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Judo and BUSHIDO at the White House

2015年12月13日(日)
道場主 
[**秘密**]
Judo and Bushido at the White House

“ Speak softly, and carry a big stick, you will go far.”
This is a proverb in the west Africa and was the motto of the 26th President of the Unite States of America Theodore Roosevelt whose foreign policy was often called Big Stick Diplomacy.

Being increasingly sensitive to the limits of American power as the President of U.S.A., at that time, Roosevelt perceived the Philippine as America's heel of Achilles and viewed Japan as a counterpoise to Russia.

He secretly acquiesced to Japanese suzerainty in Korea in return for a disclaimer of any aggressive designs whatever in the Philippines.

Fostering mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, partly to keep Japan from weighing the balance too heavily, earned Roosevelt the first Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, the results of two events which happened at the White House in March 1904, 18 months before the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty in Portsmouth, New Hampshire , were quite exciting and epoch making for Japanese.

March 1904 was the month of Judo( not Jujutsu but Kodokan Judo) and “Bushido” at the White House.
In other words, March 1904 was the month of celebration for Japan at the White House.

T Bushido at the White House

1 Russo-Japanese War

After five months of negotiation with Russia about the rights and interests in the Korean peninsula,the Japanese government declared a diplomatic breakup with Russia on February 6, 1904.
Then on February 8, the Japanese Navy tried a sneak attack without success against Russian battleships at Port Arthur and, next day, attacked and sank a Russian cruiser and a gunboat off the Korean coast of Inchon.
Thus the Russo-Japanese War broke out.

Before these incidents, the Japanese government decided to start the war against Russia at the Imperial Conference on February 4, 1904.

On the evening of February 4, the Member of the House of Lords Kentaro Kaneko(Baron) was summoned by telephone to the Official Residence of the Lord President of the Council, where the Lord President Hirobumi Ito asked Kaneko to visit America as soon as possible.

The Japanese Government's primary purpose for sending Kaneko to the U.S.A. was to promote friendships with President Theodore Roosevelt whom Kaneko met 15 years ago at Washington D.C. where 31 years old Roosevelt was working as the secretary general of the reform committee of public employee system under President Benjamin Harrison.

In 1889 Kaneko on his way to England, carrying the letter of introduction by William Stargis Bigelow met Theodore Roosevelt as Harvard alumni.
Bigelow was a member of The Harvard Club in Tokyo of which Kaneko was the president.

Kaneko at age 36 was on his inspection trip to the American Congress and to the House of Parliament of Great Britain, in order to establish the Japanese Diet in 1890.
Ever since the impressive first meeting with Roosevelt in 1889, Kaneko kept a friendly relationship with him through occasional correspondence.

The second purpose for the Japanese Government to send Kaneko to the U.S.A was to turn America's public opinions to pro-Japan.
For the Americans, Russia was a Christianity country, whereas Japan is a non-Christianity and non-Caucasian country.

Naturally, the public opinion about the Japanese in America was not as favorable as Japanese expected, especially in California where anti-Japanese sentiment was growing because of an increasing number of Japanese immigrants there.

At the age of 22 , Hirobumi Ito stowed away to London as a student with his four comrades from Choshu-han(a feudal clan in western Japan) but returned to Japan within a few months to stop the war between his home Choshu-han and the combined fleet of Great Britain, France, Netherlands and the U.S.A. in vain.

After that incident, however , struggling through political and military chaos of the Meiji Restoration, Ito came to be known as one of the ingenious politician in modern Japan by 1881.

In 1885, Ito reformed the old imperial government organization into a modern (though superficial) cabinet system and took office as the first Prime Minister of Japan.

Then Ito proceeded to establish the Constitution of Japan in 1889 and to establish the Diet of Japan in 1890.

During the Russo-Japanese War, Ito was The Lord President of the Council and Kaneko was one of his confidant since the latter returned to Japan with his bachelor of law degree from Harvard in 1878.

In the meeting at the evening of February 4,1904, Ito told Kaneko that Japan needed a mediation country to cease fire against Russia.

Ito persuaded Kaneko as follows:
“Because the Grate Britain is our alley and France is a Russian ally, these countries can not be a mediation country.
Though Germany seems to have enough power to be a mediation country, German's attitude toward us does not look friendly.
So I think the Unite States of America is the best and the only country to be the mediator to end the Russo-Japanese War.

I know you are a friend of Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, so please go to America as soon as possible and ask him to be the arbitrator between the two countries.
Also by doing so, I hope you to change the public opinion in the U.S.A. to a pro-Japan one and not to permit upsurge of the yellow peril atmosphere.”

2 Kaneko's Reluctance to visit America

For Kaneko, Ito was the benefactor and he had been Ito's confidant serving as the General Manager Secretary when Ito took office as the first Prime Minister of Japan in 1885.

However, Kaneko who had stayed in and around Boston for eight years and had gotten his bachelor's degree from Harvard Law School could not say yes to Ito's request for the following reasons.

(1) Through the Independence War in 1775 , the war between Britain and United States in 1812, and the Civil War in 1861, Russia had always supported North America.
Thus Americans have had good feeling for Russia.

(2) Alexander Cassini,the Russian Ambassador to the United States of America, who, as the minister to Beijin, had made a big success in concluding the lease treaty of Port Arthur and Dalian with Chinese Government four years before.
Moreover, Cassini was then the prime minister of the diplomatic corps in Washington D.C. and his daughter was praised as a flower of polite society in Washington .

Port Arthur and Dalian were supposed to be Japanese leased territories but was returned to China when Russia, France and Germany interfered one week after the conclusion of the Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty in April, 1895 .

(3) Supplying government-procurement products monopolistically, many large companies in America were keeping good relationships with the Russian Government.
Besides, Russia was a large market for American products such as wheat and canned food, and Russia was the best capital market for Americans.

Furthermore, in those days, many American millionaires married the Russian nobility.
Therefore the polite society of America kept a close relation with Russia.

(4) Because Japan was exporting raw silk and Habutae silk texture to America only on a very small scale the relation between the U.S.A. and Japan was rather thin.

Considering these situations in America, Kaneko could not say yes to Ito's request and went home that night.

But the morning after next, Kaneko was summoned by telephone again to Ito at the Official Residence of the Lord President of the Council .

There Ito told Kaneko as follows:

“You seem to be hesitating to go to America because you can't accomplish this mission in America.”
・・・・(omission)・・・・
“Nobody in the Japanese Navy, the Army, or in the Ministry of Finance was sure of Japan's victory against Russia.
However these are tense times all across The Sea of Japan, we have to fight it out risking our country.
Thus I made up my mind.”

“So, paying no attention to success or failure; please go to America and do your best to accomplish this mission.
If you can't persuade Mr. Roosevelt to be the arbitrator and turn American public opinion to pro-Japan, I am sure no other Japanese can do.”

On February 24, 1904, Kaneko with his followers named Tokutaro Sakai and Jun-ichiro Suzuki departed Yokohama for San Francisco on an American passenger ship “Siberia”.

On March 11 they arrived at San Francisco where the Neutral Declaration by the U.S. Government had been promulgated earlier, on February 11, the day after the Declaration of War against Russia by Japanese Government.

From San Francisco, Kaneko traveled for two weeks to reach New York, stopping in Chicago where he made speeches at the oldest Harvard Club and at the Northwestern University.

In New York, Kaneko held a press conference in which he was asked the purpose of his visit to the United States at that time.

As for the question why he came to America, which was repeatedly asked since he went ashore at San Francisco, Kaneko insisted all along that he had come to inspect the International Exposition at St. Luis in which Japan exhibited grandly whereas the Russians could not exhibit anything yet because of political chaos in their country.

In addition to this, Kaneko stated that the other purpose for his visit to America was to inspect minutely American cities which were rapidly industrialized and urbanized at that time.

However, many American journalists seemed to sense Kaneko's true purpose of the visit to the United States was different.
Some newspaper likened Kaneko's activity in America to Benjamin Franklin's activity in France at the time of the Independence War of 1775.

Time finally came.
On the morning of March 26, 1904, Kaneko payed courtesy visits to the Secretary of the Navy and to the Secretary of State.

Then, at noon as scheduled, Kaneko, accompanied by Kogoro Takahira who was the Minister of plenipotentiary to the United States arrived at the White House with two followers.
By doing so he achieved his fatal reunion with Roosevelt after an interval of 15 years.

To mention it later, Theodore Roosevelt who wrote 38books and 15oooo letters left to date abounded in physical and mental energy.

Possessing the gift of words, Roosevelt showed meticulous scholarship and touches of brilliance through two books he wrote in his youth. Especially, by the publication of his magnum opus, the four volume “Wining of the West” at the age of 30, Roosevelt became to be praised as the second coming of George Bancroft.
George Bancroft entered Harvard College at thirteen years of age and graduated Harvard at age 17, class of 1871, went Germany and received his doctorate from Göttingen University at the age of 19.

Roosevelt is said to act on impulse and at times on shrewd calculation, generally exude warmth, affection and charm.
When Kaneko arrived at the White House and showed his name card to the receptionist, Roosevelt came out from Oval Office by himself and holding upper arm of Kaneko pulled him into his office before many visitors of the wait.

3 The background of Kentaro Kaneko

Twenty-two years before this fatal reunion, the Japanese Government Mission to negotiate the revision of the unequal treaties with America and European developed countries which is supposed to expire in May 26, 1872, departed Yokohama for America in November 12, 1871.

This mission led by Tomomi Iwakura, who was the No.2 person in the Japanese Government at that time, included almost half of the members of the Japanese Government including Councilor Takayosi Kido, Tosimichi Ohkubo as the Minister of Finance, Hirobumi Ito as the the Vice Minister of Industry, Hisayosi Yamaguchi as the Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

Another purpose of this big mission, spending more than two years in foreign countries,was to inspect and investigate these developed countries such as the U.S.A.,the Great Britain and France for the modernization of Japan.

Via the United States, this so-called Iwakura Mission, unprecedented in the Japanese history in terms of its scale and time spent, visited Great Britain, France, Belgium, Russia, Italy and returned to Japan in September, 1874.

As for the abolition of extraterritoriality, recovery of the tariff autonomy and prohibition of the landing by the foreign armed forces, this mission accomplished no practical purpose.

The United States and European countries treated Japan as a barbarian nation or a semi-colony, and that situation kept on until Japan's victory at the Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

However, we can say that the success of modernization of Japan by the time of the Russo-Japanese War was the result of the inspection and investigation by this big mission, which was unprecedented in the Japanese history.

During their two year journey, Ito and other main members of the mission came to a conclusion that, as far as the modernization of its industry and infrastructure was concerned, Japan could catch up with these developed countries within 40 or 50 years.

Furthermore this so-called Iwakura-Mission had 59 students in its party; they wanted to study in these foreign countries, especially in the United States.

The youngest student who headed for the United State accompanying this mission was Miss Umeko Tsuda, who was only eight years old when she departed and returned to Japan at the age of 17.

Struggling to adjust herself to the Japanese society, in 1889, she returned to the United States again when she was 22 and studied there for three more years. She eventually established Tsuda Colledge in 1900.

Among the 59 members, Kentaro Kaneko, who was a follower of Kuroda the feudal lord involved in this mission, entered an elementary school in New England at the age of 18 to strengthen his basic English skills.

Graduating the accelerated class of the elementary school, Kaneko entered the English High School of Boston.

After he finished high school, Kaneko started to work at the Grey & Swift Law Office to study the business of law.
Having done such preparation thoroughly, Kaneko entered the Harvard Law School in 1876 and graduated two years later.

While enrolled in the Harvard Law School, Kaneko lived in the same rooming house with Jutaro Komura who was one of the eight students who studied in the U.S.A. These eight students were the first people selected and sent in 1875 by the Japanese Government to study in the United States.

Later in the Russo-Japanese War, Komura was the Minister of Foreign Affairs; then he was appointed as the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for the Japan and Russia peace treaty conclusion.

Kaneko's eight years study abroad was financed by Nagahiro Kuroda, an ex-feudal lord of Fukuoka.
In 1878, Kaneko returned to Japan and held a job for a while as a tutor for the prep school forTokyo University.

In 1880, Kaneko was appointed to be the assistant secretary of the Senate House to study the constitution which was to be promulgated within ten years.

Then, as stated above ,Kaneko was appointed to the Secretary of the Prime Minister Ito as the first Prime Minister of Japan in 1885.When Ito was transferred to the Lord President of the Council in 1888, Kaneko was appointed as the Secretary of the Lord President of the Council.

4 At the White House

Theodore Roosevelt was so warm and helpful toward Kaneko that he held a full-scale talk only two days after their fatal reunion.
In March 28, 1904 Kaneko was invited to the White House , having lunch together, and Roosevelt told him as follows:

“Mainly because I interviewed with Mr. Fenollosa(Ernest Francisco Fenollosa) and Mr.Bigelow (William Stargis Bigelow), I was so interested in Japan that I eventually invited Mr.Fenollosa to the White House and let him lecture about Japan not only for me but also for my acquaintances and companions.

Since then, I have always loved and respected Japan more than anyone else here and, therefore, studied more about Japan by reading various books.

However, I have not yet grasped the spirit of Japanese people, so please tell me the books by which I can grasp the characteristics of Japanese people and the driving force of their mind formation.”

Accepting the president's request Kaneko recommended two books.
The first book Kaneko introduced was “BUSHIDO-the Soul of Japan”, written by Inazo Nitobe. Another book he introduced was “Heroic Japan”,written by Frederick Eastlake who was a teacher at Keio University and was called the Doctor of Language for his wide knowledge of 23 languages including Sanskrit and Arabia.

Eastlake could speak Japanese, German, French, Spanish and Italian as if he were a native speaker of each language. In addition, he was able to speak ancient forms of English including Middle English.

“Bushido” is a classic to which generations of scholars and laymen alike have long referred for insights into the character of the Japanese people.
It was written in English and published in the United States in 1900, within a few years it had been translated into Japanese and seven other languages.

Two months later, on June 6, 1904, Kaneko was invited to the White House for the lunch with President Roosevelt.

At this third meeting between them , Roosevelt remarked as follows:

“ BUSHIDO”, you introduced me at the last meeting was a good book which described the Japanese spirits most effectively.

By reading that book, I could understand the moral characters of Japanese citizens for the first time in my life.
I ordered 30 copies of “BUSHIDO”, and distributed them to my friends and I also gave a copy of the book to each of my five children.
Giving the book to my children, I ordered them to cultivate noble and elegant character, and faithful and hardy mind like the Japanese.”

During the following year and a half since that meeting, Kaneko had met Roosevelt at the White House 10 several times taking lunch or interviewing in the middle of night.

Thus, the first purpose of Kaneko's visit to America, namely to promote a friendship with the President of the United States, was fully accomplished.

Later in 1906 Roosevelt denounced a decision by the San Francisco School Board to segregate Japanese schoolchildren as a crime against a friendly nation. ( To be continued ) 

丸屋 武士(MARUYA Takeshi)