National Geographic : 1906 Sep
JAPAN, AMERICA, AND THE ORIENT* BY HON. EKI HIOKI CHARGE D'AFFAIRES OF JAPAN, 1905-1906 NOW that the Japanese-Russian war is ended, the world seems to be vigilantly watching the next act which will be produced on the stage of Oriental politics. Speculations of various kinds are advanced by all sorts of people. Some anticipate that the next play that Japan will put on the stage will be a peaceful comedy. Some predict that it will be the repeti tion of another tragedy, while others apprehend both. No doubt the power that Japan developed during the last war with Russia must have surprised the world, but that surprise of the world has surprised Japan more. Some preach the doctrine of the yel low peril, some question the ambition of Japan, others apprehend Japan's de signs upon the Philippines. Such ques tions as these: Will Japan adopt the Monroe Doctrine for Asia? Will she control China? Will she not beat the Americans in industrial and commer cial competition? Will she not monop olize the markets of China and crowd out American goods? Will not Bud dhism come into rivalry with Christian ity? Will not the 700,000 Japanese soldiers, now in Manchuria, when dis banded, flood the western coast of the United States with Japanese immigia tion? are constantly asked on all sides. Taken altogether, it would appear that the world is trying to ascribe to the little island empire the position of a dictatorship in the Orient. I wish such was the real position of Japan, but I must confess, to my regret, that it is too far from fact. Seeing, how ever, that such questions as these are receiving the more or less serious at tention of the thinking class of people in this and other countries, it may not be without value to express at this op portunity my humble views on them. (I) THE YELLOW PERIL In spite of the influence which once it gained, the doctrine of the yellow peril seems to have practically lost hold on men's minds, at least in America. Regarding this question, therefore, I have simply to express my deep appre ciation of the high intelligence and the fair spirit of the American people. (2) JAPAN HAS NO DESIGNS ON THE PHILIPPINES Frank and unreserved disavowals of the alleged designs of Japan upon the Philippines having frequently emanated from authoritative sources, it is super fluous for me to repeat them. But the fact that there is a constant recurrence of the same allegation in the newspa pers of this country shows that the re peated disavowals from authoritative sources have born little fruit, either be cause the general public still distrusts Japan in this matter or because a cer tain section of the American people want to get up some agitation for their own interest. If a bona fide statement of the responsible party failed to con vince them, let us try a brief argument. Laying aside entirely for the moment, for the sake of argument, the consid eration of the motive of Japan regard ing the present subject, let me ask you a question: Can you believe that this great American people who glory in their national spirit, in their gigantic strength, in their boundless wealth, in their marvelous development, and who look forward with proud and confident anticipation to the time when they shall be the first in the race civilization has set for man to run, would allow their flag to be lowered, be it in the Philip pines or in any other place which legiti mately belongs to them, by any hands *An address delivered to the National Geographic Society, January I9, 1906.