Are We Giving Japan a Square Deal? Ii


THE key to Japanese militarism and imperialism is to be found in the dual government that, exists in Japan. There is the constitutional government — the Cabinet, the Diet, consisting of the House of Peers and the House of Representatives, and the administrative bureaucracy— with which the world is familiar. But there is also an invisible government, an unseen empire, composed of a clique of military men and men with military affiliations, headed by the Genro, or Elder Statesmen, with the General Staff of the Army as its instrument. Of the two governments, the latter is by far the more powerful. Japanese policy, particularly in foreign affairs, is invariably shaped by this unseen government, its wishes generally being translated by the constitutional government’s actions. The two régimes, whose interests are by no means always opposed, are of necessity more or less intermixed, like interlocking directorates. For example, many officials of the permanent civil bureaucracy — that is, the bureau chiefs and their staffs — are drawn from the militaristic clique, which is identical with the unseen government, with which, as might be expected, they work hi harmony.

At the head of the Japanese State stands the Emperor, generally spoken of by foreigners as the Mikado (‘Honorable Gate,’ a title comparable with Sublime Porte), and by his own subjects as Tenno, or Heavenly King. The present Emperor, Yoshihito, is the one hundred and twenty-second of his line, according to Japanese history, which reckons from 660 B.C. when Jimmu ascended the throne. But as written records do not carry us back further than A.D. 712, the reigns and periods of the very early monarchs are more or less apocryphal. Still, the fact remains that Japan has been ruled by an unbroken dynasty ever since the dawn of her history, in which respect she is unique among all the nations of the world. By the Constitution of 1889 the Emperor combines in himself the rights of sovereignty and exercises the whole of the executive powers, with the advice and assistance of the nine Cabinet ministers. He alone can make war, declare peace, and conclude treaties. But between the Cabinet and the Crown stands a small body of men, the survivors of those by whose genius modern Japan was raised to her present high position among the nations. They are known as the Genrō, or Elder Statesmen. At the present time only three remain — Field-Marshal Prince Yamagata, Marquis Okuma, and Marquis Matsukata. These three old men are the real rulers of Japan.

Now let me make it clear that the Elder Statesmen are neither appointed nor elected. Indeed, there is no such office as that of Elder Statesman per se. You will find no mention of them in the Japan Year-Book or other works of reference. They are not officials, though they hold the reins of power, though by virtue of their rank they have seats in the House of Peers. They are private citizens who, because of their experience and sagacity, are the trusted advisers of the Emperor, as they were of his father before him. They are so firmly intrenched in the confidence of the Emperor and great nobles; they are the embodiment of traditions so indissolubly linked with the history of the Empire; the social, political, financial, and military interests which they represent arc so powerful; that all attempts to dislodge them or seriously to weaken their influence have met with failure.

The invisible government of which the Elder Statesmen are the head and brains is not a modern development; it goes back into Japanese history for centuries. For nearly a thousand years Japan has had a nominal government and another unacknowledged government, the latter more or less cloaked and independent of check or control, existing side by side. This unseen empire dates from the period of the Shogunate, during which the Emperor was the titular ruler and the Shogun the actual rider of Japan. When the Shogunate was abolished in 1868, and the unification of the country under the Emperor Mutsuhito begun, the task of reconstruction was undertaken by the daimyo, or feudal nobles. They became the officials of the new government and directed the transformation of Japan into a modern state. Their descendants fill those offices to-day.

When it is remembered that the present officeholders are almost all members of the ancient military clans, it is not difficult to understand the ascendancy of the militarists in Japanese politics. For example, nearly all the members of the military clique belong to the Chosun clan, while the navy clique is recruited from the Satsuma clan. The acknowledged leader of them all, the uncrowned ruler of Japan, is Prince Yamagata, himself a soldier and a field-marshal. The Emperor, feeble in health and mind, in spite of the profound veneration in which he is still held by the great mass of his subjects, is a ruler only in name.

Of the nine members of the Cabinet, two — the Minister of War and the Minister of Marine — are not answerable for their actions to the Premier, but are responsible only to the Emperor— which, translated, means the Elder Statesmen. As a result of this anomalous situation, these two ministers can, and frequently do, defy the Premier and block legislation. In fact, a former Prime Minister resigned because he was unable to find men for these portfolios who would consent to carry out his policies. As the members of the Cabinet are appointed by the Emperor, instead of, as is the custom in most European countries, by the Premier, it is self-evident that no one could obtain the portfolio of war or of marine unless he was persona gratissima to the militarist party. This closest of close corporations is still further bound together by family ties, the present Minister of War, MajorGeneral Giichi Tanaka, being a son-inlaw of Prince Yamagata.

It is this curious relic of feudal times which is responsible for those failures to keep her agreements which have done so much to lose for Japan the confidence of other nations. Japan’s failure to abide by her promise to evacuate Siberia upon the withdrawal of the American and other Allied troops provides a case in point. This commitment was made to the United States and her European allies by the constitutional Government, as represented by Premier Hara. I have good reason to believe that, in making this promise, the Government was entirely sincere and that it fully intended to carry out the evacuation. But the unseen government— by which is meant the militarist party — wished Japan to remain in Siberia, for reasons of its own. It wanted territory in that region, — territory rich in mines and forests, — and here was an easy way to get it. I do not know precisely what procedure was followed by the militarists, of course; but I imagine that it was something like this. Prince Yamagata, speaking with the authority of the Emperor, informed his son-in-law, the Minister of War, that the occupation of Siberia was to be continued; whereupon the Minister of War, presumably without the consent of the Premier, and quite possibly without his knowledge, instead of withdrawing the Siberian garrisons, reinforced them. It thus being made impossible for the constitutional Government to keep the agreement it had made, Premier Hara, in order to ‘save his face,’ as they say in the East, was forced to explain his failure to withdraw the troops by asserting that it had been found necessary to retain them in Siberia temporarily in order to guard Japan from Bolshevist attacks. Result: loss of confidence by the other powers in Japan’s promises.

The effect on foreign opinion of such usurpation of power by the invisible government is recognized by the liberal element in Japan; as witness a recent editorial in the Yomi-Yuri Shimbun:

‘It is regrettable that the declarations of the Japanese Government are often not taken seriously. The Powers regard Japan as a country that does not mean what it says. The most important reasons for this will be found in the actions of the militarists, whose utterances are the cause of the Government’s attitude being misunderstood abroad. Unless the militarist evil is stamped out, a hundred declarations disavowing territorial ambitions will not be able to convince the Powers.’

The militarists placed the Government in almost as embarrassing a position in Korea last year as in Siberia. Premier Hara, stirred to action by the excesses of the Japanese troops, issued orders that the military forces in Korea should be subordinated to the civil authorities; but the military, backed by the unseen government, virtually ignored these orders, the newly appointed Governor-General, Baron Saito, being unable to enforce his commands where the military were concerned. Should the Prime Minister resent such attempts to block the policy of the Government, and appeal to the Emperor, he would really be appealing to the Elder Statesmen, who, as I have explained, stand between the Emperor and the Cabinet. Or, should the Diet attempt to put a check on the militarists by refusing to pass the army appropriations, it would have no effect on the situation, for in such a case the budget holds over from the previous year. Having direct access to the Emperor and to the funds of the Imperial Household, which is the richest in the world, the militarists never lack for money. Indeed, when all is said and done, it is they who hold the pursestrings. It will be seen, therefore, that the Progressive Premier, Mr. Hara, is in a trying and none too strong position. The military party and the forces of reaction typified by Prince Yamagata have too much power for him. The Premier, speaking for the Government and through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, makes commitments to other powers. The unseen government ignores these commitments and leaves it to the Premier to explain as best he can. There you have the real reason why Japan seems so often to violate her treaty obligations. She is not insincere in milking them. The men who make them are not the men who break them.

This continued exercise of irresponsible authority by the military party is the most important and the most dangerous factor in the whole Japanese question. Until the invisible and irresponsible powers behind the throne are suppressed in favor of the constitutional Government, there can be no real hope of a satisfactory understanding between Japan and the United States. A democracy like ours cannot do business with a government that is masked; we must know w ith whom we are dealing. If Japan sincerely desires the friendship of the United States, then she must give valid assurances that the declared policies of her Government will henceforward be binding on her military, as well as her civil agents.


Although close observers have of late detected a noticeable change in the attitude of the younger generation of Japanese toward the Emperor, who is no longer venerated as he has been by past generations, and although the strength of the anti-militarist, party is steadily increasing, to talk glibly, as certain American visitors to Japan have done, of Japanese militarism being on its last legs, is to reveal profound ignorance of the actual conditions. If the system of unseen government were merely transitory, it might readily yield before the growth of education and enlightened opinion. But it is not transitory. Its tentacles reach deep into the traditions of the Empire. It would be strange, indeed, if the militarists were not dominant in Japan, for the whole history of the nation is punctuated by wars, feuds, and revolutions; it climbed to its present position as one of the Great Powers on the guns of its battleships and the bayonets of its soldiers; it has always been ruled by military men. The militarism which pervades the nation is vitalized, moreover, by Japan’s obsession that she is hemmed in by a ring of enemies. The truth of the matter is that the great majority of Japanese look to the militarists as the saviors of the Empire.

Although the Japanese are gradually becoming more democratic in their tendencies, let us not delude ourselves into thinking that the disappearance of militarism is a probability of the not far distant future. That it will eventually disappear is as certain as that dawn follows the dark. But it may take a generation, or more. That the militarists will remain in the ascendant during the lifetime of the Elder Statesmen there can be little doubt. Not until the grip of those aged dictators has been relaxed by death is the power of the militarists likely to wane. Nor is there any certainty that it will wane then; for in recent years their power has been immensely strengthened by a force far mightier and more sinister than that of the Elder Statesmen. I refer to the force of organized capital, of Big Business. As Mr. Nathaniel Peffer, one of the shrewdest and best-informed students of Far Eastern politics, has shown, it is Big Business that has reinforced and is keeping in power the unseen government — the military party.

Only recently has modern industrial Japan awakened to a realization of its own strength. But it is now fully alive to the almost unlimited power, t he endless possibilities, to be realized by the great business interests of the country joining hands and working together for a common purpose. One who could trace, through the political structure of the Empire, the ramifications of the

great industrial and trading companies would be in a position to analyze Japanese politics, domestic and foreign. Those policies of the Japanese Government which are usually attributed by foreigners to the ambitions of the militarists are in reality due to the machinations of the capitalists. Here you have the key to the annexation of Korea, to Japanese aggression in Manchuria and Siberia, to the unreasonable demands made on China, to the opposition to the restoration of Shantung. All of those regions are immensely rich in natural resources; they offer unlimited possibilities for profitable exploitation. And it is Japanese Big Business which proposes to do the exploiting. So, in order to obtain control of the territories which it proposes to exploit, it has joined forces with the land-hungry militarists. It is the most sinister combination of high politics and Big Business that the world has ever seen.

Dominating Japanese business and finance are a few great corporations: Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Okura, Sumitomo, Kuhara, Takata, Furukawa. So much larger than the others that they are in a class by themselves are the Mitsui and Mitsubishi companies, owned respectively by the Mitsui and Iwasaki families. Indeed, it is a common saying in Japan that no one knows where Mitsui ends and the Government begins. Their tentacles sink deep into every phase of national life — commercial, industrial, financial, political. They own banks, railways, steamship lines, mills, factories, dockyards, mines, forests, plantations, insurance companies, trading corporations. They and the leaders of the unseen government are as intertwined by marriage, mutual interest, and interlocking directorates as President Wilson boasted that the Treaty of Versailles was intertwined with the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Each of these great companies, according to Mr. Peffer, has its political, financial, or family alliances with the leaders of the unseen government. Marquis Okuma, one of the Elder Statesmen, is related by marriage to the Iwasakis, who, as I have said, own the great house of Mitsubishi. The same house is connected with the opposition party through its leader, Viscount Kato, who is Baron Iwasaki’s son-in-law. Another of the Elder Statesmen, Marquis Matsukata, is adviser to one of these political dynasties. The late Marquis Inoue, who held in turn the portfolios of agriculture and commerce, home affairs, finance, and foreign affairs, was closely connected with the house of Mitsui. The late Field-Marshal Terauchi, at one time Prime Minister of Japan and one of the foremost leaders of the military party, was equally close to Okura, a relationship which explains that house’s success in obtaining army contracts and concessions on the mainland of Asia. And so with the highest military men of the Empire and the leading statesmen of both political parties. Each has his relationship to some great financial house, to some captain of industry. Big Business uses these affiliations with the militarists to obtain for its schemes the support of the unseen government, which is enormously strengthened by the affiliations of the militarists with Big Business. It is like a cross-ruff at bridge.


‘Japan’s future lies oversea.’ In those four words is found the policy of the military-financial combination that rules Japan. The annexation of Formosa and Korea and Sakhalin, the occupation of Manchuria and Siberia and Shantung, are not, as the world supposes, examples of haphazard land-grabbing, but phases of a vast and carefully laid scheme, which has for its aim the eventual control of all Eastern Asia. Ostensibly to solve the problems with which she has been confronted by her amazing increase in population and production, but in reality to gratify the ambitions of the militaristic-financial clique, Japan has embarked on a campaign of world-expansion and exploitation. Convinced that she requires a colonial empire in her business, she has set out to build one as she would build a bridge or a dry-dock. The fact that she had nothing, or next to nothing, to start with did not worry her at all. Having once made up her mind that the realization of her political, economic, and territorial ambitions necessitated the acquirement of overseas dominions, she has permitted nothing to stand in the way of her getting them. In other words, wherever an excuse can be provided for raising a flagstaff, whether on an ice-floe in the Arctic or an island in the Pacific, there the Rising Sun flag shall flutter; wherever trade is to be found, there Yokohama cargo-boats shall drop their anchors, there Osaka engines shall thunder over Kobe rails, there Kyoto silks and Nagoya cottons shall be sold by merchants speaking the language of Nippon. It is a scheme astounding by its very vastness, as methodically planned and systematically conducted as an American presidential campaign; and already, thanks to Japanese audacity, aggressiveness, and perseverance, backed up by Japanese banks, battleships, and bayonets, it is much nearer realization than the world imagines.

In China, Siberia, and the Philippines, in California, Canada, and Mexico, in the East Indies, Australia, and New Zealand, on three continents and on all the islands of the Eastern seas, Japanese merchants and Japanese money are working twenty-four hours a day, building up that overseas empire of which the financiers and the militarists dream. The activities of Japan’s outposts of commerce and finance are as varied as commerce and finance themselves. Their voices are heard in every Eastern market-place; their footsteps resound in every avenue of Oriental endeavor. Their mines in Siberia and China and Manchuria rival the cave of Al-ed-Din. The railways that converge on Peking from the north and east, the great trunk-line across Manchuria, and the eastern section of the trans-Siberian system arc already in their hands. They work tea-plantations in China, coffee-plantations in Java, rubber-plantations in Malaya, cocoanut-plantations in Borneo, hemp-plantations in the Philippines, spice-plantations in the Celebes, sugar-plantations in Hawaii, pruneorchards in California, apple-orchards in Oregon, coal-mines in Manchuria, gold-mines in Korea, forests in Siberia, fisheries in Kamchatka. Their argosies, flying the house-flags of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, the Nippon Yusen Kaisha, the Osaka Shosen Kaisha, and a score of other lines, bear Japanese goods to Japanese traders on all the seaboards of the Orient, while Japanese warships are constantly a-prowl, all up and down the Eastern seas, ready to protect the interests thus created by the menace of their guns.

In regions where Japanese banks are in control and Japanese settlers abound, it is seldom difficult for Japan to find an excuse for aggression. It may be that a Japanese settler is mistreated or a Japanese consul insulted, or that a Japanese bank has difficulty in collecting its debts. So the slim cables flash the complaint to Tokyo; there arc secret, consultations between the militaristic leaders and the chieftains of Big Business; a spokesman of the unseen government rises in the Diet to announce that, in Siberia or China, Japanese interests have been endangered or Japanese dignity affronted; the newspapers controlled by Big Business inflame the national resentment; the heads of the invisible government, speaking with the authority of the Emperor, issue the necessary orders to the Ministers of War and Marine; and before the country in question awakens to a realization of what is happening, Japanese transports are at anchor in her harbors and Japanese troops are disembarking on her soil. Before they are withdrawn, — if they are withdrawn, — Japan usually succeeds in extorting a concession to build a railway, or to work a coal-field, or to underwrite a loan, or a ninety-nincyear lease of a harbor which can be converted into a naval base, or the cession of a more or less valuable strip of territory — and so the work of building up an overseas empire goes merrily and steadily on.

Now this steady territorial expansion — or, rather, the aggressive militarism that has produced it — has naturally aroused suspicion abroad of Japan’s intentions. In less than a quarter of a century the area of the Empire has grown from 148,000 to 261,000 square miles. And virtually every foot of this great territory has been won by the sword. We have seen Formosa and the Pescadores filched, as spoils of war, from a helpless China. We have witnessed the rape of Korea. We have observed Manchuria become Japanese in fact, if not in name. We have watched first Southern and now Northern Sakhalin brought under the rule of Tokyo. We have seen the Rising Sun flag hoisted over Kiaochow, the Marshalls, and the Carolines. We have noted Japan’s reluctance to withdraw from Shantung or to permit the neutralization of Yap. We have watched the armies of Nippon pushing deeper and deeper into Siberia instead of withdrawing altogether, as the Tokyo Government had promised. Let the honest-minded Japanese ask himself, then, if, in the face of such aggressive imperialism, we are not justified in our suspicion and apprehension.

Not a little of our suspicion of Japanese imperialism is directly traceable to the circumstantial stories told by Americans returning from the East, particularly army and navy officers, of Japan’s secret designs against the Philippines. In substantiation of these stories they point to the temptation offered by the great natural wealth of the islands; to the alleged alarming increase in the number of Japanese settlers, particularly in Mindanao; and to the geographical fact that the Philippines form a prolongation of the Japanese archipelago. (Were you aware that Taiwan [Formosa], the .southernmost Japanese island, can be seen from the highlands of Luzon on a clear day?) That the Philippines would be an objective of Japanese attack in the event of war between the United Slates and Japan is a foregone conclusion. What Japan’s attitude might be were we to withdraw from the islands, leaving the natives to paddle their own canoe, is, perhaps, open to question. But of this I am convinced: as things stand to-day Japan harbors no designs whatsoever against the Philippines. Look at it from the standpoint of common sense. Why should Japan embark on a war with a rich and powerful country like the United States, in order to seize the Philippines, — which, as she doubtless realizes, she could not permanently hold, — when, without the risk of war, she can help herself to even more valuable territory much nearer home? It is quite true that Japan is opposed to the fortification of the Philippines, which she would regard as a threat against herself, just as we are opposed to and would probably prohibit the establishment of a fortified Japanese naval base on the coast of Mexico. While on the subject of the Philippines, here is an interesting bit of secret history. Viscount Kaneko told me that, some years prior to the Spanish-American War, Spain approached Japan with an offer to sell her the Philippines for eight million dollars gold, and that Japan declined the offer on the ground that the islands were too far away for her to administer satisfactorily and that their climate was not suitable for Japanese to live in.

Another reason for our distrust of the peacefulness of Japanese intentions is to be found in the fact that, at a time when other nations are seriously discussing the question of disarmament, Japan announces a military programme which calls for an army with a wartime strength of close to five million men, thereby making her the greatest military power on earth, and a naval programme designed to give her eight battleships and eight battle-cruisers, each to be replaced by a new vessel every eight years. Japan asserts that these vast armies, this powerful armada, should not be interpreted as a threat against ourselves. But, we naturally ask, against whom, then, are they intended? Surely not against her ally, England, or against revolution-torn Russia, or against prostrate Germany, or against decrepit China. Leaving these out of the question, who is left?

But there are two sides to every question. Let us look for a moment at Japan’s. Is it not fair and reasonable to judge her by ourselves? What should we say if the Japanese charged us with planning a war against them because we are increasing our naval strength? We are building a navy for national defense. Japan is building one for precisely the same reason. Defense against whom, you ask? Well, if you wish to know the truth, defense against the United States. For, grotesque as such an assertion may appear to Americans, the majority of Japanese arc convinced that we are deliberately trying to force a war upon them. As evidence of this, they point to the discriminatory and humiliating treatment which we have accorded to Japanese in the United States; to our opposition to Japan’s legitimate ambitions on the mainland of Asia; to our blocking the insertion in the Covenant of the League of Nations of a clause recognizing Japanese racial equality; to our refusal to recognize the Japanese mandate for the former German possessions in the Pacific; to our unofficial but none the less active support of China in the controversy over Shantung; to the strengthening of our naval bases at Cavite and Pearl Harbor; and finally, to the long succession of sneers, gibes, and insults indulged in by American jingoes, antiJapanese politicians, and certain sections of the American press. Viewing the situation without prejudice, it seems to me that Japan has as good ground for her suspicion of us as we have for our suspicion of her.


Finally, we come to the most pressing, the most delicate, and the most dangerous of all the questions in dispute between the two countries — that of Japanese immigration into the United States. Now I have no intention of embarking on a discussion of the pros and cons of this question. But, because I have found that most Americans have of it only an inexact and fragmentary knowledge, and because a rudimentary knowledge of it is essential to a clear understanding of the larger question, our relations with Japan, it is necessary for me to sketch in briefest outline the events leading up to the present immigration situation.

Under the administrative interpretation of our naturalization laws, Japanese aliens are ineligible to American citizenship. But down to the summer of 1908 there was no restriction on Japanese immigration. In that year, however, the much-discussed ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement,’ whereby Japanese laborers are excluded from the United States, went into effect. That agreement is not in the shape of a formal treaty or undertaking. The term applies simply to the substance of a number of informal notes exchanged between the then Secretary of State, Elihu Root, and the Japanese Ambassador in Washington. Under the terms of this agreement we announced that no Japanese could enter our ports from Japan or Hawaii without a proper passport from their own government, and Japan promised in turn to give no passports to laborers. There has been no charge that Japan has failed to keep both letter and spirit of this agreement with absolute integrity. In fact, the Japanese Foreign Office has at times leaned backward in its endeavor to keep faith. But the labor elements in California, unable to meet Japanese industrial competition and jealous of Japanese success, continued their anti-Japanese agitation, being aided by politicians seeking the labor vote; and in 1913 a law prohibiting the purchase of land by Japanese in that state was placed on the statute-books of California.

But there were certain loopholes left by this law which made it possible for agricultural land to be leased for three years by Japanese; for land to be purchased by corporations in which Japanese were interested: and for land to be purchased by American-born children of Japanese parents. To block up these loopholes the Oriental Exclusion League circulated a petition to place an initiative act — known as the Alien Land Act — on the ballot, in 1920. To bolster up its arguments in favor of this act, it called attention to the rapid increase of the Japanese birth-rate in California. This increase in the birth-rale was due, it was claimed, to the custom followed by many of the poorer Japanese settlers in California of having pictures sent to them from Japan of eligible girls, to whom they were married in absentia, these so-called ‘picture brides,’ being thus legally married, having the right under our laws to join their husbands in the United States. The more picture brides, the more children, and the more children, the more land passing under Japanese control; for the Japanese circumvented the prohibition against their holding land by purchasing in the name of their American-born children, who were automatically American citizens and of whom the parents were the legal guardians. Japan, in order to remove another source of controversy, in February, 1920, ceased to issue passports to ‘picture brides.” But this did not satisfy the anti-Japanese element in California, which succeeded in having the adoption of the Alien Land Act put to a popular vote. This act — perhaps the most stringent measure ever directed against the civil right s of residents in the United States — provides for the prohibition (a) of landownership by Japanese; (b) of leasing of agricultural lands by Japanese; (c) of land-ownership by companies or corporations in which Japanese are interested; (d) of land-ownership by Japanese children born in the United States, by removing them from the guardianship of their parents in such cases.

At the elections in November, 1920, this measure was carried by a minority of the registered voters and by a threeto-one vote of those who expressed an opinion on the subject. The vote stood 668,483 in favor and 222,086 opposed.

There you have the Japanese immigration situation up to the minute.

Now, the point I wish to emphasize is this: the Japanese are not clamoring for the removal of any of the present restrictions on Japanese immigration. They consider these restrictions offensive and humiliating, — that goes without saying, — but they concede our right to decide who shall enter our doors and who shall stay out. Not for a moment, however, have the Japanese accepted our assertion that our exclusion of them is based on economic grounds. They know, and we know, that the cause of their exclusion is racial. No one realizes more clearly than the Japanese that, in excluding them from the United States, we have virtually proclaimed them an inferior race. I repeat, however, that they concede our right to exclude whom we please. But what they do not concede, what they will not agree to, is the right of the United States, or of any state in the United States, to discriminate against those Japanese who are lawfully resident in this country. To attempt to deprive those Japanese dwelling within our borders of the personal and property rights that we grant to all other aliens is so obviously unjust that it scarcely merits discussion. The Japanese have excellent grounds for believing that such discriminatory legislation is unconstitutional; they know that it constitutes an open defiance of justice and equity. They feel — and their feeling is shared, apparently, by the 222,000 Californians who voted against it — that such legislation makes ridiculous our oftrepeated boast that we stand for the ‘Square Deal.’

The bitterness of Japanese resentment over the immigration question is not entirely due, however, to wounded racial pride, but quite as much, I think, to the rudeness and lack of tact which have characterized the anti-Japanese campaign in California. For it should be remembered that in no country is the code of social courtesy or consideration for aliens so rigidly observed as in Japan. In dealing with the Japanese nothing is ever gained by insults or bullying. Politeness is the shibboleth of all classes, and the lowest coolie usually responds to it instantly. Is it to be wondered at, then, that the Japanese are irritated and resentful at the lack of courtesy and ordinary good manners which we have displayed in our handling of so peculiarly delicate a matter as the immigration question?

It may be that local conditions justify the wave of anti-Japanese hysteria which is sweeping the Pacific Coast. It may be that the people of the Western states can offer valid reasons for their constant pin-pricking and irritation of Japan. But I doubt it. I am no stranger to California, — I have lived there, off and on, for years, — nor am I ignorant of the relations between labor and politics in that state. That is why I refuse to become excited over the threatened ‘conquest’ of California by a little group of aliens which comprises only two per cent of the population of the state, and which owns or leases only one and six tenths per cent of its cultivated lands. The Californians assert that their anti-Japanese legislation is a matter for them to decide and does not concern the rest of the country. Therein they are wrong. For in the unwished-for event of war with Japan, it would not be a war between California and Japan, but between the United States and Japan. Therefore, in its treatment of the Japanese, it behooves California to take the rights and interests of the rest of the country into careful consideration. So, because we must all share in the responsibility for California’s treatment of the Japanese, let us make certain beyond doubt or question that that treatment is based on equity and justice. Under no conditions must racial prejudice or political expediency be permitted to serve as an excuse for giving the Japanese anything save a square deal.

From talks that I have recently had with many of the leading men of Japan, including the Prime Minister, theMinister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for War, and the President of the House of Peers, I am convinced that an understanding can be reached with the Japanese Government over the immigration question, — and, indeed, over most of the other questions pending between the two nations, including that of Yap,— provided we approach Tokyo in a courteous manner and with at least an outward show of sympathetic friendliness. My conversations with the Japanese leaders showed me that they have a much clearer understanding of our difficulties and perplexities than most Americans suppose. It might be well for us to remember that the Japanese Government is itself in an extremely trying position, and that its leaders are extremely apprehensive of the effect on Japanese public opinion of any settlement of the immigration question which might be interpreted as an affront to Japanese racial pride or national dignity. But of this I can assure you: Japan is genuinely, almost pathetically, anxious for American confidence and good-will, and, in order to obtain them, she is prepared to make almost every concession that her selfrespect will permit and that a fairminded American can demand.1

(The End)

  1. For many valuable suggestions and for many important data incorporated in this article I am deeply indebted to the Hon. Rohnd S. Morris, former American Ambassador to Japan, and to Nathaniel Peffer, Esq., correspondent in the Far East of the New York Tribune.