National / History | JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Germans torpedo Yasaka Maru; Men spending more on booze; Japan, ROK restore ties; South Korea to allow singing in Japanese

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 24, 1915

Yasaka Maru sunk without warning

The head Office of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha yesterday received official confirmation of the sinking of one of the best vessels of its fleet. The message was received from the company’s agents at Port Said. It read:

The Yasaka Maru was torpedoed by German U-boats without warning on Tuesday afternoon. The ship sank in 49 minutes. All passengers and crew were, however, saved, and were picked up by a French gunboat at midnight on Tuesday. They landed at Port Said on Wednesday. Accommodation was promptly provided for passengers and crew. All passengers express great admiration for the skill of the Captain and officers and the discipline of the crew. Most perfect order was maintained during disembarkation, which was carried out with the greatest promptitude.

By the loss of the Yasaka Maru the mercantile marine of Japan has suffered its first big loss of the war.

Shortly before noon yesterday, several reports reached Tokyo of the loss, and something of a sensation was caused by the news, as no details were then available. When, however, the above messages were received there was a great feeling of relief at the news that no lives had been lost as a result of this latest example of Teutonic “frightfulness.”


75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Dec. 13, 1940

Young men spending more on alcohol

With their pockets filled with money and their hearts joyful over the anticipation of year-end bonuses, Tokyo’s young men are spending more on liquor, if the evidence gathered by a Miyako reporter at Shimbashi and Yurakucho stations can be taken as proof.

Late Wednesday night a Miyako reporter saw a young inebriated fellow severely taken to task by a policeman close to Shimbashi Station, apparently on account of his careless conduct caused by his drinking. Then, a few steps away, another intoxicated case, causing some trouble to a station employee, was found by the same reporter.

A staff member at Shimbashi Station, when approached by the Miyako representative, is quoted to have said: “About 60 percent of those taking trains here after 11 o’clock at night these few days are more or less intoxicated, I can assure you. Maybe it is because the majority of salaried men’s pockets are now warm with their year-end bonuses. Anyway, we strongly doubt if there are many bars around here where liquor is sold so late at night. After all, the sight of young men feebly walking under the strength of alcohol is not very encouraging when a new national structure (to ready Japan for a protracted war) is being promoted.”

One of the clerks at Yurakucho Station, when met by the same reporter, admitted that they also are having many drunken passengers to handle late at night. “Now, we generally have 700 to 800 passengers who take trains after 11 o’clock at night. More than half of them are seen enlightened with alcoholic beverages.”

However, the paper continues, the cases of complete drunkenness are rare. Some are happy after imbibing in a few drinks, but not drunk; others wobble a bit while climbing the station steps; and not a few appear to be partially intoxicated; but complete drunkenness is seldom noticed.


50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Dec. 19, 1965

Japan, ROK restore diplomatic relations

Japan and the Republic of Korea entered a new era of diplomatic relations with the exchange of the instruments ratifying the Basic Relations Treaty and four related agreements Saturday.

The ratification exchange, which terminated 14 years of negotiations, was conducted in a solemn ceremony in the ornate conference room of the Capitol Building, witnessed by South Korean Premier Il Kwon Chung. In the 40-minute ceremony, the documents were exchanged by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Etsusaburo Shiina of Japan and Dong Won Lee of the Republic of Korea.

The treaty and four agreements were signed in Tokyo on June 22 following 14 years of oft-suspended, rough-sledding negotiations started in 1952.

The exchange of ratification papers signaled the coming into effect of the Japan-ROK Basic Relations Treaty and three agreements on fisheries, property claims and economic cooperation, and cultural properties and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

The Japan-ROK agreement on legal status and treatment of ROK nationals residing in Japan will take effect 30 days later.


25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1990

South Korea to allow singing in Japanese

Popular singer Tokiko Kato will be the first Japanese to be allowed by South Korean authorities to sing in Japanese at a charity show in a Seoul hotel Thursday, show organizers said Tuesday. She will also sing Korean songs in Korean.

Since the end of World War II, South Korea has banned concerts of Japanese songs and showing of Japanese movies in view of strong anti-Japanese sentiment. The Korean Peninsula was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945. During that period, Koreans were forced to abandon their culture and use the Japanese language.

Records made by Japanese singers have to be re-recorded in English before being allowed into the South Korean market.

The concert is expected to give fresh impetus to efforts to promote and deepen cultural exchanges between Japan and South Korea, the organizers said.

Deep-rooted antipathy toward Japanese culture still exists among South Koreans, and it is difficult for Seoul to lift all restrictions on Japanese culture, a Foreign Ministry official said.

In this feature, which appears on the first Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 117-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Midori Nishida. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.