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alarmed the planters almost as greatly as the emigration of the Japanese to the mainland. The sugar interests recognized that this new attitude of the Orientals must be tempered by some means, but as in all previous cases they were reluctant to lay the axe at the root of the trouble. Instead of meeting the demands of the labourers in a spirit of fairness they tried to alleviate their grievances by means altogether unworthy of their great power and high prestige.

The Central Japanese League we have just mentioned had as its object not only the prevention of Japanese exodus from Hawaii but also the conciliation of labour disputes. The League, undoubtedly at the instance of the planters, issued in June, 1904, a circular urging the plantation hands not to resort to strikes as the means of pressing their demands. The subservient nature of the letter is apparent in the following passages taken from that document:

“We view with profound regret the late unhappy occurrences akin in nature and appearance to strikes among the members of the Central Japanese League on some of the plantations. Such occurrences cannot fail to injure the reputation of the organization in the eyes of the public, particularly employers of Japanese labourers, with whom we earnestly wish to maintain just and cordial relations.

Strikes and all other violent acts, especially for trivial causes, are, in their nature, like the doings of unruly children or like the acts of barbarians, rather than of civilized men. We are absolutely opposed to them."

The efforts of the League to lessen the friction between the planters and the Japanese labourers proved no more successful than their voluntary action for the checking of Japanese exodus for the mainland. The

Japanese plantation labourers obviously preferred to be called “unruly children” or “barbarians” to having their legitimate claims turned down at the hands of an aristocracy, of which the League, they had reason to believe, was but a handy tool. The Japanese ConsulGeneral, who was the President of the League, was made the object of scathing criticism by leaders of the plantation labourers. In one instance an attaché of the Japanese consulate, while addressing a meeting of strikers and urging them to return to work, had a narrow escape from rough handling by the strikers. The Japanese had scented something of freedom at this outpost of a great democracy and began to show in their rough way a desire to be free and independent.

To the lay mind the labour policy of the planters was from the beginning a mistaken one. In the earlier days they freely subsidized emigration companies in Japan which acted as recruiting agents for the planters. These subsidies were virtually paid out of the pockets of the Japanese labourers, for the planters naturally tried to meet this special expenditure by cutting the wages of their employés. Had the planters instead of assisting the emigration companies, whose dealings with the prospective emigrants were far from honourable, paid the individual labourers what their work was really worth, the Japanese labourers would have come to Hawaii in larger numbers. When the Japanese in Hawaii began to leave for the mainland, the planters again failed to face the problem squarely, wasting money for means obviously futile to attain the end they had in view. Had they awakened in season to the futility of such a policy the strike of the Japanese plantation hands of 1909, which cost the planters a sum of $2,000,000, would have been avoided. Instead of doing what should have been done,

the planting interests attempted to supply deficiencies caused by the departure of Japanese by importing all sorts of ignorant and inferior labourers at enormous cost. And when they saw that even such ignorant inferior labourers would not stay, they induced the Territorial legislature to pass a law containing the following provision: “Any person who, by promise of employment outside the Territory of Hawaii, shall induce, entice, or persuade, or attempt to induce, entice or persuade, or aid or abet in inducing, enticing, or persuading, any servant or labourer who shall have contracted, either orally or in writing, to serve his employer for a specific length of time, to leave the service of said employer during such time, without the consent of said employer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment."

We have referred to the Japanese strike of 1909. That labour conflict is so illustrative of the characteristic methods of the planters in dealing with their employés that it deserves further elucidation.

The strike was the most serious labour trouble that ever occurred in Hawaii. Prior to that event the Japanese in Hawaii made no organized efforts to press their demand for better treatment. Here and there Japanese plantation hands had gone on strike in a desultory manner and utterly without effect. Perhaps this lack of determination and organized efforts was largely due to the fact that the Japanese still enjoyed the liberty to leave the plantations to seek better employment on the mainland. Hard as their lot in Hawaii was they could still console themselves in the thought that the way was yet left open for them to escape the predicament. But when

that way was completely barricaded in 1907 they became desperate. The historic school incident in San Francisco and the agitation of the Japanese-Korean Exclusion League had come to an unforeseen issue, the Administration at Washington forbidding the Japanese in Hawaii to migrate to continental United States. This regulation, depriving the Japanese of the right of travel within the jurisdiction of the Republic, resulted in the bottling up of the Japanese plantation hands in the narrow precincts of the Mid-Pacific islands, while labourers of other nationalities were never subject to such restriction of freedom. This more than anything else was the direct incentive for the strike of 1909. How far the planting interests were responsible for the realization of this restriction it is difficult to say, but it was common knowledge at the time that they assisted in the movement for the prohibition of Japanese emigration from Hawaii for the mainland.

The strike began on some of the larger plantations on Oahu Island in May, 1909, and continued through a good part of the following summer. Though there was no cessation of employment outside of that island, the issue was understood to involve all plantations in the Territory. Consequently the direct cost of the strike to the employers, well estimated at $2,000,000, was apportioned among all the plantations, while the striking labourers were supported by funds collected from their fellow countrymen still at work in the cane fields of other islands and those residing in the city of Honolulu.

The chief demand of the strikers was that they be paid the same wages as the Portuguese and Porto Ricans were paid for exactly the same work. At that time unskilled Caucasian labourers on the plantations were paid $22.50 per month of twenty-six working days,

while the Japanese of the same class and doing the same amount of work as the Caucasians were paid only $18. As no labourer, not even the Japanese, can work in a tropical climate twenty-six days in the month, no unskilled Japanese labourer could earn more than $13 or $15 per month. Moreover, the Caucasians were given much more comfortable living quarters than were the Japanese. Those Portuguese who had families were given respectable cottages, each having attached to it a lot of an acre or so, while the Japanese had never been accorded such liberal treatment.

During the strike many circulars and pamphlets were issued by its leaders telling heart-rending stories of the miserable lot of plantation hands. Some of these stories perhaps should not be taken at their face value, but they certainly indicate the nature of the grievances which forced them to strike. One of such stories runs thus:

“A Japanese, forty-eight years of age, has been working on the plantations for fifteen years. He has with him his wife and four children. The price of rice alone consumed by this family foots up to $10 a month. His wife has her hands full in caring for the children and the house. The man has to support his aged mother who remains in Japan."

And this man was earning no more than $15 a month. How could he make ends meet when the rice alone cost $10 a month? Without doubt the lot of this poor man was the lot of many another.

Many pamphlets relate the unsatisfactory condition of camps assigned to the Japanese. “In Honomu, Hawaii Island,” says one of these pamphlets, " the labourers are complaining of the uncleanliness of the camps and of the planter's indifference to sanitary conditions. Some

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