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United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1919
(1919)

Japan,   pp. 415-463 PDF (17.1 MB)


Page 415

JAPAN 1
DECISION OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT TO DISCONTINUE
ISSUING PASSPORTS FOR "PICTURE BRIDES" TO PROCEED TO
THE UNITED STATES 2
711.94/310
Memorandum of the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs of
the Department of State (MacMurray)
[WASHINGTON,] November 19, 1919.
The so-called " picture. brides " are women who come to the United
States as the wives of Japanese immigrants resident in this country
but who were married to such immigrants under the exceedingly
simple requirements of Japanese law without having seen their
husbands and without the husbands having been present at the
" marriage ceremony." Under the provisions of the Japanese law
it is sufficient for the validation of a marriage that a written notifi-
cation thereof be filed with and accepted by the Registrar, such no-
tification to be signed and sealed by the parties and the witnesses.
It is not necessary that the parties personally appear before the Reg-
istrar. Under the provisions of the " Gentlemen's Agreement " such
of these women as are of the laboring class could not be admitted
except as the wives of Japanese already resident here.
The administrative rule under which the Bureau of Immigration
now admits these women is as follows:-
"That the validity of these marriages be recognized, unless or until
it is definitely shown that they are not legal marriages under the
laws of Japan, or until it satisfactorily appears that the residence in
the United States of one of the parties brings the consummation of
the marriage ceremony within the jurisdiction of our laws; that
proof of such marriages be required, not only by a certified record
of the registrar but also by a certified copy of the notification of
marriage made out by the party to the same living in the United
States; and that marriages at our ports be prohibited."
The question of whether " it satisfactorily appears that the resi-
dence in the United States of one of the parties brings the consum-
1 See also subjects under China, vol. I.
'For correspondence relating to the admission of Japanese " picture
brides"
into the United States, see Foreign Relations, 1917, pp. 848-876. The instruc-
tions referred to in the fifth paragraph of the letter of Aug. 20, 1917,
from the
Secretary of Labor (ibid., pp. 870-872) were apparently never issued.
'Letter of Aug. 25, 1919, from the Secretary of Labor (File No. 150.946/85).
102569-34  32                                       415


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