National / History | JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Japan 1919: Women go on strike for first time in Japan

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Aug. 13 1919

First women’s strike in Japan

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Over 100 female workers employed at a silk reeling factory in Maebashi struck, demanding a 50 percent increase in wages, on Friday. Owing to the absence of the proprietor, the foreman promised to give a definite reply on the return of the employer on Wednesday. The workers agreed to resume work pending the solution of the question. This is the first instance of women striking in Japan.

The trouble between about 650 employees of Okumura Co. of Kyoto, and their employer is unsettled as yet. The strikers assembled at the headquarters of the Yuaikai branch on Sunday night and, lighting torches, awaited a reply from their employer through Bunji Suzuki, president of the Yuaikai. Suzuki, who negotiated on the strikers’ behalf, brought the reply of the proprietor who refused to recognize the employees as a labor body and rejected their demand. The strikers, angry at his reply, swore not to return to the factory.

This is the first case of trouble concerning the question of the recognition of a labor body in this country, and the Yuaikai president is determined to effect a satisfactory solution of the problem by carrying on further negotiations with the factory owner.


75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Aug. 25, 1944

Wooden ships from Java arrive in Japan

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Several wooden ships that had endured the scorching heat of the southern sun and the lashing fury of tropical squalls, quietly dropped anchor outside Osaka Harbor at a little past noon on Aug. 21. These ships, which have been built in Java under the supervision of the Java Military Administration, are manned by crews of sun-burned Japanese and Indonesian seamen. There were a total of 15 Japanese and 30 Indonesians on these ships. While these vessels were lying at anchor alongside the No. 3 breakwater, the sturdy seamen related the hardships undergone during their journey through the submarine-infested waters of the South Seas.

Capt. Seisaburo Masutani apologized for the anxiety caused to the various connected quarters due to the fact they had arrived far behind schedule. “We ran into a typhoon on the way and were tossed about quite a bit,” Masutani said. “The native seamen we have onboard are all graduates of the Seamen’s Training Institute in Java. I am certainly glad we reached Osaka without a single mishap and with all the crew in the best of health. The native seamen seem to be very happy to have come to Japan and they are studying Japanese earnestly. Shipyards have been established in many places in Java and wooden vessels are being constructed rapidly. I am looking forward to the day when ships built in Java will be manned solely by Javanese seamen and will ply the seas between the countries of Greater East Asia.”

A Javanese boy by the name of Noluben, 29, who is the first mate on Masutani’s ship, spoke as follows: “All the Indonesian people want to see Japan. As a seaman I have been enabled to observe the present conditions in Japan and, upon my return home, I shall tell my family and friends what I have seen and felt. I am sure a rosy future awaits Java, which has arisen as an integral unit of Greater East Asia under the guidance of Japan. In the same spirit that the Wild Eagles of Japan ram their planes against the enemy, we, too, want to be of service to Greater East Asia.”


50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Aug. 24, 1969

Hunt for missing teen a wild goose chase

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Yokohama police’s extensive search for an 18-year-old girl here missing since Aug. 14 turned out to be a wild goose chase Saturday morning when the girl returned home and said she had a joyride with a man she had never met before.

The girl told bitter police that she was accosted by a young man in a car when she was on her way home from a store where she was working on the night of Aug. 14.

The girl accepted the invitation of the man whom she had never met before, got in the car and spent the next four nights at hotels in Yokohama, Tokyo and Kawasaki.

The man who said he was a college student took her to his home on Aug. 19 and had since lived with her. The girl said she learned that she was being sought by police as a possible kidnap case Friday when the man’s sister showed her a newspaper reporting the incident.


25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Aug. 3, 1994

Beat Takeshi injured in motorcycle crash

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Popular TV celebrity Beat Takeshi was seriously injured early Tuesday morning when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on a road in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, police said.

Police suspect the 47-year-old Takeshi was riding at high speed and lost control rounding a curve shortly after midnight Monday. He suffered a fractured skull when he hit the ground about 4 meters away from the crash site, police said.

Police sources say they suspect Takeshi was intoxicated when he crashed because they detected 9 mg of alcohol per 1 ml of blood.

Police said they would question Takeshi after he recovers and turn his case over to prosecutors. He is suspected of violating the Road Traffic Law.

Doctors at Tokyo Medical College Hospital in Shinjuku Ward, where Takeshi is being treated, said his life is not in danger. The president of Takeshi’s entertainment agency said his condition was getting better.

Takeshi, whose real name is Takeshi Kitano, will be hospitalized for about a month, the doctors said.

Doctors said he bled heavily from the head in the accident, but he will not need to undergo surgery on his skull.

Takeshi’s chauffeur bought the bike on Monday, and it had only 13 km on the odometer when the crash took place. Takeshi has a driver’s license that allows him to operate a motorcycle.

In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 122-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Christopher Kunody. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.