In contingent with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the last month of 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army marched into Southern Thailand from Malaysia, calling for free passage into the country. Phibun Songkhram, both Commander and Chief of the Royal Thai Army and the Prime Minister at the time, allowed Japanese entry, vowing to maintain Thai independence in lieu of Japan's colonial activities enacted against neighboring Southeast Asian countries. As Japanese troops within the country and demands to utilize Thai facilities and resources increased, Thailand was now fully engulfed by the war. By January 1942, Bangkok declared war on Great Britain and the United States.
On the opposite side of the globe, Thai students studying in the United States were facing a predicament; their country had declared an alliance with an Axis power and they were studying within the confines of a now declared, Allied nation. Thailand’s Ambassador in Washington, M.R. Seni Pramoj, refused the Thai-Japanese alliance. While his colleague in Britain announced Thailand’s declaration of war, Seni Pramoj refused to deliver the declaration to the U.S. government. In response, the U.S. also refrained from declaring war against Thailand.
Through Seni Pramaoj’s leadership, a coalition of overseas Thai was built that would support the Allied war efforts. Thai university students studying in MIT, Harvard, and Cornell were recruited to work with Gen. William Donovan’s United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a wartime intelligence agency that was a predecessor to the CIA. The Free Thai Movement was thus born.
War Time Operatives:
Although the Seri Thai Movement’s activities were mostly done underground, over 50,000 Thai Volunteers underwent excruciating training and dangerous missions and treks to collect and report finding to supporters in China and other areas of Indochina. While some made it back to their designated bases to report on the Japanese Army’s location, others were either captured, killed, or disappeared. Ironically, Thai nationals were walking on thin ice in their own homeland.
The movement’s main base of operations was in Phrae Province, under the jurisdiction of Pridi Panomyong and Thong Kantatham. Pridi, the Regent of Thailand and founder of Thammasat University, was already well known in Thai politics for his involvement with the Siamese Revolution of 1932 which changed the system of government from that of an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Both men led and launched Operation Hotfoot and Operation Numeral, parachuting operations that helped deploy weapons, supplies, and medicine to supporting troop members. The lives of Thai volunteers were constantly endangered, having to navigate around Allied bombing campaigns, rescuing fallen foreign soldiers, avoiding Japanese detection, all while broadcasting findings and weather reports to partners in the U.S.
Fnally, on October 5, 1944, the OSS Detachment in Szemao, China, received an important radio message from Free Thai agents in a safehouse based in Bangkok, allowing Allied forces to be dispatched in strategic locations within the country via submarine, airdrop, or seaplane. By 1945, the war was over in Thailand. Seri Thai not only became a crucial source of military intelligence for Allies hoping to win back the Southeast Asian region, but paved the way for the country’s post-war independence a few years to come.
Due to the contributions of the many volunteers within the Free Thai Movement, the U.S. refrained from prosecuting Thailand as an enemy country in post-war tribunals and peace negotiations. On September 2, 1945, many Seri Thai members received the Medal of Freedom from the U.S. government including: Air Chief Marshall Tavee Julasup, Major General Boonmark Tesabutr, Commander Vimol Viriyavidh, Mr. Piset Pattaphongs, M.C. Yuthisatien Sawadivatana, M.L. Ekachai Kumpoo, Mr. Anond Srivardhana, Dr. Sala Tsanond, Air Marshal Sith Savetsila, Mr. Umnuay Poonpipatana, Mr. Udomsak Pasavanij, Mr. Kusa Punyarchun, and Mr. Somjit Yos-sunthorn.
Various monuments and local attractions were installed to celebrate Seri Thai’s achievements throughout the war. The Free Thai Movement Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์เสรีไทย) is located on Yantarkitkosol Road, Phrae, Thailand, purposefully as a dedication to the town’s importance as the base of operations for the Seri Thai Movement. The museum highlights military maneuvers and covert operations conducted by both Thais and U.S. soldiers alike. The museum is privately financed by Puchong Kanthatham, son of Thong Kanthatham, the leader of the Free Thai movement in Phrae.
Another attraction includes the Seri Thai Cave located in the province of Sakhon Nakon. The attraction includes the statue of Tiang Sirikhanth, the founder of the Free Thai within the province. The cave is dedicated to the farmers and villagers that sacrificed their lives to swift undergo military training to combat Japanese forces.
More recently in 2017, the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and his Thailand staff members visited Phrae to learn about growing vocational opportunities as well as to pay respects and celebrate U.S.-Thai relations during the war. While it has been about 74 years since the end of the war, undoubtedly, the continuous bond built between the two nations are growing stronger than ever.
The Thai Resistance Movement During The Second World War, John B. Haseman, Chalermnit Press, Bangkok.
One of the greatest things about Donald Trump being the president is how the media put a microscope on his every move. He can spark controversy with everything, his actions in Asia had sparked a bit of media controversy. A couple of months ago, he tried to put pressure in North Korea by rallying the Americans’ allies in Asia: South Korea and Japan, but little did he realize the scars between the two countries.
The painful history between the two countries started in the early 20th century. Japan saw its chance to claim a slice of the pie of Asia as China was defeated in the first Sino-Japanese War. At the time, Korea under the Choson Dynasty started reforming its policies to strengthen defense. Then as Japan defeated Russia during the Russo-Japanese War, Japan was set to establish its occupation of Korea for its empire’s expansion by 1910. The occupation was brutal from the start as Japanese abolished the teaching of the Korean culture, language, and history. Most of the historical documents were burned. Businesses and buildings were occupied by the Japanese military. Farmers were either forced off their land or to fulfill quotas set by the military.
The brutality does not end there. By the beginning of the 1930s, Korean women were tricked into becoming “comfort women” or sex slaves for the Japanese soldiers. As the 2nd Sino Japanese War began, women were “recruited” from Japanese-occupied territories and Japan with the promise of a job or purchased by their parents to be “servants”. Once obtained by the Imperial Japanese Army, these girls got sent to different camps than what they expected. Most of them were sent to “comfort stations” where they were raped day and night by different soldiers. At the end of the war, there was mass murder as Japan tried to cover up its war crimes. Although not clear on the exact number, historians estimated that there were about 100,000 to 200,000 women who were rounded up as comfort women.
At the end of the war, Japan surrendered and Korea recovered its sovereignty. Most women stayed in silence since the topic in Korea is such a taboo topic. Not to mention, the west meddled with Korea and the country was split into two. However, the redress movement in South Korea was started in 1991 when Kim Hak-Sun testified in public about her experiences. Ever since then, more former comfort women stepped up to talk about their experience and a redress movement was ignited.
Since 1992, a demonstration organized by the Korean Council had been held in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul at noon happens every week. By the 1000th rally on December 14, 2011, A Statue of Peace, “Pyeonghwabi” was established outside the embassy. This is the statue explained:
In 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government installed 5 peace girls on buses and the buses featured audio excerpts of a South Korean film regarding the comfort women issue that played whenever the buses passed by the Japanese embassy in central Seoul. Many riders found it sobering to ride the bus with the comfort women statues.
The comfort women issue had since sparked discussions in the United Nations. However, Japan had still not moved on and demanded the statues be removed. After the establishment of the comfort women statue in San Francisco, Osaka ended its sister city relationship with San Francisco.
One of the peace girls installed in the Seoul busses will be at our upcoming event: Boba Making + Trivia! Come meet her as well as enjoy our community building event!
Miller, Linda Karen. The Japanese Occupation of Korea 1910–1945 (from Korea Lessons for High School Social Studies Teachers, New York: The Korea Society, 1999, http://caforumonline.net/CAFHandlerPDF.ashx?ID=403
Blakemore, Erin. “The Brutal History of Japan's 'Comfort Women'.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 20 Feb. 2018, www.history.com/news/comfort-women-japan-military-brothels-korea.
Information Service. “KOREA.NET.” Statue of Peace Boards Seoul Bus : Korea.net : The Official Website of the Republic of Korea, www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Society/view?articleId=148534.
“Voices of Survivors Must Be Heard, UN Chief Says after Meeting 'Comfort Women' Victim | UN News.” United Nations, United Nations, news.un.org/en/story/2016/03/524192-voices-survivors-must-be-heard-un-chief-says-after-meeting-comfort-women-victim.
by Nickii Wantakan Arcado
Bread is a staple food in almost every country’s diet due to its adaptability in both aesthetics and tastes. Each country involved in World War II has had an interesting experience with how they consume and produce bread, both during wartime and post-war.
“The greatest thing since sliced bread” - a motto used in the United States since the creation of bread slicing machines and the introduction of the Wonder Bread in 1928 which was the “great leap forward” in terms of food technology in U.S. History. That came to a brief end in 1943 when the United States, under Food Administrator Claud R. Wickard, banned bread as a wartime conservation measure. The ban was used to both rations the amount of bread that was being consumed as well as counteract the rise in bread prices due to the increase in flour prices.
Looking back, one cannot help but be amused by angry consumers inconvenienced by the change in (in today’s terms, one can consider this a “first world problem”). One woman sent a letter to the New York Times stating:
“I should like to let you know how important sliced bread is to the morale and saneness of a household. My husband and four children are all in a rush during and after breakfast. Without ready-sliced bread I must do the slicing for toast—two pieces for each one—that's ten. For their lunches, I must cut by hand at least twenty slices, for two sandwiches apiece. Afterward, I make my own toast. Twenty-two slices of bread to be cut in a hurry!”
The ban was rescinded a year later in 1943 when the War Production Board recognized the growing public outcry for bread and their relatively low savings. Wax paper was then used to preserve bread for up to 4 months at a time.
The National Loaf, a bread made with wholemeal flour with added calcium and vitamins, was introduced by the Federation of Bakers in 1942. The Federation, which was a branch of Britain’s Ministry of Food, reasoned that wholemeal flour was used instead of the typical white flour (found in most bread types) due to the shortage of ingredients available during the war. Wheatmeal was unbleached flour that was extracted from hulled wheat grain, which contained starchy endosperm, wheat germ, and bran.
The flour was gray, creating an unappetizing appearance. While nutritionist praised the bread for containing necessary nutrients such as calcium and vitamins, the bread was coarse, crumbly, and dry. Soldiers were either required to dip their bread in water to add moisture or eat their portion by the end of the day. While the wholemeal was reserved for feeding soldiers and civilians, white flour was solely reserved for food manufacturers who made cookies and cakes.
While the loaf was abolished in 1956, it does contain almost identical similarities with today’s brown bread found at your local supermarket or bakery.
The rationing of bread and other carbohydrates were particularly painful for Italy compared to other countries. This was due to the fact that the country based a majority of their diet on carbohydrates which included pasta, bread, and polenta. Italy began rationing bread during the beginning of the First World War with the Battle of the Grain. The policy was enacted by Italian Fascists during the 1920s, advocating for the increase of cereal production (so that Italians can begin becoming self-sufficient in grain), the reduction of the balance of trade deficit, and the decrease in the necessity for foreign imports of bread. In the Second World War, the government of war set a firm quota on the amount of food each person was to receive: 100 g of bread per day, one kg or 2 of rice. The rise of the black market was also extremely popular, where civilians could obtain ingredients like oil or salt under the table. These items were unregulated and often times came from other wartime activities. For example, some Italian civilians would obtain salt from train tracks, as during the winter, salt was put on the tracks to prevent trains from slipping. The salt was collected, boiled in water, and strained.
A culture of salvaging food in Italy began, and a number of articles, books, and tests educating Italian women on how to reclaim and recycle food became increasingly popular. For example, Non sprecare (Do not waste) consisted of a number one rule to: “Pay attention to everything that gets thrown out in the garbage. Everything can be used”. Articles such as La cucina autarchica(Self-sufficient cooking) by Elisabetta Randi and A cucina del tempo di guerra (Cooking during the war) by Lunella De Seta were also published in Florence, Italy.
The introduction of bread in Japan initially started with trade between Portuguese traders and missions during the mid 16th century. When Christianity was banned in the 17th century, bread had quickly left with those who brought them. However, the Japanese word “pan”, the local adaptation of pão (bread) in Portuguese, stuck. There were some instances of success with pan, and in the Meiji Period, Yasubei Kimura created anpan (あんパン), bread buns that were stuffed with red bean paste called anko.
When World War II, rolled around, bread was again introduced to Japan in large quantities and was reintroduced to the Japanese diet. Like other nations involved in the war, Japan was facing massive food shortages. Large quantities of wheat were delivered to Japan by the Germans. Shortly after the war, bread possessed a historical symbol of American occupation and a somewhat poor replacement for white rice. U.S. soldiers would distribute cheaply made factory bread and powdered milk to Japanese civilians, specifically school children in their school lunch (kyushoku) system. Bread was also produced to make sandwiches for U.S. soldiers. Eventually, the ingredients in bread were adapted to suit Japanese tastes, becoming the heelless shokupan (食パン) seen commonly in Asian bakeries. Further on in the late 70s, Japan began embracing and employing different types of bread, creating a unique Japanese bread culture from curry to melon bread.
Similar to Italy, France was also hit extremely hard with the rationing of bread during the war but with a more complicated layer. When France fell to Germany, the Nazis seized around 80% of France’s food production causing severe disruption to the French food economy well known around the world as the epitome of the birth of fine dining. Farm production also fell due to the lack of fuel and fertilizer. Food tickets issued by the Nazis were used for French citizens to ration out their food, and they were to exchange it for bread, butter, and cooking oil. The system, however, was completely mismanaged, leading to malnourishment (calories were kept at 1,300 per day or less) and the rise of black markets in France.
An extremely unusual event involving bread occurred in the village near Avignon called Pont Saint-Esprit. One of the village bakers received a supply of gray flour, which was a surprise considering the government had firmly controlled the distribution of flour since the beginning of the war. As the baker was already laking the ingredients to make baguettes, he proceeded to make and sell his bread accordingly. However, within the next few days, what has become known now as le pain maudit (The cursed bread) wreaked havoc in the small village, plunging villagers into violently ill conditions. Symptoms included hallucinations, convulsions, swollen limbs, vomiting, burning sensations, and gangrene. Other villagers grew extremely violent, ripping up bed sheets and jumping out windows. Some 200+ individuals were affected.
While causes for the outbreak are still being debated, two hypotheses have gained the most support; Ergotism and mercury poisoning. Ergotism poisoning is caused by consuming ergot, a parasitic fungus that lives in rye when certain weather conditions, in this case, cold winters preceded by the rainy season, are met. The fungus grows to an oversized, violet grain and protrudes out of the plant. A portion of the fungus called Lysergic acid has been used to create LSD and overconsumption of the acid could result is hysteria and vivid hallucinations. On the other hand, others have claimed that the outbreak was caused by Mercury poisoning as France at the time were using large quantities of use of nitrogen trichloride to bleach flour. Other theories also raise the possibility of a CIA experiment in chemical warfare gone wild. While a conclusion has not been drawn, one could conclude that bread rationing in France set an example of the importance of quality assurance and, of course, not making bread out of random ingredients found on the street.
Richard W. Lacey (1994). Hard to Swallow: A Brief History of Food. Cambridge University Press. pp. 108–9.
"The 1940s House: The Kitchen". Discovery Communications, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
Shoji, Kaori. “A Short History of 'Real' Bread in Japan.” The Japan Times, www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2015/12/04/food/short-history-real-bread-japan/.
Kanert, Michael. “All About Japanese Bread.” All About Japan, allabout-japan.com/en/article/4557/.
Rhodes, Jesse. “How Deadly Bread Bewitched a French Village.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 27 Oct. 2011, www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/how-deadly-bread-bewitched-a-french-village-123126177/.
Forrester, Sue (January 26, 1943). "Ready-Sliced Bread Favored". The New York Times. p. 8.
Robertson, Don. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A Novel. Harper, 1965.
by Nickii Wantakan Arcado
During World War II, various Southeast Asian countries were engulfed by the Imperial Japanese Military as part of their vision to create a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. This is Part II of a IV part series. Outlined below is a brief history of major events during the Cambodian Campaign including the beginning of Japanese colonialism and the eventual conclusion of the war:
Operation Cambodia : カンボジア王国
After the fall of France in 1940, the country struggled with maintaining its political and economic hold over Indochina. An event that initially began as Japan’s influence over Cambodia started as Japan tried to mediate over the signing of concessions during and after the Franco-Thai war. The Japanese army hosted a signing ceremony in Tokyo that called on the French regime to relinquish ⅓ of Cambodia’s land to Thailand, totaling to about half a million citizens. These lands, which Thailand claimed were historically theirs, included the provinces of Siem Reap, Koh Kong, Battambang as well as the land between the 15th parallel.
Japan then began its operation to infiltrate Indochina in 1941. In August of the same year, the Japanese Army moved 8,000 troop members into Cambodia to establish a military garrison. Despite this intervention, the Imperial Army still chose to keep the French Vichy regime in their administrative posts, and not much movement existed on the political front. Compare to other Southeast Asian counterparts, the Japanese occupation of Cambodia possessed the least amount of bloodshed.
Although Japan did find a receptive audience in Cambodia, one instance of civilian resistance was during the confrontation of the politically active Buddhist monk, Hem Chieu. Hem Chieu was well known for preaching anti-French sermons to Khmer troops as well as his opposition to the French introduction of the Gregorian calendar and romanticization of Khmer scripts (as had been done in Vietnam) in the Cambodian educational curriculum. Recognizing his unwillingness to yield to French authorities, he was arrested and defrocked in July 1942.
Leaders and editors of Nagaravatta, the first Khmer language newspaper that was established in 1936, called for his immediate release. This included Pach Chhoeun, and editor at Nagaravatta and Son Ngoc Thanh the founder of the newspaper company. Both Chhoeun and Thanh decided to stage a march in front of the French residency consisting of over 2,000 people, with a majority being monks. Unfortunately, the Japanese did not provide the support the nationalist had hoped for, and Chhoeun was arrested and sentenced of life imprisonment for disobedience towards the French regime. Thanh, on the other hand, was taken to Japan and trained under the Japanese army for three years, eventually rising to become a captain at the Japanese army.
That all changed in 1945 with the Meigo Sakusen (Operation Bright Moon), the Japanese coup d'état of Indochina. This historical event was in direct response to the growing military strength of the allied forces (now with the participation of the United States) and the Japanese army’s increase in battle losses. During the coup, all French administrators were relieved of their duties and learning military units were forced to disarm. The imperial army sought to reignite support for Tokyo’s war effort as well as encourage rulers to call for independence in the face of Western colonialism.
The Japanese Army pressured young king Norodom Sihanouk to proclaim Cambodia (then, the Kingdom of Kampuchea) an independent state on March 9, 1945. Simultaneously, as the country was now deemed ‘independent’, Sihanouk also served as Prime Minister. Thanh eventually returned back to Cambodia and was made Foreign Minister.
King Norodom Sihanouk
The independence of Cambodia was short-lived as five months later, the Imperial Japanese army surrendered in August 1945. During this time, Thanh made himself Prime Minister of Cambodia. The puppet state was later dissolved in October 1945, and Thanh again was forced to flee. Then beginning May 1947, King Sihanouk reluctantly proclaimed a new constitution, which reduced him to a mere spiritual figurehead under the system of a constitutional monarchy. It was not until 1953, that Cambodia would gain full independence from the French.
Hayes, Michael. “The Legacy of Achar Hem Chieu, National, Phnom Penh Post.” The Legacy of Achar Hem Chieu, National, Phnom Penh Post, Post Media Co Ltd 888 Building H, 8th Floor Phnom Penh Center Corner Sothearos & Sihanouk Blvd Sangkat Tonle Bassac 120101 Phnom Penh Cambodia, 2 Oct. 1998, www.phnompenhpost.com/national/legacy-achar-hem-chieu.
Cambodia - The Japanese Occupation, 1941-45, www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-2221.html.
Pike, John. “Military.” Japanese Occupation - 1940-1945, www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/cambodia/history-japan.htm.
Diaoyutai or Senkaku Islands depending on one’s political view is a highly contested topic in Asia especially between the Chinese and the Japanese. There are activists who risk their lives fighting for these islands. The row of uninhabited islands is located close to Taiwan in the East China Sea. These islands have sparked a territorial dispute for over a century between Japan and China, the strongest countries in Asia over the ownership of these islands. Although the islands are uninhabited and small, the territory is close to key shipping lanes and fishing grounds rich for bonito fish. In 1969, the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific also published a report on the potential undersea oil reserves in the territory adding heat to the territorial dispute.
Here is a timeline on the events surrounding the territory:
1368-1644 Ming Dynasty placed Diaoyutai under the Chinese coastal defense. Chinese books published during this era mentions Diaoyutai.
1644-1912 During the Qing Dynasty, the Qing Court placed the islands under the jurisdiction of the local government of Taiwan.
1885 Japanese government surveyed the Senkaku Islands.
1894-1895 Qing Dynasty China lost the first Sino Japanese War and the Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed for China to recognize that Korea was independent. Taiwan territory was also ceded, which technically includes Diaoyutai, Penghu Islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula in Manchuria
1895 Through a Cabinet decision, the Japanese government decided to put it under the occupation of Okinawa Prefecture.
1896 The Japanese government leased the islands to Japanese entrepreneur Tatsushiro Koga. Koga built plants to process bonito fish and albatross feathers.
1912 Qing Dynasty overthrown by the United League of China led by Sun Yat-sen.
1918 Tatsushiro Koga Died and his son Zenji Koga took over his business on Senkaku Islands.
1927- Chinese civil war started between the Nationalist party led by Chiang Kai-Shek and Communist party led by Mao Zedong.
1931- Japan invaded Manchuria and installed Puyi, who was abdicated in 1912 from the Qing Dynasty, as the leader of the puppet government.
1932- The Japanese government sold four of the islands to Zenji Koga
1937- The Second Sino-Japanese War started.
1940- Zenji Koga abandoned the business and left the islands uninhabited.
1941- The US entered World War 2 on the side of the Allies.
1945- Japan surrendered to the US-led allied nations at the end of WW2. General Order No. 1 was signed which ended the Japanese rule of Taiwan. The United States also occupied Okinawa prefecture.
1949- Nationalists lost the civil war and retreated to Taiwan.
1952- Treaty of San Francisco was signed, without the mention of Senkaku Island.
1969- The UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific reports that there may be potential undersea oil reserves in the territory.
1971- The governments of China and Taiwan formally declare ownership of the islands.
1972- Okinawa returned to Japanese rule.
1972-1985- Koga sold the islands in individual transactions to the Kurihara family.
1978- About 100 Chinese fishing boats sailed close to the islands. A Japanese nationalist group built a lighthouse on one of the islands.
1996- The Japanese nationalist group built another lighthouse on another island. Several activists from Hong Kong dove into the waters off the islands on a protest journey and one drowned in the territory.
2002- The Japanese ministry of internal affairs started renting some of the Kurihara-owned islands.
2004- A group of Chinese “Biaodiao movement” activists landed on one of the disputed islands. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ordered their deportation after 2 days.
2007- Japan denounced the attempted landing of Chinese nationalist militants from the “Biaodiao movement”.
2008- A Taiwanese fishing vessel and a boat from Japan Coast guard collided
2010- A Chinese fishing boat rammed 2 Japanese coast guard patrol boats off the islands. The boat’s captain was arrested but was released in 2 weeks after diplomatic debates.
2012- Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara announced he had reached a basic agreement to buy the Kurihara-owned islands.
September 2012- 81 Taiwanese trawlers accompanied by a dozen Taiwan Coast Guard patrol boats patrolled off the islands to defend the sovereignty of the Republic of China on the islands and Taiwan’s fishing rights in the area.
As one can see from the timeline, the dispute over the island had lasted for over a century. Its background is very complicated from different eras from the two countries. Throughout the years of wars and disputes, the situation gets even more complicated over time. This is the most comprehensive timeline that could be put together given the nature of the long dispute. From this timeline, which country should take control of the islands?
Food and Snacks Invention Related to Pacific Asia War: Part 4 - The U.S. Military and the Invention of Cheetos
by Nickii Wantakan Arcado
The early 1900s marked a breakthrough in how the world produced and consumed cheese. Emulsifying salts, invented by Walter Gerber and Fritz Stettler, was a type of chemical that disperses water-phobic caseins through the exchange of sodium for calcium. This would then allow smaller particles to diffuse and suspend in liquid. While that entire sentence might have been a bit scientifically worded, in basic terms, the emulsifying salt allows you to control the property and textural component of whatever it is you mix it with. Traditionally, this was used in cheese. Melting cheese with emulsifying salts would create a cheese-like product that was homogenous. The cheese would then be able to withstand extremely high temperature and had an extended shelf life compared to their basic counter-party. This was the first creation of processed cheese. What was even more impressive, was that this processed product was capable of being made and sold at an incredibly low price, as one could simply use leftover bits from cheese wheels or other machinery. Both Gerber and Stettler would never guess their idea of process cheese would become as influential as it is today. (Have you seen how many products have process cheese in them?)
This technology soon was soon adopted by food companies in the U.S. In one instance, the U.S. military purchased over 25 million quarter pounds of white cheese tins from the company. Some historian credit this purchase for the rise of Kraft’s eventual dominance in the processed food industry to this day. By the onslaught of the Second World War, all branches of the United States military consisted of cheese; cheese on toast, cheese sauce for vegetables and potatoes, and cheese toppings for pasta.
However, the U.S. military during this time also sought to find new ways to create and package meal kits for soldiers. This led to military funding for research in shipping and cheese storage. The research was pioneered by the Quartermaster Corps’ Subsistence Research Laboratory, who focused their attention on dehydration and compression. To do this, scientist removed heavy water and reduced the volume of cheese within a serving of whatever product they were testing on. Under USDA dairy scientist, George Sander’s direction, the cheese was then dehydrated via drying chambers, pounded into bricks and then eventually fine dust. This was the creation of cheese powder.
By the end of the war, the Quartermaster Corps not only had warehouses full of food, but their distribution center was still churning out goods for troop members. As a sudden withdrawal of wartime contracts with food companies might have drastic economic effects, the government decided to create a temporary federal agency—the Surplus Property Administration—that sold off Quartermaster Corps food at bargain-basement prices.
The agency first started with the dairy business as they had an excess of powdered cheese that was flexible enough to be used by itself or for flavoring. Not only was the shelf life of this newly created product extremely attractive to food corporations, but a new trend of ‘snack foods’ were also beginning to hit the market. Indeed, in 1948, the Frito Company (Frito-Lay in 1961) debuted the U.S.’s first cheesy snack food, using the cheese powder purchased through the U.S. military. Created by Charles Doolin by extruding cornmeal and water, puffing, firing, then coating the merely finished stick with the dehydrated cheese, he created one of the country’s most beloved cheese snacks; Cheetos!
In 1986, the Cheetos current mascot, Chester Cheetah was created by art director and designer Brad Morgan. While he took creative control on the mascot’s commercials, Stephen Kane wrote the original scripts which consisted of the cool, sly, mascot using slogans that include "It ain't easy bein' cheesy", "The cheese that goes crunch!", and the current slogan, "Dangerously cheesy!". Check out the Cheetos diss track (video) to the Dorito’s Superbowl ad below.
Today, the snack comes in a variety of flavors and shapes, including Flaming Hot, Chipotle Ranch, Cheeto Puffs, White Cheddar, and so much more. (This editor’s favorite snack of all time has to be the XXTra Flaming Hot Crunchy Cheetos for sure).
In addition, as the snack is sold in more than 36 countries, flavor, shape, and composition have been adjusted to fit the region’s cultural preferences. Take for example Taiwan’s Seaweed Cheetos, Canada’s Ketchup, and who could forget the Strawberry Cheetos in Japan.
Curious about other foods invented during WW2? Check out this post!
De Salcedo, Anastacia Marx. Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the US Military Shapes the Way You Eat. Penguin, 2015.
Surprise! You Have the US Military to Thank for Cheetos ... The Kitchn, 18 Aug. 2015, www.thekitchn.com/surprise-you-have-the-us-military-to-thank-for-cheetos-222852.
So Delicious. “The US Military Is Apparently Behind The Invention Of The Cheeto.” The US Military Is Apparently Behind The Invention Of The Cheeto, Foodbeast, 18 Jan. 2019, www.foodbeast.com/news/invention-of-cheetos/.
"Strawberry Flavored Cheetos Seduce Sweet-Loving Snackers". inventorspot.com.
Salcedo, Anastacia Marx de. “How the US Military Helped Invent Cheetos.” Wired, Conde Nast, 22 Nov. 2017, www.wired.com/2015/08/us-military-helped-invent-cheetos/.
Hamilton, Alissa. "World war II's mobilization of the science of food acceptability: How ration palatability became a military research priority." Ecology of food and nutrition 42.4-5 (2003): 325-356.
Here's the March 21st open letter to the UN Security Council members from 55 South Korean civil society organizations asking for ensuring the peace process on the Korean peninsula. #solidarity
Nickii Wantakan Arcado
Born on June 25, 1902, Prince Chichibu was the second son of Emperor Taisho making him the younger brother of Emperor Hirohito. When he was 20, Emperor Taisho granted Prince Chichibu the title of Chichibu no miya (秩父宮), a gesture meaning that the Prince now had the approval to start a new branch of the imperial family line. When he turned 23, he flew to Great Britain to study at the Magdalen College, Oxford, one of the wealthiest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. During this time, we were decorated with the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order by King George.
Following the death of his father in 1927, he returned to Japan. While his older brother Hirohito was already the designated heir to the Imperial Crown, until Hirohito’s son’s birth (Crown Prince Akihito) in 1933, Prince Chichibu was next in line for the throne.
(Emperor Taishō (31 August 1879 – 25 December 1926) left, Emperor Hirohito (29 April 1901 – 7 January 1989) right
In 1928, he married Matsudaira Setsuko, the daughter of the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. Unfortunately, the couple never had children leaving as Princess Chichibu’s only pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.
The Beginning of World War II
Prince Chichibu received his first commission in 1922. As a second lieutenant assigned to the First Imperial Guard Division. By 1925, he was promoted to first lieutenant in 1925 and 5 years later, became a captain after his graduation from the Army War College (陸軍大学校) in Minato, Tokyo. The college goal was to both modernize and Westernize the Imperial Army. By the end of the war, the building was torn down and abandoned.
The Prince and Princess set out on a lengthened tour of Western Europe beginning in 1937. Such trips included the attendance of the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Westminster Abbey, representing Japan. They also visited King Gustaf V of Sweden and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, respectively. It was their last destination, in Nuremberg, Germany, that might have sealed their fate. Attending the Nuremberg Rally where Adolf Hitler attacked the credibility of Joseph Stalin and promoted the creation of pure Aryan identity, Prince Chichibu became convinced of his country’s potential alignment with Nazi Germany. Rumors circulated that the Prince and his brother, now Emperor Hirohito, had constant arguments on military alliances between Japan and Germany.
Eventually, Prince Chichibu gradually increased in military rank: battalion commander of Thirty-First Infantry Regiment in 1937, a lieutenant colonel in 1938, and colonel in 1939. While involved in many combat operations, some of his most notorious included Manchukuo during the Nomonhan Incident and Nanjing after the Nanjing Massacre.
Nomonhan Incident left, and Nanjing after the Nanjing Massacre right
In other stories, Prince Chichibu was also known to be involved in controversial activities. One example included his support for biological and chemical research within Unit 731 and other inhumane laboratories. Some reports spotted Prince Chichibu at a bacteriological lecture conducted by Shirō Ishii at the War Ministry Grand Conference Hall in 1939. Other note his constant involvement and attendance of vivisection demonstrations conducted by Ishii. While the history of Prince Chichibu involvement with Unit 731 has been constantly debated on, more information of the unit itself and the Prince’s involvement can be read in our publication Unit 731 by Derek Pua You may find it here.
Other historians discuss Prince Chichibu’s grand, treasure hunting initiative; the Golden Lily Operation. The operation, rumored to be led by Prince Chichibu himself, was an invasion and looting of rare items and treasures from various countries conquered by Japan during the war. The booty would then be transported back to Japan via the Philippines, where it was to be loaded onto ships ready to embark their final destination. We explored the Golden Lily Operation in detail per our article here.
Like other members of the royal family, Prince Chichibu was exonerated from persecution by Douglas MacArthur during the Tokyo Tribunal (also known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East) on April 29, 1946. Both the Truman Administration and General MacArthur himself believed that for reform to occur, the pardoning of the royal family in war crimes and the legitimization of change under Hirohito was necessary. Others were not as lucky. Those who were persecuted during this tribunal were categorized into three levels; Class A Crime being the joint conspiracy to start and wage war, Class B Crimes being the conventional war crimes, and Class C is the crimes against humanity.
Prince Chichibu passed away due to tuberculosis complication in Fujisawa, Kanagawa on February 4, 1953. After cremation, his body was buried at the Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Tokyo. As he was known as the ‘Sports Prince’ due to his work in securing rugby unions in Japan as well as his honorary positions of the President of both the Japan–British Society and supporter of Scouting, after his death, the Tokyo Rugby Station was renamed to Chichibu-no-miya Rugby Stadium. A real-life statue of the Prince in rugby attire was also erected.
Prominent People of Minato City (Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu ), 16 Feb. 2006, www.lib.city.minato.tokyo.jp/yukari/e/man-detail.cgi?id=60.
Lebra, Sugiyama Takie. Above the Clouds: Status Culture of the Modern Japanese Nobility. University of California Press (1995).
Kanroji, Osanaga. Hirohito: An Intimate Portrait of the Japanese Emperor. Harpercollins, 1975.
“Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Chichibu.” Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Chichibu - The Imperial Household Agency, www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-about/history/history12.html.
Food and Snacks Invention Related to Pacific Asia War: Part 3- Nutella: How Rationing Created an Italian Sweets Empire
Italy had switched sides in WW2 during October of 1943, declaring war on the Axis of power then. By the end of WW2, the United States’ occupation of Italy was not news. Postwar Italy was in bad shape, but was not as bad as postwar Japan. However, food rationing was happening all across Europe and cacao importing cost was very high, which provided an opportunity for resourceful entrepreneur such as Pietro Ferrero.
Pietro Ferrero’s version of the gianduiotto was even better. He blended a mixture of molasses, hazelnut oil, coconut butter, and a small amount of cocoa. He cut them into small loaves and wrapped them into wax paper. Its original name was Giandujot (Pasta Gianduja) after a local carnival character at the time. The children liked the chocolate and hazelnut mixture so much that they tossed the bread out and only ate the Giandujot in the middle. Since Giandujot was selling so well, He decided to partner up with his brother, Giovanni, who had the wholesaling experience to scale up his operation.
By 1946, May 14th, the Ferrero Company was born! However, Pietro died of a heart attack by 1949. By 1951, Pietro’s son, who was 26 at the time, wanted to turn his father’s solid paste into something more creamy and spreadable. The spreadability helped to make the small amount of cocoa go even further. His secret ingredient was vegetable. He then renamed the product “SuperCrema”. This was the predecessor of Nutella.
SuperCrema was packaged in jars and pots so customers could reuse them for other things. Due to the high cost of wholesale distribution, the company decided to go with sales representatives to talk directly to the stores to keep the cost down. Due to a heart attack, Giovanni also passed away in 1957 leaving Michele into taking over the operation, but the company was already on its way to global expansion. Michele had convinced his relatives in Germany to convert former Nazi missile factories into factories of candies. In Germany, they started not with their SuperCrema, but with Mon Cheri, cherry-liquor-filled chocolate.
In the 1960s, Italy finally recovered from its postwar economic ruins with a combination of the Cold War, the Marshall Plan, and the Korean War. The country could afford to have chocolate once again. Michele then decided to add more cocoa powder to the mix. And by 1964, the company needed to rebrand as Italy started regulating the use of superlatives in advertising. They came up with the name “Nutella” to convey its content of hazelnut.
By 1982, the company found another use for Nutella. Making of its own chocolate, Ferrero Rocher. The chocolate layer that surrounds the hazelnut in the middle of each Ferrero Rocher is Nutella. Today, more than 365 million kilos of Nutella is consumed worldwide, and more than 25% of the world’s hazelnuts are used by making Nutella.
by Sung Sohn from Education for Social Justice
The term “comfort women” is an unjust euphemism referring to Japanese military sex slaves who were trafficked before and during WWII. While they came from many different parts of Asia, at least from 13 different countries, most of them were from poor families, and all victims were gang-raped repeatedly for years for the “comfort” of Japanese soldiers until the end of WWII. However, the victims’ suffering did not end with the war. In a patriarchal society where a woman’s value is equated with chastity, they often experienced shame and were afraid to speak out about their experiences. The “comfort women” system organized by the Japanese Imperial Army is a painfully inhumane outcome of imperialism, patriarchy, and discriminations based on gender, race, and socio-economic status all merged together.
Years after WWII, realizing the impact of this injustice and concerned for future generations, surviving “comfort women” found the courage and came forward to tell the world their painful stories so that the crimes committed to them would never be repeated. In 1971, using a pen name, Suzuko Shirota (1921 – 1993) broke her silence with her memoir, In Praise of Mary. In 1991, encouraged by the successful democratization movement in the late 1980s in South Korea, Hak-Soon Kim (1924-1997) made the first public testimony. The power of each testimony, whether it was made in public or under an alias, became the core impetus for the redress movement for bringing peace and justice. Soon after Hak-Soon Kim came forward in 1991, about 240 victims came forward in South Korea alone. Activists, scholars, policymakers, and ordinary citizens from Korea, Japan, and other parts of the world joined the movement and ultimately expanded the movement globally. The victims are fighting against the Japanese government, not the people of Japan. Late victim Bok-Dong Kim (1926-2017) made this clear in 2011 when she and other survivors made a donation to the victims of a severe earthquake in Japan, stating, “We are not fighting against the people of Japan. We are fighting against the government that refuses to apologize for its wrongdoings.” What one victim voiced in Japan and Korea turned into a transnational redress movement.
Beginning with the stone memorial to “Military ‘Comfort Women,’” erected upon the request of Suzuko Shirota, at the Kanita Women’s Village in Chiba in Japan in 1986, numerous memorials have been erected across the world remembering and honoring the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery. In the Philippines, after the two memorials honoring the former “comfort women” were removed in 2018 against the will of civic organizations and citizens who helped erect the memorials, another one was unveiled on private land in Caticlan in January of 2019, free from political interference and pressure.
In California, the content of “comfort women” history is included in the 2017 California History-Social Science Framework. This passage, which is placed in the 10th grade 2017 H-SS Framework section 10.8, Causes and Consequences of WWII, after the question “How was the war mobilized on different fronts?,” is an excellent starting point for teaching students about the devastating impact of WWII in different parts in Asia.
Despite the Japanese government’s repeated denials, attempts to rewrite history of “comfort women,” and pertinacious refusal to officially apologize and offer reparations, the transnational, resilient fights of the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery laid the solid foundation to redress the history of Japanese military sexual slavery and expand it to sexual violence against women in armed and non-armed conflict. Their redress movement also extends to promoting peace so that the crimes they suffered could never be repeated on to others.
Although the phrase #MeToo was coined by Tarana Burke, Charlotte Clymer, and Alyssa Milano, it could be said that Hak-Soon Kim was a pioneer of the #MeToo movement with her courageous public testimony in 1991. As the number of survivors dwindles, the politics of denial and the attempts to erase and revise collective memory seem to gain momentum. However, the more the Japanese government tries to revise their history, the more they are going to be up against the resistance of transnational solidarity built by the supporters of women’s human rights, peace, and justice. As the more survivors suffer ailments associated with old age, the collective power of the supporters will multiply, carrying on the victims’ demands and hopes. The redress movement will continue, inspired by the many victims who ultimately became human rights activists and advocates for peace.
The national image that Japan has created itself and the stories the Japanese government has been telling contradict the truth. Therefore, for their future generations, the Japanese government has a moral responsibility to face history squarely and respond with sincerity to the redress movement begun by the victims of sexual slavery. A formal acknowledgment, apology, and reparations from the Japanese government are the first steps in providing a modicum of comfort to the former Japanese military sex slaves. It’s long overdue.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Education for Social Justice Foundation