Document 50: Letter from Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture Kōsai Inoue to Home Minister Takejiro Tokonami, Foreign Minister Kosai Uchida, Police Superintendent Kishichiro Oka, and Governor of Osaka Tokikazu Ikematsu, Governor of Kyoto Raizo Wakabayashi, Governor of Aichi Hikoji Kawaguchi, and Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Chuichi Ariyoshi, 11 March 1922, "On the Visit of American Birth Control Activist Margaret Sanger," Japanese Foreign Ministry Archival Documents, Diplomatic Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tokyo. Translated by Kazuhiro Oharazeki.


   After a representative talked with Sanger, obtained the request of the American government, and heard from the Japanese leaders who met Sanger on board the Taiyo Maru, Japanese government authorities began to consider allowing her to make public addresses.

Kōsai Inoue to Takejiro Tokonami, Kosai Uchida, Kischichiro Oka, Tokikazu Ikematsu, Raizo Wakabayashi, Hikoji Kawaguchi, and Chuichi Ariyoshi

[Tokyo, Japan]

Mar. 11, 1922

   Margaret Sanger, an American, and her son, G. Sanger (13 years old), arrived at Yokohama from San Francisco on board the S.S. Taiyo-maru at 4:30 P.M. on March 10, 1922.[A] We prohibited her from landing on the ground that she carried a passport without a visa. Then, she petitioned the U.S. consul that he use his influence to allow her to land on the condition that she would promise not to give a lecture on birth control as shown in the attached document. The U.S. consulate submitted a written request concerning this matter, and she submitted a written pledge that met the condition. Therefore, we gave her permission to land. She was then received by Baron Ishimoto and Yamamoto Sanehiko, and the party moved to the Grand Hotel in Yamashita-cho within the city to have dinner. At 9:30 P.M., they left the hotel and moved to Tokyo. She is a close friend of [Bertrand] Russell[B] and [H.G.] Wells,[C] and like Russell who had visited Japan before, she came to the country on the invitation of the Kaizo journal. She plans to stay in Japan for three weeks (of which a week will be spent in Tokyo. Then she would visit China, India, and European countries on her way to London, where she would attend the International Birth Control Conference.[D] She also told us that after arriving in Tokyo, she would appear in the Home Ministry to explain the outline of her theory, hoping that the Japanese authorities would change their attitude toward her.[E] Finally, she asked us if she could hold a private party.[F] I told her to contact the Home Ministry and the local authorities each time she wishes to do so.


A.For detailed coverage of Sanger's travels in Japan, see earlier documents in this project [Document List].
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B.Though Sanger and Bertrand Russell knew many of the same people and shared many beliefs, they did not meet until 1924. Russell was invited to Japan by Kaizo-sha during his term as a guest professor at Peking University in 1920-21. He contributed essays to Kaizo and traveled to Japan for two weeks in July 1921. (Miura Toshihiko, "Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and Japan," in Hugh Cortazzi, ed. Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits, Vol. VII [Folkstone: Global Oriental, 1994], 255-267.)
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C.Sanger met H. G. Wells on a 1920 trip to England, after which they began a romantic affair that lasted on and off through the 1930s. They had last been together in January 1922, when Wells was in the United States. Wells had supported birth control and Sanger's activities since 1915 and wrote a foreword for Pivot of Civilization, characterizing Sanger's work as lifting the question of birth control "from out of the warm atmosphere of troubled domesticity in which it has hitherto been discussed, to its proper level of a predominately important human affair." (Sanger, Pivot of Civilization, New York: Brentano's, 1922], 16.)
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D.After stops in Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ceylon, Yemen, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, and France, Sanger went to London, where she attended the Fifth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference on 11-14 July 1922. At the conference, organized by the Malthusian League, Sanger presided over the section on Individual and Family Aspects of Birth Control. She also spoke at a public meeting on July 13, 1922, focusing on her travels in Japan and China, at which H.G. Wells served as chairman. (Pierpont, ed. Report of the Fifth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control, 30-32 and 198-206.) An online version of these proceedings is accessible at
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E.This may refer to the March 13 meeting Sanger had with an unnamed assistant. She recorded in her diary: "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). 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." (Sanger, "Excerpt from World Trip Journal," Tokyo, Japan, 13 March 1922, pp. 17-22 [Document 18].)
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F.To get around the ban on speaking in public on the topic of birth control, Sanger began attending private teas and luncheons where she "talked freely & frankly on b.c." (Sanger, "Excerpt from World Trip Journal," Tokyo, Japan, 13 March 1922, pp. 17-22 [Document 18] and 15 March 1922, p. 25 [Document 19].)
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