Mochi

Mochi
Mochi

According to Wikipedia, mochi is a

Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.

Mochi is apparently also occasionally deadly. According to an International Business Times report, during the 2015 New Year celebration, 9 people died in Japan from suffocating on the snack, and 18 people were hospitalized in Tokyo alone.

The sticky, glutinous dish can get stuck in the throats of those eating it–especially those who are very young or very old–causing people to suffocate.

U.S. Army’s “How To Spot A Jap” Pamphlet

This “How To Spot A Jap” comic was included in the U.S. Army’s 1942 “Pocket Guide to China,” which it distributed to soldiers who were being sent to fight in China. Milton Caniff, creator of the Terry and the Pirates comic strip, did the illustrations.

Instructing people on how to distinguish Chinese from Japanese people was apparently a common theme of World War II-era propaganda. For example, the December 22, 1941 edition of Life magazine ran a feature titled How To Tell Japs from the Chinese.

 

Just How Long Have Human Beings Been Fishing

This image of what are currently the world’s oldest known fish hooks has been showing up in news stories this month.

World's Oldest Fish Hooks

These are about 23,000 years old and were discovered in a cave in Okinawa, Japan. Researchers have been excavating the cave which was apparently used by successive groups of human beings for fishing as early as 35,000 years ago.

As the researchers note, this suggests that fishing technologies were more widely distributed at an earlier date than previously thought,

Maritime adaptation was one of the essential factors that enabled modern humans to disperse all over the world. However, geographic distribution of early maritime technology during the Late Pleistocene remains unclear. At this time, the Indonesian Archipelago and eastern New Guinea stand as the sole, well-recognized area for secure Pleistocene evidence of repeated ocean crossings and advanced fishing technology. The incomplete archeological records also make it difficult to know whether modern humans could sustain their life on a resource-poor, small oceanic island for extended periods with Paleolithic technology. We here report evidence from a limestone cave site on Okinawa Island, Japan, of successive occupation that extends back to 35,000?30,000 y ago. Well-stratified strata at the Sakitari Cave site yielded a rich assemblage of seashell artifacts, including formally shaped tools, beads, and the world’s oldest fishhooks. These are accompanied by seasonally exploited food residue. The persistent occupation on this relatively small, geographically isolated island, as well as the appearance of Paleolithic sites on nearby islands by 30,000 y ago, suggest wider distribution of successful maritime adaptations than previously recognized, spanning the lower to midlatitude areas in the western Pacific coastal region.

Nancy Pelosi Visits Hiroshima Memorial

On September 2, Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. politician to ever visit the Hiroshima memorial. According to the Associated Press,

The Democrat, who came to this western port city for a two-day annual gathering of Group of Eight legislative heads, joined other speakers in paying their respects at a memorial to the Hiroshima bombing. One by one, each bowed, then laid flowers at a white, arch-shaped monument containing the names of more than 200,000 victims of the nuclear blast.

No serving U.S. president or vice president has ever visited Hiroshima. As speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is second in line to the presidency after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Post notes that the nuclear weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed 220,000 people within a few months and, of course, led to the quick surrender of Japan.

What goes missing from these figures, of course, is the sheer and unimaginable murder of civilians by the Japanese empire from its invasion of China in 1937 to its unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945.The death toll is staggering. The United States’ indiscriminate bombing of Japan killed an estimated 670,000 civilians; but the Japanese empire murdered several times more civilians than that just from their forced labor programs throughout Asia.

Ruddy Rummel, in his chapter on Japan’s democide from his excellent Power Kills notes that,

From the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture (such as the view that those enemy soldiers who surrender while still able to resist were criminals).

At the time of the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II was still raging in many parts of Asia and some estimates put civilian casualties in Japanese-controlled territories as high as 8,000 per day in the time period shortly before the end of the war. Despite facing certain defeat, Japan was still engaged in wholesale murder in the parts of Asia it still controlled.

Pelosi’s visit to the Hiroshima memorial might be a bit easier to understand if Japan still was not engaged in wholesale denial of its role in World War II. In the United States, there is an ongoing debate over the morality of dropping nuclear weapons on Japanse cities. In Japan, however, history textbooks that whitewash imperial history are bestsellers.