100 YEARS AGO
Thursday, June 2, 1921
Japanese command warns Siberians not to start war
The Japanese Command here emphatically rejects the idea of permitting any fresh, fratricidal war for the possession of Vladivostok, and have so notified the just deposed President Antonov and the local representative of China, Zeitlin, who have left under Japanese protection for Chita, via Harbin.
The two officials of the former government were told before their departure from Vladivostok that the Japanese troops will adhere to their former line, namely the absolute non-interference with the internal political affairs of the country, and will welcome any moderate, democratic administration of the country and any fair and open settlement of the situation.
It is reported from Chita that the Government has issued a declaration calling all the people of the different nationalities comprising the Far Eastern Republic to mobilize and unite for the defence of the Revolution and the proletariat.
Transport of troops to the East has already begun, but is proceeding very slowly, owing to the incapacity of the railways.
It is also reported from Chita that four trains with artillery have been dispatched to Chita from Irkutsk.
A lively exchange of wires is reported to be proceeding between Chita and Moscow. It is understood that the main point of these negotiations is the financing of contemplated military operations, and as the Chita Government has not the required sums at its disposal, all hopes are placed in Moscow.
75 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, June 18, 1946
1st witness takes stand to testify at Tokyo trials 1946
The first witness to take the stand in the trials of 28 accused Japanese war criminals was presented by the prosecution yesterday afternoon as the latter launched upon its second phase of its case.
Valentine C. Hammack, assistant U.S. prosecutor, questioned the witness Lt. Colonel Donald Ross Nugent, USMC, Chief of the CI & E Section, GHQ, in the effort to prove to the court the extent of militaristic control and influence in Japan preceding Pearl Harbor.
Just as the afternoon session began, prosecutor Solis Horowitz completed the presentation of the prosecution exhibits regarding the past records of the defendants. Hammack then took over to launch the second phase of the prosecution case, describing to the court the steady growth of militarism in Japan and the beginning of the conspiracy, dating back even prior to 1928, to dominate Asia and eventually the entire world.
Hammack declared that Japanese militarists worked on the people of Japan, through the press, radio, religion and other means to indoctrinate the spirit of militarism and ultra-nationalism.
Through an insidious program of propaganda, the prosecutor declared, the Japanese people were made to believe in the glory of warfare, that the Japanese race was a superior race, and that war was a holy mission.
The propaganda became more and more absolute, he said, and the youth were taught aggression, and cruelty and hatred of potential enemies.
The leaders of Japan, including those now standing trial, “lashed the people into a war frenzy,” Hammack asserted. All means were used to suppress the slightest opposition, such as censorship, police coercion and suppression of news, he stated.
50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, June 20, 1971
Japanese believe they are ‘superior’ 1971
The Japanese believe themselves “superior” to most other nations except the Germans, a survey among Japanese students conducted by a foreign insurance company showed.
Of nearly 2,000 students interviewed in the survey conducted by the American International Underwriters firm (AIU) in Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures, the majority also said that they saw their nation as a pollution-plagued country consisting of diligent but confused people.
A majority of the students replied that the Japanese are “superior” to the Indonesians, Mexican, Chinese and French and “slightly superior to the Americans.”
Only the Germans were thought “slightly superior” to Japanese in the survey conducted between April 26 and May 12.
A total of 1,671 students, including 44 girls, of four-year state-run, municipal and private universities in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures were interviewed.
They were asked nine questions on how they regarded the Japanese people and on five questions on Japan itself.
The students interviewed were free to select one or more of the answers marked against each question.
On the question, “What do you think are the merits of the Japanese people,” 65.8 percent of said “diligence,” while 65.2 percent marked “sense of obligation to others and justice and humanity” and 48.7 percent chose “patience.”
Concerning faults of the Japanese people, 62.7 percent selected “complex toward foreigners,” 48.6 percent “insularity” and 38.7 percent “passive nature.”
While 54.7 percent of the students thought “diligence” was the driving force behind fast economic growth of their country, 54.5 percent also cited low wages.
On the image of their own country, 36.7 percent selected the answer, “mentally confused,” 29.7 percent “pollution-ridden,” 9.7 percent “Japan, a country of freedom,” and 9.1 percent “peace.”
25 YEARS AGO
Friday, June 21, 1996
Ainu language gets boost from release of dictionary 1996
The first comprehensive dictionary of the Ainu language, which was written and edited by one of the few remaining people with a command of the language, will be published next week.
The Ainu Word Dictionary was written by Shigeru Kayano, 70, an Upper House lawmaker who holds the distinction of being the first Ainu Diet member. Kayano said he wanted to publish a dictionary to help young Ainu people maintain their culture.
“A language is the proof of (the existence of) one ethnic group,” Kayano said Thursday in Tokyo. “You are recognized as an ethnic group only if you have a language.”
Ainu is an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido. The people once lived all over Hokkaido before being driven away and exploited by Japanese after the Japanese government began developing Hokkaido during the Meiji Era.
It is said there are now less than 100 people who have perfect command of the language. But Kayano said there still should be many people in their 60s or older who can speak the language, though they tend not to do so openly.
Kayano wrote 13,000 Ainu words that he could remember. Of them, about 8,000 were adopted as entries in the dictionary, he said. Definitions are given as well as many example sentences. In addition, Kayano included hundreds of episodes of daily Ainu life that he either experienced or heard of.
“I couldn’t be happier if people who want to learn the Ainu language keep this dictionary at hand,” he said.
Kayano also runs several language schools in Hokkaido, helping both Ainu and Japanese people learn the language.
Compiled by 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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