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Title: Evolution Of The Japanese, Social And Psychic
Author: Gulick, Sidney L. (Sidney Lewis), 1860-1945
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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|                 THE GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD               |
|                               By                               |
|                                                                |
|                     SIDNEY L. GULICK, M.A.                     |
|                                                                |
|  Illustrated with Twenty-six Diagrams _12 mo, Cloth, $1.50_    |
|                                                                |
| "Commends itself to thoughtful, earnest men of any nation as a |
|     most valuable missionary paper. Mr. Gulick traces the      |
|  Christian religion through history and up to now. The survey  |
|   is calm, patient, thoroughly honest, and quietly assured."   |
|   --_Evangelist_.                                              |
|                                                                |
|                   FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY                    |
|                                                                |
|                           Publishers                           |
|                                                                |





_Missionary of the American Board in Japan_



Fleming H. Revell Company


New York: 158 Fifth Avenue Chicago: 63 Washington Street Toronto: 27
Richmond Street, W. London: 21 Paternoster Square Edinburgh: 30 St.
Mary Street


The present work is an attempt to interpret the characteristics of
modern Japan in the light of social science. It also seeks to throw
some light on the vexed question as to the real character of so-called
race-nature, and the processes by which that nature is transformed. If
the principles of social science here set forth are correct, they
apply as well to China and India as to Japan, and thus will bear
directly on the entire problem of Occidental and Oriental social
intercourse and mutual influence.

The core of this work consists of addresses to American and English
audiences delivered by the writer during his recent furlough. Since
returning to Japan, he has been able to give but fragments of time to
the completion of the outlines then sketched, and though he would
gladly reserve the manuscript for further elaboration, he yields to
the urgency of friends who deem it wise that he delay no longer in
laying his thought before the wider public.

To Japanese readers the writer wishes to say that although he has not
hesitated to make statements painful to a lover of Japan, he has not
done it to condemn or needlessly to criticise, but simply to make
plain what seem to him to be the facts. If he has erred in his facts
or if his interpretations reflect unjustly on the history or spirit of
Japan, no one will be more glad than he for corrections. Let the
Japanese be assured that his ruling motive, both in writing about
Japan and in spending his life in this land, is profound love for the
Japanese people. The term "native" has been freely used because it is
the only natural correlative for "foreign." It may be well to say that
neither the one nor the other has any derogatory implication,
although anti-foreign natives, and anti-native foreigners, sometimes
so use them.

The indebtedness of the writer is too great to be acknowledged in
detail. But whenever he has been conscious of drawing directly from
any author for ideas or suggestions, effort has been made to indicate
the source.

Since the preparation of the larger part of this work several
important contributions to the literature on Japan have appeared which
would have been of help to the writer, could he have referred to them
during the progress of his undertaking. Rev. J.C.C. Newton's "Japan:
Country, Court, and People"; Rev. Otis Cary's "Japan and Its
Regeneration"; and Prof. J. Nitobe's "Bushido: The Soul of Japan,"
call for special mention. All are excellent works, interesting,
condensed, informative, and well-balanced. Had the last named come to
hand much earlier it would have received frequent reference and
quotation in the body of this volume, despite the fact that it sets
forth an ideal rather than the actual state of Old Japan.

Special acknowledgment should be made of the help rendered by my
brothers, Galen M. Fisher and Edward L. Gulick, and by my sister, Mrs.
F.F. Jewett, in reading and revising the manuscript. Acknowledgment
should also be made of the invaluable criticisms and suggestions in
regard to the general theory of social evolution advocated in these
pages made by my uncle, Rev. John T. Gulick, well known to the
scientific world for his contributions to the theory as well as to the
facts of biological evolution.






Occidental conceptions of the recent history of Japan--Japan seems to
be contradicting our theory of national evolution--Similarities of
ancient and modern Japan--Japanese evolution is "natural"--The study
of Japanese social evolution is of unusual interest, because it has
experienced such marked changes--Because it is now in a stage of rapid
growth--And is taking place before our eyes--Also because here is
taking place a unique union of Occidental and Oriental
civilizations--Comparison between India and Japan, 23


Mythology and tradition--Authentic history--Old Japan--The transition
from Old to New Japan--New Japan--Compelled by foreign nations to
centralize--Ideals and material instruments supplied from
abroad--Exuberant Patriotism--"Ai-koku-shin," 35


Is Japan making progress?--Happiness as a criterion--The oppressive
rule of militarism--The emptiness of the ordinary life--The condition
of woman--"The Greater Learning for Woman"--Divorce--Progress
defined--Deficiency of the hedonistic criterion of progress, 52


Progress a modern conception and ideal--How was the "cake of custom"
broken?--"Government by discussion" an insufficient principle of
progress--Two lines of progress, Ideal and Material--The significance
of Perry's coming to Japan--Effect on Japan of Occidental ideas--The
material element of progress--Mistaken praise of the simplicity of Old
Japan, L. Hearn--The significance of the material element of
civilization--Mastery of nature--The defect of Occidental
civilization, 61


Our main question--Illustrations--Japanese students
abroad--Sensitiveness to ridicule--Advantages and disadvantages of
this characteristic--National sensitiveness to foreign
criticism--Nudity--Formosa--Mental and physical
flexibility--Adjustability--Some apparent exceptions--Chinese
ideographs--How account for these characteristics, 72


The Japanese are emotional--An illustration from politics--The
tendency to run to extremes--Danger of overemphasizing this
tendency--Japanese silent dissent--Men of balance in public
life--Abdication--Gubbins quoted--Is abdication an inherent trait? 82


Popular national heroes--The craving for modern heroes--Townsend
Harris's insight into Oriental character--Hero-worship an obstacle to
missionary work--Capt. Jaynes--An experience in Kumamoto--"The sage of
Omi"--"The true hero"--Moral heroes in Japan--The advantage and
disadvantage of hero-worship--Modern moral heroes--Hero-worship
depends on personality and idealism--The new social order is producing
new ideals and new heroes, 89


Japanese love for children--Children's festivals--Toys and
toy-stores--Do Japanese love children more than Americans
do?--Importance in Japan of maintaining the family line--The looseness
of the Japanese family tie--Early cessation of demonstrative
affection--Infanticide, 96


Affection between husband and wife--Occidental and Oriental estimate
of woman contrasted--This a subject easily-misunderstood--Kissing a
social habit unknown in Japan--Demonstrative affection a social, not a
racial characteristic--Some specific illustrations, Dr. Neesima--A
personal experience--Illegitimate children--Fraudulent
registration--Adult adoption--Divorce--Monogamy, polygamy, and
prostitution--Race character, social order, and affection--Position of
women--The social order and affection--The social order and the
valuation of man and woman--The new social order and the valuation of
man--The spread of Christian ideals and the re-organization of the
family, 102


Japanese cheerfulness--Festivals--Pessimism existent, but easily
overlooked--The ubiquity of children gives an appearance of
interpretation--Mutual confidence and trustfulness--Relation to
communalistic feudalism--Changes in the social order and in
character--The American Board's experience in trusting Japanese
honor--The Doshisha and its difficulties--Suspiciousness--Necessary
under the old social order--The need of constant care in conversation,


Jealousy particularly ascribed to women--How related to the social
order--Is jealousy limited to women?--Revenge--Taught as a moral
duty--Revenge and the new social order--Are the Japanese cruel?--First
impressions--Treatment of the insane--Of lepers--The cruelty and
hardness of heart of Old Japan--Buddhistic teaching and
practice--Buddhist and Christian Orphan Asylums--Treatment of
horses--Torture in Old Japan--Crucifixion and transfixion by
spears--Hard-heartedness cultivated under feudalism--Cruelty and the
humane feelings in the Occident--Abolition of cruel customs in ancient
and in Old Japan--Cruelty a sociological, not a biological
characteristic--The rise of humane feelings--Doctors and
hospitals--Philanthropy, 127


Ambition, both individual and national--The "Kumamoto
Band"--Self-confidence and conceit--Refined in nature--Illustrations
in the use of English--Readiness of young men to assume grave
responsibilities--A product of the social order--Assumptions of
inferiority by the common people--Obsequiousness--Modern
self-confidence and assumptions not without ground--Self-confidence
and success--Self-confidence and physical size--Young men and the
recent history of Japan--The self-confidence and conceit of Western
nations--The open-mindedness of most Japanese, 137


"Yamato-Damashii": "The Soul of Japan"--Patriotism and the recent war
with China--Patriotism of Christian orphans--Mr. Ishii--Patriotism is
for a person, not for country--National patriotism is
modern--Passionate devotion to the Emperor--A gift of 20,000,000 yen
to the Emperor--The constitution derives its authority from the
Emperor--A quotation from Prof. Yamaguchi--Japanese Imperial
succession is of Oriental type--Concubines and children of the
reigning Emperor--Apotheosis, Oriental and Occidental--Apotheosis and
national unity--The political conflict between Imperial and popular
sovereignty--Japanese and Roman apotheosis--Prof. Nash
quoted--Courage--Cultivated in ancient times--A peculiar feature of
Japanese courage--"Harakiri"--E. Griffis quoted--A boy hero--Relation
of courage to social order--Japanese courage not only physical--modern
instance of moral courage, 144


Illustrations of fickleness--Prof. Chamberlain's
explanation--Fickleness a modern trait--Continuity of purpose in spite
of changes of method--The youth of those on whom responsibility
rests--Fluctuation of interest in Christianity not a fair
illustration--The period of fluctuation is passing
away--Impassiveness--"Putty faces"--Distinguish between stupidity and
stoicism--Stupid stolidity among the farmers--Easily removed--Social
stolidity cultivated--Demanded by the old social order--The influence
of Buddhism in suppressing expression of emotion--An illustration of
suppressed curiosity--Lack of emotional manifestations when the
Emperor appears in public--Stolidity a social, not a racial trait--A
personal experience--The increased vivacity of Christian
women--Relations of emotional to intellectual development and to the
social order, 159


The wide development of the æsthetic sense in Japan--Japanese æsthetic
development is unbalanced--The sense of smell--Painting--Japanese art
pays slight attention to the human form--Sociological
interpretation--The nude in Japanese art--Relation to the social
order--Art and immorality--Caricature--Fondness for the abnormal in
nature--Abnormal stones--Tosa cocks--Æsthetics of speech--The æsthetic
sense and the use of personal pronouns--Deficiency of the æsthetic
development in regard to speech--Sociological explanations--Close
relation of æsthetics and conduct--Sociological explanation for the
wide development of the æsthetic sense--The classes lived in close
proximity--The spirit of dependence and imitation--Universality of
culture more apparent than real--Defects of æsthetic taste--Defective
etiquette--How accounted for--Old and new conditions--"Western taste
debasing Japanese art"--Illustration of aboriginal æsthetic
defects--Colored photographs--Æsthetic defects of popular shrines--The
æsthetics of music--Experience of the Hawaiian people--Literary
æsthetic development--Aston quoted--Architectural æsthetic
development--Æsthetic development is sociological rather than
biological, 170


Psychological unity of the East and the West--Brain size and social
evolution--The size of the Japanese brain--Memory--Learning Chinese
characters--Social selection and mnemonic power--Japanese memory in
daily life--Memory of uncivilized and semi-civilized peoples--Hindu
memory--Max Müller quoted--Japanese acquisition of foreign
languages--The argument from language for the social as against the
biological distinction of races--The faculty of imitation; is not to
be despised--Prof. Chamberlain's over-emphasis of Japanese
imitation--Originality in adopting Confucianism and
Buddhism--"Shinshu"--"Nichirenshu"--Adoption of Chinese
philosophy--Dr. Knox's over-emphasis of servile adoption--Our
ignorance of Japanese history of thought--A reason for Occidental
misunderstanding--The incubus of governmental initiative--Relation of
imitation to the social order, 189


Originality in art--Authoritative suppression of originality--Townsend
Harris quoted--Suppression of Christianity and of heterodox
Confucianism--Modern suppression of historical research--Yet Japan is
not wholly lacking in originality--Recent discoveries and
inventions--Originality in borrowing from the West--Quotations from a
native paper, 203


"Roundaboutness"--Some advantages of this
characteristic--Illustrations--Study of English for direct and
accurate habits of thought--Rapid modern growth of
directness--"Nominality"--All Japanese history an illustration--The
Imperial rule only nominal--The daimyo as a figure-head--"Nominality"
in ordinary life--In family relations--Illustrations in Christian
work--A "nominal" express train--"Nominality" and the social order,


Do Japanese lack the higher mental faculties?--Evidence of
inventions--Testimony of foreign teachers--Japanese students, at home
and abroad--Readiness in public speech--Powers of generalization in
primitive Japan--"Ri" and "Ki," "In" and "Yo"--Japanese use of Chinese
generalized philosophical terms--Generalization and the social
order--Defective explanation of puerile Oriental science--Relation to
the mechanical memory method of education--High intellectuality
dependent on social order, 218


Do Japanese lack philosophical ability?--Some opinions--Some
distinctions--Japanese interest in metaphysical problems--Buddhist and
Confucian metaphysics--Metaphysics and ethics--Japanese students of
Occidental philosophy--A personal experience--"The little
philosopher"--A Buddhist priest--Rarity of original philosophical
ability and even interest--Philosophical ability and the social order
in the West, 225


Some criticisms of Japanese mental traits--Wide range of imaginative
activity--Some salient points--Unbalanced imaginative
development--Prosaic matter-of-factness--Visionariness--Impractical
idealism--Illustrations--An evangelist--A principal--Visionariness in
Christian work--Visionariness in national ambition--Imagination and
optimism--Mr. Lowell's opinion criticised--Fancy and
imagination--Caricature--Imagination and imitation--Sociological
interpretation of visionariness--And of prosaic
matter-of-factness--Communalism and the higher mental
powers--Suppression of the constructive imagination--Racial
intellectual characteristics are social rather than inherent, 233


Loyalty and filial piety as moral ideals--Quotations from an ancient
moralist, Muro Kyuso--On the heavenly origin of moral teaching--On
self-control--Knowledge comes through obedience--On the impurity of
ancient literature--On the ideal of the samurai in relation to
trade--Old Japan combined statute and ethical law--"The testament of
Iyeyasu"--Ohashi's condemnation of Western learning for its
impiety--Japanese moral ideals were communal--Truthfulness
undeveloped--Relations of samurai to tradesman--The business standards
are changing with the social order--Ancient Occidental contempt for
trade--Plato and Aristotle, 249


The social position of woman--Valuation of the individual--Confucian
and Buddhistic teaching in regard to concubinage and
polygamy--Sociological interpretation--Japan not exceptional--Actual
morality of Old Japan--Modern growth of immorality--Note on the
"Social Evil"--No ancient teaching in regard to masculine
chastity--Mr. Hearn's mistaken contention--Filial obedience and
prostitution--How could the social order produce two different moral
ideals?--The new Civil Code on marriage--Divorce--Statistics--Modern
advance of woman--Significance of the Imperial Silver Wedding--The
Wedding of the Prince Imperial--Relation of Buddhism and Confucianism
to moral ideals and practice--The new spirit of Buddhism--Christian
influence on Shinto; Tenri Kyo--The ancient moralists confined their
attention to the rulers--The Imperial Edict in regard to Moral
Education, 258


The publicity of Japanese life--Public bathing--Personal experience at
a hot-spring--Mr. Hearn on privacy--Individualism and variation from
the moral standard--Standards advancing--Revenge--Modern liberty of
travel--Increase of wealth--Increasing luxury and vice--Increase of
concubinage--Native discussions--Statistics--Business honesty--A
native paper quoted--Some experiences with Christians--Testimony of a
Japanese consul--Difference of gifts to Buddhist and to Christian
institutions--Christian condemnation of Doshisha
mismanagement--Misappropriation of trust funds in the West--Business
honesty and the social order--Fitness of Christianity to the new
social order--A summary--Communal virtues--Individual Vices--The
authority of the moral ideal--Moral characteristics are not inherent,
but social, in nature, 273


Prof. Pfleiderer's view--Percival Lowell's definition of
religion--Japanese appearance of irreligion due to many
facts--Skeptical attitude of Confucius towards the gods--Ready
acceptance of Western agnosticism--Prof. Chamberlain's assertion that
the Japanese take their religion lightly--Statements concerning
religion by Messrs. Fukuzawa, Kato, and Ito--Statements of Japanese
irreligion are not to be lightly accepted--Incompetence of many
critics--We must study all the religious
phenomena--Pilgrimages--Statistics--Mr. Lowell's criticism of
"peripatetic picnic parties"--Is religion necessarily gloomy?--God and
Buddha shelves universal in Japan--Temples and shrines--Statistics,


Stoical training conceals religious emotions--The earnestness of many
suppliants--Buddhistic and Shinto practice of religious ecstasy--The
revolt from Buddhism a religious movement--Muro Kyu-so
quoted--"Heaven's Way"--"God's omnipresence"--Pre-Christian teachers
of Christian truth--Interpretation of modern irreligious
phenomena--Japanese apparent lack of reverence--Not an inherent racial
characteristic--Sketch of Japanese religious
Catholicism--Protestantism--Religious characteristics are social, not
essential or racial, 296


Japanese conceptions as to deity--The number and relation of the gods
to the universe--Did the Japanese have the monotheistic
conception?--Attractiveness of Christian monotheism--Confucian and
Buddhist monism--Religious conception of man--Conception of
sin--Defective terminology--Relation of sin to salvation--"Holy
water"--Holy towels and the spread of disease--The slight connection
between physical and moral pollution--W.E. Griffis quoted--Exaggerated
cleanliness of the Japanese--Public bathing houses--Consciousness of
sin in the sixteenth century--A recent experience--Doctrine of the
future life--Salvation from fate--"Ingwa"--These are important
doctrines--"Mei" (Heaven's decree)--Japan not unique--Sociological
interpretations of religious characteristics, 310


Loyalty and filial piety as religious phenomena--Gratitude as a
religions trait--Hearn quoted--Unpleasant experiences of
ingratitude--Modern suppression of phallicism--Brothels and
prostitutes at popular shrines--The failure of higher ethnic faiths to
antagonize the lower--Suppression of phallicism due to Western
opinion--The significance of this suppression to sociological
theory--Religious liberty--Some history--Inconsistent attitude of the
Educational Department--Virtual establishment of compulsory state
religion--Review and summary--The Japanese ready learners of foreign
religions--The significance of this to sociology--Japanese future
religion is to be Christianity, 322


Progress is from smaller to larger communities--Arrest of
development--The necessity of individualism--The relation of communal
to individual development--A possible misunderstanding--The problem of
distribution--Personality, 332


Assertion of Oriental impersonality--Quotations from Percival
Lowell--Defective and contradictory definitions--Arguments for
impersonality resting on mistaken interpretations--Children's
festivals--Occidental and Oriental method of counting ages--Argument
for impersonality from Japanese art--From the characteristics of the
Japanese family--The bearing of divorce on this argument--Do Japanese
"fall in love"?--Suicide and murder for love--Occidental approval and
Oriental condemnation of "falling in love"--Sociological significance
of divorce and of "falling in love," 344


The problem stated--Definitions--Remarks on
definitions--Characteristics of a person--Impersonality defined--A
preliminary summary statement--Definitions of Communalism and
Individualism--The argument for "impersonality" from Japanese
politeness--Some difficulties of this interpretation--The sociological
interpretation of politeness--The significance of Japanese
sensitiveness--Altruism as a proof of impersonality--Japanese
selfishness and self-assertiveness--Distinction between communal and
individualistic altruism--Deficiency of personal pronouns as a proof
of impersonality--A possible counter-argument--Substitutes for
personal pronouns--Many personal words in Japanese--Origin of
pronouns, personal and others--The relation of the social order to the
use of personal pronouns--Japanese conceive Nationality only through
Personality--"Strong" and "weak" personality--Strong personalities in
Japan--Feudalism and strong personalities, 356


Self-suppression as a proof of impersonality--Self-suppression cannot
be ascribed to a primitive people--Esoteric Buddhism not
popular--Buddhism emphasized introspection and self-consciousness--Mr.
Lowell on the teaching of Buddha--Consciousness of union with the
Absolute a developed, not a primitive, trait--Buddhist
self-suppression proves a developed self--Buddhist self-salvation and
Christian salvation by faith--Buddhism does not develop rounded
personality--Buddhism attributes no worth to the self--Buddhist mercy
rests on the doctrine of transmigration, not on the inherent worth of
man--Analysis of the diverse elements in the asserted "Impersonality
"--Why Buddhism attributed no value to the self--The Infinite Absolute
Abstraction--Buddhism not impersonal but abstract--Buddhist doctrine
of illusion--Popular Buddhism not philosophical--Relation of "ingwa,"
Fate, to the development of personality--Relation of belief in freedom
to the fact of freedom--Sociological consequences of Buddhist
doctrine, 377


Human illogicalness providential--Some devices for avoiding the evils
of logical conclusions--Buddhistic actual appeal to personal
self-activity--Practical Confucianism an antidote to Buddhist
poison--Confucian ethics produced strong persons--The personal
conception of deity is widespread--Shinto gods all persons--Popular
Buddhist gods are personal--Confucian "Heaven" implies
personality--The idea of personality not wholly wanting in the
Orient--The idea of divine personality not difficult to impart to a
Japanese--A conversation with a Buddhist priest--Sketch of the
development of Japanese personality--Is personality
inherent?--Intrinsic and phenomenal personality--Note on the doctrine
of the personality of God, 389


Comparison of Buddhist, Greek, and Christian conceptions of
God--Nirvana--The Buddhistic Ultimate Reality absolute vacuity--Greek
affirmation of intelligence in the Ultimate Reality--Christian
affirmation of Divine Personality--The Buddhist universe is partly
rational and ethical--The Greek universe is partly rational and
ethical--Corresponding views of sin, salvation, change, and
history--Resulting pessimism and optimism--Consequences to the
respective civilizations and their social orders, 398


Japanese religious life has been predominantly communal--Shinto
provided the sanctions for the social order--Recent abdication of
Shinto as a religion--Primitive Shinto world--view--Shinto and modern
science--Shinto sanctions for the modern social order--Buddhism is
individualistic--Lacks social ideals and sanctions--Hence it could not
displace Shinto--Shinto and Buddhism are supplementary--Produced a
period of prosperity--The defect of Buddhist individualism--Imperfect
acceptance of Shinto--Effect of political history--Confucianism
restored the waning communal sanctions--The difference between Shinto
and Confucian social ideals and sanctions--The difference between
Shinto and Confucian world-views--Rejection of the Confucian social
order--An interpretation--The failure of Confucianism to become a
religion--Western intercourse re-established Shinto sanctions--Japan's
modern religious problem--Difficulty of combining individual and
communal religious elements--Christianity has accomplished
it--Individualism in and through communalism--A modern expansion of
communal religion--Shared by Japan--Some Japanese recognize the need
of religion for Japan--Sociological function of individualistic
religion in the higher human evolution--Obstacle to evolution through
the development of intellect--The Japanese mind is outgrowing its old
religious conceptions--The dependence of religious phenomena on the
ideas dominating society--Note on National and Universal
religions--Buddhism not properly classified as Universal--The
classification of religions, 404


The conclusion reached in this work--Contrary to the opinion of
tourists, residents, and many sociologists--Professor Le Bon
quoted--Social psychic characteristics not inherent--Evolution and
involution--Advocates of inherent Oriental traits should catalogue
those traits--An attempt by the London _Daily Mail_--Is the East
inherently intuitive, and the West logical?--The difficulty of
becoming mutually acquainted--The secret of genuine acquaintance--Is
the East inherently meditative and the West active?--Oriental unity
and characteristics are social, not inherent--Isolated evolution is
divergent--Mutual influence of the East and the West--Summary
statement, 422


Review of our course of thought--Purpose of this chapter--The problem
studied in this work--Interrelation of social and psychic
phenomena--Heredity defined and analyzed--Evolution defined--Exact
definition of our question, and our reply--What would be an adequate
disproof of our position--Reasons for limiting the discussion to
advanced races--Divergent evolution dependent on
segregation--Distinction between racial and social unity--Relation of
the individual psychic character to the social order--"Race soul" a
convenient fiction--Psychic function produces psychic organism--Causes
and nature of plasticity and fixity of society--Relation of incarnate
ideas to character and destiny--Valuelessness of "floating"
ideas--Progress is at once communal and individual--Personality is its
cause, aim, and criterion--Progress in personality is
ethico-religious--Japanese social and psychic evolution not
exceptional, 438


The tragedy enacted in China during the closing year of the nineteenth
century marks an epoch in the history of China and of the world. Two
world-views, two types of civilization met in deadly conflict, and the
inherent weakness of isolated, belated, superstitious and corrupt
paganism was revealed. Moreover, during this, China's crisis, Japan
for the first time stepped out upon the world's stage of political and
military activity. She was recognized as a civilized nation, worthy to
share with the great nations of the earth the responsibility of ruling
the lawless and backward races.

The correctness of any interpretation as to the significance of this
conflict between the opposing civilizations turns, ultimately, on the
question as to what is the real nature of man and of society. If it be
true, as maintained by Prof. Le Bon and his school, that the mental
and moral character of a people is as fixed as its physiological
characteristics, then the conflict in China is at bottom a conflict of
races, not of civilizations.

The inadequacy of the physiological theory of national character may
be seen almost at a glance by a look at Japan. Were an Oriental
necessarily and unchangeably Oriental, it would have been impossible
for Japan to have come into such close and sympathetic touch with the

The conflict of the East with the West, however, is not an inherent
and unending conflict, because it is not racial, but civilizational.
It is a conflict of world-views and systems of thought and life. It is
a conflict of heathen and Christian civilizations. And the conflict
will come to an end as soon as, and in proportion as, China awakes
from her blindness and begins to build her national temple on the
bedrock of universal truth and righteousness. The conflict is
practically over in Japan because she has done this. In loyally
accepting science, popular education, and the rights of every
individual to equal protection by the government, Japan has accepted
the fundamental conceptions of civilization held in the West, and has
thus become an integral part of Christendom, a fact of world-wide
significance. It proves that the most important differences now
separating the great races of men are civilizational, not
physiological. It also proves that European, American, and Oriental
peoples may be possessed by the same great ideals of life and
principles of action, enabling them to co-operate as nations in great
movements to their mutual advantage.

While even we of the West may be long in learning the full
significance of what has been and still is taking place in Japan and
more conspicuously just now, because more tragically, in China, one
thing is clear: steam and electricity have abolished forever the old
isolation of the nations.

Separated branches of the human race that for thousands of years have
been undergoing divergent evolution, producing radically different
languages, customs, civilizations, systems of thought and world-views,
and have resulted even in marked physiological and psychological
differences, are now being brought into close contact and inevitable
conflict. But at bottom it is a conflict of ideas, not of races. The
age of isolation and divergent evolution is passing away, and that of
international association and convergent social evolution has begun.
Those races and nations that refuse to recognize the new social order,
and oppose the cosmic process and its forces, will surely be pushed to
the wall and cease to exist as independent nations, just as, in
ancient times, the tribes that refused to unite with neighboring
tribes were finally subjugated by those that did so unite.

Universal economic, political, intellectual, moral, and religious
intercourse is the characteristic of the new æon on which we are
entering. What are to be the final consequences of this wide
intercourse? Can a people change its character? Can a nation fully
possessed by one type of civilization reject it, and adopt one
radically different? Do races have "souls" which are fixed and
incapable of radical transformations? What has taken place in Japan, a
profound, or only a superficial change in psychical character? Are the
destinies of the Oriental races already unalterably determined?

The answers to these questions have already been suggested in the
preceding paragraphs, in regard to what has already taken place in
Japan. But we may add that that answer really turns on our conception
as to the nature of the characteristics separating the East from the
West. In proportion as national character is reckoned to be
biological, will it be considered fixed and the national destiny
predetermined. In proportion as it is reckoned to be sociological,
will it be considered alterable and the national destiny subject to
new social forces. Now that the intercourse of widely different races
has begun on a scale never before witnessed, it is highly important
for us to know its probable consequences. For this we need to gain a
clear idea of the nature both of the individual man and of society, of
the relation of the social order to individual and to race character,
and of the law regulating and the forces producing social evolution.
Only thus can we forecast the probable course and consequences of the
free social intercourse of widely divergent races.

It is the belief of the writer that few countries afford so clear an
illustration of the principles involved in social evolution as Japan.
Her development has been so rapid and so recent that some principles
have become manifest that otherwise might easily have escaped notice.
The importance of understanding Japan, because of the light her recent
transformations throw on the subject of social evolution and of
national character and also because of the conspicuous rôle to which
she is destined as the natural leader of the Oriental races in their
adoption of Occidental modes of life and thought, justifies a careful
study of Japanese character. He who really understands Japan, has
gained the magic key for unlocking the social mysteries of China and
the entire East. But the Japanese people, with their institutions and
their various characteristics, merit careful study also for their own
sakes. For the Japanese constitute an exceedingly interesting and even
a unique branch of the human race. Japan is neither a purgatory, as
some would have it, nor a paradise, as others maintain, but a land
full of individuals in an interesting stage of social evolution.

Current opinions concerning Japan, however, are as curious as they are
contradictory. Sir Edwin Arnold says that the Japanese "Have the
nature rather of birds or butterflies than of ordinary human beings."
Says Mr. A.M. Knapp: "Japan is the one country in the world which does
not disappoint ... It is unquestionably the unique nation of the
globe, the land of dream and enchantment, the land which could hardly
differ more from our own, were it located in another planet, its
people not of this world." An "old resident," however, calls it "the
land of disappointments." Few phenomena are more curious than the
readiness with which a tourist or professional journalist, after a few
days or weeks of sight-seeing and interviewing, makes up his mind in
regard to the character of the people, unless it be the way in which
certain others, who have resided in this land for a number of years,
continue to live in their own dreamland. These two classes of writers
have been the chief contributors of material for the omnivorous
readers of the West.

It appears to not a few who have lived many years in this Far Eastern
land, that the public has been fed with the dreams of poets or the
snap-judgments of tourists instead of with the facts of actual
experience. A recent editorial article in the _Japan Mail_, than whose
editor few men have had a wider acquaintance with the Japanese people
or language, contains the following paragraph:

     "In the case of such writers as Sir Edwin Arnold and Mr. Lafcadio
     Hearn it is quite apparent that the logical faculty is in
     abeyance. Imagination reigns supreme. As poetic nights or
     outbursts, the works of these authors on Japan are delightful
     reading. But no one who has studied the Japanese in a deeper
     manner, by more intimate daily intercourse with all classes of the
     people than either of these writers pretends to have had, can
     possibly regard a large part of their description as anything more
     than pleasing fancy. Both have given rein to the poetic fancy and
     thus have, from a purely literary point of view, scored a success
     granted to few.... But as exponents of Japanese life and thought
     they are unreliable.... They have given form and beauty to much
     that never existed except in vague outline or in undeveloped germs
     in the Japanese mind. In doing this they have unavoidably been
     guilty of misrepresentation.... The Japanese nation of Arnold and
     Hearn is not the nation we have known for a quarter of a century,
     but a purely ideal one manufactured out of the author's brains. It
     is high time that this was pointed out. For while such works please
     a certain section of the English public, they do a great deal of
     harm among a section of the Japanese public, as could be easily
     shown in detail, did space allow."--_Japan Mail, May 7, 1898_.

But even more harmful to the reading public of England and America are
the hastily formed yet, nevertheless, widely published opinions of
tourists and newspaper correspondents. Could such writers realize the
inevitable limitations under which they see and try to generalize, the
world would be spared many crudities and exaggerations, not to say
positive errors. The impression so common to-day that Japan's recent
developments are anomalous, even contrary to the laws of national
growth, is chiefly due to the superficial writings of hasty observers.
Few of those who have dilated ecstatically on her recent growth have
understood either the history or the genius of her people.

     "To mention but one among many examples," says Prof. Chamberlain,
     "the ingenious Traveling Commissioner of the _Pall Mall Gazette_,
     Mr. Henry Norman, in his lively letters on Japan published nine or
     ten years ago, tells the story of Japanese education under the
     fetching title of 'A Nation at School'; but the impression left is
     that they have been their own schoolmasters. In another letter on
     'Japan in Arms,' he discourses concerning 'The Japanese Military
     Re-organizers,' 'The Yokosuka dockyard,' and other matters, but
     omits to mention that the reorganizers were Frenchmen, and that the
     Yokosuka dockyard was also a French creation. Similarly, when
     treating of the development of the Japanese newspaper, he ignores
     the fact that it owed its origin to an Englishman, which surely, to
     a man whose object was reality, should have seemed an object worth
     recording. These letters, so full and apparently so frank, really
     so deceptive, are, as we have said, but one instance among many of
     the way in which popular writers on Japan travesty history by
     ignoring the part which foreigners have played. The reasons for
     this are not far to seek. A wonderful tale will please folks at a
     distance all the better if made more wonderful still. Japanese
     progress, traced to its causes and explained by references to the
     means employed, is not nearly such fascinating reading as when
     represented in the guise of a fairy creation, sprung from nothing,
     like Aladdin's palace."--"_Things Japanese," p. 116_.

But inter-racial misunderstanding is not, after all, so very strange.
Few things are more difficult than to accommodate one's self in
speech, in methods of life, and even in thought, to an alien people;
so identifying one's deepest interest with theirs as really to
understand them. The minds of most men are so possessed by notions
acquired in childhood and youth as to be unable to see even the
plainest facts at variance with those notions. He who comes to Japan
possessed with the idea that it is a dreamland and that its old social
order was free from defects, is blind to any important facts
invalidating that conception; while he who is persuaded that Japan,
being Oriental, is necessarily pagan at heart, however civilized in
form, cannot easily be persuaded that there is anything praiseworthy
in her old civilization, in her moral or religious life, or in any of
her customs.

If France fails in important respects to understand England; and
England, Germany; and Germany, its neighbors; if even England and
America can so misunderstand one another as to be on the verge of war
over the boundary dispute of an alien country, what hope is there that
the Occident shall understand the Orient, or the Orient the Occident?

Though the difficulty seems insurmountable, I am persuaded that the
most fruitful cause of racial misunderstandings and of defective
descriptions both of the West by Orientals, and of the East by
Occidentals, is a well-nigh universal misconception as to the nature
of man, and of society, and consequently of the laws determining their
development. In the East this error arises from and rests upon its
polytheism, and the accompanying theories of special national creation
and peculiar national sanctity. On these grounds alien races are
pronounced necessarily inferior. China's scorn for foreigners is due
to these ideas.

Although this pagan notion has been theoretically abandoned in the
West, it still dominates the thought not only of the multitudes, but
also of many who pride themselves on their high education and liberal
sentiments. They bring to the support of their national or racial
pride such modern sociological theories as lend themselves to this
view. Evolution and the survival of the fittest, degeneration and the
arrest of development, are appealed to as justifying the arrogance and
domineering spirit of Western nations.

But the most subtle and scholarly doctrine appealed to in support of
national pride is the biological conception of society. Popular
writers assume that society is a biological organism and that the laws
of its evolution are therefore biological. This assumption is not
strange, for until recent times the most advanced professional
sociologists have been dominated by the same misconception. Spencer,
for example, makes sociology a branch of biology. More recent
sociological writers, however, such as Professors Giddings and
Fairbanks, have taken special pains to assert the essentially psychic
character of society; they reject the biological conception, as
inadequate to express the real nature of society. The biological
conception, they insist, is nothing more than a comparison, useful for
bringing out certain features of the social life and structure, but
harmful if understood as their full statement. The laws of psychic
activity and development differ as widely from those of biologic
activity and development as these latter do from those that hold in
the chemical world. If the laws which regulate psychic development and
the progress of civilization were understood by popular writers on
Japan, and if the recent progress of Japan had been stated in the
terms of these laws, there would not have been so much mystification
in the West in regard to this matter as there evidently has been.
Japan would not have appeared to have "jumped out of her skin," or
suddenly to have escaped from the heredity of her past millenniums of
development. This wide misunderstanding of Japan, then, is not simply
due to the fact that "Japanese progress, traced to its causes and
explained by reference to the means employed, is not nearly such
fascinating reading as when represented in the guise of a fairy
creation," but it is also due to the still current popular view that
the social organism is biological, and subject therefore to the laws
of biological evolution. On this assumption, some hold that the
progress of Japan, however it may appear, is really superficial, while
others represent it as somehow having evaded the laws regulating the
development of other races. A nation's character and characteristics
are conceived to be the product of brain-structure; these can change
only as brain structure changes. Brain is held to determine
civilization, rather than civilization brain. Hampered by this
defective view, popular writers inevitably describe Japan to the West
in terms that necessarily misrepresent her, and that at the same time
pander to Occidental pride and prejudice.

But this misunderstanding of Japan reveals an equally profound
misunderstanding in regard to ourselves. Occidental peoples are
supposed to be what they are in civilization and to have reached their
high attainments in theoretical and applied science, in philosophy and
in practical politics, because of their unique brain-structures,
brains secured through millenniums of biological evolution. The
following statement may seem to be rank heresy to the average
sociologist, but my studies have led me to believe that the main
differences between the great races of mankind to-day are not due to
biological, but to social conditions; they are not
physico-psychological differences, but only socio-psychological
differences. The Anglo-Saxon is what he is because of his social
heredity, and the Chinaman is what he is because of his social
heredity. The profound difference between social and physiological
heredity and evolution is unappreciated except by a few of the most
recent sociological writers. The part that association, social
segregation, and social heredity take in the maintenance, not only of
once developed languages and civilizations, but even in their genesis,
has been generally overlooked.

But a still more important factor in the determination of social and
psychic evolution, generally unrecognized by sociologists, is the
nature and function of personality. Although in recent years it has
been occasionally mentioned by several eminent writers, personality as
a principle has not been made the core of any system of sociology. In
my judgment, however, this is the distinctive characteristic of human
evolution and of human association, and it should accordingly be the
fundamental principle of social science. Many writers on the East have
emphasized what they call its "impersonal" characteristics. So
important is this subject that I have considered it at length in the
body of this work.

Sociological phenomena cannot be fully expressed by any combination of
exclusively physical, biological, and psychic terms, for the
significant element of man and of society consists of something more
than these--namely, personality. It is this that differentiates human
from animal evolution. The unit of human sociology is a
self-conscious, self-determinative being. The causative factor in the
social evolution of man is his personality. The goal of that evolution
is developed personality. Personality is thus at once the cause and
the end of social progress. The conditions which affect or determine
progress are those which affect or determine personality.

The biological evolution of man from the animal has been, it is true,
frankly assumed in this work. No attempt is made to justify this
assumption. Let not the reader infer, however, that the writer
similarly assumes the adequacy of the so-called naturalistic or
evolutionary origin of ethics, of religion, or even of social
progress. It may be doubted whether Darwin, Wallace, Le Conte, or any
exponent of biological evolution has yet given a complete statement of
the factors of the physiological evolution of man. It is certain,
however, that ethical, religious, and social writers who have striven
to account for the higher evolution of man, by appealing to factors
exclusively parallel to those which have produced the physiological
evolution of man, have conspicuously failed. However much we may find
to praise in the social interpretations of such eminent writers as
Comte, Spencer, Ward, Fiske, Giddings, Kidd, Southerland, or even
Drummond, there still remains the necessity of a fuller consideration
of the moral and religious evolution of man. The higher evolution of
man cannot be adequately expressed or even understood in any terms
lower than those of personality.




Said a well educated and widely read Englishman to the writer while in
Oxford, "Can you explain to me how it is that the Japanese have
succeeded in jumping out of their skins?" And an equally thoughtful
American, speaking about the recent strides in civilization made by
Japan, urged that this progress could not be real and genuine. "How
can such a mushroom-growth, necessarily without deep roots in the
past, be real and strong and permanent? How can it escape being
chiefly superficial?" These two men are typical of much of the thought
of the West in regard to Japan.

Seldom, perhaps never, has the civilized world so suddenly and
completely reversed an estimate of a nation as it has that with
reference to Japan. Before the recent war, to the majority even of
fairly educated men, Japan was little more than a name for a few small
islands somewhere near China, whose people were peculiar and
interesting. To-day there is probably not a man, or woman, or child
attending school in any part of the civilized world, who does not know
the main facts about the recent war: how the small country and the men
of small stature, sarcastically described by their foes as "Wojen,"
pygmy, attacked the army and navy of a country ten times their size.

Such a universal change of opinion regarding a nation, especially
regarding one so remote from the centers of Western civilization as
Japan, could not have taken place in any previous generation. The
telegraph, the daily paper, the intelligent reporters and writers of
books and magazine articles, the rapid steam travel and the many
travelers--all these have made possible this sudden acquisition of
knowledge and startling reversal of opinion.

There is reason, however, to think that much misapprehension and real
ignorance still exists about Japan and her leap into power and
world-wide prestige. Many seem to think that Japan has entered on her
new career through the abandonment of her old civilization and the
adoption of one from the West--that the victories on sea and land, in
Korea, at Port Arthur, and a Wei-hai-wei, and more recently at
Tientsin and Pekin, were solely due to her Westernized navy and army.
Such persons freely admit that this process of Westernization had been
going on for many years more rapidly than the world at large knew, and
that consequently the reputation of Japan before the war was not such
as corresponded with her actual attainments. But they assume that
there was nothing of importance in the old civilization; that it was
little superior to organized barbarism.

These people conceive of the change which has taken place in Japan
during the past thirty years as a revolution, not as an evolution; as
an abandonment of the old, and an adoption of the new, civilization.
They conceive the old tree of civilization to have been cut down and
cast into the fire, and a new tree to have been imported from the West
and planted in Japanese soil. New Japan is, from this view-point, the
new tree.

Not many months ago I heard of a wealthy family in Kyoto which did not
take kindly to the so-called improvements imported from abroad, and
which consequently persisted in using the instruments of the older
civilization. Even such a convenience as the kerosene lamp, now
universally adopted throughout the land of the Rising Sun, this family
refused to admit into its home, preferring the old-style andon with
its vegetable oil, dim light, and flickering flame. Recently, however,
an electric-light company was organized in that city, and this
brilliant illuminant was introduced not only into the streets and
stores, but into many private houses. Shortly after its introduction,
the family was converted to the superiority of the new method of
illumination, and passed at one leap from the old-style lantern to the
latest product of the nineteenth century. This incident is considered
typical of the transformations characteristic of modern Japan. It is
supposed that New Japan is in no proper sense the legitimate product
through evolution of Old Japan.

In important ways, therefore, Japan seems to be contradicting our
theories of national growth. We have thought that no "heathen" nation
could possibly gain, much less wield, unaided by Westerners, the
forces of civilized Christendom. We have likewise held that national
growth is a slow process, a gradual evolution, extending over scores
and centuries of years. In both respects our theories seem to be at
fault. This "little nation of little people," which we have been so
ready to condemn as "heathen" and "uncivilized," and thus to despise,
or to ignore, has in a single generation leaped into the forefront of
the world's attention.

Are our theories wrong? Is Japan an exception? Are our facts correct?
We instinctively feel that something is at fault. We are not satisfied
with the usual explanation of the recent history of Japan. We are
perhaps ready to concede that "the rejection of the old and the
adoption of Western civilization" is the best statement whereby to
account for the new power of Japan and her new position among the
nations, but when we stop to think, we ask whether we have thus
explained that for which we are seeking an explanation? Do not the
questions still remain--Why did the Japanese so suddenly abandon
Oriental for Occidental civilization? And what mental and other traits
enabled a people who, according to the supposition, were far from
civilized, so suddenly to grasp and wield a civilization quite alien
in character and superior to their own; a civilization ripened after
millenniums of development of the Aryan race? And how far, as a matter
of fact, has this assimilation gone? Not until these questions are
really answered has the explanation been found, So that, after all,
the prime cause which we must seek is not to be found in the external
environment, but rather in the internal endowment.

An effort to understand the ancient history of Japan encounters the
same problem as that raised by her modern history. What mental
characteristics led the Japanese a thousand years ago so to absorb the
Chinese civilization, philosophy, and language that their own suffered
a permanent arrest? What religious traits led them so to take on a
religion from China and India that their own native religion never
passed beyond the most primitive development, either in doctrine, in
ethics, in ritual, or in organization? On the other hand, what mental
characteristics enabled them to preserve their national independence
and so to modify everything brought from abroad, from the words of the
new language to the philosophy of the new religions, that Japanese
civilization, language, and religion are markedly distinct from the
Chinese? Why is it that, though the Japanese so fell under the bondage
of the Chinese language as permanently to enslave and dwarf their own
beautiful tongue, expressing the dominant thought of every sentence
with characters (ideographs) borrowed from China, yet at the same time
so transformed what they borrowed that no Chinaman can read and
understand a Japanese book or newspaper?

The same questions recur at this new period of Japan's national life.
Why has she so easily turned from the customs of centuries? What are
the mental traits that have made her respond so differently from her
neighbor to the environment of the nineteenth-century civilization of
the West Why is it that Japan has sent thousands of her students to
these Western lands to see and study and bring back all that is good
in them, while China has remained in stolid self-satisfaction, seeing
nothing good in the West and its ways? To affirm that the difference
is due to the environment alone is impossible, for the environment
seems to be essentially the same. This difference of attitude and
action must be traced, it would seem, to differences of mental and
temperamental characteristics. Those who seek to understand the
secret of Japan's newly won power and reputation by looking simply at
her newly acquired forms of government, her reconstructed national
social structure, her recently constructed roads and railroads,
telegraphs, representative government, etc., and especially at her
army and navy organized on European models and armed with European
weapons, are not unlike those who would discover the secret of human
life by the study of anatomy.

This external view and this method of interpretation are, therefore,
fundamentally erroneous. Never, perhaps, has the progress of a nation
been so manifestly an evolution as distinguished from a revolution. No
foreign conquerors have come in with their armies, crushing down the
old and building up a new civilization. No magician's wand has been
waved over the land to make the people forget the traditions of a
thousand years and fall in with those of the new régime. No rite or
incantation has been performed to charm the marvelous tree of
civilization and cause it to take root and grow to such lofty
proportions in an unprepared soil.

In contrast to the defective views outlined above, one need not
hesitate to believe that the actual process by which Old Japan has
been transformed into New Japan is perfectly natural and necessary. It
has been a continuous growth; it is not the mere accumulation of
external additions; it does not consist alone of the acquisition of
the machinery and the institutions of the Occident. It is rather a
development from within, based upon already existing ideas and
institutions. New Japan is the consequence of her old endowment and
her new environment. Her evolution has been in progress and can be
traced for at least a millennium and a half, during which she has been
preparing for this latest step. All that was necessary for its
accomplishment was the new environment. The correctness of this view
and the reasons for it will appear as we proceed in our study of
Japanese characteristics. But we need to note at this point the
danger, into which many fall, of ascribing to Japan an attainment of
western civilization which the facts will not warrant. She has
secured much, but by no means all, that the West has to give.

We may suggest our line of thought by asking what is the fundamental
element of civilization? Does it consist in the manifold appliances
that render life luxurious; the railroad, the telegraph, the post
office, the manufactures, the infinite variety of mechanical and other
conveniences? Or is it not rather the social and intellectual and
ethical state of a people? Manifestly the latter. The tools indeed of
civilization may be imported into a half-civilized, or barbarous
country; such importation, however, does not render the country
civilized, although it may assist greatly in the attainment of that
result. Civilization being mental, social, and ethical, can arise only
through the growth of the mind and character of the vast multitudes of
a nation. Now has Japan imported only the tools of civilization? In
other words, is her new civilization only external, formal, nominal,
unreal? That she has imported much is true. Yet that her attainments
and progress rest on her social, intellectual, and ethical development
will become increasingly clear as we take up our successive chapters.
Under the new environment of the past fifty years, this growth,
particularly in intellectual, in industrial, and in political lines,
has been exceedingly rapid as compared with the growths of other

This conception of the rise of New Japan will doubtless approve itself
to every educated man who will allow his thought to rest upon the
subject. For all human progress, all organic evolution, proceeds by
the progressive modification of the old organs under new conditions.
The modern locomotive did not spring complete from the mind of James
Watt; it is the result of thousands of years of human experience and
consequent evolution, beginning first perhaps with a rolling log,
becoming a rude cart, and being gradually transformed by successive
inventions until it has become one of the marvels of the nineteenth
century. It is impossible for those who have attained the view-point
of modern science to conceive of discontinuous progress; of
continually rising types of being, of thought, or of moral life, in
which the higher does not find its ground and root and thus an
important part of its explanation, in the lower. Such is the case not
only with reference: to biological evolution; it is especially true of
social evolution. He who would understand the Japan of to-day cannot
rest with the bare statement that her adoption of the tools and
materials of Western civilization has given her her present power and
place among the nations. The student with historical insight knows
that it is impossible for one nation, off-hand, without preparation,
to "adopt the civilization" of another.

The study of the evolution of Japan is one of unusual interest; first,
because of the fact that Japan has experienced such unique changes in
her environment. Her history brings into clear light some principles
of evolution which the visual development of a people does not make so

In the second place, New Japan is in a state of rapid growth. She is
in a critical period, resembling a youth, just coming to manhood, when
all the powers of growth are most vigorous. The latent qualities of
body and mind and heart then burst forth with peculiar force. In the
course of four or five short years the green boy develops into a
refined and noble man; the thoughtless girl ripens into the full
maturity of womanhood and of motherhood. These are the years of
special interest to those who would observe nature in her time of most
critical activity.

Not otherwise is it in the life of nations. There are times when their
growth is phenomenally rapid; when their latent qualities are
developed; when their growth can be watched with special ease and
delight, because so rapid. The Renaissance was such a period in
Europe. Modern art, science, and philosophy took their start with the
awakening of the mind of Europe at that eventful and epochal period of
her life. Such, I take it, is the condition of Japan to-day. She is
"being born again"; undergoing her "renaissance." Her intellect,
hitherto largely dormant, is but now awaking. Her ambition is equaled
only by her self-reliance. Her self-confidence and amazing
expectations have not yet been sobered by hard experience. Neither
does she, nor do her critics, know how much she can or cannot do. She
is in the first flush of her new-found powers; powers of mind and
spirit, as well as of physical force. Her dreams are gorgeous with all
the colors of the rainbow. Her efforts are sure, to be noble in
proportion as her ambitions are high. The growth of the past
half-century is only the beginning of what we may expect to see.

Then again, this latest and greatest step in the evolution of Japan
has taken place at a time unparalleled for opportunities of
observation, under the incandescent light of the nineteenth century,
with its thousands of educated men to observe and record the facts,
many of whom are active agents in the evolution in progress. Hundreds
of papers and magazines, native and European, read by tens of
thousands of intelligent men and women, have kept the world aware of
the daily and hourly events. Telegraphic dispatches and letters by the
million have passed between the far East and the West. It would seem
as if the modernizing of Japan had been providentially delayed until
the last half of the nineteenth century with its steam and
electricity, annihilators of space and time, in order that her
evolution might be studied with a minuteness impossible in any
previous age, or by any previous generation. It is almost as if one
were conducting an experiment in human evolution in his own
laboratory, imposing the conditions and noting the results.

For still another reason is the evolution of New Japan of special
interest to all intelligent persons. To illustrate great things by
small, and human by physical, no one who has visited Geneva has failed
to see the beautiful mingling of the Arve and the Rhone. The latter
flowing from the calm Geneva lake is of delicate blue, pure and
limpid. The former, running direct from the glaciers of Mont Blanc and
the roaring bed of Chamouni, bears along in its rushing waters
powdered rocks and loosened soil. These rivers, though joined in one
bed, for hundreds of rods are quite distinct; the one, turbid; the
other, clear as crystal; yet they press each against the other, now a
little of the Rhone's clear current forces its way into the Arve, soon
to be carried off, absorbed and discolored by the mass of muddy water
around it. Now a little of the turbid Arve forces its way into the
clear blue Rhone, to lose there its identity in the surrounding
waters. The interchange goes on, increasing with the distance until,
miles below, the two-rivers mingle as one. No longer is it the Arve or
the old Rhone, but the new Rhone.

In Japan there is going on to-day a process unique in the history of
the human race. Two streams of civilization, that of the far East and
that of the far West, are beginning to flow in a single channel. These
streams are exceedingly diverse, in social structure, in government,
in moral ideals and standards, in religion, in psychological and
metaphysical conceptions. Can they live together? Or is one going to
drive out and annihilate the other? If so, which will be victor? Or is
there to be modification of both? In other words, is there to be a new
civilization--a Japanese, an Occidento-Oriental civilization?

The answer is plain to him who has eyes with which to see. Can the
Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? No more can Japan
lose all trace of inherited customs of daily life, of habits of
thought and language, products of a thousand years of training in
Chinese literature, Buddhist doctrine, and Confucian ethics. That "the
boy is father to the man" is true of a nation no less than of an
individual. What a youth has been at home in his habits of thought, in
his purpose and spirit and in their manifestation in action, will
largely determine his after-life. In like manner the mental and moral
history of Japan has so stamped certain characteristics on her
language, on her thought, and above all on her temperament and
character, that, however she may strive to Westernize herself, it is
impossible for her to obliterate her Oriental features. She will
inevitably and always remain Japanese.

Japan has already produced an Occidento-Oriental civilization. Time
will serve progressively to Occidentalize it. But there is no reason
for thinking that it will ever become wholly Occidentalized. A
Westerner visiting Japan will always be impressed with its Oriental
features, while an Asiatic will be impressed with its Occidental
features. This progressive Occidentalization of Japan will take place
according to the laws of social evolution, of which we must speak
somewhat more fully in a later chapter.

An important question bearing on this problem is the precise nature of
the characteristics differentiating the Occident and the Orient. What
exactly do we mean when we say that the Japanese are Oriental and will
always bear the marks of the Orient in their civilization, however
much they may absorb from the West? The importance and difficulty of
this question have led the writer to defer its consideration till
toward the close of this work.

If one would gain adequate conception of the process now going on, the
illustration already used of the mingling of two rivers needs to be
supplemented by another, corresponding to a separate class of facts.
Instead of the mingling of rivers, let us watch the confluence of two
glaciers. What pressures! What grindings! What upheavals! What
rendings! Such is the mingling of two civilizations. It is not smooth
and Noiseless, but attended with pressure and pain. It is a collision
in more ways than one. The unfortunates on whom the pressures of both
currents are directed are often quite destroyed.

Comparison is often made between Japan and India. In both countries
enormous social changes are taking place; in both, Eastern and Western
civilizations are in contact and in conflict. The differences,
however, are even more striking than the likenesses. Most conspicuous
is the fact that whereas, in India, the changes in civilization are
due almost wholly to the force and rule of the conquering race, in
Japan these changes are spontaneous, attributable entirely to the
desire and initiative of the native rulers. This difference is
fundamental and vital. The evolution of society in India is to a large
degree compulsory; in a true sense it is an artificial evolution. In
Japan, on the other hand, evolution is natural. There has not been
the slightest physical compulsion laid on her from without. With two
rare exceptions, Japan has never heard the boom of foreign cannon
carrying destruction to her people. During these years of change,
there have been none but Japanese rulers, and such has been the case
throughout the entire period of Japanese history. Their native rulers
have introduced changes such as foreign rulers would hardly have
ventured upon. The adoption of the Chinese language, literature, and
religions from ten to twelve centuries ago, was not occasioned by a
military occupancy of Japanese soil by invaders from China. It was due
absolutely to the free choice of their versatile people, as free and
voluntary as was the adoption by Rome of Greek literature and
standards of learning. The modern choice of Western material
civilization no doubt had elements of fear as motive power. But
impulsion through a knowledge of conditions differs radically from
compulsion exercised by a foreign military occupancy. India
illustrates the latter; Japan, the former.

Japan and her people manifest amazing contrasts. Never, on the one
hand, has a nation been so free from foreign military occupancy
throughout a history covering more than fifteen centuries, and at the
same time, been so influenced by and even subject to foreign psychical
environment. What was the fact in ancient times is the fact to-day.
The dominance of China and India has been largely displaced by that of
Europe. Western literature, language, and science, and even customs,
are being welcomed by Japan, and are working their inevitable effects.
But it is all perfectly natural, perfectly spontaneous. The present
choice by Japan of modern science and education and methods and
principles of government and nineteenth-century literature and
law,--in a word, of Occidental civilization,--is not due to any
artificial pressure or military occupancy. But the choice and the
consequent evolution are wholly due to the free act of the people. In
this, as in several other respects, Japan reminds us of ancient
Greece. Dr. Menzies, in his "History of Religion," says: "Greece was
not conquered from the East, but stirred to new life by the
communication of new ideas." Free choice has made Japan reject Chinese
astronomy, surgery, medicine, and jurisprudence. The early choice to
admit foreigners to Japan to trade may have been made entirely through
fear, but is now accepted and justified by reason and choice.

The true explanation, therefore, of the recent and rapid rise of Japan
to power and reputation, is to be found, not in the externals of her
civilization, not in the pressure of foreign governments, but rather
in the inherited mental and temperamental characteristics, reacting on
the new and stimulating environment, and working along the lines of
true evolution. Japan has not "jumped out of her skin," but a new
vitality has given that skin a new color.



How many of the stories of the Kojiki (written in 712 A.D.) and
Nihongi (720 A.D.) are to be accepted is still a matter of dispute
among scholars. Certain it is, however, that Japanese early history is
veiled in a mythology which seems to center about three prominent
points: Kyushu, in the south; Yamato, in the east central, and Izumo
in the west central region. This mythological history narrates the
circumstances of the victory of the southern descendants of the gods
over the two central regions. And it has been conjectured that these
three centers represent three waves of migration that brought the
ancestors of the present inhabitants of Japan to these shores. The
supposition is that they came quite independently and began their
conflicts only after long periods of residence and multiplication.

Though this early record is largely mythological, tradition shows us
the progenitors of the modern Japanese people as conquerors from the
west and south who drove the aborigines before them and gradually took
possession of the entire land. That these conquerors were not all of
the same stock is proved by the physical appearance of the Japanese
to-day, and by their language. Through these the student traces an
early mixture of races--the Malay, the Mongolian, and the Ural-Altaic.
Whether the early crossing of these races bears vital relation to the
plasticity of the Japanese is a question which tempts the scholar.

Primitive, inter-tribal conflicts of which we have no reliable records
resulted in increasing intercourse. Victory was followed by
federation. And through the development of a common language, of
common customs and common ideas, the tribes were unified socially and
psychically. Consciousness of this unity was emphasized by the
age-long struggle against the Ainu, who were not completely conquered
until the eighteenth century.

With the dawn of authentic history (500-600 A.D.) we find amalgamation
of the conquering tribes, with, however, constantly recurring
inter-clan and inter-family wars. Many of these continued for scores
and even hundreds of years--proving that, in the modern sense, of the
word, the Japanese were not yet a nation, though, through
inter-marriage, through the adoption of important elements of
civilization brought from China and India via Korea, through the
nominal acceptance of the Emperor as the divinely appointed ruler of
the land, they were, in race and in civilization, a fairly homogeneous

The national governmental system was materially affected by the need,
throughout many centuries, of systematic methods of defense against
the Ainu. The rise of the Shogunate dates back to 883 A.D., when the
chief of the forces opposing the Ainu was appointed by the Emperor and
bore the official title, "The Barbarian-expelling Generalissimo." This
office developed in power until, some centuries later, it usurped in
fact, if not in name, all the imperial prerogatives.

It is probable that the Chinese written language, literature, and
ethical teachings of Confucius came to Japan from Korea after the
Christian era. The oldest known Japanese writings (Japanese written
with Chinese characters) date from the eighth century. In this period
also Buddhism first came to Japan. For over a hundred years it made
relatively little progress. But when at last in the ninth and tenth
centuries native Japanese Buddhists popularized its doctrines and
adopted into its theogony the deities of the aboriginal religion, now
known as Shinto, Buddhism became the religion of the people, and
filled the land with its great temples, praying priests, and gorgeous

Even in those early centuries the contact of Japan with her Oriental
neighbors revealed certain traits of her character which have been
conspicuous in recent times--great capacity for acquisition, and
readiness to adopt freely from foreign nations. Her contact with
China, at that time so far in advance of herself in every element of
civilization, was in some respects disastrous to her original growth.
Instead of working out the problems of thought and life for herself,
she took what China and Korea had to give. The result was an arrest in
the development of everything distinctively native. The native
religion was so absorbed by Buddhism that for a thousand years it lost
all self-consciousness. Indeed the modern clear demarcation between
the native and the imported religions is a matter of only a few
decades, due to the researches of native scholars during the latter
part of the last and the early part of this century. Even now,
multitudes of the common people know no difference between the various
elements of the composite religion of which they are the heirs.

Moreover, early contact with China and her enormous literature checked
the development of the native language and the growth of the native
literature. The language suffered arrest because of the rapid
introduction of Chinese terms for all the growing needs of thought and
civilization. Modern Japanese is a compound of the original tongue and
Japonicized Chinese. Native speculative thought likewise found little
encouragement or stimulus to independent activity in the presence of
the elaborate and in many respects profound philosophies brought from
India and China.

From earliest times the government of Japan was essentially feudal.
Powerful families and clans disputed and fought for leadership, and
the political history of Japan revolves around the varying fortunes of
these families. While the Imperial line is never lost to sight, it
seldom rises to real power.

When, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Japan's conquering arm
reached across the waters, to ravage the coast of China, to extend her
influence as far south as Siam, and even to invade Korea with a large
army in 1592, it looked as if she were well started on her career as a
world-power. But that was not yet to be. The hegemony of her clans
passed into the powerful and shrewd Tokugawa family, the policy of
which was peace and national self-sufficiency.

The representatives of the Occidental nations (chiefly of Spain and
Portugal) were banished. The Christian religion (Roman Catholic),
which for over fifty years had enjoyed free access and had made great
progress, was forbidden and stamped out, not without much bloodshed.
Foreign travel and commerce were strictly interdicted. A particular
school of Confucian ethics was adopted and taught as the state
religion. Feudalism was systematically established and intentionally
developed. Each and every man had his assigned and recognized place in
the social fabric, and change was not easy. It is doubtful if any
European country has ever given feudalism so long and thorough a
trial. Never has feudalism attained so complete a development as it
did in Japan under the Tokugawa régime of over 250 years.

During this period no influences came from other lands to disturb the
natural development. With the exception of three ships a year from
Holland, an occasional stray ship from other lands, and from fifteen
to twenty Dutchmen isolated in a little island in the harbor of
Nagasaki, Japan had no communication with foreign lands or alien

Of this period, extending to the middle of the present century, the
ordinary visitor and even the resident have but a superficial
knowledge. All the changes that have taken place in Japan, since the
coming of Perry in 1854, are attributed by the easy-going tourist to
the external pressure of foreign nations. But such travelers know
nothing of the internal preparations that had been making for
generations previous to the arrival of Perry. The tourist is quite
ignorant of the line of Japanese scholars that had been undermining
the authority of the military rulers, "the Tokugawa," in favor of the
Imperial line which they had practically supplanted.

The casual student of Japan has been equally ignorant of the real
mental and moral caliber of the Japanese. Dressed in clothing that
appeared to us fantastic, and armed with cumbersome armor and
old-fashioned guns, it was easy to jump to the conclusion that the
people were essentially uncivilized. We did not know the intellectual
discipline demanded of one, whether native or foreign, who would
master the native language or the native systems of thought. We forgot
that we appeared as grotesque and as barbarous to them as they to us,
and that mental ability and moral worth are qualities that do not show
on the surface of a nation's civilization. While they thought us to be
"unclean," "dogs," "red-haired devils," we perhaps thought them to be
clever savages, or at best half-civilized heathen, without moral
perceptions or intellectual ability.

Of Old Japan little more needs to be said. Without external commerce,
there was little need for internal trade; ships were small; roads were
footpaths; education was limited to the samurai, or military class,
retainers of the daimyo, "feudal lords"; inter-clan travel was limited
and discouraged; Confucian ethics was the moral standard. From the
beginning of the seventeenth century Christianity was forbidden by
edict, and was popularly known as the "evil way"; Japan was thought to
be especially sacred, and the coming of foreigners was supposed to
pollute the land and to be the cause of physical evils. Education, as
in China, was limited to the Chinese classics. Mathematics, general
history, and science, in the modern sense, were of course wholly
unknown. Guns and powder were brought from the West in the sixteenth
century by Spaniards and Portuguese, but were never improved.
Ship-building was the same in the middle of the nineteenth century as
in the middle of the sixteenth, perhaps even less advanced.
Architecture had received its great impulse from the introduction of
Buddhism in the ninth and tenth centuries and had made no material
improvement thereafter.

But while there was little progress in the external and mechanical
elements of civilization, there was progress in other respects. During
the "great peace," first arose great scholars. Culture became more
general throughout the nation. Education was esteemed. The corrupt
lives of the priests were condemned and an effort was made to reform
life through the revival of a certain school of Confucian teachers
known as "Shin-Gaku"--"Heart-Knowledge." Art also made progress, both
pictorial and manual. It would almost seem as if modern artificers and
painters had lost the skill of their forefathers of one or two hundred
years ago.

Many reasons explain the continuance of the old political and social
order: the lack of a foreign foe to compel abandonment of the tribal
organisation; the mountainous nature of the country with its slow,
primitive means of intercommunication; the absence of all idea of a
completely centralized nation. Furthermore, the principle of complete
subordination to superiors and ancestors had become so strong that
individual innovations were practically impossible. Japan thus lacked
the indispensable key to further progress, the principle of
individualism. The final step in the development of her nationality
has been taken, therefore, only in our own time.

Old Japan seemed absolutely committed to a thorough-going antagonism
to everything foreign. New Japan seems committed to the opposite
policy. What are the steps by which she has effected this apparent
national reversal of attitude?

We should first note that the absolutism of the Tokugawa Shogunate
served to arouse ever-growing opposition because of its stern
repression of individual opinion. It not only forbade the Christian
religion, but also all independent thought in religious philosophy and
in politics. The particular form of Confucian moral philosophy which
it held was forced on all public teachers of Confucianism. Dissent was
not only heretical, but treasonable. Although, by its military
absolutism, the Tokugawa rule secured the great blessing of peace,
lasting over two hundred years, and although the curse of Japan for
well-nigh a thousand preceding years had been fierce inter-tribal and
inter-family wars and feuds, yet it secured that peace at the expense
of individual liberty of thought and act. It thus gradually aroused
against itself the opposition of many able minds. The enforced peace
rendered it possible for these men to devote themselves to problems of
thought and of history. Indeed, they had no other outlet for their
energies. As they studied the history of the past and compared their
results with the facts of the present, it gradually dawned on the
minds of the scholars of the eighteenth century, that the Tokugawa
family were exercising functions of government which had never been
delegated to them; and that the Emperor was a poverty-stricken puppet
in the hands of a family that had seized the military power and had
gradually absorbed all the active functions of government, together
with its revenues.

It is possible for us to see now that these early Japanese scholars
idealized their ancient history, and assigned to the Emperor a place
in ancient times which in all probability he has seldom held. But,
however that may be, they thought their view correct, and held that
the Emperor was being deprived of his rightful rule by the Tokugawa

These ideas, first formulated in secret by scholars, gradually
filtered down, still in secrecy, and were accepted by a large number
of the samurai, the military literati of the land. Their opposition to
the actual rulers of the land, aroused by the individual-crushing
absolutism of the Tokugawa rule, naturally allied itself to the
religious sentiment of loyalty to the Emperor. Few Westerners can
appreciate the full significance of this fact. Throughout the
centuries loyalty to the Emperor has been considered a cardinal
virtue. With one exception, according to the popular histories, no one
ever acknowledged himself opposed to the Emperor. Every rebellion
against the powers in actual possession made it the first aim to gain
possession of the Emperor, and proclaim itself as fighting for him.
When, therefore, the scholars announced that the existing government
was in reality a usurpation and that the Emperor was robbed of his
rightful powers, the latent antagonism to the Tokugawa rule began to
find both intellectual and moral justification. It could and did
appeal to the religious patriotism of the people. It is perhaps not
too much to say that the overthrow of the Tokugawa family and the
restoration of the Imperial rule to the Imperial family would have
taken place even though there had been no interference of foreign
nations, no extraneous influences. But equally certain is it that
these antagonisms to the ruling family were crystallized, and the
great internal changes hastened by the coming in of the aggressive
foreign nations. How this external influence operated must and can be
told in a few words.

When Admiral Perry negotiated his treaty with the Japanese, he
supposed he was dealing with responsible representatives of the
government. As was later learned, however, the Tokugawa rulers had not
secured the formal assent of the Emperor to the treaty. The Tokugawa
rulers and their counselors, quite as much as the clan-rulers, wished
to keep the foreigners out of the country, but they realized their
inability. The rulers of the clans, however, felt that the Tokugawa
rulers had betrayed the land; they were, accordingly, in active
opposition both to the foreigners and to the national rulers. When the
foreigners requested the Japanese government, "the Tokugawa
Shogunate," to carry out the treaties, it was unable to comply with
the request because of the antagonism of the clan-rulers. When the
clan-rulers demanded that the government annul the treaties and drive
out the hated and much-feared foreigners, it found itself utterly
unable to do so, because of the formidable naval power of the

As a consequence of this state of affairs, a few serious collisions
took place between the foreigners and the two-sworded samurai,
retainers of the clan-rulers. The Tokugawa rulers apparently did their
best to protect the foreigners, and, when there was no possible method
of evasion, to execute the treaties they had made. But they could not
control the clans already rebellious. A few murders of foreigners,
followed by severe reprisals, and two bombardments of native towns by
foreign gunboats, began to reveal to the military class at large that
no individual or local action against the foreigners was at all to be
thought of. The first step necessary was the unification of the Empire
under the Imperial rule. This, however, could be done only by the
overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate; which was effected in 1867-68
after a short struggle, marked by great clemency.

We thus realize that the overthrow of the Shogunate as also the final
abolishment of feudalism with its clans, lords, and hereditary rulers,
and the establishment of those principles of political and personal
centralization which lie at the foundation of real national unity, not
only were hastened by, but in a marked degree dependent on, the
stimulus and contribution of foreigners. They compelled a more
complete Japanese unity than had existed before, for they demanded
direct relations with the national head. And when treaty negotiations
revealed the lack of such a head, they undertook to show its necessity
by themselves punishing those local rulers who did not recognize the
Tokugawa headship.

With the establishment of the Emperor on the throne, began the modern
era in Japanese history, known in Japan as "Meiji"--"Enlightened

But not even yet was the purpose of the nation attained, namely, the
expulsion of the polluters of the sacred soil of Japan. As soon as the
new government was established and had turned its attention to foreign
affairs, it found itself in as great a dilemma as had its
predecessors, the Tokugawa rulers. For the foreign governments
insisted that the treaties negotiated with the old government should
be accepted in full by the new. It was soon as evident to the new
rulers as it had been to the old that direct and forcible resistance
to the foreigners was futile. Not by might were they to be overcome.
Westerners had, however, supplied the ideals whereby national,
political unity was to be secured. Mill's famous work on
"Representative Government" was early translated, and read by all the
thinking men of the day. These ideas were also keenly studied in their
actual workings in the West. The consequence was that feudalism was
utterly rejected and the new ideas, more or less modified, were
speedily adopted, even down to the production of a constitution and
the establishment of local representative assemblies and a national
diet. In other words, the theories and practices of the West in regard
to the political organization of the state supplied Japan with those
new intellectual variations which were essential to the higher
development of her own national unity.

A further point of importance is the fact that at the very time that
the West applied this pressure and supplied Japan with these political
ideals she also put within her reach the material instruments which
would enable her to carry them into practice. I refer to steam
locomotion by land and sea, the postal and telegraphic systems of
communication, the steam printing press, the system of popular
education, and the modern organization of the army and the navy. These
instruments Japan made haste to acquire. But for these, the rapid
transformation of Old Japan into New Japan would have been an
exceedingly long and difficult process. The adoption of these tools of
civilization by the central authority at once gave it an immense
superiority over any local force. For it could communicate speedily
with every part of the Empire, and enforce its decisions with a
celerity and a decisiveness before unknown. It became once more the
actual head of the nation.

We have thus reached the explanation of one of the most astonishing
changes in national attitude that history has to record, and the new
attitude seems such a contradiction of the old as to be inexplicable,
and almost incredible. But a better knowledge of the facts and a
deeper understanding of their significance will serve to remove this
first impression.

What, then, did the new government do? It simply said, "For us to
drive out these foreigners is impossible; but neither is it desirable.
We need to know the secrets of their power. We must study their
language, their science, their machinery, their steamboats, their
battle-ships. We must learn all their secrets, and then we shall be
able to turn them out without difficulty. Let us therefore restrict
them carefully to the treaty ports, but let us make all the use of
them we can."

This has virtually been the national policy of Japan ever since. And
this policy gained the acceptance of the people as a whole with
marvelous readiness, for a reason which few foreigners can appreciate.
Had this policy been formulated and urged by the Tokugawa rulers,
there is no probability that it would have been accepted. But because
it was, ostensibly at least, the declared will of the Emperor, loyalty
to him, which in Japan is both religion and patriotism, led to a
hearty and complete acceptance which could hardly have been realized
in any other land. During the first year of his "enlightened" rule
(1868), the Emperor gave his sanction to an Edict, the last two
clauses of which read as follows:

     "The old, uncivilized way shall be replaced by the eternal
     principles of the universe.

     "The best knowledge shall be sought throughout the world, so as to
     promote the Imperial welfare."

It is the wide acceptance of this policy, which, however, is in accord
with the real genius of the people, that has transformed Japan. It has
sent hundreds of its young men to foreign lands to learn and bring
back to Japan the secrets of Western power and wealth; it has
established roads and railways, postal and telegraphic facilities, a
public common-school system, colleges and a university in which
Western science, history, and languages have been taught by foreign
and foreign-trained instructors; daily, weekly, and monthly papers and
magazines; factories, docks, drydocks; local and foreign commerce;
representative government--in a word, all the characteristic features
of New Japan. The whole of New Japan is only the practical carrying
out of the policy adopted at the beginning of the new era, when it was
found impossible to cast out the foreigners by force. Brute force
being found to be out of the question, resort was thus made to
intellectual force, and with real success.

The practice since then has not been so much to retain the foreigner
as to learn of him and then to eliminate him. Every branch of learning
and industry has proved this to be the consistent Japanese policy. No
foreigner may hope to obtain a permanent position in Japanese employ,
either in private firms or in the government. A foreigner is useful
not for what he can do, but for what he can teach. When any Japanese
can do his work tolerably well, the foreigner is sure to be dropped.

The purpose of this volume does not require of us a minute statistical
statement of the present attainments of New Japan. Such information
may be procured from Henry Norman's "Real Japan," Ransome's "Japan in
Transition," and Newton's "Japan: Country, Court, and People." It is
enough for us to realize that Japan has wholly abandoned or profoundly
modified all the external features of her old, her distinctively
Oriental civilization and has replaced them by Occidental features. In
government, she is no longer arbitrary, autocratic, and hereditary,
but constitutional and representative. Town, provincial, and national
legislative assemblies are established, and in fairly good working
order, all over the land. The old feudal customs have been replaced by
well codified laws, which are on the whole faithfully administered
according to Occidental methods. Examination by torture has been
abolished. The perfect Occidentalization of the army, and the creation
of an efficient navy, are facts fully demonstrated to the world. The
limited education of the few--- and in exclusively Chinese
classics--has given place to popular education. Common schools number
over 30,000, taught by about 100,000 teachers (4278 being women),
having over 4,500,000 pupils (over 1,500,000 being girls). The school
accommodation is insufficient; it is said that 30,000 additional
teachers are needed at once. Middle and high schools throughout the
land are rejecting nearly one-half of the student applicants for lack
of accommodation.

Feudal isolation, repression, and seclusion have given way to free
travel, free speech, and a free press. Newspapers, magazines, and
books pour forth from the universal printing press in great profusion.
Twenty dailies issue in the course of a year over a million copies
each, while two of them circulate 24,000,000 and 21,000,000 copies,

Personal, political, and religious liberty has been practically secure
now for over two decades, guaranteed by the constitution, and enforced
by the courts.

Chinese medical practice has largely been replaced by that from the
West, although many of the ignorant classes still prefer the old
methods. The government enforces Western hygienic principles in all
public matters, with the result that the national health has improved
and the population is growing at an alarming rate. While in 1872 the
people numbered 33,000,000, in 1898 they numbered 45,000,000. The
general scale of living for the common people has also advanced
conspicuously. Meat shops are now common throughout the land--a thing
unknown in pre-Meiji times--and rice, which used to be the luxury of
the wealthy few, has become the staple necessity of the many.

Postal and telegraph facilities are quite complete. Macadamized roads
and well-built railroads have replaced the old footpaths, except in
the most mountainous districts. Factories of many kinds are appearing
in every town and city. Business corporations, banks, etc., which
numbered only thirty-four so late as 1864 are now numbered by the
thousand, and trade flourishes as in no previous period of Japanese
history. Instead of being a country of farmers and soldiers, Japan is
to-day a land of farmers and merchants. Wealth is growing apace.
International commerce, too, has sprung up and expanded phenomenally.
Japanese merchant steamers may now be seen in every part of the world.

All these changes have taken place within about three decades, and so
radical have they been,--so productive of new life in Japan,--that
some have urged the re-writing of Japanese history, making the first
year of Meiji (1868) the year one of Japan, instead of reckoning from
the year in which Jimmu Tenno is said to have ascended the throne,
2560 years ago (B.C. 660).

The way in which Japanese regard the transformations produced by the
"restoration" of the present Emperor, upon the overthrow of the
"Bakufu," or "Curtain Government," may be judged from the following
graphic paragraph from _The Far East_:

     "The Restoration of Meiji was indeed the greatest of revolutions
     that this island empire ever underwent. Its magic wand left
     nothing untouched and unchanged. It was the Restoration that
     overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate, which reigned supreme for over
     two centuries and a half. It was the Restoration that brought us
     face to face with the Occidentals. It was the Restoration that
     pulled the demigods of the Feudal lords down to the level of the
     commoners. It was the Restoration that deprived the samurai of
     their fiefs and reduced them to penury. It was the Restoration that
     taught the people to build their houses of bricks and stones and to
     construct ships and bridges of iron instead of wood. It was the
     Restoration that informed us that eclipses and comets are not to be
     feared, and that earthquakes are not caused by a huge cat-fish in
     the bottom of the earth. It was the Restoration that taught the
     people to use the "drum-backing" thunder as their messenger, and to
     make use of the railroad instead of the palanquin. It was the
     Restoration that set the earth in motion, and proved that there is
     no rabbit in the moon. It was the Restoration that bestowed on
     Socrates and Aristotle the chairs left vacant by Confucius and
     Mencius. It was the Restoration that let Shakspere and Goethe take
     the place of Bakin and Chikamatsu. It was the Restoration that
     deprived the people of the swords and topnots. In short, after the
     Restoration a great change took place in administration, in art, in
     science, in literature, in language spoken and written, in taste,
     in custom, in the mode of living, nay in everything" (p. 541).

A natural outcome of the Restoration is the exuberant patriotism that
is so characteristic a feature of New Japan. The very term
"ai-koku-shin" is a new creation, almost as new as the thing. This
word is an incidental proof of the general correctness of the
contention of this chapter that true nationality is a recent product
in Japan. The term, literally translated, is "love-country heart"; but
the point for us to notice particularly is the term for country,
"koku"; this word has never before meant the country as a whole, but
only the territory of a clan. If I wish to ask a Japanese what part
of Japan is his native home, I must use this word. And if a Japanese
wishes to ask me which of the foreign lands I am a native of, he must
use the same word. The truth is that Old Japan did not have any common
word corresponding to the English term, "My country." In ancient
times, this could only mean, "My clan-territory." But with the passing
away of the clans the old word has taken on a new significance. The
new word, "ai-koku-shin," refers not to love of clan, but to love of
the whole nation. The conception of national unity has at last seized
upon the national mind and heart, and is giving the people an
enthusiasm for the nation, regardless of the parts, which they never
before knew. Japanese patriotism has only in this generation come to
self-consciousness. This leads it to many a strange freak. It is
vociferous and imperious, and often very impractical and Chauvinistic.
It frequently takes the form of uncompromising disdain for the
foreigner, and the most absolute loyalty to the Emperor of Japan; it
demands the utmost respect of expression in regard to him and the form
of government he has graciously granted the nation. The slightest hint
or indirect suggestion of defect or ignorance, or even of limitation,
is most vehemently resented.

A few illustrations of the above statements from recent experience
will not be out of place. In August, 1891, the Minister of Education,
Mr. Y. Osaki, criticising the tendency in Japan to pay undue respect
to moneyed men, said, in the course of a long speech, "You Japanese
worship money even more reverently than the Americans do. If you had a
republic as they have, I believe you would nominate an Iwazaki or a
Mitsui to be president, whereas they don't think of nominating a
Vanderbilt or a Gould." It was not long before a storm was raging
around his head because of this reference to a republican form of
government as a possibility in Japan. The storm became so fierce that
he was finally compelled to resign his post and retire, temporarily,
from political life.

In October, 1898, the High Council of Education was required to
consider various questions regarding the conduct of the educational
department after the New Treaties should come into force. The most
important question was whether foreigners should be allowed to have a
part in the education of Japanese youth. The general argument, and
that which prevailed, was that this should not be allowed lest the
patriotism of the children be weakened. So far as appears but one
voice was raised for a more liberal policy. Mr. Y. Kamada maintained
that "patriotism in Japan was the outcome of foreign intercourse.
Patriotism, that is to say, love of country--not merely of fief--and
readiness to sacrifice everything for its sake, was a product of the
Meiji era."

In 1891 a teacher in the Kumamoto Boys' School gave expression to the
thought in a public address that, as all mankind are brothers, the
school should stand for the principle of universal brotherhood and
universal goodwill to men. This expression of universalism was so
obnoxious to the patriotic spirit of so large a number of the people
of Kumamoto Ken, or Province, that the governor required the school to
dismiss that teacher. There is to-day a strong party in Japan which
makes "Japanism" their cry; they denounce all expressions of universal
good-will as proofs of deficiency of patriotism. There are not wanting
those who see through the shallowness of such views and who vigorously
oppose and condemn such narrow patriotism. Yet the fact that it exists
to-day with such force must be noted and its natural explanation, too,
must not be forgotten. It is an indication of self-conscious

That this love of country, even this conception of country, is a
modern thing will appear from two further facts. Until modern times
there was no such thing as a national flag. The flaming Sun on a field
of white came into existence as a national flag only in 1859. The use
of the Sun as the symbol for the Emperor has been in vogue since 700
A.D., the custom having been adopted from China. "When in 1859 a
national flag corresponding to those of Europe became necessary, the
Sun Banner naturally stepped into the vacant place."[A]

The second fact is the recent origin of the festival known as
"Kigensetsu." It occurs on February 11 and celebrates the alleged
accession of Jimmu Tenno, the first Emperor of Japan, to the throne
2560 years ago (660 B.C.). The festival itself, however, was
instituted by Imperial decree ten years ago (1890).

The transformation which has come over Japan in a single generation
requires interpretation. Is the change real or superficial? Is the new
social order "a borrowed trumpery garment, which will soon be rent by
violent revolutions," according to the eminent student of racial
psychology, Professor Le Bon, or is it of "a solid nature" according
to the firm belief of Mr. Stanford Ransome, one of the latest writers
on Japan?

This is the problem that will engage our attention more or less
directly throughout this work. We shall give our chief thought to the
nature and development of Japanese racial characteristics, believing
that this alone gives the light needed for the solution of the



What constitutes progress? And what is the true criterion for its
measurement? In adopting Western methods of life and thought, is Japan
advancing or receding? The simplicity of the life of the common
people, their freedom from fashions that fetter the Occidental, their
independence of furniture in their homes, their few wants and fewer
necessities--these, when contrasted with the endless needs and demands
of an Occidental, are accepted by some as evidences of a higher stage
of civilization than prevails in the West.

The hedonistic criterion of progress is the one most commonly adopted
in considering the question as to whether Japan is the gainer or the
loser by her rapid abandonment of old ways and ideas and by her
equally rapid adoption of Western ones in their place. Yet this appeal
to happiness seems to me a misleading because vague, if not altogether
false, standard of progress. Those who use it insist that the people
of Japan are losing their former happiness under the stress of new
conditions. Now there can be no doubt that during the "Kyu-han jidai,"
the times before the coming in of Western waves of life, the farmers
were a simple, unsophisticated people; living from month to month with
little thought or anxiety. They may be said to have been happy. The
samurai who lived wholly on the bounty of the daimyo led of course a
tranquil life, at least so far as anxiety or toil for daily rice and
fish was concerned. As the fathers had lived and fought and died, so
did the sons. To a large extent the community had all things in
common; for although the lord lived in relative luxury, yet in such
small communities there never was the great difference between classes
that we find in modern Europe and America. As a rule the people were
fed, if there was food. The socialistic principle was practically
universal. Especially was emphasis laid on kinship. As a result, save
among the outcast classes, the extremes of poverty did not exist.

Were we to rest our inquiries at this point, we might say that in
truth the Japanese had attained the summit of progress; that nothing
further could be asked. But pushing our way further, we find that the
peace and quiet of the ordinary classes of society were accompanied by
many undesirable features.

Prominent among them was the domineering spirit of the military class.
They alone laid claim to personal rights, and popular stories are full
of the free and furious ways in which they used their swords. The
slightest offense by one of the swordless men would be paid for by a
summary act of the two-sworded swashbucklers, while beggars and
farmers were cut down without compunction, sometimes simply to test a
sword. In describing those times one man said to me, "They used to cut
off the heads of the common people as farmers cut off the head of the
daikon" (a variety of giant radish). I have frequently asked my
Japanese friends and acquaintances, whether, in view of the increasing
difficulties of life under the new conditions, the country would not
like to return to ancient times and customs. But none have been ready
to give me an affirmative reply. On detailed questioning I have always
found that the surly, domineering methods, the absolutism of the
rulers, and the defenselessness of the people against unjust arbitrary
superiors would not be submitted to by a people that has once tasted
the joy arising from individual rights and freedom and the manhood
that comes from just laws for all.

A striking feature of those Japanese who are unchanged by foreign ways
is their obsequious manner toward superiors and officials. The lordly
and oftentimes ruthless manner of the rulers has naturally cowed the
subject. Whenever the higher nobility traveled, the common people were
commanded to fall on the ground in obeisance and homage. Failure to do
so was punishable with instant death at the hands of the retainers
who accompanied the lord. During my first stay in Kumamoto I was
surprised that farmers, coming in from the country on horseback,
meeting me as I walked, invariably got down from their horses,
unfastened the handkerchiefs from their heads, and even took off their
spectacles if there were nothing else removable. These were signs of
respect given to all in authority. Where my real status began to be
generally known, these signs of politeness gave place to rude staring.
It is difficult for the foreigner to appreciate the extremes of the
high-handed and the obsequious spirit which were developed by the
ancient form of government. Yet it is comparatively easy to
distinguish between the evidently genuine humility of the non-military
classes and the studied deference of the dominant samurai.

Another feature of the old order of things was the emptiness of the
lives of the people. Education was rare. Limited to the samurai, who
composed but a fraction of the population, it was by no means
universal even among them. And such education as they had was confined
to the Chinese classics. Although there were schools in connection
with some of the temples, the people as a whole did not learn to read
or write. These were accomplishments for the nobility and men of
leisure. The thoughts of the people were circumscribed by the narrow
world in which they lived, and this allowed but an occasional
glimpse of other clans through war or a chance traveler. For, in those
times, freedom of travel was not generally allowed. Each man, as a
rule, lived and labored and died where he was born. The military
classes had more freedom. But when we contrast the breadth of thought
and outlook enjoyed by the nation to-day, through newspapers and
magazines, with the outlook and knowledge of even the most progressive
and learned of those of ancient times, how contracted do their lives

A third feature of former times is the condition of women during those
ages. Eulogizers of Old Japan not only seem to forget that working
classes existed then, but also that women, constituting half the
population, were essential to the existence of the nation. Though
allowing more freedom than was given to women in other Oriental
nations, Japan did not grant such liberty as is essential to the full
development of her powers. "Woman is a man's plaything" expresses a
view still held in Japan. "Woman's sole duty is the bearing and
rearing of children for her husband" is the dominant idea that has
determined her place in the family and in the state for hundreds of
years. That she has any independent interest or value as a human being
has not entered into national conception. "The way in which they are
treated by the men has hitherto been such as might cause a pang to any
generous European heart.... A woman's lot is summed up in what is
termed 'the three obediences,' obedience, while yet unmarried, to a
father; obedience, when married, to a husband; obedience, when
widowed, to a son. At the present moment the greatest duchess or
marchioness in the land is still her husband's drudge. She fetches and
carries for him, bows down humbly in the hall when my lord sallies
forth on his good pleasure."[C] "The Greater Learning for Women," by
Ekken Kaibara (1630-1714), an eminent Japanese moralist, is the name
of a treatise on woman's duties which sums up the ideas common in
Japan upon this subject. For two hundred years or more it has been
used as a text-book in the training of girls. It enjoins such abject
submission of the wife to her husband, to her parents-in-law, and to
her other kindred by marriage, as no self-respecting woman of Western
lands could for a moment endure. Let me prove this through a few

"A woman should look on her husband as if he were Heaven itself and
never weary of thinking how she may yield to her husband, and thus
escape celestial castigation." "Woman must form no friendships and no
intimacy, except when ordered to do so by her parents or by the
middleman. Even at the peril of her life, must she harden her heart
like a rock or metal, and observe the rules of propriety." "A woman
has no particular lord. She must look to her husband as her lord and
must serve him with all reverence and worship, not despising or
thinking lightly of him. The great life-long duty of a woman is
obedience.... When the husband issues his instructions, the wife must
never disobey them.... Should her husband be roused to anger at any
time, she must obey him, with fear and trembling." Not one word in all
these many and specific instructions hints at love and affection. That
which to Western ears is the sweetest word in the English language,
the foundation of happiness in the home, the only true bond between
husband and wife, parents and children--LOVE--does not once appear in
this the ideal instruction for Japanese women.

Even to this day divorce is the common occurrence in Japan. According
to Confucius there are seven grounds of divorce: disobedience,
barrenness, lewd conduct, jealousy, leprosy or any other foul or
incurable disease, too much talking, and thievishness. "In plain
English, a man may send away his wife whenever he gets tired of her."

Were the man's duties to the wife and to her parents as minutely
described and insisted on as are those of the wife to the husband and
to his parents, this "Greater Learning for Women" would not seem so
deficient; but such is not the case. The woman's rights are few, yet
she bears her lot with marvelous patience. Indeed, she has acquired a
most attractive and patient and modest behavior despite, or is it
because of, centuries of well-nigh tyrannical treatment from the male
sex. In some important respects the women of Japan are not to be
excelled by those of any other land. But that this lot has been a
happy one I cannot conceive it possible for a European, who knows the
meaning of love or home, to contend. The single item of one divorce
for every three marriages tells a tale of sorrow and heartache that is
sad to contemplate. Nor does this include those separations where
tentative marriage takes place with a view to learning whether the
parties can endure living together. I have known several such cases.
Neither does this take account of the great number of concubines that
may be found in the homes of the higher classes. A concubine often
makes formal divorce quite superfluous.

I by no means contend that the women of Old Japan were all and always
miserable. There was doubtless much happiness and even family joy;
affection between husband and wife could assuredly have been found in
numberless cases. But the hardness of life as a whole, the low
position held by woman in her relations to man, her lack of legal
rights,[D] and her menial position, justify the assertion that there
was much room for improvement.

These three conspicuous features of the older life in Japan help us to
reach a clear conception as to what constitutes progress. We may say
that true progress consists in that continuous, though slow,
transformation of the structure of society which, while securing its
more thorough organization, brings to each individual the opportunity
of a larger, richer, and fuller life, a life which increasingly calls
forth his latent powers and capacities. In other words, progress is a
growing organization of society, accompanied by a growing liberty of
the individual resulting in richness and fullness of life. It is not
primarily a question of unreflecting happiness, but a question of the
wide development of manhood and womanhood. Both men and women have as
yet unmeasured latent capacities, which demand a certain liberty,
accompanied by responsibilities and cares, in order for their
development. Intellectual education and a wide horizon are likewise
essential to the production of such manhood and womanhood. In the long
run this is seen to bring a deeper and a more lasting happiness than
was possible to the undeveloped man or woman.

The question of progress is confused and put on a wrong footing when
the consciousness of happiness or unhappiness, is made the primary
test. The happiness of the child is quite apart from that of the
adult. Regardless of distressing circumstances, the child is able to
laugh and play, and this because he is a child; a child in his
ignorance of actual life, and in his inability to perceive the true
conditions in which he lives. Not otherwise, I take it, was the
happiness of the vast majority in Old Japan. Theirs was the happiness
of ignorance and simple, undeveloped lives. Accustomed to tyranny,
they did not think of rebellion against it. Familiar with brutality
and suffering, they felt nothing of its shame and inhumanity. The
sight of decapitated bodies, the torture of criminals, the despotism
of husbands, the cringing obedience of the ruled, the haughtiness of
the rulers, the life of hard toil and narrow outlook, were all so
usual that no thought of escape from such an order of society ever
suggested itself to those who endured it.

From time to time wise and just rulers did indeed strive to introduce
principles of righteousness into their methods of government; but
these men formed the exception, not the rule. They were individuals
and not the system under which the people lived. It was always a
matter of chance whether or not such men were at the head of affairs,
for the people did not dream of the possibility of having any voice in
their selection. The structure of society was and always had been
absolute militarism. Even under the most benevolent rulers the use of
cruel torture, not only on convicted criminals, but on all suspected
of crime, was customary. Those in authority might personally set a
good example, but they did not modify the system. They owned not only
the soil but practically the laborers also, for these could not leave
their homes in search of others that were better. They were serfs, if
not slaves, and the system did not tend to raise the standard of life
or education, of manhood or womanhood among the people. The happiness
of the people in such times was due in part to their essential
inhumanity of heart and lack of sympathy with suffering and sorrow.
Each individual bore his own sorrow and pain alone. The community, as
such, did not distress itself over individuals who suffered. Sympathy,
in its full meaning, was unknown in Old Japan. The barbarous custom of
casting out the leper from the home, to wander a lonely exile, living
on the charity of strangers, is not unknown even to this day. We are
told that in past times the "people were governed by such strong
aversion to the sight of sickness that travelers were often left to
die by the roadside from thirst, hunger, or disease; and householders
even went the length of thrusting out of doors and abandoning to utter
destitution servants who suffered from chronic maladies." So universal
was this heartlessness that the government at one time issued
proclamations against the practices it allowed. "Whenever an epidemic
occurred the number of deaths was enormous." Seven men of the outcast,
"the Eta," class were authoritatively declared equal in value to one
common man. Beggars were technically called "hi-nin," "not men."

Those who descant on the happiness of Old Japan commit the great error
of overlooking all these sad features of life, and of fixing their
attention exclusively on the one feature of the childlike, not to say
childish, lightness of heart of the common people. Such writers are
thus led to pronounce the past better than the present time. They also
overlook the profound happiness and widespread prosperity of the
present era. Trade, commerce, manufactures, travel, the freest of
intercommunication, newspapers, and international relations, have
brought into life a richness and a fullness that were then unknown.
But in addition, the people now enjoy a security of personal
interests, a possession of personal rights and property, and a
personal liberty, that make life far more worthy and profoundly
enjoyable, even while they bring responsibilities and duties and not a
few anxieties. This explains the fact that no Japanese has expressed
to me the slightest desire to abandon the present and return to the
life and conditions of Old Japan.

Let me repeat, therefore, with all possible emphasis, that the problem
of progress is not primarily one of increasing light-heartedness, pure
and simple, nor yet a problem of racial unification or of political
centralization; it is rather a problem of so developing the structure
of society that the individual may have the fullest opportunity for

The measure of progress is not the degree of racial unification, of
political centralization, or of unreflective happiness, but rather the
degree and the extent of individual personality. Racial unification,
political centralization, and increasing happiness are in the
attainment of progress, but they are not to be viewed as sufficient
ends. Personality, can alone be that end. The wide development of
personality, therefore, is at once the goal and the criterion of



Progress as an ideal is quite modern in its origin. For although the
ancients were progressing, they did it unconsciously, blindly,
stumbling on it by chance, forced to it, as we have seen, by the
struggle for existence. True of the ancient civilizations of Europe
and Western Asia and Africa, this is emphatically true of the Orient.
Here, so far from seeking to progress, the avowed aim has been not to
progress; the set purpose has been to do as the fathers did; to follow
their example even in customs and rites whose meaning has been lost in
the obscurity of the past. This blind adherence was the boast of those
who called themselves religious. They strove to fulfill their duties
to their ancestors.

Under such conditions how was progress possible? And how has it come
to pass that, ruled by this ideal until less than fifty years ago,
Japan is now facing quite the other way? The passion of the nation
to-day is to make the greatest possible progress in every direction.
Here is an anomaly, a paradox; progress made in spite of its
rejection; and, recently, a total volte-face. How shall we explain
this paradox?

In our chapter on the Principles of National Evolution,[E] we see that
the first step in progress was made through the development of
enlarging communities by means of extending boundaries and hardening
customs. We see that, on reaching this stage, the great problem was so
to break the "cake of custom" as to give liberty to individuals
whereby to secure the needful variations. We do not consider how this
was to be accomplished. We merely show that, if further progress was
to be made, it could only be through the development of the
individualistic principle to which we give the more exact name
communo-individualism. This problem as to how the "cake of custom" is
successfully broken must now engage our attention.

Mr. Bagehot contends that this process consisted, as a matter of
history, in the establishment of government by discussion. Matters of
principle came to be talked over; the desirability of this or that
measure was submitted to the people for their approval or disapproval.
This method served to stimulate definite and practical thought on a
wide scale; it substituted the thinking of the many for the thinking
of the few; it stimulated independent thinking and consequently
independent action. This is, however, but another way of saying that
it stimulated variation. A government whose action was determined
after wide discussion would be peculiarly fitted to take advantage of
all useful variations of ideas and practice. Experience shows, he
continues, that the difficulty of developing a "cake of custom" is far
more easily surmounted than that of developing government by
discussion; _i.e._, that it is far less difficult to develop
communalism than communo-individualism. The family of arrested
civilizations, of which China and India and Japan, until recent times,
are examples, were caught in the net of what had once been the source
of their progress. The tyranny of their laws and customs was such that
all individual variations were nipped in the bud. They failed to
progress because they failed to develop variations. And they failed in
this because they did not have government by discussion.

No one will dispute the importance of Mr. Bagehot's, contribution to
this subject. But it may be doubted whether he has pointed out the
full reason for the difficulty of breaking the "cake of custom" or
manifested the real root of progress. To attain progress in the full
sense, not merely of an oligarchy or a caste, but of the whole people,
there must not only be government by discussion, but the
responsibilities of the government must be snared more or less fully
by all the governed.

History, however, shows that this cannot take place until a
conception of intrinsic manhood and womanhood has arisen, a conception
which emphasizes their infinite and inherent worth. This conception is
not produced by government by discussion, while government by
discussion is the necessary consequence of the wide acceptance of this
conception. It is therefore the real root of progress.

As I look over the history of the Orient, I find no tendency to
discover the inherent worth of man or to introduce the principle of
government by discussion. Left to themselves, I see no probability
that any of these nations would ever have been able to break the
thrall of their customs, and to reach that stage of development in
which common individuals could be trusted with a large measure of
individual liberty. Though I can conceive that Japan might have
secured a thorough-going political centralization under the old
_régime_, I cannot see that that centralization would have been
accompanied by growing liberty for the individual or by such
constitutional rights for the common man as he enjoys to-day. Whatever
progress she might have made in the direction of nationality it would
still have been a despotism. The common man would have remained a
helpless and hopeless slave. Art might have prospered; the people
might have remained simple-minded and relatively contented. But they
could not have attained that freedom and richness of life, that
personality, which we saw in our last chapter to be the criterion and
goal of true progress.

If the reader judges the above contention correct and agrees with the
writer that the conception of the inherent value of a human being
could not arise spontaneously in Japan, he will conclude that the
progress of Japan depended on securing this important conception from
without. Exactly this has taken place. By her thorough-going
abandonment of the feudal social order and adoption of the
constitutional and representative government of Christendom, whether
she recognizes it or not, she has accepted the principles of the
inherent worth of manhood and womanhood, as well as government by
discussion. Japan has thus, by imitation rather than by origination,
entered on the path of endless progress.

So important, however, is the step recently taken that further
analysis of this method of progress is desirable for its full
comprehension. We have already noted quite briefly[F] how Japan was
supplied by the West with the ideal of national unity and the material
instruments essential to its attainment. In connection with the high
development of the nation as a whole, these two elements of progress,
the ideal and the material, need further consideration.

We note in the first place that both begin with imitation, but if
progress is to be real and lasting, both must grow to independence.

The first and by far the most important is the psychical, the
introduction of new ideas. So long as the old, familiar ideas hold
sway over the mind of a nation, there is little or no stimulus to
comparison and discussion. Stagnation is well-nigh complete. But let
new ideas be so introduced as to compel attention and comprehension,
and the mind spontaneously awakes to wonderful activity. The old
stagnation is no longer possible. Discussion is started; and in the
end something must take place, even if the new ideas are not accepted
wholly or even in part. But they will not gain attention if presented
simply in the abstract, unconnected with real life. They must bring
evidence that, if accepted and lived, they will be of practical use,
that they will give added power to the nation.

Exactly this took place in 1854 when Admiral Perry demanded entrance
to Japan. The people suddenly awoke from their sleep of two and a half
centuries to find that new nations had arisen since they closed their
eyes, nations among which new sets of ideas had been at work, giving
them a power wholly unknown to the Orient and even mysterious to it.
Those ideas were concerned, not alone with the making of guns, the
building of ships, the invention of machinery, the taming and using of
the forces of nature, but also with methods of government and law,
with strange notions, too, about religion and duty, about the family
and the individual, which the foreigners said were of inestimable
value and importance. It needed but a few years of intercourse with
Western peoples to convince the most conservative that unless the
Japanese themselves could gain the secret of their power, either by
adopting their weapons or their civilization, they themselves must
fade away before the stronger nations. The need of self-preservation
was the first great stimulus that drove new thoughts into unwilling

There can be no doubt that the Japanese were right in this analysis of
the situation. Had they insisted on maintaining their old methods of
national life and social order and ancient customs, there can be no
doubt as to the result. Africa and India in recent decades and China
and Korea in the most recent years tell the story all too clearly.
Those who know the course of treaty conferences and armed collisions,
as at Shimonoseki and Kagoshima between Japan and the foreign nations,
have no doubt that Japan, divided into clans and persisting in her
love of feudalism, would long since have become the territory of some
European Power. She was saved by the possession of a remarkable
combination of national characteristics,--the powers of observation,
of appreciation, and of imitation. In a word, her sensitiveness to her
environment and her readiness to respond to it proved to be her

But the point on which I wish to lay special emphasis is that the
prime element of the form in which the deliverance came was through
the acquisition of numerous new ideas. These were presented by persons
who thoroughly believed in them and who admittedly had a power not
possessed by the Japanese themselves. Though unable to originate these
ideas, the Japanese yet proved themselves capable of understanding and
appreciating them--in a measure at least. They were at first attracted
to that which related chiefly to the externals of civilization, to
that which would contribute immediately to the complete political
centralization of the nation. With great rapidity they adopted Western
ideas about warfare and weapons. They sent their young men abroad to
study the civilization of the foreign nations. At great expense they
also employed many foreigners to teach them in their own land the
things they wished to learn. Thus have the Japanese mastered so
rapidly the details of those ideas which, less than fifty years ago,
were not only strange but odious to them.

Under their influence, the conditions which history shows to be the
most conducive to the continuous growth of civilization have been
definitely accepted and adopted by the people, namely, popular rights,
the liberty of individuals to differ from the past so far as this does
not interfere with national unity, and the direct responsibility and
relation of each individual to the nation without any mediating group.
These rights and liberties are secured to the individual by a
constitution and by laws enacted by representative legislatures.
Government by discussion has been fairly inaugurated.

During these years of change the effort has been to leave the old
social order as undisturbed as possible. For example, it was hoped
that the reorganization of the military and naval forces of the Empire
would be sufficient without disturbing the feudal order and without
abolishing the feudal states. But this was soon found ineffectual. For
a time it was likewise thought that the adoption of Western methods of
government might be made without disturbing the old religious ideas
and without removing the edicts against Christianity. But experience
soon showed that the old civilization was a unit. No part could be
vitally modified without affecting the whole structure. Having knocked
over one block in the long row that made up their feudal social order,
it was found that each successive block was touched and fell, until
nothing was left standing as before. It was found also that the old
ideas of education, of travel, of jurisprudence, of torture and
punishment, of social ranks, of the relation of the individual to the
state, of the state to the family, and of religion to the family, were
more or less defective and unsuited to the new civilization. Before
this new movement all obstructive ideas, however, sanctioned by
antiquity, have had to give way. The Japanese of to-day look, as it
were, upon a new earth and a new heaven. Those of forty years ago
would be amazed, not only at the enormous changes in the externals,
life and government, but also at the transformation which has
overtaken every element of the older civilization. Putting it rather
strongly, it is now not the son who obeys the father, but the father
the son. The rulers no longer command the people, but the people
command the rulers. The people do not now toil to support the state;
but the state toils to protect the people.

Whether the incoming of these new ideas and practices be thought to
constitute progress or not will depend on one's view of the aim of
life. If this be as maintained in the previous chapter, then surely
the transformation of Japan must be counted progress. That, however,
to which I call attention is the fact that the essential requisite of
progress is the attainment of new ideas, whatever be their source.
Japan has not only taken up a great host of these, but in doing so she
has adopted a social structure to stimulate the continuous production
of new ideas, through the development of individuality. She is thus in
the true line of continuously progressive evolution. Imitating the
stronger nations, she has introduced into her system the life-giving
blood of free discussion, popular education, and universal individual
rights and liberty. In a word, she has begun to be an individualistic
nation. She has introduced a social order fitted to a wide development
of personality.

The importance of the second line of progress, the physical, would
seem to be too obvious to call for any detailed consideration. But so
much has been said by both graceful and able writers on Japan as to
the advantages she enjoys from her simple non-mechanical civilization,
and the mistake she is making in adopting the mechanical civilization
of the West, that it may not be amiss to dwell for a few moments upon
it. I wish to show that the second element of progress consists in the
_increasing use of mechanisms_.

The enthusiastic admirer of Japan hardly finds words wherewith
sufficiently to praise the simplicity of her pre-Meiji civilization.
No furniture brings confusion to the room; no machinery distresses the
ear with its groanings or the eye with its unsightliness. No factories
blacken the sky with smoke. No trains screeching through the towns and
cities disturb sleepers and frighten babies. The simple bed on the
floor, the straw sandal on the foot, wooden chopsticks in place of
knives and forks, the small variety of foods and of cooking utensils,
the simple, homespun cotton clothing, the fascinating homes, so small
and neat and clean--in truth all that pertains to Old Japan finds
favor in the eyes of the enthusiastic admirer from the Occident. One
such writer, in an elaborate paper intended to set forth the
superiority of the original Japanese to the Occidental civilization,
uses the following language: "Ability to live without furniture,
without impedimenta, with the least possible amount of neat clothing,
shows more than the advantage held by the Japanese race in the
struggle of life; it shows also the real character of some of the
weaknesses in our own civilization. It forces reflection upon the
useless multiplicity of our daily wants. We must have meat and bread
and butter; glass windows and fire; hats, white shirts, and woolen
underwear; boots and shoes; trunks, bags, and boxes; bedsteads,
mattresses, sheets, and blankets; all of which a Japanese can do
without, and is really better off without."[G] Surely one finds much
of truth in this, and there is no denying the charm of the simpler
civilization, but the closing phrase of the quotation is the
assumption without discussion of the disputed point. Are the Japanese
really better off without these implements of Western civilization?
Evidently they themselves do not think so. For, in glancing through
the list as given by the writer quoted, one realizes the extent of
Japanese adoption of these Western devices. Hardly an article but is
used in Japan, and certainly with the supposition of the purchaser
that it adds either to his health or his comfort. In witness are the
hundreds of thousands of straw hats, the glass windows everywhere,
and the meat-shops in each town and city of the Empire. The charm of a
foreign fashion is not sufficient explanation for the rapidly
spreading use of foreign inventions.

That there are no useless or even evil features in our Western
civilization is not for a moment contended. The stiff starched shirt
may certainly be asked to give an account of itself and justify its
continued existence, if it can. But I think the proposition is capable
of defense that the vast majority of the implements of our Occidental
civilization have their definite place and value, either in
contributing directly to the comfort and happiness of their possessor,
or in increasing his health and strength and general mental and
physical power. What is it that makes the Occidental longer-lived than
the Japanese? Why is he healthier? Why is he more intelligent? Why is
he a more developed personality? Why are his children more energetic?
Or, reversing the questions, why has the population of Japan been
increasing with leaps and bounds since the introduction of Western
civilization and medical science? Why is the rising generation so free
from pockmarks? Why is the number of the blind steadily diminishing?
Why are mechanisms multiplying so rapidly--the jinrikisha, the
railroads, the roads, the waterworks and sewers, the chairs, the
tables, the hats and umbrellas, lamps, clocks, glass windows and
shoes? A hundred similar questions might be asked, to which no
definite answers are needful.

Further discussion of details seems unnecessary. Yet the full
significance of this point can hardly be appreciated without a
perception of the great principle that underlies it. The only way in
which man has become and continues to be increasingly superior to
animals is in his use of mechanisms. The animal does by brute force
what man accomplishes by various devices. The inventiveness of
different races differs vastly. But everywhere, the most advanced are
the most powerful. Take the individual man of the more developed race
and separate him from his tools and machines, and it is doubtless
true that he cannot in some selected points compete with an individual
of a less developed race. But let ten thousand men of the higher
development compete with ten thousand of the lower, each using the
mechanisms under his control, and can there be any doubt as to which
is the superior?

In other words, the method of human progress consists, in no small
degree, in the progressive mastery of nature, first through
understanding her and then through the use of her immense forces by
means of suitable mechanisms. All the machines and furniture, and
tools and clothing, and houses and canned foods, and shoes and boots,
and railroads and telegraph lines, and typewriters and watches, and
the ten thousand other so-called "impedimenta" of the Occidental
civilization are but devices whereby Western man has sought to
increase his health, his wealth, his knowledge, his comfort, his
independence, his capacity of travel--in a word, his well-being.
Through these mechanisms he masters nature. He extracts a rich living
from nature; he annihilates time and space; he defies the storms; he
tunnels the mountains; he extracts precious ores and metals from the
rock-ribbed hills; with a magic touch he loosens the grip of the
elements and makes them surrender their gold, their silver, and, more
precious still, their iron; with these he builds his spacious cities
and parks, his railroads and ocean steamers; he travels the whole
world around, fearing neither beast nor alien man; all are subject to
his command and will. He investigates and knows the constitution of
stellar worlds no less than that of the world in which he lives. By
his instruments he explores the infinite depths of heaven and the no
less infinite depths of the microscopic world. All these reviled
"impedimenta" thus bring to the race that has them a wealth of life
both physical and psychical, practical and ideal, that is otherwise
unattainable. By them he gains and gives external expression to the
reality of his inner nature, his freedom, his personality. True,
instead of bringing health and long life, knowledge and deep
enjoyment, they may become the means of bitterest curses. But the
lesson to learn from this fact is how to use these powers aright, not
how to forbid their use altogether. They are not to be branded as
hindrances to progress.

The defect of Occidental civilization to-day is hot its multiplicity
of machinery, but the defective view that still blinds the eyes of the
multitude as to the true nature and the legitimate goal of progress.
Individual, selfish happiness is still the ideal of too many men and
women to permit of the ideal which carries the Golden Rule into the
markets and factories, into the politics of parties and nations, which
is essential to the attainment of the highest progress. But no one who
casts his eyes over the centuries of struggle and effort through which
man has been slowly working his way upward from the rank of a beast to
that of a man, can doubt that progress has been made. The worth of
character has been increasingly seen and its possession desired. The
true end of effort and development was never more clear than it is at
the close of the nineteenth century. Never before were the conditions
of progress so bright, not only for the favored few in one or two
lands, but for the multitudes the world over. Isolation and separation
have passed from this world forever. Free social intercourse between
the nations permits wide dissemination of ideas and their application
to practical life in the form of social organization and mechanical
invention. This makes it possible for nations more or less backward in
social and civilizational development to gain in a relatively short
time the advantages won by advanced nations through ages of toil and
under favoring circumstances. Nation thus stimulates nation, each
furnishing the other with important variations in ideas, customs,
institutions, and mechanisms resulting from long-continued divergent
evolution. The advantages slowly gained by advanced peoples speedily
accrues through social heredity to any backward race really desiring
to enter the social heritage.

Thus does the paradox of Japan's recent progress become thoroughly



With this chapter we begin a more detailed study of Japanese social
and psychic evolution. We shall take up the various characteristics of
the race and seek to account for them, showing their origin in the
peculiar nature of the social order which so long prevailed in Japan.
This is a study of Japanese psychogenesis. The question to which we
shall continually return is whether or not the characteristic under
consideration is inherent and congenital and therefore inevitable. Not
only our interpretation of Japanese evolution, past, present, and
future, but also our understanding of the essential nature of social
evolution in general, depends upon the answer to this question.

We naturally begin with that characteristic of Japanese nature which
would seem to be more truly congenital than any other to be mentioned
later. I refer to their sensitiveness to environment. More quickly
than most races do the Japanese seem to perceive and adapt themselves
to changed conditions.

The history of the past thirty years is a prolonged illustration of
this characteristic. The desire to imitate foreign nations was not a
real reason for the overthrow of feudalism, but there was, rather, a
more or less conscious feeling, rapidly pervading the whole people,
that the feudal system would be unable to maintain the national
integrity. As intimated, the matter was not so much reasoned out as
felt. But such a vast illustration is more difficult to appreciate
than some individual instances, of which I have noted several.

During a conversation with Drs. Forsythe and Dale, of Cambridge,
England, I asked particularly as to their experience with the Japanese
students who had been there to study. They both remarked on the fact
that all Japanese students were easily influenced by those with whom
they customarily associated; so much so that, within a short time,
they acquired not only the cut of coats and trousers, but also the
manner and accent, of those with whom they lived. It was amusing, they
said, to see what transformations were wrought in those who went to
the Continent for their long vacations. From France they returned with
marked French manners and tones and clothes, while from Germany they
brought the distinctive marks of German stiffness in manner and
general bearing. It was noted as still more curious that the same
student would illustrate both variations, provided he spent one summer
in Germany and another in France.

Japanese sensitiveness is manifested in many unexpected ways. An
observant missionary lady once remarked that she had often wondered
how such unruly, self-willed children as grow up under Japanese
training, or its lack, finally become such respectable members of
society. She concluded that instead of being punished out of their
misbehaviors they were laughed out of them. The children are
constantly told that if they do so and so they will be laughed at--a
terrible thing.

The fear of ridicule has thus an important sociological function in
maintaining ethical standards. Its power may be judged by the fact
that in ancient times when a samurai gave his note to return a
borrowed sum, the only guarantee affixed was the permission to be
laughed at in public in case of failure. The Japanese young man who is
making a typewritten copy of these pages for me says that, when still
young, he heard an address to children which he still remembers. The
speaker asked what the most fearful thing in the world was. Many
replies were given by the children--"snakes," "wild beasts,"
"fathers," "gods," "ghosts," "demons," "Satan," "hell," etc. These
were admitted to be fearful, but the speaker told the children that
one other thing was to be more feared than all else, namely, "to be
laughed at." This speech, with its vivid illustrations, made a lasting
impression on the mind of the boy, and on reading what I had written
he realized how powerful a motive fear of ridicule had been in his own
life; also how large a part it plays in the moral education of the
young in Japan.

Naturally enough this fear of being laughed at leads to careful and
minute observation of the clothing, manners, and speech of one's
associates, and prompt conformity to them, through imitation. The
sensitiveness of Japanese students to each new environment is thus
easily understood. And this sensitiveness to environment has its
advantages as well as its disadvantages. I have already referred to
the help it gives to the establishment of individual conformity to
ethical standards. The phenomenal success of many reforms in Japan may
easily be traced to the national sensitiveness to foreign criticism.
Many instances of this will be given in the course of this work, but
two may well be mentioned at this point. According to the older
customs there was great, if not perfect, freedom as to the use of
clothing by the people. The apparent indifference shown by them in the
matter of nudity led foreigners to call the nation uncivilized. This
criticism has always been a galling one, and not without reason. In
many respects their civilization has been fully the equal of that of
any other nation; yet in this respect it is true that they resembled
and still do resemble semi-civilized peoples. In response to this
foreign criticism, however, a law was passed, early in the Meiji era,
prohibiting nudity in cities. The requirement that public bathing
houses be divided into two separate compartments, one for men and one
for women, was likewise due to foreign opinion. That this is the case
may be fairly inferred from the fact that the enforcement of these
laws has largely taken places where foreigners abound, whereas, in the
interior towns and villages they receive much less attention. It must
be acknowledged, however, that now at last, twenty-five years after
their passage, they are almost everywhere beginning to be enforced by
the authorities.

My other illustration of sensitiveness to foreign opinion is the
present state of Japanese thought about the management of Formosa. The
government has been severely criticised by many leading papers for its
blunders there. But the curious feature is the constant reference to
the contempt into which such mismanagement will bring Japan in the
sight of the world--as if the opinion of other nations were the most
important issue involved, and not the righteousness and probity of the
government itself. It is interesting to notice how frequently the
opinion of other nations with regard to Japan is a leading thought in
the mind of the people.

In this connection the following extract finds its natural place:

     In a very large number of schools throughout the country special
     instructions have been given to the pupils as to their behavior
     towards foreigners. From various sources we have culled the
     following orders bearing on special points, which we state as
     briefly as possible.

     (1) Never call after foreigners passing along the streets or roads.

     (2) When foreigners make inquiries, answer them politely. If unable
     to make them understand, inform the police of the fact.

     (3) Never accept a present from a foreigner when there is no reason
     for his giving it, and never charge him anything above what is

     (4) Do not crowd around a shop when a foreigner is making
     purchases, thereby causing him much annoyance. The continuance of
     this practice disgraces us as a nation.

     (5) Since all human beings are brothers and sisters, there is no
     reason for fearing foreigners. Treat them as equals and act
     uprightly in all your dealings with them. Be neither servile nor

     (6) Beware of combining against the foreigner and disliking him
     because he is a foreigner; men are to be judged by their conduct
     and not by their nationality.

     (7) As intercourse with foreigners becomes closer and extends over
     a series of years, there is danger that many Japanese may become
     enamored of their ways and customs and forsake the good old customs
     of their forefathers. Against this danger you must be on your

     (8) Taking off your hat is the proper way to salute a foreigner.
     The bending of the body low is not be commended.

     (9) When you see a foreigner be sure and cover up naked parts of
     the body.

     (10) Hold in high regard the worship of ancestors and treat your
     relations with warm cordiality, but do not regard a person as your
     enemy because he or she is a Christian.

     (11) In going through the world you will often find a knowledge of
     a foreign tongue absolutely essential.

     (12) Beware of selling your souls to foreigners and becoming their
     slaves. Sell them no houses or lands.

     (13) Aim at not being beaten in your competition with foreigners.
     Remember that loyalty and filial piety are our most precious
     national treasures and do nothing to violate them.

     Many of the above rules are excellent in tone. Number 7, however,
     which hails from Osaka, is somewhat narrow and prejudiced. The
     injunction not to sell houses to foreigners is, as the _Jiji
     Shimpo_ points out, absurd and mischievous.[H]

The sensitiveness of the people also works to the advantage of the
nation in the social unity which it helps to secure. Indeed I cannot
escape the conviction that the striking unity of the Japanese is
largely due to this characteristic. It tends to make their mental and
emotional activities synchronous. It retards reform for a season, to
be sure, but later it accelerates it. It makes it difficult for
individuals to break away from their surroundings and start out on new
lines. It leads to a general progress while it tends to hinder
individual progress. It tends to draw back into the general current of
national life those individuals who, under exceptional conditions, may
have succeeded in breaking away from it for a season. This, I think,
is one of the factors of no little power at work among the Christian
churches in Japan. It is one, too, that the Japanese themselves little
perceive; so far as I have observed, foreigners likewise fail to
realize its force.

Closely connected with this sensitiveness to environment are other
qualities which make it effective. They are: great flexibility,
adjustability, agility (both mental and physical), and the powers of
keen attention to details and of exact imitation.

As opposed to all this is the Chinese lack of flexibility. Contrast a
Chinaman and a Japanese after each has been in America a year. The one
to all appearances is an American; his hat, his clothing, his manner,
seem so like those of an American that were it not for his small size,
Mongolian type of face, and defective English, he could easily be
mistaken for one. How different is it with the Chinaman! He retains
his curious cue with a tenacity that is as intense as it is
characteristic. His hat is the conventional one adopted by all Chinese
immigrants. His clothing likewise, though far from Chinese, is
nevertheless entirely un-American. He makes no effort to conform to
his surroundings. He seems to glory in his separateness.

The Japanese desire to conform to the customs and appearances of those
about him is due to what I have called sensitiveness; his success is
due to the flexibility of his mental constitution.

But this characteristic is seen in multitudes of little ways. The new
fashion of wearing the hair according to the Western styles; of
wearing Western hats, and Western clothing, now universal in the army,
among policemen, and common among officials and educated men; the use
of chairs and tables, lamps, windows, and other Western things is due
in no small measure to that flexibility of mind which readily adopts
new ideas and new ways; is ready to try new things and new words, and
after trial, if it finds them convenient or useful or even amusing, to
retain them permanently, and this flexibility is, in part, the reason
why the Japanese are accounted a fickle people. They accept new ways
so easily that those who do not have this faculty have no explanation
for it but that of fickleness. A frequent surprise to a missionary in
Japan is that of meeting a fine-looking, accomplished gentleman whom
he knew a few years before as a crude, ungainly youth. I am convinced
that it is the possession of this set of characteristics that has
enabled Japan so quickly to assimilate many elements of an alien

Yet this flexibility of mind and sensitiveness to changed conditions
find some apparently striking exceptions. Notable among these are the
many customs and appliances of foreign nations which, though adopted
by the people, have not been completely modified to suit their own
needs. In illustration is the Chinese ideograph, for the learning of
which even in the modern common-school reader, there is no arrangement
of the characters in the order of their complexity. The possibility of
simplifying the colossal task of memorizing these uncorrelated
ideographs does not seem to have occurred to the Japanese; though it
is now being attempted by the foreigner. Perhaps a partial explanation
of this apparent exception to the usual flexibility of the people in
meeting conditions may be found in their relative lack of originality.
Still I am inclined to refer it to a greater sensitiveness of the
Japanese to the personal and human, than to the impersonal and
physical environment.

The customary explanation of the group of characteristics considered
in this chapter is that they are innate, due to brain and nerve
structure, and acquired by each generation through biological
heredity. If closely examined, however, this is seen to be no
explanation at all. Accepting the characteristics as empirical
inexplicable facts, the real problem is evaded, pushed into
prehistoric times, that convenient dumping ground of biological,
anthropological, and sociological difficulties.

Japanese flexibility, imitativeness, and sensitiveness to environment
are to be accounted for by a careful consideration of the national
environment and social order. Modern psychology has called attention
to the astonishing part played by imitation, conscious and
unconscious, in the evolution of the human race, and in the
unification of the social group. Prof. Le Tarde goes so far as to make
this the fundamental principle of human evolution. He has shown that
it is ever at work in the life of every human being, modifying all his
thoughts, acts, and feelings. In the evolution of civilization the
rare man thinks, the millions imitate.

A slight consideration of the way in which Occidental lands have
developed their civilization will convince anyone that imitation has
taken the leading part. Japan, therefore, is not unique in this
respect. Her periods of wholesale imitation have indeed called special
notice to the trait. But the rapidity of the movement has been due to
the peculiarities of her environment. For long periods she has been in
complete isolation, and when brought into contact with foreign
nations, she has found them so far in advance of herself in many
important respects that rapid imitation was the only course left her
by the inexorable laws of nature. Had she not imitated China in
ancient times and the Occident in modern times, her independence, if
not her existence, could hardly have been maintained.

Imitation of admittedly superior civilizations has therefore been an
integral, conscious element of Japan's social order, and to a degree
perhaps not equaled by the social order of any other race.

The difference between Japanese imitation and that of other nations
lies in the fact that whereas the latter, as a rule, despise foreign
races, and do not admit the superiority of alien civilizations as a
whole, imitating only a detail here and there, often without
acknowledgment and sometimes even without knowledge, the Japanese, on
the other hand, have repeatedly been placed in such circumstances as
to see the superiority of foreign civilizations as a whole, and to
desire their general adoption. This has produced a spirit of imitation
among all the individuals of the race. It has become a part of their
social inheritance. This explanation largely accounts for the striking
difference between Japanese and Chinese in the Occident. The Japanese
go to the West in order to acquire all the West can give. The Chinaman
goes steeled against its influences. The spirit of the Japanese
renders him quickly susceptible to every change in his surroundings.
He is ever noting details and adapting himself to his circumstances.
The spirit of the Chinaman, on the contrary, renders him quite
oblivious to his environment. His mind is closed. Under special
circumstances, when a Chinaman has been liberated from the
prepossession of his social inheritance, he has shown himself as
capable of Occidentalization in clothing, speech, manner, and thought
as a Japanese. Such cases, however, are rare.

But a still more effective factor in the development of the
characteristics under consideration is the nature of Japanese
feudalism. Its emphasis on the complete subordination of the inferior
to the superior was one of its conspicuous features. This was a factor
always and everywhere at work in Japan. No individual was beyond its
potent influence. Attention to details, absolute obedience, constant,
conscious imitation, secretiveness, suspiciousness, were all highly
developed by this social system. Each of these traits is a special
form of sensitiveness to environment. From the most ancient times the
initiative of superiors was essential to the wide adoption by the
people of any new idea or custom. Christianity found ready acceptance
in the sixteenth century and Buddhism in the eighth, because they had
been espoused by exalted persons. The superiority of the civilization
of China in early times, and of the West in modern times, was first
acknowledged and adopted by a few nobles and the Emperor. Having
gained this prestige they promptly became acceptable to the rank and
file of people who vied with each other in their adoption. A
peculiarity of the Japanese is the readiness with which the ideas and
aims of the rulers are accepted by the people. This is due to the
nature of Japanese feudalism. It has made the body of the nation
conspicuously subject to the ruling brain and has conferred on Japan
her unique sensitiveness to environment.

Susceptibility to slight changes in the feelings of lords and masters
and corresponding flexibility were important social traits, necessary
products of the old social order. Those deficient in these regards
would inevitably lose in the struggle for social precedence, if not in
the actual struggle for existence. These characteristics would,
accordingly, be highly developed.

Bearing in mind, therefore, the character of the factors that have
ever been acting on the Japanese psychic nature, we see clearly that
the characteristics under consideration are not to be attributed to
her inherent race nature, but may be sufficiently accounted for by
reference to the social order and social environment.



It has long been recognized that the Japanese are emotional, but the
full significance of this element of their nature is far from
realized. It underlies their entire life; it determines the mental
activities in a way and to a degree that Occidentals can hardly
appreciate. Waves of feeling have swept through the country, carrying
everything before them in a manner that has oftentimes amazed us of
foreign lands. An illustration from the recent political life of the
nation comes to mind in this connection. For months previous to the
outbreak of the recent war with China, there had been a prolonged
struggle between the Cabinet and the political parties who were united
in their opposition to the government, though in little else. The
parties insisted that the Cabinet should be responsible to the party
in power in the Lower House, as is the case in England, that thus they
might stand and fall together. The Cabinet, on the other hand,
contended that, according to the constitution, it was responsible to
the Emperor alone, and that consequently there was no need of a change
in the Cabinet with every change of party leadership. The nation waxed
hot over the discussion. Successive Diets were dissolved and new Diets
elected, in none of which, however, could the supporters of the
Cabinet secure a majority; the Cabinet was, therefore, incapable of
carrying out any of its distinctive measures. Several times the
opposition went so far as to decline to pass the budget proposed by
the Cabinet, unless so reduced as to cripple the government, the
reason constantly urged being that the Cabinet was not competent to
administer the expenditure of such large sums of money. There were no
direct charges of fraud, but simply of incompetence. More than once
the Cabinet was compelled to carry on the government during the year
under the budget of the previous year, as provided by the
constitution. So intense was the feeling that the capital was full of
"soshi,"--political ruffians,--and fear was entertained as to the
personal safety of the members of the Cabinet. The whole country was
intensely excited over the matter. The newspapers were not loath to
charge the government with extravagance, and a great explosion seemed
inevitable, when, suddenly, a breeze from a new quarter arose and
absolutely changed the face of the nation.

War with China was whispered, and then noised around. Events moved
rapidly. One or two successful encounters with the Chinese stirred the
warlike passion that lurked in every breast. At once the feud with the
Cabinet was forgotten. When, on short notice, an extra session of the
Diet was called to vote funds for a war, not a word was breathed about
lack of confidence in the Cabinet or its incompetence to manage the
ordinary expenditures of the government; on the contrary, within five
minutes from the introduction of the government bill asking a war
appropriation of 150,000,000 yen, the bill was unanimously passed.

Such an absolute change could hardly have taken place in England or
America, or any land less subject to waves of emotion. So far as I
could learn, the nation was a unit in regard to the war. There was not
the slightest sign of a "peace party." Of all the Japanese with whom I
talked only one ever expressed the slightest opposition to the war,
and he on religious grounds, being a Quaker.

The strength of the emotional element tends to make the Japanese
extremists. If liberals, they are extremely liberal; if conservative,
they are extremely conservative. The craze for foreign goods and
customs which prevailed for several years in the early eighties was
replaced by an almost equally strong aversion to anything foreign.

This tendency to swing to extremes has cropped out not infrequently in
the theological thinking of Japanese Christians. Men who for years
had done effective work in upbuilding the Church, men who had lifted
hundreds of their fellow-countrymen out of moral and religious
darkness into light and life, have suddenly, as it has appeared, lost
all appreciation of the truths they had been teaching and have swung
off to the limits of a radical rationalism, losing with their
evangelical faith their power of helping their fellow-men, and in some
few cases, going over into lives of open sin. The intellectual reasons
given by them to account for their changes have seemed insufficient;
it will be found that the real explanation of these changes is to be
sought not in their intellectual, but in their emotional natures.

Care must be taken, however, not to over-emphasize this extremist
tendency. In some respects, I am convinced that it is more apparent
than real. The appearance is due to the silent passivity even of those
who are really opposed to the new departure. It is natural that the
advocates of some new policy should be enthusiastic and noisy. To give
the impression to an outsider that the new enthusiasm is universal,
those who do not share it have simply to keep quiet. This takes place
to some degree in every land, but particularly so in Japan. The
silence of their dissent is one of the striking characteristics of the
Japanese. It seems to be connected with an abdication of personal
responsibility. How often in the experience of the missionary it has
happened that his first knowledge of friction in a church, wholly
independent and self-supporting and having its own native pastor, is
the silent withdrawal of certain members from their customary places
of worship. On inquiry it is learned that certain things are being
done or said which do not suit them and, instead of seeking to have
these matters righted, they simply wash their hands of the whole
affair by silent withdrawal.

The Kumi-ai church, in Kumamoto, from being large and prosperous, fell
to an actual active membership of less than a dozen, solely because,
as each member became dissatisfied with the high-handed and radical
pastor, he simply withdrew. Had each one stood by the church,
realizing that he had a responsibility toward it which duty forbade
him to shirk, the conservative and substantial members of the church
would soon have been united in their opposition to the radical pastor
and, being in the majority, could have set matters right. In the case
of perversion of trust funds by the trustees of the Kumamoto School,
many Japanese felt that injustice was being done to the American Board
and a stain was being inflicted on Japan's fair name, but they did
nothing either to express their opinions or to modify the results. So
silent were they that we were tempted to think them either ignorant of
what was taking place, or else indifferent to it. We now know,
however, that many felt deeply on the matter, but were simply silent
according to the Japanese custom.

But silent dissent does not necessarily last indefinitely, though it
may continue for years. As soon as some check has been put upon the
rising tide of feeling, and a reaction is evident, those who before
had been silent begin to voice their reactionary feeling, while those
who shortly before had been in the ascendant begin to take their turn
of silent dissent. Thus the waves are accentuated, both in their rise
and in their relapse, by the abdicating proclivity of the people.

Yet, in spite of the tendency of the nation to be swept from one
extreme to another by alternate waves of feeling, there are many
well-balanced men who are not carried with the tide. The steady
progress made by the nation during the past generation, in spite of
emotional actions and reactions, must be largely attributed to the
presence in its midst of these more stable natures. These are the men
who have borne the responsibilities of government. So far as we are
able to see, they have not been led by their feelings, but rather by
their judgments. When the nation was wild with indignation over
Europe's interference with the treaty which brought the China-Japanese
war to a close, the men at the helm saw too clearly the futility of an
attempt to fight Russia to allow themselves to be carried away by
sentimental notions of patriotism. Theirs was a deeper and truer
patriotism than that of the great mass of the nation, who, flushed
with recent victories by land and by sea, were eager to give Russia
the thrashing which they felt quite able to administer.

Abdication is such an important element in Japanese life, serving to
throw responsibility on the young, and thus helping to emphasize the
emotional characteristics of the people, that we may well give it
further attention at this point. In describing it, I can do no better
than quote from J.H. Gubbins' valuable introduction to his translation
of the New Civil Code of Japan.[I]

     "Japanese scholars who have investigated the subject agree in
     tracing the origin of the present custom to the abdication of
     Japanese sovereigns, instances of which occur at an early period of
     Japanese history. These earlier abdications were independent of
     religious influences, but with the advent of Buddhism abdication
     entered upon a new phase. In imitation, it would seem, of the
     retirement for the purpose of religious contemplation of the Head
     Priests of Buddhist monasteries, abdicating sovereigns shaved their
     heads and entered the priesthood, and when subsequently the custom
     came to be employed for political purposes, the cloak of religion
     was retained. From the throne the custom spread to Regents and high
     officers of state, and so universal had its observance amongst
     officials of the high ranks become in the twelfth century that, as
     Professor Shigeno states, it was almost the rule for such persons
     to retire from the world at the age of forty or fifty, and
     nominally enter the priesthood, both the act and the person
     performing it being termed 'niu do.' In the course of time, the
     custom of abdication ceased to be confined to officials, and
     extended to feudal nobility and the military class generally,
     whence it spread through the nation, and at this stage of its
     transition its connection with the phase it finally assumed becomes
     clear. But with its extension beyond the circle of official
     dignitaries, and its consequent severance from tradition and
     religious associations, whether real or nominal abdication changed
     its name. It was no longer termed 'niu do,' but 'in kio,' the old
     word being retained only in its strict religious meaning, and
     'inkyo' is the term in use to-day.

     "In spite of the religious origin of abdication, its connection
     with religion has long since vanished, and it may be said without
     fear of contradiction that the Japanese of to-day, when he or she
     abdicates, is in no way actuated by the feeling which impelled
     European monarchs in past times to end their days in the seclusion
     of the cloister, and which finds expression to-day in the Irish
     phrase, 'To make one's soul.' Apart from the influence of
     traditional convention, which counts for something and also
     explains the great hold on the nation which the custom has
     acquired, the motive seems to be somewhat akin to that which leads
     people in some Western countries to retire from active life at an
     age when bodily infirmity cannot be adduced as the reason. But with
     this great difference, that in the one case, that of Western
     countries, it is the business or profession, the active work of
     life, which is relinquished, the position of the individual
     vis-à-vis the family being unaffected; in the other case, it is the
     position of head of the family which is relinquished, with the
     result of the complete effacement of the individual so far as the
     family is concerned. Moreover, although abdication usually implies
     the abandonment of the business, or profession, of the person who
     abdicates, this does not necessarily follow, abdication being in no
     way incompatible with the continuation of the active pursuits in
     which the person-in question is engaged. And if an excuse be needed
     in either case, there would seem to be more for the Japanese head
     of family, who, in addition to the duties and responsibilities
     incumbent upon his position, has to bear the brunt of the tedious
     ceremonies and observances which characterize family life in Japan,
     and are a severe tax upon time and energies, while at the same time
     he is fettered by the restrictions upon individual freedom of
     action imposed by the family system. That in many cases the reason
     for abdication lies in the wish to escape from the tyrannical
     calls of family life, rather than in mere desire for idleness and
     ease, is shown by the fact that just as in past times the
     abdication of an Emperor, a Regent, or a state dignitary, was often
     the signal for renewed activity on his part, so in modern Japanese
     life the period of a person's greatest activity not infrequently
     dates from the time of his withdrawal from the headship of his

The abdicating proclivities of the nation in pre-Meiji times are well
shown by the official list of daimyos published by the Shogunate in
1862. To a list of 268 ruling daimyos is added a list of 104 "inkyo."

In addition to what we may call political and family abdication,
described above, is personal abdication, referred to on a previous

Are the traits of Japanese character considered in this chapter
inherent and necessary? Already our description has conclusively shown
them to be due to the nature of the social order. This was manifestly
the case in regard to political and family abdication. The like origin
of personal abdication is manifest to him who learns how little there
was in the ancient training tending to give each man a "feeling of
independent responsibility to his own conscience in the sight of
Heaven." He was taught devotion to a person rather than to a
principle. The duty of a retainer was not to think and decide, but to
do. He might in silence disapprove and as far as possible he should
then keep out of his lord's way; should he venture to think and to act
contrary to his lord's commands, he must expect and plan to commit
"harakiri" in the near future. Personal abdication and silent
disapproval, therefore, were direct results of the social order.



If a clew to the character of a nation is gained by a study of the
nature of the gods it worships, no less valuable an insight is gained
by a study of its heroes. Such a study confirms the impression that
the emotional life is fundamental in the Japanese temperament. Japan
is a nation of hero-worshipers. This is no exaggeration. Not only is
the primitive religion, Shintoism, systematic hero-worship, but every
hero known to history is deified, and has a shrine or temple. These
heroes, too, are all men of conspicuous valor or strength, famed for
mighty deeds of daring. They are men of passion. The most popular
story in Japanese literature is that of "The Forty-seven Ronin," who
avenged the death of their liege-lord after years of waiting and
plotting. This revenge administered, they committed harakiri in
accordance with the etiquette of the ethical code of feudal Japan.
Their tombs are to this day among the most frequented shrines in the
capital of the land, and one of the most popular dramas presented in
the theaters is based on this same heroic tragedy.

The prominence of the emotional element may be seen in the popular
description of national heroes. The picture of an ideal Japanese hero
is to our eyes a caricature. His face is distorted by a fierce frenzy
of passion, his eyeballs glaring, his hair flying, and his hands hold
with a mighty grip the two-handed sword wherewith he is hewing to
pieces an enemy. I am often amazed at the difference between the
pictures of Japanese heroes and the living Japanese I see. This
difference is manifestly due to the idealizing process; for they love
to see their heroes in their passionate moods and tenses.

The craving for heroes, even on the part of those who are familiar
with Western thought and customs, is a feature of great interest. Well
do I remember the enthusiasm with which educated, Christian young men
awaited the coming to Japan of an eminent American scholar, from whose
lectures impossible things were expected. So long as he was in America
and only his books were known, he was a hero. But when he appeared in
person, carrying himself like any courteous gentleman, he lost his
exalted position.

Townsend Harris showed his insight into Oriental thought never more
clearly than by maintaining his dignity according to Japanese
standards and methods. On his first entry into Tokyo he states, in his
journal, that although he would have preferred to ride on horseback,
in order that he might see the city and the people, yet as the highest
dignitaries never did so, but always rode in entirely closed
"norimono" (a species of sedan chair carried by twenty or thirty
bearers), he too would do the same; to have ridden into the limits of
the city on horseback would have been construed by the Japanese as an
admission that he held a far lower official rank than that of a
plenipotentiary of a great nation.

It is not difficult to understand how these ideals of heroes arose.
They are the same in every land where militarism, and especially
feudalism, is the foundation on which the social order rests.

Some of the difficulties met by foreign missionaries in trying to do
their work arise from the fact that they are not easily regarded as
heroes by their followers. The people are accustomed to commit their
guidance to officials or to teachers or advisers whom they can regard
as heroes. Since missionaries are not officials and do not have the
manners of heroes, it is not to be expected that the Japanese will
accept their leadership.

A few foreigners have, however, become heroes in Japanese eyes.
President Clark and Rev. S.R. Brown had great influence on groups of
young men in the early years of Meiji, while giving them secular
education combined with Christian instruction. The conditions,
however, were then extraordinarily exceptional, and it is a noticeable
fact that neither man remained long in Japan at that time. Another
foreigner who was exalted to the skies by a devoted band of students
was a man well suited to be a hero--for he had the samurai spirit to
the full. Indeed, in absolute fearlessness and assumption of
superiority, he out-samuraied the samurai. He was a man of impressive
and imperious personality. Yet it is a significant fact that when he
was brought back to Japan by his former pupils, after an absence of
about eighteen years, during which they had continued to extol his
merits and revere his memory, it was not long before they discovered
that he was not the man their imagination had created. Not many months
were needed to remove him from his pedestal. It would hardly be a fair
statement of the whole case to leave the matter here. So far as I
know, President Clark and Rev. S.R. Brown have always retained their
hold on the imagination of the Japanese. The foreigner who of all
others has perhaps done the most for Japan, and whose services have
been most heartily acknowledged by the nation and government, was Dr.
Guido F. Verbeck, who began his missionary work in 1859; he was the
teacher of large numbers of the young men who became leaders in the
transformation of Japan; he alone of foreigners was made a citizen and
was given a free and general pass for travel; and his funeral in 1898
was attended by the nobility of the land, and the Emperor himself made
a contribution toward the expenses. Dr. Verbeck is destined to be one
of Japan's few foreign heroes.

Among the signs of Japanese craving for heroes may be mentioned the
constant experience of missionaries when search is being made for a
man to fill a particular place. The descriptions of the kind of man
desired are such that no one can expect to meet him. The Christian
boys' school in Kumamoto, and the church with it, went for a whole
year without principal and pastor because they could not secure a man
of national reputation. They wanted a hero-principal, who would cut a
great figure in local politics and also be a hero-leader for the
Christian work in the whole island of Kyushu, causing the school to
shine not only in Kumamoto, but to send forth its light and its fame
throughout the Empire and even to foreign lands. The unpretentious,
unprepossessing-looking man who was chosen temporarily, though endowed
with common sense and rather unusual ability to harmonize the various
elements in the school, was not deemed satisfactory. He was too much
like Socrates. At last they found a man after their own heart. He had
traveled and studied long abroad; was a dashing, brilliant fellow;
would surely make things hum; so at least said those who recommended
him (and he did). But he was still a poor student in Scotland; his
passage money must be raised by the school if he was to be secured.
And raised it was. Four hundred and seventy-five dollars those one
hundred and fifty poor boys and girls, who lived on two dollars a
month, scantily clothed and insufficiently warmed, secured from their
parents and sent across the seas to bring back him who was to be their
hero-principal and pastor. The rest of the story I need not tell in
detail, but I may whisper that he was more of a slashing hero than
they planned for; in three months the boys' school was split in twain
and in less than three years both fragments of the school had not only
lost all their Christian character, but were dead and gone forever.
And the grounds on which the buildings stood were turned into mulberry

Talking not long since to a native friend, concerning the
hero-worshiping tendency of the Japanese, I had my attention called to
the fact that, while what has been said above is substantially correct
as concerns a large proportion of the people, especially the young
men, there is nevertheless a class whose ideal heroes are not
military, but moral. Their power arises not through self-assertion,
but rather through humility; their influence is due entirely to
learning coupled with insight into the great moral issues of life.
Such has been the character of not a few of the "moral" teachers. I
have recently read a Japanese novel based upon the life of one such
hero. Omi Seijin, or the "Sage of Omi," is a name well known among
the people of Japan; and his fame rests rather on his character than
on his learning. If tradition is correct, his influence on the people
of his region was powerful enough to transform the character of the
place, producing a paradise on earth whence lust and crime were
banished. Whatever the actual facts of his life may have been, this is
certainly the representation of his character now held up for honor
and imitation. There are also indications that the ideal military hero
is not, for all the people, the self-assertive type that I have
described above, though this is doubtless the prevalent one. Not long
since I heard the following couplet as to the nature of a true hero:

            "Makoto no Ei-yu;
Sono yo, aizen to shite shumpu no gotoshi;
Sono shin, kizen to shite kinseki no gotoshi.

            "The true Hero;
In appearance, charming like the spring breeze.
In heart, firm as a rock."

Another phrase that I have run across relating to the ideal man is, "I
atte takakarazu," which means in plain English, "having authority, but
not puffed up." In the presence of these facts, it will not do to
think that the ideal hero of all the Japanese is, or even in olden
times was, only a military hero full of swagger and bluster; in a
military age such would, of necessity, be a popular ideal; but just in
proportion as men rose to higher forms of learning, and character, so
would their ideals be raised.

It is not to be lightly assumed that the spirit of hero-worship is
wholly an evil or a necessarily harmful thing. It has its advantages
and rewards as well as its dangers and evils. The existence of
hero-worship in any land reveals a nature in the people that is
capable of heroic actions. Men appreciate and admire that which in a
measure at least they are, and more that which they aspire to become.
The recent war revealed how the capacity for heroism of a warlike
nature lies latent in every Japanese breast and not in the descendants
of the old military class alone. But it is more encouraging to note
that popular appreciation of moral heroes is growing.

Education and religion are bringing forth modern moral heroes. The
late Dr. Neesima, the founder of the Doshisha, is a hero to many even
outside the Church. Mr. Ishii, the father of Orphan Asylums in Japan,
promises to be another. A people that can rear and admire men of this
character has in it the material of a truly great nation.

The hero-worshiping characteristic of the Japanese depends on two
other traits of their nature. The first is the reality of strong
personalities among them capable of becoming heroes; the second is the
possession of a strong idealizing tendency. Prof. G.T. Ladd has called
them a "sentimental" people, in the sense that they are powerfully
moved by sentiment. This is a conspicuous trait of their character
appearing in numberless ways in their daily life. The passion for
group-photographs is largely due to this. Sentimentalism, in the sense
given it by Prof. Ladd, is the emotional aspect of idealism.

The new order of society is reacting on the older ideal of a hero and
is materially modifying it. The old-fashioned samurai, girded with two
swords, ready to kill a personal foe at sight, is now only the ideal
of romance. In actual life he would soon find himself deprived of his
liberty and under the condemnation not only of the law, but also of
public opinion. The new ideal with which I have come into most
frequent contact is far different. Many, possibly the majority, of the
young men and boys with whom I have talked as to their aim in life,
have said that they desired to secure first of all a thorough
education, in order that finally they might become great "statesmen"
and might guide the nation into paths of prosperity and international
power. The modern hero is one who gratifies the patriotic passion by
bringing some marked success to the nation. He must be a gentleman,
educated in science, in history, and in foreign languages; but above
all, he must be versed in political economy and law. This new ideal of
a national hero has been brought in by the order of society, and in
proportion as this order continues, and emphasis continues to be laid
on mental and moral power, rather than on rank or official position,
on the intrinsic rather than on the accidental, will the old ideal
fade away and the new ideal take its place. Among an idealizing and
emotional people, such as the Japanese, various ideals will naturally
find extreme expression. As society grows complex also and its various
elements become increasingly differentiated, so will the ideals pass
through the same transformations. A study of ideals, therefore, serves
several ends; it reveals the present character of those whose ideals
they are; it shows the degree of development of the social organism in
which they live; it makes known, likewise, the degree of the
differentiation that has taken place between the various elements of
the nation.



An aspect of Japanese life widely remarked and praised by foreign
writers is the love for children. Children's holidays, as the third
day of the third moon and the fifth day of the fifth moon, are general
celebrations for boys and girls respectively, and are observed with
much gayety all over the land. At these times the universal aim is to
please the children; the girls have dolls and the exhibition of
ancestral dolls; while the boys have toy paraphernalia of all the
ancient and modern forms of warfare, and enormous wind-inflated paper
fish, symbols of prosperity and success, fly from tall bamboos in the
front yard. Contrary to the prevailing opinion among foreigners, these
festivals have nothing whatever to do with birthday celebrations. In
addition to special festivals, the children figure conspicuously in
all holidays and merry-makings. To the famous flower-festival
celebrations, families go in groups and make an all-day picnic of the
joyous occasion.

The Japanese fondness for children is seen not only at festival times.
Parents seem always ready to provide their children with toys. As a
consequence toy stores flourish. There is hardly a street without its

A still further reason for the impression that the Japanese are
especially fond of their children is the slight amount of punishment
and reprimand which they administer. The children seem to have nearly
everything their own way. Playing on the streets, they are always in
evidence and are given the right of way.

That Japanese show much affection for their children is clear. The
question of importance, however, is whether they have it in a marked
degree, more, for instance, than Americans? And if so, is this due to
their nature, or may it be attributed to their family life as molded
by the social order? It is my impression that, on the whole, the
Japanese do not show more affection for their children than
Occidentals, although they may at first sight appear to do so. Among
the laboring classes of the %est, the father, as a rule, is away from
home all through the hours of the day, working in shop or factory. He
seldom sees his children except upon the Sabbath. Of course, the
father has then very little to do with their care or education, and
little opportunity for the manifestation of affection. In Japan,
however, the industrial organization of society is still such that the
father is at home a large part of the time. The factories are few as
yet; the store is usually not separate from the home, but a part of
it, the front room of the house. Family life is, therefore, much less
broken in upon by the industrial necessities of civilization, and
there are accordingly more opportunities for the manifestation of the
father's affection for the children. Furthermore, the laboring-people
in Japan live much on the street, and it is a common thing to see the
father caring for children. While I have seldom seen a father with an
infant tied to his back, I have frequently seen them with their infant
sons tucked into their bosoms, an interesting sight. This custom gives
a vivid impression of parental affection. But, comparing the middle
classes of Japan and the West, it is safe to say that, as a whole, the
Western father has more to do by far in the care and education of the
children than the Japanese father, and that there is no less of
fondling and playing with children. If we may judge the degree of
affection by the signs of its demonstrations, we must pronounce the
Occidental, with his habits of kissing and embracing, as far and away
more affectionate than his Oriental cousin. While the Occidental may
not make so much of an occasion of the advent of a son as does the
Oriental, he continues to remember the birthdays of all his children
with joy and celebrations, as the Oriental does not. Although the
Japanese invariably say, when asked about it, that they celebrate
their children's birthdays, the uniform experience of the foreigner
is that birthday celebrations play a very insignificant part in the
joys and the social life of the home.

It is not difficult to understand why, apart from the question of
affection, the Japanese should manifest special joy on the advent of
sons, and particularly of a first son. The Oriental system of
ancestral worship, with the consequent need, both religious and
political, of maintaining the family line, is quite enough to account
for all the congratulatory ceremonies customary on the birth of sons.
The fact that special joy is felt and manifested on the birth of sons,
and less on the birth of daughters, clearly shows that the dominant
conceptions of the social order have an important place in determining
even so fundamental a trait as affection for offspring.

Affection for children is, however, not limited to the day of their
birth or the period of their infancy. In judging of the relative
possession by different races of affection for children, we must ask
how the children are treated during all their succeeding years. It
must be confessed that the advantage is then entirely on the side of
the Occidental. Not only does this appear in the demonstrations of
affection which are continued throughout childhood, often even
throughout life, but more especially in the active parental solicitude
for the children's welfare, striving to fit them for life's duties and
watching carefully over their mental and moral education. In these
respects the average Occidental is far in advance of the average

I have been told that, since the coming in of the new civilization and
the rise of the new ideas about woman, marriage, and home, there is
clearly observable to the Japanese themselves a change in the way in
which children are being treated. But, even still, the elder son takes
the more prominent place in the affection of the family, and sons
precede daughters.

A fair statement of the case, therefore, is somewhat as follows: The
lower and laboring classes of Japan seem to have more visible
affection for their children than the same classes in the Occident.
Among the middle and upper classes, however, the balance is in favor
of the West. In the East, while, without doubt, there always has been
and is now a pure and natural affection, it is also true that this
natural affection has been more mixed with utilitarian considerations
than in the West. Christian Japanese, however, differ little from
Christian Americans in this respect. The differences between the East
and the West are largely due to the differing industrial and family
conditions induced by the social order.

The correctness of this general statement will perhaps be better
appreciated if we consider in detail some of the facts of Japanese
family life. Let us notice first the very loose ties, as they seem to
us, holding the Japanese family together. It is one of the constant
wonders to us Westerners how families can break up into fragments, as
they constantly do. One third of the marriages end in divorce; and in
case of divorce, the children all stay with the father's family. It
would seem as if the love of the mother for her children could not be
very strong where divorce under such a condition is so common. Or,
perhaps, it would be truer to say that divorce would be far more
frequent than it is but for the mother's love for her children. For I
am assured that many a mother endures most distressing conditions
rather than leave her children. Furthermore, the way in which parents
allow their children to leave the home and then fail to write or
communicate with them, for months or even years at a time, is
incomprehensible if the parental love were really strong. And still
further, the way in which concubines are brought into the home,
causing confusion and discord, is a very striking evidence of the lack
of a deep love on the part of the father for the mother of his
children and even for his own legitimate children. One would expect a
father who really loved his children to desire and plan for their
legitimacy; but the children by his concubines are not "ipso facto"
recognized as legal. One more evidence in this direction is the
frequency of adoption and of separation. Adoption in Japan is largely,
though by no means exclusively, the adoption of an adult; the cases
where a child is adopted by a childless couple from love of children
are rare, as compared with similar cases in the United States, so far,
at least, as my observation goes. I recently heard of a conversation
on personal financial matters between a number of Christian
evangelists. After mutual comparisons they agreed that one of their
number was more fortunate than the rest in that he did not have to
support his mother. On inquiring into the matter, the missionary
learned that this evangelist, on becoming a Buddhist priest many years
before, had secured from the government, according to the laws of the
land, exemption from this duty. When he became a Christian it did not
seem to occur to him that it was his duty and his privilege to support
his indigent mother. I may add that this idea has since occurred to
him and he is acting upon it.

Infanticide throws a rather lurid light on Japanese affection. First,
in regard to the facts: Mr. Ishii's attention was called to the need
of an orphan asylum by hearing how a child, both of whose parents had
died of cholera, was on the point of being buried alive with its dead
mother by heartless neighbors when it was rescued by a fisherman.
Certain parts of Japan have been notorious from of old for this
practice. In Tosa the evil was so rampant that a society for its
prevention has been in existence for many years. It helps support
children of poor parents who might be tempted to dispose of them
criminally. In that province from January to March, 1898, I was told
that "only" four cases of conviction for this crime were reported. The
registered annual birth rate of certain villages has increased from
40-50 to 75-80, and this without any immigration from outside. The
reason assigned is the diminution of infanticide.

In speaking of infanticide in Japan, let us not forget that every race
and nation has been guilty of the same crime, and has continued to be
guilty of it until delivered by Christianity.

Widespread infanticide proves a wide lack of natural affection.
Poverty is, of course, the common plea. Yet infanticide has been
practiced not so much by the desperately poor as by small
land-holders. The amount of farming land possessed by each family was
strictly limited and could feed only a given number of mouths. Should
the family exceed that number, all would be involved in poverty, for
the members beyond that limit did not have the liberty to travel in
search of new occupation. Infanticide, therefore, bore direct relation
to the rigid economic nature of the old social order.

Whatever, therefore, be the point of view from which we study the
question of Japanese affection for children, we see that it was
intimately connected with the nature of the social order. Whether we
judge such affection or its lack to be a characteristic trait of
Japanese nature, we must still maintain that it is not an inherent
trait of the race nature, but only a characteristic depending for its
greater or less development on the nature of the social order.



If the Japanese are a conspicuously emotional race, as is commonly
believed, we should naturally expect this characteristic to manifest
itself in a marked degree in the relation of the sexes. Curiously
enough, however, such does not seem to be the case. So slight a place
does the emotion of sexual love have in Japanese family life that some
have gone to the extreme of denying it altogether. In his brilliant
but fallacious volume, entitled "The Soul of the Far East," Mr.
Percival Lowell states that the Japanese do not "fall in love." The
correctness of this statement we shall consider in connection with the
argument for Japanese impersonality. That "falling in love" is not a
recognized part of the family system, and that marriage is arranged
regardless not only of love, but even of mutual acquaintance, are
indisputable facts.

Let us confine our attention here to Japanese post-marital emotional
characteristics. Do Japanese husbands love their wives and wives their
husbands? We have already seen that in the text-book for Japanese
women, the "Onna Daigaku," not one word is said about love. It may be
stated at once that love between husband and wife is almost as
conspicuously lacking in practice as in precept. In no regard,
perhaps, is the contrast between the East and the West more striking
than the respective ideas concerning woman and marriage. The one
counts woman the equal, if not the superior of man; the other looks
down upon her as man's inferior in every respect; the one considers
profound love as the only true condition of marriage; the other thinks
of love as essentially impure, beneath the dignity of a true man, and
not to be taken into consideration when marriage is contemplated; in
the one, the two persons most interested have most to say in the
matter; in the other, they have the least to say; in the one, a long
and intimate previous acquaintance is deemed important; in the other,
the need for such an acquaintance does not receive a second thought;
in the one, the wife at once takes her place as the queen of the home;
in the other, she enters as the domestic for her husband and his
parents; in the one, the children are hers as well as his; in the
other, they are his rather than hers, and remain with him in case of
divorce; in the one, divorce is rare and condemned; in the other, it
is common in the extreme; in the one, it is as often the woman as the
man who seeks the divorce; in the other, until most recent times, it
is the man alone who divorces the wife; in the one, the reasons for
divorce are grave; in the other, they are often trivial; in the one,
the wife is the "helpmate"; in the other, she is the man's
"plaything"; or, at most, the means for continuing the family lineage;
in the one, the man is the "husband"; in the other, he is the "danna
san" or "teishu" (the lord or master); in the ideal home of the one,
the wife is the object of the husband's constant affection and
solicitous care; in the ideal home of the other, she ever waits upon
her lord, serves his food for him, and faithfully sits up for him at
night, however late his return may be; in the one, the wife is
justified in resenting any unfaithfulness or immorality on the part of
her husband; in the other, she is commanded to accept with patience
whatever he may do, however many concubines he may have in his home or
elsewhere; and however immoral he may be, she must not be jealous. The
following characterization of the women of Japan is presumably by one
who would do them no injustice, having himself married a Japanese wife
(the editor of the _Japan Mail_).

     "The woman of Japan is a charming personage in many ways--gracious,
     refined, womanly before everything, sweet-tempered, unselfish,
     virtuous, a splendid mother, and an ideal wife from the point of
     view of the master. But she is virtually excluded from the whole
     intellectual life of the nation. Politics, art, literature,
     science, are closed books to her. She cannot think logically about
     any of these subjects, express herself clearly with reference to
     them, or take an intellectual part in conversations relating to
     them. She is, in fact, totally disqualified to be her husband's
     intellectual companion, and the inevitable result is that he
     despises her."[J]

In face of all these facts, it is evident that the emotional element
of character which plays so large a part in the relation of the sexes
in the West has little, if any, counterpart in the Far East. Where the
emotional element does come in, it is under social condemnation. There
are doubtless many happy marriages in Japan, if the wife is faithful
in her place and fills it well; and if the master is honorable
according to the accepted standards, steady in his business, not given
to wine or women. But even then the affection must be different from
that which prevails in the West. No Japanese wife ever dreams of
receiving the loving care from her husband which is freely accorded
her Western sister by her husband.[K]

I wish, however, to add at once that this is a topic about which it is
dangerous to dogmatize, for the customs of Japan demand that all
expressions of affection between husband and wife shall be sedulously
concealed from the outer world. I can easily believe that there is no
little true affection existing between husband and wife. A Japanese
friend with whom I have talked on this subject expresses his belief
that the statement made above, to the effect that no Japanese wife
dreams of receiving the loving care which is expected by her Western
sister, is doubtless true of Old Japan, but that there has been a
great change in this respect in recent decades; and especially among
the Christian community. That Christians excel the others with whom I
have come in contact, has been evident to me. But that even they are
still very different from Occidentals in this respect, is also clear.
Whatever be the affection lavished on the wife in the privacy of the
home, she does not receive in public the constant evidence of special
regard and high esteem which the Western wife expects as her right.

How much affection can be expressed by low formal bows? The fact is
that Japanese civilization has striven to crush out all signs of
emotion; this stoicism is exemplified to a large degree even in the
home, and under circumstances when we should think it impossible.
Kissing was an unknown art in Japan, and it is still unknown, except
by name, to the great majority of the people. Even mothers seldom kiss
their infant children, and when they do, it is only while the children
are very young.

The question, however, which particularly interests us, is as to the
explanation for these facts. Is the lack of demonstrative affection
between husband and wife due to the inherent nature of the Japanese,
or is it not due rather to the prevailing social order? If a Japanese
goes to America or. England, for a few years, does he maintain his
cold attitude toward all women, and never show the slightest tendency
to fall in love, or exhibit demonstrative affection? These questions
almost answer themselves, and with them the main question for whose
solution we are seeking.

A few concrete instances may help to illustrate the generalization
that these are not fixed because racial characteristics, but variable
ones dependent on the social order. Many years ago when the late Dr.
Neesima, the founder, with Dr. Davis, of the Doshisha, was on the
point of departure for the United States on account of his health, he
made an address to the students. In the course of his remarks he
stated that there were three principal considerations that made him
regret the necessity for his departure at that time; the first was
that the Doshisha was in a most critical position; it was but
starting on its larger work, and he felt that all its friends should
be on hand to help on the great undertaking. The second was that he
was compelled to leave his aged parents, whom he might not find living
on his return to Japan. The third was his sorrow at leaving his
beloved wife. This public reference to his wife, and especially to his
love for her, was so extraordinary that it created no little comment,
not to say scandal; especially obnoxious was it to many, because he
mentioned her after having mentioned his parents. In the reports of
this speech given by his friends to the public press no reference was
made to this expression of love for his wife. And a few months after
his death, when Dr. Davis prepared a short biography of Dr. Neesima,
he was severely criticised by some of the Japanese for reproducing the
speech as Dr. Neesima gave it.

Shortly after my first arrival in Japan, I was walking home from
church one day with an English-speaking Japanese, who had had a good
deal to do with foreigners. Suddenly, without any introduction, he
remarked that he did not comprehend how the men of the West could
endure such tyranny as was exercised over them by their wives. I, of
course, asked what he meant. He then said that he had seen me
buttoning my wife's shoes. I should explain that on calling on the
Japanese, in their homes, it is necessary that we leave our shoes at
the door, as the Japanese invariably do; this is, of course, awkward
for foreigners who wear shoes; especially so is the necessity of
putting them on again. The difficulty is materially increased by the
invariably high step at the front door. It is hard enough for a man to
kneel down on the step and reach for his shoes and then put them on;
much more so is it for a woman. And after the shoes are on, there is
no suitable place on which to rest the foot for buttoning and tying. I
used, therefore, very gladly to help my wife with hers. Yet, so
contrary to Japanese precedent was this act of mine that this
well-educated gentleman and Christian, who had had much intercourse
with foreigners, could not see in it anything except the imperious
command of the wife and the slavish obedience of the husband. His
conception of the relation between the Occidental husband and wife is
best described as tyranny on the part of the wife.

One of the early shocks I received on this general subject was due to
the discovery that whenever my wife took my arm as we walked the
street to and from church, or elsewhere, the people looked at us in
surprised displeasure. Such public manifestation of intimacy was to be
expected from libertines alone, and from these only when they were
more or less under the influence of drink. Whenever a Japanese man
walks out with his wife, which, by the way, is seldom, he invariably
steps on ahead, leaving her to follow, carrying the parcels, if there
are any. A child, especially a son, may walk at his side, but not his

Let me give a few more illustrations to show how the present family
life of the Japanese checks the full and free development of the
affections. In one of our out-stations I but recently found a young
woman in a distressing condition. Her parents had no sons, and
consequently, according to the custom of the land, they had adopted a
son, who became the husband of their eldest daughter; the man proved a
rascal, and the family was glad when he decided that he did not care
to be their son any longer. Shortly after his departure a child was
born to the daughter; but, according to the law, she had no husband,
and consequently the child must either be registered as illegitimate,
or be fraudulently registered as the child of the mother's father.
There is much fraudulent registration, the children of concubines are
not recognized as legitimate; yet it is common to register such
children as those of the regular wife, especially if she has few or
none of her own.

An evangelist who worked long in Kyushu was always in great financial
trouble because of the fact that he had to support two mothers,
besides giving aid to his father, who had married a third wife. The
first was his own mother, who had been divorced, but, as she had no
home, the son took her to his. When the father divorced his second
wife, the son was induced to take care of her also. Another
evangelist, with whom I had much to do, was the adopted son of a
scheming old man; it seems that in the earlier part of the present era
the eldest son of a family was exempt from military draft. It often
happened, therefore, that families who had no sons could obtain large
sums of money from those who had younger sons whom they wished to have
adopted for the purpose of escaping the draft. This evangelist, while
still a boy, was adopted into such a family, and a certain sum was
fixed upon to be paid at some time in the future. But the adopted son
proved so pleasing to the adopting father that he did not ask for the
money; by some piece of legerdemain, however, he succeeded in adopting
a second son, who paid him the desired money. After some years the
first adopted son became a Christian, and then an evangelist, both
steps being taken against the wishes of the adopting father. The
father finally said that he would forego all relations to the son, and
give him back his original name, provided the son would pay the
original sum that had been agreed on, plus the interest, which
altogether would, at that time, amount to several hundred yen. This
was, of course, impossible. The negotiations dragged on for three or
four years. Meanwhile, the young man fell in love with a young girl,
whom he finally married; as he was still the son of his adopting
father, he could not have his wife registered as his wife, for the old
man had another girl in view for him and would not consent to this
arrangement. And so the matter dragged for several months more. Unless
the matter could be arranged, any children born to them must be
registered as illegitimate. At this point I was consulted and, for the
first time, learned the details of the case. Further consultations
resulted in an agreement as to the sum to be paid; the adopted son was
released, and re-registered under his newly acquired name and for the
first time his marriage became legal. The confusion and suffering
brought into the family by this practice of adoption and of separation
are almost endless.

The number of cases in which beautiful and accomplished young women
have been divorced by brutal and licentious husbands is appalling. I
know several such. What wonder that Christians and others are
constantly laying emphasis, in public lectures and sermons and private
talks, on the crying need of reform in marriage and in the home?

Throughout the land the newspapers are discussing the pros and cons of
monogamy and polygamy. In January of 1898 the _Jiji Shimpo_, one of
the leading daily papers of Tokyo, had a series of articles on the
subject from the pen of one of the most illustrious educators of New
Japan, Mr. Fukuzawa. His school, the "Keio Gijiku," has educated more
thousands of young men than any other, notwithstanding the fact that
it is a private institution. Though not a Christian himself, nor
making any professions of advocating Christianity, yet Mr. Fukuzawa
has come out strongly in favor of monogamy. His description of the
existing social and family life is striking, not to say sickening. If
I mistake not, it is he who tells of a certain noble lady who shed
tears at the news of the promotion of her husband in official rank;
and when questioned on the matter she confessed that, with added
salary, he would add to the number of his concubines and to the
frequency of his intercourse with famous dancing and singing girls.

The distressing state of family life may also be gathered from the
large numbers of public and secret prostitutes that are to be found in
all the large cities, and the singing girls of nearly every town.
According to popular opinion, their number is rapidly increasing.
Though this general subject trenches on morality rather than on the
topic immediately before us, yet it throws a lurid light on this
question also. It lets us see, perhaps, more clearly than we could in
any other way, how deficient is the average home life of the people. A
professing Christian, a man of wide experience and social standing,
not long since seriously argued at a meeting of a Young Men's
Christian Association that dancing and singing girls are a necessary
part of Japanese civilization to-day. He argued that they supply the
men with that female element in social life which the ordinary woman
cannot provide; were the average wives and daughters sufficiently
accomplished to share in the social life of the men as they are in the
West, dancing and singing girls, being needless, would soon cease to

One further question in this connection merits our attention. How are
we to account for an order of society that allows so little scope for
the natural affections of the heart, unless by saying that that order
is the true expression of their nature? Must we not say that the
element of affection in the present social order is deficient because
the Japanese themselves are naturally deficient? The question seems
more difficult than it really is.

In the first place, the affectionate relation existing between
husbands and wives and between parents and children, in Western lands,
is a product of relatively recent times. In his exhaustive work on
"The History of Human Marriage," Westermarck makes this very plain.
Wherever the woman is counted a slave, is bought and sold, is
considered as merely a means of bearing children to the family, or in
any essential way is looked down upon, there high forms of affection
are by the nature of the case impossible, though some affection
doubtless exists; it necessarily attains only a rudimentary
development. Now it is conspicuous that the conception of the nature
and purpose of woman, as held in the Orient, has always been debasing
to her. Though individual women might rise above their assigned
position the whole social order, as established by the leaders of
thought, was against her. The statement that there was a primitive
condition of society in Japan in which the affectionate relations
between husband and wife now known in the West prevailed, is, I think,
a mistake.

We must remember, in the second place, what careful students of human
evolution have pointed out, that those tribes and races in which the
family was most completely consolidated, that is to say, those in
which the power of the father was absolute, were the ones to gain the
victory over their competitors. The reason for this is too obvious to
require even a statement. Every conquering race has accordingly
developed the "patria potestas" to a greater or less degree. Now one
general peculiarity of the Orient is that that stage of development
has remained to this day; it has not experienced those modifications
and restrictions which have arisen in the West. The national
government dealt with families and clans, not with individuals, as the
final social unit. In the West, however, the individual has become the
civil unit; the "patria potestas" has thus been all but lost. This,
added to religious and ethical considerations, has given women and
children an ever higher place both in society and in the home. Had
this loss of authority by the father been accompanied with a weakening
of the nation, it would have been an injury; but, in the West, his
authority has been transferred to the nation. These considerations
serve to render more intelligible and convincing the main proposition
of these chapters, that the distinctive emotional characteristics of
the Japanese are not inherent; they are the results of the social and
industrial order; as this order changes, they too will surely change.
The entire civilization of a land takes its leading, if not its
dominant, color from the estimate set by the people as a whole on the
value of human life. The relatively late development of the tender
affections, even in the West, is due doubtless to the extreme slowness
with which the idea of the inherent value of a human being, as such,
has taken root, even though it was clearly taught by Christ. But the
leaven of His teaching has been at work for these hundreds of years,
and now at last we are beginning to see its real meaning and its vital
relation to the entire progress of man. It may be questioned whether
Christ gave any more important impetus to the development of
civilization than by His teaching in regard to the inestimable worth
of man, grounding it, as He did, on man's divine sonship. Those
nations which insist on valuing human life only by the utilitarian
standard, and which consequently keep woman in a degraded place,
insisting on concubinage and all that it implies, are sure to wane
before those nations which loyally adopt and practice the higher
ideals of human worth. The weakness of heathen lands arises in no
slight degree from their cheap estimate of human life.

In Japan, until the Meiji era, human life was cheap. For criminals of
the military classes, suicide was the honorable method of leaving this
world; the lower orders of society suffered loss of life at the hands
of the military class without redress. The whole nation accepted the
low standards of human value; woman was valued chiefly, if not
entirely, on a utilitarian basis, that, namely, of bearing children,
doing house and farm work, and giving men pleasure. So far as I know,
not among all the teachings of Confucius or Buddha was the supreme
value of human life, as such, once suggested, much less any adequate
conception of the worth and nature of woman. The entire social order
was constructed without these two important truths.

By a great effort, however, Japan has introduced a new social order,
with unprecedented rapidity. By one revolution it has established a
set of laws in which the equality of all men before the law is
recognized at least; for the first time in Oriental history, woman is
given the right to seek divorce. The experiment is now being made on a
great scale as to whether the new social order adopted by the rulers
can induce those ideas among the people at large which will insure its
performance. Can the mere legal enactments which embody the principles
of human equality and the value of human life, regardless of sex,
beget those fundamental conceptions on which alone a steady and
lasting government can rest? Can Japan really step into the circle of
Western nations, without abandoning her pagan religions and pushing
onward into Christian monotheism with all its corollaries as to the
relations and mutual duties of man? All earnest men are crying out for
a strengthening of the moral life of the nation through the reform of
the family and are proclaiming the necessity of monogamy; but, aside
from the Christians, none appear to see how this is to be done. Even
Mr. Fukuzawa says that the first step in the reform of the family and
the establishment of monogamy is to develop public sentiment against
prostitution and plural or illegal marriage; and the way to do this
is first to make evil practices secret. This, he says, is more
important than to give women a higher education. He does not see that
Christianity with its conceptions of immediate responsibility of the
individual to God, the loving Heavenly Father, and of the infinite
value of each human soul, thus doing away with the utilitarian scale
for measuring both men and women, together with its conceptions of the
relations of the sexes and of man to man, can alone supply that
foundation for all the elements of the new social order, intellectual
and emotional, which will make it workable and permanent, and of which
monogamy is but one element.[L] He does not see that representative
government and popular rights cannot stand for any length of time on
any other foundation.



Many writers have dwelt with delight on the cheerful disposition that
seems so common in Japan. Lightness of heart, freedom from all anxiety
for the future, living chiefly in the present, these and kindred
features are pictured in glowing terms. And, on the whole, these
pictures are true to life. The many flower festivals are made
occasions for family picnics when all care seems thrown to the wind.
There is a simplicity and a freshness and a freedom from worry that is
delightful to see. But it is also remarked that a change in this
regard is beginning to be observed. The coming in of Western
machinery, methods of government, of trade and of education, is
introducing customs and cares, ambitions and activities, that militate
against the older ways. Doubtless, this too is true. If so, it but
serves to establish the general proposition of these pages that the
more outstanding national characteristics are largely the result of
special social conditions, rather than of inherent national character.

The cheerful disposition, so often seen and admired by the Westerner,
is the cheerfulness of children. In many respects the Japanese are
relatively undeveloped. This is due to the nature of their social
order during the past. The government has been largely paternal in
form and fully so in theory. Little has been left to individual
initiative or responsibility. Wherever such a system has been dominant
and the perfectly accepted order, the inevitable result is just such a
state of simple, childish cheerfulness as we find in Japan. It
constitutes that golden age sung by the poets of every land. But being
the cheerfulness of children, the happiness of immaturity, it is
bound to change with growth, to be lost with coming maturity.

Yet the Japanese are by no means given up to a cheerful view of life.
Many an individual is morose and dejected in the extreme. This
disposition is ever stimulated by the religious teachings of Buddhism.
Its great message has been the evanescent character of the present
life. Life is not worth living, it urges; though life may have some
pleasures, the total result is disappointment and sorrow. Buddhism has
found a warm welcome in the hearts of many Japanese. For more than a
thousand years it has been exercising a potent influence on their
thoughts and lives. Yet how is this consistent with the cheerful
disposition which seems so characteristic of Japan? The answer is not
far to seek. Pessimism is by its very nature separative, isolating,
silent. Those oppressed by it do not enter into public joys. They hide
themselves in monasteries, or in the home. The result is that by its
very nature the actual pessimism of Japan is not a conspicuous feature
of national character. The judgment that all Japanese are cheerful
rests on shallow grounds. Because, forsooth, millions on holidays bear
that appearance, and because on ordinary occasions the average man and
woman seem cheerful and happy, the conclusion is reached that all are
so. No effort is made to learn of those whose lives are spent in
sadness and isolation. I am convinced that the Japan of old, for all
its apparent cheer, had likewise its side of deep tragedy. Conditions
of life that struck down countless individuals, and mental conditions
which made Buddhism so popular, both point to this conclusion.

Again I wish to call attention to the fact that the prominence of
children and young people is in part the cause of the appearance of
general happiness. The Japanese live on the street as no Western
people do. The stores and workshops are the homes; when these are
open, the homes are open. When the children go out of the house to
play they use the streets, for they seldom have yards. Here they
gather in great numbers and play most enthusiastically, utterly
regardless of the passers-by, for these latter are all on foot or in
jinrikishas, and, consequently, never cause the children any alarm.

The Japanese give the double impression of being industrious and
diligent on the one hand, and, on the other, of being lazy and utterly
indifferent to the lapse of time. The long hours during which they
keep at work is a constant wonder to the Occidental. I have often been
amazed in Fukuoka to find stores and workshops open, apparently in
operation, after ten and sometimes even until eleven o'clock at night,
while blacksmiths and carpenters and wheelwrights would be working
away as if it were morning. Many of the factories recently started
keep very long hours. Indeed most of the cotton mills run day and
night, having two sets of workers, who shift their times of labor
every week. Those who work during the night hours one week take the
day hours the following week. In at least one such factory, with which
I am acquainted, the fifteen hundred girls who work from six o'clock
Saturday evening until six o'clock Sunday morning, are then supposed
to have twenty-four hours of rest before they begin their day's work
Monday morning; but, as a matter of fact, they must spend three or
four and sometimes five hours on Sunday morning cleaning up the

In a small silk-weaving factory that I know the customary hours for
work were from five in the morning until nine at night, seven days in
the week. The wife, however, of the owner became a Christian. Through
her intervention time for rest was secured on Sunday long enough for a
Bible class, which the evangelist of the place was invited to teach.
After several months of instruction a number of the hands became
Christian, and all were sufficiently interested to ask that the whole
of the Sabbath be granted to them for rest; but in order that the
master might not lose thereby, they agreed to begin work at four each
morning and to work on until ten at night. With such hours one would
have expected them to fall at once into their beds when the work of
the day was over. But for many months, at ten o'clock in the evening,
my wife and I heard them singing a hymn or two in their family
worship before retiring for the night.

In certain weaving factories I have been told that the girls are
required to work sixteen hours a day; and that on Sundays they are
allowed to have some rest, being then required to work but ten hours!
The diligence of mail deliverers, who always run when on duty, the
hours of consecutive running frequently performed by jin-irikisha men
(several have told me that they have made over sixty miles in a single
day), the long hours of persistent study by students in the higher
schools, and many kindred facts, certainly indicate a surprising
capacity for work.

But there are equally striking illustrations of an opposite nature.
The farmers and mechanics and carpenters, among regular laborers, and
the entire life of the common people in their homes, give an
impression of indifference to the flight of time, if not of absolute
laziness. The workers seem ready to sit down for a smoke and a chat at
any hour of the day. In the home and in ordinary social life, the loss
of time seems to be a matter of no consequence whatever. Polite
palaver takes unstinted hours, and the sauntering of the people
through the street emphasizes the impression that no business calls
oppress them.

In my opinion these characteristics, also, are due to the conditions
of society, past and present, rather than to the inherent nature of
the people. The old civilization was easy-going; it had no clocks; it
hardly knew the time of day; it never hastened. The hour was estimated
and was twice as long as the modern hour. The structure of society
demanded the constant observance of the forms of etiquette; this, with
its numberless genuflections and strikings of the head on the floor,
always demanded time. Furthermore, the very character of the footgear
compelled and still compels a shuffling, ambling gait when walking the
streets. The clog is a well-named hindrance to civilization in the
waste of time it compels. The slow-going, time-ignoring
characteristics of New Japan are social inheritances from feudal
times, characteristics which are still hampering its development. The
industrious spirit that is to be found in so many quarters to-day is
largely the gift of the new civilization. Shoes are taking the place
of clogs. The army and all the police, on ordinary duty, wear shoes.
Even the industry of the students is largely due to the new conditions
of student life. The way in which the Japanese are working to-day, and
the feverish haste that some of them evince in their work, shows that
they are as capable as Occidentals of acquiring the rush of

The home life of the people gives an impression of listlessness that
is in marked contrast to that of the West. This is partly due to the
fact that the house work is relatively light, there being no furniture
to speak of, the rooms small, and the cooking arrangements quite
simple. Housewives go about their work with restful deliberation,
which is trying, however, to one in haste. It is the experience of the
housekeepers from the West that one Japanese domestic is able to
accomplish from a third to a half of what is done by a girl in
America. This is not wholly due to slowness of movement, however, but
also to smallness of stature and corresponding lack of strength. On
the other hand, the long hours of work required of women in the
majority of Japanese homes is something appalling. The wife is
expected to be up before the husband, to prepare his meals, and to
wait patiently till his return at night, however late that may be. In
all except the higher ranks of society she takes entire care of the
children, except for the help which her older children may give her.
During much of the time she goes about her work with an infant tied to
her back. Though she does not work hard at any one time (and is it to
be wondered at?) yet she works long. Especially hard is the life of
the waiting girls in the hotels. I have learned that, as a rule, they
are required to be up before daylight and to remain on duty until
after midnight. In some hotels they are allowed but four or five hours
out of the twenty-four. The result is, they are often overcome and
fall asleep while at service. Sitting on the floor and waiting to
serve the rice, with nothing to distract their thoughts or hold their
attention, they easily lose themselves for a few moments.

Two other strongly contrasted traits are found in the Japanese
character, absolute confidence and trustfulness on the one hand, and
suspicion on the other. It is the universal testimony that the former
characteristic is rapidly passing away; in the cities it is well-nigh
gone. But in the country places it is still common. The idea of making
a bargain when two persons entered upon some particular piece of work,
the one as employer, the other as employed, was entirely repugnant to
the older generation, since it was assumed that their relations as
inferior and superior should determine their financial relations; the
superior would do what was right, and the inferior should accept what
the superior might give without a question or a murmur. Among the
samurai, where the arrangement is between equals, bargaining or making
fixed and fast terms which will hold to the end, and which may be
carried to the courts in case of differences, was a thing practically
unknown in the older civilization. Everything of a business nature was
left to honor, and was carried on in mutual confidence.

A few illustrations of this spirit of confidence from my own
experience may not be without interest. On first coming to Japan, I
found it usual for a Japanese who wished to take a jinrikisha to call
the runner and take the ride without making any bargain, giving him at
the end what seemed right. And the men generally accepted the payment
without question. I have found that recently, unless there is some
definite understanding arrived at before the ride, there is apt to be
some disagreement, the runner presuming on the hold he has, by virtue
of work done, to get more than is customary. This is especially true
in case the rider is a foreigner. Another set of examples in which
astonishing simplicity and confidence were manifested was in the
employment of evangelists. I have known several instances in which a
full correspondence with an evangelist with regard to his employment
was carried on, and the settlement finally concluded, and the man set
to work without a word said about money matters. It need hardly be
said that no foreigner took part in that correspondence.

The simple, childlike trustfulness of the country people is seen in
multiplied ways; yet on the whole I cannot escape the conviction that
it is a trustfulness which is shown toward each other as equals.
Certain farmers whom I have employed to care for a cow and to
cultivate the garden, while showing a trustful disposition towards me,
have not had the same feelings toward their fellows apparently.

This confidence and trustfulness were the product of a civilization
resting on communalistic feudalism; the people were kept as children
in dependence on their feudal lord; they had to accept what he said
and did; they were accustomed to that order of things from the
beginning and had no other thought; on the whole too, without doubt,
they received regular and kindly treatment. Furthermore, there was no
redress for the peasant in case of harshness; it was always the wise
policy, therefore, for him to accept whatever was given without even
the appearance of dissatisfaction. This spirit was connected with the
dominance of the military class. Simple trustfulness was, therefore,
chiefly that of the non-military classes. The trustfulness of the
samurai sprang from their distinctive training. As already mentioned,
when drawing up a bond in feudal times, in place of any tangible
security, the document would read, "If I fail to do so and so, you may
laugh at me in public."

Since the overthrow of communal feudalism and the establishment of an
individualistic social order, necessitating personal ownership of
property, and the universal use of money, trustful confidence is
rapidly passing away. Everything is being more and more accurately
reduced to a money basis. The old samurai scorn for money seems to be
wholly gone, an astonishing transformation of character. Since the
disestablishment of the samurai class many of them have gone into
business. Not a few have made tremendous failures for lack of business
instinct, being easily fleeced by more cunning and less honorable
fellows who have played the "confidence" game most successfully;
others have made equally great successes because of their superior
mental ability and education. The government of Japan is to-day chiefly
in the hands of the descendants of the samurai class. They have their
fixed salaries and everything is done on a financial basis, payment
being made for work only. The lazy and the incapable are being pushed
to the wall. Many of the poorest and most pitiable people of the land
to-day are the proud sons of the former aristocracy, who glory in the
history of their ancestors, but are not able or willing to change
their old habits of thought and manner of life.

The American Board has had a very curious, not to say disastrous,
experience with the spirit of trustful confidence that was the
prevailing business characteristic of the older civilization.
According to the treaties which Japan had made with foreign nations,
no foreigner was allowed to buy land outside the treaty ports. As,
however, mission work was freely allowed by the government and
welcomed by many of the people in all parts of the land, and as it
became desirable to have continuous missionary work in several of the
interior towns, it seemed wise to locate missionaries in those places
and to provide suitable houses for them. In order to do this, land was
bought and the needed houses erected, and the title was necessarily
held in the names of apparently trustworthy native Christians. The
government was, of course, fully aware of what was being done and
offered no objection. It was well understood that the property was not
for the private ownership of the individual missionary, but was to be
held by the Christians for the use of the mission to which the
missionary belonged. For many years no questions were raised and all
moved along smoothly. The arrangement between the missionaries and the
Christian or Christians in whose names the property might be held was
entirely verbal, no document being of any legal value, to say nothing
of the fact that in those early days the mention of documentary
relationships would have greatly hurt the tender feelings of honor
which were so prominent a part of samurai character. The financial
relations were purely those of honor and trust.

Under this general method, large sums of money were expended by the
American Board for homes for its missionaries in various parts of
Japan, and especially in Kyoto. Here was the Doshisha, which grew from
a small English school and Evangelists' training class to a prosperous
university with fine buildings. Tens of thousands of dollars were put
into this institution, besides the funds needful for the land and the
houses for nine foreign families. An endowment was also raised, partly
in Japan, but chiefly in America. In a single bequest, Mr. Harris of
New London gave over one hundred thousand dollars for a School of
Science. It has been estimated that, altogether, the American Board
and its constituency have put into the Doshisha, including the
salaries of the missionary teachers, toward a million dollars.

In the early nineties the political skies were suddenly darkened. The
question of treaty revision loomed up black in the heavens. The
politicians of the land clamored for the absolute refusal of all right
of property ownership by foreigners. In their political furore they
soon began to attack the Japanese Christians who were holding the
property used by the various missions. They accused them of being
traitors to the country. A proposed law was drafted and presented in
the National Diet, confiscating all such property. The Japanese
holders naturally became nervous and desirous of severing the
relationships with the foreigners as soon as possible. In the case of
corporate ownership the trustees began to make assumptions of absolute
ownership, regardless of the moral claims of the donors of the funds.
In the earlier days of the trouble frequent conferences on the
question were held by the missionaries of the American Board with the
leading Christians of the Empire, and their constant statement was,
"Do not worry; trust us; we are samurai and will do nothing that is
not perfectly honorable." So often were these sentiments reiterated,
and yet so steadily did the whole management of the Doshisha move
further and further away from the honorable course, that finally the
"financial honor of the samurai" came to have an odor far from
pleasant. A deputation of four gentlemen, as representatives of the
American Board, came from America especially to confer with the
trustees as to the Christian principles of the institution, and the
moral claims of the Board, but wholly in vain. The administration of
the Doshisha became so distinctly non-Christian, to use no stronger
term, that the mission felt it impossible to co-operate longer with
the Doshisha trustees; the missionary members of the faculty
accordingly resigned. In order to secure exemption from the draft for
its students the trustees of the Doshisha abrogated certain clauses of
the constitution relating to the Christian character of the
institution, in spite of the fact that these clauses belonged to the
"unchangeable" part of the constitution which the trustees, on taking
office, had individually sworn to maintain. Again the Board sent out a
man, now a lawyer vested with full power to press matters to a final
issue. After months of negotiations with the trustees in regard to the
restoration of the substance of the abrogated clauses, without result,
he was on the point of carrying the case into the courts, when the
trustees decided to resign in a body. A new board of trustees has been
formed, who bid fair to carry on the institution in accord with the
wishes of its founders and benefactors, as expressed in the original
constitution. At one stage of the proceedings the trustees voted
magnanimously, as they appeared to think, to allow the missionaries of
the Board to live for fifteen years, rent free, in the foreign houses
connected with the Doshisha; this, because of the many favors it had
received from the Board! By this vote they maintained that they had
more than fulfilled every requirement of honor. That they were
consciously betraying the trust that had been reposed in them is not
for a moment to be supposed.

It would not be fair not to add that this experience in Kyoto does not
exemplify the universal Japanese character. There are many Japanese
who deeply deplore and condemn the whole proceeding. Some of the
Doshisha alumni have exerted themselves strenuously to have
righteousness done.

Passing now from the character of trustful confidence, we take up its
opposite, suspiciousness. The development of this quality is a natural
result of a military feudalism such as ruled Japan for hundreds of
years. Intrigue was in constant use when actual war was not being
waged. In an age when conflicts were always hand to hand, and the man
who could best deceive his enemy as to his next blow was the one to
carry off his head, the development of suspicion, strategy, and deceit
was inevitable. The most suspicious men, other things being equal,
would be the victors; they, with their families, would survive and
thus determine the nature of the social order. The more than two
hundred and fifty clans and "kuni," "clan territory," into which the
land was divided, kept up perpetual training in the arts of intrigue
and subtlety which are inevitably accompanied by suspicion.

Modern manifestations of this characteristic are frequent. Not a
cabinet is formed, but the question of its make-up is discussed from
the clannish standpoint. Even though it is now thirty years since the
centralizing policy was entered upon and clan distinctions were
effectually broken down, yet clan suspicion and jealousy is not dead.

The foreigner is impressed by the constant need of care in
conversation, lest he be thought to mean something more or other than
he says. When we have occasion to criticise anything in the Japanese,
we have found by experience that much more is inferred than is said.
Shortly after my arrival in Japan I was advised by one who had been in
the land many years to be careful in correcting a domestic or any
other person sustaining any relation to myself, to say not more than
one-tenth of what I meant, for the other nine-tenths would be
inferred. Direct and perfectly frank criticism and suggestion, such as
prevail among Anglo-Americans at least, seem to be rare among the

In closing, it is in order to note once again that the emotional
characteristics considered in this chapter, although customarily
thought to be deep-seated traits of race nature, are, nevertheless,
shown to be dependent on the character of the social order. Change the
order, and in due season corresponding changes occur in the national
character, a fact which would be impossible were that character
inherent and essential, passed on from generation to generation by the
single fact of biological heredity.



According to the teachings of Confucius, jealousy is one of the seven
just grounds on which a woman may be divorced. In the "Greater
Learning for Women,"[M] occur the following words: "Let her never even
dream of jealousy. If her husband be dissolute, she must expostulate
with him, but never either render her countenance frightful or her
accents repulsive, which can only result in completely alienating her
husband from her, and making her intolerable in his eyes." "The five
worst maladies that afflict the female mind are indocility,
discontent, slander, jealousy, and silliness. Without any doubt, these
five maladies infest seven or eight out of every ten women, and it is
from these that arises the inferiority of women to men ... Neither
when she blames and accuses and curses innocent persons, nor when in
her jealousy of others she thinks to set herself up alone, does she
see that she is her own enemy, estranging others and incurring their

The humiliating conditions to which women have been subjected in the
past and present social order, and to which full reference has been
made in previous chapters, give sufficient explanation of the jealousy
which is recognized as a marked, and, as might appear, inevitable
characteristic of Japanese women. Especially does this seem inevitable
when it is remembered how slight is their hold on their husbands, on
whose faithfulness their happiness so largely depends. Only as this
order changes and the wife secures a more certain place in the home,
free from the competition of concubines and harlots and dancing girls,
can we expect the characteristic to disappear. That it will do so
under such conditions, there is no reason to question. Already there
are evidences that in homes where the husband and the wife are both
earnest Christians, and where each is confident of the loyalty of the
other, jealousy is as rare as it is in Christian lands.

But is jealousy a characteristic limited to women? or is it not also a
characteristic of men? I am assured from many quarters that men also
suffer from it. The jealousy of a woman is aroused by the fear that
some other woman may supplant her in the eyes of her husband; that of
a man by the fear that some man may supplant him in rank or influence.
Marital jealousy of men seems to be rare. Yet I heard not long since
of a man who was so afraid lest some man might steal his wife's
affections that he could not attend to his business, and finally,
after three months of married wretchedness, he divorced her. A year
later he married her again, but the old trouble reappeared, and so he
divorced her a second time. If marital jealousy is less common among
men than among women, the explanation is at hand in the lax moral
standard for man. The feudal order of society, furthermore, was
exactly the soil in which to develop masculine jealousy. In such a
society ambition and jealousy go hand in hand. Wherever a man's rise
in popularity and influence depends on the overthrow of someone
already in possession, jealousy is natural. Connected with the spirit
of jealousy is that of revenge. Had we known Japan only during her
feudal days, we should have pronounced the Japanese exceedingly
revengeful. Revenge was not only the custom, it was also the law of
the land and the teaching of moralists. One of the proverbs handed
down from the hoary past is: "Kumpu no ada to tomo ni ten we
itadakazu." "With the enemy of country, or father, one cannot live
under the same heaven." The tales of heroic Japan abound in stories of
revenge. Once when Confucius was asked about the doctrine of Lao-Tse
that one should return good for evil, he replied, "With what then
should one reward good? The true doctrine is to return good for good,
and evil with justice." This saying of Confucius has nullified for
twenty-four hundred years that pearl of truth enunciated by Lao-Tse,
and has caused it to remain an undiscovered diamond amid the rubbish
of Taoism. By this judgment Confucius sanctified the rough methods of
justice adopted in a primitive order of society. His dictum peculiarly
harmonized with the militarism of Japan. Being, then, a recognized
duty for many hundred years, it would be strange indeed were not
revengefulness to appear among the modern traits of the Japanese.

But the whole order of society has been transformed. Revenge is now
under the ban of the state, which has made itself responsible for the
infliction of corporal punishment on individual transgressors. As a
result conspicuous manifestations of the revengeful spirit have
disappeared, and, may we not rightly say, even the spirit itself? The
new order of society leaves no room for its ordinary activity; it
furnishes legal methods of redress. The rapid change in regard to this
characteristic gives reason for thinking that if the industrial and
social order could be suitably adjusted, and the conditions of
individual thought and life regulated, this, and many other evil
traits of human character, might become radically changed in a short
time. Intelligent Christian Socialism is based on this theory and
seems to have no little support for its position.

Are Japanese cruel or humane? The general impression of the casual
tourist doubtless is that they are humane. They are kind to children
on the streets, to a marked degree; the jinrikisha runners turn out
not only for men, women, and children, but even for dogs. The
patience, too, of the ordinary Japanese under trying circumstances is
marked; they show amazing tolerance for one another's failings and
defects, and their mutual helpfulness in seasons of distress is often
striking. To one traveling through New Japan there is usually little
that will strike the eye as cruel.

But the longer one lives in the country, the more is he impressed with
certain aspects of life which seem to evince an essentially
unsympathetic and inhumane disposition. I well remember the shock I
received when I discovered, not far from my home in Kumamoto, an
insane man kept in a cage. He was given only a slight amount of
clothing, even though heavy frost fell each night. Food was given him
once or twice a day. He was treated like a wild animal, not even being
provided with bedding. This is not an exceptional instance, as might,
perhaps, at first be supposed. The editor of the _Japan Mail_, who has
lived in Japan many years, and knows the people well, says: "Every
foreigner traveling or residing in Japan must have been shocked from
time to time by the method of treating lunatics. Only a few months ago
an imbecile might have been seen at Hakone confined in what was
virtually a cage, where, from year's end to year's end, he received
neither medical assistance nor loving tendance, but was simply fed
like a wild beast in a menagerie. We have witnessed many such sights
with horror and pity. Yet humane Japanese do not seem to think of
establishing asylums where these unhappy sufferers can find refuge.
There is only one lunatic asylum in Tokyo. It is controlled by the
municipality, its accommodation is limited, and its terms place it
beyond the reach of the poor." And the amazing part is that such
sights do not seem to arouse the sentiment of pity in the Japanese.

The treatment accorded to lepers is another significant indication of
the lack of sympathetic and humane sentiments among the people at
large. For ages they have been turned from home and house and
compelled to wander outcasts, living in the outskirt of the villages
in rude booths of their own construction, and dependent on their daily
begging, until a wretched death gives them relief from a more wretched
life. So far as I have been able to learn, the opening of hospitals
for lepers did not take place until begun by Christians in recent
times. This casting out of leper kindred was not done by the poor
alone, but by the wealthy also, although I do hot affirm or suppose
that the practice was universal. I am personally acquainted with the
management of the Christian Leper Hospital in Kumamoto, and the sad
accounts I have heard of the way in which lepers are treated by their
kindred would seem incredible, were they not supported by the
character of my informants, and by many other facts of a kindred

A history of Japan was prepared by Japanese scholars under appointment
from the government and sent to the Columbian Exposition in 1893; it
makes the following statement, already referred to on a previous page:
"Despite the issue of several proclamations ... people were governed
by such strong aversion to the sight of sickness that travelers were
often left to die by the roadside from thirst, hunger, or disease, and
householders even went to the length of thrusting out of doors and
abandoning to utter destitution servants who suffered from chronic
maladies.... Whenever an epidemic occurred, the number of deaths that
resulted was enormous."[N] This was the condition of things after
Buddhism, with its civilizing and humanizing influences, had been at
work in the land for about four hundred years, and Old Japan was at
the height of her glory, whether considered from the standpoint of her
government, her literature, her religious development, or her art.

Of a period some two hundred years earlier, it is stated that, by the
assistance of the Sovereign, Buddhism established a charity hospital
in Nara, "where the poor received medical treatment and drugs gratis,
and an asylum was founded for the support of the destitute. Measures
were also taken to rescue foundlings, and, in general, to relieve
poverty and distress" (p. 92). The good beginning made at that time
does not seem to have been followed up. As nearly as I can make out,
relying on the investigations of Rev. J.H. Pettee and Mr. Ishii, there
are to-day in Japan fifty orphan asylums, of which eleven are of
non-Christian, and thirty-nine of Christian origin, support, and
control. Of the non-Christian, five are in Osaka, two in Tokyo, four
in Kyoto, and one each in Nagoya, Kumamoto, and Matsuye. Presumably
the majority of these are in the hands of Buddhists. Of the Christian
asylums twenty are Roman Catholic and nineteen are Protestant. It is a
noteworthy fact that in this form of philanthropy and religious
activity, as in so many others, Christians are the pioneers and
Buddhists are the imitators. In a land where Buddhism has been so
effective as to modify the diet of the nation, leading them in
obedience to the doctrines of Buddha, as has been stated, to give up
eating animal food, it is exceedingly strange that the people
apparently have no regard for the pain of living animals. Says the
editor of the _Mail_ in the article already quoted: "They will not
interfere to save a horse from the brutality of its driver, and they
will sit calmly in a jinrikisha while its drawer, with throbbing heart
and straining muscles, toils up a steep hill." How often have I seen
this sight! How the rider can endure it, I cannot understand, except
it be that revolt at cruelty and sympathy with suffering do not stir
within his heart. Of course, heartless individuals are not rare in the
West also. I am speaking here, however, not of single individuals, but
of general characteristics.

But a still more conspicuous evidence of Japanese deficiency of
sympathy is the use, until recently, of public torture. It was the
theory of Japanese jurisprudence that no man should be punished, even
though proved guilty by sufficient evidence, until he himself
confessed his guilt; consequently, on the flimsiest evidence, and even
on bare suspicion, he was tortured until the desired confession was
extracted. The cruelty of the methods employed, we of the nineteenth
century cannot appreciate. Some foreigner tells how the sight of
torture which he witnessed caused him to weep, while the Japanese
spectators stood by unmoved. The methods of execution were also
refined devices of torture. Townsend Harris says that crucifixion was
performed as follows: "The criminal is tied to a cross with his arms
and legs stretched apart as wide as possible; then a spear is thrust
through the body, entering just under the bottom of the shoulder blade
on the left side, and coming out on the right side, just by the
armpit. Another is then thrust through in a similar manner from the
right to the left side. The executioner endeavors to avoid the heart
in this operation. The spears are thrust through in this manner until
the criminal expires, but his sufferings are prolonged as much as
possible. Shinano told me that a few years ago a very strong man lived
until the eleventh spear had been thrust through him."

From these considerations, which might be supported by a multitude of
illustrations, we conclude that in the past there has certainly been a
great amount of cruelty exhibited in Japan, and that even to this day
there is in this country far less sympathy for suffering, whether
animal or human, than is felt in the West.

But we must not be too quick to jump to the conclusion that in this
regard we have discovered an essential characteristic of the Japanese
nature. With reference to the reported savagery displayed by Japanese
troops at Port Arthur, it has been said and repeated that you have
only to scratch the Japanese skin to find the Tartar, as if the recent
development of human feelings were superficial, and his real character
were exhibited in his most cruel moments. To get a true view of the
case let us look for a few moments at some other parts of the world,
and ask ourselves a few questions.

How long is it since the Inquisition was enforced in Europe? Who can
read of the tortures there inflicted without shuddering with horror?
It is not necessary to go back to the times of the Romans with their
amphitheaters and gladiators, and with their throwing of Christians to
wild animals, or to Nero using Christians as torches in his garden.
How long is it since witches were burned, not only in Europe by the
thousand, but in enlightened and Christian New England? although it is
true that the numbers there burned were relatively few and the reign
of terror brief. How long is it since slaves were feeling the lash
throughout the Southern States of our "land of freedom"? How long is
it since fiendish mobs have burned or lynched the objects of their
rage? How long is it since societies for preventing cruelty to animals
and to children were established in England and America? Is it not a
suggestive fact that it was needful to establish them and that it is
still needful to maintain them? The fact is that the highly developed
humane sense which is now felt so strongly by the great majority of
people in the West is a late development, and is not yet universal. It
is not for us to boast, or even to feel superior to the Japanese,
whose opportunities for developing this sentiment have been limited.

Furthermore, in regard to Japan, we must not overlook certain facts
which show that Japan has made gradual progress in the development of
the humane feelings and in the legal suppression of cruelty. The Nihon
Shoki records that, on the death of Yamato Hiko no Mikoto, his
immediate retainers were buried alive in a standing position around
the grave, presumably with the heads alone projecting above the
surface of the ground. The Emperor Suijin Tenno, on hearing the
continuous wailing day after day of the slowly dying retainers, was
touched with pity and said that it was a dreadful custom to bury with
the master those who had been most faithful to him when alive. And he
added that an evil custom, even though ancient, should not be
followed, and ordered it to be abandoned. A later record informs us
that from this time arose the custom of burying images in the place of
servants. According to the ordinary Japanese chronology, this took
place in the year corresponding to 1 B.C. The laws of Ieyasu (1610
A.D.) likewise condemn this custom as unreasonable, together with the
custom in accordance with which the retainers committed suicide upon
the master's death. These same laws also refer to the proverb on
revenge, given in the third paragraph of this chapter, and add that
whoever undertakes thus to avenge himself or his father or mother or
lord or elder brother must first give notice to the proper office of
the fact and of the time within which he will carry out his intention;
without such a notice, the avenger will be considered a common
murderer. This provision was clearly a limitation of the law of
revenge. These laws of Ieyasu also describe the old methods of
punishing criminals, and then add: "Criminals are to be punished by
branding, or beating, or tying up, and, in capital cases, by spearing
or decapitation; but the old punishments of tearing to pieces and
boiling to death are not to be used." Torture was finally legally
abolished in Japan only as late as 1877.

It has already become quite clear that the prevalence of cruelty or of
humanity depends largely upon the social order that prevails. It is
not at all strange that cruelty, or, at least, lack of sympathy for
suffering in man or beast, should be characteristic of an order based
on constant hand-to-hand conflict. Still more may we expect to find a
great indifference to human suffering wherever the value of man as man
is slighted. Not until the idea of the brotherhood of man has taken
full possession of one's heart and thought does true sympathy spring
up; then, for the first time, comes the power of putting one's self in
a brother's place. The apparently cruel customs of primitive times, in
their treatment of the sick, and particularly of those suffering from
contagious diseases, is the natural, not to say necessary, result of
superstitious ignorance. Furthermore, it was often the only ready
means to prevent the spread of contagious or epidemic diseases.

In the treatment of the sick, the first prerequisite for the
development of tenderness is the introduction of correct ideas as to
the nature of disease and its proper treatment. As soon as this has
been effectually done, a great proportion of the apparent indifference
to human suffering passes away. The cruelty which is to-day so
universal in Africa needs but a changed social and industrial order to
disappear. The needed change has come to Japan. Physicians trained in
modern methods of medical practice are found all over the land. In
1894 there were 597 hospitals, 42,551 physicians, 33,921 nurses and
midwives, 2869 pharmacists, and 16,106 druggists, besides excellent
schools of pharmacy and medicine.[O]

It is safe to say that nearly all forms of active cruelty have
disappeared from Japan; some amount of active sympathy has been
developed, though, as compared to that of other civilized lands, it is
still small. But there can be no doubt that the rapid change which has
come over the people during the past thirty years is not a change in
essential innate character, but only in the social order. As soon as
the idea takes root that every man has a mission of mercy, and that
the more cruel are not at liberty to vent their barbarous feelings on
helpless creatures, whether man or beast, a strong uprising of humane
activity will take place which will demand the formation of societies
for the prevention of cruelty and for carrying active relief to the
distressed and wretched. Lepers will no longer need to eke out a
precarious living by exhibiting their revolting misery in public;
lunatics will no longer be kept in filthy cages and left with
insufficient care or clothing. The stream of philanthropy will rise
high, to be at once a blessing and a glory to a race that already has
shown itself in many ways capable of the highest ideals of the West.



Ambition is a conspicuous characteristic of New Japan. I have already
spoken of the common desire of her young men to become statesmen. The
stories of Neesima and other young Japanese who, in spite of
opposition and without money, worked their way to eminence and
usefulness, have fired the imagination of thousands of youths. They
think that all they need is to get to America, when their difficulties
will be at an end. They fancy that they have but to look around to
find some man who will support them while they study.

Not only individuals, but the people as a whole, have great ambitions.
Three hundred years ago the Taiko, Hideyoshi, the Napoleon of Japan,
and the virtual ruler of the Empire, planned, after subjugating Korea,
to conquer China and make himself the Emperor of the East. He thought
he could accomplish this in two years. During the recent war, it was
the desire of many to march on to Pekin. Frequent expression was given
to the idea that it is the duty of Japan to rouse China from her long
sleep, as America roused Japan in 1854. It is frequently argued, in
editorial articles and public speeches, that the Japanese are
peculiarly fitted to lead China along the path of progress, not only
indirectly by example, as they have been doing, but directly by
teaching, as foreigners have led Japan. "The Mission of Japan to the
Orient" is a frequent theme of public discourse. But national
ambitions do not rest here. It is not seldom asserted that in Japan a
mingling of the Occidental and Oriental civilizations is taking place
under such favorable conditions that, for the first time in history,
the better elements of both are being selected; and that before long
the world will sit to learn at her feet. The lofty ambition of a group
of radical Christians is to discover or create a new religion which
shall unite the best features of Oriental and Occidental religious
thought and experience. The religion of the future will be, not
Christianity, nor Buddhism, but something better than either, more
consistent, more profound, more universal; and this religion, first
developed in Japan, will spread to other lands and become the final
religion of the world.

A single curious illustration of the high-flying thoughts of the
people may well find mention here. When the Kumamoto Boys' School
divided over the arbitrary, tyrannical methods of their newly secured,
brilliant principal, already referred to in a previous chapter, the
majority of the trustees withdrew and at once established a new school
for boys. For some time they struggled for a name which should set
forth the principles for which the school stood, and finally they
fixed on that of "To-A Gakko." Translated into unpretentious English,
this means "Eastern Asia School"; the idea was that the school stood
for no narrow methods of education, and that its influence was to
extend beyond the confines of Japan. This interpretation is not an
inference, but was publicly stated oil various occasions. The school
began with twenty-five boys, if my memory is correct, and never
reached as many as fifty. In less than three years it died an untimely
death through lack of patronage.

The young men of the island of Kyushu, especially of Kumamoto and
Kagoshima provinces, are noted for their ambitious projects. The once
famous "Kumamoto Band" consisted entirely of Kyushu boys. Under the
masterful influence of Captain Jaynes those high-spirited sons of
samurai, who had come to learn foreign languages and science, in a
school founded to combat Christianity and to upbuild Buddhism, became
impressed with the immense superiority of foreign lands, which
superiority they were led to attribute to Christianity. They
accordingly espoused the Christian cause with great ardor, and, in
their compact with one another, agreed to work for the reform of
Japan. I have listened to many addresses by the Kumamoto schoolboys,
and I have been uniformly impressed with the political and national
tendencies of their thought.

Accompanying ambition is a group of less admirable qualities, such as
self-sufficiency and self-conceit. They are seldom manifested with
that coarseness which in the West we associate with them, for the
Japanese is usually too polished to be offensively obtrusive. He
seldom indulges in bluster or direct assertion, but is contented
rather with the silent assumption of superiority.

I heard recently of a slight, though capital, illustration of my
point. Two foreign gentlemen were walking through the town of Tadotsu
some years since and observed a sign in English which read
"Stemboots." Wondering what the sign could mean they inquired the
business of the place, and learning that it was a steamboat office,
they gave the clerk the reason for their inquiry, and at his request
made the necessary correction. A few days later, however, on their
return, they noticed that the sign had been re-corrected to
"Stem-boats," an assumption of superior knowledge on the part of some
tyro in English. The multitude of signboards in astonishing English,
in places frequented by English-speaking people, is one of the amusing
features of Japan. It would seem as if the shopkeepers would at least
take the pains to have the signs correctly worded and spelled, by
asking the help of some foreigner or competent Japanese. Yet they
assume that they know all that is needful.

Indications of perfect self-confidence crop out in multitudes of ways
far too numerous to mention. The aspiring ambition spoken of in the
immediately preceding pages is one indication of this characteristic.
Another is the readiness of fledglings to undertake responsibilities
far beyond them. Young men having a smattering of English, yet wholly
unable to converse, set up as teachers. Youths in school not
infrequently undertake to instruct their teachers as to what courses
of study and what treatment they should receive. Still more
conspicuous is the cool assumption of superiority evinced by so many
Japanese in discussing intellectual and philosophical problems. The
manner assumed is that of one who is complete master of the subject.
The silent contempt often poured on foreigners who attempt to discuss
these problems is at once amusing and illustrative of the
characteristic of which I am speaking.[P]

We turn next to inquire for the explanation of these characteristics.
Are they inherent traits of the race? Or are they the product of the
times? Doubtless the latter is the true explanation. It will be found
that those individuals in whom these characteristics appear are
descendants of the samurai. A small class of men freed from heavy
physical toil, given to literature and culture, ever depending on the
assumption of superiority for the maintenance of their place in
society and defending their assumption by the sword--such a class, in
such a social order, would develop the characteristics in question to
a high degree. Should we expect an immediate change of character when
the social order has been suddenly changed?

In marked contrast to the lofty assumptions of superiority which
characterized the samurai of Old Japan, was the equally marked
assumption of inferiority which characterized the rest of the people,
or nineteen-twentieths of the nation. I have already sufficiently
dwelt on this aspect of national character. I here recur to it merely
to enforce the truth that self-arrogation and self-abnegation,
haughtiness and humility, proud, high-handed, magisterial manners, and
cringing, obsequious obedience, are all elements of character that
depend on the nature of the social order. They are passed on from
generation to generation more by social than by biological heredity.
Both of these sets of contrasted characteristics are induced by a
full-fledged feudal system, and must remain for a time as a social
inheritance after that system has been overthrown, particularly if its
overthrow is sudden. In proportion as the principles of personal
rights and individual worth on the basis of manhood become realized
by the people and incorporated into the government and customs of the
land, will abnegating obsequiousness, as well as haughty lordliness,
be replaced by a straightforward manliness, in which men of whatever
grade of society will frankly face each other, eye to eye.

But what shall we say in regard to the assumption made by young Japan
in its attitude to foreigners? Are the assumptions wholly groundless?
Is the self-confidence unjustified? Far from it. When we study later
the intellectual elements of Japanese character, we shall see some
reasons for their feeling of self-reliance. The progress which the
nation has made in many lines within thirty years shows that it has
certain kinds of power and, consequently, some ground for
self-reliance. Furthermore, self-reliance, if fairly supported by
ability and zeal, is essential in the attainment of any end whatever.
Faint heart never won fair lady. Confidence in self is one form of
faith. No less of peoples than individuals is it true, that without
faith in themselves they cannot attain their goal. The impression of
undue self-confidence made by the Japanese may be owing partly to
their shortness of stature. It is a new experience for the West to see
a race of little people with large brains and large plans. Especially
does it seem strange and conceited for a people whose own civilization
is so belated to assume a rôle of such importance in the affairs of
the world. Yet we must learn to dissociate physical size from mental
or spiritual capacity. The future alone will disclose what Japanese
self-reliance and energy can produce.

The present prominence of this characteristic in Japan is still
further to be accounted for by her actual recent history. The
overthrow of the Shogunate was primarily the work of young men; the
introduction of almost all the sweeping reforms which have transformed
Japan has been the work of young men who, though but partly equipped
for their work, approached it with energy and perfect confidence, not
knowing enough perhaps to realize the difficulties they were
undertaking. They had to set aside the customs of centuries; to do
this required startling assumptions of superiority to their ancestors
and their immediate parents. The young men undertook to dispute and
doubt everything that stood in the way of national re-organization. In
what nation has there ever been such a setting aside of parental
teaching and ancestral authority? These heroic measures secured
results in which the nation glories. Is it strange, then, that the
same spirit should show itself in every branch of life, even in the
attitude of the people to the Westerners who have brought them the new
ways and ideas?

The Japanese, however, is not the only conceited nation. Indeed, it
would be near the truth to say that there is no people without this
quality. Certainly the American and English, French and German nations
cannot presume to criticise others. The reason why we think Japan
unique in this respect is that in the case of these Western nations we
know more of the grounds for national self-satisfaction than in the
case of Japan. Yet Western lands are, in many respects, truly
provincial to this very day, in spite of their advantages and
progress; the difficulty with most of them is that they do not
perceive it. The lack of culture that prevails among our working
classes is in some respects great. The narrow horizon still bounding
the vision of the average American or Briton is very conspicuous to
one who has had opportunities to live and travel in many lands. Each
country, and even each section of a country, is much inclined to think
that it has more nearly reached perfection than any other.

This phase of national and local feeling is interesting, especially
after one has lived in Japan a number of years and has had
opportunities to mingle freely with her people. For they, although
self-reliant and self-conceited, are at the same time surprisingly
ready to acknowledge that they are far behind the times. Their
open-mindedness is truly amazing. In describing the methods of land
tenure, of house-building, of farming, of local government, of
education, of moral instruction, of family life, indeed, of almost
anything in the West that has some advantageous feature, the remark
will be dropped incidentally that these facts show how uncivilized
Japan still is. In their own public addresses, if any custom is
attacked, the severest indictment that can be brought against it is
that it is uncivilized. In spite, therefore, of her self-conceit,
Japan is in a fairer way of making progress than many a Western
nation, because she is also so conscious of defects. A large section
of the nation has a passion for progress. It wishes to learn of the
good that foreign lands have attained, and to apply the knowledge in
such wise as shall fit most advantageously into the national life.
Although Japan is conceited, her conceit is not without reason, nor is
it to be attributed to her inherent race nature. It is manifestly due
to her history and social order past and present.



No word is so dear to the patriotic Japanese as the one that leaps to
his lips when his country is assailed or maligned, "Yamato-Damashii."
In prosaic English this means "Japan Soul." But the native word has a
flavor and a host of associations that render it the most pleasing his
tongue can utter. "Yamato" is the classic name for that part of Japan
where the divinely honored Emperor, Jimmu Tenno, the founder of the
dynasty and the Empire, first established his court and throne.
"Damashii" refers to the soul, and especially to the noble qualities
of the soul, which, in Japan of yore, were synonymous with bravery,
the characteristic of the samurai. If, therefore, you wish to stir in
the native breast the deepest feelings of patriotism and courage, you
need but to call upon his "Yamato-Damashii."

There has been a revival in the use of this word during the last
decade. The old Japan-Spirit has been appealed to, and the watchword
of the anti-foreign reaction has been "Japan for the Japanese." Among
English-speaking and English-reading Japanese there has been a
tendency to give this term a meaning deeper and broader than the
historic usage, or even than the current usage, will bear. One
Japanese writer, for instance, defines the term as meaning, "a spirit
of loyalty to country, conscience, and ideal." An American writer
comes more nearly to the current usage in the definition of it as "the
aggressive and invincible spirit of Japan." That there is such a
spirit no one can doubt who has the slightest acquaintance with her
past or present history.

Concerning the recent rise of patriotism I have spoken elsewhere,
perhaps at sufficient length. Nor is it needful to present extensive
evidence for the statement that the Japanese have this feeling of
patriotism in a marked degree. One or two rather interesting items
may, however, find their place here.

The recent war with China was the occasion of focusing patriotism and
fanning it into flame. Almost every town street, and house, throughout
the Empire, was brilliantly decked with lanterns and flags, not on a
single occasion only, but continuously. Each reported victory, however
small, sent a thrill of delight throughout the nation. Month after
month this was kept up. In traveling through the land one would not
have fancied that war was in progress, but rather, that a
long-continued festival was being observed.

An incident connected with sending troops to Korea made a deep
impression on the nation. The Okayama Orphan Asylum under the
efficient management of its founder, Mr. Ishii, had organized the
older boys into a band, securing for them various kinds of musical
instruments. These they learned to use with much success. When the
troops were on the point of leaving, Mr. Ishii went with his band to
the port of Hiroshima, erected a booth, prepared places for heating
water, and as often as the regiments passed by, his little orphans
sallied forth with their teapots of hot tea for the refreshment of the
soldiers. Each regiment was also properly saluted, and if opportunity
offered, the little fellows played the national anthem, "Kimi-ga yo,"
which has been thus translated: "May Our Gracious Sovereign reign a
thousand years, reign till the little stone grow into a mighty rock,
thick velveted with ancient moss." And finally the orphans would raise
their shrill voices with the rhythmical national shout, "Tei-koku
Ban-zai, Tei-koku Ban-zai"; "Imperial-land, a myriad years,
Imperial-land, a myriad years." This thoughtful farewell was
maintained for the four or five days during which the troops were
embarking for the seat of war, well knowing that some would never
return, and that their children would be left fatherless even as were
these who saluted them. So deep was the impression made upon the
soldiers that many of them wept and many a bronzed face bowed in
loving recognition of the patriotism of these Christian boys. It is
said that the commander-in-chief of the forces himself gave the little
fellows the highest military salute in returning theirs.

Throughout the history of Japan, the aim of every rebellious clan or
general was first to get possession of the Emperor. Having done this,
the possession of the Imperial authority was unquestioned. Whoever was
opposed to the Emperor was technically called "Cho-teki," the enemy of
the throne, a crime as heinous as treason in the West. The existence
of this sentiment throughout the Empire is an interesting fact. For,
at the very same time, there was the most intense loyalty to the local
lord or "daimyo." This is a fine instance of a certain characteristic
of the Japanese of which I must speak more fully in another
connection, but which, for convenience, I term "nominality." It
accepts and, apparently at least, is satisfied with a nominal state of
affairs, which may be quite different from the real. The theoretical
aspect of a question is accepted without reference to the actual
facts. The real power may be in the hands of the general or of the
daimyo, but if authority nominally proceeds from the throne, the
theoretical demands are satisfied. The Japanese themselves describe
this state as "yumei-mujitsu." In a sense, throughout the centuries
there has been a genuine loyalty to the throne, but it has been of the
"yumei-mujitsu" type, apparently satisfied with the name only. In
recent times, however, there has been growing dissatisfaction with
this state of affairs. Some decades before Admiral Perry appeared
there were patriots secretly working against the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Called in Japanese "Kinnoka," they may be properly termed in English
"Imperialists." Their aim was to overthrow the Shogunate and restore
full and direct authority to the Emperor. Not a few lost their lives
because of their views, but these are now honored by the nation as

There is a tendency among scholars to-day to magnify the patriotism
and loyalty of preceding ages, also to emphasize the dignity and
Imperial authority of the Emperor. The patriotic spirit is now so
strong that it blinds their eyes to many of the salient facts of
their history. Their patriotism is more truly a passion than an idea.
It is an emotion rather than a conception. It demands certain methods
of treatment for their ancient history that Western scholarship cannot
accept. It forbids any really critical research into the history of
the past, since it might cast doubt on the divine descent of the
Imperial line. It sums itself up in passionate admiration, not to say
adoration, of the Emperor. In him all virtues and wisdom abound. No
fault or lack in character can be attributed to him. I question if any
rulers have ever been more truly apotheosized by any nation than the
Emperors of Japan. The essence of patriotism to-day is devotion to the
person of the Emperor. It seems impossible for the people to
distinguish between the country and its ruler. He is the fountain of
authority. Lower ranks gain their right and their power from him
alone. Power belongs to the people only because, and in proportion as,
he has conferred it upon them. Even the Constitution has its authority
only because he has so determined. Should he at any time see fit to
change or withdraw it, it is exceedingly doubtful whether one word of
criticism or complaint would be publicly uttered, and as for forcible
opposition, of such a thing no one would dream.

Japanese patriotism has had some unique and interesting features. In
some marked respects it is different from that of lands in which
democratic thought has held sway. For 1500 years, under the military
social order, loyalty has consisted of personal attachment to the
lord. It has ever striven to idealize that lord. The "yumei-mujitsu"
characteristic has helped much in this idealizing process, by bridging
the chasm between the prosaic fact and the ideal. Now that the old
form of feudalism has been abruptly abolished, with its local lords
and loyalty, the old sentiment of loyalty naturally fixes itself on
the Emperor. Patriotism has perhaps gained intensity in proportion as
it has become focalized. The Emperor is reported to be a man of
commanding ability and good sense. It is at least true that he has
shown wisdom in selecting his councilors. There is general agreement
that he is not a mere puppet in the hands of his advisers, but that he
exercises a real and direct influence on the government of the day.
During the late war with China it was currently reported that from
early morning until late at night, week after week and month after
month, he worked upon the various matters of business that demanded
his attention. No important move or decision was made without his
careful consideration and final approval. These and other noble
qualities of the present Emperor have, without doubt, done much toward
transferring the loyalty of the people from the local daimyo to the
national throne.

An event in the political world has recently occurred which
illustrates pointedly the statements just made in regard to the
enthusiastic loyalty of the people toward the Emperor. In spite of the
fact that the national finances are in a distressing state of
confusion, and notwithstanding the struggle which has been going on
between successive cabinets and political parties, the former
insisting on, and the latter refusing, any increase in the land tax,
no sooner was it suggested by a small political party, to make a
thank-offering to the Emperor of 20,000,000 yen out of the final
payment of the war indemnity lately received, than the proposal was
taken up with zeal by both of the great and utterly hostile political
parties, and immediately by both houses of the Diet. The two reasons
assigned were, "First, that the victory over China would never have
been won, nor the indemnity obtained, had not the Emperor been the
victorious, sagacious Sovereign that he is, and that, therefore, it is
only right that a portion of the indemnity should be offered to him;
secondly, that His Majesty is in need of money, the allowance granted
by the state for the maintenance of the Imperial Household being
insufficient, in view of the greatly enhanced prices of commodities
and the large donations constantly made by His Majesty for charitable
purposes."[Q] This act of the Diet appeals to the sentiment of the
people as the prosaic, business-like method of the Occident would not
do. The significance of the appropriation made by the Diet will be
better realized if it is borne in mind that the post-bellum programme
for naval and military expansion which was adopted in view of the
large indemnity (being, by the way, 50,000,000 yen), already calls for
an expenditure in excess of the indemnity. Either the grand programme
must be reduced, or new funds be raised, yet the leading political
parties have been absolutely opposed to any substantial increase of
the land tax, which seems to be the only available source of increase
even to meet the current expenses of the government, to say nothing of
the post-bellum programme. So has a burst of sentiment buried all
prudential considerations. This is a species of loyalty that
Westerners find hard to appreciate. To them it would seem that the
first manifestation of loyalty would be to provide the Emperor's
Cabinet and executive officers with the necessary funds for current
expenses; that the second would be to give the Emperor an allowance
sufficient to meet his actual needs, and the third,--if the funds held
out,--to make him a magnificent gift. This sentimental method of
loyalty to the Emperor, however, is matched by many details of common
life. A sentimental parting gift or speech will often be counted as
more friendly than thoroughly business-like relations. The prosaic
Occidental discounts all sentiment that has not first satisfied the
demands of business and justice. Such a standard, however, seems to be
repugnant to the average Japanese mind.

The theory that all authority resides in the Emperor is also enforced
by recent history. For the constitution was not wrung from an
unwilling ruler by an ambitious people, but was conferred by the
Emperor of his own free will, under the advice of his enlightened and
progressive councilors.

As an illustration of some of the preceding statements let me quote
from a recent article by Mr. Yamaguchi, Professor of History in the
Peeresses' School and Lecturer in the Imperial Military College. After
speaking of the abolition of feudalism and the establishment of a
constitutional monarchy, he goes on to say: "But we must not suppose
that the sovereign power of the state has been transferred to the
Imperial Diet. On the contrary, it is still in the hands of the
Emperor as before.... The functions of the government are retained in
the Emperor's own hands, who merely delegates them to the Diet, the
Government (Cabinet), and the Judiciary, to exercise the same in his
name. The present form of government is the result of the history of a
country which has enjoyed an existence of many centuries. Each country
has its own peculiar characteristics which differentiate it from
others. Japan, too, has her history, different from that of other
countries. Therefore we ought not to draw comparisons between Japan
and other countries, as if the same principles applied to all
indiscriminately. The Empire of Japan has a history of 3000 [!] years,
which fact distinctly marks out our nationality as unique. The
monarch, in the eyes of the people, is not merely on a par with an
aristocratic oligarchy which rules over the inferior masses, or a few
nobles who equally divide the sovereignty among themselves. According
to our ideas, the monarch reigns over and governs the country in his
own right, and not by virtue of rights conferred by the
constitution.... Our Emperor possesses real sovereignty and also
exercises it. He is quite different from other rulers who possess but
a partial sovereignty.... He has inherited the rights of sovereignty
from his ancestors. Thus it is quite legitimate to think that the
rights of sovereignty exist in the Emperor himself.... The Empire of
Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of Emperors
unbroken for ages eternal. (Constitution, Art. LXXIII.) ... The
sovereign power of the state cannot be dissociated from the Imperial
Throne. It lasts forever, along with the Imperial line of succession,
unbroken for ages eternal. If the Imperial house cease to exist, the
Empire falls."

In a land where adopted sons are practically equivalent to lineal
descendants (another instance of the "yumei-mujitsu" type of thought),
and where marriage is essentially polygamous, and where the
"yumei-mujitsu" spirit has allowed the sovereignty to be usurped in
fact, though it may not be in name, it is not at all wonderful that
the nation can boast of a longer line of Emperors than any other land.
But when monogamy becomes the rule in Japan, as it doubtless will some
day, and if lineal descent should be considered essential to
inheritance, as in the Occident, it is not at all likely that the
Imperial line will maintain itself unbroken from father to son
indefinitely. Although the present Emperor has at least five
concubines besides his wife, the Empress, and has had, prior to 1896,
no less than thirteen children by them, only two of these are still
living, both of them the offspring of his concubines; one of these is
a son born in 1879, proclaimed the heir in 1887, elected Crown Prince
in 1889, and married in 1900; he is said to be in delicate health; the
second child is a daughter born in 1890. Since 1896 several children
have been born to the Emperor and two or three have died, so that at
present writing there are but four living children. These are all
offspring of concubines.[R]

In speaking, however, of the Japanese apotheosis of their Emperor, we
must not forget how the "divine right of kings" has been a popular
doctrine, even in enlightened England, until the eighteenth century,
and is not wholly unknown in other lands at the present day. Only in
recent times has the real source of sovereignty been discovered by
historical and political students. That the Japanese are not able to
pass at one leap from the old to the new conception in regard to this
fundamental element of national authority is not at all strange. Past
history, together with that which is recent, furnishes a satisfactory
explanation for the peculiar nature of Japanese patriotism. This is
clearly due to the nature of the social order.

A further fact in this connection is that, in a very real sense, the
existence of Japan as a unified nation has depended on apotheosis. It
is the method that all ancient nations have adopted at one stage of
their social development for expressing their sense of national unity
and the authority of national law. In that stage of social development
when the common individual counts for nothing, the only possible
conception of the authority of law is that it proceeds from a superior
being--the highest ruler. And in order to secure the full advantage of
authority, the supreme ruler must be raised to the highest possible
pinnacle, must be apotheosized. That national laws should be the
product of the unvalued units which compose the nation was unthinkable
in an age when the worth of the individual was utterly unrecognized.
The apotheosis of the Emperor was neither an unintelligible nor an
unreasonable practice. But now that an individualistic, democratic
organization of society has been introduced resting on a principle
diametrically opposed to that of apotheosis, a struggle of most
profound importance has been inaugurated. Does moral or even national
authority really reside in the Emperor? The school-teachers are
finding great difficulty in teaching morality as based exclusively on
the Imperial Edict. The politicians of Japan are not content with
leaving all political and state authority to the Emperor. Not long ago
(June, 1898), for the first time in Japan, a Cabinet acknowledging
responsibility to a political party took the place of one
acknowledging responsibility only, to the Emperor. For this end the
politicians have been working since the first meeting of the national
Diet. Which principle is to succeed, apotheosis and absolute Imperial
sovereignty, or individualism with democratic sovereignty? The two
cannot permanently live together. The struggle is sure to be intense,
for the question of authority, both political and moral, is inevitably

The parallel between Japanese and Roman apotheosis is interesting. I
can present it no better than by quoting from that valuable
contribution to social and moral problems, "The Genesis of the Social
Conscience," by Prof. H.S. Nash: "Yet Rome with all her greatness
could not outgrow the tribal principle.... We find something that
reveals a fundamental fault in the whole system. It is the apotheosis
of the Emperors. The process of apotheosis was something far deeper
than servility in the subject conspiring with vanity in the ruler. It
was a necessity of the state. There was no means of insuring the
existence of the state except religion. In the worship of the Cæsars
the Empire reverenced its own law. There was no other way in which
pagan Rome could guarantee the gains she had made for civilization.
Yet the very thing that was necessary to her was in logic her
undoing.... The worship of the Emperor undid the definition of
equality the logic of the Empire demanded. Again apotheosis violated
the divine unity of humanity upon which alone the Empire could
securely build."[S]

That the final issue of Japan's experience will be like that of Rome I
do not believe. For her environment is totally different. But the same
struggle of the two conflicting principles is already on. Few, even
among the educated classes, realize its nature or profundity. The
thinkers who adhere to the principle of apotheosis do so admittedly
because they see no other way in which to secure authority for law,
whether political or moral. Here we see the importance of those
conceptions of God, of law, of man, which Christianity alone can give.

From patriotism we naturally pass to the consideration of courage.
Nothing was more prized and praised in Old Japan. In those days it was
the deliberate effort of parents and educators to develop courage in
children. Many were their devices for training the young in bravery.
Not content with mere precept, they were sent alone on dark stormy
nights to cemeteries, to houses reputed to be haunted, to dangerous
mountain peaks, and to execution grounds. Many deeds were required of
the young whose sole aim was the development of courage and daring.
The worst name you could give to a samurai was "koshinuke" (coward).
Many a feud leading to a fatal end has resulted from the mere use of
this most hated of all opprobrious epithets. The history of Japan is
full of heroic deeds. I well remember a conversation with a son of the
old samurai type, who told me, with the blood tingling in his veins,
of bloody deeds of old and the courage they demanded. He remarked
incidentally that, until one had slain his first foe, he was ever
inclined to tremble. But once the deed had been done, and his sword
had tasted the life blood of a man, fear was no more. He also told me
how for the sake of becoming inured to ghastly sights under
nerve-testing circumstances, the sons of samurai were sent at night to
the execution grounds, there, by faint moonlight to see, stuck on
poles, the heads of men who had been recently beheaded.

The Japanese emotion of courage is in some respects peculiar. At least
it appears to differ from that of the Anglo-Saxon. A Japanese seems to
lose all self-control when the supreme moment comes; he throws himself
into the fray with a frenzied passion and a fearless madness allied to
insanity. Such is the impression I have gathered from the descriptions
I have heard and the pictures I have seen. Even the pictures of the
late war with China give evidence of this.

But their courage is not limited to fearlessness in the face of death;
it extends to complete indifference to pain. The honorable method by
which a samurai who had transgressed some law or failed in some point
of etiquette, might leave this world is well known to all, the
"seppuku," the elegant name for the vulgar term "hara-kiri" or
"belly-cutting." To one who is sensitive to tales of blood,
unexpurgated Japanese history must be a dreadful thing. The vastness
of the multitudes who died by their own hands would be incredible,
were there not ample evidence of the most convincing nature. It may be
said with truth that suicide became apotheosized, a condition that I
suppose cannot be said to have prevailed in any other land.

In thus describing the Japanese sentiment in regard to "seppuku,"
there is, however, some danger of misrepresenting it. "Seppuku" itself
was not honored, for in the vast majority of cases those who performed
it were guilty of some crime or breach of etiquette. And not
infrequently those who were condemned to commit "seppuku" were
deficient in physical courage; in such cases, some friend took hold of
the victim's hand and forced him to cut himself. Such cowards were
always despised. To be condemned to commit "seppuku" was a disgrace,
but it was much less of a disgrace than to be beheaded as a common
man, for it permitted the samurai to show of what stuff he was made.
It should be stated further that in the case of "seppuku," as soon as
the act of cutting the abdomen had been completed, always by a single
rapid stroke, someone from behind would, with a single blow, behead
the victim. The physical agony of "seppuku" was, therefore, very
brief, lasting but a few seconds.

I can do no better than quote in this connection a paragraph from the
"Religions of Japan" by W.E. Griffis:

     "From the prehistoric days when the custom of 'Junshi,' or dying
     with the master, required the interment of living retainers with
     their dead lord, down through all the ages to the Revolution of
     1868, when at Sendai and Aidzu scores of men and boys opened their
     bowels, and mothers slew their infant sons and cut their own
     throats, there has been flowing a river of suicides' blood having
     its springs in devotion of retainers to masters, and of soldiers to
     a lost cause.... Not only a thousand, but thousands of thousands of
     soldiers hated their parents, wife, child, friend, in order to be
     disciples to the supreme loyalty. They sealed their creed by
     emptying their own veins.... The common Japanese novels read like
     records of slaughter-houses. No Molech or Shivas won more victims
     to his shrine than has this idea of Japanese loyalty, which is so
     beautiful in theory but so hideous in practice ... Could the
     statistics of the suicides during this long period be collected,
     their publication would excite in Christendom the utmost

I well remember the pride, which almost amounted to glee, with which a
young blood gave me the account of a mere boy, perhaps ten or twelve
years old, who cut his bowels in such a way that the deed was not
quite complete, and then tying his "obi" or girdle over it, walked
into the presence of his mother, explained the circumstances which
made it a point of honor that he should commit "seppuku," and
forthwith untied his "obi" and died in her presence.

These are the ideals of courage and loyalty that have been held up
before Japanese youth for centuries. Little comment is needful. From
the evolutionary standpoint, it is relatively easy to understand the
rise of these ideas and practices. It is clear that they depend
entirely on the social order. With the coming in of the Western social
order, feudal lords and local loyalty and the carrying of swords were
abolished. Are the Japanese any less courageous now than they were
thirty years ago? The social order has changed and the ways of showing
courage have likewise changed. That is all that need be said.

Are we to say that the Japanese are more courageous than other
peoples? Although no other people have manifested such phenomena as
the Japanese in regard to suicide for loyalty, yet any true
appreciation of Western peoples will at once dispel the idea that they
lack courage. Manifestations of courage differ according to the nature
of the social order, but no nation could long maintain itself, to say
nothing of coming into existence, without a high degree of this

But Japanese courage is not entirely of the physical order, although
that is the form in which it has chiefly shown itself thus far. The
courage of having and holding one's own convictions is known in Japan
as elsewhere. There has been a long line of martyrs. During the
decades after the introduction of Buddhism, there was such opposition
that it required much courage for converts to hold to their beliefs.
So, too, at the time of the rise of the new Buddhist sects, there was
considerable persecution, especially with the rise of the Nichiren
Shu. And when the testing time of Christianity came, under the edict
of the Tokugawas by which it was suppressed, tens of thousands were
found who preferred death to the surrender of their faith. In recent
times, too, much courage has been shown by the native Christians.

As an illustration is the following: When an eminent American teacher
of Japanese youth returned to Japan after a long absence, his former
pupils gathered around him with warm admiration. They had in the
interval of his absence become leaders among the trustees and faculty
of the most prosperous Christian college in Japan. He was accordingly
invited to deliver a course of lectures in the Chapel. It was
generally known that he was no longer the earnest Christian that he
had once been, when, as teacher in an interior town, he had inspired a
band of young men who became Christians under his teaching and a power
for good throughout the land. But no one was prepared to hear such
extreme denunciations of Christianity and Christian missions and
missionaries as constituted the substance of his lectures. At first
the matter was passed over in silence. But, by the end of the second
lecture, the missionaries entered a protest, urging that the Christian
Chapel should not again be used for such lectures. The faculty,
however, were not ready to criticise their beloved teacher. The third
lecture proved as abusive as the others; the speaker seemed to have no
sense of propriety. A glimpse of his thought, and method of expression
may be gained from a single sentence: "I have been commissioned,
gentlemen, by Jesus Christ, to tell you that there is no such thing as
a soul or a future life." Although the missionary members of the
faculty urged it, the Japanese members, most of whom were his former
pupils, were unwilling to take any steps whatever to prevent the
continuation of the blasphemous lectures. The students of the
institution accordingly held a mass-meeting, in which the matter was
discussed, and it was decided to inform the speaker that the students
did not care to hear any more such lectures. The question then arose
as to who would deliver the resolution. There was general hesitancy,
and anyone who has seen or known the lecturer, and has heard him
speak, can easily understand this feeling; for he is a large man with
a most impressive and imperious manner. The young man, however, who
had perhaps been most active in agitating the matter, and who had
presented the resolution to the meeting, volunteered to go. He is
slight and rather small, even for a Japanese. Going to the home of the
lecturer, he delivered calmly the resolution of the students. To the
demand as to who had drawn up and presented the resolution to the
meeting, the reply was: "I, sir." That ended the conversation, but not
the matter. From that day the idolized teacher was gradually lowered
from his pedestal. But the moral courage of the young man who could
say in his enraged presence, "I, sir," has not been forgotten. Neither
has that of the young man who had acted as interpreter for the first
lecture; not only did he decline to act in that capacity any longer,
but, taking the first public opportunity, at the chapel service the
following day, which proved to be Sunday, he went to the platform and
asked forgiveness of God and of men that he had uttered such language
as he had been compelled to use in his translating. Here, too, was
moral courage of no mean order.



A frequent criticism of the Japanese is that they are fickle; that
they run from one fad to another, from one idea to another, quickly
tiring of each in turn. They are said to lack persistence in their
amusements no less than in the most serious matters of life.

None will deny the element of truth in this charge. In fact, the
Japanese themselves recognize that of late their progress has been by
"waves," and not a few lament it. A careful study of school attendance
will show that it has been subject to alternate waves of popularity
and disfavor. Private schools glorying in their hundreds of pupils
have in a short time lost all but a few score. In 1873 there was a
passion for rabbits, certain varieties of which were then for the
first time introduced into Japan. For a few months these brought
fabulous prices, and became a subject of the wildest speculation. In
1874-75 cock-fighting was all the rage. Foreign waltzing and gigantic
funerals were the fashion one year, while wrestling was the fad at
another time, even the then prime minister, Count Kuroda, taking the
lead. But the point of our special interest is as to whether
fickleness is an essential element of Japanese character, and so
dominant that wherever the people may be and whatever their
surroundings, they will always be fickle; or whether this trait is due
to the conditions of their recent history. Let us see.

Prof. Basil H. Chamberlain says, "Japan stood still so long that she
has to move quickly and often now to make up for lost time." This
states the case pretty well. Had we known Japan only through her
Tokugawa period, the idea of fickleness would not have occurred to us;
on the contrary, the dominant impression would have been that of the
permanence and fixity of her life and customs. This quality or
appearance of fickleness is, then, a modern trait, due to the
extraordinary circumstances in which Japan finds herself. The
occurrence of wave after wave of fresh fashions and fads is neither
strange nor indicative of an essentially fickle disposition. Glancing
below the surface for a moment, we shall see that there is an
earnestness of purpose which is the reverse of fickle.

What nation, for example, ever voluntarily set itself to learn the
ways and thoughts and languages of foreign nations as persistently as
Japan? That there has been fluctuation of intensity is not so
surprising as that, through a period of thirty years, she has kept
steadily at it. Tens of thousands of her young men are now, able to
read the English language with some facility; thousands are also able
to read German and French. Foreign languages are compulsory in all the
advanced schools. A regulation going into force in September, 1900,
requires the study of two foreign languages. This has been done at a
cost of many hundred thousands of dollars. There has been a fairly
permanent desire and effort to learn all that the West has to teach.
The element of fickleness is to be found chiefly in connection with
the methods rather than in connection with the ends to be secured.
From the moment when Japan discovered that the West had sources of
power unknown to herself, and indispensable if she expected to hold
her own with the nations of the world, the aim and end of all her
efforts has been to master the secrets of that power. She has seen
that education is one important means. That she should stumble in the
adoption of educational methods is not strange. The necessary
experience is being secured. But for a lesson of this sort, more than
one generation of experience is required of a nation. For some time to
come Japan is sure to give signs of unsteadiness, of lack of perfect

A pitiful sight in Japan is that of boys not more than five or six
years of age pushing or pulling with all their might at heavily loaded
hand-carts drawn by their parents. Yet this is typical of one aspect
of Japanese civilization. The work is largely done by young people
under thirty, and vast multitudes of the workers are under twenty
years of age. This is true not only of menial labor, but also in
regard to labor involving more or less responsibility. In the post
offices, for instance, the great majority of the clerks are mere boys.
In the stores one rarely sees a man past middle age conducting the
business or acting as clerk. Why are the young so prominent? Partly
because of the custom of "abdication." As "family abdication" is
frequent, it has a perceptible effect on the general character of the
nation, and accounts in part for rash business ventures and other
signs of impetuosity and unbalanced judgment. Furthermore, under the
new civilization, the older men have become unfitted to do the
required work. The younger and more flexible members of the rising
generation can quickly adjust themselves to the new conditions, as in
the schools, where the older men, who had received only the regular
training in Chinese classics, were utterly incompetent as teachers of
science. Naturally, therefore, except for instruction in these
classics, the common-school teachers, during the earlier decades, were
almost wholly young boys. The extreme youthfulness of school-teachers
has constantly surprised me. In the various branches of government
this same phenomenon is equally common. Young men have been pushed
forward into positions with a rapidity and in numbers unknown in the
West, and perhaps unknown in any previous age in Japan.

The rise and decline of the Christian Church in Japan has been
instanced as a sign of the fickleness of the people. It is a mistaken
instance, for there are many other causes quite sufficient to account
for the phenomenon in question. Let me illustrate by the experience of
an elderly Christian. He had been brought to Christ through the
teachings of a young man of great brilliancy, whose zeal was not
tempered with full knowledge--which, however, was not strange, in view
of his limited opportunities for learning. His instruction was
therefore narrow, not to say bigoted. Still the elderly gentleman
found the teachings of the young man sufficiently strong and clear
thoroughly to upset all his old ideas of religion, his polytheism, his
belief in charms, his worship of ancestors, and all kindred ideas. He
accepted the New Testament in simple unquestioning faith. But, after
six or eight years, the young instructor began to lose his own
primitive and simple faith. He at once proceeded to attack that which
before he had been defending and expounding. Soon his whole
theological position was changed. Higher criticism and religious
philosophy were now the center of his preaching and writing. The
result was that this old gentleman was again in danger of being upset
in his religious thinking. He felt that his new faith had been
received in bulk, so to speak, and if a part of it were false, as his
young teacher now asserted, how could he know that any of it was true?
Yet his heart's experience told him that he had secured something in
this faith that was real; he was loath to lose it; consequently, for
some years now, he has systematically stayed away from church
services, and refrained from reading magazines in which these new and
destructive views have been discussed; he has preferred to read the
Bible quietly at home, and to have direct communion with God, even
though, in many matters of Biblical or theoretical science, he might
hold his mistaken opinions. A surface view of this man's conduct might
lead one to think of him as fickle; but a deeper consideration will
lead to the opposite conclusion.

The fluctuating condition of the Christian churches is not cause for
astonishment, nor is it to be wholly, if at all, attributed to the
fickleness of the national character, but rather, in a large degree,
to the peculiar conditions of Japanese life. The early Christians had
much to learn. They knew, experimentally, but little of Christian
truth. The whole course of Christian thought, the historical
development of theology, with the various heresies, the recent
discussions resting on the so-called "higher criticism" of the Bible,
together with the still more recent investigations into the history
and philosophy of religion in general, were of course wholly unknown
to them. This was inevitable, and they were blameless. All could not
be learned at once.

Nor is there any blame attached to the missionaries. It was as
impossible for them to impart to young and inexperienced Christians a
full knowledge of these matters as it was for the latter to receive
such information. The primary interest of the missionaries was in the
practical and everyday duties of the Christian life, in the great
problem of getting men and women to put away the superstitions and
narrowness and sins springing from polytheism or practical atheism,
and getting them started in ways of godliness. The training schools
for evangelists were designed to raise up practical workers rather
than speculative theologians. Missionaries considered it their duty
(and they were beyond question right) to teach religion rather than
the science and philosophy of religion. When, therefore, the
evangelists discovered that they had not been taught these advanced
branches of knowledge, it is not strange that some should rush after
them, and, in their zeal for that which they supposed to be important,
hasten to criticise their former teachers. As a result, they
undermined both their own faith and that of many who had become
Christians through their teaching.

The dullness of the church life, so conspicuous at present in many of
the churches, is only partly due to the fact that the Christians are
tired of the services. It is true that these services no longer afford
them that mental and spiritual stimulus which they found at the first,
and that, lacking this, they find little inducement to attend. But
this is only a partial explanation. Looking over the experience of the
past twenty-five years, we now see that the intense zeal of the first
few years was a natural result of a certain narrowness of view. It is
an interesting fact that, during one of the early revivals in the
Doshisha, the young men were so intense and excited that the
missionaries were compelled to restrain them. These young Christians
felt and said that the missionaries were not filled with the Holy
Spirit; they accordingly considered it their duty to exhort their
foreign leaders, even to chide them for their lack of faith. The
extraordinary expectations entertained by the young Japanese workers
of those days and shared by the missionaries, that Japan was to
become a Christian nation before the end of the century, was due in
large measure to an ignorance alike of Christianity, of human nature,
and of heathenism, but, under the peculiar conditions of life, this
was well-nigh inevitable. And that great and sudden changes in feeling
and thought have come over the infant churches, in consequence of the
rapid acquisition of new light and new experience, is equally
inevitable. These changes are not primarily attributable to fickleness
of nature, but to the extraordinary additions to their knowledge.

There is good reason to think, however, that the period of these rapid
fluctuations is passing away. All the various fads, fancies, and
follies, together with the sciences, philosophies, ologies, and isms
of the Western world, have already come to Japan, and are fairly well
known. No essentially new and sudden experiences lie before the

Furthermore, the young men are year by year growing older. Experience
and age together are giving a soberness and a steadiness otherwise
unattainable. In the schools, in the government, in politics, and in
the judiciary, and in the churches, men of years and of training in
the new order are becoming relatively numerous, and erelong they will
be in the majority. We may expect to see Japan gradually settling down
to a steadiness and a regularity that have been lacking during the
past few decades. The newcomer to Japan is much impressed with the
expressionless character of so many Japanese faces. They appear like
the images of Buddha, who is supposed to be so absorbed in profound
meditation that the events of the passing world make no impression
upon him. I have sometimes heard the expression "putty face" used to
describe the appearance of the common Japanese face. This immobility
of the Oriental is more conspicuous to a newcomer than to one who has
seen much of the people and who has learned its significance. But
though the "putty" effect wears off, there remains an impression of
stoicism that never fades away. These two features, stolidity and
stoicism, are so closely allied in appearance that they are easily
mistaken, yet they are really distinct. The one arises from
stupidity, from dullness of mind. The other is the product of
elaborate education and patient drill. Yet it is often difficult to
determine where the one ends and the other begins.

The stolidity of stupidity is, of course, commonest among the peasant
class. For centuries they have been in closest contact with the soil;
nothing has served to awaken their intellectual faculties. Reading and
writing have remained to them profound mysteries. Their lives have
been narrow in the extreme. But the Japanese peasant is not peculiar
in this respect. Similar conditions in other lands produce similar
results, as in France, according to Millet's famous painting, "The Man
with the Hoe."

It is an interesting fact, however, that this stolidity of stupidity
can be easily removed. I have often heard comments on the marked
change in the facial expression of those adults who learn to read the
Bible. Their minds are awakened; a new light is seen in their eyes as
new ideas are started in their minds.

The impression of stolidity made on the foreigner is, due less,
however, to stupidity than to a stoical education. For centuries the
people have been taught to repress all expression of their emotions.
It has been required of the inferior to listen quietly to his superior
and to obey implicitly. The relations of superior and inferior have
been drilled into the people for ages. The code of a military camp has
been taught and enforced in all the homes. Talking in the presence of
a superior, or laughter, or curious questions, or expressions of
surprise, anything revealing the slightest emotion on the part of the
inferior was considered a discourtesy.

Education in these matters was not confined to oral instruction;
infringements were punished with great rigor. Whenever a daimyo
traveled to Yedo, the capital, he was treated almost as a god by the
people. They were required to fall on their knees and bow their faces
to the ground, and the death penalty was freely awarded to those who
failed to make such expressions of respect.

One source, then, of the systematic repression of emotional expression
is the character of the feudal order of society that so long
prevailed. The warrior who had best control of his facial expression,
who could least expose to his foe or even to his ordinary friends the
real state of his feelings, other things being equal, would come off
the victor. In further explanation of this repression is the religion
of Buddha. For 1200 years it has helped to mold the middle and the
lower classes of the people. According to its doctrine, desire is the
great evil; from it all other evils spring. For this reason, the aim
of the religious life is to suppress all desire, and the most natural
way to accomplish this is to suppress the manifestation of desire; to
maintain passive features under all circumstances. The images of
Buddha and of Buddhist saints are utterly devoid of expression. They
indicate as nearly as possible the attainment of their desire, namely,
freedom from all desire. This is the ambition of every earnest
Buddhist. Being the ideal and the actual effort of life, it does
affect the faces of the people. Lack of expression, however, does not
prove absence of desire.

Every foreigner has had amusing proof of this. A common experience is
the passing of a group of Japanese who, apparently, give no heed to
the stranger. Neither by the turn of the head nor by the movement of a
single facial muscle do they betray any curiosity, yet their eyes take
in each detail, and involuntarily follow the receding form of the
traveler. In the interior, where foreigners are still objects of
curiosity, young men have often run up from behind, gone to a distance
ahead of me, then turned abruptly, as though remembering something,
and walked slowly back again, giving me, apparently, not the slightest
attention. The motive was the desire to get a better look at the
foreigner. They hoped to conceal it by a ruse, for there must be no
manifestation of curiosity.

Phenomena which a foreigner may attribute to a lack of emotion of, at
least, to its repression, may be due to some very different cause. Few
things, for instance, are more astonishing to the Occidental than the
silence on the part of the multitude when the Emperor, whom they all
admire and love, appears on the street. Under circumstances which
would call forth the most enthusiastic cheers from Western crowds, a
Japanese crowd will maintain absolute silence. Is this from lack of
emotion? By no means. Reverence dominates every breast. They would no
more think of making noisy demonstrations of joy in the presence of
the Emperor than a congregation of devout Christians would think of
doing the same during a religious service. This idea of reverence for
superiors has pervaded the social order--the intensity of the
reverence varying with the rank of the superior. But a change has
already begun. Silence is no longer enforced; no profound bowings to
the ground are now demanded before the nobility; on at least one
occasion during the recent China-Japan war the enthusiasm of the
populace found audible expression when the Emperor made a public
appearance. Even the stoical appearance of the people is passing away
under the influence of the new order of society, with its new,
dominant ideas. Education is bringing the nation into a large and
throbbing life. Naturalness is taking the place of forced repression.
A sense of the essential equality of man is springing up, especially
among the young men, and is helping to create a new atmosphere in this
land, where, for centuries, one chief effort has been to repress all
natural expression of emotion.

While touring in Kyushu several years ago, I had an experience which
showed me that the stolidity, or vivacity, of a people is largely
dependent on the prevailing social order rather than on inherent
nature. Those who have much to do with the Japanese have noted the
extreme quiet and reserve of the women. It is a trait that has been
lauded by both native and foreign writers. Because of this
characteristic it is difficult for a stranger, to carry on
conversation with them. They usually reply in monosyllables and in low
tones. The very expression of their faces indicates a reticence, a
calm stolidity, and a lack of response to the stimulus of social
intercourse that is striking and oppressive to an Occidental. I have
always found it a matter of no little difficulty to become acquainted
with the women, and especially with the young women, in the church
with which I have been connected. With the older women this reticence
is not so marked. Now for my story:

One day I called on a family, expecting to meet the mother, with whom
I was well acquainted. She proved to be out; but a daughter of whom I
had not before heard was at home, and I began to talk with her.
Contrary to all my previous experience, this young girl of less than
twenty years looked me straight in the face with perfect composure,
replied to my questions with clear voice and complete sentences, and
asked questions in her turn without the slightest embarrassment. I was
amazed. Here was a Japanese girl acting and talking with the freedom
of an American. How was this to be explained? Difficult though it
appeared, the problem was easily solved. The young lady had been in
America, having spent several years in Radcliffe College. There it was
that her Japanese demureness was dropped and the American frankness
and vivacity of manner acquired. It was a matter simply of the
prevailing social customs, and not of her inherent nature as a

And this conclusion is enforced by the further fact that there is a
marked increase in vivacity in those who become Christian. The
repressive social restraints of the old social order are somewhat
removed. A freedom is allowed to individuals of the Christian
community, in social life, in conversation between men and women, in
the holding of private opinions, which the non-Christian order of
society did not permit. Sociability between the sexes was not allowed.
The new freedom naturally results in greater vivacity and a far freer
play of facial expression than the older order could produce. The
vivacity and sociability of the geisha (dancing and singing girls),
whose business it is to have social relations with the men, freely
conversing with them, still further substantiates the view that the
stolid, irrepressive features of the usual Japanese woman are social,
not essential, characteristics. The very same girls exhibit
alternately stolidity and vivacity according as they are acting as
geisha or as respectable members of society.

This completes our direct study of the various elements characterizing
the emotional nature of the Japanese. It is universally admitted that
the people are conspicuously emotional. We have shown, however, that
their feelings are subject to certain remarkable suppressions.

It remains to be asked why the Japanese are more emotional than other
races? One reason doubtless is that the social conditions were such as
to stimulate their emotional rather than their intellectual powers.
The military system upon which the social structure rested kept the
nation in its mental infancy. Twenty-eight millions of farmers and a
million and a half of soldiers was the proportion during the middle of
the nineteenth century. Education was limited to the soldiers. But
although they cultivated their minds somewhat, their very occupation
as soldiers required them to obey rather than to think; their
hand-to-hand conflicts served mightily to stimulate the emotions. The
entire feudal order likewise was calculated to have the same effect.
The intellectual life being low, its inhibitions were correspondingly
weak. When, in the future, the entire population shall have become
fairly educated, and taught to think independently; and when
government by the people shall have become much more universal,
throwing responsibility on the people as never before, and stimulating
discussion of the general principles of life, of government, and of
law, then must the emotional features of the nation become less

It is a question of relative development. As children run to extremes
of thought and action on the slightest occasion, simply because their
intellects have not come into full activity, weeping at one moment and
laughing at the next, so it is with national life. Where the general
intellectual development of a people is retarded, the emotional
manifestations are of necessity correspondingly conspicuous.

Even so fundamental a racial trait, then, as the emotional, is seen to
be profoundly influenced by the prevailing social order. The emotional
characteristics which distinguish the Japanese from other races are
due, in the last analysis, to the nature of their social order rather
than to their inherent nature or brain structure.



In certain directions, the Japanese reveal a development of æsthetic
taste which no other nation has reached. The general appreciation of
landscape-views well illustrates this point. The home and garden of
the average workman are far superior artistically to those of the same
class in the West. There is hardly a home without at least a
diminutive garden laid out in artistic style with miniature lake and
hills and winding walks. And this garden exists solely for the delight
of the eye.

The general taste displayed in many little ways is a constant delight
to the Western "barbarian" when he first comes to Japan. Nor does this
delight vanish with time and familiarity, though it is tempered by a
later perception of certain other features. Indeed, the more one knows
of the details of their artistic taste, the more does he appreciate
it. The "toko-no-ma," for example, is a variety of alcove usually
occupying half of one side of a room. It indicates the place of honor,
and guests are always urged to sit in front of it. The floor of the
"toko-no-ma" is raised four or five inches above the level of the room
and should never be stepped upon. In this "toko-no-ma" is usually
placed some work of art, or a vase with flowers, and on the wall is
hung a picture or a few Chinese characters, written by some famous
calligraphist, which are changed with the seasons. The woodwork and
the coloring of this part of the room is of the choicest. The
"toko-no-ma" of the main room of the house is always restful to the
eye; this "honorable spot" is found in at least one room in every
house; and if the owner has moderate means, there are two or three
such rooms. Only the homes of the poorest of the poor are without this

The Japanese show a refined taste in the coloring and decoration of
rooms; natural woods, painted and polished, are common; every post and
board standing erect must stand in the position in which it grew. A
Japanese knows at once whether a board or post is upside down, though
it would often puzzle a Westerner to decide the matter. The natural
wood ceilings and the soft yellows and blues of the walls are all that
the best trained Occidental eye could ask. Dainty decorations called
the "ramma," over the neat "fusuma," consist of delicate shapes and
quaint designs cut in thin boards, and serve at once as picture and
ventilator. The drawings, too, on the "fusuma" (solid thick paper
sliding doors separating adjacent rooms or shutting off the closet)
are simple and neat, as is all Japanese pictorial art.

Japanese love for flowers reveals a high æsthetic development. Not
only are there various flower festivals at which times the people
flock to suburban gardens and parks, but sprays, budding branches, and
even large boughs are invariably arranged in the homes and public
halls. Every church has an immense vase for the purpose. The proper
arrangement of flowers and of flowering sprays and boughs is a highly
developed art. It is often one of the required studies in girls'
schools. I have known two or three men who made their entire living by
teaching this art. Miniature flowering trees are reared with
consummate skill. An acquaintance of mine glories in 230 varieties of
the plum tree, all in pots, some of them between two and three hundred
years old. Shinto and Buddhist temples also reveal artistic qualities
most pleasing to the eye.

But the main point of our interest lies in the explanation of this
characteristic. Is the æsthetic sense more highly developed in Japan
than in the West? Is it more general? Is it a matter of inherent
nature, or of civilization?

In trying to meet these problems, I note, first of all, that the
development of the Japanese æsthetic taste is one-sided; though
advanced in certain respects it is belated in others. In illustration
is the sense of smell. It will not do to say that "the Japanese have
no use for the nose," and that the love of sweet smells is unknown.
Sir Rutherford Alcock's off-quoted sentence that "in one of the most
beautiful and fertile countries in the whole world the flowers have no
scent, the birds no song, and the fruit and vegetables no flavor," is
quite misleading, for it has only enough truth to make it the more
deceptive. It is true that the cherry blossom has little or no odor,
and that its beauty lies in its exquisite coloring and abounding
luxuriance, but most of the native flowers are praised and prized by
the Japanese for their odors, as well as for their colors, as the
plum, the chrysanthemum, the lotus, and the rose. The fragrance of
flowers is a frequent theme in Japanese poetry. Japanese ladies, like
those of every land, are fond of delicate scents. Cologne and kindred
wares find wide sale in Japan, and I am told that expensive musk is
not infrequently packed away with the clothing of the wealthy.

But in contrast to this appreciation is a remarkable indifference to
certain foul odors. It is amazing what horrid smells the cultivated
Japanese will endure in his home. What we conceal in the rear and out
of the way, he very commonly places in the front yard; though this is,
of course, more true of the country than of large towns or cities. It
would seem as if a high æsthetic development should long ago have
banished such sights and smells. As a matter of fact, however, the
æsthetics of the subject does not seem to have entered the national
mind, any more than have the hygienics of the same subject.

In explanation of these facts, may it not be that the Japanese method
of agriculture has been a potent hindrance to the æsthetic development
of the sense of smell? In primitive times, when wealth was small, the
only easy method which the people had of preserving the fertilizing
properties of that which is removed from our cities by the
sewer-system was such as we still find in use in Japan to-day. Perhaps
the necessities of the case have toughened the mental, if not the
physical, sense of the people. Perhaps the unæsthetic character of the
sights and smells has been submerged in the great value of fertilizing
materials. Then, too, with the Occidental, the thought is common that
such odors are indications of seriously unhealthful conditions. We are
accordingly offended not simply by the odor itself, but also by the
associations of sickness and death which it suggests. Not so the
unsophisticated Oriental. Such a correlation of ideas is only now
arising in Japan, and changes are beginning to be made, as a

I cannot leave this point without drawing attention to the fact that
the development of the sense of smell in these directions is
relatively recent, even in the West. Of all the non-European nations
and races, I have no doubt Japan is most free from horrid smells and
putrid odors. And in view of our own recent emancipation it is not for
us to marvel that others have made little progress. Rather is it
marvelous that we should so easily forget the hole from which we have
been so recently digged.

In turning to study certain features of Japanese pictorial art, we
notice that a leading characteristic is that of simplicity. The
greatest results are secured with the fewest possible strokes. This
general feature is in part due to the character of the instrument
used, the "fude," "brush." This same brush answers for writing. It
admits of strong, bold outlines; and a large brush allows the
exhibition of no slight degree of skill. As a result, "writing" is a
fine art in Japan. Hardly a family that makes any pretense at culture
but owns one or more framed specimens of writing. In Japan these rank
as pictures do or mottoes in the West, and are prized not merely for
the sentiment expressed, but also for the skill displayed in the use
of the brush. Skillful writers become famous, often receiving large
sums for small "pictures" which consist of but two or three Chinese

No doubt the higher development of appreciation for natural scenery
among the people in general is largely due to the character of the
scenery itself. Steep hills and narrow valleys adjoin nearly every
city in the land. Seas, bays, lakes, and rivers are numerous;
reflected mountain scenes are common; the colors are varied and
marked. Flowering trees of striking beauty are abundant. Any people
living under these physical conditions, and sufficiently advanced in
civilization to have leisure and culture, can hardly fail to be
impressed with such wealth of beauty in the scenery itself.

In the artistic reproduction of this scenery, however, Japanese
artists are generally supposed to be inferior to those of the West.

As often remarked, Japanese art has directed its chief endeavor to
animals and to nature, thus failing to give to man his share of
attention. This curious one-sidedness shows itself particularly in
painting and in sculpture. In the former, when human beings are the
subject, the aim has apparently been to extol certain characteristics;
in warriors, the military or heroic spirit; in wise men, their wisdom;
in monks and priests, their mastery over the passions and complete
attainment of peace; in a god, the moral character which he is
supposed to represent. Art has consequently been directed to bringing
into prominence certain ideal features which must be over-accentuated
in order to secure recognition; caricatures, rather than lifelike
forms, are the frequent results. The images of multitudes of gods are
frightful to behold; the aim being to show the character of the
emotion of the god in the presence of evil. These idols are easily
misunderstood, for we argue that the more frightful he is, the more
vicious must be the god in his real character; not so the Oriental. To
him the more frightful the image, the more noble the character. Really
evil gods, such as demons, are always represented, I think, as
deformed creatures, partly human and partly beast. It is to be
remembered, in this connection, that idols are an imported feature of
Japanese religion; Shinto to this day has no "graven image." All idols
are Buddhistic. Moreover, they are but copies of the hideous idols of
India; the Japanese artistic genius has added nothing to their
grotesque appearance. But the point of interest for us is that the
æsthetic taste which can revel in flowers and natural scenery has
never delivered Japanese art from truly unæsthetic representations of
human beings and of gods.

Standing recently before a toy store and looking at the numberless
dolls offered for sale, I was impressed afresh with the lack of taste
displayed, both in coloring and in form; their conventionality was
exceedingly tiresome; their one attractive feature was their
absurdity. But the moment I turned away from the imitations of human
beings to look at the imitations of nature, the whole impression was
changed. I was pleased with the artistic taste displayed in the
perfectly imitated, delicately colored flowers. They were beautiful

Why has Japanese art made so little of man as man? Is it due to the
"impersonality" of the Orient, as urged by some? This suggests, but
does not give, the correct interpretation of the phenomenon in
question. The reason lies in the nature of the ruling ideas of
Oriental civilization. Man, as man, has not been honored or highly
esteemed. As a warrior he has been honored; consequently, when
pictured or sculptured as a warrior, he has worn his armor; his face,
if visible, is not the natural face of a man, but rather that of a
passionate victor, slaying his foe or planning for the same. And so
with the priests and the teachers, the emperors and the generals; all
have been depicted, not for what they are in themselves, but for the
rank which they have attained; they are accordingly represented with
their accouterments and robes and the characteristic attitudes of
their rank. The effort to preserve their actual appearance is
relatively rare. Manhood and womanhood, apart from social rank, have
hardly been recognized, much less extolled by art. This feature, then,
corresponds to the nature of the Japanese social order. The art of a
land necessarily reveals the ruling ideals of its civilization. As
Japan failed to discover the inherent nature and value of manhood and
womanhood, estimating them only on a utilitarian basis, so has her art
reflected this failure.

Apparently it has never attempted to depict the nude human form. This
is partly explained, perhaps, by the fact that the development of a
perfect physical form through exercise and training has not been a
part of Oriental thought. Labor of every sort has been regarded as
degrading. Training for military skill and prowess has indeed been
common among the military classes; but the skill and strength
themselves have been the objects of thought, rather than the beauty of
the muscular development which they produce. When we recall the
prominent place which the games of Greece took in her civilization
previous to her development of art, and the stress then laid on
perfect bodily form, we shall better understand why there should be
such difference in the development of the art of these two lands. I
have never seen a Japanese man or youth bare his arm to show with
pride the development of his biceps; and so far as I have observed,
the pride which students in the United States feel over well-developed
calves has no counterpart in Japan--this, despite the fact that the
average Japanese has calves which would turn the American youth green
with envy.

From the absence of the nude in Japanese art it has been urged that
Japan herself is far more morally pure than the West. Did the moral
life of the people correspond to their art in this respect, the
argument would have force. Unfortunately, such does not seem to be the
case. It is further suggested as a reason that the bodily form of
Oriental peoples is essentially unæsthetic; that the men are either
too fat or too lean, and the women too plump when in the bloom of
youth and too wrinkled and flabby when the first bloom is over. The
absurdity of this suggestion raises a smile, and a query as to the
experience which its author must have had. For any person who has
lived in Japan must have seen individuals of both sexes, whom the most
fastidious painter or sculptor would rejoice to secure as models.

It might be thought that a truly artistic people, who are also
somewhat immoral, would have developed much skill in the portrayal of
the nude female form. But such an attempt does not seem to have been
made until recent times, and in imitation of Western art. At least
such attempts have not been recognized as art nor have they been
preserved as such. I have never seen either statue or picture of a
nude Japanese woman. Even the pictures of famous prostitutes are
always faultlessly attired. The number and size of the conventional
hairpins, and the gaudy coloring of the clothing, alone indicate the
immoral character of the woman represented.

It is not to be inferred, however, that immoral pictures have been
unknown in Japan, for the reverse is true. Until forcibly suppressed
by the government under the incentive of Western criticism, there was
perfect freedom to produce and sell licentious and lascivious
pictures. The older foreign residents in Japan testify to the
frequency with which immoral scenes were depicted and exposed for
sale. Here I merely say that these were not considered works of art;
they were reproduced not in the interests of the æsthetic sense, but
wholly to stimulate the taste for immoral things.

The absence of the nude from Japanese art is due to the same causes
that led to the relative absence of all distinctively human nature
from art. Manhood and womanhood, as such, were not the themes they
strove to depict.

A curious feature of the artistic taste of the people is the marked
fondness for caricature. It revels in absurd accentuations of special
features. Children with protruding foreheads; enormously fat little
men; grotesque dwarf figures in laughable positions; these are a few
common examples. Nearly all of the small drawings and sculpturings of
human figures are intentionally grotesque. But the Japanese love of
the grotesque is not confined to its manifestation in art. It also
reveals itself in other surprising ways. It is difficult to realize
that a people who revel in the beauties of nature can also delight in
deformed nature; yet such is the case. Stunted and dwarfed trees,
trees whose branches have been distorted into shapes and proportions
that nature would scorn--these are sights that the Japanese seem to
enjoy, as well as "natural" nature. Throughout the land, in the
gardens of the middle and higher classes, may be found specimens of
dwarfed and stunted trees which have required decades to raise. The
branches, too, of most garden shrubs and trees are trimmed in
fantastic shapes. What is the charm in these distortions? First,
perhaps, the universal human interest in anything requiring skill.
Think of the patience and persistence and experimentation necessary
to rear a dwarf pear tree twelve or fifteen inches high, growing its
full number of years and bearing full-size fruit in its season! And
second is the no less universal human interest in the strange and
abnormal. All primitive people have this interest. It shows itself in
their religions. Abnormal stones are often objects of religious
devotion. Although I cannot affirm that such objects are worshiped in
Japan to-day, yet I can say that they are frequently set up in temple
grounds and dedicated with suitable inscriptions. Where nature can be
made to produce the abnormal, there the interest is still greater. It
is a living miracle. Witness the cocks of Tosa, distinguished by their
two or three tail feathers reaching the extraordinary length of ten or
even fifteen feet, the product of ages of special breeding.

According to the ordinary use of the term, æsthetics has to do with
art alone. Yet it also has intimate relations with both speech and
conduct. Poetry depends for its very existence on æsthetic
considerations. Although little conscious regard is paid to æsthetic
claims in ordinary conversation, yet people of culture do, as a matter
of fact, pay it much unconscious attention. In conduct too, æsthetic
ideas are often more dominant than we suppose. The objection of the
cultured to the ways of the boorish rests on æsthetic grounds. This is
true in every land. In the matter of conduct it is sometimes hard to
draw the line between æsthetics and ethics, for they shade
imperceptibly into one another; so much so that they are seen to be
complementary rather than contradictory. Though it is doubtless true
that conduct æsthetically defective may not be defective ethically,
still is it not quite as true that conduct bad from the ethical is bad
also from the æsthetical standpoint?

In no land have æsthetic considerations had more force in molding both
speech and conduct than in Japan. Not a sentence is uttered by a
Japanese but has the characteristic marks of æstheticism woven into
its very structure. By means of "honorifics" it is seldom necessary
for a speaker to be so pointedly vulgar as even to mention self. There
are few points in the language so difficult for a foreigner to
master, whether in speaking himself, or in listening to others, as the
use of these honorific words. The most delicate shades of courtesy and
discourtesy may be expressed by them. Some writers have attributed the
relative absence of the personal pronouns from the language to the
dominating force of impersonal pantheism. I am unable to take this
view for reasons stated in the later chapters on personality.

Though the honorific characteristics of the language seem to indicate
a high degree of æsthetic development, a certain lack of delicacy in
referring to subjects that are ruled out of conversation by cultivated
people in the West make the contrary impression upon the uninitiated.
Such language in Japan cannot be counted impure, for no such idea
accompanies the words. They must be described simply as æsthetically
defective. Far be it from me to imply that there is no impure
conversation in Japan. I only say that the particular usages to which
I refer are not necessarily a proof of moral tendency. A realistic
baldness prevails that makes no effort to conceal even that which is
in its nature unpleasant and unæsthetic. A spade is called a spade
without the slightest hesitation. Of course specific illustrations of
such a point as this are out of place. Æsthetic considerations forbid.

And how explain these unæsthetic phenomena? By the fact that Japan has
long remained in a state of primitive development. Speech is but the
verbal expression of life. Every primitive society is characterized by
a bald literalism shocking to the æsthetic sense of societies which
represent a higher stage of culture. In Japan, until recently, little
effort has been made to keep out of sight objects and acts which we of
the West have considered disagreeable and repulsive. Language alters
more slowly than acts. Laws are making changes in the latter, and they
in time will take effect in the former. But many decades will
doubtless pass before the cultivated classes of Japan will reach, in
this respect, the standard of the corresponding classes of the West.

As for the æsthetics of conduct in Japan, enough is indicated by what
has been said already concerning the æsthetics of speech. Speech and
conduct are but diverse expressions of the same inner life. Japanese
etiquette has been fashioned on the feudalistic theory of society,
with its numberless gradations of inferior and superior. Assertive
individualism, while allowed a certain range among the samurai, always
had its well-marked limits. The mass of the people were compelled to
walk a narrow line of respectful obedience and deference both in form
and speech. The constant aim of the inferior was to please the
superior. That individuals of an inferior rank had any inherent
rights, as opposed to those of a superior rank, seldom occurred to
them. Furthermore, this whole feudal system, with its characteristic
etiquette of conduct and speech, was authoritatively taught by
moralists and religious leaders, and devoutly believed by the noblest
of the land. Ethical considerations, therefore, combined powerfully
with those that were social and æsthetic to produce "the most polite
race on the face of the globe." Recent developments of rudeness and
discourtesy among themselves and toward foreigners have emphasized my
general contention that these characteristics are not due to inherent
race nature, but rather to the social order.

How are we to account for the wide æsthetic development of all classes
of the Japanese? As already suggested, the beautiful scenery explains
much. But I pass at once to the significant fact that although the
classes of Japanese society were widely differentiated in social rank,
yet they lived in close proximity to each other. There was no spatial
gulf of separation preventing the lower from knowing fully and freely
the thoughts, ideals, and customs of the upper classes. The
transmission of culture was thus an easy matter, in spite of social

Moreover, the character of the building materials, and the methods of
construction used by the more prosperous among the people, were easily
imitated in kind, if not in costliness, by the less prosperous. Take,
for example, the structure of the room; it is always of certain fixed
proportions, that the uniform mats may be easily fitted to it. The
mats themselves are always made of a straw "toko," "bed," and an
"omote," "surface," of woven straw; they vary greatly in value, but,
of whatever grade, may always be kept neat and fresh at comparatively
small cost. The walls of the average houses are made of mud wattles.
The outer layers of plaster consist of selected earth and tinted lime.
Whether put up at large or small expense, these walls may be neat and
attractive. So, too, with other parts of the house.

The utter lack of independent thinking throughout the middle and lower
classes, and the constant desire of the inferior to imitate the
superior, have also helped to make the culture of the classes the
possession of the masses. This subserviency and spirit of imitation
has been further stimulated by the enforced courtesy and deference and
obedience of the common people.

In this connection it should be noted, however, that the universality
of culture in Japan is more apparent than real. The appearance is due
in part to the lack of furniture in the homes. Without chairs or
tables, bedsteads or washstands, and the multitude of other things
invariably found in the home of the Occidental, it is easy for the
Japanese housewife to keep her home in perfect order. No special
culture is needful for this.

How it came about that the Japanese people adopted their own method of
sitting on the feet, I cannot say; neither have I heard any plausible
explanation of the practice. Yet this habit has relieved them of all
necessity for heavy furniture. Given the custom of sitting on the
feet, and a large part of the furniture of the house will be useless.
Already is the introduction of furniture after Western patterns
producing changes in the homes of the people; and it will be
interesting to see whether the æsthetic sense of the Japanese will be
able to assimilate and harmonize with itself these useful, but bulky
and unæsthetic, elements of Occidental civilization.

That no part of the fine taste of the Japanese is due to the general
civilization, rather than to the individual possession of the æsthetic
faculty, may be inferred from many little signs. In spite of the fact
that, following the long-established social fashions, the women
usually display good taste in the choice of colors for their clothing,
it sometimes happens that they also manifest not the slightest sense
of the harmony of colors. Daughters of wealthy families will array
themselves in brilliant discordant hues, yet apparently without
causing the wearers or their friends the slightest æsthetic
discomfort. Little children are arrayed in clothing that would
doubtless put Joseph's coat of many colors quite out of countenance.
Combinations and brilliancy that to the Western eye of culture seem
crude and gaudy, typical of barbaric splendor, are in constant use,
and are apparently thought to be fine. The Japanese display both taste
and its lack in the choice of colors for clothing; this contradiction
is the more striking in view of the taste manifest in the decorations
of the homes of all classes of the people. Few sights are more
ludicrously unæsthetic than the red, yellow, and blue worsted
crocheted caps and shawls for infants, which shock all our ideas of
æsthetic harmony.

In connection with Western ways or articles of clothing, the native
æsthetic faculty often seems to take its flight. In a foreign house
many a Japanese seems to lose his sense of fitness. I have had
schoolboys, and even gentlemen, enter my home with hobnailed muddied
boots, without wiping their feet on the conspicuous door mat, which is
the more remarkable since, in their own homes, they invariably take
off their shoes on entering. I have frequently noticed that in railway
cars the first comers monopolize the seats, and the later ones receive
not the slightest notice, being often compelled to stand for an hour
at a time, although, with a little moving, there would be abundant
room for all. I have noticed this so often that I cannot think it an
exceptional occurrence. I do not believe it to be intentional
rudeness, but to be due simply to a lack of real heart politeness. Yet
a true and deep æsthetic development, so far at least as relates to
conduct, to say nothing of the spirit of altruism, would not permit
such indifference to another's discomfort.

My explanation for this, and for all similar defects in etiquette, is
somewhat as follows. Etiquette is popularly conceived as consisting of
rules of conduct, rather than as the outward expression of the state
of the heart. From time immemorial rules for the ordinary affairs of
life have been formulated by superiors and have been taught the
people. In all usual and conventional relations, therefore, the
average farmer and peasant know how to express perfect courtesy. But
in certain situations, as in foreign houses and the railroad car,
where there are no precedents to follow, or rules to obey, all
evidence of politeness takes its flight. The old rules do not fit the
new conditions. Not being grounded on the inner principles of
etiquette, the people are not able to formulate new rules for new
conditions. To the Westerner, on the other hand, these seem to follow
from the simplest principles of common sense and kindliness. The
general collapse of etiquette in Japan, which native writers note and
deplore, is due, therefore, not only to the withdrawal of feudal
pressure, but also to introduction of strange circumstances for which
the people have no rules, and to the fact that the people have not
been taught those underlying principles of high courtesy which are
applicable on all occasions.

An impression seems to have gained currency in the United States that
the unæsthetic features seen in Japan to-day are due to the debasing
influences of Western art and Occidental intercourse. There can be no
doubt that a certain type of tourist, ignorant of Japanese art, by
greedily buying strange, gaudy things at high prices, has stimulated a
morbid production of truly unæsthetic pseudo-Japanese art. But this
accounts for only a small part of the grossly inartistic features of
Japan. The instances given of hideous worsted bibs for babes and
collars for dogs, combining in the closest proximity the most
uncomplementary and mutually repellent colors, has nothing whatever to
do with foreign art or foreign intercourse. What foreigner ever
decorated a little lapdog with a red-green-yellow-blue-and purple
crocheted collar, four or five inches wide?

Westerners have been charmed with the exquisite colored photographs
produced in Japan. It is strange, yet true, that the same artistic
hand that produces these beautiful effects will also, by a slight
change of tints, produce the most unnatural and spectral views. Yet
the strangest thing is, not that he produces them, but that he does
not seem conscious of the defect, for he will put them on sale in his
own shop or send them to purchasers in America, without the slightest
apparent hesitation. The constant care of the purchaser in selection
and his insistence on having only truly artistic work are what keep
the Japanese artist up to the standard.

If other evidence is needed of æsthetic defect in the still
unoccidentalized Japanese taste let the doubter go to any popular
second-grade Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. Here unæsthetic objects
and sights abound. Hideous idols, painted and unpainted, big and
little, often decorated with soiled bibs; decaying to-rii; ruined
sub-shrines; conglomerate piles of cast-off paraphernalia, consisting
of broken idols, old lanterns, stones, etc., filthy towels at the
holy-water basins, piously offered to the gods and piously used by
hundreds of dusty pilgrims; equally filthy bell-ropes hung in front of
the main shrines, pulled by ten thousand hands to call the attention
of the deity; travel-stained hands, each of which has left its mark on
the once beautiful enormous tasselated cord; ex-voto tufts of human
hair; scores of pictures, where the few may be counted works of art
while the rest are hideous beyond belief; frightful faces of tengu,
with their long noses and menacing teeth, decorated with scores of
spit-balls or even with mud-balls; these are some of the more
conspicuous unæsthetic features of multitudes of popular shrines and
temples. And none of these can be attributed to the debasing influence
of Western art. And these inartistic features will be found
accompanying scrupulous neatness in well-swept walks, new sub-shrines,
floral decorations, and much that pleases the eye--a strange compound
of the beautiful and the ugly. Truly the æsthetic development of the
Japanese is curiously one-sided.

A survey of Japanese musical history leads to the conclusion that
while the people are fairly developed in certain aspects of the
æsthetics of music, such as rhythm, they are certainly undeveloped in
other directions--in melody, for example, and in harmony. Their
instrumental music is primitive and meager. They have no system of
musical notation. The love of music, such as it is, is well-nigh
universal. Their solo-vocal music, a semi-chanting in minors, has
impressive elements; but these are due to the passionate outbursts and
plaintive wails, rather than to the musically æsthetic character of
the melodies. The universal twanging samisen, a species of guitar,
accompanied by the shrill, hard voices of the geisha (singing girls),
marks at once the universality of the love of music and the
undeveloped quality of the musical taste, both vocal and instrumental.
But in comparing the musical development of Japan with that of the
West, we must not forget how recent is that of the former.

The conditions which have served to develop musical taste in the West
have but recently come to Japan. Sufficient time has not yet elapsed
for the nation to make much visible progress in the lines of
Occidental music. But it has already done something. The popularity of
brass bands, the wide introduction of organs, their manufacture in
this land, their use in all public schools, the exclusive use of
Occidental music in Christian churches, the ability of trained
individuals in foreign vocal and instrumental music--all these facts
go to show that in time we may expect great musical evolution in
Japan. Those who doubt this on the ground of inherent race nature may
be reminded of the evolution which has taken place among the Hawaiians
during the past two generations. From being a race manifesting marked
deficiency in music they have developed astonishing musical taste and
ability. During a recent visit to these islands after an absence of
twenty-seven years, I attended a Sunday-school exhibition, which was
largely a musical contest; the voices were sweet and rich; and the
difficulty of the part songs, easily carried through by children and
adults, revealed a musical sense that surpasses any ordinary Sunday
school of the United States or England with which I am acquainted.

The development of Japanese literature likewise conspicuously
reflects the ruling ideas of the social order, and reveals the
dependence of literary taste on the order. As in other aspects in
Japanese æsthetic development, so in this do we see marked lack of
balance. "It is wonderful what felicity of phrase, melody of
versification, and true sentiment can be compressed within the narrow
limits (of the Tanka). In their way nothing can be more perfect than
some of these little poems."[U] The deficiencies of Japanese poetry
have been remarked by the foreigners most competent to judge. The
following general characterization from the volume just quoted merits

     "Narrow in its scope and resources, it is chiefly remarkable for
     its limitations--for what it has not, rather than what it has. In
     the first place there are no long poems. There is nothing which
     even remotely resembles an epic--no Iliad or Divina Commedia--not
     even a Nibelungen Lied or Chevy Chase. Indeed, narrative poems of
     any kind are short and very few, the only ones which I have met
     with being two or three ballads of a sentimental cast. Didactic,
     philosophical, political, and satirical poems are also
     conspicuously absent. The Japanese muse does not meddle with such
     subjects, and it is doubtful whether, if it did, the native Pegasus
     possesses sufficient staying power for them to be dealt with
     adequately. For dramatic poetry we have to wait until the
     fourteenth century. Even then there are no complete dramatic poems,
     but only dramas containing a certain poetical element.

     "Japanese poetry is, in short, confined to lyrics, and what, for
     want of a better word, may be called epigrams. It is primarily an
     expression of emotion. We have amatory verse poems of longing for
     home and absent dear ones, praise of love and wine, elegies on the
     dead, laments over the uncertainty of life. A chief place is given
     to the seasons, the sound of purling streams, the snow of Mount
     Fuji, waves breaking on the beach, seaweed drifting to the shore,
     the song of birds, the hum of insects, even the croaking of frogs,
     the leaping of trout in a mountain stream, the young shoots of fern
     in spring, the belling of deer in autumn, the red tints of the
     maple, the moon, flowers, rain, wind, mist; these are among the
     favorite subjects which the Japanese poets delight to dwell upon.
     If we add some courtly and patriotic effusions, a vast number of
     conceits more or less pretty, and a very few poems of a religious
     cast, the enumeration is tolerably complete. But, as Mr.
     Chamberlain has observed, there are curious omissions. War
     songs--strange to say--are almost wholly absent. Fighting and
     bloodshed are apparently not considered fit themes for poetry."[V]

The drama and the novel have both achieved considerable development,
yet judged from Occidental standards, they are comparatively weak and
insipid. They, of course, conspicuously reflect the characteristics of
the social order to which they belong. Critics call repeated attention
to the lack of sublimity in Japanese literature, and ascribe it to
their inherent race nature. While the lack of sublimity in Japanese
scenery may in fact account for the characteristic in question, still
a more conclusive explanation would seem to be that in the older
social order man, as such, was not known. The hidden glories of the
soul, its temptations and struggles, its defects and victories, could
not be the themes of a literature arising in a completely communal
social order, even though it possessed individualism of the Buddhistic
type.[W] These are the themes that give Western literature--poetic,
dramatic, and narrative--its opportunity for sustained power and
sublimity. They portray the inner life of the spirit.

The poverty of poetic form is another point of Western criticism. Mr.
Aston has shown how this poverty is directly due to the phonetic
characteristics of the language. Diversities of both rhyme and rhythm
are practically excluded from Japanese poetry by the nature of the
language. And this in turn has led to the "preference of the national
genius for short poems." But language is manifestly the combined
product of linguistic heredity and the social order, and can in no
sense be ascribed to inherent race nature. Thus directly are social
heredity and social order determinative of the literary
characteristics and æsthetic tastes of a nation.

Even more manifestly may Japanese architectural development be traced
to the social heredity derived from China and India. The needs of the
developing internal civilization have determined its external
manifestation. So far as Japanese differs from Chinese architecture,
it may be attributed to Japan's isolation, to the different demands of
her social order, to the difference of accessible building materials,
and to the different social heredity handed down from prehistoric
times. That the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese
architecture are due to the inherent race nature cannot for a moment
be admitted.

We conclude that the Japanese are not possessed of a unique and
inherent æsthetic taste. In some respects they are as certainly ahead
of the Occidental as they are behind him in other respects. But this,
too, is a matter of social development and social heredity, rather
than of inherent race character, of brain structure. If æsthetic
nature were a matter of inherited brain structure, it would be
impossible to account for rapid fluctuations in æsthetic judgment, for
the great inequality of æsthetic development in the different
departments of life, or for the ease of acquiring the æsthetic
development of alien races.[X]



The differences which separate the Oriental from the Occidental mind
are infinitesimal as compared with the likenesses which unite them.
This is a fact that needs to be emphasized, for many writers on Japan
seem to ignore it. They marvel at the differences. The real marvel is
that the differences are so few and so superficial. The Japanese are a
race whose ancestors were separated from their early home nearly three
thousand years ago; during this period they have been absolutely
prevented from intermarriage with the parent stock. Furthermore, that
original stock was not the Indo-European race. And no one has ventured
to suggest how long before the migration of the ancestors of the
Japanese to Japan their ancestors parted from those who finally became
the progenitors of modern Occidental peoples. For thousands of years,
certainly, the Japanese and Anglo-Saxon races have had no ancestry in
common. Yet so similar is the entire structure and working of their
minds that the psychological textbooks of the Anglo-Saxon are adopted
and perfectly understood by competent psychological students among the
Japanese. I once asked a professor of psychology in the Matsuyama
Normal School if he had no difficulty in teaching his classes the
psychological system of Anglo-Saxon thinkers, if there were not
peculiarities of the Anglo-Saxon mind which a Japanese could not
understand, and if there were not psychological phenomena of the
Japanese mind which were ignored in Anglo-Saxon psychological
text-books. The very questions surprised him; to each he gave a
negative reply. The mental differences that characterize races so
dissimilar as the Japanese and the Anglo-Saxon, I venture to repeat,
are insignificant as compared with their resemblances.

Our discussions shall have reference, not to those general
psychological characteristics which all races have in common, but only
to those which may seem to stamp the Japanese people as peculiar. We
wish to understand the distinguishing features of the Japanese mind.
We wish to know whether they are due to brain structure, to inherent
race nature, or whether they are simply the result of education, of
social heredity. This is our ever-recurring question.

First, in regard to Japanese brain development. Travelers have often
been impressed with the unusual size of the Japanese head. It has
sometimes been thought, however, that the size is more apparent than
real, and the appearance has been attributed to the relatively short
limbs of the people and to the unusual proportion of round heads which
one sees everywhere. It may also be due to the shape of the head. But,
after all has been said, it remains true that the Japanese head, as
related to his body, is unexpectedly large.

Prof. Marsh of Yale University is reported to have said that, on the
basis of brain size, the Japanese is the race best fitted to survive
in the struggle for existence, or at least in the struggle for

Statements have been widely circulated to the effect that not only
relatively to the body, but even absolutely, the Japanese possess
larger brains than the European, but craniological statistics do not
verify the assertion. The matter has been somewhat discussed in
Japanese magazines of late, to which, through the assistance of a
Japanese friend, I am indebted for the following figures. They are
given in Japanese measurements, but are, on this account, however,
none the less satisfactory for comparative purposes.

According to Dr. Davis, the average European male brain weighs 36,498
momme, and the Australian, 22,413, while the Japanese, according to
Dr. Taguchi weighs 36,205. Taking the extremes, the largest English
male brain weighs 38,100 momme and the smallest 35,377, whereas the
corresponding figures for Japan are 43,919 and 30,304, respectively,
showing an astonishing range between extremes. According to Dr. E.
Baelz of the Imperial University of Tokyo, the lower classes of Japan
have a larger skull circumference than either the middle or upper
classes (1.8414, 1.7905, and 1.8051 feet, respectively), and the Ainu
(1.8579) exceed the Japanese. From these facts it might almost appear
that brain size and civilizational development are in inverse ratio.
Were the Japanese brain larger, then, than that of the European, it
might plausibly be argued that they are therefore inferior in brain
power. This would be in accord with certain of De Quatrefages's
investigations. He has shown that negroes born in America have smaller
brains, but are intellectually superior to their African brothers.
"With them, therefore, intelligence increases, while the cranial
capacity diminishes."[Y]

Those who trace racial and civilizational nature to brain development
cannot gain much consolation from a comparative statistical study of
race brains. De Quatrefages's conclusion is repeatedly forced home:
"We must confess that there can be no real relation between the
dimension of the cranial capacity and social development."[Z] "The
development of the intellectual faculties of man is, to a great
extent, independent of the capacity of the cranium and the volume of
the brain."[AA]

We may conclude at once, then, that Japanese intellectual
peculiarities are in no way due to the size of their brains, but
depend rather on their social evolution. Yet it will not be amiss to
study in detail the various mental peculiarities of the race, real and
supposed, and to note their relation to the social order.

In becoming acquainted with the Japanese and Chinese peoples, an
Occidental is much impressed with their powers of memory, and this
especially in connection with the written language, the far-famed
"Chinese Character," or ideograph. My Chinese dictionary contains over
50,000 different characters. The task of learning them is appalling.
How the Japanese or Chinese do it is to us a constant wonder. We
assume at once their possession of astonishing memories. We argue
that, for hundreds of years, each generation has been developing
powers of memory through efforts to conquer this cumbersome
contrivance for writing, and that, as a consequence for the nations
using this system, there is now prodigious ability to remember.

It is my impression, however, that we greatly overrate these powers.
In the first place, few Japanese claim any acquaintance with the
entire 50,000 characters; only the educated make any pretense of
knowing more than a few hundred, and a vast majority even of learned
men do not know more than 10,000 characters. Some Japanese newspapers
have undertaken to limit themselves in the use of the ideograph. It is
said that between four and five thousand characters suffice for all
the ordinary purposes of communication. These are, without doubt,
fairly well known to the educated classes. But for the masses, there
is need that the pronunciation be placed beside each printed
character, before it can be read. Furthermore, we must remember that a
Japanese youth gives the best years of his life to the bare memorizing
of these symbols.[AB]

Were European or American youth to devote to the study of Chinese the
same number of hours each day for the same number of years, I doubt if
there would be any conspicuous difference in the results. We should
not forget also that some Occidentals manifest astonishing facility in
memorizing Chinese characters.

In this connection is the important fact that the social order serves
to sift out individuals of marked mnemonic powers and bring them into
prominence, while those who are relatively deficient are relegated to
the background. The educated class is necessarily composed of those
who have good powers of memory. All others fail and are rejected. We
see and admire those who succeed; of those who fail we know nothing
and we even forget that there are such.

In response to my questions Japanese friends have uniformly assured me
that they are not accustomed to think of the Japanese as possessed of
better memories than the people of the West. They appear surprised
that the question should be raised, and are specially surprised at our
high estimate of Japanese ability in this direction.

If, however, we inquire about their powers of memory in connection
with daily duties and the ordinary acquisition of knowledge and its
retention, my own experience of twelve years, chiefly with the middle
and lower classes of society, has left the impression that, while some
learn easily and remember well, a large number are exceedingly slow.
On the whole, I am inclined to believe that, although the Japanese may
be said to have good memories, yet it can hardly be maintained that
they conspicuously exceed Occidentals in this respect.

In comparing the Occidental with the Oriental, it is to be remembered
that there is not among Occidental nations that attention to bare
memorizing which is so conspicuous among the less civilized nations.
The astonishing feats performed by the transmitters of ancient poems
and religious teachings seem to us incredible. Professor Max Müller
says that the voluminous Vedas have been handed down for centuries,
unchanged, simply from mouth to mouth by the priesthood. Every
progressive race, until it has attained a high development of the art
of writing, has manifested similar power of memory. Such power is not,
however, inherent; that is to say, it is not due to the innate
peculiarity of brain structure, but rather to the nature of the social
order which demands such expenditure of time and strength for the
maintenance of its own higher life. Through the art of writing
Occidental peoples have found a cheaper way of retaining their history
and of preserving the products of their poets and religious teachers.
Even for the transactions of daily life we have resorted to the
constant use of pen and notebook and typewriter, by these devices
saving time and strength for other things. As a result, our memories
are developed in directions different from those of semi-civilized or
primitive man. The differences of memory characterizing different
races, then, are for the most part due to differences in the social
order and to the nature of the civilization, rather than to the
intrinsic and inherited structure of the brain itself.

Since memory is the foundation of all mental operations, we have given
to it the first place in the present discussion. And that the Japanese
have a fair degree of memory argues well for the prospect of high
attainment in other directions. With this in mind, we naturally ask
whether they show any unusual proficiency or deficiency in the
acquisition of foreign languages? In view of her protracted separation
from the languages of other peoples, should we not expect marked
deficiency in this respect? On the contrary, however, we find that
tens of thousands of Japanese students have acquired a fairly good
reading knowledge of English, French, and German. Those few who have
had good and sufficient teaching, or who have been abroad and lived in
Occidental lands, have in addition secured ready conversational use of
the various languages. Indeed, some have contended that since the
Japanese learn foreign languages more easily than foreigners learn
Japanese, they have greater linguistic powers than the foreigner. It
should be borne in mind, however, that in such a comparison, not only
are the time required and the proficiency; attained to be considered,
but also the inherent difficulty of the language studied and the
linguistic helps provided the student.

I have come gradually to the conclusion that the Japanese are neither
particularly gifted nor particularly deficient in powers of language
acquisition. They rank with Occidental peoples in this respect.

To my mind language affords one of the best possible proofs of the
general contention of this volume that the characteristics which
distinguish the races are social rather than biological. The reason
why the languages of the different races differ is not because the
brain-types of the races are different, but only because of the
isolated social evolution which the races have experienced. Had it
been possible for Japan to maintain throughout the ages perfect and
continuous social intercourse with the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxon
race, while still maintaining biological isolation, _i.e._, perfect
freedom from intermarriage, there is no reason to think that two
distinct languages so different as English and Japanese would have
arisen. The fact that Japanese children can accurately acquire
English, and that English or American children can accurately acquire
Japanese, proves conclusively that diversities of language do not rest
on brain differences and brain heredity, but exclusively on social
differences and social heredity.

If this is true, then the argument can easily be extended to all the
features that differentiate the civilizations of different races; for
the language of any race is, in a sense, the epitome of the
civilization of that race. All its ideas, customs, theologies,
philosophies, sciences, mythologies; all its characteristic thoughts,
conceptions, ideals; all its distinguishing social features, are
represented in its language. Indeed, they enter into it as determining
factors, and by means of it are transmitted from age to age. This
argument is capable of much extension and illustration.

The charge that the Japanese are a nation of imitators has been
repeated so often as to become trite, and the words are usually spoken
with disdain. Yet, if the truth were fully told, it would be found
that, from many points of view, this quality gives reason rather for
congratulation. Surely that nation which can best discriminate and
imitate has advantage over nations that are so fixed in their
self-sufficiency as to be able neither to see that which is
advantageous nor to imitate it. In referring to the imitative powers
of the Japanese, then, I do not speak in terms of reproach, but rather
in those of commendation. "Monkeyism" is not the sort of imitation
that has transformed primitive Japan into the Japan of the early or
later feudal ages, nor into the Japan of the twentieth century. Bare
imitation, without thought, has been relatively slight in Japan. If it
has been known at times, those times have been of short duration.

In his introduction to "The Classic Poetry of the Japanese" Professor
Chamberlain has so stated the case for the imitative quality of the
people that I quote the following:

     "The current impression that the Japanese are a nation of imitators
     is in the main correct. As they copy us to-day, so did they copy
     the Chinese and Koreans a millennium and a half ago. Religion,
     philosophy, laws, administration, written characters, all arts but
     the very simplest, all science, or at least what then went by that
     name, everything was imported from the neighboring continent; so
     much so that of all that we are accustomed to term 'Old Japan'
     scarce one trait in a hundred is really and properly Japanese. Not
     only are their silk and lacquer not theirs by right of invention,
     nor their painting (albeit so often praised by European critics for
     its originality), nor their porcelain, nor their music, but even
     the larger part of their language consists of mispronounced
     Chinese; and from the Chinese they have drawn new names for already
     existing places, and new titles for their ancient Gods."

While the above cannot be disputed in its direct statements, yet I can
but feel that it makes, on the whole, a false impression. Were these
same tests applied to any European people, what would be the result?
Of what European nation may it be said that its art, or method of
writing, or architecture, or science, or language even, is "its own by
right of invention"? And when we stop to examine the details of the
ancient Japanese civilization which is supposed to have been so,
slavishly copied from China and India, we shall find that, though the
beginnings were indeed imitated, there were also later developments of
purely Japanese creation. In some instances the changes were vital.

In examining the practical arts, while we acknowledge that the
beginnings of nearly all came from Korea or China, we must also
acknowledge that in many important respects. Japan has developed along
her own lines. The art of sword-making, for instance, was undoubtedly
imported; but who does not know of the superior quality and beauty of
Japanese swords, the Damascus blades of the East? So distinct is this
Japanese production that it cannot be mistaken for that of any other
nation. It has received the impress of the Japanese social order. Its
very shape is due to the habit of carrying the sheath in the "obi" or

If we study the home of the laborer, or the instruments in common use,
we shall find proof that much more than imitation has been involved.

Were the Japanese mere imitators, how could we explain their
architecture, so different from that of China and Korea? How explain
the multiplied original ways in which bamboo and straw are used?

For a still closer view of the matter, let us consider the imported
ethical and religious codes of the country. In China the emphasis of
Confucianism is laid on the duty of filial piety. In Japan the primary
emphasis is on loyalty. This single change transformed the entire
system and made the so-called Confucianism of Japan distinct from that
of China. In Buddhism, imported from India, we find greater changes
than Occidental nations have imposed on their religion imported from
Palestine. Indeed, so distinct has Japanese Buddhism become that it is
sometimes difficult to trace its connections in China and India. And
the Buddhistic sects that have sprung up in Japan are more radically
diverse and antagonistic to each other and to primitive Buddhism than
the denominations of Christianity are to each other and to primitive

In illustration is the most popular of all the Buddhist sects to-day,
Shinshu. This has sometimes been called by foreigners "Reformed"
Buddhism; and so similar are many of its doctrines to those of
Christianity that some have supposed them to have been derived from
it, but without the slightest evidence. All its main doctrines and
practices were clearly formulated by its founder, Shinrah, six hundred
years ago. The regular doctrines of Buddhism that salvation comes only
through self-effort and self-victory are rejected, and salvation
through the merits of another is taught. "Ta-riki," "another's power,"
not "Ji-riki," "self-power," is with them the orthodox doctrine.
Priests may marry and eat meat, practices utterly abhorrent to the
older and more primitive Buddhism. The sacred books are printed in the
vernacular, in marked contrast to the customs of the other sects.
Women, too, are given a very different place in the social and
religious scale and are allowed hopes of attaining salvation that are
denied by all the older sects. "Penance, fasting, prescribed diet,
pilgrimages, isolation from society, whether as hermits or in the
cloister, and generally amulets and charms, are all tabooed by this
sect. Monasteries imposing life vows are unknown within its pale.
Family life takes the place of monkish seclusion. Devout prayer,
purity, earnestness of life, and trust in Buddha himself as the only
worker of perfect righteousness, are insisted on. Morality is taught
as more important than orthodoxy."[AC] It is amazing how far the Shin
sect has broken away from regular Buddhistic doctrine and practice.
Who can say that no originality was required to develop such a system,
so opposed at vital points to the prevalent Buddhism of the day?

Another sect of purely Japanese origin deserving notice is the "Hokke"
or "Nicheren." Its founder, known by the name of Nichiren, was a man
of extraordinary independence and religious fervor. Wholly by his
original questions and doubts as to the prevailing doctrines and
customs of the then dominant sects, he was led to make independent
examination into the history and meaning of Buddhistic literature and
to arrive at conclusions quite different from those of his
contemporaries. Of the truth and importance of his views he was so
persuaded that he braved not only fierce denunciations, but prolonged
opposition and persecution. He was rejected and cast out by his own
people and sect; he was twice banished by the ruling military powers.
But he persevered to the end, finally winning thousands of converts to
his views. The virulence of the attacks made upon him was due to the
virulence with which he attacked what seemed to him the errors and
corruption of the prevailing sects. Surely his was no case of servile
imitation. His early followers had also to endure opposition and
severe persecution.

Glancing at the philosophical ideas brought from China, we find here
too a suggestion of the same tendency toward originality. It is true
that Dr. Geo. Wm. Knox, in his valuable monograph on "A Japanese
Philosopher," makes the statement that, "In acceptance and rejection
alike no native originality emerges, nothing beyond a vigorous power
of adoption and assimilation. No improvements of the new philosophy
were even attempted. Wherein it was defective and indistinct,
defective and indistinct it remained. The system was not thought out
to its end and independently adopted. Polemics, ontology, ethics,
theology, marvels, heroes--all were enthusiastically adopted on faith.
It is to be added that the new system was superior to the old, and so
much of discrimination was shown."[AD] And somewhat earlier he
likewise asserts that "There is not an original and valuable
commentary by a Japanese writer. They have been content to brood over
the imported works and to accept unquestioningly politics, ethics, and
metaphysics." After some examination of these native philosophers, I
feel that, although not without some truth, these assertions cannot be
strictly maintained. It is doubtless true that no powerful thinker and
writer has appeared in Japan that may be compared to the two great
philosophers of China, Shushi and Oyomei. The works and the system of
the former dominated Japan, for the simple reason that governmental
authority forbade the public teaching or advocacy of the other.
Nevertheless, not a few Japanese thinkers rejected the teachings and
philosophy of Shushi, regardless of consequences. Notable among those
rejecters was Kaibara Yekken, whose book "The Great Doubt" was not
published until after his death. In it he rejects in emphatic terms
the philosophical and metaphysical ideas of Shushi. An article[AE] by
Dr. Tetsujiro Inouye, Professor of Philosophy in the Imperial
University in Tokyo, on the "Development of Philosophical Ideas in
Japan," concludes with these words:

     "From this short sketch the reader can clearly see that
     philosophical considerations began in our country with the study of
     Shushi and Oyomei. But many of our thinkers did not long remain
     faithful to that tradition; they soon formed for themselves new
     conceptions of life and of the world, which, as a rule, are not
     only more practical, but also more advanced than those of the

An important reason for our Western thought, that the Japanese have
had no independence in philosophy, is our ignorance of the larger part
of Japanese and Chinese literature. Oriental speculation was moving in
a direction so diverse from that of the West that we are impressed
more with the general similarity that prevails throughout it than with
the evidences of individual differences. Greater knowledge would
reveal these differences. In our generalized knowledge, we see the
uniformity so strongly that we fail to discover the originality.

As a traveler from the West, on reaching some Eastern land, finds it
difficult at first to distinguish between the faces of different
individuals, his mind being focused on the likeness pervading them
all, so the Occidental student of Oriental thought is impressed with
the remarkable similarity that pervades the entire Oriental
civilization, modes of thought, and philosophy, finding it difficult
to discover the differences which distinguish the various Oriental
races. In like manner, a beginner in the study of Japanese philosophy
hardly gives the Japanese credit for the modifications of Chinese
philosophy which they have originated.

In this connection it is well to remember that, more than any
Westerner can realize, the Japanese people have been dependent on
governmental initiative from time immemorial. They have never had any
thought but that of implicit obedience, and this characteristic of the
social order has produced its necessary consequences in the present
characteristics of the people. Individual initiative and independence
have been frowned upon, if not always forcibly repressed, and thus the
habit of imitation has been stimulated. The people have been
deliberately trained to imitation by their social system. The
foreigner is amazed at the sudden transformations that have swept the
nation. When the early contact with China opened the eyes of the
ruling classes to the fact that China had a system of government that
was in many respects better than their own, it was an easy thing to
adopt it and make it the basis for their own government. This
constituted the epoch-making period in Japanese history known as the
Taikwa Reform. It occurred in the seventh century, and consisted of a
centralizing policy; under which, probably for the first time in
Japanese history, the country was really unified. Critics ascribe it
to an imitation of the Chinese system. Imitation it doubtless was; but
its significant feature was its imposition by the few rulers on the
people; hence its wide prevalence and general acceptance.

Similarly, in our own times, the Occidentalized order now dominant in
Japan was adopted, not by the people, but by the rulers, and imposed
by them on the people; these had no idea of resisting the new order,
but accepted it loyally as the decision of their Emperor, and this
spirit of unquestioning obedience to the powers that be is, I am
persuaded, one of the causes of the prevalent opinion respecting
Japanese imitativeness as well as of the fact itself.

The reputation for imitativeness, together with the quality itself,
is due in no small degree, therefore, to the long-continued dominance
of the feudal order of society. In a land where the dependence of the
inferior on the superior is absolute, the wife on the husband, the
children on the parents, the followers on their lord, the will of the
superior being ever supreme, individual initiative must be rare, and
the quality of imitation must be powerfully stimulated.



Originality is the obverse side of imitation. In combating the notion
that Japan is a nation of unreflective imitators, I have given
numerous examples of originality. Further extensive illustration of
this characteristic is, accordingly, unnecessary. One other may be
cited, however.

The excellence of Japanese art is admitted by all. Japanese temples
and palaces are adorned with mural paintings and pieces of sculpture
that command the admiration of Occidental experts. The only question
is as to their authors. Are these, properly speaking, Japanese works
of art--or Korean or Chinese? That Japan received her artistic
stimulus, and much of her artistic ideas and technique, from China is
beyond dispute. But did she develop nothing new and independent? This
is a question of fact. Japanese art, though Oriental, has a
distinctive quality. A magnificent work entitled "Solicited Relics of
Japanese Art" is issuing from the press, in which there is a large
number of chromo-xylographic and collotype reproductions of the best
specimens of ancient Japanese art. Reviewing this work, the _Japan
Mail_ remarks:

     "But why should the only great sculptors that China or Korea ever
     produced have come to Japan and bequeathed to this country the
     unique results of their genius? That is the question we have to
     answer before we accept the doctrine that the noblest masterpieces
     of ancient Japan were from foreign lands. When anything comparable
     is found in China or Korea, there will be less difficulty in
     applying this doctrine of over-sea-influence to the genius that
     enriched the temples of antique Japan."[AF]

Under the early influence of Buddhism (900-1200 A.D.) Japan fairly
bloomed. Those were the days of her glory in architecture, literature,
and art. But a blight fell upon her from which she is only now
recovering. The causes of this blight will receive attention in a
subsequent chapter. Let us note here only one aspect of it, namely,
official repression of originality.

Townsend Harris, in his journal, remarks on the way in which the
Japanese government has interfered with the originality of the people.
"The genius of their government seems to forbid any exercise of
ingenuity in producing articles for the gratification of wealth and
luxury. Sumptuary laws rigidly enforce the forms, colors, material,
and time of changing the dress of all. As to luxury of furniture, the
thing is unknown in Japan.... It would be an endless task to attempt
to put down all the acts of a Japanese that are regulated by

The Tokugawa rule forbade the building of large ships; so that, by the
middle of the nineteenth century, the art of ship-building was far
behind what it had been two centuries earlier. Government authority
exterminated Christianity in the early part of the seventeenth century
and freedom of religious belief was forbidden. The same power that put
the ban on Christianity forbade the spread of certain condemned
systems of Confucianism. Even in the study of Chinese literature and
philosophy, therefore, such originality as the classic models
stimulated was discouraged by the all-powerful Tokugawa government.
The avowed aim and end of the ruling powers of Japan was to keep the
nation in its _status quo_. Originality was heresy and treason;
progress was impiety. The teaching of Confucius likewise lent its
support to this policy. To do exactly as the fathers did is to honor
them; to do, or even to think, otherwise is to dishonor them. There
have not been wanting men of originality and independence in both
China and Japan; but they were not great enough to break over, or
break down, the incrusted system in which they lived--the system of
blind devotion to the past. This system, that deliberately opposed all
invention and originality, has been the great incubus to national
progress, in that it has rejected and repressed every tendency to
variation. What results might not the country have secured, had
Christianity been allowed to do its work in stimulating individual
development and in creating the sense of personal responsibility
towards God and man!

A curious anomaly still remains in Japan on the subject of liberty in
study and belief. Though perfect liberty is the rule, one topic is
even yet under official embargo. No one may express public dissent
from the authorized version of primitive Japanese history. A few years
ago a professor in the Imperial University made an attempt to
interpret ancient Japanese myths. His constructions were supposed to
threaten the divine descent of the Imperial line, and he was summarily

Dr. E. Inouye, Professor of Buddhist Philosophy in the Imperial
University, addressing a Teachers' Association of Sendai, delivered a
conservative, indirectly anti-foreign speech. He insisted, as reported
by a local English correspondent, that the Japanese people "were
descended from the gods. In all other countries the sovereign or
Emperor was derived from the people, but here the people had the honor
of being derived from the Emperor. Other countries had filial piety
and loyalty, but no such filial piety and loyalty as exist in Japan.
The moral attainments of the people were altogether unique. He
informed his audience that though they might adopt foreign ways of
doing things, their minds needed no renovating; they were good enough
as they were."[AG]

As a result of this position, scholarship and credulity are curiously
combined in modern historical production. Implicit confidence seems to
be placed in the myths of the primitive era. Tales of the gods are
cited as historical events whose date, even, can be fixed with some
degree of accuracy. Although writing was unknown in Japan until early
in the Christian era, the chronology of the previous six or eight
hundred years is accepted on the authority of a single statement in
the Kojiki, written 712 years A.D. This statement was reproduced from
the memory of a single man, who remembered miraculously the contents
of a book written shortly before, but accidentally destroyed by fire.
In the authoritative history of Japan, prepared and translated into
English at the command of the government for the Columbian Exposition,
we find such statements as these:

"From the time that Amaterasu-Omikami made Ninigi-no-mikoto to descend
from the heavens and subject to his administrative sway
Okini-nushi-no-mikoto and other offspring of the deities in the land,
descendants of the divine beings have sat upon the throne, generation
after generation in succession."[AH] "Descended in a direct line from
the heavenly deities, the Emperor has stood unshaken in his high place
through all generations, his prestige and dignity immutable from time
immemorial and independent of all the vicissitudes of the world about
him."[AI] "Never has there been found a single subject of the realm
who sought to impair the Imperial prestige."[AJ] It is true that in a
single passage the traditions of the "age of the Deities" are
described as "strange and incredible legends," but it is added that,
however singular they are, in order to understand the history of the
Empire's beginnings, they must be studied. Then follows, without a
word of criticism or dissent, the account of the doings of the
heavenly deities, in creating Japan and its people, as well as the
myriads of gods. There is no break between the age of the gods and the
history of men. The first inventions and discoveries, such as those of
fire, of mining, and of weaving are ascribed to Amate rasu-Omikami
(the Sun Goddess). According to these traditions and the modern
histories built upon them, the Japanese race came into existence
wholly independently of all other races of men. Such is the
authoritative teaching in the schools to-day.

Occidental scholars do not accept these statements or dates. That the
Japanese will evince historical and critical ability in the study of
their own early history, as soon as the social order will allow it,
can hardly be doubted. Those few who even now entertain advanced ideas
do not dare to avow them. And this fact throws an interesting light on
the way in which the social order, or a despotic government, may
thwart for a time the natural course of development. The present
apparent credulity of Japanese historical scholarship is due neither
to race character nor to superstitions lodged in the inherited race
brain, but simply to the social system, which, as yet, demands the
inviolability of the Imperial line.

Now that the Japanese have been so largely relieved from the incubus
of the older social order, the question rises whether they are showing
powers of originality. The answer is not doubtful, for they have
already made several important discoveries and inventions. The Murata
rifle, with which the army is equipped, is the invention of a
Japanese. In 1897 Colonel Arisaka invented several improvements in
this same rifle, increasing the velocity and accuracy, and lessening
the weight. Still more recently he has invented a rapid-fire
field-piece to superintend whose manufacture he has been sent to
Europe. Mr. Shimose has invented a smokeless powder, which the
government is manufacturing for its own use. Not infrequently there
appear in the papers notices of new inventions. I have recently noted
the invention of important improvements in the hand loom universally
used in Japan, also a "smoke-consumer" which not only abolishes the
smoke, but reduces the amount of coal used and consequently the
expense. These are but a few of the ever-increasing number of Japanese

In the, field of original scientific research is the famous
bacteriologist, Dr. Kitazato. Less widely known perhaps, but none the
less truly original explorers in the field of science, are Messrs.
Hirase and Ikeno, whose discoveries of spermatozoids in Ginko and
Cycas have no little value for botanists, especially in the
development of the theory of certain forms of fertilization. These
instances show that the faculty of original thought is not entirely
lacking among the Japanese. Under favorable conditions, such as now
prevail, there is good reason for holding that the Japanese will take
their place among the peoples of the world, not only as skillful
imitators and adapters, but also as original contributors to the
progress of civilization and of science.

Originality may be shown in imitation as well as in production, and
this type of originality the Japanese have displayed in a marked way.
They have copied the institutions of no single country. It might even
be difficult to say which Western land has had the greatest influence
in molding the new social order of Japan. In view of the fact that it
is the English language which has been most in favor during the past
thirty years, it might be assumed that England and America are the
favored models. But no such hasty conclusion can be drawn. The
Japanese have certainly taken ideas and teachers from many different
sources; and they have changed them frequently, but not thoughtlessly.
A writer in _The Far East_ brings this points out clearly:

     "While Japan remained secluded from other countries, she had no
     necessity for and scarcely any war vessels, but after the country
     was opened to the free intercourse of foreign powers--immediately
     she felt the urgent necessity of naval defense and employed a Dutch
     officer to construct her navy. In 1871 the Japanese government
     employed a number of English officers, and almost wholly
     reconstructed her navy according to the English system. But in the
     matter of naval education our rulers found the English system
     altogether unsatisfactory, and adopted the American system for the
     model of our naval academy. So, in discipline, our naval officers
     found the German principle much superior to the English, and
     adopted that in point of discipline. Thus the Japanese navy is not
     wholly after the English system, or the American, or the French, or
     the German system. But it has been so constructed as to include the
     best portions of all the different systems. In the case of the
     army, we had a system of our own before we began to utilize
     gunpowder and foreign methods of discipline. Shortly before the
     present era we reorganized our army by adopting the Dutch system,
     then the English, then the French, and after the Franco-Prussian
     war, made an improvement by adopting the German system. But on
     every occasion of reorganization we retained the most advantageous
     parts of the old systems and harmonized them with the new one. The
     result has been the creation of an entirely new system, different
     from any of those models we have adopted. So in the case of our
     civil code, we consulted most carefully the laws of many civilized
     nations, and gathered the cream of all the different codes before
     we formulated our own suited to the customs of our people. In the
     revision of our monetary system, our government appointed a number
     of prominent economists to investigate the characteristics of
     foreign systems, as to their merits and faults, and also the
     different circumstances under which various systems present their
     strength and weakness. The investigation lasted more than two
     years, which finally culminated in our adoption of the gold in the
     place of the old silver standard."

This quotation gives an idea of the selective method that has been
followed. There has been no slavish or unconscious imitation. On the
contrary, there has been a constant conscious effort to follow the
best model that the civilized world afforded. Of course, it may be
doubted whether in fact they have always chosen the best; but that is
a different matter. The Japanese think they have; and what foreigner
can say that, under the circumstances and in view of the conditions of
the people, they have not? One point is clear, that on the whole the
nation has made great progress in recent decades, and that the conduct
of the government cannot fail to command the admiration of every
impartial student of Oriental lands. This is far from saying that all
is perfection. Even the Japanese make no such claim. Nor is this
equivalent to an assertion of Japan's equality with the leading lands
of the West, although many Japanese are ready to assert this. But I
merely say that the leaders of New Japan have revealed a high order of
judicious originality in their imitation of foreign nations.



The Japanese have two words in frequent use which aptly describe
certain striking aspects of their civilization. They are "tomawashi
ni," "yumei-mujitsu," the first translated literally signifying
"roundabout" or "indirect," the second meaning "having the name, but
not the reality." Both these aspects of Japanese character are forced
on the attention of any who live long in Japan.

Some years ago I had a cow that I wished to sell. Being an American,
my natural impulse was to ask a dairyman directly if he did not wish
to buy; but that would not be the most Japanese method. I accordingly
resorted to the help of a "go-between." This individual, who has a
regular name in Japanese, "nakadachi," is indispensable for many
purposes. When land was being bought for missionary residences in
Kumamoto, there were at times three or even four agents acting between
the purchaser and the seller and each received his "orei," "honorable
politeness," or, in plain English, commission. In the purchase of two
or three acres of land, dealings were carried on with some fifteen or
more separate landowners. Three different go-betweens dealt directly
with the purchaser, and each of these had his go-between, and in some
cases these latter had theirs, before the landowner was reached. A
domestic desiring to leave my employ conferred with a go-between, who
conferred with his go-between, who conferred with me! In every
important consultation a go-between seems essential in Japan. That
vexatious delays and misunderstandings are frequent may be assumed.

The system, however, has its advantages. In case of disagreeable
matters the go-between can say the disagreeable things in the third
person, reducing the unpleasant utterances to a minimum.

I recall the case of two evangelists in the employ of the Kumamoto
station. Each secured the other to act as go-between in presenting his
own difficulties to me. To an American the natural course would have
been for each man to state his own grievances and desires, and secure
an immediate settlement.

The characteristic of "roundaboutness" is not, however, confined to
Japanese methods of action, but also characterizes their methods of
speech. In later chapters on the alleged Japanese impersonality we
shall consider the remarkable deficiency of personal pronouns in the
language, and the wide use of "honorifics." This substitution of the
personal pronouns by honorifics makes possible an indefiniteness of
speech that is exceedingly difficult for an Anglo-Saxon to appreciate.
Fancy the amount of implication in the statement, "Ikenai koto-we
shimashita" which, strictly translated, means "Can't go thing have
done." Who has done? you? or he? or I? This can only be inferred, for
it is not stated. If a speaker wishes to make his personal allusion
blind, he can always do so with the greatest ease and without the
slightest degree of grammatical incorrectness. "Caught cold," "better
ask," "honorably sorry," "feel hungry," and all the common sentences
of daily life are entirely free from that personal definiteness which
an Occidental language necessitates. We shall see later that the
absence of the personal element from the wording of the sentence does
not imply, or prove, its absence from the thought of either the
speaker or hearer. The Japanese language abounds in roundabout methods
of expression. This is specially true in phrases of courtesy. Instead
of saying, "I am glad to see you," the Japanese say, "Well, honorably
have come"; instead of, "I am sorry to have troubled you," they say,
"Honorable hindrance have done"; instead of "Thank you," the correct
expression is, "It is difficult."

In a conversation once with a leading educator, I was maintaining that
a wide study of English was not needful for the Japanese youth; that
the majority of the boys would never learn enough English to make it
of practical use to them in after-life, and that it would be wiser for
them to spend the same amount of time on more immediately practical
subjects. The reply was that the boys needed to have the drill in
English in order to gain clear methods of thought: that the sharp
distinctness of the English sentence, with its personal pronouns and
tense and number, affords a mental drill which the Japanese can get in
no other way; and that even if the boys should never make the
slightest after-use of English in reading or conversation, the
advantage gained was well worth the time expended. I have since
noticed that those men who have spent some time in the study of a
foreign language speak very much more clearly in Japanese than those
who have not had this training. In the former case, the enunciation is
apt to be more distinct, and the sentences rounded into more definite
periods. The conversation of the average Japanese tends to ramble on
in a never-ending sentence. But a marked change has come over vast
numbers of the people during the last three decades. The
roundaboutness of to-day is as nothing to that which existed under the
old order of society. For the new order rests on radically different
ideas; directness of speech and not its opposite is being cultivated,
and in absolute contrast to the methods of the feudal era, directness
of governmental procedure is well-nigh universal to-day. In trade,
too, there has come a straightforwardness that is promising, though
not yet triumphant. It is safe to assume that in all respectable
stores the normal price is charged; for the custom of fixed prices has
been widely adopted. If individuals are known to have the "beating
down" habit, special prices are added for their sakes.

A personal experience illustrates the point. My wife and I had priced
several lamps, had made note of the most satisfactory, and had gone
home without buying. The next day a domestic was sent to secure the
one which pleased us best. He was charged more than we had been, and
in surprise mentioned the sum which we had authorized him to pay. The
shopkeeper explained by saying that he always told us the true price
in the beginning, because we never tried to beat him down. In truth,
modern industrial conditions have pretty well banished the old-time
custom of haggling. A premium is set on straightforwardness in
business unknown to the old social order.

Roundaboutness is, however, closely connected with "yumei-mujitsu,"
the other characteristic mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.
This, for the sake of simplicity, I venture to call "nominality."
Japanese history is a prolonged illustration of this characteristic.
For over a thousand years "yumei-mujitsu" has been a leading feature
in governmental life. Although the Emperor has ostensibly been seated
on the throne, clothed with absolute power, still he has often reigned
only in name.[AK] Even so early as 130 A.D., the two families of Oomi
and Omuraji began to exercise despotic authority in the central
government, and the feudal system, as thus early established,
continued with but few breaks to the middle of the present century.
There were also the great families which could alone furnish wives to
the Imperial line. These early took possession of the person of the
Emperor, and the fathers of the wives often exercised Imperial power.
The country was frequently and long disturbed by intense civil wars
between these rival families. In turn the Fujiwaras, the Minamotos,
and the Tairas held the leading place in the control of the Emperor;
they determined the succession and secured frequent abdication in
favor of their infant sons, but within these families, in turn, there
appeared the influence of the "yumei-mujitsu" characteristic. Lesser
men, the retainers of these families, manipulated the family leaders,
who were often merely figureheads of the contending families and
clans. Emperors were made and unmade at the will of these men behind
the scenes, most of whom are quite unknown to fame. The creation of
infant Emperors, allowed to bear the Imperial name in their infancy
and youth, but compelled to abdicate on reaching manhood, was a common
device for maintaining nominal Imperialism with actual impotence.

When military clans began to monopolize Imperial power, the people
distinctly recognized the nature of their methods and gave it the name
of "Bakufu" or "curtain government," a roundabout expression for
military government. There has been a succession of these "curtain
governments," the last and most successful being that of the Tokugawa,
whose fall in 1867-68 brought the entire system to an end and placed
the true Emperor on the throne.

But this "yumei-mujitsu" characteristic of Japanese life has been by
no means limited to the national government. Every daimyate was more
or less blighted by it; the daimyo, or "Great Name," was in too many
cases but a puppet in the hands of his "kerai," or family retainers.
These men, who were entirely out of sight, were, in very many cases,
the real holders of the power which was supposed to be exercised by
the daimyo. The lord was often a "great name" and nothing more. That
this state of affairs was always attended with evil results is by no
means the contention of these pages. Not infrequently the people were
saved by it from the incompetence and ignorance and selfishness of
hereditary rulers. Indeed, this system of "yumei-mujitsu" government
was one of the devices whereby the inherent evils of hereditary rulers
were more or less obviated. It may be questioned, however, whether the
device did not in the long run cost more than it gained. Did it not
serve to maintain, if not actually to produce, a system of
dissimulation and deception which could but injure the national
character? It certainly could not stimulate the straightforward
frankness and outspoken directness and honesty so essential to the
well-being of the human race.

Although "yumei-mujitsu" government is now practically extinct in
Japan, yet in the social structure it still survives.

The Japanese family is a maze of "nominality." Full-grown young men
and women are adopted as sons and daughters, in order to maintain the
family line and name.

A son is not a legal son unless he is so registered, while an
illegitimate child is recognized as a true son if so registered. A man
may be the legal son of his grandmother, or of his sister, if so
registered. Although a family may have no children, it does not die
out unless there has been a failure to adopt a son or daughter, and an
extinct family may be revived by the legal appointment of someone to
take the family name and worship at the family shrine. The family
pedigree, therefore, does not describe the actual ancestry, but only
the nominal, the fictitious. There is no deception in this. It is a
well-recognized custom of Old Japan. Its origin, moreover, is not
difficult to explain. Nor is this kind of family peculiar to Japan. It
is none the less a capital illustration of the "yumei-mujitsu"
characteristic permeating the feudal civilization, and still exerting
a powerful influence. Even Christians are not free from "nominalism,"
as we have frequently found in our missionary work.

A case in mind is of an evangelist employed by our mission station. He
was to receive a definite proportion of his salary from the church for
which he worked and the rest from the station. On inquiry I learned
that he was receiving only that provided by the station, and on
questioning him further he said that probably the sum promised by the
church was being kept as his monthly contribution to the expenses of
the church! Instances of this kind are not infrequent. While in Kyushu
I more than once discovered that a body of Christians, whose
evangelists we were helping to support proportionately, were actually
raising not a cent of their proportion. On inquiry, I would be told
that the evangelists themselves contributed out of their salary the
sums needed, and that, therefore, the Christians did not need to raise

The mission, at one time, adopted the plan of throwing upon the local
churches the responsibility of deciding as to the fitness of young men
for mission aid in securing a theological education. It was agreed by
representatives of the churches and the mission that each candidate
should secure the approval of the deacons of the church of which he
was a member, and that the church should pay a certain proportion of
the candidate's school expenses. It was thought that by this method
the leading Christians of the young man's acquaintance would become
his sponsors, and that they would be unwilling to take this
responsibility except for men in whom they had personal confidence,
and for whom they would be willing to make personal contributions. In
course of time the mission discovered that the plan was not working as
expected. The young men could secure the approval of the deacons of
their church without any difficulty; and as for the financial aid from
the church, that could be very easily arranged for by the student's
making a monthly contribution to the church of the sum which the
church should contribute toward his expenses. Although this method
seems to the average Occidental decidedly deceptive, it seemed to the
Japanese perfectly proper. The arrangement, it is needless to state,
was not long continued. I am persuaded that the correct explanation of
these cases is "yumei-mujitsu."

Not long since express trains were put on between Kobe and Tokyo. One
morning at Osaka I planned to take the early express to Kyoto, distant
about thirty miles. These are the second and third cities of Japan,
and the travel between them is heavy. On applying for a ticket I was
refused and told there was no train for Kyoto. But as multitudes were
buying tickets, and going out upon the platform, I asked an official
what the trouble was, and received the explanation that for this
express train no tickets could be sold for less than forty miles; but
if I would buy a ticket for the next station beyond Kyoto, it would be
all right; I could get off at Kyoto. I was assured that I would be
allowed to land and leave the station at Kyoto. This I did then, and
have repeatedly done since. The same absurd rule is applied, I am
told, between Yokohama and Tokyo.

But our interest in these illustrations is the light they shed on
Japanese character. They indicate the intellectual angle from which
the people have looked out on life. What is the origin of the
characteristic? Is it due to deep-lying race nature, to the quality of
the race brain? Even more clearly than in the case of
"roundaboutness," it seems to me that "nominality" is due to the
nature of the old social order. Feudalism has always exhibited more or
less of these same features. To Anglo-Saxons, reared in a land blessed
by direct government of the people, by the people, and for the people,
such methods were not only needless but obnoxious. Nominal
responsibility without real power has been seen to breed numberless
evils. We have learned to hate all nominalism, all fiction in
government, in business and, above all, in personal character. But
this is due to the Anglo-Saxon social order, the product in large
measure of centuries of Christian instruction.

Through contact with Westerners and the ideas they stand for,
directness and reality are being assimilated and developed by the
Japanese. This would be impossible were the characteristic in question
due to inherent race nature necessarily bequeathed from generation to
generation by intrinsic heredity.



Some writers hold that the Japanese are inherently deficient in the
higher mental faculties. They consider mediocre mentality to be an
inborn characteristic of Japan and assert that it lies at the root of
the civilizational differences distinguishing the East from the West.
The puerility of Oriental science in all its departments, the
prevalence of superstition even among the cultivated, the lack of
historical insight and interpretation of history are adduced as
conclusive evidences of this view.

Foreign teachers in Japanese employ have told me that Japanese
students, as compared with those of the West, manifest deficient
powers of analysis and of generalization. Some even assert that the
Japanese have no generalizing ability whatever, their progress in
civilization being entirely due to their remarkable power of clever
imitation. Mr. W.G. Aston, in ascribing the characteristic features of
Japanese literature to the fundamental nature of the race, says they
are "hardly capable of high intellectual achievement."[AL]

While we may admit that the Japanese do not seem to have at present
the same power of scientific generalization as Occidentals, we
naturally ask ourselves whether the difference is due to natal
deficiency, or whether it may not be due to difference in early
training. We must not forget that the youth who come under the
observation of foreign teachers in Japanese schools are already
products of the Japanese system of education, home and school, and
necessarily are as defective as it is.

In a previous chapter a few instances of recent invention and
important scientific discovery were given.

These could not have been made without genuine powers of analysis and
generalization. We need not linger to elaborate this point.

Another set of facts throwing light on our problem is the success of
so many Japanese students, at home and in foreign lands, in mastering
modern thought. Great numbers have come back from Europe and America
with diplomas and titles; not a few have taken high rank in their
classes. The Japanese student abroad is usually a hard worker, like
his brother at home. I doubt if any students in the new or the old
world study more hours in a year than do these of Japan. It has often
amazed me to learn how much they are required to do. This is one fair
sign of intellectuality. The ease too with which young Japan, educated
in Occidental schools and introduced to Occidental systems of thought,
acquires abstruse speculations, searching analyses, and generalized
abstractions proves conclusively Japanese possession of the higher
mental faculties, in spite of the long survival in their civilization
of primitive puerility and superstitions and the lack of science,
properly so called.

Japanese youths, furthermore, have a fluency in public speech
decidedly above anything I have met with in the United States. Young
men of eighteen or twenty years of age deliver long discourses on
religion or history or politics, with an apparent ease that their
uncouth appearance would not lead one to expect. In the little school
of less than 150 boys in Kumamoto there were more individuals who
could talk intelligibly and forcefully on important themes of national
policy, the relation of religion and politics, the relation of Japan
to the Occident and the Orient, than could be found in either of the
two colleges in the United States with which I was connected. I do not
say that they could bring forth original ideas on these topics. But
they could at least remember what they had heard and read and could
reproduce the ideas with amazing fluency.

A recent public meeting in Tokyo in which Christian students of the
University spoke to fellow-students on the great problems of religion,
revealed a power of no mean order in handling the peculiar
difficulties encountered by educated young men. A competent listener,
recently graduated from an American university and widely acquainted
with American students, declared that those Japanese speakers revealed
greater powers of mind and speech than would be found under similar
circumstances in the United States.

The fluency with which timid girls pray in public has often surprised
me. Once started, they never seem to hesitate for ideas or words. The
same girls would hardly be able to utter an intelligible sentence in
reply to questions put to them by the pastor or the missionary, so
faint would be their voices and so hesitating their manner.

The question as to whether the Japanese have powers of generalization
receives some light from a study of the language of the people. An
examination of primitive Japanese proves that the race, prior to
receiving even the slightest influence from China, had developed
highly generalized terms. It is worth while to call attention here to
a simple fact which most writers seem to ignore, namely, that all
language denotes and indeed rests on generalization. Consider the word
"uma," "horse"; this is a name for a whole class of objects, and is
therefore the product of a mind that can generalize and express its
generalization in a concept which no act of the imagination can
picture; the imagination can represent only individuals; the mind that
has concepts of classes of things, as, for instance, of horses,
houses, men, women, trees, has already a genuine power of
generalization. Let me also call attention to such words as "wake,"
"reason"; "mono," "thing"; "koto," "fact"; "aru," "is"; "oro,"
"lives"; "aru koto," "is fact," or "existence"; "ugoku koto,"
"movement"; "omoi," "thought"; this list might be indefinitely
extended. Let the reader consider whether these words are not highly
generalized; yet these are all pure Japanese words, and reveal the
development of the Japanese mind before it was in the least influenced
by Chinese thought. Evidently it will not do to assert the entire lack
of the power of generalization to the Japanese mind.

Still further evidence proving Japanese possession of the higher
mental faculties may be found in the wide prevalence and use of the
most highly generalized philosophical terms. Consider for instance,
"Ri" and "Ki," "In" and "Yo." No complete translation can be found for
them in English; "Ri" and "Ki" may be best translated as the rational
and the formative principles in the universe, while "In" and "Yo"
signify the active and the passive, the male and the female, the light
and the darkness; in a word, the poles of a positive and negative. It
is true that these terms are of Chinese origin as well as the thoughts
themselves, but they are to-day in universal use in Japan. Similar
abstract terms of Buddhistic origin are the possession of the common

Of course the possession of these Chinese terms is not offered as
evidence of independent generalizing ability. But wide use proves
conclusively the possession of the higher mental faculties, for,
without such faculties, the above terms would be incomprehensible to
the people and would find no place in common speech. We must be
careful not to give too much weight to the foreign origin of these
terms. Chinese is to Japanese what Latin and Greek are to modern
European languages. The fact that a term is of Chinese origin proves
nothing as to the nature of the modern Japanese mind. The developing
Japanese civilization demanded new terms for her new instruments and
increasing concepts. These for over fifteen centuries have been
borrowed from, or constructed out of, Chinese in the same way that all
our modern scientific terms are constructed out of Latin and Greek. It
is doubtful if any of the Chinese terms, even those borrowed bodily,
have in Japan the same significance as in China. If this is true, then
the originating feature of Japanese power of generalization becomes

Indeed from this standpoint, the fact that the Japanese have made such
extensive use of the Chinese language shows the degree to which the
Japanese mind has outgrown its primitive development, demanding new
terms for the expression of its expanding life. But mental growth
implies energy of acquisition. The adoption of Chinese terms is not a
passive but an active process.

Acquisition of generalized terms can only take place with the
development of a generalizing mind. Foreign terms may help, but they
do not cause that development.

In a study of the question whether or not the Japanese possess
independent powers of analysis and generalization, we must ever
remember the unique character of the social environment to which they
have been subjected. Always more or less of an isolated nation, they
have been twice or thrice suddenly confronted with a civilization much
superior to that which they in their isolation had developed. Under
such circumstances, adoption and modification of ideas and language as
well as of methods and machinery were the most rational and natural

The explanation usually given for the puerilities of Oriental science,
history, and religion has been short and simple, namely, the inherent
nature of the Oriental races, as if this were the final fact, needing
and admitting no further explanation. That the Orient has not
developed history or science is doubtless true, but the correct
explanation of this fact is, in my opinion, that the educational
method of the entire Orient has rested on mechanical memorization;
during the formative period of the mind the exclusive effort of
education has been to develop a memory which acts by arbitrary or
fanciful connections and relations. A Japanese boy of Old Japan, for
instance, began his education at from seven to eight years of age and
spent three or four years in memorizing the thousands of Chinese
hieroglyphic characters contained in the Shisho and Gokyo, nine of the
Chinese classics. This completed, his teacher would begin to explain
to him the meaning of the characters and sentences. The entire
educational effort was to develop the powers of observing and
memorizing accidental, superficial, or even purely artificial
relations. This double faculty of observing trifling and irrelevant
details, and of remembering them, became phenomenally and abnormally

Recent works on the psychology of education, however, have made plain
how an excessive development of a child's lower mental faculties may
arrest its later growth in all the higher departments of its
intellectual nature; the development of a mechanical memory is well
known as a serious obstacle to the higher activities of reason. Now
Japanese education for centuries, like Chinese, has developed such
memory. It trained the lower and ignored the higher. Much of the
Japanese education of to-day, although it includes mathematics,
science, and history, is based on the mechanical memory method. The
Orient is thus a mammoth illustration of the effects of
over-development of the mechanical memory, and the consequent arrest
of the development of the remaining powers of the mind.

Encumbered by this educational ideal and system, how could the ancient
Chinese and Japanese men of education make a critical study of
history, or develop any science worthy of the name? The childish
physics and astronomy, the brutal therapeutics and the magical and
superstitious religions of the Orient, are a necessary consequence of
its educational system, not of its inherent lack of the higher mental

If Japanese children brought up from infancy in American homes, and
sent to American schools from kindergarten days onward, should still
manifest marked deficiencies in powers of analysis and generalization,
as compared with American children, we should then be compelled to
conclude that this difference is due to diverse natal psychic
endowment. Generalizations as to the inherent intellectual
deficiencies of the Oriental are based on observations of individuals
already developed in the Oriental civilization, whose psychic defects
they accordingly necessarily inherit through the laws of social
heredity. Such observations have no relevancy to our main problem. We
freely admit that Oriental civilization manifests striking
deficiencies of development of the higher mental faculties, although
it is not nearly so great as many assert; but we contend that these
deficiencies are due to something else than the inherent psychic
nature of the Oriental individual. Innumerable causes have combined to
produce the Oriental social order and to determine its slow
development. These cannot be stated in a sentence, nor in a paragraph.

In the final analysis, however, the causes which produce the
characteristic features of Japanese social order are the real sources
of the differentiating intellectual traits now characterizing the
Japanese. Introduce a new social heredity,--a new system of
education,--one which relegates a mechanical memory to the
background,--one which exalts powers of rational observation of the
profound causal relations of the phenomena of nature, and which sets a
premium on such observation, analysis, and generalization, and the
results will show the inherent psychic nature of the Oriental to be
not different from that of the Occidental.



We are now prepared to consider whether or not the Japanese have
philosophical ability. The average educated Japanese believe such to
be the case. The rapidity and ease with which the upper classes have
abandoned their superstitious faiths is commonly attributed by
themselves to the philosophical nature of their minds. Similarly the
rapid spread of so-called rationalism and Unitarian thought and Higher
Criticism among once earnest Christians, during the past decade, they
themselves ascribe to their interest in philosophical questions, and
to their ability in handling philosophical problems.

Foreigners, on the other hand, usually deny them the possession of
philosophical ability.

Dr. Peery, in his volume entitled "The Gist of Japan," says: "By
nature, I think, they are more inclined to be practical than
speculative. Abstract theological ideas have little charm for them.
There is a large element in Japan that simulates a taste for
philosophical study. Philosophy and metaphysics are regarded by them
as the profoundest of all branches of learning, and in order to be
thought learned they profess great interest in these studies. Not only
are the highly metaphysical philosophies of the East studied, but the
various systems of the West are looked into likewise. Many of the
people are capable of appreciating these philosophies, too; but they
do it for a purpose." Other writers make the same general charge of
philosophical incompetence. One or two quotations from Dr. Knox's
writings were given on this subject, under the head of Imitation.[AM]

What, then, are the facts? Do the Japanese excel in philosophy, or
are they conspicuously deficient? In either case, is the
characteristic due to essential race nature or to some other cause?

We must first distinguish between interest in philosophical problems
and ability in constructing original philosophical systems. In this
distinction is to be found the reconciliation of many conflicting
views. Many who argue for Japanese philosophical ability are impressed
with the interest they show in metaphysical problems, while those who
deny them this ability are impressed with the dependence of Japanese
on Chinese philosophy.

The discussions of the previous chapter as to the nature of Japanese
education and its tendency to develop the lower at the expense of the
higher mental faculties, have prepared us not to expect any
particularly brilliant history of Japanese philosophy. Such is indeed
the case. Primitive Japanese cosmology does not differ in any
important respect from the primitive cosmology of other races. The
number of those in Old Japan who took a living interest in distinctly
metaphysical problems is indisputably small. While we admit them to
have manifested some independence and even originality, as Professor
Inouye urges,[AN] yet it can hardly be maintained that they struck out
any conspicuously original philosophical systems. There is no
distinctively Japanese philosophy.

These facts, however, should not blind us to the distinction between
latent ability in philosophical thought and the manifestation of that
ability. The old social order, with its defective education, its habit
of servile intellectual dependence on ancestors, and its social and
legal condemnation of independent originality, particularly in the
realm of thought, was a mighty incubus on speculative philosophy.
Furthermore, crude science and distorted history could not provide the
requisite material from which to construct a philosophical
interpretation of the universe that would appeal to the modern

In spite, however, of social and educational hindrances, the Japanese
have given ample evidence of interest in metaphysical problems and of
more or less ability in their solution. Religious constructions of the
future life, conceptions as to the relations of gods and men and the
universe, are in fact results of the metaphysical operations of the
mind. Primitive Japan was not without these. As she developed in
civilization and came in contact with Chinese and Hindu metaphysical
thought, she acquired their characteristic systems. Buddhist first,
and later Confucian, metaphysics dominated the thought of her educated
men. In view of the highly metaphysical character of Buddhist
doctrines and the interest they have produced at least among the
better trained priests, the assertion that the Japanese have no
ability in metaphysics cannot be maintained.

At one period in the history of Buddhism in Japan, prolonged public
discussions were all the fashion. Priests traveled from temple to
temple to engage in public debate. The ablest debater was the abbot,
and he had to be ready to face any opponent who might appear. If a
stranger won, the abbot yielded his place and his living to the
victor. Many an interesting story is told of those times, and of the
crowds that would gather to hear the debates. But our point is that
this incident in the national life shows the appreciation of the
people for philosophical questions. And although that particular
fashion has long since passed away, the national interest in
discussions and arguments still exists. No monks of the West ever
enjoyed hair-splitting arguments more than do many of the Japanese.
They are as adept at mental refinements and logical juggling as any
people of the West, though possibly the Hindus excel them.

If it be said that Confucianism was not only non-metaphysical, but
uniquely practical, and for this reason found wide acceptance in
Japan, the reply must be first that, professing to be
non-metaphysical, it nevertheless had a real metaphysical system of
thought in the background to which it ever appealed for authority, a
system, be it noted, more in accord with modern science and philosophy
than Buddhist metaphysics; and secondly, although Confucianism became
the bulwark of the state and the accepted faith of the samurai, it
was limited to them. The vast majority of the nation clung to their
primitive Buddhistic cosmology. That Confucianism rested on a clearly
implied and more or less clearly expressed metaphysical foundation may
be seen in the quotations from the writings of Muro Kyuso which are
given in chapter xxiv. We should note that the revolt of the educated
classes of Japan from Buddhism three hundred years ago, and their
general adoption of Confucian doctrine, was partly in the interests of
religion and partly in the interests of metaphysics. In both respects
the progressive part of the nation had become dissatisfied with
Buddhism. The revolt proves not lack of religious or metaphysical
interest and insight, but rather the reverse.

Not a little of the teaching of Shushi (1130-1200 A.D.) and of Oyomei
(1472-1528 A.D.), Chinese philosophical expounders of Confucianism, is
metaphysical. The doctrine of the former was widely studied and was
the orthodox doctrine in Japan for more than two centuries, all other
doctrine and philosophy being forbidden by the state. It is true that
the central interest in this philosophical instruction was the
ethical. It was felt that the entire ethical system rested on the
acceptance of a particular metaphysical system. But so far from
detracting from our argument this statement rather adds. For in what
land has not the prime interest in metaphysics been ethical? A study
of the history of philosophy shows clearly that philosophy and
metaphysics arose out of religious and ethical problems, and have ever
maintained their hold on thinking men, because of their mutually vital
relations. In Japan it has not been otherwise. If anyone doubts this
he should read the Japanese philosophers--in the original, if
possible; if not, then in such translations and extracts as Dr. Knox
has given us in his "A Japanese Philosopher," and Mr. Aston in his
"Japanese Literature." The ethical interest is primary, and the
metaphysical interest is secondary,[AO] to be sure, but not to be

Occidental philosophy has found many earnest and capable Japanese
students. The Imperial University has a strong corps of philosophical
instructors. Occidental metaphysical thought, both materialistic and
idealistic, has found many congenial minds. Indeed, it is not rash to
say that in the thought of New Japan the distinguishing Oriental
metaphysical conceptions of the universe have been entirely displaced
by those of the West. Christians, in particular, have entirely
abandoned the old polytheistic, pantheistic, and fatalistic
metaphysics and have adopted thoroughgoing monotheism.

Ability to understand and sufficient interest to study through
philosophical and metaphysical systems of foreign lands indicate a
mental development of no slight order, whatever may be the ability, or
lack of it, in making original contributions to the subject. That
educated Japanese have shown real ability in the former sense can
hardly be doubted by those who have read the writings of such men as
Goro Takahashi, ex-president Hiroyuki Kato, Prof. Yujiro Motora, Prof.
Rikizo Nakashima, or Dr. Tetsujiro Inouye. The philosophical
brightness of many of Japan's foreign as well as home-trained scholars
argues well for the philosophical ability of the nation.

A recent conversation with a young Japanese gives point to what has
just been said. The young man suddenly appeared at my study door, and,
with unusually brief salutations, said that he wished me to talk to
him about religion. In answer to questions he explained that he had
been one of my pupils ten years ago in the Kumamoto Boys' School; that
he had been baptized as a Christian at that time, but had become cold
and filled with doubts; that he had been studying ever since, having
at one time given considerable attention to the Zen sect of Buddhism;
but that he had found no satisfaction there. He accordingly wished to
study Christianity more carefully. For three hours we talked, he
asking questions about the Christian conception of God, of the
universe, of man, of sin, of evolution, of Christ, of salvation, of
the object of life, of God's purpose in creation, of the origin and
nature of the Bible. Toward the latter part of our conversation,
referring to one idea expressed, he said, "That is about what Hegel
held, is it not?" As he spoke he opened his knapsack, which I then saw
to be full of books, and drew out an English translation of Hegel's
"Philosophy of History"; he had evidently read it carefully, making
his notes in Japanese on the margin. I asked him if he had read it
through. "Yes," he replied, "three times." He also incidentally
informed me that he had thought of entering our mission theological
training class during the previous winter, but that he was then in the
midst of the study of the philosophy of Kant, and had accordingly
decided to defer entering until the autumn. How thoroughly he had
mastered these, the most profound and abstruse metaphysicians that the
West can boast, I cannot state. But this at least is clear; his
interest in them was real and lasting. And in his conversation he
showed keen appreciation of philosophical problems. It is to be noted
also that he was a self-taught philosopher--for he had attended no
school since he studied elementary English, ten years before, while a
lad of less than twenty.

As a sample of the kind of men I not infrequently meet, let me cite
the case of a young business man who once called on me in the hotel at
Imabari, popularly called "the little philosopher." He wished to talk
about the problem of the future life and to ask my personal belief in
the matter. He said that he believed in God and in Jesus as His unique
son and revealer, but that he found great difficulty in believing in
the continued life of the soul after death. His difficulty arose from
the problems of the nature of future thinking; shall we continue to
think in terms of sense perception, such as time, space, form, color,
pleasure, and pain? If not, how can we think at all? And can we then
remember our present life? If we do, then the future life will not be
essentially different from this, _i.e._, we must still have physical
senses, and continue to live in an essentially physical world. Here
was a set of objections to the doctrine of the future life that I
have never heard as much as mentioned by any Occidental youth. Though
without doubt not original with him, yet he must have had in some
degree both philosophical ability and interest in order to appreciate
their force and to seek their solution.

In conversation not long since with a Buddhist priest of the Tendai
sect, after responding to his request for a criticism of Buddhism, I
asked him for a similarly frank criticism of Christianity. To my
surprise, he said that while Christianity was far ahead of Buddhism in
its practical parts and in its power to mold character, it was
deficient in philosophical insight and interest. This led to a
prolonged conversation on Buddhistic philosophy, in which he explained
the doctrines of the "Ku-ge-chu," and the "Usa and Musa." Without
attempting to explain them here, I may say that the first is amazingly
like Hegel's "absolute nothing," with its thesis, antithesis, and
synthesis, and the second a psychological distinction between
volitional and spontaneous emotions.

In discussing Japanese philosophical ability, a point often forgotten
is the rarity of philosophical ability or even interest in the West.
But a small proportion of college students have the slightest interest
in philosophical or metaphysical problems. The majority do not
understand what the distinctive metaphysical problems are. In my
experience it is easier to enter into a conversation with an educated
man in Japan on a philosophical question than with an American. If
interest in philosophical and metaphysical questions in the West is
rare, original ability in their investigation is still rarer.

We conclude, then, that in regard to philosophical ability the
Japanese have no marked racial characteristic differentiating them
from other races. Although they have not developed a distinctive
national philosophy, this is not due to inherent philosophical
incompetence. Nor, on the other hand, is the relatively wide interest
now manifest in philosophical problems attributable to the inherent
philosophical ability of the race. So far as Japan is either behind or
in advance of other races, in this respect, it is due to her social
order and social inheritance, and particularly to the nature, methods,
and aims of the educational system, but not to her intrinsic psychic



In no respect, perhaps, have the Japanese been more sweepingly
criticised by foreigners than in regard to their powers of imagination
and idealism. Unqualified generalizations not only assert the entire
lack of these powers, but they consider this lack to be the
distinguishing inherent mental characteristic of the race. The
Japanese are called "prosaic," "matter-of-fact," "practical,"

Mr. Walter Dening, describing Japanese mental characteristics, says:

     "Neither their past history nor their prevailing tastes show any
     tendency to idealism. They are lovers of the practical and the
     real; neither the fancies of Goethe nor the reveries of Hegel are
     to their liking. Our poetry and our philosophy and the mind that
     appreciates them are alike the results of a network of subtle
     influences to which the Japanese are comparative strangers. It is
     maintained by some, and we think justly, that the lack of idealism
     in the Japanese mind renders the life of even the most cultivated a
     mechanical, humdrum affair when compared with that of Westerners.
     The Japanese cannot understand why our controversialists should wax
     so fervent over psychological, ethical, religious, and
     philosophical questions, failing to perceive that this fervency is
     the result of the intense interest taken in such subjects. The
     charms that the cultured Western mind finds in the world of fancy
     and romance, in questions themselves, irrespective of their
     practical bearings, is for the most part unintelligible to the

Mr. Percival Lowell expends an entire chapter in his "Soul of the Far
East," in showing how important imagination is as a factor in art,
religion, science, and civilization generally, and how strikingly
deficient Japanese are in this faculty. "The Far Orientals," he
argues, "ought to be a particularly unimaginative set of people. Such
is precisely what they are. Their lack of imagination is a
well-recognized fact."[AQ]

Mr. Aston, characterizing Japanese literature, says:

     "A feature which strikingly distinguishes the Japanese poetic muse
     from that of Western nations is a certain lack of imaginative
     power. The Japanese are slow to endow inanimate objects with life.
     Shelley's 'Cloud,' for example, contains enough matter of this kind
     for many volumes of Japanese verse. Such lines as:

     'From my wings are shaken
     The dews that waken
     The sweet buds every one,
     When rocked to rest
     On their mother's breast
     As she dances about the sun,'

     would appear to them ridiculously overcharged with metaphor, if not
     absolutely unintelligible."[AR]

On the other hand, some writers have called attention to the contrary
element of Japanese mental nature. Prof. Ladd, for instance, maintains
that the characteristic mental trait of the Japanese is their
sentimentality. He has shown how their lives are permeated with and
regulated by sentiment. Ancestral worship, patriotism, Imperial
apotheosis, friendship, are fashioned by idealizing sentiment. In our
chapters on the emotional elements of Japanese character we have
considered how widespread and powerful these ideals and sentiments
have been and still are.

Writers who compare the Chinese with the Japanese remark the practical
business nature of the former and the impractical, visionary nature of
the latter.

For a proper estimate of our problem we should clearly distinguish
between the various forms of imagination. It reveals itself not merely
in art and literature, in fantastic conception, in personification and
metaphor, but in every important department of human life. It is the
tap-root of progress, as Mr. Lowell well points out. It pictures an
ideal life in advance of the actual, which ideal becomes the object of
effort. The forms of imagination may, therefore, be classified
according to the sphere of life in which it appears. In addition to
the poetic fancy and the idealism of art and literature generally, we
must distinguish the work of imagination in the æsthetic, in the
moral, in the religious, in the scientific, and in the political life.
The manifestation of the imaginative faculty in art and in literature
is only one part of the æsthetic imagination.

In studying Japanese æsthetic characteristics, we noted how unbalanced
was the development of their æsthetic sense. This proposition of
unbalanced development applies with equal force to the imaginative
faculty as a whole. Conspicuously lacking in certain directions, it is
as conspicuously prominent in others. Rules of etiquette are the
products of the æsthetic imagination, and in what land has etiquette
been more developed than in feudal Japan? Japanese imagination has
been particularly active in the political world. The passionate
loyalty of retainers to their lord, of samurai to their daimyo, of all
to their "kuni," or clan, in ancient times, and now, of the people to
their Emperor, are the results of a vivid political idealizing
imagination. Imperial apotheosis is a combination of the political and
religious imagination. And in what land has the apotheosizing
imagination been more active than in Japan? Ambition and self-conceit
are likewise dependent on an active imaginative faculty.

There can be no doubt the writers quoted above have drawn attention to
some salient features of Japanese art. In the literature of the past,
the people have not manifested that high literary imagination that we
discover in the best literature of many other nations.

This fact, however, will not justify the sweeping generalizations
based upon it. Judging from the pre-Elizabethan literature, who would
have expected the brilliancy of the Elizabethan period? Similarly in
regard to the Victorian period of English literature. Because the
Japanese have failed in the past to produce literature equal to the
best of Western lands, we are not justified in asserting that she
never will and that she is inherently deficient in literary
imagination. In regard to certain forms of light fancy, all admit that
Japanese poems are unsurpassed by those of other lands. Japanese
amative poetry is noted for its delicate fancies and plays on words
exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, of translation, or even of
expression, to one unacquainted with the language.

The deficiencies of Japanese literature, therefore, are not such as to
warrant the conclusion that they both mark and make a fundamental
difference in the race mind. For such differences as exist are capable
of a sociological explanation.

The prosaic matter-of-factness of the Japanese mind has been so widely
emphasized that we need not dwell upon it here. There is, however,
serious danger of over-emphasis, a danger into which all writers fall
who make it the ground for sweeping condemnatory criticism.

They are right in ascribing to the average Japanese a large amount of
unimaginative matter-of-factness, but they are equally wrong in
unqualified dogmatic generalizations. They base their inductions on
insufficient facts, a habit to which foreigners are peculiarly liable,
through ignorance of the language and also of the inner thoughts and
life of the people.

The prosaic nature of the Japanese has not impressed me so much as the
visionary tendency of the people, and their idealism. The Japanese
themselves count this idealism a national characteristic. They say
that they are theorizers, and numberless experiences confirm this

They project great undertakings; they scheme; they discuss
contingencies; they make enormous plans; all with an air of
seriousness and yet with a nonchalance which shows a semi-conscious
sense of the unreality of their proposals. In regard to Korea and
China and Formosa, they have hatched political and business schemes
innumerable. The kaleidoscopic character of Japanese politics is in
part due to the rapid succession of visionary schemes. One idea reigns
for a season, only to be displaced by another, causing constant
readjustment of political parties. Frequent attacks on government
foreign policy depend for their force on lordly ideas as to the part
Japan should play in international relations. Writing about the recent
discussions in the public press over the question of introducing
foreign capital into Japan, one contributor to the _Far East_ remarks
that "It has been treated more from a theoretical than from a
practical standpoint.... This seems to me to arise from a peculiar
trait of Japanese mind which is prone to dwell solely on the
theoretical side until the march of events compels a sudden leap
toward the practical." This visionary faculty of the Japanese is
especially conspicuous in the daily press. Editorials on foreign
affairs and on the relations of Japan to the world are full of it.

I venture to jot down a few illustrations of impractical idealism out
of my personal knowledge. An evangelist in the employ of the Kumamoto
station exemplified this visionary trait in a marked degree. Nervous
in the extreme, he was constantly having new ideas. For some reason
his attention was turned to the subject of opium and the evils China
was suffering from the drug, forced on her by England. Forthwith he
came to me for books on the subject; he wished to become fully
informed, and then he proposed to go to China and preach on the
subject. For a few weeks he was full of his enterprise. It seemed to
him that if he were only allowed the opportunity he could convince the
Chinese of their error, and the English of their crime. One of his
plans was to go to England and expostulate with them on their
un-Christian dealings with China. A few weeks later his attention was
turned to the wrongs inflicted on the poor on account of their
ignorance about law and their inability to get legal assistance. This
idea held him longer than the previous.

He desired to study law and become a public pleader in order to
defend the poor against unjust men of wealth. In his theological ideas
he was likewise extreme and changeable; swinging from positive and
most emphatic belief to extreme doubt, and later back again. In his
periods of triumphant faith it seemed to him that he could teach the
world; and his expositions of truth were extremely interesting. He
proposed to formulate a new theology that would dissolve forever the
difficulties of the old theology. In his doubts, too, he was no less
interesting and assertive. His hold on practical matters was
exceedingly slender. His salary, though considerably larger than that
of most of the evangelists, was never sufficient. He would spend
lavishly at the beginning of the month so long as he had the money,
and then would pinch himself or else fall into debt.

Mr. ----, the head of the Kumamoto Boys' School during the period of
its fierce struggles and final collapse, whom I have already referred
to as the Hero-Principal,[AS] is another example of this impractical
high-strung visionariness. No sooner had he reached Kumamoto, than
there opened before our enchanted eyes the vision of this little
insignificant school blooming out into a great university. True, there
had been some of this bombast before his arrival; but it took on new
and gorgeous form under his master hand. The airs that he put on,
displaying his (fraudulent) Ph.D., and talking about his schemes, are
simply amusing to contemplate from this distance. His studies in the
philosophy of religion had so clarified his mind that he was going to
reform both Christianity and Buddhism. His sermons of florid eloquence
and vociferous power, never less than an hour in length, were as
marked in ambitious thoughts as in pulpit mannerisms. He threw a spell
over all who came in contact with him. He overawed them by his
vehemence and tremendous earnestness and insistence on perfect
obedience to his masterful will. In one of his climactic sermons,
after charging missionaries with teaching dangerous errors, he said
that while some were urging that the need of the times was to "his
back to Luther," and others were saying, that we must "his back to
Christ" (these English words being brought into his Japanese sermon),
they were both wrong; we must "hie back to God"; and he prophesied a
reformation in religion, beginning there in Kumamoto, in that school,
which would be far and away more important in the history of the world
than was the Lutheran Reformation.

The recent history of Christianity in Japan supplies many striking
instances of visionary plans and visionary enthusiasts. The confident
expectation entertained during the eighties of Christianizing the
nation before the close of the century was such a vision. Another,
arising a few years later, was the importance of returning all foreign
missionaries to their native lands and of intrusting the entire
evangelistic work to native Christians, and committing to them the
administration of the immense sums thus set free. For it was assumed
by these brilliant Utopians that the amount of money expended in
supporting missionaries would be available for aggressive work should
the missionaries be withdrawn, and that the Christians in foreign
lands would continue to pour in their contributions for the
evangelization of Japan.

Still another instance of utopian idealism is the vision that Japan
will give birth to that perfect religion, meeting the demands of both
heart and head, for which the world waits. In January, 1900, Prof. T.
Inouye, of the Imperial University, after showing quite at length, and
to his own satisfaction, the inadequacy of all existing religions to
meet the ethical and religious situation in Japan, maintained this
ambitious view.

Some Japanese Christians are declaring the need of Japonicized
Christianity. "Did not the Greeks transform Christianity before they
accepted it? And did not the Romans, and finally the Germans, do the
same? Before Japan will or can accept the religion of Christ, it must
be Japonicized." So they argue; "and who so fit to do it as we?" lies
in the background of their thought.

Many a Christian pastor and evangelist, although not sharing the
ambition of Prof. Inouye, nevertheless glows with the confident
expectation that Japonicized Christianity will be its most perfect
type. "No one need wonder if Japan should be destined to present to
the world the best type of Christianity that has yet appeared in
history," writes an exponent of this view, at one time a Christian
pastor. In this connection the reader may recall what was said in
chapter xiv. on Japanese Ambition and Conceit, qualities depending on
the power of seeing visions. We note, in passing, the optimistic
spirit of New Japan. This is in part due, no doubt, to ignorance of
the problems that lie athwart their future progress, but it is also
due to the vivid imaginative faculty which pictures for them the
glories of the coming decades when they shall lead not only the
Orient, but also the Occident, in every line of civilization, material
and spiritual, moral and religious. A dull, unimaginative, prosaic
nature cannot be exuberantly optimistic. It is evident that writers
who proclaim the unimaginative matter-of-factness of the Japanese as
universal and absolute, have failed to see a large side of Japanese
inner life.

Mr. Percival Lowell states that the root of all the peculiarities of
Oriental peoples is their marked lack of imagination. This is the
faculty that "may in a certain sense be said to be the creator of the
world." The lack of this faculty, according to Mr. Lowell, is the root
of the Japanese lack of originality and invention; it gives the whole
Oriental civilization its characteristic features. He cites a few
words to prove the essentially prosaic character of the Japanese mind,
such as "up-down" for "pass" (which word, by the way, is his own
invention, and reveals his ignorance of the language), "the being (so)
is difficult," in place of "thank you." "A lack of any fanciful
ideas," he says, "is one of the most salient traits of all Far Eastern
peoples, if indeed a sad dearth can properly be called salient.
Indirectly, their want of imagination betrays itself in their everyday
sayings and doings, and more directly in every branch of thought." I
note, in passing, that Mr. Lowell does not distinguish between fancy
and imagination. Though allied faculties, they are distinct. Mr.
Lowell's extreme estimate of the prosaic nature of the Japanese mind I
cannot share. Many letters received from Japanese friends refute this
view by their fanciful expressions. The Japanese language, too, has
many fanciful terms. Why "pass" is any more imaginative than
"up-down," to accept Mr. Lowell's etymology, or "the being (so) is
difficult" than "thank you," I do not see. To me the reverse
proposition would seem the truer. And are not "breaking-horns" for "on
purpose," and "breaking-bones" for "with great difficulty," distinctly
imaginative terms, more imaginative than the English? In the place of
our English term "sun," the Japanese have several alternative terms in
common use, such as "_hi_," "day," "_Nichirin_," "day-ball," "_Ten-to
Sama_," "the god of heaven's light;" and for "moon," it has "_tsuki_,"
"month," "_getsu-rin_," "month ball." The names given to her
men-of-war also indicate a fanciful nature. The torpedo destroyers are
named "Dragon-fly," "Full Moon," "The Moon in the Cloud," "Seabeach,"
"Dawn of Day," "Clustering Clouds," "Break of Day," "Ripples,"
"Evening Mist," "Dragon's Lamp," "Falcon," "Magpie," "White-naped
Crane," and "White Hawk." Surely, it cannot be maintained that the
Japanese are utterly lacking in fancy.

Distinguishing between fancy as "the power of forming pleasing,
graceful, whimsical, or odd mental images, or of combining them with
little regard to rational processes of construction," and imagination,
in its more philosophical use, as "the act of constructive intellect
in grouping the materials of knowledge or thought into new, original,
and rational systems," we assert without fear of successful
contradiction, that the Japanese race is not without either of these
important mental faculties.

In addition to the preceding illustrations of visionary and fanciful
traits, let the reader reflect on the significance of the comic and of
caricature in art. Japanese _Netsuke_ (tiny carvings of exquisite
skill representing comical men, women, and children) are famous the
world over. Surely, the fancy is the most conspicuous mental
characteristic revealed in this branch of Japanese art. In Japanese
poetry "a vast number of conceits, more or less pretty," are to be
found, likewise manifesting the fancy of both the authors who wrote
and the people who were pleased with and preserved their writings.[AT]
The so-called "impersonal habit of the Japanese mind," with a
corresponding "lack of personification of abstract qualities,"
doubtless prevents Japanese literature from rising to the poetic
heights attained by Western nations. But this lack does not prove the
Japanese mind incapable of such flights. As describing the actual
characteristics of the literature of the past the assertion of "a lack
of imaginative power" is doubtless fairly correct. But the inherent
nature of the Japanese mind cannot be inferred from the deficiencies
of its past literature, without first examining the relation between
its characteristic features and the nature of the social order and the
social inheritance.

Are the Japanese conspicuously deficient in imagination, in the sense
of the definition given above? The constructive imagination is the
creator of civilization. Not only art and literature, but, as already
noted, science, philosophy, politics, and even the practical arts and
prosaic farming are impossible without it. It is the tap-root of
invention, of discovery, of originality.

It is needless to repeat what has been said in previous chapters[AU]
on Japanese imitation, invention, discovery, and originality. Yet, in
consideration of the facts there given, are we justified in counting
the Japanese so conspicuously deficient in constructive, imagination
as to warrant the assertion that such a lack is the fundamental
characteristic of the race psychic nature?

As an extreme case, look for a moment at their imitativeness. Although
imitation is considered a proof of deficient originality, and thus of
imagination, yet reflection shows that this depends on the nature of
the imitation. Japanese imitation has not been, except possibly for
short periods, of that slavish nature which excludes the work of the
imagination. Indeed, the impulse to imitation rests on the
imagination. But for this faculty picturing the state of bliss or
power secured in consequence of adopting this or that feature of an
alien civilization, the desire to imitate could not arise. In view,
moreover, of the selective nature of Japanese imitation, we are
further warranted in ascribing to the people no insignificant
development of the imagination.

In illustration, consider Japan's educational system. Established no
doubt on Occidental models, it is nevertheless a distinctly Japanese
institution. Its buildings are as characteristically Japonicized
Occidental school buildings as are its methods of instruction.
Japanese railroads and steamers, likewise constructed in Japan, are
similarly Japonicized--adapted to the needs and conditions of the
people. To our eyes this of course signifies no improvement, but
assuredly, without such modification, our Western railroads and
steamers would be white elephants on their hands, expensive and
difficult of operation.

What now is the sociological interpretation of the foregoing facts?
How are the fanciful, visionary, and idealistic characteristics, on
the one hand, and, on the other, the prosaic, matter-of-fact, and
relatively unimaginative characteristics, related to the social order?

It is not difficult to account for the presence of accentuated
visionariness in Japan. Indeed, this quality is conspicuous among the
descendants of the military and literary classes; and this fact
furnishes us the clew. "From time immemorial," to use a phrase common
on the lips of Japanese historians, up to the present era, the samurai
as a class were quite separated from the practical world; they were
comfortably supported by their liege lords; entirely relieved from the
necessity of toiling for their daily bread, they busied themselves not
only with war and physical training, but with literary accomplishments,
that required no less strenuous mental exertions.

Furthermore, in a class thus freed from daily toil, there was sure to
arise a refined system of etiquette and of rank distinctions. Even a
few centuries of life would, under such conditions, develop highly
nervous individuals in large numbers, hypersensitive in many
directions. These men, by the very development of their nervous
constitutions, would become the social if not the practical leaders of
their class; high-spirited, and with domineering ideas and scheming
ambitions, they would set the fashion to all their less nervously
developed fellows. Freed from the exacting conditions of a practical
life, they would inevitably fly off on tangents more or less
impractical, visionary.

If, therefore, this trait is more marked in Japanese character than in
that of many other nations, it may be easily traced to the social
order that has ruled this land "from time immemorial." More than any
other of her mental characteristics, impractical visionariness may be
traced to the development of the nervous organization at the expense
of the muscular. This characteristic accordingly may be said to be
more inherently a race characteristic than many others that have been
mentioned. Yet we should remember that the samurai constitute but a
small proportion of the people. According to recent statistics (1895)
the entire class to-day numbers but 2,050,000, while the common people
number over 40,000,000. It is, furthermore, to be remembered that not
all the descendants of the samurai are thus nervously organized. Large
numbers have a splendid physical endowment, with no trace of abnormal
nervous development. While the old feudal order, with its constant
carrying of swords, and the giving of honor to the most impetuous,
naturally tended to push the most high-strung individuals into the
forefront and to set them up as models for the imitation of the young,
the social order now regnant in Japan faces in the other direction.
Such visionary men are increasingly relegated to the rear. Their
approach to insanity is recognized and condemned. Even this trait of
character, therefore, which seems to be rooted in brain and nerve
structure is, nevertheless, more subject to the prevailing social
order than would at first seem possible.

Its rise we have seen was due to that order, and the setting aside of
these characteristics as ideals at least, and thus the bringing into
prominence of more normal and healthy ideals, is due to the coming in
of a new order.

Japanese prosaic matter-of-factness may similarly be shown to have
intimate relations to the nature of the social order. Oppressive
military feudalism, keeping the vast majority of the people in
practical bondage, physical, intellectual, and spiritual, would
necessarily render their lives and thoughts narrow in range and
spiritless in nature. Such a system crushes out hope. From sunrise to
sunset, "_nembyaku nenju_," "for a hundred years and through all the
year," the humdrum duties of daily life were the only psychic stimuli
of the absolutely uneducated masses. Without ambition, without
self-respect, without education or any stimulus for the higher mental
life, what possible manifestation of the higher powers of the mind
could be expected? Should some "sport" appear by chance, it could not
long escape the sword of domineering samurai. Even though originally
possessing some degree of imagination, cringing fear of military
masters, with the continuous elimination by ruthless slaughter of the
more idealizing, less submissive, and more self-assertive individuals
of the non-military classes, would finally produce a dull, imitative,
unimaginative, and matter-of-fact class such as we find in the
hereditary laboring and merchant classes.

Furthermore, Japanese civilization, like that of the entire Orient,
with its highly communalized social order, is an expression of passive
submission to superior authority. Although an incomplete
characterization, there is still much truth in saying that the Orient
is an expression of Fate, the Occident of Freedom. We have seen that a
better contrasted characterization is found in the terms communal and
individual. The Orient has known nothing of individualism. It has not
valued the individual nor sought his elevation and freedom. In every
way, on the contrary, it has repressed and opposed him. The high
development of the individual culminating in powerful personality has
been an exceptional occurrence, due to special circumstances. A
communal social order, often repressing and invariably failing to
evoke the higher human faculties, must express its real nature in the
language, literature, and customs of the people. Thus in our chapter
on the Æsthetic Characteristics of the Japanese[AV] we saw how the
higher forms of literature were dependent on the development of
manhood and on a realization of his nature. A communal social order
despising, or at least ignoring the individual, cannot produce the
highest forms of literature or art, because it does not possess the
highest forms of psychic development. Take from Western life all that
rests on or springs from the principles of individual worth, freedom,
and immortality, and how much of value or sublimity will remain? The
absence from Japanese literature and language of the higher forms of
fancy, metaphor, and personification on the one hand, and, on the
other, the presence of widespread prosaic matter-of-factness, are thus
intimately related to the communal nature of Japan's long dominant
social order.

Similarly, in regard to the constructive imagination, whose
conspicuous lack in Japan is universally asserted by foreign critics,
we reply first that the assertion is an exaggeration, and secondly,
that so far as it is fact, it is intimately related to the social
order. In our discussions concerning Japanese Intellectuality and
Philosophical Ability,[AW] we saw how intimate a relation exists
between the social order, particularly as expressed in its educational
system, and the development of the higher mental faculties. Now a
moment's reflection will show how the constructive imagination,
belonging as it does to the higher faculties, was suppressed by the
system of mechanical and superficial education required by the social
order. Religion apotheosized ancestral knowledge and customs, thus
effectively condemning all conscious use of this faculty. So far as it
was used, it was under the guise of reviving old knowledge or of
expounding it more completely.

This, however, has been the experience of every race in certain
stages of its development. Such periods have been conspicuously
deficient in powerful literature, progressive science, penetrating
philosophy, or developing political life. When a nation has once
entered such a social order it becomes stagnant, its further
development is arrested. The activity of the higher faculties of the
mind are in abeyance, but not destroyed. It needs the electric shock
of contact and conflict with foreign races to startle the race out of
its fatal repose and start it on new lines of progress by demanding,
on pain of death, or at least of racial subordination, the
introduction of new elements into its social order by a renewed
exercise of the constructive imagination. For without such action of
the constructive imagination a radical and voluntary modification of
the dominant social order is impossible.

Old Japan experienced this electric shock and New Japan is the result.
She is thus a living witness to the inaccuracy of those sweeping
generalizations as to her inherent deficiency of constructive

It is by no means our contention that Japanese imagination is now as
widely and profoundly exercised as that of the leading Western
nations. We merely contend that the exercise of this mental faculty is
intimately related to the nature of the whole social order; that under
certain circumstances this important faculty may be so suppressed as
to give the impression to superficial observers of entire absence, and
that with a new environment necessitating a new social order, this
faculty may again be brought into activity.

The inevitable conclusion of the above line of thought is that the
activity and the manifestation of the higher faculties is so
intimately related to the nature of the social order as to prevent our
attributing any particular mental characteristics to a race as its
inherent and unchangeable nature. The psychic characteristics of a
race at any given time are the product of the inherited social order.
To transform those characteristics changes in the social order,
introduced either from without, or through individuals within the
race, are alone needful. This completes our specific study of the
intellectual characteristics of the Japanese. It may seem, as it
undoubtedly is, quite fragmentary. But we have purposely omitted all
reference to those characteristics which the Japanese admittedly have
in common with other races. We have attempted the consideration of
only the more outstanding characteristics by which they seem to be
differentiated from other races. We have attempted to show that in so
far as they are different, the difference is due not to inherent
psychic nature transmitted by organic heredity, but to the nature of
the social order, transmitted by social heredity.



Even a slight study of Japanese history suffices to show that the
faculty of moral discrimination was highly developed in certain
directions. In what land have the ideal and practice of loyalty been
higher? The heroes most lauded by the Japanese to-day are those who
have proved their loyalty by the sacrifice of their lives. When
Masashige Kusunoki waged a hopeless war on behalf of one branch of the
then divided dynasty, and finally preferred to die by his own hand
rather than endure the sight of a victorious rebel, he is considered
to have exhibited the highest possible evidence of devoted loyalty.
One often hears his name in the sermons of Christian preachers as a
model worthy of all honor. The patriots of the period immediately
preceding the Meiji era, known as the "Kinnoka," some of whom lost
their lives because of their devotion to the cause of their then
impotent Emperor, are accorded the highest honor the nation can give.

The teachings of the Japanese concerning the relations that should
exist between parents, and children, and, in multitudes of instances,
their actual conduct also, can hardly be excelled. We can assert that
they have a keen moral faculty, however further study may compel us to
pronounce its development and manifestations to be unbalanced.

Better, however, than generalizations as to the ethical ideals of
Japan, past and present, are actual quotations from her moral
teachers. The following passages are taken from "A Japanese
Philosopher," by Dr. Geo. W. Knox, the larger part of the volume
consisting of a translation of one of the works of Muro Kyuso--who
lived from 1658 to 1734. It was during his life that the famous
forty-seven ronin performed their exploit, and Kyu-so gave them the
name by which they are still remembered, Gi-shi, the "Righteous
Samurai." The purpose of the work is the defense of the Confucian
faith and practice, as interpreted by Tei-shu, the philosopher of
China whom Japan delighted to honor. It discusses among other things
the fundamental principles of ethics, politics, and religion. Dr. Knox
has done all earnest Western students of Japanese ethical and
religious ideas an inestimable service in the production of this work
in English.

     "The 'Way' of Heaven and Earth is the 'Way' of Gyo and Shun
     [semi-mythical rulers of ancient China idealized by Confucius]; the
     'Way' of Gyo and Shun is the 'Way' of Confucius and Mencius, and
     the 'Way' of Confucius and Mencius is the 'Way' of Tei-Shu.
     Forsaking Tei-Shu, we cannot find Confucius and Mencius; forsaking
     Confucius and Mencius, we cannot find Gyo and Shun; and forsaking
     Gyo and Shun, we cannot find the 'Way' of Heaven and Earth. Do not
     trust implicitly an aged scholar; but this I know, and therefore I
     speak. If I say that which is false, may I be instantly punished by
     Heaven and Earth."[AX]

     "Recently I was astounded at the words of a philosopher: 'The "Way"
     comes not from Heaven,' he said, 'it was invented by the sages. Nor
     is it in accord with nature; it is a mere matter of æsthetics and
     ornament. Of the five relations, only the conjugal is natural,
     while loyalty, filial obedience, and the rest were invented by the
     sages, and have been maintained by their authority ever since.'
     Surely, among all heresies from ancient days until now, none has
     been so monstrous as this."[AY]

     "Kujuro, a lad of fifteen years, quarreled with a neighbor's son
     over a game of _go_, lost his self-control, and before he could be
     seized, drew his sword and cut the boy down. While the wounded boy
     was under the surgeon's care, Kujuro was in custody, but he showed
     no fear, and his words and acts were calm beyond his years. After
     some days the boy died, and Kujuro was condemned to hara-kiri. The
     officers in charge gave him a farewell feast the night before he
     died. He calmly wrote to his mother, took ceremonious farewell of
     his keeper and all in the house, and then said to the guests: 'I
     regret to leave you all, and should like to stay and talk till
     daybreak; but I must not be sleepy when I commit hara-kiri
     to-morrow, so I'll go to bed at once. Do you stay at your ease and
     drink the wine.' So he went to his room and fell asleep, all being
     filled with admiration as they heard him snore. On the morrow he
     rose early, bathed and dressed himself with care, made all his
     preparations with perfect calmness, and then, quiet and composed,
     killed himself. No old, trained, self-possessed samurai could have
     excelled him. No one who saw it could speak of it for years without
     tears.... I have told you this that Kujuro may be remembered. It
     would be shameful were it to be forgotten that so young a boy
     performed such a deed."[AZ]

     "We are not to cease obeying for the sake of study, nor must we
     establish the laws before we begin to obey. In obedience we are to
     establish its Tightness and wrongness."[BA]

     "We learn loyalty and obedience as we are loyal and obedient.
     To-day I know yesterday's short-comings, and to-morrow I shall know
     to-day's.... In our occupations we learn whether conduct conforms
     to right and so advance in the truth by practice."[BB]

     "Besides a few works on history, like the Sankyo Ega Monogatari,
     which record facts, there are no books worth reading in our
     literature. For the most part they are sweet stories of the
     Buddhas, of which one soon wearies. But the evil is traditional,
     long-continued, and beyond remedy. And other books are full of
     lust, not even to be mentioned, like the Genji Monogatari, which
     should never be shown to a woman or a young man. Such books lead to
     vice. Our nobles call the Genji Monogatari a national treasure,
     why, I do not know, unless it is that they are intoxicated with its
     style. That is like plucking the spring blossom unmindful of the
     autumn's fruit. The book is full of adulteries from beginning to
     end. Seeing the right, ourselves should become good, seeing the
     wrong, we should reprove ourselves. The Genji Monogatari, Chokonka,
     and Seishoki are of a class, vile, mean, comparable to the books of
     the sages as charcoal to ice, as the stench of decay to the perfume
     of flowers."[BC]

     "To the samurai, first of all is righteousness; next life, then
     silver and gold. These last are of value, but some put them in the
     place of righteousness. But to the samurai even life is as dirt
     compared to righteousness. Until the middle part of the middle ages
     customs were comparatively pure, though not really righteous.
     Corruption has come only during this period of government by the
     samurai. A maid servant in China was made ill with astonishment
     when she saw her mistress, soroban (abacus) in hand, arguing prices
     and values. So was it once with the samurai. They knew nothing of
     trade, were economical and content."[BD]

     "Even in the days of my youth, young folks never mentioned the
     price of anything; and their faces reddened if the talk was of
     women. Their joy was in talk of battles and plans for war. And they
     studied how parents and lords should be obeyed, and the duty of
     samurai. But nowadays the young men talk of loss and gain, of
     dancing girls and harlots and gross pleasures. It is a complete
     change from fifty or sixty years ago.... Said Aochi to his son:
     'There is such a thing as trade. See that you know nothing of it.
     In trade the profit should always go to the other side.... To be
     proud of buying high-priced articles cheap is the good fortune of
     merchants, but should be unknown to samurai. Let it not be even so
     much as mentioned.... Samurai must have a care of their words, and
     are not to speak of avarice, cowardice, or lust.'"[BE]

A point of considerable interest to the student of Japanese ethical
ideals is the fact that the laws of Old Japan combined legal and moral
maxims. Loyalty and morality were conceived as inseparable. Ieyasu
(abdicated in 1605, and died in 1616), the founder of the Tokugawa
Shogunate, left a body of laws to his successors as his last will, in
accordance with which they should rule the land. These laws were not
made public, but were kept strictly for the guidance of the rulers.
They are known as the Testament or "Honorable Will" of Ieyasu, and
consist of one hundred rules. It will serve our purpose here to quote
some of those that refer to the moral ideal.

     "No one is to act simply for the gratification of his own desires,
     but he is to strive to do what may be opposed to his desires,
     _i.e_., to exercise self-control, in order that everyone may be
     ready for whatever he may be called upon by his superiors to do."

     "The aged, whether widowers or widows, and orphans, and persons
     without relations, every one should assist with kindness and
     liberality; for justice to these four is the root of good

     "Respect the gods [or God], keep the heart pure, and be diligent in
     business during the whole life."

     "When I was young I determined to fight and punish all my own and
     my ancestors' enemies, and I did punish them; but afterwards, by
     deep consideration, I found that the way of heaven was to help the
     people, and not to punish them. Let my successors follow out this
     policy, or they are not of my line. In this lies the strength of
     the nation."

     "To insure the Empire peace, the foundation must be laid in the
     ways of holiness and religion, and if men think they can be
     educated, and will not remember this, it is as if a man were to go
     to a forest to catch fish, or thought he could draw water out of
     fire. They must follow the ways of holiness."

     "Japan is the country of the gods [or God--'Shinkoku']. Therefore,
     we have among us Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shintoism, and other
     sects. If we leave our gods [or God] it is like refusing the wages
     of our master and taking them from another."

     "In regard to dancing women, prostitutes, brothels, night work,
     and all other improper employments, all these are like caterpillars
     or locusts in the country. Good men and writers in all times have
     written against them."

     "It is said that the Mikado, looking down on his people, loves them
     as a mother does her children. The same may be said of me and my
     government. This benevolence of mind is called Jin. This Jin may be
     said to consist of five parts; these are humanity, integrity,
     courtesy, wisdom, and truth. My mode of government is according to
     the way of heaven. This I have done to show that I am impartial,
     and am not assisting my own relatives and friends only."[BF]

These quotations are perhaps sufficient, though one more from a recent
writer has a peculiar interest of its own, from the fact that the
purpose of the book from which the quotation is taken was the
destruction of the tendencies toward approval of Western thought. It
was published in 1857. The writer, Junzo Ohashi, felt himself to be a
witness for truth and righteousness, and, in the spirit of the
doctrine he professed, sealed his faith with a martyr's suffering and
death, dying (in August, 1868) from the effect of repeated examination
by torture for a supposed crime, innocence of which he maintained to
the end. It is interesting to note that two of his granddaughters,
"with the physics and astronomy of the West, have accepted its

     "The West knows not the 'Ri'[BG] of the virtues of the heart which
     are in all men unchangeably the same. Nor does it know that the
     body is the organ of the virtues, however careful its analysis of
     the body may be. The adherents of the Western Philosophy indeed
     study carefully the outward appearances, but they have no right to
     steal the honored name of natural philosophy. As when 'Ki' is
     destroyed, 'Ri' too disappears, so, with their analysis of 'Ki,'
     they destroy 'Ri,' and thus this learning brings benevolence and
     righteousness and loyalty and truth to naught. Among the
     Westerners who from of old have studied details minutely, I have
     not heard of one who was zealous for the Great Way, for
     benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, and truth, and who opposed the
     absurdities of the Lord of Heaven [God].'[BH] 'Let then the child
     make its parent, Heaven; the retainer, his lord; the wife, her
     husband; and let each give up life for righteousness. Thus will
     each serve Heaven. But if we exalt Heaven above parent or lord, we
     shall come to think that we can serve it though they be disobeyed,
     and like wolf or tiger shall rejoice to kill them. To such fearful
     end does the Western learning lead."[BI]

The foregoing quotations reveal the exalted nature of the ideals held
by at least some of the leaders of ethical thought in Japan. Taken as
a whole, the moral ideals characterizing the Japanese during their
entire historical period have been conspicuously communal. The feudal
structure of society has determined the peculiar character of the
moral ideal. Loyalty took first rank in the moral scale; the
subordination of the inferior to the superior has come next, including
unquestioning obedience of children to parents, and of wife to
husband. The virtues of a military people have been praised and often
gloriously exemplified. The possession of these various ideals and
their attainment in such high degree have given the nation its
cohesiveness. They make the people a unit. The feudal training under
local daimyos was fitting the people for the larger life among the
nations of the world on which they are now entering. Especially is
their sense of loyalty, as exhibited toward the Emperor, serving them
well in this period of transition from Oriental to Occidental social

Let us now examine some defective moral standards and observe their
origin in the social order. Take, for instance, the ideal of
truthfulness. Every Occidental remarks on the untruthfulness of the
Japanese. Lies are told without the slightest apparent compunction;
and when confronted with the charge of lying, the culprit often seems
to feel little sense of guilt. This trait of character was noted
repeatedly by the early negotiators with Japan. Townsend Harris and
Sir Rutherford Alcock made frequent mention of it. When we inquire as
to the moral ideal and actual instruction concerning truthfulness, we
are amazed to find how inadequate it was. The inadequacy of the
teaching, however, was not the primal cause of the characteristic.
There is a far deeper explanation, yet very simple, namely, the nature
of the social order. The old social order was feudal, and not
industrial or commercial. History shows that industrial and commercial
nations develop the virtue of truthfulness far in advance of military
nations. For these virtues are essential to them; without them they
could not long continue to prosper.

So in regard to all the aspects of business morality, it must be
admitted that, from the Occidental standpoint, Old Japan was very
deficient. But it must also be stated that new ideals are rapidly
forming. Buying and selling with a view to making profit, though not
unknown in Old Japan, was carried on by a despised section of the
community. Compared with the present, the commercial community of
feudal times was mean and small. Let us note somewhat in detail the
attitude of the samurai toward the trader in olden times, and the
ideals they reveal.

The pursuit of business was considered necessarily degrading, for he
who handled money was supposed to be covetous. The taking of profit
was thought to be ignoble, if not deceitful. They who condescended to
such an occupation were accordingly despised and condemned to the
lowest place in the social scale. These ideas doubtless helped to make
business degrading; traders were doubtless sordid and covetous and
deceitful. In the presence of the samurai they were required to take
the most abject postures. In addressing him, they must never stand,
but must touch the ground with their foreheads; while talking with him
they must remain with their hands on the ground. Even the children of
samurai always assumed the lordly attitude toward tradesmen. The sons
of tradesmen might not venture into a quarrel with the sons of
samurai, for the armed children of the samurai were at liberty to cut
down and kill the children of the despicable merchant, should they
insult or even oppose them.

All this, however, has passed away. Commerce is now honored; trade and
manufacture are recognized not only as laudable, but as the only hope
of Japan for the future. The new social order is industrial and
commercial. The entire body of the former samurai, now no longer
maintaining their distinctive name, are engaged in some form of
business. Japan is to-day a nation of traders and farmers.
Accompanying the changes in the social order, new standards as to
honesty and business integrity are being formulated and enforced.[BJ]




An Occidental is invariably filled with astonishment on learning that
a human being, as such, had no value in Old Japan. The explanation
lies chiefly in the fact that the social order did not rest on the
inherent worth of the individual. As in all primitive lands and times,
the individual was as nothing compared to the family and the tribe. As
time went on, this principle took the form of the supreme worth of the
higher classes in society. Hence arose the liberty allowed the samurai
of cutting down, in cold blood, a beggar, a merchant, or a farmer on
the slightest provocation, or simply for the purpose of testing his

Japanese social and religious philosophy had not yet discovered that
the individual is of infinite worth in himself, apart from all
considerations of his rank in society. As we have seen, the absence of
this idea from Japanese civilization resulted in various momentous
consequences, of which the frequency of murder and suicide is but one.

Another, and this constitutes one of the most striking differences
between the moral ideals of the East and the West, is the low estimate
put upon the inherent nature and value of woman, by which was
determined her social position and the moral relations of the sexes.
Japan seems to have suffered somewhat in this respect from her
acceptance of Hindu philosophy. For there seems to be considerable
unanimity among historians that in primitive times in Japan there
prevailed a much larger liberty, and consequently a much higher
regard, for woman than in later ages after Buddhism became powerful.
With regard, however, to that earlier period of over a thousand years
ago, it is of little use to speculate. I cannot escape the feeling,
however, that the condition of woman then has been unconsciously
idealized, in order to make a better showing in comparison with the
customs of Western lands. Be that as it may, the notions and ideals
presented by Buddhism in regard to woman are clear, and clearly
degrading. She is the source of temptation and sin; she is essentially
inferior to man in every respect. Before she may hope to enter Nirvana
she must be born again as man. How widely these extreme views of woman
have found acceptance in Japan, I am not in a position to state. It is
my impression, however, that they never received as full acceptance
here as in India. Nevertheless, as has already been shown,[BK] the
ideals of what a woman should do and be make it clear that her social
position for centuries has been relatively low; as wife she is a
domestic rather than a helpmeet. The "three obediences," to parents,
to husband, to son, set forth the ideal, although, without doubt, the
strict application of the third, obedience to one's son after he
becomes the head of the household, is relatively rare.

What especially strikes the notice of the Occidental is the slight
amount of social intercourse that prevails to-day between men and
women. Whenever women enter into the social pleasures of men, they do
so as professional singers and dancers, they being mere girls and
unmarried young women; this social intercourse is all but invariably
accompanied with wine-drinking, even if it does not proceed to further
licentiousness. The statement that woman is man's plaything has been
often heard in Japan. Confucian no less than Buddhistic ethics must
bear the responsibility for putting and keeping woman on so low a
level. Concubinage, possibly introduced from China, was certainly
sanctioned by the Chinese classics.

The Lei-ki allows an Emperor to have in addition to the Empress three
consorts, nine maids of high rank, and twenty-seven maids of lower
rank, all of whom rank as wives, and, beside these, eighty-one other
females called concubines. Concubinage and polygamy, being thus
sanctioned by the classics, became an established custom in Japan.

The explanation for this ideal and practice is not far to seek. It
rests in the communal character of the social order. The family was
the social unit of Japan. No individual member was of worth except the
legal head and representative, the father. A striking proof of the
correctness of this explanation is the fact that even the son is
obeyed by the father in case he has become "in kio,"[BL] that is, has
abdicated; the son then becomes the authoritative head. The ideals
regarding woman then were not unique; they were part of the social
order, and were determined by the principle of "communalism"
unregulated by the principle of "individualism." Ideals respecting man
and woman were equally affected. So long as man is not valued as a
human being, but solely according to his accidental position in
society, woman must be regarded in the same way. She is valued first
as a begetter of offspring, second as a domestic. And when such
conceptions prevail as to her nature and function in society,
defective ideals as to morality in the narrower sense of this term,
leading to and justifying concubinage, easy divorce, and general loose
morality are necessary consequences.

But this moral or immoral ideal is by no means peculiar to Japan. The
peculiarity of Japan and the entire Orient is that the social order
that fostered it lasted so long, before forces arose to modify it.
But, as will be shown later,[BM] the great problem of human evolution,
after securing the advantages of "communalism," and the solidification
of the nation, is that of introducing the principle of individualism
into the social order. In the Orient the principle of communalism
gained such headway as effectually to prevent the introduction of this
new principle. There is, in my opinion, no probability that Japan,
while maintaining her isolation, would ever have succeeded in making
any radical change in her social order; her communalism was too
absolute. She needed the introduction of a new stimulus from without.
It was providential that this stimulus came from the Anglo-Saxon race,
with its pronounced principle of "individualism" wrought out so
completely in social order, in literature, and in government. Had
Russia or Turkey been the leading influences in starting Japan on her
new career, it is more than doubtful whether she would have secured
the principles needful for her healthful moral development.

Justice to the actual ideals and life of Old Japan forbids me to
leave, without further remark, what was said above regarding the
ideals of morality in the narrower significance of this word.
Injunctions that women should be absolutely chaste were frequent and
stringent. Nothing more could be asked in the line of explicit
teaching on this theme. And, furthermore, I am persuaded, after
considerable inquiry, that in Old Japan in the interior towns and
villages, away from the center of luxury and out of the beaten courses
of travel, there was purity of moral life that has hardly been
excelled anywhere. I have repeatedly been assured that if a youth of
either sex were known to have transgressed the law of chastity, he or
she would at once be ostracised; and that such transgressions were,
consequently, exceedingly rare. It is certainly a fact that in the
vast majority of the interior towns there have never, until recent
times, been licensed houses of prostitution. Of late there has been a
marked increase of dancing and singing girls, of whom it is commonly
said that they are but "secret prostitutes." These may to-day be found
in almost every town and village, wherever indeed there is a hotel.
Public as well as secret prostitution has enormously increased during
the last thirty or forty years.[BN]

Thanks to Mr. Murphy's consecrated energy, the appalling legalized
and hopeless slavery under which these two classes of girls exist is
at last coming to light. He has shown, by several test cases, that
although the national laws are good to look at they are powerless
because set aside by local police regulations over which the courts
are powerless! In September, 1900, however, in large part due no doubt
to the facts made public by him, and backed up by the public press,
and such leaders of Japan's progressive elements as Shimada Sabur, the
police regulations were modified, and with amazing results. Whereas,
previous to that date, the average monthly suicides throughout the
land among the public prostitutes were between forty and fifty, during
the two months of September and October there were none! In that same
period, out of about five thousand prostitutes in the city of Tokyo,
492 had fled from their brothels and declared their intentions of
abandoning the "shameful business," as the Japanese laws call it, and
in consequence a prominent brothel had been compelled to stop the
business! We are only in the first flush of this new reform as these
lines are written, so cannot tell what end the whole movement will
reach. But the conscience of the nation is beginning to waken on this
matter and we are confident it will never tolerate the old slavery of
the past, enforced as it was by local laws, local courts, so that
girls were always kept in debt, and when they fled were seized and
forced back to the brothels in order to pay their debts!

But in contrast to the undoubted ideal of Old Japan in regard to the
chastity of women, must be set the equally undoubted fact that the
sages have very little to say on the subject of chastity for men.
Indeed there is no word in the Japanese language corresponding to our
term "chastity" which may be applied equally to men and women. In his
volume entitled "Kokoro," Mr. Hearn charges the missionaries with the
assertion that there is no word for chastity in Japanese. "This," he
says, "is true in the same sense only that we might say that there is
no word for chastity in the English language, because such words as
honor, virtue, purity, chastity have been adopted into English from
other languages."[BO] I doubt if any missionary has made such a
statement. His further assertion, that "the word most commonly used
applies to both sexes," would have more force, if Mr. Hearn had stated
what the word is. His English definition of the term has not enabled
me to find the Japanese equivalent, although I have discussed this
question with several Japanese. It is their uniform confession that
the Japanese language is defective in its terminology on this topic,
the word with which one may exhort a woman to be chaste being
inapplicable to a man. The assertion of the missionaries has nothing
whatever to do with the question as to whether the terms used are pure
Japanese or imported Chino-Japanese; nor has it any reference to the
fact that the actual language is deficient in abstract terms. It is
simply that the term applicable to a woman is not applicable to a man.
And this in turn proves sharp contrasts between the ideals regarding
the moral duties of men and of women.

An interesting point in the Japanese moral ideal is the fact that the
principle of filial obedience was carried to such extremes that even
prostitution of virtue at the command of the parents, or for the
support of the parents, was not only permitted but, under special
conditions, was highly praised. Modern prostitution is rendered
possible chiefly through the action of this perverted principle.
Although the sale of daughters for immoral purposes is theoretically
illegal, yet, in fact, it is of frequent occurrence.

Although concubinage was not directly taught by Confucius, yet it was
never forbidden by him, and the leaders and rulers of the land have
lent the custom the authority and justification of their example. As
we have already seen, the now ruling Emperor has several concubines,
and all of his children are the offspring of these concubines. In Old
Japan, therefore, there were two separate ideals of morality for the
two sexes.

The question may be raised how a social order which required such
fidelity on the part of the woman could permit such looseness on the
part of the man, whether married or not. How could the same social
order produce two moral ideals? The answer is to be found in several
facts. First, there is the inherent desire of each husband to be the
sole possessor of his wife's affections. As the stronger of the two,
he would bring destruction on an unfaithful wife and also on any who
dared invade his home. Although the woman doubtless has the same
desire to be the sole possessor of her husband's affection, she has
not the same power, either to injure a rival or to punish her
faithless husband. Furthermore, licentiousness in women has a much
more visibly disastrous effect on her procreative functions than equal
licentiousness in man. This, too, would serve to beget and maintain
different ethical standards for the two sexes. Finally, and perhaps no
less effective than the two preceding, is the fact that the general
social consciousness held different conceptions in regard to the
social positions of man and woman. The one was the owner of the
family, the lord and master; to him belonged the freedom to do as he
chose. The other was a variety of property, not free in any sense to
please herself, but to do only as her lord and master required.

An illustration of the first reason given above came to my knowledge
not long since. Rev. John T. Gulick saw in Kanagawa, in 1862, a man
going through the streets carrying the bloody heads of a man and a
woman which he declared to be those of his wife and her seducer, whom
he had caught and killed in the act of adultery. This act of the
husband's was in perfect accord with the practices and ideals of the
time, and not seldom figures in the romances of Old Japan.

The new Civil Code adopted in 1898 furnishes an authoritative
statement of many of the moral ideals of New Japan. For the following
summary I am indebted to the _Japan Mail_.[BP] In regard to marriage
it is noteworthy that the "prohibited degrees of relationship are the
same as those in England"--including the deceased wife's sister. "The
minimum age for legal marriage is seventeen in the case of a man and
fifteen in the case of a woman, and marriage takes effect on
notification to the registrar, being thus a purely civil contract. As
to divorce, it is provided that the husband and wife may effect it by
mutual consent, and its legal recognition takes the form of an entry
by the registrar, no reference being necessary to the judicial
authorities. Where mutual consent is not obtained, however, an action
for divorce must be brought, and here it appears that the rights of
the woman do not receive the same recognition as those of the man.
Thus, although adultery committed by the wife constitutes a valid
ground of divorce, we do not find that adultery on the husband's part
furnishes a plea to the wife. Ill-treatment or gross insult, such as
renders living together impracticable, or desertion, constitutes a
reason for divorce from the wife's point of view." The English
reviewer here adds that "since no treatment can be worse nor any
insult grosser than open inconstancy on the part of a husband, it is
conceivable that a judge might consider that such conduct renders
living together impracticable. But in the presence of an explicit
provision with regard to the wife's adultery and in the absence of any
such provision with regard to the husband's, we doubt whether any
court of law would exercise discretion in favor of the woman." The
gross "insult of inconstancy" on the part of the husband is a plea
that has never yet been recognized by Japanese society. The reviewer
goes on to say: "One cannot help wishing that the peculiar code of
morality observed by husbands in this country had received some
condemnation at the hands of the framers of the new Code. It is
further laid down that a 'person who is judicially divorced or
punished because of adultery cannot contract a marriage with the other
party to the adultery.' If that extended to the husband it would be an
excellent provision, well calculated to correct one of the worst
social abuses of this country. Unfortunately, as we have seen, it
applies apparently to the case of the wife only." The provision for
divorce by "mutual consent" is striking and ominous. It makes divorce
a matter of entirely private arrangement, unless one of the parties
objects. In a land where women are so docile, is it likely that the
wife would refuse to consent to divorce when her lord and master
requests or commands her to leave his home? "There are not many women
in Japan who could refuse to become a party to the 'mutual consent'
arrangement if they were convinced that they had lost their husband's
affection and that he could not live comfortably with them." It would
appear that nothing whatever is said by the Code with reference to
concubinage, either allowing or forbidding it. Presumably a man may
have but one legitimate wife, and children by concubines must be
registered as illegitimate. Nothing, however, on this point seems to
be stated, although provision is made for the public acknowledgment of
illegitimate children. "Thus, a father can acknowledge a natural
child, making what is called a 'shoshi,' and if, subsequent to
acknowledgment, the father and mother marry, the 'shoshi,' acquires
the status of a legitimate child, such status reckoning back,
apparently to the time of birth." Evidently, this provision rests on
the implication that the mother is an unmarried woman--presumably a

Recent statistics throw a rather lurid light on these provisions of
the Code. The Imperial Cabinet for some years past has published in
French and Japanese a résumé of national statistics. Those bearing on
marriage and divorce, in the volume published in 1897, may well be
given at this point.

  1890      325,141      109,088      1,079,121      66,253
  1891      325,651      112,411      1,033,653      64,122
  1892      349,489      133,498      1,134,665      72,369
  1893      358,398      116,775      1,105,119      73,677
  1894      361,319      114,436      1,132,897      76,407
  1895      365,633      110,838      1,166,254      80,168
  1897      395,207      124,075      1,335,125      89,996[BQ]

These authoritative statistics show how divorce is a regular part of
the Japanese family system, one out of three marriages proving

Morally Japan's weak spot is the relation of the sexes, both before
and after marriage. Strict monogamy, with the equality of duties of
husband and wife, is the remedy for the disease.

This slight sketch of the provision of the new Code as it bears on the
purity of the home, and on the development of noble manhood and
womanhood, shows that the Code is very defective. It practically
recognizes and legalizes the present corrupt practices of society, and
makes no effort to establish higher ideals. Whether anything more
should be expected of a Code drawn up under the present circumstances
is, of course, an open question. But the Code reveals the
astonishingly low condition of the moral standards for the home, one
of the vital weaknesses of New Japan. The defectiveness of the new
Code in regard to the matters just considered must be argued, however,
not from the failure to embody Occidental moral standards, but rather
from the failure to recognize the actual nature of the social order of
New Japan. While the Code recognizes the principle of individualism
and individual rights and worth in all other matters, in regard to the
home, the most important social unit in the body politic, the Code
legalizes and perpetuates the old pre-Meiji standards. Individualism
in the general social order demands its consistent recognition in
every part.

We cannot conclude our discussion of Japanese ideas as to woman, and
the consequent results to morality, without referring to the great
changes which are to-day taking place. Although the new Civil Code has
not done all that we could ask, we would not ignore what it has
secured. Says Prof. Gubbins in the excellent introduction to his
translation of the Codes:

"In no respect has modern progress in Japan made greater strides than
in the improvement of the position of woman. Though she still labors
under certain disabilities, a woman can now become a head of a family,
and exercise authority as such; she can inherit and own property and
manage it herself; she can exercise parental authority; if single, or
a widow, she can adopt; she is one of the parties to adoption effected
by her husband, and her consent, in addition to that of her husband,
is necessary to the adoption of her child by another person; she can
act as guardian, or curator, and she has a voice in family councils."
In all these points the Code marks a great advance, and reveals by
contrast the legally helpless condition of woman prior to 1898. But in
certain respects practice is preceding theory. We would call special
attention to the exalted position and honor publicly accorded to the
Empress. On more than one historic occasion she has appeared at the
Emperor's side, a thing unknown in Old Japan. The Imperial Silver
Wedding (1892) was a great event, unprecedented in the annals of the
Orient. Commemorative postage stamps were struck off which were first
used on the auspicious day.

The wedding of the Prince Imperial (in May, 1900) was also an event of
unique importance in Japanese social and moral history. Never before,
in the 2600 years claimed by her historians, has an heir to the throne
been honored by a public wedding. The ceremony was prepared _de novo_
for the occasion and the pledges were mutual. In the reception that
followed, the Imperial bride stood beside her Imperial husband. On
this occasion, too, commemorative postage stamps were issued and first
used on the auspicious day; the entire land was brilliantly decorated
with flags and lanterns. Countless congratulatory meetings were held
throughout the country and thousands of gifts, letters, and
telegraphic messages expressed the joy and good will of the people.

But the chief significance of these events is the new and exalted
position accorded to woman and to marriage by the highest personages
of the land. It is said by some that the ruling Emperor will be the
last to have concubines. However that may be, woman has already
attained a rank and marriage an honor unknown in any former age in
Japan, and still quite unknown in any Oriental land save Japan.

A serious study of Japanese morality should not fail to notice the
respective parts taken by Buddhism and Confucianism. The contrast is
so marked. While Confucianism devoted its energies to the inculcation
of proper conduct, to morality as contrasted to religion, Buddhism
devoted its energies to the development of a cultus, paying little
attention to morality. A recent Japanese critic of Buddhism remarks
that "though Buddhism has a name in the world for the excellence of
its ethical system, yet there exists no treatise in Japanese which
sets forth the distinctive features of Buddhist ethics." Buddhist
literature is chiefly occupied with mythology, metaphysics, and
eschatology, ethical precepts being interwoven incidentally. The
critic just quoted states that the pressing need of the times is that
Buddhist ethics should be disentangled from Buddhist mythology. The
great moralists of Japan have been Confucianists. Distinctively
Japanese morality has derived its impulse from Confucian classics. A
new spirit, however, is abroad among the Buddhist priesthood. Their
preaching is increasingly ethical. The common people are saying that
the sermons heard in certain temples are identical with those of
Christians. How widely this imitation of Christian preaching has
spread I cannot say; but that Christianity has in any degree been
imitated is significant, both ethically and sociologically.

Buddhism is not alone, however, in imitating Christianity. A few years
ago Dr. D.C. Greene attended the preaching services of a modern Shinto
sect, the "Ten-Ri-Kyo," the Heaven-Reason-Teaching, and was surprised
to hear almost literal quotations from the "Sermon on the Mount"; the
source of the sentiment and doctrine was not stated and very likely
was not known to the speaker. Dr. Greene, who has given this sect
considerable study, is satisfied that the insistence of its teachers
on moral conduct is general and genuine. When I visited their
headquarters, not far from Nara, in 1895, and inquired of one of the
priests as to the chief points of importance in their teaching, I was
told that the necessity of leading an honorable and correct life was
most emphasized. There are reasons for thinking that the Kurozumi sect
of Shintoism, with its emphasis on morality, is considerably indebted
to Christianity both for its origin and its doctrine.

It is evident that Christianity is having an influence in Japan, far
beyond the ranks of its professed believers. It is proving a stimulus
to the older faiths, stirring them up to an earnestness in moral
teaching that they never knew in the olden times. It is interesting to
note that this widespread emphasis on ethical truth comes at a time
when morality is suffering a wide collapse.

An important point for the sociological student of Japanese moral
ideals is the fact that her moralists have directed their attention
chiefly to the conduct of the rulers. The ideal of conduct as stated
by them is for a samurai. If any action is praised, it is said that it
becomes a samurai; if condemned, it is on the ground that it is not
becoming to a samurai. Anything wrong or vulgar is said to be what you
might expect of the common man. All the terms of the higher morality,
such as righteousness, duty, benevolence, are expounded from the
standpoint of a samurai, that is, from the standpoint of loyalty. The
forty-seven ronin were pronounced "righteous samurai" because they
avenged the death of their lord, even though in doing so they
committed deeds that, by themselves, would have been condemned.
Japanese history and literature proclaim the same ideal. They are
exclusively concerned with the deeds of the higher class, the court
and the samurai. The actual condition of the common people in ancient
times is a matter not easily determined. The morality of the common
people was more a matter of unreasoning custom than of theory and
instruction. But these facts are susceptible of interpretation if we
remember that the interest of the historian and the moralist was not
in humanity, as such, but in the external features of the social
order. Their gaze was on the favored few, on the nobility, the court,
and the samurai.

In closing our discussion of Japanese moral ideals it may not be amiss
to append the Imperial Edict concerning the moral education of the
youth of Japan, issued by the Emperor November 31, 1890. This is
supposed to be the distilled essence of Shinto and Confucian teaching.
It is to-day the only authoritative teaching on morality given in the
public schools. It is read with more reverence than is accorded to the
Bible in England or America. It is considered both holy and inspired.


     "We consider that the Founder of Our Empire and the ancestors of
     Our Imperial House placed the foundation of the country on a grand
     and permanent basis, and established their authority on the
     principles of profound humanity and benevolence.

     "That Our subjects have throughout ages deserved well of the state
     by their loyalty and piety, and by their harmonious co-operation,
     is in accordance with the essential character of Our nation; and on
     these very same principles Our education has been founded.

     "You, Our subjects, be therefore filial to your parents; be
     affectionate to your brothers; be harmonious as husbands and wives;
     and be faithful to your friends; conduct yourselves with propriety
     and carefulness; extend generosity and benevolence toward your
     neighbors; attend to your studies and follow your pursuits;
     cultivate your intellects and elevate your morals; advance public
     benefits and promote social interests; be always found in the good
     observance of the laws and constitution of the land; display your
     personal courage and public spirit for the sake of the country
     whenever required; and thus support the Imperial prerogative,
     which is coexistent with the Heavens and the Earth.

     "Such conduct on your part will not only strengthen the character
     of Our good and loyal subjects, but conduce also to the maintenance
     of the fame of your worthy forefathers.

     "This is the instruction bequeathed by Our ancestors and to be
     followed by Our subjects; for it is the truth which has guided and
     guides them in their own affairs and their dealings toward aliens.

     "We hope, therefore, that We and Our subjects will regard these
     sacred precepts with one and the same heart in order to attain the
     same ends."



One noticeable characteristic of the Japanese is the publicity of the
life of the individual. He seems to feel no need for privacy. Houses
are so constructed that privacy is practically impossible. The slight
paper shoji and fusuma between the small rooms serve only partially to
shut out peering eyes; they afford no protection from listening ears.
Moreover, these homes of the middle and lower classes open upon public
streets, and a passer-by may see much of what is done within. Even the
desire for privacy seems lacking. The publicity of the private (?)
baths and sanitary conveniences which the Occidental puts entirely out
of sight has already been noted.

I once passed through a village and was not a little amazed to see two
or three bathtubs on the public road, each occupied by one or more
persons; nor were the occupants children alone, but men and women
also. Calling at the home of a gentleman in Kyushu with whom I had
some business, and gaining no notice at the front entrance, I went
around to the side of the house only to discover the lady of the place
taking her bath with her children, in a tub quite out of doors, while
a manservant chopped wood but a few paces distant.

The natural indifference of the Japanese to the exposure of the
unclothed body is an interesting fact. In the West such indifference
is rightly considered immodest. In Japan, however, immodesty consists
entirely in the intention of the heart and does not arise from the
accident of the moment or the need of the occasion. With a fellow
missionary, I went some years since to some famous hot springs at the
foot of Mount Ase, the smoking crater of Kyushu. The spot itself is
most charming, situated in the center of an old crater, said to be the
largest in the world. Wearied with a long walk, we were glad to find
that one of the public bath tubs or tanks, some fifteen by thirty feet
in size, in a bath house separate from other houses, was quite
unoccupied; and on inquiry we were told that bathers were few at that
hour of the day, so that we might go in without fear of disturbance.
It seems that in such places the tiers of boxes for the clothing on
either side of the door, are reserved for men and women respectively.
Ignorant of this custom, we deposited our clothing in the boxes on the
left hand, and as quickly as we could accommodate ourselves to the
heat of the water, we got into the great tank. We were scarcely in,
when a company of six or eight men and women entered the bath house;
they at once perceived our blunder, but without the slightest
hesitation, the women as well as the men went over to the men's side
and proceeded to undress and get into the tank with us, betraying no
consciousness that aught was amiss. So far as I could see there was
not the slightest self-consciousness in the entire proceeding. In the
tank, too, though it is customary for women to occupy the left side,
on this occasion they mingled freely with the men. I suppose it is
impossible in England or America to conceive of such a state of
unconsciousness. Yet it seems to be universal in Japan. It is
doubtless explained by the custom, practiced from infancy, not only of
public bathing, but also of living together so unreservedly. The heat
of the summer and the nature of Japanese clothing, so easily thrown
off, has accustomed them to the greater or less exposure of the
person. All these customs have prevented the development of a sense of
modesty corresponding to that which has developed in the West. Whether
this familiarity of the sexes is conducive to purity of life or not,
is a totally different question, on which I do not here enter.

In this connection I can do no better than quote from a popular, and
in many respects deservedly popular, writer on Japan. Says Mr. Hearn,
"There is little privacy of any sort in Japan. Among the people,
indeed, what we term privacy in the Occident does not exist. There are
only walls of paper dividing the lives of men; there are only sliding
screens instead of doors; there are neither locks nor bolts to be used
by day; and whenever the weather permits, the fronts and perhaps even
the sides of the houses are literally removed, and its interior widely
opened to the air, the light, and the public gaze. Within a hotel or
even a common dwelling house, nobody knocks before entering your room;
there is nothing to knock at except a shoji or a fusuma, which cannot
be knocked at without being broken. And in this world of paper walls
and sunshine, nobody is afraid or ashamed of fellow-man or
fellow-woman. Whatever is done is done after a fashion in public. Your
personal habits, your idiosyncrasies (if you have any), your foibles,
your likes and dislikes, your loves and your hates must be known to
everybody. Neither vices nor virtues can be hidden; there is
absolutely nowhere to hide them.... There has never been, for the
common millions at least, even the idea of living unobserved." The
Japanese language has no term for "privacy," nor is it easy to convey
the idea to one who does not know the English word. They lack the term
and the clear idea because they lack the practice.

These facts prove conclusively that the Japanese individual is still a
gregarious being, and this fact throws light on the moral life of the
people. It follows of necessity that the individual will conform
somewhat more closely to the moral standards of the community, than a
man living in a strong segregarious community.

The converse of this principle is that in a community whose
individuals are largely segregarious, enjoying privacy, and thus
liberty of action, variations from the moral standards will be
frequent and positive transgressions not uncommon. In the one case,
where "communalism" reigns, moral action is, so to speak, automatic;
it requires no particular assertion of the individual will to do
right; conformity to the standard is spontaneous. In the latter case,
however, where "individualism" is the leading characteristic of the
community, the acceptance of the moral standards usually requires a
definite act of the individual will.

The history of Japan is a capital illustration of this principle. The
recent increase of immorality and crime is universally admitted. The
usual explanation is that in olden times every slight offense was
punished with death; the criminal class was thus continuously
exterminated. Nowadays a robber can ply his trade continuously, though
interrupted by frequent intervals of imprisonment. In former times,
once caught, he never could steal again, except in the land of the
shades. While this explanation has some force, it does not cover the
ground. A better explanation for the modern increase of lawlessness is
the change in the social order itself. The new order gives each man
wider liberty of individual action. He is free to choose his trade and
his home. Formerly these were determined for him by the accident of
his birth. His freedom is greater and so, too, are his temptations.

Furthermore, the standards of conduct themselves have been changing.
Certain acts which would have brought praise and honor if committed
fifty years ago, such, for instance, as "kataki uchi," revenge, would
to-day soon land one behind prison doors. In a word, "individualism"
is beginning to work powerfully on conduct; it has not yet gained the
ascendancy attained in the West; it is nevertheless abroad in the
land. The young are especially influenced by it. Taking advantage of
the liberty it grants, many forms of immorality seem to be on the
increase. So far as I can gather by inquiry, there has been a great
collapse not only in honesty, but also in the matter of sexual
morality. It will hardly do to say dogmatically that the national
standards of morality have been lowered, but it is beyond question
that the power of the community to enforce those standards has
suddenly come to naught by reason of the changing social order.
Western thought and practice as to the structure of society and the
freedom of the individual have been emphasized; Spencer and Mill and
Huxley have been widely read by the educated classes.[BR]

Furthermore, freedom and ease of travel, and liberty to change one's
residence at will, and thus the ability to escape unpleasant
restraints, have not a little to do with this collapse in morality.
Tens of thousands of students in the higher schools are away from
their homes and are entirely without the steadying support that home
gives. Then, too, there is a wealth among the common people that was,
never known in earlier times. Formerly the possession of means was
limited to a relatively small number of families. To-day we see
general prosperity, and a consequent tendency to luxury that was
unknown in any former period.

To be specific, let us note that in feudal times there were some 270
daimyo living in the utmost luxury. About 1,500,000 samurai were
dependent on them as retainers, while 30,000,000 people supported
these sons of luxury. In 1863 the farmers of Japan raised 30,000,000
koku of rice, and paid 22,000,000 of it to the government as taxes.
Taxed at the same rate to-day the farmers would have to pay
280,000,000 yen, whereas the actual payment made by them is only
38,000,000 yen. "The farmer's manner of life has radically changed. He
is now prosperous and comfortable, wearing silk where formerly he
could scarcely afford cotton, and eating rice almost daily, whereas
formerly he scarcely knew its taste."[BS]

It is stated by the _Japan Mail_ that whereas but "one person out of
ten was able thirty years ago to afford rice, the nine being content
to live from year's end to year's end on barley alone or barley mixed
with a modicum of rice, six persons to-day out of ten count it a
hardship if they cannot sit down to a square meal of rice daily....
Rice is no longer a luxury to the mass of the people, but has become a

Financially, then, the farming and middle classes are incomparably
better off to-day than in olden times. The amount of ready money which
a man can earn has not a little to do with his morality. If his
uprightness depends entirely or chiefly on his lack of opportunity to
do wrong, he will be a moral man so long as he is desperately poor or
under strict control. But give him the chance to earn ready cash,
together with the freedom to live where he chooses, and to spend his
income as he pleases, and he is sure to develop various forms of

I have made a large number of inquiries in regard to the increase or
decrease of concubinage during the present era. Statistics on this
subject are not to be had, for concubines are not registered as such
nor yet as wives. If a concubine lives in the home of the man, she is
registered as a domestic, and her children should be registered as
hers, although I am told that they are very often illegally registered
as his. If she lives in her own home, the concubine still retains the
name and registry of her own parents. The government takes no notice
of concubinage, and publishes no statistics in regard to it. The
children of concubines who live with their own parents are, I am told,
usually registered as the children of the mother's father; otherwise
they are registered as illegitimate; statistics, therefore, furnish no
clew as to the increase or decrease or amount of concubinage and
illegitimacy, most important questions in Japanese sociology. But my
informants are unanimous in the assertion that there has been a marked
increase of concubinage during recent years. The simple and uniform
explanation given is that multitudes of merchants and officials, and
even of farmers, can afford to maintain them to-day who formerly were
unable to do so. The older ideals on this subject were such as to
allow of concubinage to the extent of one's financial ability.

During the year 1898 the newspapers and leading writers of Japan
carried on a vigorous discussion concerning concubinage. The _Yorozu
Choho_ published an inventory of 493 men maintaining separate
establishments for their concubines, giving not only the names and
the business of the men, but also the character of the women chosen to
be concubines. Of these 493 men, 9 are ministers of state and
ex-ministers; 15 are peers or members of House of Peers; 7 are
barristers; 3 are learned doctors; the rest are nearly all business
men. The women were, previous to concubinage, Dancing girls, 183;
Servants, 69; Prostitutes, 17; "Ordinary young girls," 91; Adopted
daughters, 15; Widows, 7; Performers, 7; Miscellaneous, 104. In this
discussion it has been generally admitted that concubinage has
increased in modern times, and the cause attributed is "general
looseness of morals." Some of the leading writers maintain that the
concubinage of former times was largely confined to those who took
concubines to insure the maintenance of the family line; and also that
the taking of dancing girls was unknown in olden times.

It is interesting to note in this connection that some of those who
defend the practice of concubinage appeal to the example of the Old
Testament, saying that what was good enough for the race that gave to
Christians the greater part of their Bible is good enough for the
Japanese. Another point in the discussion interesting to the
Occidental is the repeated assertion that there is no real difference
between the East and the West in point of practice; the only
difference is that whereas in the East all is open and above board, in
the West extra-marital relations are condemned by popular opinion, and
are therefore concealed.[BT] A few writers publicly defend
concubinage; most, however, condemn it vigorously, even though making
no profession of Christian faith. Of the latter class is Mr. Fukuzawa,
one of Japan's leaders of public opinion. In his most trenchant
attack, he asserts that if Japan is to progress in civilization she
must abandon her system of concubinage. That new standards in regard
to marital relations are arising in Japan is clear; but they have as
yet little force; there is no consensus of opinion to give them
force. He who transgresses them is still recognized as in good
standing in the community.

Similarly, with respect to business honesty, it is the opinion of all
with whom I have conversed on the subject that there has been a great
decline in the honesty of the common people. In feudal days thefts and
petty dishonesty were practically unknown. To-day these are
exceedingly common. Foreign merchants complain that it is impossible
to trust Japanese to carry out verbal or written promises, when the
conditions of the market change to their disadvantage. It is
accordingly charged that the Japanese have no sense of honor in
business matters.

The _Kokumin Shinbun_ (People's News) has recently discussed the
question of Japanese commercial morality, with the following results:
It says, first, that goods delivered are not up to sample; secondly,
that engagements as to time are not kept; thirdly, that business men
have no adequate appreciation of the permanent interests of business;
fourthly, that they are without ability to work in common; and
fifthly, that they do not get to know either their customers or

"The Japanese consul at Tientsin recently reported to the Government
that the Chinese have begun to regard Japanese manufactures with
serious distrust. Merchandise received from Japan, they allege, does
not correspond with samples, and packing is, in almost all cases,
miserably unsubstantial. The consul expresses the deepest regret that
Japanese merchants are disposed to break their faith without regard to

In this connection it may not be amiss to revert to illustrations that
have come within my own experience. I have already cited instances of
the apparent duplicity to which deacons and candidates for the
ministry stoop. I do not believe that either the deacons or the
candidates had the slightest thought that they were doing anything
dishonorable. Nor do I for a moment suppose that the President and the
Trustees of the Doshisha at all realized the gravity of the moral
aspect of the course they took in diverting the Doshisha from its
original purposes. They seemed to think that money, once given to the
Doshisha, might be used without regard to the wishes of the donors. I
cannot help wondering how much of their thought on this subject is due
to the custom prevalent in Japan ever since the establishment of
Buddhist temples and monasteries, of considering property once given
as irrevocable, so that the individuals who gave it or their heirs,
have no further interest or right in the property. Large donations in
Japan have, from time immemorial, been given thus absolutely; the
giver assumed that the receiver would use it aright; specific
directions were not added as to the purposes of the gift. American
benefactors of the Doshisha have given under the standards prevailing
in the West. The receivers in Japan have accepted these gifts under
the standards prevailing in the East. Is not this in part the cause of
the friction that has arisen in recent years over the administration
of funds and lands and houses held by Japanese for mission purposes?

In this connection, however, I should not fail to refer to the fact
that the Christians of the Kumiai churches,[BW] in their annual
meeting (1898), took strong grounds as to the mismanagement of the
Doshisha by the trustees. The action of the latter in repealing the
clause of the constitution which declared the six articles of the
constitution forever unchangeable, and then of striking out the word
"Christian" in regard to the nature of the moral education to be given
in all departments of the institution, was characterized as "fu-ho,"
that is to say, unlawful, unrighteous, or immoral. Resolutions were
also passed demanding that the trustees should either restore the
expunged words or else resign and give place to men who would restore
them and carry out the will of the donors. This act on the part of a
large majority of the delegates of the churches shows that a standard
of business morality is arising in Japan that promises well for the

Before leaving this question, it is important for us to consider how
widely in lands which have long been both Christian and commercial,
the standards of truthfulness and business morality are transgressed.
I for one do not feel disposed to condemn Japanese failure very
severely, when I think of the failure in Western lands. Then, again,
when we stop to think of it, is it not a pretty fine line that we draw
between legitimate and illegitimate profits? What a relative
distinction this is! Even the Westerner finds difficulty in
discovering and observing it, especially so when the man with whom he
is dealing happens to be ignorant of the real value of the goods in
question. Let us not be too severe, then, in condemning the Japanese,
even though we must judge them to be deficient in ideals and conduct.
The explanation for the present state of Japan in regard to business
morality is neither far to seek nor hard to find. It has nothing
whatever to do with brain structure or inherent race character, but is
wholly a matter of changing social order. Feudal communalism has given
way to individualistic commercialism. The results are inevitable.
Japan has suddenly entered upon that social order where the
individuals of the nation are thrown upon their own choice for
character and life as they have been at no previous time. Old men, as
well as young, are thrown off their feet by the new temptations into
which they fall.

One of the strongest arguments in my mind for the necessity of a rapid
introduction into Japan of the Gospel of Christ, is to be built on
this fact. An individualistic social order demands an individualizing
religion. So far as I know, the older religions, with the lofty moral
teachings which one may freely admit them to have, make no determined
or even distinct effort to secure the activity of the individual will
in the adoption of moral ideals. The place both of "conversion" and of
the public avowal of one's "faith" in the establishment of individual
character, and the peculiar fitness of a religion having such
characteristics to a social order in which "individualism" is the
dominant principle, have not yet been widely recognized by writers on
sociology. These practices of the Protestant churches are,
nevertheless, of inestimable value in the upbuilding both of the
individual and of society. And Japan needs these elements at the
earliest possible date in order to supplement the new order of society
which is being established. Without them it is a question whether in
the long run this new order may not prove a step downward rather than

This completes our detailed study of Japanese moral characteristics as
revealed alike in their ideals and their practices. Let us now seek
for some general statement of the facts and conclusions thus far
reached. It has become clear that Japanese moralists have placed the
emphasis of their ethical thinking on loyalty; subordinated to this
has been filial piety. These two principles have been the pivotal
points of Japanese ethics. All other virtues flowed out of them, and
were intimately dependent upon them. These virtues are especially
fitted to upbuild and to maintain the feudal order of society. They
are essentially communal virtues. The first group, depending on and
growing out of loyalty, was concerned with the maintenance of the
larger communal unity, formerly the tribe, and now the nation. The
virtues connected with the second principle--filial piety--were
concerned with the maintenance of the smaller unit of society--- the
family. Righteousness and duty, of which much was made by Japanese
moralists, consisted in the observance of these two ideals.

The morality of individualism was largely wanting. From this lack
sprang the main defects of the moral ideal and of the actual practice.
The chief sins of Old Japan--and, as a matter of fact, of all the
heathen world, as graphically depicted by Mr. Dennis in his great work
on "Christian Missions and Social Progress"--were sins of omission and
commission against the individual. The rights of inferiors practically
received no consideration at the hands of the moralists. In the
Japanese conception of righteousness and duty, the rights and value of
the individual, as such, whatever his social standing or sex, were not

One class of defects in the Japanese moral ideal arose out of the
feudal order itself, namely, its scorn of trade. Trade had no vital
relation to the communal unity; hence it found and developed no moral
sanctions for its guidance. The West conceives of business deceit as
concerned not only with the integrity of the community, but also with
the rights of the individual. The moral ideals and sanctions for
business honesty are therefore doubly strong with us. The old order of
Japan was in no way dependent for its integrity on business honor and
honesty, and, as we have seen, individuals, as such, were not thought
to have inherent rights. Under such conditions, it is difficult to
conceive how universal moral ideals and sanctions for business
relations could be developed and maintained.

One further point demands attention. We naturally ask what the grounds
were on which the ethical ideals were commonly supposed to have
authority. So far as my knowledge goes, this question received almost
no consideration by the ordinary person, and but little from the
moralist. Old Japan was not accustomed to ask "Why?" It accepted
everything on the authority of the teacher, as children do, and as all
primitive peoples do. There was little or no thought as to the source
of the moral ideals or as to the nature or the function of the social
sanctions. If, as in a few instances, the questions were raised as to
their authority, the reply ordinarily would be that they had derived
their teachings from ancient times. And, if the matter were pressed,
it would be argued that the most ancient times were nearer the
beginning of men, and, therefore, nearer to Heaven, which decreed that
all the duties and customs of men; in the final resort, therefore,
authority would be attributed to Heaven. But such a questioner was
rare. Moral law was unhesitatingly accepted on the authority of the
teacher, and no uncomfortable questions were asked. It is easy to see
that both of the pivotal moral ideals, _i.e._, loyalty and filial
piety, would support this unquestioning habit of mind, for to ask
questions as to authority is the beginning both of disloyalty to the
master and of irreverence to the parents and ancestors.

The whole social order, being one of authority, unquestioned and
absolute, moral standards were accepted on the ipse dixit of great

In closing, we revert to our ever-recurring question: Are the moral
characteristics wherein the Japanese differ from other races inherent
and necessary, as are their physiological characteristics, or are they
incidental and transient, liable to transformation? Light has been
thrown on this problem by every illustration adduced. We have seen in
detail that every characteristically Japanese moral trait is due to
the nature of her past social order, and is changing With that order.
Racial moral traits, therefore, are not due to inherent nature, to
essential character, to brain structure, nor are they transmitted from
father to son by the mere fact of physical generation. On the
contrary, the distinguishing ethical characteristics of races, as seen
in their ethical ideals and their moral conduct, are determined by the
dominant social order, and vary with it. Ethical characteristics are
transmitted by association, transmission is therefore not limited to
the relation of parents and children. The bearing of this fact on the
problem of the moral transformation of races could be easily shown.



Said Prof. Pfleiderer to the writer in the winter of 1897: "I am sorry
to know that the Japanese are deficient in religious nature." In an
elaborate article entitled, "Wanted, a Religion," a missionary
describes the three so-called religions of Japan, Buddhism,
Confucianism, and Shintoism, and shows to his satisfaction that none
of these has the essential characteristics of religion.

Mr. Percival Lowell has said that "Sense may not be vital to religion,
but incense is."[BX] In my judgment, this is the essence of nonsense,
and is fitted to incense a man's sense.

The impression that the Japanese people are not religious is due to
various facts. The first is that for about three hundred years the
intelligence of the nation has been dominated by Confucian thought,
which rejects active belief in supra-human beings. When asked by his
pupils as to the gods, Confucius is reported to have said that men
should respect them, but should have nothing to do with them. The
tendency of Confucian ethics, accordingly, is to leave the gods
severely alone, although their existence is not absolutely denied.
When Confucianism became popular in Japan, the educated part of the
nation broke away from Buddhism, which, for nearly a thousand years,
had been universally dominant. To them Buddhism seemed superstitious
in the extreme. It was not uncommon for them to criticise it severely.
Muro Kyu-so,[BY] speaking of the immorality that was so common in the
native literature, says: "Long has Buddhism made Japan to think of
nothing as important except the worship of Buddha.

So it is that evil customs prevail, and there is no one who does not
find pleasure in lust.... Take out the lust and Buddhism from that
book, and the scenery and emotions are well described.... Had he
learned in the 'Way' of the sages, he had not fallen into
Buddhism."[BZ] The tendency of all persons trained in Confucian
classics was toward thoroughgoing skepticism as to divine beings and
their relation to this world. For this reason, beyond doubt, has
Western agnosticism found so easy an entrance into Japan. This ready
acceptance of Western agnosticism is a second fact that has tended to
give the West the impression referred to above. Complete indifference
to religion is characteristic of the educated classes of to-day.
Japanese and foreigners, Christians and non-Christians, alike, unite
in this opinion. The impression usually conveyed by this statement,
however, is that agnosticism is a new thing in Japan. In point of
fact, the old agnosticism is merely re-enforced by the support it
receives from the agnosticism of the West.

The Occidental impression of Japanese irreligious race nature is
further strengthened by the frequent assertion of it by writers, some
of whom at least are neither partial nor ignorant. Prof. Basil H.
Chamberlain, for instance, repeatedly makes the assertion or
necessitates the inference. Speaking of pilgrimages, he remarks that
the Japanese "take their religion lightly." Discussing the general
question of religion, he speaks of the Japanese as "essentially
undevotional," but he guards against the inference that they are
therefore specially immoral. Yet, in the same paragraph, he adds,
"Though they pray little and make light of supernatural dogma, the
religion of the family binds them down in truly social bonds."
Percival Lowell also, as we have seen, makes light of Japanese

This conclusion of foreigner observers is rendered the more convincing
to the average reader when he learns that such an influential man as
Mr. Fukuzawa declares that "religion is like tea," it serves a social
end, and nothing more; and that Mr. Hiroyuki Kato, until recently
president of the Imperial University, and later Minister of Education,
states that "Religion depends on fear." Marquis Ito, Japan's most
illustrious statesman, is reported to have said: "I regard religion
itself as quite unnecessary for a nation's life; science is far above
superstition, and what is religion--Buddhism or Christianity--but
superstition, and therefore a possible source of weakness to a nation?
I do not regret the tendency to free thought and atheism, which is
almost universal in Japan, because I do not regard it as a source of
danger to the community."[CA]

If leaders of national thought have such conceptions as to the nature
and origin of religion, is it strange that the rank and file of
educated people should have little regard for it, or that foreigners
generally should believe the Japanese race to be essentially

But before we accept this conclusion, various considerations demand
our notice. Although the conception of religion held by the eminent
Japanese gentlemen just quoted is not accepted by the writer as
correct, yet, even on their own definitions, a study of Japanese
superstitions and religious ceremonies would easily prove the people
as a whole to be exceedingly religious. Never had a nation so many
gods. It has been indeed "the country of the gods." Their temples and
shrines have been innumerable. Priests have abounded and worshipers
swarmed. For worship, however indiscriminate and thoughtless, is
evidence of religious nature.

Furthermore, utterances like those quoted above in regard to the
nature and function of religion, are frequently on the lips of
Westerners also, multitudes of whom have exceedingly shallow
conceptions of the real nature of religion or the part it plays in the
development of society and of the individual. But we do not pronounce
the West irreligious because of such utterances. We must not judge the
religious many by the irreligious few.

Again, are they competent judges who say the Japanese are
non-religious? Can a man who scorns religion himself, who at least
reveals no appreciation of its real nature by his own heart
experience, judge fairly of the religious nature of the people? Still
further, the religious phenomena of a people may change from age to
age. In asking, then, whether a people is religious by nature, we must
study its entire religious history, and not merely a single period of
it. The life of modern Japan has been rudely shocked by the sudden
accession of much new intellectual light. The contents of religion
depends on the intellect; sudden and widespread accession of knowledge
always discredits the older forms of religious expression. An
undeveloped religion, still bound up with polytheistic symbolism, with
its charms and mementoes, inevitably suffers severely at the hands of
exact modern science. For the educated minority, especially, the
inevitable reaction is to complete skepticism, to apparent irreligion.
For the time being, religion itself may appear to have been
discredited. In an advancing age, prophets of religious dissolution
are abundant. Such prophecies, with reference to Christianity, have
been frequent, and are not unheard even now. Particular beliefs and
practices of religion have indeed changed and passed away, even in
Christianity. But the essentially religious nature of man has
re-asserted itself in every case, and the outward expressions of that
nature have thereby only become freer from elements of error and
superstition. Exactly this is taking place in Japan to-day. The
apparent irreligion of to-day is the groundwork of the purer religion
of to-morrow.

If the Japanese are emotional and sentimental, we should expect them
to be, perhaps more than most peoples, religious. This expectation is
not disappointed by a study of their history. However imperfect as a
religion we must pronounce original Shinto to have been, consisting of
little more than a cultus and a theogony, yet even with this alone the
Japanese should be pronounced a religious people. The universality of
the respect and adoration, not to say love, bestowed throughout the
ages of history on the "Kami" (the multitudinous Gods of Shintoism),
is a standing witness to the depth of the religious feeling in the
Japanese heart. True, it is associated with the sentiments of love of
ancestors and country, with filial piety and loyalty; but these, so
far from lowering the religion, make it more truly religious?

Unending lines of pilgrims, visiting noted Shinto temples and climbing
sacred mountain peaks, arrest the attention of every thoughtful
student of Japan. These pilgrims are numbered by the hundreds of
thousands every year. The visitors to the great shrine at Kizuki of
Izumo number about 250,000 annually. "The more prosperous the season,
the larger the number of pilgrims. It rarely falls below two hundred
thousand." In his "Occult Japan," Mr. Lowell has given us an
interesting account of the "pilgrim clubs," The largest known to him
numbered about twelve thousand men, but he thinks they average from
one hundred to about five hundred persons each. The number of yearly
visitors to the Shinto shrines at Ise is estimated at half a million,
and ten thousand pilgrims climb Mt. Fuji every summer. The number of
pilgrims to Kompira, in Shikoku, is incredibly large; according to the
count taken during the first half of 1898, the first ever taken, the
average for six months was 2500 each day; at this rate the number for
the year is nearly 900,000. The highest for a single day was over
12,000. These figures were given me by the chief official of this
district. The highest mountain in Shikoku, Ishidzuchi San, some six
thousand feet in height, is said to be ascended by ten thousand
pilgrims each summer. These pilgrims eat little or nothing at hotels,
depending rather on what they carry until they return from their
arduous three days' climb; nor do they take any prolonged rest until
they are on the homeward way. The reason for this is that the climb is
supposed to be a test of the heart; if the pilgrim fail to reach the
summit, the inference is that he is at fault, and that the god does
not favor him. They who offer their prayers from the summit are
supposed to be assured of having them answered.

But beside these greater pilgranages to mountain summits and national
shrines, innumerable lesser ones are made. Each district has a more or
less extended circuit of its own. In Shikoku there is a round known as
the "Hachi-Ju-hakka sho mairi," or "The Pilgrimage to the 88 Places,"
supposed to be the round once made by Kobo Daishi (A.D. 774-834), the
founder of the Shinton sect of Buddhism. The number of pilgrims who
make this round is exceedingly large, since it is a favorite circuit
for the people not only of Shikoku, but also of central and western
Japan. Many of the pilgrims wear on the back, just below the neck, a
pair of curious miniature "waraji" or straw sandals, because Kobo
Daishi carried a real pair along with him on his journey. I never go
to Ishite Temple (just out of Matsuyama), one of the eighty-eight
places of the circuit, without seeing some of these pilgrims. But this
must suffice. The pilgrim habit of the Japanese is a strong proof of
widespread religious enthusiasm, and throws much light on the
religious nature of the people. There seems to be reason for thinking
that the custom existed in Japan even before the introduction of
Buddhism. If this is correct, it bears powerful testimony to the
inherently religious nature of the Japanese race.

The charge has been made that these pilgrimages are mere pleasure
excursions. Mr. Lowell says, facetiously, that "They are peripatetic
picnic parties, faintly flavored with piety; just a sufficient
suspicion of it to render them acceptable to the easy-going gods."
Beneath this light alliterative style, which delights the literary
reader, do we find the truth? To me it seems like a slur on the
pilgrims, evidently due to Mr. Lowell's idea that a genuine religious
feeling must be gloomy and solemn. Joy may seem to him incompatible
with heartfelt religion and aspiration. That these pilgrims lack the
religious aspiration characteristic of highly developed Christians of
the West, is, of course, true; but that they have a certain type of
religious aspiration is equally indisputable. They have definite and
strong ideas as to the advantage of prayer at the various shrines;
they confidently believe that their welfare, both in this world and
the next, will be vitally affected by such pilgrimages and such a
faithful worship. It is customary for pilgrims, who make extended
journeys, to carry what may be called a passbook, in which seals are
placed by the officials of each shrine. This is evidence to friends
and to the pilgrim himself, in after years, of the reality of his long
and tedious pilgrimage. Beggars before these shrines are apt to
display these passbooks as an evidence of their worthiness and need.
For many a pilgrim supports himself, during his pilgrimage, entirely
by begging.

Pilgrims also buy from each shrine of note some charm, "o mamori,"
"honorable preserver," and "o fuda," "honorable ticket," which to them
are exceedingly precious. There is hardly a house in Japan but has
some, often many, of these charms, either nailed on the front door or
placed on the god-shelf. I have seen a score nailed one above another.
In some cases the year-names are still legible, and show considerable
age. The sale of charms is a source of no little revenue to the
temples, in some cases amounting to thousands of yen annually. We may
smile at the ignorance and superstition which these facts reveal, but,
as I already remarked, these are external features, the material
expression or clothing, so to speak, of the inner life. Their
particular form is due to deficient intellectual development. I do not
defend them; I merely maintain that their existence shows conclusively
the possession by the people at large of a real religious emotion and
purpose. If so, they, are not to be sneered at, although the mood of
the average pilgrim may be cheerful, and the ordinary pilgrimage may
have the aspect of a "peripatetic picnic, faintly flavored with
piety." The outside observer, such as the foreigner of necessity is,
is quick to detect the picnic quality, but he cannot so easily discern
the religious significance or the inner thoughts and emotions of the
pilgrims. The former is discernible at a glance, without knowledge of
the Japanese language or sympathy with the religious heart; the latter
can be discovered only by him who intimately understands the people,
their language and their religion.

If religion were necessarily gloomy, festivals and merry-making would
be valid proof of Japanese religious deficiency. But such is not the
case. Primitive religions, like primitive people, are artless and
simple in religious joy as in all the aspects of their life. Developed
races increasingly discover the seriousness of living, and become
correspondingly reflective, if not positively gloomy. Religion shares
this transformation. But those religions in which salvation is a
prominent idea, and whose nature is such as to satisfy at once the
head and the heart, restore joyousness as a necessary consequence.
While certain aspects of Christianity certainly have a gloomy
look,--which its critics are much disposed to exaggerate, and then to
condemn,--yet Christianity at heart is a religion of profound joy, and
this feature shows itself in such universal festivals as Christmas and
Easter. Even though the Japanese popular religious life showed itself
exclusively in festivals and on occasions of joy, therefore, that
would not prove them to be inherently lacking in religious nature.

But there is another set of phenomena, even more impressive to the
candid and sympathetic student. It is the presence in every home of
the "Butsu-dan," or Buddha shelf, and the "Kami-dana," or God shelf.
The former is Buddhist, and the latter Shinto. Exclusive Shintoists,
who are rare, have the latter alone. Where both are found, the
"I-hai," ancestral memorial tablets, are placed on the "Butsu-dan";
otherwise they are placed on the "Kami-dana." The Kami-dana are always
quite simple, as are all Shinto charms and utensils. The Butsu-dan are
usually elaborate and beautiful, and sometimes large and costly. The
universality of these tokens of family religion, and the constant and
loving care bestowed upon them, are striking testimony to the
universality of the religion in Japan. The pathos of life is often
revealed by the faithful devotion of the mother to these silent
representatives of divine beings and departed ancestors or children. I
have no hesitation in saying that, so far as external appearances go,
the average home in Japan is far more religious than the average home
in enlightened England or America, especially when compared with such
as have no family worship. There may be a genuine religious life in
these Western homes, but it does not appear to the casual visitor. Yet
no casual visitor can enter a Japanese home, without seeing at once
the evidences of some sort, at least, of religious life.

It is impossible for me to believe, as many assert, that all is mere
custom and hollow form, without any kernel of meaning or sincerity.
Customs may outlast beliefs for a time, and this is particularly the
case with religious customs; for the form is so often taken to involve
the very essence of the reality. But customs which have lost all
significance, and all belief, inevitably dwindle and fade away, even
if not suddenly rejected; they remain them; they leave their trace
indeed, but so faintly that only the student of primitive customs can
detect them and recognize their original nature and purpose. The
Butsu-dan and Kami-dana do not belong to this order of beliefs. The
average home of Japan would feel itself desecrated were these to be
forcibly removed. The piety of the home centers, in large measure,
about these expressions of the religious heart. Their practical
universality is a significant witness to the possession by the people
at large of a religious nature.

If it is fair to argue that the Christian religion has a vital hold on
the Western peoples because of the cathedrals and churches to be found
throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, a similar argument
applies to Japan and the hold of the religions of this land upon its
people. For over a thousand years the external manifestations of
religion in architecture have been elaborate. Temples of enormous
size, comparing not unfavorably with the cathedrals of Europe as
regards the cost of erection, are to be found in all parts of the
land. Immense temple bells of bronze, colossal statues of Buddha, and
lesser ones of saints and worthies innumerable, bear witness to the
lavish use of wealth in the expression of religious devotion. It is
sometimes said that Buddhism is moribund in Japan. It is seriously
asserted that its temples are falling into decay. This is no more true
of the temples of Buddhism in Japan, than of the cathedrals Of
Christendom. Local causes greatly affect the prosperity of the various
temples. Some are falling into decay, but others are being repaired,
and new ones are being built. No one can have visited any shrine of
note without observing the large number of signboards along either
side of the main approach, on which are written the sums contributed
for the building or repairing of the temple. These gifts are often
munificent, single gifts sometimes reaching the sum of a thousand yen;
I have noticed a few exceeding this amount. The total number of these
temples and shrines throughout the country is amazing. According to
government statistics, in 1894 the Buddhist temples numbered 71,831;
and the Shinto temples and shrines which have received official
registration reached the vast number of 190,803. The largest temple in
Japan, costing several million dollars, the Nishihongwanji in Kyoto,
has been built during the past decade. Considering the general poverty
of the nation, the proportion of gifts made for the erection and
maintenance of these temples and shrines is a striking testimony to
the reality of some sort of religious zeal. That it rests entirely on
form and meaningless rites, is incredible.



Without doubt, many traits are attributed to the Japanese by the
casual observer or captious critic, through lack of ability to read
between the lines. We have already seen how the stoical element of
Japanese character serves to conceal from the sociologist the
emotional nature of the people. If a Japanese conceals his ordinary
emotions, much more does he refrain from public exhibition of his
deeper religious aspirations. Although he may feel profoundly, his
face and manner seldom reveal it. When torn with grief over the loss
of a parent or son, he will tell you of his loss with smiles, if not
with actual laughter. "The Japanese smile" has betrayed the solemn
foreigner into many an error of individual and racial character
interpretation. Particularly frequent have been such errors in matters
of religion.

Although the light and joyous, "smiling" aspect of Japanese religious
life is prominent, the careful observer will come incidentally and
unexpectedly on many signs of an opposite nature, if he mingle
intimately with the people. Japan has its sorrows and its tragedies,
no less than other lands. These have their part in determining
religious phenomena.

The student who takes his stand at a popular shrine and watches the
worshipers come and go will be rewarded by the growing conviction
that, although many are manifestly ceremonialists, others are clearly
subjects of profound feeling. See that mother leading her toddling
child to the image of Binzuru, the god of healing, and teaching it to
rub the eyes and face of the god and then its own eyes and face. See
that pilgrim before a bare shrine repeating in rapt devotion the
prayer he has known from his childhood, and in virtue of which he has
already received numberless blessings. Behold that leper pleading with
merciful Kwannon of the thousand hands to heal his disease. Hear that
pitiful wail of a score of fox-possessed victims for deliverance from
their oppressor. Watch that tearful maiden performing the hundred
circuits of the temple while she prays for a specific blessing for
herself or some loved one. Observe that merchant solemnly worshiping
the god of the sea, with offering of rice and wine. Count those
hundreds of votive pictures, thanksgiving remembrances of the sick who
have been healed, in answer, as they firmly believe, to their prayers
to the god of this particular shrine. These are not imaginary cases.
The writer has seen these and scores more like them. Here is a serious
side to Japanese religious life easily overlooked by a casual or
unsympathetic observer.

In addition to these simpler religious phenomena, we find in Japan, as
in other lands, the practice of ecstatic union with the deity. In
Shinto it is called "Kami-oroshi," the bringing down of the gods. It
is doubtless some form of hypnotic trance, yet the popular
interpretation of the phenomenon is that of divine possession.

Among Buddhists, the practice of ecstasy takes a different form. The
aim is to attain absolute vacuity of mind and thus complete union with
the Absolute. When attained, the soul becomes conscious of blissful
superiority to all the concerns of this mundane life, a foretaste of
the Nirvana awaiting those who shall attain to Buddhahood. The actual
attainment of this experience is practically limited to the
priesthood, who alone have the time and freedom from the cares of the
world needful for its practice. For it is induced only by long and
profound "meditation." Especially is this experience the desire of the
Zen sect, which makes it a leading aim, taking its name "zen" (to sit)
from this practice. To sit in religious abstraction is the height of
religious bliss.

The practical business man of the West may perhaps find some
difficulty in seeing anything particularly religious in ecstasy or
mental vacuity. But if I mistake not, this religious phenomenon of the
Orient does not differ in essence from the mystical religious
experience so common in the middle and subsequent ages in Europe, and
represented to-day by mystical Christians. Indeed, some of the finest
religious souls of Western lands have been mystics. Mystic
Christianity finds ready acceptance with certain of the Japanese.

The critical reader may perhaps admit, in view of the facts thus far
presented, that the ignorant millions have some degree of religious
feeling and yet, in view of the apparently irreligious life of the
educated, he may still feel that the religious nature of the race is
essentially shallow. He may feel that as soon as a Japanese is lifted
out of the superstitious beliefs of the past, he is freed from all
religious ideas and aspirations. I admit at once that there seems to
be some ground for such an assertion. Yet as I study the character of
the samurai of the Tokugawa period, who alone may be called the
irreligious of the olden times, I see good reasons for holding that,
though rejecting Buddhism, they were religious at heart. They
developed little or no religious ceremonial to replace that of
Buddhism, yet there were indications that the religious life still
remained. Intellectual and moral growth rendered it impossible for
earnest and honest men to accept the old religious expressions. They
revolted from religious forms, rather than from religion, and the
revolt resulted not in deeper superstitions and a poorer life, but in
a life richer in thought and noble endeavor. Muro Kyu-so, the
"Japanese Philosopher" to whom we have referred more than once,
rejected Buddhism, as we have already seen. The high quality of his
moral teachings we have also noticed. Yet he had no idea that he was
"religious." Those who reject Buddhism often use the term
"Shukyo-kusai," "stinking religion." For them religion is synonymous
with corrupt and superstitious Buddhism. To have told Muro that he was
religious would doubtless have offended him, but a few quotations
should satisfy anyone that at heart he was religious in the best sense
of the term.

"Consider all of you. Whence is fortune? From Heaven. Even the world
says, Fortune is in Heaven. So then there is no resource save prayer
to Heaven. Let us then ask: what does Heaven hate, and what does
Heaven love? It loves benevolence and hates malevolence. It loves
truth and hates untruth.... That which in Heaven begets all things, in
man is called love. So doubt not that Heaven loves benevolence and
hates its opposite. So too is it with truth. For countless ages sun
and moon and stars constantly revolve and we make calendars without
mistake. Nothing is more certain. It is the very truth of the
universe.... I have noticed prayers for good luck, brought year by
year from famous temples and hills, decorating the entrances to the
homes of famous samurai. But none the less they have been killed or
punished, or their line has been destroyed and house extinguished. Or
at least to many, shame and disgrace have come. They have not learned
fortune, but foolishly depend on prayers and charms. Confucius said:
'When punished by Heaven there is no place for prayer.' Women of
course follow the temples and trust in charms, but not so should men.
Alas! Now all are astray, those who should be teachers, the samurai
and those higher still" (pp. 63-5). "Sin is the source of pain and
righteousness of happiness. This is the settled law. The teaching of
the sages and the conduct of superior men is determined by principles
and the result is left to Heaven. Still, we do not obey in the hope of
happiness, nor do we forbear to sin from fear. Not with this meaning
did Confucius and Mencius teach that happiness is in virtue and pain
in sin. But the 'way' is the law of man. It is said, 'The way of
Heaven blesses virtue and curses sin.' That is intended for the
ignorant multitude. Yet it is not like the Buddhist 'hoben' (pious
device), for it is the determined truth" (p. 66). "Heaven is forever
and is not to be understood at once, like the promises of men.
Shortsighted men consider its ways and decide that there is no reward
for virtue or vice. So they doubt when the good are virtuous and fear
not when the wicked sin. They do not know that there is no victory
against Heaven when it decrees" (p. 67). "Reason comes from Heaven,
and is in men.... The philosopher knows the truth as the drinker knows
the taste of _saké_ and the abstainer the taste of sweets. How shall
he forget it? How shall he fall into error? Lying down, getting up,
moving, resting, all is well. In peace, in trouble, in death, in joy,
in sorrow, all is well. Never for a moment will he leave this 'way.'
This is to know it in ourselves" (p. 71).

One day, five or six students remained after the lecture to ask Kyu-so
about his view as to the gods, stating their own dissatisfaction with
the fantastic interpretations given to the term "Shinto" by the native
scholars. Making some quotations from the Chinese classics, he went on
to say for himself:

"I cannot accept that which is popularly called Shinto.... I do not
profess to understand the profound reason of the deities, but in
outline this is my idea: The Doctrine of the Mean speaks of the
'virtue of the Gods' and Shu-shi explains this word 'virtue' to mean
the 'heart and its revelation.' Its meaning is thus stated in the
Saden: 'God is pure intelligence and justice.' Now all know that God
is just, but do not know that he is intelligent. But there is no such
intelligence elsewhere as God's. Man hears by the ear and where the
ear is not he hears not ...; man sees with his eyes, and where they
are not he sees not ...; with his heart man thinks and the swiftest
thought takes time. But God uses neither ear nor eye, nor does he pass
over in thought. Directly he feels, and directly does he respond....
Is not this the divinity of Heaven and Earth? So the Doctrine of the
Mean says: 'Looked for it cannot be seen, listened to it cannot be
heard. It enters into all things. There is nothing without it.' ...
'Everywhere, everywhere, on the right and on the left.' This is the
revealing of God, the truth not to be concealed. Think not that God is
distant, but seek him in the heart, for the heart is the House of God.
Where there is no obstacle of lust, there is communion of one spirit
with the God of Heaven and Earth.... And now for the application.
Examine yourselves, make the truth of the heart the foundation,
increase in learning and at last you will attain. Then will you know
the truth of what I speak" (pp. 50-52).

In the above passage Dr. Knox has translated the term "Shin," the
Chinese ideograph for the Japanese word "Kami," by the English
singular, God. This lends to the passage a fullness of monotheistic
expression which the original hardly, if at all, justifies. The
originals are indefinite as to number and might with equal truth be
translated "gods," as Dr. Knox suggests himself in a footnote.

These and similar passages are of great interest to the student of
Japanese religious development. They should be made much of by
Christian preachers and missionaries. Such writers and thinkers as
Muro evidently was might not improperly be called the pre-Christian
Christians of Japan. They prepared the way for the coming of more
light on these subjects. Japanese Christian apologists should collect
such utterances from her wise men of old, and by them lead the nation
to an appreciation of the truths which they suggest and for which they
so fitly prepare the way. Scattered as they now are, and seldom read
by the people, they lie as precious gems imbedded in the hills, or as
seed safely stored. They can bear no harvest till they are sown in the
soil and allowed to spring up and grow.

The more I have pondered the implications of these and similar
passages, the more clear has it become that their authors were
essentially religious men. Their revolt from "religion" did not spring
from an irreligious motive, but from a deeper religious insight than
was prevalent among Buddhist believers. The irrational and often
immoral nature of many of the current religious expressions and
ceremonials and beliefs became obnoxious to the thinking classes, and
were accordingly rejected. The essence of religion, however, was not
rejected. They tore off the accumulated husks of externalism, but kept
intact the real kernel of religion.

The case for the religious nature of modern, educated Japan is not so
simple. Irreligious it certainly appears. Yet it, too, is not so
irreligious as perhaps the Occidental thinks. Though immoral, a
Japanese may still be a filial son and a loyal subject,
characteristics which have religious value in Japan, Old and New. It
would not be difficult to prove that many a modern Japanese writer who
proclaims his rejection of religion--calling all religion but
superstition and ceremony--is nevertheless a religious man at heart.
The religions he knows are too superstitious and senseless to satisfy
the demands of his intellectually developed religious nature. He does
not recognize that his rejection of what he calls "religion" is a real
manifestation of his religious nature rather than the reverse.

The widespread irreligious phenomena of New Japan are, therefore, not
difficult of explanation, when viewed in the light of two thousand
years of Japanese religious history. They cannot be attributed to a
deficient racial endowment of religious nature. They are a part of
nineteenth-century life by no means limited to Japan. If the
Anglo-Saxon race is not to be pronounced inherently irreligious,
despite the fact that irreligious phenomena and individuals are in
constant evidence the world over, neither can New Japan be pronounced
irreligious for the same reason. The irreligion now so rampant is a
recent phenomenon in Japan. It may not immediately pass away, but it
must eventually. Religion freed from superstition and ceremonialism,
resting in reality, identifying moral and scientific with religious
truth, is already finding hearty support from many of Japan's educated
men. If appeal is made under the right conditions, the Japanese
manifest no lack of a genuine religious nature. That they seem to be
deficient in the sense of reverence is held by some to be proof
presumptive of a deficient religious nature. A few illustrations will
make clear what the critic means and will guide us to an
interpretation of the phenomena. Occidentals are accustomed to
consider a religious service as a time of solemn quiet, for we feel
ourselves in a special sense in the presence of God; His majesty and
glory are realities to the believing worshiper. But much occurs during
a Christian service in Japanese churches which would seem to indicate
a lack of this feeling. It is by no means uncommon for little children
to run about without restraint during the service, for mothers to
nurse their infants, and for adults to converse with each other in an
undertone, though not so low but that the sound of the conversation
may be heard by all. I know a deacon occupying a front mat in church
who spends a large part of service time during the first two sabbaths
of each month in making out the receipts of the monthly contributions
and distributing them among the members. His apparent supposition is
that he disturbs no one (and it is amazing how undisturbed the rest of
the congregation is), but also that he is in no way interfering with
the solemnity or value of the service. The freedom, too, with which
individuals come and go during the service is in marked contrast to
our custom. From our standpoint, there is lack of reverence.

I recently attended a young men's meeting at which the places for each
were assigned by written quotations, from the Bible, one-half of which
was given to the individual and the other half placed at the seat. One
quotation so used was the text, "The birds of the air have nests, but
the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." It would hardly seem
as if earnest Christians could have made such use of this text. Some
months ago at a social gathering held in connection with the annual
meeting of the churches of Shikoku, one of the comic performances
consisted in the effort on the part of three old men to sing through
to the end without a break-down the song which to us is so sacred,
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me." Only one man succeeded, the others going
through a course of quavers and breaks which was exceedingly
laughable, but absolutely irreverent. The lack of reverence which has
sometimes characterized the social side of the Christmas services in
Japan has been the source of frequent regret to the missionaries. In a
social gathering of earnest young Christians recently, a game
demanding forfeits was played; these consisted of the recitation of
familiar texts from the Bible. There certainly seems to be a lack of
the sense of the fitness of things.

But the question is, are these practices due to an inherent
deficiency of reverence, arising from the character of the Japanese
nature, or are they due rather to the religious history of the past
and the conditions of the present? That the latter seems to me the
correct view I need hardly state. The fact that the Japanese are an
emotional people renders it probable, a priori, that under suitable
conditions they would be especially subject to the emotion of
reverence. And when we look at their history, and observe the actual
reverence paid by the multitudes to the rulers, and by the
superstitious worshipers to the "Kami" and "Hotoke," it becomes
evident that the apparent irreverence in the Christian churches must
be due to peculiar conditions. Reverence is a subtle feeling; it
depends on the nature of the ideas that possess the mind and heart.
From the very nature of the case, Japanese Christians cannot have the
same set of associations clustering around the church, the service,
the Bible, or any of the Christian institutions, as the Occidental who
has been reared from childhood among them, and who has derived his
spiritual nourishment from them. All the wealth of nineteen centuries
of experience has tended to give our services and our churches special
religious value in our eyes. The average Christian in Japan and in any
heathen land cannot have this fringe of ideas and subtle feelings so
essential to a profound feeling of reverence. But as the significance
of the Christian conception of God, endowed with glory and honor,
majesty and might, is increasingly realized, and as it is found that
the spirit of reverence is one that needs cultivation in worship, and
especially as it is found that the spirit of reverence is important to
high spiritual life and vitalizing spiritual power, more and more will
that spirit be manifested by Japanese Christians. But its possession
or its lack is due not to the inherent character of the people, but
rather to the character of the ideas which possess them. In taking now
a brief glance at the nature and history of the three religions of
Japan it seems desirable to quote freely from the writings of
recognized authorities on the subject.

     "_Shinto_, which means literally 'the way of the Gods,' is the name
     given to the mythology and vague ancestor-and nature-worship which
     preceded the introduction of Buddhism into Japan--Shinto, so often
     spoken of as a religion, is hardly entitled to that name. It has no
     set of dogmas, no sacred book, no moral code. The absence of a
     moral code is accounted for in the writings of modern native
     commentators by the innate perfection of Japanese humanity, which
     obviates the necessity for such outward props.... It is necessary,
     however, to distinguish three periods in the existence of Shinto.
     During the first of these--roughly speaking, down to A.D. 550--the
     Japanese had no notion of religion as a separate institution. To
     pay homage to the gods, that is, to the departed ancestors of the
     Imperial family, and to the names of other great men, was a usage
     springing from the same soil as that which produced passive
     obedience to, and worship of, the living Mikado. Besides this,
     there were prayers to the wind-gods, to the god of fire, to the god
     of pestilence, to the goddess of food, and to deities presiding
     over the sauce-pan, the caldron, the gate, and the kitchen. There
     were also purifications for wrongdoing.... But there was not even a
     shadowy idea of any code of morals, or any systematization of the
     simple notions of the people concerning things unseen. There was
     neither heaven nor hell--only a kind of neutral-tinted Hades. Some
     of the gods were good and some were bad; nor was the line between
     men and gods at all clearly drawn."

The second period of Shinto began with the introduction of Buddhism
into Japan, in which period Shinto became absorbed into Buddhism
through the doctrine that the Shinto deities were ancient incarnations
of Buddhas. In this period Shinto retained no distinctive feature.
"Only at court and at a few great shrines, such as those of Ise and
Idzumo, was a knowledge of Shinto in its native simplicity kept up;
and it is doubtful whether changes did not creep in with the lapse of
ages. Most Shinto temples throughout the country were served by
Buddhist priests, who introduced the architectural ornaments and the
ceremonial of their own religion. Thus was formed the Ryobu Shinto--a
mixed religion founded on a compromise between the old creed and the
new, and hence the tolerant ideas on theological subjects of most of
the middle-lower classes, who worship indifferently at the shrines of
either faith."

The third period began about 1700. It was introduced by the scholarly
study of history. "Soon the movement became religious and
political--above all, patriotic.... The Shogunate was frowned on,
because it had supplanted the autocracy of the heaven-descended
Mikados. Buddhism and Confucianism were sneered at because of their
foreign origin. The great scholars Mabuchi (1697-1769), Motoori
(1730-1801), and Hirata (1776-1843) devoted themselves to a religious
propaganda--if that can be called a religion which sets out from the
principle that the only two things needful are to follow one's natural
impulses and to obey the Mikado. This order triumphed for a moment in
the revolution of 1868." It became for a few months the state
religion, but soon lost its status.[CB]

_Buddhism_ came to Japan from Korea _via_ China in 552 A.D. It was
already a thousand years old and had, before it reached Japan, broken
up into numerous sects and subsects differing widely from each other
and from the original teaching of Sakya Muni. After two centuries of
propagandism it conquered the land and absorbed the religious life of
the people, though Shinto was never entirely suppressed. "All
education was for centuries in Buddhist hands; Buddhism introduced
art, and medicine, molded the folklore of the country, created its
dramatic poetry, deeply influenced politics and every sphere of social
and intellectual activity. In a word, Buddhism was the teacher under
whose instruction the Japanese nation grew up. As a nation they are
now grossly forgetful of this fact. Ask an educated Japanese a
question about Buddhism, and ten to one he will smile in your face. A
hundred to one that he knows nothing about the subject and glories in
his nescience." "The complicated metaphysics of Buddhism have awakened
no interest in the Japanese nation. Another fact, curious but true, is
that these people have never been at the trouble to translate the
Buddhist canon into their own language. The priests use a Chinese
version, and the laity no version at all, though ... they would seem
to have been given to searching the Scriptures a few hundred years
ago. The Buddhist religion was disestablished and disendowed during
the years 1871-74, a step taken in consequence of the temporary
ascendency of Shinto." Although Confucianism took a strong hold on the
people in the early part of the seventeenth century, yet its influence
was limited to the educated and ruling classes. The vast multitude
still remained Shinto-Buddhists.

As for doctrine, philosophic Buddhism with its dogmas of salvation
through intellectual enlightenment, by means of self-perfecting, with
its goal of absorption into Nirvana, has doubtless been the belief and
aim of the few. But such Buddhism was too deep for the multitudes. "By
the aid of hoben, or pious devices, the priesthood has played into the
hands of popular superstition. Here, as elsewhere, there have been
evolved charms, amulets, pilgrimages, and gorgeous temple services, in
which the people worship not only the Buddha, who was himself an
agnostic, but his disciple, and even such abstractions as Amida, which
are mistaken for actual divine personages."[CC] The deities of Shinto
have been more or less confused with those of popular Buddhism; in
some cases, inextricably so.

_Confucianism_, as known in Japan, was the elaborated doctrine of
Confucius. "He confined himself to practical details of morals and
government, and took submission to parents and political rulers as the
corner stone of his system. The result is a set of moral truths--some
would say truisms--of a very narrow scope, and of dry ceremonial
observances, political rather than personal." "Originally introduced
into Japan early in the Christian era, along with other products of
Chinese civilization, the Confucian philosophy lay dormant during the
middle ages, the period of the supremacy of Buddhism. It awoke with a
start in the early part of the seventeenth century when Iccasu, the
great warrior, ruler, and patron of learning, caused the Confucian
classics to be printed in Japan for the first time. During the two
hundred and fifty years that followed, the intellect of the country
was molded by Confucian ideas. Confucius himself had, it is true,
labored for the establishment of a centralized monarchy. But his main
doctrine of unquestioning submission to rulers and parents fitted in
perfectly with the feudal ideas of Old Japan; and the conviction of
the paramount importance of such subordination lingers on, an element
of stability, in spite of the recent social cataclysm which has
involved Japanese Confucianism, properly so-called, in the ruin of all
other Japanese institutions."[CD]

_Christianity_ was first brought to Japan by Francis Xavier, who
landed in Kagoshima in 1549. His zeal knew no bounds and his results
were amazing. "The converts were drawn from all classes alike.
Noblemen, Buddhist priests, men of learning, embraced the faith with
the same alacrity as did the poor and ignorant.... One hundred and
thirty-eight European missionaries" were then on the field. "Until the
breaking out of the persecution of 1596 the work of evangelization
proceeded apace. The converts numbered ten thousand yearly, though all
were fully aware of the risk to which they exposed themselves by
embracing the Catholic faith." "At the beginning of the seventeenth
century, the Japanese Christians numbered about one million, the fruit
of half a century of apostolic labor accomplished in the midst of
comparative peace. Another half-century of persecution was about to
ruin this flourishing church, to cut off its pastors, more than two
hundred of whom suffered martyrdom, and to leave its laity without the
offices of religion.... The edicts ordering these measures remained in
force for over two centuries." Tens of thousands of Christians
preferred death to perjury. It was supposed that Christianity was
entirely exterminated by the fearful and prolonged persecutions. Yet
in the vicinity of Nagasaki over four thousand Christians were
discovered in 1867, who were again subject to persecution until the
pressure of foreign lands secured religious toleration in Japan.

Protestant Christianity came to Japan with the beginning of the new
era, and has been preached with much zeal and moderate success. For a
time it seemed destined to sweep the land even more astonishingly than
did Romanism in the sixteenth century. But in 1888 an anti-foreign
reaction began in every department of Japanese life and thought which
has put a decided check on the progress of Christian missions.

This must suffice for our historical review of the religious life of
the Japanese. Were we to forget Japan's long and repeated isolations,
and also to ignore fluctuations of belief and of other religious
phenomena in other lands, we might say, as many do, that the Japanese
have inherently shallow and changeable religious convictions. But
remembering these facts, and recalling the persecutions of Buddhists
by each other, of Christianity by the state, and knowing to-day many
earnest, self-sacrificing and persistent Christians, I am convinced
that such a judgment is mistaken. There are other and sufficient
reasons to account for this appearance of changeableness in religion.

I close this chapter with a single observation on the religious
history just outlined. Bearing in mind the great changes that have
come over Japanese religious thinking and forms of religion I ask if
religious phenomena are the expressions of the race nature, as some
maintain, and if this nature is inherent and unchangeable, how are
such profound changes to be accounted for? If the religious character
of the Japanese people is inherent, how is it conceivable that they
should so easily adopt foreign religions, even to the exclusion of
their own native religion, as did those who became Buddhist or
Confucian or Christian? I conclude from these facts, and they are
paralleled in the history of many other peoples, that even religious
characteristics are not dependent on biological, but are wholly
dependent on social evolution. It seems to me capable of the clearest
proof that the religious phenomena of any age are dependent on the
general development of the intellect, on the ruling ideas, and on the
entire conditions of the civilization of the age rather than on brain
structure or essential race nature.



The conceptions of the common people in regard to deity are chaotic.
They believe in local spirits who are to be worshiped; some of these
are of human origin, and some antedate all human life. The gods of the
Shinto pantheon are "yaoyorodzu" in number, eight thousand myriads;
yet in their "norito," or prayer rituals, reference is made not only
to the "yaoyorodzu" who live in the air, but also to the "yaoyorodzu"
who live on earth, and even to the "yaoyorodzu" who live beneath the
earth. If we add these together there must be at least twenty-four
thousand myriads of gods. These of course include sun, moon, stars,
and all the forces of nature, as well as the spirits of men. Popular
Buddhism accepts the gods of Shinto and brings in many more,
worshiping not only the Buddha and his immediate "rakan," disciples,
five hundred in number, but numberless abstractions of ideal
qualities, such as the varieties of Kwannon (Avelokitesvara, gods and
goddesses of mercy), Amida (Amitabha, the ideal of boundless light),
Jizo (Kshitigarbha, the helper of those in trouble, lost children, and
pregnant women), Emma O (Yama-raja, ruler of Buddhist hells), Fudo
(Achala, the "immovable," "unchangeable"), and many others. Popular
Buddhism also worships every man dead or living who has become a
"hotoke," that is, has attained Buddhahood and has entered Nirvana.
The gods of Japan are innumerable in theory and multitudinous in
practice. Not only are there gods of goodness but also gods of lust
and of evil, to whom robbers and harlots may pray for success and

In the Japanese pantheon there is no supreme god, such, for instance,
as the Roman Jupiter, or the Greek Chronos, nor is there a
thoroughgoing divine hierarchy.

According to the common view (although there is no definite thought
about it), the idea seems to be that the universe with its laws and
nature were already existent before the gods appeared on the scene;
they created specific places, such as Japan, out of already existing
material. Neither in Shinto nor in popular Buddhism is the conception
formed of a primal fount of all being with its nature and laws. In
this respect Japanese thought is like all primitive religious thought.
There is no word in the Japanese language corresponding to the English
term "God." The nearest approach to it are the Confucian terms
"Jo-tei," "Supreme Emperor," "Ten," "Heaven," and "Ten-tei," "Heavenly
Emperor"; but all of these terms are Chinese, they are therefore of
late appearance in Japan, and represent rather conceptions of educated
and Confucian classes than the ideas of the masses. These terms
approach closely to the idea of monotheism; but though the doctrine
may be discovered lying implicit in these words and ideas it was never
developed. Whether "Heaven" was to be conceived as a person, or merely
as fate, was not clearly thought out; some expressions point in one
direction while others point in the other.

I may here call attention to a significant fact in the history of
recent Christian work in Japan. Although the serious-minded Japanese
is first attracted to Christianity by the character of its ethical
thought--so much resembling, also so much surpassing that of
Confucius, it is none the less true that monotheism is another
powerful source of attraction. I have been repeatedly told by
Christians that the first religious satisfaction they ever experienced
was upon their discovery of monotheism. How it affected Dr. Neesima,
readers of his life cannot have overlooked. He is a type of
multitudes. In the earlier days of Christian work many felt that they
had become Christians upon rejection of polytheism and acceptance of
monotheism. And in truth they were so far forth Christian, although
they knew little of Christ, and felt little need of His help as a
personal Saviour. The weakness of the Church in recent years is due in
part, I doubt not, to the acceptance into its membership of numbers
who were, properly speaking, monotheistic, but not in the complete
sense of the term Christian. Their discovery later that more was
needed than the intellectual acceptance of monotheism ere they could
be considered, or even be, truly "Christian," has led many such
"believers" to abandon their relations with the Church. This, while on
many accounts to be regretted, was nevertheless inevitable. The bare
acceptance of the monotheistic idea does not secure that
transformation of heart and produce that warmth of living faith which
are essential elements in the altruistic life demanded of the

Nor is it difficult to understand why monotheism has proved such an
attraction to the Japanese when we consider that through it they first
recognized a unity in the universe and even in their own lives.
Nature, and human nature took on an intelligibility which they never
had had under the older philosophy. History likewise was seen to have
a meaning and an order, to say nothing of a purpose, which the
non-Christian faiths did not themselves see and could not give to
their devotees. Furthermore the monotheistic idea furnished a
satisfactory background and explanation for the exact sciences. If
there is but one God, who is the fount and cause of all being, it is
easy to see why the truths of science should be universal and
absolute, rather than local and diverse, as they would be were they
subject to the jurisdiction of various local deities. The universality
of nature's laws was inconceivable under polytheism. Monotheism thus
found a ready access to many minds. Polytheism pure and simple is the
belief of no educated Japanese to-day. He is a monist of some kind or
other. Philosophic Buddhism always was monistic, but not monotheistic.
Thinking Confucianists were also monistic. But neither philosophic
Buddhism nor Confucianism emphasized their monistic elements; they did
not realize the importance to popular thought of monistic conceptions.
But possessing these ideas, and being now in contact with aggressive
Christian monotheism, they are beginning to emphasize this truth.

As Japan has had no adequate conception of God, her conception of man
has been of necessity defective. Indeed, the cause of her inadequate
conception of God is due in large measure to her inadequate conception
of man, which we have seen to be a necessary consequence of the
primitive communal order. Since, however, we have already given
considerable attention to Japan's inadequate conception of man, we
need do no more than refer to it in this connection.

Corresponding to her imperfect doctrines of God and of man is her
doctrine of sin. That the Japanese sense of sin is slight is a fact
generally admitted. This is the universal experience of the
missionary. Many Japanese with whom I have conversed seem to have no
consciousness of it whatever. Indeed, it is a difficult matter to
speak of to the Japanese, not only because of the etiquette involved,
but for the deeper reason of the deficiency of the language. There
exists no term in Japanese which corresponds to the Christian word
"sin." To tell a man he is a sinner without stopping to explain what
one means would be an insult, for he is not conscious of having broken
any of the laws of the land. Yet too much stress must not be laid on
this argument from the language, for the Buddhistic vocabulary
furnishes a number of terms which refer to the crime of transgressing
not the laws of the land, but those of Buddha.

In Shinto, sin is little, if anything, more than physical impurity.
Although Buddhism brought a higher conception of religion for the
initiated few, it gave no help to the ignorant multitudes, rather it
riveted their superstitions upon them. It spoke of law indeed, and
lust and sin; and of dreadful punishments for sin; but when it
explained sin it made its nature too shallow, being merely the result
of mental confusion; salvation, then, became simply intellectual
enlightenment; it also made the consequences of sin too remote and the
escape from them too easy. The doctrine of "Don," suddenness of
salvation, the many external and entirely formal rites, short
pilgrimages to famous shrines, the visiting of some neighboring temple
having miniature models of all the other efficacious shrines
throughout the land, the wearing of charms, the buying of "o fuda,"
and even the single utterance of certain magic prayers, were taught
to be quite enough for the salvation of the common man from the worst
of sins. Where release is so easily obtained, the estimate of the
heinousness of sin is correspondingly slight. How different was the
consciousness of sin and the conception of its nature developed by the
Jewish worship with its system of sin offerings! Life for life.
Whatever we may think of the efficacy of offering an animal as an
expiation for sin, it certainly contributed far more toward deepening
the sense of sin than the rites in common practice among the
Buddhists. So far as I know, human or animal sacrifice has never been
known in Japan.

In response to the not unlikely criticism that sacrifice is the result
of profound sense of sin and not its cause, I reply that it is both.
The profound sense is the experience of the few at the beginning; the
practice educates the multitudes and begets that feeling in the

Ceremonial purification is an old rite in Japan. In this connection we
naturally think of the "Chozu-bachi" which may be found before every
Shinto shrine, containing the "holy water" with which to rinse the
mouth and wash the hands. Pilgrims and worshipers invariably make use
of this water, wiping their hands on the towels provided for the
purpose by the faithful. To our eyes, few customs in Japan are more
conducive to the spread of impurity and infectious disease than this
rite of ceremonial purification. No better means could be devised for
the wide dissemination of the skin diseases which are so common. The
reformed religion of New Japan--whether Buddhist, Shinto, or
Christian--could do few better services for the people at large than
by entering on a crusade against this religious rite. It could and
should preach the doctrine that sin and defilement of the hearts are
not removed by such an easy method as the rite implies and the masses
believe. If retained as a symbol, the purification rite should at
least be reformed as a practice.

Whether the use of purificatory water is to be traced to the sense of
moral or spiritual sin is doubtful to my mind; in view of the general
nature of primitive Shinto. The interpretation given the system by
W.E. Griffis, in his volume on the "Religions of Japan," is
suggestive, but in view of all the facts does not seem conclusive.
"One of the most remarkable features of Shinto" he writes, "was the
emphasis laid on cleanliness. Pollution was calamity, defilement was
sin, and physical purity at least was holiness. Everything that could
in any way soil the body or clothing was looked upon with abhorrence
and detestation."[CE] The number of specifications given in this
connection is worthy of careful perusal. But it is a strange nemesis
of history that the sense of physical pollution should develop a
religious rite fitted to become the very means for the dissemination
of physical pollution and disease.

Japanese personal cleanliness is often connected in the descriptions
of foreigners with ceremonial purification, but the facts are much
exaggerated. In contrast to nearly if not quite all non-Christian
peoples, the Japanese are certainly astonishingly cleanly in their
habits. But it is wholly unnecessary to exaggerate the facts. The
"tatami," or straw-mats, an inch or more in thickness, give to the
room an appearance of cleanliness which usually belies the truth. The
multitudes of fleas that infest the normal Japanese home are
convincing proof of the real state of the "tatami." There are those
who declare that a Japanese crowd has the least offensive odor of any
people in the world. One writer goes so far as to state that not only
is there no unpleasant odor whatever, but that there is even a
pleasant intimation of lavender about their exhalations. This exactly
contradicts my experience. Not to mention the offensive oil with which
all women anoint their hair to give it luster and stiffness, the
Japanese habit of wearing heavy cotton wadded clothing, with little or
no underwear, produces the inevitable result in the atmosphere of any
closed room. In cold weather I always find it necessary to throw open
all the doors and windows of my study or parlor, after Bible classes
of students or even after the visits of cultured and well-to-do
guests. That the Japanese bathe so frequently is certainly an
interesting fact and a valuable feature of their civilization; it
indicates no little degree of cleanliness; but for that, their
clothing would become even more disagreeable than it is, and the evil
effect upon themselves of wearing soiled garments would be much
greater. In point of fact, their frequent baths do not wholly remove
the need of change in clothing. To a Japanese the size of the weekly
wash of a foreigner seems extravagant.

As to the frequent bathing, its cleanliness is exaggerated by Western
thought, for instead of supplying fresh water for each person, the
Japanese public baths consist usually of a large tank used by
multitudes in common. Clean water is allowed for the face, but the
main tank is supplied with clean hot water only once each day. In
Kumamoto, schoolgirls living with us invariably asked permission to go
to the bath early in the day that they might have the first use of the
water. They said that by night it was so foul they could not bear to
use it. Each hotel has its own private bath for guests; this is
usually heated in the afternoon, and the guests take their baths from
four o'clock on until midnight, the waiting girls of the hotel using
it last. My only experience with public baths has been mentioned
already. At first glance the conditions were reassuring, for a large
stream of hot water was running in constantly, and the water in the
tank itself was quite transparent. But on entering I was surprised,
not to say horrified, to see floating along the margin of the tank and
on the bottom of it suggestive proofs of previous bathers. On inquiry
I learned that the tank was never washed out, nor the water entirely
discharged at a single time; the natural overflow along the edge of
the tank being considered sufficient. In the interest of accuracy it
is desirable to add that New Japan is making progress in the matter of
public baths. In some of the larger cities, I am told, provision is
sometimes made for entirely fresh water for each bather in separate

In view of these facts--as unpleasant to mention as they are essential
to a faithful description of the habits of the people--it is clear
that the "horror of physical impurity" has not been, and is not now,
so great as some would have us believe. Whatever may have been the
condition in ancient times, it would be difficult to believe that the
rite of ceremonial purification could arise out of the present
practices and habits of thought. One may venture the inquiry whether
the custom of using the "purificatory water" may not have been
introduced from abroad.

But whatever be the present thought of the people, on the general
subject of sin, it may be shown to be due to the prevailing system of
ideas, moral and religious, rather than to the inherent racial
character. In an interesting article by Mr. G. Takahashi on the "Past,
Present, and Future of Christianity in Japan" I find the statement
that the preaching of the monks who came to Japan in the sixteenth
century was of such a nature as to produce a very deep consciousness
of sin among the converts. "The Christians or martyrs repeatedly cried
out 'we miserable sinners,' 'Christ died for us,' etc., as their
letters abundantly prove. It was because of this that their
consciences were aroused by the burning words of Christ, and kept
awake by means of contrition and confession." Among modern Christians
the sense of sin is much more clear and pronounced than among the
unconverted. Individual instances of extreme consciousness of sin are
not unknown, especially under the earlier Protestant preaching. If the
Christians of the last decade have less sense of sin, it is due to the
changed character of recent preaching, in consequence of the changed
conception of Christianity widely accepted in Protestant lands. Who
will undertake to say that Christians in New England of the nineteenth
century have the same oppressive sense of sin that was customary in
the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries? The sense of sin
is due more to the character of the dominant religious ideas of the
age than to brain structure or to race nature. I cannot agree with Mr.
Takahashi that "To be religious one needs a Semitic tinge of mind." It
is not a question of mind, of race nature, but of dominant ideas.

In this connection I may refer to an incident that came under my
notice some years ago. A young man applied for membership in the
Kumamoto Church, who at one time had been a student in one of my Bible
classes. I had not known that he had received any special help from
his study with me, until I heard his statement as to how he had
discovered his need of a Saviour, and had found that need satisfied in
Christ. In his statement before the examining committee of the church,
he said that when he first read the thirteenth chapter of 1
Corinthians, he was so impressed with its beauty as a poem that he
wrote it out entire on one of the fusuma (light paper doors) of his
room, and each morning, as he arose, he read it. This practice
continued several weeks. Then, as we continued our study of the Bible,
we took up the third chapter of John, and when he came to the
sixteenth verse, he was so impressed with its statement that he wrote
that beside the poem from Corinthians, and read them together.
Gradually this daily reading, together with the occasional sermons and
other Christian addresses which he heard at the Boys' School, led him
to desire to secure for himself the love described by Paul, and to
know more vitally the love of God described by John. It occurred to
him, that, to secure these ends, he should pray. Upon doing so he said
that, for the first time in his life, his unworthiness and his really
sinful nature overwhelmed him. This was, of course, but the beginning
of his Christian life. He began then to search the Scriptures in
earnest, and with increasing delight. It was not long before he wished
to make public confession of his faith, and thus identify himself with
the Christian community. This brief account of the way in which this
young man was brought to Christ illustrates a good many points, but
that for which I have cited it is the testimony it bears to the fact
that under similar circumstances the human heart undergoes very much
the same religious experience, whatever be the race or nationality of
the individual.

In regard to the future life, Shinto has little specific doctrine. It
certainly implies the continued existence of the soul after death, as
its ancestral worship shows, but its conception as to the future state
is left vague in the extreme. Confucius purposely declined to teach
anything on this point, and, in part, for this reason, it has been
maintained that Confucianism cannot properly be called a religion.
Buddhism brought to Japan an elaborate system of eschatological ideas,
and so far as the common people of Japan have any conception of the
future life, it may be attributed to Buddhistic teachings. Into their
nature I need not inquire at any length. According to popular
Buddhism, the future world, or more properly speaking, worlds (for
there are ten of them, into any one of which a soul may be born either
immediately or in the course of its future transmigrations), does not
differ in any vital way from the present world. It is a world of
material blessings or woes; the successive stages or worlds are graded
one above the other in fantastic ways. Salvation consists in passing
to higher grades of life, the final or perfect stage being paradise,
which, once attained, can never be lost. Transmigration is universal,
the period of life in each world being determined by the merits and
demerits of the individual soul.

Here we must consider two widely used terms "ingwa" and "mei." The
first of these is Buddhistic and the other Confucianistic; though
differing much in origin and meaning, yet in the end they amount to
much the same thing. "Ingwa" is the law of cause and effect. According
to the Buddhistic teaching, however, the "in," or cause, is in one
world, while the "gwa," or effect, is in the other. The suffering, for
instance, or any misfortune that overtakes one in this present life,
is the "gwa" or effect of what was done in the previous, and is thus
inevitable. The individual is working off in this life the "gwa" of
his last life, and he is also working up the "in" of the next He is
thus in a kind of vise. His present is absolutely determined for him
by his past, and in turn is irrevocably fixing his future. Such is the
Buddhistic "wheel of the law." The common explanation of misfortune,
sickness, or disease, or any calamity, is that it is the result of
"ingwa," and that there is, therefore, no help for it. The paralyzing
nature of this conception on the development of character, or on
activity of any kind, is apparent not only theoretically but actually.
As an escape from the inexorable fatality of this scheme of thought,
the Buddhist faith of the common people has resorted to magic. Magic
prayers, consisting of a few mystic syllables of whose meaning the
worshiper may be quite ignorant, are the means for overcoming the
inexorableness of "ingwa," both for this life and the next. "Namu
Amida Butsu," "Namu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo," "Namu Hen Jo Kongo," are the
most common of such magic formulæ. These prayers are heard on the lips
of tens of thousands of pious pilgrims, not only at the temples, but
as they pass along the highways. It is believed that each repetition
secures its reward. Popular Buddhism's appeal to magic was not only
winked at by philosophical Buddhism, but it was encouraged. Magic was
justified by religious philosophy, and many a "hoben," "pious device,"
for saving the ignorant was invented by the priesthood. It will be
apparent that while Buddhism has in certain respects a vigorous system
of punishment for sin, yet its method of relief is such that the
common people can gain only the most shallow and superficial views of
salvation. Buddhism has not served to deepen the sense of
responsibility, nor helped to build up character. That the more
serious-minded thinkers of the nation have, as a rule, rejected
Buddhism is not strange.

One point of great interest for us is the fact that this
eschatological and soteriological system was imported, and is not the
spontaneous product of Japan. The wide range of national religious
characteristics thus clearly traceable to Buddhistic influence shows
beyond doubt how large a part of a nation's character is due to the
system of thought that for one reason or another prevails, rather than
to the essential race character.

The other term mentioned above, "mei," literally means "command" or
"decree"; but while the English terms definitely imply a real being
who decides, decrees, and commands, the term "mei" is indeterminate on
this point. It is frequently joined to the word "Ten," or Heaven;
"Ten-mei," Heaven's decree, seeming to imply a personality in the
background of the thought. Yet, as I have already pointed out, it is
only implied; in actual usage it means the fate decreed by Heaven;
that is, fated fate, or absolute fate. The Chinese and the Japanese
alike failed to inquire minutely as to the implication of the deepest
conceptions of their philosophy. But "mei" is commonly used entirely
unconnected with "Ten," and in this case its best translation into
English is probably "fate." In this sense it is often used. Unlike
Buddhism, however, Confucianism provided no way of escape from "mei"
except moral conduct. One of its important points of superiority was
its freedom from appeal to magic in any form, and its reliance on
sincerity of heart and correctness of conduct.

Few foreigners have failed to comment on the universal use by the
Japanese of the phrase "Shikataga nai," "it can't be helped." The
ready resignation to "fate," as they deem it, even in little things
about the home and in the daily life, is astonishing to Occidentals.
Where we hold ourselves and each other to sharp personal
responsibility, the sense of subjection to fate often leads them to
condone mistakes with the phrase "Shikataga nai."

But this characteristic is not peculiar to Japan. China and India are
likewise marked by it. During the famines in India, it was frequently
remarked how the Hindus would settle down to starve in their huts in
submission to fate, where Westerners would have been doing something
by force, fighting even the decrees of heaven, if needful. But it is
important to note that this characteristic in Japan is undergoing
rapid change. The spirit of absolute submission, so characteristic of
the common people of Old Japan, is passing away and self-assertion is
taking its place. Education and developing intelligence are driving
out the fear of fate. Had our estimate of the Japanese race character
been based wholly on the history of Old Japan, it might have been easy
to conclude that the spirit of submission to rulers and to fate was a
national characteristic due to racial nature; but every added year of
New Japan shows how erroneous that view would have been. Thus we see
again that the characteristics of Japan, Old and New, are not due to
race nature, but to the prevailing civilization in the broadest sense
of the term. The religious characteristics of a people depend
primarily on the dominant religious ideas, not on the inherent
religious nature.



Among the truly religious sentiments of the Japanese are those of
loyalty and filial piety. Having already given them considerable
attention, we need not delay long upon them here. The point to be
emphasized is that these two principles are exalted into powerful
religious sentiments, which have permeated and dominated the entire
life of the nation. Not only were they at the root of courage, of
fidelity, of obedience, and of all the special virtues of Old Japan,
but they were also at the root of the larger part of her religion.
These emotions, sentiments, and beliefs have built 190,000 Shinto
shrines. Loyalty to the daimyo was the vital part of the religion of
the past, as loyalty to the Emperor is the vital part of the popular
religion of to-day. Next to loyalty came filial piety; it not only
built the cemeteries, but also maintained god-shelves and family
ancestral worship throughout the centuries. One of the first questions
which many an inquirer about Christianity has put to me is as to the
way we treat our parents living and dead, and the tombs and memories
of our ancestors. These two religious sentiments of loyalty and filial
piety were essential elements of primitive Shinto. The imported
religions, particularly Confucianism and Christianity, served to
strengthen them. In view of the indubitable religious nature of these
two sentiments it is difficult to see how anyone can deny the name of
religion to the religions that inculcate them, Shinto and
Confucianism. It shows how defective is the current conception of the
real nature of religion.

Despite the reality of these religious, sentiments, however, many
things are done in Japan quite opposed to them. Of course this is so.
These violations spring from irreligion, and irreligion is found in
every land. Furthermore, many things done in the name of loyalty and
piety seem to us Westerners exceedingly whimsical and illogical. Deeds
which to us seem disloyal and unfilial receive no rebuke. Filial piety
often seems to us more active toward the dead than toward the living.

Closely connected with loyalty and filial piety, and in part their
expression, is one further religious sentiment, namely, gratitude. In
his chapter in "Kokoro" "About Ancestor-Worship," Mr. Hearn makes some
pertinent remarks as to the nature of Shinto. "Foremost among the
moral sentiments of Shinto is that of loving gratitude to the past."
This he attributes to the fact that "To Japanese thought the dead are
not less real than the living. They take part in the daily life of the
people, sharing the humblest sorrows and the humblest joys ... and
they are universally thought of as finding pleasure in the offerings
made to them or the honors conferred upon them." There is much truth
in these statements, though I by no means share the opinion that in
connection with the Japanese belief in the dead there "have been
evolved moral sentiments wholly unknown to Western civilization," or
that their "loving gratitude to the past" is "a sentiment having no
real correspondence in our own emotional life." Mr. Hearn may be
presumed to be speaking for himself in these matters; but he certainly
does not correctly represent the thought or the feelings of the circle
of life known to me. The feeling of gratitude of Western peoples is as
real and as strong as that of the Japanese, though it does not find
expression in the worship of the dead. That the Japanese are profuse
in their expressions of gratitude to the past and to the powers that
be is beyond dispute. It crops out in sermons and public speeches, as
well as in the numberless temples to national heroes.

But it is a matter of surprise to note how often there is apparent
ingratitude toward living benefactors. Some years ago I heard a
conversation between some young men who had enjoyed special
opportunities of travel and of study abroad by the liberality of
American gentlemen.

It appeared that the young men considered that instead of receiving
any special favors, they were conferring them on their benefactors by
allowing the latter to help such brilliant youth as they, whose
subsequent careers in Japan would preserve to posterity the names of
their benefactors. I have had some experience in the line of giving
assistance to aspiring students, in certain cases helping them for
years; a few have given evidence of real gratitude; but a large
proportion have seemed singularly deficient in this grace. It is my
impression that relatively few of the scores of students who have
received a large proportion of their expenses from the mission, while
pursuing their studies, have felt that they were thereby under any
special debt of gratitude. An experience that a missionary had with a
class to which he had been teaching the Bible in English for about a
year is illustrative. At the close of the school year they invited him
to a dinner where they made some very pleasant speeches, and bade each
other farewell for the summer. The teacher was much gratified with the
result of the year's work, feeling naturally that these boys were his
firm friends. But the following September when he returned, not only
did the class not care to resume their studies with him, but they
appeared to desire to have nothing whatever to do with him. On the
street many of them would not even recognize him. Other similar cases
come to mind, and it should be remembered that missionaries give such
instruction freely and always at the request of the recipient. In the
case cited the teacher came to the conclusion that the elaborate
dinner and fine farewell speeches were considered by the young men as
a full discharge of all debts of gratitude and a full compensation for
services. This, however, is to be said: the city itself was at that
time the seat of a determined antagonism to Christianity and, of
course, to the Christian missionary; and this fact may in part, but
not wholly, account for the appearance of ingratitude.

The Japanese pride themselves on their gratitude. It is, however,
limited in its scope. It is vigorous toward the dead and toward the
Emperor, but as a grace of daily life it is not conspicuous.

Few achievements of the Japanese have been more remarkable than the
suppression of certain religious phenomena. Any complete statement of
the religious characteristics of the Japanese fifty years ago would
have included most revolting and immoral practices under the guise of
religion. Until suppressed by the government in the early years of
Meiji there were in many parts of Japan phallic shrines of
considerable popularity, at which, on festivals at least, sexual
immorality seemed to be an essential part of the worship. At Uji, not
far from Kyoto, the capital of the Empire, for a thousand years and
more, and the center of Buddhism, there was a shrine of great repute
and popularity. Thither resorted the multitudes for bacchanalian
purposes. Under the auspices of the Goddess Hashihime and the God
Sumiyoshi, free rein was given to lust. Since the beginning of the new
régime such revels have been forbidden and apparently stopped; the
phallic symbols themselves are no longer visible, although it is
asserted by the keeper of the shrine that they are still there,
concealed in the boxes on the pedestals formerly occupied by the
symbols. When I visited the place some years since with a fellow
missionary we were told that multitudes still come there to pray to
the deities; those seeking divorce pray to the female deity, while
those seeking a favorable marriage pray to the male deity; on asking
as to the proportion of the worshipers, we were told that there are
about ten of the former to one of the latter, a significant indication
of the unhappiness of many a home. Prof. Edmund Buckley has made a
special study of the subject of phallic worship in Japan; in his
thesis on the topic he gives a list of thirteen places where these
symbols of phallic worship might be seen a few years since. It is
significant that at Uji, not a stone's throw from the phallic shrine,
is a temple to the God Agata, whose special function is the cure of
venereal diseases.

But though phallic worship and its accompanying immorality have been
extirpated, immorality in connection with religion is still rampant in
certain quarters. Not far from the great temples at Ise, the center of
Shintoism and the goal for half a million pilgrims yearly, are large
and prosperous brothels patronized by and existing for the sake of
the pilgrims. A still more popular resort for pilgrims is that at
Kompira, whither, as we have seen, some 900,000 come each year; here
the best hotels, and presumably the others also, are provided with
prostitutes who also serve as waiting girls; on the arrival of a guest
he is customarily asked whether or not the use of a prostitute shall
be included in his hotel bill. It seems strange, indeed, that the
government should take such pains to suppress phallicism, and allow
such immorality to go on under the eaves of the greatest national
shrines; for these shrines are not private affairs; the government
takes possession of the gifts, and pays the regular salaries of the
attending priests. It would appear from its success in the
extermination of distinctly phallic worship that the government could
put a stop to all public prostitution in connection with religion if
it cared to do so.

One point of interest in connection with the above facts is that the
old religions, however much of force, beauty, and truth we may concede
to them, have never made warfare against these obscene forms of
worship, nor against the notorious immorality of their devotees.
Whatever may be said of the profound philosophy of life involved in
phallic worship, for many hundreds of years it has been a source of
outrageous immorality. Nevertheless, there has never been any
continued and effective effort on the part of the higher types of
religion to exterminate the lower. But Japan is not peculiar in this
respect. India is even now amazingly immoral in certain forms of her

Another point of interest in this connection is that the change of the
nation in its attitude to this form of religion was due largely,
probably wholly, to contact with the nations of the West. The
uprooting of phallic worship was due, not to a moral reformation, but
to a political ambition. It was carried out, not in deference to
public opinion, but wholly by government command, though without doubt
the nobler opinion of the land approved of the government action. But
even this nobler public sentiment was aroused by the Occidental
stimulus. The success of the effort must be attributed not a little to
the age-long national custom of submitting absolutely to governmental
initiative and command.

Another point of interest is that, in consequence of official
pressure, the religious character of a large number of the people
seems to have undergone a radical change. The ordinary traveler in
Japan would not suspect that phallicism had ever been a prominent
feature of Japanese religious life. Only an inquisitive seeker can now
find the slightest evidences of this once popular cult. Here we have
an apparent change in the character of a people sudden and complete,
induced almost wholly by external causes. It shows that the previous
characteristic was not so deeply rooted in the physical or spiritual
nature of the race as many would have us believe. Can we escape the
conclusion that national characteristics are due much more to the
circle of dominant ideas and actual practices, than to the inherent
race nature?

The way in which phallicism has been suppressed during the present era
raises the general question of religious liberty in Japan. In this
respect, no less than in many others, a change has taken place so
great as to amount to a revolution. During two hundred and fifty years
Christianity was strictly forbidden on pain of extreme penalties. In
1872 the edict against Christianity was removed, free preaching was
allowed, and for a time it seemed as if the whole nation would become
Christian in a few decades; even non-Christians urged that
Christianity be made the state religion. What an amazing volte-face!
Religious liberty is now guaranteed by the constitution promulgated in
1888. There are those who assert that until Christianity invaded
Japan, religious freedom was perfect; persecutions were unknown. This
is a mistake. When Buddhism came to Japan, admission was first sought
from the authorities, and for a time was refused. When various sects
arose, persecutions were severe. We have seen how belief in
Christianity was forbidden under pain of death for more than two
hundred and fifty years. Under this edict, many thousand Japanese
Christians and over two hundred European missionaries were put to
death. Yet, on the whole, it may be said that Old Japan enjoyed no
little religious freedom. Indeed, the same man might worship freely
at all the shrines and temples in the land. To this day multitudes
have never asked themselves whether they are Shinto or Buddhist or
Confucianist. The reason for this religious eclecticism was the
fractional character of the old religions; they supplemented each
other. There was no collision between them in doctrine or in morals.
The religious freedom was, therefore, not one of principle but of
indifference. As Rome was tolerant of all religions which made no
exclusive claims, but fiercely persecuted Christianity, so Japan was
tolerant of the two religions that found their way into her territory
because they made no claims of exclusiveness. But a religion that
demanded the giving up of rivals was feared and forbidden.

New Japan, however, following Anglo-Saxon example, has definitely
adopted religious freedom as a principle. First tacitly allowed after
the abolition of the edict against Christianity in 1872, it was later
publicly guaranteed by the constitution promulgated in 1888. Since
that date there has been perfect religious liberty for the individual.

Yet this statement must be carefully guarded. If we may judge from
some recent decrees of the Educational Department, it would appear
that a large and powerful section of the nation is still ignorant of
the real nature and significance of "religious liberty." Under the
plea of maintaining secular education, the Educational Department has
forbidden informal and private Christian teaching, even in private
schools. An adequate statement of the present struggle for complete
religious liberty would occupy many pages. We note but one important

In the very act of forbidding religious instruction in all schools the
Educational Department is virtually establishing a brand-new religion
for Japan, a religion based on the Imperial Educational Edict.[CF] The
essentially religious nature of the attitude taken by the government
toward this Edict has become increasingly clear in late years. In the
summer of 1898 one who has had special opportunities of information
told me that Mr. Kinoshita, a high official in the Educational
Department, suggested the ceremonial worship of the Emperor's picture
and edict by all the schools, for the reason that he saw the need of
cultivating the religious spirit of reverence together with the need
for having religious sanctions for the moral law. He felt convinced
that a national school system without any such sanctions would be
helpless in teaching morality to the pupils. His suggestion was
adopted by the Educational Department and has been enforced.

In this attitude toward the religious character of entirely private
schools, the government is materially abridging the religious liberty
of the people. It is abridging their liberty of carrying belief into
action in one important respect, that, namely, of giving a Christian
education. It virtually insists on the acceptance of that form of
religion which apotheosizes the Emperor, and finds the sanctions for
morality in his edict; it excludes from the schools every other form
of religion. It should, of course, be said that this attitude is
maintained not only toward Christian schools, but theoretically also
toward all religious schools. It, however, operates more severely on
Christian schools than upon others, because Christians are the only
ones who establish high-grade schools for secular education under
religious influences.

It is evident, therefore, that in the matter of religious liberty the
present attitude of the government is paradoxical, granting in one
breath, what, in an important respect, it denies in the next. But
throughout all these changes and by means of them we see more and more
clearly that even religious tolerance is a matter of the prevailing
social ideas and of the dominant social order, rather than of inherent
race character. By a single transformation of the social order, Japan
passed from a state of perfect religious intolerance to one just the
reverse, so far as individual belief was concerned.

Taking a comprehensive review of our study thus far, we see that the
forms of Japanese religious life have been determined by the history,
rather than by any inherent racial character of the people. Although
they had a religion prior to the coming of any external influence,
yet they have proved ready disciples of the religions of other lands.
The religion of India, its esoteric, and especially its exoteric
forms, has found wide acceptance and long-continued popularity. The
higher life of the nation readily took on in later times the religious
characteristics of the Chinese, predominantly ethical, it is true, and
only slightly religious as to forms of worship. When Roman Catholic
Christianity came to Japan in the sixteenth century, it, too, found
ready acceptance. It is true that it presented a view of the nature of
religion not very different from that held by Buddhism in many
respects, yet in others there was a marked divergence, as for
instance, in the doctrine of God, of individual sin, and of the nature
and method of salvation. The Japanese have thus shown themselves ready
assimilators of all these diverse systems of religious expression.
Just at present a new presentation of Christianity is being made to
the Japanese; some are urging upon them the acceptance of the Roman
Catholic form of it; others are urging the Greek; and still others are
presenting the Protestant point of view. Each of these groups of
missionaries seems to be reaping good harvests. Speaking from my own
experience, I may say, that many of the Japanese show as great an
appreciation of the essence of the religious life, and find the ideas
and ideals, doctrines and ceremonies, of Christianity as fitted to
their heart's deepest needs, as do any in the most enlightened parts
of Christendom. It is true that the Christian system is so opposed to
the Buddhistic and Shinto, and in some respects to the Confucian, that
it is an exceedingly difficult matter at the beginning to give the
Buddhist or Shintoist any idea of what Christianity is. Yet the
difficulty arises not from the structure of the brain, nor from the
inherent race character, but solely from the diversity of hitherto
prevailing systems of thought. When once the passage from the one
system of thought to the other has been effected, and the significance
of the Christian system and life has been appreciated,--in other
words, when the Japanese Buddhist or Shintoist or Confucianist has
become a Christian,--he is as truly a Christian and as faithful as is
the Englishman or American.

Of course I do not mean to say that he looks at every doctrine and at
every ceremony in exactly the same way as an Englishman or American.
But I do say that the different point of view is due to the differing
social and religious history of the past and the differing
surroundings of the present, rather than to inherent racial character
or brain structure. The Japanese are human beings before they are

For these reasons have I absolute confidence in the final acceptance
of Christianity by the Japanese. There is no race characteristic in
true Christianity that bars the way. Furthermore, the very growth of
the Japanese in recent years, intellectually and in the reorganization
of the social order, points to their final acceptance of Christianity
and renders it necessary. The old religious forms are not satisfying
the religious needs of to-day. And if history proves anything, it
proves that only the religion of Jesus can do this permanently.
Religion is a matter of humanity, not of nationality. It is for this
reason that the world over, religions, though of so many forms, are
still so much alike. And it is because the religion of Jesus is
pre-eminently the religion of humanity and has not a trace of
exclusive nationality about it, that it is the true religion, and is
fitted to satisfy the deepest religious wants of the most highly
developed as well as the least developed man of any and every race and
nation. In proportion as man develops, he grows out of his narrow
surroundings, both physical and mental and even moral; he enters a
larger and larger world. The religious expressions of his nature in
the local provincial and even national stages of his life cannot
satisfy his larger potential life. Only the religion of humanity can
do this. And this is the religion of Jesus. The white light of
religion, no less than that of scientific truth, has no local or
national coloring. Perfect truth is universal, eternal, unchangeable.
Occidental or Oriental colorations are in reality defects,



And now, having studied somewhat in detail various distinctive
Japanese characteristics, it is important that we gain an insight into
the general principles which govern the development of unified,
national life. These principles render Japanese history luminous.

Let us first fix our attention on the fact that every step in the
progress of mankind has been from smaller to larger communities. In
other words, human progress has been through the increasing extension
of the communal principle. The primitive segregative man, if there
ever really was such a being, hardly deserves to be called man. Social
qualities he had very slight, if at all; his altruistic actions and
emotions were of the lowest and feeblest type. His life was so
self-centered--we may not call it selfish, for he was not conscious of
his self-centeredness--that he was quite sufficient to himself except
for short periods of time. It was a matter of relative indifference to
him whether his kinsmen survived or perished. His life was in only the
slightest degree involved in theirs. The first step of progress for
him depended on the development of some form of communal life. The
primary problem of the social evolution of man was that of taking the
wild, self-centered, self-sufficient man, and of teaching him to move
in line with his fellow-men. And this problem confronted not only
mankind at the beginning, but it has also been the great problem of
each successive stage. After the individual has been taught to live
with, to work with and for, and to love, his immediate kinsmen (in
other words to merge his individual interests in those of the family,
and to count the family interests of more importance than his own),
the next step was to induce the family to look beyond its little
world and be willing to work with and for neighboring families. When,
after ages of conflict, this step was in a measure secured and the
family-tribe was fairly formed, this group in turn must be taught to
take into its view a still larger group, the tribal nation. Throughout
the ages the constant problem has been the development of larger and
larger communal groups. This general process has been very aptly
called by Mr. Bagehot the taming process. The selfward thoughts and
ambitions of the individual man have been thus far driven more and
more into the background of fact, if not of consciousness. The
individual has been brought into vital and organic relations with
ever-increasing multitudes of his fellow-men. It is, therefore,
pre-eminently a process of social or associational development. It not
only develops social relations in an ever-increasing scale, but also
social qualities and ideals and desires.

Now this taming, this socializing process, has been successful because
it has had back of it, always enforcing it, the law of the survival of
the strongest. What countless millions of men must have perished in
the first step! They consisted of the less fit; of those who would
not, or did not, learn soon enough the secret of existence through
permanent family union. And what countless millions of families must
have perished because they did not discover the way, or were too
independent, to unite with kindred families in order to fight a common
foe or develop a common food supply. And still later, what countless
tribes must have perished before the secret of tribal federation was
widely accepted! In each case the problem has been to secure the
subordination of the interests of the smaller and local community to
those of the larger community. Death to self and life to the larger
interest was often the condition of existence at all. How slow men
always have been and still are to learn this great lesson of history!

The method whereby this taming process has been carried on has been
through the formation of increasingly comprehensive and rigid customs
and ideas. Through the development and continued existence of a common
language, series of common customs, and sets of common ideas, unity
was secured for the community; these, indeed, are the means whereby a
group is transformed into a community. As the smaller community gave
way to the larger, so the local languages, customs, and ideas had to
break up and become so far modified as to form a new bond of unity.
Until this unity was secured the new community was necessarily weak;
the group easily broke up into its old constituent elements. We here
gain a glimpse into one reason why the development of large composite
communities, uniting and for the most part doing away with smaller
ones, was so difficult and slow.

The process of absorption of smaller groups and their unification into
larger ones, when carried out completely in any land, tends to arrest
all further growth, not simply because there is no further room for
expansion by the absorption of other divergent tribes, but also
because the "cake of custom" is apt to become so hard, the uniformity
enforced on all the individuals is liable to become so binding, that
fruitful variation from within is effectually cut off. The evolution
of relatively isolated or segregated groups necessarily produces
variety; and the process whereby these divergent types of life and
thought and organization are gradually brought together into one large
community provides wide elements of variation, in the selection and
general adoption of which the evolution of the whole community may be
secured. But let the divergent elements of the lesser groups once be
entirely absorbed by the composite community and let the "cake of
custom" become so rigid that every individual who varies from it is
branded as a heretic and a traitor, and the progressive evolution of
that community must cease.

The great problem, therefore, which then confronts man and seems to
threaten all further progress is, how to break the bondage of custom
so as to secure local or individual variations. This can be done only
through some form of individualism. The individual must be free to
think and act as experience or fancy may suggest, without fear of
being branded as a traitor, or at least he must have the courage to do
so in spite of such fears. And to produce an effect on the community
he must also be more or less protected in his idiosyncrasies by
popular toleration.

He must be allowed to live and work out his theories, proving whether
they are valuable or not. But since individualism is just what all
previous communal development has been most assiduous in crushing out,
how is the rise of individualism possible, or even desirable? If the
first and continued development of man depended on the attainment and
the maintenance of the communal principle, we may be sure that his
further progress will not consist in the reversal of that principle.
If, therfore, individualism must be developed, it must manifestly be
of a variety which does not conflict with or abrogate communalism.
Only as the individualistic includes the communal principle will it be
a source of strength; otherwise it can only be a source of weakness to
the community. But is not this an impossible condition to satisfy?
Certainly, before the event, it would seem to be so. The rarity with
which this step in human evolution has been taken would seem to show
that it is far more difficult to accomplish than any of the previous
steps. To give it a name we may call it communo-individualism. What
this variety of individualism is, how this forward step was first
actually taken, and how it is maintained and extended to-day, we shall
consider in a later chapter. In the present place its importance for
us is twofold. First we must realize the logical difficulty of the
step--its apparently self-contradictory nature. And secondly we need
to see that fully developed and continuously progressive national life
is impossible without it. The development of a nation under the
communal principle may advance far, even to the attainment of a
relatively high grade of civilization. But the fully centralized and
completely self-conscious nation cannot come into existence except on
the basis of this last step of communo-individualism. The growth of
nationalism proper, and the high development of civilization through
the rise of the sciences and the arts based upon individualism, all
await the dawn of the era of which communo-individualism is the
leading, though at first unrecognized, characteristic.

This individualistic development of the communal principle is its
intensive development; it is the focalizing and centralizing of the
consciousness of the national unity in each individual member. The
extensive process of communal enlargement must ever be accompanied by
the intensive establishment in the individual of the communal ideal,
the objective by the subjective, the physical by the psychical, if the
accidental association for individual profit is to develop into the
permanent association for the national as well as the individual life.
The intensive or subjective development of the communal principle
does, as a matter of fact, take place in all growing communities, but
it is largely unconscious. Not until the final stages of national
development does it become a self-conscious process, deserving the
distinctive name I have given it here, communo-individualism.[CG]

The point just made is, however, only one aspect of a more general
fact, too, of cardinal importance for the sociologist and the student
of human evolution. It is that, throughout the entire period of the
expansion of the community, there has been an equally profound,
although wholly unconscious, development of the individual. This fact
seems to have largely escaped the notice of all but the most recent
thinkers and writers on the general topic of human and social
evolution. The fact and the importance of the communal life have been
so manifest that, in important senses, the individual has been almost,
if not wholly, dropped out of sight. The individual has been
conceived to have been from the very beginning of social evolution
fully endowed with mind, ideas, and brains, and to be perfectly
regardless of all other human beings. The development of the community
has accordingly been conceived to be a progressive taming and subduing
of this wild, self-centered, primitive man; a process of eliminating
his individualistic instincts. So far as the individual is concerned,
it has been conceived to be chiefly a negative process; a process of
destroying his individual desires and plans and passions. Man's
natural state has been supposed to be that of absolute selfishness.
Only the hard necessity of natural law succeeded in forcing him to
curb his natural selfish desires and to unite with his fellows. Only
on these terms could he maintain even an existence. Those who have not
accepted these terms have been exterminated. Communal life in all its
forms, from the family upward to the most unified and developed
nation, is thus conceived as a continued limiting of the individual--a
necessity, indeed, to his existence, but none the less a limitation.

I am unable to take this view, which at best is a one-sided statement.
It appears to me capable of demonstration, that communal and
individual development proceed pari passu; that every gain in the
communal life is a gain to the individual and vice versa. They are
complementary, not contradictory processes. Neither can exist, in any
proper sense, apart from the other; and the degree of the development
of the one is a sure index of the degree of the development of the
other. So important is this matter that we must pause to give it
further consideration.

Consider, first, man in his earliest stage of development. A
relatively segregarious animal; with a few ideas about the nuts and
fruits and roots on which he lives; with a little knowledge as to
where to find them; the subject of constant fear lest a stronger man
may suddenly appear to seize and carry off his wife and food;
possessing possibly a few articulate sounds answering to words; such
probably was primitive man. He must have been little removed from the
ape. His "self," his mind, was so small and so empty of content that
we could hardly recognize him as a man, should we stumble on him in
the forest.

Look next upon him after he has become a family-man. Living in the
group, his life enlarges; his existence broadens; his ideas multiply;
his vocabulary increases with his ideas and experiences; he begins to
share the life and thinking and interests and joys and sorrows of
others; their ideas and experiences become his, to his enormous
advantage. What he now is throws into the shade of night what he used
to be. So far from being the loser by his acceptance of even this
limited communal life, he is a gainer in every way. He begins to know
what love is, and hate; what joy is, and sorrow; what kindness is, and
cruelty; what altruism is, and selfishness. Thus, not only in ideas
and language, in industry and property, but also in emotions, in
character, in morality, in religion, in the knowledge of self, and
even in opportunity for selfishness, he is the gainer. In just the
degree that communal life is developed is the life of the individuals
that compose it extended both subjectively and objectively. Human
psychogenesis takes place in the communal stage of his life. Human
association is its chief external cause.

It matters not at what successive stage of man's developing life we
may choose to look at him, the depth and height and breadth, in a
word, the fullness and vigor and character of the inner and private
life of the individual, will depend directly on the nature and
development of the communal life. As the community expands, taking in
new families or tribes or nations, reaching out to new regions,
learning new industries, developing new ideas of man, of nature, of
the gods, of duty, inventing new industries, discovering new truths,
and developing a new language, all these fresh acquirements of the
community become the possession of its individual members. In the
growing complexity of society the individual unit, it is true, is
increasingly lost among the millions of his fellow-units, yet all
these successive steps serve to render his life the larger and richer.
His horizon is no longer the little family group in which he was born;
he now looks out over large and populous regions and feels the thrill
of his growing life as he realizes the unity and community of his
life and interests with those of his fellow-countrymen. His language
is increasingly enriched; it serves to shape all his thinking and thus
even the structure of his mind. His knowledge reaches far beyond his
own experience; it includes not only that of the few persons whom he
knows directly, but also that of unnumbered millions, remote in time
and space. He increasingly discovers, though he never has analyzed,
and is perhaps wholly unable to analyze, the discovery that he is not
a thing among things; his life has a universal aspect. He lives more
and more the universal life, subjecting the demands of the once
domineering present to decisions of a cool judgment that looks back
into the past and carefully weighs the interests of the future,
temporal and eternal. Every advance made by the community is thus
stored up to the credit of its individual members. So far, then, from
the development of the communal principle consisting of and coming
about through a limitation of the individual, it is exactly the
reverse. Only as the individual develops are communal unity and
progress possible. And on the other hand, only where the communal
principle has reached its highest development, both extensively and
intensively, do we find the most highly developed personality. The one
is a necessary condition of the other. The deepest, blackest
selfishness, even, can only come into existence where the communal
principle has reached its highest development.

The preceding statement, however, is not equivalent to saying that
when communalism and individualism arose in human consciousness they
were both accepted as equally important. The reverse seems always to
have been the case. As soon as the two principles are distinguished in
thought, the communal is at once ranked as the higher, and the
individual principle is scorned if not actually rejected. And the
reason for this is manifest. From earliest times the constant foe
which the community has had to fight and exterminate has been the
wanton, selfish individual. Individualism of this type was the
spontaneous contrast to the communal life, and was ever manifesting
itself. No age or race has been without it, nor ignorant of it. As
soon as the two principles became clearly contrasted in thought,
therefore, because of his actual experience, man could conceive of
individualism only as the antithesis to communalism; it was felt that
the two were mutually destructive. It inevitably followed that
communalism as a principle was accepted and individualism condemned.
In their minds not only social order, but existence itself, was at
stake. And they were right. Egoistic individualism is necessarily
atomistic. No society can long maintain its life as a unified and
peaceful society, when such a principle has been widely accepted by
its members. The social ills of this and of every age largely arise
from the presence of this type of men, who hold this principle of

If, therefore, after a fair degree of national unity has been
attained, the higher stages of national evolution depend on the higher
development of individualism, and if the only kind of individualism of
which men can conceive is the egoistic, it becomes evident that
further progress must cease. Stagnation, or degeneration, must follow.
This is what has happened to nearly all the great nations and races of
the world. They progressed well up to a certain point. Then they
halted or fell back. The only possible condition under which a new
lease of progressive life could be secured by them was a new variety
of individualism, which would unite the opposite and apparently
contradictory poles of communalism and egoism, namely,
communo-individualism. Inconceivable though it be to those men and
nations who have not experienced this type of life, it is nevertheless
a fact, and a mighty factor in human and in national evolution. In its
light we are able to see that the communal life itself has not reached
its fullest development until the individualistic principle has been
not only recognized in thought, but exalted, both in theory and in
fact, to its true and coordinate position beside the communal
principle. Only then does the nation become fully and completely
organized. Only then does the national organism contain within itself
the means for an endless, because a self-sustained, life.

It is important to guard against a misunderstanding of the principles
just enunciated which may easily arise. In saying that the
development of the individual has proceeded pari passu with that of
the community, that every gain by the community has contributed
directly to the development of the individual, I do not say that the
communal profits are at once distributed among all the members of the
group, or that the distribution is at all equal. Indeed, such is far
from the case. Some few individuals seem to appropriate a large and
unfair proportion of the communal bank account. So far as a people
live a simple and relatively undifferentiated life, all sharing in
much the same kind of pursuits, and enjoying much the same grade of
life,--such as prevailed in a large measure in the earlier times, and
decreasingly as society has become industrial,--and so far also as the
new acquirements of thought are transformed into practical life and
common language, all the members of the community share these
acquirements in fairly equal measure. So far, however, as the communal
profits consist of more or less abstract ideas, embodied in religious
and philosophic thought, and stored away in books and literature
accessible only to scholars, they are distributed very unequally. The
more highly developed and consequently differentiated the society, the
more difficult does distribution become. The very structure of the
highly differentiated communal organism forbids the equal distribution
of these goods. The literary and ruling minority have exclusive access
to the treasures. The industrial majority are more and more rigidly
excluded from them. Thus, although it is strictly true that every
advance in the communal principle accrues to the benefit of the
individual, it is not true that such advance necessarily accrues to
the benefit of every individual, or equally to all individuals. In its
lowest stages, developing communalism lifts all its individual members
to about the same level of mental and moral acquirement. In its middle
stages it develops all individuals to a certain degree, and certain
individuals to a high degree. In its highest stages it develops among
all its members a uniformly high grade of personal worth and

Now the great problem on whose solution depends the possibility of
continued communal evolution is, from this view-point, the problem of
distributing the gains of the community to all its members more and
more equally. It is the problem of giving to each human unit all the
best and truest thought and character, all the highest and noblest
ideals and motives, which the most advanced individuals have secured.
If we stop to inquire minutely and analytically just what is the
nature of the greatest attainments made by the community, we discover
that it is not the possession of wealth in land or gold, it is not the
accident of social rank, it is not any incident of temporal happiness
or physical ease of life. It consists, on the contrary, in the
discovery of the real nature of man. He is no mere animal, living in
the realm of things and pleasures, limited by the now and the here. He
is a person, a rational being. His thoughts and desires can only be
expressed in terms of infinity. Nothing short of the infinite can
satisfy either his reason or his heart Though living in nature and
dependent on it, he is above it, and may and should understand it and
rule it. His thoughts embrace all time and all being. In a very real
sense he lives an infinite and eternal life, even here in this passing

The discovery of this set of facts, slowly emerging into
consciousness, is the culmination of all past history, and the
beginning of all man's higher life. It is the turning point in the
history of the human race. Every onward step in man's preceding life,
whereby he has united to form higher and higher groups, has been
leading onward and upward to the development of strong personality, to
the development of individuals competent to make this great discovery.
But this is not enough.

The next step is to discover the fact, _and to believe it_, that this
infinite life is the potential possession of every member of the
community; that the bank account which the community has been storing
up for ages is for the use not only of a favored few, but also of the
masses. That since every man is a man, he has an infinite and an
eternal life and value, which no accident of birth, or poverty, can
annul. Each man needs to discover himself. The great problem, then,
which confronts progressive communal evolution is to take this
enlarged definition of the individual and scatter it broadcast over
the land, persuading all men to accept and believe it both for
themselves and for others. This definition must be carried in full
confidence to the lowest, meanest, most ignorant man that lives in the
community, and by its help this down-most man must be shown his
birthright, and in the light of it he must be raised to actual
manhood. He must "come to himself"; only so can he qualify for his

After a nation, therefore, has secured a large degree of unity, of the
confederated tribal type, the step which must be taken, before it can
proceed to more complete nationalization even, is, first, the
discovery of personality as the real and essential characteristic of
men, and secondly the discovery that high-grade personality may and
can and must be developed in all the members of the community. In
proportion as the members of the community become conscious persons,
fully self-conscious and self-regulating, fully imbued with the idea
and the spirit of true personality, of communo-individualism, in that
proportion will the community be unified and centralized, as well as
capable of the most complex and differentiated internal structure. The
strength of such a nation will be indefinitely greater than that of
any other less personalized and so less communalized nation.



Few phases of the Japanese character have proved so fascinating to the
philosophical writer on Japan as that of the personality of this Far
Eastern people. From the writings of Sir Rutherford Alcock, the first
resident English minister in Japan, down to the last publication that
has come under my eye, all have something to say on this topic. One
writer, Mr. Percival Lowell, has devoted an entire volume to it under
the title of "The Soul of the Far East," in which he endeavors to
establish the position that the entire civilization of the Orient, in
its institutions, such as the family and the state, in the structure
of its language, in its conceptions of nature, in its art, in its
religion, and finally in its inherent mental nature, is essentially
_impersonal_. One of the prominent and long resident missionaries in
Japan once delivered a course of lectures on the influence of
pantheism in the Orient, in which he contended, among other things,
that the lack of personal pronouns and other phenomena of Japanese
life and religion are due to the presence and power in this land of
pantheistic philosophy preventing the development of personality.

The more I have examined these writings and their fundamental
assumptions, the more manifest have ambiguities and contradictions in
the use of terms become. I have become also increasingly impressed
with the failure of advocates of Japanese "impersonality" to
appreciate the real nature of the phenomena they seek to explain. They
have not comprehended the nature or the course of social evolution,
nor have they discovered the mutual relation existing between the
social order and personality. The arguments advanced for the
"impersonal" view are more or less plausible, and this method of
interpreting the Orient appeals for authority to respectable
philosophical writers. No less a philosopher than Hegel is committed
to this interpretation. The importance of this subject, not only for a
correct understanding of Japan, but also of the relation existing
between individual, social, and religious evolution, requires us to
give it careful attention. We shall make our way most easily into this
difficult discussion by considering some prevalent misconceptions and
defective arguments. I may here express my indebtedness to the author
of "The Soul of the Far East" for the stimulus received from his
brilliant volume, differ though I do from his main thesis. We begin
this study with a few quotations from Mr. Lowell's now classic work.

"Capability to evolve anything is not one of the marked
characteristics of the Far East. Indeed, the tendency to spontaneous
variation, Nature's mode of making experiments, would seem there to
have been an enterprising faculty that was early exhausted. Sleepy, no
doubt, from having got up betimes with the dawn, these inhabitants of
the land of the morning began to look upon their day as already far
spent before they had reached its noon. They grew old young, and have
remained much the same age ever since. What they were centuries ago,
that at bottom they are to-day. Take away the European influences of
the past twenty years, and each man might almost be his own
great-grandfather. In race character, he is yet essentially the same.
The traits that distinguished these peoples in the past have been
gradually extinguishing them ever since. Of these traits, stagnating
influences upon their career, perhaps the most important is the great
quality of "impersonality."[CGa] "The peoples inhabiting it [the
northern hemisphere] grow steadily more personal as we go West. So
unmistakable is this gradation that we are almost tempted to ascribe
it to cosmical rather than to human causes.... The sense of self grows
more intense as we follow the wake of the setting sun, and fades
steadily as we advance into the dawn. America, Europe, the Levant,
India, Japan, each is less personal than the one before. We stand at
the nearer end of the scale, the Far Orientals at the other. If with
us the 'I' seems to be the very essence of the soul, then the soul of
the Far East may be said to be 'Impersonality.'"[CH]

Following the argument through the volume we see that individual
physical force and aggressiveness, deficiency of politeness, and
selfishness are, according to this line of thought, essential elements
of personality. The opposite set of qualities constitutes the essence
of impersonality. "The average Far Oriental, indeed, talks as much to
no purpose as his Western cousin, only in his chit-chat politeness
takes the place of personalities. With him, self is suppressed, and an
ever-present regard for others is substituted in its stead. A lack of
personality is, as we have seen, the occasion of this courtesy; it is
also its cause.... Considered a priori, the connection between the two
is not far to seek. Impersonality, by lessening the interest in one's
self, induces one to take an interest in others. Introspection tends
to make a man a solitary animal, the absence of it a social one. The
more impersonal the people, the more will the community supplant the
individual in the popular estimation.... Then, as the social desires
develop, politeness, being the means of their enjoyment, develops

Let us take a look at some definitions:

"Individuality, personality, and the sense of self, are only three
aspects of the same thing. They are so many various views of the soul,
according as we regard it from an intrinsic, an altruistic, or an
egoistic standpoint.... By individuality we mean that bundle of ideas,
thoughts, and day-dreams which constitute our separate identity, and
by virtue of which we feel each one of us at home within himself....
Consciousness is the necessary attribute of mental action. Not only is
it the sole way we have of knowing mind; without it there would be no
mind to know. Not to be conscious of one's self is, mentally
speaking, not to be. This complex entity, this little cosmos of a
world, the 'I,' has for its very law of existence, self-consciousness,
while personality is the effect it produces upon the consciousness of

The more we study the above definitions, the more baffling they
become. Try as I may, I have not been able to fit them, not only to
the facts of my own experience, which may not be strange, but I cannot
reconcile them even to each other. There seem to me inherent
ambiguities and self-contradictions lurking beneath their scientific
splendor. Individuality is stated to be "that bundle of ideas,
thoughts, and day-dreams which constitute our separate identity." This
seems plain and straightforward, but is it really so? Consciousness is
stated to be not only "the necessary attribute of mental action" (to
which exception might be taken on the ground of abundant proof of
unconscious mental action), but it is also considered to be the very
cause of mind itself. Not only by consciousness do we know mind, but
the consciousness itself constitutes the mind; "without it there would
be no mind to know." "Not to be conscious of one's self is not to be."
Do we then cease to be, when we sleep? or when absorbed in thought or
action? And do we become new-created when we awake? What is the bond
of connection that binds into one the successive consciousnesses of
the successive days? Does not that "bundle of ideas" become broken
into as many wholly independent fragments as there are intervals
between our sleepings? Or rather is not each fragment a whole in
itself, and is not the idea of self-continuity from day to day and
from week to week a self-delusion? How can it be otherwise if
consciousness constitutes existence? For after the consciousness has
ceased and "the bundle of ideas," which constitutes the individuality
of that day, has therefore gone absolutely out of existence, it is
impossible that the old bundle shall be resurrected by a new
consciousness. Only a new bundle can be the product of a new
consciousness. Evidently there is trouble somewhere. But let us pass

"The 'I' has for its very law of existence self-consciousness." Is
not "self-consciousness" here identified with "consciousness" in the
preceding sentence? The very existence of the mind, the "I," is
ascribed to each in turn. Is there, then, no difference between
consciousness and self-consciousness? Finally, personality is stated
to be "the effect it [the "I"] produces on the self-consciousness of
others." I confess I gain no clear idea from this statement. But
whatever else it may mean, this is clear, that personality is not a
quality or characteristic of the "I," but only some effect which the
"I" produces on the consciousness of another. Is it a quality, then,
of the other person? And does impersonality mean the lack of such an
effect? But does not this introduce us to new confusion? When a human
being is wholly absorbed in an altruistic act, for instance, wholly
forgetful of self, he is, according to a preceding paragraph, quite
impersonal; yet, according to the definition before us, he cannot be
impersonal, for he is producing most lively effects on the
consciousness of the poor human being he is befriending; in his
altruistic deed he is strongly personal, yet not he, for personality
does not belong to the person acting, but somehow to the person
affected. How strange that the personality of a person is not his own
characteristic but another's!

But still more confusing is the definition when we recall that if the
benevolent man is wholly unconscious of self, and is thinking only of
the one whom he is helping, then he himself is no longer existing. But
in that case how can he help the poor man or even continue to think of
him? Perfect altruism is self-annihilation! Knowledge of itself by the
mind is that which constitutes it! But enough. It has become clear
that these terms have not been used consistently, nor are the
definitions such as to command the assent of any careful psychologist
or philosopher. What the writer means to say is, I judge, that the
measure of a man's personality is the amount of impression he makes on
his fellows. For the whole drift of his argument is that both the
physical and mental aggressiveness of the Occidental is far greater
than that of the Oriental; this characteristic, he asserts, is due to
the deficient development of personality in the Orient, and this
deficient development he calls "impersonality." If those writers who
describe the Orient as "impersonal" fail in their definition of the
term "personal," their failure to define "impersonal" is even more
striking. They use the term as if it were so well known as to need no
definition; yet their usage ascribes to it contrary conceptions. As a
rule they conceive of "impersonality" as a deficiency of development;
yet, when they attempt to describe its nature, they speak of it as
self-suppression. A clear statement of this latter point may be found
in a passage already quoted: "Politeness takes the place of
personalities. With him [the Oriental], self is suppressed, and an
ever-present regard for others is substituted." "Impersonality, by
lessening the interest in one's self, induces one to take interest in
others." In this statement it will be noted the "_self is
suppressed_." Does "impersonality" then follow personality, as a
matter of historical development? It would so appear from this and
kindred passages. But if this is true, then Japan is _more_ instead of
less developed than the Occident. Yet this is exactly the reverse of
that for which this school of thought contends.

Let us now examine some concrete illustrations adduced by those who
advocate Japanese impersonality. They may be arranged in two classes:
those that are due wholly to invention, and those that are doubtless
facts, but that may be better accounted for by some other theory than
that of "impersonality."

Mr. Lowell makes amusing material out of the two children's festivals,
known by the Japanese as "Sekku," occurring on March 3 and June 5 (old
calendar). Because the first of these is exclusively for the girls and
the second is exclusively for the boys, Mr. Lowell concludes that they
are general birthdays, in spite of the fact which he seems to know
that the ages are not reckoned from these days. He calls them "the
great impersonal birthdays"; for, according to his supposition, all
the girls celebrate their birthdays on the third day of the third moon
and all the boys celebrate theirs on the fifth day of the fifth moon,
regardless of the actual days on which they may have been born. With
regard to this understanding of the significance of the festival, I
have asked a large number of Japanese, not one of whom had ever heard
of such an idea. Each one has insisted that individual birthdays are
celebrated regardless of these general festivals; the ages of children
are never computed from these festivals; they have nothing whatever to
do with the ages of the children.[CK]

The report of the discussions of the Japanese Society of Comparative
Religion contains quite a minute statement of all the facts known as
to these festivals, much too long in this connection, but among them
there is not the slightest reference to the birthday feature
attributed to them by Mr. Lowell.[CL]

Mr. Lowell likewise invents another fact in support of his theory by
his interpretation of the Japanese method of computing ages. Speaking
of the advent of an infant into the home he says, that "from the
moment he makes his appearance he is spoken of as a year old, and this
same age he continues to be considered in most simple cases of
calculation, till the beginning of the next calendar year. When that
epoch of general rejoicing arrives, he is credited with another year
himself. So is everybody else. New Year's day is a common birthday for
the community, a sort of impersonal anniversary for his whole world."
Now this is a very entertaining conceit, but it will hardly pass
muster as a serious argument with one who has any real understanding
of Japanese ideas on the subject. The simple fact is that the Japanese
does not ordinarily tell you how old the child is, but only in how
many year periods he has lived. Though born December 31, on January 1
he has undoubtedly lived in two different year periods. This method of
counting, however, is not confined to the counting of ages, but it
characterizes all their counting. If you ask a man how many days
before a certain festival near at hand he will say ten where we would
say but nine. In other words, in counting periods the Japanese count
all, including both the first and the last, whereas we omit the first.
This as a custom is an interesting psychological problem, but it has
not the remotest connection with "personality" or "impersonality."
Furthermore, the Japanese have another method of signifying the age of
a child which corresponds exactly to ours. You have but to ask what is
the "full" age of a child to receive a statement which satisfies our
ideas of the problem. The idea of calling New Year's day a great
"impersonal" birthday because forsooth all the members of the
community and the nation then enter on a new year period, and of using
that as an argument for the "impersonality" of the whole race, is as
interesting as it is inconclusive.

Much is made of the fact that Japanese art has paid its chief
attention to nature and to animals, and but little to man. This
proves, it is argued, that the Japanese artist and people are
"impersonal"--that they are not self-conscious, for their gaze is
directed outward, toward "impersonal" nature; had they been an
aggressive personal people, a people conscious of self, their art
would have depicted man. The cogency of this logic seems questionable
to me. Art is necessarily objective, whether it depicts nature or man;
the gaze is always and necessarily outward, even when it is depicting
the human form. In our consideration of the æsthetic elements of
Japanese character[CM] we gave reasons for the Japanese love of
natural beauty and for their relatively slight attention to the human
form. If the reasons there given were correct, the fact that Japanese
art is concerned chiefly with nature has nothing whatever to do with
the "impersonality" of the people. If "impersonality" is essentially
altruistic, if it consists of self-suppression and interest in others,
then it is difficult to see how art that depicts the form even of
human beings can escape the charge of being "impersonal" except when
the artist is depicting himself. If, again, supreme interest in
objective "impersonal" nature proves the lack of "personality," should
we not argue that the West is supremely "impersonal" because of its
extraordinary interest in nature and in the natural and physical
sciences? Are naturalists and scientists "impersonal," and are
philosophers and psychologists "personal" in nature? If it be argued
that art which depicts the human emotions is properly speaking
subjective, and therefore a proof of developed personality, will it be
maintained that Japan is devoid of such art? How about the pictures
and the statues of warriors? How about the passionate features of the
Ni-o, the placid faces of the Buddhas and other religious imagery? Are
there not here the most powerful representations possible of human
emotions, both active and passive? But even so, is not the gaze of the
artist still _outward_ on others, _i.e._, is he not altruistic; and,
therefore, "impersonal," according to this method of thought and use
of terms? Are European artists who revel in landscape and animal
scenes deficient in "personal" development, and are those who devote
their lives to painting nude women particularly developed in
"personality"? Truly, a defective terminology and a distorted
conception of what "personality" is, land one in most contradictory

Those who urge the "impersonality" of the Orient make much of the
Japanese idea of the "family," with the attendant customs. The fact
that marriage is arranged for by the parents, and that the two
individuals most concerned have practically no voice in the matter,
proves conclusively, they argue, that the latter have little
"personality." Here again all turns on the definition of this
important word. If by "personality" is meant consciousness of one's
self as an independent individual, then I do not see what relation the
two subjects have. If, however, it means the willingness of the
subjects of marriage to forego their own desires and choices; because
indeed they do not have any of their own, then the facts will not bear
out the argument. These writers skillfully choose certain facts out of
the family customs whereby to illustrate and enforce this theory, but
they entirely omit others having a significant bearing upon it. Take,
for instance, the fact that one-third of the marriages end in divorce.
What does this show? It shows that one-third of the individuals in
each marriage are so dissatisfied with the arrangements made by the
parents that they reject them and assert their own choice and
decision. According to the argument for "impersonality" in marriage,
these recalcitrant, unsubmissive individuals have a great amount of
"personality," that is, consciousness of self; and this consciousness
of self produces a great effect on the other party to the marriage;
and the effect on the other party (in the vast majority of the cases
women), that is to say, the effect of the divorce on the consciousness
of the women, constitutes the personality of the men! The marriage
customs cited, therefore, do not prove the point, for no account is
taken of the multitudinous cases in which one party or the other
utterly refuses to carry out the arrangements of the parents. Many a
girl declines from the beginning the proposals of the parents. These
cases are by no means few. Only a few days before writing the present
lines a waiting girl in a hotel requested me to find her a place of
service in some foreign family. On inquiry she told me how her parents
wished her to marry into a certain family; but that she could not
endure the thought and had run away from home. One of the facts which
strike a missionary, as he becomes acquainted with the people, is the
frequency of the cases of running away from home. Girls run away,
probably not as frequently as boys, yet very often. Are we to believe
that these are individuals who have an excessive amount of
"personality"? If so, then the development of "personality" in Japan
is far more than the advocates of its "impersonality" recognize or
would allow us to believe. Mr. Lowell devotes three pages to a
beautiful and truthful description of the experience known in the West
as "falling in love." Turning his attention to the Orient, because of
the fact that marriages are arranged for by the families concerned, he
argues that: "No such blissful infatuation falls to the lot of the Far
Oriental. He never is the dupe of his own desire, the willing victim
of his self-delusion. He is never tempted to reveal himself, and by
thus revealing, realize.... For she is not his love; she is only his
wife; and what is left of a romance when the romance is left out?"
Although there is an element of truth in this, yet it is useless as a
support for the theory of Japanese "impersonality." For it is not a
fact that the Japanese do not fall in love; it is a well-known
experience to them. It is inconceivable how anyone at all acquainted
with either Japanese life or literature could make such an assertion.
The passionate love of a man and a woman for each other, so strong
that in multitudes of cases the two prefer a common death to a life
apart, is a not uncommon event in Japan. Frequently we read in the
daily papers of a case of mutual suicide for love. This is
sufficiently common to have received a specific name "joshi."[CN]

So far as the argument for "impersonality" is concerned this
illustration from the asserted lack of love is useless, for it is one
of those manufactured for the occasion by imaginative and resourceful
advocates of "impersonality."

But I do not mean to say that "falling in love" plays the same
important part in the life and development of the youth in Japan that
it does in the West. It is usually utterly ignored, so far as parental
planning for marriage is concerned. Love is not recognized as a proper
basis for the contraction of marriage, and is accordingly frowned
upon. It is deemed a sign of mental and moral weakness for a man to
fall in love. Under these conditions it is not at all strange that
"falling in love" is not so common an experience as in the West.
Furthermore, this profound experience is not utilized as it is in the
West as a refining and elevating influence in the life of a young man
or woman. In a land where "falling in love" is regarded as an immoral
thing, a breaking out of uncontrollable animal passion, it is not
strange that it should not be glorified by moralists or sanctified by
religion. There are few experiences in the West so ennobling as the
love that a young man and a young woman bear to each other during the
days of their engagement and lasting onward throughout the years of
their lengthening married life. The West has found the secret of
making use of this period in the lives of the young to elevate and
purify them of which the East knows little.

But there are still other and sadder consequences following from the
attitude of the Japanese to the question of "falling in love." It can
hardly be doubted that the vast number of divorces is due to the
defective method of betrothal, a method which disregards the free
choice of the parties most concerned. The system of divorce is, we may
say, the device of society for remedying the inherent defects of the
betrothal system. It treats both the man and the woman as though they
were not persons but unfeeling machines. Personality, for a while
submissive, soon asserts its liberty, in case the married parties
prove uncongenial, and demands the right of divorce. Divorce is thus
the device of thwarted personality. But in addition to this evil,
there is that of concubinage or virtual polygamy, which is often the
result of "falling in love." And then, there is the resort of
hopelessly thwarted personality known in the West as well as in the
East, murder and suicide, and oftentimes even double suicide, referred
to above. The marriage customs of the Orient are such that hopeless
love, though mutual, is far more frequent than in the West, and the
death of lovers in each other's arms, after having together taken the
fatal draught, is not rare. The number of suicides due to hopeless
love in 1894 was 407, and the number of murders for the same cause was
94. Here is a total of over five hundred deaths in a single year, very
largely due to the defective marriage system. Do not these phenomena
refute assertions to the effect that the Japanese are so impersonal as
not to know what it is to "fall in love"? If the question of the
personality of the Japanese is to be settled by the phenomena of
family life and the strength of the sexual emotion, would we not have
to pronounce them possessed of strongly developed personality?



We must now face the far more difficult task of presenting a positive
statement in regard to the problem of personality in the Orient. We
need to discover just what is or should be meant by the terms
"personality" and "impersonality." We must also analyze this Oriental
civilization and discover its elementary factors, in order that we may
see what it is that has given the impression to so many students that
the Orient is "impersonal." In doing this, although our aim is
constructive, we shall attain our end with greater ease if we rise to
positive results through further criticism of defective views. We
naturally begin with definitions.

"Individuality" is defined by the Standard Dictionary as "the state or
quality of being individual; separate or distinct existence."
"Individual" is defined as "Anything that cannot be divided or
separated into parts without losing identity.... A single person,
animal, or thing." "Personality" is defined as "That which constitutes
a person; conscious, separate existence as an intelligent and
voluntary being." "Person" is defined as "Any being having life,
intelligence, will, and separate individual existence." On these
various definitions the following observations seem pertinent.

"Individuality" has reference only to the distinctions existing
between different objects, persons, or things. The term draws
attention to the fact of distinctness and difference and not to the
qualities which make the difference, and least of all to the
consciousness of identity by virtue of which "we feel each one of us
at home within himself."

"Personality" properly has reference only to that which constitutes a
person. As contrasted with an animal a person has not only life, but
also a highly developed and self-conscious intelligence, feeling, and
will; these involve moral relations toward other persons and religious
relations toward God.

Consciousness is not attendant on every act of the person, much less
is self-consciousness, although both are always potential and more or
less implicit. A person is often so absorbed in thought or act as to
be wholly unconscious of his thinking or acting; the consciousness is,
so to speak, submerged for the time being. Self-consciousness implies
considerable progress in reflection on one's own states of mind, and
in the attainment of the consciousness of one's own individuality. It
is the result of introspection. Self-consciousness, however, does not
constitute one's identity; it merely recognizes it.

The foundation for a correct conception of the term "personality"
rests on the conception of the term "soul" or "spirit." In my
judgment, each human being is to be conceived as being a separate
"soul," endowed by its very nature with definite capacities or
qualities or attributes which we describe as mental, emotional, and
volitional, having powers of consciousness more or less developed
according to the social evolution of the race, the age of the
individual, his individual environment, and depending also on the
amount of education he may have received. The possession of a soul
endowed with these qualities constitutes a person; their possession in
marked measure constitutes developed personality, and in defective
measure, undeveloped personality.

The unique character of a "person" is that he combines perfect
separateness with the possibility and more or less of the actuality of
perfect universality. A "person" is in a true sense a universal, an
infinite being. He is thus through the constitution of his psychic
nature a thinking, feeling, and willing being. Through his intellect
and in proportion to his knowledge he becomes united with the whole
objective universe; through his feelings he may become united in
sympathy and love with all sentient creation, and even with God
himself, the center and source of all being; through his active will
he is increasingly creator of his environment. Man is thus in a true
sense creating the conditions which make him to be what he is. Thus
in no figurative sense, but literally and actually, man is in the
process of creating himself. He is realizing the latent and hitherto
unsuspected potentialities of his nature. He is creating a world in
which to express himself; and this he does by expressing himself. In
proportion as man advances, making explicit what is implicit in his
inner nature, is he said to grow in personality. A man thus both
possesses personality and grows in personality. He could not grow in
it did he not already actually possess it. In such growth both
elements of his being, the individual and the universal, develop
simultaneously. A person of inferior personal development is at once
less individual and less universal. This is a matter, however, not of
endowment but of development. We thus distinguish between the original
personal endowment, which we may call intrinsic or inherent
personality, and the various forms in which this personality has
manifested and expressed itself, which we may call extrinsic or
acquired personality. Inherent personality is that which
differentiates man from animal. It constitutes the original involution
which explains and even necessitates man's entire evolution. There may
be, nay, must be, varying degrees of expression of the inherent
personality, just as there may be and must be varying degrees of
consciousness of personality. These depend on the degree of evolution
attained by the race and by the individuals of the race.

It is no part of our plan to justify this conception of the nature of
personality, or to defend these brief summary statements as to its
inherent nature. It is enough if we have gained a clear idea of this
conception on which the present chapter, and indeed this entire work,
rests. In discussing the question as to personality in the Orient, it
is important for us ever to bear in mind the distinctions between the
inherent endowment that constitutes personal beings, the explicit and
external expression of that endowment, and the possession of the
consciousness of that endowment. For these are three things quite
distinct, though intimately related.

The term "impersonality" demands special attention, being the most
misused and abused term of all. The first and natural signification of
the word is the mere negation of personality; as a stone, for
instance, is strictly "impersonal." This is the meaning given by the
dictionaries. But in this sense, of course, it is inapplicable to
human beings. What, then, is the meaning when applied to them? When
Mr. Lowell says, "If with us [of the West] the 'I' seems to be of the
very essence of the soul, then the soul of the Far East may be said to
be 'impersonal,'" what does he mean? He certainly does not mean that
the Chinese and Japanese and Hindus have no emotional or volitional
characteristics, that they are strictly "impersonal"; nor does he mean
that the Oriental has less development of powers of thinking, willing,
feeling, or of introspective meditation. The whole argument shows that
he means that _their sense of the individuality or separateness of the
Ego is so slight that it is practically ignored; and this not by their
civilization alone, but by each individual himself_. The supreme
consciousness of the individual is not of himself, but of his family
or race; or if he is an intensely religious man, his consciousness is
concerned with his essential identity with the Absolute and Ultimate
Being, rather than with his own separate self. In other words, the
term "impersonal" is made to do duty for the non-existent negative of
"individual." "Impersonal" is thus equivalent to "universal" and
personal to "individual." To change the phraseology, the term
"impersonal" is used to signify a state of mind in which the
separateness or individuality of the individual ego is not fully
recognized or appreciated even by the individual himself. The
prominent element of the individual's consciousness is the unity or
the universalism, rather than the multiplicity or individualism.

Mr. Lowell in effect says this in his closing chapter entitled
"Imagination." His thesis seems to be that the universal mind, of
which, each individual receives a fragment, becomes increasingly
differentiated as the race mind evolves. In proportion as the
evolution has progressed does the individual realize his
individuality--his separateness; this individualization, this
differentiation of the individual mind is, in his view, the measure as
well as the cause of the higher civilization. The lack of such
individualization he calls "impersonality"; in such a mind the
dominant thought is not of the separateness between, but of the unity
that binds together, himself and the universal mind.

If the above is a correct statement of the conception of those who
emphasize the "impersonality" of the Orient, then there are two things
concerning it which may be said at once. First, the idea is a
perfectly clear and intelligible one, the proposition is definite and
tangible. But why do they not so express it? The terms "personality"
and "individuality" are used synonymously; while "impersonal" is
considered the equivalent of the negative of individual,
un-individual--a word which has not yet been and probably never will
be used. But the negation of individual is universal; "impersonal,"
therefore, according to the usage of these writers, becomes equivalent
to universal.

But, secondly, even after the use of terms has become thus understood,
and we are no longer confused over the words, having arrived at the
idea they are intended to convey, the idea itself is fundamentally
erroneous. I freely admit that there is an interesting truth of which
these writers have got a glimpse and to which they are striving to
give expression, but apparently they have not understood the real
nature of this truth and consequently they are fundamentally wrong in
calling the Far East "impersonal," even in their sense of the word.
They are furthermore in error, in ascribing this "impersonal"
characteristic of the Japanese to their inherent race nature, If they
are right, the problem is fundamentally one of biological evolution.

In contrast to this view, it is here contended, first, that the
feature they are describing is not such as they describe it; second,
that it is not properly called "impersonality"; third, that it is not
a matter of inherent race nature, of brain structure, or of mind
differentiation, but wholly a matter of social evolution; and, fourth,
that if there is such a trait as they describe, it is not due to a
deficiently developed but on the contrary to a superlatively developed
personality, which might better be called super-personality. To state
the position here advocated in a nutshell, it is maintained that the
asserted "impersonality" of the Japanese is the result of the
communalistic nature of the social order which has prevailed down to
the most recent times; it has put its stamp on every feature of the
national and individual life, not omitting the language, the
philosophy, the religion, or even the inmost thoughts of the people.
This dominance of the communalistic type of social order has doubtless
had an effect on the physical and psychic, including the brain,
development of the people. These physical and psychical developments,
however, are not the cause, but the product, of the social order. They
are, furthermore, of no superlative import, since they offer no
insuperable obstacle to the introduction of a social order radically
different from that of past millenniums.

Before proceeding to elaborate and illustrate this general position,
it seems desirable to introduce two further definitions.

Communalism and individualism are the two terms used throughout this
work to describe two contrasted types of social order.

By communalism I mean that order of society, whether family, tribal,
or national, in which the idea and the importance of the community are
more or less clearly recognized, and in which this idea has become the
constructive principle of the social order, and where at the same time
the individual is practically ignored and crushed.

By individualism I mean that later order of society in which the worth
of the individual has been recognized and emphasized, to the extent of
radically modifying the communalism, securing a liberty for individual
act and thought and initiative, of which the old order had no
conception, and which it would have considered both dangerous and
immoral. Individualism is not that atomic social order in which the
idea of the communal unity has been rejected, and each separate human
being regarded as the only unit. Such a society could hardly be called
an order, even by courtesy. Individualism is that developed stage of
communalism, wherein the advantages of close communal unity have been
retained, and wherein, at the same time, the idea and practice of the
worth of the individual and the importance of giving him liberty of
thought and action have been added. Great changes in the internal
structure, of society follow, but the communial unity or idea is
neither lost nor injured. In taking up our various illustrations
regarding personality in Japan, three points demand our attention;
what are the facts? are they due to, and do they prove, the asserted
"impersonality" of the people? and are the facts sufficiently
accounted for by the communal theory of the Japanese social order?

Let us begin, then, with the illustration of which advocates of
"impersonality" make so much, Japanese politeness. As to the reality
of the fact, it is hardly necessary that I present extended proof.
Japanese politeness is proverbial. It is carried into the minutest
acts of daily life; the holding of the hands, the method of entering a
room, the sucking in of the breath on specific occasions, the
arrangement of the hair, the relative places of honor in a
sitting-room, the method of handing guests refreshments, the exchange
of friendly gifts--every detail of social life is rigidly dominated by
etiquette. Not only acts, but the language of personal address as
well, is governed by ideas of politeness which have fundamentally
affected the structure of the language, by preventing the development
of personal pronouns.

Now what is the cause of this characteristic of the Japanese? It is
commonly attributed by writers of the impersonal school to the
"impersonality" of the Oriental mind. "Impersonality" is not only the
occasion, it is the cause of the politeness of the Japanese people.
"Self is suppressed, and an ever-present regard for others is
substituted in its stead." "Impersonality, by lessening the interest
in one's self, induces one to take interest in others."[CO] Politeness
is, in these passages, attributed to the impersonal nature of the
Japanese mind. The following quotations show that this characteristic
is conceived of as inherent in race and mind structure, not in the
social order, as is here maintained. "The nation grew up to man's
estate, keeping the mind of its childhood."[CP] "In race
characteristics, he is yet essentially the same.... Of these traits
... perhaps the most important is the great quality of
impersonality."[CQ] "The peoples inhabiting it [the earth's temperate
zone] grow steadily more personal as we go West. So unmistakable is
this gradation that one is almost tempted to ascribe it to cosmical
rather than human causes.... The essence of the soul of the Far East
may be said to be impersonality."[CR]

In his chapter on "Imagination," Mr. Lowell seeks to explain the cause
of the "impersonality" of the Orient. He attributes it to their marked
lack of the faculty of "imagination"--the faculty of forming new and
original ideas. Lacking this faculty, there has been relatively little
stimulus to growth, and hence no possibility of differentiation and
thus of individualization.

If politeness were due to the "impersonal" nature of the race mind, it
would be impossible to account for the rise and decline of Japanese
etiquette, for it should have existed from the beginning, and
continued through all time, nor could we account for the gross
impoliteness that is often met with in recent years. The Japanese
themselves deplore the changes that have taken place. They testify
that the older forms of politeness were an integral element of the
feudal system and were too often a thin veneer of manner by no means
expressive of heart interest. None can be so absolutely rude as they
who are masters of the forms of politeness, but have not the kindly
heart. The theory of "impersonality" does not satisfactorily account
for the old-time politeness of Japan.

The explanation here offered for the development and decline of
politeness is that they are due to the nature of the social order.
Thoroughgoing feudalism long maintained, with its social ranks and
free use of the sword, of necessity develops minute unwritten rules of
etiquette; without the universal observance of these customs, life
would be unbearable and precarious, and society itself would be
impossible. Minute etiquette is the lubricant of a feudal social
order. The rise and fall of Japan's phenomenal system of feudal
etiquette is synchronous with that of her feudal system, to which it
is due rather than to the asserted "impersonality" of the race mind.

The impersonal theory is amazingly blind to adverse phenomena. Such a
one is the marked sensitiveness of the middle and upper classes to the
least slight or insult. The gradations of social rank are scrupulously
observed, not only on formal occasions, but also in the homes at
informal and social gatherings. Failure to show the proper attention,
or the use of language having an insufficient number of honorific
particles and forms, would be instantly interpreted as a personal
slight, if not an insult.[CS]

Now if profuse courtesy is a proof of "impersonality," as its
advocates argue, what does morbid sensitiveness prove but highly
developed personality? But then arises the difficulty of understanding
how the same individuals can be both profusely polite and morbidly
sensitive at one and the same time? Instead of inferring
"impersonality" from the fact of politeness, from the two facts of
sensitiveness and politeness we may more logically infer a
considerable degree of personality. Yet I would not lay much stress on
this argument, for oftentimes (or is it always true?) the weaker and
more insignificant the person, the greater the sensitiveness. Extreme
sensitiveness is as natural and necessary a product of a highly
developed feudalism as is politeness, and neither is particularly due
to the high or the low development of personality.

Similarly with respect to the question of altruism, which is
practically identified with politeness by expounders of Oriental
"impersonality." They make this term (altruism) the virtual
equivalent of "impersonality"--interest in others rather than in self,
an interest due, according to their view, to a lack of differentiation
of the individual minds; the individuals, though separate, still
retain the universalism of the original mind-stuff. This use of the
term altruism makes it a very different thing from the quality or
characteristic which in the West is described by this term.

But granting that this word is used with a legitimate meaning, we ask,
is altruism in this sense an inherent quality of the Japanese race?
Let the reader glance back to our discussion of the possession by the
Japanese of sympathy, and the humane feelings.[CT] We saw there marked
proofs of their lack. The cruelty of the old social order was such as
we can hardly realize. Altruism that expresses itself only in polite
forms, and does not strive to alleviate the suffering of fellow-men,
can have very little of that sense, which this theory requires. So
much as to the fact. Then as to the theory. If this alleged altruism
were inherent in the mental structure, it ought to be a universal
characteristic of the Japanese; it should be all-pervasive and
permanent. It should show itself toward the foreigner as well as
toward the native. But such is far from the case. Few foreigners have
received a hearty welcome from the people at large. They are suspected
and hated; as little room as possible is made for them. The less of
their presence and advice, the better. So far as there is any interest
in them, it is on the ground of utility, and not of inherent good will
because of a feeling of aboriginal unity. Of course there are many
exceptions to these statements, especially among the Christians. But
such is the attitude of the people as a whole, especially of the
middle and upper classes toward the foreigners.

If we turn our attention to the opposite phase of Japanese character,
namely their selfishness, their self-assertiveness, and their
aggressiveness, whether as a nation or as individuals, and consider at
the same time the recent rise of this spirit, we are again impressed
both with the narrow range of facts to which the advocates of
"impersonality" call our attention, and also with the utter
insufficiency of their theory to account for the facts they overlook.
According to the theory of altruism and "impersonality," these are
characteristics of undeveloped races and individuals, while the
reverse characteristics, those of selfishness and self-assertiveness,
are the products of a later and higher development, marks of strong
personality. But neither selfishness nor individual aggressiveness is
a necessary element of developed "personality." If it were, children
who have never been trained by cultivated mothers, but have been
allowed to have their own way regardless of the rights or desires of
others, are more highly developed in "personality" than the adult who
has, through a long life of self-discipline and religious devotion,
become regardless of his selfish interests and solicitous only for the
welfare of others. If the high development of altruism is equivalent
to the development of "impersonality," then those in the West who are
renowned for humanity and benevolence are "impersonal," while robbers
and murderers and all who are regardless of the welfare of others are
possessed of the most highly developed "personality." And it also
follows that highly developed altruistic benefactors of mankind are
such, after all, because they are _undeveloped_,--their minds are
relatively undifferentiated,--hence their fellow-feeling and kindly
acts. There is a story of some learned wit who met a half-drunken
boor; the latter plunged ahead, remarking, "I never get out of the way
of a fool"; to which the quick reply came, "I always do." According to
this argument based on self-assertive aggressiveness, the boor was the
man possessed of a strong personality, while the gentleman was
relatively "impersonal." If pure selfishness and aggressiveness are
the measure of personality, then are not many of the carnivorous
animals endowed with a very high degree of "personality"?

The truth is, a comprehensive and at the same time correct contrast
between the East and the West cannot be stated in terms of personality
and impersonality. They fail not only to take in all the facts, but
they fail to explain even the facts they take in. Such a contrast of
the East and the West can be stated only in the terms of communalism
and individualism. As we have already seen,[CU] every nation has to
pass through the communal stage, in order to become a nation at all.
The families and tribes of which it is composed need to become
consolidated in order to survive in the struggle for existence with
surrounding families, tribes, and nations. In this stage the
individual is of necessity sunk out of sight in the demands of the
community. This secures indeed a species of altruism, but of a
relatively low order. It is communal altruism which nature compels on
pain of extermination. This, however, is very different from the
altruism of a high religious experience and conscious ethical
devotion. This latter is volitional, the product of character. This
altruism can arise chiefly in a social order where individualism to a
large extent has gained sway. It is this variety of altruism that
characterizes the West, so far as the West is altruistic. But on the
other hand, in a social order in which individualism has full swing,
the extreme of egoistic selfishness can also find opportunity for
development. It is accordingly in the West that extreme selfishness,
the most odious of sins, is seen at its best, or rather its worst.

So again we see that selfish aggressiveness and an exalted
consciousness of one's individuality or separateness are not necessary
marks of developed personality, nor their opposite the marks of
undeveloped personality--so-called "impersonality." On the contrary,
the reverse statement would probably come nearer the truth. He who is
intensely conscious of the great unities of nature and of human
nature, of the oneness that unites individuals to the nation and to
the race, and who lives a corresponding life of goodness and kindness,
is by far the more developed personality. But the manifestations of
personality will vary much with the nature of the social order. This
may change with astonishing rapidity. Such a change has come over the
social order of the Japanese nation during the past thirty years,
radically modifying its so-called impersonal features. Their primitive
docility, their politeness, their marriage customs, their universal
adoption of Chinese thoughts, language, and literature, and now, in
recent times, their rejection of the Chinese philosophy and science,
their assertiveness in Korea and China and their aggressive attitude
toward the whole world--all these multitudinous changes and complete
reversals of ideals and customs, point to the fact that the former
characteristics of their civilization were not "impersonal," but
communal, and that they rested on social development rather than on
inherent nature or on deficient mental differentiation.

A common illustration of Japanese "impersonality," depending for its
force wholly on invention, is the deficiency of the Japanese language
in personal pronouns and its surplus of honorifics. At first thought
this argument strikes one as very strong, as absolutely invincible
indeed. Surely, if there is a real lack of personal pronouns, is not
that proof positive that the people using the language, nay, the
authors of the language, must of necessity be deficient in the sense
of personality? And if the verbs in large numbers are impersonal, does
not that clinch the matter? But further consideration of the argument
and its illustrations gradually shows its weakness. At present I must
confess that the argument seems to me utterly fallacious, and for the
sufficient reason that the personal element is introduced, if not
always explicitly yet at least implicitly, in almost every sentence
uttered. The method of its expression, it is true, is quite different
from that adopted by Western languages, but it is none the less there.
It is usually accomplished by means of the titles, "honorific"
particles, and honorific verbs and nouns. "Honorable shoes" can't by
any stretch of the imagination mean shoes that belong to me; every
Japanese would at once think "your shoes"; his attention is not
distracted by the term "honorable" as is that of the foreigner; the
honor is largely overlooked by the native in the personal element
implied. The greater the familiarity with the language the more clear
it becomes that the impressions of "impersonality" are due to the
ignorance of the foreigner rather than to the real "impersonal"
character of the Japanese thought or mind. In the Japanese methods of
linguistic expression, politeness and personality are indeed,
inextricably interwoven; but they are not at all confused. The
distinctions of person and the consciousness of self in the Japanese
_thought_ are as clear and distinct as they are in the English
thought. In the Japanese _sentence_, however, the politeness and the
personality cannot be clearly separated. On that account, however,
there is no more reason for denying one element than the other.

So far from the deficiency of personal pronouns being a proof of
Japanese "impersonality," _i.e._, of lack of consciousness of self,
this very deficiency may, with even more plausibility, be used to
establish the opposite view. Child psychology has established the fact
that an early phenomenon of child mental development is the emphasis
laid on "meum" and "tuum," mine and yours. The child is a
thoroughgoing individualist in feelings, conceptions, and language.
The first personal pronoun is ever on his lips and in his thought.
Only as culture arises and he is trained to see how disagreeable in
others is excessive emphasis on the first person, does he learn to
moderate his own excessive egoistic tendency. Is it not a fact that
the studied evasion of first personal pronouns by cultured people in
the West is due to their developed consciousness of self? Is it
possible for one who has no consciousness of self to conceive as
impolite the excessive use of egoistic forms of speech? From this
point of view we might argue that, because of the deficiency of her
personal pronouns, the Japanese nation has advanced far beyond any
other nation in the process of self-consciousness. But this too would
be an error. Nevertheless, so far from saying that the lack of
personal pronouns is a proof of the "impersonality" of the Japanese, I
think we may fairly use it as a disproof of the proposition.

The argument for the inherent impersonality of the Japanese mind
because of the relative lack of personal pronouns is still further
undermined by the discovery, not only of many substitutes, but also of
several words bearing the strong impress of the conception of self.
There are said to be three hundred words which may be used as personal
pronouns--"Boku," "servant," is a common term for "I," and "kimi,"
"Lord," for "you"; these words are freely used by the student class.
Officials often use "Konata," "here," and "Anata," "there," for the
first and second persons. "Omaye," "honorably in front," is used both
condescendingly and honorifically; "you whom I condescend to allow in
my presence," and "you who confer on me the honor of entering your
presence." The derivation of the most common word for I, "Watakushi,"
is unknown, but, in addition to its pronominal use, it has the meaning
of "private." It has become a true personal pronoun and is freely used
by all classes.

In addition to the three hundred words which may be used as personal
pronouns the Japanese language possesses an indefinite number of ways
for delicately suggesting the personal element without its express
utterance. This is done either by subtle praise, which can then only
refer to the person addressed or by more or less bald
self-depreciation, which can then only refer to the first person. "Go
kanai," "honorable within the house," can only mean, according to
Japanese etiquette, "your wife," or "your family," while "gu-sai,"
"foolish wife," can only mean "my wife." "Gufu," "foolish father,"
"tonji," "swinish child," and numberless other depreciatory terms such
as "somatsu na mono," "coarse thing," and "tsumaranu mono," "worthless
thing," according to the genius of the language can only refer to the
first person, while all appreciative and polite terms can only refer
to the person addressed. The terms, "foolish," "swinish," etc., have
lost their literal sense and mean now no more than "my," while the
polite forms mean "yours." To translate these terms, "my foolish
wife," "my swinish son," is incorrect, because it twice translates the
same word. In such cases the Japanese _thought_ is best expressed by
using the possessive pronoun and omitting the derogative adjective
altogether. Japanese indirect methods for the expression of the
personal relation are thus numberless and subtile. May it not be
plausibly argued since the European has only a few blunt pronouns
wherewith to state this idea while the Japanese has both numberless
pronouns and many other delicate ways of conveying the same idea, that
the latter is far in advance of the European in the development of
personality? I do not use this argument, but as an argument it seems
to me much more plausible than that which infers from the paucity of
true pronouns the absence, or at least the deficiency, of personality.

Furthermore, Japanese possesses several words for self. "Onore,"
"one's self," and "Ware," "I or myself," are pure Japanese, while "Ji"
(the Chinese pronunciation for "onore"), "ga," "self," and "shi" (the
Chinese pronunciation of "watakushi," meaning private) are
Sinico-Japanese words, that is, Chinese derived words. These
Sinico-Japanese terms are in universal use in compound words, and are
as truly Japanese as many Latin, Greek and Norman-derived words are
real English. "Ji-bun," "one's self"; "jiman," "self-satisfaction";
"ji-fu," "self-assertion"; "jinin," "self-responsibility"; "ji-bo
ji-ki," "self-destruction, self-abandonment"; "ji-go ji-toku,"
"self-act, self-reward"--always in a bad sense; "ga-yoku," "selfish
desire"; "ga-shin," "selfish heart"; "ga we oru," "self-mastery";
"muga," "unselfish"; "shi-shin shi-yoku," "private or self-heart,
private or self-desire," that is, selfishness"; "shi-ai shi-shin,"
"private-or self-love, private-or-self heart," _i.e._,
selfishness--these and countless other compound words involving the
conception of self, can hardly be explained by the "impersonal,"
"altruistic" theory of Japanese race mind and language. In truth, if
this theory is unable to explain the facts it recognizes, much less
can it account for those it ignores.

To interpret correctly the phenomena we are considering, we must ask
ourselves how personal pronouns have arisen in other languages. Did
the primitive Occidental man produce them outright from the moment
that he discovered himself? Far from it. There are abundant reasons
for believing that every personal pronoun is a degenerate or, if you
prefer, a developed noun. Pronouns are among the latest products of
language, and, in the sphere of language, are akin to algebraic
symbols in the sphere of mathematics or to a machine in the sphere of
labor. A pronoun, whether personal, demonstrative, or relative, is a
wonderful linguistic invention, enabling the speaker to carry on long
trains of unbroken thought. Its invention was no more connected with
the sense of self, than was the invention of any labor-saving device.
The Japanese language is even more defective for lack of relative
pronouns than it is for lack of personal pronouns. Shall we argue from
this that the Japanese people have no sense of relation? Of course
personal pronouns could not arise without or before the sense of self,
but the problem is whether the sense of self could arise without or
exist before that particular linguistic device, the personal pronoun?
On this problem the Japanese language and civilization throw
conclusive light.

The fact is that the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxon and Japanese peoples
parted company so long ago that in the course of their respective
linguistic evolutions, not only have all common terms been completely
eliminated, but even common methods of expression. The so-called
Indo-European races hit upon one method of sentence structure, a
method in which pronouns took an important part and the personal
pronoun was needed to express the personal element, while the Japanese
hit upon another method which required little use of pronouns and
which was able to express the personal element wholly without the
personal pronoun. The sentence structure of the two languages is thus
radically different.

Now the long prevalent feudal social order has left its stamp on the
Japanese language no less than on every other feature of Japanese
civilization. Many of the quasi personal pronouns are manifestly of
feudal parentage. Under the new civilization and in contact with
foreign peoples who can hardly utter a sentence without a personal
pronoun, the majority of the old quasi personal pronouns are dropping
out of use, while those in continued use are fast rising to the
position of full-fledged personal pronouns. This, however, is not due
to the development of self-consciousness on the part of the people,
but only to the development of the language in the direction of
complete and concise expression of thought. It would be rash to say
that the feudal social order accounts for the lack of pronouns,
personal or others, from the Japanese language, but it is safe to
maintain that the feudal order, with its many gradations of social
rank, minute etiquette, and refined and highly developed personal
sensitiveness would adopt and foster an impersonal and honorific
method of personal allusion. Even though we may not be able to explain
the rise of the non-pronominal method of sentence structure, it is
enough if we see that this is a problem in the evolution of language,
and that Japanese pronominal deficiency is not to be attributed to
lack of consciousness of self, much less to the inherent
"impersonality" of the Japanese mind.

An interesting fact ignored by advocates of the "impersonal" theory is
the Japanese inability of conceiving nationality apart from
personality. Not only is the Emperor conceived as the living symbol of
Japanese nationality, but he is its embodiment and substance. The
Japanese race is popularly represented to be the offspring of the
royal house. Sovereignty resides completely and absolutely in him.
Authority to-day is acknowledged only in those who have it from him.
Popular rights are granted the people by him, and exist because of his
will alone. A single act of his could in theory abrogate the
constitution promulgated in 1889 and all the popular rights enjoyed
to-day by the nation. The Emperor of Japan could appropriate, without
in the least shocking the most patriotic Japanese, the long-famous
saying of Louis XIV., "L'état, c'est moi." Mr. H. Kato, ex-president
of the Imperial University, in a recent work entitled the "Evolution
of Morality and Law" says this in just so many words: "Patriotism in
this country means loyalty to the throne. To the Japanese, the Emperor
and the country are the same. The Emperor of Japan, without the
slightest exaggeration, can say, 'L'état, c'est moi.' The Japanese
believe that all their happiness is bound up with the Imperial line
and have no respect for any system of morality or law that fails to
take cognizance of this fact."

Mr. Yamaguchi, professor of history in the Peeresses' School and
lecturer in the Imperial Military College, thus writes in the _Far
East_: "The sovereign power of the State cannot be dissociated from
the Imperial Throne. It lasts forever along with the Imperial line of
succession, unbroken for ages eternal. If the Imperial House cease to
exist, the Empire falls." "According to our ideas the monarch reigns
over and governs the country in his own right.... Our Emperor
possesses real sovereignty and also exercises it. He is quite
different from other rulers, who possess but a partial sovereignty."
This is to-day the universally accepted belief in Japan. It shows
clearly that national unity and sovereignty are not conceived in Japan
apart from personality.

One more point demands our attention before bringing this chapter to a
close. If "impersonality" were an inherent characteristic of Japanese
race nature, would it be possible for strong personalities to arise?

Mr. Lowell has described in telling way a very common experience.
"About certain people," he says, "there exists a subtle something
which leaves its impress indelibly upon the consciousness of all who
come in contact with them. This something is a power, but a power of
so indefinable a description that we beg definition by calling it
simply the personality of the man.... On the other hand, there are
people who have no effect upon us whatever. They come and they go with
a like indifference.... And we say that the difference is due to the
personality or the want of personality of the man."[CV] The first
thing to which I would call attention is the fact that "personality"
is here used in its true sense. It has no exclusive reference to
consciousness of self, nor does it signify the effect of
self-consciousness on the consciousness of another. It here has
reference to those inherent qualities of thinking and feeling and
willing which we have seen to be the essence of personality. These
qualities, possessed in a marked way or degree, make strong
personalities. Their relative lack constitutes weak personality. Bare
consciousness of self is a minor evidence of personality and may be
developed to a morbid degree in a person who has a weak personality.

In the second place this distinction between weak and strong
personalities is as true of the Japanese as of the Occidental. There
have been many commanding persons in Japanese history; they have been
the heroes of the land. There are such to-day. The most commanding
personality of recent times was, I suppose, Takamori Saigo, whose very
name is an inspiration to tens of thousands of the choicest youth of
the nation. Joseph Neesima was such a personality. The transparency of
his purpose, the simplicity of his personal aim, his unflinching
courage, fixedness of belief, lofty plans, and far-reaching ambitions
for his people, impressed all who came into contact with him. No one
mingles much with the Japanese, freely speaking with them in their own
language, but perceives here and there men of "strong personality" in
the sense of the above-quoted passage. Now it seems to me that if
"impersonality" in the corresponding sense were a race characteristic,
due to the nature of their psychic being, then the occurrence of so
many commanding personalities in Japan would be inexplicable. Heroes
and widespread hero-worship[CW] could hardly arise were there no
commanding personalities. The feudal order lent itself without doubt
to the development of such a spirit. But the feudal order could hardly
have arisen or even maintained itself for centuries without commanding
personalities, much less could it have created them. The whole feudal
order was built on an exalted oligarchy. It was an order which
emphasized persons, not principles; the law of the land was not the
will of the multitudes, but of a few select persons. While, therefore,
it is beyond dispute that the old social order was communal in type,
and so did not give freedom to the individual, nor tend to develop
strong personality among the masses, it is also true that it did
develop men of commanding personality among the rulers. Those who from
youth were in the hereditary line of rule, sons of Shoguns, daimyos,
and samurai, were forced by the very communalism of the social order
to an exceptional personal development. They shot far ahead of the
common man. Feudalism is favorable to the development of personality
in the favored few, while it represses that of the masses.
Individualism, on the contrary, giving liberty of thought and act,
with all that these imply, is favorable to the development of the
personality of all.

In view of the discussions of this chapter, is it not evident that
advocates of the "impersonal" theory of Japanese mind and civilization
not only ignore many important elements of the civilization they
attempt to interpret, but also base their interpretation on a mistaken
conception of personality? We may not, however, leave the discussion
at this point, for important considerations still demand our attention
if we would probe this problem of personality to its core.



Advocates of Japanese "impersonality" call attention to the phenomena
of self-suppression in religion. It seems strange, however, that they
who present this argument fail to see how "self-suppression"
undermines their main contention. If "self-suppression" be actually
attained, it can only be by a people advanced so far as to have passed
through and beyond the "personal" stage of existence.
"Self-suppression" cannot be a characteristic of a primitive people, a
people that has not yet reached the stage of consciousness of self. If
the alleged "impersonality" of the Orient is that of a primitive
people that has not yet reached the stage of self-consciousness, then
it cannot have the characteristic of "self-suppression." If, on the
other hand, it is the "impersonality" of "self-suppression," then it
is radically different from that of a primitive people. Advocates of
"impersonality" present both conceptions, quite unconscious apparently
that they are mutually exclusive. If either conception is true, the
other is false.

Furthermore, if self-suppression is a marked characteristic of
Japanese politeness and altruism (as it undoubtedly is when these
qualities are real expressions of the heart and of the general
character), it is a still more characteristic feature of the higher
religious life of the people, which certainly does not tend to
"impersonality." The ascription of esoteric Buddhism to the common
people by advocates of the "impersonal" theory is quite a mistake, and
the argument for the "impersonality" of the race on this ground is
without foundation, for the masses of the people are grossly
polytheistic, wholly unable to understand Buddhistic metaphysics, or
to conceive of the nebulous, impersonal Absolute of Buddhism. Now if
consciousness of the unity of nature, and especially of the unity of
the individual soul with the Absolute, were a characteristic of
undeveloped, that is, of undifferentiated mind, then all primitive
peoples should display it in a superlative degree. It should show
itself in every phase of their life. The more primitive the people,
the more divine their life--because the less differentiated from the
original divine mind! Such are the requirements of this theory. But
what are the facts? The primitive undeveloped mind is relatively
unconscious of self; it is wholly objective; it is childlike; it does
not even know that there is self to suppress. Primitive religion is
purely objective. Implicit, in primitive religion without doubt, is
the fact of a unity between God and man, but the primitive man has not
discovered this implication of his religious thinking. This is the
state of mind of a large majority of Japanese.

Yet this is by no means true of all. No nation, with such a continuous
history as Japan has had, would fail to develop a class capable of
considerable introspection. In Japan introspection received early and
powerful impetus from the religion of Buddha. It came with a
philosophy of life based on prolonged and profound introspection. It
commanded each man who would know more than the symbols, who desired,
like Buddha, to attain the great enlightenment and thus become a
Tathagata, a Blessed one, a Buddha, an Enlightened one, to know and
conquer himself. The emphasis laid by thoughtful Buddhism on the need
of self-knowledge, in order to self-suppression, is well recognized by
all careful students. Advocates of Oriental "impersonality" are not
one whit behind others in recognizing it. In this connection we can
hardly do better than quote a few of Mr. Lowell's happy descriptions
of the teaching of philosophic Buddhism.

"This life, it says, is but a chain of sorrows.... These desires that
urge us on are really causes of all our woe. We think they are
ourselves. We are mistaken. They are all illusion.... This
personality, this sense of self, is a cruel deception.... Realize once
the true soul behind it, devoid of attributes ... an invisible part of
the great impersonal soul of nature, then ... will you have found
happiness in the blissful quiescence of Nirvana" [p. 186]. "In desire
alone lies all the ill. Quench the desire, and the deeds [sins of the
flesh] will die of inanition. Get rid, then, said Buddha, of these
passions, these strivings, for the sake of self. As a man becomes
conscious that he himself is something distinct from his body, so if
he reflect and ponder, he will come to see that in like manner, his
appetites, ambitions, hopes, are really extrinsic to the spirit
proper.... Behind desire, behind even the will, lies the soul, the
same for all men, one with the soul of the universe. When he has once
realized this eternal truth, the man has entered Nirvana.... It
[Nirvana] is simply the recognition of the eternal oneness of the two
[the individual and the universal soul]" [p. 189].

Accepting this description of philosophic Buddhism as fairly accurate,
it is plain that the attainment of this consciousness of the unity of
the individual self with the universal is the result, according to
Buddha, and also according to the advocates of "impersonality," of a
highly developed consciousness of self. It is not a simple state of
undifferentiated mind, but a complex and derivative one--absolutely
incomprehensible to a primitive people. The means for this suppression
of self _depends entirely on the development of the consciousness of
self_. The self is the means for casting out the self, and it is done
by that introspection which ultimately leads to the realization of the
unity. If, then, Japanese Buddhism seeks to suppress the self, this
very effort is the most conclusive proof we could demand of the
possession by this people of a highly developed consciousness of self.

It is one of the boasts of Buddhism that a man's saviour is himself;
no other helper, human or divine, can do aught for him. Those who
reject Christianity in Christian lands are quite apt to praise
Buddhism for this rejection of all external help. They urge that by
the very nature of the case salvation is no external thing; each one
must work out his own salvation. It cannot be given by another.
Salvation through an external Christ who lived 1900 years ago is an
impossibility. Such a criticism of Christianity shows real
misunderstanding of the Christian doctrine and method of salvation.
Yet the point to which attention is here directed is not the
correctness or incorrectness of these characterizations of
Christianity, but rather to the fact that "ji-riki," salvation through
self-exertion, which is the boast of Buddhism, is but another proof of
the essentially self-conscious character of Buddhism. It aims at
Nirvana, it is true, at self-suppression, but it depends on the
attainment of clear self-consciousness in the first place, and then on
prolonged self-exertion for the attainment of that end. In proportion
as Buddhism is esoteric is it self-conscious.

Such being the nature of Buddhism, we naturally ask whether or not it
is calculated to develop strongly personalized men and women. If
consciousness of self is the main element of personality, we must
pronounce Buddhism a highly personal rather than impersonal religion,
as is commonly stated. But a religion of the Buddhistic type, which
casts contempt on the self, and seeks its annihilation as the only
means of salvation, has ever tended to destroy personality; it has
made men hermits and pessimists; it has drawn them out of the great
current of active life, and thus has severed them from their
fellow-men. But a prime condition of developed personalities is
largeness and intensity of life, and constant intercourse with
mankind. Personality is developed in the society of persons, not in
the company of trees and stones. Buddhism, which runs either to gross
and superstitious polytheism on its popular side or to pessimistic
introspection on its philosophical side, may possibly, by a stretch of
the term, be called "impersonal" in the sense that it does not help in
the production of strong, rounded personality among its votaries, but
not in the sense that it does not produce self-consciousness.
Buddhism, therefore, cannot be accurately described in terms of
personality or impersonality.

We would do well in this connection to ponder the fact that although
Buddhism in its higher forms does certainly develop consciousness of
self, it does not attribute to that self any worth. In consequence of
this, it never has modified, and however long it might be allowed to
run its course, never could modify, the general social order in the
direction of individualism. This is one reason why the whole Orient
has maintained to modern times its communal nature, in spite of its
high development in so many ways, even in introspection and

This failure of Buddhism is all the more striking when we stop to
consider how easy and, to us, natural an inference it would have been
to pass from the perception of the essential unity between the
separate self and the universal soul, to the assertion of the supreme
worth of that separate soul because of the fact of that unity. But
Buddhism never seems to have made that inference. Its compassion on
animals and even insects depended on its doctrine of the
transmigration of souls, not on its doctrine of universal soul unity.
Its mercy was shown to animals in certain whimsical ways, but the
universal lack of sympathy for suffering man, man who could suffer the
most exquisite pains, exposed the shallowness of its solicitude about
destroying life. The whole influence of Buddhism on the social order
was not conducive to the development of personality in the Orient. The
so-called impersonal influence of Buddhism upon the Eastern peoples,
then, is not due to its failure to recognize the separateness of the
human self, on the one hand, nor to its emphasis on the universal
unity subsisting between the separate finite self and the infinite
soul, on the other; but only on its failure to see the infinite worth
of the individual; and in consequence of this failure, its inability
to modify the general social order by the introduction of

The asserted "impersonal" characteristic of Buddhism and of the
Orient, therefore, I am not willing to call "impersonality"; for it is
a very defective description, a real misnomer. I think no single term
can truly describe the characteristic under consideration. As regards
the general social order, the so-called impersonal characteristic is
its communal nature; as regards the popular religious thought, whether
of Shintoism or Buddhism, its so-called impersonality is its simple,
artless objectivity; as regards philosophic Buddhism its so-called
impersonality is its morbid introspective self-consciousness, leading
to the desire and effort to annihilate the separateness of the self.
These are different characteristics and cannot be described by any
single term. So far as there are in Japan genuine altruism, real
suppression of selfish desires, and real possession of kindly feelings
for others and desires to help them, and so far as these qualities
arise through a sense of the essential unity of the human race and of
the unity of the human with the divine soul, this is not
"impersonality"--but a form of highly developed personality--not
infra-personality, but true personality.

We have noted that although esoteric Buddhism developed a highly
accentuated consciousness of self, it attributed no value to that
self. This failure will not appear strange if we consider the
historical reasons for it. Indeed, the failure was inevitable. Neither
the social order nor the method of introspective thought suggested it.
Both served, on the contrary, absolutely to preclude the idea.

When introspective thought began in India the social order was already
far beyond the undifferentiated communal life of the tribal stage.
Castes were universal and fixed. The warp and woof of daily life and
of thought were filled with the distinctions of castes and ranks.
Man's worth was conceived to be not in himself, but in his rank or
caste. The actual life of the people, therefore, did not furnish to
speculative thought the slightest suggestion of the worth of man as
man. It was a positive hindrance to the rise of such an idea.

Equally opposed to the rise of this idea was the method of that
introspective thought which discovered the fact of the self. It was a
method of abstraction; it denied as part of the real self everything
that could be thought of as separate; every changing phase or
expression of the self could not be the real self, it was argued,
because, if a part of the real self, how could it sometimes be and
again not be? Feeling cannot be a part of the real self, for sometimes
I feel and sometimes I do not. Any particular desire cannot be a part
of my real self, for sometimes I have it and sometimes I do not. A
similar argument was applied to every objective thing. In the famous
"Questions of King Melinda," the argument as to the real chariot is
expanded at length; the wheels are not the chariot; the spokes are not
the chariot; the seat is not the chariot; the tongue is not the
chariot; the axle is not the chariot; and so, taking up each
individual part of the chariot, the assertion is made that it is not
the chariot. But if the chariot is not in any of its parts, then they
are not essential parts of the chariot. So of the soul--the self; it
does not consist of its various qualities or attributes or powers;
hence they are not essential elements of the self. The real self
exists apart from them.

Now is it not evident that such a method of introspection deprives the
conception of self of all possible value? It is nothing but a bare
intellectual abstraction. To say that this self is a part of the
universal self is no relief,--brings no possible worth to the separate
self,--for the conception of the universal soul has been arrived at by
a similar process of thought. It, too, is nothing but a bare
abstraction, deprived of all qualities and attributes and powers. I
can see no distinction between the absolute universal soul of
Brahmanism and Buddhism, and the Absolute Nothing of Hegel.[CX]

Both are the farthest possible abstraction that the mind can make. The
Absolute Soul of Buddhism, the Atman of Brahmanism, and Hegel's
Nothing are the farthest possible remove from the Christian's
conception of God. The former is the utter emptiness of being; the
latter the perfect fullness of being and completeness of quality. The
finite emptiness receives and can receive no richness of life or
increase in value by its consciousness of unity with the infinite
emptiness; whereas the finite limited soul receives in the Christian
view an infinite wealth and value by reason of the consciousness of
its unity with the divine infinite fullness. The usual method of
stating the difference between the Christian conception of God and the
Hindu conception of the root of all being is that the one is personal
and the other impersonal. But these terms are inadequate. Rather say
the one is perfectly personal and the other perfectly abstract.
Impersonality, even in its strictest meaning, _i.e._, without
"conscious separate existence as an intelligent and voluntary being,"
only partially expresses the conception of Buddhism. The full
conception rejects not only personality, but also every other quality;
the ultimate and the absolute of Buddhism--we may not even call it
being--is the absolutely abstract.

With regard, then, to the conception of the separate self and of the
supreme self, the Buddhistic view may be called "impersonal," not in
the sense that it lacks the consciousness of a separate self; not in
the sense that it emphasizes the universal unity--nay, the identity of
all the separate abstract selves and the infinite abstract self; but
in the sense that all the qualities and characteristics of human
beings, such as consciousness, thought, emotion, volition, and even
being itself, are rejected as unreal. The view is certainly
"impersonal," but it is much more. My objection to the description of
Buddhism as "impersonal," then, is not because the word is too strong,
but because it is too weak; it does not sufficiently characterize its
real nature. It is as much below materialism, as materialism is below
monotheism. Such a scheme of thought concerning the universe
necessarily reacts on those whom it possesses, to destroy what sense
they may have of the value of human personality; that which we hold to
be man's glory is broken into fragments and thrown away.

But this does not constitute the whole of the difficulty. This method
of introspective thought necessarily resulted in the doctrine of
Illusion. Nothing is what it seems to be. The reality of the chariot
is other than it appears. So too with the self and everything we see
or think. The ignoant are perfectly under the spell of the illusion
and cannot escape it. The deluded mind creates for itself the world of
being, with all its woes and evils. The great enlightenment is the
discovery of this fact and the power it gives to escape the illusion
and to see that the world is nothing but illusion. To see that the
illusion is an illusion destroys it as such. It is then no longer an
illusion, but only a passing shadow. We cannot now stop to see how
pessimism, the doctrine of self-salvation, and the nature of that
salvation through contemplation and asceticism and withdrawal from
active life, all inevitably follow from such a course of thought. That
which here needs emphasis is that all this thinking renders it still
more impossible to think of the self as having any intrinsic worth.
On-the contrary, the self is the source of evil, of illusion. The
great aim of Buddhism is necessarily to get rid of the self, with all
its illusions and pains and disappointments.

Is it now clear why Buddhism failed to reach the idea of the worth of
the individual self? It was due to the nature of the social order, and
the nature of its introspective and speculative thinking. Lacking,
therefore, the conception of individual worth, we see clearly why it
failed, even after centuries of opportunity, to secure individualism
in the social order and a general development of personality either as
an idea or as a fact among any of the peoples to which it has gone. It
is not only a fact of history, but we have seen that it could not have
been otherwise. The very nature of its conception of self and, in
consequence, the nature of its conception of salvation absolutely
prohibited it.[CY]

We have thus far confined our view entirely to philosophic Buddhism.
It is important, therefore, to state again that very few of the
Japanese people outside of the priesthood have any such ideas with
regard to the abstract nature of the individual, of the absolute self,
and of their mutual relations as I have just described. These ideas
are a part of esoteric Buddhism, the secret truth, which is an
essential part of the great enlightenment, but far too profound for
the vulgar multitudes. The vast majority, even of the priesthood, I am
told, do not get far enough to be taught these views. The sweep of
such conceptions, therefore, is very limited. That they are held,
however, by the leaders, that they are the views of the most learned
expounders and the most advanced students of Buddhism serves to
explain why Buddhism has never been, and can never become, a power in
reorganizing society in the direction of individualism.

Popular Buddhism contains many elements alien to philosophic Buddhism.
For a full study of the subject of this chapter we need to ask whether
popular Buddhism tended to produce "impersonality," and if so, in what
sense. The doctrine of "ingwa,"[CZ] with its consequences on
character, demands fresh attention at this point. According to this
doctrine every event of this life, even the minutest, is the result of
one's conduct in a previous life, and is unalterably fixed by
inflexible law. "Ingwa" is the crude idea of fate held by all
primitive peoples, stated in somewhat philosophic and scientific form.
It became a central element in the thought of Oriental peoples. Each
man is born into his caste and class by a law over which neither he
nor his parents have any control, and for which they are without
responsibility. The misfortunes of life, and the good fortunes as
well, come by the same impartial, inflexible laws. By this system of
thought moral responsibility is practically removed from the
individual's shoulders. This doctrine is held in Japan far more widely
than the philosophic doctrine of the self, and is correspondingly

This system of thought, when applied to the details of life, means
that individual choice and will, and their effect in determining both
external life and internal character have been practically lost sight
of. As a sociological fact the origin of this conception is not
difficult to understand. The primitive freedom of the individual in
the early communal order of the tribe became increasingly restricted
with the multiplication and development of the Hindu peoples; each
class of society became increasingly specialized. Finally the
individual had no choice whatever left him, because of the extreme
rigidity of the communal order. As a matter of fact, the individual
choice and will was allowed no play whatever in any important matter.
Good sense saw that where no freedom is, there moral responsibility
cannot be. All one's life is predetermined by the powers that be. Thus
we again see how vital a relation the social order bears to the
innermost thinking and belief of a people.

Still further. Once let the idea be firmly grounded in an individual
that he has no freedom of belief, of choice, or of act, and in the
vast majority of cases, as a matter of fact, he will have none. "As a
man thinketh in his heart, so is he." "According to your faith be it
unto you." This doctrine of individual freedom is one of those that
cannot be forced on a man who does not choose to believe it. In a true
sense, it is my belief that I am free that makes me free. As Prof.
James well says, the doctrine of the freedom of the will cannot be
rammed down any man's intellectual throat, for that very act would
abridge his real freedom. Man's real freedom is proved by his freedom
to reject even the doctrine of his freedom. But so long as he rejects
it, his freedom is only potential. Because of his belief in his
bondage he is in bondage. Now this doctrine of fate has been the warp
and woof of the thinking of the bulk of the Japanese people in their
efforts to explain all the vicissitudes of life. Not only, therefore,
has it failed to stimulate the volitional element of the psychic
nature, but in the psychology of the Orient little if any attention
has been given to this faculty. Oriental psychology practically knows
nothing of personality because it has failed to note one of its
central elements, the freedom of the will. The individual, therefore,
has not been appealed to to exercise his free moral choice, one of
the highest prerogatives of his nature. Moral responsibility has not
been laid on his individual shoulders. A method of moral appeal fitted
to develop the deepest element of his personality has thus been

It thus resulted that although philosophic Buddhism developed a high
degree of self-consciousness, yet because it failed to discover
personal freedom it did not deliver popular Buddhism from its grinding
doctrine of fate, rather it fastened this incubus of social progress
more firmly upon it. Philosophic and popular Buddhism alike thus threw
athwart the course of human and social evolution the tremendous
obstacle of fatalism, which the Orient has never discovered a way
either to surmount or evade. Buddhism teaches the impotence of the
individual will; it destroys the sense of moral responsibility; it
thus fails to understand the real nature of man, his glory and power
and even his divinity, which the West sums up in the term personality.
In this sense, then, the influence of Buddhism and the condition of
the Orient may be called "impersonal," but it is the impersonality of
a defective religious psychology, and of communalism in the social
order. Whether it is right to call this feature of Japan
"impersonality," I leave with the reader to judge.

We draw this chapter to a close with a renewed conception of the
inadequacy of the "impersonal" theory to explain Japanese religious
and social phenomena. Further considerations, however, still merit
attention ere we leave this subject.



Regret as we sometimes must the illogicalness of the human mind, yet
it is a providential characteristic of our as yet defective nature;
for thanks to it few men or nations carry out to their complete
logical results erroneous opinions and metaphysical speculations.
Common sense in Japan has served more or less as an antidote for
Buddhistic poison. The blighting curse of logical Buddhism has been
considerably relieved by various circumstances. Let us now consider
some of the ways in which the personality-destroying characteristics
of Buddhism have been lessened by other ideas and influences.

First of all there is the distinction, so often noted, between
esoteric and popular Buddhism. Esoteric Buddhism was content to allow
popular Buddhism a place and even to invent ways for the salvation of
the ignorant multitudes who could not see the real nature of the self.
Resort was had to the use of magic prayers and symbols and idols.
These were bad enough, but they did not bear so hard on the
development of personality as did esoteric Buddhism.

The doctrine of the transmigration of the soul was likewise a relief
from the pressure of philosophic Buddhism, for, according to this
doctrine, the individual soul continues to live its separate life, to
maintain its independent identity through infinite ages, while passing
through the ten worlds of existence, from nethermost hell to highest
heaven; and the particular world into which it is born after each
death is determined by the moral character of its life in the
immediately preceding stage. By this doctrine, then, a practical
appeal is made to the common man to exert his will, to assert his
personality, and so far forth it was calculated to undo a part of the
mischief done by the paralyzing doctrine of fate and illusion.

But a more important relief from the blight of Buddhistic doctrine was
afforded by its own practice. At the very time that it declared the
worthlessness of the self and the impotence of the will, it declared
that salvation can come only from the self, by the most determined
exercise of the will. What more convincing evidence of powerful,
though distorted, wills could be asked than that furnished by Oriental
asceticism? Nothing in the West exceeds it. As an _idea_, then,
Buddhism interfered with the development of the conception of
personality; but by its _practice_ it helped powerfully to develop it
as a fact in certain phases of activity. The stoicism of the Japanese
is one phase of developed personality. It shows the presence of a
powerful, disciplined will keeping the body in control, so that it
gives no sign of the thoughts and emotions going on in the mind,
however fierce they may be.

That in Japan, however, which has interfered most powerfully with the
spread and dominance of Buddhism has been the practical and prosaic
Confucian ethics. Apparently, Confucius never speculated. Metaphysics
and introspection alike had no charm for him. He was concerned with
conduct. His developed doctrine demanded of all men obedience to the
law of the five relations. In spite, therefore, of the fact that he
said nothing about individuality and personality, his system laid real
emphasis on personality and demanded its continuous activity. In all
of his teachings the idea of personality in the full and proper sense
of this word is always implicit, and sometimes is quite distinct.

The many strong and noble characters which glorify the feudal era are
the product of Japonicized Confucianism, "Bushido," and bear powerful
witness to its practical emphasis on personality. The loyalty, filial
piety, courage, rectitude, honor, self-control, and suicide which it
taught, defective though we must pronounce them from certain points of
view, were yet very lofty and noble, and depended for their
realization on the development of personality.

Advocates of the "impersonal" interpretation of the Orient have much
to say about pantheism. They assert the difficulty of conveying to the
Oriental mind the idea of the personality of the Supreme Being.
Although some form of pantheism is doubtless the belief of the
learned, the evidence that a personal conception of deity is
widespread among the people seems so manifest that I need hardly do
more than call attention to it. This belief has helped to neutralize
the paralyzing tendency of Buddhist fatalistic pantheism.

Shinto is personal from first to last. Every one of its myriads of
gods is a personal being, many of them deified men.

The most popular are the souls of men who became famous for some
particularly noble, brave, or admirable deed. Hero-worship is nothing
if not personal. Furthermore, in its doctrine of "San-shin-ittai,"
"three gods, one body," it curiously suggests the doctrine of the

Popular Buddhism holds an equally personal conception of deity. The
objects of its worship are personifications of various qualities.
"Kwannon," the goddess of mercy; "Jizo," the guardian of travelers and
children; "Emma O," "King of Hell," who punishes sinners; "Fudo Sama,"
"The Immovable One," are all personifications of the various
attributes of deity and are worshiped as separate gods, each being
represented by a uniform type of idol. It is a curious fact that
Buddhism, which started out with such a lofty rejection of deity,
finally fell to the worship of idols, whereas Shinto, which is
peculiarly the worship of personality, has never stooped to its
representation in wood or stone.

Confucianism, however, surpasses all in its intimations of the
personality of the Supreme Being. Although it never formulated this
doctrine in a single term, nor definitely stated it as a tenet of
religion, yet the entire ethical and religious thinking of the
classically educated Japanese is shot through with the idea. Consider
the Chinese expression "Jo-Tei," which the Christians of Japan freely
use for God; it means literally "Supreme Emperor," and refers to the
supreme ruler of the universe; he is here conceived in the form of a
human ruler having of course human, that is to say, personal,
attributes. A phrase often heard on the lips of the Japanese is:

"Aoide Ten ni hajizu; fushite Chi ni hajizu."

"Without self-reproach, whether looking up to Heaven, or down to

This phrase has reference to the consciousness of one's life and
conduct, such that he is neither ashamed to look up in the face of
Heaven nor to look about him in the presence of man. Paul expressed
this same idea when he wrote "having a conscience void of offense to
God and to man." Or take another phrase:

"Ten-mo kwaikwai so ni shite morasazu."

"Heaven's net is broad as earth; and though its meshes are large, none
can escape it." This is constantly used to illustrate the certainty
that Heaven punishes the wicked.

"Ten ni kuchi ari; kabe ni mimi ari."

"Heaven has a mouth and even the wall has ears," signifies that all
one does is known to the ruler of heaven and earth. Another still more
striking saying ascribing knowledge to Heaven is the "Yoshin no
Shichi," "the four knowings of Yoshin." This sage was a Chinaman of
the second century A.D. Approached with a large bribe and urged to
accept it with the assurance that no one would know it, he replied,
"Heaven knows it; Earth knows it; you know it; and I know it. How say
you that none will know it?" This famous saying condemning bribery is
well known in Japan. The references to "Heaven" as knowing, seeing,
doing, sympathizing, willing, and always identifying the activity of
"Heaven" with the noblest and loftiest ideals of man, are frequent in
Chinese and Japanese literature. The personality of God is thus a
doctrine clearly foreshadowed in the Orient. It is one of those great
truths of religion which the Orient has already received, but which in
a large measure lies dormant because of its incomplete expression. The
advent of the fully expressed teaching of this truth, freed from all
vagueness and ambiguity, is a capital illustration of the way in which
Christianity comes to Japan to fulfill rather than to destroy; it
brings that fructifying element that stirs the older and more or less
imperfectly expressed truths into new life, and gives them adequate
modes of expression. But the point to which I am here calling
attention is the fact that the idea of the personality of the Supreme
Being is not so utterly alien to Oriental thought as some would have
us think. Even though there is no single word with which conveniently
to translate the term, the idea is perfectly distinct to any Japanese
to whom its meaning is explained.

The statement is widely made that because the Japanese language has no
term for "personality" the people are lacking in the idea; that
consequently they have difficulty in grasping it even when presented
to them, and that as a further consequence they are not to be
criticised for their hesitancy in accepting the doctrine of the
"Personality of God." It must be admitted that if "personality" is to
be defined in the various ambiguous and contradictory ways in which we
have seen it defined by advocates of Oriental "impersonality" much can
be said in defense of their hesitancy. Indeed, no thinking Christian
of the Occident for a moment accepts it. But if "personality" is
defined in the way here presented, which I judge to be the usage of
thoughtful Christendom, then their hesitancy cannot be so defended. It
is doubtless true that there is in Japanese no single word
corresponding to our term "personality." But that is likewise true of
multitudes of other terms. The only significance of this fact is that
Oriental philosophy has not followed in exactly the same lines as the
Occidental. As a matter of fact I have not found the idea of
personality to be a difficult one to convey to the Japanese, if clear
definitions are used. The Japanese language has, as we have seen, many
words referring to the individuality, to the self of manhood; it
merely lacks the general abstract term, "personality." This is,
however, in keeping with the general characteristics of the language.
Abstract terms are, compared with English, relatively rare. Yet with
the new civilization they are being coined and introduced.
Furthermore, the English term "personality" is readily used by the
great majority of educated Christians just as they use such words as
"life," "power," "success," "patriotism," and "Christianity."

In the summer of 1898, with the Rev. C.A. Clark I was invited to speak
on the "Outlines of Christianity" in a school for Buddhist priests. At
the close of our thirty-minute addresses, a young man arose and spoke
for fifty minutes, outlining the Buddhist system of thought; his
address consisted of an exposition of the law of cause and effect; he
also stated some of the reasons why the Christian conception of God
and the universe seemed to him utterly unsatisfactory; the objections
raised were those now current in Japan--such, for example, as that if
God really were the creator of the universe, why are some men rich and
some poor, some high-born and some low-born. He also asked the
question who made God? In a two-minute reply I stated that his
objections showed that he did not understand the Christian's position;
and I asked in turn what was the origin of the law of cause and
effect. The following day the chief priest, the head of the school and
its most highly educated instructor, dined with us. We of course
talked of the various aspects of Christian and Buddhist doctrine.
Finally he asked me how I would answer the question as to who created
God, and as to the origin of the law of cause and effect. I explained
as clearly as I could the Christian view of God, in his personality
and as being the original and only source of all existence, whether of
physical or of human nature. He seemed to drink it all in and
expressed his satisfaction at the close in the words, "Taihen ni man
zoku shimashita," "That is exceedingly satisfactory"; these words he
repeated several times. This is not my first personal proof of the
fact that the idea of personality is not alien or incomprehensible to
the Orient, nor even to a Buddhist priest, steeped in Buddhist
speculation, provided the idea is clearly stated.

Before bringing to a close this discussion of the problem of
personality in Japan, it would seem desirable to trace the history of
the development of Japanese personality. In view of all that has now
been said, and not forgetting what was said as to the principles of
National Evolution,[DA] this may be done in a paragraph.

The amalgamation of tribes, the development of large clans, and
finally the establishment of the nation, with world-wide relations,
has reacted on the individual members of the people, giving them
larger and richer lives. This constitutes one important element of
personal development. The subordination of individual will to that of
the group, the desire and effort to live for the advantage, not of the
individual self, but of the group, whether family, tribe, clan,
nation, or the world, is not a limitation of personality. On the
contrary, it is its expansion and development. Shinto and Japonicized
Confucianism contributed powerful motives to this subordination, and
thus to this personal development. These were attended, however, by
serious limitations in that they confined their attention to the upper
and ruling classes. The development of personality was thus extremely
limited. Buddhism contributed to the development of Japanese
personality in so far as it taught Japanese the marvels revealed by
introspection and self-victory. Its contribution, however, was
seriously hampered by defects already sufficiently emphasized. Japan
has developed personality to a high degree in a few and to a
relatively low degree in the many. The problem confronting New Japan
is the development of a high degree of personality among the masses.
This is to be accomplished by the introduction of an individualistic
social order.

One further topic demands our attention in closing. What is the nature
of personal heredity? Is it biological and inherent, or, like all the
characteristics of the Japanese people thus far studied, is
personality transmitted by social heredity? Distinguishing between
intrinsic or inherent personality,[DB] which constitutes the original
endowment differentiating man from animal, and extrinsic or acquired
personality, which consists of the various forms in which the inherent
personality has manifested itself in the different races of men and
the different ages of "history, it is safe to say that the latter is
transmitted according to the laws of association or social heredity.
Intrinsic personality can be inherited only by lineal offspring,
passing from father to son. Extrinsic personality may fail to be
inherited by lineal descendants and may be inherited by others than
lineal descendants. It is transmitted and determined by social
inheritance. Yet it is through personality that the individual may
break away from the dominant currents of the social order, and become
thus the means for the transformation of that order. The secret of
social progress lies in personality. In proportion as the social order
is fitted, accordingly, widely to develop high-grade personality,[DC]
is its own progress rapid and safe.

Does acquired personality react on intrinsic personality? This is the
problem of "the inheritance of acquired characteristics." Into this
problem I do not enter further than to note that in so far as newly
developed personal traits produce transformations of body and brain
transmittable from parent to offspring by the bare fact of parentage,
in that degree does acquired pass over into intrinsic personality and
thereby become intrinsic. In regard to the degree in which acquired
has passed over into intrinsic personality, thus differentiating the
leading races of mankind, we contend that it is practically
non-existent. The phenomena of personality characterizing the chief
races of men are due, not to intrinsic, but to acquired personality;
in other words they are the products of the respective social orders
and are transmitted from generation to generation by social rather
than by biological heredity.



Fully to comprehend the genius and history of Japan and her social
order, we need to gain a still more thorough insight into the various
conceptions of the universe that have influenced the people. What have
been their views as to the nature of the ultimate reality lying behind
all phenomena? What as to the relation of mankind to that Ultimate
Reality? And what has been the relation of these world-views to the
social order? To prepare the way for our final answer to these
questions, we confine ourselves in this chapter to a study of the
inner nature of the Buddhist world-view.

Since the Buddhist conception of the Ultimate Reality and of the
universe is one of the three important types of world-views dominating
the human mind, a type too that is hardly known in Western lands, in
order to set it forth in terms intelligible to the Occidental and the
Christian, it will be necessary in expounding it to contrast it with
the two remaining types; namely, the Greek and the Christian. As
already pointed out, according to the Buddhistic conception, the
Ultimate is a thoroughgoing Abstraction. All the elements of
personality are denied. It is perfectly passionless, perfectly
thoughtless, and perfectly motionless. It has neither feeling, idea,
nor will. As a consequence, the phenomena of the universe are wholly
unrelated to it; all that is, is only illusion; it has no reality of
being. Human beings who think the world real, and who think even
themselves real, are under the spell. This illusion is the great
misery and source of pain. Salvation is the discovery of the illusion;
and this discovery is the victory over it; for no one fears the lion's
skin, however much he may fear the lion. This discovery secures the
dropping back from the little, limited, individual self-line, into
the infinite passionless, thoughtless, and motionless existence of the
absolute being, Nirvana.

The Ancient Greek and not a little modern thought, conceived of the
Ultimate as a thorough-going intellectualism. One aspect of
personality was perceived and emphasized. God was conceived as a
thinker, as one who contemplates the universe. He does not create
matter, nor force, nor does he rule them. They are eternal and real,
and subject to fate. God simply observes. He is absolute reason. The
Greek view is thus essentially dualistic. Sin, from the Greek point of
view, is merely ignorance, and salvation the attainment of knowledge.

In vital and vitalizing contrast to both the Buddhist and Greek
conceptions is the Judæo-Christian. To the Christian the Ultimate is a
thoroughgoing personality. To him the central element in God is will,
guided by reason and controlled by love and righteousness. God creates
and rules everything. There is nothing that is not wholly subject to
him. There is no dualism for the Christian, nor any illusion. Sin is
an act of human will, not an illusion nor a failure of intellect.
Salvation is the correction of the will, which comes about through a
"new birth."

The elemental difference, then, between these three conceptions of the
Ultimate is that in Buddhism the effort to rationalize and ethicize
the universe of experience is abandoned as a hopeless task; the world
entirely and completely resists the rational and ethical process. The
universe is pronounced completely irrational and non-moral. Change is
branded as illusion. There is no room for progress in philosophic,
thoroughgoing Buddhism.

In the Greek view the universe is subject in part to the rationalizing
process; but only in part. The effort at ethicization is entirely
futile. The Greek view, equally with the Buddhistic, is at a loss to
understand change. It does not brand it as unreal, but change produced
by man is branded as a departure from nature. Greeks and Hindus alike
have no philosophy of history. In the Christian view the universe is
completely subject to the rational and ethical process. God is creator
of all that is and it is necessarily good. God is an active will and
He is, therefore, still in the process of creating; hence change,
evolution, is justified and understood. History is rational and has a
philosophy. Evolution and revelation have their place at the very
heart of the universe. Hence it is that science, philosophy, and
history, in a word a high-grade civilization, finds its intellectual
justification, its foundation, its primary postulates, its
possibility, only in a land permeated with the Christian idea of God.

In the Buddhistic conception God is an abstract vacuity; in the Greek,
a static intellect; in the Christian, a dynamic will. As is the
conception of God, so is the conception and character of man. The two
are so intimately interdependent that it is useless at this time to
discuss which is the cause and which the result. They are doubtless
the two aspects of the same movement of thought. The following
differences are necessary characteristics of the three religions:

The Buddhist seeks salvation through the attainment of
vacuity--Nirvana--in order to escape from the world in which he says
there is no reason and no morality. The Greek seeks salvation through
the activity of the intellect; all that is needful to salvation is
knowledge of the truth. The Christian seeks salvation through the
activity of the will; this is secured through the new birth. The
Buddhist leaves each man to save himself from his illusion by the
discovery that it is an illusion. The Greek relies on intellectual
education, on philosophy--the Christian recreates the will. The
Buddhist and Greek gods make no effort to help the lost man. The
Christian God is dominated by love; He is therefore a missionary God,
sending even His only begotten Son to reconcile and win the world of
sinning, willful children back to Himself.

In Buddhism salvation is won only by the few and after ages of toil
and ceaseless re-births. In the Greek plan only the philosopher who
comes to full understanding can attain salvation. In the Christian
plan salvation is for all, for all are sons of God, in fact, and may
through Christ become so in consciousness. In the Buddhistic plan the
hopeless masses resort to magic and keep on with their idolatry and
countless gross superstitions. In the Greek plan the hopeless resort
to the "mysteries" for the attainment of salvation. In the Christian
plan there are no hopeless masses, for all may gain the regenerated
will and become conscious sons of God.

The Buddhist mind gave up all effort to grasp or even to understand
reality. The Greek mind thought it could arrive at reality through the
intellect. But two thousand years of philosophic study and evolution
drove philosophy into the absurd positions of absolute subjective
idealism on the one hand and sensationalism and absolute materialism
on the other. The Christian mind lays emphasis on the will and
accordingly is alone able to reach reality, a reality justifiable
alike to the reason and to the heart. For will is the creative faculty
in man as well as in God. As God through His will creates reality, so
man through his will first comes to know reality. Mere intellect can
never pass over from thought to being. Being can be known as a reality
only through the will.

In consequence of the above-stated methods of thought, the Buddhist
was of necessity a pessimist; the Greek only less so; while the Jew
and the Christian could alone be thoroughgoing optimists. The Buddhist
ever asserts the is-not; the Greek, the is; while the Jew and
Christian demand the ought-to be, as the supreme thing. Hence flows
the perennial life of the Christian civilization.

Those races and civilizations whose highest and deepest conception of
the ultimate is that of mere reason, no less than those races and
civilizations whose highest and deepest conception of reality is that
of an abstract emptiness, must be landed in an unreal world, must
arrive at irrational results, for they have not taken into account the
most vital element of thought and life. Such races and civilizations
cannot rise to the highest levels of which man is capable; they must
of necessity give way to those races and that civilization which build
on larger and more complete foundations, which worship Will, Human and
Divine, and seek for its larger development both in self and in all

But I must not pause to trace the contrasts further. Enough has been
said to show the source of Occidental belief in the infinite worth of
man. In almost diametrical contrast to the Buddhist conception,
according to the Christian view, man is a real being, living in a real
world, involved in a real intellectual problem, fighting a real
battle, on whose issue hang momentous, nay, infinite results. So great
is man's value, not only to himself, but also to God, his Father, that
the Father himself suffers with him in his sin, and for him, to save
him from his sin. The question will be asked how widely the Buddhistic
interpretation of the universe has spread in Japan. The doctrine of
illusion became pretty general. We may doubt, however, whether the
rationale of the philosophy was very generally understood. One Sutra,
read by all Japanese sects, is taught to all who would become
acquainted with the essentials of Buddhist doctrine. It is so short
that I give it in full.[DD]


     "Adoration to the Omniscient. The venerable Bodhisattva
     Avalokitesvara performing his study in the deep Pragna-paramita
     [perfection of Wisdom] thought thus: There are the five Skandhas,
     and these he considered as by their nature empty [phenomenal]. O
     Sariputra, he said, form here is emptiness, and emptiness indeed is
     form. Emptiness is not different from form, and form is not
     different from emptiness. What is form that is emptiness, what is
     emptiness that is form. The same applies to perception, name,
     conception, and knowledge.

     "Here, O Sariputra, all things have the character of emptiness;
     they have no beginning, no end, they are faultless and not
     faultless, they are not imperfect and not perfect. Therefore, O
     Sariputra, in this emptiness there is no form, no perception, no
     name, no concepts, no knowledge. No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body,
     mind. No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, objects.... There is no
     knowledge, no ignorance, no destruction of knowledge, no
     destruction of ignorance, etc., there is no decay and death, no
     destruction of decay and death; there are not the four truths,
     viz., that there is pain, the origin of pain, stopping of pain, and
     the path to it. There is no knowledge, no obtaining of Nirvana.

     "A man who has approached the Pragna-paramita of the Bodhisattva
     dwells enveloped in consciousness. But when the envelop of
     consciousness has been annihilated, then he becomes free of all
     fear, beyond the reach of change, enjoying final Nirvana. All
     Buddhas of the past, present, and future, after approaching the
     Pragna-paramita, have awakened to the highest perfect knowledge.

     "Therefore one ought to know the great verse of the
     Pragna-paramita, the verse of the great wisdom, the unsurpassed
     verse, the peerless verse, which appeases all pain; it is truth
     because it is not false; the verse proclaimed in the
     Pragna-paramita: 'O wisdom, gone, gone, gone, to the other shore,
     landed at the other shore, Shava.'

     "Thus ends the heart of the Pragna-paramita."

A study of this condensed and widely read Buddhist Sutra will convince
anyone that the ultimate conceptions of the universe and of the final
reality, are as described above. However popular Buddhism might differ
from this, it would be the belief of the thoughtless masses, to whom
the rational and ethical problems are of no significance or concern,
and who contribute nothing to the development of thought or of the
social order. Those nobler and more earnestly inquiring souls whose
energy and spiritual longing might have been used for the benefit of
the masses, were shunted off on a side track that led only into the
desert of atomistic individualism, abandonment of society, ecstatic
contemplation, and absolute pessimism. The Buddhist theory of the
universe and method of thought denied all intelligible reality, and
necessitated the conclusion that the universe of experience is neither
rational nor ethical. The common beliefs of the unreflective and
uninitiated masses in the ultimate rationality and morality of the
universe were felt to have no foundation either in religion or
philosophy and were accordingly pronounced mere illusions.



Our study of Japanese religion and religious life thus far has been
almost, if not exclusively, from the individualistic standpoint. An
adequate statement, however, cannot be made from this standpoint
alone, for religion through its mighty sanctions exerts a powerful
influence on the entire communal life. Indeed, the leading
characteristic of primitive religions is their communal nature. The
science of religion shows how late in human history is the rise of
individualistic religions.

In the present chapter we propose to study Japanese religious history
from the communal standpoint. This will lead us to study her present
religious problem and the nature of the religion required to solve it.

The real nature of the religious life of Japan has been and still is
predominantly communal. Individualism has had a place, but, as we have
repeatedly seen, only a minor place in forming the nation. From the
communo-individualistic standpoint, in the study of Japan's religious
and social evolution, not only can we see clearly that the three
religions of Japan are real religions, but we can also understand the
nature of the relations of these three religions to each other and the
reasons why they have had such relations. Japanese religious history
and its main phenomena become luminous in the light of
communo-individualistic social principles.

Shinto, the primitive religion of Japan, corresponded well with the
needs of primitive times, when the development of strong communal life
was the prime problem and necessity. It furnished the religious
sanctions for the social order in its customs of worshiping not only
the gods, but also the Emperor and ancestors. It gave the highest
possible justification of the national social order in its deification
of the supreme ruler. Shinto was so completely communal in its nature
that the individual aspect of religion was utterly ignored. It
developed no specific moral code, no eschatological and soteriological
systems, no comprehensive view of nature or of the gods. These
deficiencies, however, are no proofs that it was not a religion in the
proper sense of the term. The real question is, did it furnish any
supra-mundane, supra-legal, supra-communal sanctions both for the
conduct of the individual in his social relations and for the fact and
the right of the social order. Of this there can be no doubt. Those
who deny it the name of a religion do so because they judge religion
only from the point of view of a highly developed individualistic

In view of this undoubted fact, it is a strange commentary on the
failure of Shinto leaders to realize the real function of the faith
they profess that they have sought and obtained from the government
the right to be considered and classified no longer as a religion, but
only as a society for preserving the memories and shrines of the
ancestors of the race. Thus has modern Shinto, so far as it is
organized and has a mouth with which to speak, following the
abdicating proclivities of the ancient social order, excommunicated
itself from its religious heritage, aspiring to be nothing more than a
gate-keeper of cemeteries.

The sources of the power of the Shinto sanctions lies in the nature of
its conception of the universe. Although it attempted no
interpretation of the universe as a whole, it conceived of the origin
of the country and people of Japan as due to the direct creative
energy of the gods. Japan was accordingly conceived as a divine land
and the people a divine people. The Emperor was thought to have
descended in direct line from the gods and thus to be a visible
representative of the gods to the people, and to possess divine power
and authority with which to rule the people. Whenever Japanese came
into contact with foreign peoples, it was natural to consider them
outside of the divine providence, aliens, whose presence in the
divine land was more or less of a pollution. This world-view was well
calculated to develop a spirit of submissive obedience and loyal
adherence to the hereditary rulers of the land, and of fierce
antagonism to foreigners. This view constituted the moral foundation
for the social order, the intellectual framework within which the
state developed. Paternal feudalism was the natural, if not the
necessary, accompaniment of this world-view. Even to this day the
scholars of the land see no other ground on which to found Imperial
authority, no other basis for ethics and religion, than the divine
descent of the Emperor.[DE]

The Shinto world-view, conceiving of men as direct offspring of the
gods, has in it potentially the doctrine of the divine nature of all
men, and their consequent infinite worth. Shinto never developed this
truth, however. It did not discover the momentous implications of its
view. Failing to discover them, it failed to introduce into the social
order that moral inspiration, that social leaven which would have
gradually produced the individualistic social order.

No attempt has been made either in ancient or modern times to square
this Shinto world-view with advancing knowledge of the world,
particularly with the modern scientific conception of the universe.
Anthropology, ethnology, and the doctrine of evolution both cosmic and
human, are all destructive of the primitive Shinto world-view. It
would not be difficult to show, however, that in this world-view
exists a profound element of truth. The Shinto world-conception needs
to be expanded to take the universe and all races of men into its
view; and to see that Japan is not alone the object of divine
solicitude, but that all races likewise owe their origin to that same
divine power, and that even though the Emperor is not more directly
the offspring of the gods than are all men, yet in the providence of
Him who ruleth the affairs of men, the Emperor is in fact the visible
representative of authority and power for the people over whom he
reigns. With this expansion and the consequences that flow from it,
the world-view that has cradled Old Japan will come into accord with
the scientific Christian world-view, and become fitted to be the
foundation for the new and individualistic social order, now arising
in Japan, granting full liberty of thought and action, knowing that
only so can truth come out of error, and assured that truth is the
only ground of permanent welfare.

Throughout the centuries including the present era of Meiji, it is the
Shinto religion that has provided and that still provides religious
sanctions for the social order--even for the new social order that has
come in from the West. It is the belief of the people in the divine
descent of the Emperor, and his consequent divine right, that to-day
unifies the nation and causes it to accept so readily the new social
order; desired by him, they raise no questions, make no opposition,
even though in some respects it brings them trouble and anxiety.

Our study of Buddhism has brought to light its extremely
individualistic nature, and its lack of asocial ideal. Its world-view
we have sufficiently examined in the preceding chapter. We are told
that when Buddhism came to Japan it made little headway until it
adopted the Shinto deities into its theogony. What does this mean?
That only on condition of accepting the Shinto sanctions for the
communal order of society was it able to commend itself to the people
at large. And Buddhism had no difficulty in fulfilling this condition,
because it had no ideal order of society to present and no religious
sanctions for any kind of social order; in this respect Buddhism had
no ground for conflict with Shinto. Shinto had the field to itself;
and Buddhism was perfectly at liberty to adopt, or at least to allow,
any social order that might present itself. Furthermore, by its
doctrines of incarnation and transmigration, according to which noble
souls might appear and reappear in different worlds and different
lands, Buddhism could identify Shinto deities with its own deities of
Hindu origin, asserting their pre-incarnation. Having accepted the
Shinto deities, ideals, and sanctions for the social order, Buddhism
became not only tolerable to the people, but also exceedingly popular.

The Shinto-Buddhistic was in truth a new religion, each of the old
religions supplying an essential element.

One real reason, beside its accommodation to Shintoism, why Buddhism
was so popular was that it brought an indispensable element into the
national life. For the first time emphasis began to be laid on the
individual. Introspection and deliberate meditation were brought into
play. Arts demanding individual skill were fostered. A gorgeous
ritual, elaborate architecture, complex religious organism, letters
and literature, all gave play to individual activity and development
whether in manual, in mental, or in æsthetic lines. The hitherto
cramped and primitive life of the Japanese responded to these appeals
and opportunities with profound joy. The upper classes especially felt
themselves growing in richness and fullness of life. They felt the
stimulus in many directions. The reason, then, why Buddhism flourished
so mightily, and at the same time caused the nation to bloom, was
because it helped develop the individual. The reason, on the other
hand, why it failed to carry the nation on from its first bloom into
full fruitage was because it failed to develop individualism in the
social order. Its religious individualism was, as we have seen, in
reality defective. It was abstract and one-sided. It did not discover
the whole of the individual. It did not know anything of personality,
either human or divine. It accordingly could not recognize the
individual's worth, but only his separateness and his weakness. It
taught an abstract impoverished idea of self, and made, as the whole
aim of the salvation it offered, the final annihilation of all
separateness of this individual self. We can now see that its
individualism was essentially defective in that it poured contempt on
the self, and that if its individualizing salvation were consistently
carried out, it was not only no help to the social order, but a
positive injury to it. Its individualism was of a nature which could
not become an integral part of any social order.

This character led to another inevitable difficulty. Although Buddhism
ostensibly adopted Shinto deities and the Shinto sanctions for the
social order, it could not wholeheartedly accept the sanctions nor
take the deities into full and legitimate partnership. It found no
place in its circle of doctrine to teach the important tenets of

It left them to survive or perish as chance would have it. In
proportion as Buddhism absorbed the life and love of the people,
Shinto fell into decay and with it its sanctions. Then came the
centuries of civil war during which Imperial power and authority sank
to a minimum, and Japan's ignominy and disorder reached their maximum.
What the land now needed was the re-introduction, first, of social
order, even though it must be by the hand of a dictator, and second,
the development of religious sanctions for the order that should be
established. The first was secured by those three great generals of
Japan, Oda Nobunaga, the Taiko Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. "The
first conceived the idea of centralizing all the authority of the
state in a single person; the second, who has been called the Napoleon
of Japan, actually put the idea into practice," but died before
consolidating his work; the third, by his unsurpassed skill as a
diplomat and administrator, carried the idea completely out, arranging
the details of the new order so that, without special military genius
or power on the part of his successors, the order maintained itself
for 250 years.

Yet it is doubtful if this long maintenance of the social order
introduced by Ieyasu would have been possible had he not found ready
to hand a system of essentially religious sanctions for the social
order he had established by force. Confucianism had lain for a
thousand years a dormant germ, receiving some study from learned men,
but having no special relation to the education of the day or to the
political problems that became each century more pressing. In the
Confucian doctrines of loyalty to ruler and piety to parents, a
doctrine sanctioned by Heaven and by the customs of all the ancients,
Ieyasu, with the insight of a master mind, found just the sanctions he
desired. He had the Confucian classics printed--it is said for the
first time in Japan--"and the whole intellect of the country became
molded by Confucian ideas." The classics, edited with diacritical
marks for Japanese students, "formed the chief vehicle of every boy's
education." These were interpreted by learned Chinese commentators.
The intelligence of the land drank of this stream as the European mind
refreshed itself with the classic waters of the Renaissance. The
Japanese were weary of Buddhistic puerilities and transcendental
doctrines that led nowhere. They demanded sanctions for the moral life
and the social order; in response to this need Buddhism gave them
Nirvana--absolute mental and moral vacuity. Confucianism gave them
principles whose working and whose results they could see and
understand. Its sanctions appealed both to the imagination and to the
reason, antiquity and learning and piety being all in their favor. The
sanctions were also seen to be wholly independent of puerile
superstitions and foolish fears. The Confucian ideals and sanctions,
moreover, coincided with the essential elements of the old Shinto
world-view and sanctions. In a true sense, the doctrines of Confucius
were but the elaborated and succinctly stated implications of their
primitive faith. Confucianism, therefore, swept the land. _It was
_accepted as the groundwork and authority for the most flourishing
feudal order the world has ever seen. Japan bloomed again.[DF]

This difference, however, is to be noted between the Shinto ideal
social order and the Confucian, or rather that development of
Confucian ethics and civics which arose during the Tokugawa Shogunate;
Shinto appears to have been, properly speaking, nationalistic, while
feudal Confucianism was tribal. Although in Confucian theory the
supreme loyalty may have been due the Emperor, in point of fact it was
shown to the local daimyo. Confucian ethics was communal and might
easily have turned in the direction of national communalism; it would
then have coincided completely with Shinto in this respect. But for
various reasons it did not so turn, but developed an intensely local,
a tribal communalism, and pushed loyalty to the Emperor as a vital
reality entirely into the background. This was one of the defects of
feudal Confucianism which finally led to its own overthrow. Shinto,
as we have seen, had long been pushed aside by Buddhism and was
practically forgotten by the people. The zeal for Confucian doctrine
brought, therefore, no immediate revival to the Shinto cultus,
although it did revive the essential elements of the old communal
religion. We might say that the old religion was revived under a new
name; having a new name and a new body, the real and vital connection
between the two was not recognized. We thus discern how the religious
history of Japan was not a series of cataclysms or of disconnected
leaps in the dark, but an orderly development, one step naturally
following the next, as the sun follows the dawn. The different stages
of Japan's religious progress have received different names, because
due to specific stimuli brought from abroad; the religious life
itself, however, has been a continuous development.

Another difference between Shinto and Confucianism as it existed in
Japan should not escape our attention, namely, in regard to their
respective world-views. Shinto was confessedly a religion; it frankly
believed in gods, whom it worshiped and on whose help it relied.
Confucianism, or to use the Japanese name, Bushido, was confessedly
agnostic. It did not assume to understand the universe, as Buddhism
assumed. Nor did it admit the practical existence of gods or their
power in this world, as Shinto believed. It maintained that, "if only
the heart follows the way of truth, the gods will protect one even
though he does not pray." It laid stress on practical moralities,
regardless of their philosophical presumptions, into which it would
not probe. When pressed it would ascribe all to "Heaven," and, as we
have seen, it had many implications that would lead the inquiring mind
to a belief in the personal nature of "Heaven." Had it developed these
implications, Bushido would have become a genuine religion. It was
indeed a system of ethics touched with emotion, it was religious, but
it failed to become the religion it might have become because it
insisted on its agnosticism and refused to worship the highest and
best it knew.

It is interesting to observe that the ideals and sanctions of
Confucianism produced effects which proved its ruin. They did this in
two ways; first, by developing the prolonged peace necessary for a
high grade of scholarship which, turning its attention to ancient
history, discovered that the Shogunate was assuming powers not in
accord with the primitive practice nor in accord with the theory of
the divine descent of the Imperial house. Imperialistic patriots
arose, whose aim was to overthrow the Shogunate and restore the
Emperor. They felt that, doing this, they were right; that is to say,
they became inspired by the Shinto sanctions for a national life. They
thus discovered the defect of the disjointed feudal system sanctioned
by feudal Confucianism. The second cause of its undoing grew out of
the first. The scholarship which led the patriots against the usurper
in political life led them also against all foreign innovations such
as Buddhism and Confucianism, which they scorned as modern and
anti-imperial. The Shinto cultus thus received a powerful revival.
With the overthrow of the Shogunate in 1868 Confucianism naturally
went with it, and for a time Shinto was the state religion. But its
poverty in every line, except the communal sanctions, caused it in a
short time to lose its place.

The two causes just assigned for the fall of Bushido, however, could
hardly have wrought its ruin had it been more than a utilitarian and
agnostic system of morality, calculated to maintain the social
ascendency of a small fraction of the nation. As a religion, Bushido
would have secured a conservative power enabling it to survive, by
adapting itself to a changed social order. As it was, Bushido was
snuffed out by a single breath of the breeze that began to blow from
foreign lands. As an ethical system it has conferred a blessing on
Japan that should never be forgotten. But its identification with a
class and a clan social order rendered it too narrow for the national
and international life into which the nation was forced by
circumstances beyond its control, and its agnostic utilitarianism did
not provide it with sufficient moral power to cope with the problems
of the new individualistic age that had suddenly burst upon it. In all
Japan there remains to the present day only one of those old
Confucian schools with its temple to Confucius. All the rest have
fallen into ruins or have been used for other purposes, while the
gold-covered statues of the once deified teacher have been sold to
curio-dealers or for their bullion value. In the worship of Confucius,
Bushido almost became a religion, but it worshiped the teacher instead
of the Creator, maintaining its agnosticism as to the Creator, as to
"Heaven," to the end, and thus lapsed from the path of religious

This brings us down to modern times--into the seventies. Already in
the sixties Japan had discovered herself in a totally new environment.
She found that foreign nations had made great progress in every
direction since she shut them out two hundred and fifty years before.
She discovered her helplessness, she discovered, too, that the social
order of Western peoples was totally distinct from hers. These
discoveries served to break down all the remaining sanctions for her
particular type of social order--Confucianistic feudalism. The whole
nation was eager to know the political systems of the West. So long as
the Shinto ideal of nationalism was not interfered with, the nation
was free to adopt any new social order. Japan's political and
commercial intercourse being with England and America, the social
order of the Anglo-Saxon had the greatest influence on the Japanese
mind. Japan accordingly has become predominantly Anglo-Saxon in its
social ideas. Much has been made of the fact that the new social order
has come in so easily; that the people have gained rights without
fighting for them; and this has been attributed to the peculiarity of
Japanese human nature. This is an error. The real reason for the ease
with which the individualistic Anglo-Saxon social order has been
introduced has been the collapse of the sanctions for the Confucian
order. No one had any ground of duty on which to stand and fight. The
national mind was open to any newcomer that might have appeared. I am
referring, of course, to the thinking classes. All the rest,
accustomed to submissive obedience, never thought of any other course
than to accept the will of superiors.

Furthermore, the new social order in one important respect fell in
with and helped to re-establish the old Shinto ideal, that, namely, of
nationalism. In the treaty negotiations, the West would deal with no
intermediaries, only with the responsible national head. Western
ideals, too, demanded a strong national unity. In this respect, then,
the foreign ideals and foreign social order were powerful influences
in building up the new patriotism, in re-enforcing the old Shinto
social sanctions.

Thus has Japan come to the parting of the ways. What Japan needs
to-day is a religion satisfying the intellect as to its world-view,
and thus justifying the sanctions it holds out. These must be neither
exclusively communal, like those of Shinto, nor exclusively
individual, like those of Buddhism. While maintaining at their full
value the sanctions for the social life, it must add thereto the
sanctions for the individual. It must not look upon the individual as
a being whose salvation depends on his being isolated from, taken out
of the community, as Buddhism did and does, nor yet as a mere fraction
of the community, as Confucianism did, but as a complete, imperishable
unit of infinite worth, necessarily living a double life, partly
inseparable from the social order and partly superior to it. This
religion must provide not only sanctions, but ideals, for a perfect
social order in which, while the most complex organization of society
shall be possible, the freedom and the high development of the
individual's personality shall also be secured.

The fulfillment of such conditions would at first thought seem to be
impossible. How can a religion give sanctions which at the very time
that they authorize the fullest development and organization of
society, apparently making society its chief end, also assume the
fullest liberty and development of the individual, making him and his
salvation its chief end? Are not these ends incompatible? What has
been said already along this general line of thought has prepared us
to see that they are not. The great, though unconscious, need of the
ages, and the unconscious effort of all religious evolution has been
the development of just such a religion. As the "cake" of social
custom was at first the great need for, and afterwards the great
obstacle in the way of, social evolution, so the sanctions of a
communal religion were at first the great need for, and afterwards the
great obstacle in the way of, religious evolution and of personal
development. Through its sanctions religion is the most powerful of
all the factors of the higher human evolution, either helping it
onward or holding it back.

Has, then, any religion secured such a dual development as we have
just seen to be necessary? As a matter of fact, one and only one has
done so, Christianity. This religion clearly attains and maintains the
apparently impossible combination of individualism and communalism by
the nature of its conception of the method of individual salvation.
Its communalism is guaranteed by, because it rests on, its
individualism. At the very moment that it pronounces the individual of
inestimable worth,--a son of God,--it commands him to show that
sonship by loving all God's other sons, and by serving them to the
extent of self-sacrifice, and of death if need be. Its communalism is
thus inseparable from its individualism and its individualism from its

Christian individualism embraces and includes thoroughgoing
communalism. True and full Christians are the most devoted patriots.
As the acorn sends forth far-reaching; roots into the soil for
moisture and nourishment, and a mighty trunk and spreading branches
upward for air and sunlight, so the seed of Christian life develops in
two directions, individualism as the root and communalism as the
beautiful tree. They are not contradictory, but supplementary
principles. While his own final gain is a real aim of the individual,
it is only a part of his aim; he also desires and labors for the gain
of all; and even the individual gain, he well knows, can be secured
only through the communal principle, through service to his
fellow-men. His own welfare, whether temporal or eternal, is
inseparably bound up with that of his fellows.

The Christian religion finds the sanctions for any and every social
order that history knows, in the fact that all physical and social
laws and organisms are part of the divine plan. Because any particular
social order is the association of imperfect men and women, it must be
more or less imperfect. But the Christian, even while he is seeking
to reform the social order and to bring it up to his ideal, must be
loyal to it. And for this loyalty to fellow-men and to God, the
highest conceivable sanctions are held out, namely, an endless and
infinite life of conscious, joyous fellowship with souls made perfect
in the Kingdom of God, and with God himself.

A comprehensive study, therefore, of the real nature and the true
function of religion in relation to man's development, whether
individual or communal, shows that Christianity fulfills the
conditions. A comparative study would show that, of all the existing
religions, Christianity alone does this. It alone combines in perfect
proportion the individual and the communal elements, and the requisite

An expansion of communal religion is taking place in modern times. The
community now arising is international in scope, interracial and
universal in character. Cultivated men and women the world around are
beginning to talk of national rights and national duties. Europe is
thought to be justified in suppressing the slave trade and its
accompanying horrors in Africa, and condemned for not preventing the
Turk from carrying on his wholesale slaughter of innocent Armenians.
The Spaniard is despised and condemned for his prolonged inhumanities
in Cuba and the Philippines, and the American is approved in warring
for humanity and justified in interfering with Spain's sovereignty.
The conscience of the world is beginning to discover that no nation,
though sovereign, has an absolute right over its people. Right is only
measured by righteousness. International righteousness, duty and
rights, regardless of military power, are coming to the forefront of
the thinking of advanced nations.

Looked at closely, and studied in its implications, what is this but a
developing form of communal religion? No nation is conceived as
existing apart; each exists as but one fraction of the world-wide
community; in its relations it has both rights and duties. Does this
not mean that appeal has been made from the communal sanctions of
might to the supra-communal sanctions of right? We do not simply ask
what do other nations think of this or that national act, but what is
right, in view of the whole order of the nature which has brought man
into being and set him in families and nations. In other words,
national rights and duties are felt to flow from the supra-mundane
source, God the Creator of heaven and earth and all that in them is.
The sanctions for national rights and duties are religious sanctions
and rest on a religious world-view.

Now the point, of interest for us is the fact that Japan has entered
into this universal community and is feeling the sanctions of this
universal communal religion. The international rights and duties of
Japan are a theme of frequent discourse and conversation. Japan
stoutly maintained that the war with China was a "gi-sen," a righteous
war, waged primarily for the sake of Korea. Many a Japanese waxes
indignant over the cruelty of the Turk, the savage barbarity of the
Spaniard, and the impotence and supineness of England and Europe. I
have already spoken of the young man who became so indignant at
England's compelling China to take Indian opium, that he proposed to
go to England to preach an anti-opium crusade. Japan is beginning to
enter into the larger communal life of the world, although, of course,
she has as yet little perception of its varied implications.

Many a student of New Japan perceives that she is abandoning her old
religious conceptions, and that many moral and social evils are
entering the land, who yet does not see that the wide acceptance of
some new religion by the people is important for the maintenance of
the nation. Some earnest Japanese thinkers are beginning to realize
that religion is, indeed, needful to steady the national life, but
they fail to see that Christianity alone fulfills the condition. Many
are saying that a religion scientifically constructed must be
manufactured especially for Japan.

The reason why individualistic religion takes such an important part
in the higher evolution of man is, in a word, because the religious
sanctions are so much more powerful than all others, either legal or
social. For the legal sanctions are chiefly negative; they are also
partial and uncertain, and easily evaded by the selfish individual.
The social sanctions, too, are often far from just or impartial or
wise. Furthermore, the rise of individualism in the social order
secures privacy for the individual, and so far forth removes him from
the restraints and stimuli of the social sanctions. It is the
religious sanctions alone that follow the man in every waking moment.
Not one of all his acts escapes the eye of the religious judgment. He
is his own judge, and he cannot escape bearing witness against

Now, it is manifest that where superior beings and man's relation to
these and the corresponding religious sanctions are defectively
conceived, as, for instance, quite apart either from the individual or
the communal life, they are valueless to the higher evolution of man
and have little interest for the student of social evolution. In
proportion, however, as man advances in intellectual grasp of
religious truths and in susceptibility to the moral ideas and
religious sanctions they provide, conceiving of morality and religion
as inseparable parts of the same system, the more powerfully does
religion enter into and promote man's higher evolution. An
individualistic social order demands the religious sanctions more
imperatively than a communal social order; for, in proportion as it is
individualistic, the social order is weak in compelling, through the
legal and social sanctions alone, the communal or altruistic activity
of the individual. Altruistic spirit and action, however, are
essential to the maintenance even of that individualistic order. The
more highly society develops, therefore, the more religious must each
member of the society become.

The same truth may be stated from another standpoint. The higher man
develops, the more impatient he becomes with illogical reasonings and
defective conceptions; he thus becomes increasingly skeptical in
regard to current traditional religions with their crude, primitive
ideas; he is accordingly increasingly freed from the restraints they
impose. But unless he finds some new religious sanctions for the
communal life, for social conduct, and for the individual
life,--ideals and sanctions that command his assent and direct his
life,--he will drop back into a thoroughgoing atomic, individualistic,
selfish life, which can be only a hindrance to the higher development
both of society and of the individual. In order that men advancing in
intellectual ability may remain useful members of society, they must
remain subject to those ideals and sanctions which will actually
secure social conduct. While disregarding the chaff of primitive
religious superstitions and ceremonials man must retain the wheat; he
must feel the force of the religious spirit in a deeper and
profounder, because more personal way than did his ancestors.
Increasing intellectual power and knowledge must be balanced by
increasing individual experience of the religious motives and spirit.
This is the reason why each advancing age should study afresh the
whole religious problem, and state in the terms of its own experience
the prominent and permanent religious truths of all the ages and the
sanctions that flow from them. Hence it is that a religion only
traditional and ceremonial is quite unfitted for a developing life.

Japan is no exception to the general laws of human evolution. As her
intellectual abilities increase, the forms of her old religious life
will become increasingly unacceptable to the people at large. If, in
rejecting the obsolete forms of religious thought, she rejects
religion and its sanctions altogether, atomistic individualism can be
the only result, and with it wide moral corruption will eat out the
vitality of the national life.

That Christianity alone, of all the religions of the world, fulfills
the conditions will not need many words to prove. As a matter of fact
Christianity alone has succeeded in surviving the criticism of the
nineteenth century. In Christendom, all religions but Christianity
have perished. This is a mere matter of fact. As for the reason,
Christianity alone gives complete intellectually satisfactory
sanctions for both the communal and the individualistic principles of
social progress. Christianity, as we have sufficiently shown, has both
principles not unrelated to each other, but vitally interrelated. For
these reasons it is safe to maintain not only that Japan needs to find
a new religion, but that the religion must be Christianity in
substance, whatever be the name given it.

The Japanese have been described as essentially irreligious in nature.
We have seen how defective such a description is. But have we not now
traced one root of this seeming characteristic of New Japan? The old
religious conceptions have been largely outgrown by the educated. They
have come to the conclusion that the old religious forms constitute
the whole of religion, and that consequently they are unworthy of
attention. The spirit of New Japan is indifferent to religion; but
this is not due to an inherently non-religious or irreligious nature,
but to the empty externalism and shallow puerilities of the only
religions they know. How can they be zealous for them or recognize any
authority in them? Those few Japanese who have come within the
influence of the larger conception of religion brought to Japan by
Christianity are showing a religious zeal and power supporting the
contention that the generally asserted lack of a religious nature is
only apparent and temporary. Preaching the right set of ideas, those
which appeal to the national sense of communal needs, by supplying the
demand for sanctions for the social order; ideas which appeal to
intellects molded by modern thought, by supplying such an intellectual
understanding of the universe as justifies the various supra-communal
sanctions; and ideas which appeal to the heart, by supplying the
personal demand of each individual for a larger life, for intercourse
with the Father of all Spirits and for strength for the prolonged
battle of life--preach these and kindred ideas, and the Japanese will
again become as conspicuously a religious people as they were when
Buddhism came to Japan a thousand years ago.[DG]

But if the real nature of a full and perfect religion is to save not
only the individual, providing sanctions for his conduct, but also to
justify the social order, and to provide sanctions that shall secure
its maintenance, any religion which fails to have both characteristics
can hardly claim the name universal. We have seen that Buddhism lacks
one of these elements. In my judgment it is not properly universal. So
long as it exists in or goes to a land already provided with other
religions securing the social order, it may continue to thrive. But,
on the one hand, it can never become the exclusive religion of any
land for it cannot do without and therefore it cannot depose the other
religions; and, on the other hand, it must give way before the
stronger religion which has both the individual and communal elements
combined. Buddhism, therefore, lacks a vital characteristic of a
universal religion. It may better be called a non-local, or an
international religion. We now see another reason why Buddhism,
although found in many Oriental lands, has never annihilated any of
the pre-existing religions, but has only added one more to the many
varieties already existing. It is so in Thibet, in China, in Burmah,
and in Japan. And in India, its home, it has utterly died out.

Many of the efforts made by students of comparative religion to
classify the various religions, seem to the writer defective through
lack of the perception that social and religious evolution are vitally
connected. From this point of view, the classification of religions as
communal, individual, and communo-individual, would seem to be the



We have now passed in rather detailed review the emotional, æsthetic,
intellectual, moral, and religious characteristics of the Japanese
race. We have, furthermore, given considerable attention to the
problem of personality. We have tried to understand the relation of
each characteristic to the Japanese feudal system and social order.

The reader will perhaps feel some dissatisfaction with the results of
this study. "Are there, then," he may say, "no distinctive Japanese
psychical characteristics by which this Eastern race is radically
differentiated from those of the Occident?" "Are there no peculiar
features of an Oriental, mental and moral, which infallibly and always
distinguish him from an Occidental?" The reply to this question given
in the preceding chapters of this work is negative. For the sake,
however, of the reader who may not yet be thoroughly satisfied, it may
be well to examine this problem a little further, analyzing some of
the current characterizations of the Orient.

That Oriental and Occidental peoples are each possessed of certain
unique psychic characteristics, sharply and completely differentiating
them from each other, is the opinion of scientific sociologists as
well as of more popular writers. An Occidental entering the Orient is
well-nigh overwhelmed with amusement and surprise at the antipodal
characteristics of the two civilizations. Every visible expression of
Oriental civilization, every mode of thought, art, architecture;
conceptions of God, man, and nature; pronunciation and structure of
the language--all seem utterly different from their corresponding
elements in the West. Furthermore, as he visits one Oriental country
after another, although he discovers differences between Japanese,
Koreans, Chinese, and Hindus, yet he is impressed with a strange, a
baffling similarity.

The tourist naturally concludes that the unity characterizing the
Orient is fundamental; that Oriental civilization is due to Oriental
race brain, and Occidental civilization is due to Occidental race

This impression and this conclusion of the tourist are not, however,
limited to him. The "old resident" in the East becomes increasingly
convinced with every added year that an Oriental is a different kind
of human being from a Westerner. As he becomes accustomed to the
externals of the Oriental civilization, he forgets its comical
aspects, he even comes to appreciate many of its conveniences. But in
proportion as he becomes familiar with its languages, its modes of
thought and feeling, its business methods, its politics, its
literature, its amusements, does he increasingly realize the gulf set
between an Oriental and an Occidental. The inner life of the spirit of
an Oriental would be utterly inane, spiritless to the average
Occidental. The "old resident" accordingly knows from long experience
what the tourist only guesses from a hasty glance, that the
characteristic differences distinguishing the peoples of the East and
the West are racial and ineradicable. An Oriental is an Oriental, and
that is the ultimate, only thoroughgoing explanation of his nature.

The conception of the tourist and the "old resident" crops up in
nearly every article and book touching on Far Eastern peoples.
Whatever the point of remark or criticism, if it strikes the writer as
different from the custom of Occidentals, it is laid to the account of

This conception, however, of distinguishing Oriental characteristics,
is not confined to popular writers and unscientific persons. Even
professed and eminent sociologists advocate it. Prof. Le Bon, in his
sophistic volume on the "Psychology of Peoples," advocates it
strenuously. A few quotations from this interesting work may not be
out of place.

"The object of this work is to describe the psychological
characteristics which constitute the soul of races, and to show how
the history of a people and its civilization is determined by these
characteristics."[DH] "The point that has remained most clearly fixed
in mind, after long journeys through the most varied countries, is
that each people possesses a mental constitution as unaltering as its
anatomical characteristics, a constitution which is the source of its
sentiments, thoughts, institutions, beliefs, and arts."[DI]

"The life of a people, its institutions, beliefs, and arts, are but
the visible expression of its invisible soul. For a people to
transform its institutions, beliefs, and arts it must first transform
its soul."[DJ]

"Each race possesses a constitution as unvarying as its anatomical
constitution. There seems to be no doubt that the former corresponds
to a certain special structure of the brain."[DK]

"A negro or a Japanese may easily take a university degree or become a
lawyer; the sort of varnish he thus acquires is, however, quite
superficial and has no influence on his mental constitution. What no
education can give him, because they are created by heredity alone,
are the forms of thought, the logic, and above all the character of
the Western man."[DL]

"Cross-breeding constitutes the only infallible means at our disposal
of transforming in a fundamental manner the character of a people,
heredity being the only force powerful enough to contend with
heredity. Cross-breeding allows of the creation of a new race,
possessing new physical and psychological characteristics."[DM]

Such, then, being the opinion of travelers, residents, and
professional sociologists, it is not to be lightly rejected. Nor has
it been lightly rejected by the writer. For years he agreed with this
view, but repeated study of the problem has convinced him of the
fallacy of both the conception and the argument, and has brought him
to the position maintained in this work.

The characteristics differentiating Occidental and

Oriental peoples and civilizations are undoubtedly great. But they
are differences of social evolution and rest on social, not on
biological heredity. Anatomical differences are natal, racial, and
necessary. Not so with social characteristics and differences. These
are acquired by each individual chiefly after birth, and depend on
social environment which determines the education from infancy upward.
Furthermore, an entire nation or race, if subjected to the right
social environment, may profoundly transform its institutions,
beliefs, and arts, which in turn transform what Prof. Le Bon and
kindred writers call the invisible "race soul." Racial activity
produces race character, for "Function produces organism." I cannot
agree with these writers in the view that the race soul is a given
fixed entity. Social psychogenesis is a present and a progressive
process. Japan is a capital illustration of it. In the development of
races and civilizations involution is as continuous a process as
evolution. Evolution is, indeed, only one-half of the process. Without
involution, evolution is incomprehensible. And involution is the more
interesting half, as it is the more significant. In modern discussion
much that passes by the name of evolution is, in reality, a discussion
of involution.

The attentive reader will have discovered that the real point of the
discussion of Japanese characteristics given in the preceding chapters
has been on the point of involution. How have these characteristics
arisen? has been our ever-recurring question. The answer has
invariably tried to show their relation to the social order. In this
way we have traversed a large number of leading characteristics of the
Japanese. We have seen how they arose, and also how they are now being
transformed by the new Occidentalized social order. We have seen that
not one of the characteristics examined is inherent, that is, due to
brain structure, to biological heredity. We have concluded, therefore,
that the psychical characteristics which differentiate races are all
but wholly social.

It is incumbent on advocates of the biological view to point out in
detail the distinguishing inherent traits of the Orient. Let them also
catalogue the essential psychic characteristics of Occidentals. Such
an attempt is seldom made. And when it is made it is singularly
unconvincing. Although Prof. Le Bon states that the mental
constitution of races is as distinctive and unaltering as their
anatomical characteristics, he fails to tell us what they are. This is
a vital omission. If the differences are as distinct as he asserts, it
would seem to be an easy matter to describe them. Whatever the
clothing adopted, it is an easy matter for one to distinguish a
European from an Asiatic, an Englishman from an Italian, a Japanese
from a Korean, a Chinaman from a Hindu. The anatomical characteristics
of races are clear and easily described. If the psychic
characteristics are equally distinct, why do not they who assert this
distinctness describe and catalogue these differences?

Occasionally a popular writer makes something of an attempt in this
direction, but with astonishingly slight results. A recent writer in
the London _Daily Mail_ has illustrated afresh the futility of all
attempts to catalogue the distinguishing characteristics of the
Oriental. He names the inferior position assigned to women, the
licentiousness of men, licensed prostitution, lack of the play
instinct among Oriental boys, scorn of Occidental civilization, and
the rude treatment of foreigners. Many of his statements of facts are
sadly at fault. But supposing them to be true, are they the
differentiating characteristics of the Orient? Consider for a moment
what was the position of woman in ancient times in the Occident, and
what was the moral character of Occidental men? Is not prostitution
licensed to-day in the leading cities of Europe? And is there not an
unblushing prostitution in the larger cities of England and America
which would put to shame the licensed prostitution of Japan? Are
Orientals and their civilization universally esteemed and
considerately treated in the Occident? Surely none of these are
uniquely Oriental characteristics, distinguishing them from Occidental
peoples as clearly as the anatomical characteristics of oblique eyes
and yellow skin.

Mr. Percival Lowell has made a careful philosophical effort to
discover the essential psychic nature of the Orient. He describes it,
as we have seen, as "Impersonality." The failure of his effort we
have sufficiently considered.

There remain a few other characterizations of the Orient that we may
well examine briefly.

It has been stated that the characteristic psychic trait
distinguishing the East from the West is that the former is intuitive,
while the latter is logical. In olden times Oriental instruction
relied on the intuitions of the student. No reliance was placed on the
logical process. Religion, so far as it was not ceremony and magic,
was intuitional, "Satori," "Enlightenment," was the keyword. Each man
attains enlightenment by himself--through a flash of intuition. Moral
instruction likewise was intuitional. Dogmatic statements were made
whose truth the learner was to discover for himself; no effort was
made to explain them. Teaching aimed to go direct to the point, not
stopping to explain the way thither.

That this was and is a characteristic of the Orient cannot be
disputed. The facts are abundant and clear. But the question is
whether this is a racial psychic characteristic, such that it
inevitably controls the entire thinking of an Oriental, whatever his
education, and also whether the Occident is conspicuously deficient in
this psychic characteristic. Thus stated, the question almost answers

Orientals educated in Western methods of thought acquire logical
methods of reasoning and teaching. The old educational methods of
Japan are now obsolete. On the other hand, intuitionalism is not
unknown in the West. Mystics in religion are all conspicuously
intuitional. So too are Christian scientists, faith-healers, and
spiritualists. Great preachers and poets are intuitionalists rather
than logicians.

Furthermore, if we look to ancient times, we shall see that even
Occidentals were dominated by intuitionalism. All primitive knowledge
was dominated by intuitions, and was as absurd as many still prevalent
Oriental conceptions of nature. The bane of ancient science and
philosophy was its reliance on a priori considerations; that is, on
intuition. Inductive, carefully logical methods of thought, of
science, of philosophy, and even of religion, are relatively modern
developments of the Occidental mind. We have learned to doubt
intuitions unverified by investigation and experimental evidence. The
wide adoption of the inductive method is a recent characteristic of
the West.

Modern progress has consisted in no slight degree in the development
of logical powers, and particularly in the power of doubting and
examining intuitions. To say that the East is conspicuously
intuitional and the West is conspicuously logical is fairly true, but
this misses the real difference. The West is intuitional plus logical.
It uses the intuitional method in every department of life, but it
does not stop with it. An intuition is not accepted as truth until it
has been subjected by the reason to the most thorough criticism
possible. The West distrusts the unverified and unguided intuitive
judgment. On the other hand, the East is not inherently deficient in
logical power. When brought into contact with Occidental life, and
especially when educated in Occidental methods of thought, the
Oriental is not conspicuously deficient in logical ability.

This line of thought leads to the conclusion that the psychic
characteristics distinguishing the East from the West, profound though
they are, are sociological rather than biological. They are the
characteristics of the civilization rather than of essential race

A fact remarked by many thoughtful Occidentals is the astonishing
difficulty--indeed the impossibility--of becoming genuinely and
intimately acquainted with the Japanese. Said a professor of Harvard
University to the writer some years ago: "Do you in Japan find it
difficult to become truly acquainted with the Japanese? We see many
students here, but we are unable to gain more than a superficial
acquaintance. They seem to be incrusted in a shell that we are unable
to pierce." The editor of the _Japan Mail_, speaking of the difficulty
of securing "genuinely intimate intercourse with the Japanese people,"
says: "The language also is needed. Yet even when the language is
added, something still remains to be achieved, and what that something
is we have never been able to discover, though we have been
considering the subject for thirty-three years. No foreigner has ever
yet succeeded in being admitted into the inner circle of Japanese

Is this a fact? If not, why is it so widespread a belief? If it is a
fact, what is the interpretation? Like most generalizations it
expresses both a truth and an error. As the statement of a general
experience, I believe it to be true. As an assertion of universal
application I believe it to be false. As a truth, how is it to be
explained? Is it due to difference of race soul, and thus to racial
antipathy, as some maintain? If so, it must be a universal fact. This,
however, is an error, as we shall see. The explanation is not so hard
to find as at first appears.

The difficulty under consideration is due to two classes of facts. The
first is that the people have long been taught that Occidentals desire
to seize and possess their land. Although the more enlightened have
long since abandoned this fear and suspicion, the people still suspect
the stranger; they do not propose to admit foreigners to any leading
position in the political life of the land. They do not implicitly
trust the foreigners, even when taken into their employ. That
foreigners should not be admitted to the inner circle of Japanese
political life, therefore, is not strange. Nor is it unique to Japan.
It is not done in any land except the United States. Secondly, the
diverse methods of social intercourse characterizing the East and the
West make a deep chasm between individuals of these civilizations on
coming into social relations. The Oriental bows low, utters
conventional "aisatsu" salutations, listens respectfully, withholds
his own opinion, agrees with his vis-à-vis, weighs every word uttered
with a view to inferring the real meaning, for the genius of the
language requires him to assume that the real meaning is not on the
surface, and chooses his own language with the same circumspection.
The Occidental extends his hand for a hearty shake--if he wishes to be
friendly--looks his visitor straight in the eye, speaks directly from
his heart, without suspicion or fear of being misunderstood, expresses
his own opinions unreservedly. The Occidental, accustomed to this
direct and open manner, spontaneously doubts the man who lacks it. It
is impossible for the Occidental to feel genuinely acquainted with an
Oriental who does not respond in Occidental style of frank open
intercourse. Furthermore, it is not Japanese custom to open one's
heart, to make friends with everyone who comes along. The
hail-fellow-well-met characteristic of the Occident is a feature of
its individualism, that could not come into being in a feudal
civilization in which every respectable man carried two swords with
which to take instant vengeance on whoever should malign or doubt him.
Universal secretiveness and conventionality, polite forms and veiled
expressions, were the necessary shields of a military feudalism. Both
the social order and the language were fitted to develop to a high
degree the power of attention to minutest details of manner and speech
and of inferring important matters from slight indications. The whole
social order served to develop the intuitional method in human
relations. Reliance was placed more on what was not said than on what
was clearly expressed. A doubting state of mind was the necessary
psychological prerequisite for such an inferential system. And doubt
was directly taught. "Hito wo mireba dorobo to omoye," "when you see a
man, count him a robber," may be an exaggeration, but this ancient
proverb throws much light on the Japanese chronic state of mind.
Mutual suspicion--and especially suspicion of strangers--was the rule
in Old Japan. Among themselves the Japanese make relatively few
intimate friends. They remark on Occidental skill in making friends.

That the foreigner is not admitted to the inner social life of the
Japanese is likewise not difficult of explanation, if we bear in mind
the nature of that social life. Is it possible for one who keeps
concubines, who takes pleasure in geisha, and who visits houses of
prostitution, to converse freely and confidentially with those who
condemn these practices? Can he who stands for a high-grade morality,
who criticises in unsparing measure the current morality of Japanese
society, expect to be admitted to its inner social circles?
Impossible. However friendly the relations of Japanese and foreigners
may be in business and in the diplomatic corps, the moral chasm
separating the social life of the Occident from that of the Orient
effectually prevents a foreigner from being admitted to its inner
social life.

It might be thought that immoral Occidentals would be so admitted. Not
so. The Japanese distinguish between Occidentals. They know well that
immoral Occidentals are not worthy of trust. Although for a season
they may hobnob together, the intimacy is shallow and short-lived; it
rests on lust and not on profound sympathies of head and heart.

And this suggests the secret of genuine acquaintance. Men become
profoundly acquainted in proportion as they hold in common serious
views of life, and labor together for the achievement of great moral
ends. Now a gulf separates the ordinary Japanese, even though
educated, from the serious-minded Occidental. Their views of life are
well-nigh antipodal. If their social intercourse is due only to the
accident of business or of social functions, what true intimacy can
possibly arise? The acquaintance can only be superficial. Nothing
binds the two together beyond the temporary and accidental. Let them,
however, become possessed of a common and a serious view of life; let
them strive for the attainment of some great moral reform, which they
feel of vital importance to the welfare of the nation and the age, and
immediately a bond of connection and intercourse will be established
which will ripen into real intimacy.

I dispute the correctness of the generalization above quoted, however,
not only on theoretical considerations, but also as a matter of
experience. Among Christians, the conditions are fulfilled for
intimate relations between Occidentals and Orientals which result, as
a matter of fact, in genuine and intimate friendship. The relations
existing between many missionaries and the native Christians and
pastors refute the assertion of the editor of the _Japan Mail_ that,
"no foreigner has ever yet succeeded in being admitted into the inner
circle of Japanese intercourse." This assertion is doubtless true in
regard to the relation of foreigners to non-Christian society. The
reason, for the fact, however, is not because one is Occidental and
the other Oriental in psychic nature, but solely because of diverse
moral views, aims, and conduct.

It is not the contention of these pages, however, that intimate
friendships between Occidental and Oriental Christians are as easily
formed as between members of two Occidental nations. Although common
views of life, and common moral aims and conduct may provide the
requisite foundations for such intimate friendships, the diverse
methods of thought and of social intercourse may still serve to hinder
their formation. It is probably a fact that missionaries experience
greater difficulty in making genuine intimate friendships with
Japanese Christians than with any other race on the face of the globe.
The reasons for this fact are manifold. The Japanese racial ambition
manifests itself not only in the sphere of political life; it does not
take kindly to foreign control in any line. The churches manifest this
characteristic. It is a cause of suspicion of the foreign missionary
and separation from him; it has broken up many a friendship. Intimacy
between missionaries and leading native pastors and evangelists was
more common in the earlier days of Christian work than more recently,
because the Japanese church organization has recently developed a
self-consciousness and an ambition for organic independence which have
led to mutual criticisms.

Furthermore, Japanese Christians are still Japanese. Their methods of
social intercourse are Oriental; they bow profoundly, they repeat
formal salutations, they refrain from free expression of personal
opinion and preference. The crust of polite etiquette remains. The
foreigner must learn to appreciate it before he can penetrate to the
kindly, sincere, earnest heart. This the foreigner does not easily do,
much to the detriment of his work.

And on the other hand, before the Oriental can penetrate to the
kindly, sincere, and earnest heart of the Occidental, he must abandon
the inferential method; he must not judge the foreigner by what is
left unsaid nor by slight turns of that which is said, but by the
whole thought as fully expressed. In other words, as the Occidental
must learn and must trust to Oriental methods of social intercourse,
so the Oriental must learn and must trust to the corresponding
Occidental methods. The difficulty is great in either case, though of
an opposite nature. Which has the greater difficulty is a question I
do not attempt to solve.

Another generalization as to the essential difference marking Oriental
and Occidental psychic natures is that the former is meditative and
appreciative, and the latter is active. This too is a characterization
of no little truth. The easy-going, time-forgetting, dreaming
characteristics of the Orient are in marked contrast to the rush,
bustle, and hurry of the Occident. One of the first and most forcible
impressions made on the Oriental visiting the West is the tremendous
energy displayed even in the ordinary everyday business. In the home
there is haste; on the streets men, women, and children are "always on
the run." It must seem to be literally so, when the walk of the
Occidental is compared with the slow, crawling rate at which the
Oriental moves. Horse cars, electric cars, steam cars, run at high
speed through crowded streets. Conversation is short and hurried.
Visits are curtailed--hardly more than glimpses. Everyone is so
nervously busy as to have no time for calm, undisturbed thought. So
does the Orient criticise and characterize the Occident.

In the Orient, on the contrary, time is nothing. Walking is slow,
business is deliberate, visiting is a fine art of bows and
conventional phrases preliminary to the real purpose of the call;
amusements even are long-drawn-out, theatrical performances requiring
an entire day. In the home there is no hurry, on the street there is
no rush. To the Occidental, the Oriental seems so absorbed in a dream
life that the actual life is to him but a dream.

If the characterization we are considering is meant to signify that
the Orient possesses a power of appreciation not possessed by the
West, then it seems to me an error. The Occident is not deficient in
appreciation. A better statement of the difference suggested by the
above characterization is that Western civilization is an expression
of Will, whereas Eastern civilization is an expression of
subordination to the superior--to Fate. This feature of Oriental
character is due to the fact that the Orient is still as a whole
communal in its social order, whereas the Occident is individualistic.
In the West each man makes his own fortune; his position in society
rests on his own individual energy. He is free to exert it at will.
Society praises him in proportion as he manifests energy, grit,
independence, and persistence. The social order selects such men and
advances them in political, in business, in social, and in academic
life. The energetic, active characteristics of the West are due, then,
to the high development of individualism. The entire Occidental
civilization is an expression of free will.

The communal nature of the Orient has not systematically given room
for individual progress. The independent, driving man has been
condemned socially. Submission, absolute and perpetual, to parents, to
lord, to ancestors, to Fate, has been the ruling idea of each man's
life. Controlled by such ideas, the easy-going, time-ignoring,
dreaming, contemplative life--if you so choose to call it--of the
Orient is a necessary consequence.

But has this characteristic become congenital, or is it still only
social? Is dreamy appreciation now an inborn racial characteristic of
Oriental mind, while active driving energy is the corresponding
essential trait of Occidental mind? Or may these characteristics
change with the social order? I have no hesitancy whatever in
advocating the latter position. The way in which Young Japan, clad in
European clothing, using watches and running on "railroad time," has
dropped the slow-going style of Old Japan and has acquired habits of
rapid walking, direct clear-cut conversation, and punctuality in
business and travel (comparatively speaking) proves conclusively the
correctness of my contention. New Japan is entering into the hurry and
bustle of Occidental life, because, in contact with the West, she has
adopted in a large measure, though not yet completely, the
individualism of the West.

As time goes on, Japanese civilization will increasingly manifest the
phenomena of will, and will proportionally become assimilated to the
civilization of the West. But the ultimate cause of this
transformation in civilization will be the increasing introduction of
individualism into the social order. And this is possible only because
the so-called racial characteristics are sociological, and not
biological. The transformation of "race soul" therefore does not
depend on the intermarriage of diverse races, but only on the adoption
of new ideas and practices through social intercourse.

We conclude, then, that the only thoroughgoing interpretation of the
differences characterizing Eastern and Western psychic nature is a
social one, and that social differences can be adequately expressed
only by contrasting the fundamental ideas ruling their respective
social orders, namely, communalism for the East and individualism for
the West.

The unity that pervades the Orient, if it is not due to the
inheritance of a common psychic nature, to what is it due? Surely to
the possession of a common civilization and social order. It would be
hard to prove that Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Siamese, Burmese,
Hindus (and how many distinct races does the ethnologist find in
India), Persians, and Turks are all descendants from a common ancestry
and are possessed therefore by physical heredity of a common racial
psychic nature. Yet such is the requirement of the theory we are
opposing. That the races inhabiting the Asiatic continent have had
from ancient times mutual social intercourse, whereby the
civilization, mental, moral, and spiritual, of the most developed has
passed to the other nations, so that China has dominated Eastern Asia,
and India has profoundly influenced all the races inhabiting Asia, is
an indisputable fact. The psychic unity of the Orient is a
civilizational, a social unity, as is also the psychic unity of the
Occident. The reason why the Occident is so distinct from the Orient
in social, in psychic, and in civilizational characteristics is
because these two great branches of the human race have undergone
isolated evolution. Isolated biological evolution has produced the
diverse races. These are now fixed physical types, which can be
modified only by intermarriage. But although isolated social evolution
has produced diverse social and psychic characteristics these are not
fixed and unalterable. To transform psychic and social
characteristics, intimate social intercourse, under special
conditions, is needful alone.

If the characteristics differentiating the Eastern from the Western
peoples are only social, it might be supposed that the results of
association would be mutual, the East influencing the West as much as
the West influences the East, both at last finding a common level.
Such a result, however, is impossible, from the laws regulating
psychic and social intercourse. The less developed psychic nature can
have no appreciable effect on the more highly developed, just as
undeveloped art cannot influence highly developed art, nor crude
science and philosophy highly developed science and philosophy. The
law governing the relations of diverse civilizations when brought into
contact is not like the law of hydrostatics, whereby two bodies of
water of different levels, brought into free communication, finally
find a common level, determined by the difference in level and their
respective masses. In social intercourse the higher civilization is
unaffected by the lower, in any important way, while the lower is
mightily modified, and in sufficient time is lifted to the grade of
the higher in all important respects. This is a law of great
significance. The Orient is becoming Occidentalized to a degree and at
a rate little realized by travelers and not fully appreciated by the
Orientals themselves. They know that mighty changes have taken place,
and are now taking place, but they do not fully recognize their
nature, and the multitudes do not know the source of these changes. In
so far as the East has surpassed the West in any important direction
will the East influence the West.

In saying, then, as we did in our first chapter, that the Japanese
have already formed an Occidento-Oriental civilization, we meant that
Japan has introduced not only the external and mechanical elements of
Western civilization into her new social order, but also its inner and
determinative principle--individualism. In saying that, as the
Ethiopian cannot change his skin nor the leopard his spots, so Japan
will never become thoroughly Occidentalized, we did not intend to say
that she was so Oriental in her physiological nature, in her "race
soul," that she could make no fundamental social transformation; but
merely that she has a social heredity that will always and inevitably
modify every Occidental custom and conception that may be brought to
this land. Although in time Japan may completely individualize her
social order, it will never be identical with that of the West. It
will always bear the marks of her Oriental social heredity in
innumerable details. The Occidental traveler will always be impressed
with the Orientalisms of her civilization. Although the Oriental
familiar with the details of the pre-Meiji social order will be
impressed with what seems to him the complete Occidentalization of her
new civilization and social order, although to-day communalism and
individualism are the distinguishing characteristics respectively of
the East and the West, they are not necessary characteristics due to
inherent race nature. The Orient is sure to become increasingly
individualistic. The future evolution of the great races of the earth
is to be increasingly convergent in all the essentials of individual
and racial prosperity, but in countless non-essential details the
customs of the past will remain, to give each race and nation
distinctive psychic and social characteristics.



The aim of the present work has been to gain insight into the real
nature of both Japanese character and its modern transformation.

In doing this we have necessarily entered the domain of social
science, where we have been compelled to take issue with many, to us,
defective conceptions. Our discussions of social principles have,
however, been narrowly limited. We have confined our attention to the
interpretation of those social and psychic characteristics
differentiating the Japanese from other races. Our chief contention
has been that these characteristics are due to the nature of the
social order that has prevailed among them, and not to the inherent
nature of the people; and that the evolution of the psychic
characteristics of all races is due to social more than to biological

This position and the discussions offered to prove it imply more than
has been explicitly stated. In this closing chapter it seems desirable
to state concisely, and therefore with technical terminology, some of
the more fundamental principles of social philosophy assumed or
implied in this work. Brevity requires that this statement take the
form of dogmatic propositions and unillustrated abstractions. The
average reader will find little to interest him, and is accordingly
advised to omit it entirely.

Let us first clearly see that we have made no effort to account for
the origin or inherent nature of psychic life. That association or the
social order is the original producing cause of psychic life is by no
means our contention. Given the psychic nature as we find it in man,
the problem is to account for its diverse manifestation in the
different races and civilizations. This, and this alone, has been our

Psychic nature is the sole and final cause of social life. Without
psychic nature there could be no association. Personalized psychic
nature is the sole and final cause of human social life. Numberless
conditions determine by stimulation or imitation the manifestation of
psychic life. These conditions differ for different lands, peoples,
ages, and political relations, producing diverse social orders for
each separated group. These diverse social orders determine the
psychic characteristics differentiating the various groups. Social
life and social order are objective expressions of a reality of which
psychic nature is the subjective and therefore deeper reality. The two
cannot be ruthlessly torn apart and remain complete, nor can they be
understood, or completely interpreted, apart from each other. They are
correlative and complementary expressions for the same reality.

Similarly physical and psychical life are to be conceived as
profoundly interrelated, being respectively objective and subjective
expressions of a reality incapable of separate interpretation. Yet
each has markedly distinct characteristics and is the subject of
distinct laws of activity and development.

Heredity is of two kinds, biological heredity, transmitting innate
characters, and social heredity, transmitting acquired habits and
their physiological results.

The innate characters transmitted by biological heredity are either
physiological, anatomical, or psychical.

The acquired habits transmitted by social heredity are essentially
psychical: but they may result in acquired physiological, or even
anatomical, characters. Here belong the physiological effects of diet,
housing, clothing, occupation, education, etc., which have not yet
been taken up and incorporated into the innate physiological
constitution by biological heredity. The physiological effects of
social heredity are through the daily physical life and activity of
each individual, in accordance with the requirements of the social
order in which he is reared; and these are reached through its
influence on the acquired psychical habits, which are transmitted
through association, imitation, and the control of activities by
language and education. In biological heredity the transmission is
exclusively prior to birth, while in social heredity it is chiefly, if
not entirely, after birth.

In social heredity the transmission is not determined by
consanguinity, and therefore extends to members of alien races when
they are incorporated in the social organization.

While the transmission of biological inheritance to each offspring is
inevitable and complete, that of social inheritance is largely
voluntary. It is also more or less complete, according to the
knowledge, purpose, and effort of the individuals concerned. The
transmission of acquired social and psychic characteristics even from
parents to offspring depends on their association, and the imposition
on their offspring by parents of their own modes of life. Sharing with
parents their bodily activities, their language and their environment,
both social and psychical, the offspring necessarily develop psychic
and social characteristics similar to those of the parents.

Evolution takes place through the transformation of inheritance. The
evolution of _innate_ physiological, anatomical, and psychical
characters takes place through the transformation of biological
inheritance; and the evolution of society and of _acquired_ characters
chiefly through the transformation of social inheritance.

Nearly all biologists admit that change in the form of natural
selection is one of the principles transforming biological
inheritance; but whether the _acquired_ characters of parents are even
in the least degree inherited by the offspring, thus becoming _innate_
characters, is one of the important biological problems of recent
years. Into this problem we have not entered, though we recognize that
it must have important bearings on sociological science. Briefly
stated, it is this: Do social and psychic characteristics, acquired by
individuals or by groups of individuals, affect the intrinsic
inherited and transmissible psychic nature in such ways that
offspring, by the mere fact of being offspring, necessarily manifest
those characteristics, regardless of the particular social environment
in which they may be reared? Into this problem, thus broadly stated,
we do not enter. Limiting our view to those advanced races which
manifest practically equal physiological development, we ask whether
or not their differentiating psychic characteristics are due to
modifications of their inherited and intrinsic psychic nature, such
that those characteristics are necessarily transmitted to offspring
through intrinsic biological heredity. Current popular and scientific
sociology seems to give an affirmative answer to this question. The
reply of this work emphasizes the negative. Although it is not
maintained that there is absolutely no difference whatever in the
psychic nature of the different races, or that the psychic differences
distinguishing the races are entirely transmitted by social heredity,
it is maintained that this is very largely the case--far more largely
than is usually perceived or admitted. Such inherent differences, if
they exist, are so vague and intangible as practically to defy
discovery and clear statement, and may be practically ignored.

The only adequate disproof of the position here maintained would be
about as follows. Let a Japanese infant be reared in an American home
from infancy, not only fed and clothed as an American, but loved as a
member of the family and trained as carefully and affectionately as
one's own child. The full conditions require that not only the child
himself, but everyone else, be ignorant of his parentage and race in
order that he be thought to be, and be treated as though he were, a
genuine member of his adopting home and people. What would be the
psychic characteristics of that child when grown to manhood? If he
should manifest psychic traits like those of his Japanese parents, if
he should think in the Japanese order, if he should have a tendency to
use prepositions as postpositions, if he should drop pronouns and
should use honorific words in their place, if he should be markedly
suspicious and inferential, if he should bow in making his salutations
rather than shake hands, if he should show marked preference for
sitting on the floor rather than on chairs, and for chopsticks to
knives and forks, and if developing powers as an artist he should
naturally paint Japanese pictures, Japanese landscapes, and Japanese
faces, finding himself unable to draw according to the canons of
Western art, if on developing poetic tastes he should find special
pleasure in seventeen syllable or thirty-one syllable exclamatory
poems, finding little interest in Longfellow or Shakespeare, if, in
short, he should develop a predilection for any distinctive Japanese
custom, habit of thought, method of speech, emotion or volition, it
would evidently be due to his intrinsic heredity. If in all these
matters, however, he should prove to be like an American, acquiring an
American education like any American boy, and if on being brought to
Japan, at, say, thirty years of age, still supposing himself to be an
American, he should have equal difficulty with any American in
mastering the language and adapting himself to and understanding the
Japanese people, then it would follow that his psychic characteristics
have been inherited socially and he is what he is, nationally, because
of his social heritage. Such a result would show that the psychic
traits differentiating races are social and not intrinsic.

We have limited our discussion to the advanced races because the
problem is then relatively simple, the material abundant, and the
issue clear. Much discussion in theology, psychology, and sociology is
futile because it concerns that practically mythical being, the
aboriginal man, about whose social and psychic life no one knows
anything, and any theorizer can say what he chooses without fear of
shipwreck on incontrovertible facts. Whether the lowest races known
to-day are differentiated from the highest only by acquired social and
psychic characteristics, or also by differences of psychic nature, may
perhaps be an open question. However this may be, the case is fairly
clear in regard to the higher races inhabiting the earth. Their
differentiating psychic characteristics are, for the most part, not
due to diverse psychic nature, but to diverse social orders, while the
transmission of these characteristics takes place, as a matter of
observation, through social heredity.

The discussions of this work are exclusively concerned with the
evolution of society and of psychic characteristics. But even in this
limited field we have not attempted to cover the whole ground. We have
given our chief attention to the interdependence of social phenomena
and psychic characteristics. The causes of evolution in the social
order have not been the main subject under discussion.

Segregation is the essential condition on which divergent evolution is
dependent. Many forms of segregation may be specified, under each of
which evolution proceeds on a different principle. In brief, it may be
said that biological segregation prevents the swamping of incipient
organic divergences, by preventing the intermarriage of those
possessing such divergences, while social segregation prevents the
swamping of incipient social divergences and their corresponding
incipient psychic characteristics by preventing the inter-association
of those having such tendencies.

Biologically segregated groups undergo divergent biological evolution
through segregated marriage, producing distinct physiological unities
or racial types. These racial types are now relatively fixed and can
be appreciably modified only by the intermarriage of different races.

Socially segregated groups undergo divergent social evolution through
the segregated social intercourse of the members of each group,
producing distinct civilizational and psychic unities. The differences
between these social or psychic groups are relatively plastic and are
the subject of constant variation. The modification of the social and
psychic characteristics of a group takes place through a change in the
physical or social environment of the group, or through the rise of
strong personalities within the group.

Biologically distinct groups may thus be unified biologically only by
intermarriage, while socially physically distinct groups may be
unified socially and psychically without intermarriage, but
exclusively through association.

The psychic defects of the offspring of interracial marriages may be
largely due to the defective social heredity transmitted by the
parents, rather than to mixed intrinsic inheritance.

The term "race soul" is a convenient, though delusive, because highly
figurative, expression for the psychic unity of a social group. The
unity is due entirely to the more or less complete possession by the
individual members of the group, of common ideas, ideals, methods of
thought, emotions, volitions, customs, institutions, arts, and

Each individual is molded psychically to the type of the social group
in which he is reared. The "race soul" is thus imposed on the
individual by conscious and unconscious education.

The psychic evolution of social groups is divergent so long as
isolation is fairly complete, but becomes convergent in proportion to
association. Perfect association produces complete psychic unity,
though it should be noted that perfect association of geographically
separated social groups is practically unattainable.

The essential elements constituting national unity are psychic and
social, not biological. Racial unity is biological. The same race may
accordingly separate into different social and psychic groups. And
members of different races may belong to the same social psychic

The so-called "race soul" of many sociologists is, therefore, a
fiction and indicates mental confusion. The term refers not to the
racial unity of inherent psychic nature, but only to the social unity
of socially inherited psychic characteristics. Groups thus socially
unified may or may not be racially homogeneous. In point of fact no
race is strictly homogeneous biologically, nor is any social group
completely unified psychically.

In sociology as in biology function produces organism, that is to say,
activity produces the organ or faculty fitted to perform the
activity.[2] The psychic characteristics differentiating social groups
are chiefly, and perhaps exclusively, due to diverse social
activities. These activities are determined by innumerable causes,
geographical, climatic, economic, political, intellectual, emotional,
and personal.

The plasticity of a psychic group is due to the plasticity of the
infant mind and brain, which is wonderfully capable of acquiring the
language, thought forms, and differentiating characteristics of any
group in which it may be reared. To what extent this plasticity
extends only carefully conducted experiments can show. In the higher
Asiatic and European races we find it to be much greater than is
generally supposed to be the case, but it is not improbable that the
lowest races possess it in a much lower degree.

The relative fixity of a psychic group is due to the fact that in
full-grown adults, who form the majority of every group, function has
produced structure. Body, brain, and mind have "set" or crystallized
in the mold provided by the social order. Influences sufficiently
powerful to transform the young have little effect on the adult. The
relative fixity of a psychic group is also due to the
difficulty--well-nigh impossibility--of bringing new psychic
influences to bear on all members of the group simultaneously. The
majority, being oblivious to the new psychic forces, maintain the old
psychic régime. The difficulty of reform, of transforming a social
order, is principally due to these two causes.

The "character" of a people (psychic group) consists of its more or
less unconscious, because structuralized or incarnate, ideas,
emotions, and volitions. Chief among them are those concerning the
character of God, the nature and value of man and woman, the necessary
relation of character to destiny, the nature and meaning of life and
death, and the nature and the authority of moral law. In proportion as
the social order incorporates high or low views on these vital
subjects, is the character of the people elevated and strong, or
debased and weak.

The destiny of a people, and the rôle it plays in history, are
determined not by chance nor yet by environment, but in the last
analysis by its own character. Yet this character is not something
given it complete at the start, an intrinsic psychical inheritance,
nor is it dependent for transmission on biological heredity, passing
only from parents to offspring. Character belongs to the sphere of
social psychic life and is the subject of social heredity. Through
social intercourse the moral character dominating a psychic group may
be transmitted to members of an alien psychic group. This usually
takes place through missionary activity. The moral character of a
psychic group may in this way be fundamentally transformed, and with
character, destiny.

Floating ideas, not yet woven into the warp and woof of life, not yet
incarnate in the individual or in the social order, have little
influence on the character of the individual or the group, however
beautiful, true, or elevating such ideas may be in themselves. The
character of a people is to be judged, therefore, not by the beauty or
elevation of every idea that may be found in its literature, but only
by those ideas that have been assimilated, that have become
incorporated into the social order. These determine a people's
character and destiny. According as these ideas persist in the social
order, is its character permanent.

Progress consists of expanding life, communal and individual,
extensive and intensive, physical and psychical. True progress is
balanced. High communal development, that is, highly organized
society, is impossible without the wide attainment of highly developed
individuals. Progressive mastery of nature likewise is impossible
apart from growing psychic development in all its branches, emotional,
intellectual and volitional, communal and individual.

Historically, communalism is the first principle to emerge in
consciousness. To succeed, however, it must be accompanied by at least
a certain degree of individualism, even though it be quite implicit.
The full development of the communal principle is impossible apart
from the correspondingly full development of the individual principle.
These are complementary principles of progress. Each alone is
impossible. In proportion as either is emphasized at the expense of
the other, is progress impeded. Arrested civilizations are due to the
disproportionate and excessive development of one or the other of
these principles.

Personality, expressing and realizing itself in communal and
individual life, in objective and subjective forms, is at once the
cause and the goal of progress. Social and psychic evolution are,
therefore, in the last analysis, personal processes. The irreducible
and final factor in social evolution and in social science is
personality; for personality is the determinative factor of a human

Progress in personal development consists of increasing extent and
accuracy of knowledge, refinement and elevation of emotions, and
nobility and reliability of volitions. Progress in personal
development requires the individual to pass from objective
heterocratic to subjective autocratic or self-regulative ethical life.
He must pass from the traditional to the enlightened, from the
communal to the individualistic stage in ethics and religion. He must
feel with increasing force the binding nature of the supra-communal
sanctions for communal and individual life, accepting the highest
dictates of the enlightened moral consciousness as the laws of the
universe. But this means that the individual must secure increasing
insight into the immutable and eternal laws of spiritual being and
must identify his personal interests, his very self with those laws,
with the Heart of the. Universe, with God himself. Only so will he
become completely autonomous, self-regulative. Only thus will the
individual become and remain an altruistic communo-individual, fitted
to meet and survive the relaxation of the historic communal and
supra-communal sanctions for communal and individual life, a
relaxation induced by growing political liberty and growing
intellectual rejection of primitive or defective religious beliefs.

Progress in personality is thus at bottom an ethico-religious process.
The wide attainment of developed personality permits the formation of
enlarging highly organized psychic groups, accompanied by increasing
specialization of its individual members. This communal expansion,
ramifying organization and individual specialization, secures
increasing extensive and intensive intellectual understanding of the
universe, and this in turn active mastery of nature, with all the
consequences of growing ease and richness of life.

Ethico-religious, autonomous personality is thus the tap-root of
highly developed and permanently progressive civilizations.
Personality is, therefore, the criterion of progress. Mere ease of
physical life, freedom from anxiety, light-hearted, care-free
happiness, mastery of nature, material civilization, highly developed
art, literature, and music, or even refined culture, are partial and
inadequate, if not positively false, criteria.

Personality, as a nature, is an inherent psychic heritage shared by
all human beings. It is transmitted only from parents to offspring,
and its transmission depends only on that relation. Personality, as a
varying psychic characteristic, is a matter of social inheritance, and
is profoundly dependent, therefore, on the nature of the social order
and the social evolution.

Religion, as incorporated in life, is the most important single factor
determining the personality and character of its adherents, either
hindering or promoting their progress.

Japanese social and psychic evolution have in no respects violated the
universal laws of evolution. Japanese personal and other psychic
characteristics are the product not of essential, but of social
inheritance and social evolution. Japan has recently entered into a
new social inheritance from which she is joyfully accepting new
conceptions and principles of communal and individual life. These she
is working into her social organism.

Already these are producing profound, and we may believe permanent,
transformations in her social order and correspondingly profound and
permanent transformations of her character and destiny.



"Abdication": in church work, 84;
  due to past social conditions, 86;
  explains prominence of young men, 86, 161

Æsthetic characteristics: development unbalanced, 174;
  speech and conduct, 178;
  development of masses, 180;
  development, social not racial, 188

Adoption; family maintained, 215

Affection: post-marital, 102;
  its expression, 105

Agnosticism, old not new, 247

Alcock, Sir Rutherford: quotation misleading, 172;
  on untruthfulness, 255

Altruism, social or racial? 365

Ambition, 137

Ancestral worship and the importance of sons, 98

Apotheosis, 147;
  "Divine right of kings," 151;
  in Japan expresses unity, 152

Architectural development and social heredity, 188

Arisaka, Colonel, inventions, 207

Arnold, Sir Edwin, 16, 17

Art; simplicity its characteristic, 173;
  lacking the nude, 175-177;
  its ideal in representing gods and men, 174;
  defects, 184;
  original or imitative? 203;
  not "impersonal," 351

Artistic and inartistic contrasts, 184

Aston, Mr. W.G.: on poetic form, 187;
  intellectual inferiority of Japanese claimed, 218;
  "Japanese Literature," 228

Baelz, Dr. E., measurements of skull, 191

"Bakufu," "curtain government," 214

Bargaining, a personal experience, 212

Baths, public, 274;
  cleanliness, 316

Birthday festivals, 349;
  method of reckoning age, 350

Brain weights, comparative figures, 190

Brown, Rev. S.R., 90

Buckley, Prof. E., Phallic worship, 325

Buddhism: relation to the family, 112;
  suppression of emotion, 166;
  modified in Japan, 197;
  early influence, 204;
  teachings about woman, 259;
  lack of moral teachings, 269;
  religious ecstasy, 297;
  nature and history, 306, 307;
  terms "ingwa" and "mei," 319;
  "impersonal"? 377-388;
  introspection, 378;
  salvation through self, 379;
  consciousness of self, highly developed, 379-380;
  attributes no worth to self, 380;
  failure of its influence, 381;
  mercy to animals and shallow reasoning, 381;
  thought of self an intellectual abstraction, 383;
  not impersonal, but abstract, 384;
  doctrine of illusion, 384;
  failure of social order, 385;
  popular acceptance not philosophical, 386;
  not logically
  carried out, 389-390.
  appeal to personal activity, 390.
  conversion of a priest to Christianity, 394.
  conception of God, 398.
  the universe characterized, 400.
  Nirvana, 400.
  supplementary to Shintoism, 407.
  popularity explained, 408.
  individualism defective, 408.
  not exclusive in any land, 421.

Buddhistic doctrines and sociological consequences, 388.

Caricature in art: its prominence, 177.

Cary's, Rev. Otis, "Japan and Its Regeneration," 10.

Chamberlain, Prof. B.H., 17, 55, 159.
  quotation on imitation,--over-emphasis, 196.
  people irreligious, 287.

Character and destiny, 445.
  how judged, 446

Children: their festivals, 96.
  love for the young in Occident and Orient compared, 97.
  infanticide, 100.

Chinese characters and the common schools, 192.

Chinese philosophy not accepted without question, 200.

Christianity: relation to the family, 111-114.
  the support of new ideals, 112.
  fluctuating interest in, 162, 163.
  influence on woman, 168.
  criticised by a Japanese, 231.
  relation to new social order, 282.
  its growth in Japan, 308.
  monotheism, its attraction, 311.
  its view of the universe, 399.
  involving communalism and individualism, 415.

Civilization: two types in conflict, 13.
  social not racial, 28.
  its rapid modernization, 30.

Clark, Pres., 90

Cleanliness: exaggerated reputation, 315, 316.

Cocks of Tosa: the abnormal, 178.

Communalism: and human progress, 332, 333.
  defined, 361.
  its altruism, 367.
  throws light on religious history, 404.
  difficulty of combining it with individualistic religious elements, 414.
  Japan appreciates its spirit, 417

Comte, 22.

Conceit, 139.
  not the only conceited nation, 142.

Concubinage: children of the Emperor, 151.
  Buddhistic and Confucian teaching, 259.
  its sociological interpretation, 260.
  increase of, 278.
  statistics of, 279.

Confidence and suspicion, 120.
  feudal explanation, 121.

Confucian ethics: leave gods alone, 286, 287.
  antidote to Buddhism, 390.

Confucianism: its relation to the family, 112.
  modified in Japan, 197.
  metaphysical foundation of, 228.
  its relation to morality, 269.
  nature and history of, 307, 308.
  its doctrines restored, 409.
  its limitations, 410.
  not a religion, 411.
  cause of failure, 412.

Confucius and Lao-tse about returning good for evil, 128.
  influence opposed to progress, 204.

Constitution, authority from Emperor, 149.

Conversation: realistic baldness, 179.

Courtesy: conventional not racial, 182.
  phrases of, 211.
  not proof of "impersonality," 362, 363.

Culture: more apparent than real, 181.

Curiosity: real though concealed,--illustration, 166.

"Curtain government," its significance, 214.

Daimyo, a figurehead, 214.

Darwin, 22

Decoration of rooms, 171

Dening, Mr, Walter, lack of idealism, 233

De Quatrefages, African brains, 191

Deity: conception of, 310;
  monotheistic terms, 311;
  common people, 391

Disposition: apparently cheerful, 115;
  pessimists out of sight, 116

Divorce: grounds for, 56;
  frequency of, 99;
  Civil Code of 1898, 265;
  statistics, 267;
  divorce and "impersonality," 352, 355

Doshisha, endangered, 123, 124;
  American benefactors of, 281

Drama and novel: weakness explained, 187

Drummond, 22

Dwarfed plants,--delight in the abnormal, 177

Eastern and Western civilizations blending, 30-32

Educational Department and Imperial Edict, 328

Emotional nature, 82-84;
  due to social order, 169

Emperor: concubines and children of, 151

English study and methods of thinking, 212

Ethics: pivotal points, 283

Etiquette: superficial not radical requirements, 183;
  its collapse explained, 183;
  relation to imagination, 235

Evolution: real explanation of progress, 24-27, 33-34;
  national, 332-343;
  intellectual, 419;
  Involution one half the process, 425;
  defined, 440

Express train, "nominal" destination, 216

Fairbanks, Prof., 20

"Falling in love" not recognized, 102

Family life: false registration checks affection, 107

_Far East_: quotation from, adaptation of foreign systems, 208

Farmer, higher rank than merchant, 257 (note)

Fate: "Ingwa," in development of personality, 386

Feudal times: moderation, 118;
  courage cultivated, 153, 154;
  trade, 284

Fickleness: its manifestation, 159;
  a modern trait, 160;
  shown chiefly in methods, 160;
  among Christians, apparent not real, 161

Filial obedience: extreme application, 263;
  piety, moral ideal, 249;
  piety and religion, 322

Fiske, 22

Flexibility of mental constitution, 77-78

Flowering trees, 171

Forty-seven Ronin, 89, 250

Freedom: relation of belief to the fact, 387

Fukuzawa, Mr., on monogamy, 109, 112;
  condemning concubinage, 279;
  on religion, 287

Furniture; recent introduction, 181

Future life: Shinto, Confucian, 318;
  Buddhistic, 319

"Geisha," dancing girl, vivacity, 168

Generalization, capacity for, 220;
  use of philosophical terms, 221

Giddings, Prof., 19, 22

"Go-between," illustrations, 210;
  advantages, 211

God: Greek, Buddhist, Christian, 399;
  conceptions compared, 400

Governmental initiative: explains rapid reforms, 201

Gratitude: religious sentiment, 323;
  ingratitude shown 324

Greek universe characterized, 400

Green, T.H., 397 (note)

Greene, Dr. D.C., teaching of Shinto sect, 269

Griffis, W.E., on suicide, 155;
  on religions, 315

Gubbins, introduction to translation of New Civil Code of Japan, 86;
  on woman's position, 268

Harris, Townsend, quoted, 132;
  regulation by authority, 204;
  as to untruthfulness, 256

Hawaii, musical development, 185

Head, size of, 190

Hearn, Mr. Lafcadio, 16, 17, 68;
  mistaken contention, 263;
  privacy, 275;
  gratitude, 323

Hegel, 345; "Nothing" and Universal Soul of Buddhism, 383 (note)

Heredity: social and physiological contrasted, 21;
  defined and analyzed, 439

Heroes and hero-worship, 89-95;
  "The forty-seven Ronin" as heroes, 89;
  craving for modern heroes, 90-92;
  Omi Sajin, 93;
  Dr. Neesima, 375

Hirase, Mr., scientist, 207

History, research suppressed, 205;
  its claims, 206;
  apparent credulity of scholars due to social system, 207

"Holy towels," physical disease, 314

Honesty: decline of, 280;
  explanation, 282

"Honorifics," shades of courtesy, 179;
  indefiniteness of speech, 211

Houses, privacy impossible, 273

Housewife, simple requirements, 181

Idealizing tendency, 94, 236

Idols, imported feature of Japanese religion, 174

Ikeno, Mr., scientific discovery, 207

Illusion, 398

Imagination: is it lacking? 233;
  shown in etiquette, political life, ambition, self-conceit, etc., 235;
  seen in optimism, 240;
  related to fancy,--caricature, 241;
  not disproved by imitation, 242;
  sociological explanation, 243;
  constructive, 246;
  suppression of, 246

Imitation in Japanese progress, 78-81;
  creditable characteristic, 196

Immorality, increase of, 261

Impassiveness, "putty-face," 164

Imperial and popular sovereignty, conflict between, 152-153

Imperial Edict, 328

Imperialists during the Shogunate, 146

Imperial succession of Oriental type, 150

"Impersonality": Hegel, 345:
  definitions contradictory, 347, 348;
  related, to art, 351;
  family life, 352;
  divorce, 352;
  "falling in love," 354;
  definition, 359, 360;
  outcome of social order, 361;
  not proved by courtesy of people, 362, 363,
    nor by lack of personal pronouns, 368;
  arguments against, 377;
  diverse elements analyzed, 381;
  objection to term, 385

"Impersonality" and altruism, 365

Impractical idealism: claimed by Japanese, 236;
  illustrations, 237, 238

"In," and "Yo," significance of, 221

India and Japan contrasted, 32-34

Indirectness, 210

Individual, small value, 258

Individualism: expressed, 245, 246;
  changing social order and honesty, 282;
  importance of, 334;
  how possible, 335;
  defined, 361;
  easy acceptance explained, 413

Individualistic religion as a sociological factor in higher, human
     evolution, 418

Infanticide, 100-101

"Ingwa," fate, 386

Inouye, Dr. T., Japonicized Christianity, 39;
  claims for Japanese, 205;
  philosophical writer, 229

Intellectual characteristics, social, 244

Inventions: originality, 207

Irreligious phenomena explained, 302, 303

Ishii, Mr., father of orphan asylums in Japan, 94, 131, 145

Isolation of nations impossible, 71

Ito, Marquis, on religion, 288

Iyeyasu: his testament, 253;
  use of Confucian doctrines, 409

Japanese people: international responsibility, 13;
  need of understanding them, 15-20;
  change of opinion regarding, 23-25;
  defects, conscious of, 143;
  acquaintance with, 428;
  reasons for difficulty in, acquaintance with, 429, 430;
  secret of acquaintance, 431

_Japan Mail_: quotation, 130;
  originality of Japanese art, 203:
  on wealth, 277;
  on honesty, 280;
  on acquaintance, 428

Jealousy and women, 127-128

Kato, Mr. H., 229;
  on religion, 288;
  patriotism is loyalty to throne, 373

"Ki," defined, 221

Kidd, 22

Kissing unknown, 105

Kitazato, Dr., scientific research, 207

Knapp, Mr. A.M., 16

Knox, Dr. G.W., quotation, 199;
  "A Japanese Philosopher," 228;
  translator of Muro Kyuso, 249

Ladd, Prof. G.T., 94;
  sentimentality of Japanese, 234

Language: its acquirement and Japanese students, 194;
  diversities of, not due to diversities in brain type, 195

Lao-tse, on doing good in return for evil, 128

Le Bon's physiological theory of character inadequate, 13-20;
  quotation, 51;
  dissent from opinion, 168;
  quotation, 424

Le Conte, 22

Literature, ancient, its impurity, 253

Lowell, Mr. Percival, "The Soul of the Far East," 103, 344;
  Japanese unimaginative, 234;
  opinion criticised, 241;
  "sense and incense," 286;
  pilgrimages, 291;
  "impersonality," 359, 363, 374;
  teaching of philosophic Buddhism, 378

Loyalty and religion, 322;
  sentimental, 148, 149

Lunatics and lepers, cruel treatment, 130

Magic formulæ, 320

Man and nature: differing artistic treatment of, 175

Manners; influenced by Western ways, 182

Marriage, Civil Code of 1898, 265

Marsh, Prof., size of Japanese brain, 190

"Matter-of-factness" explained, 245

Memorizing: mechanical, 222;
  defective method, 223;
  as related to higher mental powers, 223

Memory; power overrated, 192;
  in daily affairs not exceedng

Occidental, 193;
  characteristics sociological, not biological, 194

Mnemonic power and social selection, 193

Mencius, teaching, the "Way" of Heaven and Earth, 250

Mental faculties: are the Japanese deficient? 218;
  power of generalization, 221

Metaphysical tendencies, 227:
  denial of ability unjustifiable, 227

Metaphysics and ethics, 228

Monotheism, why attractive, 312

Morality: courage in persecucution, 156;
  illustration, 158;
  discrimination developed, 249;
  parents, children, patriots, 249;
  ideals communal, 255;
  standards differing for men and women, 263;
  teaching focused on rulers, 270;
  Imperial Edict, 271;
  standards of, and individualism, 275, 276;
  social, not racial, 283;
  on authority, 284;
  morality and Old Japan, 261, 264

Motora, Prof. Y., 229

Müller, Prof. Max, statement about Vedas, 193

Murata rifle, invention of, 207

Muro Kyuso, philosopher, 249;
  ancient books condemned, 252;
  on immorality, 286;
  teachings, 299, 300

Music, Japanese deficiency, 185

Nakashima, Prof. Rikizo, 229

Nash, Prof. H.S., on Apotheosis in Rome, 153

National life, stimulus from the West, 43-48

Natural scenery in art, 173

Neesima, Dr., founder of the Doshisha, 94;
  monotheism, 311;
  his character, 375

"Netsuke," comical carvings, 241

New æon, characterized, 14;
  the consequences, 15

Newton's, Rev. J.C.E., "Japan: Country, Court, and People" 10, 46

"Nichiren," a sect, 198

Nirvana characterized, 400

Nitobe's, Prof. J., "Bushido: The Soul of Japan," 10

"Nominal": Pedigree, 215;
  church contributions, 216;
  express train, 216

"Nominality": illustrated in history, 213;
  in family life, 214;
  in Christian work, 216;
  explained by old order, 217;
  giving way under Western influence, 217

Norman, Mr. Henry, 17;
  his "Real Japan," 46

Nude in art: its lack, 175-177

Obsequiousness, 140

Occident and Orient: conflict not unending, 13;
  social intercourse and mutual influence, 436

Occidental civilization; a defect in, 71

Ohashi, Junzo, opposed to Western thought, 254

Old Japan, 35-37;
  its oppression, 53, 54;
  emptiness of common life, 54;
  condition of woman, 54, 56;
  divorce, 56, 57;
  moral and legal maxims, 252, 253;
  its morality, 244, 261

"Omi Sajin," Sage of Omi, 93

Oriental characteristics: are they distinctive? 422;
  general opinion of, 423;
  view of author, 425;
  social, not racial, 425, 434

Originality in art, 203;
  judicious imitation, 209

Orphan asylums, 131

Oyomei, 228

Patriotism, 48-51;
  relation to apotheosis, 144, 158;
  to war, 145;
  Christian orphans, 145

Peasants, stolidity, 165

Pedigree, "nominal" not actual ancestry, 215

Peery, Dr., Japanese philosophical incompetence, 225

Personality: 21-22;
  importance of, 342;
  defined, 356-357;
  characteristics of, 358;
  "strong" and "weak," 374, 375;
  Confucian ethics, 390;
  Supreme Being, 391;
  gods of popular Buddhism, 391;
  idea grasped by Japanese, 393;
  sketch of development, 394;
  racial or social inheritance, 395;
  progress in ethico-religious process, 447;
  the criterion of progress, 447

Personality in conception of nationality, 373

Personal pronouns, their lack possible proof of personality, 369;
  "honorific" particles, 368;
  substitutes, 370, 371

Pfleiderer, Prof., religious deficiency of Japanese, 286

Phallicism: its suppression, 325;
  Western influence, 326

Philosophy: Occidental ignorance of its history in Japan, 200;
  terms used, 221;
  Japanese students of, 229;
  individuals interested, 229

Philosophical ability, 225-232;
  Japanese claims, 225;
  constructive power, 226;
  writers mentioned, 229;
  East and West compared, 231

Pilgrimages: statistics, 290-291;
  immorality, 326

Poetry characterized, 186

Powder, smokeless, invention of, 207

Pride, sociological explanation, 19, 21

Progress, modern characteristic, 52-60;
  defined, 57;
  light-heartedness no proof of, 59;
  its method, 61-71;
  recognition of individual worth, 63-67;
  knowledge of implements and methods, 67-70;
  imitation, 78-81;
  passion for it, 143

Psychic nature and social life, 439

Psychic evolution, 444

Psychic function and psychic organism, 445

Psychological similarities, Japanese and Anglo-Saxon, 189

Public speaking, fluency, 219

"Putty-face," 164

"Race-soul," 444

Ransome, Mr. Stanford, quoted, 51;
  "Japan in Transition," 46

Reforms, governmental initiative, 201

Religion: its characteristics social, not racial, 309;
  loyalty and filial piety, 322;
  liberty in belief, 327;
  the Imperial Edict, 328;
  forms determined by history, 329;
  the problem of to-day, 414;
  Religions classified, 421

Religious or not? appearances explained, 286;
  judged by phenomena, 288;
  prayer, shrines, charms, 292;
  Buddha-shelves, God-shelves, 293;
  emotion and social training, 296;
  emotion shown in abstraction, 297

Religious life, 404, 421;
  communal, 404;
  present difficulty in Japan, 420

Renaissance of Japan, 29-30

Revenge: the ancient law, 128;
  teachings of Confucius and Lao-tse, 128-129

Reverence, apparent lack of, 304

"Ri" defined, 221

Roman alphabet: adoption recommended by many, 192

"Roundaboutness": characteristic of speech and action, 211;
  recent improvement, 212

Sadness and isolation of many, 116

Sage of Omi, _see_ "Omi Sajin."

Salvation and sin, 314;
  Buddhist and Christian, 379

Samurai: high mental power,
  social leaders, impractical,
  244; their relation to trade,
  252; new ideals, 256; revolt
  from religious forms, 298

Segregation and divergent evolution, 443

Self-confidence not without
  grounds, 141, 143; reorganization
  by young men, 141-142

Self-control: moral teaching,
  250; Kujuro, the self-controlled, 251

Sensitiveness to environment,
  72, 81; illustrated by students
  abroad, 73, by life in Japan, 73-77

Shimose, Mr., invention, smokeless powder, 207

"Shinshu," "Reformed" Buddhism, 198

Shinto: nature and history,
  305, 306; personal gods, 391;
  communal, 405; no longer a
  religion, 405; world view,
  406; religious sanction for
  social order, 407; revived, 412

Sin, terminology, 313; consciousness
  of, 317; instance of conversion, 318

Shusi, 228

Social evil, the, 261 (note)

Social segregation and social divergence, 21

Social and racial unity distinguished, 443

Social evolution convergent,
  14; principle revealed, 15;
  personal process, 446

Social heredity, transmitting results of toil, 71

Social intercourse of Occident and Orient, 436

Social order from the West,
  413; the parting of the ways, 414

Sociological theory of: character,
  14, 446; pride, 30; fear
  of ridicule, 73; cruelty, 135;
  kindness, 136; stolidity, 163;
  power of generalization, 222;
  philosophical development,
  231; apparent deficiency in
  imagination, 236; differences
  characterizing Eastern and
  Western psychic nature, 247,
  435; untruthfulness, 256; concubinage,
  260; religious characteristics,
  309, 321; the suppression
  of Phallicism, 327;
  religious tolerance, 329; divorce
  and "falling in love,"
  355; courtesy, 363, 364; the
  personal pronoun, 372; the
  failure of Buddhism, 385;
  the conception of Fate, 387

Sociology and individual religion, 405;
  and Shintoism, 407

Southerland, 23

"Soul of Japan," the, 144

"Soul of the Far East," quotation, 234

Spencer, 22

Stolidity: easily distinguished
  from stoicism, 164, 165; the
  peasants, 165; social, not
  racial, 167; cultivated, 168

Students: testimony of foreign
  teachers, 218; at home and abroad, 219

Suicide, a matter of honor, 154-156

Sutra, translation of, 402

Suspiciousness and military feudalism, 125-126

Taguchi, Dr., brain statistics, 190

Tai-ku Reform, epoch-making period, 201

Takahashi, Mr. G., 229; the
  monks and consciousness of sin, 317

Taste and lack of taste in woman's dress, 182

Temples, statistics, 296

Tokugawa Shogunate, 38-40;
  how overthrown, 40-43; prohibitive
  of progress, 204; last
  of "Curtain governments," 214

Torture, in Japan, 132; in Europe, 133

Toys and toy-stores, 96

Trade estimates, 256; Old Japan,
  the Greeks, the Jews
  compared, 257, note; trade
  and the feudal order, 284

Transmigration, 319; theory
  illogical, but helpful, 389

Truthfulness, undeveloped, 255

Tyranny and Western wives 106

Unæsthetic phenomena, 179

Verbeck, Dr. G.F., 91

Visionary tendency, 236, 237

Vivacity, Geisha girl, 168

Wallace, 22

Ward, 22

"Way," _see_ Muro Kyuso, 250;
  reference to, 287

Wealth increasing, 277

Wedding, Prince Imperial, 268;
  Imperial silver wedding, 268

Woman: obedience, 55, 56;
  estimates of East and West
  contrasted, 102-103; Western
  estimates, recent growth,
  111, 113 (note); Buddhist and
  Confucian teaching, 112, 259;
  jealousy, 127; her position,
  258; influenced by Hindu
  philosophy, 258; improvement, 268

Writing, a fine art, 173

Xavier, Francis, 308

Yamaguchi, Mr., quotation, 149;
  the Imperial throne, 373

"Yamato Damashii," _see_ "The Soul of Japan."

"Yumei-mujitsu," _see_ "Nominality."


[Footnote A: "Things Japanese," p. 156.]

[Footnote B: Let not the reader gather from the very brief glance at
the attainments of New Japan, that she has overtaken the nations of
Christendom in all important respects; for such is far from the case.
He needs to be on his guard not to overestimate what has been

[Footnote C: Prof. B.H. Chamberlain.]

[Footnote D: Only since the coming of the new period has it become
possible for a woman to gain a divorce from her husband.]

[Footnote E: Chapter xxix. Some may care to read this chapter at this

[Footnote F: _Cf._ chapter ii.]

[Footnote G: "Kokoro," by L. Hearn, p. 31.]

[Footnote H: _Japan Mail_, September 30, 1899.]

[Footnote I: Part II. p. xxxii.]

[Footnote J: _Japan Mail_, June 4, 1898, p. 586.]

[Footnote K: If all that has been said above as to the relative lack
of affection between husband and wife is true, it will help to make
more credible, because more intelligible, the preceding chapter as to
the relative lack of love for children. Where the relation between
husband and wife is what we have depicted it, where the children are
systematically taught to feel for their father respect rather than
love, the relation between the father and the children, or the mother
and the children, cannot be the same as in lands where all these
customs are reversed.]

[Footnote L: The effect of Christian missions cannot be measured by
the numbers of those who are to be counted on the church rolls; almost
unconsciously the nation is absorbing Christian ideals from the
hundreds of Christian missionaries and tens of thousands of Christian
natives. The necessities of the new social order make their teachings
intelligible and acceptable as the older social order did not and
could not. This accounts for the astonishing change in the
anti-Christian spirit of the Japanese. This spirit did not cease at
once on the introduction of the new social order, nor indeed is it now
entirely gone. But the change from the Japan of thirty years ago to
the Japan of to-day, in its attitude toward Christianity, is more
marked than that of any great nation in history. A similar change in
the Roman Empire took place, but it required three hundred years. This
change in Japan may accordingly be called truly miraculous, not in the
sense, however, of a result without a cause, for the causes are well

Among the Christians, especially, the old order is rapidly giving way
to the new. Christianity has brought a new conception of woman and her
place in the home and her relation to her husband. Japanese Christian
girls, and recently non-Christian girls, are seeking an education
which shall fit them for their enlarging life. Many of the more
Christian young men do not want heathen wives, with their low estimate
of themselves and their duties, and they are increasingly unwilling to
marry those of whom they know nothing and for whom they care not at
all. Already the idea that love is the only safe foundation for the
home is beginning to take root in Japan. This changing ideal is
bringing marked social changes. In some churches an introduction
committee is appointed whose special function is to introduce
marriageable persons and to hold social meetings where the young
people may become acquainted. Here an important evolution in the
social order is taking place before our eyes, but not a few of the
world's wise men are too exalted to see it. Love and demonstrative
affection between husband and wife will doubtless become as
characteristic of Japan in the future as their absence has been
characteristic in the past. To recapitulate: these distinctive
characteristics of the emotional life of the Japanese might at first
seem to be so deep-rooted as to be inherent, yet they are really due
to the ideas and customs of the social order, and are liable to change
with any new system of ideas and customs that may arise. The higher
development of the emotional life of the Japanese waits now on the
reorganization of the family life; this rests on a new idea as to the
place and value of woman as such and as a human being; this in turn
rests on the wide acceptance of Christian ideals as to God and their
mutual relations. It involves, likewise, new ideals as to man's final
destiny. In Japan's need of these Christian ideals we find one main
ground and justification, if justification be needed, for missionary
enterprise among this Eastern people.]

[Footnote M: Chapter v. p. 82.]

[Footnote N: P. 133]

[Footnote O: "Résumé Statistique l'Empire du Japan," published by the
Imperial Cabinet, 1897.]

[Footnote P: As illustrating the point under discussion see portions
of addresses reported in "The World's Parliament of Religions," vol.
ii. pp. 1014, 1283.]

[Footnote Q: _Japan Mail_, December 10, 1898.]

[Footnote R: I have found it difficult to secure exact information on
the subject of the Imperial concubines (who, by the way, have a
special name of honor), partly for the reason that this is not a
matter of general information, and partly because of the unwillingness
to impart information to a foreigner which is felt to tarnish the
luster of the Imperial glory. A librarian of a public library refused
to lend a book containing the desired facts, saying that foreigners
might be freely informed of that which reveals the good, the true, and
the beautiful of Japanese history, customs, and character, but nothing
else. By the educated and more earnest members of the nation much
sensitiveness is felt, especially in the presence of the Occidental,
on the subject of the Imperial concubinage. It is felt to be a blot on
Japan's fair name, a relic of her less civilized days, and is,
accordingly, kept in the background as much as possible. The
statements given in the text in regard to the number of the concubines
and children are correct so far as they go. A full statement might
require an increase in the figures given.]

[Footnote S: P. 59.]

[Footnote T: P. 119.]

[Footnote U: Aston's "Japanese Literature," p. 29.]

[Footnote V: "Japanese Literature," p. 24.]

[Footnote W: _Cf._ chapter xxxiii.]

[Footnote X: Gustave Le Bon maintains, in his brilliant, but
sophistical, work on "The Psychology of Peoples," that the "soul of a
race" unalterably determines even its art. He states that a Hindu
artist, in copying an European model several times, gradually
eliminates the European characteristics, so that, "the second or third
copy ... will have become exclusively Hindu." His entire argument is
of this nature; I must confess that I do not in the least feel its
force. The reason the Hindu artist transforms a Western picture in
copying it is because he has been trained in Hindu art, not because he
is a Hindu physiologically. If that same Hindu artist, taken in
infancy to Europe and raised as a European and trained in European
art, should still persist in replacing European by Hindu art
characteristics, then the argument would have some force, and his
contention that the "soul of races" can be modified only by
intermarriage of races would seem more reasonable.]

[Footnote Y: "The Human Species," p. 283.]

[Footnote Z: _Ibid._, p. 282.]

[Footnote AA: _Ibid._, p. 384.]

[Footnote AB: The manuscript of this work was largely prepared in 1897
and 1898. Since writing the above lines, a vigorous discussion has
been carried on in the Japanese press as to the advantages and
disadvantages of the present system of writing. Many have advocated
boldly the entire abandonment of the Chinese character and the
exclusive use of the Roman alphabet. The difficulties of such a step
are enormous and cannot be appreciated by anyone not familiar with the
written language of Japan. One or the strongest arguments for such a
course, however, has been the obstacle placed by the Chinese in the
way of popular education, due to the time required for its mastery and
the mechanical nature of the mind it tends to produce. In August of
1900 the Educational Department enacted some regulations that have
great significance in this connection. Perhaps the most important is
the requirement that not more than one thousand two hundred Chinese
characters are to be taught to the common-school children, and the
form of the character is not to be taught independently of the
meaning. The remarks in the text above are directed chiefly to the
ancient methods of education.]

[Footnote AC: Griffis' "Religions of Japan," p. 272.]

[Footnote AD: P. 24.]

[Footnote AE: _Far East_ for January, 1898.]

[Footnote AF: January 20, 1900.]

[Footnote AG: _Japan Mail_, November 12, 1898.]

[Footnote AH: P. 17.]

[Footnote AI: P. 18.]

[Footnote AJ: P. 18.]

[Footnote AK: "History of the Empire of Japan," compiled and
translated for the Imperial Japanese Commission of the World's
Columbian Exposition.]

[Footnote AL: "Japanese Literature," p. 4.]

[Footnote AM: _Cf._ chapter xvi. p. 199.]

[Footnote AN: _Cf._ chapter xvii.]

[Footnote AO: Quotations from "A Japanese Philosopher" will be found
in chapters xxiv. and xxvi.]

[Footnote AP: "Things Japanese," p. 133.]

[Footnote AQ: P. 213.]

[Footnote AR: P. 30.]

[Footnote AS: _Cf._ chapter vii.]

[Footnote AT: _Cf._ chapter xv. pp. 186, 187.]

[Footnote AU: _Cf._ chapters xvi. and xvii.]

[Footnote AV: Chapter xv.]

[Footnote AW: Chapters xix. and xx.]

[Footnote AX: P. 39.]

[Footnote AY: P. 36.]

[Footnote AZ: Pp. 42, 43.]

[Footnote BA: P. 45.]

[Footnote BB: P. 61.]

[Footnote BC: P. 120.]

[Footnote BD: P. 129.]

[Footnote BE: P. 130.]

[Footnote BF: Dickenson's "Japan," chapter vii.]

[Footnote BG: _Cf._ chapter xxi.]

[Footnote BH: P. 163.]

[Footnote BI: P. 169.]

[Footnote BJ: It is interesting to observe that the contempt of Old
Japan for trade, and the feeling that interest and profit by commerce
were in their nature immoral, are in close accord with the old Greek
and Jewish ideas regarding property profits and interest. Aristotle
held, for instance, that only the gains of agriculture, of fishing,
and of hunting are natural gains. Plato, in the Laws, forbids the
taking of interest. Cato says that lending money on interest is
dishonorable, is as bad as murder. The Old Testament, likewise,
forbids the taking of interest from a Jew. The reason for this
universal feeling of antiquity, both Oriental and Occidental, lies in
the fact that trade and money were not yet essential parts of the
social order. Positive production, such as hunting and farming, seemed
the natural method of making a living, while trade seemed
unnatural--living upon the labor of others. That Japan ranked the
farmer higher in the social scale than the merchant is, thus, natural.
In moral character, too, it is altogether probable that they were much

[Footnote BK: _Cf_. chapter ix. p. 103.]

[Footnote BL: Chapter vi.]

[Footnote BM: Chapter xxix. p. 339.]

[Footnote BN: An anonymous writer, in a pamphlet entitled "How the
Social Evil is Regulated in Japan," gives some valuable facts on this
subject. He describes the early history of the "Social Evil," and the
various classes of prostitutes. He distinguishes between the "jigoku"
(unlicensed prostitutes), the "shogi" (licensed prostitutes), and the
"geisha" (singing and dancing girls). He gives translations of the
various documents in actual use at present, and finally attempts to
estimate the number of women engaged in the business. The method of
reaching his conclusions does not commend itself to the present writer
and his results seem absurdly wide of the mark, when compared with
more carefully gathered figures. They are hardly worth quoting, yet
they serve to show what exaggerated views are held by some in regard
to the numbers of prostitutes in Japan. He tells us that a moderate
estimate for licensed prostitutes and for geisha is 500,000 each,
while the unlicensed number at least a million, making a total of
2,000,000 or 10 per cent. of the total female population of Japan! A
careful statistical inquiry on this subject has been recently made by
Rev. U.G. Murphy. His figures were chiefly secured from provincial
officers. According to these returns the number of licensed
prostitutes is 50,553 and of dancing girls is 30,386. Mr. Murphy's
figures cannot be far astray, and furnish us something of a basis for
comparison with European countries. Statistics regarding unlicensed
prostitutes are naturally not to be had.]

[Footnote BO: P. 148.]

[Footnote BP: June 25, 1898.]

[Footnote BQ: The last line of figures, those for 1897, is taken from
Rev. U.G. Murphy's statistical pamphlet on "The Social Evil in

[Footnote BR: It is stated that Mill's work on "Representative
Government," which, translated, fills a volume of five hundred pages
in Japanese, has reached its third edition.]

[Footnote BS: The _Japan Mail_ for February 5, 1896; quoting from the
_Jiji Shimpo_.]

[Footnote BT: The best summary of this discussion which I have seen in
English is found in the _Japan Mail_ for February 4, 1899.]

[Footnote BU: _Japan Mail, _January 14, 1899.]

[Footnote BV: _Japan Mail, _June 24, 1898.]

[Footnote BW: The constituency of the Doshisha consists principally of
Kumiai Christians.]

[Footnote BX: "Occult Japan," p. 23.]

[Footnote BY: _Cf._ chapter xxiv.]

[Footnote BZ: "A Japanese Philosopher," p. 120.]

[Footnote CA: In immediate connection with this oft-quoted statement,
however, I would put the following, as much more recent, and probably
representing more correctly the Marquis's matured opinion. Mr. Kakehi,
for some time one of the editors of the Osaka _Mainichi Shinbun_
(Daily News), after an interview with the illustrious statesman in
which many matters of national importance were discussed, was asked by
the Marquis where he had been educated. On learning that he was a
graduate of the Doshisha, the Marquis remarked: "The only true
civilization is that which rests on Christian principles, and that
consequently, as Japan must attain her civilization on these
principles, those young men who receive Christian education will be
the main factors in the development of future Japan."]

[Footnote CB: Chamberlain's "Things Japanese," p. 358.]

[Footnote CC: "Things Japanese," p. 70, and Murray's "Hand-book for
Japan," p. 37.]

[Footnote CD: "Things Japanese," p. 93.]

[Footnote CE: P. 85.]

[Footnote CF: _Cf._ chapter xxiii. p. 271.]

[Footnote CG: By the term "centralization" I mean personal
centralization. Political centralization is the gathering of all the
lines of governmental authority to a single head or point. Personal
centralization, on the contrary, is the development in the individual
of enlarging and joyous consciousness of his relations with his
fellow-countrymen, and the bringing of the individual into
increasingly immediate relations of interdependence with
ever-increasing numbers of his fellow-men, economically,
intellectually, and spiritually. These enlarging relations and the
consciousness of them must be loyally and joyfully accepted. They
should arouse enthusiasm. The real unity of society, true national
centralization, includes both the political and the personal phase.
The more conscious the process and the relation, the more real is the
unity. By this process each individual becomes of more importance to
the entire body, as well as more dependent upon it. While each
individual becomes with increasing industrial development more
specialized in economic function, if his personal development has been
properly carried on, he also becomes in mind and in character a
micro-community, summing up in his individual person the national
unity with all its main interests, knowledge, and character.]

[Footnote CGa: P. 14.]

[Footnote CH: P. 15.]

[Footnote CI: Pp. 88, 89.]

[Footnote CJ: Pp. 203, 204.]

[Footnote CK: _Cf._ chapter viii.]

[Footnote CL: See the _Rikugo Zasshi_ for March, 1898.]

[Footnote CM: _Cf._ chapter xv.]

[Footnote CN: Buddhism is largely responsible for the wide practice of
"joshi," through its doctrine that lovers whom fate does not permit to
be married in this world may be united in the next because of the
strength of their love.]

[Footnote CO: P. 88.]

[Footnote CP: P. 12.]

[Footnote CQ: P. 14.]

[Footnote CR: P. 15.]

[Footnote CS: In their relations with foreigners, the people, but
especially the Christians, are exceedingly lenient, forgiving and
overlooking our egregious blunders both of speech and of manner,
particularly if they feel that we have a kindly heart. Yet it is the
uniform experience of the missionary that he frequently hurts unawares
the feelings of his Japanese fellow-workers. Few thoughts more
frequently enter the mind of the missionary, as he deals with
Christian workers, than how to say this needful truth and do that
needful deed so as not to hurt the feelings of those whom he would
help. The individual who feels slighted or insulted will probably give
no active sign of his wound. He is too polite or too politic for that.
He will merely close like a clam and cease to have further cordial
feelings and relations with the person who has hurt him.]

[Footnote CT: _Cf._ chapter xiii.]

[Footnote CU: See chapter xxix.]

[Footnote CV: P. 201.]

[Footnote CW: _Cf._ chapter vii.]

[Footnote CX: It seems desirable to guard against an inference that
might be made from what I have said about Hegel's "Nothing." Hegel saw
clearly that his "Nothing" was only the farthest limit of abstraction,
and that it was consequently absolutely empty and worthless. It was
only his starting point of thought, not his end, as in the case of
Brahmanism and of Buddhism. Only after Hegel had passed the "Nothing"
through all the successive stages of thesis, antithesis, and
synthesis, and thus clothed it with the fullness of being and
character, did he conceive it to be the concrete, actual Absolute.
There is, therefore, the farthest possible difference between Hegel's
Absolute Being and Buddha's Absolute. Hegel sought to understand and
state in rational form the real nature of the Christian's conception
of God. Whether he did so or not, this is not the place to say.]

[Footnote CY: I remark, in passing, that Western non-Christian thought
has experienced, and still experiences, no little difficulty in
conceiving the ultimate nature of being, and thus in solving the
problem, into which, as a cavernous tomb, the speculative religions of
the Orient have fallen. Western non-Christian systems, whether
materialism, consistent agnosticism, impersonal pantheism, or other
systems which reject the Christian conception of God as perfect
personality endowed with all the fullness of being and character,
equally with philosophic Buddhism, fail to provide any theoretic
foundation for the doctrine of the value of man as man, and
consequently fail to provide any guarantee for individualism in the
social order and the wide development of personality among the

[Footnote CZ: _Cf._ chapter vi.]

[Footnote DA: Foot of chapter xxix.]

[Footnote DB: Chapter xxxiii. p. 498.]

[Footnote DC: It seems desirable to append a brief additional
statement on the doctrine of the "personality of God," and its
acceptability to the Japanese. I wish to make it clear, in the first
place, that the difficulties felt by the Japanese in adopting this
doctrine are not due primarily to the deficiency either of the
Japanese language or to the essential nature of the Japanese mind,
that is to say, because of its asserted structural "impersonality." We
have seen how the entire thought of the people, and even the direct
moral teachings, imply both the fact of personality in man, and also
its knowledge. The religious teachings, likewise, imply the
personality even of "Heaven."

That there are philosophical or, more correctly speaking, metaphysical
difficulties attending this doctrine, I am well aware; and that they
are felt by some few Japanese, I also know. But I maintain that these
difficulties have been imported from the West. The difficulties raised
by a sensational philosophy which results in denying the reality even
of man's psychic nature, no less than the difficulties due to a
thoroughgoing idealism, have both been introduced among educated
Japanese and have found no little response. I am persuaded that the
real causes of the doubt entertained by a few of the Christians in
Japan as to the personality of God are of foreign origin. These doubts
are to be answered in exactly the same way as the same difficulties
are answered in other lands. It must be shown that the sensational and
"positive" philosophies, ending in agnosticism as to all the great
problems of life and of reality, are essentially at fault in not
recognizing the nature of the mind that knows. The searching criticism
of these assumptions and methods made by T.H. Green and other careful
thinkers, and to which no answer has been made by the sensational and
agnostic schools of thought, needs to be presented in intelligible
Japanese for the fairly educated Japanese student and layman. So, too,
the discussions of such writers and philosophical thinkers as Seth,
and Illingworth, and especially Lotze, whose discussions of
"personality" are unsurpassed, should be presented to Japanese
thinkers in native garb. But, again I repeat, it seems to me that the
difficulty felt in Japan on these subjects is due not to the
"impersonality" of the language or the native mind, or to the hitherto
prevalent religions, but wholly to the imported philosophies and
sciences. The individuals who feel or at least express any sense of
difficulty on these topics--so far at least as my knowledge of the
subject goes--are not those who know nothing but their own language
and their own native religions, but rather those who have had
exceptional advantages in foreign study, many of them having spent
years abroad in Western universities. They furnish a fresh revelation
of the quickness with which the Japanese take up with new ideas. They
did not evolve these difficulties for themselves, but gathered them
from their reading of Western literature and by their mingling with
men of unevangelical temper and thought in the West.]

[Footnote DD: "Sacred Books of the East," vol. xlix, part ii. p. 147.]

[Footnote DE: _Cf._ chapters xiii. and xxxi.]

[Footnote DF: It is not strange that in all the centers of this new
learning Confucius was deified and worshiped. In connection with many
schools established for the study of his works, temples were built to
his honor, in which his statue alone was placed, before which a
stately religious service was performed at regular intervals. Thus did
Confucianism become a living and vitalizing, although, as we shall
soon see, an incomplete religion.]

[Footnote DG: Writers on the history and philosophy of religion have
much to say about the differences between national and universal
religions. The three religions which they pronounce universal are
Mahomedanism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The ground for this
statement is the fact that each of these religions has developed
strong individualistic characteristics. They are concerned with
individual salvation. The importance of this element none will deny,
least of all the writer. But I question the correctness of the
descriptive adjective. Because of their individualistic character they
are fitted to leap territorial boundaries and can find acceptance in
every community; for this they are not dependent on the territorial
expansion of the communities in which they arose.]

[Footnote DH: P. xvii.]

[Footnote DI: P. xviii.]

[Footnote DJ: P. 19.]

[Footnote DK: P. 6.]

[Footnote DL: P. 37.]

[Footnote DM: P. 83.]

[Footnote 2: Whether or not the activity modifies the transmissible
nature is the problem as to the inheritance of acquired
characteristics. The dictum that function produces organism does not
say whether that organism is transmissible or not, either in biology
or sociology.]

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