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The Japanese Menace


Editor of "The China Press," Shanghai; Author of "The New Far East,"

"America and the Far Eastern Question," etc.

What Japan has now to do is to keep perfectly quiet, to lull the suspicions that have arisen against her, and to wait, meanwhile strengthening the foundations of her national power, watching and waiting for the opportunity which must one day surely come in the Orient. When that day arrives, she will be able to follow her own course; not only able to put meddling Powers in their places, but even, as necessity arises, to meddle with the affairs of other Powers. Then truly she will be able to reap advantage for herself.-From the "Secret Memoirs of Count Hayashi," former Japanese minister for foreign affairs.

EW important issues between two ma


jor nations affect those nations exclusively or can nowadays be adjusted by those nations exclusively. This axiom expresses a condition of modern world progress which the great war has strikingly demonstrated. Issues between Japan and the United States, contacts which create these issues, and relations dependent on them cannot therefore be entirely separated from interests and policies of other nations in any comprehensive discussion. This is the broader view necessary to perspective.

Restricted to the Pacific basin, where its major elements must be worked out, the problem of the relations of Japan and the United States comprises two principal factors-direct contacts of the two governments and peoples, and conditions involved with the fate of China. Both factors are surcharged with forces making for international friction and war, yet I am amazed to find American public opinion little concerned about them. Americans Americans are so engrossed with the terrific spectacle.

presented in Europe that they seem to be blind or indifferent to a more sinister and more imminent menace to our peace and security that is creeping upon us from the opposite side.

A fact which this war must have driven into all strata of popular thought in America is the fallacy of assuming that even generous motives and good intentions of one people will always be understood and accepted by another people or nation as they are meant. As to Oriental peoples, and Japan in particular, Americans themselves know that collectively and individually we wish them well, and that neither as people or nation do we harbor any hostile thoughts or invidious designs against them. What most Americans do not comprehend is that this sincere attitude of ours means little to the Japanese, who doubt its sincerity, and do not reciprocate. To most Americans, talk of war between Japan and the United States seems foolish, because most Americans do not perceive anything to fight about; and if the purposes of Japan as a nation, and the ideals

of the Japanese as a people, vis-à-vis America, complemented the sentiments of Americans, then talk about war between these nations would be foolish. It is eviIdent, then, that whatever elements of doubt now exist about this matter lie chiefly, with Americans, in ignorance about the real motives, ambitions, and purposes of Japan. Americans understand themselves well enough, and know that nationally we have no rancor and no designs for aggression; but how about the other fellow? It takes two to make a quarrel, but one can start a fight.

It may be as well to present my conclusions about some of these questions before my premises and argument, and I will summarize them as follows:

(a) Japan is making deliberate preparations in anticipation, if not actually in expectation, of a collision with the United States.

(b) Japanese popular thought and feeling have been deliberately prepared for this eventuality by the Government, and now are extremely hostile toward the United States.

(c) While Japanese statesmen have stimulated and formulated such a sentiment in Japan, a Japanese propaganda operating by various processes in America has almost succeeded in lulling our nation into a false security, and has prevented and retarded measures to prepare our nation against a clash.

(d) The fate of China, the stability of the Monroe Doctrine (now embracing the new ideal of Pan-Americanism), the balance of power in the Pacific Ocean, and whether a Yellow Peril ever will become a reality, are questions included in the outcome of the relations of Japan and the United States.

(e) The great war has destroyed the international balance of power in the far East, creating a condition disturbing the peace of that region, and by reaction also menacing the peace of America.

(f) Decided constructive action by the United States is required to recreate that balance of power in the settlement of the great war, and meanwhile this Govern

ment should strive energetically to preserve the status quo.

Put nakedly and abruptly, without the details and circumstances that build them up logically, these conclusions probably will astonish and startle Americans who have not closely followed events in the far East in the last decade. It is not feasible to give those details in this article, or to sketch more than their prominent features.

The result of the Russo-Japanese War gave Japan new outlooks, and launched her statesmen on a course of fresh ambitions. We need not revert to that war now except to mention the principal reasons Japan then gave for engaging in it, and which she used with great success to enlist the sympathy of Americans for her cause. Japan, as she told the world, went to war against Russia to preserve the independence of Korea, to maintain the "open door" in Manchuria, to assure the territorial integrity and political autonomy of China. Korea is now annexed to Japan, the "open door" in Manchuria is closed tightly, and Japan's course in the last year in attempting to bring China completely under Japan's suzerainty is too recent an event to require review. I take it that these facts will not be gainsaid now, although how Japan once denied intent to do any of those things is easily remembered; and in some cases she even officially denied the acts for some time after they were accomplished.

What I am now concerned with are Japan's governing motives in that series of acts and the violations of her solemn international obligations. For convenience, these motives may be divided as professed and real. Japan's real motives in those instances were her own national aggrandizement at the expense of weaker nations, and of strong ones, for that matter. Her professed motives varied somewhat, but in the cases of her annexation of Korea and the occupation of Manchuria, the professed motive was an alleged necessity to secure territory where Japan could send her surplus population. So persistently and with such plausibility was this idea propagated throughout the world that we

find it given place in discussion of these problems by Westerners after Japan herself has abandoned it. I was surprised to notice that Mr. J. O. P. Bland, in his article in the CENTURY MAGAZINE for January, treats that pretense seriously. It is the one point where I would differ from Mr. Bland's reasoning, although I can perceive between the lines of it the restraints which his position as British subject impose at this juncture. The idea of Korea and Manchuria providing a satisfactory field for Japan's excess population is an exploded fallacy that no longer is widely entertained in Japan, and which no longer, if it ever did, has a place in Japan's genuine, as distinguished from her pretended, foreign policy.

While on this topic I may state that some false assumptions about it are widely accepted. First, it is incorrect to say that Japan is overpopulated in a territorial sense, for a large area of the territory of Japan proper is sparsely populated, and nearly half of the arable land of Japan proper is uncultivated. It therefore is not lack of land that impels Japanese to emigrate; it is a desire for economic betterment. There is a good deal of room, expressed in land, in Korea and Manchuria. Manchuria has long been a part of China, and large parts of China are even more densely populated than Japan. Yet Chinese have not gone to Manchuria in large numbers for various reasons, among which are climate and lack of communications and security. These conditions are passing, and China now would herself like to use Manchuria for her surplus population; but when she sought a few years ago to make practical effort in that way, she was blocked by Japan. That being so, I cannot accept Mr. Bland's assumption of a sort of right for Japan to take Korea and Manchuria on those grounds. If it comes to right, then China's right should supersede Japan's, for China's need for her own undeveloped territory is fully as great. If the legality and ethics of the question are to be considered at all, then China has a prior and better claim.

cal, outcome of Japan's efforts to colonize in Korea and Manchuria and in other parts of China is that, notwithstanding their Government has maintained many unjust preferential conditions for them in comparison with Koreans and Chinese, Japanese immigration to the continent of Asia is a failure. The reason is simple. In going to Korea and China, Japanese find that they have transplanted themselves to an even lower standard of living than obtains in Japan; that is, to a more cramped economic field, not a wider one. Japanese cannot, even with preferential facilities, compete in large numbers with their neighbor Orientals. Chinese and Koreans are able to, and do, undercut Japanese in business economies and standards of living. Preferential exactions in their behalf by their Government enables some Japanese, perhaps a few tens of thousands, to improve their state slightly by pursuing commercial and other occupations in China; but to the millions of Japan's peasantry China offers no lure and little opportunity for betterment.

The application of this situation to Japan's contacts with America is obvious. It is not toward the East, with its lower economic level, that Japan's millions yearn; but toward the West, with its higher economic standards, under which Japanese of all classes can cut and still find room for an immense improvement of their condition. This explains the Japanese effort to retain their position in California, Japan's tentative approaches in Mexico and other American countries; in fact, it provides the key to one phase of Japan's attitude toward the United States. In the last few years two points have taken clear shape in Japanese minds: Korea and China do not provide a satisfactory outlet for them, and the only really desirable field for emigration (North and South America) is barred to them by the United States.

I am surprised at the seeming indifference of our citizens to this supremely grave issue that confronts our nation, at their apparent failure to realize that it

But the curious, though perfectly logi- exists, at their supreme assurance in their

own point of view and their comparative indifference to the Japanese point of view. Americans know that they have no thought of aggressing upon or attacking Japan, and they take for granted that Japanese have no thought of attacking them. Americans feel no reason why they should attack or aggress on Japan, and they jump to the conclusion that therefore Japan has no reason to attack us. Yes, I know the stock arguments and formulas of Japan's publicity propaganda in this country. They run like this: Japanese friendship for America is traditional; trade between Japan and the United States is large, and therefore precludes a conflict; Japan is too poor to make war even if she wanted to; Japan is bound by treaties to respect the "open door" and the integrity of China; Japan intends to assure those conditions by formulating a "Monroe Doctrine" for the Orient; in respect to the question of status of Japanese in the United States, Japan seeks only recognition of the principle of equality of treatment for Japanese already in this country, and is abiding by the so-called "gentlemen's agreement"; Japan desires only to cooperate with America in protecting and developing China; and any who argue or show facts to the contrary are "irresponsible" persons trying to "make trouble."

All of these arguments are fallacious in hypothesis, and most of them are untrue as to fact. As to the oft-repeated idea that Japan's trade with the United States precludes thought of war on her part, it is sufficient to recall that, a few weeks before the great war in Europe started, a prominent German statesman cited the vast commerce between Germany and England as a reason why those nations never could become enemies, while the truth was that the very magnitude and complexity of those relations, with their incidental competitive features, were among the chief causes of this war. And such conditions will be among the chief causes of future wars. Japan's "traditional" friendship for America is worth as much as is her traditional friendship for China or as any

international traditional friendship is; while the fact is that just now the Japanese feel a very lively antipathy and contempt for this country, its institutions and its citizens, and by a calculated process have been educated to regard our nation as Japan's next antagonist in the series of wars required to establish the hegemony of the far East and the mastery of the Pacific in Japan's keeping. Japan's poverty and near-bankruptcy, instead of being a conclusive restraint, is one of her chief reasons for going to war; for she is grinding her people with taxation to maintain large military and naval establishments with the expectation of recouping at the expense of rich and helpless nations. Japan professes to adhere to the "open door" policy, but she strangles it in every way she can. Japan, for effect in America, likens her policy toward China to the Monroe Doctrine, whereas it is the absolute antithesis of the Monroe Doctrine both in hypothesis and working method. Japan pretends that the "point of honor" is her sole concern in the California issue; but in reality the Japanese are resolved to force. their way into the Western Hemisphere by arms, if they can, provided they cannot accomplish it by diplomacy.

To repeat, there are two grave issues between Japan and the United States, the fate of China and Japanese immigration. to the Americas. This latter issue does not touch the United States exclusively, but also all our neighbor republics to the south. This brings in both the old Monroe Doctrine and the new Pan-Americanism, for a Japanese colonization of countries on this hemisphere, in its political and economic reactions, would affect the United States scarcely less than a Japanese colonization of our own States. To Americans this issue probably will seem more important than the fate of China, although it is not really so. It is nearer, anyhow, and therefore looms larger.

Let us strip the immigration issue to the bone, and see what it amounts to. There are two distinct points of view, Japan's and ours. Americans pretty well understand their own. It is briefly: Ori

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