Document 25: Excerpt from Margaret Sanger, World Trip Journal, Yokohama, Japan, 19 March 1922, pp. 45-47 (Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, The Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm Edition: Smith College Collection, reel S70, frames 66-68).


   Sanger received police permission to speak about contraceptive methods to a private meeting of about a hundred physicians in the Tokyo Hygiene Association Building. Toward the end of her stay in Tokyo, Sanger found herself increasingly frustrated. Now suffering the effects of a virus, she had grown weary of giving speeches that became long, drawn-out affairs because of poor and plodding translations. Running up against conservative physicians with little interest in women-controlled contraception, Sanger became even more dispirited over witnessing what she saw as Japanese women's subservience and lack of independent thinking. As she later wrote in her autobiography, "the Japanese woman in my opinion did not possess in her typical psychology any strong leanings towards rebellion." Even among the more educated women, Sanger was "amazed at their ancient and domesticated outlook."[23]

[p. 45]

March 19. Sunday.

   In bed this morning shaking off a cold in throat. Mrs Kohashi Mijo 445 Nishi Okubo, Tokyo Fuka, came to interview me on my impressions of Japan after the evening before. I am afraid they were not very favorable. I said I was impressed by the advance the men had made in comparison to that made by the women especially is this so in costume & also in the desire for knowledge.

   I believed the women would be liberated not by themselves but thru the men indirectly. The men are ambitious for position, for Economic power & will take Birth Control because it will help the men attain some advantages. This will give women time to think & act.

   Mrs Kohashi then massaged my back & made me feel better. We had a meeting for Doctors

[p. 46]

at 2:30 in the Hygiene Assn Bldg. about 100 Doctors present. Many of the most prominent. I had all means with me, but the Interpeter was nervous. The awe of the younger men toward the older men is discouraging. No young men spoke, only a few old ones. The usual Doctor attitude lack of interest in anything which will allow women to help themselves. XRay discussion waxed hot-- Pro & Con. I was at a great disadvantage in not having an Interpeter who knew the subject better.

   We were, Baroness & I both discouraged at the attitude of these men. The lightness & lack of sincerity so evident among all groups of MDs was here also.

   Yokohama for dinner at

[p. 47]

Oriental Hotel. Mrs Jewett & Mrs Pearse got a group together of about 100 foreigners, mostly English. Yokohama is more English than American. It was a very good sympathetic group--no objections raised as I had eliminated them in the lecture. I was very tired & had to have a cocktail to put me through. Arrived Tokyo at midnight car's gasoline gave out, had to walk home, but sleeping City was very mysterious & quiet not like a City at all, no electric signs, or bright lights, just like a nice low ceiling room of old Italians brown stained oak here & there a light.

   Very tired beginning to feel the effects of hard work & fatigue one day more & then Nikko.

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