View Full Version : G.I.'s drink of choice in Occupied Japan 1945-50

05-27-2004, 06:33
I really need the help of all you Bourbon historians over there on the other side of the Pacific.
What it is, I need to know what American troops were drinking when they were in Japan after World War Two.
Beers. Whiskies. Local hooch.
I'm trying to write a novel set at this time, and if I get it wrong, I'll be strung up,

05-27-2004, 09:10
An interesting question, one for which I have no direct answer.

I'm going on 61 years old. My father, who was in the Pacific in WWII, but never in Japan, would be 89 years old if he were still alive.

I suspect the number of veterans who could spot your error, if any, is small and dwindling day by day.

Perhaps you could find a group of WWII veterans online who could help you. I suggest you inquire of the VFW or the American Legion regarding such a group.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

06-05-2004, 10:06
Based on talking with my Father ( ww2 pacific theater, Navy ) and from watching many period movies, cheap beer
and local hooch (Sake') seem to be the rule. Like cigars to cigarrettes, whisky was just two expensive for the
average sailor/soldier.

Hope this helps,

mark http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

06-07-2004, 06:14
Right after the war Schenley had a contract with the military to supply Three Feathers to the military bases. This was not a bourbon, but an American Blend. That is also the time that they started exporting I W Harper around the world even though it never really became big anywhere except Japan and that really did not happen to the late 70's and 80's.
Mike Veach

06-07-2004, 07:22
Hello WM,
Welcome to the forum!
I run a website for the G.I. Joe Post and Memorial Park (http://www.gijoe244.us/) in Jtown. They always have a big Memorial Day program and I have to shoot photos. So I asked several of the fellas while we were standing around.

They said the same thing Mark said. Bourbon was too expensive and hard to get. They mostly drank a Japanese beer called Asahi. Asahi is still made today. 'Course that was only the Pacific Theater. (Not so for the European and North African Theaters.)

Have you found Sal's Cafe (http://www.salscafe.com/cafe.html) yet? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

06-12-2004, 06:43
Thanks a million for all of your help, out there, it's really appreciated.
I managed to hook up with an 85 year-old Japanese man and I asked him the same question. He loves his whisky, and he knocks back a couple of bottles of Old Crow a week, plus a litre or two of sake. He says the locals used to score Canadian Club off the GI's, and it was really popular at the time,
I'm halfway through a bottle of the stuff for nostalgia's sake and I'm finding it a bit of a fruity heather and sherry rollercoaster,
Anyone tried it?
Thanks again,

06-12-2004, 13:32

I just spoke with my father who was stationed in Japan in 1945-1946. He tells me that sake was the most widely available, and hence most widely consumed alcoholic beverage for American troops.

He said that American servicemen were not allowed to patronize Japanese eating establishments ... ever. He said he never had Japanese beer while stationed there, and even when invited to the home of the mayor of the small town the troops he commanded occupied, he was offered only sake.

He stated that Canadian Club was indeed available, but only at officer's clubs. He also said that he was aware of the fact that some of his fellow officers covertly appropriated this whiskey in order to trade with the locals for various goods and services.

06-12-2004, 16:13
I can add some indirect support for that. My father was a WWII Navy veteran in the Pacific (I mostly know about him being in the Phillipines http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif ) and he usually bought Canadian Club when he was buying whiskey.


06-15-2004, 11:39
fruity heather and sherry

That's one of the better descriptions I have read of Canadian whisky in general. Right on.