Yeoman Janice Rand-A personal tribute

She seemed to have eyes only for her Captain.
Yeoman Janice Rand was a fictional persona, in the original Star Trek TV Series, but my “crash” for her, was far from being fictional…
They call it crash for a reason… It is the usual “landing place” from falling in love!
In most of my texts I do my best effort to be logical and objective.
And well… I suppose that this will not be one of them!

Looking behind the blond
If we say that Yeoman Janice Rand did appear from the very first episode of Star Trek, it will be a kind of an understatement. A more careful look at pre-production photos clearly shows that, not only she was to appear from episode one, but the original intended “trio-to-be” included her, instead of “Bones”. The line-up was Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and Yeoman Janice Rand.
Besides, if you think about it, Dr. Mc Coy had his entire sickbay, plus his very own office. Much like chief engineer, Mr. Scott, who had his engine room etc. So, he had space and purpose enough for him, and little business of hovering around Captain Kirk’s head on the bridge. And by all means, that would not belittle the good doctor in the least…

It is no accident that many years later Grace Lee Whitney, the actress impersonating Yeoman Rand, used one of those photos (of the original trio) as front cover of her Autobiography…

This means that while she was magnificently presented into her part, even before the beginning, the moment she lifted her foot in order to take her first step she was sidetracked… That’s what it is!

You’re too beautiful to ignore, too much woman…
Don’t look at me I didn’t say that, Captain Kirk did.
Me, I only thought about it all the time but did not dare tell it. Oh my… I just told it!

In Star Trek participated a number of women who were far more beautiful and far sexier than Janice ever was. But she possessed one thing to the extreme. She was irresistibly attractive! And this was not only because of her physical appearance. It also had a lot to do with Grace Lee Whitney’s acting, as well. When she was around, all eyes and attention fell on her…
The funny thing is that, with time, more and more people come out to agree on that, and I am surprised to find that this number is increasing, as new fans discover the “old” series!
This quality of hers, of being attractive, was a tremendous boost and addition to the show. Especially in accord to the rest of the crew, since most of them already were strong personas, each projecting their own characteristics, which did supplement one another without colliding into each other.

It was said that her career was cut short due to the fact that she was “all over” Cpt. Kirk. So, if she would get out of the scene, that would leave more space for the Captain in order to have, so to say, a new affair on every other planet…
So, was she “too” attractive?
If that was ever fact, it is a shame that it happened, because the relationship between them was never “officialized”. The innuendo of “something must be going on between them” already gave the flavor that was needed, and it could have been left at that!
The series was anyway referring to an open minded future, and there was never the need, for any member of the crew, to “bring their status of personal relationship” in the middle of a starship’s bridge, in the first place!

Whatever the true reasons behind opinions, scenarios and speculations, the fact remains that Yeoman Rand’s part was cut short, after only nine appearances in the original TV series. An old axiom says that nobody is irreplaceable… But in this case, was that really so?

The bridge without Janice
Immediately after Yeoman Rand’s departure from the TV series, awkward attempts were made to bring back this lady, by somehow replacing her with another. These attempts went on and on, for the rest of the episodes. Shorter skirts, like if they could go higher anyway… Crazy hair styles in all colors, like if she just had crazy sex. Efforts to act “like a cat which rubs herself against every corner”. Nothing of this ever worked… And the replacement efforts were so obvious and futile, it became annoying!

About a decade later, after the ending of the TV series, Star Trek went into the big screen with the original crew, and it did so with great success over many episodes. In some of them Janice Rand had a part… But in my opinion, every attempt to bring back her character, failed. It doesn’t matter if the same good actress appeared to play the role for one more time. And her age had absolutely nothing to do with it… The character of Yeoman Janice Rand simply did not “feel” the same anymore…

And that was not all! Even decades later, in the magnificent 2009 Star Trek comeback movie and on, there was a lot of talk among the fans that with only one female on the bridge, it would be a nice idea to bring Yeoman Rand back.
Actually there is a scene, in Star Trek 2009, were a deliberate blur-take focuses on the back of a “red-skirt” (as one of my Aikido students puts it). One does not need to be an expert to notice that she is wearing her blond hair way to high, for it to be a coincidence and not an innuendo! Then, as the camera comes in and clears up, it ends up showing that she surely must hold the position of a Yeoman… And as she turns and moves away, we realize that it is not the one that some of us are still waiting for to return!
I have no complains whatsoever about the movie series with that particular “new” crew, I have expressed my admiration before about them. But after three nice films, they finally did not bring her back in some way.
Will there be a forth one?! Is there any chance to bring her back? Remains to be seen…
But regardless to anything, Yeoman Rand did participate in some of the best ever episodes of the legendary Star Trek: “Miri” “The Naked Time” “The Corbomite Maneuver” in order to name a few. And this is how I always remember her. Those nine episodes will carry her name and appearance to “eternity”.

Yeoman made in Japan
For Yeoman Janice Rand, the closest thing to Japanese tradition and culture, is that she was often referred to, as a “Space Geisha”. To explain this in short, Geisha in Japan is an official escort-girl, a term which is usually misunderstood here in the west, to put this as politely, as… something else.
But what is a “Yeoman” in the first place? Is it a position, is it a rank?
And how does a Yeoman actually connect to the Art of Aikido?!
Let us look at this from our western perspective first, and then go to its Japanese counterpart…

To begin with, in the Navy, but also in other military forces, the term Yeoman came from the combination of two words: Young and Man/Woman.
This position is usually filled by a young at age male or female who possesses a lower officer’s rank…. His/her task is to take care of all the possible personal needs of a “commander” in charge, usually an officer of high rank, like that of a General, Admiral, or equivalent high commanding position.
So, is a Yeoman a kind of servant? Well… yes and no!
Because much more than this part, a Yeoman’s task is to “communicate” to his commander anything that is going on in the long chain of command, which due to his position, is for him difficult to have immediate access to. A Yeoman is maybe the only person who can officially move about freely, with little or none verification of his whereabouts.  
He becomes, so to say, a trustee. He becomes the eyes and ears of his commander. If a soldier is homesick or an officer has a pain in his foot, possibilities are that he will somehow find out through his Yeoman.
In any organization where you have operating a specific chain of command (and don’t be surprised to find this attitude also in modern business) to “trust” anybody would be like the anecdote of the day. From the lowest to the highest rank and position, there is a “give me your written report Mister” or otherwise in modern business “send me an e-mail” attitude. The only person to elude this would be a Yeoman.
So, now that we have seen what lies underneath the duty of “taking care of all personal things for the Captain” let us see what does it take to be a Yeoman?
The main qualities for this position are: Discretion, Confidentiality and… Trust!
Qualities which should never-ever be compromised!

But where is a Yeoman to be found in Aikido and Japanese Martial Arts?
In Samurai terms “Hatamoto” is the only person/s who is allowed to carry weapons at all times, when in presence of his Master. He would be like the last line of defense for a Master… Just like a close bodyguard would be nowadays to a President of a country. Therefore, and unavoidably, a Hatamoto’s foremost quality would be that of Loyalty and Self-Sacrifice.
And the only other person, who had permission to go about as he pleased near to a Master day and night, was his “Otomo”. Which is the exact equivalent term in Japanese for the duties of… a Yeoman!
A position which has survived beyond the Feudal Era of Japan, down to this day in traditionally operating Dojos…

From the fictional girl to the real one
Janice Rand was neither entirely fiction nor entirely real… For me, she was both. And though it took me some time to understand it myself, she somehow “stayed inside me” like a guiding light, in my own quest for a significant other…

But this tale is better said, if it remained unspoken!

December 13, 2016