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done for the Japanese, we must admit that in some respects American tutorage in Hawaii for the Japanese has not been what it should have been. The Japanese are accused of underselling American merchants and underbidding American contractors, but who was it that first taught the Japanese to undersell their labour ? Ever since their advent in the islands they have been made to work for less wages than were paid Caucasian labourers for exactly the same amount and the same kind of work. It was only after the great strike of 1909 that the Japanese labourers began to be accorded anything like fair treatment. Thus were the Japanese initiated in the art of competition and of undercutting price. Is it any wonder that they essayed to apply that art in their dealings with Caucasian merchants and mechanics ?
Yet the procession of skilled Caucasian labourers back to the States cannot wholly be attributed to Japanese competition. It is chiefly the result of the depression which Hawaii has felt for several years on account of the reaction from the “boom” that marked the early period following annexation. It was not only the artisans but also merchants who suffered from the effects of this depression. Upon the heels of annexation Americans and American money poured into the islands. Many contracts were let for public buildings, while private residences and commercial establishments were building everywhere. Carpenters and plumbers came to the islands in large numbers, and clothing houses and other miscellaneous stores were established in much larger numbers than would have been warranted under the normal condition of the Territory. For a few years the country was bustling with business and traffic, and in that moment of excitement people forgot that they were living in an abnormal period. The excitement was des
tined to pass. The necessary buildings were soon completed, and with their completion many skilled labourers from the States were forced to remain idle or go back to the mainland. A general depression soon followed, and some of the traders found it difficult to hold their own. This depression no doubt added to the acuteness of Oriental competition. When business is brisk and demand for labour is great, competition, whatever source it may come from, is not so keenly felt nor so quickly observed as when trade is falling off with the corresponding decrease of demand for labour.
Whatever the immediate cause of their success, there is no doubt that the Japanese are gradually forging ahead in various directions. In the building trade they are fast becoming a factor; there are quite a few Japanese plumbers in Honolulu; they have almost monopolized the fishing industry which was formerly exclusively carried on by the Hawaiians. In Honolulu hack-drivers are mostly Japanese, while a few enterprising Japanese have begun to take an interest in the taxicab business. In Honolulu some of the dry goods, clothing, and hardware stores owned by Japanese are becoming quite respectable, and in Hilo I saw a Japanese merchant erecting a building which when completed promised to be one of the largest business buildings in the city. On the plantations the Japanese are not only unskilled labourers but fill highly responsible positions. In the sugar mills, too, they are employed in important places. Their industry is prodigious and their versatility wonderful. Perhaps this characteristic of the Japanese is largely responsible for their success.
It is a peculiar phenomenon that while the Honolulu branch of the Yokohama Specie Bank of Japan seldom, if ever, advances money for Japanese enterprise, agri
cultural or industrial, American banks, especially the Bishop Bank and the National Bank of Hilo, are very liberal in dealing with the Japanese. Once adequate security is furnished, these banks are always willing to advance funds to Japanese merchants. It seems to be the general opinion among bankers that as debtors the Japanese are as honourable as any other people. Both in Honolulu and Hilo I was struck with the unusual politeness shown me by their employés, an experience which I had seldom had in dealing with banks on the Pacific Coast. American merchants and storekeepers in Hawaii are also far more courteous to the Japanese than those in the States. As I put up at various hotels, visited various restaurants, purchased of different stores, I realized more forcibly than ever that Hawaii's boast that it had no race problem was not meaningless.
Much has been said about the low standard of living prevailing among the Japanese. All things considered, however, the Japanese in Hawaii expend, I am certain, more liberally than any other people of the corresponding class. The Japanese do not eat rice grown in Hawaii, but import this staple from Japan. This is not for any patriotic or sentimental reason, but because the Japanese know that Hawaiian rice is inferior in quality. Including the cost of transportation and customs duties, Japanese rice is far more costly than Hawaiian rice, yet the Japanese ungrudgingly pay the high price simply to satisfy their palates. Up to a few years ago the Japanese plantation hands wore even on holidays only coarse stiff shoes made by hinese cobblers in Honolulu; to-day they all wear high-priced shoes made in the States. While travelling on the lines of the Oahu Railway on Thanksgiving Day, 1912, I saw at various stations and on the train many Japanese women, obviously wives of plantation labourers,
all dressed in national robes of their native country made of costly silk evidently imported from Japan. Their husLands, too, were clad in shining new suits cut in the latest style in New York or Chicago. In comparison with their neat appearance and their quiet, unobtrusive manner, the labourers of other races, whom I also found on the same train, seemed to me all the more coarse and unkempt. One of these uncouth fellows drew a bottle of whiskey from his trouser pocket, and taking a sip directly from it, passed it on to his fellow travellers. As I watched them jabber in unknown tongues and with lively gesture as if there were nobody else in the car, I was struck with a strange sensation.
When we tell what the Japanese expend for what they wear and eat, we tell only the beginning of the story of their cost of living, for they expend for education and religious purposes more liberally than other people. I was told that a well-to-do Japanese merchant in Honolulu has to contribute at least $20 per month for such purposes. The burden of plantation labourers, though not so heavy, is heavy enough for their earning capacities. In one of the English pamphlets issued on behalf of the Japanese strike of 1909 I find the following statement couched in picturesque language:
“ These institutions [churches and schools] are not unnecessary luxuries. They are just as important as bread and butter in the life of man. They will give the planter an intelligent, conscientious, and God-fearing labour, instead of lazy, unscrupulous, selfish, and savage labour. The Japanese maintain at the present time 59 churches and missions with 61 ministers and preachers. Of these 33 are of Buddhist missions, and 26 Christian. These places of worship have remarkably increased in recent years. Down to 1903 there were only 11 Christian
missions, but since that year 10 were added. The Buddhist missions are of recent growth. The first mission was established in 1868, and within the last ten years they have maintained only 23 chapels, but since then they have added to more.
Christians do not bear, as a general rule, the expenses of constructing a church or preaching place, they bearing only the ordinary expenses in maintaining the establishment, which are between $30 and $50 per month for one place.
“But the Buddhists bear all expenses themselves. In the construction of their churches and places of worship the Buddhists have expended some $100,000, and they are bearing average current expenses of $50 per month in each place. With the increase of women and children, these churches and chapels have to be enlarged in capacity and increased many fold in number and improved in quality.
Religion relates to the relation between God and man, and is, in one sense, a private matter. Christian employer can be blind to the religious demands of his employés. The present and prospective needs for adequate and decent places of worship for the plantation labourers are something which should be provided for in determining the wages of the labourers.
"As to the schools, the Japanese now maintain 68 schools, with a teaching force of 80. They are both denominational and non-denominational. These schools now have 4,631 pupils. Taking annual expense of teaching one pupil in these schools at $1, the Japanese labourers are now bearing a burden of $70,000 per annum for education of their children. These schools, like their churches and Buddhist temples, must be improved, enlarged, and increased, in the very near future. This is absolutely necessary in view of the rapid increase of