100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 1 1920
Woman impersonator coming to Tokyo
Perhaps the most famous masculine impersonator of the fair sex the world over is Julian Eltinge of New York and, thanks to Mr. Yamamoto, managing director of the Imperial Theater, Tokyo is to have a chance to see his acting. So fascinatingly feminine is he on the stage, it is almost unbelievable that the actor is not a woman.
Mr Yamamoto, telling his impressions of Julian Eltinge, says: “When I went to Europe and America five years ago, I saw a marvellous performance in New York. The star was Mr. Julian Eltinge, who is an American woman impersonator and, at the same time, proprietor of the theater.
“When I say say woman impersonator, one thinks at once of our kabuki plays in Japan; but the onnagata, Japanese actors who take feminine parts, merely imitate women. This is logical as they are not women themselves. But in the case of Mr. Eltinge, one is almost persuaded that he does not imitate women, but that he is a woman himself. His countenance, the expressions of his face, the form of his body and movements, especially the chest and arms, as well as his voice are certainly feminine, and one cannot believe he is a man when he is one stage. Americans call him the ‘delineator of the fair sex.'”
75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Jan. 5, 1945
Home Ministry wants air shelters to be built
In view of the constant enemy air raids, the Anti-Air Raid Headquarters of the Home Ministry in a recent announcement stressed the urgency of constructing adequate air raid shelters and digging holes in the ground to store important articles.
After thorough investigation, it has been proved that underground air raid shelters are best. In case shelters are constructed indoors, they must be provided with two exits. Outdoor shelters must have sufficiently heavy roofs.
The importance of air raid shelters is evident from the fact that at the time of the raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, those who were killed or wounded by one enemy bomb were 10 times more than those in recent raids. Some found safety in shelter within 5 meters of the place where a bomb was dropped. In general, however, safety is guaranteed within a radius of 7 meters of the spot where a 250-kilogram bomb falls. In the case of incendiary bombs, no one has been known to be killed when in an air shelter.
As to the location and style of shelters, they must be built so as to enable everyone to participate in anti-fire activities the minute the neighborhood is struck by bombs. Strong pillars are necessary in the construction of shelters, and thick and heavy material must be used for roofs.
50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 15, 1970
76.3% of youths prefer pleasure-seeking
A majority of young Japanese today value pleasure-seeking as much as working, while 1 out of every 4 does not believe in the absolute value of individual rights and duties.
These were some of the findings made by a survey on the opinions of young people whoese results were announced Wednesday on the eve of Coming of Age Day. The survey checked the views of 4,500 men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 throughout the country.
Questioned as to work and pastime, only 13.5 percent answered that they found fulfillment in working. Of the remainder, 76.3 percent said they divided their devotion between pleasure-seeking and working. Slightly more than 5 percent said it would be better if they could get away with doing no work.
On individual rights and duties, 40.5 percent answered that they were the most important things for man and must be safeguarded at any cost. On the other hand, 4.1 percent found no meaning in them, while 20.9 percent said they would not have to be bothered by “abstract things.”
Another finding showed that respect for the aged among youths had declined. While the majority found it “very wrong” to cut into a queue, tarnish a public establishment and cause a nuisance to others by getting drunk, only 20.3 percent said it was very wrong not to give up one’s seat in a public conveyance for an aged person.
25 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 1995
Powerful earthquake kills scores in Kansai
More than 1,600 people were confirmed killed and some 1,000 others listed as missing Tuesday in the most catastrophic earthquake to hit the Kansai region in nearly 50 years.
The casualty count was mounting on an hourly basis. As of 12:45 a.m., Wednesday, the National Police Agency reported 1,681 deaths and 6,334 injuries from the quake, which hit at 5:46 a.m. on Tuesday.
Almost all of the casualties were in Hyogo Prefecture, with the city of Kobe the hardest hit by the quake. Five deaths were reported in Osaka Prefecture and another in Tokushima Prefecture.
By late Tuesday evening, 1,017 people were still listed as missing, with rescue operations hampered by damage to transport facilities. Hundreds of people were trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings and highways, police said.
A total of 7,876 houses, buildings and other structures were either completely detroyed or partially damaged by the quake, aftershocks and fires, police and other authorities said.
As of midnight Tuesday, fires were still raging in two locations in Kobe — one in Nagata Ward and the other in Suma Ward — each destroying about 250,000 square meters. Police reported that another fire broke out near a train maintenance factory in Suma Ward shortly after midnight.
The quake registered a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 on the open-ended Richter scale. It destroyed houses, bridges and other structures, mainly in the Hanshin coastal area between Kobe and Osaka. It is expected to take at least a year to rebuild the damaged expressway network.
The Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995 killed 6,434 people, injuring some 43,000 others and leaving as many as 310,000 people in need of emergency shelter.
Compiled by Elliott Samuels. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 123-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.