The Imperial Japanese Mission to the United States, 1917



Welcome by Governor Pinkham

Freighted with the warm good will of the rulers and people of Japan, Viscount Ishii and his companions of the Imperial Mission took ship at Yokohama for San Francisco, dropping anchor on the way in the harbor of Honolulu on August 6, where the first of a long series of ovations awaited them. The large Japanese population joined joyously in the welcome to the Imperial Mission tendered by the United States authorities, headed by Governor Lucius Eugene Pinkham. In the afternoon Viscount Ishii and the other gentlemen of the Mission were taken in motor cars to many points of interest, the Pali, the sugar lands of the interior, the coast lines and many scenic beauties of the island. In the evening a dinner was given to the Mission at the Alexander Young Hotel. Some eighty guests participated. The greatest good feeling prevailed. Governor Pinkham said by way of welcome:

Your Excellency, Viscount Ishii, Consul General Moroi, members of the Mission, and gentlemen:

It has been my privilege to note some of the expressions made by Your Excellency in your address before the America-Japan Society exactly one month ago tonight. I have noted the sentiments expressed on that occasion by your most distinguished statesmen and diplomats, the Honorable Count Terauchi, Premier of Japan, Viscount Ichiro Motono, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viscount Kentaro Kaneko, Privy Councilor, and Eki Hioki, Diplomat. The sentiments were all friendly and cordial to the United States of America and urgent for a peace consistent with the highest ideals, to be maintained in perpetuity. A mission filled with the spirit of your Mission, sustained by your statesmen at home and abroad, can not fail to make the profoundest impression on the American people and the whole world, now so intricately involved in every phase of human and national existence.

It is for you who know the innermost springs of purpose and action to predict the outcome of your magnificent report, and not for me, so far from the center of American statesmanship and diplomacy and unauthorized to speak.

It is for us in this isolated archipelago to hope for what is best for our country. These islands have had much to do with modern Japan, and Japan has had much to do with modern Hawaii, and will have much more to do with modern Hawaii, for the potentialities of the predominance of the Japanese race in the territory of Hawaii are obvious.

Our relations have been ethical, educational and commercial, and the happy results have been this day under your observation.

The world in these latter days learns much from Japan. Her action in now forming a national advisory council assures not only your own country, but others, that Japan will have profoundly considered advice and suggestion to offer when a settlement of these international problems is before the world.

Your Excellency, eminent men from your nation often pass through the capital of the territory of Hawaii, and quite freely express their ideas and sentiments.

Your country has most effective representatives and speakers to present your views at prominent functions in our great eastern cities.

We know the varying individual sentiments of individual Japanese, but await with profoundest interest on your Mission in its official expression of the heart and aims of the Japanese people and His Imperial Japanese Majesty Yoshihito, Emperor of Japan.

No nation is wise in its judgment of its enemies until it has taken complete cognizance of every fact entering into the problem, until it sizes up every impulse that enters into the strength or weakness of its enemies---and he who can not recognize and combat the strength and take advantage of the weakness of his country's enemies is a poor citizen and unfit for the responsibilities war thrusts on soldiers and supporting civilians.

Hawaii, through the efforts of its governor, today stands relatively far at the head of the National Guard of the United States and has already furnished double her quota in complying with the selective draft.

This day I have received by wireless from the other islands information that enables me to know wherein we can invite the Japanese to legally join the National Guard, and orders have been issued to the adjutant general to form a company of Japanese for the National Guard of Hawaii.

I know that when it comes to action on the field of battle Americans, Hawaiians and Japanese will stand shoulder to shoulder against our common foe.


Viscount Ishii's Reply

Viscount Ishii arose to reply amid ringing applause. He said:

Mr. Governor and gentlemen:

It is a matter of deep regret to me that the vocabulary at my command is so deficient as to make it impossible to adequately express the appreciation of myself and the members of my party of the welcome you are now giving us on the threshold of this outer gateway to your glorious country.

This welcome we consider as a testimony to the earnest desire of the government of the territory to show every courtesy to the Mission---a testimony by which we are profoundly touched and for which we beg to express our heartfelt thanks.

The cordial greeting thus extended to us upon our arrival in the territory of your great commonwealth will hearten us on our way to the Golden Gate and to Washington, whither we are hurrying, with a message of friendship and. appreciation from Japan, whose aims and ideals are at one with those of the United States in the present war.

Here I find in the fields and in the marts of this beautiful land the Japanese are living and working happily together with Americans under this highly effective and able administration. What I have seen and what I have heard today afford me sincere satisfaction. But this is not all that is necessary at this solemn moment. It should be remembered that there is an additional duty which the Japanese residents on the islands of Hawaii should keep constantly before them. I mean that they must not only be satisfied with being law abiding, industrious and considerate, but they must be ready to conform themselves to the requirements of circumstances. They must offer and render whatever tribute of friendship and good will they can conceive in their diversified capacities and each pay to the country the obligation of a guest. I firmly believe that in taking this position and in these words I am merely echoing the voice and reflecting the fixed sentiments of the Japanese residents of Hawaii.

I hasten to express the sense of pleasurable satisfaction we feel after the round of visits to many places of interest which we have made this afternoon under the courteous, well conceived and personal guidance of Your Excellency and your staff. It is not merely flattery to state that the charm and beauty of this land of yours can not fail to soothe the traveler after a somewhat monotonous voyage. Every minute spent in your islands is replete with comfort and delight, and surely the pleasant experiences of this afternoon will never be erased from the memories of this special Mission. To me it was particularly interesting, as I was able to mark the great progress made here, both industrially and otherwise, since my last visit just ten years ago.

Your Excellency, and gentlemen, noting today all the blessings that a prodigal nature first provided to be developed later by man, I felt more deeply than I bad perhaps felt hitherto, the call to the manhood that is in. me and in us all, to use the best gifts nature has bestowed upon us in order that, in cooperation with the courage, faith and honest purpose which are so well typified in these islands of Hawaii, we may help to bring the world, in due course, to such a peace as will ensure to every man and to every nation the fruits of honest endeavor. We thank you.

Crowned with flowers, according to the beautiful Hawaiian custom, the commissioners returned to their steamer and the voyage was resumed.

III. On the Pacific Coast

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