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100 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Feb. 1, 1921

Purse snatcher quickly jailed

Mrs. L. Soubbotina, a teacher of English, residing at 120-C Bluff, while passing North & Rae’s Store yesterday at noon was attacked by a Japanese labourer K. Suzuki, who endeavored to snatch her purse and make away with it. Due to Mrs. Soubbotina’s quick presence of mind however, the attempted robbery was a failure.

In the dash for the purse, Suzuki did not correctly gauge the strength of the leather handle of the purse, nor the hardness of the ground to which he was to be quickly precipitated.

1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Holding on to the purse with one hand, and keeping the would be thief pinned to the ground with the other, Mrs. Soubbotina’s shouts for help were answered by J. Mikawa, rickshaw-man No. 1529 stationed at the Belmont Hotel.

Suzuki was taken into custody by the police where the machinery for a quick dispatch of justice is already in motion.

The purse was said to contain ¥4.00, Mrs. Soubbotina was formerly a teacher in the Vladivostock Girl’s School and has resided with her husband in Japan since last April.


75 YEARS AGO
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1946

‘Emperor Hiromichi’ and his retinue arrive in Tokyo to defend his ‘claim’ to throne

“Emperor Hiromichi,” as he is now popularly known among the Japanese public, arrived in Tokyo “incognito” a few days ago from his secret “grocery-store place” in Nagoya city for the purpose of defending his “claim” to the Throne.

Establishing his temporary quarters at one of his supporters’ home in Meguro-ward, “Emperor Hiromichi” and his brain trusts are said to be busily engaged in the task of drafting “concrete” plans for the defense of his “rights” to the Throne by bringing to light all historical facts surrounding the feud which existed 500 years ago between the Northern and Southern dynasties.

1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Accompanied by his “Empress” and a “Grand Chamberlain,” “Emperor Hiromichi” paid a “surprise visit” to the Kyodo News Service Saturday afternoon “to pay his respects to the Japanese press” and personally handed a lengthy press release to Gisaburo Matsukata, editor-in-chief of Kyodo, describing his version of the Japan’s history 500 years ago and thereafter.

“His audience” with Matsukata lasted for more than an hour and the subject of discussion ranged from every topics to current domestic problems and the international situation.

“Emperor Hiromichi” said he will remain in Tokyo until his plans for the defense of “claims” are completed.


50 YEARS AGO
Monday, Feb. 8, 1971

Crown prince opens pre-Olympic Games in Sapporo

The Crown Prince of Japan, hundreds of children on ice skates and athletes of 23 nations opened International Winter Sports Week — a small preview of next year’s Olympic Games — in Makomanai Speed Skating Rink Sunday.

The games are intended to test the facilities for the Winter Olympics — and the tempers of alpine skiers had already been tested in practice on a downhill run their officials called too steep and too fast.

The opening ceremony at 11 a.m. was followed an hour and a half later by the first competition, women’s downhill skiing at Mount Eniwa. It was the only competitive event scheduled Sunday.

The Crown Prince read a brief and formal welcome to the athletes. Then school children lightened the formal tone. Carrying balloons, holding hands, skating — or taking sit-down falls — with varying degrees of childish grace and laughing happily, they circled the rink in throngs.

Encircled by the children, the athletes took a pledge of sportsmanship. The children released their balloons into a bright sky, and the gold-hued Olympic torch that will burn throughout next year’s games was unveiled but not lit.

1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES

In the parade of athletes, Japan, the host, had by far the largest contingent, but the biggest display of national flag waving in the stands was by rival partisans of North and South Korea.

Blue-uniformed Japanese college coeds marched ahead of each contingent, carrying a placard bearing the official name of its country.

North Korea paraded under the banner of “DPR Korea,” an abbreviation for its official name of “the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” South Korea marched under the banner of “Korea.”

This is the second winter sports international event in recent years in which both South and North Korea are represented. The previous such occasion was the 1963 World Speed Skating Championships held in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, in central Japan.


25 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 1996

Give spouses right to pick name: panel

Marriage partners should be allowed to keep their original family names but their children should have one surname, an advisory panel recommended in a report to the justice minister Monday.

The panel also recommended the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children in regard to inheritances from parents. Children born out of wedlock are entitled to only half the property they would receive if they were legitimate.

Since January 1991, the panel has been considering revisions, the first in nearly 50 years, to the Civil Law, which covers matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritances.

In its final report to the minister, the panel said a husband and wife should be able to keep separate names to better ensure equal status between men and women.

Currently, the law requires that spouses use one name, and 98 percent of couples choose the husband’s surname, according to the ministry.

The system has drawn criticism, especially from women who believe changing their family names in marriage creates major disadvantages.

1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Shifting attitudes towards marriage, divorce and the family have also prompted a new look at the law, the ministry said.

Spouses who married before the revision and are interested in reverting to their family names would be able to apply within one year of the law’s enactment, the report says.

The report also says a separation of more than five years should be considered reasonable grounds to file for divorce because the marriage can be regarded as effectively over.

However, exceptions would be made if divorce is expected to bring extreme hardship to a couple’s children or to a spouse who does not wish to divorce.

The proposed revision also stipulates that men and women would be eligible to marry at age 18.

Currently, men are eligible to marry at 18 and women at 16, based on the general understanding that women reach physical and mental maturity more quickly than men, according to the ministry.

Also, the current law requires a divorced woman to wait six months before remarrying to prevent problems in determining paternity should she bear a child.

Under the proposed revision, women could remarry as early as 100 days after a divorce.

The Justice Ministry hopes the suggested revisions, finalized after five years of discussions, will be passed during the current Diet session.

Mizuho Fukushima, a lawyer who has been calling for the changes, welcomed the proposed revision regarding a couple’s family name, saying it is based on respect for individual choice.

She and her husband kept their own names by not registering as a married couple at the municipal office.

“One of the most important points of this revision is that it gives freedom of choice to each individual,” she said.

Compiled by Leo Howard and Tadasu Takahashi. In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 125-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.

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