My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NIKKO, Japan—To make up for our strenuous day on Tuesday I had a rather peaceful day on Wednesday. The morning was a succession of visitors but all at my hotel. First of all I had an interview for a magazine with Miss Ichikawa who came to America to study some of our activities for women a year or more ago. She is now a member of the Diet and very active in promoting women's interests.

This was followed by a group of Korean women presenting a petition against the armistice which, of course, I could do nothing about. Then an American working with the Welfare Department tried to tell me a little of what they were trying to do for the children, and finally I had a talk with the leader of the Progressive party, just so that I should not feel that the two socialists I had met represented the majority of Japan.

Every effort is made to give me a balanced picture of the thinking in the country as a whole. Quite naturally the more conservative political parties have the support of the rural areas.

At 2:30 I attended a tea given at the home of the chief justice to raise money for UNICEF. They have a strong committee in Japan, trying to help this international organization for children. The party they gave was delightful and I heard a blind musician play one of the traditional instruments, somewhat like a harp but with only a few strings. He played one number alone and one with an artist who played the flute. I call the instrument a flute though it really looked like a native made pipe such as one would expect a Japanese Pan might have used. Then we saw a Japanese dance, after which I was obliged to leave.

That evening we three Americans went to a dinner given by the head of Pan American out here, Mr. Dallas Sherman. It was a pleasant party and I enjoyed it very much.

Thursday I spoke at the lunch of the American Chamber of Commerce and I confess that I approached the luncheon as an ordeal, thinking there was very little I had of interest to say to these businessmen, most of whom knew Japan far better than I did. On the whole I think our businessmen are doing a good job, not only as businessmen but they are showing a sense of responsibility for the community in which they live, which is a help to our country.

The U.S. labors under the difficulty of being classed by many people with the colonial powers. The colonial powers, they say, exploited them politically but the U.S. exploited them economically so we are tarred with the same brush. Our modern businessman understands this, however, and really tries to do a job which will help the community in which he lives and in the long run will be far more advantageous to the business which he represents in this part of the world.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL