JUNE 1, 1953
TOKYO—On Tuesday we were taken from General Clark's luncheon to the Tokyo Women's Christian College. Here I made my first translated speech on women's position in the world today and their responsibility. I think it is most tiring having to remember to stop before you have said too much and have it translated and keeping your mind on what you have said so that you will not lose the thread of your speech while someone, in a language you don't understand, interprets you to the audience. I apparently got through fairly successfully but I was worried about it.
After my speech, the President of the College who had invited two other colleges to join in the activities, took us over to another building where in a pleasant sitting room we were all served tea. Then we went into a large room where about 300 students were gathered—all drinking tea and prepared to ask questions. A second cup of green tea was placed before us and on the table were some Japanese candies and some dried seaweed.
The questions were pointed: "Why did we use the Atom bomb and what was my feeling about it?"; "Did the people of the U.S. understand how the young people of Japan dislike rearmament and that they have to change their constitution which was adopted at our request, in order to rearm? In that statute they renounced war forever"; "Why do we want them to change now, etc, etc?"
Back at the hotel I had a little leisure time before we again had a buffet dinner and this time a discussion with labor leaders, a professor from the university, who is an expert on economics and labor affairs, and an expert on the agricultural economic situation of this country. It was a most interesting evening and we were sorry to stop the discussion at 9:30.
Early Wednesday morning I went out to the new International Christian University. The freshman class which I addressed is the first class to enter the university, which was established through the subscriptions of a great number of Japanese people. It is not Christians alone who are backing this but people of every religion.
After the talk there were questions and very good questions, for this university has set very high standards and feels that the cream of the high school graduates from all over Japan can be found there. One question came from a Korean boy, and they hope in the future to have students of many nationalities.
It is some distance out of the center of Tokyo and I enjoyed the drive and getting a glimpse of the countryside. As usual we went for miles through streets which are lined with small shops which seem endless in Tokyo. As one grows accustomed to the city, one realizes more and more how much damage was done by bombing and how much has had to be rebuilt, often very flimsily. It takes courage and industry to clean a bombed city and rebuild and go on with the business.
Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced
- [ index ] Tokyo (Japan)
About this document
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 1, 1953
Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007
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