What of the
A Look Back for Insight into Today
One of the most powerful pieces (in National Geographic) from this era (1915—1920)was "Race Prejudice in the Far East" by Melville E. Stone, General Manager of the Associated Press, which appeared in the December 1910 issue. Stone argued that rather than accept that the Oriental mind was "unfathomable," he still had "some respect for Cicero's idea that there is a 'common bond' uniting all of the children of men. And whatever our ignorance of, or indifference for, the Orientals in the past, it is well to note that conditions, both for us and for them, have entirely changed within the last decade."
Stone provided examples from his own personal observation of the failure of Europeans to accept the Asian:
“At the Bengal Club at Calcutta last year a member in perfectly good standing innocently invited a Eurasian gentleman... to dine with him. It became known that the invitation had been extended, and a storm of opposition broke among the members. The matter was finally adjusted by setting aside the ladies' department of the club, and there the offending member and his unfortunate guest dined alone. The next day the member was called before the board of governors and notified that another like breach of the rules would result in his expulsion.”
At a Government House ball in Calcutta, white men dance with native princesses, but according to Lady Minto, wife of the Viceroy of India, Stone reported, "No white woman would think of dancing with a native; it would certainly result in ostracism." But the most horrendous example given Stone was provided by a Japanese Harvard graduate, then a minister of the Japanese crown:
"When [Commodore] Ferry came here [in 1853) and Townsend Harris (of blessed memory) followed him and made the first treaty with Japan, it was stipulated that we ( the Japanese) should give them ground for their legation and their consulates', compounds. We did so. Yokohama was then an unimportant place, a native fishing village. It was the natural port of Tokio ,but as we had no foreign trade that meant nothing. We gave them ground in Yokohama for their consulate. Merchants and traders followed, and we gave them ground also for their shops. The British and the Russians and other European nations came in and we gave them like concessions....
"Well, as time went on the village grew into a city ... Sir Harry Parks, the British minister, asked for ground in Yokohama for a race-track. We cautiously suggested that horse-racing was said to be wicked by the European missionaries. But he insisted and we gave him the ground. Then we were asked for ground for a social club for the foreigners, and we gave them a plot on the sea front, the finest piece of land in the city.
"Later they wanted to play cricket and football, and finally golf. Well, we gave them ground for this. As the city grew, this cricket-field was so surrounded by buildings that it was practically in the center of town. Understand, all of this ground was donated. Last year we suggested that we could use the cricket-field, and we offered to give in place of it a field in the suburbs. As railways had been built meanwhile, the new field would be even more accessible than the old one was when we gave it. The foreigners demurred, and proposed that we buy the old field and with the purchase money they would secure a new one. Finally we compromised by paying for their improvements and furnishing them a new field with like improvements free of cost.
"The question of taxation arose. Yokohama had grown to be a city of 300,000 inhabitants, with millions of dollars invested in buildings owned by foreigners. We asked no taxes on the ground we had donated to them, but we did think it fair that they should pay taxes on their buildings. They said no, that everywhere in the West the buildings went with the ground. We submitted the question to the Americans, but they dodged the issue, saying they would do whatever the others did. Then, under the law of extraterritoriality we were compelled to leave the decision to the British consul, and he decided against us. The case has now gone to The Hague Court.
"Finally, when I tell you that in the light of this history no native Japanese gentleman has ever been permitted to enter the club-house or the grand-stand of the race-track or to play upon the cricket-field, perhaps you will understand why there is some feeling against foreigners in Yokohama." The National Geographic Society, 100 Years of Adventure and Discovery, Harry N. Abrams, 1987 125-26