My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HONG KONG —Wednesday, our very last day in Tokyo was a full day. Our Ambassador, Mr. Allison, came for me at 10:15 a.m. to go over for an audience with the Emperor and Empress. We were greeted at the entrance to the palace by the usual photographer who wanted us to stand by our car before going up the steps.

I think we were given a rather unusually long time with their Majesties as it was 11:30 before we came out but I found the conversation very interesting and in many ways significant and helpful to me in understanding the way in which Royalty in Japan views its obligations.

Both their Majesties were kind and gracious and I felt this was a particular privilege which rounded out the many opportunities I had had to meet the people of Japan.

I lunched with the Ambassador and his staff some of whom have spent many years in Japan and some of whom have been travelling around Japan. Mr. Glenn Shaw who explained the Kabuki play to us, gave me some very interesting background which must not be forgotten in looking at present day Japan. One is apt only to think back to the last period before the war when the militarists took control, and forget that there was a period before when Japan was very international minded and when a great many of her people believed it was of value to make friends in the world. During that period a real change began in the development of democratic practices and the aspirations of the women were stirring all through those days so that today we are only seeing a revival of interest in democracy and freedom which did exist in the period before the militarists took control.

Immediately after this luncheon I had a last press conference and then, fortunately, I was able to finish my packing and get ready for the night journey before going to appear on a TV show for a 20 minute interview with Miss Matsuoka.

There is only one broadcasting station which has a TV studio in Japan and sets are still very expensive so they are usually found in restaurants and public places. Very few private individuals own them. When I think of the number of small homes at home over which you see the aerial for a TV set, it seems odd to think that in any country there is only one small studio for producing TV shows.

I had all the members of the committee and the staff who work with me closely, at dinner with me last night and then we went out at 11:30 p.m. to the airport.

So many kind people came to see us off that I was quite overwhelmed. We were allowed to get on the plane but then something went wrong mechanically and we sat for an hour and a half. Our hosts in Japan stayed until the plane went out and I felt very guilty.

I hope they are all taking a rest during the next few days. They certainly worked hard during my visit.

The flight to Hong Kong was smooth once we started and we arrived about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Our Consul-General and Mrs. Harrington met us as well as a representative from the Governor General, and my Chinese friend Dr. Wan.

Hong Kong harbor is beautiful and as I look from my hotel window the mountains coming down to the water and the variety of shipping make an interesting sight. This is my first sight of sampans and how picturesque they are!

The street we drove up was different from Japan. I am glad I am to have glimpse of this city just now for it is one of the crossroads of the world.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hong Kong [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 1, 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.