Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unique Visitor Graced Springfield in 1947

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Unique Visitor Graced Springfield in 1947

Article excerpt

Hatsushimo woke up a long way from home, squinting into the

winter dawn of the Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville,

which has happened not infrequently to transients unexpectedly

finding themselves there.

But Hatsushimo was unique, not to suggest that other

Springfield transients are not.

This was 50 years ago, January 1947, in the aftermath of World

War II. Hatsushimo was, as the name suggests, Japanese, and

there were few Japanese in Springfield at the time.

Until recently, Hatsushimo had been Hirohito's horse.

"I do not think we are in Tokyo anymore," the Big Hat, as he

was known to his many friends and admirers, may have indicated

to his faithful companion Mike, a Dalmatian dog.

Mike used to belong to Edward Arnold, the movie actor. A sudden

change in fortune had brought Hatsushimo and Mike to the stables

of H.A. Smith, located by the press of the day only as in


"A magnificent white horse that once was the pride of Emperor

Hirohito of Japan was taking it easy in a Jacksonville stable

last night in comfortable Florida weather that reminded him

little of the frigid winters of Tokyo," The Florida Times-Union


The name Hatsushimo translated to "First Frost," the newspaper

said, and this was First Frost's 17th winter, his first removed

from the imperial Japanese household.

Mike's age was not given, but the paper reported the faithful

Dalmatian was a gift of the character actor Arnold to dashing

American cavalryman Dick Ryan of Oceanside, Calif., several

months before. Hatsushimo, likewise, was a gift to Ryan, sort


"How Ryan acquired First Frost is a subject which has

interested most Americans," the paper reported.

"The reason roots back to Ryan's pre-war life as a cowboy,

circus rider, rodeo man, Hollywood stunt artist, motion picture

double and other experience."

And also, of course, because Hirohito's side lost the war and

Ryan's did not. …

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