My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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FUKOAKA, Japan —We arrived at Fukuoka Women's College on Wednesday almost an hour late. I spoke to the students for about ten minutes and then we had a nice but rather hurried lunch and went directly to Kyushu University where we were shown some extremely interesting charts. The most interesting work going on is the reclamation of land along the shore. Since there is so little arable land, everything which can be saved from the ocean and turned into a food producing area is of great value.

In the medical building of the University I spoke for 20 minutes on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without translation. Someone summarized what I said after I left to make a speech on the international situation and the importance of women's participation in their own government for the eventual solution of the international situations. This was in another hall in the town and after the talk we went down into the basement where a reception was held.

By 4:45 we were on our way to the Army Hospital. This hospital has rather few patients. I saw some of those who were there and then went to the Consul General, Mr. Zurhellen's house. Mr. and Mrs. Zurhellen very kindly invited us to spend the night and it was a joy to see such a happy American family, four boys and a baby girl, all learning to be good Americans but at the same time all learning to speak Japanese in the most painless way.

Wednesday night's dinner, given in Fukuoka by Pres. Kikuchi of Kyushu University, the Governor of the Prefecture, and the Mayor of the City proved to be one of the most elaborate dinners we have yet attended but the final pride of the Maitre de Hotel was to bring in for dessert baked Alaska! The most rewarding thing for us was some really good talk in which I think the Japanese men present said what they thought and were somewhat critical of the U.S . They stated their reasons for not agreeing with the point of view held by the U.S. as regards the Soviet Union. I suppose I have had so many years training listening to the Soviet Union criticize the U.S. and all its citizens that I accept criticism and start to analyze and answer very calmly. My daughter-in-law and my secretary were both indignant that anyone should think our motives could be compared to those of the Soviet Union. I'm afraid we have to face the fact over here, however, that such a comparison is made by many groups and it is just as well to argue it out and point out the fallacy of their argument, but how much goodwill come of it, is difficult to tell.

We got home rather late because of the long talk at the dinner but we continued our talk for a little while with Mr. and Mrs. Zurhellen. I found Consul Zurhellen very well informed and it was good to chat with him and get his answers to some of the problems presented to me by different groups of Japanese.

We were all up early on Thursday morning to make the 8:45 plane for Tokyo which was the first Japanese plane I have been on and to my surprise I found that the head pilot of the line was an American who used to fly for Capital Airlines in the U.S .

On the way up we had a glimpse of Fuji again, just the top floating in the clouds, and now we are catching up on mail which was awaiting us in Tokyo.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Fukuoka, Japan [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 19, 1953

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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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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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.