National / History | JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Aviator dazzles Emperor; Poets inaugurate new national association; Beatles face press; Mount Unzen erupts

by Edan Corkill

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, June 7, 1916

Aviation ace dazzles with flight over palace

Aviator Art Smith carried out another flight yesterday afternoon. He flew from Aoyama at about 3 o’clock and steered his machine in the direction of the Imperial Palace flying at an altitude of 1,000 meters.

When Mr. Smith came over the Sakurada Gate he rose to the height of about 1,300 meters and after encircling the Imperial Palace grounds looped the loop eight times in succession over Fukiage garden in the palace compound. Following a dead dive he descended about 200 meters in a spiral flight and then, crossing over the palace in the direction of the Hanzo Gate, he changed his course and returned to Aoyama after about 10 minutes.

The day’s flight was carried out to enable Mr. Smith to pay his respects to the Imperial Palace, and was an unqualified success. From the palace grounds H.I.M. the Emperor was pleased to witness Mr. Smith’s flight. His Majesty was attended by chamberlains, Viscount Kaneko and Lt. Gen. Nagaoka, who explained the art of flying to His Majesty.

His Majesty, it is understood, admires the dexterous flight and aeronautical feats of the visiting American aviator, remaining in the garden watching the course of the aircraft with keen interest.


75 YEARS AGO
Monday, June 2, 1941

Poets inaugurate new national association

Falling in step with the new national structure, the Japan Poets’ Association held its inaugural ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Kyoiku Kaikan in Tokyo’s Kanda Ward.

The new association is composed of more than 700 persons including such leaders of the Japanese poet circles as Hakushu Kitahara, Saishu Onoye, Nobutsuna Sasaki, Utsuho Kubota, Yugure Mayeda, Mokichi Saito and Akiko Yosano.

It is recalled that the former Poets’ Association of Japan was forced to disband last October, because it was thought that it had too much individualistic and liberalistic tendency.

The members of the new association have been selected on the condition that not only should they be excellent as poets but at the same time, they should have thorough knowledge of the current national situation.

The chief aim of the association is to promote knowledge and thought, as well as practical activities of poets in line with new national structure.

As for the practical program, the association intends to send its members throughout the country to give lectures on Japanese poetry, to help disabled soldiers in composing poems and to compile poems to be sent to the soldiers on the fronts.


50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, June 30, 1966

Beatles field questions at press conference

About 500 Japanese and foreign reporters and photographers sat in on the Beatles’ initial press conference Wednesday in the Pearl Ballroom of the Tokyo Hilton Hotel.

The four Liverpool entertainers, in appearance at least, were somewhat startling. John Lennon wore a baby pink two-piece suit. Drummer Ringo Starr wore a yellow jacket with dark pinstripes. Paul McCartney and George Harrison were somewhat more conservative in dark green and maroon jackets, respectively.

As the battery of photographers clicked away from a distance, the Beatles deftly fielded questions from reporters that ranged from simple to one, at least, that was put forward by a member of the foreign press contingent, that caused most people present who understood it to look at each other with raised eyebrows.

The Beatles answered the questions put to them politely and, in most cases, humorously. Paul McCartney and John Lennon did most of the talking with Ringo and George apparently content to sit back and listen.

Sample questions: (From Japanese press, literal translation) “How do you understand Japan?”

Answer: (From Paul McCartney) “We don’t know much about Japan, except what we’ve read.”

Q. “An old man in England was recently quoted saying that there were two things he didn’t like: The Rolls-Royce changing models and the Beatles receiving medals. What do you think about that?”

A. (From John Lennon) “We don’t like old men. However, we do tolerate them. But they don’t tolerate us.”

Other Beatle reactions included their opinion of the war in Vietnam. From John Lennon: “We don’t like the war in Vietnam. But that’s about all we can do about it. Just not like it.”

Paul McCartney, soft-spoken and pensive, told the press: “We’re not very good musicians. We consider ourselves only adequate. However, we’re happy if we can bring happiness to some people.”


25 YEARS AGO
Thursday, June 6, 1991

Mount Unzen eruption damage ‘a view of hell’

The nation was jolted from its complacency by the violence with which long-dormant Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture, which first stirred to renewed life last November, forcefully erupted on Monday. It spewed forth a pyroclastic flow, a combination of superhot rocks, gas, lava and ash that roared down the slopes at thunderous speeds of 100 kph, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

To one dazed resident of the stricken city of Shimabara, site of the worst damage, the fiery devastation was like a view of hell. The horror he witnessed — and luckily escaped — is only partly conveyed by news photographs and television footage. Yet the scenes of the bleak, ash-covered landscape dotted with burned and burning buildings, twisted and abandoned vehicles and the bodies of trapped victims offer evidence of humanity’s helplessness in the face of nature’s destructive force.

In this feature, which appears on the first Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 118-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Talia Magallan. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.