100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 1918
Dire results predicted from 1918 solar eclipses
Predicting events to take place in 1918, Mr. A Kumamoto, former president of the the Nagasaki Higher Commercial School, and quite an astrologist, says in the January number of Jitsugyo no Nihon that the solar eclipse on June 8 will have a great influence upon the events of the world.
The eclipse will cause economic depression in Japan, and many railway and steamship accidents. It is likely that a tidal wave will cause great damage in the western vicinity of Tokyo, and mine owners, farmers and capitalists will feel anxiety owing to the economic depression.
This eclipse will cause the spread of diphtheria in Europe, and many persons will lose their lives. Italy will suffer from a severe earthquake.
The solar eclipse of Dec. 3 will cause a religious disturbance in Russia, and severe earthquakes in Italy, southern Europe and South America. Japan will confront a grave diplomatic problem, and if the Japanese troops will be sent to Europe, they will be dispatched about the time of this eclipse.
75 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Jan. 9, 1943
Japanese explorers go in search of cannibals
In the Bay of Bengal lies a group of islands known as the Andamans, legended habitat of unseen cannibal tribes.
Two days and two nights of steady cruising brought us to Port Blair. It was here that we met an old wizened Indian doctor, who warned us solemnly of the dangers facing us.
“First, ere you land,” he droned in a low, unfaltering monotone, “sound your siren loud and long. Sail then twice around the island. There will be many who flee into the heart of the jungle upon hearing the siren’s shrill cry. They are fierce and dangerous these people, and may do you harm. Be ever prepared for sudden attacks from the direction of the four winds, for they are well versed in the use of bows and arrows.”
We sailed west and presently discerned the vague, distant outline of North Sentinel. Rounding the island in two hours, we were startled by its deceptive appearance. It was thickly wooded, an island of hills, slopes and vales. Some of the trees appeared more than 100 feet in height.
Suddenly, a black figure came into sight, but from the distance we were unable to discern whether it was a man or a woman. Upon sighting our ship, the dark figure turned toward the tangled denseness of the jungle and disappeared.
Preparing ourselves for an attack by poisoned arrows, we landed on the shore. We found a myriad of small, base footprints, leading into the jungle. We followed the tracks toward their hiding place but in the thicket the footprints disappeared.
We went further into the stillness of the jungle, and found the telltale sign of embers. Yet, despite the signs of human existence, we saw not a trace of a living creature. We wondered how the inhabitants subsisted, for we found the island scarce in fruit and vegetables and completely lacking in freshwater. Furthermore, the closest neighboring island was some 30 miles distant, with the waters surrounding the island inconceivably high and rough, so travel by canoe, if the inhabitants so happened to employ them became virtually impossible. The island was a veritable prison.
50 YEARS AGO
Monday, Jan. 29, 1968
Cosmetic sales among children are booming
An increasing number of Japanese children are taking to cosmetics to the delight of manufacturers and despite the frowns of doctors and cosmetics experts.
Casual glances at the children’s corners in department stores will reveal a wide spectrum of children’s cosmetics — creams, lotions, shampoos and hair tonics — all in containers shaped liked Topo Gigio, Atom, Golden Rat, Oba Q, Thunderbird and other heroes in popular children’s TV programs.
According to the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro, an average of 30 children’s cosmetics items are sold daily. Each costs between ¥200 and ¥300.
According to the cosmetics manufacturer that pioneered the sale of children’s cosmetics in the fall of 1964, sales in the first year exceeded what was projected for the third year.
The market for children’s cosmetics has not only been confined to cities but also to rural areas. One brand sold 1 million items in 1965 and 1.2 million last year.
Dermatologists and cosmetics experts, however, are concerned children’s natural soft skin might be sacrificed by the “shopping boom” created by adults.
Dr. Iwao Fukui of the National Children’s Hospital in Setagaya Ward, says they are not only unecessary but sometimes harmful because they contain chemical compounds that could cause inflammation of the skin.
The makers, on the other hand, point to the “educational value” of their products, contending that regular application of the cosmetics will help children foster sanitary habits.
25 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 7, 1993
Crown Prince engaged to career diplomat
The Crown Prince will marry Masako Owada, a 29-year-old Foreign Ministry official, sources said Wednesday.
Owada is the daughter of Vice Foreign Minister Hisashi Owada.
A conference of the Imperial Household Council, the Imperial Household’s top decision-making body, will be convened on Jan. 19 under the chairmanship of the prime minister to approve the engagement, the sources said.
An Imperial wedding could be held at the Imperial Palace as early as May, they said. Owada would be the second commoner to marry a crown prince, following in the footsteps of the Empress.
The Imperial Household confirmed the engagement of Princess Mako to a former university classmate in September last year.
In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 120-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Erin Moran. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.