Document 15: Excerpt from Margaret Sanger, World Trip Journal, Yokohama, Japan, 10 March 1922 (Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College; The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collections, reel 70, frames 31-36), pp. 1-6.


   Public ridicule of the government, the protests of younger members in the Foreign and Home Offices, and entreaties made by Japanese dignitaries whom Sanger met aboard the ship combined to persuade the government to let Sanger disembark. The following entry documents Sanger's treatment by the Japanese authorities, and her first impressions of Japan and the Japanese people.

[p. 1]

March 10 [1922].

   Rain cold fog makes the sight of Japan impossible. Sent cable to Consul general Schidmore to arrange for landing.

   As soon as pilot came aboard I was requested to come to smoking room, there officials of Government (Japanese) asked to speak in private to me, we went to cabin an interpreter & stenographer came also.

   I was asked to show my American passport, then to tell the purpose of my visit, who had asked me to come here. How I knew Mr Yamamoto. How I knew Baroness Ishimoto. There was always a smile on the face of the official as well as upon the countenance of the Interpreter.

[p. 2]

   After much minute questioning it was told me that it would be necessary for me to apply to the American Consul to use his influence for me to land or enter Japan. Also I was to sign a statement that I would not give a public lecture on Birth Control during my stay here. I wrote this letter & also one to the Governor of Yokohama to that effect.[A]

   In two minutes after the door was closed upon the government officials, I was besieged with reporters. At least twenty-five crowded into my cabin to ask me questions, to sign cards or to take a picture ↑photograph↓-- Baron Ishimoto fortunately was there early to advise me & also came Mr Yamamoto & his group from Kaizo.

[p. 3]

   Had to go on deck to be photographed at least by a dozen photographers. Then more interviews--

   Mr Wilson of Embassy was there to pay his respects & do all he could to make landing possible.

   Every reporter expressed his regrets that the government was acting this way & said the people of Japan want me to come here and desire to hear about birth control. Baroness Ishimoto came in her native costume, very tall & lovely to look at. Speaking a clear & fine English. Mr Coleman also came & obligingly took my case with MSS along for safety.

   Mrs [illegible] ↑Kohashi↓ the woman reporter or Editor of Womans Magazine -- -- -- came & also a delegation of six women representing New Woman Movement in Japan.[B]

[p. 4]

   These adorably perfect doll women came in costume, bowing so stately & courteously from the waist to the floor almost, took ones thoughts away from the difficulties of officials & the trials of the day and brought first the perfume of a fairy land with gnomes & delightful wise old ladies to the realization that these little New Women in Japan are the instrument to carry out the real dreams of an emancipated womanhood in Japan.

   Tea was served to Grant, Baroness Ishimoto & myself while waiting for Police permission. Finally in came a rush of men. Mr Yamamoto, translator Baron Ishimoto & several others to say "all is well" the Chief of Police the Governor had given me permission to enter Japan but ↑U.S.↓ Consul General would not be responsible so would not sign

[p. 5]

necessary papers. Thus the delay.

   We at last were off the boat. Trunks bags etc carried to customs, where they were carefully examined. Most amusing manner of examinator looking for B.C. books. At last discovered Family Limitation and confiscated forty pamphlets. Everything in bags & trunks gone through.

   The crowd around automobile came to get signatures and to say they were with me and birth control is a good idea.

   The advice from authorities was not to talk to the Press, I sensed a fear of the Press in all official interviews.

   Dinner at Grand Hotel, Yokohama with eight Japanese gentlemen. Baroness went home to care for children. All friends from Boat Taiyo at dinner at Hotel.

   Raining torrents, no special impression

[p. 6]

yet, except parasols, jinrichas and women with babies on backs, also wooden shoes making queer noise especially at Stations where crowds of people come out of trains. While waiting at Station for automobile reporters snapped & flashed light photographs. Then home to Barons house where fires in fireplaces cheered us after a long fatiguing day. More flash lights for out of town papers, and Grant & I went to bed in large airy bright room fire burning nicely. Maid prepared hot, oh so hot, bath in which one sits & soaks & gets warm, one washes & scrubs before getting into tub. Anyone else wishing bath gets into the same tub of water. It seems complicated so far, But familiarity eases & simplifies every problem.


A. Neither the statement nor the letter, probably written to the governor of the Kanagawa Prefecture, has been found.
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B. The Shin Fujin Kyokai (Association of New Women) [SFK] was a feminist group founded in 1919 that was currently lobbying for the Peace Police Bill, which would enable Japanese women to organize and attend political assemblies (Hiroko Tomida, Hiratsuka Raicho and Early Japanese Feminism [Boston, Mass.: Brill, 2004], pp. 263, 317 and 321.)
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