is a disease which attacks all journalists, and which is “the
housemaid’s knee” of our profession – “problemitis”. In
each land we feel an urge to unearth the strangest “problems” which
beset the population.
the first evening in Honolulu, as beneath the palms I listened to songs
and. watched the graceful movements of the dancers who by one gesture of
the hand indicate “the sea,” by another gesture describe
“mountains,” and by others suggest “home” or “love” or “
storms or “canoe,” I was free from this illness. Next morning.
However I felt one of its attacks and, just as old folk can foretell the
coming of a storm by the pangs of their rheumatism, it was the precursor
to the discovery of Hawaii’s great problem - the Japanese.
problem in a few words, is this: A few miles from the town lies the
powerful United States naval base, Pearl Harbour, which is to America what
Gibraltar and Singapore are to us. At the present moment the eyes of
America’s naval men are more and more fixed upon the Pacific, for they
realise that war with Great Britain is pure fantasy and they have
withdrawn their navy from the Atlantic.
is the important strategic point in the Pacific for the defence of the
United States? Hawaii. No enemy could land in California
unless they first captured Hawaii. Thus the Americans are pouring
millions of dollars into this vital naval base in order to dominate more
than ever that half of the Pacific which lies towards America.
is true that many naval and military men say, “If there is war in the
Pacific Alaska and the Aleutian islands in the north will be more
important to us than Hawaii, because we will be able to attack such places
as Tokyo with our aeroplanes from air bases in those Islands, and we will
also be able to have a base on Russian soil.” Nevertheless, Hawaii
remains for most Americans the guardian of the Eastern Pacific and the
watch-dog of California.
contains more Japanese - the potential enemy - than any other nationality.
There are 140,000 Japanese nearly one half of the population. Are
they loyal to the Stars and Stripes, or do they still worship the Son of
Heaven? Have they among their number a percentage of spies who
report the secret of America to Tokyo? Will they be able to blow up
parts of the naval base in a time of war? Will they be able to
ignite the petrol tanks?
are the questions which trouble the navy men and which make the problem of
Hawaii. To me it is an academic problem, because I see no reason why
Japan should ever fight America, and I regard prophecy of a United States
versus Japan war as pure sensation mongering. Nevertheless, for the
military and naval mind this is a grave problem.
is a problem which is reaching great importance in this year 1935, because
l935 marks the year when the Pacific has become air-conscious, and. Hawaii
is becoming a great aviation base.
my stay in Hawaii I was motored along the seashore and a little beyond the
former Royal Fishpond I saw a patch of land leading out to where great
white breakers were dashing. “That is Kaneohe Bay,” said my
Hawaiian friend. “That is the patch of land chosen, by the
American Airways for their landing place on their route from America to
China. Lindbergh is coming soon to take a look at it. Just
imagine - aeroplanes will land here on their way to Canton! It is
like a dream.
those Hawaiian fishermen whom you saw wading with their spears on the hunt
for devil-fish will hear the buzz of the engines over the Pacific, linking
Asia to America!”
fear, however, the 140,000 Japanese, most of whom live within some miles
of the Pacific aerodrome. Will they try sabotage in the event of a
and Young Japan
You know the Japanese,” said one American to me. “We can’t
understand them. We know that the older Japanese are thoroughly
loyal to the Emperor. But there is the puzzle of the younger
generation. Who would they fight for?
home they are taught to revere Japan. One of the young Japanese told
me the other day in my family I get it dinned into my mind, that my only
loyalty is to Japan and that the only true courage is the courage of the
of the Japanese in Hawaii are Shintoists, and Shintoism is a national
religion which teaches the worship of the Japanese Emperor. Hence
the mistrust growing among the Americans.
ways are proposed to deal with the Japanese. The first is a typical
product, of the military mind. “We need defence against the
enemies from within,” say the soldiers. “Thus we must have a
military dictatorship here.”
you treat the Japanese as alien enemies you will bungle the situation,”
say the defenders of the second policy. “You will antagonize the
Japanese by a military dictatorship aimed at them. We must treat the
Japanese as good citizens, have faith in them, and work for better
relations with Japan and while the militarists and the civilians argue the
Japanese, the Chinese, the Americans, and the Hawaiians live on
peacefully, laughingly together, giving scarce a thought the politics, for
do not the palms sway all day in the sunshine and is not the sea deep blue
and swarming with fish, and do not the waves invite the splashing of lithe