Pearl Sydenstricker Buck
Photograph of Buck
Randolph-Macon Woman's College
Class of 1914


Letter to Masao Yoshimoto
January 8, 1949

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This letter is copyrighted by the Estate of Pearl S. Buck.

It is available here with the generous permission of the Estate of Pearl S. Buck through Harold Ober Associates Incorporated, literary agents.

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Facsimile of the Letter

photograph of the letter

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Transcription of the Letter

Perkasie, Pennsylvania

via air mail                                                                                                 January 8, 1949

Dear Mr. Yoshimoto:

Thank you very much for your thoughtful letter of December the 27th.

I am sure it is a very hard time, indeed, for the young people in Japan.  Like those in Germany, they have been educated in one system of t hought and now without enough preparation an entirely new system is being presented to them through armed forces of a foreign nation.  Of course this is certainly confusing.

It seems to me that the young people in Japan should begin definitely to plan what they want in their country after the Americans go away.  I think you should study very carefully what were the evils of your former rulers who brought you into war and you should study how you could correct them in the future.  Of course you can have no true freedom now, while the foreign armies are in occupation, but you should plan for the freedom of the Japanese people after the occupation is over.  The hope of Japan is certainly in the young people and I think that you should come together to talk about this and to see what kind of life can make the people most secure and happy.

Here in our own country the young people have been trained in the idea of individual freedom and a democratic government.  Nevertheless we, also, have many problems.  It is always a struggle for any people to keep their freedom to follow what religion they wish, the freedom to write as they like, and also the freedom to find work.  We have also here the great problem of racial inequality, which we are only beginning to solve.

In any democracy the people must keep constantly alert for their own rights and welfare.  They cannot depend upon any ruler, as children depend upon a father.  If they depend upon a ruler, they will certainly be led in a wrong direction.  The meaning of democracy is the constant alertness of the people to make their government serve them and not rule them.

Yours sincerely,

Pearl S. Buck

Mr. M. Yoshimoto,
22, Minamikasuga-cho, Sai,
Uko-ku, Kyoto, Japan.

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Elizabeth Johnston Lipscomb
Catherine Ehrman Thoresen '23 and William E. Thoresen Professor of English, Emerita
Frances E. Webb
Reference Librarian

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