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FARM OWNERS AND LEASEHOLDERS
Within the last few years the Japanese have become, to a very considerable extent, farm owners, or have taken to leasing farms. According to the returns made by the secretaries of the Japanese Association, in 1909, they owned 16,4491⁄2 acres of agricultural land and leased 137,2331⁄2 acres more, 80,232 acres being leased for cash, the others on shares. These figures show that within the preceding five years the land owners have very greatly increased. In the year 1904 only 2,442 acres were owned and a correspondingly smaller number were leaseholds. Besides this amount of land ownership in California a considerable amount is controlled by the Japanese in other States: in Colorado, approximately 20,000 acres, in Idaho 7,072, in Washington 7,000, and so on, more than 90 per cent. of it being leased.
The investigation shows that the farms fall regularly under the control of the race which controls the farm labor, especially in the case of the growing of sugar beets, vegetables and fruits. This advantageous position of the Japanese in the labor market has enabled them to secure land in this way in rather large tracts.
The conditions may be summed up as follows:
1. Because of the convenience of the tenant system and the difficulty experienced at times in securing laborers, there has been a strong inducement to lease land to a member of the race that could control labor most easily.
2. A further inducement has been found in the fact that both Chinese and Japanese, especially the Japanese, in order to establish their position, have
offered so high a rent that in that way the owner could get the best returns on his land.
3. With the exception of one or two localities, the Japanese have been the strongest bidders for land, overbidding Chinese, Italians and native whites. Sometimes this bidding has been successful because they would cultivate land that white men would not lease for such small net returns.
4. Much of the leasing is of the nature of a labor contract, under which the tenant does certain kinds of work and obtains a share of the crops. Recently, however, there has been a strong tendency for the Japanese to work independently either as cash tenants or as land owners.
5. Little capital has been required for the Japanese to become tenant farmers, because (1) they form partnerships readily among themselves; (2) the land owner often provides the necessary equipment for share tenants; (3) the shippers and others who wish. to control the crops often advance money; so that many of the Japanese farmers have begun leasing with very little capital.
6. The leasing of land to the Japanese, as well as to Chinese and Italians, has resulted in displacing laborers of other races, partly because white persons in general are disinclined to work for them, or because they themselves prefer to employ persons of their own race.
7. The Japanese farmers usually pay to their Japanese laborers more than the local rate, but this is because the working day is longer, and because they are able to make a selection of the best men of their own race.
8. In growing strawberries, asparagus, and certain
vegetables, the Japanese farmers have increased the acreage sometimes to so great an extent that the industry has become unprofitable to both themselves and others.
9. Because they have a strong desire to remain independent of wages, and because there have been limitations placed upon the various occupations in which they may engage, the Japanese farmers have been ready to gain control of land even tho the prospect was for only a very small profit.
DOMESTIC SERVICE AND MERCHANDIZING
The Japanese are employed somewhat as domestic servants, having 12,000 to 15,000 on the Coast in private families, together with help in hotels, barrooms, etc. Probably 10,000 or 11,000 more are engaged in independent business for themselves. In the case of those engaged in domestic service, a very considerable proportion are boys in school or college, who work half time, and receive small pay together with their board.
The Japanese, more than the Chinese, have entered into trade, especially in lines in which white men have been inclined to compete. Most of the Japanese establishments which compete with white people have started within the last seven or eight years, being run in good part by men who had formerly been wage laborers. More and more, also, they are showing an inclination to seek the patronage of Americans. In attempting to establish themselves, as a rule, they set up establishments on a small scale with only a few employees. They cater first largely to people of their own race as customers. In attempting to compete with the whites, they usually underbid in prices.
Very few white persons are employed in Japanese establishments. Usually, where there is competition between the whites and the Japanese, the Japanese work longer hours and pay lower wages. They have, in a number of cases, succeeded in cutting into the business of shopkeepers, especially those located near the Japanese quarters of the city.
SOCIETIES AND GUILDS
The Japanese are pretty well organized into societies and trade guilds. Moreover, they have their own charitable organizations, so that they seldom become public charges. Generally speaking, they make much less trouble than do the Mexicans or many of the other races as regards crime and misdemeanors, altho there have been many Japanese women engaged in prostitution.
They have also shown considerable capacity for assimilation, much more so than the Chinese or even the Mexicans of the lower working class. They seem desirous to learn Western ways and methods, and externally, at any rate, they conform to the customs of the time. They make very earnest efforts to learn English; they take up the studies that the Americans have in their schools; they adopt American dress; and altho in religion they are, as a rule, either free thinkers or Buddhists, still they make no opposition to the Christian faith, and a considerable number of them are professing Christians. It is thought by many that they often join the missions (and the Chinese are said to have done likewise) for the sake of obtaining good schooling at low rates, but presumably in many
cases their belief in the Christian religion is sincere. In spite of this external assimilation they, nevertheless, beyond doubt, maintain their race characteristics, to a greater degree than do most of the European The difference in color, in ideals particularly, perhaps their competition with laborers, has tended to put them, in the minds of most Americans, largely into the same class as the Chinese. There are very few cases of intermarriage, and in other ways the effort is made to hold them apart as a separate race, even when they themselves apparently manifest a strong desire for assimilation. And this effort appears to grow more earnest in expression and purpose, on the Pacific Coast, as time goes by, and seems not likely soon to change.
Generally speaking, the Japanese, altho at first received with favor, are now looked upon with dissatisfaction, especially in comparison with the ChiThe Chinese are considered to be much more careful workmen, much more faithful to their employers, uncomplaining, easily satisfied with living quarters, not ambitious to establish themselves as independent farmers, while the Japanese, on the other hand, are often inclined to take advantage of every opportunity to push themselves forward as regards wages and also socially, even at the expense of violating an existing contract. Apparently now, in California, the preference is strongly for Chinese, in case it should seem best to admit any Asiatic race, but such admission is not considered with general favor, probably will not be, in this generation.