Diary of Leon Ma. Guerrero

26th January 1945

Today I heard an amusing and pointed story about two of the Filipino cadets in the local military academy, boys chosen after rigid and meticulous tests that probed not only their technical qualifications but also their friendliness toward Japan. It seems that these two got into a quarrel. They argued heatedly, exchanging insults that gradually grew more and more bitter, but not yet coming to blows. They investigated each other’s maternity, anatomy, and personal habits without undue violence. Finally one of them lost his head.

“You Jap!” he shouted.

“You can’t call me that,” the other sprang up, fists in the air. They didn’t speak to each other for a week.

The discussions in the budget committee centered on the rice problem yesterday, in reply to a question put by Mr. Nobufusa Miyoshi, the minister of agriculture and commerce said: “We are coping with the situation with the determination of absolutely not changing the basic quota of 2.3 go (per person per day). We wish absolutely not to lower this figure even for the future. The ration is roughly equivalent to 350 grams.

The question was raised, notes the Mainichi, because of the rumor that the quota would be altered. “Because of the aggravation of the war situation and the shortage of bottoms,” the paper goes on to explain, “the shipment of rice produced in Taiwan and other colonies cannot be hoped for. To cope with this situation the ministry sometime ago decided to raise enough food within the country for the consumption of the people in. 1945.” For this purpose the government has imposed quotas aimed at the cultivation of almost two million chobu of land and the production of 30 million koku of barley and wheat to supplement the rice crop.

To be really happy however the Japanese need more than food; they want a hot bath. Before the war every Japanese house had its wooden tub, built in over a furnace. Now the little chimneys are clogged and rusty; there is just enough charcoal, perhaps not even enough, for the daily cooking and the hand’s-size brazier in the main room. So the Japanese have being going to the public baths, so many of them that our neighbor says he once stuck his leg into the crowded pool and could neither take it out again nor get in after it. Today the Tokyo metropolitan police board announced that it has taken up a suggestion made in the letter-columns of the press. To relieve congestion the partitions separating the men from the women in the public bath-houses will be taken down. Instead men and women will take baths on different days, alterna­ting in the use of the whole house. The water will still be stale, dirty, greasy with the soaking bodies of all the neighbors and their families, but it will be tolerably hot and there may be room to stretch one arm.