Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/159

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JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES

nish. They have the faults of their virtues, and the uneducated Japanese sometimes show these faults in unpleasant fashion.

There are still more urgent reasons why the Japanese themselves should insist on exclusion of their coolie laborers from Canada and the United States. The nation can not afford to have America know it by its least creditable examples. A hundred Japanese rice-field hands are seen in America, to one Japanese gentleman. Thousands of men who never knew a Japanese merchant or artist or scholar have come in contact with Japanese draymen or laundrymen. They have not always found these good neighbors. The present conditions are not permanent, perhaps, but as matters are to-day it is to the interest of Japan, even more than to the interest of California, that the present agreements should be maintained.

Just after the Russian War, when America's sympathy was almost wholly on the side of Japan because the attitude of Russia was believed to be that of wanton aggression, a series of anti-Japanese articles were published in various American newspapers. Who wrote these articles and who paid for them, I do not know, but their various half-truths and falsehoods had an unfavorable effect on American public opinion. All sorts of half-forgotten slanders were revived and followed in their wake. Among these is the ancient falsehood that Japanese banks employ Chinese tellers because they can not trust their own people. Of all the banks in Japan only one, the Yokohama Specie Bank, which does a large Chinese business, has ever had a Chinese employee.

The school affair in San Francisco was also unfortunate, although in itself of no significance whatever. In the great fire of 1906, the Chinatown of San Francisco was entirely destroyed. After the fire a temporary schoolhouse was established in the neighborhood. There were no Chinese children in this school and the teacher, perhaps fearing loss of position, asked the School Board to send the Japanese children in the neighboring region to her. The School Board, apparently ignorant of possible international results, formed of this an "Oriental School." There were no Chinese children concerned, nor is it at all clear that Japanese children would have suffered even had such been present.

Under our treaty with Japan our schools, as every other privilege, were open to Japanese subjects on the basis of "the most favored nation." To send Japanese children to an "Oriental School" was probably a violation of this clause of the treaty. It is not certain that this was a violation, but it appears as such on the surface. So far as I know, there has been no judicial decision involving this point. In any case, the apparent remedy lay in an injunction suit, and in a quiet determination of the point at issue. It was a mistake, I believe, to make