Japanese quail (uzura), c. 1920.

1920sArts & CultureFolklore
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“The Japanese also keep quails as pets; but the task is not an easy one, as the birds are delicate and soon die. The bird-lover who can keep a quail in good health may well boast of his love for wildlife; and there are Japanese who are proud of such achievement.

“The cage for quails has to have a net top, as otherwise the birds would injure themselves flying and jumping up against it. This bird is not favored as a pet by the upper classes, as they regard it as food. But among the middle and lower classes the quail is loved for its melancholy notes.”

The Japan Magazine, November 1915

A postcard shin hanga reproduction (artist unknown) of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) frolicking on a sand dune, c. 1920, among beach pea wildflowers and seaside goldenrod.

See also:
Onagadori (Long-tailed chicken), c. 1920.
Fishing with cormorants, Gifu, c. 1930.

“The Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica [trans. uzura], is a species of Old World quail found in East Asia. First considered a subspecies of the common quail, it was distinguished as its own species in 1983.

“… The earliest records of domesticated Japanese quail populations are from 12th century Japan; however, there is evidence that the species was actually domesticated as early as the 11th century. These birds were originally bred as songbirds, and it is thought that they were regularly used in song contests.

“This quail species is also an avid dust bather, individuals undergoing numerous bouts of dust bathing each day. When dust bathing, this bird will rake its bill and legs across the ground in order to loosen up the ground, and then use its wings to toss the dust into the air. As the dust falls back down to the ground around the bird, it will shake its body and ruffle its feathers to ensure they receive a thorough coating. This behavior is believed to function in such things as simple feather maintenance and parasite removal.”


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