Racial Discrimination in the USA Led to Mounting Anti-US Sentiment in Japan

White Racial Prejudice and their Effect on Japan

Paul Claudel, celebrated poet,writer and French Ambassador to Japan from 1921 to 1927, wrote in a letter on April 24,1924 that the news of mounting discrimination against Japanese immigrants and their descendants were being received with shock in Japan, and perceived as humiliating, especially since the country had made concerted efforts politically to convince the USA that it was a friendly nation.
Claudel predicted that the Anglo-Saxon prejudice againt the color of skin, and hostility against Japan, will have the following effects:

1) potential anger will surface in areas of politics,diplomacy and industry.

2) a sense of solidarity between different classes,particularly between students, laborers, and socialist organizations which are most ardent in their protests against the USA, will increase.

3) a feeling of solidarity with Asians, particularly the Chinese, will increase, and Japan will gradually turn its eyes towards China.

HN.Information from:
Kodoku na Teikoku : Nihon no 1920nendai, pp236-243. Translated by NARA Michiko, Shoushisha, Tokyo 1999. (The book is the Japanese translation of Paul Claudel Correspondance Diplomatique Tokyo 1921-1927; Editions Gallimard, Paris 1995)


Amendment to Naturalization Act : Asians were referred to as "aliens ineligible to citizenship"


San Francisco Earthquake : Japan sends money equivalent to one-thousandth of the national budget to San Francisco city San Francisco: segregates Japanese and Korean children from public schools


Gentleman's Agreement :
forbade Japanese laborers to enter the USA

1913 & 1920

Alien Land Law : in California Aliens (Asian immigrants) could not purchase or lease land


US Supreme Court rules in "Ozawa v. United States" that first-generation Japanese immigrants were not eligible to citizenship


Exclusion Act :
halted Japanese immigration altogether, until 1965.


Antimiscegenation Law : forbade marriage between "whites" and "non-whites" In 1952, 29 of then 48 states had such laws.


Formal apology from US Congress to wartime internees of Japanese ancestry
Nihonshi kara mita Nihonjin : Showa hen (Looking at Japanese in Japanese History: Showa era)
by WATANABE Shoichi, Tokyo: Shodensha 1989, pp128- 176

Dai Toa Sensou he no Michi
(Path to the Great East Asian War)
by NAKAMURA Akira, Tentensha: Tokyo, 1990, pp.174-175

League of Nations Racial Equality Clause Refused

Proposition for Racial Equality Refused, 1919: the making of the League of Nations Charter

Before WWII, in Asia, only Japan and Thailand could be considered independent, and mostly free from Western colonial rule. When the Charter for the League of Nations was debated in 1919 in Versailles, Japan proposed that a clause stating "the eqality of all nations and fair treatment of all peoples" be included in the Charter.
This proposition received 11 votes in favor out of 17 member votes of the League of Nations Committee. However, the proposition met fierce opposition from the USA. Britain opposed it also. Woodrow Wilson, who was Chairman of the Committee, refused the proposition on the grounds that such an important decision should have unanimous support. Other clauses in the Charter were adopted on the principle of majority vote.

This was one of the turning points in modern Japanese history when public opinion went sour against the USA, confirming the increasing suspicion that there was much racism in the USA (discrimination against Japanese immigrants mainly in California had become quite blatant by then), and citizens began to rally support for the military.

Nihonshi kara mita Nihonjin : Showa hen (Looking at Japanese in Japanese History: Showa era)
by WATANABE Shoichi, Tokyo: Shodensha 1989, pp128- 176

Dai Toa Sensou he no Michi (Path to the Great East Asian War")
by NAKAMURA Akira, Tentensha: Tokyo, 1990, pp.174-175