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100 YEARS AGO

Saturday, July 2, 1921

‘Be kind to animals’ movement launched for children

A “Be kind to animals” movement has been launched in Tokyo along most practical lines, the prime mover being Mrs. Charles Burnett, wife of Lt. Col. Burnett, the American Military Attache, who has enlisted the hearty support of a number of prominent Japanese citizens of the capital. The Japanese press has pledged its cooperation and the campaign of education is now well under way.

The initial move in the campaign is to secure funds for the installation and maintenance throughout Tokyo of drinking troughs for horses and dogs. Mrs. Burnett’s plan being to interest the school children of the city through a systematic canvas for one sen from each school child, thus enabling every child to have a share in the fountains, and, through this beginning, to learn to be kind to all dumb brutes.

Today Boy Scouts are placarding Tokyo with posters to inaugurate the work. The poster, which is reproduced on this page, is in colors and is from the brush of the celebrated cartoonist, Mr. Rakuten, of the Jiji Shimpo, whose interest in the good work is deep.

In order to secure cooperation and continued interest among the children of the city, Mrs. Burnett plans to form a Junior Humane Society, which is to be organized if possible on the coming anniversary of the birthday of the late General Count Nogi, whose bravery on the field of battle was only excelled by the invariable kindness he showed to all dumb animals. No more acceptable tribute to the memory of this great man could be made, in Mrs. Burnett’s opinion, than the creation in his honor of such a society, and one of the first new drinking fountains to be installed by the children will be at the top of Nogi-zaka, the hill beside the coming Nogi shrine.

1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1921 | THE JAPAN TIMES

75 YEARS AGO

Monday, July 1, 1946

Parliamentary Japan ushers in new era as five women mount Lower House rostrum

For the first time in Japan’s constitutional history, women — five of them —addressed the House of Representatives Saturday afternoon when they took the rostrum in turn to support a joint resolution of all parties urging acceleration of repatriation and relief of demobilized servicemen and repatriates.

The five women representatives were Hisako Yoneyama, Social Democrat; Tsuruyo Kono, independent; Hatsu Ando, Shinko Club; Tatsu Tanaka, Japan Democrat; and Toshiko Karasawa, Communist.

Mrs. Yoneyama, who spoke first, acquitted herself well as the first Japanese woman to address the Diet. The largest ovation since the start of the present Diet session greeted her when she took the rostrum.

Speaking quietly for about a quarter of an hour, she said she wished that Japanese women would appeal to the world’s womankind to help accelerate repatriation of the stranded Japanese. No heckling was heard throughout her speech. Women visitors appeared most impressed by the first Diet speech by a member of her sex.

She was followed by three other women representatives all of whom succeeded in attracting sympathetic interest of the audience.

Mrs. Karasawa, who brought up the rear, spoke rather as a Communist than as a woman. Facing the Government parties’ seats squarely, she fulminated, “Those Japanese stranded overseas are victims of an imperialistic war … but the government measures to relieve them are extremely unsatisfactory.”

This aroused a violent storm of protests. Cries were heard, “Are you supporting the resolution or not?” Mrs. Karasawa had to stop speaking for a time. Against the general heckling from the Government parties, women members of the Social Democratic Party consistently encouraged the Communist speaking with hand clapping.

1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1946 | THE JAPAN TIMES

50 YEARS AGO

Saturday, July 31, 1971

162 perish in midair collision

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 jet airliner with 155 passengers and a crew of seven aboard collided in midair with an Air Self-Defense Force F86F jet fighter at 2:05 p.m. Friday and crashed.

The collision occurred over Shizukuishi, about 16 km west of here.

The wreckage of the ANA plane including its fuselage and bodies of passengers and crew were found scattered over an area of seven square kilometers in Yahaba, Shiwa-gun, Iwate Prefecture.

A total of 84 bodies had been recovered by 12:35 a.m. today. A postmortem examination was conducted on 45 bodies and five of them were identified, local police said.

Investigators theorized that the ANA plane disintegrated during an almost vertical plunge to Earth following the collision.

Aboard the plane were 123 members of the Yoshiwara Bereaved Families Association in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture, on a tour arranged by Nippon Ryoko (a travel agent), two employees of the travel agent and 30 other passengers.

The group, on its way home after a tour of Hokkaido boarded the ill-fated plane at Chitose Airport, in Sapporo.

Iwate police requested an arrest warrant for Sgt. 1.C. Yoshimi Ichikawa, pilot of the jet fighter who parachuted to safety after the collision.

Police tentatively charged him with violation of the Aviation Law and involuntary manslaughter.

When questioned, he told police that his plane came in contact with the Boeing 727 but refused to give further details, saying he was too tired. Police said Ichikawa was still in a state of shock a few hours after the accident.

1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1971 | THE JAPAN TIMES

25 YEARS AGO

Wednesday, July 3, 1996

Sex change operations are approved for the first time ever

Saitama Medical College on Tuesday became the first medical institution in Japan to basically approve sex-change surgery, while attaching strings to the actual realization of such operations.

The college’s ethics committee had discussed the issue after two young women who had felt awkward about their gender from early in their childhood asked for sex-change operations, committee officials said.

It concluded that it is “appropriate for medical science” to help people who cannot accept their physical gender and that a sex change operation is one of the possible treatments, along with psychotherapy and hormone treatment.

But warning that the social and medical environment in Japan is not ripe for sex change operations, the committee insisted that certain measures be taken before an operation can be conducted.

It demanded treatment guidelines be drawn up and that clear criteria be defined for diagnosing a patient as a candidate for a sex change, said the officials of the college in Moroyama, Saitama Prefecture.

A team of experts able to provide aftercare for the person undergoing a sex change must be established and efforts made to foster understanding among the general public, the committee said.

“After such an environment has been created, individual cases must again be approved by the ethics committee,” said Toshio Yamauchi, head of the committee.

Takao Harashima, a professor of plastic surgery at the college’s hospital, had asked the committee for approval of the operations in May last year after concluding that the two women would be better off as men.

Harashima said he had conducted psychological tests on the women and treated them with male hormones over a long period to determine whether a complete sex change was viable. He hailed the committee’s decision to recognize sex change operations as appropriate treatment as “great progress.”

“It can’t be helped that we have to wait a little before we actually conduct the operations, but I understand their reasoning that it is necessary first to confirm that a sex change is really the only possible method in those cases,” he said.

1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1996 | THE JAPAN TIMES

Compiled by Shaun McKenna. 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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