Sunday, May 27, 2018

Increasing the knowledge base of Saitos

You will recall that Shihan Jan de Jong OAM 9th Dan commenced his training with the Saito brothers in Semarang Indonesia pre-WWII. Not much is known of the Saito brothers.

In the Jan de Jong Pre-War Years post, I referred to a possible/probable reference to the Saito brothers in 50 Years of Silence:

When De Jong returned to Indonesia after WWII, he tried to locate his instructors but no trace of them was ever found. This could be explained because they may have been Japanese spies. De Jong would suggest they may have been in the Japanese Army pre-WWII. This story is given a little more suk pport when Jan Ruff-O'Hearne (50 Years of Silence) writes about her time growing up in pre-WWII Semarang: 'Our friendly Japanese photographer turned out to be a spy too. He was the most popular photographer in Semarang.' Given the time the Saitos spent in Semarang, it may be they were former military and were called upon, as islikely of all nationals living in a country which is at war with their homeland, by the Japanese military prior to their invasion.

 One of the unintended and unexpected outcomes of creating this blog is that others who used to be associated with De Jong have contacted me to share relevant things with me. That brings me to the subject of this post; that a past student of Sensei Darryl Cook who contacted me with some references associated with the Saitos, in particular photographer-Saito.

Before we come to those references, de Jong shared with me a book he'd discovered that included a photograph of a street in Semarang taken by a photographer of the town/city named Saito. De Jong and myself visited that streets when we toured Java, Indonesia together. Apparently his brother used to ride his bike down the hill at full tilt and on one occasion ended up demolishing a flower stall.

'The photos in this report were shot by Saito, a famous Japanese photographer in Semarang at that time.'

'This is a brown and white photo made in the 20s. So it is about 85 years OLD . It shows a beautiful view of a Chinese Wedding Couple. This photo was probably taken by Saito & Co, Semarang , Java in Indonesia .'

Not much is known about De Jong's first jujutsu instructors, the Saito brothers. If anyone else comes across any other information, please contact me and I'll share with the readers of The School of Jan de Jong and add to the knowledge base thereof.

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