What Was the 1907 Gentlemen’s Agreement

The Gentleman`s Agreement of 1907 (日米紳士協約, Nichibei Shinshi Kyōyaku) was an informal agreement between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan, under which the United States would not impose restrictions on Japanese immigration and Japan would not allow emigration to the United States. The aim was to reduce tensions between the two Pacific states. The treaty was never ratified by the United States Congress and was replaced by the Immigration Act of 1924. Tensions in San Francisco had increased, and since Japan`s decisive victory over Russia in 1905, Japan had demanded equal treatment. The result was a series of six notes communicated between Japan and the United States from late 1907 to early 1908. The immediate cause of the deal was anti-Japanese nativism in California. In 1906, the San Francisco Board of Education passed an ordinance requiring children of Japanese descent to attend separate and separate schools. At the time, Japanese immigrants made up about 1% of California`s population, many of whom had immigrated in 1894 under a treaty that guaranteed free immigration from Japan. [3] [6] Let me begin by congratulating you on the meticulous thoroughness and admirable temperament with which you have approached the case of the treatment of the Japanese on the coast. I had a conversation with the Japanese ambassador before I left for Panama; Read to him what I should say in my annual message, which he obviously liked very much; then told him that, in my opinion, the only way to avoid constant tensions between the United States and Japan was to limit as much as possible the movement of citizens from each country to another to students, travellers, businessmen, etc.; since no American workers were trying to travel to Japan, it was necessary to prevent any immigration of Japanese workers – i.e. the Kuli class – to the United States; that I sincerely hoped that his administration would prevent his coolies, all his workers, from coming either to the United States or to Hawaii. He fully agreed with this view, saying that he had always been opposed to Japanese coolies going to America or Hawaii.

I hope my message will assuage their feelings so that the government will silently stop Kuli immigration to our country. In any case, I will do my best to achieve this. The Russo-Japanese War was a military conflict between the Russian Empire and the Empire of Japan, which took place from 1904 to 1905. Much of the fighting took place in what is now northeast China. The Russo-Japanese War was also a naval conflict in which ships caught fire in the Russo-Japanese War. Japan was willing to limit immigration to the United States, but was deeply violated by San Francisco`s discriminatory law specifically targeting its population. President Roosevelt, who wanted to maintain good relations with Japan as a counterweight to Russian expansion in the Far East, intervened. While the U.S. ambassador reassured the Japanese government, Roosevelt appointed the mayor and school board of San Francisco to the White House in February 1907, convincing them to end segregation and promising that the federal government would address the immigration issue itself. On February 24, the gentlemen`s agreement with Japan was concluded in the form of a Japanese memo in which it agreed to deny passports to workers wishing to enter the United States and to recognize the right of the United States to deport Japanese immigrants holding passports originally issued to other countries.

This was followed by the formal withdrawal of the San Francisco School Board ordinance on March 13, 1907. A final Japanese note dated February 18, 1908 made the gentleman`s agreement fully effective. The agreement was replaced by the Immigration Exclusion Act of 1924. Increased Japanese immigration, in part as a substitute for excluded Chinese farm workers, met with concerted resistance in California. In order to appease Californians and avoid an open break with Japan`s rising world power, President Theodore Roosevelt negotiated this diplomatic agreement, whereby the Japanese government took responsibility for severely restricting Japanese immigration, especially workers, so that Japanese-American children could continue to attend integrated schools on the West Coast. However, family migration could continue, as Japanese-American men with sufficient savings could bring women through arranged marriages (« illustrated brides »), their parents and minor children. As a result, the Japanese-American population was more balanced than other Asian-American communities and continued to grow through natural growth, resulting in increased pressure to halt their immigration and further reduce residents` rights. Concessions were agreed a year later in a six-point note. The agreement was followed by the admission of students of Japanese origin to public schools. The adoption of the 1907 agreement led to the arrival of « illustrated brides », marriages of convenience made at a distance through photographs. [11] By establishing marital ties at a distance, women who wanted to emigrate to the United States could obtain passports, and Japanese workers in America could obtain a partner of their own nationality.

[11] Thanks to this provision, which helped close the gender gap within the community from a ratio of 7 males to every woman in 1910 to less than 2:1 in 1920, the Japanese-American population continued to grow despite treaty immigration restrictions.