Correspondence between F. Takano and S. Gompers
Yokohama, Dec. 11, '96
Mr. Samuel Gompers,
Dear Sir, -- I assure you that I read with much interest and great appreciation your favor of Oct. 31st and the enclosed clipping. I am afraid that I am not worthy of the compliment paid to me in the clipping.
When this letter will reach you it will be a little after the New Year day, so I will take this opportunity in conveying my new year's greeting to you.
Am I mistaken to offer you my hearty 'congratulation for your re-election at the Cincinnati Convention? Of course, I have no means to know the result of the election at present but as far as I can judge there was a clear field for you, besides there is no room of doubting the sound judgment of the American workers.
The passing year was a most remarkable period in the history of Japanese labor movement. It was during the year that a great change has been noted of the public opinion in regard with the labor problem. There never was such a period as the passing year when the welfare of the working class was so much talked about. This remarkable progress of public opinion is attributable to the intense demand for labor as a result of the industrial advancement on the one hand and the repeated strikes on the other, as these factors are still existing, it will not be much out of the mark to predict that in the coming year we are going to witness actual efforts being made at every side for the interest of that much abused class of people in this country. Here let me announce to you that I myself am going to try a hand in them. I had come to this decision a month ago but so circumstance I was at the time that I have hesitated. As the days passed on it became so apparent that a golden opportunity is at hand and to allow it to pass off with no effort being made on my part is a folly. I have had no more time to hesitate and leaving the office of the Daily Advertiser a week ago I went up to Tokyo with a view of consulting a friend of mine, shoemaker by the profession. Result of the consultation was mapping up a plan of campaign which is to begin with an effort to present an address to the Lower House of the Diet, which will meet on Dec. 22nd and continue in session for three months, praying for enactment of a law regulating organization of working people by trade. I will advocate in the address that the law must dwell upon the chief points of trade unionism only, leaving management and governing of the unions entirely in the hands of the unions themselves. In other words the law, in its substance, is to be consisted with an order from the Government upon the working people to unite by their trades. Preceding the presentation of the address I will hold series of meetings in Tokyo with a object of securing as many signatures as possible. This will mark beginning of our active movement and henceforward continued agitation will be taken up. At this point, I believe, an explanation is necessary why I will take the step of presenting the address. There is no power existing, except that of the Government that is strong enough to arouse the Japanese workers to the burning necessity of organization. An order from the Government will equal years' effort for agitation in respect with formation of trade unions. I believe that by the issue of the law, we will be greatly helped in our effort to organize, and amelioration of the condition of the Japanese workers will be greatly facilitated. I am now engaged in drawing up the address and hope I shall be able to present it to the House before the month of January expires.
I am keenly alive to the necessity of providing myself with a fund to carry me through in my first move and am devising a plan to earn enough to sustain myself by engaging in a work of translation of English to Japanese and vice-versa. This, I hope, I shall be able to do in my spare time, giving me an income barely enough to sustain. As it is desirable to secure as much income as I can possibly do, I would like to inquire of you whether I shall not be able to secure by your kind effort, one or two labor papers or magazines to which I can send monthly contribution of articles concerning the Japanese industries and industrial life with suitable remuneration however small it may be. I shall be under lasting obligation to you if you will make enquiries among your friends to the effect and let me know at an early date.
I would like to know that if you will allow me to adopt the design of seal of your organization, that is the design of the earth and the clasped you hands. If you have no objection I would like to use that as a seal of the federation I propose to establish.
I intend to write you again within a short time to acquaint you with a definite plan of the campaign.
With best regard to you