A letter from George Gunton to Fusataro Takano
New York July 7, 1896.
Dear Mr. Takano,
Your favor dated Tokio, Japan, June 5 enclosing MSS on
"Labor Problem in Japan" is received. I congratulate you on the
article. You have greatly improved. It is decidedly the best you
have written. I shall publish it in the August magazine.
Could you not write something every month for the magazine? not
always discussing ideas but furnishing information regarding the indus-
trial condition of Japan. Americans are very much interested in Japan
and I am in particular. Something about the condition of agricultu-
ral laborers would be very interesting; the way they farm, size of farms,
number and size of rooms, furniture etc.
You have been in this country and, of course, know the peculiari-
ties of both. We are strangers to Japan and we are very apt to
get wrong ideas, and, moreover, when Western people go to Japan, they
are very apt to write either sensational stories or judge Japanese
life by the little they happen to see. Now you are a Japanese and you
know the conditions of your own country, and what is more you have
studied modern economic conditions enough to know that Japan is greatly
in need of industrial advance. You are not like the foolish people
who, no matter how poor they may be, insist upon calling theirs the best
As to the attitude of Americans, there is a very strong friendly
feeling here towards Japan. The truth is, I think, Americans have
a higher opinion of the progress Japan has made during the last twenty
years than they have or any other country. When I advocate protection
against Japan, it is not to injure Japan, but it is on the economic
principle that the higher or more advanced should always protect
itself against the innovations of the less advanced. For the same
reason that we need protection against Japan, we need protection
against all European countries. We shall need protection more against
Japan in proportion as Japan uses the most modern method, because of her
Some day Japan will need protection against China, but at
present China, India, Russia and South Americans are the fields for Japan
to extend her foreign trade into, because in doing so, she will not
injure their state of civilization.
I watch, as do most Americans, every movement Japan is making, and
particularly her experience with Russia. From the indication of the
last twenty or more years, Japan bids fair, I think, to pass Russia
in the march of civilization. Russia has not the spirit of progress
that Japan has. It is true that much of the Western ideas regarding
consumption and manners is limited to the upper class in Japan, as
you say. Nothing can prevent these innovations from reaching the labor-
ing classes, if it only continues.
Your article shows that the movement of social fermentation has
appearance and the statesmen of Japan will have to turn their attention
to the Labor question.
I am particularly pleased that you criticise this in your article.
I send you by this mail some sheets of the Dolgeville Herald containing
report of my lectures which by the way, are stopped now until October.
Very cordially yours,