CHIBA -- Rare pictures of German prisoners of war from World War I showing the Japanese how to produce sausages have been discovered.
Takashi Chiba, 37, a museum curator at the Kasumigaura-shi Kyodo Shiryokan in Ibaraki Prefecture, found the pictures in June while he was researching Yoshifusa Iida, a Japanese government official who was said to have spread sausage manufacturing methods across Japan.
The 10 pictures from 1918 show German soldiers, who were detained at the Narashino prison camp in then Ninomiya (present-day Narashino) in Chiba Prefecture, butchering pigs and smoking pork to make sausages.
The pictures are in possession of Sachio Yano, 82, who worked at an experimental livestock institute in the city of Chiba run by the former Japanese ministry of agriculture and commerce.
Chiba learned of the pictures while studying about Iida (1876-1976), a ministry engineer. Yano was given the pictures when the institute moved to Kukizaki (present-day Tsukuba) in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1980.
From descriptions in a book authored by Iida, the pictures were probably taken in February 1918, and they also show Iida himself.
"I asked sausage makers at the prison to make sausages. It happened just as I was devoting myself to producing processed meat products experimentally," according to the book.
"The sausage makers were Karl Jahn and other meat processors. They showed us how to make 12 types of sausages."
Iida later passed down the sausage making method to meat processors across the nation, heralding the spread of sausages in Japan.
"The authentic German art (of sausage making) is pictured, and the photos are precious and significant in that they recorded the beginning of sausage making in Japan," said Norio Hotta, president of Banshu Ham Corp. in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. Hotta is an expert in the history of meat processing in Japan.
(Mainichi Japan) August 16, 2008