The Imperial Japanese Mission to the United States, 1917



At the State House

The Mission arrived in Boston on Tuesday, the 18th of September, and was welcomed by a great crowd in spite of a northeast rainstorm. Troops, lined up in the South Station, stood at "present arms" while a band hailed the guests with the Japanese national anthem as they stepped from the train.

There was an informal parade in automobiles to the State House, where the party was greeted by Governor McCall. After a brief reception the visitors went into the hall where the Legislature was sitting to revise the State Constitution.

The Governor, in welcoming the Mission on behalf of the state, referred to the visit of Commodore Perry to Japan, which opened the doors of the Empire to the rest of the world. But it was not all gain when the Japanese exchanged their "serene isolation for a restless and an almost haggard civilization," he said. "The western nations have apparently unleashed forces which they can not control. Those portents of energy called into being by the inventive genius of man have come to threaten us with mastery, and we are in danger of becoming their victims and their slaves. Japan will far more than repay any debt she may owe our western civilization if she shall impart to it something of her old repose, and help subordinate its mighty engines to the use, and not to the destruction, of man."

Viscount Ishii arose amid great applause to reply to the introduction given with such oratorical effect. He said:

Mr. President and gentlemen of the convention: I am highly complimented by an invitation to address you in this house, which throughout your history has rung with eloquence unsurpassed in any tongue; with the loftiest appeals to the noblest sentiments of mankind from the lips of patriots whose names are written large on the walls of the corridors of fame. But it would not become me to occupy your time or interrupt momentous discussions which are of vital importance not only to your country but to all the world. Let me say, however, that Massachusetts and New England are very close to Japan. Many of our leading men owe to these surroundings the impressions and the education which has enabled them to take their place in the varying walks of life in their home land. Next to the land of their birth, dear to them above all. else on earth, they recall college friends and the happy days spent in study and at play at Cambridge. These always pay a tribute of affection to their alma mater and take increasing pride in the splendid record she is making in the upbuilding of men and a nation.

Massachusetts and New England have wielded a vast influence upon the civilization of our time. In literature, art, science, and industry that influence has been felt and is being exercised throughout the world. In all of these there has been no narrow prejudice, for you have gathered from and sent to the furthest comers of the earth the most representative and best.

Japan owes much to Massachusetts and to Boston. We have learned from you at home and your men and women have labored in our midst unselfishly and well to our great advantage.

In this connection you will permit me to pay a tribute to the memory of a great New England gentleman, whose name is well known to you, and who will by all others from New England or elsewhere be ungrudgingly conceded a premier place among those who have worked unselfishly and effectively for the betterment of mankind. I refer to the late Henry Willard Denison, for over thirty years the guide, the counselor and the friend of Japan. He was my friend, and I can not let this opportunity go by without saying that I am honored by the memory of that friendship. Not only this, but he was the friend of Japan; and all Japan, from His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor, to the least among us, unite in paying tribute at his resting place on the hills above the capital in Tokio.

He was a great American who typified America in all his life and who has done more than all the rest of us to weld the bonds that he knew and I know must bind us. Rugged, strong, brave and independent, Denison lived and died an American, and lived and died his faith unfaltering in the future of our relationship.

And now, gentlemen of this convention, in thanking you for your courtesy and your patience, permit me before leaving you to your deliberations to quote from an address delivered here in Boston sixty-nine years ago, an address that must deeply impress itself on any reader and on every one who seeks, as you and I and all of us must, to build our nations to the highest point of national achievement and greatness. It was Charles Sumner who said----he may have been speaking from this historic rostrum:

The true grandeur of humanity is in moral elevation, sustained and lightened and decorated by the intellect of man. The truest tokens of this grandeur in a state are the diffusion of the greatest happiness among the greatest number and the passionless justice which controls the relations of the state to other states and to all the people committed to its charge.

Applying this great utterance as a rule for guidance in international affairs I can say to you that it fills the ideal of the true spirit of Japan in her dealings with you and with the world. I thank you.

Municipal Dinner

In the evening at the Copley-Plaza Hotel a dinner of five hundred covers was tendered by Mayor James M. Curley of Boston to Viscount Ishii and the Mission. The scene was memorable in its lights and decorations as well as in its brilliant company. The tables were aglitter with uniforms, and enthusiasm was at high level throughout the proceeding.

His Honor, Mayor Curley, presided and introduced Viscount Ishii as follows:

It is an exceeding pleasure to welcome to Boston the representatives of the Yankees of the East and to welcome them in the home of the Yankees of the West---America; to welcome them in the place where the mighty movement for equality of opportunity and for liberty received its fruition and an embodiment which will not be stayed until the rights of man supersede the right of kings the entire world over. I welcome you at the most. crucial period in the life of the world, with the realization of the importance that attaches to your visit to America, with the realization of the new order that has come into the life of America. America, by instinct, by desire, by heredity, is a peace-loving nation; but, thank God, the day has not yet come in the life of America when peace rises superior to the desire for national honor in America. America has been a participant in many wars, but in every war into which America has entered she has entered with high ideals and a pure purpose, and she has emerged at the termination of the war with those ideals unsullied and with her purpose still pure. America in the present great crisis was desirous of pursuing the path of peace, and for nearly three years, despite ignominy, despite humiliation, murder, rapine and savagery, she avoided the responsibilities of a declaration of war until such time as the national patience was gradually coming to be regarded as national cowardice. And when the war was declared by the United States it found, not a divided nation, but a united people---united in the determination that the war should continue until the policy of Woodrow Wilson had been vindicated. We appreciated the responsibility of America's task. After the declaration of war Americans opened their coffers and oversubscribed the Liberty Loan. They gave to the Red Cross fund. They opened their homes, and by the acceptance of conscription gave joyously to the federal government a million of their boys to follow the enemy, if necessary, to. Berlin. In the past Americans and Japanese have regarded each other with suspicion. But we have listened to this great representative of the Japanese nation, Viscount Ishii, in his recent declaration at Washington, to the effect that Japan is in this war from now until victory rests on the colors of the Allies, and that she will continue in it with the same high resolve and with only the desire- to work for and serve humanity throughout the world . And now in the new spirit that permeates America, in the new spirit that I sincerely trust will permeate Japan, we meet on this occasion with frankness, with simplicity, with brotherly feeling, in a common purpose---the service of humanity. We have appreciation of the power of this Yankee nation of the East, of their valor and sagacity. We have the belief, if they join in this great task with their whole heart, that when next Christmas Day comes round there will be peace on earth to men of good will. In that spirit of service, in that spirit of sacrifice, in that spirit of high achievement for a noble ideal, I welcome in our midst the representatives of the Japanese nation. I ask every man here to rise and drink a toast to the health of the Emperor of Japan and his able representatives.

A hearty round of cheering was the instant answer of the company to this -toast. As the company resumed its seats, Viscount Ishii arose and said:

Your Honor, the Mayor, and gentlemen: I would be a proud man indeed had I the eloquence to fit this occasion or to rise to the heights of the standard set by those who in speech and courtesy have honored me and the members of my Mission during our stay amongst you.

The burden of obligation laid upon us for acts of unbounded hospitality by this great state and by this historic city of Boston is heavier by far than we can ever hope to repay.

You can form no idea of the pleasure you have given to us or the depth of the impression you have made.

The story of New England is well known to us. We have learned your splendid record of the last three hundred years from the pages of our histories. We have learned to read your poets, to profit by your learning, and to be stirred by your unmatched achievements in all the arts and sciences, in the struggle for independence and for liberty---gems set in the laurel wreaths upon the brow of Fame.

We are bound to you by more than these. We are held to New England by the ties of memory and honored friendships. At your fountains of learning our sons have lain close to the breast of a foster-mother alongside of the first-born and best beloved. At these founts our sons have been nurtured. They have returned to us strong and ready for the battle of life; equipped with the greatest gift with which they could face the future. Our youths have worked and played with yours; your men have come to us and have given freely of their abundance; some of them have been our fastest friends---New England men, descendants of the splendid crew which landed upon Plymouth Rock, of the men who fought and won at Bunker Hill, sacred in the history of human freedom; of the men who lived and labored with unsurpassed endurance, self-sacrifice and devotion; men who, in this day and hour are the models for you as our revered forefathers must be the models for us.

These we have in common. These memories, these friendships, these obligations, these examples which can never be ignored; these sympathies, these forefathers, these mothers and foster-mothers, are today great primal influences which link East to West and Japan to America. For these and many other reasons New England, Massachusetts and Boston have played a large part in bringing about a better understanding., I feel, now that I have traveled from your western to your eastern shores, that, after all, there are no points of difference between us which can not be settled as time goes by and gives opportunity for discussion between the statesmen of your country and my own. But these questions do not belong to the more vital category of the questions of the present. The newer link now added to the chain calls for our earnest attention. This link is of tremendous importance to all humanity. It is the link of comradeship in the war which will win. liberty and freedom for us and for you as well as for the whole world, from the enemy which has crept upon us in the night and menaced civilization. I say has menaced, for I firmly believe that the last danger of our enslavement passed into the land of impossible things when your great country threw its weight into the scale. Japan had no choice from the outstart.

We do not enter into treaties to tear them up and scatter them to the winds. Our treaties are not "scraps of paper." We have tried to play our part and carry our share of the burden. We have helped to free the Pacific from the ships and the influence of the nation which has thrown off its thin covering of decency and now stands revealed in all the horrid nakedness of the savage.

We are in this war with you to win with you. We are here to cooperate, to coordinate, and to contribute. We have not been surprised at what we have seen during this month of our sojourn in America. We have realized. that America has come into her own, and we congratulate you, your sons. and daughters upon the magnificent exhibition of national union, national devotion, and national greatness you are making.

Your Excellency, Your Honor, and gentlemen, we thank you more than any words of mine can tell for all you have done for us in the past and on the present occasion. For the future, I see two nations---the one out yonder under the Rising Sun, the other, this great union under the Stars and Stripes, their flags entwined, their interests and their objects one, moving together to a sure and certain victory over all that is evil and mean or petty; out of the clouds of suspicion and doubt; out of the valley of fear; into the full enjoyment of the blessings of mutual confidence, mutual respect and permanent peace.

I ask this great company to drink to the health of the President of the United States.

Mayor Curley then made the following presentation speech:

I now ask our distinguished guest, Viscount Ishii, to accept this gold medal as indicative of the new spirit which inspires Japan and the United States towards each other, as they both kneel at the new altar in the common cause of human liberty. The medal is inscribed with the following words:

Democracy under liberty seeks the freedom of the world.

On the obverse of this medal, in the center, where appears the sunburst of Japan, is seen the torch of Liberty, indicative of America's purpose, shining brightly through the sun of Japan. May the intertwining of the insignia of the two countries as typified on this memorial ever symbolize the purpose, aim and ideal of the United States of America and the Empire of Japan.

Gold Medal Presented by the City of Boston to Viscount Ishii

Viscount Ishii arose and accepted the jewel case with a deep bow, and said:

I am deeply touched by this mark of unbounded hospitality. I shall keep this precious souvenir as the embodiment of the good will of the citizens of Boston, now so ably represented by your Mayor, the Honorable James M. Curley.

Mayor Curley called on United States District Attorney George W. Anderson to reply to the toast of "the United States." Mr. Anderson said:

In responding for the United States of America I wish to say that the struggle for law, order and peace can no longer be a merely national struggle. Whether we like it or not, we are in world politics, and only by and through them can there be established, as the President has said, the conditions which will make the world safe for democracy. We are in world politics, and my word is the word of our President when I say that only by and through world politics can we make safe our own experiment in democracy. Great nations as well as small peoples will find that democracy is the only way in which security and peace can at last come upon all the earth.

Mayor Curley called on Ambassador Sato, resident Japanese Ambassador.

Never before [replied Mr. Sato] have I seen such demonstrations of patriotism and unity of purpose as I have seen in this country. Wherever I have gone in the United States I have witnessed the soul stirring and inspiring spectacle of men in all ranks of life cheerfully and eagerly responding to the call of the nation. In the past few months the bonds of friendship between America and Japan have been strengthened by leaps and bounds. A new era of mutual confidence and reciprocal trust is dawning. With this harmony within your country and between our two countries and among the Allies we are bound to win the war.

Lieutenant Governor Calvin Coolidge, representing Governor McCall, said:

On behalf of the commonwealth I welcome you here as kindred in spirit to Americans and to American ideals. I extend to Viscount Ishii and the other members of the Japanese Mission, on behalf of His Excellency, the Governor, the cordial, deep abiding sentiments and greetings of the commonwealth and people of Massachusetts.

Honorable Samuel J. Elder, called upon for a thought, replied:

We are of them and they are of us---two nations with ideals in common, the ideals of progress and of power. We are not separated. The sea is no longer a barrier between peoples. It is the highway by which peoples come into contact with each other. We are side by side and know each. other. We are with Japan and the Allies in this war. It is a war for civilization, because we are imperiled by militarism, and Japan is imperiled. The League for Peace is prepared to fight for peace. It is only by war and by the winning of this war that peace can be obtained. Seventeen nations are today leagued---your nation and ours---and it is in essence a league to enforce peace. This league will last beyond this conflict. After peace has been declared the league will continue to exist among the nations that love peace. I believe in a permanent league to compel nations to settle their differences by the arbitrament of law.

Harvard University

A busy day opened for the Imperial Mission on Wednesday, September 19 A motor trip to Cambridge in the morning first engaged their attention. They made a tour of inspection of Harvard University and the Radio Training School,. and returned to Boston for luncheon.

Boston City Club Luncheon

This was an important affair at the Boston City Club, to which the Mission was conducted by Dr. Morton Prince, chairman of the Reception Committee. A large company was present, mostly the leading business men and merchants of Boston. Mr. James J. Starrow, the president of the club, acted as toastmaster. A spirited address of welcome was delivered by Mayor James M. Curley, in the course of which, amid great applause, he presented Viscount Ishii. with a great American flag as a souvenir of his visit to Boston.

In reply Viscount Ishii said:

Mr. President and members of the City Club of Boston: The wealth and generosity of our welcome to Boston will remain for all time a happy memory. It is particularly impressive and gracious of you to afford so much valuable time to the entertainment of this Mission in the midst of activities unparalleled, and in an hour when your country calls---a. call you are answering with the energy and determination characteristic of America and Americans.

We are conscious of the fact that this reception you have given to us is not prompted by the formal obligation of host to guest. We know the broad and liberal spirit of Boston and New England. We know that we have been bidden here as the representatives of our nation to receive an assurance that Boston and New England in this, as in all else, holds out the hand of friendship to those who come to their shores from far lands, bringing honest assurance of friendship. In this voice of New England, we recognize the ring of sincerity which can only be found when friend greets friend.

The venomous gossip that has, for a decade, endeavored to keep our nations apart, the differences between us in the past, the misunderstandings and the misinformation which so easily find credence, have perhaps caused doubt and suspicion to influence, to some extent, the people of your country and ours; but now, returning to our home land, we can carry the message of absolute assurance that the true heart of America has not been reached by the blight which has menaced us both, and that from now through all time Japan and America in friendly council together will follow steadfastly the path which leads to the fair fields of sweet content, each protected by, and each protecting; the other from the enemy.

Mr. President and gentlemen, we are together in this great war to win freedom and to secure liberty, to give and to, take according to our needs. We are comrades and we are partners. Let us see to it that no enemy tongue or intrigue can at any time throughout the years do anything to divide us. While this war shall last, let us cooperate and fight together as comrades, so that afterwards the memory of what we have together achieved may stand forever to perpetuate our friendship. And so that from the ashes of destruction may rise a saner and surer and a safer world.

On behalf of myself and the members of my Mission I thank you sincerely.

Motor Trip over Historic Ground

The managers of the hospitalities of the Boston part of their journeying resolved that the Imperial Mission should enjoy the spell of delightful autumn weather to the full, and so they had an afternoon in automobiles through forty miles of peaceful countryside to the National Army cantonment at Ayer, where a great military city has sprung up in the wood and pastures.

A troop of regular cavalry clattered over the road ahead of the Japanese party to the headquarters of Major General Harry F. Hodges. There the commander of the new Seventy-sixth Division led Viscount Ishii, head of the Mission, and Ambassador Sato to his car and escorted the party on a tour of the camp. Here was a new American army in the making.

The Mission showed the keenest interest in the great number of completed structures from barracks to refrigerating plant.

The run to the camp was made part of the way over the route taken by Paul Revere on his memorable ride, and over the road followed by the retreating British troops as they fell back before the farmers of Concord, Lexington and surrounding towns.

At Lexington Green, where the thin line of Minute Men had been drawn up, the party stopped while Viscount Ishii laid a wreath on the monument,. erected in 1779, to those who fell in America's first battle for freedom. Then,. as during the ceremony of paying tribute at the tomb of Commodore Perry, at Newport, Viscount Ishii retired a few paces and made the profound Japanese obeisance in memory of dead heroes. Each member of the Mission followed with the same salute, while a great crowd of townspeople and tourists stood silently by with bared heads. The Japanese visitors were quick to appreciate ;and remark upon the singular appropriateness of the first line of the inscription on the monument---"'Sacred to Liberty and the Rights of Mankind."

Continuing over the historic road the party reached Concord and visited the battle ground by the old North Bridge. Here Viscount Ishii placed a wreath beside that laid on the monument by the Belgian Commission a few weeks ago. All the party listened attentively while Samuel J. Elder, who represented the United States in the arbitration proceedings with Great Britain at The Hague over the fisheries question, told of the battle of Concord and Lexington.

Tired, but delighted, the party took train at night for Washington.

VIII. German Propaganda in the United States and Japan

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