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its author. Of this the celebrated Magdalena Bay incident furnishes an apt illustration. So much has this case been talked about and yet so little has it been understood, that I feel justified in giving here an authentic account of it.
In December, 1910, a Japanese named Yokoyama, manager of the Oriental Whaling Company of Tokyo, secured from the Mexican government a fishing concession along the Pacific coast. The concession was far from exclusive, for Americans, Germans, Englishmen, and others had enjoyed the same privilege. For lack of the necessary capital this Japanese company failed to utilize the privilege. The concession had nothing to do with Magdalena Bay, for it covered only the section of coast between Salina Cruz and Manzanilo, but it was readily exploited by those with their own axes to grind.
Soon afterward, in the early spring of 1912, another Japanese, engaged in fishing at Monterey, California, took a trip to Magdalena Bay at the invitation of J. S. Blackburn, representative of the John Henry Company of New York, organized under the laws of Maine for the purpose of exploiting the Magdalena Bay region. This company offered alluring terms to a Japanese, Otojiro Noda by name, and asked him to start a fishing establishment and also to bring Japanese settlers there. Noda, having inspected the bay and the surrounding country, reached the conclusion that not until human beings, as well as cows and horses, could subsist on sand and sea water would Magdalena Bay ever be colonized, for the region had neither fresh water nor vegetation.
About the same time, the John Henry Company also approached a Japanese steamship company, the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, with a view to bringing Japanese settlers to Magdalena Bay. The colonization plans had been communicated to the Secretary of the Navy, the late Mr. George v L. Meyer, who in turn sounded the State Department on the matter. But whether approved or vetoed on the part of the State Department, the project would never have been
carried out for the simple reason that the land on Magdalena Bay was utterly unsuited to the purpose.
All this furnished fire enough to heat the teapot. With due fanning by the yellow journals and their dubious allies, the fire soon became hot enough to cause a tempest in the pot. The result was the solemn and formidable resolution offered in the Senate on August 2, 1912, by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, declaring that the United States could not see without grave concern the acquisition of any harbor on the American continent by a foreign corporation “which has such relation to another government, not American, as to give that country practical control for military or naval purposes.” The significance of this resolution lies not so much in what it explicitly stated as in what it really aimed to accomplish. Its real aim was to forestall all Japanese enterprises of any importance in Mexico.
Would the American government and people, on the other hand, acquiesce in a similar exclusive policy established by an Asiatic nation with regard to China, Korea, and the maritime province of Siberia? Even presuming that they might for a time tolerate such a situation, a policy of mutual exclusion certainly is not conducive to permanent peace.
In the lofty utterance of President Wilson, “the free, constant, unthreatened intercourse of nations is an essential part of the process of peace and of development."
It was soon after the Magdalena Bay comedy that the Bethlehem Steel Company secured, or tried to secure, from the Chinese government a concession to establish a dockyard on the coast of the Fukien province, lying across a narrow strip of water from the Japanese island of Formosa. It would have been nothing short of a miracle had the Japanese, after the Lodge resolution, not raised a voice against this American project, which was infinitely more formidable than an innocent concession such as was secured by, or offered to, Japanese on the Pacific coast of Mexico. However, the Bethlehem Steel project came to naught.
Do not these two incidents furnish food for reflection on the part of all who have the lasting peace of the world sincerely at heart? To America or Great Britain commercial expansion in foreign countries is merely a question of adding more wealth to their already enormous resources and their overflowing coffers. To Japan, on the contrary, it is a question of life and death. Although the truth of this statement has already been recognized, yet it is so vital that it is well to emphasize it with certain statistical data.
During the last half century the population of Japan proper has been increasing at the rate of 400,000 a year Where there were 33,000,000 Japanese fifty years ago, there are to-day about 53,000,000. As the total area of Japan proper measures about 148,756 square miles, the density of population is 356 per square mile. If we leave out of consideration Hokkaido, the northern island, the density increases to 451 per square mile. In other words, 110,212 square miles of three of the four islands constituting Japan proper represent an area demanding relief from congestion.
The first available territory for the solution of the problem of overpopulation is the island of Hokkaido. Hokkaido is very small, containing only 30,275 square miles, and it is traversed by mountain ranges, while its winters are severe and protracted. Making due allowance for its limitations, the territory is perhaps capable of supporting five times its present population which is estimated at 2,200,000. Korea is also available for colonization. This newly annexed territory has an area of 86,000 square miles with a population of 14,466,783, or a density of 169 per square mile. There is, therefore, no great room here for Japanese settlers. With proper development, however, it will perhaps be found capable of receiving 15,000,000 more people.
While Japan's population has increased by 20,000,000 during the past five decades, only 2,690,000 Japanese have emigrated. The statistics of emigration are as follows: to Hokkaido (northernmost island of Japan) 2,000,000; to
Formosa (southernmost island of Japan) 100,000; to Korea 300,000; to Manchuria 100,000; to Hawaii 80,000; to continental United States 70,000; to China, South America, and other countries 40,000.
England, when the rate of increase in her population was highest, sent her sons and daughters abroad by the hundreds of thousands every year. So did Germany. To the United States the German Empire has sent many millions of emigrants. In South America, Brazil alone has received more than a million Germans. All the European countries have alleviated the pressure of population at home by encouraging emigration. The most conspicuous recent example is Italy. Moreover, most European powers have acquired vast oversea territories, which have proved beneficial either as colonial lands or as the sources of supply of raw materials; while Japan, one of the most congested countries in the world, is compelled to solve the same problem without sending emigrants to any of the countries which seem to offer the greatest opportunities. With her population increasing at its present rate, this is no easy task. Even to-day food material produced from Japan's own soil is scarcely enough to feed her population. With the standards of living rising, , the shortage of food is becoming more and more serious. Where the land area is so limited and the population so large, the land holdings must of necessity be very small. Seventy per cent of the farms in Japan are less than two and one-half acres in size, and eighty per cent less than five acres. In many places the raising of horses for farm use has been a failure, because the feed costs more than the horses are worth. Human labor on the farms is cheaper than horse power.
And yet Japan, docile and courteous, is mindful of the admonition of the “big brothers” of the West, and is willing to undertake the Herculean task of solving the vexatious population problem within the limits of her own resources. In refraining from sending her emigrants to the British
colonies, and in accepting the “gentlemen's agreement” with the United States, Japan has signified her intention to dispose of that serious question without embarrassing the Western nations.
In the predicament in which Japan finds herself no one can help sympathizing with her, and wondering how she will eventually emerge from it. She has not yet produced-she does not care to produce-Margaret Sangers, preaching birth control in the salons of idle society women. Indeed, if the present order of world conditions is to persist, it is open to question whether any nation will be wise in allowing restriction of the birth rate, which will inevitably lessen the number of men available for the defense of its existence. No, Japan's solution of the question of land shortage and overpopulation is not birth control. Her salvation lies, perhaps, in converting herself into a great industrial and commercial nation. Yet even here she is likely to encounter serious obstacles, for her activities are bound to be challenged by the greater commercial powers of Europe and America. Whichever way she may turn, there are difficulties in her path.
The question has often been asked as to Japan's real attitude towards the present war. She has been charged with half-heartedness in supporting her allies. What, indeed, is she thinking about the war? So far as the government at Tokyo is concerned, it is wholehearted in its desire to support the Allies. But to expect the masses of Japan to evince great enthusiasm for the war on the side of the Allies is to expect them to be superhuman-or subhuman.
Rightly or wrongly, the people of Japan entertain the idea that this war is being waged by the nations which have refused to accept them upon a plane of equality; which have persistently and deliberately discriminated against them, raising in their face the barrier of exclusion and saying to them, “Thus far thou shalt go, no farther.” The Japanese have been told that their proper place is the little archi