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Governor’s new cricket field, Yoshiwara liberation, first returnees from North Korea



Friday, Dec. 3, 1909

Yokohama cricket ground dispute

Rumour has it that it is the intention of Kanagawa Governor Sufu to remove the Cricket Ground of Yokohama and turn the place into a scenic garden, while he also proposes to cause a new play ground to be laid out in another part of the Yokohama park at the cost of ¥20,000.

We think the Yokohama people have good reason to raise a protest in response. Since the Governor proposes to have a new ground laid out it seems plain that he recognizes the necessity of having a play ground attached to the park. In view of the fact that open-air sports, such as baseball, football and cricket, are growing more and more popular in this country, it is indeed indispensable that Yokohama should have a place well adapted for this purpose.

There being nothing to quarrel over on this point, we come to the question of abolishing the existing ground. If the Governor’s proposals are to be followed, it will mean not only an outlay of ¥20,000, but probably another ¥20,000 in converting the ground into a scenic garden. Why then this spending of money when a most excellent piece of play ground can be had practically for nothing by simply preserving the present cricket ground as it is?


Tuesday, Dec. 11, 1934

‘Girl In Cage’ at Yoshiwara freed

The Dollar liner President Hoover left Yokohama for San Francisco late Friday, carrying a young foreigner beaming with smiles apparently at the recollection of his humane act toward a young Japanese girl in bondage at Yoshiwara, a well-known play quarters in Tokyo.

On a visit there Thursday night, he was so touched by the pitiable situation of the woman in question that he redeemed her by paying ¥1,500 and caused her to return to her mother’s side after giving her an allowance of ¥500.

The foreigner, who is Dutch, first visited Yoshiwara on Tuesday. Two days later he returned to liberate the woman, at which time he said that he wished he could free all her fellow women. He said that when he offered to give the woman a tip of ¥5 she declined to receive it, saying she did not feel like receiving it from a guest who had come there all the way from a far-off land. On hearing this the Dutchman was seized with a desire to make her happy by redeeming her.


Tuesday, Dec. 15, 1959

Korean returnees

The first batch of Korean repatriates who have elected to go to Communist- ruled North Korea left Japan’s shores yesterday. The eve of their departure was marked by noisy demonstrations in Niigata, staged by South Korean supporters and Japanese ultranationalists who do not seem able to appreciate that there is no political motive behind the Japanese government’s decision to let these people go to that part of their homeland that they have chosen.

The wisdom of their choice has, of course, nothing to do with the matter.

The North Korean authorities have promised all sorts of good things for the repatriates, including specially built houses and profitable jobs. But we have recollections of similar promises held out by Soviet Russia as incentives to their nationals abroad to return home, but, when they did so, it was only to find that conditions were very different from what had been promised.

We believe those who have chosen to be repatriated to North Korea are taking a big risk. However, this risk is their own, and Japan’s hands are clean.

The Japanese government’s decision was based on the humanitarian principle of letting people select their own place of future residence, and accusations that there was a desire to placate the Communists by deliberately sending Korean residents in Japan to labor in servitude in a Communist “hell” are entirely beside the point.

It is a matter of profound regret that the government of the Republic of Korea still refuses to understand Japan’s motives in this matter. All sorts of threats have been made in Seoul, even to the use of force to prevent the repatriation plan, and seemingly the worsening of relations between this country and South Korea is likely to result. But Japan can do no other than remain true to her original humanitarian view of the case.


Thursday, Dec. 20, 1984

‘Soapland’ name for Turkish baths

Don’t call it “toruko-buro” (Turkish bath) any more. Call it “soapland” when you refer to that massage parlor-like bathhouse which attracts millions of male customers.

In a press conference attended by a Turkish Embassy official, the Tokyo association of such sex-oriented bathhouse operators announced Wednesday that the operators will now use “soapland” in place of toruko-buro, which has invited the wrath of many Turkish residents here.

The 110-member association chose the new name from about 2,000 suggestions from the general public. Soapland was suggested by Seiichi Ishida, a Tokyo office clerk. Most toruko-buro feature skin-to-skin massage service by foam-slick naked women attendants.

The association decided to rename toruko-buro because of strong protests from Turkish people who considered the word with an unfavorable connotation an insult to their nation.

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 113-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.