Document 12: "Mrs. Sanger Must Promise Police She Won't Talk if She Lands Here Tomorrow," Japan Times & Mail, Tokyo, Japan, 9 March 1922, p. 1.


   The Home and Foreign Offices of the Japanese government in Tokyo, Prefectural authorities in Yokohama, the House of Peers, and the police had trouble agreeing on a course of action for Sanger, leaving both Sanger and her hosts unsure about her schedule. The official position that she not speak on birth control continued to arouse support for her in the press, as in the following article.

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   "Welcome to the Land of the Rising Sun and the Closed Mouth," will be the greeting extended to Mrs. Margaret Sanger, President of the American Birth Control Society, when she arrives in Yokohama on the Taiyo Maru tomorrow afternoon.

   Mrs. Sanger will be allowed to land. She will be politely urged to land and enjoy the plum blossoms and the cherry blossoms and the view of Mount Fuji and the natty police uniforms n'everything, if--

   She promises she won't talk.

   Late last night the Y.M.C.A. officials at Kanda were notified that curfew had sounded and that they might as well abandon all plans for a meeting which Mrs. Sanger was to have addressed at their hall next Tuesday evening. Similar notice was served on the management of the magazine "Kaizo", under whose auspices the American was to have appeared.[A]

Editors In Protest

   At the Y.M.C.A, it was said today that apparently the police decision was final. At the office of the magazine, however, a very different spirit, was displayed. The management showed no intention of abandoning its plans without a vigorous protest and is understood to have taken the matter up in high official quarters.

   In the meantime much interest is being evinced in the possibility of a conflict of opinion between the Foreign and Home offices. The Foreign Office took the first step against the appearance of Mrs. Sanger here by forbidding the Consul-General at San Francisco to vise the American woman's passport. Then it relented and cabled an order rescinding these instructions. But, in the meantime, Mrs. Sanger had sailed without an official Japanese stamp on her papers.

   "We will make no attempt to prevent Mrs. Sanger from landing, if she complies with the ordinary regulations affecting passengers," the Foreign Office is quoted as having said.

   "But we will--unless she promises not to talk," says the Home Office.

Nicknamed By Police

   In the meantime the merry policemen have hit upon a pronunciation all their own of Mrs. Sanger's name. To them she is "Mrs. Sangai," which may be translated "Destructive to Production."

   Mrs. Sanger has already sent assurances by wireless that she has no intention of publicly discussing methods of birth control. Her intention, she has said, is merely to deal with the question in a general way, pointing out its social phases and moral and economic possibilities. But not even this is to be permitted under the drastic rule which the police have now decided upon.

   Whether Mrs. Sanger says one word in public in Japan, her friends and advocates of birth control point out her mission to the Far East is already a complete success. They maintain that the official attempts to hinder Mrs. Sanger's work have aroused more interest in the subject of birth control than could possibly have been created through a mere series of lectures.


A. Kaizo, published between 1919 and 1955, was a voice of "new trends in thought and science," that encouraged Marxist and socialist debate in its pages, invited articles by Western intellectuals, and published literature. It was published by the Kaizosha ("Kaizo," Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan Online .)
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