Correspondence between F. Takano and S. Gompers
Tokyo, Japan, Oct. 24, 1897.
Mr. Samuel Gompers, President of A.F. of L.
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
My dear sir,--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of Aug. 21, Sept. 15, 17 and 20th, together with your fine photograph. The money you have so kindly forwarded to me has been also received by me and herewith please find receipt for the same.
I am more than gratified to receive your valuable suggestions contained in your favor of Aug. 21, concerning the formation of trade unions in this country at the earliest possible moment and I shall follow your advice to the best of my ability. I heartily agree with you that where the people can be practically taught the workings of trade unions is in a trade unions but the trouble with our workers is that the great majority of them does not, as yet, fully appreciate full meaning of this simple assertion and therein lies the necessity of the association we formed. Accustomed so long to a life of degradation and passive submission the great numbers of our workers are wholly devoid of sympathy, sincerity and persistency, the vital elements of trade union success. This lack of fundamental elements is a source of much anxiety on my part. Indeed, I am in opinion that at the present stage of our workers' intelligence, we may be confronted with a spectacle of rise of a union one one side and fall of a union from internal dissension on the other at one time. With this possibility in view I am going slowly but steadily in the direction of formation of trade unions, advising the members to survey the field before they declare their readiness to form unions. I am further in opinion that trade unions to be formed in this country must contain in their constitutions strong features of beneficiary system. This is more necessary to achieve their success than the protective features since a very few of our workers knew the real danger that is threatening them and the further degradation that awaits them. It is, after all, the same old cry, agitation, education and organization, that constitutes our labor movement.
Owing great difficulties in drafting suitable clauses for the constitution of machinist union and with a hope to insure its successful inauguration, the formation of the union is differed until Nov. 14th when 800 machinist and black-smith workers of the Rodo-Kumiai Kisei-kai will be initiated to the new union. Members of the union are to enjoy through their representatives all the right and privileges afforded by the association to which body the union is to contribute a stipulated sum every month for the purpose of aiding the agitation of trade union movement--in another words, the union is federated to the association.
Although the large majority of proposed members of the new union is comparatively higher in intelligence and earning capacity than the workers of other trades, I am convinced that it will take tremendous effort on my part to successfully maintain the union, thereby displaying to our workers a model labor organization in this country and I earnestly wish that my conviction in and courage for the trade union cause will carry me through the trying days in future.
As the drafting of the constitution of the union has been concluded yesterday it is impossible for me to give you full translation of it at this time.
With marvelous progress in its membership of the defender of the down trodden people of Japan--I mean the association--the suspicion of police authorities is already upon us and I am an object of frequent calls of secret service men. Am also aware that there are among the members some one who is in the pay of police. However, I have nothing to fear; we are conducting everything openly and counseling our workers to restrain from any unlawful action. If ever any fun comes in, the blame rests on other side. Still, I think it is best to prepare ourselves to face the music squarely when occasion requires.
I shall comply with your request for my photograph at an early date. Sorry that I have none on hand at present but will take one in a course of several days.
Wishing you every success in your chosen track, I am,
Yours as ever for the cause,
P.S.--Up to this date I have received nine magazines, the Eight Hour Herald, the Wood-workers; the Conductors, the Tailors, the American Musician, the Granite Cutters and the Pattern makers besides the "remarkable" Sept. issue of your magazine. They really gave me a mountain of information. Please accept my thanks for your effort in our behalf. F.T.