Imperial Japanese rations

Imperial Japanese rations

Imperial Japanese rations were the field rations issued by Imperial Japan in World War II, and which reflected the culture of the Japanese military. Rations had to be stout, durable, simple, sturdy and had to survive without refrigeration for long periods of time. Typically each ration was served in the field in tin boxes, and cooked near the battlefield.

The rations issued by the Imperial Japanese Government, usually consisted of rice with barley, meat or fish, vegetables, pickled vegetables, umeboshi, shoyu sauce, miso or bean paste, and green tea. A typical field ration would have 1½ cups of rice, with barley. The reason why rice was issued with barley was to combat nutritional deficiencies such as beriberi.

Typically ¼ cup of canned tuna, or sausages, and/or squid would be cooked from either captured locations or hunting in the nearby area. Preserved foods from Japan typically were issued sparingly. Other foods issued: 1 ¼ cups of canned cabbage, coconut, sweet potato, burdock, lotus root, taro, bean sprouts, peaches, mandarin oranges, lychee or beans. 3 teaspoons of pickled radish (typically daikon), pickled cucumber, umeboshi, scallions and ginger added flavor to the rations. Sometimes less than an ounce of dried seaweed, was issued for making sushi in the field, or beer and/or sake was issued to help boost morale.

US Marines, who captured these rations from the Japanese, often found a taste for rice vinegar, shoyu sauce and MSG, which were typically added to rice when the Japanese seasoned the rice for long range missions.

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