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Revolution in China, anti-communist campaign, a different brew of bīru, Takeshi Gundan under arrest

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Dec. 12, 1911

Eyewitness report on revolution in China

Mr. Iogi, a member of the Pacific Association who was recently sent to China to investigate the revolution apparently under way there, returned on the 6th and made a report. The substance is as follows:

The revolutionary atmosphere was everywhere he traveled, in Shanghai, Hankow and Wuchang. The idea of toppling the current monarchal system, he said, is thoroughly spread through all the provinces south of Honan [present-day Hunan].

The government army has lost people’s confidence because it committed acts of lawlessness. When rebel forces successfully attacked the city of Nanking last month, they found all the city’s inhabitants on their side.

The rebels have no intention of seriously conducting the peace negotiations with the government. They pretend to do so merely to prolong the armistice, and thus recruit new forces.

[The Chinese revolution of 1911 culminated in the abdication of the "Last Emperor," Puyi, on Feb. 12, 1912.]

75 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 1936

Purge of communists

The Minister of Justice is right in ordering that judges and procurators take all necessary steps to purge the Empire of communist elements, for that doctrine is incompatible with the Japanese State and society. This move is taken in connection with the recently concluded anti-Comintern agreement with the German Reich.

Fortunately, the earlier work done in Japan to stamp out communism has been successful, and the followers of Karl Marx are very few in number, now. Because of this fact, there is an element of danger in the campaign now to be undertaken.

That danger lies in over-zealousness. Ardent judicial and police officials are apt to mistake entirely non-communistic teachings as part and parcel of the doctrines emanating from Moscow. They are likely to forget that it is not necessary to be an extreme rightist in order not to be a communist.

Recent public utterances show that plain middle-class liberalism is now regarded with disfavor in certain quarters, and those quarters will be quick to seize upon this anti-communist policy to seek to blot out a type of liberal thought which is in fact no way incompatible with the tenets upon which the Empire of Japan was founded and has so long endured.

Fortunately, Justice Minister Raizaburo Hayashi himself has a clear perception of the difference between communism and liberalism, and the nation must depend on him to hold his officials in restraint.

Of course, one of the most effective steps that could be taken against communism would be the remedying of the economic conditions in which it breeds. The jobless are now numbered at a little more than a third of a million, but more than 8 million will likely be in want and distress unless work relief is afforded them.

If the government can direct some of the funds it has earmarked for the anti-communist campaign to solving this problem, it will be quite as valuable as any police drive.

50 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 1, 1961

Biyā and bīru bother

Is biyā the synonym of bīru?

Japan’s big-four bīru (beer) companies have been fighting legally over this question for two years — against the company which produces biyā.

The four companies claim that biyā is the synonym of bīru. Therefore, they say, the Liner Biyā Co. — which sells its product as biyā — is violating the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.

Liner refutes: “Biyā is not the synonym of bīru. We purposely named our product biyā so that it could not be mistaken for bīru.”

Under the Liquor Tax Law, biyā, which appeared on the market in 1957, is treated as second-class miscellaneous liquor. Like beer, it is made with malt and hops, but it takes only a week to brew. Bīru takes 40 to 50 days.

Kirin, Asahi, Nippon and Takara — which sell bīru — brought the matter to court in 1959, seeking the company be stopped from using the product name, Liner Biyā, and the company name, Liner Biyā Co.

Last June, Tokyo District Court disallowed the former but not the latter, in a decision that satisfied neither of the parties. The matter is now at Tokyo Higher Court.

[In 1965, Liner lost this case. "Biyā" is now known as happōshu.]

25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 1985

Beat Takeshi, troupe nabbed for assault

Beat Takeshi, a popular comedian, and 11 members of his troupe, were arrested Tuesday on charges of beating up five editorial staffers of a photo weekly for the magazine’s alleged repeated pestering of Takeshi’s girlfriend to take photos of her.

Police released all 12 later in the afternoon, saying there was no likelihood of their fleeing investigation of the case.

Takeshi, 39, whose real name is Takeshi Kitano, told police that Kodansha Ltd., publisher of the magazine Friday, had ignored his objections and photographed his 21-year-old girlfriend. The magazine is one of those noted for sensationalist coverage of the private lives of individuals, famous and not.

According to police, Takeshi and 11 members of his talent group, Takeshi Gundan, went to Kodansha’s main office in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, at 3:05 a.m. Tuesday.

They entered the editorial staffroom of the weekly and remonstrated with staffers for about five minutes. Then Takeshi and his group began assaulting the editors with a small fire extinguisher and umbrellas. The assailants punched five Friday staff in the face and stomach, inflicting minor injuries, before police arrived.

Takeshi, who owns the production firm Kitano Kikaku Co., is one of Japan’s most popular comedians. He and his troupe often appear on TV in a variety of shows.

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 115-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity. This month’s feature was compiled with the assistance of Matthew Holmes.