OF WORLD WIDE INTEREST
THE JAPANESE IN HAWAII
BY FREDERIC J. HASKINHONOLULU. T.H.-Hawaii Is not an "Insular possession" like the Philippines or Porto Rico. It is as much a part of the United States as New Mexico or Arizona. Notwithstanding its purely American political status, the question of the hour in Hawaii is the Americanization of the Islands. Why? Because Hawaii, an American territory, has a population of 160,000, of which 100,000 is oriental. Of this number 75,000 are Japanese. The most spoken language in the territory is Japanese. The most widespread religion ia Buddhism. Apart from the small communities in the towns the social life of the islands is oriental rather than occidental.
Those persons who believe that the opposition to oriental immigration manifesting itself among nany white peoples in various quarters of the globe is the result of a mere bugaboo, would do well to consider the case of Hawaii, brightest of Neptune's insular jewels. Every white man in Honolulu will agree, that the Japanese have driven the white artisan from the islands, that the Japanese have made it more difficult to persuade small farmers to take up homesteads, and that the Japanese are now slowly but surely crowding out the white man from retail business. They have already made a beginning in the wholesale business, and have an eye on the immense trade of the big importing houses. The Chinese came to Hawaii before the Japanese. They were stopped by the annexation of the islands to the United States, but there are still 20,000 of them here. They have had their share of retail merchandising, but they have ventured upon nothing like the general campaign of competition which has been pursued by the Japanese.
When Hawaii was annexed to the United States in 1898 there were many people here, who were annexationists merely for fear of Japan. The Tokio government had picked a quarrel with Honolulu and there was not the slightest doubt among the Japanese in Hawaii that the Rising Sun flag would float over Honolulu harbor and advance the power of Japan a long step toward the rich Occident. The raising of the American flap put an end to those dreams for awhile, but the Japanese continued to reach out in a business way. After awhile the government-inspired immigration companies made Hawaii merely a stepping stone to the richer opportunities on the mainland. Thousands ot Japanese came to Hawaii under passports permitting them to go no farther. They stopped a few months, made enough money for a suit of American clothes and the steerage passage to San Francisco. Then Hawaii saw them no more.
The poor, ignorant Japanese coolies who toll with their wives in Hawaiian cane fields must not be made to bear the whole burden of the blunder of permitting the Hawaiian islands to become orientalised. At first they came under contract as contract laborers; in other words, with little more freedom than slaves. They were brought here in the good old days of the monarchy to work on the sugar plantations--the same plantations which owed their very being to the reciprocity treaty with the United States. Chinese, Japanese, South Sea Islanders, Porto Ricans, Spaniards, Portuguese and many other nationalities have been brought here to work in the cane fields. The oriental labor was found to be more to the liking of the planters because it was cheap and easy to obtain, and because the coolie is content to remain a coolie.
SUGAR IS KING IN
HAWAII AND ALL MUST
BOW TO THE MONARCH
But after awhile the coolies were followed by Japanese of other classes who came to sell them goods, teach them lessons and guide their religion. Artisans and mechanics poured in from Japan and the white mechanic took a ship and sailed away. It is not only that the Japanese will work for less money than a white man that he drives his western competitor from the field. The superior ability of the white man might make up for the difference in wages. But the Japanese lower the dignity of labor and white men become ashamed to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. This has been the case in all history wherever a cheaper and inferior labor has interfered with natural conditions. A white boy in Honolulu would scorn to be seen pushing a lawn mower because that is "Jap's work." So it still is in the southern states to some extent where certain employments are beyond the pale as "niggers' Jobs."
What Hawaii needs more than anything else is a solid middle class of White people of European or American extraction. All its public men recognize that imperative need and are working to that end, although careful to say nothing against the Japanese who have caused all the trouble. There are reasons for their conciliatory attitude. In the first place it is not well to rouse the ire of half the population by introducing a race question into a community where there is room for a dozen such issues. And then, too, the Japaness who were born on the Islands are citizens. When they reach 21 they will have tho right to vote. Whether they will gain control of affairs or not a not a question for the immediate future, but it certainly will not bo long until they are a potent factor in politics.
But more potent even than this political force is the awe of King Sugar, from which no Hawwaiian may declare himself free. The Islands live by sugar; they have sacrificed many things for sugar; the sugar barons are its business giants, and sugar needs cheap labor. Even yet the sugar planters, or some of them, have hopes that the United States will remove the restrictions from Chinese labor and will admit them to the islands. Some of them chafe at the recently imposed restriction of Japanese labor, but even the sugar barons as a whole seem to see that the Japanese were becoming too numerous. The threatened buying up of sugar stocks by Japanese capital may have had something to do with their attitude. Among the more progressive planters are men who realize that Hawaii ought not to bring in any more orientals, even if it could, and these are looking to the south of Europe for relief.
Although they came to Hawaii at the invitation of the sugar planters and the Hawaiian government, the Japanese have become the masters of the social and industrial life of the territory. More than 10,000 were brought in under iron-clad contracts in the years between 1885 and 1890. The tide was swelled each succeeding year, until tho recent restrictions. Where each month used to bring from 500 to 600, the number coming in now is not above 150 a month. These are, under the agreement, relatives of Japanese already residing in Hawaii.
JAPANESE WAR VETERANS
KEEP UP AN ORGANIZATION
IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
The great majority go to the cane fields, where they work for $18 a month, the month consisting of twenty-six days of ten hours each. The old contract system, which would be peonage, is abolished under American rule, but the laborers are still very much bound to the soil. Nevertheless, their condition is vastly improved over what it was in Japan. A year's wages for a farm hand in Japan is less than $18. Of course living costs more in Hawaii, but the average Japanese laborer lives on $10 or $12 a month and saves $6 or $8. In a short time he is a wealthy man, according to his standards. Before the law prevented, a large portion of these savings went to steamships for transportation to the Pacific coast. Now many go back to Japan, but since the immigration restriction there is less migration, and the Japanese dcclare they are in Hawaii to stay.
The cane field laborers have found out that they could make more money by working in the sugar mills, with the result that semi-skilled labor of the mills has been taken away from white men and given to Japanese. The same spirit of progress which formerly carried them on to the mainland of the Union will now keep them In Hawaii, for they see that the chance to improve their condition is better now that immigration has been curtailed and the door of greater hope on the mainland has been closed.
Servile he may be now, but the Hawaiian Japanese will not be content to remain so. When the Tokio government used some rough language to Washington at the time of the San Francisco school question, Hawaii knew all about It, and the cocky Japanese were bold enough to boast that the Japanese flag, instead of the Stars and Stripes, would soon fly over the islands. Events have cooled their patriotism to the point of keeping their mouths shut, but it is safe to say that nine out of every ten Japanese in the islands think that Japan could take Hawaii whenever it pleased, and that it is likely to please.
Several thousand veterans of the war with Russia are now working in Hawaii. They have been the nucleus for many wild rumors of military organizations and uprisings, most of which were made of whole cloth. But it is true, nevertheless, that these veterans keep up organizations, Just as veterans of wars in every nation do. They may be seen on Sunday marching about the country in military formation, but they declare that their only purpose is a social reunion.
So much alarm was caused by this sort of thing that the territorial legislature last year passed a law requiring all owners of firearms to register them with the county clerks. The result was that the Japanese were shown to possess fewer firearms than the people of any other nationality. But even in Hawaii there are those who doubt these returns. It is known that the United States war department took serious interest in this registration and examination. An officer of the Russian general staff also came to Honolulu to inquire into the results of the registration and to examine the Japanese veteran organization. The Japanese are sly and clever, but their reputation for trickery has become so general that they are being closely watched in every quarter.(Copyright, 1908, by Frederic J. Haskin.)
Now THAT throws a little more light on to the later happenings at Pearl Harbor, doesn't it? In addition to being totally disgusting. Due to the fact that our government had ample prior knowledge, as is evidenced above. And it becomes even more despicable when it is remembered that there were MULTIPLE WARNINGS:[Los Angeles Herald, Saturday Morning, May 09, 1908. Vol. XXXV. Number 220 Pg. 4]