• Short Summary

    In Northern Japan, lonely tombstones mark the graves of 199 officers and men of the now defunct Japanese Imperial Army who died in an attempt to cross the snow-covered Hakkoda Mountains in midwinter.

  • Description


    Snow falling over tombstones 1902 victims



    SDF trucks through snow to begin current expedition (note Japanese super partly over this shot should be edited out) on Jan. 16th.



    SDF men from trucks



    Skis in snow as men prepare



    Japanese flag



    cu unit's commander, Colonel Shibata



    Men march away (various shots)



    Men on skis through deep snow (various shots)



    Memorial to 1902 dead



    SDF men salute



    Flowers placed at memorial



    ws campsite for firstnight, men dig "igloos"



    cu man crawls inside



    Men inside, cooking, eating and drinking



    Man goes to sleep



    ou candle burning



    Men towards camera through snow pulling sled (shot 17 Jan.)



    ws men through trees and snow.




    Initials rgh/vs



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Northern Japan, lonely tombstones mark the graves of 199 officers and men of the now defunct Japanese Imperial Army who died in an attempt to cross the snow-covered Hakkoda Mountains in midwinter.

    The men of the Army's fifth infantry regiment died during a training exercise in 1902.

    Seventy years later, a unit of the Ground Self Defence Forces yesterday (Sunday) set out on an attempt to successfully complete the march and "console the souls of the victims".

    Local residents of the area, in Aomori Prefecture in the north of Japan's main Honshu Island, have warned the current march is foolhardy as the mountain crossing is impossible in winter.

    But Colonel Shibata, commander of the SDF's fifth regiment, is confident of success. He says his men will have the most modern equipment available, including a rescue helicopter.

    Men on this present expedition have been training in deep snow for several weeks. Bivouacs filled with supplies have already been established along the route, which is now well sign-posted.

    Soon after starting their march, the SDF unit paused for a memorial service at a statue in honour of those who died in 1902.

    On their first night, the men dug virtual igloos in the snow, filling them quickly with gear and simple heating like one candle, which the Eskimos of northern Canada have proved is an efficient method. Hot meals and drinks came from portable gas stoves.

    The SDF unit expects to finish the 43 kilometre march on Tuesday.

    During the ill-fated trek seventy years ago, the group became lost in a blizzard and 199 of the 210 men froze to death in a temperature 42 degrees centigrade below freezing point. The victims were wearing shoes, not skis, and their compasses froze in the cold.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA1L0NZJR2FFSWNKWQ37HPRF55S
    Media URN:
    VLVA1L0NZJR2FFSWNKWQ37HPRF55S
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    17/01/1972
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:51:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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