When the World Came to Campus, 1909

International Guests

Japan and Canada were the two countries outside of the United States to have buildings at the AYP. Japan not only constructed a building and sent exhibits but also stationed battleships in Seattle Harbor until the exposition ended. In addition to the Japan Exhibits Building, there was also the Nikko Café which stood on the main fairgrounds. There was a definite Japanese presence on the Pay Streak as well with the Japanese Village and Streets of Tokio, which included a Japanese Teahouse and the Tokio Café.

The Japan Exhibits Building included educational exhibits displaying products and resources from Japan. Of particular interest were bales of silk provided by the Japanese Silk Association valued at $400,000.

The visit of the Japanese was important not only to the Exposition but to the Seattle social scene. Two Japanese cruisers, the Aso and the Soya, were anchored in Seattle Harbor. Receptions, banquets, and luncheons were held for the officers of the ships and for visiting members of the Japanese Trade Commission. The Japanese Ambassador, Takahira Kogoro, was the highest ranking Japanese official to visit the AYP grounds. The Ambassador's visit took place August 16-17, 1909.

A lawn fete featured in The Week End was described as happening on “a perfect day for an alfresco entertainment and the charming grounds with their stretches of velvety lawns, beds of bright blooming flowers. . .and stately shade trees made a lovely setting for the gay decorations of white and red—Japanese national colors. . .used in most lavish profusion.”

The afternoon event described in The Week End contrasts with Exposition president John E. Chilberg's description of his contact with Rear Admiral Ijichi, a important figure in the Japanese Navy. Chilberg wrote “the battleship was commanded by Admiral Ijichi, who could speak no English, and I his host could speak no Japanese. My office would receive word by telephone. . .that the Admiral would do himself the honor of calling on the President at ten o'clock am. I would dress in my Prince Albert coat and striped pants, with my silk hat on the desk, and champagne in the cooler. The Admiral would arrive promptly. . .Salutations would be made formally and I would propose a toast to his Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan. The Admiral would reply by proposing a toast to His Excellency, the President of the United States. There being no language in which we could converse, we bowed politely and the call was over.”

Exposition president John E. Chilberg visited Ottawa and secured Canada's participation in the AYP. The Canadian exhibits displayed an impressive array of the animals, products, and life in Canada. The beaver exhibit showed stuffed beavers at work, while in front of the exhibit were two tanks with live beavers at work.

A main feature of the Canada Building was a panorama which represented the three stages of prairie development from wilderness, to herds of stock, to cultivation with settlers establishing homes and breaking the soil.

Items from other institutions:

Descriptive Catalogue of the Japanese Woods and Photographs of Forests Exhibited
Descriptive Catalogue of the Japanese Woods and Photographs of Forests Exhibited
(Seattle Public Library)

Canadian Display Makes Distinct Impression
Canadian Display Makes Distinct Impression
(Seattle Public Library)

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