THE YELLOW PERIL
"They [the Japanese] are not bluffers, and they will go home unless we give them what they should not have." WOODROW WILSON
, April, 1919.
THE ATTITUDE of the Japanese delegates at Paris was something of a mystery. They were primarily concerned with the Far East; and the Conference was essentially a European affair. They did not claim membership on the Council of Four, but they faithfully attended the various other councils, commissions, and committees on which they were assigned seats. They always seemed interested and awake, which could not be said of their Occidental associates; but what they were thinking lay behind an impenetrable Oriental mask. They intently examined the various charts and maps which were presented, but whether they studied them right side up or bottom side up one could not always tell. They were the "silent partners of the peace."
On one occasion, in a minor commission, there was a tied vote, and the chairman turned to the Japanese delegate for the deciding voice. "Do you vote," he asked, "with the French and the Americans, or with the British and the Italians?" The inscrutable little yellow man sucked in his breath and responded simply, "Yes."
If the Japanese sat like brown Buddhas when non-Asiatic interests were involved, they left no doubt as to where they stood when their own interests were affected. Having kept quiet on matters that did not concern them directly, they spoke with all the more authority when they finally broke their silence. And they did so with directness, clarity, and pertinacity.