File No. 7423/31–32.

Chargé Dodge to the Secretary of State.

No. 447.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 406 of September 12 last, I have the honor to inclose to you herewith a clipping from the Kobe Chronicle of the 4th instant, reporting a further case of expulsion of Chinese workmen. It appears from this article that the workmen in question are not coolies, but skilled artisans, engine builders, and fitters employed by Messrs. C. Nickel & Co. near Kobe, and that the ground for their expulsion is because “the importation of Chinese laborers was contrary to the provisions of imperial ordinance No. 352 of 1899.”

I immediately requested our consul at Kobe to ascertain the facts of this case, and I have received a reply from him stating that he made inquiry at the Chinese consulate in Kobe and was informed that the facts as stated in the Chronicle’s article are correct. The Chinese consul has now referred the matter to the Chinese legation here. It will be noted that apparently permission had not been requested for these workmen in accordance with the ordinance mentioned, perhaps, as suggested in the article, because as skilled laborers they were not thought to be within the term “laborers” as used in the ordinance.

I have, etc.,

H. Percival Dodge.


chinese labor in japan—an important point.

The latest development of the Chinese labor question in Japan, reported in yesterday’s issue, whereby a number of Chinese employed by Messrs. C. Nickel & Co. at their yard at Takahama, near Kobe, have been ordered to be deported, raises an interesting and important point.

On inquiry at Messrs. Nickel’s offices yesterday, it was learned that the 14 Chinese in question are not coolies, nor even ordinary laborers, but are skilled workmen, engine builders and fitters, earnings 1.50 yen each per day without overtime. Their labor is more expensive than Japanese, but is more reliable and thorough, and they are regarded as altogether better workmen. Soon after the Chinese had started work at the Takahama yard, Messrs. Nickel were informed by the police that the importation of Chinese laborers was contrary to the provisions of imperial ordinance No. 352 of 1899, and that the Chinese must be sent back to China. Messrs. Nickel appealed to Governor Hattori, who referred them to Mr. Uchimura, the chief of police. Several interviews took place between this official and representatives of the firm, but no settlement could be arrived at other than the deportation of the Chinese. The [Page 770] authorities were asked if the Chinese could remain if arrangements were made for them to live in Kobe, and travel up and down the line to work every day, but the reply was in the negative.

It is contended by Messrs. Nickel & Co. that the Chinese employed by them at Takahama do not come under the heading of “laborers,” as laid down in the ordinance, seeing that they are all skilled men. We believe that the Chinese consul at Kobe also takes this view, and contends, moreover, that the Chinese are entitled to treatment under the most-favored-nation clause. An appeal has been made to Tokyo, we understand, by the Chinese consul at Kobe, and pending developments the Chinese workmen at Takahama are having a holiday at their employers’ expense.

It certainly seems an anomaly that Chinese tailors, painters, printers, etc., may follow their avocations without interference in Kobe, and some even beyond the city limits—at Rokkosan, for instance—and yet these men at Takahama are refused permission to work. If the Japanese authorities do not show more toleration to the stranger within their gates, they have scarcely right to expect it from others when the positions are reversed.