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"Food (Japan)" from Intelligence Bulletin, September 1942

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following report on Japanese Army food and rations was published in the Intelligence Bulletin, September 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



Each soldier in the Japanese Army is responsible for his own cooking while in the combat area. As a general rule, however, the men of a squad do their cooking together. No stove or other heating apparatus is carried. Enough food is often cooked in the morning to last throughout the day. Sometimes the Japanese have only rice and salt to eat. Sugar is considered a luxury. It must be obtained in the general area where the operations take place.


Each soldier usually carries enough food to last him for five days in the field; infiltration groups may carry more. At times the Japanese kill and cook dogs, goats, and other small animals to add to their emergency rations. The five-day emergency ration includes:

a. Half a pound of hard candy.
b. Can of tea.
c. Package of compact food.
d. Vitamin pills.
e. Package of hardtack.
f. Small sack of rice.


In Burma the Japanese used two types of emergency rations. One was known as the "A" scale and the other as the "B" scale. Each soldier carried rations for three days on the "A" scale and for one day on the "B" scale. Neither of the rations was to be eaten except on orders of the commanding officer when the unit was separated from its supply column. Each ration under the "A" scale consisted of about 1 pound and 3 ounces of rice (enough for two meals) and one small can of mixed beef and vegetables. The soldier usually cooked the rice in a small bucket which he carried for this purpose. The "B" scale ration consisted of three paper bags of hard biscuits (enough for three meals).


These generally are of two types, "normal" and "special." The soldier always carries the special ration, and is issued the normal ration at mealtimes.

a. Special Type

A single ration includes the following:

20.46 ounces of rice (probably polished);
8.113 ounces of biscuit;
5.3 ounces of canned meat (or 2.1 ounces of dried meat);
4.23 ounces of dried vegetables;
1.09 ounces of dried plums, and small quantities of salt, sugar, and sometimes a can of beer made from rice.

b. Normal Type

A single ration of this type includes the following:

23.3 ounces of rice;
7.4 ounces of barley;
7.4 ounces of raw meat;
21.16 ounces of vegetables;
2.1 ounces of pickles and small quantities of flavoring, salt, and sugar.


The Japanese are using vitamins to supplement their rations to an unknown extent. Some of the vitamin tablets are known to consist mainly of vitamins A and D.


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