100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 16 1919
Baby smothered on crowded street car
Kuwa Ogasawara, wife of a bank employee, who was riding in a crowded street car on Tuesday afternoon carrying her 4-month-old son on her back on reaching home discovered that her baby had been suffocated to death while on the car.
The spectacle afforded at many of the street car stopping places, of which the one at Hibya Park is typical, is one of the sights of Tokyo.
There, one may see a line of small cars gingerly moving forward by fits and starts, crowded and packed with their victims to the utmost capacity of every platform step and ledge outside (there is as yet no means available for climbing on to the roof), with hundreds of would-be passengers ironically told by the carmen to wait for the next car. Able-bodied are able here and there by various means to get aboard somehow, generally by jumping on while the car is in motion. But old men, women and children may wait for an hour or more without being able to get on a car. Children are sometimes seen weeping bitterly at the vexation of the interminable waiting.
75 YEARS AGO
Monday, Jan. 17, 1944
One-legged pilot training to rejoin unit
Visitors to the Military Preparation School in Tokyo might have seen an old-type fighter lying in a corner of the school grounds. Their attention may have been attracted by the pathetic yet manly sight of a young non-commissioned officer in the white uniform of an army patient, handling the plane and operating the rudder bar with his artificial limb. The young soldier is Sgt. Maj. Mitsumasa Seo, who, though minus one leg, is awaiting the day when he may again resume his service with the Army Air Corps, reports the Asahi.
Looking forward to the day when he may again be accepted as an army flier, the sergeant-major redoubled his efforts by undergoing all sorts of physical exercises usually imposed upon members of the Army Air Corps. At last, the authorities of the First Army Hospital, where the sergeant-major was receiving medical attention, were impressed by his ardor and assured him that he might return to the Army Air Corps some day. They referred him to the Army Air Service Headquarters so that the sergeant-major might sit for a physical examination as a candidate.
50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Jan. 19, 1969
Police battle students at Tokyo University
Radical students holed up in Tokyo University’s Yasuda Auditorium on Saturday withstood a 10-hour siege by riot police who seized control of 16 other buildings held by the students on the university’s Hongo campus.
The students hurled blazing Molotov cocktails, acid bottles and huge chunks of concrete slabs and rocks at the policemen from the roof of the auditorium.
Police used helicopters to drop tear gas shells and tear gas grenades were used from the ground. Pressurized water was also used to break the resistance of the students.
The command of the Metropolitan Police Department ordered a halt to the day’s operations at 5:30 p.m. because of darkness. About 60 policemen entered the auditorium but left it by 6 p.m.
An MPD spokesman said police did not continue their assault on the students in the auditorium after dark because one of the important guidelines in the police action Saturday was to keep police casualties minimum.
Police did not want to repeat the mistake they made during an assault at Nihon University on Sept. 6 in which a police sergeant was hit on the head by a heavy chunk of concrete and died later, according to police sources.
During the day-long battle at Tokyo University, police arrested 256 radical students, including 15 coeds, on the campus and an additional 55, including two coeds, near the JR Ochanomizu Station where about 1,000 students staged a riot.
Fifty-six policemen were injured in the clashes with the students and two of them were hospitalized with serious injuries. Fourteen passersby and an unidentified number of students were also injured.
Police eventually quelled the riot the following day, arresting 69 demonstrators and removing more than a dozen barricades erected at various sections of the street in the Ochanomizu-Surugadai area in Kanda.
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Jan. 14, 1994
Parents instructed to change name of son
The Justice Ministry and municipal government officials have asked parents in Akishima, Tokyo, to change the name of their first son from “Akuma,” which means devil or demon, to something else.
The father submitted registration documents naming their son Akuma to the city government in August.
After the municipal government refused to register the name and instructed the father to change it, he filed a lawsuit with the Hachioji branch of the Tokyo District Court.
The father is in his late 30s and the son was born in late July.
After consulting the Tokyo District Legal Affairs Bureau of the Justice Ministry, the city instructed the father to change the name. The city told the parents that the name is socially irresponsible and that the child may be a target of discrimination in the future.
The city said other people would also rather not call the child Akuma.
The father says there is no problem with the name because it does not violate any law. The family Registration Law says parents should use easy-to-recognize characters when naming a child.
The father says the name should be allowable because the two characters to denote Akuma — “aku” and “ma” — are included in the list of suggested names.
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. The Japan Times’ entire archive is now available to purchase in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.