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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, May 14, 1922, Image 59

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1922-05-14/ed-1/seq-59/

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MRS. SANGER AS JAPAN SEES HER
*BBSi "rf" ?"?ZangttTn'" WMch Mettm "D^tructwe to Production" and
^| There Are Whnpered Rumors That Birlh Control and Mrs. W? ,-;
So That the island Empire Mny Be Giabbed by Uncle Sam
By CLARE OUSLEY r , _ a.?
Cartoon by ALBERT LEVERINC,
w
TOKIO.
ITH more than the
usual amount of
wit displayed by them
the Japanese police?
men are calling Mrs.
"Sangai-san ganger .?Sangai_san.?
^ b, a Japanese word which may be in
3*ed to mcan "destructive to produc
ff W. h** one evidence ofthe ex
4 . v-wh Mrs. Sanger ia being discussed
in Japar. to:day.
Perhaps the futiUty of attempts to repress
I id hy government edict has nevcr been so
Lchalveiy proved as in Japan during the last
ferwcekl As 1 write Mrs. Sanger is still
inTokio. While officially restrained from mak?
ing public speeches conceming birth control, I
guspect that there aro more people in Japan
to-day talking and thinking and knowing about
this subject than there have ever been before
or than would ever have been, had Mrs. Sanger
heen permitted to land in Yokohama without
any foss. As it is, she is just now the big
story of Japan. She is the most talked-of
person. The day she and Admiral Baron Kato,
returned conference delegate, arrived the
baron's pictures were crowded into out-of-the
way corners of the Japanese papers by large
photographs of Mrs. Sanger and her son
Grant. Xo group can come together, whether
foreign or Japanese. in which she : nd her
thcories are not the subject of the conversa?
tion, which is often an argument.
The attempt to repress Mrs. Sanger has
acted as a boomerang. She is far more in?
teresting than she ever would have been had
jhe been allcwed to go about without protest
making speeches on birth control. Young
j Japan is in the mood just at present to ap
prove anything the government condemns.
Thc government thought Mrs. Sanger would
Introduce "dangerous thoughts." "Dangerous
thoughts" are the breath of life to Young
Japan Consequently when it was announced
tha, the consul at San Francisco had refused
to vise Mrs. Sanger's passport, then that -he
would not. be permitted to enter Japan and
subsequently that if allowed to enter she
would not be granted permission to speak
Young Japan decided that Mrs. Sanger must
be interesting. And from one end of the
little empire to the (.(her, wherever there are
newspapers, it's a pretty safe bet that Mrs
. anger and her theories are being discussed.
Police Prohibitions Help
More Than Lectures
Mrs. Sanger was invited by the "Kaizo"
(Reconstruction) magazine to come to Japan
AVh.le here she is tho guest of Baron and
baroness Ishimoto, who are leading spirits in
Japan's group of intelligent liberals. One of
tho first things Baron Ishimoto said +o Mrs
Sanger after she finally landed at. Yokohama
was that so far as the birth control movement
in Japan is concerned far more had been
accomplished by the agitation growing out of
pohce prohibitions than could ever have come
through simple lectures on the subject. It is.
true. The news and editorial columns of both
Japanese and foreign newspapers have been
full of Mrs. Sanger ever since it was an?
nounced several weeks ago that she won 1,1
come. By no means has aa the comment beon
fnvorable, however. There has been a Tvcnt
deal of bitter criticism of Mrs. Sanger and
much applause for t.he boid stand of the po?
lice authorities. But the main fact, nnd the
one which must please Baron Ishimoto and
ha group i8 that Mrs. Sanger'a as well aa
all other theories of birth control are being
and w.U continue to be discussed in Japan "
Japan watches America very cloaely now
.uist as she does all nations since she has at
tained national maturity. Perhaps, like almosl
any other youngater lately grown past thc
gawky stage and attending her lirst grown
up party, she isn't just suro which fork to use
or what to do with the finger bowl. So sho
watches the other guests. It is easy to see
what she would learn concerning birth control
by obsorvation df American manners. Tho
head of the police bureau of the Home Office
is said to havo been in New York at tho time
Mrs. Sanger's meeting was raided in the
Town Hall. In order to prevent any such dis,
turbance in .Japan he simply announced tha\
she could not make any speeehes. This samo
cautious obsorvation of America's attitude ia
shown in an editorial in "Chuo," a Japanese
daily, which says, in part:
"We ara confident that no government will
allov. u*. * to carry on such propaganda for
some time to come. Even in the United States,
which takes pride in the freedom of the people
in the expression of their views and oplnions,
she is looked upon as a sort of 'undesirable'
lerson. Perhaps our authorities are taking
the same view."
As it has developed in Tokio, Mrs. Sanger
has really been permitted to address several
groups, both Japanese and foreign. When
a meeting has been designated "publie" she
has spoken on the general subject of "War
and Population," religiously avoiding reference
to such "dangerous thoughts" as birth control.
At a few private meetings she has spoken
on the general aspects of her favorite sub?
ject, with plenty of plainclothes men present
to see that she did not become too definite.
And she has had two meetings with Tokio
physicians (and will have more in other parts
of Japan) at which the definitely _ scientific
aspects of practical methods of birth control
were discussed. And this, after all, I imagine,
was the chief thing Mrs. Sanger wanted.
OfKcial Japan Did Not
Know Its Own Mind
To the observer of the trend of affaira in
Japan perhaps the most significant phaae of
the Sanger episode has been the number of
times oflficial decisiona concerning her have
been reversed. It is probable that if Mra.
Sanger had essayed to make speeches on
birth control ten years ago in Japan the an
nouncement would siraply have been made
that the lady would not be allowed to land,
and there the matter would have ended. And
when tho Taiyo Maru docked at Yokohama
Mrs. Sanger would have remained peacefully
in her cabin until the boat proceeded on its
way to Hongkong or other ports of destina
tion.
In 1922, however, the proceeding is a little
different. It is announced that Mrs. Sanger
cannot land. All sorts of a hornets' nest
comes down on the heads of the officials. The
younger men in the Home and Foreign offices
protest. Editorials regret the high-handed
procedure. The foreign papers are frankly
amused and critical. So it is announc.ed that
she may land if she will conduct herself with
proper dignity and promise not to talk while
she is here. Still further protests. Oh, very
well then, she may talk, but not publicly, and
under no conditions concerning birth control.
Continued amusement on the part of the press
and voc.iferous objectiona from Young Japan.
All right. She may speak publicly if she
wishes, but not on birth control. No indeed!
And it ends with her giving a few private
talks on the subject and several entirely frank
and scientiflc discussions with the physicians.
Public Opinion, as Elsewhere,
Is the Highest Court
There are numerous stories as to where
the responsibility for the many restrictions
should be placed. Each person you meet
takes you aside and explains confidentially
that he is sure that "So-and-So in Such-and
Such a bureau" is entirely responsible for the
difficulties. It makes little difference who and
where the Btumbling blocks were. The sig
nificant thing is that the authorities were
susceptible enough to public opinion to re
verse their decisions several times. And
Young Japan is jubilant over that.
There is an interesting and amusing simi
larity between the development of the move
ments in Japan and America. Here in the
papers and magazines are the same defenses
and objections that have been agitating the
American press for the last ten years or more.
One maiden lady in a Japanese Sunday sup
plement writes (and how familiar the lines
must ring to those in America who have
watched the movement there 1):
"The birth control propaganda is liable to
kill the continence which is necessary for spir
itual advancement. In short, the theory of
birth control treata mankind like animal*?. It
disregards the fact that the value of human
Leings is that the spirit can control the body.
and it is an attempt to make man surrender
to the. sexual desire. It is reported that there
are a million to two million cases of abortion
annually in America. Evexybody knows that
abortion endangers the life of the mother and
is a criminal act. If a method be allowed by
which tho criminal lnstinct can be satislied
without involving suffering or crime, to what
extent would the abuse of sex be Indulged in'."*
Another "Chuo" editorial says (and thi-;
must also sound familiar to 100 per cent.
American ears):
"Our authorities may well demand Mrs.
Sanger to be silent in her views, considerimt
that what she propagates has a strong lean
ing toward socialism, and birth control itself
undermines the foundation of our society."
The "Jiji," an enterprising and popular
newspaper with liberal tendencies, said. i;*
part, in one of its editorials:
Tokio "Jijr*' Comes Out
For Plain Speaking
4
"The present atate of things in this country
is that, whenever somewhat novel or progres
sive ideas and views are introduced into it.
they are taken indiscriminately as dangerous
and extreme ones, and are placed under strict
oppression and even immediate suppression by
force. The loss sustained by the nation
through such irrational obstruction of tho riso
of thoughts and advancement of eivilization is
incalculably great. It is a case in point that
the attitude taken by our authorities regarding
the visit of Mrs. Sanger has exceeded the
bounds of common sense in some measure. At
first they forbade the landing of the lady in
this country, and, although later they gavt?
permission to her for a stay here, she has since
been absolutely prohibited from delivering lec
tures or making propaganda pertaining to
birth control. Perhaps the authorities have
good reasons for so doing, but their actions
seem to us far from reasonable. We do not
know how weighty the lady's views on birth
control are. Still the question is one which
should be studied and discussed serioiuly for
the sako of the future welfare of society
and mankind in general. Wherefore we, one
of the civilized peoples of the world, rather
ought to let Mrs. Sanger speak out what she
considers on the question to her heart's con?
tent and pass our fair judgmentJ thereoi-.
. . , From these considerations we deem
the attitude of our authorities anything but
appropriate and rational."
And as usual in such affairs there are nu
merous amusing bits of misinformation circu
lating. There seemed to be considerable sur
prise at the physical appearance of Mrs. San?
ger when she arrived. Her apparent harmless
ness was something of a shock. Several papern
commented upon the "quiet and ladylike tono
of her voice." One story has it that Mrs.
Sanger is being sent to Japan by the American
government to decrease the population of
Japan so that later America may more easily
step in and grab the Island Empire. Which
must certainly amuse Mrs. Sanger as well as.
the American government. Another story has
it authoritatively that Mrs. Sanger is really
hand in glove with the Cathoiic Church, and
that the recent outburut in New York ?ws.a
staged by them jointly for advertislng p->'
poses.
And through it all Margaret Sanger, quiet
and vivid, interested, alert, asking quick, in?
telligent questions about industrial and eco?
nomic conditions in Japan, smiles whimsicaliy
and says: "Yes, it is rather funny, isn't it?"

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