Naoichi Masaoka.

Japan's message to America; a symposium by representative Japanese on Japan and American-Japanese relations online

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In 1905, Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt of the United
States acted as mediator between Japan and Russia, which
were then at war with each other, and as the result of his
mediation the peace conference was held in Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, U. S. A. I was then one of the news-
paper correspondents who accompanied the peace am-
bassador Baron Komura from Japan, Then, in 1909,
when the six chambers of commerce of the Pacific coast
of America invited a party of Japanese business men to
visit America, I was the only newspaper correspondent
who went with that party from Tokyo and together
visited some fifty different American cities. My stays in
America have not been long, but the two visits I made
have been most important in the interest of Japanese-
American relationship. The fact that I had then an
opportunity to observe America is still today a source
of lasting pleasure. These two visits to America taught
me the following lesson, namely, that " the Japanese
views of America so far have been erroneous in the main.
At least the Japanese have fallen into the same inter-
national prejuidces as many Europeans.'* So I have



devoted myself for four years in writing books on
America, and in August, 191 3, have succeeded in publish-
ing one under the title ** America and the Americans **
(1300 pages). Again another book was published under
the title "American Expansion'* (650 pages). I expect
to publish a second series to ''American Expansion.*'

I, however, have come to realize that the Americans
need to learn truths about Japan as the Japanese do about
America. Moreover, what the average American knows
about Japan is far less than what the average Japanese
knows about America.

What is most important in the intercourse between one
individual and another is that each understands the other
perfectly. It is the same with regard to the relations
between one nation and another. Most international differ-
ences are the results of the lack of mutual understanding.
If understood perfectly by each other, any two nations
which had been quarreling with each other in the past
would see how foolish they had been to engage in
quarrels. I have already done something to introduce
America to Japan. Why should I not do something to
introduce Japan to America ?

I have a desire to write a book in English with this
object in view. In the present work, however, I have
confined myself to collecting the views of representative


Japanese. I take great pleasure in presenting the copies
of this work to the Americans. That the Americans in
reading this work will find, out of their open-hearted
spirit, *' the true Japan " represented in it is what I
earnestly hope and firmly believe will be the result

N. M,
Tokyo, March, 19 14.



Our National Mission . i

Count Shigcnolm Okuma

What Japan has to Teach 7

Viscount Kentaro Kaneko

The Real Chai'acter of the Japanese Race. . . , 11

Baron Sh impel Goto

Japanese- American Relations and Myself. . • . 19

Baron Ei-ichi Shibusawa

Japan Harbors no III Feeling Toward America . . n

Baron Rempei Kondo

In Rome Do as the Romans Do 43

Hon, Buei Nakano

Future of the Pacific and the American-Japanese
Friendship ....#••.. 47

Hon. Soichiro Asano

Japan and America (Co-operation Versus Com-
petition) 51

Hon, Kikusaburo Fukui

America and Japan always Friends 57

Hon. Kahci Otani

To the American Nation, . 65

Dr. Shigeo Suyehiro

To the Peace-Loving Americans *ji

Hon. Yukio Ozaki


Exclusionists not True to the Principles of America's
Founders 73

Count Sei-ichiro Terasliima

Tendencies of Japanese-American Trade . , . . 79

Hon. Kenzo Iwaliara

Various Standpoints of Peace -Workers . , . . , Sy

Baron Yosliiro Sakatani

Outline of Japanese Civilization 93

Dr. Juiclii Soyecla

Japan and the Preservation of China's Integrity . . 97

Hon. Tokugoro Nakahashi

Japan's Colonial Policy 107

Hon. Yosaburo Takekoshi

" Centripetal Mikadoism " 113

Hon. I icliiro Tokutomi

Japanese Laborers 117

Hon. Kojiro Matsukata

Socialism in Japan 123

Prof. Iso-o Abe

Christianity in Japan 131

Rev. Tasuku Harada

A Short Account of the Bank of Japan 143

Viscount Yataro Misbima

The R ailways of Japan 149

Hon. Takejiro Tokonami

Mr. Yukichi Fukuzawa and his Moral Code . . .161

Hon. Eikichi Karaada

The Ethical Problems of New Japan 173

Rev. Kajinosuke Ibuka



The Spirit of Japanese Education 187

Pres. Masataro Sawayanagi

Religion and Education in Japan 197

Dr. Tetsujiro Inouye

Technical Education in Japan 203

Pres. Sei-ichi Teshima

The Virtues of Japanese Womanhood 209

Mme. Utako Shimoda

Ideographia Delenda est ! ......... 215

Baron Naibu Kanda

Western Works of Literature, Religion, and Philo-
sophy Translated and Introduced in Japan . . .219

Prof. Mei?;o Togawa

Improvement of Japanese Commercial Methods . ♦231

Hon. Osuke Ilibi

Prospect of the Peace of the World •...•. 237

Hon. Ichitaro Shimizu

Japan and Americanism .,.»245

Naoiclii Masaoka, EAitor

Historical Development ol Western Learning in
Japan 257

Ritts-zoU Oda, Ass't Editor

Count Shigenobu Ckuma


Shigenobu Okuma

[Count Shigenobu Okuma, Chancellor oi Waseda Univer*
sity-; born Feb. 1838 at Saga, Hizen ; studied Chinese classics
at a clan-school, and Dutch, English and mathematics under
certain Englishmen at Nagasaki; during the Restoration
period, he advocated the abolition of feudalism and the
establishment of constitutional government ; on the reorgani-
zation of the government under the Mikado, he became chief
assistant in the Department of Foreign AfGiirs ; subsequently,
secretary for the interior and finance ; 1873-81, had charge of
the Treasury, first as Vice-Minister and then as full Minister ;
resigned this portfolio because his memorial urging the Govern-
ment to introduce representative government had been rejected
by his colleagues ; he then formed the Progressive Party, the
forerunner of the National Party (Kokuminto), and was him-
self its president until a few years ago ; in 1888, the year
preceding the promulgation of the Imperial Constitution, he
was appointed Foreign Minister and undertook the revi-
sion of the treaties; in 1896, was Foreign Minister and
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce ; in 1898, Premier and
Foreign Minister; has been a thought-leader and educa-
tionist for the past fifteen years. He is the editor-in-chief of
Fifty Years of Nezv Japan (a modern history of Japan
printed in English), and of the Shin Nippon (a monthly

The Japan of to-day is no longer the Japan of Japan,
but the Japan of the world. What is, then, the mission
of the new Japan ? J t is to make a large contribution to
human progress by playing an active part in the great



drama of world-politics. To put it in a more concrete
way, it is Japan's mission to harmonize Eastern and
Western civilizations in order to help bring about the
unification of the world.

We sometimes hear or read the expression " the east-
ward movement of civilization.*' From the standpoint of
Oriental history, this seems right ; our civilization owes
very much to the civilizations of China and India. But
whence came the latter ? According to many historians
these civilizations originated in the table-lands of Central
Asia. Although scholars differ as to the first seats of the
human race, yet it can be safely said that they were some-
where in the western corner of Asia contiguous to Europe
and Africa. From this region humanity migrated in all
directions, and its migrations resulted in the scattering of

As it was divided, however, its branches were affected
by certain geographical influences different from one
another, thus gradually developing the peculiar features
of civilization. Take religion for instance. India pro-
duced the profound philosophy of Brahmanism and
Buddhism; while among the Hebrews were developed
Judaism which worships the God of justice, and later
Christianity, which teaches that God is love. Many
centuries of separate existence of the races made the


differences of their civilizations wider, and they struggled
and competed to hold their own.

But the earth is round. When one progresses to the
east, one comes upon the west and vice versa. Until half
a century ago, the eastward current of civilization had
been flowing into Japan, but since the visit of Commodore
Perry, our country has come to meet the westward current
running via America.

Now this new current is the one that originated at the
same region as the before-mentioned eastward current and,
after pervading Europe, worked itself westward to the
American Continent. As it comes to Japan, therefore, it
represents Latin and Teutonic civilizations.

Thus, the East and West have become a continuous
whole, so that one can not say where the main current of
civilization starts or arrives. Indeed, the civilization of
each race has its own characteristic features, geographic-
ally and historically; in some cases, the differences of
ideals, languages, etc. make the casual observer think
that one race belongs to a world quite different from
another. But according as the means of communication
develop, these differences must gradually disappear.
And a race will rise which, being awake to the general
trend of the world's progress, effects a right harmony
between its own and the outside civilization ; if otherwise.



It will fall. The decline of China in recent years is a good
example of this.

It is not that the Chinese are essentially inferior to the
European race, but their backward state is due to the fact
that they did not strive to adapt themselves to the civiliz-
ation of the outside world, which they set at defiance
with a narrow provincialism peculiar to them.

The true difference of mankind is neither in the color
of the skin nor in the frame of the body, but is, if any, in
the degree of culture itself. It is this difference that
distinguishes winner and loser in the struggle for exist-
ence. A nation, like an individual, must always endeavor
to make up its own defects by adopting the merits of
another, and to display its strong points at the same time.
Such a nation, and such a nation only, will be able to
work upward to an advanced position in the world.

We Japanese, standing at a point where the Eastern and
Western civilizations meet, are given facilities to serve as
interpreters of the Orient, and to represent the former be-
fore the Occidentals. Therefore, to harmonize the East
and the West and contribute to the unification of the
world, is an ideal part to be played by Japan. A certain
European critic has fitly remarked that the Japanese are
eclectics. Fortunately, we are free from any racial or
religious prejudices ; we have collected, or are trying to


collect, what is good, what is true, and what is beautifuU
from all quarters of the earth. In a good sense, we Japan-
ized Confucianism and Buddhism, and are Japanizing Chris-
tianity even. We are ready to take every nutriment we
<:an in order to develop our racial civilization. To brand
us Japanese as inferior because we are a colored race is
a bigotry that we must combat and destroy through the
fulfilment of our national mission.

Viscount Kentaro Kaneko


Kentaro lianeko

[Viscount Kentaro Kaneko, LL.D. (Harvard), Privy Coun-
cillor; born March 1853 at Fukuoka; graduated from
Harvard Law School in 1878 ; he began his career as a profess-
or at the Tokyo Yobimon (defunct), X878 ; in 1885 became
private secretary to the then Premier Ito ; was sent abroad for
purposes of investigating constitutional systems ; was appointed
Chief Secretary of the House of Peers in 1890 ; in 1891 he
was a delegate to the International Law Conference held in
Switzerland; in 1894 Vice-Minister for Agriculture and
Commerce; in 1898 was made Minister of the same depart-
ment, and in 1900 Minister of Justice; during the Russo-
Japanese War, he was non-ofl&cial representative of the
Japanese Government in the United States. He is president
of the American Friends Society.]

*' One who is ready to learn is fit to teach." This was
a phrase that Col. Roosevelt, my intimate friend, used
when President of the United States in eulogizing the
Japanese in a message to Congress. I may add that he
clearly saw through the mind of our nation. We are
ever ready to learn from the outside world, but we are
never satisfied with being a mere importer of Western
civilization, with being forever a pupil in the great school
of human progress. Because we aspire to teach the
world, we are inspired with the spirit of the learner.

In our own times, one of the greatest problems in the

8 japan's message to AMERICA

world IS the race problem. It has arisen in Australia, in
America, in Europe, in China, in Korea — indeed, almost
everywhere on the surface of the globe; and the true
cause of this omnipresent problem is Japan's great
development. Had our nation remained a China or a
Korea in its progress, the clamor of the race problem
would not have been raised to so high a pitch. As it is,
Japan has emerged out of her two foreign wars as a nation
with a splendid organization and as civilized as the fore-
most countries in Europe and America, imposing
respectful consideration upon them and breaking, to the
resentment of some of them, their traditional assumption
that the white race is essentially superior to the 3^ellow.
Consequently, Japan was allowed a membership in the
council of nations, which position had been long denied
her. Not all the older members liked to admit her, but
she demanded such admission from them on the strength
of her achievement and was given it. For scores of
years they had been reveling among themselves with
self-congratulation on white superiority ; but now, much
to their disillusionment, they found yellow Japan squeez-
ing herself in. The newcomer was no different from the
rest in all the refinements of contemporary civilization,
was quite prepared to associate with them on equal
terms; only she was of a yellow race. This slight


physical difference, however, loomed very large in the
eyes of the white members, who wondered at, and then
were affected disagreeably by, the little stranger. Nor
was thjeir repugnance to Japan the least unnatural, as the
most innocent swans might feel the same against a crow
flapping into their flock. Racial antipathy is only a
spontaneous phenomenon of human psychology. But,
nevertheless, the progress of man, of civilization, is, in a
sense, a systematic restraint of his innate propensities, and
if so, the racial feeling, among others, must be controlled
and suppressed by all means. Young Japan is coping
with modern learning just as young America, young
England, young France, or young Germany is doing.
In the matter of intellectual life, our second generation is
under the same process of fermentation as that of every
other civilized nation. Supposing that the Japan of
today is not on an equal basis with her white competitors ?
The Japan of to-morrow will be, in all probability. If^
therefore, there is anything she has to teach them, it is
the fact that mankind is a one and undivisible whole, that
the yellow race is not inferior to the white, that all the
races should co-operate in perfect harmony for the deve-
lopment of the world *s civilization. We have obtained a
voice in the Parliament of Man at the cost of blood and
money ; we must use that new right to good purpose.

lO japan's message to AMERICA

The exchange of professors between America and
Japan has already proved a success in removing some
groundless prejudices and foolish misunderstandings^
We wish America to send many more Mabies to interpret
their nation to us and study things Japanese for their
fellow-citizens. We expect free and democratic America
to be one of the most trustworthy friends to help our
cause. But after all, one has to take care of one*s self,
and we must, by our own exertion, teach the Occidentals
out of their prejudices, while we must continue to learn
from them. Upon the solution of the race problem, the
future of Japan, nay, the future of human progress, largely

The last advice that Alexander Hamilton received from
his mother on her death-bed— and it is the best and
greatest advice, in my opinion, that a son has ever been
given by a parent — ^has been my own constant guide,
since I, in my boyhood, read the words in the life of
Hamilton, And today, to young Japan, upon whose
shoulders rests the heavy responsibility of teaching the
Occidentals, do I give the same advice. It is this : " My
son, never aim at the second best. It is not worthy of
you. Your powers are in harmony with the everlasting
principle of the universe."


Baron Shimpei Goto


Stiimpei Goto

[Baron Shimpei Goto, ex-Minister of Communications and
ex-President of the Imperial Railway Board; born Miyagi
Prefecture, July, 1857 ; was graduated from the University of
Berlin with degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1892 ; at the early
age of 20, he was physician at the Aichi Prefectural Hospital,
also instructor at the Prefectural Medical School; after four
years of distinguished services, was promoted director of the
hospital as well as the school ; in 1883 became acting Direc-
tor of the Sanitary Bureau, Home Department ; on his return
from an official tour to Germany, he was appointed Director of
the Sanitary Bureau, 1892 ; during the Japan-China War, was
on the Sanitary Commission of the Army ; after the war, was
singled out by the late General Kodama and appointed Direc-
tor of the Civil Administration Bureau of the Formosan
Government ; during his tenure of the directorship, he made
large contributions to the Insular development; was created
baron in 1906 and given a seat in the House of Peers ; in 1906
became the first president of the South Manchuria Railway
Co. ; in 1908 Minister of Communications ; resigned August,
S912 ; held the portfolio again, Dec. 12 — Feb. 13, 1912. He is
the translator of several German books on politics.]

The real character of the Japanese race is not yet
Understood by the world. It is a trite saying that
Occidental civilization is based on Christianity, while the
Oriental has Buddhism and Confucianism as its found-
ation. Geographically, Japan belongs to the Orient, but


she IS no common Oriental country. Every nation in
the world has its general characteristics and its peculiar-
ities, and Japan is richest in the latter, presumably as a
result of her insular position, which allowed her to grow
up without many foreign influences. In respect to ideals,
customs, and manners, therefore, she differs so much
from other civilized countries, that she has often incurred
their misunderstanding.

Although she has many institutions analogous to those
of foreign countries, it would be difficult to understand
Japan without a knowledge of the principle that has been
guiding the development of her civilization. This prin-
ciple is what we call *' Yamato Damashii."

The wisdom of this world is foolishness. Scholars
adhere to letters too much to grasp the truth of the
universe; very often it is simple men, without letters,
who can read the Word. In this sense, the learned are
only vassals of the Creator : the simple are His immediate
attendants. The foundation of Japan was laid by the
Emperor Jimmu, an immediate attendant of the Creator,
and the house has been added to by the learned in later
years. Buddhism and Confucianism, it is true, made
large contributions to our civilization, but there was
" Yamato Damashii " in the beginning. For the Japanese
nation assimilated their teachings, rather than the teach-


ings assimilated the Japanese nation. That Confucianism
made a great development here is an illustration of this.
i Had the great Chinese philosopher been reborn in Japan
I centuries later, he would have been amazed by the
elaboration that his own theories had received at our
hands. Also, it is no exaggeration to say that Buddhism
has been brought to successful completion in this country ;
Buddhism, as it exists in Japan today, is a system of faith
widely different from the so-called ''Primitive Buddhism.''
*' Yamato Damashii *' has caused Japanese civilization
to make a peculiar growth. Westerners are apt to despise
it as inferior to their own, or to be astonished by it as a
mysterious phenomenon ; but both their contempt and
wonder are simply due to their lack of knowledge of
Japanese history. The substantial difference between
Western civilization and ours consists in the difference of
the process of development.

Let me illustrate this by religious art. In the Occident,
after laborious study from the scientific point of view,
art-critics arrived at the conclusion that masterpieces of
religious art can be produced only by very devout
workers. This, however, the ancient Japanese artists
knew by intuition ; it was a tradition among them that
sacred Buddhistic paintings and sculptures could not be
made without ablutions.




Those who are fond of Japanese objects of virtu may
have heard of a sort of mask called " deme-no-men."
The lineage of the first producer of such masks has lasted
for more than ten generations up to the present day, and
there is a secret precept governing the traditional trade of
the family. It is this, " Use not a foot-measure : it kills
thy work." An artisan laying aside a measure ! He is
what we call " an immediate attendant of the Creator " ;
he symbolizes Japanism, the peculiar civilization of Japan^
It is the spirit embodied in the words just quoted, that has
assimilated eveiything that has come into Japan. Here
lies a salient feature of her nationality.

We are sometimes branded as a bellicose people, as a
dangerous people. The more outspoken shout '* yellow
peril," as though we were an enemy of humanity and
civilization. The red cross ambulance service, as it
exists to-day, was organized according to the Geneva
Convention of 1863, ^^^ ^^ ^^Y interest the merciless
critics of Japan to know that the principle of this humani-
tarian institution was observed by Japanese themselves in
the eleventh century. Between 1050 and 1080, we
waged two long wars — the Former Nine Years' War and
Later Three Years' War, as they are called in Japanese n
history — with the barbarians in the north-eastern districts ■
of Honshu ; and it is a fine episode of the latter war, that


our commander-in-chief Hachiman-Taro-Yoshiiye, ex-
changed extempore odes with the enemy's general on the
battle-field with the result that our warriors touched by
Yoshiiye's lines, stayed their arrows and saved their
enemy who were begmning to flee. According to some
historians, this episode is a fiction ; be that as it may, it is
a good proof of established humanity in ancient Japan,
that Yoshiiye was deified as a god of mercy and valor,
and that many shrines have been dedicated to his memory
throughout the Empire,

I once climbed Mount Koya, and on the summat, saw
an old stone monument, about 6 feet high and about 2 feet
6 inches wide. It had been erected by Shimazu-Yoshi-
hiro and his son, who had been attached to Taiko Hide-
yoshi's expedition to Korea. The inscription read on
one side: '* In — th year of Keicho [1596 — 1614], we
cut off tens of thousands of heads" ; on the other side,
** May the persons killed in battle, both on our side and
the enemy's, enter Nirvana." To erect a monument for
the enemy's killed and pray for them, as much as to
nurse the enemy in distress, was a fine flower of human
feeling. This Shimazu must be said to have forestalled,
if not out-nightingaled, Nightingale.

Further, let me explain Japanese humanitarianism by
one of our greatest romances. I refer to the Hakkenden


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Online LibraryNaoichi MasaokaJapan's message to America; a symposium by representative Japanese on Japan and American-Japanese relations → online text (page 1 of 13)