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Title: Working Women of Japan
Author: Gulick, 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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      *      *      *      *      *      *


_Volumes Issued_

The Church a Community Force. _By Worth M. Tippy_
The Church at the Center. _By Warren H. Wilson_
The Making of a Country Parish. _By Harlow S. Mills_
Working Women of Japan. _By Sidney L. Gulick_
Social Evangelism. _By Harry F. Ward_

_Cloth, 50 Cents, Prepaid_


      *      *      *      *      *      *

[Illustration: A FARMER'S HOME]




Twenty-five years a missionary in Japan, Professor in
Doshisha University, Late Lecturer in the
Imperial University of Kyoto

Author of
_Growth of the Kingdom of God; Evolution of the Japanese;
The White Peril in the Far East; The American
Japanese Problem; The Fight for Peace_

Missionary Education Movement of the
United States and Canada
New York

Copyright, 1915, by
Missionary Education Movement of the
United States and Canada

                             SHINJIRO OMOTO
                  in appreciation of more than a decade
                          of untiring service
                                for the
                         Working Women of Japan


    CHAPTER                                                     PAGE

            PREFACE                                               ix

         I  SOCIAL CLASSES IN JAPAN, OLD AND NEW                   1

        II  FARMERS' WIVES AND DAUGHTERS                           8


        IV  SILK WORKERS                                          32


        VI  _KOMORI_ (BABY-TENDERS)                               42

       VII  HOUSEHOLD DOMESTICS                                   48

      VIII  HOTEL AND TEA-HOUSE GIRLS                             52

        IX  FACTORY GIRLS AND WOMEN                               61

         X  GEISHA (_HETÆRÆ_)                                     87

        XI  _SHOGI_ (LICENSED PROSTITUTES)                       104

       XII  AMELIORATIVE EFFORTS                                 118

      XIII  THE MATSUYAMA WORKING GIRLS' HOME                    137



    A FARMER'S HOME                           _Frontispiece_


    AT THE LOOM                                                   16

    A FAMILY AT WORK IN A RICE-FIELD                              28

    TRANSPLANTING YOUNG RICE PLANTS                               28

    SPINNING COTTON THREAD FOR WEAVING                            32

    AT WORK IN A KITCHEN                                          32

    CARRYING FAGOTS                                               44

    BABY-TENDERS                                                  44

    AT WORK IN A SILK FACTORY                                     82

    O HAMAYU (GEISHA)                                             92

    MATSUYAMA WORKING GIRLS' HOME                                156

    GIRLS IN THE MATSUYAMA HOME                                  156


Japan is rapidly swinging into the current of an industrial civilization
imported from the West. How is this movement modifying her ancient
civilization? And, especially, what effect is it having on her homes and
on the character of her manhood and womanhood? These are questions of
profound interest to students of national and social evolution.

While many works on Japan consider these questions more or less fully,
they do so almost exclusively from the standpoint of the effect on men.
So far as is known, no work studies the problem from the standpoint of
the effect on women, who, it may be incidentally remarked, constitute
one half of the population.

One book, indeed, that by Miss Alice M. Bacon, on _Japanese Girls and
Women_, describes the homes, lives, and characteristics of Japanese
women. This important work should not be overlooked by any who wish to
know Japan thoroughly. Yet Miss Bacon's study is largely confined to the
higher and upper middle classes, who, though important, constitute but
one section of the women of Japan. To understand Japan it is also
needful to know the lives and characteristics of the working classes.
Especially important in the eyes of those who study social development
is the transformation that is taking place in the Japanese home because
of the influx of Occidental industrialism.

The purpose of this book is to give some information as to conditions
prevailing among working women, which conditions have called for the
establishment of institutions whose specific aim is the amelioration of
the industrial and moral situation. Two classes of workers have not been
considered--school-teachers and nurses.

The reader will naturally ask what the native religions have done to
help women meet the modern situation. The answer is short; practically
nothing. They are seriously belated in every respect. For ages the
native religions have served by doctrine and practise to hold women down
rather than to elevate them. The doctrine of the "triple obedience" to
father, to husband, and when old to son, has had wide-reaching and
disastrous consequences. It has even been utilized for the support of
the brothel system. Popular Buddhism, especially during the feudal era,
has emphasized the inherent sinfulness of woman; some have even taught
that her lightest sins are worse than the heaviest sins of man. The
brothel system flourishes in certain districts where Buddhism is most
strongly entrenched. Brothels abound in the immediate vicinity of famous
and popular temples. I have yet to hear of a Buddhist anti-brothel
movement or a Buddhist rescue home for prostitutes. Japanese
philanthropy, under the impulse of Buddhism, did indeed start early and
attain striking development at the hands of Imperial and princely
personages. Men and women of lowly origin also attained high rank in
the annals of Buddhist philanthropy. With the decay of Buddhism in
recent centuries, however, little philanthropic activity has survived.
With the revival of Buddhism Buddhists have again undertaken
philanthropic work; they have established orphan asylums, schools,
ex-convict homes, and various benevolent enterprises for the poor, the
old, and invalids; but not yet do they seem to appreciate the moral and
industrial situation, or undertake anything commensurate with their
numbers and resources. The conception of private enterprise for the
amelioration of industrial difficulties and moral need is still the
almost exclusive possession of Christians.

The closing chapter describes one institution in which the Christian
ideal is applied to the moral and industrial situation in one small
town. It serves as an illustration of what is being done by Christians
in other places and along many other lines as well. Christianity is
being accepted in Japan, not so much because of its doctrine, as
because of its practical methods of inspiring and uplifting manhood and
womanhood. While the purpose of this book is, as stated, to describe the
industrial condition and the characteristics of Japanese working women,
back of this purpose is the desire to show how the Christian gospel,
when concretely expressed, takes hold of Japanese working women in
exactly these conditions and becomes to them "the power of God unto

The problems of life are substantially the same the world around, for
human nature is one; and the heart with its needs, desires, temptations,
defeats, and victories is essentially the same, East or West. The
problems created by industrialism do not differ, whether in Germany,
England, and America or in Japan and China. And their fundamental
solution likewise is the same.

Let not the reader assume that the discussions of this volume give
adequate acquaintance with the working women of Japan. It deals with
only a few specific classes and inadequately even with them. A more
comprehensive treatment would doubtless be enlightening. Limitations,
however, of time and space forbid a more adequate discussion.

And let the reader be wary of generalizing certain criticisms herein
made and applying them universally to all classes of women. Many years
of life in Japan have led the writer to a high estimation of the
character as well as the culture of Japanese women.

Especial thanks are due to Colonel Yamamuro for valued criticisms and
suggestions in the preparation of this work. The responsibility,
however, for its statements rests upon the writer. The limitations of
this book none can feel more than he.



In old Japan, next to the Imperial family and court nobles, came the
feudal lords (_Daimio_), upheld by the warrior class (_Samurai_), below
whom in turn were ranked the three chief working classes,--farmers,
artizans, and tradesmen. These three classes produced and distributed
the nation's wealth and paid taxes to their respective feudal lords by
whom the warriors were supported. Below all were day laborers and
palanquin bearers,--in those days a large and important though a
despised class, for they lived entirely by bare, brute strength, lacking
all special skill. Still lower were the _eta_ or pariah class, excluded
from towns and villages, except when they entered to do the foulest
work, such as digging the graves of criminals and the slaughtering of
animals, and curing their skins. And lowest of all were _hi-nin_,
literally translated "non-humans." These were beggars and criminals, who
would not or could not work. The name, popularly given, well indicates
how they were regarded.

With the fall of the feudal system, in the early seventies, society was
reorganized. Those above the Samurai were divided in 1886 into five
grades, not counting the Imperial princes, namely: prince, marquis,
count, viscount, and baron. These constitute to-day the hereditary peers
of Japan, and possess considerable wealth and, of course, overwhelming

They numbered, in 1903, 1,784 families. Besides the 1,784 heads of these
families, there were 1,786 male and 2,485 female members of these
families of rank. The number of these peers is constantly being
increased by Imperial favor, the conferring of rank being the customary
method of rewarding distinguished service. According to the _Japan Year
Book_ for 1914, the number of peers in 1911 was 919, there being 17
princes, 37 marquises, 101 counts, 378 viscounts, and 386 barons.
Promotion from one rank to another causes constant change in the numbers
of the various ranks.

The _Samurai_, deprived of their swords and military privileges, were
given the name _shizoku_ (Samurai families) and were paid off in lump
sums, thereafter being thrown on their own resources. There are 439,154
shizoku families, numbering altogether 2,169,018 individuals. The
remaining classes were designated as _heimin_ (common people).
Statistics show that they number 8,471,610 families, totaling 44,558,025
individuals. The eta were elevated, hence popularly called _shin-heimin_
(new common people) and allowed to live anywhere and take up any
desirable calling. The hi-nin also were classed along with the rest of
humankind. As a matter of fact, the eta and hi-nin were but a small
fringe of the whole population, the descendants of the former being now
estimated at something less than one million, and those of the latter
amounting to about 35,000.

With the national reorganization it was inevitable that the new
executive offices from the highest to the lowest should be given to men
of experience. At first, therefore, the reorganization amounted to
little more than a great shuffle of names and titles. Peers took the
highest governmental positions, while Samurai and their sons as a rule
filled the lower posts. Many Samurai, however, received no appointments
and had to go to work. In time, as education has progressed, sons of
farmers and merchants have become qualified and have been appointed to
government offices. The new departments, such as the educational, the
postal and telegraph offices, the railroads, and especially the army and
navy, call for large numbers of efficient men. These posts are filled
almost entirely on the basis of fitness. While ancestry is not entirely
ignored in the making of appointments, nevertheless old class
distinctions are gradually being obliterated.

The fortunes of the women have naturally followed those of the men. All
families that lost their hereditary income had to go to work; this was
true chiefly of the Samurai. Where the men were fortunate, the women
could maintain the old customs, limiting themselves to their familiar
domestic work, with a servant or two to help, but tens of thousands of
Samurai families found themselves reduced to the direst poverty; women
having generations of genteel ancestry were forced to enter the ranks of
the workers.

Let us define what we mean by a working woman. Women whose husbands or
parents provide the support of the family are not to be included in this
term. These women may, and indeed doubtless do, labor abundantly and
fruitfully in the home; their time is fully occupied. Probably no
working women toil more diligently or for longer hours than do these
wives and mothers in hundreds of thousands of homes, in most of which
there are no servants. All the cooking, sewing, and housecleaning is
done by them, so that they are indeed workers. But they are not
"working women." They are the true gentlewomen of Japan, whose culture,
graces, and charms are not easily described.

By "working women" we mean only those women who, in addition to the
regular duties of the home, must share in the labor of earning the daily
bread. In Japan the number of such is exceptionally large, if compared
with that of some countries of the West. They may be divided into eleven
classes, according to the nature of their occupations, namely:
school-teachers, nurses, clerks and office girls, farmers, home
industrial workers, factory hands, domestics, baby-tenders, hotel and
tea-house girls, geisha, and prostitutes. Omitting the teachers and
nurses, these are the classes whose conditions, numbers, education, and
character we are now to study. Taken as a whole we do not hesitate to
say that the working women of Japan, while probably lower in point of
moral and physical energy and personal initiative than corresponding
classes of the West, are not inferior to them in point of personal
culture. And if civilization is defined, as it should be, in terms of
personal culture rather than in those of mechanical contrivances and
improvements, then Japan will surely take her place among the highly
civilized nations of the world.



Japan has three leading wealth-earning occupations: agriculture,
sericulture, and factory work. In each of these women take an important
part. In the cultivation of the soil farmers' wives and daughters share
equally with men the toil of planting and reaping the crops. For
instance, in the cultivation of rice, the most important and the hardest
work of the farmer, it is often the women who plant it spear by spear in
regular rows, and it is they who "puddle" the paddy-fields with their
hands four or five times in the course of the season. In some districts,
however, men and women do this work together. The toil and the weariness
involved cannot be appreciated by one who has not actually shared it.
Fancy, if you can, the fatigue of standing more than ankle deep in mud,
stooping all day long as you set out the tiny rice plants in regular
lines! And at short intervals of a few days each you must repeatedly
puddle the whole paddy-field: that is, stir up the mud with your hands
in order to destroy the sprouting weeds and prevent the soil from caking
and hardening around the tender rice roots, preventing their best
growth. And remember that you must do all this regardless of the
broiling summer sun, or the pelting rain, for the planting must be done
at exactly the right time, and the successive puddlings must follow in
due order. So severe is the strain that, after the planting and each
puddling, the whole village takes a rest. My gardener, an ex-farmer,
speaking of those summer days of toil in the rice-fields, expatiates on
the extreme fatigue and the joy of the rest days, and as women take the
brunt of the stooping-work, theirs is the lion's share of the weariness.
He says that, during the rice-planting season, the women are so
important that those days are called the "women's daimio days," and
adds that we must not forget how during that time the regular work of
the women must also go on, for they must cook the food and care for the
children. For this, indeed, young girls and grandmothers are pressed
into service as far as possible, but the responsibility and care rest
nevertheless on the wives and mothers.


Also in the harvesting and threshing of the rice, barley, wheat, and
millet, women take an important part. But it is needless to enter into
details. Enough to say that, in general farming, women share with
husbands and brothers the heavy toil and fatigue of agriculture. It
should be added that this is not because men shirk heavy work, but only
because Japanese agriculture is so largely done by hand that every
possible worker is pressed into service. As a fact, men do the heaviest
part of the work, preparing the soil for the successive crops and
carrying the heavy loads.

So varied are the modes of agriculture in different parts of Japan that
general statements are dangerous, but I know that in some districts the
weariness and drudgery of rice-planting and puddling are relieved by the
singing or chanting of old folk-songs. The chorus leader intones a
descriptive phrase, oftentimes improvising his own story, and is
answered with a refrain from a dozen or a score of women. A story slowly
evolves as the hours pass, and thus the work is lightened and the time

In spite of fatigue, rice-planting has its charm for those who have been
reared in farmers' homes. It is a time of hope, of social intercourse,
of rest days and festivals, so that even the drudgery of the farmer has
its compensations. Miss Denton, of the Doshisha Girls' School, says it
is interesting to note how country girls get restless at rice-planting
time, and for one reason or another usually succeed in getting excused
from school work, to be off to the homes and share in the toils and joys
of the season.

Tea-picking is probably the pleasantest form of toil undertaken by
farmers' wives and daughters. The labor comes in the spring and early
summer, when the temperature is delightful. It gives opportunity for
social intercourse that is highly appreciated. Rice-planting and
tea-picking constitute the two extremes of laborious and delightful toil
engaged in by Japan's agricultural women.

How many are the women engaged in agriculture? The _Japan Year Book_ for
1914 says that in 1912 there were 5,438,051 farming families,
constituting about 58 per cent. of the entire nation. According to the
_Résumé Statistique_ for 1914 the total number of females in Japan
proper, in 1908, was 24,542,383. Omitting those under fifteen years of
age, 8,364,000, and those over sixty years of age, 2,216,000, we have
13,962,000 as the number of able-bodied women, of whom 58 per cent., or
8,077,000, are the farmers' wives and daughters.

In regard to their education it may be said that until the most recent
times they have had practically none. In recent decades, however,
farmers' children have begun to go to school. Until 1908 the elementary
course (compulsory) covered four years, but the results were so poor
that the period has now been extended to six. Four years' schooling does
not give ability to read easily even a simple daily paper, much less an
ordinary book. Our cook, an intelligent and able farming woman, when she
came to us twelve years ago, could not read even the simplest Japanese
characters, and thinks that at present relatively few farmers' wives
have enough education to read papers or write letters. Whether or not
six years' schooling will give this ability remains to be seen. It is
safe to say that to-day Japanese adult farming women, as a whole, lack
book education and have received little, if any, systematic training.
They are accordingly largely controlled by tradition, and it goes
without saying that their level of mental, moral, and spiritual life is
low. The Shinto and Buddhist religions, as they exist among the farmers,
are largely lacking in ethical content; they are rituals rather for
burying the dead and through the use of charms and magic rites they
promise future happiness and present, temporal blessings. Priests, as a
rule, do not seek to cultivate the minds of the people, to strengthen
their wills for moral life, or to elevate their personalities.

Yet it must not be inferred that farming women are without mental
ability or common sense. They are indeed not inferior to the men with
whom they share the burdens and toil of life. As a rule they are a
sturdy, intelligent, self-respecting folk, having ideals of conduct
which include cleanliness, gentleness, and politeness, and in comparison
with the peasant classes of Europe are much to be commended. The women
not seldom appear to better advantage than their husbands in point of
intelligence and common sense, which I have thought might be due to the
greater variety of their daily occupation.

In her excellent work on _Japanese Girls and Women_ Miss Bacon writing
of this class says: "There seems no doubt at all that among the
peasantry of Japan one finds the women who have the most freedom and
independence. Among this class, all through the country, the women,
though hard-worked and possessing few comforts, lead lives of
intelligent, independent labor, and have in the family positions as
respected and honored as those held by women in America. Their lives are
fuller and happier than those of the women of the higher classes, for
they are themselves breadwinners, contributing an important part of the
family revenue, and are obeyed and respected accordingly. The Japanese
lady, at her marriage, lays aside her independent existence to become
the subordinate and servant of her husband and parents-in-law, and her
face, as the years go by, shows how much she has given up, how
completely she has sacrificed herself to those about her. The Japanese
peasant woman, when she marries, works side by side with her husband,
finds life full of interest outside of the simple household work, and,
as the years go by, her face shows more individuality, more pleasure in
life, less suffering and disappointment than that of her wealthier and
less hard-working sister."[1]

    [1] Pp. 260, 261.

The home of the average tenant farmer is a small, single-storied,
thatch-roofed building, having usually two or three small rooms
separated by sliding paper screens, and a kitchen with earthen floor.
The smoke escapes as it can, passing through the roof or pervading the
whole house. No privacy of any kind is possible, nor is any need of it
felt. The house is free of furniture, save for one or two chests of
drawers. A closet or two affords a place for the _futon_ (bedding) by
day, and for the little extra clothing. Of course no books are found in
such homes. The main room often has a board floor, with a fire box in
the center, over which is a kettle suspended from the roof. Here the
family eat, and friends gather to chat after the day's work is over. The
food is of the poorest grade in the empire, though usually adequate in
amount. Of course there are well-to-do farmers, not a few, who own
their farms, employ fellow farmers, and cultivate large areas. Their
homes are larger and better, but still in arrangement and structure they
are practically the same. Their sons attend the middle schools and books
and the daily paper are familiar objects.

The economic condition of the farming class may be judged from the fact
that the land cultivated by each family averages three and one-third
acres, which must provide food and clothing for five or six persons. The
great majority of farmers live in little, compact villages, having
populations ranging from 500 to 5,000. There are 12,706 villages under
5,000, and only 1,311 villages, towns, and cities over 5,000. These
facts suggest the nature of the social conditions of the farming
population. They live under the severest limitations of every kind,
physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Yet during the recent era of
Meiji (enlightened rule), from 1868 to 1912, the economic condition of
the agricultural classes made great improvement. My gardener, a man of
sixty, who remembers Japan before the reformation, 1868, says that
farmers now live in luxury. The taxes they pay to-day are slight
compared with what was required of them in former times, when, in his
section, farmers had to give to their Daimio about five twelfth of the
rice crop, while taxes to-day require but one fifth or less. He adds
that families owning three and one third acres of land are well-to-do,
seeing many families have to make their entire living from only one

Of course, farmers, without education or social demands, require little
beyond the simplest food and shelter. The clothing needed by their
families is the cheapest cotton, with cotton wadding added in the winter
for warmth. The heat of the summer renders much clothing a burden. A
farmer is adequately dressed for the field or his own home if he has on
his loin-cloth. His wife or grown-up daughter, when in the house with
only the immediate members of the family or most intimate acquaintances
present, is satisfied with the _koshimaki_--a strip of cloth some two
feet wide tied around the waist and covering the lower part of the body.
But on the street both men and women conform to the national customs and
wear the kimono.

The Japanese household and bathing customs have served to prevent the
development of that particular type of modesty characteristic of Western
lands. It is difficult for Occidentals to understand this feature of
Japanese civilization, but such an understanding is essential if one
would do justice to the moral life of this people. We may not apply to
them Occidental standards in matters of modesty or dress. They have
standards of their own, to understand and appreciate which requires no
little study.

At this point, I venture a second quotation from Miss Bacon, for she has
studied carefully this subject, which all foreigners seeking to estimate
the nature of Japanese civilization and moral character should not fail
to master. "As one travels," she writes, "through rural Japan in summer,
and sees the half-naked men, women, and children that pour out from
every village on one's route, surrounding the _kuruma_ (wheeled vehicle)
at every stopping place, one sometimes wonders whether there is in the
country any real civilization, whether these half-naked people are not
more savage than civilized. But when one finds everywhere good hotels,
scrupulous cleanliness in all the appointments of toilet and table,
polite and careful servants, honest and willing performance of labor
bargained for, together with the gentlest and pleasantest of manners,
one is forced to reconsider the judgment formed only upon one
peculiarity of the national life, and to conclude that there is
certainly a high type of civilization in Japan, though differing in many
particulars from our own. A careful study of Japanese ideas of decency,
and frequent conversation with refined and intelligent Japanese ladies
upon this subject, has led me to the following conclusion. According to
the Japanese standard, any exposure of the person that is merely
incidental to health, cleanliness, or convenience in doing necessary
work is perfectly modest and allowable; but an exposure, no matter how
slight, that is simply for show, is in the highest degree indelicate. In
illustration of the first part of this conclusion, I would refer to the
open bath-houses, the naked laborers, the exposure of the lower limbs in
wet weather by the turning up of the kimono, the entirely nude condition
of the country children in summer, and the very slight clothing that
some adults regard as necessary about the house or in the country during
the hot season. In illustration of the last point, I would mention the
horror with which many Japanese ladies regard that style of foreign
dress which, while covering the figure completely, reveals every detail
of the form above the waist, and, as we say, shows off to advantage a
pretty figure. To the Japanese mind, it is immodest to want to show off
a pretty figure. As for the ballroom costumes, where neck and arms are
frequently exposed to the gaze of multitudes, the Japanese woman who
would with entire composure take her bath in the presence of others,
would be in an agony of shame at the thought of appearing in public in a
costume so indecent as that worn by many respectable American and
European women."[2]

    [2] _Japanese Girls and Women_, 257-260.

This completes our study of the homes and characteristics of five
eighths of Japan. Here the brawn of the nation is reared. Hence come the
sturdy, docile, patient, and courageous soldiers. Here are raised boys
and girls by the hundreds of thousands who must at an early age begin to
earn a living. This is the hunting-ground of those who seek for builders
of railroads, factory hands, domestics, hotel girls, baby-tenders, and
occasionally geishas, concubines, and prostitutes. Considering the
severe economic conditions under which Japan's agricultural classes
live, who can fail to admire their courage and grit, their personal
culture, their even temper and cheerful faces, their innate habits of
courtesy and good breeding, their mutual patience and forbearance, and
their simple artistic tastes and pleasures! Do they not compare well
with the peasant classes of any other nation?



Before passing on to study the various classes of workers constantly
recruited in no small numbers from the homes of farmers, we should first
consider the high development of industrial occupations within these
homes themselves. To appreciate both the opportunity and the need for
this, we turn to the official statistics of marriage and education.
Until 1908 compulsory education, as has been already stated, covered
four years from the age of six to ten. According to governmental
statistics (1912) 98.8 per cent. of the boys and 97.5 per cent. of the
girls were actually fulfilling the requirement. This percentage seems
high to American statistical students, but investigations show that,
while Japanese rules for the attendance of pupils and methods of
counting the same differ in some respects from those that prevail in
the United States and Canada, yet, as a matter of fact, in school
attendance Japan compares well with other lands. It should be
remembered, however, that the nature of the Japanese written language is
such that even six years of elementary education is probably not equal
to four years of similar schooling in Western lands. American children,
at the close of their elementary education, possess a mastery of the
tools of civilization and a degree of general intelligence considerably
in advance of Japanese children who have enjoyed the same number of
years of school life. As we have already seen, this amount of compulsory
education is insufficient to give children ability to read and write
with freedom.

The question for us however is as to the number of girls above school
age and still unmarried who, because of family poverty, must find some
form of wage-earning occupation. Turning to the vital statistics
provided by the government (1914), we find that in 1908 there were
2,496,142 girls between ten and fifteen years of age, and 2,180,408
young women between fifteen and twenty years of age. But how many of
these are married? Again relying on government statistics for the same
year, we learn that only 199 girls under fifteen had been married,
whereas 193,978 had married under twenty years of age. In view of the
fact that 709,021 marriages took place between twenty and twenty-five
years of age, it is altogether probable that, of those married under
twenty, a large majority were married in their nineteenth year.
Remembering that many do not marry until the twenty-third or
twenty-fourth year, we can confidently assert that there are over
4,000,000 unmarried girls and young women between the ages of ten and
twenty-five; and, as 58 per cent. belong to the farming class, we have
in the vicinity of 3,000,000 girls who belong to families of such
economic state that they, no less than the boys, must contrive in some
way to earn a share at least of their own living. Girls of fifteen and
upwards in farmers' families help their fathers in the lighter forms of
agriculture, planting the rice, as we have seen, and reaping and
threshing the crops. But the small acreage to each family barely
provides work enough for the man, much less for the half-grown boys and
girls, hence the need of finding something besides the agricultural work
for the growing family. The younger children (under fifteen) are pressed
into lighter farming, and such household duties as are within their
strength and ability, as cooking and caring for the still younger
children; while the older children and the mother help the father, or
take up some domestic industry, such as the rearing of silkworms,
reeling of silk, spinning of thread, and weaving of silk and cotton
fabrics, or similar work which can be easily and profitably done in the
house in spare hours. Hence has come the widespread practise of
household industries, by which the female members supplement the family
income. There were, in 1907, 1,628,000 members of farming families who
were earning a part of their living in this way. This condition has
prevailed for many generations, and is the secret of the wonderful
development of the arts and home industries in Japan.

            [Illustration: A FAMILY AT WORK IN A RICE-FIELD

From of old Japan's industrial system, like that of other lands, has
been domestic--carried on in the house. There have been families and
gilds which have made their entire livelihood by these manual
industries. There have also been hundreds of thousands of farming
families which have supplemented their meager income from their farms by
taking up some of these domestic industries, and those who have
displayed or developed special aptitude for such work have naturally
drifted into this wholly industrial life. This has doubtless been the
origin of industrial families and gilds. But the point to be especially
noted is that this wide development of domestic industries is due to the
skill and diligence of Japan's working _women_. Japanese men have
produced the food by which the nation has been fed; her women have
produced industries by which the nation has been clothed, as indeed is
the case of all great civilized nations. Their long-continued drill,
from generation to generation, in home industrial occupations, has
produced a high degree of manual dexterity; the eye and hand
instinctively move accurately and rapidly in the work, and the result is
that Japan's leading industries to this day are dependent on female
labor. "Sericulture, silk-reeling, cotton spinning, _habutae_ (a
particular variety of silk fabric), and other woven goods, tea-picking,
straw and chip braids, etc., are practically dependent on female labor,"
says the _Japanese Year Book_ for 1910. "But an industry depending on
female labor has this peculiarity, namely: it is not compatible with the
factory system, but thrives best on the domestic plan. Generally
speaking it is in industries which admit of being carried on
independently at separate homes by housewives and mothers that skilled
female labor is seen to the best advantage. As operatives of family
industries Japanese women show an efficiency rarely reached by their
foreign sisters." But in this connection we may remind ourselves of the
great skill and industry of our grandmothers and preceding generations
of women, who lived before the great factory system made their home
industrial occupations unnecessary. Japan is merely several decades
behind Western lands in her industrial development.

                         AT WORK IN A KITCHEN]

We are to understand, then, that a large portion of these 3,000,000
unmarried Japanese women and girls are engaged more or less continuously
in some sort of industrial work, either in their own homes or in small
groups in their immediate vicinity. The introduction into Japan of
Occidental mechanical civilization, with its great machinery run by
steam power, and the great factory system, taking girls and young women
away from their home industries, home restraints, and home training, is
producing mighty changes in Japan's traditional civilization. The real
consequences of these new modes of life and labor are still little
appreciated. There is taking place a rapid readjustment of population,
which indeed is easily seen, but the disastrous results to the mental,
moral, and religious life of the people, even to the maintenance of the
ideals and standards that controlled the older arts and industries, are
yet little realized, for the great changes have only begun within the
past two decades. A generation or two must pass before we can see
clearly what it all really means. Meanwhile it is for those who foresee
coming evils to sound aloud the call, and, as prophets, to do that which
in them lies to meet the threatened disasters, and turn new conditions
into blessings. Japan has the advantage of a century of European
experience from which to learn wisdom. It is to be hoped that she will
avoid many of the perils and evils into which the West has fallen, but
the signs of the times are not altogether reassuring. There are, as we
shall see later on, ominous clouds on Japan's industrial horizon.



The chief wealth-earning domestic industry carried on by farmers' wives
and daughters is the rearing of silkworms and the reeling, spinning, and
weaving of the silk. Japan supplies about 28 per cent. of the total silk
of the world and 60 per cent. of that used in the United States. The
value of the silk exported in 1913 was $63,000,000. Women are the chief
workers, contributing 90 per cent. of the labor. Here again the toil is
taxing beyond belief.

The brunt of the work consists first in filling the mouths of the worms,
which must be fed at regular intervals night and day for about three
weeks, during the last few days of which they eat continuously and
voraciously. It has been found that the rearing of worms can best be
done only on a small scale, where minute attention can be given to
each tray, almost to each worm. This means that worms are reared in the
homes of the people, rather than in large establishments. During the
silkworm season everything else must give way; the house is filled with
trays of ravenous worms; rest, recreation, and sleep, for old and young
alike, are neglected in order that the precious worms may get their
fill. Men and boys bring in the mulberry leaves from the hills and
fields, while women and girls strip the branches, chop the leaves and
feed them to the magic creatures that transform worthless green leaves
into costly silk. The leaves must not be damp, nor old, and every
condition of weather and temperature must be watched with the closest
care. Otherwise there is loss. This heavy work comes twice each year, in
some places three times. That is to say, there are two or three crops of

Then, after the cocoons have been formed, comes the reeling off of the
silk, as much as possible before the sleeping grub wakens and eats its
way out, destroying the silk it has spun for its nest. So again there is
pressure, and again women do the work--I never heard of a man reeling
silk. It takes the deft hand and quick eye of a girl to catch the thread
in the boiling water, connect it with the wheel, and unroll without
breaking the almost invisible thread so wonderfully wound up by the
worm. This work is often done in the homes, but increasingly now,
because more profitably, in factories where the girls can be closely
watched by inspectors and paid according to the skill and the amount of
their work.

The number of families engaged exclusively in raising silk in the nine
principal districts is reported (1911) at 370,332. In addition however
there are many tens of thousands of families which make this only a
secondary business. Many merely raise the worms, selling the cocoons to
the factories, and in such cases the work and strain are over in a few
weeks. The value of the cocoons raised in 1911 was estimated at
$89,001,988, which gives some idea of the great importance of this
industry to the families engaged in it. But it must be remembered that
the industry demands heavy expense and the most taxing of toil while it

As this industry is carried on chiefly in the homes, the personal
conditions of the workers are relatively favorable, as favorable as
those of the homes. This requires therefore no special consideration.



In old Japan, among the workers the highest rank was held by farmers,
next by artizans, and last came the merchants, for they were regarded as
resorting to means somewhat degrading for making their living. In fact
they were not producers of positive wealth, but lived by cunning wit on
what others had made.

Artizans, such as carpenters, masons, and professional weavers, as well
as merchants, naturally live in towns and cities. The first work of the
wife is of course in the home, but when the husband's work is of such a
nature that it is possible the wife naturally helps him. Merchants'
wives and daughters, for instance, keep the shops while the husbands
peddle the goods or secure fresh supplies. Weavers' wives and daughters
aid directly, the whole family sharing in the work and acquiring skill.
Carpentry and masonry however are trades in which women take no part, so
women of these classes also seek some suitable domestic industry. In the
smaller towns especially, in recent years, rearing of silkworms is a
common occupation for all classes of moderate means, but in the cities
it is impossible to secure the necessary mulberry leaves, so straw
braiding, the making of fans, embroidery, and similar occupations are
here sought; and there are produced the thousand and one articles used
by the middle and wealthy classes and for export. As a means of
increasing the income the wives of artizans often open their front rooms
as shops and carry on a small retail business.

In times of prosperity these classes flourish and grow luxurious, but
hard times occasionally come, when they are reduced to dire poverty and
even to the verge of starvation; for, living away from the land, they
are more dependent than farmers on the continuous success of their
labors and secondary industries.

The school education of the women of these classes is in general the
same as that of the farming class. But inasmuch as they live, for the
most part, in the larger villages, towns, and cities, they enjoy many
advantages over their farming sisters. Along with their husbands they
have more need of ability to read and write, and, becoming quick-witted
through the stimulus of city life, they learn more easily. In recent
decades, especially the last, many of their children, naturally those of
the more successful families, are pressing up into the higher schools of
learning. As a body, therefore, from the standpoint of mere intellect
and wit, this class surpasses the farming class. From the standpoint
however of moral character, of conjugal fidelity, of industry, and of
trustworthiness in all relations the farming class, along with the
shizoku, surpasses all others, and probably even the peers themselves.
But in these higher classes we must distinguish between the men and the
women; for while the wives are, as a rule, beyond praise in the matter
of conjugal fidelity, the same may not be said of the husbands.

Among the many classes of working women named on a previous page are the
"clerks." This is a new feature of Japanese life worthy of note,
although the class is still small. Under this name we include ticket
sellers in railway stations, assistant barbers, and saleswomen and
shopgirls. Members of this class have of course enjoyed a relatively
large amount of education, and are therefore above the average in
general intelligence and ability. These girls are recruited from the
families of city artizans and merchants.

The descendants of palanquin bearers, day laborers, eta, and hi-nin form
to-day the lowest stratum of society, dwelling on the outskirts of large
cities, in wretchedness, filth, and poverty, getting their living from
day to day and breeding criminals, geisha, and prostitutes. The
stone-breakers, gravel gatherers, coolies, and most irregular of city
day laborers come from this class. Many of these men have illustrious
pedigrees. Some fell to this estate through wanton lust and reckless
expenditure of inherited wealth; some are descendants of disinherited
sons; the ancestors of some have met political reverses and found refuge
and safety only among the "non-humans," where they could live
unrecognized and unknown. Thus all grades of blood course through the
veins of this, the lowest class in Japan. The wives and daughters of
these men share their fate and fortune, living from hand to mouth. Their
life is so low and uncertain that it is absurd to speak of secondary
occupations--they lack even a primary occupation; and their homes, which
constitute the slums of the cities, are no places in which to carry on
any domestic industry.

With the coming to Japan however of modern industrialism and the
building of large factories in or near the cities, the wives and
daughters of this class have opportunity for regular work, earning
enough and more than enough to support themselves while actually at
work. But when attacked by laziness, fickleness, or disease, they easily
slump back into the same economic pit. From this lowest class comes one
of the serious dangers threatening the better life of modern Japan. The
insufficiency of these laborers, their unreliable character, and the
inferior quality of their work, have forced the factories to search
elsewhere for hands. These they have found in the relatively workless,
but industrious and comparatively moral farming class. These farmers'
girls have been brought to the cities and thrown into intimate relations
with the lowest, most dissolute, despised, and really despicable
classes, and the results have naturally been disastrous in many ways, as
we shall see in a later chapter.



The great poverty of the majority of the people renders necessary, as
already noted, not only the utmost economy in the home, but also a high
degree of industry, and the beginning of productive labor at an early
age. As soon as the child has completed the elementary education, and,
in cases of exceptional poverty, even before that, he or she must begin
to do something of value and earn a living, at least in part. In the
case of farming families, younger children care for the youngest and
share in the household duties, thus relieving the mother and elder
children, enabling them to aid the husband and father in the field. But
the positive agricultural or industrial work which girls of from ten to
fifteen can do is insignificant, yet they eat as much as a grown
person, and hence comes the search for suitable openings for such
workers. This is found for many of the younger girls in the homes of the
middle and upper classes, where they go as _komori_ (baby-tenders).

Girls even as young as ten leave their homes and go out to service. They
receive food and lodging, in some cases a garment in summer and one in
winter, and sometimes in addition a small cash stipend. A komori thus is
usually the daughter of a poor family who goes into a well-to-do family
to aid the mother in the care of her infant. Her chief duty is to carry
the infant, sleeping or waking, on her back for many consecutive hours
during the day. In addition to this she aids a little in the household
work, washing dishes and cleaning the house, her hours of service being
unlimited. In some families she may be called on at any hour of the
night to carry the baby, if it is restless or fretful and needs to be
"jiggled" to sleep! A komori is employed by the year, but usually
without specific contract, her parents sometimes receiving a few yen[3]
when she enters upon service. Her time is entirely at the disposal of
her mistress and she goes to no school, receives no regular instruction,
and no training other than that which comes incidentally from
association with members of the family. Long hours each day are spent on
the street with an infant on her back, playing hop-scotch and other
games with other komori.

    [3] A yen has the value of forty-nine cents.

In a few places efforts are being made, I am told, to provide these
baby-tenders with educational advantages, but the movement is as yet
small. Buddhists are said to be particularly active in this matter.

              [Illustration: CARRYING FAGOTS BABY-TENDERS]

A blind man in Matsuyama, a Christian of my acquaintance, put out one of
his daughters to service as a komori. After two years of such life,
poverty-stricken though the family was, he brought her home again, for
the child of fourteen, so far from learning anything good, was learning
many things bad on the street, and was being dwarfed in mind by the
long hours when she was wholly without mental stimulus. The life of a
komori will of course vary much with the nature of the family by which
she is employed, but at best the service cannot fail to stunt the growth
of both body and mind.

I heard not long since of a boy who became a komori. His father had died
a drunkard, leaving the family ruined financially. The mother and
children were accordingly distributed among the creditors to work off
his debts. The little boy of eight went with his mother, and, so long as
she lived--some three years--life was endurable for him, but after her
death he was made increasingly miserable. Long hours by day and many
interrupted nights, unkind words, and unutterable loneliness vexed his
orphaned spirit, until he could endure it no longer, and planned to run
away. The stern master however discovered him doing up his bundle, and,
to prevent his escape, ordered his few possessions, even his clothing,
to be taken away. In spite of this he slipped out one night in the
darkness and hid in a barn in a neighboring village until morning, when
he was taken pity on by some children who shared a kimono or two with
him, and so he got away. With increasing years he led a wild, roving
life; at eighteen he became a murderer and was imprisoned for life,
escaping the death penalty on account of being a minor. In prison he
first heard the Christian gospel of God's forgiving love, of peace and
hope and joy. This "good news" he accepted, and learned to read, that he
might read the New Testament, which he committed to memory. Upon the
death of the Empress Dowager, in 1896, his penalty, with that of many
other prisoners, was remitted, and now for fourteen years he has been
living a life remarkably fruitful in Christian service.

But, to return to our subject, we note that not all komori are children.
Superannuated old women who have neither strength nor brains for
anything else also act in this capacity, their conditions of service
and wages being the same as those of girls. I have tried to get some
idea as to the number of komori in Japan, but have been able to find no
statistics. One gentleman assures me that at least one family in five of
the middle and upper classes employs a komori. As the number of families
in Japan, exclusive of farmers, is 3,981,940 (1912), this would make
about 796,000 komori; but many well-to-do farming families also employ
komori, so the total number in Japan would be not far from 1,000,000. A
lady however assures me that this estimate is altogether too high, and
thinks that not more than one family in twenty has the means to employ a
komori. If this is true, then the number is in the vicinity of 250,000.
In either case, the system and its nature are clear, and the numbers of
children sent out to service at a tender age is not inconsiderable. The
attention of educators and parents is being directed to the dangers to
infants of this komori system, to say nothing of the harm it does to the
girls themselves.



By the time a girl is fifteen or sixteen she is regarded as sufficiently
large, strong, and mature to enter on more responsible work. Among the
several fields open to her is that of _gejo_, or domestic service, of
which we may distinguish two varieties: those who serve in private
families and those who become maids in hotels and tea-houses. A komori
may gradually work into the position of a domestic; indeed, in the
majority of homes a komori not only tends the baby but aids the mother
in her household work. It is only in the homes of the well-to-do that
both gejo and komori are to be found. The work of a gejo consists in
taking the brunt of the cooking, housecleaning, and washing, serving
from daybreak, that is, from five or six in the morning, till ten or
eleven at night. Her status is somewhat better than that of the komori.
Her hours of service however are long and taxing. Her time for rest is
after the family has retired for the night and before they rise in the
morning. Frequently her private room is the front hall, or entrance
room; she accordingly is the last person to retire and the first to
rise. It is to be noted however that in the houses of the middle classes
in the large cities there is usually now a small room for the
servant-girl. The gejo draws the water from the well, washes the rice,
lights the fires, cooks and lives in the dingy and usually smoky
kitchen, washes the clothes, aids in the sewing, and has no relaxation
but an occasional festival. Her lot is truly pitiful.

Besides her living (eating what is left from the family meal), she
usually receives some two to three yen per month. Recently however some
have been receiving even as much as five yen. The drudgery and monotony
of the life are usually such that the opportunity to become a factory
hand is quickly taken, especially as the cash earnings are relatively
large. I am told by Japanese ladies that the problem of securing
domestics in the cities or in the vicinities of factories is becoming

Of course the average domestic has no opportunity nor desire for mental
improvement. Having enjoyed no education to speak of, she can read
neither papers nor books, nor may she attend meetings fitted to
cultivate the mind or promote her higher life. Thus she is controlled by
the culture and mental and moral traditions of the home in which she was

Household domestics are recruited from farming and industrial families.
They earn their living for from four to six years, until their parents
or guardians find them husbands; for in Japan the girl has practically
nothing to say as to whom she marries. Marriage is based, not on mutual
acquaintance, much less on mutual attraction, but wholly on the judgment
of parents or go-betweens, and is from first to last--if it is
proper--a utilitarian affair.

It thus comes to pass that in Japan domestics are, as a rule, young
unmarried women. A domestic in her thirties, or over, is rare, and is
almost certain to be a widow or a divorced woman.



A distinct class of domestics is that which serves in hotels,
tea-houses, and restaurants. Here the hours of labor are longer,--from
four or five in the morning till midnight, or later. My attention was
early called to their hard lot by observing that the poor girl who was
serving rice for my meal, sitting before me as I ate, often fell into a
sleep, from which I had to awaken her to get my rice. Inquiry would show
that she had risen at four o'clock that morning, and further questioning
would bring the information that she had retired the previous night at
midnight or later, sometimes even not till two o'clock! Rarely do these
girls get five hours of rest; frequently there are not more than three.
They must open all the _amado_ (sliding wooden shutters which protect
the paper "windows"), and get the general cleaning done before the first
guest rises, and must continue their service until late into the night,
answering the calls of the guests, till the last one has retired. In
addition to the usual cleaning of the rooms, which is really not much of
an undertaking, these girls carry all the meals of all the guests from
the kitchen on the ground floor to their rooms on the second or third
floors, serve them while they eat, and carry away the trays when the
meal is completed. In preparation for the night the girls bring out the
heavy _futon_ (quilts) and make the "beds" on the floor; and in the
morning remove, fold, and lay them all away in closets. The work of a
Japanese hotel is relatively heavy for the number of guests, but that
which is most taxing is the long hours of service and the insufficient
time for rest. As in the poorer homes, so in the poorer and smaller
hotels, the girls have no private rooms, but sleep in entryways and
reception-rooms. Of course they have neither time nor opportunity for
personal culture, nor even for recreation; and from the nature of their
occupation, is it strange if they sometimes yield to the solicitations
of guests?

These girls are of course neither professional prostitutes nor geisha.
Yet I was assured by a provincial chief of police, some years ago when
making investigations, that, in the eyes of the police, three fourths or
four fifths of the girls in hotels and tea-houses are virtually
prostitutes, though of course they have no licenses and are subject to
no medical inspection. Occasionally they are arrested for illegal
prostitution, at the instance however of brothel keepers. Hotels and
tea-houses take pains to secure pretty girls for servants, in order to
make their service attractive. It is a dreadful statement to make, but,
if I am justified in judging from such facts as have come to my
knowledge, it would appear that few traveling men in Japan feel any
special hesitation in taking advantage--with financial compensation of
course--of such opportunities as are afforded them. Hotels give the
girls their food, perhaps two gowns yearly, and generally a small
payment in cash, but their principal earnings come from tips. This makes
them attentive to the wants of the guests.

There are many first-class hotels throughout the country, but chiefly in
the principal cities, to which geisha are not admitted, but in those
hotels to which they are admitted the green country girls soon learn
from them the brazen ways and licentious talk that are evidently
pleasing to many of the guests. All in all the life and lot of the hotel
and tea-house girl are deplorable indeed. She does differ from the
geisha and licensed prostitute, however, in that she can leave her place
and retire to her country home at any time, being held by no contract or
debt. Hotel and tea-house girls are recruited largely from the families
of artizans and small tradespeople, living in interior towns and
villages; they do not often come from farming families, since they would
lack the regular features and light complexion desired by hotels. Their
family pedigree explains in part this easy virtue. They are saved from
more disaster than they actually meet, because geisha and prostitutes
abound and are more attractive.

I remember, one summer at a little country hotel, a girl rushed into my
room from a neighbor's in order to escape from the urgency of a guest.
She told me the following day quite freely of her troubles, of the
horrid men that came to the hotel, and of the fact that most of the
girls did not mind what she found unendurable. She had been there but a
few weeks and was resolved to go home as soon as possible, claiming it
was better to starve than to lead such a hard and especially such a
disgusting life. Realizing that I had an exceptional opportunity for
sociological study, I improved the occasion and asked many questions.
When asked for her reasons for not responding to the solicitations of
the men, she replied that it was the fear of being laughed at should
she have a child. I could not learn that she had ever been taught to
regard loose sexual relations before marriage as immoral or as
intrinsically wrong. In her mind the question had no connection with
religion, so far as I could discover. Her refusal was based wholly on
utilitarian grounds.

At another hotel where I often stopped I noticed on one of my tours that
an especially attractive girl of eighteen or nineteen, who usually
waited on me, was no longer there. On asking her substitute what had
become of her, I was told she had become a regular prostitute, having
found she could earn much more money that way than at the hotel. I asked
if the parents had not opposed. "O no!" replied the girl, "the parents
were the ones who proposed it and arranged for it." I asked the
substitute if she herself did not regard the business as shameful and
immoral. She looked at me with apparent surprise, hardly understanding
what I meant, evidently regarding the matter entirely as a financial

Here is another case. A number of Young Men's Christian Association
secretaries, tramping in the Japanese Alps, were convinced by the noises
one night at the hot springs that the five or six guides and porters
were indulging in licentiousness. The next night it came out around the
camp-fire that these guides and porters had paid the hotel girls five
sen[4] (two and one-half cents) each.

    [4] A sen has the value of one-hundredth of a yen, or almost
        half a cent.

Of course one may not generalize from three cases. But three such cases,
together with the statement of the chief of police, and the experience,
closely corresponding with my own, of many missionaries who have
traveled in all parts of Japan, are strong evidence. I myself do not
think that guests often solicit the girls, nor that hotel girls commonly
yield to the requests of guests, but there can be no doubt that it
occasionally happens, and is not regarded in any such way by either the
men or the women as an Occidental would expect. As said above, there
are many hotels in the cities from which geisha are rigidly excluded,
and where without doubt the relations of guests with hotel girls are
above criticism.

It is an impressive fact of Japanese civilization that the "greenest"
country girls can in but a few short weeks of hotel service become so
graceful and attractive. That in their lives which to the Occidental is
so deep a sin is nothing to them. Their calm, innocent eyes, winning
ways, and gentle conversation can hardly fail to impress the foreigner.
But compared with the girls in their homes they have lost that air of
modesty and reserve which is so important an element in the charm of
Japanese womanhood. The hotel and tea-house girl belongs rather to the
geisha class, whose loud, harsh voices and artificial, coarse laughter
are distinguishing characteristics. Girls of both these classes however
have an advantage enjoyed by no other women in Japan, namely: that of
meeting large numbers of men of various occupations and interests. They
hear varied conversation and thus become somewhat acquainted with the
affairs of the outside world, which makes them more intelligent than the
average Japanese woman, so that it is possible to carry on some sort of
a conversation with them--a thing practically impossible with the
average young woman of Japan.

In regard to the numbers of hotel domestics, I have found no statistics,
but have no hesitation in venturing an estimate of many tens of



As already stated, many girls prefer factory work to that of domestic
service, either in private families or in hotels. From ancient times
there have been small industrial enterprises, employing each a few hands
in various lines of work, such as the reeling and spinning of silk and
cotton thread and the weaving of cloth; but since the war with China
there have arisen enormous factories, after the fashion of Western
lands, which have introduced great changes in the industrial situation
and in the condition of the working classes.

The government report for 1912 shows that there were 863,447 individuals
employed in 15,119 factories having ten or more hands each. Of these,
348,230 were men and 515,217 were girls and women. In addition it
reports 427,636 weaving houses, having 733,039 looms and employing
697,698 operators. No statement is made as to the proportion of the
sexes. Remembering that the government statistics take no account of
industrial enterprises employing less than ten hands, it is probably
safe to estimate the number of women employed in exclusively
non-domestic occupations at not less than a million.

We are not concerned however with the industries themselves, but rather
with the conditions under which the operatives work and the effect of
the work on their lives and characters. To begin with the more pleasant
side of the question, there are factories which come well up toward the
ideal. The terms of employment, the wages paid, the provisions for ill
health, for accident, for long service and old age; the rooms for
sleeping, eating, and recreation; the bathing establishments; the
education given to those who need it; the public lectures and religious
and ethical instruction given at fixed times in the public halls of the
factories, Buddhist and Christian teachers being impartially invited;
the provisions for marriage of employees and arrangements that each
couple have a separate suite of rooms, and that the infants are cared
for while the mother is in the mill; these and other provisions show
that the best in Japan is up to a high level of excellence. Such is the
policy of the Kanegafuchi Company, which owns a score of mills in
different parts of Japan, and whose success moreover is so great that it
is now buying up less successful competitors.

For several years this company has set aside annually 20,000 yen
($10,000) for its relief and pension fund for operatives. In June, 1913,
in addition to its regular appropriation, it voted an extra $50,000 for
a "welfare promotion fund."

The president of the Fuji Cotton Spinning Company was given in 1913 a
retiring grant of $50,000, inasmuch as the great success of this company
had been due to his skill and energy. He however presented the entire
amount to the "employers' relief fund, and it was decided to make this
gift the nucleus of a permanent endowment fund."

               [Illustration: AT WORK IN A SILK FACTORY]

There is a silk factory in Ayabe, the Gunze Seishi Kwaisha, whose record
is the most wonderful of all. It is managed by a Christian, who runs it
entirely with a view to the benefit of the workers and the district. No
girls of that district go elsewhere for work. Once enrolled as members
of the working force they are regularly instructed, both in general
education and in their particular duties; they earn good wages, keep
good health, receive Christian instruction, have their regular rest
days, remain the full number of years, help support the family and earn
enough besides to set themselves up in married life, and are now
beginning to send their daughters to the same factory. This Christian
factory is Christianizing the district. The rising moral and religious
life is transforming even the agricultural and other interests of the
region. So high is the grade of silk thread produced, and so uniform
and reliable is the quality, that it alone of all the factories in Japan
is able to export its product direct to the purchasing firm in the
United States, which buys the entire output at an annual cost of about
$500,000, and without intermediate inspection at Yokohama. Here we have
a splendid illustration of the way in which Christian character is
solving the problem arising from the low moral and economic ideals of
the masses of Japan's working classes. As a rule the modern industrial
worker does not put moral character into his work; and a wide complaint
of Occidental importers of Japanese products is that goods are not made
according to contract or sample. This is one of the greatest obstacles
to the continuous prosperity of any Japanese industry; for as soon as a
large demand has arisen in foreign lands for any given article, its
quality, as a rule, has rapidly deteriorated. It is this unreliability
of Japanese workmen that makes so difficult direct exportation to
foreign lands without the supervision of Occidental middlemen. The
Christian Gunze Seishi Kwaisha is one of the splendid exceptions which
shows what Japanese workmen and manufacturers can do, when controlled by
high ideals and motives.

Unfortunately however not all factories and their managers have the same
spirit, aim, or skill. Many factories are the exact opposite in every
respect to those owned by the Kanegafuchi and Gunze Seishi companies. My
personal attention was first called to the heartrending condition of
servitude imposed on vast numbers of girls by reading, a score of years
ago, of a fire in the dormitory of an Osaka factory. The dormitory was
in a closed compound, whose doors and gates were carefully locked to
keep the girls from running away. The result was the death, if I
remember correctly, of every inmate, of whom there were several score.

My personal knowledge in regard to the conditions of life and work of
factory operatives was secured in Matsuyama, Shikoku, a small inland
city of some forty thousand inhabitants, having but a single cotton
thread spinning factory. It had no dormitories of its own, but sent
its operatives to certain specified boarding-houses in the town.
Through a Mr. Omoto, who was at that time working in the factory, and
whose life story is given in the final chapter, I became intimately
acquainted with the conditions prevailing in Matsuyama. In 1901, when
Mr. Omoto began to work in the factory, he was amazed to see how many
were the children taking their turns in work along with the older
girls by day and by night. Large numbers ranged from seven to twelve
years old, the majority, however, being from fifteen to twenty. They
worked in two shifts of twelve hours each, but as they were required
to clean up daily they did not get out till six-thirty or seven,
morning and night. The only holidays for these poor little workers
came two or three times a month, when the shifts changed; but even
then there was special cleaning, and the girls who had worked all
night were kept till nine and even ten in the morning. He was also
deeply impressed with their wretched condition and immoral life. The
majority of them could neither read nor write; their popular songs
were indecent, and they were crowded together in disease-spreading and
vermin-breeding, immoral boarding-houses, where they were deliberately
tempted. Some of the landlords were also brothel keepers.

Mr. Omoto, having opportunity as official "visitor" to become accurately
acquainted with their life, told me in detail the conditions which have
been briefly summarized above. The boarding-houses were only for girls
from out of town. They had to be "recognized" by the factory, and the
girls had to live in the houses to which they were assigned. Of course
the purpose of these houses was to make money. The financial, hygienic,
intellectual, and moral interests of the girls were wholly ignored. They
were crowded into ill-ventilated, sunless rooms, the two shifts
occupying the same rooms alternately. Personal extravagance was
purposely stimulated, for girls in debt to the keepers were compelled to
stay to work off their debts. Drinking and immoral carousings were their
only recreation. As might be expected, sickness was common and epidemics
frequent. Many girls returned to their homes after a few months in the
"city" ruined not only in health but in character,--premature mothers of
illegitimate children.

The conditions of the factory girls in Matsuyama were not unique. Miss
J. M. Holland, a Church of England missionary in Osaka, recently told me
some of her observations and experiences. She has devoted the larger
part of her time for fifteen years to work among factory girls, and on
the whole can report improvement. When she began her visits to the
factories, the conditions were often appalling. It was not uncommon for
girls working on the night shift to be kept, on one pretext or another,
till noon the next day, making eighteen hours of work. The conditions
of work and life were such that the girls frequently ran away, to
prevent which the dormitories were virtually prisons within the factory
compounds. The girls were not allowed to go out on the streets, were
given no opportunity for recreation, and of course no education. They
were underfed, overworked, and punished in various ways by their
overseers, cuffed and sometimes whipped, for disobedience or blunders.
The daily papers of those days had frequent items reporting oppression
and ill treatment; to be deprived of wages as punishment was a common
experience; police occasionally discovered girls working in cellars and
vaults as punishment for misdeeds; girls sometimes escaped in their
night clothes, and on a few occasions the girls rebelled and did
personal violence to the overseers.

But, as already stated, the general conditions are now much better, for
it was gradually found that such ill-treated labor was not profitable.
"Most of the superintendents in Osaka are now splendid men, who on the
whole take good care of the girls and wish to treat them honorably." The
crying evils of the past have been largely done away. Rest, recreation,
education, wages, and health are receiving careful consideration at all
the leading factories. Still, no true parent would send a daughter to
work in such a place, unless under the stress of dire poverty. There are
still many small children under ten years of age, whose parents make
false statements in regard to their ages. The work is from six in the
morning to six in the evening. This means rising at four-thirty every
morning for work on the day shift. Some factories have abolished the
night shift. Fifteen minutes are allowed for rest in the middle of the
forenoon, thirty minutes for lunch, and fifteen minutes again in the
afternoon, giving thus eleven hours of steady work per day and the same
per night. On pay days the girls, after standing eleven hours, have to
stand in file from one to three hours more, according to their luck, and
Miss Holland says that such long hours of standing result in serious
organic difficulties. One half of the girls fail to work out their three
years' contract, returning to their homes before time for marriage,
seriously injured, if not completely ruined, physically. So long as this
system continues, she adds, skilled labor is impossible. While some
factories take great care that girls are carefully guarded from evil,
others exercise no control whatever over their goings and doings. One
factory she named as allowing its girls to be out on the streets till
two o'clock in the morning. It insists on only two and a half hours of
sleep! The difficulties connected with private boarding-houses for
factory girls have proved so great that most of them have been closed.

One of the tragic aspects of factory life in Japan is the large number
of what would seem to us avoidable accidents, due to the fact that the
girls know nothing whatever about machinery. Large factories accordingly
keep surgeons on hand to care for the wounded. Miss Holland says that in
one Osaka factory where there are a thousand operatives, the
kind-hearted surgeon told her they had an average of fifty accidents
daily which needed his attention. The little children especially suffer,
often losing fingers. Not long since five fingers were clipped off in a
single day! Miss Holland added that, improved though the conditions are,
factory life for children is a "murder of the innocents." As a rule the
food provided in factory dormitories is still inadequate. When asked
whether corporal punishment is still inflicted, she expressed a doubt,
having heard of none for a long time.

In her conversation Miss Holland expressly limited her report to the
factories she knows in Osaka. The question arises whether the conditions
there may not be peculiar. May not factory conditions in Yokohama and
Tokyo, where government inspection and control would theoretically be
most complete, be better than elsewhere? The facts do not seem to
justify such a surmise. The Kanegafuchi Company and some others have
good factories everywhere, but there would seem also to be bad ones

A Japanese book on _Industrial Education_ has recently been published by
a Mr. R. Uno, who, for fifteen years, has been a devoted student of
Japan's industrial problems. A summary of the statistics there given
appeared in May, 1914, in the _Tokyo Advertiser_, from which I cull the
following facts and figures.

In the cotton thread and spinning factories of Japan, there are 81 girls
to 19 men. Out of 1,000 girls, 386 are over 20 years of age, 317 are
from 17 to 20, 191 are from 15 to 16, 73 are from 12 to 14, while 7
girls out of a thousand are under 12 years of age. The vast majority of
factory girls live in the factory dormitories, which are of enormous
size. In the region of Osaka there are more than 30,000 girls working in
30 factories; in these same factories there are less than 7,000 men.
Three of these factories employ over 3,000 girls each, while three more
employ 2,000 and upward. These girls are herded together in enormous
dormitories, disastrous both to health and morals. Statistics covering a
number of years show that out of every 1,000 girls, 270 work less than
six months at the same place; 200 less than one year, 179 less than two
years; 121 less than three years; 141 less than five years, and only 89
pass the five-year period. The usual reason for this extraordinary
fluctuation of workers is that the girls break down in health.
Government statistics declare that out of every 100 girls to enter upon
factory work 23 die within one year of their return to their homes, and
of these 50 per cent. die of tuberculosis. But it is also asserted that
60 per cent. of the girls who leave home for factory work never return.
Of the criminal girls arrested in Osaka for a certain period, 49 per
cent. had been factory hands. As to the education of factory girls it is
stated that, out of 1,000, the number that had completed the required
number of years of schooling (six) was 450, while 385 were entirely
without education. Out of 1,000 girls, 453 were orphans. Of 1,000 girls,
611 came from farmers' homes, 166 from those of fishermen, and 55 from
merchant homes, the remaining 168 being scattering. Factory girls earn
and can save more than almost any other class. The average earnings per
month are stated to be $4.67. The girl pays $1.20 per month for food,
which is less than the actual cost, the factory providing the balance,
namely, $1.30. The average girl sends home fifty cents per month. Three
out of ten girls spend the balance entirely on clothes, five out of ten
on cakes and theaters, while two out of ten save it. Such are some of
the statements made by Mr. Uno in his enlightening book.

In the September, 1910, number of the _Shin Koron_, a monthly magazine
published in Tokyo, is an article by Professor Kuwada (of the Tokyo
Imperial University) entitled "The Pitiful Environment of Factory
Girls." He gives a detailed statement of the conditions of factory
workers, in which he estimates the number of female laborers in
factories containing ten or more hands at 700,000, of whom ten per cent.
are under fourteen years of age. In tobacco factories ten per cent., in
match factories twenty per cent, and in glass factories thirty per cent.
of the girls are under ten years of age. He vigorously condemns the
situation as threatening the future of the working class, whose
prospective mothers are thus being destroyed. The efforts of the
government during recent years to enact factory laws have been
successfully thwarted thus far, says Professor Kuwada, by shortsighted,
selfish capitalists. The girls are brought in from their country homes
by false promises. They are told of the beautiful sights to be seen,
theaters to be visited, the regular Sunday rest, and even of the
splendid care and education they will receive from the factory. There is
also stealing of expert workers from one factory by the artful
stratagems of another. There are factories which resort to devices for
defrauding helpless operatives. In one town where there are many
factories, it is customary to work overtime by setting back the hands of
the clock. To conceal this from the operatives, no factory blows its
whistles! Some factories do not give time for the girls to rest even
while they eat, but require them to work with the right hand while they
eat with the left. Night work in which both male and female operatives
are engaged together is most demoralizing. Punishment of various kinds
is administered. In addition to fines, in some places the girls are
imprisoned in dark rooms, rations are reduced, their arms are bound and
the lash applied freely, and in extreme cases they are stripped to the
waist and marched through the factory among young men and girls, bearing
a red flag tied to the back! Superintendents are invariably men.

So appalling was the statement made by Professor Kuwada that I could
scarcely believe him in all the details, particularly in regard to the
use of the lash and the stripping to the waist. I accordingly wrote
both to him and to Professor Abe of Waseda University, who has made
special study of the social problems and conditions of industry.
Professor Kuwada, I learned, has been a careful student of social and
industrial conditions for nearly twenty years, and is one of the leaders
in the Society for the Study of Social Politics, composed of one hundred
and fifty university professors and high government officials. This
society was organized to aid the government in its efforts to secure
social and industrial reforms. In reply to my inquiries Professor Kuwada
says that most of the facts given concerning silk factories he has
himself observed. Those concerning cotton spinning factories he has
derived from reliable sources, chiefly from the officers of the
Department of Agriculture and Commerce, who are especially engaged in
making investigations in regard to industrial conditions. Much of the
testimony rests on the statements of the girls themselves. Some of the
facts come from local police and some from the published reports of the
Department of Agriculture and Commerce. "The article in the _Shin
Koron_ may therefore be regarded as semi-official," says Professor Abe.
Since the appearance of the article referred to above, no reply has been
made to it by factory owners or managers. As to the stripping of a girl
to the waist and marching her through the factory filled with
operatives, male and female, Professor Kuwada was told this by the girl
herself. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to doubt the
testimony. Nor is it probable that the cases cited are absolutely
unique, although I think it highly probable that such extreme
indignities and punishments are rare,--they are so out of keeping with
the whole trend of Japanese civilization and culture. Mrs. Binford, a
missionary in Mito, assures me, however, that altering the hands of the
clock is a practise known to her. Testimony is widespread that girls are
secured for factories by all kinds of false statements.

In view of the frightful conditions of industrial labor thus indicated
by Mr. Uno and Professor Kuwada, it is amazing that the Diet has
refused on several successive occasions to enact suitable laws. The
government began to realize in 1898 the need for legislation on these
matters. A bill which was drafted and presented in 1902 was rejected, as
were also three subsequent bills. The chief feature of the bill
presented during the winter of 1910-11 was the provision that no factory
may employ girls under twelve, and that girls of any age and youth under
sixteen may not be kept at work for more than twelve hours per day, nor
be made to do night work without "special reason." While some provisions
of this bill were enacted and others amended, those considered most
important by social reformers and by the government were virtually
rejected. The bill was indeed passed, but with the added provision that
the important clauses, relative to ages and night work, be inoperative
for a period of fifteen years (!) in order to give time to the factories
involved to adjust themselves to the new conditions. Since that time no
further factory legislation has been enacted. Is it not astounding that
in a land on the whole so progressive as Japan the difficulty of
securing reform should be found in the Diet? The administration at this
point is ahead of the representatives of the people, as it is indeed in
many other respects. The fact is, as Professor Kuwada points out, that
the "representatives" in both the lower and upper houses represent the
financial interests of capitalists, rather than the human interests of
the masses.

But the reader, in his indignation over the situation of factory workers
in Japan, should remember that Japan is no exceptional sinner among the
nations. Christian England and America have had conditions equally bad,
and possibly worse. Dr. Washington Gladden, in his article on "The
Reason for the Unions," in the New York _Outlook_ for March, 1911, makes
the following statements in regard to the condition of labor in England
in the early part of the nineteenth century. Men and women stood daily
at their tasks, from twelve to fourteen and fifteen hours; a working
day of sixteen hours was not an unheard-of thing. Government reports of
this period show that children of five and six years of age were
frequently employed in factories. "Nor was this unmeasured abuse of
child labor confined to the cotton, silk, and wool industries.... The
report of 1842 is crammed with statements as to the fearful overwork of
girls and boys in iron and coal mines, which doubtless had been going on
from the end of the eighteenth century;... Children could get about
where horses and mules could not. Little girls were forced to carry
heavy buckets of coal up high ladders, and little girls and boys instead
of animals dragged the coal bunkers. Women were constantly employed
underground at the filthiest tasks. Through all this period the wages
gravitated downward and family income was steadily lowered, while the
cost of food increased. The homes of the workers were ruined. In a
certain congested district there lived 26,830 persons in 5,366
families, three fourths of which possessed but one room each. The rooms
were without furniture, without everything; two married couples often
shared the same room. In some cases there was not even a heap of straw
on which to sleep. In one cellar the pastor found two families and a
donkey; two of the children had died and the third was dying." And these
conditions existed, not in days of industrial depression, but in flush
times; business was booming and wealth accumulating in the hands of
factory owners and employers.

Many of the conditions of industrial workers even in the United States
to-day are heartrending in the extreme. Who could read of the strike of
the shirt-waist makers of New York in the winter of 1909-10 without deep
indignation over the conditions under which those brave girls worked,
and against which they rebelled? The National Committee on Child Labor
reported in the spring of 1911 that there were over 60,000 children in
the factories of the United States, mostly in the South. Before
condemning Japan unduly, Occidentals should remember that their own
record is none too bright.

If comparison is to be made however between Japan and the West, it may
be made along other lines. The West fell into its industrial
difficulties with no example from which to learn. But this is not true
of Japan. She can easily learn the lesson of a century of Western
experience; but she seems slow to do it. Then again in Japan it is the
government that is feebly leading, and the official popular
representatives who are both blind and resisting, whereas in the West
the great movements for industrial reform are movements of the people
themselves, backed up and oftentimes led by enlightened humanitarian and
Christian popular opinion. In the West, the churches are fairly in line
with forward social movements, whereas in Japan, Shintoism,
Confucianism, and even Buddhism are apparently wholly indifferent to the
economic and even ethical condition of the nation's toilers.
Furthermore, we are seeing to-day in Japan the strange phenomenon of
one section of the government seeking to ameliorate social and economic
conditions, and at the same time another, seemingly mortally afraid of
allowing the people either to discuss these matters or to attempt reform
movements themselves. Labor unions are strictly forbidden, and any
person advocating socialism is under strict police surveillance. Strikes
are illegal and their promoters are liable to criminal punishment.
Anomalous as it may be, the government seems to be seeking to destroy
that enlightened popular opinion on which it must rely for the efficient
enforcement of its own plans for social betterment of the working

I have dwelt at considerable length on the conditions of factory
workers, for later on I shall describe a sociological experiment among
this class.



The word _geisha_ means an "accomplished person." A geisha is invariably
a young woman who has had years of training fitting her to provide
social entertainment for men. The _gei_ acquired are skill in playing
the samisen (a three-stringed guitar), singing catching ditties, taking
part in conversation and repartee, and in "dancing," which is to the
Western mind rather a highly conventional posturing, with deft
manipulations of the inevitable fan. Years of exacting and diligent work
are required for proficiency in these "gei,"--the Geisha School in Kyoto
provides a course of six or seven years.

                    [Illustration: O HAMAYU (GEISHA)
                       Most celebrated in Tokyo]

According to the Japanese ideal, geisha singing must be shrill, and to
secure this quality the voice is purposely strained till it is
"cracked." Girls eight to ten years old are sometimes given their
"singing lessons" in the frosty air of winter mornings before sunrise,
or late at night, in order that they may take cold in the throat and
then, by persistent, vigorous use, the voice is "broken" for life.
Training in dancing and samisen playing is also prolonged and severe,
for no pains are spared in efforts to excel. These efforts however are
due, not to the will or desire of the _maiko_, the poor little girl who
is being trained, but to the persistence of her owner.

Only daughters of the very poor are secured for this outwardly beautiful
and attractive, but inwardly repulsive, soul-destroying life.
Practically speaking, geisha are the property of the old women who
support and educate them through the years of their childhood, and who
rent them out by the hour for the entertainment of men at social
functions. Such functions would, indeed, be inane without geisha to
serve the meals in their dainty ways, to fill the sake[5] cups for
guests, to share in conversation by adding the spice, to provoke
laughter, themselves laughing loudly and often, and at the proper time,
to present their music, their singing, and their dancing. Dressed in
faultless style, in richest silks and brilliant colors, geisha are
moving pictures which have charmed generations of Japanese men and, in
recent decades, many foreigners. Japanese political party dinners and
consultations are often held in restaurants, where geisha make the fun
and pour the wine. If foreign guests are to be entertained by wealthy
individuals, by companies, or even by cities, the inevitable geisha is
there, and is presented as a characteristic product of Japan--which she
truly is. But while there is about her a certain charm of manner and
dress, to one who watches her face, looking for traces of a soul, the
story is all too plain--behind the harsh laugh and stoical face it is
impossible not to recognize that there is an empty and often a bleeding

    [5] Sake (pronounced sah'-ke) is the fermented liquor of Japan,
        made from rice.

The lives of these girls are pitiful in the extreme. Chosen from among
the families of the poor on the basis of their prospective good looks
and ability to learn, they leave their homes at an early age and are
subjected to the severe drill already outlined. They go through their
lessons with rigid, mechanical accuracy. In public they appear in
gorgeous robes, their faces painted and powdered, artificiality
dominating everything about them,--clothing, manners, and smiles. As a
rule nothing is done to develop their minds, and of course the
cultivation of personal character is not even thought of. They are
instructed in flippant conversation and pungent retort, that they may
converse interestingly with the men, for whose entertainment they are
alone designed. The songs learned, some of the dances performed, and the
conversational repertoire acquired are commonly reported to be highly
licentious, but these are the gei that best please the men, to whom
they are open for private engagements from the time they are eighteen
years of age. If, however, a geisha is exceptionally beautiful, her
owner does not allow her to enter on such duties, for experience has
shown that her beauty is soon lost in this way, and with it her highest
earning capacity.

Many geisha undoubtedly develop considerable personal ability. The
severe drill undergone could hardly fail to call forth their powers of
mind, and intimate association with educated and quasi-cultured men
serves further to stimulate their mental faculties. In native ability
too they are not lacking, though drawn from the lowest classes of
society, for, as will soon be more fully explained, they sometimes
possess strains of high lineage. The national custom, which represses
the normal intellectual development and social instincts of cultured,
respectable women, is removed from this one class, which is favored by
many circumstances. They are not subjected to the debauching excesses
usual with the ordinary prostitute, nor to humiliating medical
inspection. They are not conscious of popular disapproval, but on the
contrary are the beauties of the town, their photographs for sale on
every street. Indeed one well-informed gentleman told me that probably
ten per cent. of the geisha enter the calling by their own choice. No
wonder that from time to time the tale is told of some Japanese man of
social position falling under the spell of an accomplished geisha, whom
he prefers to any of the silent, passive, timid, incompetent girls
selected for him, who in all probability have never talked with any man
except immediate relatives or tradesmen. The national custom which
predetermines the social incompetence of the majority of cultured women
compensates for the loss by providing this geisha class. Not until
Japanese ladies can hold their own in social life will the vocation of
the geisha be ended.

Among the surprises one meets in studying the geisha question is the
fact that not a few of the girls have features which indicate
distinguished ancestry. My explanation for this fact is the further fact
that for ages the standards of moral life in Japan have allowed large
freedom of sexual relations. The result is that in the lowest classes,
from which geisha are recruited, there run strains of gentle blood. It
thus comes to pass that now in the midst of coarse surroundings and in
deep poverty there are born of parents manifestly belonging to the
lowest class, children of exceptional beauty, fitted, so far as
individual appearance indicates, to belong to the highest ranks of
society. Whether or not this suggested explanation is correct as a
matter of historic fact I am not able to say, but I offer it as the most
plausible that has occurred to me.

Parents in this class of society much prefer daughters to sons, for they
are likely to become valuable sources of income. At eight or nine, those
destined for the "accomplished" calling are put into the care of some
experienced geisha and a mutual contract is given for a specific period
(five or six years), during which the child is termed a _maiko_
(dancing girl). As a rule the parents receive a small sum at the
beginning of this first period. The owner undertakes to support and
train the girl, and expects to profit by her earnings. By the time the
girl is fifteen or sixteen she has finished her apprenticeship, when, if
she has exceptional graces and charms likely to win her a place in the
highest social gatherings, she will secure quite a competency (many
hundreds of yen, and in some cases even a few thousand) for the keeper
and parents. On the expiration of the first contract a new one is made,
and so on, until the girl has passed her prime and is no longer sought
for entertainments. If in the interval she has not become the concubine
of some rich man, she then either returns to her poor home or, what is
more usual, becomes a servant in a hotel or tea-house. If her ability is
exceptional, she may set up as geisha keeper, train other maiko, employ
younger geisha, and so make her living.

The great ambition of a geisha is to "catch" some wealthy man of rank
with her charms and become his concubine. My informant estimates that
this is what happens to perhaps one half of the geisha. In such cases
the man pays down a handsome sum to the owner, who sends part of it to
the parents. Thus he buys his concubine, whom he usually keeps in a
villa, not his home. I have asked if geisha ever become true, legal
wives and am told "only very rarely." But, if they do, are they
cordially received by the man's kindred? "Oh, no! that is not possible,"
is the repeated answer. The effects of her training can never be
obliterated, and the new relatives cannot forget the despicable class
from which she comes, and the calling by which she has gained her
husband. She may become indeed refined and altogether correct in manner,
but the taint of her origin as a rule adheres to her. Then too the years
of immoral life before she won her husband make it a rare thing for a
geisha to have children, and childless wives in Japan are not at a
premium, for the prime purpose of marriage is the maintenance of the
family line.

Foreigners commonly say that geisha are not prostitutes. It is true they
are not licensed, that is to say, professional, prostitutes in the eye
of the law, nor are they procurable, as are regular prostitutes, by the
average man, for the expense is too great. But the chief of police
already referred to, and many Japanese of whom I have inquired, insist
that a large proportion of geisha are corrupt--two geisha keepers have
estimated the proportion as high as ninety per cent. Geisha who decline
engagements leading to immorality are rare indeed, and for that very
reason are unpopular.

But better than generalized statements is the story of an actual life.
There lives to-day in Hyogo a paralytic whose influence through her
words, newspaper articles, and books is widely felt throughout central
Japan. She is one of the few girls who, though trained as a geisha,
refused to follow the calling. The story of her life is worthy of more
than passing mention.

Her father died in her infancy, and shortly after the death of her
mother, who had married, her stepfather likewise married again. These
stepparents, deciding to have her become a geisha, expended much time
and money on her training.

When she was prepared at sixteen years of age, she was entrusted to a
woman whose business it was to find employment for geisha in hotels and
tea-houses. This woman took her to a house in Osaka, where there were
already many geisha and regular prostitutes. Learning the nature of the
duties expected of her, she positively refused to comply. In spite of
the fact that it was twenty miles to her home and that there were but
two sen in her pocket, she escaped from the hotel, spent one sen on
bridge toll, one sen on a lunch, and succeeded in walking all that
distance alone, reaching home after midnight, the home from which she
had been sent out with hopes that she should win for her stepparents an
ample support. The reception accorded her can be fancied. She held
firmly however to her resolve, preferring poverty and hard toil to
luxury and fine clothing along with that service on which these were
conditioned. Work was found for her in a factory, then as a family
servant, and finally at a small tea-house, where during the winter she
was especially exposed to the cold. An attack of rheumatism developed
into paralysis. With no hope of recovery she longed for death, for her
stepparents, considering the case hopeless, neglected to care for her
properly, although she was so helpless. She could not feed herself, nor
even crawl to the well in which she wished to drown herself,--the final
resource of many a despairing Japanese woman. But, by a strange series
of circumstances, or should we not say by a merciful Providence? a
Christian man discovered and befriended her, told the story of Jesus,
and revealed the Savior. Her faith soon became so strong and her words
proved so thoughtful and helpful to those Christian friends who came to
see her, that her influence began to spread. She found she could manage
to write with her crippled hand, and as what she wrote was like her
spoken words, simple and strong, it soon found its way into print. She
was finally led to write the story of her life, and this book, with
other articles written by her, has afforded a small income, which with
additional help from friends has secured a comfortable home for herself
and the family of which she is now the center. Her name is Zako Aiko,
and she lives in Hyogo.

A few geisha, coming under Christian influences, have been converted,
and so far as I know, such persons leave the calling altogether, as
incompatible with Christian principles. But condemnation of the whole
geisha system is not confined to Christians. Many Japanese, entirely
outside our Christian circles, regard it as a disgrace to the country,
and wish the whole business, along with licensed prostitution, concealed
from public view. For instance, a man of high official rank, president
of a large institution, tells me he regrets that there is no first-class
Japanese hotel in Kyoto at which he may entertain foreign guests in
Japanese style, except where geisha serve the meals. Rather than
countenance the geisha system, he prefers to take his guests to a hotel
where the service is not so perfect but where the women employed are
above suspicion. He deplored the fact one day that all foreigners coming
to Kyoto in the spring visit the _Miyako odori_, commonly known in
English as the "Cherry Dance." I myself have seen this performance more
than once, and found nothing objectionable in either the so-called
dancing, its setting, or its accompaniments. It nevertheless affords
opportunity for the display of something like eighty or ninety geisha,
and helps to maintain the business and the system. As indicating the
status of geisha in the best Japanese society, it is significant that
all geisha are rigidly excluded from every entertainment where any
member of the Imperial household is present.

It is often said by foreigners that geisha and prostitutes not
infrequently make happy matches, and by legal marriage escape from their
unhappy lives of shame. This is one of those pretty fables one would
like to believe, but the facts do not seem to support the theory. There
are, no doubt, rare instances where such has been the case. I have known
two women who had been geisha and who married men of some position. In
one case the man was a physician. When I knew the family the ex-geisha
had been in the home a number of years and was a lovely, modest, capable
woman, a regular member of my wife's cooking class. But it was
noticeable that she always took a "back seat" among the ladies; she was
tolerated by them and treated not unkindly, but it was clear that they
looked down on her. The man's kindred never favored the match, and would
not let him marry the woman legally, so she lived in his house, took
excellent care of his first wife's children, and was to them all that a
stepmother could be, yet, so far as I know, she has never gained her
full position in the home of her husband nor among his relatives.

The other case I knew but slightly, as she died but a few weeks after I
made her acquaintance, but she must have been a woman of exceptional
character. She was a Christian and highly respected in the church.

Such cases, however, are rare. A geisha may be in high favor during the
decade or more when at the height of her physical charms, though even
then her inner life is empty and loveless; but when no longer attractive
she is cast aside as a faded flower, to spend the rest of her life
forlorn, unloved, and uncared for. Truly, the way of the geisha is hard!

    Geisha naru mi to;
    Michi tobu tori wa
    Doko no idzuko de
    Hateru yara,

is a popular ditty regarding the final disappearance of geisha from
sight. It may be roughly translated: "What becomes of geisha, do you
ask? I ask in turn, where end their lives the birds that fly along the

In regard to the number of geisha, Mr. Murphy's statistics show that
from 1887 to 1897 they increased throughout Japan from 10,326 to 26,536,
and since then the increase has been relatively small, the number being
now in the vicinity of 30,000.

So far as is known to me, no regular Christian or philanthropic work is
done for this class.



It may seem strange to class prostitutes among working women, but the
facts require such classification, for, not only so far as the parents
and brothel keepers are concerned, but also so far as the girls
themselves are concerned, it is entirely a matter of money. If the
business did not pay splendidly, the keepers would not erect their
handsome buildings, pay the heavy license fees, nor buy the girls from
the parents at considerable cost. And on the other hand, if the parents
did not receive what they regard as large sums for their daughters, the
latter would not be sold to such lives of shame and disease. And so far
as the poor victims are concerned, there is abundant evidence that they
often go into the wretched business solely at the command of their
parents, for among the lowest class the noble doctrine of obedience to
parents is shamefully perverted to this vile end. Children are taught
that obedience is a child's first duty, regardless of the question
whether the thing required by parents is right or wrong. The girl goes
to the brothel in obedience to her parents, who send her there to earn a
living for herself and to help them out of special financial
difficulties. Thus from first to last, so far as the girls, the parents,
and the keepers are concerned, the question is economic.

Among the working women of Japan prostitutes surely are the most pitiful
of all. They give the most and get the least. They receive no training,
like the geisha; have no liberty; to prevent their running away, are
imprisoned in brothels, or if diseased or ill, in hospitals; and have no
friends except possibly other prostitutes. Most of them soon loathe the
business, but are helpless, hopeless prisoners,--for the keepers who
paid their parents a few score or hundreds of yen and loaded them with
beautiful clothes, charge all these items to their account, so that they
are under a heavy debt which must be paid before they can leave. This
debt the laws of the land theoretically ignore but practically
recognize, for the "keeper" keeps the books as well as the brothel, and
the police and officials are often on his side. In this way licentiously
inclined officials, merchants, and travelers provide for the easy,
economical, and legal satisfaction of their desires.

I do not propose here to give a detailed account of this distressful and
disgusting "business." Those who desire more information should procure
_The Social Evil in Japan_, by the Rev. U. G. Murphy. Some years ago Mr.
Murphy, by grit and pluck, carried certain test cases through the courts
and secured legal opportunity for girls to quit the business if they
wished. The Salvation Army and some of the daily papers took pains to
let the brothel girls know their legal rights, and in a short period
over twelve thousand, at that time over one third of the whole number,
left the brothels, so that for a while the business was prostrated in
many quarters. This single fact shows the spirit and attitude of a large
number of the girls. Since then the wily keepers and all interested in
maintaining this lucrative trade have succeeded in modifying the
administration of the regulations, so that the girls are again closely

There is however a rising public conscience and an abolition movement is
gathering strength. The virtual slavery of the girls; the fact that they
are openly bought and sold, and that, too, under governmental
supervision and sanction; the cruelty inflicted on many girls by their
keepers; the fraud practised in connection with their accounts, whereby
a girl is kept hopelessly in debt, so that, however faithful she may be,
release is impossible, and indeed the more faithful the more profitable
she is to her keeper--all these facts are becoming widely known and are
beginning to arouse public indignation. The government is openly
charged with protecting slavery, and that of the worst kind. High
government officials are being condemned for licentiousness.

As signs of the times, I give a few facts. In the summer of 1909 the
wealthiest and most centrally located prostitute quarter in Osaka was
completely wiped out by a great fire. Before the flames were fully out,
the anti-brothel forces realized their opportunity and under the
leadership of the Young Men's Christian Association and Young Women's
Christian Union began to agitate for refusal to allow the rebuilding of
the business in that region of the city. A petition was prepared and
signed by one hundred thousand people. Large numbers of Osaka's best
citizens allied themselves with the movement. The result was that the
authorities in charge saw fit to yield to the pressure and arranged that
the new buildings for prostitution should be erected on the outskirts of
the city.

In the winter of 1911, the city of Tokyo suffered from a great
conflagration which completely destroyed the section of the city known
as "Yoshiwara,"[6] which for three hundred years has been assigned to
prostitution. This center of the social evil had become enormously
wealthy, and such magnificent buildings had been erected for the
business that it had become one of the famous sights of Tokyo. Before
the fire was fairly over, the anti-brothel forces began to organize
their campaign, which continued for months. A magazine called _Purity_
(_Kaku Sei_) was started. In this case, however, success did not crown
their efforts.

    [6] Foreigners commonly, but mistakenly, suppose that "Yoshiwara"
        means "Prostitute Quarter."

Not long since an army division was located in the vicinity of Wakayama,
a city of considerable importance, not far from Osaka, in which there
have never been any prostitute houses. This led to the suggestion that
it would be well to open there a regular prostitute quarter. The matter
was keenly discussed and the proposition carried through the city
council and authorized by all the lower officials, but when it came
finally before the prefectural governor for signature, it was vetoed,
and the veto message is worthy of preservation and careful consideration
by those who are interested in these matters.

The governor says in his message: "I was early convinced that the
establishment of licensed quarters in the city was harmful to the public
interest. It has been a subject of discussion in Wakayama now for many
years, and I have investigated the question thoroughly from the
standpoint of public morals, health, and economics, at places with and
without licensed quarters, and find that the existence of such
institutions is distinctly harmful. The standard of morals is lowered,
the public health impaired, disease made rampant, the young are sent
into wrong channels, homes are broken up, and extravagance is
encouraged. The state of affairs in Shingu, in this prefecture of
Wakayama, where licensed houses have been established, clearly shows
that the existence of such places is extremely harmful to public
interest. The majority representation to the authorities urged the
establishment of licensed quarters on the ground that the quarters would
promote the prosperity of that section of the city in which they were
situated. It is true they may benefit a section of the city in one way,
but the benefit so obtained would be offset by many other evils. The
military authorities are strongly opposed to the establishment of
licensed quarters, and their views are very reasonable. For these
reasons I have decided to refuse permission for the establishment of
licensed quarters in Wakayama city."[7]

    [7] As translated by the _Japan Chronicle_, May 13, 1911.

In passing, it is worthy of record that the prefecture of Joshu has for
over thirty years, by ceaseless vigilance, prevented government sanction
of prostitution. Repeatedly has the battle been fought and repeatedly
have the anti-brothel forces won. In this respect Joshu stands alone
among the forty-eight prefectures of the Japanese empire.

As illustrating the low moral ideals prevailing among a certain class of
men, Professor Abe of Waseda University, in a recent brothel-abolition
speech, told of a certain politician who, though a fast liver, was
praised because he never debauched the wives and daughters of his
friends, but always confined himself to those women whose services he
fully paid for in hard cash! Colonel Yamamuro, the highest Japanese
officer in the Salvation Army, on the same evening, speaking of the low
moral ideals of the classes from which prostitutes are drawn, said that
in connection with the Salvation Army he had had opportunity to know of
twelve hundred girls who had been aided in the two rescue homes of the
Army. Of these twelve hundred about one half had been prostitutes. The
reasons given by them for leaving were various, such as ill health,
cruelty, lovers, but not one said she left the business because it was
wrong. The evidence is full and convincing that a considerable section
of the Japanese people do not regard loose sexual relations as
particularly immoral.

In regard to the statistics of prostitutes, the figures given by Mr.
Murphy are probably the most accurate available, and are substantially
official. Between 1887 and 1897 the number of prostitutes increased from
27,559 to 47,055, reaching their maximum in 1899, when there were
52,410. Then, following up the work of Mr. Murphy and the Salvation
Army, came the "cessation movement," reducing the number to 40,195 in
1901, and the following year to 38,676. Since that date the number has
grown. In two years four thousand fresh girls were bought up, and a
thousand more the following year. The latest statistics are those for
1906, when the number of prostitutes was reported as 44,542. It is safe
to say that at the present time the number is near, if it has not
passed, the fifty thousand mark.

It would be natural to suppose that recruits for the geisha and shogi
occupations would be found largely among the poorest farmers, but both
my outdoor man and also my cook assert that such is not the fact.
"Farmers would never sell their daughters for such vile purposes,
however poor they might become. Parents who do such things are only the
degenerate creatures who live in cities," is the scornful remark of my
gardener. My cook asserts the same thing, and adds that farmers'
daughters have not the genteel features and figures nor the light
complexion essential to girls seeking such occupations. Other
investigations confirm these assertions. The great cities of Nagoya and
Niigata, and indeed the whole of Echigo, are famous for the supply of
girls they send to the brothels of Tokyo. A poor man with several
daughters has a pretty good investment, and rejoices more at the birth
of a girl than of a boy, because it means an early and definite income.

I found at one time in Matsuyama that all the girls of sixteen to
eighteen years of age in a certain poor quarter had, in the course of
one year, been sold off to the brothels. About that time a man came to
me with a pitiful story of poverty; he had five children, but
unfortunately they were all boys; had they been girls, he said, he might
have sold some of them and so not have needed to ask my aid!

The word used in connection with both geisha and prostitutes is
perfectly frank; no effort is made to conceal by terms the nature of
the transaction. The girls are "bought" and "sold." They employ the
same words as those used in buying and selling animals, food,
clothing--anything. Their purchase and sale is a regular business in
which men and women openly engage, traveling the country over in search
of girls, and conducting them in small groups to the keepers of
brothels, who pay so much a head. And this takes place in civilized
Japan! Moreover, in spite of the fact that girls may thus be bought, it
is true that they are also occasionally stolen. I have known of a
pitiful instance where the girl, a member of a respectable family, was
boxed and shipped on a steamer as freight, to elude the police, and
taken to Siam. In five years she has succeeded in getting one letter to
her home, but the parents dare not put the matter into the hands of
Japanese officials, as that would make the situation hopeless.

But Occidentals may not forget how terrible a scourge is commercialized
vice in civilized and so-called "Christian" Europe, and who has not
heard of the "white slavery" of America, with its stealing of girls and
young women for purposes of prostitution? The institution of comparisons
between nations and individuals is alike odious,--but unavoidable. A
fair comparison would seem to be that, whereas in the West the moral
sense of a large proportion of the people is very strongly against the
social evil and seeks to abolish it, in Japan the moral sense of the
mass of the population acquiesces in the situation, so that the
government and a vast majority of the influential people of the land
unite to make the business safe, legal, and remunerative; and that,
while in Occidental Christian lands no girl can voluntarily enter this
sphere of life without being conscious of its shame and immorality, many
of the girls of Japan may have no adequate knowledge of these inevitable
consequences until their fate has been sealed.



The reader will desire to know what, if any, have been the efforts to
ameliorate the evils described in preceding pages. They are of two
kinds: first, governmental in origin, general in scope, legal and
educative in method; and second, private in origin, both general and
specific in scope, personal, educative, ethical, and religious in

The general educational policy of the government is not to be regarded
as a philanthropic or ameliorative effort to meet the conditions already
described. This policy however does have a powerful elevating influence
on the lives and character of the entire people. As we have seen, over
ninety-seven per cent. of the girls of school age are in attendance,
according to the reports. Though we allow a discount on these figures
(and some may perhaps be necessary), we can still say that, if the
present policy of six years of compulsory education is carried out, the
rising generation of boys and girls will be able to read fairly well the
daily paper and simple books. To millions of women this means the
opening of doors of knowledge and opportunity which in ages past have
been closed to them.

The government has also been the chief initiative force in all recent
movements to improve the economic and industrial conditions of the
people. Railroads in Japan owe their existence to the government, as
also do many forms of modern industry. Agriculture and fruit and stock
raising owe much to the government, which has imported Western seed,
Western fruit trees, and new breeds of horses and cattle. All these
efforts have done much to improve the economic conditions, thus
elevating the scale of living. People eat better food and more of it,
live in better houses, and wear better clothes than they did fifty or
more years ago, and--an important item--they pay less taxes in
proportion to their income. A general uplifting process is modifying
their life and thought, and this is profoundly affecting Japan's working
classes, and, of course, her women.

In regard to the specific evils introduced by Western industrialism, we
have already seen how the government has sought to remedy the
difficulties, so far as laws can go, but hitherto its efforts have
largely been thwarted by capitalists.

Among the notable efforts of the government to promote wise social
reform movements have been the large gatherings, at considerable
government expense, of leaders of philanthropic and benevolent
institutions for instruction in the most recent and approved
sociological principles. Competent specialists from all over the country
have been employed to instruct these leaders, and thus the whole country
is given the benefit of the special knowledge of the few. The government
has also, during the past four years, distributed some forty thousand
yen annually among those eleemosynary institutions which it regards as
models of efficiency.

Furthermore, opportunity for the higher education of women, first given
on a wide scale during the past decade, while not yet affecting working
women to any appreciable extent, cannot fail to do so as time passes,
for it proclaims the intrinsic ability of woman and gives her a standing
of intellectual equality with man, in sharp contrast to the humiliating
position assigned to her by popular Buddhism, which has taught that
women must be reborn as men before they can be saved. Indeed, they are
born women because of their sins. A Japanese proverb has it that one
must never trust a woman, even if she has borne you seven children! This
long-believed doctrine as to the inherent incapacity and essential
depravity of woman has no doubt been a powerful cause of her social
degradation. Under the present system of general education, however,
these doctrines and beliefs will soon be completely overthrown, thus
making room for and producing great changes in the social and industrial
conditions of all women.

But the government is not the sole worker for the social amelioration of
industrial conditions. Through private effort forces are being
introduced which are more potent than any the government knows or can
control. I refer to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This has already
introduced such a leaven into Japanese society that nothing can now
prevent its transforming the whole mass in time.

Should the entire foreign body of 624 Protestant and 371 Roman Catholic
missionaries be withdrawn from Japan, there would still remain (January,
1914) 728 ordained and 713 unordained Japanese Protestant pastors and
trained evangelists, and 331 Bible women. Among the 815 organized
churches, 182 are wholly self-supporting. In addition to the 90,000
Protestant communicants, 67,000 Roman Catholic people, and 32,000 Greek
Christians among the Japanese, it is estimated by Christian pastors that
there are many hundreds of thousands of the people who are conducting
their lives according to the principles and with the spirit of Jesus.

Furthermore, a careful study of modern Japanese civilization shows that
the Christian conception of man as having intrinsic and inherent worth
has been embodied in the constitution and laws of the land and is being
put into wide practise. The rights of children, women, and inferiors and
the duties of parents, husbands, and superiors are new notes in Japan,
and are sounding forth a richer music than has ever before been heard in
the Orient.

Of course there are still discordant notes, as we have seen when
considering the subject of the buying and selling of geisha and
prostitutes; but so there are even in so-called Christian lands.
Nevertheless, the conception of the value of the individual and of his
rights is inspiring a hope among the lowly and hitherto downtrodden and
oppressed sections of the nation which cannot be extinguished, and will
in due time powerfully transform the traditional civilization, giving to
woman a place of equality along with man in the estimation of all.

The general education of girls, and especially their higher education,
is signal proof of a wide acceptance of Christian conceptions. According
to the _Résumé Statistique_ (1914), there were, in 1911-12, 250 girls'
high schools, public and private, whose pupils numbered 64,809. In
addition, the number of women in normal schools preparing to become
elementary school-teachers was 8,271, and in the higher normal schools,
570. The number of female teachers is reported at 42,739. These girls'
high and normal schools, through the ability they give their graduates
to converse with men on a basis of intellectual equality in regard to
topics of current interest while retaining their modesty and personal
character, are so transforming the reticent habits and unsocial customs
of Japanese ladies that ere long scant room will be left for the
old-time geisha.

The change Christianity is silently bringing to the home life of Japan,
adding to its sweetness, purity, and conscious unity, and contributing a
mighty uplift to both head and heart, few as yet have either eyes to see
or ears to hear. The influence already exerted by Christian ideas and
ideals on the traditional conceptions of Japan in regard to home life,
marriage, childhood, the poor and lowly, the orphan, the blind, the
leper, and the diseased generally,--in a word on the value of the
individual and his inalienable, God-given rights,--is so widespread and
so beneficent that it receives little specific comment and no

There were no doubt in old Japan certain influences predisposing many to
the new ideals and practises introduced from the West. It is difficult,
perhaps impossible, at this stage in Japan's development to reckon
accurately how much of Japan's new life is due to new factors introduced
from Christendom, and how much to ideals already operative in the
feudal system. No one can doubt, however, that Christian ideals have
been the most important factors in the West to give woman her present
status. Nor can we doubt that Christian ideals and practises are playing
an important rôle in the modern emancipation of women in Japan.

Those who criticize missionaries as forcing the Christian religion upon
unwilling peoples know not whereof they speak. The Christian faith would
make no progress whatever in Japan were it not found by Japanese
themselves to be ennobling and satisfying. It is welcomed because it
brings hope and peace and power to those who were hopeless and restless
and powerless.

But he is very shortsighted who thinks that the main forces
Christianizing Japan are wielded by the foreign missionary. The
missionary doubtless is an essential agent, but of far more importance
is the work of Japanese Christians themselves; and in addition to these
is the general though vague influence exerted by Western civilization
as a whole, and particularly by the English language and literature. In
that important work, _Fifty Years of New Japan_, are many remarkable
chapters, but especially noteworthy are those entitled "Social Changes
of New Japan," and "Influence of the West upon Japan," from the pens of
competent, wide-awake Japanese scholars.

Consider what Professor Nitobe says: "The greatest influence of the West
is, after all, the spiritual.... Christianity has influenced the thought
and lives of many individuals in Japan, and will influence many more,
eventually affecting the nation through the altered view-point and
personnel of the citizen and the administrator. The character-changing
power of the religion of Jesus I believe to be only just now making
itself appreciably evident in our midst." Somewhat further on, referring
to the English language, he writes: "The effect of the acquisition of
the English tongue on the mental habits--I had almost said on the
unconscious cerebrations of our people--is incalculable.... The moral
influence of some of its simple text-books used in our schools cannot be
overrated.... They have been instrumental in opening new vistas of
thought and vast domains of enterprise and interest to young minds."

No student of Japan's new life, resulting from the influence of Western
and Christian ideas and ideals, should fail to familiarize himself with
the eighth issue (1910) of _The Christian Movement in Japan_, which
gives a series of remarkable addresses delivered by Japanese and
foreigners at the semicentennial celebration of the beginning of
Protestant missions in Japan. Especial attention should be paid to the
section treating of the "Influence of Christianity on Japanese Thought
and Life."

It will be obvious to any thoughtful person that changes so wide and
deep, affecting all the fundamental conceptions of life, of manhood and
womanhood, of the state, of law and justice, of right and duty, are not
confined to those whose privilege it is to study Western books and
acquire the higher education. In ten thousand ways the whole national
life is being transformed, slowly it may be and silently, yet surely and
steadily. And the benefits are accruing to the most lowly and least
educated no less than to those at the top. All the working women of
Japan have already received in some degree, and in the future will more
and more receive, the blessings and the uplift which are coming to the
nation through its contact with the Christian conceptions and standards
embedded in Western civilization and literature.

A volume--nay, many volumes--would be needed to tell in detail the story
of how the Christian message has been and is being conveyed to the
people of Japan. We should make known the story of Joseph Hardy Neesima,
of the Kumamoto Band, of Dr. Clark and Dr. Hepburn, of Young Men's
Christian Association teachers of English in government schools, of
faithful, self-sacrificing pastors, evangelists, Bible women, and
missionaries. We should recount the deeds of heroic lay Christians in
all the walks of life, and above all in their homes, too often hostile,
commending their new-found faith by their new spirit and life. We should
tell of the work of Christian teachers of ethics in the prisons, and the
remarkable results secured. We should relate the experiences of those
who have struggled for the rights of prostitutes, of Salvation Army
officers, of matrons of reform homes, of managers of ex-convicts' homes,
of founders of orphan asylums, of supporters of private charity
hospitals. We should tell the story of the scores of Christian
institutions the central aim of which is to express in concrete life the
Christian's faith and hope and love.

But in addition to the narrative of direct Christian work, full heed
should be given to the evidences of the wide acceptance by the nation of
the best Christian ideals in matters of philanthropy. To meet the needs
of the famine sufferers in north Japan during the winter and spring of
1914, and of those who were deprived of their all by the terrific
volcanic explosion of the island of Sakurajima in January, 1914, more
than a million yen ($500,000) of private gifts flowed into the hands of
the relieving committees. For the earthquake sufferers the Diet voted
622,883 yen ($311,441).

The late Emperor, shortly before his death, was so moved by the medical
needs of the poor that he contributed a fund of a million yen for the
systematic undertaking of medical work in all parts of Japan. This
started a movement among the wealthy which has resulted in the
establishment of a Medical Relief Association (Saiseikwai), having a
fund of $5,000,000 already paid in and pledges for $8,000,000 more.

Men of wealth in Japan are following the example set by the best
Christian life in the West. In recent years several large gifts have
been made for education. At the close of 1913 one of the most wealthy
and always generous families of Japan, Sumitomo of Osaka, announced
their decision to establish an industrial school for the poor, at an
expense of $200,000. And in the same year Mr. O'Hara, one of the
wealthiest and most philanthropic men of Okayama, announced his plan of
opening a high-grade agricultural school for poor boys of that
prefecture. The amount of the gift is not stated, but in addition to the
large sum needed for buildings and equipment, he donates as permanent
endowment some 250 acres of rice land whose value, roughly estimated,
may be about $50,000.

There are in Japan of all denominations and religions the following
institutions for the uplift and regeneration of the downtrodden and for
the help of the poor:

    Orphan asylums.......................... 100
    Rescue work.............................  92
    Dispensaries............................  45
    Reformatories...........................  47
    Homes for ex-prisoners..................  37
    Homes for old people....................  22
    Poor farms..............................  11

Of these institutions, the compiler of the statistics states that for
one Shinto and three Buddhist, there are five Christian institutions.
The leaders and inspirers in all the forms of philanthropic work are
Christians, as from the nature of the case might be expected.

"In the matter of Christian Social Service," writes A. D. Hail, in the
_Japan Evangelist_,[8] "the Federated Missions have been represented by
two Committees whose fields of endeavor are quite distinct. The one is
the excellent Eleemosynary Committee. It deals with the delinquents,
defectives, and dependents of society....

    [8] January, 1915.

"The Industrial Welfare Committee seeks to Christianize the industrial
classes, and to encourage the development of dealing upon Christian
principles with the complicated questions growing out of the relations
of capital and labor. By the industrial classes we mean the
non-capitalistic laborers and bread-winners. It includes men, women,
and many thousands of children. They do not own the machinery they
handle, and have no voice in the control of the industries with which
they are connected. Being without any say in the control of factories,
machines, and raw material, they can be discharged at any moment by
employers for reasons satisfactory alone to themselves. Their bodies,
their minds, and oftentime their morals, become subservient to foremen
and managers. The unskilled laborers in particular have no margin of
either wages or time for wholesome recreations, for accidents, old age,
widowhood, and unemployment. Besides these there is another large class
in Japan, of small traders who rent their shops and eke out earnings by
the sweating process, or by renting rooms for doubtful purposes. To
these are to be added fishermen who do not own tackle, tenant farmers
and their employees, and the main body of school-teachers; also an army
engaged in transportation, together with postal clerks, postmen, and
others. Incidental to this are the districts of large cities and mining
camps, where there are congested populations of unskilled laborers
subjected to diseases occasioned by bad drainage, inadequate housing,
and all the consequent evils. As these do not earn sufficient wages to
entitle them to vote, they have no voice whatever in the betterment of
their surroundings....

"There is a growing tendency toward the fixedness of a gulf between
laborers and their employers, so much so that Japan's great danger in
this direction is that she may fail to realize that she has a labor
problem on hand, and one that can be solved here, as elsewhere, only on
the basis of Christian principles of common fair dealing."

In spite, however, of abundant evidence that Christian ethical and
philanthropic ideals are receiving wide acceptance in Japan, far wider
than would be suggested by the statistics of membership in the Christian
churches, it is also true that the evils of Occidental industrialism and
materialism are sweeping in like a flood.

Turning now from general statements as to the ethico-industrial
conditions of the working women of Japan, in the next chapter I give the
story of a single institution.



The origin and history of the Matsuyama Working Girls' Home cannot be
told apart from the story of the man who has been its heart and life,
Mr. Shinjiro Omoto. Born in 1872 and graduating from the common school
at fourteen, he at once went into business, first as an apprentice and
later with his father. At nineteen he opened a sugar store, which
flourished and before long overshadowed the father's business. Money
came in so easily that he soon entered on a life of licentiousness, and
for several years he was as famous for his drunken carousals as he had
been for his phenomenal business success. His parents cut him off,
refused him admittance to the house, and for years he did not even speak
to his father.

              [Illustration: MATSUYAMA WORKING GIRLS' HOME
                      GIRLS IN THE MATSUYAMA HOME]

In 1899, we held a preaching service in a theater. Mr. Omoto happened to
be drinking in the saloon opposite. Hearing of our gathering, with some
rowdy comrades, he thought he would break it up, with the result that we
experienced persistent opposition throughout the meeting. But the
sermons on Pessimism and the New Life, and my statement of the reasons
that had brought me to Japan attracted his attention, and the next day I
received an anonymous letter asking for tracts. These seem to have
produced a profound impression, particularly the tract entitled "Two
Young Men." It told of two hardened prisoners who had been transformed
by the gospel and became highly useful and well-known members of
society. Mr. Omoto thereupon set himself definitely to learn about
Christianity, but privately, unwilling to make public his new hope. He
bought and read through, quite by himself, the entire New Testament.
Though he gained some idea of the gospel, he soon found he had lost none
of his passion for drink. After a while he went to Kobe and joined a
temperance society; but soon finding that the society had members who
broke their pledges, he began to break his. In despair he went to
Okayama and tried to join himself to Mr. Ishii, head of the well-known
Christian orphanage, asking to be made a Christian, but he was told to
return to Matsuyama and join the church there in his old home; only so
could he be saved. Greatly disappointed, he returned and called on me
early in June, 1901, but without telling fully about himself. He also
called on Mr. Nishimura, an earnest Christian worker, who prayed with
him, telling him that to be saved he must receive the Holy Spirit.

That summer, quite exceptionally, I returned in the middle of the
vacation. Mr. Omoto appeared at the prayer-meeting for the first time
and was evidently in a state of great excitement, so much so that only
with difficulty could we understand his remarks and his prayer. The gist
was that he had that day received the Holy Spirit, that he was now
saved, and that his joy was too great for utterance. Tears rolled down
his cheeks as he talked and prayed. After the meeting I had a few words
with him, and urged him to ally himself with our experienced workers. He
was so excited that I feared for him, and wondered whether this might
not be a tornado of emotion due to drink and to the nervous condition
incident to his riotous life, an emotion which he mistook for the gift
of the Holy Spirit. I urged him to begin at once to live the Christian
life, cutting loose from all bad companions and bad habits.

To gain an honest living he entered the Matsuyama Cotton Thread Spinning
Factory. This required twelve hours of work daily, sometimes by day and
sometimes by night, a hard pull for one who had done no steady work for
years. He attended Christian services faithfully, so far as his hours of
work allowed, and became quite intimate with two or three of our best
Christians. Before long he began to talk about the wretched conditions
and immoral life of the factory girls, telling us of the situation
already described in Chapter IX.[9] His first thought was to give these
tired children wholesome recreation. He secured the use of our preaching
place in the vicinity of the factory and invited the girls to attend
what he called the Dojokwai (Sympathy Society). He soon persuaded the
girls to add a little reading and writing to their play, and later also,
sewing. These meetings had of course to be held after the twelve or more
hours of work in the factory had been completed. Care had also to be
taken that the studies and the fun should not absorb time needed for
sleep. Membership in the Sympathy Society rose rapidly and soon numbered
seventy girls.

    [9] See pages 67-69. (Transcriber's note: See starting at "In
        1901, when Mr. Omoto began to work in the factory, he was
        amazed to see how many were the children taking their turns
        in work along with the older girls by day and by night.")

At first meetings were held only in the evening three times a week, and
lasted but an hour. But as the educational element of the society
developed, others were induced to help and every evening save Sunday
was occupied. In order that girls on the night shift might continue
their studies similar classes were also held from seven to nine o'clock
in the morning. Before six months had passed the play aspect of the
society was largely superseded by the educational.

But opposition of Buddhists now began to show itself. A few parents
refused to let their girls attend. The most determined opposition
however came from the manager in the factory who had charge of one of
the shifts. Members of that shift were so treated that gradually they
dropped out of the Dojokwai, and new members from that shift could not
be secured. The hostile manager was however himself dropped some months
later, and all opposition to the work from within the factory ceased.

In a previous chapter we have noted the facts discovered by Mr. Omoto as
he went the rounds of the boarding-houses in which the girls were
required to live.[10] As these conditions became clearer and more
appallingly impressive, he began to say with increasing frequency and
insistence that the Sympathy Society, however successful, could not do
what was needed. Only a Christian home would answer. Not only do the
girls need to learn to read and write and sew, but even more than these
do they need a home free from temptation, clean and pure and helpful,
and elevating morally and religiously. The difficulties however in the
way of such an enterprise seemed insuperable. To say nothing of the
financial problem, a still greater obstacle, it was felt, was the
securing of "recognition" from the factory, for Buddhist influence in
the factory was at that time still dominant. During these months the
Sympathy Society was winning its way among the girls and their parents,
and Mr. Omoto himself was learning valuable lessons.

    [10] See pages 68, 69. (Transcriber's note: See starting at
         "they were crowded together in disease-spreading and
         vermin-breeding, immoral boarding-houses, where they
         were deliberately tempted.")

One was that the girls were not all eager to be in a Christian home. We
of course forbade all drinking, irregular hours, and more irregular
"friendships." Attendance on prayers, night and morning, and at the
school, was required. It looked for a time as if we should fail, for
lack of girls to meet the expenses.

But in spite of discouragements we kept on. The earnings of the girls
who lived in the home, for the first year, were 1,361 yen. Of this sum
they paid for board 905 yen, and sent to their parents 456, whereas
girls in the other boarding-houses were able to save nothing, although
the amount paid for board was the same in all the houses, being fixed by
the factory at 3.60 yen per month, or twelve sen (six cents) per day.

In February, 1903, a representative of the government who came from
Tokyo to inspect the conditions of labor in western Japan, heard of the
Dojokwai (Sympathy Home), and was so much interested in the story of its
work that he took time to visit it with several local officials. He was
greatly pleased, for he knew of nothing just like this, in any other
part of Japan, particularly in its hygienic, educational, and moral
advantages, and he expressed the wish that there might be many such.
This was our first notice from government officials.

As time went on, Mr. Omoto was found by the factory officials to be
exceptionally faithful to its interests; he was rapidly promoted from
one position to another, and in December of the same year was made
"visitor" and "employing agent." This required him to visit neighboring
towns and villages and collect new girls when needed. He tried to
decline this work, saying that he could make no false promises to the
girls or to their parents, nor in any way delude them as to the nature
of their work, the amount of their wages, the conditions of the
boarding-houses; being strictly a temperance man, also, he could not
treat with sake (sah'-ke) and so get into friendly relations, all of
which things employing agents constantly do; he had no expectations of
gaining any recruits; the factory would better send some one else. They
told him at least to try. To the surprise of all, and of himself the
most, from his first trip he brought back with him fifteen girls. For
three years he continued in this work and was always successful in
securing girls for the factory. Because of his refusal to touch liquor
in any form, his traveling expenses were much less than those of other
employing agents, much to the satisfaction of the management; and the
girls he secured on the whole remained longer and more contentedly at
work, because he had always told them the truth. This made his position
in the factory more secure and influential. After about two years'
employment by the day he was promoted to the rank of a regular employee
and paid by the month. His hours of official service were also largely
reduced in order that he might have time for his educational and
Christian work in the Home--a striking testimony of appreciation on the
part of the factory officials.

As the months passed by it gradually became clear that the effectiveness
as well as the permanence of the work demanded suitable quarters. The
heavy rental paid for the house made self-support impossible. Results
already attained seemed to warrant appeal to friends for gifts, for the
purpose of buying land and the erection of a building. Responses to our
appeals provided the needed funds, land was purchased and a contract
made with a carpenter on exceptionally favorable terms, just two days
before the opening of the Russo-Japanese war (February, 1904).
Immediately prices went up by leaps and bounds; but our contract was so
well made and the carpenter had already made such full subcontracts for
the lumber, etc., that we were not troubled because of war prices.

As we entered our new quarters in June, 1904, however, the factory shut
down the main part of its work and discharged the majority of its
workers. This was a severe blow to the Home. The occupants were reduced
to seven girls. Although the factory opened again after a few months,
the conditions during and after the war made it difficult for the
factory to secure girls, and the Home, together with the other
boarding-houses, suffered from lack of boarders. Beginning with March,
1907, however, special circumstances combined to fill the Home to its
utmost capacity; during the three months of April, May, and June thirty
applicants were refused admittance and as many more who desired to enter
the school were declined.

Increasing acquaintance with the disastrous effects of factory
labor,--the lint-filled air so often producing consumption, and the
excessive heat of summer sometimes resulting even in sunstroke,--made
Mr. Omoto unwilling to persuade girls to enter upon such a life. The
needs of the Home also pressed upon his time. These considerations led
him, in 1906, to give up his work in the factory altogether, in order to
devote his entire time and strength to the Home and to the upbuilding of
the moral and religious life of the girls.

In July, 1906, Mr. Omoto attended in Osaka the first convention of
factory officials convened to study the problem of the proper care of
operatives. Representatives were present from sixteen factories having
night schools, and specimens of the work of the girls were compared. Mr.
Omoto was fairly lionized because of the superior quality of the work
sent in from our Home and many newspapers made special mention of him
and his work.

In September, 1908, there was held in Tokyo under the auspices of the
Home Department of the Imperial government an eight weeks' school of
applied sociology. Mr. Omoto was among the 376 persons who attended.
Again he received exceptional attention and was asked to tell his story.
At this school no less than thirty-six learned specialists gave lectures
on every conceivable topic suitable for such a school. Among the
speakers so many were professed Christians, and of the rest so many
advocated such markedly Christian ideals, that some Buddhists are said
to have taken offense, regarding the whole affair as a part of the
Christian propaganda.

In the spring of 1909 there occurred an event of considerable
significance. Without a preliminary hint of what was happening, Mr.
Omoto saw in the paper one day the amazing statement that the Matsuyama
Working Girls' Home, along with seventy-nine other selected institutions
throughout the country, was the recipient of a specified sum (200 yen)
as a mark of government approval! A total of 40,000 yen were thus
distributed in varying amounts, Christian institutions being recognized
to an unexpected degree. Later, word came from the Prefectural Office
summoning him to receive the gift. In the entire prefecture six
institutions had been thus honored, and of these, two were Christian.
This gift from the Department of the Interior has been repeated each
year since.

Again in May, 1910, a Conference of Social Service Workers (Chu-o Jizen
Kyokwai) was held at Nagoya at the time of the Exposition, and Mr.
Omoto was among those invited to attend. His address and statistical
report received much attention. Mr. Tomeoka, representative of the
government and chairman of the conference, spoke in unstinted praise of
the work of the Home, which he characterized as "Kokka Jigyo" (a
national enterprise), and recommended the adoption by others of several
of its special features.

In the spring of 1911, the Home Department of the central government
published a small volume describing one hundred and thirteen model
philanthropic institutions of the country, in which we were of course
pleased to see that the Home was included, being the only one from the

As opportunity offered and means were available, following the advice of
friends, four small adjacent lots were purchased, one of which we were
almost forced to secure for self-protection, because of the evil
character of the buildings upon it. We now own altogether about two
acres of land on the north side of the beautiful Castle Hill, around
which Matsuyama is built. Here have been erected at different times six
buildings (three of them two-storied), for residential, dormitory,
chapel, night school, weaving, hospital, bath, and other purposes. We
have space for a playground, of which the girls joyously avail
themselves, after returning from twelve hours of confinement in the dust
and clatter of machinery. The garden, too, provides fresh vegetables of
an assured character at a minimum of expense, adding much to the variety
and the wholesomeness of the diet. The present value of the property is
more than its original cost, for land and buildings are constantly
rising in price, as is the case in other parts of the country.

The city educational authorities in 1906 asked Mr. Omoto to open his
night school to the poor of the district. For this he had to have a
regular school license from the National Bureau of Education at Tokyo.
This was to be a Christian school--the only license of exactly that
kind in the empire, he was told.

Industrial newspapers have been noticing the Home and its work for some
time.[11] During the past five years the favorable attitude of local and
national government officials has been particularly pronounced.
Government inspectors have repeatedly been sent from the Prefectural
Office and occasionally even from Tokyo to visit the Home. One such
expressed himself as amazed at the excellent mental work done by the
girls, in view of the fact that all their study takes place after twelve
hours of toil. Nothing but good food, sufficient sleep, and a wholesome
and happy home life could account for their splendid health and superior
school work. One man remarked that the girls in the Home do better work
than pupils in the same grade in public schools.

    [11] See page 149. (Transcriber's note: See starting at "Mr. Omoto
         was fairly lionized because of the superior quality of the
         work sent in from our Home")

Even so early as the autumn of 1906 the Home Department of the central
government sent down special instructions to the prefectural office in
Matsuyama to investigate our work, with the result that of nine
benevolent institutions throughout Japan selected for commendation, ours
was the one most carefully described and unqualifiedly praised. A recent
government pamphlet concerning industrial problems makes special
reference, covering two pages, to the work of the Home. Thus has a small
institution begun to serve as a model for the country.

The good health of the girls in our Home has been in strong contrast
with the health of those in other boarding-houses, even in the best
dormitories of the best factories in other cities.

Statistics recently compiled by the government show that the average
death-rate among factory operatives throughout the country is
extraordinarily high. The highest, fifty per cent. on account of an
epidemic, was reported from a certain factory owned and managed
boarding-house in Niigata prefecture. Not one girl has ever died in our
Home. Of the 301 girls who had lived in our Home by 1911, only eight,
all told, died.

In 1912 the Home passed through a crisis that threatened to destroy it.
Late in 1911 the one factory in Matsuyama, where all the girls worked,
was sold out to parties living in Osaka. A new manager was sent down who
introduced many drastic changes. The change most affecting us was the
stopping of the night work and the lengthening of day work to fourteen
hours: namely, from 6 A.M. till 8 P.M.

The girls in the Home soon became dissatisfied, and not many months
passed before all had left the factory. Mr. Omoto was urged by the
manager to find and bring in new girls. He refused however on the ground
that he could not ask anybody to work such brutally long hours.

Had it not been for a little weaving department with which we had
already been experimenting, the Home would have been compelled to close.
More looms were secured and those girls who wished to remain with us
were given opportunity for work. Mr. Omoto's attention was at that time
directed to the condition of the weaving girls in the scores and even
hundreds of little establishments in the city and its suburbs. He soon
found that an educational, economic, moral, and religious condition
existed among them not unlike that which he had found among the factory
girls of Matsuyama a dozen years before. The weaving establishments are,
as a rule, small private affairs, usually having less than ten girls
each, and are therefore wholly outside of the supervision of the
government. The treatment of workers and the hours of labor are entirely
settled by the individual owners.

As a rule the girls are apprenticed for from two to three years
immediately on leaving the primary school, at an age therefore of twelve
or thirteen. They barely earn their living, although they work from
daybreak to ten or eleven at night, and in some establishments even till
midnight--from fifteen to eighteen hours a day! There are no night
shifts and rare holidays on occasional festivals. The hygienic and moral
conditions are about as bad as can be. It is estimated that one half of
the girls are ruined before the close of their apprenticeship. Our Home
is now deliberately attacking the new problem, which in many respects is
more difficult than was the old one. We have put up two small buildings
on our own grounds, enabling us to have thirty looms to give opportunity
for work to thirty girls.

The uniform quality of the cloth produced by our girls, the central
portions of each piece equaling the ends in quality, shows unflagging
moral attention, without effort to rush the work and stint the material;
this has already won such approval from merchants that the "Sympathy
Home" brand can be sold for a little more than other brands, and Mr.
Omoto is assured that there is no limit to the amount which could be

An owner of several weaving establishments has become so impressed with
the quality of the work and the character developed in our girls that
he asked Mr. Omoto if he would not take charge of a hundred of his
weaving girls. This new departure is especially promising, for we have
complete supervision of the girls throughout the entire twenty-four
hours. The girls, moreover, are already remaining in our Home as a rule
much longer than they used to when getting work in the spinning factory.

As successive chapters of this book have shown, no more urgent problem
faces New Japan than that of the moral development of her workers. This
is particularly true of the hundreds of thousands of girls in the larger
and smaller factories and industrial establishments. The wretched
physical, economic, social, and moral conditions under which the
majority of these girls lived and worked at the time when our Home was
started are not easily described.

Many of the factory authorities[12] are neither ignorant nor unmindful
of the situation, and are striving to remedy it. The government also has
enacted laws not a few. But laws and official actions alone provide no
adequate solution of the serious problems raised by the extraordinary
industrial and social transformations sweeping over Japan. A new spirit
must be evoked, both on the part of capital and labor, and new moral
ideals and relations established. This cannot be done by laws alone.
Only love and contagious personal example are sufficient for the needs.

    [12] It is not to be inferred from the statements in this book
         that the political leaders and the organizers of
         industrial Japan have been dependent on our Home for
         ideas and ideals in regard to the problems raised by
         modern industry. Many of those leaders are men of
         cosmopolitan education and are well versed in the best
         and most recent of literature of the West on these
         matters. It is true, however, that our Home has been an
         important concrete experiment affording in Japan
         valuable suggestions and stimulus.

Our Home was designed to meet just such a situation and has to a
remarkable degree, we think, succeeded. It has provided not only
sufficient fresh air, nourishing food, adequate bedding, clean rooms,
and wholesome recreation, but also moral and religious instruction, and
some education. The girls in our Home have enjoyed conspicuously better
health and have done better work and earned and sent to their parents
more money than those of the other boarding-houses of Matsuyama. But
better than these have been the educational, moral, and religious
results. Their womanhood has been raised. They have been better fitted
for life's duties and for motherhood than they would have been without
the training which has been given them.

Moreover, the results of the Home have been such as to break down
opposition. The good-will and cooperation of the factory officials were
won. Factories in other parts of the country also have recognized our
Home as presenting a splendid ideal which, in a measure, many of them
are already following. The local and the central governments, as already
shown, have repeatedly sent officials to inspect us, and in their
reports have not only praised us, but have described our Home in detail,
saying that we have solved the difficult problem of how to care for
factory hands.

Through the Home we are reaching the lowest strata of the working
classes of Japan, and are providing them with ideals, motives, and
education, and in a way, too, which does not tend to pauperize them, for
each girl pays as board a sum sufficient to cover actual living
expenses. It is also exerting an influence on the townsfolk. The
attitude of the people toward Christianity has undergone a marked
change. Villages in the interior likewise have altered their attitude on
seeing how their daughters, graduates of our Home, have improved both in
intelligence and character, in marked contrast to those who have been in
other boarding-houses. All in all, Mr. Omoto has attained remarkable
success. He is absorbed, heart and soul, in his work of bettering the
moral and religious conditions of the working girls of Japan, and is a
man continuously growing in spiritual life, Christian character, and
knowledge of men. I have never known a man more thoroughly converted or
more enthusiastic in his chosen field of work. The Omoto of to-day is a
different person from the reformed debauchee of thirteen years ago, who
began this service for factory girls as the outcome of his sincere
question, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" His family have become
possessed with the idea of social service, and his five children are
being brought up in this atmosphere and in the fear of the Lord.

Thus has the Matsuyama Working Girls' Home survived many threatening
vicissitudes, attained conspicuous successes, and is now embarked on a
new line of endeavor. May it exceed in the future its successes of the
past and make still more substantial contributions to the uplift of the
working women of Japan!

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

Text in small capitals was replaced with ALL UPPER CASE.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so that they are next the text they illustrate.
Thus the page number of the illustration might not match the page
number in the List of Illustrations.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not
corrected except for the following:

On page 111, the book mentions "among the forty-eight prefectures
of the Japanese empire", but there were forty-seven prefectures
since 1888.

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