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100 YEARS AGO

Sunday, Jan. 1, 1922

Year of the Dog is welcomed by all classes in Dai Nippon

Gone now is the Year of the Chicken, the 10th year of Taisho, the Year Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-one. Japanese, high and low, and foreigners whom the end of another year found visiting or resident in the Land of the Rising Sun, are combining forces to welcome the New Year, the Year Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-two, the 11th year of Taisho, which in accordance with the old Japanese almanac, also will be known as the Year of the Dog.

The length and vociferousness of the New Year welcome will vary with the classes and nationalities; so also will its form and the nature of ceremonies observed. But throughout Japan yesterday, the last of the old year, and today, the first of the New Year, were and will be observed with special rites.

Tokyo was transformed last night by the holiday crowds who thronged the Ginza and lesser shopping districts and swarmed to Asakusa and to tea houses in all sections of the city in great numbers. The merchants and street peddlers, anxious to dispose of surplus stocks and settle their New Year bills, did a rush business until late into the night. When their long day finally was ended and the New Year had been ushered in, tea and gyunabe houses still were the scenes of many a merry party where the celebration was just getting well under way.

1922 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1922 | THE JAPAN TIMES

75 YEARS AGO

Sunday, Jan. 26,1947

New ‘Romaji’ system is flayed

Many observers in Japan are disappointed by the Japanese Ministry of Education announcement that the system of Romaji to be taught in Japanese schools will be a combination of the Hepburn system and so-called “Japanese” systems.

There are some persons, Allied and Japanese, who think the announced program will sabotage any real progress in the adoption of this system of writing.

Prewar residents of Japan, both foreigners and natives, pointed out that the system to be adopted and taught in the schools is based largely upon a system that was advocated by “Nationalists” under the militaristic regime.

“Fujiyama” — as the word is spelled under the Hepburn system — will become “Huziyama” under the system that the Japanese Ministry of Education plans to put in Japanese schools. … “Showa” will become “Syowa.” “Shimbashi” Station will become “Sinbashi” Station.

1947 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1947 | THE JAPAN TIMES

50 YEARS AGO

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 1972

Japanese soldier captured in Guam

A Japanese Army sergeant who stood by his orders never to surrender was captured Monday after 28 years of hiding in a remote jungle on Guam.

“I’d like to be reunited with my family and then go up on a mountain and meditate for a long time,” said Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, 56, of the now defunct Imperial Japanese Army.

The thickly bearded Japanese soldier was captured Monday by two hunters in Guam’s heavily wooded Talofofo River district 32 km. from Agana.

The men surprised Yokoi of Nagoya on his way to the river to set a fish trap. Yokoi told newsmen that he lived 28 years on a diet of wild nuts, breadfruit, mangos, papaya, shrimps, snails, rats and frogs.

Yokoi said that two other Japanese fled with him into the jungles of Guam when American troops overran the island in 1944.

He identified them as Mikio Shichi another soldier, from Gifu Prefecture, and Satoru Nakabata, a member of the Army civil service from Hiroshima. Yokoi said both are dead.

Yokoi said that about eight years ago he went to the cave where Shichi and Nakabata were living, and found them dead. “I believe they died of starvation,” he added.

Yokoi said he knows of no other Japanese Army holdouts in Guam. … Questioning disclosed that Yokoi never had heard of the atomic bomb or television. He refused to believe that on his return trip to Japan a jetliner would take him home from Guam in about three hours.

1972 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1972 | THE JAPAN TIMES

25 YEARS AGO

Friday, Jan. 3, 1997

Virtual idol breaks new ground

She sings and dances, favoring the style of teenage pop diva Namie Amuro. She’s got what it takes to make it as an idol of today — boyishly cute looks and a wardrobe of tight, satiny shirts and shorts.

But that’s not why 16-year-old Kyoko Date became such a hot topic in media circles even before her debut last fall from Horipro Inc., a talent production giant.

It’s because she lives in the world of virtual reality.

Touted “the world’s first virtual idol,” Date is the brainchild of Yoshitaka Hori, 30, a director and chief of Horipro’s media project headquarters.

Since releasing the debut single “Love Communication” through Victor Entertainment Inc. last November and acting as a weekly midnight MC at a Tokyo FM station, Date has been featured in the media both here and abroad, performing a feat that ordinary new faces would never be able to accomplish, Hori said.

Thanks to the extensive media coverage, “Date has brought us an effect worth billions of yen in terms of ads without spending money to promote her debut and our company at the same time,” Hori said. “We could not have promoted her this much if she actually existed.”

1997 | THE JAPAN TIMES
1997 | 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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