Document 18: Excerpt from Margaret Sanger, World Trip Journal, Tokyo, Japan, 13 March 1922, pp. 17-22 (Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collections, reel S70, frames 40-45).


   Sanger had little time to recover from her long trip. She spent her first days in Japan responding to many callers and newspaper reporters. She also attended a lecture at the Tokyo Women's Club and several teas and dinners in her honor in both Tokyo and Yokohama. Yet three days into her stay, she still did not know whether or not the police would allow her to speak in public.

[p. 17]

March 13.

   The air here makes me sleepy & drowsy also the lack of air is not desirable. An early telephone call from Police Headquarters that Mr [______] would await me at ten Oclock. Baron Ishimoto, Grant & I drove in car to place, everyone in corridors & on stairs knew we were coming a few minutes wait & Mr [_____] came, four others were present & interpreter. My book Woman & New Race on table in Japanese-- I was amused to have them tell me that they had read it & found it unobjectionable.

   Who translated & published it I have yet to find out.[A]

   I struck right into the subject and asked what were the objections to my speaking-- Mr. [_____] said it was against the law, later said he would find out from his chief what the objections were & would communicate

[p. 18]

them to me. Everyone was courteous, bows & bows & still more courteous bows on every occasion. Tea was served to us, very weak & clear & refreshing. I asked if I might speak on another subject and this would also be referred to the chief & I would be informed. This man seemed a hard little fellow, hair cropped close, showing all the bumps & development of head. Answers crisp & short.

   As we were about to go photographers with flash light came and took us together.

   We then went to Home affairs office where again the chief was preoccupied, but sent his regards & welcome & hoped to have the honor of seeing me at another time (date not specified).

[p. 19]

   He sent his assistant Mr [_____]. Also courteous, spoke English fairly well. Several others sat about & listened. He would convey my message to his chief & ascertain an answer. We were again bowed out (no tea) and walked around a corridor to car, where dozens of interested employees came to doors to take a peep. Went to Ishimoto office--a young Japanese girl escorted me to largest department store.


   Back to luncheon & J. N. called to say I am invited to Mrs Warrens at home on Wednesday at Embassy. We started for Peace Exposition[B] but went to Kaizo office first.

   There it was decided to go in person to see the Chief, who was in the Diet.[C]

   A consultation was called of whole

[p. 20]

office staff & I thought the Russian revolution must have come over to Japan. Such bristled men, only the kamonas & native costumes identified them as Japanese. Before leaving to call upon the "Chief" a photographer was placed on the street & chairs for us to sit in and all the office force had to be photographed with us.

   Then we rode to the Diet. Its amusing & amazing the way it is known what we are doing. My Honolulu lecture was taken down & will be published tomorrow.[D] Our cards were sent to the Chief & there was much running about by couriers to find him, also the people began to notice we were the same as the photograph in evening paper & smiles & nods began to come our way.

[p. 21]

   Soon our names were called, slippers brought for Baroness & we were ushered into a large room around a green felt covered table. Soon the same man entered whom I had seen at the Home affairs in the morning. I was much embarrassed & explained this was the way of impatient Americans who were bent on hurrying things. He was very kind & said he was about to send me a reply to my mornings visit to say I would be allowed to speak on other subjects. Then he asked me to outline the nature of an address I would make tomorrow. I roughly sketched one & we all laughed & agreed that the Empire of Japan would not fall after that speech.

[p. 22]

   We were about to leave the room when the rush of reporters blocked our exit. They came with flash lights again by the dozens also asked permission to remain in room to be interviewed.

   Came home to tea & Japanese dinner--and am now to prepare for tomorrows address-- All this advertising wears on one.


A. The Japanese translation, by Toshisada Oku, was published in December 1921 (Callahan, "Dangerous Devices," p. 68.).
Back to Text

B. The Tokyo Peace Exposition, opened on March 10 to commemorate world peace and Japanese industrial progress, spanned 36 acres at Ueno Park. ("Japanese Industrial Exposition Is Opened," Washington Post, 11 March 1922, p. 5.)
Back to Text

C. The Imperial Diet (Teikoku-gikai), established in 1889 under the Meiji Constitution, was a two-house legislature comprised of an appointed upper House of Peers (Kizokiun) and a lower House of Representatives (Shugiin). It lasted until the adoption of a new, post World War II constitution which replaced the House of Peers with a House of Councilors. (Encyclopedia Britannica Online accessed March 15, 2010.)
Back to Text

D. In Honolulu, Sanger spoke to about five hundred people for an hour at a birth control meeting held in a dance academy. The speech has not been found. ("News Notes," Birth Control Review 6, no. 4 [April 1922]: 56.)
Back to Text

back to top