100 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Feb. 11 1920
Great enthusiasm for universal suffrage
A demonstration demanding universal suffrage immediately to be held on Kigensetsu, the great national holiday, under the leadership of the Kenseikai, Kokuminto and the Universal Suffrage Society, promises to be one of the greatest of the kind ever seen in Japan.
Forty-three organizations in Tokyo made an agreement recently to take united action to support the suffrage movement. Members of all these organizations are expected to take a prominent part in the mammoth parade on the Kigensetsu holiday.
The Young Men’s Reconstruction Association sent a deputation to the House of Peers on Monday morning, which presenting a memorandum in the following terms to Prince Tokugawa, president of the house, and to leaders of the various groups in the house: “When the universal suffrage bill is passed by the House of Representatives, if the House of Peers rejects it, the latter will do so with the knowledge that popular indignation consequent on such rejection may threaten the existence of the House of Peers. This is our warning.”
75 YEARS AGO
Saturday, Feb. 3, 1945
Faithful dog keeps vigil at base for dead pilot
With its ears pricked high a brown mongrel dashes out to meet every incoming plane but only to return with its ears hanging low. This is the routine taken up and still being continued by a young brown dog that recently strayed into this air base to be adopted by a noncommissioned officer who one day took off on a mission to intercept enemy B-29 raiders and has not yet returned.
One day, noncommissioned officer Awamura found a brown mongrel at one corner of the airmen’s quarters shaking with fright at the roar of airplane motors. Immediately the noncommissioned officer took the dog into his care.
As days passed the dog, getting used to the roar of airplane motors, in return showed its strong affection for the pilot. This soon changed into typical canine worship for his master. So close was their friendship that whenever Awamura was given an order to take off the dog would make a futile but insistent effort to jump into the cockpit of the plane. When Awamura took off, the dog would run after the plane as far as he could and then stand there until his master returned.
It was on Jan. 9 that this dog as usual ran after the plane and waited on the spot for the return of his master. As the day passed, fighter after fighter returned to the base, bringing with them thrilling stories of combat they had had with the enemy. But the dog still stood in his position looking out toward the skies waiting for another plane.
Then a sergeant who had confirmed the death of Awamura kneeled down beside the dog, put his arm around it and whispered to it that his master would not return. As if he understood the sergeant’s explanation, the dog tore away from the sergeant and dashed out toward the runway now empty in the evening dusk.
All night long the dog’s wailing howl was heard near Awamura’s quarters. On the following day, the dog was seen making the round of the pilots’ quarters, seeking for its master. With each take-off of a unit the dog is seen eagerly rushing out looking for its master. Today’s order has been fulfilled and all the pilots have returned but still the brown mongrel is gazing out toward the evening skies, longingly awaiting the return of the missing plane.
50 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 1970
NHK broadcasts first sex education show
The Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) was deluged with phone calls from mothers Monday morning after it presented a 45-minute television program on sex education, the first of its kind ever shown on the public broadcasting station’s channel.
The program was the first of a series of three telecasts in “Hello, Housewives,” a popular show that features participation of viewers. According to the staff of NHK, the station began receiving calls from mothers as soon as the program concluded at 9:40 a.m. One hundred and fifty calls had been made by 10:30 a.m. when the station discontinued receiving calls on the program for the day. None of the 150 calls were critical of the program, according to the station. Monday’s program dealt with the problem mothers face when they are asked by their young children, “Where does a baby come from?”
Sixteen mothers, a physician and a female writer-commentator took part in the discussion on how, when and to what extent mothers should answer their children’s questions. The physician advocated a frank, matter-of-fact explanation on conception and child birth and suggested that the kind of material now used by some European countries for children’s sex education be used here, too.
Opinions of the mothers in the discussion varied from wholehearted support of the doctor’s position to reserved opposition on frank talks on sex with children.
According to the NHK, phone calls that followed the program came mostly from mothers. One woman commended the station for taking up an issue over which she had been troubled for a long time, while another said that the station should expand its scope on the issue and take up sex education for high school students as well.
25 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Feb. 23, 1995
Driver’s death in quake ruled as work-related
A local Labor Ministry office has decided to award worker accident compensation insurance to the family of a truck driver who was killed in the Great Hanshin Earthquake, recognizing his death as work-related, ministry officials said. It is the first time a victim of an earthquake has been awarded this type of compensation, they said.
The 28-year-old driver was on the Hanshin Expressway in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, when the quake struck. He was crushed to death by the steel cargo in his truck. The Himeji Labor Standards Inspection Office decided to award the compensation after the Labor Ministry instructed prefectural offices to award worker accident compensation insurance for certain quake-related incidents. The ministry has in principle maintained that it will not award worker accident compensation insurance in natural disasters.
The driver’s wife and three children will receive a pension equivalent to about two-thirds of his annual salary as well as fees for his funeral, the officials said.
Compiled by Elliott Samuels. 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 Rena Peterson. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.