Yamato Ichihashi, "On Racial Superiority"

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Stanford University

Department of History

Stanford University, California

(1)

The idea of racial superiority appeared simultaneously with the idea of race identity and finds its origins as soon as organized group living became the accepted mode of life. Thus this idea is found almost in every race. The Greeks called strangers and foreigners Βαρβαρως. The Chinese called their country the Middle Kingdom, while the Japanese [identified?] theirs as the Land of Gods. The Jews considered themselves God's Chosen People. The Germans because of their [exceptional mass?] superiority dreamed of Deutschland über alles. The Nordic superiority is heard. The Latins insist however, that their genius is inferior to none.

When the West came in contact with the East the White races insisted upon their superiority over the colored races which inhabited the East. These are some of the obvious facts relating to the idea of racial superiority.

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STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY (2) STANFORD UNIVERSITY, CALIFORNIA

Yet when we inquire somewhat philosophically or scientifically, the meaning of this idea of racial superiority becomes blurred. In fact I must confess my inability to render a precise definition of it, unless I attempt to do so by making some assumptions. For example, if we take a snapshot picture view of various racial groups as we find them today, we discover that the white race occupy the dominant in the world of politics and economics, in short, in respect to material things of life. This fact enables the White races to assume This fact enables them to assert their leadership in the practical affairs of the world. Those of us who belong to the non-Caucasian groups enjoy this secondary position. Hence I propose that this superiority of white races is clearly evident. But is it so clear as to demand no further [elucidation?]? On the contrary. I am afraid. I have made no We have not gone beyond the current

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STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY (3) STANFORD UNIVERSITY, CALIFORNIA

notion entertained by the average man of the street. What we associate with race and race superiority belong to a matter of fact. to this domain of culture. To begin with there is the such thing as pure race. Racial homogeny - so often insisted upon and is so often taken for granted, is more often cultural rather than racial. For example, the jews are often said to be a pure race, but in fact they possess no racial homogeny what they possess is a cultural homogeny. So my attempt at a discussion of racial superiority, or for that matter, of racial inferiority, is an effort [hosted?] on a thing that does not exist. What we really mean when we speak of racial superiority, is in truth institutional differences possessed by the various peoples of the world - among these institutionalized factors and facts of life may be mentioned languages, cultures, political systems and philoso phies, social and economic concepts expressed, ethical theories

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STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY (4) STANFORD UNIVERSITY, CALIFORNIA

and conduct and religious systems and doctrines. I may venture an opinion that it is not a case ? had a our little difference if any, in determining the character of these various institutionalized factors. I believe that man is primarily a creature of habituation, but I do not wish to enter here into a discussion of environment and heredity controversies.

The language is often accepted as something in the nature of cephalic index, something fixed and non fluid. But we know now that cephalic index itself is fluid and is not a sure [prediction?]. The Language too evolved. Japanese spoken in the 15th century is almost Greek to the Japanese of today. There are many Japanese to whom English is the mother tongue. Thus [even?] this language is not criterion of race-identity - However, we recognize the former created by this language is our inter-racial-group association, It is this linguistic difficulty - which often creates one's conception [imitable?] to one's [future?]. Therefore we disprove the languages of which we are [?] as something

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STANFORD UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY STANFORD UNIVERSITY, CALIFORNIA (5)

beneath our consideration.

When we attain a certain degree of cultural develop ment, or get into the habit of bragging, each insisting upon the sufferings of his own. Thus Western culture is the best according to the Westerns while Eastern culture is more satisfying to the Eastern peoples. Some of us, however, began to desire that each possesses merits worthy of admiration of both and demerits which might be [set?] aside for the mutual benefit. Hence we should advantages of each others' culture to the best of our ability.

In regard to Policial system and philosophy we fell into the habit of associating certain political systems and philosophies with racial groups. We say for example, that democracry is typical of the political life of Westerners while autocracy or [bureaucracy?] that of Easterners. Yet it may be interesting to note in in the third century B.C. passing that Mencius taught a democractic doctrine which then must enlightened democratic monarchist,

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