Document 40: Telegram (No. 36) from Yada Shichitaro to Foreign Minister Kosai Uchida, 11 February 1922, Japanese Foreign Ministry Archival Documents (JFMAD), Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tokyo. Translated by Kazuhiro Oharazeki.


   On January 25, Margaret Sanger announced that she was taking a three-month tour of Japan and China, and would be lecturing at universities in Japan "under the auspices of a group of patriotic citizens," probably a reference to Kaizō-sha, the publisher of the journal Kaizō, who invited her to give eight to ten lectures on birth control. Indicating that the Japanese had a great deal of interest, she noted that "Baroness Ishimoto is anxious that I shall give her instruction on how to open birth control clinics for the poor women of Japan." One news report indicated that Sanger announced that she had been in touch with Dr. Kato, chief of the Department of Medical Affairs of the Japanese government who had been making a study of birth control in the United States, England, Holland and Germany. She claimed, "the Japanese government is convinced it must establish birth control as a nation-wide movement or at once fight a war of aggression on the next generation."

   Sanger left New York on February 7, speaking in Rochester, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco. The press reported her plans to sail from San Francisco to Yokohama on February 18.[30]

Telegram (No. 36) from Shichitaro Yada to Kosai Uchida

[San Francisco, Calif. U.S.A.]

February 11, 1922

   On February 8, shortly after a local newspaper reported that Mrs. Sanger would make a voyage to Japan by the S.S. Taiyo-maru on February 21 for the promotion of birth control, and that she would deliver a lecture here before the sailing of the ship, Catholics and some others started campaigning against the lecture and her visit to Japan.[A] A woman has already visited my place to appeal to me to support their campaign, and I replied that if Mrs. Sanger did and said something against the Japanese law after her arrival in the country, the authorities would take necessary measures. I understand that I have no authority to refuse to grant her a visa only on the ground that she may possibly make a statement that would corrupt public morals, although the Japanese government has ordered the police to suppress speech and arrest the speakers. Here, Catholics are influential, and it is hard to predict what kind of problem the speech would cause. We must also be careful in dealing with the group of women opposing in particular. I would like to know, beforehand, the imperial government's policies in regulating this type of speech activity. I am most grateful for your immediate reply by telegraph. This telegram has been forwarded to the Ambassador to the United States.


A. For details of Sanger's speech on February 19, see Document 44. On Sanger's schedule as she anticipated her departure, see "Mrs. Sanger Answers to Love Call," which reported that Sanger had cancelled a farewell speech to be held on February 5 at the Lexington Avenue Opera House in New York City due to the illness of her sons, Grant and Stuart Sanger. The article indicated that Sanger planned to leave for Japan from San Francisco on February 18. (Los Angeles Times, 6 February 1922, p. 17).
Back to Text

back to top