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Title: Shadowings
Author: Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shadowings" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


                           BY LAFCADIO HEARN

                   "IN GHOSTLY JAPAN," ETC., ETC.


                       LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

                           _Copyright, 1900_,
                     BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

                       _All rights reserved_

                 S. J. PARKHILL & CO. BOSTON, U. S. A.



          I. THE RECONCILIATION                                5

         II. A LEGEND OF FUGEN-BOSATSU                        15

        III. THE SCREEN-MAIDEN                                23

         IV. THE CORPSE-RIDER                                 33

          V. THE SYMPATHY OF BENTEN                           41

         VI. THE GRATITUDE OF THE SAMÉBITO                    57


          I. SÉMI                                             71

         II. JAPANESE FEMALE NAMES                           105

        III. OLD JAPANESE SONGS                              157


          I. NOCTILUCÆ                                       197

         II. A MYSTERY OF CROWDS                             203

        III. GOTHIC HORROR                                   213

         IV. LEVITATION                                      225

          V. NIGHTMARE-TOUCH                                 235

         VI. READINGS FROM A DREAM-BOOK                      249

        VII. IN A PAIR OF EYES                               265


                                                   _Facing page_

    PLATE I                                                   72
        1-2, _Young Sémi._
        3-4, _Haru-Zémi_, also called _Nawashiro-Zémi_.

    PLATE II                                                  76
        "_Shinné-Shinné_" also called _Yama-Zémi_, and

    PLATE III                                                 80

    PLATE IV                                                  84
        1-2, _Mugikari-Zémi_, also called _Goshiki-Zémi_.
        3, _Higurashi_.
        4, "_Min-Min-Zémi_."

    PLATE V                                                   88
        1, "_Tsuku-tsuku-Bôshi_," also called
            "_Kutsu-kutsu-Bôshi_," etc. (_Cosmopsaltria
        2, _Tsurigané-Zémi_.
        3, _The Phantom_.


    Il avait vu brûler d'étranges pierres,
    Jadis, dans les brasiers de la pensée ...

                       ÉMILE VERHAEREN

                         The Reconciliation[1]


    [1] The original story is to be found in the curious volume
        entitled _Konséki-Monogatari_

THERE was a young Samurai of Kyôto who had been reduced to poverty by
the ruin of his lord, and found himself obliged to leave his home, and
to take service with the Governor of a distant province. Before quitting
the capital, this Samurai divorced his wife,--a good and beautiful
woman,--under the belief that he could better obtain promotion by
another alliance. He then married the daughter of a family of some
distinction, and took her with him to the district whither he had been

                   *       *       *       *       *

But it was in the time of the thoughtlessness of youth, and the sharp
experience of want, that the Samurai could not understand the worth of
the affection so lightly cast away. His second marriage did not prove a
happy one; the character of his new wife was hard and selfish; and he
soon found every cause to think with regret of Kyôto days. Then he
discovered that he still loved his first wife--loved her more than he
could ever love the second; and he began to feel how unjust and how
thankless he had been. Gradually his repentance deepened into a remorse
that left him no peace of mind. Memories of the woman he had
wronged--her gentle speech, her smiles, her dainty, pretty ways, her
faultless patience--continually haunted him. Sometimes in dreams he saw
her at her loom, weaving as when she toiled night and day to help him
during the years of their distress: more often he saw her kneeling alone
in the desolate little room where he had left her, veiling her tears
with her poor worn sleeve. Even in the hours of official duty, his
thoughts would wander back to her: then he would ask himself how she was
living, what she was doing. Something in his heart assured him that she
could not accept another husband, and that she never would refuse to
pardon him. And he secretly resolved to seek her out as soon as he could
return to Kyôto,--then to beg her forgiveness, to take her back, to do
everything that a man could do to make atonement. But the years went

At last the Governor's official term expired, and the Samurai was free.
"Now I will go back to my dear one," he vowed to himself. "Ah, what a
cruelty,--what a folly to have divorced her!" He sent his second wife to
her own people (she had given him no children); and hurrying to Kyôto,
he went at once to seek his former companion,--not allowing himself even
the time to change his travelling-garb.

                   *       *       *       *       *

When he reached the street where she used to live, it was late in the
night,--the night of the tenth day of the ninth month;--and the city was
silent as a cemetery. But a bright moon made everything visible; and he
found the house without difficulty. It had a deserted look: tall weeds
were growing on the roof. He knocked at the sliding-doors, and no one
answered. Then, finding that the doors had not been fastened from
within, he pushed them open, and entered. The front room was matless and
empty: a chilly wind was blowing through crevices in the planking; and
the moon shone through a ragged break in the wall of the alcove. Other
rooms presented a like forlorn condition. The house, to all seeming, was
unoccupied. Nevertheless, the Samurai determined to visit one other
apartment at the further end of the dwelling,--a very small room that
had been his wife's favorite resting-place. Approaching the
sliding-screen that closed it, he was startled to perceive a glow
within. He pushed the screen aside, and uttered a cry of joy; for he saw
her there,--sewing by the light of a paper-lamp. Her eyes at the same
instant met his own; and with a happy smile she greeted him,--asking
only:--"When did you come back to Kyôto? How did you find your way here
to me, through all those black rooms?" The years had not changed her.
Still she seemed as fair and young as in his fondest memory of her;--but
sweeter than any memory there came to him the music of her voice, with
its trembling of pleased wonder.

Then joyfully he took his place beside her, and told her all:--how
deeply he repented his selfishness,--how wretched he had been without
her,--how constantly he had regretted her,--how long he had hoped and
planned to make amends;--caressing her the while, and asking her
forgiveness over and over again. She answered him, with loving
gentleness, according to his heart's desire,--entreating him to cease
all self-reproach. It was wrong, she said, that he should have allowed
himself to suffer on her account: she had always felt that she was not
worthy to be his wife. She knew that he had separated from her,
notwithstanding, only because of poverty; and while he lived with her,
he had always been kind; and she had never ceased to pray for his
happiness. But even if there had been a reason for speaking of amends,
this honorable visit would be ample amends;--what greater happiness than
thus to see him again, though it were only for a moment? "Only for a
moment!" he answered, with a glad laugh,--"say, rather, for the time of
seven existences! My loved one, unless you forbid, I am coming back to
live with you always--always--always! Nothing shall ever separate us
again. Now I have means and friends: we need not fear poverty. To-morrow
my goods will be brought here; and my servants will come to wait upon
you; and we shall make this house beautiful.... To-night," he added,
apologetically, "I came thus late--without even changing my dress--only
because of the longing I had to see you, and to tell you this." She
seemed greatly pleased by these words; and in her turn she told him
about all that had happened in Kyôto since the time of his
departure,--excepting her own sorrows, of which she sweetly refused to
speak. They chatted far into the night: then she conducted him to a
warmer room, facing south,--a room that had been their bridal chamber in
former time. "Have you no one in the house to help you?" he asked, as
she began to prepare the couch for him. "No," she answered, laughing
cheerfully: "I could not afford a servant;--so I have been living all
alone." "You will have plenty of servants to-morrow," he said,--"good
servants,--and everything else that you need." They lay down to
rest,--not to sleep: they had too much to tell each other;--and they
talked of the past and the present and the future, until the dawn was
grey. Then, involuntarily, the Samurai closed his eyes, and slept.

                   *       *       *       *       *

When he awoke, the daylight was streaming through the chinks of the
sliding-shutters; and he found himself, to his utter amazement, lying
upon the naked boards of a mouldering floor.... Had he only dreamed a
dream? No: she was there;--she slept.... He bent above her,--and
looked,--and shrieked;--for the sleeper had no face!... Before him,
wrapped in its grave-sheet only, lay the corpse of a woman,--a corpse so
wasted that little remained save the bones, and the long black tangled

                   *       *       *       *       *

Slowly,--as he stood shuddering and sickening in the sun,--the icy
horror yielded to a despair so intolerable, a pain so atrocious, that he
clutched at the mocking shadow of a doubt. Feigning ignorance of the
neighborhood, he ventured to ask his way to the house in which his wife
had lived.

"There is no one in that house," said the person questioned. "It used to
belong to the wife of a Samurai who left the city several years ago. He
divorced her in order to marry another woman before he went away; and
she fretted a great deal, and so became sick. She had no relatives in
Kyôto, and nobody to care for her; and she died in the autumn of the
same year,--on the tenth day of the ninth month...."

                      A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu[2]


    [2] From the old story-book, _Jikkun-shô_

THERE was once a very pious and learned priest, called Shôku Shônin, who
lived in the province of Harima. For many years he meditated daily upon
the chapter of Fugen-Bosatsu [the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra] in the
Sûtra of the Lotos of the Good Law; and he used to pray, every morning
and evening, that he might at some time be permitted to behold
Fugen-Bosatsu as a living presence, and in the form described in the
holy text.[3]

    [3] The priest's desire was probably inspired by the promises
        recorded in the chapter entitled "The Encouragement of
        Samantabhadra" (see Kern's translation of the Saddharma
        Pundarîka in the _Sacred Books of the East_,--pp.
        433-434):--"Then the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Samantabhadra
        said to the Lord: ... 'When a preacher who applies himself
        to this Dharmaparyâya shall take a walk, then, O Lord, will
        I mount a white elephant with six tusks, and betake myself
        to the place where that preacher is walking, in order to
        protect this Dharmaparyâya. And when that preacher, applying
        himself to this Dharmaparyâya, forgets, be it but a single
        word or syllable, then will I mount the white elephant with
        six tusks, and show my face to that preacher, and repeat
        this entire Dharmaparyâya."--But these promises refer to
        "the end of time."

One evening, while he was reciting the Sûtra, drowsiness overcame him;
and he fell asleep leaning upon his _kyôsoku_.[4] Then he dreamed; and
in his dream a voice told him that, in order to see Fugen-Bosatsu,
he must go to the house of a certain courtesan, known as the
"Yujô-no-Chôja,"[5] who lived in the town of Kanzaki. Immediately upon
awakening he resolved to go to Kanzaki;--and, making all possible haste,
he reached the town by the evening of the next day.

    [4] The _Kyôsoku_ is a kind of padded arm-rest, or arm-stool,
        upon which the priest leans one arm while reading. The use
        of such an arm-rest is not confined, however, to the
        Buddhist clergy.

    [5] A yujô, in old days, was a singing-girl as well as a
        courtesan. The term "Yujô-no-Chôja," in this case, would
        mean simply "the first (or best) of yujô."

When he entered the house of the _yujô_, he found many persons already
there assembled--mostly young men of the capital, who had been attracted
to Kanzaki by the fame of the woman's beauty. They were feasting and
drinking; and the _yujô_ was playing a small hand-drum (_tsuzumi_),
which she used very skilfully, and singing a song. The song which she
sang was an old Japanese song about a famous shrine in the town of
Murozumi; and the words were these:--

    _Within the sacred water-tank[6] of Murozumi in Suwô,
    Even though no wind be blowing,
    The surface of the water is always rippling._

        [6] _Mitarai_. _Mitarai_ (or _mitarashi_) is the name
            especially given to the water-tanks, or water-fonts--of
            stone or bronze--placed before Shintô shrines in order
            that the worshipper may purify his lips and hands before
            making prayer. Buddhist tanks are not so named.

The sweetness of the voice filled everybody with surprise and delight.
As the priest, who had taken a place apart, listened and wondered, the
girl suddenly fixed her eyes upon him; and in the same instant he saw
her form change into the form of Fugen-Bosatsu, emitting from her brow a
beam of light that seemed to pierce beyond the limits of the universe,
and riding a snow-white elephant with six tusks. And still she sang--but
the song also was now transformed; and the words came thus to the ears
of the priest:--

    _On the Vast Sea of Cessation,
    Though the Winds of the Six Desires and of the Five Corruptions
        never blow,
    Yet the surface of that deep is always covered
    With the billowings of Attainment to the Reality-in-Itself._

Dazzled by the divine ray, the priest closed his eyes: but through their
lids he still distinctly saw the vision. When he opened them again, it
was gone: he saw only the girl with her hand-drum, and heard only the
song about the water of Murozumi. But he found that as often as he shut
his eyes he could see Fugen-Bosatsu on the six-tusked elephant, and
could hear the mystic Song of the Sea of Cessation. The other persons
present saw only the _yujô_: they had not beheld the manifestation.

Then the singer suddenly disappeared from the banquet-room--none could
say when or how. From that moment the revelry ceased; and gloom took
the place of joy. After having waited and sought for the girl to no
purpose, the company dispersed in great sorrow. Last of all, the priest
departed, bewildered by the emotions of the evening. But scarcely had
he passed beyond the gate, when the _yujô_ appeared before him, and
said:--"Friend, do not speak yet to any one of what you have seen this
night." And with these words she vanished away,--leaving the air filled
with a delicious fragrance.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The monk by whom the foregoing legend was recorded, comments upon it
thus:--The condition of a _yujô_ is low and miserable, since she is
condemned to serve the lusts of men. Who therefore could imagine
that such a woman might be the _nirmanakaya_, or incarnation, of a
Bodhisattva. But we must remember that the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas
may appear in this world in countless different forms; choosing,
for the purpose of their divine compassion, even the most humble or
contemptible shapes when such shapes can serve them to lead men into
the true path, and to save them from the perils of illusion.

                          The Screen-Maiden[7]


    [7] Related in the _Otogi-Hyaku-Monogatari_

SAYS the old Japanese author, Hakubai-En Rosui:--[8]

"In Chinese and in Japanese books there are related many stories,--both
of ancient and of modern times,--about pictures that were so beautiful
as to exercise a magical influence upon the beholder. And concerning
such beautiful pictures,--whether pictures of flowers or of birds or of
people, painted by famous artists,--it is further told that the shapes
of the creatures or the persons, therein depicted, would separate
themselves from the paper or the silk upon which they had been painted,
and would perform various acts;--so that they became, by their own will,
really alive. We shall not now repeat any of the stories of this
class which have been known to everybody from ancient times. But
even in modern times the fame of the pictures painted by Hishigawa
Kichibei--'Hishigawa's Portraits'--has become widespread in the land."

    [8] He died in the eighteenth year of Kyôhô (1733). The painter
        to whom he refers--better known to collectors as Hishigawa
        Kichibei Moronobu--flourished during the latter part of the
        seventeenth century. Beginning his career as a dyer's
        apprentice, he won his reputation as an artist about 1680,
        when he may be said to have founded the _Ukiyo-yé_ school of
        illustration. Hishigawa was especially a delineator of what
        are called _fûryû_, ("elegant manners"),--the aspects of
        life among the upper classes of society.

He then proceeds to relate the following story about one of the
so-called portraits:--

    There was a young scholar of Kyôto whose name was Tokkei. He
    used to live in the street called Muromachi. One evening,
    while on his way home after a visit, his attention was attracted
    by an old single-leaf screen (_tsuitaté_), exposed for sale
    before the shop of a dealer in second-hand goods. It was only
    a paper-covered screen; but there was painted upon it the
    full-length figure of a girl which caught the young man's
    fancy. The price asked was very small: Tokkei bought the
    screen, and took it home with him.

    When he looked again at the screen, in the solitude of his
    own room, the picture seemed to him much more beautiful than
    before. Apparently it was a real likeness,--the portrait of a
    girl fifteen or sixteen years old; and every little detail
    in the painting of the hair, eyes, eyelashes, mouth, had
    been executed with a delicacy and a truth beyond praise. The
    _manajiri_[9] seemed "like a lotos-blossom courting favor"; the
    lips were "like the smile of a red flower"; the whole young face
    was inexpressibly sweet. If the real girl so portrayed had been
    equally lovely, no man could have looked upon her without losing
    his heart. And Tokkei believed that she must have been thus
    lovely;--for the figure seemed alive,--ready to reply to anybody
    who might speak to it.

        [9] Also written _méjiri_,--the exterior canthus of the
            eye. The Japanese (like the old Greek and the old
            Arabian poets) have many curious dainty words and
            similes to express particular beauties of the hair,
            eyes, eyelids, lips, fingers, etc.

    Gradually, as he continued to gaze at the picture, he felt
    himself bewitched by the charm of it. "Can there really have
    been in this world," he murmured to himself, "so delicious a
    creature? How gladly would I give my life--nay, a thousand
    years of life!--to hold her in my arms even for a moment!" (The
    Japanese author says "for a few seconds.") In short, he became
    enamoured of the picture,--so much enamoured of it as to feel
    that he never could love any woman except the person whom it
    represented. Yet that person, if still alive, could no longer
    resemble the painting: perhaps she had been buried long before
    he was born!

    Day by day, nevertheless, this hopeless passion grew upon
    him. He could not eat; he could not sleep: neither could he
    occupy his mind with those studies which had formerly delighted
    him. He would sit for hours before the picture, talking to
    it,--neglecting or forgetting everything else. And at last he
    fell sick--so sick that he believed himself going to die.

    Now among the friends of Tokkei there was one venerable scholar
    who knew many strange things about old pictures and about young
    hearts. This aged scholar, hearing of Tokkei's illness, came to
    visit him, and saw the screen, and understood what had happened.
    Then Tokkei, being questioned, confessed everything to his
    friend, and declared:--"If I cannot find such a woman, I shall

    The old man said:--

    "That picture was painted by Hishigawa Kichibei,--painted from
    life. The person whom it represented is not now in the world.
    But it is said that Hishigawa Kichibei painted her mind as well
    as her form, and that her spirit lives in the picture. So I
    think that you can win her."

    Tokkei half rose from his bed, and stared eagerly at the

    "You must give her a name," the old man continued;--"and you
    must sit before her picture every day, and keep your thoughts
    constantly fixed upon her, and call her gently by the name which
    you have given her, _until she answers you_...."

    "Answers me!" exclaimed the lover, in breathless amazement.

    "Oh, yes," the adviser responded, "she will certainly answer
    you. But you must be ready, when she answers you, to present her
    with what I am going to tell you...."

    "I will give her my life!" cried Tokkei.

    "No," said the old man;--"you will present her with a cup of
    wine that has been bought at one hundred different wine-shops.
    Then she will come out of the screen to accept the wine. After
    that, probably she herself will tell you what to do."

    With these words the old man went away. His advice aroused
    Tokkei from despair. At once he seated himself before the
    picture, and called it by the name of a girl--(what name the
    Japanese narrator has forgotten to tell us)--over and over
    again, very tenderly. That day it made no answer, nor the next
    day, nor the next. But Tokkei did not lose faith or patience;
    and after many days it suddenly one evening answered to its

    "_Hai!_" (Yes.)

    Then quickly, quickly, some of the wine from a hundred different
    wine-shops was poured out, and reverentially presented in a
    little cup. And the girl stepped from the screen, and walked
    upon the matting of the room, and knelt to take the cup from
    Tokkei's hand,--asking, with a delicious smile:--

    "How could you love me so much?"

    Says the Japanese narrator: "She was much more beautiful than the
    picture,--beautiful to the tips of her finger-nails,--beautiful
    also in heart and temper,--lovelier than anybody else in the
    world." What answer Tokkei made to her question is not recorded:
    it will have to be imagined.

    "But will you not soon get tired of me?" she asked.

    "Never while I live!" he protested.

    "And after--?" she persisted;--for the Japanese bride is not
    satisfied with love for one life-time only.

    "Let us pledge ourselves to each other," he entreated, "for the
    time of seven existences."

    "If you are ever unkind to me," she said, "I will go back to the

                   *       *       *       *       *

    They pledged each other. I suppose that Tokkei was a good
    boy,--for his bride never returned to the screen. The space that
    she had occupied upon it remained a blank.

                   *       *       *       *       *

    Exclaims the Japanese author,--

    "How very seldom do such things happen in this world!"

                          The Corpse-Rider[10]


    [10] From the _Konséki-Monogatari_

THE body was cold as ice; the heart had long ceased to beat: yet there
were no other signs of death. Nobody even spoke of burying the woman.
She had died of grief and anger at having been divorced. It would have
been useless to bury her,--because the last undying wish of a dying
person for vengeance can burst asunder any tomb and rift the heaviest
graveyard stone. People who lived near the house in which she was lying
fled from their homes. They knew that she was only _waiting for the
return of the man who had divorced her_.

At the time of her death he was on a journey. When he came back and was
told what had happened, terror seized him. "If I can find no help before
dark," he thought to himself, "she will tear me to pieces." It was yet
only the Hour of the Dragon;[11] but he knew that he had no time to

    [11] _Tatsu no Koku_, or the Hour of the Dragon, by old Japanese
         time, began at about eight o'clock in the morning.

He went at once to an _inyôshi_[12] and begged for succor. The _inyôshi_
knew the story of the dead woman; and he had seen the body. He said to
the supplicant:--"A very great danger threatens you. I will try to save
you. But you must promise to do whatever I shall tell you to do. There
is only one way by which you can be saved. It is a fearful way. But
unless you find the courage to attempt it, she will tear you limb from
limb. If you can be brave, come to me again in the evening before
sunset." The man shuddered; but he promised to do whatever should be
required of him.

    [12] _Inyôshi_, a professor or master of the science of
         _in-yô_,--the old Chinese nature-philosophy, based upon the
         theory of a male and a female principle pervading the

                   *       *       *       *       *

At sunset the _inyôshi_ went with him to the house where the body was
lying. The _inyôshi_ pushed open the sliding-doors, and told his client
to enter. It was rapidly growing dark. "I dare not!" gasped the man,
quaking from head to foot;--"I dare not even look at her!" "You will
have to do much more than look at her," declared the _inyôshi_;--"and
you promised to obey. Go in!" He forced the trembler into the house and
led him to the side of the corpse.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The dead woman was lying on her face. "Now you must get astride upon
her," said the _inyôshi_, "and sit firmly on her back, as if you were
riding a horse.... Come!--you must do it!" The man shivered so that the
_inyôshi_ had to support him--shivered horribly; but he obeyed. "Now
take her hair in your hands," commanded the _inyôshi_,--"half in the
right hand, half in the left.... So!... You must grip it like a bridle.
Twist your hands in it--both hands--tightly. That is the way!... Listen
to me! You must stay like that till morning. You will have reason to be
afraid in the night--plenty of reason. But whatever may happen, never
let go of her hair. If you let go,--even for one second,--she will tear
you into gobbets!"

The _inyôshi_ then whispered some mysterious words into the ear of the
body, and said to its rider:--"Now, for my own sake, I must leave you
alone with her.... Remain as you are!... Above all things, remember that
you must not let go of her hair." And he went away,--closing the doors
behind him.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Hour after hour the man sat upon the corpse in black fear;--and the hush
of the night deepened and deepened about him till he screamed to break
it. Instantly the body sprang beneath him, as to cast him off; and the
dead woman cried out loudly, "Oh, how heavy it is! Yet I shall bring
that fellow here now!"

Then tall she rose, and leaped to the doors, and flung them open, and
rushed into the night,--always bearing the weight of the man. But he,
shutting his eyes, kept his hands twisted in her long hair,--tightly,
tightly,--though fearing with such a fear that he could not even moan.
How far she went, he never knew. He saw nothing: he heard only the sound
of her naked feet in the dark,--_picha-picha_, _picha-picha_,--and the
hiss of her breathing as she ran.

At last she turned, and ran back into the house, and lay down upon the
floor exactly as at first. Under the man she panted and moaned till the
cocks began to crow. Thereafter she lay still.

But the man, with chattering teeth, sat upon her until the _inyôshi_
came at sunrise. "So you did not let go of her hair!"--observed the
_inyôshi_, greatly pleased. "That is well ... Now you can stand up." He
whispered again into the ear of the corpse, and then said to the
man:--"You must have passed a fearful night; but nothing else could have
saved you. Hereafter you may feel secure from her vengeance."


The conclusion of this story I do not think to be morally satisfying.
It is not recorded that the corpse-rider became insane, or that his
hair turned white: we are told only that "he worshipped the _inyôshi_
with tears of gratitude." A note appended to the recital is equally
disappointing. "It is reported," the Japanese author says, "that a
grandchild of the man [_who rode the corpse_] still survives, and that a
grandson of the _inyôshi_ is at this very time living in a village
called Otokunoi-mura [_probably pronounced Otonoi-mura_]."

This village-name does not appear in any Japanese directory of to-day.
But the names of many towns and villages have been changed since the
foregoing story was written.

                       The Sympathy of Benten[13]


    [13] The original story is in the _Otogi-Hyaku-Monogatari_

IN Kyôto there is a famous temple called Amadera. Sadazumi Shinnô, the
fifth son of the Emperor Seiwa, passed the greater part of his life
there as a priest; and the graves of many celebrated persons are to be
seen in the temple-grounds.

But the present edifice is not the ancient Amadera. The original temple,
after the lapse of ten centuries, fell into such decay that it had to be
entirely rebuilt in the fourteenth year of Genroku (1701 A. D.).

A great festival was held to celebrate the rebuilding of the Amadera;
and among the thousands of persons who attended that festival there was
a young scholar and poet named Hanagaki Baishû. He wandered about the
newly-laid-out grounds and gardens, delighted by all that he saw, until
he reached the place of a spring at which he had often drunk in former
times. He was then surprised to find that the soil about the spring had
been dug away, so as to form a square pond, and that at one corner of
this pond there had been set up a wooden tablet bearing the words
_Tanjô-Sui_ ("Birth-Water").[14] He also saw that a small, but very
handsome temple of the Goddess Benten had been erected beside the pond.
While he was looking at this new temple, a sudden gust of wind blew to
his feet a _tanzaku_,[15] on which the following poem had been written:--

              Shirushi aréto
            Iwai zo somuru
              Tama hôki,
            Toruté bakari no
            Chigiri narétomo.

    [14] The word _tanjô_ (birth) should here be understood in its
         mystical Buddhist meaning of new life or rebirth, rather
         than in the western signification of birth.

    [15] _Tanzaku_ is the name given to the long strips or ribbons
         of paper, usually colored, upon which poems are written
         perpendicularly. Poems written upon _tanzaku_ are suspended
         to trees in flower, to wind-bells, to any beautiful object
         in which the poet has found an inspiration.

This poem--a poem on first love (_hatsu koi_), composed by the famous
Shunrei Kyô--was not unfamiliar to him; but it had been written upon
the _tanzaku_ by a female hand, and so exquisitely that he could
scarcely believe his eyes. Something in the form of the characters,--an
indefinite grace,--suggested that period of youth between childhood and
womanhood; and the pure rich color of the ink seemed to bespeak the
purity and goodness of the writer's heart.[16]

    [16] It is difficult for the inexperienced European eye to
         distinguish in Chinese or Japanese writing those
         characteristics implied by our term "hand"--in the sense of
         individual style. But the Japanese scholar never forgets
         the peculiarities of a handwriting once seen; and he can
         even guess at the approximate age of the writer. Chinese
         and Japanese authors claim that the color (quality) of the
         ink used tells something of the character of the writer. As
         every person grounds or prepares his or her own ink, the
         deeper and clearer black would at least indicate something
         of personal carefulness and of the sense of beauty.

Baishû carefully folded up the _tanzaku_, and took it home with him.
When he looked at it again the writing appeared to him even more
wonderful than at first. His knowledge in caligraphy assured him only
that the poem had been written by some girl who was very young, very
intelligent, and probably very gentle-hearted. But this assurance
sufficed to shape within his mind the image of a very charming person;
and he soon found himself in love with the unknown. Then his first
resolve was to seek out the writer of the verses, and, if possible, make
her his wife.... Yet how was he to find her? Who was she? Where did she
live? Certainly he could hope to find her only through the favor of the

But presently it occurred to him that the Gods might be very willing
to lend their aid. The _tanzaku_ had come to him while he was
standing in front of the temple of Benten-Sama; and it was to this
divinity in particular that lovers were wont to pray for happy union.
This reflection impelled him to beseech the Goddess for assistance.
He went at once to the temple of Benten-of-the-Birth-Water
(_Tanjô-sui-no-Benten_) in the grounds of the Amadera; and there, with
all the fervor of his heart, he made his petition:--"O Goddess, pity
me!--help me to find where the young person lives who wrote the
_tanzaku_!--vouchsafe me but one chance to meet her,--even if only for
a moment!" And after having made this prayer, he began to perform a
seven days' religious service (_nanuka-mairi_)[17] in honor of the
Goddess; vowing at the same time to pass the seventh night in ceaseless
worship before her shrine.

    [17] There are many kinds of religious exercises called _mairi_.
         The performer of a _nanuka-mairi_ pledges himself to pray
         at a certain temple every day for seven days in succession.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Now on the seventh night,--the night of his vigil,--during the hour when
the silence is most deep, he heard at the main gateway of the
temple-grounds a voice calling for admittance. Another voice from within
answered; the gate was opened; and Baishû saw an old man of majestic
appearance approaching with slow steps. This venerable person was clad
in robes of ceremony; and he wore upon his snow-white head a black cap
(_eboshi_) of the form indicating high rank. Reaching the little temple
of Benten, he knelt down in front of it, as if respectfully awaiting
some order. Then the outer door of the temple was opened; the hanging
curtain of bamboo behind it, concealing the inner sanctuary, was rolled
half-way up; and a _chigo_[18] came forward,--a beautiful boy, with long
hair tied back in the ancient manner. He stood at the threshold, and
said to the old man in a clear loud voice:--

    [18] The term _chigo_ usually means the page of a noble
         household, especially an Imperial page. The _chigo_ who
         appears in this story is of course a supernatural
         being,--the court-messenger of the Goddess, and her

"There is a person here who has been praying for a love-union not
suitable to his present condition, and otherwise difficult to bring
about. But as the young man is worthy of Our pity, you have been called
to see whether something can be done for him. If there should prove to
be any relation between the parties from the period of a former birth,
you will introduce them to each other."

On receiving this command, the old man bowed respectfully to the
_chigo_: then, rising, he drew from the pocket of his long left sleeve a
crimson cord. One end of this cord he passed round Baishû's body, as if
to bind him with it. The other end he put into the flame of one of the
temple-lamps; and while the cord was there burning, he waved his hand
three times, as if to summon somebody out of the dark.

Immediately, in the direction of the Amadera, a sound of coming steps
was heard; and in another moment a girl appeared,--a charming girl,
fifteen or sixteen years old. She approached gracefully, but very
shyly,--hiding the lower part of her face with a fan; and she knelt down
beside Baishû. The _chigo_ then said to Baishû:--

"Recently you have been suffering much heart-pain; and this desperate
love of yours has even impaired your health. We could not allow you to
remain in so unhappy a condition; and We therefore summoned the
Old-Man-under-the-Moon[19] to make you acquainted with the writer of
that _tanzaku_. She is now beside you."

    [19] _Gekkawô_. This is a poetical appellation for the God
         of Marriage, more usually known as _Musubi-no-kami_.
         Throughout this story there is an interesting mingling of
         Shintô and Buddhist ideas.

With these words, the _chigo_ retired behind the bamboo curtain. Then
the old man went away as he had come; and the young girl followed him.
Simultaneously Baishû heard the great bell of the Amadera sounding the
hour of dawn. He prostrated himself in thanksgiving before the shrine of
Benten-of-the-Birth-Water, and proceeded homeward,--feeling as if
awakened from some delightful dream,--happy at having seen the charming
person whom he had so fervently prayed to meet,--unhappy also because of
the fear that he might never meet her again.

But scarcely had he passed from the gateway into the street, when he saw
a young girl walking alone in the same direction that he was going; and,
even in the dusk of the dawn, he recognized her at once as the person to
whom he had been introduced before the temple of Benten. As he quickened
his pace to overtake her, she turned and saluted him with a graceful
bow. Then for the first time he ventured to speak to her; and she
answered him in a voice of which the sweetness filled his heart with
joy. Through the yet silent streets they walked on, chatting happily,
till they found themselves before the house where Baishû lived. There he
paused--spoke to the girl of his hopes and fears. Smiling, she
asked:--"Do you not know that I was sent for to become your wife?" And
she entered with him.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Becoming his wife, she delighted him beyond expectation by the charm of
her mind and heart. Moreover, he found her to be much more accomplished
than he had supposed. Besides being able to write so wonderfully, she
could paint beautiful pictures; she knew the art of arranging flowers,
the art of embroidery, the art of music; she could weave and sew; and
she knew everything in regard to the management of a house.

                   *       *       *       *       *

It was in the early autumn that the young people had met; and they lived
together in perfect accord until the winter season began. Nothing,
during those months, occurred to disturb their peace. Baishû's love for
his gentle wife only strengthened with the passing of time. Yet,
strangely enough, he remained ignorant of her history,--knew nothing
about her family. Of such matters she had never spoken; and, as the Gods
had given her to him, he imagined that it would not be proper to
question her. But neither the Old-Man-under-the-Moon nor any one else
came--as he had feared--to take her away. Nobody even made any inquiries
about her. And the neighbors, for some undiscoverable reason, acted as
if totally unaware of her presence.

Baishû wondered at all this. But stranger experiences were awaiting

One winter morning he happened to be passing through a somewhat remote
quarter of the city, when he heard himself loudly called by name, and
saw a man-servant making signs to him from the gateway of a private
residence. As Baishû did not know the man's face, and did not have a
single acquaintance in that part of Kyôto, he was more than startled by
so abrupt a summons. But the servant, coming forward, saluted him with
the utmost respect, and said, "My master greatly desires the honor of
speaking with you: deign to enter for a moment." After an instant of
hesitation, Baishû allowed himself to be conducted to the house. A
dignified and richly dressed person, who seemed to be the master,
welcomed him at the entrance, and led him to the guest-room. When the
courtesies due upon a first meeting had been fully exchanged, the host
apologized for the informal manner of his invitation, and said:--

"It must have seemed to you very rude of us to call you in such a way.
But perhaps you will pardon our impoliteness when I tell you that we
acted thus upon what I firmly believe to have been an inspiration from
the Goddess Benten. Now permit me to explain.

"I have a daughter, about sixteen years old, who can write rather
well,[20] and do other things in the common way: she has the ordinary
nature of woman. As we were anxious to make her happy by finding a good
husband for her, we prayed the Goddess Benten to help us; and we sent to
every temple of Benten in the city a _tanzaku_ written by the girl. Some
nights later, the Goddess appeared to me in a dream, and said: 'We have
heard your prayer, and have already introduced your daughter to the
person who is to become her husband. During the coming winter he will
visit you.' As I did not understand this assurance that a presentation
had been made, I felt some doubt; I thought that the dream might have
been only a common dream, signifying nothing. But last night again I saw
Benten-Sama in a dream; and she said to me: 'To-morrow the young man, of
whom I once spoke to you, will come to this street: then you can call
him into your house, and ask him to become the husband of your daughter.
He is a good young man; and later in life he will obtain a much higher
rank than he now holds.' Then Benten-Sama told me your name, your age,
your birthplace, and described your features and dress so exactly that
my servant found no difficulty in recognizing you by the indications
which I was able to give him."

    [20] As it is the old Japanese rule that parents should speak
         depreciatingly of their children's accomplishments the
         phrase "rather well" in this connection would mean, for the
         visitor, "wonderfully well." For the same reason the
         expressions "common way" and "ordinary nature," as
         subsequently used, would imply almost the reverse of the
         literal meaning.

                   *       *       *       *       *

This explanation bewildered Baishû instead of reassuring him; and his
only reply was a formal return of thanks for the honor which the master
of the house had spoken of doing him. But when the host invited him to
another room, for the purpose of presenting him to the young lady, his
embarrassment became extreme. Yet he could not reasonably decline the
introduction. He could not bring himself, under such extraordinary
circumstances, to announce that he already had a wife,--a wife given to
him by the Goddess Benten herself; a wife from whom he could not even
think of separating. So, in silence and trepidation, he followed his
host to the apartment indicated.

Then what was his amazement to discover, when presented to the daughter
of the house, that she was the very same person whom he had already
taken to wife!

_The same,--yet not the same._

She to whom he had been introduced by the Old-Man-under-the-Moon, was
only the soul of the beloved.

She to whom he was now to be wedded, in her father's house, was the

Benten had wrought this miracle for the sake of her worshippers.


The original story breaks off suddenly at this point, leaving several
matters unexplained. The ending is rather unsatisfactory. One would like
to know something about the mental experiences of the real maiden during
the married life of her phantom. One would also like to know what became
of the phantom,--whether it continued to lead an independent existence;
whether it waited patiently for the return of its husband; whether it
paid a visit to the real bride. And the book says nothing about these
things. But a Japanese friend explains the miracle thus:--

"The spirit-bride was really formed out of the _tanzaku_. So it is
possible that the real girl did not know anything about the meeting at
the temple of Benten. When she wrote those beautiful characters upon the
_tanzaku_, something of her spirit passed into them. Therefore it was
possible to evoke from the writing the double of the writer."

                   The Gratitude of the Samébito[21]


    [21] The original of this story may be found in the book called

THERE was a man named Tawaraya Tôtarô, who lived in the Province of Ômi.
His house was situated on the shore of Lake Biwa, not far from the
famous temple called Ishiyamadera. He had some property, and lived in
comfort; but at the age of twenty-nine he was still unmarried. His
greatest ambition was to marry a very beautiful woman; and he had not
been able to find a girl to his liking.

One day, as he was passing over the Long Bridge of Séta,[22] he saw a
strange being crouching close to the parapet. The body of this being
resembled the body of a man, but was black as ink; its face was like the
face of a demon; its eyes were green as emeralds; and its beard was like
the beard of a dragon. Tôtarô was at first very much startled. But the
green eyes looked at him so gently that after a moment's hesitation he
ventured to question the creature. Then it answered him, saying: "I am a
_Samébito_,[23]--a Shark-Man of the sea; and until a short time ago I
was in the service of the Eight Great Dragon-Kings [_Hachi-Dai-Ryû-Ô_]
as a subordinate officer in the Dragon-Palace [_Ryûgû_].[24] But
because of a small fault which I committed, I was dismissed from the
Dragon-Palace, and also banished from the Sea. Since then I have been
wandering about here,--unable to get any food, or even a place to lie
down. If you can feel any pity for me, do, I beseech you, help me to
find a shelter, and let me have something to eat!"

    [22] The Long Bridge of Séta (_Séta-no-Naga-Hashi_), famous in
         Japanese legend, is nearly eight hundred feet in length,
         and commands a beautiful view. This bridge crosses the
         waters of the Sétagawa near the junction of the stream with
         Lake Biwa. Ishiyamadera, one of the most picturesque
         Buddhist temples in Japan, is situated within a short
         distance from the bridge.

    [23] Literally, "a Shark-Person," but in this story the
         _Samébito_ is a male. The characters for _Samébito_ can
         also be read _Kôjin_,--which is the usual reading. In
         dictionaries the word is loosely rendered by "merman" or
         "mermaid;" but as the above description shows, the
         _Samébito_ or _Kôjin_ of the Far East is a conception
         having little in common with the Western idea of a merman
         or mermaid.

    [24] _Ryûgû_ is also the name given to the whole of that
         fairy-realm beneath the sea which figures in so many
         Japanese legends.

This petition was uttered in so plaintive a tone, and in so humble a
manner, that Tôtarô's heart was touched. "Come with me," he said. "There
is in my garden a large and deep pond where you may live as long as you
wish; and I will give you plenty to eat."

The _Samébito_ followed Tôtarô home, and appeared to be much pleased
with the pond.

Thereafter, for nearly half a year, this strange guest dwelt in the
pond, and was every day supplied by Tôtarô with such food as
sea-creatures like.

    [_From this point of the original narrative the Shark-Man is
    referred to, not as a monster, but as a sympathetic Person of
    the male sex._]

Now, in the seventh month of the same year, there was a female
pilgrimage (_nyonin-môdé_) to the great Buddhist temple called Miidera,
in the neighboring town of Ôtsu; and Tôtarô went to Ôtsu to attend the
festival. Among the multitude of women and young girls there assembled,
he observed a person of extraordinary beauty. She seemed about sixteen
years old; her face was fair and pure as snow; and the loveliness of
her lips assured the beholder that their every utterance would sound "as
sweet as the voice of a nightingale singing upon a plum-tree." Tôtarô
fell in love with her at sight. When she left the temple he followed her
at a respectful distance, and discovered that she and her mother were
staying for a few days at a certain house in the neighboring village of
Séta. By questioning some of the village folk, he was able also to learn
that her name was Tamana; that she was unmarried; and that her family
appeared to be unwilling that she should marry a man of ordinary
rank,--for they demanded as a betrothal-gift a casket containing ten
thousand jewels.[25]

    [25] _Tama_ in the original. This word _tama_ has a multitude of
         meanings; and as here used it is quite as indefinite as our
         own terms "jewel," "gem," or "precious stone." Indeed, it
         is more indefinite, for it signifies also a bead of coral,
         a ball of crystal, a polished stone attached to a hairpin,
         etc., etc. Later on, however, I venture to render it by
         "ruby,"--for reasons which need no explanation.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Tôtarô returned home very much dismayed by this information. The more
that he thought about the strange betrothal-gift demanded by the girl's
parents, the more he felt that he could never expect to obtain her for
his wife. Even supposing that there were as many as ten thousand jewels
in the whole country, only a great prince could hope to procure them.

But not even for a single hour could Tôtarô banish from his mind the
memory of that beautiful being. It haunted him so that he could neither
eat nor sleep; and it seemed to become more and more vivid as the days
went by. And at last he became ill,--so ill that he could not lift his
head from the pillow. Then he sent for a doctor.

The doctor, after having made a careful examination, uttered an
exclamation of surprise. "Almost any kind of sickness," he said, "can be
cured by proper medical treatment, except the sickness of love. Your
ailment is evidently love-sickness. There is no cure for it. In ancient
times Rôya-Ô Hakuyo died of that sickness; and you must prepare yourself
to die as he died." So saying, the doctor went away, without even giving
any medicine to Tôtarô.

                   *       *       *       *       *

About this time the Shark-Man that was living in the garden-pond heard
of his master's sickness, and came into the house to wait upon Tôtarô.
And he tended him with the utmost affection both by day and by night.
But he did not know either the cause or the serious nature of the
sickness until nearly a week later, when Tôtarô, thinking himself about
to die, uttered these words of farewell:--

"I suppose that I have had the pleasure of caring for you thus long,
because of some relation that grew up between us in a former state of
existence. But now I am very sick indeed, and every day my sickness
becomes worse; and my life is like the morning dew which passes away
before the setting of the sun. For your sake, therefore, I am troubled
in mind. Your existence has depended upon my care; and I fear that there
will be no one to care for you and to feed you when I am dead.... My
poor friend!... Alas! our hopes and our wishes are always disappointed
in this unhappy world!"

No sooner had Tôtarô spoken these words than the Samébito uttered a
strange wild cry of pain, and began to weep bitterly. And as he wept,
great tears of blood streamed from his green eyes and rolled down his
black cheeks and dripped upon the floor. And, falling, they were blood;
but, having fallen, they became hard and bright and beautiful,--became
jewels of inestimable price, rubies splendid as crimson fire. For when
men of the sea weep, their tears become precious stones.

Then Tôtarô, beholding this marvel, was so amazed and overjoyed that his
strength returned to him. He sprang from his bed, and began to pick up
and to count the tears of the Shark-Man, crying out the while: "My
sickness is cured! I shall live! I shall live!"

Therewith, the Shark-Man, greatly astonished, ceased to weep, and asked
Tôtarô to explain this wonderful cure; and Tôtarô told him about the
young person seen at Miidera, and about the extraordinary marriage-gift
demanded by her family. "As I felt sure," added Tôtarô, "that I should
never be able to get ten thousand jewels, I supposed that my suit would
be hopeless. Then I became very unhappy, and at last fell sick. But now,
because of your generous weeping, I have many precious stones; and I
think that I shall be able to marry that girl. Only--there are not yet
quite enough stones; and I beg that you will be good enough to weep a
little more, so as to make up the full number required."

But at this request the Samébito shook his head, and answered in a tone
of surprise and of reproach:--

"Do you think that I am like a harlot,--able to weep whenever I wish?
Oh, no! Harlots shed tears in order to deceive men; but creatures of the
sea cannot weep without feeling real sorrow. I wept for you because of
the true grief that I felt in my heart at the thought that you were
going to die. But now I cannot weep for you, because you have told me
that your sickness is cured."

"Then what am I to do?" plaintively asked Tôtarô. "Unless I can get ten
thousand jewels, I cannot marry the girl!"

The Samébito remained for a little while silent, as if thinking. Then he

"Listen! To-day I cannot possibly weep any more. But to-morrow let us go
together to the Long Bridge of Séta, taking with us some wine and some
fish. We can rest for a time on the bridge; and while we are drinking
the wine and eating the fish, I shall gaze in the direction of the
Dragon-Palace, and try, by thinking of the happy days that I spent
there, to make myself feel homesick--so that I can weep."

Tôtarô joyfully assented.

Next morning the two, taking plenty of wine and fish with them, went to
the Séta bridge, and rested there, and feasted. After having drunk a
great deal of wine, the Samébito began to gaze in the direction of the
Dragon-Kingdom, and to think about the past. And gradually, under the
softening influence of the wine, the memory of happier days filled his
heart with sorrow, and the pain of homesickness came upon him, so that
he could weep profusely. And the great red tears that he shed fell upon
the bridge in a shower of rubies; and Tôtarô gathered them as they fell,
and put them into a casket, and counted them until he had counted the
full number of ten thousand. Then he uttered a shout of joy.

Almost in the same moment, from far away over the lake, a delightful
sound of music was heard; and there appeared in the offing, slowly
rising from the waters, like some fabric of cloud, a palace of the color
of the setting sun.

At once the Samébito sprang upon the parapet of the bridge, and looked,
and laughed for joy. Then, turning to Tôtarô, he said:--

"There must have been a general amnesty proclaimed in the Dragon-Realm;
the Kings are calling me. So now I must bid you farewell. I am happy to
have had one chance of befriending you in return for your goodness to

With these words he leaped from the bridge; and no man ever saw him
again. But Tôtarô presented the casket of red jewels to the parents of
Tamana, and so obtained her in marriage.

                            JAPANESE STUDIES


                                ... Life ere long
                Came on me in the public ways, and bent
                Eyes deeper than of old: Death met I too,
                         And saw the dawn glow through.
                                          --GEORGE MEREDITH

                        [Illustration: PLATE I.
            1-2, _Young Sémi_.
            3-4, _Haru-Zémi_, also called _Nawashiro-Zémi_.]



                              Koë ni mina
                           Naki-shimôté ya--
                              Sémi no kara!
                                    --_Japanese Love-Song_

    The voice having been all consumed by crying, there remains only
                        the shell of the _sémi!_


A CELEBRATED Chinese scholar, known in Japanese literature as Riku-Un,
wrote the following quaint account of the Five Virtues of the Cicada:--

    "I.--The Cicada has upon its head certain figures or signs.[26]
    These represent its [written] characters, style, literature.

        [26] The curious markings on the head of one variety of
             Japanese _sémi_ are believed to be characters which
             are names of souls.

    "II.--It eats nothing belonging to earth, and drinks only dew.
    This proves its cleanliness, purity, propriety.

    "III.--It always appears at a certain fixed time. This proves
    its fidelity, sincerity, truthfulness.

    "IV.--It will not accept wheat or rice. This proves its probity,
    uprightness, honesty.

    "V.--It does not make for itself any nest to live in. This
    proves its frugality, thrift, economy."

                   *       *       *       *       *

We might compare this with the beautiful address of Anacreon to the
cicada, written twenty-four hundred years ago: on more than one point
the Greek poet and the Chinese sage are in perfect accord:--

    "_We deem thee happy, O Cicada, because, having drunk, like a
    king, only a little dew, thou dost chirrup on the tops of trees.
    For all things whatsoever that thou seest in the fields are
    thine, and whatsoever the seasons bring forth. Yet art thou
    the friend of the tillers of the land,--from no one harmfully
    taking aught. By mortals thou art held in honor as the pleasant
    harbinger of summer; and the Muses love thee. Phoebus himself
    loves thee, and has given thee a shrill song. And old age does
    not consume thee. O thou gifted one,--earth-born, song-loving,
    free from pain, having flesh without blood,--thou art nearly
    equal to the Gods!_"[27]

        [27] In this and other citations from the Greek
             anthology, I have depended upon Burges'

And we must certainly go back to the old Greek literature in order to
find a poetry comparable to that of the Japanese on the subject of
musical insects. Perhaps of Greek verses on the cricket, the most
beautiful are the lines of Meleager: "_O cricket, the soother of slumber
... weaving the thread of a voice that causes love to wander away!_" ...
There are Japanese poems scarcely less delicate in sentiment on the
chirruping of night-crickets; and Meleager's promise to reward the
little singer with gifts of fresh leek, and with "drops of dew cut up
small," sounds strangely Japanese. Then the poem attributed to Anyté,
about the little girl Myro making a tomb for her pet cicada and
cricket, and weeping because Hades, "hard to be persuaded," had taken
her playthings away, represents an experience familiar to Japanese
child-life. I suppose that little Myro--(how freshly her tears still
glisten, after seven and twenty centuries!)--prepared that "common tomb"
for her pets much as the little maid of Nippon would do to-day, putting
a small stone on top to serve for a monument. But the wiser Japanese
Myro would repeat over the grave a certain Buddhist prayer.

It is especially in their poems upon the cicada that we find the old
Greeks confessing their love of insect-melody: witness the lines in the
Anthology about the tettix caught in a spider's snare, and "making
lament in the thin fetters" until freed by the poet;--and the verses by
Leonidas of Tarentum picturing the "unpaid minstrel to wayfaring men"
as "sitting upon lofty trees, warmed with the great heat of summer,
sipping the dew that is like woman's milk;"--and the dainty fragment of
Meleager, beginning: "_Thou vocal tettix, drunk with drops of dew,
sitting with thy serrated limbs upon the tops of petals, thou givest
out the melody of the lyre from thy dusky skin_." ... Or take the
charming address of Evenus to a nightingale:--

    "_Thou Attic maiden, honey-fed, hast chirping seized a chirping
    cicada, and bearest it to thy unfledged young,--thou, a twitterer,
    the twitterer,--thou, the winged, the well-winged,--thou, a
    stranger, the stranger,--thou, a summer-child, the summer-child!
    Wilt thou not quickly cast it from thee? For it is not right, it
    is not just, that those engaged in song should perish by the
    mouths of those engaged in song._"

On the other hand, we find Japanese poets much more inclined to praise
the voices of night-crickets than those of sémi. There are countless
poems about sémi, but very few which commend their singing. Of course
the sémi are very different from the cicadæ known to the Greeks. Some
varieties are truly musical; but the majority are astonishingly
noisy,--so noisy that their stridulation is considered one of the great
afflictions of summer. Therefore it were vain to seek among the myriads
of Japanese verses on sémi for anything comparable to the lines of
Evenus above quoted; indeed, the only Japanese poem that I could find on
the subject of a cicada caught by a bird, was the following:--

                              Ana kanashi!
                            Tobi ni toraruru
                              Sémi no koë.

         Ah! how piteous the cry of the sémi seized by the kite!

Or "caught by a boy" the poet might equally well have observed,--this
being a much more frequent cause of the pitiful cry. The lament of
Nicias for the tettix would serve as the elegy of many a sémi:--

    "_No more shall I delight myself by sending out a sound from my
    quick-moving wings, because I have fallen into the savage hand
    of a boy, who seized me unexpectedly, as I was sitting under the
    green leaves._"

Here I may remark that Japanese children usually capture sémi by means
of a long slender bamboo tipped with bird-lime (_mochi_). The sound made
by some kinds of sémi when caught is really pitiful,--quite as pitiful
as the twitter of a terrified bird. One finds it difficult to persuade
oneself that the noise is not a _voice_ of anguish, in the human sense
of the word "voice," but the production of a specialized exterior
membrane. Recently, on hearing a captured sémi thus scream, I became
convinced in quite a new way that the stridulatory apparatus of certain
insects must not be thought of as a kind of musical instrument, but
as an organ of speech, and that its utterances are as intimately
associated with simple forms of emotion, as are the notes of a
bird,--the extraordinary difference being that the insect has its vocal
chords _outside_. But the insect-world is altogether a world of goblins
and fairies: creatures with organs of which we cannot discover the use,
and senses of which we cannot imagine the nature;--creatures with
myriads of eyes, or with eyes in their backs, or with eyes moving about
at the ends of trunks and horns;--creatures with ears in their legs and
bellies, or with brains in their waists! If some of them happen to have
voices outside of their bodies instead of inside, the fact ought not to
surprise anybody.

                   *       *       *       *       *

I have not yet succeeded in finding any Japanese verses alluding to the
stridulatory apparatus of sémi,--though I think it probable that such
verses exist. Certainly the Japanese have been for centuries familiar
with the peculiarities of their own singing insects. But I should not
now presume to say that their poets are incorrect in speaking of the
"voices" of crickets and of cicadæ. The old Greek poets who actually
describe insects as producing music with their wings and feet,
nevertheless speak of the "voices," the "songs," and the "chirruping" of
such creatures,--just as the Japanese poets do. For example, Meleager
thus addresses the cricket:

    "_O thou that art with shrill wings the self-formed imitation of
    the lyre, chirrup me something pleasant while beating your vocal
    wings with your feet!_ ..."


BEFORE speaking further of the poetical literature of sémi, I must
attempt a few remarks about the sémi themselves. But the reader need
not expect anything entomological. Excepting, perhaps, the butterflies,
the insects of Japan are still little known to men of science; and all
that I can say about sémi has been learned from inquiry, from personal
observation, and from old Japanese books of an interesting but totally
unscientific kind. Not only do the authors contradict each other as to
the names and characteristics of the best-known sémi; they attach the
word sémi to names of insects which are not cicadæ.

The following enumeration of sémi is certainly incomplete; but I believe
that it includes the better-known varieties and the best melodists. I
must ask the reader, however, to bear in mind that the time of the
appearance of certain sémi differs in different parts of Japan; that
the same kind of sémi may be called by different names in different
provinces; and that these notes have been written in Tôkyô.


VARIOUS small sémi appear in the spring. But the first of the big sémi
to make itself heard is the _haru-zémi_ ("spring-sémi"), also called
_uma-zémi_ ("horse-sémi"), _kuma-zémi_ ("bear-sémi"), and other names.
It makes a shrill wheezing sound,--_ji-i-i-i-i-iiiiiiii_,--beginning
low, and gradually rising to a pitch of painful intensity. No other
cicada is so noisy as the _haru-zémi;_ but the life of the creature
appears to end with the season. Probably this is the sémi referred to in
an old Japanese poem:--

                             Hatsu-sémi ya!
                           "Koré wa atsui" to
                             Iu hi yori.

    The day after the first day on which we exclaim, "Oh, how hot
    it is!" the first sémi begins to cry.

                        [Illustration: PLATE II.
               Also called _Yama-Zémi_, and _Kuma-Zémi_.]


THE _shinné-shinné_--also called _yama-zémi_, or "mountain-sémi";
_kuma-zémi_, or "bear-sémi"; and _ô-sémi_, or "great sémi"--begins to
sing as early as May. It is a very large insect. The upper part of the
body is almost black, and the belly a silvery-white; the head has
curious red markings. The name _shinné-shinné_ is derived from the note
of the creature, which resembles a quick continual repetition of the
syllables _shinné_. About Kyôto this sémi is common: it is rarely heard
in Tôkyô.

[My first opportunity to examine an _ô-sémi_ was in Shidzuoka. Its
utterance is much more complex than the Japanese onomatope implies; I
should liken it to the noise of a sewing-machine in full operation.
There is a double sound: you hear not only the succession of sharp
metallic clickings, but also, below these, a slower series of dull
clanking tones. The stridulatory organs are light green, looking almost
like a pair of tiny green leaves attached to the thorax.]

                       [Illustration: PLATE III.


THE _aburazémi_, or "oil-sémi," makes its appearance early in the
summer. I am told that it owes its name to the fact that its
shrilling resembles the sound of oil or grease frying in a pan. Some
writers say that the shrilling resembles the sound of the syllables
_gacharin-gacharin_; but others compare it to the noise of water
boiling. The _aburazémi_ begins to chant about sunrise; then a great
soft hissing seems to ascend from all the trees. At such an hour, when
the foliage of woods and gardens still sparkles with dew, might have
been composed the following verse,--the only one in my collection
relating to the _aburazémi_:--

                               Ano koë dé
                         Tsuyu ga inochi ka?--

    Speaking with that voice, has the dew taken life?--Only the

                        [Illustration: PLATE IV.
           1-2, _Mugikari-Zémi_, also called _Goshiki-Zémi_.
             3, _Higurashi_.
             4, "_Min-Min-Zémi_."]


THE _mugi-kari-zémi_, or "barley-harvest sémi," also called
_goshiki-zémi_, or "five-colored sémi," appears early in the summer. It
makes two distinct sounds in different keys, resembling the syllables
_shi-in, shin--chi-i, chi-i_.

                     V.--HIGURASHI, OR "KANA-KANA."

THIS insect, whose name signifies "day-darkening," is the most
remarkable of all the Japanese cicadæ. It is not the finest singer
among them; but even as a melodist it ranks second only to the
_tsuku-tsuku-bôshi_. It is the special minstrel of twilight,
singing only at dawn and sunset; whereas most of the other sémi
make their music only in the full blaze of day, pausing even when
rain-clouds obscure the sun. In Tôkyô the _higurashi_ usually
appears about the end of June, or the beginning of July. Its wonderful
cry,--_kana-kana-kana-kana-kana_,--beginning always in a very high
clear key, and slowly descending, is almost exactly like the sound of
a good hand-bell, very quickly rung. It is not a clashing sound, as of
violent ringing; it is quick, steady, and of surprising sonority. I
believe that a single _higurashi_ can be plainly heard a quarter of a
mile away; yet, as the old Japanese poet Yayû observed, "no matter
how many _higurashi_ be singing together, we never find them noisy."
Though powerful and penetrating as a resonance of metal, the
_higurashi's_ call is musical even to the degree of sweetness; and
there is a peculiar melancholy in it that accords with the hour of
gloaming. But the most astonishing fact in regard to the cry of the
_higurashi_ is the individual quality characterizing the note of each
insect. No two _higurashi_ sing precisely in the same tone. If you
hear a dozen of them singing at once, you will find that the timbre of
each voice is recognizably different from every other. Certain notes
ring like silver, others vibrate like bronze; and, besides varieties
of timbre suggesting bells of various weight and composition, there
are even differences in tone, that suggest different _forms_ of bell.

I have already said that the name _higurashi_ means "day-darkening,"--in
the sense of twilight, gloaming, dusk; and there are many Japanese
verses containing plays on the word,--the poets affecting to believe, as
in the following example, that the crying of the insect hastens the
coming of darkness:--

                                Higurashi ya!
                                Kururu hi wo.

    O Higurashi!--even if you let it alone, day darkens fast

This, intended to express a melancholy mood, may seem to the Western
reader far-fetched. But another little poem--referring to the effect of
the sound upon the conscience of an idler--will be appreciated by any
one accustomed to hear the _higurashi_. I may observe, in this
connection, that the first clear evening cry of the insect is quite as
startling as the sudden ringing of a bell:--

                              Higurashi ya!
                            Kyô no kétai wo

    Already, O Higurashi, your call announces the evening!
    Alas, for the passing day, with its duties left undone!


THE _minmin-zémi_ begins to sing in the Period of Greatest Heat. It is
called "_min-min_" because its note is thought to resemble the syllable
"_min_" repeated over and over again,--slowly at first, and very loudly;
then more and more quickly and softly, till the utterance dies away in a
sort of buzz: "_min--min--min-min-min-minminmin-dzzzzzzz_." The sound is
plaintive, and not unpleasing. It is often compared to the sound of the
voice of a priest chanting the _sûtras_.

                         [Illustration: PLATE V.

    1, _"Tsuku-tsuku-Bôshi_," also called "_Kutsu-kutsu-Bôshi_," etc.
    (_Cosmopsaltria Opalifera?_)

    2, _Tsurigané-Zémi_.

    3, _The Phantom_.]


ON the day immediately following the Festival of the Dead, by the old
Japanese calendar[28] (which is incomparably more exact than our
Western calendar in regard to nature-changes and manifestations),
begins to sing the _tsuku-tsuku-bôshi_. This creature may be said
to sing like a bird. It is also called _kutsu-kutsu-bôshi_,
_chôko-chôko-uisu_, _tsuku-tsuku-hôshi_, _tsuku-tsuku-oîshi_,--all
onomatopoetic appellations. The sounds of its song have been imitated
in different ways by various writers. In Izumo the common version is,--


    [28] That is to say, upon the 16th day of the 7th month.

Another version runs,--

            Chi-i yara!
            Chi-i yara!
            Chi-i yara!
            Chi-i, chi, chi, chi, chi, chiii.

But some say that the sound is _Tsukushi-koïshi_. There is a legend
that in old times a man of Tsukushi (the ancient name of Kyûshû)
fell sick and died while far away from home, and that the
ghost of him became an autumn cicada, which cries unceasingly,
_Tsukushi-koïshi!--Tsukushi-koïshi!_ ("I long for Tsukushi!--I want
to see Tsukushi!")

                   *       *       *       *       *

It is a curious fact that the earlier sémi have the harshest and
simplest notes. The musical sémi do not appear until summer; and the
_tsuku-tsuku-bôshi_, having the most complex and melodious utterance of
all, is one of the latest to mature.


THE _tsurigané-sémi_ is an autumn cicada. The word _tsurigané_ means a
suspended bell,--especially the big bell of a Buddhist temple. I am
somewhat puzzled by the name; for the insect's music really suggests
the tones of a Japanese harp, or _koto_--as good authorities declare.
Perhaps the appellation refers not to the boom of the bell, but to those
deep, sweet hummings which follow after the peal, wave upon wave.

    [29] This sémi appears to be chiefly known in Shikoku.


JAPANESE poems on sémi are usually very brief; and my collection chiefly
consists of _hokku_,--compositions of seventeen syllables. Most of these
_hokku_ relate to the sound made by the sémi,--or, rather, to the
sensation which the sound produced within the poet's mind. The names
attached to the following examples are nearly all names of old-time
poets,--not the real names, of course, but the _gô_, or literary names
by which artists and men of letters are usually known.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Yokoi Yayû, a Japanese poet of the eighteenth century, celebrated as a
composer of _hokku_, has left us this naïve record of the feelings with
which he heard the chirruping of cicadæ in summer and in autumn:--

    "In the sultry period, feeling oppressed by the greatness of the
    heat, I made this verse:--

                             "Sémi atsushi
                           Matsu kirabaya to

        [The chirruping of the sémi aggravates the heat until I wish
        to cut down the pine-tree on which it sings.]

    "But the days passed quickly; and later, when I heard the crying
    of the sémi grow fainter and fainter in the time of the autumn
    winds, I began to feel compassion for them, and I made this
    second verse:--

                          Hitotsu bakari wa
                             Aki no sémi."

                        [Now there survives
                        But a single one
                        Of the sémi of autumn!]

Lovers of Pierre Loti (the world's greatest prose-writer) may remember
in _Madame Chrysanthème_ a delightful passage about a Japanese
house,--describing the old dry woodwork as impregnated with sonority by
the shrilling crickets of a hundred summers.[30] There is a Japanese
poem containing a fancy not altogether dissimilar:--

                             Matsu no ki ni
                           Shimikomu gotoshi
                             Sémi no koë.

                     Into the wood of the pine-tree
                     Seems to soak
                     The voice of the sémi.

    [30] Speaking of his own attempt to make a drawing of the
         interior, he observes: "Il manque à ce logis dessiné son
         air frêle et sa sonorité de violon sec. Dans les traits de
         crayon qui représentent les boiseries, il n'y a pas la
         précision minutieuse avec laquelle elles sont ouvragées, ni
         leur antiquité extrême, ni leur propreté parfaite, _ni les
         vibrations de cigales qu' elles semblent avoir emmagasinées
         pendant des centaines d'étés dans leurs fibres

A very large number of Japanese poems about sémi describe the noise of
the creatures as an affliction. To fully sympathize with the complaints
of the poets, one must have heard certain varieties of Japanese cicadæ
in full midsummer chorus; but even by readers without experience of the
clamor, the following verses will probably be found suggestive:--

                              Waré hitori
                            Atsui yô nari,--
                              Sémi no koë!

    Meseems that only I,--I alone among mortals,--
    Ever suffered such heat!--oh, the noise of the sémi!

                             Ushiro kara
                           Tsukamu yô nari,--
                             Sémi no koë.

    Oh, the noise of the sémi!--a pain of invisible seizure,--
    Clutched in an enemy's grasp,--caught by the hair from behind!

                            Yama no Kami no
                          Mimi no yamai ka?--
                            Sémi no koë!

    What ails the divinity's ears?--how can the God of the Mountain
    Suffer such noise to exist?--oh, the tumult of sémi!

                             Soko no nai
                           Atsusa ya kumo ni
                             Sémi no koë!

    Fathomless deepens the heat: the ceaseless shrilling of sémi
    Mounts, like a hissing of fire, up to the motionless clouds.

                            Mizu karété,
                          Sémi wo fudan-no
                            Taki no koë.

    Water never a drop: the chorus of sémi, incessant,
    Mocks the tumultuous hiss,--the rush and foaming of rapids.

                          Kumo mata satté,
                            Sémi no koë.

    Gone, the shadowing clouds!--again the shrilling of sémi
    Rises and slowly swells,--ever increasing the heat!

                            Daita ki wa,
                          Ha mo ugokasazu,--
                            Sémi no koë!

    Somewhere fast to the bark he clung; but I cannot see him:
    He stirs not even a leaf--oh! the noise of that sémi!

                             Tonari kara
                           Kono ki nikumu ya!
                             Sémi no koë.

    All because of the Sémi that sit and shrill on its branches--
    Oh! how this tree of mine is hated now by my neighbor!

This reminds one of Yayû. We find another poet compassionating a tree
frequented by sémi:--

                             Kazé wa mina
                           Sémi ni suwarété,
                             Hito-ki kana!

    Alas! poor solitary tree!--pitiful now your lot,--every breath
    of air having been sucked up by the sémi!

Sometimes the noise of the sémi is described as a moving force:--

                              Sémi no koë
                            Ki-gi ni ugoité,
                              Kazé mo nashi!

    Every tree in the wood quivers with clamor of sémi:
    Motion only of noise--never a breath of wind!

                              Také ni kité,
                            Yuki yori omoshi
                              Sémi no koë.

    More heavy than winter-snow the voices of perching sémi:
    See how the bamboos bend under the weight of their song![31]

        [31] Japanese artists have found many a charming
             inspiration in the spectacle of bamboos bending
             under the weight of snow clinging to their tops.

                              Morogoë ni
                            Yama ya ugokasu,
                              Ki-gi no sémi.

    All shrilling together, the multitudinous sémi
    Make, with their ceaseless clamor, even the mountain move.

                               Kusunoki mo
                             Ugoku yô nari,
                               Sémi no koë.

    Even the camphor-tree seems to quake with the clamor of sémi!

Sometimes the sound is compared to the noise of boiling water:--

                              Hizakari wa
                            Niétatsu sémi no
                              Hayashi kana!

    In the hour of heaviest heat, how simmers the forest with sémi!

                             Niété iru
                           Mizu bakari nari--
                             Sémi no koë.

    Simmers all the air with sibilation of sémi,
    Ceaseless, wearying sense,--a sound of perpetual boiling.

Other poets complain especially of the multitude of the noise-makers and
the ubiquity of the noise:--

                             Aritaké no
                           Ki ni hibiki-kéri
                             Sémi no koë.

    How many soever the trees, in each rings the voice of the sémi.

                             Matsubara wo
                           Ichi ri wa kitari,
                             Sémi no koë.

    Alone I walked for miles into the wood of pine-trees:
    Always the one same sémi shrilled its call in my ears.

Occasionally the subject is treated with comic exaggeration:--

                             Naité iru
                           Ki yori mo futoshi
                             Sémi no koë.

    The voice of the sémi is bigger [_thicker_] than the tree on
    which it sings.

                              Sugi takashi
                            Sarédomo sémi no
                              Amaru koë!

    High though the cedar be, the voice of the sémi is incomparably

                              Koë nagaki
                            Sémi wa mijikaki
                              Inochi kana!

    How long, alas! the voice and how short the life of the sémi!

Some poets celebrate the negative form of pleasure following upon the
cessation of the sound:--

                            Sémi ni dété,
                          Hotaru ni modoru,--
                            Suzumi kana!

    When the sémi cease their noise, and the fireflies come
    out--oh! how refreshing the hour!

                             Sémi no tatsu,
                           Ato suzushisa yo!
                             Matsu no koë.

    When the sémi cease their storm, oh, how refreshing the
    Gratefully then resounds the musical speech of the pines.

[Here I may mention, by the way, that there is a little Japanese song
about the _matsu no koë_, in which the onomatope "zazanza" very well
represents the deep humming of the wind in the pine-needles:--

                        Hama-matsu no oto wa,--
                The sound of the pines of the shore,--

There are poets, however, who declare that the feeling produced by the
noise of sémi depends altogether upon the nervous condition of the

                             Mori no sémi
                           Suzushiki koë ya,
                             Atsuki koë.

    Sometimes sultry the sound; sometimes, again, refreshing:
    The chant of the forest-sémi accords with the hearer's mood.

                             Suzushisa mo
                           Atsusa mo sémi no
                             Tokoro kana!

    Sometimes we think it cool,--the resting-place of the
    sémi;--sometimes we think it hot (it is all a matter of fancy).

                              Suzushii to
                            Omoéba, suzushi
                              Sémi no koë.

    If we think it is cool, then the voice of the sémi is cool
    (that is, the fancy changes the feeling).

In view of the many complaints of Japanese poets about the noisiness of
sémi, the reader may be surprised to learn that out of sémi-skins there
used to be made in both China and Japan--perhaps upon homoeopathic
principles--a medicine for the cure of ear-ache!

                   *       *       *       *       *

One poem, nevertheless, proves that sémi-music has its admirers:--

                            Omoshiroi zo ya,
                            Waga-ko no koë wa
                            Takai mori-ki no
                                Sémi no koë![32]

    Sweet to the ear is the voice of one's own child as the voice
    of a sémi perched on a tall forest tree.

        [32] There is another version of this poem:--

                            Omoshiroi zo ya,
                            Waga-ko no naku wa
                            Sembu-ségaki no
                                Kyô yori mo!

             "More sweetly sounds the crying of one's own child
             than even the chanting of the sûtra in the service
             for the dead." The Buddhist service alluded to is
             held to be particularly beautiful.

But such admiration is rare. More frequently the sémi is represented as
crying for its nightly repast of dew:--

                              Sémi wo kiké,--
                            Ichi-nichi naité
                              Yoru no tsuyu.

    Hear the sémi shrill! So, from earliest dawning,
    All the summer day he cries for the dew of night.

                             Yû-tsuyu no
                           Kuchi ni iru madé
                             Naku sémi ka?

    Will the sémi continue to cry till the night-dew fills its

Occasionally the sémi is mentioned in love-songs of which the following
is a fair specimen. It belongs to that class of ditties commonly sung by
geisha. Merely as a conceit, I think it pretty, in spite of the
factitious pathos; but to Japanese taste it is decidedly vulgar. The
allusion to beating implies jealousy:--

                        Nushi ni tatakaré,
                        Washa matsu no sémi
                            Naku bakari!

                     Beaten by my jealous lover,--
                     Like the sémi on the pine-tree
                     I can only cry and cling!

And indeed the following tiny picture is a truer bit of work, according
to Japanese art-principles (I do not know the author's name):--

                             Sémi hitotsu
                           Matsu no yû-hi wo

    Lo! on the topmost pine, a solitary cicada
    Vainly attempts to clasp one last red beam of sun.


PHILOSOPHICAL verses do not form a numerous class of Japanese poems
upon sémi; but they possess an interest altogether exotic. As the
metamorphosis of the butterfly supplied to old Greek thought an emblem
of the soul's ascension, so the natural history of the cicada has
furnished Buddhism with similitudes and parables for the teaching of

Man sheds his body only as the sémi sheds its skin. But each
reincarnation obscures the memory of the previous one: we remember our
former existence no more than the sémi remembers the shell from which it
has emerged. Often a sémi may be found in the act of singing beside its
cast-off skin; therefore a poet has written:--

                              Waré to waga
                            Kara ya tomurô--
                              Sémi no koë.

    Methinks that sémi sits and sings by his former body,--
    Chanting the funeral service over his own dead self.

This cast-off skin, or simulacrum,--clinging to bole or branch as in
life, and seeming still to stare with great glazed eyes,--has suggested
many things both to profane and to religious poets. In love-songs it is
often likened to a body consumed by passionate longing. In Buddhist
poetry it becomes a symbol of earthly pomp,--the hollow show of human

                              Yo no naka yo
                            Kaëru no hadaka,
                              Sémi no kinu!

    Naked as frogs and weak we enter this life of trouble;
    Shedding our pomps we pass: so sémi quit their skins.

But sometimes the poet compares the winged and shrilling sémi to a human
ghost, and the broken shell to the body left behind:--

                              Tamashii wa
                            Ukiyo ni naité,
                              Sémi no kara.

    Here the forsaken shell: above me the voice of the creature
    Shrills like the cry of a Soul quitting this world of pain.

Then the great sun-quickened tumult of the cicadæ--landstorm of summer
life foredoomed so soon to pass away--is likened by preacher and poet to
the tumult of human desire. Even as the sémi rise from earth, and climb
to warmth and light, and clamor, and presently again return to dust and
silence,--so rise and clamor and pass the generations of men:--

                             Yagaté shinu
                           Keshiki wa miézu,
                             Sémi no koë.

    Never an intimation in all those voices of sémi
    How quickly the hush will come,--how speedily all must die.

I wonder whether the thought in this little verse does not interpret
something of that summer melancholy which comes to us out of nature's
solitudes with the plaint of insect-voices. Unconsciously those millions
of millions of tiny beings are preaching the ancient wisdom of the
East,--the perpetual Sûtra of Impermanency.

Yet how few of our modern poets have given heed to the voices of

Perhaps it is only to minds inexorably haunted by the Riddle of Life
that Nature can speak to-day, in those thin sweet trillings, as she
spake of old to Solomon.

The Wisdom of the East hears all things. And he that obtains it will
hear the speech of insects,--as Sigurd, tasting the Dragon's Heart,
heard suddenly the talking of birds.

    NOTE.--For the pictures of sémi accompanying this paper, I am
    indebted to a curious manuscript work in several volumes,
    preserved in the Imperial Library at Uyéno. The work is
    entitled _Chûfu-Zusetsu_,--which might be freely rendered as
    "Pictures and Descriptions of Insects,"--and is divided into
    twelve books. The writer's name is unknown; but he must have
    been an amiable and interesting person, to judge from the naïve
    preface which he wrote, apologizing for the labors of a
    lifetime. "When I was young," he says, "I was very fond of
    catching worms and insects, and making pictures of their
    shapes,--so that these pictures have now become several hundred
    in number." He believes that he has found a good reason for
    studying insects: "Among the multitude of living creatures in
    this world," he says, "those having large bodies are familiar:
    we know very well their names, shapes, and virtues, and the
    poisons which they possess. But there remain very many small
    creatures whose natures are still unknown, notwithstanding the
    fact that such little beings as insects and worms are able to
    injure men and to destroy what has value. So I think that it is
    very important for us to learn what insects or worms have
    special virtues or poisons." It appears that he had sent to him
    "from other countries" some kinds of insects "that eat the
    leaves and shoots of trees;" but he could not "get their exact
    names." For the names of domestic insects, he consulted many
    Chinese and Japanese books, and has been "able to write the
    names with the proper Chinese characters;" but he tells us that
    he did not fail "to pick up also the names given to worms and
    insects by old farmers and little boys." The preface is dated
    thus:--"_Ansei Kanoté, the third month--at a little cottage_"

    With the introduction of scientific studies the author of the
    _Chûfu-Zusetsu_ could no longer hope to attract attention. Yet
    his very modest and very beautiful work was forgotten only a
    moment. It is now a precious curiosity; and the old man's ghost
    might to-day find some happiness in a visit to the Imperial

                         Japanese Female Names



BY the Japanese a certain kind of girl is called a
Rose-Girl,--_Bara-Musumé_. Perhaps my reader will think of Tennyson's
"queen-rose of the rosebud-garden of girls," and imagine some analogy
between the Japanese and the English idea of femininity symbolized by
the rose. But there is no analogy whatever. The _Bara-Musumé_ is not so
called because she is delicate and sweet, nor because she blushes, nor
because she is rosy; indeed, a rosy face is not admired in Japan. No;
she is compared to a rose chiefly for the reason that a rose has thorns.
The man who tries to pull a Japanese rose is likely to hurt his fingers.
The man who tries to win a _Bara-Musumé_ is apt to hurt himself much
more seriously,--even unto death. It were better, alone and unarmed, to
meet a tiger than to invite the caress of a Rose-Girl.

Now the appellation of _Bara-Musumé_--much more rational as a simile
than many of our own floral comparisons--can seem strange only because
it is not in accord with our poetical usages and emotional habits. It is
one in a thousand possible examples of the fact that Japanese similes
and metaphors are not of the sort that he who runs may read. And this
fact is particularly well exemplified in the _yobina_, or personal names
of Japanese women. Because a _yobina_ happens to be identical with the
name of some tree, or bird, or flower, it does not follow that the
personal appellation conveys to Japanese imagination ideas resembling
those which the corresponding English word would convey, under like
circumstances, to English imagination. Of the _yobina_ that seem to us
especially beautiful in translation, only a small number are bestowed
for æsthetic reasons. Nor is it correct to suppose, as many persons
still do, that Japanese girls are usually named after flowers, or
graceful shrubs, or other beautiful objects. Æsthetic appellations are
in use; but the majority of _yobina_ are not æsthetic. Some years ago a
young Japanese scholar published an interesting essay upon this
subject. He had collected the personal names of about four hundred
students of the Higher Normal School for Females,--girls from every part
of the Empire; and he found on his list only between fifty and sixty
names possessing æsthetic quality. But concerning even these he was
careful to observe only that they "_caused_ an æsthetic sensation,"--not
that they had been given for æsthetic reasons. Among them were such
names as _Saki_ (Cape), _Miné_ (Peak), _Kishi_ (Beach), _Hama_ (Shore),
_Kuni_ (Capital),--originally place-names;--_Tsuru_ (Stork), _Tazu_
(Ricefield Stork), and _Chizu_ (Thousand Storks);--also such
appellations as _Yoshino_ (Fertile Field), _Orino_ (Weavers' Field),
_Shirushi_ (Proof), and _Masago_ (Sand). Few of these could seem
æsthetic to a Western mind; and probably no one of them was originally
given for æsthetic reasons. Names containing the character for "Stork"
are names having reference to longevity, not to beauty; and a large
number of names with the termination "_no_" (field or plain) are names
referring to moral qualities. I doubt whether even fifteen per cent of
_yobina_ are really æsthetic. A very much larger proportion are names
expressing moral or mental qualities. Tenderness, kindness, deftness,
cleverness, are frequently represented by _yobina_; but appellations
implying physical charm, or suggesting æsthetic ideas only, are
comparatively uncommon. One reason for the fact may be that very
æsthetic names are given to _geisha_ and to _jôro_, and consequently
vulgarized. But the chief reason certainly is that the domestic virtues
still occupy in Japanese moral estimate a place not less important than
that accorded to religious faith in the life of our own Middle Ages. Not
in theory only, but in every-day practice, moral beauty is placed far
above physical beauty; and girls are usually selected as wives, not for
their good looks, but for their domestic qualities. Among the middle
classes a very æsthetic name would not be considered in the best taste;
among the poorer classes, it would scarcely be thought respectable.
Ladies of rank, on the other hand, are privileged to bear very poetical
names; yet the majority of the aristocratic yobina also are moral rather
than æsthetic.

                   *       *       *       *       *

But the first great difficulty in the way of a study of _yobina_ is the
difficulty of translating them. A knowledge of spoken Japanese can help
you very little indeed. A knowledge of Chinese also is indispensable.
The meaning of a name written in _kana_ only,--in the Japanese
characters,--cannot be, in most cases, even guessed at. The Chinese
characters of the name can alone explain it. The Japanese essayist,
already referred to, found himself obliged to throw out no less than
thirty-six names out of a list of two hundred and thirteen, simply
because these thirty-six, having been recorded only in _kana_, could not
be interpreted. _Kana_ give only the pronunciation; and the
pronunciation of a woman's name explains nothing in a majority of cases.
Transliterated into Romaji, a _yobina_ may signify two, three, or even
half-a-dozen different things. One of the names thrown out of the list
was _Banka_. _Banka_ might signify "Mint" (the plant), which would be a
pretty name; but it might also mean "Evening-haze." _Yuka_, another
rejected name, might be an abbreviation of _Yukabutsu_, "precious"; but
it might just as well mean "a floor." _Nochi_, a third example, might
signify "future"; yet it could also mean "a descendant," and various
other things. My reader will be able to find many other homonyms in the
lists of names given further on. _Ai_ in Romaji, for instance, may
signify either "love" or "indigo-blue";--_Chô_, "a butterfly," or
"superior," or "long";--_Ei_, either "sagacious" or "blooming";--_Kei_,
either "rapture" or "reverence";--_Sato_, either "native home" or
"sugar";--_Toshi_, either "year" or "arrow-head";--_Taka_, "tall,"
"honorable," or "falcon." The chief, and, for the present, insuperable
obstacle to the use of Roman letters in writing Japanese, is the
prodigious number of homonyms in the language. You need only glance into
any good Japanese-English dictionary to understand the gravity of this
obstacle. Not to multiply examples, I shall merely observe that there
are nineteen words spelled _chô_; twenty-one spelled _ki_; twenty-five
spelled _to_ or _tô_; and no less than forty-nine spelled _ko_ or _kô_.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Yet, as I have already suggested, the real signification of a woman's
name cannot be ascertained even from a literal translation made with the
help of the Chinese characters. Such a name, for instance, as _Kagami_
(Mirror) really signifies the Pure-Minded, and this not in the
Occidental, but in the Confucian sense of the term. _Umé_
(Plum-blossom) is a name referring to wifely devotion and virtue.
_Matsu_ (Pine) does not refer, as an appellation, to the beauty of the
tree, but to the fact that its evergreen foliage is the emblem of
vigorous age. The name _Také_ (Bamboo) is given to a child only because
the bamboo has been for centuries a symbol of good-fortune. The name
_Sen_ (Wood-fairy) sounds charmingly to Western fancy; yet it expresses
nothing more than the parents' hope of long life for their daughter and
her offspring,--wood-fairies being supposed to live for thousands of
years.... Again, many names are of so strange a sort that it is
impossible to discover their meaning without questioning either the
bearer or the giver; and sometimes all inquiry proves vain, because the
original meaning has been long forgotten.

Before attempting to go further into the subject, I shall here offer a
translation of the Tôkyô essayist's list of names,--rearranged in
alphabetical order, without honorific prefixes or suffixes. Although
some classes of common names are not represented, the list will serve to
show the character of many still popular _yobina_, and also to
illustrate several of the facts to which I have already called

                       FEMALES (1880-1895):--

                                                          Number of
                                                           so named.
    _Ai_       ("Indigo,"--the color)                              1
    _Ai_       ("Love")                                            1
    _Akasuké_  ("The Bright Helper")                               1
    _Asa_      ("Morning")                                         1
    _Asa_      ("Shallow")[33]                                     2

        [33] Probably a place-name originally.

    _Au_       ("Meeting")                                         2
    _Bun_      ("Composition"--in the literary sense)[34]          1

        [34] Might we not quaintly say, "A Fair Writing"?

    _Chika_    ("Near")[35]                                        5

        [35] Probably in the sense of "near and dear"--but not
             certainly so.

    _Chitosé_  ("A Thousand Years")                                1
    _Chiyo_    ("A Thousand Generations")                          1
    _Chizu_    ("Thousand Storks")                                 1
    _Chô_      ("Butterfly")                                       1
    _Chô_      ("Superior")                                        2
    _Ei_       ("Clever")                                          1
    _Ei_       ("Blooming")                                        2
    _Etsu_     ("Delight")                                         1
    _Fudé_     ("Writing-brush")                                   1
    _Fuji_     ("Fuji,"--the mountain)                             1
    _Fuji_     ("Wistaria-flower")                                 2
    _Fuki_     ("Fuki,"--name of a plant, _Nardosmia
                  Japonica_)                                       1
    _Fuku_     ("Good-fortune")                                    2
    _Fumi_     ("Letter")[36]                                      5

        [36] _Fumi_ signifies here a letter written by a woman
             only--a letter written according to the rules of
             feminine epistolary style.

    _Fumino_   ("Letter-field")                                    1
    _Fusa_     ("Tassel")                                          3
    _Gin_      ("Silver")                                          2
    _Hama_     ("Shore")                                           3
    _Hana_     ("Blossom")                                         3
    _Haruë_    ("Spring-time Bay")                                 1
    _Hatsu_    ("The First-born")                                  2
    _Hidé_     ("Excellent")                                       4
    _Hidé_     ("Fruitful")                                        2
    _Hisano_   ("Long Plain")                                      2
    _Ichi_     ("Market")                                          4
    _Iku_      ("Nourishing")                                      3
    _Iné_      ("Springing Rice")                                  3
    _Ishi_     ("Stone")                                           1
    _Ito_      ("Thread")                                          4
    _Iwa_      ("Rock")                                            1
    _Jun_      ("The Obedient")[37]                                1

        [37] _Jun suru_ means to be obedient unto death. The
             word _jun_ has a much stronger signification than
             that which attaches to our word "obedience" in
             these modern times.

    _Kagami_   ("Mirror")                                          3
    _Kama_     ("Sickle")                                          1
    _Kamé_     ("Tortoise")                                        2
    _Kaméyo_   ("Generations-of-the-Tortoise")[38]                 1

        [38] The tortoise is supposed to live for a thousand

    _Kan_      ("The Forbearing")[39]                             11

        [39] Abbreviation of _kannin_, "forbearance,"
             "self-control," etc. The name might equally well
             be translated "Patience."

    _Kana_     ("Character"--in the sense of written
                  character)[40]                                   2

        [40] _Kana_ signifies the Japanese syllabary,--the
             characters with which the language is written. The
             reader may imagine, if he wishes, that the name
             signifies the Alpha and Omega of all feminine
             charm; but I confess that I have not been able to
             find any satisfactory explanation of it.

    _Kané_     ("Bronze")                                          3
    _Katsu_    ("Victorious")                                      2
    _Kazashi_  ("Hair-pin,"--or any ornament worn
                 in the hair)                                      1
    _Kazu_     ("Number,"--i.e., "great number")                   1
    _Kei_      ("The Respectful")                                  3
    _Ken_      ("Humility")                                        1
    _Kiku_     ("Chrysanthemum")                                   6
    _Kikuë_    ("Chrysanthemum-branch")                            1
    _Kikuno_   ("Chrysanthemum-field")                             1
    _Kimi_     ("Sovereign")                                       1
    _Kin_      ("Gold")                                            4
    _Kinu_     ("Cloth-of-Silk")                                   1
    _Kishi_    ("Beach")                                           2
    _Kiyo_     ("Happy Generations")                               1
    _Kiyo_     ("Pure")                                            5
    _Ko_       ("Chime,"--the sound of a bell)                     1
    _Kô_       ("Filial Piety")                                   11
    _Kô_       ("The Fine")                                        1
    _Koma_     ("Filly")                                           1
    _Komé_     ("Cleaned Rice")                                    1
    _Koto_     ("Koto,"--the Japanese harp)                        4
    _Kuma_     ("Bear")                                            1
    _Kumi_     ("Braid")                                           1
    _Kuni_     ("Capital,"--chief city)                            1
    _Kuni_     ("Province")                                        3
    _Kura_     ("Treasure-house")                                  1
    _Kurano_   ("Storehouse-field")                                1
    _Kuri_     ("Chestnut")                                        1
    _Kuwa_     ("Mulberry-tree")                                   1
    _Masa_     ("Straightforward,"--upright)                       3
    _Masago_   ("Sand")                                            1
    _Masu_     ("Increase")                                        3
    _Masuë_    ("Branch-of-Increase")                              1
    _Matsu_    ("Pine")                                            2
    _Matsuë_   ("Pine-branch")                                     1
    _Michi_    ("The Way,"--doctrine)                              4
    _Mië_      ("Triple Branch")                                   1
    _Mikië_    ("Main-branch")                                     1
    _Miné_     ("Peak")                                            2
    _Mitsu_    ("Light")                                           5
    _Mitsuë_   ("Shining Branch")                                  1
    _Morië_    ("Service-Bay")[41]                                 1

        [41] The word "service" here refers especially to
             attendance at meal-time,--to the serving of rice,

    _Naka_     ("The Midmost")                                     4
    _Nami_     ("Wave")                                            1
    _Nobu_     ("Fidelity")                                        6
    _Nobu_     ("The Prolonger")[42]                               1

        [42] Perhaps in the hopeful meaning of extending the
             family-line; but more probably in the signification
             that a daughter's care prolongs the life of her
             parents, or of her husband's parents.

    _Nobuë_    ("Lengthening-branch")                              1
    _Nui_      ("Tapestry,"--or, Embroidery)                       1
    _Orino_    ("Weaving-Field")                                   1
    _Raku_     ("Pleasure")                                        3
    _Ren_      ("The Arranger")                                    1
    _Riku_     ("Land,"--ground)                                   1
    _Roku_     ("Emolument")                                       1
    _Ryô_      ("Dragon")                                          1
    _Ryû_      ("Lofty")                                           3
    _Sada_     ("The Chaste")                                      8
    _Saki_     ("Cape,"--promontory)                               1
    _Saku_     ("Composition")[43]                                 3

        [43] Abbreviation of _sakubun_, a literary composition.

    _Sato_     ("Home,"--native place)                             2
    _Sawa_     ("Marsh")                                           1
    _Sei_      ("Force")                                           1
    _Seki_     ("Barrier,"--city-gate, toll-gate, etc.).           3
    _Sen_      ("Fairy")[44]                                       3

        [44] As a matter of fact, we have no English equivalent
             for the word "sen," or "sennin,"--signifying a
             being possessing magical powers of all kinds and
             living for thousands of years. Some authorities
             consider the belief in _sennin_ of Indian origin,
             and probably derived from old traditions of the

    _Setsu_     ("True,"--tender and true)                         2
    _Shidzu_    ("The Calmer")                                     1
    _Shidzu_    ("Peace")                                          2
    _Shigë_     ("Two-fold")                                       2
    _Shika_     ("Deer")                                           2
    _Shikaë_    ("Deer-Inlet")                                     1
    _Shimé_     ("The Clasp,"--fastening)                          1
    _Shin_      ("Truth")                                          1
    _Shina_     ("Goods")                                          1
    _Shina_     ("Virtue")                                         1
    _Shino_     ("Slender Bamboo")                                 1
    _Shirushi_  ("The Proof,"--evidence)                           1
    _Shun_      ("The Excellent")                                  1
    _Sué_       ("The Last")                                       2
    _Sugi_      ("Cedar,"--cryptomeria)                            1
    _Suté_      ("Forsaken,"--foundling)                           1
    _Suzu_      ("Little Bell")                                    8
    _Suzu_      ("Tin")                                            1
    _Suzuë_     ("Branch of Little Bells")                         1
    _Taë_       ("Exquisite")                                      1
    _Taka_      ("Honor")                                          2
    _Taka_      ("Lofty")                                          9
    _Také_      ("Bamboo")                                         1
    _Tama_      ("Jewel")                                          1
    _Tamaki_    ("Ring")                                           1
    _Tamé_      ("For-the-Sake-of--")                              3
    _Tani_      ("Valley")                                         4
    _Tazu_      ("Ricefield-Stork")                                1
    _Tetsu_     ("Iron")                                           4
    _Toku_      ("Virtue")                                         2
    _Tomé_      ("Stop,"--cease)[45]                               1

        [45] Such a name may signify that the parents resolved,
             after the birth of the girl, to have no more

    _Tomi_      ("Riches")                                         3
    _Tomijû_    ("Wealth-and-Longevity")                           1
    _Tomo_      ("The Friend")                                     4
    _Tora_      ("Tiger")                                          1
    _Toshi_     ("Arrowhead")                                      1
    _Toyo_      ("Abundance")                                      3
    _Tsugi_     ("Next,"--i. e., second in order of birth)         2
    _Tsuna_     ("Bond,"--rope, or fetter)                         1
    _Tsuné_     ("The Constant,"--or, as we should say,
                    Constance)                                    10
    _Tsuru_     ("Stork")                                          4
    _Umé_       ("Plum-blossom")                                   1
    _Umégaë_    ("Plumtree-spray")                                 1
    _Uméno_     ("Plumtree-field")                                 2
    _Urano_     ("Shore-field")                                    1
    _Ushi_      ("Cow,"--or Ox)[46]                                1

        [46] This extraordinary name is probably to be explained
             as a reference to date of birth. According to the
             old Chinese astrology, years, months, days, and
             hours were all named after the Signs of the Zodiac,
             and were supposed to have some mystic relation to
             those signs. I surmise that Miss Ushi was born at
             the Hour of the Ox, on the Day of the Ox, in the
             Month of the Ox and the Year of the Ox--"_Ushi no
             Toshi no Ushi no Tsuki no Ushi no Hi no Ushi no

    _Uta_       ("Poem,"--or Song)                                 1
    _Wakana_    ("Young _Na_,"--probably the rape-plant
                  is referred to)                                  1
    _Yaë_       ("Eight-fold")                                     1
    _Yasu_      ("The Tranquil")                                   1
    _Yô_        ("The Positive,"--as opposed to Negative
                      or Feminine in the old Chinese
                      philosophy;--therefore, perhaps,
                      Masculine)                                   1
    _Yoné_      ("Rice,"--in the old sense of wealth)              4
    _Yoshi_     ("The Good")                                       1
    _Yoshino_   ("Good Field")                                     1
    _Yû_        ("The Valiant")                                    1
    _Yuri_      ("Lily")                                           1

It will be observed that in the above list the names referring to
Constancy, Forbearance, and Filial Piety have the highest numbers
attached to them.


A FEW of the more important rules in regard to Japanese female names
must now be mentioned.

The great majority of these _yobina_ are words of two syllables.
Personal names of respectable women, belonging to the middle and lower
classes, are nearly always dissyllables--except in cases where the name
is lengthened by certain curious suffixes which I shall speak of further
on. Formerly a name of three or more syllables indicated that the bearer
belonged to a superior class. But, even among the upper classes to-day,
female names of only two syllables are in fashion.

Among the people it is customary that a female name of two syllables
should be preceded by the honorific "O," and followed by the title
"San,"--as _O-Matsu San_, "the Honorable Miss [or Mrs.] Pine"; _O-Umé
San_, "the Honorable Miss Plum-blossom."[47] But if the name happen to
have three syllables, the honorific "O" is not used. A woman named
_Kikuë_ ("Chrysanthemum-Branch") is not addressed as "O-Kikuë San," but
only as "Kikuë San."

    [47] Under certain conditions of intimacy, both prefix and title
         are dropped. They are dropped also by the superior in
         addressing an inferior;--for example, a lady would not
         address her maid as "_O-Yoné San_," but merely as "_Yoné_."

Before the names of ladies, the honorific "O" is no longer used as
formerly,--even when the name consists of one syllable only. Instead of
the prefix, an honorific suffix is appended to the _yobina_,--the suffix
_ko_. A peasant girl named _Tomi_ would be addressed by her equals as
_O-Tomi San_. But a lady of the same name would be addressed as
_Tomiko_. Mrs. Shimoda, head-teacher of the Peeresses' School, for
example, has the beautiful name _Uta_. She would be addressed by letter
as "Shimoda Utako," and would so sign herself in replying;--the
family-name, by Japanese custom, always preceding the personal name,
instead of being, as with us, placed after it.

This suffix _ko_ is written with the Chinese character meaning "child,"
and must not be confused with the word _ko_, written with a different
Chinese character, and meaning "little," which so often appears in the
names of dancing girls. I should venture to say that this genteel suffix
has the value of a caressing diminutive, and that the name _Aiko_ might
be fairly well rendered by the "Amoretta" of Spenser's _Faerie Queene_.
Be this as it may, a Japanese lady named _Setsu_ or _Sada_ would not be
addressed in these days as O-Setsu or O-Sada, but as Setsuko or Sadako.
On the other hand, if a woman of the people were to sign herself as
Setsuko or Sadako, she would certainly be laughed at,--since the suffix
would give to her appellation the meaning of "the Lady Setsu," or "the
Lady Sada."

I have said that the honorific "O" is placed before the _yobina_ of
women of the middle and lower classes. Even the wife of a _kurumaya_
would probably be referred to as the "Honorable Mrs. Such-a-one." But
there are very remarkable exceptions to this general rule regarding the
prefix "O." In some country-districts the common _yobina_ of two
syllables is made a trisyllable by the addition of a peculiar suffix;
and before such trisyllabic names the "O" is never placed. For example,
the girls of Wakayama, in the Province of Kii, usually have added to
their _yobina_ the suffix "_ë_,"[48] signifying "inlet," "bay,"
"frith,"--sometimes "river." Thus we find such names as _Namië_
("Wave-Bay"), _Tomië_ ("Riches-Bay"), _Sumië_ ("Dwelling-Bay"), _Shizuë_
("Quiet-Bay"), _Tamaë_ ("Jewel-Bay"). Again there is a provincial suffix
"_no_" meaning "field" or "plain," which is attached to the majority of
female names in certain districts. _Yoshino_ ("Fertile Field"), _Uméno_
("Plumflower Field"), _Shizuno_ ("Quiet Field"), _Urano_ ("Coast
Field"), _Utano_ ("Song Field"), are typical names of this class. A girl
called _Namië_ or _Kikuno_ is not addressed as "O-Namië San" or
"O-Kikuno San," but as "Namië San," "Kikuno San."

    [48] This suffix must not be confused with the suffix "_ë_,"
         signifying "branch," which is also attached to many popular
         names. Without seeing the Chinese character, you cannot
         decide whether the name _Tamaë_, for example, means
         "Jewel-branch" or "Jewel Inlet."

"San" (abbreviation of _Sama_, a word originally meaning "form,"
"appearance"), when placed after a female name, corresponds to either
our "Miss" or "Mrs." Placed after a man's name it has at least the value
of our "Mr.",--perhaps even more. The unabbreviated form _Sama_ is
placed after the names of high personages of either sex, and after the
names of divinities: the Shintô Gods are styled the _Kami-Sama_, which
might be translated as "the Lords Supreme"; the Bodhisattva Jizô is
called _Jizô-Sama_, "the Lord Jizô." A lady may also be styled "Sama." A
lady called _Ayako_, for instance, might very properly be addressed as
Ayako Sama. But when a lady's name, independently of the suffix,
consists of more than three syllables, it is customary to drop either
the _ko_ or the title. Thus "the Lady Ayamé" would not be spoken of as
"Ayaméko Sama," but more euphoniously as "Ayamé Sama,"[49] or as

    [49] "Ayamé Sama," however, is rather familiar; and this form
          cannot be used by a stranger in verbal address, though a
          letter may be directed with the name so written. As a
          rule, the _ko_ is the more respectful form.

So much having been said as regards the etiquette of prefixes
and suffixes, I shall now attempt a classification of female
names,--beginning with popular _yobina_. These will be found
particularly interesting, because they reflect something of race-feeling
in the matter of ethics and æsthetics, and because they serve to
illustrate curious facts relating to Japanese custom. The first place I
have given to names of purely moral meaning,--usually bestowed in the
hope that the children will grow up worthy of them. But the lists should
in no case be regarded as complete: they are only representative.
Furthermore, I must confess my inability to explain the reason of many
names, which proved as much of riddles to Japanese friends as to myself.


    _O-Ai_           "Love."
    _O-Chië_         "Intelligence."
    _O-Chû_          "Loyalty."
    _O-Jin_          "Tenderness,"--humanity.
    _O-Jun_          "Faithful-to-death."
    _O-Kaiyô_        "Forgiveness,"--pardon.
    _O-Ken_          "Wise,"--in the sense of moral discernment.
    _O-Kô_           "Filial Piety."
    _O-Masa_         "Righteous,"--just.
    _O-Michi_        "The Way,"--doctrine.
    _Misao_          "Honor,"--wifely fidelity.
    _O-Nao_          "The Upright,"--honest.
    _O-Nobu_         "The Faithful."
    _O-Rei_          "Propriety,"--in the old Chinese sense.
    _O-Retsu_        "Chaste and True."
    _O-Ryô_          "The Generous,"--magnanimous.
    _O-Sada_         "The Chaste."
    _O-Sei_          "Truth."
    _O-Shin_         "Faith,"--in the sense of fidelity, trust.
    _O-Shizu_        "The Tranquil,"--calm-souled.
    _O-Setsu_        "Fidelity,"--wifely virtue.
    _O-Tamé_         "For-the-sake-of,"--a name suggesting
    _O-Tei_          "The Docile,"--in the meaning of virtuous
    _O-Toku_         "Virtue."
    _O-Tomo_         "The Friend,"--especially in the meaning of
                          mate, companion.
    _O-Tsuné_        "Constancy."
    _O-Yasu_         "The Amiable,"--gentle.
    _O-Yoshi_        "The Good."
    _O-Yoshi_        "The Respectful."

The next list will appear at first sight more heterogeneous than it
really is. It contains a larger variety of appellations than the
previous list; but nearly all of the _yobina_ refer to some good quality
which the parents trust that the child will display, or to some future
happiness which they hope that she will deserve. To the latter category
belong such names of felicitation as _Miyo_ and _Masayo_.


    _O-Atsu_        "The Generous,"--liberal.
    _O-Chika_       "Closely Dear."
    _O-Chika_       "Thousand Rejoicings."
    _O-Chô_         "The Long,"--probably in reference to life.
    _O-Dai_         "Great."
    _O-Den_         "Transmission,"--bequest from ancestors, tradition.
    _O-É_           "Fortunate."
    _O-Ei_          "Prosperity."
    _O-En_          "Charm."
    _O-En_          "Prolongation,"--of life.
    _O-Etsu_        "Surpassing."
    _O-Etsu_        "The Playful,"--merry, joyous.
    _O-Fuku_        "Good Luck."
    _O-Gen_         "Source,"--spring, fountain.
    _O-Haya_        "The Quick,"--light, nimble.
    _O-Hidé_        "Superior."
    _Hidéyo_        "Superior Generations."
    _O-Hiro_        "The Broad."
    _O-Hisa_        "The Long." (?)
    _Isamu_         "The Vigorous,"--spirited, robust.
    _O-Jin_         "Superexcellent."
    _Kaméyo_        "Generations-of-the-Tortoise."
    _O-Kané_[50]    "The Doubly-Accomplished."

        [50] From the strange verb _kaneru_, signifying, to do two
             things at the same time.

    _Kaoru_         "The Fragrant."
    _O-Kata_        "Worthy Person."
    _O-Katsu_       "The Victorious."
    _O-Kei_         "Delight."
    _O-Kei_         "The Respectful."
    _O-Ken_         "The Humble."
    _O-Kichi_       "The Fortunate."
    _O-Kimi_        "The Sovereign,"--peerless.
    _O-Kiwa_        "The Distinguished."
    _O-Kiyo_  }    {"The Clear,"--in the sense of
    _Kiyoshi_ }    { bright, beautiful.
    _O-Kuru_        "She-who-Comes" (?).[51]

        [51] One is reminded of, "O whistle, and I'll come to you,
             my lad"--but no Japanese female name could have the
             implied signification. More probably the reference is
             to household obedience.

    _O-Maru_        "The Round,"--plump.
    _O-Masa_        "The Genteel."
    _Masayo_        "Generations-of-the-Just."
    _O-Masu_        "Increase."
    _O-Mië_         "Triple Branch."
    _O-Miki_        "Stem."
    _O-Mio_         "Triple Cord."
    _O-Mitsu_       "Abundance."
    _O-Miwa_        "The Far-seeing."
    _O-Miwa_        "Three Spokes" (?).[52]

        [52] Such is the meaning of the characters. I cannot
             understand the name. A Buddhist explanation suggests
             itself; but there are few, if any, Buddhist _yobina_.

    _O-Miyo_        "Beautiful Generations."
    _Miyuki_[53]    "Deep Snow."

        [53] This beautiful name refers to the silence and calm
             following a heavy snowfall. But, even for the Japanese,
             it is an æsthetic name also--suggesting both
             tranquillity and beauty.

    _O-Moto_        "Origin."
    _O-Naka_        "Friendship."
    _O-Rai_         "Trust."
    _O-Raku_[54]    "Pleasure."

        [54] The name seems curious, in view of the common proverb,
             _Raku wa ku no tané_,--"Pleasure is the seed of pain."

    _O-Sachi_       "Bliss."
    _O-Sai_         "The Talented."
    _Sakaë_         "Prosperity."
    _O-Saku_        "The Blooming."
    _O-Sei_         "The Refined,"--in the sense of "clear."
    _O-Sei_         "Force."
    _O-Sen_         "Sennin,"--wood-fairy.
    _O-Shigé_       "Exuberant."
    _O-Shimé_       "The Total,"--_summum bonum_.
    _O-Shin_        "The Fresh."
    _O-Shin_        "Truth."
    _O-Shina_       "Goods,"--possessions.
    _Shirushi_      "Proof,"--evidence.
    _O-Shizu_       "The Humble."
    _O-Shô_         "Truth."
    _O-Shun_        "Excellence."
    _O-Suki_        "The Beloved,"--_Aimée_.
    _O-Suké_        "The Helper."
    _O-Sumi_        "The Refined,"--in the sense of "sifted."
    _O-Suté_        "The Forsaken,"--foundling.[55]

        [55] Not necessarily a real foundling. Sometimes the name
             may be explained by a curious old custom. In a certain
             family several children in succession die shortly after
             birth. It is decided, according to traditional usage,
             that the next child born must be exposed. A girl is the
             next child born;--she is carried by a servant to some
             lonely place in the fields, or elsewhere, and left
             there. Then a peasant, or other person, hired for the
             occasion (it is necessary that he should be of no kin
             to the family), promptly appears, pretends to find the
             babe, and carries it back to the parental home. "See
             this pretty foundling," he says to the father of the
             girl,--"will you not take care of it?" The child is
             received, and named "Suté," the foundling. By this
             innocent artifice, it was formerly (and perhaps in some
             places is still) supposed that those unseen influences,
             which had caused the death of the other children, might
             be thwarted.

    _O-Taë_         "The Exquisite."
    _O-Taka_        "The Honorable."
    _O-Taka_        "The Tall."
    _Takara_        "Treasure,"--precious object.
    _O-Tama_        "Jewel."
    _Tamaë_         "Jewel-branch."
    _Tokiwa_[56]    "Eternally Constant."

        [56] Lit., "Everlasting-Rock,"--but the ethical meaning is
             "Constancy-everlasting-as-the-Rocks." "Tokiwa" is a
             name famous both in history and tradition; for it was
             the name of the mother of Yoshitsuné. Her touching
             story,--and especially the episode of her flight
             through the deep snow with her boys,--has been a source
             of inspiration to generations of artists.

    _O-Tomi_        "Riches."
    _O-Toshi_       "The Deft,"--skilful.
    _O-Tsuma_       "The Wife."
    _O-Yori_        "The Trustworthy."
    _O-Waka_        "The Young."

Place-names, or geographical names, are common; but they are
particularly difficult to explain. A child may be called after a place
because born there, or because the parental home was there, or because
of beliefs belonging to the old Chinese philosophy regarding direction
and position, or because of traditional custom, or because of ideas
connected with the religion of Shintô.


    _O-Fuji_           [Mount] "Fuji."
    _O-Hama_           "Coast."
    _O-Ichi_           "Market,"--fair.
    _O-Iyo_            "Iyo,"--province of Iyo, in Shikoku.
    _O-Kawa_ (rare)    "River."
    _O-Kishi_          "Beach,"--shore.
    _O-Kita_           "North."
    _O-Kiwa_           "Border."
    _O-Kuni_           "Province."
    _O-Kyô_            "Capital,"--metropolis,--Kyôto.
    _O-Machi_          "Town."
    _Matsuë_           "Matsuë,"--chief city of Izumo.
    _O-Mina_[57]       "South."

        [57] Abbreviation of _Minami_.

    _O-Miné_           "Peak."
    _O-Miya_           "Temple" [_Shintô_].[58]

        [58] I must confess that in classing this name as a
             place-name, I am only making a guess. It seems to me
             that the name probably refers to the _ichi no miya_, or
             chief Shintô temple of some province.

    _O-Mon_[59]        "Gate."

        [59] I fancy that this name, like that of O-Séki, must
             have originated in the custom of naming children after
             the place, or neighborhood, where the family lived. But
             here again, I am guessing.

    _O-Mura_           "Village."
    _O-Nami_[60]       "Wave."

        [60] This classification also is a guess. I could learn
             nothing about the name, except the curious fact that it
             is said to be unlucky.

    _Naniwa_           "Naniwa,"--ancient name of Ôsaka.
    _O-Nishi_          "West."
    _O-Rin_            "Park."
    _O-Saki_           "Cape."
    _O-Sato_           "Native Place,"--village,--also, home.
    _O-Sawa_           "Marsh."
    _O-Seki_           "Toll-Gate,"--barrier.
    _Shigéki_          "Thickwood,"--forest.
    _O-Shima_          "Island."
    _O-Sono_           "Flower-garden."
    _O-Taki_           "Cataract,"--or Waterfall.
    _O-Tani_           "Valley."
    _O-Tsuka_          "Milestone."
    _O-Yama_           "Mountain."

The next list is a curious medley, so far as regards the quality of the
_yobina_ comprised in it. Some are really æsthetic and pleasing; others
industrial only; while a few might be taken for nicknames of the most
disagreeable kind.


    _Ayako_ or }       "Damask-pattern."
    _O-Aya_[61] }

        [61] _Aya-Nishiki_,--the famous figured damask brocade of
             Kyôto,--is probably referred to.

    _O-Fumi_           "Woman's Letter."
    _O-Fusa_           "Tassel."
    _O-Ito_            "Thread."
    _O-Kama_[62]       "Rice-Sickle."

        [62] _O-Kama_ (Sickle) is a familiar peasant-name. _O-Kama_
             (caldron, or iron cooking-pot), and several other
             ugly names in this list are servants' names. Servants
             in old time not only trained their children to become
             servants, but gave them particular names referring
             to their future labors.

    _O-Kama_           "Caldron."
    _Kazashi_          "Hair-pin."
    _O-Kinu_           "Cloth-of-Silk."
    _O-Koto_           "Harp."
    _O-Nabé_           "Pot,"--or cooking-vessel.
    _O-Nui_            "Embroidery."
    _O-Shimé_          "Clasp,"--ornamental fastening.
    _O-Somé_           "The Dyer."
    _O-Taru_           "Cask,"--barrel.

The following list consists entirely of material nouns used as names.
There are several _yobina_ among them of which I cannot find the
emblematical meaning. Generally speaking, the _yobina_ which signify
precious substances, such as silver and gold, are æsthetic names; and
those which signify common hard substances, such as stone, rock, iron,
are intended to suggest firmness or strength of character. But the name
"Rock" is also sometimes used as a symbol of the wish for long life, or
long continuance of the family line. The curious name _Suna_ has
nothing, however, to do with individual "grit": it is half-moral and
half-æsthetic. Fine sand--especially colored sand--is much prized in
this fairy-land of landscape-gardening, where it is used to cover spaces
that must always be kept spotless and beautiful, and never
trodden,--except by the gardener.

                      MATERIAL NOUNS USED AS NAMES

    _O-Gin_       "Silver."
    _O-Ishi_      "Stone."
    _O-Iwa_       "Rock."
    _O-Kané_      "Bronze."
    _O-Kazé_[63]  "Air,"--perhaps Wind.

        [63] I cannot find any explanation of this curious name.

    _O-Kin_       "Gold."
    _O-Ruri_[64]} "Emerald,"--emeraldine?
    _Ruriko_    }

        [64] The Japanese name does not give the same quality
        of æsthetic sensation as the name Esmeralda. The _ruri_
        is not usually green, but blue; and the term "ruri-iro"
        (emerald color) commonly signifies a dark violet.

    _O-Ryû_       "Fine Metal."
    _O-Sato_      "Sugar."
    _O-Seki_      "Stone."
    _O-Shiwo_     "Salt."
    _O-Suna_      "Sand."
    _O-Suzu_      "Tin."
    _O-Tané_      "Seed."
    _O-Tetsu_     "Iron."

The following five _yobina_ are æsthetic names,--although literally
signifying things belonging to intellectual work. Four of them, at
least, refer to calligraphy,--the matchless calligraphy of the Far
East,--rather than to anything that we should call "_literary_ beauty."

                             LITERARY NAMES

    _O-Bun_       "Composition."
    _O-Fudé_      "Writing-Brush."
    _O-Fumi_      "Letter."
    _O-Kaku_      "Writing."
    _O-Uta_       "Poem."

Names relating to number are very common, but also very interesting.
They may be loosely divided into two sub-classes,--names indicating the
order or the time of birth, and names of felicitation. Such _yobina_ as
_Ichi_, _San_, _Roku_, _Hachi_ usually refer to the order of birth; but
sometimes they record the date of birth. For example, I know a person
called O-Roku, who received this name, not because she was the sixth
child born in the family, but because she entered this world upon the
sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth Meiji. It will be observed
that the numbers Two, Five, and Nine are not represented in the list:
the mere idea of such names as _O-Ni_, _O-Go_, or _O-Ku_ seems to a
Japanese absurd. I do not know exactly why,--unless it be that they
suggest unpleasant puns. The place of _O-Ni_ is well supplied, however,
by the name _O-Tsugi_ ("Next"), which will be found in a subsequent
list. Names signifying numbers ranging from eighty to a thousand, and
upward, are names of felicitation. They express the wish that the bearer
may live to a prodigious age, or that her posterity may flourish through
the centuries.


    _O-Ichi_      "One."
    _O-San_       "Three."
    _O-Mitsu_     "Three."
    _O-Yotsu_     "Four."
    _O-Roku_      "Six."
    _O-Shichi_    "Seven."
    _O-Hachi_     "Eight."
    _O-Jû_        "Ten."
    _O-Iso_       "Fifty."[65]

        [65] Such a name may record the fact that the girl was a
             first-born child, and the father fifty years old at
             the time of her birth.

    _O-Yaso_      "Eighty."
    _O-Hyaku_     "Hundred."[66]

        [66] The "O" before this trisyllable seems contrary to rule;
             but _Hyaku_ is pronounced almost like a dissyllable.

    _O-Yao_       "Eight Hundred."
    _O-Sen_       "Thousand."
    _O-Michi_     "Three Thousand."
    _O-Man_       "Ten Thousand."
    _O-Chiyo_     "Thousand Generations."
    _Yachiyo_     "Eight Thousand Generations."
    _O-Shigé_     "Two-fold."
    _O-Yaë_       "Eight-fold."
    _O-Kazu_      "Great Number."
    _O-Mina_      "All."
    _O-Han_       "Half."[67]

        [67] "Better half?"--the reader may query. But I believe
             that this name originated in the old custom of taking
             a single character of the father's name--sometimes
             also a character of the mother's name--to compose
             the child's name with. Perhaps in this case the name
             of the girl's father was HANyémon, or HANbei.

    _O-Iku_       "How Many?" (?)


    _O-Hatsu_     "Beginning,"--first-born.
    _O-Tsugi_     "Next,"--the second.
    _O-Naka_      "Midmost."
    _O-Tomé_      "Stop,"--cease.
    _O-Sué_       "Last."

Some few of the next group of names are probably æsthetic. But such
names are sometimes given only in reference to the time or season of
birth; and the reason for any particular _yobina_ of this class is
difficult to decide without personal inquiry.


    _O-Haru_      "Spring."
    _O-Natsu_     "Summer."
    _O-Aki_       "Autumn."
    _O-Fuyu_      "Winter."

    _O-Asa_       "Morning."
    _O-Chô_       "Dawn."
    _O-Yoi_       "Evening."
    _O-Sayo_      "Night."

    _O-Ima_       "Now."
    _O-Toki_      "Time,"--opportunity.
    _O-Toshi_     "Year [of Plenty]."

Names of animals--real or mythical--form another class of _yobina_. A
name of this kind generally represents the hope that the child will
develop some quality or capacity symbolized by the creature after which
it has been called. Names such as "Dragon," "Tiger," "Bear," etc., are
intended in most cases to represent moral rather than other qualities.
The moral symbolism of the _Koi_ (Carp) is too well-known to require
explanation here. The names _Kamé_ and _Tsuru_ refer to longevity.
_Koma_, curious as the fact may seem, is a name of endearment.


    _Chidori_     "Sanderling."
    _O-Kamé_      "Tortoise."
    _O-Koi_       "Carp."[68]

        [68] _Cyprinus carpio._

    _O-Koma_      "Filly,"--or pony.
    _O-Kuma_      "Bear."
    _O-Ryô_       "Dragon."
    _O-Shika_     "Deer."
    _O-Tai_       "Bream."[69]

        [69] _Chrysophris cardinalis._

    _O-Taka_      "Hawk."
    _O-Tako_      "Cuttlefish." (?)
    _O-Tatsu_     "Dragon."
    _O-Tora_      "Tiger."
    _O-Tori_      "Bird."
    _O-Tsuru_     "Stork."[70]

        [70] Sometimes this name is shortened into _O-Tsu_. In
             Tôkyô at the present time it is the custom to drop
             the honorific "O" before such abbreviations, and to
             add to the name the suffix "chan,"--as in the case
             of children's names. Thus a young woman may be
             caressingly addressed as "Tsu-chan" (for O-Tsuru),
             "Ya-chan" (for O-Yasu), etc.

    _O-Washi_     "Eagle."

Even _yobina_ which are the names of flowers or fruits, plants or
trees, are in most cases names of moral or felicitous, rather than of
æsthetic meaning. The plumflower is an emblem of feminine virtue; the
chrysanthemum, of longevity; the pine, both of longevity and constancy;
the bamboo, of fidelity; the cedar, of moral rectitude; the willow, of
docility and gentleness, as well as of physical grace. The symbolism of
the lotos and of the cherryflower are probably familiar. But such names
as _Hana_ ("Blossom ") and _Ben_ ("Petal") are æsthetic in the true
sense; and the Lily remains in Japan, as elsewhere, an emblem of
feminine grace.


    _Ayamé_       "Iris."[71]

        [71] _Iris setosa, or Iris sibrisia._

    _Azami_       "Thistle-Flower."
    _O-Ben_       "Petal."
    _O-Fuji_      "Wistaria."[72]

        [72] _Wistaria chinensis._

    _O-Hana_      "Blossom."
    _O-Kiku_      "Chrysanthemum."
    _O-Ran_       "Orchid."
    _O-Ren_       "Lotos."
    _Sakurako_    "Cherryblossom."
    _O-Umé_       "Plumflower."
    _O-Yuri_      "Lily."


    _O-Iné_      "Rice-in-the-blade."
    _Kaëdé_      "Maple-leaf."
    _O-Kaya_     "Rush."[73]

        [73] _Imperata arundinacea._

    _O-Kaya_     "Yew."[74]

        [74] _Torreya nucifera._

    _O-Kuri_     "Chestnut."
    _O-Kuwa_     "Mulberry."
    _O-Maki_     "Fir."[75]

        [75] _Podocarpus chinensis._

    _O-Mamé_     "Bean."
    _O-Momo_     "Peach,"--the fruit.[76]

        [76] Yet this name may possibly have been written with
             the wrong character. There is another _yobina_,
             "Momo" signifying "hundred,"--as in the phrase
             _momo yo_, "for a hundred ages."

    _O-Nara_      "Oak."
    _O-Ryû_       "Willow."
    _Sanaë_       "Sprouting-Rice."
    _O-Sané_      "Fruit-seed."
    _O-Shino_     "Slender Bamboo."
    _O-Sugé_      "Reed."[77]

        [77] _Scirpus maritimus._

    _O-Sugi_      "Cedar."[78]

        [78] _Cryptomeria Japonica._

    _O-Také_      "Bamboo."
    _O-Tsuta_     "Ivy."[79]

        [79] _Cissus Thunbergii._

    _O-Yaë_       "Double-Blossom."[80]

        [80] A flower-name certainly; but the _yaë_ here is probably
             an abbreviation of _yaë-zakura_, the double-flower of a
             particular species of cherry-tree.

    _O-Yoné_      "Rice-in-grain."
    _Wakana_      "Young _Na_."[81]

        [81] _Brassica chinensis._

Names signifying light or color seem to us the most æsthetic of all
_yobina_; and they probably seem so to the Japanese. Nevertheless the
relative purport even of these names cannot be divined at sight. Colors
have moral and other values in the old nature-philosophy; and an
appellation that to the Western mind suggests only luminosity or beauty
may actually refer to moral or social distinction,--to the hope that
the girl so named will become "illustrious."


    _O-Mika_        "New Moon."[82]

        [82] _Mika_ is an abbreviation of Mikazuki, "the moon of the
             third night" [of the old lunar month].

    _O-Mitsu_       "Light."
    _O-Shimo_       "Frost."
    _O-Teru_        "The Shining."
    _O-Tsuki_       "Moon."
    _O-Tsuya_       "The Glossy,"--lustrous.
    _O-Tsuyu_       "Dew."
    _O-Yuki_        "Snow."


    _O-Ai_          "Indigo."
    _O-Aka_         "Red."
    _O-Iro_         "Color."
    _O-Kon_         "Deep Blue."
    _O-Kuro_        "Dark,"--lit., "Black."
    _Midori_[83]    "Green."
    _Murasaki_[83]  "Purple."

        [83] _Midori_ and _Murasaki_, especially the latter,
        should properly be classed with aristocratic _yobina_;
        and both are very rare. I could find neither in the
        collection of aristocratic names which was made for me
        from the records of the Peeresses' School; but I
        discovered a "Midori" in a list of middle-class names.
        Color-names being remarkably few among _yobina_, I
        thought it better in this instance to group the whole of
        them together, independently of class-distinctions.

    _O-Shiro_       "White."

The following and final group of female names contains several queer
puzzles. Japanese girls are sometimes named after the family crest; and
heraldry might explain one or two of these _yobina_. But why a girl
should be called a ship, I am not sure of being able to guess. Perhaps
some reader may be reminded of Nietzsche's "Little Brig called

            "Angeline--they call me so--
            Now a ship, one time a maid,
            (Ah, and evermore a maid!)
            Love the steersman, to and fro,
            Turns the wheel so finely made."

But such a fancy would not enter into a Japanese mind. I find, however,
in a list of family crests, two varieties of design representing a ship,
twenty representing an arrow, and two representing a bow.


    _O-Fuku_[84]    "Raiment,"--clothing.

        [84] Possibly this name belongs to the same class as _O-Nui_
             ("Embroidery"), _O-Somé_ ("The Dyer"); but I am not

    _O-Funé_        "Ship,"--or Boat.
    _O-Hina_[85]    "Doll,"--a paper doll?

        [85] Probably a name of caress. The word _hina_ is applied
             especially to the little paper dolls made by hand for
             amusement,--representing young ladies with elaborate
             coiffure; and it is also given to the old-fashioned
             dolls representing courtly personages in full
             ceremonial costume. The true doll--doll-baby--is
             called _ningyô_.

    _O-Kono_        "This."
    _O-Nao_         "Still More."
    _O-Nari_        "Thunder-peal."
    _O-Nibo_        "Palanquin" (?).
    _O-Rai_         "Thunder."
    _O-Rui_         "Sort,"--kind, species.
    _O-Suzu_[86]    "Little Bell."

        [86] Perhaps this name is given because of the sweet sound
        of the _suzu_,--a tiny metal ball, with a little stone or
        other hard object inside, to make the ringing.--It is a
        pretty Japanese custom to put one of these little _suzu_
        in the silk charm-bag (_mamori-bukero_) which is attached
        to a child's girdle. The _suzu_ rings with every motion
        that the child makes,--somewhat like one of those tiny
        bells which we attach to the neck of a pet kitten.

    _Suzuë_         "Branch-of-Little-Bells."
    _O-Tada_        "The Only."
    _Tamaki_        "Armlet,"--bracelet.
    _O-Tami_        "Folk,"--common people.
    _O-Toshi_       "Arrowhead,"--or barb.
    _O-Tsui_        "Pair,"--match.
    _O-Tsuna_       "Rope,"--bond.
    _O-Yumi_        "Bow,"--weapon.

Before passing on to the subject of aristocratic names, I must mention
an old rule for Japanese names,--a curious rule that might help to
account for sundry puzzles in the preceding lists. This rule formerly
applied to all personal names,--masculine or feminine. It cannot be
fully explained in the present paper; for a satisfactory explanation
would occupy at least fifty pages. But, stated in the briefest possible
way, the rule is that the first or "head-character" of a personal name
should be made to "accord" (in the Chinese philosophic sense) with the
supposed _Sei_, or astrologically-determined nature, of the person to
whom the name is given;--the required accordance being decided, not by
the meaning, but by the sound of the Chinese written character. Some
vague idea of the difficulties of the subject may be obtained from the
accompanying table. (Page 143.)



                              a,   i,   u,   é,   o.
    I.--WOOD-NATURE         { ka,  ki,  ku,  ké,  ko. }
                            { ga,  gi,  gu,  gé,  go. }
                            { sa,  shi, su,  sé,  so. }
                            { za,  ji,  zu,  zé,  zo. }
    II.--FIRE-NATURE        { ta,  chi, tsu, té,  to. }
                            { da,  ji,  dzu, dé,  do. }
                              na,  ni,  nu,  né,  no.
    III.--EARTH-NATURE        -----------------------
                            { ha,  hi,  fu,  hé,  ho. }
                            { ba,  bi,  bu,  bé,  bo. }
                            { pa,  pi,  pu,  pé,  po. }
    IV.--METAL-NATURE         ma,  mi,  mu,  mé,  mo.
                              ya,  i,   yu,  yé,  yo.
                              ra,  ri,  ru,  ré,  ro.
    V.--WATER-NATURE          -----------------------
                              wa,  i,   u,   yé,  wo.]

    *                                                          *
    *          Transcriber Note: Explanation of Table          *
    *                                                          *
    *   In the table above, there were lines connecting the    *
    *   five elements of nature with the lines of Japanese     *
    *   syllabary:                                             *
    *                                                          *
    *       The Wood element was associated with the           *
    *           ka/ga lines,                                   *
    *                                                          *
    *       the Fire element was associated with the           *
    *           ta/da, na, and ra lines,                       *
    *                                                          *
    *       the Earth element was associated with the          *
    *           a, ka/ga, ya, and wa lines,                    *
    *                                                          *
    *       the Metal element was associated with the          *
    *           sa/za lines, and                               *
    *                                                          *
    *       the Water element was associated with the          *
    *           ha/ba/pa, and ma lines.                        *
    *                                                          *


FOR examples of contemporary aristocratic names I consulted the reports
of the _Kwazoku-Jogakkô_ (Peeresses' School), published between the
nineteenth and twenty-seventh years of Meiji (1886-1895). The
Kwazoku-Jogakkô admits other students besides daughters of the nobility;
but for present purposes the names of the latter only--to the number of
one hundred and forty-seven--have been selected.

It will be observed that names of three or more syllables are rare among
these, and also that the modern aristocratic _yobina_ of two syllables,
as pronounced and explained, differ little from ordinary _yobina_. But
as written in Chinese they differ greatly from other female names, being
in most cases represented by characters of a complex and unfamiliar
kind. The use of these more elaborate characters chiefly accounts for
the relatively large number of homonyms to be found in the following


    _Aki-ko_           "Autumn."
    _Aki-ko_           "The Clear-Minded."
    _Aki-ko_           "Dawn."
    _Asa-ko_           "Fair Morning."
    _Aya-ko_           "Silk Damask."
    _Chiharu-ko_       "A Thousand Springs."
    _Chika-ko_         "Near,"--close.
    _Chitsuru-ko_      "A Thousand Storks."
    _Chiyo-ko_         "A Thousand Generations."
    _Ei-ko_            "Bell-Chime."
    _Etsu-ko_          "Delight."
    _Fuji-ko_          "Wistaria."
    _Fuku-ko_          "Good-Fortune."
    _Fumi-ko_          "A Woman's Letter."
    _Fuyô-ko_          "Lotos-flower."
    _Fuyu-ko_          "Winter."
    _Hana-ko_          "Flower."
    _Hana-ko_          "Fair-Blooming."
    _Haru-ko_          "The Tranquil."
    _Haru-ko_          "Spring,"--the season of flowers.
    _Haru-ko_          "The Far-Removed,"--in the sense, perhaps, of
    _Hatsu-ko_         "The First-born."
    _Hidé-ko_          "Excelling."
    _Hidé-ko_          "Surpassing."
    _Hiro-ko_          "Magnanimous,"--literally, "broad,"
                           "large,"--in the sense of beneficence.
    _Hiro-ko_          "Wide-Spreading,"--with reference to family
    _Hisa-ko_          "Long-lasting."
    _Hisa-ko_          "Continuing."
    _Hoshi-ko_         "Star."
    _Iku-ko_           "The Quick,"--in the sense of living.
    _Ima-ko_           "Now."
    _Iho-ko_           "Five Hundred,"--probably a name of
    _Ito-ko_           "Sewing-Thread."
    _Kamé-ko_          "Tortoise."
    _Kané-ko_          "Going around" (?).[87]

        [87] It is possible that this name was made simply by
             taking one character of the father's name. The
             girl's name otherwise conveys no intelligible

    _Kané-ko_          "Bell,"--the character indicates a large
                           suspended bell.
    _Kata-ko_          "Condition"?
    _Kazu-ko_          "First."
    _Kazu-ko_          "Number,"--a great number.
    _Kazu-ko_          "The Obedient."
    _Kiyo-ko_          "The Pure."
    _Kô_[88]           "Filial Piety."

        [88] The suffix "_ko_" is sometimes dropped for reasons
             of euphony, and sometimes for reasons of good
             taste--difficult to explain to readers unfamiliar
             with the Japanese language--even when the name
             consists of only one syllable or of two syllables.

    _Kô-ko_            "Stork."
    _Koto_             "Harp."
    _Kuni-ko_          "Province."
    _Kuni_             "Country,"--in the largest sense.
    _Kyô-ko_           "Capital,"--metropolis.
    _Machi_            "Ten-Thousand Thousand."
    _Makoto_           "True-Heart."
    _Masa-ko_          "The Trustworthy,"--sure.
    _Masa-ko_          "The Upright."
    _Masu-ko_          "Increase."
    _Mata-ko_          "Completely,"--wholly.
    _Matsu-ko_         "Pine-tree."
    _Michi-ko_         "Three Thousand."
    _Miné_             "Peak."
    _Miné-ko_          "Mountain-Range."
    _Mitsu-ko_         "Light,"--radiance.
    _Miyo-ko_          "Beautiful Generations."
    _Moto-ko_          "Origin,"--source.
    _Naga-ko_          "Long,"--probably in reference to time.
    _Naga-ko_          "Long Life."
    _Nami-ko_          "Wave."
    _Nao-ko_           "Correct,"--upright.
    _Nyo-ko_[89]       "Gem-Treasure."

        [89] This name is borrowed from the name of the sacred
             gem _Nyoihôju_, which figures both in Shintô and in
             Buddhist legend. The divinity Jizô is usually
             represented holding in one hand this gem, which is
             said to have the power of gratifying any desire
             that its owner can entertain. Perhaps the _Nyoihôju_
             may be identified with the Gem-Treasure _Veluriya_,
             mentioned in the Sûtra of The Great King of Glory,
             chapter i. (See _Sacred Books of the East_, vol.

    _Nobu-ko_          "Faithful."
    _Nobu-ko_          "Abundance,"--plenty.
    _Nobu-ko_          "The Prolonger."
    _Nori-ko_          "Precept,"--doctrine.
    _Nui_              "Embroidery,"--sewing.
    _Oki_              "Offing,"--perhaps originally a place-name.[90]

        [90] A naval officer named Oki told me that his family
             had originally been settled in the Oki Islands
             ("Islands of the Offing"). This interesting
             coincidence suggested to me that the above _yobina_
             might have had the same origin.

    _Sada-ko_          "The Chaste."
    _Sada-ko_          "The Sure,"--trustworthy.
    _Sakura-ko_        "Cherry-Blossom."
    _Sakaë_            "The Prosperous."
    _Sato-ko_          "Home."
    _Sato-ko_          "The Discriminating."
    _Seki-ko_          "Great."
    _Setsu-ko_         "The Chaste."
    _Shigé-ko_         "Flourishing."
    _Shigé-ko_         "Exuberant,"--in the sense of rich growth.
    _Shigé-ko_         "Upgrowing."
    _Shigé-ko_         "Fragrance."
    _Shiki-ko_         "Prudence."
    _Shima-ko_         "Island."
    _Shin-ko_          "The Fresh,"--new.
    _Shizu-ko_         "The Quiet,"--calm.
    _Shizuë_           "Quiet River."
    _Sono-ko_          "Garden."
    _Suë-ko_           "Last,"--in the sense of youngest.
    _Suké-ko_          "The Helper."
    _Sumi-ko_          "The Clear,"--spotless, refined.
    _Sumi-ko_          "The Veritable,"--real.
    _Sumië-ko_         "Clear River."
    _Suzu-ko_          "Tin."
    _Suzu-ko_          "Little Bell."
    _Suzunë_           "Sound of Little Bell."
    _Taka-ko_          "High,"--lofty, superior.
    _Taka-ko_          "Filial Piety."
    _Taka-ko_          "Precious."
    _Také-ko_          "Bamboo."
    _Taki-ko_          "Waterfall."
    _Tama-ko_          "Gem,"--jewel.
    _Tama-ko_          "Gem,"--written with a different character.
    _Tamé-ko_          "For the Sake of--"
    _Tami-ko_          "People,"--folks.
    _Tané-ko_          "Successful."
    _Tatsu-ko_         "Attaining."
    _Tatsuru-ko_[91]   "Many Storks."

        [91] So written, but probably pronounced as two syllables

    _Tatsuru-ko_       "Ricefield Stork."
    _Teru-ko_          "Beaming,"--luminous.
    _Tetsu-ko_         "Iron."
    _Toki-ko_          "Time."
    _Tomé-ko_          "Cessation."
    _Tomi-ko_          "Riches."
    _Tomo_             "Intelligence."
    _Tomo_             "Knowledge."
    _Tomo-ko_          "Friendship."
    _Toshi-ko_         "The Quickly-Perceiving."
    _Toyo-ko_          "Fruitful."
    _Tsuné_            "Constancy."
    _Tsuné-ko_         "Ordinary,"--usual, common.
    _Tsuné-ko_         "Ordinary,"--written with a different
    _Tsuné-ko_         "Faithful,"--in the sense of wifely fidelity.
    _Tsuru-ko_         "Stork."
    _Tsuya-ko_         "The Lustrous,"--shining, glossy.
    _Umé_              "Female Hare."
    _Umé-ko_           "Plum-Blossom."
    _Yachi-ko_         "Eight Thousand."
    _Yaso-ko_          "Eighty."
    _Yasoshi-ko_       "Eighty-four."
    _Yasu-ko_          "The Maintainer,"--supporter.
    _Yasu-ko_          "The Respectful."
    _Yasu-ko_          "The Tranquil-Minded."
    _Yoné-ko_          "Rice."
    _Yori-ko_          "The Trustful."
    _Yoshi_            "Eminent,"--celebrated.
    _Yoshi-ko_         "Fragrance."
    _Yoshi-ko_         "The Good,"--or Gentle.
    _Yoshi-ko_         "The Lovable."
    _Yoshi-ko_         "The Lady-like,"--gentle in the sense of
    _Yoshi-ko_         "The Joyful."
    _Yoshi-ko_         "Congratulation."
    _Yoshi-ko_         "The Happy."
    _Yoshi-ko_         "Bright and Clear."
    _Yuki-ko_          "The Lucky."
    _Yuki-ko_          "Snow."
    _Yuku-ko_          "Going."
    _Yutaka_           "Plenty,"--affluence, superabundance.


IN the first part of this paper I suggested that the custom of giving
very poetical names to _geisha_ and to _jorô_ might partly account for
the unpopularity of purely æsthetic _yobina_. And in the hope of
correcting certain foreign misapprehensions, I shall now venture a few
remarks about the names of _geisha_.

_Geisha_-names,--like other classes of names,--although full of curious
interest, and often in themselves really beautiful, have become
hopelessly vulgarized by association with a calling the reverse of
respectable. Strictly speaking, they have nothing to do with the subject
of the present study,--inasmuch as they are not real personal names, but
professional appellations only,--not _yobina_, but _geimyô_.

A large proportion of such names can be distinguished by certain
prefixes or suffixes attached to them. They can be known, for example,--

(1) By the prefix _Waka_, signifying "Young";--as in the names
    _Wakagusa_, "Young Grass"; _Wakazuru_, "Young Stork";
    _Wakamurasaki_, "Young Purple"; _Wakakoma_, "Young Filly".

(2) By the prefix _Ko_, signifying "Little";--as in the names, _Ko-en_,
    "Little Charm"; _Ko-hana_, "Little Flower"; _Kozakura_, "Little

(3) By the suffix _Ryô_, signifying "Dragon" (the Ascending Dragon being
    especially a symbol of success);--as _Tama-Ryô_, "Jewel-Dragon";
    _Hana-Ryô_, "Flower-Dragon"; _Kin-Ryô_, "Golden-Dragon".

(4) By the suffix _ji_, signifying "to serve", "to administer";--as in
    the names _Uta-ji_, _Shinné-ji_, _Katsu-ji_.

(5) By the suffix _suké_, signifying "help";--as in the names
    _Tama-suké_, _Koma-suké_.

(6) By the suffix _kichi_, signifying "luck", "fortune";--as
    _Uta-kichi_, "Song-Luck"; _Tama-kichi_, "Jewel-Fortune".

(7) By the suffix _giku_ (i. e., _kiku_) signifying "chrysanthemum";--as
    _Mitsu-giku_, "Three Chrysanthemums"; _Hina-giku_,
    "Doll-Chrysanthemum"; _Ko-giku_, "Little Chrysanthemum".

(8) By the suffix tsuru, signifying "stork" (emblem of longevity);--as
    _Koma-tsuru_, "Filly-Stork"; _Ko-tsuru_, "Little Stork"; _Ito-zuru_,

These forms will serve for illustration; but there are others. _Geimyô_
are written, as a general rule, with only two Chinese characters, and
are pronounced as three or as four syllables. _Geimyô_ of five syllables
are occasionally to be met with; _geimyô_ of only two syllables are
rare--at least among names of dancing girls. And these professional
appellations have seldom any moral meaning: they signify things relating
to longevity, wealth, pleasure, youth, or luck,--perhaps especially to

                   *       *       *       *       *

Of late years it became a fashion among certain classes of _geisha_ in
the capital to assume real names with the genteel suffix _Ko_, and even
aristocratic _yobina_. In 1889 some of the Tôkyô newspapers demanded
legislative measures to check the practice. This incident would seem to
afford proof of public feeling upon the subject.

                           Old Japanese Songs


THIS New Year's morning I find upon my table two most welcome gifts from
a young poet of my literary class. One is a roll of cloth for a new
kimono,--cloth such as my Western reader never saw. The brown warp is
cotton thread; but the woof is soft white paper string, irregularly
speckled with black. When closely examined, the black specklings prove
to be Chinese and Japanese characters;--for the paper woof is made out
of manuscript,--manuscript of poems,--which has been deftly twisted into
fine cord, with the written surface outwards. The general effect of the
white, black, and brown in the texture is a warm mouse-grey. In many
Izumo homes a similar kind of cloth is manufactured for family use; but
this piece was woven especially for me by the mother of my pupil. It
will make a most comfortable winter-robe; and when wearing it, I shall
be literally clothed with poetry,--even as a divinity might be clothed
with the sun.

The other gift is poetry also, but poetry in the original state: a
wonderful manuscript collection of Japanese songs gathered from
unfamiliar sources, and particularly interesting from the fact that
nearly all of them are furnished with refrains. There are hundreds of
compositions, old and new,--including several extraordinary ballads,
many dancing-songs, and a surprising variety of love-songs. Neither in
sentiment nor in construction do any of these resemble the Japanese
poetry of which I have already, in previous books, offered specimens in
translation. The forms are, in most cases, curiously irregular; but
their irregularity is not without a strange charm of its own.

                   *       *       *       *       *

I am going to offer examples of these compositions,--partly because of
their unfamiliar emotional quality, and partly because I think that
something can be learned from their strange art of construction, The
older songs--selected from the antique drama--seem to me particularly
worthy of notice. The thought or feeling and its utterance are
supremely simple; yet by primitive devices of reiteration and of pause,
very remarkable results have been obtained. What strikes me especially
noteworthy in the following specimen is the way that the phrase, begun
with the third line of the first stanza, and interrupted by a kind of
burthen, is repeated and finished in the next stanza. Perhaps the
suspension will recall to Western readers the effect of some English
ballads with double refrains, or of such quaint forms of French song as
the famous--

                        Au jardin de mon père--
                            _Vole, mon coeur, vole!_
                        Il y a un pommier doux,
                            _Tout doux!_

But in the Japanese song the reiteration of the broken phrase produces a
slow dreamy effect as unlike the effect of the French composition as the
movements of a Japanese dance are unlike those of any Western round:--

                              KANO YUKU WA

                 (_Probably from the eleventh century_)

            Kano yuku wa,
            Kari ka?--kugui ka?
            Kari naraba,--

              (Ref.) _Haréya tôtô!_
                     _Haréya tôtô!_

            Kari nara
            Nanori zo sémashi;--
            Nao kugui nari-ya!--

              (Ref.) _Tôtô!_

    That which yonder flies,--
    Wild goose is it?--swan is it?
    Wild goose if it be,--

                    _Haréya tôtô!_
                    _Haréya tôtô!_

    Wild goose if it be,
    Its name I soon shall say:
    Wild swan if it be,--better still!


There are many old lyrics in the above form. Here is another song, of
different construction, also from the old drama: there is no refrain,
but there is the same peculiar suspension of phrase; and the effect of
the quadruple repetition is emotionally impressive:--

                Isora ga saki ni
                Tai tsuru ama mo,
                Tai tsuru ama mo,--

                Wagimoko ga tamé to,
                Tai tsuru ama mo,
                Tai tsuru ama mo!

    Off the Cape of Isora,
    Even the fisherman catching _tai_,[92]
    Even the fisherman catching _tai_,--

    [Works] for the sake of the woman beloved,--
    Even the fisherman catching _tai_,
    Even the fisherman catching _tai_!

        [92] _Chrysopbris cardinalis_, a kind of
             sea-bream,--generally esteemed the best of
             Japanese fishes.

But a still more remarkable effect is obtained in the following ancient
song by the extraordinary reiteration of an uncompleted phrase, and by a
double suspension. I can imagine nothing more purely natural: indeed the
realism of these simple utterances has almost the quality of pathos:--


                 (_Old lyrical drama--date uncertain_)

                        Agémaki[93] wo
                    Waséda ni yarité ya!
                        So omou to,
                        So omou to,
                        So omou to,
                        So omou to,
                        So omou to,--

                        So omou to,
                    Nani-mo sezushité,--
                        Harubi sura,
                        Harubi sura,
                        Harubi sura,
                        Harubi sura,
                        Harubi sura!

          My darling boy!--
    Oh! they have sent him to the ricefields!
          When I think about him,--
          When I think,
          When I think,
          When I think,
          When I think,--

          When I think about him!
    I--doing nothing at all,--
          Even on this spring-day,
          Even this spring-day,
          Even this spring-day,
          Even this spring-day,
          Even on this spring-day!--

        [93] It was formerly the custom to shave the heads of
             boys, leaving only a tuft or lock of hair on either
             temple. Such a lock was called _agémaki_, a word
             also meaning "tassel"; and eventually the term came
             to signify a boy or lad. In these songs it is used
             as a term of endearment,--much as an English girl
             might speak of her sweetheart as "my dear lad," or
             "my darling boy."

Other forms of repetition and of refrain are furnished in the two
following lyrics:--


   (_Supposed to have been composed as early as the twelfth century_)

                      Bindatara wo
                    Ayugaséba koso,
                    Ayugaséba koso,
                    Aikyô zuitaré!

                            _Yaréko tôtô,
                            Yaréko tôtô!_

          With loosened hair,--
    Only because of having tossed it,
    Only because of having shaken it,--
          Oh, sweet she is!

                    _Yaréko tôtô!
                    Yaréko tôtô!_

                             SAMA WA TENNIN

                (_Probably from the sixteenth century_)

                Sama wa tennin!

                Otomé no sugata
                Kumo no kayoiji
                Chirato mita!

                Otomé no sugata
                Kumo no kayoiji
                Chirato mita!

    My beloved an angel is![94]

    The maiden's form,
    In the passing of clouds,
    In a glimpse I saw!

    The maiden's form,
    In the passage of clouds,
    In a glimpse I saw!

        [94] Lit., "a Tennin";--that is to say, an inhabitant
             of the Buddhist heaven. The Tennin are usually
             represented as beautiful maidens.

My next selection is from a love-song of uncertain date, belonging to
the Kamakura period (1186-1332). This fragment is chiefly remarkable for
its Buddhist allusions, and for its very regular form of stanza:--

                   Makoto yara,
                 Kashima no minato ni
                 Miroku no mifuné ga
                 Tsuité gozarimôsu.

                      _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_
                      _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_

                   Hobashira wa,
                 Kogané no hobashira;
                 Ho niwa Hokkékyô no
                 Go no man-makimono.

                      _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_
                      _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_

                       *       *       *       *       *

    I know not if 't is true
    That to the port of Kashima
    The august ship of Miroku[95] has come!

            _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_
            _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_

        [95] Miroku Bosatsu (Maitrêya Bodhisattva) is the next
             great Buddha to come.

    As for the mast,
    It is a mast of gold;--
    The sail is the fifth august roll
    Of the Hokkékyô![96]

                    _Sâ iyoë, iyoë!_
                    _Sâ iyoë, iyoë_

        [96] Japanese popular name for the Chinese version of
             the Saddhârma Pundarîka Sûtra.--Many of the old
             Buddhist scriptures were written upon long scrolls,
             called _makimono_,--a name also given to pictures
             printed upon long rolls of silk or paper.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Otherwise interesting, with its queer refrain, is another song called
"Agémaki,"--belonging to one of the curious class of lyrical dramas
known as _Saibara_. This may be found fault with as somewhat "free"; but
I cannot think it more open to objection than some of our much-admired
Elizabethan songs which were probably produced at about the same time:--


                (_Probably from the sixteenth century_)

                 Agémaki ya!
                 Hiro bakari ya--
                 Sakarité netarédomo,

    Oh! my darling boy!
    Though a fathom[97] apart,
    Sleeping separated,
    By rolling we came together!
    By slow approaches we came together,

        [97] Lit., "_hiro_." The _hiro_ is a measure of about
             five feet English, and is used to measure breadth
             as well as depth.

My next group of selections consists of "local songs"--by which term the
collector means songs peculiar to particular districts or provinces.
They are old--though less old than the compositions previously
cited;--and their interest is chiefly emotional. But several, it will be
observed, have curious refrains. Songs of this sort are sung especially
at the village-dances--_Bon-odori_ and _Hônen-odori_:--


                        (_Province of Echigo_)

                 Hana ka?--chôchô ka?
                 Chôchô ka?--hana ka?


            Kité wa chira-chira mayowaséru,
            Kité wa chira-chira mayowaséru!

                                      _Sôkané don-don!_

         Flower is it?--butterfly is it?
         Butterfly or flower?


    When you come thus flickering, I am deluded!--
    When you come thus twinkling, I am bewitched!

                              _Sôkané don-don!_


                 (_Province of Kii,--village of Ogawa_)

                Koë wa surédomo
                Sugata wa miénu--
                Fuka-no no kirigirisu!

    Though I hear the voice [_of the beloved_], the form I cannot
    see--a _kirigirisu_[98] in the high grass.

        [98] _The kirigirisu_ is a kind of grasshopper with a
             very musical note. It is very difficult to see it,
             even when it is singing close by, for its color is
             exactly the color of the grass. The song alludes to
             the happy peasant custom of singing while at work
             in the fields.


               (_Province of Mutsu,--district of Sugaru_)

                 Washi no kokoro to
                 Oki kuru funé wa,
                 Raku ni misétémo,
                        Ku ga taënu.

    My heart and a ship in the offing--either seems to move with
    ease; yet in both there is trouble enough.


              (_Province of Suwô,--village of Iséki_)

                 Namida koboshité
                 Shinku wo kataru,
                 Kawairashi-sa ga

    As she tells me all the pain of her toil, shedding tears,--ever
    her sweetness seems to increase.


             (_Province of Suruga, village of Gotemba_)

                 Hana ya, yoku kiké!
                 Shô aru naraba,
                 Hito ga fusagu ni
                        Nazé hiraku?

    O flower, hear me well if thou hast a soul! When any one sorrows
    as I am sorrowing, why dost thou bloom?

                             OLD TÔKYÔ SONG

                 Iya-na o-kata no
                 Shinsetsu yori ka
                 Suita o-kata no
                        Muri ga yoi.

    Better than the kindness of the disliked is the violence of the


                         (_Province of Iwami_)

                 Kawairashi-sa ya!
                 Hotaru no mushi wa
                 Shinobu nawaté ni
                       Hi wo tomosu.

    Ah, the darling!... Ever as I steal along the ricefield-path
    [_to meet my lover_], the firefly kindles a light to show me
    the way.

                               COMIC SONG

                        (_Province of Shinano_)

                        Ano yama kagé dé
                        Hikaru wa nanja?--
                 Tsuki ka, hoshi ka, hotaru no mushi ka?
                        Tsuki démo naiga;
                        Hoshi démo naiga;--
                 Shûto no o-uba no mé ga hikaru,--
                                  (Chorus) _Mé ga hikaru!_

    In the shadow of the mountain
    What is it that shines so?
    Moon is it, or star?--or is it the firefly-insect?
            Neither is it moon,
            Nor yet star;--
    It is the old woman's Eye;--it is the Eye of my
        mother-in-law that shines,--
                       (Chorus) _It is her Eye that shines!_


                         (_Province of Sanuki_)

        [99] I am not sure of the real meaning of the name
             _Kaëri-Odori_ (lit. "turn-dance" or "return-dance").

    Oh! the cruelty, the cruelty of my mother-in-law!--

                                        (Chorus) _Oh! the cruelty!_

    Even tells me to paint a picture on running water!
    If ever I paint a picture on running water,
    You will count the stars in the night-sky!

                                 _Count the stars in the night-sky!_

    --_Come! let us dance the Dance of the Honorable


    Who cuts the bamboo at the back of the house?--

                                   (Chorus) _Who cuts the bamboo?_--

    My sweet lord's own bamboo, the first he planted,--

                                             _The first be planted?_

    --_Come! let us dance the Dance of the Honorable Garden!_--


    Oh! the cruelty, the cruelty of my mother-in-law!--

                                                  _Oh! the cruelty!_

    Tells me to cut and make a hakama[100] out of rock!
    If ever I cut and sew a hakama of rock,
    Then you will learn to twist the fine sand into thread,--

                                             _Twist it into thread._

    --_Come! let us dance the Dance of the Honorable


        [100] A divided skirt of a peculiar form, worn formerly
              by men chiefly, to-day worn by female students

                       OTERA-ODORI (TEMPLE-DANCE)

             (_Province of Iga, village called Uenomachi_)

    Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the august gate,
    The august gate I find to be of silver, the panels of gold.
    Noble indeed is the gate of the honorable temple,--
                                             _The honorable temple!_

    Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the garden,
    I see young pinetrees flourishing in the four directions:
    On the first little branch of one the _shijûgara_[101] has
        made her nest,--
                                                _Has made her nest_.

    Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the water-tank,
    I see little flowers of many colors set all about it,
    Each one having a different color of its own,--
                                                _A different color._

    Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the parlor-room,
    I find many kinds of little birds gathered all together,
    Each one singing a different song of its own,--
                                                 _A different song._

    Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the guest-room,
    There I see the priest, with a lamp beside him,
    Reading behind a folding-screen--oh, how admirable it is!--
                                              _How admirable it is!_

        [101] The Manchurian great tit. It is said to bring good
              fortune to the owners of the garden in which it
              builds a nest,--providing that the nest be not
              disturbed and that the brood be protected.

Many kinds of popular songs--and especially the class of songs sung at
country-dances--are composed after a mnemonic plan. The stanzas are
usually ten in number; and the first syllable of each should correspond
in sound to the first syllable of the numeral placed before the verse.
Sometimes Chinese numerals are used; sometimes Japanese. But the rule is
not always perfectly observed. In the following example it will be
observed that the correspondence of the first two syllables in the first
verse with the first two syllables of the Japanese word for one
(_hitotsu_) is a correspondence of meaning only;--_ichi_ being the
Chinese numeral:--

                           SONG OF FISHERMEN

             (_Province of Shimosa,--town of Chôshi_)[102]

        [102] Chôshi, a town of some importance, is situated at
              the mouth of the Tonégawa. It is celebrated for
              its _iwashi_-fishery. The _iwashi_ is a fish about
              the size of the sardine, and is sought chiefly for
              the sake of its oil. Immense quantities of
              _iwashi_ are taken off the coast. They are boiled
              to extract the oil; and the dried residue is sent
              inland to serve as manure.

              Ichiban buné é tsumi-kondé,
              Kawaguchi oshikomu ô-yagoë.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Futaba no oki kara Togawa madé
              Tsuzuité oshikomu ô-yagoë.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Mina ichidô-ni manéki wo agé,
              Kayowasé-buné no nigiyakasa

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Yoru-hiru taitémo taki-amaru,
              San-bai itchô no ô-iwashi!

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Itsu kité mitémo hoshika-ba ni
              Akima sukima wa sarani nai.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Mutsu kara mutsu madé kasu-wari ga
              Ô-wari ko-wari dé té ni owaré.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Natakaki Tonégawa ichi-men ni
              Kasu-ya abura wo tsumi-okuru

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Yatébuné no okiai wakashu ga,
              Ban-shuku soroété miya-mairi.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

              Kono ura mamoru kawa-guchi no
              Myôjin riyaku wo arawasuru.

                                _Kono tai-ryô-buné!_

    _Firstly_ (or "Number One"),--

    The first ship, filled up with fish, squeezes her way through
    the river-mouth, with a great shouting.[103]

        [103] _Ô-yagoë._ The chorus-cry or chant of sailors,
              pulling all together, is called yagoë.

                                _O this ship of great fishing!_[104]

        [104] _Tai-ryô buné_, lit.:--"great-fishing," or
              "great-catching-ship." The adjective refers to the
              fishing, not to the ship. The real meaning of the
              refrain is, "this-most-successful-in-fishing of


    From the offing of Futaba even to the Togawa,[105] the ships, fast
    following, press in, with a great shouting.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_

        [105] Perhaps the reference is to a village at the mouth
              of the river Togawa,--not far from Chôshi on the
              Tonégawa. The two rivers are united by a canal.
              But the text leaves it uncertain whether river or
              village is meant.


    When, all together, we hoist our signal-flags, see how fast the
    cargo-boats come hurrying!

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_


    Night and day though the boiling be, there is still too much to
    boil--oh, the heaps of _iwashi_ from the three ships together!

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_


    Whenever you go to look at the place where the dried fish are
    kept,[106] never do you find any room,--not even a crevice.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_

        [106] _Hoshika-ba_: lit., "the hoshika-place" or
              "hoshika-room." "Hoshika" is the name given to
              dried fish prepared for use as fertilizer.


    From six to six o'clock is cleaning and washing: the great
    cutting and the small cutting are more than can be done.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_


    All up and down the famous river Tonégawa we send our loads of
    oil and fertilizer.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_


    All the young folk, drawing the _Yatai-buné_,[107] with ten
    thousand rejoicings, visit the shrine of the God.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_

        [107] _Yatai_ is the name given to the ornamental cars
              drawn with ropes in a religious procession.
              _Yatai-buné_ here seems to mean either the model
              of a boat mounted upon such a car, or a real boat
              so displayed in a religious procession. I have
              seen real boats mounted upon festival-cars in a
              religious procession at Mionoséki.


    Augustly protecting all this coast, the Deity of the river-mouth
    shows to us his divine favor.

                                     _O this ship of great fishing!_

A stranger example of this mnemonic arrangement is furnished by a
children's song, composed at least a hundred years ago. Little girls of
Yedo used to sing it while playing ball. You can see the same ball-game
being played by girls to-day, in almost any quiet street of Tôkyô. The
ball is kept bounding in a nearly perpendicular line by skilful taps of
the hand delivered in time to the measure of a song; and a good player
should be able to sing the song through without missing a stroke. If she
misses, she must yield the ball to another player.[108] There are many
pretty "ball-play songs;" but this old-fashioned and long-forgotten one
is a moral curiosity:--

    [108] This is the more common form of the game; but there are
          many other forms. Sometimes two girls play at once with
          the same ball--striking it alternately as it bounds.

    _Hitotsu to ya:_--

        Hito wa kô na hito to iu;
        On wo shiranéba kô naraji.

    _Futatsu to ya:_--

        Fuji yori takaki chichi no on;
        Tsuné-ni omouté wasuré-naji.

    _Mitsu to ya:_--

        Mizu-umi kaetté asashi to wa,
        Haha no on zo ya omou-beshi.

    _Yotsu to ya:_--

        Yoshiya mazushiku kurasu tomo,
        Sugu-naru michi wo maguru-moji.

    _Itsutsu to ya:_--

        Itsumo kokoro no kawaranu wo,
        Makoto no hito to omou-beshi.

    _Mutsu to ya:_--

        Munashiku tsukihi wo kurashi-naba,
        Nochi no nagéki to shirinu-beshi.

    _Nanatsu to ya:_--

        Nasaki wa hito no tamé narodé,
        Waga mi no tamé to omou-beshi.

    _Yatsu to ya:_--

        Yaku-nan muryô no wazawai mo
        Kokoro zen nara nogaru-beshi.

    _Kokonotsu to ya:_--

        Kokoro kotoba no sugu-naraba,
        Kami ya Hotoké mo mamoru-beshi.

    _Tô to ya_:--

        Tôtoi hito to naru naraba,
        Kôkô mono to iwaru-beshi.

    _This is the first_:--

        [Only] a person having filial piety is [worthy to be] called
            a person:[109]
        If one does not know the goodness of parents, one has not
            filial piety.

        [109] Lit., "A person having filial piety is called a
              person." The word _hito_ (person), usually
              indicating either a man or a woman, is often used
              in the signification of "people" or "Mankind." The
              full meaning of the sentence is that no unfilial
              person deserves to be called a human being.

    _The second_:--

        Higher than the [mountain] Fuji is the favor of a father:
        Think of it always;--never forget it.

    _The third_:--

        [Compared with a mother's love] the great lake is shallow
        [By this saying] the goodness of a mother should be

    _The fourth_:--

        Even though in poverty we have to pass our days,
        Let us never turn aside from the one straight path.

    _The fifth:_--

        The person whose heart never changes with time,
        A true man or woman that person must be deemed.

    _The sixth_:--

        If the time [of the present] be spent in vain,
        In the time of the future must sorrow be borne.

    _The seventh_:--

        That a kindness done is not for the sake of others only,
        But also for one's own sake, should well be kept in mind.

    _The eighth_:--

        Even the sorrow of numberless misfortunes
        We shall easily escape if the heart be pure.

    _The ninth_:--

        If the heart and the speech be kept straight and true,
        The Gods and the Buddhas will surely guard us well.

    _The tenth_:--

        In order to become a person held in honor,
        As a filial person one must [first] be known.

The reader may think to himself, "How terribly exigent the training that
could require the repetition of moral lessons even in a 'ball-play
song'!" True,--but it produced perhaps the very sweetest type of woman
that this world has ever known.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In some dance-songs the burthen is made by the mere repetition of the
last line, or of part of the last line, of each stanza. The following
queer ballad exemplifies the practice, and is furthermore remarkable by
reason of the curious onomatopoetic choruses introduced at certain
passages of the recitative:--

                          KANÉ-MAKI-ODORI UTA

   ("_Bell-wrapping-dance song_."--_Province of Iga--Naga district_)

    A Yamabushi of Kyôto went to Kumano. There resting in the inn
    Chôjaya, by the beach of Shirotaka, he saw a little girl three
    years old; and he petted and hugged her, playfully promising to
    make her his wife,--

                                    (Chorus)  _Playfully promising._

    Thereafter that Yamabushi travelled in various provinces;
    returning only when that girl was thirteen years old. "O my
    princess, my princess!" he cried to her,--"my little princess,
    pledged to me by promise!"--"O Sir Yamabushi," made she
    answer,--"good Sir Yamabushi, take me with you now!--

                                           "_Take me with you now!_"

    "O soon," he said, "I shall come again; soon I shall come again:
    then, when I come again, I shall take you with me,--

                                               "_Take you with me._"

    Therewith the Yamabushi, escaping from her, quickly, quickly
    fled away;--with all haste he fled away. Having passed through
    Tanabé and passed through Minabé, he fled on over the Komatsu

                                            _Over the Komatsu moor._

                 KAKKARA, KAKKARA, KAKKARA, KAKKA![110]

        [110] These syllables, forming a sort of special chorus,
              are simply onomatopes; intended to represent the
              sound of sandalled feet running at utmost speed.

    Therewith the damsel, pursuing, quickly, quickly followed after
    him;--with all speed she followed after him. Having passed
    through Tanabé and passed through Minabé, she pursued him over
    the Komatsu moor,--

                                            _Over the Komatsu moor._

    Then the Yamabushi, fleeing, came as he fled to the river of
    Amoda, and cried to the boatman of the river of Amoda,--"O good
    boatman, good sir boatman, behind me comes a maid
    pursuing!--pray do not take her across, good boatman,--

                                               "_Good sir boatman!_"

                 _DEBOKU, DEBOKU, DEBOKU, DENDEN!_[111]

        [111] These onomatopes, chanted by all the dancers
              together in chorus, with appropriate gesture,
              represent the sound of the ferryman's single oar,
              or scull, working upon its wooden peg. The
              syllables have no meaning in themselves.

    Then the damsel, pursuing, came to the river of Amoda and
    called to the boatman, "Bring hither the boat!--take me over in
    the boat!"--"No, I will not bring the boat; I will not take you
    over: my boat is forbidden to carry women!--

                                       "_Forbidden to carry women!_"

    "If you do not take me over, I will cross!--if you do not take
    me over, I will cross!--there is a way to cross the river of
    Amoda!" Taking off her sandals and holding them aloft, she
    entered the water, and at once turned into a dragon with twelve
    horns fully grown,--

                                    _With twelve horns fully grown._

    Then the Yamabushi, fleeing, reached the temple Dôjôji, and
    cried to the priests of the temple Dôjôji:--"O good priests,
    behind me a damsel comes pursuing!--hide me, I beseech you,
    good sir priests!--

                                               "_Good sir priests!_"

    Then the priests, after holding consultation, took down from its
    place the big bell of the temple; and under it they hid him,--

                                            _Under it they hid him_.

    Then the dragon-maid, pursuing, followed him to the temple
    Dôjôji. For a moment she stood in the gate of the temple: she
    saw that bell, and viewed it with suspicion. She thought:--"I
    must wrap myself about it once." She thought:--"I must wrap
    myself about it twice!" At the third wrapping, the bell was
    melted, and began to flow like boiling water,--

                                               _Like boiling water_.

    So is told the story of the Wrapping of the Bell. Many damsels
    dwell by the seashore of Japan;--but who among them, like the
    daughter of the Chôja, will become a dragon?--

                                                  _Become a dragon?_

    This is all the Song of the Wrapping of the Bell!--this is all
    the Song,--

                                                _All the song!_[112]

        [112] This legend forms the subject of several Japanese
              dramas, both ancient and modern. The original
              story is that a Buddhist priest, called Anchin,
              having rashly excited the affection of a maiden
              named Kiyohimé, and being, by reason of his vows,
              unable to wed her, sought safety from her advances
              in flight. Kiyohimé, by the violence of her
              frustrated passion, therewith became transformed
              into a fiery dragon; and in that shape she
              pursued the priest to the temple called Dôjôji,
              in Kumano (modern Kishû), where he tried to hide
              himself under the great temple-bell. But the
              dragon coiled herself round the bell, which at
              once became red-hot, so that the body of the
              priest was totally consumed.

              In this rude ballad Kiyohimé figures only as the
              daughter of an inn-keeper,--the _Chôja_, or rich
              man of his village; while the priest Anchin is
              changed into a Yamabushi. The Yamabushi are, or at
              least were, wandering priests of the strange sect
              called Shugendo,--itinerant exorcists and
              diviners, professing both Shinto and Buddhism. Of
              late years their practices have been prohibited by
              law; and a real Yamabushi is now seldom to be met

              The temple Dôjôji is still a famous place of
              pilgrimage. It is situated not far from Gobô, on
              the western coast of Kishû. The incident of Anchin
              and the dragon is said to have occurred in the
              early part of the tenth century.

I shall give only one specimen of the true street-ballad,--the kind of
ballad commonly sung by wandering samisen-players. It is written in an
irregular measure, varying from twelve to sixteen syllables in length;
the greater number of lines having thirteen syllables. I do not know the
date of its composition; but I am told by aged persons who remember
hearing it sung when they were children, that it was popular in the
period of Tenpô (1830-1843). It is not divided into stanzas; but there
are pauses at irregular intervals,--marked by the refrain, _Yanrei!_

                          O-KICHI-SEIZA KUDOKI

                  ("_The Ditty of O-Kichi and Seiza_")

    Now hear the pitiful story of two that died for love.--In Kyôto
    was the thread-shop of Yoëmon, a merchant known far and near,--a
    man of much wealth. His business prospered; his life was
    fortunate. One daughter he had, an only child, by name O-Kichi:
    at sixteen years she was lovely as a flower. Also he had a clerk
    in his house, by name Seiza, just in the prime of youth, aged


    Now the young man Seiza was handsome; and O-Kichi fell in love
    with him at sight. And the two were so often together that their
    secret affection became known; and the matter came to the ears
    of the parents of O-Kichi; and the parents, hearing of it, felt
    that such a thing could not be suffered to continue.


    So at last, the mother, having called O-Kichi into a private
    room, thus spoke to her:--"O my daughter, I hear that you have
    formed a secret relation with the young man Seiza, of our shop.
    Are you willing to end that relation at once, and not to think
    any more about that man, O-Kichi?--answer me, O my daughter."


    "O my dear mother," answered O-Kichi, "what is this that you ask
    me to do? The closeness of the relation between Seiza and me is
    the closeness of the relation of the ink to the paper that it
    penetrates.[113] Therefore, whatever may happen, O mother of
    mine, to separate from Seiza is more than I can bear."


        [113] Lit.:--"that affinity as-for, ink-and-paper-soaked-like

    Then, the father, having called Seiza to the innermost private
    room, thus spoke to him:--"I called you here only to tell you
    this: You have turned the mind of our daughter away from what is
    right; and even to hear of such a matter is not to be borne.
    Pack up your things at once, and go!--to-day is the utmost limit
    of the time that you remain in this house."


    Now Seiza was a native of Ôsaka. Without saying more than
    "Yes--yes," he obeyed and went away, returning to his home.
    There he remained four or five days, thinking only of O-Kichi.
    And because of his longing for her, he fell sick; and as there
    was no cure and no hope for him, he died.


    Then one night O-Kichi, in a moment of sleep, saw the face of
    Seiza close to her pillow,--so plainly that she could not tell
    whether it was real, or only a dream. And rising up, she looked
    about; but the form of Seiza had vanished.


    Because of this she made up her mind to go at once to the house
    of Seiza. And, without being seen by any one, she fled from the
    home of her parents.


    When she came to the ferry at the next village, she did not take
    the boat, but went round by another road; and making all haste
    she found her way to the city of Ôsaka. There she asked for the
    house of Seiza; and she learned that it was in a certain street,
    the third house from a certain bridge.


    Arriving at last before the home of Seiza, she took off her
    travelling hat of straw; and seating herself on the threshold
    of the entrance, she cried out:--"Pardon me kindly!--is not this
    the house of Master Seiza?"


    Then--O the pity of it!--she saw the mother of Seiza, weeping
    bitterly, and holding in her hand a Buddhist rosary. "O my good
    young lady," the mother of Seiza asked, "whence have you come;
    and whom do you want to see?"


    And O-Kichi said:--"I am the daughter of the thread-merchant
    of Kyôto. And I have come all the way here only because of the
    relation that has long existed between Master Seiza and myself.
    Therefore, I pray you, kindly permit me to see him."


    "Alas!" made answer the mother, weeping, "Seiza, whom you have
    come so far to see, is dead. To-day is the seventh day from the
    day on which he died." ... Hearing these words, O-Kichi herself
    could only shed tears.


    But after a little while she took her way to the cemetery. And
    there she found the sotoba[114] erected above the grave of
    Seiza; and leaning upon it, she wept aloud.


        [114] A wooden lath, bearing Buddhist texts, planted
              above graves. For a full account of the sotoba see
              _my Exotics and Retrospectives_: "The Literature
              of the Dead."

    Then--how fearful a thing is the longing of a person[115]--the
    grave of Seiza split asunder; and the form of Seiza rose up
    therefrom and spoke.


        [115] In the original:--_Hito no omoi wa osoroshi mono
              yo!_--("how fearful a thing is the thinking of a
              person!"). The word _omoi_, used here in the sense
              of "longing," refers to the weird power of Seiza's
              dying wish to see his sweetheart. Even after his
              burial, this longing has the strength to burst
              open the tomb.

              --In the old English ballad of "William and
              Marjorie" (see Child: vol. ii. p. 151) there is
              also a remarkable fancy about the opening and
              closing of a grave:--

                  She followed him high, she followed him low,
                    Till she came to yon churchyard green;
                  _And there the deep grave opened up_,
                    And young William he lay down.

    "Ah! is not this O-Kichi that has come? Kind indeed it was to
    have come to me from so far away! My O-Kichi, do not weep thus.
    Never again--even though you weep--can we be united in this
    world. But as you love me truly, I pray you to set some fragrant
    flowers before my tomb, and to have a Buddhist service said for
    me upon the anniversary of my death."


    And with these words the form of Seiza vanished. "O wait, wait
    for me!" cried O-Kichi,--"wait one little moment![116] I cannot
    let you return alone!--I shall go with you in a little time!"


        [116] With this episode compare the close of the English
              ballad "Sweet William's Ghost" (Child: vol. ii.,
              page 148):--

                  "O stay, my only true love, stay!"
                    The constant Margaret cried:
                  Wan grew her cheeks; she closed her een,
                    Stretched her soft limbs, and died.

    Then quickly she went beyond the temple-gate to a moat some four
    or five _chô_[117] distant; and having filled her sleeves with
    small stones, into the deep water she cast her forlorn body.


        [117] A _chô_ is about one fifteenth of a mile.

And now I shall terminate this brief excursion into unfamiliar
song-fields by the citation of two Buddhist pieces. The first is from
the famous work _Gempei Seisuiki_ ("Account of the Prosperity and
Decline of the Houses of Gen and Hei"), probably composed during the
latter part of the twelfth, or at the beginning of the thirteenth
century. It is written in the measure called _Imayô_,--that is to say,
in short lines alternately of seven and of five syllables (7, 5; 7, 5;
7, 5, _ad libitum_). The other philosophical composition is from a
collection of songs called _Ryûtachi-bushi_ ("Ryûtachi Airs"), belonging
to the sixteenth century:--


                           (_Measure, Imayô_)

                           Sama mo kokoro mo
                           Kawaru kana!
                           Otsuru namida wa
                           Taki no mizu:
                           Myô-hô-rengé no
                           Iké to nari;
                           Guzé no funé ni
                           Sao sashité;
                           Shizumu waga mi wo

                        Both form and mind--
                        Lo! how these change!
                        The falling of tears
                        Is like the water of a cataract.
                        Let them become the Pool
                        Of the Lotos of the Good Law!
                        Poling thereupon
                        The Boat of Salvation,
                        Vouchsafe that my sinking
                        Body may ride!


                    (_Period of Bunrokû--1592-1596_)

                Who twice shall live his youth?
                What flower faded blooms again?
                Fugitive as dew
                Is the form regretted,
                Seen only
                In a moment of dream.



                ... Vainly does each, as he glides,
                Fable and dream
                Of the lands which the River of Time
                Had left ere he woke on its breast,
                Or shall reach when his eyes have
                   been closed.
                                      MATTHEW ARNOLD



THE moon had not yet risen; but the vast of the night was all seething
with stars, and bridged by a Milky Way of extraordinary brightness.
There was no wind; but the sea, far as sight could reach, was running in
ripples of fire,--a vision of infernal beauty. Only the ripplings were
radiant (between them was blackness absolute);--and the luminosity was
amazing. Most of the undulations were yellow like candle-flame; but
there were crimson lampings also,--and azure, and orange, and emerald.
And the sinuous flickering of all seemed, not a pulsing of many waters,
but a laboring of many wills,--a fleeting conscious and monstrous,--a
writhing and a swarming incalculable, as of dragon-life in some depth of

And life indeed was making the sinister splendor of that spectacle--but
life infinitesimal, and of ghostliest delicacy,--life illimitable, yet
ephemeral, flaming and fading in ceaseless alternation over the whole
round of waters even to the sky-line, above which, in the vaster abyss,
other countless lights were throbbing with other spectral colors.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Watching, I wondered and I dreamed. I thought of the Ultimate Ghost
revealed in that scintillation tremendous of Night and Sea;--quickening
above me, in systems aglow with awful fusion of the past dissolved, with
vapor of the life again to be;--quickening also beneath me, in
meteor-gushings and constellations and nebulosities of colder
fire,--till I found myself doubting whether the million ages of the
sun-star could really signify, in the flux of perpetual dissolution,
anything more than the momentary sparkle of one expiring noctiluca.

Even with the doubt, the vision changed. I saw no longer the sea of the
ancient East, with its shudderings of fire, but that Flood whose width
and depth and altitude are one with the Night of Eternity,--the
shoreless and timeless Sea of Death and Birth. And the luminous haze of
a hundred millions of suns,--the Arch of the Milky Way,--was a single
smouldering surge in the flow of the Infinite Tides.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Yet again there came a change. I saw no more that vapory surge of suns;
but the living darkness streamed and thrilled about me with infinite
sparkling; and every sparkle was beating like a heart,--beating out
colors like the tints of the sea-fires. And the lampings of all
continually flowed away, as shivering threads of radiance, into
illimitable Mystery....

Then I knew myself also a phosphor-point,--one fugitive floating sparkle
of the measureless current;--and I saw that the light which was mine
shifted tint with each changing of thought. Ruby it sometimes shone, and
sometimes sapphire: now it was flame of topaz; again, it was fire of
emerald. And the meaning of the changes I could not fully know. But
thoughts of the earthly life seemed to make the light burn red; while
thoughts of supernal being,--of ghostly beauty and of ghostly
bliss,--seemed to kindle ineffable rhythms of azure and of violet.

                   *       *       *       *       *

But of white lights there were none in all the Visible. And I

Then a Voice said to me:--

"The White are of the Altitudes. By the blending of the billions they
are made. Thy part is to help to their kindling. Even as the color of
thy burning, so is the worth of thee. For a moment only is thy
quickening; yet the light of thy pulsing lives on: by thy thought, in
that shining moment, thou becomest a Maker of Gods."

                           A Mystery of Crowds


WHO has not at some time leaned over the parapet of a bridge to watch
the wrinklings and dimplings of the current below,--to wonder at the
trembling permanency of surface-shapes that never change, though the
substance of them is never for two successive moments the same? The
mystery of the spectacle fascinates; and it is worth thinking about.
Symbols of the riddle of our own being are those shuddering forms. In
ourselves likewise the substance perpetually changes with the flow of
the Infinite Stream; but the shapes, though ever agitated by various
inter-opposing forces, remain throughout the years.

And who has not been fascinated also by the sight of the human stream
that pours and pulses through the streets of some great metropolis?
This, too, has its currents and counter-currents and eddyings,--all
strengthening or weakening according to the tide-rise or tide-ebb of the
city's sea of toil. But the attraction of the greater spectacle for us
is not really the mystery of motion: it is rather the mystery of man. As
outside observers we are interested chiefly by the passing forms and
faces,--by their intimations of personality, their suggestions of
sympathy or repulsion. We soon cease to think about the general flow.
For the atoms of the human current are visible to our gaze: we see them
walk, and deem their movements sufficiently explained by our own
experience of walking. And, nevertheless, the motions of the visible
individual are more mysterious than those of the always invisible
molecule of water.--I am not forgetting the truth that all forms of
motion are ultimately incomprehensible: I am referring only to the fact
that our common relative knowledge of motions, which are supposed to
depend upon will, is even less than our possible relative knowledge of
the behavior of the atoms of a water-current.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Every one who has lived in a great city is aware of certain laws of
movement which regulate the flow of population through the more crowded
thoroughfares. (We need not for present purposes concern ourselves about
the complex middle-currents of the living river, with their thunder of
hoofs and wheels: I shall speak of the side-currents only.) On either
footpath the crowd naturally divides itself into an upward and a
downward stream. All persons going in one direction take the right-hand
side; all going in the other direction take the left-hand side. By
moving with either one of these two streams you can proceed even
quickly; but you cannot walk against it: only a drunken or insane person
is likely to attempt such a thing. Between the two currents there is
going on, by reason of the pressure, a continual self-displacement of
individuals to left and right, alternately,--such a yielding and
swerving as might be represented, in a drawing of the double-current, by
zigzag medial lines ascending and descending. This constant yielding
alone makes progress possible: without it the contrary streams would
quickly bring each other to a standstill by lateral pressure. But it is
especially where two crowd-streams intersect each other, as at
street-angles, that this systematic self-displacement is worthy of
study. Everybody observes the phenomenon; but few persons think about
it. Whoever really thinks about it will discover that there is a mystery
in it,--a mystery which no individual experience can fully explain.

                   *       *       *       *       *

In any thronged street of a great metropolis thousands of people are
constantly turning aside to left or right in order to pass each other.
Whenever two persons walking in contrary directions come face to face in
such a press, one of three things is likely to happen:--Either there is
a mutual yielding,--or one makes room for the other,--or else both, in
their endeavor to be accommodating, step at once in the same direction,
and as quickly repeat the blunder by trying to correct it, and so keep
dancing to and fro in each other's way,--until the first to perceive the
absurdity of the situation stands still, or until the more irritable
actually pushes his _vis-à-vis_ to one side. But these blunders are
relatively infrequent: all necessary yielding, as a rule, is done
quickly and correctly.

Of course there must be some general law regulating all this
self-displacement,--some law in accord with the universal law of motion
in the direction of least resistance. You have only to watch any
crowded street for half an hour to be convinced of this. But the law is
not easily found or formulated: there are puzzles in the phenomenon.

                   *       *       *       *       *

If you study the crowd-movement closely, you will perceive that those
encounters in which one person yields to make way for the other are much
less common than those in which both parties give way. But a little
reflection will convince you that, even in cases of mutual yielding, one
person must of necessity yield sooner than the other,--though the
difference in time of the impulse-manifestation should be--as it often
is--altogether inappreciable. For the sum of character, physical and
psychical, cannot be precisely the same in two human beings. No two
persons can have exactly equal faculties of perception and will, nor
exactly similar qualities of that experience which expresses itself in
mental and physical activities. And therefore in every case of apparent
mutual yielding, the yielding must really be successive, not
simultaneous. Now although what we might here call the "personal
equation" proves that in every case of mutual yielding one individual
necessarily yields sooner than the other, it does not at all explain the
mystery of the individual impulse in cases where the yielding is not
mutual;--it does not explain why you feel at one time that you are about
to make your _vis-à-vis_ give place, and feel at another time that you
must yourself give place. What originates the feeling?

A friend once attempted to answer this question by the ingenious theory
of a sort of eye-duel between every two persons coming face to face in a
street-throng; but I feel sure that his theory could account for the
psychological facts in scarcely half-a-dozen of a thousand such
encounters. The greater number of people hurrying by each other in a
dense press rarely observe faces: only the disinterested idler has time
for that. Hundreds actually pass along the street with their eyes fixed
upon the pavement. Certainly it is not the man in a hurry who can guide
himself by ocular snap-shot views of physiognomy;--he is usually
absorbed in his own thoughts.... I have studied my own case repeatedly.
While in a crowd I seldom look at faces; but without any conscious
observation I am always able to tell when I should give way, or when my
_vis-à-vis_ is going to save me that trouble. My knowledge is certainly
intuitive--a mere knowledge of feeling; and I know not with what to
compare it except that blind faculty by which, in absolute darkness, one
becomes aware of the proximity of bulky objects without touching them.
And my intuition is almost infallible. If I hesitate to obey it, a
collision is the invariable consequence.

Furthermore, I find that whenever automatic, or at least semi-conscious,
action is replaced by reasoned action--in plainer words, whenever I
begin to think about my movements--I always blunder. It is only while I
am thinking of other matters,--only while I am acting almost
automatically,--that I can thread a dense crowd with ease. Indeed, my
personal experience has convinced me that what pilots one quickly and
safely through a thick press is not conscious observation at all, but
unreasoning, intuitive perception. Now intuitive action of any kind
represents inherited knowledge, the experience of past lives,--in this
case the experience of past lives incalculable.

Utterly incalculable.... Why do I think so? Well, simply because this
faculty of intuitive self-direction in a crowd is shared by man with
very inferior forms of animal being,--evolutional proof that it must be
a faculty immensely older than man. Does not a herd of cattle, a herd of
deer, a flock of sheep, offer us the same phenomenon of mutual yielding?
Or a flock of birds--gregarious birds especially: crows, sparrows, wild
pigeons? Or a shoal of fish? Even among insects--bees, ants,
termites--we can study the same law of intuitive self-displacement. The
yielding, in all these cases, must still represent an inherited
experience unimaginably old. Could we endeavor to retrace the whole
course of such inheritance, the attempt would probably lead us back, not
only to the very beginnings of sentient life upon this planet, but
further,--back into the history of non-sentient substance,--back even to
the primal evolution of those mysterious tendencies which are stored up
in the atoms of elements. Such atoms we know of only as points of
multiple resistance,--incomprehensible knittings of incomprehensible
forces. Even the tendencies of atoms doubtless represent accumulations
of inheritance----but here thought checks with a shock at the eternal
barrier of the Infinite Riddle.

                             Gothic Horror



LONG before I had arrived at what catechisms call the age of reason, I
was frequently taken, much against my will, to church. The church was
very old; and I can see the interior of it at this moment just as
plainly as I saw it forty years ago, when it appeared to me like an evil
dream. There I first learned to know the peculiar horror that certain
forms of Gothic architecture can inspire.... I am using the word
"horror" in a classic sense,--in its antique meaning of ghostly fear.

On the very first day of this experience, my child-fancy could place the
source of the horror. The wizened and pointed shapes of the windows
immediately terrified me. In their outline I found the form of
apparitions that tormented me in sleep;--and at once I began to imagine
some dreadful affinity between goblins and Gothic churches. Presently,
in the tall doorways, in the archings of the aisles, in the ribbings and
groinings of the roof, I discovered other and wilder suggestions of
fear. Even the façade of the organ,--peaking high into the shadow above
its gallery,--seemed to me a frightful thing.... Had I been then
suddenly obliged to answer the question, "What are you afraid of?" I
should have whispered, "_Those points!_" I could not have otherwise
explained the matter: I only knew that I was afraid of the "points."

Of course the real enigma of what I felt in that church could not
present itself to my mind while I continued to believe in goblins. But
long after the age of superstitious terrors, other Gothic experiences
severally revived the childish emotion in so startling a way as to
convince me that childish fancy could not account for the feeling. Then
my curiosity was aroused; and I tried to discover some rational cause
for the horror. I read many books, and asked many questions; but the
mystery seemed only to deepen.

Books about architecture were very disappointing. I was much less
impressed by what I could find in them than by references in pure
fiction to the awfulness of Gothic art,--particularly by one writer's
confession that the interior of a Gothic church, seen at night, gave him
the idea of being inside the skeleton of some monstrous animal; and by a
far-famed comparison of the windows of a cathedral to eyes, and of its
door to a great mouth, "devouring the people." These imaginations
explained little; they could not be developed beyond the phase of vague
intimation: yet they stirred such emotional response that I felt sure
they had touched some truth. Certainly the architecture of a Gothic
cathedral offers strange resemblances to the architecture of bone; and
the general impression that it makes upon the mind is an impression
of life. But this impression or sense of life I found to be
indefinable,--not a sense of any life organic, but of a life latent and
dæmonic. And the manifestation of that life I felt to be in the
_pointing_ of the structure.

Attempts to interpret the emotion by effects of altitude and gloom and
vastness appeared to me of no worth; for buildings loftier and larger
and darker than any Gothic cathedral, but of a different order of
architecture,--Egyptian, for instance,--could not produce a like
impression. I felt certain that the horror was made by something
altogether peculiar to Gothic construction, and that this something
haunted the tops of the arches.

"Yes, Gothic architecture is awful," said a religious friend, "because
it is the visible expression of Christian faith. No other religious
architecture symbolizes spiritual longing; but the Gothic embodies it.
Every part climbs or leaps; every supreme detail soars and points
like fire...." "There may be considerable truth in what you say," I
replied;--"but it does not relate to the riddle that baffles me. Why
should shapes that symbolize spiritual longing create horror? Why should
any expression of Christian ecstasy inspire alarm?..."

                   *       *       *       *       *

Other hypotheses in multitude I tested without avail; and I returned to
the simple and savage conviction that the secret of the horror somehow
belonged to the points of the archings. But for years I could not find
it. At last, at last, in the early hours of a certain tropical morning,
it revealed itself quite unexpectedly, while I was looking at a glorious
group of palms.

Then I wondered at my stupidity in not having guessed the riddle before.


The characteristics of many kinds of palm have been made familiar by
pictures and photographs. But the giant palms of the American tropics
cannot be adequately represented by the modern methods of pictorial
illustration: they must be seen. You cannot draw or photograph a palm
two hundred feet high.

The first sight of a group of such forms, in their natural environment
of tropical forest, is a magnificent surprise,--a surprise that strikes
you dumb. Nothing seen in temperate zones,--not even the huger growths
of the Californian slope,--could have prepared your imagination for the
weird solemnity of that mighty colonnade. Each stone-grey trunk is a
perfect pillar,--but a pillar of which the stupendous grace has no
counterpart in the works of man. You must strain your head well back to
follow the soaring of the prodigious column, up, up, up through abysses
of green twilight, till at last--far beyond a break in that infinite
interweaving of limbs and lianas which is the roof of the forest--you
catch one dizzy glimpse of the capital: a parasol of emerald feathers
outspread in a sky so blinding as to suggest the notion of azure

                   *       *       *       *       *

Now what is the emotion that such a vision excites,--an emotion too
powerful to be called wonder, too weird to be called delight? Only
when the first shock of it has passed,--when the several elements
that were combined in it have begun to set in motion widely different
groups of ideas,--can you comprehend how very complex it must have
been. Many impressions belonging to personal experience were
doubtless revived in it, but also with them a multitude of sensations
more shadowy,--accumulations of organic memory; possibly even vague
feelings older than man,--for the tropical shapes that aroused the
emotion have a history more ancient than our race.

One of the first elements of the emotion to become clearly
distinguishable is the æsthetic; and this, in its general mass, might be
termed the sense of terrible beauty. Certainly the spectacle of that
unfamiliar life,--silent, tremendous, springing to the sun in colossal
aspiration, striving for light against Titans, and heedless of man in
the gloom beneath as of a groping beetle,--thrills like the rhythm of
some single marvellous verse that is learned in a glance and remembered
forever. Yet the delight, even at its vividest, is shadowed by a queer
disquiet. The aspect of that monstrous, pale, naked, smooth-stretching
column suggests a life as conscious as the serpent's. You stare at the
towering lines of the shape,--vaguely fearing to discern some sign of
stealthy movement, some beginning of undulation. Then sight and reason
combine to correct the suspicion. Yes, motion is there, and life
enormous--but a life seeking only sun,--life, rushing like the jet of a
geyser, straight to the giant day.


During my own experience I could perceive that certain feelings
commingled in the wave of delight,--feelings related to ideas of power
and splendor and triumph,--were accompanied by a faint sense of
religious awe. Perhaps our modern æsthetic sentiments are so interwoven
with various inherited elements of religious emotionalism that the
recognition of beauty cannot arise independently of reverential
feeling. Be this as it may, such a feeling defined itself while I
gazed;--and at once the great grey trunks were changed to the pillars of
a mighty aisle; and from altitudes of dream there suddenly descended
upon me the old dark thrill of Gothic horror.

Even before it died away, I recognized that it must have been due to
some old cathedral-memory revived by the vision of those giant trunks
uprising into gloom. But neither the height nor the gloom could account
for anything beyond the memory. Columns tall as those palms, but
supporting a classic entablature, could evoke no sense of disquiet
resembling the Gothic horror. I felt sure of this,--because I was able,
without any difficulty, to shape immediately the imagination of such a
façade. But presently the mental picture distorted. I saw the architrave
elbow upward in each of the spaces between the pillars, and curve and
point itself into a range of prodigious arches;--and again the sombre
thrill descended upon me. Simultaneously there flashed to me the
solution of the mystery. I understood that the Gothic horror was a
_horror of monstrous motion_,--and that it had seemed to belong to the
points of the arches because the idea of such motion was chiefly
suggested by the extraordinary angle at which the curves of the arching

                   *       *       *       *       *

To any experienced eye, the curves of Gothic arching offer a striking
resemblance to certain curves of vegetal growth;--the curves of the
palm-branch being, perhaps, especially suggested. But observe that the
architectural form suggests more than any vegetal comparison could
illustrate! The meeting of two palm-crests would indeed form a kind of
Gothic arch; yet the effect of so short an arch would be insignificant.
For nature to repeat the strange impression of the real Gothic arch, it
were necessary that the branches of the touching crests should vastly
exceed, both in length of curve and strength of spring, anything of
their kind existing in the vegetable world. The effect of the Gothic
arch depends altogether upon the intimation of energy. An arch formed by
the intersection of two short sprouting lines could suggest only a
feeble power of growth; but the lines of the tall mediæval arch seem to
express a crescent force immensely surpassing that of nature. And the
horror of Gothic architecture is not in the mere suggestion of a
growing life, but in the suggestion of an energy supernatural and

                   *       *       *       *       *

Of course the child, oppressed by the strangeness of Gothic forms, is
yet incapable of analyzing the impression received: he is frightened
without comprehending. He cannot divine that the points and the curves
are terrible to him because they represent the prodigious exaggeration
of a real law of vegetal growth. He dreads the shapes because they
seem alive; yet he does not know how to express this dread. Without
suspecting why, he feels that this silent manifestation of power,
everywhere pointing and piercing upward, is not natural. To his startled
imagination, the building stretches itself like a phantasm of
sleep,--makes itself tall and taller with intent to frighten. Even
though built by hands of men, it has ceased to be a mass of dead stone:
it is infused with Something that thinks and threatens;--it has become
a shadowing malevolence, a multiple goblinry, a monstrous fetish!



OUT of some upper-story window I was looking into a street of
yellow-tinted houses,--a colonial street, old-fashioned, narrow, with
palm-heads showing above its roofs of tile. There were no shadows; there
was no sun,--only a grey soft light, as of early gloaming.

Suddenly I found myself falling from the window; and my heart gave one
sickening leap of terror. But the distance from window to pavement
proved to be much greater than I supposed,--so great that, in spite of
my fear, I began to wonder. Still I kept falling, falling,--and still
the dreaded shock did not come. Then the fear ceased, and a queer
pleasure took its place;--for I discovered that I was not falling
quickly, but only _floating_ down. Moreover, I was floating feet
foremost--must have turned in descending. At last I touched the
stones--but very, very lightly, with only one foot; and instantly at
that touch I went up again,--rose to the level of the eaves. People
stopped to stare at me. I felt the exultation of power superhuman;--I
felt for the moment as a god.

Then softly I began to sink; and the sight of faces, gathering below me,
prompted a sudden resolve to fly down the street, over the heads of the
gazers. Again like a bubble I rose, and, with the same impulse, I sailed
in one grand curve to a distance that astounded me. I felt no wind;--I
felt nothing but the joy of motion triumphant. Once more touching
pavement, I soared at a bound for a thousand yards. Then, reaching the
end of the street, I wheeled and came back by great swoops,--by long
slow aerial leaps of surprising altitude. In the street there was dead
silence: many people were looking; but nobody spoke. I wondered what
they thought of my feat, and what they would say if they knew how easily
the thing was done. By the merest chance I had found out how to do it;
and the only reason why it seemed a feat was that no one else had ever
attempted it. Instinctively I felt that to say anything about the
accident, which had led to the discovery, would be imprudent. Then the
real meaning of the strange hush in the street began to dawn upon me. I
said to myself:--

"This silence is the Silence of Dreams;--I am quite well aware that this
is a dream. I remember having dreamed the same dream before. But the
discovery of this power is not a dream: _it is a revelation!_ ... Now
that I have learned how to fly, I can no more forget it than a swimmer
can forget how to swim. To-morrow morning I shall astonish the people,
by sailing over the roofs of the town."

Morning came; and I woke with the fixed resolve to fly out of the
window. But no sooner had I risen from bed than the knowledge of
physical relations returned, like a sensation forgotten, and compelled
me to recognize the unwelcome truth that I had not made any discovery at

                   *       *       *       *       *

This was neither the first nor the last of such dreams; but it was
particularly vivid, and I therefore selected it for narration as a good
example of its class. I still fly occasionally,--sometimes over fields
and streams,--sometimes through familiar streets; and the dream is
invariably accompanied by remembrance of like dreams in the past, as
well as by the conviction that I have really found out a secret, really
acquired a new faculty. "This time, at all events," I say to myself, "it
is impossible that I can be mistaken;--I _know_ that I shall be able to
fly after I awake. Many times before, in other dreams, I learned the
secret only to forget it on awakening; but this time I am absolutely
sure that I shall not forget." And the conviction actually stays with me
until I rise from bed, when the physical effort at once reminds me of
the formidable reality of gravitation.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The oddest part of this experience is the feeling of buoyancy. It is
much like the feeling of floating,--of rising or sinking through tepid
water, for example;--and there is no sense of real effort. It is a
delight; yet it usually leaves something to be desired. I am a low
flyer; I can proceed only like a pteromys or a flying-fish--and far less
quickly: moreover, I must tread earth occasionally in order to obtain a
fresh impulsion. I seldom rise to a height of more than twenty-five or
thirty feet;--the greater part of the time I am merely skimming
surfaces. Touching the ground only at intervals of several hundred
yards is pleasant skimming; but I always feel, in a faint and watery
way, the dead pull of the world beneath me.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Now the experience of most dream-flyers I find to be essentially like my
own. I have met but one who claims superior powers: he says that he
flies over mountains--goes sailing from peak to peak like a kite. All
others whom I have questioned acknowledge that they fly low,--in long
parabolic curves,--and this only by touching ground from time to time.
Most of them also tell me that their flights usually begin with an
imagined fall, or desperate leap; and no less than four say that the
start is commonly taken from the top of a stairway.


For myriads of years humanity has thus been flying by night. How did the
fancied motion, having so little in common with any experience of active
life, become a universal experience of the life of sleep?

It may be that memory-impressions of certain kinds of aerial
motion,--exultant experiences of leaping or swinging, for example,--are
in dream-revival so magnified and prolonged as to create the illusion
of flight. We know that in actual time the duration of most dreams is
very brief. But in the half-life of sleep--(nightmare offering some
startling exceptions)--there is scarcely more than a faint smouldering
of consciousness by comparison with the quick flash and vivid thrill of
active cerebration;--and time, to the dreaming brain, would seem to be
magnified, somewhat as it must be relatively magnified to the feeble
consciousness of an insect. Supposing that any memory of the sensation
of falling, together with the memory of the concomitant fear, should be
accidentally revived in sleep, the dream-prolongation of the sensation
and the emotion--unchecked by the natural sequence of shock--might
suffice to revive other and even pleasurable memories of airy motion.
And these, again, might quicken other combinations of interrelated
memories able to furnish all the incident and scenery of the long

But this hypothesis will not fully explain certain feelings and ideas of
a character different from any experience of waking-hours,--the
exultation of voluntary motion without exertion,--the pleasure of the
utterly impossible,--the ghostly delight of imponderability. Neither
can it serve to explain other dream-experiences of levitation which do
not begin with the sensation of leaping or falling, and are seldom of a
pleasurable kind. For example, it sometimes happens during nightmare
that the dreamer, deprived of all power to move or speak, actually feels
his body lifted into the air and floated away by the force of the horror
within him. Again, there are dreams in which the dreamer has no physical
being. I have thus found myself without any body,--a viewless and
voiceless phantom, hovering upon a mountain-road in twilight time, and
trying to frighten lonely folk by making small moaning noises. The
sensation was of moving through the air by mere act of will: there was
no touching of surfaces; and I seemed to glide always about a foot above
the road.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Could the feeling of dream-flight be partly interpreted by organic
memory of conditions of life more ancient than man,--life weighty, and
winged, and flying heavily, _a little above the ground?_

Or might we suppose that some all-permeating Over-Soul, dormant in other
time, wakens within the brain at rare moments of our sleep-life? The
limited human consciousness has been beautifully compared to the visible
solar spectrum, above and below which whole zones of colors invisible
await the evolution of superior senses; and mystics aver that something
of the ultra-violet or infra-red rays of the vaster Mind may be
momentarily glimpsed in dreams. Certainly the Cosmic Life in each of us
has been all things in all forms of space and time. Perhaps you would
like to believe that it may bestir, in slumber, some vague sense-memory
of things more ancient than the sun,--memory of vanished planets with
fainter powers of gravitation, where the normal modes of voluntary
motion would have been like the realization of our flying dreams?...




WHAT _is_ the fear of ghosts among those who believe in ghosts?

All fear is the result of experience,--experience of the individual or
of the race,--experience either of the present life or of lives
forgotten. Even the fear of the unknown can have no other origin. And
the fear of ghosts must be a product of past pain.

Probably the fear of ghosts, as well as the belief in them, had its
beginning in dreams. It is a peculiar fear. No other fear is so
intense; yet none is so vague. Feelings thus voluminous and dim are
super-individual mostly,--feelings inherited,--feelings made within us
by the experience of the dead.

What experience?

Nowhere do I remember reading a plain statement of the reason why ghosts
are feared. Ask any ten intelligent persons of your acquaintance, who
remember having once been afraid of ghosts, to tell you exactly why they
were afraid,--to define the fancy behind the fear;--and I doubt whether
even one will be able to answer the question. The literature of
folk-lore--oral and written--throws no clear light upon the subject. We
find, indeed, various legends of men torn asunder by phantoms; but such
gross imaginings could not explain the peculiar quality of ghostly fear.
It is not a fear of bodily violence. It is not even a reasoning
fear,--not a fear that can readily explain itself,--which would not be
the case if it were founded upon definite ideas of physical danger.
Furthermore, although primitive ghosts may have been imagined as capable
of tearing and devouring, the common idea of a ghost is certainly that
of a being intangible and imponderable.[118]

    [118] I may remark here that in many old Japanese legends and
          ballads, ghosts are represented as having power to _pull
          off_ people's heads. But so far as the origin of the fear
          of ghosts is concerned, such stories explain nothing,--since
          the experiences that evolved the fear must have been real,
          not imaginary, experiences.

Now I venture to state boldly that the common fear of ghosts is _the
fear of being touched by ghosts_,--or, in other words, that the imagined
Supernatural is dreaded mainly because of its imagined power to touch.
Only to _touch_, remember!--not to wound or to kill.

But this dread of the touch would itself be the result of
experience,--chiefly, I think, of prenatal experience stored up in the
individual by inheritance, like the child's fear of darkness. And who
can ever have had the sensation of being touched by ghosts? The answer
is simple:--_Everybody who has been seized by phantoms in a dream._

Elements of primeval fears--fears older than humanity--doubtless enter
into the child-terror of darkness. But the more definite fear of
ghosts may very possibly be composed with inherited results of
dream-pain,--ancestral experience of nightmare. And the intuitive terror
of supernatural touch can thus be evolutionally explained.

Let me now try to illustrate my theory by relating some typical


When about five years old I was condemned to sleep by myself in a
certain isolated room, thereafter always called the Child's Room. (At
that time I was scarcely ever mentioned by name, but only referred to as
"the Child.") The room was narrow, but very high, and, in spite of one
tall window, very gloomy. It contained a fire-place wherein no fire was
ever kindled; and the Child suspected that the chimney was haunted.

A law was made that no light should be left in the Child's Room at
night,--simply because the Child was afraid of the dark. His fear of the
dark was judged to be a mental disorder requiring severe treatment. But
the treatment aggravated the disorder. Previously I had been accustomed
to sleep in a well-lighted room, with a nurse to take care of me. I
thought that I should die of fright when sentenced to lie alone in the
dark, and--what seemed to me then abominably cruel--actually _locked_
into my room, the most dismal room of the house. Night after night when
I had been warmly tucked into bed, the lamp was removed; the key clicked
in the lock; the protecting light and the footsteps of my guardian
receded together. Then an agony of fear would come upon me. Something in
the black air would seem to gather and grow--(I thought that I could
even _hear_ it grow)--till I had to scream. Screaming regularly brought
punishment; but it also brought back the light, which more than consoled
for the punishment. This fact being at last found out, orders were given
to pay no further heed to the screams of the Child.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Why was I thus insanely afraid? Partly because the dark had always
been peopled for me with shapes of terror. So far back as memory
extended, I had suffered from ugly dreams; and when aroused from them
I could always _see_ the forms dreamed of, lurking in the shadows of
the room. They would soon fade out; but for several moments they would
appear like tangible realities. And they were always the same
figures.... Sometimes, without any preface of dreams, I used to see
them at twilight-time,--following me about from room to room, or
reaching long dim hands after me, from story to story, up through the
interspaces of the deep stairways.

I had complained of these haunters only to be told that I must never
speak of them, and that they did not exist. I had complained to
everybody in the house; and everybody in the house had told me the very
same thing. But there was the evidence of my eyes! The denial of that
evidence I could explain only in two ways:--Either the shapes were
afraid of big people, and showed themselves to me alone, because I was
little and weak; or else the entire household had agreed, for some
ghastly reason, to say what was not true. This latter theory seemed to
me the more probable one, because I had several times perceived the
shapes when I was not unattended;--and the consequent appearance of
secrecy frightened me scarcely less than the visions did. Why was I
forbidden to talk about what I saw, and even heard,--on creaking
stairways,--behind wavering curtains?

"Nothing will hurt you,"--this was the merciless answer to all my
pleadings not to be left alone at night. But the haunters _did_ hurt me.
Only--they would wait until after I had fallen asleep, and so into their
power,--for they possessed occult means of preventing me from rising or
moving or crying out.

Needless to comment upon the policy of locking me up alone with these
fears in a black room. Unutterably was I tormented in that room--for
years! Therefore I felt relatively happy when sent away at last to a
children's boarding-school, where the haunters very seldom ventured to
show themselves.

                   *       *       *       *       *

They were not like any people that I had ever known. They were shadowy
dark-robed figures, capable of atrocious self-distortion,--capable, for
instance, of growing up to the ceiling, and then across it, and then
lengthening themselves, head-downwards, along the opposite wall. Only
their faces were distinct; and I tried not to look at their faces. I
tried also in my dreams--or thought that I tried--to awaken myself from
the sight of them by pulling at my eyelids with my fingers; but the
eyelids would remain closed, as if sealed.... Many years afterwards, the
frightful plates in Orfila's _Traité des Exhumés_, beheld for the first
time, recalled to me with a sickening start the dream-terrors of
childhood. But to understand the Child's experience, you must imagine
Orfila's drawings intensely alive, and continually elongating or
distorting, as in some monstrous anamorphosis.

Nevertheless the mere sight of those nightmare-faces was not the worst
of the experiences in the Child's Room. The dreams always began with a
suspicion, or sensation of something heavy in the air,--slowly quenching
will,--slowly numbing my power to move. At such times I usually found
myself alone in a large unlighted apartment; and, almost simultaneously
with the first sensation of fear, the atmosphere of the room would
become suffused, half-way to the ceiling, with a sombre-yellowish glow,
making objects dimly visible,--though the ceiling itself remained
pitch-black. This was not a true appearance of light: rather it seemed
as if the black air were changing color from beneath.... Certain
terrible aspects of sunset, on the eve of storm, offer like effects of
sinister color.... Forthwith I would try to escape,--(feeling at every
step a sensation _as of wading_),--and would sometimes succeed in
struggling half-way across the room;--but there I would always find
myself brought to a standstill,--paralyzed by some innominable
opposition. Happy voices I could hear in the next room;--I could see
light through the transom over the door that I had vainly endeavored to
reach;--I knew that one loud cry would save me. But not even by the
most frantic effort could I raise my voice above a whisper.... And all
this signified only that the Nameless was coming,--was nearing,--was
mounting the stairs. I could hear the step,--booming like the sound of a
muffled drum,--and I wondered why nobody else heard it. A long, long
time the haunter would take to come,--malevolently pausing after each
ghastly footfall. Then, without a creak, the bolted door would
open,--slowly, slowly,--and the thing would enter, gibbering
soundlessly,--and put out hands,--and clutch me,--and toss me to the
black ceiling,--and catch me descending to toss me up again, and again,
and again.... In those moments the feeling was not fear: fear itself had
been torpified by the first seizure. It was a sensation that has no name
in the language of the living. For every touch brought a shock of
something infinitely worse than pain,--something that thrilled into the
innermost secret being of me,--a sort of abominable electricity,
discovering unimagined capacities of suffering in totally unfamiliar
regions of sentiency.... This was commonly the work of a single
tormentor; but I can also remember having been caught by a group, and
tossed from one to another,--seemingly for a time of many minutes.


Whence the fancy of those shapes? I do not know. Possibly from some
impression of fear in earliest infancy; possibly from some experience of
fear in other lives than mine. That mystery is forever insoluble. But
the mystery of the shock of the touch admits of a definite hypothesis.

First, allow me to observe that the experience of the sensation itself
cannot be dismissed as "mere imagination." Imagination means cerebral
activity: its pains and its pleasures are alike inseparable from nervous
operation, and their physical importance is sufficiently proved by their
physiological effects. Dream-fear may kill as well as other fear; and no
emotion thus powerful can be reasonably deemed undeserving of study.

One remarkable fact in the problem to be considered is that the
sensation of seizure in dreams differs totally from all sensations
familiar to ordinary waking life. Why this differentiation? How
interpret the extraordinary massiveness and depth of the thrill?

I have already suggested that the dreamer's fear is most probably not a
reflection of relative experience, but represents the incalculable total
of ancestral experience of dream-fear. If the sum of the experience of
active life be transmitted by inheritance, so must likewise be
transmitted the summed experience of the life of sleep. And in normal
heredity either class of transmissions would probably remain distinct.

Now, granting this hypothesis, the sensation of dream-seizure would have
had its beginnings in the earliest phases of dream-consciousness,--long
prior to the apparition of man. The first creatures capable of thought
and fear must often have dreamed of being caught by their natural
enemies. There could not have been much imagining of pain in these
primal dreams. But higher nervous development in later forms of
being would have been accompanied with larger susceptibility to
dream-pain. Still later, with the growth of reasoning-power, ideas
of the supernatural would have changed and intensified the character of
dream-fear. Furthermore, through all the course of evolution, heredity
would have been accumulating the experience of such feeling. Under those
forms of imaginative pain evolved through reaction of religious beliefs,
there would persist some dim survival of savage primitive fears, and
again, under this, a dimmer but incomparably deeper substratum of
ancient animal-terrors. In the dreams of the modern child all these
latencies might quicken,--one below another,--unfathomably,--with the
coming and the growing of nightmare.

It may be doubted whether the phantasms of any particular nightmare have
a history older than the brain in which they move. But the shock of the
touch would seem to indicate _some point of dream-contact with the total
race-experience of shadowy seizure_. It may be that profundities of
Self,--abysses never reached by any ray from the life of sun,--are
strangely stirred in slumber, and that out of their blackness
immediately responds a shuddering of memory, measureless even by
millions of years.

                       Readings from a Dream-book


OFTEN, in the blind dead of the night, I find myself reading a book,--a
big broad book,--a dream-book. By "dream-book," I do not mean a book
about dreams, but a book made of the stuff that dreams are made of.

I do not know the name of the book, nor the name of its author: I have
not been able to see the title-page; and there is no running title. As
for the back of the volume, it remains,--like the back of the
Moon,--invisible forever.

At no time have I touched the book in any way,--not even to turn a leaf.
Somebody, always viewless, holds it up and open before me in the dark;
and I can read it only because it is lighted by a light that comes from
nowhere. Above and beneath and on either side of the book there is
darkness absolute; but the pages seem to retain the yellow glow of
lamps that once illuminated them.

A queer fact is that I never see the entire text of a page at once,
though I see the whole page itself plainly. The text rises, or seems to
rise, to the surface of the paper as I gaze, and fades out almost
immediately after having been read. By a simple effort of will, I can
recall the vanished sentences to the page; but they do not come back in
the same form as before: they seem to have been oddly revised during the
interval. Never can I coax even one fugitive line to reproduce itself
exactly as it read at first. But I can always force something to return;
and this something remains sharply distinct during perusal. Then it
turns faint grey, and appears to sink--as through thick milk--backward
out of sight.

                   *       *       *       *       *

By regularly taking care to write down, immediately upon awakening,
whatever I could remember reading in the dream-book, I found myself able
last year to reproduce portions of the text. But the order in which I
now present these fragments is not at all the order in which I recovered
them. If they seem to have any interconnection, this is only because I
tried to arrange them in what I imagined to be the rational sequence. Of
their original place and relation, I know scarcely anything. And, even
regarding the character of the book itself, I have been able to discover
only that a great part of it consists of dialogues about the

                                 Fr. I

... Then the Wave prayed to remain a wave forever.

The Sea made answer:--

"Nay, thou must break: there is no rest in me. Billions of billions of
times thou wilt rise again to break, and break to rise again."

The Wave complained:--

"I fear. Thou sayest that I shall rise again. But when did ever a wave
return from the place of breaking?"

The Sea responded:--

"Times countless beyond utterance thou hast broken; and yet thou art!
Behold the myriads of the waves that run before thee, and the myriads
that pursue behind thee!--all have been to the place of breaking times
unspeakable; and thither they hasten now to break again. Into me they
melt, only to swell anew. But pass they must; for there is not any rest
in me."

Murmuring, the Wave replied:--

"Shall I not be scattered presently to mix with the mingling of all
these myriads? How should I rise again? Never, never again can I become
the same."

"The same thou never art," returned the Sea, "at any two moments in thy
running: perpetual change is the law of thy being. What is thine 'I'?
Always thou art shaped with the substance of waves forgotten,--waves
numberless beyond the sands of the shores of me. In thy multiplicity
what art thou?--a phantom, an impermanency!"

"Real is pain," sobbed the Wave,--"and fear and hope, and the joy of the
light. Whence and what are these, if I be not real?"

"Thou hast no pain," the Sea responded,--"nor fear nor hope nor joy.
Thou art nothing--save in me. I am thy Self, thine 'I': thy form is my
dream; thy motion is my will; thy breaking is my pain. Break thou must,
because there is no rest in me; but thou wilt break only to rise
again,--for death is the Rhythm of Life. Lo! I, too, die that I may
live: these my waters have passed, and will pass again, with wrecks of
innumerable worlds to the burning of innumerable suns. I, too, am
multiple unspeakably: dead tides of millions of oceans revive in mine
ebb and flow. Suffice thee to learn that only because thou wast thou
art, and that because thou art thou wilt become again."

Muttered the Wave,--

"I cannot understand."

Answered the Sea,--

"Thy part is to pulse and pass,--never to understand. I also,--even I,
the great Sea,--do not understand...."

                                 Fr. II

... "The stones and the rocks have felt; the winds have been breath and
speech; the rivers and oceans of earth have been locked into chambers of
hearts. And the palingenesis cannot cease till every cosmic particle
shall have passed through the uttermost possible experience of the
highest possible life."

"But what of the planetary core?--has that, too, felt and thought?"

"Even so surely as that all flesh has been sun-fire! In the ceaseless
succession of integrations and dissolutions, all things have shifted
relation and place numberless billions of times. Hearts of old moons
will make the surface of future worlds...."

                                Fr. III

... "No regret is vain. It is sorrow that spins the thread,--softer
than moonshine, thinner than fragrance, stronger than death,--the
Gleipnir-chain of the Greater Memory....

"In millions of years you will meet again;--and the time will not seem
long; for a million years and a moment are the same to the dead. Then
you will not be all of your present self, nor she be all that she has
been: both of you will at once be less, and yet incomparably more. Then,
to the longing that must come upon you, body itself will seem but a
barrier through which you would leap to her--or, it may be, to him; for
sex will have shifted numberless times ere then. Neither will remember;
but each will be filled with a feeling immeasurable of having met

                                 Fr. IV

... "So wronging the being who loves,--the being blindly imagined but of
yesterday,--this mocker mocks the divine in the past of the Soul of the
World. Then in that heart is revived the countless million sorrows
buried in forgotten graves,--all the old pain of Love, in its patient
contest with Hate, since the beginning of Time.

"And the Gods know,--the dim ones who dwell beyond Space,--spinning the
mysteries of Shape and Name. For they sit at the roots of Life; and the
pain runs back to them; and they feel that wrong,--as the Spider feels
in the trembling of her web that a thread is broken...."

                                 Fr. V

"Love at sight is the choice of the dead. But the most of them are older
than ethical systems; and the decision of their majorities is rarely
moral. They choose by beauty,--according to their memory of physical
excellence; and as bodily fitness makes the foundation of mental and of
moral power, they are not apt to choose ill. Nevertheless they are
sometimes strangely cheated. They have been known to want beings that
could never help ghost to a body,--hollow goblins...."

                                 Fr. VI

... "The Animulæ making the Self do not fear death as dissolution. They
fear death only as reintegration,--recombination with the strange and
the hateful of other lives: they fear the imprisonment, within another
body, of that which loves together with that which loathes...."

                                Fr. VII

... "In other time the El-Woman sat only in waste places, and by
solitary ways. But now in the shadows of cities she offers her breasts
to youth; and he whom she entices, presently goes mad, and becomes, like
herself, a hollowness. For the higher ghosts that entered into the
making of him perish at that goblin-touch,--die as the pupa dies in the
cocoon, leaving only a shell and dust behind...."

                                Fr. VIII

... The Man said to the multitude remaining of his Souls:--

"I am weary of life."

And the remnant replied to him:--

"We also are weary of the shame and pain of dwelling in so vile a
habitation. Continually we strive that the beams may break, and the
pillars crack, and the roof fall in upon us."

"Surely there is a curse upon me," groaned the Man. "There is no justice
in the Gods!"

Then the Souls tumultuously laughed in scorn,--even as the leaves of a
wood in the wind do chuckle all together. And they made answer to him:--

"As a fool thou liest! Did any save thyself make thy vile body? Was it
shapen--or misshapen--by any deeds or thoughts except thine own?"

"No deed or thought can I remember," returned the Man, "deserving that
which has come upon me."

"Remember!" laughed the Souls. "No--the folly was in other lives. But we
remember; and remembering, we hate."

"Ye are all one with me!" cried the Man,--"how can ye hate?"

"One with thee," mocked the Souls,--"as the wearer is one with his
garment!... How can we hate? As the fire that devours the wood from
which it is drawn by the fire-maker--even so we can hate."

"It is a cursed world!" cried the Man--"why did ye not guide me?"

The Souls replied to him:--

"Thou wouldst not heed the guiding of ghosts that were wiser than we....
Cowards and weaklings curse the world. The strong do not blame the
world: it gives them all that they desire. By power they break and take
and keep. Life for them is a joy, a triumph, an exultation. But
creatures without power merit nothing; and nothingness becomes their
portion. Thou and we shall presently enter into nothingness."

"Do ye fear?"--asked the Man.

"There is reason for fear," the Souls answered. "Yet no one of us would
wish to delay the time of what we fear by continuing to make part of
such an existence as thine."

"But ye have died innumerable times?"--wonderingly said the Man.

"No, we have not," said the Souls,--"not even once that we can remember;
and our memory reaches back to the beginnings of this world. We die only
with the race."

The Man said nothing,--being afraid. The Souls resumed:--

"Thy race ceases. Its continuance depended upon thy power to serve our
purposes. Thou hast lost all power. What art thou but a charnel-house,
a mortuary-pit? Freedom we needed, and space: here we have been
compacted together, a billion to a pin-point! Doorless our chambers and
blind;--and the passages are blocked and broken;--and the stairways lead
to nothing. Also there are Haunters here, not of our kind,--Things never
to be named."

For a little time the Man thought gratefully of death and dust. But
suddenly there came into his memory a vision of his enemy's face, with a
wicked smile upon it. And then he wished for longer life,--a hundred
years of life and pain,--only to see the grass grow tall above the
grave of that enemy. And the Souls mocked his desire:--

"Thine enemy will not waste much thought upon thee. He is no
half-man,--thine enemy! The ghosts in that body have room and great
light. High are the ceilings of their habitation; wide and clear the
passageways; luminous the courts and pure. Like a fortress excellently
garrisoned is the brain of thine enemy;--and to any point thereof the
defending hosts can be gathered for battle in a moment together. _His_
generation will not cease--nay! that face of his will multiply
throughout the centuries! Because thine enemy in every time provided for
the needs of his higher ghosts: he gave heed to their warnings; he
pleasured them in all just ways; he did not fail in reverence to them.
Wherefore they now have power to help him at his need.... How hast thou
reverenced or pleasured us?"

                   *       *       *       *       *

The Man remained silent for a space. Then, as in horror of doubting, he

"Wherefore should ye fear--if nothingness be the end?"

"What is nothingness?" the Souls responded. "Only in the language of
delusion is there an end. That which thou callest the end is in truth
but the very beginning. The essence of us cannot cease. In the burning
of worlds it cannot be consumed. It will shudder in the cores of great
stars;--it will quiver in the light of other suns. And once more, in
some future cosmos, it will reconquer knowledge--but only after
evolutions unthinkable for multitude. Even out of the nameless
beginnings of form, and thence through every cycle of vanished
being,--through all successions of exhausted pain,--through all the
Abyss of the Past,--it must climb again."

The Man uttered no word: the Souls spoke on:--

"For millions of millions of ages must we shiver in tempests of fire:
then shall we enter anew into some slime primordial,--there to quicken,
and again writhe upward through all foul dumb blind shapes. Innumerable
the metamorphoses!--immeasurable the agonies!... And the fault is not of
any Gods: it is thine!"

"Good or evil," muttered the Man,--"what signifies either? The best must
become as the worst in the grind of the endless change."

"Nay!" cried out the Souls; "for the strong there is a goal,--the goal
that thou couldst not strive to gain. They will help to the fashioning
of fairer worlds;--they will win to larger light;--they will tower and
soar as flame to enter the Zones of the Divine. But thou and we go
back to slime! Think of the billion summers that might have been for
us!--think of the joys, the loves, the triumphs cast away!--the dawns
of the knowledge undreamed,--the glories of sense unimagined,--the
exultations of illimitable power!... think, think, O fool, of all that
thou hast lost!"

Then the Souls of the Man turned themselves into worms, and devoured

                           In a Pair of Eyes


THERE is one adolescent moment never to be forgotten,--the moment when
the boy learns that this world contains nothing more wonderful than a
certain pair of eyes. At first the surprise of the discovery leaves
him breathless: instinctively he turns away his gaze. That vision
seemed too delicious to be true. But presently he ventures to look
again,--fearing with a new fear,--afraid of the reality, afraid also
of being observed;--and lo! his doubt dissolves in a new shock of
ecstasy. Those eyes are even more wonderful than he had imagined--nay!
they become more and yet more entrancing every successive time that he
looks at them! Surely in all the universe there cannot be another such
pair of eyes! What can lend them such enchantment? Why do they appear
divine?... He feels that he must ask somebody to explain,--must
propound to older and wiser heads the riddle of his new emotions. Then
he makes his confession, with a faint intuitive fear of being laughed
at, but with a strange, fresh sense of rapture in the telling. Laughed
at he is--tenderly; but this does not embarrass him nearly so much as
the fact that he can get no answer to his question,--to the simple
"Why?" made so interesting by his frank surprise and his timid
blushes. No one is able to enlighten him; but all can sympathize with
the bewilderment of his sudden awakening from the long soul-sleep of

                   *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps that "Why?" never can be fully answered. But the mystery that
prompted it constantly tempts one to theorize; and theories may have a
worth independent of immediate results. Had it not been for old theories
concerning the Unknowable, what should we have been able to learn about
the Knowable? Was it not while in pursuit of the Impossible that we
stumbled upon the undreamed-of and infinitely marvellous Possible?

                   *       *       *       *       *

Why indeed should a pair of human eyes appear for a time to us so
beautiful that, when likening their radiance to splendor of diamond or
amethyst or emerald, we feel the comparison a blasphemy? Why should we
find them deeper than the sea, deeper than the day,--deep even as the
night of Space, with its scintillant mist of suns? Certainly not because
of mere wild fancy. These thoughts, these feelings, must spring from
some actual perception of the marvellous,--some veritable revelation of
the unspeakable. There is, in very truth, one brief hour of life during
which the world holds for us nothing so wonderful as a pair of eyes. And
then, while looking into them, we discover a thrill of awe vibrating
through our delight,--awe made by a something _felt_ rather than seen: a
latency,--a power,--a shadowing of depth unfathomable as the cosmic
Ether. It is as though, through some intense and sudden stimulation of
vital being, we had obtained--for one supercelestial moment--the glimpse
of a reality, never before imagined, and never again to be revealed.

There is, indeed, an illusion. We seem to view the divine; but this
divine itself, whereby we are dazzled and duped, is a ghost. Not to
actuality belongs the spell,--not to anything that is,--but to some
infinite composite phantom of what has been. Wondrous the vision--but
wondrous only because our mortal sight then pierces beyond the surface
of the present into profundities of myriads of years,--pierces beyond
the mask of life into the enormous night of death. For a moment we are
made aware of a beauty and a mystery and a depth unutterable: then the
Veil falls again forever.

The splendor of the eyes that we worship belongs to them only as
brightness to the morning-star. It is a reflex from beyond the shadow of
the Now,--a ghost-light of vanished suns. Unknowingly within that
maiden-gaze we meet the gaze of eyes more countless than the hosts of
heaven,--eyes otherwhere passed into darkness and dust.

Thus, and only thus, the depth of that gaze is the depth of the Sea of
Death and Birth,--and its mystery is the World-Soul's vision, watching
us out of the silent vast of the Abyss of Being.

Thus, and only thus, do truth and illusion mingle in the magic of
eyes,--the spectral past suffusing with charm ineffable the apparition
of the present;--and the sudden splendor in the soul of the Seer is but
a flash,--one soundless sheet-lightning of the Infinite Memory.

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

Some of the illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs and so they correspond to the text, thus the page number of
the illustration no longer matches the page number in the List of

Repeated chapter titles have been deleted.

Throughout the document, vowels having macrons in Japanese words are
indicated by vowels having circumflexes. For example, English word for
the Japanese capital (currently written in Japanese romanji as toukyou)
used to be written as Tokyo, but with macrons associated with each
letter "o". In this text the Japanese capital would be written as Tôkyô.

Throughout the document, there are instances where punctuation seems to
be missing, but it is unclear whether the missing punctuation is
deliberate or what the missing punctuation should be. In those cases the
punctuation was not "corrected".

Also, throughout the document, the [oe] ligature was replaced with "oe".

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps have been replaced with ALL CAPS.

Sometimes in the text the word "Samébito" was italicized and sometimes
it was not italicized. That inconsistency was persevered.

In the third footnote, which began on page 15, there was a missing close
quotation mark. That "error in punctuation" was not changed, as it
appeared in a quotation from another work.

On page 55, a period was added after "Kibun-Anbaiyoshi".

On page 57, "Setagawa" was replaced with "Sétagawa".

On page 140, two footnote markers point to footnote 83. That is because
the footnote is about the two words marked by the two footnote marker.
That was how it was in the original text.

On page 143, a transcriber's note was added right after the illustration
explaining the connections draw between the five elemental-natures and
the Japanese syllabary.

On page 178, an emdash was added after "Sixthly,".

On page 178, "processsion" was replaced with "procession".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shadowings" ***

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