Japanese WWII Military Cigarettes Branded 'HOH YOKU'
An amazing survivor from WWII, these were produced and sold from around 1941/1942 by the Monopoly Bureau of Japan. The brand, literally meaning 'Mythical Bird of Gigantic Wingspan', was designed to stimulate the fighting spirit, although all packaging of this type was abolished after 'VJ Day' in 1945.
The pack remains intact, with just minor wear to the cardboard commensurate with its age and still with its original contents intact and untouched. Thanks to the continued services of our Japanese consultant, ex colleague and friend Yasu, the wording on the side and ends of the pack have been kindly translated reading :
定價拾五銭：retail price at 15 sen (=1/100 yen)
ほうよく：＝鵬翼＝HOH YOKU (Brand Name)
The image on the front appears to show a Mitsubishi G4M land based medium bomber, operated by the Japanese Imperial Navy from 1940-1945. Perhaps appropriately in the current context it was nicknamed by allied fighter pilots as "The Flying Lighter", as it was extremely prone to ignition after a few hits; it was also referred to as the 'Betty'.
Whilst the history of this pack is now lost it came to us from a source in the USA and seems likely it was taken back to the States as a war souvenir. A scarce survivor from WWII and an item that should appeal to both aviation and militaria collectors alike and also to those who are into the specialist area called "Tobacciana", which encompasses all Items related to tobacco or its industry.
The final picture attached shows an identical pack taken from a captured Japanese POW Officer in New Guinea, by a GI from Chicago Area in 1944, thus confirming this brand was available to and used by Japanese service personnel in WWII.