100 YEARS AGO
Friday, Sept. 20 1918
Prince Yamagata’s residence disturbed
An intoxicated man about 30 years old wearing plain cotton clothes on a kuruma (motor vehicle) drove straight to the porch of Prince Yamagata’s residence at Goban-cho, Kojimachi, on the evening of Sept. 18 and demanded an interview with Prince Yamagata on some very important question of state but the man was soothed and taken to Kojimachi Police Station by a policeman on guard at the gate.
The intoxicated man is now being examined.
75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Sept. 23, 1943
Tales of ‘Momotaro’ thrill Indonesian kids
The gallant adventures of the legendary “Momotaro,” intrepid boy-hero of one of the most famous of all Japanese folk tales, thrilled Indonesian children of the Taman Siswa School in Djogjakarta today when Joji Tsubota, a well-known Japanese author of children’s stories, on visit to the school vividly related the favorite story of Japanese children.
After watching the eager attention given by the Indonesian children as he unfolded the details of the popular story, Tsubota told the newspapermen that he had found many points of similarity between Japanese and Indonesian children.
Tsubota said that this was especially noticeable in Indonesian children’s games and plays that were performed for his benefit.
50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Sept. 1, 1968
Our Times: Student violence again
Student violence at Tokyo University last week has heralded the end of the summer vacation period and the beginning of the fall semester. For the collegians of more than 50 universities in the country, it will mean a return to violence and strikes as the radical students, although only a minority, have promised to take up where they left off at the end of June.
It is naturally hoped that the incidents at Tokyo University during the past week are not a forerunner of events to come. At that venerable seat of learning, student gangsters occupied the main building of the medical school, in addition to the university’s administrative offices. They also subjected the medical faculty dean to a kangaroo court and assaulted a reporter of a leading newspaper.
This display of sheer brutality has much in common with the Soviet rape of Czechoslovakia. In both instances, brute strength and violence were called upon to work their will on others. We were especially reminded of this day by a photo of a “mass bargaining” session between the lone medical school dean and more than 100 students. The students, if they can be called that, wore helmets in military fashion and had their faces covered with towels with only their eyes showing in the manner of robbers or hoodlums. Incredibly, they claimed to be “negotiating.”
The student lock-up of the medical faculty building is causing a serious disruption of valuable research being carried on, with months of painstaking work going down the drain. Being medical students, they should know the seriousness of their action, but they consider their “struggle” much more important. And, of course, no sane person can ever condone the criminal assault on the reporter by the student thugs. Yet, these are presumably students who will go out into society as doctors to save human lives?
What makes their action even more reprehensible is that almost all of their demands are being met. Key faculty members have been dismissed, reforms have been promised and the reprimand meted out previously to erring students will be reviewed. Their continuing rebellion is clearly opposition for the sake of opposition. The student hoodlums obviously have no intention of compromising on anything. Thus, agreement is impossible.
In Tokyo University, as in other beleaguered colleges, a very small radical minority is at the core of the dissent. It is, of course, encouraging that a number of Tokyo U. medical students have reportedly “defected.” But the time has surely come for the majority of the student body to rise up against the gangster elements in their midst. In any event it must be made adequately clear that the violence will not be tolerated anywhere, not excluding the campus. It must be understood that university autonomy and academic freedom are being threatened, not by the police but by the student thugs.
The school authorities are, of course, called upon to make reforms where necessary. But it must also be realized that reforms cannot come all at once, and more important, that they cannot be carried out under duress. The tax-paying public has a direct interest in what is going on at the 37 state-operated universities where law and order are being flouted. It is not our intent that the taxes from our hard-earned money should be subsidizing the “education” of thugs and gangsters.
An op-ed contribution on page 1 from Masaru Ogawa, a former editor of The Japan Times.
25 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Sept. 5, 1993
Fatherhood courses to meet children’s needs
The Education Ministry has appropriated funds to send lecturers to work on fatherhood because men have become too busy with their jobs to maintain adequate contact with their children, ministry sources said Saturday.
According to the results of a survey conducted in 1990 by the Prime Minister’s Office, fathers spend an average of 36 minutes a day with their children, except during the holidays. In the survey, 84 percent of fathers who responded said it is the responsibility of their wives to teach their children manners.
The survey results showed 46 percent of the responding fathers felt they are only needed when their children get into trouble or when they are deciding the course of the child’s education.
The ministry hit upon the idea of the program for fatherhood courses because it feels Japanese fathers are not responsive enough to their children’s needs, the sources said. Under the program, municipal education boards will select lecturers and themes for the courses, then send them to companies on request, they said.
Lecturers are expected to take up such topics as problems children face today, when children need their fathers and how to decipher children’s distress signals, they said.
Compiled by Elliott Samuels. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 121-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of George Thomas. The Japan Times’ archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.