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Taiwan’s last native tribe, carrier-pigeon trumps train, STEP test launched, rock album nixed for anti-nuke lyrics

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, June 6, 1913

‘Terrible campaign’ launched in Taiwan

Military operations against the tribes in northeastern Taiwan were commenced at dawn yesterday. The government forces consist of 3,000 men, of the police and native troops. Mr. Uchida, Chief of the Civil Administration, is on the scene. General Sakuma, Governor-General of Taiwan, will be in the field early next month.

The Governor-General, it is believed, has planned one of the most terrible campaigns for the subjugation of the savage tribes living in eastern Formosa.

Most of these tribes have been brought under the rule of the Japanese Government, but there is one, called the Taruko [now rendered Truku], that has never recognized the sway of foreigners. The tribe lives around the upper reaches of the Takkiri River [Taci Jili River], a locality surrounded by the most rugged and precipitous mountains in Taiwan. The tribe is composed of 20,000 savages of the most ferocious type, and the Chinese Government, when it ruled Formosa, never attempted to subjugate them.

It is not publicly known, but is believed to be true, that a few years ago the Japanese Government of Taiwan dispatched a company of troops to reconnoiter the region inhabited by the Taruko. Not a single man has returned, apparently the entire company having been butchered by the savage tribe.

The Government of Taiwan expects that the current efforts will take four years, and it has been trying to win over an aborigine tribe in the neighborhood by making liberal presents so that the government forces may have guides to the Taruko land.


 

75 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, June 15, 1938

Hokkaido pigeon beats train’s time to Tokyo

A carrier pigeon kept by Tokuzo Yoshino, from Koshigaya-machi, Saitama Prefecture, negotiated the 1,060-km distance between Asahikawa in Hokkaido and Tokyo in the amazing time of 22 hr. 13 min. in the first carrier-pigeon race in this country.

Nine pigeons took part in the race, which started from the front of Asahikawa Railway Station at 5:25 a.m. Saturday. The pigeon kept by Mr. Yoshino made a first goal-in by reaching Tokyo at 1:12:55 p.m. Sunday.

An express train takes about 29 hours to connect the two places.


 

50 YEARS AGO
Saturday, June 22, 1963

First STEP tests of English usage slated

The first series of tests to certify proficiency in practical English will be given during August and September under the auspices of the Society for Testing English Proficiency, Inc. (STEP).

Created last spring under the terms of the Social Education Law, the society is the first such organization in the field of English. Its president is Tamihei Iwasaki, a former president of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

The purpose of the system is to grade the ability of Japanese in their handling of English as a medium of communication both through sound and written words.

[The Eiken Test, as it is now known, remains popular to this day.]


 

25 YEARS AGO
June 24, 1988

Toshiba-EMI nixes anti-nuke rock album

Toshiba-EMI Ltd., a major record company, has canceled the release of the popular rock group RC Succession’s new LP and single that carry an anti-nuclear message, it was learned Thursday.

Toshiba-EMI is affiliated with Toshiba Corp., which is one of Japan’s major makers of nuclear power plant equipment along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd. Toshiba Corp. has become a main contractor in the installation of 10 of Japan’s 35 commercial power reactors.

The LP, titled “Covers,” was to have been issued in early August. The single, with two songs from the LP, was to have been issued June 25. The two songs, “Love Me Tender (Japanese Version)” and “Summertime Blues,” for which the band’s Kiyoshiro Imawano wrote the words, carry a particularly strong anti-nuclear message.

“Love Me Tender,” an Elvis Presley song, includes the following phrases written by Imawano: “Whacha saying? Don’t be kidding. We don’t need nukes. … We don’t need radioactivity. We want to drink milk. … Whacha doing? Give us back the tax.”

“Summertime Blues” includes the phrases: “Cold winter is near. You are losing a lot of hair these days. But the TV commercial says, ‘Japan’s nuclear power generation is safe.’ I don’t quite understand. I can’t find any grounds (for their argument). This is the last ‘Summertime Blues.’”

The LP and single had already passed an ethics examination by the Records Manufacturing Standards Committee, a watchdog body of Japan’s record industry.

Promotion of the single has already been carried out, and newspapers and magazines have already run articles about it.

Norio Kato, deputy head of Toshiba-EMI’s Japanese music supervising division, said that leading officials of the company decided not to issue the LP and single on the grounds that some of the songs in the record are “not appropriate for sales.”

The officials listened to the records in early June, he added.

[After a public backlash in response to Toshiba-EMI's move, the "Covers" LP was released by Kitty Records (now part of Universal Music Japan), whereupon it became RC Succession's first No. 1 album on the Oricon chart — in part because of the controversy surrounding it.]

In this feature in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 117-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity. This edition was compiled with the assistance of Natasha Vik. Readers may be interested to know that The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available on Blu-ray Disc. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.