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Title: Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: Second Series
Author: Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Glimpses of Unfamilar Japan

Second Series

by Lafcadio Hearn














Chapter One

In a Japanese Garden

Sec. 1

MY little two-story house by the Ohashigawa, although dainty as a bird-
cage, proved much too small for comfort at the approach of the hot
season--the rooms being scarcely higher than steamship cabins, and so
narrow that an ordinary mosquito-net could not be suspended in them. I
was sorry to lose the beautiful lake view, but I found it necessary to
remove to the northern quarter of the city, into a very quiet Street
behind the mouldering castle. My new home is a katchiu-yashiki, the
ancient residence of some samurai of high rank. It is shut off from the
street, or rather roadway, skirting the castle moat by a long, high wall
coped with tiles. One ascends to the gateway, which is almost as large
as that of a temple court, by a low broad flight of stone steps; and
projecting from the wall, to the right of the gate, is a look-out
window, heavily barred, like a big wooden cage. Thence, in feudal days,
armed retainers kept keen watch on all who passed by--invisible watch,
for the bars are set so closely that a face behind them cannot be seen
from the roadway. Inside the gate the approach to the dwelling is also
walled in on both sides, so that the visitor, unless privileged, could
see before him only the house entrance, always closed with white shoji.
Like all samurai homes, the residence itself is but one story high, but
there are fourteen rooms within, and these are lofty, spacious, and
beautiful. There is, alas, no lake view nor any charming prospect. Part
of the O-Shiroyama, with the castle on its summit, half concealed by a
park of pines, may be seen above the coping of the front wall, but only
a part; and scarcely a hundred yards behind the house rise densely
wooded heights, cutting off not only the horizon, but a large slice of
the sky as well. For this immurement, however, there exists fair
compensation in the shape of a very pretty garden, or rather a series of
garden spaces, which surround the dwelling on three sides. Broad
verandas overlook these, and from a certain veranda angle I can enjoy
the sight of two gardens at once. Screens of bamboos and woven rushes,
with wide gateless openings in their midst, mark the boundaries of the
three divisions of the pleasure-grounds. But these structures are not
intended to serve as true fences; they are ornamental, and only indicate
where one style of landscape gardening ends and another begins.

Sec. 2

Now a few words upon Japanese gardens in general.

After having learned--merely by seeing, for the practical knowledge of
the art requires years of study and experience, besides a natural,
instinctive sense of beauty--something about the Japanese manner of
arranging flowers, one can thereafter consider European ideas of floral
decoration only as vulgarities. This observation is not the result of
any hasty enthusiasm, but a conviction settled by long residence in the
interior. I have come to understand the unspeakable loveliness of a
solitary spray of blossoms arranged as only a Japanese expert knows how
to arrange it--not by simply poking the spray into a vase, but by
perhaps one whole hour's labour of trimming and posing and daintiest
manipulation--and therefore I cannot think now of what we Occidentals
call a 'bouquet' as anything but a vulgar murdering of flowers, an
outrage upon the colour-sense, a brutality, an abomination. Somewhat in
the same way, and for similar reasons, after having learned what an old
Japanese garden is, I can remember our costliest gardens at home only as
ignorant displays of what wealth can accomplish in the creation of
incongruities that violate nature.

Now a Japanese garden is not a flower garden; neither is it made for the
purpose of cultivating plants. In nine cases out of ten there is nothing
in it resembling a flower-bed. Some gardens may contain scarcely a sprig
of green; some have nothing green at all, and consist entirely of rocks
and pebbles and sand, although these are exceptional. [1]  As a rule, a
Japanese garden is a landscape garden, yet its existence does not depend
upon any fixed allowances of space. It may cover one acre or many acres.
It may also be only ten feet square. It may, in extreme cases, be much
less; for a certain kind of Japanese garden can be contrived small
enough to put in a tokonoma. Such a garden, in a vessel no larger than a
fruit-dish, is called koniwa or toko-niwa, and may occasionally be seen
in the tokonoma of humble little dwellings so closely squeezed between
other structures as to possess no ground in which to cultivate an
outdoor garden. (I say 'an outdoor garden,' because there are indoor
gardens, both upstairs and downstairs, in some large Japanese houses.)
The toko-niwa is usually made in some curious bowl, or shallow carved
box or quaintly shaped vessel impossible to describe by any English
word. Therein are created minuscule hills with minuscule houses upon
them, and microscopic ponds and rivulets spanned by tiny humped bridges;
and queer wee plants do duty for trees, and curiously formed pebbles
stand for rocks, and there are tiny toro perhaps a tiny torii as well--
in short, a charming and living model of a Japanese landscape.

Another fact of prime importance to remember is that, in order to
comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to
understand--or at least to learn to understand--the beauty of stones.
Not of stones quarried by the hand of man, but of stones shaped by
nature only. Until you can feel, and keenly feel, that stones have
character, that stones have tones and values, the whole artistic meaning
of a Japanese garden cannot be revealed to you. In the foreigner,
however aesthetic he may be, this feeling needs to be cultivated by
study. It is inborn in the Japanese; the soul of the race comprehends
Nature infinitely better than we do, at least in her visible forms. But
although, being an Occidental, the true sense of the beauty of stones
can be reached by you only through long familiarity with the Japanese
use and choice of them, the characters of the lessons to be acquired
exist everywhere about you, if your life be in the interior. You cannot
walk through a street without observing tasks and problems in the
aesthetics of stones for you to master. At the approaches to temples, by
the side of roads, before holy groves, and in all parks and pleasure-
grounds, as well as in all cemeteries, you will notice large, irregular,
flat slabs of natural rock--mostly from the river-beds and water-worn--
sculptured with ideographs, but unhewn. These have been set up as votive
tablets, as commemorative monuments, as tombstones, and are much more
costly than the ordinary cut-stone columns and haka chiselled with the
figures of divinities in relief. Again, you will see before most of the
shrines, nay, even in the grounds of nearly all large homesteads, great
irregular blocks of granite or other hard rock, worn by the action of
torrents, and converted into water-basins (chodzubachi) by cutting a
circular hollow in the top. Such are but common examples of the
utilisation of stones even in the poorest villages; and if you have any
natural artistic sentiment, you cannot fail to discover, sooner or
later, how much more beautiful are these natural forms than any shapes
from the hand of the stone-cutter. It is probable, too, that you will
become so habituated at last to the sight of inscriptions cut upon rock
surfaces, especially if you travel much through the country, that you
will often find yourself involuntarily looking for texts or other
chisellings where there are none, and could not possibly be, as if
ideographs belonged by natural law to rock formation. And stones will
begin, perhaps, to assume for you a certain individual or physiognomical
aspect--to suggest moods and sensations, as they do to the Japanese.
Indeed, Japan is particularly a land of suggestive shapes in stone, as
high volcanic lands are apt to be; and such shapes doubtless addressed
themselves to the imagination of the race at a time long prior to the
date of that archaic text which tells of demons in Izumo 'who made
rocks, and the roots of trees, and leaves, and the foam of the green
waters to speak.

As might be expected in a country where the suggestiveness of natural
forms is thus recognised, there are in Japan many curious beliefs and
superstitions concerning stones. In almost every province there are
famous stones supposed to be sacred or haunted, or to possess miraculous
powers, such as the Women's Stone at the temple of Hachiman at Kamakura,
and the Sessho-seki, or Death Stone of Nasu, and the Wealth-giving Stone
at Enoshima, to which pilgrims pay reverence. There are even legends of
stones having manifested sensibility, like the tradition of the Nodding
Stones which bowed down before the monk Daita when he preached unto them
the word of Buddha; or the ancient story from the Kojiki, that the
Emperor O-Jin, being augustly intoxicated, 'smote with his august staff
a great stone in the middle of the Ohosaka road, whereupon the stone ran
away!' [2]

Now stones are valued for their beauty; and large stones selected for
their shape may have an aesthetic worth of hundreds of dollars. And
large stones form the skeleton, or framework, in the design of old
Japanese gardens. Not only is every stone chosen with a view to its
particular expressiveness of form, but every stone in the garden or
about the premises has its separate and individual name, indicating its
purpose or its decorative duty. But I can tell you only a little, a very
little, of the folk-lore of a Japanese garden; and if you want to know
more about stones and their names, and about the philosophy of gardens,
read the unique essay of Mr. Conder on the Art of Landscape Gardening in
Japan, [3] and his beautiful book on the Japanese Art of Floral
Decoration; and also the brief but charming chapter on Gardens, in
Morse's Japanese Homes. [4]

Sec. 3

No effort to create an impossible or purely ideal landscape is made in
the Japanese garden. Its artistic purpose is to copy faithfully the
attractions of a veritable landscape, and to convey the real impression
that a real landscape communicates. It is therefore at once a picture
and a poem; perhaps even more a poem than a picture. For as nature's
scenery, in its varying aspects, affects us with sensations of joy or of
solemnity, of grimness or of sweetness, of force or of peace, so must
the true reflection of it in the labour of the landscape gardener create
not merely an impression of beauty, but a mood in the soul. The grand
old landscape gardeners, those Buddhist monks who first introduced the
art into Japan, and subsequently developed it into an almost occult
science, carried their theory yet farther than this. They held it
possible to express moral lessons in the design of a garden, and
abstract ideas, such as Chastity, Faith, Piety, Content, Calm, and
Connubial Bliss. Therefore were gardens contrived according to the
character of the owner, whether poet, warrior, philosopher, or priest.
In those ancient gardens (the art, alas, is passing away under the
withering influence of the utterly commonplace Western taste) there were
expressed both a mood of nature and some rare Oriental conception of a
mood of man.

I do not know what human sentiment the principal division of my garden
was intended to reflect; and there is none to tell me. Those by whom it
was made passed away long generations ago, in the eternal transmigration
of souls. But as a poem of nature it requires no interpreter. It
occupies the front portion of the grounds, facing south; and it also
extends west to the verge of the northern division of the garden, from
which it is partly separated by a curious screen-fence structure. There
are large rocks in it, heavily mossed; and divers fantastic basins of
stone for holding water; and stone lamps green with years; and a
shachihoko, such as one sees at the peaked angles of castle roofs--a
great stone fish, an idealised porpoise, with its nose in the ground and
its tail in the air. [5] There are miniature hills, with old trees upon
them; and there are long slopes of green, shadowed by flowering shrubs,
like river banks; and there are green knolls like islets. All these
verdant elevations rise from spaces of pale yellow sand, smooth as a
surface of silk and miming the curves and meanderings of a river course.
These sanded spaces are not to be trodden upon; they are much too
beautiful for that. The least speck of dirt would mar their effect; and
it requires the trained skill of an experienced native gardener--a
delightful old man he is--to keep them in perfect form. But they are
traversed in various directions by lines of flat unhewn rock slabs,
placed at slightly irregular distances from one another, exactly like
stepping-stones across a brook. The whole effect is that of the shores
of a still stream in some lovely, lonesome, drowsy place.

There is nothing to break the illusion, so secluded the garden is. High
walls and fences shut out streets and contiguous things; and the shrubs
and the trees, heightening and thickening toward the boundaries, conceal
from view even the roofs of the neighbouring katchiu-yashiki. Softly
beautiful are the tremulous shadows of leaves on the sunned sand; and
the scent of flowers comes thinly sweet with every waft of tepid air;
and there is a humming of bees.

Sec. 4

By Buddhism all existences are divided into Hijo things without desire,
such as stones and trees; and Ujo things having desire, such as men and
animals. This division does not, so far as I know, find expression in
the written philosophy of gardens; but it is a convenient one. The folk-
lore of my little domain relates both to the inanimate and the animate.
In natural order, the Hijo may be considered first, beginning with a
singular shrub near the entrance of the yashiki, and close to the gate
of the first garden.

Within the front gateway of almost every old samurai house, and usually
near the entrance of the dwelling itself, there is to be seen a small
tree with large and peculiar leaves. The name of this tree in Izumo is
tegashiwa, and there is one beside my door. What the scientific name of
it is I do not know; nor am I quite sure of the etymology of the
Japanese name. However, there is a word tegashi, meaning a bond for the
hands; and the shape of the leaves of the tegashiwa somewhat resembles
the shape of a hand.

Now, in old days, when the samurai retainer was obliged to leave his
home in order to accompany his daimyo to Yedo, it was customary, just
before his departure, to set before him a baked tai [6] served up on a
tegashiwa leaf. After this farewell repast the leaf upon which the tai
had been served was hung up above the door as a charm to bring the
departed knight safely back again. This pretty superstition about the
leaves of the tegashiwa had its origin not only in their shape but in
their movement. Stirred by a wind they seemed to beckon--not indeed
after our Occidental manner, but in the way that a Japanese signs to his
friend to come, by gently waving his hand up and down with the palm
towards the ground.

Another shrub to be found in most Japanese gardens is the nanten, [7]
about which a very curious belief exists. If you have an evil dream, a
dream which bodes ill luck, you should whisper it to the nanten early in
the morning, and then it will never come true. [8] There are two
varieties of this graceful plant: one which bears red berries, and one
which bears white. The latter is rare. Both kinds grow in my garden. The
common variety is placed close to the veranda (perhaps for the
convenience of dreamers); the other occupies a little flower-bed in the
middle of the garden, together with a small citron-tree. This most
dainty citron-tree is called 'Buddha's fingers,'  [9] because of the
wonderful shape of its fragrant fruits. Near it stands a kind of laurel,
with lanciform leaves glossy as bronze; it is called by the Japanese
yuzuri-ha, [10] and is almost as common in the gardens of old samurai
homes as the tegashiwa itself. It is held to be a tree of good omen,
because no one of its old leaves ever falls off before a new one,
growing behind it, has well developed. For thus the yuzuri-ha symbolises
hope that the father will not pass away before his son has become a
vigorous man, well able to succeed him as the head of the family.
Therefore, on every New Year's Day, the leaves of the yuzuriha, mingled
with fronds of fern, are attached to the shimenawa which is then
suspended before every Izumo home.

Sec. 5

The trees, like the shrubs, have their curious poetry and legends. Like
the stones, each tree has its special landscape name according to its
position and purpose in the composition. Just as rocks and stones form
the skeleton of the ground-plan of a garden, so pines form the framework
of its foliage design. They give body to the whole. In this garden there
are five pines,--not pines tormented into fantasticalities, but pines
made wondrously picturesque by long and tireless care and judicious
trimming. The object of the gardener has been to develop to the utmost
possible degree their natural tendency to rugged line and massings of
foliage--that spiny sombre-green foliage which Japanese art is never
weary of imitating in metal inlay or golden lacquer. The pine is a
symbolic tree in this land of symbolism. Ever green, it is at once the
emblem of unflinching purpose and of vigorous old age; and its needle-
shaped leaves are credited with the power of driving demons away.

There are two sakuranoki, [11] Japanese cherry-trees--those trees whose
blossoms, as Professor Chamberlain so justly observes, are 'beyond
comparison more lovely than anything Europe has to show.' Many varieties
are cultivated and loved; those in my garden bear blossoms of the most
ethereal pink, a flushed white. When, in spring, the trees flower, it is
as though fleeciest masses of cloud faintly tinged by sunset had floated
down from the highest sky to fold themselves about the branches. This
comparison is no poetical exaggeration; neither is it original: it is an
ancient Japanese description of the most marvellous floral exhibition
which nature is capable of making. The reader who has never seen a
cherry-tree blossoming in Japan cannot possibly imagine the delight of
the spectacle. There are no green leaves; these come later: there is
only one glorious burst of blossoms, veiling every twig and bough in
their delicate mist; and the soil beneath each tree is covered deep out
of sight by fallen petals as by a drift of pink snow.

But these are cultivated cherry-trees. There are others which put forth
their leaves before their blossoms, such as the yamazakura, or mountain
cherry. [12] This, too, however, has its poetry of beauty and of
symbolism. Sang the great Shinto writer and poet, Motowori:

  Shikishima no
  Yamato-gokoro wo
  Asa-hi ni niou
 Yamazakura bana.  [13]

Whether cultivated or uncultivated, the Japanese cherry-trees are
emblems. Those planted in old samurai gardens were not cherished for
their loveliness alone. Their spotless blossoms were regarded as
symbolising that delicacy of sentiment and blamelessness of life
belonging to high courtesy and true knightliness. 'As the cherry flower
is first among flowers,' says an old proverb, 'so should the warrior be
first among men'.

Shadowing the western end of this garden, and projecting its smooth dark
limbs above the awning of the veranda, is a superb umenoki, Japanese
plum-tree, very old, and originally planted here, no doubt, as in other
gardens, for the sake of the sight of its blossoming. The flowering of
the umenoki, [14] in the earliest spring, is scarcely less astonishing
than that of the cherry-tree, which does not bloom for a full month
later; and the blossoming of both is celebrated by popular holidays. Nor
are these, although the most famed, the only flowers thus loved. The
wistaria, the convolvulus, the peony, each in its season, form displays
of efflorescence lovely enough to draw whole populations out of the
cities into the country to see them.. In Izumo, the blossoming of the
peony is especially marvellous. The most famous place for this spectacle
is the little island of Daikonshima, in the grand Naka-umi lagoon, about
an hour's sail from Matsue. In May the whole island flames crimson with
peonies; and even the boys and girls of the public schools are given a
holiday, in order that they may enjoy the sight.

Though the plum flower is certainly a rival in beauty of the sakura-no-
hana, the Japanese compare woman's beauty--physical beauty--to the
cherry flower, never to the plum flower. But womanly virtue and
sweetness, on the other hand, are compared to the ume-no-hana, never to
the cherry blossom. It is a great mistake to affirm, as some writers
have done, that the Japanese never think of comparing a woman to trees
and flowers. For grace, a maiden is likened to a slender willow; [15]
for youthful charm, to the cherry-tree in flower; for sweetness of
heart, to the blossoming plum-tree. Nay, the old Japanese poets have
compared woman to all beautiful things. They have even sought similes
from flowers for her various poses, for her movements, as in the verse,

  Tateba skakuyaku; [16]
  Suwareba botan;
  Aruku sugatawa
  Himeyuri  [17] no hana. [18]

Why, even the names of the humblest country girls are often those of
beautiful trees or flowers prefixed by the honorific O: [19] O-Matsu
(Pine), O-Take (Bamboo), O-Ume (Plum), O-Hana (Blossom), O-ine (Ear-of-
Young-Rice), not to speak of the professional flower-names of dancing-
girls and of joro. It has been argued with considerable force that the
origin of certain tree-names borne by girls must be sought in the folk-
conception of the tree as an emblem of longevity, or happiness, or good
fortune, rather than in any popular idea of the beauty of the tree in
itself. But however this may be, proverb, poem, song, and popular speech
to-day yield ample proof that the Japanese comparisons of women to trees
and flowers are in no-wise inferior to our own in aesthetic sentiment.

Sec. 6

That trees, at least Japanese trees, have souls, cannot seem an
unnatural fancy to one who has seen the blossoming of the umenoki and
the sakuranoki. This is a popular belief in Izumo and elsewhere.  It is
not in accord with Buddhist philosophy, and yet in a certain sense it
strikes one as being much closer to cosmic truth than the old Western
orthodox notion of trees as 'things created for the use of man.'
Furthermore, there exist several odd superstitions about particular
trees, not unlike certain West Indian beliefs which have had a good
influence in checking the destruction of valuable timber. Japan, like
the tropical world, has its goblin trees. Of these, the enoki (Celtis
Willdenowiana) and the yanagi (drooping willow) are deemed especially
ghostly, and are rarely now to be found in old Japanese gardens. Both
are believed to have the power of haunting. 'Enoki ga bakeru,' the izumo
saying is. You will find in a Japanese dictionary the word 'bakeru'
translated by such terms as 'to be transformed,' 'to be metamorphosed,'
'to be changed,' etc.; but the belief about these trees is very
singular, and cannot be explained by any such rendering of the verb
'bakeru.' The tree itself does not change form or place, but a spectre
called Ki-no o-bake disengages itself from the tree and walks about in
various guises.' [20]  Most often the shape assumed by the phantom is
that of a beautiful woman. The tree spectre seldom speaks, and seldom
ventures to go very far away from its tree. If approached, it
immediately shrinks back into the trunk or the foliage. It is said that
if either an old yanagi or a young enoki be cut blood will flow from the
gash. When such trees are very young it is not believed that they have
supernatural habits, but they become more dangerous the older they grow.

There is a rather pretty legend--recalling the old Greek dream of
dryads--about a willow-tree which grew in the garden of a samurai of
Kyoto. Owing to its weird reputation, the tenant of the homestead
desired to cut it down; but another samurai dissuaded him, saying:
'Rather sell it to me, that I may plant it in my garden. That tree has a
soul; it were cruel to destroy its life.' Thus purchased and
transplanted, the yanagi flourished well in its new home, and its
spirit, out of gratitude, took the form of a beautiful woman, and became
the wife of the samurai who had befriended it. A charming boy was the
result of this union. A few years later, the daimyo to whom the ground
belonged gave orders that the tree should be cut down. Then the wife
wept bitterly, and for the first time revealed to her husband the whole
story. 'And now,' she added, 'I know that I must die; but our child will
live, and you will always love him. This thought is my only solace.'
Vainly the astonished and terrified husband sought to retain her.
Bidding him farewell for ever, she vanished into the tree. Needless to
say that the samurai did everything in his power to persuade the daimyo
to forgo his purpose. The prince wanted the tree for the reparation of a
great Buddhist temple, the San-jiu-san-gen-do. [21]' The tree was
felled, but, having fallen, it suddenly became so heavy that three
hundred men could not move it. Then the child, taking a branch in his
little hand, said, 'Come,' and the tree followed him, gliding along the
ground to the court of the temple.

Although said to be a bakemono-ki, the enoki sometimes receives highest
religious honours; for the spirit of the god Kojin, to whom old dolls
are dedicated, is supposed to dwell within certain very ancient enoki
trees, and before these are placed shrines whereat people make prayers.

Sec. 7

The second garden, on the north side, is my favourite, It contains no
large growths. It is paved with blue pebbles, and its centre is occupied
by a pondlet--a miniature lake fringed with rare plants, and containing
a tiny island, with tiny mountains and dwarf peach-trees and pines and
azaleas, some of which are perhaps more than a century old, though
scarcely more than a foot high. Nevertheless, this work, seen as it was
intended to be seen, does not appear to the eye in miniature at all.
From a certain angle of the guest-room looking out upon it, the
appearance is that of a real lake shore with a real island beyond it, a
stone's throw away. So cunning the art of the ancient gardener who
contrived all this, and who has been sleeping for a hundred years under
the cedars of Gesshoji, that the illusion can be detected only from the
zashiki by the presence of an ishidoro or stone lamp, upon the island.
The size of the ishidoro betrays the false perspective, and I do not
think it was placed there when the garden was made.

Here and there at the edge of the pond, and almost level with the water,
are placed large flat stones, on which one may either stand or squat, to
watch the lacustrine population or to tend the water-plants. There are
beautiful water-lilies, whose bright green leaf-disks float oilily upon
the surface (Nuphar Japonica), and many lotus plants of two kinds, those
which bear pink and those which bear pure white flowers. There are iris
plants growing along the bank, whose blossoms are prismatic violet, and
there are various ornamental grasses and ferns and mosses. But the pond
is essentially a lotus pond; the lotus plants make its greatest charm.
It is a delight to watch every phase of their marvellous growth, from
the first unrolling of the leaf to the fall of the last flower. On rainy
days, especially, the lotus plants are worth observing. Their great cup-
shaped leaves, swaying high above the pond, catch the rain and hold it a
while; but always after the water in the leaf reaches a certain level
the stem bends, and empties the leaf with a loud plash, and then
straightens again. Rain-water upon a lotus-leaf is a favourite subject
with Japanese metal-workers, and metalwork only can reproduce the
effect, for the motion and colour of water moving upon the green
oleaginous surface are exactly those of quicksilver.

Sec. 8

The third garden, which is very large, extends beyond the inclosure
containing the lotus pond to the foot of the wooded hills which form the
northern and north-eastern boundary of this old samurai quarter.
Formerly all this broad level space was occupied by a bamboo grove; but
it is now little more than a waste of grasses and wild flowers. In the
north-east corner there is a magnificent well, from which ice-cold water
is brought into the house through a most ingenious little aqueduct of
bamboo pipes; and in the north-western end, veiled by tall weeds, there
stands a very small stone shrine of Inari with two proportionately small
stone foxes sitting before it. Shrine and images are chipped and broken,
and thickly patched with dark green moss. But on the east side of the
house one little square of soil belonging to this large division of the
garden is still cultivated. It is devoted entirely to chrysanthemum
plants, which are shielded from heavy rain and strong sun by slanting
frames of light wood fashioned, like shoji with panes of white paper,
and supported like awnings upon thin posts of bamboo. I can venture to
add nothing to what has already been written about these marvellous
products of Japanese floriculture considered in themselves; but there is
a little story relating to chrysanthemums which I may presume to tell.

There is one place in Japan where it is thought unlucky to cultivate
chrysanthemums, for reasons which shall presently appear; and that place
is in the pretty little city of Himeji, in the province of Harima.
Himeji contains the ruins of a great castle of thirty turrets; and a
daimyo used to dwell therein whose revenue was one hundred and fifty-six
thousand koku of rice. Now, in the house of one of that daimyo's chief
retainers there was a maid-servant, of good family, whose name was O-
Kiku; and the name 'Kiku' signifies a chrysanthemum flower. Many
precious things were intrusted to her charge, and among others ten
costly dishes of gold. One of these was suddenly missed, and could not
be found; and the girl, being responsible therefor, and knowing not how
otherwise to prove her innocence, drowned herself in a well. But ever
thereafter her ghost, returning nightly, could be heard counting the
dishes slowly, with sobs:

      Ichi-mai,	Yo-mai,	Shichi-mai,
	Ni-mai,	Go-mai,	Hachi-mai,
	San-mai,	Roku-mai,	Ku-mai--

Then would be heard a despairing cry and a loud burst of weeping; and
again the girl's voice counting the dishes plaintively: 'One--two--

Her spirit passed into the body of a strange little insect, whose head
faintly resembles that of a ghost with long dishevelled hair; and it is
called O-Kiku-mushi, or 'the fly of O-Kiku'; and it is found, they say,
nowhere save in Himeji. A famous play was written about O-Kiku, which is
still acted in all the popular theatres, entitled Banshu-O-Kiku-no-Sara-
yashiki; or, The Manor of the Dish of O-Kiku of Banshu.

Some declare that Banshu is only the corruption of the name of an
ancient quarter of Tokyo (Yedo), where the story should have been laid.
But the people of Himeji say that part of their city now called Go-Ken-
Yashiki is identical with the site of the ancient manor. What is
certainly true is that to cultivate chrysanthemum flowers in the part of
Himeji called Go-KenYashiki is deemed unlucky, because the name of O-
Kiku signifies 'Chrysanthemum.' Therefore, nobody, I am told, ever
cultivates chrysanthemums there.

Sec. 9

Now of the ujo or things having desire, which inhabit these gardens.

There are four species of frogs: three that dwell in the lotus pond, and
one that lives in the trees. The tree frog is a very pretty little
creature, exquisitely green; it has a shrill cry, almost like the note
of a semi; and it is called amagaeru, or 'the rain frog,' because, like
its kindred in other countries, its croaking is an omen of rain. The
pond frogs are called babagaeru, shinagaeru, and Tono-san-gaeru. Of
these, the first-named variety is the largest and the ugliest: its
colour is very disagreeable, and its full name ('babagaeru' being a
decent abbreviation) is quite as offensive as its hue. The shinagaeru,
or 'striped frog,' is not handsome, except by comparison with the
previously mentioned creature. But the Tono-san-gaeru, so called after a
famed daimyo who left behind him a memory of great splendour is
beautiful: its colour is a fine bronze-red.

Besides these varieties of frogs there lives in the garden a huge
uncouth goggle-eyed thing which, although called here hikigaeru, I take
to be a toad. 'Hikigaeru' is the term ordinarily used for a bullfrog.
This creature enters the house almost daily to be fed, and seems to have
no fear even of strangers. My people consider it a luck-bringing
visitor; and it is credited with the power of drawing all the mosquitoes
out of a room into its mouth by simply sucking its breath in. Much as it
is cherished by gardeners and others, there is a legend about a goblin
toad of old times, which, by thus sucking in its breath, drew into its
mouth, not insects, but men.

The pond is inhabited also by many small fish; imori, or newts, with
bright red bellies; and multitudes of little water-beetles, called
maimaimushi, which pass their whole time in gyrating upon the surface of
the water so rapidly that it is almost impossible to distinguish their
shape clearly. A man who runs about aimlessly to and fro, under the
influence of excitement, is compared to a maimaimushi. And there are
some beautiful snails, with yellow stripes on their shells. Japanese
children have a charm-song which is supposed to have power to make the
snail put out its horns:

Daidaimushi, [22] daidaimushi, tsuno chitto dashare! Ame haze fuku kara
tsuno chitto dashare!  [23]

The playground of the children of the better classes has always been the
family garden, as that of the children of the poor is the temple court.
It is in the garden that the little ones first learn something of the
wonderful life of plants and the marvels of the insect world; and there,
also, they are first taught those pretty legends and songs about birds
and flowers which form so charming a part of Japanese folk-lore. As the
home training of the child is left mostly to the mother, lessons of
kindness to animals are early inculcated; and the results are strongly
marked in after life It is true, Japanese children are not entirely free
from that unconscious tendency to cruelty characteristic of children in
all countries, as a survival of primitive instincts. But in this regard
the great moral difference between the sexes is strongly marked from the
earliest years. The tenderness of the woman-soul appears even in the
child. Little Japanese girls who play with insects or small animals
rarely hurt them, and generally set them free after they have afforded a
reasonable amount of amusement. Little boys are not nearly so good, when
out of sight of parents or guardians. But if seen doing anything cruel,
a child is made to feel ashamed of the act, and hears the Buddhist
warning, 'Thy future birth will be unhappy, if thou dost cruel things.'

Somewhere among the rocks in the pond lives a small tortoise--left in
the garden, probably, by the previous tenants of the house. It is very
pretty, but manages to remain invisible for weeks at a time. In popular
mythology, the tortoise is the servant of the divinity Kompira; [24] and
if a pious fisherman finds a tortoise, he writes upon his back
characters signifying 'Servant of the Deity Kompira,' and then gives it
a drink of sake and sets it free. It is supposed to be very fond of

Some say that the land tortoise, or 'stone tortoise,' only, is the
servant of Kompira, and the sea tortoise, or turtle, the servant of the
Dragon Empire beneath the sea. The turtle is said to have the power to
create, with its breath, a cloud, a fog, or a magnificent palace. It
figures in the beautiful old folk-tale of Urashima. [25] All tortoises
are supposed to live for a thousand years, wherefore one of the most
frequent symbols of longevity in Japanese art is a tortoise. But the
tortoise most commonly represented by native painters and metal-workers
has a peculiar tail, or rather a multitude of small tails, extending
behind it like the fringes of a straw rain-coat, mino, whence it is
called minogame Now, some of the tortoises kept in the sacred tanks of
Buddhist temples attain a prodigious age, and certain water--plants
attach themselves to the creatures' shells and stream behind them when
they walk. The myth of the minogame is supposed to have had its origin
in old artistic efforts to represent the appearance of such tortoises
with confervae fastened upon their shells.

Sec. 10

Early in summer the frogs are surprisingly numerous, and, after dark,
are noisy beyond description; but week by week their nightly clamour
grows feebler, as their numbers diminish under the attacks of many
enemies. A large family of snakes, some fully three feet long, make
occasional inroads into the colony. The victims often utter piteous
cries, which are promptly responded to, whenever possible, by some
inmate of the house, and many a frog has been saved by my servant-girl,
who, by a gentle tap with a bamboo rod, compels the snake to let its
prey go. These snakes are beautiful swimmers. They make themselves quite
free about the garden; but they come out only on hot days. None of my
people would think of injuring or killing one of them. Indeed, in Izumo
it is said that to kill a snake is unlucky. 'If you kill a snake without
provocation,' a peasant assured me, 'you will afterwards find its head
in the komebitsu [the box in which cooked rice is kept] 'when you take
off the lid.'

But the snakes devour comparatively few frogs. Impudent kites and crows
are their most implacable destroyers; and there is a very pretty weasel
which lives under the kura (godown) and which does not hesitate to take
either fish or frogs out of the pond, even when the lord of the manor is
watching. There is also a cat which poaches in my preserves, a gaunt
outlaw, a master thief, which I have made sundry vain attempts to
reclaim from vagabondage. Partly because of the immorality of this cat,
and partly because it happens to have a long tail, it has the evil
reputation of being a nekomata, or goblin cat.

It is true that in Izumo some kittens are born with long tails; but it
is very seldom that they are suffered to grow up with long tails. For
the natural tendency of cats is to become goblins; and this tendency to
metamorphosis can be checked only by cutting off their tails in
kittenhood. Cats are magicians, tails or no tails, and have the power of
making corpses dance. Cats are ungrateful 'Feed a dog for three days,'
says a Japanese proverb, 'and he will remember your kindness for three
years; feed a cat for three years and she will forget your kindness in
three days.' Cats are mischievous: they tear the mattings, and make
holes in the shoji, and sharpen their claws upon the pillars of
tokonoma. Cats are under a curse: only the cat and the venomous serpent
wept not at the death of Buddha and these shall never enter into the
bliss of the Gokuraku For all these reasons, and others too numerous to
relate, cats are not much loved in Izumo, and are compelled to pass the
greater part of their lives out of doors.

Sec. 11

Not less than eleven varieties of butterflies have visited the
neighbourhood of the lotus pond within the past few days. The most
common variety is snowy white. It is supposed to be especially attracted
by the na, or rape-seed plant; and when little girls see it, they sing:

  Cho-cho cho-cho, na no ha ni tomare;
  Na no ha ga iyenara, te ni tomare. [26]

But the most interesting insects are certainly the semi (cicadae). These
Japanese tree crickets are much more extraordinary singers than even the
wonderful cicadae of the tropics; and they are much less tiresome, for
there is a different species of semi, with a totally different song, for
almost every month during the whole warm season. There are, I believe,
seven kinds; but I have become familiar with only four. The first to be
heard in my trees is the natsuzemi, or summer semi: it makes a sound
like the Japanese monosyllable ji, beginning wheezily, slowly swelling
into a crescendo shrill as the blowing of steam, and dying away in
another wheeze. This j-i-i-iiiiiiiiii is so deafening that when two or
three natsuzemi come close to the window I am obliged to make them go
away. Happily the natsuzemi is soon succeeded by the minminzemi, a much
finer musician, whose name is derived from its wonderful note. It is
said 'to chant like a Buddhist priest reciting the kyo'; and certainly,
upon hearing it the first time, one can scarcely believe that one is
listening to a mere cicada. The minminzemi is followed, early in autumn,
by a beautiful green semi, the higurashi, which makes a singularly clear
sound, like the rapid ringing of a small bell,--kana-kana-kan a-kana-
kana. But the most astonishing visitor of all comes still later, the
tsukiu-tsukiu-boshi. [27] I fancy this creature can have no rival in the
whole world of cicadae its music is exactly like the song of a bird. Its
name, like that of the minminzemi, is onomatopoetic; but in Izumo the
sounds of its chant are given thus:

  Tsuku-tsuku uisu , [28]
  Tsuku-tsuku uisu,
  Tsuku-tsuku uisu;

However, the semi are not the only musicians of the garden. Two
remarkable creatures aid their orchestra. The first is a beautiful
bright green grasshopper, known to the Japanese by the curious name of
hotoke-no-uma, or 'the horse of the dead.' This insect's head really
bears some resemblance in shape to the head of a horse--hence the fancy.
It is a queerly familiar creature, allowing itself to be taken in the
hand without struggling, and generally making itself quite at home in
the house, which it often enters. It makes a very thin sound, which the
Japanese write as a repetition of the syllables jun-ta; and the name
junta is sometimes given to the grasshopper itself. The other insect is
also a green grasshopper, somewhat larger, and much shyer: it is called
gisu, [29] on account of its chant:

  Chon, Gisu;
  Chon, Gisu;
  Chon, Gisu;
  Chon . . . (ad libitum).

Several lovely species of dragon-flies (tombo) hover about the pondlet
on hot bright days. One variety--the most beautiful creature of the kind
I ever saw, gleaming with metallic colours indescribable, and spectrally
slender--is called Tenshi-tombo, 'the Emperor's dragon-fly.' There is
another, the largest of Japanese dragon-flies, but somewhat rare, which
is much sought after by children as a plaything. Of this species it is
said that there are many more males than females; and what I can vouch
for as true is that, if you catch a female, the male can be almost
immediately attracted by exposing the captive. Boys, accordingly, try to
secure a female, and when one is captured they tie it with a thread to
some branch, and sing a curious little song, of which these are the
original words:

  Konna [30] dansho Korai o
  Adzuma no meto ni makete
  Nigeru Wa haji dewa naikai?

Which signifies, 'Thou, the male, King of Korea, dost thou not feel
shame to flee away from the Queen of the East?' (This taunt is an
allusion to the story of the conquest of Korea by the Empress Jin-go.)
And the male comes invariably, and is also caught. In Izumo the first
seven words of the original song have been corrupted into 'konna unjo
Korai abura no mito'; and the name of the male dragon-fly, unjo, and
that of the female, mito, are derived from two words of the corrupted

Sec. 12

Of warm nights all sorts of unbidden guests invade the house in
multitudes. Two varieties of mosquitoes do their utmost to make life
unpleasant, and these have learned the wisdom of not approaching a lamp
too closely; but hosts of curious and harmless things cannot be
prevented from seeking their death in the flame. The most numerous
victims of all, which come thick as a shower of rain, are called
Sanemori. At least they are so called in Izumo, where they do much
damage to growing rice.

Now the name Sanemori is an illustrious one, that of a famous warrior of
old times belonging to the Genji clan. There is a legend that while he
was fighting with an enemy on horseback his own steed slipped and fell
in a rice-field, and he was consequently overpowered and slain by his
antagonist. He became a rice-devouring insect, which is still
respectfully called, by the peasantry of Izumo, Sanemori-San. They light
fires, on certain summer nights, in the rice-fields, to attract the
insect, and beat gongs and sound bamboo flutes, chanting the while, 'O-
Sanemori, augustly deign to come hither!' A kannushi performs a
religious rite, and a straw figure representing a horse and rider is
then either burned or thrown into a neighbouring river or canal. By this
ceremony it is believed that the fields are cleared of the insect.

This tiny creature is almost exactly the size and colour of a rice-husk.
The legend concerning it may have arisen from the fact that its body,
together with the wings, bears some resemblance to the helmet of a
Japanese warrior. [31]

Next in number among the victims of fire are the moths, some of which
are very strange and beautiful. The most remarkable is an enormous
creature popularly called okorichocho or the 'ague moth,' because there
is a superstitious belief that it brings intermittent fever into any
house it enters. It has a body quite as heavy and almost as powerful as
that of the largest humming-bird, and its struggles, when caught in the
hand, surprise by their force. It makes a very loud whirring sound while
flying. The wings of one which I examined measured, outspread, five
inches from tip to tip, yet seemed small in proportion to the heavy
body. They were richly mottled with dusky browns and silver greys of
various tones.

Many flying night-comers, however, avoid the lamp. Most fantastic of all
visitors is the toro or kamakiri, called in Izumo kamakake, a bright
green praying mantis, extremely feared by children for its capacity to
bite. It is very large. I have seen specimens over six inches long. The
eyes of the kamakake are a brilliant black at night, but by day they
appear grass-coloured, like the rest of the body. The mantis is very
intelligent and surprisingly aggressive. I saw one attacked by a
vigorous frog easily put its enemy to flight. It fell a prey
subsequently to other inhabitants of the pond, but, it required the
combined efforts of several frogs to vanquish the monstrous insect, and
even then the battle was decided only when the kamakake had been dragged
into the water.

Other visitors are beetles of divers colours, and a sort of small roach
called goki-kaburi, signifying 'one whose head is covered with a bowl.'
It is alleged that the goki-kaburi likes to eat human eyes, and is
therefore the abhorred enemy of Ichibata-Sama--Yakushi-Nyorai of
Ichibata,--by whom diseases of the eye are healed. To kill the goki-
kaburi is consequently thought to be a meritorious act in the sight of
this Buddha. Always welcome are the beautiful fireflies (hotaru), which
enter quite noiselessly and at once seek the darkest place in the house,
slow-glimmering, like sparks moved by a gentle wind. They are supposed
to be very fond of water; wherefore children sing to them this little

  Hotaru koe midzu nomasho;
  Achi no midzu wa nigaizo;
  Kochi no midzu wa amaizo. [32]

A pretty grey lizard, quite different from some which usually haunt the
garden, also makes its appearance at night, and pursues its prey along
the ceiling. Sometimes an extraordinarily large centipede attempts the
same thing, but with less success, and has to be seized with a pair of
fire-tongs and thrown into the exterior darkness. Very rarely, an
enormous spider appears. This creature seems inoffensive. If captured,
it will feign death until certain that it is not watched, when it will
run away with surprising swiftness if it gets a chance. It is hairless,
and very different from the tarantula, or fukurogumo. It is called
miyamagumo, or mountain spider. There are four other kinds of spiders
common in this neighbourhood: tenagakumo, or 'long-armed spider;'
hiratakumo, or 'flat spider'; jikumo, or 'earth spider'; and totatekumo,
or 'doorshutting spider.' Most spiders are considered evil beings. A
spider seen anywhere at night, the people say, should be killed; for all
spiders that show themselves after dark are goblins. While people are
awake and watchful, such creatures make themselves small; but when
everybody is fast asleep, then they assume their true goblin shape, and
become monstrous.

Sec. 13

The high wood of the hill behind the garden is full of bird life. There
dwell wild uguisu, owls, wild doves, too many crows, and a queer bird
that makes weird noises at night-long deep sounds of hoo, hoo. It is
called awamakidori or the 'millet-sowing bird,' because when the farmers
hear its cry they know that it is time to plant the millet. It is quite
small and brown, extremely shy, and, so far as I can learn, altogether
nocturnal in its habits.

But rarely, very rarely, a far stranger cry is heard in those trees at
night, a voice as of one crying in pain the syllables 'ho-to-to-gi-su.'
The cry and the name of that which utters it are one and the same,

It is a bird of which weird things are told; for they say it is not
really a creature of this living world, but a night wanderer from the
Land of Darkness. In the Meido its dwelling is among those sunless
mountains of Shide over which all souls must pass to reach the place of
judgment. Once in each year it comes; the time of its coming is the end
of the fifth month, by the antique counting of moons; and the peasants,
hearing its voice, say one to the other, 'Now must we sow the rice; for
the Shide-no-taosa is with us.' The word taosa signifies the head man of
a mura, or village, as villages were governed in the old days; but why
the hototogisu is called the taosa of Shide I do not know. Perhaps it is
deemed to be a soul from some shadowy hamlet of the Shide hills, whereat
the ghosts are wont to rest on their weary way to the realm of Emma, the
King of Death.

Its cry has been interpreted in various ways. Some declare that the
hototogisu does not really repeat its own name, but asks, 'Honzon
kaketaka?' (Has the honzon [33] been suspended?) Others, resting their
interpretation upon the wisdom of the Chinese, aver that the bird's
speech signifies, 'Surely it is better to return home.' This, at least
is true: that all who journey far from their native place, and hear the
voice of the hototogisu in other distant provinces, are seized with the
sickness of longing for home.

Only at night, the people say, is its voice heard, and most often upon
the nights of great moons; and it chants while hovering high out of
sight, wherefore a poet has sung of it thus:

  Hito koe wa.
  Tsuki ga naitaka
  Hototogisu!  [34]

And another has written:

  Nakitsuru kata wo
  Tada ariake no
  Tsuki zo nokoreru.  [35]

The dweller in cities may pass a lifetime without hearing the
hototogisu. Caged, the little creature will remain silent and die. Poets
often wait vainly in the dew, from sunset till dawn, to hear the strange
cry which has inspired so many exquisite verses. But those who have
heard found it so mournful that they have likened it to the cry of one
wounded suddenly to death.

  Chi ni naku koe wa
  Ariake no
  Tsuki yori kokani
  Kiku hito mo nashi. [36]

Concerning Izumo owls, I shall content myself with citing a composition
by one of my Japanese students:

'The Owl is a hateful bird that sees in the dark. Little children who
cry are frightened by the threat that the Owl will come to take them
away; for the Owl cries, "Ho! ho! sorotto koka! sorotto koka!" which
means, "Thou! must I enter slowly?" It also cries "Noritsuke hose! ho!
ho!" which means, "Do thou make the starch to use in washing to-morrow"

And when the women hear that cry, they know that to-morrow will be a
fine day. It also cries, "Tototo," "The man dies," and "Kotokokko," "The
boy dies." So people hate it. And crows hate it so much that it is used
to catch crows. The Farmer puts an Owl in the rice-field; and all the
crows come to kill it, and they get caught fast in the snares. This
should teach us not to give way to our dislikes for other people.'

The kites which hover over the city all day do not live in the
neighbourhood. Their nests are far away upon the blue peaks; but they
pass much of their time in catching fish, and in stealing from back-
yards. They pay the wood and the garden swift and sudden piratical
visits; and their sinister cry--pi-yoroyoro, pi-yoroyoro--sounds at
intervals over the town from dawn till sundown. Most insolent of all
feathered creatures they certainly are--more insolent than even their
fellow-robbers, the crows. A kite will drop five miles to filch a tai
out of a fish-seller's bucket, or a fried-cake out of a child's hand,
and shoot back to the clouds before the victim of the theft has time to
stoop for a stone. Hence the saying, 'to look as surprised as if one's
aburage [37] had been snatched from one's hand by a kite.' There is,
moreover, no telling what a kite may think proper to steal. For example,
my neighbour's servant-girl went to the river the other day, wearing in
her hair a string of small scarlet beads made of rice-grains prepared
and dyed in a certain ingenious way. A kite lighted upon her head, and
tore away and swallowed the string of beads. But it is great fun to feed
these birds with dead rats or mice which have been caught in traps
overnight and subsequently drowned. The instant a dead rat is exposed to
view a kite pounces from the sky to bear it away. Sometimes a crow may
get the start of the kite, but the crow must be able to get to the woods
very swiftly indeed in order to keep his prize. The children sing this

  Tobi, tobi, maute mise!
  Ashita no ha ni
  Karasu ni kakushite
  Nezumi yaru.  [38]

The mention of dancing refers to the beautiful balancing motion of the
kite's wings in flight. By suggestion this motion is poetically compared
to the graceful swaying of a maiko, or dancing-girl, extending her arms
and waving the long wide sleeves of her silken robe.

Although there is a numerous sub-colony of crows in the wood behind my
house, the headquarters of the corvine army are in the pine grove of the
ancient castle grounds, visible from my front rooms. To see the crows
all flying home at the same hour every evening is an interesting
spectacle, and popular imagination has found an amusing comparison for
it in the hurry-skurry of people running to a fire. This explains the
meaning of a song which children sing to the crows returning to their

  Ato no karasu saki ine,
  Ware ga iye ga yakeru ken,
  Hayo inde midzu kake,
  Midzu ga nakya yarozo,
  Amattara ko ni yare,
  Ko ga nakya modose.  [39]

Confucianism seems to have discovered virtue in the crow. There is a
Japanese proverb, 'Karasu ni hampo no ko ari,' meaning that the crow
performs the filial duty of hampo, or, more literally, 'the filial duty
of hampo exists in the crow.' 'Hampo' means, literally, 'to return a
feeding.' The young crow is said to requite its parents' care by feeding
them when it becomes strong. Another example of filial piety has been
furnished by the dove. 'Hato ni sanshi no rei ad'--the dove sits three
branches below its parent; or, more literally, 'has the three-branch
etiquette to perform.'

The cry of the wild dove (yamabato), which I hear almost daily from the
wood, is the most sweetly plaintive sound that ever reached my ears. The
Izumo peasantry say that the bird utters these words, which it certainly
seems to do if one listen to it after having learned the alleged

  Tete poppo,
  Kaka poppo
  Tete poppo,
  Kaka poppo,
  tete. . . (sudden pause).

'Tete' is the baby word for 'father,' and 'kaka' for 'mother'; and
'poppo' signifies, in infantile speech, 'the bosom.' [40]

Wild uguisu also frequently sweeten my summer with their song, and
sometimes come very near the house, being attracted, apparently, by the
chant of my caged pet. The uguisu is very common in this province. It
haunts all the woods and the sacred groves in the neighbourhood of the
city, and I never made a journey in Izumo during the warm season without
hearing its note from some shadowy place. But there are uguisu and
uguisu. There are uguisu to be had for one or two yen, but the finely
trained, cage-bred singer may command not less than a hundred.

It was at a little village temple that I first heard one curious belief
about this delicate creature. In Japan, the coffin in which a corpse is
borne to burial is totally unlike an Occidental coffin. It is a
surprisingly small square box, wherein the dead is placed in a sitting
posture. How any adult corpse can be put into so small a space may well
be an enigma to foreigners. In cases of pronounced rigor mortis the work
of getting the body into the coffin is difficult even for the
professional doshin-bozu. But the devout followers of Nichiren claim
that after death their bodies will remain perfectly flexible; and the
dead body of an uguisu, they affirm, likewise never stiffens, for this
little bird is of their faith, and passes its life in singing praises
unto the Sutra of the Lotus of the Good Law.

Sec. 14

I have already become a little too fond of my dwelling-place. Each day,
after returning from my college duties, and exchanging my teacher's
uniform for the infinitely more comfortable Japanese robe, I find more
than compensation for the weariness of five class-hours in the simple
pleasure of squatting on the shaded veranda overlooking the gardens.
Those antique garden walls, high-mossed below their ruined coping of
tiles, seem to shut out even the murmur of the city's life. There are no
sounds but the voices of birds, the shrilling of semi, or, at long, lazy
intervals, the solitary plash of a diving frog. Nay, those walls seclude
me from much more than city streets. Outside them hums the changed Japan
of telegraphs and newspapers and steamships; within dwell the all-
reposing peace of nature and the dreams of the sixteenth century. There
is a charm of quaintness in the very air, a faint sense of something
viewless and sweet all about one; perhaps the gentle haunting of dead
ladies who looked like the ladies of the old picture-books, and who
lived here when all this was new. Even in the summer light--touching the
grey strange shapes of stone, thrilling through the foliage of the long-
loved trees--there is the tenderness of a phantom caress. These are the
gardens of the past. The future will know them only as dreams, creations
of a forgotten art, whose charm no genius may reproduce.

Of the human tenants here no creature seems to be afraid. The little
frogs resting upon the lotus-leaves scarcely shrink from my touch; the
lizards sun themselves within easy reach of my hand; the water-snakes
glide across my shadow without fear; bands of semi establish their
deafening orchestra on a plum branch just above my head, and a praying
mantis insolently poses on my knee. Swallows and sparrows not only build
their nests on my roof, but even enter my rooms without concern--one
swallow has actually built its nest in the ceiling of the bathroom--and
the weasel purloins fish under my very eyes without any scruples of
conscience. A wild uguisu perches on a cedar by the window, and in a
burst of savage sweetness challenges my caged pet to a contest in song;
and always though the golden air, from the green twilight of the
mountain pines, there purls to me the plaintive, caressing, delicious
call of the yamabato:

  Tete poppo,
  Kaka poppo
  Tete poppo,
  Kaka poppo,

No European dove has such a cry. He who can hear, for the first time,
the voice of the yamabato without feeling a new sensation at his heart
little deserves to dwell in this happy world.

Yet all this--the old katchiu-yashiki and its gardens--will doubtless
have vanished for ever before many years. Already a multitude of
gardens, more spacious and more beautiful than mine, have been converted
into rice-fields or bamboo groves; and the quaint Izumo city, touched at
last by some long-projected railway line--perhaps even within the
present decade--will swell, and change, and grow commonplace, and demand
these grounds for the building of factories and mills. Not from here
alone, but from all the land the ancient peace and the ancient charm
seem doomed to pass away. For impermanency is the nature of things, more
particularly in Japan; and the changes and the changers shall also be
changed until there is found no place for them--and regret is vanity.
The dead art that made the beauty of this place was the art, also, of
that faith to which belongs the all-consoling text, 'Verily, even plants
and trees, rocks and stones, all shall enter into Nirvana.'

Chapter Two The Household Shrine

Sec. 1

IN Japan there are two forms of the Religion of the Dead--that which
belongs to Shinto; and that which belongs to Buddhism. The first is the
primitive cult, commonly called ancestor-worship. But the term ancestor-
worship seems to me much too confined for the religion which pays
reverence not only to those ancient gods believed to be the fathers of
the Japanese race, but likewise to a host of deified sovereigns, heroes,
princes, and illustrious men. Within comparatively recent times, the
great Daimyo of Izumo, for example, were apotheosised; and the peasants
of Shimane still pray before the shrines of the Matsudaira. Moreover
Shinto, like the faiths of Hellas and of Rome, has its deities of the
elements and special deities who preside over all the various affairs of
life. Therefore ancestor-worship, though still a striking feature of
Shinto, does not alone constitute the State Religion: neither does the
term fully describe the Shinto cult of the dead--a cult which in Izumo
retains its primitive character more than in other parts of Japan.

And here I may presume, though no Sinologue, to say something about that
State Religion of Japan--that ancient faith of Izumo--which, although
even more deeply rooted in national life than Buddhism, is far less
known to the Western world. Except in special works by such men of
erudition as Chamberlain and Satow--works with which the Occidental
reader, unless himself a specialist, is not likely to become familiar
outside of Japan--little has been written in English about Shinto which
gives the least idea of what Shinto is. Of its ancient traditions and
rites much of rarest interest may be learned from the works of the
philologists just mentioned; but, as Mr. Satow himself acknowledges, a
definite answer to the question, 'What is the nature of Shinto?' is
still difficult to give. How define the common element in the six kinds
of Shinto which are known to exist, and some of which no foreign scholar
has yet been able to examine for lack of time or of authorities or of
opportunity? Even in its modern external forms, Shinto is sufficiently
complex to task the united powers of the historian, philologist, and
anthropologist, merely to trace out the multitudinous lines of its
evolution, and to determine the sources of its various elements:
primeval polytheisms and fetishisms, traditions of dubious origin,
philosophical concepts from China, Korea, and elsewhere--all mingled
with Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The so-called 'Revival of Pure
Shinto'--an effort, aided by Government, to restore the cult to its
archaic simplicity, by divesting it of foreign characteristics, and
especially of every sign or token of Buddhist origin--resulted only, so
far as the avowed purpose was concerned, in the destruction of priceless
art, and in leaving the enigma of origins as complicated as before.
Shinto had been too profoundly modified in the course of fifteen
centuries of change to be thus remodelled by a fiat. For the like reason
scholarly efforts to define its relation to national ethics by mere
historical and philological analysis must fail: as well seek to define
the ultimate secret of Life by the elements of the body which it
animates. Yet when the result of such efforts shall have been closely
combined with a deep knowledge of Japanese thought and feeling--the
thought and sentiment, not of a special class, but of the people at
large--then indeed all that Shinto was and is may be fully comprehended.
And this may be accomplished, I fancy, through the united labour of
European and Japanese scholars.

Yet something of what Shinto signifies--in the simple poetry of its
beliefs--in the home training of the child--in the worship of filial
piety before the tablets of the ancestors--may be learned during a
residence of some years among the people, by one who lives their life
and adopts their manners and customs. With such experience he can at
least claim the right to express his own conception of Shinto.

Sec. 2

Those far-seeing rulers of the Meiji era, who disestablished Buddhism to
strengthen Shinto, doubtless knew they were giving new force not only to
a faith in perfect harmony with their own state policy, but likewise to
one possessing in itself a far more profound vitality than the alien
creed, which although omnipotent as an art-influence, had never found
deep root in the intellectual soil of Japan. Buddhism was already in
decrepitude, though transplanted from China scarcely more than thirteen
centuries before; while Shinto, though doubtless older by many a
thousand years, seems rather to have gained than to have lost force
through all the periods of change. Eclectic like the genius of the race,
it had appropriated and assimilated all forms of foreign thought which
could aid its material manifestation or fortify its ethics. Buddhism had
attempted to absorb its gods, even as it had adopted previously the
ancient deities of Brahmanism; but Shinto, while seeming to yield, was
really only borrowing strength from its rival. And this marvellous
vitality of Shinto is due to the fact that in the course of its long
development out of unrecorded beginnings, it became at a very ancient
epoch, and below the surface still remains, a religion of the heart.
Whatever be the origin of its rites and traditions, its ethical spirit
has become identified with all the deepest and best emotions of the
race. Hence, in Izumo especially, the attempt to create a Buddhist
Shintoism resulted only in the formation of a Shinto-Buddhism.

And the secret living force of Shinto to-day--that force which repels
missionary efforts at proselytising--means something much more profound
than tradition or worship or ceremonialism. Shinto may yet, without loss
of real power, survive all these. Certainly the expansion of the popular
mind through education, the influences of modern science, must compel
modification or abandonment of many ancient Shinto conceptions; but the
ethics of Shinto will surely endure. For Shinto signifies character in
the higher sense--courage, courtesy, honour, and above all things,
loyalty. The spirit of Shinto is the spirit of filial piety, the zest of
duty, the readiness to surrender life for a principle without a thought
of wherefore. It is the docility of the child; it is the sweetness of
the Japanese woman. It is conservatism likewise; the wholesome check
upon the national tendency to cast away the worth of the entire past in
rash eagerness to assimilate too much of the foreign present. It is
religion--but religion transformed into hereditary moral impulse--
religion transmuted into ethical instinct. It is the whole emotional
life of the race--the Soul of Japan.

The child is born Shinto. Home teaching and school training only give
expression to what is innate: they do not plant new seed; they do but
quicken the ethical sense transmitted as a trait ancestral. Even as a
Japanese infant inherits such ability to handle a writing-brush as never
can be acquired by Western fingers, so does it inherit ethical
sympathies totally different from our own. Ask a class of Japanese
students--young students of fourteen to sixteen--to tell their dearest
wishes; and if they have confidence in the questioner, perhaps nine out
of ten will answer: 'To die for His Majesty Our Emperor.' And the wish
soars from the heart pure as any wish for martyrdom ever born. How much
this sense of loyalty may or may not have been weakened in such great
centres as Tokyo by the new agnosticism and by the rapid growth of other
nineteenth-century ideas among the student class, I do not know; but in
the country it remains as natural to boyhood as joy. Unreasoning it also
is--unlike those loyal sentiments with us, the results of maturer
knowledge and settled conviction. Never does the Japanese youth ask
himself why; the beauty of self-sacrifice alone is the all-sufficing
motive. Such ecstatic loyalty is a part of the national life; it is in
the blood--inherent as the impulse of the ant to perish for its little
republic--unconscious as the loyalty of bees to their queen. It is

That readiness to sacrifice one's own life for loyalty's sake, for the
sake of a superior, for the sake of honour, which has distinguished the
race in modern times, would seem also to have been a national
characteristic from the earliest period of its independent existence.
Long before the epoch of established feudalism, when honourable suicide
became a matter of rigid etiquette, not for warriors only, but even for
women and little children, the giving one's life for one's prince, even
when the sacrifice could avail nothing, was held a sacred duty. Among
various instances which might be cited from the ancient Kojiki, the
following is not the least impressive:

Prince Mayowa, at the age of only seven years, having killed his
father's slayer, fled into the house of the Grandee (Omi) Tsubura. 'Then
Prince Oho-hatsuse raised an army, and besieged that house. And the
arrows that were shot were for multitude like the ears of the reeds. And
the Grandee Tsubura came forth himself, and having taken off the weapons
with which he was girded, did obeisance eight times, and said: "The
maiden-princess Kara, my daughter whom thou deignedst anon to woo, is at
thy service. Again I will present to thee five granaries. Though a vile
slave of a Grandee exerting his utmost strength in the fight can
scarcely hope to conquer, yet must he die rather than desert a prince
who, trusting in him, has entered into his house."  Having thus spoken,
he again took his weapons, and went in once more to fight. Then, their
strength being exhausted, and their arrows finished, he said to the
Prince: "My hands are wounded, and our arrows are finished. We cannot
now fight: what shall be done?"  The Prince replied, saying: "There is
nothing more to do. Do thou now slay me." So the Grandee Tsubura thrust
the Prince to death with his sword, and forthwith killed himself by
cutting off his own head.'

Thousands of equally strong examples could easily be quoted from later
Japanese history, including many which occurred even within the memory
of the living. Nor was it for persons alone that to die might become a
sacred duty: in certain contingencies conscience held it scarcely less a
duty to die for a purely personal conviction; and he who held any
opinion which he believed of paramount importance would, when other
means failed, write his views in a letter of farewell, and then take his
own life, in order to call attention to his beliefs and to prove their
sincerity. Such an instance occurred only last year in Tokyo, [1] when
the young lieutenant of militia, Ohara Takeyoshi, killed himself by
harakiri in the cemetery of Saitokuji, leaving a letter stating as the
reason for his act, his hope to force public recognition of the danger
to Japanese independence from the growth of Russian power in the North
Pacific. But a much more touching sacrifice in May of the same year--a
sacrifice conceived in the purest and most innocent spirit of loyalty--
was that of the young girl Yoko Hatakeyama, who, after the attempt to
assassinate the Czarevitch, travelled from Tokyo to Kyoto and there
killed herself before the gate of the Kencho, merely as a vicarious
atonement for the incident which had caused shame to Japan and grief to
the Father of the people--His Sacred Majesty the Emperor.

Sec. 3

As to its exterior forms, modern Shinto is indeed difficult to analyse;
but through all the intricate texture of extraneous beliefs so thickly
interwoven about it, indications of its earliest character are still
easily discerned. In certain of its primitive rites, in its archaic
prayers and texts and symbols, in the history of its shrines, and even
in many of the artless ideas of its poorest worshippers, it is plainly
revealed as the most ancient of all forms of worship--that which Herbert
Spencer terms 'the root of all religions'--devotion to the dead. Indeed,
it has been frequently so expounded by its own greatest scholars and
theologians. Its divinities are ghosts; all the dead become deities. In
the Tama-no-mihashira the great commentator Hirata says 'the spirits of
the dead continue to exist in the unseen world which is everywhere about
us, and they all become gods of varying character and degrees of
influence. Some reside in temples built in their honour; others hover
near their tombs; and they continue to render services to their prince,
parents, wife, and children, as when in the body.' And they do more than
this, for they control the lives and the doings of men. 'Every human
action,' says Hirata, 'is the work of a god.' [3] And Motowori, scarcely
less famous an exponent of pure Shinto doctrine, writes: 'All the moral
ideas which a man requires are implanted in his bosom by the gods, and
are of the same nature with those instincts which impel him to eat when
he is hungry or to drink when he is thirsty.'  [4] With this doctrine of
Intuition no Decalogue is required, no fixed code of ethics; and the
human conscience is declared to be the only necessary guide. Though
every action be 'the work of a Kami.' yet each man has within him the
power to discern the righteous impulse from the unrighteous, the
influence of the good deity from that of the evil. No moral teacher is
so infallible as one's own heart. 'To have learned that there is no way
(michi),'[5] says Motowori, 'to be learned and practiced, is really to
have learned the Way of the Gods.' [6] And Hirata writes: 'If you desire
to practise true virtue, learn to stand in awe of the Unseen; and that
will prevent you from doing wrong. Make a vow to the Gods who rule over
the Unseen, and cultivate the conscience (ma-gokoro) implanted in you;
and then you will never wander from the way.' How this spiritual self-
culture may best be obtained, the same great expounder has stated with
almost equal brevity: 'Devotion to the memory of ancestors is the
mainspring of all virtues. No one who discharges his duty to them will
ever be disrespectful to the Gods or to his living parents. Such a man
will be faithful to his prince, loyal to his friends, and kind and
gentle with his wife and children.' [7]

How far are these antique beliefs removed from the ideas of the
nineteenth century? Certainly not so far that we can afford to smile at
them. The faith of the primitive man and the knowledge of the most
profound psychologist may meet in strange harmony upon the threshold of
the same ultimate truth, and the thought of a child may repeat the
conclusions of a Spencer or a Schopenhauer. Are not our ancestors in
very truth our Kami? Is not every action indeed the work of the Dead who
dwell within us? Have not our impulses and tendencies, our capacities
and weaknesses, our heroisms and timidities, been created by those
vanished myriads from whom we received the all-mysterious bequest of
Life? Do we still think of that infinitely complex Something which is
each one of us, and which we call EGO, as 'I' or as 'They'? What is our
pride or shame but the pride or shame of the Unseen in that which They
have made?--and what our Conscience but the inherited sum of countless
dead experiences with varying good and evil? Nor can we hastily reject
the Shinto thought that all the dead become gods, while we respect the
convictions of those strong souls of to-day who proclaim the divinity of

Sec. 4

Shino ancestor-worship, no doubt, like all ancestor-worship, was
developed out of funeral rites, according to that general law of
religious evolution traced so fully by Herbert Spencer. And there is
reason to believe that the early forms of Shinto public worship may have
been evolved out of a yet older family worship--much after the manner in
which M. Fustel de Coulanges, in his wonderful book, La Cite Antique,
has shown the religious public institutions among the Greeks and Romans
to have been developed from the religion of the hearth. Indeed, the word
ujigami, now used to signify a Shinto parish temple, and also its deity,
means 'family God,' and in its present form is a corruption or
contraction of uchi-no-Kami, meaning the 'god of the interior' or 'the
god of the house.' Shinto expounders have, it is true, attempted to
interpret the term otherwise; and Hirata, as quoted by Mr. Ernest Satow,
declared the name should be applied only to the common ancestor, or
ancestors, or to one so entitled to the gratitude of a community as to
merit equal honours. Such, undoubtedly, was the just use of the term in
his time, and long before it; but the etymology of the word would
certainly seem to indicate its origin in family worship, and to confirm
modern scientific beliefs in regard to the evolution of religious

Now just as among the Greeks and Latins the family cult always continued
to exist through all the development and expansion of the public
religion, so the Shinto family worship has continued concomitantly with
the communal worship at the countless ujigami, with popular worship at
the famed Ohoya-shiro of various provinces or districts, and with
national worship at the great shrines of Ise and Kitzuki. Many objects
connected with the family cult are certainly of alien or modern origin;
but its simple rites and its unconscious poetry retain their archaic
charm. And, to the student of Japanese life, by far the most interesting
aspect of Shinto is offered in this home worship, which, like the home
worship of the antique Occident, exists in a dual form.

Sec. 5

In nearly all Izumo dwellings there is a kamidana, [8] or 'Shelf of the
Gods.' On this is usually placed a small Shinto shrine (miya) containing
tablets bearing the names of gods (one at least of which tablets is
furnished by the neighbouring Shinto parish temple), and various ofuda,
holy texts or charms which most often are written promises in the name
of some Kami to protect his worshipper. If there be no miya, the tablets
or ofuda are simply placed upon the shelf in a certain order, the most
sacred having the middle place. Very rarely are images to be seen upon a
kamidana: for primitive Shintoism excluded images rigidly as Jewish or
Mohammedan law; and all Shinto iconography belongs to a comparatively
modern era--especially to the period of Ryobu-Shinto--and must be
considered of Buddhist origin. If there be any images, they will
probably be such as have been made only within recent years at Kitauki:
those small twin figures of Oho-kuni-nushi-no-Kami and of Koto-shiro-
nushi-no-Kami, described in a former paper upon the Kitzuki-no-oho-
yashiro. Shinto kakemono, which are also of latter-day origin,
representing incidents from the Kojiki, are much more common than Shinto
icons: these usually occupy the toko, or alcove, in the same room in
which the kamidana is placed; but they will not be seen in the houses of
the more cultivated classes. Ordinarily there will be found upon the
kamidana nothing but the simple miya containing some ofuda: very, very
seldom will a mirror [9] be seen, or gohei--except the gohei attached to
the small shimenawa either hung just above the kamidana or suspended to
the box-like frame in which the miya sometimes is placed. The shimenawa
and the paper gohei are the true emblems of Shinto: even the ofuda and
the mamori are quite modern. Not only before the household shrine, but
also above the house-door of almost every home in Izumo, the shimenawa
is suspended. It is ordinarily a thin rope of rice straw; but before the
dwellings of high Shinto officials, such as the Taisha-Guji of Kitzuki,
its size and weight are enormous. One of the first curious facts that
the traveller in Izumo cannot fail to be impressed by is the universal
presence of this symbolic rope of straw, which may sometimes even be
seen round a rice-field. But the grand displays of the sacred symbol are
upon the great festivals of the new year, the accession of Jimmu Tenno
to the throne of Japan, and the Emperor's birthday. Then all the miles
of streets are festooned with shimenawa thick as ship-cables.

Sec. 6

A particular feature of Matsue are the miya-shops--establishments not,
indeed, peculiar to the old Izumo town, but much more interesting than
those to be found in larger cities of other provinces. There are miya of
a hundred varieties and sizes, from the child's toy miya which sells for
less than one sen, to the large shrine destined for some rich home, and
costing perhaps ten yen or more. Besides these, the household shrines of
Shinto, may occasionally be seen massive shrines of precious wood,
lacquered and gilded, worth from three hundred even to fifteen hundred
yen. These are not household shrines; but festival shrines, and are made
only for rich merchants. They are displayed on Shinto holidays, and
twice a year are borne through the streets in procession, to shouts of
'Chosaya! chosaya!' [10] Each temple parish also possesses a large
portable miya which is paraded on these occasions with much chanting and
beating of drums. The majority of household miya are cheap
constructions. A very fine one can be purchased for about two yen; but
those little shrines one sees in the houses of the common people cost,
as a rule, considerably less than half a yen. And elaborate or costly
household shrines are contrary to the spirit of pure Shinto The true
miya should be made of spotless white hinoki  [11] wood, and be put
together without nails. Most of those I have seen in the shops had their
several parts joined only with rice-paste; but the skill of the maker
rendered this sufficient. Pure Shinto requires that a miya should be
without gilding or ornamentation. The beautiful miniature temples in
some rich homes may justly excite admiration by their artistic structure
and decoration; but the ten or thirteen cent miya, in the house of a
labourer or a kurumaya, of plain white wood, truly represents that
spirit of simplicity characterising the primitive religion.

Sec. 7

The kamidana or 'God-shelf,' upon which are placed the miya and other
sacred objects of Shinto worship, is usually fastened at a height of
about six or seven feet above the floor. As a rule it should not be
placed higher than the hand can reach with ease; but in houses having
lofty rooms the miya is sometimes put up at such a height that the
sacred offerings cannot be made without the aid of a box or other object
to stand upon. It is not commonly a part of the house structure, but a
plain shelf attached with brackets either to the wall itself, at some
angle of the apartment, or, as is much more usual, to the kamoi, or
horizontal grooved beam, in which the screens of opaque paper (fusuma),
which divide room from room, slide to and fro. Occasionally it is
painted or lacquered. But the ordinary kamidana is of white wood, and is
made larger or smaller in proportion to the size of the miya, or the
number of the ofuda and other sacred objects to be placed upon it. In
some houses, notably those of innkeepers and small merchants, the
kamidana is made long enough to support a number of small shrines
dedicated to different Shinto deities, particularly those believed to
preside over wealth and commercial prosperity. In the houses of the poor
it is nearly always placed in the room facing the street; and Matsue
shopkeepers usually erect it in their shops--so that the passer-by or
the customer can tell at a glance in what deities the occupant puts his
trust. There are many regulations concerning it. It may be placed to
face south or east, but should not face west, and under no possible
circumstances should it be suffered to face north or north-west. One
explanation of this is the influence upon Shinto of Chinese philosophy,
according to which there is some fancied relation between South or East
and the Male Principle, and between West or North and the Female
Principle. But the popular notion on the subject is that because a dead
person is buried with the head turned north, it would be very wrong to
place a miya so as to face north--since everything relating to death is
impure; and the regulation about the west is not strictly observed. Most
kamidana in Izumo, however, face south or east. In the houses of the
poorest--often consisting of but one apartment--there can be little
choice as to rooms; but it is a rule, observed in the dwellings of the
middle classes, that the kamidana must not be placed either in the guest
room (zashiki) nor in the kitchen; and in shizoku houses its place is
usually in one of the smaller family apartments. Respect must be shown
it. One must not sleep, for example, or even lie down to rest, with his
feet turned towards it. One must not pray before it, or even stand
before it, while in a state of religious impurity--such as that entailed
by having touched a corpse, or attended a Buddhist funeral, or even
during the period of mourning for kindred buried according to the
Buddhist rite. Should any member of the family be thus buried, then
during fifty days [12] the kamidana must be entirely screened from view
with pure white paper, and even the Shinto ofuda, or pious invocations
fastened upon the house-door, must have white paper pasted over them.
During the same mourning period the fire in the house is considered
unclean; and at the close of the term all the ashes of the braziers and
of the kitchen must be cast away, and new fire kindled with a flint and
steel. Nor are funerals the only source of legal uncleanliness. Shinto,
as the religion of purity and purification, has a Deuteronomy of quite
an extensive kind. During certain periods women must not even pray
before the miya, much less make offerings or touch the sacred vessels,
or kindle the lights of the Kami.

Sec. 8

Before the miya, or whatever holy object of Shinto worship be placed
upon the kamidana, are set two quaintly shaped jars for the offerings of
sake; two small vases, to contain sprays of the sacred plant sakaki, or
offerings of flowers; and a small lamp, shaped like a tiny saucer, where
a wick of rush-pith floats in rape-seed oil. Strictly speaking, all
these utensils, except the flower-vases, should be made of unglazed red
earthenware, such as we find described in the early chapters of the
Kojiki: and still at Shinto festivals in Izumo, when sake is drunk in
honour of the gods, it is drunk out of cups of red baked unglazed clay
shaped like shallow round dishes. But of late years it has become the
fashion to make all the utensils of a fine kamidana of brass or bronze--
even the hanaike, or flower-vases. Among the poor, the most archaic
utensils are still used to a great extent, especially in the remoter
country districts; the lamp being a simple saucer or kawarake of red
clay; and the flower-vases most often bamboo cups, made by simply
cutting a section of bamboo immediately below a joint and about five
inches above it.

The brazen lamp is a much more complicated object than the kawarake,
which costs but one rin. The brass lamp costs about twenty-five sen, at
least. It consists of two parts. The lower part, shaped like a very
shallow, broad wineglass, with a very thick stem, has an interior as
well as an exterior rim; and the bottom of a correspondingly broad and
shallow brass cup, which is the upper part and contains the oil, fits
exactly into this inner rim. This kind of lamp is always furnished with
a small brass object in the shape of a flat ring, with a stem set at
right angles to the surface of the ring. It is used for moving the
floating wick and keeping it at any position required; and the little
perpendicular stem is long enough to prevent the fingers from touching
the oil.

The most curious objects to be seen on any ordinary kamidana are the
stoppers of the sake-vessels or o-mikidokkuri ('honourable sake-jars').
These stoppers--o-mikidokkuri-nokuchisashi--may be made of brass, or of
fine thin slips of wood jointed and bent into the singular form
required. Properly speaking, the thing is not a real stopper, in spite
of its name; its lower part does not fill the mouth of the jar at all:
it simply hangs in the orifice like a leaf put there stem downwards. I
find it difficult to learn its history; but, though there are many
designs of it--the finer ones being of brass--the shape of all seems to
hint at a Buddhist origin. Possibly the shape was borrowed from a
Buddhist symbol--the Hoshi-notama, that mystic gem whose lambent glow
(iconographically suggested as a playing of flame) is the emblem of Pure
Essence; and thus the object would be typical at once of the purity of
the wine-offering and the purity of the heart of the giver.

The little lamp may not be lighted every evening in all homes, since
there are families too poor to afford even this infinitesimal nightly
expenditure of oil. But upon the first, fifteenth, and twenty-eighth of
each month the light is always kindled; for these are Shinto holidays of
obligation, when offerings must be made to the gods, and when all uji-
ko, or parishioners of a Shinto temple, are supposed to visit their
ujigami. In every home on these days sake is poured as an offering into
the o-mikidokkuri, and in the vases of the kamidana are placed sprays of
the holy sakaki, or sprigs of pine, or fresh flowers. On the first day
of the new year the kamidana is always decked with sakaki, moromoki
(ferns), and pine-sprigs, and also with a shimenawa; and large double
rice cakes are placed upon it as offerings to the gods.

Sec. 9

But only the ancient gods of Shinto are worshipped before the kamidana.
The family ancestors or family dead are worshipped either in a separate
room (called the mitamaya or 'Spirit Chamber'), or, if worshipped
according to the Buddhist rites, before the butsuma or butsudan.

The Buddhist family worship coexists in the vast majority of Izumo homes
with the Shinto family worship; and whether the dead be honoured in the
mitamaya or before the butsudan altogether depends upon the religious
traditions of the household. Moreover, there are families in Izumo--
particularly in Kitzuki--whose members do not profess Buddhism in any
form, and a very few, belonging to the Shin-shu or Nichirenshu, [13]
whose members do not practise Shinto. But the domestic cult of the dead
is maintained, whether the family be Shinto or Buddhist. The ihai or
tablets of the Buddhist family dead (Hotoke) are never placed in a
special room or shrine, but in the Buddhist household shrine [14]  along
with the images or pictures of Buddhist divinities usually there
inclosed--or, at least, this is always the case when the honours paid
them are given according to the Buddhist instead of the Shinto rite. The
form of the butsudan or butsuma, the character of its holy images, its
ofuda, or its pictures, and even the prayers said before it, differ
according to the fifteen different shu, or sects; and a very large
volume would have to be written in order to treat the subject of the
butsuma exhaustively. Therefore I must content myself with stating that
there are Buddhist household shrines of all dimensions, prices, and
degrees of magnificence; and that the butsudan of the Shin-shu, although
to me the least interesting of all, is popularly considered to be the
most beautiful in design and finish. The butsudan of a very poor
household may be worth a few cents, but the rich devotee might purchase
in Kyoto a shrine worth as many thousands of yen as he could pay.

Though the forms of the butsuma and the character of its contents may
greatly vary, the form of the ancestral or mortuary tablet is generally
that represented in Fig. 4 of the illustrations of ihai given in this
book. [15] There are some much more elaborate shapes, costly and rare,
and simpler shapes of the cheapest and plainest descriptions; but the
form thus illustrated is the common one in Izumo and the whole San-indo
country. There are differences, however, of size; and the ihai of a man
is larger than that of a woman, and has a headpiece also, which the
tablet of a female has not; while a child's ihai is always very small.
The average height of the ihai made for a male adult is a little more
than a foot, and its thickness about an inch. It has a top, or
headpiece, surmounted by the symbol I of the Hoshi-no-tama or Mystic
Gem, and ordinarily decorated with a cloud-design of some kind, and the
pedestal is a lotus-flower rising out of clouds. As a general rule all
this is richly lacquered and gilded; the tablet itself being lacquered
in black, and bearing the posthumous name, or kaimyo, in letters of
gold--ken-mu-ji-sho-shin-ji, or other syllables indicating the supposed
virtues of the departed. The poorest people, unable to afford such
handsome tablets, have ihai made of plain wood; and the kaimyo is
sometimes simply written on these in black characters; but more commonly
it is written upon a strip of white paper, which is then pasted upon the
ihai with rice-paste. The living name is perhaps inscribed upon the back
of the tablet. Such tablets accumulate, of course, with the passing of
generations; and in certain homes great numbers are preserved.

A beautiful and touching custom still exists in Izumo, and perhaps
throughout Japan, although much less common than it used to be. So far
as I can learn, however, it was always confined to the cultivated
classes. When a husband dies, two ihai are made, in case the wife
resolves never to marry again. On one of these the kaimyo of the dead
man is painted in characters of gold, and on the other that of the
living widow; but, in the latter case, the first character of the kaimyo
is painted in red, and the other characters in gold. These two tablets
are then placed in the household butsuma. Two larger ones similarly
inscribed, are placed in the parish temple; but no cup is set before
that of the wife. The solitary crimson ideograph signifies a solemn
pledge to remain faithful to the memory of the dead. Furthermore, the
wife loses her living name among all her friends and relatives, and is
thereafter addressed only by a fragment of her kaimyo--as, for example,
'Shin-toku-in-San,' an abbreviation of the much longer and more sonorous
posthumous name, Shin-toku-in-den-joyo-teiso-daishi. [16] Thus to be
called by one's kaimyo is at once an honour to the memory of the husband
and the constancy of the bereaved wife. A precisely similar pledge is
taken by a man after the loss of a wife to whom he was passionately
attached; and one crimson letter upon his ihai registers the vow not
only in the home but also in the place of public worship. But the
widower is never called by his kaimyo, as is the widow.

The first religious duty of the morning in a Buddhist household is to
set before the tablets of the dead a little cup of tea, made with the
first hot water prepared--O-Hotoke-San-nio-cha-to-ageru. [17] Daily
offerings of boiled rice are also made; and fresh flowers are put in the
shrine vases; and incense--although not allowed by Shinto--is burned
before the tablets.  At night, and also during the day upon certain
festivals, both candles and a small oil-lamp are lighted in the butsuma--a
lamp somewhat differently shaped from the lamp of the miya and called
rinto On the day of each month corresponding to the date of death a
little repast is served before the tablets, consisting of shojin-ryori
only, the vegetarian food of the. Buddhists. But as Shinto family
worship has its special annual festival, which endures from the first to
the third day of the new year, so Buddhist ancestor-worship has its
yearly Bonku, or Bommatsuri, lasting from the thirteenth to the
sixteenth day of the seventh month. This is the Buddhist Feast of Souls.
Then the butsuma is decorated to the utmost, special offerings of food
and of flowers are made, and all the house is made beautiful to welcome
the coming of the ghostly visitors.

Now Shinto, like Buddhism, has its ihai; but these are of the simplest
possible shape and material--mere slips of plain white wood. The average
height is only about eight inches. These tablets are either placed in a
special miya kept in a different room from that in which the shrine of
the Kami is erected, or else simply arranged on a small shelf called by
the people Mitama-San-no-tana,--'the Shelf of the August Spirits.' The
shelf or the shrine of the ancestors and household dead is placed always
at a considerable height in the mitamaya or soreisha (as the Spirit
Chamber is sometimes called), just as is the miya of the Kami in the
other apartment. Sometimes no tablets are used, the name being simply
painted upon the woodwork of the Spirit Shrine. But Shinto has no
kaimyo: the living name of the dead is written upon the ihai, with the
sole addition of the word 'Mitama' (Spirit). And monthly upon the day
corresponding to the menstrual date of death, offerings of fish, wine,
and other food are made to the spirits, accompanied by special prayer.
[18]  The Mitama-San have also their particular lamps and flower-vases,
and, though in lesser degree, are honoured with rites like those of the

The prayers uttered before the ihai of either faith begin with the
respective religious formulas of Shinto or of Buddhism. The Shintoist,
clapping his hands thrice or four times, [19] first utters the
sacramental Harai-tamai. The Buddhist, according to his sect, murmurs
Namu-myo-ho-ren-ge-kyo, or Namu Amida Butsu, or some other holy words of
prayer or of praise to the Buddha, ere commencing his prayer to the
ancestors. The words said to them are seldom spoken aloud, either by
Shintoist or Buddhist: they are either whispered very low under the
breath, or shaped only within the heart.

Sec. 10

At nightfall in Izumo homes the lamps of the gods and of the ancestors
are kindled, either by a trusted servant or by some member of the
family. Shinto orthodox regulations require that the lamps should be
filled with pure vegetable oil only--tomoshiabura--and oil of rape-seed
is customarily used. However, there is an evident inclination among the
poorer classes to substitute a microscopic kerosene lamp for the ancient
form of utensil. But by the strictly orthodox this is held to be very
wrong, and even to light the lamps with a match is somewhat heretical.
For it is not supposed that matches are always made with pure
substances, and the lights of the Kami should be kindled only with
purest fire--that holy natural fire which lies hidden within all things.
Therefore in some little closet in the home of any strictly orthodox
Shinto family there is always a small box containing the ancient
instruments used for the lighting of' holy fire. These consist of the
hi-uchi-ishi, or 'fire-strike-stone'; the hi-uchi-gane, or steel; the
hokuchi, or tinder, made of dried moss; and the tsukegi, fine slivers of
resinous pine. A little tinder is laid upon the flint and set
smouldering with a few strokes of the steel, and blown upon until it
flames. A slip of pine is then ignited at this flame, and with it the
lamps of the ancestors and the gods are lighted. If several great
deities are represented in the miya or upon the kamidana by several
ofuda, then a separate lamp is sometimes lighted for each; and if there
be a butsuma in the dwelling, its tapers or lamp are lighted at the same

Although the use of the flint and steel for lighting the lamps of the
gods will probably have become obsolete within another generation, it
still prevails largely in Izumo, especially in the country districts.
Even where the safety-match has entirely supplanted the orthodox
utensils, the orthodox sentiment shows itself in the matter of the
choice of matches to be used. Foreign matches are inadmissible: the
native matchmaker quite successfully represented that foreign matches
contained phosphorus 'made from the bones of dead animals,' and that to
kindle the lights of the Kami with such unholy fire would be sacrilege.
In other parts of Japan the matchmakers stamped upon their boxes the
words: 'Saikyo go honzon yo' (Fit for the use of the August High Temple
of Saikyo). [20] But Shinto sentiment in Izumo was too strong to be
affected much by any such declaration: indeed, the recommendation of the
matches as suitable for use in a Shin-shu temple was of itself
sufficient to prejudice Shintoists against them. Accordingly special
precautions had to be taken before safety-matches could be
satisfactorily introduced into the Province of the Gods. Izumo match-
boxes now bear the inscription: 'Pure, and fit to use for kindling the
lamps of the Kami, or of the Hotoke!'

The inevitable danger to all things in Japan is fire. It is the
traditional rule that when a house takes fire, the first objects to be
saved, if possible, are the household gods and the tablets of the
ancestors. It is even said that if these are saved, most of the family
valuables are certain to be saved, and that if these are lost, all is

Sec. 11

The terms soreisha and mitamaya, as used in Izumo, may, I am told,
signify either the small miya in which the Shinto ihai (usually made of
cherry-wood) is kept, or that part of the dwelling in which it is
placed, and where the offerings are made. These, by all who can afford
it, are served upon tables of plain white wood, and of the same high
narrow form as the tables upon which offerings are made in the temples
and at public funeral ceremonies.

The most ordinary form of prayer addressed to the ancient ancestors in
the household cult of Shinto is not uttered aloud. After pronouncing the
initial formula of all popular Shinto prayer, 'Harai-tamai,' etc., the
worshipper says, with his heart only--'Spirits august of our far-off
ancestors, ye forefathers of the generations, and of our families and of
our kindred, unto you, the founders of our homes, we this day utter the
gladness of our thanks.'

In the family cult of the Buddhists a distinction is made between the
household Hotoke--the souls of those long dead--and the souls of those
but recently deceased. These last are called Shin-botoke, 'new Buddhas,'
or more strictly, 'the newly dead.' No direct request for any
supernatural favour is made to a Shin-botoke; for, though respectfully
called Hotoke, the freshly departed soul is not really deemed to have
reached Buddhahood: it is only on the long road thither, and is in need
itself, perhaps, of aid, rather than capable of giving aid. Indeed,
among the deeply pious its condition is a matter of affectionate
concern. And especially is this the case when a little child dies; for
it is thought that the soul of an infant is feeble and exposed to many
dangers. Wherefore a mother, speaking to the departed soul of her child,
will advise it, admonish it, command it tenderly, as if addressing a
living son or daughter. The ordinary words said in Izumo homes to any
Shin-botoke take rather the form of adjuration or counsel than of
prayer, such as these:--

'Jobutsu seyo,' or 'Jobutsu shimasare.' [Do thou become a Buddha.]

'Mayo na yo.' [Go not astray; or, Be never deluded.]

'Miren-wo nokorazu.' [Suffer no regret (for this world) to linger with

These prayers are never uttered aloud. Much more in accordance with the
Occidental idea of prayer is the following, uttered by Shin-shu
believers on behalf of a Shin-botoke:

'O-mukai kudasare Amida-Sama.' [Vouchsafe, O Lord Amida, augustly to
welcome (this soul).]

Needless to say that ancestor-worship, although adopted in China and
Japan into Buddhism, is not of Buddhist origin. Needless also to say
that Buddhism discountenances suicide.  Yet in Japan, anxiety about the
condition of the soul of the departed often caused suicide--or at least
justified it on the part of those who, though accepting Buddhist dogma,
might adhere to primitive custom. Retainers killed themselves in the
belief that by dying they might give to the soul of their lord or lady,
counsel, aid, and service. Thus in the novel Hogen-nomono-gatari, a
retainer is made to say after the death of his young master:--'Over the
mountain of Shide, over the ghostly River of Sanzu, who will conduct
him? If he be afraid, will he not call my name, as he was wont to do?
Surely better that, by slaying myself, I go to serve him as of old, than
to linger here, and mourn for him in vain.'

In Buddhist household worship, the prayers addressed to the family
Hotoke proper, the souls of those long dead, are very different from the
addresses made to the Shin-botoke. The following are a few examples:
they are always said under the breath:

'Kanai anzen.' [(Vouchsafe) that our family may be preserved.]

'Enmei sakusai.' [That we may enjoy long life without sorrow.]

'Shobai hanjo.' [That our business may prosper.] [Said only by merchants
and tradesmen.]

'Shison chokin.' [That the perpetuity of our descent may be assured.]

'Onteki taisan.' [That our enemies be scattered.]

'Yakubyo shometsu.' [That pestilence may not come nigh us.]

Some of the above are used also by Shinto worshippers. The old samurai
still repeat the special prayers of their caste:--

'Tenka taihei.' [That long peace may prevail throughout the world.]

'Bu-un chokyu.' [That we may have eternal good-fortune in war.]

'Ka-ei-manzoku.' [That our house (family) may for ever remain

But besides these silent formulae, any prayers prompted by the heart,
whether of supplication or of gratitude, may, of course, be repeated.
Such prayers are said, or rather thought, in the speech of daily life.
The following little prayer uttered by an Izumo mother to the ancestral
spirit, besought on behalf of a sick child, is an example:--

'O-kage ni kodomo no byoki mo zenkwai itashimashite, arigato-
gozarimasu!' [By thine august influence the illness of my child has
passed away;--I thank thee.]

'O-kage ni' literally signifies 'in the august shadow of.' There is a
ghostly beauty in the original phrase that neither a free nor yet a
precise translation can preserve.

Sec. 12

Thus, in this home-worship of the Far East, by love the dead are made
divine; and the foreknowledge of this tender apotheosis must temper with
consolation the natural melancholy of age. Never in Japan are the dead
so quickly forgotten as with us: by simple faith they are deemed still
to dwell among their beloved; and their place within the home remains
ever holy. And the aged patriarch about to pass away knows that loving
lips will nightly murmur to the memory of him before the household
shrine; that faithful hearts will beseech him in their pain and bless
him in their joy; that gentle hands will place before his ihai pure
offerings of fruits and flowers, and dainty repasts of the things which
he was wont to like; and will pour out for him, into the little cup of
ghosts and gods, the fragrant tea of guests or the amber rice-wine.
Strange changes are coming upon the land: old customs are vanishing; old
beliefs are weakening; the thoughts of today will not be the thoughts of
another age--but of all this he knows happily nothing in his own quaint,
simple, beautiful Izumo. He dreams that for him, as for his fathers, the
little lamp will burn on through the generations; he sees, in softest
fancy, the yet unborn--the children of his children's children--clapping
their tiny hands in Shinto prayer, and making filial obeisance before
the little dusty tablet that bears his unforgotten name.

Chapter Three Of Women's Hair

Sec. 1 THE hair of the younger daughter of the family is very long; and it
is a spectacle of no small interest to see it dressed. It is dressed
once in every three days; and the operation, which costs four sen, is
acknowledged to require one hour. As a matter of fact it requires nearly
two. The hairdresser (kamiyui) first sends her maiden apprentice, who
cleans the hair, washes it, perfumes it, and combs it with extraordinary
combs of at least five different kinds. So thoroughly is the hair
cleansed that it remains for three days, or even four, immaculate beyond
our Occidental conception of things. In the morning, during the dusting
time, it is carefully covered with a handkerchief or a little blue
towel; and the curious Japanese wooden pillow, which supports the neck,
not the head, renders it possible to sleep at ease without disarranging
the marvellous structure. [1]

After the apprentice has finished her part of the work, the hairdresser
herself appears, and begins to build the coiffure. For this task she
uses, besides the extraordinary variety of combs, fine loops of gilt
thread or coloured paper twine, dainty bits of deliciously tinted crape-
silk, delicate steel springs, and curious little basket-shaped things
over which the hair is moulded into the required forms before being
fixed in place.

The kamiyui also brings razors with her; for the Japanese girl is
shaved--cheeks, ears, brows, chin, even nose! What is here to shave?
Only that peachy floss which is the velvet of the finest human skin, but
which Japanese taste removes. There is, however, another use for the
razor. All maidens bear the signs of their maidenhood in the form of a
little round spot, about an inch in diameter, shaven clean upon the very
top of the head. This is only partially concealed by a band of hair
brought back from the forehead across it, and fastened to the back hair.
The girl-baby's head is totally shaved. When a few years old the little
creature's hair is allowed to grow except at the top of the head, where
a large tonsure is maintained. But the size of the tonsure diminishes
year by year, until it shrinks after childhood to the small spot above
described; and this, too, vanishes after marriage, when a still more
complicated fashion of wearing the hair is adopted.

Sec. 2

Such absolutely straight dark hair as that of most Japanese women might
seem, to Occidental ideas at least, ill-suited to the highest
possibilities of the art of the coiffeuse. [2] But the skill of the
kamiyui has made it tractable to every aesthetic whim. Ringlets, indeed,
are unknown, and curling irons. But what wonderful and beautiful shapes
the hair of the girl is made to assume: volutes, jets, whirls, eddyings,
foliations, each passing into the other blandly as a linking of brush-
strokes in the writing of a Chinese master! Far beyond the skill of the
Parisian coiffeuse is the art of the kamiyui. From the mythical era [3]
of the race, Japanese ingenuity has exhausted itself in the invention
and the improvement of pretty devices for the dressing of woman's hair;
and probably there have never been so many beautiful fashions of wearing
it in any other country as there have been in Japan. These have changed
through the centuries; sometimes becoming wondrously intricate of
design, sometimes exquisitely simple--as in that gracious custom,
recorded for us in so many quaint drawings, of allowing the long black
tresses to flow unconfined below the waist. [4] But every mode of which
we have any pictorial record had its own striking charm. Indian,
Chinese, Malayan, Korean ideas of beauty found their way to the Land of
the Gods, and were appropriated and transfigured by the finer native
conceptions of comeliness. Buddhism, too, which so profoundly influenced
all Japanese art and thought, may possibly have influenced fashions of
wearing the hair; for its female divinities appear with the most
beautiful coiffures. Notice the hair of a Kwannon or a Benten, and the
tresses of the Tennin--those angel-maidens who float in azure upon the
ceilings of the great temples.

Sec. 3

The particular attractiveness of the modern styles is the way in which
the hair is made to serve as an elaborate nimbus for the features,
giving delightful relief to whatever of fairness or sweetness the young
face may possess. Then behind this charming black aureole is a riddle of
graceful loopings and weavings whereof neither the beginning nor the
ending can possibly be discerned. Only the kantiyui knows the key to
that riddle. And the whole is held in place with curious ornamental
combs, and shot through with long fine pins of gold, silver, nacre,
transparent tortoise-shell, or lacquered wood, with cunningly carven
heads. [5]

Sec. 4

Not less than fourteen different ways of dressing the hair are practised
by the coiffeuses of Izumo; but doubtless in the capital, and in some of
the larger cities of eastern Japan, the art is much more elaborately
developed. The hairdressers (kamiyui) go from house to house to exercise
their calling, visiting their clients upon fixed days at certain regular
hours. The hair of little girls from seven to eight years old is in
Matsue dressed usually after the style called O-tabako-bon, unless it be
simply 'banged.' In the O-tabako-bon ('honourable smoking-box' style)
the hair is cut to the length of about four inches all round except
above the forehead, where it is clipped a little shorter; and on the
summit of the head it is allowed to grow longer and is gathered up into
a peculiarly shaped knot, which justifies the curious name of the
coiffure. As soon as the girl becomes old enough to go to a female
public day-school, her hair is dressed in the pretty, simple style
called katsurashita, or perhaps in the new, ugly, semi-foreign 'bundle-
style' called sokuhatsu, which has become the regulation fashion in
boarding-schools. For the daughters of the poor, and even for most of
those of the middle classes, the public-school period is rather brief;
their studies usually cease a few years before they are marriageable,
and girls marry very early in Japan. The maiden's first elaborate
coiffure is arranged for her when she reaches the age of fourteen or
fifteen, at earliest. From twelve to fourteen her hair is dressed in the
fashion called Omoyedzuki; then the style is changed to the beautiful
coiffure called jorowage. There are various forms of this style, more or
less complex. A couple of years later, the jorowage yields in the turn
to the shinjocho [6] '('new-butterfly' style), or the shimada, also
called takawage. The shimjocho style is common, is worn by women of
various ages, and is not considered very genteel. The shimada,
exquisitely elaborate, is; but the more respectable the family, the
smaller the form of this coiffure; geisha and joro wear a larger and
loftier variety of it, which properly answers to the name takawage, or
'high coiffure.' Between eighteen and twenty years of age the maiden
again exchanges this style for another termed Tenjin-gaeshi; between
twenty and twenty-four years of age she adopts the fashion called
mitsuwage, or the 'triple coiffure' of three loops; and a somewhat
similar but still more complicated coiffure, called mitsuwakudzushi, is
worn by young women of from twenty-five to twenty-eight. Up to that age
every change in the fashion of wearing the hair has been in the
direction of elaborateness and complexity.  But after twenty-eight a
Japanese woman is no longer considered young, and there is only one more
coiffure for her--the mochiriwage or bobai, tine simple and rather ugly
style adopted by old women.

But the girl who marries wears her hair in a fashion quite different
from any of the preceding. The most beautiful, the most elaborate, and
the most costly of all modes is the bride's coiffure, called hanayome; a
word literally signifying 'flower-wife.' The structure is dainty as its
name, and must be seen to be artistically appreciated. Afterwards the
wife wears her hair in the styles called kumesa or maruwage, another
name for which is katsuyama. The kumesa style is not genteel, and is the
coiffure of the poor; the maruwage or katsuyama is refined. In former
times the samurai women wore their hair in two particular styles: the
maiden's coiffure was ichogaeshi, and that of the married folk
katahajishi. It is still possible to see in Matsue a few katahajishi

Sec. 5

The family kamiyui, O-Koto-San, the most skilful of her craft in Izumo,
is a little woman of about thirty, still quite attractive. About her
neck there are three soft pretty lines, forming what connoisseurs of
beauty term 'the necklace of Venus.' This is a rare charm; but it once
nearly proved the ruin of Koto. The story is a curious one.

Koto had a rival at the beginning of her professional career--a woman of
considerable skill as a coiffeuse, but of malignant disposition, named
Jin. Jin gradually lost all her respectable custom, and little Koto
became the fashionable hairdresser. But her old rival, filled with
jealous hate, invented a wicked story about Koto, and the story found
root in the rich soil of old Izumo superstition, and grew fantastically.
The idea of it had been suggested to Jin's cunning mind by those three
soft lines about Koto's neck. She declared that Koto had a NUKE-KUBI.

What is a nuke-kubi? 'Kubi' signifies either the neck or head. 'Nukeru'
means to creep, to skulk, to prowl, to slip away stealthily. To have a
nuke-kubi is to have a head that detaches itself from the body, and
prowls about at night--by itself.

Koto has been twice married, and her second match was a happy one. But
her first husband caused her much trouble, and ran away from her at
last, in company with some worthless woman. Nothing was ever heard of
him afterward--so that Jin thought it quite safe to invent a nightmare-
story to account for his disappearance. She said that he abandoned Koto
because, on awaking one night, he saw his young wife's head rise from
the pillow, and her neck lengthen like a great white serpent, while the
rest of her body remained motionless. He saw the head, supported by the
ever-lengthening neck, enter the farther apartment and drink all the oil
in the lamps, and then return to the pillow slowly--the neck
simultaneously contracting. 'Then he rose up and fled away from the
house in great fear,' said Jin.

As one story begets another, all sorts of queer rumours soon began to
circulate about poor Koto. There was a tale that some police-officer,
late at night, saw a woman's head without a body, nibbling fruit from a
tree overhanging some garden-wall; and that, knowing it to be a nuke-
kubi, he struck it with the flat of his sword. It shrank away as swiftly
as a bat flies, but not before he had been able to recognize the face of
the kamiyui. 'Oh! it is quite true!' declared Jin, the morning after the
alleged occurrence; 'and if you don't believe it, send word to Koto that
you want to see her. She can't go out: her face is all swelled up.' Now
the last statement was fact--for Koto had a very severe toothache at
that time--and the fact helped the falsehood. And the story found its
way to the local newspaper, which published it--only as a strange
example of popular credulity; and Jin said, 'Am I a teller of the truth?
See, the paper has printed it!'

Wherefore crowds of curious people gathered before Koto's little house,
and made her life such a burden to her that her husband had to watch her
constantly to keep her from killing herself. Fortunately she had good
friends in the family of the Governor, where she had been employed for
years as coiffeuse; and the Governor, hearing of the wickedness, wrote a
public denunciation of it, and set his name to it, and printed it. Now
the people of Matsue reverenced their old samurai Governor as if he were
a god, and believed his least word; and seeing what he had written, they
became ashamed, and also denounced the lie and the liar; and the little
hairdresser soon became more prosperous than before through popular

Some of the most extraordinary beliefs of old days are kept alive in
Izumo and elsewhere by what are called in America travelling side-
shows'; and the inexperienced foreigner could never imagine the
possibilities of a Japanese side-show. On certain great holidays the
showmen make their appearance, put up their ephemeral theatres of rush-
matting and bamboos in some temple court, surfeit expectation by the
most incredible surprises, and then vanish as suddenly as they came. The
Skeleton of a Devil, the Claws of a Goblin, and 'a Rat as large as a
sheep,' were some of the least extraordinary displays which I saw. The
Goblin's Claws were remarkably fine shark's teeth; the Devil's Skeleton
had belonged to an orang-outang--all except the horns ingeniously
attached to the skull; and the wondrous Rat I discovered to be a tame
kangaroo. What I could not fully understand was the exhibition of a
nuke-kubi, in which a young woman stretched her neck, apparently, to a
length of about two feet, making ghastly faces during the performance.

Sec. 6

There are also some strange old superstitions about women's hair.

The myth of Medusa has many a counterpart in Japanese folk-lore: the
subject of such tales being always some wondrously beautiful girl, whose
hair turns to snakes only at night; and who is discovered at last to be
either a dragon or a dragon's daughter. But in ancient times it was
believed that the hair of any young woman might, under certain trying
circumstances, change into serpents. For instance: under the influence
of long-repressed jealousy.

There were many men of wealth who, in the days of Old Japan, kept their
concubines (mekake or aisho) under the same roof with their legitimate
wives (okusama). And it is told that, although the severest patriarchal
discipline might compel the mekake and the okusama to live together in
perfect seeming harmony by day, their secret hate would reveal itself by
night in the transformation of their hair. The long black tresses of
each would uncoil and hiss and strive to devour those of the other--and
even the mirrors of the sleepers would dash themselves together--for,
saith an ancient proverb, kagami onna-no tamashii--'a Mirror is the Soul
of a Woman.'  [7] And there is a famous tradition of one Kato Sayemon
Shigenji, who beheld in the night the hair of his wife and the hair of
his concubine, changed into vipers, writhing together and hissing and
biting. Then Kato Sayemon grieved much for that secret bitterness of
hatred which thus existed through his fault; and he shaved his head and
became a priest in the great Buddhist monastery of Koya-San, where he
dwelt until the day of his death under the name of Karukaya.

Sec. 7

The hair of dead women is arranged in the manner called tabanegami,
somewhat resembling the shimada extremely simplified, and without
ornaments of any kind. The name tabanegami signifies hair tied into a
bunch, like a sheaf of rice. This style must also be worn by women
during the period of mourning.

Ghosts, nevertheless, are represented with hair loose and long, falling
weirdly over the face. And no doubt because of the melancholy
suggestiveness of its drooping branches, the willow is believed to be
the favourite tree of ghosts. Thereunder, 'tis said, they mourn in the
night, mingling their shadowy hair with the long dishevelled tresses of
the tree.

Tradition says that Okyo Maruyama was the first Japanese artist who drew
a ghost. The Shogun, having invited him to his palace, said: 'Make a
picture of a ghost for me.' Okyo promised to do so; but he was puzzled
how to execute the order satisfactorily. A few days later, hearing that
one of his aunts was very ill, he visited her. She was so emaciated that
she looked like one already long dead. As he watched by her bedside, a
ghastly inspiration came to him: he drew the fleshless face and long
dishevelled hair, and created from that hasty sketch a ghost that
surpassed all the Shogun's expectations. Afterwards Okyo became very
famous as a painter of ghosts.

Japanese ghosts are always represented as diaphanous, and
preternaturally tall--only the upper part of the figure being distinctly
outlined, and the lower part fading utterly away. As the Japanese say,
'a ghost has no feet': its appearance is like an exhalation, which
becomes visible only at a certain distance above the ground; and it
wavers arid lengthens and undulates in the conceptions of artists, like
a vapour moved by wind. Occasionally phantom women figure in picture.-
books in the likeness of living women; but these are riot true ghosts.
They are fox-women or other goblins; and their supernatural character is
suggested by a peculiar expression of the eyes arid a certain impossible
elfish grace.

Little children in Japan, like little children in all countries keenly
enjoy the pleasure of fear; and they have many games in which such
pleasure forms the chief attraction. Among these is 0-bake-goto, or
Ghost-play. Some nurse-girl or elder sister loosens her hair in front,
so as to let it fall over her face, and pursues the little folk with
moans and weird gestures, miming all the attitudes of the ghosts of the

Sec. 8

As the hair of the Japanese woman is her richest ornament, it is of all
her possessions that which she would most suffer to lose; and in other
days the man too manly to kill an erring wife deemed it vengeance enough
to turn her away with all her hair shorn off. Only the greatest faith or
the deepest love can prompt a woman to the voluntary sacrifice of her
entire chevelure, though partial sacrifices, offerings of one or two
long thick cuttings, may be seen suspended before many an Izumo shrine.

What faith can do in the way of such sacrifice, he best knows who has
seen the great cables, woven of women's hair, that hang in the vast
Hongwanji temple at Kyoto. And love is stronger than faith, though much
less demonstrative. According to ancient custom a wife bereaved
sacrifices a portion of her hair to be placed in the coffin of her
husband, and buried with him. The quantity is not fixed: in the majority
of cases it is very small, so that the appearance of the coiffure is
thereby nowise affected. But she who resolves to remain for ever loyal
to the memory of the lost yields up all. With her own hand she cuts off
her hair, and lays the whole glossy sacrifice--emblem of her youth and
beauty--upon the knees of the dead.

It is never suffered to grow again.

Chapter Four From the Diary of an English Teacher

Sec. 1

MATSUE, September 2, 1890.

I AM under contract to serve as English teacher in the Jinjo Chugakko,
or Ordinary Middle School, and also in the ShihanGakko, or Normal
School, of Matsue, Izumo, for the term of one year.

The Jinjo Chugakko is an immense two-story wooden building in European
style, painted a dark grey-blue. It has accommodations for nearly three
hundred day scholars. It is situated in one corner of a great square of
ground, bounded on two sides by canals, and on the other two by very
quiet streets. This site is very near the ancient castle.

The Normal School is a much larger building occupying the opposite angle
of the square. It is also much handsomer, is painted snowy white, and
has a little cupola upon its summit. There are only about one hundred
and fifty students in the Shihan-Gakko, but they are boarders.

Between these two schools are other educational buildings, which I shall
learn more about later.

It is my first day at the schools. Nishida Sentaro, the Japanese teacher
of English, has taken me through the buildings, introduced me to the
Directors, and to all my future colleagues, given me all necessary
instructions about hours and about textbooks, and furnished my desk with
all things necessary. Before teaching begins, however, I must be
introduced to the Governor of the Province, Koteda Yasusada, with whom
my contract has been made, through the medium of his secretary. So
Nishida leads the way to the Kencho, or Prefectural office, situated in
another foreign-looking edifice across the street.

We enter it, ascend a wide stairway, and enter a spacious .room carpeted
in European fashion--a room with bay windows and cushioned chairs. One
person is seated at a small round table, and about him are standing half
a dozen others: all are in full Japanese costume, ceremonial costume--
splendid silken hakama, or Chinese trousers, silken robes, silken haori
or overdress, marked with their mon or family crests: rich and dignified
attire which makes me ashamed of my commonplace Western garb. These are
officials of the Kencho, and teachers: the person seated is the
Governor. He rises to greet me, gives me the hand-grasp of a giant: and
as I look into his eyes, I feel I shall love that man to the day of my
death. A face fresh and frank as a boy's, expressing much placid force
and large-hearted kindness--all the calm of a Buddha. Beside him, the
other officials look very small: indeed the first impression of him is
that of a man of another race. While I am wondering whether the old
Japanese heroes were cast in a similar mould, he signs to me to take a
seat, and questions my guide in a mellow basso. There is a charm in the
fluent depth of the voice pleasantly confirming the idea suggested by
the face. An attendant brings tea.

'The Governor asks,' interprets Nishida, 'if you know the old history of

I reply that I have read the Kojiki, translated by Professor
Chamberlain, and have therefore some knowledge of the story of Japan's
most ancient province. Some converse in Japanese follows. Nishida tells
the Governor that I came to Japan to study the ancient religion and
customs, and that I am particularly interested in Shinto and the
traditions of Izumo. The Governor suggests that I make visits to the
celebrated shrines of Kitzuki, Yaegaki, and Kumano, and then asks:

'Does he know the tradition of the origin of the clapping of hands
before a Shinto shrine?'

I reply in the negative; and the Governor says the tradition is given in
a commentary upon the Kojiki.

'It is in the thirty-second section of the fourteenth volume, where it
is written that Ya-he-Koto-Shiro-nushi-no-Kami clapped his hands.'

I thank the Governor for his kind suggestions and his citation. After a
brief silence I am graciously dismissed with another genuine hand-grasp;
and we return to the school.

Sec. 2

I have been teaching for three hours in the Middle School, and teaching
Japanese boys turns out to be a much more agreeable task than I had
imagined. Each class has been so well prepared for me beforehand by
Nishida that my utter ignorance of Japanese makes no difficulty in
regard to teaching: moreover, although the lads cannot understand my
words always when I speak, they can understand whatever I write upon the
blackboard with chalk. Most of them have already been studying English
from childhood, with Japanese teachers. All are wonderfully docile' and
patient. According to old custom, when the teacher enters, the whole
class rises and bows to him. He returns the bow, and calls the roll.

Nishida is only too kind. He helps me in every way he possibly can, and
is constantly regretting that he cannot help me more. There are, of
course, some difficulties to overcome. For instance, it will take me a
very, very long time to learn the names of the boys--most of which names
I cannot even pronounce, with the class-roll before me. And although the
names of the different classes have been painted upon the doors of their
respective rooms in English letters, for the benefit of the foreign
teacher, it will take me some weeks at least to become quite familiar
with them. For the time being Nishida always guides me to the rooms. He
also shows me the way, through long corridors, to the Normal School, and
introduces me to the teacher Nakayama who is to act there as my guide.

I have been engaged to teach only four times a week at the Normal
School; but I am furnished there also with a handsome desk in the
teachers' apartment, and am made to feel at home almost immediately.
Nakayama shows me everything of interest in the building before
introducing me to my future pupils. The introduction is pleasant and
novel as a school experience. I am conducted along a corridor, and
ushered into a large luminous whitewashed room full of young men in dark
blue military uniform. Each sits at a very small desk, sup-ported by a
single leg, with three feet. At the end of the room is a platform with a
high desk and a chair for the teacher. As I take my place at the desk, a
voice rings out in English: 'Stand up!' And all rise with a springy
movement as if moved by machinery. 'Bow down!' the same voice again
commands--the voice of a young student wearing a captain's stripes upon
his sleeve; and all salute me. I bow in return; we take our seats; and
the lesson begins.

All teachers at the Normal School are saluted in the same military
fashion before each class-hour--only the command is given in Japanese.
For my sake only, it is given in English.

Sec. 3

September 22, 1890.

The Normal School is a State institution. Students are admitted upon
examination and production of testimony as to good character; but the
number is, of course, limited. The young men pay no fees, no boarding
money, nothing even for books, college-outfits, or wearing apparel. They
are lodged, clothed, fed, and educated by the State; but they are
required in return, after their graduation, to serve the State as
teachers for the space of five years. Admission, however, by no means
assures graduation. There are three or four examinations each year; and
the students who fail to obtain a certain high average of examination
marks must leave the school, however exemplary their conduct or earnest
their study. No leniency can be shown where the educational needs of the
State are concerned, and these call for natural ability and a high
standard of its proof.

The discipline is military and severe. Indeed, it is so thorough that
the graduate of a Normal School is exempted by military law from more
than a year's service in the army: he leaves college a trained soldier.
Deportment is also a requisite: special marks are given for it; and
however gawky a freshman may prove at the time of his admission, he
cannot remain so. A spirit of manliness is cultivated, which excludes
roughness but develops self-reliance and self-control. The student is
required, when speaking, to look his teacher in the face, and to utter
his words not only distinctly, but sonorously. Demeanour in class is
partly enforced by the class-room fittings themselves. The tiny tables
are too narrow to allow of being used as supports for the elbows; the
seats have no backs against which to lean, and the student must hold
himself rigidly erect as he studies. He must also keep himself
faultlessly neat and clean. Whenever and wherever he encounters one of
his teachers he must halt, bring his feet together, draw himself erect,
and give the military salute. And this is done with a swift grace
difficult to describe.

The demeanour of a class during study hours is if anything too
faultless. Never a whisper is heard; never is a head raised from the
book without permission. But when the teacher addresses a student by
name, the youth rises instantly, and replies in a tone of such vigour as
would seem to unaccustomed ears almost startling by contrast with the
stillness and self-repression of the others.

The female department of the Normal School, where about fifty young
women are being trained as teachers, is a separate two-story quadrangle
of buildings, large, airy, and so situated, together with its gardens,
as to be totally isolated from all other buildings and invisible from
the street. The girls are not only taught European science by the most
advanced methods, but are trained as well in Japanese arts--the arts of
embroidery, of decoration, of painting, and of arranging flowers.
European drawing is also taught, and beautifully taught, not only here,
but in all the schools. It is taught, however, in combination with
Japanese methods; and the results of this blending may certainly be
expected to have some charming influence upon future art-production. The
average capacity of the Japanese student in drawing is, I think, at
least fifty per cent, higher than that of European students. The soul of
the race is essentially artistic; and the extremely difficult art of
learning to write the Chinese characters, in which all are trained from
early childhood, has already disciplined the hand and the eye to a
marvellous degree--a degree undreamed of in the Occident--long before
the drawing-master begins his lessons of perspective.

Attached to the great Normal School, and connected by a corridor with
the Jinjo Chugakko likewise, is a large elementary school for little
boys and girls: its teachers are male and female students of the
graduating classes, who are thus practically trained for their
profession before entering the service of the State. Nothing could be
more interesting as an educational spectacle to any sympathetic
foreigner than some of this elementary teaching. In the first room which
I visit a class of very little girls and boys--some as quaintly pretty
as their own dolls--are bending at their desks over sheets of coal-black
paper which you would think they were trying to make still blacker by
energetic use of writing-brushes and what we call Indian-ink. They are
really learning to write Chinese and Japanese characters, stroke by
stroke. Until one stroke has been well learned, they are not suffered to
attempt another--much less a combination. Long before the first lesson
is thoroughly mastered, the white paper has become all evenly black
under the multitude of tyro brush-strokes. But the same sheet is still
used; for the wet ink makes a yet blacker mark upon the dry, so that it
can easily be seen.

In a room adjoining, I see another child-class learning to use scissors
--Japanese scissors, which, being formed in one piece, shaped something
like the letter U, are much less easy to manage than ours. The little
folk are being taught to cut out patterns, and shapes of special objects
or symbols to be studied. Flower-forms are the most ordinary patterns;
sometimes certain ideographs are given as subjects.

And in another room a third small class is learning to sing; the teacher
writing the music notes (do, re, mi) with chalk upon a blackboard, and
accompanying the song with an accordion. The little ones have learned
the Japanese national anthem (Kimi ga yo wa) and two native songs set to
Scotch airs--one of which calls back to me, even in this remote corner
of the Orient, many a charming memory: Auld Lang Syne.

No uniform is worn in this elementary school: all are in Japanese dress
--the boys in dark blue kimono, the little girls in robes of all tints,
radiant as butterflies. But in addition to their robes, the girls wear
hakama, [1] and these are of a vivid, warm sky-blue.

Between the hours of teaching, ten minutes are allowed for play or
rest. The little boys play at Demon-Shadows or at blind-man's-buff or at
some other funny game: they laugh, leap, shout, race, and wrestle, but,
unlike European children, never quarrel or fight. As for the little
girls, they get by themselves, and either play at hand-ball, or form
into circles to play at some round game, accompanied by song.
Indescribably soft and sweet the chorus of those little voices in the

  Kango-kango sho-ya,
  Naka yoni sho-ya,
  Don-don to kunde
  Jizo-San no midzu wo
  Matsuba no midzu irete,
  Makkuri kadso. [2]

I notice that the young men, as well as the young women, who teach these
little folk, are extremely tender to their charges. A child whose kimono
is out of order, or dirtied by play, is taken aside and brushed and
arranged as carefully as by an elder brother.

Besides being trained for their future profession by teaching the
children of the elementary school, the girl students of the Shihan-Gakko
are also trained to teach in the neighbouring kindergarten. A delightful
kindergarten it is, with big cheerful sunny rooms, where stocks of the
most ingenious educational toys are piled upon shelves for daily use.

Since the above was written I have had two years' experience as a
teacher in various large Japanese schools; and I have never had personal
knowledge of any serious quarrel between students, and have never even
heard of a fight among my pupils. And I have taught some eight hundred
boys and young men.

Sec. 4

October 1 1890. Nevertheless I am destined to see little of the Normal
School. Strictly speaking, I do not belong to its staff: my services
being only lent by the Middle School, to which I give most of my time. I
see the Normal School students in their class-rooms only, for they are
not allowed to go out to visit their teachers' homes in the town. So I
can never hope to become as familiar with them as with the students of
the Chugakko, who are beginning to call me 'Teacher' instead of 'Sir,'
and to treat me as a sort of elder brother. (I objected to the word
'master,' for in Japan the teacher has no need of being masterful.) And
I feel less at home in the large, bright, comfortable apartments of the
Normal School teachers than in our dingy, chilly teachers' room at the
Chugakko, where my desk is next to that of Nishida.

On the walls there are maps, crowded with Japanese ideographs; a few
large charts representing zoological facts in the light of evolutional
science; and an immense frame filled with little black lacquered wooden
tablets, so neatly fitted together that the entire surface is uniform as
that of a blackboard. On these are written, or rather painted, in white,
names of teachers, subjects, classes, and order of teaching hours; and
by the ingenious tablet arrangement any change of hours can be
represented by simply changing the places of the tablets. As all this is
written in Chinese and Japanese characters, it remains to me a mystery,
except in so far as the general plan and purpose are concerned. I have
learned only to recognize the letters of my own name, and the simpler
form of numerals.

On every teacher's desk there is a small hibachi of glazed blue-and-
white ware, containing a few lumps of glowing charcoal in a bed of
ashes. During the brief intervals between classes each teacher smokes
his tiny Japanese pipe of brass, iron, or silver. The hibachi and a cup
of hot tea are our consolations for the fatigues of the class-room.

Nishida and one or two other teachers know a good deal of English, and
we chat together sometimes between classes. But more often no one
speaks. All are tired after the teaching hour, and prefer to smoke in
silence. At such times the only sounds within the room are the ticking
of the clock, and the sharp clang of the little pipes being rapped upon
the edges of the hibachi to empty out the ashes.

Sec. 5

October 15, 1890. To-day I witnessed the annual athletic contests (undo-
kwai) of all the schools in Shimane Ken. These games were celebrated in
the broad castle grounds of Ninomaru. Yesterday a circular race-track
had been staked off, hurdles erected for leaping, thousands of wooden
seats prepared for invited or privileged spectators, and a grand lodge
built for the Governor, all before sunset. The place looked like a vast
circus, with its tiers of plank seats rising one above the other, and
the Governor's lodge magnificent with wreaths and flags. School children
from all the villages and towns within twenty-five miles had arrived in
surprising multitude. Nearly six thousand boys and girls were entered to
take part in the contests. Their parents and relatives and teachers made
an imposing assembly upon the benches and within the gates. And on the
ramparts overlooking the huge inclosure a much larger crowd had
gathered, representing perhaps one-third of the population of the city.

The signal to begin or to end a contest was a pistol-shot. Four
different kinds of games were performed in different parts of the
grounds at the same time, as there was room enough for an army; and
prizes were awarded to the winners of each contest by the hand of the
Governor himself.

There were races between the best runners in each class of the different
schools; and the best runner of all proved to be Sakane, of our own
fifth class, who came in first by nearly forty yards without seeming
even to make an effort. He is our champion athlete, and as good as he is
strong--so that it made me very happy to see him with his arms full of
prize books. He won also a fencing contest decided by the breaking of a
little earthenware saucer tied to the left arm of each combatant. And he
also won a leaping match between our older boys.

But many hundreds of other winners there were too, and many hundreds of
prizes were given away. There were races in which the runners were tied
together in pairs, the left leg of one to the right leg of the other.
There were equally funny races, the winning of which depended on the
runner's ability not only to run, but to crawl, to climb, to vault, and
to jump alternately. There were races also for the little girls--pretty
as butterflies they seemed in their sky-blue hakama and many coloured
robes--races in which the contestants had each to pick up as they ran
three balls of three different colours out of a number scattered over
the turf. Besides this, the little girls had what is called a flag-race,
and a contest with battledores and shuttlecocks.

Then came the tug-of-war. A magnificent tug-of-war, too--one hundred
students at one end of a rope, and another hundred at the other. But the
most wonderful spectacles of the day were the dumb-bell exercises. Six
thousand boys and girls, massed in ranks about five hundred deep; six
thousand pairs of arms rising and falling exactly together; six thousand
pairs of sandalled feet advancing or retreating together, at the signal
of the masters of gymnastics, directing all from the tops of various
little wooden towers; six thousand voices chanting at once the 'one,
two, three,' of the dumb-bell drill: 'Ichi, ni,--san, shi,--go, roku,--
shichi, hachi.'

Last came the curious game called 'Taking the Castle.' Two models of
Japanese towers, about fifteen feet high, made with paper stretched over
a framework of bamboo, were set up, one at each end of the field. Inside
the castles an inflammable liquid had been placed in open vessels, so
that if the vessels were overturned the whole fabric would take fire.
The boys, divided into two parties, bombarded the castles with wooden
balls, which passed easily through the paper walls; and in a short time
both models were making a glorious blaze. Of course the party whose
castle was the first to blaze lost the game.

The games began at eight o'clock in the morning, and at five in the
evening came to an end. Then at a signal fully ten thousand voices
pealed out the superb national anthem, 'Kimi ga yo, and concluded it
with three cheers for their Imperial Majesties, the Emperor and Empress
of Japan.

The Japanese do not shout or roar as we do when we cheer. They chant.
Each long cry is like the opening tone of an immense musical chorus:

Sec. 6

It is no small surprise to observe how botany, geology, and other
sciences are daily taught even in this remotest part of Old Japan. Plant
physiology and the nature of vegetable tissues are studied under
excellent microscopes, and in their relations to chemistry; and at
regular intervals the instructor leads his classes into the country to
illustrate the lessons of the term by examples taken from the flora of
their native place. Agriculture, taught by a graduate of the famous
Agricultural School at Sapporo, is practically illustrated upon farms
purchased and maintained by the schools for purely educational ends.
Each series of lessons in geology is supplemented by visits to the
mountains about the lake, or to the tremendous cliffs of the coast,
where the students are taught to familiarize themselves with forms of
stratification and the visible history of rocks. The basin of the lake,
and the country about Matsue, is physiographically studied, after the
plans of instruction laid down in Huxley's excellent manual. Natural
History, too, is taught according to the latest and best methods, and
with the help of the microscope. The results of such teaching are
sometimes surprising. I know of one student, a lad of only sixteen, who
voluntarily collected and classified more than two hundred varieties of
marine plants for a Tokyo professor. Another, a youth of seventeen,
wrote down for me in my notebook, without a work of reference at hand,
and, as I afterwards discovered, almost without an omission or error, a
scientific list of all the butterflies to be found in the neighbourhood
of the city.

Sec. 7

Through the Minister of Public Instruction, His Imperial Majesty has
sent to all the great public schools of the Empire a letter bearing date
of the thirteenth day of the tenth month of the twenty-third year of
Meiji. And the students and teachers of the various schools assemble to
hear the reading of the Imperial Words on Education.

At eight o'clock we of the Middle School are all waiting in our own
assembly hall for the coming of the Governor, who will read the
Emperor's letter in the various schools.

We wait but a little while. Then the Governor comes with all the
officers of the Kencho and the chief men of the city. We rise to salute
him: then the national anthem is sung.

Then the Governor, ascending the platform, produces the Imperial
Missive--a scroll of Chinese manuscript sheathed in silk. He withdraws
it slowly from its woven envelope, lifts it reverentially to his
forehead, unrolls it, lifts it again to his forehead, and after a
moment's dignified pause begins in that clear deep voice of his to read
the melodious syllables after the ancient way, which is like a chant:

'CHO-KU-G U. Chin omommiru ni waga koso koso kuni wo....

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the Governor and the Head-master speak a few words--dwelling upon
the full significance of His Imperial Majesty's august commands, and
exhorting all to remember and to obey them to the uttermost.

After which the students have a holiday, to enable them the better to
recollect what they have heard.

Sec. 8

All teaching in the modern Japanese system of education is conducted
with the utmost kindness and gentleness. The teacher is a teacher only:
he is not, in the English sense of mastery, a master. He stands to his
pupils in the relation of an elder brother. He never tries to impose his
will upon them: he never scolds, he seldom criticizes, he scarcely ever
punishes. No Japanese teacher ever strikes a pupil: such an act would
cost him his post at once. He never loses his temper: to do so would
disgrace him in the eyes of his boys and in the judgment of his
colleagues. Practically speaking, there is no punishment in Japanese
schools. Sometimes very mischievous lads are kept in the schoolhouse
during recreation time; yet even this light penalty is not inflicted
directly by the teacher, but by the director of the school on complaint
of the teacher. The purpose in such cases is not to inflict pain by
deprivation of enjoyment, but to give public illustration of a fault;
and in the great majority of instances, consciousness of the fault thus
brought home to a lad before his comrades is quite enough to prevent its
repetition. No such cruel punition as that of forcing a dull pupil to
learn an additional task, or of sentencing him to strain his eyes
copying four or five hundred lines, is ever dreamed of. Nor would such
forms of punishment, in the present state of things, be long tolerated
by the pupils themselves. The general policy of the educational
authorities everywhere throughout the empire is to get rid of students
who cannot be perfectly well managed without punishment; and expulsions,
nevertheless, are rare.

I often see a pretty spectacle on my way home from the school, when I
take the short cut through the castle grounds. A class of about thirty
little boys, in kimono and sandals, bareheaded, being taught to march
and to sing by a handsome young teacher, also in Japanese dress. While
they sing, they are drawn up in line; and keep time with their little
bare feet. The teacher has a pleasant high clear tenor: he stands at one
end of the rank and sings a single line of the song. Then all the
children sing it after him. Then he sings a second line, and they repeat
it. If any mistakes are made, they have to sing the verse again.

It is the Song of Kusunoki Masashige, noblest of Japanese heroes and

Sec. 9

I have said that severity on the part of teachers would scarcely be
tolerated by the students themselves--a fact which may sound strange to
English or American ears. Tom Brown's school does not exist in Japan;
the ordinary public school much more resembles the ideal Italian
institution so charmingly painted for us in the Cuore of De Amicis.
Japanese students furthermore claim and enjoy an independence contrary
to all Occidental ideas of disciplinary necessity. In the Occident the
master expels the pupil. In Japan it happens quite as often that the
pupil expels the master. Each public school is an earnest, spirited
little republic, to which director and teachers stand only in the
relation of president and cabinet. They are indeed appointed by the
prefectural government upon recommendation by the Educational Bureau at
the capital; but in actual practice they maintain their positions by
virtue of their capacity and personal character as estimated by their
students, and are likely to be deposed by a revolutionary movement
whenever found wanting. It has been alleged that the students frequently
abuse their power. But this allegation has been made by European
residents, strongly prejudiced in favour of masterful English ways of
discipline. (I recollect that an English Yokohama paper, in this
connection, advocated the introduction of the birch.) My own
observations have convinced me, as larger experience has convinced some
others, that in most instances of pupils rebelling against a teacher,
reason is upon their side. They will rarely insult a teacher whom they
dislike, or cause any disturbance in his class: they will simply refuse
to attend school until he be removed. Personal feeling may often be a
secondary, but it is seldom, so far as I have been able to learn, the
primary cause for such a demand. A teacher whose manners are
unsympathetic, or even positively disagreeable, will be nevertheless
obeyed and revered while his students remain persuaded of his capacity
as a teacher, and his sense of justice; and they are as keen to discern
ability as they are to detect partiality. And, on the other hand, an
amiable disposition alone will never atone with them either for want of
knowledge or for want of skill to impart it. I knew one case, in a
neighbouring public school, of a demand by the students for the removal
of their professor of chemistry. In making their complaint, they frankly
declared: 'We like him. He is kind to all of us; he does the best he
can. But he does not know enough to teach us as we wish to be taught.
lie cannot answer our questions. He cannot explain the experiments which
he shows us. Our former teacher could do all these things. We must have
another teacher.' Investigation proved that the lads were quite right.
The young teacher had graduated at the university; he had come well
recommended: but he had no thorough knowledge of the science which he
undertook to impart, and no experience as a teacher. The instructor's
success in Japan is not guaranteed by a degree, but by his practical
knowledge and his capacity to communicate it simply and thoroughly.

Sec. 10

November 3, 1890 To-day is the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor. It
is a public holiday throughout Japan; and there will be no teaching this
morning. But at eight o'clock all the students and instructors enter the
great assembly hall of the Jinjo Chugakko to honour the anniversary of
His Majesty's august birth.

On the platform of the assembly hall a table, covered with dark silk,
has been placed; and upon this table the portraits of Their Imperial
Majesties, the Emperor and the Empress of Japan, stand side by side
upright, framed in gold. The alcove above the platform has been
decorated with flags and wreaths.

Presently the Governor enters, looking like a French general in his
gold-embroidered uniform of office, and followed by the Mayor of the
city, the Chief Military Officer, the Chief of Police, and all the
officials of the provincial government. These take their places in
silence to left and right of the plat form. Then the school organ
suddenly rolls out the slow, solemn, beautiful national anthem; and all
present chant those ancient syllables, made sacred by the reverential
love of a century of generations:

  Ki-mi ga-a yo-o wa
  Chi-yo ni-i-i ya-chi-yo ni sa-za-red
  I-wa o to na-ri-te
  Ko-ke no
  Mu-u su-u ma-a-a-de [4]

The anthem ceases. The Governor advances with a slow dignified step from
the right side of the apartment to the centre of the open space before
the platform and the portraits of Their Majesties, turns his face to
them, and bows profoundly. Then he takes three steps forward toward the
platform, and halts, and bows again. Then he takes three more steps
forward, and bows still more profoundly. Then he retires, walking
backward six steps, and bows once more. Then he returns to his place.

After this the teachers, by parties of six, perform the same beautiful
ceremony. When all have saluted the portrait of His Imperial Majesty,
the Governor ascends the platform and makes a few eloquent remarks to
the students about their duty to their Emperor, to their country, and to
their teachers. Then the anthem is sung again; and all disperse to amuse
themselves for the rest of the day.

Sec. 11

March 1 1891. The majority of the students of the Jinjo Chugakko are
day-scholars only (externes, as we would say in France): they go to
school in the morning, take their noon meal at home, and return at one
o'clock to attend the brief afternoon classes. All the city students
live with their own families; but there are many boys from remote
country districts who have no city relatives, and for such the school
furnishes boarding-houses, where a wholesome moral discipline is
maintained by special masters. They are free, however, if they have
sufficient means, to choose another boarding-house (provided it be a
respectable one), or to find quarters in some good family; but few adopt
either course.

I doubt whether in any other country the cost of education--education of
the most excellent and advanced kind--is so little as in Japan. The
Izumo student is able to live at a figure so far below the Occidental
idea of necessary expenditure that the mere statement of it can scarcely
fail to surprise the reader. A sum equal in American money to about
twenty dollars supplies him with board and lodging for one year. The
whole of his expenses, including school fees, are about seven dollars a
month. For his room and three ample meals a day he pays every four weeks
only one yen eighty-five sen--not much more than a dollar and a half in
American currency. If very, very poor, he will not be obliged to wear a
uniform; but nearly all students of the higher classes do wear uniforms,
as the cost of a complete uniform, including cap and shoes of leather,
is only about three and a half yen for the cheaper quality. Those who do
not wear leather shoes, however, are required, while in the school, to
exchange their noisy wooden geta for zori or light straw sandals.

Sec. 12

But the mental education so admirably imparted in an ordinary middle
school is not, after all, so cheaply acquired by the student as might be
imagined from the cost of living and the low rate of school fees. For
Nature exacts a heavier school fee, and rigidly collects her debt--in
human life.

To understand why, one should remember that the modern knowledge which
the modern Izumo student must acquire upon a diet of boiled rice and
bean-curd was discovered, developed, and synthetised by minds
strengthened upon a costly diet of flesh. National underfeeding offers
the most cruel problem which the educators of Japan must solve in order
that she may become fully able to assimilate the civilization we have
thrust upon her. As Herbert Spencer has pointed out, the degree of human
energy, physical or intellectual, must depend upon the nutritiveness of
food; and history shows that the well-fed races have been the energetic
and the dominant. Perhaps mind will rule in the future of nations; but
mind is a mode of force, and must be fed--through the stomach. The
thoughts that have shaken the world were never framed upon bread and
water: they were created by beefsteak and mutton-chops, by ham and eggs,
by pork and puddings, and were stimulated by generous wines, strong
ales, and strong coffee. And science also teaches us that the growing
child or youth requires an even more nutritious diet than the adult; and
that the student especially needs strong nourishment to repair the
physical waste involved by brain-exertion.

And what is the waste entailed upon the Japanese schoolboy's system by
study? It is certainly greater than that which the system of the
European or American student must suffer at the same period of life.
Seven years of study are required to give the Japanese youth merely the
necessary knowledge of his own triple system of ideographs--or, in less
accurate but plainer speech, the enormous alphabet of his native
literature. That literature, also, he must study, and the art of two
forms of his language--the written and the spoken: likewise, of course,
he must learn native history and native morals. Besides these Oriental
studies, his course includes foreign history, geography, arithmetic,
astronomy, physics, geometry, natural history, agriculture, chemistry,
drawing, and mathematics. Worst of all, he must learn English--a
language of which the difficulty to the Japanese cannot be even faintly
imagined by anyone unfamiliar with the construction of the native
tongue--a language so different from his own that the very simplest
Japanese phrase cannot be intelligibly rendered into English by a
literal translation of the words or even the form of the thought. And he
must learn all this upon a diet no English boy could live on; and always
thinly clad in his poor cotton dress without even a fire in his
schoolroom during the terrible winter, only a hibachi containing a few
lumps of glowing charcoal in a bed of ashes. [5] Is it to be wondered at
that even those Japanese students who pass successfully 'through all the
educational courses the Empire can open to them can only in rare
instances show results of their long training as large as those
manifested by students of the West? Better conditions are coming; but at
present, under the new strain, young bodies and young minds too often
give way. And those who break down are not the dullards, but the pride
of schools, the captains of classes.

Sec. 13

Yet, so far as the finances of the schools allow, everything possible is
done to make the students both healthy and happy--to furnish them with
ample opportunities both for physical exercise and for mental enjoyment.
Though the course of study is severe, the hours are not long: and one of
the daily five is devoted to military drill--made more interesting to
the lads by the use of real rifles and bayonets, furnished by
Government. There is a fine gymnastic ground near the school, furnished
with trapezes, parallel bars, vaulting horses, etc.; and there are two
masters of gymnastics attached to the Middle School alone. There are
row-boats, in which the boys can take their pleasure on the beautiful
lake whenever the weather permits. There is an excellent fencing-school
conducted by the Governor himself, who, although so heavy a man, is
reckoned one of the best fencers of his own generation. The style taught
is the old one, requiring the use of both hands to wield the sword;
thrusting is little attempted, it is nearly all heavy slashing. The
foils are made of long splinters of bamboo tied together so as to form
something resembling elongated fasces: masks and wadded coats protect
the head and body, for the blows given are heavy. This sort of fencing
requires considerable agility, and gives more active exercise than our
severer Western styles. Yet another form of healthy exercise consists of
long journeys on foot to famous places. Special holidays are allowed for
these. The students march out of town in military order, accompanied by
some of their favourite teachers, and perhaps a servant to cook for
them. Thus they may travel for a hundred, or even a hundred and fifty
miles and back; but if the journey is to be a very long one, only the
strong lads are allowed to go. They walk in waraji, the true straw
sandal, closely tied to the naked foot, which it leaves perfectly supple
and free, without blistering or producing corns. They sleep at night in
Buddhist temples; and their cooking is done in the open fields, like
that of soldiers in camp.

For those little inclined to such sturdy exercise there is a school
library which is growing every year. There is also a monthly school
magazine, edited and published by the boys. And there is a Students'
Society, at whose regular meetings debates are held upon all conceivable
subjects of interest to students.

Sec. 14

April 4, 1891. The students of the third, fourth, and fifth year classes
write for me once a week brief English compositions upon easy themes
which I select for them. As a rule the themes are Japanese. Considering
the immense difficulty of the English language to Japanese students, the
ability of some of my boys to express their thoughts in it is
astonishing. Their compositions have also another interest for me as
revelations, not of individual character, but of national sentiment, or
of aggregate sentiment of some sort or other. What seems to me most
surprising in the compositions of the average Japanese student is that
they have no personal cachet at all. Even the handwriting of twenty
English compositions will be found to have a curious family resemblance;
and striking exceptions are too few to affect the rule. Here is one of
the best compositions on my table, by a student at the head of his
class. Only a few idiomatic errors have been corrected:

THE MOON 'The Moon appears melancholy to those who are sad, and joyous
to those who are happy. The Moon makes memories of home come to those
who travel, and creates homesickness. So when the Emperor Godaigo,
having been banished to Oki by the traitor Hojo, beheld the moonlight
upon the seashore, he cried out, "The Moon is heartless!"

'The sight of the Moon makes an immeasurable feeling in our hearts when
we look up at it through the clear air of a beauteous night.

'Our hearts ought to be pure and calm like the light of the Moon.

'Poets often compare the Moon to a Japanese [metal] mirror (kagami); and
indeed its shape is the same when it is full.

'The refined man amuses himself with the Moon. He seeks some house
looking out upon water, to watch the Moon, and to make verses about it.

'The best places from which to see the Moon are Tsukigashi, and the
mountain Obasute.

'The light of the Moon shines alike upon foul and pure, upon high and
low. That beautiful Lamp is neither yours nor mine, but everybody's.

'When we look at the Moon we should remember that its waxing and its
waning are the signs of the truth that the culmination of all things is
likewise the beginning of their decline.'

Any person totally unfamiliar with Japanese educational methods might
presume that the foregoing composition shows some original power of
thought and imagination. But this is not the case. I found the same
thoughts and comparisons in thirty other compositions upon the same
subject. Indeed, the compositions of any number of middle-school
students upon the same subject are certain to be very much alike in idea
and sentiment--though they are none the less charming for that. As a
rule the Japanese student shows little originality in the line of
imagination. His imagination was made for him long centuries ago--partly
in China, partly in his native land. From his childhood he is trained to
see and to feel Nature exactly in the manner of those wondrous artists
who, with a few swift brushstrokes, fling down upon a sheet of paper the
colour-sensation of a chilly dawn, a fervid noon, an autumn evening.
Through all his boyhood he is taught to commit to memory the most
beautiful thoughts and comparisons to be found in his ancient native
literature. Every boy has thus learned that the vision of Fuji against
the blue resembles a white half-opened fan, hanging inverted in the sky.
Every boy knows that cherry-trees in full blossom look as if the most
delicate of flushed summer clouds were caught in their branches. Every
boy knows the comparison between the falling of certain leaves on snow
and the casting down of texts upon a sheet of white paper with a brush.
Every boy and girl knows the verses comparing the print of cat's-feet on
snow to plum-flowers, [6] and that comparing the impression of bokkuri
on snow to the Japanese character for the number 'two.' These were
thoughts of old, old poets; and it would be very hard to invent prettier
ones. Artistic power in composition is chiefly shown by the correct
memorising and clever combination of these old thoughts.

And the students have been equally well trained to discover a moral in
almost everything, animate or inanimate. I have tried them with a
hundred subjects--Japanese subjects--for composition; I have never found
them to fail in discovering a moral when the theme was a native one. If
I suggested 'Fire-flies,' they at once approved the topic, and wrote for
me the story of that Chinese student who, being too poor to pay for a
lamp, imprisoned many fireflies in a paper lantern, and thus was able to
obtain light enough to study after dark, and to become eventually a
great scholar. If I said 'Frogs,' they wrote for me the legend of Ono-
no-Tofu, who was persuaded to become a learned celebrity by witnessing
the tireless perseverance of a frog trying to leap up to a willow-
branch. I subjoin a few specimens of the moral ideas which I thus
evoked. I have corrected some common mistakes in the originals, but have
suffered a few singularities to stand:

THE BOTAN 'The botan [Japanese peony] is large and beautiful to see; but
it has a disagreeable smell. This should make us remember that what is
only outwardly beautiful in human society should not attract us. To be
attracted by beauty only may lead us into fearful and fatal misfortune.
The best place to see the botan is the island of Daikonshima in the lake
Nakaumi. There in the season of its flowering all the island is red with
its blossoms. [7]

THE DRAGON 'When the Dragon tries to ride the clouds and come into
heaven there happens immediately a furious storm. When the Dragon dwells
on the ground it is supposed to take the form of a stone or other
object; but when it wants to rise it calls a cloud. Its body is composed
of parts of many animals. It has the eyes of a tiger and the horns of a
deer and the body of a crocodile and the claws of an eagle and two
trunks like the trunk of an elephant. It has a moral. We should try to
be like the dragon, and find out and adopt all the good qualities of

At the close of this essay on the dragon is a note to the teacher,
saying: 'I believe not there is any Dragon. But there are many stories
and curious pictures about Dragon.'

MOSQUITOES 'On summer nights we hear the sound of faint voices; and
little things come and sting our bodies very violently. We call .them
ka--in English "mosquitoes." I think the sting is useful for us, because
if we begin to sleep, the ka shall come and sting us, uttering a small
voice;  then we shall be bringed back to study by the sting.'

The following, by a lad of sixteen, is submitted only as a
characteristic expression of half-formed ideas about a less familiar

EUROPEAN AND JAPANESE CUSTOMS 'Europeans wear very narrow clothes and
they wear shoes always in the house. Japanese wear clothes which are
very lenient and they do not shoe except when they walk out-of-the-door.

'What we think very strange is that in Europe every wife loves her
husband more than her parents. In Nippon there is no wife who more loves
not her parents than her husband.

'And Europeans walk out in the road with their wives, which we utterly
refuse to, except on the festival of Hachiman.

'The Japanese woman is treated by man as a servant, while the European
woman is respected as a master. I think these customs are both bad.

'We think it is very much trouble to treat European ladies; and we do
not know why ladies are so much respected by Europeans.'

Conversation in the class-room about foreign subjects is often equally
amusing and suggestive:

'Teacher, I have been told that if a European and his father and his
wife were all to fall into the sea together, and that he only could
swim, he would try to save his wife first. Would he really?'

'Probably,' I reply.

'But why?'

'One reason is that Europeans consider it a man's duty to help the
weaker first--especially women and children.'

'And does a European love his wife more than his father and mother?'

'Not always--but generally, perhaps, he does.'

'Why, Teacher, according to our ideas that is very immoral.'

'Teacher, how do European women carry their babies?'

'In their arms.'

'Very tiring! And how far can a woman walk carrying a baby in her arms?'

'A strong woman can walk many miles with a child in her arms.'

'But she cannot use her hands while she is carrying a baby that way, can

'Not very well.'

'Then it is a very bad way to carry babies,' etc.

Sec. 15

May 1, 1891. My favourite students often visit me of afternoons. They
first send me their cards, to announce their presence. On being told to
come in they leave their footgear on the doorstep, enter my little
study, prostrate themselves; and we all squat down together on the
floor, which is in all Japanese houses like a soft mattress. The servant
brings zabuton or small cushions to kneel upon, and cakes, and tea.

To sit as the Japanese do requires practice; and some Europeans can
never acquire the habit. To acquire it, indeed, one must become
accustomed to wearing Japanese costume. But once the habit of thus
sitting has been formed, one finds it the most natural and easy of
positions, and assumes it by preference for eating, reading, smoking, or
chatting. It is not to be recommended, perhaps, for writing with a
European pen--as the motion in our Occidental style of writing is from
the supported wrist; but it is the best posture for writing with the
Japanese fude, in using which the whole arm is unsupported, and the
motion from the elbow. After having become habituated to Japanese habits
for more than a year, I must confess that I find it now somewhat irksome
to use a chair.

When we have all greeted each other, and taken our places upon the
kneeling cushions, a little polite silence ensues, which I am the first
to break. Some of the lads speak a good deal of English. They understand
me well when I pronounce every word slowly and distinctly--using simple
phrases, and avoiding idioms. When a word with which they are not
familiar must be used, we refer to a good English-Japanese dictionary,
which gives each vernacular meaning both in the kana and in the Chinese

Usually my young visitors stay a long time, and their stay is rarely
tiresome. Their conversation and their thoughts are of the simplest and
frankest. They do not come to learn: they know that to ask their teacher
to teach out of school would be unjust. They speak chiefly of things
which they think have some particular interest for me. Sometimes they
scarcely speak at all, but appear to sink into a sort of happy reverie.
What they come really for is the quiet pleasure of sympathy. Not an
intellectual sympathy, but the sympathy of pure goodwill: the simple
pleasure of being quite comfortable with a friend. They peep at my books
and pictures; and sometimes they bring books and pictures to show me--
delightfully queer things--family heirlooms which I regret much that I
cannot buy. They also like to look at my garden, and enjoy all that is
in it even more than I. Often they bring me gifts of flowers. Never by
any possible chance are they troublesome, impolite, curious, or even
talkative. Courtesy in its utmost possible exquisiteness--an
exquisiteness of which even the French have no conception--seems natural
to the Izumo boy as the colour of his hair or the tint of his skin. Nor
is he less kind than courteous. To contrive pleasurable surprises for me
is one of the particular delights of my boys; and they either bring or
cause to be brought to the house all sorts of strange things.

Of all the strange or beautiful things which I am thus privileged to
examine, none gives me so much pleasure as a certain wonderful kakemono
of Amida Nyorai. It is rather large picture, and has been borrowed from
a priest that I may see it. The Buddha stands in the attitude of
exhortation, with one, hand uplifted. Behind his head a huge moon makes
an aureole and across the face of that moon stream winding lines of
thinnest cloud. Beneath his feet, like a rolling of smoke, curl heavier
and darker clouds. Merely as a work of colour and design, the thing is a
marvel. But the real wonder of it is not in colour or design at all.
Minute examination reveals the astonishing fact that every shadow and
clouding is formed by a fairy text of Chinese characters so minute that
only a keen eye can discern them; and this text is the entire text of
two famed sutras--the Kwammu-ryjo-kyo and the Amida-kyo--'text no larger
than the limbs of fleas.' And all the strong dark lines of the figure,
such as the seams of the Buddha's robe, are formed by the characters of
the holy invocation of the Shin-shu sect, repeated thousands of times:
'Namu Amida Butsu!' Infinite patience, tireless silent labour of loving
faith, in some dim temple, long ago.

Another day one of my boys persuades his father to let him bring to my
house a wonderful statue of Koshi (Confucius), made, I am told, in
China, toward the close of the period of the Ming dynasty. I am also
assured it is the first time the statue has ever been removed from the
family residence to be shown to anyone. Previously, whoever desired to
pay it reverence had to visit the house. It is truly a beautiful bronze.
The figure of a smiling, bearded old man, with fingers uplifted and lips
apart as if discoursing. He wears quaint Chinese shoes, and his flowing
robes are adorned with the figure of the mystic phoenix. The microscopic
finish of detail seems indeed to reveal the wonderful cunning of a
Chinese hand: each tooth, each hair, looks as though it had been made
the subject of a special study.

Another student conducts me to the home of one of his relatives, that I
may see a cat made of wood, said to have been chiselled by the famed
Hidari Jingoro--a cat crouching and watching, and so life-like that real
cats 'have been known to put up their backs and spit at it.'

Sec. 16

Nevertheless I have a private conviction that some old artists even now
living in Matsue could make a still more wonderful cat. Among these is
the venerable Arakawa Junosuke, who wrought many rare things for the
Daimyo of Izumo in the Tempo era, and whose acquaintance I have been
enabled to make through my school-friends. One evening he brings to my
house something very odd to show me, concealed in his sleeve. It is a
doll: just a small carven and painted head without a body,--the body
being represented by a tiny robe only, attached to the neck. Yet as
Arakawa Junosuke manipulates it, it seems to become alive. The back of
its head is like the back of a very old man's head; but its face is the
face of an amused child, and there is scarcely any forehead nor any
evidence of a thinking disposition. And whatever way the head is turned,
it looks so funny that one cannot help laughing at it. It represents a
kirakubo--what we might call in English 'a jolly old boy,'--one who is
naturally too hearty and too innocent to feel trouble of any sort. It is
not an original, but a model of a very famous original--whose history is
recorded in a faded scroll which Arakawa takes out of his other sleeve,
and which a friend translates for me. This little history throws a
curious light upon the simple-hearted ways of Japanese life and thought
in other centuries:

'Two hundred and sixty years ago this doll was made by a famous maker of
No-masks in the city of Kyoto, for the Emperor Go-midzu-no-O. The
Emperor used to have it placed beside his pillow each night before he
slept, and was very fond of it. And he composed the following poem
concerning it:

  Yo no naka wo
  Kiraku ni kurase
  Nani goto mo
  Omoeba omou
  Omowaneba koso. [8]'

'On the death of the Emperor this doll became the property of Prince
Konoye, in whose family it is said to be still preserved.

'About one hundred and seven years ago, the then Ex-Empress, whose
posthumous name is Sei-Kwa-Mon-Yin, borrowed the doll from Prince
Konoye, and ordered a copy of it to be made. This copy she kept always
beside her, and was very fond of it.

'After the death of the good Empress this doll was given to a lady of
the court, whose family name is not recorded. Afterwards this lady, for
reasons which are not known, cut off her hair and became a Buddhist nun
--taking the name of Shingyo-in.

'And one who knew the Nun Shingyo-in--a man whose name was Kondo-ju-
haku-in-Hokyo--had the honour of receiving the doll as a gift.

'Now I, who write this document, at one time fell sick; and my sickness
was caused by despondency. And my friend Kondo-ju-haku-in-Hokyo, coming
to see me, said: "I have in my house something which will make you
well." And he went home and, presently returning, brought to me this
doll, and lent it to me--putting it by my pillow that I might see it and
laugh at it.

'Afterward, I myself, having called upon the Nun Shingyo-in, whom I now
also have the honour to know, wrote down the history of the doll, and
make a poem thereupon.'

(Dated about ninety years ago: no signature.)

Sec. 17

June 1, 1891 I find among the students a healthy tone of scepticism in
regard to certain forms of popular belief. Scientific education is
rapidly destroying credulity in old superstitions yet current among the
unlettered, and especially among the peasantry--as, for instance, faith
in mamori and ofuda. The outward forms of Buddhism--its images, its
relics, its commoner practices--affect the average student very little.
He is not, as a foreigner may be, interested in iconography, or
religious folklore, or the comparative study of religions; and in nine
cases out of ten he is rather ashamed of the signs and tokens of popular
faith all around him. But the deeper religious sense, which underlies
all symbolism, remains with him; and the Monistic Idea in Buddhism is
being strengthened and expanded, rather than weakened, by the new
education. What is true of the effect of the public schools upon the
lower Buddhism is equally true of its effect upon the lower Shinto.
Shinto the students all sincerely are, or very nearly all; yet not as
fervent worshippers of certain Kami, but as rigid observers of what the
higher Shinto signifies--loyalty, filial piety, obedience to parents,
teachers, and superiors, and respect to ancestors. For Shinto means more
than faith.

When, for the first time, I stood before the shrine of the Great Deity
of Kitzuki, as the first Occidental to whom that privilege had been
accorded, not without a sense of awe there came to me the Sec.  'This is the
Shrine of the Father of a Race; this is the symbolic centre of a
nation's reverence for its past.' And I, too, paid reverence to the
memory of the progenitor of this people.

As I then felt, so feels the intelligent student of the Meiji era whom
education has lifted above the common plane of popular creeds. And
Shinto also means for him--whether he reasons upon the question or not--
all the ethics of the family, and all that spirit of loyalty which has
become so innate that, at the call of duty, life itself ceases to have
value save as an instrument for duty's accomplishment. As yet, this
Orient little needs to reason about the origin of its loftier ethics.
Imagine the musical sense in our own race so developed that a child
could play a complicated instrument so soon as the little fingers gained
sufficient force and flexibility to strike the notes. By some such
comparison only can one obtain a just idea of what inherent religion and
instinctive duty signify in Izumo.

Of the rude and aggressive form of scepticism so common in the Occident,
which is the natural reaction after sudden emancipation from
superstitious belief, I find no trace among my students. But such
sentiment may be found elsewhere--especially in Tokyo--among the
university students, one of whom, upon hearing the tones of a
magnificent temple bell, exclaimed to a friend of mine: 'Is it not a
shame that in this nineteenth century we must still hear such a sound?'

For the benefit of curious travellers, however, I may here take occasion
to observe that to talk Buddhism to Japanese gentlemen of the new school
is in just as bad taste as to talk Christianity at home to men of that
class whom knowledge has placed above creeds and forms. There are, of
course, Japanese scholars willing to aid researches of foreign scholars
in religion or in folk-lore; but these specialists do not undertake to
gratify idle curiosity of the 'globe-trotting' description. I may also
say that the foreigner desirous to learn the religious ideas or
superstitions of the common people must obtain them from the people
themselves--not from the educated classes.

Sec.  18

Among all my favourite students--two or three from each class--I cannot
decide whom I like the best. Each has a particular merit of his own. But
I think the names and faces of those of whom I am about to speak will
longest remain vivid in my remembrance--Ishihara, Otani-Masanobu,
Adzukizawa, Yokogi, Shida.

Ishihara is a samurai a very influential lad in his class because of his
uncommon force of character. Compared with others, he has a somewhat
brusque, independent manner, pleasing, however, by its honest manliness.
He says everything he thinks, and precisely in the tone that he thinks
it, even to the degree of being a little embarrassing sometimes. He does
not hesitate, for example, to find fault with a teacher's method of
explanation, and to insist upon a more lucid one. He has criticized me
more than once; but I never found that he was wrong. We like each other
very much. He often brings me flowers.

One day that he had brought two beautiful sprays of plum-blossoms, he
said to me:

'I saw you bow before our Emperor's picture at the ceremony on the
birthday of His Majesty. You are not like a former English teacher we


'He said we were savages.'


'He said there is nothing respectable except God--his God--and that only
vulgar and ignorant people respect anything else.'

'Where did he come from?'

'He was a Christian clergyman, and said he was an English subject.'

'But if he was an English subject, he was bound to respect Her Majesty
the Queen. He could not even enter the office of a British consul
without removing his hat.'

'I don't know what he did in the country he came from. But that was what
he said. Now we think we should love and honour our Emperor. We think it
is a duty. We think it is a joy. We think it is happiness to be able to
give our lives for our Emperor.  [9] But he said we were only savages--
ignorant savages. What do you think of that?'

'I think, my dear lad, that he himself was a savage--a vulgar, ignorant,
savage bigot. I think it is your highest social duty to honour your
Emperor, to obey his laws, and to be ready to give your blood whenever
he may require it of you for the sake of Japan. I think it is your duty
to respect the gods of your fathers, the religion of your country--even
if you yourself cannot believe all that others believe. And I think,
also, that it is your duty, for your Emperor's sake and for your
country's sake, to resent any such wicked and vulgar language as that
you have told me of, no matter by whom uttered.'

Masanobu visits me seldom and always comes alone. A  slender, handsome
lad, with rather feminine features, reserved and perfectly self-
possessed in manner, refined. He is somewhat serious, does not often
smile; and I never heard him laugh. He has risen to the head of his
class, and appears to remain there without any extraordinary effort.
Much of his leisure time he devotes to botany--collecting and
classifying plants. He is a musician, like all the male members of his
family. He plays a variety of instruments never seen or heard of in the
West, including flutes of marble, flutes of ivory, flutes of bamboo of
wonderful shapes and tones, and that shrill Chinese instrument called
sho--a sort of mouth-organ consisting of seventeen tubes of different
lengths fixed in a silver frame. He first explained to me the uses in
temple music of the taiko and shoko, which are drums; of the flutes
called fei or teki; of the flageolet termed hichiriki; and of the kakko,
which is a little drum shaped like a spool with very narrow waist, On
great Buddhist festivals, Masanobu and his father and his brothers are
the musicians in the temple services, and they play the strange music
called Ojo and Batto--music which at first no Western ear can feel
pleasure in, but which, when often heard, becomes comprehensible, and is
found to possess a weird charm of its own. When Masanobu comes to the
house, it is usually in order to invite me to attend some Buddhist or
Shinto festival (matsuri) which he knows will interest me.

Adzukizawa bears so little resemblance to Masanobu that one might
suppose the two belonged to totally different races. Adzukizawa is
large, raw-boned, heavy-looking, with a face singularly like that of a
North American Indian. His people are not rich; he can afford few
pleasures which cost money, except one--buying books. Even to be able to
do this he works in his leisure hours to earn money. He is a perfect
bookworm, a natural-born researcher, a collector of curious documents, a
haunter of all the queer second-hand stores in Teramachi and other
streets where old manuscripts or prints are on sale as waste paper. He
is an omnivorous reader, and a perpetual borrower of volumes, which he
always returns in perfect condition after having copied what he deemed
of most value to him. But his special delight is philosophy and the
history of philosophers in all countries. He has read various epitomes
of the history of philosophy in the Occident, and everything of modern
philosophy which has been translated into Japanese--including Spencer's
First Principles. I have been able to introduce him to Lewes and John
Fiske--both of which he appreciates,--although the strain of studying
philosophy in English is no small one. Happily he is so strong that no
amount of study is likely to injure his health, and his nerves are tough
as wire. He is quite an ascetic withal. As it is the Japanese custom to
set cakes and tea before visitors, I always have both in readiness, and
an especially fine quality of kwashi, made at Kitzuki, of which the
students are very fond. Adzukizawa alone refuses to taste cakes or
confectionery of any kind, saying: 'As I am the youngest brother, I must
begin to earn my own living soon. I shall have to endure much hardship.
And if I allow myself to like dainties now, I shall only suffer more
later on.' Adzukizawa has seen much of human life and character. He is
naturally observant; and he has managed in some extraordinary way to
learn the history of everybody in Matsue. He has brought me old tattered
prints to prove that the opinions now held by our director are
diametrically opposed to the opinions he advocated fourteen years ago in
a public address. I asked the director about it. He laughed and said,
'Of course that is Adzukizawa!  But he is right: I was very young then.'
And I wonder if Adzukizawa was ever young.

Yokogi, Adzukizawa's dearest friend, is a very rare visitor; for he is
always studying at home. He is always first in his class--the third year
class--while Adzukizawa is fourth. Adzukizawa's account of the beginning
of their acquaintance is this: 'I watched him when he came and saw that
he spoke very little, walked very quickly, and looked straight into
everybody's eyes. So I knew he had a particular character. I like to
know people with a particular character.' Adzukizawa was perfectly
right: under a very gentle exterior, Yokogi has an extremely strong
character. He is the son of a carpenter; and his parents could not
afford to send him to the Middle School. But he had shown such
exceptional qualities while in the Elementary School that a wealthy man
became interested in him, and offered to pay for his education. [10] He
is now the pride of the school. He has a remarkably placid face, with
peculiarly long eyes, and a delicious smile. In class he is always
asking intelligent questions--questions so original that I am sometimes
extremely puzzled how to answer them; and he never ceases to ask until
the explanation is quite satisfactory to himself. He never cares about
the opinion of his comrades if he thinks he is right. On one occasion
when the whole class refused to attend the lectures of a new teacher of
physics, Yokogi alone refused to act with them--arguing that although
the teacher was not all that could be desired, there was no immediate
possibility of his removal, and no just reason for making unhappy a man
who, though unskilled, was sincerely doing his best. Adzukizawa finally
stood by him. These two alone attended the lectures until the remainder
of the students, two weeks later, found that Yokogi's views were
rational. On another occasion when some vulgar proselytism was attempted
by a Christian missionary, Yokogi went boldly to the proselytiser's
house, argued with him on the morality of his effort, and reduced him to
silence. Some of his comrades praised his cleverness in the argument. 'I
am not clever,' he made answer: 'it does not require cleverness to argue
against what is morally wrong; it requires only the knowledge that one
is morally right.' At least such is about the translation of what he
said as told me by Adzukizawa.

Shida, another visitor, is a very delicate, sensitive boy, whose soul is
full of art. He is very skilful at drawing and painting; and he has a
wonderful set of picture-books by the Old Japanese masters. The last
time he came he brought some prints to show me--rare ones--fairy maidens
and ghosts. As I looked at his beautiful pale face and weirdly frail
fingers, I could not help fearing for him,--fearing that he might soon
become a little ghost.

I have not seen him now for more than two months. He has been very, very
ill; and his lungs are so weak that the doctor has forbidden him to
converse. But Adzukizawa has been to visit him, and brings me this
translation of a Japanese letter which the sick boy wrote and pasted
upon the wall above his bed:

'Thou, my Lord-Soul, dost govern me. Thou knowest that I cannot now
govern myself. Deign, I pray thee, to let me be cured speedily. Do not
suffer me to speak much. Make me to obey in all things the command of
the physician.

'This ninth day of the eleventh month of the twenty-fourth year of

'From the sick body of Shida to his Soul.'

Sec. 19

September 4, 1891. The long summer vacation is over; a new school year
begins. There have been many changes. Some of the boys I taught are
dead. Others have graduated and gone away from Matsue for ever. Some
teachers, too, have left the school, and their places have been filled;
and there is a new Director.

And the dear good Governor has gone--been transferred to cold Niigata in
the north-west. It was a promotion. But he had ruled Izumo for seven
years, and everybody loved him, especially, perhaps, the students, who
looked upon him as a father. All the population of the city crowded to
the river to bid him farewell. The streets through which he passed on
his way to take the steamer, the bridge, the wharves, even the roofs
were thronged with multitudes eager to see his face for the last time.
Thousands were weeping. And as the steamer glided from the wharf such a
cry arose--'A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a!' It was intended for a cheer, but it
seemed to me the cry of a whole city sorrowing, and so plaintive that I
hope never to hear such a cry again.

The names and faces of the younger classes are all strange to me.
Doubtless this was why the sensation of my first day's teaching in the
school came back to me with extraordinary vividness when I entered the
class-room of First Division A this morning.

Strangely pleasant is the first sensation of a Japanese class, as you
look over the ranges of young faces before you. There is nothing in them
familiar to inexperienced Western eyes; yet there is an indescribable
pleasant something common to all. Those traits have nothing incisive,
nothing forcible: compared with Occidental faces they seem but 'half-
sketched,' so soft their outlines are--indicating neither aggressiveness
nor shyness, neither eccentricity nor sympathy, neither curiosity nor
indifference. Some, although faces of youths well grown, have a childish
freshness and frankness indescribable; some are as uninteresting as
others are attractive; a few are beautifully feminine. But all are
equally characterized by a singular placidity--expressing neither love
nor hate nor anything save perfect repose and gentleness--like the
dreamy placidity of Buddhist images. At a later day you will no longer
recognise this aspect of passionless composure: with growing
acquaintance each face will become more and more individualised for you
by characteristics before imperceptible. But the recollection of that
first impression will remain with you and the time will come when you
will find, by many varied experiences, how strangely it foreshadowed
something in Japanese character to be fully learned only after years of
familiarity. You will recognize in the memory of that first impression
one glimpse of the race-soul, with its impersonal lovableness and its
impersonal weaknesses--one glimpse of the nature of a life in which the
Occidental, dwelling alone, feels a psychic comfort comparable only to
the nervous relief of suddenly emerging from some stifling atmospheric
pressure into thin, clear, free living air.

Sec. 20

Was it not the eccentric Fourier who wrote about the horrible faces of
'the _civilizés_'? Whoever it was, would have found seeming confirmation
of his physiognomical theory could he have known the effect produced by
the first sight of European faces in the most eastern East. What we are
taught at home to consider handsome, interesting, or characteristic in
physiognomy does not produce the same impression in China or Japan.
Shades of facial expression familiar to us as letters of our own
alphabet are not perceived at all in Western features by these Orientals
at first acquaintance. What they discern at once is the race-
characteristic, not the individuality. The evolutional meaning of the
deep-set Western eye, protruding brow, accipitrine nose, ponderous jaw--
symbols of aggressive force and habit--was revealed to the gentler race
by the same sort of intuition through which a tame animal immediately
comprehends the dangerous nature of the first predatory enemy which it
sees. To Europeans the smooth-featured, slender, low-statured Japanese
seemed like boys; and 'boy' is the term by which the native attendant of
a Yokohama merchant is still called. To Japanese the first red-haired,
rowdy, drunken European sailors seemed fiends, shojo, demons of the sea;
and by the Chinese the Occidentals are still called 'foreign devils.'
The great stature and massive strength and fierce gait of foreigners in
Japan enhanced the strange impression created by their faces. Children
cried for fear on seeing them pass through the streets. And in remoter
districts, Japanese children are still apt to cry at the first sight of
a European or American face.

A lady of Matsue related in my presence this curious souvenir of her
childhood: 'When I was a very little girl,' she said, our daimyo hired a
foreigner to teach the military art. My father and a great many samurai
went to receive the foreigner; and all the people lined the streets to
see--for no foreigner had ever come to Izumo before; and we all went to
look. The foreigner came by ship: there were no steamboats here then. He
was very tall, and walked quickly with long steps; and the children
began to cry at the sight of him, because his face was not like the
faces of the people of Nihon. My little brother cried out loud, and hid
his face in mother's robe; and mother reproved him and said: "This
foreigner is a very good man who has come here to serve our prince; and
it is very disrespectful to cry at seeing him." But he still cried. I
was not afraid; and I looked up at the foreigner's face as he came and
smiled. He had a great beard; and I thought his face was good though it
seemed to me a very strange face and stern. Then he stopped and smiled
too, and put something in my hand, and touched my head and face very
softly with his great fingers, and said something I could not
understand, and went away. After he had gone I looked at what he put
into my hand and found that it was a pretty little glass to look
through. If you put a fly under that glass it looks quite big. At that
time I thought the glass was a very wonderful thing. I have it still.'
She took from a drawer in the room and placed before me a tiny, dainty

The hero of this little incident was a French military officer. His
services were necessarily dispensed with on the abolition of the feudal
system. Memories of him still linger in Matsue; and old people remember
a popular snatch about him--a sort of rapidly-vociferated rigmarole,
supposed to be an imitation of his foreign speech:

  Tojin no negoto niwa kinkarakuri medagasho,
  Saiboji ga shimpeishite harishite keisan,
  Hanryo na Sacr-r-r-r-r-é-na-nom-da-Jiu.

Sec. 21

November 2, 1891.
Shida will never come to school again. He sleeps under the shadow of the
cedars, in the old cemetery of Tokoji. Yokogi, at the memorial service,
read a beautiful address (saibun) to the soul of his dead comrade.

But Yokogi himself is down. And I am very much afraid for him. He is
suffering from some affection of the brain, brought on, the doctor says,
by studying a great deal too hard. Even if he gets well, he will always
have to be careful. Some of us hope much; for the boy is vigorously
built and so young. Strong Sakane burst a blood-vessel last month and is
now well. So we trust that Yokogi may rally. Adzukizawa daily brings
news of his friend.

But the rally never comes. Some mysterious spring in the mechanism of
the young life has been broken. The mind lives only in brief intervals
between long hours of unconsciousness. Parents watch, and friends, for
these living moments to whisper caressing things, or to ask: 'Is there
anything thou dost wish?' And one night the answer comes:

'Yes: I want to go to the school; I want to see the school.'

Then they wonder if the fine brain has not wholly given way, while they
make answer:

'It is midnight past, and there is no moon. And the night is cold.'

'No; I can see by the stars--I want to see the school again.'

They make kindliest protests in vain: the dying boy only repeats, with
the plaintive persistence of a last--'I want to see the school again; I
want to see it now.' So there is a murmured consultation in the
neighbouring room; and tansu-drawers are unlocked, warm garments
prepared. Then Fusaichi, the strong servant, enters with lantern
lighted, and cries out in his kind rough voice:

'Master Tomi will go to the school upon my back: 'tis but a little way;
he shall see the school again.

Carefully they wrap up the lad in wadded robes; then he puts his arms
about Fusaichi's shoulders like a child; and the strong servant bears
him lightly through the wintry street; and the father hurries beside
Fusaichi, bearing the lantern. And it is not far to the school, over the
little bridge.

The huge dark grey building looks almost black in the night; but Yokogi
can see. He looks at the windows of his own classroom; at the roofed
side-door where each morning for four happy years he used to exchange
his getas for soundless sandals of straw; at the lodge of the slumbering
Kodzukai; [11] at the silhouette of the bell hanging black in its little
turret against the stars. Then he murmurs:

'I can remember all now. I had forgotten--so sick I was. I remember
everything again: Oh, Fusaichi, you are very good. I am so glad to have
seen the school again.'

And they hasten back through the long void streets.

Sec.  22

November 26 1891.

Yokogi will be buried to-morrow evening beside his comrade Shida.

When a poor person is about to die, friends and neighbours come to the
house and do all they can to help the family. Some bear the tidings to
distant relatives; others prepare all necessary things; others, when the
death has been announced, summon the Buddhist priests. [12]

It is said that the priests know always of a parishioner's death at
night, before any messenger is sent to them; for the soul of the dead
knocks heavily, once, upon the door of the family temple. Then the
priests arise and robe themselves, and when the messenger comes make
answer: 'We know: we are ready.'

Meanwhile the body is carried out before the family butsudan, and laid
upon the floor. No pillow is placed under the head. A naked sword is
laid across the limbs to keep evil spirits away. The doors of the
butsudan are opened; and tapers are lighted before the tablets of the
ancestors; and incense is burned. All friends send gifts of incense.
Wherefore a gift of incense, however rare and precious, given upon any
other occasion, is held to be unlucky.

But the Shinto household shrine must be hidden from view with white
paper; and the Shinto ofuda fastened upon the house door must be covered
up during all the period of mourning. [13] And in all that time no
member of the family may approach a Shinto temple, or pray to the Kami,
or even pass beneath a torii.

A screen (biobu) is extended between the body and the principal entrance
of the death chamber; and the kaimyo, inscribed upon a strip of white
paper, is fastened upon the screen. If the dead be young the screen must
be turned upside-down; but this is not done in the case of old people.

Friends pray beside the corpse. There a little box is placed, containing
one thousand peas, to be used for counting during the recital of those
one thousand pious invocations, which, it is believed, will improve the
condition of the soul on its unfamiliar journey.

The priests come and recite the sutras; and then the body is prepared
for burial. It is washed in warm water, and robed all in white. But the
kimono of the dead is lapped over to the left side. Wherefore it is
considered unlucky at any other time to fasten one's kimono thus, even
by accident.

When the body has been put into that strange square coffin which looks
something like a wooden palanquin, each relative puts also into the
coffin some of his or her hair or nail parings, symbolizing their blood.
And six rin are also placed in the coffin, for the six Jizo who stand at
the heads of the ways of the Six Shadowy Worlds.

The funeral procession forms at the family residence. A priest leads it,
ringing a little bell; a boy bears the ihai of the newly dead. The van
of the procession is wholly composed of men--relatives and friends. Some
carry hata, white symbolic bannerets; some bear flowers; all carry paper
lanterns--for in Izumo the adult dead are buried after dark: only
children are buried by day. Next comes the kwan or coffin, borne
palanquin-wise upon the shoulders of men of that pariah caste whose
office it is to dig graves and assist at funerals. Lastly come the women

They are all white-hooded and white-robed from head to feet, like
phantoms.  [14]  Nothing more ghostly than this sheeted train of an
Izumo funeral procession, illuminated only by the glow of paper
lanterns, can be imagined. It is a weirdness that, once seen, will often
return in dreams.

At the temple the kwan is laid upon the pavement before the entrance;
and another service is performed, with plaintive music and recitation of
sutras. Then the procession forms again, winds once round the temple
court, and takes its way to the cemetery. But the body is not buried
until twenty-four hours later, lest the supposed dead should awake in
the grave.

Corpses are seldom burned in Izumo. In this, as in other matters, the
predominance of Shinto sentiment is manifest.

Sec. 23

For the last time I see his face again, as he lies upon his bed of
death--white-robed from neck to feet--white-girdled for his shadowy
journey--but smiling with closed eyes in almost the same queer gentle
way he was wont to smile at class on learning the explanation of some
seeming riddle in our difficult English tongue. Only, methinks, the
smile is sweeter now, as with sudden larger knowledge of more mysterious
things. So smiles, through dusk of incense in the great temple of
Tokoji, the golden face of Buddha.

Sec. 24

December 23, 1891. The great bell of Tokoji is booming for the memorial
service--for the tsuito-kwai of Yokogi--slowly and regularly as a
minute-gun. Peal on peal of its rich bronze thunder shakes over the
lake, surges over the roofs of the town, and breaks in deep sobs of
sound against the green circle of the hills.

It is a touching service, this tsuito-kwai, with quaint ceremonies
which, although long since adopted into Japanese Buddhism, are of
Chinese origin and are beautiful. It is also a costly ceremony; and the
parents of Yokogi are very poor. But all the expenses have been paid by
voluntary subscription of students and teachers. Priests from every
great temple of the Zen sect in Izumo have assembled at Tokoji.  All the
teachers of the city and all the students have entered the hondo of the
huge temple, and taken their places to the right and to the left of the
high altar--kneeling on the matted floor, and leaving, on the long broad
steps without, a thousand shoes and sandals.

Before the main entrance, and facing the high shrine, a new butsudan has
been placed, within whose open doors the ihai of the dead boy glimmers
in lacquer and gilding. And upon a small stand before the butsudan have
been placed an incense-vessel with bundles of senko-rods and offerings
of fruits, confections, rice, and flowers. Tall and beautiful flower-
vases on each side of the butsudan are filled with blossoming sprays,
exquisitely arranged. Before the honzon tapers burn in massive
candelabra whose stems of polished brass are writhing monsters--the
Dragon Ascending and the Dragon Descending; and incense curls up from
vessels shaped like the sacred deer, like the symbolic tortoise, like
the meditative stork of Buddhist legend. And beyond these, in the
twilight of the vast alcove, the Buddha smiles the smile of Perfect

Between the butsudan and the honzon a little table has been placed; and
on either side of it the priests kneel in ranks, facing each other: rows
of polished heads, and splendours of vermilion silks and vestments gold-

The great bell ceases to peal; the Segaki prayer, which is the prayer
uttered when offerings of food are made to the spirits of the dead, is
recited; and a sudden sonorous measured tapping, accompanied by a
plaintive chant, begins the musical service. The tapping is the tapping
of the mokugyo--a huge wooden fish-head, lacquered and gilded, like the
head of a dolphin grotesquely idealised--marking the time; and the chant
is the chant of the Chapter of Kwannon in the Hokkekyo, with its
magnificent invocation:

'O Thou whose eyes are clear, whose eyes are kind, whose eyes are full
of pity and of sweetness--O Thou Lovely One, with thy beautiful face,
with thy beautiful eye--O Thou Pure One, whose luminosity is without
spot, whose knowledge is without shado--O Thou forever shining like that
Sun whose glory no power may repel--Thou Sun-like in the course of Thy
mercy, pourest Light upon the world!'

And while the voices of the leaders chant clear and high in vibrant
unison, the multitude of the priestly choir recite in profoundest
undertone the mighty verses; and the sound of their recitation is like
the muttering of surf.

The mokugyo ceases its dull echoing, the impressive chant ends, and the
leading officiants, one by one, high priests of famed temples, approach
the ihai. Each bows low, ignites an incense-rod, and sets it upright in
the little vase of bronze. Each at a time recites a holy verse of which
the initial sound is the sound of a letter in the kaimyo of the dead
boy; and these verses, uttered in the order of the characters upon the
ihai, form the sacred Acrostic whose name is The Words of Perfume.

Then the priests retire to their places; and after a little silence
begins the reading of the saibun--the reading of the addresses to the
soul of the dead. The students speak first--one from each class, chosen
by election. The elected rises, approaches the little table before the
high altar, bows to the honzon, draws from his bosom a paper and reads
it in those melodious, chanting, and plaintive tones which belong to the
reading of Chinese texts. So each one tells the affection of the living
to the dead, in words of loving grief and loving hope. And last among
the students a gentle girl rises--a pupil of the Normal School--to speak
in tones soft as a bird's. As each saibun is finished, the reader lays
the written paper upon the table before the honzon, and bows; and

It is now the turn of the teachers; and an old man takes his place at
the little table--old Katayama, the teacher of Chinese, famed as a poet,
adored as an instructor. And because the students all love him as a
father, there is a strange intensity of silence as he begins--

'Here upon the twenty-third day of the twelfth month of the twenty-
fourth year of Meiji, I, Katayama Shokei, teacher of the Jinjo Chugakko
of Shimane Ken, attending in great sorrow the holy service of the dead
[tsui-fuku], do speak unto the soul of Yokogi Tomisaburo, my pupil.

'Having been, as thou knowest, for twice five years, at different
periods, a teacher of the school, I have indeed met with not a few most
excellent students. But very, very rarely in any school may the teacher
find one such as thou--so patient and so earnest, so diligent and so
careful in all things--so distinguished among thy comrades by thy
blameless conduct, observing every precept, never breaking a rule.

'Of old in the land of Kihoku, famed for its horses, whenever a horse of
rarest breed could not be obtained, men were wont to say: "There is no
horse." Still there are many line lads among our students--many ryume,
fine young steeds; but we have lost the best.

'To die at the age of seventeen--the best period of life for study--even
when of the Ten Steps thou hadst already ascended six! Sad is the
thought; but sadder still to know that thy last illness was caused only
by thine own tireless zeal of study. Even yet more sad our conviction
that with those rare gifts, and with that rare character of thine, thou
wouldst surely, in that career to which thou wast destined, have
achieved good and great things, honouring the names of thine ancestors,
couldst thou have lived to manhood.

'I see thee lifting thy hand to ask some question; then bending above
thy little desk to make note of all thy poor old teacher was able to
tell thee. Again I see thee in the ranks--thy rifle upon thy shoulder--
so bravely erect during the military exercises. Even now thy face is
before me, with its smile, as plainly as if thou wert present in the
body--thy voice I think I hear distinctly as though thou hadst but this
instant finished speaking;  yet I know that, except in memory, these
never will be seen and heard again. O Heaven, why didst thou take away
that dawning life from the world, and leave such a one as I--old Shokei,
feeble, decrepit, and of no more use?

'To thee my relation was indeed only that of teacher to pupil. Yet what
is my distress! I have a son of twenty-four years; he is now far from
me, in Yokohama. I know he is only a worthless youth; [15]  yet never
for so much as the space of one hour does the thought of him leave his
old father's heart. Then how must the father and mother, the brothers
and the sisters of this gentle and gifted youth feel now that he is
gone! Only to think of it forces the tears from my eyes: I cannot speak
--so full my heart is.

'Aa! aa!--thou hast gone from us; thou hast gone from us! Yet though
thou hast died, thy earnestness, thy goodness, will long be honoured and
told of as examples to the students of our school.

'Here, therefore, do we, thy teachers and thy schoolmates, hold this
service in behalf of thy spirit,--with prayer and offerings. Deign thou,
0 gentle Soul, to honour our love by the acceptance of our humble

Then a sound of sobbing is suddenly whelmed by the resonant booming of
the great fish's-head, as the high-pitched voices of the leaders of the
chant begin the grand Nehan-gyo, the Sutra of Nirvana, the song of
passage triumphant over the Sea of Death and Birth; and deep below those
high tones and the hollow echoing of the mokugyo, the surging bass of a
century of voices reciting the sonorous words, sounds like the breaking
of a sea:

'Sho-gyo mu-jo, je-sho meppo.--Transient are all. They, being born, must
die. And being born, are dead. And being dead, are glad to be at rest.'

CHAPTER FIVE Two Strange Festivals

THE outward signs of any Japanese matsuri are the most puzzling of
enigmas to the stranger who sees them for the first time. They are many
and varied; they are quite unlike anything in the way of holiday
decoration ever seen in the Occident; they have each a meaning founded
upon some belief or some tradition--a meaning known to every Japanese
child; but that meaning is utterly impossible for any foreigner to
guess. Yet whoever wishes to know something of Japanese popular life and
feeling must learn the signification of at least the most common among
festival symbols and tokens. Especially is such knowledge necessary to
the student of Japanese art: without it, not only the delicate humour
and charm of countless designs must escape him, but in many instances
the designs themselves must remain incomprehensible to him. For
hundreds of years the emblems of festivity have been utilised by the
Japanese in graceful decorative ways: they figure in metalwork, on
porcelain, on the red or black lacquer of the humblest household
utensils, on little brass pipes, on the clasps of tobacco-pouches. It
may even be said that the majority of common decorative design is
emblematical. The very figures of which the meaning seems    most
obvious--those matchless studies [1] of animal or vegetable life with
which the Western  curio-buyer is most familiar--have usually some
ethical signification which is not perceived at all. Or take the
commonest design dashed with a brush upon the fusuma of a cheap hotel--a
lobster,  sprigs of pine, tortoises waddling in a curl of water,  a pair
of storks,  a spray of bamboo. It is rarely that a foreign tourist
thinks of asking why such designs are used instead of others,   even
when he has seen them repeated, with slight variation, at twenty
different places along his route. They have become conventional simply
because they are emblems of which the sense is known to all Japanese,
however ignorant, but is never even remotely suspected by the stranger.

The subject is one about which a whole encyclopaedia might be written,
but about which I know very little--much too little for a special essay.
But I may venture, by way of illustration, to speak of the curious
objects exhibited during two antique festivals still observed in all
parts of Japan.

Sec. 2

The first is the Festival of the New Year, which lasts for three days.
In Matsue its celebration is particularly interesting, as the old city
still preserves many matsuri customs which have either become, or are
rapidly becoming, obsolete elsewhere. The streets are then profusely
decorated, and all shops are closed. Shimenawa or shimekazari--the straw
ropes which have been sacred symbols of Shinto from the mythical age--
are festooned along the façades of the dwellings, and so inter-joined
that you see to right or left what seems but a single mile-long
shimenawa, with its straw pendents and white fluttering paper gohei,
extending along either side of the street as far as the eye can reach.
Japanese flags--bearing on a white ground the great crimson disk which
is the emblem of the Land of the Rising Sun--flutter above the gateways;
and the same national emblem glows upon countless paper lanterns strung
in rows along the eaves or across the streets and temple avenues. And
before every gate or doorway a kadomatsu ('gate pine-tree') has been
erected. So that all the ways are lined with green, and full of bright

The kadomatsu is more than its name implies. It is a young pine, or part
of a pine, conjoined with plum branches and bamboo cuttings. [2] Pine,
plum, and bamboo are growths of emblematic significance. Anciently the
pine alone was used; but from the era of O-ei, the bamboo was added; and
within more recent times the plum-tree.

The pine has many meanings. But the fortunate one most generally
accepted is that of endurance and successful energy in time of
misfortune. As the pine keeps its green leaves when other trees lose
their foliage, so the true man keeps his courage and his strength in
adversity. The pine is also, as I have said elsewhere, a symbol of
vigorous old age.

No European could possibly guess the riddle of the bamboo. It represents
a sort of pun in symbolism. There are two Chinese characters both
pronounced setsu--one signifying the node or joint of the bamboo, and
the other virtue, fidelity, constancy. Therefore is the bamboo used as a
felicitous sign. The name 'Setsu,' be it observed, is often given to
Japanese maidens--just as the names 'Faith,' 'Fidelia,' and 'Constance'
are given to English girls.

The plum-tree--of whose emblematic meaning I said something in a former
paper about Japanese gardens--is not invariably used, however; sometimes
sakaki, the sacred plant of Shinto, is substituted for it; and sometimes
only pine and bamboo form the kadomatsu.

Every decoration used upon the New Year's festival has a meaning of a
curious and unfamiliar kind; and the very cornmonest of all--the straw
rope--possesses the most complicated symbolism. In the first place it is
scarcely necessary to explain that its origin belongs to that most
ancient legend of the Sun-Goddess being tempted to issue from the cavern
into which she had retired, and being prevented from returning thereunto
by a deity who stretched a rope of straw across the entrance--all of
which is written in the Kojiki. Next observe that, although the
shimenawa may be of any thickness, it must be twisted so that the
direction of the twist is to the left; for in ancient Japanese
philosophy the left is the 'pure' or fortunate side: owing perhaps to
the old belief, common among the uneducated of Europe to this day, that
the heart lies to the left. Thirdly, note that the pendent straws, which
hang down from the rope at regular intervals, in tufts, like fringing,
must be of different numbers according to the place of the tufts,
beginning with the number three: so that the first tuft has three
straws, the second live, the third seven, the fourth again three, the
fifth five, and the sixth seven--and so on, the whole length of the
rope. The origin of the pendent paper cuttings (gohei), which alternate
with the straw tufts, is likewise to be sought in the legend of the
Sun-Goddess; but the gohei also represent offerings of cloth anciently
made to the gods according to a custom long obsolete.

But besides the gohei, there are many other things attached to the
shimenawa of which you could not imagine the signification. Among these
are fern-leaves, bitter oranges, yuzuri-leaves, and little bundles of

Why fern-leaves (moromoki or urajiro)? Because the fern-leaf is the
symbol of the hope of exuberant posterity: even as it branches and
branches so may the happy family increase and multiply through the

Why bitter oranges (daidai)? Because there is a Chinese word daidai
signifying 'from generation unto generation.' Wherefore the fruit called
daidai has become a fruit of good omen.

But why charcoal (sumi)? It signifies 'prosperous changelessness.' Here
the idea is decidedly curious. Even as the colour of charcoal cannot be
changed, so may the fortunes of those we love remain for ever unchanged
In all that gives happiness! The signification of the yuzuri-leaf I
explained in a former paper.

Besides the great shimenawa in front of the house, shimenawa or
shimekazari [3] are suspended above the toko, or alcoves, in each
apartment; and over the back gate, or over the entrance to the gallery
of the second story (if there be a second story), is hung a 'wajime,
which is a very small shimekazari twisted into a sort of wreath, and
decorated with fern-leaves, gohei, and yuzuri-leaves.

But the great domestic display of the festival is the decoration of the
kamidana--the shelf of the Gods. Before the household miya are placed
great double rice cakes; and the shrine is beautiful with flowers, a
tiny shimekazari, and sprays of sakaki. There also are placed a string
of cash; kabu (turnips); daikon (radishes); a tai-fish, which is the
'king of fishes,' dried slices of salt cuttlefish; jinbaso, of 'the
Seaweed of the horse of the God'; [4] also the seaweed kombu, which is a
symbol of pleasure and of joy, because its name is deemed to be a
homonym for gladness; and mochibana, artificial blossoms formed of rice
flour and straw.

The sambo is a curiously shaped little table on which offer-ings are
made to the Shinto gods; and almost every well-to-do household in hzumo
has its own sambo--such a family sambo being smaller, however, than
sambo used in the temples. At the advent of the New Year's Festival,
bitter oranges, rice, and rice-flour cakes, native sardines (iwashi),
chikara-iwai ('strength-rice-bread'), black peas, dried chestnuts, and a
fine lobster, are all tastefully arranged upon the family sambo. Before
each visitor the sambo is set; and the visitor, by saluting it with a
prostration, expresses not only his heartfelt wish that all the good-
fortune symbolised by the objects upon the sambo may come to the family,
but also his reverence for the household gods. The black peas (mame)
signify bodily strength and health, because a word similarly pronounced,
though written with a different ideograph, means 'robust.' But why a
lobster? Here we have another curious conception. The lobster's body is
bent double: the body of the man who lives to a very great old age is
also bent. Thus the Lobster stands for a symbol of extreme old age; and
in artistic design signifies the wish that our friends may live so long
that they will become bent like lobsters--under the weight of years. And
the dried chestnut (kachiguri) are emblems of success, because the first
character of their name in Japanese is the homonym of kachi, which means
'victory,' 'conquest.'

There are at least a hundred other singular customs and emblems
belonging to the New Year's Festival which would require a large volume
to describe. I have mentioned only a few which immediately appear to
even casual observation.

Sec. 3

The other festival I wish, to refer to is that of the Setsubun, which,
according to the ancient Japanese calendar, corresponded with the
beginning of the natural year--the period when winter first softens into
spring. It is what we might term, according to Professor Chamberlain, 'a
sort of movable feast'; and it is chiefly famous for the curious
ceremony of the casting out of devils--Oni-yarai. On the eve of the
Setsubun, a little after dark, the Yaku-otoshi, or caster-out of devils,
wanders through the streets from house to house, rattling his shakujo,
[5] and uttering his strange professional cry: 'Oni wa soto!--fuku wa
uchi!' [Devils out! Good-fortune in!] For a trifling fee he performs his
little exorcism in any house to which he is called. This simply consists
in the recitation of certain parts of a Buddhist kyo, or sutra, and the
rattling of the shakujo Afterwards dried peas (shiro-mame) are thrown
about the house in four directions. For some mysterious reason, devils
do not like dried peas--and flee therefrom. The peas thus scattered are
afterward swept up and carefully preserved until the first clap of
spring thunder is heard, when it is the custom to cook and eat some of
them. But just why, I cannot find out; neither can I discover the origin
of the dislike of devils for dried peas. On the subject of this dislike,
however, I confess my sympathy with devils.

After the devils have been properly cast out, a small charm is placed
above all the entrances of the dwelling to keep them from coming back
again. This consists of a little stick about the length and thickness of
a skewer, a single holly-leaf, and the head of a dried iwashi--a fish
resembling a sardine. The stick is stuck through the middle of the
holly-leaf; and the fish's head is fastened into a split made in one end
of the stick; the other end being slipped into some joint of the timber-
work immediately above a door. But why the devils are afraid of the
holly-leaf and the fish's head, nobody seems to know. Among the people
the origin of all these curious customs appears to be quite forgotten;
and the families of the upper classes who still maintain such customs
believe in the superstitions relating to the festival just as little as
Englishmen to-day believe in the magical virtues of mistletoe or ivy.

This ancient and merry annual custom of casting out devils has been for
generations a source of inspiration to Japanese artists. It is only
after a fair acquaintance with popular customs and ideas that the
foreigner can learn to appreciate the delicious humour of many art-
creations which he may wish, indeed, to buy just because they are so
oddly attractive in themselves, but which must really remain enigmas to
him, so far as their inner meaning is concerned, unless he knows
Japanese life. The other day a friend gave me a little card-case of
perfumed leather. On one side was stamped in relief the face of a devil,
through the orifice of whose yawning mouth could be seen--painted upon
the silk lining of the interior--the laughing, chubby face of Otafuku,
joyful Goddess of Good Luck. In itself the thing was very curious and
pretty; but the real merit of its design was this comical symbolism of
good wishes for the New Year: 'Oni wa soto!--fuku wa uchi!'

Sec. 4

Since I have spoken of the custom of eating some of the Setsubun peas at
the time of the first spring thunder, I may here take the opportunity to
say a few words about superstitions in regard to thunder which have not
yet ceased to prevail among the peasantry.

When a thunder-storm comes, the big brown mosquito curtains are
suspended, and the women and children--perhaps the whole family--squat
down under the curtains till the storm is over. From ancient days it has
been believed that lightning cannot kill anybody under a mosquito
curtain. The Raiju, or Thunder-Animal, cannot pass through a mosquito-
curtain. Only the other day, an old peasant who came to the house with
vegetables to sell told us that he and his whole family, while crouching
under their mosquito-netting during a thunderstorm, actually, saw the
Lightning rushing up and down the pillar of the balcony opposite their
apartment--furiously clawing the woodwork, but unable to enter because
of the mosquito-netting. His house had been badly damaged by a flash;
but he supposed the mischief to have been accomplished by the Claws of
the Thunder-Animal.

The Thunder-Animal springs from tree to tree during a storm, they say;
wherefore to stand under trees in time of thunder and lightning is very
dangerous: the Thunder-Animal might step on one's head or shoulders. The
Thunder-Animal is also alleged to be fond of eating the human navel; for
which reason people should be careful to keep their navels well covered
during storms, and to lie down upon their stomachs if possible. Incense
is always burned during storms, because the Thunder-Animal hates the
smell of incense. A tree stricken by lightning is thought to have been
torn and scarred by the claws of the Thunder-Animal; and fragments of
its bark and wood are carefully collected and preserved by dwellers in
the vicinity; for the wood of a blasted tree is alleged to have the
singular virtue of curing toothache.

There are many stories of the Raiju having been caught and caged. Once,
it is said, the Thunder-Animal fell into a well, and got entangled in
the ropes and buckets, and so was captured alive. And old Izumo folk say
they remember that the Thunder-Animal was once exhibited in the court of
the Temple of Tenjin in Matsue, inclosed in a cage of brass; and that
people paid one sen each to look at it. It resembled a badger. When the
weather was clear it would sleep contentedly in its, cage. But when
there was thunder in the air, it would become excited, and seem to
obtain great strength, and its eyes would flash dazzlingly.

Sec. 5

There is one very evil spirit, however, who is not in the least afraid
of dried peas, and who cannot be so easily got rid of as the common
devils; and that is Bimbogami.

But in Izumo people know a certain household charm whereby Bimbogami may
sometimes be cast out.

Before any cooking is done in a Japanese kitchen, the little charcoal
fire is first blown to a bright red heat with that most useful and
simple household utensil called a hifukidake. The hifukidake ('fire-
blow-bamboo') is a bamboo tube usually about three feet long and about
two inches in diameter. At one end--the end which is to be turned toward
the fire--only a very small orifice is left; the woman who prepares the
meal places the other end to her lips, and blows through the tube upon
the kindled charcoal. Thus a quick fire may be obtained in a few

In course of time the hifukidake becomes scorched and cracked and
useless. A new 'fire-blow-tube' is then made; and the old one is used as
a charm against Bimbogami. One little copper coin (rin) is put into it,
some magical formula is uttered, and then the old utensil, with the rin
inside of it, is either simply thrown out through the front gate into
the street, or else flung into some neighbouring stream. This--I know
not why--is deemed equivalent to pitching Bimbogami out of doors, and
rendering it impossible for him to return during a considerable period.

It may be asked how is the invisible presence of Bimbogami to be

The little insect which makes that weird ticking noise at night called
in England the Death-watch has a Japanese relative named by the people
Bimbomushi, or the 'Poverty-Insect.' It is said to be the servant of
Bimbogami, the God of Poverty; and its ticking in a house is believed to
signal the presence of that most unwelcome deity.

Sec. 6

One more feature of the Setsubun festival is worthy of mention--the sale
of the hitogata ('people-shapes'). These: are little figures, made of
white paper, representing men, women, and children. They are cut out
with a few clever scissors strokes; and the difference of sex is
indicated by variations in the shape of the sleeves and the little paper
obi. They are sold in the Shinto temples. The purchaser buys one for
every member of the family--the priest writing upon each the age and sex
of the person for whom it is intended. These hitogata are then taken
home and distributed; and each person slightly rubs his body or her body
with the paper, and says a little Shinto prayer. Next day the hitogata
are returned to the kannushi, who, after having recited certain formulae
over them, burns them with holy fire. [6] By this ceremony it is hoped
that all physical misfortunes will be averted from the family during a

Chapter Six By the Japanese Sea

Sec. 1

IT is the fifteenth day of the seventh month--and I am in Hokii.

The blanched road winds along a coast of low cliffs--the coast of the
Japanese Sea. Always on the left, over a narrow strip of stony land, or
a heaping of dunes, its vast expanse appears, blue-wrinkling to that
pale horizon beyond which Korea lies, under the same white sun.
Sometimes, through sudden gaps in the cliff's verge, there flashes to us
the running of the surf. Always upon the right another sea--a silent sea
of green, reaching to far misty ranges of wooded hills, with huge pale
peaks behind them--a vast level of rice-fields, over whose surface
soundless waves keep chasing each other under the same great breath that
moves the blue to-day from Chosen to Japan.

Though during a week the sky has remained unclouded, the sea has for
several days been growing angrier; and now the muttering of its surf
sounds far into the land. They say that it always roughens thus during
the period of the Festival of the Dead--the three days of the Bon, which
are the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth of the seventh month by
the ancient calendar. And on the sixteenth day, after the shoryobune,
which are the Ships of Souls, have been launched, no one dares to enter
it: no boats can then be hired; all the fishermen remain at home. For on
that day the sea is the highway of the dead, who must pass back over its
waters to their mysterious home; and therefore upon that day is it
called Hotoke-umi--the Buddha-Flood--the Tide of the Returning Ghosts.
And ever upon the night of that sixteenth day--whether the sea be calm
or tumultuous--all its surface shimmers with faint lights gliding out to
the open,--the dim fires of the dead; and there is heard a murmuring of
voices, like the murmur of a city far-off,--the indistinguishable speech
of souls.

Sec. 2

But it may happen that some vessel, belated in spite of desperate effort
to reach port, may find herself far out at sea upon the night of the
sixteenth day. Then will the dead rise tall about the ship, and reach
long hands and murmur: 'Tago, tago o-kure!--tago o-kure!'  [1] Never may
they be refused; but, before the bucket is given, the bottom of it must
be knocked out. Woe to all on board should an entire tago be suffered to
fall even by accident into the sea!--for the dead would at once use it
to fill and sink the ship.

Nor are the dead the only powers invisible dreaded in the time of the
Hotoke-umi. Then are the Ma most powerful, and the Kappa. [2]

But in all times the swimmer fears the Kappa, the Ape of Waters, hideous
and obscene, who reaches up from the deeps to draw men down, and to
devour their entrails.

Only their entrails.

The corpse of him who has been seized by the Kappa may be cast on shore
after many days. Unless long battered against the rocks by heavy surf,
or nibbled by fishes, it will show no outward wound. But it will be
light and hollow--empty like a long-dried gourd.

Sec. 3

Betimes, as we journey on, the monotony of undulating blue on the left,
or the monotony of billowing green upon the right, is broken by the grey
apparition of a cemetery--a cemetery so long that our jinricksha men, at
full run, take a full quarter of an hour to pass the huge congregation
of its perpendicular stones. Such visions always indicate the approach
of villages; but the villages prove to be as surprisingly small as the
cemeteries are surprisingly large.  By hundreds of thousands do the
silent populations of the hakaba outnumber the folk of the hamlets to
which they belong--tiny thatched settlements sprinkled along the leagues
of coast, and sheltered from the wind only by ranks of sombre pines.
Legions on legions of stones--a host of sinister witnesses of the cost
of the present to the past--and old, old, old!--hundreds so long in
place that they have been worn into shapelessness merely by the blowing
of sand from the dunes, and their inscriptions utterly effaced. It is as
if one were passing through the burial-ground of all who ever lived on
this wind-blown shore since the being of the land.

And in all these hakaba--for it is the Bon--there are new lanterns
before the newer tombs--the white lanterns which are the lanterns of
graves. To-night the cemeteries will be all aglow with lights like the
fires of a city for multitude. But there are also unnumbered tombs
before which no lanterns are--elder myriads, each the token of a family
extinct, or of which the absent descendants have forgotten even the
name. Dim generations whose ghosts have none to call them back, no local
memories to love--so long ago obliterated were all things related to
their lives.

Sec. 4

Now many of these villages are only fishing settlements, and in them
stand old thatched homes of men who sailed away on some eve of tempest,
and never came back. Yet each drowned sailor has his tomb in the
neighbouring hakaba, and beneath it something of him has been buried.


Among these people of the west something is always preserved which in
other lands is cast away without a thought--the hozo-no-o, the flower-
stalk of a life, the navel-string of the newly-born. It is enwrapped
carefully in many wrappings; and upon its outermost covering are written
the names of the father, the mother, and the infant, together with the
date and hour of birth,--and it is kept in the family o-'mamori-bukuro.
The daughter, becoming a bride, bears it with her to her new home: for
the son it is preserved by his parents. It is buried with the dead; and
should one die in a foreign land, or perish at sea, it is entombed in
lieu of the body.

Sec. 5

Concerning them that go down into the sea in ships, and stay there,
strange beliefs prevail on this far coast--beliefs more primitive,
assuredly, than the gentle faith which hangs white lanterns before the
tombs. Some hold that the drowned never journey to the Meido. They
quiver for ever in the currents; they billow in the swaying of tides;
they toil in the wake of the junks; they shout in the plunging of
breakers. 'Tis their white hands that toss in the leap of the surf;
their clutch that clatters the shingle, or seizes the swimmer's feet in
the pull of the undertow. And the seamen speak euphemistically of the
O-'bake, the honourable ghosts, and fear them with a great fear.

Wherefore cats are kept on board!

A cat, they aver, has power to keep the O-bake away. How or why, I have
not yet found any to tell me. I know only that cats are deemed to have
power over the dead. If a cat be left alone with a corpse, will not the
corpse arise and dance? And of all cats a mike-neko, or cat of three
colours, is most prized on this account by sailors. But if they cannot
obtain one--and cats of three colours are rare--they will take another
kind of cat; and nearly every trading junk has a cat; and when the junk
comes into port, its cat may generally be seen--peeping through some
little window in the vessel's side, or squatting in the opening where
the great rudder works--that is, if the weather be fair and the sea

Sec. 6

But these primitive and ghastly beliefs do not affect the beautiful
practices of Buddhist faith in the time of the Bon; and from all these
little villages the shoryobune are launched upon the sixteenth day. They
are much more elaborately and expensively constructed on this coast than
in some other parts of Japan; for though made of straw only, woven over
a skeleton framework, they are charming models of junks, complete in
every detail. Some are between three and four feet long. On the white
paper sail is written the kaimyo or soul-name of the dead. There is a
small water-vessel on board, filled with fresh water, and an incense-
cup; and along the gunwales flutter little paper banners bearing the
mystic manji, which is the Sanscrit swastika.[3]

The form of the shoryobune and the customs in regard to the time and
manner of launching them differ much in different provinces. In most
places they are launched for the family dead in general, wherever
buried; and they are in some places launched only at night, with small
lanterns on board. And I am told also that it is the custom at certain
sea-villages to launch the lanterns all by themselves, in lieu of the
shoryobune proper--lanterns of a particular kind being manufactured for
that purpose only.

But on the Izumo coast, and elsewhere along this western shore, the
soul-boats are launched only for those who have been drowned at sea, and
the launching takes place in the morning instead of at night. Once every
year, for ten years after death, a shoryobune is launched; in the
eleventh year the ceremony ceases. Several shoryobune which I saw at
Inasa were really beautiful, and must have cost a rather large sum for
poor fisher-folk to pay. But the ship-carpenter who made them said that
all the relatives of a drowned man contribute to purchase the little
vessel, year after year.

Sec. 7

Near a sleepy little village called Kanii-ichi I make a brief halt in
order to visit a famous sacred tree. It is in a grove close to the
public highway, but upon a low hill. Entering the grove I find myself in
a sort of miniature glen surrounded on three sides by very low cliffs,
above which enormous pines are growing, incalculably old. Their vast
coiling roots have forced their way through the face of the cliffs,
splitting rocks; and their mingling crests make a green twilight in the
hollow. One pushes out three huge roots of a very singular shape; and
the ends of these have been wrapped about with long white papers bearing
written prayers, and with offerings of seaweed. The shape of these
roots, rather than any tradition, would seem to have made the tree
sacred in popular belief: it is the object of a special cult; and a
little torii has been erected before it, bearing a votive annunciation
of the most artless and curious kind. I cannot venture to offer a
translation of it--though for the anthropologist and folk-lorist it
certainly possesses peculiar interest. The worship of the tree, or at
least of the Kami supposed to dwell therein, is one rare survival of a
phallic cult probably common to most primitive races, and formerly
widespread in Japan. Indeed it was suppressed by the Government scarcely
more than a generation ago. On the opposite side of the little hollow,
carefully posed upon a great loose rock, I see something equally artless
and almost equally curious--a kitoja-no-mono, or ex-voto. Two straw
figures joined together and reclining side by side: a straw man and a
straw woman. The workmanship is childishly clumsy; but still, the woman
can be distinguished from the man by .the ingenious attempt to imitate
the female coiffure with a straw wisp. And as the man is represented
with a queue--now worn only by aged survivors of the feudal era--I
suspect that this kitoja-no-mono was made after some ancient and
strictly conventional model.

Now this queer ex-voto tells its own story. Two who loved each other
were separated by the fault of the man; the charm of some joro, perhaps,
having been the temptation to faithlessness.

Then the wronged one came here and prayed the Kami to dispel the
delusion of passion and touch the erring heart. The prayer has been
heard; the pair have been reunited; and she has therefore made these two
quaint effigies 'with her own hands, and brought them to the Kami of the
pine--tokens of her innocent faith and her grateful heart.

Sec. 8

Night falls as we reach the pretty hamlet of Hamamura, our last resting-
place by the sea, for to-morrow our way lies inland. The inn at which we
lodge is very small, but very clean and cosy; and there is a delightful
bath of natural hot water; for the yadoya is situated close to a natural
spring. This spring, so strangely close to the sea beach, also
furnishes, I am told, the baths of all the houses in the village.

The best room is placed at our disposal; but I linger awhile to examine
a very fine shoryobune, waiting, upon a bench near the street entrance,
to be launched to-morrow. It seems to have been finished but a short
time ago; for fresh clippings of straw lie scattered around it, and the
kaimyo has not yet been written upon its sail. I am surprised to hear
that it belongs to a poor widow and her son, both of whom are employed
by the hotel.

I was hoping to see the Bon-odori at Hamamura, but I am disappointed. At
all the villages the police have prohibited the dance. Fear of cholera
has resulted in stringent sanitary regulations. In Hamamura the people
have been ordered to use no water for drinking, cooking, or washing,
except the hot water of their own volcanic springs.

A little middle-aged woman, with a remarkably sweet voice, comes to wait
upon us at supper-time. Her teeth are blackened and her eyebrows shaved
after the fashion of married women twenty years ago; nevertheless her
face is still a pleasant one, and in her youth she must have been
uncommonly pretty. Though acting as a servant, it appears that she is
related to the family owning the inn, and that she is treated with the
consideration due to kindred. She tells us that the shoryobune is to be
launched for her husband and brother--both fishermen of the village, who
perished in sight of their own home eight years ago. The priest of the
neighbouring Zen temple is to come in the morning to write the kaimyo
upon the sail, as none of the household are skilled in writing the
Chinese characters.

I make her the customary little gift, and, through my attendant, ask her
various questions about her history. She was married to a man much older
than herself, with whom she lived very happily; and her brother, a youth
of eighteen, dwelt with them. They had a good boat and a little piece of
ground, and she was skilful at the loom; so they managed to live well.
In summer the fishermen fish at night: when all the fleet is out, it is
pretty to see the line of torch-fires in the offing, two or three miles
away, like a string of stars. They do not go out when the weather is
threatening; but in certain months the great storms (taifu) come so
quickly that the boats are overtaken almost before they have time to
hoist sail. Still as a temple pond the sea was on the night when her
husband and brother last sailed away; the taifu rose before daybreak.
What followed, she relates with a simple pathos that I cannot reproduce
in our less artless tongue:

'All the boats had come back except my husband's; for' my husband and my
brother had gone out farther than the others, so they were not able to
return as quickly. And all the people were looking and waiting. And
every minute the waves seemed to be growing higher and the wind more
terrible; and the other boats had to be dragged far up on the shore to
save them. Then suddenly we saw my husband's boat coming very, very
quickly. We were so glad! It came quite near, so that I could see the
face of my husband and the face of my brother. But suddenly a great wave
struck it upon one side, and it turned down into the water and it did
not come up again. And then we saw my husband and my brother swimming
but we could see them only when the waves lifted them up. Tall like
hills the waves were, and the head of my husband, and the head of my
brother would go up, up, up, and then down, and each time they rose to
the top of a wave so that we could see them they would cry out,
"Tasukete! tasukete!" [4] But the strong men were afraid; the sea was
too terrible; I was only a woman! Then my brother could not be seen any
more. My husband was old, but very strong; and he swam a long time--so
near that I could see his face was like the face of one in fear--and he
called "Tasukete!"  But none could help him; and he also went down at
last. And yet I could see his face before he went down.

'And for a long time after, every night, I used to see his face as I saw
it then, so that I could not rest, but only weep. And I prayed and
prayed to the Buddhas and to the Kami-Sama that I might not dream that
dream. Now it never comes; but I can still see his face, even while I
speak. . . . In that time my son was only a little child.'

Not without sobs can she conclude her simple recital. Then, suddenly
bowing her head to the matting, and wiping away her tears with her
sleeve, she humbly prays our pardon for this little exhibition of
emotion, and laughs--the soft low laugh de rigueur of Japanese
politeness. This, I must confess, touches me still more than the story
itself. At a fitting moment my Japanese attendant delicately changes the
theme, and begins a light chat about our journey, and the danna-sama's
interest in the old customs and legends of the coast. And he succeeds in
amusing her by some relation of our wanderings in Izumo.

She asks whither we are going. My attendant answers probably as far as

'Aa! Tottori! So degozarimasu ka? Now, there is an old story--the
Story of the Futon of Tottori. But the danna-sama knows that story?'

Indeed, the danna-sama does not, and begs earnestly to hear it. And the
story is set down somewhat as I learn it through the lips of my

Sec. 9 Many years ago, a very small yadoya in Tottori town received its
first guest, an itinerant merchant. He was received with more than
common kindness, for the landlord desired to make a good name for his
little inn. It was a new inn, but as its owner was poor, most of its
dogu--furniture and utensils--had been purchased from the furuteya. [5]
Nevertheless, everything was clean, comforting, and pretty. The guest
ate heartily and drank plenty of good warm sake; after which his bed was
prepared on the soft floor, and he laid himself down to sleep.

[But here I must interrupt the story for a few moments, to say a word
about Japanese beds. Never; unless some inmate happen to be sick, do you
see a bed in any Japanese house by day, though you visit all the rooms
and peep into all the corners. In fact, no bed exists, in the Occidental
meaning of the word. That which the Japanese call bed has no bedstead,
no spring, no mattress, no sheets, no blankets. It consists of thick
quilts only, stuffed, or, rather, padded with cotton, which are called
futon. A certain number of futon are laid down upon the tatami (the
floor mats), and a certain number of others are used for coverings. The
wealthy can lie upon five or six quilts, and cover themselves with as
many as they please, while poor folk must content themselves with two or
three. And of course there are many kinds, from the servants' cotton
futon which is no larger than a Western hearthrug, and not much thicker,
to the heavy and superb futon silk, eight feet long by seven broad,
which only the kanemochi can afford. Besides these there is the yogi, a
massive quilt made with wide sleeves like a kimono, in which you can
find much comfort when the weather is extremely cold. All such things
are neatly folded up and stowed out of sight by day in alcoves contrived
in the wall and closed with fusuma--pretty sliding screen doors covered
with opaque paper usually decorated with dainty designs. There also are
kept those curious wooden pillows, invented to preserve the Japanese
coiffure from becoming disarranged during sleep.

The pillow has a certain sacredness; but the origin and the precise
nature of the beliefs concerning it I have not been able to learn. Only
this I know, that to touch it with the foot is considered very wrong;
and that if it be kicked or moved thus even by accident, the clumsiness
must be atoned for by lifting the pillow to the forehead with the hands,
and replacing it in its original position respectfully, with the word
'go-men,' signifying, I pray to be excused.]

Now, as a rule, one sleeps soundly after having drunk plenty of warm
sake, especially if the night be cool and the bed very snug. But the
guest, having slept but a very little while, was aroused by the sound of
voices in his room--voices of children, always asking each other the
same questions:--'Ani-San samukaro?' 'Omae samukaro?' The presence of
children in his room might annoy the guest, but could not surprise him,
for in these Japanese hotels there are no doors, but only papered
sliding screens between room and room. So it seemed to him that some
children must have wandered into his apartment, by mistake, in the dark.
He uttered some gentle rebuke. For a moment only there was silence; then
a sweet, thin, plaintive voice queried, close to his ear, 'Ani-San
samukaro?' (Elder Brother probably is cold?), and another sweet voice
made answer caressingly, 'Omae samukaro?' [Nay, thou probably art cold?]

He arose and rekindled the candle in the andon, [6] and looked about the
room. There was no one. The shoji were all closed. He examined the
cupboards; they were empty. Wondering, he lay down again, leaving the
light still burning; and immediately the voices spoke again,
complainingly, close to his pillow:

'Ani-San samukaro?'

'Omae samukaro?'

Then, for the first time, he felt a chill creep over him, which was not
the chill of the night. Again and again he heard, and each time he
became more afraid. For he knew that the voices were in the futon! It
was the covering of the bed that cried out thus.

He gathered hurriedly together the few articles belonging to him, and,
descending the stairs, aroused the landlord and told what had passed.
Then the host, much angered, made reply: 'That to make pleased the
honourable guest everything has been done, the truth is; but the
honourable guest too much august sake having drank, bad dreams has
seen.' Nevertheless the guest insisted upon paying at once that which he
owed, and seeking lodging elsewhere.

Next evening there came another guest who asked for a room for the
night. At a late hour the landlord was aroused by his lodger with the
same story. And this lodger, strange to say, had not taken any sake.
Suspecting some envious plot to ruin his business, the landlord answered
passionately: 'Thee to please all things honourably have been done:
nevertheless, ill-omened and vexatious words thou utterest. And that my
inn my means-of-livelihood is--that also thou knowest. Wherefore that
such things be spoken, right-there-is-none!' Then the guest, getting
into a passion, loudly said things much more evil; and the two parted in
hot anger.

But after the guest was gone, the landlord, thinking all this very
strange, ascended to the empty room to examine the futon. And while
there, he heard the voices, and he discovered that the guests had said
only the truth. It was one covering--only one--which cried out. The rest
were silent. He took the covering into his own room, and for the
remainder of the night lay down beneath it. And the voices continued
until the hour of dawn: 'Ani-San samukaro?' 'Omae samukaro?' So that he
could not sleep.

But at break of day he rose up and went out to find the owner of the
furuteya at which the futon had been purchased. The dlealer knew
nothing. He had bought the futon from a smaller shop, and the keeper of
that shop had purchased it from a still poorer dealer dwelling in the
farthest suburb of the city. And the innkeeper went from one to the
other, asking questions.

Then at last it was found that the futon had belonged to a poor family,
and had been bought from the landlord of a little house in which the
family had lived, in the neighbourhood of the town. And the story of the
futon was this:--

The rent of the little house was only sixty sen a month, but even this
was a great deal for the poor folks to pay. The father could earn only
two or three yen a month, and the mother was ill and could not work; and
there were two children--a boy of six years and a boy of eight. And they
were strangers in Tottori.

One winter's day the father sickened; and after a week of suffering he
died, and was buried. Then the long-sick mother followed him, and the
children were left alone. They knew no one whom they could ask for aid;
and in order to live they began to sell what there was to sell.

That was not much: the clothes of the dead father and mother, and most
of their own; some quilts of cotton, and a few poor household utensils--
hibachi, bowls, cups, and other trifles. Every day they sold something,
until there was nothing left but one futon. And a day came when they had
nothing to eat; and the rent was not paid.

The terrible Dai-kan had arrived, the season of greatest cold; and the
snow had drifted too high that day for them to wander far from the
little house. So they could only lie down under their one futon, and
shiver together, and compassionate each other in their own childish way
--'Ani-San, samukaro?'  'Omae samukaro?'

They had no fire, nor anything with which to make fire; and the darkness
came; and the icy wind screamed into the little house.

They were afraid of the wind, but they were more afraid of the house-
owner, who roused them roughly to demand his rent. He was a hard man,
with an evil face. And finding there was none to pay him, he turned the
children into the snow, and took their one futon away from them, and
locked up the house.

They had but one thin blue kimono each, for all their other clothes had
been sold to buy food; and they had nowhere to go. There was a temple of
Kwannon not far away, but the snow was too high for them to reach it. So
when the landlord was gone, they crept back behind the house. There the
drowsiness of cold fell upon them, and they slept, embracing each other
to keep warm. And while they slept, the gods covered them with a new
futon--ghostly-white and very beautiful. And they did not feel cold any
more. For many days they slept there; then somebody found them, and a
bed was made for them in the hakaba of the Temple of Kwannon-of-the-

And the innkeeper, having heard these things, gave the futon to the
priests of the temple, and caused the kyo to be recited for the little
souls. And the futon ceased thereafter to speak.

Sec.  10

One legend recalls another; and I hear to-night many strange ones. The
most remarkable is a tale which my attendant suddenly remembers--a
legend of Izumo.

Once there lived in the Izumo village called Mochida-noura a peasant who
was so poor that he was afraid to have children. And each time that his
wife bore him a child he cast it into the river, and pretended that it
had been born dead. Sometimes it was a son, sometimes a daughter; but
always the infant was thrown into the river at night. Six were murdered

But, as the years passed, the peasant found himself more prosperous. He
had been able to purchase land and to lay by money. And at last his wife
bore him a seventh--a boy.

Then the man said: 'Now we can support a child, and we shall need a son
to aid us when we are old. And this boy is beautiful. So we will bring
him up.'

And the infant thrived; and each day the hard peasant wondered more at
his own heart--for each day he knew that he loved his son more.

One summer's night he walked out into his garden, carrying his child in
his arms. The little one was five months old.

And the night was so beautiful, with its great moon, that the peasant
cried out--'Aa! kon ya med xurashii e yo da!'  [Ah! to-night truly a
wondrously beautiful night is!]

Then the infant, looking up into his face and speaking the speech of a
man, said--'Why, father! the LAST time you threw me away the night was
just like this, and the moon looked just the same, did it not?' [7] And
thereafter the child remained as other children of the same age, and
spoke no word.

The peasant became a monk.

Sec. 11

After the supper and the bath, feeling too warm to sleep, I wander out
alone to visit the village hakaba, a long cemetery upon a sandhill, or
rather a prodigious dune, thinly covered at its summit with soil, but
revealing through its crumbling flanks the story of its creation by
ancient tides, mightier than tides of to-day.

I wade to my knees in sand to reach the cemetery. It is a warm moonlight
night, with a great breeze. There are many bon-lanterns (bondoro), but
the sea-wind has blown out most of them; only a few here and there still
shed a soft white glow--pretty shrine-shaped cases of wood, with
apertures of symbolic outline, covered with white paper. Visitors beside
myself there are none, for it is late. But much gentle work has been
done here to-day, for all the bamboo vases have been furnished with
fresh flowers or sprays, and the water basins filled with fresh water,
and the monuments cleansed and beautified. And in the farthest nook of
the cemetery I find, before one very humble tomb, a pretty zen or
lacquered dining tray, covered with dishes and bowls containing a
perfect dainty little Japanese repast. There is also a pair of new
chopsticks, and a little cup of tea, and some of the dishes are still
warm. A loving woman's work; the prints of her little sandals are fresh
upon the path.

Sec.  12

There is an Irish folk-saying that any dream may be remembered if the
dreamer, after awakening, forbear to scratch his head in the effort to
recall it. But should he forget this precaution, never can the dream be
brought back to memory: as well try to re-form the curlings of a smoke-
wreath blown away.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine of a thousand dreams are indeed hopelessly
evaporative. But certain rare dreams, which come when fancy has been
strangely impressed by unfamiliar experiences--dreams particularly apt
to occur in time of travel--remain in recollection, imaged with all the
vividness of real events.

Of such was the dream I dreamed at Hamamura, after having seen and heard
those things previously written down.

Some pale broad paved place--perhaps the thought of a temple court--
tinted by a faint sun; and before me a woman, neither young nor old,
seated at the base of a great grey pedestal that supported I know not
what, for I could look only at the woman's face. Awhile I thought that I
remembered her--a woman of Izumo; then she seemed a weirdness. Her lips
were moving, but her eyes remained closed, and I could not choose but
look at her.

And in a voice that seemed to come thin through distance of years she
began a soft wailing chant; and, as I listened, vague memories came to
me of a Celtic lullaby. And as she sang, she loosed with one hand her
long black hair, till it fell coiling upon the stones. And, having
fallen, it was no longer black, but blue--pale day-blue--and was moving
sinuously, crawling with swift blue ripplings to and fro. And then,
suddenly, I became aware that the ripplings were far, very far away, and
that the woman was gone. There was only the sea, blue-billowing to the
verge of heaven, with long slow flashings of soundless surf.

And wakening, I heard in the night the muttering of the real sea--the
vast husky speech of the Hotoke-umi--the Tide of the Returning Ghosts.

CHAPTER SEVEN Of a Dancing-Girl

NOTHING is more silent than the beginning of a Japanese banquet; and no
one, except a native, who observes the opening scene could possibly
imagine the tumultuous ending.

The robed guests take their places, quite noiselessly and without
speech, upon the kneeling-cushions. The lacquered services are laid upon
the matting before them by maidens whose bare feet make no sound. For a
while there is only smiling and flitting, as in dreams. You are not
likely to hear any voices from without, as a banqueting-house is usually
secluded from the street by spacious gardens. At last the master of
ceremonies, host or provider, breaks the hush with the consecrated
formula: 'O-somatsu degozarimasu gal--dozo o-hashi!' whereat all present
bow silently, take up their hashi (chopsticks), and fall to. But hashi,
deftly used, cannot be heard at all. The maidens pour warm sake into the
cup of each guest without making the least sound; and it is not until
several dishes have been emptied, and several cups of sake absorbed,
that tongues are loosened.

Then, all at once, with a little burst of laughter, a number of young
girls enter, make the customary prostration of greeting, glide into the
open space between the ranks of the guests, and begin to serve the wine
with a grace and dexterity of which no common maid is capable. They are
pretty; they are clad in very costly robes of silk; they are girdled
like queens; and the beautifully dressed hair of each is decked with
mock flowers, with wonderful combs and pins, and with curious ornaments
of gold. They greet the stranger as if they had always known him; they
jest, laugh, and utter funny little cries. These are the geisha, [1] or
dancing-girls, hired for the banquet.

Samisen [2] tinkle. The dancers withdraw to a clear space at the farther
end of the banqueting-hall, always vast enough to admit of many more
guests than ever assemble upon common occasions. Some form the
orchestra, under the direction of a woman of uncertain age; there are
several samisen, and a tiny drum played by a child. Others, singly or in
pairs, perform the dance. It may be swift and merry, consisting wholly
of graceful posturing--two girls dancing together with such coincidence
of step and gesture as only years of training could render possible. But
more frequently it is rather like acting than like what we Occidentals
call dancing--acting accompanied with extraordinary waving of sleeves
and fans, and with a play of eyes and features, sweet, subtle, subdued,
wholly Oriental. There are more voluptuous dances known to geisha, but
upon ordinary occasions and before refined audiences they portray
beautiful old Japanese traditions, like the legend of the fisher
Urashima, beloved by the Sea God's daughter; and at intervals they sing
ancient Chinese poems, expressing a natural emotion with delicious
vividness by a few exquisite words. And always they pour the wine--that
warm, pale yellow, drowsy wine which fills the veins with soft
contentment, making a faint sense of ecstasy, through which, as through
some poppied sleep, the commonplace becomes wondrous and blissful, and
the geisha Maids of Paradise, and the world much sweeter than, in the
natural order of things, it could ever possibly be.

The banquet, at first so silent, slowly changes to a merry tumult. The
company break ranks, form groups; and from group to group the girls
pass, laughing, prattling--still pouring sake into the cups which are
being exchanged and emptied with low bows  [3]  Men begin to sing old
samurai songs, old Chinese poems. One or two even dance. A geisha tucks
her robe well up to her knees; and the samisen strike up the quick
melody, 'Kompira fund-fund.' As the music plays, she begins to run
lightly and swiftly in a figure of 8, and a young man, carrying a sake
bottle and cup, also runs in the same figure of 8. If the two meet on a
line, the one through whose error the meeting happens must drink a cup
of sake. The music becomes quicker and quicker and the runners run
faster and faster, for they must keep time to the melody; and the geisha
wins. In another part of the room, guests and geisha are playing ken.
They sing as they play, facing each other, and clap their hands, and
fling out their fingers at intervals with little cries and the samisen
keep time.


Now, to play ken with a geisha requires a perfectly cool head, a quick
eye, and much practice. Having been trained from childhood to play all
kinds of ken--and there are many--she generally loses only for
politeness, when she loses at all. The signs of the most common ken are
a Man, a Fox, and a Gun. If the geisha make the sign of the Gun, you
must instantly, and in exact time to the music, make the sign of the
Fox, who cannot use the Gun. For if you make the sign of the Man, then
she will answer with the sign of the Fox, who can deceive the Man, and
you lose. And if she make the sign of the Fox first, then you should
make the sign of the Gun, by which the Fox can be killed. But all the
while you must watch her bright eyes and supple hands. These are pretty;
and if you suffer yourself, just for one fraction of a second, to think
how pretty they are, you are bewitched and vanquished. Notwithstanding
all this apparent comradeship, a certain rigid decorum between guest and
geisha is invariably preserved at a Japanese banquet. However flushed
with wine a guest may have become, you will never see him attempt to
caress a girl; he never forgets that she appears at the festivities only
as a human flower, to be looked at, not to be touched. The familiarity
which foreign tourists in Japan frequently permit themselves with geisha
or with waiter-girls, though endured with smiling patience, is really
much disliked, and considered by native observers an evidence of extreme

For a time the merriment grows; but as midnight draws near, the guests
begin to slip away, one by one, unnoticed. Then the din gradually dies
down, the music stops; and at last the geisha, having escorted the
latest of the feasters to the door, with laughing cries of Sayonara, can
sit down alone to break their long fast in the deserted hall.

Such is the geisha's rôle But what is the mystery of her? What are her
thoughts, her emotions, her secret self? What is her veritable existence
beyond the night circle of the banquet lights, far from the illusion
formed around her by the mist of wine? Is she always as mischievous as
she seems while her voice ripples out with mocking sweetness the words
of the ancient song?

Kimi to neyaru ka, go sengoku toruka? Nanno gosengoku kimi to neyo?  [4]

Or might we think her capable of keeping that passionate promise she
utters so deliciously?

Omae shindara tera ewa yaranu! Yaete konishite sake de nomu, [5]

'Why, as for that,' a friend tells me, 'there was O'-Kama of Osaka who
realised the song only last year. For she, having collected from the
funeral pile the ashes of her lover, mingled them with sake, and at a
banquet drank them, in the presence of many guests.' In the presence of
many guests! Alas for romance!

Always in the dwelling which a band of geisha occupy there is a strange
image placed in the alcove. Sometimes it is of clay, rarely of gold,
most commonly of porcelain. It is reverenced: offerings are made to it,
sweetmeats and rice bread and wine; incense smoulders in front of it,
and a lamp is burned before it. It is the image of a kitten erect, one
paw outstretched as if inviting--whence its name, 'the Beckoning
Kitten.' [6] It is the genius loci: it brings good-fortune, the
patronage of the rich, the favour of banquet-givers Now, they who know
the soul of the geisha aver that the semblance of the image is the
semblance of herself--playful and pretty, soft and young, lithe and
caressing, and cruel as a devouring fire.

Worse, also, than this they have said of her: that in her shadow treads
the God of Poverty, and that the Fox-women are her sisters; that she is
the ruin of youth, the waster of fortunes, the destroyer of families;
that she knows love only as the source of the follies which are her
gain, and grows rich upon the substance of men whose graves she has
made; that she is the most consummate of pretty hypocrites, the most
dangerous of schemers, the most insatiable of mercenaries, the most
pitiless of mistresses. This cannot all be true. Yet thus much is true--
that, like the kitten, the geisha is by profession a creature of prey.
There are many really lovable kittens. Even so there must be really
delightful dancing-girls.

The geisha is only what she has been made in answer to foolish human
desire for the illusion of love mixed with youth and grace, but without
regrets or responsibilities: wherefore she has been taught, besides ken,
to play at hearts. Now, the eternal law is that people may play with
impunity at any game in this unhappy world except three, which are
called Life, Love, and Death. Those the gods have reserved to
themselves, because nobody else can learn to play them without doing
mischief. Therefore, to play with a geisha any game much more serious
than ken, or at least go, is displeasing to the gods.

The girl begins her career as a slave, a pretty child bought from
miserably poor parents under a contract, according to which her services
may be claimed by the purchasers for eighteen, twenty, or even twenty-
five years. She is fed, clothed, and trained in a house occupied only by
geisha; and she passes the rest of her childhood under severe
discipline. She is taught etiquette, grace, polite speech; she has daily
lessons in dancing; and she is obliged to learn by heart a multitude of
songs with their airs. Also she must learn games, the service of
banquets and weddings, the art of dressing and looking beautiful.
Whatever physical gifts she may have are; carefully cultivated.
Afterwards she is taught to handle musical instruments: first, the
little drum (tsudzumi), which cannot be sounded at all without
considerable practice; then she learns to play the samisen a little,
with a plectrum of tortoise-shell or ivory. At eight or nine years of
age she attends banquets, chiefly as a drum-player. She is then the
most charming little creature imaginable, and already knows how to fill
your wine-cup exactly full, with a single toss of the bottle and without
spilling a drop, between two taps of her drum.

Thereafter her discipline becomes more cruel. Her voice may be flexible
enough, but lacks the requisite strength. In the iciest hours of winter
nights, she must ascend to the roof of her dwelling-house, and there
sing and play till the blood oozes from her fingers and the voice dies
in her throat. The desired result is an atrocious cold. After a period
of hoarse whispering, her voice changes its tone and strengthens. She is
ready to become a public singer and dancer.

In this capacity she usually makes her first appearance at the age of
twelve or thirteen. If pretty and skilful, her services will be much in
demand, and her time paid for at the rate of twenty to twenty-five sen
per hour. Then only do her purchasers begin to reimburse themselves for
the time, expense, and trouble of her training; and they are not apt to
be generous. For many years more all that she earns must pass into their
hands. She can own nothing, not even her clothes.

At seventeen or eighteen she has made her artistic reputation. She has
been at many hundreds of entertainments, and knows by sight all the
important personages of her city, the character of each, the history of
all. Her life has been chiefly a night life; rarely has she seen the sun
rise since she became a dancer. She has learned to drink wine without
ever losing her head, and to fast for seven or eight hours without ever
feeling the worse. She has had many lovers. To a certain extent she is
free to smile upon whom she pleases; but she has been well taught, above
all else to use her power of charm for her own advantage. She hopes to
find Somebody able and willing to buy her freedom--which Somebody would
almost certainly thereafter discover many new and excellent meanings in
those Buddhist texts that tell about the foolishness of love and the
impermanency of all human relationships.

At this point of her career we may leave the geisha: there-. after her
story is apt to prove unpleasant, unless she die young. Should that
happen, she will have the obsequies of her class, and her memory will be
preserved by divers curious rites.

Some time, perhaps, while wandering through Japanese streets at night,
you hear sounds of music, a tinkling of samisen floating through the
great gateway of a Buddhist temple together with shrill voices of
singing-girls; which may seem to you a strange happening. And the deep
court is thronged with people looking and listening. Then, making your
way through the press to the temple steps, you see two geisha seated
upon the matting within, playing and singing, and a third dancing before
a little table. Upon the table is an ihai, or mortuary tablet; in front
of the tablet burns a little lamp, and incense in a cup of bronze; a
small repast has been placed there, fruits and dainties--such a repast
as, upon festival occasions, it is the custom to offer to the dead. You
learn that the kaimyo upon the tablet is that of a geisha; and that the
comrades of the dead girl assemble in the temple on certain days to
gladden her spirit with songs and dances. Then whosoever pleases may
attend the ceremony free of charge.

But the dancing-girls of ancient times were not as the geisha of to-day.
Some of them were called shirabyoshi; and their hearts were not
extremely hard. They were beautiful; they wore queerly shaped caps
bedecked with gold; they were clad in splendid attire, and danced with
swords in the dwellings of princes. And there is an old story about one
of them which I think it worth while to tell.

Sec. 1

It was formerly, and indeed still is, a custom with young Japanese
artists to travel on foot through various parts of the empire, in order
to see and sketch the most celebrated scenery as well as to study famous
art objects preserved in Buddhist temples, many of which occupy sites of
extraordinary picturesqueness.  It is to such wanderings, chiefly, that
we owe the existence of those beautiful books of landscape views and
life studies which are now so curious and rare, and which teach better
than aught else that only the Japanese can paint Japanese scenery. After
you have become acquainted with their methods of interpreting their own
nature, foreign attempts in the same line will seem to you strangely
flat and soulless. The foreign artist will give you realistic
reflections of what he sees; but he will give you nothing more. The
Japanese artist gives you that which he feels--the mood of a season, the
precise sensation of an hour and place; his work is qualified by a power
of suggestiveness rarely found in the art of the West. The Occidental
painter renders minute detail; he satisfies the imagination he evokes.
But his Oriental brother either suppresses or idealises detail--steeps
his distances in mist, bands his landscapes with cloud, makes of his
experience a memory in which only the strange and the beautiful survive,
with their sensations. He surpasses imagination, excites it, leaves it
hungry with the hunger of charm perceived in glimpses only.
Nevertheless, in such glimpses he is able to convey the feeling of a
time, the character of a place, after a fashion that seems magical. He
is a painter of recollections and of sensations rather than of clear-cut
realities; and in this lies the secret of his amazing power--a power not
to be appreciated by those who have never witnessed the scenes of his
inspiration. He is above all things impersonal. His human figures are
devoid of all individuality; yet they have inimitable merit as types
embodying the characteristics of a class: the childish curiosity of the
peasant, the shyness of the maiden, the fascination of the joro the
self-consciousness of the samurai, the funny, placid prettiness of the
child, the resigned gentleness of age. Travel and observation were the
influences which developed this art; it was never a growth of studios.

A great many years ago, a young art student was travelling on foot from
Kyoto to Yedo, over the mountains The roads then were few and bad, and
travel was so difficult compared to what it is now that a proverb was
current, Kawai ko wa tabi wo sase (A pet child should be made to
travel). But the land was what it is to-day. There were the same forests
of cedar and of pine, the same groves of bamboo, the same peaked
villages with roofs of thatch, the same terraced rice-fields dotted with
the great yellow straw hats of peasants bending in the slime. From the
wayside, the same statues of Jizo smiled upon the same pilgrim figures
passing to the same temples; and then, as now, of summer days, one might
see naked brown children laughing in all the shallow rivers, and all the
rivers laughing to the sun.

The young art student, however, was no kawai ko: he had already
travelled a great deal, was inured to hard fare and rough lodging, and
accustomed to make the best of every situation. But upon this journey he
found himself, one evening after sunset, in a region where it seemed
possible to obtain neither fare nor lodging of any sort--out of sight of
cultivated land. While attempting a short cut over a range to reach some
village, he had lost his way.

There was no moon, and pine shadows made blackness all around him. The
district into which he had wandered seemed utterly wild; there were no
sounds but the humming of the wind in the pine-needles, and an infinite
tinkling of bell-insects. He stumbled on, hoping to gain some river
bank, which he could follow to a settlement. At last a stream abruptly
crossed his way; but it proved to be a swift torrent pouring into a
gorge between precipices. Obliged to retrace his steps, he resolved to
climb to the nearest summit, whence he might be able to discern some
sign of human life; but on reaching it he could see about him only a
heaping of hills.

He had almost resigned himself to passing the night under the stars,
when he perceived, at some distance down the farther slope of the hill
he had ascended, a single thin yellow ray of light, evidently issuing
from some dwelling. He made his way towards it, and soon discerned a
small cottage, apparently a peasant's home. The light he had seen still
streamed from it, through a chink in the closed storm-doors. He hastened
forward, and knocked at the entrance.

Not until he had knocked and called several times did he hear any stir
within; then a woman 's voice asked what was wanted. The voice was
remarkably sweet, and the speech of the unseen questioner surprised him,
for she spoke in the cultivated idiom of the capital. He responded that
he was a student, who had lost his way in the mountains; that he wished,
if possible, to obtain food and lodging for the night; and that if this
could not be given, he would feel very grateful for information how to
reach the nearest village--adding that he had means enough to pay for
the services of a guide. The voice, in return, asked several other
questions, indicating extreme surprise that anyone could have reached
the dwelling from the direction he had taken. But his answers evidently
allayed suspicion, for the inmate exclaimed: 'I will come in a moment.
It would be difficult for you to reach any village to-night; and the
path is dangerous.'

After a brief delay the storm-doors were pushed open, and a woman
appeared with a paper lantern, which she so held as to illuminate the
stranger's face, while her own remained in shadow. She scrutinised him
in silence, then said briefly, 'Wait; I will bring water.' She fetched a
wash-basin, set it upon the doorstep, and offered the guest a towel. He
removed his sandals, washed from his feet the dust of travel, and was
shown into a neat room which appeared to occupy the whole interior,
except a small boarded space at the rear, used as a kitchen. A cotton
zabuton was laid for him to kneel upon, and a brazier set before him.

It was only then that he had a good opportunity of observing his
hostess, and he was startled by the delicacy and beauty of her features.
She might have been three or four years older than he, but was still in
the bloom of youth. Certainly she was not a peasant girl. In the same
singularly sweet voice she said to him: 'I am now alone, and I never
receive guests here. But I am sure it would be dangerous for you to
travel farther tonight. There are some peasants in the neighbourhood,
but you cannot find your way to them in the dark without a guide. So I
can let you stay here until morning. You will not be comfortable, but I
can give you a bed. And I suppose you are hungry. There is only some
shojin-ryori, [7]--not at all good, but you are welcome to it.'

The traveller was quite hungry, and only too glad of the offer. The
young woman kindled a little fire, prepared a few dishes in silence--
stewed leaves of na, some aburage, some kampyo, and a bowl of coarse
rice--and quickly set the meal before him, apologising for its quality.
But during his repast she spoke scarcely at all, and her reserved manner
embarrassed him. As she answered the few questions he ventured upon
merely by a bow or by a solitary word, he soon refrained from attempting
to press the conversation.

Meanwhile he had observed that the small house was spotlessly clean, and
the utensils in which his food was served were immaculate. The few cheap
objects in the apartment were pretty. The fusuma of the oshiire and
zendana [8] were of white paper only, but had been decorated with large
Chinese characters exquisitely written, characters suggesting, according
to the law of such decoration, the favourite themes of the poet and
artist: Spring Flowers, Mountain and Sea, Summer Rain, Sky and Stars,
Autumn Moon, River Water, Autumn Breeze. At one side of the apartment
stood a kind of low altar, supporting a butsudan, whose tiny lacquered
doors, left open, showed a mortuary tablet within, before which a lamp
was burning between offerings of wild flowers. And above this household
shrine hung a picture of more than common merit, representing the
Goddess of Mercy, wearing the moon for her aureole.

As the student ended his little meal the young woman observed: I cannot
offer you a good bed, and there is only a paper mosquito-curtain The bed
and the curtain are mine, but to-night I have many things to do, and
shall have no time to sleep; therefore I beg you will try to rest,
though I am not able to make you comfortable.'

He then understood that she was, for some strange reason, entirely
alone, and was voluntarily giving up her only bed to him upon a kindly
pretext. He protested honestly against such an excess of hospitality,
and assured her that he could sleep quite soundly anywhere on the floor,
and did not care about the mosquitoes. But she replied, in the tone of
an elder sister, that he must obey her wishes. She really had something
to do, and she desired to be left by herself as soon as possible;
therefore, understanding him to be a gentleman, she expected he would
suffer her to arrange matters in her own way. To this he could offer no
objection, as there was but one room. She spread the mattress on the
floor, fetched a wooden pillow, suspended her paper mosquito-curtain,
unfolded a large screen on the side of the bed toward the butsudan, and
then bade him good-night in a manner that assured him she wished him to
retire at once; which he did, not without some reluctance at the thought
of all the trouble he had unintentionally caused her.

Sec. 3

Unwilling as the young traveller felt to accept a kindness involving the
sacrifice of another's repose, he found the bed more than comfortable.
He was very tired, and had scarcely laid his head upon the wooden pillow
before he forgot everything in sleep.

Yet only a little while seemed to have passed when he was awakened by a
singular sound. It was certainly the sound of feet, but not of feet
walking softly. It seemed rather the sound of feet in rapid motion, as
of excitement. Then it occurred to him that robbers might have entered
the house. As for himself, he had little to fear because he had little
to lose. His anxiety was chiefly for the kind person who had granted him
hospitality. Into each side of the paper mosquito-curtain a small square
of brown netting had been fitted, like a little window, and through one
of these he tried to look; but the high screen stood between him and
whatever was going on. He thought of calling, but this impulse was
checked by the reflection that in case of real danger it would be both
useless and imprudent to announce his presence before understanding the
situation. The sounds which had made him uneasy continued, and were more
and more mysterious. He resolved to prepare for the worst, and to risk
his life, if necessary, in order to defend his young hostess. Hastily
girding up his robes, he slipped noiselessly from under the paper
curtain, crept to the edge of the screen, and peeped. What he saw
astonished him extremely.

Before her illuminated butsudan the young woman, magnificently attired,
was dancing all alone. Her costume he recognised as that of a
shirabyoshi, though much richer than any he had ever seen worn by a
professional dancer. Marvellously enhanced by it, her beauty, in that
lonely time and place, appeared almost supernatural; but what seemed to
him even more wonderful was her dancing. For an instant he felt the
tingling of a weird doubt. The superstitions of peasants, the legends of
Fox-women, flashed before his imagination; but the sight of the Buddhist
shrine, of the sacred picture, dissipated the fancy, and shamed him for
the folly of it. At the same time he became conscious that he was
watching something she had not wished him to see, and that it was his
duty, as her guest, to return at once behind the screen; but the
spectacle fascinated him. He felt, with not less pleasure than
amazement, that he was looking upon the most accomplished dancer he had
ever seen; and the more he watched, the more the witchery of her grace
grew upon him. Suddenly she paused, panting, unfastened her girdle,
turned in the act of doffing her upper robe, and started violently as
her eyes encountered his own.

He tried at once to excuse himself to her. He said he had been suddenly
awakened by the sound of quick feet, which sound had caused him some
uneasiness, chiefly for her sake, because of the lateness of the hour
and the lonesomeness of the place. Then he confessed his surprise at
what he had seen, and spoke of the manner in which it had attracted him.
'I beg you,' he continued, 'to forgive my curiosity, for I cannot help
wondering who you are, and how you could have become so marvellous a
dancer. All the dancers of Saikyo I have seen, yet I have never seen
among the most celebrated of them a girl who could dance like you; and
once I had begun to watch you, I could not take away my eyes.'

At first she had seemed angry, but before he had ceased to speak her
expression changed. She smiled, and seated herself before him.' 'No, I
am not angry with you,' she said. 'I am only sorry that you should have
watched me, for I am sure you must have thought me mad when you saw me
dancing that way, all by myself; and now I must tell you the meaning of
what you have seen.'

So she related her story. Her name he remembered to have heard as a boy
--her professional name, the name of the most famous of shirabyoshi, the
darling of the capital, who, in the zenith of her fame and beauty, had
suddenly vanished from public life, none knew whither or why. She had
fled from wealth and fortune with a youth who loved her. He was poor,
but between them they possessed enough means to live simply and happily
in the country. They built a little house in the mountains, and there
for a number of years they existed only for each other. He adored her.
One of his greatest pleasures was to see her dance. Each evening he
would play some favourite melody, and she would dance for him. But one
long cold winter he fell sick, and, in spite of her tender nursing,
died. Since then she had lived alone with the memory of him, performing
all those small rites of love and homage with which the dead are
honoured. Daily before his tablet she placed the customary offerings,
and nightly danced to please him, as of old.	And this was the
explanation of what the young traveller had seen. It was indeed rude,
she continued, to have awakened her tired guest; but she had waited
until she thought him soundly sleeping, and then she had tried to dance
very, very lightly. So she hoped he would pardon her for having
unintentionally disturbed him.

When she had told him all, she made ready a little tea, which they drank
together; then she entreated him so plaintively to please her by trying
to sleep again that he found himself obliged to go back, with many
sincere apologies, under the paper mosquito-curtain.

He slept well and long; the sun was high before he woke. On rising, he
found prepared for him a meal as simple as that of the evening before,
and he felt hungry. Nevertheless he ate sparingly, fearing the young
woman might have stinted herself in thus providing for him; and then he
made ready to depart. But when he wanted to pay her for what he had
received, and for all the trouble he had given her, she refused to take
anything from him, saying: 'What I had to give was not worth money, and
what I did was done for kindness alone. So! pray that you will try to
forget the discomfort you suffered here, and will remember only the
good-will of one who had nothing to offer.'

He still endeavoured to induce her to accept something; but at last,
finding that his insistence only gave her pain, he took leave of her
with such words as he could find to express his gratitude, and not
without a secret regret, for her beauty and her gentleness had charmed
him more than he would have liked to acknowledge to any but herself. She
indicated to him the path to follow, and watched him descend the
mountain until he had passed from sight. An hour later he found himself
upon a highway with which he was familiar. Then a sudden remorse touched
him: he had forgotten to tell her his name. For an instant he hesitated;
then he said to himself, 'What matters it? I shall be always poor.' And
he went on.

Many years passed by, and many fashions with them; and the painter
became old. But ere becoming old he had become famous. Princes, charmed
by the wonder of his work, had vied with one another in giving him
patronage; so that he grew rich, and possessed a beautiful dwelling of
his own in the City of the Emperors. Young artists from many provinces
were his pupils, and lived with him, serving him in all things while
receiving his instruction; and his name was known throughout the land.

Now, there came one day to his house an old woman, who asked to speak
with him. The servants, seeing that she was meanly dressed and of
miserable appearance, took her to be some common beggar, and questioned
her roughly. But when she answered: 'I can tell to no one except your
master why I have come,' they believed her mad, and deceived her,
saying: 'He is not now in Saikyo, nor do we know how soon he will

But the old woman came again and again--day after day, and week after
week--each time being told something that was not true: 'To-day he is
ill,' or, 'To-day he is very busy,' or, 'To-day he has much company, and
therefore cannot see you.' Nevertheless she continued to come, always at
the same hour each day, and always carrying a bundle wrapped in a ragged
covering; and the servants at last thought it were best to speak to
their master about her. So they said to him: 'There is a very old woman,
whom we take to be a beggar, at our lord's gate. More than fifty times
she has come, asking to see our lord, and refusing to tell us why--
saying that she can tell her wishes only to our lord. And we have tried
to discourage her, as she seemed to be mad; but she always comes.
Therefore we have presumed to mention the matter to our lord, in order
that we may learn what is to be done hereafter.'

Then the Master answered sharply: 'Why did none of you tell me of this
before?' and went out himself to the gate, and spoke very kindly to the
woman, remembering how he also had been poor. And he asked her if she
desired alms of him.

But she answered that she had no need of money or of food, and only
desired that he would paint for her a picture. He wondered at her wish,
and bade her enter his house. So she entered into the vestibule, and,
kneeling there, began to untie the knots of the bundle she had brought
with her. When she had unwrapped it, the painter perceived curious rich
quaint garments of silk broidered with designs in gold, yet much frayed
and discoloured by wear and time--the wreck of a wonderful costume of
other days, the attire of a shirabyoshi.

While the old woman unfolded the garments one by one, and tried to
smooth them with her trembling fingers, a memory stirred in the Master's
brain, thrilled dimly there a little space, then suddenly lighted up. In
that soft shock of recollection, he saw again the lonely mountain
dwelling in which he had received unremunerated hospitality--the tiny
room prepared for his rest, the paper mosquito-curtain, the faintly
burning lamp before the Buddhist shrine, the strange beauty of one
dancing there alone in the dead of the night. Then, to the astonishment
of the aged visitor, he, the favoured of princes, bowed low before her,
and said: 'Pardon my rudeness in having forgotten your face for a
moment; but it is more than forty years since we last saw each other.
Now I remember you well. You received me once at your house. You gave up
to me the only bed you had. I saw you dance, and you told me all your
story. You had been a shirabyoshi, and I have not forgotten your name.'

He uttered it. She, astonished and confused, could not at first reply to
him, for she was old and had suffered much, and her memory had begun to
fail. But he spoke more and more kindly to her, and reminded her of many
things which she had told him, and described to her the house in which
she had lived alone, so that at last she also remembered; and she
answered, with tears of pleasure: 'Surely the Divine One who looketh
down above the sound of prayer has guided me. But when my unworthy home
was honoured by the visit of the august Master, I was not as I now am.
And it seems to me like a miracle of our Lord Buddha that the Master
should remember me.'

Then she related the rest of her simple story. In the course of years,
she had become, through poverty, obliged to part with her little house;
and in her old age she had returned alone to the great city, in which
her name had long been forgotten. It had caused her much pain to lose
her home; but it grieved her still more that, in becoming weak and old,
she could no longer dance each evening before the butsudan, to please
the spirit of the dead whom she had loved. Therefore she wanted to have
a picture of herself painted, in the costume and the attitude of the
dance, that she might suspend it before the butsudan. For this she had
prayed earnestly to Kwannon. And she had sought out the Master because
of his fame as a painter, since she desired, for the sake of the dead,
no common work, but a picture painted with great skill; and she had
brought her dancing attire, hoping that the Master might be willing to
paint her therein.

He listened to all with a kindly smile, and answered her:  'It will be
only a pleasure for me to paint the picture which you want. This day I
have something to finish which cannot be delayed. But if you will come
here to-morrow, I will paint you exactly as you wish, and as well as I
am able.'

But she said: 'I have not yet told to the Master the thing which most
troubles me. And it is this--that I can offer in return for so great a
favour nothing except these dancer's clothes; and they are of no value
in themselves, though they were costly once. Still, I hoped the Master
might be willing to take them, seeing they have become curious; for
there are no more shirabyoshi, and the maiko of these times wear no such

'Of that matter,' the good painter exclaimed, 'you must not think at
all!  No; I am glad to have this present chance of paying a small part
of my old debt to you. So to-morrow I will paint you just as you wish.'

She prostrated herself thrice before him, uttering thanks and then said,
'Let my lord pardon, though I have yet something more to say. For I do
not wish that he should paint me as I now am, but only as I used to be
when I was young, as my lord knew me.'

He said: 'I remember well. You were very beautiful.'

Her wrinkled features lighted up with pleasure, as she bowed her thanks
to him for those words. And she exclaimed: 'Then indeed all that I hoped
and prayed for may be done! Since he thus remembers my poor youth, I
beseech my lord to paint me, not as I now am, but as he saw me when I
was not old and, as it has pleased him generously to say, not uncomely.
O Master, make me young again! Make me seem beautiful that I may seem
beautiful to the soul of him for whose sake I, the unworthy, beseech
this! He will see the Master's work: he will forgive me that I can no
longer dance.

Once more the Master bade her have no anxiety, and said: 'Come tomorrow,
and I will paint you. I will make a picture of you just as you
were when I saw you, a young and beautiful shirabyoshi, and I will paint
it as carefully and as skilfully as if I were painting the picture of
the richest person in the land. Never doubt, but come.'

Sec. 5

So the aged dancer came at the appointed hour; and upon soft white silk
the artist painted a picture of her. Yet not a picture of her as she
seemed to the Master's pupils but the memory of her as she had been in
the days of her youth, bright-eyed as a bird, lithe as a bamboo,
dazzling as a tennin [9] in her raiment of silk and gold. Under the
magic of the Master's brush, the vanished grace returned, the faded
beauty bloomed again. When the kakemono had been finished, and stamped
with his seal, he mounted it richly upon silken cloth, and fixed to it
rollers of cedar with ivory weights, and a silken cord by which to hang
it; and he placed it in a little box of white wood, and so gave it to
the shirabyoshi. And he would also have presented her with a gift of
money. But though he pressed her earnestly, he could not persuade her to
accept his help. 'Nay,' she made answer, with tears, 'indeed I need
nothing. The picture only I desired. For that I prayed; and now my
prayer has been answered, and I know that I never can wish for anything
more in this life, and that if I come to die thus desiring nothing, to
enter upon the way of Buddha will not be difficult. One thought .alone
causes me sorrow--that I have nothing to offer to the Master but this
dancer's apparel, which is indeed of little worth, though I beseech him
I to accept it; and I will pray each day that his future life may be a
life of happiness, because of the wondrous kindness which I he has done

'Nay,' protested the painter, smiling, 'what is it that I have done?
Truly nothing. As for the dancer's garments, I will accept them, if that
can make you more happy. They will bring back pleasant memories of the
night I passed in your home, when you gave up all your comforts for my
unworthy sake, and yet would not suffer me to pay for that which I used;
and for that kindness I hold myself to be still in your debt. But now
tell me where you live, so that I may see the picture in its place.' For
he had resolved within himself to place her beyond the reach of want.

But she excused herself with humble words, and would not tell him,
saying that her dwelling-place was too mean to be looked upon by such as
he; and then, with many prostrations, she thanked him again and again,
and went away with her treasure, weeping for joy.

Then the Master called to one of his pupils: 'Go quickly after that
woman, but so that she does not know herself followed, and bring me word
where she lives.' So the young man followed her, unperceived.

He remained long away, and when he returned he laughed in the manner of
one obliged to say something which it is not pleasant to hear, and he
said: 'That woman, O Master, I followed out of the city to the dry bed
of the river, near to the place where criminals are executed. There I
saw a hut such as an Eta might dwell in, and that is where she lives. A
forsaken and filthy place, O Master!'

'Nevertheless,' the painter replied, 'to-morrow you will take me to that
forsaken and filthy place. What time I live she shall not suffer for
food or clothing or comfort.'

And as all wondered, he told them the story of the shirabyoshi, after
which it did not seem to them that his words were strange.

Sec. 6

On the morning of the day following, an hour after sun-rise, the Master
and his pupil took their way to the dry bed of the river, beyond the
verge of the city, to the place of outcasts.

The entrance of the little dwelling they found closed by a single
shutter, upon which the Master tapped many times without evoking a
response. Then, finding the shutter unfastened from within, he pushed it
slightly aside, and called through the aperture. None replied, and he
decided to enter. Simultaneously, with extraordinary vividness, there
thrilled back to him the sensation of the very instant when, as a tired.
lad, he stood pleading for admission to the lonesome little cottage
among the hills.

Entering alone softly, he perceived that the woman was lying there,
wrapped in a single thin and tattered futon, seemingly asleep. On a rude
shelf he recognised the butsudan of' forty years before, with its
tablet, and now, as then, a tiny lamp was burning in front of the
kaimyo. The kakemono of the Goddess of Mercy with her lunar aureole was
gone, but on the wall facing the shrine he beheld his own dainty gift
suspended, and an ofuda beneath it--an ofuda of Hito-koto-Kwannon [10]--
that Kwannon unto whom it is unlawful to pray more than once, as she
answers but a single prayer. There was little else in the desolate
dwelling; only the garments of a female pilgrim, and a mendicant's staff
and bowl.

But the Master did not pause to look at these things, for he desired to
awaken and to gladden the sleeper, and he called her name cheerily twice
and thrice.

Then suddenly he saw that she was dead, and he wondered while he gazed
upon her face, for it seemed less old. A vague sweetness, like a ghost
of youth, had returned to it; the lines of sorrow had been softened, the
wrinkles strangely smoothed, by the touch of a phantom Master mightier
than he.

CHAPTER EIGHT From Hoki to Oki

Sec. 1

I RESOLVED to go to Oki.

Not even a missionary had ever been to Oki, and its shores had never
been seen by European eyes, except on those rare occasions when men-of-
war steamed by them, cruising about the Japanese Sea. This alone would
have been a sufficient reason for going there; but a stronger one was
furnished for me by the ignorance of the Japanese themselves about Oki.
Excepting the far-away Riu-Kiu, or Loo-Choo Islands, inhabited by a
somewhat different race with a different language, the least-known
portion of the Japanese Empire is perhaps Oki. Since it belongs to the
same prefectural district as Izumo, each new governor of Shimane-Ken is
supposed to pay one visit to Oki after his inauguration; and the chief
of police of the province sometimes goes there upon a tour of
inspection. There are also some mercantile houses in Matsue and in other
cities which send a commercial traveller to Oki once a year.
Furthermore, there is quite a large trade with Oki--almost all carried
on by small sailing-vessels. But such official and commercial
communications have not been of a nature to make Oki much better known
to-day than in the medieval period of Japanese history. There are still
current among the common people of the west coast extraordinary stories
of Oki much like those about that fabulous Isle of Women, which figures
so largely in the imaginative literature of various Oriental races.
According to these old legends, the moral notions of the people of Oki
were extremely fantastic: the most rigid ascetic could not dwell there
and maintain his indifference to earthly pleasures; and, however wealthy
at his arrival, the visiting stranger must soon return to his native
land naked and poor, because of the seductions of women. I had quite
sufficient experiences of travel in queer countries to feel certain that
all these marvellous stories signified nothing beyond the bare fact that
Oki was a terra incognita; and I even felt inclined to believe that the
average morals of the people of Oki--judging by those of the common folk
of the western provinces--must be very much better than the morals of
our ignorant classes at home.

Which I subsequently ascertained to be the case.

For some time I could find no one among my Japanese acquaintances to
give me any information about Oki, beyond the fact that in ancient times
it had been a place of banishment for the Emperors Go-Daigo and Go-Toba,
dethroned by military usurpers, and this I already knew. But at last,
quite unexpectedly, I found a friend--a former fellow-teacher--who had
not only been to Oki, but was going there again within a few days about
some business matter. We agreed to go together. His accounts of Oki
differed very materially from those of the people who had never been
there. The Oki folks, he said, were almost as much civilised as the
Izumo folks: they, had nice towns and good public schools. They were
very simple and honest beyond belief, and extremely kind to strangers.
Their only boast was that of having kept their race unchanged since the
time that the Japanese had first come to Japan; or, in more romantic
phrase, since the Age of the Gods. They were all Shintoists, members of
the Izumo Taisha faith, but Buddhism was also maintained among them,
chiefly through the generous subscription of private individuals. And
there were very comfortable hotels, so that I would feel quite at home.

He also gave me a little book about Oki, printed for the use of the Oki
schools, from which I obtained the following brief summary of facts:

Sec. 2

Oki-no-Kuni, or the Land of Oki, consists of two groups of small islands
in the Sea of Japan, about one hundred miles from the coast of Izumo.
Dozen, as the nearer group is termed, comprises, besides various islets,
three islands lying close together: Chiburishima, or the Island of
Chiburi (sometimes called Higashinoshima, or Eastern Island);
Nishinoshima, or the Western Island, and Nakanoshima, or the Middle
Island. Much larger than any of these is the principal island, Dogo,
which together with various islets, mostly uninhabited, form the
remaining group. It is sometimes called Oki--though  the name Oki is
more generally used for the whole archipelago. [1]

Officially, Oki is divided into four kori or counties. Chiburi and
Nishinoshima together form Chiburigori; Nakanoshima, with an islet,
makes Amagori, and Dogo is divided into Ochigori and Sukigori.

All these islands are very mountainous, and only a small portion of
their area has ever been cultivated. Their chief sources of revenue are
their fisheries, in which nearly the whole population has always been
engaged from the most ancient times.

During the winter months the sea between Oki and the west coast is
highly dangerous for small vessels, and in that season the islands hold
little communication with the mainland. Only one passenger steamer runs
to Oki from Sakai in Hoki In a direct line, the distance from Sakai in
Hoki to Saigo, the chief port of Oki, is said to be thirty-nine ri; but
the steamer touches at the other islands upon her way thither.

There are quite a number of little towns, or rather villages, in Oki, of
which forty-five belong to Dogo. The villages are nearly all situated
upon the coast. There are large schools in the principal towns. The
population of the islands is stated to be 30,196, but the respective
populations of towns and villages are not given.

Sec. 3

From Matsue in Izumo to Sakai in Hoki is a trip of barely two hours by
steamer. Sakai is the chief seaport of Shimane-Ken. It is an ugly little
town, full of unpleasant smells; it exists only as a port; it has no
industries, scarcely any shops, and only one Shinto temple of small
dimensions and smaller interest. Its principal buildings are warehouses,
pleasure resorts for sailors, and a few large dingy hotels, which are
always overcrowded with guests waiting for steamers to Osaka, to Bakkan,
to Hamada, to Niigata, and various other ports. On this coast no
steamers run regularly anywhere; their owners attach no business value
whatever to punctuality, and guests have usually to wait for a much
longer time than they could possibly have expected, and the hotels are

But the harbour is beautiful--a long frith between the high land of
Izumo and the low coast of Hoki. It is perfectly sheltered from storms,
and deep enough to admit all but the largest steamers. The ships can lie
close to the houses, and the harbour is nearly always thronged with all
sorts of craft, from junks to steam packets of the latest construction.

My friend and I were lucky enough to secure back rooms at the best
hotel. Back rooms are the best in nearly all Japanese buildings: at
Sakai they have the additional advantage of overlooking the busy wharves
and the whole luminous bay, beyond which the Izumo hills undulate in
huge green billows against the sky. There was much to see and to be
amused at. Steamers and sailing craft of all sorts were lying two and
three deep before the hotel, and the naked dock labourers were loading
and unloading in their own peculiar way. These men are recruited from
among the strongest peasantry of Hoki and of Izumo, and some were really
fine men, over whose brown backs the muscles rippled at every movement.
They were assisted by boys of fifteen or sixteen apparently--apprentices
learning the work, but not yet strong enough to bear heavy burdens. I
noticed that nearly all had bands of blue cloth bound about their calves
to keep the veins from bursting. And all sang as they worked. There was
one curious alternate chorus, in which the men in the hold gave the
signal by chanting 'dokoe, dokoel' (haul away!) and those at the hatch
responded by improvisations on the appearance of each package as it

  Dokoe, dokoe!
  Onnago no ko da.
  Dokoe, dokoe!
  Oya dayo, oya dayo.
  Dokoe, dokoel
  Choi-choi da, choi-choi da.
  Dokoe, dokoe!
  Matsue da, Matsueda.
  Dokoe, dokoe!
  Koetsumo Yonago da, [20] etc.

But this chant was for light quick work. A very different chant
accompanied the more painful and slower labour of loading heavy sacks
and barrels upon the shoulders of the stronger men:--

  Yoi-ya-sa-a-a-no-do-koe-shi!  [3]

Three men always lifted the weight. At the first yan-yui all stooped; at
the second all took hold; the third signified ready; at the fourth the
weight rose from the ground; and with the long cry of yoiyasa no
dokoeshi it was dropped on the brawny shoulder waiting to receive it.

Among the workers was a naked laughing boy, with a fine contralto that
rang out so merrily through all the din as to create something of a
sensation in the hotel.  A young woman, one of the guests, came out upon
the balcony to look, and exclaimed: 'That boy's voice is RED'--whereat
everybody smiled. Under the circumstances I thought the observation very
expressive, although it recalled a certain famous story about scarlet
and the sound of a trumpet, which does not seem nearly so funny now as
it did at a time when we knew less about the nature of light and sound.

The Oki steamer arrived the same afternoon, but she could not approach
the wharf, and I could only obtain a momentary glimpse of her stern
through a telescope, with which I read the name, in English letters of
gold--OKI-SARGO. Before I could obtain any idea of her dimensions, a
huge black steamer from Nagasaki glided between, and moored right in the

I watched the loading and unloading, and listened to the song of the boy
with the red voice, until sunset, when all quit work; and after that I
watched the Nagasaki steamer. She had made her way to our wharf as the
other vessels moved out, and lay directly under the balcony. The captain
and crew did not appear to be in a hurry about anything. They all
squatted down together on the foredeck, where a feast was spread for
them by lantern-light. Dancing-girls climbed on board and feasted with
them, and sang to the sound of the samisen, and played with them the
game of ken. Late into the night the feasting and the fun continued; and
although an alarming quantity of sake was consumed, there was no
roughness or boisterousness. But sake is the most soporific of wines;
and by midnight only three of the men remained on deck. One of these had
not taken any sake at all, but still desired to eat. Happily for him
there climbed on board a night-walking mochiya with a box of mochi,
which are cakes of rice-flour sweetened with native sugar. The hungry
one bought all, and reproached the mochiya because there were no more,
and offered, nevertheless, to share the mochi with his comrades.
Whereupon the first to whom the offer was made answered somewhat after
this manner:

'I-your-servant mochi-for this-world-in no-use-have. Sake alone this-
life-in if-there-be, nothing-beside-desirable-is.

'For me-your-servant,' spake the other, 'Woman this-fleeting-life-in
the-supreme-thing is; mochi-or-sake-for earthly-use have-I-none.'

But, having made all the mochi to disappear, he that had been hungry
turned himself to the mochiya, and said:--'O Mochiya San, I-your-servant
Woman-or-sake-for earthly-requirement have-none. Mochi-than things
better this-life-of-sorrow-in existence-have-not !'

Sec. 4

Early in the morning we were notified that the Oki-Saigo would start at
precisely eight o'clock, and that we had better secure our tickets at
once. The hotel-servant, according to Japanese custom, relieved us of
all anxiety about baggage, etc., and bought our tickets: first-class
fare, eighty sen. And after a hasty breakfast the hotel boat came under
the window to take us away.

Warned by experience of the discomforts of European dress on Shimane
steamers, I adopted Japanese costume and exchanged my shoes for sandals.
Our boatmen sculled swiftly through the confusion of shipping and
junkery; and as we cleared it I saw, far out in midstream, the joki
waiting for us. Joki is a Japanese name for steam-vessel. The word had
not yet impressed me as being capable of a sinister interpretation.

She seemed nearly as long as a harbour tug, though much more squabby;
and she otherwise so much resembled the Lilliputian steamers of Lake
Shinji, that I felt somewhat afraid of her, even for a trip of one
hundred miles. But exterior inspection afforded no clue to the mystery
of her inside. We reached her and climbed into her starboard through a
small square hole. At once I found myself cramped in a heavily-roofed
gangway, four feet high and two feet wide, and in the thick of a
frightful squeeze--passengers stifling in the effort to pull baggage
three feet in diameter through the two-foot orifice. It was impossible
to advance or retreat; and behind me the engine-room gratings were
pouring wonderful heat into this infernal corridor. I had to wait with
the back of my head pressed against the roof until, in some unimaginable
way, all baggage and passengers had squashed and squeezed through. Then,
reaching a doorway, I fell over a heap of sandals and geta, into the
first-class cabin. It was pretty, with its polished woodwork and
mirrors; it was surrounded by divans five inches wide; and in the centre
it was nearly six feet high. Such altitude would have been a cause for
comparative happiness, but that from various polished bars of brass
extended across the ceiling all kinds of small baggage, including two
cages of singing-crickets (chongisu), had been carefully suspended.
Furthermore the cabin was already extremely occupied: everybody, of
course, on the floor, and nearly everybody lying at extreme length; and
the heat struck me as being supernatural. Now they that go down to the
sea in ships, out of Izumo and such places, for the purpose of doing
business in great waters, are never supposed to stand up, but to squat
in the ancient patient manner; and coast, or lake steamers are
constructed with a view to render this attitude only possible. Observing
an open door in the port side of the cabin, I picked my way over a
tangle of bodies and limbs--among them a pair of fairy legs belonging
to a dancing-girl--and found myself presently in another gangway, also
roofed, and choked up to the roof with baskets of squirming eels. Exit
there was none: so I climbed back over all the legs and tried the
starboard gangway a second time. Even during that short interval, it had
been half filled with baskets of unhappy chickens. But I made a reckless
dash over them, in spite of frantic cacklings which hurt my soul, and
succeeded in finding a way to the cabin-roof. It was entirely occupied
by water-melons, except one corner, where there was a big coil of rope.
I put melons inside of the rope, and sat upon them in the sun. It was
not comfortable; but I thought that there I might have some chance for
my life in case of a catastrophe, and I was sure that even the gods
could give no help to those below. During the squeeze I had got
separated from my companion, but I was afraid to make any attempt to
find him. Forward I saw the roof of the second cabin crowded with third-
class passengers squatting round a hibachi. To pass through them did not
seem possible, and to retire would have involved the murder of either
eels or chickens. Wherefore I sat upon the melons.

And the boat started, with a stunning scream. In another moment her
funnel began to rain soot upon me--for the so-called first-class cabin
was well astern--and then came small cinders mixed with the soot, and
the cinders were occasionally red-hot. But I sat burning upon the water-
melons for some time longer, trying to imagine a way of changing my
position without committing another assault upon the chickens. Finally,
I made a desperate endeavour to get to leeward of the volcano, and it
was then for the first time that I began to learn the peculiarities of
the joki. What I tried to sit on turned upside down, and what I tried to
hold by instantly gave way, and always in the direction of overboard.
Things clamped or rigidly braced to outward seeming proved, upon
cautious examination, to be dangerously mobile; and things that,
according to Occidental ideas, ought to have been movable, were fixed
like the roots of the perpetual hills. In whatever direction a rope or
stay could possibly have been stretched so as to make somebody unhappy,
it was there. In the midst of these trials the frightful little craft
began to swing, and the water-melons began to rush heavily to and fro,
and I came to the conclusion that this joki had been planned and
constructed by demons.

Which I stated to my friend. He had not only rejoined me quite
unexpectedly, but had brought along with him one of the ship's boys to
spread an awning above ourselves and the watermelons, so as to exclude
cinders and sun.

'Oh, no!' he answered reproachfully 'She was designed and built at
Hyogo, and really she might have been made much worse. . . ' 'I beg your
pardon,' I interrupted; 'I don't agree with you at all.'

'Well, you will see for yourself,' he persisted. 'Her hull is good
steel, and her little engine is wonderful; she can make her hundred
miles in five hours. She is not very comfortable, but she is very swift
and strong.'

'I would rather be in a sampan,' I protested, 'if there were rough

'But she never goes to sea in rough weather. If it only looks as if
there might possibly be some rough weather, she stays in port. Sometimes
she waits a whole month. She never runs any risks.'

I could not feel sure of it. But I soon forgot all discomforts, even the
discomfort of sitting upon water-melons, in the delight of the divine
day and the magnificent view that opened wider and wider before us, as
we rushed from the long frith into the Sea of Japan, following the Izumo
coast. There was no fleck in the soft blue vastness above, not one
flutter on the metallic smoothness of the all-reflecting sea; if our
little steamer rocked, it was doubtless because she had been overloaded.
To port, the Izumo hills were flying by, a long, wild procession of'
broken shapes, sombre green, separating at intervals to form mysterious
little bays, with fishing hamlets hiding in them. Leagues away to
starboard, the Hoki shore receded into the naked white horizon, an ever-
diminishing streak of warm blue edged with a thread-line of white, the
gleam of a sand beach; and beyond it, in the centre, a vast shadowy
pyramid loomed up into heaven--the ghostly peak of Daisen.

My companion touched my arm to call my attention to a group of pine-
trees on the summit of a peak to port, and laughed and sang a Japanese
song. How swiftly we had been travelling I then for the first time
understood, for I recognised the four famous pines of Mionoseki, on the
windy heights above the shrine of Koto-shiro-nushi-no-Kami. There used
to be five trees: one was uprooted by a storm, and some Izumo poet wrote
about the remaining four the words which my friend had sung:

  Seki no gohon matsu
  Ippun kirya, shihon;
  Ato wa kirarenu Miyoto matsu.

Which means: 'Of the five pines of Seki one has been cut, and four
remain; and of these no one must now be cut--they are wedded pairs.' And
in Mionoseki there are sold beautiful little sake cups and sake bottles,
upon which are pictures of the four pines, and above the pictures, in
spidery text of gold, the verses, 'Seki no gohon matsu.'  These are for
keepsakes, and there are many other curious and pretty souvenirs to buy
in those pretty shops; porcelains bearing the picture of the Mionoseki
temple, and metal clasps for tobacco pouches representing Koto-shiro-
nushi-no-Kami trying to put a big tai-fish into a basket too small for
it, and funny masks of glazed earthenware representing the laughing face
of the god. For a jovial god is this Ebisu, or Koto-shiro-nushi-no-Kami,
patron of honest labour and especially of fishers, though less of a
laughter-lover than his father, the Great Deity of Kitzuki, about whom
'tis said: 'Whenever the happy laugh, the God rejoices.'

We passed the Cape--the Miho of the Kojiki--and the harbour of Mionoseki
opened before us, showing its islanded shrine of Benten in the midst,
and the crescent of quaint houses with their feet in the water, and the
great torii and granite lions of the far-famed temple. Immediately a
number of passengers rose to their feet, and, turning their faces toward
the torii began to clap their hands in Shinto prayer.

I said to my friend: 'There are fifty baskets full of chickens in the
gangway; and yet these people are praying to Koto-shiro-nushi-no-Kami
that nothing horrible may happen to this boat.'

'More likely,' he answered, 'they are praying for good-fortune; though
there is a saying: "The gods only laugh when men pray to them for
wealth." But of the Great Deity of Mionoseki there is a good story told.
Once there was a very lazy man who went to Mionoseki and prayed to
become rich. And the same night he saw the god in a dream; and the god
laughed, and took off one of his own divine sandals, and told him to
examine it.  And the man saw that it was made of solid brass, but had a
big hole worn through the sole of it. Then said the god: "You want to
have money without working for it. I am a god; but I am never lazy.
See! my sandals are of brass: yet I have worked and walked so much that
they are quite worn out."'

Sec. 5

The beautiful bay of Mionoseki opens between two headlands: Cape Mio (or
Miho, according to the archaic spelling) and the Cape of Jizo (Jizo-
zaki), now most inappropriately called by the people 'The Nose of Jizo'
(Jizo-no-hana). This Nose of Jizo is one of the most dangerous points of
the coast in time of surf, and the great terror of small ships returning
from Oki. There is nearly always a heavy swell there, even in fair
weather. Yet as we passed the ragged promontory I was surprised to see
the water still as glass. I felt suspicious of that noiseless sea: its
soundlessness recalled the beautiful treacherous sleep of waves and
winds which precedes a tropical hurricane. But my friend said:

'It may remain like this for weeks. In the sixth month and in the
beginning of the seventh, it is usually very quiet; it is not likely to
become dangerous before the Bon. But there was a little squall last week
at Mionoseki; and the people said that it was caused by the anger of the

'Eggs?' I queried.

'No: a Kudan.'

'What is a Kudan?'

'Is it possible you never heard of the Kudan? The Kudan has the face of
a man, and the body of a bull. Sometimes it is born of a cow, and that
is a Sign-of-things-going-to-happen. And the Kudan always tells the
truth. Therefore in Japanese letters and documents it is customary to
use the phrase, Kudanno-gotoshi--"like the Kudan"--or "on the truth of
the Kudan."' [4]

'But why was the God of Mionoseki angry about the Kudan?'

'People said it was a stuffed Kudan. I did not see it, so I cannot tell
you how it was made. There was some travelling showmen from Osaka at
Sakai. They had a tiger and many curious animals and the stuffed Kudan;
and they took the Izumo Maru for Mionoseki. As the steamer entered the
port a sudden squall came; and the priests of the temple said the god
was angry because things impure--bones and parts of dead animals--had
been brought to the town. And the show people were not even allowed to
land: they had to go back to Sakai on the same steamer. And as soon as
they had gone away, the sky became clear again, and the wind stopped
blowing: so that some people thought what the priests had said was

Sec. 6

Evidently there was much more moisture in the atmosphere than I had
supposed. On really clear days Daisen can be distinctly seen even from
Oki; but we had scarcely passed the Nose of Jizo when the huge peak
began to wrap itself in vapour of the same colour as the horizon; and in
a few minutes it vanished, as a spectre might vanish. The effect of this
sudden  disappearance was very extraordinary; for only the peak passed
from sight, and that which had veiled it could not be any way
distinguished from horizon and sky.

Meanwhile the Oki-Saigo, having reached the farthest outlying point of
the coast upon her route began to race in straight line across the
Japanese Sea. The green hills of Izumi fled away and turned blue, and
the spectral shores of Hoki began to melt into the horizon, like bands
of cloud. Then was obliged to confess my surprise at the speed of the
horrid little steamer. She moved, too, with scarcely any sound, smooth
was the working of her wonderful little engine. But she began to swing
heavily, with deep, slow swingings. To the eye, the sea looked level as
oil; but there were long invisible swells--ocean-pulses--that made
themselves felt beneath the surface. Hoki evaporated; the Izumo hills
turned grey, a their grey steadily paled as I watched them. They grew
more and more colourless--seemed to become transparent. And then they
were not. Only blue sky and blue sea, welded together in the white

It was just as lonesome as if we had been a thousand leagues from land.
And in that weirdness we were told some very lonesome things by an
ancient mariner who found leisure join us among the water-melons. He
talked of the Hotoke-umi and the ill-luck of being at sea on the
sixteenth day of the seventh month. He told us that even the great
steamers never went to sea during the Bon: no crew would venture to take
ship out then. And he related the following stories with such simple
earnestness that I think he must have believed what said:

'The first time I was very young. From Hokkaido we had sailed, and the
voyage was long, and the winds turned against us. And the night of the
sixteenth day fell, as we were working on over this very sea.

'And all at once in the darkness we saw behind us a great junk--all
white--that we had not noticed till she was quite close to us. It made
us feel queer, because she seemed to have come from nowhere. She was so
near us that we could hear voices; and her hull towered up high above
us. She seemed to be sailing very fast; but she came no closer. We
shouted to her; but we got no answer. And while we were watching her,
all of us became afraid, because she did not move like a real ship. The
sea was terrible, and we were lurching and plunging; but that great junk
never rolled. Just at the same moment that we began to feel afraid she
vanished so quickly that we could scarcely believe we had really seen
her at all.

'That was the first time. But four years ago I saw something still more
strange. We were bound for Oki, in a junk, and the wind again delayed
us, so that we were at sea on the sixteenth day. It was in the morning,
a little before midday; the sky was dark and the sea very ugly. All at
once we saw a steamer running in our track, very quickly. She got so
close to us that we could hear her engines--katakata  katakata!--but we
saw nobody on deck. Then she began to follow us, keeping exactly at the
same distance, and whenever we tried to get out of her way she would
turn after us and keep exactly in our wake. And then we suspected what
she was. But we were not sure until she vanished. She vanished like a
bubble, without making the least sound. None of us could say exactly
when she disappeared. None of us saw her vanish. The strangest thing was
that after she was gone we could still hear her engines working behind
us--katakata, katakata, katakata!

'That is all I saw. But I know others, sailors like myself, who have
seen more. Sometimes many ships will follow you--though never at the
same time. One will come close and vanish, then another, and then
another. As long as they come behind you, you need never be afraid. But
if you see a ship of that sort running before you, against the wind,
that is very bad! It means that all on board will be drowned.'

Sec. 7

The luminous blankness circling us continued to remain unflecked for
less than an hour. Then out of the horizon toward which we steamed, a
small grey vagueness began to grow. It lengthened fast, and seemed a
cloud. And a cloud it proved; but slowly, beneath it, blue filmy shapes
began to define against the whiteness, and sharpened into a chain of
mountains. They grew taller and bluer--a little sierra, with one paler
shape towering in the middle to thrice the height of the rest, and
filleted with cloud--Takuhizan, the sacred mountain of Oki, in the
island Nishinoshima.

Takuhizan has legends, which I learned from my friend. Upon its summit
stands an ancient shrine of the deity Gongen-Sama. And it is said that
upon the thirty-first night of the twelfth month three ghostly fires
arise from the sea and ascend to the place of the shrine, and enter the
stone lanterns which stand before it, and there remain, burning like
lamps. These lights do not arise at once, but separately, from the sea,
and rise to the top of the peak one by one. The people go out in boats
to see the lights mount from the water. But only those whose hearts are
pure can see them; those who have evil thoughts or desires look for the
holy fires in vain.

Before us, as we steamed on, the sea-surface appeared to become suddenly
speckled with queer craft previously invisible--light, long fishing-
boats, with immense square sails of a beautiful yellow colour. I could
not help remarking to my comrade how pretty those sails were; he
laughed, and told me they were made of old tatami. [5] I examined them
through a telescope, and found that they were exactly what he had said--
woven straw coverings of old floor-mats. Nevertheless, that first tender
yellow sprinkling of old sails over the soft blue water was a charming

They fleeted by, like a passing of yellow butterflies, and the sea was
void again. Gradually, a little to port, a point in the approaching line
of blue cliffs shaped itself and changed colour--dull green above,
reddish grey below; it defined into a huge rock, with a dark patch on
its face, but the rest of the land remained blue. The dark patch
blackened as we came nearer--a great gap full of shadow. Then the blue
cliffs beyond also turned green, and their bases reddish grey. We passed
to the right of the huge rock, which proved to be a detached and
uninhabited islet, Hakashima; and in another moment we were steaming
into the archipelago of Oki, between the lofty islands Chiburishima and

Sec. 8

The first impression was almost uncanny. Rising sheer from the flood on
either hand, the tall green silent hills stretched away before us,
changing tint through the summer vapour, to form a fantastic vista of
blue cliffs and peaks and promontories. There was not one sign of human
life. Above their pale bases of naked rock the mountains sloped up
beneath a sombre wildness of dwarf vegetation. There was absolutely no
sound, except the sound of the steamer's tiny engine--poum-poum, poum!
poum-poum, poum! like the faint tapping of a geisha's drum. And this
savage silence continued for miles: only the absence of lofty timber
gave evidence that those peaked hills had ever been trodden by human
foot. But all at once, to the left, in a mountain wrinkle, a little grey
hamlet appeared; and the steamer screamed and stopped, while the hills
repeated the scream seven times.

This settlement was Chiburimura, of Chiburishima (Nakashima being the
island to starboard)--evidently nothing more than a fishing station.
First a wharf of uncemented stone rising from the cove like a wall; then
great trees through which one caught sight of a torii before some Shinto
shrine, and of a dozen houses climbing the hollow hill one behind
another, roof beyond roof; and above these some terraced patches of
tilled ground in the midst of desolation: that was all. The packet
halted to deliver mail, and passed on.

But then, contrary to expectation, the scenery became more beautiful.
The shores on either side at once receded and heightened: we were
traversing an inland sea bounded by three lofty islands. At first the
way before us had seemed barred by vapoury hills; but as these, drawing
nearer, turned green, there suddenly opened magnificent chasms between
them on both sides--mountain-gates revealing league-long wondrous vistas
of peaks and cliffs and capes of a hundred blues, ranging away from
velvety indigo into far tones of exquisite and spectral delicacy. A
tinted haze made dreamy all remotenesses, an veiled with illusions of
colour the rugged nudities of rock.

The beauty of the scenery of Western and Central Japan is not as the
beauty of scenery in other lands; it has a peculiar character of its
own. Occasionally the foreigner may find memories of former travel
suddenly stirred to life by some view on a mountain road, or some
stretch of beetling coast seen through a fog of spray. But this illusion
of resemblance vanishes as swiftly as it comes; details immediately
define into strangeness, and you become aware that the remembrance was
evoked by form only, never by colour. Colours indeed there are which
delight the eye, but not colours of mountain verdure, not colours of the
land. Cultivated plains, expanses of growing rice, may offer some
approach to warmth of green; but the whole general tone of this nature
is dusky; the vast forests are sombre; the tints of grasses are harsh or
dull. Fiery greens, such as burn in tropical scenery, do not exist; and
blossom-bursts take a more exquisite radiance by contrast with the heavy
tones of the vegetation out of which they flame. Outside of parks and
gardens and cultivated fields, there is a singular absence of warmth and
tenderness in the tints of verdure; and nowhere need you hope to find
any such richness of green as that which makes the loveliness of an
English lawn.

Yet these Oriental landscapes possess charms of colour extraordinary,
phantom-colour delicate, elfish, indescribable--created by the wonderful
atmosphere. Vapours enchant the distances, bathing peaks in bewitchments
of blue and grey of a hundred tones, transforming naked cliffs to
amethyst, stretching spectral gauzes across the topazine morning,
magnifying the splendour of noon by effacing the horizon, filling the
evening with smoke of gold, bronzing the waters, banding the sundown
with ghostly purple and green of nacre. Now, the Old Japanese artists
who made those marvellous ehon--those picture-books which have now
become so rare--tried to fix the sensation of these enchantments in
colour, and they were successful in their backgrounds to a degree almost
miraculous. For which very reason some of their foregrounds have been a
puzzle to foreigners unacquainted with certain features of Japanese
agriculture. You will see blazing saffron-yellow fields, faint purple
plains, crimson and snow-white trees, in those old picture-books; and
perhaps you will exclaim: 'How absurd!' But if you knew Japan you would
cry out: 'How deliciously real!' For you would know those fields of
burning yellow are fields of flowering rape, and the purple expanses are
fields of blossoming miyako, and the snow-white or crimson trees are not
fanciful, but represent faithfully certain phenomena of efflorescence
peculiar to the plum-trees and the cherry-trees of the country. But
these chromatic extravaganzas can be witnessed only during very brief
periods of particular seasons: throughout the greater part of the year
the foreground of an inland landscape is apt to be dull enough in the
matter of colour.

It is the mists that make the magic of the backgrounds; yet even without
them there is a strange, wild, dark beauty in Japanese landscapes, a
beauty not easily defined in words. The secret of it must be sought in
the extraordinary lines of the mountains, in the strangely abrupt
crumpling and jagging of the ranges; no two masses closely resembling
each other, every one having a fantasticality of its own. Where the
chains reach to any considerable height, softly swelling lines are rare:
the general characteristic is abruptness, and the charm is the charm of

Doubtless this weird Nature first inspired the Japanese with their
unique sense of the value of irregularity in decoration--taught them
that single secret of composition which distinguishes their art from all
other art, and which Professor Chamberlain has said it is their special
mission to teach to the Occident. [6] Certainly, whoever has once
learned to feel the beauty and significance of the Old Japanese
decorative art can find thereafter little pleasure in the corresponding
art of the West. What he has really learned is that Nature's greatest
charm is irregularity. And perhaps something of no small value might be
written upon the question whether the highest charm of human life and
work is not also irregularity.

Sec. 9

From Chiburimura we made steam west for the port of Urago, which is in
the island of Nishinoshima. As we approached it Takuhizan came into
imposing view. Far away it had seemed a soft and beautiful shape; but as
its blue tones evaporated its aspect became rough and even grim: an
enormous jagged bulk all robed in sombre verdure, through which, as
through tatters, there protruded here and there naked rock of the
wildest shapes. One fragment, I remember, as it caught the slanting sun
upon the irregularities of its summit, seemed an immense grey skull. At
the base of this mountain, and facing the shore of Nakashima, rises a
pyramidal mass of rock, covered with scraggy undergrowth, and several
hundred feet in height--Mongakuzan. On its desolate summit stands a
little shrine.

'Takuhizan' signifies The Fire-burning Mountain--a name due perhaps
either to the legend of its ghostly fires, or to some ancient memory of
its volcanic period. 'Mongakuzan' means The Mountain of Mongaku--Mongaku
Shonin, the great monk. It is said that Mongaku Shonin fled to Oki, and
that he dwelt alone upon the top of that mountain many years, doing
penance for his deadly sin. Whether he really ever visited Oki, I am not
able to say; there are traditions which declare the contrary. But the
peaklet has borne his name for hundreds of years.

Now this is the story of Mongaku Shonin:

Many centuries ago, in the city of Kyoto, there was a captain of the
garrison whose name was Endo Morito. He saw and loved the wife of a
noble samurai; and when she refused to listen to his desires, he vowed
that he would destroy her family unless she consented to the plan which
he submitted to her. The plan was that upon a certain night she should
suffer him to enter her house and to kill her husband; after which she
was to become his wife.

But she, pretending to consent, devised a noble stratagem to save her
honour. For, after having persuaded her husband to absent himself from
the city, she wrote to Endo a letter, bidding him come upon a certain
night to the house. And on that night she clad herself in her husband's
robes, and made her hair like the hair of a man, and laid herself down
in her husband's place, and pretended to sleep.

And Endo came in the dead of the night with his sword drawn, and smote
off the head of the sleeper at a blow, and seized it by the hair and
lifted it up and saw it was the head of the woman he had loved and

Then a great remorse came upon him, and hastening to a neighbouring
temple, he confessed his sin, and did penance and cut off his hair, and
became a monk, taking the name of Mongaku. And in after years he
attained to great holiness, so that folk still pray to him, and his
memory is venerated throughout the land.

Now at Asakusa in Tokyo, in one of the curious little streets which lead
to the great temple of Kwannon the Merciful, there are always wonderful
images to be seen--figures that seem alive, though made of wood only--
figures illustrating the ancient legends of Japan. And there you may see
Endo standing: in his right hand the reeking sword; in his left the head
of a beautiful woman. The face of the woman you may forget soon, because
it is only beautiful. But the face of Endo you will not forget, because
it is naked hell.

Sec. 10

Urago is a queer little town, perhaps quite as large as Mionoseki, and
built, like Mionoseki, on a narrow ledge at the base of a steep
semicircle of hills. But it is much more primitive and colourless than
Mionoseki; and its houses are still more closely cramped between cliffs
and water, so that its streets, or rather alleys, are no wider than
gangways. As we cast anchor, my attention was suddenly riveted by a
strange spectacle--a white wilderness of long fluttering vague shapes,
in a cemetery on the steep hillside, rising by terraces high above the
roofs of the town. The cemetery was full of grey haka and images of
divinities; and over every haka there was a curious white paper banner
fastened to a thin bamboo pole. Through a glass one could see that these
banners were inscribed with Buddhist texts--'Namur-myo-ho-renge-kyo';
'Namu Amida Butsu'; 'Namu Daiji Dai-hi Kwan-ze-on Bosats,'--and other
holy words. Upon inquiry I learned that it was an Urago custom to place
these banners every year above the graves during one whole month
preceding the Festival of the Dead, together with various other
ornamental or symbolic things.

The water was full of naked swimmers, who shouted laughing welcomes; and
a host of light, swift boats, sculled by naked fishermen, darted out to
look for passengers and freight. It was my first chance to observe the
physique of Oki islanders; and I was much impressed by the vigorous
appearance of both men and boys. The adults seemed to me of a taller and
more powerful type than the men of the Izumo coast; and not a few of
those brown backs and shoulders displayed, in the motion of sculling
what is comparatively rare in Japan, even among men picked for heavy
labour--a magnificent development of muscles.

As the steamer stopped an hour at Urago, we had time to dine ashore in
the chief hotel. It was a very clean and pretty hotel, and the fare
infinitely superior to that of the hotel at Sakai. Yet the price charged
was only seven sen; and the old landlord refused to accept the whole of
the chadai-gift offered him, retaining less than half, and putting back
the rest, with gentle force, into the sleeve of my yukata.

Sec. 11

From Urago we proceeded to Hishi-ura, which is in Nakanoshima, and the
scenery grew always more wonderful as we steamed between the islands.
The channel was just wide enough to create the illusion of a grand river
flowing with the stillness of vast depth between mountains of a hundred
forms. The long lovely vision was everywhere walled in by peaks, bluing
through sea-haze, and on either hand the ruddy grey cliffs, sheering up
from profundity, sharply mirrored their least asperities in the flood
with never a distortion, as in a sheet of steel. Not until we reached
Hishi-ura did the horizon reappear; and even then it was visible only
between two lofty headlands, as if seen through a river's mouth.

Hishi-ura is far prettier than Urago, but it is much less populous, and
has the aspect of a prosperous agricultural town, rather than of a
fishing station. It bends round a bay formed by low hills which slope
back gradually toward the mountainous interior, and which display a
considerable extent of cultivated surface. The buildings are somewhat
scattered and in many cases isolated by gardens; and those facing the
water are quite handsome modern constructions. Urago boasts the best
hotel in all Oki; and it has two new temples--one a Buddhist temple of
the Zen sect, one a Shinto temple of the Izumo Taisha faith, each the
gift of a single person. A rich widow, the owner of the hotel, built the
Buddhist temple; and the wealthiest of the merchants contributed the
other--one of the handsomest miya for its size that I ever saw.

Sec. 12

Dogo, the main island of the Oki archipelago, sometimes itself called
'Oki,' lies at a distance of eight miles, north-east of the Dozen group,
beyond a stretch of very dangerous sea. We made for it immediately after
leaving Urago; passing to the open through a narrow and fantastic strait
between Nakanoshima and Nishinoshima, where the cliffs take the form of
enormous fortifications--bastions and ramparts, rising by tiers. Three
colossal rocks, anciently forming but a single mass, which would seem to
have been divided by some tremendous shock, rise from deep water near
the mouth of the channel, like shattered towers. And the last promontory
of Nishinoshima, which we pass to port, a huge red naked rock, turns to
the horizon a point so strangely shaped that it has been called by a
name signifying 'The Hat of the Shinto Priest.'

As we glide out into the swell of the sea other extraordinary shapes
appear, rising from great depths. Komori, 'The Bat,' a ragged silhouette
against the horizon, has a great hole worn through it, which glares like
an eye. Farther out two bulks, curved and pointed, and almost joined at
the top, bear a grotesque resemblance to the uplifted pincers of a crab;
and there is also visible a small dark mass which, until closely
approached, seems the figure of a man sculling a boat. Beyond these are
two islands: Matsushima, uninhabited and inaccessible, where there is
always a swell to beware of; Omorishima, even loftier, which rises from
the ocean in enormous ruddy precipices. There seemed to be some grim
force in those sinister bulks; some occult power which made our steamer
reel and shiver as she passed them. But I saw a marvellous effect of
colour under those formidable cliffs of Omorishima. They were lighted by
a slanting sun; and where the glow of the bright rock fell upon the
water, each black-blue ripple flashed bronze: I thought of a sea of
metallic violet ink.

From Dozen the cliffs of Dogo can be clearly seen when the weather is
not foul: they are streaked here and there with chalky white, which
breaks through their blue, even in time of haze. Above them a vast bulk
is visible--a point-de-repère for the mariners of Hoki--the mountain of
Daimanji.  Dogo, indeed, is one great cluster of mountains.

Its cliffs rapidly turned green for us, and we followed them eastwardly
for perhaps half an hour. Then they opened unexpectedly and widely,
revealing a superb bay, widening far into the land, surrounded by hills,
and full of shipping. Beyond a confusion of masts there crept into view
a long grey line of house-fronts at the base of a crescent of cliffs--
the city of Saigo; and in a little while we touched a wharf of stone.
There I bade farewell for a month to the Oki-Saigo.

Sec. 13

Saigo was a great surprise. Instead of the big fishing village I had
expected to see, I found a city much larger and handsomer and in all
respects more modernised than Sakai; a city of long streets full of good
shops; a city with excellent public buildings; a city of which the whole
appearance indicated commercial prosperity. Most of the edifices were
roomy two story dwellings of merchants, and everything had a bright, new
look. The unpainted woodwork of the houses had not yet darkened into
grey; the blue tints of the tiling were still fresh. I learned that this
was because the town had been recently rebuilt, after a conflagration,
and rebuilt upon a larger and handsomer plan.

Saigo seems still larger than it really is. There are about one thousand
houses, which number in any part of Western Japan means a population of
at least five thousand, but must mean considerably more in Saigo. These
form three long streets--Nishimachi, Nakamachi, and Higashimachi (names
respectively signifying the Western, Middle, and Eastern Streets),
bisected by numerous cross-streets and alleys. What makes the place seem
disproportionately large is the queer way the streets twist about,
following the irregularities of the shore, and even doubling upon
themselves, so as to create from certain points of view an impression of
depth which has no existence. For Saigo is peculiarly, although
admirably situated. It fringes both banks of a river, the Yabigawa, near
its mouth, and likewise extends round a large point within the splendid
bay, besides stretching itself out upon various tongues of land. But
though smaller than it looks, to walk through all its serpentine streets
is a good afternoon's work.

Besides being divided by the Yabigawa, the town is intersected by
various water-ways, crossed by a number of bridges. On the hills behind
it stand several large buildings, including a public school, with
accommodation for three hundred students; a pretty Buddhist temple
(quite new), the gift of a rich citizen; a prison; and a hospital, which
deserves its reputation of being for its size the handsomest Japanese
edifice not only in Oki, but in all Shimane-Ken; and there are several
small but very pretty gardens.

As for the harbour, you can count more than three hundred ships riding
there of a summer's day. Grumblers, especially of the kind who still use
wooden anchors, complain of the depth; but the men-of-war do not.

Sec. 14

Never, in any part of Western Japan, have I been made more comfortable
than at Saigo. My friend and myself were the only guests at the hotel to
which we had been recommended. The broad and lofty rooms of the upper
floor which we occupied overlooked the main street on one side, and on
the other commanded a beautiful mountain landscape beyond the mouth of
the Yabigawa, which flowed by our garden. The sea breeze never failed by
day or by night, and rendered needless those pretty fans which it is the
Japanese custom to present to guests during the hot season. The fare was
astonishingly good and curiously varied; and I was told that I might
order Seyoryori (Occidental cooking) if I wished--beefsteak with fried
potatoes, roast chicken, and so forth. I did not avail myself of the
offer, as I make it a rule while travelling to escape trouble by keeping
to a purely Japanese diet; but it was no small surprise to be offered in
Saigo what is almost impossible to obtain in any other Japanese town of
five thousand inhabitants. From a romantic point of view, however, this
discovery was a disappointment. Having made my way into the most
primitive region of all Japan, I had imagined myself far beyond the
range of all modernising influences; and the suggestion of beefsteak
with fried potatoes was a disillusion. Nor was I entirely consoled by
the subsequent discovery that there were no newspapers or telegraphs.

But there was one serious hindrance to the enjoyment of these comforts:
an omnipresent, frightful, heavy, all-penetrating smell, the smell of
decomposing fish, used as a fertiliser. Tons and tons of cuttlefish
entrails are used upon the fields beyond the Yabigawa, and the never-
sleeping sea wind blows the stench into every dwelling. Vainly do they
keep incense burning in most of the houses during the heated term. After
having remained three or four days constantly in the city you become
better able to endure this odour; but if you should leave town even for
a few hours only, you will be astonished on returning to discover how
much your nose had been numbed by habit and refreshed by absence.

Sec. 15

On the morning of the day after my arrival at Saigo, a young physician
called to see me, and requested me to dine with him at his house. He
explained very frankly that as I was the first foreigner who had ever
stopped in Saigo, it would afford much pleasure both to his family and
to himself to have a good chance to see me; but the natural courtesy of
the man overcame any scruple I might have felt to gratify the curiosity
of strangers. I was not only treated charmingly at his beautiful home,
but actually sent away loaded with presents, most of which I attempted
to decline in vain. In one matter, however, I remained obstinate, even
at the risk of offending--the gift of a wonderful specimen of bateiseki
(a substance which I shall speak of hereafter). This I persisted in
refusing to take, knowing it to be not only very costly, but very rare.
My host at last yielded, but afterwards secretly sent to the hotel two
smaller specimens, which Japanese etiquette rendered it impossible to
return. Before leaving Saigo, I experienced many other unexpected
kindnesses from the same gentleman.

Not long after, one of the teachers of the Saigo public school paid me a
visit. He had heard of my interest in Oki, and brought with him two fine
maps of the islands made by himself, a little book about Saigo, and, as
a gift, a collection of Oki butterflies and insects which he had made.
It is only in Japan that one is likely to meet with these wonderful
exhibitions of pure goodness on the part of perfect strangers.

A third visitor, who had called to see my friend, performed an action
equally characteristic, but which caused me not a little pain. We
squatted down to smoke together. He drew from his girdle a remarkably
beautiful tobacco-pouch and pipe-case, containing a little silver pipe,
which he began to smoke. The pipe-case was made of a sort of black
coral, curiously carved, and attached to the tabako-ire, or pouch, by a
heavy cord of plaited silk of three colours, passed through a ball of
transparent agate. Seeing me admire it, he suddenly drew a knife from
his sleeve, and before I could prevent him, severed the pipe-case from
the pouch, and presented it to me. I felt almost as if he had cut one of
his own nerves asunder when he cut that wonderful cord; and,
nevertheless, once this had been done, to refuse the gift would have
been rude in the extreme. I made him accept a present in return; but
after that experience I was careful never again while in Oki to admire
anything in the presence of its owner.

Sec. 16

Every province of Japan has its own peculiar dialect; and that of Oki,
as might be expected in a country so isolated, is particularly distinct.
In Saigo, however, the Izumo dialect is largely used. The townsfolk in
their manners and customs much resemble Izumo country-folk; indeed,
there are many Izumo people among them, most of the large businesses
being in the hands of strangers. The women did not impress me as being
so attractive as those of Izumo: I saw several very pretty girls, but
these proved to be strangers.

However, it is only in the country that one can properly study the
physical characteristics of a population. Those of the Oki islanders may
best be noted at the fishing villages many of which I visited.
Everywhere I saw fine strong men and vigorous women; and it struck me
that the extraordinary plenty and cheapness of nutritive food had quite
as much to do with this robustness as climate and constant exercise. So
easy, indeed, is it to live in Oki, that men of other coasts, who find
existence difficult, emigrate to Oki if they can get a chance to work
there, even at less remuneration. An interesting spectacle to me were
the vast processions of fishing-vessels which always, weather
permitting, began to shoot out to sea a couple of hours before sundown.
The surprising swiftness with which those light craft were impelled by
their sinewy scullers--many of whom were women--told of a skill acquired
only through the patient experience of generations. Another matter that
amazed me was the number of boats. One night in the offing I was able to
count three hundred and five torch-fires in sight, each one signifying a
crew; and I knew that from almost any of the forty-five coast villages I
might see the same spectacle at the same time. The main part of the
population, in fact, spends its summer nights at sea. It is also a
revelation to travel from Izumo to Hamada by night upon a swift steamer
during the fishing season. The horizon for a hundred miles is alight
with torch-fires; the toil of a whole coast is revealed in that vast

Although the human population appears to have gained rather than lost
vigour upon this barren soil, the horses and cattle of the country seem
to have degenerated. They are remarkably diminutive. I saw cows not much
bigger than Izumo calves, with calves about the size of goats. The
horses, or rather ponies, belong to a special breed of which Oki is
rather proud--very small, but hardy. I was told that there were larger
horses, but I saw none, and could not learn whether they were imported.
It seemed to me a curious thing, when I saw Oki ponies for the first
time, that Sasaki Takatsuna's battle-steed--not less famous in Japanese
story than the horse Kyrat in the ballads of Kurroglou--is declared by
the islanders to have been a native of Oki. And they have a tradition
that it once swam from Oki to Mionoseki.

Sec. 17

Almost every district and town in Japan has its meibutsu or its
kembutsu. The meibutsu of any place are its special productions, whether
natural or artificial. The kembutsu of a town or district are its
sights--its places worth visiting for any reason--religious,
traditional, historical, or pleasurable. Temples and gardens, remarkable
trees and curious rocks, are kembutsu. So, likewise, are any situations
from which beautiful scenery may be looked at, or any localities where
one can enjoy such charming spectacles as the blossoming of cherry-trees
in spring, the flickering of fireflies in summer nights, the flushing of
maple-leaves in autumn, or even that long snaky motion of moonlight upon
water to which Chinese poets have given the delightful name of Kinryo,
'the Golden Dragon.'

The great meibutsu of Oki is the same as that of Hinomisaki--dried
cuttlefish; an article of food much in demand both in China and Japan.
The cuttlefish of Oki and Hinomisaki and Mionoseki are all termed ika (a
kind of sepia); but those caught at Mionoseki are white and average
fifteen inches in length, while those of Oki and Hinomisaki rarely
exceed twelve inches and have a reddish tinge. The fisheries of
Mionoseki and Hinomisaki are scarcely known; but the fisheries of Oki
are famed not only throughout Japan, but also in Korea and China. It is
only through the tilling of the sea that the islands have become
prosperous and capable of supporting thirty thousand souls upon a coast
of which but a very small portion can be cultivated at all. Enormous
quantities of cuttlefish are shipped to the mainland; but I have been
told that the Chinese are the best customers of Oki for this product.
Should the supply ever fail, the result would be disastrous beyond
conception; but at present it seems inexhaustible, though the fishing
has been going on for thousands of years. Hundreds of tons of cuttlefish
are caught, cured, and prepared for exportation month after month; and
many hundreds of acres are fertilised with the entrails and other
refuse. An officer of police told me several strange facts about this
fishery. On the north-eastern coast of Saigo it is no uncommon thing for
one fisherman to capture upwards of two thousand cuttlefish in a single
night. Boats have been burst asunder by the weight of a few hauls, and
caution has to be observed in loading. Besides the sepia, however, this
coast swarms with another variety of cuttlefish which also furnishes a
food-staple--the formidable tako, or true octopus. Tako weighing fifteen
kwan each, or nearly one hundred and twenty-five pounds, are sometimes
caught near the fishing settlement of Nakamura. I was surprised to learn
that there was no record of any person having been injured by these
monstrous creatures.

Another meibutsu of Oki is much less known than it deserves to be--the
beautiful jet-black stone called bateiseki, or 'horsehoof stone.'  [7]
It is found only in Dogo, and never in large masses. It is about as
heavy as flint, and chips like flint; but the polish which it takes is
like that of agate. There are no veins or specks in it; the intense
black colour never varies. Artistic objects are made of bateiseki: ink-
stones, wine-cups, little boxes, small dai, or stands for vases or
statuettes; even jewellery, the material being worked in the same manner
as the beautiful agates of Yumachi in Izumo. These articles are
comparatively costly, even in the place of their manufacture. There is
an odd legend about the origin of the bateiseki. It owes its name to
some fancied resemblance to a horse's hoof, either in colour, or in the
semicircular marks often seen upon the stone in its natural state, and
caused by its tendency to split in curved lines. But the story goes that
the bateiseki was formed by the touch of the hoofs of a sacred steed,
the wonderful mare of the great Minamoto warrior, Sasaki Takatsuna. She
had a foal, which fell into a deep lake in Dogo, and was drowned. She
plunged into the lake herself, but could not find her foal, being
deceived by the reflection of her own head in the water. For a long time
she sought and mourned in vain; but even the hard rocks felt for her,
and where her hoofs touched them beneath the water they became changed
into bateiseki. [8]

Scarcely less beautiful than bateiseki, and equally black, is another
Oki meibutsu, a sort of coralline marine product called umi-matsu, or
'sea-pine.' Pipe-cases, brush-stands, and other small articles are
manufactured from it; and these when polished seem to be covered with
black lacquer. Objects of umimatsu are rare and dear.

Nacre wares, however, are very cheap in Oki; and these form another
variety of meibutsu. The shells of the awabi, or 'sea-ear,' which
reaches a surprising size in these western waters, are converted by
skilful polishing and cutting into wonderful dishes, bowls, cups, and
other articles, over whose surfaces the play of iridescence is like a
flickering of fire of a hundred colours.

Sec. 18

According to a little book published at Matsue, the kembutsu of Oki-no-
Kuni are divided among three of the four principal islands; Chiburishima
only possessing nothing of special interest. For many generations the
attractions of Dogo have been the shrine of Agonashi Jizo, at
Tsubamezato; the waterfall (Dangyo-taki) at Yuenimura; the mighty cedar-
tree (sugi) before the shrine of Tama-Wakusa-jinja at Shimomura, and the
lakelet called Sai-no-ike where the bateiseki is said to be found.
Nakanoshima possesses the tomb of the exiled Emperor Go-Toba, at
Amamura, and the residence of the ancient Choja, Shikekuro, where he
dwelt betimes, and where relics of him are kept even to this day.
Nishinoshima possesses at Beppu a shrine in memory of the exiled Emperor
Go-Daigo, and on the summit of Takuhizan that shrine of Gongen-Sama,
from the place of which a wonderful view of the whole archipelago is
said to be obtainable on cloudless days.

Though Chiburishima has no kembutsu, her poor little village of
Chiburi--the same Chiburimura at which the Oki steamer always touches
on her way to Saigo--is the scene of perhaps the most interesting of
all the traditions of the archipelago.

Five hundred and sixty years ago, the exiled Emperor Go-Daigo managed to
escape from the observation of his guards, and to flee from Nishinoshima
to Chiburi. And the brown sailors of that little hamlet offered to serve
him, even with their lives if need be. They were loading their boats
with 'dried fish,' doubtless the same dried cuttlefish which their
descendants still carry to Izumo and to Hoki. The emperor promised to
remember them, should they succeed in landing him either in Hoki or in
Izumo; and they put him in a boat.

But when they had sailed only a little way they saw the pursuing
vessels. Then they told the emperor to lie down, and they piled the
dried fish high above him. The pursuers came on board and searched the
boat, but they did not even think of touching the strong-smelling
cuttlefish. And when the men of Chiburi were questioned they invented a
story, and gave to the enemies of the emperor a false clue to follow.

And so, by means of the cuttlefish, the good emperor was enabled to
escape from banishment.

Sec. 19

I found there were various difficulties in the way of becoming
acquainted with some of the kembutsu. There are no roads, properly
speaking, in all Oki, only mountain paths; and consequently there are no
jinricksha, with the exception of one especially imported by the leading
physician of Saigo, and available for use only in the streets. There are
not even any kago, or palanquins, except one for the use of the same
physician. The paths are terribly rough, according to the testimony of
the strong peasants themselves; and the distances, particularly in the
hottest period of the year, are disheartening. Ponies can be hired; but
my experiences of a similar wild country in western Izumo persuaded me
that neither pleasure nor profit was to be gained by a long and painful
ride over pine-covered hills, through slippery gullies and along
torrent-beds, merely to look at a waterfall. I abandoned the idea of
visiting Dangyotaki, but resolved, if possible, to see Agonashi-Jizo.

I had first heard in Matsue of Agonashi-Jizo, while suffering from one
of those toothaches in which the pain appears to be several hundred
miles in depth--one of those toothaches which disturb your ideas of
space and time. And a friend who sympathised said:

'People who have toothache pray to Agonashi-Jizo. Agonashi-Jizo is in
Oki, but Izumo people pray to him. When cured they go to Lake Shinji, to
the river, to the sea, or to any running stream, and drop into the water
twelve pears (nashi), one for each of the twelve months. And they
believe the currents will carry all these to Oki across the sea.

'Now, Agonashi-Jizo means 'Jizo-who-has-no-jaw.' For it is said that in
one of his former lives Jizo had such a toothache in his lower jaw that
he tore off his jaw, and threw it away, and died. And he became a
Bosatsu. And the people of Oki made a statue of him without a jaw; and
all who suffer toothache pray to that Jizo of Oki.'

This story interested me for more than once I had felt a strong desire
to do like Agonashi-Jizo, though lacking the necessary courage and
indifference to earthly consequences. Moreover, the tradition suggested
so humane and profound a comprehension of toothache, and so large a
sympathy with its victims, that I felt myself somewhat consoled.

Nevertheless, I did not go to see Agonashi-Jizo, because I found out
there was no longer any Agonashi-Jizo to see. The news was brought one
evening by some friends, shizoku of Matsue, who had settled in Oki, a
young police officer and his wife. They had walked right across the
island to see us, starting before daylight, and crossing no less than
thirty-two torrents on their way. The wife, only nineteen, was quite
slender and pretty, and did not appear tired by that long rough journey.

What we learned about the famous Jizo was this: The name Agonashi-Jizo
was only a popular corruption of the true name, Agonaoshi-Jizo, or
'Jizo-the-Healer-of-jaws.' The little temple in which the statue stood
had been burned, and the statue along with it, except a fragment of the
lower part of the figure, now piously preserved by some old peasant
woman. It was impossible to rebuild the temple, as the disestablishment
of Buddhism had entirely destroyed the resources of that faith in Oki.
But the peasantry of Tsubamezato had built a little Shinto miya on the
sight of the temple, with a torii before it, and people still prayed
there to Agonaoshi-Jizo.

This last curious fact reminded me of the little torii I had seen
erected before the images of Jizo in the Cave of the Children's Ghosts.
Shinto, in these remote districts of the west, now appropriates the
popular divinities of Buddhism, just as of old Buddhism used to absorb
the divinities of Shinto in other parts of Japan.

Sec. 20

I went to the Sai-no-ike, and to Tama-Wakasu-jinja, as these two
kembutsu can be reached by boat. The Sai-no-ike, however, much
disappointed me. It can only be visited in very calm weather, as the way
to it lies along a frightfully dangerous coast, nearly all sheer
precipice. But the sea is beautifully clear and the eye can distinguish
forms at an immense depth below the surface. After following the cliffs
for about an hour, the boat reaches a sort of cove, where the beach is
entirely corn posed of small round boulders. They form a long ridge, the
outer verge of which is always in motion, rolling to and fro with a
crash like a volley of musketry at the rush and ebb of every wave. To
climb over this ridge of moving stone balls is quite disagreeable; but
after that one has only about twenty yards to walk, and the Sai-no-ike
appears, surrounded on sides by wooded hills. It is little more than a
large freshwater pool, perhaps fifty yards wide, not in any way
wonderful You can see no rocks under the surface--only mud and pebbles
That any part of it was ever deep enough to drown a foal is hard to
believe. I wanted to swim across to the farther side to try the depth,
but the mere proposal scandalised the boat men. The pool was sacred to
the gods, and was guarded by invisible monsters; to enter it was impious
and dangerous I felt obliged to respect the local ideas on the subject,
and contented myself with inquiring where the bateiseki was found. They
pointed to the hill on the western side of the water. This indication
did not tally with the legend. I could discover no trace of any human
labour on that savage hillside; there was certainly no habitation within
miles of the place; it was the very abomination of desolation. [9]

It is never wise for the traveller in Japan to expect much on the
strength of the reputation of kembutsu. The interest attaching to the
vast majority of kembutsu depends altogether upon the exercise of
imagination; and the ability to exercise such imagination again depends
upon one's acquaintance with the history and mythology of the country.
Knolls, rocks, stumps of trees, have been for hundreds of years objects
of reverence for the peasantry, solely because of local traditions
relating to them. Broken iron kettles, bronze mirrors covered with
verdigris, rusty pieces of sword blades, fragments of red earthenware,
have drawn generations of pilgrims to the shrines in which they are
preserved. At various small temples which I visited, the temple
treasures consisted of trays full of small stones. The first time I saw
those little stones I thought that the priests had been studying geology
or mineralogy, each stone being labelled in Japanese characters. On
examination, the stones proved to be absolutely worthless in themselves,
even as specimens of neighbouring rocks. But the stories which the
priests or acolytes could tell about each and every stone were more than
interesting. The stones served as rude beads, in fact, for the recital
of a litany of Buddhist legends.

After the experience of the Sai-no-ike, I had little reason to expect to
see anything extraordinary at Shimonishimura.  But this time I was
agreeably mistaken. Shimonishimura is a pretty fishing village within an
hour's row from Saigo. The boat follows a wild but beautiful coast,
passing one singular truncated hill, Oshiroyama, upon which a strong
castle stood in ancient times. There is now only a small Shinto shrine
there, surrounded by pines. From the hamlet of Shimonishimura to the
Temple of Tama-Wakasu-jinja is a walk of twenty minutes, over very rough
paths between rice-fields and vegetable gardens. But the situation of
the temple, surrounded by its sacred grove, in the heart of a landscape
framed in by mountain ranges of many colours, is charmingly impressive.
The edifice seems to have once been a Buddhist temple; it is now the
largest Shinto structure in Oki. Before its gate stands the famous
cedar, not remarkable for height, but wonderful for girth. Two yards
above the soil its circumference is forty-five feet. It has given its
name to the holy place; the Oki peasantry scarcely ever speak of Tama-
Wakasu-jinja, but only of 'O-Sugi,' the Great Cedar.

Tradition avers that this tree was planted by a Buddhist nun more than
eight hundred years ago. And it is alleged that whoever eats with
chopsticks made from the wood of that tree will never have the
toothache, and will live to become exceedingly old.[10]

Sec. 21

The shrine dedicated to the spirit of the Emperor Go-Daigo is in
Nishinoshima, at Beppu, a picturesque fishing village composed of one
long street of thatched cottages fringing a bay at the foot of a
demilune of hills. The simplicity of manners and the honest healthy
poverty of the place are quite wonderful even for Oki. There is a kind
of inn for strangers at which hot water is served instead of tea, and
dried beans instead of kwashi, and millet instead of rice. The absence
of tea, however, is much more significant than that of rice. But the
people of Beppu do not suffer for lack of proper nourishment, as their
robust appearance bears witness: there are plenty of vegetables, all
raised in tiny gardens which the women and children till during the
absence of the boats; and there is abundance of fish. There is no
Buddhist temple, but there is an ujigami.

The shrine of the emperor is at the top of a hill called Kurokizan, at
one end of the bay. The hill is covered with tall pines, and the path is
very steep, so that I thought it prudent to put on straw sandals, in
which one never slips. I found the shrine to be a small wooden miya,
scarcely three feet high, and black with age. There were remains of
other miya, much older, lying in some bushes near by. Two large stones,
unhewn and without inscriptions of any sort, have been placed before the
shrine. I looked into it, and saw a crumbling metal-mirror, dingy paper
gohei attached to splints of bamboo, two little o-mikidokkuri, or Shinto
sake-vessels of red earthenware, and one rin. There was nothing else to
see, except, indeed, certain delightful glimpses of coast and peak,
visible in the bursts of warm blue light which penetrated the
consecrated shadow, between the trunks of the great pines.

Only this humble shrine commemorates the good emperor's sojourn among
the peasantry of Oki. But there is now being erected by voluntary
subscription, at the little village of Gosen-goku-mura, near Yonago in
Tottori, quite a handsome monument of stone to the memory of his
daughter, the princess Hinako-Nai-Shinno who died there while attempting
to follow her august parent into exile. Near the place of her rest
stands a famous chestnut-tree, of which this story is told:

While the emperor's daughter was ill, she asked for chestnuts; and some
were given to her. But she took only one, and bit it a little, and threw
it away. It found root and became a grand tree. But all the chestnuts of
that tree bear marks like the marks of little teeth; for in Japanese
legend even the trees are loyal, and strive to show their loyalty in all
sorts of tender dumb ways. And that tree is called Hagata-guri-no-ki,
which signifies: 'The Tree-of-the-Tooth-marked-Chestnuts.'

Sec.  22

Long before visiting Oki I had heard that such a crime as theft was
unknown in the little archipelago; that it had never been found
necessary there to lock things up; and that, whenever weather permitted,
the people slept with their houses all open to the four winds of heaven.

And after careful investigation, I found these surprising statements
were, to a great extent, true. In the Dozen group, at least, there are
no thieves, and practically no crime. Ten policemen are sufficient to
control the whole of both Dozen and Dogo, with their population of
thirty thousand one hundred and ninety-six souls. Each policeman has
under his inspection a number of villages, which he visits on regular
days; and his absence for any length of time from one of these seems
never to be taken advantage of. His work is mostly confined to the
enforcement of hygienic regulations, and to the writing of reports. It
is very seldom that he finds it necessary to make an arrest, for the
people scarcely ever quarrel.

In the island of Dogo alone are there ever any petty thefts, and only in
that part of Oki do the people take any precautions against thieves.
Formerly there was no prison, and thefts were never heard of; and the
people of Dogo still claim that the few persons arrested in their island
for such offences are not natives of Oki, but strangers from the
mainland. What appears to be quite true is that theft was unknown in Oki
before the port of Saigo obtained its present importance. The whole
trade of Western Japan has been increased by the rapid growth of steam
communications with other parts of the empire; and the port of Saigo
appears to have gained commercially, but to have lost morally, by the
new conditions.

Yet offences against the law are still surprisingly few, even in Saigo.
Saigo has a prison; and there were people in it during my stay in the
city; but the inmates had been convicted only of such misdemeanours as
gambling (which is strictly prohibited in every form by Japanese law),
or the violation of lesser ordinances. When a serious offence is
committed, the offender is not punished in Oki, but is sent to the great
prison at Matsue, in Izumo.

The Dozen islands, however, perfectly maintain their ancient reputation
for irreproachable honesty. There have been no thieves in those three
islands within the memory of man; and there are no serious quarrels, no
fighting, nothing to make life miserable for anybody. Wild and bleak as
the land is, all can manage to live comfortably enough; food is cheap
and plenty, and manners and customs have retained their primitive

Sec.  23

To foreign eyes the defences of even an Izumo dwelling against thieves
seem ludicrous. Chevaux-de-frise of bamboo stakes are used extensively
in eastern cities of the empire, but in Izumo these are not often to be
seen, and do not protect the really weak points of the buildings upon
which they are placed. As for outside walls and fences, they serve only
for screens, or for ornamental boundaries; anyone can climb over them.
Anyone can also cut his way into an ordinary Japanese house with a
pocket-knife. The amado are thin sliding screens of soft wood, easy to
break with a single blow; and in most Izumo homes there is not a lock
which could resist one vigorous pull. Indeed, the Japanese themselves
are so far aware of the futility of their wooden panels against burglars
that all who can afford it build kura--small heavy fire-proof and (for
Japan) almost burglar-proof structures, with very thick earthen walls, a
narrow ponderous door fastened with a gigantic padlock, and one very
small iron-barred window, high up, near the roof. The kura are
whitewashed, and look very neat. They cannot be used for dwellings,
however, as they are mouldy and dark; and they serve only as storehouses
for valuables. It is not easy to rob a kura.

But there is no trouble in 'burglariously' entering an Izumo dwelling
unless there happen to be good watchdogs on the premises. The robber
knows the only difficulties in the way of his enterprise are such as he
is likely to encounter after having effected an entrance. In view of
these difficulties, he usually carries a sword.

Nevertheless, he does not wish to find himself in any predicament
requiring the use of a sword; and to avoid such an unpleasant
possibility he has recourse to magic.

He looks about the premises for a tarai--a kind of tub. If he finds one,
he performs a nameless operation in a certain part of the yard, and
covers the spot with the tub, turned upside down. He believes if he can
do this that a magical sleep will fall upon all the inmates of the
house, and that he will thus be able to carry away whatever he pleases,
without being heard or seen.

But every Izumo household knows the counter-charm. Each evening, before
retiring, the careful wife sees that a hocho, or kitchen knife, is laid
upon the kitchen floor, and covered with a kanadarai, or brazen wash-
basin, on the upturned bottom of which is placed a single straw sandal,
of the noiseless sort called zori, also turned upside down. She believes
this little bit of witchcraft will not only nullify the robber's spell,
but also render it impossible for him--even should he succeed in
entering the house without being seen or heard--to carry anything
whatever away. But, unless very tired indeed, she will also see that the
tarai is brought into the house before the amado are closed for the

If through omission of these precautions (as the good wife might aver),
or in despite of them, the dwelling be robbed while the family are
asleep, search is made early in the morning for the footprints of the
burglar; and a moxa [11] is set burning upon each footprint. By this
operation it is hoped or believed that the burglar's feet will be made
so sore that he cannot run far, and that the police may easily overtake

Sec.  24

It was in Oki that I first heard of an extraordinary superstition about
the cause of okori (ague, or intermittent fever), mild forms of which
prevail in certain districts at certain seasons; but I have since
learned that this quaint belief is an old one in Izumo and in many parts
of the San-indo. It is a curious example of the manner in which Buddhism
has been used to explain all mysteries.

Okori is said to be caused by the Gaki-botoke, or hungry ghosts.
Strictly speaking, the Gaki-botoke are the Pretas of Indian Buddhism,
spirits condemned to sojourn in the Gakido, the sphere of the penance of
perpetual hunger and thirst. But in Japanese Buddhism, the name Gaki is
given also to those souls who have none among the living to remember
them, and to prepare for them the customary offerings of food and tea.

These suffer, and seek to obtain warmth and nutriment by entering into
the bodies of the living. The person into whom a gaki enters at first
feels intensely cold and shivers, because the gaki is cold. But the
chill is followed by a feeling of intense heat, as the gaki becomes
warm. Having warmed itself and absorbed some nourishment at the expense
of its unwilling host, the gaki goes away, and the fever ceases for a
time. But at exactly the same hour upon another day the gaki will
return, and the victim must shiver and burn until the haunter has become
warm and has satisfied its hunger. Some gaki visit their patients every
day; others every alternate day, or even less often. In brief: the
paroxysms of any form of intermittent fever are explained by the
presence of the gaki, and the intervals between the paroxysms by its

Sec.  25

Of the word hotoke (which becomes botoke in such com-pounds as nure-
botoke, [12] gaki-botoke) there is something curious to say.

Hotoke signifies a Buddha.

Hotoke signifies also the Souls of the Dead--since faith holds that
these, after worthy life, either enter upon the way to Buddhahood, or
become Buddhas.

Hotoke, by euphemism, has likewise come to mean a corpse: hence the verb
hotoke-zukuri, 'to look ghastly,' to have the semblance of one long

And Hotoke-San is the name of the Image of a Face seen in the pupil of
the eye--Hotoke-San, 'the Lord Buddha.' Not the Supreme of the Hokkekyo,
but that lesser Buddha who dwelleth in each one of us,--the Spirit. [13]

Sang Rossetti: 'I looked and saw your heart in the shadow of your eyes.'
Exactly converse is the Oriental thought. A Japanese lover would have
said: 'I looked and saw my own Buddha in the shadow of your eyes.

What is the psychical theory connected with so singular a belief? [14] I
think it might be this: The Soul, within its own body, always remains
viewless, yet may reflect itself in the eyes of another, as in the
mirror of a necromancer. Vainly you gaze into the eyes of the beloved to
discern her soul: you see there only your own soul's shadow, diaphanous;
and beyond is mystery alone--reaching to the Infinite.

But is not this true? The Ego, as Schopenhauer wonderfully said, is the
dark spot in consciousness, even as the point whereat the nerve of sight
enters the eye is blind. We see ourselves in others only; only through
others do we dimly guess that which we are. And in the deepest love of
another being do we not indeed love ourselves? What are the
personalities, the individualities of us but countless vibrations in
the Universal Being? Are we not all One in the unknowable Ultimate? One
with the inconceivable past? One with the everlasting future?

Sec. 26

In Oki, as in Izumo, the public school is slowly but surely destroying
many of the old superstitions. Even the fishermen of the new generation
laugh at things in which their fathers believed. I was rather surprised
to receive from an intelligent young sailor, whom I had questioned
through an interpreter about the ghostly fire of Takuhizan, this
scornful answer: 'Oh, we used to believe those things when we were
savages; but we are civilised now!'

Nevertheless, he was somewhat in advance of his time. In the village to
which he belonged I discovered that the Fox-.superstition prevails to a
degree scarcely paralleled in any part of Izumo. The history of the
village was quite curious. From time immemorial it had been reputed a
settlement of Kitsune-mochi: in other words, all its inhabitants were
commonly believed, and perhaps believed themselves, to be the owners of
goblin-foxes. And being all alike kitsune-mochi, they could eat and
drink together, and marry and give in marriage among themselves without
affliction. They were feared with a ghostly fear by the neighbouring
peasantry, who obeyed their demands both in matters reasonable and
unreasonable. They prospered exceedingly. But some twenty years ago an
Izumo stranger settled among them. He was energetic, intelligent, and
possessed of some capital. He bought land, made various shrewd
investments, and in a surprisingly short time became the wealthiest
citizen in the place. He built a very pretty Shinto temple and presented
it to the community. There was only one obstacle in the way of his
becoming a really popular person: he was not a kitsune-mochi, and he had
even said that he hated foxes. This singularity threatened to beget
discords in the mura, especially as he married his children to
strangers, and thus began in the midst of the kitsune-mochi to establish
a sort of anti-Fox-holding colony.

Wherefore, for a long time past, the Fox-holders have been trying to
force their superfluous goblins upon him. Shadows glide about the gate
of his dwelling on moonless nights, muttering: 'Kaere! kyo kara kokoye:
kuruda!' [Be off now! from now hereafter it is here that ye must dwell:
go!] Then are the upper shoji violently pushed apart; and the voice of
the enraged house owner is heard: 'Koko Wa kiraida! modori!' [Detestable
is that which ye do! get ye gone!] And the Shadows flee away.[15]

Sec.  27

Because there were no cuttlefish at Hishi-ura, and no horrid smells, I
enjoyed myself there more than I did anywhere else in Oki. But, in any
event, Hishi-ura would have interested me more than Saigo. The life of
the pretty little town is peculiarly old-fashioned; and the ancient
domestic industries, which the introduction of machinery has almost
destroyed in Izumo and elsewhere, still exist in Hishi-ura. It was
pleasant to watch the rosy girls weaving robes of cotton and robes of
silk, relieving each other whenever the work became fatiguing. All this
quaint gentle life is open to inspection, and I loved to watch it. I had
other pleasures also: the bay is a delightful place for swimming, and
there were always boats ready to take me to any place of interest along
the coast. At night the sea breeze made the rooms which I occupied
deliciously cool; and from the balcony I could watch the bay-swell
breaking in slow, cold fire on the steps of the wharves--a beautiful
phosphorescence; and I could hear Oki mothers singing their babes to
sleep with one of the oldest lullabys in the world:

  O-yama no
  Usagi. no ko,
  Naze mata
  O-mimi ga
  Nagai e yara?
  Okkasan no
  O-nak ni
  Oru toku ni,
  BiWa no ha,
  Sasa no ha,
  Tabeta sona;
  Sore de
  O-mimi ga
  Nagai e sona.  [16]

The air was singularly sweet and plaintive, quite different from that to
which the same words are sung in Izumo, and in other parts of Japan.

One morning I had hired a boat to take me to Beppu, and was on the point
of leaving the hotel for the day, when the old landlady, touching my
arm, exclaimed: 'Wait a little while; it is not good to cross a
funeral.' I looked round the corner, and saw the procession coming along
the shore. It was a Shinto funeral--a child's funeral. Young lads came
first, carrying Shinto emblems--little white flags, and branches of the
sacred sakaki; and after the coffin the mother walked, a young peasant,
crying very loud, and wiping her eyes with the long sleeves of her
coarse blue dress. Then the old woman at my side murmured: 'She sorrows;
but she is very young: perhaps It will come back to her.' For she was a
pious Buddhist, my good old landlady, and doubtless supposed the
mother's belief like her own, although the funeral was conducted
according to the Shinto rite.

Sec.  28

There are in Buddhism certain weirdly beautiful consolations unknown to
Western faith.

The young mother who loses her first child may at least pray that it
will come back to her out of the night of death--not in dreams only, but
through reincarnation. And so praying, she writes within the hand of the
little corpse the first ideograph of her lost darling's name.

Months pass; she again becomes a mother. Eagerly she examines the
flower-soft hand of the infant. And lo! the self-same ideograph is
there--a rosy birth-mark on the tender palm; and the Soul returned looks
out upon her through the eyes of the newly-born with the gaze of other

Sec.  29

While on the subject of death I may speak of a primitive but touching
custom which exists both in Oki and Izumo--that of calling the name of
the dead immediately after death. For it is thought that the call may be
heard by the fleeting soul, which might sometimes be thus induced to
return. Therefore, when a mother dies, the children should first call
her, and of all the children first the youngest (for she loved that one
most); and then the husband and all those who loved the dead cry to her
in turn.

And it is also the custom to call loudly the name of one who faints, or
becomes insensible from any cause; and there are curious beliefs
underlying this custom.

It is said that of those who swoon from pain or grief especially, many
approach very nearly to death, and these always have the same
experience. 'You feel,' said one to me in answer to my question about
the belief, 'as if you were suddenly somewhere else, and quite happy--
only tired. And you know that you want to go to a Buddhist temple which
is quite far away. At last you reach the gate of the temple court, and
you see the temple inside, and it is wonderfully large and beautiful.
And you pass the gate and enter the court to go to the temple. But
suddenly you hear voices of friends far behind you calling your name--
very, very earnestly. So you turn back, and all at once you come to
yourself again. At least it is so if your heart cares to live. But one
who is really tired of living will not listen to the voices, and walks
on to the temple. And what there happens no man knows, for they who
enter that temple never return to their friends.

'That is why people call loudly into the ear of one who swoons.

'Now, it is said that all who die, before going to the Meido, make one
pilgrimage to the great temple of Zenkoji, which is in the country of
Shinano, in Nagano-Ken. And they say that whenever the priest of that
temple preaches, he sees the Souls gather there in the hondo to hear
him, all with white wrappings about their heads. So Zenkoji might be the
temple which is seen by those who swoon. But I do not know.'

Sec.  30

I went by boat from Hishi-ura to Amamura, in Nakanoshima, to visit the
tomb of the exiled Emperor Go-Toba. The scenery along the way was
beautiful, and of softer outline than I had seen on my first passage
through the archipelago. Small rocks rising from the water were covered
with sea-gulls and cormorants, which scarcely took any notice of the
boat, even when we came almost within an oar's length. This fearlessness
of wild creatures is one of the most charming impressions of travel in
these remoter parts of Japan, yet unvisited by tourists with shotguns.
The early European and American hunters in Japan seem to have found no
difficulty and felt no compunction in exterminating what they considered
'game' over whole districts, destroying life merely for the wanton
pleasure of destruction. Their example is being imitated now by 'Young
Japan,' and the destruction of bird life is only imperfectly checked by
game laws. Happily, the Government does interfere sometimes to check
particular forms of the hunting vice. Some brutes who had observed the
habits of swallows to make their nests in Japanese houses, last year
offered to purchase some thousands of swallow-skins at a tempting price.
The effect of the advertisement was cruel enough; but the police were
promptly notified to stop the murdering, which they did. About the same
time, in one of the Yokohama papers, there appeared a letter from some
holy person announcing, as a triumph of Christian sentiment, that a
'converted' fisherman had been persuaded by foreign proselytisers to
kill a turtle, which his Buddhist comrades had vainly begged him to

Amarnura, a very small village, lies in a narrow plain of rice-fields
extending from the sea to a range of low hills. From the landing-place
to the village is about a quarter of a mile. The narrow path leading to
it passes round the base of a small hill, covered with pines, on the
outskirts of the village. There is quite a handsome Shinto temple on the
hill, small, but admirably constructed, approached by stone steps and a
paved walk.

There are the usual lions and lamps of stone, and the ordinary simple
offerings of paper and women's hair before the shrine. But I saw among
the ex-voto a number of curious things which I had never seen in Izumo--
tiny miniature buckets, well-buckets, with rope and pole complete,
neatly fashioned out of bamboo. The boatman said that farmers bring
these to the shrine when praying for rain. The deity was called Suwa-

It was at the neighbouring village, of which Suwa-Dai-Myojin seems to be
the ujigami, that the Emperor Go-Toba is said to have dwelt, in the
house of the Choja Shikekuro. The Shikekuro homestead remains, and still
belongs to the Choja'sa descendants, but they have become very poor. I
asked permission to see the cups from which the exiled emperor drank,
and other relics of his stay said to be preserved by the family; but in
consequence of illness in the house I could not be received. So I had
only a glimpse of the garden, where there is a celebrated pond--a

The pond is called Shikekuro's Pond,--Shikekuro-no-ike. And for seven
hundred years, 'tis said, the frogs of that pond have never been heard
to croak.

For the Emperor Go-Toba, having one night been kept awake by the
croaking of the frogs in that pond, arose and went out and commanded
them, saying: 'Be silent!' Wherefore they have remained silent through
all the centuries even unto this day.

Near the pond there was in that time a great pine-tree, of which the
rustling upon windy nights disturbed the emperor's rest. And he spoke to
the pine-tree, and said to it: 'Be still!' And never thereafter was that
tree heard to rustle, even in time of storms.

But that tree has ceased to be. Nothing remains of it but a few
fragments of its wood and hark, which are carefully preserved as relics
by the ancients of Oki. Such a fragment was shown to me in the toko of
the guest chamber of the dwelling of a physician of Saigo--the same
gentleman whose kindness I have related elsewhere.

The tomb of the emperor lies on the slope of a low hill, at a distance
of about ten minutes' walk from the village. It is far less imposing
than the least of the tombs of the Matsudaira at Matsue, in the grand
old courts of Gesshoji; but it was perhaps the best which the poor
little country of Oki could furnish. This is not, however, the original
place of the tomb, which was moved by imperial order in the sixth year
of Meiji to its present site. A lofty fence, or rather stockade of heavy
wooden posts, painted black, incloses a piece of ground perhaps one
hundred and fifty feet long, by about fifty broad, and graded into three
levels, or low terraces. All the space within is shaded by pines. In the
centre of the last and highest of the little terraces the tomb is
placed: a single large slab of grey rock laid horizontally. A narrow
paved walk leads from the gate to the tomb; ascending each terrace by
three or four stone steps. A little within this gateway, which is opened
to visitors only once a year, there is a torii facing the sepulchre; and
before the highest terrace there are a pair of stone lamps. All this is
severely simple, but effective in a certain touching way. The country
stillness is broken only by the shrilling of the semi and the
tintinnabulation of that strange little insect, the suzumushi, whose
calling sounds just like the tinkling of the tiny bells which are shaken
by the miko in her sacred dance.

Sec.  31

I remained nearly eight days at Hishi-ura on the occasion of my second
visit there, but only three at Urago. Urago proved a less pleasant place
to stay in--not because its smells were any stronger than those of
Saigo, but for other reasons which shall presently appear.

More than one foreign man-of-war has touched at Saigo, and English and
Russian officers of the navy have been seen in the streets. They were
tall, fair-haired, stalwart men; and the people of Oki still imagine
that all foreigners from the West have the same stature and complexion.
I was the first foreigner who ever remained even a night in the town,
and I stayed there two weeks; but being small and dark, and dressed like
a Japanese, I excited little attention among the common people: it
seemed to them that I was only a curious-looking Japanese from some
remote part of the empire. At Hishi-ura the same impression prevailed
for a time; and even after the fact of my being a foreigner had become
generally known, the population caused me no annoyance whatever: they
had already become accustomed to see me walking about the streets or
swimming across the bay. But it was quite otherwise at Urago. The first
time I landed there I had managed to escape notice, being in Japanese
costume, and wearing a very large Izumo hat, which partly concealed my
face. After I left for Saigo, the people must have found out that a
foreigner--the very first ever seen in Dozen--had actually been in Urago
without their knowledge; for my second visit made a sensation such as I
had never been the cause of anywhere else, except at Kaka-ura.

I had barely time to enter the hotel, before the street became entirely
blockaded by an amazing crowd desirous to see. The hotel was
unfortunately situated on a corner, so that it was soon besieged on two
sides. I was shown to a large back room on the second floor; and I had
no sooner squatted down on my mat, than the people began to come
upstairs quite noiselessly, all leaving their sandals at the foot of the
steps. They were too polite to enter the room; but four or five would
put their heads through the doorway at once, and bow, and smile, and
look, and retire to make way for those who filled the stairway behind
them. It was no easy matter for the servant to bring me my dinner.
Meanwhile, not only had the upper rooms of the houses across the way
become packed with gazers, but all the roofs--north, east, and south--
which commanded a view of my apartment had been occupied by men and boys
in multitude. Numbers of lads had also climbed (I never could imagine
how) upon the narrow eaves over the galleries below my windows; and all
the openings of my room, on three sides, were full of faces. Then tiles
gave way, and boys fell, but nobody appeared to be hurt. And the
queerest fact was that during the performance of these extraordinary
gymnastics there was a silence of death: had I not seen the throng, I
might have supposed there was not a soul in the street.

The landlord began to scold; but, finding scolding of no avail, he
summoned a policeman. The policeman begged me to excuse the people, who
had never seen a foreigner before; and asked me if I wished him to clear
the street. He could have done that by merely lifting his little finger;
but as the scene amused me, I begged him not to order the people away,
but only to tell the boys not to climb upon the awnings, some of which
they had already damaged. He told them most effectually, speaking in a
very low voice. During all the rest of the time I was in Urago, no one
dared to go near the awnings. A Japanese policeman never speaks more
than once about anything new, and always speaks to the purpose.

The public curiosity, however, lasted without abate for three days, and
would have lasted longer if I had not fled from Urago. Whenever I went
out I drew the population after me with a pattering of geta like the
sound of surf moving shingle. Yet, except for that particular sound,
there was silence. No word was spoken. Whether this was because the
whole mental faculty was so strained by the intensity of the desire to
see that speech became impossible, I am not able to decide. But there
was no roughness in all that curiosity; there was never anything
approaching rudeness, except in the matter of ascending to my room
without leave; and that was done so gently that I could not wish the
intruders rebuked. Nevertheless, three days of such experience proved
trying. Despite the heat, I had to close the doors and windows at night
to prevent myself being watched while asleep. About my effects I had no
anxiety at all: thefts are never committed in the island. But that
perpetual silent crowding about me became at last more than
embarrassing. It was innocent, but it was weird. It made me feel like a
ghost--a new arrival in the Meido, surrounded by shapes without voice.

Sec. 32

There is very little privacy of any sort in Japanese life.  Among the
people, indeed, what we term privacy in the Occident does not exist.
There are only walls of paper dividing the lives of men; there are only
sliding screens instead of doors; there are neither locks nor bolts to
be used by day; and whenever weather permits, the fronts, and perhaps
even the sides of the house are literally removed, and its interior
widely opened to the air, the light, and the public gaze. Not even the
rich man closes his front gate by day. Within a hotel or even a common
dwelling-house, nobody knocks before entering your room: there is
nothing to knock at except a shoji or fusuma, which cannot be knocked
upon without being broken. And in this world of paper walls and
sunshine, nobody is afraid or ashamed of fellow-men or fellow-women.
Whatever is done, is done, after a fashion, in public. Your personal
habits, your idiosyncrasies (if you have any), your foibles, your likes
and dislikes, your loves or your hates, must be known to everybody.
Neither vices nor virtues can be hidden: there is absolutely nowhere to
hide them. And this condition has lasted from the most ancient time.
There has never been, for the common millions at least, even the idea of
living unobserved. Life can be comfortably and happily lived in Japan
only upon the condition that all matters relating to it are open to the
inspection of the community. Which implies exceptional moral conditions,
such as have no being in the West. It is perfectly comprehensible only
to those who know by experience the extraordinary charm of Japanese
character, the infinite goodness of the common people, their instinctive
politeness, and the absence among them of any tendencies to indulge in
criticism, ridicule, irony, or sarcasm. No one endeavours to expand his
own individuality by belittling his fellow; no one tries to make himself
appear a superior being: any such attempt would be vain in a community
where the weaknesses of each are known to all, where nothing can be
concealed or disguised, and where affectation could only be regarded as
a mild form of insanity.

Sec.  33

Some of the old samurai of Matsue are living in the Oki Islands. When
the great military caste was disestablished, a few shrewd men decided to
try their fortunes in the little archipelago, where customs remained
old-fashioned and lands were cheap. Several succeeded--probably because
of the whole-souled honesty and simplicity of manners in the islands;
for samurai have seldom elsewhere been able to succeed in business of
any sort when obliged to compete with experienced traders, Others
failed, but were able to adopt various humble occupations which gave
them the means to live.

Besides these aged survivors of the feudal period, I learned there were
in Oki several children of once noble families--youths and maidens of
illustrious extraction--bravely facing the new conditions of life in
this remotest and poorest region of the empire. Daughters of men to whom
the population of a town once bowed down were learning the bitter toil
of the rice-fields. Youths, who might in another era have aspired to
offices of State, had become the trusted servants of Oki heimin. Others,
again, had entered the police, [17] and rightly deemed themselves

No doubt that change of civilisation forced upon Japan by Christian
bayonets, for the holy motive of gain, may yet save the empire from
perils greater than those of the late social disintegration; but it was
cruelly sudden. To imagine the consequence of depriving the English
landed gentry of their revenues would not enable one to realise exactly
what a similar privation signified to the Japanese samurai. For the old
warrior caste knew only the arts of courtesy and the arts of war.

And hearing of these things, I could not help thinking about a strange
pageant at the last great Izumo festival of Rakuzan-jinja.

Sec.  34

The hamlet of Rakuzan, known only for its bright yellow pottery and its
little Shinto temple, drowses at the foot of a wooded hill about one ri
from Matsue, beyond a wilderness of rice-fields. And the deity of
Rakuzan-jinja is Naomasa, grandson of Iyeyasu, and father of the Daimyo
of Matsue.

Some of the Matsudaira slumber in Buddhist ground, guarded by tortoises
and lions of stone, in the marvellous old courts of Gesshoji. But
Naomasa, the founder of their long line, is enshrined at Rakuzan; and
the Izumo peasants still clap their hands in prayer before his miya, and
implore his love and protection.

Now formerly upon each annual matsuri, or festival, of Rakuzan-jinja, it
was customary to carry the miya of Naomasa-San from the village temple
to the castle of Matsue. In solemn procession it was borne to .those
strange old family temples in the heart of the fortress-grounds--Go-jo-
naiInari-Daimyojin, and Kusunoki-Matauhira-Inari-Daimyojin--whose
mouldering courts, peopled with lions and foxes of stone, are shadowed
by enormous trees. After certain Shinto rites had been performed at both
temples, the miya was carried back in procession to Rakuzan. And this
annual ceremony was called the miyuki or togyo--'the August Going,' or
Visit, of the ancestor to the ancestral home.

But the revolution changed all things. The daimyo passed away; the
castles fell to ruin; the samurai caste was abolished and dispossessed.
And the miya of Lord Naomasa made no August Visit to the home of the
Mataudaira for more than thirty years.

But it came to pass a little time ago, that certain old men of Matsue
bethought them to revive once more the ancient customs of the Rakuzan
matauri. And there was a miyuki.

The miya of Lord Naomasa was placed within a barge, draped and
decorated, and so conveyed by river and canal to the eastern end of the
old Mataubara road, along whose pine-shaded way the daimyo formerly
departed to Yedo on their annual visit, or returned therefrom. All those
who rowed the barge were aged samurai who had been wont in their youth
to row the barge of Matsudaira-Dewa-no-Kami, the last Lord of Izumo.
They wore their ancient feudal costume; and they tried to sing their
ancient boat-song--o-funa-uta. But more than a generation had passed
since the last time they had sung it; and some of them had lost their
teeth, so that they could not pronounce the words well; and all, being
aged, lost breath easily in the exertion of wielding the oars.
Nevertheless they rowed the barge to the place appointed.

Thence the shrine was borne to a spot by the side of the Mataubara road,
where anciently stood an August Tea-House, O-Chaya, at which the daimyo,
returning from the Shogun's capital, were accustomed to rest and to
receive their faithful retainers, who always came in procession to meet
them. No tea-house stands there now; but, in accord with old custom, the
shrine and its escort waited at the place among the wild flowers and the
pines. And then was seen a strange sight.

For there came to meet the ghost of the great lord a long procession of
shapes that seemed ghosts also--shapes risen out of the dust of
cemeteries: warriors in created helmets and masks of iron and
breastplates of steel, girded with two swords; and spearmen wearing
queues; and retainers in kamishimo; and bearers of hasami-bako. Yet
ghosts these were not, but aged samurai of Matsue, who had borne arms in
the service of the last of the daimyo. And among them appeared his
surviving ministers, the venerable karo; and these, as the procession
turned city-ward, took their old places of honour, and marched before
the shrine valiantly, though bent with years.

How that pageant might have impressed other strangers I do not know. For
me, knowing something of the history of each of those aged men, the
scene had a significance apart from its story of forgotten customs,
apart from its interest as a feudal procession. To-day each and all of
those old samurai are unspeakably poor. Their beautiful homes vanished
long ago; their gardens have been turned into rice-fields; their
household treasures were cruelly bargained for, and bought for almost
nothing by curio-dealers to be resold at high prices to foreigners at
the open ports. And yet what they could have obtained considerable
money for, and what had ceased to be of any service to them, they clung
to fondly through all their poverty and humiliation. Never could they be
induced to part with their armour and their swords, even when pressed by
direst want, under the new and harder conditions of existence.

The river banks, the streets, the balconies, and blue-tiled roofs were
thronged. There was a great quiet as the procession passed. Young people
gazed in hushed wonder, feeling the rare worth of that chance to look
upon what will belong in the future to picture-books only and to the
quaint Japanese stage. And old men wept silently, remembering their

Well spake the ancient thinker: 'Everything is only for a day, both that
which remembers, and that which is remembered.'

Sec.  35

Once more, homeward bound, I sat upon the cabin-roof of the Oki-Saigo--
this time happily unencumbered by watermelons--and tried to explain to
myself the feeling of melancholy with which I watched those wild island-
coasts vanishing over the pale sea into the white horizon. No doubt it
was inspired partly by the recollection of kindnesses received from many
whom I shall never meet again; partly, also, by my familiarity with the
ancient soil itself, and remembrance of shapes and places: the long blue
visions down channels between islands--the faint grey fishing hamlets
hiding in stony bays--the elfish oddity of narrow streets in little
primitive towns--the forms and tints of peak and vale made lovable by
daily intimacy--the crooked broken paths to shadowed shrines of gods
with long mysterious names--the butterfly-drifting of yellow sails out
of the glow of an unknown horizon. Yet I think it was due much more to a
particular sensation in which every memory was steeped and toned, as a
landscape is steeped in the light and toned in the colours of the
morning: the sensation of conditions closer to Nature's heart, and
farther from the monstrous machine-world of Western life than any into
which I had ever entered north of the torrid zone. And then it seemed to
me that I loved Oki--in spite of the cuttlefish--chiefly because of
having felt there, as nowhere else in Japan, the full joy of escape from
the far-reaching influences of high-pressure civilisation--the delight
of knowing one's self, in Dozen at least, well beyond the range of
everything artificial in human existence.

Chapter Nine Of Souls

Kinjuro, the ancient gardener, whose head shines like an ivory ball, sat
him down a moment on the edge of the ita-no-ma outside my study to smoke
his pipe at the hibachi always left there for him. And as he smoked he
found occasion to reprove the boy who assists him. What the boy had been
doing I did not exactly know; but I heard Kinjuro bid him try to comport
himself like a creature having more than one Soul.  And because those
words interested me I went out and sat down by Kinjuro.

'O Kinjuro,' I said, 'whether I myself have one or more Souls I am not
sure. But it would much please me to learn how many Souls have you.'

'I-the-Selfish-One have only four Souls,' made answer Kinjuro, with
conviction imperturbable.

'Four? re-echoed I, feeling doubtful of having understood 'Four,' he
repeated. 'But that boy I think can have only one Soul, so much is he
wanting in patience.'

'And in what manner,' I asked, 'came you to learn that you have four

'There are wise men,' made he answer, while knocking the ashes out of
his little silver pipe, 'there are wise men who know these things. And
there is an ancient book which discourses of them. According to the age
of a man, and the time of his birth, and the stars of heaven, may the
number of his Souls be divined. But this is the knowledge of old men:
the young folk of these times who learn the things of the West do not

'And tell me, O Kinjuro, do there now exist people having more Souls
than you?'

'Assuredly. Some have five, some six, some seven, some eight Souls. But
no one is by the gods permitted to have more Souls than nine.'

[Now this, as a universal statement, I could not believe, remembering a
woman upon the other side of the world who possessed many generations of
Souls, and knew how to use them all. She wore her Souls just as other
women wear their dresses, and changed them several times a day; and the
multitude of dresses in the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth was as nothing
to the multitude of this wonderful person's Souls. For which reason she
never appeared the same upon two different occasions; and she changed
her thought and her voice with her Souls. Sometimes she was of the
South, and her eyes were brown; and again she was of the North, and her
eyes were grey. Sometimes she was of the thirteenth, and sometimes of
the eighteenth century; and people doubted their own senses when they
saw these things; and they tried to find out the truth by begging
photographs of her, and then comparing them. Now the photographers
rejoiced to photograph her because she was more than fair; but presently
they also were confounded by the discovery that she was never the same
subject twice. So the men who most admired her could not presume to fall
in love with her because that would have been absurd. She had altogether
too many Souls. And some of you who read this I have written will bear
witness to the verity thereof.]

'Concerning this Country of the Gods, O Kinjuro, that which you say may
be true. But there are other countries having only gods made of gold;
and in those countries matters are not so well arranged; and the
inhabitants thereof are plagued with a plague of Souls. For while some
have but half a Soul, or no Soul at all, others have Souls in multitude
thrust upon them, for which neither nutriment nor employ can be found.
And Souls thus situated torment exceedingly their owners. . . . .That is
to say, Western Souls. . . . But tell me, I pray you, what is the use of
having more than one or two Souls?'

'Master, if all had the same number and quality of Souls, all would
surely be of one mind. But that people are different from each other is
apparent; and the differences among them are because of the differences
in the quality and the number of their Souls.'

'And it is better to have many Souls than a few?' 'It is better.'

'And the man having but one Soul is a being imperfect?'

'Very imperfect.'

'Yet a man very imperfect might have had an ancestor perfect?'

'That is true.'

'So that a man of to-day possessing but one Soul may have had an
ancestor with nine Souls?'


'Then what has become of those other eight Souls which the ancestor
possessed, but which the descendant is without?'

'Ah! that is the work of the gods. The gods alone fix the number of
Souls for each of us. To the worthy are many given; to the unworthy

'Not from the parents, then, do the Souls descend?'

'Nay! Most ancient the Souls are: innumerable, the years of them.'

'And this I desire to know: Can a man separate his Souls? Can he, for
instance, have one Soul in Kyoto and one in Tokyo and one in Matsue, all
at the same time?'

'He cannot; they remain always together.'

'How? One within the other--like the little lacquered boxes of an inro?'

'Nay: that none but the gods know.'

'And the Souls are never separated?'

'Sometimes they may be separated. But if the Souls of a man be
separated, that man becomes mad. Mad people are those who have lost one
of their Souls.'

'But after death what becomes of the Souls?'

'They remain still together. . . . When a man dies his Souls ascend to
the roof of the house. And they stay upon the roof for the space of nine
and forty days.'

'On what part of the roof?'

'On the yane-no-mune--upon the Ridge of the Roof they stay.'

'Can they be seen?'

'Nay: they are like the air is. To and fro upon the Ridge of the Roof
they move, like a little wind.'

'Why do they not stay upon the roof for fifty days instead of forty-

'Seven weeks is the time allotted them before they must depart: seven
weeks make the measure of forty-nine days. But why this should be, I
cannot tell.'

I was not unaware of the ancient belief that the spirit of a dead man
haunts for a time the roof of his dwelling, because it is referred to
quite impressively in many Japanese dramas, among others in the play
called Kagami-yama, which makes the people weep. But I had not before
heard of triplex and quadruplex and other yet more highly complex Souls;
and I questioned Kinjuro vainly in the hope of learning the authority
for his beliefs. They were the beliefs of his fathers: that was all he
knew.  [1]

Like most Izumo folk, Kinjuro was a Buddhist as well as a Shintoist. As
the former he belonged to the Zen-shu, as the latter to the Izumo-
Taisha. Yet his ontology seemed to me not of either. Buddhism does not
teach the doctrine of compound-multiple Souls. There are old Shinto
books inaccessible to the multitude which speak of a doctrine very
remotely akin to Kinjuro's; but Kinjuro had never seen them. Those books
say that each of us has two souls--the Ara-tama or Rough Soul, which is
vindictive; and the Nigi-tama, or Gentle Soul, which is all-forgiving.
Furthermore, we are all possessed by the spirit of Oho-maga-tsu-hi-no-
Kami, the 'Wondrous Deity of Exceeding Great Evils'; also by the spirit
of Oho-naho-bi-no-Kami, the 'Wondrous Great Rectifying Deity,' a
counteracting influence. These were not exactly the ideas of Kinjuro.
But I remembered something Hirata wrote which reminded me of Kinjuro's
words about a possible separation of souls. Hirata's teaching was that
the ara-tama of a man may leave his body, assume his shape, and without
his knowledge destroy a hated enemy. So I asked Kinjuro about it. He
said he had never heard of a nigi-tama or an ara-tama; but he told me

'Master, when a man has been discovered by his wife to be secretly
enamoured of another, it sometimes happens that the guilty woman is
seized with a sickness that no physician can cure. For one of the Souls
of the wife, moved exceedingly by anger, passes into the body of that
woman to destroy her. But the wife also sickens, or loses her mind
awhile, because of the absence of her Soul.

'And there is another and more wonderful thing known to us of Nippon,
which you, being of the West, may never have heard. By the power of the
gods, for a righteous purpose, sometimes a Soul may be withdrawn a
little while from its body, and be made to utter its most secret
thought. But no suffering to the body is then caused. And the wonder is
wrought in this wise:

'A man loves a beautiful girl whom he is at liberty to marry; but he
doubts whether he can hope to make her love him in return. He seeks the
kannushi of a certain Shinto temple, [2] and tells of his doubt, and
asks the aid of the gods to solve it. Then the priests demand, not his
name, but his age and the year and day and hour of his birth, which they
write down for the gods to know; and they bid the man return to the
temple after the space of seven days.

'And during those seven days the priests offer prayer to the gods that
the doubt may be solved; and one of them each morning bathes all his
body in cold, pure water, and at each repast eats only food prepared
with holy fire. And on the eighth day the man returns to the temple, and
enters an inner chamber where the priests receive him.

'A ceremony is performed, and certain prayers are said, after which all
wait in silence. And then, the priest who has performed the rites of
purification suddenly begins to tremble violently in all his body, like
one trembling with a great fever. And this is because, by the power of
the gods, the Soul of the girl whose love is doubted has entered, all
fearfully, into the body of that priest. She does not know; for at that
time, wherever she may be, she is in a deep sleep from which nothing can
arouse her. But her Soul, having been summoned into the body of the
priest, can speak nothing save the truth; and It is made to tell all
Its thought. And the priest speaks not with his own voice, but with the
voice of the Soul; and he speaks in the person of the Soul, saying: "I
love," or "I hate," according as the truth may be, and in the language
of women. If there be hate, then the reason of the hate is spoken; but
if the answer be of love, there is little to say. And then the trembling
of the priest stops, for the Soul passes from him; and he falls forward
upon his face like one dead, and long so--remains.

'Tell me, Kinjuro,' I asked, after all these queer things had been
related to me, 'have you yourself ever known of a Soul being removed by
the power of the gods, and placed in the heart of a priest?'

'Yes: I myself have known it.'

I remained silent and waited. The old man emptied his little pipe, threw
it down beside the hibachi, folded his hands, and looked at the lotus-
flowers for some time before he spoke again. Then he smiled and said:

'Master, I married when I was very young. For many years we had no
children: then my wife at last gave me a son, and became a Buddha. But
my son lived and grew up handsome and strong; and when the Revolution
came, he joined the armies of the Son of Heaven; and he died the death
of a man in the great war of the South, in Kyushu. I loved him; and I
wept with joy when I heard that he had been able to die for our Sacred
Emperor: since there is no more noble death for the son of a samurai. So
they buried my boy far away from me in Kyushu, upon a hill near
Kumamoto, which is a famous city with a strong garrison; and I went
there to make his tomb beautiful. But his name is here also, in
Ninomaru, graven on the monument to the men of Izumo who fell in the
good fight for loyalty and honour in our emperor's holy cause; and when
I see his name there, my heart laughs, and I speak to him, and then it
seems as if he were walking beside me again, under the great pines. . .
But all that is another matter.

'I sorrowed for my wife. All the years we had dwelt together no unkind
word had ever been uttered between us. And when she died, I thought
never to marry again. But after two more years had passed, my father and
mother desired a daughter in the house, and they told me of their wish,
and of a girl who was beautiful and of good family, though poor. The
family were of our kindred, and the girl was their only support: she
wove garments of silk and garments of cotton, and for this she received
but little money. And because she was filial and comely, and our kindred
not fortunate, my parents desired that I should marry her and help her
people; for in those days we had a small income of rice. Then, being
accustomed to obey my parents, I suffered them to do what they thought
best. So the nakodo was summoned, and the arrangements for the wedding

'Twice I was able to see the girl in the house of her parents. And I
thought myself fortunate the first time I looked upon her; for she was
very comely and young. But the second time, I perceived she had been
weeping, and that her eyes avoided mine. Then my heart sank; for I
thought: She dislikes me; and they are forcing her to this thing. Then I
resolved to question the gods; and I caused the marriage to be delayed;
and I went to the temple of Yanagi-no-Inari-Sama, which is in the Street

'And when the trembling came upon him, the priest, speaking with the
Soul of that maid, declared to me: "My heart hates you, and the sight of
your face gives me sickness, because I love another, and because this
marriage is forced upon me. Yet though my heart hates you, I must marry
you because my parents are poor and old, and I alone cannot long
continue to support them, for my work is killing me. But though I may
strive to be a dutiful wife, there never will be gladness in your house
because of me; for my heart hates you with a great and lasting hate; and
the sound of your voice makes a sickness in my breast (koe kiite mo mune
ga waruku naru); and only to see your face makes me wish that I were
dead (kao miru to shinitaku naru)."

'Thus knowing the truth, I told it to my parents; and I wrote a letter
of kind words to the maid, praying pardon for the pain I had unknowingly
caused her; and I feigned long illness, that the marriage might be
broken off without gossip; and we made a gift to that family; and the
maid was glad. For she was enabled at a later time to marry the young
man she loved. My parents never pressed me again to take a wife; and
since their death I have lived alone. . . . O Master, look upon the
extreme wickedness of that boy!'

Taking advantage of our conversation, Kinjuro's young assistant had
improvised a rod and line with a bamboo stick and a bit of string; and
had fastened to the end of the string a pellet of tobacco stolen from
the old man's pouch. With this bait he had been fishing in the lotus
pond; and a frog had swallowed it, and was now suspended high above the
pebbles, sprawling in rotary motion, kicking in frantic spasms of
disgust and despair. 'Kaji!' shouted the gardener.

The boy dropped his rod with a laugh, and ran to us unabashed; while the
frog, having disgorged the tobacco, plopped back into the lotus pond.
Evidently Kaji was not afraid of scoldings.

'Gosho ga waruil' declared the old man, shaking his ivory head. 'O Kaji,
much I fear that your next birth will be bad! Do I buy tobacco for
frogs? Master, said I not rightly this boy has but one Soul?'

CHAPTER TEN Of Ghosts and Goblins

Sec. 1

THERE was a Buddha, according to the Hokkekyo who 'even assumed the
shape of a goblin to preach to such as were to be converted by a
goblin.' And in the same Sutra may be found this promise of the Teacher:
'While he is dwelling lonely in the wilderness, I will send thither
goblins in great number to keep him company.'  The appalling character
of this promise is indeed somewhat modified by the assurance that gods
also are to be sent. But if ever I become a holy man, I shall take heed
not to dwell in the wilderness, because I have seen Japanese goblins,
and I do not like them.

Kinjuro showed them to me last night. They had come to town for the
matsuri of our own ujigami, or parish-temple; and, as there were many
curious things to be seen at the night festival, we started for the
temple after dark, Kinjuro carrying a paper lantern painted with my

It had snowed heavily in the morning; but now the sky and the sharp
still air were clear as diamond; and the crisp snow made a pleasant
crunching sound under our feet as we walked; and it occurred to me to
say: 'O Kinjuro, is there a God of Snow?'

'I cannot tell,' replied Kinjuro. 'There be many gods I do not know; and
there is not any man who knows the names of all the gods. But there is
the Yuki-Onna, the Woman of the Snow.'

'And what is the Yuki-Onna?'

'She is the White One that makes the Faces in the snow. She does not any
harm, only makes afraid. By day she lifts only her head, and frightens
those who journey alone. But at night she rises up sometimes, taller
than the trees, and looks about a little while, and then falls back in a
shower of snow.' [1]

'What is her face like?'

'It is all white, white. It is an enormous face. And it is a lonesome

[The word Kinjuro used was samushii. Its common meaning is 'lonesome';
but he used it, I think, in the sense of 'weird.']

'Did you ever see her, Kinjuro?'

'Master, I never saw her. But my father told me that once when he was a
child, he wanted to go to a neighbour's house through the snow to play
with another little boy; and that on the way he saw a great white Face
rise up from the snow and look lonesomely about, so that he cried for
fear and ran back. Then his people all went out and looked; but there
was only snow; and then they knew that he had seen the Yuki-Onna.'

'And in these days, Kinjuro, do people ever see her?'

'Yes. Those who make the pilgrimage to Yabumura, in the period called
Dai-Kan, which is the Time of the Greatest Cold, [2]  they sometimes see

'What is there at Yabumura, Kinjuro?'

'There is the Yabu-jinja, which is an ancient and famous temple of Yabu-
no-Tenno-San--the God of Colds, Kaze-no-Kami. It is high upon a hill,
nearly nine ri from Matsue. And the great matsuri of that temple is held
upon the tenth and eleventh days of the Second Month. And on those days
strange things may be seen. For one who gets a very bad cold prays to
the deity of Yabu-jinja to cure it, and takes a vow to make a pilgrimage
naked to the temple at the time of the matsuri.'


'Yes: the pilgrims wear only waraji, and a little cloth round their
loins. And a great many men and women go naked through the snow to the
temple, though the snow is deep at that time. And each man carries a
bunch of gohei and a naked sword as gifts to the temple; and each woman
carries a metal mirror. And at the temple, the priests receive them,
performing curious rites. For the priests then, according to ancient
custom, attire themselves like sick men, and lie down and groan, and
drink, potions made of herbs, prepared after the Chinese manner.'

'But do not some of the pilgrims die of cold, Kinjuro?'

'No: our Izumo peasants are hardy. Besides, they run swiftly, so that
they reach the temple all warm. And before returning they put on thick
warm robes. But sometimes, upon the way, they see the Yuki-Onna.'

Sec. 2

Each side of the street leading to the miya was illuminated with a line
of paper lanterns bearing holy symbols; and the immense court of the
temple had been transformed into a town of booths, and shops, and
temporary theatres. In spite of the cold, the crowd was prodigious.
There seemed to be all the usual attractions of a matsuri, and a number
of unusual ones. Among the familiar lures, I missed at this festival
only the maiden wearing an obi of living snakes; probably it had become
too cold for the snakes. There were several fortune-tellers and
jugglers; there were acrobats and dancers; there was a man making
pictures out of sand; and there was a menagerie containing an emu from
Australia, and a couple of enormous bats from the Loo Choo Islands--bats
trained to do several things. I did reverence to the gods, and bought
some extraordinary toys; and then we went to look for the goblins. They
were domiciled in a large permanent structure, rented to showmen on
special occasions.

Gigantic characters signifying 'IKI-NINGYO,' painted upon the signboard
at the entrance, partly hinted the nature of the exhibition. Iki-ningyo
('living images') somewhat correspond to our Occidental 'wax figures';
but the equally realistic Japanese creations are made of much cheaper
material. Having bought two wooden tickets for one sen each, we entered,
and passed behind a curtain to find ourselves in a long corridor lined
with booths, or rather matted compartments, about the size of small
rooms. Each space, decorated with scenery appropriate to the subject,
was occupied by a group of life-size figures. The group nearest the
entrance, representing two men playing samisen and two geisha dancing,
seemed to me without excuse for being, until Kinjuro had translated a
little placard before it, announcing that one of the figures was a
living person. We watched in vain for a wink or palpitation. Suddenly
one of the musicians laughed aloud, shook his head, and began to play
and sing. The deception was perfect.

The remaining groups, twenty-four in number, were powerfully impressive
in their peculiar way, representing mostly famous popular traditions or
sacred myths. Feudal heroisms, the memory of which stirs every Japanese
heart; legends of filial piety; Buddhist miracles, and stories of
emperors were among the subjects. Sometimes, however, the realism was
brutal, as in one scene representing the body of a woman lying in a pool
of blood, with brains scattered by a sword stroke. Nor was this
unpleasantness altogether atoned for by her miraculous resuscitation in
the adjoining compartment, where she reappeared returning thanks in a
Nichiren temple, and converting her slaughterer, who happened, by some
extraordinary accident, to go there at the same time.

At the termination of the corridor there hung a black curtain behind
which screams could be heard. And above the black curtain was a placard
inscribed with the promise of a gift to anybody able to traverse the
mysteries beyond without being frightened.

'Master,' said Kinjuro, 'the goblins are inside.'

We lifted the veil, and found ourselves in a sort of lane between
hedges, and behind the hedges we saw tombs; we were in a graveyard.
There were real weeds and trees, and sotoba and haka, and the effect was
quite natural. Moreover, as the roof was very lofty, and kept invisible
by a clever arrangement of lights, all seemed darkness only; and this
gave one a sense of being out under the night, a feeling accentuated by
the chill of the air. And here and there we could discern sinister
shapes, mostly of superhuman stature, some seeming to wait in dim
places, others floating above the graves. Quite near us, towering above
the hedge on our right, was a Buddhist priest, with his back turned to

'A yamabushi, an exorciser?' I queried of Kinjuro.

'No,' said Kinjuro; 'see how tall he is. I think that must be a Tanuki-

The Tanuki-Bozu is the priestly form assumed by the goblin-badger
(tanuki) for the purpose of decoying belated travellers to destruction.
We went on, and looked up into his face. It was a nightmare--his face.

'In truth a Tanuki-Bozu,' said Kinjuro. 'What does the Master honourably
think concerning it?'

Instead of replying, I jumped back; for the monstrous thing had suddenly
reached over the hedge and clutched at me, with a moan. Then it fell
back, swaying and creaking. It was moved by invisible strings.

'I think, Kinjuro, that it is a nasty, horrid thing. . . . But I shall
not claim the present.'

We laughed, and proceeded to consider a Three-Eyed Friar (Mitsu-me-
Nyudo). The Three-Eyed Friar also watches for the unwary at night. His
face is soft and smiling as the face of a Buddha, but he has a hideous
eye in the summit of his shaven pate, which can only be seen when seeing
it does no good. The Mitsu-me-Nyudo made a grab at Kinjuro, and startled
him almost as much as the Tanuki-Bozu had startled me.

Then we looked at the Yama-Uba--the 'Mountain Nurse.' She catches little
children and nurses them for a while, and then devours them. In her face
she has no mouth; but she has a mouth in the top of her head, under her
hair. The YamaUba did not clutch at us, because her hands were occupied
with a nice little boy, whom she was just going to eat. The child had
been made wonderfully pretty to heighten the effect.

Then I saw the spectre of a woman hovering in the air above a tomb at
some distance, so that I felt safer in observing it. It had no eyes; its
long hair hung loose; its white robe floated light as smoke. I thought
of a statement in a composition by one of my pupils about ghosts: 'Their
greatest Peculiarity is that They have no feet.' Then I jumped again,
for the thing, quite soundlessly but very swiftly, made through the air
at me.

And the rest of our journey among the graves was little more than a
succession of like experiences; but it was made amusing by the screams
of women, and bursts of laughter from people who lingered only to watch
the effect upon others of what had scared themselves.

Sec. 3

Forsaking the goblins, we visited a little open-air theatre to see two
girls dance. After they had danced awhile, one girl produced a sword and
cut off the other girl's head, and put it upon a table, where it opened
its mouth and began to sing. All this was very prettily done; but my
mind was still haunted by the goblins. So I questioned Kinjuro:

'Kinjuro, those goblins of which we the ningyo have seen--do folk
believe in the reality, thereof?'

'Not any more,' answered Kinjuro--'not at least among the people of the
city. Perhaps in the country it may not be so. We believe in the Lord
Buddha; we believe in the ancient gods; and there be many who believe
the dead sometimes return to avenge a cruelty or to compel an act of
justice. But we do not now believe all that was believed in ancient
time. . . .Master,' he added, as we reached another queer exhibition,
'it is only one sen to go to hell, if the Master would like to go--'Very
good, Kinjuro,' I made reply. 'Pay two sen that we may both go to hell.'

Sec. 4

And we passed behind a curtain into a big room full of curious clicking
and squeaking noises. These noises were made by unseen wheels and
pulleys moving a multitude of ningyo upon a broad shelf about breast-
high, which surrounded the apartment upon three sides. These ningyo were
not ikiningyo, but very small images--puppets. They represented all
things in the Under-World.

The first I saw was Sozu-Baba, the Old Woman of the River of Ghosts, who
takes away the garments of Souls. The garments were hanging upon a tree
behind her. She was tall; she rolled her green eyes and gnashed her long
teeth, while the shivering of the little white souls before her was as a
trembling of butterflies. Farther on appeared Emma Dai-O, great King of
Hell, nodding grimly. At his right hand, upon their tripod, the heads of
Kaguhana and Mirume, the Witnesses, whirled as upon a wheel. At his
left, a devil was busy sawing a Soul in two; and I noticed that he used
his saw like a Japanese carpenter--pulling it towards him instead of
pushing it.	And then various exhibitions of the tortures of the damned.
A liar bound to a post was having his tongue pulled out by a devil--
slowly, with artistic jerks; it was already longer than the owner's
body. Another devil was pounding another Soul in a mortar so vigorously
that the sound of the braying could be heard above all the din of the
machinery. A little farther on was a man being eaten alive by two
serpents having women's faces; one serpent was white, the other blue.
The white had been his wife, the blue his concubine. All the tortures
known to medieval Japan were being elsewhere deftly practised by swarms
of devils. After reviewing them, we visited the Sai-no-Kawara, and saw
Jizo with a child in his arms, and a circle of other children running
swiftly around him, to escape from demons who brandished their clubs and
ground their teeth.

Hell proved, however, to be extremely cold; and while meditating on the
partial inappropriateness of the atmosphere, it occurred to me that in
the common Buddhist picture-books of the Jigoku I had never noticed any
illustrations of torment by cold. Indian Buddhism, indeed, teaches the
existence of cold hells. There is one, for instance, where people's lips
are frozen so that they can say only 'Ah-ta-ta!'--wherefore that hell is
called Atata. And there is the hell where tongues are frozen, and where
people say only 'Ah-baba!' for which reason it is called Ababa. And
there is the Pundarika, or Great White-Lotus hell, where the spectacle
of the bones laid bare by the cold is 'like a blossoming of white lotus-
flowers.' Kinjuro thinks there are cold hells according to Japanese
Buddhism; but he is not sure. And I am not sure that the idea of cold
could be made very terrible to the Japanese. They confess a general
liking for cold, and compose Chinese poems about the loveliness of ice
and snow.

Sec. 5

Out of hell, we found our way to a magic-lantern show being given in a
larger and even much colder structure. A Japanese magic-lantern show is
nearly always interesting in more particulars than one, but perhaps
especially as evidencing the native genius for adapting Western
inventions to Eastern tastes. A Japanese magic-lantern show is
essentially dramatic. It is a play of which the dialogue is uttered by
invisible personages, the actors and the scenery being only luminous
shadows. 'Wherefore it is peculiarly well suited to goblinries and
weirdnesses of all kinds; and plays in which ghosts figure are the
favourite subjects. As the hall was bitterly cold, I waited only long
enough to see one performance--of which the following is an epitome:

SCENE 1.--A beautiful peasant girl and her aged mother, squatting
together at home. Mother weeps violently, gesticulates agonisingly. From
her frantic speech, broken by wild sobs, we learn that the girl must be
sent as a victim to the Kami-Sama of some lonesome temple in the
mountains. That god is a bad god. Once a year he shoots an arrow into
the thatch of some farmer's house as a sign that he wants a girl--to
eat! Unless the girl be sent to him at once, he destroys the crops and
the cows. Exit mother, weeping and shrieking, and pulling out her grey
hair. Exit girl, with downcast head, and air of sweet resignation.

SCENE II.--Before a wayside inn; cherry-trees in blossom. Enter coolies
carrying, like a palanquin, a large box, in which the girl is supposed
to be. Deposit box; enter to eat; tell story to loquacious landlord.
Enter noble samurai, with two swords. Asks about box. Hears the story of
the coolies repeated by loquacious landlord. Exhibits fierce
indignation; vows that the  Kami-Sama are good--do not eat girls.
Declares that so-called Kami-Sama to be a devil. Observes that devils
must be killed. Orders box opened. Sends girl home. Gets into box
himself, and commands coolies under pain of death to bear him right
quickly to that temple.

SCENE III.--Enter coolies, approaching temple through forest at night.
Coolies afraid. Drop box and run. Exeunt coolies. Box alone in the dark.
Enter veiled figure, all white. Figure moans unpleasantly; utters horrid
cries. Box remains impassive. Figure removes veil, showing Its face--a
skull with phosphoric eyes. [Audience unanimously utter the sound
'Aaaaaa!'] Figure displays Its hands--monstrous and apish, with claws.
[Audience utter a second 'Aaaaaa!'] Figure approaches the box, touches
the box, opens the box! Up leaps noble samurai. A wrestle; drums sound
the roll of battle. Noble samurai practises successfully noble art of
ju-jutsu. Casts demon down, tramples upon him triumphantly, cuts off his
head. Head suddenly enlarges, grows to the size of a house, tries to
bite off head of samurai. Samurai slashes it with his sword.  Head rolls
backward, spitting fire, and vanishes. Finis. Exeunt omnes.

Sec. 6

The vision of the samurai and the goblin reminded Kinjuro of a queer
tale, which he began to tell me as soon as the shadow-play was over.
Ghastly stories are apt to fall flat after such an exhibition; but
Kinjuro's stories are always peculiar enough to justify the telling
under almost any circumstances. Wherefore I listened eagerly, in spite
of the cold:

'A long time ago, in the days when Fox-women and goblins haunted this
land, there came to the capital with her parents a samurai girl, so
beautiful that all men who saw her fell enamoured of her. And hundreds
of young samurai desired and hoped to marry her, and made their desire
known to her parents. For it has ever been the custom in Japan that
marriages should be arranged by parents. But there are exceptions to all
customs, and the case of this maiden was such an exception. Her parents
declared that they intended to allow their daughter to choose her own
husband, and that all who wished to win her would be free to woo her.

'Many men of high rank and of great wealth were admitted to the house as
suitors; and each one courted her as he best knew how--with gifts, and
with fair words, and with poems written in her honour, and with promises
of eternal love. And to each one she spoke sweetly and hopefully; but
she made strange conditions. For every suitor she obliged to bind
himself by his word of honour as a samurai to submit to a test of his
love for her, and never to divulge to living person what that test might
be. And to this all agreed.

'But even the most confident suitors suddenly ceased their importunities
after having been put to the test; and all of them appeared to have been
greatly terrified by something. Indeed, not a few even fled away from
the city, and could not be persuaded by their friends to return. But no
one ever so much as hinted why. Therefore it was whispered by those who
knew nothing of the mystery, that the beautiful girl must be either a
Fox-woman or a goblin.

'Now, when all the wooers of high rank had abandoned their suit, there
came a samurai who had no wealth but his sword. He was a good man and
true, and of pleasing presence; and the girl seemed to like him. But she
made him take the same pledge which the others had taken; and after he
had taken it, she told him to return upon a certain evening.

'When that evening came, he was received at the house by none but the
girl herself. With her own hands she set before him the repast of
hospitality, and waited upon him, after which she told him that she
wished him to go out with her at a late hour. To this he consented
gladly, and inquired to what place she desired to go. But she replied
nothing to his question, and all at once became very silent, and strange
in her manner. And after a while she retired from the apartment, leaving
him alone.

'Only long after midnight she returned, robed all in white--like a Soul
--and, without uttering a word, signed to him to follow her. Out of the
house they hastened while all the city slept. It was what is called an
oborozuki-yo--'moon-clouded night.' Always upon such a night, 'tis said,
do ghosts wander. She swiftly led the way; and the dogs howled as she
flitted by; and she passed beyond the confines of the city to a place of
knolls shadowed by enormous trees, where an ancient cemetery was. Into
it she glided--a white shadow into blackness. He followed, wondering,
his hand upon his sword. Then his eyes became accustomed to the gloom;
and he saw.

'By a new-made grave she paused and signed to him to wait. The tools of
the grave-maker were still lying there. Seizing one, she began to dig
furiously, with strange haste and strength. At last her spade smote a
coffin-lid and made it boom: another moment and the fresh white wood of
the kwan was bare. She tore off the lid, revealing a corpse within--the
corpse of a child. With goblin gestures she wrung an arm from the body,
wrenched it in twain, and, squatting down, began to devour the upper
half. Then, flinging to her lover the other half, she cried to him,
"Eat, if thou lovest mel this is what I eat!" 'Not even for a single
instant did he hesitate. He squatted down upon the other side of the
grave, and ate the half of the arm, and said, "Kekko degozarimasu! mo
sukoshi chodai."  [3] For that arm was made of the best kwashi [4] that
Saikyo could produce.

'Then the girl sprang to her feet with a burst of laughter, and cried:
"You only, of all my brave suitors, did not run away! And I wanted a
husband: who could not fear. I will marry you; I can love you: you are a

Sec. 7

'O Kinjuro,' I said, as we took our way home, 'I have heard and I have
read many Japanese stories of the returning of the dead. Likewise you
yourself have told me it is still believed the dead return, and why. But
according both to that which I have read and that which you have told
me, the coming back of the dead is never a thing to be desired. They
return because of hate, or because of envy, or because they cannot rest
for sorrow. But of any who return for that which is not evil--where is
it written? Surely the common history of them is like that which we have
this night seen: much that is horrible and much that is wicked and
nothing of that which is beautiful or true.'

Now this I said that I might tempt him. And he made even the answer I
desired, by uttering the story which is hereafter set down:

'Long ago, in the days of a daimyo whose name has been forgotten, there
lived in this old city a young man and a maid who loved each other very
much. Their names are not remembered, but their story remains. From
infancy they had been betrothed; and as children they played together,
for their parents were neighbours. And as they grew up, they became
always fonder of each other.

'Before the youth had become a man, his parents died. But he was able to
enter the service of a rich samurai, an officer of high rank, who had
been a friend of his people. And his protector soon took him into great
favour, seeing him to be courteous, intelligent, and apt at arms. So the
young man hoped to find himself shortly in a position that would make it
possible for him to marry his betrothed. But war broke out in the north
and east; and he was summoned suddenly to follow his master to the
field. Before departing, however, he was able to see the girl; and they
exchanged pledges in the presence of her parents; and he promised,
should he remain alive, to return within a year from that day to marry
his betrothed.

'After his going much time passed without news of him, for there was no
post in that time as now; and the girl grieved so much for thinking of
the chances of war that she became all white and thin and weak. Then at
last she heard of him through a messenger sent from the army to bear
news to the daimyo and once again a letter was brought to her by another
messenger. And thereafter there came no word. Long is a year to one who
waits. And the year passed, and he did not return.

'Other seasons passed, and still he did not come; and she thought him
dead; and she sickened and lay down, and died, and was buried. Then her
old parents, who had no other child, grieved unspeakably, and came to
hate their home for the lonesomeness of it. After a time they resolved
to sell all they had, and to set out upon a sengaji--the great
pilgrimage to the Thousand Temples of the Nichiren-Shu, which requires
many years to perform. So they sold their small house with all that it
contained, excepting the ancestral tablets, and the holy things which
must never be sold, and the ihai of their buried daughter, which were
placed, according to the custom of those about to leave their native
place, in the family temple. Now the family was of the Nichiren-Shu; and
their temple was Myokoji.

'They had been gone only four days when the young man who had been
betrothed to their daughter returned to the city. He had attempted, with
the permission of his master, to fulfil his promise. But the provinces
upon his way were full of war, and the roads and passes were guarded by
troops, and he had been long delayed by many difficulties. And when he
heard of his misfortune he sickened for grief, and many days remained
without knowledge of anything, like one about to die.

'But when he began to recover his strength, all the pain of memory came
back again; and he regretted that he had not died. Then he resolved to
kill himself upon the grave of his betrothed; and, as soon as he was
able to go out unobserved, he took his sword and went to the cemetery
where the girl was buried: it is a lonesome place--the cemetery of
Myokoji. There he found her tomb, and knelt before it, and prayed and
wept, and whispered to her that which he was about to do. And suddenly
he heard her voice cry to him: "Anata!" and felt her hand upon his hand;
and he turned, and saw her kneeling beside him, smiling, and beautiful
as he remembered her, only a little pale. Then his heart leaped so that
he could not speak for the wonder and the doubt and the joy of that
moment. But she said: "Do not doubt: it is really I. I am not dead. It
was all a mistake. I was buried, because my people thought me dead--
buried too soon. And my own parents thought me dead, and went upon a
pilgrimage. Yet you see, I am not dead--not a ghost. It is I: do not
doubt it! And I have seen your heart, and that was worth all the
waiting, and the pain.. . But now let us go away at once to another
city, so that people may not know this thing and trouble us; for all
still believe me dead."

'And they went away, no one observing them. And they went even to the
village of Minobu, which is in the province of Kai. For there is a
famous temple of the Nichiren-Shu in that place; and the girl had said:
"I know that in the course of their pilgrimage my parents will surely
visit Minobu: so that if we dwell there, they will find us, and we shall
be all again together." And when they came to Minobu, she said: "Let us
open a little shop." And they opened a little food-shop, on the wide way
leading to the holy place; and there they sold cakes for children, and
toys, and food for pilgrims. For two years they so lived and prospered;
and there was a son born to them.

'Now when the child was a year and two months old, the parents of the
wife came in the course of their pilgrimage to Minobu; and they stopped
at the little shop to buy food. And seeing their daughter's betrothed,
they cried out and wept and asked questions. Then he made them enter,
and bowed down before them, and astonished them, saying: "Truly as I
speak it, your daughter is not dead; and she is my wife; and we have a
son. And she is even now within the farther room, lying down with the
child. I pray you go in at once and gladden her, for her heart longs for
the moment of seeing you again."

'So while he busied himself in making all things ready for their
comfort, they entered the inner, room very softly--the mother first.

'They found the child asleep; but the mother they did not find. She
seemed to have gone out for a little while only: her pillow was still
warm. They waited long for her: then they began to seek her. But never
was she seen again.

'And they understood only when they found beneath the coverings which
had covered the mother and child, something which they remembered having
left years before in the temple of Myokoji--a little mortuary tablet,
the ihai of their buried daughter.'

I suppose I must have looked thoughtful after this tale; for the old man

'Perhaps the Master honourably thinks concerning the story that it is

'Nay, Kinjuro, the story is in my heart.'

CHAPTER ELEVEN The Japanese Smile

Sec. 1

THOSE whose ideas of the world and its wonders have been formed chiefly
by novels and romance still indulge a vague belief that the East is more
serious than the West. Those who judge things from a higher standpoint
argue, on the contrary, that, under present conditions, the West must be
more serious than the East; and also that gravity, or even something
resembling its converse, may exist only as a fashion. But the fact is
that in this, as in all other questions, no rule susceptible of
application to either half of humanity can be accurately framed.
Scientifically, we can do no more just now than study certain contrasts
in a general way, without hoping to explain satisfactorily the highly
complex causes which produced them. One such contrast, of particular
interest, is that afforded by the English and the Japanese.

It is a commonplace to say that the English are a serious people--not
superficially serious, but serious all the way down to the bed-rock of
the race character. It is almost equally safe to say that the Japanese
are not very serious, either above or below the surface, even as
compared with races much less serious than our own. And in the same
proportion, at least, that they are less serious, they are more happy:
they still, perhaps, remain the happiest people in the civilised world.
We serious folk of the West cannot call ourselves very happy. Indeed, we
do not yet fully know how serious we are; and it would probably frighten
us to learn how much more serious we are likely to become under the
ever-swelling pressure of industrial life. It is, possibly, by long
sojourn among a people less gravely disposed that we can best learn our
own temperament. This conviction came to me very strongly when, after
having lived for nearly three years in the interior of Japan, I returned
to English life for a few days at the open port of Kobe. To hear English
once more spoken by Englishmen touched me more than I could have
believed possible; but this feeling lasted only for a moment. My object
was to make some necessary purchases. Accompanying me was a Japanese
friend, to whom all that foreign life was utterly new and wonderful, and
who asked me this curious question: 'Why is it that the foreigners never
smile? You smile and bow when you speak to them; but they never smile.

The fact was, I had fallen altogether into Japanese habits and ways, and
had got out of touch with Western life; and my companion's question
first made me aware that I had been acting somewhat curiously. It also
seemed to me a fair illustration of the difficulty of mutual
comprehension between the two races--each quite naturally, though quite
erroneously, estimating the manners and motives of the other by its own.
If the Japanese are puzzled by English gravity, the English are, to say
the least, equally puzzled by Japanese levity. The Japanese speak of the
'angry faces' of the foreigners. The foreigners speak with strong
contempt of the Japanese smile: they suspect it to signify insincerity;
indeed, some declare it cannot possibly signify anything else. Only a
few of the more observant have recognised it as an enigma worth
studying. One of my Yokohama friends--a thoroughly lovable man, who had
passed more than half his life in the open ports of the East--said to
me, just before my departure for the interior: 'Since you are going to
study Japanese life, perhaps you will be able to find out something for
me. I can't understand the Japanese smile. Let me tell you one
experience out of many. One day, as I was driving down from the Bluff, I
saw an empty kuruma coming up on the wrong side of the curve. I could
not have pulled up in time if I had tried; but I didn't try, because I
didn't think there was any particular danger. I only yelled to the man
in Japanese to get to the other side of the road; instead of which he
simply backed his kuruma against a wall on the lower side of the curve,
with the shafts outwards. At the rate I was going, there wasn't room
even to swerve; and the next minute one of the shafts of that kuruma was
in my horse's shoulder. The man wasn't hurt at all. When I saw the way
my horse was bleeding, I quite lost my temper, and struck the man over
the head with the butt of my whip. He looked right into my face and
smiled, and then bowed. I can see that smile now. I felt as if I had
been knocked down. The smile utterly nonplussed me--killed all my anger
instantly. Mind you, it was a polite smile. But what did it mean? Why
the devil did the man smile? I can't understand it.'

Neither, at that time, could I; but the meaning of much more mysterious
smiles has since been revealed to me. A Japanese can smile in the teeth
of death, and usually does. But he then smiles for the same reason that
he smiles at other times. There is neither defiance nor hypocrisy in the
smile; nor is it to be confounded with that smile of sickly resignation
which we are apt to associate with weakness of character. It is an
elaborate and long-cultivated etiquette. It is also a silent language.
But any effort to interpret it according to Western notions of
physiognomical expression would be just about as successful as an
attempt to interpret Chinese ideographs by their real or fancied
resemblance to shapes of familiar things.

First impressions, being largely instinctive, are scientifically
recognised as partly trustworthy; and the very first impression produced
by the Japanese smile is not far from the truth The stranger cannot fail
to notice the generally happy and smiling character of the native faces;
and this first impression is, in most cases, wonderfully pleasant. The
Japanese smile at first charms. It is only at a later day, when one has
observed the same smile under extraordinary circumstances--in moments of
pain, shame, disappointment--that one becomes suspicious of it. Its
apparent inopportuneness may even, on certain occasions, cause violent
anger. Indeed, many of the difficulties between foreign residents and
their native servants have been due to the smile. Any man who believes
in the British tradition that a good servant must be solemn is not
likely to endure with patience the smile of his 'boy.' At present,
however, this particular phase of Western eccentricity is becoming more
fully recognised by the Japanese; they are beginning to learn that the
average English-speaking foreigner hates smiling, and is apt to consider
it insulting; wherefore Japanese employees at the open ports have
generally ceased to smile, and have assumed an air of sullenness.

At this moment there comes to me the recollection of a queer story told
by a lady of Yokohama about one of her Japanese servants. 'My Japanese
nurse came to me the other day, smiling as if something very pleasant
had happened, and said that her husband was dead, and that she wanted
permission to attend his funeral. I told her she could go. It seems they
burned the man's body. Well, in the evening she returned, and showed me
a vase containing some ashes of bones (I saw a tooth among them); and
she said: "That is my husband." And she actually laughed as she said it!
Did you ever hear of such disgusting creatures?'

It would have been quite impossible to convince the narrator of this
incident that the demeanour of her servant, instead of being heartless,
might have been heroic, and capable of a very touching interpretation.
Even one not a Philistine might be deceived in such a case by
appearances. But quite a number of the foreign residents of the open
ports are pure Philistines, and never try to look below the surface of
the life around them, except as hostile critics. My Yokohama friend who
told me the story about the kurumaya was quite differently disposed: he
recognised the error of judging by appearances.

Sec. 2

Miscomprehension of the Japanese smile has more than once led to
extremely unpleasant results, as happened in the case of T--a Yokohama
merchant of former days. T--had employed in some capacity (I think
partly as a teacher of Japanese) a nice old samurai, who wore, according
to the fashion of the era, a queue and two swords. The English and the
Japanese do not understand each other very well now; but at the period
in question they understood each other much less. The Japanese servants
at first acted in foreign employ precisely as they would have acted in
the service of distinguished Japanese; [1] and this innocent mistake
provoked a good deal of abuse and cruelty. Finally the discovery was
made that to treat Japanese like West Indian negroes might be very

A certain number of foreigners were killed, with good moral

But I am digressing. T--was rather pleased with his old samurai, though
quite unable to understand his Oriental politeness, his prostrations or
the meaning of the small gifts which he presented occasionally, with an
exquisite courtesy entirely wasted upon T--. One day he came to ask a
favour. (I think it was the eve of the Japanese New Year, when everybody
needs money, for reasons not here to be dwelt upon.) The favour was that
T--would lend him a little money upon one of his swords, the long one.
It was a very beautiful weapon, and the merchant saw that it was also
very valuable, and lent the money without hesitation. Some weeks later
the old man was able to redeem his sword.

What caused the beginning of the subsequent unpleasantness nobody now
remembers Perhaps T--'s nerves got out of order. At all events, one day
he became very angry with the old man, who submitted to the expression
of his wrath with bows and smiles. This made him still more angry, and
he used some extremely bad language; but the old man still bowed and
smiled; wherefore he was ordered to leave the house. But the old man
continued to smile, at which T--losing all self-control struck him. And
then T--suddenly became afraid, for the long sword instantly leaped from
its sheath, and swirled above him; and the old man ceased to seem old.
Now, in the grasp of anyone who knows how to use it, the razor-edged
blade of a Japanese sword wielded with both hands can take a head off
with extreme facility. But, to T--'s astonishment, the old samurai,
almost in the same moment, returned the blade to its sheath with the
skill of a practised swordsman, turned upon his heel, and withdrew.

Then T-- wondered and sat down to think. He began to remember some nice
things about the old man--the many kindnesses unasked and unpaid, the
curious little gifts, the impeccable honesty. T-- began to feel ashamed.
He tried to console himself with the thought: 'Well, it was his own
fault; he had no right to laugh at me when he knew I was angry.' Indeed,
T-- even resolved to make amends when an opportunity should offer.

But no opportunity ever came, because on the same evening the old man
performed hara-kiri, after the manner of a samurai. He left a very
beautifully written letter explaining his reasons. For a samurai to
receive an unjust blow without avenging it was a shame not to be borne,
He had received such a blow. Under any other circumstances he might have
avenged it. But the circumstances were, in this instance, of a very
peculiar kind, His code of honour forbade him to use his sword upon the
man to whom he had pledged it once for money, in an hour of need. And
being thus unable to use his sword, there remained for him only the
alternative of an honourable suicide.

In order to render this story less disagreeable, the reader may suppose
that T--was really very sorry, and behaved generously to the family of
the old man. What he must not suppose is that T--was ever able to
imagine why the old man had smiled the smile which led to the outrage
and the tragedy.

Sec. 3

To comprehend the Japanese smile, one must be able to enter a little
into the ancient, natural, and popular life of Japan.  From the
modernised upper classes nothing is to be learned. The deeper
signification of race differences is being daily more and more
illustrated in the effects of the higher education. Instead of creating
any community of feeling, it appears only to widen the distance between
the Occidental and the Oriental. Some foreign observers have declared
that it does this by enormously developing certain latent peculiarities
--among others an inherent materialism little perceptible among fife
common people. This explanation is one I cannot quite agree with; but it
is at least undeniable that, the more highly he is cultivated, according
to Western methods, the farther is the Japanese psychologically removed
from us. Under the new education, his character seems to crystallise
into something of singular hardness, and to Western observation, at
least, of singular opacity. Emotionally, the Japanese child appears
incomparably closer to us than the Japanese mathematician, the peasant
than the statesman. Between the most elevated class of thoroughly
modernised Japanese and the Western thinker anything akin to
intellectual sympathy is non-existent: it is replaced on the native side
by a cold and faultless politeness. Those influences which in other
lands appear most potent to develop the higher emotions seem here to
have the extraordinary effect of suppressing them. We are accustomed
abroad to associate emotional sensibility with intellectual expansion:
it would be a grievous error to apply this rule in Japan. Even the
foreign teacher in an ordinary school can feel, year by year, his pupils
drifting farther away from him, as they pass from class to class; in
various higher educational institutions, the separation widens yet more
rapidly, so that, prior to graduation, students may become to their
professor little more than casual acquaintances. The enigma is perhaps,
to some extent, a physiological one, requiring scientific explanation;
but its solution must first be sought in ancestral habits of life and of
imagination. It can be fully discussed only when its natural causes are
understood; and these, we may be sure, are not simple. By some observers
it is asserted that because the higher education in Japan has not yet
had the effect of stimulating the higher emotions to the Occidental
pitch, its developing power cannot have been exerted uniformly and
wisely, but in special directions only, at the cost of character. Yet
this theory involves the unwarrantable assumption that character can be
created by education; and it ignores the fact that the best results are
obtained by affording opportunity for the exercise of pre-existing
inclination rather than by any system of teaching.

The causes of the phenomenon must be looked for in the race character;
and whatever the higher education may accomplish in the remote future,
it can scarcely be expected to transform nature. But does it at present
atrophy certain finer tendencies? I think that it unavoidably does, for
the simple reason that, under existing conditions, the moral and mental
powers are overtasked by its requirements. All that wonderful national
spirit of duty, of patience, of self-sacrifice, anciently directed to
social, moral, or religious idealism, must, under the discipline of the
higher training, be concentrated upon an end which not only demands, but
exhausts its fullest exercise. For that end, to be accomplished at all,
must be accomplished in the face of difficulties that the Western
student rarely encounters, and could scarcely be made even to
understand. All those moral qualities which made the old Japanese
character admirable are certainly the same which make the modern
Japanese student the most indefatigable, the most docile, the most
ambitious in the world. But they are also qualities which urge him to
efforts in excess of his natural powers, with the frequent result of
mental and moral enervation. The nation has entered upon a period of
intellectual overstrain. Consciously or unconsciously, in obedience to
sudden necessity, Japan has undertaken nothing less than the tremendous
task of forcing mental expansion up to the highest existing standard;
and this means forcing the development of the nervous system. For the
desired intellectual change, to be accomplished within a few
generations, must involve a physiological change never to be effected
without terrible cost. In other words, Japan has attempted too much; yet
under the circumstances she could not have attempted less. Happily, even
among the poorest of her poor the educational policy of the Government
is seconded with an astonishing zeal; the entire nation has plunged into
study with a fervour of which it is utterly impossible to convey any
adequate conception in this little essay. Yet I may cite a touching
example. Immediately after the frightful earthquake of 1891, the
children of the ruined cities of Gifu and Aichi, crouching among the
ashes of their homes, cold and hungry and shelterless, surrounded by
horror and misery unspeakable, still continued their small studies,
using tiles of their own burnt dwellings in lieu of slates, and bits of
lime for chalk, even while the earth still trembled beneath them. [2]
What future miracles may justly be expected from the amazing power of
purpose such a fact reveals!

But it is true that as yet the results of the higher training have not
been altogether happy. Among the Japanese of the old regime one
encounters a courtesy, an unselfishness, a grace of pure goodness,
impossible to overpraise. Among the modernised of the new generation
these have almost disappeared. One meets a class of young men who
ridicule the old times and the old ways without having been able to
elevate themselves above the vulgarism of imitation and the commonplaces
of shallow scepticism. What has become of the noble and charming
qualities they must have inherited from their fathers? Is it not
possible that the best of those qualities have been transmuted into mere
effort,--an effort so excessive as to have exhausted character, leaving
it without weight or balance?

It is to the still fluid, mobile, natural existence of the common people
that one must look for the meaning of some apparent differences in the
race feeling and emotional expression of the West and the Far East. With
those gentle, kindly, sweet-hearted folk, who smile at life, love, and
death alike, it is possible to enjoy community of feeling in simple,
natural things; and by familiarity and sympathy we can learn why they

The Japanese child is born with this happy tendency, which is fostered
through all the period of home education. But it is cultivated with the
same exquisiteness that is shown in the cultivation of the natural
tendencies of a garden plant. The smile is taught like the bow; like the
prostration; like that little sibilant sucking-in of the breath which
follows, as a token of pleasure, the salutation to a superior; like all
the elaborate and beautiful etiquette of the old courtesy. Laughter is
not encouraged, for obvious reasons. But the smile is to be used upon
all pleasant occasions, when speaking to a superior or to an equal, and
even upon occasions which are not pleasant; it is a part of deportment.
The most agreeable face is the smiling face; and to present always the
most agreeable face possible to parents, relatives, teachers, friends,
well-wishers, is a rule of life. And furthermore, it is a rule of life
to turn constantly to the outer world a mien of happiness, to convey to
others as far as possible a pleasant impression. Even though the heart
is breaking, it is a social duty to smile bravely. On the other hand, to
look serious or unhappy is rude, because this may cause anxiety or pain
to those who love us; it is likewise foolish, since it may excite
unkindly curiosity on the part of those who love us not. Cultivated from
childhood as a duty, the smile soon becomes instinctive. In the mind of
the poorest peasant lives the conviction that to exhibit the expression
of one's personal sorrow or pain or anger is rarely useful, and always
unkind. Hence, although natural grief must have, in Japan as elsewhere,
its natural issue, an uncontrollable burst of tears in the presence of
superiors or guests is an impoliteness; and the first words of even the
most unlettered countrywoman, after the nerves give way in such a
circumstance, are invariably: 'Pardon my selfishness in that I have been
so rude!' The reasons for the smile, be it also observed, are not only
moral; they are to some extent aesthetic they partly represent the same
idea which regulated the expression of suffering in Greek art. But they
are much more moral than aesthetic, as we shall presently observe.

From this primary etiquette of the smile there has been developed a
secondary etiquette, the observance of which has frequently impelled
foreigners to form the most cruel misjudgements as to Japanese
sensibility. It is the native custom that whenever a painful or shocking
fact must be told, the announcement should be made, by the sufferer,
with a smile. [3] The graver the subject, the more accentuated the
smile; and when the matter is very unpleasant to the person speaking of
it, the smile often changes to a low, soft laugh. However bitterly the
mother who has lost her first-born may have wept at the funeral, it is
probable that, if in your service, she will tell of her bereavement with
a smile: like the Preacher, she holds that there is a time to weep and a
time to laugh. It was long before I myself could understand how it was
possible for those whom I believed to have loved a person recently dead
to announce to me that death with a laugh. Yet the laugh was politeness
carried to the utmost point of self-abnegation. It signified: 'This you
might honourably think to be an unhappy event; pray do not suffer Your
Superiority to feel concern about so inferior a matter, and pardon the
necessity which causes us to outrage politeness by speaking about such
an affair at all.'. The key to the mystery of the most unaccountable
smiles is Japanese politeness. The servant sentenced to dismissal for a
fault prostrates himself, and asks for pardon with a smile. That smile
indicates the very reverse of callousness or insolence: 'Be assured that
I am satisfied with the great justice of your honourable sentence, and
that I am now aware of the gravity of my fault. Yet my sorrow and my
necessity have caused me to indulge the unreasonable hope that I may be
forgiven for my great rudeness in asking pardon.' The youth or girl
beyond the age of childish tears, when punished for some error, receives
the punishment with a smile which means: 'No evil feeling arises in my
heart; much worse than this my fault has deserved.' And the kurumaya cut
by the whip of my Yokohama friend smiled for a similar reason, as my
friend must have intuitively felt, since the smile at once disarmed him:
'I was very wrong, and you are right to be angry: I deserve to be
struck, and therefore feel no resentment.'

But it should be understood that the poorest and humblest Japanese is
rarely submissive under injustice. His apparent docility is due chiefly
to his moral sense. The foreigner who strikes a native for sport may
have reason to find that he has made a serious mistake. The Japanese are
not to be trifled with; and brutal attempts to trifle with them have
cost several worthless lives.

Even after the foregoing explanations, the incident of the Japanese
nurse may still seem incomprehensible; but this, I feel quite sure, is
because the narrator either suppressed or overlooked certain facts in
the case. In the first half of the story, all is perfectly clear. When
announcing her husband's death, the young servant smiled, in accordance
with the native formality already referred to. What is quite incredible
is that, of her own accord, she should have invited the attention of her
mistress to the contents of the vase, or funeral urn. If she knew enough
of Japanese politeness to smile in announcing her husband's death, she
must certainly have known enough to prevent her from perpetrating such
an error. She could have shown the vase and its contents only in
obedience to some real or fancied command; and when so doing, it is more
than possible she may have uttered the low, soft laugh which accompanies
either the unavoidable performance of a painful duty, or the enforced
utterance of a painful statement. My own opinion is that she was obliged
to gratify a wanton curiosity. Her smile or laugh would then have
signified: 'Do not suffer your honourable feelings to be shocked upon my
unworthy account; it is indeed very rude of me, even at your honourable
request, to mention so contemptible a thing as my sorrow.'

Sec. 4

But the Japanese smile must not be imagined as a kind of sourire figé,
worn perpetually as a soul-mask. Like other matters of deportment, it is
regulated by an etiquette which varies in different classes of society.
As a rule, the old samurai were not given to smiling upon all occasions;
they reserved their amiability for superiors and intimates, and would
seem to have maintained toward inferiors an austere reserve. The dignity
of the Shinto priesthood has become proverbial; and for centuries the
gravity of the Confucian code was mirrored in the decorum of magistrates
and officials. From ancient times the nobility affected a still loftier
reserve; and the solemnity of rank deepened through all the hierarchies
up to that awful state surrounding the Tenshi-Sama, upon whose face no
living man might look. But in private life the demeanour of the highest
had its amiable relaxation; and even to-day, with some hopelessly
modernised exceptions, the noble, the judge, the high priest, the august
minister, the military officer, will resume at home, in the intervals of
duty, the charming habits of the antique courtesy.

The smile which illuminates conversation is in itself but a small detail
of that courtesy; but the sentiment which it symbolises certainly
comprises the larger part. If you happen to have a cultivated Japanese
friend who has remained in all things truly Japanese, whose character
has remained untouched by the new egotism and by foreign influences, you
will probably be able to study in him the particular social traits of
the whole people--traits in his case exquisitely accentuated and
polished. You will observe that, as a rule, he never speaks of himself,
and that, in reply to searching personal questions, he will answer as
vaguely and briefly as possible, with a polite bow of thanks. But, on
the other hand, he will ask many questions about yourself: your
opinions, your ideas, even trifling details of your daily life, appear
to have deep interest for him; and you will probably have occasion to
note that he never forgets anything which he has learned concerning you.
Yet there are certain rigid limits to his kindly curiosity, and perhaps
even to his observation: he will never refer to any disagreeable or
painful matter, and he will seem to remain blind to eccentricities or
small weaknesses, if you have any. To your face he will never praise
you; but he will never laugh at you nor criticise you. Indeed, you will
find that he never criticises persons, but only actions in their
results. As a private adviser, he will not even directly criticise a
plan of which he disapproves, but is apt to suggest a new one in some
such guarded language as: 'Perhaps it might be more to your immediate
interest to do thus and so.' When obliged to speak of others, he will
refer to them in a curious indirect fashion, by citing and combining a
number of incidents sufficiently characteristic to form a picture. But
in that event the incidents narrated will almost certainly be of a
nature to awaken interest, and to create a favourable impression. This
indirect way of conveying information is essentially Confucian. 'Even
when you have no doubts,' says the Li-Ki, 'do not let what you say
appear as your own view.' And it is quite probable that you will notice
many other traits in your friend requiring some knowledge of the Chinese
classics to understand. But no such knowledge necessary to convince you
of his exquisite consideration for others, and his studied suppression
of self. Among no other civilised people is the secret of happy living
so thoroughly comprehended as among the Japanese; by no other race is
the truth so widely understood that our pleasure in life must depend
upon the happiness of those about us, and consequently upon the
cultivation in ourselves of unselfishness and of patience. For which
reason, in Japanese society, sarcasm irony, cruel wit, are not indulged.
I might almost say that they have no existence in refined life. A
personal failing is not made the subject of ridicule or reproach; an
eccentricity is not commented upon; an involuntary mistake excites no

Stiffened somewhat by the Chinese conservatism of the old conditions, it
is true that this ethical system was maintained the extreme of giving
fixity to ideas, and at the cost of individuality. And yet, if regulated
by a broader comprehension social requirements, if expanded by
scientific understanding of the freedom essential to intellectual
evolution, the very same moral policy is that through which the highest
and happiest results may be obtained. But as actually practised it was
not favourable to originality; it rather tended to enforce the amiable
mediocrity of opinion and imagination which still  prevails. Wherefore a
foreign dweller in the interior cannot but long sometimes for the sharp,
erratic inequalities Western life, with its larger joys and pains and
its more comprehensive sympathies. But sometimes only, for the
intellectual loss is really more than compensated by the social charm;
and there can remain no doubt in the mind of one who even partly
understands the Japanese, that they are still the best people in the
world to live among.

Sec. 5

As I pen these lines, there returns to me the vision of a Kyoto night.
While passing through some wonderfully thronged and illuminated street,
of which I cannot remember the name, I had turned aside to look at a
statue of Jizo, before the entrance of a very small temple. The figure
was that of a kozo, an acolyte--a beautiful boy; and its smile was a bit
of divine realism. As I stood gazing, a young lad, perhaps ten years
old, ran up beside me, joined his little hands before the image, bowed
his head and prayed for a moment in silence. He had but just left some
comrades, and the joy and glow of play were still upon his face; and his
unconscious smile was so strangely like the smile of the child of stone
that the boy seemed the twin brother of the god. And then I thought:
'The smile of bronze or stone is not a copy only; but that which the
Buddhist sculptor symbolises thereby must be the explanation of the
smile of the race.'

That was long ago; but the idea which then suggested itself still seems
to me true. However foreign to Japanese soil the origin of Buddhist art,
yet the smile of the people signifies the same conception as the smile
of the Bosatsu--the happiness that is born of self-control and self-
suppression. 'If a man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand and
another conquer himself, he who conquers himself is the greatest of
conquerors.' 'Not even a god can change into defeat the victory of the
man who has vanquished himself.'  [4] Such Buddhist texts as these--and
they are many--assuredly express, though they cannot be assumed to have
created, those moral tendencies which form the highest charm of the
Japanese character. And the whole moral idealism of the race seems to me
to have been imaged in that marvellous Buddha of Kamakura, whose
countenance, 'calm like a deep, still water' [5] expresses, as perhaps
no other work of human hands can have expressed, the eternal truth:
'There is no higher happiness than rest.'  [6]  It is toward that
infinite calm that the aspirations of the Orient have been turned; and
the ideal of the Supreme Self-Conquest it has made its own. Even now,
though agitated at its surface by those new influences which must sooner
or later move it even to its uttermost depths, the Japanese mind
retains, as compared with the thought of the West, a wonderful
placidity. It dwells but little, if at all, upon those ultimate abstract
questions about which we most concern ourselves. Neither does it
comprehend our interest in them as we desire to be comprehended. 'That
you should not be indifferent to religious speculations,' a Japanese
scholar once observed to me, 'is quite natural; but it is equally
natural that we should never trouble ourselves about them. The
philosophy of Buddhism has a profundity far exceeding that of your
Western theology, and we have studied it. We have sounded the depths of
speculation only to fluid that there are depths unfathomable below those
depths; we have voyaged to the farthest limit that thought may sail,
only to find that the horizon for ever recedes. And you, you have
remained for many thousand years as children playing in a stream but
ignorant of the sea. Only now you have reached its shore by another path
than ours, and the vastness is for you a new wonder; and you would sail
to Nowhere because you have seen the infinite over the sands of life.'

Will Japan be able to assimilate Western civilisation, as she did
Chinese more than ten centuries ago, and nevertheless preserve her own
peculiar modes of thought and feeling? One striking fact is hopeful:
that the Japanese admiration for Western material superiority is by no
means extended to Western morals. Oriental thinkers do not commit the
serious blunder of confounding mechanical with ethical progress, nor
have any failed to perceive the moral weaknesses of our boasted
civilisation. One Japanese writer has expressed his judgment of things
Occidental after a fashion that deserves to be noticed by a larger
circle of readers than that for which it was originally written:

'Order or disorder in a nation does not depend upon some-thing that
falls from the sky or rises from the earth. It is determined by the
disposition of the people. The pivot on which the public disposition
turns towards order or disorder is the point where public and private
motives separate. If the people be influenced chiefly by public
considerations, order is assured; if by private, disorder is inevitable.
Public considerations are those that prompt the proper observance of
duties; their prevalence signifies peace and prosperity in the case
alike of families, communities, and nations. Private considerations are
those suggested by selfish motives: when they prevail, disturbance and
disorder are unavoidable. As members of a family, our duty is to look
after the welfare of that family; as units of a nation, our duty is to
work for the good of the nation. To regard our family affairs with all
the interest due to our family and our national affairs with all the
interest due to our nation--this is to fitly discharge our duty, and to
be guided by public considerations. On the other hand, to regard the
affairs of the nation as if they were our own family affairs--this is to
be influenced by private motives and to stray from the path of duty. ...

'Selfishness is born in every man; to indulge it freely is to become a
beast. Therefore it is that sages preach the principles of duty and
propriety, justice and morality, providing restraints for private aims
and encouragements for public spirit.. . . . What we know of Western
civilisation is that it struggled on through long centuries in a
confused condition and finally attained a state of some order; but that
even this order, not being based upon such principles as those of the
natural and immutable distinctions between sovereign and subject, parent
and child, with all their corresponding rights and duties, is liable to
constant change according to the growth of human ambitions and human
aims. Admirably suited to persons whose actions are controlled by
selfish ambition, the adoption of this system in Japan is naturally
sought by a certain class of politicians. From a superficial point of
view, the Occidental form of society is very attractive, inasmuch as,
being the outcome of a free development of human desires from ancient
times, it represents the very extreme of luxury and extravagance.
Briefly speaking, the state of things obtaining in the West is based
upon the free play of human selfishness, and can only be reached by
giving full sway to that quality. Social disturbances are little heeded
in the Occident; yet they are at once the evidences and the factors of
the present evil state of affairs. . . . Do Japanese enamoured of
Western ways propose to have their nation's history written in similar
terms? Do they seriously contemplate turning their country into a new
field for experiments in Western civilisation? . . .

'In the Orient, from ancient times, national government has been based
on benevolence, and directed to securing the welfare and happiness of
the people. No political creed has ever held that intellectual strength
should be cultivated for the purpose of exploiting inferiority and
ignorance. . . . The inhabitants of this empire live, for the most part,
by manual labour. Let them be never so industrious, they hardly earn
enough to supply their daily wants. They earn on the average about
twenty sen daily. There is no question with them of aspiring to wear
fine clothes or to inhabit handsome houses. Neither can they hope to
reach positions of fame and honour. What offence have these poor people
committed that they, too, should not share the benefits of Western
civilisation? . . . By some, indeed, their condition is explained on the
hypothesis that their desires do not prompt them to better themselves.
There is no truth in such a supposition. They have desires, but nature
has limited their capacity to satisfy them; their duty as men limits it,
and the amount of labour physically possible to a human being limits it.
They achieve as much as their opportunities permit. The best and finest
products of their labour they reserve for the wealthy; the worst and
roughest they keep for their own use. Yet there is nothing in human
society that does not owe its existence to labour. Now, to satisfy the
desires of one luxurious man, the toil of a thousand is needed. Surely
it is monstrous that those who owe to labour the pleasures suggested by
their civilisation should forget what they owe to the labourer, and
treat him as if he were not a fellow-being. But civilisation, according
to the interpretation of the Occident, serves only to satisfy men of
large desires. It is of no benefit to the masses, but is simply a system
under which ambitions compete to accomplish their aims. . . . That the
Occidental system is gravely disturbing to. the order and peace of a
country is seen by men who have eyes, and heard by men who have ears.
The future of Japan under such a system fills us with anxiety. A system
based on the principle that ethics and religion are made to serve human
ambition naturally accords with the wishes of selfish individuals; and
such theories as those embodied in the modem formula of liberty and
equality annihilate the established relations of society, and outrage
decorum and propriety. . . .

Absolute equality and absolute liberty being unattainable, the limits
prescribed by right and duty are supposed to be set. But as each person
seeks to have as much right and to be burdened with as little duty as
possible, the results are endless disputes and legal contentions. The
principles of liberty and equality may succeed in changing the
organisation of nations, in overthrowing the lawful distinctions of
social rank, in reducing all men to one nominal level; but they can
never accomplish the equal distribution of wealth and property. Consider
America. . . . It is plain that if the mutual rights of men and their
status are made to depend on degrees of wealth, the majority of the
people, being without wealth, must fail to establish their rights;
whereas the minority who are wealthy will assert their rights, and,
under society's sanction, will exact oppressive duties from the poor,
neglecting the dictates of humanity and benevolence. The adoption of
these principles of liberty and equality in Japan would vitiate the good
and peaceful customs of our country, render the general disposition of
the people harsh and unfeeling, and prove finally a source of calamity
to the masses. . .

'Though at first sight Occidental civilisation presents an attractive
appearance, adapted as it is to the gratification of selfish desires,
yet, since its basis is the hypothesis that men' 's wishes constitute
natural laws, it must ultimately end in disappointment and
demoralisation. . . . Occidental nations have become what they are after
passing through conflicts and vicissitudes of the most serious kind; and
it is their fate to continue the struggle. Just now their motive
elements are in partial equilibrium, and their social condition' is more
or less ordered. But if this slight equilibrium happens to be disturbed,
they will be thrown once more into confusion and change, until, after a
period of renewed struggle and suffering, temporary stability is once
more attained. The poor and powerless of the present may become the
wealthy and strong of the future, and vice versa. Perpetual disturbance
is their doom. Peaceful equality can never be attained until built up
among the ruins of annihilated Western' states and the ashes of extinct
Western peoples.'

Surely, with perceptions like these, Japan may hope to avert some of the
social perils which menace her. Yet it appears inevitable that her
approaching transformation must be coincident with a moral decline.
Forced into the vast industrial competition of nation's whose
civilisations were never based on altruism, she must eventually develop
those qualities of which the comparative absence made all the wonderful
charm of her life. The national character must continue to harden, as it
has begun to harden already. But it should never be forgotten that Old
Japan was quite as much in advance of the nineteenth century morally as
she was behind it materially. She had made morality instinctive, after
having made it rational. She had realised, though within restricted
limits, several among those social conditions which our ablest thinkers
regard as the happiest and the highest. Throughout all the grades of her
complex society she had cultivated both the comprehension and the
practice of public and private duties after a manner for which it were
vain to seek any Western parallel. Even her moral weakness was the
result of an excess of that which all civilised religions have united in
proclaiming virtue--the self-sacrifice of the individual for the sake of
the family, of the community, and of the nation. It was the weakness
indicated by Percival Lowell in his Soul of the Far East, a book of
which the consummate genius cannot be justly estimated without some
personal knowledge of the Far East. [8]

The progress made by Japan in social morality, although greater than our
own, was chiefly in the direction of mutual dependence. And it will be
her coming duty to keep in view the teaching of that mighty thinker
whose philosophy she has wisely accepted [9]--the teaching that 'the
highest individuation must be joined with the greatest mutual
dependence,' and that, however seemingly paradoxical the statement, 'the
law of progress is at once toward complete separateness and complete

Yet to that past which her younger generation now affect to despise
Japan will certainly one day look back, even as we ourselves look back
to the old Greek civilisation. She will learn to regret the forgotten
capacity for simple pleasures, the lost sense of the pure joy of life,
the old loving divine intimacy with nature, the marvellous dead art
which reflected it. She will remember how much more luminous and
beautiful the world then seemed. She will mourn for many things--the
old-fashioned patience and self-sacrifice, the ancient courtesy, the
deep human poetry of the ancient faith. She will wonder at many things;
but she will regret. Perhaps she will wonder most of all at the faces of
the ancient gods, because their smile was once the likeness of her own.


Sec. 1

I am going away--very far away. I have already resigned my post as
teacher, and am waiting only for my passport.

So many familiar faces have vanished that I feel now less regret at
leaving than I should have felt six months ago. And nevertheless, the
quaint old city has become so endeared to me by habit and association
that the thought of never seeing it again is one I do not venture to
dwell upon. I have been trying to persuade myself that some day I may
return to this charming old house, in shadowy Kitaborimachi, though all
the while painfully aware that in past experience such imaginations
invariably preceded perpetual separation.

The facts are that all things are impermanent in the Province of the
Gods; that the winters are very severe; and that I have received a call
from the great Government college in Kyushu far south, where snow rarely
falls. Also I have been very sick; and the prospect of a milder climate
had much influence in shaping my decision.

But these few days of farewells have been full of charming surprises. To
have the revelation of gratitude where you had no right to expect more
than plain satisfaction with your performance of duty; to find affection
where you supposed only good-will to exist: these are assuredly
delicious experiences. The teachers of both schools have sent me a
farewell gift--a superb pair of vases nearly three feet high, covered
with designs representing birds, and flowering-trees overhanging a slope
of beach where funny pink crabs are running about--vases made in the old
feudal days at Rakuzan--rare souvenirs of Izumo. With the wonderful
vases came a scroll bearing in Chinese text the names of the thirty-two
donors; and three of these are names of ladies--the three lady-teachers
of the Normal School.

The students of the Jinjo-Chugakko have also sent me a present--the last
contribution of two hundred and fifty-one pupils to my happiest memories
of Matsue: a Japanese sword of the time of the daimyo. Silver karashishi
with eyes of gold--in Izumo, the Lions of Shinto--swarm over the crimson
lacquer of the sheath, and sprawl about the exquisite hilt. And the
committee who brought the beautiful thing to my house requested me to
accompany them forthwith to the college assembly-room, where the
students were all waiting to bid me good-bye, after the old-time custom.

So I went there. And the things which we said to each other are
hereafter set down.

Sec. 2

DEAR TEACHER:--You have been one of the best and most benevolent
teachers we ever had. We thank you with all our heart for the knowledge
we obtained through your kindest instruction. Every student in our
school hoped you would stay with us at least three years. When we
learned you had resolved to go to Kyushu, we all felt our hearts sink
with sorrow. We entreated our Director to find some way to keep you, but
we discovered that could not be done. We have no words to express our
feeling at this moment of farewell. We sent you a Japanese sword as a
memory of us. It was only a poor ugly thing; we merely thought you would
care for it as a mark of our gratitude. We will never forget your
kindest instruction; and we all wish that you may ever be healthy and

MASANABU OTANI, Representing all the Students of the Middle School of

MY DEAR BOYS:--I cannot tell you with what feelings I received your
present; that beautiful sword with the silver karashishi ramping upon
its sheath, or crawling through the silken cording of its wonderful
hilt. At least I cannot tell you all. But there flashed to me, as I
looked at your gift, the remembrance of your ancient proverb: 'The Sword
is the Soul of the Samurai.'  And then it seemed to me that in the very
choice of that exquisite souvenir you had symbolised something of your
own souls. For we English also have some famous sayings and proverbs
about swords. Our poets call a good blade 'trusty' and 'true'; and of
our best friend we say, 'He is true as steel'--signifying in the ancient
sense the steel of a perfect sword--the steel to whose temper a warrior
could trust his honour and his life. And so in your rare gift, which I
shall keep and prize while I live, I find an emblem of your
true-heartedness and affection. May you always keep fresh within your
hearts those impulses of generosity and kindliness and loyalty which I have
learned to know so well, and of which your gift will ever remain for me
the graceful symbol!

And a symbol not only of your affection and loyalty as students to
teachers, but of that other beautiful sense of duty you expressed, when
so many of you wrote down for me, as your dearest wish, the desire to
die for His Imperial Majesty, your Emperor. That wish is holy: it means
perhaps even more than you know, or can know, until you shall have
become much older and wiser. This is an era of great and rapid change;
and it is probable that many of you, as you grow up, will not be able to
believe everything that your fathers believed before you--though I
sincerely trust you will at least continue always to respect the faith,
even as you still respect the memory, of your ancestors. But however
much the life of New Japan may change about you, however much your own
thoughts may change with the times, never suffer that noble wish you
expressed to me to pass away from your souls. Keep it burning there,
clear and pure as the flame of the little lamp that glows before your
household shrine.

Perhaps some of you may have that wish. Many of you must become
soldiers. Some will become officers. Some will enter the Naval Academy
to prepare for the grand service of protecting the empire by sea; and
your Emperor and your country may even require your blood. But the
greater number among you are destined to other careers, and may have no
such chances of bodily self-sacrifice--except perhaps in the hour of some
great national danger, which I trust Japan will never know. And there is
another desire, not less noble, which may be your compass in civil life:
to live for your country though you cannot die for it. Like the kindest
and wisest of fathers, your Government has provided for you these
splendid schools, with all opportunities for the best instruction this
scientific century can give, at a far less cost than any other civilised
country can offer the same advantages. And all this in order that each
of you may help to make your country wiser and richer and stronger than
it has ever been in the past. And whoever does his best, in any calling
or profession, to ennoble and develop that calling or profession, gives
his life to his emperor and to his country no less truly than the
soldier or the seaman who dies for duty.

I am not less sorry to leave you, I think, than you are to see me go.
The more I have learned to know the hearts of Japanese students, the
more I have learned to love their country. I think, however, that I
shall see many of you again, though I never return to Matsue: some I am
almost sure I shall meet elsewhere in future summers; some I may even
hope to teach once more, in the Government college to which I am going.
But whether we meet again or not, be sure that my life has been made
happier by knowing you, and that I shall always love you. And, now, with
renewed thanks for your beautiful gift, good-bye!

Sec. 3

The students of the Normal School gave me a farewell banquet in their
hall. I had been with them so little during the year--less even than the
stipulated six hours a week--that I could not have supposed they would
feel much attachment for their foreign teacher. But I have still much to
learn about my Japanese students. The banquet was delightful. The
captain of each class in turn read in English a brief farewell address
which he had prepared; and more than one of those charming compositions,
made beautiful with similes and sentiments drawn from the old Chinese
and Japanese poets, will always remain in my memory. Then the students
sang their college songs for me, and chanted the Japanese version of
'Auld Lang Syne' at the close of the banquet. And then all, in military
procession, escorted me home, and cheered me farewell at my gate, with
shouts of 'Manzai!' 'Good-bye!' 'We will march with you to the steamer
when you go.'

Sec. 4

But I shall not have the pleasure of seeing them again. They are all
gone far away--some to another world. Yet it is only four days since I
attended that farewell banquet at the Normal School! A cruel visitation
has closed its gates and scattered its students through the province.

Two nights ago, the Asiatic cholera, supposed to have been brought to
Japan by Chinese vessels, broke out in different parts of the city, and,
among other places, in the Normal School. Several students and teachers
expired within a short while after having been attacked; others are even
now lingering between life and death. The rest marched to the little
healthy village of Tamatsukuri, famed for its hot springs. But there the
cholera again broke out among them, and it was decided to dismiss the
survivors at once to their several homes. There was no panic. The
military discipline remained unbroken. Students and teachers fell at
their posts. The great college building was taken charge of by the
medical authorities, and the work of disinfection and sanitation is
still going on. Only the convalescents and the fearless samurai
president, Saito Kumataro, remain in it. Like the captain who scorns to
leave his sinking ship till all souls are safe, the president stays in
the centre of danger, nursing the sick boys, overlooking the work of
sanitation, transacting all the business usually intrusted to several
subordinates, whom he promptly sent away in the first hour of peril. He
has had the joy of seeing two of his boys saved.

Of another, who was buried last night, I hear this: Only a little while
before his death, and in spite of kindliest protest, he found strength,
on seeing his president approaching his bedside, to rise on his elbow
and give the military salute. And with that brave greeting to a brave
man, he passed into the Great Silence.

Sec. 5

At last my passport has come. I must go.

The Middle School and the adjacent elementary schools have been closed
on account of the appearance of cholera, and I protested against any
gathering of the pupils to bid me good-bye, fearing for them the risk of
exposure to the chilly morning air by the shore of the infected river.
But my protest was received only with a merry laugh. Last night the
Director sent word to all the captains of classes. Wherefore, an hour
after sunrise, some two hundred students, with their teachers, assemble
before my gate to escort me to the wharf, near the long white bridge,
where the little steamer is waiting. And we go.

Other students are already assembled at the wharf. And with them wait a
multitude of people known to me: friends or friendly acquaintances,
parents and relatives of students, every one to whom I can remember
having ever done the slightest favour, and many more from whom I have
received favours which I never had the chance to return--persons who
worked for me, merchants from whom I purchased little things, a host of
kind faces, smiling salutation. The Governor sends his secretary with a
courteous message; the President of the Normal School hurries down for a
moment to shake hands. The Normal students have been sent to their
homes, but not a few of their teachers are present. I most miss friend
Nishida. He has been very sick for two long months, bleeding at the
lungs but his father brings me the gentlest of farewell letters from
him, penned in bed, and some pretty souvenirs.

And now, as I look at all these pleasant faces about me, I cannot but
ask myself the question: 'Could I have lived in the exercise of the same
profession for the same length of time in any other country, and have
enjoyed a similar unbroken experience of human goodness?' From each and
all of these I have received only kindness and courtesy. Not one has
ever, even through inadvertence, addressed to me a single ungenerous
word. As a teacher of more than five hundred boys and men, I have never
even had my patience tried. I wonder if such an experience is possible
only in Japan.

But the little steamer shrieks for her passengers. I shake many hands--
most heartily, perhaps, that of the brave, kind President of the Normal
School--and climb on board. The Director of the Jinjo-Chugakko a few
teachers of both schools, and one of my favourite pupils, follow; they
are going to accompany me as far as the next port, whence my way will be
over the mountains to Hiroshima.

It is a lovely vapoury morning, sharp with the first chill of winter.
From the tiny deck I take my last look at the quaint vista of the
Ohashigawa, with its long white bridge--at the peaked host of queer dear
old houses, crowding close to dip their feet in its glassy flood--at the
sails of the junks, gold-coloured by the early sun--at the beautiful
fantastic shapes of the ancient hills.

Magical indeed the charm of this land, as of a land veritably haunted by
gods: so lovely the spectral delicacy of its colours--so lovely the
forms of its hills blending with the forms of its clouds--so lovely,
above all, those long trailings and bandings of mists which make its
altitudes appear to hang in air. A land where sky and earth so strangely
intermingle that what is reality may not be distinguished from what is
illusion--that all seems a mirage, about to vanish. For me, alas! it is
about to vanish for ever.

The little steamer shrieks again, puffs, backs into midstream, turns
from the long white bridge. And as the grey wharves recede, a long
Aaaaaaaaaa rises from the uniformed ranks, and all the caps wave,
flashing their Chinese ideographs of brass. I clamber to the roof of the
tiny deck cabin, wave my hat, and shout in English: 'Good-bye, good-
bye!' And there floats back to me the cry: 'Manzai, manzai!' [Ten
thousand years to you! ten thousand years!] But already it comes faintly
from far away. The packet glides out of the river-mouth, shoots into the
blue lake, turns a pine-shadowed point, and the faces, and the voices,
and the wharves, and the long white bridge have become memories.

Still for a little while looking back, as we pass into the silence of
the great water, I can see, receding on the left, the crest of the
ancient castle, over grand shaggy altitudes of pine--and the place of my
home, with its delicious garden--and the long blue roofs of the schools.
These, too, swiftly pass out of vision. Then only faint blue water,
faint blue mists, faint blues and greens and greys of peaks looming
through varying distance, and beyond all, towering ghost-white into the
east, the glorious spectre of Daisen.

And my heart sinks a moment under the rush of those vivid memories which
always crowd upon one the instant after parting--memories of all that
make attachment to places and to things. Remembered smiles; the morning
gathering at the threshold of the old yashiki to wish the departing
teacher a happy day; the evening gathering to welcome his return; the
dog waiting by the gate at the accustomed hour; the garden with its
lotus-flowers and its cooing of doves; the musical boom of the temple
bell from the cedar groves; songs of children at play; afternoon shadows
upon many-tinted streets; the long lines of lantern-fires upon festal
nights; the dancing of the moon upon the lake; the clapping of hands by
the river shore in salutation to the Izumo sun; the endless merry
pattering of geta over the windy bridge: all these and a hundred other
happy memories revive for me with almost painful vividness--while the
far peaks, whose names are holy, slowly turn away their blue shoulders,
and the little steamer bears me, more and more swiftly, ever farther and
farther from the Province of the Gods.

NOTES for Chapter One

1 Such as the garden attached to the abbots palace at Tokuwamonji,
cited by Mr. Conder, which was made to commemorate the legend of stones
which bowed themselves in assent to the doctrine of Buddha. At Togo-ike,
in Tottori-ken, I saw a very large garden consisting almost entirely of
stones and sand. The impression which the designer had intended to
convey was that of approaching the sea over a verge of dunes, and the
illusion was beautiful.

2 The Kojiki, translated by Professor B. H. Chamberlain, p. 254.

3 Since this paper was written, Mr. Conder has published a beautiful
illustrated volume,-Landscape Gardening in Japan. By Josiah Conder,
F.R.I.B.A. Tokyo 1893. A photographic supplement to the work gives views
of the most famous gardens in the capital and elsewhere.

4 The observations of Dr. Rein on Japanese gardens are not to be
recommended, in respect either to accuracy or to comprehension of the
subject. Rein spent only two years in Japan, the larger part of which
time he devoted to the study of the lacquer industry, the manufacture
of silk and paper and other practical matters. On these subjects his
work is justly valued. But his chapters on Japanese manners and
customs, art, religion, and literature show extremely little
acquaintance with those topics.

5  This attitude of the shachihoko is somewhat de rigueur, whence the
common expression shachihoko dai, signifying to stand on ones head.

6 The magnificent perch called tai (Serranus marginalis), which is very
common along the Izumo coast, is not only justly prized as the most
delicate of Japanese fish, but is also held to be an emblem of good
fortune. It is a ceremonial gift at weddings and on congratu-latory
occasions. The Japanese call it also the king of fishes.

7 Nandina domestica.

8  The most lucky of all dreams, they say in Izumo, is a dream of Fuji,
the Sacred Mountain. Next in order of good omen is dreaming of a falcon
(taka). The third best subject for a dream is the eggplant (nasubi). To
dream of the sun or of the moon is very lucky; but it is still more so
to dream of stars. For a young wife it is most for tunate to dream of
swallowing a star: this signifies that she will become the mother of a
beautiful child. To dream of a cow is a good omen; to dream of a horse
is lucky, but it signifies travelling. To dream of rain or fire is good.
Some dreams are held in Japan, as in the West, to go by contraries.
Therefore to dream of having ones house burned up, or of funerals, or
of being dead, or of talking to the ghost of a dead person, is good.
Some dreams which are good for women mean the reverse when dreamed by
men; for example, it is good for a woman to dream that her nose bleeds,
but for a man this is very bad. To dream of much money is a sign of loss
to come. To dream of the koi, or of any freshwater fish, is the most
unlucky of all. This is curious, for in other parts of Japan the koi is
a symbol of good fortune.

9 Tebushukan:	Citrus sarkodactilis.

10 Yuzuru signifies to resign in favour of another; ha signifies a leaf.
The botanical name, as given in Hepburns dictionary, is Daphniphillum

11 Cerasus pseudo-cerasus (Lindley).

12 About this mountain cherry there is a humorous saying which
illustrates the Japanese love of puns. In order fully to appreciate it,
the reader should know that Japanese nouns have no distinction of
singular and plural. The word ha, as pronounced, may signify either
leaves or teeth; and the word hana, either flowers or nose. The
yamazakura puts forth its ha (leaves) before his hana (flowers).
Wherefore a man whose ha (teeth) project in advance of his hana (nose)
is called a yamazakura. Prognathism is not uncommon in Japan,
especially among the lower classes.

13 If one should ask you concerning the heart of a true Japanese, point
to the wild cherry flower glowing in the sun.

14 There are three noteworthy varieties: one bearing red, one pink and
white, and one pure white flowers.

15 The expression yanagi-goshi, a willow-waist, is one of several in
common use comparing slender beauty to the willow-tree.

16 Peonia albiflora, The name signifies the delicacy of beauty. The
simile of the botan (the tree peony) can be fully appreciated only by
one who is acquainted with the Japanese flower.

17 Some say kesbiyuri (poppy) instead of himeyuri. The latter is a
graceful species of lily, Lilium callosum.

18 Standing, she is a shakuyaku; seated, she is a botan; and the charm
of her figure in walking is the charm of a himeyuri.

19  In the higher classes of Japanese society to-day, the honorific O is
not, as a rule, used before the names of girls, and showy appellations
are not given to daughters. Even among the poor respectable classes,
names resembling those of geisha, etc., are in disfavour. But those
above cited are good, honest, everyday names.

20 Mr. Satow has found in Hirata a belief to which this seems to some
extent akin--the curious Shinto doctrine according to which a divine
being throws off portions of itself by a process of fissure, thus
producing what are called waki-mi-tama--parted spirits, with separate
functions. The great god of Izumo, Oho-kuni-nushi-no-Kami, is said by
Hirata to have three such parted spirits: his rough spirit (ara-mi-
tama) that punishes, his gentle spirit (nigi-mi-tama) that pardons, and
his benedictory or beneficent spirit (saki-mi-tama) that blesses, There
is a Shinto story that the rough spirit of this god once met the gentle
spirit without recognising it,

21 Perhaps the most impressive of all the Buddhist temples in Kyoto. It
is dedicated to Kwannon of the Thousand Hands, and is said to contain
33,333 of her images.

22 Daidaimushi in Izunio. The dictionary word is dedemushi. The snail is
supposed to be very fond of wet weather; and one who goes out much in
the rain is compared to a snail,--dedemushi no yona.

23 Snail, snail, put out your horns a little it rains and the wind is
blowing, so put out your horns, just for a little while.

24 A Buddhist divinity, but within recent times identified by Shinto
with the god Kotohira.

25 See Professor Chamberlains version of it in The Japanese Fairy Tale
Series, with charming illustrations by a native artist.

26 Butterfly, little butterfly, light upon the na leaf. But if thou
dost not like the na leaf, light, I pray thee, upon my hand.

27 Boshi means a hat; tsukeru, to put on. But this etymology is more
than doubtful.

28 Some say Chokko-chokko-uisu. Uisu would be pronounced in English
very much like weece, the final u being silent. Uiosu would be
something like ' we-oce.

29 Pronounced almost as geece.

30 Contraction of kore noru.

31 A kindred legend attaches to the shiwan, a little yellow insect which
preys upon cucumbers. The shiwan is said to have been once a physician,
who, being detected in an amorous intrigue, had to fly for his life; but
as he went his foot caught in a cucumber vine, so that he fell and was
overtaken and killed, and his ghost became an insect, the destroyer of
cucumber vines. In the zoological mythology and plant mythology of Japan
there exist many legends offering a curious resemblance to the old Greek
tales of metamorphoses. Some of the most remarkable bits of such folk-
lore have originated, however, in comparatively modern time. The legend
of the crab called heikegani, found at Nagato, is an example. The souls
of the Taira warriors who perished in the great naval battle of Dan-no-
ura (now Seto-Nakai), 1185, are supposed to have been transformed into
heikegani. The shell of the heikegani is certainly surprising. It is
wrinkled into the likeness of a grim face, or rather into exact
semblance of one of those black iron visors, or masks, which feudal
warriors wore in battle, and which were shaped like frowning visages.

32 Come, firefly, I will give you water to drink. The water of that.
place is bitter; the water here is sweet.

33 By honzon is here meant the sacred kakemono, or picture, exposed to
public view in the temples only upon the birthday of the Buddha, which
is the eighth day of the old fourth month. Honzon also signifies the
principal image in a Buddhist temple.

34 A solitary voice! Did the Moon cry? Twas but the hototogisu.

35 When I gaze towards the place where I heard the hototogisu cry, lol
there is naught save the wan morning moon.

36 Save only the morning moon, none heard the hearts-blood cry of the

37 A sort of doughnut made of bean flour, or tofu.

38 Kite, kite, let me see you dance, and to-morrow evening, when the
crows do not know, I will give you a rat.

39 O tardy crow, hasten forward! Your house is all on fire. Hurry to
throw Water upon it. If there be no water, I will give you. If you have
too much, give it to your child. If you have no child, then give it back
to me.

40 The words papa and mamma exist in Japanese baby language, but their
meaning is not at all what might be supposed. Mamma, or, with the usual
honorific, O-mamma, means boiled rice. Papa means tobacco.

Notes for Chapter Two

1  This was written early in 1892

2  Quoted from Mr. Satow's masterly essay, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto,'
published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. By 'gods'
are not necessarily meant beneficent Kami. Shinto has no devils; but it
has its 'bad gods' as well as good deities.

3  Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.'

4  Ibid.

5  In the sense of Moral Path,--i.e. an ethical system.

6  Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.' The whole force of Motowori's
words will not be fully understood unless the reader knows that the
term 'Shinto' is of comparatively modern origin in Japan,--having been
borrowed from the Chinese to distinguish the ancient faith from
Buddhism; and that the old name for the primitive religion is Kami-no-
michi, 'the Way of the Gods.'

7  Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.'

8  From Kami, 'the [Powers] Above,' or the Gods, and tana, 'a shelf.'
The initial 't' of the latter word changes into 'd' in the compound,--
just as that of tokkuri, 'a jar' or 'bottle,' becomes dokkuri in the
cornpound o-mi kidokkuri.

9  The mirror, as an emblem of female divinities, is kept in the secret
innermost shrine of various Shinto temples. But the mirror of metal
commonly placed before the public gaze in a Shinto shrine is not really
of Shinto origin, but was introduced into Japan as a Buddhist symbol of
the Shingon sect. As the mirror is the symbol in Shinto of female
divinities, the sword is the emblem of male deities. The real symbols of
the god or goddess are not, however, exposed to human gaze under any

10  Anciently the two great Shinto festivals on which the miya were thus
carried in procession were the Yoshigami-no-matsuri, or festival of the
God of the New Year, and the anniversary of Jimmu Tenno to the throne.
The second of these is still observed. The celebration of the Emperor's
birthday is the only other occasion when the miya are paraded. On both
days the streets are beautifully decorated with lanterns and shimenawa,
the fringed ropes of rice straw which are the emblems of Shinto. Nobody
now knows exactly what the words chanted on these days (chosaya!
chosaya!) mean. One theory is that they are a corruption of Sagicho, the
name of a great samurai military festival, which was celebrated nearly
at the same time as the Yashigami-no-matsuri,--both holidays now being

11  Thuya obtusa.

12  Such at least is the mourning period under such circumstances in
certain samurai families. Others say twenty days is sufficient. The
Buddhist code of mourning is extremely varied and complicated, and would
require much space to dilate upon.

13  In spite of the supposed rigidity of the Nichiren sect in such
matters, most followers of its doctrine in Izumo are equally fervent
Shintoists. I have not been able to observe whether the same is true of
Izumo Shin-shu families as a rule; but I know that some Shin-shu
believers in Matsue worship at Shinto shrines. Adoring only that form of
Buddha called Amida, the Shin sect might be termed a Buddhist
'Unitarianism.' It seems never to have been able to secure a strong
footing in Izumo on account of its doctrinal hostility to Shinto.
Elsewhere throughout Japan it is the most vigorous and prosperous of all
Buddhist sects.

14  Mr. Morse, in his Japanese Homes, published on hearsay a very
strange error when he stated: 'The Buddhist household shrines rest on
the floor--at least so I was informed.' They never rest on the floor
under any circumstances. In the better class of houses special
architectural arrangements are made for the butsudan; an alcove, recess,
or other contrivance, often so arranged as to be concealed from view by
a sliding panel or a little door In smaller dwellings it may be put on a
shelf, for want of a better place, and in the homes of the poor, on the
top of the tansu, or clothes-chest. It is never placed so high as the
kamidana, but seldom at a less height than three feet above the floor.
In Mr. Morse's own illustration of a Buddhist household shrine (p. 226)
it does not rest on the floor at all, but on the upper shelf of a
cupboard, which must not be confounded with the butsudan--a very small
one. The sketch in question seems to have been made during the Festival
of the Dead, for the offerings in the picture are those of the
Bommatauri. At that time the household butsudan is always exposed to
view, and often moved from its usual place in order to obtain room for
the offerings to be set before it. To place any holy object on the floor
is considered by the Japanese very disrespectful. As for Shinto objects,
to place even a mamori on the floor is deemed a sin.

15 Two ihai are always made for each Buddhist dead. One usually larger
than that placed in the family shrine, is kept in the temple of which
the deceased was a parishioner, together with a cup in which tea or
water is daily poured out as an offering. In almost any large temple,
thousands of such ihai may be seen, arranged in rows, tier above tier--
each with its cup before it--for even the souls of the dead are supposed
to drink tea. Sometimes, I fear, the offering is forgotten, for I have
seen rows of cups containing only dust, the fault, perhaps, of some lazy

16  This is a fine example of a samurai kaimyo The kaimyo of kwazoku or
samurai are different from those of humbler dead; and a Japanese, by a
single glance at an ihai, can tell at once to what class of society the
deceased belonged, by the Buddhist words used.

17  'Presenting the honourable tea to the august Buddhas'--for by
Buddhist faith it is hoped, if not believed, that the dead become
Buddhas and escape the sorrows of further transmigration. Thus the
expression 'is dead' is often rendered in Japanese by the phrase 'is
become a Buddha.'

18  The idea underlying this offering of food and drink to the dead or
to the gods, is not so irrational as unthinking Critics have declared it
to be. The dead are not supposed to consume any of the visible substance
of the food set before them, for they are thought to be in an ethereal
state requiring only the most vapoury kind of nutrition. The idea is
that they absorb only the invisible essence of the food. And as fruits
and other such offerings lose something of their flavour after having
been exposed to the air for several hours, this slight change would have
been taken in other days as evidence that the spirits had feasted upon
them. Scientific education necessarily dissipates these consoling
illusions, and with them a host of tender and beautiful fancies as to
the relation between the living and the dead.

19 I find that the number of clappings differs in different provinces
somewhat. In Kyushu the clapping is very long, especially before the
prayer to the Rising Sun.

20  Another name for Kyoto, the Sacred City of Japanese Buddhism.

Notes for Chapter Three

1 Formerly both sexes used the same pillow for the same reason. The long
hair of a samurai youth, tied up in an elaborate knot, required much
time to arrange. Since it has become the almost universal custom to wear
the hair short, the men have adopted a pillow shaped like a small

2 It is an error to suppose that all Japanese have blue-black hair.
There are two distinct racial types. In one the hair is a deep brown
instead of a pure black, and is also softer and finer. Rarely, but very
rarely, one may see a Japanese chevelure having a natural tendency to
ripple. For curious reasons, which cannot be stated here, an Izumo woman
is very much ashamed of having wavy hair--more ashamed than she would be
of a natural deformity.

3 Even in the time of the writing of the Kojiki the art of arranging t
hair must have been somewhat developed. See Professor Chainberlai 's
introduction to translation, p. xxxi.; also vol. i. section ix.; vol.
vii. section xii.; vol. ix. section xviii., et passim.

4 An art expert can decide the age of an unsigned kakemono or other work
of art in which human figures appear, by the style of the coiffure of
the female personages.

5 The principal and indispensable hair-pin (kanzashi), usually about
seven inches long, is split, and its well-tempered double shaft can be
used like a small pair of chopsticks for picking up small things. The
head is terminated by a tiny spoon-shaped projection, which has a
special purpose in the Japanese toilette.

6 The shinjocho is also called Ichogaeshi by old people, although the
original Ichogaeshi was somewhat different. The samurai girls used to
wear their hair in the true Ichogaeshi manner the name is derived from
the icho-tree (Salisburia andiantifolia), whose leaves have a queer
shape, almost like that of a duck's foot. Certain bands of the hair in
this coiffure bore a resemblance in form to icho-leaves.

7 The old Japanese mirrors were made of metal, and were extremely
beautiful. Kagamiga kumoru to tamashii ga kumoru ('When the Mirror is
dim, the Soul is unclean') is another curious proverb relating to
mirrors. Perhaps the most beautiful and touching story of a mirror, in
any language is that called Matsuyama-no-kagami, which has been
translated by Mrs. James.

Notes for Chapter Four

1  There is a legend that the Sun-Goddess invented the first hakama by
tying together the skirts of her robe.

2  'Let us play the game called kango-kango. Plenteously the water of
Jizo-San quickly draw--and pour on the pine-leaves--and turn back
again.' Many of the games of Japanese children, like many of their toys,
have a Buddhist origin, or at least a Buddhist significance.

3  I take the above translation from a Tokyo educational journal,
entitled The Museum. The original document, however, was impressive to a
degree that perhaps no translation could give. The Chinese words by
which the Emperor refers to himself and his will are far more impressive
than our Western 'We' or 'Our;' and the words relating to duties,
virtues, wisdom, and other matters are words that evoke in a Japanese
mind ideas which only those who know Japanese life perfectly can
appreciate, and which, though variant from our own, are neither less
beautiful nor less sacred.

4  Kimi ga yo wa chiyo ni yachiyo ni sazare ishi no iwa o to narite oke
no musu made. Freely translated: 'May Our Gracious Sovereign reign a
thousand years--reign ten thousand thousand years--reign till the little
stone grow into a mighty rock, thick-velveted with ancient moss!'

5  Stoves, however, are being introduced. In the higher Government
schools, and in the Normal Schools, the students who are boarders obtain
a better diet than most poor boys can get at home. Their rooms are also
well warmed.

6  Hachi yuki ya Neko no ashi ato Ume no hana.

7  Ni no ji fumi dasu Bokkuri kana.

8  This little poem signifies that whoever in this world thinks much,
must have care, and that not to think about things is to pass one's life
in untroubled felicity.

9  Having asked in various classes for written answers to the question,
'What is your dearest wish?' I found about twenty per cent, of the
replies expressed, with little variation of words, the simple desire to
die 'for His Sacred Majesty, Our Beloved Emperor.' But a considerable
proportion of the remainder contained the same aspiration less directly
stated in the wish to emulate the glory of Nelson, or to make Japan
first among nations by heroism and sacrifice. While this splendid spirit
lives in the hearts of her youth, Japan should have little to fear for
the future.

10  Beautiful generosities of this kind are not uncommon in Japan.

11  The college porter

12  Except in those comparatively rare instances where the family is
exclusively Shinto in its faith, or, although belonging to both faiths,
prefers to bury its dead according to Shinto rites. In Matsue, as a
rule, high officials only have Shinto funeral.

13  Unless the dead be buried according to the Shinto rite. In Matsue
the mourning period is usually fifty days. On the fifty-first day after
the decease, all members of the family go to Enjoji-nada (the lake-shore
at the foot of the hill on which the great temple of Enjoji stands) to
perform the ceremony of purification. At Enjoji-nada, on the beach,
stands a lofty stone statue of Jizo. Before it the mourners pray; then
wash their mouths and hands with the water of the lake. Afterwards they
go to a friend's house for breakfast, the purification being always
performed at daybreak, if possible. During the mourning period, no
member of the family can eat at a friend's house. But if the burial has
been according to the Shinto rite, all these ceremonial observances may
be dispensed with.

14   But at samurai funerals in the olden time the women were robed in

Notes for Chapter Five

1 As it has become, among a certain sect of Western Philistines and
self-constituted art critics, the fashion to sneer at any writer who
becomes enthusiastic about the truth to nature of Japanese art, I may
cite here the words of England's most celebrated living naturalist on
this very subject. Mr. Wallace's authority will scarcely, I presume, be
questioned, even by the Philistines referred to:

'Dr. Mohnike possesses a large collection of coloured sketches of the
plants of Japan made by a Japanese lady, which are the most masterly
things I have ever seen. Every stem, twig, and leaf is produced by
single touches of the brush, the character and perspective of very
complicated plants being admirably given, and the articulations of stem
and leaves shown in a most scientific manner.' (Malay Archipelago, chap.

Now this was written in 1857, before European methods of drawing had
been introduced. The same art of painting leaves, etc., with single
strokes of the brush is still common in Japan--even among the poorest
class of decorators.

2  There is a Buddhist saying about the kadomatsu:

Kadomatsu Meido no tabi no Ichi-ri-zuka.

The meaning is that each kadomatsu is a milestone on the journey to the
Meido; or, in other words, that each New Year's festival signal only
the completion of another stage of the ceaseless journey to death.

3  The difference between the shimenawa and shimekazari is that the
latter is a strictly decorative straw rope, to which many curious
emblems are attached.

4  It belongs to the sargassum family, and is full of air sacs. Various
kinds of edible seaweed form a considerable proportion of Japanese diet.

5  'This is a curiously shaped staff with which the divinity Jizo is
commonly represented. It is still carried by Buddhist mendicants, and
there are several sizes of it. That carried by the Yaku-otoshj is
usually very short. There is a tradition that the shakujo was first
invented as a means of giving warning to insects or other little
creatures in the path of the Buddhist pilgrim, so that they might not be
trodden upon unawares.

6  I may make mention here of another matter, in no way relating to the

There lingers in Izumo a wholesome--and I doubt not formerly a most
valuable--superstition about the sacredness of writing. Paper upon which
anything has been written, or even printed, must not be crumpled up, or
trodden upon, or dirtied, or put to any base use. If it be necessary to
destroy a document, the paper should be burned. I have been gently
reproached in a little hotel at which I stopped for tearing up and
crumpling some paper covered with my own writing.

NOtes for Chapter Six

1  'A bucket honourably condescend [to give].

2  The Kappa is not properly a sea goblin, but a river goblin, and
haunts the sea only in the neighbourhood of river mouths. About a mile
and a half from Matsue, at the little village of Kawachi-mura, on the
river called Kawachi, stands a little temple called Kawako-no-miya, or
the Miya of the Kappa. (In Izumo, among the common people, the word
'Kappa' is not used, but the term Kawako, or 'The Child of the River.')
In this little shrine is preserved a document said to have been signed
by a Kappa. The story goes that in ancient times the Kappa dwelling in
the Kawachi used to seize and destroy many of the inhabitanta of the
village and many domestic animals. One day, however, while trying to
seize a horse that had entered the river to drink, the Kappa got its
head twisted in some way under the belly-band of the horse, and the
terrified animal, rushing out of the water, dragged the Kappa into a
field. There the owner of the horse and a number of peasants seized and
bound the Kappa. All the villagers gathered to see the monster, which
bowed its head to the ground, and audibly begged for mercy. The peasants
desired to kill the goblin at once; but the owner of the horse, who
happened to be the head-man of the mura, said: 'It is better to make it
swear never again to touch any person or animal belonging to Kawachi-
mura. A written form of oath was prepared and read to the Kappa. It said
that It could not write, but that It would sign the paper by dipping Its
hand in ink, and pressing the imprint thereof at the bottom of the
document. This having been agreed to and done, the Kappa was set free.
From that time forward no inhabitant or animal of Kawachi-mura was ever
assaulted by the goblin.

3  The Buddhist symbol.   [The small illustration cannot be presented
here. The arms are bent in the opposite direction to the Nazi swastika.
Preparator's note]

4  'Help! help!'

5  Furuteya, the estab!ishment of a dea!er in second-hand wares--furute.

6  Andon, a paper lantern of peculiar construction, used as a night
light. Some forms of the andon are remarkably beautiful.

7  'Ototsan! washi wo shimai ni shitesashita toki mo, chodo kon ya no
yona tsuki yo data-ne?'--Izumo dialect.

Notes for Chapter Seven

1  The Kyoto word is maiko.

2  Guitars of three strings.

3  It is sometimes customary for guests to exchange cups, after duly
rinsing them. It is always a compliment to ask for your friend's cup.

4  Once more to rest beside her, or keep five thousand koku? What care I
for koku? Let me be with her!'

There lived in ancient times a haramoto called Fuji-eda Geki, a vassal
of the Shogun. He had an income of five thousand koku of rice--a great
income in those days. But he fell in love with an inmate of the
Yoshiwara, named Ayaginu, and wished to marry her. When his master bade
the vassal choose between his fortune and his passion, the lovers fled
secretly to a farmer's house, and there committed suicide together. And
the above song was made about them. It is still sung.

5  'Dear, shouldst thou die, grave shall hold thee never! I thy body's
ashes, mixed with wine, wit! drink.'

6  Maneki-Neko

7  Buddhist food, containing no animal substance. Some kinds of shojin-
ryori are quite appetising.

8 The terms oshiire and zendana might be partly rendered by 'wardrobe'
and 'cupboard.' The fusuma are sliding screens serving as doors.

9 Tennin, a 'Sky-Maiden,' a Buddhist angel.

10 Her shrine is at Nara--not far from the temple of the giant Buddha.

Notes for Chapter Eight

1   The names Dozen or Tozen, and Dogo or Toga, signify 'the Before-
Islands' and 'the Behind-Islands.'

2   'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is only a woman's baby' (a very small
package). 'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is the daddy, this is the daddy' (a big
package). 'Dokoe, dokoel' ''Tis very small, very small!' 'Dokoe, dokoel'
'This is for Matsue, this is for Matsue!' 'Dokoe, dokoel'  'This is for
Koetsumo of Yonago,' etc.

3   These words seem to have no more meaning than our 'yo-heaveho.' Yan-
yui is a cry used by all Izumo and Hoki sailors.

4   This curious meaning is not given in Japanese-English dictionaries,
where the idiom is translated merely by the phrase 'as aforesaid.'

5   The floor of a Japanese dwelling might be compared to an immense but
very shallow wooden tray, divided into compartments corresponding to the
various rooms. These divisions are formed by grooved and polished
woodwork, several inches above the level, and made for the accommodation
of the fusurna, or sliding screens, separating room from room. The
compartments are filled up level with the partitions with tatami, or
mats about the thickness of light mattresses, covered with beautifully
woven rice-straw. The squared edges of the mats fit exactly together,
and as the mats are not made for the house, but the house for the mats,
all tatami are exactly the same size. The fully finished floor of each
roam is thus like a great soft bed. No shoes, of course, can be worn in
a Japanese house. As soon as the mats become in the least soiled they
are replaced by new ones.

6   See article on Art in his Things Japanese.

7   It seems to be a black, obsidian.

8  There are several other versions of this legend. In one, it is the
mare, and not the foal, which was drowned.

9   There are two ponds not far from each other. The one I visited was
called 0-ike, or 'The Male Pond,' and the other, Me-ike, or 'The Female

10   Speaking of the supposed power of certain trees to cure toothache,
I may mention a curious superstition about the yanagi, or willow-tree.
Sufferers from toothache sometimes stick needles into the tree,
believing that the pain caused to the tree-spirit will force it to
exercise its power to cure. I could not, however, find any record of
this practice in Oki.

11  Moxa, a corruption of the native name of the mugwort plant: moe-
kusa, or mogusa, 'the burning weed.' Small cones of its fibre are used
for cauterising, according to the old Chinese system of medicine--the
little cones being placed upon the patient's skin, lighted, and left to
smoulder until wholly consumed. The result is a profound scar. The moxa
is not only used therapeutically, but also as a punishment for very
naughty children. See the interesting note on this subject in Professor
Chamberlain's Things Japanese.

12  Nure botoke, 'a wet god.' This term is applied to the statue of a
deity left exposed to the open air.

13  According to popular legend, in each eye of the child of a god or a
dragon two Buddhas are visible. The statement in some of the Japanese
ballads, that the hero sung of had four Buddhas in his eyes, is
equivalent to the declaration that each of his eyes had a double-pupil.

14  The idea of the Atman will perhaps occur to many readers.

15  In 1892 a Japanese newspaper, published in Tokyo stated upon the
authority of a physician who had visited Shimane, that the people of Oki
believe in ghostly dogs instead of ghostly foxes. This is a mistake
caused by the literal rendering of a term often used in Shi-mane,
especially in Iwami, namely, inu-gami-mochi. It is only a euphemism for
kitsune-mochi; the inu-gami is only the hito-kitsune, which is supposed
to make itself visible in various animal forms.

16   Which words signify something like this:

'Sleep, baby, sleep! Why are the honourable ears of the Child of the
Hare of the honourable mountain so long? 'Tis because when he dwelt
within her honoured womb, his mamma ate the leaves of the loquat, the
leaves of the bamboo-grass, That is why his honourable ears are so

17 The Japanese police are nearly all of the samurai class, now called
shizoku. I think this force may be considered the most perfect police in
the world; but whether it will retain those magnificent qualities which
at present distinguish it, after the lapse of another generation, is
doubtful. It is now the samurai blood that tells.

Notes for Chapter Nine

1  Afterwards I found that the old man had expressed to me only one
popular form of a belief which would require a large book to fully
explain--a belief founded upon Chinese astrology, but possibly modified
by Buddhist and by Shinto ideas. This notion of compound Souls cannot be
explained at all without a prior knowledge of the astrological relation
between the Chinese Zodiacal Signs and the Ten Celestial Stems. Some
understanding of these may be obtained from the curious article 'Time,'
in Professor Chamberlain's admirable little book, Things Japanese. The
relation having been perceived, it is further necessary to know that
under the Chinese astrological system each year is under the influence
of one or other of the 'Five Elements'--Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water;
and according to the day and year of one's birth, one's temperament is
celestially decided. A Japanese mnemonic verse tells us the number of
souls or natures corresponding to each of the Five Elemental Influences
--namely, nine souls for Wood, three for Fire, one for Earth, seven for
Metal, five for Water:

Kiku karani
Himitsu no yama ni
Tsuchi hitotsu
Nanatsu kane to zo
Go suiryo are.

Multiplied into ten by being each one divided into 'Elder' and
'Younger,' the Five Elements become the Ten Celestial Stems; and their
influences are commingled with those of the Rat, Bull, Tiger, Hare,
Dragon, Serpent, Horse, Goat, Ape, Cock, Dog, and Boar (the twelve
Zodiacal Signs)--all of which have relations to time, place, life, luck,
misfortune, etc. But even these hints give no idea whatever how
enormously complicated the subject really is.

The book the old gardener referred to--once as widely known in Japan as
every fortune-telling book in any European country--was the San-re-so,
copies of which may still be picked up. Contrary to Kinjuro's opinion,
however, it is held, by those learned in such Chinese matters, just as
bad to have too many souls as to have too few. To have nine souls is to
be too 'many-minded'--without fixed purpose; to have only one soul is to
lack quick intelligence. According to the Chinese astrological ideas,
the word 'natures' or 'characters' would perhaps be more accurate than
the word 'souls' in this case. There is a world of curious fancies, born
out of these beliefs. For one example of hundreds, a person having a
Fire-nature must not marry one having a Water-nature. Hence the
proverbial saying about two who cannot agree--'They are like Fire and

2  Usually an Inari temple. Such things are never done at the great
Shinto shrines.

Notes for Chapter Ten

1 In other parts of Japan I have heard the Yuki-Onna described as a very
beautiful phantom who lures young men to lonesome places for the purpose
of sucking their blood.

2 In Izumo the Dai-Kan, or Period of Greatest Cold, falls in February.

3 'It is excellent: I pray you give me a little more.'

4  Kwashi: Japanese confectionery

Notes for Chapter Eleven

1  The reader will find it well worth his while to consult the chapter
entitled 'Domestic Service,' in Miss Bacon's Japanese Girls and Women,
for an interesting and just presentation of the practical side of the
subject, as relating to servants of both sexes. The poetical side,
however, is not treated of--perhaps because intimately connected with
religious beliefs which one writing from the Christian standpoint could
not be expected to consider sympathetically. Domestic service in ancient
Japan was both transfigured and regulated by religion; and the force of
the religious sentiment concerning it may be divined from the Buddhist
saying, still current:

Oya-ko wa is-se, Fufu wa ni-se, Shuju wa san-se.

The relation of parent and child endures for the space of one life only;
that of husband and wife for the space of two lives; but the relation
between msater and servant continues for the period of three existences.

2  The shocks continued, though with lessening frequency and violence,
for more than six months after the cataclysm.

3  Of course the converse is the rule in condoling with the sufferer.

4  Dhammapada.

5  Dammikkasutta.

6  Dhammapada.

7  These extracts from a translation in the Japan Daily Mail, November
19, 20, 1890, of Viscount Torio's famous conservative essay do not give
a fair idea of the force and logic of the whole. The essay is too long
to quote entire; and any extracts from the Mail's admirable translation
suffer by their isolation from the singular chains of ethical,
religious, and philosophical reasoning which bind the Various parts of
the composition together. The essay was furthermore remarkable as the
production of a native scholar totally uninfluenced by Western thought.
He correctly predicted those social and political disturbances which
have occurred in Japan since the opening of the new parliament. Viscount
Torio is also well known as a master of Buddhist philosophy. He holds a
high rank in the Japanese army.

8 In expressing my earnest admiration of this wonderful book, I must,
however, declare that several of its conclusions, and especially the
final ones, represent the extreme reverse of my own beliefs on the
subject. I do not think the Japanese without individuality; but their
individuality is less superficially apparent, and reveals itself much
less quickly, than that of Western people. I am also convinced that much
of what we call 'personality' and 'force of character' in the West
represents only the survival and recognition of primitive aggressive
tendencies, more or less disguised by culture. What Mr. Spencer calls
the highest individuation surely does not include extraordinary
development of powers adapted to merely aggressive ends; and yet it is
rather through these than through any others that Western individuality
most commonly and readily manifests itself. Now there is, as yet, a
remarkable scarcity in Japan, of domineering, brutal, aggressive, or
morbid individuality. What does impress one as an apparent weakness in
Japanese intellectual circles is the comparative absence of spontaneity,
creative thought, original perceptivity of the highest order. Perhaps
this seeming deficiency is racial: the peoples of the Far East seem to
have been throughout their history receptive rather than creative. At
all events I cannot believe Buddhism--originally the faith of an Aryan
race--can be proven responsible. The total exclusion of Buddhist
influence from public education would not seem to have been stimulating;
for the masters of the old Buddhist philosophy still show a far higher
capacity for thinking in relations than that of the average graduate of
the Imperial University. Indeed, I am inclined to believe that an
intellectual revival of Buddhism--a harmonising of its loftier truths
with the best and broadest teachings of modern science--would have the
most important results for Japan.

9  Herbert Spencer.  A native scholar, Mr. Inouye Enryo, has actually
founded at Tokyo with this noble object in view, a college of philosophy
which seems likely, at the present writing, to become an influential

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