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Title: A Fantasy of Far Japan - Summer Dream Dialogues
Author: Suematsu, Kencho, 1855-1920
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Fantasy of Far Japan - Summer Dream Dialogues" ***

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Summer Dream Dialogues



Author of 'THE RISEN SUN'




                  _LE SAMURAI_

                   _C'était un homme à deux sabres._

     _D'un doigt distrait frôlant la sonore bîva,_
     _A travers les bambous tressés en fine latte,_
     _Elle a vu, par la plage éblouissante et plate,_
     _S'avancer le vainqueur que son amour rêva._

     _C'est lui. Sabres au flanc, l'éventail haut, il va._
     _La cordelière rouge et le gland écarlate_
     _Coupent l'armure sombre, et, sur l'épaule, éclate_
     _Le blason de Hizen et de Tokugawa._

     _Ce beau guerrier vêtu de lames et de plaques_
     _Sous le bronze, la soie et les brillantes laques_
     _Semble un crustacé noir, gigantesque et vermeil._

     _Il l'a vue. Il sourit dans la barbe du masque,_
     _Et son pas plus hâtif fait reluire au soleil_
     _Les deux antennes d'or qui tremblent à son casque._

                               JOSÉ-MARIA DE HEREDIA.


In the following pages I have depicted certain Japanese ideals and
notions, as well as some historical facts which seemed likely to
interest those of the sympathetic Western public who may be inclined to
study the mental side of Japan.

The dialogues are founded upon actual conversations, not indeed always
in exactly the same phraseology, nor under exactly the same
circumstances, but something very like. The questions put into the
mouths of the characters in the book are the kind of questions which are
being constantly put to me, and my answers are always on the same lines;
so that my readers may regard the book as a serious treatise so far as
the materials are concerned. This is the reason why I have written this
book in a light, conversational style, and not in the form of an
ordinary critical or expository treatise. Besides, I thought that more
lucidity of exposition and more penetration into the inner views could
be achieved by writing in the way I have done.

The period to which these conversations relate is chiefly the summer of
the present year, 1905, and the greater part of this book was written
before peace was concluded, and therefore there may be occasionally some
dicta which sound somewhat polemic. On that point I can request my
readers to show leniency.

I have appended to the dialogues a few papers on various subjects. They
deal with subjects germane to those treated in the body of the work, and
it is hoped that they will afford the reader first aid in acquiring
information relative to the analysis of Japanese social life which has
here, however imperfectly, been attempted.

I may add a few words. In publishing this volume, I am not in the least
degree actuated by a desire to exalt my country unduly,--still less to
boast about her achievements. My sole object has been to show Japan as
she is, and to claim Occidental sympathy to such a degree as she may


PARIS, _November 1905_.



The issue of the war--Some Forecasts--English and French papers
--Political situation in the summer of 1905--Beaconsfield--Japanese
fictions and their plots--Some similarities between the customs of
Greece, Rome, and Japan--Love stories--A Japanese love tale--Custom
of adoption--_Jane Eyre_ and Japan--Japanese art--Japanese
gardening--Full description of marriage ceremonies--Preliminary
inquiries--Description of the rooms, and decorations--Butterflies
--The banquet--Wedding presents--Position of the women in Japan
--Japanese mothers and wives--A Samurai mother illustrated by a
drama--Lays of Ancient Rome and Commandant Hirosé--Japanese notions
of pardon and forgiving--Trip to Japan


Greek inspiration--Semitic sympathy--Religion--Difference between
Japanese and European chivalry--What is the Bushi?--The weakest point
of a hereditary military organisation--Introduction of the new
system--New commoners and the history of their emancipation--Combination
of democratic ideas and conservative traditions--Old bottles and new
wine--The Great Change of 1867--Napoleon--Negligence of a proper
estimation--Scenery of Japan---History of Tokio--European and Japanese
method of dwelling--President Roosevelt and jiujitsu


Japanese art and the West--Night-fêtes--Sale of flowers and
plants--Singing Insects--A discussion on the moon, flowers, snow,
etc.--Music of snow and rain--Lines on hailstones--A particular evening
for lunar perspective--A blind scholar and his wife--The deaf, dumb, and
blind of Japan--The calendar and its radical change in Japan--Calumnies
on Japan, and an anonymous letter--Japanese ways of counting ages--The
question of women and a lady's opinion on Japanese women--Lafcadio
Hearn--Japanese names--Difficulty of distinguishing between 'L' and
'R'--Discussion on pronunciation--London and Tokio patois--Japanese
nobility and the method of addressing nobility--Books on Japan--Once
more on Lafcadio Hearn--Discussion on women's education--_The Risen


A talk on brackens--Eating of fruits without peeling--A pet
tortoise--Remarks on languages--Discourses on jiujitsu--Comparison of
jiujitsu and wrestling--Japanese art and the Kokkwa--Pictures in the
Gospel--Discourse on Bushido, its history and the origin of the
term--Explanation of the terms Daimio, Samurai, and Bushi--Its
literature--Japanese revenge and European duel--Japanese sword--Soul of
Samurai--General Stoessel and a broken sword--Discussion on Japanese
social morality--Japan far cleaner than any other nation--The condition
at the time of the transition--General view of the westernised
Japan--Occidental vulgarity


Some observations on peace prospects--Discussion on
Anglo-French-Russo-Japanese _entente_--Russian views of the
Japanese--Discussion on religion and Japan--Japan and the International
Conventions--The meaning of religion--General Nogi--A high-priest on
Japan and Russia--The Japanese conception of death--A quotation from an
old book on Bushido--The notion of the name--Further remarks on the
Russian views of the Japanese--England and America--The outbreak of the
war--A wanton project of the Russian admiral restrained by the French
admiral--Discussion on the Yellow Peril and Pan-Asiatic ambition--Japan
not a small country--French poor in the caves--Paris by night--Sir
Stamford Raffles and his appreciation of Japan ninety years ago
--Patriotism and France--_La France, c'est le pays de mon cœur_--A
romantic and tragical story--Discussion on Socialism and Japan--England
and America--Discussion on the word 'Revolution'--The Great Change of
Japan in 1867--Its political and social effects--A comparison with the
French Revolution--Discussion on unity and continuity of authority--An
anonymous pamphlet--Discussion on the relative position of the French
Nationalists and Socialists with regard to Japan--French thrift


The age of the Japanese--Ito and Inouyé--Intermarriages--Commander
Hirosé--Some abuse of the Japanese nationality--The climate of
Japan--Chrysanthemums--Japanese rain--The two great currents--How Japan
developed--Summer resorts of foreigners--Spring and autumn
--Picnics--Sports--A letter by an American--Pastimes of the
Japanese gentry--Description of the Japanese chess and the game of
'Go'--Description of Japanese cards--Poem cards--Flower cards--Pierre
Loti--Public baths--An interview on common and military education in
Japan--George Washington and Nelson--The cause of Russian defeats
according to the wounded


Some talk on superstition--A remark on earrings--Japanese troops after
the war; no fear of Chauvinism--Generals and officers--How the system of
the hereditary military service was abolished and the new system was
introduced--Its history--Japan after the war--Views given to the
American press--Mr. Seppings-Wright and his views on the Japanese
character--The Japanese navy and its history--Origin of the shipbuilding
yards--The difficulty of a thorough reform in China and Russia--How
Japan managed to bring about the consummation of the great reform--The
feudal system was a great help--Explanation of the Japanese feudal
system and the clans--The re-shuffling of the feudatories under the
Tokugawa régime--Difference of grandeur of the feudatories--Exceptional
formation of the Satsuma clan--Financial system of the Shogunate
--Finance of the Imperial Government at the beginning of the Great
Change--How the affairs of the governments of the feudatories were
wound up--The old system of taxation--Thorough reform--The old notion of
land tenure


Commerce and industry--Old methods of communication--Roads and
ships--How they have been improved--Railways, post, telegraphs, and
telephones--Progress of the financial system--The Satsuma war--The Bank
of Japan--The National banks--The monetary system one of the causes of
Japan's success--Further remarks on the military reforms--Evolution of
the mode of fighting--All reforms at much cost of blood and money--The
cause of the Satsuma war--Saigo the Elder--Social condition of Japan
to-day--Evolution of legislation--Chinese jurisprudence--The Japanese
are not good correspondents--My future--An operatic singer--Japanese
stages--Danjiuro and Irving--The old school and the new one--Kawakami
and Sada Yakko--The opera _Maritana_--The end of the dream


I. Political Organism of Japan

II. Japanese Education

III. Anglo-French Diplomacy in Japan Forty Years ago

IV. Sketches of some chief Figures of Actual Japan (Ito, Yamagata,
Inouyé, Matsukata, Katsura, Okuma, Saionji)

V. An old Speech by Marquis Ito

VI. The Commercial Morality of the Japanese

VII. Japan and Foreign Capital

VIII. The Languages of China and Japan

IX. Once more on Japan and France

X. Japan and Europe

XI. The Indo-China Question

XII. The Australian Question

XIII. The Anglo-Japanese Alliance and America

Notes to Dialogues V. and VIII., and to the Paper on 'Commercial




The issue of the war--Some Forecasts--English and French papers
--Political situation in the summer of 1905--Beaconsfield--Japanese
fictions and their plots--Some similarities between the customs of
Greece, Rome, and Japan--Love stories--A Japanese love tale--Custom
of adoption--_Jane Eyre_ and Japan--Japanese art--Japanese
gardening--Full description of marriage ceremonies--Preliminary
inquiries--Description of the rooms, and decorations--Butterflies
--The banquet--Wedding presents--Position of the women in Japan
--Japanese mothers and wives--A Samurai mother illustrated by a
drama--Lays of Ancient Rome and Commandant Hirosé--Japanese notions
of pardon and forgiving--Trip to Japan

It was a cool summer afternoon in a quiet hotel in a quiet part of
Paris. I threw myself lazily into an easy-chair on the balcony and began
reading _Le Journal_. I was somewhat tired and soon felt myself drowsily
wandering into dreamland as the breeze lulled me soothingly. I felt
myself, as it were, wafted through the air. Soon I found myself in the
company of a friend of mine and his wife, though I do not know how all
that came about. We passed together through the Bois de Boulogne, now
amidst tall, green forests, now along the turfy shores of mirror-like
lakes. We arrived at last before the entrance of a large house. It was
the residence of the Duke of Fairfield. His wife, the Duchess of
Fairfield, is a star in Parisian society and a great hostess. Her salon
is periodically filled with politicians, savants, great artists, and the
most fashionable ladies and belles of the day. Her forte is politics,
and indeed she is no mean politician in her way. It was in that lady's
drawing-room that we in no time found ourselves.

--'I am so glad that you were able to come here to-day,' said the
duchess. 'I was very anxious to make your acquaintance, and so asked
your friend to bring you. I have known you long by "interviews" and
articles. We all read them with delight. They are read on the Continent
far more than you imagine.'

--'Don't mention it, madam,' said I. 'It is a great honour, I feel, to
have access here. As to my articles, I am highly flattered to hear they
have any interest for you.'

There were already many people in the salon. I was naturally introduced
to some of the ladies and gentlemen present. In a few moments I found
myself talking with the duchess on some questions of the day.

--She said, 'Some people foresaw, even before the war had began, what
the issue would be. General Penetrator, for instance, I learned a good
deal from him,--and also from my own observations.'

--'May I add,' said I, 'General Foresight also? I have heard some
incidents about him quite lately. But I am glad to see you take so much
interest in our affairs.'

--'No!' said the duchess, 'they are not exclusively your affairs. We are
also much concerned in the matter, as you know. But let us stop a
moment. Baron,--won't you have a cup of tea? Do take one.'

--'If you please.'

The duchess had already risen and was proceeding towards a table where
the tea was laid out. I stood up also and followed her, saying, 'Allow
me, madam, I will help myself, I'm troubling you too much'; but the
duchess taking no notice of my words prepared a cup of tea and gave it
to me where I stood; she was assisted by one of her daughters who
offered me some cakes. I noticed that the tea was poured out of a pot
made in the shape of a beautiful waterfowl, its beak forming the spout.

--'It is very artistic,' I said, pointing to the tea-pot.

--'It is Japanese ware,' said the duchess. 'This kind of ware is, I
suppose, only made for the foreign markets, and not used in Japan, and
so probably you have not seen it before. We think it rather nice. You
see our taste has little depth.'

--'Well! madam, I must apologise to you for carelessly expressing
approbation of an article coming from my own country. I would not have
done so if I had carefully examined it and had made sure that it was
Japanese, but it certainly looks charming.'

We sat down again and resumed our conversation.

--'Do you read our papers much?' said the duchess.

--'Not much, madam, only those parts which interest me particularly--the
war, for instance.'

--'Then you speak French, of course,' said she.

--'Only a very, very little, madam, and unless spoken very slowly, I do
not understand at all,' I replied. 'People in society generally do not
care to take that trouble.'

--'Very true, indeed,' she said, 'one often forgets that one is speaking
to a foreigner while actually doing so. But what do you think of our

--'They seem generally good,' I answered, 'though not perhaps as good as
those of England, for there, far more money is spent in obtaining good
items of news from all parts of the world. But this is too trite, I
think, to speak to you about.'

--'I am sorry for it,' she said, 'but I must say that most of our
journals appear not to have done sufficient justice to your country, in
regard to the present war.'

--'To be frank, madam, I must say that they generally were not quite
fair. I am afraid they have done more harm than good to the country
which they meant to befriend, for if they had not given so much
encouragement to that country, much misfortune which has overtaken it
might have been evaded or at least lessened. It may have been only due
to a pacing mistake. The press is much better now, and is beginning to
represent more truthfully the sentiment of the people, I think.'

--'It is very true,' she said; 'at the same time, I must say that the
aggressive attitude of that country could not have been created by our
journals, however partial they may have been. In that respect, there may
be another country which is more responsible.'

All the while other guests and members of the house were carrying on
conversation in a very lively manner, in twos, threes, or fours.

--'But, baron, what do you think of the present political situation?'
she said. 'What is the real sentiment of England?'

--'You must know such things better than I. To me, however, it seems
England is perfectly sincere in her good wishes towards France. She has
no _arrière pensée_.'

--'But some people say she wants war with our neighbour,' said she.

--'No! decidedly not,' I said. 'I know there are many people in England
who have no confidence in German policy; but "want war," "provoke war,"
decidedly not!'

--'That's my opinion too,' said she quickly.

Hereupon a few gentlemen joined in our discussion. We went over the
international situation of the day from many points, with many
hypotheses and conjectures. We thought the discussion both interesting
and beneficial; the trend of the conversation naturally turned upon the
bearing of the international relationship in the Far East. A rumour
recently circulated was mentioned by one of those present, to the effect
that German policy was to draw France into some sort of 'combination'
similar to that which took place after the Sino-Japanese war. A
gentleman who is senator and an ex-minister said that it was, of course,
necessary to watch what the Premier was going to do, but that he trusted
the Premier would not be so imprudent. If ever, he added, he were to be
drawn into such an unjust and imprudent action, he would at once revolt
all statesmen, indeed all the French public, and, moreover, the rumour
was more likely unfounded than true. To this opinion all present
expressed an assent.

At this point some more visitors arrived, and the duchess left us to
welcome them. I also rose, and slowly went into the next room, which was
the study of the duke, but its sliding door was opened and formed with
the drawing-room one long salon. The other daughter--the duchess has two
daughters only, and no sons--was there, together with a few young folk.
She observed me at once, and we were soon talking together. There was a
book lying on a table beside us. Opening it at random, a picture of a
warrior appeared before us.

--'It is Condé,' she said.

--'Yes, so I see,' I replied; 'he was a great general. I admire him very
much. His splendid career, which I read many years ago in history, is
still vividly impressed on my memory!'

--'And Jeanne d'Arc too, I suppose,' she said.

--'Of course, mademoiselle.'

--'Women sometimes do fine things, don't they! but Japan is a country of
heroes and heroines.'

--'I dare say, but Jeanne d'Arc especially appeals to one's

--'I admire your Bushido so much,' said she.

--'Do you? I am glad to hear you say so.'

Looking up, my eyes caught sight of many pictures hanging on the walls:
for the most part they seemed family portraits, and most of them men in
military uniform. I was tempted to make some observations, and
unconsciously stood up to approach nearer to them. She followed my
example and walked by my side. Pointing to them, one after another, she
told me this was her grandfather, that her great-grandfather, these were
this one's sons or daughters, those that one's, etc. Amongst them, no
doubt, there were some who had done noble service for their country;
that fact was evident from the pedigree of her family. But, unlike
ordinary people, she had neither the necessity nor desire to glorify her
ancestors, but for my part I wished she had explained a little more of
their history. Finally, she pointed out a picture as that of her mother,
saying she did not like it, and that it did not resemble her.

--'Why not? One cannot expect a portrait to be like the original at
every stage of life,' I remarked.

--'No! I did not mean exactly in that way,' she answered.

We were now at the end of the room leading on to a balcony. We stepped
on to it. I leaned on the railing; she stood not far off from me. The
garden was not very large, but neat and clean. Now I looked down at the
garden, now I turned towards Lady Modestina, which is her Christian
name, exchanging some remarks about flowers and trees. Her sister now
joined us coming forth from the drawing-room. Dulciana is her name. Our
conversation somehow or other turned on works of fiction.

--'Do you read fiction much, baron?' asked Lady Dulciana.

--'No; not much. But I have read nearly all Beaconsfield.'

--'I understand,' said she, 'his books are always full of spirit and
aspiration. _Incidents d'amour_ are only secondary, and that suits your
taste, I suppose--I mean, your countrymen in general.'

--'Just so, the majority of our works of fiction are stories of heroic
characters--stories of the _Alroy_ type, perhaps, with a little more
definite morals, and something more of loyalty or patriotism.'

--'I can understand that, too, from what I have heard and seen of late,'
said she.

--'But have you not in your country,' interposed Lady Modestina, 'any
works of fiction solely based on romantic incidents? Western fictions
are, I am afraid, too full of such.'

--'Well, we also have one kind of literature which may be called "love
stories." They are mostly written in an easy style, more for the less
educated portion of the public.'

--'Are they read much?' she asked.

--'Not very much,' I answered; 'with us those books do not hold a high

--'And the plots. What are they like?' she asked.

--'Perhaps you know,' I answered, 'we have had certain customs which
resembled those of Greece and Rome. Consequently the plots of such
books, like the Greek and Roman comedies, are much influenced by those
customs and do not suit the tastes of modern refinement.'

--'Am I too curious if I ask the nature of those customs and manners?'

--'Oh no! In Greece and Rome there was, perhaps you know, a certain
class of females called Hetaira, also a class of males called parasites.
They mixed pretty freely with men of good standing, and, of course, are
not to be judged by the same standard as the disreputable of modern
days. In Japan, also, there existed an almost identical class. I am
referring to those females known to the occidental races by the name of
Geishas, and the men we call Taiko-Mochi, _i.e._ 'tam-bour,' though the
latter were comparatively few in number. The chief profession of the
Geisha was music. Indeed, the books I have just referred to are peopled
with this class. Novelists in those days were never recognised as
legitimate _literati_, and were quite content to be associated with the
so-called town people, and to write chiefly about their surroundings.
The very condition of the higher classes supplied but few subjects for
romance, and the altered social conditions of present-day Japan clearly
shows the reason why their works do not suit the modern taste.'

--'I suppose that sort of people, I mean the class resembling those of
Greece and Rome, exists no more.'

--'Yes, they still exist. The modern Geisha, as a rule, are the same in
kind, but not in quality. In the days gone by, that is, during the
feudal period, social discipline was very rigid, and the occasional
adventures of those people were regarded as good subjects for Romancers,
whilst the modern ones are far too degraded--they have either no
romance, or too much, to be made the subject of romance. Excuse my
telling you such things, I only do so from a sociological point of

--'Science will cry out, if you make use of her name in such a place.'

--'Never mind, but listen! The fiction written in the new era differs,
widely differs, in the selection of subjects, from that of the old. Only
remember! Even those books, I mean the old love stories, portrayed a
great deal of female chivalry and heroism. Indeed, a spirit of chivalry
was the forte of the period. I can tell you, if you like, one plot which
I recollect.'

--'Do, please.'

--'There was a young Samurai, X., and a maiden, Y., who loved each
other. They were not decreed by fate to marry. X., the young Samurai,
was the second son of his father, and, therefore, not the heir. He was
adopted by another Samurai, and eventually marries Z., the daughter of
the house. Now, in Japan adoption is, as it was with the Romans, a
common custom; it was more so in days gone by. This was natural enough
because, apart from other reasons, every Samurai was a retainer of a
feudal lord from whom he received a certain allowance annually for his
services, and his family depended upon him. In default of a male heir,
the house, in other words the family, lost every privilege and
emolument. The succession, however, could be made good by an heir,
adopted from a blood relation, or even from a totally strange family. On
the other hand, the second or third son of a Samurai had no legal status
as a Samurai, and was vulgarly called "Cold Rice Meals" or "Back Room
Resident." Personal service of a Samurai house to its lord was only
required of its head. Succession of Samurai--the title as well as
emolument--was according to primogeniture, and, therefore, a second or
third son could scarcely get a livelihood, unless adopted by another
Samurai, or unless a totally different kind of profession be adopted, or
else he was made, by some lord, head of a new Samurai house, by virtue
of some well-merited distinction, which was a matter of rare occurrence.
Well, X. was adopted by the family of Z., his future wife according to
that custom.

'Misfortune fell upon the family of Y., the maiden, and she became a
Geisha, an actress, if you like, not from levity on her part, but from a
sense of duty, which caused her to sacrifice herself to the occupation
just mentioned--a sentiment which is unintelligible in the West. The
story proceeds to narrate how X., the young Samurai, and Y., his former
sweetheart, meet each other after a long lapse of time by pure accident,
and how their love of days gone by revived in their hearts, especially
from the pity which the young Samurai felt for her misfortune and her
corresponding responsiveness. Further, how the young Samurai began to
neglect his official duties and to incur the displeasure of the
councillors of his lord, and was on the brink of becoming a Ronin--a
masterless Samurai, the greatest shame of a Samurai, if incurred by his
own dishonourable conduct.

'In those days, it must be remembered, the moral discipline of the
Samurai was very rigid. The conduct of our young Samurai involved not
only the ruin of himself but also the destruction of the family as a
Samurai, a matter most lamentable to the house of a knight. At last Z.,
the despairing wife, takes the matter very seriously to heart, not so
much from jealousy as from a sense of duty to her house and a desire to
save her lord and husband from disgrace. She forms a bold plan, and
personally visits her rival to obtain her confidence. She persuades her,
not by any vulgar quarrel, but by serious reasoning and rational appeal,
to put a stop to all connection with her husband. The rival assents and
gives her promise. Then comes the climax. After a great struggle between
love and reason, and hampered by several circumstances which made her
unable to fulfil her promise, the rival puts an end to her own life,
committing jigai, which is equivalent to Seppuku--vulgarly called
Harakiri--in the case of a man, leaving some touching and well-meant
letters behind her. What became of the young Samurai and his wife after
that I scarcely need to relate here. Such, then, is the kind of plot we
find in that class of books.'

While discoursing in this strain, a young lady--an English
maiden--joined us.

--'Your plot seems not altogether like ours,' said the English lady. 'I
dare say you have read some of our everyday novels?'

--'Well, I have read some, but it is now so many years ago that I do not
remember them, with one exception, and that is _Jane Eyre_. Years ago I
read some chapters of it, and those are enough. The general contents of
those chapters remained ever in my memory. A little time ago I was
staying at Folkestone. One gloomy afternoon, when I was intent over many
things, that memory recurred to me all of a sudden. I went to a
bookseller and bought a copy of the book: I read through once more some
of the earlier chapters, and it created a great impression on me.'

--'What caused that impression, I should like to know?' interposed Lady

--'Well, I cannot explain the reason very well,' I answered.

--'I can see it very well,' said the English lady; 'you are too proud
to explain the reason,' Turning to the Ladies Modestina and Dulciana,
she continued. 'Perhaps you have not read, or do not remember well, the
story of our English novel. The story is this: Jane Eyre, a young girl,
suffers every torture in the house of her uncle at the hands of young
John Reed and his sisters, and indeed of Mrs. Reed also. You know Jane
Eyre was the orphan child of a sister of Mr. Reed. He had taken her into
his family in order to bring her up with his own children. He died some
time after, enjoining his wife on his deathbed to look after her kindly.
You see, therefore, though Jane Eyre was not properly a member of the
family, some of the same blood ran in her veins as in theirs. In spite
of that fact, and in spite of the injunction of Mr. Reed, her uncle,
and, above all, in spite of all the modesty and good behaviour she
showed, Jane was tormented by every member of the family. That is no
doubt the point which has impressed the baron so much to think of----'

--'Perhaps,' I said smilingly.

--'Never mind, baron, Jane was of strong enough character to emerge from
the trouble, and so will Japan, in spite of all the calumnies, if indeed
she has not done so already.'

At this point a bustle was heard in another part of the room. Lady
Modestina cast her eyes in that direction and said: 'Here comes a lady,
a friend of ours, a star in our society, we think much of her--I must go
to her.' And as she was moving away slowly, remarked to me, 'I will
introduce you to her.' To which I replied, 'I shall be delighted.'

We went together towards the lady mentioned, to whom I was duly
introduced. She was the Marchioness de Vivastine, and was extremely
beautiful, looking far younger than her age must be, for I afterwards
heard that she is the mother of a married daughter.

Her face was covered by a veil, but her round and brilliant eyes
sparkled through it. Her beauty, however, was not the point of my
appreciation, but her vivacity and frankness. I soon entered into
conversation with her. She spoke fluently and unhesitatingly. We
commenced to speak on art.

--'I admire Japanese art very highly: it is so natural and vivid,
flowers and animals and what-not.'

--'May be, but our human figures are very bad,' said I.

--'Perhaps so,' said she, 'in the later productions, but not in antique
works. I think there has been no nation which has produced such striking
representation of nature as your country. Curiously enough, one
sometimes notices very close representations of nature in the carvings
or the inscriptions of very primitive tribes. Don't misunderstand me. I
do not mean that yours are of that kind.'

--'You must be, madam, very well acquainted with our arts. Whence have
you acquired that taste?'

--'From the time of the last Great Exhibition here, when your country
sent so many valuable specimens of art.'

--'You must yourself be an artist. I can see it from your observations.'

--'Yes, she is an artist, although an amateur,' interposed Lady

--'No, don't say that,' interrupted the marchioness.

--'I dare say you paint much,' said I.

--'No, not at all,' replied the marchioness, and continued as she
laughed slightly, 'except, perhaps, that I used to paint occasionally my
own portrait, of course after the style of the _chef-d'œuvre_ of your
"literary picture" in the faintest and lightest colours. By the way, I
also like Japanese methods of gardening. I once had a Japanese gardener
for three years at my country seat.'

--'Really,' said I, 'you interest me very much.'

--'He was very clever; far more so than any European, any Frenchman, in
the same calling of life could ever possibly be.'

--'With us,' said I, 'it is very common. Every gardener understands the
ordinary art of "garden-making," though, of course, there are only a few
real experts. But let me tell you that it comes more from the general
atmosphere and surroundings in which they grow up. There is nothing
surprising in it to our eyes.'

--'May be. But to us it seems extraordinary. After three years, during
which he served me very faithfully, I transferred him to a Frenchman,
Mr. Canny by name.'

--'Is that so? I have seen his Japanese gardens.'

--'Then you know him?'

--'Yes, I first came to know him when he visited my country some years
ago. The other day I made a great circuit round Paris in his motor: we
left Paris by the Bois, then St. Cloud, Versailles, on to Fontainebleau,
making a large circuit through Cagny, Surveilliers, Beaumont, Pointoise,
thus reaching St. Germain, thence on to St Cloud and back to Paris by
the same route. We must have travelled three or four hundred

--'Then you must have passed through the forests of Fontainebleau. Are
not the trees and rocks there splendid?'

--'Yes, that is just what struck me very much, but I am most interested
to hear that you appreciate the value of natural rocks. They are very
important elements in our Japanese gardens.'

--'I cannot understand how so great a number of rocks could have been
heaped up there in that peculiar way. Some people imagine that at one
time they formed the bottom of the sea.'

--'Oh! but if so, it must have been a very long time ago. At all events,
before we came into existence,' said I, laughing, and added, 'I should
like to get a concession from the government to take those rocks,
because the time will certainly come when they will be wanted for French
gardens, and perhaps I could then become a millionaire.'

Thereupon we all broke out into laughter. The marchioness still
continued to talk on different subjects. She had no affectation: she
said boldly just what she thought with all the sparkle of her
intelligence. I tried not to be overwhelmed by her eloquence, and the
consequence was that we had a very heated discussion on the customs and
manners of different countries. Reverting to Japan she said:

--'I hear one can marry for two months in Japan. Is that true?'

--'I beg your pardon?'

--'Well, that is what I have heard,' she said, 'from an acquaintance. He
said that he himself had married when he was staying in Japan, having
gone through the requisite wedding ceremony--partaking of saké cups with
the bride.'

--'Well, madam,' I said, 'I must say it is possible. Nay, more than
possible. I can go further and tell you that such things may occur even
for much shorter times than that. But similar customs! Is it not the
same all over the world?--even in Paris itself, I am afraid. However, I
must say the nuptials of that particular kind are far less in number in
my country than in most of the civilised countries.'

Thereupon she burst into great laughter, as also did the others, and she

--'I should like to hear something of your marriage ceremony. Is it a
civil or religious one?'

--'Entirely civil, madam,' I replied. 'We hear now and then of people
celebrating a religious marriage after the fashion of the West, but it
is very rare, as rare as one or two stars in a cloudy sky.'

--'You seem to imitate the West in everything,' said she; 'but what I
would like to know of is your national ceremony.'

--'Our marriage ceremony is a time-honoured one and entirely civil,' I
said. 'There is always an officiating person or a witness or an
assistant, if you like. He is the person who is responsible for the
completion of a marriage. Generally he is the person who arranges the
matter from the very beginning--I mean, from the time when the
engagement is formally made between the parties and, therefore, he is
called a Nakaodo, a middle-man, or a go-between, as you like. Even when
all the preliminary arrangements have been made by a second person, and
another person, for some reason, is preferred to officiate, the latter
is called theoretically, or, as it were, officially, a Nakaodo, and he
is considered as being responsible for all. A middle-man must be
married, for his function must be shared by his wife, especially when
the essential part of the ceremony is performed; besides, a bachelor or
widower would never be considered a fit person for such an occasion. But
do you mean to make me give you the whole history of a wedding?'

--'Of course! Your story is just beginning to be most interesting,' said

--'Very well! The ceremony is very elaborate and solemn, though the
scale differs, or rather is magnified or simplified, according to
circumstances. To begin with, when the engagement is formally made,
certain presents called "Yuino" are at once exchanged simultaneously
between the families of the bride and bridegroom elect--there are
certain usages in the selection of these presents.'

--'What kind of things, for instance?' she asked.

--'A staff for ceremonial "onna-obi" (a sort of a broad sash for women)
for the bride, and a staff for a ceremonial "hakama" (a sort of long
kilt) and an "otoko-obi" (a sort of sash for men) for the bridegroom.
They are invariably accompanied by "noshi" and "katsuo."'

--'What are they?'

--'They are things which you have not got in Europe. One made of
seaweed and the other of dried fish meat, but it is waste of time to
describe them, for you would hardly realise them if I did so. Suffice it
to say that they are of little value intrinsically, but they are used in
Japan to signify felicity. Remember, practical people sometimes
substitute cash and a list of presents: the conventionality of the world
is apt to take this form. These presents correspond to your giving an
engagement ring, only ours are more solemn and, moreover, not

--'And what next?'

--'Pray be patient. There is no fixed usage as to the length of the
interval between the engagement and wedding, but some months usually
intervene. Nevertheless, we are not so patient, like many Occidentals,
as to let it stand over for many years. When the time which is
convenient for both parties approaches, the date is fixed, a selection
being made of a day of happy omen, as is also the case when the
engagement presents are made. You see, there exists more or less a sort
of superstition in every country.'

--'Let us suppose that day arrived. What takes place then?'

--'Wedding ceremonies are generally performed in the evening and at the
house of the bridegroom. But remember, here again a restaurant or some
other place is sometimes substituted for the residence, if the latter is
not suitable for the occasion.'


--'All the paraphernalia and suchlike of the bride are sent to her
future home some days previously. They are generally packed up in boxes
in such a way that each box can be carried on the shoulders of two
persons by poles. They are not packed and sent by carts, as when moving
the place of one's residence. The escort and carriers receive good tips
on arriving at their destination, so that those who happen to perform
that duty are only too glad to do so. The quantity and quality of the
articles thus sent, of course, vary according to the conditions and
positions of the parties.'

--'As ours do, I presume.'

--'But there are certain articles which are most usually prepared for
the bride.'

--'As ours are also.'

--'Previously to the departure of the bride from her home, some
entertainments are generally given to her near relations, intimate
friends, and also to the servants for a farewell, or at least all the
members of the family gather together and make some merriment. This
generally takes place on the previous evening. On the day of her
departure, the officiating person and his wife go to her parents' home
and accompany her to her future home. Her parents, brothers, and sisters
also accompany, nay more, all her near relations and those of the
bridegroom also are invited, in order to be formally introduced to each
other and be present at the wedding banquet. In China the character
which means "to return" is generally used also to signify the act of a
bride leaving her home and going to the home of her future husband to be
married to him. The idea is that her future home, to which she is now
going, is imagined to be her real home, where she is now going back, and
she is not expected to return to her previous home for good, or rather
for any permanent purpose, for such a thing is considered out of the
question altogether. This notion is also the same with us Japanese;
consequently in Samurai families the same formality as that of the
departure of the dead is generally performed at the departure of the
bride. I wonder if the Western custom of throwing slippers has any
similar origin!'

--'Very likely!' the marchioness interposed.

--'And yet,' interrupted Lady Modestina, 'girls, and indeed young men,
too, are compelled to marry without knowing and seeing each other at all
before the wedding, as people say. Poor girls! Poor young men, too!'

'Not exactly,' I answered; 'remember, Napoleon and the Archduchess of
Austria had never seen each other before her state entry into the French
territory. The duchess, it is said, heaved deep sighs of relief at the
first sight of Napoleon, who was not after all a monstrous creature, as
she had fancied from the stories she had heard of the sanguinary battles
he had fought everywhere. Such things--at least, similar things--often
take place even in Europe. So with us, too, in former days, marriages of
great feudal lords were generally not unlike Napoleon's second marriage.
But with the people in general the matter was different. In these cases
Miai, which literally means to see each other, was essential and almost
the formal part of the ceremony. When "preliminary inquiries," so to
say, had turned out satisfactory, the so-called seeing each other took
place, that is to say, a rendezvous was arranged in one way or the
other, say, at a flower garden or a theatre, in such a manner that
neither of the parties felt any discomfort, and it did not become an
obligation to either of them. Remember there was nothing indiscreet in
the affair, as both of the parties were always accompanied by some near
relatives or trustworthy friends. In nuptial affairs, parental authority
was much exercised, as in this country, it is true; but the power of
vetoing was always reserved by the would-be bride, and still more by the
bridegroom, especially after the rendezvous. It was, however, thought
advisable that as full preliminary inquiries as possible should be made
before the rendezvous, in order that one side might not inconsiderately
disappoint the other.'

--'But what do you mean by preliminary inquiries?'

--'It means obtaining as much information as possible with regard to
family affairs, family traditions, the character and attainments, even
habits and tastes of the would-be bride or bridegroom as the case may
be, and I dare say the faces also, even the number of the black spots on

--'Please be serious.'

--'I don't think private detectives were employed, as in the Slater

--'No joking, please.'

--'But nearly similar things used to be done. Friends and schoolmates,
servants, ex-servants, teachers of music, jewellers, fishmongers,
grocers, tailors, dress-makers, or anybody who had any connection with
the family whatever, were one and all an object from whom as much
information as possible was extracted directly or indirectly; above all,
Mrs. Hairdresser, who knows such matters best. You know, our ladies
arrange their hair in all sorts of very complicated forms, and
hairdressers make it a regular profession, paying professional visits
constantly to ladies' homes, and our ladies do not mind wasting time in
such matters any more than their sisters of other countries.'

--'Please to the point.'

--'I am to the point. It was only after these inquiries that, to use a
diplomatic phrase, _pourparler_ for negotiations began. Of course all
the inquiries were done by some one else on behalf of the would-be bride
or bridegroom. They would certainly be too delicate for a girl of, say,
"sweet seventeen," to carry them out for herself. Don't you agree with
me on that point?'

--'Life is short. Please don't spin out webs too long. But how do
matters stand nowadays?'

--'Much the same,' I replied. 'But in our own days society gives much
more facility for young people to see and know each other. And I may add
that nowadays photos play a great part in the first stage of the
inquiries. They say photos are for studying physiognomy in order to
discern the character and intellectual capabilities, but I am afraid it
is also to study the looks as well, or rather chiefly. Human nature is
weak after all.'

--'Still spinning out.'

--'Oh no! I am only giving out the essence.'

--'Let us then proceed with the ceremony.'

--'Very well, the essential part of the ceremony consists in the bride
and bridegroom partaking saké cups, as you know, but perhaps not exactly
as your acquaintance did,' said I teasingly. 'The room wherein that part
of the ceremony is performed is kept sacred for the occasion. The
bridegroom is led to that room by the officiating person, and the bride
by his wife. In our rooms there is a small part, a little elevated,
called Toko-no-ma (alcove): it is the place of honour in the room, and
it is there that the Kakemono (hanging picture or writing) is
hung--sometimes a single one, sometimes a pair, or a series of three. We
do not hang up pictures all over the walls like a picture exhibition;
and it is also there that we arrange flowers and plants in vases. The
Kakemono would be the chosen ones having some signification of felicity.
There are many subjects for such purposes, for instance, the landscape
of the mythological island of Mount Horai, where immortals are said to
reside, or cranes and long hair-tailed mythical tortoises, or the three
twin plants of pine, plum, and bamboo. All of these objects are
popularly viewed as emblems of longevity. The flowers or plants arranged
in the vase for the occasion would also be of the same nature.'

--'And you have a special art in the arrangement of flowers, I
understand, not as we do in the West by simply putting bunches into the
vase without any discrimination.'

--'Just so!' I answered, 'and there would be a Shimadai on Toko-no-ma.'

--'What's that?'

--'Shimadai is a representation of the Mount Horai which I have just
mentioned. In later days Jo-tom-ba, more correctly Jo-to-uba, that is,
the old couple of Takasago, came to be usually to be represented with it
as well Jo-tom-ba were mythical man and wife who lived very long and
happy lives. They are supposed to have dwelt in the beautiful pine
forests on the lovely seashore of Takasago, where they spent their days
in gathering pine needles. Small artificial mounts and pine forests and
figures of the aged couple are tastefully arranged on a clean tray of
white wood, the edges of the tray being indented in order to represent
an idea of the sea-coast, with some cranes on the branches of the pine,
generally with a nest and young ones, as well as the hair-tailed
tortoise on the seashore. Cranes and tortoises play their part in our
ceremonies so often, you see. I will here tell you the gist of a common
song. Once a crane married a tortoise. Now, cranes are supposed to live
one thousand years and tortoises ten thousand years. In the course of a
duet pouring forth their touching sentiments, the wife gives vent to her
thought to this effect: she feels sad at the idea that after a happy
life of nigh a thousand years she would have to lead a young widow's
life for nine thousand years.'

--'For us mankind a thousand years is long enough. But please proceed
with the main story.'

--'Very well,' said I: 'the bridegroom and bride are seated _vis-à-vis_
before the Toko-no-ma at a distance, with the officiating person next
the bridegroom, and his wife next the bride, each giving assistance to
the bridegroom and bride respectively. The me-cho (she-butterfly) and
o-cho (he-butterfly) enter.'

--'What's that?'

--'Well, you see, butterflies are very beautiful, and when in couples
are very amiable to each other. If you see them flying about in the
fields, now touching the flowers, now playing with each other, you can
well imagine what happy lives they lead. At the wedding two virgins are
chosen to represent a male and a female butterfly. They each hold a
'choshi,' a vessel with a long handle for holding saké. To one of the
vessels a male butterfly made of paper is fastened, and to the other a
female. They both, simultaneously, pour out a few drops for the bride
and bridegroom successively, the idea being that two butterflies help
the rites.'

--'Your idea of butterflies seems to be different from ours.'

--'Well, we do not attach to them the sense of frivolity. At all events,
in case of wedding the point taken into consideration is different. They
are also pictured as a symbol of Dream based upon a discourse of an
ancient Chinese philosopher, who said that when he became a butterfly in
a dream he had no other notion than being a real butterfly, and
therefore he could not vouchsafe that his present _ego_ was not
similarly a phenomenon of a greater Dream.'

--'But you haven't yet explained where and how the cups are brought in.'

--'The cups generally consist of a set of three, usually of plain,
clean earthenware. They are put on a tray of pure white wood with legs
called Sambo--a dumb waiter, if you like. They are generally placed
together with the saké vase at the Toko-no-ma before the ceremony
begins, and are taken out at the bidding of the officiating person by
the butterflies. The exchanging of cups between the bride and bridegroom
is rather complicated. Each time the bride or bridegroom holds up the
cup, three drops of saké are poured into it by each butterfly, and this
is repeated three times, and therefore this part is called San-san-kudo,
that is, three threes making nine, and that phrase is commonly used to
signify a marriage ceremony. This part of the ceremony requires much
formality. People concerned have to take some lessons beforehand. But
remember people generally do not indulge on such occasions in swallowing
too great a quantity, whatever their capacities may be.'

--'No joking, please.'

--'Very well. When this part of the ceremony is over, the officiating
person, or a special person who is called into the next room for the
purpose, sings a short song called Takasago (one of the classical
Japanese songs called "utai"). The song is founded upon the story of the
aged couple of whom I spoke, and is regarded as a contribution of good
presage. But remember, officiating persons are often indifferent
singers, consequently they often merely utter in tone a few words of the
song. I remember a very amusing incident. It was told me by the
Marchioness Ito. At the wedding of Isaburo Yamagata, son of Marquis
Yamagata, Marquis Ito was the officiating person. He was unable to sing,
so he said when the moment for singing came, "Isa, let us suppose I have
sung. If father asks you what I have done, tell him I have sung all
right." The marchioness restrained herself with great difficulty from
bursting into laughter. That kind of incident sometimes occurs in

--'No wonder: people are not always singers. But pray proceed.'

--'The banquet now begins: bride and bridegroom now appear as a married
couple, ceremonial cups are exchanged as a token of the cementing of the
new relationship of those present, and after a good deal of merriment
the couple retire and the guests disperse. On that day the bride and
bridegroom wear ceremonial dress as a matter of course. It being a grand
day for a woman, it is natural enough that the bride should get herself
up as well as she can. I dare say the Western bride does the same, is it
not so, madam?'

--'I hear, but please proceed,' said the marchioness.

--'The bride generally wears a dress with bright designs and very long
sleeves. But it would be somewhat different if the bride were an old
maid or an aged widow, don't you think so?'

--'Please really no more joking. What elderly widow could dress like a
young bride?'

--'Very well. The bride often keeps on her head a white headgear called
"boshi" until the end of the first part of the ceremony. It answers the
purpose of your veil. I think it is used for hiding the blushes. Is it
also so here in the West?'

--'I don't remember.'

--'Then also the bride changes her dress several times, twice, thrice,
or even four times in the course of the evening, which is quietly made
an opportunity for displaying female vanity. Oh, I beg your pardon.'

--'Never mind, but continue.'

--'Very well. After a few days the newly married couple, together with
the near relations of the husband, go to the bride's former home and are
there entertained at a banquet. It is called a "Satobiraki." At the
wedding some suitable presents to each member of the husband's family
are made by the bride as a token of the new affection arising between
them, so also does the husband on the day of Satobiraki. After a
suitable lapse of time all the relatives and friends are invited to a
banquet, or some sort of entertainment, at a convenient place, at which
the formal announcement of the marriage is personally given to the
guests. The invitations are generally issued in common by the fathers of
the bride and bridegroom, and thus is concluded the whole wedding

--'And the wedding presents?'

--'Yes, we also make wedding presents, but perhaps there is a slight
difference. In the West the presents are on account of individual
friendship, but in Japan more on account of family intercourse, that is
to say, in Japan such presents would be made by a family if the family
of the bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, were in intimate
intercourse, even though no particular friendship exists between any
particular member of that family and the bride or bridegroom.'

--'I see the ceremony is really very elaborate, but when does the
legality of marriage begin?'

--'The ceremony is elaborate, as you see, but it counts for nothing in
the eyes of the law: the heart of the law is cold in every country. The
legality of a marriage begins in the eyes of the law only when a proper
form of it is filled at the office of the registry of "l'état civil." It
is desirable that a marriage should be reported in the form thus filed
and duly registered as soon as possible after the ceremony. Otherwise,
whatever ceremony you may have undergone, the marriage is not recognised
in the eyes of the law. But mind! if you ask me what a marriage is, I
don't think I can explain it to you. From the Athenian republic down to
the twentieth century all philosophers and jurists have been trying to
define the exact signification of that word marriage; none of them have
ever succeeded. On hearing that fact a peasant exclaimed: "What fools
are these mountain-dwellers; every one on earth knows what a marriage

--'No joking, please,' said the marchioness.

--'But it is a tale I was taught by my teacher when I was studying the
law at Cambridge,' said I.

--'Anyhow, I now see very well that all that I was told about the two
months' marriage must have been a joke,' said the marchioness. 'There
are some more points I should like to ask you, but I will let them stand
over until some future occasion.'

The marchioness was originally born of a very high noble family of a
neighbouring country, and France is her adopted home by marriage. Her
sister, Countess de Daisyland, who had been staying at her sister's, as
is her custom from time to time, was also present. I noticed some
difference of character between them. While I was speaking with the
marchioness, the countess was chiefly talking with Madame Matoni, wife
of my friend, though she turned to us occasionally and interposed some
laconic remarks. Monsieur Matoni was then engaged in a conversation with
the duchess. By shifting seats, so to say, almost unconsciously to one
another, the duchess and Madame Matoni now began to converse, and
Monsieur Matoni and the marchioness, who turned towards him without
moving, did the same. The countess, who spoke less than her sister, and
whose eloquence was of a totally different style, now began to put
several questions to me.

--'There is one thing,' said she, 'which has been puzzling me very much
of late, and that is, some people speak of the Spartan character of the
Japanese women in general, basing their observations upon deeds
displayed during the present war. But on the other hand there are many
writers who tell us that Japanese women are mere domestic servants. Of
course I do not believe that, but there seems too much margin between
these observations. If I am not too curious, will you give me your

--'With pleasure, countess,' said I. 'Without giving excessive credit
to our women, which I do not dare, I can assure you that the Western
estimation of our women is generally incorrect. It is perhaps beyond
your conception how great an influence a Japanese mother or wife has
over her family. I will give you an instance of a mother illustrated in
a well-known drama. The scene is a summer evening. The aged mother of
Miura Yoshimura (a hero having a real existence in history) lay on her
deathbed within a mosquito netting, depending from the four corners of
the room. Our mosquito nettings are very large and spacious. A young
lady, the hero's fiancée, is waiting upon her as nurse. Here the hero
suddenly returns home from the battlefield clad in full armour. He makes
inquiry of the young lady about his mother's condition. She tells him
that the aged lady's condition has not presented any marked difference,
that she often falls into a drowsy state, and is calmly sleeping at that
moment. A cough is heard from the room which is separated by paper
screens and where the aged mother lay; in fact she had just awoke. She
perceives the hero has returned, and with a few terse and killing
sentences she admonishes him from where she lay for his conduct. To her
it was cowardly to leave the battlefield at that juncture. It was
contrary to a warrior's honour and an infringement of loyalty. She will
not see him face to face. Her last words are, "If thou darest to
approach me, dare to break this net. It is an iron castle of mine."
Having thus denounced her beloved son, she falls into a calm slumber
again. As a matter of fact, the hero's mind is already made up to
sacrifice his life in battle to the cause he was supporting. He merely
returned home to bid his last farewell to his dying mother, and to
intrust her to the care of his fiancée. His helmet is perfumed with the
best kind of incense--an act common to a warrior of distinguished
position--the idea being that a hero's head should not be exposed to
odious odour after death. The young lady discovers it, and, as is
natural in a drama, a bit of love-scene follows. She would not stop him,
but at least he might wait until his aged mother awakes again and spend
a single night by her bedside. The stay of a single eve, she says, would
make no material difference to chivalry and loyalty. He does not listen
to her, and shaking her off dashes back to the field, where he meets
with an honourable death. The point I wish to lay stress upon is not the
last part, but the part where the aged mother speaks of the "iron
castle." Does that not show you the kind of authority a Japanese mother
wields over her children? Is it any way inferior to that of Coriolanus's
mother, before whom that brave Roman warrior had to cry out, "O mother!
you have prevailed." It is, of course, a scene in fiction, but with us
it is an incident quite imaginable in real life. Indeed, there are
several instances of similar nature recorded in history. A Japanese wife
has an influence far greater than any outsider can imagine. I can only
say, so far as domestic affairs are concerned, she is far more a master
of the house than her husband. Think for a moment! If the wife were a
mere servant of the house, as is represented by many Western writers,
how could it possibly happen that, as a mother, she exercises such
austere authority, as the mother of the hero just mentioned did, over
her son after her husband's death?'

The countess listened to me very attentively; my long explanation did
not appear to weary her. When I had finished it she smiled and said:

--'Then in your country also mothers play a great rôle in the family.
Would you also say like Napoleon, "Women are the mothers of the nation"?
But won't tell us a dramatic illustration of a wife?'

--'"Too many dishes spoil the appetite," as our saying goes,' I
answered, 'so I must not go on endlessly,--but _àpropos_ to the Roman
matron, I will tell you an incident which will illustrate that Japanese
women, too, do not limit their activity to indoor affairs. You have, no
doubt, heard something about Commandant Hirosé, one of our great heroes
of Port Arthur. It was in the summer of last year that an eminent
English admiral, whom I know very well, wished me to forward to the
hero's family a copy of Macaulay's _Lays of Ancient Rome_ as a token of
his admiration. He said he thought that Japanese warriors bore a great
resemblance to Roman warriors, even to Horatius himself, and Hirosé was
the most conspicuous among them. Now Hirosé was a bachelor; his brother,
who was his senior, is married, and was also at the front. When I
forwarded the book to Tokio, Mrs. Hirosé, in the absence of her husband,
took the matter in her own hands and wrote a letter of thanks in English
to the admiral, accompanying it with a likeness and facsimile of the
last poem of the deceased, all of which she forwarded to me, asking me
to send on to the admiral. People might think she was audacious, but the
fact was she did not shrink from taking the entire responsibility of the
matter. I approve of it. The letter ran thus.'

So saying, I recited the letter. It is strange, but in dreamland one
often remembers by heart that which it is impossible to do when awake.

     'I tender my sincere thanks to you for your very kind present of a
     beautiful edition of Macaulay's _Lays of Ancient Rome_, forwarded
     to me by Baron Suyematsu.

     'The book is so much esteemed in Japan that it is used as a
     text-book in some schools where English is taught, and part of it
     was annotated in Japanese in a magazine devoted to the study of

     'I beg to assure you how much I feel the honour done to my deceased
     brother-in-law by a renowned admiral of a great and glorious
     nation, in comparing him with a Roman hero, who is said to have
     defended the Sublician Bridge against the whole Etruscan army under
     Porsena, while the Romans broke down the bridge behind him.

     'I am happy to say that as a reward for the deed of the late
     Commander Hirosé, the people of Japan are going to erect his bronze
     statue to his memory in Tokio, as the Romans did in Comitium.

     'May I be permitted to make you a present of the deceased's latest
     photograph and a facsimile of his autograph poem, which was
     composed by him just before his departure for the second blocking

     'The poem was intended by him to be the final expression of his
     desires, and it is sad it proved to be such.

     'Literally translated, it runs as follows:

         "Would that I could be born seven times
          And sacrifice my life for my country!
          Resolved to die, my mind is firm,
          And again expecting to win success,
          Smiling I go on board!"

     'I will take the earliest opportunity to refer to your inestimable
     present in my letter to my husband, the elder brother of the
     deceased, who is now in the front, commanding the gunboat _Chokai_,
     by whom, needless to say, your kindness will be most highly

--'I do not see,' observed the countess, 'much in the mere act of
writing a letter, but the letter itself is interesting enough, and,
besides, I must say I am much amused at the manner in which you manage
to bring out things to suit your purpose, just indeed as though you are
writing a novel and would make us serve you as materials.'

--'Not at all, but just a little bit of a Summer Dream,' I said.


--'Nothing, I beg your pardon.'

--'But, baron, I should like to ask you another question. With us,
pardon, or an act of forgiving, is considered a great virtue. It is an
act of courage, and, at the same time, it contains in it delicacy and
tenderness; especially when the subject is a woman, that virtue
sometimes amounts to nobleness, or even sublimity. It is, therefore,
regarded in the West as one of the greatest elements of ethics; but some
people I hear say that that idea is wanting in oriental ethics, though
the notion of pity exists. Is that correct?'

--'No, not exactly,' I answered, 'but you interest me by putting such a
question. However, it requires some explanation. I am afraid I weary

--'No, not at all; go on, if you please.'

--'Perhaps you know that the fundamental idea in Buddhism is mercy and
forbearance. These attributes would already suggest an idea of forgiving
and of not taking offence. Then, again, in Japan there are several new
Buddhist sects, which are very much like Protestantism in Europe. In
fact, some of them go so far as to allow priests to marry. I say new
sects, but not so new as you may imagine, because they are as old as
eight hundred years. The essence of the tenets held by them is that the
great Budha Amida is the very embodiment of mercy and forgiveness, and
therefore, if one devoutly throws oneself upon him and asks his
salvation, all sins committed by the suppliant would be at once forgiven
and salvation granted. Theologically speaking, there is much room for
discussion about this, but it is not the point which I have in view. I
only mean to say that this theory is nothing else than a great example
of pardon. In Confucian ethics there are more names given to different
kinds of virtues than in the West. The word "Jen" is the name of a
virtue most comprehensive. There is no word corresponding to it in the
West. There are some who translate it as "humanity," others
"benevolence," some even as "charity" in its broadest sense, but all
these only represent a part of the original meaning. In that word the
idea of pardoning and forgiving is amply implied. A lord who pardons an
offender magnanimously is a lord rich in the virtue of "Jen," There is
also one classification of virtues, comprised in two words, "chung,"
"shu." The first word is generally translated as loyalty, but in this
instance it is not necessarily loyalty to a master, but faithfulness and
truthfulness in general. The second word, "shu," has no equivalent in
the Western language. It means this: We should put ourselves in the
position of any one who has done wrong against us or otherwise committed
some error, and we view the matter with the greatest leniency, and thus
give the most favourable consideration. The Chinese ideograph of it is
composed of two other ideographs, "like" and "mind," that is to say,
"like one's own mind," meaning--consider the matter as your own, and act
toward him in such a way as your own mind would like him to act toward
you under the same circumstances if he were in your place. This
ideograph is often used for the very purpose of an action which cannot
be any other than the equivalent of pardoning and forgiving. Are you not
becoming a little wearied?'

--'Oh, no! Go on.'

--'Very well! In our Bushido, that is the teaching of chivalry, of which
you must have heard, "pardoning" and "forgiving" is the important
element. We have a proverb saying, "When the helpless bird takes refuge
in the breast of the hunter, he would not kill it." This proverb is very
well known and is considered as the embodiment of a warrior's
magnanimity. From all that I have just said you will understand that the
criticism which says oriental ethics lack notions of pardon and
forgiving is incorrect.'

--'Thank you very much,' said the countess. 'In such matters one
requires much study of and penetration into the very depths of thought
and reasoning of a people. One certainly ought not to come to a hasty
conclusion. Japan is a country which I am so anxious to see.'

--'Go, or rather, come, by all means, you will be most welcome,' I said.

--'But it is so far off and travelling will take such a long time,' said

--'No, it will not take so long a time as you imagine. Means of
communication are so quick nowadays. The quickest route is through
America by the Canadian Pacific via Vancouver. Another route is via San
Francisco, which takes a few days longer. If you go by the Canadian
Pacific, like a letter in a postbag, it takes only a few days over three
weeks. When I came to Europe last year I left Yokohama on the 10th of
February. Having arrived at Victoria, in the island of Vancouver, I made
my way to Seattle, where I disembarked. I took thence the Great Northern
Railway down to St. Paul and Chicago, a route which runs between the
Canadian and San Francisco lines, and on to New York. I spent a day at
Seattle. I had to stop at the summit of the Rockies for five hours, on
account of an accident which happened to a train in front of ours. It
made me miss the junction, so that I lost more than one day on the way.
I spent two days in New York, and one in Washington. The mail steamer in
which I crossed the Atlantic was not the quickest one. And yet on the
morning of the 13th March I was quietly taking tea at an hotel in
Liverpool. Last year was a leap year, but counting by days, inclusive
one extra, the whole journey took thirty-two days in all. You see the
globe is like an egg--the higher the latitude, the shorter the

--'That looks long enough.'

--'Well, but one cannot jump over from one side of the world to the
other in one leap.'

--'Supposing the Trans-Siberian Railway free again, what do you think of

--'Well, a friend of mine who took that route took twenty days from
Petersburg to the Pacific Coast. It is, of course, shorter; but you see
travelling continuously by train is not very agreeable. I believe that
the railway services in those quarters will be much improved and made
quicker, but at present, that is to say, judging from experience before
the war, the service is said to be very irregular and long. I should
prefer a sea-voyage. The direct service between Europe and Japan on
board the German or French mail ships through the Indian Ocean seems to
be most agreeable. Of course it takes a longer time: it takes from
forty-four to forty-seven days from Marseilles or Genoa to Yokohama. I
have twice taken that route on a French mail ship and liked the voyage
very much.'

--'But one would be killed by sea-sickness.'

--'Not at all. The sea is not always calm in the Mediterranean, so also
between Hong Kong and Japan. But all the other parts are usually very
calm. Besides, one soon gets accustomed to the sea, after two or three
days, excepting some few persons who are by nature averse to the sea

--'I cannot believe it.'

--'You must believe it, it is a fact, and moreover, on mail steamers
there is much fun and pleasure; dances and concerts are given on board
from time to time. The meals are splendid and plentiful. Passengers soon
become friendly.'

--'Ah! that's too good to hear, but I wonder if it is always so,' she

A lady, who had travelled in the Far East, joined us a few minutes
since. She spent two months in Japan, she said, and supported my views
about the voyage, and talked of the pleasure of the trips somewhat in
opposition to the observations of the countess.

The marchioness now turned to me and said, 'I have just been talking to
your friend Monsieur Matoni about the new invention of Monsieur Blanry.
A long account of it was given in _Le Matin_ the other day. It is an
improvement on the wireless telegraphy. Guns may be fired, wheels may be
turned by electricity produced by wireless apparatus. He is going to
give a lecture illustrated by practical experiments. Would you like to
go? If so, I would send you a ticket for a box for yourself and

--'I shall be delighted,' I answered.

--'Marchioness patronises science,' said Monsieur Matoni to me, as
though he only meant me to hear him, and in a further subdued voice
whispered, 'Her tastes differ from the ordinary tastes of ladies.'

The visitors were now gradually dispersing. The marchioness and her
sister also rose to take their leave, asking us, as they did so, to
visit them on the marchioness's next reception day. We had stopped for
longer than we anticipated, despite an appointment I had at my hotel.
Soon after the departure of those ladies, however, we also said our
goodbyes to the duchess and her daughters, and to the few people who had
still remained.

We were again wafted through the air, and were once more moving over
the tops of countless houses on the way. On reaching my hotel, I shook
hands with my friend and his wife on the tops of the beautiful
avenue-trees in front of the hotel.


Greek inspiration--Semitic sympathy--Religion--Difference between
Japanese and European chivalry--What is the Bushi?--The weakest point
of a hereditary military organisation--Introduction of the new
system--New commoners and the history of their emancipation--Combination
of democratic ideas and conservative traditions--Old bottles and new
wine--The Great Change of 1867--Napoleon--Negligence of a proper
estimation--Scenery of Japan---History of Tokio--European and Japanese
method of dwelling--President Roosevelt and jiujitsu

It seems my young secretary, noticing I was asleep, and fearing that I
might catch cold, brought a rug and covered me, which action roused me
for a moment, but I soon returned to the same dreamland again.

Once more I was wafted through the air, and found myself in a large
entrance-hall with gilded ceiling and walls painted with pictures. It
was brilliantly lighted, and in one corner a band was playing. A broad
staircase, the upper part of which branched off into two, led to the
upper part of the house, numerous men in livery lined both sides of the
passage, displaying the sure sign of aristocracy. There were balconies,
or rather corridors all round overlooking the hall. I ascended the
staircase, and, passing along one side of the corridors, entered a large
chamber which was evidently the reception-room. But seeing but few
people there, proceeded to an open window at the end of the room and
looked down into the garden, which was brilliantly illuminated. In a few
moments I moved, almost unconsciously, into a further room. It was the
study of the host, who with his wife was showing the room to a group of
guests. The host, noticing me, made me welcome, and introduced me to one
of the guests in particular. It was the Prince Royal of Greece. I
exchanged some words with him, in the course of which I remarked that
Greece was the country which I was most anxious to see, inasmuch as it
teemed with historical interest. As I did so, the scene of many heroic
actions, above all, those of Salamis and Marathon, together with the
glory which Byron sung for her freedom in the recent century vividly
arose before my mental eyes.

It was then announced that the music was about to commence, and the
party moved on. I was with a charming lady. She was of Semitic blood.
Her complexion was snow white, her eyes were dark, as also her hair,
which was surmounted by a coronet of pearls, and round her throat was a
necklace of the same. She happened to know me already by name, through
her relatives whom I met in England. This naturally afforded us a
subject of conversation as we proceeded. On arriving at one end of the
corridors we stood, still conversing, and looking down into the hall,
while the other people moved on the further end of the corridor where
many more guests gradually arrived. While thus conversing, a nobleman
passing us was introduced to me.

--'All the generals are gone to the Front,' he said, rather suddenly.

At first I thought he was referring to the war in the Far East, though I
soon realised what he meant. He appeared a little excited.

--'There is more exaggeration than fact,' said I. 'I am quite confident
that there will be no rupture.'

At that moment some one persuaded my fair companion to go over to where
the prince was sitting. I followed at a distance, and took my seat in an
obscure place in the corridor. From the corridor of the other side, an
operatic singer, accompanied by a pianist, rendered the choicest of his
songs, and the bands played in the intervals.

I listened to the songs and the music and watched the people. Sitting
alone I am sure I must have looked awkward and stupid; which, however,
is a thing I do not much mind. Now and then the host came and exchanged
some words with me. He was busy looking after his guests generally, but
managed to tell me he would invite me to a special dinner very soon to
which also the Duchess Fairfield would be asked. The hostess was
similarly occupied, and I did not converse much with her, except to pass
a few remarks about music. She said she preferred vocal music to
instrumental. The music over, all went down to the garden. It was
delightful: the open air on a summer's night is always so. Light but
choice refreshments were served there. The guests, partaking of them as
they wished, chatted here and there in groups of two and three.

The night was far advanced and the guests began to disperse one after
another. I also left, but without bidding adieu either to the host or
hostess lest I might disturb them. On my way out I saw the lady with
whom I had talked in the corridor still sitting on a bench chatting with
a few gentlemen. She seemed to notice me, but I merely bowed and passed
on, though I fancied she had some sympathy for us Japanese. She did not,
neither does any member of her community, say anything about the hard
fate of her race or the countless hardships which they are suffering,
especially of late, in certain quarters of the globe. In this world, we
know there are many matters in which silence speaks more than words.

Time and space, and indeed, sequence of events, are incongruous in
Dreamland. One flits from place to place. I now found myself in a large
mansion. It was the residence of the Marchioness Vivastine. I was of the
few early arrivals. The salon was rather dark, but cool and spacious.
The marchioness was not yet down, but the valet told me she would soon
appear. In a minute or two she entered accompanied by her sister, asking
as they greeted us our pardon for keeping us waiting. More people now
arrived one after the other. The marchioness proceeded to make tea and
distributed it, assisted by her sister, much in the same way as did the
Duchess of Fairfield and her daughters. I was naturally introduced to
many of the visitors, Princess A., Countess B., Baron C., Monsieur D.,
etc., but for me, a foreigner, it is impossible to remember their names.
The Duchess of Fairfield and the Lady Dulciana were among the new

--'Baron and I had a very heated discussion the other day,' remarked the
marchioness. Then turning to me, she said, 'Did we not?' To which I
replied, 'If you please, it was indeed interesting.'

--'Did you go to the Trocadero the other evening?' said the marchioness.

--'Yes! we did. Thank you very much for sending the box. And the duchess
and her party were there too,--in a box close by ours,' I added.

--'Did the lecture interest you?' asked the marchioness.

--'Oh yes! the experiments were all very interesting, but I hardly
understood a single sentence of the lecture,' I answered.

--'No wonder! for no one else understood it, at least, I did not. It was
so scientific,' interposed Baron C.

'Ah! you were there too, of course,' said I. 'And the best fun of the
evening was that there was a man distributing hand-bills. At first we
all thought it was a kind of syllabus of the lecture, but in reality it
was the advertisement of a competitor stating that he was an earlier

The marchioness and her sister, being the hostesses, were unable to talk
long to each guest. I soon found myself sitting next to the duchess on a
sofa, with Baron C. in front of us on a chair. Our conversation having
turned upon the question of the separation of state and religion, Baron
C., who was keen on the subject, being a Deputy, said:

--'With us it is a very interesting question. There are many points to
be thought of and discussed, but I think it interests outsiders very
little, especially a person like yourself, a Japanese, for I understand
the Japanese gentry have very little religion.'

--'And yet,' said the duchess, 'in my opinion there is scarcely a single
people who have no religion at all. Bushido is the creed of the Japanese
gentry, as I understand, and in truth it is nothing else than a
religion. The Latin _religio_, from which the term religion is derived,
comes from the verb _religere_ to hold tight. In that sense, at least,
Bushido must also be taken for a religion. I know something about it,
especially through your writings. But, baron, will you please explain to
me something about the points of resemblance and difference between our
ancient chivalry and your Bushido?'

--'I am not, madam, well acquainted with your chivalry, and, therefore,
I cannot pretend to hit the mark. But I know that one of the ideals of
your chivalry was "bravery" to the point of being fearless of death; in
that there is certainly a great resemblance. Another of your ideals was
loyalty and truthfulness. Always ready to render assistance to one
weaker; in that also there is a great resemblance. The third ideal was:
a great devotion to religion. On this point I must admit there is some
difference. I do not say our Bushi despised the idea of supernatural
beings, but you see our Bushi had more faith in their own spirit of
self-reliance, therefore religion governed their thoughts to no such
degree as it did in the West. Then comes a great difference between
them,--I mean their attitudes as regards the fair sex. But have you no
objection to my proceeding further?'

--'Not at all,' said the duchess.

--'Very well,' said I. 'With your chivalry the custom of rendering
respect to the fair sex had been carried to such a high pitch that it
was nothing less than adoration or worship. I do not say the motive was
originally bad, because it came no doubt from the idea of helping the
weaker. But, remember, it often happened that too much prominence was
given to keeping faithfulness to women, even where one had some higher
duty which ought to have claimed the whole loyalty of his heart. The
subject is rather too delicate for me to describe minutely, but you can
see what I mean. In the days of your chivalry faithfulness in
love-affairs was looked upon in general as gallantry, no matter whether
the affair was honourable or otherwise, but with the Japanese Bushido it
was very different. It was not because a Bushi was heartless toward the
weaker sex, but effeminacy was a thing which he despised most. In the
days gone by in Japan, if a Bushi had been found paying too much
attention to a lady, and making himself a slave to her, to the neglect
of his duty, he would have been hooted out of society. With European
chivalry, therefore, the tendency of desire was to be noticed by others
for his actions performed in homage to a lady, whilst with our chivalry
one would try to do his utmost to conceal his emotion and even to look
cold. In the West, therefore, the word "gallantry," which was originally
used more for "dashing and noble bravery" came in common parlance to
have quite a different meaning, as you know. Nothing of the sort has
ever taken place with us.'

--'But I thought your Samurai also had love-affairs--I was at least made
to understand so from your story of the other day about a young
Samurai,' interrupted Lady Dulciana.

--'Yes, that is true, but our Samurai is not "trees and stones" as we
say, and you must know there are exceptions to every rule,' I replied
and continued.

--'There was also another great difference. In the West chivalry had
grown and decayed, traversing always pretty much the same line; I mean
it had undergone no great transformation. But in Japan the case was
somewhat different. There it became united with the art of intellectual
learning, and has made Bushido, that is, the ways of Bushi, more
systematic and ethical.'

--'What you have just told us,' said Baron C., 'seems to explain some
difference which is said to exist in the attitudes of men towards women
in your country and ours.'

--'Perhaps so,' I answered, 'where a gentleman approaches a lady and
kisses her hand, as one sees commonly in the best Parisian society, a
Japanese would stand at a distance and make a respectful bow. There is
no doubt, it seems to me, that a great many of the customs which
prevailed in the feudal period are still influencing your modern
society, and ours also in Japan; hence the difference which still exists
between the customs of Japan and Western nations. Broadly speaking, I
can say that in the West friendship or affection moved more towards
intimacy, whilst in the East it moved more towards respect.'

--'Ah, I remember one thing. Some years ago there was a smart American
who was a keen observer of different customs and manners. He said, "the
Japanese hit their wives before strangers, and caress them in private,
whilst the Occidentals worship their wives before strangers, and beat
them in private." I beg your pardon, I must not tell you such a thing, I
withdraw it at once; but I can say this, it is dangerous to gauge the
customs and manners of other countries only by the measure of one's own
country. The position of our women is not so low as represented by those
who look through the colour of their own glass.'

--'Very true,' said Baron C. 'Such things often occur. One ought always
to be on guard, lest one commit unaccountable errors quite
inadvertently. But what do you mean by saying your Bushido has become
systematic and ethical. Let us have a little more light on the subject.'

--'Quite so,' said the duchess. 'I should also like to be more informed
on that subject. One never gets tired of things Japanese, especially in
these days.'

--'I am afraid I shall appear somewhat dogmatic, but if you have enough
patience I will explain. In the Far East, Bun and Bu, that is to say
matters pertaining to Intellectual culture and matters pertaining to
military training, were always regarded, at least in theory, as
co-existent and of equal importance. They were compared to the wings of
a bird, or to the two wheels of a cart. The generals who were held in
the highest esteem were those who were efficient in both. The same
esteem was held for all warriors, no matter their degree or rank;
though, of course, the higher the rank the greater the excellence
expected. They all became imbued with a desire for literary and ethical
education, and thus civil elements were introduced into military
training. The best ideas and notions of chivalry were ethically
systematised, and these ideas and notions came to be nurtured and
developed according to the normal roots of ethics. We were fortunate in
arriving at this solution, for the country had enjoyed a long peaceful
epoch, and the Bushi had therefore sufficient time to give their
attention to both subjects. Besides the policy of the country had been
directed to that end. Moreover, four hundred thousand families of Bushi,
having enjoyed their position by hereditary succession, and having no
need to labour for existence, all that they had to do was to make
themselves as much "a gentleman" as possible. Of course, there were some
who became outcasts and some who were newly enrolled, and some who were
degraded, and some who were promoted from various causes, but these were
exceptions. As a general rule they succeeded to their father's position
and handed it down to their own successors. Colleges were established by
their lords where they received intellectual education side by side with
fencing, riding, the use of spears or the art of jiujitsu.'

--'You mentioned just now,' said the duchess, 'four hundred thousand
families of Bushi, and of the heredity of their service. That seems to
be somewhat different from our knighthood, which was more of the nature
of personal distinction, and its ranks were filled by personal
enlistment, although naturally they came from the same class of people.'

--'Well,' said I, 'our term Bushi, otherwise called Samurai, is a
comprehensive one. It comprised all the retainers of the feudal lords.
They generally lived, with their families, in the capital town of the
lords under whom they served. There was generally a quarter in these
towns where the Samurai lived quite apart from other people. Under some
lords, there were Samurai who lived in the country, but they were
exceptions. By Bushi then we understand those retainers in general, and
as I said the service usually became hereditary. It was the strong point
of our military men and also their weakest point, or at least it became
so in the course of time.'

--'What do you mean by weak point? Tell me, please,' said Baron C.

--'I say "weak point," because that system as an organisation for
fighting purposes became inefficient: the reason is almost plain without
saying. You see the hereditary system has one advantage: respect and
affection increase from generation to generation. Personal intelligence
was also acquired under that system so long as the training and
instruction were well attended to, but the descendant of a warrior who
had led, for instance, one thousand or one hundred men with great
ability, could not always be expected to do as well as his ancestor.
This is so from the very fact that ability and skill for qualifying one
for a higher position is not a thing which is hereditary. This is the
weakest point of an hereditary military organisation. "Ministership and
generalship are no inherited stocks" is our old saying. Napoleon's
eighteen marshals were, one and all, children of the time. Even before
the restoration of the present Imperial régime we perceived this weak
point, and that was one of the reasons we made a radical change in our
military system and adopted the system of universal service. One might
think that, by doing so, the spirit of respect and affection, in other
words, loyalty and patriotism, might be lessened in the ranks of the
troops; but that is not so, for with us the spirit of loyalty to and
patriotism for the Emperor and country is very strong among all the
people. And because the feudal system had been abolished and the whole
nation came to owe no other allegiance than that which is direct to the
Emperor, there is no necessity of making any difference among the
different classes of the people in regard to those services. As to
intelligence, we do not leave the children without education, whatever
class they may belong to, I mean to say, we have adopted a system of
universal education which gives sufficient knowledge and therefore
intelligence to the men enlisted in the ranks from all classes. As to
the officers, we take in any candidates who are willing to be suitably
educated as such, provided they show sufficient capacity, without any
distinction of class or family. It seems to us the only way to procure
the most efficient officers. We are very radical in these matters. One
can see in the Japanese army or navy sons of noblemen or rich merchants
being commanded and led by an officer who has risen from the lowest
class of the people. There may even be officers whose origin, if
scrutinised minutely, belonged to a class vulgarly called "New

--'I think I understand now,' said Baron C. 'But do you mean to say
Bushido is a thing of the past? We are made to understand that the whole
Japanese army and navy, indeed the whole nation, are animated with the
spirit of Bushido at this very moment.'

--'No, I did not say Bushido was a thing of the past. Bushi exists no
more, it is true, except that those who belonged to that class still
enjoy the privilege of being called Shizoku (knight family), which,
however, has no legal signification, and therefore is only an empty
title. There may be a Shizoku driving a carriage or earning a living by
selling trifles. It is sad to think of the fact, as far as personal
consideration is concerned, but they have given their benefits and
privileges for the general good of the country, and I am glad to say
that the spirit of Bushido is now made the common property of the whole
nation. It has been spread throughout every rank of the Japanese.'

--'It seems sad when we think about Bushi, as you say, from a personal
point of view,' said the duchess; 'but when a country makes such a great
change as your country has done, some great sacrifice on the part of
some portion of the community is inevitable.'

--'And especially so with our Bushi,' said I, 'because they were in
fact the chief instruments by which the present great change has been
brought about. When we view things in this way, we can say that our
Bushi fought and sacrificed their lives in order to destroy their own

--'But what do you mean by the "New Commoners," which you mentioned just
a minute ago?' asked Baron C.

--'By "New Commoners" is meant those who have been newly made
ordinary commoners by emancipation. There was in Japan a class of people
below the class of the common subjects of the empire; they neither
enjoyed the rights of ordinary Japanese nor owed any duty similar to
others. I mean to say, they enjoyed no citizenship, but, on the other
hand, they had in most cases not to pay taxes for the lands they tilled
or dwelt on. Their position may be in one way compared with the slavery
which existed in the West from the Roman period onward. But there were
two points of a great difference. In the West the slaves had their
masters whom they served, and it seems that no personal pollution in our
sense was attached to them. In Japan, those people had no masters to
serve, and earned their living by their own labour. At the same time,
however, they were regarded as having personal pollution, so much so
indeed, that they were not allowed, nor did they themselves dare, to
enter within the door of an ordinary Japanese, still less could they
intermarry or indeed hold any social intercourse with them. A
love-affair like that of Aïda, a slave girl, and Ardamès in the opera
"Aïda," which I had the pleasure of seeing in your company the other
evening, is a thing almost unimaginable in Japan between a girl
belonging to the class I have just spoken of, and a man of any other
class. The number of these people was only a very small minority of the
whole population. But they were to be found in all parts of Japan. In
the country they formed here and there small villages. They were also to
be found in the vicinity of towns, but always having separate
communities. They were the only people who dealt with dead oxen and
horses, and even dogs, and also were the only people who dressed the
skins of those animals. In former days in Japan no beef was eaten but by
those people. Horse flesh was not eaten even by them. The common notion
was that horse flesh was sour and inedible, but I am sorry to say that,
of late years, it is eaten by the poorer classes to some extent. The
dealers in it insist on continuing the trade on the ground that the same
business is carried on in the midst of the most enlightened nations in
the West. I do not like the idea at all. However, to proceed with my
story. When a cow, a horse, or a bullock belonging to a commoner died,
it was notified to a community of those people, who in a group came and
carried the carcase to a convenient place, where they skinned it and
buried the rest; and in the case of a cow or a bullock, if it had not
died from any infectious disease, they took away its flesh to their
homes, as well as the skin and horns. It was the occupation of those
communities who lived in the vicinity of a town to prepare the skins
sent to them from all parts of the country. Their lot was not,
therefore, an enviable one, as you may perceive. This class of people
was called "Yeta," which is represented, though by corruption, by the
Chinese ideographs meaning "much pollution." No one knows exactly what
their origin was; some say they were the remnants of Mongolian troops
who remained in the land after the total destruction of Mongolian
armada, while some say they might have been prisoners from Corea; but
all these conjectures are not satisfactory. There was another portion of
the people very much akin to those just described. They were known by
the name of "Hinin," a term which is represented by two Chinese
ideographs, meaning "not-man," which suggests a similarity of notion to
the European term "outlaw." This class was in number even less than the
former. Their occupation was also very different. They chiefly lived by
fishing or by making some trifling articles, and, therefore, no such
deep stigma of personal pollution was attached to them as to the other
ones. In fact, it was supposed that among this class of men there were
sometimes to be found a Samurai declassed from one cause or another. In
Yedo, now Tokio, homeless destitutes were known by that name. One must
not suppose, however, that either class was unprotected by law, for
their lives and properties were respected just as those of ordinary
people; and, moreover, they were not necessarily poor people, because
some of them, especially those who lived near towns, were very well off.
A characteristic of these people was that they had a certain sentiment
of community throughout their own class without distinction of locality.
They had no privilege of attending a "Shinto" or Buddhist temple
belonging to the citizen classes, but they had here and there their own
Buddhist temple and priests. I have never seen any instance of their
possessing any Shinto temples; this fact arises from the very nature of
Shintoism, which is most sensitive of anything unclean, in other words,
most opposed to any pollution. The Imperial régime was inaugurated with
most enlightened notions, especially in the matter of personal freedom.
At the very beginning of the Imperial régime, the present Marquis Ito
was governor of the prefecture of Hiogo-Kobe, and he emancipated, on his
own initiative, the Yeta and Hinin under his government, and made them
ordinary commoners. There was little formality in such matters in those
days. A governor of a province sometimes took such measures on his own
responsibility. In the course of a few years the Imperial Government
emancipated all of those people throughout the whole empire, and the
people thus emancipated came to be vulgarly called "New Commoners." That
term, however, is fast losing its significance, inasmuch as those people
are daily acquiring common intercourse with the ordinary people; this is
especially the case with those who transfer their abodes to other parts
of the country, where their identity is not known. I am even told there
are one or two deputies in the House of Representatives who originally
belonged to that class.'

--'It shows a very bold and enlightened policy on the part of your
Government,' said the duchess. 'From all that you have said, it appears
that the success of the great changes in your country is due to the
combination of democratic ideas with conservative traditions; in other
words, you seem to have well succeeded in "putting new wine into old

--'If you please, you may think so,' I said; 'that phrase describes
our situation very aptly. You see, the present régime of our Imperial
Government is, after all, a restoration to its ancient form, animated by
modern spirits. Our change has not taken place through any uprising of
the people at large. Before the Restoration, European notions of
"Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" had not been much developed, it is
true, but then the people had not been labouring under any great
oppression and destitution. They were not rich, as a rule, but they were
mostly happy, and not in an extreme condition of misery, as was the case
in Europe when the popular movements based on those notions commenced,
or as is the case in a certain country now before our eyes. The
movements which caused our great change were due almost entirely to
aspirations of a political nature, that is to say, for the bettering of
the political organism of the country. The matter was taken up by the
upper classes, and was fought out chiefly by them, and, therefore, when
the strife came to an end there existed no more class animosity, and the
people, both high and low, devoted their energy to the common good which
they held in view. It is true that at one time their views of the right
methods to attain the end were not altogether unanimous. Some of the
feudal lords and their retainers fought against other feudal lords and
retainers. One side espoused the Imperial cause, and the other opposed,
but those who opposed bore no opposition to the Imperial house itself.
It was more an opposition to the lords and their clansmen who stood on
the other side. You know that, after the submission of the Shogun
himself to the emperor, the great majority of the feudal lords in the
north and the east of Japan effected a combination among themselves and
opposed the troops on the Imperial side. What I said just now was
chiefly in reference to that occurrence. The nature of our civil war
being such, it was not a matter of surprise that the country should be
reconciled and conciliated under the new régime. I may here mention an
instance, trifling as it is, to show how it has operated even in
ordinary social matters. Marshal Oyama, who is now commanding our armies
in Manchuria, is a Satsuma man, and he fought as a young officer of the
Imperialists in the east. His wife is a daughter of a Samurai of an
eastern feudal lord, one of the staunchest opponents to the Imperial
troops, I mean the Lord of Aizu, whose castle was besieged and taken
after a long resistance. A sister of Madame Oyama is a lady in our
Imperial courts, and her brother, who had been a leader of the troops of
his clan, was afterwards a general of the Imperial army, and died in
that capacity recently. We have a nobility of five grades, almost
identical with the European system. The origin of our noble families is
various, but their broad distinctions are: Noblemen who were formerly
feudal lords; noblemen who were formerly court nobles attached direct to
the Imperial courts before the Restoration, and those who have been
newly made nobles by virtue of their meritorious services rendered to
the new Government. But in the eyes of the law, or rather in the
treatment of them by the Imperial court, there is no difference, nor is
there any confliction of interest or sentiment existing between them.
Napoleon was a great ruler, there is no doubt, but his one misfortune
was that the very nature of his origin was not sufficiently potent to
reconcile and harmonise all the difference of this kind in which
sentiments go a long way. Supposing he had been a direct scion of the
Bourbons, and supposing the general condition of the French people of
those days had not been such as it was, and supposing that the great
Revolution had been effected by the movements of the aristocracy itself
with Napoleon at its head, the course of the history of France might
have been very different, although, in spite of that, France has always
been a remarkable nation.'

The marchioness seems to have noticed that our conversation was becoming
animated and stepped towards us, evidently to take part in it. At this
juncture, an elderly gentleman and his wife were ushered into the room.
They were duly introduced to us. He was an astronomer. He said that he
and his wife had been in Japan years ago when a transit of Venus across
the sun was taking place. But their observation of the transit was a
failure owing to bad weather. They stayed eight years, and waited for
another transit, but again he was disappointed; because a sudden change
in the weather obscured the heavens.

--'That must have been a great disappointment,' I said. 'As to myself,
I have seen one such transit very well at a temporary observatory
erected at Yokohama. It was very interesting to me, unscientific as I
am, to see the sun reflected in white on the prepared ground, and the
planet, a small black spot, traversing slowly across the white surface.
Of course, one could also see the actual sun and planet through a smoked
glass. The transit I refer to might have been a different one, or else
the locality where I saw it from was not the same. I will tell you a
stupid experience of mine,' said I, turning to others present. 'There
was a total eclipse of the sun, some eighteen years ago. I was on a
trip, and had to cross over a high mountain pass. I, and a few
companions, thought it would be great fun to see an eclipse from the
summit of the mountain and observe all the changing phenomena of nature
from there. So we hurried on our way, but by the time we reached the
summit the sky was very cloudy, it even showered, and the consequence
was that we did not see much and regretted that we had not stayed a
little longer on the lower grounds, from where the people saw the
eclipse very well. Fancy the height of a mountain,--however high it may
be, it is only an infinitesimal part of the distance between the earth
and the sun. To think that we would be nearer to the sun if we climbed
to the summit of the mountain was an act of great stupidity; but such
things often occur in actual life. We often forget to think about the
relative situation between ourselves and others, and make our
calculations according to fancy. Thus great errors are often committed.
Such is the case when we play at games, say at chess. We make our moves,
thinking that our opponent would make his move just as we ourselves
would do, but the probability is that he makes a move totally different
to our anticipation, much to our chagrin and surprise. All this arises
from our negligence of making a proper estimate of the relative position
occupied by both sides.'

--'You seem to have some special reference in what you say,' said the
marchioness. 'By the bye, Madame P. says she likes Japan very much.'

--'Yes, I do,' said the professor's wife. 'I can never forget it.
Miyanoshita, Nikko, Chiuzenzi, and above all, the scenery of the inland
sea, are superb.'

--'Yes, those are the places which foreign travellers are fond of and
talk about the most. The accommodation of the warm spring of Miyanoshita
and the sights of the artistic buildings of the Nikko temples seem to be
thought much of. Chiuzenzi, with its calm, mirror-like lake, is
certainly an excellent summer resort,--no wonder most of the corps
diplomatic in Japan betake themselves thereto every summer. But from our
own point of view the Nikko temples are new and consequently the arts
displayed there are only of modern type, elaborate but not deep. They
are not quite three hundred years old. In fact,--Tokio itself is only a
new town, being scarcely three hundred years old. One must go to Kioto
and Nara if one wishes to see the real classical Japan. Those are places
where there are so many spots of historical and artistic interest, not
only in the towns themselves, but also in the surrounding localities.'

--'Yes, my husband and I had opportunities of visiting those places, and
we made very pleasant and interesting trips.'

--'But how is it that Tokio is such an important town in these days, as
I understand?' asked the marchioness.

--'I will explain,' said I. 'Tokio is situated on both banks of the
mouth of a river called Sumida, about the same size as the Seine,
running through the middle of a large flat land and flowing into the bay
of Tokio. That flat land was formerly called "Musashi-no," that is to
say, plain of "Musashi,"--from the fact that the greater parts of it
belong to the province of Musashi (we call it a large plain because
Japan is so mountainous and flat plains are so rare). It is the plain
which was sung of by a poet as one where the moon rises and sinks from
grass to grass, there being no mountain for her to seek shelter. When
Tokugawa, that is to say, the family of the last Shogunate, became a
powerful feudal lord about three hundred years ago, it made the site of
the present Tokio its seat and built its castle on the spot where a
small old castle had stood some time before. Towns had arisen around the
castle, which came to be known as Yedo until it was changed into Tokio
thirty-eight years ago. The town, and, indeed, the castle itself, had
been gradually enlarged from time to time. It is well known that, not
long after Yedo was made the seat of Tokugawa, the house of Tokugawa
became the Shogunate, that is to say, the military and administrative
government of the empire which used to be called by foreigners the
temporary chief of Japan. For nearly three hundred years the Shogunate
exercised great power. All the feudal lords were obliged to reside in
Yedo every other year. Their families, I mean wives and children, had to
live permanently in their mansions at Yedo all the year round as a kind
of hostage. Great lords usually had three mansions, the upper, the
middle, and the lower ones as they were called; even small lords had
two. It was almost necessary for them to have several mansions because
Yedo was so famous for fire--fire was called the flowers of Yedo--and
they had to move their residence from one to the other in case of fire.
Of course, the magnitude of these mansions differed according to the
rank and position of the owners, but were mostly very large, and a large
number of retainers also resided in surrounding buildings, though the
exact number of the retainers also varied according to the ranks of the
lords. You may well imagine how expensive such establishments must have
been. Hence also the flourishing condition of the town itself, and thus
Yedo had become the largest town of the Empire. When the Shogunate came
to an end, the emperor removed his residence to Yedo and re-named it
Tokio, that is to say, the eastern capital in contrast to Kioto, which
is also known as Saikio, _i.e._ the western capital. It was a
masterstroke of the bold policy of the new Government. The removal went
a long way in facilitating the renovation of Japan, for it helped the
getting rid of old notions and introducing new ideas. Besides, by
assuming a commanding position over the whole country, and having been
thus made the new Imperial capital, Tokio continues to maintain, even
advances in, its prosperity. _Voila!_ the answer to your question.'

--'I suppose Tokio is much changed, as people say?' asked the

--'Yes, it is so,' I answered. 'One can no longer see the Tokio of
thirty years ago. The residences of the feudal lords in former days were
very grand, especially the parts just beyond the inner moats surrounding
the castle, where stood the residential mansions of great lords, called
Daimio-Koji, _i.e._ broad way of the Grand Seigneurs. The premises of
these mansions generally formed a square, the main building stood in the
middle, the four sides of the square were generally occupied by long
lines of buildings in which the retainers lived. There were several
gateways, the main entrance, of course, being the largest. Some great
lords spent a good deal more money than necessary in making their
mansions appear grand in order to efface any suspicion of their
unfaithfulness to the Shogunate--in other words, they showed by so doing
that they had no idea of accumulating wealth for secret designs. I well
remember those buildings, but nothing is left of them now. The very
centre of the place where those houses stood is now a park. The gates,
which were constructed of wood, were very elaborate and imposing. There
are only three or four of them left in Tokio, but not on their old
sites. They are but reminiscences of old ones, and reconstructed
elsewhere by private persons as curiosities. The streets where the great
lords once marched in grand state are now crossed in all directions by
electric tramways. But we are not sorry for all that.'

--'People say there will soon be no more old Japan to be seen in Japan,'
said Lady Dulciana, 'unless one visits her without delay.'

--'That is not likely,' I said. 'A nation cannot completely
metamorphosise itself at a moment's notice. Despite all those changes,
Japan is still Japan, especially in the interior. The old Japan will not
disappear during the lifetime of either you or me. However, we have a
saying, "For good things let us hurry." If you have any idea of going to
see Japan, which I consider a good thing, hurry by all means.'

--'I suppose the style of residence in Japan differed, and still
differs, from ours?' asked the duchess.

--'Yes, very much; and not only the grand residences, but also the
houses of all classes. If you allow me to be candid, I will tell you a
conversation I had with a Frenchman a little time ago on the very
subject. He asked me what I thought of the appearance of Paris, and if I
did not think the rows of grand, lofty houses which form the avenues and
streets magnificent. "They are magnificent for sights," I answered. The
last part of my remark made him a little suspicious, and he pressed me
to explain my meaning, and I did so. Can you guess my answer?'

--'No, I cannot.'

--'My answer was to the following effect. You see, here in Paris,
people who dwell in a building generally occupy only one part of it.
They share a house and live in different flats and corners of the same
building; and yet the people, who meet every day at their very door, do
not know each other. Their rooms are generally dark, because the
buildings overshadow each other. They cannot move out of their rooms
without putting on hat and jacket, and generally have no spare ground
attached to the house where they can rest or promenade. They seldom see
the moon or the beautiful morning and evening sun, being buried in deep
valleys of houses. For practical purposes, therefore, my preference is
for the style of my country--I mean houses detached, though not grand
and lofty, so that one can use every part of the building, from the
basement to the roof, with some ground, around the building, be it large
or small, tastefully laid out into a garden. I say, therefore, people
who live in magnificent, high buildings may not necessarily be happier
than those who live in smaller and humbler dwellings. This is what I
said to that French friend of mine. Please excuse my making such
remarks: I have no thought of running down your style of living, but
have only been tempted to say what little good I can of my country.'

--'When spaces are available,' said Baron C, 'we also attach gardens to
our houses. _Apropos_, you were at the matinée dance at the Palais
Elysée, were you not?'

--'Yes, I had the pleasure of being invited by Monsieur le President and
Madame Loubet.'

--'The trees there are fine, are they not?' said Baron C.

--'Yes, they are very fine, and the gathering was fine also. An
incident which I experienced there was rather unique. I was walking with
Madame Matoni in the crowd. We encountered two gentlemen clad in
fashionable attire. Somehow or other, Madame Matoni began conversing
with one of them. At the same time I heard a female voice echoing in my
ears--I could not imagine where it came from, except from the gentleman
with whom madame was talking. I thought it very queer, but presently I
was introduced to them: they were announced as Monsieur and Madame
Ecrivan. Then it occurred to me that the person whom I thought a
gentleman was in reality a lady of whom I had heard something before.
She was an author attired like a man.'

--'Yes, she is an author, and a clever one too,' said the duchess. 'But
what did you think of the whole reception?'

--'Simplicity was, I thought, its features as compared with similar
occasions in monarchical countries, but it was in unison with the
constitution of the country. Then, too, although somehow or other I
missed entering into the dancing pavilion, I understood the matinée
dance there was customarily given chiefly for the entertainment of the
orphan daughters of army and naval officers. The idea is pleasant.'

--'And what of the President?' inquired one young lady.

--'A fine old gentleman, I thought, and kind-hearted too. I was
specially introduced to him, in the garden, after the formal reception.
He repeatedly pressed me to put my hat on while talking with him,
because the sun's rays glanced on my head through the foliage.'

--'You met with many fashionable belles there, too, I suppose,' remarked

--'There were Madame Riviera, who is so very vivacious, and several
other ladies; I mean the wives of cabinet ministers and other high
personages. But on the whole, I did not think the gathering was
particularly unique for Paris, with regard to beauty.'

--'By the bye, have you ever seen Mr. Roosevelt?' asked the duchess.

--'Yes, I have. He impresses one at first sight with his enormous
energy and intellectual power. He likes Japan. He was taking lessons in
jiujitsu under a Japanese master when I was at Washington early last
year. He told me he had been practising it three times a week.'

--'Yes,' said the duchess, 'I understand jiujitsu is much in vogue in
England and America just at present.'

--'It seems so. In New York and Washington some ladies are also taking
lessons, I am told; so also in England, as you know.'

--'But I suppose even in Japan it is only studied something like fencing
is in our fencing schools, not as a part of the universal education.'

--'Just so,' I answered. 'It does not form a part of the general
education, though it is very extensively studied in the higher colleges
and schools.'

--'It looks certainly like an art worth paying attention to,' said the

--'Here, too, some time ago,' said Baron C., 'a Japanese jiujitsu master
once came to Paris and gave an exhibition at a theatre, challenging,
with the offer of a prize, any Frenchman who would combat with him. No
Frenchman won. They were beaten one after the other. The people did not
like so much humiliation, and the audience decreased, so the master had
to go back to London; such is the Frenchman.'

--'Well,' said I, 'it might have been only a momentary caprice, perhaps
because Japan is not your ally, but the audience could not have been
diminished for such a cause as you say. There can be no notion of
humiliation, because it is a question of art. However, if the
Occidentals, with their natural strength and physique, become well
equipped with that art, we the small Japs shall never be a match for
them; so I would rather wish you Occidentals do not learn the art.'

All present broke into laughter, and in a minute or two I was once more
wafted through the air and making my way elsewhere.


Japanese art and the West--Night-fêtes--Sale of flowers and
plants--Singing Insects--A discussion on the moon, flowers,
snow, etc.--Music of snow and rain--Lines on hailstones--A
particular evening for lunar perspective--A blind scholar
and his wife--The deaf, dumb, and blind of Japan--The calendar
and its radical change in Japan--Calumnies on Japan, and an
anonymous letter--Japanese ways of counting ages--The question
of women and a lady's opinion on Japanese women--Lafcadio
Hearn--Japanese names--Difficulty of distinguishing between
'L' and 'R'--Discussion on pronunciation--London and Tokio
patois--Japanese nobility and the method of addressing nobility
--Books on Japan--Once more on Lafcadio Hearn--Discussion on
women's education--_The Risen Sun_

Time and space in dreamland have become more inconsecutive, and events
have crowded rapidly one on another. In dreamland, moreover, one
frequently sees in an incongruous group people who in ordinary life
seldom come into contact with one another. Such is my experience.

Now I found myself guest at a reception given by a lady whose residence
was in the neighbourhood of the Grand Opera, where I met a number of
authors and critics of both sexes. Then at our Legation, near the l'Arc
de Triomphe, where I was spending the evening in a large company, which
included several ladies of my own country. Again at the soirée of an
association interested in things Japanese, where also were members of
both sexes, and then, hey presto! all these events and places would
transform themselves into one single scene, as though they had been but
one and the same gathering.

I remember well that at the meeting of the association a special toast
was proposed after dinner by the president in my honour, to which I
responded, saying how much I thanked its members for their sympathy for
Japan. The little which Japan had been made known to France, or perhaps
to Europe, was largely due to the appreciation of the Japanese arts by
those present, and some others who had preceded them, such as MM. Bing
and Guimet. I also said that a nation having an art such as ours, though
perhaps not equal to the best arts of Europe, could not be so savage and
wild as many calumniators represent, and further, that I wished
Frenchmen, and indeed Europeans generally, would study and examine Japan
a little more, and cast away their prejudices. I also remarked _en
passant_ that the oriental section of the Louvre was anything but strong
in Japanese _objets d'art_, Japanese painting was scarcely represented
at all. Other conversations that I had were an agglomeration, so that I
cannot remember where and with whom they were held.

--'By the bye, have you seen the fêtes of Neuilly?' asked a lady.

--'Yes, I have seen them,' I answered; 'but the place was so crowded, I
could scarcely stand. It was interesting to watch the common people
enjoy themselves. One thing which struck me most in the fête was that
there were so many _ménage aux chevaux_ (roundabouts) without any horses
at all. All the objects on which people were riding were other
animals--even pigs, the dirtiest animal on earth.'

--'But pigs are considered objects of luck.'

--'Ah! that's an ideal notion of the civilised people, I presume.'

--'Have you any similar fêtes in your country?'

--'Yes, we have. In Tokio, especially, we have fêtes very similar
almost all the year round, though not on so large a scale as your
night-fêtes of Neuilly. In Tokio there are one or two fêtes in the same
night in some quarters of the town. There are many small shrines in
different parts of Tokio, and the fêtes are nominally in their honour. I
say nominally, because most people who go there, go to see the sights or
the pretty things rather than to do homage to the shrines. Each of these
shrines has a certain day which is kept in its honour. In our fêtes the
things most sold are small plants and flowers with their roots, so that
they may be planted as they are! They are taken to the fêtes by
gardeners living in the suburbs, who make this kind of business their
regular occupation, and therefore the occasion is more properly
considered as the gardeners' evening. Sweets, toys, and small light
objects for domestic use are sold, and there are different kinds of
entertainments as well. The nature of your evening fêtes seems very
different. In fact, I have not seen any plants or flowers sold there.'

--'The difference seems remarkable; but what do you do with those plants
and flowers?'

--'There is a difference between our common people and yours. You see
the bulk of those who frequent the fête in Tokio are ordinary
townspeople. They buy the plants or flowers for a small sum of money;
when first offered for sale a high price is asked, but it is quite an
understood thing to bargain and at last to buy at a very low price. The
more advanced the evening, the cheaper one can get them. The bargaining
at these fêtes is so lively that it has become proverbial, and people
often say, this or that is not like buying night-fête plants. It is,
however, a mistake if one were to suppose bargaining is a common thing
at every shop in Japan, as in Italy or Egypt. Well, these people,
however moderate their means, purchase one or other of the plants or
flowers and take them home, and plant them either in their small gardens
or in pots and vessels, and place them in their rooms. Some plants or
flowers are already planted in a tasteful manner in pots or vessels of
different shapes, so that they may be used as they are. The people are
very happy with these objects. In summer and autumn all sorts of singing
insects[1] are sold in pretty little cages. In the Orient, unlike in the
Occident, the term insect itself is very poetic, and conveys more of the
significance of the singing than of the object itself.'

--'I have always heard that your people in general are very artistic,'
said she. 'I should like to follow their sentiments in regard to nature.
For instance, when we look at the moon we sometimes become very

--'You mean in such cases as the night-scene where sweet Jessica and her
lover Lorenzo sang "In such a night, in such a night as this."'


--'Well, in that respect,' I answered, 'we are perhaps more developed
than other peoples. Even the etymology of our language proves it. We
have such terms as Hanami, that is a flower-seeing; Tsukimi, that is
moon-seeing; and Yukimi, that is, snow-seeing. You have phrases such as
"to see the flowers," "to see the moon," and "to see the snow," but
these are hardly an equivalent. Our phrases imply a deeper feeling, both
poetical and artistic; may even imply an act of seeing those objects in
the company of congenial friends. The snow is, as I indicated, one of
these sights. _Apropos_ of snow, I went to Richmond once in company with
a few compatriots, to see the snow-scene in the park there, whence one
commands a beautiful view of the river Thames. Many years afterwards I
was asked if we had snow in my country (you know this kind of question
is asked of us very often). I answered "Yes." Thereupon a lady, who
happened to remember that I had gone to Richmond to see the snow there
years ago, abruptly remarked, "Oh! I thought you had no snow in your
country." When I replied, "What makes you think so," she said, "Because
you went to Richmond on purpose to see the snow." I had then to explain
that our excursion to Richmond was not because we did not know what snow
was, but because we liked to see the sight. We do not get tired of
seeing such scenes any more than you Europeans get tired of going to the
opera, to see, or rather to hear the same opera over and over again, as
for instance _Faust_.'

--'But at the opera we can satisfy our sense of sight as well as that of
hearing,' said a young lady, 'but what of the snow! It has no colour,
being white,--it has no sound: besides, the season must be cold and the
very sight of it must be chilling.'

--'You are partly right, I admit, but is not white the very ideal of
purity? Are you not very fond of it? Do not you ladies like wearing pure
white dresses? Are you not wearing one at this very moment? We Japanese
are very fond of white. The ideal colour of Shintoism is white.
According to that creed, even for mourning, white is preferred to black.
It suggests a notion of cleanliness, which is the essence of the creed.
Besides, you cannot surely say opera boxes are ideally comfortable. They
are not cold, it is true, but certainly they are generally stifling. One
sees there scenery, but what is it compared with the grandeur of nature.
Then again, you cannot exactly say snow has no sound. We, in our poetry,
speak of the music of falling snow, or the music of dropping rain. Those
sounds are considered especially musical in the depth of night: we even
poetise the sounds of falling hailstones. There is a well-known poem on
a hailstorm composed some seven centuries ago. It is a short poem, as
ours usually are, but to us it gives a deep impression, and animates a
martial spirit. It is difficult to translate, but it runs somewhat like

     "Oh see in this wilderness of vast Nasu
      How the hailstones dash on the frozen ground!
      And ring on the gauntlets of hunters bold
      As they draw their arrows from leathern fold!"

--'Many hundred years after this poem was composed, when our country was
enjoying a perfect peace, a well-known statesman, reflecting on that
poem, gave his own bent of thought, as follows:

     "Not knowing the age when hailstones rang
      On the gauntlets of warriors' hands;
      Warmly enveloped I lay me down,
      Listening all night to their dropping sound."

--'_Apropos_ of hailstones, what a strange occurrence it was the other
day, when hailstones ravaged the vicinity of Paris, and that too in the
height of summer. I met a compatriot and his wife, now staying near St.
Germain, at a small gathering on the evening of the same day, and they
described the size of the stones and the damage done to the glass of the
different houses. At first no one present believed them, but my friends
did their best to explain that some of the stones they picked up and put
on a tray were still large when they had left their home several hours
afterwards. What they said was perfectly true, for I read in the papers
next morning that in some places the hailstones were like eggs and
weighed on an average from twenty to forty grammes; some even two
hundred grammes. But ah! how silly I am to tell you all this, as you
must all be well aware of it.'

--'Never mind,' said those present, 'but please proceed with your

--'Well, there is a particular night of the year which is considered the
best for the moon-scene; the 15th of August by the Lunar Calendar. The
people generally get up a small social gathering to celebrate that
evening. It was on one of those occasions that Hanawa, the celebrated
blind scholar of Japan, gently sang as he sighed:

     "If it were a flower, I might touch it."

'The line does not sound very sympathetic when translated into a foreign
language, but in the original Japanese it is full of poetry, and the
meaning is understood that he could not even console himself by the
sense of touch. The remark was overheard by his wife, who pathetically
joined him by singing:

     "This Moon! 'tis the night that makes blind men's wives weep."

--'Very fine and pathetic; but you said just now "celebrated blind
scholar,"' remarked a lady. 'What do you mean by that? Do you mean to
say he was a blind poet like Homer?'

--'No, he was not exactly a poet, but a great scholar. In England there
was a celebrated blind scholar, Fawcett, and Hanawa was our Fawcett. He
was a Professor under the Shogunate Government, and one of the best and
largest collections of rare old Japanese books made by him was his
crowning achievement, and we are all much indebted to him.'

--'I suppose there are as many blind, deaf, and dumb in your country as
in any other?' asked another; 'and what do they do, or rather, what do
you do with them?'

--'There are some deaf, dumb, and blind schools at present, and those,
among them, who are fortunate, are educated there as in Europe. There
was no such school in former days, but much care was taken of the blind,
even more than at present.'

--'In what way?' asked she.

--'In former days the blind had several privileges. In the first place,
there was a special order consisting of several degrees, which was
bestowed on meritorious blind people; next, there was a law which
protected blind men when lending money, so that they had great facility
in getting their dues paid, inasmuch as a lay debtor was summarily
ordered to pay any claim raised by a blind man. Then the musical
profession was generally assigned to them, thus, the professors of the
Koto, a stringed instrument, were generally blind men, and they had the
privilege of giving out diplomas to their pupils. In the country parts,
blind men were allowed to make a round of visits to the different houses
of the gentry, singing a particular kind of war-song, called "Heike," to
the accompaniment of the Biwa, another kind of stringed instrument. Then
again, the Amma, the Japanese "massage" was mostly the profession of
blind men.'

'You say "blind men," but what of blind women?' asked another.

--'Ah! I was wrong, for I have only spoken of blind men, but blind
women were accounted much the same. But that Japanese Amma, I can never
forget it, especially after hard work when one's muscles have become
stiffened. It is such a soothing remedy. In Europe massage is used only
for people who have some ailment, but in Japan ordinary people very
commonly make use of it, and consequently a large number of blind people
follow that occupation. The protection of the blind under the old régime
was, of course, good in its aim, but it produced some abuse, and,
besides, the great change of all methods of administration also affected
the privileges given them. There is no longer any order bestowed on
them, nor any special protection given to blind money-lenders, but in
other respects their occupations remain pretty much the same.'

--'You have just spoken of lunar months of August,' said another: 'here
in Paris the Russian Embassy and the Chinese Legation celebrate their
New Year each differently from ours. Russia still sticks to the old
style of calendar though solar; and China seems to hold to the lunar.
How is it with you? Your calendar does not seem to differ from ours.'

--'Yes, our calendar at present is exactly the same as yours,' I
answered. 'It used to be lunar, as is the Chinese, but it is now
thirty-four years since we adopted the solar by a stroke of the pen,
that is to say, by an edict of the Emperor. We thought in this world of
cosmopolitanism that it was rather inconvenient for the different
nations to have different calendars, and that it would be expedient to
follow the example of the majority of the nations. We considered it a
bold stroke of policy, but you see all such changes are made subjects of
ridicule, and the Japanese are called mere imitators.'

--'Oh no, you go too far,' said another. 'No one ridicules Japan for
that kind of change. It was excellent.'

--'And yet,' said I, 'all other changes are exactly the same in our eyes
as that one.'

--'People are now beginning to understand Japan,' said she.

--'May be,' I said. 'I am very glad of it, but, you see, our
calumniators even now make very unjust accusations against us, and still
speak of us as monkeys. Since my arrival in Europe, not only have I
noticed that these things have been written in newspapers, but I have
myself received many letters of that kind. I cannot think what good they
can do by sending me such letters and wasting stamps. I suppose they are
but an infinitesimal part of the money spent for such purposes by our
opponents. This very day, when I was coming out of the hotel, I received
one of those letters: the postmark is Paris. I read it through on the
way, and I have it still here. It is this: you may read it.'

So saying, I handed the letter to the lady, and she read it out as

     'MON CHER SINGE JAUNE,--Vous singes jaunes, voulez avoir beaucoup
     de pièces jaunes--travaillez--vous les aurez; mais avec votre
     tuerie--vous n'arriverez pas à les avoir--je vous assure. Fichez le
     camp--allez habiter aux Philipines. L'Europe et l'Amérique sont
     fermées aux singes jaunes sauvages. Vous martirisez chez vous les
     femmes! Votre meilleur homme Yoma (_sic_)--en a tué plusieurs. Vous
     êtes singes jaunes très méprisables--oh, bientôt l'or aura raison
     de vos hordes ... Souvenez-vous de mes singes. Singes jaunes
     sauvages dégoutants.

                                            MISS NELLY.

     'Qui ne vous aime pas: oh du tout....'

Finishing the reading, the lady exclaimed, 'What a shame!' in which all
those listening joined.

Said I,--'The letter evidently refers to the question of indemnity. You
see, it is written on a telegraph-form, and the article and the song,
both equally disgusting, pasted purposely for me to read, are cuttings
from Russophile papers: you can pretty well surmise from what source it
came; the signature is also amusing!'

--'Shame!' they all exclaimed once more, but we all soon burst into
laughter. When the laughter, whereby the peace of my dreamland had been
a trifle disturbed, subsided, a lady present said:

--'You have a peculiar way of counting one's age, have you not? Has
that anything to do with the calendar? Don't you say, for instance, a
baby born the year before the last, three years old?'

--'Yes,' I answered, 'we still do so in ordinary conversation. But it
has nothing to do with the calendar; it is only a matter of usage. You
see the year in which one is born is counted as one year, and the year
in which one is counting is counted as another, and therefore, a child
born the year before last is reckoned as three years old. In the case of
a dead person, the year in which he died is counted as one year;
therefore, when you read of the age of our heroes or statesmen in
history, you have always to take that into account. In former days,
young ladies born late in the year used to complain to their mothers
that they had a disadvantage in point of age. Young ladies like to
minimise their age all over the world. Don't they?'

--'No joking, please.'

--'Very well! since the alteration of the calendar we have adopted your
mode of reckoning for legal purposes, and we say in that case, "full so
many years." It is therefore rather strange in actual society to hear
people often speaking of so many years of age according to the new
style, and so many years according to the old style.'

--'It must sound very odd. _Apropos_ of ladies, I adore Japanese
ladies,' said a lady.

--'Ah! that's too much: surely you do not think so,' I remarked.

The lady just referred to was an American by birth, who came to France
when a mere child, and having grown up in this country had married a
Frenchman. The couple were out in Japan for many years. They had several
children, the majority of whom were born there. She had resided in one
of the most populous towns, her husband having been attached to a
certain public function. She seemed not entirely to approve of the
social condition of France.

--'France will be ruined by her women. Look, for instance, at the
condition of Paris,' she said.

--'You jest. I imagine your ideal of women must be very different from
ours,' I said.

--'No! Not at all,' she answered.

--'And yet,' said I, 'the question of the status of women is becoming
more keen, far more keen in America than in this country. I have
observed it in many writings.'

--'That's true, I dare say,' she said.

--'A little time ago,' I continued, 'I read an article describing the
influence of American wives and daughters over their husbands and
parents. I remember one instance mentioned in that article. The daughter
of a well-to-do business man took a fancy to live in a town where she
had been on a visit for a little time. She prevailed on her father to
remove their home to that town. He did so, and the result was his total
ruin in consequence of losing old customers and not obtaining new. The
story may be a little exaggerated.'

--'No, it is quite possible,' she said. 'I like Japanese ladies and
their children. The Japanese ladies I met with were so sweet and gentle
and real models of women. I came to know them very intimately in this
way. You see, in the town where I lived there is an association for the
promotion of the mutual interests of France and Japan, the members being
mostly Frenchmen. No lady was admitted into membership at first. I
insisted on having it done. I was the first lady member. I induced many
Japanese ladies to become members. The views I held were that mutual
understanding could only be promoted by both sexes associating with each
other. We found the innovation work very satisfactory. I often invited
Japanese ladies to my home to spend an afternoon or evening. I usually
caused them to bring their children, and made them play with mine. I did
all this with as little ceremony as possible, because only by doing so
can real friendship be brought about. I, of course, returned the visits
and took my children with me. During that intercourse I naturally came
to know a great deal about the Japanese ladies, and for that reason I
think so much of them. They are real ideals of women. Perhaps a little
more freedom for them might be good, but on the whole nothing more could
be desired. Don't let them get spoilt by the evil influence of the

--'I think I must reserve my remarks, either pro or con,' I said, 'but
it is curious to notice what divergence of opinion there is relating to
the condition of Japanese women. Perusing casually a book by Lafcadio
Hearn a little time ago, I came across a passage where he speaks of
Japanese women as being the most artistic objects, as it were, of the
most artistic nation of the world, and laments that this perfection will
be deteriorated by the influence of time. There is a lady of good birth
in London whom I know very well, who admires Japanese ladies very much,
though I am not quite sure that she herself would like to live like a
Japanese lady. She told me that when the time came for her two boys to
marry she would send them to Japan in order to be married out there. Her
words may not have been mere passing compliments, for she has
contributed to a monthly an article under the title of the "True
Chrysanthemum," which pays a very high tribute to the Japanese women. On
the other hand, however, few Occidentals know what the Japanese women
are, and writers are not wanting who cast upon them sweeping
condemnation. They even say that Japanese women know not what is
chastity, and even that no such word exists in the Jananese language.'

--'What nonsense!'

--'Excuse me for pushing my remarks to such a point as this,' I
continued, 'but you see I am so blunt in expression, and I cannot make
my meaning plain unless I use such cut-and-dry phrases. In my own
opinion, without any partiality for my own country, I think I can
confidently say that chastity is far more practised in Japan than in any
other nation.'

--'Hearn's books, which you have just mentioned, are charming,' said
another lady. 'I have read some of them. They go, I think, a long way in
contradicting those unfair charges.'

--'Yes, I think so too,' said I. 'But, you know, one tongue is nothing
against a hundred, as we say. However that may be, he was a fine writer.
It is sad that he died last year. He made, as he said, the study of the
Japanese heart and thought his special subject. All his books,
therefore, are concerned with some sort of Japanese psychology. They are
generally so full of pathos and feeling that even Japanese readers are
often moved to tears.'

--'Then you have read all his books. I should like you to give me the
outline of them at your leisure,' she said.

--'I don't think that would be possible, because I don't know them all.'

--'But you have just now said "all his books," as though you knew all,'
she said.

--'No!' I answered, 'I have not read _all_. I have seen most of the
titles, and some pages here and there, and guessed all the rest. You
see, nowadays, printing is comparatively so cheap and people are so fond
of writing, and further, nine-tenths of the writers have their books
printed at their own expense, so that the publishers run no, risk. If,
therefore, one tries to read all books, one would become a mere bookworm
and a good-for-nothing fellow. Once a compatriot of mine, when in
Germany, was admitted into the study of a great professor. The four
walls were covered with nothing but shelves of books. The professor said
that all those books were sent to him by writers of all nations who were
engaged in the same pursuits as himself. As a matter of fact he was a
jurist, and all those books were on law. The visitor asked if he had
read all of them, to which the professor answered "Yes." Thereupon he
observed, "Impossible, you could not have had time to read them all."
The professor then explained that the essential points of any book were
all known to experts, so that a few pages on those points, which could
easily be found by index, were sufficient to know all that was contained
in a book. In that way, he said, "he read all the books which had come
to him."'

--'What a joke!' said the lady. 'But what kind of man was he? I mean Mr.
Hearn. His life seems to have been much in the clouds.'

--'So far as I am aware of,' said I, 'he was born in Lafcadi, one of the
Ionian Islands, when it was under English occupation, having an Irish
father, I believe, and a Greek mother. He passed his early years in
England until he became a youth, when he went to America, where he
remained until after the prime of life. He then went to Japan, and in
course of time married a Japanese lady and became a naturalised subject
there. So he was a regular cosmopolitan. He always occupied some
position as teacher, and was much liked by his numerous pupils. His
Japanese name was Koizumi Yakumo. Technically speaking, he caused
himself to be adopted by the family of his wife, and so took their
family name "Koizumi" for his surname, and Yakumo for his personal name,
or, as you call it, Christian name.'

--'What you have just said somewhat strikes me,' remarked the lady.
'You have put the Christian name after the surname.'

--'Ah!' said I, that's a reasonable question. Perhaps you don't know
that in Japan we put our family name first. That is to say Gambetta Léon
instead of Léon Gambetta, if he were a Japanese. It is so with the
Chinese; it is also so with the Hungarians. It is one of the proofs
which the Hungarians produce as being descendants of the same stock as
the Orientals. When, however, we are in Europe, or write with European
letters, we generally reverse the order and make it agree with the
European method. Well, unless we do that, we are liable to be called
wrongly by having our names reversed, in such a fashio as Monsieur Léon,
or Monsieur G. Léon, instead of Monsieur Gambetta, or Monsieur L.
Gambetta. Such absurdities often occur in reality, and it is very

--'I see: that accounts for many discrepancies which exist in writing
som well-known Japanese names, as I occasionally notice in books or
papers written in a foreign language; but it is no use to refer to the
Japanese by name, their names are too difficult for us to remember--it
took me weeks to remember your name correctly.'

--'Just so,' I answered, 'It is equally difficult for us to remember
European names. It is the reason why I do not recollect many people to
whom I am continually introduced; to confess, I do not remember your
name correctly. Russian names are particularly difficult to remember,
not only to us Orientals, but to Anglo-Saxons, even to you, the French.
Do you know that in England Rodjestvensky, before he became famous and
well known, was called simply "Roj" very often, and aliens sometimes
called him "Rotten-cheese-sky." Poor admiral! Witte is simple enough to
remember. We Japanese remember and often write General Kuropatkin as
Kurobato, that is to say, "black pigeon."

Of course, association is the best means of remembrance. We remember
your words "Salle-à-manger" by _Sara-mongi_, that is, a "plate and
written characters," and the English word "Minister" as _me-no-shita_,
that is, "below the eyes." In fact, _me-no-shita_ is used very commonly
in corrupt English at the open ports of Japan. _Frans-Me-no-shita_ is
"French Minister," and _Igiris-Me-no-Shita_ is "English Minister." A
dozen years ago there was in Japan an enterprising man who advertised
that he had invented a good system of memory, and even opened a school.
It was no other than remembering things by association, and I think
there is a good deal in it. A little time ago, as you know, their
Highnesses Prince and Princess Arisugawa were on a visit to Europe. Lord
Lansdowne had great difficulty in remembering the name. Our
_Me-no-shita_ in London asked him if there were not a Princess Alice in
England, to which his Lordship replied "Yes." He then asked if there
were not a street called "Gower Street," to which his Lordship similarly
answered "Yes." Thereupon our minister said: "Very well, Princess Alice
and Gower Street, that makes Arisugawa." After that his lordship, the
Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, remembered the name of our Prince
and Princess very well.'

--'That's all very well,' said she: 'but you mix up _r_ and _l_

--'That's true,' I answered, 'it is the weakest point for us in
speaking European tongues. We cannot, or at least without the greatest
difficulty, make any difference in pronouncing _r_ and _l_. Thus "right"
and "light" become alike when we speak. It is very necessary to think of
that fact when you talk with a Japanese. All this arises from the fact
that in the Chinese and Japanese tongues there are not two different
sounds of _r_ and _l_; those sounds in Japanese are more like your _ra_,
_ri_, _ru_, _re_, _ro_, whilst they are _la_, _li_, _lu_, _le_, _lo_ in

--'I have noticed it very often,' she said, 'even while you talk you do
the same. Your allusion to remembering things by association is very
true; we do the same very often. But it often produces curious errors.'

--'True,' I said, 'I know a few instances. In Japan there is a kind of
cloth, mostly used for négligées, called _Yukata_, a bath-cloth, so
called because it was originally used after the bath. We call the
"evening" _Yiukata_, the only difference being the "u" in one case being
pronounced longer than in the other. We call "shower" _Yiudachi_. A
European lady married to a Japanese appears to have tried to remember
the bath-cloth by association. She went to a draper's and asked for a
_Yiudachi_ (shower) in place of _Yiukata_ (evening). No one understood
it. She was speaking of "shower" instead of "evening," the result of
trying to speak by association. We have two ways of counting, and we
call the number "ten" either _jiu_ or _to_. We have a certain kind of
boxes which are made to fit one on top of the other, and only the
topmost box has a lid. They are called _jiu-bako_, which means piling
boxes. They are used in households very commonly. The same lady appears
to have remembered that name by _jiu_, that is, ten of the number
according to one of two ways, and _Hako_, a box. One day she called her
servant to bring _to-bako_ instead of _jiu-bako_. The servants, of,
course, did not understand her. The lady misused the association of
counting ten in one way instead of the other.'

--'You said you had no difference between _r_ and _l_, but I suppose you
have almost all sounds of our tongue.'

--'No,' I answered, 'we have not. We have, for instance, no sound of
_f_ or _v_. In some parts of the country people pronounce _ha_, _hi_,
_he_, _ho_ like _fa_, _fi_, _fe_, _fo_, but it is considered bad
dialect. The want of _v_ and _f_ in our letters is a point of great
difficulty in transcribing foreign words into our writing, but we employ
a new method for doing so. On the other hand, our _h_ is pronounced very
acutely. You say you have _h_ mute and _h_ aspirate, but in practice I
never see, or rather hear, any aspiration at all. Hence, Count
"Hisamatsu," our actual military attaché, is always called by the
French, as he complains, "Isamatsu," which is not his Japanese name at
all. This fact reminds me of a similar matter concerning our own Tokio.
The genuine Tokio people generally pronounce _Hi_ as _shi_. It is
curious, but it is a fact. This often causes comical mistakes to be made
by servant-girls who are told by their mistresses to pronounce it
correctly, for they often mix up and use _hi_ in place of _shi_ and
_vice versa_. Mind! Tokio is the capital of Japan, but its language is
not the purest of the Japanese language. The same holds good in London.
It is rather strange for us to notice that in London the _h_ is so
commonly misused. I once went to a master, or rather mistress, as she
was a woman, of elocution, or at least she advertised herself as such,
and she told me that one must be very careful not to be corrupted by the
London patois, and that one must not say "am and hegg" for "ham and
egg," but while she was telling me those things she herself was making
an awful mangling of the _h_. No wonder! She was a pure Londoner. I went
to her no more.'

--'That's too awful! She could not have been a well-educated woman, or
you are telling us an exaggerated story.'

--'Maybe she was not well educated,' said I, 'but my story is a plain,
naked fact. It is very difficult, I think, to get rid of colloquial
corruption when once thoroughly imbued with it, even with all the aids
of education. I can relate an incident bearing on the point. There is,
in Japan, far away from Tokio, a district where people in common
parlance can make no difference between _shi_ and _su_. Once I went to
that district and gave a lecture to a large gathering of students
belonging to the higher schools of the district. Seven or eight of the
most capable students took down my speech, and a complete draft of it
was made by them, the defective parts having been supplied by one from
the other. It was published in the local papers. It was most perfect, as
though taken by shorthand, except in one respect, and it was that _shi_
and _su_ had been intermingled, as though I had spoken in the local
dialect. It seems that not only are they unable to distinguish the
difference when they themselves speak, but also when they hear other
people speak. It is a great drawback to the development of the district.
The local authorities hire teachers from other districts and try to
correct this defect, but with little success. The function of our ears
is strange. Sounds which are quite distinct to some people are quite
indistinct to others. Our music has not so high a variation of tune as
the Western music, but it has sufficient variation to please our ears;
but the Occidentals compare our music to the beating of a drum by a
child--no tune and no variation, the reason being, I think, because our
tunes and variations are quite inaudible to the Western ear. From the
same point of view, crows or cows, and, indeed, all living animals have
their own language, only our ears cannot distinguish the difference of
their words one from another.'

--'Another pleasantry, I perceive,' remarked a lady. 'But tell me,
baron, how do you pronounce the name of your great statesman, "Ito"? Is
it pronounced like _a-i-t-o-_, that is to say, _i_ in the English way of
pronouncing Ireland?'

--'No,' I said, 'like _a-i-t-o-_ without _a_, that is to say, _i_ in
your own French way of pronouncing Ireland. I will once for all give you
a good clue how to pronounce Japanese names, which you must come across
very often nowadays in the newspapers. _I_ is pronounced always like _i_
in your _il_ or English _ill_. Our _E_ is always like _e_ in French
"état" or "été." _G_ is always hard gutteral, that is to say, _ga_ like
_g_ in "Gambetta," _ge_ like _ge_ in English "get," and _ge_ in German,
and your _gue_. _Gi_ like _gi_ in the English "gift," and your _gui_ in
"Guillaume," and, therefore, you must pronounce General "Nogi" like
General "Nogui" in the French way, and not like "Noji" or "Nozi" as you
generally do. Our _go_ is always _go_, in English "got," unless the _o_
is a long one as in Tôgô, and our _gu_ is always like a simple _g_ in
Gladstone and Grant.'

--'But how do you then account for _u_?' interposed she.

--'Our _u_ preceded by a consonant,' I answered, 'is generally sounded
very, very slightly--almost inaudibly, in fact--so much so that you need
take no notice of it. Therefore _ku_, _su_, _mu_, etc., are like simple
_k_, _s_, _m_, etc. There is another secret in pronouncing our names,
and it is this: when a consonant is followed by a vowel, pronounce it
always together with the vowel. Thus _yoritomo_ should be pronounced
_yo-ri-to-mo_, and not _yor-i-tom-o_, and pronounce it without putting
any accent: if you follow this rule, you will get nearer to the right

There was among those present the daughter of Prince Ichijo, naval
attaché to the Japanese Legation. She was addressed by a person present
as Miss Ichijo. This appears to have struck a lady present, who was at a
little distance from her. She said to me:

--'Is not that young lady of very high birth?'

--'Yes, she is. Her parentage is very high, though not of the Imperial

--'Is she not a daughter of Prince Ichijo?'

--'Yes, she is the daughter by his first wife, who is no more; the
present princess is his second wife, also of high birth, being a
daughter of one of our former great feudal lords.'

--'How is it, then, that the young lady is addressed as "Miss." If she
were a European, she would certainly be addressed as princess, or by
some other title?'

--'You are right in thinking so,' I answered; 'but in Japan the titles
of nobility are only borne personally by the chief of the family and his
wife. All the other members of the family differ in no way from ordinary
people, except that they share the membership of the family. In this
respect our system totally differs from that of Continental Europe. The
English system is like ours as far as law goes, but there also the
younger members of noble families enjoy some distinction by courtesy.
This is the reason why one hears of a marquis, an earl, or a viscount
speaking in the House of Commons as an M.P.'

--'I suppose your system of nobility is pretty much the same as the
Western ones in other respects,' said she.

--'Yes, our titles of nobility are divided into five grades,
corresponding, for example, to the English duke, marquis, earl,
viscount, and baron. The first grade, which corresponds to the English
duke, is generally translated as prince; I don't know who began it but
it is so. In Germany the highest title of nobility is "Fürst," as you
know, and it is translated as "prince" in English or French. I believe
the analogy is taken from that fact. It must not, however, be confounded
with the princes of Imperial blood, for in Japanese the two titles in
question are absolutely distinct, though, translated into the European
languages, they sound very much alike.'

--'What books written in English on Japan would you recommend me to
read?' asked one lady.

--'I cannot say with much authority, because naturally I have not spent
much time over those books, but began it from what I have observed and
from what I have heard from other people Lafcadio Hearn's are the best
to study the Japanese character, but his books are generally collections
of different essays, so that they do not give a panoramic survey of
Japan. In that respect _Advance Japan_, by J. Morris, is said to be very
handy and good. Concerning that book, I may mention a rather commendable
incident which took place last year. A Russian lady, a lover of her own
country, I presume, lamented the great lack of knowledge of Japan among
her country people, which was, as she thought, the cause of the many
misfortunes to her country. She wrote to an English friend of hers
asking what book written in English on Japan she would recommend her to
translate into Russian. The English lady recommended the book just
mentioned, and it was translated and published in Russia. I have myself
seen the Russian edition of it, neatly printed and beautifully
illustrated. The Rev. William E. Griffis, of America, has written
several books on Japan. His _Mikado's Empire_ gives a most excellent
generalisation of Japanese history. A new book on Japan, entitled
_Imperial Japan_ by Knox, another American, is very good. I have read it
through. The only chapter in it which I think very unfair is one
relating to Japanese women. Of course, even in the best books there are
some points which are not quite exact, and they contain many amusing
mistakes when scrutinised from our point of view.'

--'What is then your opinion about Lafcadio Hearn's books, for
instance? I would like to know your opinion,' said another lady.

--'You make me traverse almost the same field over again,' I said.

--'Never mind! The points are different,' she said.

--'Well, I need not speak of his occasional mistranslations of
Japanese words or some small technical errors, but I can say that, in my
opinion, he sometimes goes a little too far in giving reasons to matters
concerning feeling and sentiment. For instance, he raises the question,
if a soul be something concrete and suppose it is gone somewhere--heaven
or Paradise, as one may term it--how would it be possible to be present
simultaneously at the place where it is enshrined, or where offerings
are made, and he tries to solve the difficulty philosophically and
logically. He seems to place too much stress on our notions of ancestral
worship. We practise it, we like it, and we think it fine and noble, and
yet we do so from a spirit of feeling and sentiment. Many things in
connection therewith are done by us, not always with conclusive, logical
reasoning. In this respect many Europeans often misjudge us, forgetting
that they themselves do the same at home. They canonise meritorious
persons, sometimes only legendary; they have their wayside shrines of
Madonna; they celebrate All Souls' Day, when the whole town or village
flocks to the cemetery; they set up statues of great men,--a statesman,
a warrior, a writer, a philanthropist, a musical composer, a sculptor, a
scientist, and what not. They construct a grand pantheon or cathedral
and consecrate the remains of their distinguished dead therein. They
even erect colossal figures of an ideal personification, such as
"Liberty" standing on high at the Place de la République, and other
figures representing great cities, as at the Place de la Concorde. They
sometimes decorate such figures on certain days with flowers, as is the
case with the statue of Beaconsfield, which is covered with primroses on
Primrose League Day, nay, sometimes a figure is decorated with wreaths
all the year round, like Strasbourg at the Place de la Concorde. Mind,
with regard to this last, I am not speaking of any political aspect of
the matter. All this to my mind is very fine in idea. All this, I think,
is not done for mere play, nor are those objects set up for mere
ornament. The notion contained therein is, I think, intended to
perpetuate and sanctify the memory of the person, or of an idea in the
minds of the people. If any stranger, for instance, approach any of
these objects and insult it in any gross manner, he would be sure to be
much hissed, or even punished. From this, it is certain that these
matters belong to the sphere of feeling and sentiment and are not
exactly within the limits of strict philosophical and logical reasoning.
Our ancestral worship and things connected with it are of the same kind.
And yet those Occidentals who have themselves very similar things look
upon such institutions in Japan with amazement or curiosity, or even
with contempt, or else like Lafcadio Hearn, try to reason out some
points which are not altogether soluable by ordinary reasoning. A
Confucian saying has this: "When you perform a commemoration in honour
of your dead parents, do it as though their spirit is present before
you." And I think it quite right; it is no honour to the dead if one
make an offering and reasons in his mind at the same time that the dead
is nothing more than dust, or that its spirit could not be in existence,
or at all events, far away from us in an unknown region. When a
foreigner sees the shrine erected in Tokio where men, generals and
soldiers alike, who died for their country, are consecrated as a sort of
deity, he is apt to think it a peculiar custom. But what difference is
there between our observance of the illustrious dead and that of burying
a distinguished statesman or soldier in the Pantheon or Westminster
Abbey? The only difference in all such matters seems to me to amount to
this: the feeling and sentiment of the preservation of the memory of the
deserving men is more intent and more general in one case than in the

--'I cannot agree with you altogether in your philosophy,' said a young

--'That may be,' said I. 'You shut your eyes to things near; we have a
saying, "A lighthouse does not see its own base." Oh! I beg your pardon.
I must not make such remarks; you see, too great a freedom of speech is
apt to produce an abuse; nay, that very freedom sometimes even wrecks a
grand army on an expedition.'

--'I see. That is the reason why you muzzled all the newspaper
correspondents who purposely went out to the Far East, and, by doing so,
you have nearly wrecked your own country.'

--'Yes, nearly,' I answered, 'but we happily managed to escape their
vindictiveness, and won our battles. No one in the world knew that Togo
was quietly waiting with his fleets for the ever-memorable Armada behind
the islands of Tsushima, almost on the same spot where the great
Mongolian Armada was annihilated some six hundred years ago.'

--'And yet you yourself are rather voluble. You are always talking about
something: you talk a good deal more than any ordinary person.'

--'Excuse me,' I retorted, 'I don't think I am voluble at all. By
nature I prefer listening to others than talking to them, for in
listening to others one can learn something, but nothing when talking to
them. I prefer still more to be alone, than either to be listening or
talking, for then the waste of time is still less. I only talk when it
is absolutely necessary. You know, of course, that from Pythagoras down
to Spencer and Huxley, extending, over some four or five thousand years,
thousands of philosophers have written books, millions of books,
spinning out their thoughts or rather conjectures, like spiders webs,
but the essence of it all is summed up in only these few words, "I don't

--'Ah! I see,' cried she, 'you talk nowadays so much, because you think
it necessary for the good of your country. Do you know you are generally
called the "Japanese Mentor," or the "Missionary of things Japanese.'"

--'I don't mind by what name they call me. Don't you remember: "That
which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."'

--'And yet you must not monopolise the time; I must now have my turn of
freedom of speech.'

The lady thus claiming her turn of speech was a lively, vigorous,
energetic young lady, capable of talking and writing in several
languages, confident of herself and of her sex, as confident as though
she were carrying on her shoulders the responsibility of half mankind,
that is, the whole of womankind. She takes, of course, great interest in
women's education and the promotion of women's rights in all matters.
She began by saying, with her face turned towards me:

--'In the letter you have just read--'

--'I did not read it,' I interposed; 'it was that lady.'

--'Well, then,' she said, 'in the letter you have brought in your pocket
and have made one of the ladies read to us. In that letter mention is
made of Japanese ladies--'

--'Oh, no more of the ladies,' I interrupted; 'I have spoken so much of
them, that if I repeat too often, I shall weary my readers of _A Summer

--'What!' she said, 'I do not mind if you read or copy the _Midsummer
Night's Dream_, or the _Winters Tale_, but I must have my turn of
speech. In that letter, the writer speaks of the Japanese killing their
mothers, wives, and sisters: by that the writer, no doubt, means the
affliction which is put upon them by the death of so many men on the
battlefields. But in my opinion, it is not only in Japan that women are
killed, but in all countries, in England, in France, in America and
everywhere else! Man everywhere despises women's education and deprives
women of their lives.'

--'Of course, you take great interest in women's education,' I

--'Not only,' she continued, 'they despise women's education, but they
employ every machination to hinder women from developing brain power,
which is their only life.'

--'You are too harsh,' I remarked.

--'No, not at all,' she continued. 'People talk about American girls
getting the upper hand of their elders, as though they were not capable
of giving advice to their somewhat belated relatives. The younger we
are, the older and wiser we deem ourselves: such are the real facts of
the world, don't you think so, baron?'

--'Well, not exactly,' I replied.

--'I don't think you take much interest in women's education. You are
intelligent, but you are, all the same, a man. You men have all one
trait in common, and that is, a desire to exclude women from every
sphere of action politically and socially.'

--'No, far from it,' I answered. 'I am a great advocate of the mental
and physical development of women. My only desire as man is that the
time should soon arrive when we could elect women as deputies to the
Chamber; send them to the barracks and ships as soldiers and sailors,
and to the field of campaign in time of emergency; select the most
beautiful as our ambassadors and ministers to the courts of different
countries and win over the hearts of the nation to which they are sent,
while all this time we men might stay at home and calmly nurse the
babies or indulge in a quiet smoke, of which I am very fond.'

--'Let's have some more serious talk,' remarked another lady. 'You have
not yet told us of the foundation of Bushido and its ethics. Let us hear
something of that.'

--'It is rather complicated. It will take much time. It won't do for my
_Summer Dream_.'

--'What?' she asked.

--'Nothing. I mean it is too complicated and serious to tell you in this
place. On those points, I must refer you to my book entitled _The Risen
Sun_, published by Archibald Constable, the best publisher in London. It
is one of the most important books published in the twentieth century;
otherwise Archibald Constable would never have published it.'

--'I see a Japanese gentleman is sometimes capable of indulging in a
little bluff.'

--'But the twentieth century has only just begun: besides, this kind of
bluff is quite harmless. It is very different from that which some
people are fond of indulging in, and, above all, it cannot bring about a
national catastrophe.'

--'Enough, we all see what you mean. "Their rising senses," as the poet
says, will soon "begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle their
clearer reason." Let us go now,' said one of them, and they all

Thereupon I also having left the room, sprang into the air, and once
more floated away like a sprite, humming as I did so:--

     '... I do fly
      After summer, merrily:
      Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
      Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.'

[1] For these 'singing insects,' which are a distinctive feature in the
Far East, see Lafcadio Hearn on 'Insect-Musicians' in his _Exotics and
Retrospectives_ (1898), pp. 39-80. The practice of caging them dates at
least from 1095 A.D. Insects are now bred for this purpose in enormous


A talk on brackens--Eating of fruits without peeling--A pet
tortoise--Remarks on languages--Discourses on jiujitsu--Comparison of
jiujitsu and wrestling--Japanese art and the Kokkwa--Pictures in the
Gospel--Discourse on Bushido, its history and the origin of the
term--Explanation of the terms Daimio, Samurai, and Bushi--Its
literature--Japanese revenge and European duel--Japanese sword--Soul of
Samurai--General Stoessel and a broken sword--Discussion on Japanese
social morality--Japan far cleaner than any other nation--The condition
at the time of the transition--General view of the westernised
Japan--Occidental vulgarity

I was at the luncheon table of the Duke and Duchess of Fairfield: quite
_en famille_, there being present only a young nobleman of Italian
descent besides the duke and duchess and their two daughters.

In the course of luncheon, casual mention was made by one of the young
ladies of the fronds of bracken, called _warabi_ in Japan, regarding
which I had made some remarks in England as to its edible properties.

--'I have read in some English papers all that you said about it,' said
the young nobleman; 'and, indeed, most of the French journals have also
reported it since.'

--'Yes, after I had initiated the matter, almost all the English
papers, both in town and country, made some comments. I have even read
that a philanthropic gentleman had reproduced the necessary information
in leaflet form, for distribution amongst the needy people in some parts
of Wales, where there is often a scarcity of food. The starch made from
the roots of bracken is considered in Japan the best, and is used very
widely. There is a similar vegetable called _jemmai_; it is larger than
bracken and used in a dried form. It is very soft and palatable, and is
very extensively used in Japanese cookery. I do not know for certain if
the latter kind exists in Europe, though I believe it does. As to
bracken, it grows everywhere. I am, however, but little sanguine that my
recommendation will be utilised in England, though the method of
preparation is very simple. The secret of the preliminary preparation
lies in soaking it, from ten to fifteen hours in water with soda. I
revealed it from a philanthropic motive. But, you see, the British are
so conservative in such matters. I even noticed, in a newspaper, a
letter wherein the writer stated that he had cooked some bracken, but it
turned out unpalatable, although quite tender. He did not wait to find
out if there might not be room for improvement in his method of cooking:
people are so apt to discredit others before they make sure of a fact.'

--'That is generally the case in this world,' said the duchess; 'but I
wonder if French bracken is equally good.'

--'Surely it is,' I replied, 'even that in the neighbourhood of Paris:
the bracken in Fontainebleau forests is said to be very fine. Only in
May last, a number of Japanese ladies in Paris made a special excursion
there, and brought back bunches of it. I was one of those who enjoyed
the dishes resulting.'

--'You may be sure it is a subject that will be taken up, when the
semi-famine days come, and then, perhaps, your name will be remembered,'
remarked one of the young ladies.

--'No, I think not,' I replied. 'I believe, I shall be buried long
before that, and my name too.'

--'Oh, don't say that,' broke in another of the young ladies.

Dessert was now served, in the course of which I remarked:

--'I will tell you an incident which will probably interest you. I was
spending a week-end with the Dake and Duchess of Hamilton, who have
always been very courteous to me. One morning, at the breakfast table, I
noticed the duchess cut an apple, and gave it to her young son without
peeling. This rather struck me, so I asked her reason, when she told me
that her medical adviser had instructed her to do so, because the
essence of the nourishing part of the fruit was contained just under the
skin, so that it was better not to remove the skin. It was quite a
relief to me (for we men, and especially myself, often find it
troublesome to pare fruit). Now I could eat fruit without paring the
skin unconcernedly, and should any onlooker laugh at me, or ask the
reason, I could lecture him from the point of medical science.'

--'You always view things from a point of vantage,' interposed the
younger daughter.

We went into the garden, and took our coffee there in a shaded corner.
Meanwhile I noticed a little puppy looking up at us from a corner of the
turf. It did not move, and I soon discovered it was porcelain.

--'Ah, I see, I thought it was a live dog when I was here last. It was
towards evening, just as I was leaving when I noticed it.'

At this moment a servant brought in a tortoise: it was a very large one
and quite tame. The duchess fed it with lettuce, saying:

--'This is my pet, and I am very fond of it. It prefers lettuce to any
other vegetable.'

--'I have seen many tortoises,' I said, 'but this is the first time I
have seen one as a pet. In Japan, one sees in the ponds or small lakes
round the temples, hundreds, nay, thousands, floating in the water, or
lying on rocks or boards basking in the sun. Their preservation is
chiefly due to the customary kindness and religious sentiment of the

I then told the duchess what I knew of tortoises and their habits,
remarking that those amphibians lived more in the water than on land,
and it was necessary for them to be put in the water at least

And so the soft summer evening glided away as we passed from one topic
of conversation to another.

--'Do you find European languages very difficult to learn?' asked one of
the young ladies. 'I suppose there is no similarity between our language
and yours?'

--'None whatever,' I replied, 'and we certainly find them very
difficult to acquire. The difference between the various European
languages might perhaps be compared to the difference between a horse
and a mule, while the difference between Japanese and the European
languages would certainly not be closer in comparison than a horse to an
ox. That is to say, the former differs only in species, and the latter
in kind. Hence you can easily see how much more difficult it is for an
Oriental to learn any European language, than a European to learn a
second European language. Even amongst the European languages, there
are, as you know, many idioms differing one from the other, and
consequently difficult to understand. Only the other day I was not a
little amused at a French translation of the English sentence "hold
good" in the sense that "one thing had an advantage over another." You
can imagine how much more difficult it is for a Japanese to know the
value of every word, not to say an idiom, of a European language. Once
in Japan, I was watching some European and Japanese children playing
Hide-and-Seek together. The European children were making use of the
Japanese words meaning "Hot and Cold" in place of "Far and Near." I
could only make out what they meant after I had carefully watched the
game. I am sure we commit similar errors every day when speaking in a
foreign language. More than thirty years ago a party of Japanese
ambassadors, including the present Marquis Ito, whom you know, and their
suites, made a round trip through America and Europe: perhaps the duke
remembers it. The mayor of a large manufacturing town in England, which
a portion of the party were visiting, invited the visitors to the play.
The party was divided into two and occupied two boxes opposite each
other. The mayor and his wife were in a box and their daughter in the
other. An Englishman who was in the mayor's box remarked to a Japanese
guest, of an eminent fellow-guest seated beside the young lady opposite,
"Monsieur K. must be very happy," meaning, no doubt, to pay a compliment
indirectly to the mayor and his wife; but the Japanese to whom the
remark was addressed understood but little English and replied: "K. must
be quite ashamed."

--'It spoilt everything. In our language the word meaning "shame" and
"bashfulness" are identical and the sense is only modified by a slight
difference in construction. A somewhat similar example is the great
difference in the meaning between the phrases _fâché contre_ and _fâché
de_. The results of the misconstruction, as may be imagined, were rather
serious. It was only made good by another Japanese who made a timely
explanation. I heard this incident direct from that gentleman who made
the explanation. That incident clearly demonstrates how difficult and
delicate it is to express oneself in a tongue other than one's own.'

--'Exactly,' interposed the young nobleman. 'It is always necessary to
make much allowance for a foreigner, and to make a guess at his

--'The jiujitsu is being exhibited once more in France,' said the
duchess. 'I have seen several advertisements in to-day's papers, one of
which states that a physician asked the exhibitor to demonstrate on him,
and afterwards declared it quite scientific. People in France know very
little of that art.'

--'No wonder,' I answered; 'even in England, where jiujitsu is so much
spoken of, it was very little known until quite recently. Not many years
ago a lecture on the subject, accompanied by some practical
demonstrations, was delivered at a literary society, by a Japanese
gentleman, assisted by another Japanese. On that occasion a weekly paper
of high reputation commented upon the art, saying that there was nothing
in it. The writer added that jiujitsu was exactly the same as the
English wrestling, with a few different tricks.'

--'Is there much difference between the two?'

--'Yes, there is a great difference. Of course the combatants in both
exercises strive to get the upper hand of each other, but the great
difference is that the wrestling relies chiefly on strength, whilst
jiujitsu depends on all sorts of tricks, based upon a careful study of
physical organism, and therefore physical strength may be said to be of
little value, nay, in truth, it uses the strength of the opponent
against himself. We, in Japan, have also a method of competition
resembling the wrestling of the West, and we apply to that the Western
name "wrestling." We do not like our jiujitsu to be confounded with it,
though Western people sometimes call it by that name. When our jiujitsu
is called "wrestling," it hurts our feelings a little.'

--'Why, how is that?' demanded the duchess.

--'Well, nothing very serious, but the reason is this: jiujitsu has
always been regarded in Japan as an art chiefly practised by men of the
higher classes. It has never been a profession, still less a public
show, and the reason why now and then the art is made an object of
exhibition in a public hall of the Western towns, is only an outcome of
the altered conditions of the time. On the other hand, the wrestling
which we call Sumoo has always been a profession and for public
entertainment for many centuries.'

--'I see.'

--'It must, however, be understood that even wrestling is not
considered a low profession, and though it is exhibited to the public,
is very different from other kinds of shows--those, for instance, given
at a fête. Wrestling in Japan has a very remote origin. In its earlier
stage it was not a profession, it was one of the military sports, but as
time went on it became a regular profession. Tokio is the centre of the
Wrestling Association, and therefore it has the best wrestlers. Osaka
comes next. The wrestlers are brought up and trained from boyhood:
promising youths are picked up from all parts of the country by the
principal wrestlers and taken into their private halls. There are two
principal exhibitions of ten days, one early in the year and the other
early in the summer, held in Tokio, when the rank and order of every
member of the association is determined by competition. In the intervals
they subdivide themselves into several parties and go about the country
exhibiting their art. Men are very fond of seeing the wrestling, though
very few women care to see it; in fact, it is only of recent date that
one observes any women at all at such exhibitions, and those only of
indifferent standing. It is not considered good taste. The last point
excepted, wrestling in Japan resembles somewhat a bull-fight in Spain. I
do not mean the sport itself, but in the sense of its being a national
institution. From this fact you may see that we have more and better
wrestlers than you in the West. Sometimes Western wrestlers come to
Japan and challenge our wrestlers, but they are no match for ours. It is
not worth boasting about, I merely state the fact. Of course, there is
also much wrestling in country parts, and young people often perform,
but they are, after all, only amateurs. As to jiujitsu, the art has been
studied by the Samurai in a similar manner to fencing, with no
professional performance or public show. Hence a great difference in the
social position of jiujitsu experts and wrestlers. Nevertheless, the
wrestlers maintain some trace of their ancient standing, for their
position even now is regarded as superior to actors or the geisha,
though good actors are rapidly gaining a social position.'

--'Is jiujitsu as old as wrestling?'

--'No, it is not. Jiujitsu is not quite three hundred years old, since
it has been systematised into an art. There are many schools, I mean
styles, of jiujitsu, and naturally some are older than others. They
differ somewhat from one another, the difference having arisen chiefly
from the endeavour of the founders to make improvements.'

--'But what is the real purport of jiujitsu?'

--'The masters call it an art of self-defence. You see, our Samurai do
not like to be arrogant or offensive to other people, and therefore they
profess to use jiujitsu only when attacked, hence the name of
self-defence, and this point is one of their ideals; but as a matter of
fact, it is an art that can be used for attack equally well, and
therefore may be called an art both offensive and defensive. The
advantage of knowing this art is that we can throw an opponent without
hurting or killing him, because it requires no weapons, not even a
stick. It is done by catching hold of various parts of the opponent by
the hands. Of course, there are many tricks, and therefore, if both
parties be equally efficient in the art, the combat becomes very
complicated. The term jiujitsu literally means "soft art," or an art
accomplished by "sleight of body," as some people put it, so much so
that one school is called "The Willow Mind Style." We have a saying, "A
willow knows not a breaking by snow," meaning that a slender branch of a
willow is stronger than a branch of a robust tree like the pine, an
analogy showing that flexibility is often stronger than stubbornness.

'From all this it may well be imagined that a slender and small man,
without any perceptible physical strength, can often become a great
master of the art. Once at Shanghai, a Japanese who understood jiujitsu
well was attacked by a group of Chinese roughs in the middle of a
bridge, but he threw them all, one after the other, since when no
Chinaman attempts to attack a Japanese, concluding wisely that we may
all be masters of the art. Once in England--I believe it was in
Newcastle--a number of roughs attacked a Japanese; he threw them all,
one after the other, and went off. The roughs were taken into custody by
constables, when they confessed that they would not have attacked the
man had they known he was a Japanese, and they believed that all
Japanese knew the "devilish trick of wrestling," as they called it. You
now see the nature of our jiujitsu, I suppose.'

--'And suppose your best wrestler and a jiujitsu man encountered?' asked
one of the young ladies.

--'A wrestler is no match for a jiujitsu man. A wrestler who can lift
up a big stone, or catch hold of a bull by its horns, would be easily
beaten by a youth of fourteen scarcely able to lift a small cannon ball,
provided the boy were well trained in jiujitsu. In wrestling, therefore,
all jiujitsu tricks are forbidden. This will explain why no Occidental,
even a champion wrestler, has ever succeeded in defeating a Japanese
jiujitsu man. Perhaps you remember one of our jiujitsu men, who is in
England, won the Gold Championship Cup last year, and yet in Japan he is
not considered a first-class man in the art. I do not, however, wish to
boast of the matter. Even amongst the most undeveloped tribes one
sometimes sees the greatest possible skill shown in such matters,
especially in the use of the bow and arrow. I hear American Indians
shoot fishes in the rivers with arrows, and that too not by aiming
direct, but by sending arrows up in the air and letting them fall in the
water. They do not shoot direct, because, as you know, the curve of
sight in water is very different from that in plain air.'

--'I understand that,' said the duchess, 'but your jiujitsu seems to be
very different from mere skill. It is the result of a long and
deliberate study of physical organism, systematised upon a scientific
basis, as the physician in the paper says.'

--'Maybe,' I answered.

--'But what is that book which you have brought with you?' asked the

--'It is the book I promised you the other day. It is the _Kokkwa_, a
monthly on art. It contains, as you see, very good photogravures and
chromographs of our old _objets d'art_.'

So saying, I handed the book to the duchess, and continued:

--'You told me the other day, _apropos_ of the conversation of the
Marchioness Vivastine and myself, that you were also an admirer of our
art, and that you appreciated Utamaro and Hokusai. No doubt they were
great artists, and I am delighted, of course, with your appreciation,
but we should be sorry if they stood to you for the best that we can do
in art. This monthly will give you a good idea why I say so.'

All present were interested in the book, and its pages were gently
turned over one by one. Presently the duchess remarked:

--'Do you mean to say that the originals of these illustrations date
back thirteen centuries?'

--'Indeed, I do,' I replied.

--'And that these prints were really made in Japan?' said another.

--'Yes, surely.'

--'What a softness and feeling here! Look!' the duchess went on; 'and
how this part resembles classic Italian.'

--'The art of printing,' I said, 'is well developed in Japan. The other
day I showed a copy of the _Financial and Economical Annual_ of Japan to
a Frenchman, and he thought the printing was very neat and clear, and
could scarcely believe that the book had been printed in my country.'

--'I can quite realise the scepticism of that person; but can you give
me a rough idea of your ideal of pictures?'

--'That's a rather difficult question. In your sacred book you have a
picture where Christ talks about "lilies." He stands in a field, utters
His words, pointing to some pure white lilies blooming, but not in
abundance, in the field. There is a perfect picture, the symbolic
meaning of the pure white flowers standing out vividly before your eyes.
In another place you see Christ entering a boat on a lake. There is
another picture. A lake calm and serene, surrounded by undulating hills,
perhaps with the shadow of the hills and trees reflected on the surface
of the water. There one or two fishermen handle oars in a fantastic
boat. A sage calls them from the shore to come to Him. A perfect
landscape! An immense expanse and an eternal stillness of the universe
almost unconsciously arises before the mind's eye of the onlooker. Such
is, then, a type of the ideals of our pictorial worlds.'

--'I can well imagine it,' said the young nobleman. 'Your chromographs
of even small objects, such as picture postcards, are very fine and
artistic and, at the same time, so simple. Look at ours: they have
neither feeling nor taste, and usually are showy and gorgeous, and,
indeed, often vulgar.'

--'I must say I agree with you to some extent. I am rather sorry that
such monthly publications as _Kokkwa_ do not pay well in Japan. The
present publisher of the journal is the proprietor of a large newspaper,
and not a regular book publisher. He is himself a great collector of our
_objets d'art_, of which he is very fond, and this is the sole reason
why he took up the publication after it had been nearly discontinued by
its former publisher. He is now trying to see if an English edition of
it will pay, although the end he has in view is to make Japan known to
the West, rather than any pecuniary personal gain. Indeed, it is for
that reason he has sent me this copy, asking me to show it to those who
have a taste for such things. I really think that, for the general good,
the publication is worth continuing.'

--'Certainly,' said the duchess. 'Let me see, it is only two yen per
number, that is five francs per month; cheap enough. I will subscribe at

The young nobleman now left our party, for he had another engagement. He
has a talent for music, and when a private concert was given only a few
weeks ago in the garden of an aristocratic family which I know, he was
the conductor, although only an amateur. This the young ladies told me,
and the circumstance led me to ask if they also were not musical. One of
them, she told me, played the piano, and the other the violin, and I
said I hoped that one day they would let me have the pleasure of hearing
them. I further said that the piano was only known in Japan to a slight
degree, and that only recently; but that we had always had an instrument
much resembling the violin.

The duke held in his hand an English literary weekly of the highest
repute. Turning to me he said:

--'Look! here is a review of two new books, one on the Bushido by a
Japanese writer, and the other on Japan in general by an American, I
suppose. It is a subject that interests me, as, indeed, it does many
people nowadays. I have read it through and noticed that the reviewer
speaks of Bushido very sarcastically. He says, among other things, that
the discovery of Bushido is of quite recent date, and continues; but
listen, I will read it:

     'Neither Sir E. Satow nor Dr. Aston even mentions the word Bushido;
     Prof. Chamberlain in his _Things Japanese_ (1898) does not refer to
     it; the word is not contained in the admirable dictionary prepared
     by Captain Brinkley, the able but intensely Japanicised
     correspondent of the _Times_; nor is it to be found in the
     principal native dictionary, the _Kotoba no Izumi_ ("Source of

--'What nonsense,' I interrupted; 'by the same analogy one might say,
because there is no compound noun Christian-morality in an English
dictionary, there is no such thing as Christian morality.'

     'Bushido, in literal Chinese,' continued the duke, reading, 'is the
     way of the executioner, and those who were eye-witnesses of the
     tyranny of the Samurai, in the last three years of the Bakufu
     [Shogunate], will not regard the name as altogether inappropriate.
     The Bushi (a Japano-Chinese, but not Chineseform), or Samurai, were
     neither knights nor knightly; they were "followers" merely; many,
     if not most of them, petty officials, few of them for two hundred
     and fifty years possessed any military experience whatever.'

--'How ridiculous,' I interrupted; 'but I cannot make out what the
reviewer could have got into his head to make him translate the term
Bushi as "executioner." It is an insult to Bushi, of whom we have the
oft-quoted saying, "Hana wa sakura ni hitowa bushi": "As the cherry
blossoms are the prime of the flowers, so the Bushi is the flower of
man." We have a popular drama in which there is a scene where a female
prisoner is brought out under the superintendence of a common Bushi; and
there the phrase "Keigo-no-Bushi" occurs, meaning, the Bushi who guards.
Perhaps the reviewer remembered it, and concluded that Bushi meant an
executioner, because he had charge of a prisoner. If this is so, by the
same analogy we might say the "Knight of the Garter" is a domestic
servant who looks after his mistress's garter. Ah! there is another
thing which occurs to me. In China, where military men are little
thought of, they are often used for such duties as those of an
executioner; some foreigners, who had seen the fact whereby those men
were called Bushi, perhaps thought that the term meant "executioners"
without knowing its primary meaning. By that analogy one might say that
gentlemen belonging to the honourable guild known as "The Worshipful
Company of Grocers of the City of London" were common dealers in tea and
sugar, because they are called grocers, without knowing the origin of
the term. The passages in that review accidentally caught my sight too,
and out of curiosity I looked the matter up in a few books which I
happened to have by me. It is a little technical, but if you do not
mind, I will explain it to you in detail.'

--'Please do,' said the duke.

--'The word Bushi is a noun composed of two Chinese characters, _bu_
and _shi_, both having a distinct meaning. _Bu_ means military or
martial when used as an adjective, but it is also very commonly used as
a concrete noun; and in that case it may be translated as martialism.
When used as a noun it is used in contradistinction to _bun_. The last
word may be translated as "civil," but I am unable to find out an exact
equivalent in the Western terms, because the Western term "civil," still
less the term "civism," does not convey the true idea of the word. It
may, however, be taken to signify things or affairs on civil lines, as
contrasting with those on military lines. _Shi_ means a man of position
or a gentleman, which came by evolution to mean a military man rather
than a civilian. These two words, _bu_ and _shi_, were put together and
made a compound noun, signifying professional military people. The term
has been most commonly used in Japan for over ten centuries. There are
two other terms, Bundo and Budo, the former means principle, or
doctrine, or teaching, or ways of affairs on civil lines, and the latter
means the same on martial lines. They are very antique terms,
contradistinguishing each other. The term Bushido is not so ancient as
those two, but still it is by no means modern. The term Budo is used
when one wishes to refer the matter more to the system or the principle
as a unit; and the term Bushido is used when one wishes to designate
more the individuals. In China the term Bushi had existed, as is natural
from the antiquity of her history, many centuries before it did in
Japan; I have seen it used in the history of the Hung dynasty. The term
of course signifies military men; nevertheless, it has not acquired so
much prominence as it has done in Japan, because in China military men
have never attained the same importance and organisation as in Japan,
and naturally enough there exists in China no such term as Bushido in
its concrete sense, Bushido being peculiarly unique to the Japanese.
Bushido consists of three Chinese characters, as the reviewer says. In
the colloquial Japanese it is read as Bushi-no-michi, _do_ being the
Chinese way of pronunciation, and _michi_ being the colloquial Japanese
pronunciation of the one and the same character; and therefore _do_ and
_michi_ are both the same thing. In _Hogen Monogatari_, an historical
record of the events which took place in the middle of the twelfth
century A.D., and written not longer after that period, a great hero,
Tametomo, is represented to have said, in the course of a speech, as

     'For a Bushi, an act of killing is inevitable. Nevertheless
     Bushi-no-michi [_i.e._ Bushido] forbids to kill an unfit object,
     and therefore, though I have fought more than twenty battles, and
     put an end to countless lives, I have always fought legitimate
     foes, and not illegitimate foes [in modern phraseology combatants
     and non-combatants]. And more! I have neither killed a deer nor
     fished a fish.

'In the fourteenth century A.D., a book called _Chiku-ba-sho_ (the
reminiscence of the bamboo-horse), which is ethical teaching for Bushi,
was written by Shiwa Yoshimasa, a Japanese general, born 1349, died 1410

'Within the last three hundred years, when Bushido has made a great
systematic progress on its literary and intellectual side, many
treatises on the subject have been written by eminent scholars and
expounders of that doctrine. Nakaye-toju, born in 1608 A.D., wrote a
book called _Questions and Answers on Bun and Bu_, in which the terms
Bundo and Budo are used. In the collection of the epistles of Kumazawa
Banzan, born 1619 A.D., the same terms are much used. In _Lectures by
Yamaga Soko_, who was born in 1622, and was the founder of a school of
our military science, there is one part called Shido. Shido and Bushido
are one and the same thing, for the term _bu_ is added to _shi_ when one
particularly wishes to denote the idea of the military profession. Thus,
for instance, the old class of Samurai is now known as Shizoku, and not
as Bushi-Zoku. Kaibara Yekken, born 1630 A.D., wrote a book called
_Bukum_, namely, "Instructions on Bu," in which the term Bushi-no-michi
is freely used. The _Elementary Lessons on Budo_ is a book written by
Daidoji Yiuzan, born 1639. In that book the term Bushido is freely used,
and we see therein such phrases: "What is most important in Bushido is
the three conceptions of loyalty, justice, and bravery"; and "if a Bushi
comprehend the two opposing notions of justice and injustice, and
endeavour to do justice and refrain from doing injustice, Bushido will
be attained." Izawa Hanrioshi, born 1711 A.D., published a book called
_Bushikun_, namely, "Instructions for Bushi." In that book, also, the
term Bushi-no-michi is repeatedly used, and at the end of the fourth
volume of it there is a short postscript in which he says:

     'These four volumes have been written to record the outlines of
     Bushido, in order to supplement the points left untouched in books
     published in recent generations, such as ... so that one must not
     say after reading this book that it is not minute.

'I could mention several more books, but I might weary you. The names I
have just cited are, in Japan, no less household words than Voltaire or
Rousseau in France, and Johnson or Goldsmith in England. Satow, Aston,
Chamberlain, or Brinkley might not have had time enough to touch upon
the Bushido, but if one says that because they have not touched upon it
there is no such thing as Bushido in Japan, it is tantamount to saying
that there is no such thing as a diamond in South Africa because some
travellers have not mentioned it in their diaries.'

--'You appear always to be making use of the names Bushi and Samurai
indiscriminately. No doubt they signify one and the same category of
people. But what is the difference?'

--'You are right in raising that question. The term Samurai is a pure
and simple Japanese word, derived from a verb meaning "to wait" or "to
serve." In ancient times military men on guard at the Imperial palace
were called by that name; but when one wished to make the appellation
more concise and appear more scholastic, the term Bushi was used. The
Chinese character Shi is uniformly translated in Japanese as Samurai,
but one preferred to employ the term Bushi more commonly because it gave
more prominence to the military calling. At first the guards were
recruited from ordinary people, but in course of time the recruiting
became hereditary in certain families. They also began gradually to form
a sort of class in different provinces, having their leaders, and at
last formed a regular class of military men. Those men were universally
called Bushi, and their families, when collectively spoken of, were
called _Buke_ namely, "Houses of Bu."'

--'I understand. But what is the difference between Daimio and Samurai?'

--'A Daimio is the lord under whom the Samurai served. There were nearly
three hundred feudal lords of different standing in Japan. And the
number of them therefore, when spoken of roughly, was called "three
hundred." In the broad signification the lords were also included in the
category of Samurai. In a popular drama, in which a child lord is
represented as being in want of food on account of an intrigue, he
pathetically says, "A Samurai does not feel hungry even with an empty
stomach." Feudal lords belonged to the category of Buke, in
contradistinction to _Kuge_, namely, noble families attached direct to
the Imperial courts. At present, of course, there is no such
distinction, all former feudal lords and court nobles form the Japanese
nobility as one class.'

--'I see, it is quite plain,' said the duke. 'The reviewer appears to
have some knowledge of Japan, but judging from what I have just heard
from you, I am more convinced than ever of the saying that "a little
knowledge is a dangerous thing." One is apt to commit errors on account
of such knowledge, especially if he has any feeling of spite and tries
to find fault with others. It amuses me all the more, because he further

     'If one ignored history, it would be easy to draw a picture of
     Napoleon as a good-natured man of genius who was kind to his
     relations, and evolved order out of chaos;

and he himself ignores all the history of Bushido, which you have just
given me.'

--'I do not think,' I said, 'the reviewer could have any spite against
us, nor do I think he has intentionally committed the error you have
just mentioned, but it is unfortunate that it has that appearance.'

--'Again,' said the duke, 'what does this mean? The reviewer says here:

     'The meaningless quasi-military formalism of the Bakufu, under
     which the sword, undrawn from its scabbard, came to be almost
     worshipped, a system of merciless vendetta, often based upon
     trivial forms of injury, was established.'

--'Well, I will begin with answering the second point first. In thus
giving vent to his vindictiveness, the reviewer seems to have forgotten,
for instance, how few decades ago it was that in England a personage no
less eminent than the prime minister was engaged, if not killed, in a
duel. He forgets how widely duels are practised and connived at even now
by the law on the Continent, and that men die, conceivably, in
consequence of a sword-thrust or a pistol-shot. In Japan duels have been
altogether forbidden by the law, as there were signs of duelling being
introduced with European customs, and the prohibition has proved to be
very effective. In the feudal period a custom similar to duelling, which
the reviewer calls vendetta, existed, as he says; but its purport was
very different from what he describes. The act was called Kataki-uchi,
that is, "revenge." When a man lost his life on account of an unlawful
and malicious injury, the children of the deceased regarded it as
incumbent on them to take the matter in their hands, if no legal
adjustments could be obtained. In the feudal times redress in such
matters was not always easy, because the different clans had autonomy;
and the Samurai's fighting generally originated from some quarrel of a
political nature, and not from robbery or any other felonious act. On
the other hand, Confucian ethics held it unworthy of a pious son to
"share the same heaven" with a person who wrongfully murdered his
father. From these circumstances arose the notion of the necessary
vindication of the father's wrongs by the hands of the son. Thus the
Japanese vendetta (Kataki-uchi) came to be officially recognised--a step
further than the official connivance of the Western duels. As a matter
of fact, our Kataki-uchi was of a far more serious nature, but of much
rarer occurrence, than the Western duels. The same sentiments and
practices were applicable to a lord and his retainers, though in a
lesser degree, as in the case of blood relations. With us the avenger
had always to stake much on his own part--life, position, and
fortune--for although the principle of revenge was recognised in a
measure, the avenger seldom got off scot-free from the responsibility of
his act, which by the technical points of law was generally amenable to
punishment. Thus you will see in the case of the famous forty-seven
"Ronin," they avenged the death of their lord, because the latter had
had to put an end to his own life, which was accompanied by an order for
the total extinction of his house and clan, the cause of all of which
was the injurious acts of the wrongdoer. The action of the forty-seven
Ronin was morally approved by public sentiment, but they had to commit
suicide because they were offenders in the eyes of the law. How, then,
can one say that the Japanese Kataki-uchi was a merciless system, based
upon trivial forms of injury, as the reviewer pleases to put it.'

--'But,' said the duke, 'suppose the revenge went on endlessly, to be
handed down from generation to generation, as it was with the Scottish
clans, that would be awful.'

--'No, in that respect, there was a limit. No second revenge was
recognised in any form whatever. Thus, if A. murdered B. and B.'s son
killed A. in revenge, A.'s son had no claim legally or morally to avenge
his fathers death. I may also add that under the new Imperial régime
Kataki-uchi has been totally discountenanced by law. There is no
connivance of it at all. The law promises redress to every wrong, and
every possible care is taken to protect the sufferers. Therefore,
nowadays, if one kills another in revenge, he would be accounted an
ordinary murderer in the eyes of the law.'

--'What about the sword?' interposed the duke.

--'The sword,' I answered, 'was considered the soul of Samurai. They
regarded it as the symbol,--nay, the very embodiment of noble sentiment
and spirit. It has been so more or less with almost every nation, but it
was especially so with us Japanese. The Japanese swords are known to be
unrivalled by those of any other nation. Our sword was the envy of all
the continental peoples of the Far East. There is a famous poem composed
by a great Chinese statesman and scholar, in which he pays high tribute
not only to the sword itself, but to the nation which produces it. Even
from a merely artistic point of view, our swords deserve to rank high;
but that is not all. A latter-day author writes as follows:

     The sword-smith was not a mere artisan, but an inspired artist, and
     his workshop his sanctuary. Daily he commences his craft with
     prayer and purification, or, as was said, he committed his soul and
     spirit into the forging and tempering of the steel. Every swing of
     the sledge-hammer, every plunge into the water, every friction on
     the stone, was a religious act of no slight import. Was it the
     spirit of the master or his tutelary deity that cast such a spell
     over our sword? Perfect as a work of art, setting at defiance its
     Toledo and Damascus rivals, there was more than art could impart.
     Its cold blade collecting on its surface, the moment it is drawn,
     the vapours of the atmosphere: its immaculate texture, flashing
     light of bluish hue; its matchless edge, upon which histories and
     possibilities hang, the curve of its back uniting exquisite grace
     with utmost strength--all these fill us with mixed feelings of
     power and beauty, of awe and terror.

'Such was, then, the "sword" which our Samurai adored. There were two
or three at least of such swords, which were heirlooms of a Samurai
family. Just imagine a Samurai going forth to the battlefield and
reflecting what a distinction his ancestors had made in similar
battlefields, or what devotions he had displayed to his lord by that
very sword, now being borne in his hand or in his girdle: why! the very
thought would fire his soul and make him emulate the deeds of his
ancestors and despise cowardice. No mean thought could enter his mind;
the spirit of the sword radiating from the pure cold lustre of the blade
handed down by his ancestors could not but thrust such thought from his
mind. Such would at least be the sentiments of a real Samurai. The sword
was not unsheathed wantonly, but when drawn it was a maxim that it
should not be sheathed until its legitimate mission had been fulfilled.
No wonder, then, that a Samurai should almost have worshipped his sword,
even when undrawn from its scabbard, as the reviewer sarcastically
describes. The sword of a Samurai, even when in the scabbard, was not a
thing to be trifled with. A Samurai worshipped sword, but not
money-bags. If they had worshipped the latter instead of the former,
they might have met with the approval of the reviewer. From the
utilitarian point of view, if they had done so, it might have benefited
their country more materially, and, therefore, their worshipping a sword
might have been the weakest point of their ideals, but we do not see
cause for regret for all that. The tide of time has brought changes on
all such matters. The Government has forbidden not only Samurai, but
also all others who were privileged, to wear swords in their girdles.
Hundreds and thousands of our best blades have left the houses of
Samurai and been either exported, or turned into other implements, for
mere trifling sums, often for the gold and silver used for the ornaments
of the scabbard. For us, it is sad to think of, though it is of course a
necessary outcome of the great changes which have passed over us. It is,
however, my earnest desire that the spirit of devotion to the swords
with which the Samurai was animated may always be preserved. The same
feeling explains why some of our officers carry with them their heirloom
swords, even in the present war, as you must have noticed now and then
in the press. The traditions of the sword, I am glad to say, have not as
yet died in the breasts of the Japanese. There is an association in
Tokio, the members of which meet periodically, bringing their own choice
swords, and offering their comments on those of others. It may be
difficult to appreciate how one can enjoy oneself looking at the blades
of swords, but with us it gives great pleasure, if only from an artistic
point of view. There have been many different schools of swordsmiths,
and even amongst the workers of one school there is some special
characteristics of their work. It is the pleasure of the Japanese who
are fond of good sword blades to judge of the school and maker by
inspecting the blades only. It pleases me to tell you of a gentleman in
England who has made the study of Japanese swords a special subject, and
his attainment of knowledge in the subject has been recognised by the
association in Tokio, which has cheerfully elected him its honorary
member. I may add a word or two. When Port Arthur was on the brink of
falling, a cartoon was published in the London _Punch_ representing
General Stoessel standing at the top of a fortified hill under a
half-torn Russian flag. He was holding up a broken sword and uttering a
few words of devotion to the Emperor of Russia. That cartoon took the
English public very much, and was reproduced on the pages of many
papers. It appealed very deeply to the imagination of the Japanese, in
particular, though I am not quite sure if Stoessel deserved such
sympathy at the last stage of the siege.'

--'That cartoon was very good,' said Lady Modestina. 'I have seen it.'

--'So have I too,' chimed in Lady Dulciana.

--'Let us proceed to the latter part of the review,' said the duke. 'The
reviewer says of the author of the other book that "he takes rather a
pessimistic view of Japan," and proceeds to say:

     'Professor S. takes rather a pessimistic view of Japan. He admits
     to the full, as every one must, the five noble qualities of
     Japanese character, viz. bravery, loyalty, alertness, thoroughness,
     and self-control, to which list courtesy should be added.

But he goes on to quote from the author:

     'The two cancers at the core of Japanese character are deep-set
     dishonesty and abandoned impurity; either would be sufficient to
     wreck the life of any nation.

And it seems, according to the reviewer, the author tells us that Japan
is still a country where the word lie is not a term of reproach, but
rather implies a jocular compliment, and then dilates upon the
undesirable occupations of some females. The words employed are very
strong. Let us have your opinion.'

--'We are at times vexed with some of the occidental writers,' I
replied, 'even with Anglo-Saxon writers occasionally, who write in such
a strain as though they lived high in the pure air, while we Japanese
live in the muddy marshes. They pick out some dark spots in our customs,
and magnify them to suit their own purpose, as though for all the world
they had nothing similar, or even worse, in their own countries. Some of
them do this from an excess of zeal which they display in their
particular calling, without any particular bad intention of defaming
Japan; but the results are the same. My answer to your question is very
simple. The Yellow Peril alarmists may rest assured, for, according to
the author, Japan must die a natural death. What an idea, to indict a
whole nation as a den of liars! Does he not know that truthfulness and
honesty is the highest ideal of our ethical notions? The commonest of
our ethical sayings is: "Shozikino atama ni kami yadoru" (Deity rests on
the heads that are honest). The commonest of the ethical poems is:

     'Kokoro dani makoto no michi ni kanai naba
      Inorazu totemo kami ya mamoran.

     (If only one's thoughts be in accord
      With the way of truthfulness,
      Deity will protect him, though he may not pray.)

'Does he not know another forcible and common saying of Bushido:
"Bushi no ichigon" (One word of a Bushi), which means that a word
uttered by a Bushi shall never be idle; or, expressed otherwise--"A word
is sufficient; he will remain faithful to it"? It is the watchword of
Bushi, and if ever a Bushi were doubted, that phrase sufficed for an
answer. And it still governs our social ideal of truthfulness. "Yes" or
"No," when once definitely uttered by a Bushi, was no more alterable
than the ebb and flow of the tide. Does he not know another of our
sayings? "Ichidaku senkin" (One "Yes" is equal to a thousand pieces of
gold). Does he not know "Usotsuki" (a liar) is with us an everyday word
of scathing contempt? Does he not know an "untruthful word," namely, a
lie, is accounted a great sin in the Ten Commandments of Buddhism? Does
he not know "Yamashi" (a speculator), a term akin to "a liar," is with
us a common word of contempt? Does he not know that in large European
towns waiters and drivers are constantly cheating strangers by giving
wrong change or bad money? I particularly mention these incidents
because I myself have often been a victim. Fancy the idea of saying that
the word _lie_ is not a term of reproach in Japan! I would feign go a
step further. This kind of charge is the commonest method which the
Occidentals employ when they talk about the character of other races
which they generally regard as inferior to themselves. But mere
common-sense will tell them that there can be no human community, even
amongst undeveloped tribes, where the word _lie_ is not a word of
reproach, if only the smallest element of a moral notion exist, and
there can hardly be any human community where there is no such moral
notion at all. Such, at least, is my sociological view. With regard to
the second accusation, the refutation I am going to make may not be
quite in unison with social delicacy, but for that I ask your pardon.
You say the author speaks of the undesirable life of some females. The
matter is ugly enough, we admit. Of course, metaphorically speaking, we
could restore by explanation the paint which had been blackened to its
original colour, but still it would not be snow-white. Pure such matters
cannot be, we admit, but is there any nation on earth which has no dark
spot at all? I ask the author: Does he not know the real condition of
the Western countries, whence he springs? How is it with Paris, London,
Berlin, or Vienna? Pick, for instance, one hundred pedestrians at
random, one afternoon or evening, in Regent Street, or on the
Boulevards, the best thoroughfares of London and Paris. What percentage
of them can be held up as the ideals of "purity" the writer seems to
imagine them to be? I might go much further if I wished, but I prefer
not. Taken as a whole, I venture to think that the social structure of
Japan is in reality far cleaner than that of most countries. Of course,
I do not say "two wrongs make a right," but I do say this: It is naïve
to accuse us in such harsh terms, as though believing that we Japanese
have no idea of the dark spots of other nations. Men after the style of
this writer admit such of our noble characteristics as those enumerated
by the writer because they have become manifest, not during an epoch of
peace, but in the time of war. Could any one say that they were
manufactured specially for the war--at a minute's notice? Did not the
greatest error of our opponents lie in the fact that they had not
perceived these qualities in the time of peace? It saddens us to think
that such a writer either cannot see, or intentionally ignores, some of
the essential points of our character, unless they are incontestably
demonstrated by incessant slaughter.

--'Pardon me,--I have been a little excited, and have spoken, perhaps,
more than I should. Once a Frenchman told Lord Palmerston that English
thieves were cleverer than Continental ones; whereupon Palmerston
answered: "I am glad of that, for it shows that our intellectual faculty
is more developed all round." That is one way of looking at things. At
any rate, I have no intention of attacking any occidental vices: our
writers do not indulge in writing on these matters either. I rather
believe that vices are necessary outcomes of modern progress. Every
nation has its virtues and vices. I dare say we shall have to add more
vices as we make further progress. Cards, for instance, are much played
nowadays among our people, since we have learned that they are played
generally among our occidental benefactors. Ah! but I must not forget to
mention that there are in the West, especially in England and America,
many writers for whose fairness we have much gratitude. One does not
like to see, still less to acknowledge, any point of superiority in a
fellow-creature or a fellow-nation one has been accustomed to look down
upon: such is human nature. Our sense of gratitude is, therefore, all
the more due to those unbiassed writers.

'Japan is cleaner than most countries,' I continued, 'but she was even
better in that respect in the days gone by. Conversely, therefore, the
general atmosphere of social morality, I confess, became somewhat
tarnished at the time of the great transition, as is bound at such
period. There are two reasons for that. In the first place, in the
feudal days social discipline was very strict in general, and tranquil
enjoyment of the positions of Samurai--above all, those holding official
positions--depended a great deal upon their private conduct; but with
the introduction of occidental ideas, the private affairs of individuals
have come to be viewed very leniently under the name of personal
freedom. In the second place, the general condition of society has
occasioned laxity in moral discipline almost unavoidably and of
necessity. I mean to say that, during the last years of the Shogunate,
when the country was in a state of effervescence, and when freedom of
speech and meeting had no existence in the modern sense--nay, when any
meetings or speeches having a political nature were most rigidly watched
and pursued by emissaries, it was almost a matter of necessity that
countless young patriots whose lives were as precarious as candle-lights
in the wind, as we have it, should resort to a restaurant or tavern,
where they could exchange and communicate thought and schemes under the
cover of merriment and jocularity. Nay, more: there were not wanting
young patriots, who in after years became famous, who owed their lives
and success to the heroic assistance rendered by women of uncertain
position, to whom they had to repay their indebtedness by personal
consideration rather than yield to social scruples.

'The women also were heroic in those days, as is generally the case at
the time of revolution in most countries. Add to this the general
disruption and transformation, unknown in our previous history, of the
whole structure of society, both political and social, and it will be no
matter of surprise that a certain relaxation in the usual moral
discipline of the people was the result. The Japan which foreigners have
seen is _that_ Japan and not the Japan of her normal days. The effect of
that great change of 1867--I say "Great Change," because we do not like
to apply the term "revolution"--has been subsiding for many years, and
now Japan is fast returning to her normal state. I am, therefore, not at
all pessimistic in regard to the future of our national life, though the
author may be.'

--'And besides,' interposed the duchess, 'foreigners themselves are also
spoiling your manners, according to your remarks which I read in one of
the English periodicals you gave me. Dulcy, will you bring the English
periodical I mean? It is on the small table in my boudoir: I should like
to read it once more.'

In a few moments the periodical in question was brought by Lady
Dulciana. The duchess took it in her hand, saying, 'Here are the baron's
remarks. Listen, I will read aloud.' She read as follows:--


     '"Do you really think," I asked, "that, generally speaking,
     occidental civilisation is beneficial to Japan?"

     '"Well," slowly replied the baron, "that is a question which
     requires very careful answering. I am certainly of opinion that,
     from the purely material point of view, this invasion of Western
     thought and methods has done us the greatest possible good. I refer
     especially, of course, to science and mechanics. And as to the
     mental part of it, the influence also is distinctly good--but
     still, is not so beneficial as from the material point of view.

     '"Remember that for centuries we have had our own way of thinking
     and reasoning, and so, to a great extent, we are not convinced by
     Western thought. We keep to our old ways, to our old methods,
     though the trend of our ideas is slightly altered by European
     thought. Let me give you an illustration of what I mean, for it is
     rather a difficult point to explain. For instance, we have always
     been humane and charitable to our fellow-creatures, but in the old
     days there was no form of public charity. It was not much needed,
     as a matter of fact, but now you will find that we are everywhere
     establishing hospitals on the European system. So you see only the
     old mode of our charity is changed. It is rather a delicate point
     to say how far Western thought has impregnated our own. The
     opinions of Darwin, Huxley, and Spencer, as well as the views of
     Catholic and Protestant Missions, are spread all over Japan; but
     our ethical sense is such that it does not allow us easily to adopt
     the dogmatic points of foreign religions, and though many Japanese
     have adopted Christianity, yet they are, after all, in a vast
     minority. But that does not signify that we are averse to religion;
     on the contrary, I am glad to say we extend the greatest tolerance
     to all kinds of religionists. I am not a Christian myself, but I
     know, perhaps, more of the essence of Christianity than some of my
     fellow-countrymen who profess it, for I had to study the Greek
     Testament in my Cambridge days. I am always amused when the people
     here imagine I know nothing about that religion. The Missionary
     question is always a very delicate one. I am sure missionaries mean
     well, but sometimes they are very indiscreet. For instance, Miss
     M'Caul, writing the other day from the front, says that one of her
     escorts was a Japanese lady of position, who had been specially
     attached to her by the Japanese Government. One day a missionary
     went up to this lady and asked her if she was married. 'Oh yes,'
     she replied, 'and I have three children.' 'But were you married in
     church?' 'No,' 'Then, of course, you are not really married!' Well
     such narrow minds do real harm. The missionary did not mean to be
     offensive, but as your proverb has it--'Evil is often wrought by
     want of thought.'"

     '"Has Occidentalism spoiled your art, baron, do you think?"

     '"To a certain extent the Western civilisation has damaged the
     artistic side of our life. I don't think that your oil-paintings
     will ever supersede our own light sketches. Our houses are not made
     for elaborate picture frames, and the price of your pictures is
     much greater than the price of ours. And why should we pay a large
     sum when we can get as much happiness and pleasure for a small sum?
     But undoubtedly the European style is influencing ours, as ours is
     influencing yours. Although our pictures, as a rule, are excellent
     on the side of idealism, they are very often defective from a
     technical point of view. Our perspective can certainly be improved
     by the European method. Some people are of opinion that European
     methods will spoil our characteristics. But in my opinion it will
     be so only while the artists are in a transitory state; if they
     excel they will be all right. I don't see any reason to reject that
     kind of improvement. Let me give you a plain and simple example of
     what I mean. Take that square box, for instance. Now, a Japanese
     artist, owing to his inefficiency in perspective, would so draw it
     as to make it appear triangular; well, what harm could be done by
     showing him how to draw it properly.

     '"The people generally move with the upper classes, and all our
     upper classes in Japan are in favour of Western modes of thought
     and life. People generally are delighted with the Westernisation of
     Japan, and especially grateful for the improvement in political and
     civic conditions. We have now the representative system in
     Parliament; our Courts of Law are modelled on yours; and alas! the
     increase of Courts has increased litigation, yet justice can be
     obtained, and appeal can be made against injustice, easier than
     under the old feudal system. The general condition of the lower
     classes is far better than in the days of the feudal daimios. Then
     every locality differed. In some places, if the daimio was a good
     man, the poor were happy; in others they were less happy, but on
     the whole there was not extreme poverty. The same condition is
     continued and somewhat improved. I fear, however, that the relative
     position of the poor has a tendency to degenerate as in Europe."


     '"Are the people generally better off as regards money?"

     '"Well, they make more money, but £10 now is only equal to £1, or
     less, in the old days. But one thing is certain, they have better
     food. There is one thing, however, in which Western methods have
     not benefited us--the demarcation between rich and poor is becoming
     more marked with the new civilisation. And that is a bad sign,
     though it can't be helped. Education, I am glad to say, is much
     more general than it was. In former days the Samurai class were
     well educated, and there were several very good schools, but
     education was not so general as it is now, when every community has
     its elementary schools, although we are still far from well off in
     the way of universities. However, they will come."

     '"In speaking to me of the new civilisation, for which he is mainly
     responsible, the Marquis Ito told me he was afraid that the
     reverence of the young for the old, and of children for their
     parents, which was so much a feature of old Japan, appeared to be
     dying out."

     '"I quite agree with him," replied the baron, "and if the
     individualistic ideas of Western nations continue to increase in
     Japan, the old family feeling of reverence is sure to decline. That
     is our great problem of the future. Young Japan in some ways is
     departing from the ways of its ancestors, and it is a thing to be
     very greatly feared and deplored."

     '"Do you think that, speaking generally, character is improved in
     Japan by the Western influence?"

     '"Speaking of individuals," replied my host, with great vehemence,
     "no, it is not. On the contrary, I notice great deterioration from
     association with foreigners. Take, for instance, our ports, where
     there are mainly houses of ill-fame, mainly supported by European
     sailors, who have introduced vices and vulgarities of which old
     Japan was absolutely ignorant. But, of course, I do not consider
     that the Western influence is wholly bad merely because certain
     very low-class foreigners come to our country and behave badly. The
     general good of the community has been greatly advanced by our
     contact with the West. Trades-unions, for instance, and the
     formation of great business companies, which were quite unknown in
     the old days, have helped greatly to raise the commerical status of
     our people, both employers and employed. You ask me as to
     individual morality under modern influences. Well, it is difficult
     to define. On the whole, I think the morality of the individual was
     higher in the old days, because those days were more simple and the
     community was more sober. The more primitive a land is, the better
     it is morally. But I fear we must move with modern times."

     '"And which do you prefer--the quiet feudal days of old Japan, or
     the modern push and worry and hustle and bustle?"

     '"It all depends on the point of view," was my host's reply.
     "Competition with the world is absolutely necessary. But there were
     many good points about the old days. Although they involved a
     régime of restriction and there was very little chance of
     individual development (though not so little as Lafcadio Hearn
     would make out), men of ability could always push their way to the
     front even in the days of feudalism."

     '"The Marquis Ito, for instance?"

     '"Don't speak of him. He, Marquis Yamagata, and many others, have
     arisen from an obscure position, but, they belong more to our own
     time, I am speaking of older days. Take, for instance, Arai
     Hakuseki, who, born in humble circumstances, became the chief
     adviser of the Shogun. Many a farmer's son who joined the
     priesthood rose to greater power and position than that of a
     middle-class daimio."

     '"And do you think that the general level of happiness in Japan is
     as high as it was in the old days of romance?"

     '"Yes," smiled the baron. "But people were happy in former days
     because they did not know what freedom meant, still less the
     enjoyment of the luxuries to which they are now accustomed. To them
     ignorance was literally bliss. But the idea of happiness nowadays
     differs in kind and character, and it is difficult to say if modern
     Japan is as happy as the ancient Japan. One thing, I hope, will
     always remain with us, and that is our patriotism and loyalty. A
     country is in a good way which puts loyalty to the sovereign and
     love of country before all private and meaner considerations."'

Finishing the reading, the duchess continued, 'I suppose you are
correctly reported?'

--'Yes, in the main,' I answered.

--'I was reading,' said the duchess, 'the other day, the chapter on
Japan in the _Far East_, by Archibald Little, just issued from the
Clarendon Press, which, I think, is the best topographical description
of Japan written in a popular style. In it I came across a passage to
this effect:

     'Whether increased intercourse with the essentially vulgar West
     will, as many well-wishers fear, at the same time destroy the old
     simplicity of living, the future will show.

'The Occidentals seem to have begun to perceive vulgarity in things
European. There is really vulgarity in many things, I fear. But, baron,
had you any particular idea when you spoke about the vulgarity
introduced into your open ports?'

--'I am afraid not,' I answered; 'it would be difficult for me to
explain it to you, and you would not appreciate it if I did. Look! the
last ray of the sun is glittering in the foliage. Time has flown
wonderfully quick: I must say _au revoir_'


Some observations on peace prospects--Discussion on
Anglo-French-Russo-Japanese _entente_--Russian views of the
Japanese--Discussion on religion and Japan--Japan and the International
Conventions--The meaning of religion--General Nogi--A high-priest on
Japan and Russia--The Japanese conception of death--A quotation from an
old book on Bushido--The notion of the name--Further remarks on the
Russian views of the Japanese--England and America--The outbreak of the
war--A wanton project of the Russian admiral restrained by the French
admiral--Discussion on the Yellow Peril and Pan-Asiatic ambition--Japan
not a small country--French poor in the caves--Paris by night--Sir
Stamford Raffles and his appreciation of Japan ninety years ago
--Patriotism and France--_La France, c'est le pays de mon cœur_--A
romantic and tragical story--Discussion on Socialism and Japan--England
and America--Discussion on the word 'Revolution'--The Great Change of
Japan in 1867--Its political and social effects--A comparison with the
French Revolution--Discussion on unity and continuity of authority--An
anonymous pamphlet--Discussion on the relative position of the French
Nationalists and Socialists with regard to Japan--French thrift

I was once more partaking of tea _en famille_ in the Duchess of
Fairfield's garden. She, like myself, prefers to be unceremonious, as
there is then so much more possibility of a quiet conversation.

--'What do you think of the prospect of peace?' said the duke. 'The war
must surely now cease.'

--'Yes, I should think so too,' I replied. 'Enough blood has already
been shed; but, you know, our opponents are such that they do not see
things in the same light as other people.'

--'But they must do so now,' was the reply. 'Every one has known for a
long time that it is of no use for them to carry on the war. The issue
is clear.'

--'Well, we shall see what will happen.'

--'The justice of the cause and the singleness of the aim of Japan are
now widely recognised by the thinking people of the whole world,' said
the duchess, 'and the part you have played in it is not small.'

--'I thank you very much for your sympathetic words,' I answered. 'On
the morrow of the battle of Tsu-shima I received a telegram from a
well-known English writer in which he congratulated me on the brilliant
victory, as he said, of our fleets, adding thereto "only equalled by
your success in Europe." That that victory was brilliant I cannot deny,
though the honour belongs to my own country, but as to the part of the
telegram concerning myself, it is an exaggeration. The only thing which
is true, however, is that I have worked hard all this time--I may say,
harder than I have in all my life. I have done so, as every Japanese
ought to do, having in view the fact that my fatherland has been engaged
in the most gigantic struggle since the famous invasion of the Mongolian
Armada, or even more momentous than that. I merely mention this incident
to you because you are so sympathetic: I have never told it to any one

--'I can quite understand your feelings,' said the duchess, and
continued after a little pause--

'The whole world knows the chivalrous character of the Japanese.
Remember, however, I am a friend of Russia, and that is the reason why I
am all the more anxious that Russia should recognise the situation as it

--'Yes, I know your views very well. There are many Frenchmen who hold
similar views. Some of them sincerely wished to save the Baltic Fleet
and advocated peace, as they were sure all the ships would go to the
bottom of the sea if they ventured to the Far East, which would leave
the Baltic defenceless, and would thus deprive France of the usefulness
of the Dual Alliance. But those friendly counsels were not heeded by the
Russians; on the contrary, as you know, some insinuations were made
regarding the press which had published them. We have a saying: "Good
medicine is bitter to the mouth, and faithful counsel is averse to the
ear." This is a case in point.'

--'It is often so, I fear,' said the duke. 'But, baron, I must now leave
you. I have an engagement to-day, and have to take my daughters with me.
The duchess studies diplomacy and politics more than I, so please stay
and talk with her.'

The Duke of Fairfield is a typical aristocrat: although not a great
talker, he is eminently sensible, unostentatious, and dignified. France
of to-day is not for the aristocracy, but the duke is resigned to the
circumstance. He has always been as cordial and kind to me as the other
members of his family. He now left the duchess and me to our
conversation, and went out with his two daughters.

--'I am an advocate of an _entente_ Anglo-French as well as
Russo-Japanese: we all four ought to keep on well together, that you
know very well,' said the duchess. 'Of course I do not sympathise with
the way in which the Russian bureaucracy carries on the administration
of that country: that is understood. But what is your opinion of the
Russians in general? Do you think you can ever be friendly with them?'

--'Yes, I think so: on our part there is no reason why we should not be
friendly with the Russians. I can even say we like them individually.
But, you see, they have some deep-rooted prejudices against us which
stand in the way. Only some weeks ago, I read a letter written and
widely circulated by Countess Sophie, the wife of Count Leo Tolstoy. She
is an advocate of peace, and abhors war in general, as does her husband.
We have no objection to her, so far as her conviction is concerned
regarding war, but in that letter she is pleased to write:

     'A spiritually undeveloped, unchristian nation, such as the
     Japanese, is bound to conquer, for among them is rife the principle
     of patriotism, which is opposed to the Christian principle of love
     to one's neighbour, and, therefore, of aversion to war. Russians
     have not yet grown to this stage, but they are on the way to it.

'You see, the countess says we are not Christians, and therefore cannot
love our neighbours: it is a calumny. The great bulk of the Japanese are
not Christians in religion, it is true, but we know how to love our
neighbours all the same. It is a point of our ethics. For all that, we
cannot give up our patriotism. Patriotism is not irreconcilable with the
love of one's neighbour. If Christianity is such as the countess
represents it to be, then I am fain to think that the less it influences
our people the better. Besides, to say that the Russians are defeated by
the Japanese because they love their neighbours more than the Japanese
do theirs, is a proposition which, however religious it may be, cannot
convince us in the least degree.'

--'Neither does it give me a shadow of conviction,' said the duchess.
'On the contrary, I know that intense belief in Christianity has often
produced the best soldiers. Think of the Spanish army of Charles V., for
instance. They were intensely religious, and at the same time intensely
patriotic, and fought well. People often say the Japanese have no
religion, but I do not believe it. They have a religion unique to

--'Such views as those of the countess,' said I, 'are entertained not
only by women like herself, but even by serious men, holding high
positions. Only in the autumn of last year, a letter from one who signed
himself "A Russian Statesman," and spoken of by the Editor as "A
prominent Russian statesman, about whose love of peace there is no
doubt," appeared in the _Deutsche Revue_, stating Russian views which to
our eyes were of the most fantastic character. My answer to it was
published in the same _Revue_, when the writer retaliated by another
letter expounding notions even more extraordinary. I answered him once
more, and there the matter ended. In the course of the controversy he
spoke of the difference between the Russian religious views of life and
those of the Japanese, and insinuated that our conception of justice and
morality was inferior to that of his country. He abused our law-courts
and legislation. Fancy! a Russian statesman boasting of the matters
relating to laws.

'He even went on to say,' I continued, 'that Japan has not been doing
her duty according to the Convention agreed upon at The Hague
Conference, whereas Russia (according to his view) had been doing hers
for months. But the truth is, Japan has been most scrupulous in those
matters from the very beginning of the war; the prisoners' treatment
regulations were promulgated within a week's time after the outbreak of
the war, and the Prisoners' Intelligence Board was instituted seven days
later. The whole world knows the excellent working of the Japanese Red
Cross Society, and, I may add, the defectiveness of Russia in similar
respects. Yet the so-called Russian statesman can make an assertion of
this kind, not in his own country, but in a foreign press, unchecked.
His statement regarding the difference in moral thought, and cognate
subjects, may be partly due to some political motive, but the fact
remains that he circulates false ideas.'

--'I, for one, agree with you that the charge is certainly unfair,'
said the duchess, 'and besides, I repeat I do not agree with those who
say that the Japanese have no religion. The very ideals which they hold
up as models for their soldiers cannot but be a religion, as I said the
other day. What does a "religion" mean? It means a conscientious
preparedness and practice for the suppression of one's lower nature. Man
has all sorts of wishes and desires, temptations and tendencies, which
the experience of generations knows must be restrained. Wisdom comes in
and teaches him to control such weakness, and the teaching, if
systematised at all, becomes a "religion," a cult, if one prefers to
call it by that appellation. For instance, man likes to live (what
creature likes to die if left to his natural desire), and if he prefers
to give up his life for some ideal, is it not an act of self-repression,
or indeed of self-sacrifice, and if it forms a characteristic of a
nation, does it not become the "religion" of that nation? Some say the
Japanese despise life, because they like death for its own sake: I call
that a nonsensical observation. On the contrary, I see a religion in the
very fact of the Japanese being so patriotic as to so cheerfully
sacrifice their lives for their country and for their emperor. A remark
which I have read in a paper as having been uttered by General Nogi
certainly contains, to my idea, a strong religious strain. It was:

     '"Now that my two sons have sacrificed their lives and I am a
     childless man, I may with an easier conscience face the parents of
     those thousands of young men who have likewise offered up their
     lives under my command."

'The expression may be simple,' continued the duchess, 'but
nevertheless, it is possible to discern in it a touch of feeling, which
to me has a strong religious element. In truth, I must confess that I
have noticed more deeds worthy of religion manifested by your country
than any nation professing a religion can lay claim to. Some time ago, a
priest of very high standing returned from the Far East. He made an
application while out there to be allowed to visit the Russian prisoners
in order to see how they were treated by the Japanese authorities. He
got the permission at once, and saw everything, to his great personal
satisfaction. He then made a similar application to the Russian
authorities, but was refused. He had some ground to suspect that the
Russian treatment of the prisoners was not quite satisfactory. To begin
with, he said, Japan, who is not our ally, had given him every facility,
and Russia, who is, refused to do so. He almost wept at the thought that
a non-Christian nation had more of the essence of a religion than
another who professed Christianity. I should not have told you all this,
were I not moved by the current of events, which have left a deep
impression on my mind. I have no thoughts of being unfriendly to Russia,
but I cannot help appreciating Japan all the same.'

--'I thank you very much,' I said.

--'I know the horror of war very well,' continued the duchess, 'and what
lamentable incidents occur when the wild, warlike spirit prevails.
During our last great war, I was but a girl of thirteen, and I was
naturally with my mother. We had to quarter the wounded; I remember how
I used to carry about a small table from one to another, writing short
notes for them. Little as I was, many awful tales reached my ear during
that war, wherein our priests, and our women too, were sufferers. I can
never forget them. Compared to it the present war is a lesson; the
so-called civilised world has to learn much from the Japanese, not only
on points of courage and devotion, but also in regard to _morale_.'

A little pause, and the duchess went on--

--'Stoical imperturbability appears to be a marked feature in your
heroes. There are many people who have seen the character of the
Japanese in many lights and appreciate it, and yet are unable to
perceive their feelings, or I might rather say, sentimental qualities.
They are curious to know if the Japanese nature is much developed in
that respect.'

--'Well, I can tell you, as far as I may be permitted to judge my own
countrymen, we have much feeling and sentimental elements. At the very
bottom of the stoicism of Bushi there flows hidden streams of feeling
and sentimentality, often imperceptible to the onlooker. In one way, I
am of opinion that our heart is filled with even too much feeling and
sentimentality, and I am inclined to believe it is our weak point, for
feeling and sentimentality are often accompanied by over-scrupulousness
and over-sensitiveness, and with us this disposition exercises much
influence, not only in our private affairs, but also in politics and
diplomacy. In this world, in which some people say that politics, still
more international diplomacy, knows not morality, the fact that we are
so scrupulous often hinders our politics and diplomacy, and yet we do
not regret it, for the time may come when the just traits of our
character will be discovered by the world at large, and receive its

--'You are,' said the duchess, 'well acquainted with our common saying,
"Honesty is the best policy," and my earnest hope is that your country
will never imitate some of the European politics. But, baron, let me ask
another question: Granted that the moral and ethical training of Japan
is a religion, as I do, yet I cannot entirely see how that training
could have been instilled in the minds of millions of men so deeply.
When one hears of thousands rushing on to certain death at a word of
command (as we have often heard of the Japanese troops), one is almost
tempted to think there may be something in it which promises a reward in
the future life for such a death, as is the case with the Mohammedan
creed; but I understand that there is nothing of the sort in your
training, and that the fact of your soldiers being so fearless of death
has nothing to do with religion in its ordinarily accepted sense. I can
very well imagine that this or that group of honourable men, picked out
of multitudes, could be of that type, but it almost amazes me when we
see hundreds of thousands of men, one and all, being animated by the
same spirit, without any exception.'

--'I cannot,' I answered, 'profess that every man of our troops is so
high-minded as you say, or at least, I cannot say so myself, being
Japanese; but assuming it to be the case, the kind of doubt to which you
give expression is entertained by many Occidentals, and questions to
that effect have often been put to me. I can, however, give no other
answer than to repeat that there is no such religious belief in our
case, as there is in Mohammedanism. In Europe one often engages in a
deadly duel on account of some dispute, sometimes for public reasons,
but often for other reasons which do not appear commendable to
outsiders: those who fight surely do not risk their lives from any
religious belief in their cause. They do so because, as far as they
themselves are concerned, a consideration of honour demands. This
sentiment is exactly similar to our sense of honour, only in our case we
have, perhaps, made it more rational and more general. To attain this
ideal, a long training and preparation is necessary, but when once
attained, there is nothing to wonder at. If one imagined that a man
killed in a duel on account of a quarrel over a woman sacrificed his
life because he believed he would be happy in a future life,--if he died
in that fashion, every one else would laugh at him. Why, then, is there
anything to wonder at when we say that we Japanese can be fearless of
death without connecting it with a religious belief of the future life,
for a cause which is far nobler than that of the ordinary Western custom
of sacrificing one's life in a duel. The _morale_ of our troops is the
result purely of ordinary ethical training and diffusion of national
traditions. Loyalty and patriotism are the highest ideals of the
Japanese nation. Japanese ethics have taught for centuries how to die an
honourable death, and yet one must not think that Japanese ethics teach
only how to die: they also teach how to live.'

--'What do you mean by that?'

--'I mean to say, in Bushido, death was not valued for its own sake,
even in a battle, for if one died a useless or dishonourable death, it
was called a dog's death, which, of course, is a term of contempt. We
still have the same notion of death. In a book on Bushido, entitled
_Chiku-ba-sho_, written in the fourteenth century A.D., by
Shiwa-Yoshimasa, as I mentioned the other day, we have in the very
opening page, as follows:

     'Men who handle bows and arrows [military men] should do their
     part, thinking not only of their own persons, but of the names of
     their descendants. They should not incur a perpetually irksome name
     [permanent bad reputation] on account of a greed for life, which is
     after all of short duration. But, on the other hand, if they cast
     away their lives when they ought not to die, they will also incur a
     discreditable name. The chief point is that life should be
     sacrificed when it is honourable to do so, in behalf of the supreme
     lord [the emperor], or on account of an affair which is of great
     importance to the generalissimo of their bows and arrows [the
     Shogun]. Only by thus behaving can the famous names of the
     descendants be secured and perpetuated. As a Bushi, one should
     never be light-minded; on the contrary, he should always be
     thoughtful and meditative. The majority of men pass their time
     saying they would behave aptly when time and circumstances
     requiring it arrive. Such people generally experience great
     difficulty when any emergency unexpectedly arises, and generally
     regret afterwards that they had missed the opportunity when they
     ought to have died. The training of the mind of the best
     bow-handlers [warriors] and of Buddhists is said to be identical.
     In all cases, restlessness of mind is deplorable.'

--'The term "name" plays a great part in your ethical notions, as I see
from the quotation you have just given,' said the duchess. 'You yourself
have also spoken about it in your peroration to the article on Japanese
education, which you published in the _Independent Review_. I was
reading that article this very morning, and had intended to ask you for
a further explanation about it, but I think I have now caught the idea,
though it is somewhat vague to me still. The idea of doing one's part,
thinking of the names of one's descendants, as the book you have just
quoted speaks about, sounds somewhat odd to our ears. It will be always
puzzling to the generality of the Occidentals.'

--'Why so,' I answered; 'you Occidentals seem always to make simple
matters difficult to comprehend, when they would be quite clear if only
viewed in a light, not deep, philosophical manner. The spirit of the
dictum I have just quoted has always been maintained in our ethics,
under all circumstances. As you say, no human creature can love death;
it is against nature, and, therefore, we Japanese value life no less
than other races; but we study how to live and how to die, and when
circumstances require, we value our life lighter than the proverbial
feather: that's all.'

--'And yet it is a problem for us,' said the duchess.

--'And it is plain to us who have grown up in such an atmosphere,
although it may be somewhat difficult for foreigners to understand.'

--'Do you think those noble characteristics will last long under the
influence of modern civilisation?' asked the duchess.

--'It is a question,' I answered, 'but I hope and believe it will last;
indeed, we must make it do so.'

--'But now, to take up the thread of our original conversation,' said
the duchess. 'Politically speaking, I am of the opinion that Russia
ought to make friends with you, and that my long, endearing hope for an
_entente_ between England, France, Russia, and your country ought to be
effected for the security of peace at large and for the benefit of

--'I appreciate,' I answered, 'the general trend of your discourse, and
I know it has been your line of politics for many years, and not a view
invented merely to please me. I sympathise with you all the more when I
hear you confessing the weak points of an ally and paying high tribute
to my country. The time may come when your cherished idea may be
realised, but at present the prospects do not look bright. The greatest
obstacle in the path is the pretensions of the Russians. They will not
reconcile themselves to the idea that we Japanese are also a nation
which deserves the name of a civilised race.'

--'They will and must do so in time,' said the duchess.

--'We Japanese are modest. We do not give ourselves airs. I say this
frankly and sincerely. It is neither presumption nor self-conceit, it is
my pure conviction; but we like to be treated with proper consideration.
A few days ago an interview which I gave to a French weekly was
published. The subject was somewhat akin to our present conversation. A
telegram from Washington, which was published in some journals, stated
that the Russians in America were irritated because President Roosevelt
had given an informal reception to Baron Komura. It also stated that the
Russians were inspiring the impression that Mr. Roosevelt was annoyed
with Great Britain because she had refused to put pressure on Japan to
be moderate, and so on. The gist of my observation on the telegram

     'It was understood that the plenipotentiaries of both countries
     should arrive in Washington before the first part of August. The
     Japanese plenipotentiaries arrived punctually at the prearranged
     date, but the Russian plenipotentiaries were belated, as we all
     know, and yet complaints are made that it was Mr. Roosevelt's
     partiality towards Japan which made him receive the Japanese
     plenipotentiaries informally. I cannot see why the president should
     not offer cordiality to his distinguished guests, be they Japanese
     or Russian, on their arrival. England is not less anxious to see
     the termination of the present war than any other nation, but I do
     not see why England should put pressure upon Japan to give
     advantage to Russia, inasmuch as she knows that Japan is not a
     nation to make any unreasonable demand upon her worsted foe.
     President Roosevelt knows all this. I also believe that while the
     president is determined to be quite impartial in the matter, he is
     not inclined to oppress Japan in order to give any unreasonable
     advantage to Russia, nor does he expect to see England do so

--'You see, such sentiments as those expressed in the telegram, which I
do not consider a misrepresentation, cannot but arise from some idea of
prestige, with which the Russians imagine they have been endowed to a
much higher degree by nature than Japan has been. There is another point
they have made a great deal of fuss about, and which they cannot get out
of their heads. It is the first torpedoing of the Russian fleets at the
entrance of Port Arthur, which took place, as you know, on the night of
the 8-9th of February last year. They always speak of it as a
treacherous attack. As a matter of fact, however, it was nothing of the
sort, as may be seen from all the circumstances which forced us into the
war, and which are known to all the world. Our justification has become
more evident since the revelation of the secret history of the Russian
politics of the time. There even exists a secret treaty between China
and Russia, made at the time when Russia obtained a concession from
China for the construction of the Manchurian railways. The purport of
the treaty, which is now no longer a secret, is no other than that
Russia and China were to regard Japan as their enemy, and to menace her
by the use of that railway. China soon discovered the fallacy: she soon
saw that Japan had not the disposition represented by the Russians.
Russia would perhaps now say that the treaty was only made for the
purpose of obtaining the concession: I hope it was so, but who knows
that it had been so from the beginning? In spite of all this, Japan had
always adopted a conciliatory attitude before the outbreak of the war--a
war in which, to use a phrase of President Roosevelt's memorable message
to the American Congress, "it was necessary for the aggrieved nation
valiantly to stand up for its rights." Remember, I do not quote this in
any vainglory. Moreover, when the war became inevitable, we gave a clear
notice of war to our opponents (on the 6th of that month). Perhaps you
have seen the White Book of Japan relating to the subject.'

--'I saw a French translation of it,' said the duchess, 'and it has
modified considerably the early impressions, not only of myself, but of
most people.'

--'I am glad of that,' I said. 'It is true that the Emperor of Japan
issued on the 10th of that month a formal declaration of war, but it was
addressed to his own subjects, and its aim was to make the actual
situation known to them and also indirectly to the neutrals. As far as
Russia and Japan are concerned, the notice of the 6th, whereby Japan
announced to Russia that she would take an "independent action," was
nothing else than a declaration of war. It is, therefore, unfair to
state that the first attack on Port Arthur was a "treacherous attack" or
"an attack by surprise," even if there were no other reasons which
justify Japan's action.'

--'And yet the Russian statesman, for instance, wrote in the same
remarkable letters that "the whole world knows that Japan and not Russia
has provoked the present war," and spoke of Japan, in reference to the
first battle of Port Arthur, as "guilty of a criminal breach of peace,"
and of that battle as a "piratical night attack." He went on so far as
to stigmatise Japan as "this bullying and bellicose nation." It is the
more remarkable that all this had been done after the plain facts of the
truth had come into the possession of the world. In the course of my
refutation I stated that torpedoing was not a surprise attack in the
sense of International Law, as the Russian statesman affirms; at the
most it could only be construed as a tactical surprise, but in reality
it was not even of that nature. I gave my reason therefor, to which the
Russian statesman replied, that "a Japanese is the only person who can
make any difference between a surprise and a tactical surprise, and no
educated European can make such a difference." The difference itself is
plain enough. Tactical surprises come under no sphere of international
question. The Russian troops themselves are daily practising them in the
war. In spite of it, he feigns his ignorance. In my reply I had to
detail and to develop my argument a step further. If you are not already
wearied, I will recall a passage of my letter in question:

     'With regard to the Port Arthur question, I should like in the
     first place to ask the Russian statesman as to what Russia herself
     did in all warlike engagements before the battle of Narva, and also
     when the army of his country entered Poland in 1733; when it
     entered Moldavia and took possession of Chotsin, Bender, and Jassi
     in 1806; when the Russian ships fired into, and sunk or captured,
     some Greek ships and made an attack upon Poros in 1831? Further,
     how was it when the Russian troops made raids on the coasts of the
     northern islands of Japan unexpectedly and repeatedly in the
     beginning of the nineteenth century, on which occasions they
     slaughtered our innocent villagers and burned our villages, or when
     they attacked and occupied our Island of Tsushima in 1861?--in all
     these cases there having been no cause or reason whatever for the
     hostility perpetrated, and that, too, without the slightest
     warning. Above all, I should like to call his attention to the
     proposal which his country made through its ambassador, Baron
     Brunnow, to the Diplomatique Corps of the Great Powers at
     Constantinople in 1840, concerning Egypt. The Russian ambassador
     offered various schemes for action, the pith of which was to be
     found in the following words:

     '"To execute all these measures with the greatest promptitude, and
     with the greatest secrecy,--promptitude, because it is the only
     means of ensuring their success; secrecy, because the blow must
     first be struck before it is announced."'

Having read so far, I continued: 'After I had thus written, I proceeded
to elucidate that, "with these facts in view, the Russians had no right
to calumniate Japan, even if their country were attacked by surprise,"
and that, "nevertheless, Japan had done nothing of the sort, as is plain
from other facts." Such is the case on our side.'

--'That point is now wholly cleared up in the eyes of the world,' said
the duchess. 'The Russians certainly ought not to grumble endlessly over
the milk which they themselves spilled!'

--'I may remind you of a still more fresh instance of the
unscrupulousness of the Russians themselves. At the time of the
ratification of the treaty of Simonoseki, did not the Russian admiral
commanding the Pacific fleet propose to the French admiral commanding
the French fleet in the same water to attack and destroy the Japanese
fleet by a deliberate surprise! Was it not only restrained from being
carried out by the judicious refusal of the French admiral on the ground
that he had received no such instruction from his government! We cannot,
of course, be thankful to France for joining the memorable combination
of the three powers, but we remember with pleasant recollection the
noble determination of her admiral.'

--'Thank God! our action was correct, at least in that respect.'

--'You must be quite sickened,' I said, 'of the hackneyed talk of the
"Yellow Peril" cry, and the "Pan-Asiatic" ambition attributed to Japan,
because you know they are all groundless. The same Russian statesman
dilated on them also: if he really entertains any belief in them his
conception is erroneous; if he does not, and still says so, it is most
unfair. I assured him that Japan knew no such ambition, and gave vent to
my conviction in this manner. I hope you will kindly listen to me.

     'There is no possibility of "Panasianism" even if Japan had dreamed
     of it, nor is there any likelihood of the Western powers being
     endangered by the ascendency of Japan. The insinuation of your
     writer that the English and American commerce would be jeopardised
     by Japan's victory, and, therefore, Japan ought to be thoroughly
     defeated, is a most absurd proposition. To begin with, Japan's
     victory would never prejudice the commercial interests of those
     countries; on the contrary, they would be more safeguarded. But
     suppose it did, it would be for England and America to look after
     those matters before the Russians did for them. England and
     America, however, are amongst those countries which are most
     sympathetic with Japan. I can put it in another way. Suppose, after
     Japan's success in this war, Japan's industry should be more
     developed, it would only serve more to stimulate the commerce
     between the East and West. Supposing, however, that the development
     of Japan's industry be more or less detrimental to the Western
     commerce, is it just and humane--let me repeat, is it just and
     humane, to formulate a doctrine that she is to be crushed because
     there is a fear that her industry might be developed? It would be
     like a rich person formulating the doctrine that a poor neighbour
     of his ought to be murdered for no other reason than a vague
     apprehension that he might possibly become a prosperous man.

'That is what I answered the Russian statesman. But even at this moment
such speculative opinions are widespread. I can only hope that Japan's
real motive and aspiration for emulating occidental civilisation is now
becoming better known to the Western nations, at all events to the bulk
of the French people.'

--'I believe so, too,' said the duchess. 'But one thing which strikes me
is that, while on the one hand many people depict Japan by her huge
shadow, even a greater number of people speak of Japan as a small
country, as though she were no more than Belgium, Holland, or Denmark. A
country which competes with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, France, or even Germany, in the size of her territory and
number of population, cannot be a small country.'

--'It is perhaps because we Japanese do not parade ourselves. We prefer
to speak of ourselves as small in deference to the modern civilisation
of the Western nations. Besides, we are not so wealthy as the occidental
nations. We always feel it. It often prevents us from doing better

--'But your country is not poor.'

--'We are not poor. I am only speaking comparatively with the great
powers of the West. The volume of our commerce has risen from a few
millions to six or seven hundred million yens in less than forty years.
In a way we ought to be satisfied.'

--'I suppose the people are happy.'

--'Well, I may say so. We have no very rich classes, but at the same
time we have no extreme poverty as yet. Only the other evening a
compatriot of mine who had travelled in the country near Tours told me
that the common people there lived in small caves in the cliffs, or on
the slopes of the hills, and they were all barefooted when they were at
home, or were at work in the vintage. I hear there are many such in
Britain also. It sounds rather odd for France. And more! Paris is a
wonderful town. It is a place of the agglomeration of everything
extreme. A little time ago, accompanied by a few Frenchmen, I made a
round of visits to all sorts of places through the whole night in order
to see Paris by night. I saw many night shows to begin with: I saw many
gay places: I saw several dens of the poor. Among the shows, that of
Niente struck me most. It seemed so strange to entertain visitors with
beer at tables which are coffins, and in a room lighted by a chandelier
constructed of human bones. A small cave tavern made right in the
ground, where the poor were enjoying bocks of beer, and listening to
some indifferent musical performance, was also interesting. I asked from
where they got the air into the place. The answer was "nowhere." But
what impressed me most was a den of the destitute, where the poor get
permission to sleep for one night, and to receive a basin of soup, at a
total cost of twopence. When I visited the dens, it was far on in the
night. I saw some four or five hundred men, clad in rags most of them,
leaning on tables, asleep, in different cellars connected by narrow
passages, right deep in the ground. Naturally also many were lying on
the ground, and several on the stone staircases. These cellars could not
have been made for such a purpose, and I was unable to divine for what
they had been originally used. Perhaps they had been the cellars of some
great wine merchant. I don't think you yourself can have seen such a
place, but you can imagine the awfulness of the sight. Indeed, the
French gentleman who was with me said he began to feel upset. I am happy
to say that we have not such extreme cases of poverty in our country up
to the present generation.'

--'I am afraid it is such cases as these that give good pretext to the
socialistic movement,' said the duchess. 'It is a great problem. But to
return to our subject, you have no embassy in Europe, as all other great
powers have. You have only legations, with ordinary ministers, like
secondary powers. It might have been one cause why ordinary people think
Japan is such a small country.'

--'It may be so,' I answered, 'in one way; but you see we have not had
any particular reason to make ourselves ostentatious, and besides, the
matter does not rest with one side only.'

--'It is rather singular,' said the duchess, 'that the world has not
discovered the real character of the Japanese for so long a time. But
yet there was at least one man who realised it ninety years ago. I have
read an account about him in a recent issue of the English press. It was
in the year 1813, and, therefore, at the time when Java was under
English occupation. Lord Minto (ancestor of the new viceroy) was then
Viceroy of India, and it seems Sir Stamford Raffles was the chief
representative of the British East India Company out in the East. The
latter sent in that year an Englishman, Dr. Daniel Ainslie, to whom was
attached a Dutchman, Wardenaar by name, to Nagasaki on a mission to look
after English interests, and to make a confidential report on the
situation in Japan. The mission was a failure; the time was not ripe
enough. But the impression Sir Stamford obtained through Dr. Ainslie is
interesting. It reads as fresh as though it had been brought back from
Japan only yesterday, and speaks for itself:

     'The refusal of the Japanese, instigated by the prejudiced and
     stiff-necked Dutchman, Hendrik Doeff, to trade with the English,
     did not bias Sir Stamford's mind against them. Dr. Ainslie, in whom
     he had implicit confidence, sent him voluminous reports, and on
     them he formed a judgment most favourable to the Japanese in every
     respect. Expression was given to these opinions in Sir Stamford's
     presidential address to the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences
     on September 11, 1815. The following extracts are those of the most
     direct importance; "I need only offer a few notices on the
     character which they appeared to Dr. Ainslie to display during a
     residence of four months, and as far as he had the opportunity of
     judging. They are represented to be a nervous, vigorous people,
     whose bodily and mental powers assimilate much nearer to those of
     Europe than what is attributed to Asiatics in general. Their
     features are masculine and perfectly European, with the exception
     of the small, lengthened Tartar eye, which almost universally
     prevails, and is the only feature of resemblance between them and
     the Chinese. The complexion is perfectly fair, and indeed blooming,
     the women of the higher classes being equally fair with Europeans,
     and having the bloom of health more generally prevalent among them
     than is usually found in Europe. For a people who have had very
     few, if any, external aids, the Japanese cannot but rank high in
     the scale of civilisation....

     '"The Chinese have been stationary, at least as long as we have
     known them, but the slightest impulse seems sufficient to give a
     determination to the Japanese character which would progressively
     improve until it attained the same height of civilisation with the

     '"The Japanese, with an apparent coldness like the stillness of the
     Spanish character, and derived nearly from the same causes--that
     system of espionage and that principle of disunion dictated by the
     principles of both Governments--are represented to be eager of
     novelty and warm in their attachments, open to strangers, and,
     hating the restrictions of their political institutions, a people
     who seem inclined to throw themselves into the hands of any nation
     of superior intelligence. They have, at the same time, a great
     contempt and disregard of everything below their own standard of
     morals and habits, as instanced in the case of the Chinese."

     'These remarks, uttered ninety years ago, show that at least one
     discerning mind had appreciated all the difference between the
     Japanese and other Asiatics, judged according to the accepted views
     among Europeans. It was the apathy of the home authorities that
     alone prevented the establishment nearly a century ago of an
     _entente cordiale_ between England and Japan as the consequence of
     the strenuous effort of Sir Stamford Raffles to promote commercial
     relations at Nagasaki.'

At this juncture the duke returned with his two daughters; joining us
very soon, he said to me:

--'Have you noticed the controversy about French patriotism waging in
the papers just now? I wish all Frenchmen were as patriotic as your

--'I have noticed,' I said, 'but I believe that whatever opinion one may
entertain, or whatever views one may express, in the innermost shrine of
the heart of every Frenchman there is treasured a phrase, "La France:
c'est le pays de mon cœur." It cannot be otherwise.'

--'I hope so,' rejoined the duke. 'To love one's own country, which is
patriotism, is almost a natural instinct. The only difference is the
degree of intensity.'

--'Let me tell you,' I proceeded, 'how I came to remember that phrase,
and excuse me if my talk is somewhat delicate. It is now more than
twenty years ago, perhaps you remember, when a young cantatrice,
together with her companion-maid, put an end to their lives, under
romantic but tragic circumstances, beneath the windows of the chateau of
a young foreign nobleman in his country. It created a great sensation at
the time. I was then staying in England. She left a letter in which she
expressed her desire that her _enfant d'amour_ should be brought up and
educated in France, adding thereto the phrase I have just quoted. We
have a saying, "Do not cast away good dictum on account of the person
who uttered it." Those words--I mean "La France," etc.--though uttered
by a female of her type, left a deep impression in my mind. They are so
fine and touching. I dare say many a Frenchman has used, and still uses,
that phrase, at least in his mind. _Apropos_ to that story, I will tell
you an incident. Several years after that event I was in Japan, and
dined one evening with some friends, the party including a few
foreigners. There were no ladies present. As is usual, a good deal of
merry chatting went on among us after dinner. On that occasion I
narrated to them the story of the event just mentioned, and, of course,
recalled that phrase to their remembrance. One of the foreigners
suddenly said, "I was the man concerned in it--I was the man." You can
imagine how awkward I felt. It is always necessary to be on one's guard
in society. One never knows who a person may be. The incident, however,
will serve to show how vividly the phrase remained in my memory.'

--'Now, baron,' interposed the duchess, 'permit me to ask you to explain
a problem which I am unable to solve myself.'

--'What is it?' I replied. 'I am always ready to answer your questions
as far as possible.'

--'The ideals as well as the whole structure, both political and social,
of your country,' continued the duchess, 'seem to differ, as far as I
can judge, from the ideals and doctrines of some of the Socialists of
the West. According to these latter, there can be no patriotism, as the
essence of their teaching is cosmopolite and not national, and there can
be no such social and political structure as, for instance, those which
your country adores. And yet, on the Continent, the Socialists are
disposed to be more friendly to your country than the other sections of
the communities. On your part, also, you appear to be more intimate, or
at least more acquainted, with people belonging to that class. Excuse me
if my remarks are too personal.'

--'I am not intimate,' I interposed, 'nor am I even acquainted with
many. But please continue.'

--'Well, in England, for instance, it is the Conservatives who are more
enthusiastic about your country, and the Liberals only rank second. I
cannot make out how all that comes about on the Continent.'

--'I do not think English sympathy for Japan has anything to do with
their home politics. Look at America! The form of the government and
their political ideas are totally different from ours, and yet they have
shown great sympathy to us, as you must have observed.'

--'American democracy, nevertheless, is more apparent than real,' said
the duchess. 'Their methods are more monarchical than republican. When
once a man is elected President, he is like a monarch. He has a wide
scope for political movement in his hands. He chooses his ministers
independently of the Congress, and the ministry is not dependent on the
Congress; in other words, there is a concentration of power and also the
continuity of it, though the person of the President may change after a
certain lapse of time. Look at Mr. Roosevelt, what a position he
occupies in his country.'

--'For all that,' I said, 'America is a republic. American sympathy for
Japan cannot be explained by the theory you put upon the American
polity. The sympathy of the Anglo-Saxons arises, in my opinion, chiefly
from their perception of the justice of our cause, and from their
appreciation of the humane and enlightened behaviour of the Japanese.
This is my plain opinion. No one can fail to perceive a great contrast
in these respects between the two countries engaged in the war. The
sympathy of the European Socialists is somewhat similar, I believe. The
conditions of Japan are much nearer to their own ideals than are those
of our opponents.'

--'That is very likely,' said the duchess, 'but Japan as she is cannot
be an ideal object of admiration to them; their sympathy appears only to
be based on comparison. Why, there was even an assertion by some
Socialists that Japan was liked only because the autocracy of the other
side was disliked. By the bye, you said the other day, that you did not
like to apply the term "revolution" to your great change of 1867.'

--'Yes, I said so.'

--'And I agree with you,' continued the duchess. '"Revolution" means
upsetting and destroying everything, but you never had anything of that
kind. Your emperor assumed a new authority, but it was only a
restoration, or, in other words, unification of power; then, too, the
sovereignty of his majesty's family is so antique that there is again a
great continuity of power: those are the points which make Japan so fine
a nation.

--'Well,' I continued, 'we do not like to apply the term "revolution"
to our great change, because that term is usually applied to a big,
popular movement against established governments, which, while
destroying one, sets up another. That is to say, the term is generally
used in a political sense. The history of our great change differs from
that, because, although the Shogunate Government was upset, the other
Government, namely, the Imperial, which was reinvigorated and had come
to exercise again its full authority, had always existed, and the
sovereignty had continued to rest with the heads of that Government,
namely, the emperors; that you know very well. Nevertheless, with regard
to the social aspects of the change, one cannot say there has been no
upsetting of things. As a matter of fact, almost everything has been
upset; restoration and innovation were the two currents of thought then
prevailing. The main work was restoration, but almost everything else
was innovation, or at least renovation. Hence, almost every institution
and material object which was old was destroyed, or nearly destroyed,
beyond all necessary limit, almost in the same way as was experienced by
England under the Long Parliament, and France in 1789. I don't mean
there was in Japan any such sanguinary deeds perpetrated as those by the
Jacobins, but the general social currents of events were something like
those of French and English experience. There was even a suggestion made
by serious people of cutting down the big trees of a fine park in the
middle of Tokio and turning it into mulberry fields, on the argument
that the latter would be beneficial to the nation, whilst the former was
a useless luxury. At one time, indeed, even the word civilisation was
much abused: of course, not in such a way as Madame Roland lamented the
abuse of the term "liberty," because our abuse of the word
"civilisation" was neither political nor serious. It was chiefly so with
small social matters. For instance, when one wished to dispense with
some of the old customs and manners, which he deemed too rigid and
inconvenient, he would cast them away light-heartedly, with the remark
that "it was not a civilised method." Of course, a great change like the
one we have made can only be carried out under such circumstances as
those, accompanied necessarily by great sacrifices. Without doubt, it
would not do if the same thing went on endlessly. Fortunately we have
managed to tide over that transitory state, and have produced the Japan
of the present day.'

--'Whatever may have been the social aspects of your great change,'
said the duchess, 'one thing is undeniable, and that is, that its best
results have been brought about by the unification and continuity of the
_pouvoir_--I mean, authority. But by saying this, I must not be
misunderstood, especially in this country, as saying that a continuity
of authority is necessarily to be connected with heredity, for I
maintain, for instance, that the Catholic religion is a specimen of
continuity in the person of the Pope. But, baron, was there any outcry
for "Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité" at the time of your great

--'No, not exactly,' I replied. 'Our struggle was not one of the lower
classes _en masse_ against the upper classes. Besides, our lower classes
were not in such a desperate condition as those of France in her
troubled days.'

--'You know already,' proceeded the duchess, 'that those three terms
contradict each other if carried out literally.'

--'That is true. But by similar reasoning, all terms of virtue are
contradictory if carried out to the letter. Thus, the extremity of
patience makes one a fool; that of bravery, foolhardy; that of charity,
lavish; and that of extensive love of all things, makes one a
sentimental weeper. Forgive me if I am a little polemic. However, there
is one thing that I think I have not told you, and that is this:
Although there was no definite cry for the three "té's" during our great
change, some vague notion of them was observable during that event and
some time after. It was during that transition period that the French
notion of personal right based upon the civil law got into the Japanese
mind a little too strongly in opposition to the idea of public laws
based upon the principles of State and common good. Thus, for instance,
a man did not scruple to cut down whatever forests belonged to him, no
matter whether or not by doing so irreparable public injury should be
occasioned; his notion being that his proprietary right of the forests
stood over any other right. In other words, the notion of private laws
was not reconciled with that of public laws. We have had to bring about
an amelioration, and to enact fresh laws to regulate the forest
question, much on the same lines as the old regulations which had
previously existed in many parts of the country. There have been many
other matters much similar to this. I may also add that proper respect
between inferior and superior, and younger and elder, was also slackened
at one time, which is a sort of misuse of equality and fraternity.

'But to return to our discourse: all the arguments I have heard from you
to-day remind me of an anonymous political pamphlet which I happened to
glance at. It speaks of the necessity of unification and continuation of
authority. It speaks of the advisability of non-dependency of the
Ministry on the Chamber, and it speaks of the self-contradiction of the
three terms. I almost suspect that the writer of the pamphlet is
influenced by you, or you by him, or is it a coincidence?'

--'No matter,' said the duchess lightly, and continued; 'I think there
are no Socialists in Japan--at all events, not worth speaking of, as a

--'Very true,' I interposed.

--'I thought so,' continued the duchess; 'Japan is not a country
compatible with the ideas and doctrines of Socialism: she does not want

--'And yet, some points of her aspirations,' I said, 'deserve attention.
It is the duty of an enlightened Government to anticipate the legitimate
requirements of the lower classes, and to make the spread of dangerous
doctrines useless.'

--'And Japan does so, I suppose,' said the duchess.

--'Well, we are doing our best,' I answered, 'more especially because
the introduction of Western methods of progress tend to produce all
sorts of evils, though, of course, the benefit derived therefrom is
comparatively far greater in its way.'

--'The freer a country is, the less it is likely to be disturbed by
socialistic or nihilistic movements, you mean, I suppose,' said the

--'It is not all, but something like it,' I said. 'England and America
are free from those movements.'

--'France is a free country,' said the duchess, 'and yet she labours
under an overpowering influence of Socialism.'

--'It seems true,' I said.

--'You might say because she is too free, perhaps,' said the duchess.

--'Or, rather,' I replied, 'she might be paying the penalty incurred
during the ancient monarchy of the misuse of its power.'

--'Maybe,' she answered. 'But I am far from believing in real power of
that party. It is, of course, foolish to ignore an existence of such an
element. They have, however, never been in office. Suppose they have
formed a Government, what do you think will come out of it? At all
events, I can never agree with some of their extreme views which, if
carried out literally, would mean an abolition of the army and navy, the
Government, even the State.'

--'The subject is too intricate for me,' I said; 'I give it up.'

--'At all events,' she replied, 'there being no socialistic party in
Japan, as you say, is it not all the more strange that no cordiality
seems to exist between Japan and the French Nationalists, whose notions
and ideas resemble those of the Japanese.'

--'We can have no sympathy, still less concern, with any political
aspiration of a section of other people as far as their domestic
politics are concerned. But I do not see why the Japanese should not be
willing to be friendly with the Nationalist section of the French
people. Of late, the Japanese have not seemed to be _persona gratæ_ with
your Nationalists, if there be any such section. But it is not our
fault. They have shown through their partiality to our opponents much
antipathy to Japan. It is another reason why the contrast between the
Socialists and other sections of the French people has become, or
rather, once became, so manifest as regards their attitude to my

--'But the Nationalists are not enemies of Japan. In fact, it was the
Nationalists who disapproved ten years ago the action of the Government,
which joined in the combination of the three powers against Japan.'

--'Maybe,' I said, 'but the general tendency of that section, since the
outbreak of the present war, has not been so favourable to us as you
would have liked.'

--'But you must make some allowance for the fact that France is the ally
of the other side.'

--'I do so, but the contrast in tone between different journals is so
marked, and the papers which are most bitter against us, at one time
were those reputed as the organs of the Nationalists.'

--'That may have been so,' said the duchess, 'and there have even been
some which were rather misleading. I confess I was rather surprised when
once asked by a member of a respectable family, "how it was that the
Japanese were near Moukden, whilst we had been informed by the press all
these months that the Russians had been constantly gaining victories."
Probably that family happened to take in some exceptional journal, and
perhaps only one. But you cannot read journalistic opinions only and
regard them as the real views of the Nationalists. They have, in
reality, very little influence over the papers; I wish they had more.
Journals generally go their own way: I cannot and must not explain why.
Besides, the socialist journals also have not been friendly to Japan
from the very beginning. They became so only when the contrasts between
the belligerents had become somewhat manifest. They were shrewd in the
matter: the Nationalists were slow; one had to awake them.'

--'I was not here at that time,' said I, 'so I cannot offer any
observation thereon. But, madam, is it too impertinent for me to ask if
French interest in Russian bonds are much in the hands of Nationalists?'

--'Oh no,' answered the duchess. 'I wish they were; but you see our old
families are not like those of some other countries. The interest of the
Russian bonds mostly concerns petty people who have invested in them
their hard-earned savings. It is, therefore, all the more unfortunate
that the present war should be protracted.'

--'I envy France,' I said, 'that she has such a saving people: it is in
consequence of this that she has, as I am told, some billions of surplus
francs every year.'

--'That, I believe, is the case,' said the duchess.

--'As to the friendly relations between your country and mine, let us
hope that a time happier than the present may arrive soon, and the
sooner the better.'

--'I hope so, too,' said the duchess, 'and we must try to make it so.'


The age of the Japanese--Ito and Inouyé--Intermarriages--Commander
Hirosé--Some abuse of the Japanese nationality--The climate of
Japan--Chrysanthemums--Japanese rain--The two great currents--How Japan
developed--Summer resorts of foreigners--Spring and autumn--
Picnics--Sports--A letter by an American--Pastimes of the
Japanese gentry--Description of the Japanese chess and the game of
'Go'--Description of Japanese cards--Poem cards--Flower cards--Pierre
Loti--Public baths--An interview on common and military education in
Japan--George Washington and Nelson--The cause of Russian defeats
according to the wounded

I found myself once more in a group of people, including some ladies.
The group was very incongruous, as is usual in dreamland. The
conversation went on merrily and very light-heartedly.

--'Now, baron, it is your turn. You must now tell us something
interesting,' said one of those present.

--'I have nothing worth telling,' I answered.

--'But you must: you were in Europe for many years, when quite young, I
have heard. You must have had some experiences to interest us.'

--'Well, I can remember only one or two amusing incidents. I once knew
a charming young lady, called by her friends "the modest Violet." She
lived with her mother and sisters in a country home near London. I was
often invited there to take tea and play tennis, or accompany them for a
drive. On one occasion, I was walking with her round the garden, when we
came to a nook where there was a garden seat. We sat down. But the seat,
being old, the part on which I sat gave way all of a sudden, and I found
myself flat on the ground, the other part of the seat remaining intact.'

--'Does she still remember you, or rather, have you seen her since your
arrival in Europe this time?' asked another.

--'Yes! I have seen her, and I noticed when I visited her she was still
using on her table a silver trinket, of which I made her a present years
ago, on the occasion of her wedding.'

--'That is one--and another.'

--'Well, I was at Brighton one summer, and met there a young lady with
whom I was acquainted. We went for a walk together on the Parade one
bright afternoon and then went down to the beach. She sat on a small
rock and leaned against the stone wall. She had a book of select poems
in her hand and read a good many of them while I reclined on the sand by
her side. When she rose from her seat, I noticed that the back of her
white summer dress was stained green by the moss on the stone against
which she had leaned, and she was obliged to go home with her sunshade
open over her back.'

--'Let me again ask if you have met her since?'

--'No, I have lost trace of her altogether. She was the daughter of an
astronomer. If she is still living, she will remember me when she sees
my _Summer Dream_.'


--'I don't know.'

--'But I have heard you utter those words once or twice. Surely they
must have a meaning.'

--'No! I think not. You must know that I was formerly a Deputy of the
Japanese Diet.'

--'What has that to do with the subject?'

--'Well! Deputies often talk about things which they know nothing
about. Just observe the deputies who talk most in the chamber. They are
sure to be those who have never read through the documents they hold in
their hands.'

--'What a pleasantry! However, we have had the second tale. What next?'

--'No more amusing ones. But I remember another which was somewhat
chivalrous. In a large town in the north of France, there was a group of
rich manufacturers belonging to the same family, originally English,
though some of the younger members had been born in France. A bosom
friend of mine, and another compatriot, were staying there, and they
were both on intimate terms with all the members of the family. I spent
several summer days in that town, and also in Dunkirk and Ostend, with
my friends and most of the people I am referring to. They were all very
cordial, and it goes without saying that I spent a very jolly time.
There was a young lady belonging to one branch of the family, who in
age, to say the least of it, was past the first bloom of youth. I
noticed that she and the members of another branch of the family never
spoke together, which aroused my curiosity, and as a result of discreet
inquiry, I found that some discord existed between them, the cause of
which was she had not married the man of her choice on account of the
interference of an uncle, who was the head of the other branch of the
family. I felt rather sorry about the matter, for it was the only rift
in the family lute, otherwise most happy and harmonious. A strong desire
came over me to bring about a reconciliation. One day at Dunkirk, I
accompanied the young lady to the sea-coast, where, after a long
persuasion, I obtained her consent to be reconciled. The chief
individual having been won over, I had no great difficulty in persuading
the others; and peace was proclaimed then and there at Dunkirk.'

--'But you were only a young man, then.'

--'Certainly I was younger than I am now, but I am not quite so young
as you may imagine. The Japanese, as a rule, appear to European eyes
many years younger than they are in reality. Thus, for instance, when
Marquis Ito and Count Inouyé came over to England as students for the
first time, they were both "over twenty," and Count Inouyé was older
than the Marquis Ito by some years.'

--'Their relative ages, however, must have remained the same always,'
said one jestingly.

--'That is so: but that is not my point. They were then considered as
young students of seventeen or eighteen. When, therefore, they told
their teacher that they would return to Japan and counsel their Prince
to change his anti-foreign policy into a pro-foreign policy, he laughed
at them, saying, "You boys, what can you do?" And Ito and Inouyé only
succeeded, after great perseverance, to obtain the necessary consent.
However that may be, I am glad to have heard since that the lady in
question was happily married.'

--'Allow me to ask a very delicate question. Have you never fallen in
love, or something like it, with any European lady during your long stay
in Europe?'

--'Well, I have always preferred to keep my heart well in hand, so as
not to be hampered in the more serious duties of life; and, moreover, I
do not believe in the desirability of intermarriage between foreigners.
There have, of course, been many intermarriages between the Japanese and
the occidental races, and the results of some of them have been
apparently very good, but there have also been many failures, and I do
not think, in general, happiness can be secured in intermarriages of
this kind, so much as those between people who have greater resemblance
in customs and manners and everything else to each other. Even if the
couple are happy, it often happens that it is not so between them and
their relations. You know, perhaps, that the late Commander Hirosé was a
bachelor. He was a man of stoical character. There is, however, a rumour
about him that while he was staying over here he met a young European
lady whom he liked very much. He did not propose to her but for one
reason, and that was because he was afraid she might feel unhappy when
taken to Japan for the reason I have just mentioned, in addition to the
fact that he was a naval officer, in consequence of which he would have
to leave her to herself more than ordinary married women--and that in a
country to which she was a stranger in many things!'

--'But your success in the war will make your countrymen very popular
among young ladies,' interposed another laughingly.

--'I have no fear. Western young ladies are cautious enough. But,
nevertheless, there is a slight danger of the name of Japan being taken
advantage of. I heard a story only the other day that in California some
Chinese cut off their plaits and dressed in European costumes while they
were staying at an hotel, and were passing themselves off as Japanese.
They were discovered when a real Japanese addressed them in his
language, to which they were unable to reply. I have heard of another
incident which took place in a town in the north of England. A
foreigner, professing himself to be a Japanese, tried to take an
apartment. The landlady, who had had some Japanese lodgers before,
somewhat suspected the nationality of the man from his way of bargaining
for the rent. She asked a Japanese to call in on her, and the foreigner
was soon discovered to be a European whose nationality belonged to a
country where the climate is very hot, and whose complexion alone bore
resemblance to the Japanese.'

--'What is the Japanese climate like?' asked another.

--'Well, that is a question I am asked so often. You see Japan is a
long, narrow country running from north to south-west; therefore, if you
take the northern and southern extremities, there is much difference of
climate, but as to Japan proper, that is to say, the middle part, the
climate does not much differ from yours. The latitude there is much
lower than England or France. The latitude of London is fifty-one
degrees, one minute north; that of Paris, forty-eight degrees, fifty
minutes north; whilst that of Yokohama, which is the port of Tokio, and
about twenty miles south of the latter, is thirty-five degrees,
twenty-six minutes; and, therefore, people taking an analogy from Egypt
or Algeria often wrongly imagine that Japan is a tropical land, but it
is not so. We have our seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, at
the same time as you. We have snow, frost, even hailstones, much similar
to you. We have occasional rain and showers also, as you have, or
perhaps a little more frequent. We have a rainy season in June, although
we do not have so much fog as in England. The weather is generally fine;
our summer lasts longer than yours, and is somewhat hotter, but not so
hot as people generally imagine. Our autumn lasts longer and is finer
than yours, because you seem to jump almost from summer to winter, and
winter to summer. In fact, in Japan, we almost doubt which is the better
season of the year, spring or autumn. In autumn, in many parts of the
country, almost all the foliage, as well as the maples, turn to all
shades of red and scarlet intermingled with yellow. It is the result of
the brilliant sun shining on the frosted leaves--a grand sight, which
you seem not to have in this quarter of the world.'

--'The chrysanthemums are also very fine too, I think,' said another.

--'Yes, but in that respect we cannot now boast so much, as it is
cultivated so extensively in the West, and the blossoms are, as a rule,
much bigger than ours. Everywhere in society nowadays chrysanthemums are
plentifully used for table decorations. Indeed, people say the
introduction of that flower was a great boon to the florists of Europe,
as the chrysanthemum season happens to fall just at a time when the
scarcity of flowers is most felt. There is, however, one difference in
its cultivation between the Occidental and Japanese horticulturists. The
latter strive to keep all the leaves fresh and green from the bottom of
the stalk to the top, which is no easy matter, and do not trouble to
produce very large blossoms, but in the West the size of the flower
appears to be almost the only care, in consequence of which I have seen
almost all the flowers exhibited at shows without any stalk at all. I
may add a word concerning the rain in Japan, especially in Tokio. The
shower is often very heavy, and falls in a slanting direction on account
of a strong wind, which often prevails in Japan; therefore, the roofs of
the buildings have long eaves; even the buildings in European style must
have eaves and windows specially designed, differing from the ordinary
Western architecture, otherwise the rain would soak through. The reason
why the climate of Japan is temperate in comparison with its latitude is
chiefly due to the effects of two great currents, one coming from the
Behring Strait and the other coming from the south, one cold and the
other warm; and between those currents is produced the climate of Japan.
Strangely enough, in Manchuria and the northern parts of China proper,
that is to say, the regions surrounding Pekin, the summer is excessively
hot and the winter extremely cold.'

--'Do you say the climate in every part of Japan proper is pretty much
the same?' asked one.

--'Pretty much, but not exactly. You see Japan proper has a range of
mountains, which divides the country into two parts, one side facing the
Pacific Ocean and the other the Sea of Japan. The former is more bright
and cheerful, and conversely the latter is less bright and less
cheerful. Perhaps, owing to that disadvantage in climate, the Japan Sea
side is less advanced in all respects. Then, again, the development of
Japan seems to have proceeded from west to east, beginning at the
north-western part of Kiusiu, thence along both sides of the Inland Sea,
thence along the Pacific Ocean on toward the Plain of Kwanto, where
Tokio is situated. All travellers can discern this very easily by the
general development of these regions in comparison with other parts of
the country.'

--'Is the summer so hot as to be unbearable?' asked another.

--'I would not say "unbearable," but, of course, it would be far more
comfortable if one went to good summer resorts. There are many places in
Japan suitable for spending the summer, and are visited by a large
number of Occidentals, not only from all parts of Japan, but also from
most of the open ports of the neighbouring countries. For instance,
Karuizawa, where I have a small villa, is over three thousand feet above
sea level, and there nearly one thousand foreigners spend the summer
every year. _Apropos_ to Karuizawa, I may tell you _en passant_ an
incident which occurred there a few years ago. Early one morning I
discovered two foreigners had got into a corner of my garden and were
cutting down branches of my favourite trees; they were not very refined,
and evidently belonged to some irregular mission. On my asking for an
explanation, they told me the branches were for the decoration of the
house of God. They did not know to apologise, but appeared to assume
that they could do anything in the name of their mission. I had to
explain to them that they were doing what they ought not to, and that if
they did the same thing in the grounds of less tolerant people, trouble
might ensue. I then formally gave them the branches already cut down, in
order to exonerate them from any possible infraction of the Ten
Commandments. I mention this incident in order that other people engaged
in similar missions might take it as a warning. But to return to my
subject: well-to-do Japanese also resort to the mountains or to the
seaside places for their summer holidays. For the people in general,
however, spring and autumn are the best seasons of the year. It is then
that countless groups of men and women indulge in innocent picnic
parties to see all sorts of flowers and tinted leaves, and to visit
places of interest, with which the country abounds; indeed, some of the
people who are more æsthetic and poetic often travel great distances
simply for those objects. The fire-flies also are a sight in many parts
of Japan.'

--'I have read some accounts of those excursions,' said one, 'and their
fondness for hanging down from the branches of trees their quaint but
simple and innocent effusions of poetic thought, written on slips of

--'But what are the general pastimes of the Japanese gentry at home?'
asked another. 'Are they fond of open-air sports as the English are?'

--'No, I am sorry to say they are not. In England, more than elsewhere,
all sorts of open-air sports have been invented and played, perhaps
owing to the condition of the climate. Mr. Balfour, the Prime Minister,
as everybody knows, is a great golfer. Professor Balfour, his brother,
was a great cricketer. His premature death years ago, by an accident on
the Alps, was lamented very deeply by the scientific world; and I, for
one, grieved much, for he was very kind to me when I went up to
Cambridge, and smoothed my way considerably for the University study.
With us, however, outdoor sports have always been considered childish,
and the rude sports of children have never been improved to suit
grown-up men. In recent years, of course, Western open-air sports, such
as base-ball or lawn tennis, are played by students very widely (at this
moment some Japanese teams of base-ball players have gone to America to
play against the Americans). But older people seldom indulge in that
kind of sport. Billiards also is only of modern introduction.'

--'But surely you must have some kind of pastimes?'

--'Well, we have some, but before entering on that subject I will say a
word about a letter written by an American on kindred subjects. It
caught my eye accidentally in the _Japan Times_. It is rather
interesting and, therefore, I will recite it to you _verbatim_. The
heading of it is "Japan is a queer country."

     'Such was the heading of an article in one of our American papers
     of recent date. As an example of the country being "queer" the
     writer stated among other things that "old men in Japan fly kites
     and spin tops, while children look on." Now, I for one have been in
     Japan a good while and have seen many flying kites and spinning
     tops. Yet I have never had the fortune of seeing the picture
     described above. It is easy to conceive how the kind-hearted
     Ojiisan might show his little grandson how to fly a kite or to spin
     a top while the little fellow looked on, but that is in no way
     peculiar to Japan. The same thing might be seen in almost any

     'Again the writer says, "Japanese writers use paint brushes, not
     pens, and write from bottom to top," in which he has gotten his
     ideas more topsy-turvy than the Land of Topsyturvydom itself. And
     further, "in Japan there are no lawyers, and Japanese doctors never
     make any charges." Comment is unnecessary.

     'These are only specimens of much that has for years flooded our
     Western newspapers about Japan. Not a great while ago I saw an
     article in which it was said that Japanese babies never cried, and
     if a dog barked at night he was taken off next day and killed. It
     is high time that Western people were beginning to have a few sane
     thoughts about Japan, and stop speaking of it as "an Oriental
     puzzle, a nation of recluses, a land of fabulous wealth, of
     universal licentiousness, or of Edenic purity, the fastness of a
     treacherous and fickle crew, a Paradise of guileless children, a
     Utopia of artists and poets." Japan has some superficial oddities,
     but what country is there that has not? To be a bit humorous, if
     people wish to say ludicrous things about Japan, it may not be so
     bad, but to put such things out as sober truth makes a false
     impression and does the people an injustice.

     'Imagine a Japanese going to America, for example, and writing back
     something like this: "America is a queer country. The people clothe
     themselves with the hair and skins of animals. They fasten their
     clothing on by means of little knobs hung in holes; the women go
     about with the arms and upper part of the body nude. Owing to the
     peculiar make of their shoes, they all walk on tiptoe. The people
     eat dead pigs, and drink a white, thick fluid called chichi, which
     they squeeze out of the body of a large animal. When eating they
     stick long iron instruments in their mouths. When moving about they
     are obliged constantly to set one foot out in front in order to
     keep from falling on their noses. Sometimes when there is a company
     of them together they open their mouths very wide at each other,
     utter loud, inarticulate cries, and jump about in a very curious
     manner, shaking from head to foot."

     'Now what would the Japanese people think of such a story, and what
     kind of impression would they get of the American people? But this
     is a fair specimen of the style in which many have written about
     this country. We cannot quite speak of it as lying, yet it amounts
     to the same in that it deceives and makes a false impression. The
     people of Japan are much the same as the world at large.

     'And finally, what is true of the customs of Japan is also true of
     the Japanese language. A Westerner, for instance, will poke fun at
     the expression, "For the first time, I hang upon your honourable
     eyes," and perhaps with the next breath say, "I knew him as soon as
     I laid eyes on him." Literally speaking it is hard to tell which is
     the more "okashii" (ridiculous), to hang upon the honourable eyes
     of another, or to lay your eyes on somebody else. Or which is
     worse, to "stick" to the end of the street in going to your
     business, or to "stick to it" when you get there? All languages
     must be explained and understood in the light of their idiomatic
     use and meaning, otherwise they become idiotic, and in this the
     Japanese language is no exception.

'There is one point in that letter to which I must take exception, as is
remarked in the editorial notes, too, but otherwise I quite concur with
the writer. The matter I refer to is that of the kites. On that point
neither the writer of the original article nor the writer of the letter
hit the mark. As a general rule, of course, kites or tops are played
with by children as in the West, but there is one particular method of
flying special kites which is indulged in by grown-up men. It is done in
Nagasaki. The kites are made in a particular shape so that a slight pull
or loosening of the line makes a rapid movement, and if one pulls when
the kite is not in the right position it falls to the ground with
lightning-like rapidity. It requires great skill to manage, and
therefore cannot be done by mere boys. Those kites are well known by the
name of Nagasaki kites. In that town people fly them in a certain season
of the year, making the kites fight one against the other high up in the
air. The method is as follows: A certain portion of the line is gummed
over with a mixture containing fine particles of glass, so that it would
cut another line which might come in contact with it. A skilful flier
manages his kite in such a way that his line will cut the line of others
without hurting his own, and, therefore, during the competition all the
kites are making rapid movements to and fro high up in the air. In
recent years Nagasaki men, a large number of whom are residents in
Tokio, have instituted a display of kite-flying of their method. The
performance takes place on a certain day in spring in a suburban park of
the capital.

'But to return to the subject of the pastimes of the Japanese gentry in
general. Some are fond of handling Kakemono. Some are fond of collecting
old curios. There are, therefore, a far greater number of curiosity
shops in Japan than in any other country. Some are fond of performing
orthodox tea ceremonies, but by far the greater number are fond of
playing at the game of "go," and "Japanese chess."'

--'What are they like?'

'"Go" is a game which you have not in the West. Our chess is different
from yours, but the principle is similar. With us "go" is considered
more refined than chess, and in consequence "go" is more generally
played by the upper classes, and chess by the lower classes. In such
games, ours seem to be more scientific and complicated than those in the
West. I do not like to appear to boast of our own "things," but my
conviction, founded on fact, enforces me to tell the truth.

'I will begin with "chess." In all parts of the world the game of chess
exists in some form or other. They must have descended from a common
origin: we profess to have derived our game from China. It seems there
have been several kinds of chess in China. In Japan also there were
three kinds in earlier days--the great, the middle, and the ordinary.
The last is the one which has survived and has become a national game.
Many improvements have been made since its introduction into Japan, so
that it now differs considerably from that of China. We all know of
improvements which have been made on the Western guns and rifles,
because they belong to our own day: but we do not know when and by whom
the improvements in chess were made. It is said, until some hundred
years ago, there was an extra piece on either side called the "drunken
elephant," having almost omnipotent power--I suppose something like your
"queen." The experts of that time agreed that the problems of the game
would become much more interesting without that particular piece,
because its omnipotency overshadowed the action of other figures, and it
was accordingly abolished by Imperial sanction. We consider our game
more scientific and complicated than any other of the kind. A single
fact will go far to demonstrate my assertion. Bring together at random a
number of ordinary Japanese chess players and the same number of
ordinary European players. Let the movements of the "men" of the
European chess be shown to the Japanese, and let the Europeans and the
Japanese play the European chess, you may be sure that after the second
game, the Japanese will be on the winning side. When I was staying at
Munich over twenty years ago, I learned the European moves from a lad
living in the next flat; after the second game I won continually, and
the lad gave up in despair. Mind, I am not at all a good player as I
play rarely, and, when I do play, I prefer to play "go." On the way to
Europe last year, I played European chess on board the mail steamer,
learning again the movements of the figures, which I had not practised
since my Munich days. After one or two games, I became one of the best
players among the passengers. This was not the case with me only, for
there were several other Japanese on board, and they also became
excellent players. The same is the experience of all the Japanese

--'What is the reason of that?' asked one of those present.

--'Because ours is much more complicated than yours. The only danger we
have to watch against when we play your game is to be caught in an
unguarded moment by a movement which is foreign to us. I mean, for
instance, your knights move sidewards or backwards, and we are often
caught by it, because our knights move only forwards.'

--'But what do you mean by saying, your chess being more complicated?'
asked another.

--'I will only outline the reason, for it is impossible to demonstrate
it in the short space of a _Summer Dream_.'


--'Well, I mean to say that it would take a long time were I to describe
it in detail, but listen: In the first place, the squares of our boards
are nine by nine, therefore there are seventeen more squares than yours:
the number of our men are twenty in all on each side, two rows of nine
each, and two extra, and, therefore, four more men than yours on each
side. Then, again, in your game, when you take one of your opponent's
pieces, you put it aside and never make any use of it except under one
particular circumstance, which I need not describe. With ours, however,
either side of the players can make use of any of the captured pieces of
his opponent and add them to his own men, at any time and place, and
under any circumstance, provided that he brings them on to the board,
one at a time, in his turn of move.'

--'But how can you make any distinction between your own men and those
of your opponent, if you put down the opponent's men as your own?' said

'Well, we have no difference of colour between friends and foes and our
men are made flat _ab initio_, and are laid on the squares with their
heads turned towards the enemy, so that one can easily distinguish
friends from foes by the position in which they are placed.'

--'How can you turn the head towards the enemy?' asked one.

--'By the head, I do not mean the head and tail you use when tossing.
Our men are made in such a way that one of the four sides has a
projected part; and that side is the head. In other words, the head does
not mean the flat surface, but rather one of the sides of a flat object.
Call it the top, if you prefer.'

--'I see,' said one.

--'The methods of making use of the captured men makes the whole play
much more intricate. As a rule, of course, if you take a man of your
opponent, possessing greater power, it is better than taking one
possessing less power, but this does not always follow, because
according to the vicissitudes of the game a man which has less power may
be utilised for some particular purpose to greater advantage than one of
greater power. This is the point in which our chess has far more
interest than yours. Then, again, in your chess one does not seek so
much to take a man of one's opponent as one does in our chess, because
with yours mere exchange of men is to be avoided as it does not affect
the relative force of either side, but with ours one often plays in such
a way as to capture a piece or two, even more, even though he loses
similar or identical men of his own, in the same process, because by the
cleverer use of the captured men a better issue can often be obtained.
Another peculiarity of our game is that, when a piece gets into the
third row, or beyond, of the squares on the opponent's side, the player
has the option of changing its power in certain ways. This is another
source of interest. But remember, this method differs from one which is
employed in your chess when a pawn gets into the last row of the squares
on the opponent's side. As a consequence of all this, you can easily see
that there cannot be such a result as a drawn game in our chess.'

--'Can you describe the kind of men and the moves of your chess?' asked

--'Oh, that would take too much time; but I will tell you an incident
connected with it. After a dinner party in England, I had some talk on
the subject with a bishop, who happened to be present. He asked me what
our "castles" (_tours_) were like. I answered we had no castle, because
we did not believe a castle could move about on land. We call our
corresponding figures "light chariots," or, more commonly, "lances." He
next asked me what our queen was like. I answered, we have no queen,
because we do not believe in the advisability of making a queen work
hard, not only harder than the king, but than all other subjects. You
may call it "keeping a woman in seclusion," but we think it respect and
consideration for the fair sex not to expose them to such a task as
fighting. We have two generals, between whom the power of your queen is
divided. One is called "diagonal dasher," and the other "flying
chariot." He then asked me what our bishops were like. I answered, we
have no bishop, because we do not consider it good taste to make a
venerable bishop fight a sanguinary battle, besides, the same moves with
which your "bishops" are empowered are bestowed on our "diagonal

--'You fabricate the story,' said one.

--'Not at all,' I answered. 'It was a true and genuine incident. In
fact, I do not think the names of most of your "men" very commendable.'

--'Well, then, what are your names, and how do you arrange the position
of the men at the commencement?' said another.

--'We place the king in the centre of the last row. We can do so
because our squares are nine and not eight, as yours. On each side of
the king we have the gold general, silver general, knight, and lancer
respectively. On the second square of the second row from the left we
have the diagonal dasher; and in the second square from the right in the
same row we have the flying chariot. The third row is allotted to the
pawns, which we call foot-soldiers,--the same signification as yours.
Thus you can see the starting position is entirely identical on both
sides, which is not the case with yours, because your squares being
eight, you cannot place the king in the very centre of the row.'

--'But how do you manage when a weaker hand plays with a stronger hand?'
interposed another.

--'Well, in that case, the stronger hand takes off one or more men from
the board at the beginning, just as you do, and thus equalises the
relative strength.'

--'What is "go"?'

--'It is a game which you have not, and, therefore, it is rather
difficult to describe, and it would not interest you much, if I
described it, because I could make no comparison. When I was in England
before, now many years ago, some people played a childish game called
"go-bang." The board and the pieces used are the same as our "go,"
though those I have seen in Europe are very simple and cheaply made. In
Japan they are rather expensive. The materials both of the board and
pieces are generally choice kinds of wood, and rare black stone and
shells, which make them expensive,--in fact, some people regard them as
an ornament for the room. The game, which is the same as your "go-bang,"
is also played by the name of "gomoku narabe," that is, placing five
pieces in a row. We call the board for "go" "go-ban," which literally
means the board for "go," and from that I conclude that your game of
"go-bang" came from Japan, only you have misapplied the appellation of
the board to the game. In Japan, it goes without saying, that game is
only fit for boys and girls, though occasionally some people show, even
in that game, great scientific skill. Unlike chess, the pieces of "go"
are placed on the top of the cross, and the end of the lines which mark
the board into squares. There are nineteen by nineteen of such spots,
and, therefore, there are three hundred and sixty-one black and white
pieces altogether, though in practice, the more skilful the players the
less the actual number of pieces used. From the simple fact of the
pieces being white and black, and having no difference of value, casual
observers might think the game of "go" does not possess so much interest
and variation as chess, but according to the opinion generally accepted,
there is much more in "go" than in "chess," though some who are more
partial to chess profess that there is a little more in chess than in
"go." At all events, there are more people who understand chess than
"go," because the latter is more difficult to learn. "Go" has also been
introduced to us from China in the earlier days of intercourse, more
than ten centuries ago, but no one knows the exact history of its
introduction. In Japan the game has undergone many changes. It is known
that the board used in China in ancient times contained a less number of
squares, but I am not sure if it had already the present number when
first introduced into Japan. It seems the present number of the squares
is most productive of all sorts of problems. In ancient times in China,
the black pieces were offered to the person who held a better social
position than the other, or to the stronger hand in case of a match
between those of equal position. This was so in the earlier stage of the
game in Japan, but later the white pieces came to be used uniformly by
the better player. The methods of starting, and the rules for equalising
the relative strength of the players at the beginning, and for counting,
have all undergone improvements. For three centuries there existed an
academy for "go," and also for "chess," under the superintendence of the
best players of the empire, who received certain annuities and personal
distinction from the central government in order to maintain the
interest in the games. Indeed, diplomas of different degrees were given
to champions, according to their deserts. The ceremony of the
competition by the best players was annually performed in the castle of
the Shogun. From this you can well imagine that we have had better
players in those games than in the country whence they were originally
derived. Great geniuses were occasionally produced. Since the
inauguration of the present Government, these institutions have
disappeared (though they still exist as private institutions), and the
positions of the best players, whatever their genius, are no longer
lucrative nor distinguished. I am not, therefore, sure if we can keep up
our former standard of skill. In all the games I have seen and heard of,
there is none which has so many degrees of skill as the game of "go."'

--'Are there no more games of a similar nature?'

--'There are several more, but mostly childish, and played by young
girls or children at certain seasons of the year, such as "poem cards."'

--'What is that?'

'The Japanese name for "poem cards" is _Uta-Karuta_. Strangely enough,
the term "Karuta" is not Japanese. It is of European derivation, being
the same as the word "Carta" (card in modern English). There had existed
poem shells before poem cards came into use. One half of a short poem
was written inside one half of a shell, and the other half of the poem
inside the other half, there being usually one hundred shells with
different poems written in them. The game was to find the one half of
the shell which belonged to the other. The shells were often richly
decorated, as one may see from the remnants of old ones. A little more
than three hundred years ago, when the Island of Hirado was the trading
port for Dutch and English vessels, the European traders brought with
them their cards with which they were in the habit of playing. The
Japanese who happened to see them seem to have thought that the shape of
those cards had some novelty and were more simple than their shells.
They, therefore, substituted cards for shells, and hence the original
name "Carta" came to be used by us. I will now explain the game of "poem
cards"; it is played at the time of the New Year, generally by young
girls. There are two sets of cards. One half of short poems is written
each separately on one set, and the other half is written in the same
manner on the other set as at poem shells. One set is either thrown in
the middle of the players or dealt out in equal numbers. While one
person is reading the first part of a poem, each of the players picks up
a card on which the other half of the same poem is written, or turns it
upside down, when the numbers are equally divided, as the case may be.
In the one method, whoever has picked up the most is the winner. In the
other, if one were slow in turning over her card and it were picked up
by another of the party, she would have as penalty a card from the one
who had picked hers up. Thus the one who has turned all her cards upside
down first would be the first winner, and one who has any cards left
unturned at the end, is the last loser.'

--'Surely you must have some kinds of cards played more seriously,' said

--'We have another game called "flower cards."'

--'What's that like?'

--'Well, the flower cards is a more difficult and serious game. In
times gone by no game of cards having any resemblance to gambling was
played among the gentry; moral discipline forbade such. Since the
introduction of European ideas, the rigidity of discipline has somewhat
slackened and cards are now played to some extent. Nevertheless, people
do not consider card-playing good taste. If they play they do so with
some diffidence, somewhat in a similar way as smoking is done by ladies
in European society nowadays. The "flower-cards" is a game thus played;
our name of it is _Hana-karuta_. The term "Karuta" is, as I said before,
of European derivation. The principle is taken from your cards, but so
altered and improved, that scarcely any similarity can be detected in
its present form. To begin with: the pictures represented on your whist
cards appear to us rather incongruous and vulgar; ours are more poetical
and consistent. With ours some significant objects of each month, mostly
flowers, such as the blossom of the cherry and plum, the iris, wisteria,
and peonies, are represented, variegated by birds, the moon, or falling
rain. There are four cards for each month, and, therefore, the number of
the cards is forty-eight in all. There is a different value assigned to
each card. Naturally there are several methods of playing the cards, as
is the case with your whist cards, but the method which is used most is
very intricate and interesting. I do not care for playing at cards, but
I know the methods. I am also acquainted with various European games
from whist to bridge as far as the methods are concerned, but none of
them equal in intricacy and variation our game of "flower cards," though
there is a certain resemblance between flower cards and bridge. But
please, I repeat, do not think I am saying all this from any sense of
vanity, because such a thing is scarcely worth boasting of; I am merely
stating a fact as I see it.'

--'What is, then, the method of playing?'

--'Well, to describe it in full would require at least a pamphlet, but
I will give you an outline of the game. The proper number of players
engaged at one time is three; the game can be played by two, but it is
as slow as playing dummy whist. The advantage of our game lies in that a
party could consist of up to six players. The limits of the players
engaged at a time, as I have just said, is three, and therefore the
number exceeding three is obliged to stand out for one game, namely, for
the play of one deal. But no particular person is obliged to stand out,
so that one must either be bought off or allowed to play by the
resignation of any other player, unless he himself prefers to stand out.
This takes place after the cards have been dealt. Here, therefore, comes
in much consideration and often "bluff." Naturally, each one plays for
himself and for his own advantage, therefore there is no partnership as
in whist; and yet in the course of playing one has often to form a sort
of alliance for a moment with a second player in order to prevent the
common calamity against the probable stratagem of the third player. I
may also add, that as each one plays on his own account, he has the
option of standing out for one game, as I have already indicated, in
which case, however, he has to pay a certain penalty. Should all players
but two thus stand out, those remaining two would play the game. One
deal sometimes finishes without any play at all, when all the players
but one throw up their hands and pay penalty rather than play with bad
cards, in which case, of course, the penalties go to the one who
remains. The penalty paid varies according to the relative positions of
the payers to the dealer, as well as the kinds of the six cards which
are thrown out on the table at the beginning of the game, and therefore
paying penalty and standing out from the play for one game requires much
consideration. The prices for buying up the surplus number of the
players also differ according to the six cards on the table and to the
cards the seller holds. Similar to bridge, certain rewards are given to
the player who holds certain sets of cards and also to the player who
gets in certain sets of cards. It is the latter point which requires, as
is natural, the greatest skill, inasmuch as one who aims at getting in
one such set loses much when he fails, and it often happens that while
he is striving to get in a certain set, another player gets in a far
better set; therefore one has often to sacrifice his own chance in order
to hinder an opponent. Twelve games make a rubber. The method of
counting the issue is as follows: Each player must have in his hand in
the case of quit one hundred and twenty points at the end of the rubber,
and therefore it would seem that each receives one hundred and twenty
points in counters at the beginning, but, as a matter of fact, he only
receives seventy-two points or sixty, as the players agree upon. The
counting in this game generally goes by dozens, though odd numbers also
come in. Thus counters are made of two kinds, one is a dozen points and
the other single points. The balance between the points which one
actually receives when starting and ten dozens which he has to make good
in his hand at the end of the rubber goes to the person who is the
greatest winner of the rubber, and therefore the more players, the
greater the rewards for the winner of the rubber. Of course it is most
difficult to play in such a way as just to quit oneself, because there
are so many tricks, and one often has to float a loan in the course of
the game, or in other words, to borrow a requisite number of counters
from the banker, which must be repaid at the end of the rubber.

'The "rain" cards are another source of fluctuation in the game, because
every one of them, whatever value it possess, may be counted as a single
point card somewhat similar to what you sometimes do with your aces. I
almost think the invention of your bridge is in some way based upon our
flower cards.'

--'It is dreadful: one could never get a clear idea only by hearing the
explanation. You have, after all, wasted your time in trying to make us
understand, though I asked you for the explanation,' said one cunningly.

'Thank you very much,' I said.

--'You say your social atmosphere in respect of such matters was far
better in times gone by,' said another.

--'I do,' I answered.

'But I hope it will not get worse.'

--'I hope so too,' I said, 'but the influence of Western civilisation is
so overwhelming.'

--'Pierre Loti's description of some of the features of Japanese society
is very fine from a literary point of view, but I understand it is not a
true representation. Is that your opinion too?' interposed another.

--'I have not read it, but from what I have heard, I can decidedly
answer in the affirmative. The main facts therein contained are nothing
else than exaggerated stories of exceptional incidents often practised
by foreigners themselves. Do you think we Japanese could not have the
same experience in the West if we liked? Nay, more: can you say that
similar incidents do not happen in some parts of the West? I don't
expect an answer. I shall be doing greater service to the West by
letting such a delicate subject drop.'

--'Perhaps you may think me a little abrupt,' remarked a gentleman; 'but
may I ask you rather a delicate question? People say that in Japan men
and women bathe together, and talk about it as a sign of immorality. Is
it a fact?'

--'Not exactly,' I answered; 'in public baths, in times gone by, both
sexes bathed together, but you must remember, even in those times, those
who went to public baths were people of the lower classes, for the
better classes always managed to have their own bathroom, and in Japan
houses having such bathrooms are very common. Moreover, even in those
days, there was nothing more indelicate in the matter of public baths
than a sea-bath by both sexes in occidental countries. I should like to
remind those who write about such matters of many customs in their own
countries to which they may be too much accustomed to perceive any
impropriety, but which appear very indelicate to the eyes of strangers.
I may go a step further: we are sometimes even astonished to notice that
the most indelicate performances--such that, if it were in Japan, would
not be permitted by the police to go on two minutes--are given, under
the name of dances or suchlike, and men and women of respectability go
and see them without showing the slightest embarrassment. I confess I
have personally seen some of these performances while visiting out of
curiosity different places of interest. But, in reality, there is no
necessity for me to set up such matters against our former customs of
public baths, because, for several decades, such bathing has been
forbidden, and every public bath has long since had one division for men
and another for women. Those who think that the former custom still
exists are mistaken, and are labouring under a false impression given by
travellers of former days.

'_Apropos_ of a bath, I prefer in a way our system, be it public or
private, to the ordinary Western method. With our system, a large space
of the floor of the bathroom is made either of wood or concrete, in such
a way that water may be poured on to it. There is, besides the main
bath, also a small tank containing fresh cold and warm water in separate
sections, so that one who bathes can make free use of the water, warm or
cold, both before getting into the bath and before dressing.'

--'I think, on the whole, I like your country,' said another. 'It seems
very different from what many people have represented it hitherto, but
you have not yet given us a comprehensive survey of your people, in
respect to social and moral organisation.'

--'I think I have done so often,' said I; 'but if you do not object, I
will do so once more by repeating to you the exact words of an interview
which I gave to a representative of the London press:

     '"You remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree?"
     said Baron Suyematsu, with a smile, to our representative. "Well,
     that is very often told to the children in the Japanese schools."

     'The distinguished Japanese statesman, who is at present in London,
     was explaining how the moral virtues, and especially patriotism and
     bravery in battle, are not merely considered desirable things in
     Japan, but are actively propagated in the schools and in the army.
     For, as Mr. Lyttelton, the Colonial Secretary, remarked to an
     audience last week, they teach patriotism in Japan.

     '"You see, there is no religious teaching in the public schools in
     Japan," said Baron Suyematsu; "but the teaching of morality
     occupies an important place in the curriculum. From the Western
     point of view it may seem difficult to teach morality without
     connecting it with religion, but we do it!"

     'This patriotic bravery, as one of the virtues, comes into the
     code. The teaching is based upon the Confucian ethics, and the
     "cleanness of conscience" which is the essence of Shintoism, the
     national religion of Japan.


     '"Then there is Bushido," said the baron, "which may be called the
     code of honour of Japanese knighthood. This Bushido had a tight
     grasp of the military class, which consisted of the retainers of
     feudal lords, who had not to work for their daily bread. These
     retainers were not rich, but they had something to live upon, and
     frugality was one of their virtues. Their only business was to do
     their duty to their lords, which meant in time of war to fight for
     them. But as for more than two centuries and a half the country had
     been at peace, and as the military class had no fields of ordinary
     occupation, they naturally gave their energies to intellectual
     pursuits side by side with military training. In a word, their
     business was to make themselves as much gentlemen as possible. Thus
     grew up a code of honour which was primarily founded upon military
     duty alone, but which later on was extended to the acquirement of
     gentlemanly conduct, and then to be a true gentleman, and loyal to
     their lords.

     '"After the opening of our country to other nations, there was a
     time when we seemed to lose the guiding influence of our old
     morals, for Confucianism lost its influence to some extent, and
     intercourse with strangers gave some shock to our old morality, and
     led our people to imagine that freedom from restraint and
     obligation was the characteristic of European ideals.

     '"It was at this juncture that the emperor issued an edict defining
     our ideal of morality. In accordance with his edict, the curriculum
     of the schools includes the teaching of morality, and the moral
     virtues are explained and expatiated upon in lectures and
     discourses. The teachers introduce sayings and maxims of great men
     of all nations.


     '"As I have told you, the story of George Washington is often
     quoted. Smiles's _Self-Help_ is often used, and I have no doubt
     Nelson's signal at Trafalgar. The principal examples are naturally
     the great heroes of our own country who served the emperor and
     Japan. In that way both boys and girls are imbued with the moral
     virtues, among which loyalty and patriotism are prominent.

     '"But this teaching is not limited to the schools. It is carried on
     in the barracks in the form of what we call 'spiritual education.'
     The aim is to make men capable of appreciating their duties as
     soldiers. This barrack teaching is in accordance with an edict
     issued by the emperor when universal military service was
     introduced, and it is based upon the moral virtues. We have no
     chaplains. The teaching is undertaken by the officers themselves as
     part of their regular duty, and they deliver exhortations in the

     '"But you must know that, man for man, Europeans recognise that
     Japanese are superior to Russians, and I am not surprised that that
     is said. In Japan education is universal, and there is scarcely a
     soldier who cannot read and write, or who has not had some kind of
     education. For that reason they ought to be intellectually superior
     to the Russians. And as we have universal service, all sorts of
     people are found in the ranks, without distinction of social
     position or vocation. In the barracks you find the son of a
     nobleman and the son of a coolie, and there is no aloofness between
     them. That makes the company so efficient.


     '"In the schools we not only have the national flag, but the boys
     are drilled in military manner. If the municipality can afford it,
     real arms are used in the higher grade schools. In the peers'
     school and many others they have regular firing manœuvres.

     '"It is not generally known, I suppose, that I was once an English
     volunteer?" said Baron Suyematsu, with a laugh at the recollection.
     "That was when I was at Cambridge. I joined the University Rifles."

     'As to Chinese soldiers, the baron said that the moral teaching of
     the Japanese army constituted one of the great differences between
     them. Then he pointed out that in China soldiers are rightly looked
     down upon, for they are recruited only from the worst classes, and
     respectable men will not enter the ranks.

     'Baron Suyematsu does not approve of the efforts of the Christian
     missionaries to discourage the national custom of committing
     suicide rather than be captured in battle, for he thinks the effect
     would be to lower the soldiers' high ideal of patriotism and

     '"There is all the difference," he said, "between wanton suicide
     and voluntarily sacrificing one's life for the honour of the
     nation. Our ideal is to die for one's country rather than bring
     upon her the disgrace of being taken by the enemy. What can be
     nobler than that? It is the same as being killed by the enemy. And
     the missionaries are trying to teach our soldiers that it is wrong.
     It is a great pity."'

--'But that only covers one phase, the method of your education,' said

--'True, but it covers a good deal!' I said. 'Do you think I can write a
big book on Japan at a moment's notice?'

--'Well, I will leave you alone then,' said he.

--'Every one of the Russian soldiers who returned wounded from the
battlefield, when asked the cause of their defeat, said that the
Russians were defeated because the Japanese soldiers were great scholars
compared to themselves. I have it on good authority,' interposed

--'Perhaps it looked like that to them,' I answered.


Some talk on superstition--A remark on earrings--Japanese troops after
the war; no fear of Chauvinism--Generals and officers--How the system of
the hereditary military service was abolished and the new system was
introduced--Its history--Japan after the war--Views given to the
American press--Mr. Seppings-Wright and his views on the Japanese
character--The Japanese navy and its history--Origin of the shipbuilding
yards--The difficulty of a thorough reform in China and Russia--How
Japan managed to bring about the consummation of the great reform--The
feudal system was a great help--Explanation of the Japanese feudal
system and the clans--The re-shuffling of the feudatories under the
Tokugawa régime--Difference of grandeur of the feudatories--Exceptional
formation of the Satsuma clan--Financial system of the Shogunate
--Finance of the Imperial Government at the beginning of the Great
Change--How the affairs of the governments of the feudatories were
wound up--The old system of taxation--Thorough reform--The old notion of
land tenure

I found myself once more in a very incongruous group of people whom I
had met on various occasions. I noticed a number of them engaged in a
lively conversation.

--'Ah! Monsieur A.,' said a lady, 'you are acquainted with many
Japanese, and have been in contact with them for many years, so that you
will be able to explain to me. Some say the Japanese are superstitious,
others again say they are not. Which do you think true?'

--'I have known,' said Monsieur A., 'some hundreds of the Japanese,
mostly young men, of course. They are extremely free from any sort of
bias or superstition. I have never known people so unbiassed and so
little superstitious.'

--'But,' said the lady, 'I have heard from a gentleman who was resident
in Japan for some years that there existed in that country some sort of
superstition. He told me, for example, that "some people disliked the
number "four," because _shi_, which is four in Japanese, means also
death, as far as the pronunciation is concerned. Consequently when, for
instance, one gives a tip, he would give either threepence or fivepence,
and not fourpence, even in the case where fourpence may be more
appropriate; in other words, either less or more, to avoid the number
four. And the same is generally the case when one makes a present of a
number of articles which are identical, unless they are two pairs; is
not that funny? In the whole world there can be nothing more natural
than numbers. No one can make the four cardinal points of the compass
less or more because he dislikes the number "four." The same reasoning
holds good with everything.'

--'I do not think,' answered Monsieur A., 'the superstition of four is
very widely believed in. But what do you say to our dislike for the
number thirteen.'

--'But,' said she, 'that is a different matter. That originated with

--'Is it so?' said Monsieur A. 'I wouldn't dispute it. But let me tell
you an incident I met with some time ago. I was present at a meeting of
a literary association. There was a good deal of conversation on the
subject of the superstition of less civilised peoples. At the
refreshment-table I had to sit next an elderly lady. I placed,
accidentally or not I don't remember, my knife and fork crosswise. The
lady immediately noticed this, and told me quickly to alter them. I
remarked that the dislike of that position of knife and fork was perhaps
also a sort of superstition, whereupon the lady told me that it was not
a superstition, but a tradition, and therefore it differed very much
from the superstitions practised by less civilised peoples.'

--'She was right, of course,' said the lady.

--'Well, I can scarcely see any difference,' observed Monsieur A.

--'I can tell you another incident,' remarked a different gentleman.
'When an occidental missionary was once telling some women of savage
tribes that their wearing rings in their noses was barbarous and
unhealthy, he was asked by them how it was that his wife and daughters
were wearing rings in their ears, and he had great difficulty in
explaining to them that the method adopted by the civilised races for
wearing rings in their ears was very different from their wearing rings
in the nose.'

--'Oh!' exclaimed some ladies.

--'But stay,' said another, 'let us have some more serious talk. I wish
to ask Baron Suyematsu his opinion on a few important points of which I
am anxious to be informed.'

Turning to me, he said:

--'I do not entertain any wild notion of the "Yellow Peril" cry. One
thing is certain, however, that your country has been winning all this
time brilliant victories unprecedented in history, and there is no doubt
that your success will continue to the end of the war. Don't you think
after the fighting is over your army will become chauvinistic, or, in
plain language, unruly, and constantly ready to pick quarrels with
foreign countries.'

--'I do not think so,' I answered. 'In the first place, the discipline
of our men is very good, and they are most orderly and obedient to the
emperor and his government. Then, too, the very nature of the
organisation of our troops makes such matters differ greatly from
hereditary troops or volunteers of long service. You see by the
universal system, which we have adopted, men serve in the ranks only for
a limited time, and therefore in the course of a few years the old
soldiers retire, and go back to their original avocations in the country
or the town, as the case may be, and the new ones fill their places.
While the newcomers would be inspired by the traditions of their
regiments, they could not, at the same time, be personally bombastic on
account of the deeds of their predecessors.'

--'But what of the generals and officers?'

--'Of them I entertain no fear of their becoming jingoes. After having
undergone all the hard work, and having achieved many brilliant
victories, it is only natural that generals and other officers, indeed
the army itself, should win greater popularity and higher estimation in
the people's minds, and it is possible that their weight may be felt
indirectly in internal politics. But it would never go so far as to make
any difference in our external relations with foreign countries. As a
matter of fact, our generals and officers are as little inclined to
meddle with general politics as they are intent on fulfilling their
professional duties. Above all, as I have so often said, it is a great
misconception on the part of some Occidentals to suppose the Japanese at
large to be an aggressive and bellicose nation.'

--'Your army is now organised under the universal service system,' said
another. 'Before the present Imperial régime came into existence you
had, as I understand, a very deep-rooted hereditary system of military
service. It must have been very difficult to abolish the old and
substitute the new. Your Bushi were regarded as the flower of the land,
and surely it was a most bold conception to substitute sons of peasants
and tradesmen in their place, and to believe they would do service
equally well, or better. Your statesmen must have had strong convictions
to induce them to make such a radical change as the new régime. Please
let us have some explanation on that point.'

--'Well, roughly speaking,' I replied, 'I can only say that it was an
outcome of the changed conditions of the time, but there were, of
course, some circumstances which facilitated its formation. The Samurai,
our hereditary military class, was the pick of the Japanese population,
more refined and more intellectual than any other. Nevertheless, the
long-continued peace and the effects of inheriting their occupation made
them somewhat inclined towards effeminacy--in other words, less martial
than their ancestors. Besides, as I have explained elsewhere, the
hereditary military system has one very weak point. Such shortcomings as
these were already felt before the inauguration of the new régime, and
it was noticed that the best soldiers who engaged in battles before the
Restoration were those organised under methods differing from the old
system. Let me explain it more in detail. Chosiu was the clan which
fought more battles than any other. The Chosiu troops which fought best
were different kinds of voluntary regiments, consisting of bands of
adventurous young men enlisted from the lowest classes of Samurai, as
well as peasants and tradesmen. There was even a band which consisted of
Yeta, who were afterwards emancipated and became new commoners, as I
have explained elsewhere. At the time when an internal dissension broke
out in Chosiu and its government was overthrown by the more radical
elements under the leadership of such men as Takasugi, Kawasé, Ito,
Yamagata, Inouyé and others, it was those voluntary bands just mentioned
that sided with them against the troops of the government, who mostly
belonged to the higher classes of the hereditary military families.
Shortly after that event Kido, who was a participator of the same idea
and the Senior of those men, had returned to Chosiu after an absence of
about ten months as a fugitive, and had become the moving spirit of
Chosiu. It was just at the time when Chosiu was on the eve of being
surrounded a second time by the Shogunate troops, and it was a very
critical period for the Chosiu, who had to make every preparation for
fighting against great odds. At Kido's recommendation, Murata was
intrusted by the prince to organise in the European style all the troops
of Chosiu, including those bands. Murata (who afterwards changed his
name into Omura) was originally a medical student, and had studied the
Dutch language and subsequently the Dutch military system. In the early
days of the new Imperial régime he occupied a high post in the Imperial
Army Department, and his bronze statue is standing high in Tokio, before
the shrine of warriors. But to return to my subject. Chosiu defeated the
Shogunate troops on all sides. Thus in Chosiu the weakness of the
hereditary military system had been practically seen very early. Most of
the Shogunate troops were organised according to the old system of the
Middle Ages. Many of them, being clad in heavy armour, were no match for
the Chosiu troops with their light equipments. On the Shogunate side
there were also some regiments which fought well, but they were those
which had been organised and drilled after the European style. In that
war, and the subsequent ones, it was well known that the best troops on
the anti-imperialist side were also those which had been organised
something like volunteer regiments and drilled after the European
system. These facts will show that even before the Restoration the
credit of the hereditary military system had already considerably
declined. Marshal Yamagata was originally a person belonging to an
insignificant class of the Chosiu Samurai, and was the leader of the
most powerful band of Chosiu I have just mentioned. You may well imagine
that he would not be a man to advocate the continuation of the
hereditary military system. The introduction of the system of universal
service founded upon the European Continental system is due to him.'

--'That goes a long way to explain the matter,' said one.

--'But do you conscientiously believe,' said another, 'that Japan will
not suffer from "swollen head," and will continue to have sufficient
control of herself?'

--'I do. Why not? I know it. No sooner had I landed on the American soil
last year, having left Japan immediately after the outbreak of the war,
than I gave my views to the American press on the then existing
situation, as well as on our probable future, showing the true motives
and aspirations of my country. They were widely circulated. My meaning
was identical in every case, though the words and matters touched upon
were not necessarily identical. I will recite you one specimen which was
then published in an American weekly.

     'As to our fight with Russia, we are as able to meet her army on
     land as we are her fleets on the sea. We have just the same
     confidence in our army as in the navy. But we would be very sorry
     to be regarded by the world as only fighting men. We have been for
     many years striving for the assimilation of everything materially
     and mentally good that belongs to the best type of the American and
     European civilisation. We aspire to be a nation, but our endeavour
     for the realisation of that idea is based on a larger peaceful
     acquisition of intellectual culture. We have no ambition for
     territorial aggrandisement. We have not the least idea of making
     any difference on account of race. We desire to govern ourselves
     and advance in the world in peace--not to conquer and tyrannise
     over another people. We come into the comity of nations, but that
     entirely on the occidental basis of civilisation. Some people speak
     of us as pagan, but the conscience of the people is perfectly free
     in our country, and it is guaranteed by our constitution. We
     believe in toleration and absolute liberty of religious conviction,
     and I may safely say that religion is many times freer in our
     country than it is in the country which is now our foe. We are
     disposed to be, and earnestly wish and strive to be, liberal and
     tolerant in all things. This fact, I am glad to see, is already so
     widely recognised by those Americans and Europeans who are
     connected with and know about such matters. We hope to advance to
     that place in the world where our beautiful little country will be
     a leader among the nations of the world in science, industry, arts,
     and intellectual achievements, and an example of peace and harmony
     towards all races, all nations, and all men.

--'I still hold the same views. I have no reason to fear that I shall
have to change them after the war. It might perhaps be more interesting
and convincing if you were to see what some people, other than
ourselves, who are capable of giving an idea on the point, say. Mr.
Seppings Wright, an English ex-naval officer and an artist, is one. He
was on board one or other of the ships of Admiral Togo's fleet for many
months under exceptional circumstances. He returned to England quite
recently. An interesting interview with him was published in a recent
number of the English press. Here is the part bearing on the subject:


     '"I gather that you formed a very high opinion of the Japanese

     '"They are," said Mr. Seppings-Wright, with animation, "the most
     wonderful people in the world. I make no exception. Neither the
     statesmen nor the peoples of Europe have yet learned to estimate
     the Japanese at their true value. They are destined to play a
     magnificent rôle in the future development of the world. At present
     people are talking of their courage, their great military
     qualities. These are, indeed, now sufficiently self-evident. I rate
     the Japanese army above any other army in the world. As for the
     navy, I cannot use language too strong to express my admiration for
     it. Yet what most impressed me was not the personal bravery of the
     Japanese soldier and sailor, or the splendid organisation of their
     naval and military forces, it was the character of the
     people--their unique simplicity, their chivalrous courtesy, their
     kindness of heart, their sweetness of disposition, their
     unaggressiveness. They have none of the lust of conquest for
     conquest's sake. They have never fought save to protect their
     territory or their vital interests--but they have never been
     beaten. Chinese, Koreans, and now Russians--they have resisted all,
     and beaten all in turn; and now that they have proved their right
     to be regarded as one of the Great Powers of the world, their
     influence will, I am convinced, be all on the side of peace and
     peaceful development."

     '"You make the Japanese out to be a new variety of the human race?"

     '"No, not a new variety--an old variety--a variety untainted by the
     commercialism of European civilisation. They have not yet learned
     the creed of individualism--of every man for himself. They will lay
     down their lives cheerfully and willingly for their country--for
     their emperor, who is almost a god in their eyes, since he embodies
     their fatherland. What new traits they may develop I cannot pretend
     to say."


     '"It would be strange," I interrupted, "if, after the unbroken
     series of victories they have won on land and sea, they did not
     develop some symptom of 'swelled head'?"

     --'I saw not the slightest sign of that. Very rarely you see even
     incipient symptoms in an individual. Their great successes have not
     apparently turned their heads in the least. They began this war in
     the most absolute confidence of victory. They can, if need be, do
     much more than they have done. No one knows the number of men Oyama
     has in Manchuria--no one, that is, outside the Government and the
     Headquarters' Staff.'"

--'Of the navy,' said another, 'it is truly amazing that you should
have such an efficient one, which you have built up in the course of no
more than two or three decades. Assiduous and energetic as you must have
been, there must have been some other circumstances which have helped
you in arriving at that result, or at least I cannot think otherwise
when I reflect calmly on the matter.'

--'Your views are not far from fact,' I answered. 'It would be
certainly amazing if a people who had only known perhaps canoes in a
small stream, having no seafaring experience or tradition, built up a
new navy as we have done. Many people have carelessly looked upon Japan
as such, hence the misconception. Japan abounds in history and
traditions of the sea from the dawn of her history. Our fleets often
made distant expeditions, and fought battles far out of our own waters.
The ships were, no doubt, rude and primitive compared with the modern
ones. From the model of a warship made about three hundred years ago,
which I have seen in a temple not far from Tokio, I think that our ships
of those days were not much inferior to those of the West of a
corresponding time. From the period when foreign intercourse was
suspended, the construction of large ships was prohibited, be it a
warship or a merchantman. The country was in perfect peace, and the navy
was in use even less than the army, and this, therefore, is why such an
enormous difference between the European system and ours had come into
existence. Nevertheless, some feudal lords whose seats were situated on
the sea-coast had a certain number of retainers specially destined for
seafaring purposes. And, moreover, Japan being a country surrounded by
the sea on all sides, merchantmen and fishing boats, rude as they were,
were abundant; hence the stock of sailors has never been wanting. With
the new advent of the Western nations to the Far East some fifty years
ago, with their "black ships," the country awoke to the necessity of
having strong ships, and the Shogunate, jealous as it was in the
ascendency of the feudal lords, abolished the prohibition against
building large ships. Towards the later years of the Shogunate it
possessed a small but creditable navy in the European style. Many feudal
lords also possessed some kind of Western ships, several of them
possessing eight or nine ships. Of course, many of these ships were only
corvettes, or schooners, or ordinary commercial steamers, but they were
all used by those lords and manned chiefly by their retainers, and were
called their navy. They differed from ordinary merchantmen. These ships
were mostly bought from Western merchants; a few were the presents of
the Western monarchs to the Shogun; some were constructed in Japan. The
earliest steamship constructed in Japan was a steam-launch built about
1862 in the province of Ise for the Prince of Chosiu. It was navigated
from there to Hagi, the old capital of Chosiu, on the coast of the Japan
Sea. I do not know what became of it after that, but the fact that it
navigated that distance would show that the Japanese were already
gaining some capacity for building steamships after the European style.
When the Shogun submitted to the Imperial order and vacated the castle
of Tokio, the navy of the Shogunate, declining to share the fate of the
Shogun, raised anchor and fled to Hakodate under the leadership of
Yenomoto. Several of the best ships were lost by storm and some in
fighting, and practically no ship was left of the revolting fleets. With
the submission of Yenomoto and his participators, the country regained a
complete peace. Then began the construction of the new navy. The feudal
lords presented to the Imperial government their ships, most of which
had already done their service during the preceding war. Most of the
officers and sailors took service under the Imperial government just as
they were. Many men who were engaged in naval affairs under the
Shogunate were given suitable positions under the new government; even
Yenomoto, the chief of the rebel fleet, was made an admiral after he had
been pardoned. The navy being more expensive in every way than the army,
we had more difficulty in its development; but in one way or another the
Imperial government has exerted its energy until we have obtained the
navy of the present moment. It has required much patience and ingenuity
from both technical and political points of view, but somehow or other
we have managed so far. I may add a few words more. In the early days of
the Imperial government a large number of English naval officers were
engaged by our government, who did much service in the organisation of
our navy, for which we feel much indebtedness. I may also add that later
on Monsieur Bertin of France, whom we have engaged for some years, has
also done much service in the matter.'

--'You now have several shipbuilding yards, both governmental and
private,' said one, 'and you can construct big ships yourselves. How was
it brought about at first?'

--'Yokosuka is our oldest dockyard. It was begun when the Shogunate was
already tottering. Oguri, an able man, was the finance minister of the
Shogunate at the time. It was due to his efforts that the Yokosuka
dockyard was constructed. It is said Oguri told his friend one day,
"When one becomes a bankrupt it is desirable he should leave behind a
Dozo, so Yokosuka will be the Dozo of the Shogunate when it comes to an
end." "Dozo" is the name for a storehouse, constructed very solidly;
with us almost every house, excepting those of the lower classes, has
one or more such buildings, and it was considered an additional disgrace
to a man of better class if he became a bankrupt without any such
storehouse for the creditors. Oguri evidently foresaw the downfall of
the Shogunate, and yet ordered the construction of the dockyard, so that
it would be useful for the future rulers of Japan. Such is the early
history of our dockyards on the European style, which has expanded
itself in the course of time, so that we now have several shipbuilding
yards, as you know.'

--'What do you say about the future of China?' said another. 'Don't you
think she will also renovate herself like your country and become a
formidable power.'

--'She may do so,' I answered, 'in one way or other in the course of
time, but I do not think a sudden and thorough transformation of the
kind that has taken place in Japan is possible in China. I do not think
it is possible even in Russia, where so much movement for internal
reform is going on. To begin with, they have no feudal system in

--'That sounds very odd,' said he: 'I must be enlightened on the point.'

--'Well, Japan has been swayed by a feudal system before the great
change of the present régime. That fact helped our success to an extent
that one cannot easily imagine. Of course, there was a possibility of
procrastination of the old system, if the reform movements had
miscarried; but when the winds blew in the right direction, that very
fact became the most important factor in conveying our ship of state to
the harbour where it wished to go. To explain in less metaphorical
language: the introduction of a great political reform in a country
against an existing government is most difficult. A revolution with a
tremendous force like that of France must be regarded as an exceptional
case, but ordinary revolutionists seldom succeed in overthrowing
existing governments and introducing better and more progressive ones on
a firmer basis. When, on the other hand, the existing government is only
obliged to introduce some reform by external influence, the reform it
introduces cannot be very radical and thorough. With our great movements
previous to 1867 the matter was taken up by several powerful feudal
lords. Naturally, there had been several precursory movements against
the Shogunate by the bands of zealous patriots gathered here and there,
but the Shogunate had no difficulty in suppressing them. The revolt
against the Shogunate became grave only when some powerful feudal lords
with their clans assumed an antagonistic attitude. As you know, our
clans were, in fact, autonomic principalities, as far as our own country
was concerned, and therefore, when a prince and his government decided
to take a certain step in one way or other, it was an act of state,
however small it may have been, and not the act of a gathering of
private individuals. It follows, therefore, that when a great feudal
lord became an open enemy of the Shogunate, his opposition was an
organised power. When, therefore, Chosiu took up the cudgels against the
Shogunate, the latter found a formidable foe; and when, further, Satsuma
and others began to sympathise with Chosiu, the Shogunate began to
totter, and in the course of a few years came to an end. If it had not
been on account of the existence of a feudal system, such phenomenal
change would have been most difficult. Of course, there were several
other causes which gave facility to that great change. The system of the
Shogunate had existed in Japan over seven hundred years, but the family
which held in its hands the authority of the Shogun changed from time to
time. The family which ruled Japan as Shogun for the longest time before
the Tokugawa, viz. the last Shogunate, was the Ashikaga family, which
lasted two hundred and forty years, with sixteen Shoguns in succession.
Next to the Ashikaga family was the Hojio family, which, though not
actual Shoguns, exercised the actual power of the Shogunate for one
hundred and thirty-four years, with nine representatives in succession.
Now Tokugawa lasted as Shogun two hundred and sixty-four years, with
fifteen Shoguns; therefore Tokugawa ruled as the Shogunate longer than
any other family. In the natural course of events popular imagination
had already begun to think, that the time was approaching for Tokugawa
to cease to be the Shogunate.

'Then, again, public opinion and sentiment were fast growing in favour
of the restoration of the Imperial authority. It was a perfectly
legitimate movement; it differed very widely from those cries which are
generally raised in other countries at the time of revolution by the
lower classes, based on the mere dissatisfaction of the conditions of
existence. Add to this the great shock given by the advent to the
country of the Western black ships one after the other. It was
sufficient to stir up the heart and soul of the whole nation, and to
prepare the way for any change or reform, provided they were good for
the preservation of self-existence. Such was the tide which occasioned
the convulsion of the Japanese, previous to the great change of 1867. No
country, neither China nor Russia, would ever get such a splendid
opportunity as this for a radical and thorough reform.

'Then again, the fact that the Imperial court had existed, and yet had
had no intricate organisation, was also a great help in assisting the
completion of the task. Because the Imperial court had existed, and that
too from time immemorial, and it had always commanded the greatest
possible reverence of the people, all the new movements knew where to
rally; and because the court had not an intricate and crystallised
organisation before the restoration, as the administrative government of
the country, the tablet was almost blank, so that nearly all
institutions could be introduced with greater facility than they would
have been otherwise, the only requirements being the capacity and
forethought with which the matter was to be executed.'

--'Viewed in the light you have just represented to us,' said another,
'the prospects appear to have been very bright; but there must have been
a great danger of the matter miscarrying, and the anxiety felt by
responsible statesmen must have been very great.'

--'Certainly it was so. But we were very fortunate. Patriotism and
loyalty went far to do the greater part of the work. Suppose the
different princes and their clans had been more selfish, and had begun
to quarrel among themselves, perhaps with some latent intention of
placing themselves in the position of the Shogunate, the country would
have indeed fared very badly, and great hindrance would have been placed
in the path of reform. In that respect, however, the two most powerful
clans, Satsuma and Chosiu, who had the best rights to covet the
Shogunate, if such a right were permissible at all, were determined
above all others not to embark on such an enterprise. Their princes and
statesmen all directed their whole energies to the revivification and
consolidation of the Imperial authority. Satsuma and Chosiu being so
disposed, all others had to follow their examples. Indeed, they had no
thought of doing otherwise.'

--'It was the general spirit of the time,' said one, 'but in what way
was the new Imperial government organised, and how did it begin to work?
Surely the spirit of the time cannot work itself out alone; political
wisdom must have played a great part in leading that spirit to the right

--'When the last Shogun resigned his authority,' I continued, 'the
Imperial government on a new and firmer basis was immediately organised.
In it were gathered the ablest men of the empire from all sources. Able
court nobles, able feudal lords, and able Samurai of different clans,
were all given suitable places side by side. There were many court
nobles, with Sanjio and Iwakura at their head, who had done much in
bringing about the great change. The Imperial court before the change
had no military power, as you know, but the court, including the nobles,
always stood in high social estimation. For that reason, as well as for
their personal distinction, they were given high places in different
branches of the government. Side by side with them, several feudal
lords, who were endowed with personal ability, were also given high
positions. After them came distinguished Samurai of different clans, to
whom various positions, high and low, were assigned, according to their
fame and ability. At that time there existed two appellations
designating those Samurai who became officials of the Imperial
government: Choshi (summoned Samurai) and Koshi (tributed Samurai)--the
former meaning those Samurai who were specially summoned by the emperor
to serve in his government; the latter meaning those who were taken into
the Imperial service at the recommendation of the feudal lord, whose
retainers they had been. Thus you can see the intelligence and ability
of the different clans were gathered together around the Imperial
throne, beneath which all of them, court nobles, feudal lords, and
ordinary Samurai, worked together for the common good of the empire, a
sight never seen before. Such disinterestedness and such avidity for
ability were subsequently extended even to the men of those clans and of
the fleet who had fought against the Imperialists.'

--'Very fine,' said one; 'but I should think it must have been very
difficult for them to get on well together.'

--'True,' I answered; 'but when men with a vital common aim work
together, putting aside self-interests, they can achieve great things.
Besides, there was a centre of gravity in the political force, resulting
from a combination of the preponderant influences of Satcho, viz.
Satsuma and Chosiu. That centre of gravity acted the part of a pendulum
or regulator in the new government, and kept all the forces working in
unison. You know already that the Satcho were two powerful clans which
were the chief factors in bringing about the Great Change. In addition
to their natural claim to influence, they produced men of ability, far
greater in number than any other clans. Naturally, therefore, Satcho men
occupied more important positions than men of other clans. Next to
Satcho, the clan having similar influence was Tosa. Next to Tosa, Saga
came to share influence under the new government. Satcho kept their
mutual harmony well together, and Tosa and Saga joined in the concert.
There could be no other clans able to beat their own drums separately.
Of course there was a possibility of the Satcho themselves coming into
conflict, but for that the statesmen of the clans in question understood
each other, and each felt a great responsibility, and accordingly did
their best not to produce any discord between them. The chief
representative of the Chosiu statesmen was Kido, whilst there were two
such on the side of Satsuma, Saigo the elder, and Okubo. These three
were popularly called the three great men of the restoration. The types
of Okubo and Saigo somewhat differed one from the other, for Saigo,
unlike Okubo, was more of a soldier, and represented more the military
elements of Satsuma, and therefore we may say that the reins of
statesmanship in the new government, as represented by the Satcho, were
in the hands of Kido and Okubo. It was chiefly through their efforts
that the abolition of the feudal system was ultimately brought about.'

'That part of your history,' said one, 'is a most important and
interesting point for us to know. Let us be further enlightened by some
of your own observations.'

'Well, the inauguration of the Imperial régime took place in 1867. In
the course of a few years a disinterested opinion was mooted and soon
spread amongst the lords themselves to the effect that, now that the
Shogun had resigned his function and had restored his administrative
authority to the Imperial government, it also behoved the lords of all
the clans similarly to resign and to give up to the Imperial court the
administrative authority of their clan governments, together with the
lands and people they governed. With such reasoning all the feudal
lords, headed by the lords of Satcho, vied one with another in
voluntarily taking that step. The offer was accepted, and the lords were
duly nominated the governors of the different clans. Thus the nature of
the position of the lords was changed. They now became mere officials
appointed by the new Imperial government, and delegated to carry out its
administrative measures. This was an event which took place in 1869. In
the course of another few years, viz. in 1871, the clan system was
finally abolished, and the prefecture system was introduced in its
place. The former lords were ordered by the emperor to reside near him
in the capital, and new governors were nominated in their places,
chiefly from amongst the Samurai, who were already in the government
service. Of course those perfectural governments were newly organised,
with suitable subordinates nominated either from amongst those who were
already in government service, or from amongst local celebrities. Thus
was abolished our feudal system without any murmur.'

--'That is the official history,' said one, 'but there must be also some
inner history which you know of in connection with it.'

--'Well,' I answered, 'the new Imperial government was inaugurated as
you have already seen. It had no regular revenue as yet; it had neither
army nor navy properly belonging to it. Okubo was planning a scheme for
Satsuma, by which a portion of its revenue or territory was to be given
up to the Imperial government, and that other clans might also be
induced to follow the example. Simultaneously with Okubo, Kido was also
meditating a project for making the new Imperial administration
effective. He schemed the total abolition of the feudal system, the
initiation of the idea having been impressed on him by Ito. He returned
from Kioto to Chosiu, and presented his views to the Prince of Chosiu,
who being a person of extreme loyalty, willingly gave his assent to
Kido's proposal. On the return of Kido to Kioto, Okubo gave up his own
plan and immediately accepted that of Kido. The matter having been thus
agreed upon between the two most influential statesmen, it soon became a
question of practical politics, and was successfully carried into effect
in no time, as I have already told you.'

--'Can you give me,' said one, 'some idea of the clans of the Japanese
feudal system? You make use of that word, as do other writers on Japan,
but to me, somehow or other, it does not appear to give a clear idea.'

'The word "clan,"' I replied, 'which is used in place of the Japanese
word "Han," does not convey the exact meaning, as you imagine. The word
"clan" in English signifies "men," whereas our word "Han" signifies more
"a territorial community with its government," including lands and
population, somewhat in the same sense as the word "principality" or
"duchy." Then, too, the word "clan," strictly speaking, implies the
meaning of a collection of families bearing the same surname, and
supposed to have descended from a common ancestor, but with our word
"Han" no such meaning is implied in the word itself. Every feudal lord
of Japan had a large number of retainers, and it was natural that a
certain number among them were descended from the same ancestors as the
lord himself; but those were, after all, in a very small minority, and
the overwhelming number were in nowise connected with their lord, as far
as blood relationship was concerned. Thus, you can see, the word "clan"
does not represent the exact meaning of the word "Han." The technical
term for the acts of giving up and restoring the clan governments to the
Imperial government was "Han-seki Hokwan," which meant "restoring the
Han records," whereby the giving up of the territory and its population
was implied.'

--'I see the difference between the term "clan" and the term "Han,"'
said one, 'but I wish to know something more about the process by which
the "Han" came to be formed.'

--'That question requires a long answer, because to explain in detail
would amount to writing a history of the feudal system of Japan, but I
will give you a succinct answer. Feudal lords originally were local
celebrities, with some landed property and retainers. In the sixteenth
century the country had reached the height of disorder: it was then that
countless warriors appeared in the arena, all fighting their way to
distinction, some on their own account, and some under the leadership of
greater men. The leaders as they became greater had to enlist more
followers, and the greater of those followers had in turn to enlist
their own followers. These followers were generally enlisted from all
sources, some being fortunate sons of mere peasants, some being
masterless fighters of a former lord, whose house had become extinct,
either through war, or from some other reason. Those who offered service
and those who accepted it necessarily entered upon a new relationship of
master and servant. The best example of this was the famous Hideyoshi
and his followers. Of course, there were many who had better antecedents
and pedigrees, but the process by which the cadre of their military
organisation had become enlarged was similar. After the country had
returned to its normal condition of peace, and those leaders became
feudal lords, those followers, viz. retainers, formed their cadre of
Samurai. Each lord established his government in his province, to govern
the land and people under his authority, and the executive officials
were appointed by him from amongst those retainers. All those feudal
governments enjoyed autonomy, subject to the general control of the
central government of the Shogun. There were also several feudal lords
who were made such by virtue of their close relationship with the
Shogun, or for their distinguished services, other than military, but
the method by which their government and military cadre were formed was
much the same. I may add that the word "Han" was originally Chinese, and
its literal meaning is a "fence." It was used figuratively to signify an
idea of protection or defence, as a fence serves to protect a house, for
the central government against external aggressors.'

--'That explains very clearly,' said one, 'the difference between your
"Han" and the Western "clans," but I should like to know more about the
evolution of your feudal system from its earliest stage.'

--'Very well,' I answered, 'under the ancient Imperial régime, local
governors were despatched from the central government. Imperial guards
were taken from amongst the provincial youth, there were also several
military stations, at different strategic points of the country; the
soldiers having been similarly taken from the neighbouring provinces. In
the course of time, first with the growth of luxury in the capital, then
with the decay of the Imperial authority, the governors themselves
ceased to go to their respective provinces, and deputies came to be
appointed to discharge their provincial affairs for them. These deputies
began to settle in the provinces and to make their functions hereditary,
or local celebrities came to be appointed as deputies, often by heredity
also. In the meantime, as I told you once before, a sort of hereditary
warrior families gradually sprang up in the provinces. The more
enfeebled the Imperial court became, the less effective the
administrative authority of the Imperial government became in the
distant provinces, where fighting between those warrior families was
often waged without any knowledge or any recognition of the Imperial
government. When, towards the end of the twelfth century, Yoritomo
defeated his foes, the Taira, and made himself master of the situation,
he established his seat of government at Kamakura, and began to control
the whole empire. At first he did so on the pretext of keeping peace and
order with Imperial sanction. He called himself, in that respect,
Sotsuibushi, which means nothing else than police-master-general. He
appointed new local governors, chiefly from amongst the leaders of the
warrior families. The official names for these new governors differed
from those instituted formerly by the Imperial government. He did not
try to do away with the Imperial official organisation, which had become
almost nominal, but, in fact, he introduced a new organisation in the
provinces. Needless to say, these new governors soon became the real
governors in all respects, though their ostensible duties at first were
for police affairs in its broad sense. This was the beginning of our
system of the military governments. Although there were several
vicissitudes, that system in the main lasted down to the great reform of
our own days. This period of the system of military power is the period
called by the writers in the Western languages the "feudal period," and
the system is called the "feudal system." There was, of course, much
resemblance in customs and manners, and even institutions, between the
European feudal system and our military system, but I do not think the
words themselves convey exactly the meaning of our appellation for the
system. We call the system "Hoken," which was originally Chinese. That
term, which is a combination of two words, means to "create and install"
and signifies an act by which some particular person is created a
hereditary prince of certain districts. Thus the idea that the persons
so created were only made so by the favour of the central government is
implied in the term itself. I have already told you that in the
sixteenth century, Japan laboured under a condition of the greatest
disorder. Many feudal lords rose and fell. When the Tokugawa family
assumed the Shogunate, the country was brought to a perfect peace, and
that system of "Hoken" was brought to a state of perfection. It was then
that a total re-shuffling, so to say, not of the cards but of the feudal
lords, was effected. Many old lords retained their positions by
acknowledging the supremacy of Tokugawa, but many who were the followers
of Tokugawa itself, were newly created lords. The former were called
"Tozama" (exterior) Daimio, and the latter were called "Fudai"
(adherents) Daimio. Those who had been created, on account of blood
relationship to Tokugawa, formed a somewhat different category. The
tenure of the lords was not looked upon in the light of private property
in its strict sense. The Shogunate freely exercised its authority, to
confiscate or to transfer to another place, when political expediency
demanded it, though of course such steps were taken only when some
blamable action had been committed, or on the offer of some higher and
better position. The feudal lords had no right to sell or alienate any
portion of the land. In the early part of the Tokugawa régime, the
tenure was confiscated in case of default of male heir to a deceased
lord, though later on the system of adoption came to the rescue and an
adopted heir was allowed to succeed.'

--'I understand now the nature of your feudal system,' said one; 'but it
must have been a great sacrifice for the feudal lords to give up all
their possessions.'

'It was so in one sense, no doubt,' I answered, 'but, as I have already
told you, the lands of our feudal lords were never regarded as private
properties. The Shogun had the power to dispose of those tenures, but
the Shogun was supposed to have possessed that authority by the
delegation of the Imperial prerogative. "Even the remotest sea coast is
the emperor's land, and even the humblest creature is the emperor's
subject." This was the politico-ethical maxim of China, so also in
Japan. This notion had been brought into special prominence, in recent
centuries, and patriotic lords and statesmen kept the maxim very vividly
in their minds, especially at the time of the great change. The lords
had their feudal governments in their locality. They regarded themselves
as being the heads of those governments, acting for the emperor. They
did not, therefore, feel so much pain as when one gives up a property
which is one's own private possession in the strictest sense. Besides,
the deep sentiments of loyalty and patriotism swayed them and animated
them to adopt the step without any hesitation. I may also add that all
the lords used to be invested with some titles of distinction, which
were names of some official function of the Imperial court, and also
personal ranks, resembling Western orders. These they received through
the Shogunate, but the giver was the emperor. Thus you can see that the
fountain of honour had always remained with the Imperial court, nay
more, the Shogun himself received his function and title from the

--'What do you mean by the re-shuffling of the feudal lords?' asked one.

--'I mean that in the early stage of the Tokugawa régime a complete
rearrangement of that system, which is generally called feudal, was
effected, by transferring all the old lords from one place to another
and by creating new lords, to whom new localities were given to govern,
whilst many of the older lords lost their possessions. By removal also,
some lords were made greater and some smaller. In making that
rearrangement, the Shogunate took great care to distribute the lands
among the lords in such a way that a combination of several lords
against the Shogunate might be impossible. Smaller lords were placed
round large ones, and the more trustworthy against less trustworthy, and
so on. This rearrangement or shifting I called "re-shuffling." The same
thing was done even down to the last days of the Shogunate, though on a
limited scale and less frequently. I can therefore say that there was no
feudal lord who continued to possess the same seat from the pre-Tokugawa
period. There were, however, a few exceptions, and Satsuma was the most
significant example. In the earlier state of the feudal system, the
lords and retainers did not necessarily reside side by side. The lords
had their chief seats where they resided, but the custom of building
strong castles had not yet come into existence, and their retainers
lived here and there on their domains. From the middle of the sixteenth
century, the custom of constructing large castles came into existence.
The lords resided in the castles and the retainers lived in houses
around them. This became more markedly the case when the re-shuffling of
the lords was made and the lords removed, together with their retainers,
from one place to another like swarms of bees. It was also at that time
that the separation of the Samurai, that is, the retainers, from the
ordinary avocations of the people became more thoroughly distinct. The
Samurai received their annual allowance from their lords, and did not
carry on any commercial business nor trouble themselves about
agricultural pursuits. There was great difference of grandeur between
the different feudal lords. Our usual way of estimating their relative
grandeur was by measuring the reputed quantity of rice produced on their
land. According to that method, the degree varied from ten thousand to
one million koku. There were some two hundred and seventy lords, and
their grandeur varied between those quantities. There were also many
petty lords, whose produce of rice from their lands did not amount to
ten thousand koku. They were called quasi-lords. Such being the variety
of grandeur of the lords, large retainers of great lords often exceeded
in grandeur the smaller lords.'

--'You said Satsuma was an exception. Will you explain how it was?'

--'Well, Prince Shimazu was the lord of Satsuma. The greater parts of
the provinces Hiuga and Osumi were also included in his dominion. His
family had been great lords in that part of the country for some seven
hundred years. When the famous Hideyoshi invaded Kiusiu, and reached
Satsuma, the prince, namely, the lord of Satsuma, surrendered to that
great hero after several battles. Hideyoshi did not consider it politic
to push the matter to extremes, so the prince retained his former
position. When Tokugawa assumed the Shogunate, the prince was left
undisturbed in spite of his having once taken up cudgels against
Tokugawa at the famous battle of Sekigahara. His seat of government was
Kagoshima, but there was scarcely any establishment worth calling a
castle. A certain number of his retainers lived around his residence,
but a large number of them lived in different parts of his territory,
their lives being partly devoted to agriculture. Satsuma was one of the
few strong clans, and its combination with Chosiu resulted, as I said
before, in the restoration of the Imperial régime.'

--'Will you please explain in outline the financial system of the
Shogunate, and how it was transferred to the Imperial government?' asked

'The Shogunate had under its immediate control territorial possessions
which were roughly reckoned, in the terms of rice, eight million koku.
The Shogunate was clever enough to have the lions share of the landed
possessions, which included the best parts of the country, generally
comprising prosperous towns, as, for instance, the city of Osaka. The
expenditure of the Shogunate was maintained by the income from those
territories. No feudal lord had to contribute anything to the exchequer
of the Shogunate, except that they were at times ordered to undertake
some public works allotted to them; for example, the reparation of some
river banks or damage done to the Shogun's castle. The revenue of the
Shogunate was scarcely sufficient for maintaining the Shogunate in its
normal state, and towards its latter days, when the external relations
and internal disturbances began to press heavily, the financial
difficulty was much felt. As to the Imperial court, it had no regular
revenue at all, except a comparatively trifling sum contributed by the
Shogunate, which was supposed to be the equivalent to the taxes
collected by the Shogun's officials in the provinces in the immediate
vicinity of the Imperial seat. There was no land under the direct
control of the court; even the city of Kioto itself was under the
administration of the officials of the Shogunate. Consequently the
Imperial court was always in a needy condition. It follows, also, that
the court nobles were also in an extremely needy condition, though high
in personal rank. They only received paltry annual allowances out of the
Shogun's contribution, though a very few high court nobles had small
landed possessions. Such being the case, it was natural that the
Imperial government, when it first came into a renewed existence, should
have met with much financial difficulty.'

--' But how did you manage to tide over the transitory period?' asked

--'The troops,' I answered, 'which fought for the Imperial cause were
generally supported at the expense of their own feudal clan-governments.
For the current expenses, some rich merchants either contributed or
advanced the necessary sum of money, and also new paper money was
issued. By such means as these the government managed to carry on its
affairs, and in the course of time some revenue began to accrue to the
Imperial treasury from the regions which had been under the control of
the Shogunate, but the sum was insignificant. It follows, therefore,
that for financial reasons only some great change was necessary, and
thus a double impetus was given to the idea of such men as Kido and
Okubo for the abolition of the feudal system.'

--'Let us assume that the feudal system had already been abolished,'
said another, 'the winding-up of the affairs of the different feudal
governments, and the consolidation under a uniform system of central
government must have been a very difficult and delicate matter.'

--'Yes, it was so,' I answered. 'To begin with, most of those
governments had debts of all kinds which had to be liquidated, above
all, their obligations for paper money floated by them. The coinage of
gold and silver was the monopoly of the central government, but all the
feudal lords had the privilege of circulating paper money under
different forms in different clans. The actual value of this paper money
in gold and silver varied according to the financial condition of the
feudal government by whom it was issued, and that money was legal only
in the districts which were under the jurisdiction of the lords by whose
governments they were issued. You can therefore easily imagine how
troublesome and inconvenient the matter must have been to travellers and
traders in localities where those feudal governments stood in close
proximity to each other. Then again, the lords and their retainers could
not be made penniless immediately on the abolition of the feudal system.
To them, therefore, certain means of support were given, in proportion
to their former rank and income; that support was ultimately converted
into the form of government bonds. The income thus given was not enough
for many of the Samurai to support themselves and their families, and
they, therefore, had to seek some new occupation to which they were not
accustomed. A large number of them even lost the bonds thus given,
through their incautious or incompetent management. The government had
to prevent things getting into a worse condition, and to make the
transition state a smooth one, if possible. For that purpose the
government often had to organise for them some kind of common work, for
which sometimes some special funds were given. Somehow or other, we have
got through those trying times. The credit of winding-up the affairs of
the feudal governments is chiefly due to Count Inouyé, who was the
acting Minister of Finance at the time.

--'How did matters stand at the time with regard to the system of
taxation?' asked one.

--'It was also one of the most difficult problems which the Imperial
government had to solve,' I answered. 'Perhaps you know that the
economical theory of the Far East had always been essentially
physiocratic. Agriculture was the foundation of national existence.
Commerce and industry were very little considered. Curiously enough, on
that account the land had to bear public expenses almost entirely, and
commerce and industry contributed almost nothing; in other words, taxes
on land were the main source of public revenue. People engaged in
industry and commerce paid no tax, except perhaps some trifling amount
in the form of licences occasionally, and except that they were often
ordered by their lords to contribute irregular sums of money to relieve
their financial difficulty. The land taxes were paid, as a rule, in
kind, namely, rice, but the burden of the tax-payers was by no means
uniform throughout the country. There was a vague measurement expressed
by the words "four public, six private," that is to say, four tenth
parts of the produce was to go to the government, and the remaining six,
together with any supplementary produce, was to remain in the hands of
the producers. But this was by no means uniformly practised. Roughly
speaking, the burden of the lands under the direct control of the
Shogunate was lighter than that on the lands under the different lords.
But there was much difference in the burden on the lands held by the
different lords. As a matter of fact, all sorts of additional burdens,
besides the pure land taxes, were instituted and levied on most lands.
It was necessary for the Imperial government to unify these burdens and
equalise them, as much as possible, throughout the whole country. It was
also desirable to change the whole system of paying taxes in kind into a
uniform system of money payment, because, in the case of the former,
revenue is subject to variation on account of the condition of the
harvest and the market price, besides, that system is more liable to
abuse. The Imperial government undertook this tremendous work of reform.
The valuation of all lands was carried out, and the system of payment in
money was effected. I may here mention that, under the ancient Imperial
régime, no proprietary rights were recognised in lands. The tillers of
land obtained the allotments of them for life, and new allotments were
made from time to time. That system, however, was not strictly enforced
in the case of newly reclaimed lands, especially so in the far-off
provinces. As time went on, the system entirely fell through, and
hereditary proprietorship of the tillers came tacitly into existence.
Nevertheless, the idea of the supreme domain of the sovereign from the
points of public law and proprietary rights of the possessors from
points of private law had not been brought into a very distinct light,
and the vague notion had still remained that the possessors held the
lands only by favour of the sovereign. As a matter of fact, in most
parts of the country no rights of sale of lands were legally recognised,
though the matter was widely affected by some fictitious means, such as
long mortgages or long leases. This state of things was entirely changed
by the reform made when the nature of the land tax was changed, as I
have just described, because by that reform the full proprietary rights
from the point of private law were completely recognised. I said that
industrial and commercial people contributed almost nothing to the
public expenses, and yet the denominations under which they had to pay
something were various. Add to this numerous other miscellaneous
contributions; there were several hundred different kinds of
contributions, but each of these separately amounted to a very small
sum, and was not worth the trouble it involved. These, therefore, were
altogether abolished. Of course the government had, as time went on, to
introduce some new taxes, such as the business tax, the income tax,
etc., but these are the results of the progress made in our economical
and financial conditions, and based on broader and more universal lines,
so as to fit the altered state of the country. The annual budget, which
amounted to seventy or eighty million yen before the Sino-Japanese war,
amounted to some five or six hundred million yen before the
Russo-Japanese war: that will perhaps show the expansion of the
financial system of the country.'

--'It is very interesting,' said one; 'but let us have a cup of tea,
and then continue the discussion.'


Commerce and industry--Old methods of communication--Roads and
ships--How they have been improved--Railways, post, telegraphs, and
telephones--Progress of the financial system--The Satsuma war--The Bank
of Japan--The National banks--The monetary system one of the causes of
Japan's success--Further remarks on the military reforms--Evolution of
the mode of fighting--All reforms at much cost of blood and money--The
cause of the Satsuma war--Saigo the Elder--Social condition of Japan
to-day--Evolution of legislation--Chinese jurisprudence--The Japanese
are not good correspondents--My future--An operatic singer--Japanese
stages--Danjiuro and Irving--The old school and the new one--Kawakami
and Sada Yakko--The opera _Maritana_--The end of the dream

I was still in the same incongruous group of people, and carrying on a
conversation on the same lines. Though the subjects were rather
technical, they seemed to have interested the people who took part in
the discussion, because they relate to the important part of our
history, wherein the foundation-stone, so to say, of Modern Japan was

--'I suppose, 'said one of the group, 'your country had to take much
pains in encouraging commerce and industry to attain the stage you have

'Well,' I replied, 'we could not do anything which resembled a
protective system if we wished, because we were bound by the treaties
forced upon us, whereby our custom-house duties, all prefixed, could not
exceed five per cent. _ad valorem_; but as far as it lay in the
competence of our Government and people, we did all in our power. You
cannot imagine what money, what time, and what labour we have had to
waste in many ways, because there were many things which we tried and in
which we failed. What we have achieved is insignificant, but it is the
result of all those exertions. By the bye, the question of the revision
of the old treaties was a long protracted subject of our diplomacy and
politics through which we had to struggle. It wrecked several
ministries. One minister for foreign affairs, Count Okuma, lost one of
his legs and only miraculously escaped death, in consequence of having
been inclined to accept terms of revision which the people considered
insufficient and irreconcilable with national dignity. The aim of the
revision was to regain the tariff as well as judicial autonomy. America
had shown very early its inclination to accede to our demand. Italy also
showed a similar inclination. But on the whole the matter proved very
difficult. About ten years ago Great Britain took the lead in
recognising the justice of our demand, other powers followed England's
example, and thus the revision was at last effected. That revision
restored to us our judicial autonomy completely. You must, however,
remember that the tariff autonomy has not yet been entirely restored to
us, for we are still bound by one-sided conventional tariffs. But I must
now return to the original thread of my discourse. You have already seen
that we were hampered by the treaties, but in spite of that we have
taken every pains to promote our commerce and industry, without falling
into the error of over-interfering or being officious.'

--'And you have made wonderful progress in your commerce in a
comparatively short time,' said another.

--'Well, not wonderful,' I answered; 'but it is a fact that our
commerce has increased from a few million yen to some six hundred
million yen. That is something. I will add a word more. It is a mistake
to suppose that the stage we have attained is the mere result of natural
growth. We must venture to ask for sympathetic appreciation of our
endeavour. Some Western people appear to entertain a sort of
apprehension in regard to the growth of our commerce and industry, and
even show a desire to check our progress. It would be very hard lines
for us, for our conviction is that the growth of our commerce and
industry can only be beneficial reciprocally to others as well as to
ourselves; and, moreover, what is after all our commerce and industry
when compared with that of the Western peoples?'

--'I quite sympathise with you on that point,' said one.

--'Thank you!' I said, and continued. 'Some foreigners speak of our
commercial probity very disparagingly. I admit there were some
shortcomings, but I deny that the faults were wholly ours. You know that
the greater bulk of our Japanese commerce is done in Japan itself by the
Western merchants who come out there. If we were always cheating them,
and they were always blameless, why should they continue to trade with
us and make such great increase of commerce in a comparatively short
space of time? It is my opinion that the blame attached to the
commercial probity of the Japanese merchant has far less foundation than
the reality warrants. A good deal of the blame, I think, is a hearsay,
originally circulated by interested persons and innocently magnified by
others. Time was when our merchants wellnigh revolted against oppressive
dealings of foreign merchants out there, and tried to export direct to
foreign countries, but then want of capital and experience stood in
their way as a barrier. On the whole, I am satisfied with the progress
our commerce has made, as well as with the fact that its volume has
increased in spite of the war, though we must endeavour to still further

--'That your country will have to do,' said another; 'but will you tell
me the condition of the communications of the country at the time of the
abolition of the feudal system, and the improvements you have made since

--'The means of communication,' I replied, 'were not good in those days.
We are surrounded by seas on all sides, but we were unable to make the
fullest use of the water, because the building of large ships was
prohibited for centuries, and therefore our ships had much difficulty in
navigating the eastern coasts, as well as the Japan Sea, especially in
winter. They often had to remain several months in some port on their
route. On the land, roads were not good, they were often badly made on
purpose by the different lords for the defence of their territories.
Thus, even where a straight road could be made on flat land, it was
purposely made high up on the hills in a winding way. Rivers were often
left bridgeless where bridges could easily have been constructed.
Foreign visitors may think our roads even now bad when compared with
those of the Western civilised countries; but in our eyes our present
roads are beyond any comparison with those of some thirty or forty years
ago. This also means that our central Government, as well as our local
governments, had to take much pains and spend much money in the matter.
We had also to encourage the building of large ships, both steam and
sailing vessels. We have built many lighthouses round the country for
the benefit of the navigation of foreign ships as well as for our own.'

--'What of the railways, telegraph, and telephone lines?' asked one.

'Not many years after the restoration we began the construction of the
railways. The line between Yokohama and Tokio was the first and most
expensive of any of the railways constructed in Japan, for, owing to the
lack of experience, we had to pay whatever price we were asked by
foreigners for the materials. The next line was one between Kobe and
Osaka, and the system has been gradually extended as the finances of the
Government have allowed. But finding that the rapid extension to every
part of the country was beyond the financial expediency of the
Government, private enterprises were encouraged, and many private
railway companies were established one after another. Thus we have two
kinds of railways, one belonging to the Government, the other belonging
to private companies. When I was Minister of Communications eight years
ago, the whole length of the railways, state and private, reached three
thousand miles. There was some talk of celebrating the occasion, but
both Matsumoto, Director of the Board of Railways, and I discountenanced
the idea, because three thousand miles of railway were nothing compared
with other advanced countries. The extension at present is between four
and five thousand miles, I think. The length is not much, but because
the country is narrow, every part of it is within easy reach of the
train. The telegraph lines belong to the Government entirely, and are
managed in conjunction with the general postal system. Soon after the
inauguration of the Imperial Government, we began to remodel the postal
system which had existed previously, and it has been gradually expanded
and improved on the European method. I can say without much diffidence
that our postal and telegraph systems may be compared in efficiency with
any country, even the most advanced in those matters. The telephone
system is comparatively new, but most of the populous towns have it, and
large towns are connected by distant telephones. Needless to say that we
have managed from the beginning to maintain the system in the hands of
the Government.'

--'The Imperial Government seems to have required much money,' said
one, 'for winding up the feudal Governments, and for introducing, side
by side, many reforms. You also mentioned that the Government had to
issue paper money. I should like to know more about how you got through
it all.'

--'We had to undergo much financial difficulty. Before the Imperial
régime gold and silver constituted practically double standards. At the
early stage of the new Government gold was adopted as the standard in
theory, but it took a long time before it came into actual operation.
The Government had to issue much paper money, and that, too,
inconvertible, hence much depreciation of the paper. The strenuous
efforts of the Government had been successful in improving the situation
when the Satsuma war broke out in 1877. The expense of that war
occasioned more issue of paper money, which caused a further
depreciation. At one time the difference between silver, which was
practically the legal tender at the time, and the paper rose to 100 :

'There was another cause for the depreciation of paper money. It was
the issue of notes by the national banks, which were established in all
parts of the country after the abolition of the feudal system, and which
numbered at one time more than 150. The Government had to meet with
these difficulties, and to place the financial and economical condition
of the country on a firmer and more satisfactory basis. This the
Government began to undertake a few years after the Satsuma war, without
hindering the necessary works for the development of the national
resources. The Government decided to apply strict economy in all
branches of its administration. The money thus saved was partly used for
the redemption of the over-issued paper money, and partly to accumulate
reserve funds for making the paper currency convertible. The Bank of
Japan was established with the view of making it the sole central
economical organ of the empire. A scheme was provided for redeeming the
notes issued by the so-called national banks, and for converting those
banks into strictly private banks in due time.

'The process began in earnest in 1881; it made far quicker progress than
was contemplated; thus in 1885 the difference between the silver and the
paper money disappeared. From January 1886 the total redemption of the
paper money was begun. In 1899 the circulation of the Government paper
money and the notes of the national banks altogether ceased to exist,
the convertible notes of the Bank of Japan having taken their place. In
the same year all national banks ceased to exist, most of them having
become private banks, and a few having wound up their business. Two
years previously gold had been at last effectively adopted as the
Japanese national standard of currency, which was the realisation of the
idea cherished by the Imperial Government from the beginning.'

--'What was the nature of the national banks?' asked one; 'and have they
proved quite meaningless?'

--'The law for the establishment of those banks was promulgated soon
after the abolition of the feudal system. It was modelled after the
national banks of America. In the course of time a large number of them
came into existence in different parts of the Empire. They were private
undertakings, except that they enjoyed the privilege of issuing their
own notes, and were subject to Government superintendence. At first the
notes were to be convertible into specie, but a modification was
introduced in the law by which they could issue notes with Government
bonds as security and convertible in Government paper money. Therefore
the notes were in reality incontrovertible ones from the point of view
of hard money. Previous to that, the Government loan bonds, amounting to
one hundred and seventy million yen, were issued for the capitalisation
of the feudal lords and their retainers in consideration of their feudal
incomes, after the feudal system had been abolished. These bonds were
used widely for establishing the banks. The banks enjoyed special
privileges of issuing paper money, but in lieu of it they did good
service in encouraging and stimulating local industry and commerce, so
that we do not regret that those banks were once instituted. Besides,
they led to the foundation of the modern monetary system of Japan. You
must have observed the efficiency of the monetary system of Japan during
the Sino-Japanese war. The success of Japan in great wars is due a great
deal to that system. I mean to say that because we have that system, the
money possessed by the public could easily be made to serve public
purposes in time of emergency. Look at China: as far as individuals are
concerned, there is a far greater number of people who are richer than
the Japanese, and yet they have no sound banking system in close
connection with the state. When the Chinese deposit their money, they
prefer to do so with foreign banks. The consequence is that the
Government cannot fall back upon the wealth of private individuals.
Neither is there much likelihood of home loans being popular in China.
Of course there may be some other reasons for this. In Japan nothing but
regular taxes and dues regulated by law are levied. No illegal exaction
is or could be made. In that respect there exists a perfect
understanding between the Government and the people, who know that if
they respond to the Government call for loans their dues would be made
good in future. No such confidence and usage exist in China, still less
in any other part of the East.'

--'You told us that in the beginning of the Imperial Government, the
Imperial troops were supported at the expense of the clan governments,'
said one. 'Will you tell us a little more about it?'

--'Under the Shogunate,' I answered, 'the feudal lords had to support
their own troops, even when they were ordered to send them out
somewhere. This was the duty they had to render in return for the tenure
of land. Just before the battle of Fushimi, Satsuma and some other clans
had their troops stationed in Kioto. Chosiu, which on all sides had come
triumphantly out of the war against the attacking forces of the
Shogunate, also sent some troops to Kioto; not indeed by order of the
Shogun, but rather against it. These troops were all supported by their
clan governments. After the battle of Fushimi, the troops of the Satcho
and other clans which had become Imperialists, were ordered to the front
in the North-Eastern provinces. They now fought as Imperial troops under
the "brocade banners," which was the emblematic banner used solely by
the Imperial forces, and much reverenced by the Japanese in general,
because with us those who fought against those banners had been, and
were at all times, universally stigmatised as disloyal subjects. The
leaders of those troops were generally commissioned by the Imperial
Government. The cohesion of the troops of different clans in one
direction was maintained by a generalissimo, who was a high court noble,
assisted by a certain number of staff officers, specially appointed by
the Imperial Government. In that manner, troops of different clans
fought for the cause of the Imperial Government. After the war, the
troops of some of the clans were still used for the Imperial purposes,
whilst others of them were all sent home. The future of the military
system was, however, a great problem. Immediately after the war, the
present Marshal, Marquis Yamagata, who was the leader of the Chosiu
troops in the province of Echigo, visited Europe, together with Saigo
the younger. On his return to Japan, he advocated the adoption of the
European system of universal service. He succeeded in his advocacy, and
in 1870 regulations were promulgated relating to the subject, by which
the system was experimentally put in force in five provinces in the
vicinity of Kioto; and the system was made universal and more complete
soon after the total abolition of the feudal system. It has undergone
further improvement from time to time, until we have come into
possession of the army which the world has come to see during the
present war. I may add, that in the earlier parts of the new
organisation, many French officers were engaged to instruct our men and
officers in different ways, and afterwards some German officers were
similarly engaged, as you know.'

'Can you roughly explain,' said one, 'the evolution of your modes of
fighting before it reached the efficiency of the present day?'

--'It has been pretty much the same as yours,' I answered. 'Putting
aside the remote antiquity, I will briefly tell you how it has been
since the commencement of the chivalric period. The sword was always our
chief weapon of honour, that you know very well. Then bows and arrows
were also regarded as honourable weapons, so much so, that the families
which made military affairs their constant occupation were called "the
houses of bows and arrows," The phrase "bow-handlers" came to signify
"leaders." Thus when the famous Takeda Shingen, towards the end of the
sixteenth century, spoke of Iyeyasu, his junior contemporary, as "the
first bow-handler of the Tokai provinces," he meant by the phrase "first
bow-handler" a general of great ability. The spear which was used by the
leaders was also held in high esteem. Thus "distinction at the point of
the spear" was a phrase commonly used to denote distinguished deeds of
warriors. "The seven spears of Shizugatake" is a phrase constantly used
by people at large. It refers to the gallant fighting of the seven
famous captains of Hideyoshi at the battle of Shizugatake. They all used
spears. The Naginata was a weapon with a long curved blade, with a
handle a little shorter than that of a spear: it was considered a proper
weapon for women and monks, and was not, therefore, looked upon as being
so honourable as a spear for ordinary warriors to use. The decisive
battles were necessarily hand-to-hand combats. There was even
time-honoured heraldic etiquette, that when two combatants were about to
fight they announced their names and positions, etc., to each other. I
believe a somewhat similar custom existed in Europe also. Warriors of
position considered it a disgrace to be killed or captured by "nameless
common soldiers," as they were called. The hand-to-hand combat, being
the chief feature of battle, it was natural that a person who had
overcome an enemy of greater distinction or of higher rank was regarded
as having done a correspondingly greater action; hence the custom of
bringing back the enemies' heads by the combatants, and submitting them
to the inspection of their leaders, came into existence, and in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the modes of such inspections had
become an elaborate part of the heraldic ceremonies. The measure of the
boxes in which the heads were put, the manner in which to place them and
how to take them out, what attitude to be assumed by the one who
submitted the heads for inspection, and what composure the one who
inspected should assume, and what glance he should give to the head--all
these matters had fine and minute rules, though when taking place on the
actual spot at a hasty hour, much of the formality was necessarily

--'How was it with the firearms?' asked one.

--'The use of firearms in Japan,' I answered, 'dates back only about
three and a half centuries. A Portuguese trading-vessel which arrived in
1543 at the islands of Tanegashima, off the southern coasts of Kiusiu,
is reputed to have brought a few firearms, and it is said they were the
first firearms introduced into Japan, and that they served as a model to
us for making others. Hence the name "Tanegashima" had come to signify
sometimes "firearms" even down to our own time. A few years afterwards
more Portuguese ships arrived at the province of Bungo, in Kiusiu, and
brought with them more firearms. At the time a great deal of foreign
trade was carried on in that province by Chinese and Portuguese
trading-ships. Otomo, the prince of the province, even became a
Christian convert, and it is said that he was one of the converted
feudal lords who sent missions to Rome. Repute gives it that those
firearms were brought by the missionaries, and the prince took his first
fancy to them on account of their bringing such useful weapons. In no
time the manufacture and use of firearms made their way into many parts
of the country. It is said that at the war of Nagasino, which was fought
in 1575 between Takeda on one side and Oda and Tokugawa on the other,
there were three thousand firearms on the latter side, which seems to
have been the war in which the largest number of firearms was used. Of
course, the firearms of those days were all matchlocks, and, moreover,
they were not considered arms of honour. Firearm companies were formed
of the commonest soldiers, and generally used for skirmishes before the
commencement of regular fighting. Cannon were also known soon after the
introduction of ordinary firearms, but they do not seem to have been
much in use. As a matter of fact, before much improvement had been made
in the use of firearms, peace returned, and lasted over two hundred
years, so that we had little more than matchlocks, which were chiefly
used for shooting game. Since the latter part of the eighteenth century,
when the Western ships began to appear on the Far Eastern seas, the
"coast defence question" had aroused public attention, and the necessity
for having strong firearms presented itself. Cannon began to be cast and
ordinary guns also, by the different feudal lords. It was then that the
bells in most of the temples in most provinces were confiscated, to be
thrown into the furnace and recast as, cannon. Perhaps you know that the
Japanese temple bells are many times bigger than those ordinarily used
in the Western churches and temples. They have no tongues, but are
sounded by a large wooden pendulum suspended close to them. The sound,
therefore, is deep and sonorous, quite different from the tinkling noise
of the Western bells. Those bells used to report certain hours of the
day, and it was a charm, especially in country parts, in the midst of
nature, to listen to their soft clang. Those chimes were favourite
themes in poetry, but most localities are now deprived of that charm for
the reason I have just given. As time went on, the Western guns of
modern type began to make their way into the country. They were commonly
known as the "bayoneted guns." They were a rude kind of gun compared
with the modern ones, and, of course, not breach-loaders. In those days
the making of guns was not much advanced, even in Europe itself. When
the English squadron bombarded Kagoshima, the English ships fared rather
badly. They had anchored too near the fortress, in defiance of our
cannon, and one ship left behind her anchor in trying to escape the
firing from the land. Our skill in casting guns and cannon was not much
advanced then, and yet, as one may perceive, we were on the road to
success. Looking back in general at the changes in the mode of fighting,
the latter days of the Tokugawa régime was the great epoch. It was then
that war recommenced, after more than two centuries of peace, and its
mode had entirely changed from that of times gone by, and the notion of
single combat was totally discarded. At present no one remembers bows
and arrows, except perhaps for sporty and still less spears. Swords,
indeed, we still value, but rather as a reminiscence of old times, and
not as an effective weapon. We have made many new guns and cannon,
improved on the Western models, and they are our weapons of to-day.'

--'And all those reforms,' said one, 'in polity, in finance, in the army
and navy, were effected with the perfect concord of the whole nation,
without a hitch?'

'Not exactly. On broad lines the bulk of the people was with the
Government and followed its lead. But we reaped all these fruits at much
expense of blood and money. You could not but expect to see among the
people at large some who did not exactly approve the methods pursued by
the Government. To them the policy of the Government sometimes appeared
too radical and hazardous, and thus one group or another showed from
time to time their dissent. In those days when people were determined to
assume a dissenting attitude, it generally took the shape of physical
force, in other word, "revolt." Chosiu itself had had two such revolts,
but they had been easily crushed. Chosiu had had a civil strife before
the restoration, and in consequence the elements of political
differences within the clan had been almost thoroughly unified. Most of
its able men devoted their services to the Imperial Government. The old
territory of the clan was one of the prefectures which thoroughly
submitted to the Imperial administration with perfect confidence, from
the very moment when the feudal system was abolished, so much so, that
the first governor despatched there by the Imperial Government was
originally a retainer of the Shogunate and had fought against the
Imperialists. The revolters had therefore not much sympathy from the
people, nor had they any means, guns, or ammunition, to turn to their
advantage against the Imperialists, and yet it shows that even the
Chosiu men themselves were unable to get on altogether harmoniously. The
saddest and the gravest case, however, was that of the Satsuma war,
which took place in 1877. It was only after that war that the
progressive administration of the new Government was placed on a firm
and solid basis, and the surviving influence of the old feudal time
disappeared altogether.'

--'Since your explanation has reached as far as that stage,' said one,
'I am anxious to know something about the real cause and circumstances
which occasioned that war.'

--'It requires some explanation,' I replied. 'You already know that
Satsuma was one of the few most powerful clans. Its history and
organisation were different from other clans. And also, unlike Chosiu,
it had not had an outbreak of civil strife within the clan before the
Restoration period. Its clansmen fought many battles, but it never had
any occasion to form voluntary bands as did Chosiu, and therefore it had
had no opportunity of observing that the troops recruited from all
classes were equal, if not superior, to the Samurai troops. The two
greatest statesmen of the clan were Saigo the elder, and Okubo, but as I
have indicated already, they differed in the course of their career, as
well as in their natural propensity. Saigo had been a devout Imperialist
from the beginning, and there were several romantic episodes about his
life. Once, in despair, he, together with an Imperialist monk, jumped
into the sea. He was rescued, and had to spend years on an island in
banishment. Okubo always played the part of a politician. His
imperialism had not become quite marked and decisive until almost within
the last few years preceding the Restoration. Naturally, therefore,
there were in Satsuma some men who were more partial to Saigo and others
more inclined to Okubo. There was another group of men, differing from
both, namely, the partisans of the real father of the Prince of Satsuma.
The late Prince of Satsuma, the predecessor and uncle of the prince in
question, had been an able and enlightened man, almost unparalleled by
any of the contemporary feudal lords. He had had much leaning towards
Western enlightenment. An incident is told of his strength of character
in regard to the visit of a Dutchman whom he had invited to Kagoshima,
the capital of Satsuma. He went to the port and rode with him side by
side back to his residence. At the time an anti-foreign spirit was still
strong among the Samurai, and by his riding side by side with the
Dutchman he intimated that if the Satsuma Samurai were determined to
attack the foreigner, they must also at the same time attack him.'

--'But stop,' said one, 'was not the time you are speaking of before the
bombardment of Kagoshima and Simonoseki? I have always understood that
Satsuma and Chosiu were fierce anti-foreign clans.'

--'Yes, it was before those bombardments. The Prince of Satsuma, whom
I have just spoken of, died somewhere about 1860. I do not remember the
exact date. It is true those two clans were anti-foreign towards the
latter days of the Tokugawa régime, but it does not follow that they had
always been the same. The acceleration of the idea was much due to the
circumstances of the time, which require explanation. At the time of
that prince, he and his government had shown much inclination towards
Western intercourse. As a matter of fact, it is even said some trade was
secretly carried on between Satsuma and the Dutchmen at an island in the
Southern Sea. The old bottles marked Soy, which one sometimes finds in
Holland, are said to have been the bottles which contained our Shoyu and
to have been imported into Holland at that time. Even Chosiu was not at
first so fierce an anti-foreign clan as it became later on. The Prince
of Chosiu had a few medical retainers who were well versed in the Dutch
language. He used to collect information about Europe from them. They
even translated for him some European extracts, and compiled them into
the form of a periodical pamphlet, which may be said to have been the
very beginning of the Japanese newspapers. He was one of the few feudal
lords who first introduced the system of vaccination in their territory.
He established a glass factory in his province. He also made experiments
in the art of photography. All this took place before the bombardment of
Simonoseki. It is, therefore, wrong to suppose that either Satsuma or
Chosiu knew nothing of the West before they were bombarded. Besides, the
fault which had originated the bombardment of Kagoshima lay in reality
in the miscalculation which had been shown by an Anglo-Saxon.
Nevertheless, we had to pay the indemnity all the same, in addition to
having been bombarded. But to return to my subject. The Prince of
Satsuma, who died somewhere about 1860, as I have just told you, had no
heir of his own, and was succeeded by the young son of his brother, whom
he had adopted. That brother was the famous Shimazu-Saburo, who acted as
regent for the young prince. For that reason, he also exercised much
influence in the clan, and at one time played the part of the real ruler
of Satsuma. His character, however, differed very much from that of his
deceased brother. He was also a man of ability, but rather conservative,
and his sympathy was not much with the sweeping reforms of Japan on
European lines. He sometimes held office in the new Imperial Government,
but spent more of his time in retirement in Satsuma. Saigo the elder,
also was not a man who cared to toil in ordinary administrative affairs,
and after the cabinet crisis in 1873 on the Corean question, he retired
to Kagoshima. From all this you can see that there remained in Satsuma
strong conservative element, which could not be looked upon as a
negligible quantity. As a matter of fact, Satsuma was the only locality
where the Imperial Government found it not expedient to enforce
rigorously all the new progressive measures, which it did in all other
localities. Unlike Chosiu, the governor and his subordinates, though
officially nominated by the central Government, were men belonging to
the province and sharing those conservative sentiments, and therefore at
heart not the faithful executors of the will of the central Government.
At last the province rose in revolt against the central Government in

--'To detail the matter a little further,' I continued, 'when Saigo
retired to Kagoshima in 1873, many of his admirers and followers,
especially those in the army, also resigned their offices, and retired
to Satsuma, whilst many others, including Saigo the younger, namely the
brother of the elder Saigo, remained in the service of the Government
with Okubo. Thus Satsuma men were practically divided into two parties,
many near relatives and friends having taken different sides. As time
went on the distance between them became greater and greater. In Satsuma
the so-called private schools were organised in different parts of the
province by the chief followers of Saigo the elder, though he himself
mostly indulged in hunting. Those schools in reality were utilised for
gathering together young men to serve latent designs of the organisers.
It is a doubtful point of history how far Saigo himself was cognisant of
those matters, but one thing is certain, that he did not exactly
discourage them. When some time back Yamagata mooted the proposal for
the universal service system, Saigo, who was then fulfilling an
important position in the army, was persuaded to agree. Again, when the
final abolition of the feudal system was decided upon, he joined the
cabinet almost for that special purpose, and his weight went a long way
in achieving that aim. It has always remained doubtful whether Shimazu
Saburo was in accord with the scheme, but the matter was carried out by
Okubo and Saigo in conjunction with influential statesmen of other
clans. Hence we can see that Saigo was also in the main on the lines of
progressive policy. It may, however, be presumed that, intelligent and
well educated as he was in the Oriental sense, he had not any deep
insight into the European civilisation. Besides, his personal character
and proclivity were not exactly fit to appreciate radical changes, which
to him must have appeared somewhat frivolous. Then, too, after his
retirement to Kagoshima, many governmental measures were often
misrepresented to him as the result of thoughtless actions of Okubo and
others, and it was also possible that many personal scandalous
misrepresentations were made about those in power. Hence it is to be
presumed that Saigo also felt some desirability of modifying the trend
of the national policy. When, therefore, his followers committed an act
which was irreconcilable with the peaceful observation of the laws of
the land and which soon assumed attitudes of revolt, Saigo became their
head without any overt action and almost as a result of the natural
course of events. The revolters numbered forty-five thousand.
Individually, Saigo was the most popular man in the whole empire. The
Imperial army at the time did not number much more than the revolters.
It was a most critical time for the Government, which only succeeded in
suppressing the rebels after many sanguinary battles. It is well worth
remembering that in the case of the Satsuma men, many near relatives and
close friends had to fight one against the other, because a large number
of them was on the side of the Government as well. Casual observers of
the outside world may say it was barbarous that such people should fight
one against the other, but such is often the case when a nation
undergoes a great change. I may reiterate that it was a very critical
time for Japan, for if the rebels had been victorious, there was a grave
fear that the progressive policy would have been seriously hindered and
a military despotism would have reigned in the country. It was
absolutely necessary to crush the rebels at the point of the bayonet,
however great and popular Saigo might have been and however meritorious
his antecedents. I for one have some consolation in saying that I have
done some little service to my country by being the first to formulate
and publish the views of the situation I have just spoken of, and to
lead the public opinion in that direction, before any other dared to do
so. I received several threatening letters at the time, but suffered no
actual attack. Towards the latter part of that war I was on the
battlefield, and was one of the few who assisted at the last hour in
washing Saigo's head, which had been found and dug up. The head had been
buried hastily in a small ditch by one of his captains, who, when Saigo
had been fatally wounded in the last battle, cut it off at his own
request, while the fray was still raging, to prevent it falling into the
hands of the enemy. I remember there were present Marshal Yamagata,
Marshal Oyama, and General Nozu.'

--'What had become of Shimazu Saburo at the time of the war?' asked

--'He was in Kagoshima,' I answered, 'but he kept aloof together with
some devoted followers: the rebels also seem to have preferred to leave
him alone. In the course of years he died a natural and honourable
death, to the great regret of the emperor and the nation. Okubo was
assassinated a few years after the war by a small group of young men who
had been zealous supporters of Saigo. Taking into consideration all that
I have related, you will clearly see that the present-day Japan has by
no means been built upon a bed of roses.'

--'How does the social condition of Japan stand at present?' asked
another; 'from the political point of view, for instance, who is the
ruling class?'

--'The social condition of Japan,' I answered, 'is satisfactory. We
have aristocracy and commons, as you know, but no class animosity. The
distance between them is not great. The commercial class also is making
its influence felt: many people who formerly belonged to a class which
despised business occupation are now engaged in business. The official
positions are occupied almost all by men of ability belonging mostly to
the middle class. Almost none of the old nobles occupy any official
positions. You must have heard many statesmen and generals called by
some titles of nobility, but they are only new nobility, given by the
emperor for meritorious services rendered to the new Imperial
Government, and therefore their modes of thought and their inclinations
are not far different from that of the ordinary people at large. All the
Government officials and officers of the army and navy are taken by
examination without any distinction of class or locality, and therefore
young men belonging to any class of society or to any province have
equal chance. It is true that immediately after the restoration some
powerful clans, especially that of Satcho, exercised more influence in
political circles, but it was only natural as the results of the great
change. Even at this moment there are several statesmen, who originally
belonged to those clans, who exercise great influence: it is because
their services to the country have been great, and consequently they
enjoy greater prestige. In the army and navy, also, the majority of the
generals of the higher class are in a similar manner men who have risen
from those clans. With the rest, the clannish landmarks are already
almost indistinguishable; even amongst those of the highest positions
the disappearance of the clannish traces must be only a question of
time, for most of the personages occupying those positions are already
far advanced in age. It is not, therefore, fair for some foreigners to
say that the Satcho men placed themselves in the place of the Shogunate.
As a matter of fact, the Satcho statesmen themselves have introduced
many important regulations for giving equal chances to every class and
province. Then, again, what is most worth noticing is perhaps the fact
that all public affairs are governed by laws and regulations, and not by
any arbitrary will; so much so, that in some instances people think that
there are too many laws and regulations. On the whole, I approve the
present system, as every one must, because it leaves no room for class
or bureaucratic oppression.'

--'Can you explain,' said one, 'how all those psychological changes have
been brought about? People in the West have always thought that the
Orientals little cared for laws and regulations, their modes of
government being based upon customs and traditions.'

--'You may think so,' I answered; 'if you take the generality of the
Orientals, but it is not the case with Modern Japan. Even in China the
matter was never exactly as you have just said. China has always been
wanting in the matter of civil law. But there is one particular feature
worth noticing. In the same way as the Romans were rich in the notions
of civil law, the Chinese were rich in the ideas of criminal law. I do
not, of course, say their system was good from the Western point of
view, but in its way it had very good jurisprudence and codes, which
were handed down with some necessary modifications from dynasty to
dynasty. They knew the importance of separating ethics from
jurisprudence for more than a dozen centuries, namely, from the Tang
dynasty, when a very good criminal code, which was an improvement and
enlargement upon that o£ the preceding dynasty, was enacted. Thus, for
instance, torture is looked upon by the Occidentals simply as barbarous,
but it has its _raison d'être_ in the Chinese jurisprudence. According
to that jurisprudence, no person is to be punished on mere
circumstantial evidence, or on the words of witnesses, unless the
prisoner himself makes confession of his guilt. The act of confession is
technically called the "completion of self-acknowledgment." The object
of this is to make sure that no innocent person shall ever be punished.
In some cases, if punishments be inflicted, despite the prisoner's
strong protest of innocence, on mere circumstantial evidence, or on the
evidence of witnesses, great injustice may be done, as was well
illustrated in the Beck incident, which recently created so great a
sensation in England. Torture is resorted to only in the case where,
although the evidence is conclusive, yet the prisoner obstinately
refuses to acknowledge his guilt. In other words, the application of
torture is only to be resorted to in order that a prisoner whose guilt
is quite evident might not be allowed to escape unpunished merely
because he obstinately refuses to confess. The _raison d'être_ of the
torture, therefore, is not so bad as casual observers imagine. The blame
of the method lies in its abuse. We Japanese once followed that
jurisprudence, but have given it up because it is liable to
misapplication, and we have adopted the European system of judgment by
evidence, not because we believed in the infallibility of that system,
but because we believed that less injustice would be committed by that
system than the other. China has also been very rich in codes of
governmental organisation, not indeed in the Western style of
constitutional laws; but still, from a literary point of view, they are
all very good. Now to return to our subject. If Japan were a country
which had not known the usefulness of laws and regulations, and yet had
begun to imitate the methods of European legislation with success as she
has done, such a result might indeed be a matter of some amazement. She
had, however, had much experience in making laws and regulations during
the ancient Imperial régime when we had frequent intercourse with the
Tang dynasty of China, and therefore, when we began to formulate new
legislation on Western lines, it was only necessary to grasp the spirit
as to the method, and to make some modification in form of what we had
done previously. And besides, scholars well acquainted with the Chinese
codes were not wanting, and their ability was ready to be utilised for
new legislation.'

--'It would be very interesting,' said one, 'if we could obtain a new
book which would scientifically treat of the history of the evolution of
all those great changes which have taken place. Really, we know little
concerning Japan.'

--'That may be,' I answered, 'but there are several books, especially in
English, from which one can gather a good deal of information on Japan,
though they are not always correct to our eyes. The French are the
people who interest themselves the least in such matters, and yet
complain that they are without any information.'

--'I do not care,' he replied, 'for those unscientific books. I am
anxious that a good, scientific, and authentic book on those points
should be written at first hand by some competent Japanese.'

Here a compatriot of mine turned to me, and said privately that the
gentleman who had just made the above remark was one who could not be
persuaded to believe that Western civilisation had taken root in Japan,
and who did not until recently believe that Japan could cope with the
Russians. His reason was not on account of any bias against Japan, but
because he could not believe Western civilisation could be transplanted
to an exotic soil in so short a time, as in the case of Japan. He had
only recently begun to think otherwise, after close observation of the
progress of the war, and therefore wished to know the true history of
the evolution of all the important changes which had taken place in our

--'Now you gentlemen have had enough time,' said a lady. 'It is our turn
now. I suppose, baron, you will be going home before long, when the war
comes to an end. Shall you also be like some of the Japanese I have had
the pleasure of knowing? I mean to say that the Japanese are, as a rule,
pleasant enough and friendly enough while with us, but after they have
gone back to their country we seldom hear from them. But when they
happen to revisit this part of the world, they return to us and are as
pleasant and friendly as before, as though nothing had happened in the

--'Ah! I understand. I am afraid I shall be like them. We Japanese are
not good correspondents. In that respect I think the English are the
best. It seems writing letters is a part of their pleasure. They write
so many letters even in the midst of hasty travelling. Our heads somehow
seem heavy when it comes to the task of letter-writing. When we go back
to Japan, unless we are engaged in some offices where foreign languages
are needed, we have no occasion to think or to write in them, and we
soon forget the thread of the foreign style of thought and tongue, and,
therefore, it is difficult even to find good dicta for writing a simple
letter. Remember, moreover, there is nothing so difficult as writing
simple letters; especially is it so with us Japanese. Then, again, the
paper, ink, and pens which we use for our own writing are totally
different from yours, and they are useless for writing Occidental
characters. Therefore, when we think of writing a letter to an
Occidental friend, we might find the ink-bottle quite dry, nibs quite
rotten, and the sheets of writing paper may be wanting, and perhaps we
should have to send for them all anew. The spelling of quite common
words may not be at our command, and if we just wished to refer to a
dictionary, we should perhaps find that it had been mislaid somewhere
among the heaps of Japanese books, or perhaps had been taken away
altogether by a young student. Such being the case, you can well imagine
that the Japanese cannot be very good correspondents if they wished. The
fact that they do not write letters does not show that they do not
remember old friendships, and therefore, if they happen to revisit the
West, they would be, as you say, as friendly and pleasant as though
nothing had happened in the interval.'

--'That explains the matter very well,' said she. 'I am sure you will be
like one of those, especially as you will have so much to do for your
country, perhaps in some busy office in the Government.'

--'You are quite right in the first part of your observation. I have no
reputation for being a good correspondent. Perhaps you know that the
great Marlborough always felt much difficulty in writing letters. He
used to say that he would sooner fight a great battle, and with more
ease, than write a letter of fifteen lines to his wife, so you will see
I have some consolation, because even amongst the English there are
those who are not particularly fond of writing letters. As to the second
part of your observation, you are wrong. I have no desire to seek
office. I do not care for the hustle and bustle of the world. I prefer
to spend my time calmly and quietly in the midst of nature, and
therefore, after my return to Japan, you will hear of me no more. If you
ever happen to hear of me, it will only be when some grave and
exceptional circumstance of my country requires my service, whereby I
may be obliged to sacrifice my own inclination. But I must now say

So saying, I left the group. On my way back home, I dropped into the
coffee-room of an hotel and met there accidentally a rich young
Scandinavian artist, whom I had met before, when once staying at that
hotel. He was with two ladies, an operatic singer and her mother, both
of whom were American by birth. From their appearance, and from what I
have since heard, they belonged to a well-to-do family. She had taken to
her present profession rather on account of a natural gift for singing
than from any necessity. Her mother had come over to Paris for a short
time to visit her daughter and was staying at the hotel. Through the
Scandinavian we soon came to know each other, and as we took coffee
together we had some conversation, which naturally turned on the
Japanese stage. In the course of the conversation, I furnished them with
a number of details in connection with the subject in answer to their

     'On our stage some actors act female parts, as was the case with
     the European stage from the Greeks down to recent centuries in
     Modern Europe. With us, however, unlike your ancient stage,
     grown-up actors, not necessarily youths, act all important female
     parts, and yet they imitate real females so well, that it is
     regarded as almost a marvel. They have a peculiar method of making
     use of certain muscles and bones which make their movements
     resemble those of women. It requires much training from boyhood,
     and that is the reason why the female characters of the new school,
     of which I shall speak presently, are not so realistic as those of
     the old school. Our best actors are those who can act well both
     male and female characters, but naturally there are some who are
     more fitted than others for acting female parts. Shikwan is one of
     the best actors at this moment. I read recently a letter written by
     a New York lady, while on a visit to Japan, who is reputed a great
     patron of the stage. It was addressed to Shikwan, and sent,
     together with a bouquet. In it she says that it was almost amazing
     to her to have seen him acting the part of a great warrior and soon
     after the part of a delicate and noble lady, and that she
     considered him the first actor in the world. I think there is a
     great deal of truth in her remarks. Most foreigners who first visit
     our theatre can hardly be made to believe that the female
     characters are actually acted by males. The architectural
     peculiarities of our stage are:--_First_, the greater part of it is
     a large, round, movable platform on pivots, and is used to great
     advantage for "decorative properties" as well as for the acting.
     _Secondly_, we have the so-called "flower ways" on both sides of
     the stalls. They can also be used with great effectiveness for some
     kinds of acting, though it would be rather difficult to have them
     in the European style of stage building. It is, however, a very
     common mistake of most Europeans to think we have no actresses. We
     have actresses as well as actors, only they form different and
     separate companies, and it is only seldom and of recent date that
     they act together. Danjiuro was the greatest actor we have had in
     recent centuries. Kikugoro and then Sadanji came next They were
     regarded as "the trio," but all three have died within the last few
     years. We do not think we shall have the same talent again for many
     years to come. A Garrick, a Henry Irving, or a Sarah Bernhardt is
     not a production of every generation. Danjiuro in particular was
     accounted, even by Occidental visitors, among the few of the
     greatest actors of the world. Curiously enough there was much
     resemblance between the personal character and style of acting of
     Danjiuro and Sir Henry Irving. The _forte_ of Danjiuro was
     historical representations, and so it was with Irving. Danjiuro
     acted more in spirit, that is to say, with as little action and
     rhetoric as possible, but with more suppressed but visible emotion.
     When he began this style of acting in his younger days, he was not
     popular at first: people thought he lacked theatrical display, but
     he soon succeeded in manifesting his great ability. Not only did he
     work out his own way, but he elevated the public taste. He also
     much improved the social and moral tone of his profession by the
     force of his character. In all these respects, I think there was
     much resemblance between him and Sir Henry Irving. The old stage,
     however, is hampered by much conventionality which is not entirely
     suited to modern taste. This has brought forward the new school.
     Oto Kawakami, the husband of Sada-Yakko, was the pioneer of that
     school. Sada-Yakko, who is known very well to the Occidentals, and
     is highly appreciated by them, is no more than a gifted amateur,
     who joined her husband's company through his influence. In Japan it
     is called the "student plays," because actors belonging to that
     school are mostly students. In the early days of that school, plays
     acted by its actors were little else than mere charades, of the
     most comical nature, even when the meaning was grave. As time went
     on, they have become more and more skilful, so that eventually
     something has been produced worth seeing, more especially because
     they are not hampered by any old conventionality or tradition. They
     can produce on the stage any incident which they deem worth
     showing, and they can introduce any innovation which the old school
     would not dare to do. Besides, these actors being students
     themselves, they have one advantage of having more educational
     intelligence than the greater number of the actors belonging to the
     old school. There is, therefore, much hope for the future in the
     new school, and it is making rapid progress, so much so, that its
     influence is being reflected on the old school.'

During the conversation, I was asked by the gentleman to witness the
young singer's performance, in which request the ladies joined. I had no
other course than to accept. Time in Dreamland flies fast, and I soon
found myself at one of the Operas together with the Scandinavian
gentleman; and there, to my surprise, I found the young singer was a
_prima donna_. The act was _Maritana_; she acted the male part of Don
Cæsar. The performance went on splendidly, and Act II. was reached. I
happened to know the following declamation by Don Cæsar, and when she
sang it I was thrilled, because each word sounded as though uttered by
our own heroes of times gone by:

     'Ah! per pietà, signor, non raddoppiate
     L'aspro mio duol! Almen mi fosse dato
     Per grazia di morir come un soldato!
     Come sul campo il milite
     Pugnando suol morir,
     Concedi a me da libero
     Soldato i di finir!
     Tosto l'acciar fulmineo
     Decida omai di me!
     Dirà ciascuno, il misero
     Da prode morto egli è,
     Dirà ciascuno, il misero
     Da prode morto egli è
     Da prode morto egli è.

     Se di mia stirpe l'ultimo,
     Rampollo in me sen'va,
     Degli avi degno il povero
     Don Cesare morrà.
     Se freddo avel marmoreo
     Non si concede a me,
     Mi basta sol che dicano:
     "Da prode morto egli è."'

     'Ah! spare, oh spare my ancient name
     From such foul disgrace--one boon,
     It is the last I shall ask thee,
     'Tis to die, e'en like a soldier.

     Yes! let me like a soldier fall,
     Upon some open plain,
     This breast expanding for the ball
     To blot out ev'ry stain.
     Brave manly hearts confer my doom,
     That gentler ones may tell,
     Howe'er forgot, unknown my tomb,
     I like a soldier fell,
     Howe'er forgot, unknown my tomb,
     I like a soldier fell,
     I like a soldier fell.

     I only ask of that proud race,
     Which ends its blaze in me,
     To die the last, and not disgrace
     Its ancient chivalry.
     Tho' o'er my clay no banner wave,
     Nor trumpet requiem swell,
     Enough, they murmur o'er my grave,
     "He like a soldier fell."'

The curtain fell: my companion asked me if I would like to see the stage
room of the singer. I assented, we passed through the Green Room, and
entered her room, where she was sitting on a chair, her mother with her.
After an exchange of a few words, she plucked a few blossoms from a
branch of orchids in a vase on the table near her, and put them into my
button-hole, saying, 'Allow me,' and then, plucking some more, similarly
favoured my companion. At that moment the stage-bell rang, and as I
thought we were dashing out of the room and down the stairs, I awoke,
and saw my young secretary standing before me. He said: 'The dinner-bell
has rung; you have slept very long.'

FINIS blank page




This article is intended to explain the salient points of the political
organism of the Japanese Empire, a subject on which many people have
expressed to me their wishes to be informed. The chief sources of my
authority are, of course, the Imperial Constitution and the Imperial
House Law promulgated February 11, 1889, but I have also made use of
several other important laws and known facts bearing on the subject.


The emperor is sacred and inviolable according to the constitution. His
majesty is the sole depository of sovereignty. Legislative power is
given to the Imperial Diet, but the theory of our constitution is that
the emperor himself exercises that power with the _concurrence_ of the
Diet. Other attributes of the emperor, such as the authority for
convoking or dissolving the Diet, sanctioning or vetoing laws,
promulgating the same, declaring war or making peace, ordering amnesty
or pardon, or conferring honours, such as titles of nobility, etc., are
much the same as those of the most of the Western monarchical countries.
One important feature which is without a parallel in the constitution of
almost all other countries (except perhaps some resemblance in the
Austrian constitution) is that in Japan the emperor has the power to
issue 'Urgency Ordinances' which have the same force as the law when
urgency requires such enactments in order to maintain public safety or
to avert public calamity, and it happens that the Diet is not sitting,
though such ordinances have to be submitted to the Diet and its
_ex-post-facto_ consent obtained in the next session, and they lose
their force in case such consent is withheld by the Diet. Another
important feature is that in Japan, unlike several constitutional
countries, all matters relating to the organisation of the army or navy
or the determination of the number of the standing army are entirely
within the sphere of the Imperial prerogative and beyond interference by
the diet though the latter has an indirect voice by reason of its
participation in matters of 'supply.'


The established usage in respect of the Imperial succession of Japan has
always been in the main that of primogeniture on male lines. There had
been, however, no hard-and-fast restriction similar to the Salic Law
before the promulgation of the Imperial House Law of 1889, and,
accordingly, we have had several empresses on the throne of Japan,
though there was never an instance of a reigning empress having a
consort. The Imperial House Law has prevented for ever any female
succeeding to the throne. We can therefore sum up the order of
succession to the Japanese throne as that of the male primogeniture,
viz., from the father to the eldest son, then to the eldest grandson and
so on, in the direct line, in default of which, to the collateral line.
The order of all these is similar to that which appertains to European
primogeniture. The ceremony of coronation is always to take place at
Kioto, the old capital, so also is the Daijo-Sai, the grand festivity,
which is celebrated but once in a reign. The full age of the emperor,
the crown prince, and the eldest son of the crown prince, who has become
direct heir to the throne owing to the early death of the crown prince,
is fixed at full eighteen years, whilst with all the other members of
the Imperial family it is full twenty years, like ordinary subjects of
the emperor. When the emperor is a minor, a regency is to be instituted.
When the emperor is incapacitated by grave causes from discharging his
functions, the same thing also takes place. The order in which the
regency may devolve upon members of the Imperial family is as under:

(1) The crown prince.

(2) The Imperial grandson, being already direct heir-apparent.

(3) Other princes.

(4) The empress.

(5) The empress-dowager.

(6) The grand empress-dowager.

(7) Princesses who have actually no consorts. Precedence amongst the
princes is determined by the order in which they stand for succession to
the throne, and that of princesses is determined in a similar way.

During the minority of the emperor, a grand guardian (Taifu) is
appointed. In case no person for that office be named by the will of the
departed emperor, he is to be appointed by the regent after having
consulted the Imperial family council and the Privy Council. He cannot
be removed unless the matter first be submitted to the consideration of
the above-named councils. When a prince or princess is appointed regent,
he or she shall not, during the tenure, abdicate in favour of any one
except in the case where the crown prince or his eldest son, who had
already become direct heir to the throne, has become qualified for the
function on account of his attaining full age.


The administrative affairs of the empire are discharged by a
minister-president of state, and a number of the ministers of state. The
ministers of state as they stand at present are: (1) The Interior. (2)
The Foreign. (3) Finance. (4) War. (5) Navy. (6) Justice. (7)
Communications. (8) Education. (9) Commerce and Agriculture. The chiefs
of these ministries, viz., the ministers of state, form the cabinet
under the presidency of the minister-president. The system and actual
working of the cabinet is similar to those of the advanced Western
nations. A cabinet meeting is held usually once a week, and important
affairs of state are discussed therein. The cabinet as a body is
responsible to the emperor for those affairs, though each minister has
great latitude of action in matters which fall exclusively within the
sphere of his ministry. There are many matters which do not require
personal discussion. These are circulated among the ministers in the
form of documents for their signature. Matters discussed or considered
in document by the ministers, and which require Imperial sanction are
submitted to the emperor by documents, or personally explained to his
majesty by the minister-president or other ministers as the case may be;
but when very important matters are discussed in the cabinet, it is
always in the actual presence of the emperor. There is a minister for
the Imperial household, but neither he nor his ministry have anything to
do with state affairs, _i.e._ politics; consequently, the minister of
the Imperial household is not a member of the cabinet.

There is a Privy Council, which consists of a president, vice-president,
and about two dozen councillors, and these form the supreme consultative
council of the emperor. It discusses and considers important state
affairs when it is commanded by the emperor to present its views on any
given matter.

The Ministry of Justice has control of the administrative sections of
judicial affairs, but law courts have their distinctive organisation,
and the judges are quite independent of administrative interference.
They are appointed for life and can be dismissed only for grave causes
indicated by law.

Besides the War Ministry, there is a General Staff Office, and in
addition to the Naval Ministry there is the Naval General Staff Office.
The demarcation of the spheres of their competency is that
administrative affairs relating to the army and navy are controlled by
the ministries, and those relating to technical and strategic matters,
or such like, are controlled by the staff office. Both staff offices
have a chief and a vice-chief. They are naturally not members of the
cabinet. In time of war a special Imperial headquarters under the direct
control of the emperor is constituted.

All officials in Government service have before their appointments to
undergo a requisite examination, except when the appointment is for the
position of the Ministership of State.


The Imperial Diet consists of two houses: the House of Peers and the
House of Representatives. There is no difference of privilege between
the two houses, except that the annual budget is to be first submitted
to the House of Representatives, and that the latter may be dissolved,
while no law exists for the dissolution of the former; further, that the
president and vice-president of the Upper House are appointed by the
emperor from amongst the members, whilst those of the Lower House are
appointed by the emperor out of three candidates for each elected by the

The Representatives are elected by direct votes of electors. Until
recent years the country was divided into many small electoral districts
(nearly three hundred, in fact). Each district elected one
representative, and a few elected two representatives, the difference
having arisen from the difficulty of demarking the Sphere uniformly, on
account of the local peculiarities and the number of the population. The
total number of the representatives amounted to just three hundred. A
great change was introduced in recent years in the system of election.
Each prefecture now forms one large electoral district, except that all
the cities, although they are all situated within the prefecture, form
separate districts, each independently. Each district elects a certain
number of representatives allotted to it by law, based upon the number
of the population of such district. (In cases of extremely small cities
the allotment is only one representative.) Each elector may vote for
only one candidate whatever may be the number of representatives
allotted to that district. Men who have polled the largest number of
votes are picked out to the allotted number, and they are regarded as
elected, but in all cases the elected must have polled one-fifth of the
number obtained by dividing the whole number of the registered electors
by the number of the representatives allotted to the district. This mode
of election is called the 'large-district single-vote-system.' It easily
enables the minority of the district to have themselves represented in
the Diet. When any vacancy occurs within a year from the election, the
one who has polled the largest number next to the elected takes his
seat, provided that he had also polled the requisite quorum of votes as
above mentioned. The voting is by ballot (anonymous). There are, of
course, some disqualifications for being an elector or a candidate,
including the disability of titled noblemen for taking part in the
matter. The actual number of the representatives is three hundred and
seventy-six. The qualifications of the electors are that they shall be
male subjects of twenty-five years old or above, paying ten yen (M 20)
of direct taxes and having a year's residence in the district. The
qualifications of the candidates are that they shall be male subjects
thirty years old or above, and their terms are four years.

The composition of the House of Peers is somewhat complicated. The
Japanese name for it is 'Kizoku-in.' 'Kizoku' is generally translated as
peers, and it certainly means noble or high families, but not in the
strict sense of titled people in the West. For the strict equivalent of
peers or nobility, in the Western sense, we have another term 'Kwazoku.'
Our House of Peers consists of the following members, who must always be

(1) Male members of the Imperial family who have attained their full

(2) Princes (dukes) and marquises who have attained the age of
twenty-five years.

Both these classes (one and two) sit in the House by their inherent

(3) Representatives elected by counts, viscounts, and barons from
amongst themselves, each grade separately.

The numbers of such representatives is previously determined, always not
exceeding one-fifth of the total number of each grade. They must be
twenty-five years old, and their terms are seven years.

(4) Life members appointed by the emperor by virtue of distinguished
services rendered to the state, or of intellectual distinction. They all
of them must be fully thirty years old; nearly all of those who are thus
nominated do not belong to the nobility in the strict sense of the term.

(5) Members elected, one for each prefecture, by mutual election of
fifteen highest direct-tax payers of each of the respective prefectures.
Such tax payers must be thirty years old, and their paying the taxes
must be on account of the lands they hold or of industry or commerce.
Therefore, one who simply lives on an income derived from state-bonds
would hardly be entitled to claim this privilege. The terms of these
members are also seven years. The total number in classes four and five
may not exceed the total number in classes two and three, viz., members
belonging purely to the nobility.

The Diet is to be convoked once a year for an ordinary session, the
length of which is three months, and can be prolonged when necessary.
Special sessions may be instituted when necessary. All members of both
Houses, except those belonging to classes number one and number two of
the Upper House, or those who are in the government service, receive two
thousand yen (M 4000) a year, whilst presidents and vice-presidents
receive five thousand yen and three thousand yen respectively.


The recruiting and organisation of the Japanese army are very much like
those of the European continental powers, especially those of Germany,
from whom we have learned much. Those of the Japanese navy are like
those of England, except that our sailors are taken not only from
volunteers, but also by obligatory service; in other words, youths who
have to serve as soldiers by the universal service system may be taken
for sailors, considerations of course being given to their personal
inclination. These latter, _i.e._ obligatory ones, form about half the
total number in the navy.


The whole of Japan proper is divided into forty-five prefectures. The
prefectures of Tokio, Kioto, and Osaka are called Fu, whilst all others
are called Ken. The difference is more a matter of sentiment than
anything else, for there is no difference whatever for any practical
purposes. The administrative systems of Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Formosa
each diverge from those of Japan proper to some extent, though they are
gradually being made similar to those of the main islands. I therefore
put those three Islands, Hokkaido, Okinawa, and Formosa, outside the
scope of the present paper for the sake of convenience. Each prefecture
is presided over by a governor appointed by the central Government. It
is partly an administrative district of the state and partly a communal
district having its communal administration supported by local taxes.
For this latter aspect each prefecture has a local assembly, members of
which are elected by direct votes of electors of the prefecture. Each
prefecture is divided into counties, and the counties (Kreis) into rural
and urban village communities (Gemeinde). Larger urban communities are
incorporated as cities and are made independent of counties. Counties
are prefectures on a small scale. Each of them is presided over by a
_Gun-cho_, whose office is very similar to that of a French sub-prefect.
But counties also have their communal sides like prefectures and have
representative assemblages. The communal side of counties, however, is
not very important, because communal affairs on a large scale are
discharged by prefectures, and ordinary communal affairs are mostly
discharged by village communities. Cities and village communities are
the real 'self-governments' of the people. Each of them has a
representative assemblage, and elects its own executive officials. The
composition of these officials differs in cities and village
communities; that in the cities is, of course, more complicated. Even
amongst the cities there is a great difference in the degree of
importance, because there are many cities which are extremely small,
inasmuch as a town having a population over twenty-five thousand could
as a rule be incorporated as a city. The existing ordinances for the
constitution of these local governments are very much like those of
Prussia--in fact, the ordinances for those of the cities and village
communities are in a great measure founded upon those of Prussia. The
chief points of difference are that, unlike Prussia, our prefectural
governments subordinate direct to the central Government, with no
intermediary which represents the latter and superintends the former,
and that, unlike Prussia, there is in Japan no 'Gutsbezirk' (signorial
community) side by side with ordinary communities.


Such is the political organism of Japan. My description, however, is
only the merest skeleton of it. That such a skeleton should be endowed
with the proper spirit requires that the whole nation from the sovereign
down to the lowest member of the community should be animated by
sincerity and loyalty and supported by a liberal and tolerant régime.
That Japan is doing her best in those respects, I can only ask my
readers to infer from their own observation of the admitted progress
that she has been fortunate enough to accomplish so far.

I may, however, explain some of the more important points bearing on
the question. The emperor is extremely popular amongst his people at
large. I may say that it is not mere popularity in the ordinary sense of
the word, but a popularity which is more of the nature of reverence.
This reverence for the emperor on the part of the people is manifested
in their extreme loyalty. On the other hand, the emperor has not the
least inclination to take advantage of it and abuse it for selfish
purposes. His majesty entertains the keenest sense of duty in regard to
his position, not as a person privileged to do whatever he may choose,
but rather as a person to whom is intrusted the great task of taking
care of the people over whom he reigns. Thus there exist between the
sovereign and his subjects mutual confidence and love, which cannot fail
to prove the greatest blessing to the country in any hour of national

As to the position of the Diet versus the Government, party landmarks
are not so strong in Japan as among most of the Western nations. True it
is that in Japan also there are several political parties, but the
Government is not 'a party government' as it is in England or America.
In that respect the Government of Japan most resembles that of Germany.
According to the constitution, the Ministers of State are responsible
only to the Emperor, but every practical statesman knows that no
government can be satisfactorily carried on without concurrence of the
Diet so long as there is such a body, and therefore in Japan, also,
every Ministry has to do its best to count on such good relations with
the parties as it can secure; but, nevertheless, party feeling does not
run so high, and party struggles are not so severe as to make the
formation of a Cabinet depend on party issues.

The cause of all this is plain so far as we are concerned. The emperor
does not interfere with politics, but when at the hour of supreme
necessity he manifests his will, his subjects, one and all,
instantaneously obey it, and rally around the throne, forgetting for the
time being any differences of personal opinion. It was so at the time of
the Sino-Japanese war, and again in the Russo-Japanese war. This state
of things is due, amongst others, to the liberal administration of the
Imperial régime. The press, speech, and right of meeting are for all
practical purposes entirely free. Personal freedom is guaranteed by the
constitution. Taxes are levied, but no abuse of authority is known. The
people at large have no real grounds of complaint or grievance against
the Government as such, and have absolutely none against the Emperor.
Moreover, Japan knows no difficulty in matters of religion, and
consequently no party based upon religious notions exists to give
trouble to Government. If this or that section of the people has any
disputes with the Government or between themselves, those are
essentially questions of some temporary and passing character. Hence in
Japan it is not a difficult matter for the people at large to unite
themselves under a common national policy in a time of national



In this paper I shall sketch something of the systems of education in
Japan, especially that of elementary education. My readers, however,
must not think I have anything wonderful to show to them; for, as a
matter of fact, I have nothing to take them by surprise. All that I can
sum up is, that we are doing those things with the utmost sincerity, as
we do other things which are already manifest to the Western public In
days gone by, that is to say, during the feudal period, there was one
college in the capital town of every feudal lord, in which the children
of the retainers of Samurai were educated. There were some hundreds of
such lords, some great and some petty. Their ranks and importance
differed considerably, and naturally the number of their retainers
differed; in consequence the scale and magnitude of such colleges also
varied. The most famous of them were those of Mito, Chosiu, Kumamoto,
and others belonging to great lords. Above all, there was one such
belonging to the Shogunate itself. It may be here noted that
institutions where the young Samurai practised the use of swords, or
spears, or firearms, or the art of _jiujitsu_, were established
sometimes in connection with, and sometimes independently of, these
colleges. There were also many plebeian colleges in different parts of
the empire. These were mostly private institutions founded by _savants_.
The founders were generally of plebeian origin; but there were among
them many who were originally Samurai, and who betook themselves to such
occupation from love of independence, or some other causes. But it must
be remembered that, though they did not belong officially to the _cadre_
of Samurai, yet the social respect paid to them was great. In such a
private institution, the founder himself was the master, assisted by
those of his pupils who were more advanced than others. The master
taught the advanced pupils, or gave general lectures for the benefit of
all; and the advanced taught and gave lectures to the less advanced. The
pupils were generally youths of plebeian gentry, but not exclusively so,
because many of the youthful Samurai from all parts of the empire
enlisted themselves as pupils, especially when any such institution had
become famous on account of the achievements of the master and of the
general work of the institution.

The curricula of such colleges, both of the official ones of feudal
lords and of private ones, were diverse, but generally comprised
elementary as well as higher education. There was, of course, no uniform
course of study to restrain the method of teaching; and every inventive
faculty was employed in each college, so that many special
characteristics were observable. But one thing which is undeniable was,
that ethical training formed one of the most important branches

The chief feature of the college institutions of those days, especially
of private institutions, was enforced privation and hardship. I can
never forget the days when I, in common with all others, of course, ate
meals only twice a day, and those, too, of the simplest diet. The food
often consisted of nothing else than a little rice with a very little
salt, or the like. We ourselves were cooks in turn. We swept and washed
out, not only our own rooms, but those of the master also. We often used
cold water in the depth of severe winters for the purpose of washing,
and suchlike. We heated the water in turn for the baths of our fellow
pupils. We sometimes sat up whole nights in winter with scarcely any
fire to warm us, in order to accustom ourselves to rigid discipline. In
those days no idea of sanitation in the modern sense entered the minds
of the master or of ourselves; neither did any outward show of
appearance trouble us, nay, the more one was regardless of those things,
the more was one thought strong in character. It is, no doubt, due to
the training of those days that I, personally, for instance, cannot bear
the trouble of appearing like a grandee, or a fashionable person. Thus,
for example, I, who never used gloves in my boyhood, cannot endure the
discomfort of wearing them, even on winter days.

Amongst the lower classes (peasants or shopkeepers) there was generally
one or other private person, in village or town, who could teach
elementary writing and reading, and who taught the children in his
neighbourhood by establishing a sort of private school. This was very
commonly done by a priest of the Buddhist or Shinto temple of the place.
It seems that at one time this was done almost universally by the
priests of Buddhist temples; so much so, that we have the term
_Tera-ko-ya_. _Tera_ means a Buddhist temple, _Ko_ means children, and
_Ya_ means a house--_Tera-Ko_ came generally to mean children who go to
learn elementary writing and reading, and _Tera-ko-ya_ to mean the place
where such children were taught. We have a famous tragedy, one act of
which is called _The Scene of Terakoya_. There is a translation in
German of that act by a German scholar. It is a scene which represents a
tragic incident taking place in the tenth century A.D., in a private
school for children opened by an old retainer of a nobleman. It has
nothing to do with a temple; and yet it is called _The Scene of

It was, however, only after the inauguration of the Meiji era that
education became thorough and universal. In the earliest days of this
era there was an officer called _Daigaku-Betto_ (Chancellor of the
University), who was a functionary of great dignity. In the course of a
few years a special Ministry was instituted for education, with a
Minister of State, who, of course, had a chair in the Cabinet; and that
system has ever remained the same. The Minister of Education controls
the educational affairs of the whole country. At first the sphere of
direct control of the central Government was naturally limited to higher
education; but, with the abolition of the feudal system and the gradual
consolidation of local administration, the sphere has extended step by
step, and has culminated in the present system of universal education.

For the system of education, also, we are indebted to Europe and
America; for the method of its practical working is, like many other new
institutions, borrowed from the Occidental nations. The only difference
perceptible, perhaps, lies in the fact that in Japan the moving force of
the whole system is manipulated by the central Government to a greater
degree than it is in any other country--certainly far more so than it is
in England. The question of how far popular education should be
interfered with by the state, or rather what difference of advantage
exists between the system whereby the state takes upon itself
far-reaching responsibility and one whereby a great margin is left to an
independent development of private institutions, is a matter which
admits many pros and cons. It is not, however, my business to discuss
this problem in this place. The fact remains, that with us the state
exercises conspicuous influence in the matter. Almost all the
educational institutions of Japan are official or public; for they
belong either directly to the state or to the local administrations
(Prefectural or Communal), and they are all controlled, directly or
indirectly, by the Ministry of Education. There are some private
institutions also, it is true; but their number is very small when
compared with the others, and even those must abide by the general
direction of the state. The reason of this is, that private undertakings
for elementary education have to be similar to the compulsory education
imposed by the state, and such similarity can only be acquired by
following the general direction of the state. In those of a higher
standard, it is because there are many things in which certain
privileges are given to those persons who possess certain educational
qualifications. For instance, in obtaining a postponement of actual
enrolment for military service, or in becoming a candidate for civil
service examinations, such educational qualifications are generally
measured by the standard of certain public institutions; so that private
institutions of higher standard have to conform themselves to the
direction of the state, if they wish to avail themselves of the
aforesaid privileges. The chief reason why in Japan the state takes upon
itself so much responsibility in education is, apart from the intrinsic
merit _per se_ of the system, that the country, under the circumstances
of the period, could not afford to wait patiently the natural growth of
extensive private enterprises.

Putting aside special and technical educational institutions, as well as
those of a private nature, the grades of our educational institutions
are: (1) the Universities; (2) High Colleges, which may be regarded as
preparatory _Almæ Matres_ for universities; (3) Middle Schools; (4)
Higher Primary Schools; (5) Common Primary Schools.

The first two belong to the state itself. The last three belong to
local administrations--in fine, there is one or more of the Middle
Schools in each Prefecture, supported by the prefectural taxes, the
number varying according to the requirement of the locality; and one or
more Higher Primary Schools in each county, and one or more Common
Primary Schools in each village-community, all supported by local rates.
The case of cities is similar to that of a county and its
village-communities put together. The system is thoroughly carried out
throughout the country; for I can say that there is no community where a
Primary School is not provided. In populous towns there are
_Kindergarten_ for the benefit of little boys and girls under school
age, though the number of such _Garten_ is still only a few hundreds in

Elementary education is compulsory for both boys and girls: the school
age begins at six. Common Primary Schools are the places where
compulsory education is given. The course is four years. Excuses for
absence are taken only in certain cases. According to the official
report of the school year of 1901-2, the percentage of the boys
receiving requisite elementary education was 93.78, and that of the
girls 81.80, the average being 88.05.

The present system of our writing, which is more commonly used than
another which consists of phonetic letters only, is very cumbersome,
because it consists of a mixture of Chinese ideographs and our phonetic
letters. It is a great drawback to our education, nay to our national
life. Boys and girls, however, have to learn it; and, therefore, the
poor children of Japan have to take more pains than those of other
countries, which are blessed with the common use of a phonetic alphabet

Boys and girls of all classes attend the same schools--children of rich
merchants and county gentry side by side with those of coolies or
humblest peasants. Our schools are essentially national institutions for
all classes on an equal footing. No class distinction is to be found in
them. This holds good with higher institutions. There exist, of course,
no longer any colleges like those of former days, which belonged to
feudal lords, and were more or less exclusively used by the Samurai
class. The emperor and empress have established, out of special interest
for the education of nobility, a peers' school and a peers' girls'
school in Tokio. But even these schools are not exclusively attended by
boys and girls of the nobility; for children of the commons who possess
a satisfactory social standard are admitted to them. On the other hand,
too, children of the nobility do not necessarily join those schools
only; for many such children are sent to ordinary schools, from
convenience of locality or from some particular inclination of the
parents. The zeal for education has been carried to such an extent, that
primary education was made universally free, by a recommendation of the
Diet. Without questioning the means of the family to which the children
belong; although, under some special circumstances, trifling fees,
almost nominal, may be imposed by special permission of the proper

The method of teaching in Primary Schools has developed itself in the
following manner. A few years after the abolition of the feudal system,
namely in 1872, the first Normal School was established in Tokio; and
some seventy young students were collected. An American school teacher
was engaged to train these youths for the purpose. They were divided
into two classes, those who acquitted themselves with greater credit at
the entrance examination having been given a place in the first class.
The American teacher taught the first of these two classes exactly in
the same manner as he did in America, the students having become as mere
children. One or other of the students belonging to the class so taught,
taught in turn the other class in a similar manner, though somewhat
modified to suit our requirements. In conjunction with this practice,
charts and simple text-books were prepared by some officials of the
Ministry of Education who were attached to the school. This was soon
followed by an establishment of five more Government Normal Schools in
different parts of the empire, and a Women's Normal School in Tokio. In
the course of a few years each Prefecture came to establish its own
Normal School under subsidy of the Government; and the Government Normal
Schools were abolished, except those established in Tokio, which were
maintained as before, as a model for the local Normal Schools.

In the development of this scheme the graduates of the first Normal
School inaugurated in Tokio played an important part, of course. Since
then the system has remained the same in the main; but the method of
teaching has been gradually improved by our inventions to meet our own
requirements, supplemented by new intelligence brought back from the
West by officials or students sent abroad for studying such matters.

The mode of making teachers at present is as follows. There is a High
Normal School and a High Women's Normal School established in Tokio by
the state; and another has been recently established in Hiroshima, also
by the state. Their chief object is to train teachers for higher local
institutions, viz., teachers of Prefectural Normal Schools, Middle
Schools, and suchlike. In each Prefecture one or more Normal Schools are
established. The maximum of accommodation of the Prefectural Normal
Schools, together with the numbers of the students to be trained
therein, is determined by an ordinance of the central Government, and is
made obligatory upon the Prefectures. The students who are trained in
Normal Schools, both High and Prefectural, are supported by the State or
by the Prefecture, as the case may be, on condition that they serve as
teachers for a certain number of years. Teachers thus trained in
Prefectural Normal Schools become teachers of all elementary schools.
Teachers of this kind are not, of course, quite sufficient in number to
fill up all the positions in all schools; so that the want, for
instance, of assistants of minor importance is filled up by those to
whom certificates are given on certain examination for qualification to
take up such position. And, moreover, teachers of some special subject,
for instance, drawing, or cutting and sewing, are appointed from amongst
those who hold special certificates from the proper authorities. I may
here add, that a system of additional emolument for long services and
pensions on retirement of teachers, to the local funds of which the
state contributes a certain quota, was promulgated some fifteen years
ago, as an inducement for their devotion.

Rigidity of physical training, in the way of privation and hardship,
has become a thing of the past. But in its place physical training of a
sportive and gymnastic character, after the Western style, is much
practised. To this, in the case of boys, training of a military
character (_jiujitsu_, fencing, and military drill and manœuvre) has
been added in the case of higher grades. This begins from Higher Primary
Schools, varying according to age. The credit of the introduction of
military drill and manœuvres into our schools and colleges is due to
the late Viscount Mori, who was at one time Japanese Minister in London.
Moreover, school children are often taken out by their teachers for
so-called 'distant excursions'; and, in the case of the higher grades,
this often takes place during summer vacation for many days or weeks, in
the shape of camping out and manœuvring, or of round trips to places
of historic interest, something like a pilgrimage. Such trips of Large
numbers of students, which are called 'educational excursions,' are
personally conducted by the masters.

I do not propose here to describe in detail the curriculum of the
Primary Schools, still less those of all institutions of higher grades,
as this would only weary my readers. All these curricula are in the main
similar to those of the Western nations. There is, however, one branch
of which they would like me to say something: it is the teaching of
morality. In former days in Japan, moral teaching meant more than half
of education. Even under the altered circumstances of recent time, this
notion is still kept very vividly. Especial stress in this respect,
however, is laid in Primary Schools. One thing noticeable is, that with
us the morality taught in the public schools is entirely secular. Some
vague notion of heaven or of a supreme being or gods, in a vague sense,
might occur here and there in the course of it; but morality never has
any colour of a religious, still less of a denominational character. The
main principle of morality is laid down in an Imperial injunction
commonly called the 'Imperial Educational Rescript,' which is reverenced
by teacher and student alike; but, besides this, there are several
text-books, based upon the principles laid down in the Rescript, and
written in a style to suit the requirements of the grades, indeed, of
each class, on a progressive method. The entity of the Rescript and the
text-books form an embodiment of practical ethics illustrated by
practical examples. They teach how to be honest, how to be
straightforward, how to be loyal, how to be patriotic, to honour one's
parents, to be truthful to friends, and suchlike. On this point,
however, I must refer my readers to my article entitled 'Moral Teaching
of Japan,' in which I have given a detailed account of the subject.[2]

Nevertheless, I may add a few words. In Japan all virtues are mainly
viewed as a point of duty of those upon whom the conduct of those
virtues is incumbent. Thus to be loyal to the emperor is the duty of a
subject; to be patriotic is the duty of a citizen to his country;
truthfulness is the duty of a friend; and reverence is the duty of a
child to its parents; and so on.

In teaching morality to children, the sense of duty is constantly kept
in view. Then again, in Oriental ethics the term 'name' has an important
bearing. It may often be translated as 'fame'; but it has in reality a
wider and more pious signification. We have a proverb: 'Tigers leave
skins behind when dead, and men leave (or should leave) names.' Here the
term 'name' may certainly be translated as 'fame'; but we often say that
'we must not disgrace the name,' meaning that we must not disgrace
ourselves or our family by committing any unworthy action. In Japan, to
acquire fame and not disgrace one's family name are concurrent thoughts.
Fame does not mean a satisfaction of vanity. The trend of thought is
something like this 'Do not commit any bad act, for it will disgrace
your name, which is the greatest shame to one's self and to one's
family. If your name shines out, so much the better, as it is a sure
sign that you have behaved well or have done something good, something
worthy of yourself, your family, or your ancestors; but to seek
notoriety out of mere vanity is despicable, for it is not good conduct
and does not deserve a good name,' This notion of 'name' permeates very
widely in our idea of morality, which fact will explain many cases
wherein a Japanese prefers death to life. Perhaps the word 'honour' may
convey the nearer meaning of the word 'name'; in fact, the Western word
'honour' is generally translated in Japanese by a combination of the
words name and fame, as 'Meiyo.' This notion of 'name' is impressed in
one way or other upon the minds of our youths from childhood, that is to
say, from their days of elementary education; and it exercises a great
influence in after life.

[1] _The Independent Review_, August 1905.

[2] See _The Risen Sun_.



It is now some forty years ago since there took place in Japan some very
interesting episodes of English and French diplomacy, which are little
known to the Western public.

It was during the last days of the Shogunate and before the restoration
of the Imperial régime. The Western powers with whom Japan had treaty
relations were still few in number at that time. The principal of them
were: The United States of America, England and France. Holland, though
secondary, as she is, had some semblance of equality with the others
from the fact that she was a nation which had had commercial relations
with us for a longer time than they. Russia and Germany were already in
treaty relations with us also, but in the practical sphere of diplomacy
they had not played much part. It was England and France who displayed
the greatest activity in that sphere. They were both represented by very
interesting characters: England by Sir Harry Parkes and France by Léon
Roches. It is needless to comment on what an interesting character Sir
Harry Parkes was, as doubtless his biography is well known to my
readers. I will give here, however, a concise outline of his life.

At the early age of fourteen years he was attached to an English
consulate in China. He soon acquired the Chinese tongue, and his
extraordinary activity and ability gave him good chances of advancing
his position. At the time of the Anglo-French expedition to Peking he
was attached to the English army, and many adventurous and romantic
incidents are told about him in connection with it. After that
expedition he was made English Consul-General at Shanghai, and soon
afterwards transferred to Japan as minister, in succession to Sir
Rudford Alcock. Sir Harry may be regarded as an adventurer.

Léon Roches was of a similar character; he began his career in Algeria
in a most adventurous and romantic manner. He was subsequently made
French agent in Tunis and thence was transferred to Japan, as minister,
by Napoleon III. It was through his influence that France succeeded in
drawing the Shogun's government into her confidence. Military
instructors were sent from France, the Yokosuka dockyard was constructed
with French materials, a young brother of the Shogun was sent a little
later on to Paris, where he stayed for many years as the favourite of
the court of Napoleon. In other words, French influence was paramount in
Yedo, the present Tokio, the site of the Shogun's government.

Parkes arrived in Japan at that juncture. In the Crimean war, England
and France, needless to say, were allies; so also were they in the
Chinese war. At home the Courts of St. James' and that of the Tuileries
were on intimate terms. Besides, in Japan, their interests, broadly
speaking, were identical, and, therefore, their policy did not diverge
very much, as far as their national interests were concerned, and yet
their views concerning the domestic politics of Japan presented a marked
difference. It was the time when, as every one knows, Japan was divided
into two camps of public opinion. On one side the Shogunate partisans
and on the other the Imperialists, amongst whom Chosiu was the most
prominent. France sided with the Shogunates, whilst England gradually
gave her sympathy to the Imperialists. Several reasons seem to have
existed in connection therewith. At home, though Napoleon was apparently
still at the height of his power, he seems to have felt the necessity of
making some pompous display of power abroad, in order to appease the
growing discontent among the people. Léon Roches was just the sort of
man who would have done things which would suit Napoleon's secret
designs, and therefore, when the conflict between the Shogunate and the
Imperialists reached an acute state, it is said that France offered to
help the Shogunate with her money and even with her military forces. On
the other hand England, or rather Harry Parkes, thought that the
Imperial cause was more just, and, therefore, deserved more sympathy.

It is now pretty well known to Western readers that, though in the
administrative authorities the Shogunate appeared potent, in the
question of the legitimacy of the title, that is to say, the
sovereignty, the Imperial court was viewed as the only lawful head by
the Japanese in general, nay, it was so in the point of fact. But in
those days, foreigners used to say and to think that the emperor was
only the spiritual head and the Shogun was the temporal chief of Japan,
and they were unable to see what turning movements were approaching, the
result of which would be the restoration of the Imperial authority and
the consolidation of the country under one single head in the person of
the emperor, as the sovereign _de facto_ as well as _de jure_. It was
only natural for onlookers to fail to penetrate such matters, and Léon
Roches, sagacious as he was, was unable to differ from others. With
Harry Parkes the case was different. He had grown up in the Far East: he
was well acquainted with the Chinese ideographs; he understood Oriental
thought contained in books and documents, written with those ideographs.
Besides, several of his countrymen already in Japan had kept keen
observation of the true situation and had intercourse with several
Imperialist patriots, and their counsel could not fail to be valuable to
Sir Harry. He was soon able to realise the relative positions occupied
in the organic composition of Japan by the Imperial court and the
Shogunate respectively. Thus the English policy, that is Parkes, came to
differ from that of France, that is Léon Roches. Roches's sympathy
continued to be on the side of the Shogunate, even after the latter had
suffered defeats, which may be shown by the fact that when Admiral
Enomoto left the Bay of Yedo with his fleets after the submission of the
Shogun and went to Hakodate, several French military instructors went
with him. It is true they left the troops of Enomoto before the latter
was brought to submission, but they would not have gone with him at all
if the French representative had ceased to sympathise with the
Shogunate's cause. Roches's influence had been gradually eclipsed by
that of Parkes. It is imaginable, however, that should the advisers of
the Shogunate have accepted Roches's offer as to money and forces, the
course of the history of Japan might have presented some difference,
although the ultimate end would have been just the same. Nevertheless,
thanks to the loyalty and patriotism, before which there is no
difference of sentiment and opinion amongst the Japanese, no countenance
had been given to the policy of Roches by the Shogunate, which preferred
its own downfall rather than an acceptance of foreign assistance.

As to Parkes, although his sympathies were elsewhere than with the
Shogunate from the beginning, officially speaking he was a minister
accredited to the court of the Shogunate. Nevertheless, he had
sufficient foresight how to protect English interests, and, moreover,
several other causes made him incline towards the Imperial court.

A year or two before, Ito and Inouyé returned from England to Chosiu.
They were thoroughly changed from fierce anti-foreign partisans to
pro-foreign propagandists. On account of this visit to and return from
England, they became acquainted with several Englishmen who were then in
Japan, such as Lowder, Glover, and Satow. When they, together with
Takasugi and Yamagata and others, revolted against the then government
of Chosiu, which temporarily had gained the power and favoured more
conciliatory policy with the Shogunate, and established a new one in
defiance of the Shogunate, Takasugi held an opinion that the time would
soon come when the question of Chosiu _versus_ the Shogunate would
become one of Japan _versus_ Western nations, and that it would be
better for him to prepare himself for the future eventuality, leaving
domestic affairs in the hands of his friends. He communicated this idea
to his intimate friends, Ito and Inouyé, who agreed with him. He asked
Ito to accompany him. Together they left their homeland of Chosiu and
went to Nagasaki with the full intention of going to Europe, which would
be the second voyage for Ito and the first for Takasugi, though the
latter had once been abroad as far as Shanghai a few years before.

This was just the time when Parkes was appointed English minister and
expected to arrive at Japan from Shanghai before long. At Nagasaki,
Takasugi and Ito met with Glover and Lowder. They were told by them that
Parkes was a person of interesting character, and that by effecting
communication with him some great work might be done. Besides, they were
told, it was not time for them to leave their home for Europe. Time was
important, and it would be far more interesting if they were, for
instance, to take up a plan for opening Shimonoseki to foreign trade.
They agreed and returned to Chosiu. In no time the government of the
Shogun despatched the second expedition to Chosiu, and war commenced,
the result of which was a total repulse of the Shogunate troops.

Here I must say something about Satsuma. Kagoshima, the capital of
Satsuma, had been bombarded by the English fleet a few years before.
When peace was made, some kind of friendship began to be felt between
the English and Satsuma men. Several young and promising Samurai of
Satsuma repeatedly visited Nagasaki, and in one way or another they were
also acquainted with the Englishmen whom Ito knew. Before the war with
the Shogunate, Ito went to Nagasaki several times, chiefly for
purchasing war materials, but it may be presumed that a good deal of
diplomatic conversation took place between him and the Englishmen as
well as Satsuma men. From these circumstances, and also from the
circumstances which brought Sakamoto of Tosa into close contact with Ito
and his friends, an understanding soon began to grow between Satsuma and
Chosiu, which ultimately resulted in their secret alliance. In the
course of a few years the tide of events turned greatly in favour of the
Imperialists, and the Shogunate at last came to an end.

Soon after the battle of Fushimi no time was lost in intimating at the
initiation of Ito the restoration of the Imperial Government to foreign
representatives, who were at the time staying at Osaka. It may be
presumed that an early acceptance of this situation was largely due to
an understanding existing previously between the English representative
and the Chosiu and Satsuma, through such men as Ito, Inouyé of Chosiu
and Godai and Komatsu of Satsuma who were also frequenters of Nagasaki.
Soon after that event the first audience was given at the Imperial
Palace of Kioto to English and French ministers. At that time there were
still many anti-foreign fanatics: on the way taken by Parkes from his
quarters in a temple to the Imperial Palace, he was attacked by a
fanatic. Several of his mounted English escort were injured. Goto and
Nakai, whose names are well known in Japan, were escorting Parkes. They
did their utmost in defending him, and killed the assassin on the spot,
in consequence of which Nakai received severe injuries on his forehead.
Parkes returned to his quarters; it was a critical moment for the
Imperial cause. Ito was at the Palace: it was his duty to introduce the
ministers to the emperor. Roches arrived at the Palace, but not Parkes.
Presently a note addressed to the French minister came from Parkes, and
also the tidings of the occurrence. Ito put the note into his pocket for
a moment and told Roches to have his audience first, because it was no
use to wait for Parkes. The audience ended and the note was handed to
Roches, but it was too late for him to say anything. As to Parkes, Ito
and others found no great difficulty in pacifying him, especially
because the sincerity of the Government was demonstrated by the action
of Goto and Nakai. Parkes had an audience of the emperor next day; and
thus the foreign relations between the Imperial court and those of the
Treaty Powers were formally established.

Thus we see that France once backed a wrong horse, but it was not in
any way due to her fault. We have soon entirely forgiven and forgotten,
nay more, good friendship soon began to be felt between the two nations.
Military instructors, as well as jurists, were invited from France. The
army was organised and distributed after the French system. The Code
Napoleon was studied and translated into Japanese. The French language
was studied in the schools. Even a special school was instituted by the
Government for studying the French language and law. Of recent years, I
am sorry to notice things have not gone so satisfactorily. Some sorts of
coldness of feeling have entered between the two countries, compared
with the Anglo-Saxon races. It is natural enough that there should exist
more sympathy between Japan and England and America, because the latter
two have a far more extensive intercourse with us--the greatest number
of foreign residents in Japan being first English, next American. And
yet I do not see why French and Japanese friendship should not be
restored to the warmth of former days, or indeed be made warmer than in
those days. Let us hope France does not repeat too often her errors of
backing wrong horses--for on our part we have no thought of remembering
long other people's errors which may be committed against us.

[1] _L'Européen_, July 15, 1905.




It is impossible to give a comprehensive account of the lives of these
personages, because to do so would be to write a history of Japan of the
last half century. I will, however, give you the chief points.

Marquis Ito is considered by common consent of the Japanese as the
greatest statesman of Japan at this moment; there is scarcely a single
political institution of modern Japan in which he has not shared the
initiation. Many people in the West call him the 'Maker of New Japan,'
and it is not far from fact. In other words, I may say that the greatest
service which he has rendered to Japan is her Europeanisation, for it
has been done more by his efforts than by those of any other. It is,
however, a remarkable fact that he was in his youth one of the most
ardent participators of the anti-foreign party. Not quite fifty years
ago, when but a young man of seventeen or eighteen, Japan was in a state
of internal commotion; the country was divided into two camps of
opinion, one pro-foreign, and the other anti-foreign. The Prince of
Chosiu belonged to the latter. There were many young men in Chosiu who
were ardent in the anti-foreign propaganda, and young Ito was one of
them. It was they who occasionally tried to attack foreigners, and on
one occasion actually set fire to the buildings just completed to be
used as foreign legations. Most of these young men were pupils of
Yoshida Shoin, who was known as a pioneer of the new Imperial régime
which resulted in the unification of Japan under one single sovereign,
and therefore is sometimes compared with Mazzini of Italy. Shoin held
anti-foreign sentiments and imbued the men of his day with his views.
But it must not be understood that Shoin was an anti-foreign _à
outrance_, because we can see from his writings that his views were not
opposed to foreign intercourse altogether, but he did not like the
manner in which the Europeans forced their way into the Far East in
those days. In one of his essays he states 'let us first consolidate the
empire and then let us send our ambassador, say, for example, to San
Francisco, and there conclude a treaty.'

His primary object was to restore the Imperial authority to its ancient
condition, and thus consolidate the empire. However it may be, the fact
remains that Chosiu was the foremost of the feudal clans who adopted the
anti-foreign action. Even at that time, however, there were some even in
Chosiu who had the foresight to make some 'live machines,' as they
called the young men of talent who were to meet future necessities when
the empire might ultimately be opened to the West, and some of the young
men referred to above also saw the necessity of making of themselves
such machines. In consequence of this, five young men of Chosiu sailed
to England contrary to the then existing prohibition of the Shogun
government Two of these five were the present Marquis Ito and Count
Inouyé. They got on board an English ship at Yokohama, with some
difficulty and risk, of course. At Shanghai they separated. Ito and
Inouyé went on board one sailing vessel and the other three on board
another. They knew little English then. One of the words they knew was
navigation. On board the English ship Ito and Inouyé told the captain of
the vessel that they wished to learn navigation, and he set them to work
as common sailors. They all reached London after several months' voyage
round the Cape of Good Hope. I may here mention that Yoshida Shoin, when
Commodore Perry came to the coast of Uraga, had tried to get on board
one of his ships and be taken to America in order that he might
personally see the Western countries, but was refused, and in
consequence he suffered imprisonment on account of his venturesome
attempt. It is, however, mentioned in _Perry's Expedition_, commenting
on Shoin's attempt very favourably, that 'a nation which produces such a
youth had a great future before it.' Of course, Yoshida's name was not
then known to Americans, and they, therefore, knew nothing of his
character. Regarding this incident, we may say that the five youths who
left Japan in the above manner were in a measure fulfilling the
cherished desire of Shoin.

Ito and Inouyé soon perceived what kind of people the Western nations
were and what kind of civilisation they possessed. In the meantime the
internal commotion of Japan accelerated to a very acute degree. The
troops of Chosiu bombarded several European merchantmen in the strait of
Shimonoseki from their fortifications, and soon afterwards some troops
were sent from Chosiu to Kioto, where much political complication
prevailed at the time, between the partisans of the Shogunate and
Chosiu. When the news of the bombardment of Shimonoseki reached England,
Ito and Inouyé thought that anti-foreign policy would be futile, and
that it would be better to devote the national energy more to the
internal consolidation of the empire. To this end they determined to go
back to Japan in order to persuade their Prince and government to their
newly acquired views, and on leaving the other three behind in England,
they told them to finish their education so that they might realise
their hope of becoming 'live machines.'

The history of what they did when they reached Japan is recorded in the
contemporary diplomatic documents of England and some other countries,
and also in some English books on Japan, so I need not dwell upon it
here. I may, however, state that they ultimately reached Chosiu with
much difficulty, having been first conveyed to an island near Chosiu by
an English man-of-war. Just at that time the troops of Chosiu, which had
been stationed in the neighbourhood of Kioto for some months, fought
against the troops under the Shogunate and were defeated. In the
meantime, the combined fleets of England, France, the United States, and
Holland, made their entry into the straits of Shimonoseki. Before the
youthful Ito and Inouyé had succeeded in persuading their Prince and
compatriots to adopt pro-foreign policy, Shimonoseki was bombarded.
Peace was concluded, which was greatly due to the endeavours of Ito and
Inouyé and their bosom friend Takasugi. Soon after the Shogun government
decided on an invasion of Chosiu, and surrounded it on all sides with
the troops of the Shogunate under its immediate command, and also those
of the feudal lords who were partisans of the Shogunate. The government
of Chosiu underwent a crisis, and a more moderate party, which did not
approve the daring policy of the previous government, came into power.
Many members and supporters of the previous government were ordered to
put an end to their lives, and submission was made to the Shogunate.
Inouyé had been attacked by assassins shortly before, and lay in a dying
condition resulting from several wounds which he had received. Takasugi,
who was on the point of being arrested, fled to Chikuzen. Ito remained
in Shimonoseki, where his services were indispensable to the government
of the town on account of the constant calls of foreign vessels, but he
was daily in danger of assassination.

In the meantime there arose some difference amongst the partisans of the
Shogunate, by reason of one section thinking that the terms imposed upon
Chosiu for its submission were too lenient, and therefore would be
injurious to the prestige of the Shogunate, and they insisted on
recommencing war operations.

It was a critical time for Chosiu. It was then that Takasugi returned
from Chikuzen and determined to revolt openly against the government of
Chosiu. At that moment Kawasé had a group of voluntary soldiers under
his command. Ito also had a certain number of like troops stationed in
the neighbourhood of Shimonoseki, and these three with their troops
uniting in one common cause, took possession of Shimonoseki in open
defiance of the government. Almost simultaneously Yamagata and others,
who had each a similar troop of soldiers under their command, openly
revolted against the government. The leaders soon effected a junction
and quickly defeated the partisans of the government, and thus Chosiu
was made once more an open foe of the Shogunate. At that time Inouyé
recovered from his wounds, and he also, putting himself at the head of a
large band of volunteer troops, took part in the civil strife within the
clan which has just been mentioned. A little after this the forces of
the Shogunate once more surrounded Chosiu, but they were all defeated by
the spirited troops of Chosiu. The Shogunate now found its position very
precarious. Before the war it had thought itself all-powerful, and had
been of the opinion that Chosiu would simply be frightened at the sight
of its troops, or if any battle were to be fought, one coup de main
would be enough to crush the whole of Chosiu. But as events turned out,
it was quite the contrary. There was much hesitation on the part of the
Shogunate whether to push on the war or to make peace. It was powerless
to continue fighting, but at the same time thought they would lose
prestige by asking for peace. Affairs were then allowed to drift, which
brewed discontent among its own partisans. In the meantime many powerful
feudal clans, which the Shogunate regarded as friends and supporters,
began to sympathise with Chosiu on account of its singleness of purpose
and fidelity to chivalry. Among others, Satsuma went so far as to
conclude a secret understanding with Chosiu against the Shogunate. In
the course of a few years the Shogunate came to an end, after the battle
of Fushimi, which was fought between the Imperialists and the partisans
of the Shogunate. In this engagement Chosiu and Satsuma took the most
important parts on the Imperial side. War still continued in the eastern
and northern parts of Japan for some time, the Imperialists being always
triumphant. Thus the Imperial régime of our days was inaugurated.

During this state of transition, Ito, Inouyé, and Yamagata played their
parts in different capacities, the latter more as a soldier and the two
former as politicians and diplomatists, I may here add a few words.
Takasugi died a little before the battle of Fushimi, without seeing the
consummation of his cherished ideal, being not quite thirty years of
age. Yoshida Shoin was the same age as his distinguished disciple when
he was put to death some years before. Young men did wonderful things in
those days. At the very beginning of the new government Ito was governor
of Hiogo (Kobe), which was then with Yokohama the centre of foreign
relations. It was then that he formulated and presented to the Imperial
Government his plan for the future policy of the empire, the chief
object of which was the unification of all systems, namely military,
educational, economical, and suchlike. His views were regarded as being
too radical at the time, but created some sensation and gave rise to the
term 'Hiogo opinion.' Ito has continued practically ever since to occupy
one or another, or even several high positions simultaneously in the
Government. He made several trips to Europe and America. It was in 1871
that he went to America chiefly to investigate the banking systems of
America, because it was thought that the economical system adopted by
America after its civil war might be utilised by Japan. Later on, in the
same year, he visited America and Europe as one of the ambassadors
headed by Iwakura. On their return to Japan the Korean question was at a
climax. Most of the statesmen who had remained at home were for war,
while those who had returned from Europe were for peace. As the result
of this difference of opinion the formation of the cabinet was modified.
The great Saigo and some others resigned, while Ito was appointed a
cabinet minister with the _portefeuille_ of public works. It was the
first great trial which the new Government had to undergo, but it
managed to tide over the difficulties. Okubo was now the backbone of the
new Government, and Ito his chief collaborator. The administration of
the Japanese Government was now carried on more and more on the lines of
Western enlightenment. In 1875 a Japanese gunboat was fired at off the
Korean coast. Early next year an embassy, with the late Count Kuroda as
chief and Count Inouyé as second, was sent to Korea to settle the
matter. It was then that I accepted for the first time governmental
service, and went to Korea as a member of the staff. We concluded a
treaty of peace with Korea and made her open the country to foreign
trade: we preferred peace to war.

In 1877 the civil war of Satsuma broke out, in which the great Saigo
was made by the rebels their chief. During the struggle Okubo and Ito
were the strong supports of the Government, whilst the command of the
Imperial troops at the front was chiefly in the hands of Yamagata. I may
perhaps mention that during the first half of the war I contributed my
services to the Government in a pure civil capacity, and during the
latter half of the war was attached to Yamagata's staff. The war lasted
nearly nine months, with the result that the rebellion was suppressed
and the new régime of the progressive administration was placed on a
firmer basis.

In 1878 Okubo, who was then Minister of the Interior, was assassinated,
and Ito succeeded to his place, not only as Minister of the Interior,
but in his capacity of being the moving factor of the Government.

In 1882 Ito was despatched to Europe to study the constitutional systems
of the various governments, with a view to preparing a constitution for
Japan; he returned home the next year. In 1884 another difficulty arose
with regard to Korea and China. Early in 1885 Count Inouyé was
despatched to Korea, where he concluded a new treaty, and soon after Ito
was despatched to China, where he concluded the well-known Tientsin
treaty, which had a very important bearing upon Korea. In the latter
part of that year a great reform was made in the administrative system,
and Ito was appointed Minister President of the State. In 1888 Privy
Council was instituted, and Ito was appointed its President and his
former office was taken by Count Kuroda. The first and most important
task the council had before it was the elaboration of the Imperial
Constitution. The materials which it had to work upon was chiefly those
which Ito had brought back from Europe, and which he had been maturing
ever since his return. Early next year the Imperial Constitution and the
Imperial House Law, together with several other laws in connection with
the constitutional régime then in contemplation, were promulgated, with
all solemnity and to the great joy of the whole nation. In 1890 the
first session of the new Diet instituted by the Constitution met in
Tokio, and Ito was appointed the first President of the House of Peers.

Since then he has held the post of Minister President of the State
several times. It was during his premiership that the Sino-Japanese war
took place ten years ago. Ito's present post is President of the Privy
Council. It may be said here that even when he is out of the cabinet,
his influence is felt and his services are rendered to the state. There
are a few persons who are called 'elder statesmen,' At present they are
Ito, Inouyé, Yamagata, Oyama, and Matsukata. Elder statesmanship is not
an institution recognised by a written law. It is a unique position,
more of a personal nature, and therefore it cannot be called a council
or assembly, but the members are collectively or individually taken into
the emperor's confidence. The privilege to this honour may only be
looked for by those whose meritorious services to the state stand out
above others, and the fact of their occupying such a position is
contentedly acquiesced in by the general public. Ito is the principal of
these elder statesmen. Another of Ito's great services, was his constant
endeavour during many years to keep harmony, in other words, prevent the
oft-threatened conflict between men of different clans, especially those
of Sutsuma and Chosiu, though few people are aware of that fact.

Such, as I have given it, is a brief sketch of Marquis Ito's life, which
necessarily brings in some of the general history of the time.
Particulars it would be impossible to give, owing to the fact that that
period of our history being so eventful, they are far too numerous.

From what I have narrated above, glimpses of Yamagata and Inouyé may be
gathered. I would, however, add a little more.

Yamagata is also a Chosiu man, and was at one time also a pupil of
Yoshida Shoin. He is more of a soldier, though he ranks also very high
as a statesman. He fought the battle of Shimonoseki at the head of a
band of voluntary soldiers of Chosiu, when bombarded by the combined
fleets of the four powers. He took a very important part in the civil
war in Chosiu, and in the war which took place when Chosiu was
surrounded by the Shogun troops. After the battle of Fushimi, when the
Imperialists made the expedition to the northern and eastern part of
Japan, he commanded the troops of Chosiu in the province of Echigo.
After that war he visited Europe, and on his return initiated the
adoption of the European system of universal service. At first, of
course, there was much difficulty in the matter, but his energy and
sagacity won the point Since that time he has almost always occupied
some position connected with the army, with the exception of occasional
intervals when he fulfilled some civil offices. He has been Minister of
War, Chief of the General Staff, and suchlike. Roughly speaking, we may
say that the completion of the organisation of the Japanese army is due
to him. At the time of the civil war of Satsuma he held the chief
direction of the campaign, though the title of Commander-in-Chief was
intrusted to a prince of the Imperial family. In that war it was proved
that the new troops formed on the system of universal service were more
efficient with regard to discipline and cohesive power than the Samurai
force of one of the strongest feudal clans. In the Sino-Japanese war he
commanded an army in the Liaotung Peninsula, though he had in the middle
of the war to return home on account of illness by a pressing order of
the emperor.

At present he is once more the Chief of the General Staff. His
predecessor was Marquis Oyama, but as the latter's presence as
Commander-in-Chief in Manchuria became necessary, Yamagata took his
place. I may also add that Yamagata was Prime Minister several times,
besides holding from time to time other ministerial portfolios.

Count Inouyé is also a Chosiu man, but he was not a pupil of Shoin, as
he was born in Yamaguchi and not in Hagi, where Shoin lived. He was in
his early age attached to the court of the Prince of Chosiu, as a sort
of companion to the heir of the Prince. When, however, the political
atmosphere became heated, he was one of the youths who formed the bands
of the anti-foreign party, and as such became a bosom friend of Takasugi
and Ito. He was one of those who set fire to the new buildings for the
legation. We have already seen how he visited England with Ito and
others, and in what circumstances he went home. Their experience after
returning to Chosiu was of the most exciting and varied character. It is
often most thrilling to recount the incidents connected therewith. But
of course I cannot describe them in the space of this article. I may,
however, say that the political part of the affairs in connection with
Chosiu which resulted in turning the attitude of Chosiu against the
Shogun and at last effecting an alliance with Satsuma, with the results
of the overthrow of the Shogunate, are greatly due to Takasugi, Ito, and
Inouyé, who were eventually supported by Kido, the great Chosiu
statesman. The decision which brought about the decisive battle of
Fushimi, though the Imperialists were inferior in number to the
Shogunate troops, was chiefly due to the determined counsel which Inouyé
offered at the Imperial court on behalf of Chosiu.

He held many high posts in the Government, but not so many as Ito or
Yamagata, which was perhaps due to his character being more impetuous
than the others. It was Ito who initiated the abolition of the feudal
system, which idea was taken up first by Kido and then by Okubo, both of
whom were the principal statesmen in the new Imperial régime; and it was
Inouyé who, when the system was finally abolished a few years
afterwards, carried out the measure and wound up the most complicated
and difficult affairs of all the governments of feudal lords, who
numbered several hundreds, thereby consolidating the new régime. Inouyé
was then the acting Minister of Finance, and the Minister of Finance of
those days had a far wider sphere of action than at the present time, as
there had not been instituted as yet the Ministry of the Interior. He
still exercises great influence in the political and economical affairs
of the empire, as one may see from the fact that he is one of the few
elder statesmen.

The life of Matsukata is not so striking as those of the preceding
figures, but he is also one of Japan's able statesmen. He is a Satsuma
man. He took up civil service from the early stage of the new Imperial
régime, and gradually advanced his position from a local governor to the
rank of cabinet minister. Distinguishing himself as a financier, he was
Minister of Finance for a long time, and it was he who succeeded in
adopting the gold-standard system in Japan. He also occupied premiership
several times, and has also been Minister of the Interior. He is now a
privy councillor and president of the Red Cross Society of Japan, and as
elder statesman is still rendering valuable services to the state.

I may here interpose some words about the present premier, Count
Katsura, who is a Chosiu man. He was a boy soldier at the time of the
civil war in Chosiu. When the Imperialists were sent to the north and
east of Japan to suppress the combinations of the feudal lords in those
parts who had arisen against the new Imperial régime, he, though under
age, was placed at the head of a detachment of the Chosiu troops which
escorted an Imperial envoy to persuade some of the lords to submit to
the Imperial summons. The lords, however, did not obey the summons; on
the contrary, they assumed an offensive attitude to the Imperial
messenger and harassed his escort. Katsura and his men, as well as men
of some other clans who were among the escort, had a very hard time,
having been obliged to fight their way out. At last reinforcements
arrived, and the fighting was turned in their favour. During that time
Katsura distinguished himself and was an object of admiration. After a
few years he was made a military attaché to our legation in Berlin,
where he devoted his energy to the study of military science and
organisation. He stayed there during many years, and therefore was
absent during the Satsuma war. On his return he devoted his services to
the organisation of the army, chiefly under Marquis Yamagata in the
ministry of war, in which he was made vice-minister in course of time.
He was, before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war, chief of the
garrison at Nagoya, and in that war had the command of a division in
Liaotung, where he distinguished himself as a practical and strategical
general. He was at one time Governor-General of Formosa, at another
Minister of War, and on the resignation of the Ito cabinet in 1901 he
was appointed Minister President of State, which office he now holds.

I will now give an account of Count Okuma. He is a Hizen man: he talks
well and is possessed of a good memory. He is, no doubt, one of the
ablest Japanese in our day. His life has not been so striking as that of
Ito, Inouyé, or Yamagata in the pre-restoration period, because the clan
to which he belonged was a peaceful one in those days, and did not offer
any opportunities for adventurous youth. A little before the restoration
he was a student at Nagasaki, where he studied English to some extent.
There is no doubt, however, that he was considered clever among his
fellow-clansmen. It is to be remembered that the clans that did the
greatest work for the restoration, and produced most of the able men,
were Chosiu and Satsuma and then Tosa. Therefore we often say Satcho,
which is a term made by a combination of Satsuma and Chosiu, and
sometimes Satchoto, which is a term standing for Satsuma--Chosiu--Tosa
when Tosa is added to them. But we sometimes include Hizen, which is the
province to which Okuma belonged, and say Satchotohi. It came about in
this way. Saga in the province of Hizen was also one of the great feudal
clans. Soon after the restoration the Imperialist party, of which the
Satchoto were the important element, enlisted on their side the support
of Saga, which was only too glad to identify its cause with that of the
Imperialists. Besides, the Prince of Saga was an able man and was not
likely to let the chances slip. Hence Saga soon became a force in the
Imperial politics of Japan, and able men coming therefrom found their
way to the central political arena of Japan. It was thus that Count
Okuma was brought on to the political stage. His natural ability soon
made him conspicuous among politicians, and he rose to high positions.
The Prince of Saga had had a predilection for European civilisation even
before then, and European ideas had already been introduced in the clan
previously. Thus, for instance, an iron factory, though not successful,
was established in the province. Such surroundings, as well as his stay
at Nagasaki, had made young Okuma familiar with European ideas. He was a
great gain to men like Ito and Inouyé. They soon formed a sort of
combination among young statesmen of their own type, and thus they began
the work of introducing European ideas in Japan. The first railway
between Tokio and Yokohama, for instance, was constructed chiefly
through the efforts of Ito and Okuma, despite many prejudicial
objections which still existed.

Okuma is a man of great energy, and also a man who can stir up youth to
do that which he wishes to be done, thus qualifying himself as a good
party leader. He is also a good financier, and has done much for the
state for many years, side by side with Ito, though for consummate
ability and profound and constructive statesmanship greater credit is,
by common consent, given to Ito. In 1881 serious differences of
political opinions arose in the cabinet, in consequence of which Okuma
resigned. He then organised a political party called 'progressionists in
opposition to the Government on one hand, and on the other hand to the
Liberal party which had been organised by Count Itagaki two years
previously. Since then he has been out of office for many years, but has
kept his party together in a creditable manner. In 1888 he was appointed
Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Kuroda cabinet. In the next year, on
account of the revision of the treaties, an attempt was made against his
life, and he lost one of his legs by the explosion of a bomb thrown at
his carriage. He resigned office; his party remained and still remains
faithful to him, though he has never been a member of the Diet.

Since then he has once more occupied the position of Minister for
Foreign Affairs and also that of Premier, but the tenure of his office
on both occasions was short, and his official career not particularly
brilliant. He does not enjoy much popularity among other statesmen, and
his influence in the Government circle is not great. This was, perhaps,
the chief cause of his failure in recent years. He exercises, however,
great influence among the people at large, and his personal ability is
undoubted. His patriotism is also not to be questioned, because on any
occasion of emergency he gives up his personal prejudices and supports
the Government. It was so during the Sino-Japanese war, and also since
the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war. His memory is almost wonderful,
and his perception is very quick. Although he has never left Japan, he
knows Europe almost better than many who have made it their special
study. He can also remember figures very well. Regarded in the light of
sonorous tone and weighty argument, he is not a great orator, but he is
a very fluent speaker and an excellent conversationalist.

I will now give you a sketch of the life of Marquis Saionji, the leader
of the Constitutional party, which is the greatest political
organisation in and out of the Diet. His name also appears in the
Western papers from time to time. He succeeded Marquis Ito in the
leadership of that party when the latter had accepted the Presidency of
Privy Council, and was obliged to give up the leadership of the party
which owes its creation to him. Marquis Saionji was a companion in his
boyhood to the present emperor. At the time of the restoration, when but
fifteen years of age, he was despatched to the northern provinces of
Japan, at the head of an Imperial army, to subjugate those provinces. He
was afterwards a resident in Paris for many years, and, therefore, he
must be remembered by many Parisians. He was for some years our Minister
in Berlin, and was also Minister of Education, Minister for Foreign
Affairs, and President of Privy Council at different times. He was
Minister President of State _ad interim_ at one time. Though a scion of
a high court noble, his sentiments contain a strong democratic element,
side by side with refinement and nobleness of aristocracy.

In the above sketches I have employed the titles of nobility while
speaking of those celebrities, but it may be observed that they were,
except Saionji, originally men of comparatively insignificant origin,
and their titles are the gift of the emperor in recognition of the
services rendered to their Imperial master and their beloved country.

[1] The present Viscount Kawasé, who was Japanese Minister in London.



In a recent number of the _Japan Times_ I came across the following
account of a speech made by the Marquis Ito in Washington, some
thirty-four years ago, when he was there on a mission. The speech gives
a very good outline of the great change which had then already been
effected in Japan and the broad forecast which was aimed at by her for
her future. One who reads that speech would at once perceive what
ennobling aspirations Japan had then on the lines of occidental
civilisation, and how far she has succeeded in that aspiration, as has
been shown by the war between her and Russia. I therefore incorporate
the accounts of it, borrowed verbatim from the _Japan Times_, which may
also be regarded in a measure as a supplement to the preceding



Marquis Ito recently received from Mr. Hioki, Secretary of our legation
at Washington, a package containing interesting reminders of his sojourn
in the American capital thirty-four years ago, when he spent a few
months there for the study of the financial system of the Republic. In
his work of investigation he received most valuable assistance from Mr.
H.J. Saville, the Chief Clerk of the Treasury, and it was from this
gentleman that these interesting relics of the distinguished statesman's
visit were originally obtained by Mr. Hioki. Mr. Saville is still living
in Washington, and preserves a most vivid recollection of the Marquis's
visit. The documents relate to a farewell dinner given by Marquis Ito at
Welcker's, Fifteenth Street, on April 28, 1871. Among the guests on the
occasion, we find the names of President Grant, Vice-President Schuyler,
Speaker Blaine, Secretary Fish, and other members of the cabinet, and a
number of senators and congressmen. Among the Japanese present, besides
the host, were the late Count Mutsu, the late Viscount Mori (then our
Minister at Washington), the late Baron Nakashima, and Mr. Genichiro
Fukuchi. On that occasion the Marquis delivered a speech in English,
which, apart from the interest derived from the personality of the
speaker, deserves attention on account of the light it throws upon the
liberal aspirations of the makers of New Japan--aspirations which have
since been so successfully realised. We reproduce below the speech
exactly as it stands in the copy before us:--

'Taking advantage of the opportunity afforded me by the assembling here
of so many of the gentlemen who have assisted me to accomplish the
object of my coming, I desire to extend to them my sincere thanks for
the many courtesies received at their hands, and to assure them that I
return fully satisfied with the result of my mission, and with an
abiding faith that all they have taught me will bear good fruit in due

'It seems to me that an examination of the past as well as the present
condition of the world will show that civilisation has not reached its
highest development, but that progress in that as in other things is
possible in the future. As an evidence of this I would instance the fact
that this nation, which less than one hundred years ago was unknown, now
ranks second to none in civilisation and in importance. This fact tends
strongly to encourage the oriental nations to efforts towards a higher
civilisation than they now possess.

'The inquiry naturally is: What is the reason the oriental peoples have
not reached the same degree of civilisation as the European? Are the
material resources of the oriental countries insufficient? Is the native
force of the people deficient? No: these questions we put aside, and we
find the explanation mainly in the character of the government. You ask
whence came this peculiar character? I can only answer, I think from
education. It seems to me that all the highest order in modern
civilisation derives its strength from the development of the intellect,
and the improvement of the scientific knowledge and accomplishments of
men. It is further strengthened by development of the inherent
principles of natural law, the encouragement in the people of a high
ideal of right and wrong, and the strong political organisation made
possible by such a foundation; so that we may conclude that the highest
degree of civilisation belongs to that nation which has most developed a
high order of general education and broad principles of political

'I doubt if the question of strength materially influences the destiny
of nations. As an illustration of this we know that the civilisation of
Egypt, India, Greece, and Rome has not been lost, but has been merely
transferred from those countries to the West, as the star of the empire
travels. The loss of civilisation in these nations sprang not from the
fact that they were physically weak, but from the more subtle one that
within themselves they contain an inherent weakness.

'A more modern instance is the late Franco-Prussian war. None of us
doubt the strength of the French nation, the skill of its generals and
ability of its soldiers, and yet how have our hearts been wrung with
sympathy for poor France when brought in contact with the more superior
force of Prussia--superior not only in material strength, but in skilful
soldiers, in able generals, and in wise counsellors. So I say strength
has very little to do with the development of civilisation, strength is
merely relative; civilisation is the quality which is never lost, and
never can be conquered.

'I find very erroneous ideas prevail in America as well as in Europe in
relation to my country. The Empire of Japan consists of numerous islands
in the Oriental Sea, along the coast of the Asian continent. I think the
recorded existence of the nation extends over something more than two
thousand five hundred years, during which time its intercourse with
foreign nations has been exceedingly limited. In the seventeenth century
intercourse began with the Portuguese, Spanish, and some other European
nations, but the decline of these led to its decay. Our people have not
been ambitious. They have been satisfied when they have reached that
competency which gives support, and as a result they have not sought
foreign intercourse.

'Seventeen years ago the American Government sent an envoy to our
country, with instructions to advise us to open our ports to foreign
intercourse, and this advice so kindly given was acted on. Since that
time our intercourse with foreign nations has been growing, until at
present Japan bids fair to be as well known as America.

'With the commencement of this intercourse, the Japanese people began to
realise that they had not reached the highest stage of civilisation, and
they began the investigation of what constituted European and American
civilisation. Beginning by the introduction of some of the most useful
of the foreign arts, sciences, and mechanical inventions into their
country, they have so far progressed as to have at this time reached the
necessity for sending missions abroad to obtain a knowledge of the
foreign systems of finances, and we have come to America to study your
financial system as well as to obtain additional knowledge in other
branches of civilised government, which will be of benefit to us in our
efforts to reach that high estate which you have already attained. And
this we hold as strong evidence of the progress of Japan in civilised
ideas. I wish I could express to you how great that advancement has

'But to return to the history of my country. About seven hundred years
ago the power of the commanding general became so great that he was
enabled to usurp the authority of the emperor proper; and from that
time, descending through father and son, this power became stronger,
until at last the government of Japan had virtually fallen into their
hands; and instead of the Government being spoken of as the Mikado's
government, it came to be known as the government of the Tycoon, who was
in reality the powerful ruler of the people.

'But no one family enjoyed the power of the Tycoonety in peace. During
the existence of what is known as the Tycoon's government six of the
principal ducal families of the empire contended for the position of
Tycoon, and each in his turn came into possession of the reins of

'Out of the quarrels of these ducal families grew a system somewhat
resembling the feudal system of Europe. The constant fighting of these
antagonistic elements made this possible. About three hundred years ago
the Tokugawa family came into possession of the power and dignity of the
Tycoon. From this time the feudal system founded in the necessities and
strengthened by the wars of the many as aspirants for power came to be a
fixed institution, and the reign of the Tokugawa family proving to be a
peaceful one, its hold on the country became thoroughly well

'Before the usurpation of the Tycoon the form of government was
absolutely monarchical, with no independent princes or powers.

'As a result of the Tycoon's rule, not alone the Tycoon's position
became hereditary, but also all the highest governmental
positions--generals, ministers, and princes, the latter being originally
merely governors. With the establishment of intercourse with foreign
countries, and the consequent development of the progressive people of
Japan, they began to realise their unsatisfactory form of government
under which they were living. They became dissatisfied with the rule of
an authority which did not encourage ability, and whose strength lay in
hereditary claims to power. This sentiment growing stronger and
stronger, they at last resolved to abolish the power and office of the
Tycoon and return the real power to the hands of the emperor. This
resolution on their part has given rise to the stories of revolution in
Japan, the revolution being in reality only the efforts of the better
people to form a stable and reliable Government with the proper and
respected power at its head, assisted in its control of affairs by
ability, integrity, and faithfulness wherever found.

'This came to be an accomplished fact four years ago, and to-day, as a
result, we have the former vassal and servant of the prince sitting in
the high seats by his side, and counselling with him in the affairs of
the nation.

'But the Japanese people do not mean to stop here. There is now a
growing sentiment in Japan which strongly favours constitutional
monarchy, a growing feeling against hereditary power, hereditary rank,
and hereditary possessions. It may be that the bright hopes of some of
my people will not be realised at once, but if the past is taken as an
index of what is to come, I am encouraged to say that the progress of
the future will find Japan, in a very few years, in the front rank of
advanced and civilised nations, with a Government as liberal in form and
generous to its citizens as that of any monarchy under the sun.

'In Japan, as in other parts of the world, there must necessarily be
differences of opinion. We have among our people radical and rapid
progressists; conservatives, always making haste slowly, always studying
the situation, always moving with great caution and circumspection,
often unwisely wasting their opportunities for advancement by too great
caution or timid fear; others timid because of the fear that they will
lose their property or position by any change; others, the selfish
Utopian, who builds an impossible castle, hoping that the foundation
stones may be precious jewels, resting in his land only; and, lastly,
there are yet a few who are opposed to foreign intercourse, and who
believe that its strength lies in closed ports and selfish sufficiency
unto themselves.

'To the outsider in Japan all these differences may appear as elements
of weakness, when in fact they are elements of strength; and, perhaps,
in no country can this be so well appreciated as America, where the
strength and success of the Government depends so much on the agitation
of questions by the people. The time is coming when Japan will stand
among the first in its civilisation and progress. The question with us
is: "How can we most rapidly reach this high state of development?" To
my mind the best answer is by educating the people and developing the

'We are grateful to realise that the American people understand our
efforts, and more especially that the distinguished company of gentlemen
here assembled understand them. The prevailing sentiment in America, it
seems to me, is in favour of the brotherhood of nations; and feeling
this when we left Japan, we felt that we were coming among a people who
would encourage and assist us in every way possible. We have not been
deceived. Every assistance has been rendered us; every facility for
study afforded us, and we will return to our country freighted with
knowledge, and, as we hope, equal to the test, which we confess is a
great one, of putting in motion such reforms and improvements as shall
place us upon a footing equal to the best of nations.

'In the years to come it is to be hoped that the intercourse between
Japan and America, the sister nations on each side of the great Pacific
Ocean, may be founded upon that strong feeling of brotherly love which
so unite distant peoples, that through storm and sunshine they will ever
be true friends and earnest assistants--co-workers in the great cause of
humanity and the development of the world in its moral, social,
intellectual, and material aspects.

'In conclusion, I desire to extend to all of the gentlemen here present,
and to thousands who are unavoidably absent, my sincere thanks for the
great courtesy and kindness which I have received at their hands; and if
it shall ever be my pleasure to meet any of you in my country, it will
afford me the greatest happiness imaginable to extend to you the warm
hand of fellowship, and to give you such a reception as will prove how
entirely and truly I appreciate all you have done for me.'



In accordance with your request that I should write an answer to Mr.
Joseph H Longford on the commercial morality' of the Japanese, which has
appeared in the _Contemporary Review_, I venture to write these lines
for your perusal. I do so rather hesitatingly, as I have no desire to
enter upon a dispute with that distinguished writer.

There is, it seems to me, a great deal of truth in what Mr. Longford
says; but, at the same time, it is, I think, painted blacker on the side
of the Japanese and brighter on the side of the foreigners out there
than the facts warrant.

To begin with, it is true that in Japan we had the classification of the
people into four, viz. soldiers, farmers, artisans, and traders, and
thus traders stood the last. From this fact ordinary critics make a
hasty conclusion that Japanese traders--in which term big merchants are
included--occupied in every respect a position which was inferior even
to that of common peasants; but this is not fair. In social matters they
often occupied very good positions; in fact, there were many to whom
special considerations similar to Samurai were accorded. The above
classification has much deeper meaning than a mere social caprice, and
it is derived from a theory of political economy of the classical China.

According to that theory, agriculture is considered the foundation of a
nation, and commerce is a mere act of transportation of things already
made, and, therefore, comparatively of little value. That such a theory
should have existed in China is a matter of no surprise, for even in the
Europe of a little more than one hundred years ago there flourished
physiocracy, the doctrine of which was almost identical with that of the
Chinese. The Japanese classification of the former days was considerably
due to the influence of that theory, and therefore the relative
positions of the Samurai, farmers, artisans, and traders were more of
theoretical notion than a social fact. This is a distinction very
important to be kept in view when one discusses things Japanese.

That the Samurai as a class despised dealings in matters of profit is an
undoubted fact, but a trader's position was not so degraded as Mr.
Longford represents. He says:--

'Just as the training and social precedence of his ancestors for
hundreds of years and of himself have made the Japanese soldier a model
without flaw of loyalty, devotion, and courage, ready to sacrifice at
any time life or property for his sovereign and his country, so have
oppression and social degradation combined to make the merchant a no
less striking model of dishonesty and timidity, unwilling and unable to
make the smallest monetary sacrifice for his own or his country's fair

Surely this is sweeping assertion. If we take individual cases into
account, striking characters in the ranks of merchants are abundant in
records and in memory. Even in the movement which resulted in the
restoration of the present Imperial régime, countless men whose origin
belonged to mercantile circles may lay their claim of participation to
it. True, they were men who generally cast off their original occupation
and enrolled themselves in the ranks of patriots, so that they may be
considered as exceptions. But even as a class in the ordinary sense of
merchants they scarcely deserve that kind of condemnation. Osaka in
former days had some resemblance to free cities of the West, and every
one well acquainted with things Japanese knows what a well-developed
mercantile system it possessed. So also the so-called Omi merchants.
Even with regard to merchants and tradesmen of all parts of the country
there was little room for them to be so dishonest as the writer
describes. Under the feudal system commercial occupations were almost
hereditary. They had almost no freedom of removal from their accustomed
abode. Their customers were the children or grandchildren of those who
were customers of their fathers or grandfathers. If a merchant under
such circumstances made dishonesty his customary trade, and expected
prosperity, he would surely be totally disappointed, and would suffer a
deserving penalty. Besides, in those days social sanction, from the very
nature of the conditions under which they found themselves situated, was
most severe. Yes! Merchants and traders of those days were honest, far
beyond one can imagine. If any dishonesty or any shortcomings in respect
to commercial probity have become observable, it is necessary evil
produced by the changed circumstances of the time, chiefly on account of
foreign intercourse.

Mr. Longford speaks of the early Japanese traders who flocked to the
newly opened ports as being 'without exception adventurers with neither
name nor money to lose, with keen wits and the determination to exploit
to the utmost.' This is, in a measure, undoubtedly true, and accounts
for the lamentable condition which for a long time existed in the trades
at the open ports. But this is not the only cause. On the parts of
foreign merchants who came out there to trade, there was much to be
criticised; I mean to say, they were also mostly adventurers in a
measure; they were also inconsiderate, even arrogant. A Western merchant
who, leaving China, was passing through Japan, violated intentionally
time-honoured etiquette against one of the most powerful 'Daimio,'
saying, 'I know how to manage these Orientals,' and was murdered in
consequence. It is a good illustration of the kind of conduct of the
Europeans of those days towards us; hence no sympathy existed between
them and our traders--the dealings were viewed, naturally, very
differently from those which they were wont to carry on with their
native customers of several generations' standing. Business is business,
so the common saying goes, but even in business mutual respect and
friendly feeling go a long way. How can a model trade be expected to be
created under such circumstances?

Then, again, in Japan commercial goods were, and are still, to a great
extent made by hand on small scales. No big industrial factories existed
where one could order a large number of articles identical in every
respect as one could do in Europe. Foreign traders, not taking these
conditions into their serious consideration, often gave similar orders
as they were used to do in Europe, and when articles delivered to them
were found to be not perfectly identical, they often took advantage of
that fact, and gave much trouble to the native contractors, who did not
expect to meet with so much severity. There existed also very bad
customs among foreign traders; the essence of those customs was known by
the name of 'Haiken,' or 'Kankan.' These terms, literally meaning 'to
see,' were used to veil the facts of detaining goods at their
storehouses, often for an unreasonable length of time; in the meantime
ascertaining the commercial conditions of their home, and returning the
goods when they found the transaction was not likely to be beneficial to
them. Native traders had serious grounds of complaint against those
customs. As a matter of fact, at one time the matter was brought to a
very acute state, and the native traders began to try to get rid of them
by combination, but with little success. I imagine Mr. Longford will
remember the incidents which occurred in connection with that matter in
Yokohama years ago. I can also state on good authority that there were
even some cases wherein foreign traders themselves practised, toward
their compatriot at home, some actions which appear not to have been in
unison with Western honesty, and taking advantage of our unfortunate
reputation attributed the fault to the Japanese when matters were
discovered. The notorious case wherein a large foreign firm dealing in
silk, who took off the labels of native manufacturers and changed them
into a single kind which he liked, was boycotted by them when the matter
came to broad daylight, may also be recollected by him. Another thing
which foreign traders were wont to do was that they often ordered things
direct from small manufacturers at a cost far less than their real
value. Japanese merchants often said that they could not compete with
foreign traders, inasmuch as foreign merchants often got things at less
expense than they themselves could. This is surely an extraordinary
phenomenon. But the fact was that those foreign traders often succeeded
in making that kind of contract either by giving some tempting
inducement at the beginning or canvassing several manufacturers one
after another, always showing the last most advantageous offer, and
bringing down the price by bargaining in a skilful and cunning manner.
Under such circumstances it was not surprising if those contracts were
often unfulfilled, simply on account of the inability of fulfilment by
the contractors. There was also another circumstance which caused
commotion and disorder in all commercial dealing in Japan. It is to be
remembered that the new order under the new system of government,
especially the abolition of the feudal system, widely changed the
accustomed occupations of the Japanese at large. Chances for making
wealth and for entering upon various enterprises almost entirely changed
their hand. Besides, four hundred thousand families (2,000,000 capita)
of Samurai, who gave up their hereditary allowances, now had to make
their earnings chiefly by becoming traders or sometimes agriculturists,
occupations to which they were entirely unaccustomed. They naturally
experienced failure after failure. It was then that a new term, 'Trades
of Samurai,' meaning thereby an undertaking which is precarious or even
doomed to failure, came into existence. In one sense it was sad to think
about, but the fact was so. Under such circumstances one can well
imagine that dishonesty, or rather failure of fulfilment of promise,
although against one's conscience, it maybe presumed, was often
experienced even among our own community. This also might have had some
indirect effects upon foreign trade.

Critics say that commercial probity in China is better than in Japan.
It may be true; I shall not dispute. The Chinese are excellent traders,
and besides, as every one knows, no such social revolution, as was the
case with us Japanese, has ever taken place. That accounts for the
difference between Chinese and Japanese traders in the first place, but
that is not all. The Chinese are, individually speaking, very docile;
they would not think of quarrelling with foreign traders, under whatever
humiliating circumstances they might find themselves placed, so long as
they could make some profit. But this is very different with us
Japanese. Take, for instance, the case of a 'Rikisha' man; if he were a
Japanese, and suppose a foreign rider whipped him, as they often do,
because he did not run quick enough, the probability is, he would ask to
be excused carrying the rider any further, or turn round to the rider
and ask for an explanation. He would do so no matter whether or not he
would get his fare; but if it were a Chinaman, the probability is that
he would calmly suffer the treatment, and proceed just at the rate he
could run, his thoughts being concentrated on obtaining as good a fee as
he could get, and would be looked upon as an honest man in consequence.
This state of things exists in the matter of trade at large. Chinese
tradesmen would suffer without anger, any arrogance or unreasonableness
of foreign traders, and exert such wonderful patience in order
ultimately to attain their objects, whilst Japanese merchants would
sooner break the contract than suffer such treatment with such patience.
The consequence is that Japanese merchants are viewed in rather a bad

The effects of the Great Change, both political and social, have been
subsiding already for some time, and the order of things at large has
also begun to settle down. The condition of our mercantile circle is, in
consequence, much changed; so also the attitude and characters of
foreign traders have begun to alter considerably. I am, therefore, most
sanguine that all complaints of foreigners against our commercial
probity will soon become a thing of the past.

I am sorry to speak about foreigners in this manner, but I am sure
impartial observers will admit that what I say is not far from fact. At
all events, their conditions were not so bright as Mr. Longford pleases
to represent them to have been. Unfair criticisms are not calculated to
promote the friendly feeling of nations, and my statements, which I
believe no other than those of true fact, are hereby made more for
promoting in future the goodwill which has already begun to exist
between us and the Western traders of late years.[2]


There appeared an interesting letter, written by the Manager of the
Publication Department of the _Times_, in the columns of that paper,
October 7, 1905. As it has important bearing on the preceding subject, I
take the liberty of subjoining it in full.--K.S.



Sir,--In last Monday's issue of the _Times_ there was a long letter
from the Right Rev. William Awdry, Bishop of South Tokio, Japan, in
which he says that 'in general a Japanese would value the promise of an
Englishman more than the bond of a Japanese'; and that the Japanese are
deficient in a certain group of qualities, including honesty in trade.
It seems to me that it would be unfair for the _Times_ to allow such a
charge against Japanese integrity, endorsed by a bishop, to go
unchallenged, when the _Times_ has, in its own office, records that
prove a promise made by a Japanese to be at least as trustworthy as a
promise made by an Englishman. During the past eight years the _Times_
has sold, in almost every country in the world, sets of the Encyclopædia
Britannica on the instalment plan, giving credit for periods of two,
three, and four years. The regularity with which such payments are made
is certainly a fair test of the average honesty of any nation, and a
much more severe test in the case of Japan than in the case of England,
because it is more difficult there than here to enforce payment by legal
proceedings. Ninety-five per cent. of the encyclopædias sold in Japan
were sold to Japanese, not to foreign residents, and the statements I am
about to make refer exclusively to purchases made by the Japanese
themselves. In Japan, as elsewhere, each purchaser, when he signs his
'order-form,' promises to pay, on certain dates, certain sums of money.
In Japan the monthly payment was 10 yen, equal to about a sovereign,
while in this country the amount was a guinea. In Great Britain less
than half the payments arrived on the day promised. In Japan less than 1
per cent. of the payments were even one day late, and more than one-half
of the payments were made the day before they were due, because the
Japanese did not like to run the risk of any accidental delay that might
make them even one day late. The cost of collecting these instalment
payments in Japan is less than half as much as in England, simply
because the Japanese are so punctilious that clerical labour and postage
are not expended in reminding them that their payments are overdue. They
seem to look upon every debt as a debt of honour, which must not be
forgotten for even a day. There is certainly no such delicacy of feeling
in this country about commercial transactions.

I find it difficult to believe that the Bishop of South Tokio is right
when he says that the Japanese do not trust one another; and I know that
he is wrong if he in himself believes, as he implies, that the Japanese
are not 'honest in trade.' But I quite admit that Englishmen who have
long resided in Japan did not believe that it would be prudent for the
_Times_ to adopt in Japan the instalment system of selling books,
previously unknown there. When the representative of the _Times_ arrived
in Japan to sell the _Encyclopædia_, he naturally asked English
residents there what they thought of the project. With one exception the
answer was: 'You cannot sell the _Encyclopædia Britannica_ here because
almost every English and American resident has already obtained a copy
from England, and, of course, the Japanese will not buy--fortunately for
you, because if they did they would not pay.' The only English resident
who did not say this said: 'Of course you can sell any number of
_Encyclopædias_ to the Japanese, but you will never be able to collect
the payments when they have once got the books. No Japanese will pay for
the _Encyclopædia_ when he finds he can get it without payment.' In the
face of this advice, the instalment plan of sale was adopted, with the
results above described. I many add that the Japanese bought five times
as many _Encyclopædias_ as were sold in France and Germany combined,
fifty times as many as in Russia, more than in any other country except
India, Australia, and the United States.

When I see a bishop of the Church of England, who has lived in Japan
since 1898, write with so little appreciation of the Japanese, I wonder
whether some of our countrymen are not as blind as the Russian statesmen
who, in the early days of the war, described the Japanese as 'yellow
monkeys,' and as blind as the Ambassador of the Tsar who made the
statement in Tokio, before the war, that the mobilisation of one army
corps in Russia would frighten the Japanese into immediate submission.
No one in the _Times_ office, at any rate, can doubt that the standard
of integrity among the Japanese is so high that when young men, who have
bought the Encyclopædia, abandoned their employment to go to the front,
their families promptly paid the instalments due, under circumstances of
the utmost difficulty.--I am, sir, your obedient servant,

The Manager of Your Publication Department.
Printing-house Square, E.C., _October 5_.

[1] _The Magazine of Commerce_, August 1905.

[2] See the note at the end of the volume.



Japan, far from becoming antagonistic to the occidental nations, as it
was prognosticated by some of the Continental journalists, has given
another proof of her readiness for the identification of her economic
interests with those of the occidental people.

Hitherto in Japan there has been no law which regulated the mortgaging
of a railway, or a mining enterprise, or a factory, together with its
working system, as a corporation, that is to say, mortgaging the whole
system of a railway, a mining enterprise, or a factory as an economic
whole, comprising not only each particular material object but also all
the organic components of its working system as the subject matter of
mortgage. A radical change has now been effected in the matter.

According to the Japanese laws there are two methods for a commercial
company in contracting a debt. One is the ordinary borrowing of money
from a creditor, and the other is borrowing in the shape of debentures
by public subscription. Now in ordinary borrowing of money the liability
may be secured by mortgage, but the debentures could not be secured by
mortgage, although of course the liability extends to the whole property
of the company.

The first effect of the new change is the provision which enables
companies to guarantee debentures by mortgage, and the second effect is
the provisions which relate to the creations of economic corporations of
railways, mining works, or factories for the special purpose of
instituting mortgages of their economic entity.

To make the matter easier to comprehend, I will first explain it with
regard to railways.

The permission of the Government originally given to the company is in
the nature of a licence or concession which is to be viewed more in the
light of a personal matter of the original company, and therefore it
could not be a subject matter of a public auction, and therefore
according to the old law, if a railway company becomes bankrupt, all the
material property, either movable or immovable, would go to new hands,
but the licence itself cannot but become extinct with the dissolution of
the original company, viz. the original grantee.

This being so, if a railway company fails to fulfil its liability for
debenture and goes into bankruptcy, the ultimate result would be that
the railway system would be broken up, and the creditors would get their
satisfaction only from the sale of each piece of the material property
sold by public auction. Even in the case of ordinary debt, whereby all
the material property can be mortgaged, the result would be practically
the same.

All these inconveniences have now been removed by a series of new laws
passed by the last session of the Imperial diet and promulgated on March
13, 1905, by the Imperial Government. The articles of the laws are very
numerous and minute, so that it would be unnecessary to dwell upon them
here in detail, but the more important parts may be summarised as

_(a)_ The economic entity of a railway company may be constituted a
special economic corporation for the purpose of mortgage.[2]

_(b)_ In default of payment of the mortgage liability, the whole, _i.e._
the corporation, may be subjected to auction. This provides the means
for transferring, together with the material properties, the original
permission of the Government, namely, the licence, to the purchaser,
viz. a new company.

_(c)_ A company, which in reality may be taken as a syndicate, may be
formed for advancing money by means of debentures. Such company may
acquire legal recognition and may represent the creditors of debentures.
It forms a particular kind of commercial company, and is called 'trust

_(d)_ At the option of the creditors, means of compulsory control of the
railway in the interest of creditors are also provided for in the laws.

_(e)_ Special provisions are made to meet the cases where the syndicate
and investors are of foreign nationality: namely, the means of
recognising foreign syndicates by the Japanese Government, and also the
means of affording convenience for foreign investors.

_(f)_ Further provisions are made for facilitating the registration of
constituting the said corporation, and the registration of the mortgage
thereof, for these affairs, as far as railways are concerned, are now
entrusted, by the new laws, to the Minister of Communications, to whose
control the railways belong, and not to the local courts of law, as is
the case with all other kinds of mortgages.

This change of our laws gives very great facility to foreign investors
who may be willing to lend money on railway securities.

The case of mining enterprises were similar because they are also based
on licences. For them also much the same changes have been effected by
the new laws, so that their economic entity may now be mortgaged in the
interests of either an ordinary creditor or investors in debentures.

The cases of ordinary factories differ in origin from those of the
railways or mines, they not being based on a concession or licence like
railway or mining enterprises. But for them also the new laws have made
provisions for the means of constituting corporations for the purpose of
guaranteeing debenture by mortgage. Provisions have also been made for
guaranteeing debenture by mortgaging ships, any definite property either
immovable or movable, or any legal claims which are secured by written

[1] The _Outlook_.

[2] The law also permits the companies constituting such a corporation
of a part of the whole for a similar object. But as its general purport
does not materially differ, I omit its account in order to avoid
confusion.--_The Author_.



People often ask me if there is any affinity between the Chinese
language and ours. I can at once say there is no affinity whatever, but
this requires much explanation before I can clearly show it.

The written language of China, viz. ideographs, is the same all over
the extensive sphere of China proper, but its pronunciation is different
almost in every province. The spoken language of the Chinese is, roughly
speaking, the same as the written language, as is the case in the
Western nations. Therefore, the Chinese residing in different provinces
do not understand each other colloquially, except those educated in the
Mandarine Chinese, which is in fact the pronunciation used in Peking
amongst the Mandarins and studied by all Mandarins in provinces as well
as those in Peking.

The first difference between Chinese and Japanese is that the former is
monosyllabic, whilst the latter is polysyllabic. The second difference,
which is a natural consequence of the first, is that in Chinese there is
no declension of nouns or conjugation of verbs, whilst in Japanese there
are conjugations of verbs and a method of the formation of the cases of
nouns which is in purport similar to declensions. The third difference
is the position or order of words in sentences. The fourth difference is
the difference of pronunciation of the Chinese ideographs, viz.
characters, even when they are used in our writing in their original

I will now explain in detail all these points in the succeeding pages.

To begin with, Chinese is monosyllabic, as I said. Each word, which
always has one signification, be it a noun or a verb, has only one
sound. Thus a harbour in Chinese is _kong_, whilst it is _minato_ in
Japanese; and a man in Chinese is _jen_, whilst it is _hito_ in
Japanese. It is the same with verbs. The sound of each word of Chinese
never changes, whatever position it may stand in relation to other words
in the same sentence, that is to say, there is no declension and no
conjugation. Each word is represented by a distinct ideograph, and, from
what I have just said, it follows that the form of the ideographs also
never changes, in the same way as the sounds do not change.

In Chinese different shades of meaning as to the actions and agents are
expressed by the position of the words, by addition of some other words.
In simple sentences, therefore, it resembles English very much; thus,
for instance, when a Chinese says: 'John likes Paul,' it is plain, like
English, that he who likes Paul is John, and he who is liked is Paul.
When a Chinese wishes to express the same idea in the passive voice, he
would say, 'Paul by John is liked,' which is the same as 'Paul is liked
by John,' Neither has Chinese any preposition like English or French,
nor any post-position like Japanese, to designate the cases, except a
few which resemble prepositions meaning 'from,' 'to,' and 'by,' but even
these are very sparingly employed and by no means with any regularity.
When a verb is used as a substantive the form is still identical; thus
one identical ideograph, 'like,' may represent a verb 'to like' or a
substantive 'liking.' Of course there are many terms designating one
thing or one action consisting of more than one sound; such are,
however, combinations of two or three distinct words, like the English
word 'firearms' or 'seesaw,' and therefore none of them could properly
be called one distinct polysyllabic word.

In Japanese, unlike Greek, Latin, or German, there is no proper
declension in nouns. In this respect it is more like English or French,
but it has a method of forming the cases, so that in this respect it
differs from Chinese. Our cases are formed by putting after them the
so-called _ga--no--ni--wo_--thus:

     _Hana ga saku_ . . Flowers blossom
     _Hana no Kage_ . . The shade of flowers
     _Hana ni chikazuku_ . . Approach the flowers
     _Hana wo Miyo_ . . See the flowers (imperative).

_Ga_ is generally omitted in writing. It is more like the Greek _Ge_,
which is often suffixed to the nominative substantives. _Ni_ is equal to
the English _to_ and the French _à_; but such ideas as the English _by_
or _in_, or the French _en_ or _par_, are generally expressed by it.
There is another particle _wa_ for the nominative, its position is the

_Made_ (until, jusqu'à) and _yori_ or _kara_ (from, de) are also put
after the substantives. In fact, all equivalents to English or French
prepositions are put after the substantive, and therefore they are more
appropriate to be called the post-positions.

In Chinese the idea of time is generally very vague, it is mostly left
to the conjecture of the hearers or readers, as the case may be, from
the context of the whole sentence. But when it is necessary to express
it, it is also done by addition of some words, such as 'already' or
'once.' Thus a Chinese would say, 'John once like Paul,' meaning 'John
once liked Paul,' or 'John already come,' meaning 'John has already
come.' But this is very different in our language. We have regular
declensions of verbs in both the active voice and the passive voice and
their form is accordingly changed. Thus, for instance:

_Kitaru_     - come
_Kitaran_    - shall come
_Kitarishi_  - has come
_Kitare_     - come (imperative).

I shall here develop my dissertation a little further, and make some
comparison between our language and some of the European languages.

In Japanese there is no gender in nouns, for grammatical purposes,
although some words from their very nature signify male or female; thus,
for instance, _otoko_ = man, _onna_ = woman, _ondori_ = cock, and
_mendori_ = hen. To us it sounds very odd that the Germans give feminine
gender to the sun and masculine to the moon, whilst the French do vice
versa, or that both the French and German give masculine gender to
'regiment' or 'battalion,' but feminine gender to 'company.' In this
respect the English method of dividing into masculine, feminine, and
neutral, allowing only on rare occasions, for poetical purpose,
personification of inanimate objects, sounds more rational and
comprehensible to our ears. It follows, therefore, that our nouns do not
modify their forms on account of the gender, and that it is more like
English in this respect.

We have, moreover, no number in the nouns. Whereas in European languages
nouns which have no number are exceptions and very few, all the nouns in
Japanese are without number without any exception. When we wish to
express any particular numerical idea, we make use of a numerical
adjective in a similar manner as the English would say 'a sheep,' 'ten
sheep,' or 'numerous sheep.' Here again we can see that our nouns never
change their form on account of the number. It is true, we also put
after the nouns _ra_, _tachi_, or _domo_ to signify plural, but it is
rare, and the style becomes rather clumsy unless it is done very

Furthermore, there is no gender or number in our verbs. All conjugations
are the same whatever gender or number they may relate to. It goes
without saying that in Chinese also there is neither gender nor number
in its nouns and verbs. It also goes without saying that in Japanese as
well as Chinese there is, like English, no gender or number in
adjectives. I may also add here that, like Latin, there are no articles
either in Chinese or Japanese.

As to the adverbs in Chinese, they are as a rule identical with
adjectives, the difference between them being only perceived by the
context, although there is a certain form which always gives adverbial
signification, and which is done by putting another word after an
adjective (there are three or four words which are used for the purpose
of thus forming adverbial terms). In Japanese adverbs are formed by
suffixing _ni_ and _to_, like the English _ly_ and French _ment_. As
_shizukani_ (slowly) _yuku_ (goes), and _shizushizu to_ (slowly and
slowly) _yuku_ (goes). _To_ may be written _toshite_ according to

The use of conjunctions in Japanese and Chinese is much similar to that
of the Western languages, except that in both Chinese and Japanese it is
very commonly understood. Thus where the Europeans say, 'East and West'
or 'black and white,' we both, Chinese and Japanese, would simply say,
'West East' or 'white black,' unless we have some particular reasons in
giving emphasis to the distinction.

In Chinese the pronouns also have no gender, so also in Japanese. When
we particularly wish to designate gender, we say, 'that man' or 'this
woman,' which in reality is no longer a pronoun. As to the number of
pronouns, it is formed by adding another word after it; but in Chinese
this is by no means uniformly done, for in most cases where the meaning
is plain enough, the same person as that of the singular number is also
used for the plural. It is so especially with regard to the third
person, but even in the first person this occurs sometimes, as for
instance when two opposing objects, one of which is on one's own side,
are collectively spoken of. There is something similar in English as far
as the third person is concerned, but the Chinese carry it even into the
first person. Thus in English may be written, 'When the enemy attacked
us we have repulsed him,' but a Chinese would go further and write,
'When the enemy attacked me, I have repulsed him,' without meaning that
he, the writer himself, did it alone, or did it at all, but that the
army on his side did it.

In Japanese the number of the pronouns is far more precise than it is
in Chinese. One thing which may be novel to the Western readers is that
in Chinese there are many different _I_'s and _you_'s, and still more in
Japanese. They all signify, when used, a certain difference in degree of
politeness. It is one of the difficult points in our colloquial
language. I may here note that in the West it is almost impossible to
carry on a conversation for a few minutes without making use of so many
_I_'s, _he_'s, and _you_'s, but, like Latin, pronouns are used very
sparingly in Chinese, still less in Japanese. In Latin the form of the
verbs suggests very easily the person which is the substantive
understood. In Chinese the context suggests it, while in Japanese the
construction of sentences based upon conjugation does it.

Relative pronouns, _who_, _which_, _qui_, _que_, or _dont_, do not exist
both in Chinese and Japanese. This is one of the great difficulties when
we translate Western books. We must write the phrase governed by the
relative pronouns as a distinct one or else must employ a clumsy method
in rendering the whole sentence.

From what I have stated above, it would appear that Chinese is very
simple as far as the analysis of the words is concerned, for they have
no declension and conjugation. The difficulty of the students of Chinese
does not lie in remembering different forms of declensions and
conjugations, but first in remembering so many ideographs, one by one,
and secondly to make head and tail of the agglomeration of ideographs,
for one can never tell from their form which is a noun and which is a
verb, or which is an objective or which is a possessive case. Definite
meaning of Chinese sentences could only be appreciated by those who have
accustomed themselves by long experience. But even such people often
differ in their interpretation of some phrases, by giving different
attributive to one or other particular ideograph in a sentence, not only
in its meaning but in its position as regards the part of speech. This
often occurs in interpretation of classical books. All this, however,
does not signify that Chinese is a poor language, because its literal
standard is really very highly developed.

The Japanese language is also simple enough as far as the analysis of
words is concerned. Nouns never change their forms under any
circumstances, except that their cases are made by the use of _ga_,
_no_, _ni_, or _wo_, which is only an addition. Verbs are conjugated,
but it is done simply to denote time and voice, and for no other reason.
In a word, we may say that Japanese grammar is very easy. The real
difficulty of Japanese is in the proper construction of phrases, for it
is by it that many shades of meaning are suggested. True it is that this
is more or less so with all languages. Difference of the degree of
politeness or gracefulness is manipulated by difference of construction
everywhere, but the variety of this difference is more complicated in
Japanese than in any other language, and it can only be acquired by long
practice and observation. This is why all foreigners who study Japanese
think it is so easy at the commencement and so difficult after they have
made a little progress. Nevertheless, colloquial Japanese is on the
whole easy, because one can learn it easily so long as he is not
sensitive of nicety or grace. There is in open ports even a new Japanese
spoken between foreigners and natives, in which no _ga--no--ni--wo_ is
used, or no conjugation of verbs employed, and yet it is perfectly

Now as to the difference of the order of words between Japanese and
Chinese. Where in English one says, 'I cannot go,' in Chinese one would
say, 'I not can go,' whilst in Japanese it would be, 'I go can not.'
This order of Japanese has a slight resemblance to German, but the
difference lies in that, whilst in German it is chiefly so in
subordinate sentences, it is in Japanese uniformly so under any
circumstances. In Chinese a verb which governs an object directly or
indirectly always precedes the object; thus, like English, a Chinese
would say, 'Girls eat cakes,' or 'he goes to Paris,' but in Japanese the
verb succeeds; thus a Japanese would say, 'Girls cakes eat,' or 'he
Paris to goes.' In this respect of order there is some resemblance
between Latin and Japanese.

From all that I have said it is plain that there is no affinity between
Chinese and Japanese so far as construction is concerned, but I may go
further. There is no resemblance whatever suggestive of same origin
between any Chinese and Japanese word, except those whose introduction
into Japan at later ages is clearly known.

In speaking of the Japanese language in the foregoing pages, I have
made no difference between the colloquial and the written one, but in
fact there is much difference between them which requires some notice
here. Even in the West written phrases can be, and are often, much
shortened than spoken ones; but in Japan this difference is carried
almost to the extreme, so much so, that they assume almost entirely
different shape, the phrases of the spoken language being unsparingly
curtailed in those of the written one. Of course, there are some old
books which were written like the colloquial, and of late years much
movement is made for an assimilation of the written and spoken
languages, making the written one approach the spoken one. But as the
matter stands at present the difference is still very great.

I am afraid my explanation is becoming too minute and consequently
tedious, but I presume I must complete it. In the writings, too, there
are in Japan two systems, one of which consists of our own phonetic
letters, and the other consists of a mixture of our phonetic letters and
Chinese ideographs. Unfortunately, the latter system is in common use.
It is done in the following manner. The order of the words is not
changed, but nouns and verbs, for instance, are written in the original
ideographs with the significance of the cases or conjugations, which are
written in the phonetic letters succeeding these ideographs. Let me take
an example in the English word 'telegraphed' or 'telegraphing,' and let
us write 'telegraph' in the original Greek letters, writing 'ed' or
'ing,' which is the part of the pure English, in the ordinary English
letters. This will give you an idea of our using Chinese ideographs in
our sentences. But our method is still more complicated. Besides the
above examples we read very often the ideographs thus used, not
according to their pronunciation but according to so-called 'kun' of the
word, which is in reality a translation. In English books the term
'viz.' is used and is read as 'namely.' Here 'namely' is not
pronunciation but translation. This is an example similar to our 'kun'
of a word. When to read by pronunciation and when to read by 'kun'
entirely depends upon the construction of the phrases, but one thing is
certain, and it is that in Japan one has to know both the pronunciation
and 'kun' of Chinese ideographs.

The Japanese pronunciation of Chinese ideographs is not the same as any
kind of the modern Chinese pronunciation, and therefore even one simple
word expressed by an ideograph is unintelligible between a Chinese and a
Japanese, though they understand when it is written. In China the
pronunciation of ideographs underwent much change; besides it has varied
according to localities. In Japan the pronunciation of those Chinese
ideographs, which is comparatively ancient, has been preserved on
account of our possessing phonetic letters, by the use of which the
preservation has been effected. But then there are two kinds of
pronunciation of those ideographs, on account of its introduction into
Japan at different periods from the different localities. This is an
additional difficulty we have in reading Chinese characters used in
Japan, though the usual customs where to use one or where the other are
usually plain to educated people.

Japanese phonetics consist of fifty letters.[1] Five of them are vowels,
being equal to _a_, _e_, _i_, _o_, _u_, and each of the rest represents
the sound of two Roman characters, _i.e._ a consonant and a vowel; thus,
for instance, the sound of _ka_ or _ke_ is represented by a single
letter without spelling.

I said above that the modern Chinese pronunciation is different from
the ancient one. It goes without saying that the style of phraseology is
much changed, even in a greater measure than the modern English writing
is different from that of the Elizabethan epoch. The Chinese, which has
been studied in Japan indeed very commonly, is the ancient one, _i.e._
classical Chinese, and we are familiar with classical Chinese even more
than the Chinese themselves. As a system of writing, that of the pure
Japanese, which consists of phonetic letters, is in its quality far
superior to the other one, which is in our common use, nay, even
superior to the proper Chinese system itself. Our phonetic system,
however, has not made sufficient progress on account of the introduction
of the Chinese system, to which we had paid too high value and devoted
too much attention, the result being the mixture of Chinese ideographs
in our phonetic system, that is to say, the other system just mentioned.
Even in the West there is some similarity to this. Take, for instance,
some modern English books. One would scarcely find a few lines in which
a large number of words which are Latin or sometimes Greek in origin is
not contained. Are there not even now names for new inventions coined
from Greek or at least from Latin? And is not all this due to the fact
that such words sound more scholastic or else more concise or accurate?
If it were not so, why does one call a horseless carriage 'automobile'
instead of 'self-moving carriage'? Fortunately for the Western nations,
however, there is no difficulty in transcribing Greek or Latin words in
their modern letters, inasmuch as those letters are similar to, in fact
evolved from, the Greek and Latin letters, and therefore, when once a
Greek or Latin word is employed, it is easy to get naturalised, as it
were. But, unfortunately for us, the Chinese method is ideographs, and
our own is phonetic, and one cannot be directly transcribed from the
other, except that either it be translated or merely phonetically
represented, which in truth presents much ambiguity. For this reason the
original ideographs themselves have come to be interposed between the
phonetic letters as I have illustrated above, and the ideographs so
interposed have never become thoroughly 'naturalised,' from the very
nature of the case. Thus one would see that as far as the mechanical
side is concerned, the deep study of Chinese has given much drawback to
Japan. On the mental side, however, I may say that it has helped us in
enriching our thoughts for many centuries, inasmuch as there is rich
treasure for ethical teaching in the classical Chinese, although this is
not the place for me to dwell on that topic.

I may add a few words. Philological researches of different Asiatic
languages are still very incomplete, but I understand from what is
stated by experts that there is some resemblance between our language
and those of Korea, Manchuria, and indeed Mongolian tribes: first, in
that all those languages are monosyllabic like ours; second, in the
order of words in forming sentences. Moreover, it is said that there
were already discovered several words which are much similar to ours. No
satisfactory statement could be made as yet, but it would be a matter of
no common interest if further researches be made. It goes without saying
that there is much similarity, so it is said, between ours and the
language of the Inoes, who are rapidly disappearing from the surface of
the earth, despite our taking care of them. They once occupied the
greater part of Japan and were a brave race. It is no wonder that there
is that similarity in the tongues, though it is a matter of question
whether they left their words behind them or we gave them those words.
For example, _Kami_, which in the colloquial Japanese means god,
superior, or upper part of anything, is _Kamui_ in Ino, the meaning
being the same. This word, then, must surely belong to the same origin.
There are also many names of rivers and mountains in Japan which, beyond
doubt, are of Ino origin.

[1] These phonetic letters were invented in Japan between the seventh
and eighth centuries A.D., during which time they gradually became
improved. As to their form they are a simplification of some simple
Chinese ideographs, and as to the principle of their formation, it is
based upon, the Sanscrit.



The French and the Japanese have some sort of resemblance in their
character, and therefore they are not wholly antagonistic to each other
by nature. France once committed a great error, it is true, together
with another country, in backing Russia against Japan after the
Sino-Japanese war, but Japan has forgiven her for it, and has even
forgotten it long since. It therefore mainly depends on France if the
friendly relationship subsisting between her and Japan shall be

There are two things which we have to examine in this connection: first,
the question of Indo-China; second, the effect of the Franco-Russian
alliance upon Far Eastern affairs.

Much has been talked about Japan's having designs upon Indo-China. It
is, in truth, nothing more than a resuscitation in part of the old bogey
of the Yellow Peril. According to that bogey, Japan is to pick quarrels
with every civilised nation, and is ultimately to swallow up the whole
world. Nothing can be more absurd than that; but at times it has been
made use of by the Russians and Russophiles with a certain amount of
success. To me it appears almost amazing that so great a psychological
incongruity should exist simultaneously in the minds of some of the
Occidentals, in that, while they exhibit almost unreasonable contempt of
the Orientals on the one hand, they give credit for almost superhuman
potentiality to the same people on the other. Whatever this may be, the
question of Indo-China resolves itself into this:

The yellow peril alarmists began to talk about Japan as being intent
upon seizing Indo-China. The Colonial party of France has utilised this
theme for the promotion of its own object, and the Russophiles have
utilised it for inciting the public to hate and detest Japan in favour
of Russia. Surely an act of gross injustice and cowardice! For, as a
matter of fact, on the part of Japan there is no such intention
whatever. Indo-China is very different from Korea and Manchuria in
respect of its relative position to Japan. There is nothing worth
mentioning politically, strategically, historically, or economically in
the mutual relations between Japan and Indo-China. All this I have shown
in the utmost detail in an article which I have contributed and
published in a well-known French review. Sensible French people have now
begun to see the truth of it, so that they have almost ceased to pay
serious attention to the false alarms of the yellow peril agitators.
Indeed, the France of to-day appears to be very different from the
France of this time last year. The lapse of one year has been sufficient
to disclose many falsehoods by which the public was once taken in. It
has also disclosed the relative merit of Russia and Japan in many
things. Which government--the Russian or the Japanese--is the more
enlightened? Which troops--the Russian or the Japanese--are more humane
and orderly? Which people--Russia or Japan--is more compact as a nation?
Which of them--Russia or Japan--has better ethics and morality? In which
of them--Russia or Japan--are laws better administered and more loyally
adhered to? In which of them--Russia or Japan--are philanthropical
works, such as the Red Cross Society, better organised and more honestly
carried out? Above all, in which of them--Russia or Japan--does the
justice of its cause in the present war lie? All these things have now
become very widely known to the public, hence the difference of their
attitude. I do not think France ever will be foolish enough to stretch
forward her fists against Japan on account of the yellow peril bogey
concerning Indo-China. I am rather in hope that the day will come when
those Russophiles will repent the mistake they made when they abused
Japan contrary to the dictates of justice and equity.

The second question, namely, the effect of the Franco-Russian alliance
upon Far Eastern affairs, is rather a delicate one to discuss. On the
whole, however, I can say this:

Considering the delicate position in which she is placed, France has
managed things well to the extent that we have not much to complain of
(except one important matter, which I will elucidate presently). True it
is that she has made many unfair accusations against us with regard to
the commencement of the war and also with regard to the yellow peril
bogey, but then the same, if not a harsher thing, has also been done or
said in some other quarters where we might have expected more
impartiality. Her general conduct as a neutral has not been very
satisfactory. But then we remember that in some other quarters also very
bitter pills were given us to swallow, altogether beyond our reasonable
anticipation. We put up with all this unfairness, because we are quite
confident that sooner or later the time will come when the world will
clearly see how undeserving we are of such calumny.

The important exception I made above is the question of French
neutrality concerning the treatment of the Baltic Fleet. In this respect
Japan has grave reasons to complain of what France has been doing. As
the whole world knows, the Russian Fleet has been obtaining abundant
facilities from France all the way along from European waters to those
of the Far East. It was abusing French hospitality in Madagascar for a
very long period. Japan repeated her protest, or at least called French
attention from time to time. When France pleaded her innocence at
Madagascar on the pretext that the fleet was outside the territorial
waters of France, Japan, relying on incontestable proof to the contrary,
remonstrated. France was very tardy in executing what she said she would
do, but Japan showed much patience, almost beyond common endurance. The
same thing began to be repeated in the waters of Indo-China, the very
door of the seat of the war. However moderate and good-natured Japan may
be, this was more than she could endure. This was the real cause of the
strain of an event which has been recently threatening the continuance
of friendly relations between France and Japan.

According to some French papers, the view is held that France has not
infringed her duty as a neutral, but Japan does not coincide. The French
contention is that, according to the French law of neutrality, there is
no time limit for affording asylum to a belligerent ship, and therefore,
whatever length of time Russian ships may spend in French waters, France
is under no obligation to tell them to quit the place (so long as they
are not accompanied by prizes), and also they may be supplied with
victuals and even coals. Japan contends that this is not a just
interpretation of the laws of nations. Japan's view may be formulated as

1. The twenty-four hours rule may not be a condition universally
accepted, but justice and equity demand that in its spirit it should be
followed by all nations. It has already been adopted by many nations,
including Russia herself; as a matter of fact, the world has come to
view it as though it were already a rule universally accepted, and it
behoves every civilised nation to promote its adoption, or at least a
practice similar to it in spirit, for the sake of consolidating
international morality, viz. justice and equity. At the time when
Russian ships, after the sea-battle of August 10th last year, sought
asylum in the waters of Kiao-Chow and Saigon, both the German and French
authorities respectively hastened to dismantle them, because the ships
would not leave the place indicated at the prescribed time; this was
done in exact accordance with the spirit of international law, and in
reality it amounted almost to the same thing as observing the
twenty-four hours rule. Why should France now say that no time limit can
be made in the case of the Baltic Fleet, which requires all the more
vigilance than would the case of a few solitary ships?

2. The so-called French law of neutrality is not in fact a law in the
strict sense of the term. It is a sort of an instruction issued in the
beginning of the present war by the French Minister of Marine, although
based upon a similar document issued at the time of the Spanish-American
war. It is immaterial whether or not it is a law in the strict sense,
but we cannot deem it has a just rule if it were to be interpreted as
has been done by some of the French papers. True it is that in that
document no time is mentioned, but does it mean that France has to or
must allow all belligerent ships to stay in her waters whatever length
of time they like? Certainly not, I should think. If it is so, why
should France adhere to that sort of interpretation even when its
adherence is obviously contrary to justice and equity?

3. Even if we admit for a moment that the French rule as interpreted by
those papers be applicable to the cases of some solitary ships seeking
asylum; it is certainly not applicable to cases like that which we now
have in view, because no such case as that of the Baltic Fleet has ever
been within the contemplation of those who framed such a rule. As a
matter of fact, however, it would be inapplicable even to the cases of a
few solitary ships if it were to be interpreted in the way that was done
by those journals.

4. Even admitting for a moment that the interpretation of those French
journals is correct as far as the strict letter of the rule is
concerned, it does not give them the right to say that their doings are
_internationally_ correct. It must be known that in the laws of nations
the spirit of international morality, namely, justice and equity, has
greater weight than municipal laws, _lex loci_. If this were not so, how
was it that England had to apologise to Russia a long time ago for an
act--personal seizure of an ambassador--which had been done in a civil
matter perfectly in accordance with her law? Therefore the mere fact
that France has her own law of neutrality (in fact no law in a strict
sense) is no defence for her doings unless its justice and equity can be
maintained in the eyes of the law of nations. I may further add that the
above is the _raison d'être_ why prize courts of different countries
make it their theory, unlike ordinary civil or criminal courts, that
they administer _prima facie_ the law of nations and not _lex loci_. It
is another _raison d'être_ why matters relating to neutrality, prizes,
and cognate matters are generally dealt with in the shape of
instructions (in other words, interpretations of the law of nations),
and not in the shape of a law of the land in the strict sense. Japan,
therefore, cannot submit to the ruling of those French instructions as
interpreted by those journals, inasmuch as she does not think it
internationally just and equitable.

5. And, moreover, that part of the French instruction which those
journals so habitually quote is not the only part which has an important
bearing on the question. In the instruction it is also mentioned that no
belligerent may use a French port for purposes of war (_dans un but de
guerre_); and also that belligerents sojourning in such ports may not
make use of them as the base of operations of any kind against the
enemy. Japan's insistence is that France should adhere to that spirit.
My wonder is why those French papers which try to uphold one part of the
instruction should totally ignore other parts of the same instruction.

6. The theory of asylum in the case of the ships is not so rigid as the
case of an army. I admit it. Japan does not demand that it should be
made on the seas as rigid as it is on land. But it must never be allowed
to go beyond the limit which justice and equity allow. I take the theory
of asylum on the seas to be this: No neutral is justified in helping
either of the combatants, but the nature of the seas is such that the
neutral may give a certain grace of time to combatant vessels which seek
shelter in its neutral waters, before it proceeds to dismantle,--(no
immediate internment as in the case of the land force),--and it may also
give them certain victuals--even a certain amount of coals--as it would
also be contrary to humanity if they were to hang about, or to cause
starvation of the men on board in mid-voyage on account of the mere lack
of coal or food. Beyond this, the spirit of the law of nations is that a
neutral ought to allow nothing. Can any one boldly assert that the
theory of asylum can be applied with fairness to a case like that of the
Baltic Fleet, which is far from seeking asylum, but is deliberately
endeavouring to administer coups to its adversary and proceeding to the
very seat of war. If he can do so, where is the justice and equity of
the so-called law of nations, which the Occidentals boast of, not
without just title, and claim that it forms one of the essential parts
of Christian morality?

7. As to the talk about the three-mile limit of the territorial waters,
there is already much divergency of opinion even amongst the jurists. To
put it forth as a defence in a case like that of the Baltic Fleet
affairs seems to me too puerile. The matter, however, becomes all the
more grave when even that limit is not observed, and it has been
constantly ignored by the Baltic Fleet.

Such are the views which we Japanese have taken in the matter. Some
French journals (erroneously basing their assertions on the views I have
personally expressed) say that Japan has taken up English views of
international law in opposition to the Continental views, so that France
ought not to yield to Japan's protest. This contention is not correct.
We do not hold these views because they are English ones: we do so
because they are in our opinion the only views which are
_internationally_ just and equitable. We are now fighting against a foe
so formidable, as the whole world knows, that to us it is a matter of
life and death. We have sufficient patience and fortitude, but we cannot
run the risk of sacrificing our very existence without some protest when
we think that we are not being treated with justice and equity.

I am glad to add that the views we hold seem to have come at last to be
shared by the more responsible part of the French amongst the
governmental circle, as well as by the general public. The newspapers
which are still sticking to their old contention are very few in number,
and they seem to have some particular reasons of their own. I can never
think a nation like France could consciously and wilfully offend against
justice and equity, and the only thing we anxiously hope for is that the
declaration of the French Government may be honestly and effectually
followed up. Whatever may be one's intention, the drift of events often
creates unlooked-for incidents, and that too often against one's will,
when it is too late to avoid the consequences. Let all parties concerned
be careful in this matter of vital importance.

[1] The _Deutsche Revue_, June 1905.



You ask my opinion on the future of the Yellow Peril cry. From an
ethical point of view it is an unjust and unreasonable accusation. From
a practical point of view it is idle and useless talk.

I have spoken and written on these particular points so often that I do
not feel inclined to reiterate any more. I will, however, consider the
matter from a different point of view and solicit any answer which may
be advanced against my conviction. I do not do this from any thought of
vanity; I should be very sorry if it were ever taken in that sense. I
would simply ask those who agitate and cry the Yellow Peril, the means
they would suggest for the adopting of their propaganda, if their words
are not to be empty ones.

Suppose any country wanted to subjugate Japan, and should want to send
an army to fight on the soil of Japan, what number of men do they think
would suffice? No general in the whole world would, I am sure, be bold
enough to undertake the task with under one million men. I have reason
to believe even that number would not suffice, but for a moment let it
be that number. What country in the world can send that number over the
broad ocean? Germany, France, England, or America? Russia seems to have
the greatest chance, being nearer to Japan. But her experience is
already known.

Suppose the idea of a land campaign be abandoned, and only a fleet be
sent to intimidate Japan by sea battles, or by harassing her commerce.
There would certainly be a better chance for any of the Occidental
fleets than for the armies, in coping with the forces of Japan. Above
all, I frankly admit that England would be the most formidable foe in
that respect. But excepting England, is there any other country that can
say with certainty that it can easily crush the Japanese navy? Is it
Germany? is it France? or is it--America?

But supposing our navy were crushed; what next? It would, of course, be
a very ugly thing for us, but it would not mean the subjection of Japan.
Our sea-coast towns may be bombarded, our commerce may be harassed, but
Japan will still subsist within her soil, for she can live without
depending on any other country for food. And, besides, disturbance of
commerce would not be a loss only to her.

Moreover, any country which should embark on such an enterprise would
have need to think it over twice (or, indeed, three or four times)
before undertaking it, and to calculate the probable benefit it could
get therefrom, and the probable expenses it would incur; not to speak of
the result of any possible failure. It may be presumed that Japan would
not tamely be intimidated by any action undertaken by any country which
is not based on justice and equity, and which, therefore, is not open to

Further, is there any country which would willingly embark on such an
enterprise single-handed? I think not. The reason is too obvious for me
to elucidate.

Putting aside altogether any question of justice and equity, if such an
enterprise is to be embarked upon at all, it would have to be by common
action of all the Western Powers, somewhat similar to that when the
combined forces of Europe rose against France some hundred years ago.

But let me ask if such a thing is possible under the present
circumstances? The claims of Japan to the kind consideration of humanity
have already become so widely spread that she could no longer be
trampled upon easily. Man is, after all, a rational being. Do the
writers of the articles on the Yellow Peril (articles which even now
repeatedly make their appearance) not know the fact that even in France
there is a large number of people who have recently purchased Japanese
bonds, not to speak of Germany, where those bonds have been openly
floated by banks of high standing? Even if all the governments of the
West should be willing to agree to such an enterprise, I do not think
the people at large would move with them.

Japan is modest enough, Japan is honest enough. Why does she deserve a
general ostracism? She might become, it is possible, a Power of the
world. She might become, it is possible, more civilised on the lines of
occidental civilisation, after which she strives so earnestly. Are these
to be blamed as her sins?

To me the Yellow Peril cry, which is so often revived in some quarters
of the Continent, is either a sort of what we call 'guchi,' that is to
say, useless repetition of complaint of some unreasonable
disappointment, or a perpetuation of wicked instigation and selfish
intention. In either case, it is not at all a laudable action; indeed, I
may say it is wasteful calumny for no material good will come of it
inasmuch as its object can never be achieved from the very condition of
the world. The people who entertain that idea would be doing far better
service to their country, to the progress of civilisation, to the
general cause of humanity, if only they put aside such a silly notion,
and busy themselves in teaching their fellow country-folks to accustom
themselves to the changed circumstances of the time. It would be a far
more manly and noble act if they revised their old notions, which in a
measure may be called prejudice.

As to ourselves, the Japanese, we shall only be glad if we can enjoy a
peaceful and harmonious life in the happy family of the world, as we are
determined to do, in spite of all the obstacles which may be laid before

[1] Written for the _Potentia Organisation_, July 1905.




The eminent statesman, Baron Suyematsu, kindly dictated in English to
one of our editors answers relating to certain questions with regard to
the relation between Japan and Europe, especially France and Germany.

     With the disclosure of the alleged Kodama report in view, how far
     may one give credit to the alleged Japanese plan of invasion of

I know all that has been written in France on the subject. All those
rumours appear to me to have come originally from Russia, and to have
been put into circulation in order to excite French opinion against
Japan, in other words, it is nothing else than a mere repetition of the
Yellow Peril cry.

Japan does not covet Indo-China. I have shown elsewhere that the French
colonies in the Far East have no perceptible influence upon the
situation of Japan, either from a political or an economical point of
view. Japan has sufficient to do at home, she does not want to plunge
into external adventures, such as meddling with Indo-China or picking a
quarrel with a country like France. You may be sure that it would be
more politic for France to cultivate amicable relations with Japan than
irritate her by such accusations. Even if those accusations honestly
represent the true sentiment of the French, the Japanese would only take
them for malicious manœuvres directed to aid Russia, and they could
not produce any good impression on the minds of the Japanese.

     Is there any reason to believe that the so-called Kodama report was
     forged in Russia rather than in France?

I have demonstrated elsewhere that the document which was recently made
public and attributed to Kodama containing some military indications on
the plan of an invasion of Indo-China is a perfect forgery. I have
exposed elsewhere several technical errors therein which would never
appear in an authentic official document. But whether it is authentic or
not, I do not attach any importance to the matter, from a political
point of view at least. It is the duty of all the military and naval
authorities to keep themselves ready for any emergency. For example,
France ought to keep herself always prepared for any possible
difficulties which may arise on her frontiers in the east, and in the
south, and on the western coasts; the same with Germany, with Austria,
with Italy, even with the United States.

It appears to me that, if the general staff-office of France or of
Germany, or the military or naval authorities of any country whatever,
were to remain without the least knowledge as to what measure should be
taken in case of a danger, they would be neglecting their duty to their
country. I can then say that all the Japanese officers, both in the army
and in the navy ought to study constantly the measures which Japan
should take in any emergency. I believe it is the same in every country
in Europe. This, however, does not belong to the sphere of practical
politics. It is the duty of statesmen and politicians to maintain a
friendly relationship with all other countries as far as possible; and,
consequently, to keep absolute control over their armies and navies. The
army and navy ought to serve as instruments and machines in their hands,
and not they, the civilians, become the instruments of the army and
navy. You may be quite assured that in Japan the army and navy are the
machines of the statesmen, and that the statesmen are not their

     Can the fabrication of the so-called Kodama report be demonstrated
     by a precise fact?

I shall not say whence the document emanated. I believe it was composed
by some one who does not lack a certain knowledge of Japan, but who has
drawn false deductions from his knowledge of similar matters of other
countries. Here is the best example. The document speaks of the native
contingents of Formosa. Now there exist no such forces in Formosa. The
garrisons of Formosa are sent there from Japan. On the other hand, in
the colonies belonging to other countries there are generally troops
formed of native contingents. It is notably so in French colonies. The
author of the document in question, reasoning from these facts, thought
that it ought to be the same with Formosa.

     Has Japan any fear of another alteration of the Treaty of
     Shimonoseki being imposed upon her?

The combined action of Russia, Germany and France, for imposing on
Japan an alteration of the Treaty of Shimonoseki appears to us to have
been a great error on their parts. I can positively say that there are
many eminent persons in Germany and in France who regret that action.
Even in Russia, in certain quarters, a belief seems to be entertained
that, but for the fault then committed, the present misfortunes would
not have happened. As to ourselves, we are not hypnotised by the errors
then committed by those three powers. We intend to remain friends of
France, of Germany, and even of Russia, in spite of the injustice we
have suffered, provided, of course, those powers wish to keep

We do not overlook the possibility of another combination which those
powers may have an idea of forming against us, and it behoves us to be
watchful. Nevertheless, to tell you my candid opinion, it is scarcely
possible that a similar intervention should be renewed. I do not think
France would push her docility so far as to follow Germany a second
time. It would be necessary that Germany should set the example, aided
by Russia and France, to come out to the Far East, especially because
the Russian fleets have ceased to exist. I admit that the German fleet
is strong, but I do not believe it is powerful enough for one to say
with certainty that it can easily crush Japan. At all events, what
pretext has Germany to enter into war in the Far East? Among other
things also she would have to count on the opinion and sentiments of two
countries at least, I mean England and the United States. I do not,
therefore, consider a new combination possible. Japan cannot be
intimidated by mere barking.

If, however, Europe should choose to take such a course, we should
gravely reflect. I do not believe your country for example would ever
undertake an expedition against Japan. You have disapproved a small
expedition to Tonkin and we are a little more serious than the
Tonkinese. France might no doubt, if her honour demanded it, judge it
worth the pain to engage in a war with Japan, but under no other
circumstance do I believe her disposed to take such a part.

Japan will always continue to advance on the lines of occidental
civilisation. I do not see the reason which will prevent Japan from
acting in concert with France or Germany, provided of course these
powers do not enter upon an action which may appear to her altogether
unjust or iniquitous, in which case she may not be able to march with
them hand-in-hand.

     Would Japan be offended by France introducing civilisation into

We are not at all opposed to your introducing Western civilisation into
your colonies. On the contrary we shall be quite contented, but in
introducing your civilisation into your colonies you have to be prepared
that it signifies an amelioration of the condition of the natives. If it
were so, why should we make the least objection? But in the hypothesis
that the introduction of civilisation has in view neither amelioration
of the condition of the natives nor progress of commerce and industry,
we might then conceive a sort of suspicion. Supposing that you augment
the garrisons, the fortifications, the naval forces, one would see in it
nothing but an expansion of your military power and not an introduction
of civilisation in the sense understood in France. Even in that case we
would not raise objections, unless it were done with a view to menace
us; but here I shall offer you a suggestion. Is it really worth your
while to develop there incessantly your military and naval forces in
order to oppose Japan? Would not the enterprise be rather costly? Would
it not be infinitely better to employ your energy in cultivating a good
understanding between your country and ours instead of rivalling each
other by crossing armaments?

[1] _L'Européen_, August 5, 1905.




Baron Suyematsu gave a _Daily News_ representative his opinion of the
'Spectre of Japan' as conceived by many Europeans. The Japanese Baron, a
burly, cheerful man, laughed heartily as he dealt with the alarmist
fears of the 'Yellow Peril.'

Our talk began over Mr. Bruce Smith's notice of motion in the Australian

'Yes, I have seen the proposal,' said Baron Suyematsu, 'and I am very
glad an Australian representative has taken up the question. He proposes
to amend the Immigration Restriction Act so as to permit Japanese to
enter the Commonwealth. The reason given is that Japan has placed
herself in the front rank of nations, has granted religious freedom, has
established consulates, and become the honoured ally of Great Britain. I
understand that Australian papers are saying there is no chance of the
motion being carried. I care not whether the motion is carried or not
this time. Of one thing I am certain--it will be carried eventually.

'What reason has Australia for shutting out the Japanese?'

'The dread of cheaper labour and of the "Yellow Peril," as it is called.
Whatever there be in that, it certainly does not apply to the Japanese.
This is already being realised in Australia, as Mr. Bruce Smith's motion
shows. The Japanese are making it clear that they have to be regarded by
Europeans in a different light from the rest of Asiatics. Europeans
consider themselves superior to all other races. I do not blame them for
thinking that, for of modern civilisations theirs is certainly the best.
But with the exception of the British people, Europeans have not yet
realised that modern Japan is built up on European methods. She has no
more to do with the so-called "Yellow Peril" than America has. She takes
her place by the side of the other powers, with very much the same
civilisation as theirs. England having been the first to recognise the
new Japan, I am certain her colonies will soon follow. That is why I
feel it is only a question of time before Australia excludes Japan from
its Restriction Act.'


'Yet Australia has been talking freely enough about the Japanese

'I know. It is quite a mistaken idea of the Australians that if Japan
triumphs in the present war she would be a menace to Australia. They say
that if we win we shall be masters of the East and the paramount power
in Eastern waters. What, they ask, is to become of Australia, if we take
it into our heads to make a descent upon their shores?'

Baron Suyematsu again laughed boisterously, as one who can afford to
make merry at an extravagant idea.

'The whole thing is so utterly preposterous,' he went on, 'that it
would not be worth considering were it not typical of what is being said
all over Europe. Our fight for national existence against Russia has
been misconstrued everywhere. We seem to have filled the Western world
with all sorts of vague fears, France is saying that we shall soon
deprive her of Indo-China. Germany declares we have designs on
Kiao-chau. The Dutch say that Java is no longer safe from our
machinations. Never was such nonsense talked of a country which, after
all, is but fighting to preserve its national existence.'

'And you say Japan has no intention of arming the Asiatics against the

'The whole idea is absurd. Japan wishes to become one with the European
nations. I might even say she aspires to become a member of the European
family. It is a mistake to think that Japan is going to form a
Pan-Asiatic Association. Japan is the only country in the East that can
rise on European lines. Her example could not be followed by other
Asiatic countries. We are said to be the successors of the Tartars, at
one time the disturbers of the world's peace. Nothing of the kind.
Russia would be more fittingly the successor of the Tartars. The Tartar
races have been merged in the Russian Empire.

'I am sure,' added Baron Suyematsu, in a final word, 'that Europe will
soon find its fears about the "spectre of Japan" are all ill-founded.
England, I am glad to believe, never had those fears, and before long I
hope to see her colonies in the same frame of mind. I hope the
Commonwealth Parliament will lead the way.'

[1] _The Daily News._




'Our people,' said Baron Suyematsu, 'like the British people, favour
the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. They also favour its
extension. The nature of such extension demands careful thought, of
course. I will not go into details, but I will say that a more effectual
alliance is desirable from the standpoints of both England and Japan,
and I also think from the standpoint of America. Japan's interest is too
obvious to require mention; but England's interest, in my opinion, is
equally real. Russia and England are in contact throughout Asia and
friction is constant. England needs strengthening against Russia and
also against other powers active in the Orient.


'America's relation to this problem is more difficult. Monroeism is
thought to stand in the way. I appreciate the delicacy of venturing to
discuss the policy of a nation other than my own, but I feel that
Americans are too sensible to resent an honest expression of opinion.
Monroeism is not part of the constitution, but the dictum of a
statesman. This dictum was made when our planet was very large, before
the development of steam and electricity. The nations were isolated and
insulated by distance and non-communication.

'At that time American theory and practice relative to foreign affairs
were in harmony. America was actually self-contained, but to-day the
world is a tiny ball and America's flag and America's interests are on
every sea. America is sovereign in Hawaii and the Philippines, and yet
the American people cling to the idea of leaving distant matters alone.
Nevertheless the state department is widely and intelligently active.


'Theoretically you do not participate, actually your participation bears
upon international events everywhere. Witness Secretary Hay's initiative
respecting the Jews, as well as despatch after despatch aimed at Russian
aggression in Manchuria. The world's interests are becoming woven into a
solid fabric. Great nations cannot escape the responsibility this
involves. American theory and practice, in my judgment, will go on
diverging until the notion of non-participation will be merely an
antiquated abstraction.

'Therefore I refuse to regard as hopeless the idea of an
American-Anglo-Japanese alliance, guaranteeing the peaceful development
of the vast resources of the Far East. Such an alliance exists
essentially now--an alliance springing from cognate ideas, wishes,
purposes and principles. This is the best possible foundation for that
formal compact which the evolution of industry and commerce seems to me
unmistakably to foreshadow.'

[1] An extract from the _Chicago Daily News_.


Since the bulk of the present work went to press, I came across the
following communication printed in the _Outlook_. I take the liberty of
subjoining it herewith, without any vain intention of flaunting the
virtues of my countrymen.--K.S.


_To the Editor of the_ OUTLOOK

SIR,--I have received during the last few weeks letters bearing such
eloquent testimony to the nobility of Japanese character that I am
sending you some extracts in the hope of your publishing them. The
letters are from a friend of mine, who with her husband has lived in
Yokohama for many years, and can therefore speak with considerable
authority. The first extract is about the soldiers themselves--

     Mine you know is a busy life, and I found work among the military
     hospitals and also among the brave wives of the soldiers so
     fascinating that from the New Year till early June I let all social
     duties slip, so much so that I had a nervous breakdown in June, and
     since then have had to go very slow.

     We had a splendid time at our seaside cottage at Negishi this
     afternoon, any amount of our dear brown soldiers round us. There
     are five hundred quartered in that fishing village just now; they
     were resting, bathing, boating, washing their clothes or cooking
     their chow, but never a rude word or an uncouth action; no
     rowdyism, but all as civil, quiet, good-tempered, and alert as
     possible; they are a marvel; and my children go in and out among
     them and love them, like I do! I could _kill_ white idiots when I
     hear them speak of those fine fellows as 'an inferior race.' Ye
     gods! 'inferior' with never a camp follower to their name, and
     rapine unknown even after the fiercest fight! What European race
     can show a record like that? I wish I could be home for six months
     and tell what the soldiers and their wives are--what miracles of
     cheerful patience and manly dignity the wounded men are as they lie
     hacked and maimed, sometimes till almost all semblance of manhood
     is gone, yet never a murmur does any one hear from their lips--no,
     not if they are armless, legless, and even _blind_. And you would
     not dare condole with them! They say and believe they 'are greatly
     honoured.' When they embrace Christianity, they shame the brightest
     Christian among us, and I come away from visiting the hospitals
     feeling so small, so humble, yet at peace with all the world. We
     have very, very much to learn from this great people.

This second extract, about a soldier's wife, may come home to your
readers even more:--

     I allow two families a small sum of money every week. One case is
     that of a young woman, under twenty years of age, who has a child
     and an aged parent to keep, and her husband went to the war a few
     weeks ago, leaving her penniless and on the verge of having another
     baby. A few days ago, when I went to take her weekly money, she
     refused to take it, saying she had got a little work to do and
     could now manage without any help, as there were so many in much
     greater need of help than herself; and she would not take the
     money, though she was earning even less than I was allowing her.
     _That_ is what I call a real heroine.

     How many at work amongst our poor last winter could give such
     evidence to character as that?--I am, sir, yours, etc.



Before the preceding pages had been printed two events worth mentioning
here took place. One is the lamented death of Sir Henry Irving. The
other is the public discussion which took place under the auspices of
the London Shakespeare League, on the best method of presenting
Shakespeare's plays on the modern stage. On the latter subject perhaps I
may add a word. While in Japan the tendency is to introduce
women-players into the company of male players, and improvement of
scenery is much sought after on European lines, both of which are due to
the occidental influence, it is curious to notice that exactly reverse
movements, namely the dispensing with the female players and the
returning back to the primitive simplicity of stage properties, are
advocated in England by competent persons with regard to the
representation of Shakespeare. I extract below among others a passage of
the speech of Mr. Bernard Shaw on the occasion of the discussion
referred to above:--

     When Mr. Gilbert said that he would like to see the women's parts
     played by boys, he was not uttering a jest. In some of the
     performances at Westminster School, he had seen boys in women's
     parts much more effective than any professional actress. If women
     players had been proposed to Shakespeare, he would not only have
     been scandalised, but he would have pointed out that it was
     impossible to get the force from women that was obtained from boy


In the October number of the _Anglo-Japanese Gazette_ (London) is
published a criticism by Mr. Curtis, editor and proprietor of the _Kobe
Herald_, on 'the ridiculously sweeping assertions,' as he calls it, made
by Mr. Longford in his article. I subjoin herewith a passage which
relates to Mr. Longford's assertion that a 'cordon' is drawn by the
Japanese round the trading centres of Yokohama and Kobe, and that
foreign merchants are suffering under the 'thraldom':--

     Well, let me say that no sane, fair-minded man who knows anything
     whatever of his subject would ever dream of accusing the whole
     Japanese people of a lack of commercial morality. All this talk
     about a cordon being drawn round the treaty ports is rubbish. No
     such barrier exists, save perhaps in the imagination of a few who
     cannot shake off the prejudices and disabilities of the past. The
     idea sounds absurd to me, knowing, as I do know, that all the
     go-ahead firms have been doing their utmost for some time past to
     open up connections in the principal cities. Mr. Longford seems to
     think that business is conducted in Japan to-day just as it was
     twenty years ago. He apparently does not know that some foreign
     houses have trusted clerks or travellers all over the country; that
     some foreign business men run up to Osaka and Tokio daily; and that
     business journeys to Maidzuru--the great, fortified naval base on
     the Sea of Japan--Nagoya Sasebo, Hiroshima, and other important
     centres, are matters of everyday experience now.

In the same number of the same journal is also published an important
article from the pen of Sir Tollemache Sinclair, Bart., concerning
Bishop Awdry's letter published in the _Times_. Sir Tollemache strongly
repudiates the accuracy of the bishop's charge of dishonesty and
immorality against the Japanese, which Sir Tollemache calls the bishop's
'utterly erroneous accusations,' basing his contention upon an elaborate
comparison of the statistical facts of Japan and many other nations
relating to several important subjects having bearing on the question.
Among other things, he writes:--

     This clerical censor, who endeavours to find a mote in his Japanese
     brother's eye, but does not see the beam in his English brother's
     eye, cut the ground from under his own feet on the subject of the
     imaginary dishonesty of Japanese traders, for he tells us that a
     house was built for him by Japanese tradesmen admirably without any
     contract, and at a moderate expense; and I should like to know, if
     any Englishman did the same thing in England, whether he would not
     be unmercifully fleeced. Bishop Awdry says he is a friend of the
     Japanese, but they will probably say to him, after reading his
     letter, 'Save us from our friends, as to our enemies we will take
     care of them ourselves.'

And he winds up the article with these words:--

     What excuse has he to offer for the gross and discreditable and
     unfounded insults which he has heaped on the heads of those under
     whose protection, and in the enjoyment of whose hospitality, he
     resides.... In short, it may justly be said of the letter written
     by this superfluous bishop, 'what is true is not new, and what is
     new is not true.'


  Adoption, the custom of
  _Advance Japan_, Morris's
  Age, ways of counting
  _Aïda_, the opera
  Ainslie, Dr. Daniel, his mission to Nagasaki
  Aizu, Lord of
  America's sympathy for Japan
  American Press, views of war with Russia given to the
  Anglo-French, Russo-Japanese _entente_
  Anglo-Franco Diplomacy in Japan
  Anglo-Japanese Alliance and America, an interview
  Army, the Japanese
    -- state of, after fighting
  Army and Navy, organisation of
  Arisugawa, Prince
  Art, Japanese
  Aston, Dr.
  Australian Question, the

  Bank of Japan.
  'Black Room President,'
  Books on Japan
  Bracken, a talk about
  British East India Company
  Buddhist Sects
  Budha, Amida
    -- discourse on
    -- history of the term
    -- its literature

  Calendar, the Japanese
  Calumnies on Japan
  Cards, description of
  Character of the Japanese
  Chauvinism, fear of
  Chess-playing in China
   -- in Japan
  China, the difficulty of reform in
    -- the future of
    -- and Russia, secret treaty between
  Chinese jurisprudence
    -- banking system
  Chivalry, Japanese
  _Chokai_, Gunboat
    -- troops
  Christianity and Japan
  Chrysanthemums, the culture of
  Climate in Japan
  Code of honour, the Japanese
  Commerce and industry of Japan described
  Commercial morality of the Japanese described
  Communication, means of, in Japan
  Currency, Japanese

  Daidoji Yiuzan
  Daimio explained
    -- and Samurai, difference between
  Deaf and dumb, the treatment of
  Death, the Japanese conception of
  _Deutsche Revue_
  Diet, the
  Difficulty of distinguishing _R_ and _L_
  Dwellings, details of

  Earrings, remarks on
  Eating fruit without peeling
  Education in Japan
    -- the system of
    -- common and military
  _Elementary Lessons on Budo_
  England, her political attitude.
  England and America, relations between, with regard to Japan
  English Press views on Japanese character
    -- sympathy for Japan

  Feeling and sentiment in Japan
  Feudal system in Japan
  Fiction, Japanese
  Fighting, modes of
  Finance of the Imperial Government at the beginning of the
    Great Change
  _Financial and Economical Annual_
  Financial system, progress of
  Firearms, the first use of, in Japan
  Flowers, art of arrangement of
    -- sale of
  Food, Japanese
  Forecast on the issue of the war
  France and her women
   -- relations with England
  French Nationalists and Socialists with regard to Japan
  Fushimi, battle of

  Garden, a Japanese, described
  Geishas, their life
  German policy
  'Go,' the game of
  Government, the Japanese
    -- described
  'Great Change,' the
  Greek and Roman comedies
    -- customs
  Greek inspiration
  Griffis, the Rev. W.E.

  Hearn, Lafcadio
    -- life of
    -- remarks on
  Hirosé, Commandant
    -- Mrs., her letter to an English Admiral
  _Hogen Monogatari_
  House of Representatives

  Imperial Army Department
    -- Government and military reform
  _Imperial Japan_
  Imperial succession
    -- Troops
  _Independent Review_
  Indo-China Question
  Inouyé, Count
    -- a sketch of his life
  Intermarriages, Japanese
  International Conventions and Japan
  Irving, Sir Henry, and the Japanese stage
  Ito, Marquis
    -- an old speech by
    -- a sketch of his life
  Izawa Hanrioshi

  _Jane Eyre_ and Japan
  Japan after the war
    -- Emperor of, his powers
    -- and America, relations between
    -- and Europe, relations between
    -- and foreign capital
    -- and Russia, a priest's views on
  _Japan Times_
  Japanese, the age of
    -- as correspondents
    -- love tale, a
    -- reform, how brought about
    -- tariff
    -- Vendetta
  Jiujitsu, discourse on
    -- and wrestling, a comparison of
    -- the Willow Mind style

    -- bombardment of
  Kaibara Yekken
  Katsura, Count
  Kite flying
  Koizumi Yakumo
  _Kokkwa_, a monthly on Art
  Komura, Baron
  Kumazawa Banzan
  Kuropatkin, General
  Kwanto, plain of

  Lady's opinion on Japanese women, A
  Languages, remarks on
  Languages of China and Japan
  _Lays of Ancient Rome_
  _Le Matin_, 35.
  _Lectures by Yamaga Soko_
  Legislation, evolution of
  Lines on hailstones
  Little, Archibald
  Local administration
  Loti, Pierre

  _Maritana_, the opera
  Marriage ceremonies, description of
  Matoni, Monsieur
  Matrimony, preliminary inquiries in respect to
  Matsukata, career of
  _Mikado's Empire_
  Military organisation
    -- training
    -- for boys
    -- service, hereditary, abolished
  Mongolian troops
  Moon scenes
  Morality of Japan, compared with other nations
  Mothers and wives, Japanese
  Music, Japanese

  Nakaodo, a
  Names, Japanese
  National banks
  Nationality, abuse of Japanese
  Navigation in the Japan Sea
  Navy, the Japanese
    -- its history
  Neutrality question, the
  'New Commoners,' and the history of their emancipation
  Night fêtes in Japan
  Nobility, the Japanese
    -- methods of addressing
  Nogi, General, and religion's meaning
  Notions of pardon and forgiving
  Nozu, General

  Occidental Civilisation
    -- vulgarity
  Okuma, Count
    -- a sketch of the life of
  Oyama Marshal

    -- a motor ride round
    -- by night
  Peace prospects, observations of
  Physique, the Japanese
  Political attitude of England
  Political organism of Japan
  Port Arthur
  Press, the, and the war
  Printing, the art of
  Pronunciation of Japanese
  Public baths

  _Questions and Answers on Bun and Bu_

  Raffles, Sir Stamford, his appreciation of Japan
  Railways, construction of
  Red Cross Society
  Religion in Japan
    -- discussions on
  Religion, Japanese meaning of
  Restoration, the Japanese
  Revenge, Japanese
  Revolution, discussion on the Japanese
  _Risen Sun_, the
  Rodjestvensky, Admiral
  Romance, Japanese
  Roosevelt, President
    -- and jiujitsu
    -- his partiality towards Japan
  Russia, Emperor of
    -- and Japan, a priest's views on
  Russian defeat, the cause of
  Russian views of the Japanese
  Russo-Japanese War, outbreak of
  Russophile papers

  Saga, prince of
  Saionji, a sketch of the life of
    -- and Daimio, difference between
    -- and fighting
    -- explained
    -- discipline of the
    -- the soul of
    -- mother illustrated by a drama
  Satow, Sir E.
    -- formation of the
    -- war
    -- the cause of
  Scenery of Japan
  Sekigahara, battle of
  _Self-Help_, Smiles's
  Semitic sympathy
  Shimazu Saburo
  Shintoism, its sensitiveness to pollution
  Shipbuilding yards, origin of
  Shiwa Yoshimasa
  Shizoku, the title
    -- financial system of
    -- troops
  Simonoseki, treaty of
  Singing insects
  Sino-Japanese war
  Sketches of some chief figures of actual Japan
  Snow scenes
  Social morality, discussion on
  Social condition of Japan
  Socialism and Japan, discussion on
  Sotsuibushi, or Police-master-general
  Sports, Japanese
  Stage, the Japanese
  'Standard of Living,' an essay
  Stoessel, General
  Summer resorts of foreigners
  Superstition, Japanese.

  Takeda Shingen
  Telegraphs in Japan
  Telephones in Japan
  _Things Japanese_ (1898)
  Togo, Admiral
    -- the history of
    -- the patois of
    -- régime
    -- Feudatories under
  Tolstoy, Count Leo
  Trans-Siberian Railway
  Trip to Japan, details concerning
  Tsu-shima, battle of


  Washington, George
  Weapons, Japanese

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