Title: "Editorial: Japanese and Fruit," San Francisco Chronicle, 3/4/1905, (denshopd-i69-00007)
Densho ID: denshopd-i69-00007

We Had Much Better Have Neither Than Both.

It is frequently stated that a certain proportion of Japanese labor is required to harvest our fruit crops. If that is true we cannot uproot our orchards and vineyards too quickly. There is no profit to be got from any branch of the fruit industry, or from all branches combined, which will justify the continuance of the present Japanese invasion. But the statement that Japanese labor is essential to the prosecution of our fruit industries is absurd. We produce in this State, say, a trifle of 30,000,000 gallons of wine per annum, and vineyardists declare they must have Japanese to harvest their grapes. France produces a billion and a half gallons of wine a year, and has no Oriental labor. Spain produces as many raisins as we do, Italy produces as much citrus fruit, Hungary produces as many prunes, and no descendant of Shem is to be found working in any of the orchards and vineyards of those countries. If we cannot produce fruit without Japanese we had better do something else.

The extent and character of this Japanese invasion as it already exists are not realized. It is not only the laborer who is being displaced; it is the farmer, the merchant and the mechanic. In one well-known fruit district in this State it is said that half the orchards are rented to Japanese. They are renting farms in all fruit districts. In some they have begun to buy them. In the discussion in the Legislature it developed that Japanese were not only renting Fresno vineyards, but rapidly buying them. When the Japanese of the class now coming to the United States rent or buy farms there is an immediate exodus from the neighborhood of every white family that can get away. There is no American reader of these lines who would willingly accept a Japanese of the coolie class as a next-door neighbor. There are already hundreds of American families in this State who are compelled to accept them. They buy or rent what were once attractive rural homes and make a wreck of them. Every vestige of rural beauty disappears. The buildings go to ruin, the debris of old wagons and machines occupy the front yards and the roadsides, and decrepit old skates painfully drag the plows and the farm wagons where there were once sleek and well fed horses driven by thriving American citizens. That is what we are coming to. If the Japanese come in white men will get out.

They will take our land easily. The American orchardist who employs a Japanese crew has the time of his life to get a decent day's work out of them. No persuasion, in case of emergency such as may at any time happen in fruit harvest, will induce them to work one minute after the hour of quitting. When, however, a Japanese company has rented or purchased a fruit farm everything changes in the twinkling of an eye. Every soul on the place, employer or employed, is in the field before sunrise and at work as long as they can see. As not one dollar of expenditure is incurred for adornment, or even decency of appearance, the result is inevitable. The American fruit-grower is crowded out. In place of an American rural population we have a country full of Japanese coolies and absentee American landlords congregated in the towns.