The Imperial Japanese Mission to the United States, 1917



The city of Philadelphia had the happy thought of giving a day to the Imperial Japanese Mission on September 15, and had prepared a train of festal events, naturally beginning with a visit to Independence Hall, the cradle of the government of the United States and the shrine of the Liberty Bell. The train bearing the visitors arrived in Philadelphia from Washington at 11:36 a.m. They were met at Broad Street Station by Mayor Thomas B. Smith and a reception committee, following which they were escorted in automobiles down Chestnut Street to Independence Hall. Besides Viscount Ishii there were Ambassador Sato and other members of the Special Mission.

Accompanying the Japanese were Brigadier General James A. Irons and Captain C. C. Marsh, United States Army; Breckinridge Long, Third Assistant Secretary of State, and J. M. Nye, of the Department of State.

Ambassador Morris's Welcome

After a brief word of welcome from Mayor Smith, Ambassador Morris, the newly appointed United States envoy to Japan, was introduced. He said:

I am deeply grateful to His Honor, the Mayor, for granting me the privilege of thus supplementing his official welcome. This occasion has, as you can realize, Mr. Ambassador, a peculiar significance to me. I am so proud to speak a word of welcome to you and your fellow members of the Japanese Imperial Mission on this spot which is so rich in historic associations and which to us is the visible symbol of those ideals and aspirations which have been the impelling force of our national life.

We are standing on the very spot where those heroic men who laid the enduring foundations of our federal government counseled together. We feel that we can catch something of the vision of human liberty which they preserved and which they endeavored to express for the guidance of future generations in the instruments of government which they here drafted.

The men who here declared this people's independence and here wrought out the fabric of a more stable government had no narrow nor selfish purpose. The notes of the bell above us, which was cast that it might proclaim liberty throughout the world, found responsive echo in the aspirations which they nourished. They were struggling to realize not rights for themselves, but a heritage for the world; a heritage which should assure for all peoples the rights which they claimed for themselves---the right of independent national existence; the right to develop their institutions as their national spirit and traditions should dictate and save from aggressive interference of ambitious nations.

How seriously this heritage is now threatened, how ruthlessly these ideals are now challenged, we all profoundly realize, as we contemplate the fevered energy of all our people as they prepare not only to proclaim liberty throughout the world, but to fight for liberty throughout the world. We are proud, Mr. Ambassador, that we can stand side by side with your nation and your people in this fight; that the friendship which has united our countries for so many years can be deepened and strengthened by our union in this common purpose, and that in this simple building which is hallowed in our hearts by the ideals of human liberty which found expression here we can rededicate ourselves to the preservation of this heritage.

Viscount Ishii arose, and with evident emotion, replied:

Mr. Mayor: It is with a sense not only of great personal pride but of deep responsibility that I stand on this historic spot in this great city whose very name carries with it the fundamental ideal of the highest thought among all the nations in the world to make response to a welcome to my Mission so eloquently voiced by one who worthily represents your city and your state. We are glad that he will represent your nation in the capital of Japan. Let me assure you that this welcome will find response in the hearts of my countrymen when His Excellency, the Ambassador of the United States, arrives in Japan, and that we shall endeavor always to demonstrate by deeds, and not by words so poorly at my command, our appreciation of Philadelphia and of Pennsylvania. We already owe much to Pennsylvania men. Philadelphia has placed us under further obligations.

I am so impressed and moved by these surroundings, so overwhelmed by your kindness, that I am unable to give expression to the thoughts which must spring to the mind of every man who stands in this hall under the mantle and the shadow of this great bell which first summoned the spirit of freedom in this republic and whose glorious tones have never ceased to resound throughout civilization.

I have tried to impress upon you through your representatives in the halls of Congress the fact that in Japan the true spirit of individual liberty and of freedom for the nation burns as brightly as it does in America. It seems to me that there could be no more fitting opportunity than this to assure you that our ideals and our hopes run alongside of yours. The whole world answers the summons to uphold freedom and liberty from oppression and from wrong. The force that moved this great bell of yours to sound the alarm in 1776 is the same human force that brings the call to us today. It was and is the force that rings in the right and rings out the wrong. In its tones there is no discordant note; certainly there is no lack of harmony as its sound waves beat upon our shores. The purpose of my Mission was and is to tell you this and only this---that we stand with you and will stand with you throughout the struggle for liberty and for freedom, and that we will rejoice with you when this bell shall again ring the proclamation of a righteous peace as it rang one hundred and thirty-four years ago.

For myself and in the name of my Mission and my country I thank you.

After leaving Independence Hall the visitors rode north on Fifth Street to Market and westward around City Hall to Broad Street. A detail of mounted police and the Police Band led the procession. Manufacturers and business men were waiting to exchange greetings with the envoys at the Manufacturers' Club upon their arrival there at one o'clock.

Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

The local Japanese Society had joined with the Manufacturers' Club in according a reception to Viscount Ishii and the others of the Imperial Mission. At its conclusion the party reentered their autos and were driven to the Bellevue Stratford Hotel, where a very large company awaited them. The occasion was a luncheon of over three hundred covers tendered by the municipality under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce. Vari-colored Japanese lanterns, with Japanese fronded palms, and the soft glow of subdued lights made a picturesque setting for the gathering in the large ballroom. An orchestra behind the palms played the Japanese national anthem, selections from the "Mikado," and other music suggestive of the land of sunshine and cherry trees. Over two hundred ladies in bright summer costumes made the balcony beautiful.

Mayor Thomas B. Smith arose, amid applause, and said:

We have been greatly honored during the past few months by visits of distinguished delegations representing great foreign nations---our allies. The first of the number was the French Mission, headed by the eminent statesman and financier Viviani and the soldier idol of France, Marshal Joffre. The second was the Italian Mission, headed by the urbane Arlotta and the justly popular Marconi, and then followed the visit of the Mission headed by the sympathetic Baron Moncheur and the picturesque Major Le Clare, representing heroic little Belgium.

As I said to those splendid men so do I say to our distinguished guests of today: Philadelphia, the mother city of the republic, welcomes you with all her heart. While each of the visits referred to-and this one as well will have their place in history, to me this day has greater interest than any of the others, because we are on the eve of parting from one of our most valued citizens---a man admired and respected by all who know him. He goes to your fair land as ambassador of our President to the Court of the Mikado. I know I voice the sentiments of my fellow citizens when I express the hope that the ambassador from this City of Brotherly Love may develop during his residence in Japan stronger bonds of friendship between our two great nations than have ever existed in times past.

Let us drink to the health of His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan. Glasses were lifted silently.

Mr. Ernest T. Trigg, President of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, as toastmaster now welcomed the Imperial Japanese Mission, and asked Ambassador Morris to add a few thoughts. Mr. Morris said:

I feel that I can add nothing to the warm welcome which we of Philadelphia have expressed to our distinguished guests, as voiced by His Honor the Mayor, and by the President of the Chamber of Commerce. I am, however, happy to have this opportunity to express here among my fellow Philadelphians the great satisfaction it gives me personally to join in this welcome on the eve of my departure for Japan, where I hope I may be able to convey to that great and progressive people something of that spirit of friendship and admiration which has been shown at this luncheon.

I am particularly grateful to His Excellency Viscount Ishii and the other members of the Mission for timing their visits so thoughtfully that their stay in Washington exactly corresponded to the period of my instruction as required by the rules of our diplomatic service. It is seldom -that one starting on his mission has such a rare opportunity to learn his first lessons from instructors so experienced and so well equipped.

I wish that the Mission could have given us more time so that we might show them at close range the industrial life which is represented here. But even had they time to look beyond this gathering and to see the varied activities which it represents, I fear they have little to learn from us. We all know something (I hope soon to know more) of the extraordinary development of the industrial life of Japan, of its civic spirit, and its progressive municipal governments. My hope is now that our two nations have been bound together in the great enterprise of this world war, we may from this close association of action develop a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation which will knit us closely together in the far greater industrial and commercial enterprises of peace. To that end I shall pledge my best efforts in the delightful task that I am about to undertake.

Viscount Ishii arose at a signal from the toastmaster, and bowing to the outburst of applause, at once launched into his address, which was frequently punctuated with handclapping. He said:

Mr. President and gentlemen of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce: I am deeply moved by the eloquence of this welcome. This reception and hospitality from the sons of William Penn is not indeed unexpected, for we know much about you; but the occasion is remarkable and most impressive. We are glad of the opportunity to meet such a gathering of leaders in your commercial life, and at such a time, as your guests, to be given this opportunity to speed a parting son whom we, when our work here is over, will meet again in our own land and to whom we will gladly do honor.

I have willing tribute to pay to Pennsylvania on behalf of Japan, and this occasion only adds to the obligation which I regret to say I can only pay in part. Of the many sons of this good state who have made their homes among us in Japan, none grew closer to our hearts than your late ambassador, Mr. George W. Guthrie, whose untimely death was a loss to your country and to ours. We shall always honor his memory as our friend and a great American

And now another Pennsylvanian goes to represent America among us, naturally a source of much gratification. Be assured, Sir, (turning to Ambassador Morris) that we' shall endeavor to make your path a pleasant and an easy one to tread. We shall endeavor to demonstrate to you that Japan is your friend and that the message I have brought comes from the hearts of my countrymen.

In this place and in this distinguished presence I can only ask you to recall the words already spoken by me elsewhere on many occasions, and to believe that they convey my message and my purpose plainly, fully and without reserve.

Japan and America have been the victims of a vicious campaign of slander and intrigue as dastardly and as horrible indeed as the black record of German crimes on the Atlantic, in Belgium, or in France can show. But we are wide awake now to the danger, and in this as in other fields of active warfare against our common enemy we will in future stand closer together because of the experiences of the past.

Our nations and their opportunity have met in this solemn hour, the hour for the real test of friendship. We are linked together and we will fight together for that liberty, the name and value of which none knows better than the people who claim the birthright of this state.

National unity is always paramount, and international amity is dependent upon that unity well conceived. America and Japan, each as a united nation, can aid the other, and together we can help ourselves and our neighbors to better and happier things, so that our sons may dwell together, in peace insured by self-reliance, mutual respect and perfect confidence, which, like the great ideal of William Penn, shall make all mankind of kin.

Mr. Ambassador, you will permit me on behalf of my Mission and myself, to wish you bon voyage across the ocean, a pleasant journey and a long stay. I commend my countrymen to your high consideration, as we have ventured to commend you to them. I thank you.

As the Viscount closed, the guests arose in a body, applauding heartily. Turning to Ambassador Morris, the United States army officers and the honored guests, Viscount Ishii proposed a toast to the President of the United States.

While the orchestra struck up the "Star Spangled Banner," a light was thrown upon two small Japanese girls and a boy standing in the balcony overlooking the tables. The daughters of Nippon were dressed in the Japanese court costume and the boy was garbed in white. They sang the national anthem and followed this with "America."

Ambassador Sato was now called upon by the toastmaster. He said:

Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen: Having been educated in America, having begun my diplomatic career in your beautiful capital on the bank of the Potomac, and having had later occasion to frequently visit your great country, I may be allowed to say that I am not altogether a stranger with the American people. However, never before have I seen among them such show of patriotism and unity of purpose as I see it now wherever I go. It is indeed an inspiring and soul stirring spectacle that men in all walks of life are cheerfully and eagerly responding to the bugle call of the nation. The Americans are at their best.

I am especially happy to notice that in these days the bonds of friendship between our two peoples have been strengthened by leaps and bounds. It is very gratifying that in our international fellowship a new era of mutual confidence and reciprocal helpfulness is dawning. The way the Japanese War Mission is being received in this country speaks more eloquently than words of the cordial sentiment entertained in the breast of the American people toward their western neighbor whom I have the honor to represent. With this harmony within your own borders, with this harmony between our two nations, and with the harmony existing. among the powers aligned on our side, we are bound to win the war. And it is a great satisfaction to feel that in this great war we represent the cause of righteousness, liberty and civilization.

We are loath to think of the holocaust of blood and treasure engulfed by the dismal maelstrom. But let it be, if it must. We have been and are taking our share of the sacrifice to the full measure of ability. It now requires merely coordination of our energy for a fatal blow to be dealt upon our common enemy. We, who believe in the bright golden future of humanity where justice and peace will reign supreme, shall do well to stand ready to pay no small price toward the consummation of this sublime end.

It is enormously encouraging to perceive that the people who are free, honorable and most peace loving are the sturdiest when they are called upon to vindicate their cause by recourse to arms.

The United States has always fought its battles to secure peace and freedom. Japan has always waged her foreign wars in order to defend her country and people. And now, together, we fight against a common enemy for the cause of humanity and civilization. A league of peace loving nations, a concert of free and honorable peoples, is ensuring the victory of the higher character in humanity, is going to strengthen man's belief in man's real value. A dead Douglas of Scotland won a battle. I am confident then that the pealing of the broken Bell of Liberty, peacefully resonant throughout the world, will seal the fate of the malign foe of humanity and usher in the bright day of peace on earth and good will among men.

In the evening the members of the Mission were the guests of Ambassador Morris at a private dinner in the Bellevue-Stratford.

Symposium of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Following the ambassador's dinner, the members of the Mission attended the symposium of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in the Witherspoon Building. There was a large attendance. It was Ambassador Morris who once more gave a word of introduction to the Viscount as follows:

"From war, pestilence and famine, Good Lord, deliver us," has been the pleading prayer of mankind through countless generations. As Mr. Ralph A. Graves tells in a recent article, "Grim, gaunt and loathsome, like the three fateful sisters of Greek mythology, war, famine and pestilence have decreed untimely death for the hosts of the earth since the beginning of time." For over three years we have increasingly felt the baneful influence of an all but worldwide war. Soberly, earnestly and with no selfish principle, but with undaunted determination, our own country has entered this war to make certain that human liberty "shall not perish from the earth." To this cause we have dedicated without reservation our manhood, our national wealth, and our individual energies. But what of pestilence and famine with which human experience has linked war in its trinity of evils?

Modern science has grappled with pestilence and has thus far gained .a victory, which it seems to me must rank among the greatest achievements of the human intellect. just consider it a moment. For three years millions of men have been herded together under conditions of living impossible adequately to picture; have been shot to pieces by bullets, shattered by shrapnel and shell, seared by liquid fire, and suffocated by poisonous gases; have existed in narrow cramping trenches, at times withered by .an almost tropical sun; at others, chilled to the marrow by a biting arctic wind; and yet, thus far have been mercifully spared from the added horrors of that spectre of pestilence which for ages has haunted the imagination -of mankind. As we think on these things may we not reverently bow our heads in gratitude to those heroic pioneers of science who in the past have again given their all that mankind might know the secrets of disease, and also to that noble army of doctors (some from our own city) who tonight are holding at bay the ever impending spectre of pestilence which constantly threatens that far flung battle-line in Europe.

And famine! Yes; it, too, threatens the world, and we are here tonight to take counsel once more how this third evil may be averted. To the United States of America more than to any other of the Allies this question comes with impelling force. We have ever held that this vast and fertile land, developed by the vision and energy of our liberty loving pioneers, is a sacred trust to be administered for the benefit of mankind. So, when the test came and our President asked us, "Are you ready, now that liberty is threatened and our brothers call, to make good the unselfish professions of a century?" the answer came in one great chorus from every, corner of our land, "We are ready."

It is because of this response that the wealth of our favored land and the manhood of our nation are now dedicated in one supreme effort to curb forever that spirit of aggression which threatens the right of every liberty loving nation to develop its own traditions and conserve its own national life.

We have one great contribution to make to this great task. We must conserve, so that we may give freely of our food resources to our allies. and thus meet their pressing needs. How this may best be done has been. the central theme of the conference now drawing to its close, and we are fortunate to have with us distinguished representatives of our allies who are here to add their vital word to this discussion. Our fertile fields, our natural resources, our comparatively small population, have all tended, I fear, to make us an extravagant nation. No necessity up to this moment. has forced us to give due thought to the needs of economy and conservation. The problem is a new one to us. We must learn the lesson; and where could we better first turn for instruction than to that Island Empire with its experience of thousands of years, which has learned through that experience to overcome the limitations which nature has imposed upon it, and through economy and thrift, by the use of every square foot of available land, and by the saving of every ounce of product, has reared a great Empire, developed a far reaching civilization, and given to the world ant art and a literature which has made a profound impress on the standards, of every other nation.

We are so proud to have with us tonight---and I esteem it a peculiar privilege to present in my home city---the distinguished Ambassador on Special Mission from that great nation to which but recently I have had the honor to be accredited, His Excellency Viscount Ishii.

The Viscount on rising received a warm round of applause, which he acknowledged with a gratified smile, and proceeded:

Mr. President, Your Excellency, and gentlemen: I am embarrassed. by the honor you have done me in thus inviting me into a discussion interesting and of great value to all the world, but in which my part must be little more than a digression. Nevertheless, it would be unbecoming in me should I fail to avail myself of your courtesy and make an effort to inject some remarks which may perhaps throw light upon a situation and a condition foreign to the surroundings in which I find myself. As the representative of my Emperor and my countrymen, I came to tell the government and the people of the United States in all sincerity and earnestness that, in this great and fearsome struggle in which we are all engaged, the East and the West must meet and labor together for the benefit of humanity, and that Japan is prepared to save and sacrifice more in order that as a nation she may live. We in Japan have not been idle during the heat of the day so far. In our own small way we have endeavored to do, and we believe have done, our best as we saw what we had to do. But we do not underestimate the further task before us, and we realize that the future may demand further self-sacrifice and conservation of our resources, all for the common good in cooperation with our allies.

We have had special opportunity for the last month to see something of the vast machinery and resources at the command of this country .and to realize how much from its surplus there is to spare, and how much can be conserved as the time of stress continues. America has lived in magnificent luxury. America has had at its command food and raw material undreamed of in Japan. Indeed, you have little idea how small is the margin between plenty and want in the country from which I come, or how great has been our sacrifice to the cause of national existence.

I have noticed while I have been here discussions in the magazines .and newspaper press of this country on the "vast increasing wealth of Japan." I am inclined to think that these publicists really know but little of the subject with which they deal. In comparison with yours, the so -called "wealth of Japan" sinks into insignificance. The food problem with us is not serious, for it is solved by frugality. It is true that our people are not in want, because their requirements are limited to the barest necessities of life. We have a very small area of food producing country from which to draw, and by necessity every bit of it is most intensively cultivated. 'The food of our people consists mainly of vegetables, rice, roots and barley, grown in the valleys and upon the hillsides where irrigation can be :made effective, and of the fish that are drawn from the seas which surround us.

I will not venture too far into statistics, for that might be dangerous; but I am convinced you would be startled if I should show the cost of living in Japan compared with the present cost of living in America. Even you, with your great store of information, would be astonished if I compared the bulk of our national wealth with the bulk of the national wealth of the United States. A comparison of figures for 1913 shows that this great city of Philadelphia---the ninth in point of importance in the world---has an annual industrial output doubling the total industrial output of the whole state of Japan. The United States has a population approximating 100,000,000, and Japan has a population approximating 60,000,000. Japan's area is considerably smaller than that of the state of Texas. This alone must open to you a field for consideration of Japan and a ready answer when you are asked why Japan does not contribute more to the war in Europe.

It is only ten years since we engaged in what then was a great struggle for a national existence. The figures representing our national resources and our national debt today are very large indeed compared with the facts of our resources and indebtedness then. But to protect our nation and our people, to preserve that individuality as a nation, which all the Allied nations are striving for today, call for self-denial on the part of our people and for a frugality of which most people abroad have even now little conception. The burden laid upon our people is still being patiently and patriotically borne. For the last ten years I can safely say that the self-sacrifice and the saving of the great mass of people of Japan has been a splendid tribute to the virtue and value of patriotism, a patriotism so abundantly exhibited in the Allied countries today. We were prepared then, and are prepared now, to save and to sacrifice in the matter of foodstuffs as in all else, in order to conserve our national forces and unite in preserving for humanity an individual right to freedom and to liberty.

In the year 1868 the total export and import trade of Japan amounted to a little more than $13,000,000. In 1877 it amounted to $25,000,000, and. in the year 1913, the last normal year of trade, it amounted to about $600,000,000. 1 am glad to say, and I think it is a significant fact to relate here to you, that of this total Japan has done more business with the United States than she has with any other country in the world, a condition which is emphasized more in these abnormal times than it was during the normal. Our trade with the United States in the year 1913 amounted to about thirty per cent of our total foreign trade. I am giving you figures, not as presuming to inform you, but in order that I may emphasize, and you may consider, the resources of Japan when you estimate the share we should bear in the future of the food distribution.

Permit me to offer you again, and perhaps to bore you, with a further statement which may be illustrative of the resources of our country at a time when we are called upon to contribute men, money and material to the winning of this war. In 1877 the total annual state revenue of Japan was a little under $30,000,000, and in 1913 the total annual state revenue of Japan was a little under $300,000,000. Not a very large sum in the face of the thousands of millions you can spare.

Additional figures may again help you to understand to what extent we are obliged to impose upon our people a frugality which is borne with a due sense of responsibility by the individual to the state. In the year immediately preceding the great struggle for our national existence, the amount of national debt outstanding was a little more than $220,000,000. In the year immediately following peace, it was a little over one thousand. millions. Today our taxes are very heavy indeed; proportionately, I find, as heavy as those imposed recently on the people of this country.

I have finished with the figures, and have only injected them to give you a comparative idea of resources. A like proportion would apply to the earning capacity of the laboring classes and the margin to spare from their earnings. I assure you that comparison of the earnings of our people with the earnings of your people is staggering, until we realize the enormous difference in the cost of living in Japan and of living in the United States.

Now, gentlemen, you will certainly agree with me that national economy, which is represented by the frugality of the great mass of the people and, not by lavish expenditure of a few individuals, is as essential to the life of a nation as is economy to the existence or the credit of a firm or individual. Also you will agree with me that the figures representing the business of a nation, firm or individual during these abnormal times should not be taken into consideration or into estimation as the normal resources on which such states or individuals may base their present estimates for future years.

The independence of a nation, as the independence of an individual, is. measured by income, expenditure and indebtedness. Our credit has been created by a frugality of living and a sacrifice of the individual to the state in order that the state, the nation, and the individual may survive. We are endeavoring to conserve that credit so as to insure our independence. At the same time we are expending, and we are ready to expend, funds drawn from a frugal people in a cause which means to us the same as it means, to you---a free, independent life for the nation and for the individual.

At midnight the members of the Imperial Mission and their escorting officials boarded their special train for Newport, Rhode Island.

VI. At Commodore Perry's Grave, Newport, R.I.

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