Document 29: "Japan is the Only Country Where I Was Not Allowed to Talk about Birth Control Freely," published as "Sanji seigen ron wo omou yō ni hanasenai nowa nihon dake desu," Kyoto Hinode Shinbun, 31 March 1922, p. 2. Translated by Kazuhiro Oharazeki.


   What follows is a short summary of a Japanese reporter's interview with Sanger about her stay in Japan. Sanger made frequent reference to the restrictions on her speech, though she did speak frankly to medical groups and small gatherings. Moreover, her public speeches in Japan were not all that different from the ones she gave in the United States, where Sanger never gave out specific contraceptive information from the podium and rarely discussed methods.

[p. 2]


   At 3:00 P.M. on the 30th, I visited the Miyako Hotel to see Mrs. Margaret Sanger, the person about whom people have talked a lot in relation to the issue of birth control. She was then sleeping, so I waited for her in a reception room. About twenty minutes later, she appeared in the room and warmly welcomed me. She was small in stature for an American woman but had a very pleasant personality. With a smile on her lips, she spoke as follows:

   "I had some unpleasant experiences in Tokyo, but since coming to Kyoto, I have had a wonderful time. Yesterday, when I was walking in the town, even pretty children waved their hands to me in welcome. The scenery is also very impressive and attractive here. Now I understand why [Kyoto] is called "Paris in the Orient."

   Birth control? Yes, it is very unfortunate that I cannot talk about it freely because of the order of the Japanese authorities. This kind of thing never happens in other countries. The purpose [of the birth control movement] is to produce better people, protect mothers' bodies, and help working-class families. These problems are discussed in all countries. For this reason, a conference on birth control will be held in London in the first week of July, and large numbers of people from various countries will attend it. I will also attend it.

   What is my plan from tomorrow? I will stay here until Sunday morning and see the sights of various places. On Sunday, I will sail from Kobe, enjoy the scenic beauty of the Seto Inland Sea, and go to China to visit Shanghai, Tianjin, Beijing, and Guangdong. After making a tour of various Asian countries, I will travel to Europe to attend the conference.[A]

   How do I feel now? Thank you very much. I have recovered completely.

   Lecture in Kyoto? Yes, I will give a lecture [on birth control] within the limit allowed [by the government] in front of about 100 physicians at 4:00 P.M. this afternoon. Still, it is unfortunate that I cannot talk to the general public."

   After our meeting, Mrs. Sanger presented me her photograph with her signature, which is placed above.


A. Sanger refers to the Fifth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference, held in London in July 1922.
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