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these branches of farming is mostly performed by hand, and handwork is more congenial to the Japanese than to the whites. Nor is this all. The picking of grapes, strawberries, and vegetables, and the thinning of beets and celeries require a stooping attitude which is not natural to the Caucasian. To the Japanese, however, stooping or kneeling is not very difficult, partly because of his short stature and his limber body, partly because he was accustomed, while in his native country, to farming without machinery. In grape picking, for instance, a white labourer can pick only one-third of what a Japanese harvests in a day. The white labourers, naturally averse to this kind of work, reluctantly, if not gladly, assigned it to the Japanese. If the whites were to be substituted for the Japanese, the cost of producing these fruits and vegetables would be so greatly increased that the growers would have to abandon the industry.
In those branches of the fruit industry in which stooping is not necessary or in which machinery is more important than handwork, the white labourer still maintains supremacy. In fruit packing Japanese labour employed is less than twenty-five per cent., while in hop picking it is only ten per cent. In team work and fruit cutting Japanese labourers employed are only five per cent. of the total number of men engaged in those fields. After all, Japanese monopoly of labour in the picking of grapes and berries, and in the culture of certain vegetables, is the outcome of natural and expedient distribution of labour, a process placing the right man in the right place and thus securing the highest degree of efficiency. “Between the available white farm labourer," says a California vineyardist," and the available Japanese labourer, the Japanese is by far the better. For a day's wage he will do a day's work, and adapt himself to disa
greeable conditions which the white man will not. His wage is as high as that of the white man, for the farmer wants efficiency."
Outside of California, Japanese farmhands are not a very important factor. True, there are a considerable number of them in Washington employed in strawberry culture on Vashon Island, in the dairy industry in the White River Valley, and on the potato farms in North Yakima; yet in this State no hostile feeling has been displayed by the white workingmen towards the Japa
In other States agricultural labour supplied by Japanese is but a negligible quantity.
When Mr. John D. Mackenzie, commissioner of labour statistics of California, instituted at the direction of the State legislature a special investigation into the conditions of Japanese in the Golden State, one of the surprising facts disclosed was that almost every Japanese, whether a farmer or a farmhand, had in his possession English-Japanese dictionaries and conversation books. All were eager to learn English, and through the knowledge of the language American customs and institutions. Many of them subscribed to local English papers, while their favourite magazines were not fiction magazines, but such substantial publications as the Outlook, the Independent, the Review of Reviews, and the Literary Digest. The United States census states that fifty-five per cent. of those Japanese who have been in this country less than five years can speak English. Among those who have lived here more than five years the rate of illiteracy is very small. “Among the Japanese population in Florin,” says Miss Alice M. Brown, a California vineyardist and a student of sociological problems, "there are few who have not a very fair knowledge of English and a considerable number who can
speak it well. Some are well educated, having highschool training, others pore over English books after a hard day's work to acquire a reading and writing knowledge.” The Japanese are as steady in the pursuit of knowledge as they are industrious as tillers of the soil. “Compare this industry of the Japanese,” says Mr. L. M. Landsborough, of Florin, in a letter addressed to the Judiciary Committee of the California legislature,
with the so-called white farm labourers. Here to-day, gone to-morrow, but always to be found at the wayside groggery, not 'sending their money out of the country,' as anti-Japanese agitators insinuate with regard to the Japanese, but leaving it where it will do the most harm and leaving their brains with it."
So much for the farmhand. I now introduce Japanese railroad labourers. Of the 10,000 Japanese now employed by various railway companies, some 7,000 are section hands. Companies which employ the largest number of Japanese are perhaps the Great Northern Railway Company and the Northern Pacific Railway Company. Especially does the Great Northern show a preference for the Japanese. All along its lines from the Pacific Coast to Havre, Montana, Japanese are seen working with Greeks and Italians.
But the Japanese are not employed merely as section hands, working with picks and shovels. No less than one hundred are employed by the company as section foremen, each having under him a gang of some fifty men, Japanese, Italians, Mexicans, and Greeks. Indeed, it is thought-provoking to see labourers from South Europe contentedly working under the supervision of Orientals. Here at least the proud West surrendered its vaunted superiority before the efficiency and ability demonstrated by an Oriental race, which has long been
regarded as backward or inferior. To the unsympathetic, the picture presented must be a gloomy one-it may appeal to him as the beginning of the white man's defeat in the struggle for supremacy in world competition. To the sympathetic and to the optimist, it is but a milestone on the road leading to the true fraternity among the races and the realization of human brotherhood and equality.
The present advantageous position of the Japanese as railroad labourers was not attained without vicissitudes and hardships. Indeed, the story of the conflict and the eventual harmony which marked the contact of the Japanese with other races in the Pacific Northwest indicates the course which the confluence of human streams usually takes. When the Japanese section hands were first brought to Montana and the interior regions of Washington, some twenty years ago, cowboys and mountaineers who had never seen a Japanese showed intense hatred towards them. Riots and shooting were almost the order of the day. Camps occupied by Japanese were shot at and often set on fire. Two or three Japanese were lynched, while many were captured and subjected to cruel treatment.
But the Japanese boss who handled the situation was a shrewd strategist and a man of undaunted courage. Step by step he captured the bulwarks of the cowboys and their allies, not by powder and ball, but by shrewd diplomacy and skilful manoeuvre. Here is a typical story. Once he led a body of section hands into a small town on the foothills of the Cascades. The townsfolk received the Japanese in the characteristic fashion of the frontiersman, shouting oaths and displaying guns to intimidate the strange intruders. But the Japanese boss proved himself the equal of his adversaries. He strode rough
shod out of the car and ordered his boys to follow him. The belligerent villagers thought he was going to accept the challenge, but, to their astonishment, the Japanese boss marched his men into a saloon near by. The mob followed him, breathing threats and uttering foul words. Having entered the saloon, the Japanese drew a fiftydollar gold piece and tossed it upon the counter, saying: “Here, boss, I want you to call in those fellows outside and give them anything they want; if that isn't enough, here is more," and he threw another fifty-dollar gold piece upon the counter. The saloon-keeper, amazed and bewildered, did as the Japanese told him. In came the fellows who wanted to fight, and without giving their Japanese host a chance to say a word emptied the glasses on the counter. But they knew what the glasses were for, and when they were done with them they shook hands with the Japanese, and said: “You Japs are all right! We won't fight you any more.”
And they never did.
When Japanese labourers come in close contact with the white workingman they usually become good friends. It is only when the professional agitator enters the field that their amicable relations are disturbed. With the temperament of the Japanese fairly well understood, there seems no reason why Americans could not be friendly towards him. Let me tell you another story. About twenty years ago Cutbank, a small Montana town on the main line of the Great Northern Railway, witnessed for the first time the advent of Japanese labourers. The citizens of the town naturally objected to their coming and lodged a protest with the railway company. The company, instead of lending ear to the protest, threatened to isolate the town by removing the track, if the townsfolk were so finical about the section hands whom