Document 38: Shidzue Ishimoto to Margaret Sanger, Tokyo, Japan, 16 December 1922, with handwritten partial draft response by Margaret Sanger at bottom. (Margaret Sanger Papers, Library of Congress microfilm, reel 18, frame 988)


   In the latter part of 1922, the Japan Birth Control Study Society worked to publish some more of Sanger's writings in Japanese and began their own journal, Shō Kazoku, (Small Family.) The Society also tried to extend its reach into the Kansai region (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe), where Senji Yamamoto had begun to organize for birth control among a more radical element within the labor movement. Yamamoto had translated and published Sanger's Family Limitation in May and was distributing it among labor groups.[27]

Mrs. Margaret Sanger
104 Fifth Avenue, New York City

December 16, 1922

Dear Mrs. Sanger:

   Many thanks for your kindness in sending me your book "The Pivot of Civilization" with your sign on it.

   As I have informed in my previous letter, this book has been translated already in Japanese[A] and we are negotiating with several book publishers to have it in press. Yesterday, we nearly came to the agreement with one publisher, and will likely to appear at the end of January. As soon as this matter setlls, I will let you know.

   Recently I had the chance to go to the Northern part of Japan, where I gave two lectures on Birth Control including University professors and students. They are very interested in this subject so that I may have a branch office there of the Japanese Birth Control League.

   Several Women's Magazines also asked me to write on the Birth Control. A few of them has already appered.[B] They are certainly very effective propaganda.

   The pamphlet issued from our League reached its third number. The second and third numbers will be send soon.[C]

Very sincerely yours,
Shidzue Ishimoto

The Japanese Birth Control League
10, Hinokicho, Akasaka
Tokyo, Japan

[Handwritten draft response by Margaret Sanger]

Dear Mrs Ishimoto:

   You must be very busy with so much to do. All is going wonderfully well here-- Best wishes for success of your League. Call on me for any thing I can do to help. Regards to your husband from Grant & me, [written along right side of last page] affectionately


A. See Document 39 for information on the translation of Pivot of Civilization.
Back to Text

B. One of the writings referred to here is Shidzue Ishimoto, "Sanji seigen ha naze hitsuyo ka" [Why do we need birth control?], Fujin Sekai [Woman's world] 17:4 (April 1922), pp. 100-03. Fujin sekai was one of "Big Four" mass women's magazines published during the first two decades of the twentieth century, which regularly carried practical articles on homemaking for young married women. The April 1922 issue was devoted to the subject of birth control. On mass women's magazines, see Barbara Sato, The New Japanese Woman: Modernity, Media, and Women in Interwar Japan (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003), Chap. 3.
Back to Text

C. The Society's publications were not found, but consisted of a translation of Woman and the New Race by Oku Toshisada, and pamphlets by Isoo Abe and Shidzue Ishimoto. For more details see Document 39.
Back to Text

back to top