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Times Editorial on the ‘Japanese Menace,’ March 16, 1920

March 16, 2010 |  4:13 am


March 16, 1920: Unfortunately, this editorial is nearly impossible to read, but it’s worth the struggle. I rarely republish The Times’ old editorials because they are usually an embarrassment (the U.S. doesn’t need a federal anti-lynching law, don’t accept European refugees fleeing the Nazis, etc.), but this one is worth noting.


“California has more than a million fertile acres that will be idle this year because labor is not available at any price to plant, tend and harvest the crops. That million acres, intensively farmed, would produce enough to feed the entire population of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast States.

“City populations through the country are crying about the scarcity of foodstuffs, the undesirable quality and the almost prohibitory high prices. Agricultural experts have estimated that at least one-fourth the fertile land in the United States will not be farmed during the coming season, despite the high prices for products.”

On the jump: "Getting rid of half the present Japanese population would be cheap at almost any price."

Puts the World War II internment camps in a different light, doesn’t it?



Quote of the day: “Through the introduction of the picture bride system thousands of Japanese women have been brought into the state; so many thousands of them, in fact, that the Japanese birth rate here has advanced more than 5,000% in the last few years. It is plain that this peaceful invasion must be checked or the white population of California will be driven from the agricultural districts and from the cities as well."

The Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1920