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and which is fully protected by copyright, has been copied by a Japanese publishing house, which sells it for ten dollars. A famous brand of safety razor, which sells in the United States for five dollars, is copied by the Japanese in everything save quality, and is marketed by them, under the originator's name and in a facsimile of the original package, for a fifth of the price charged for the genuine article. The same is trueof widely advertised brands of soap, tooth-paste, talcum powder, perfume, and other toilet preparations. An imitation of Pond's Extract, for instance, is sold in a bottle exactly like that of the American-made article except that a faint line, scarcely discernible, turns the P into an R. This infringement was fought in the courts, however, the American manufacturer winning his case. A particularly unpleasant specimen of Japanese commercial methods came to light last spring at Tien-Tsin, when the American Consul-General entered an official protest against the action of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of that city, which had distributed thousands of hand-bills, wrapped in daily newspapers, intimating that a certain American trading company was on the verge of insolvency — a statement which was without foundation in fact. The Japanese Chamber of Commerce refused to retract its allegations, and the American house, which had been a powerful competitor of the local Japanese firms, was nearly ruined.
These are only a few examples of Japanese business methods. I heard similar stories from every American business man whom I met in Japan. Indeed, I cannot recall having talked with a single foreigner doing business with the Japanese who did not complain of their practice of imitating patented or copyrighted articles, of substituting inferior goods, and of not
keeping their contracts when it suits them to break them.
The amazing commercial success of the Japanese has not been achieved by these methods, but in spite of them. It has been brought about largely as the result of artificial and temporary conditions. At a period when the rest of the world was engaged in a life-anddeath struggle, Japan, far from the battlefields, was free to engage in commerce, and she possessed, moreover, certain articles which other nations must have and for which they had to pay any price she demanded. Nor could the Japanese merchant, any more than the American, realize that this was a purely temporary condition and could not continue indefinitely.
The commercial unscrupulousness of the Japanese has worked great injury to the friendly relations of Japan and the United States. The distrust and dislike which such methods have engendered in American business men was strikingly illustrated one evening in the smoking-room of a transpacific liner. In chatting with a group of returning American business men I casually mentioned the case of a fellow countryman who had recently brought American commercial methods into disrepute in Japan by giving 'exclusive' agencies for certain widely advertised articles to several firms in the same city. Instead of deploring such trickery, my auditors applauded it to a man. 'Fine!' they exclaimed. 'Good work! Glad to hear of a Yankee who can beat the Japs at their own game!' They were as jubilant over that dishonest American's success in turning the tables on the Japanese as was the American public when it learned that we had perfected a poison-gas more horrible in its effects than that introduced by the Germans.
Now, mind you, I do not wish to „ be understood as suggesting that commercial trickery is characteristic of all Japanese business men. There are business houses in Japan — many of them — that meet their obligations as punctiliously, that maintain as high a standard of commercial honor, as the most reputable firms in the United States. But, unfortunately, these form only a small minority. It seems a thousand pities that the honest and farsighted business men of Japan, and the Japanese chambers of commerce and similar business organizations do not take energetic steps to discourage dishonesty in dealings with foreigners, if for no other reason than the effect that it would have on American public opinion. The series of conferences held last year in Tokyo, between a self-constituted delegation of American bankers and business men and a number of representative Japanese, offered a splendid opportunity for a candid discussion of this delicate and irritating question. If the Americans, instead of confining themselves to patriotic platitudes and hands-across-the-sea sentiments, had had the courage to tell the high-minded Japanese who were their hosts how objectionable such methods are to Americans, and what incalculable harm they are causing to JapaneseAmerican relations, it would have worked wonders in promoting a better mutual understanding.
Now, in spite of what I have said about the methods of a large section of the Japanese commercial class, I am convinced that the Japanese are, as a race, honest. Though pocket-picking is said to be on the increase in Japan, burglary and highway robbery are extremely rare, while the murders, shooting affrays, daylight robberies, and hold-ups which have become commonplaces in American cities are virtually unknown. I should feel as safe at midnight in the meanest street of a Japanese city as I should on Common
wealth Avenue in Boston — considerably safer, indeed, than I should on certain New York thoroughfares after nightfall. I asked an American woman who has lived for many years in Japan if she considered the Japanese dishonest. 'In Yokohama,' she replied, 'I never think of locking the doors or windows of my house, yet I have never had anything stolen. But when I was staying last winter at a fashionable hotel in New York, I was robbed of money, jewels, and clothing the night of my arrival.'
Nor could I discover any substantiation of the oft-repeated assertion that positions of trust in Japanese banks are held by Chinese. Certainly this is not true of Japanese-controlled institutions, such as the Yokohama Specie Bank, the Bank of Japan, and the Dai Ichi Ginko, as I can attest from personal observation. It is true that Chinese are employed in considerable numbers in fiduciary positions in the Japanese branches of foreign banks, such as the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Bank of India, Australia & New Zealand; but these have generally come over from China with the banks' European officials, their employment denoting no lack of faith in Japanese integrity. Yet such stories, spread broadcast by superficial and usually prejudiced observers, have helped to give Americans a totally erroneous impression of the Japanese.
My personal opinion is that commercial dishonesty in Japan is directly traceable to the contempt in which merchants were long held in that country. Until quite recent years the position of the merchant in Japan was analogous to that of the Jew in the Europe of the Middle Ages. He was at the bottom of the social scale. At the top was the noble; then came the samurai, or professional fighting man; followed in turn the farmer and the artisan; and last of all came the merchant. The farmer and the artisan have always held a higher place than the merchant because they are producers, whereas the merchant has been looked upon as a huckster, a haggler, a bargainer, who made his living by his wits. The Japanese merchant, moreover, has had barely half a century in which to learn the game of business as it is played in the West. Coming from a despised and down-trodden class, is it any wonder that in that brief span he has not wholly eradicated his ancient methods, that he has not yet acquired all our Western virtues and ideals? Let us be fair in judging him. The Jew has been under the influence of the West for two thousand years, yet his business ethics are not always beyond reproach.
There is yet another reason for the doubtful business methods practised by many Japanese merchants. And that reason, curiously enough, was provided by ourselves. It was Kci Hara, Prime Minister of Japan, — himself a business man and the first commoner to hold the position of premier, — who brought this to my attention.
'You should not forget that my people learned what they know of moder n business methods from you Americans,' he reminded me. 'It was your Commodore Perry who, in the face of Japanese opposition, opened Japan to American commerce. It was from the American traders who followed him that the Japanese received their first lessons in the business ethics of the West. The early American traders, in the methods they practised, provided the Japanese with anything but a laudable example. If they could cheat a Japanese, they considered it highly creditable; they took advantage of his ignorance by giving him inferior goods and by driving sharp bargains; they constantly bamboozled him. Is it any wonder, then, that the Japanese
merchant, patterning his methods on those pursued by the Americans, adopted American commercial trickery along with other things? But, mind you,' he added, 'I am not condoning commercial trickery among my people. I am only explaining it.'
We now come to a consideration of the political factor in Japanese-American relations. In order to estimate this factor at its true importance, it is necessary to envisage the trying political situation in which Japan finds herself. Since their victory over the Russians in 1904 the Japanese have seen themselves gradually encircled by a ring of unsympathetic and suspicious, if not openly hostile peoples. Overshadowing the Island Empire on the north is the great bulk of Bolshevist Russia, still smarting from the memories of the Yalu River and Port Arthur, and bitterly resentful of Japan's military occupation of Eastern Siberia and Northern Sakhalin. Every patriotic Russian feels that Japan, in occupying these territories, has taken unfair advantage of Russia's temporary helplessness; he listens cynically to the protestations of the Japanese Government that it has occupied them merely in order to keep at arm's length the menace of Bolshevism, and that it will withdraw its troops as soon as a stable and friendly government is established in Russia.
To the west, the Koreans, though now officially Japanese subjects, are in a state of incipient revolt, to which they have been driven by the excesses of the Japanese military and the harshness of Japanese rule. To the southeast, China, huge and inert, loathes and fears her island neighbor, their common hatred of Japan being the one tie which binds the diverse elements of the Republic together. As a protest against Japanese aggression in Manchuria and Shantung, the Chinese have instituted a boycott of Japanese goods, which is gravely affecting Japanese commerce throughout the Farther East. In regions as remote from the seat of the controversy as the Celebes and Borneo and Java and Siam, I found Japanese merchants being forced out of business because the Chinese refused to trade with them or to have business relations with anyone else who traded with them. In Formosa, taken from China as spoils of war in 1895, the head-hunting savages who inhabit the mountains of the interior remain unsubjugated, only the Guard Line, a series of armed blockhouses connected by electrically charged entanglements, standing between the Japanese settlers and massacre.
In the Philippines, there is always present the bogey of Japanese imperialism, both the Filipinos and the American residents being convinced that Japan is looking forward to the day when she can add these rich and tempting islands to her possessions. In fardistant Australia and New Zealand the Japanese are distrusted and disliked, stringent legislative measures having recently been adopted to prevent further Japanese immigration into those commonwealths. On the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada a violent anti-Japanese agitation is in full swing, new and severer legislation being constantly directed against them. In Hawaii the Japanese already outnumber all the other elements of the population put together.
Influenced by the attitude of her great overseas dominions, and fearful of its effect on her relations with the United States, England is gravely considering the advisability of renewing her alliance with Japan when it terminates next year. Holland, having ever in the front of her mind her great,
rich colonies in the East Indies, looks with a suspicious eye on Japan's steady territorial expansion and on the significant increase in the strength of her military and naval establishments. France, ever seeking new markets, views with alarm Japan's attempt to dominate China commercially. And Germany is not likely either to forget or to forgive the taking of Tsing-Tau and her former insular possessions in the Pacific. To-day Japan is as completely isolated, as universally distrusted, as was Germany at the beginning of 1914. Not only has she aroused the suspicions of the peoples of the West, but she has alienated her neighbors in the East.
The Japanese have been hurt and bewildered by this almost universal distrust of them. Yet, instead of attempting to win back the good-will of the West, which was theirs until little more than a dozen years ago, by giving convincing proofs of their peaceable intentions; instead of making an effort to regain the confidence of half a billion Chinese and Russians by a prompt withdrawal from their soil, the Japanese have made the psychological mistake of adopting an attitude of stubbornness and defiance. They have replied to criticisms by embarking on a military programme which will make them the greatest military power on earth; their naval programme calls for a neck-and-neck shipbuilding race with the United States; in Siberia they have strengthened their occupational forces instead of showing a disposition to withdraw them. They seem utterly incapable of realizing that the world has the very best of reasons for being suspicious of imperialistic nations; that it is in no mood to tolerate anything savoring of militarism. The peoples of the earth had hoped that those policies had passed with the Hohenzollerns.
(To be continued)
NOTES ON ECONOMY AND DISARMAMENT
BY SAMUEL W. McCALL
There is probably nothing related to government that is advocated more and practised less than economy. It is a theme that lends itself easily to discourse which rarely, if ever, materializes in action. The party that is out is always bewailing the extravagance and criminal wastefulness of the party that is in. And when the people show themselves credulous enough to entrust the critics with power, the only difference likely to be seen is in an increased extravagance and waste. The fervor of the promise is usually found to be in inverse ratio to] the amount of performance that is vouchsafed.
There has never at any period been a greater demand, or a more alluring opportunity, for economy in government than in that period which began when the World War came to an end, November 11, 1918. Expenditure had never attained a higher peak. Our great wealth and the tremendous stake involved, which was nothing less than the freedom of nations and the continuance of civilization, had justified an expenditure colossal beyond all precedent.
It was not merely that all money that might be needed should be expended, but all money that might seem to be needed, even if in the end it should appear that it was wasted. A prudent government could take no chances of losing the war by spending too little, if any of the money that was saved might do good. Subject to the imperative demand for honesty, the resources of the country were all to be employed, Vol. its—no. 4
if only they might be of use, even if, like so many shells that were fairly fired at the enemy and did not reach him, much of what was expended did not appear to have any influence upon the result.
The need of such vast expenditure came abruptly to an end on the day of the Armistice. It became then at once necessary that all the energy previously employed in spending should be devoted to saving. And when Congress was in session the following spring, and our soldiers had returned to this country and been disbanded; when our munition factories had ceased their operation, and employment was dwindling, and the mass of our people was beginning to feel the first keen pinches of excessive taxation, it became the paramount duty of Congress ruthlessly to cut expenditure to the bone. But to pass over the debatable transition period when deficiencies were to be met, and to make no exalted demand upon the first Congress after the war, surely 'normalcy' in expenditure must be indeed a coy creature if she cannot be prevailed upon to show herself by the Congress that emerged from the throes of the last presidential campaign, and convened nearly two years and a half after fighting had ceased. The expenditure of the present fiscal year should be little greater than the normal expenditure of the government, with the exceptions to which I shall hereafter refer. Not to show results at this time would be wholly without justification, and those results should not be