII period Calpis was exclusively supplied to ther army and navy. In general, pilots enjoyed somewhat better refleshment foods as far as available (航空加給食 koku kakyushoku = additional food for flight crews). Yogult might be in it. Condensed milk was also available those day.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condensed_milk
The first Yogult in Japan (1917).
http://www.chichiyasu.com/history/h01.html
Today condensed milk in Japan is mainly for sauce on strawberry, but also topping on kakigori and recently 'Vietnamese coffee' = coffee seasoned by condensed milk are common.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakig%C5%8Dri

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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Sewer King » 11 Jun 2012 06:02

hisashi wrote: a memoir of an IJA hired civilian. She volunteered to a call for 'hired civilian in China'. She served from 1943 to the end of war in China Expeditionary Army GHQ in Nanking. She had served in Shubo for a while during her 3-years service. I think on vessels no civilians served for this purpose.

. . . On IJA/IJN bases I think a merchant was often delegated the operation of Shubo.
In this way, the shubo seems closer to the old US Army post canteen, an idea which began in the 1880s with General Arthur MacArthur (father of Douglas). Up through World War I their quality could vary from place to place, or unit to unit. They might also vary with the officers who managed their funds, some not well. It seems a common problem in the old armies, same as Hisashi told earlier about supply or commissary NCOs in the IJA.

The British had NAAFI canteens for their forces in World War II Their workers could serve on board warships, unlike the IJN and USN where sailors ran the stores. I haven’t found more about it, but thought that Kantinas in the German Army might have been similar.

The US forces'' Post Exchange (PX) concept dates froim the 1920s-30s as a more modern, standard business arrangement of base stores and services.
hisashi wrote:In IJA barracks usually 将校集会所 (shoko shukaisho = officers' mess-room) was built. The following link shows ex-shoko shukaisho of 40th (Infantry) Regiment in Tottori prefecture. They took lunch there and drunk at night. I have read only one example but in that case a catering firm served lunch every day. I think officers let their men to buy goods at shubo and consumed them where they liked.
Thanks Hisashi, it seemed more likely to me that officers would have their own place. Since, as in many armies, officers did not mix with the enlisted men off-duty. In English there is not so much about routine prewar garrison life of the Japanese soldier and officer. From the air force I remember that officers were allowed to use the NCOs’ club services, though they rarely actually did so. Of course NCOs could not use the officers’ club.

====================================
hisashi wrote:. . . In WWII alcohol was sold in vessels' shubo but JMSDF aborted this custom.
Maybe the JMSDF followed the US Navy example of no alcohol?
  • During naval air or surface battle, one second of difference in a man’s reaction time could mean life or death. So when Britain’s Royal Navy finally ended its rum ration in July 1970, it judged that today’s high-tech ships and weapons should not mix with even a little alcohol.

    Many German U-boat captains of WW2 prohibited alcohol on their boats for similar reasons. Some other skippers quietly allowed one bottle of brandy taken aboard, or a case of beer. But, they themselves would strictly ration the precious drink, as for a crewman’s reward or for other uses. Eugene B. Fluckey was famous as WW2’s top-scoring US sub captain, but also for stocking beer for victories on his boat USS Barb.
Was some IJN alcohol allowance kept up aboard the I-boats? I haven’t seen any mention so far in the literature I can reach.

===================================
hisashi wrote:In WWII period Calpis was exclusively supplied to the army and navy. In general, pilots enjoyed somewhat better refreshment foods as far as available (航空加給食 koku kakyushoku = additional food for flight crews). Yogurt might be in it. Condensed milk was also available those day.
The first Yogurt in Japan (1917)
Sour drinks are said to have another advantage – they lower thirst because they are sour, apart from their nutrition and vitamins.
  • - Ancient Roman troops on the march drank posca, water mixed with wine vinegar.
    - Some American Revolution troops drank switchel, also containing vinegar. Their doughboy successors in WW1 drank tomato juice.
    - And yogurt-like horse milk drinks of the Mongol horse soldiers (distant origin of Calpis) may well have been sour too.
Calpis could have had this same advantage, as would ramune. Is it likely that most of Imperial Japan’s milk supply went to her armed forces as ration supplements, Calpis, and ice cream? Her dairy industry was smaller than those of her enemies, but so was her milk consumption.

Incidentally, author Cwiertka made passing note of Calpis sherbet which cost 15 sen in Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi department store in 1925. A photo of soldiers enjoying what looks like a dessert served in glass goblets could also be such a sherbet – not necessarily ice cream, as I first imagined.

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

One general author wrote:
It’s reported that during the 1940s ice cream became so thoroughly associated with Americans that Japanese military leaders discouraged their soldiers from eating it.

von Hassell, Agostino, et al. Miiltary High Life: Elegant Food Histories and Recipes (University Press of the South, 2006), page 110.
If so, I would guess that discouraging ice cream was not really successful. But, would a new name have had to replace aisukaremu for ice cream?
  • English-based words and names were replaced in some Japanese use, as we have seen with cigarette brands and baseball terms.

    There was a US equivalent from World War I. For a time after 1917, German silver, German clover, and German measles were renamed Liberty silver, Liberty clover, Liberty measles, and Liberty Cabbage. Someone could get jeered at if he asked for sauerkraut at a store, instead of asking for it as Liberty Cabbage. But those things themselves were not discouraged for use .
Partly because it needs freezers, I would expect ice cream was more commonly served in the IJN than in the IJA. As with cane sugar mentioned earlier, wouldn’t milk have become scarcer in Japan, even for the armed forces?

At that, I have an impression that many of our photos and detailed mentions of good Army food date from before the expansion of war into Asia and the Pacific. Are many of these from the China war and homeland Japan?

There is enough mention where the farthest IJA troops in the central or Southwest Pacific islands, or in Burma. They would be glad enough -– or lucky -- just to have rice.

For them, ice cream, Calpis, and ramune would be forgotten luxuries. Like chocolate in late-war Germany, as cited earlier.

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

Many new foods or dishes started out with certain groups, or with richer people who could afford them. This would be true almost anywhere, but seems more so in early Imperial Japan. Earlier we have seen three examples:
  • - Western vegetables (seiyo yasai), grown by ex-soldier Kanie Ichitaro to meet rising demand for them in Japan
    - Daily serving of white rice in early Imperial times.
    - Curry
Maybe the same was true of the first yogurts and ice creams also? Author Katerina Cwiertka was much cited here for this broad point --- that the IJA and IJN led modernization of Japanese foodways by introducing such dishes.
hisashi wrote:. . . Today condensed milk in Japan is mainly for sauce on strawberry, but also topping on kakigori and recently 'Vietnamese coffee' = coffee seasoned by condensed milk are common.
I am slightly surprised if Vietnamese iced coffee is recent to Japan. Because today’s Japan is one of the world’s top coffee-drinking nations, and I imagined that new food trends spread quickly there. But just as in the US, might food trends have differed among different regions or classes in Japan?

Kakigori is close to our Philippine halo-halo. This supports an earlier telling that halo-halo actually came from kakigori before WW2:
Sewer King wrote:
Pax Melmacia wrote:. . . the venerable Philippine halo-halo (a concoction of crushed ice topped with . . . fruits, [sweet] beans, and, yes, coconut packed in syrup came from Japanese civilians living in the Philippines before the war. (The name means something like “mish-mash” . . .)
As a Filipino I had never heard that before. It does seem to make some sense for the use of sweet beans. Sweetened ices are found throughout history in many other places such as old Europe, Mughal India, and colonial America . If there is a Japanese equivalent to our halo-halo -- or its predecessor -- maybe one of our Japanese members can say.

At that, I have only a general idea of Japanese civilians in the prewar Philippine Commonwealth . . . If halo-halo truly did originate with them, I would expect that they were its vendors as well.
Hisashi, thanks for this missing link about kakigori. I had forgotten the supposition that it was the origin of our halo-halo. There are no other connections I can think of between ordinary Filipino and Japanese foods. Except, maybe for modern common use of Vienna sausages told earlier. It Japanese troops in the Philippines ever came across halo-halo, they might have seen it the same as kakigori,
  • Condensed milk has long been used in military rations. But I expect that it was liked for its rich taste. Especially, alongside typical army rations of salted meat and hardtack. Gail Borden’s invention continues in production since 1857, though his Borden brand name is now called Eagle Brand.

    Many American Civil War buffs know the success of Borden’s milk with the US Army and Navy back then. The Army continued it in modern B Rations through WW2 and later, though more as a field kitchen ingredient than issued directly to troops. In World War II the GIs called it “Canned Cow” or “Armored Cow.” British and Australian troops used it in their tea.
But for them, it was already a common civilian item. Was condensed milk used mainly by some Japanese in early days, or was it something used more by the later IJA and IJN than by civilians?

-- Alan

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hisashi
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by hisashi » 11 Jun 2012 09:20

According to Japan Dairy Product Association's webpage, the first condensed milk was produced in 1872. Typical use in Japan then was artificial milk for babies.
For example Morinaga & Co. was one of early Western confectionaries in Japan.
http://www.morinaga.co.jp/english/produ ... eries.html
They planned Morinaga Milk Caramel. Still sold in unchanged package.
http://www.jbox.com/product/BA7253
They needed condensed milk for caramel. Then they set up a subsidiary in 1917 for condensed milk production. That subsidiary became Morinaga Milk Industry Co.
http://www.morinagamilk.co.jp/english/

So condensed milk had long history as a ivilian good before used as additional foods for flight crews.

It is said that they sold the first 'aisukurin (ice cream) ' in 1869.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95% ... ceclin.jpg
Early aisukurin was near to sherbet. Low fat(=cream) and with strong flavor (and yellow color) of egg. So it was possible that WWII militarymen enjoyed this kind of milky sherbet or candy bar if situation was good enough.

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Peter H
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 11 Jun 2012 09:34

Canteen pic
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Re: Food rations in the Japanese forces

Post by Peter H » 11 Jun 2012 09:42

Barracks meal
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