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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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TOKYO, JAPAN— At three Monday afternoon I attended a meeting of the Tokyo Women's Club and had the pleasure of meeting a good many women from the foreign missions in Tokyo as well as some Japanese women.

On returning to the hotel I was visited by Dr. Kawai, a young lady who has great hopes of starting a March of Dimes for polio patients in this country. Later two young women, Tane and Haru Matsukata, came in. They are running a small school where children of eight nations come to learn English. They would like to have this a real international school and it seems to be growing very rapidly so they may have some success.

I ended the day with two recordings on the American network for this area and at seven o'clock we had an early supper and then another discussion on Japanese ideas and beliefs.

Our discussion centered about the attitude of young people toward their elders and the attitude of the elders toward the young people. There is more than the usual criticism between the two groups and at the present time it is increased by the fact that the children feel their elders told them Japan could not lose the war. Then Japan was defeated. The Emperor was a man, not a god, and the young people became cynical and disillusioned.

We touched on other things, the age-old question of prostitution which in the Far East is a serious question with an Army of Occupation and the economic condition which creates such low standards of living for so many people. Just to eat is a major consideration. We touched also on the question which we in the US should be fairly familiar with—"Can you fight Communism without using some authoritarian or totalitarian measures; is it possible to preserve democratic ideals and suppress Communism in any country?"

Someone should ask Senator McCarthy about these questions. His goings-on are being carefully watched over here and the young people particularly are asking a number of questions about him so even here one has to think about the gentleman, much though one would like to leave him at home.

On Tuesday morning I started bright and early at a quarter before nine to visit a silk factory about three quarters of an hour's drive outside Tokyo. This is one of the big and excellent silk factories. They have growers of the silk worms on farms in various parts of the country and control the process from beginning to end. Two thirds of the factory workers are women and one third men. They live in dormitories at the factory and eat there. They pay for this about one third of their monthly salary which means that they only provide clothes for themselves and are able to send a considerable amount home.

Nylon has made a great difference in the silk industry, plus mechanization. The net result is that some 50 thousand workers have been put out of work and even more may go since silk hosiery is no longer desired by the ladies.

It is always curious to find how the habits of one part of the world affect the economic situation of the people in other parts of the world.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Tokyo (Japan) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 30, 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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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

TEI-P5 edition published on April 28, 2017.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.