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Sunday, April 19, 2009

JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Flying machines, dancing for defense, an Imperial wedding and a bark suppressor


By EDAN CORKILL

100 YEARS AGO

Thursday, Apr. 29, 1909

Hamilton Airship taken for a spin

Mr. Charles Hamilton, American aeronaut, attempted the first trial of his airship at Kawasaki yesterday morning. The attempt, attended by several officers of the Military Balloon Corps, was a fair success. In the first attempt the aeronaut sailed a distance of some several cho (1 cho = 109.1 meters), the height being about 20 ft. or so, before safely returning to the starting ground in a few minutes. In a second airy trip he achieved the height of some 30 ft. But when the ship was on its return an interruption occurred to the engine which came to a stoppage, and the ship landed on a marshy spot, breaking the propeller. The reliable use of the airship for aerial voyage has however been fully exemplified, the only question being its practicability.

The 28-year-old Mr. Hamilton is an engineer of New Britain, Conn., U.S. and the designer and builder of the Hamilton Airships and flying machines. He came here only a short time ago accompanied by Mr. K. Wadamori, formerly a barrister, who was in America for some years past.


75 YEARS AGO

Thursday, Apr. 26, 1934

Dance hall girls give for defense

To prove that professional dancing partners are every bit as patriotic as citizens in other walks of life, the girls employed in a Ginza dance hall have donated nearly ¥1,000 to the National Defense Fund.

Nine of the hundred-odd dancers called Tuesday afternoon at the Navy Office and gave the sum to the officials in charge of the fund. The spokesman in handing over the gift said that the public believes their profession is a frivolous one, but that members of her group were as patriotic as people employed in other occupations.


50 YEARS AGO

Saturday, Apr. 11, 1959

Heir to Imperial Throne weds

The marriage of Crown Prince Akihito to his commoner bride Miss Shoda was solemnized yesterday morning in a dramatic, traditional ceremony at the inner sanctuary of the Imperial Palace.

The 24-year-old daughter of a prominent businessman became Crown Princess Michiko as the bride, clad in the ceremonial robe of 12 silken garments, quietly emptied the sacred wine cup served by the chief ritualist at the Kashikodokoro of the Imperial Sanctuary. It was 10:12 a.m.

The Crown Prince and his bride entered the sanctuary slightly before 10 a.m. when 869 guests were seated outside.

At the inner sanctuary, Akihito read his marriage oath: "On this auspicious day, we shall respectfully conduct the ceremony of matrimony before the Kashikodokoro. We pledge that we shall mutually live in conjugal harmony forever. We pray for your protection."

The name of Michiko Shoda, now new Crown Princess, was struck off the family register of the Shodas at the Shinagawa Ward Office. It is expected to be entered Monday on the Imperial Lineage Book.

One of the persons invited to attend the wedding ceremony was Mrs. Elizabeth Gray Vining, the Crown Prince's onetime American tutoress who had hoped that Akihito would seek a bride of his own choice and liking.

That hope had come true to Mrs. Vining and of course, the Crown Prince, too.


25 YEARS AGO

Sunday, Apr. 8, 1984

Some dogs go 'ouch,' not 'wan'


By MITSUO KATOH

It's not something out of a torture squad's toolbox, but it's close. The device is a 200-gram plastic cylinder which, when attached to a collar and fastened to the throat, generates an electric current upon the emission of sound. The source of the current is the "Wan Stop," and that's the source of a current controversy concerning "dog rights."

The mechanics of the device are simple. When the dog barks, a sensor in the device is activated and the dog receives an electric shock.

The ethical principles involved are not so simple. Animal-protection groups say the bark-represser deprives the animal of its only means of self-expression.

However, dog owners purchasing the device say there is no other way to cope with the problem of barking and ensuing complaints from neighbors. The device retails for between ¥14,500 and ¥16,000. It was invented by an Osaka-based pet shop about 10 years ago. At present, the firm produces more than 500 units a month, some for export to Europe and Southeast Asia.

The manufacturer stressed that the device has no harmful effect on a dog's health and that "if the dog receives a shock or two, it won't bark for a while as a conditioned reflex."

But "dog lovers" claim that such suppression could cause psychological and physical harm. In addition, the device sometimes "responds" to loud sounds such as ambulance sirens and car horns, they say.

Dr. Kiyoaki Ikezawa, veterinarian with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, says pet owners have become extremely irresponsible regarding their animals. Recently, and especially in urban areas, people have become increasingly alienated from one another and, as a result, they have become less tolerant of nuisances, such as a dog's barking. This might be one reason why some dog owners are inclined to resort to a draconian solution to the problem, Ikezawa suggested.

In this feature, which appears in TimeOut on the third Sunday of each month, along with our regular Week 3 stories, we delve into The Japan Times' 113-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.


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