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If the flu bug strikes, just rest and let the world turn without you

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A book by historical demography specialist Akira Hayami contains this excerpt from a newspaper article published in 1919: "The flu is the inevitable topic of conversation at public bathhouses and barbershops. A bathhouse patron took his leave in haste, saying he was feeling a chill after the bath. A man bolted out of a barbershop, turning up the collar of his coat."

Japan was in the grip of a global influenza pandemic, commonly known as the Spanish Flu, that began raging in 1918.

About 40 percent of the Japanese population came down with it, including the prime minister, Takashi Hara (1856-1921). According to an entry in Hara's........

© The Asahi Shimbun