National / History | JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Huge gold shipment arrives from U.S.; few Americans living in Tokyo; stowaways return; town eats crow to solve bird woes

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, NOV. 22 1916

Massive gold shipment arrives from Seattle

When the Nippon Yusen Kaisha liner Sado Mura arrived at Yokohama early yesterday morning and was snugly berthed at the Customs Quay, consignees felt relieved. The vessel arrived from Seattle with a large consignment of gold from the United States.

The amount of specie is variously estimated from $2 million to $3.6 million. Half the money is consigned to the Yokohama Specie Bank and half to the Mitsui Ginko, but in the first place the entire amount will find its way into the coffers of the Bank of Japan.

This is the largest shipment of gold coins that has ever been made to Japan. On Oct. 31 last year, the Yokohama Mura brought ¥2,500,000 in Uncle Sam’s “gold boys.”


75 YEARS AGO
Friday Nov. 7, 1941

Few Americans living in Tokyo after U.S. alert

American residents in Tokyo number 200 now, a record low since 1912 reveals a survey conducted by the Metropolitan Police Board recently.

Most of them are school teachers and college professors who are resolved to remain in this country forever even if worse comes to worst between Japan and America.

The survey shows that there were 623 Americans here both in 1932 and 655 in 1934. The figure increased to 736 in 1935, and remained on the 700 mark until 1937.

In 1938, however, they totaled 851, and jumped to 1,008 the following year. In June, 1940, the figure reached the record in many years of 1,057 despite the strong anti-Japanese attitude that was assumed by their government at the time. The number declined to 913 in December of the same year.

The number of Americans visiting Japan continued to increase steadily since the opening of trade between the two countries in the closing years of the Tokugawa Era. All through the Taisho Period (1912-26) American residents in the capital averaged 400.

In October 1940, the United States government notified all American nationals in East Asia of the gravity of the international situation and advised them to come home immediately, but only 140 Americans had left this city for America by December of that year.

During the first half of this year, Americans disappeared from this city increased as the diplomatic relations between Japan and the United States drifted from bad to worse. At the end of the first half period there were only 533 Americans here, which dropped further to 200 within four months.


50 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1966

Teenage stowaways return from Honolulu

Three young stowaways, who smuggled out of Japan on a Liberian ship last month, returned Tuesday.

They arrived aboard the 12,611-ton Sakura Maru of the Mitsui OSK Lines, and immediately were placed under the custody of immigration authorities.

The boys, all third-year students of the Ikebukuro Junior High School, were found aboard the 9,644-ton Oriental Jade Oct. 18. They had boarded the ship at Yokohama on Oct. 15 just before it departed for Honolulu and the United States.

The minors were put ashore at Honolulu on Oct. 24. They were held by Honolulu immigration authorities and deported to Japan aboard the Sakura Maru, which left Honolulu Oct. 29. Under the immigration law, the stowaways will each be punishable to a prison term of one year or less or fined ¥100,000 or less.

The three boys’ parents will be asked by the Mitsui OSK Lines to pay the passage fare from Honolulu to Yokohama amounting to ¥90,000 each. If the parents are not able to pay the fare within three months, the government will put up the amount, which will be repaid in the future.


25 YEARS AGO
Sunday Nov. 17, 1991

Town eats crow to solve bird problems

Does crispy crow meat tickle your taste buds? If so, a little town in northern Japan may be worth a gastronomic detour.

Residents in Kisakata, Akita Prefecture, have long been plagued by crows, which damage local soybean and rice crops to the tune of about ¥1 million a year.

Three years ago they started capturing and killing the birds, sometimes as many as 200 a month. Then the canny countrymen got to thinking about how to make a profit out of them.

And so it came to pass that one evening recently, 11 residents got together for a taste test.

Faced with a selection of finely sliced fried beef, pork, lamb and crow meat, only four of the 11 could identify the crow, Shigeo Furuta, head of Kisakata’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Division, said Friday.

So far so good. The problem now is whether the town can convince its residents, and maybe the rest of Japan, to eat lean healthy crow meat — and somehow avoid the distinctive smell.

“I myself have eaten crow for a long time now. It was so-so,” Furuta said. “The next step is to see if we can sell crow meat. It would sell best roasted on skewers, I think.”

“The first time I heard the story I couldn’t believe it, said professor Shinichi Hayama at Nippon Veterinary and Animal Science University. “I never heard of anyone eating crow meat.”

Crows aren’t the only pests causing headaches for the nation’s farmers.

Faced with a fast-growing deer population ravaging crops and pastures, a group of farmers said recently they are weighing the merits of venison burgers and sausages.

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 Sierra Vaughn. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.