THE present work is the outcome of my labours as Japanese exchange professor in this country, during the academic year of 1911-12, and I take this opportunity of explaining how my work began and ended.
The idea of sending public men of note unofficially from this country to Japan and from Japan to the United States, owes its inception to Mr. Hamilton Holt of New York City. When his plan had been developed to a certain degree of feasibility, the task of carrying it into effect was accepted by President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University, in whose hands the idea took the more practical if the less ambitious form of an exchange professorship, and he interested certain typical universities to join in putting it into effect. After the enterprise was fairly launched, the responsibility for its continuance was passed on to, and made a part of, the work of the Carnegie Peace Endowment. My labours commenced after the project had reached its second stage of development-namely, while the Universities concerned had the matter in their immediate charge.
In the spring of last year, the six American Universities of Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Illinois, and Minnesota-representing the Eastern, Southern, and Middle-Western portions of the Continent-united in instituting an exchange of lecturers with Japan. The object of the scheme-as I take it-is the interchange of right views and sentiments between the two peoples, rather than a mutual giving and taking of strictly academic knowledge. The appointees, whether men of science or men of affairs or of literary reputation, are expected to be convoys of warm human feeling rather than of cold scientific truth.
Through President Butler and our Embassy in Washington, negotiations were started between the said Universities and the Japanese Government. The latter expressed its readiness to meet the proposal; whereupon the association formed of those business men who visited this country a few years ago, entered into the spirit of the undertaking by assuming the financial responsibility, provided the Government would help by recommending a man for the task.
Late in June, I was unexpectedly asked to come to the United States on this delightful, though arduous, mission, the Government releasing me for a year from the duties of my official posts as President of the First National College, as Professor of Colonial Policy in the Imperial University of Tokyo, and as Adviser to the Formosan toward my people, my original misgivings would have been more than realised, and the first well- meant attempt to effect a closer bond by means of an academic bridge between the two nations might have ended in disaster.
Let me therefore express my gratitude for, and gratification at, the reception accorded my lectures such as they were. Wherever I have been, be it in a great University or in a small country school; be it in a public entertainment in large cities or in the midst of an informal family circle, I have invariably enjoyed unstinted hospitality and a gracious welcome. The newspapers, which are not always known for their courtesy, and even certain journals that have won a reputation for their anti-Japanese utterances, have very often surprised me by their friendly reports in regard to my work. The past year has been for me a continuous feast of mind and soul, and now, on the eve of my departure from America, let me cast one more glance upon the places I have visited and the people I have met, that they may the more indelibly stamp themselves upon my memory, and that I may take home the unchanged friendship of the American people towards us, so often and everywhere expressed to me.
It is very gratifying to learn that, by the time I shall reach my home, there will closely follow, in person, an envoy of American good-will. I have recently been officially informed that Dr. Hamilton Wright Mabie has been appointed as exchange lecturer to Japan. That this able thinker, eminent writer, and perfect gentleman can and will carry the message of his country to Japan with charm and erudition, there is no shadow of doubt. Should his Japanese audience be able to express half the good-will that it is sure to feel, the first span of the trans-Pacific bridge will have been constructed.