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Title: An Artist's Letters From Japan
Author: La Farge, John, 1835-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An Artist's Letters From Japan" ***






  Copyright, 1890, 1891, 1893, 1897,



_My Dear Adams:_ Without you I should not have seen the place, without
you I should not have seen the things of which these notes are
impressions. If anything worth repeating has been said by me in these
letters, it has probably come from you, or has been suggested by being
with you--perhaps even in the way of contradiction. And you may be
amused by the lighter talk of the artist that merely describes
appearances, or covers them with a tissue of dreams. And you alone will
know how much has been withheld that might have been indiscreetly said.

If only we had found Nirvana--but he was right who warned us that we
were late in this season of the world.

 J. L. F.

  [Illustration: WHICH IN ENGLISH MEANS:]

AND YOU TOO, OKAKURA SAN: I wish to put your name before these notes,
written at the time when I first met you, because the memories of your
talks are connected with my liking of your country and of its story, and
because for a time you were Japan to me. I hope, too, that some thoughts
of yours will be detected in what I write, as a stream runs through
grass--hidden, perhaps, but always there. We are separated by many
things besides distance, but you know that the blossoms scattered by the
waters of the torrent shall meet at its end.



  AN ARTIST'S LETTERS FROM JAPAN                       1

  FROM TOKIO TO NIKKO                                 29

    IN THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF NIKKO                     52

  IYÉMITSŬ                                            85

  TAO: THE WAY                                        99

  JAPANESE ARCHITECTURE                              119

  BRIC-À-BRAC                                        128

  SKETCHING                                          159

  NIRVANA                                            175

  SKETCHING.--THE FLUTES OF IYÉYASŬ                  185

  SKETCHING.--THE PAGODA IN RAIN                     193

  FROM NIKKO TO KAMAKURA                             195

  NIKKO TO YOKOHAMA                                  202

  YOKOHAMA--KAMAKURA                                 216

  KIOTO                                              230

  A JAPANESE DAY.--FROM KIOTO TO GIFU                253

    A KAGO                                           265

  POSTSCRIPT                                         280

  APPENDIX                                           281




  THE KURUMA                                           5

  CASTLE, AND MOAT WITH LOTUS                          9

  AT THE WELL                                         11

  ANCIENT                                             15


  MODERN                                              23

  THE LAKE IN UYÈNO PARK                              28

  A TORII                                             32

  OUR RUNNER                                          36


  NIKKO-SAN                                           43

  THE WATERFALL IN OUR GARDEN                         47


  AVENUE TO TEMPLE OF IYÉYASŬ                         55


  STABLE OF SACRED HORSES                             61

  SACRED FONT                                         65

  YOUNG PRIEST                                        68



  LINTEL, BRACKET CAPITAL                             77


  TOMB OF IYÉYASŬ, TOKUGAWA                           83

  SACRED FONT, FROM THE SECOND GATE                   87

  A PRIEST AT IYÉMITSŬ                                88

  LOOKING TOWARD THE FOURTH                           91

  A PRIEST AT IYÉMITSŬ                                93

  KUWANON, BY OKIO                                    94

  ENTRANCE TO THE TOMB OF IYÉMITSŬ                    96

  PAINTING BY CHIN-NAN-PIN                           135

  SIGNATURE OF HOKUSAI                               149

  INSCRIPTION ON OLD LACQUER                         152

  INSCRIPTION FROM HO-RIU-JI                         155

  BED OF THE DAYAGAWA, NIKKO                         161

  MOUNTAINS IN FOG BEFORE OUR HOUSE                  165

  PORTRAIT OF A PRIEST                               169


  STATUE OF OYA JIZO                                 177


  OUR LANDLORD THE BUDDHIST PRIEST                   187

  KIOTO IN FOG--MORNING                              231

  PEASANT WOMAN--THRESHER                            239

  A PILGRIM                                          247

  FUSI-YAMA FROM KAMBARA BEACH                       257

  FISHING WITH CORMORANTS                            261


  A RUNNER IN THE RAIN                               275


                                             YOKOHAMA, July 3, 1886.

Arrived yesterday. On the cover of the letter which I mailed from our
steamer I had but time to write: "We are coming in; it is like the
picture books. Anything that I can add will only be a filling in of

We were in the great bay when I came up on deck in the early morning.
The sea was smooth like the brilliant blank paper of the prints; a vast
surface of water reflecting the light of the sky as if it were thicker
air. Far-off streaks of blue light, like finest washes of the brush,
determined distances. Beyond, in a white haze, the square white sails
spotted the white horizon and floated above it.

The slackened beat of the engine made a great noise in the quiet
waters. Distant high hills of foggy green marked the new land; nearer
us, junks of the shapes you know, in violet transparency of shadow, and
five or six war-ships and steamers, red and black, or white, looking
barbarous and out of place, but still as if they were part of us; and
spread all around us a fleet of small boats, manned by rowers standing
in robes flapping about them, or tucked in above their waists. There
were so many that the crowd looked blue and white--the color of their
dresses repeating the sky in prose. Still, the larger part were mostly
naked, and their legs and arms and backs made a great novelty to our
eyes, accustomed to nothing but our ship, and the enormous space, empty
of life, which had surrounded us for days. The muscles of the boatmen
stood out sharply on their small frames. They had almost all--at least
those who were young--fine wrists and delicate hands, and a handsome
setting of the neck. The foot looked broad, with toes very square. They
were excitedly waiting to help in the coaling and unloading, and soon we
saw them begin to work, carrying great loads with much good-humored
chattering. Around us played the smallest boats with rowers standing up
and sculling. Then the market-boat came rushing to us, its standing
rowers bending and rising, their thighs rounding and insteps sharpening,
what small garments they had fluttering like scarfs, so that our fair
missionaries turned their backs to the sight.


Two boys struggling at the great sculls in one of the small boats were
called by us out of the crowd, and carried us off to look at the
outgoing steamer, which takes our mail, and which added its own
confusion and its attendant crowd of boats to all the animation on the
water. Delicious and curious moment, this first sense of being free from
the big prison of the ship; of the pleasure of directing one's own
course; of not understanding a word of what one hears, and yet of
getting at a meaning through every sense; of being close to the top of
the waves on which we dance, instead of looking down upon them from the
tall ship's sides; of seeing the small limbs of the boys burning yellow
in the sun, and noticing how they recall the dolls of their own country
in the expression of their eyes; how every little detail of the boat is
different, and yet so curiously the same; and return to the first
sensation of feeling while lying flat on the bottom of the boat, at the
level of our faces the tossing sky-blue water dotted with innumerable
orange copies of the sun. Then subtle influences of odor, the sense of
something very foreign, of the presence of another race, came up with
the smell of the boat.


We climbed up the side of the big steamer and found the Doctor
there, who told us that he had been expecting us for a whole month; so
that he soon took possession of us, and we found ourselves in the hotel
launch, and at the wharf, and passing the custom house and its officers,
who let everything go through quickly except my suspicious water-color
blocks. Outside of the gate, in the street, we found the long-expected
_jinrikisha_, an arrangement that you know probably as well as I do--a
two-wheeled perambulator or gig, very small, with a hood that is usually
lowered, and with a man in the shafts. Our fellows were in blue-black
clothes, a big inscription on their backs; and they wore apron-like
vests, close-fitting trousers, and broad straw hats poised on their
heads. But you know all about these; and I have only to add that we were
trundled off to our hotel, along the pretty quay which edges that part
of the town, past European houses, unlike ours, and having a certain
character which will probably appear very commonplace later, because it
is not beautiful, but which is novel yet to us. Our hotel is also on the
quay, just at a corner where a canal breaks in, and where we can see big
walls and trees on the other side. Our rooms open on the water--that
same blue water spangled with sunshine and fading into sky. There
men-of-war and steamers far out; picturesque junks sailing past rapidly,
flattened out into mere edges of shadow and light against the sea and
the sky, their great hollow sterns with the rudder far inboard, and
sails which are open at the seams. Not far from us was a little
sharp-pointed boat with a man fishing, his big round hat as important as
any part of the boat. It was already late in the day. European children
were out with their Japanese nurses; from time to time a phaeton or a
curricle passed with European occupants, and even in this tremendous
heat ladies rode out on horseback. But the human beings are not the
novelty, not even the Japanese; what is absorbingly new is the light,
its whiteness, its silvery milkiness. We have come into it as through an
open door after fourteen gray days of the Pacific which ended only at
sunrise this very morning. And we looked again at all the light outside,
from the dining-room, where we lunched, where the waiters slipped about
in black clothes like those of the runners, and where we were joined at
table by a foreign gentleman with high cheek-bones, yellow face, and
slanting eyes, and dressed in the latest European fashion with high
collar, four-in-hand scarf, and pointed shoes. He was very courteous,
and managed what little English he used as skilfully as he dresses. And
he gave me a touch of the far East in the story of his being here; for
he is under a cloud, an amiable exile whose return to his native land
might involve his being boiled in oil, or other ingenious form of death.
For well as he figured at luncheon with us, I hear that he has been
obliged to leave because of his having poisoned too many of his guests
one day at table,--former enemies of his,--and because of his having
despatched with the sword those whose digestion had resisted his efforts
at conciliation. However this may be, his extradition is demanded; to
which he objects, invoking Western ideas of civilization, and protesting
that his excesses have been merely political. Then, late in the
afternoon, we sauntered out into the Japanese quarter--walking, so that
we might mingle with the gray, black, and blue crowd, and respectfully
followed by our jinrikisha men, who slowly dragged our carriages behind
them, like grooms following their masters. We stopped at little curio
shops and bargained over miserable odds and ends, calling up, I feel
sure, the unexpressed contempt of the Doctor, the great collector of
precious lacquers; but it is so amusing to see things as they are, and
not as they should be. We went into a show which had an enormous draped
sign outside, and where, in uncertain darkness, an old, miserable,
distorted dwarf played the part of a spider in a web, to the
accompaniment of fiendish music and the declamation of the showman. Then
we lingered outside of a booth in which a wrestling match was going on,
but did not enter, and we saw the big wrestlers go in or come out, their
shoulders far above the heads of a smaller race of men, and we turned at
every moment to look at the children, many of whom are so pretty, and
who seem to have an easy time of it. Men carry them in their arms as
women do with us, and many a little elder sister walks about with the
infant of the family slung behind her maternal shoulders. And then there
are curious combinations of Western and Eastern dress--rarely
successful. Our hats and shoes and umbrellas--all made here, are used,
and our ugly shirts stiffen out the folds of the soft Japanese robes;
but the multitude wear their usual dress and make no abuse of hats.

  [Illustration: THE KURUMA.]

Wearied by the novelty, every detail of which, however, was known to us
before, we walked back in the white, milky sunset, which was like a
brilliant twilight.

                                                         JULY 5.

We made our first visit to town yesterday; that is to say, we went to
Tokio, which is about twenty miles off. Of course we took our
_jinrikishas_ at the door of the hotel, and passing through the wide
Yokohama streets, saw the semi-European houses, some with high garden
walls in which are small doors: there are sidewalks, too, and European
shops, and Colonial buildings, post-office, and telegraph office; and
the Japanese _kura_, or storehouses--heavy tile-roofed buildings with
black and white earthen surfaces, the black polished to a glaze, as was
done with Greek and Etruscan vases. They have deep windows or doors,
recessed like our safes, with a great air of solidity, which contrasts
with that temporary wooden structure, the usual Japanese house. I came
near saying that the little railway station is like ours; but it is
better than most of ours, with neat arrangements. We entered the little
cars; I noticed, in the third class, Japanese curled up on the seats.
The grade is as level as a table, the landscape is lovely, and we saw
the shapes we know so well in the prints--the curious shapes of the
Japanese pines; little temples on the hillside; and rice-fields with
their network of causeways, occasionally a horse or a peasant threading
them. The land is cultivated like a garden, the lotus leaves fill the
ditches, and one or two pink flowers are just out. From time to time we
saw stretches of blue sea. And once, for an instant, as I looked up into
the hazy, clouded sky, far beyond the hills, that were lost in the mist
into which the rice-field stretched, I saw a pale, clear blue opening in
which was an outline more distinct, something very pure, the edge of a
mountain, looking as if it belonged to another world than the dewy moist
one in which we are--the cone of Fusi-yama.

  [Illustration: CASTLE, AND MOAT WITH LOTUS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

On passing through the station, very much like the other with its
various arrangements for comfort and order,--first-, second-, and
third-class rooms and so forth,--we met a crowd of _jinrikishas_ with
their runners, or, as my friends tell me to call them, _kuruma_ and
_kurumaya_, every man clamoring for patronage in the usual way of the

We selected as a leader Chojiro, who speaks English--a little; is a
traveled man, having gone as far as Constantinople; wears the
old-fashioned queue, flattened forward over the top of his shaven head;
and whose naked feet were to run through the day over newly-macadamized
roads, for which a horse would need to be well shod. A little way from
us, on the square, stood the car of the tramway, which runs as far as
Asakusa, to the great popular temples of protecting divinities, Kuwanon
and Jizo,--and Benten, from whose shrine flowed one day copper coins as
if from a fountain,--where Buddhist sermons are preached daily; which
are full of innumerable images, pictures, and ex-votos; and where
prayer-wheels, duly turned, helped the worshiper to be free from
annoying sins, or to obtain his desires.

How shall I describe our ride through the enormous city? We were going
far across it to call on Professor F----, the great authority on
Japanese art, and to be delighted and instructed by him through some
fragments of his collection.

  [Illustration: AT THE WELL.]

In the first street where the tramway runs there are semi-European
façades to houses, and in their pilasters the Ionic capital has at
length made the circle of the world. Then we took more Oriental and
narrower streets, through the quarter of the _gei-sha_, the dancers and
singers who go out perpetually to put a finishing touch on
entertainments. At such early hours they are of course unseen. Where
houses seemed more closed than usual servants were attending to
household duties, and we heard the occasional strum of a guitar. Then
great streets again, with innumerable low houses, the usual shops, like
open sheds, with swinging signs carved, painted, and gilded, or with
draperies of black cloth marked with white characters. Merchants sat on
their mats among the crowded goods, girls at corners drew water from the
wells; in a narrower street the black streak of a file of bulls
peacefully dragging merchandise; where the crowd was thickest a
black-lacquered palanquin, all closed, in which was shut some obstinate
adherent to ancient fashions. Then bridges and canals, and great empty
spaces, long white walls with black copings, and buildings that
continued the walls, with gratings like those of barracks. These were
the _yashikis_--inclosed residences of princes who were formerly obliged
to spend part of the year at the seat of government with small armies of
retainers. Then the walls of the castle, great sloping ramparts of
irregular blocks of masonry, about which stand strangely twisted
pine-trees, while the great moats of clouded water are almost filled
with the big leaves of the lotus. Now and then great gates of gray wood
and enormous doors. On some of the wide avenues we met cavalry officers
in European costume, correct in style, most of the younger with
straggling mustaches, long and thin, whence their nickname of
"horn-pouts," naturally connected with that of the "cats," devourers of
fish, as the _gei-sha_ are called. Near official buildings we saw a
great deal of black frock-coats, and trousers, and spectacles.
Everything was seen at a full run, our runners dragging us at horse's
pace. Still it was long before we reached our destination. Streets
succeeded streets, empty or full, in desolate Oriental wearisomeness. At
length we stopped at a little gate in a plank fence, and entered a vast
high space, formerly a prince's park, at one end of which we saw trees
and hills, and we came to the Professor's house, a little European
structure. My mind is yet too confused with many impressions to tell you
of what we saw that afternoon and evening, and what was said; all the
more that the few beautiful paintings we looked at out of the great
collection lifted me away from to-day into an indefinite great past. I
dislike to use analogies, but before these ancient religious paintings
of Buddhist divinities, symbolical of the elements or of protective
powers, whose worn surfaces contained marvels of passionate delicacy and
care framed in noble lines, I could not help the recall of what I had
once felt at the first sight of old Italian art.

       *       *       *       *       *

We passed from this sense of exalted peace to plunge again into the
crowded streets at night. It was late; we had many miles to go to catch
the last train; two additional runners had been engaged for each
_kuruma_--one to push, one to be harnessed in front.

Then began a furious ride. Mine was the last carriage. We were whirled
along with warning cries of "Hai-hai!" now into the dark, then into some
opening lighted by starlight, in which I could see the flitting shapes
of the other runners and of my companions. I remember the creaking of
their carriages, the jerking of them with each pull of the men; then our
crossing suddenly other parties lighted by lanterns like ourselves, the
lights flaring upon yellow faces and dark dresses and black hair; then
our turning some narrow corner and plunging at full speed into lighted
streets crowded with people, through whom we seemed to cut our way. Much
shouting of our men, and dodging of wayfarers with lanterns and of
bystanders who merely turn enough to let us glide by. Then one of my
runners at full gallop struck a post and was left behind; another was
gathered in somehow without a stop, and we tore through the city, still
more crowded as we came nearer to our end--the railway station. We were
in time, and we slept in the now familiar train. We reached the deserted
station and were jogged peacefully to our hotel; our men, in Japanese
fashion, sleepily turning out of the way of the ownerless dogs that lay
in the middle of the streets. And when I awoke in the morning I found
that the day's impressions had faded in sleep to what I tell you.

  [Illustration: ANCIENT.]

                                                     JULY 6.

I have been asking myself whether it would be possible to have
sensations as novel, to feel as perfectly fresh, things I knew almost
all about beforehand, had we come in any other way, or arrived from any
other quarter. As it is, all this Japan is sudden. We have last been
living at home, are shut up in a ship, as if boxed in with our own
civilization, and then suddenly, with no transition, we are landed in
another. And under what splendor of light, in what contrasting
atmosphere! It is as if the sky, in its variations, were the great
subject of the drama we are looking at, or at least its great chorus.
The beauty of the light and of the air is what I should like to
describe, but it is almost like trying to account for one's own
mood--like describing the key in which one plays. And yet I have not
begun to paint, and I dread the moment of beginning to work again.
Rather have I felt like yielding entirely to the spirit in which I came,
the intention of a rest, of a bath for the brain in some water
absolutely alien. A---- and I had undertaken that we should bring no
books, read no books, but come as innocently as we could; the only
compromise my keeping a scientific Japanese grammar, which, being
ancient and unpractical, might be allowed, for it would leave me as
unready as on the day I left.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Doctor took us on Sunday afternoon to his club--whose name I think
means the perfume of the maple--to see and to listen to some Japanese
plays which are given in the club theater built for the purpose.
We went there in the afternoon, passing by the Shiba temples,
and our _kurumas_ were drawn up at one end of the buildings. There
everything was Japanese, though I hear stories of the other club and
its ultra-European ways--brandies-and-sodas, single eyeglasses, etc.
However that may be, on this side we were in Japan without mistake.
We sat on the steps and had our shoes taken off, according to the
Japanese fashion, so as not to injure mats, and we could hear during
the operation long wailings, high notes, and the piercing sound of
flutes and stringed instruments; the curiously sad rhythm mingled with
a background of high, distinct declamation. We walked in with careful
attention to make no noise, forgetting that in our stocking-feet we
could have made none had we wished, and we found the Doctor's place
reserved for him and us, and marked with his name, written large. Other
low boxes, with sides no higher than our elbows as we sat on the mats,
divided the sloping floor down to the stage. The stage was a pretty
little building projecting into the great hall from its long side. It
had its own roof, and connected with a long gallery or bridge, along
which the actors moved, as they came on or disappeared, in a manner new
to us, but which gave a certain natural sequence and made a beginning
and an end,--a dramatic introduction and conclusion,--and added greatly
to the picture when the magnificent dresses of stiff brocade dragged
slowly along to the cadence of the music. The boxes were mostly
occupied, and by a distinguished-looking audience; the _Nō_, as this
operatic acting is called, being a refined, classical drama, and looked
upon differently from the more or less disreputable theater. Hence
the large proportion of ladies, to whom the theater is forbidden.
Hence, also, owing to its antiquity and the character of its style, a
difficulty of comprehension for the general public that explained the
repeated rustle of the books of the opera which most of the women
held, whose leaves turned over at the same moment, just as ours used to
do at home when we were favored by French tragedy.


A quiet, sleepy appreciation hovered over the scene; even the devotees
near us, many of them older people and belonging to the old régime,
showing their approval or disapproval with restrained criticism. I could
see without turning my head the expression of the face of my neighbor, a
former _daimio_, a man of position; his face a Japanese translation of
the universal well-known aristocratic type--immovable, fatigued, with
the drooping under lip. Behind him sat former retainers, I
suppose--deferential, insinuating remarks and judgments, to which he
assented with inimitable brevity. Still, I thought that I could
distinguish, when he showed that the youthful amateurs--for most of the
actors were non-professional--did not come up to a proper standard, that
his memory went back to a long experience of good acting. And so
catching are the impressions of a crowd that I myself after a time
believed that I recognized, more or less distinctly, the tyro and the
master, even though I only vaguely understood what it was all about. For
I need not tell you that the libretto would have been still more
difficult for me than the pantomime before me; and very often it was but
pantomime, the actor making gestures to the accompaniment of music, or
of the declaration of the choragus, who told the poetic story.
Occasionally these movements amounted to a dance, that is to say, to
rhythmic movements--hence called the _Nō_ dance--to which emphasis was
given by rising and falling on either foot, and bringing down the sole
with a sudden blow.

There were many short plays, mostly based on legendary subjects,
distinguished by gorgeous dresses, and occasionally some comic scenes of
domestic life. The monotony of impression was too novel to me to become
wearisome, and I sat for several hours through this succession of
separate stories, patient, except for the new difficulty of sitting
cross-legged on the mats. Moreover, we had tobacco to cheer us. On our
arrival the noiseless servants had brought to us the inevitable little
tray containing the fire-box with hot charcoal and the little cylinder
for ashes, and tea and little sugary balls; and then, besides,
notwithstanding the high-toned repose of the audience, there was enough
to watch. There were the envoys from Loo Choo, seated far off in the dim
light of the room, dressed in ancient costumes, their hair skewered up
on the top of the head with a double pin--grave and dignified
personages; and a European prince, a Napoleonic pretender, seated
alongside, with his suite, and ourselves, the only foreigners. The types
of the older people were full of interest, as one felt them formed under
other ideas than those of to-day. And though there were no beauties,
there were much refinement and sweetness in the faces of the women, set
off by the simplicity of their dresses, of blacks, and browns, and
grays, and dull violets, in exquisite fabrics, for we were in an
atmosphere of good breeding. And I watched one of the young ladies in
front of me, the elder of two sisters, as she attended to every little
want of her father, and even to his inconveniences. And now it was time
to leave, though the performance was still going on, for we wished to
return in the early evening. Our shoes were put on again at the steps,
our umbrellas handed to us--for sun and rain we must always have
one--and we passed the Shiba temples and took the train back for

  [Illustration: MODERN.]

                                                          JULY 12.

We are doing nothing in particular, hesitating very much as to what our
course shall be. One thing is certain--the breaking out of the cholera
will affect all our plans. Even the consequent closing of the theaters
shows us how many things will be cut off from us. We spend much time in
such idleness as bric-à-brac, letting ourselves go, and taking things as
they come.

The Doctor's kindness is with us all the time. One feels the citizen of
the world that he is when he touches little details of manners here, now
as familiar to him as those of Europe.

I enjoy, myself, this drifting, though A---- is not so well pleased, and
I try to feel as if the heat and the novelty of impressions justified me
in idleness. Once only I was tempted to duty, however, when we went to
the temples of Shiba and Uyèno, where are the tombs of the shoguns,
rulers of Japan of the Tokugawa line. They are all there but the two
greatest, Iyéyasŭ and Iyémitsŭ, who lie at Nikko, the sacred place, a
hundred miles away. Here in Tokio are the tombs of the others, and the
temples about them splendid with lacquer and carving and gold and
bronze, and set among trees and gardens on these hills of the Shiba and

My dreams of making an analysis and memoranda of these architectural
treasures of Japan were started, as many resolutions of work are, by the
talk of my companion, his analysis of the theme of their architecture,
and my feeling a sort of desire to rival him on a ground for fair
competition. But I do not think that I could grasp a subject in such a
clear and dispassionate and masterly way, with such natural reference to
the past and its implied comparisons, for A----'s historic sense amounts
to poetry, and his deductions and remarks always set my mind sailing
into new channels.

But I must put this off--certainly for to-day--while we discuss
whether we shall make our visit to ancient Kamakura and the great bronze
statue and the island of Énoshima, or whether to put it off until our
return from Nikko, and our seeing the other shrines of the shoguns
there. The Doctor, who has just left Nikko, tells us of its beauty in
the early summer, a few weeks ago, and I feel all the hotter as he talks
of the cold mountain streams which run by his house and of banks of
azaleas covering the high rocks. And then the Japanese proverb says,
"Who has not seen Nikko cannot say beautiful."

  [Illustration: THE LAKE IN UYÈNO PARK.]


                                                July 20, 1886.

The cholera was upon us, and we decided to go to Nikko and spend a
month there, near the F----s'. The Docs coolness and its other charms,
was to pilot us and instruct us by the way, and much of the
miscellaneous information that I shall give you has come more or less
from him. Late in the morning we rode to Tokio, and lunched in Uyèno
Park, looking down on the great pond and the little temple which stands
in it, and which you know, having seen them on the fans and colored
prints. They were veiled in the haze of the sunlight, as if in a spring
or winter mist, and through this fog of light shone the multitudinous
little sparkles of the ribs and swellings of the lotus-pads lapping one
over another, and reaching to far streaks of clearer water. A denser
lightness here and there marked the places of the flowers, and a faint
odor came up in lazy whiffs. The roof of the temple seemed to be
supported by the moisture below. Above there was no cloud. All things
lay alike in the blaze, enveloped in a white glimmer of heat and wet,
and between the branches of the trees around us the sky was veiled in
blue. The locusts hissed with a crackling sound like that of heated
wood. The ugly bronze Buddha at the corner of the tea-house shone as if
melting in the sun. Then came the moment of leaving for the station,
where, owing to delays of trains, we waited still longer in the heat. In
the cleanly waiting-room we looked at the illustrations in the Japanese
newspapers, and at the last report of the weather bureau, printed in
English and fastened to the wall; or we read a little in that morning's
edition of the excellent Yokohama English paper; all these comforts of
civilization being supplied by the Road. At length the noise of hundreds
of wooden clogs, worn by men, women, and children, clattered upon the
stones outside and announced an end to waiting. The tightly-closed train
had been baking in the sun all day, and we leaned out of the doors on
the sides and gasped for breath.

Our train skirted the great hill of Uyèno, and its dark shadow, which
did not quite reach us. Monuments and gravestones, gray or mossy,
blurred here and there the green wall of trees. The Doctor told us of
the cooler spring-time, when the cherry-trees of Uyèno cover the ground
with a snow of blossoms, and the whole world turns out to enjoy them, as
we do the first snows of winter.

But this is a lame comparison. The Japanese sensitiveness to the
beauties of the outside world is something much more delicate and
complex and contemplative, and at the same time more natural, than ours
has ever been. Outside of Arcadia, I know of no other land whose people
hang verses on the trees in honor of their beauty; where families travel
far before the dawn to see the first light touch the new buds. Where
else do the newspapers announce the spring openings of the blossoms?
Where else would be possible the charming absurdity of the story that
W---- was telling me of having seen in cherry-blossom time some old
gentleman, with capacious sakè gourd in hand and big roll of paper in
his girdle, seat himself below the blossom-showers, and look, and drink,
and write verses, all by himself, with no gallery to help him? If there
is convention in a tradition half obligatory; and if we, Western lovers
of the tree, do not quite like the Japanese refinement of growing the
cherry merely for its flowers, yet how deliciously upside-down from us,
and how charming is the love of nature at the foundation of the custom!

From the rustling of leaves and reëchoing of trees we passed into the
open country, and into free air and heat. In the blur of hot air,
trembling beneath the sun, lay plantations and rice-fields; the latter,
vast sheets of water dotted with innumerable spikes of green. Little
paths raised above them made a network of irregular geometry.
Occasionally a crane spread a shining wing and sank again. In the
outside ditches stood up the pink heads of the lotus above the crowded
pads. At long intervals small groups of peasants, men and women, dressed
in blue and white, knee-deep in the water, bent their backs at the task
of weeding. The skirts of their dresses were caught up in their girdles,
and their arms were freed from their looped-back sleeves.

The Doctor spoke to us of the supposed unhealthiness of rice-planting,
which makes life in the rice-fields short, in a country where life is
not long.

We are told that the manuring of the rice-fields taints all the waters
for great distances, and we are warned not to drink, without inquiring,
even from the clearest streams. Not even high up in the mountains shall
we be safe; for there may be flat spaces and table-lands of culture
which drain into the picturesque wildness below. We learn that with all
these hardships the rice-growers themselves cannot always afford this
staple food of the country, for cheaper than rice are millet, and
buckwheat, and the plants and fungi that grow without culture.

Contrasting with the tillage we were passing, islands of close foliage
stood up in the dry plain, or were reflected, with the clouds above, in
the mirror of the wet rice-fields. Occasionally a shrine was visible
within, and the obligatory Torii stood at the edge of the grove, or
within its first limits.

  [Illustration: A TORII.]

Looking through a Torii one is sure to be in the direction of something
sacred, whether it be temple or shrine or holy mountain. Neither
closeness nor distance interferes with this ideal intention, and the
sacred Fusi-yama is often seen a hundred miles away in the sky, framed
by these lines, built for the purpose. This assemblage of four lines of
stone or wood or bronze is to me one of the creations of art, like the
obelisk or the pyramid. Most impressive, most original of symbolic
entrances, whether derived from sacred India or from the ancestral
innocence of Polynesia, there is something of the beginning of man,
something invented while he lived with the birds, in this elementary
porch, whose upper line, repeating the slope of hill and wave, first
embodied the curve that curls all upper edges in the buildings of the
farther East.

And if indeed, the Torii[1] be nothing but the first bird-perch, then I
can imagine the father of all peacocks spreading his gigantic fan across
its bars; or I may prefer to suppose it the rest for the disk of the
sun-god, whose lower curve is repeated by the Torii's upper beam.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes there were traces of inclosure about these woods; sometimes
they had no edgings but their own beautifully-modeled contours. Long
ages, respectful care, sometimes fortunate neglect, have made of these
reserved spaces types of an ideal wildness, for these are sacred
groves, and they are protected by the divine contained within them.

This preservation of a recall of primeval nature, this exemption of the
soil from labor, within anxious and careful tillage, is a note of Japan
constantly recurring, and a source of perpetual charm.

Notwithstanding the men and women working in the fields, there was a
certain desolateness in the landscape, and A---- made out its reason
more easily than I, and recalled that for miles and miles we had
traveled without seeing any of the four-footed beasts which the Western
mind always associates with pastoral life and labor.

As the evening came on we crossed a large river and looked down from the
height of the new bridges upon the discarded ferry-boats, and upon the
shape of a more fantastic one that was never meant to sail--a pine-tree,
shaped and trimmed, which spread its green mast and sails in a garden by
the water. Far away were lines of mountains and the peaks of extinct

At every station now the country people gathered to stare at the novelty
of the train; we saw the lighting up of the farm-houses as we passed; in
the dooryards, behind high hedges reminding me of Normandy, bonfires
were being made to keep off mosquitoes: then temples and shrines with
lights before them, and at eight o'clock on a festal night we came into

The streets were full of people carrying lanterns; children ran about
together, with little toy shrines, and the whole town was drowned in
noise. We got into a _basha_, a sort of omnibus, attached to two wild
horses, and were hurled through the crowded streets, much as if carrying
the mails, with apparent disregard of the lives and limbs of the

The hotel, where we were expected and where the Doctor had represented
us as distinguished visitors, opened its whole front, in a Japanese way,
to receive us, for there was no outside wall to the lower floor. We were
driven quite into the house, and beheld an entire household drawn up in
line on the platform, which occupied a full half of this lower space.
The Doctor did all that was right, while we remained in amused
embarrassment before our prostrated host and the kneeling attendants. As
we sat helpless on the steps of the platform our shoes were taken off,
and in stockinged feet we were ushered through the crowd and the lower
part of the house, through the preparations for passing travelers, the
smell and heat of washing and cookery, and an inexpressibly outrageous
odor, even for this land of frightful smells, evidently of the same
nature as that of the rice-fields.

Notwithstanding this horror, we found, on clambering up the steep little
staircase of dark, slippery wood, better fitted to stockings than to
boots, a most charming, cleanly apartment ready for us: ready, I say,
but its three big rooms, which took all one side of the court, contained
nothing but a drawing hanging in each room and a vase filled with
flowers; in justice, I ought to add a European table of the simplest
make, and three European chairs. Under them was spread a piece of that
red cloth which seems to have a fascination for the Japanese--perhaps as
being European.

Everything was of the cleanest--wall, floor, stairs, tables; everything
was dusted, wiped, rubbed, polished.

It was too hot and we were too tired to go out and see the town, noisy
with the excitement of a festival. The Doctor directed the preparation
of a meal on a Japanese basis of rice, mingled and enlivened with the
contents of various cans; and meanwhile I went down another little
staircase of cleanly white wood, at the farther end of our apartment, to
our little private bath-room below.

This was about six feet square, and its furniture consisted of a deep
lacquer tray to lay clothes in. The bathtub was sunk in the floor, but
so that its edge rose high above the level of the room. I had declined
the "honorable hot water," which is the Japanese necessity, and obtained
cold, against protest. I had yet to learn the luxury and real advantage
of the Japanese hot bath. I closed my door, but my window was open, and
through its wooden bars I could see our opposite neighbors across the
garden of the courtyard--a whole family, father, mother, children, and
young daughter--file down to the big bath-room at the corner, whose
windows were open to mine. I heard them romp and splash, and saw heads
and naked arms shining through the steam. Meditating upon the
differences which make propriety in various places, I joined my friends
at dinner and listened to what the Doctor had to say upon the Japanese
indifference to nudity; how Japanese morals are not affected by the
simplicity of their costumes, and that, of course, to the artist it
seems a great pity that the new ideas should be changing these habits in
a race so naturally law-abiding; for even the government is interfering,
and enforcing dress within city limits. Then came the question whether
this be a reminiscence of Polynesian ancestry and simplicity, or born of
climate and cleanliness. And, indeed, all Japan spends most of its time
washing, so that the very runners bathe more times a day than our fine
ladies. Meanwhile the servant-girls were spreading for us the blue-green
mosquito nettings, put together with bands of orange silk. They were
slung by cords from the corners of the beams, which serve for a cornice,
and they made a good-sized square tent in the middle of the room.
Inside, our beds were made up on the floor, of well-wadded coverlets
folded one upon another. One of these I took for a pillow. I have not
yet dared to try the block of wood, hollowed out for the nape of the
neck, which serves for a pillow in Japan, notwithstanding that it has a
pad to relieve its severity--a pad of paper fastened on, and which you
remove sheet by sheet as you want a clean pillow-slip. I can understand,
however, how precious it must be in a country where the women keep, day
and night, undisturbed, those coiffures of marvelous black hair,
glistening with camellia oil, the name of which I like better than its
perfume. From inside my netting I could see, as I was lying,--for the
screens, which made our windows, remained wide open,--through the
topmost branches of the trees of the garden, the Japanese family
opposite, now ending their evening meal.

  [Illustration: OUR RUNNER.]

Laughter and chatter, clattering of cups, rap of pipes against boxes, a
young man came in and bent over one of the women seated upon the floor;
the girl repeated some prayer, with clapping hands outstretched; the
lights were put out, all but the square "ando," or floor night-lantern,
and they drew their screens. I fell asleep, to be waked with a start by
the watchman, who, every hour, paced through the garden, striking a
wooden clapper, and impertinently assured us of the hour.

       *       *       *       *       *

This weary noise marked the intervals of a night of illness, made worse
by nightmares of the cholera, from which we were flying. The earliest
dawn was made hideous by the unbarring and rolling of the heavy
_amados_,[2] the drawing back of the inside screens (_shojis_), and the
clattering of clogs over pavement, through other parts of the house. Our
Japanese family across the way I could hear at their ablutions, and,
later, tumultuously departing for early trains; and at last I slept in
broad daylight.

       *       *       *       *       *

Late in the morning we entered our friend the _basha_. In the daylight
I noticed that the horses wore something like a Dutch collar, and were
harnessed with ropes. Two men, one the driver, the other the running
groom, sat on the low front seat. Our trunks and bags and Japanese
baskets encumbered the omnibus seats, on which we stretched our
sick and wearied bodies, for the Doctor himself was ill, and smiled
mechanically when I tortured him with questions. We left town at a full
gallop, and at risk of life for every one in the streets; one of our
drivers meanwhile blowing wildly through a horn, to the inspiriting of
the horses and the frightening of the Japanese small-boy. Soon one of
our men plunged off his seat and began running by the horses in the old
Japanese way--hereditary with him, for they follow the calling from
generation to generation. Running without pause and without sweating,
he threw his body back as if restraining his pace to that of the
horses. At the limits of the town, in full run, he stripped his upper
garments and showed himself tattooed at every visible point. Above the
double strip of his breech-clout, a waterfall, a dragon, and a noble
hero made a fine network of blue and pink on the moving muscles.

Now the road became heavy, wet, and full of deep ruts, and our
miserable ponies came to a standstill--and balked. The Japanese mildness
of our driver disappeared. He took to beating their poor backs with a
heavy bamboo cane, while we remonstrated feebly, regretting that we had
not sufficient strength to beat him too. Then he explained,
deferentially, that confusion seized him at being unable to keep his
promise of delivering us to Imaichi for the appointed hour, and I felt
as if we had been put in the wrong. Imagine the difference had he
been--any one but a Japanese. We turned aside from the main way into a
little dry side-path, which led us into the hills and moors. As we got
among them we left the annoying odors of the rice-fields and smelled for
the first time the fragrance of wild roses, looking like ours, but a
little paler. This was the first thing which reminded me of home--the
roses that the Japanese do not seem to care for, do not seem to
understand. With them the rose has no records, no associations, as with
us; for, once on this farther side of the garden of Iran, the peony and
the chrysanthemum, the lotus and the iris, the peach, the cherry, and
the plum, make up the flower-poetry of the extreme East.


       *       *       *       *       *

Then, leaving the dry and sunny uplands, we entered a famous avenue,
shaded for twenty miles by gigantic cryptomeria trees 60 to 120 feet
high. They were planted, as an act of homage, some two centuries ago, by
some mighty noble, when it was decided to place at Nikko the tomb of the
great shogun Iyéyasŭ. They rise on each side of the sunken road, from
banks and mounds, over which steps lead, from time to time, to
plantations and rice-fields beyond, and to shrines peeping out among the
trees. In side-roads above, on either hand, passed occasionally peasants
and pack-horses laden with forage, or the bright shine of a peasant
woman's red skirt. Where an occasional habitation, or two or three, are
niched in some opening, the tall columns of the great trees are
interrupted by spaces filled with crossed branches of the wilder pine;
and behind these, outside, sometimes the light-green feathery mass of a
bamboo grove. Against the bank stood low, thatched buildings; near them
the great trees were often down, or sometimes dying; an occasional
haystack, sliced off below by use, was fastened, in thick projection,
around some smaller tree. Once, at a turn of the road, near a building
with wide roof, pushed against the corner bank out of a basin fringed
with iris, sprang into the air a little jet of water. Near by, a
solitary ditcher had placed in a bamboo fence some bright red blossom,
with its stem and leaves, apparently to cheer him at his work.

The heavy road was being ditched on each side to carry off the soaking
waters, and our weary, miserable horses broke down again. A---- and I
rested by going in advance, and I experienced the new sensation of
walking among the bamboo stems, like an insect among the knotted stalks
of a gigantic grass. The still heat of the sun burned in great smoky
streaks across our way, spotted by the flight of many yellow
butterflies. There was no sound of birds in the high spaces above; the
few peasants that we met slipped past on their straw sandals, their
noiseless horses also shod with straw; occasionally a shiver of the
great spruces overhead, and far behind us the cries of our grooms to
their horses.

It was two o'clock when we galloped bravely, as if with fresh horses,
into the single long street which is Imaichi village. We were now on
high ground, some two thousand feet above our point of departure, and
could feel, but not see clearly, in the blaze of sunlight, great
mountains lost in great wet clouds.

       *       *       *       *       *

We stopped at the village inn; drivers and runners were sitting on the
stone bench in front, drinking tea, when we drove up. We sat down on the
straw-matted porch inside, the whole front of the building open, and
drank miserable, herby tea, and tasted the usual sweet balls of sugary

Alongside the tea-house, in one of the recesses between the buildings,
we could see the runners of _kurumas_ being washed off and rubbed down,
just as if they were horses in a livery stable. As they stood naked,
their companions poured pails of water over them, its brown spread
covering the stone slabs. Some of them, in the porch, lay on their
backs, others prone, others on the side, all near a kettle, which hung
over a charcoal fire, in which, perhaps, they were heating sakè. One on
his back, his neck on the wooden pillow, was smoking. The village itself
lay in hot, clean repose,--not dusty,--the rows of buildings on each
side of the street irregular, but all of the same appearance. Most of
the fronts were open, the goods all displayed outside of the walls, or
on the floors, innumerable pieces of paper hanging about everywhere. A
few men sat about on the porches, their naked feet hanging off, their
sandals on the ground below them, the inevitable umbrella by their side.
Most of the village was asleep in nakedness. The color of flesh glowed
in the hot shade; brown and sallow in the men, ruddy on the breasts of
the women and the entirely nude bodies of the children.

  [Illustration: NIKKO-SAN.]

And here, now, we said good-by to the _basha_, and got into the
two-wheeled baby wagon, which they call a _kuruma_. One man ran between
the shafts, and another, in front, was fastened to the cross-bar by a
long strip of cloth tied about him. The file of our five wagons started
off at a rapid trot--we had two for our baggage--with the Doctor
ahead, his white helmet dancing before us in the sun. From under my
umbrella I tried to study and occasionally to draw the motions of the
muscles of our runners, for most of them were naked, except for the
complicated strip around the loins--a slight development of the early
fig-leaf. The vague recall of the antique that is dear to artists--the
distinctly rigid muscles of the legs and thighs, the rippling swellings
of the backs--revived the excitement of professional study and seemed a
god-send to a painter. The broad, curved hat, lifted by a pad over the
head, was but an Eastern variation, not so far removed from the Greek
πέτασος [Greek: petasos] of Athenian riders. Some heads were bare;
that is to say, their thick black thatch was bound with a long
handkerchief, which otherwise hung on the shoulders or danced around
their necks. Not all were naked. The youngest, a handsome fellow, had
his tunic pulled up above the thighs, and the slope of his drapery and
his wide sleeves gave him all the elegance of a medieval page. I found
it easier now to struggle against heat and indolence, and to make my
studies as our runners ran along, for we had entered again the avenue
of the great cryptomeria. We had passed the entrance of another, which
in old times was the road traveled by the Mikado's ambassador, in the
fifth month, when he journeyed across the island to carry offerings
to Iyéyasŭ, in his tomb at Nikko. The big trees grew still taller in
this higher air, their enormous roots spreading along the embankments
in great horizontal lines and stages of buttresses. Prolonged wafts of
cool air blew upon us from the west, to which we were hurrying. Above
us spread a long avenue of shade, high up and pale in the blue. And so
we got into Nikko as the sun was setting with the delicious sensation
that at last we were in coolness and in shade.

       *       *       *       *       *

Right before us, crossing the setting sun, was the island mountain of
Nikko-san; small enough to be taken in by the eye, as it stood framed by
greater mountains, which were almost lost in the glittering of wet
sunlight. The mountain threw its shade on the little village; down its
one long street we rode to the bridge that spans the torrent, which,
joining another stream, gives Nikko the look of an island. Alongside
this bridge, at a distance of two hundred feet, crosses the red lacquer
bridge, over which we are not allowed to pass. It is reserved for the
family Tokugawa, the former shoguns of japan, whose ancestors built the
great shrines of Nikko, and for the Emperor on his occasional visits. It
stands supported on a gigantic framework of stone, imitating wood, the
uprights being pierced to allow the crosspieces to run through, against
all European constructional principles, but with a beauty which is
Japanese, and a fitness proved by time.


These great posts under the bridge lean against what seems the wall
of the mountain; the rock foundation being supplemented, everywhere that
a break occurs, by artificial work. Here and there cascades fall over
natural and over artificial walls and glisten far up through the trees
on the opposite side of the bridge. As we rattled over it, we looked
down on the overflowing long wooden trough, which carried the pure
waters of the mountain to the village that we had passed, and upon the
torrent below, whose limpid clearness was made blue by mist, where the
warmer air was chilled by a coldness drawn from far-up mountains. Before
us steps of enormous width passed under the foliage and turned above in
many directions, and there on the lowest step, her dainty feet on straw
sandals, whose straps divided the toes of the close-fitting Japanese
socks, with bare ankles, stood our hostess, in latest European dress,
most graceful contrast to our own consciousness of being jaded and
dirty, and to the nakedness of our runners. Panting with the last run,
they stood at rest, and leaned forward against the cross-bar of the
shafts, with muscles still trembling, clear streams of sweat varnishing
their bronze nakedness, and every hair plastered with wet on forehead,
chest, and body. Just before them rustled the unrumpled starched spread
of the skirts of the fair American. She was summering at Nikko, and,
friendly with the Buddhist clergy, had arranged that one of the priests
should let us have his house, and kindly walked with us to it, a little
way up in one of the first open spaces of the mountain. After passing
the great outside fringe of trees we found a large clear opening, broken
up by walled inclosures, the wall sometimes high and sometimes low, and
edged by gutters through which the torrents ran. These were the former
residences of princes, whom etiquette obliged to worship officially at
Nikko. A quarter of a mile up we came to our own garden,--with an
enormous wide wall or embankment of stone, some twenty feet deep,--which
also had been a prince's, and now belongs to the little Buddhist priest
who is our landlord. There are two houses in the inclosure, one of which
he lets to us. Ours is brand-new and two stories high, while his is old
and low, with an enormous roof, and an arbor built out from the eaves
and connecting with his little garden. High behind his house rise rocks
and wall; and on top of them are planted willows, pines, maples, and the
paulownia, whose broad leaves are part of the imperial crest. A little
waterfall tumbles over the rocks and gives us water for our garden and
for our bath. In our house we made the acquaintance of Kato, who is to
wait upon us. A few minutes later we were welcomed by our landlord,
dressed for the occasion. He conducted us to our rooms, and, leaving for
a moment, returned with a china bowl that was covered with a napkin, and
contained sweetmeats which he told me are peculiar to Nikko.

Seeing that we were helpless with the language, he bowed low and left
us to our bath and to a survey of our new quarters. We were tired, sick,
miserable, weary travelers, having gone through a shipwreck of heat and
fatigue, but there was a fascination in feeling that this baby-house was
ours, that it was typical, that on entering we left our shoes out on our
own threshold and were walking on the soft clean mats, stocking-toed;
that in a few minutes we should be stretched on these as on a bed, and
that Kato would pour out our tea. Our lowest story, which has a veranda,
can be divided so as to make a servant's room and a hall beyond. In an L
behind stretches out a wash-room with a big dresser fixed to the wall,
under which, through a trough, rolls a torrent from the waterfall; and,
farther on, is the little square bath-room with one side all open to the
floor, when the wooden screen is drawn, through which we get light and
air, and through which the box containing burning charcoal is brought
from the priest's house to heat our bath. We have a little
staircase--just the width of our trunk--which leads sharply up to the
veranda above, from which we step into A----'s room and then into mine;
they are separated by movable screens, so that we can be about as
private as if the division were a chalk line. But outside we have a
wealth of moving wall: first the paper screens, which, when we wish, can
separate us from the veranda; then, lastly, on its edge, the _amado_, or
wooden sliding-doors, which are lying now in their corner box, but which
later will be pulled out and linked together, and close the open house
for the night.

Then, as we were about leaving, we solemnly placed a great ornamental
revolver before the little god of Contentment who sits upon the
Tokonoma--that mantelpiece which is at the level of my eye when I lie on
the floor, and which is the Japanese ideal seat of honor, but never
occupied. This revolver is left there to appease a Japanese conventional
fear of robbers. We went down in the twilight to our friends, and had a
very European supper, and sat on their veranda, looking through the
trees toward the bridge, in a moonlight of mother-of-pearl; and we were
so sleepy that I can only suppose we must have talked of home, and I can
only remember our host clapping his hands for lanterns, and Kato leading
us back, with the light held low, and the noise of the torrents running
under the little stone bridges that we passed, and our taking off our
shoes on our own door-step, and the thunder of the _amado_ as Kato
rolled them out for the night.

     [1] The usual etymology of Torii is bird-perch; from _Torĭ_, a

     [2] Rain-doors, outer wooden screens, which close the house at
     night, and roll in a groove.


                                                      July 25.

From where we are in the Holy Mountain, our first visit would be
naturally to the shrine of the shogun Iyéyasŭ, whose extreme walls I see
among the highest trees whenever I look from our balcony over our little

Iyéyasŭ died in 1616, having fought, he said, ninety battles and
eighteen times escaped death, having almost destroyed Christianity, and
leaving his family established as rulers of Japan. In obedience to his
dying wishes, his son and successor removed the body of his father from
its resting-place in the south to this final tomb at Nikko. Here, in
1617, with complicated and mystic ceremonial, he was buried and deified.

If you have no work on Japan near by to refer to, _sub voce_ Iyéyasŭ, I
can tell you, briefly, what he did or what he was, though I, too, have
no books at my hand. He was a great man, a patient waiter upon
opportunity, who at the end of the sixteenth century came upon the scene
of a great civil war, then filled by two protagonists, the military
ruler, Nobunaga, and his lieutenant, Hidéyoshi, who was to be known
later as Taiko Sama. Their aim was to settle something more definitely,
of course in their favor; and, in fact, the death of the former and the
triumphant success of the latter, who succeeded him, went far toward
disposing of many contending claims, and toward a crystallizing of the
feudal system, which had grown of centuries of civil war. This is the
moment that we see reflected in the annals of the first Christian
missionaries, to whom the military chiefs of Japan were alternately kind
or cruel.


When Hidéyoshi died he had grown to be the master of Japan; he had been
made Regent of the Empire, as a title of honor, for he was that and more
in reality; he had become one of the greatest of Oriental warriors, and
had begun life as a groom, the son of a humble peasant. The name of
Taiko (Great Gate) he took like other regents, on retiring nominally
from office, but with the addition of Sama (Lord) it is applied to him
alone in popular memory. Naturally, then, he believed in a possible
dynasty originating in him. At his death he could see, as his greatest
fear for the future of the young son to whom he wished to leave his
power, this man Iyéyasŭ Tokugawa, lord now of many provinces, but who
had begun humbly, and who had assisted him in breaking many enemies,
receiving a reward with every success, and consolidating meanwhile his
own smaller powers. The dying Taiko made complicated arrangements to
secure the good-will of Iyéyasŭ, and also to prevent his encroachments.
These arrangements, including and combining the agencies of numbers of
princes and vassals, many of them newly Christianized, seem only the
more certainly to have forced on a position in which Iyéyasŭ, with few
allies, but with clear aims and interests, took the field against a
larger number of princes, commanding more men, but not united in any
intention as fixed as his was. These he defeated for once and all, on a
great battlefield, Sékigahara, on some day in October in the year 1600.
It was the greatest battle that Japan ever saw, and one of the
bloodiest--remarkable for us because of the death of three of the
Christian leaders against Iyéyasŭ, warriors distinguished before in many
wars, who could not, being Christians, take their own lives in defeat,
as their Japanese traditions of honor commanded. Hence the victor had
them beheaded--a shameful death, and thereby heroic. These were almost
his only immediate victims. Iyéyasŭ wisely forgave, when it paid, and
merely weakened the beaten, increasing the possessions but not the
powers of his adherents; and finally remained in undisputed power, with
great titles from the Mikado, who, though poor in power, was still a
dispenser of honors, for, as with the greater gods, the _victrix causa_

Meanwhile the protection of the son of the great Taiko Sama, for which
all this war had been supposed to grow, had not been effected, and even
this one obstacle or reminder was to disappear from before Iyéyasŭ, but
not for several years, and only just before his death.


He had, in Japanese custom, resigned his apparent power to his son,
for behind him he could act more obscurely and with less friction. Then
began the drama of the extinction of Christianity; slowly, for many
reasons, not the least being that several Christian princes, with their
vassals, had supported Iyéyasŭ in his struggle. And at length the son of
Taiko Sama, Hidéyori, indirectly connected with the Christian side, fell
before Iyéyasŭ. His strong castle at Osaka was said to have become a
place of refuge for the persecuted and the discontented, even to the
very Christians whom his father had cruelly persecuted.

Which was in the wrong and disturbed the waters, the wolf or the lamb, I
do not know, but only that in June, 1615, the great castle was attacked
by Iyéyasŭ and his son in as bloody a battle as was ever fought; and
notwithstanding that for a moment victory hung in the balance, the
Tokugawa Luck prevailed, the castle took fire, thousands perished, and
Hidéyori and his mother disappeared.

Whether Iyéyasŭ was the author of the code of laws or rules at which he
is supposed to have worked during these years of waiting, with the aid
of learned scholars, to bequeath them to his descendants for the
maintenance of the order of things he left, I do not know; nor perhaps
was the information I once had about them at all accurate. They, or
their spirit, however, served to guide the nation for the next two
hundred and fifty years; that is to say, until the second Commodore
Perry came to Japan, with the increased weight of an outside world much


Meanwhile the great man died, leaving a great personal fame behind him,
over and above the powers he could transmit. He was buried here, as I
said. The place was chosen in 1616; at the end of the same year the
buildings were begun, and in the beginning of the next year were partly
completed. When the funeral procession arrived, in nineteen days from
Iyéyasŭ's former resting-place, amid great ceremonies and religious
rites, the title of "Supreme Highness, Lord of the East, Great
Incarnation," was given to the hero and ruler and son of the small laird
of Matsudaira.

While he was being thus deified the persecution of the Christians
increased in violence, passing into a hideous delirium of cruelty;
wiping out its victims, but unable to affect their courage. There can be
apparently no exaggeration of the sufferings of the martyrs nor of the
strength of mind shown by them--a courage and constancy ennobling to

Hidetada, the son of Iyéyasŭ, is buried at Yeddo (Tokio); but Iyémitsŭ,
the grandson, has a temple and a tomb here in the forest, alongside of
his grandfather's.

He succeeded to power in 1623, and lived and ruled some thirty years
more with an energy worthy of Iyéyasŭ, and carried the system to
completion. The laws known as the laws of Iyéyasŭ are sometimes made out
to be his. These laws, based on the old feudal habits, and influenced
and directed by the great Chinese doctrines of relationship and duties,
are not laws as we think of law, nor were they to be published. They
were to be kept secret for the use of the Tokugawa house; to serve as
rules for conduct in using their power, so as to secure justice, which
is in return to secure power, that exists for its own end in the mind of
rulers. These laws, some of which are reflections, or moral maxims, or
references to the great man's experience, made out a sort of criminal
code,--the relations of the classes,--matters of rank and etiquette, and
a mechanism of government. They asserted the supremacy, and at the same
time destroyed the power, of the Mikado, and by strict rules of
succession, residence, and continued possession bound up the feudal
nobles. They reasserted the great individual virtues of filial piety and
of feudal loyalty, and insisted on the traditions of military honor.
"The sword" was to be "the soul of the Samurai,"[3] and with it these
have carried the national honor and intelligence in its peculiar

Full recognition was given to the teaching, "Thou shalt not lie beneath
the same sky, nor tread on the same earth, with the murderer of thy
lord." The rights of the avenger of blood were admitted, even though he
should pay the penalty of his life.

Suicide, which had long been a Japanese development of chivalrous
feeling and military honor, was still to be regarded as purifying of all
stain, and, for the first time, allowed in mitigation of the death

Indeed, half a century later, the forty-seven Ronin
("wave-people"--Samurai who had lost their natural lord and their
rights) were to die in glorious suicide, carrying out the feudal idea of

You know the story probably; at any rate, you will find it in Mitford's
tales of old Japan. It is a beautiful story, full of noble details,
telling how, by the mean contrivance of a certain lord, the Prince of
Ako was put in the wrong, and his condemnation to death and confiscation
obtained. And how, then, forty-seven gentlemen, faithful vassals of the
dead lord, swore to avenge the honor of their master, and for that
purpose to put aside all that might stand in the way. For this end they
put aside all else they cared for, even wife and children, and through
every obstacle pursued their plan up to the favorable moment when they
surprised, on a winter night, in his palace, among his guards, the
object of their vengeance, whose suspicions had been allayed by long
delay. And how his decapitated head was placed by them upon his victim's
tomb, before the forty-seven surrendered themselves to justice, and were
allowed to commit suicide by hara-kiri, and how they have since lived
forever in memory of Japan.

These laws, then, destroyed nothing; they reasserted certain Japanese
traditions and customs, but made out, through many details, the
relations of dependence of all classes of society upon the shogun, as
vassal indeed of the Mikado, but supreme ruler who held the key of all.
All this did Iyémitsŭ carry out, as well as the consequent seclusion of
the country; the only manner of avoiding ideals which might clash with
those upon which this consolidation of the past was based. And to many
of these ideals, to the idea of the sacredness of the family, to the
idea of subjection to the law of the ruler, Christianity, by its ideal
of marriage, by its distinctions of the duty to Cæsar,--to name only a
few reasons,--might be found an insidious dissolvent. Therefore, if it
be necessary to find a high motive, Iyémitsŭ did what he could to
trample out the remains of Christianity, which were to expire, a few
years after his death, in a final holocaust as terrible and glorious as
Nero himself could have wished to see.

From that time, for two centuries, all went on the same, until the
arrival of the foreigners found a system so complete, so interlocked and
rigid, as to go to pieces with the breaking of a few links.

That break was supplied by the necessity of yielding to the Christian
and foreign demand of entrance, and in so far abandoning the old ways.

With this proof of weakness the enemies of the Tokugawa and those of the
system began to assert themselves, circumstances aiding, and in 1868 the
last of the race resigned all powers and retired to private life.

The details of the enormous changes, as they followed one another, are
too many and sudden, and apparently too contradictory, for me to explain
further. Even now I repeat this deficient summary of the Tokugawa story
only because of wishing to recall who they were that have temples and
tombs about us, and to recall, also, that such has been the end of the
beginning which is buried here.

  [Illustration: STABLE OF SACRED HORSES.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The approach to the temple, to which most paths lead, is through a great
broad avenue, a quarter of a mile long, bordered by high stone walls,
above which rise high banks and higher trees. Between these dark green
walls, all in their own shade,--in the center of the enormous path and
in the full light of the sky,--a brilliant torrent rushes down in a
groove of granite, hidden occasionally under the road. Here and there
drop out from the walls noisy columns of clearest water.

In the distance beyond, through a mass of closer shade, made by two
rows of dark cryptomeria, that are planted on banks faced with
stones,--for here the road divides into three different grades of ascent
by enormous steps,--shine the high white walls of the temple grounds,
edged with a red-lacquered fence and a black roofed gate of red and
gold. In the open space before it, with wide roads diverging through
high walls, crowned with scarlet fences, stands a granite Torii, some
thirty feet high, whose transverse stones are crossed by a great black
tablet, marked with the gilded divine name of Iyéyasŭ. On one side a
five-storied pagoda, graceful and tall, certainly one hundred feet high,
blood-red and gold in the sunlight, and green, white, and gold in the
shadows of its five rows of eaves, rises free from the trees around it
and sends a tall spear, encircled with nine gilded rings, into the
unbroken sky. Bindings and edges of copper, bright green with
weathering, sparkle on its black roofs, and from their twenty corners
hang bells of bright green copper. Above the steep steps, against the
white wall, we pass through the first gate. It is recessed, and two
gigantic columns of trees stand in the corners. Two monsters of
uncertain lion-form occupy the niches on each side. From the upper side
of the red pillars, as supports for the engaged lintel, stretch out the
gilded heads of tapirs,--protectors against pestilence,--of lions and
elephants, and great bunches of the petals of the peony. Above, the
architrave and frieze are painted flat with many colors and with gold,
and the ends of the many beams which support the roofing are gilded.
Everywhere, even to the ends of the bronze tiles of the black roof, the
crest of Iyéyasŭ's family, the Tokugawa, is stamped in gilded metal.

At the inside corner of the gate stands a gigantic cedar, said to have
grown to this height since the time when Iyéyasŭ carried it about with
him in his palanquin. Opposite to three red buildings, which are
storehouses for the memorial treasures of the temple, stands, closer to
the wall, a charming building, mostly gray,--partly owing to the wearing
of the black lacquer with time,--and decorated with carved panels, which
make a frieze or string-course all around its sides. Above this line of
green, red, blue, white, and gold, a large space of gray wood, spotted
with gilt metal where the framework of the outer beams is joined,
spreads up to the pediment under the eaves, which is all carved and
painted on a ground of green. The heavy roof above is of black bronze
and gilded metal and is spotted with the golden Tokugawa crest. Below
the colored band, midway, the black wall has gratings with golden
hinges, for this delicate splendor is given to a stable--the stable of
the sacred horse of the god Iyéyasŭ. The patient little cream-colored
pony has no look of carrying such honors; and I can scarcely imagine his
little form galloping out in the silence of the night under the terrible

  [Illustration: SACRED FONT.]

A gentle splashing of water, which mingles with the rustling of the
trees and the quiet echoes of the pavement, comes from the end of the
court where its edge is a descent filled with high forest trees. This
lapping sound comes from the temple font, a great wet mass of stone,
looking like solid water. It has been so exactly balanced on its base
that the clear mountain stream overflows its sides and top in a
perfectly fitting liquid sheet. This sacred well-basin has a canopy with
great black bronze-and-gold roof, supported by white stone pillars,
three on each corner, that are set in bronze sockets and strapped with
gilded metal. The pediment and the brackets which cap the pillars are
brilliantly painted, and the recessed space below the curved roof-beam
is filled with palm-like curves of carved waves and winged dragons. Next
to this, and at right angles to it, is a heavy bronze Torii, through
which we go up to another court, turning away from the buildings we have
seen. On the dark surface of the Torii glisten the golden Tokugawa
crests; on the great tie-beam, the upper pillars, and the central
upright. Near us, the eaves of its lower roof continuing the lines of
the water-tank pavilion, is the closed library, red, delicately adorned
with color under the eaves, and with the same heavy black roofing of
bronze dotted with gold which all the buildings have in a heavy
monotony. The steps lead us to another court, spotted with different
buildings, among tremendous trees--a bronze pavilion with a hanging
bell, a bell tower, and a drum tower, closed in with sloping walls of
red lacquer, and a large lantern of bronze under a bronze pavilion,
whose curious, European, semi-Gothic details contrast suddenly with all
this alien art, and prove its origin a tribute from trading Christian
Holland to the mortal deity worshiped here. On one side, where the
forest slopes down in sun and shadow, stands a Buddhist temple, sole
survivor of the faith in this place, now turned over to the official and
native worship. The latticed gold-and-black screens were all closed,
except in the center, through which we could see the haze and occasional
glitter of the gold of gods and altar ornaments, and the paleness of the
mats. On its red veranda stood a young Buddhist priest, whom our
companions knew; a slight, elegant figure, a type of modesty and
refinement. Farther back, on the other side of the veranda, an older
companion looked down the valley at some girls whose voices we could
hear among the trees.

  [Illustration: YOUNG PRIEST.]

The main entrance rises above the high steps to a little esplanade with
heavy railing, on the level of a higher embankment. The court that we
were in was full of broken shadows from its own tall trees, and from all
this accumulation of buildings, red-lacquered and gilded,
black-and-bronze roofed, spotted and stained with moss and lichens, or
glittering here and there in their many metals. Long lines of light
trickled down the gray trunks and made a light gray haze over all these
miscellaneous treasures. Great lanterns (toro) of stone, capped with
green and yellow moss, metal ones of bronze and iron, stand in files
together here and in the lower court, or are disposed in rows along the
great stone wall, which is streaked by the weather and spotted with
white and purple lichens. Along its upper edge runs the red-lacquered
wall, heavily roofed, of the cloister which surrounds the farther court
above. Its face is paneled between the metal-fastened beams and posts
with two rows of deep carvings of innumerable birds and trees and waves
and clouds and flowers. All these are painted and gilded, as are the
frieze above and the intervals between the gilded rafters.

On all this space, and on the great white gate, the "Gate Magnificent,"
the full sun embroidered the red and white and colored surfaces with
millions of stitches of light and shadow.

The gate, or triumphal arch, is a two-storied building with heavy
bronze-tiled roof, capped and edged, like all the rest, with gilded
metal, and spotted with the gilded crest of the Tokugawa. Its front
toward us rises in the well-known curve, shadowing a pediment, full of
painted sculpture. Eight white pillars embroidered with delicate reliefs
support the white lintel, which is embossed with great divine monsters
and strapped with gilded metal. In the niches on each side are seated
two repellant painted images, inside of white walls, which are trellises
of deeply-carved floral ornament. These figures are warriors on guard,
in ancient and Japanese costume, armed with bows and quivers of arrows,
whose white, wrinkled, and crafty faces look no welcome to the intruder,
and recall the cruel, doubtful look of the guardian statues of foxes
that protect the entrances of the primitive shrines of the land-god
Inari. The far-projecting white capitals are the half-bodies of
lion-like monsters with open mouths and stretched-out paws. Above these,
below the carved balcony which marks the second story, the cornice is
made of a wilderness of tenfold brackets, black lacquered and patterned
with gold, and from each of the ten highest ones a gilded lion's head
frowns with narrowed eyes.

The balcony is one long set of panels--of little panels carved and
painted on its white line with children playing among flowers. Above,
again, as many white pillars as below; along their sides a wild fringe
of ramping dragons and the pointed leaves of the bamboo. This time the
pillars are crowned with the fabulous dragon-horse, with gilded hoofs
dropping into air, and lengthy processes of horns receding far back into
the upper bracketings of the roof. Upon the center of the white-and-gold
lintel, so delicately carved with waves as to seem smooth in this
delirium of sculpture, is stretched between two of the monster capitals
a great white dragon with gilded claws and gigantic protruding head. But
all these beasts are tame if compared with the wild army of dragons that
cover and people the innumerable brackets which make the cornice and
support the complicated rafters under the roof. Tier upon tier hang
farther and farther out, like some great mass of vampires about to fall.
They are gilded; their jaws are lacquered red far down into their
throats, against which their white teeth glitter. Far into the shade
spreads a nightmare of frowning eyebrows, and pointed fangs and
outstretched claws extended toward the intruder. It would be terrible
did not one feel the coldness of the unbelieving imagination which
perhaps merely copied these duplicates of earlier terrors.


So it is, at least, in this bright, reasonable morning light; but I can
fancy that late in autumn evenings, or in winter moonlight, or lighted
by dubious torches, one might believe in the threats of these blinking
eyes and grinning jaws, and fear that the golden terrors might cease
clinging to the golden beams. It is steadying to the eye to meet at last
the plain gold-and-black checker pattern of the ends of the final
rafters below the roof, and to see against the sky peaceful bells like
inverted tulips, with gilded clappers for pistils, hanging from the
corners of the great bronze roof.

And as we pass through the gate we are made to see how ill omen was
turned from the Luck of the Tokugawa by an "evil-averting pillar," which
has its pattern carved upside down as a sacrifice of otherwise finished

I noticed also that a childish realism has furnished the lower monsters
of the gate with real bristles for their distended nostrils; and this
trifle recalls again the taint of the unbelieving imagination, which
insists upon small points of truth as a sort of legal protection for its
failing in the greater ones.

Within this third cloistered court which we now entered is an inclosed
terrace, some fifty yards square. Inside of its walls are the oratory
and the final shrine, to which we can pass through another smaller gate,
this time with lower steps. The base of the terrace, which makes the
level of the innermost court, is cased with large blocks of cemented
stone. Above it is a fence or wall with heavy roof and projecting gilded
rafters. Great black brackets support the roof. Between them all is
carved and colored in birds and flowers and leaves, almost real in the
shadow. Between the decorated string-courses the wall is pierced with
gilded screens, through which play the lights and darks, the colors and
the gilding of the shrine inside. At the very bottom, touching the stone
plinth, carved and painted sculptures in high relief project and cast
the shadows of leaves and birds upon the brilliant granite.

Beyond this inclosure and the shrine within it the court is abruptly
ended by a lofty stone wall, high as the temple roof, and built into the
face of the mountain. From its very edge the great slope is covered with
tall trees that look down upon this basin filled with gilding and
lacquers, with carvings and bronze, with all that is most artificial,
delicate, labored, and transitory in the art of man.

It is in this contrast, insisted upon with consummate skill, that lies
the secret beauty of the art of the men who did all this. The very
lavishness of finish and of detail, the heaped-up exaggerations of
refinement and civilization, bring out the more the simplicity and quiet
of the nature about them. Up to the very edges of the carvings and the
lacquers grow the lichens and mosses and small things of the forest. The
gilded temples stand hidden in everlasting hills and trees, open above
to the upper sky which lights them, and to the changing weather with
which their meaning changes. Nothing could recall more completely the
lessons of death, the permanence of change, and the transitoriness of

We went up the steps of the recessed gate, which repeats the former
theme of white and gold and black in forms of an elegance that touches
the limits of good taste. Its heavy black roof, whose four ridges are
crowned by long bronze dragons and crawling lions, opens in a high curve
on the front and sides to show under the bent white-and-gold ridge-beams
a pediment strapped and intersected by spaces of small carvings, white
and tinted, relieved by red perpendiculars of beams.


White and gold shine in the great brackets and the recesses of the
rafters. Below the white frieze, carved with many small figures of
Chinese story, the pillars and the lintel are inlaid in many carved
woods, ornaments of dragons, plants, and diapered patterns on the
whitened ground. The opened doors repeat the same faint tones of wood,
and of white and gold, and of gilded metals. The walls, which are open
at the base, are merely lattice screens. Their exquisite flowered
patterns fluctuate with gilded accents of whites, greens, lavenders, and

  [Illustration: LINTEL, BRACKET CAPITAL.]

The gate inside is, therefore, nothing but an ornamented trellis, made
still lighter by contrast with the solid white doors, trellised at top,
but whose lower panels are exquisitely embellished with inlaid carved
woods and chiseled golden metal. We took off our shoes, and ascended the
bronze-covered steps of the oratory and shrine, which come down from the
red-lacquered veranda, behind the four carved white pillars of the
descending porch. Great white dragons with spiky claws project from the
pillars, and crawl in and out of the double transom. In the shadow of
the roof golden monsters hang from the complex brackets. The friezes and
bands of the temple face are filled with carving, delicate as embossed
tapestry, while the panels, deeply cut into auspicious forms of birds
and flowers, carry full color and gold far up into the golden rafters.

       *       *       *       *       *

All recesses and openings are filled with half-realities, as if to
suggest a dread or a delicious interior, as flowers might pass through
palings, or great beasts, types of power, might show great limbs through
confining barriers. The long building, indeed, is a great framework,
strongly marked, dropped on a solid base, and weighted down by a heavy
roofing. The white pillars or posts which divide its face and corners
stand clear between the black-and-gold latticed screens, partly lifted,
which make almost all its wall.

Strips of the sacramental white paper hang from the lower lintel
against the golden shade of the interior. Inside, pale mats cover the
black-lacquer floor. Exquisite plain gold pillars, recalling Egyptian
shapes, divide the gilded central walls. Here and there on the gilded
tie-beams curved lines of emerald-green or crimson, like tendrils, mark
with exquisite sobriety a few chamfered cuttings. On either side of the
long room (fifty feet) are two recesses with large gold panels on which
symbolic forms are freely sketched, and carved inlays of emblematic
birds fill their farthest walls. Their ceilings are carved, inlaid, and
painted with imperial flowers, mystic birds, and flying figures, and the
pervading crest of the Tokugawa. For these were the waiting-rooms of the
family, and, as A---- remarked, the impression is that of a princess's
exquisite apartment, as if the Tartar tent had grown into greater
fixity, and had been touched by a fairy's wand.


All was bare except for an occasional sacred mirror, or hanging gilded
ornament, or the hanging papers of the native worship; and this absence
of the Buddhist images and implements of worship left clear and distinct
the sense of a personal residence--the residence of a divinized spirit,
not unlike the one that he was used to in life.

Even more, on the outside of the building the curved stone base, like a
great pedestal, with pierced niches filled with flowers carved and
painted between the great brackets that support the veranda, makes the
temple seem as if only deposited for a time, however long that time may

We merely looked at the central passage, that, dividing the building,
leads down and then up to the shrine itself, and waited for the time
when we shall get further permission, and I shall be allowed to sketch
and photograph. As for me, I was wearied with the pleasure of the
endless detail; for even now, with all my talk, I have been able to note
but a little of what I can remember.

We withdrew, put on our shoes again at the gate, and turned below to
the east side of the court. We passed the Hall of Perfumes, where
incense was once burned while the monks chanted prayers in the court, as
they did when Iyéyasŭ was buried. We passed the Hall of the Sacred
Dances, whose open front makes a large, shady, dim stage, with a great
red railing on its projecting edge. Within it moved a white shadow, the
figure of a woman-dancer. And then we came to a white-and-gold gate,
inside of the roofed cloister wall. Above the open door that leads to it
sleeps a carved white cat, in high relief, said to have been the work of
a famous left-handed sculptor, carpenter, and architect. Its cautious
rest may not have been so far from the habits of the living Iyéyasŭ, to
whose tomb, farther on, this is the entrance.

Framed by the gold and white of the gate and of the half-opened door
rise the steps built into the hillside and all carpeted with brilliant
green mosses. The stone railings, which for two hundred feet higher up
accompany the steps, are also cushioned with this green velvet, and our
steps were as noiseless as if those of the white cat herself. All is
green, the dark trees descending in sunlight to our right and rising on
the bank to our left, until we reach an open space above, with a bank of
rocky wall inclosing the clearing.

Here is the small final shrine, and behind it a stone esplanade with a
stone fence, within which stands, in the extreme of costly simplicity,
the bronze tomb of Iyéyasŭ. A large bronze gate, roofed in bronze, of
apparently a single casting, with bronze doors, closes the entrance.
Before the monument, on a low stone table, are the Buddhist
ornaments--the storks, the lotus, and the lion-covered vases, all of
brass and of great size.

The tomb itself is of pale golden bronze, in form like an Indian shrine:
a domed cylinder surmounted by a great projecting roof which rises from
a necking that separates and connects them above--the roof a finial in
the shape of a forked flame. Five bronze steps, or bases, support this
emblematic combination of the cube, the cylinder, and the globe.

The crest of the Tokugawa, ten times repeated, seals the door upon the
burnt ashes of the man who crystallized the past of his country for more
than centuries, and left Japan as Perry found it. All his precautions,
all his elaborate political conservatism, have been scattered to the
winds with the Luck of the Tokugawa, and the hated foreigner leans in
sightseeing curiosity upon the railing of his tomb.


But the solemnity of the resting-place cannot be broken. It lies apart
from all associations of history, in this extreme of cost and of refined
simplicity, in face of the surrounding powers of nature. There is here
no defiance of time, no apparent attempt at an equal permanency; it is
like a courteous acceptance of the eternal peace, the eternal
nothingness of the tomb.

We leaned against the stone rails and talked of Iyéyasŭ--of his good
nature, of his habit of chatting after battle, of his fraudulent
pretensions to great descent; and of the deadening influence of the
Tokugawa rule, of its belittling the classes whose energies were the
true life of the country. We recognized, indeed, that the rulers of
Iyéyasŭ's time might have perceived the dangers of change for so
impressionable a race, but none of us asked whether the loss of hundreds
of thousands of lives of courageous Christians had been made up in the
strength of the remaining blood.


Far away the sounds of pilgrims' clogs echoed from the steps of distant
temples; we heard the running of many waters. Above us a few crows,
frequenters of temples, spotted the light for a moment, and their cries
faded with them through the branches. A great, heavy, ugly caterpillar
crept along the mossy edge of the balustrade, like the fresh incarnation
of a soul which had to begin it all anew.

     [3] The Samurai, the entire warrior class of the feudal days;
     therefore, also, the gentry.


We were told by our good friends that the temple of Iyémitsŭ, the
grandson of Iyéyasŭ, far less pretentious than the shrine of the
grandfather and founder, would show us less of the defects which
accompanied our enjoyment of yesterday. The successors of Iyémitsŭ were
patrons of art, sybarites, of those born to enjoy what their ancestors
have sown. The end of the seventeenth century has a peculiar turn with
us, a something of show and decadence, of luxury and want of morals; and
the same marks belong to it even in Japan. Indeed, I feel in all the
Tokugawa splendor something not very old, something which reminds me
that this was but the day of my own great-grandfather; a time of rest
after turmoil, of established sovereigns on various scales, of
full-bottomed wigs, of great courtliness, of great expenses in big and
little Versailles. I miss the sense of antiquity, except as all true art
connects with the past, as the Greek has explained when he said that the
Parthenon looked old the moment it was done.

       *       *       *       *       *

The temple of Iyémitsŭ is, indeed, charming and of feminine beauty,
complete, fitted into the shape of the mountain like jewels in a
setting. From near the red pagoda of Iyéyasŭ's grounds a wide avenue
leads, all in shade, to an opening, narrowed up at its end to a wall and
gate, which merely seem a natural entrance between the hills. There are
great walls to the avenue, which are embankments of the mountains. From
them at intervals fountains splash into the torrents at each side, and
overhead are the great trees and their thin vault of blue shade. The
first gate is the usual roofed one, red, with gilded rafters and heavy
black bronze tiles, and with two red muscular giants in the niches of
the sides. Its relative simplicity accentuates the loveliness of the
first long court, which we enter on its narrowest side. Its borders seem
all natural, made of nothing but the steep mountain sides, filled with
varieties of leafage and the columns of the great cedars. These
indeterminate edges give it the look of a valley shut at each end by the
gate we have passed, and by another far off disguised by trees. This
dell is paved in part, and with hidden care laid out with smaller trees.
Down the steep hillside, a cascade trembles through emerald grass, part
lost, part found again, from some place where, indistinct among the
trees, the jaws of a great bronze dragon discharge its first waters. A
simple trough collects one rill and sends it into the large stone cube
of a tank, which it brims over and then disappears.

The little pavilion over this well is the only building in the
inclosure. It is more elegant than that of Iyéyasŭ, with its twelve
columns, three at each corner, sloping in more decidedly, their white
stone shafts socketed in metal below and filleted with metal above,
melting into the carved white architrave. In the same way the carvings
and the blue and green and red and violet of the entablature melt in the
reflections under the shadow of the heavy black-and-gold roof with four
gables. From under the ceiling, and hanging below the lintels, flutter
many colored and patterned squares of cloth, memorials of recent


As we turn to the highest side of the court on the left and ascend
slowly steep, high steps to a gorgeous red gate above our heads whose
base we cannot see, the great cedars of the opposite side are the real
monuments, and the little water-tank, upon which we now look down, seems
nothing but a little altar at the foot of the mountain forest. The gate,
when we look back, is only a frame, and its upper step only a balcony
from which to look at the high picture of trees in shadow and sunlight
across the narrow dell which we can only just feel beneath us.

The great red gate has two giant guardians of red and green, and
innumerable bracketings for a cornice, all outlined, and confused all
the more by stripes of red and green and white and blue.

  [Illustration: A PRIEST OF IYÉMITSŬ]

Just behind the gate, as if it led to nothing, rises again the wall of
the mountain; then we turn at right angles toward a great esplanade,
lost at its edges in trees, from which again the forest would be all the
picture were it not that farther back upon the hill rises a high wall,
with a platform and lofty steps, and the carved red-and-gold face of a
cloister, with another still richer gate of a red lacquer, whose
suffering by time has made it more rosy, more flower-like.

Up these steps we went, the distant trees of the mountains ascending
with us, and we rested in the red-and-gold shade. Above us the gold
brackets of the roof were reflected back, in light and dark, upon the
gold architrave, adorned by the great carved peonies, red and white, and
great green leaves which stood out with deep undercutting. From the
fluted red columns projected great golden tapirs' heads and paws,
streaked with red like the bloom of tulips. The gilded metal sockets and
joinings and the faint modeled reliefs of the wall, all of dull gold,
looked green against the red lacquer. Beyond, the inner lintel was
green, like malachite, against the sunny green of the forest. Its
chamfered edge reflected in gold the lights and shadows beyond, and
against the same green trees stood out the long heads and trunks of the
tapir capitals in red and gold.

Through this framework of red and many-colored gold we passed into the
inner court, made into a cloister by walls and narrow buildings, rich in
red lacquer and black and gold. As before with Iyéyasŭ, so also within
this inclosure, is another raised upon a base faced with great blocks of
granite, fretted, spotted, and splashed with white and purple lichens.
The sun-embroidered wall or fence that edges it is black with a
bronze-and-gold roof; its trellises are of white, edged with gold; as
usual, bands of carved and colored ornament divide so as almost to
pierce its face; and its beams are capped with jointings of chiseled
metal. The central gate spots joyously the long line of black and gold
and color and bronze, with imposts of white carving, framed in rosy
lacquer, and with gold pillars and a gold lintel, upon which is spread a
great white dragon, and with a high gold pediment, divided by recesses
of golden ornament on ultramarine, and with golden doors fretted with a
fairy filagree of golden ornament.

Through this lovely gate, with an exquisite inlaid ceiling of pearl and
gold and walls of carved and colored trellises, we pass to the main
shrine, only just behind it.

Here again, less pretense than with Iyéyasŭ, and greater and more
thoughtful elegance. The long white carved columns of the portico run
straight up to the brackets of its roof--except where, to support the
cross-beam of the transoms, project red lions' heads and paws, looking
like great coral buds. The entire architrave of the building is divided
into a succession of long friezes, stepping farther and farther out,
like a cornice, until they meet the golden roof. Only a few gold
brackets support the highest golden beam--carvings, color, and delicate
stampings of the lacquer embroider the gold with a bloom of color. The
gold doors look like jewelers' work in heavy filagree.

All within was quiet, in a golden splendor. Through the small openings
of the black-and-gold gratings a faint light from below left all the
golden interior in a summer shade, within which glittered on lacquer
tables the golden utensils of the Buddhist ceremonial. From the coffered
ceiling hangs the metal baldachin, like a precious lantern's chain
without a lamp.


  [Illustration: A PRIEST AT IYÉMITSŬ.]

The faces of the priests who were there were known to us, the elder's
anxious and earnest, the younger's recalling an Italian monsignore. One
of them was reading by the uplifted grating and rose to greet us, and to
help to explain. We entered the narrow passage which makes the center,
through whose returning walls project, in a curious refinement of
invention, the golden eaves of the inner building beyond. Gratings which
were carved and gilded trellises of exquisite design gave a cool,
uncertain light. We passed out of a trellised door on to the black
lacquered floor of a veranda, and then sat awhile in a simple room with
our hosts to look at temple manuscripts and treasures, and at the open
palanquin which once brought here the dead Iyémitsŭ--not reduced to
ashes, as his grandfather Iyéyasŭ, but wrapped and covered up in
innumerable layers of costly and preserving vermilion. We passed into
the corridor behind the building and looked at the picture hanging on
the wall, which faces the mountain and the tomb, in which Kuwan-on the
Compassionate sits in contemplation beside the descending stream of
life. Then for a few moments we entered by a low door the sanctuary,
narrow and high and with pyramidal roof.

  [Illustration: KUWANON, BY OKIO.]

By the flickering torch which alone gave light, all seemed of gold--the
wall, the columns which run up to the central golden roof, and the
transoms which connect them. In the darker shade stood a golden shrine,
never opened. Whatever precious details there may be were bathed in a
shade made of reflected gold. An exquisite feeling of gentle solemnity
filled the place. We passed out suddenly into the glare of day and under
the blazing blue sky, which hung over the inclosure of tall trees and
the temple like the ceiling of a tent.

Again a great wall, spotted with moss and lichens, is built around as an
inclosure. It makes a base for the greater wall of the mountain rising
above it, which is covered with forest trees, as if the skirting of the
wilderness of northern Japan were here suddenly limited. Across one
single opening, on the one side, where show the seams of the immense
cyclopean construction, and joining two corners, broken by great patches
of the shadows of the gigantic trees, stretches a white wall, heavily
roofed, against a shadow almost black. In its center is a strange, white
gate-building, moundlike in shape, absolutely plain, but capped by a
great roof, which is stretched out upon a mass of brackets, all of gold
and colors, and with carved golden doors, whose central panels are all
fretted and chiseled and stamped with the Wheel of the law. Here begin
the distant steps leading through the trees to the tomb where lies the
body of Iyémitsŭ, cased in layers of vermilion, under golden bronze,
like his grandfather Iyéyasŭ, and surrounded by the still more solitary
splendor of the forest.

Astonishing as is the contrast to-day, in the abundance and glory of
summer, of the bronze and the lacquered colors, and the golden carvings,
with the wild rocks and trees, the grass and the mosses, I should like
to see in the snow of winter this richness and glitter and warmth of red
and white and black and gold.

Can it bring out still more the lavishness of refinement, which wells
up as if exhaustless? Does its white monotony and the dark of the great
cedars make one feel still more the recklessness of this accumulation of
gold lacquer and carving and bronze, all as if unprotected and trusted
to the chances of the recurring seasons?

As we repeat each look, on our slow return through the temples, the
same elegance, the same refinement, the same indifference to the
outrages of time, contrast again with the permanence and the forces of
nature. With the fatigue and repetition of the innumerable beauties of
gold and color, carving and bronze, the sense of an exquisite art brings
the indefinable sadness that belongs to it, a feeling of humility and of
the nothingness of man. Nowhere can this teaching be clearer than in
this place of the tombs. It is as if they said, serenely or splendidly,
in color and carving and bronze and gold: "We are the end of the limits
of human endeavor. Beyond us begins the other world, and we, indeed,
shall surely pass away, but thou remainest, O Eternal Beauty!"


                                                  NIKKO, July 28.

Osomi and Tategawa were the architects of Nikko; Osomi planned the
lovely pagoda,--so I am told,--and I hasten to put down their names. At
that time the great Tenkai was abbot. He was a friend and adviser of
Iyéyasŭ, as he was the teacher of Iyémitsŭ, the grandson, and of
Hidetada, the less illustrious son. It may be with him that Iyéyasŭ
arranged the plan of fixed endowment for the Church; an endowment not to
be added to or diminished, so that it should be an element of stability
and no longer a fluctuating danger. With this seems to have ended the
possible reasons for military dependents in the service of the Church.

Tenkai is said to have planned or prepared beforehand the temples of
Iyéyasŭ, which might explain the extremely short time given in the
record for their building; so that, begun in 1616, the stable, the
surrounding edifices, and the shrine were completed in the third month
of 1617.

I have been careful to give you some account of the temples of Iyéyasŭ
and Iyémitsŭ, because I regret having said so little of those temples of
Shiba in Tokio, where the remainder of the Tokugawa rulers repose in a
state adorned by similar splendors. But these temples of the founders
are of a more complete type, and, with one exception, seem to me more
impressive. Yet even with the beauties that I have tried to describe, I
am still not quite so carried away as I might have been by such complete
works of art. There is a something, a seeming of pretense or effort or
ingeniousness, which I cannot seize, but which seems to me to belong to
a splendor not quite secure, or perhaps only just secured,--something
like what I might call the mark of the parvenu.

Yes; I think that is it. It is still, after all this time, just a little
new. But what thorough adaptation of means to ends; how delicately
subtle the arrangements, and simple; and how impossible to describe
through words or drawings. How the result alone is aimed at, and what
little parade is made of the intention and preparation. This work, which
seems to betray an inferiority to its own ideal--this work, which has
even a touch of the vulgar, is charming enough to look like a fairyland.
It displays a capacity for arrangement which none of us to-day could
hope to control; has a charm that any passer-by could feel; has more
details of beauty than all our architects now living, all together,
could dream of accomplishing in the longest life. When I began to
reflect how this wood and plaster had more of the dignity of art and of
its accessible beauty than all that we have at home, if melted together,
would result in; that these frail materials conveyed to the mind more of
the eternal than our granite, it seemed to me that something was
absolutely wrong with us.

And the cause of this result was not the splendor of line and color; it
was not the refinement. The last time I could recall a similar sensation
had been before some little church tower of England; it was certainly
the subordination of all means to a single end, and their disappearance
in one impression.

... Since my first visit to the temples my mind has been dwelling more
and more in an involuntary manner upon the contrast with all modern art,
and I venture to note down for you some of the thoughts forced upon me.
It seems as if I were really reminded of what I always knew, or ought to
have known; and perhaps what I may say about ourselves is as good a way
as any other of giving an opinion upon what I see here. For, indeed,
what I see here that I admire I feel as though I had always known, had
already seen; it is rather most of our own that seems queer, strange,
and often unreasonable.

I can make no set and orderly arrangement of my rather confused
thinking, but can only trace it out as it occurred to me--as if it were
from outside; as if something whispered to me now and then out of small
occurrences, and said, "Don't you understand more clearly?"

... On leaving the temples we went back to our friends' house, which was
once the residence of the regent of Japan--a large, low wooden building
of the kind so carefully described by Mr. Morse in his book. All is
extremely simple; there is nothing to call any attention. The woodwork
is merely put together with great care; some little panels of the
closets are nicely trimmed with metal and highly ornamented. This, with
metal nail-heads and a pretty wall-paper, is all the decoration.

Here we found the mail and papers, and enjoyed the watering-place
feeling of news from town. There were copies of "Life" and of the London
"Punch," many of whose drawings did not look out of place in this land
of clever sketchers. Indeed, that in them which once seemed good across
the seas still held its own in presence of the little prodigies of
technique that one meets in Japanese drawings.

Indeed, they recalled one another. Both call out one's sudden
recollection of some facts in nature; and besides, all good sketches
resemble one another as being the nearest approach to the highest
finished work. They have in common with it the essential merit of being
better than they appear, of indicating more than is necessary to tell
the tale, of not being strictly measurable quantities. We grow so
ungrateful when too well treated that we forget how Mr. Du Maurier
throws in, over and above the social epigram in lines, an elegance and
grace that might belong to a poetic picture; that Mr. Keene tells his
story over and over again in the very folds of each individual's dress;
that he will, unconcernedly, present us with a landscape as full of
nature as his human figures, instead of the indifferent background which
would have been sufficient for the story of the caricaturist. Now, the
feeling of disenchantment, of having "found out" appearances, of having
come to the end of a thing, is never forgiven by the average healthy
mind. In greater things one turns, some day, to those which are always
richer and fuller of meaning with time,--as one looks to-day at a Corot
or a Delacroix or a Millet once uncared-for,--and that means that at
length our eyes are opened. The sketch, like the great work of art, is
better than it appears, and recalls to me the emperor in the story, whom
the old woman could not recognize in the presence of the big drum-major.
We can appreciate what suffering the little old woman underwent when she
discovered her mistake, and how she never forgave the big drum-major.
For mankind has never believed at heart that the work itself is to be
judged, but has always (at least in the case of one's neighbor)
acknowledged that it is the _work of art which judges us_.

So says a Japanese friend, and I think that he has it exactly. Hence an
importance attaches to criticism which otherwise would be
inexplainable,--the importance there is in being right,--because we
shall be judged ourselves if we are wrong, and often by ourselves as

... And late numbers of the magazines had come, pleasant to look over
before dinner,--while the noiseless servants glided over the matting,
and our hostess put on her Japanese costume,--serving to make the
distance greater, as we feel that all goes on at home with the usual

Some architectural sketches in facsimile in a magazine became entangled
with the thread of my thinking and brought to my mind an inevitable

They were charming, and so different from the realities which they were
meant to embody. One I dwelt upon, bright and clever, where every dark
of window or of shadow intensified the joyfulness of the white wall of a
residence at home, which you daily pass. In the reality, alas! its Fifth
Avenue monotony is unrelieved. The wall is not bright, the windows are
paler than the walls, and the projections and adornment are duller yet.
The drawing was an abstraction, probably meant for the sweet enticement
of the client, and was what the building _should have been_. The
draughtsman "knew better than he builded." As my mind analyzed this
curious professional misstatement of truth, it seemed to me that I could
see how the art of architecture in Japan was real compared to ours, even
though none of their architects, any more than those of the great past
of the world, could have made such a drawing--such a brilliant promise
of a performance not to be, such a beautifully engraved check upon a
bank where there were no funds. Not knowing the science and art of
perspective drawing, nor the power of representing shadows according to
rule, nor having the habit of ruling lines with a ruler to give
interest, nor of throwing little witty accents of dark to fill up
blanks, they were perhaps the more obliged to concentrate their powers
upon the end of the work; and their real motive was the work itself.

This may be strange and contradictory to the modern Western mind,
gradually accustomed to polished cartoons for bad paintings and worse
glass, to remarkable designs for decoration and architecture which look
their best in woodcuts, to great decorative paintings which are carried
out so that they may be photographed without any injury to their color,
nay, to its vast improvement. Do you remember how B----, the famous
sculptor, used to preach to me that to-day no one looked at a thing
itself, no one expected to, and that the fame of the artist was for
those whose work could be adequately represented in the newspapers. That
an excellence which could not be duplicated, that a tone which could not
be matched, that a line which could not be copied, was not to be
appreciated and could not be cared for. In fact, that such refinements
were only worthy of the mind of an Oriental, "of a man accustomed to
wear the moon embroidered on his back." Why spend days in obtaining the
color of a wall which any architect will think can be adequately
replaced by his description of something like it to the painting firm
around the corner? Why make the thing itself, if something like it will
do as well? Why strike the note exactly, if any sound near it satisfies
the average ear? For us, to-day, things and realities no longer exist.
It is in their descriptions that we believe. Even in most cultivated
France an architect or designer like Viollet-le-Duc will seriously
undertake to restore old work, every square inch of which has had the
patient toil of souls full of love and desire of the best, by rubbing it
all out, and making a paper drawing or literary description for others
to restore again in a few modern weeks the value of ancient years of
ineffably intelligent care. Consider this impossibility of getting a
decent restoration carried out by our best intelligences, and note that
while they are unable with all money and talk and book-learning to
replace the past in a way that can deceive us, there exist patient,
obscure workmen who, beginning at the other end of the work, produce
little marvels of deception in false antiquities--purchased by museums
and amateurs for sums their authors never could get in their proper
name. But these latter have only one object, the thing itself, and are
judged by the result; while we, the arbiters and directors better known,
who never employ them, are satisfied, and satisfy others by our having
filed in the archives of to-day notices that we are going to do
something in the utterly correct way. I took as an example our friend
Viollet-le-Duc, the remarkable architect whose works we have both
studied, because he has written well,--in some ways, no one more acutely
and more wisely; because of his real learning, and on account of his
very great experience. Is all that this man and his pupils did in their
own art of making, worth, as art, the broken carving that I kick to-day
out of my path?

Has such a risible calamity ever occurred before in any age? Destruction
there has been, replacing of old, good work with better or with worse by
people who did not understand, or care, or pretend to care; but the
replacing of good with bad by people who do understand, and who claim to
care, has never been a curse until to-day. This failure in all
restoration, in all doing of the thing itself, must be directly
connected with our pedantic education and with our belief in convenient
appliances, in propositions, in labor-saving classifications, in action
on paper, in projects for future work, in soul-saving theories and
beliefs--in anything except being saved by the--work itself.

Indeed, I have always felt that perhaps in the case of poor Richardson,
just dead, we may begin to see the shape of an exception, and can
realize what can be accomplished through what we called deficiencies. He
was obliged, in the first place, to throw overboard in dealing with new
problems all his educational recipes learned in other countries. Then,
do you think that if he had drawn charming drawings beforehand he would
have been able to change them, to keep his building in hand, as so much
plastic material? No; the very tenacity needed for carrying out anything
large would have forced him to respect his own wish once finally
expressed, while the careful studies of his assistants were only a
ground to inquire into, and, lastly, to choose from.

For many little prettinesses and perfections do not make a great unity.
Through my mind passes the reminiscence of something I have just been
reading, the words of an old Chinese writer, an expounder of Tao (the
Way), who said what he thought of such matters some twenty-five
centuries ago. What he said runs somewhat in this way:

     The snake hissed at the wind, saying: "I at least have a form, but
     you are neither this nor that, and you blow roughly through the
     world, blustering from the seas of the north to the seas of the

     "It is true," replied the wind, "that I blow roughly, as you say,
     and that I am inferior to those that point or kick at me, in that
     I cannot do the same to them. On the other hand, I blow strongly
     and fill the air, and I can break huge trees and destroy large
     buildings. _Out of many small things in which I do not excel I
     make_ ONE GREAT ONE _in which I do excel._"

       *       *       *       *       *

     In the domains of the One there may not be managing.

Hence, also, the difficulty, I had almost said the impossibility, of
finding a designer to-day capable of making a _monument_: say, for
instance, a tomb, or a commemorative, ideal building--a cathedral, or a
little memorial. There is no _necessity_ in such forms of art, nothing
to call into play the energies devoted to usefulness, to getting on, to
adaptation, to cleverness, which the same Taoist says is the way of man,
while integrity is the way of God.

Art alone, pure, by itself, can be here the object of the maker's
contemplation; the laws of the universe that men call beauty are the
true and only sufficient materials of construction.

With what preparation does a designer of humbugs come to such work,
failure in which cannot be excused because of any practical reasons,
because of any pressing necessities--that really belongs to the public,
to everybody more than to its possessor, or to its owner, or to those
who have paid for it--that, finally, can be saved from adverse criticism
only for a short time, while passing interests are concerned.

Who knows this better than yourself? Where on earth to-day can you find
a thing done by us designers that an artist will go to look at for love,
for the deep desire of enjoyment which makes us visit so many little
things of the past, and go far for them? If you can, imagine any painter
desiring to note, so as to make them his own by copy, a modern set of
moldings, the corner of a modern building.

And yet what a rush of delight comes upon us with a few Greek moldings,
with a fragment of Greek or Gothic ornament, with the mere look of the
walls of some good old building. How the pleasure and the emotions of
those who made them have been built into them, and are reflected back to
us, like the smile from a human face. I know that I have told you often
how the fragment of a Gothic window from old English Boston set into the
cloister of Trinity of the new Boston always seemed to me to outweigh
the entire building in which it rests. And yet it is only a poor
fragment of no great period. But then the makers thought and felt in the
materials that they worked in, even if their drawings were rude and
incomplete and often incorrect. And no architect seems to realize to-day
that his walls could give us the same emotions that we receive from a
Rembrandt, or a Van Eyck, or a Veronese, and for the same reasons, and
through a similar use of a real technique.

You draw well; you can make a sketch, I am sure, which, like many
others, would have spots of light on a black surface, or a pretty wash
of sky above it, or little patches of shadow, like clever lichens,
spread over it, and that would be correct in artificial perspective, and
recall something of older design, and have no great blemishes to take
hold of. How far would it help you to have made a million such if you
seriously wished to do a thing for itself, not for its effects upon a
client, nor for a claim upon the public, nor for a salve to your own

And now do you see how, as we architects and designers gradually work
more and more on paper and not in the real, our energies are worked out
in accomplishing before we get to our real work,--that of _building_ a
_work of art_,--and the result of our drawings grows feebler and feebler
and tamer as it presses to its end. Then, for this weak frame of
conception, the men who have come in to help (and that only because the
director's time would not admit of his doing all himself, otherwise he
would, in his jealous weakness, adorn as poorly as he imagines)--then, I
say, if the painter, the sculptor, the decorator, shows any strength or
power, there is another danger. There is danger that the sculptor's
relief will be more powerful than the weak projections of solid
masonry,--that the lines of the painter will be grander and more ample
than those which were meant to guide and confine them--that the paint of
the decorator will appear more massive and more supporting than the
walls of the architect. Whence all will be tamed, all annulled and made
worthless and paltry, so as not to disturb the weak efforts of the
master directing. And for the first time in the history of art we shall
have buildings which the Greek or the Roman, the Medieval or the
Oriental, would have been unable to adorn, while in their times the
masters who were architects, great and small, found no trouble in
placing within their buildings, made famous to all time by this choice,
the sculptures of the Parthenon or of Olympia, the glass or the statues
of Christian cathedrals, or the carvings of India or of Japan.

So that when the greatest painter of the century left instructions for
his tomb, he asked that it should be copied from some former one of
antiquity or renaissance, so that it might have--to typify his love and
his dislikes--masculine moldings and a manly character, contrary, as he
said, "to all that is done to-day in architecture."

You may say that through all this wandering of thought I am telling you
little about Japanese art. Wait; perhaps I may be merely preparing your
mind and mine for what I shall have to say later. Or, rather, let us
think that I am carried away by the spirit, and that I am certainly
talking of what I do not find here; and if there is no novelty in what I
say, and that you know it, and have always known it, we shall come back
to what you also know, that art is the same everywhere and always, and
that I need not come this distance to learn its principles. If there is
anything good here, it must resemble some of the good that we have with
us. But here at least I am freer, delivered from a world of canting
phrases, of perverted thought, which I am obliged to breathe in at home
so as to be stained by them. Whatever pedantry may be here, I have not
had to live with it, and I bear no responsibility in its existence. And
then again, art here seems to be a common possession, has not been
apparently separated from the masses, from the original feeling of

To-day at dinner, Kato, who was waiting upon us, could give his opinion
upon the authenticity of some old master's work, at the request of our
host, himself a great authority; so that I could continue my dreaming
through the conversation and the semi-European courses, marked by my
first acquaintance with the taste of bamboo shoots--a little delicacy
sent in by A-chin, the children's nurse.

Much was talked of the Tokugawa race, and some cruelty was shown to
their memory as a family of parvenus who had usurped the power
theoretically invested in the mikados--an usurpation practised over and
over again by every successful shogun, as by Yoritomo, Taikosama.
Indeed, the Ashikaga move through Japanese history against a background
of mikados. And when O---- comes in later he talks of Masashige, and of
others, who during centuries, at long intervals, attempted to realize
what has now been accomplished--the restoration of the mikado to his
ancient powers and rulership of twenty centuries ago.

Yes, the Tokugawa splendor was that of parvenus. Their half-divine
masters lie in no gilded shrines nor under monumental bronze, but buried
beneath the elements, their graves marked only by mounds or trees, as it
might have been with their earliest ancestors, the peaceful chieftains
of a primitive family: a simplicity recalled to-day by the little
fragment of dried fish that accompanies presents, in memory of the
original humility of the fishing tribes, the ancestors of this almost
over-cultivated race.

These Tokugawa, then, were parvenus, and naturally asked of art, which
lasts and has lasted and is to last, an affirmation of their new
departure. This splendor was made for them, and its delicious refinement
has not quite escaped that something which troubled me at Shiba--an
anxiety that all should be splendid and perfect, an unwillingness to
take anything for granted. And yet, by comparison, this looks like a
fairyland of refinement. What should we do when called to help a new man
to assist or to sweeten his acquired position? What vulgarity of
vulgarities should we produce? Think of the preposterous dwellings, the
vulgar adornments given to the rich; the second-hand clothing in which
newly acquired power is wrapped. The English cad, and the Frenchman not
good enough for home, put the finishing touch upon the proofs of culture
which are to represent them to their children.

I need not refer to what is seen in San Francisco as an example. At home
in New York we have more than are pleasant to think of. I know that some
may say that we have only what we deserve for thinking that we can
escape, in the laws that govern art, the rules that we have found to
hold in everything else.

Some years ago I told you how once a purveyor of decorations for the
millionaire, a great man in his line, explained to me how and why he had
met his clients half-way. "You despise my work," he said, "though you
are too polite to say so,"--for we were friendly in a manner,--"and yet
I can say that I am more thoroughly in the right than those who would
seek to give these men an artistic clothing fit for princes. Is there
anything more certain than that the artist represents his age, and is
all the greater for embodying it. Now that is what I do. You will say
that my work is not deeply considered, though it is extremely careful in
execution; that its aims are not high; that it is not sober; that it is
showy, perhaps even more; that it is loud occasionally--when it is not
tame; that it shows for all it is worth, and is never better than it
looks. And who, pray, are the people that live surrounded by what I
make? Are they not represented by what I do? Do they not want show of
such a kind as can be easily understood, refinement that shall not
remind others of a refinement greater than theirs, money spent largely,
but showing for every dollar? They want everything quick, because they
have always been in a hurry; they want it on time, whatever happens,
because they are accustomed to time bargains; they want it advertisable,
because they live by advertising; and they gradually believe in the
value of the pretenses they have made to others. They are not troubled
by what they feel is transient, because their experience has been to
pass on to others the things they preferred not to keep. They feel
suspicious of anything that claims or seems to be better than it looks;
is not their business to sell dearer than they buy? They must not be
singular, because they must fit into some place already occupied.

"I claim to have fully expressed all this of them in what I do, and I
care little for the envious contempt of the architects who have to
employ me and who would like to have my place and wield my influence.
And so I reflect my clients, and my art will have given what they are."

Thus the great German rolled out his mind with the Teutonic delight at
giving an appearance of pure intellect to the interested working of his
will--incidentally sneering at the peacock feathers, the sad-eyed dados,
the poverty-stricken sentimentality, half esthetic, half shopkeeper, of
his English rivals, or at the blunders in art which Mr. Stanford White
once called our "native Hottentot style."

Of course my German was merely using a current sophistry that is only
worth quoting to emphasize the truth.

Augustus, the greatest of all parvenus, did not ask of Virgil to recall
in verse the cruelties of civil war. No true artist has ever sought to
be degraded; no worker of the Middle Ages has reflected the brutality of
the world around him. On the contrary, he has appealed to its chivalry
and its religion. No treacherous adventurer of the Renaissance is
pictured in the sunny, refined architecture that was made for him. You
and I know that art is not the attempt at reflecting others, at taking
possession of others, who belong to themselves; but that it is an
attempt at keeping possession of one's self. It is often a protest at
what is displeasing and mean about us; it is an appeal to what is
better. That is its most real value. It is an appeal to peace in time of
brutal war, an appeal to courageous war in time of ignoble peace; it is
an appeal to the permanent reality in presence of the transient; it is
an attempt to rest for a moment in the true way.

We are augurs conversing together, and we can afford to laugh at any
respected absurdity. We know that cleverness is not _the way_ to the
reality; cleverness is only man's weak substitute for integrity, which
is from God.

All these words--miscalled ideas--poured out by my German friend and
his congeners are merely records of merchants' ways of looking at the
use of a thing, not at the thing itself. Such people are persuaded that
they must surely know about the thing they sell or furnish. If not they,
then who? For none can be so impartial, as none are so disinterested, in
the use of the thing sold.

It is too far back for you to remember the charming Blanco, the great
slave-dealer, but you may have heard of his saying, which covers the
side of the dealer. He had been asked why he felt so secure in his
judgment of his fellow-creatures, and especially of women. "Because,"
said he, "I have traded in so many"--_J'en ai tant vendu._ I have
sometimes quoted this saying to dealers in works of art, to dealers in
knowledge about art, without, however, any success in pleasing them. In
fact, one has no judgment of one's own in regard to anything sold that
is not a matter of utility until one feels quite thoroughly, as if it
were one's own, the sense of Talleyrand's treatment of the persuasive
dealer. I am sure that you do not know the story. Two friends of his,
ladies of rank, had chosen his study as a place of meeting. They wished
to select some ring, some bracelet, for a gift, and the great jeweler of
Paris was to send one of his salesmen with sufficient to choose from. Of
course the choice was soon limited to two, and there paused, until
Talleyrand, sitting at the farther end of the long library, called out,
"Let me undertake to help you to make your decision. Young man, of these
two trinkets tell me which you prefer." "This one, certainly, your
Excellency." "Then," ended the experienced cynic, "please accept it for
your sweetheart; and I think, ladies, that you had better take the
other." I tell you anecdotes; are they not as good as reasons?

Listen to what my Chinese writer says: "Of language put into other
people's mouths, nine-tenths will succeed. Of language based upon
weighty authority, seven-tenths. But language which flows constantly
over, as from a full goblet, is in accord with God. When language is put
into other people's mouths, outside support is sought. Just as a father
does not negotiate his son's marriage, for any praise he could bestow
would not have the same value as praise by an outsider. Thus the fault
is not mine, but that of others, who would not believe me as the
original speaker." Again, a story of China comes back to me, told by the
same writer, who lived before our purer era, and who was, as a Japanese
friend remarks, a strategist in thought, fond of side attacks, of
presenting some point apparently anecdotic and unimportant, which, once
listened to, turns the truthful mind into channels of fresh inquiry. The
anecdote is old, told by the old writer many centuries before Christ,
and before any reflections about art troubled our barbarian minds.

It is about a court architect who flourished in celebrity some
twenty-seven centuries ago, and who answered admiring queries as to how
he did such wonderful things. "There is nothing supernatural about it,"
he said. "I first free my mind and preserve my vitality--my dependence
upon God. Then, after a few days, the question of how much money I shall
make disappears; a few more days, and I forget fame and the court whose
architect I am; another day or so, and I think only of THE THING ITSELF.
Then I am ready to go into the forest"--the architect and the carpenter
were one then--"whose wood must contain the form I shall seek. As you
see, there is nothing supernatural about it."

Twenty-seven centuries ago the formula of all good work was the same as
it has been since. This looking for "the thing itself," not for the
formula to control it, enabled men who were great and men who were
little, far down toward us, far down into the times of the Renaissance
(until pedantry and night covered human freedom and integrity), to be
painters or poets, sculptors or architects, as the occasion required, to
the astonishment of our narrowed, specialized vision of the last two
hundred years.

Again, if I have not put it clearly enough in this story of the far
East, let me add another, which includes the meaning of the first. You
will forgive it in honor of the _genius loci_, for these writings of the
Chinese philosophers form a staple of conversation and discussion in
social gatherings of cultivated people here. The story is of the
greatest of Chinese rulers, the "Yellow Emperor" of some forty-seven
centuries ago. He was in pursuit of that law of things, that sufficient
ideal which is called "Tao" ("the Way"), and he sought it in the wilds
beyond the world known of China, in the fabulous mountains of Chu-tzu.
He was accompanied by Ch'ang Yu and Chang Jo, and others of whom I know
nothing; and Fang Ming, of whom I know nothing also, was their
charioteer. When they had reached the outside wilderness these seven
sages lost their way. By and by they fell in with a boy who was tending
horses, and they asked him if he knew the Chu-tzu Mountains. "I do,"
said the boy. "And can you tell us," said the sages, "where Tao, the
law, abides?" "I can," replied the boy. "This is strange," said the
Yellow Emperor. "Pray tell me how would you govern the empire?"

"I should govern the empire," replied the boy, "in the same way that I
tend my horses. What else should I do? When I was a little boy and lived
within the points of the compass my eyes grew dim. An old man advised me
to visit the wilderness outside of the world. My sight is now better,
and I continue to dwell outside of the points of the compass. I should
govern the empire in the same way. What else should I do?"

Said the Yellow Emperor, "Government is not your trade, but I should be
glad to learn what you would do." The boy refused to answer, but being
urged again, said: "What difference is there between governing the
empire and looking after horses? See that no harm comes to the horses;
that is all."

Thereupon the emperor prostrated himself before the boy; and calling him
divine teacher, took his leave.

I am writing these vagaries by the sound of the waterfall in our garden;
half of the _amados_ are closed; the paper screens near me I have left
open, and the moths and insects of the night flutter around my lamp in
orbits as uncertain as the direction of my thoughts. I have given up my
drawing; it is too hot to work. And I have already tired myself with
looking over prints and designs. Among them there is a sketch by Hokusai
which reminds me of the way in which my mind bestrides stray fancies
that float past. The picture is that of Tekkai (the beggar), the Sennin
exhaling his spiritual essence in a shadowy form, which shadow itself
often rides away upon the spirit horse that Chokwaro or Tsuga evokes
occasionally from his traveling-gourd.

To-day we talked of the legends of these Rishi or Sennin, whose
pictures so often come up in the works of Japanese artists.

Rishi or Sennin are beings who enjoy rest,--that is to say, are exempt
from transmigration,--often in the solitude of mountains for thousands
of years, after which delay they again enter the circle of change. If
they are merely human, as many of them are, they have obtained this
charm of immortality, which forms an important point in the
superstitious beliefs and practices of modern Taoism. These appear to
have no hold in Japan, as they have in China, but these personages,
evolutions of Taoist thought, live here at least in legend and in art.

The original mysticism from which they sprung is full of beauty and of
power. General Tcheng-ki-tong has recently stated it well, when he says
that Lao Tzŭ, its great antique propounder, speaks with the tone of a
prophet. He neither preached nor discussed, yet those who went to him
empty departed full. He taught the doctrine which does not find
expression in words, the doctrine of Tao, or the Way--a doctrine that
becomes untrue and unprofitable when placed in set forms and bound in by
pedantry, but which allows teaching by parables and side glimpses and
innuendoes as long as they are illuminated by that light which exists in
the natural heart of man. And I, too, am pleased to let myself be guided
by this light. After many years of wilful energy, of forced battle that
I have not shunned, I like to try the freshness of the springs, to see
if new impressions come as they once did in childhood. With you I am
safe in stating what has come to me from outside. It has come; hence it
is true: I did not make it. I can say with the Shadow, personified by my
expounder of the Way,[4] that when the light of the fire or the sun
appears, then I come forth; when the night comes, I lie still: I wait
indeed, even as they wait. They come and I come, they go and I go too.
The shade waits for the body and for the light to appear, and all things
which rise and wait wait upon the Lord, who alone waits for nothing,
needs nothing, and without whom things can neither rise nor set. The
radiance of the landscape illuminates my room; the landscape does not
come within. I have become as a blank to be filled. I employ my mind as
a mirror; it grasps nothing, it refuses nothing; it receives, but does
not keep. And thus I can triumph over things without injury to myself--I
am safe in Tao.

     [4] Prémare's "Notitia Linguæ Sinicæ," "4um exemplum. Sic inducit
     Tchouang-tsee umbram loquentem: Ego quidem existo, sed nescio qua
     ratione. Ego sum veluti cicadarum tunicæ et Serpentis spolia,"
     etc. If what I have written is ever seen by H. B. M.'s consul
     at Tamsui, he will perceive my present indebtedness to his most
     admirable translations.


                                                   NIKKO, August 2.

I fear that of all my description the refrain of the words gold and
bronze will be all that you will retain. How can I have any confidence
in my account of anything so alien, whose analysis involves the
necessary misuse of our terms, based upon another past in art?--for
words in such cases are only explanations or easy mnemonics of a
previous sight. But soon I shall have photographs to send, and if I can
summon courage for work, in this extreme heat and moisture, I shall make
some drawings. But again, these would not give the essential reasons for
things being as they are; and whatever strange beauties would be noted,
they might appear to have happened, if I may so say, and not to have
grown of necessity. It is so difficult for our average way of accepting
things to think of what is called architecture without expecting
structures of stone--something solid and evidently time-defying.

And yet, if architecture represents the needs of living of a people,
the differences that we see here will have the same reasonableness that
other devices show elsewhere. The extreme heat, the sudden torrents of
rain, will explain the far-projecting and curved roofs, the galleries
and verandas, the arrangements for opening or closing the sides of
buildings by sliding screens, which allow an adjustment to the heat or
the damp. But weightier reasons than all these must have directed in the
construction of such great buildings as the temples, and I think that,
putting aside important race influences, these sufficient reasons will
be found in the volcanic nature of Japan and its frequent earthquakes.
Whatever was to be built must have had to meet these difficult problems:
how successfully in the past is shown by a persistence of their
buildings which to us seems extraordinary, for many of them are lasting
yet in integrity for now over a thousand years.

I speak of the influences of race, because it is evident that very many
traditions, prejudices, and symbolic meanings are built into these
forms, and that many of them must have come through the teachings of
China. Everywhere the higher architecture, embodied in shrines and
temples, is based on some ideal needs, and not essentially upon
necessities; is, in fact, a record or expression of a religious idea or
mystery. In this case I am too profoundly ignorant, as most of us are,
to work out origins; but my mind feels the suggestion of an indefinite
past, that once had meanings and teachings, just as my eye recognizes in
the shape of the massive temples the image of a sacred box, or ark, once
to be carried from place to place. There is, perhaps, in this direction
a line of study for the men to come.

Like all true art, the architecture of Japan has found in the
necessities imposed upon it the motives for realizing beauty, and has
adorned the means by which it has conquered the difficulties to be
surmounted. Hence no foundations, which would compromise the
super-imposed building by making it participate in the shock given to
its base. Hence solid pedestals, if I may so call them, or great bases,
upon which are placed only, not built in, the posts which support the
edifice, leaving a space between this base and the horizontal beams or
floors of the building. The building is thus rendered elastic, and
resumes its place after the trembling of the earthquake, and the waters
of bad weather can escape without flooding any foundations.

The great, heavy, curved roof, far overhanging, weighs down this
structure, and keeps it straight. An apparently unreasonable quantity of
adjusted timber and beams supports the ceiling and the roof.
Complicated, tremendous corbelings, brackets grooved and dovetailed,
fill the cornices as with a network; but all these play an important
practical part, and keep the whole construction elastic, as their many
small divisions spread the shock.

Still more, in such a building as the charming pagoda at Iyéyasŭ's
shrine, which is full one hundred feet high, slight-looking and lithe,
the great beam or mast which makes its center does not support from the
base, but is cut off at the foundation; and hence it acts as a sort of
pendulum, its great weight below retarding the movement above when the
earthquake comes.

I have heard the whisper of a legend saying that the architect who
devised this, to correct the errors of a rival and partner, was poisoned
in due time, in jealous return. For those were happy times when
backbiting among artists took the more manly form of poisoning.

Now besides all this, which gives only the reason for the make of
certain parts which together form the unity of a single building, there
are other principles before us. The relation of man to nature, so
peculiarly made out in the Japanese beliefs, is made significant,
symbolized, or typified through the manner in which these buildings are
disposed. A temple is not a single unity, as with us, its own beginning
and end. A temple is an arrangement of shrines and buildings meaningly
placed, often, as here, in mountains--a word synonymous with temples;
each shrine a statement of some divine attribute, and all these
buildings spread with infinite art over large spaces, open, or inclosed
by trees and rocks. The buildings are but parts of a whole. They are
enveloped by nature, the principle and the adornment of the subtle or
mysterious meaning which links them all together.

Besides all this is the religious symbolism underlying or accompanying
all, as once with us, of which I know too little to speak, but which can
be felt and occasionally detected because of many repetitions. But this
would carry me beyond my limits; and, indeed, we find it very difficult
to obtain any more information from our instructors, whether they do not
know securely, or whether they reserve it for better minds and worthier
apprehensions. Nor do I object to this Oriental secrecy or mystery, as
it adds the charm of the veil, which is often needed.

And I should wish that soon some one might undertake to make out in full
the harmony of proportions which has presided over these buildings. It
is evident that a delicate and probably minute system of relations,
under the appearance of fantasy, produces here the sense of unity that
alone makes one secure of permanent enjoyment. My information on the
subject is fragmentary: I know that the elegant columns are in a set
relation to the openings of the temple; that the shape of these same
columns is in another relation to their exquisite details; that the
rafters play an important part, determining the first departure. I have
seen carpenter's drawings, with manners of setting out work and
measurements, and I feel that there is only a study to carry out.

Nor is my wish mere curiosity, or the interest of the antiquarian. What
we need to-day is belief and confidence in similar methods, without
which there is nothing for ourselves but a haphazard success; no
connection with the eternal and inevitable past, and none with a future,
which may change our materials, but will never change our human need for
harmony and order.

You have heard of the little gardens, and of their exquisite details,
in which the Japanese makes an epitome of nature, arranged as if for one
of his microscopic jewels of metals, ivory, or lacquer.

Here in our own garden there would seem no call for an artificial
nature. The mountain slope on which we live must have always been
beautiful of itself; but for all that, our garden--that is to say, the
space about our landlord's house and our own--has been treated with
extreme care. Our inclosure is framed towards the great temple groves,
and the great mountains behind them, by a high wall of rock, over which,
at a corner edged with moss, rolls a torrent, making a waterfall that
breaks three times. The pool below, edged with iris that grow in the
garden sand, is crossed by a bridge of three big flat stones, and
empties secretly away. On each side of the fall, planted in the rock
wall, stands a thick-set paulownia, with great steady leaves, and
bending towards it a willow, whose branches drop far below itself and
swing perpetually in the draught of the waterfall. Bunches of pink
azalea grow in the hollows of the rocks, and their reflections redden
the eddies of the pool. Steps which seem natural lead up the wall of
rock; old pines grow against it, and our feet pass through their
uppermost branches. On the top is planted a monumental stone, and from
there a little path runs along, leading nowhere nowadays, as far as I
can make out. I am right in calling this mass of rock, which is a spur
of the mountain's slope, a wall; for I look down from its top to the
next inclosure far below, now overgrown and wild. What is natural and
what was made by man has become so blended together, or has always been
so, that I can choose to look at it as my mood may be, and feel the
repose of nature or enjoy the disposing choice of art.

Where the little bridge crosses over, and where mossy rocks dip down a
little to allow a passage, edged by a maple and a pine, I look over
across the hidden road to a deserted _yashiki_, with one blasted tree,
all overgrown with green and melting into distances of trees which, tier
behind tier, reach to a little conical hill, that is divided and
subdivided by sheets of mist at every change of heat and damp, so that I
feel half as if I knew its forms perfectly--half as if I could never get
them all by heart.

In the sand of our little garden are set out clumps of flowers,
chrysanthemum mostly, and occasionally iris and azalea; and the two
houses make its other two sides. The priest's house, an old one, with
large thatched roof projecting in front and supported there by posts
covered with creepers, is nearer the water. I see the little priest with
his young neophyte curled on the mats in the big front room whose whole
face is open; while in a break, or wing, is the opening to the practical
housekeeper side of the dwelling.

Our own house, which faces south like the priest's, completes the
square, as I said. It is edged on the outside by a small plantation of
trees with no character, that stretch away to the back road and to a
wall terracing a higher ground behind. There a wide space overgrown with
bushes and herbage, that cover former care and beauty, spreads out
indefinitely toward conical hills hot in the sun, behind which rises the
great volcanic slope of Nio-ho. A little temple shrine, red, white, and
gold, stands in this heat of sunlight and makes cooler yet the violets
and tender greens of the great slopes. This is to the north. When I look
toward the west I see broad spaces broken up by trees, and the corner of
Iyéyasŭ's temple wall half hidden by the gigantic cedars, and as I
write, late in the afternoon, the blue peak of Nan-tai-san rounded off
like a globe by the yellow mist.

The garden, embosomed in this vastness of nature, feels small, as
though it were meant to be so. Every part is on a small scale, and needs
few hands to keep things in order. We have a little fountain in the
middle of the garden, which gives the water for our bath, and sends a
noisy stream rolling through the wooden trough of the wash-room. The
fountain is made by a bucket placed upon two big stones, set in a basin,
along whose edge grow the iris, still in bloom. A hidden pipe fills the
bucket, and a long, green bamboo makes a conduit for the water through
the wooden side of our house. With another bamboo we tap the water for
our bath. In the early morning I sit in the bath-room and paint this
little picture through the open side, while A----, upstairs in the
veranda, is reading in Dante's "Paradiso," and can see, when he looks
up, the great temple roof of the Buddhist Mangwanji.

Occasionally the good lady who takes care of our priest's house during
his weeks of service at the temple of Iyémitsŭ salutes me while at my
bath, for the heating of which her servant has supplied the charcoal.
She is already dressed for the day, and in her black silk robe walks
across the garden to dip her toothbrush in the running water of the
cascade. Then in a desultory way she trims the plants and breaks off
dead leaves, and later the gardener appears and attends to one thing
after another, even climbing up into the old pine tree, taking care of
it as he does of the sweet-peas; and I recall the Japanese gardener whom
I knew at our Exposition of 1876, as I saw him for the last time,
stretched on the ground, fanning the opening leaves of some plant that
gave him anxiety.

Thus the Japanese garden can be made of very slight materials, and is
occasionally reduced to scarcely anything, even to a little sand and a
few stones laid out according to a definite ideal of meaning. A
reference to nature, a recall of the general principles of all
landscapes,--of a foreground, a distance, and a middle distance; that is
to say, a little picture,--is enough. When they cannot deal with the
thing itself--when they do, they do it consummately--they have another
ideal which is not so much the making of a real thing as the making of a
picture of it. Hence the scale can be diminished, without detriment in
their eyes, until it becomes lilliputian to ours. All this I take to be
an inheritance from China, modified toward simplicity. I do not know to
what type our little garden belongs. For they have in their arrangements
manners of expressing ideas of association, drawing them from nature
itself, or bringing them out by references to tradition or history, so
that I am told that they aim to express delicate meanings which a
Western imagination can hardly grasp; types, for instance, conveying the
ideas of peace and chastity, quiet old age, connubial happiness, and the
sweetness of solitude. Does this make you laugh, or does it touch
you--or both? I wish I knew more about it, for I am sure that there is
much to say.

I have spoken of simplicity. The domestic architecture is as simple, as
transitory, as if it symbolized the life of man. You can see it all in
the drawings, in the lacquers, and it has recently been treated
completely in the charming book of Professor Morse. Within, the Japanese
house is simplicity itself; all is framework, and moving screens instead
of wall. No accumulations, no bric-à-brac; any lady's drawing-room with
us will contain more odds and ends than all that I have yet seen
together in Japan. The reserved place of honor, a sort of niche in the
wall, the supposed seat of an ideal guest, has upon its bench some
choice image on a stand, or a vase with elegant disposal of flowers or
plants, and above it the hanging roll with drawing or inscription.
Perhaps some other inscription or verse, or a few words on a tablet upon
some cross-beam, and perhaps a small folding screen. Otherwise all works
of art are put aside in the fireproof store-house, to be brought out on
occasions. The woodwork is as simple as it can be--occasionally, some
beautiful joinery; always, when it can be afforded, exquisite
workmanship; and, above all, exquisite cleanliness. For there are no
beds--only wadded coverlets and the little wooden pillow, which does not
disturb the complicated feminine coiffure in the languors of the night.
No tables; food is laid on the cleanly mats, in many trays and dishes.
No chairs; the same mats that serve for bedstead and table serve for
seats with, perhaps, a cushion added.

And this is all the same for all, from emperor's palace to little
tradesman's cottage. There is nothing, apparently, but what is
necessary, and refinement in disposing of that. The result is sometimes
cold and bare. There is the set look of insisting upon an idea--the idea
of doing with little: a noble one, certainly; as, for instance, when the
emperor's palace at Kioto is adorned merely by the highest care in
workmanship and by the names of the artists who painted the screen
walls--in solitary contradiction to the splendor and pomp of all
absolute rulers, no storehouse for the wasted money of the people, but
an example of the economy which should attend the life of the ruler. It
is possible that when I return I shall feel still more distaste for the
barbarous accumulations in our houses, and recall the far more civilized
emptiness persisted in by the more esthetic race.


                                                     NIKKO, August 12.

I need not tell you that the pervading manner of spending time and money
is always within our reach. We do not go after the owner and seller of
bric-à-brac; he comes to us.

Coming from afar,--from Tokio, a hundred miles away, and from Ozaka,
four times that distance,--bales of merchandise are unloaded at our
door, or at our friends' for us. Patient pack-horses stand in the
inclosure of the yards; big parcels, and piles of boxes and bundles,
encumber the verandas. Weary hours, beginning with excitement and ending
with gentle disappointment, are spent in indecision of judgment and
uncertainty of purchase. But there remains always at the bottom of the
boxes a delusive hope, and some treasure may perhaps reward our

And then, besides occasional beauties in color or design, there is
something in looking over all these débris of civilization in their own
home; and odds and ends, having not much more excuse for themselves than
that they remain, help to explain either the art or the habits of the
country, or its history, or the nature we see about us. We have found
almost nothing among the things brought us which can rank as work of
high art, and I am afraid that we must be looked down upon by our
friends for purchases which have no excuse in any lofty esthetic code.
But they have the charm of being there, and of explaining, and in
another way of teaching, even when they are bad, and often because they
are bad. Because their very poverty helps to a classification and to an
analysis of the means through which the artist worked, and to a
knowledge of the prevalent subjects and arrangements which he found
ready to his hand, bequeathed to him by an earlier and nobler choice.

From all this poor stuff exhales the faded scent of a greater art and
refinement, which is now invisible, or destroyed, or subsisting only in
fragments, difficult of access, or which are far away. And there is a
peculiar unity in the arts of the extreme East. We must remember that
this very sensitive Japanese race has developed in its art, as in
everything, without being subjected to the many direct and contradictory
influences which have made our Western art and civilization. There have
been here, within historic times, no vast invasions of alien races,
bringing other ways for everything in thought and in life, and obliging
an already complex civilization to be begun over and over again on
readjusted bases; no higher living and advanced thought obliged to yield
for times and half times, until the grosser flames of energy could be
purified; no dethronement, within society tried by every other calamity,
of the old primeval faith. Instead of a tempest of tastes and manners of
feeling blowing from every quarter, and in which the cruder dislikes
have held for centuries the balance against cultured likings and
devotion, Japan has been carried on in one current, in which have
mingled, so as to blend, the steady influences of the two most
conservative civilizations of India and of China.

All here to-day, and for far back, is interwoven with Chinese thought,
breaks through it, returns to it, runs alongside of it. And through
Buddhism, its fervor, its capacity for taking up in its course boulders
of other creeds or habits, a something different, higher in aspiration
and in form, has lived with everything else and affected all.

This impressionable race found, contrasting with and supporting its
nature, secure, steady, undeviating guides, so that these foreign ideals
have persisted here with a transplanted life. In fact, it is possible to
look to Japan to find something of what ancient China was. So much of
what has here been done, as their language does to-day, saves for us a
hint or a reflection of the great Chinese ages, when China had not yet
been conquered by the foreigner, and when energies apparently unknown to
the China of to-day flourished with the strength of youth. The art and
literature of Japan, therefore, represent in great part the Chinese
prototype--an original which for us has practically disappeared. We
cannot easily know what arrangements and compositions, what free
interpretations of the world, or severe imitations of nature, the old
Chinese adopted, but they are reflected or continued in the styles and
subjects and treatments of what we call Japanese. The limits and
definitions of each may be clear to the Japanese critic, but to our
casual Western eye they merge or derive one from the other, like some
little-known streams which make one river.

Almost all the arrangements that we know so well on Japanese drawings,
screens, bronzes, lacquers, ivories, etc., have Chinese prototypes. And
all this is over and above the constant use of Chinese legend, and
story, and philosophy, which are to Japan what Greece and Rome used to
be to us--a storehouse of associated meanings and examples.

Would it amuse you if I made out some of the types that you see?

Here are the pine-tree and the stork, emblems of long life; or the
bamboo and the sparrow, which typify the mildness and gentleness of

The willow waves in the wind to and fro, and the swallows swing forth
and back again.

The names of Color and of Love are joined by a similarity of sound, and
probably by a mystic association: and so you will see upon the screens
that the leaves of the maple turn red in autumn, when the stag calls the
doe. The cherry-blossom's splendor is for show, like the pheasant's

Long centuries ago the plum became the poet's tree, because of an early
poet's verses; and the nightingale, also a singer and a poet, is
associated with the tree.

The tiger hiding in the jungle has a background of bamboo, as the oxen
have the peach-tree, from an old Chinese sentence: "Turn the horse loose
on the flower-covered mountain, and the ox into the orchard of peaches."

The cock stands on the unused war-drum, which is a Chinese symbol of
good government, the aim of which is peace.

Or, again, legends and stories are referred to.

The cuckoo flies across the crescent of the moon, and the story of
Yorimasa is called up, who slew with bow and arrow the mysterious
monster that had tormented the life of the Mikado Narihito. I despair of
telling the story without great waste of words, and I half-regret having
chosen the example; but, perhaps, it is all the more Japanese for its

You must know that the Mikado--this was about the year 1153--had been
ill night after night with terrible nightmares, to the confusion of
his numerous doctors; and that his many feminine attendants had done
all they could to soothe him, to no avail. Every night, at the hour of
the Bull (two A. M., an hour when evil power is great), the dovecote
was fluttered by this fearful visitation. But, at length, either
these gentle dames or other watchers noticed that before each access
a cloud had drifted over the palace, and that, resting just above the
sleeping-apartments, two lights shone out from the dark mass. Then the
bells of the city temples sounded the hour of the Bull. The gentlemen
of the palace and the imperial guards were set on watch, the priests
prayed to ward off the evil influence; but uselessly. Then Yorimasa--a
brave warrior, a famous archer, one of the guards--was allowed, or
ordered, to try to destroy the evil thing, whatever it might be. He,
with a follower, watched nightly until the dark cloud and the shining
orbs were near, when the great bow of Yorimasa was discharged, and a
strange and wonderful beast fell blinded to the ground.

The sword of Yorimasa despatched it in nine separate blows, and the
thing,--said to have had something of the monkey, the tiger, and the
serpent,--was burned to ashes. For this Yorimasa was given the girl he
loved, the Lady Iris-flower (who, therefore, had not watched in vain),
and with her the celebrated sword called Shishino-o (King of Wild
Boars). Now the imperial deputy, as he presented this sword to Yorimasa,
tried him with a punning verse, while a cuckoo sang. This is what the
verse said:

"The cuckoo above the clouds, how does it mount?" But it meant, "Like
the cuckoo to soar so high, how is it so?" To which Yorimasa answered,
filling in the necessary couplet, "The waning moon sets not at will,"
which might also mean, in modest disclaimer of ambitious effort, "Only
my bow I bent; that alone sent the shaft." And so this moon stands in
the picture, as in the verses, for the bent bow of Yorimasa.

It is a shorter story, that which makes the allusion in the type of the
chrysanthemum and the fox. It is a variation of the perpetual story. The
prince royal of India had a lovely mistress, who had bewitched him, and
who fell asleep one day in a bed of chrysanthemums, where her lover shot
at and wounded a fox in the forehead. The bleeding temple of the girl
discovered the evil animal she really was. For the fox, as in China, is
in Japan a wicked animal, capable of everything in the way of
transformation and suggestion.

There are endless stories about him, and the belief or superstition is
still very strong. O---- was talking to us lately about the scorcerers
and spiritual mediums and fortune-tellers, and, as an explanation of the
power of some medium, told us that he claimed to have in his service
tame foxes. Only, when I asked where they might be lodged in the little
city house, he explained that they were not living in the body, and
therefore cumbersome, but were the spirits of foxes, thus subservient,
and able to penetrate everywhere and report.

The badger also is a misleading creature, and the cat is considered

Or take the way in which Hokusai refers to ancient story when, at the
end of one of his books, he makes a picture of the devoted knight Kojima
Takanori clad in armor, covered with the peasant's rain-cloak; and he is
writing on the trunk of the cherry-tree the message of warning for his
master, the Emperor Go-Daigo Tenno. But instead of the old verse,
Hokusai has put: "In the sixth year of the era Tempo, in the month of
April, my seventy-sixth year, this is written by me, formerly by name
Hokusai, but now more correctly known as 'The Old Man gone Mad for

Here I have been wandering into Japan, while my theme was rather the
persistence of Chinese subjects, or of subjects connected with China,
the list of which would be endless, from Shoki, the devil-killer,
hunting his prey of imps over sword-guards and round the corners of
boxes, to pictures of aphorisms, such as this saying of Confucius, of
which I found a drawing yesterday: "Avoid even the appearance of evil;
do not stop to tie your shoes in the melon-patch of an enemy." And so
these innumerable subjects are common property, and serve as a field
for the artist to try to be himself, to bring out the story or part of
it, or his way of looking at it, or its decorative capacity, or any way
of anchoring the Japanese imagination. I cannot say that for many of the
ordinary arrangements, the most simple and conventional, one does not
often suffer the boredom of repetition, as we do at home, with the eagle
and the stars, and armorial bearings, and the stereotyped symbolism of
churches. But it suffices to see the thing well done again, to start
once more into some new enjoyment of the choice of subject.

So there can exist with regard to these subjects, apparently mere
motives of form, and partly because they are conventional, a deeper
convention or meaning, more or less visible to the artist when at work,
according to his temperament or his school, as in our poetry, where an
idea may or may not be overlaid with realistic or esthetic decoration.

I reach out for the first design that my hand can find, which turns out
to be a drawing by Chin-nan-pin. I have chosen at haphazard, but the
choice is perhaps all the better. We shall have no example of a great
man to deal with, but merely the work of a remarkable Chinaman who,
somewhere in the early eighteenth century, happened to come to Japan, or
to be born there, so as to fit into a certain Chinomania then prevalent.
The photograph that I send you is a poor one. You can merely discern the
pattern, or what might be called the masses, of the design. A horse is
tied to a tree,--a horse of Japan,--and a monkey slides down the trunk
and clutches at the halter that prevents escape. I need not ask you to
admire the stealthy and yet confident step of the ape, and the motions
and repugnance and fright of the horse. I don't think that they could be
better given. Withal, there is a gravity of general outline and
appearances, and a pleasantly managed balance of the full and empty
spaces. But these decorative points are not those I wish to refer to
just now.

What I wish to indicate now is that this subject, which might have
suited a Dutchman for realism and for its choice of the accidental, will
mean, if you wish to see it, the natural resistance and struggle of the
inferior nature against a superior mastery which it does not understand,
and which at first appears capricious and unreasonable. Without being
quite certain of the accuracy of my definition, I know that the design
is based upon a like convention.

  [Illustration: PAINTING BY CHIN-NAN-PIN.]

This may not be spirituality, but how far it is from what we call
realism, and how wise the acceptance by the artist of a convention which
allows him to give all his energies to a new interpretation, through his
own study of nature! As with those who have chosen distinctly religious
subjects, and whose vitality and personality can triumph and coexist
with the absence of novelty in the theme, so the artist in more ordinary
subjects may be wise in keeping to themes which are known to those whom
he addresses, and in which they can fully grasp and enjoy his success.
These general themes allow a stricter individuality in the artist who
uses them, when he is capable, and make his want of individuality
tolerable, and even laudable and pleasant, when, like most of us, he has
little of his own. Then he can never be so offensive if we do not like
him. Those that we do not like are often offensive because their
personal vanity appears upon a solid ground of their own stupidity.
Perhaps this is why the Japanese _objet d'art_ never offends, at least
in the older work done under the general influences that have obtained
with the race.

Hence, also, their astonishing variety. A thousand times, many thousand
times, you will have seen the same subject, but never the same
rendering, never the same _object_, twice repeated. That is to say, that
whenever it is worth while we can get at the most valuable and costly
part of the work of art, the humanity that made it, the love of
something that went with the work. It is this that makes the mystery of
the charm of innumerable little pieces of older work, like the
metal-work that belongs to the old swords, any one of which is superior
to anything that we do, unless in the rare cases when we bring in the
expensive life of a great master to rival it--some part of the work left
by a Barye, a Cellini, a Pisano.

All that our great men have done is exactly opposite to the tendency of
our modern work, and is based on the same ground that the Japanese has
lived and worked on--_i. e._, the reality and not the appearance, the
execution and not the proposition of a theme. The whole principle is
involved in the analysis of, say, a successful study from nature--a
beautiful painting, for instance, of a beautiful sky. In such a case the
subject is all provided; the importance of the result depends upon the
artist's sensitiveness to the facts supplied to him, upon his use of his
hereditary and acquired methods of recording them, and upon his personal
variation of those methods. No one dreams of praising the art of the sky
itself, that is to say, the fact that the facts existed; to praise the
artist for the thing having occurred from which he worked. It is this
apparent want of comprehension of the first principles of the plastic
arts in our poor work, and in a vast proportion of our best, that makes
any reasonable man a pessimist as to our near future. Every poor element
of our civilization is against it, and our influences are now
deteriorating the art of Japan. We value material or the body instead of
workmanship or the right use of the body; and instead of style and
design, the intellect and the heart. To us a gold object seems
spiritually precious, and we hesitate at working in other than costly
materials. To the Japanese workman wood and gold have been nothing but
the means to an end. We had rather not do anything than do anything not
enduring, so that when our materials are difficult, the life has flown
that was to animate them; the Japanese is willing to build a temporary
architecture, and make a temporary lacquer, which holds more beauty and
art than we to-day manage to get in granite or in metal.

And when the Oriental workman takes the hardest surfaces of steel or of
jade, he has had the preparations for using it with mastery; it is again
plastic and yielding for him, as the less abiding materials have been
before. Nor would the Japanese artist understand the point of view of
many of our men, who do their best to put an end to all art, so lost are
they in our vanity of "advertisement." The Japanese would never have
invented the idea of doing poorly the work one is forced to do to live,
so as to reserve vast energy for more important or influential work that
might draw attention to him. The greater part of our "decoration" is
carried out just the contrary way to his. Our artists accept as a
momentary curse the fact that to live they may have to draw patterns, or
work in glass, or paint or model subsidiary ornamentation. They look
forward to the glorious time when they may wreak their lofty souls in
the dignity of paint mixed with the sacred linseed oil, or in the statue
done in bronze or carved in marble by other hands than theirs. And yet
if their nature be not too far removed from ours, the habit of doing
less than their best, the habit of doing poorly, the scorn of anything
but the fine clothes of a fine material, will never be gotten over, and
throughout this little cheapness of soul, this essential snobbishness,
will be felt to puzzle and disconcert those who wish to admire.

That is to say, that they too often do not look to the end, but to the
means, while to the artist the means are a mere path--as with the
Greeks, whose work will live, even if its very physical existence is
obliterated, because it is built in the mind, in the eternity of
thought. So Greek art existed, and has lived, and lives, the most
flourishing and richest that we know of--with less to represent it than
we turn out daily. So it lived, when it had no longer anything of its
own body to represent it, in everything that was done in every country
which kept its lessons; and lives still, without examples to refer to,
even into the very painting of to-day. It is the principle of the proper
place of means that makes the little piece of Japanese metal-work--for
instance, the sword-guard or the knife-handle--an epitome of art,
certainly a greater work of art than any modern cathedral. And as
certainly we shall never even produce good ordinary ornamental work
until we feel the truth that I have lamely indicated.

"I might perhaps do as well as this," said an intelligent architect, as
we looked at some excellent but not noblest details of French
Renaissance, "but how could I spend the time on it? And not only that,
but how could I have spent the time previous to this in doing other
similar work to train me? I can only make a project, have it carried out
by the best commercial firm, not anxious to change the course of trade,
and shut my eyes to the result. I should never be criticized, because I
did not give more than my bargain." And yet to give more than your
bargain is merely to give art.

Look at this little _netsuke_,[5] or _inro_,[6] or sword-guard, and
follow the workman as you admire each detail of the execution. He has
chosen some subject or some design which may have an associated meaning,
or may be of good omen, and bear good wishes, or he may have chosen out
of the entire world of observation, of fancy, or of tradition; and may
have chosen just as much because it fits well the space which he has to

He will take as well a design that has been used a hundred times as a
newer one. For he has to _reinvent_ it in execution, even as the Greek
sculptor who recut again the "egg and dart," or the orator who is to
expound and carry out to success some argument all ready in his mind--as
the old architect who rebuilt a glorious Greek temple upon the rules and
canons of proportion that others had used before him. But he has to see
that this design in his mind--or nearer yet, perhaps on paper--shall fit
the spaces of the material and of the object which he is to make, so
that it shall be made, as it were, for that place only. He will then go
again to nature,--perhaps working directly from it, perhaps only to his
memory of sight,--for remember, that in what we call working from
nature--we painters--we merely use a shorter strain of memory than when
we carry back to our studios the vision that we wish to note. And more
than that, the very way in which we draw our lines, and mix our
pigments, in the hurry of instant record, in the certainty of successful
handling, implies that our mind is filled with innumerable memories of
continuous trials.

The workman then goes to nature, and finds in it the reality and the
details of his design, even, let us say, to the very markings of a tree
trunk that he has chosen: they are all there, since they exist in the
design, and the design is good. But they exist only in so far as they
exist also in the ivory that he cuts--in the veining of the
tortoise-shell or malachite that is to render it. Now with patient
pleasure he can hunt out these associations; he can use gold, or silver,
or vulgar lead, or lacquer, or the cutting and filing of steel, or the
iridescence of mother-of-pearl for his leaves, or his stems, or the
water, or the birds,--for the clouds or the moonlight,--for the sunshine
and the shadow,--for the light and dark,--for the "male and female" of
his little manufactured world.

These he will model, chisel, sink, or emboss as the story needs, and do
it coarsely, or loosely, or minutely, or delicately, as the unity of his
little world requires. And he will work in a hurry, or work slowly, he
will varnish it and rub it down, and polish it again, and bake it many
times, and let it weather out of doors, or shut it up carefully from the
smallest track of dust, or bathe it in acids or salts, and all this for
days and months in the year. And when he has finished,--because to do
more or less would not be to finish it,--he has given me, besides the
excellency of what we call workmanship, which he must give me because
that is the bargain between us--he has given me his desires, his
memories, his pleasures, his dreams, all the little occurrences of so
much life. As you see, he is following the law of _Tao_, so that however
humble his little world, it has a life of its own which cannot be
separated from its materials; no picture of it, no reproduction, will
give its full charm, any more than a photograph gives that of a human
being. Take out the word Japanese wherever I have put it, take out the
actual materials that I have mentioned, and the description and the
reasoning will apply. That is all there is to any work of art. It does
not exist in a fine abstract of intention--nor again in the application
of some method of toil--to define "technic," as so many young idiots
most excusably try to persuade themselves. It exists in an individual
result with origins so powerful and deep that they are lost in shade.

To go on, I wish to put it that the same reasons will cause the artist,
then, to elaborate profusely, to work in long patience, to use precious
materials, to work slightly or carelessly, to finish his work with
minute details, or to sketch rapidly with the end of a brush filled with
the single color of India ink.

There is no difference in reality; there is only the question of the
kind of interest he wishes to evoke, the sort of relation he wishes to
establish between himself and his work, and incidentally to me, the

I am afraid that this hazy weather is affecting the sequence of my
dreaming, or what I am pleased to call my thought, so that you may not
clearly understand me.

Again I wish you to remark that in all fullness of work other things are
suggested than those directly represented, upon the same principle, for
the same reasons, that the successful sketch, as I said before, is
richer than it looks. Hence the suggestion of color when there is really
but black and white; hence the suggestion of modeled light and shadow
when there is really but flat color and outlines. Hence the success of
all great periods in what we call decorative work, because there was no
separation; there was merely art to be used to fill certain spaces, and
to recall the fact that it was so used.

Many years ago I used to read Mr. Ruskin, when "my sight was bad, and I
lived within the points of the compass," and also the works of other
men, who laid down the exact geography and the due distances, north and
south, of a certain department or land of art which they called
"Decoration." Some of them are not yet dead. The light of _Tao_ fell
upon the subject from the words of a child who had been listening to a
talk in which I and others wiser than myself were trying to follow out
these boundaries that outlined "true" methods of decorative art, and
kept to the received instructions of abstention from this and that, of
refraining from such and such a reality, of stiffening the flow of
outline, of flattening the fullness of modeling, of turning our backs on
light and shade, of almost hating the surface of nature; and we wondered
that when our European exemplars of to-day had fulfilled every condition
of conventionality, had carefully avoided the use of the full methods of
art, in the great specialties of painting and sculpture, their glorious
work had less stuff to it than a Gothic floral ornament or a Japanese
painted fan. "Father," said the child, "are you not all making believe?
Is the Japanese richness in their very flat work so different from what
you can see in this sketch by my little brother? See how his tree looks
as if it had light and shadow, and yet he has used no modeling. He has
used only the markings of the tree and their variation of color to do
for both. He has left out nothing, and yet it is flat painting."

Nor have the Japanese _left out_ things. They have not been forced to
overstudy any part, so as to lose the look of free choice, to make the
work assume the appearance of task-work--the work of a workman bored,
nobly bored perhaps, but still bored, a feeling that is reflected in the
mind of the beholder. The Japanese artist makes his little world,--often
nothing but an India-ink world,--but its occupants live within it. They
are always obedient to all the laws of nature that they know of.

However piercing the observation of actual fact, its record is always a
synthesis. I remember many years ago looking over some Japanese drawings
of hawking with two other youngsters, one of them now a celebrated
artist, the other a well-known teacher of science. What struck us then
was the freedom of record, the acute vision of facts, the motions and
actions of the birds, their flight, their attention, and their resting,
the alertness and anxiety of their hunters, and the suggestions of the
entire landscapes (made with a few brush-marks). One saw the heat, and
the damp, and the dark meandering of water in the swamps; marked the dry
paths which led over sounding wooden bridges, and the tangle of weeds
and brush, and the stiff swaying of high trees. All was to us realism,
but affected by an unknown charm.

Now this is what the artist who did this realism has said, as well as I
can make it out: "The ancient mode must be maintained. Though a picture
must be made like the natural growth of all things, yet it lacks taste
and feeling if it simulates the real things."

Evidently the painter had not learned our modern distinctions of the
realist and the idealist.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you wished to know what I admire most in these forms of art, I might
say to you, keeping, I hope, within the drift of what I have been
writing, that it is their obedience to early rules which were once based
on the first primeval needs of the artist. And if you pushed me further,
and wished to make me confess what I thought that these necessities
might be, and to make me give you a definition of them, and thereby
force me into a definition of art itself, I should hesitatingly state
that I do not like to define in matters so far down as causes. But if
you would not tell, or take advantage of my having been drawn into such
a position of doctrine, I might acknowledge that I have far within me a
belief that art is the love of certain balanced proportions and
relations which the mind likes to discover and to bring out in what it
deals with, be it thought, or the actions of men, or the influences of
nature, or the material things in which necessity makes it to work. I
should then expand this idea until it stretched from the patterns of
earliest pottery to the harmony of the lines of Homer. Then I should say
that in our plastic arts the relations of lines and spaces are, in my
belief, the first and earliest desires. And again I should have to say
that, in my unexpressed faith, these needs are as needs of the soul, and
echoes of the laws of the universe, seen and unseen, reflections of the
universal mathematics, cadences of the ancient music of the spheres.

For I am forced to believe that there are laws for our eyes as well as
for our ears, and that when, if ever, these shall have been deciphered,
as has been the good fortune with music, then shall we find that all
best artists have carefully preserved their instinctive obedience to
these, and have all cared together for this before all.

For the arrangements of line and balances of spaces which meet these
underlying needs are indeed the points through which we recognize the
answer to our natural love and sensitiveness for order, and through this
answer we feel, clearly or obscurely, the difference between what we
call great men and what we call the average, whatever the personal charm
may be.

This is why we remember so easily the arrangement and composition of
such a one whom we call a master--that is why the "silhouette" of a
Millet against the sky, why his placing of outlines within the rectangle
of his picture, makes a different, a final, and decisive result,
impressed strongly upon the memory which classifies it, when you compare
it with the record of the same story, say, by Jules Breton. It is not
the difference of the fact in nature, it is not that the latter artist
is not in love with his subject, that he has not a poetic nature, that
he is not simple, that he has not dignity, that he is not exquisite; it
is that he has not found in nature of his own instinct the eternal
mathematics which accompany facts of sight. For indeed, to use other
words, in what does one differ from the other? The arrangement of the
idea or subject may be the same, the costume, the landscape, the time of
day, nay, the very person represented. But the Millet, if we take this
instance, is framed within a larger line, its spaces are of greater or
more subtle ponderation, its building together more architectural. That
is to say, all its spaces are more surely related to _one another_, and
not only to the _story told_, nor only to the _accidental occurrence_ of
the same. The eternal has been brought in to sustain the transient.

For fashions change as to feelings and sentiments and ways of looking at
the world. The tasks of the days of Angelico, or of Rubens, or of Millet
are not the same; religions live and disappear; nations come and go in
and out of the pages of history: but I can see nothing from the earliest
art that does not mean living in a like desire for law and order in
expression. It is, therefore, because we consciously or unconsciously
recognize this love of the unwritten harmonies of our arts, the power of
recalling them to us, in some painter or in some architect, that we say
that such a man is great. He is great because he is the same as man has
been, and will be; and we recognize, without knowing them by name, our
ancestral primordial predilections.

Yes, the mere direction or distance of a line by the variation of some
fraction of an inch establishes this enormous superiority--a little more
curve or less, a mere black or white or colored space of a certain
proportion, a few darks or reds or blues. And now you will ask, Do you
intend to state that decoration--? To which I should say, I do not mean
to leave my main path of principles to-day, and when I return we shall
have time to discuss objections. Besides, "I am not arguing; I am
telling you."

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the unity, this is the reality, which disengages itself from the
art of Japan, even as we know it in common, through what we usually call
"bric-à-brac." Our introduction to it is rather curious when one comes
to think of it. Suddenly, owing to enormous social changes in Japan,
involving vast fluctuations in fortunes, most of all that was portable
was for sale, and flooded our markets. Ignorant dealers held in masses
small treasures of temples, adornments of the wealthy, all the odds and
ends of real art, along with the usual furniture, along with all the
poor stuff that would naturally be made for us barbarians, and had been
made for us for centuries through the trade of Holland. It was as if
Paris or London had suddenly been unloaded of everything portable, from
works of art to household furniture. Naturally the main-spring of it
all,--the works of great draftsmen, for instance,--being more debatable,
more inexplicable, more useless, in a word, or detained by stronger
bands, just as it would be with us, have somewhat escaped the drain. Our
perceptions have been confused in all this mixture by repetitions,
imitations, which in every form of art, as we know so well in
literature, degrade the perception and enjoyment of what is good. I can
only wonder that the world has not been tired out and disgusted with
Japanese bric-à-brac. And had we not been in such bad straits of taste
ourselves, such would have been the case. I have always considered that
the artist needed to be forgiven for his turn toward bric-à-brac; not
for his liking to have odds and ends for help and refreshment, but for
having too many; because his life is to make, not to collect. To others,
that can be forgiven easily; for the pieces of the past are a
consolation of the present, and one would like to feel that a man's
likings are his important self, and are betrayed by his choices.
"Dis-moi ce que tu aimes--je te dirai ce que tu es."

If one had time and did not do, what pleasure it might be to describe
forever the innumerable objects and things that might be found here,
even though words are a poor rendering of sight. And what pleasure it
might be to try to describe the greatest of all bric-à-brac, the
greatest remains of the higher arts--sculpture and painting.

I have begun some such letter for you, but I fear that it may never be
finished. Nor do I see any way of giving an account of the history of
painting in Japan, which would have to stand for a still further
explanation. Should I study it further, can I do more than to increase
my own knowledge,--and all knowledge is a burden,--and to give you
cursory proof, by names and a few examples, that the art of painting and
the art of sculpture are very old here? I should have to begin to ask
myself for you if the earliest remains do not already prove still
earlier schools and accepted or debated tradition, and I should then
have still one thousand years of design to account for.

I shall probably leave my letter to you unfinished. It has already
become unwieldy, and I could give you only my own impressions. And then
in the history of art everything is needed.

  [Illustration: SIGNATURE OF HOKUSAI.]

It would not be merely reproduction in words, however beautiful, of the
surfaces of works that have survived time, nor of the men who made them,
of their characters, the accidents of their lives, and their technical
beliefs. It would be simply a history of humanity at a given place. It
could not be solved by a mere account of the place and the race,
according to some of our later scientific fads. I was writing to you but
yesterday, and trying to make out that the work of art is often a
contradiction of the period, or a step in advance; that the moods of
feeling of the future are as often reflected by art as the habits of the
present. But whatever personal sense of solitariness or of antagonism
has inspired or oppressed the artist, he must have had partners since he
has had admirers, even when he antagonizes his time. However transient
certain of his forms, however much to us who come afterward they
indicate the _period_, he has expressed not his time, but the needs of
others who have been looking in the same ways, and yet have had no
voice. And even if they have not quite sympathized, the accumulations
of like tendencies have become stronger and clearer in their
descendants. To reflect fully, then, in words, the face of the work of
art, one would have to melt into it in some way the gaze of those who
have looked at it; to keep upon it still the gentle looks of the pitiful
and the loving, the rapt contemplation of the saints, the tender or
mocking smile of women, the hard or contemptuous appreciation of rulers,
the toleration of the wise, all of which have been in reality a part of
the very work. Their negations or sympathies have fallen on the work,
and these ineffable delicacies of impression are transmitted in it to
successive generations, even as the shadowing of innumerable years of
incense-burning has browned the gold and blackened the azure, as
concealment in the shade has sometimes paled, sometimes preserved, the
edges of the outlines and the modeling of the colors, or exposure and
heat and damp have cracked and channeled and dusted all surfaces. You
see what I should consider a true carrying out of such a task, and how
unsatisfied I should be with anything that I could accomplish, unless it
were to stand to you as something fragmentary and evanescent. One thing
I should like to do,--should I remain long enough, and be able to get it
from the few acquaintances who may know,--and that is, to save some part
of the artists themselves out of that obscurity by which the lives of
great workers are almost always clouded. To me Rembrandt, and Balzac,
and Delacroix, each contradictory to his surroundings, have become more
intelligible through the record of their every-day struggle, the
exactness of measurement which one can place upon the personal
circumstances in which they carried out their work, the limitations of
its exact meaning and importance in their own eyes, as we follow them in
the daylight of favor, or in the gloomy endings that so often close the
lives of great artists.

I hear occasionally of the wanderings of Kano Motonobu, the founder
of the great school and family of artists who have lasted through four
centuries to the present day, and have filled Japan and the temples
here with works better or poorer, until the family name becomes a
burden. I hear about Okio, the charmer, the painter of everything and
of animals, who began as a little child, by sketching on the earth with
bamboo sticks when he followed his parents into the fields to work. One
might perhaps learn about Hokusai, who is tabooed here, and about whom
I dare not inquire, but whose charming last letter, as given by Mr.
Morse, comes back to my memory--it is so gay and so sad, so triumphant
over circumstances, so expressive of the view of the world which
explains his woodcuts. I quote from memory: "King Em-mā" (he writes
to a friend)--"King Em-mā" (the ruler of the under world) "has become
very old, and is thinking of retiring from business; so that he has
ordered a little country house to be built, and he asks of me to come
to him that I may paint him a 'kakemono'; so that in a few days I must
be ready to travel and to take my sketches with me. I shall take up my
residence at the corner of the Street of the Under World, where it will
give me much pleasure to receive thee, when thou hast the opportunity
to come over there."

Or this mocking challenge to old age, at the end of one of the volumes
of his pictures of Fuji:

"Since my sixth year I have felt the impulse to represent the form of
things; by the age of fifty I had published numberless drawings; but I
am displeased with all I have produced before the age of seventy. It is
at seventy-three that I have begun to understand the form and the true
nature of birds, of fishes, of plants, and so forth. Consequently, by
the time I get to eighty, I shall have made much progress; at ninety, I
shall get to the essence of things; at a hundred, I shall have most
certainly come to a superior, undefinable position; and at the age of a
hundred and ten, every point, every line, shall be alive. And I leave it
to those who shall live as I have myself, to see if I have not kept my
word. Written, at the age of seventy-five, by me, formerly known as
Hokusai, but now known as Gakyo Rojin (The Old Man gone Mad for

... I had been intending to add, when I interrupted myself some way
back, that I enjoyed in this art of Japan--at least in this drawing
which they call painting--the strange nearness I seem to be in to the
feelings of the men who did the work. There is between us only a thin
veil of consummate skill. The habit and the methods resulting from it,
of an old obedience to an unwritten law common to all art, have asked
for the directest ways of marking an intention or an observation.


This reference to a previous tradition of meaning, of ideal arrangement
by rule, this wish for synopsis, this feeling for manners of expressing
one's self in the thing seen, will naturally make art out of anything.
And it is not wonderful that what we call handwriting may then give full
play to art, in a written language of which ideography is the key.
Given the Chinese characters, their original intentions, the
associations, historical and literary, connected with them, is it
anything strange in reality, however strange to our habits, to find
writing a form of art in Japan? It may have all I have just referred to,
and be full of the meaning of ideas, and be literature, and then it can
be made conformable to the laws of beauty of form and spacing; and above
all, to give character of style, and character of personality, to look
more or less grave, or elegant, or weighty, according to circumstances,
be elegiac, or lyric, or epic, and reflect on its face the intentions of
the text. And again it will be the mark or _sign_ of the person; so that
my Japanese friends can object to Hokusai's bad writing, as betraying
something not refined, for a weighty argument against his other works
done with a similar implement, the brush, which is the pen of the far

It will then be in what we call drawing--which is an abstraction, the
synopsis of the outlines of things meeting together, of their relative
intensities, of their own colors, of their relations to the place they
are in, that is to say, the picture--that this art of Japan, the
daughter of the art of China, will attain its highest form; so that in
reality those of us who think of it as appearing at its best only in
color, in external charm, have not understood it. An etching of
Rembrandt could fairly be said to represent, not so much in itself, but
in its essence, what a great Chinaman would have liked to do in India
ink--the material of all others which, even to us, is his especially.
The line, the abstract line of Rembrandt, its elegance, its beautiful
patterning of the surface, is concealed to us by the extraordinary
richness of some of his modeling and the extreme gradations of what we
call light and shade. But it is there all the same, as a geologic
foundation, in the same way that inside of the Titian's splendor of
surface there is a decorative substructure as well balanced and fixed
as a Venetian brocade--just as the works of other great colorists, as we
call them (to designate more complex men), imply, in their constitution
and the mechanism of their technic, powers of design and drawing
sufficient to furnish out armies of such draftsmen as flourish, for
instance, in the Paris of to-day. It is this surplus of richness that
conceals the identity. Our arts have undertaken an enormous accession of
truths and ambitions upon which the arts of the extreme East have never
ventured. They have attained their end, the end of all art, at an
earlier mental period. They are younger, perhaps even more like
children, and their work cannot involve the greater complications of
greater age; but it has also all that grasp of the future that belongs
to youth, and that has to be accompanied by deficiencies of knowledge;
that is to say, of later acquirement and the practice of good and evil.
And it is impossible to look at the expression of nature, or of any
intention made by the child in full sincerity, without realizing that
the aim of the artist, be he even Michael Angelo, is to return to a
similar directness and unity of rendering. Not that the Eastern artist,
any more than the child, could be conscious of deficiencies of which he
had not thought. He has been satisfied, as we have been satisfied, but
for a longer time and under a greater prestige. As the fruit painted by
the Greek deceived the birds, and the curtain painted by the Greek
painter deceived his fellow-artist, so the horses of Kanaoka have
escaped from their "kakemonos," and the tigers sculptured in the
lattices of temples have been known to descend at night and rend one
another in the courtyards. O---- tells me the Chinese story of the
painter forced to let go his painting of the moon for a nominal sum to
repay an oppressive money-lender, and how, when the banker happened to
unroll it, the whole room was illumined, and he grew into a habit of
spending evenings in the mild effulgence of the painted rays. But when,
after an absence, he looked at it again, the moon was gone,--where old
moons go,--and he was enraged at the painter, though he might well have
noticed that for many days the moon had not been so bright, and indeed
had seemed to be ill drawn. O---- tells me that the artist got it back
for little, and waited the necessary number of days to have its crescent
reappear again; and A---- says that, though the picture is lost to-day,
he hopes to find it again in China in following years.


These stories serve as a way of stating to you that as long as new wants
were not felt, newer accuracies did not begin to exist, and these
limitations are naturally seen to be more easily put up with in a
civilization of uninterrupted tradition. To acquire something when one's
hands are full, something has to be dropped. In the stations of our own
progress in art, the advance has at every stage involved some
deficiency, or failure, or weakening on another side. This is the only
explanation I can make for painting in the extreme East not having taken
up portraiture--that is to say, not having triumphed in it, while
sculpture has reached out toward it in a splendid way. We have seen the
same thing in the transition from the Middle Ages, when sculpture
outreaches painting in the direction of reality. But then sculpture is
to a certain extent easier and in a certain way inferior, because it
gives a sort of duplicate of the object, not a relation of it to other

So that the Japanese have not come to the work from the "model," which
has at so many periods and so long been ours. Theirs are types of types;
they are not, as with us, persons, and the pursuit of beauty in the
individual has not been followed apparently by the art of the far East.
The personal love and preference of the artist embodied in another
person their art does not show; nor have their artists given a nameless
immortality to certain human beings, so that for ages their types, their
images, their moods, their characters, their most transitory variations
of beauty, have been proposed to us as an example. Have you ever
reflected how the nameless model reigns in the memory of man with a
personal fame more intimate than that of Cheops, or Helen, or Cæsar,
because the artist has been obliged to build upon this person his own
dream of the world--as with the Roman girl who is the Madonna of San

... So, again, the Eastern artists have suggested, and implied, and used
light and shade, and perspective, and anatomy, and the relations of
light to color, and of color to light, only so much as they could take
into their previous scheme.

In many cases their success is still an astonishment to us. Certainly
their records of motion, their construction of plants and flowers and
birds, we have all appreciated; and their scientific, easy noting of
colored light in landscape made even Rousseau dream of absorbing its
teaching into his pictures, which certainly represent the full Western
contradictory idea, in the most complicated acceptance of every

The artist here, then, has not made separate analytical studies of all
the points that trouble us, that have cost at times some acquirement of
the past, in the anxiety for working out a new direction; as to-day, for
instance, in learned France, where the very art of painting, as a mirror
of the full-colored appearance of things, has for a quarter of a century
been in peril, under the influence of the academy drawing-school, the
model in studio light, and the vain attempt to rival the photograph. And
perhaps it is needless to repeat again how we have lost the sense of
natural decoration and expression of meaning by general arrangement of
lines and spaces, so that again in France we are astonished at M. Puvis
de Chavannes, who uses powers that have once been common to almost all
our race.

Here the artist does not walk attired in all the heavy armor which we
have gradually accumulated upon us. His learning in side issues is not
unnecessarily obtruded upon me, so as to conceal the sensitiveness of
his impressions or the refinement of his mind. As for us, we have
marched on in a track parallel to science, striving now for centuries to
subdue the material world--to get it into the microcosm of our
paintings. Each successive great generation has taken up the task,
heavier and heavier as time goes on, halting and resting when some new
"find" has been made, working out a new discovery often with the risk of
the loss of a greater one.

But how often the processes have covered up what is most important,--to
me at least,--the value of the individual, his aspirations, and indeed
the notions or beliefs that are common between us.

Sometimes this covering has been sordid and mean, pedantic or
unesthetic, sometimes most splendid. But how difficult it has been
always for the many to read, for instance, in our great Rubens, the
evidences of a lofty nature, the devout intentions of a healthy mind!

Not that we can turn back to-day and desert. From the time when the
Greek first asserted in art the value of personal manhood to the date of
the "impressionist" of to-day, the career has been one. And certainly in
the art of painting a vaster future lies before us, whenever we are
ready to carry the past. But remember that whatever has been really
great once will always remain great.

Even if I were competent to make more than approaches to reflection,
this place of dreams is not well chosen for effort. I feel rather as if,
tired, I wished to take off my modern armor, and lie at rest, and look
at these pictures of the simplicity of attitude in which we were once
children. For, indeed, the meaning of our struggle is to regain that
time, through toil and the fullness of learning, and to live again in
the oneness of mind and feeling which is to open to us the doors of the


     [5] Carved button used for suspending the tobacco-pouch to the

     [6] A nest of small boxes carried suspended from the belt.


                                                NIKKO SAN, August 12.

The enchantment of idleness is no longer to be lived in, of mere
enjoyment of what I see. I have now to feel the bitterness of work, of
effort of memory and analysis, and to become responsible to myself for
what I see, and for the accuracy with which I see it; just as my
quieting inhalation of the Buddhist air is disturbed by the intellectual
necessity of giving to myself some account of formulas, and later,
unfortunately, of rendering to you this same account of my impressions.
And yet I feel so delightfully lazy, so much as if I were in a Newport
in which all should be new. All this place has become more and more
enchanting. I am sure that I shall go with the regret of not having
painted whatever I shall leave untried; all so preferable, undoubtedly,
to what shall have been done. Everything here exists for a painter's
delight, everything composes or makes pleasant arrangements, and the
little odds and ends are charming, so that I sometimes feel as if I
liked the small things that I have discovered better than the greater
which I am forced to recognize.

And, then, all looks wild and natural, as if undisturbed by man; but no
one can tell in a place where nature is so admirable, so admired, and so

I like the old roads between _yashiki_ walls, broken up with torrents
and bridges; and the small shrines and sacred trees, which have no great
point but that they are pretty, and so far away--in the infancy of the
world. Stones and rocks that are sacred--why and wherefore no one
exactly knowing; only that it is so, and has been so for a long, long

Three thousand years ago Europe was so, with paganism--the peasant or
earth belief--gradually lost to our comprehension except through
hearsay. So we are accustomed to write of the sacred grove; and here it
is, all about me, as if history were made living. The lovely scenery
reminds me continually of what has been associated with it; a
civilization which has been born of it, has never separated from nature,
has its religion, its art, and its historic associations entangled with
all natural manifestations. The great Pan might still be living here, in
a state of the world which has sanctified trees and groves, and
associated the spirit-world with every form of the earthly
dwelling-place. I feel as if I were nearer than I can be through books
to the old world we try to rebuild by collation of facts and documents.

Could a Greek come back here he would find his "soul-informed rocks,"
and all that he thought divine or superstitious, even to the very
"impressions of Aphrodite." The sacredness that lives here in mountains
would seem all natural to him, as would the stories of mountain gods who
ages ago met here the advance of the Buddhist priests. For Buddhism has
joined with the earthly faith in attaching religious value to solitary
places and mountain heights, and many are the stories which link these
two beliefs from the early times. As, for instance, when Shodo Shonin in
his wanderings came here and "opened up" the mountains of Nikko. For
this saintly discoverer, dwelling in early youth among sacred caves, and
a devout reverer of the native and Buddhist deities, had long dreamed of
wondrous things on distant mountains, of celestial or spiritual beings,
visible even to the eye, and pursued his search according to holy vows
and under celestial guidance.

  [Illustration: BED OF THE DAYAGAWA, NIKKO.]

Where the red lacquer bridge now goes over the Dayagawa, Shodo Shonin
first crossed upon the fairy snake bridge, which, like a rainbow
spanning the hills, was thrown over for him by a mysterious colossal god
of the mountain. Here, a few yards off, he built the shrine in honor of
his helper, the "great King of the Deep Sand." This was in the year 767
of our era; and in 782, after much previous exploration, he reached the
summit of Nan-tai-san, and met the tutelary gods of Nikko, who promised
to watch over the welfare of Japan and the progress of the new religion.
These three gods were long worshiped thereafter at the foot of the
mountain, on the bank of the lake named Chiuzenji, by him, along with
the Buddhist incarnations whose temple he established there. So that
these primordial divinities were looked upon by certain Buddhist eyes as
what they named "temporary manifestations" of the great essences known
as Amida, Buddha, and Kuwan-on.

Last evening, near the back of the rock upon which is the tomb of
Iyéyasŭ, I followed some zigzag stone steps that lead up to a little
shrine, dark among the trees, in which is the figure of an old man with
powerful legs--the master pilgrim Enno-Sho-kaku. Why his shrine was
exactly there I have not clearly made out; but certainly, as a mountain
spirit, his being here is appropriate. For, born a miraculous child, he
loved from infancy the solitariness of woods far up the mountains. The
rain never wet him; no living things of the forest were ever hurt by
him, even through chance; he lived, as they might, on nuts and berries,
clothed in the tree's own dress, of the tendrils of the wistaria. Thus
he passed forty years among mountains and waterfalls, under directions
received in dreams, to bring the wild places beneath the dominion of
Buddha. Two hill spirits served him and provided him with fuel and
water. The life of nature became his, and he moved through water or
through air as easily as his mind dwelt in the present and in the

Naturally, too, when he touched the world of men he was maligned and
persecuted; but even then, when exiled to an island in the sea, he could
fly back at night to revisit his mother, or ascend his beloved
mountains, while submitting obediently in the daylight to the presence
of his guards. Naturally, too, his evil days came to an end, and he was
freed, and finally flitted away toward China, and has never reappeared.
With him in the little shrine are his faithful imps, painted red and
green, and out of the darkness his wooden image, with a long white
beard, looked absolutely real in the rainy twilight. Enormous iron
sandals hung on every side, offerings of pilgrims anxious to obtain legs
as sturdy as those of the pilgrim patron. Had I been able to leave my
own I should have done so, for never have I felt as weakened and
unenergetic as I have become in this idle climate. We could just see the
white stone steps of the little road as we came down the steep hill
through the wood to the gate of Iyémitsŭ's tomb.

                                                      August 16.

The languor that oppresses me does not disappear, and I live with
alternations of exertion that reflect the weather. There has been an
immense amount of sunshine and the same amount of rain, compressing into
a single day as much as would suffice at home for weeks of summer and
winter. Suddenly, from hot blue skies, come down the cloud and the wet.
The lovely little hills or mountains opposite our house round out, all
modeled and full, in glossy green, to be painted in another hour with
thin washes of gray, thickened with white, as in the single-colored
designs of the old Limoges enamels. Then their edges grow sharp and
thin, and are stamped against further mists, like pale prints of the
Japanese designs, making me see those pictures increased to life-size.
And I realize how accurate these are, even to the enlarged appearance of
the great trees which fringe their tops and edges, as these are seen
through the broken, wet veil of moisture. And even here, again, I am
puzzled as to whether art has helped nature.


                                                           August 17.

Yesterday I suffered seriously from the heat. I had gone to the little
flat table-land that lies to the north behind our house, through which
runs a small road, untraveled and grass-grown, connecting somewhere or
other with the road of the great temples. I had intended to study there,
for several reasons; one, among others, because I saw every day, as I
looked through my screens, a little typical landscape-picture of Japan.
Near by, a small temple shrine all vermilion in the sun, with heavy,
black, oppressive roof; then a stretch of flat table-land, overgrown
with trees and bushes, from which stood up a single high tree, with
peaceful horizontal branches; on each side, conical hills, as if the
wings of a stage-scene; far beyond, a tumble of mountains behind the
great depression of the river hidden out of sight; and above, and
farther yet, the great green slopes that lead to the peak of Nio-ho. It
was very hot, and all the clouds seemed far away, the sun very high in
the early noon, and no shade. I passed the new priests' houses of the
old temple near us, where are billeted, to the inconvenience of the
owners, many sailor boys sent all the way from the navy yard of
Okotsuka, so that they escape the cholera, as we are doing. They are
usually washing their clothes in the torrent that runs under the bridge
of three carved stones, which I have to pass to get into the little
path, frequented by gadflies, that takes me up to my sketching-ground.
Were it not for the amiably obtrusive curiosity of these youngsters in
their leisure hours, I should pass through their courtyard into the
shady spaces near the little temples and the three-storied pagoda, which
the priests' houses adjoin.

I am always courteously saluted by the priests, and one of them, living
there in vacation, I know. He is off duty at the temples of Iyémitsŭ,
and I have seen him at the home of our friends. I send you a sketch of
his face, which appears to me impressed by sincerity and a certain
anxiety very sympathetic. When I sketch near the pagoda I see him
occasionally ringing the hanging-bell or cymbal, with the same step and
air of half-unconscious performance of habitual duty that I remember so
well in Catholic priests whom I knew as a boy.

Here the memory of Shodo Shonin comes up again, with a confusion of
intention in the assembled worship of Buddhist and native divinities.
For the "opener of mountains" built the temple here to the same god,
with the never-ending name, whom he met on the summit of Nan-tai-san.
And the adjoining chapel, dedicated to Kuwan-on, means that she was in
reality the essential being, behind the temporary manifestation, that
assumed the name and appearance of this mountain god,--the _genius
loci_. And the Latin words bring back the recollection of curious stones
in the mossy green shade, to which is attached the meaning of the oldest
past; for they are "male" and "female"--emblems and images of earliest
worship, empowered to remind, and perhaps obscurely to influence.

Seated at last under my umbrella, I could feel the hot moisture rising
from the grass beneath me. The heated hills on each side wore a thin
interlacing of violet in the green of their pines. The mountains across
the river were frosted in the sunlight, with the thinnest veil of a
glitter of wet.

Between them great walls of vapor rose from the hidden river, twisting
into draperies that slowly crawled up the slopes of the great mountain.
Far off, its top was capped with cloud, whose mass descended in a shower
over its face and between its peaks, and kept all its nearer side in a
trembling violet shadow.

  [Illustration: PORTRAIT OF A PRIEST.]

Above the peak the great mass of fog spread to the farthest mountains,
letting their highest tops shine through with a pale-blue faintness like
that of sky. But the great back of the long slope was distinct, and of a
vivid green against the background of violet mountains. So solid and
close-packed it looked under the high light that one might forget that
this green was not of turf, firm under foot, but was a trackless waste
of tall grasses high as a man's head. Farther on against the northern
sky the eastern slope was golden and sharp. In the highest sky of fiery
blue large cumulus clouds shone above and through the fog, whose ragged
edge blew like a great flag toward the south. The little temple blazed
in vermilion, one side all lighted up, its black-tiled roof hot in the
sun. In the shadow of its porch the columns and entablature were white
and pale gold and green.

My attempt to render the light and heat lasted for two or three hours:
my damp umbrella seemed penetrated by the light, my skin was scorched
and blistered, and a faint dizziness kept warning me to get back to a
larger shade. When I yielded, I was only just able to reach my welcome
mats, saved from something worse by my very scorching. Since yesterday I
have been ill; not sleeping, but dreaming uncomfortably; and visited and
comforted, however, by our fair hostess and the Doctor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Murmurs of Buddhistic conversation remain in my mind: vague stories of
life in Southern monasteries, of refined ascetic life, of sublimated
delicate food, of gentle miraculous powers, known to the favored few
that behold them at times; of ascensions and disappearances like those
of the pilgrim saint of whom I was telling you yesterday--all of which
talk mingles with the vague intent of my painting. For I had proposed to
make my studies serve for the picture of the "Ascension"; to use the
clouds and the wilderness for my background; and to be, at least for
moments, in some relation to what I have to represent; that is to say,
in an atmosphere not inimical, as ours is, to what we call the
miraculous. Here, at least, I am not forced to consider external nature
as separate and opposed, and I can fall into moods of thought,--or, if
you prefer, of feeling,--in which the edges of all things blend, and
man and the outside world pass into each other.


                                                            August 17.

And so, often, I like to think of these trees and rocks and streams, as
if from them might be evolved some spiritual essence. Has not Çakyamuni
said that all (living) beings possess the nature of Buddha, that is to
say, the absolute nature. The sun, the moon, the earth, and the
innumerable stars contain within themselves the absolute nature. So for
the little flowers, the grass, the clouds that rise from the waters, the
very drop of water itself; for they are begotten of nature absolute, and
all form a part of it, however great, however small. Absolute nature is
the essence of all things, and is the same as all things. This absolute
nature will be as are the waters of the sea, if we picture it, and its
modes will be as the waves, inseparable from the waters. Thus the
absolute and all things will be identical, inseparable views of the same
existence. This nature will be both essence and force, and appearance
and manner. And so my friends here, of the sect which holds the temple,
might teach me that the little plants, the great mountains, and the
rushing waters can become Buddhas.

In these pantheistic sympathies I dimly recall that another sect finds
three great mysteries in its esoteric view of the world. The wind
whistling through the trees, the river breaking over its rocks, the
movements of man and his voice,--or, indeed, his silence,--are the
expression of the great mysteries of body, of word, and of thought.
These mysteries are understood of the Buddha, but evolution, cultivated
by the "true word," or doctrine, will allow man, whose mysteries are
like the mysteries of the Buddhas, to become like unto them.

But since the path is open for all to Buddhahood,--since these animals
that pass me, this landscape about me, can become divine,--why, alas!
are not men more easily carried to that glorious end? It is because we
are living in the present; and as that present must have had a past,
since nothing is lost and nothing disappears, so it will have a future;
and that future depends on the present and on the past. Changes and
transformations are only a "play" of cause and effect, since spirit and
matter are one in absolute nature, which in its essence can neither be
born nor be dissolved. Actual life is absolutely determined by the
influencing action of merit and demerit in past existence, as the future
will be determined by present causes; so that it is possible for the
soul to pass through the six conditions of the infernal being, the
phantom, the beast, the demon, the human, and the celestial, and,
through painful transmigration, to reach the supreme salvation of
Nirvana. Then will end the universal metamorphoses, the trials, the
expiations, the unceasing whirlwind of life. Illusion will cease, and
reality last, in the complete calm of absolute truth.


Have I told you my story of the word Nirvana, as used by the reporter at
Omaha, who managed to interview us? The association of a reporter with
any of the four states of Nirvana may seem impossible to you--but this
is the way it happened.

Owing to A----'s being the brother of the president of the road, we were
naturally suspected of business designs when we acknowledged that we
were going to Japan, and, in my shortsighted wisdom, I thought that I
should put to rout our interviewer by "allowing" that the purpose of our
going was to find Nirvana. I had misjudged the mind of the true
reporter, and did not expect the retort, "Are you not rather late in the
season?" Whether he knew or "builded better," he had certainly pointed
out the probable result. I often recur to this episode when, as now, I
enjoy, in dreaming action, that Nirvana which is called conditioned;
that state of the terrestrial being who understands truth by the
extinction of passions, but who is yet, indeed, very much tied to the
body--if I may speak so lightly of what is a contemplation of, and an
absorption in, eternal truth, a rest in supreme salvation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of all the images that I see so often, the one that touches me
most--partly, perhaps, because of the Eternal Feminine--is that of the
incarnation that is called Kuwan-on, when shown absorbed in the
meditations of Nirvana.

You have seen her in pictures, seated near some waterfall, and I am
continually reminded of her by the beautiful scenes about us, of which
the waterfall is the note and the charm. Were it not that I hate
sightseeing, I should have made pilgrimages, like the good Japanese, to
all the celebrated ones which are about. Exercise, however, during the
day is difficult to me, and I don't like being carried, and the
miserable horses of the peasants are awfully slow and very stumbly. We
go about in single file, perched on the saddles upon their humped backs,
each horse led by the owner, usually a trousered peasant girl. Lately on
our visits to waterfalls we have passed the wide bed of the second
river, which makes an island of our mountain--a great mountain-river bed
filled with stones and boulders, through which the waters, now very low,
divide into rushing torrents; while in the winter this is a tremendous
affair, and in flood-times the very boulders are carried away. Far down
at Imaichi, some six miles off, is shown one of the long row of stone
Buddhas, several hundred in number, which line the right bank of the
main river, the Dayagawa, near the deep pool called Kamman-ga-fuchi.

It was there that I drew the biggest of them all, on one of my first
days here, a statue of Jizo, with Nan-tai-san half veiled in the
distance behind him--a great cedar shading him, and all but the little
path and the bridge of a single stone overgrown with weeds and bushes.
These gods along the river are all ugly and barbarous,--country gods, as
it were,--alien as possible, while the nature about them, though
strange, is not so far away from me.

  [Illustration: STATUE OF OYA JIZO.]

Their ugliness was accentuated by a sort of efflorescence, or moss
growth, curled and ragged by weather, made of innumerable slips of
paper pasted upon them by troops of pilgrims to the holy places, who
make a point of thus marking off their visits to each successive sacred
object. Fortunately, they are what the Japanese call "wet goods,"
that is to say, unprotected by roof or temple, and the rains of heaven
cleanse them and leave only the black and white of the lichens. They
always worried me like a bad dream when I passed them in the evening,
on my way home from work, and I can sympathize with the superstition
which makes it impossible to count them. But this is on the Dayagawa,
the main confluent which rushes down from Lake Chiuzenji. Our path led
through the other river, over causeways and bridges, up to the hills on
the other side, and to a high moorland from which the immense southern
plain and distant mountains appeared swimming in light. Two faint blue
triangles in the air were the peaks of Tsŭkŭba; nearer on the west, the
mountains of Nikko were covered with cloud, through which the sunburst
poured down upon their bases.

As we rode we passed beneath plantations covered with water, so that
their mirror, at the level of the eye, reflected the mountains and
clouds and upper sky in a transparent picture, spotted with innumerable
tufts of brilliant green. And then we dismounted at a little tea-house,
and sat under a rustic arbor, while our feminine grooms, stripping to
the waist, wiped and sponged their sweating arm-pits and bosoms, in
unconcernedness of sex. Yet when they noticed my sketching them, as if I
did not take their nakedness for granted, sleeves and gowns were rapidly
pulled over the uncovered flesh. So true it is that conduct depends upon
the kind of attention it calls for. Nor was the universal standard of
feminine propriety unrespected by them, when, on our return, my guide,
who had, in every possible way that I could imagine, expressed her
adherence to the ways of nature, met with the disaster of having her
back hair come down; for then, with a shriek, she dropped the rein, and
retired, blushing, behind the nearest tree, where, in equal hurry,
another girl guide proceeded to console her, and to re-arrange the
proper structure of shining black hair and ivory pins.

Then we descended by a narrow path, over which hung tree-camellias,
still spotted with their last white blossoms, whose edges were rusted by
the heat.

The main fall of Urami-no-Taki drops into a deep basin, edged by rocks,
from a hollow in the highest hill, over which hang great trees. On each
side lesser cascades rush or tumble over the rocky faces, and under the
main column small streams slide down, or drop in thin pillars to join
it. There is a path, frequented by pilgrims, which passes behind and
underneath the fall, so that we can stand behind and look through it,
whence its name. All is wilderness; but a high relief of the protector
Fudo, guardian and friend of such places, is carved on the rock behind
the falls, and shows through the rumpled edges of the water. All was
shade, except where the sun struck in the emerald hollow above the fall,
or where a beam lighted up here and there a patch of the great and small
cascades, or the trees and rocks about them. And here, again, the
intense silence, broken by the rush of the waterfall, recalled the
pictures of K'wan-on, whose meaning and whose images bring back to me
the Buddhistic idea of compassion. The deity, or goddess, seated in
abstraction by the falling waters of life, represents, I suppose, more
especially an ideal of contemplation, as the original Indian name
indicated, I think; but her name to-day is that of the Compassionate


Of the divinity's many incarnations one has interested me as typical,
and will amuse you. It is when--in the year 696 B. C., though the
precise date is not exactly material--this power is born as a girl,
daughter to one of the many kings of China. Then follows a legend like
that of Saint Barbara. She is in no hurry to follow her princess's duty
of getting married, and pleasing her parents thereby. She is satisfied
with a virgin life, and makes delays by persuading her father to build
palaces for her bridal to come; and when all this has been done, and
there is no final escape, she ends by an absolute refusal of marriage.
At which, evidently from a long experience of the uselessness of
argument with her sex, her father cuts her head off, and I regret to say
that she thereupon goes to Hell. I suppose that she goes there, because,
however laudable and high her ideal of life might have been, it should
have been confined within the views of her country, that is to say, of
obedience to parents first and foremost. However, she went there, and
put up with it, and that so admirably that the divinity who rules the
place was obliged to dismiss her, for her contentment with her lot was
spreading as an example to the damned, and threatened the very existence
of Hell. Since then her appearances again in this world have been on
errands of compassion and of help. Nor is this constant willingness to
act on behalf of others, and thereby to leave the realm of absolute
peace, incompatible with that continual contemplation of which her
pictures or images offer an ideal, enchanting to me.

For, indeed, the fourth Nirvana is that state of truth in which supreme
salvation is not distinct from sorrowful transmigration, and for these
blessed beings this is Nirvana; that, possessing the fullness of wisdom,
they cannot desire to delay in transmigration, nor do they reënter
Nirvana, because they feel the extreme of compassion for other beings.

For, in the Buddhist doctrine, compassion is the first of all virtues,
and leads and is the essence of the five cardinal virtues, which
are--note the sequence--pity, justice, urbanity, sincerity, _and_ wise
behavior. To the Buddhist, the pitiless are the ungodly. Hence the
teaching of kindliness to all living beings, which is one of the "pure
precepts" of the "greater vehicle," and through which all beings can
obtain salvation.

For the happiness, which is the aim of Buddhism, is not limited to the
individual, but is to be useful, to be of profit, to all mankind--a
happiness which can only be moral, but which must act on the body as
intimately as the soul is united with it.

These are the aspirations of higher Buddhism--its supreme end, to
achieve the happiness of this life and of the future one--of the
individual and of humanity, but differently, according to times and
circumstances and human powers. In its full ideal here below civil and
religious society would be the same; the continual rest of Nirvana
becoming finally inseparable from our transmigrations--our passions
living together with complete wisdom, and our further existence not
demanding, then, another world. And if civilization shall have finally
perfected the world of mind and the world of matter, we shall have here
below Nirvana, and we shall dwell in it as Buddhas.


                                                         August 24.

In the afternoon I go through the little road toward the west, whose
walls are spotted with mosses and creepers, and where the gutters are
filled with clear, noisy torrents, echoing in answer to the general
sound of waters. Rarely do I meet any one--perhaps some trousered
peasant girls, drowsily leading pack-horses; or naked peasants, with
muscles of yellow bronze, carrying brushwood on their backs. The sun is
at its hottest. Above the beat of the waters rises the perpetual
strident, interminable cry of the locusts, like the shrill voice of
mourners in this abode of tombs--the voice of dust and aridity. I turn a
corner of high wall and tall trees and enter, through a dilapidated
gateway and up some high steps in the wall, an open space, whose unknown
borders are concealed behind the enormous trunks of cryptomeria. For
weeks carpenters have been slowly repairing a temple building in this
court, the big beams and planks of freshly-cut wood perfuming the place
with the smell of cedar. In the grass and on the broken pavement lie
moldering fragments of the older work, still with a waxy covering of the
red lacquer which holds together the dark, dusty fibers.

A little bell-tower, lacquered red, stands near the other entrance,
to which I pass. That one has its wall and high fence all lacquered
red, and a gateway also red and spotted with yellow and gray mosses.
Down its big steps I go, seeing just before me, through the gigantic
trees and their gray and red trunks, the face of the tall pagoda, which
flanks one side of the court before Iyéyasŭ, and whose other side turns
toward the avenue of Iyémitsŭ. The road upon which I come is the avenue
of Iyéyasŭ. Three different slopes lead within it to the paved court,
where stands the high Torii of stone, through which one goes by the
middle path to the high steps and the wall, the boundary of the temple.
Two great banks, blocked with great dressed stones, separate the three
paths--the central path being cut into wide steps which lead up to
the Torii. On each of these masses of earth and masonry grow great
cryptomeria trees, each of their trunks almost filling, from side to
side, the entire width of the surface. They are planted irregularly. As
the further ends of the banks are less high from the ground, I climb
up, and sit to sketch against one of the ragged and splintered trunks.
For all these late afternoons but one all has been the same. Far above
me, through the needle branches of bright or shadowy green, large white
clouds roll and spread in a brilliant, blotty, wet, blue sky. The court
is framed in dark green, all above dazzling in light. The great Torii
stands in the half shade--the edge of its upper stone shining as if
gilded with yellow moss, and stains of black and white and rusty red
contrasting with the delicate gilded inscriptions incised on the lower
part of the two supporting columns.


Beyond, the white wall and steps of the temple inclosure are crowned
with white stone palings and a red lacquer wall behind them, and the red
lacquer and bronzed-roofed gateway. Here and there gold glitters on the
carvings and on the ends of its many roof-beams. Near it the great gray
tree-trunks are spaced, and out of the green branches shows the corner
of the stable of the Sacred Horses. Its gray walls are spotted in places
with gold and color. Beyond it are the red walls of one of the treasure
houses, made of beams with slanting edges; and in the gable under its
black eaves two symbolic animals, the elephant and the tapir, are carved
and painted gray and white on the gilded wall. At this distance the
bands of many-colored ornament make a glimmering of nameless color.
Farther back in the trees spots of heavy black and shining gold mark the
roofs of other buildings. The great trees near me almost hide the great
pagoda, and I can see of it only a little red, and the green under its
many eaves, which melts like a haze into the green of the trees.

All these effects of color and shape seem but as a decoration of the
trees, and as modes of enhancing their height and their stillness. The
great court becomes nothing but a basin with highly-finished edges, sunk
into the mass of mountain greenery. The Torii, alone, stands lonely and
mysterious. On the space between its upper stone beams is placed a great
blue tablet with gold letters that designate the sacred posthumous name
of Iyéyasŭ.

It is late in the year, and the place is no longer filled with pilgrims.
I look down, occasionally, on a few stragglers who come up the steps
below me--a few pilgrims in white dresses; peasants, sometimes with
their children; Japanese tourists, who, even here, at home, seem out of
place. This afternoon a couple of women, earnestly whispering, sailed
across the court and turned the corner of the avenue of Iyémitsŭ--with
toes turned in, as is the proper thing in this land of inversion. Their
dresses of gray and brown and black had all the accentuated refinement
of simplicity in color which is the character of good taste here, and
which gives one the gentle thrill of new solutions of harmony. Our own
absurdities were not unknown to them, for their velvet slits of eyes
were partly hid under eye-glasses, in emulation of Boston or Germany.
They might have been ladies: I am not sufficiently clear yet as to
limits: perhaps they were _gei-shas_, who now, I understand, learn
German and affect the intellectual look of nearsightedness. If they
were, they were far above the two little creatures that posed for me
yesterday--with all the impatience of girls who, knowing what it was all
about, still could not put up with the slow ways of European work, when
their own artists would have been as agile and rapid and sketchy as

The _gei-shas_ are one of the institutions of Japan,--a reminder of old,
complete civilizations like that of Greece. They are, voluntarily,
exiles from regular society and family, if one can speak of consent when
they are usually brought up to their profession of the "gay science"
from early girlhood. They cultivate singing and dancing, and often
poetry, and all the accomplishments and most of the exquisite politeness
of their country. They are the ideals of the elegant side of woman. To
them is intrusted the entertainment of guests and the solace of idle
hours. They are the _hetairai_ of the old Greeks--and sometimes they are
all that that name implies. But no one has the right to assume it from
their profession, any more than that all liberties are bordered by
possible license.

The two who consented to pose for me, at the same price and no more than
I should have paid them had I called them in to entertain me and my
guests with singing and dancing, were, the one a town, the other a
country girl; and little by little they showed the difference, at first
very slight to a foreigner, by all the many little things which obtain
everywhere. It was a source of quiet amusement for me to see them
posture, in what they call their dances, in the very room of our
landlord the priest's house, where I have so often watched him sitting
while his pupil bent over his writing, an antique picture, like so many
Eastern scenes of the ideal of contemplative monastic study. But our
little priest is away, on service at the temple of Iyémitsŭ, and his
house is kept for him in his absence by some devout lady parishioner,
who lent us the apartment more convenient than ours, and who undoubtedly
shared in the amusement herself. And I asked myself if there had been a
secret ceremony of purification afterwards.

I saw, too, lingering at the corner of Iyémitsŭ, the litter of a great
lady, said to be the beauty of the court; but I was content to have her
remain mysterious to me, and tried not to regret my indolence, when my
companion twitted me with his presentation to her, and to associate her
only with the clear porcelains that bear her princely name. And then,
again, the priests of the temple of Iyéyasŭ came down to meet some
prince, looking like great butterflies in green and yellow, and capped
with their shining black hats. The youngest waved his fan at me in
recognition, and gaily floated back up the high white steps and into the
sunny inclosures beyond, more and more like some winged essence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then the temple attendants brushed with brooms the mosses of the
pavement about the Torii, and the gates were closed. And I listened,
until the blaze of the sun passed under the green film of the trees, to
the fluting of the priests in the sanctuary on the hill. It was like a
hymn to nature. The noise of the locusts had stopped for a time; and
this floating wail, rising and falling in unknown and incomprehensible
modulations, seemed to belong to the forest as completely as their cry.
The shrill and liquid song brought back the indefinite melancholy that
one has felt with the distant sound of children's voices, singing of
Sundays in drowsy rhythms. But these sounds belonged to the place, to
its own peculiar genius--of a lonely beauty, associated with an
indefinite past, little understood; with death, and primeval nature, and
final rest.

The last beams of the sunset made emerald jewels of the needles in the
twigs above me--made red velvet of the powdery edges of broken bark,
when the distant flutes ceased, and I left my study.

As I came out from the giant trees a great wave of the funereal song of
the locusts passed through the air, leaving me suddenly in a greater
silence as I came home. Then I could hear the rise and fall of the sound
of our little waterfall in the garden as I stretched myself at the
flattest on the mats, and Kato brought the tea and put it beside me.


                                                          August 25.

This afternoon I returned to the entrance of Iyéyasŭ, and sketched under
the great trees of the central avenue. The great white clouds were there
again in the blue above, colored as with gold where they showed below
through the trees; then they came nearer, then they melted together;
then suddenly all was veiled, the rain came down in sheets, and I was
glad of the refuge of the tea booths along the eastern wall. It was
late, almost evening; no one there; a few pilgrims and attendants and
priests scurried away through the court, disappearing with bare reddened
legs and wet clogs around the corners of the avenues. And the rain
persisted, hanging before me like a veil of water. I had in front, as I
sat in the booths, already damp and gusty with drafts, the face of the
tall red pagoda behind its stone balustrade and at right angles to the
great Torii that I had been painting. The great trees were all of one
green, their near and far columns flattened out with the branches into
masses of equal values. Through them, below, in the few openings to the
west, the sky was colored with the sunset, as if it were clear far over
Nan-tai-san. The gold of the roofs' edges and of the painted carvings
below was light and pale as the sky far away. Higher up the gold was
bright and clear under the rain, which made it glisten; it glowed
between the brackets of the lower cornices and paled like silver higher
up. All the innumerable painted carvings and projections and ornaments
looked pale behind the rain, while the great red mass grew richer as it
rose, and the bronze roofs, freshly washed, were blacker, and the green
copper glistened, like malachite, on the edges of the vermilion rails,
or on the bells which hung from the roof corners, against the sky or
against the trees. The green, wet mosses spotted with light the stone
flags below, or glowed like a fairy yellow flame on the adjoining red
lacquer of the temple fence, so drenched now that I could see reflected
in it the white divisions and still whiter lichens of the stone
balustrade. Below it the great temple wall was blotched with dark purple
and black lichens, and the columns of the Torii were white at the bottom
with mosses. Its upper cross-arm glistened yellow with their growths as
if it had caught the sun. But the heavy rain was drenching all; and now
from all the roofs of the pagoda poured lines of water, the one within
the other, the highest describing a great curve that encircled all the
others, and the whole high tower itself, as if with a lengthened aureole
of silver drops. It was as if water had poured out from the fountain
basins, one above the other, which the Italian Renaissance liked to
picture on tall pilasters, even as this one was profiled against the sky
and distant rain. Below, a yellow torrent covered the great court with
an eddying lake, and its course rushed down the great steps or made a
crested, bounding line along the gutters by the walls. I watched for a
time the beautiful curves dropping from the roofs of the tower, until
all grew dark and my coolie arrived to carry paint box and easel, and we
managed to get home, with sketching umbrellas, wet, however, through
every layer of clothing.


                                                  NIKKO, August 27.

Yesterday, I went out in another afternoon of blazing sunlight, up to
the corner of the temple inclosure and along its outside edge, where the
rocks of the mountain, covered with trees, make a great vague wall.
Under the damp trees runs a path paved with small blocks of stone,
slippery with moss, or, when bare, smoothed by ages of treading. This
road leads to the little cascade which supplies the sacred water-tank of
the temple of Iyéyasŭ, that square block of water under the gilded and
painted canopy in the great courtyard.

The waterfall drops over rocks into a hollow between the hills; high
trees stand along its edge near a black octagonal shrine, with great
roof, green and yellow with moss. On this side of the water, a
diminutive shrine, red-painted, with columns and architrave of many
colors and a roof of thatch all green, out of which are growing the
small stems of young trees. In front, a Torii, just tall enough to pass
under, of gray stone, all capped and edged with green, velvety moss. A
curved stone, cushioned with moss, in front of it, spans the
water-course that gives escape to the waters of the pool. The doors of
the shrine are closed, as if to make more solitary yet the quiet of the
little hollow.

Higher up, past the black building and above high steps, on a platform
edged by walls, stand black buildings, shrines of Buddhist divinities,
whose golden bodies I can see through the grating of the unfastened
doors. I feel their amiable presence, while I sit painting in the damp
sunlight, and the murmur of the waters seems their whispered

On my return I looked again toward the abrupt rocky hill to find a
little monument we had passed at its foot, just off the road. Through
the inevitable Torii a little path of rough flagging, all broken up and
imbedded in moss, leads across the small bridge of two large stones, one
of whose parapets is gone, and up high steps, half natural, to a little
altar of big stones with a heavy balustrade around three sides. A little
stone shrine with a roof stands upon it, and behind it a tall gray rock
upon which is incised and gilded a device of five disks forming a
circle. All around about the path and shrine are trees covered with
moss; the rocks, the shrine, the path, are spotted with green and yellow
velvet; all looks as if abandoned to nature,--all but the gilded
armorial bearings in the mossy stone, which I take to be those of the
divinized mortal in whose honor this little record has been built,
Ten-jin Sama, known and worshiped by every schoolboy in Japan. He is the
patron of learning and of penmanship, and was during his life a great
scholar and minister of state under the name of Michizane. This was just
before the year nine hundred. A faithful minister, a learned and just
man, he naturally gave great umbrage, especially to a younger associate
whose sister was Empress, and who succeeded through malicious slander in
bringing about Michizane's banishment.

In his place of exile, separated from wife and children, he died two
years later. There, I suppose, he rode about on the saddled bull, upon
which Yosai has placed him in his drawings, as also he was seen by
Motonobu in a dream, of which I have a drawing. There the great artist
has represented him, faithful, I suppose, to what he really saw, as a
younger man than he really could have been, galloping swiftly and
bending down to avoid the branches of the trees above.

Bulls of bronze and marble adorn his temple in Kioto, recalling how the
bull that drew him to the cemetery refused to go further than a certain
spot, where he was buried in a grave dug hastily. Misfortune and remorse
followed his enemies, with the death of the Imperial heir; so that the
Emperor, revoking his banishment, reinstalled the dead man in the honors
of his office, and bestowed a high rank upon his ghost. Since then his
worship has grown, as I said above.

As you see, the Mikado has been the fountain of honor for this world and
the next; and I cannot help being reminded of the constant relations of
Chinese and Japanese thought in this unity--this constant joining of
that which we separate. The forms of China may be more "bureaucratic";
no such national prejudices and feelings can belong to the idea of the
sovereign there as must exist in Japan, with a dynasty of rulers as
Japanese as Japan itself. But there has been here, as there, a sort of
natural duty in the Government to look after all the relations of those
intrusted to its care. In China, all religion or religions must depend
upon the sanction of the ruling powers; nothing is too great or too
small to be satisfied with; official approval may attend the worship of
some local heroine, official disapproval may be shown to some
exaggerations of Taoist superstitions. The source of this right and this
duty is always the idea that in the ruler all is centered; he is
responsible to Heaven, and is the tie between the powers above and the
deities below. Hence there is nothing absurd in his following the
governed after death.

In Japan, the forms of this power may be different, but its workings
will be similar, and hero-worship, combined with the respect and worship
of ancestors, has had a most important part in the development of life
here, in encouraging patriotism and lofty ideas, and in stimulating the
chivalrous feeling, the ideas of honor, that seem to me the peculiar
note of the Japanese. However misapplied, however mistaken, however
barbarous some forms of these ideas may appear to us, I cannot make for
myself a definition of the national character, nor see a clue to many of
their actions unless I bear in mind the ruling power of this feeling.
While we are in this place, where Iyéyasŭ's name is so important, let me
cite a trifling anecdote.

It is said that on some occasion he accompanied Hideyoshi, the great
Taiko Sama, each with few attendants, upon some visit, and all were
afoot. Now, among the retinue of Iyéyasŭ was one Honda, a man of
preternatural strength, who hinted to his master that this might be an
opportunity for an attack upon his great rival. But Taiko guessed the
danger, and, turning round, said to Iyéyasŭ: "My sword is heavy, for me
unaccustomed to walking, so may I not ask your servant to carry it for
me?" For Taiko knew that it would have been considered a disgrace to
attack a man unarmed when he had intrusted his sword, not to his own
servant, but to the servant of his enemy. And Iyéyasŭ understood this
appeal to the idea of honor.

                                                           August 28.

Two more days and we shall be gone. As I sketch in the temples or about
them, everything seems more beautiful as it grows to be more a part of
my daily existence. Though I am perpetually harassed through feeling
that I cannot copy everything, and through trying to force my memory to
grasp so as to retain the multitudinous details of the architectural
decoration, I have drawn the curve of this, and the patterns of that,
and noted the colors, but I wonder, if the thread gets loosened that
holds them together, whether I shall ever be able to separate one from
another in their entanglement. And then I still do not wish to work.
There are so many places that I should like to look at again without the
oppression of an obligatory record.

This evening I must take another look at the neglected graves of the
followers of Iyémitsŭ who committed suicide, as my Japanese account has
it, "that they might accompany him in his dark pilgrimage to the future
world." At least it says this of Hotta Masemori and of three others;
while the graves, as I remember them, are twenty-one in number, and
about this I have never thought to ask, but I must do so. And then there
may have been retainers of retainers. It is a pleasure to me anyhow to
set down at least one name and to help to keep this memory clear when I
think of the neglected spot in which they lie. It is not far from that
part of the land where stood the residence of their master's family, now
destroyed, through the days of turbulence which closed the last moments
of their reign. Broken fragments of fencing still lean against the
little inclosures of stone posts, balustrade, and gate that surround
each memorial pillar. They stand in two rows in a little clearing, the
valley sunk behind them, hidden in part by much wild growth.

O---- was telling us some little while ago of the feudal habit which
gave to a chieftain the vow of certain retainers who undertook to follow
him faithfully even beyond the grave. It was expected of them in war
that they should be about him sharing in his struggle, and if he died in
peace, near or far, they should be ready to go too.

And as death is the most important thing in life, I cannot help thinking
over the condition of mind of any one who looked forward to such a
limitation of its lease.

When age had changed the view of life, had created more ties, more
duties, had made the term nearer and more capricious, while everything
else became more fixed, did this bond, with its promise of payment to be
met at any moment's demand, become a heavy burden of debt? I can
occasionally conjure up a picture--perhaps erroneous, because my
imagination of the circumstances may displace them,--of some older man
settled in pleasant places, rested in secure possessions, with
dependants, with friends, with affections around his life, learning at
any moment of the probability that the call might come. He might be
summoned from any festivity or joy as if by a knocking at the door. How
curiously he must have watched the runners of the mail who might be
bringing into his town the news from the court, or wheresoever this
other life--which to all purposes was his own--was perhaps ebbing away.
How then he would have known what to do, even to its most minute detail,
and be but part of a ceremonial that he himself would direct. Vague
memories come up to me of places set apart in the garden, and the
screens and the hangings and the lights that belonged to the voluntary
ordeal. But as I keep on thinking, I feel more certain that my fancy
displaces the circumstances of former times and of a different
civilization. For instance, the concentration of the feudal territory,
habits of clanship, the constant attendance, must have narrowed the
circle and made the individual more like a part of one great machinery,
one great family, than he can ever be again. The weakness, the
insufficiency of the individual, has been stiffened by the importance of
the family, of the clan, as a basis of society; and I could almost say
that I discern in this one main-spring of the peculiar courtesy of this
nation, which seems to go along with a great feeling of a certain
freedom, so that the obedience of the inferior does not seem servile.
The servant who has done his duty of respectful service seems afterward
ready to take any natural relation that may turn up. The youth trained
in respect to his betters and elders, and silent in their presence, will
give his opinion frankly when asked, with a want of diffidence quite
unexpected. The coming years are certain to bring changes that cannot be

       *       *       *       *       *

While I was being baked to-day, at my work that I could not leave, my
companions have been away on a visit higher up the mountains, to the hot
baths on the lake, and, at least for part of the time, have had the
weather almost cold. They have much to say about the baths, and the
fullness of visitors, and the difficulty of getting place, and one of
them has gone to her bath in the native dress, and another cannot yet
quite get over the impression made upon him by the pretty young lady
near whom he stood under the eaves of the bath-house, where he had taken
refuge from the rain, and whose modest manners were as charming as her
youthfulness, and had no more covering.

Here everything is still hot and damp, though our nights are cooler and
I am able to make out more conveniently my notes and my sketches and my
memoranda of purchased acquisitions. On the lower floor boxes are being
filled, and to-morrow evening horses and men will stand in our garden to
be laden; we shall follow the light of their lanterns down the road, and
they will seem to be carrying parts of us away from Nikko.


                                           NEAR UTSUNOMIYA, August 30.

We left Nikko this morning; a hot, moist, quiet, lovely morning. We
dawdled at our friends' house and breakfasted, and said good-by to our
worthy landlord. Yesterday he had found fault with my sketching him in
his ordinary yellow priest's dress, while he had vestments as beautiful
as any painter or clergyman could desire; in proof of which he had
rushed into his house and reappeared in those lovely things and moved
about the green of the garden looking as radiant as any flamingo. But I
knew not of these possessions of his, and regretted quite as deeply as
he could himself not having painted him in them.

It was a sad moment--that of leaving his little garden for good, and
walking down the road to the enormous steps under the trees by the
river, where we reversed the picture of our arrival six weeks ago. There
stood the naked runners, and our hostess above us, as we sat in the
_kurumas_, but this time the doctor was not with us, except to bid us
good-by. His place was filled by the professional guide and factotum,
who sat anxious for departure in his own _kuruma_, and who for days had
been packing and labeling and helping to make lists, and receiving
instructions, and bustling about at times when he was not sleeping--and
generally making life a misery. We rattled over the bridge, passed the
children going to school, and the polite policeman with spectacles and
sword, who looks like a German Rath of some kind or other, and the
woman of the Eta class[7] who has sold us skins of monkeys and of
badgers, as well as two baby monkeys, whom we have disrespectfully named
Sesson and Sosen, after the painters who so beautifully portrayed their

Soon we had entered the long avenue of cryptomeria and kept on through
shadow and sunlight, with our runners at their fullest gait, for we had
to be in time for the afternoon train at Utsunomiya, and it is
twenty-two miles from Nikko. But we were more than in time, and had to
wait at an inn near the station. I am absurdly stupid and fatigued, so
that I have given up watching the landscape and merely make these notes.
Besides, there is a missionary near us so self-contented that I feel
like withdrawing into my own self and dreaming of the times he was not
here. I recall a little story of Utsunomiya, connected with my
associations of Nikko, which I shall try to tell you; though, at the
very start, I find a difficulty in my having heard it told in several
different and contradictory ways--and I can only travel one at a time.
As I shall tell it, it represents a legend believed at least in the
theater, which, as we know, everywhere makes a kind of history.

The story is about the shogun Iyémitsŭ, whose temple, you know, is at
Nikko, and who was near missing the honor of being divinized there
later, owing to a plot arranged by his enemies, the scene of which was
this little town of Utsunomiya. At that time he was but a boy, the
heir-apparent, and was on his way to Nikko, as was his official duty, to
worship at the tomb of his grandfather Iyéyasŭ, lately deceased. In
this story Iyémitsŭ is not in the legitimate line of descent, but is
made the heir by the decision of the great Iyéyasŭ.

His father, Hidetada, was shogun, as you know, having succeeded Iyéyasŭ,
during the latter's lifetime,--the old man remaining in reality the
master, though absolved from external responsibilities. Now, Hidetada's
wife was of the family of Nobunaga, on her mother's side--and bore him a
son, who was named during his childhood Kuni Matsu. Another son, whose
boy name was Take Chiyo, was the son of Kasuga No Tsubone, a remarkable
woman. Each son had tutors, people of importance, and around each boy
gathered a number of ambitious interests, all the fiercer that they were
dissembled and depended for success upon the choice of either heir as
shogun, to succeed father and grandfather. The claim of the other son
was favored by the father and more generally accepted; but the son of
Kasuga was superior in looks, manners, and intelligence, and his mother
hoped to influence in his favor old Iyéyasŭ, the grandfather.

Iyéyasŭ was then living in retirement at Sunpu, that is now called
Shidzuoka, which is on the road called the Tokaido.

Kasuga took advantage of a pilgrimage to the shrines of Ise to stop on
her road, and naturally offer homage to the head of the family, the
grandfather of her son. Besides the power of her own personality, she
was able to place before Iyéyasŭ very strong arguments for choosing as
the heir of the line a youth as promising as her Take Chiyo.

Iyéyasŭ advised her to continue her pilgrimage, and not to go out of her
woman's business, which could not be that of interfering with questions
of state; and she obeyed. But Iyéyasŭ revolved the entire question in
his mind, and decided that there was danger in a delay that allowed
both parties to grow stronger in antagonism. So that he came at once to
Yedo, which is now Tokio, and visited Hidetada, asking to see both the
boys together. They came in along with their father and his wife, and
took their accustomed places. Now these were on the higher floor, raised
by a few inches from the floor on which kneels the visitor of lower
degree, in the presence of his superior: a line of black lacquer edges
the division. Thereupon Iyéyasŭ taking the boy Take Chiyo by the hand,
made him sit by him, and alongside of his father, and ordered the other
son, Kuni Matsu, to sit below the line, and said: "The State will come
to harm if the boys are allowed to grow up in the idea of equal rank.
Therefore, Take Chiyo shall be shogun, and Kuni Matsu a daimio." This
decision gave to the line of the Tokugawa a brilliant and powerful
continuity, for Take Chiyo, under his manhood name of Iyémitsŭ, was as
an Augustus to the Cæsar Iyéyasŭ. And, indeed, Iyéyasŭ had certainly
made sufficient inquiries to warrant his decision. If he consulted the
abbot Tenkai, of Nikko, who was a preceptor of the boy, he must have
heard favorably of him. For, according to the judgment of Tenkai, as I
find it quoted elsewhere, "Iyémitsŭ was very shrewd and of great
foresight," and in his presence the great abbot felt, he said, "as if
thorns were pricking his back."

Not but that he was also fond of luxury and splendor; and one glimpse of
him as a youth shows a quarrel with a tutor who found him dressing
himself, or being dressed, for "No" performances, or "private
theatricals," and who proceeded thereupon to throw away the double
mirrors,--in which the youth followed his hair-dresser's
arrangements,--with the usual, classical rebuke, condemning such
arrangements as unworthy of a ruler of Japan.

There are many stories of Iyémitsŭ more or less to his advantage--and a
little anecdote shows a young man of quick temper, as well as one who
insisted upon proper attendance.

Iyémitsŭ had been hawking in a strong wind, and with no success. Tired
and hungry, he went with some lord-in-waiting to a neighboring temple,
where lunch was prepared for them by his cook,--a man of rank. Iyémitsŭ,
while taking his soup in a hurry, crushed a little stone between his
teeth; whereupon he immediately insisted upon the cook's committing
suicide. The cook being a gentleman, a man of affairs, not a mere artist
like poor Vatel, hesitated, and then said: "No soup made by me ever had
stones or pebbles in it; otherwise I should gladly kill myself: you
gentlemen have begun dinner at once without washing hands or changing
dress, and some pebble has dropped into the soup from your hair or
clothes. If after having washed your hands and changed your dress, you
find any stones in the soup, I shall kill myself." Whereupon Iyémitsŭ
did as was suggested by the cook, repented of his own severity, and
increased the cook's pay. But the tutor and guardians of Iyémitsŭ
watched over him carefully, and the story I had begun to tell shows that
they had no sinecure.

The tutors and guardians of the brother, whom Iyéyasŭ had decided to put
aside in favor of Iyémitsŭ, were naturally deeply aggrieved and sought
for chances to regain their ward's future power and their own.

As my story began, Iyémitsŭ, representing the hereditary shogunate, was
called upon to travel to Nikko and worship officially at his
grandfather's tomb. On his way it was natural that he should rest as we
did, at Utsunomiya, and in the castle of his vassal, Honda, who was one
of the tutors of his brother. This was the son of the great Honda
Masanobu, of whom I spoke above as a champion of Iyéyasŭ.

Here was an opportunity; and a scheme of getting rid of the young shogun
was devised by his enemies that seemed to them sufficiently obscure to
shield them in case of success or failure, at least for a time. This
was, to have a movable ceiling made to the bath-room weighted in such a
way as to fall upon any one in the bath and crush him. Whether it was to
be lifted again, and leave him drowned in his bath, or to remain as an
accident from faulty construction, I do not know.

To build this machine, ten carpenters were set to work within the castle
and kept jealously secluded,--even when the work was done, for the young
shogun delayed his coming. The confinement fretted the men, among whom
was a young lover, anxious to get back to his sweetheart, and not to be
satisfied with the good food and drink provided to appease him. He told
of his longings to the gatekeeper, whose duty it was to keep him
imprisoned, bribed him with his own handsome pay and promise of a
punctual return, and at last managed to get out and be happy for a few
moments. The girl of his love was inquisitive, but reassured by
explanation that the work was done, and that he should soon be out
again; yet not before the shogun should have come and gone on his way to
Nikko. And so he returned to the gatekeeper at the time appointed.
Meanwhile, during that very night, the officers of the castle had gone
their rounds and found one man absent. In the morning the roll-call was
full. This was reported to the lord of the castle, who decided that if
he could not know who it was that had been absent it was wise to silence
them all. Therefore, each was called to be paid and dismissed, and, as
he stepped out, was beheaded. The gatekeeper, getting wind of what was
happening and fearing punishment, ran away, and being asked by the girl
about her lover, told her what he knew and that he believed all the
carpenters to have been killed.

Since her lover was dead, she determined to die also, having been the
cause of his death and of the death of his companions. She wrote out all
this, together with what her lover had told her of his belief and
suspicions, and left the letter for her father and mother, who received
it along with the tidings of her suicide. The father, in an agony of
distress and fear, for there was danger to the whole family from every
side, made up his mind to stop the shogun at all hazards, and in the
depth of the night made his way to Ishibashi, where one of the princes
had preceded Iyémitsŭ, who was to pass the night still further back on
the road.

Here there was difficulty about getting a private interview with so
great a man as this prince, whose name you will remember as being the
title of the former owner of our friend's house in Nikko: Ii, Kammon no

The letter was shown to Ii, who despatched two messengers, gentlemen of
his own, one back to Yedo, to see to the safety of the castle there; the
other one to Iyémitsŭ, but by a circuitous route, so that he might
appear to have come the other way. The letter was to the effect that the
young shogun's father was very ill and desired his son's immediate
return. By the time that Iyémitsŭ could get into his litter, Ii had
arrived and shown him the girl's letter. Then the occupants of the
litters were changed, Matsudaira taking Iyémitsŭ's _norimono_ and
Iyémitsŭ Matsudaira's. This, of course, was to give another chance of
escape in case of sudden attack by a larger force, for they were now in
enemy's country and did not know what traps might be laid for them. The
bearers of the palanquin pressed through the night, so that, leaving at
midnight, they arrived at Yedo the following evening; but the strain
had been so great that they could go no further. There was still the
fear of attack, and among the retinue one very strong man, Matsudaira
Ishikawa, carried the litter of the prince himself. But the gates were
closed, and the guards refused to recognize the unknown litter as that
of the shogun; nor would they, fearing treachery, open when told that
Iyémitsŭ had returned. Delays ensued, but at last admission was obtained
for Iyémitsŭ through a wicket gate--and he was safe. Later, after
cautious delays, the guilty were punished, and I hope the family of the
carpenter's love escaped. When I first read the story, years ago, the
version was different, and there was some arrangement of it, more
romantic--with some circumstances through which the young carpenter and
his sweetheart escaped, and alone the father, innocent of harm,
committed suicide. The story sounded sufficiently Japanese and upside
down and was pretty, but I have forgotten its convolutions, so that I
give you this one, which I think has a pleasant local color. It has
local color, and that charm of action which belongs to such histories as
those of the great Dumas--not to mention Mr. Froude.

Do not forget that these details are given for your amusement, and not
for your instruction. I am quite uncertain as to the historical value of
my information as soon as I come down to close particulars. What little
I really know comes down from early reading of the missionaries and of
the Dutch, and that is mostly outside impression, though thereby
valuable, because not based on theory or principle.

I do not know that critical history has yet begun here. But in the
historical place where we have spent our summer, talk about the past was
but natural and all to be listened to without much chance for us to
distinguish what was of record and what was of legend. What I have been
writing about is legend, and I am warned of its complicated
incorrectness. That has not prevented my setting it down. You would like
the pretty murderous story whose details reflect a peculiar past. It
would be nothing to you if it were not at all Iyémitsŭ, but his father
Hidetada, for whose destruction the famous plot of the Hanging Ceiling
was hatched. Nor would you care if the ceiling and bath-room had never
existed. What is worth having is that many people thought that they saw
themselves in the mirror of a period.

Now see how re-arranging the atoms of which the previous story is
constituted will give you quite another picture that I would spare you,
though it is a correct historical one, but it has the advantage of being
quite as strange in certain ways, though not so fitted for the theater,
and of giving you again a picture of feudal Japan.

As I said before, the story as I have just told it has been kept in
memory, if not invented on purpose, through a book written in honor of a
Japanese opposed to Honda, the master of the castle, the author of the
plot of the Hanging Ceiling. There may have been such a story afloat at
that time among people of low degree kept out from the many secrets of
the court, but knowing that things were being done; at the same time,
there is nothing that would account for a sufficient reason; and, worse
than all, the date is impossible. Young Iyémitsŭ was not in any position
at that possible date (eighth year of the Genwa) to represent the
shogunate. His father Hidetada would have been the proposed victim,
which is again impossible because of the devotion of Honda, the lord of
the castle, to Hidetada. That there was such an accusation I believe is
understood. It was met at the time and at once disproved to the
satisfaction of the shogun. It was the Lady Kano who had denounced
Honda, and apparently invented the plot. She was a daughter of Iyéyasŭ,
and had, perhaps, some of the fierce strain said to have shown in her
mother and sister. Her baby grandson had only just been deprived of this
very fief for the advantage of Honda, so that she had at least this
grievance. And she was united in intention with the wife of the shogun
Hidetada. This was a beautiful and wilful woman,--known to us by her
after-death name of Sogenin, whose preference for Iyémitsŭ's brother,
her son also, had met Honda's resistance. You can realize that I am not
capable of even discussing the question, and that I am only doing it to
amuse you and to bring in more pictures.

As the shogun was to be received by the lord of Utsunomiya, new
additions were ordered for his castle, the bridges and roads were
repaired, which works required all the laborers, skilled or otherwise,
of his domains, and even obliged him to draw upon his retainers and
soldiers. Such enormous preparations were, of course, noised abroad.
Now, it so happened that at one time Honda's father had been concerned
in an insurrection, or levy of arms, of certain members of the Buddhist
sect to which he belonged, and had fought the great Iyéyasŭ, whom
afterwards he served so faithfully. Among the upholders of the faith
were fighting monks, a variety of the militant church well known in the
annals of Japan. At the close of this rebellion a band of these
monks--something like a hundred--and a hundred other warriors were
intrusted--Japanese-way--to the wardship of their former fellow
partisan, and there they were handy for use. But they had retained
something of both the clergyman and the warrior, keeping their priestly
names and wearing their hair unshorn, and they refused to work, which in
their eyes would have assimilated them to common soldiers and laborers.
Thereupon,--and this was thought to be queer even in those days,--the
lord of the castle invited them to go about the country and report upon
certain matters in various places, at which places they were met by
bodies of armed men, who put an end to them. I suppose that, according
to strict views of the country and time, this was justifiable, though
excessive, and this is one of the little pictures that I wish to frame.
You see how the unpleasantness of the occasion might help the later
stories of assassination.

And now, in correcting another error, I can give you another picture of
feudal Japan, a Japan now broken up, against whose last rulers, the
Tokugawa, I hear daily so much. That lady in the story just given you,
where she is the mother of Iyémitsŭ and the concubine of his father, the
shogun, was a very different person.

Little Iyémitsŭ was the legitimate son; moreover, the one who by date of
birth was the probable heir, notwithstanding the preference shown by his
father and his mother, Sogenin, for his younger brother. So that the
succession was decided abruptly by the stern head of the family,

Great attention was paid by the grandfather, the great Iyéyasŭ, to the
education of this grandson. As a Japanese friend remarked, he believed
that the important place in the generation was that of the third man. So
that three distinguished noblemen were appointed his governors: Sakai,
to teach benevolence; Doi, to teach wisdom; Awoyama, to teach valor.
Besides these great professors for the future, the little boy needed an
immediate training by a governess good in every way. Kasuga, a married
woman, the daughter of a well-known warrior of imperial descent who had
lost his life in some conspiracy of the previous generation, was chosen
by the government for the position. This was, perhaps, as great an
honor as could be offered to any lady. Besides, there was an opportunity
to clear the memory of her father. And she begged her husband to divorce
her that she might be free to give all her life to this task. So devoted
was she that the boy being at one time at the point of death, she
offered herself to the gods for his recovery, vowing never to take any
remedy. In her last illness she refused all medicine, and even when
Iyémitsŭ--now ruler--begged her to take a commended draught from his
hand, she merely, out of politeness, allowed it to moisten her lips,
saying that her work was done, that she was ready to die, and that her
life had long ago been offered for the master. Nor would she allow the
master to indulge her with regard to her own son. He was in exile,
deservedly, and the shogun asked her permission to pardon him, in the
belief of possible amendment. She refused, bidding Iyémitsŭ to remember
his lesson: that the law of the country was above all things, and that
she had never expected such words from him. Moreover, that had he
revoked the law for her, she could not die in peace. There is a Spartan
politeness in all this, for which I think the stories worth saving to

And they will help to give Iyémitsŭ existence for you. He seems too
vague in the temple dedicated to him at Nikko, even when we look at his
bronze tomb and are told that he lies there packed in vermilion: our
minds have become so far removed from the ways of thinking of Japan that
a divinized mortal is an empty phrase for us.

The details of such stories as I have told would not have seemed very
antiquated across the seas, at their date, to those who remembered the
days of Queen Elizabeth. The change has been as great in Europe as in
Japan, but here it has been sudden, like the shifting of the scene of
the theater; so that I can realize that when I was a boy such things as
I am telling you would not have seemed very old-fashioned hereabouts.

And now I make my notes in this little railroad coach, with the
telegraph wires running in and out of the picture that I see through my
window; and, indeed, it is this implied contrast which I think has urged
me most to tell you these more or less accurate anecdotes.

If you wished to learn more about Iyémitsŭ from the Japanese biography
that I have with me, you might be puzzled. One has felt so distinctly
the all-powerfulness of the men whose names and stories are the outer
history of Japan. So full is the impression forced upon one by the
outside of the life of such a ruler as Iyémitsŭ, bounded between the
worship of his grandfather in golden temples and his own worship in
almost equal splendors, and filled in by despotic use of power, that it
leaves little place for the theory of all this power coming from the
Mikado, who practically lived upon a narrow income apportioned to him by
his lieutenant, the shogun. But in my little biography, written
evidently to keep to present views and theories, I learn that toward the
emperor our impatient hero was "faithful and humble"--and part of his
story consists of visits to the emperor and of his receiving honors from
this source of all honor. Thus, upon his coming of age, and having his
hair trimmed, cut, and shaved in a manner to indicate this important
event, the emperor sends a great court officer to compliment him, gives
him the name of Iyémitsŭ, honors him with the rank of _Junii_, and
appoints him a Go Dainagon. Also, later he appoints him to be the
commander of the right wing of the imperial guard, and also
superintendent of the Right Imperial Stable. Thereupon Iyémitsŭ calls
upon his majesty at Kioto to pay his homage, and is made
commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and moreover Naidaizin, with
the rank of Shonii; and he is also permitted to ride in an ox-carriage
and to have armed body-guards; the latter privilege one that he had been
obliged to enjoy perforce from early days, as we have seen. Whereupon,
says my chronicler, Iyémitsŭ had the honor of presenting to his majesty
a yearly income of twenty thousand bags of rice; and this goes on until
after his death, when the emperor gives him these titles for the future,
the name of Daiken-In, the rank of Shoichi, and the premier office of
Daijo-Daizin. "The favor of Five Imperial poems was also extended to the

Iyémitsŭ was fond of painting, and studied under the instruction of Kano
Tanyu. He liked to paint the sacred mountain Fuji, and the same
courteous chronicler tells me that some of his work was better than
Tanyu's. But I should prefer seeing, before deciding; though Tanyu's
imperturbable security makes one not a little bored.

It is dark; we are approaching Iyémitsŭ's city, Tokio, formerly Yedo,
the city of the Tokugawa, now finally returned to the emperor, to whom
they gave the thousands of bags of rice for income. We shall sleep at
No. 22 Yokohama,[8] and look out on the water again.

     [7] "Pariahs. Their occupations were to slaughter animals, tan
     leather, attend at executions, etc. The class, as such, is
     now abolished, but remnants of its peculiar dress may still
     occasionally be seen in the persons of young girls with broad hats
     who go about the streets playing and singing." (Satow).

     [8] All of Yokohama given to foreign settlement was laid out by
     numbering, and retains it, apart from any other designation.


                                          YOKOHAMA, September 1, 1886.

Naturally we have again been wandering in Tokio; I don't know that we
have seen anything more, as we should certainly do if we had any energy
in the heat. It is more natural to fritter away time in little things.
Besides, there is a general feeling of discouragement accompanying the
continuance of cholera; and this is an unseasonable moment. Theaters are
closed; people are away. If I had to give an account of my time, I could
not make it up. I know that I went to see an engraver on wood; that he
showed me his work, or his way of working, of which I knew a little;
that he made me drink some cherry-blossom tea, pretty to look at and of
unseizable flavor; that he took me to see some of his work printed; that
I climbed up a ladder, somewhere into a hot room, where a man, naked but
for his loin-cloth, sat slapping pieces of paper with a big brush upon
the block previously touched with color; and that the dexterity with
which he fitted the paper in proper place, so that the colors should not
overlap, was as simple and primitive as his dress.

Then I went to see the painter whose drawings had been engraved. I can't
explain just why the arrangement of his courtyard seemed what I might
have expected, and yet I still keep that impression without having
noticed anything but the heat--the heat and the sun--the heat
accumulated in this big dreary city of innumerable little houses.

We explained at the door our request, and after a few moments we were
told that the painter, though he was ill, would see us. We entered, and
sat awhile, during which interval a boy pupil, occupied in copying
sketches of the master, looked at us surreptitiously through a circular
opening in the partition that made him a room.

Our artist came in and sat down, evidently an ill man, and offered us
the inevitable tea, and showed us his methods of preparation for the
colored wood-blocks, and got down examples from the great pile of rolls
and bundles of papers and drawings that filled one side of the room,
among which I noticed many fragments of illustrated English or American
newspapers. And we dared not intrude any further, and departed--just as
the conversation had turned toward European art--with gifts of drawings
from him and promise of exchange.

No; what we have really done is again to call at shops and begin over
again the pursuit of bric-à-brac. It is so impossible to believe that we
can find nothing in all the accumulation of all these shops. But even if
it be so, the manner of hunting is an amusement, as is the mere seeing
of all this stuff in its own home; and the little attentions of the
dealer, the being in a house with the privileges of tea and smoking, and
a lazy war of attack and defense; and the slow drawing out of pieces
from bags and boxes, so that time, the great enemy, is put in the wrong.
And then, what one is not expected to buy or look at is quite as good. I
know of one place to which I have returned to look out of the _shoji_
screens into the garden, where there is a big pottery statue of Kwannon.
I don't intend to get it or to bargain about it, but I intend to buy
other things under its influence; perhaps the _daimio_ seats that we use
in our visit, or the lanterns that light us when we stay late, whose oil
will have to be emptied if they are sold. And there are places where
things are for sale to people versed in Chinese ways of thinking, but
where amateurs on the wing like ourselves are not encouraged, and that
is certainly seductive. Still, I am afraid that we shall miss a great
deal that we wish to see, because of this dawdling in shops.

And yet there is no sadness following these visits, such as has come
upon us when we have gone to see some of the modern workers. From them
we depart with no more hope. It is like some puzzles, like the having
listened to an argument which you know is based on some inaccuracy that
you cannot at the moment detect. This about the better, the new perfect
work, if I can call it perfect, means only high finish and equal care.
But the individual pieces are less and less individual; there is no more
_surprise_. The means or methods are being carried further and _beyond_,
so that one asks one's self, "Then why these methods at all?" The
_style_ of this finer modern work is poorer, no longer connected with
the greater design, as if ambition was going into method and value of
material. Just how far this is owing to us I cannot tell, but the market
is largely European, and what is done has a vague appearance of looking
less and less out of place among our works, and has, as I said before,
less and less suggestion of individuality. None of it would ever give
one the slight shock of an exception, none of it would have the
appearance which we know of our own best work, the _feeling_ that we are
not going to see more of it. This statement applies to the best work;
the more common work is merely a degradation, the using of some part of
the methods; just enough to sell it, and to meet some easily defined
immediate commercial needs. I saw the beginnings years ago, and I can
remember one of our great New York dealers marking on his samples the
colors that pleased most of his buyers, who themselves again were to
place the goods in Oshkosh or Third Avenue. All other colors or
patterns were tabooed in his instructions to the makers in Japan. This
was the rude mechanism of the change, the coming down to the worst
public taste, which must be that of the greatest number at any given
time; for commerce in such matters is of the moment: the sale of the
wooden nutmeg, good enough until used. Have I not seen through the
enormous West any amount of the worst stained glass, all derived from
what I made myself, some years ago, as a step toward a development of
greater richness and delicacy in the "art of glass"? And my rivalry of
precious stones had come to this ignoble end and caricature. The
commercial man, or the semi-professional man whom we call the architect,
must continually ask for something poorer, something to meet the
advancing flood of clients and purchasers, something more easily placed
anywhere, at random, without trouble or responsibility, and reflecting
the public--as it is more easy to fit in a common tile than the most
beautiful Persian one--in the average of buildings made themselves to
meet the same common demand. And so with all applied beauty; the
degradation is always liable to occur.

Japan is an exceptional place for studying these changes; we can see
them gradually evolved--all as if by vivisection of some morbid anatomy.
The study of these diseases and infections of art at home is attended
with moral distress and intellectual disgust, because we are all in part
responsible; but here we can see it disinterestedly, and speculate
dispassionately upon the degradation of good things resulting from the
demands of business.

Were it quite in the line of what you expect to-day from me, I might
make out for you the lines of the old scheme of civilization under which
former work was done. The feudal organization of Japan divided the
country into provinces of distinct habits and modes of work--more or
less isolated, partly by want of easy or general communication, partly
by the political interests of their rulers and of the main government,
partly by the permanence of the provincial feeling which prevented the
inhabitant of one place moving to another to find occupation and
employment. The rule of the idea of the family, which is still great in
Japan, kept things in the same order, preserved all traditions, and at
the same time offered opportunities, by adoption, to individuals who
might increase or keep up the family reputation or influence. Here, too,
I suppose, is the basis of a certain dignity and personal independence
in the manners of the people which runs in with their courtesy. Every
one must have known what was expected of him, and have felt quite free
after that duty paid. Within this courtesy that I see all about me, I
feel something of what we might call democratic, for want of a better
name. I recognize it in the manner of the subordinate, who takes an
apparently personal interest in things, after his duty of politeness and
obedience is paid. And though there was no absolute caste, as we
understand it, except in such a case as that of the Eta, the lines of
life were strictly laid out, until the new laws, which have made things
open more or less to all.[9] With these changes, with disturbances of
fortune, with the loss of power and of income on the part of the small
rulers, with a country all laid out now in "prefectures," with the
necessarily increasing power of "bureaucracy," the whole tone of
individual life must change, must become less independent in any one
thing, more independent apparently in general--must flatten out, if I
may so express it. And the artisan will have to follow the course of
trade and its fluctuations until some general level has been
established--some general level of manufactures, I mean, for there is
no general level possible in art. Something will happen which will
resemble the ways of France, where art still exists, but where things
have been so managed that any artist out of the general level has had a
very bad time of it--the whole live forces of the nation, in trade and
"bureaucracy," being against his living easily any life of his own. When
the forces of traditional taste and skill and habits of industry now
existing in Japan shall have been organized anew, Japan, like France,
will have undoubtedly a great part to play in industrial trade.

Art may live or may not in the future here; nothing of what has been
done elsewhere to grow it or foster it has made it stronger. It has
always come by the grace of God, to be helped when it is here, or choked
out; but no gardener has ever seen its seed. Some of my friends in Japan
are plunged in a movement to save what there is of the past in art, to
keep its traditions, to keep teaching in the old ways, without direct
opposition to what may be good in the new. They see around them the
breaking up of what has been fine, and the new influences producing
nothing, not even bad imitations of Europe. I know too little upon what
their hopes are based, but O----, who is in the "tendency," sails with
us for America and Europe, and I may find out more through him.
Meanwhile he is to inquire with Professor F---- into the education of
the artist and artisan with us, and to see "how we do it." I am deeply
interested in their undertaking, perhaps the most remarkable of all
similar inquiries--if honestly conducted. But I see vague visions of
distorted values, of commercial authorities looked upon as artistic, of
the same difficulties, for instance, that I might meet if I wished now
to make an official report, not to the public or to government,--that is
always easy,--but to myself, who have no special interest in being
misled, of the methods of art and industry that have been and exist in
the East.

... Three days are wasted. I do scarcely any work, and there comes to
me, as a punishment, a feeling of the littleness of a great deal here,
coming, I think, from the actual smallness of many details--of the sizes
of the little houses, of the little gardens, of the frail materials, of
the set manners.

... To-morrow we shall go to something great, to the great statue, the
"Daibutsŭ," at Kamakura, and perhaps we may even push as far as
Énoshima, but I doubt it. It will be our last day, as we shall sail the
following morning for Kobe. As I run along the streets of Tokio in the
afternoon, with the feeling that I have tried to set down, of things
having narrowed as they become familiar, comes the excited melancholy of
departure, and this same ugliness and prettiness have a new value as I
look upon them for the last time. I sit in the little tea-house near the
station, waiting for A----, and drink the "powdered tea," which tastes
better than ever, as a stirrup-cup. And I do not resent the familiarity
of a big Chinaman, proud of his English, and of national superiority
here in size and commercial value, who addresses me and seeks to find
out whether I, too, have a commercial value. My answers puzzle him, and
he leaves me uncertain as to quantities, and walks off with the impudent
majesty of his fellows among this smaller and less commercial race.

... At dinner I see at the table near me a Japanese gentleman, not very
young, dining with his wife and another lady, who, I am told, is a
well-known _gei-sha_. This information I receive from my more or less
trusty courier, who also gives me some confused intimation that this
gentleman had participated in the murder of Richardson, the Englishman,
many years ago, under the old régime, for which murder somebody else was
decapitated. The wife is correct and immovable, the _gei-sha_ animated,
with a great deal of color and charm. A German or Russian sits at
another table, heavy, diplomatic, thick-bearded; the _gei-sha_
recognizes him, rises, goes over to his table, and bends very low before
him, almost kneeling; then speaks courteously and animatedly, as if in
compliment, to which the diplomat, without turning his head, says a word
or two distantly. Then the _gei-sha_ bends again down to the table, and
walks respectfully backward, and then swings back into her seat. I am
amused by this complete inversion of our own habits, and am reminded of
the manners and assiduous attentions of our men at the theaters when
they call on the indifferent fair. I see, too, that the points of attack
and defense must be different.

The heat was still intense even in the night, within fifty yards of the
sea; we went down to the quay and hired a boat with man and boy, to
drift out into the hazy moonlight. The boy did the main part of the
work: we lay in the boat, seeing nothing but this little body, and the
flapping of its garments, and everything else a vague space of lightened
shadow. We rowed or sculled far away, came near to a shore where there
was a tea-house, for women opened its closed sides and, revealed by
their lanterns, came down and called to us. But we pulled off and later,
in a far-off ocean with no shore nor sky, came across a little
summer-house built on piles, through which the volume of the sea pressed
and recoiled. Nothing could be more abandoned, more improbable. There
was nothing in sight. Had we entered the little pavilion, and moored our
boat or let it float away, we might have felt as if out in the distant
sea. We were the center of a globe of pearl; no edges nor outlines of
anything visible, except a faint circular light above, from which the
pearly color flowed tremulously, and a few wrinkles of silver and dark
below; no sound but a gentle sway of water. And we came home, having
had the sense of the possibility of intense isolation in a fairyland of

                                       AT SEA, OFF IZU, September 3.

We sailed this morning on the French steamer. It is now quite late in
the afternoon. The Pacific keeps its blue under us, and a blue sea haze
separates us from the violets and greens of the mountains of the shore,
behind which the light is slowly sinking. All is gentle and soothing;
but our captain says that he is not sure, and that "_hors d'Izu nous
aurons la houle du Pacifique_." While waiting for this long, angry roll,
I shall tell you about yesterday, of which there was little--for we had
undertaken too much.

We left rather too late, and drove a good way in the foggy morning,
passing much culture, and under many trees, of all of which I remember
little. It was late when we stopped to breakfast at the little inn from
which we were to be taken by _kuruma_, first to the big statue of
Buddha, then wherever we might have time to go. We left the place, and
reached the hollow between hills where the statue dwells, after passing
through a curious deep cutting right through the rocks, which marks some
old approach to the former city; for these hollows and fields were once
covered by a great city, the city of Kamakura, the city of Yoritomo, and
the great statue now out of doors was once in a temple of that city.
Places are shown you in the dells: this was where was once the mansion
of such a hero, here was that of the administrators of the military rule
in the fifteenth century; here stood the palace where, with his two
hundred and eighty last followers, such a one retired to perform
harakiri, and perish in the flames, when overwhelming forces had
captured the great city which was once the other capital of Japan. Trees
and ordinary culture cover these spaces now.

And here was the temple. Sixty-three pillars supported its roof, and
many of their bases are still there. But a great inundation from the
sea, now some miles distant, destroyed the temple and its adjacent
buildings. This happened as far back as the end of the fifteenth
century, and the temple has not been rebuilt. The desire of Yoritomo to
see the great statue made during his lifetime was not granted; but one
of his waiting-ladies, after his death, collected the necessary funds,
and it appears to have been cast in 1252 by Ono Go-rō-ye-mon. I know
nothing about him, but if he be the artist, it is pleasant to record his
name. The image is made of bronze cast in pieces brazed together and
finished with the chisel. It is nearly fifty feet high as it sits; and
if these points help you to its size, learn that its eyes, for instance,
are four feet long, the length across its lap from knee to knee is
thirty-five feet, and the circumference of the thumb is fully three
feet. But these measures, though they show a large scale and great size,
do not indicate a proportion, as we should understand it. The whole
modeling is for effect, and the means and methods of the modeling are
simple and elementary. Like all work done on archaic principles, the
main accentuations are overstated, and saved in their relations by great
subtleties in the large surfaces. It is emphatically modeled for a
colossus; it is _not a little thing made big_, like our modern colossal
statues; it _has always been big_, and would be so if reduced to

We saw it first from the side through trees, as we ran rapidly to the
front, where are a temple gate, and a long courtyard still in order,
that leads up to the statue. From the side one can see how it bends
over, and rough as it is from behind, the impression of something real
was strong as its gray form moved through the openings of the trees. The
photographs must long have made you know it, and they also show the
great base and the immense temple ornaments that stand upon it at the
feet of the statue. They show also the little lodge at the side, where
the priest in attendance lives, and gives information, and sells
photographs and takes them, and generally acts as showman. We took many
photographs from new points of view, and we even removed the thatch of a
penthouse so as to get nearer and under the statue to the side; and I
painted also, more to get the curious gray and violet tone of the bronze
than to make a faithful drawing, for that seemed impossible in the
approaching afternoon. We did not know how long a time we had spent
lingering about it. The clouds had begun to open, and a faint autumnal
light filled the little hollow, which has only small trees, and no
imposing monuments like the great cryptomeria, which alone might seem
fit to grow about here. All, on the contrary, was gentle and small--the
lines of the hills, the trees, the garden plants about us: we might have
been anywhere. Perhaps it is just as well; the whole impression comes
from the statue, with the only objection or detraction that we can get
near enough to it to see the mechanism, the means, and details of its
expression. An accident, the breaking of its prison temple by a great
cataclysm of nature, a great wave of the sea coming far inland and
destroying the great building, has given to the statue something that it
could never have had to the physical eye--in the degree it has now. Now,
freed from its shrine, the figure sits in contemplation of entire
nature, the whole open world that we feel about us, or its symbols--the
landscape, the hills, the trees and fields, the sky and its depths, the
sunshine playing before the eyes of the seated figure, the air in which
dance all the things that live in air, from the birds that fly to the
atoms of dust, and the drifting leaves and blossoms, the confusion or
the peace of the elements, the snow in crystals, and the rain in drops.
All this world of ours, which to the contemplative mind is but a
figurative fragment of the universe, lies before the mental gaze of the
Buddha. Unwinking, without change of direction, he looks forever; his
will is forever subdued and held beneath him, as his fingers pressed
together indicate his freedom from all the disturbances of that past of
being which is subject to time and change, and his cognition,
undisturbed, envelops and images the universe in final contemplation.

Astounding success of the artist in what he has really done, for there
is no trace of means; the sum of realism is so slight, the conventional
has so great a part; each detail is almost more of an ornament than of a
representation. One almost believes that the result may be partly
accidental: that, as one cannot fathom the reason of the expressiveness
of a countenance, or of the influence of a few musical notes, even
though one knows the mechanism, so it seems difficult to grant that
there was once a choice in the other mind that caused it, that there
were once many paths opened before it.

And still more do I believe that the accident of the great tempest has
given a yet more patent and subtle meaning to the entire figure. Once
upon a time its details, indeed, if not its entirety, must have looked
more delicate in the reflected light of the temple building, when the
upper part of the figure was bathed in mysterious gloomy light, while
the lower glittered in answer to the openings of the doors. But could
anything ever have rivaled the undecidedness of this background of
veiled sky and shifting blue, which makes one believe at times that the
figure soon must move? As one looks longer and longer at it, with
everything around it gently changing, and the shadows shifting upon its
surface, the tension of expectation rises to anxiety. The trees rustle
and wave behind it, and the light dances up and down the green boughs
with the wind; it must move--but there is no change, and it shall sit

As we left, and I walked down the long pavement in front of the statue,
in the early autumn sunshine and the rising freshness of the wind, I
turned again and again, each time with the realization that the statue
was still sitting, until we turned out of sight, a vague, unreasonable
sense of having left it alone accompanying me, until other, different,
light, and gay impressions broke the influence and allowed me to think
of what I had seen as a work of art, such as I could understand and
decompose--and, if I wished, make also.

And we lunched at Hase, near by, and from the comfortable inn could see
on the gray hill above the temple of Kuwannon, and its red buildings and
balustrades. After a very long lunch, we walked up to the temple, and
from the platform in front looked toward the afternoon sea right before
us, and the plain of Kamakura. Then we entered, and were taken in behind
the great screen doors to a narrow but high place--lighted only from the
little entrance--wherein stood right by us and over us a standing figure
of the divinity, all golden in the dark. It is over thirty feet high,
and whether it be great art or not,--for the darkness was too great to
judge of form,--the glitter of a smile of gold far up above our heads,
in the obscurity of the roof, was an impression that, even so near to
the great statue out of doors, remains distinct. It was late afternoon;
we dared look at no more statues, nor at relics of warriors of Kamakura,
and started for the beach, partly with the hope of seeing Fuji behind
us. But all was veiled in the sky; we walked along the beach, our
_kurumas_ dragging behind us, and crossed a little stream, and while
A---- bathed in, and thereby took possession of, the Pacific, I walked
up the sand-hills toward the little village at the end of the strand. As
I came near it, an unfortunate distorted being, scarred with some
leprous disease, plunged toward me in the twilight from some vague
opening in the hills, and begged piteously, following me afterward with
a thankful wail of "O Danna San! Danna San! Danna San!" that I hear yet.
We reëntered our _kurumas_ and drove in triumph to the inn of the little
village. I say in triumph: _I_ drove in triumph, observed of all
observers--I had my usual costume and was clothed. A----, rather than
wait to get dry, rode along with only a partial covering of _yukatta_,
and attracted no attention. Had he had nothing on at all, he would have
been still more in keeping with many of our neighbors. Night was
falling, nothing more could be done; we got back to our carriage and
horses, and drove back in the warm darkness to Yokohama. And I close as
we begin to feel the roll, "_la houle du Pacifique_."

     [9] The gentry, the old Samurai, however, still constitute the
     governing class to-day apparently, and the aristocratic spirit
     stands in the way of indiscriminate rise of the plebeians.


                                                      September 16.

We came into Kioto from Osaka, by rail, one fine afternoon. I had a
half-childish hope of being surprised, a memory of days when, a boy, I
read of the great forbidden city. Only a few years ago it was still
forbidden, and now the little respectable car was hurrying us there as
prosily as older life translates the verse of our early dreams. We were
in September heat and glare. We passed over wide spaces of plain, edged
by sharp mountains, looking hot and barren; through great plantations
and stretches of green, with here and there a temple half hidden,--and
over dried river-beds.

The station closed all views on our arrival, and the sudden transfer to
streets showing no European influences was as if we had passed through a
city's walls.

The first sensation was merely the usual one of a whirl through
innumerable buildings, low, of wood, and more or less the same;
extremely wide streets, all very clean; many people; a great bridge
across the stony bed of a river almost dry; then some trees and little
gardens and corners of temples with heavy roofs, as we turned through
little roads and drove up to the gate of the hotel inclosure, which is
placed on the edge of the outside hills and looks down upon Kioto. We
were high up, in rooms, looking over trees just below; next to us the
corner of temple grounds that rounded away out of sight.

  [Illustration: KIOTO IN FOG--MORNING.]

Early on most mornings I have sat out on our wide veranda and drawn or
painted from the great panorama before me--the distant mountains making
a great wall lighted up clearly, with patches of burning yellow and
white and green, against the western sky. The city lies in fog,
sometimes cool and gray; sometimes golden and smoky. The tops of pagodas
and heavy roofs of temples lift out of this sea, and through it shine
innumerable little white spots of the plastered sides of houses. Great
avenues, which divide the city in parallel lines, run off into haze; far
away always shines the white wall of the city castle; near us, trees and
houses and temples drop out occasionally from the great violet shadows
cast by the mountain behind us. Before the city wakes and the air
clears, the crows fly from near the temples toward us, as the great bell
of the temple sounds, and we hear the call of the gongs and indefinite
waves of prayer. Occasionally a hawk rests uneasily on the thin branches
below. Then the sun eats up the shadows, and the vast view unites in a
great space of plain behind the monotony of the repeated forms of the
small houses, broken by the shoulders of the roofs and pagodas of many
temples. But near us are many trees and tea-houses and gardens, and we
are as if in the country.

We have worked conscientiously as mere sightseers until all is confused
as with an indigestion of information. I could hardly tell you anything
in a reasonable sequence, for in and out of what I go to see runs a
perpetual warp of looking at curios, of which occupation I feel every
day disgusted and ashamed, and to which I return again as a gambler
might, with the hope of making it all right with my conscience by some
run of luck. This began on our very first day, when at our first visit
to an excellent merchant, for whom we had letters, we spent the hours
after dinner looking at the bric-à-brac brought together for our
purchase or amusement. We had had the presentation and disappearance of
the ladies of the house after their customary genuflections; and a
European dinner, waited upon, in part, by lesser clients of our
entertainer. Meanwhile his one little girl sat beside him, half behind
him, and occasionally betrayed her secret love for him by gently
pressing his leg with the sole of her little stockinged foot. Japanese
children are one of the charms of Japan, and this one is a type of their
stillness; her sweet, patient face watching the talk of the elders, no
change in her eyes revealing anything, but the whole person taking
everything in--the little delicate person, which disappeared in a dress
and sash not unlike her elders', except for color. Then there was a
visit to another merchant, in the oldest house of the city, built low,
so that none might perchance look down upon the sovereign lord's
procession. Display of family relics--marriage gifts and complete
_trousseaux_ of the past; marriage dresses of the same time, symbolical
in color,--white, red, and finally black. We are told to notice that the
gold and silver fittings of precious lacquers are wanting, because many
years ago some sumptuary edict of the Tokugawa government suddenly
forbade the display or use of the precious metals in excess--a gradation
to be determined by inspecting officials--for persons who, like
merchants, should not pretend to pass a certain line.

Then, owing to other letters, we have paid our devoirs to the governor,
and called, and subsequently received the polite attentions of his
intelligent secretary. Under his guidance we visit the School of Art and
see boys sketching, and enter rooms of drawing devoted respectively to
the schools of the North and the South.

And we visit the school for girls, where the cooking-class is one bloom
of peach-like complexions, like a great fruit-basket; where the ladylike
teacher of gymnastics and child etiquette wears divided skirts; where
the rooms for the study of Chinese classics and history contain a
smaller number of fair students, looking more reasonable and much paler;
and where, on admiring in the empty painting-class a charming sketch of
Kioto wharves, like the work of some lesser Rico, I am told that the
fair artist has disappeared--married, just as if it had happened with us
at home. But with a difference worth weighing gravely, for our guide and
teacher informs me that the aim of this education is not to make girls
independent, but rather to make more intelligent and useful daughters,
sisters, or wives. And in this old-fashioned view I come to recognize
the edges of a great truth.

Then temples, for Kioto is a city of temples; and every day some hours
of hot morning have been given to visits, all of which make a great blur
in my mind. The general memory is impressive and grand; the details run
one into the other.

Thus we are paying dear for sightseeing, but it is impossible to set
aside the vague curiosity which hates to leave another chance unturned.
And when again shall I return, and see all these again? Now, however,
all is associated with heat and glare, and with the monotony of
innumerable repeated impressions, differing only in scale. Still,
probably, when I shall have left I shall recall more clearly and
separately the great solemn masses of unpainted wood, for which early
forests have been spoiled; the great size of their timbers, the
continuous felicity of their many roofings, the dreary or delicate
solemnity of their dark interiors, the interminable recurrence of
paintings by artists of the same schools; the dry and arid court-yards,
looked at, in this heat of weather, from the golden shadows, where are
hidden sometimes lovely old statues, sometimes stupid repetitions;
images of the whole race of earlier shoguns; the harsh features of the
great Taiko Sama, the sleek and subtle face of the great Iyéyasŭ, or the
form of K'wan-on, carved by early art, leaning her cheek on long
fingers; or noble, tapestried figures, rich in color and intensity of
spotting, painted by the Buddhist Cho-Den-Su....

I should like to describe the temple ceilings, in which are set the
lacquered coffers of the war junk of Taiko, or of the state carriage of
his wife....

I have sketched in his reception hall, peopled to-day only by specters
of the past--with gilt and painted panels on which may have looked the
great Iyéyasŭ, who was to succeed him, and the blessed Xavier, and the
early Jesuits, and the chivalric Christian lords who were to die on
great battlefields. And close to a great room, where many monks bent
over peaceful books, the little closet, with dainty shelves, in which
Taiko looked at the heads of his dead enemies, brought there for

And we have gone up into the plain little pavilion, sacred to the
ceremonies of tea-drinking, where the rough and shrewd adventurer
offered to grim, ambitious warriors, as honorific guerdon for hard
service, the simple little cups of glazed clay that collectors prize

I run over these associated details, because certainly the question of
the great buildings is too weighty for my present mood. But the greater
part of the romance of Japan is called up at every moment by what we see
just now.

At Uji, among the tea gardens, we stopped on our way to Nara, the older
capital, to see the temple of Bio-do-in and its "Phœnix hall," built
in wood, that is now over eight hundred years old; its statues; its
half-defaced paintings of the "Paradise in the West"; its high, dusty
ceiling, inlaid with mother-of-pearl; and its sweet-toned bell.

And we saw the legendary bow of Yorimasa, which you will recall with me
whenever you see a picture of the bow of the moon, across which flies
the Japanese cuckoo. It was here that he defended Uji bridge, with a
forlorn hope, against the army of the Taira, that his prince might have
time to escape; and here, at Bio-do-in, while his last followers kept
off the rush of the enemy, Yorimasa ran himself through with his sword,
as a final duty paid to the honor of Japan.

On this side of the bridge, as I walked up other temple steps, hedged in
by trees, with our friend Oye-San, the violet butterflies and blue
dragon-flies crossed our path in every bar of sunshine.

At the monastery of Kurodani, on the edge of the mountain near us, are
shown the graves of Nawozane and of the young Atsumori, whom he killed
in battle. We are shown the portrait of the victim, painted in sorrow by
the victor, and the pine-tree still stands upon which the warrior hung
his armor when, tormented by remorse, he carried out his vow of never
more bearing arms, and sought this place to enter religion and pray for
the soul of the youth he had unwillingly slain. Strange flower of human
pity, blooming out of the blood of civil wars like some story of Italy
in the coeval day of St. Francis.

At that time the great war of the Genji and the Heike was devastating
Japan, and in 1184, in a great battle by the sea, Yoshitsune, the hero
of romance of Japan, serving his brother Yoritomo, whose story I told
you at Nikko, defeated the Heike, and the "death of Atsumori" took
place. This delicate boy, a prince of the Heike, scarcely sixteen years
old, met in the battle the veteran Nawozane. Atsumori had fought bravely
on the shore, having at first fled, and then returned, forcing his horse
through the water. The greater strength of the older man prevailed, and
the child fell under the blows of the powerful man-at-arms. When
Nawozane disengaged his enemy's helmet, intending to take off the usual
trophy of a head, the sight of the youthful face recalled his own son
slain in battle, and he hesitated in inflicting on other parents a
suffering like his own. But if he did not kill him others would, and his
reputation would be endangered. He killed him, Atsumori bravely meeting
death, and bore off the terrible trophy. Then, in the revulsion of
remorse, he vowed himself to a religious life; he restored to Atsumori's
father the son's fair head and his armor, and, going to Kioto, became a
disciple in religion of the holy Hónen Shónin, the founder of Kurodani;
and there, near its lovely garden, are the tombs of the man and of the

Or, while we are thinking of heads cut off, I pass again and again a
lofty monument, under great trees, on a wide avenue beautifully
macadamized, and kept in the trim of our Central Park, along which ride
officers in Western uniform, or pass the police, in a dress whose type
is borrowed from at least three European states. Under this tomb are
buried the ears and noses of the Koreans slain in the wars that
Hideyoshi waged at the end of the sixteenth century. They were carried
here as more convenient than the heads, the usual evidence of work well
done, brought by the warriors to their commander. The memory of what the
great pile means serves to confuse still more my admiration of the
ultra-modern success of the wide carriage drive on which it stands.

                                                  OSAKA, September 18.

We have come to Osaka to spend an entire day in bric-à-brac: to arrive
early at the big shop; to have tea offered us in the little back room of
the merchant, which looks out and steps out upon his garden of a few
trees and little pebbly walks and some stone lanterns--a garden that is
for us, which his own may or may not be. Then cigars, and pieces of
porcelain brought from the storehouses; then more tea, and an inspection
of the many rooms full of odds and ends. Then more tea, and more pieces
slowly and reluctantly drawn from the storehouse, as if we could not be
so unreasonable; then lunch and tea, always in the house; then
adjournment to the upper rooms, when the hundreds of kakemonos are
unrolled, one after the other, to a crescendo of exasperation. Then
rediscussion of matters below-stairs and visits to other rooms full of
wares not spoken of before; then more tea, and the last pieces
grudgingly produced from the same occult storehouses; purchases amid
final bewilderment; tea again, and departure.

We had come to Osaka on our way back from Nara, and we again return to
Kioto, which we left three days ago. The trip to Nara was fatiguing and
delightful, and I should like to recall it for you, but I have no time
and have made no notes; and, besides, my memories are again beginning to
merge one into another, and they themselves to blend with what I see in
Kioto. But certainly something floats over, which a few lines can give.

We were out in our _kurumas_ early in the morning, each with three
runners. We found Oye-San waiting for us patiently, outside at Inari,
where he had expected us from the earliest morning. It is from him that
I get the little clay fox, given me for good luck, in a partnership with
the one he retained. I need not speak of the heat. The roads were dusty
and dry where they were not muddy and wet, in the country paths we took.
We passed the edge of the city, which ends suddenly in rice fields,
occupying what were once streets and houses. For Kioto is only a part of
what it has been; and even when it was larger, not so many years back,
it must still have been only the remainder of a greater past.

As we get into what is really the country, passing from broad road to
narrow tracks, our runners sometimes lifted us over soft, wet places, or
bumped us over narrow ditches, or guided us, at full tilt, on the edges
of the stones that are bridges. Sometimes more patiently we halted to
allow the files of black bulls to meander past us, dragging loads on
wheels or carrying bales.

  [Illustration: PEASANT WOMAN--THRESHER.]

Rarely we met peasants, and then usually women, sometimes with horses
of a larger breed than that we saw last month in the east. Once, among
rice fields in the basin of a circle of low hills, I saw the grove which
covers the tomb of some divine emperor of early times. As we circled
around the slope, far away from this solitary oasis of trees, we could
see the grove on every side, finished and complete and rounded by time,
as if sculptured in nature from some of those sketches that Japanese
artists make for carving when they give all four sides, and the bottom,
and the top, on a single page. Nothing else, but perhaps some
uninscribed stone, marks the tomb of emperors, dotted about the plains
of this oldest province of Japan. Strange enough, even in this strange
country, is this evidence of the extreme of simplicity in death, as in
life, of the oldest line of Oriental despots, absolute lords and
masters, ever-present patterns of the deity, who make this one solitary
exception of simplicity in history. It is as if Japan itself was their
tomb, as if they passed back into the nature of which their divine
ancestors were gods--the gods of the sun and of the earth.

Blue hills and pagodas, and temples in the distance, and we came into
Nara, which is but a breath, a ruin, a remnant of what it was. I had
been told so often of the place, as a ruin among rice fields, that I was
unprepared for the beautiful lay-out of what remains--for the
well-planned roads and avenues, such as may well have belonged to some
great capital, such as would have been heard of by travelers who,
returning in days of Charlemagne from other Eastern cities to Byzantium,
might have talked of Zipango.

Nothing remains but a few buildings, belonging to temples, but their
approaches are splendid, even though there be often nothing more than
the general grading and disposition. I should have written to you from
our inn, where I looked, in the evening and morning, toward the slopes
of distant hills, and heard, out of the darkness, the sound of the great
bell which rang first some eleven centuries ago, and the singing of the
frogs in the fields which were once a city. It is now too late to begin
to describe anything of what I saw; anything of temple buildings, from
one of which to another we wandered, or of the old statues and relics,
or of the religious dances of young girls which we looked at, standing
or sitting near the balustrade of the dancing-shed, while inside, in the
greater shade, they moved to the music and hymns of the priests--red and
white figures, with long tresses of black hair and chaplets of flowers;
with faces all painted white, and brilliant, indifferent eyes that saw
me sketching clearly, however, and hands that waved, in a cadence of
routine, fans and bunches of little bells with long streamers of violet,
blue, green, red, and white. Or of the great park-like avenue, that made
me think of England, through which still wander tame deer, as did those
that, long ago, served as models for Okio the painter. I fear that what
I have seen will remain only as an embroidery upon the stuff that my
memory tries to unroll.

It was late on a sweltering afternoon when we managed to leave Nara, and
we reached Horiuji for too short a visit; for we were due in Osaka the
next day. We wandered in the late afternoon and evening through its
courts, kindly received by the priests, for whom we had the
recommendation of a friendly name.

At least I had time to see the Golden Hall, one of the earliest
buildings, now more than twelve centuries and a half old, and the noble
paintings on its walls attributed to some famous sculptor of that day.
Their placid elegance, the refinement of their lines, their breath of
religious peace, explained those claims to a solemn and glorious past
for Japan, which look like a conventional exaggeration in a to-day that
is delicate and small and dry.

The recall of Greek perfection was not forced, and while still vaguely
unwilling to confuse one excellence by referring to another, I could not
help again thinking of the Greek and of Tanagra images, when I saw, by
the light of the torches, in the great pagoda, as old as the great hall,
groups modeled in clay by the same old sculptor, whose name is given to
the paintings--Amida, and Kuwan-on, and Monju, and the scenes of the
death of Buddha. An admirable antiquity was to be the continuous
impression of the evening, carried out into our last looks at the
Treasure House. Its very air of an old New England barn or crib raised
upon posts, its rough red painting, the high wooden steps of entrance,
the gigantic wooden latch-key with which the guardian priest fumbled at
its door, gave the note of extreme early simplicity--the feeling of a
persisting indifference to the adornments and changes of centuries of

It has been useless all along to detail anything, but the impressions of
the last things seen remain with me as types of all. For there hung on
the old walls of the Treasure House a framed banner, once carried in
ancient battles, its brocaded pattern exactly like that which we know in
Babylonian art: the circles with the lilies between, and in each circle
the Assyrian monarch struggling with lions--imitation or original of
coeval Sassanian Persia, I suppose, but housed here all these thousand
years, and in its persistence of pattern connecting with that heavy and
oppressive antiquity of Nineveh which knows nothing older than itself
for our story, except oldest Egypt.

       *       *       *       *       *

But I was yet to find something old that would be directly meant for
me,--a painting by the legendary painter of Japan, the Cimabue of a
thousand years ago, inheritor or student of still older Chinese

The painting is still in fair condition, though injuries of time reveal,
as usual, the methods used by the painter. And it was a delight in me,
in this mood of veneration for past greatness, to recognize in the
veilings and sequences of this painting of the lotus methods I had used
myself, working at such distance of time and place, when I had tried to
render the tones and the transparency of our fairy water-lily; and I
know you will forgive the superstitious sense of approval of my
re-inventions from this indefinite past of art.

We wandered among the buildings until night had set in; we signed on the
register of visitors, and contributed a small sum to the repairs of
these decaying relics of the greatness of Japan; we received some little
gifts of impressions and prints in acknowledgment, and then rested in
the neighboring inn, waited upon by fat, good-natured tea-girls, most
certainly belonging to to-day.

We had now to take a long night ride, and at length we rushed out into
the moonlight, our fourteen runners appearing and disappearing as we
came in and out of the shadows in the long procession of our train.

We whirled past the houses of the small town, indiscreetly close to the
paper screens, lighted from within, against which were profiled the
shadows of faces, sometimes with pipes or cups lifted to their lips or
the outlines of coiffures piled up on the head--all pictures more
Japanese than their very originals; then between rounded hills on which
stood masses of maple-trees; then near to empty spaces of water; then
sank into dark hollows, at the bottom of which rivers ran as fast the
other way.

I watched and looked as long as fatigue allowed, but fell asleep in the
uncomfortable kuruma, waked every now and then by some sudden jolt to my
extended arm and head.

Occasionally I had dreamy glances at what I remember as a vast plain,
with lofty, colorless mountains at one side, and perhaps I saw glimpses
of the sea. The night air was cool in the hollows after the sweltering
day, and I found my arm and face damp with the dew. A Japanese poet
would have said that it was but the spray from off the oars of some
heavenly boat which sailed that night across the starry stream of the
Milky Way.

In the dawn we saw the white walls of the castle of the city of Osaka,
and ran across its many bridges, all silent in the morning.

                                                       September 19.

We spent the late afternoon and early evening in the state apartments of
the temple of the Green Lotus, where we looked at strange dances and
listened to curious music.

All was sacred and mystic, according to traditions transmitted orally
from early ages, and all the more liable to disappear as the heredity
of occupation which has been the mark of Japan is more and more
endangered by modern views and modern "openings."

When we had wandered through those shady apartments in the long, low
buildings of the temple gardens, and had seen the paintings of their
screen walls, and the carvings of their transoms, we sat down in one of
the largest rooms, the wall screen was removed which divided us from
another, and we had then a ready-made stage before us. Light came in
from the open veranda, now stripped of all screens, against whose
platform many unbidden, unofficial guests, acquaintances of
acquaintances, and people about the temple, leaned in a mass of heads
and arms and busts. Outside the light was filtered green and orange
through the trees, and caught the edges of all forms in the shade
within. The orchestra of flutes and drums occupied a little recess, from
behind which the dancers appeared in turn. Behind the musicians, a great
violet curtain, with three temple crests in white, made a twilight
background for their white and blue dresses, gilded by the lights in the
tall candlesticks on the floors before them. With the sound of the
instruments two boys came around the corner of the screen, and,
saluting, stepped off in short, zigzag movements, evidently learned by
rote, and which had a certain strange elegance. They were performing the
butterfly dance, and made out very distinctly the crisscross flight of
the insects. When they lighted or poised before lighting their feet
struck the ground and they swayed without stepping away. They wore
butterfly wings, and wide sleeves melting into them, and their silver
diadems, filled up with twigs of flowering plants, made out a faint
fringe of antennæ. They wore the ugly ancient trousers of yellow silk,
and long trains of embroidered green satin trailed on the mats behind
them. Broad bands of blue and white across the chest, and a white belt,
recalled the insect original, and blue and white wings drooped over
their wide green satin garments. Each carried a flowering branch in his
hand. It was all more strange than beautiful, with a mysterious
impression of remote antiquity, as if invented for some prehistoric
Polynesian worship. In some of the next dances, whose names I do not
remember, and which were carried out by men, the flat mask, with a wide
triangle for eyes and another for the mouth, made out just this
similitude. In another dance two men glided about the room, listening
and finding their way; then warriors in antique Chinese costume, with
great helmets and halberds, and coats of mail, and long trains, appeared
singly and by twos, and marched and counter-marched; and finally,
standing by their lances, laid at their feet, drew and held up their
swords, while each other peaceful hand was extended in the gesture that
we know as the pontifical blessing; and this ended the dance of "Great
Peace," probably some relic of early triumphant Chinese dynasties.

It was now evening: the blue light of the open veranda made large square
openings in the golden room. Outside, against the balustrade, pressed
dark forms, with faces reddened by the light inside--the outside
lookers-on. Inside, the gold walls and the gilded ceiling, the great
gold temple drum, the yellow mats, and the white dresses of the
musicians, made a soft bloom like the hollow of a lotus, when the last
performer, in rose-red and crimson, glided into the room, swinging from
side to side, and brandishing a gilded scepter. Uncouth gestures and
enormous strides, with no meaning that I could make out, a frightful
mask that hung far away from the face, with loose jaw and projecting
mane and a long red, pointed hood, made an impression as barbarous, as
meaningless, as splendid, and as annoying as what we might feel before
the painted and gilded idol of some little known and cruel creed. This
was the dance of "_Ra_ Dragon King," and closed the entertainment.

We exchanged some words with the late performers in their insignificant
everyday clothes, and rode home in the twilight through the little
roads, where Kioto gentlemen were rushing their horses up and down,
wrapped in wide riding trousers, which fluttered along the horses'

       *       *       *       *       *

We have also given a _soirée_,--that is to say, a supper, with the
proper trimmings of musical entertainment and dancing, and were probably
the most amused of all the people there. The amusement consisted, in
great measure, of our not knowing just what we were going to have, for
otherwise the details were simple to monotony. We had one of the upper
floors of a fashionable inn. It was very hot, and we were glad to find
that we should be at supper in our loosest bath robes. There was nothing
unusual--though everything is novel to us--but the extreme smallness of
the many _gei-shas_, who sat between us at the end of the dinner, passed
the _sakè_, said witty things, of which we understood not one word, gave
us much music on the _samisen_ (the three-stringed guitar) and on the
flute, and sang, and gave us dances. But they were absolutely incredible
in the way of littleness. It did not seem possible that there were real
bones inside their narrow little wrists and dolls' fingers. What there
was in most of their little heads I don't know, but I could have
imagined sawdust. For the doll illusion, for the painted face and neck
and lips, all done upon the same pattern from pure conventionality (not
at all like our suggestive painting), and the sudden stopping sharply at
a line on the little slender neck, gave me the feeling of their having
artificial heads. The gentle little bodies disappeared entirely inside
of the folds of the dress and the enormous bows of the sash. And when
the tall youngsters, Americans, whom we had invited, began to romp with
the playthings, late in the evening, I felt anxious about possible
breakage, such as I remember, in nursery days, when we boys laid hold of
our sisters' dolls.

  [Illustration: A PILGRIM.]

But this artificial impression disappears as with all novelty in people,
and when one of the youngest of these child-women, at some moment in the
evening, removed the mask of the jolly fat woman (that you know by the
prints), behind which she had been singing, the little sad face told its
contradictory story as touchingly as with any of her Aryan sisters. And
late in the evening, when the fun, I suppose, was uproarious, we went to
the extreme of writing and painting on fans, and one of our merchant
guests wasted India-ink in mock tattooing of his bared arm and shoulder.

                                                       September 21.

We leave to-morrow morning.

This has been Sunday, our last day in Kioto. I have been trundled all
day in a fearful rain, to see last sights, to look up shops for the last
time. My runners have taken me to this or that place, near the great
temples, where I hope finally to decide upon some little Buddha or
Amida, which have tempted me among other sculptures, and I have dallied
in the other shops that supply the small things that adhere to worship,
and finally I have made a long visit to the good lady who has sold me
pottery, and who once shocked my Western prudery by dilating upon the
merits of unmentionable designs and indescribable bric-à-brac.

At length I return in the gray noon, giving a last look at each shop
that I know; at the long facade of the "Inn of Great Wealth," at the
signs and the flags of the theater; at the little _gei-shas_ trotting
about in couples, whom I recognize (for how can I tell them from those
whom I know?); at the quaint, amusing little children, always a fresh
delight; at the little pavilion near us, where the archers shoot; at the
places where horses stand under the trees to be ridden by amateurs; at
the small tea garden's pretty gates; at the latticed windows which open
in the dusk; and then, with their coats sticking to their backs, and
wet, stained legs, my runners leave me at the gate of the hotel; final
settlement of purchases in boxes, packing, and receiving visits of

In the late afternoon we go to the temples on the edge of the hill near
us (the temples of Kiyomidzu) with two of our good friends and their
children. Our runners insist upon dragging and bumping us up many steps,
and finally escort us, almost to the temple itself, in a procession of
double file, which, like a long tail, halts when we stop, and again
waggles after us in uncertainty when we set off anew. We walk along the
ascending street and stop to bargain at the innumerable little shops,
full of little odds and ends, half playthings and half religious emblems
or images, which are sold certainly to the pleasure of the many children
who throng the place. And I, too, feel pleased at having children with
us, and at having occasionally the timid little fingers of Miss Kimi in
mine. In her other small hand she holds a fan that I painted yesterday
for her father, and I wonder occasionally whether she wishes me to
notice her possession. I surmise that the foreign gentleman gives her
sometimes a little doubtful fear, as I catch her eyes looking up
cautiously from below her "bangs." We talk, exactly of what it would be
hard to say, for there is not with us enough of any one language "to go
round," and our interpreter has been left out; but we feel distinctly
that we understand each other, and our older companions explain quite a
number of things in this partnership of a few words.

We ascend the high steps on one side of the tower and pass with the
Sunday crowd through the great hall, like a corridor, along which are
seated on altar steps golden images of gods, in a shadow dusted by the
long beams of the afternoon sun, that pour across it from one open side.
Through this veil of dancing motes we see the statues and the great
gilded lotuses and candelabra, and the forms of attendant priests, and
the crowd that passes, and that stops for a moment in prayer. The words
that they repeat come into cadence with the shuffling of their feet, and
the creaking of the planks of the flooring, and the sounds of the
dropping of offerings.

The crowd is quiet, orderly, but amused at being out. The women smile
out of their slanting eyes and walk leaning forwards, and their black
hair shines like lacquer, and the artificial flowers in the great folds
of the coiffure dance in the sunlight. They are quietly dressed, all but
the young girls, who wear bright colors and blue satin sashes. The men
slide about, also in quiet silk or cotton. A large part of them are
dressed in every shade of blue; occasionally the bare leg comes out, but
all wear holiday dress, except our runners or their fellows, who keep
their workday looks. And the children--they are all everywhere, and all
at home; they are all dressed up, with full, many-colored skirts, and
showy sashes, and every little head with some new and unexplainable spot
of tonsure.

Many of the crowd turn around the building, or its veranda, touching the
columns with their hands and following tracks, worn deep like ruts, in
the planking of enormous thickness. Oye-San points this out to me, and
indicates its religious intention. Both he and our other companion clap
their hands and pray for a moment. A wave of seriousness and abstraction
passes over their faces; then again all is as before, and we step out
upon the wide balcony, which, built upon gigantic piles, hangs over a
deep hollow filled with trees and buildings, all in the shadow now. From
below rise, with the coolness of the green trees and grass, the sounds
of dropping waters. In time we descend the path and the steps, and drink
from one of the streams which fall from gigantic gargoyles, out of a
great mass of wall.

       *       *       *       *       *

But it is late: we look again upon Kioto from the temple above, all
swimming in light and haze, and walk back to our _kurumas_, a final
good-by to the children, but we shall see their parents again; and then
we return, and look from our veranda for the last time at the city
stretched out in the evening, lost almost entirely in the twilight of a
great lake of violet fog. A few shapes are just felt in the misty space,
but no more than as waves in water, or as greater densities in the
undulations of the colored vapor. So uncertain is everything that the
nearest temple building loses its place, and floats all below its roof;
but its wet tiles glitter, reflecting the rose-colored drift in the
highest pale turquoise sky.

Below us, the trees make a delicate pattern of dark, wet lace.

Then the rose-color deepens and dulls, the upper sky becomes colorless;
all floats in unreal space, and Kioto disappears from before my eyes:
forever, I suppose--as the charm of this scene, which will never come
again; as the little maiden whom I met to-day, only for an eternal


                                                  NAGOYA, September.

Notwithstanding the long parting, which kept us up very late, the same
courteous Japanese friends were at the hotel in the morning to bid us a
still more final good-by. Oye-San alone remained faithful to his
self-intrusted care of us, and determined to see us as far as the land
would allow,--that is to say, to the shores of Biwa Lake.

The caravan was smaller now, diminished by our parting with Awoki, the
interpreter, and the men necessary to trundle him about. Still we were a
goodly company,--nineteen men in all, of whom two were masters, one the
servant, and the rest the runners who were to get us and our baggage to
Otzu on Biwa Lake long before noon. There was to be no novelty on our
road, it being merely the highway from the capital to the lake. It was a
lovely morning, the sun long risen, and all the places and buildings now
a part of our memories glistening in the shadow and the dew. We turned
our backs for the last time on Kiyomidzu, and ran through the great gate
of the temple near us; then, bumping down the steep steps under it,
skirted the great wall of Dai Butzu and the interminable side of the
Sanjiu sangendo (the hall of the thirty-three spaces),[10] along which
in old times the archers used to shoot. Then we gradually got out of the
city, into the road filled with traffic going both ways. There seemed to
be no break between town and country. Here and there the mountain side,
covered with trees, descended to the road. But the effect was that of a
long street, deep among hills, and continuously spotted with buildings.
Long trains of beautiful black bulls, drawing lumber or merchandise, or
carrying straw-covered bales, streamed peacefully along. We passed
peasant women,--hardy, tall, sometimes handsome, with scarlet undergowns
held up; occasionally one riding on a pack-horse, or in her place a
child perched on the hump of the wooden saddle. Or, again, peasants
bearing loads on their backs, or carriers with weighty merchandise swung
between them on poles; priests, young and old, stepping gravely in their
white, or yellow, or black dresses--some with umbrellas open, others,
whose quicker step meant that they had not far to go (perhaps only to
some wayside temple), protecting their shaven heads with outspread fan.
Or a kuruma, usually with one runner, taking into town, economically,
two women together, one old, one young, and followed by another kuruma
carrying some old gentleman, very thin or very fat, the head of a
family. Kurumas carrying Japanese tourists or travelers, with hideous
billycock hats, or Anglo-Indian helmets, or wide straw hats _à la mode
de_ Third Avenue, these abominable head-pieces contrasting with their
graceful gowns, as did their luggage, wrapped up in silk handkerchiefs
with their European traveling rugs. Or, again, other kurumas carrying
unprotected females in pairs, with the usual indifferent or forlorn
look; or couples of young girls more gaily dressed, with flowery
hairpins, the one evidently a chaperon to the other; then a Government
official, _all_ European, with hurrying runners; sometimes, but rarely,
the Japanese litter, or _kago_, or several if for a party, their
occupants lying at their ease as to their backs, but twisted into knots
as to their feet, and swaying with the movement of the trotting
carriers. Bent to one side by the heavy ridgepole, which passes too low
to allow the head to lie in the axis of the body, sweet-eyed women's
faces, tea-rose or peach-colored, looked up from the bamboo basket of
the litter. With proper indifference their lords and masters looked at
us obliquely. On the roofs was spread a miscellaneous quantity of

From time to time troopers or officers, of course in European costume,
mounted on Japanese chargers, cantered past. Two hours of this; then the
sides of the road, which had risen and fallen with hill and valley,
melted away, and the harbor of Otzu and Lake Biwa and blue mountains
over the water, and others sketched in the air, were spread before us in
the blaze of sunlight seen through the cool shadow of the mountains.

We rode down the hill to a little jetty, marvelously like a North River
dock, with big sheds where passengers were waiting, and a little steamer
fastened to the wharf. We bade good-by for the last time to Oye-San, who
said many things that we appreciated but did not understand the words
of, and who pointed to the square Japanese sails glittering in the
far-off light, saying, "Fune, Fune!" ("The boats, the boats!") We
dismissed kurumas and kurumaya and sailed off with Hakodate (the
courier) alone. We stretched ourselves on the upper deck, half in sun,
half in shadow, and blinked lazily at the distant blue mountains and the
great sea-like lake.

Two hours later we had landed at a long jetty, in a heavy sea, with
tossing dark blue water, different from the quiet azure of our sail. The
brisk wind, blowing the white clouds over the blue sky, was clear and
cold. We got out of its reach, as I felt neuralgic, and tried to sleep
in a little tea-house, waking to the screams of the tea-house girl,
"Mairimasho!" and I had but time to get into the train. Whether it
started from there or had arrived there, I never knew. I had been glad
to forget everything in dreamland.

I remember little of my railroad ride, what with neuralgia and heat, and
the effects of the dance of the little steamer on Lake Biwa. There were
mountains and ravines, and vast engineering protections for our path,
and everywhere the evidence of a struggle with the many running waters
we crossed or skirted. The blue and silver of the lake that we had
crossed, and the sweetness of its air, were shut out in the dust and the
heat of mountain sides. We had not seen the Eight Beauties of Biwa
Lake.[11] The "Autumn Moon from Ishiyama" had set long before we passed,
and the idea of other temples to be seen brought out A----'s antagonism
to more climbing, only to be rewarded by promenades through lanterns and
shrines and confused struggling with dates and divinities. "The Evening
Snow on Hira-yama" was not to fall until we should be across the
Pacific; nor could we ask of that blue September morning "The Blaze of
Evening at Seta" nor "The Evening Bell of Mii-dera"--though we heard the
bell early, and wondered whether it were still uninjured, from the time
when big Benkei carried it off and exchanged it for too much soup,
exactly seven hundred years ago; nor "Rain by Night at Karasaki," the
place of the famous pine-tree, which was growing, they say, twenty-four
hundred years ago, when Jimmu was emperor. There I might have met,
perhaps, the "Old Man and the Old Woman" you have seen over and over
again in the pictures and on the fans. (They are the spirits of the
other old pine-trees of Takasago and Sumiyoshi, and they are fond of
visiting each other.) Nor did we see "The Wild Geese alighting at
Katada," but I felt as if I had seen "The Boats sailing back from
Yabase" and "The Bright Sky with a Breeze at Awadzu." If I had not, I
still had seen boats sailing over and under as lovely a blue as can be
spread by early September days. I suppose that our friend Oye-San was
trying to recall these last classical quotations to me when he bade me
good-by at the landing in Otzu. An ocean rolls between his Parnassus and
ours, but he lives much nearer to the mood that once made beautiful the
names of Tempe and Helicon and the winding Meander.


With all this dreaming I fell asleep, and woke free from pain, but
stupid and unimpressionable, as our train stopped at the little station
from which we were to ride to Gifu. This was a little, new way-station
(of course I don't remember its name), so like, and so unlike, one of
ours, with the same look of the railroad being laid down--"imposed"--on
an earth which did not understand what it all meant--grass struggling to
get back to the sides of filled-up ditches; timbers lying about; new,
astonished buildings, in one of which we washed, and waited, and dined.
Meanwhile Hakodate went after the runners who were to drag us on our
afternoon ride, and then, if "we suited," to run with us the whole week,
thirty-five miles a day, along the Tokaido, back toward Yokohama.

When all was ready it was late afternoon, and our procession ran along
what seemed to be a vast plain of tableland, with high mountains for an
edge. All seemed as clear and neat as the air we rode in. Somewhere
there we must have passed the hill of "The Turning Back of the Chariot":
this means that, long ago,--that is to say, about 1470,--the regent
Yoshimoto, while traveling here, found that the inhabitants, to do him
honor, had put in order, neat and trim, the thatch of every building.
What the prince was looking for is what we call the picturesque. To miss
all the charms that ruin brings was too much for his esthetic soul, and
he ordered the wheels of his chariot to be turned for home. So did not
we. Neater and neater grew the inclosures, farms, and villages; the
fences had pretty gates,--curious patterns of bamboo pickets,--a
far-away, out-of-the-world flavor of Holland or Flanders. Even the
ordinary setting out of wayside trees, in this province of forestry,
insisted on the analogy, confused perhaps with a dream of Lombard plains
and mountains in a cool blue distance, for the mind insists on clinging
to reminiscences, as if afraid to trust itself to the full sea of new

As I rode along, so neat and clean was each picture, framed in sunlight
if we were in shadow, or in clear shade when we were in sunlight, that
I thought I could remember enough small facts for sketches and notes
when I should get to Gifu. We reached Gifu in the early twilight, and
had no special one impression; we were framed in by the streets, and
confused by turning corners, and disturbed by anxiety to get in. But
we had one great triumph. Our guide was new to the place--as we were;
and we chose our inn at our own sweet will, with a feeling of authority
and personal responsibility delicious to experience after such ignominy
of guidance. Up we went to our rooms, and opening the _shojis_[12]
looked out upon the river, which seemed broad as a great lake. Our
house was right upon it, and the open casement framed nothing but water
and pointed mountains, stealing away in the obscure clearness of a
colorless twilight. The running of the river, sloping down from the
hills on a bed of pebbles, cut off the noises of the town, if there
were any, and the silence was like that of far-away country heights.
In this semi-painful tension the day's pictures disappeared from my
mind. I was all prepared to have something happen, for which I should
have been listening, when suddenly our host appeared, to say that the
boats were coming down the river. The chilly evening air gave us new
freshness, and off we started, deaf to the remonstrances of Hakodate,
who had prepared and set out his very best for supper. We rushed past
the artist in cookery, whose feelings I could yet appreciate, and
plunged after our host into the dark streets. In a few minutes we were
by the riverside, and could see far off what we took for our boat,
with its roof and lanterns. The proffered backs of our lantern-bearing
attendants gave the solution of how we were to get to it. Straddling
our human nags, we were carried far out into the shallow, pebbly river,
landed into the boat, and poled out into deeper water, nothing to be
seen but the night and the conical hills, one of which I fancied to be
Inaba, where was once Nobunaga's castle. Some faint mists were white
in the distance, as if lighted by a rising moon. At no great distance
from us, perhaps at a quarter of a mile, a light flickered over the
water. On our approach we could distinguish a man connected with it,
who apparently walked on the dark surface. He was evidently a fisherman
or a shrimper, and his movements had all the strangeness of some
long-legged aquatic bird. He knew his path, and, far out, followed some
track or ford, adding to the loneliness as does a crane in a marshy
landscape. Then I saw him no more, for he headed up the river toward
an opening between the hills. Suddenly a haze of light rounded the
corner of the nearest mountain, then grew into a line of fire coming
toward us. Above the rustle of the river's course, and our own against
it, came the beating of a cry in unison. The line of flame broke into
many fires, and we could see the boats rushing down upon us. As quickly
as I can write it, they came in an even line, wide apart--perhaps
fifty feet or so--enough for us to pass between, whereupon we reversed
our movement and drifted along with them. In the front of each boat,
hung upon a bent pole, blazed a large cresset filled with pine knots,
making above a cloud of smoke, starred with sparks and long needles
of red cinders. Below, in the circle of each light, and on its outer
rim, swam many birds, glossy black and white cormorants, straining
so at the cords that held them that they appeared to be dragging the
boats. As they spread like a fan before the dark shadow of the bows,
the cords which fastened them glistened or were black in the night.
Each string ran through the fingers of the master-fisher at the bows,
and was fastened to his waist and lost in the glittering straw of his
rain-skirt. Like a four-in-hand driver, he seemed to feel his birds'
movements. His fingers loosened or tightened, or, as suddenly, with a
clutch pulled back. Then came a rebellious fluttering, and the white
glitter of fish in the beaks disappeared--unavailingly; each bird was
forcibly drawn up to the gunwale, and seized by the neck encircled
by its string-bearing collar. Then a squeeze--a white fish glittered
out again and was thrown back into the boat. The bird scuttled away,
dropped back into the water, and, shaking itself, was at work again.
They swam with necks erect, their eyes apparently looking over
everything, and so indifferent to small matters as to allow the big
cinders to lie unnoticed on their oily, flat heads. But, every few
seconds, one would stoop down, then throw back its head wildly with
a fish crosswise in its mouth. When that fish was a small one it was
allowed by the master of the bird to remain in the capacious gullet.
Each pack guided by a master varied in numbers, but I counted thirteen
fastened to the waist of the fisherman nearest to us. Behind him
stood another poling: then farther back an apprentice, with a single
bird, was learning to manage his feathered tools. In the stern stood
the steersman, using a long pole. Every man shouted, as huntsmen
encouraging a pack, "Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!"--making the cry whose rhythm we
had heard when the flotilla bore down upon us.


Ten minutes, a quarter of an hour, more passed as we kept alongside with
motionless celerity. I tried to sketch in the insufficient light--making
sometimes one sketch right upon another, so little could I see my lines
in the treacherous light. Then the boats swerved off and were driven to
the shore together, or as far as we could get to it, in the shallow
water. Above us rose the steep green hillside, the trees and rocks lit
up in an arabesque of light and dark by the now diminished flames.

The birds rested, standing in the water, preening their oily backs and
white bellies, and flapping their ragged wings, which seemed to have
been clipped. The apprentice caressed his bird, the fishermen and the
steerers laughed and exchanged jokes and chatted generally, with all the
good nature and making light of hard work which is so essentially

Then the birds began to fight, and to show that peace was not their
pleasure. Fresh pine knots were thrown into the cressets; each man took
his place; the polers pushed off; the birds strained at the strings; and
all _da capo_. A little longer we watched, and then we let the boats
glide past us; the fires faded again into a haze of light as they went
down the river toward the bridges of the town, now dotted with people.

Then we were carried to the shore as we had left it, and were piloted
home through the streets, now filled with lanterns and movement. We
found our outraged artist in cookery still indignant over our neglect of
food, but he was gradually appeased, and made up for his hungry masters
a fairly sufficient meal. Cigars, a scrutiny of my despairing sketches,
and a long look at the lovely melancholy of the river and mountains
before we closed the _shojis_ for the night.

     [10] Three hundred and eighty-nine feet long.

     [11] Omi-no-hakkei.

     [12] Sliding screens, which take the place of our windows.


                                                        September 28.

I am writing in a _kago_.[13] You do not know what an achievement this
is, but I shall explain later on what a kago is, why I am in it, and why
it is not exactly the place to expect a letter from. To begin at the
beginning, we were yesterday afternoon at Kambara, on the gulf of Suruga
Bay. We had eaten there in an inn by the water, while I watched through
the screens the waving of a palm tree in the wind, which was now blowing
autumnally and had cleared the sky and enlivened us with a hope of
continuous view of Fuji. Along the beach, as we rode away, the breakers
ran far up the sand, and the water was green as emerald from the brown,
wet shore to the distant blue haze of the ocean in the south. At the end
of the great curve of the gulf stretched the lines of green and purple
mountains, which run far off into Idzu, and above them stood Fuji in the
sky, very pale and clear, with one enormous band of cloud half-way up
its long slope, and melting into infinite distance toward the ocean. Its
nearest point hung half across the mountain's base, more solid than the
mountain itself, and cast a long shadow upon it for miles of distance.
Above, the eye could but just detect a faint haze in the delicate blue
of the sky. Best of all weather, we thought; a breeder of bad weather,
according to our men, who, alas! knew more of it than we did. For a mile
now, perhaps, we ran along between the sea and the abrupt green wall of
hills, so steep that we could not see them, and, turning sharply around
a corner, beheld Fuji, now filling the entire field of sight, seeming to
rise even from below us into the upper sky, and framed at its base by
near green mountains; these opened as a gate, and showed the glittering
streak of the swollen Fujikawa, the swiftest river in Japan.

The lower eastern slope was cut off by clouds, but its western line,
ineffably delicate in clearness, stretched to the left out of our range
of vision. Below its violet edge the golden slope spread in the sun, of
the color of an autumn leaf. Along the center of this province of space
the shadow of the great cloud rested. The marks of the spurs of the
mountain were as faint as the streaks of the wind on a grain-field. Its
cone was of a deep violet color, and as free of snow as though this had
been the day of poetic tradition upon which the snow entirely disappears
to fall again the following night. No words can recall adequately the
simple splendor of the divine mountain. As A---- remarked, it was worth
coming to far Japan for this single day.

Right into this marvelous picture we rode, through green plantations and
rice-fields, which edged the bases of the nearest hills and lay between
us and the river. There we found no means of crossing. All bridges had
been carried away by the flood. The plain was inundated; travelers had
been detained for a week by a sea of waters, and were scattered there
and in neighboring villages, filling every resting-place; and, worst of
all, the police officials would not allow us to tempt the fishermen to
make the dangerous crossing.


The occasion was a solemn one. The police representative, upon seeing
us come in person to request help, slipped off the easy Japanese dress
which he was wearing in these days of forced idleness, and reappeared
from behind the screen clad in his official European costume. I have
no doubt that our interpreter explained to him what important persons
we were, and what important letters we bore to important people of
the land, for he kindly suggested that we might sail past the mouth
of the river, from near Kambara, whence we had just come, so as to
land far away from the spread of all this devastation; and he offered
to send a deputy with a requisition for a junk and sufficient sailors
from the nearest fishing-village on the bay--and so we returned. While
Hakodate and the messenger went on to make all arrangements, A----
and myself stopped at the place where we had had our view of Fuji, to
make a more careful sketch. You can have no idea of how much closer
the clearer mind worked out the true outline of the mountain, which
my excitement had heightened at least a couple of thousand feet; nor
should I forget how my two-legged horse of a runner held my paint-box
for me, and seemed to know exactly when and where I wished to dip my
brush. It seemed to me that only a few moments had passed when the
messenger returned to say that the boat was ready to launch, and that
we must hurry to be out at sea before sunset; this too in view of the
storm, which we might escape if we hurried. The implied threat made
no impression on me. The picture before us had not changed any more
than if painted by man. The great cloud hung fixed, apparently, in
the same place. All was still: perhaps in the uppermost sky one could
distinguish some outlines of white in the blue. Still we hurried off
and arrived upon a scene of confusion and wild excitement. A captain
and a crew had been found; their boat stood high up on the crest of
the surf, now beating on the shore, and carried the line with which to
pull out the small junk, still far up on the beach. The wheels of our
kurumas had been taken off and their bodies had been placed in the hold.

As we got on board at least a hundred naked men pushed and tugged to
start the junk upon the slope of sand. The sun was setting suddenly
behind the headland of Shizuoka, and the air was filled with the
moisture from the sea; a rosy bloom, pink as the clouds themselves,
filled the entire air, near and far, toward the light. On the other side
the distance was fading into gray and violet mist. The great mountain
was still a great clear mass, but colorless, like the northern sky
behind it, while, bathed in the color of fairyland, we rose and fell
over the breakers--the spray, the waves, the boat, the bodies of the
men, glistening and suffused with pink.

No painter ever saw a more ideal light. And suddenly it faded, leaving
us in a still brilliant twilight, through which we looked at the tossing
of the hazy sea. The mast was lifted and set, the great square sail was
hoisted, and the captain took hold of the ponderous tiller. We stretched
ourselves on the poop deck, prepared for a dance of seventeen miles;
then under my protecting blanket I fell asleep--to wake and see before
me a sheet of rain. The predicted storm had flooded us; we lay in the
water that covered the deck, our waterproofs insufficient, and glad to
be able to find some protection under the Japanese rain-coats of straw,
whose merits I had not yet understood.

From under my shelter I could see that our mast was lowered, and that
the captain and the sailors forward were working at the heavy sweeps.
Below, under hatches, I could hear the groaning of our seasick runners.
Between the gusts of rain came the voice of the captain, now in the
straining agony of seasickness, next keeping up a steady, chanted talk
with a mate forward. A lantern was lashed to the post of the tiller, and
the captain's bare feet rose and fell with his steps at the great oar,
showing sharply the action of tendons and muscles. I tried to sketch
under my cover, then dozed,--sleepy with the rocking and the cold and
the wet,--and with every waking hearing the whistling of the wind and
the continuous monotonous voice in a language not understood. So passed
the night.

We saw the morning break on a lonely, high, gray bank, streaked by the
sea lines of different tides, and crowned with a line of pines of all
sizes and shapes, stretching for miles dark green against the white
clouds which covered the base of the mountains behind. Out of these
white banks stood dull blue peaks, while the highest mountains were lost
in cloud, and all was gray and desolate with the rain. The surf broke on
the sand not more than a hundred yards from us. We lay there some time,
waiting for more light, for all wind had ceased; then four men swam
ashore with a rope, and towed us along the bank. The surf had abated,
but landing was too difficult, and we were to be dragged, while our
other men worked at the big sculls and pushed us along. We wore along
four miles to a little bar, over which we were pulled by the men now in
the water into a singular little harbor with an entrance not more than a
hundred feet wide. On this the surf broke gently--white on the gray sea.
To our left the backs of two sand-spits dotted the water, and on the
right, looking out to sea, rose the edge of a grove of pines, with four
or five houses, heavy roofed and thatched, against its green darkness.

On the curve of the beach before it stood a high pointed rock almost
touched by the water, edged around and covered with pines--all but the
perpendicular side facing the harbor. On its summit stood a little red
temple, whose back we saw. On the other side, landwards, as we left our
boat and followed our guides ashore around its base, a hundred steps ran
straight up to the front of the little shrine--so steep and sudden that
we could just look along their edge. From the high rock, recessed, ran
back the shore, on which stood in a row three large junks with their
sterns to the sea--behind them trees and houses. On the opposite side of
the little harbor four of our men, up to their middle or up to their
armpits in water, slowly dragged our junk nearer to the shore. All was
quiet and gray--the men reflected in the moving water, the boat creaking
along slowly. As I went up the beach, following our guide and the
boatmen, I thought how like this was to the Homeric haven--the grove
looking out to sea and frequented by "fowls maritimal"; the sacred rock;
the meadows and the little stream; the long galleys drawn up on the
beach. The little houses of the fishing-village were surrounded by
gardens, and their walls largely made of plaited bamboo. There was no
inn, but we found a house half shop, and were welcomed to some tea and
to a room which the family hastened to abandon for us. There were only
two rooms besides the entrance, which was a large passage floored with
earth, and along one side of it a raised surface, from which began the
level of our flooring.

Sliding partitions, hurriedly run up, made us a room, but the outside
screens were full of holes, through which, in a few minutes, peered all
the women and children of the village, who occasionally even pushed
aside the screens to see more completely. The little passage in front of
our open room was filled with girls and children intent upon our ways of
smoking, of taking tea, and of eating--for we had biscuits with us, and
fifteen hours at least without food had made us fairly hungry. Meanwhile
the men landed their wagons and the trunks, and took their meal of rice,
hastily made up, on the ledge of the platform on which we sat. This they
did in a row, the whole twenty eating quietly but rapidly,--I was going
to say firmly,--shoving into their mouths the rice from the bowls, and
tearing with their fingers the fish just cooked. Meanwhile, among all
the ugliness around us in women, shone out, with beautiful
complexions,--lost in the others by exposure to wind and sun, by hard
work, and probably by child-bearing,--three girls, who stood before us a
long time, with sweet faces and bright eyes and teeth. They stared hard
at us until stared at in return, when they dispersed, to watch us again
like children from the doors and from the kitchen.

Our hostess, small, fat, good-natured, and polite, showing
black-lacquered teeth between rosy lips, like ripe seeds in a
watermelon, bustled about hurrying everything, and at the end of our
meal our host appeared--from the kitchen apparently--and knelt before
us. Poor and ragged as the house was, with ceilings black with age and
smoke, and screens torn and worn by rubbing, the little _tokonoma_ held
a fairly good picture, and a pretty vase with flowers below it. But it
was evidently one of the poorest of places, and had never seen a
foreigner in it. This may have been the cause of the appearance of the
ubiquitous Japanese policeman within five minutes of our arrival. He
alone betrayed no curiosity, and disappeared with dignity on getting our

The rain still held off. We entered our kurumas, now ready, and hastened
to the main road which we were to find at Numadsu, if that be the name
of the place. But, alas! the rain came down, and my views were confined
within the outline of an umbrella. My only adventure was stopping at
some hovel on the road to buy some more of that heavy yellow oiled paper
which replaces the leather apron that we usually find attached to our
European carriages. By and by I consented to have the hood of my wagon
put up, through which I could see little more than the thatched backs of
my runners, their bowls of hats, off which the rain spattered upon their
straw cloaks and aprons, and their wet brown legs, lifted with the
regularity of automatons. It was getting cold, too, and women under
their umbrellas wore the graceful short overcoat they call _haori_, and
tottered over the wet ground on high wooden pattens.

This I noticed as we came into Mishima, from which place we were to
begin our ascent up the Hakone Pass. On our way, were it to clear, we
might see Fuji again--at any rate, if it cleared in the least we would
enjoy the mountains. Meanwhile we shivered at lunch, trying to get into
corners where the wind would not leak through the cracks of the shojis,
and beginning to experience the discomforts of Japanese inns. And now my
bashfulness having gradually abandoned me, I could take my hot bath,
separated from the household by a screen not over high, over which the
fat servant-girls kindly handed me my towels. Excuse these trivial
details, but I cannot otherwise give you the "local color," and my
journal is one of small things. Had I come here in the old days when I
first fell in love with Japan, I might have met with some thrilling
experience in an inn.

I might have had such an experience as our poor friend Fauvel met with
not far from here. I might have met some young sworded men, anxious to
maintain their dignity and ripe for a quarrel with the foreigner. Do you
remember that he jostled the sword of some youngster--"the sword, the
soul of the Samurai"--which its owner had left upon the floor. The
insult would have been impossible to explain away had not some sensible
Japanese official decided that a man who was so careless with his sword
as to leave it on the mat, instead of on the reputable sword-rack, had
no right to complain of another's inadvertence.

I sometimes wonder which of the courteous persons I meet, when age
allows the supposition, obeyed these rules when they were younger; which
ones now dressed in black broadcloth wore the great helmet with
branching horns, or strapped the two great swords at their waist. And
I am lost in respect and bewilderment to think that all this wondrous
change--as great as any that the world can have seen--was effected with
such success and accepted in such a lofty spirit.

  [Illustration: A RUNNER IN THE RAIN.]

We were now to give up the kuruma and to travel by the kago, which, you
will remember, I promised to describe. The kago is a curious
institution, partly superseded by the kuruma, but lingering in many
places, and necessary where the pack-horse would be unsafe, and where
one would otherwise have to walk. It consists of a small litter hung by
stiff bamboos from a great pole, over which is steadied a little matted
roof, from which various protections from rain or sun can be dropped.
The kago has its discomforts: one lies down in it all doubled up, with
legs crossed as far as they can be made to, because the basket, which is
the body of the litter, is only about three feet long; and with head to
one side, because, if one lifted it, it might strike the ridge-pole. The
proper way is to lie not quite in the axis. This is all the more
natural, as the men at either end do not carry it in a straight line,
but at an angle, so that from one side you can see a little in front of

Into the kagos we were folded, and in a torrent of rain we departed. I
resisted my being shut up in my litter by the oiled-paper sides that are
used in the rain, and I depended upon mackintosh and blanket to protect
me. The rain came down in sheets. We trotted uphill, the men going on
for a few minutes, then changing shoulders, and then again another pair
taking their turn--four to each litter. Meanwhile they sang, as they
trotted, something which sounded like "Hey, hey, hey, het tue hey." The
road was almost all paved, and in the steeper ascents was very bad.

And now I began to experience some novel sensations not easy to
describe. My feet were turned in upon the calves of the legs like an
Indian Buddha's, and I soon began to ache along sciatic lines; then
elsewhere, then everywhere. Then I determined to break with this
arrangement, as anger seized me; fortunately a sort of paralysis set in,
and I became torpid and gradually resigned; and gradually also I fell
asleep with the curious motion and the chant of the men, and woke
accustomed, and so I am writing.

I can just remember large trees and roads protected by them; some places
where we seemed alone in the world, where we left trees and stood in
some narrow path, just able to see above its sides--all else shut out of
existence by the rain; and I have all along enjoyed the novel sensation
of moving on the level of the plants and shrubs.

We are now going downhill again, and can look down an avenue of great
trees and many steps which we descend. We are coming to Hakone; I can
see the lake beyond a Torii, and at the first corner of the road under
the trees begins the village.

                                          MIYANOSHITA, September 28.

Again the kago, and the rain as soon as we departed. I turned as well as
I could, to find the lovely lines, now lost in general shapes and
values, blurred into masses. Once the light opened on the top of some
high hill, and I could see, with wild roses right against me, some flat
milestone marked with an image against the edges of distant mountains,
and a sky of faint twilight pink; or again we pattered along in wet
grass, past a great rock with a great bas-relief image--a Jizo (patron
of travelers) sitting in the loneliness with a few flowers before him.
Then in the rain, and mingling with the mist, thicker cloudings marked
the steam from hot springs, which make these parts of the mountains a
resort for invalids and bathers.

Soon the darkness: then pine knots were lighted and we descended among
the trees, in a path like a torrent, the water running along between the
stones, which the feet of the bearers seemed to find instinctively. The
arms of the torch-bearers were modeled in wild lights and shadows; the
hats of the men made a dusky halo around their heads; the rain-coats of
straw glistened with wet; occasionally some branch came out, distinct in
every leaf, between the smoke and the big sparks and embers. The noise
of torrents near by rose above the rain and the patter and the song of
the men. The steepness of the path seemed only to increase the rapidity
of our runners, who bounded along from stone to stone. After a time
anxiety was lost in the excitement of the thing and in our success, but
quite late in our course I heard behind me a commotion--one of A----'s
runners had slipped and the kago had come down; no one hurt--the kago
keeps its occupant packed too tightly. Then the path left the wild
descent; we trotted through regular, muddy roads, stopped once on
disbanding our torch-bearers, and reached the Europeanized hotel at
Miyanoshita, where I intend to sleep to-night on a European bed, with a
bureau and a looking-glass in my room. One little touch not quite like
ours, as a gentle lady of uncertain age offers me her services for the
relief of fatigue by massage, before I descend to drink Bass's ale in
the dining-room, alongside of Britons from the neighboring Yokohama,
only one day's journey farther.

     [13] You may pronounce kang'go.


[This much of my letters, or all but a few pages, has been published at
intervals in "The Century Magazine." I had hoped for time to add some
further notes on Japanese art, and some fragments of my journal, but
neither time nor health allows me more. I should have preferred also to
replace some of the drawings and photographs here engraved by some pages
from note-books nearer to the feeling of the text--something more
serious and less finished than suits a magazine.

With some regret I let these matters stand; with less regret because my
notes are merely impressions of a given date. Since then Loti has
written, and Mr. Lafcadio Hearn has written and writes with his usual
charm. Mr. Lowell has opened singular pages, Mr. Chamberlain's authority
has been given to popular information; Mrs. Coates has written in
laughter; Miss Scidmore has adorned the guide-book, Mr. Parsons, Mr.
East ... the list is too long.

I must thank Mr. H. Shugio for the "grass characters" of his elegant
translation of my preface; and Mr. M. Tsuchiya for much information.]


I give as an appendix the "Suruga Gobunsho," the letter of Iyéyasŭ to
his daughter-in-law, in which he defines the position of Iyémitsŭ's
brother. I have it at two removes from the original, so that, as a
Japanese acquaintance remarks, "Recollecting the shadow of the original
hanging in a corner of my memory, I hardly recognize the energetic style
of the 'old badger'--Furu Danuki--as Iyéyasŭ was called by his
antagonists." Notwithstanding, I give it with all these defects, there
being nothing fixed in history but documents; and this document gives us
the real mind of a great man, his make-believe appearance, his intimate
resemblance to other great managers, and a statement of the correct
ideas of his time, to which he gave a fixed form.


It is getting warmer daily, and life is again quite pleasant. How is it
with you and your children? When last I had the pleasure of visiting you
I was charmed by the friendly reception which was given to me, and I beg
that you will present my thanks therefor to your lord. It pleases me
much to hear that both my grandchildren--Take[14] and Kuni[15]--have
grown. When I was with you I advised you to select a tutor for Take.
Have you already done this? Kuni is really very clever; which is a
thing to rejoice in, and you ought to hold him especially dear. I have
had some experience, and therefore proceed to communicate to you my
views as to how you can bring him up to be a good man.

If a child, however clever and gifted, be allowed to grow up entirely
free and without discipline, it will become in riper age wilful and
positive. Children are usually disobedient to their parents. If they are
made to obey their parents they will yet still less accommodate
themselves to their surrounding. But will they be able as men to rule
over States? Not in the least, since they have not been able even to
rule themselves. Considering how naïve is youth, a severe education does
not seem at first sight to be fitting, but herein man resembles a plant.
Of a tree, for instance, only a little sprig first shows; with careful
attendance little by little the branches and leaves are developed; then
a prop is given to the same that it may grow straight, and the poor
growths are cut off. If each year one goes on carefully with this
treatment one may obtain straight, beautiful trees. With man it is just
the same. As the child comes to be four or five years a prop is given
him in the person of a good tutor who shall remove the bad growths,
shall subdue wilfulness, and make a fine man out of him. Often this
foresight of care is neglected, allowing the child to grow up in freedom
without protecting him against his own self-will. Only when the child
can already think for itself do the elders begin their admonitions, but
then it is quite too late: the branches of wilfulness are already too
far grown, and the stem can no longer bring forth new branches. A good
tree is no longer to be aimed at.

In this connection I have a lively recollection of Saburo.[16] When he
was born I was still a young man, and I was enchanted by the first
child. He was somewhat weakly, and on that account I thought that he
should be especially protected and given the greatest liberty. I was not
severe with him and allowed him all that he wished. After he had grown
up I often found occasion to blame this and that in him, and to give him
admonition and advice, but I had no success therein, because in his
youth no one had taken trouble about his conduct and speech. He had
never learned to treat his parents with thoughtfulness, and to respect
them as filial duty ordered, but behaved toward them as if they were his
equals, so that finally it had to come to a quarrel, and the results are
that he hates them now, and is quite estranged from them. Warned by
these evil experiences, I undertook other rules for the education of
other children. For instance, I chose persons to attend the child who
themselves had been brought up from youth with the greatest severity,
and I ordered them to let me know at once when the slightest trace of
wilfulness or other similar defect was discovered. And I called the
child to me, gave him a rebuke, and extended to him some few strong
words of advice. Through following this education the child grew to be
as faultless as a straight grown tree; knew no self-will, because he
considered the will of his parents as the highest law. He practised
self-control and learned continually how one should best honor one's

In the families of princes a child holds another standing, and is
subjected to other influences than in the families of subjects. In
provision of this and of the future position of the child, his education
must be different in certain points. The parents should always oblige
the child to follow the admonitions of those placed about him, otherwise
after their death the child would succumb entirely to its own
wilfulness, and at the end forfeit the throne, as many examples have
taught us before this. Therefore, it is the duty of the educator to
implant in his scholar from the earliest youth and before everything
veneration for his parents, the yielding of the will to Providence,
gentleness toward subjects, and high-mindedness; only so can he bring
him up to be a real man.

A separation between the lord and the subjects is certainly necessary
for the upholding of social order, and is commanded by the
circumstances, but the lord must also consider that he is the subject of
his subjects. My tutor, Abe Okura, repeated over and over again the
following precept to me in my youth, and I find it very well founded: If
in ordinary circumstances the subjects yield to their master, even when
he is unjust, and follow his service even when he acts as a tyrant, yet
in extraordinary emergencies all this may change very easily. Therefore,
the ruler should behave compassionately toward his subjects and
distribute impartial reward and punishment strictly and with justice; he
should see in these subjects the foundation of his government, for
without a Servant there can be no Master. In order that they may have
these truths before their eyes in riper age, children should be trained
in time to value the opinions of those about them, and to be guided by
them, because out of the words and deeds of those who are nearest to us
we can best judge the worth of our own deeds. A wilful man is never
contented, for if he yields only to his own will he forgets the duty of
reverence for his parents, and earns in consequence both from them, his
relations, his friends, and even from his servants, only displeasure and
depreciation, and finally he is unable to reach what he had proposed. As
he notices these failures, he comes to hate the disposition of
Providence, his fellow-men, and finally himself, and from discontent
will become unsound in mind. Therefore, we should always remind youth
that it is given to no man to find in this world all his wish and will.

In a princely family the second son should also be made to notice that
he stands in relation to the elder as a subject. If the second son holds
more power than the eldest, dissensions in the family are inevitable. In
the education of the younger people one must attend to this, that they
acquire polite and dignified demeanor, and, before everything, avoid
rash and rude words; yet not so exaggerated importance should be
attached to a dignified carriage that a disregard of inferiors should
arise; otherwise an understanding of the real position is lost, and a
compassionate feeling for the ills of dependents cannot exist. As often
as an opportunity may occur one should explain to the children of
sovereigns the use of certain things, out of what country they come,
that they are of this or that province, what prince rules there, what
fortunes the ruling house has passed through, and so forth. Also, with
their own subjects one should try to make them acquainted in a similar
way, naming, for example, a prominent man as descended from a famous
general, relating that his family has been for centuries in the land,
and on account of its great services has good fame. And such like
things. In this way the youth will learn to estimate his subjects and,
when a man, to take the correct position toward them. Besides, every
prince should be carefully trained in youth to all knightly arts, such
as riding, drawing the bow, and fencing.

Of course the descendant of a princely house needs not to go deeply into
the studies of a scientific education. It is sufficient that he be made
acquainted by professional men with the main features of the particular
branches of science. But it is important and necessary that he be
informed of the deeds of great generals and faithful subjects, and
conversely of the fate of faithless officers who misled their superiors,
brought mischief to their country, and finally ruined houses which had
reigned for centuries. From such examples, detestable or worthy of
imitation, he can draw the best lessons for his own acts. One ought not
to judge one's own doing or not doing after one's own view of right and
wrong, but ought to look at it in the mirror of the people's opinion.
But you cannot keep this mirror like one made of metal, brilliant by
polishing its outside; you can only keep it clean and bright through the
purity of your own heart. Evil conduct makes the mirror lose its power
of reflection. It remains then clear only when we listen to the judgment
of our fellow-men upon our acts. If a ruler is pleased that one should
make him mindful of his own faults, if he strives to put them aside and
recompense those who have done him this service, then that mirror will
always shine in brightest splendor, and the ruler will recognize in it
his own image truly rendered; and, besides, he will also see which of
his subjects think ill and which well of him, and what opinion of him
the people have in general. If he wishes to hear only his praise from
every mouth, his hypocritical surrounding will try to please him with
suitable flattery, while his really loyal subjects will draw near to him
only if he be willing to see his faults discovered and to receive
admonition willingly. A ruler should always consider this, and never be
contented with a surrounding perhaps clever, but over-flexible and
complying, and wanting in deliberation and sincerity. If he mistake,
then doors and towers are open to his hypocritical inferiors, loyal
outwardly but traitorous in heart.

Ji Hiobu talked little and listened continually whenever we were
considering a matter, on which account he made a mediocre impression on
outsiders. But as soon as he had acquired a clear view of the matter, he
handled it with a free mind. Quite especially was I pleased with him
that face to face, and privately, he drew my attention to a possible
mistake contemplated; therefore I preferred mostly to consider
everything alone with him first, and then only to discuss the matter

Tastes and talent are so separate that in some people they seem to be in
opposition. One man has the greatest liking for something which the
other detests, and this one acquires with ease by virtue of his gifts
what the other, notwithstanding diligence and energy, cannot achieve. In
the judgment of the worth of a man and of his faculties one ought not to
proceed rashly and one-sidedly, as an example from the vegetable world
teaches us; each flower develops its full splendor in the season of its
bloom, and each one possesses some particular beauty for which we
treasure it. But there is a plant called the Dokudami[17] whose ugly
exterior and evil smell make us avoid it and consider it useless; and
yet it fulfils a very beneficent end. For instance, if you boil it quite
long it becomes a remarkable remedy for lepers. So it is with men. Many
a man is misunderstood and neglected, and yet each is gifted with
certain faculties and can become an able and useful member of society if
one understand how to employ him rightly; to every one shall come a time
wherein he fulfils his destiny. We usually hold as useless and tiresome
things that others study with zeal, but which we do not like. Yet that
is not reasonable, especially with a ruler. Until my maturer age I could
not understand the game of Go,[18] and could not see how a man could
busy himself with such a useless thing, which gave trouble but no
pleasure; therefore I thought all people stupid who gave themselves up
to it. To-day, since I have thoroughly understood the game, I find it
very amusing, especially in rainy weather when I am not allowed to go
out, and I play now eagerly with those whom I once derided. Through this
I have come to guess that what has not been handed down from old times
is somewhat useless. It is a great mistake to think that all that
pleases us is good and what displeases us is bad, and that one's own
taste is the only right one.

It often happens that a child in its anger at hearing something
unpleasant destroys the nearest available thing; parents should not
think that this is a consequence of worms, and therefore let it go
unpunished; such indulgence works like poison on the character of the
child. If really a disease be the cause of such excitement one ought to
use right away the suitable medicine. He who in his youth has acquired
such habits yields to them later when something displeases him; then it
will be seen what bad results unsubdued wilfulness can have. The object
destroyed often matters little; but the spoiled child, with time, vents
his wrath mostly upon those around him, and often feels contented only
when he has punished his victims with death. Parents can only prevent
such excesses in the future by keeping down from the beginning every
stirring of wilfulness and impatience in their descendants. The most
necessary and the most beautiful virtue of every man, especially of a
ruler, is self-control. Whoever commands his own will with regard to any
good thing will carry out the will of Providence, will live in harmony
with his fellow-men, will not forfeit lands and castles that his
ancestors left him, and will dispense rewards and punishments justly
among the whole people, both among those further away and among those
just about him. Under all circumstances he will keep a promise once
given, and, if he serves a master, be ready to give his life; he will
not care first for himself and then only for others, but he will
unselfishly strive for the welfare of others, and early and late keep
the rules of high behavior. He will not praise himself haughtily and
depreciate others; he will face his master without flattery or
hypocrisy, openly and honestly; and his parents also, as all other
people. He will not strive to do everything after his own opinion, but
will pay regard to traditional forms in every act.

In all five senses one can practise self-control: as to the eyes, in not
allowing one's self to be deceived by beautiful dress, a handsome face,
or by the exterior of anything. As to the sense of smell, by use one can
get accustomed not only to pleasant odors, but to the most singular
stenches. As to the sense of hearing, one can push on bravely through
the noise and tumult of battle, reckless of the thunder of cannon or the
hissing of arrows, to obtain the rich rewards of war. As to taste, one
can avoid excess in eating and drinking, and not accustom the palate to
luxurious meals; finally, as to the sense of feeling, one can overcome
sensitiveness, and keep especially one's hands and feet entirely within
one's control. Only he who through all his life thus tries to obtain
control over himself shall upon the throne increase the glory of his
house and establish peace in his country; if he be a subject, he shall
rise and make his family happy and honored. But one must persevere in
self-control, otherwise there can be no such results. If, for instance,
some one has to practise self-control in ten cases to obtain a known
result, and he is able to control himself nine times, but on the tenth
his strength leaves him, then all his previous exertions were in vain.
Many people who control themselves for a long time finally lose
patience, thinking it impossible to protract their mastery. It might
happen that some person might not really be strong enough, but in most
cases I should think it a person's own fault if he forfeits in such a
case his life, his position, or his throne. Something like this is seen
in shooting with the bow. If one has taken the right position and
attitude of the body, if one has directed the weapon rightly and firmly
and has the aim well in the eye, but at the moment of discharge the hand
is unsteady, the shot goes wrong, and all this trouble was in vain. So
also is self-command worthless and useless if it be not persevered in to
the end.

I know of only one man until now in our history whose self-control
reached this degree of perfection, and that is Masashige Kusunoki.[19] A
man, on the contrary, who had no self-command and confessed that he had
not himself in his own power was Katsuyori Takeda;[20] hence his whole
life was a tissue of failures, and he ended by losing his power and his
life. Nobunaga Oda[21] was certainly a distinguished leader of armies,
marked for his courage and generosity, and possessing in a high degree
all faculties needed for a good ruler; and yet his lack of self-control
brought on that he was murdered by his retainer Mitsuhide. Hideyoshi[22]
was generous, shrewd, valiant, and almost perfect in self-control; hence
he rose within twenty years from nothing to be the ruler of the entire
Japanese Empire. But his generosity went beyond rightful limits.
Generosity is a noble virtue, but it must fit the circumstances.
Presents and gifts should not represent much over the value of the good
deed whose reward they are meant to be; but Hideyoshi over-estimated
the merits of those to whom he owed his position and behaved with more
than generosity--with prodigality.

The way to obtain domination and to keep it permanently is not through
prodigality, but through close economy. Inferiors often think that the
master appears strange in comparison with other sovereigns who toss
about presents; but history teaches that just the wisest rulers have
been accustomed to make few presents, and have avoided all luxury.

A master desiring good and obedient servants should be ready with
admonition at every mistake committed. My efforts since youth have been
continually directed to this, wherefor my servants have stripped off all
their faults. In any case one ought not to give up hope too soon, and at
once decide that somebody is incorrigible. If in one's admonition the
talk is only about the fault committed, the result will be that the
person admonished acquires an unjust aversion to his master; and even
servants who had served diligently before become careless and
discontented; the cause of this is to be sought in the manner of the
admonition. If this is to have any result, the following method should
be employed: summon the culprit to one's presence, and dismiss from the
room every one else but one who is to play the part of the mediator.
Then speak with milder words than usual about the former services of the
subordinate, make some recognition of his zeal, both former and present;
in short, try to make him as happy as possible. Thereupon show him with
due regard his faults, and explain to him that you did not expect them
of such an attentive subject, and that you must hope that in the future
you will need no more to blame; indeed, that all the more you reckon
upon his former solicitude and loyalty. Such an admonition brings any
one in fault to yield, to recognize his own defects, and to correct
himself. The ruler of the house should make it his chief aim to make
useful people of his servants, in which he can succeed only by resenting
every fault, even if committed by a person of the lowest position. It
should even be difficult for the cleverest servants to obtain the full
approbation of the master. How much more should this be the case with
the average person, concerning whom the master should consider it his
task to remove imperfections as far as possible. He is to blame if
oftener than is necessary faults come about. From the manner of those
about him one can easily draw a conclusion as to the manner of the
master. Therefore, he should keep a watchful eye upon the manner of his
attendants, especially that those whom he loves and distinguishes serve
as an example to the other inferiors, whether they be good or bad.
Further than this, it is very desirable that the master should be quite
acquainted with the circumstances of his servants; and that, on the
contrary, these should get to know as little as possible about his

It is not favorable to health that one should give one's self up
entirely to indulgence in time of peace. If one has nothing to do
habitually, many bad things usually come up. Therefore, for each moment
from waking to going to sleep one should appoint a task, and live
conscientiously from day to day according to this plan. Further, one
should not eat only savory food, for one becomes tired of that in time.
On ordinary days one should take as simple a meal as possible; for it is
enough, I believe, to eat two or three times a month something
especially savory.

For several years I repeat my prayers every day 60,000 times. Many
consider this exaggerated on the part of so old a man, and they advise
me to diminish somewhat the number. It would indeed be a relief for me
could I follow this advice; but because I was born in times of war, and
as a commander I have caused the death of many men, I should like to do
penance in my prayers for my many sins, and hence I keep to my old
habit. Beyond this, the quiet and idle life which I must now lead is
hard to bear, because from my youth I never had an hour of rest, but was
always overladen with work, and as I can no more attend to other
business, so must I make work for myself in my prayers. I rise early
every morning, and I go to bed in the evening not very early, in
consequence of which I have a very good digestion, and believe that I
should be thankful for this to my prayers. An old proverb says, "If one
wishes to know the manner of life of a man, ask him if he have a regular
time for rising and for going to sleep, and if he can or cannot be
moderate in eating and drinking." That is also my way of looking at it.

Courage is a virtue which every man should possess; but too much courage
can easily become dangerous, as it seduces us very often to desire
obtaining everything by force; and then things go ill with us generally.
Rightly says the proverb: a hard thing is easily broken. Therefore one
obtains better results through gentleness and generosity than by
vehemence and recklessness. Advise your attendants in this manner that
they may always have a composed demeanor; and so teach your children
that they always show due respect to every member of the family.

Give this letter to Kuni, and impress upon him that he realize and lay
to heart its contents.

Finally, my best greetings to all.

This 25th of February.

N.B.--I beg you once more to pay attention to Kuni. If you bring him up
according to my advice I shall have no reason for anxiety about his

     [14] The child-name of Iyémitsŭ.

     [15] The child-name of the brother of Iyémitsŭ.

     [16] Saburo was the eldest son of Iyéyasŭ.

     [17] Honthuynia cordata

     [18] May be described as a form of the game of checkers.

     [19] Masashige (first half of fourteenth century), the type of
     unswerving loyalty to the throne. It is interesting to note
     Iyéyasŭ's estimate of a hero who died defeated, and whose whole
     energy had been devoted to preventing the control of the Empire by
     the shoguns, of whom Iyéyasŭ is the most complete type.

     [20] Takeda, son of Takeda Shingen, prince of Kai, committed
     suicide at Tenmokuzan. The story of his father's eccentric life is
     too long to be given here. He was at times an ally, at times an
     enemy of Iyéyasŭ.

     [21] Nobunaga, Iyéyasŭ's former leader.

     [22] Hideyoshi, his other general and partner.

Transcriber's Notes:

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

Obvious typographical errors were repaired, as listed below. Other
apparent inconsistencies or errors have been retained, such as archaic
spellings, inconsistent hyphenation and application of accents.

Original pagination maintained as closely as possible, with these

  - Illustrations moved in between paragraphs.

  - Blank pages which were counted in original page count, were deleted.

Page 13: corrected "Orienal" to "Oriental".

Page 133: retained original spelling of "scorcerers".

Page 204: replaced "not" for "no"; in typo: "tone which could no be

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