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Title: Japanese Homes and their Surroundings
Author: Morse, Edward S.
Language: English
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                    With Illustrations by the Author

                             Edward S. Morse
               Director of the Peabody Academy of Science;
         Late Professor of Zoölogy, University of Tokio, Japan;
               Member of the National Academy of Science;
        Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Etc.
                         [Title Page Decoration]
Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, New York




Fig. 1.—View in Tokio, showing shops and houses. (Copied from a
Fig. 2.—View in Tokio, showing temples and gardens. (Copied from a
Fig. 3.—View of Enoshima (Copied from a Photograph).
Fig. 4.—Side Framing.
Fig 5.—Pounding Down Foundation Stones.
Fig. 6.—Foundation Stones.
Fig. 7.—Section of Framing.
Fig. 8.—Framing.
Fig. 9.—End‐framing of Large Building.
Fig 10.—Roof‐frame of Large Building.
Fig. 11.—Roof‐framing of a Kura.
Fig. 12.—Framing of an Ordinary Two‐stored House.
Fig. 13.—Outside Braces.
Fig. 14.—Outside Brace.
Fig. 15.—Ornamental Brace.
Fig. 16.—Method of Cutting Timber for House‐Finish.
Fig. 17.—Section of Post Grooved for Partition.
Fig. 18.—Bundle of Boards.
Fig. 19.—Section of ceiling.
Fig. 20.—Ceiling‐rafters Supported Temporarily.
Fig. 21.—Method of Suspending Ceiling as Seen from Above.
Fig. 22.—Ceiling‐Board Weighted with Stones.
Fig. 23.—Ceiling‐Board in Closet.
Fig. 24.—Method of Removing Boards from a Bundle to Preserve Uniformity of
Fig. 25.—Arrangement of Square Tiles on Side of House.
Fig. 26.—A Japanese Carpenter’s Vice.
Fig. 27.—Carpenters’ Tools in Common Use.
Fig. 28.—A Japanese Nail‐Basket.
Fig. 29.—A Carpenter’s Marking‐Brush Made of Wood.
Fig. 30.—The Sumi‐Tsubo.
Fig. 31.—The Japanese Plumb‐Line.
Fig. 32.—Ancient Carpenter (copied from an old painting).
Fig. 33.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.
Fig. 34.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.
Fig. 35.—Block of Cheap Tenements in Tokio.
Fig. 36.—Street View of Dwelling in Tokio.
Fig. 37.—View of Dwelling from Garden, Tokio.
Fig. 38.—Dwelling Near Kudan, Tokio.
Fig. 39.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.
Fig. 40.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.
Fig. 41.—House Near Mororan, Yezo.
Fig. 42.—Bay Window, Village of Odzuka, Rikuzen.
Fig. 43.—Three‐storied House in Rikuchiu.
Fig. 44.—Street in the Suburbs of Morioka.
Fig. 45.—Old Farm‐house in Kabutoyama.
Fig. 46.—Entrance to Court‐yard of Old House in Kioto.
Fig. 47.—Old house in Kioto. Court‐yard view.
Fig. 48.—Old House in Kioto, Garden View.
Fig. 49.—House in Tokio.
Fig. 50.—View from the Second Story of Dwelling in Imado, Tokio.
Fig. 51.—Old Inn in Mishima, Suruga.
Fig. 52.—Village Street in Nasaike, Yamashiro.
Fig. 53.—Shore of Osumi.
Fig. 54.—Farmer’s Houses in Mototaru‐Midsu, Osumi.
Fig. 55.—Fishermen’s Huts in Hakodate.
Fig. 56.—Fishermen’s Huts in Enoshima.
Fig. 57.—Kura in Tokio.
Fig. 58.—Kura, or Fire‐proof Buildings in Tokio.
Fig. 59.—Old House in Hakodate.
Fig. 60.—Hisashi.
Fig. 61.—Bunch of shingles, nails, and hammer.
Fig. 62.—Shingler’s Hand.
Fig. 63.—Bamboo Strips on Shingle‐Roof.
Fig. 64.—Roof with shingles partly laid.
Fig. 65.—Ridge on shingle‐roof in Musashi.
Fig. 66.—Water‐conductor.
Fig. 67.—Ridge of tiled roof.
Fig. 68.—Ornamental coping of tiles.
Fig. 69.—Ornamental coping of tiles.
Fig. 70.—Ornamental coping of tiles.
Fig. 71.—Eaves of tiled roof.
Fig. 72.—Nagasaki tiled roof.
Fig. 73.—Hon‐gawara, or True Tile.
Fig. 74.—Yedo‐gawara, or Yedo‐tile eaves.
Fig. 75.—French tile eaves.
Fig. 76.—Itami tile for ridge.
Fig. 77.—Stone roof.
Fig. 78.—Thatch, and thatcher’s implements.
Fig. 79.—End of roof in Fujita, Iwaki.
Fig. 80.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Iwaki.
Fig. 81.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Musashi.
Fig. 82.—Bamboo‐ridge of thatched roof in Musashi.
Fig. 83.—Thatched Roof, near Tokio.
Fig. 84.—Thatched roof, near Tokio.
Fig. 85.—Ridge of thatched roof at Kabutoyama, Musashi.
Fig. 86.—Crest of thatched roof in Omi.
Fig. 87.—Tile and bamboo ridge of thatched roof, Takatsuki, Setsu.
Fig. 88.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.
Fig. 89.—Crest of thatched roof in Kioto.
Fig. 90.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.
Fig. 91.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.
Fig. 92.—Thatched roof in Totomi.
Fig. 93.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.
Fig. 94.—Crest of thatched roof in Ise.
Fig. 95.—Paved space under eaves of thatched roof.
Fig. 96.—Guest‐room in Hachi‐ishi.
Fig. 97.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio. _P,_ Parlor or Guest‐room; _S,_
Sitting‐room; _D,_ Dining‐room; _L,_ Library, _St,_ Study, _SR_ Servants’
Room; _B,_ Bed‐room, _K,_ Kitchen, _H,_ Hall; _V_ Vestibule; _C,_ Closet;
_T_ Tokonoma; _Sh,_ Shrine, _U_ and _L,_ Privy.
Fig. 98.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio. _P,_ Parlor or Guest‐room; _B,_
Bed‐room, _K,_ Kitchen, _SR_ Servants’ Room; _BR,_ Bath Room, _E, E,_
Side‐entrances, _V_ Vestibule; _H,_ Hall; _WR,_ Waiting‐room; _C,_ Closet;
_T_ Tokonoma; _U_ and _L,_ Privy.
Fig. 99.—Plan of a portion of a Daimyo’s residence.
Fig. 100.—Mat.
Fig. 101.—Arrangement of mats in different‐sized rooms.
Fig. 102.—Attitude of woman in sitting.
Fig. 103.—Section through verandah and guest‐room.
Fig. 104.—Reed‐screen.
Fig. 105.—Sliding panel.
Fig. 106.—Hikite.
Fig. 107.—Hikite.
Fig. 108.—Hikite.
Fig. 109.—Hikite.
Fig. 110.—Hikite with cord.
Fig. 111.—Straightening shōji frame.
Fig. 112.—Shōji with ornamental frame.
Fig. 113.—Portion of Toko‐Bashira.
Figs. 114, 115, 116, and 117. Ornamental‐headed nails.
Fig. 118.—Shelves contrasted with conventional drawing of mist, or clouds.
Fig. 119.—Guest‐room.
Fig. 120.—Guest‐room, with recesses in corners.
Fig. 121.—Guest‐room showing circular window.
Fig. 122.—Guest‐room showing writing‐place.
Fig. 123.—Guest‐room with wide tokonoma.
Fig. 124.—Small guest‐room.
Fig. 125.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.
Fig. 126.—Guest‐koom in Kiyomidzu, Kioto.
Fig. 127.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.
Fig. 128.—Guest‐room of a country house.
Fig. 129.—Corner of guest‐room.
Fig. 130.—Tea‐room in Nan‐en‐ji temple, Kioto.
Fig. 131.—Tea‐room in Fujimi pottery, Nagoya.
Fig. 132.—Tea‐room in Miyajima.
Fig. 133.—Kitchen for tea‐utensils.
Fig. 134.—Tea‐room in Imado, Tokio.
Fig. 135.—Corner of the tea‐room shown in Fig. 134.
Fig. 136.—Room in second story of an old building in Kawagoye, Musashi.
Fig. 137.—Room in kura fitted up as a library, Tokio.
Fig. 138.—Framework for draping room in kura.
Fig. 139.—Space between dwelling and kura, roofed over and utilized as a
kitchen in Tokio.
Fig. 140.—Doorway of an old kura in Kioto.
Fig. 141.—Key to kura, and bunch of keys.
Fig. 142.—Padlock to kura.
Fig. 143.—Panelled ceiling.
Fig. 144.—Ramma in Hakòne Village.
Fig. 145.—Bamboo ramma.
Fig. 146.—Porcelain ramma in Tokio.
Fig. 147.—Ramma of bamboo and perforated panel.
Fig. 148.—Carved wood ramma in Gojio Village, Yamato.
Fig. 149.—Carved wood ramma in town of Yatsushiro, Higo.
Fig. 150.—Ramma, composed of two thin boards, in Nagoya, Owari.
Fig. 151.—Shōji for window.
Fig. 152.—Shōji‐frame for window.
Fig. 153.—Shōji‐frame for window.
Fig. 154.—Window.
Fig. 155.—Biyō‐bu, or folding screen.
Fig. 156.—Wrought metallic  mounting of screen frame.
Fig. 157.—Screen‐box.
Fig. 158.—Foot‐weight for screen.
Fig. 159.—Furosaki Biyō‐bu.
Fig. 160.—Model of tsui‐tate in pottery.
Fig. 161.—Tsui‐tate.
Fig. 162.—Bamboo curtains.
Fig. 163.—Bamboo curtain.
Fig. 164.—Curtain screen.
Fig. 165.—Fringed curtains.
Fig. 166.—Slashed curtain.
Fig. 167.—Kitchen in old farmhouse at Kabutoyama.
Fig. 168.—Kitchen range.
Fig. 169.—Kitchen range, with smoke‐conductor.
Fig. 170.—Kitchen in city house.
Fig. 171.—Braziers.
Fig. 172.—Bamboo rack and knife case.
Fig. 173.—Ji‐zai
Fig. 174.—Fireplace in country house.
Fig. 175.—The best fireplace.
Fig. 176.—An adjustable device for supporting a kettle.
Fig. 177.—Kitchen closet, drawers, cupboard, and stairs combined.
Fig. 178.—Stair‐rail.
Fig. 179.—Steps to verandah.
Fig. 180.—Bath‐tub with side oven.
Fig. 181.—Bath‐tub with inside flue.
Fig. 182.—Bath‐tub in section, with oven outside the room.
Fig. 183.—Bath‐tub with outside heating‐chamber.
Fig. 184.—Bath‐tub with iron base.
Fig. 185.—Lavatory in country inn.
Fig. 186.—Lavatory in private house.
Fig. 187.—Lavatory copied from Japanese book.
Fig. 188‐192.—Forms of towel‐racks.
Fig. 193.—Forms of pillow in common use.
Fig. 194.—Showing position of head in resting on pillow.
Fig. 195.—Heating arrangement in floor.
Fig. 196.—Elbow‐rest.
Fig. 197.—Common hibachi.
Fig. 198.—Hibachi.
Fig. 199.—Hibachi.
Fig. 200.—Hibachi arranged for company.
Fig. 201.—Tabako‐bon.
Fig. 202.—Tabako‐box.
Fig. 203.—Tabako‐box.
Fig. 204.—Pan for holding burning charcoal.
Fig. 205.—Iron candlestick.
Fig. 206.—Lamp.
Fig. 207.—Lamp.
Fig. 208.—Lamp and laquered stand.
Fig. 209.—Wall‐lamp.
Fig. 210.—Lamp.
Fig. 211.—Pottery lamp.
Fig. 212.—Pottery lamp.
Fig. 213.—Pottery candlestick.
Fig. 214.—Fixed street‐lantern.
Fig. 215.—Household shrine.
Fig. 216.—Swallows’ nests in private house.
Fig. 217.—Interior of privy.
Fig. 218.—Privy of inn in Hachi‐ishi village, Nikko.
Fig. 219.—Privy connected with a merchant’s house in Asakusa.
Fig. 220.—Interior of a privy in Asakusa.
Fig. 221.—Main entrance to house.
Fig. 222.—Plan of vestibule and hall.
Fig. 223.—Shoe‐closet.
Fig. 224.—Lantern‐shelf in hall.
Fig. 225.—Grated entrance, with sliding door.
Fig. 226.—Verandah floor.
Fig. 227.—Verandah of an old Kioto house.
Fig. 228.—Balcony rail.
Fig. 229.—Balcony rail and perforated panels.
Fig. 230.—Balcony rail.
Fig. 231.—Balcony rail.
Fig. 232.—Balcony rail.
Fig. 233.—Rain‐door lock unbolted.
Fig. 234.—Rain‐door lock bolted.
Fig. 235.—Knob for rain‐door.
Fig. 236.—Corner‐roller for rain‐door.
Fig. 237.—Verandah showing swinging closet for rain‐doors, and also
Fig. 238.—Chōdzu‐bachi.
Fig. 239.—Chōdzu‐bachi.
Fig. 240.—Chōdzu‐bachi.
Fig. 241.—Chōdzu‐bachi and Hisashi‐yen.
Fig. 242.—Gateway in yashiki building.
Fig. 243.—Gateway of city house from within.
Fig. 244.—Gate‐rattle.
Fig. 245.—Bolt for little sliding door in gateway.
Fig. 246.—Gateway to city residence.
Fig. 247.—Gateway to city residence.
Fig. 248.—Gateway near Tokio.
Fig. 249.—Gateway.
Fig. 250.—Rustic gateway.
Fig. 251.—Rustic gateway.
Fig. 252.—Rustic garden gate.
Fig. 253.—Garden gateway.
Fig. 254.—Ordinary wooden fence.
Fig. 255.—Stake fence.
Fig. 256.—Bamboo fence.
Fig. 257.—Fence in Hakòne village.
Fig. 258.—Rustic garden‐fence.
Fig. 259.—Sode‐gaki.
Fig. 260.—Sode‐gaki.
Fig. 261.—Sode‐gaki.
Fig. 262.—Barred opening in a fence.
Fig. 263.—Garden tablet.
Fig. 264.—Ishi‐dōrō in Tokio
Fig. 265.—Ishi‐dōrō in Miyajima
Fig. 266.—Ishi‐dōrō in Shirako, Musashi.
Fig. 267.—Ishi‐dōrō in Utsunomiya.
Fig. 268.—Stone foot‐bridge.
Fig. 269.—Stone foot‐bridge.
Fig. 270.—Garden brook and foot‐bridge.
Fig. 271.—Summer‐house in private garden, Tokio.
Fig. 272.—Summer‐house in imperial garden, Tokio.
Fig. 273.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Kobe.
Fig. 274.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Okazaki.
Fig. 275.—Various forms of garden paths.
Fig. 276.—Wooden trough for plants.
Fig. 277.—Plant‐pot of old plank.
Fig. 278.—Dwarf plum.
Fig. 279.—Dwarf pine.
Fig. 280.—Curiously trained pine‐tree.
Fig. 281.—Dwarfed pine.
Fig. 282.—Shrubs wrapped in straw for winter.
Fig. 283.—Showing approaches to house. (Reproduced from “Chikusan
teizoden”, a Japanese work.)
Fig. 284.—Little garden belonging to the priests of a buddhist temple.
(Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a Japanese work.)
Fig. 285.—Garden of a merchant. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
Japanese work.)
Fig. 286.—Garden of a daimio. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
Japanese work.)
Fig. 287.—Ancient form of well‐curb.
Fig. 288.—Stone well‐curb in private garden.
Fig. 289.—Wooden well‐frame.
Fig. 290.—Rustic well‐frame.
Fig. 291.—Aqueduct reservoir at Miyajima, Aki.
Fig. 292.—Aqueducts at Miyajima, Aki.
Fig. 293.—Well at Kaga Yashiki, Tokio.
Fig. 294.—Hanging flower‐holder of bamboo.
Fig. 295.—Hanging flower‐holder of basket‐work.
Fig. 296.—Cheap bracket for flower‐pots.
Fig. 297.—Curious combination of buckets for flowers.
Fig. 298.—Framed picture, with supports.
Fig. 299.—Hashira kakushi.
Fig. 300.—Writing‐desk.
Fig. 301.—Staging on house‐roof, with bucket and brush.
Fig. 302.—Box for transporting articles.
Fig. 303.—Malay house near singapore.
Fig. 304.—Ridge of roof in Cholon, Anam.
Fig. 305.—Interior of Malay house, showing bed‐place. Singapore.
Fig. 306.—Aino house, Yezo.
Fig. 307.—Aino house, Yezo.

To William Sturgis Bigelow, M.D. In memory of the delightful experiences
in the “Heart of Japan” this volume is affectionately inscribed by the


In an exceedingly interesting article on the early study of the Dutch in
Japan, by Professor K. Mitsukuri,(1) the author has occasion to refer to
the uncle of one of the three famous Japanese scholars who translated into
Japanese a Dutch book on anatomy. He says this uncle “Miyada was almost
eccentric in his disposition. He held it to be a solemn duty to learn any
art or accomplishment that might be going out of the world, and then
describe it so fully that it might be preserved to posterity.” The nephew
was faithful to his uncle’s instructions, and “though following medicine
for his profession, he took it upon himself to learn ‘hitoyogiri,’—a
certain kind of music which was well‐nigh forgotten,—and even went so far
as to study a kind of dramatic acting.”

Though not animated by Miyada’s spirit when I set about the task of
collecting the material embodied in this work, I feel now that the labor
has not been altogether in vain, as it may result in preserving many
details of the Japanese house,—some of them trivial, perhaps,—which in a
few decades of years may be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.
Whether this has been accomplished or not, the praiseworthy ambition of
the old Japanese scholar might well be imitated by the ethnological
student in his investigations,—since nothing can be of greater importance
than the study of those nations and peoples who are passing through
profound changes and readjustments as a result of their compulsory contact
with the vigorous, selfish, and mercantile nations of the West,
accompanied on their part by a propagandism in some respects equally
mercenary and selfish.

Thanks to the activity of a number of students of various nationalities in
the employ of the Japanese government, and more especially to the
scholarly _attachés_ of the English legation in Japan, much information
has been obtained concerning this interesting people which might otherwise
have been lost. If investigators and students would bear in mind the
precept of Miyada, and seize upon those features in social life—forms of
etiquette, frames, ceremonies, and other manners and customs—which are the
first to change in any contact with alien races, a very important work
would be accomplished for the future sociologist. The native Japanese
student might render the greatest service in this work by noting down from
the older persons, before it is too late, the social features and habits
of his own people as they were before the late Revolution. Profound
changes have already taken place in Japan, and other changes are still in
progress. As an indication of the rapidity of some of these changes,
reference might be made to an interesting memoir, by Mr. McClatchie, on
“The Feudal Mansions of Yedo;” and though this was written but ten years
after the revolution of 1868, he speaks of the _yashiki, _or fortified
mansions where dwelt the feudal nobles of Japan, as in “many cases
deserted, ruined, and fallen into decay;” and he describes observances and
manners connected with the _yashiki,_ such as “etiquette of the gates,”
“exchange of yashiki,” “rules relating to fires,” etc., which were then
obsolete at the time of his writing, though in full force but a few years

I shall be particularly grateful for any facts concerning the Japanese
house beyond those recorded in this book, or which may be already in my
possession, as also for the correction of any errors which may have
unavoidably been made in the text. Should a second edition of this work be
called for, such new information and corrections will be incorporated
therein, with due acknowledgments.

I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. W. S. Bigelow, whose delightful
companionship I enjoyed during the collection of many of the facts and
sketches contained in this volume, and whose hearty sympathy and judicious
advice were of the greatest service to me. To Professor and Mrs. E. F.
Fenollosa, also, my thanks are especially due for unnumbered kindnesses
during my last visit to Japan.

I would also here return my thanks to a host of Japanese friends who have
at various times, in season and out of season, granted me the privilege of
sketching their homes and examining their dwellings from top to bottom in
quest of material for this volume; who furthermore have answered
questions, translated terms, hunted up information, and in many ways aided
me,—so that it may be truly said, that had this assistance been withheld,
but little of my special work could have been accomplished. Any effort to
recall the names of all these friends would lead to the unavoidable
omission of some; nevertheless, I must specially mention Mr. H. Takamine,
Director of the Tokio Normal School; Dr. Seiken Takenaka; Mr. Tsunejiro
Miyaoka; Mr. S. Tejima, Director of the Tokio Educational Museum;
Professors Toyama, Yatabe, Kikuchi, Mitsukuri, Sasaki, and Kozima, and Mr.
Ishikawa and others, of the University of Tokio; Mr. Isawa and Mr. Kodzu,
Mr. Fukuzawa, the distinguished teacher and author; Mr. Kashiwagi, Mr.
Kohitsu, and Mr. Masuda. I must also acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. H.
Kato, Director of the University of Tokio, to Mr. Hattori, Vice‐director,
and to Mr. Hamao and other officers of the Educational Department, for
many courtesies, and for special accommodations during my last visit to
Japan. Nor must I omit to mention Mr. Tachibana, Director of the nobles’
school; Mr. Kikkawa, Mr. Tahara, Mr. Kineko, Mr. Ariga, Mr. Tanada, Mr.
Nakawara, Mr. Yamaguchi, Mr. Negishi of Kabutoyama, and many others, who
supplied me with various notes of interest. In this country I have been
specially indebted to Mr. A. S. Mihara and Mr. S. Fukuzawa, for valuable
assistance during the preparation of the text; and to Mr. Arakawa, Mr.
Shiraishi, Mr. Shugio, and Mr. Yamada of New York, for timely aid.

To the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Academy of Science, who,
recognizing the ethnological value of the work I had in hand, granted me a
release from my duties as Director until I could complete it; and to
Professor John Robinson, Treasurer of the Academy, and Mr. T. F. Hunt, for
friendly suggestions and helpful interest, as also to Mr. Percival Lowell
for numerous courtesies,—my thanks are due. I must not forget to record
here my indebtedness to Mr. A. W. Stevens, chief proof‐reader of the
University Press, for his invaluable assistance in the literary part of my
labors, and for his faithful scrutiny of the proof‐sheets. At the same
time I desire to thank Miss Margarette W. Brooks for much aid given to me
in my work; my daughter, Miss Edith O. Morse, for the preliminary tracings
of the drawings from my journals; Mr. L. S. Ipsen, who drew the unique and
beautiful design for the cover of this book; Mr. A. V. S. Anthony for
judicious supervision of the process‐work in the illustrations; the
University Press for its excellent workmanship in the printing of the
book; and the Publishers for the generous manner in which they have
supported the undertaking. I will only add, that the excellent Index to be
found at the end of this book was prepared by Mr. Charles H. Stevens.

                                                          EDWARD S. MORSE.
Salem, Mass., U. S. A.
November, 1885.


Within twenty years there has gradually appeared in our country a variety
of  Japanese objects conspicuous for their novelty and beauty,—lacquers,
pottery and porcelain, forms in wood and metal, curious shaped boxes,
quaint ivory carvings, fabrics  in cloth and paper, and a number of other
objects as perplexing in their purpose as the inscriptions which they
often bore.    Most of these presented technicalities in their work as
enigmatical   as   were   their  designs,   strange   caprices   in
their ornamentation which, though violating our hitherto recognized
proprieties of  decoration, surprised and yet delighted us.     The
utility of many of the objects we were at loss to understand; yet somehow
they gradually found lodgment in our rooms, even displacing  certain
other  objects  which  we  had  been  wont to regard as decorative, and
our rooms looked all the prettier for their substitution.    We found it
difficult to formulate the principles upon which such art was based, and
yet were compelled to recognize its merit.    Violations of perspective,
and colors in juxtaposition or coalescing that before we had regarded as
inharmonious, were continually reminding us   of  Japan and her curious
people.     Slowly our methods of decoration became imbued  with these
ways so  new  to  us, and  yet  so  many  centuries old to the people
among whom these arts had originated. Gradually  yet   surely, these
arts,   at  first  so little understood, modified our own methods of
ornamentation, until frescos wall‐papers,   wood‐work   and   carpets,
dishes   and   table‐cloth metal work and book‐covers, Christmas cards and
even railroad advertisements were decorated, modelled, and designed after
Japanese style.

It was not to be wondered at that many of our best artists,—men like
Coleman, Vedder, Lafarge, and others,—had long fore recognized the
transcendent merit of Japanese decorative art.  It was however somewhat
remarkable  that  the public at large should come so universally to
recognize it, and in so short a time. Not  only  our  own commercial
nation, but  art‐loving  France, musical Germany, and even conservative
England yielded to this invasion.    Not that new designs were evolved by
us; on the contrary, we were content to adopt Japanese designs outright,
oftentimes with a mixture of incongruities that would have driven Japanese
decorator stark mad.    Designs appropriate for the metal mounting of a
sword blazed out on our ceilings; motives fror a heavy bronze formed the
theme for the decoration of friable pottery; and suggestions from light
crape were woven into hot carpets to be trodden upon.    Even with this
mongrel admixture, it was a relief by any means to have driven out of our
dwelling the nightmares and horrors of design we had before endured so
meekly,—such objects, for example, as a child in dead brass, kneeling in
perpetual supplication on a dead brass cushion, while adroitly balancing
on its head a receptacle for kerosene oil; and  a whole regiment of
shapes equally monstrous.     Our walls no  longer assailed us with
designs that wearied our eyes and exasperated our brains by their
inanities.    We were no longer doomed to wipe our feet on cupids, horns
of plenty, restless tigers, or scrolls of architectural magnitudes.
Under the benign influence of this new spirit it came to be realized that
it was not always necessary to tear a flower in  bits to   recognize  its
decorative value;   and that the  simplest objects in Nature—a spray of
bamboo, a pine cone, a cherry blossom—in the _right place_ were quite
sufficient to satisfy our craving for the beautiful.

The Japanese exhibit at the Centennial exposition in Philadelphia came to
us as a new revelation; and the charming onslaught of that unrivalled
display completed the victory. It was then that the Japanese craze took
firm hold of us. Books on Japan rapidly multiplied, especially books on
decorative art; but it was found that such rare art could be properly
represented only in the most costly fashion, and with plates of marvellous
elaboration. What the Japanese were able to do with their primitive
methods of block‐printing and a few colors, required the highest genius of
our artists and chromo‐lithographers; and even then the subtile spirit
which the artist sought for could not be caught.

The more intelligent  among our  collectors soon recognized that the
objects from Japan divided themselves into two groups,—the one represented
by a few objects having   great intrinsic merit, with a refinement and
reserve of decoration;  the other group, characterized by a more florid
display and less delicacy of  treatment,  forming   by  far  the  larger
number,   consisting chiefly of forms in pottery, porcelain, lacquer and
metal work. These last were made by the Japanese expressly for the foreign
market, many of them having no place in their economy, and with few
exceptions being altogether too gaudy and violent to suit the Japanese
taste.    Our country became flooded with them; even the village grocery
displayed them side by side with articles manufactured  at home   for  the
same  class of  customers,  and equally out of place in the greater marts
of the country.    To us, however, these objects were always pretty, and
were moreover so much cheaper, with all their high duties and importer’s
profits, than the stuff to which we had been accustomed, that they helped
us out amazingly  at  every recurring  Christmas. Of the better class of
objects, nearly all of them were originally intended either for personal
use or adornment,—such as clasps, little  ivory carvings, sectional
lacquer‐boxes, fans,   etc.; or mere objects of household use, such as
hanging flower‐holders, bronze   and pottery   vases,   incense  burners,
lacquer   cabinets, dishes, etc.

Naturally great curiosity was awakened to know more about the social life
of this remarkable people; and particularly was it desirable to know the
nature of the house that sheltered such singular and beautiful works of
art. In response to the popular demand, book after book appeared; but with
some noteworth exceptions they repeated the same information, usually
prefaced by an account of the more than special privileges accorded to
their authors by the Japanese government, followed by history of the
Japanese empire from its first emperor down the present time,—apparently
concise enough, but interminable with its mythologies, wars, decays,
restorations, etc. Then we had the record of an itinerary of a few weeks
at some treaty port, or of a brief sojourn in the country, where, to
illustrate the bravery of the author, imaginary dangers were conjured up;
a wild guess at the ethnical enigma, erroneous conceptions of Japanese
character and customs,—the whole illustrated by sketches derived from
previous works on the same subject, or from Japanese sources, often
without due credit being given; and finally we were given a forecast of
the future of Japan, with an account of the progress its public were
making in adopting outside customs, with no warning of the acts of _hara‐
kiri_ their arts would be compelled to perform in the presence of so many
influences alien to their nature. As an illustration of this, could the
force of absurdity go further than the attempt to introduce the Italian
school of painting,—and this in the land of a Kano; or the melancholy act
of a foreign employé of one of the colleges in Tokio, in inducing or
compelling all its pupils to wear hot woollen Scotch caps,—converting a
lot of handsome dark‐haired boys, with graceful and picturesque dress,
into a mob of ridiculous monkeys?

In these books on Japan we look in vain for any but the most general
description of what a Japanese home really is; even Rein’s work, so
apparently monographic, dismisses the house and garden in a few pages.(2)
The present work is an attempt to fill this deficiency, by describing not
only the variety of dwellings seen in Japan, but by specializing more in
detail the variety of structure seen within the building.

In the following pages occasion has often led to criticism and comparison.
Aside from any question of justice, it would seem as if criticism, to be
of any value, should be comparative; that is to say, in any running
commentary on Japanese ways and conditions the parallel ways and
conditions of one’s own people should be as frankly pointed out, or at
least recognized. When one enters your city,—which is fairly clean and
tidy—complains of its filthy streets, the assumption is that the streets
of his own city are clean; and when these are found to dirty beyond
measure, the value of the complaint or criticism is at once lost, and the
author immediately set down as a wilful maligner. Either we should follow
the dictum of the great moral Teacher, and hesitate to behold the mote in
others’ eyes or else in so doing we should consider the beam in our own.

This duty, however, even to  fair  and unprejudiced  minds, becomes a
matter of great difficulty.    It is extraordinary how blind one may be to
the faults and crimes of his own people, and how reluctant to admit them.
We sing heroic soldier‐songs with energy and enthusiasm, and are amazed to
find numbers in   a   Japanese  audience  disapproving,  because   of
the bloody deeds celebrated in such an exultant way.    We read daily our
papers the details of the most blood‐curdling crimes, and often of the
most abhorrent and unnatural ones;  and yet we make no special reflections
on the conditions of society where such things are possible, or put
ourselves much out of the way to arouse the people to a due sense of the
degradation and stain on the community at large because of  such things.
But we go to another country and perhaps find a new species of vice;  its
novelty at once arrests our attention, and forthwith we howl at the
enormity of the crime and the degradation of the nation in which such a
crime  could  originate,  send home  the most exaggerated accounts, malign
the people without stint, and then prate to them about Christian charity!

In the study of another people one should if possible look through
colorless glasses; though if one is to err in this respect, it were better
that his spectacles should be rose‐colored than grimed with the smoke of
prejudice. The student of Ethnology as a matter of policy, if he can put
himself in no more generous attitude, had better err in looking kindly and
favorably at a people whose habits and customs he is about to study. It is
human nature the world over to resist adverse criticism; and when one is
prowling about with his eyes darkened by the opaquest of uncorrected
provincial glasses, he is repelled on all sides; nothing is accessible to
him; he can rarely get more than a superficial glance at matters. Whereas,
if he tries honestly to seek out the better attributes of a people, he is
only too welcome to proceed with any investigation he wishes to make; even
customs and ways that appear offensive are freely revealed to him, knowing
that he will not wilfully distort and render more painful what is at the
outset admitted on all hands to be bad.

We repeat that such investigation must be approached in a spirit of
sympathy, otherwise much is lost or misunderstood. This is not only true
as to social customs, but also as to studies in other lines of research as
well. Professor Fenollosa, the greatest authority on Japanese pictorial
art, says most truthfully that “it is not enough to approach these
delicate children of the spirit with the eye of mere curiosity, or the
cold rigid standard of an alien school. One’s heart must be large enough
to learn to love, as the Japanese artist loves, before the veil can be
lifted to the full splendor of their hidden beauties.”

In this spirit I have endeavored to give an account of Japanese homes and
their surroundings. I might have dealt only with the huts of the poorest,
with the squalor of their inmates, and given a meagre picture of Japanese
life; or a study might have been made of the homes of the wealthy
exclusively, which would have been equally one‐sided. It seemed to me,
however, that a description of the homes of the middle classes, with
occasional reference to those of the higher and lower types, would perhaps
give a fairer picture of the character and structure of Japanese homes and
houses, than had I pursued either of the other courses. I may have erred
in looking through spectacles tinted with rose; but if so, I have no
apology to make. Living for some time among a people with whom I have had
only the most friendly relations, and to whom I still owe a thousand debts
of gratitude, it would be only a contemptible and jaundiced temperament
that could under such circumstances write otherwise than kindly, or fail
to make generous allowance for what appear to others as grave faults and

In regard to Japanese houses, there are many features not to my liking;
and in the ordinary language of travellers I might speak of these houses
as huts and hovels, cold and cheerless, etc., and give such a generic
description of them as would include under one category all the houses on
the Pacific coast from Kamtchatka to Java. Faults these houses have; and
in criticising them I have endeavored to make my reflections comparative;
and I have held up for comparison much that is objectionable in our own
houses, as well as the work done by our own artisans. But judging from the
rage and disgust expressed in certain English publications, where one
writer speaks of “much of the work for wage as positively despicable,” and
another of the miseries entailed by the unscientific builder, my
comparison may legitimately extend to England also.(3)

In the present volume the attempt has been made to describe the Japanese
house and its immediate surroundings in general and in detail. No one
realizes better than the author the meagreness in certain portions of this
work. It is believed, however, that with the many illustrations, and the
classification of the subject‐matter, much will be made clear that before
was vague. The figures are in every case fac‐similes by one of the relief
processes of the author’s pen‐and‐ink drawings, and with few exceptions
are from his own sketches made on the spot; so that whatever they lack in
artistic merit, they make up in being more or less accurate drawings of
the objects and features depicted. The material has been gleaned from an
illustrated daily journal, kept by the author during three successive
residences in that delightful country, embracing travels by land from the
northwest coast of Yezo to the southernmost parts of Satsuma.

The openness and accessibility of the Japanese house are a distinguishing
feature of Japan; and no foreigner visits that country without bringing
away delightful memories of the peculiarly characteristic dwellings of the
Japanese. On the occasion of the author’s last visit to Japan he also
visited China, Anam, Singapore, and Java, and made studies of the houses
of these various countries, with special reference to the Japanese house
and its possible affinities elsewhere.


                                THE HOUSE.

A BIRD’S‐EYE view of a large city in Japan presents an appearance quite
unlike that presented by any large assemblage of buildings at home. A view
of Tokio, for example, from some elevated point reveals a vast sea of
roofs,—the gray of the shingles and dark slate‐color of the tiles, with
dull reflections from their surfaces, giving a sombre effect to the whole.
The even expanse is broken here and there by the fire‐proof buildings,
with their ponderous tiled roofs and ridges and pure white or jet‐black
walls. These, though in color adding to the sombre appearance, form, with
the exception of the temples, one of the most conspicuous features in the
general monotony. The temples are indeed conspicuous, as they tower far
above the pigmy dwellings which surround them. Their great black roofs,
with massive ridges and ribs, and grand sweeps and white or red gables,
render them striking objects from whatever point they are viewed. Green
masses of tree‐foliage springing from the numerous gardens add some life
to this gray sea of domiciles.

It is a curious sight to look over a vast city of nearly a million
inhabitants, and detect no chimney with its home‐like streak of blue
smoke. There is of course no church spire, with its usual architectural
inanities. With the absence of chimneys and the almost universal use of
charcoal for heating purposes, the cities have an atmosphere of remarkable
clearness and purity; so clear, indeed, is the atmosphere that one may
look over the city and see distinctly revealed the minuter details of the
landscape beyond. The great sun‐obscuring canopy of smoke and fumes that
forever shroud some of our great cities is a feature happily unknown in

Having got such a bird’s‐eye view of one city, we have seen them all,—the
minor variations consisting, for the most part, in the inequalities of the
sites upon which they rest. A view of Kioto, for example, as seen from
some high point, is remarkably beautiful and varied, as the houses creep
out between the hills that hem it in. In Nagasaki the houses literally
rise in tiers from the water’s edge to the hills immediately back, there
to become blended with the city of the dead which caps their summits. A
view of Nagasaki from the harbor is one of surpassing interest and beauty.
Other large cities, such as Sendai, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagoya present
the same uniform level of roofs.

The compact way in which in the cities and towns the houses are crowded
together, barely separated by the narrow streets and lanes which cross
like threads in every direction, and the peculiarly inflammable material
of which most of the buildings are composed, explain the lightning‐like
rapidity with which a conflagration spreads when once fairly under way.

In the smaller villages the houses are stretched along the sides of a
   single road, nearly all being arranged in this way, [Fig. 1.—View in
      Tokio, showing shops and houses. (Copied from a Photograph).]

     Fig. 1.—View in Tokio, showing shops and houses. (Copied from a

   [Fig. 2.—View in Tokio, showing temples and gardens. (Copied from a

    Fig. 2.—View in Tokio, showing temples and gardens. (Copied from a

sometimes extending for a mile or more. Rarely ever does one see a cross
street or lane, or evidences of compactness, save that near the centre of
this long street the houses and shops often abut, while those at the end
of the streets have ample space between them. Some villages, which from
their situation have no chance of expanding, become densely crowded: such
for example is the case of Enoshima, near Yokohama, wherein the main
street runs directly from the shore, by means of a series of steps at
intervals, to a flight of stone steps, which lead to the temples and
shrines at the summit of the island. This street is flanked on both sides
by hills; and the ravine, of which the street forms the central axis, is
densely crowded with houses, the narrowest of alley‐ways leading to the
houses in the rear. A fire once started would inevitably result in the
destruction of every house in the village.

It is a curious fact that one may ride long distances in the country
without passing a single dwelling, and then abruptly enter a village. The
entrance to a village is often marked by a high mound of earth on each
side of the road, generally surmounted by a tree; or perhaps the evidences
of an old barrier are seen in the remains of gate‐posts or a stone‐wall.
Having passed through the village one enters the country again, with its
rice‐fields and cultivated tracts, as abruptly as he had left it. The
villages vary greatly in their appearance: some are extremely trim and
pretty, with neat flower‐plats in front of the houses, and an air of taste
and comfort everywhere apparent; other villages present marked evidences
of poverty, squalid houses with dirty children swarming about them.
Indeed, the most striking contrasts are seen between the various villages
one passes through in a long overland trip in Japan.

It is difficult to imagine a more dreary and dismal sight than the
appearance of some of these village streets on a rainy night. No brightly‐
lighted window cheers the traveller; only lines of light glimmer through
the chinks of the wooden shutters with which every house is closed at
night. On pleasant evenings when the paper screens alone are closed, a
ride through a village street is often rendered highly amusing by the
grotesque shadow‐pictures which the inmates are unconsciously projecting
in their movements to and fro.

          [Fig. 3.—View of Enoshima (Copied from a Photograph).]

           Fig. 3.—View of Enoshima (Copied from a Photograph).

In the cities the quarters for the wealthier classes are not so sharply
defined as with us, though the love for pleasant outlooks and beautiful
scenery tends to enhance the value of certain districts, and consequently
to bring together the wealthier classes. In nearly all the cities,
however, you will find the houses of the wealthy in the immediate vicinity
of the habitations of the poorest. In Tokio one may find streets, or
narrow alleys, lined with a continuous row of the cheapest shelters; and
here dwell the poorest people. Though squalid and dirty as such places
appear to the Japanese, they are immaculate in comparison with the
unutterable filth and misery of similar quarters in nearly all the great
cities of Christendom. Certainly a rich man in Japan would not, as a
general thing, buy up the land about his house to keep the poorer classes
at a distance, for the reason that their presence would not be
objectionable, since poverty in Japan is not associated with the
impossible manners of a similar class at home.

Before proceeding with a special description of Japanese homes, a general
description of the house may render the chapters that are to follow a
little more intelligible.

The first sight of a Japanese house,—that is, a house of the people,—is
certainly disappointing. From the infinite variety and charming character
of their various works of art, as we had seen them at home, we were
anticipating new delights and surprises in the character of the house; nor
were we on more intimate acquaintance to be disappointed. As an American
familiar with houses of certain types, with conditions among them
signifying poverty and shiftlessness, and other conditions signifying
refinement and wealth, I was not competent to judge the relative merits of
a Japanese house.

The first sight, then, of a Japanese house is disappointing; it is
unsubstantial in appearance, and there is a meagreness of color. Being
unpainted, it suggests poverty; and this absence of paint, with the gray
and often rain‐stained color of the boards, leads one to compare it with
similar unpainted buildings at home,—and these are usually barns and sheds
in the country, and the houses of the poorer people in the city. With
one’s eye accustomed to the bright contrasts of American houses with their
white, or light, painted surfaces; rectangular windows, black from the
shadows within, with glints of light reflected from the glass; front door
with its pretentious steps and portico; warm red chimneys surmounting all,
and a general trimness of appearance outside, which is by no means always
correlated with like conditions within,—one is too apt at the outset to
form a low estimate of a Japanese house. An American finds it difficult
indeed to consider such a structure as a dwelling, when so many features
are absent that go to make up a dwelling at home,—no doors or windows such
as he had been familiar with; no attic or cellar; no chimneys, and within
no fire‐place, and of course no customary mantle; no permanently enclosed
rooms; and as for furniture, no beds or tables, chairs or similar
articles,—at least, so it appears at first sight.

One of the chief points of difference in a Japanese house as compared with
ours lies in the treatment of partitions and outside walls. In our houses
these are solid and permanent; and when the frame is built, the partitions
form part of the framework. In the Japanese house, on the contrary, there
are two or more sides that have no permanent walls. Within, also, there
are but few partitions which have similar stability; in their stead are
slight sliding screens which run in appropriate grooves in the floor and
overhead. These grooves mark the limit of each room. The screens may be
opened by sliding them back, or they may be entirely removed, thus
throwing a number of rooms into one great apartment. In the same way the
whole side of a house may be flung open to sunlight and air. For
communication between the rooms, therefore, swinging doors are not
necessary. As a substitute for windows, the outside screens, or _shōji,_
are covered with white paper, allowing the light to be diffused through
the house.

Where external walls appear they are of wood unpainted, or painted black;
and if of plaster, white or dark slate colored. In certain classes of
buildings the outside wall, to a height of several feet from the ground,
and sometimes even the entire wall, may be tiled, the interspaces being
pointed with white plaster. The roof may be either lightly shingled,
heavily tiled, or thickly thatched. It has a moderate pitch, and as a
general thing the slope is not so steep as in our roofs. Nearly all the
houses have a verandah, which is protected by the widely‐overhanging eaves
of the roof, or by a light supplementary roof projecting from beneath the

While most houses of the better class have a definite porch and vestibule,
or _genka,_ in houses of the poorer class this entrance is not separate
from the living room; and since the interior of the house is accessible
from two or three sides, one may enter it from any point. The floor is
raised a foot and a half or more from the ground, and is covered with
thick straw mats, rectangular in shape, of uniform size, with sharp square
edges, and so closely fitted that the floor upon which they rest is
completely hidden. The rooms are either square or rectangular, and are
made with absolute reference to the number of mats they are to contain.
With the exception of the guest‐room few rooms have projections or bays.
In the guest‐room there is at one side a more or less deep recess divided
into two bays by a slight partition; the one nearest the verandah is
called the _tokonoma._ In this place hang one or more pictures, and upon
its floor, which is slightly raised above the mats, rests a flower vase,
incense burner, or some other object. The companion bay has shelves and a
low closet. Other rooms also may have recesses to accommodate a case of
drawers or shelves. Where closets and cupboards occur, they are finished
with sliding screens instead of swinging doors. In tea‐houses of two
stories the stairs, which often ascend from the vicinity of the kitchen,
have beneath them a closet; and this is usually closed by a swinging door.

The privy is at one corner of the house, at the end of the verandah;
sometimes there are two at diagonal corners of the house. In the poorer
class of country houses the privy is an isolated building with low
swinging door, the upper half of the door‐space being open.

In city houses the kitchen is at one side or corner of the house;
generally in an L, covered with a pent roof. This apartment is often
towards the street, its yard separated from other areas by a high fence.
In the country the kitchen is nearly always under the main roof. In the
city few out‐buildings such as sheds and barns are seen. Accompanying the
houses of the better class are solid, thick‐walled, one or two storied,
fire‐proof buildings called _kura,_ in which the goods and chattels are
stored away at the time of a conflagration. These buildings, which are
known to the foreigners as “godowns,” have one or two small windows and
one door, closed by thick and ponderous shutters. Such a building usually
stands isolated from the dwelling, though often in juxtaposition; and
sometimes, though rarely, it is used as a domicile.

In the gardens of the better classes summer‐houses and shelters of rustic
appearance and diminutive proportions are often seen. Rustic arbors are
also to be seen in the larger gardens. Specially constructed houses of
quaint design and small size are not uncommon; in these the ceremonial
tea‐parties take place. High fences, either of board or bamboo, or solid
walls of mud or tile with stone foundations, surround the house or enclose
it from the street. Low rustic fences border the gardens in the suburbs.
Gateways of various styles, some of imposing design, form the entrances;
as a general thing they are either rustic and light, or formal and

Whatever is commonplace in the appearance of the house is towards the
street, while the artistic and picturesque face is turned towards the
garden, which may be at one side or in the rear of the house,—usually in
the rear. Within these plain and unpretentious houses there are often to
be seen marvels of exquisite carving, and the perfection of cabinet work;
and surprise follows surprise, as one becomes more fully acquainted with
the interior finish of these curious and remarkable dwellings.

In the sections which are to follow, an attempt will be made by
description and sketches to convey some idea of the details connected with
the structure and inside finish of the Japanese house.

There is no object in Japan that seems to excite more diverse and adverse
criticism among foreigners than does the Japanese house; it is a constant
source of perplexity and annoyance to most of them. An Englishman
particularly, whom Emerson says he finds “to be him of all men who stands
firmest in his shoes,” recognizes but little merit in the apparently frail
and perishable nature of these structures. He naturally dislikes the
anomaly of a house of the lightest description oftentimes sustaining a
roof of the most ponderous character, and fairly loathes a structure that
has no king‐post, or at least a queen‐post, truss; while the glaring
absurdity of a house that persists in remaining upright without a
foundation, or at least without his kind of a foundation, makes him
furious. The mistake made by most writers in criticising Japanese house‐
structure, and indeed many other matters connected with that country, is
that these writers do not regard such matters from a Japanese stand‐point.
They do not consider that the nation is poor, and that the masses are in
poverty; nor do they consider that for this reason a Japanese builds such
a house as he can afford, and one that after all is as thoroughly adapted
to his habits and wants as ours is to our habits and wants.

The observation of a Japanese has shown him that from generation to
generation the houses of his people have managed to sustain themselves;
and if in his travels abroad he has chanced to visit England, he will
probably recall the fact that he saw more dilapidated tenements, tumble‐
down shanties, broken‐backed farm‐houses, cracked walls, and toppling
fences in a single day in that virtuous country where there are no
typhoons or earthquakes, than he would see in a year’s travel in his own

When one of these foreign critical writers contemplates the framework of a
Japanese house, and particularly the cross‐beams of the roof, and finds no
attempt at trussing and bracing, he is seized with an eager desire to go
among these people as a missionary of trusses and braces,—it is so obvious
that much wood might be saved! In regard to the Japanese house‐frame,
however, it is probable that the extra labor of constructing braces and
trusses would not compensate for the difference saved in the wood.

Rein, in his really admirable book on Japan, says “the Japanese house
lacks chiefly solidity and comfort.” If he means comfort for himself and
his people, one can understand him; if he means comfort for the Japanese,
then he has not the faintest conception of the solid comfort a Japanese
gets out of his house. Rein also complains of the evil odors of the closet
arrangements, though his complaints refer more particularly to the crowded
inns, which are often in an exceedingly filthy condition as regards these
necessary conveniences,—and one is led to inquire what the Japanese would
think of similar features in Germany, where in the larger cities the
closet may be seen opening directly into the front hall, and in some cases
even from the dining‐room! Bad as some of these conditions are in Japan,
they are mild in comparison with like features in Germany. The filthy
state of the larger cities, in this respect, may be indicated by the fact
that the death‐rate of Munich a few years ago was forty‐four, and Kaulbach
died of cholera in that city in mid‐winter! Indeed, the presence of
certain features in every bed‐chamber at home and abroad are looked upon
as surpassingly filthy by every Japanese,—as they truly are.

Rein and other writers speak of the want of privacy in Japanese dwellings,
forgetting that privacy is only necessary in the midst of vulgar and
impertinent people,—a class of which Japan has the minimum, and the so‐
called civilized races—the English and American particularly—have the

For my part, I find much to admire in a Japanese house, and some things
not to my comfort. The sitting posture on the floor is painful until one
gets accustomed to it; and, naturally, I find that our chairs are painful
to the Japanese, until they become accustomed to them. I found the
Japanese house in winter extremely cold and uncomfortable; but I question
whether their cold rooms in winter are not more conducive to health than
are our apartments with our blistering stoves, hot furnaces or steam‐
heaters; and as to the odors arising from the closet in certain country
inns, who does not recall similar offensive features in many of our
country inns at home, with the addition of slovenly yards and reeking
piggeries? I question, too, whether these odors are more injurious to the
health than is the stifling air from a damp and noisome cellar, which not
only filters through our floors, but is often served to us hot through
scorching furnaces. Whittier’s description of the country house,—

    The best room
    Stifling with cellar‐damp, shut from the air
    In hot midsummer,—

is only too true of many of our American houses both in the country and

Whether the Japanese house is right or wrong in its plan and construction,
it answers admirably the purposes for which it was intended. A fire‐proof
building is certainly beyond the means of a majority of this people, as,
indeed, it is with us; and not being able to build such a dwelling, they
have from necessity gone to the other extreme, and built a house whose
very structure enables it to be rapidly demolished in the path of a
conflagration. Mats, screen‐partitions, and even the board ceilings can be
quickly packed up and carried away. The roof is rapidly denuded of its
tiles and boards, and the skeleton framework left makes but slow fuel for
the flames. The efforts of the firemen in checking the progress of a
conflagration consist mainly in tearing down these adjustable structures;
and in this connection it may be interesting to record the curious fact
that oftentimes at a fire the streams are turned, not upon the flames, but
upon the men engaged in tearing down the building!

The improvements, however, that are imperatively demanded in Japanese
house‐structure are such modifications as shall render the building less
inflammable. While these inflammable houses may be well enough in the
suburbs or in country villages, they are certainly quite out of place in
cities; and here, indeed, the authorities are justified in imposing such
restrictions as shall not bear too heavily upon the people.

The Japanese should clearly understand that insuperable difficulties are
to be encountered in any attempt to modify their style of dwellings, and
that many of such proposed modifications are neither judicious nor
desirable. That slight changes for safety may be effected, however, there
can be no doubt. Through the agency of science, means may be found by
which outside woodwork may be rendered less inflammable,—either by fire‐
proof paint or other devices.

The mean path of Tokio conflagrations has been ingeniously worked out by
Professor Yamakawa, from data extending back two hundred years; and in
this path certain areas might be left open with advantage. Fire‐proof
blocks in foreign style, such as now exist on the Ginza, may be ultimately
constructed in this path. Since the last great conflagration, the Tokio
authorities have specified certain districts within which shingled roofs
shall not be made; and where such roofs existed, the authorities have
compelled the substitution of tin, zinc, or tiled roofs. Above all, let
there be a reorganization, under Government, of the present corrupt fire‐
brigades. Such changes will certainly lead to good results; but as to
altering the present plan of house‐building and present modes of living,
it is not only impracticable but well‐nigh impossible. If such changes are
effected, then will perish many of the best features of true Japanese art,
which has been the surprise and admiration of Western nations, and of
which in the past they have been the unwitting cause of the modification
and degradation it has already undergone.

                         [Fig. 4.—Side Framing.]

                          Fig. 4.—Side Framing.

The frame‐work of an ordinary Japanese dwelling is simple and primitive in
structure; it consists of a number of upright beams which run from the
ground to the transverse beams and inclines of the roof above. The
vertical framing is held together either by short strips which are let in
to appropriate notches in the uprights to which the bamboo lathing is
fixed, or by longer strips of wood which pass through mortises in the
uprights and are firmly keyed or pinned into place (_fig. 4_). In larger
houses these uprights are held in position by a frame‐work near the
ground. There is no cellar or excavation beneath the house, nor is there a
continuous stone foundation as with us. The uprights rest directly, and
without attachment, upon single uncut or rough‐hewn stones, these in turn
resting upon others which have been solidly pounded into the earth by
means of a huge wooden maul worked by a number of men (_fig. 5_). In this
way the house is perched upon these stones, with the floor elevated at
least a foot and a half or two feet above the ground. In some cases the
space between the uprights is boarded up; this is generally seen in Kioto
houses. In others the wind has free play beneath; and while this exposed
condition renders the house much colder and more uncomfortable in winter,
the inmates are never troubled by the noisome air of the cellar, which, as
we have said, too often infects our houses at home. Closed wooden fences
of a more solid character are elevated in this way; that is, the lower
rail or sill of the fence rests directly upon stones placed at intervals
apart of six or eight feet. The ravages of numerous ground‐insects, as
well as larvae, and the excessive dampness of the ground at certain
seasons of the year, render this method of building a necessity.

                [Fig 5.—Pounding Down Foundation Stones.]

                 Fig 5.—Pounding Down Foundation Stones.

The accurate way in which the base of the uprights is wrought to fit the
inequalities of the stones upon which they rest, is worthy of notice. In
the Emperor’s garden we saw a two‐storied house finished in the most
simple and exquisite manner. It was, indeed, like a beautiful cabinet,
though disfigured by a bright‐colored foreign carpet on its lower floor.
The uprights of this structure rested on large oval beach‐worn stones
buried endwise in the ground; and upon the smooth rounded portions of the
stones, which projected above the level of the ground to a height of ten
inches or more, the uprights had been most accurately fitted (_fig. 6_).
The effect was extremely light and buoyant, though apparently insecure to
the last degree; yet this building had not only withstood a number of
earthquake shocks, but also the strain of severe typhoons, which during
the summer months sweep over Japan with such violence. If the building be
very small, then the frame consists of four corner‐posts running to the
roof. In dwellings having a frontage of two or more rooms, other uprights
occur between the corner‐posts. As the rooms increase in number through
the house, uprights come in the corners of the rooms, against which the
sliding‐screens, or _fusuma,_ abut. The passage of these uprights through
the room to the roof above gives a solid constructive appearance to the
house. When a house has a verandah,—and nearly every house possesses this
feature on one or more of its sides,—another row of uprights starts in a
line with the outer edge of the verandah. Unless the verandah be very
long, an upright at each end is sufficient to support the supplementary
roof which shelters it. These uprights support a crossbeam, upon which the
slight rafters of the supplementary roof rest.

                       [Fig. 6.—Foundation Stones.]

                        Fig. 6.—Foundation Stones.

                      [Fig. 7.—Section of Framing.]

                       Fig. 7.—Section of Framing.

                            [Fig. 8.—Framing.]

                             Fig. 8.—Framing.

This cross‐beam is often a straight unhewn stick of timber from which the
bark has been removed (_fig. 49_). Indeed, most of the horizontal framing‐
timbers, as well as the rafters, are usually unhewn,—the rafters often
having the bark on, or perhaps being accurately squared sticks; but in
either case they are always visible as they project from the sides of the
house, and run out to support the overhanging eaves. The larger beams and
girders are but slightly hewn; and it is not unusual to see irregular‐
shaped beams worked into the construction of a frame, often for their
quaint effects (_fig. 7_), and in many cases as a matter of economy (fig.

                 [Fig. 9.—End‐framing of Large Building.]

                  Fig. 9.—End‐framing of Large Building.

For a narrow house, if the roof be a gable, a central upright at each end
of the building gives support to the ridge‐pole from which the rafters run
to the eaves (_fig. 8_). If the building be wide, a transverse beam
traverses the end of the building on a level with the eaves, supported at
intervals by uprights from the ground; and upon this short uprights rest,
supporting another transverse beam above, and often three or more tiers
are carried nearly to the ridge. Upon these supports rest the horizontal
beams which run parallel with the ridge‐pole, and which are intended to
give support to the rafters (_fig. 9_).

In the case of a wide gable‐roof there are many ways to support the frame,
one of which is illustrated in the following outline (_fig. 10_). Here a
stout stick of timber runs from one end of the house to the other on a
vertical line with the ridge‐pole, and on a level with the eaves. This
stick is always crowning, in order to give additional strength. A few
thick uprights start from this to support the ridge‐pole above; from these
uprights beams run to the eaves; these are mortised into the uprights, but
at different levels on either side in order not to weaken the uprights by
the mortises. From these beams run short supports to the horizontal
rafters above.

                 [Fig 10.—Roof‐frame of Large Building.]

                  Fig 10.—Roof‐frame of Large Building.

The roof, if it be of tile or thatch, represents a massive weight,—the
tiles being thick and quite heavy, and always bedded in a thick layer of
mud. The thatch, though not so heavy, often becomes so after a long rain.
The roof‐framing consequently has oftentimes to support a great weight;
and though in its structure looking weak, or at least primitive in design,
yet experience must have taught the Japanese carpenter that their methods
were not only the simplest and most economical, but that they answered all
requirements. One is amazed to see how many firemen can gather upon such a
roof without its yielding. I have seen massive house‐roofs over two
hundred years old, and other frame structures of a larger size and of far
greater age, which presented no visible signs of weakness. Indeed, it is a
very unusual sight to see a broken‐backed roof in Japan.

The beams that support the roofs of the fire‐proof buildings, or _kura,_
are usually rough‐hewn and of ponderous dimensions. It would seem that
here, at least, the foreign method of trussing might be an economy of
material, besides giving much greater strength; and yet the expense of
reducing these beams to proper dimensions, in the absence of saw‐mills and
other labor‐saving machinery, with the added expense of iron rods, bolts,
etc., would more than counterbalance the saving of material (_fig. 11_).
In _Fig. 11_ is shown the universal method of roof support; namely,
horizontal beams resting upon perpendicular walls, these in turn
supporting vertical beams, which again give support to horizontal beams.
That the Japanese have been familiar with the arch is seen in some of
their old stone bridges; but they seem as averse to using this principle
in their house‐architecture as were the Egyptians and Hindus. Fergusson,
in his illustrated Handbook of Architecture, page xxxv, says: “So
convinced were the Egyptians and Greeks of this principle, that they never
used any other construction‐expedient than a perpendicular wall or prop,
supporting a horizontal beam; and half the satisfactory effect of their
buildings arises from their adhering to this simple though expensive mode
of construction. They were perfectly acquainted with the use of the arch
and its properties, but they knew that its employment would introduce
complexity and confusion into their designs, and therefore they wisely
rejected it. Even to the present day the Hindus refuse to use the arch,
though it has long been employed in their country by the Mahometans. As
they quaintly express it, ‘an arch never sleeps;’ and it is true that by
its thrusting and pressure it is always tending to tear a building to
pieces. In spite of all counterpoises, whenever the smallest damage is
done it hastens the ruin of a building which, if more simply constructed,
might last for ages.”

                    [Fig. 11.—Roof‐framing of a Kura.]

                     Fig. 11.—Roof‐framing of a Kura.

When the frame is mortised, the carpenter employs the most elaborate
methods of mortising, of which there are many different formulas; yet I
was informed by an American architect that their ways had no advantage as
regards strength over those employed by our carpenters in doing the same
work. There certainly seems to be much unnecessary work about many of
their framing‐joints. This same gentleman greatly admired the way in which
the Japanese carpenter used the adze, and regretted that more of this kind
of work was not done in America. In scarfing beams a common form of joint
is made, precisely similar to that made by our carpenters (_fig. 4_). This
joint is called a _Samisen tsugi,_ it being similar to the joint in the
handle of a guitar‐like instrument called a _samisen._(4)

           [Fig. 12.—Framing of an Ordinary Two‐stored House.]

            Fig. 12.—Framing of an Ordinary Two‐stored House.

Diagonal bracing in the frame‐work of a building is never seen. Sometimes,
however, the uprights in a weak frame are supported by braces running from
the ground at an acute angle, and held in place by wooden pins (_fig.
13_). Outside diagonal braces are sometimes met with as an ornamental
feature. In the province of Ise one often sees a brace or bracket made out
of an unhewn piece of timber, generally the proximal portion of some big
branch. This is fastened to an upright, and appears to be a brace to hold
up the end of a horizontal beam that projects beyond the eaves. These
braces, however, are not even notched into the upright, but held in place
by square wooden pins, and are of little use as a support for the
building, though answering well to hold fishing‐rods and other long poles,
which find here convenient lodgment (_fig. 14_).

                        [Fig. 13.—Outside Braces.]

                         Fig. 13.—Outside Braces.

In the village of Naruge, in Yamato, I noticed in an old inn a diagonal
brace which made a pleasing ornamental feature to a solid frame‐work, upon
which rested a ponderous supplementary roof, heavily tiled. As the
horizontal beams were supported by uprights beyond the ends of the
brackets, no additional strength was gained by these braces in question,
except as they might prevent fore and aft displacement. They were placed
here solely for their ornamental appearance; or at least that was all the
function they appeared to perform (_fig. 15_).

                        [Fig. 14.—Outside Brace.]

                         Fig. 14.—Outside Brace.

The frame‐work of a building is often revealed in the room in a way that
would delight the heart of an Eastlake. Irregularities in the form of a
stick are not looked upon as a hindrance in the construction of a
building. From the way such crooked beams are brought into use, one is led
to believe that the builder prefers them. The desire for rustic effects
leads to the selection of odd‐shaped timber. _Fig. 7_ represents the end
of a room, wherein is seen a crooked cross‐piece passing through a central
upright, which sustains the ridge‐pole.

In the finish of the rooms great care is shown in the selection and
preparation of the wood. For the better rooms the wood is selected as
follows: First, a stick of timber is sawed (_fig. 16_),—the central piece
_(A)_ being rejected as liable to split. Second, in the round upright post
that in most instances forms the front of the shallow partition that
divides one end of the best room into two bays or recesses, a deep groove
is cut, to admit the edge of the partition (fig. 17). By this treatment
the wood is not so apt to check or split.

                       [Fig. 15.—Ornamental Brace.]

                        Fig. 15.—Ornamental Brace.

Special details of the room will be described in other chapters. It may be
well to state here, however, that in the finish of the interior the
_daiku,_ or carpenter, has finished his work, and a new set of workmen,
the _sashi‐mono‐ya,_ or cabinetmakers, come in,—the rough framing and
similar work being done by the carpenter proper.  Great care is taken to
secure wood that matches in grain and color; and this can be done only by
getting material that has come from the same log. In the lumberyard one
notices boards of uniform lengths tied up in bundles,—in fact tied up in
precisely the same position that the wood occupied in the trunk before it
was sawed into boards (_fig. 18_). So with other wood material,—the pieces
are kept together in the same manner.  One never sees in a lumber‐yard a
promiscuous pile of boards, but each log having been cut into boards is
securely tied without displacement. As the rooms are made in sizes
corresponding to the number of mats they are to contain, the beams,
uprights, rafters, flooring‐boards, boards for the ceiling, and all strips
are got out in sizes to accommodate these various dimensions. The
dimensions of the mats from one end of the Empire to the other are
approximately three feet wide and six feet long; and these are fitted
compactly on the floor. The architect marks on his plan the number of mats
each room is to contain,—this number defining the size of the room; hence
the lumber used must be of definite lengths, and the carpenter is sure to
find these lengths at the lumber‐yard. It follows from this that but
little waste occurs in the construction of a Japanese house. Far different
is it with us in our extravagant and senseless methods of house‐building.
In our country, a man after building a wooden house finds his cellar and
shed choked to repletion with the waste of his new house, and for a year
or more at least has the grim comfort of feeding his fireplaces and
kitchen stove with rough and finished woods which have cost him at the
rate of four to eight cents per square foot!

          [Fig. 16.—Method of Cutting Timber for House‐Finish.]

           Fig. 16.—Method of Cutting Timber for House‐Finish.

            [Fig. 17.—Section of Post Grooved for Partition.]

             Fig. 17.—Section of Post Grooved for Partition.

                       [Fig. 18.—Bundle of Boards.]

                        Fig. 18.—Bundle of Boards.

                      [Fig. 19.—Section of ceiling.]

                       Fig. 19.—Section of ceiling.

The ordinary ceiling in a Japanese house consists of wide thin boards,
with their edges slightly overlapping. These boards at first sight appear
to be supported by narrow strips of wood like slender beams, upon which
the boards rest (_fig. 96_). On reflection, however, it soon becomes
apparent that these diminutive cross‐beams, measuring in section an inch
square or less, are altogether inadequate to support the ceiling, thin and
light as the boards composing it really are. As one examines the ceiling,
he finds no trace of pin or nail, and finally comes to wonder how the
strips and boards are held in place, and why the whole ceiling does not
sag.(5) The explanation is that the strips upon which the boards are to
rest are first stretched across the room at distances apart varying from
ten to eighteen inches. The ends of these strips are supported by a
moulding which is secured to the uprights of the wall. In cheap houses
this moulding in section is angular; notches are cut in the uprights, and
into these notches the sharp edge of the angular moulding rests and is
secured (_fig. 19_). The moulding is cut in this way to economize
material. The strips having been adjusted, they are brought to a uniform
level, but crowning slightly,—that is, the centre is a little higher than
the sides,—and are held in place either by a long board being placed
temporarily beneath them, and propped up from the floor below; or else a
long stick is placed beneath them, which is supported by a stout string
from the rafters above (_fig. 20_). A low staging is then erected on the
floor (the stud of the room rarely being over seven or eight feet); and
the carpenter standing between the cross‐strips, while elevated upon the
staging, adjusts the boards, one after the other, as they are passed up to
him. The first board is placed against the wall, its edge fitting into a
groove in the uprights; the next board is placed with its edge on the
first board, and then nailed from above, with wooden or bamboo pegs, to
the cross‐strips. Thus it is that no nail or peg holes appear in the
ceiling from below. Board after board is thus placed in position, each
board lapping slightly over the one before it, and each in turn being
slightly nailed to the strips. Each board has a deep wide groove ploughed
out near its lapping edge, so that it bends very readily, and is thus
brought down on the strip below. When the boards are carried in this
manner half way across the room, a long, narrow, and thick piece of wood,
say six feet in length, is placed on the last board laid, within an inch
of its free edge and parallel to it. This piece is firmly nailed to the
board upon which it rests, and into the cross‐strips below. To the edge of
this piece two or three long strips of wood are nailed vertically, the
upper ends being nailed to the nearest rafters above. In this way is the
ceiling suspended (_fig. 21_). After this has been done, the remaining
boards of the ceiling are placed in position and secured, one after
another, until the last is reached. To secure the last one in position the
carpenter gets down from his position and adopts other methods. One method
is to place this board on the last one secured and weight it with a few
heavy stones, and then it is moved along from below and placed in
position, where it remains quite as firm as if it had been lightly nailed
(_fig. 22_). In case there is a closet in the room or a recess, the last
board is sawed into two or three lengths, and these are placed in
position, one after another, and nailed from above to the cross‐
strips,—care being taken to have these sections come directly over the
cross‐strips, so that from below the appearance is that of a continuous
board. The sections are so arranged, as to length, that the last piece
comes in the closet; and this may either be weighted with stones or left
out altogether (_fig. 23_)

            [Fig. 20.—Ceiling‐rafters Supported Temporarily.]

             Fig. 20.—Ceiling‐rafters Supported Temporarily.

       [Fig. 21.—Method of Suspending Ceiling as Seen from Above.]

        Fig. 21.—Method of Suspending Ceiling as Seen from Above.

              [Fig. 22.—Ceiling‐Board Weighted with Stones.]

               Fig. 22.—Ceiling‐Board Weighted with Stones.

                   [Fig. 23.—Ceiling‐Board in Closet.]

                    Fig. 23.—Ceiling‐Board in Closet.

We have been thus explicit in describing the ceiling, because so few even
among the Japanese seem to understand precisely the manner in which it is

In long rooms one is oftentimes surprised to see boards of great width
composing the ceiling, and apparently continuous from one end of the room
to the other. What appears to be a single board is in fact composed of a
number of short lengths. The matching of the grain and color is
accomplished by taking two adjacent boards in a bundle of boards, as
previously figured and described, and placing them so that the same ends
come together (_fig. 24_),—care being taken, of course, to have the joints
come directly over the cross‐pieces. The graining of the wood becomes
continuous, each line of the grain and the color being of course
duplicated and matched in the other board. Sometimes a number of lengths
of board may be continued in this way, and yet from below the appearance
is that of a single long piece.

 [Fig. 24.—Method of Removing Boards from a Bundle to Preserve Uniformity
                                of Grain.]

Fig. 24.—Method of Removing Boards from a Bundle to Preserve Uniformity of

The advantage of keeping all the boards of a given log in juxtaposition
will be readily understood. In our country a carpenter has to ransack a
lumber‐yard to find wood of a similar grain and color; and even then he
generally fails to get wood of precisely the same kind.

The permanent partitions within the house are made in various ways. In one
method, bamboo strips of various lengths take the place of laths. Small
bamboos are first nailed in a vertical position to the wooden strips,
which are fastened from one upright to another; narrow strips of bamboo
are then secured across these bamboos by means of coarse cords of straw,
or bark fibre (_fig. 4_). This partition is not unlike our own plaster‐
and‐lath partition. Another kind of partition may be of boards; and
against these small bamboo rods are nailed quite close together, and upon
this the plaster is put. Considerable pains are taken as to the
plastering. The plasterer brings to the house samples of various‐colored
sands and clays, so that one may select from these the color of his wall.
A good coat of plaster comprises three layers. The first layer, called
_shita‐nuri,_ is composed of mud, in which chopped straw is mixed; a
second layer, called _chu‐nuri,_ of rough lime, mixed with mud; the third
layer, called _uwa‐nuri,_ has the colored clay or sand mixed with
lime,—and this last layer is always applied by a skilful workman. Other
methods of treating this surface will be given in the chapter on

Many of the partitions between the rooms consist entirely of light sliding
screens, which will be specially described farther on. Often two or more
sides of the house are composed entirely of these simple and frail
devices. The outside permanent walls of a house, if of wood, are made of
thin boards nailed to the frame horizontally,—as we lay clapboards on our
houses. These may be more firmly held to the house by long strips nailed
against the boards vertically. The boards may also be secured to the house
vertically, and weather‐strips nailed over the seams,—as is commonly the
way with certain of our houses. In the southern provinces a rough house‐
wall is made of wide slabs of bark, placed vertically, and held in place
by thin strips of bamboo nailed cross‐wise. This style is common among the
poorer houses in Japan; and, indeed, in the better class of houses it is
often used as an ornamental feature, placed at the height of a few feet
from the ground.

Outside plastered walls are also very common, though not of a durable
nature. This kind of wall is frequently seen in a dilapidated condition.
In Japanese picture‐books this broken condition is often shown, with the
bamboo slats exposed, as a suggestion of poverty.

In the cities, the outside walls of more durable structures, such as
warehouses, are not infrequently covered with square tiles, a board wall
being first made, to which the tiles are secured by being nailed at their
corners. These may be placed in diagonal or horizontal rows,—in either
case an interspace of a quarter of an inch being left between the tiles,
and the seams closed with white plaster, spreading on each side to the
width of an inch or more, and finished with a rounded surface. This work
is done in a very tasteful and artistic manner, and the effect of the
dark‐gray tiles crossed by these white bars of plaster is very striking
(_fig. 25_).

         [Fig. 25.—Arrangement of Square Tiles on Side of House.]

          Fig. 25.—Arrangement of Square Tiles on Side of House.

As the fire‐proof buildings, or _kura,_ are often used as dwelling—places,
a brief mention of their structure may be proper here. These buildings are
specially designed for fire‐proof storehouses. They are generally two
stories in height, with walls eighteen inches to two feet or more in
thickness, composed of mud plastered on to a frame‐work of great strength
and solidity. The beams are closely notched, and bound with a coarse‐
fibred rope; and small bamboos are closely secured to the beams. Short
coarse‐fibred ropes, a foot in length, are secured in close rows to the
crossbeams and uprights. All these preparations are made for the purpose
of more securely holding the successive layers of mud to be applied. As a
preliminary to this work a huge and ample staging is erected to completely
envelop the building. The staging, indeed, forms a huge cage, and upon
this straw mattings are hung so that the mud plastering shall not dry too
quickly. This cage is sufficiently ample to allow the men to work freely
around and beneath it. Layer after layer is applied, and a long time
elapses between these applications, in order that each layer may dry
properly.  Two years or more are required in the proper construction of
one of these fire‐proof buildings.  The walls having been finished, a coat
of plaster, or a plaster mixed with lamp‐black, is applied, and a fine
polished surface, like black lacquer, is produced. This polished black
surface is made by first rubbing with a cloth, then with silk, and finally
with the hand.

A newly‐finished _kura_ presents a remarkably solid and imposing
appearance. The roofs are of immense thickness, with enormous ridges
ornamented with artistic designs in stucco, and the ridges terminating
with ornamental tiles in high‐relief. The fine polish of these buildings
soon becomes impaired, and they finally assume a dull black or slaty
color; sometimes a coat of white plaster is applied. Upon the outside of
the wall a series of long iron hooks are seen_;_ these are to hold an
adjustable wooden casing which is often used to cover the walls, and thus
to protect them from the eroding action of the elements. These wooden
casings are placed against the buildings, proper openings being left
through which the iron hooks project, and long slender bars of wood
stretch across the wall, held in place by the upturned ends of the iron
hooks, and in turn holding the wooden casing in place.

The windows of the buildings are small, and each is closed either by a
sliding‐door of great thickness and solidity, or by double‐shutters
swinging together. The edges of these shutters have a series of rabbets,
or steps, precisely like those seen in the heavy doors of a bank‐safe. At
the time of a fire, additional precautions are taken by stopping up the
chinks of these closed shutters with mud, which is always at hand, ready
mixed for such an emergency. These buildings, when properly constructed,
seem to answer their purpose admirably; and after a conflagration, when
all the surrounding territory is absolutely flat;—for there are no
tottering chimneys or cavernous cellars and walls to be seen, as with
us,—these black, grimy _kura_ stand conspicuous in the general ruin. They
do not all survive, however, as smoke is often seen issuing from some of
them, indicating that, as in our own country, safes are not always fire‐

A somewhat extended experience with the common everyday carpenter at home
leads me to say, without fear of contradiction, that in matters pertaining
to their craft the Japanese carpenters are superior to American. Not only
do they show their superiority in their work, but in their versatile
ability in making new things. One is amazed to see how patiently a
Japanese carpenter or cabinet‐maker will struggle over plans, not only
drawn in ways new and strange to him, but of objects equally new,—and
struggle successfully. It is a notorious fact that most of the carpenters
in our smaller towns and villages are utterly incompetent to carry out any
special demand made upon them, outside the building of the conventional
two‐storied house and ordinary roof. They stand bewildered in the presence
of a window‐projection or cornice outside the prescribed ruts with which
they and their fathers were familiar. Indeed, in most cases their fathers
were not carpenters, nor will their children be; and herein alone the
Japanese carpenter has an immense advantage over the American, for his
trade, as well as other trades, have been perpetuated through generations
of families. The little children have been brought up amidst the odor of
fragrant shavings,—have with childish hands performed the duties of an
adjustable vise or clamp; and with the same tools which when children they
have handed to their fathers, they have in later days earned their daily

When I see one of our carpenters’ ponderous tool‐chests, made of polished
woods, inlaid with brass decorations, and filled to repletion with several
hundred dollars’ worth of highly polished and elaborate machine‐made
implements, and contemplate the work often done with them,—with everything
binding that should go loose, and everything rattling that should be
tight, and much work that has to be done twice over, with an indication
everywhere of a poverty of ideas,—and then recall the Japanese carpenter
with his ridiculously light and flimsy tool‐box containing a meagre
assortment of rude and primitive tools,—considering the carpentry of the
two people, I am forced to the conviction that civilization and modern
appliances count as nothing unless accompanied with a moiety of brains and
some little taste and wit.

It is a very serious fact that now‐a‐days no one in our country is
acquiring faithfully the carpenter’s trade. Much of this lamentable
condition of things is no doubt due to the fact that machine‐work has
supplanted the hand‐work of former times.(6) Doors, blinds, sashes,
mouldings are now turned out by the cord and mile, and all done in such
greedy haste, and with the greenest of lumber, that if it does not tumble
to pieces in transportation it is sure to do so very soon after entering
into the house‐structure. Nevertheless, the miserable truth yet remains
that any man who has nailed up a few boxes, or stood in front of a
circular saw for a few months, feels competent to exercise all the duties
of that most honorable craft,—the building of a house.(7)

It may be interesting, in this connection, to mention a few of the
principal tools one commonly sees in use among the Japanese carpenters.
After having seen the good and serviceable carpentry, the perfect joints
and complex mortises, done by good Japanese workmen, one is astonished to
find that they do their work without the aid of certain appliances
considered indispensable by similar craftsmen in our country. They have no
bench, no vise, no spirit‐level, and no bit‐stock; and as for labor‐saving
machinery, they have absolutely nothing. With many places which could be
utilized for water‐power, the old country saw‐mill has not occurred to
them.(8) Their tools appear to be roughly made, and of primitive design,
though evidently of the best‐tempered steel. The only substitute for the
carpenter’s bench is a plank on the floor, or on two horses; a square,
firm, upright post is the nearest approach to a bench and vise, for to
this beam a block of wood to be sawed into pieces is firmly held (_fig.
26_). A big wooden wedge is bound firmly to the post with a stout rope,
and this driven down with vigorous blows till it pinches the block which
is to be cut into the desired proportions.

                 [Fig. 26.—A Japanese Carpenter’s Vice.]

                  Fig. 26.—A Japanese Carpenter’s Vice.

In using many of the tools, the Japanese carpenter handles them quite
differently from our workman; for instance, he draws the plane towards him
instead of pushing it from him. The planes are very rude‐looking
implements. Their bodies, instead of being thick blocks of wood, are quite
wide and thin (_fig. 27_, _D, E),_ and the blades are inclined at a
greater angle than the blade in our plane. In some planes, however, the
blade stands vertical; this is used in lieu of the steel scrapers in
giving wood a smooth finish, and might be used with advantage by our
carpenters as a substitute for the piece of glass or thin plate of steel
with which they usually scrape the surface of the wood. A huge plane is
often seen, five or six feet long. This plane, however, is fixed in an
inclined position, upside down; that is, with the blade uppermost. The
board, or piece to be planed, is moved back and forth upon it.

Draw‐shaves are in common use. The saws are of various kinds, with teeth
much longer than those of our saws, and cut in different ways. Some of
these forms reminded me of the teeth seen in certain recently patented
saws in the United States. Some saws have teeth on the back as well as on
the front, one edge being used as a cross‐cut saw (_fig. 27_ _B, C)._ The
hand‐saw, instead of having the curious loop‐shaped handle made to
accommodate only one hand as with us, has a simple straight cylindrical
handle as long as the saw itself, and sometimes longer. Our carpenters
engage one hand in holding the stick to be sawed, while driving the saw
with the other hand; the Japanese carpenter, on the contrary, holds the
piece with his foot, and stooping over, with his two hands drives the saw
by quick and rapid cuts through the wood. This style of working and doing
many other things could never be adopted in this country without an
importation of Japanese backs. It was an extraordinary sight to see the
attitudes these people assumed in doing work of various kinds. A servant
girl, for example, in wiping up the floor or verandah with a wet cloth,
does not get down on her knees to do her work, but bending over while
still on her feet, she pushes the cloth back and forth, and thus in this
trying position performs her task.

               [Fig. 27.—Carpenters’ Tools in Common Use.]

                Fig. 27.—Carpenters’ Tools in Common Use.

The adze is provided with a rough handle bending considerably at the lower
end, not unlike a hockey‐stick (_fig. 27_, _A)._ In summer the carpenters
work with the scantiest clothing possible, and nearly always barefooted.
It is a startling sight to a nervous man to see a carpenter standing on a
stick of timber, hacking away in a furious manner with this crooked‐
handled instrument having an edge as sharp as a razor, and taking off
great chips of the wood within an inch of his naked toes. Never having
ourselves seen a toeless carpenter, or one whose feet showed the slightest
indication of his ever having missed the mark, we regarded as good
evidence of the unerring accuracy with which they use this serviceable

For drilling holes a very long‐handled awl is used. The carpenter seizing
the handle at the end, between the palms of his hands, and moving his
hands rapidly back and forth, pushing down at the same time, the awl is
made rapidly to rotate back and forth; as his hands gradually slip down on
the handle he quickly seizes it at the upper end again, continuing the
motion as before. One is astonished to see how rapidly holes are drilled
in this simple, yet effective way. For large holes, augers similar to ours
are used. Their chisel is also much like ours in shape. For nailing in
places above the easy reach of both hands they use a hammer, one end of
which is prolonged to a point; holding, then, a nail between the thumb and
finger with the hammer grasped in the same hand, a hole is made in the
wood with the pointed end of the hammer, the nail inserted and driven in.

A portable nail‐box is used in the shape of a round basket, to which is
attached a short cord with a button of wood or bamboo at the end; this is
suspended from a sash or cord that encircles the waist (_fig. 28_). The
shingler’s nail‐box has the bottom prolonged and perforated, so that it
may be temporarily nailed to the roof (_fig. 64_).

                    [Fig. 28.—A Japanese Nail‐Basket.]

                     Fig. 28.—A Japanese Nail‐Basket.

There are three implements of the Japanese carpenter which are inseparable
companions; these are the _magari‐gane,_ _sumi‐sashi,_ and _sumi‐tsubo._
The _magari‐gane_ is an iron square rather narrower than our square.  The
_sumi‐sashi_ is a double‐ended brush made out of fibrous wood, rounded at
one end, and having a wide sharp edge at the other (_fig. 29_). The
carpenter always has with him a box containing cotton saturated with ink;
by means of the _sumi‐sashi_ and ink the carpenter can mark characters and
signs with the rounded end, or fine black lines with the sharp edge. One,
advantage  attending this kind of a brush is that the carpenter can make
one at a moment’s notice. The _sumi‐tsubo_(_fig. 30_, _A, B_) is the
substitute for our carpenter’s chalk‐line; it is made of wood, often
curiously wrought, having at one end a cavity scooped out and filled with
cotton saturated with ink, and the other end has a reel with a little
crank. Upon the reel is wound a long cord, the free end of which passes
through the cotton and out through a hole at the end of the instrument. To
the end of the cord is secured an object resembling an awl. To make a line
on a plank or board the awl is driven into the wood, the cord is unreeled,
and in this act it becomes blackened with ink; by snapping the cord in the
usual way, a clear black line is left upon the surface of the wood. It is
then quickly reeled up again by means of a little crank. This instrument
is an improvement in every way over the chalk‐line, as it is more
convenient, and by its use a clear black line is left upon the wood,
instead of the dim chalk‐line which is so easily effaced. This implement
is often used as a plumb‐line by giving a turn to the cord about the
handle, thus holding it firmly, and suspending the instrument by means of
the awl.

           [Fig. 29.—A Carpenter’s Marking‐Brush Made of Wood.]

            Fig. 29.—A Carpenter’s Marking‐Brush Made of Wood.

                        [Fig. 30.—The Sumi‐Tsubo.]

                         Fig. 30.—The Sumi‐Tsubo.

A plumb‐line is made with a strip of wood four or five feet in length, to
each end of which is nailed, at right angles, a strip of wood four or five
inches long, projecting an inch on one side. These two transverse strips
are of exactly the same length, and are so adjusted to the longer strip as
to project the same distance. From the longer arm of one of these pieces
is suspended a cord with a weight at the lower end. In plumbing a wall,
the short ends of the transverse pieces are brought against the wall or
portion to be levelled, and an adjustment is made till the cord just
touches the edge of the lower arm. The accompanying sketch (_fig. 31_)
will make clear the appearance and method of using this simple device.

                   [Fig. 31.—The Japanese Plumb‐Line.]

                    Fig. 31.—The Japanese Plumb‐Line.

In gluing pieces of wood together, more especially veneers, the Japanese
resort to a device which is common with American cabinet‐makers,—of
bringing into play a number of elastic or bamboo rods, one end coming
against a firm ceiling or support, and the other end pressing on the wood
to be united. In polishing and grinding, the same device is used in
getting pressure.

This necessarily brief description is not to be regarded in any way as a
catalogue of Japanese carpenters’ tools, but is intended simply to
describe those more commonly seen as one watches them at their work. The
chief merit of many of these tools is that they can easily be made by the
users; indeed, with the exception of the iron part, every Japanese
carpenter can and often does make his own tools.

       [Fig. 32.—Ancient Carpenter (copied from an old painting).]

        Fig. 32.—Ancient Carpenter (copied from an old painting).

By an examination of old books and pictures one gets an idea of the
antiquity of many objects still in use in Japan. I was shown, at the house
of a Japanese antiquary, a copy of a very old _maki‐mono_ (a long scroll
of paper rolled up like a roll of wall‐paper, on which continuous stories
or historical events are written or painted). This _maki‐mono_ in question
was painted by Takakana, of Kioto, five hundred and seventy years ago, and
represented the building of a temple, from the preliminary exercises to
its completion. One sketch showed the carpenters at work hewing out the
wood and making the frame. There were many men at work; a few were eating
and drinking; tools were lying about. In all the tools represented in the
picture,—of which there were chisels, mallets, hatchets, adzes, squares,
and saws,—there was no plane or long saw. A piece of timber was being cut
longitudinally with a chisel. The square was the same as that in use to‐
day. The tool which seemed to take the place of a plane was similar to a
tool still used by coopers, but I believe by no other class of workmen,
though I remember to have seen a man and a boy engaged in stripping bark
from a long pole with a tool similar to the one seen in the sketch (_fig.

The _sumi‐tsubo_ was much more simple and primitive in form in those
times, judging from the sketch given on page 42 (_fig. 30_, _C)._ A
carpenter’s tool‐box is shown quite as small and light as similar boxes in
use to‐day. To the cover of this box (fig. 32) is attached a curious hand‐
saw with a curved edge. Large saws with curved edges, having handles at
both ends, to be worked by two men, are in common use; but I have never
seen a hand‐saw of this shape. All the saws represented in the picture had
the same curved edge.

Nothing is more to be commended than the strong, durable, and sensible way
in which the Japanese carpenter erects his staging. The various parts of a
staging are never nailed together, as this would not only weaken the
pieces through which spikes and nails have been driven, but gradually
impair its integrity. All the pieces, upright and transverse, are firmly
tied together with tough, strong rope. The rope is wound about, again and
again, in the tightest possible manner. Buddhist temples of lofty
proportions are reared and finished, and yet one never hears of the
frightful accidents that so often occur at home as the results of stagings
giving way in the erection of similar lofty structures. How exceedingly
dull and stupid it must appear to a Japanese carpenter when he learns that
his Christian brother constructs a staging that is liable, sooner or
later, to precipitate him to the ground.


Writers on Japan have often commented upon the absence of any grand or
imposing architectural edifices in that country; and they have offered in
explanation, that in a country shaken by frequent earthquakes no stately
structures or buildings of lofty proportions can endure. Nevertheless,
many such structures do exist, and have existed for centuries,—as witness
the old temples and lofty pagodas, and also the castles of the Daimios,
notably the ones at Kumamoto and Nagoya. If the truth were known, it would
be found that revolution and rebellion have been among the principal
destructive agencies in nearly obliterating whatever may have once existed
of grand architectural structures in Japan.

Aimé Humbert finds much to admire in the castles of the Daimios, and says,
with truth: “In general, richness of detail is less aimed at than the
general effect resulting from the grandeur and harmony of the proportions
of the buildings. In this respect some of the seigniorial residences of
Japan deserve to figure among the architectural monuments of Eastern

In regard to the architecture of Japan, as to other matters, one must put
himself in an attitude of sympathy with her people, or at least he must
become awakened to a sympathetic appreciation of their work and the
conditions under which it has arisen. Above all, he must rid himself of
all preconceived ideas as to what a house should be, and judge the work of
a Japanese builder solely from the Japanese stand‐point. Architectural
edifices, such as we recognize as architectural, do not exist outside her
temples and castles. Some reason for this condition of things may be
looked for in the fact that the vast majority of the Japanese are
poor,—very poor; and further, in the fact that the idea of co‐operative
buildings, with the exception of the Yashiki barracks, has never entered a
Japanese mind,—each family, with few exceptions, managing to have a house
of its own. As a result of this, a vast number of the houses are shelters
merely, and are such from necessity; though even among these poorer
shelters little bits of temple architecture creep in,—quite as scanty,
however, in that respect as are similar features in our two‐storied wooden
boxes at home, which may have a bit of Grecian suggestion in the window
caps, or of Doric in the front door‐posts.

In considering the temples of the Japanese, moreover, one should take into
account their methods of worship, and precisely what use the worshippers
make of these remarkable edifices. And so with intelligent sympathy
finally aroused in all these matters, they begin to wear a new aspect; and
what appeared grotesque and unmeaning before, now becomes full of
significance and beauty. We see that there is something truly majestic in
the appearance of the broad and massive temples, with the grand upward
sweep of their heavily‐tiled roofs and deep‐shaded eaves, with intricate
maze of supports and carvings beneath; the whole sustained on colossal
round posts locked and tied together by equally massive timbers.
Certainly, to a Japanese the effect must be inspiring beyond description;
and the contrast between these structures and the tiny and perishable
dwellings that surround them renders the former all the more grand and
impressive. Foreigners, though familiar with the cathedral architecture of
Europe, must yet see much to admire in these buildings. Even in the
smaller towns and villages, where one might least expect to find such
structures, the traveller sometimes encounters these stately edifices.
Their surroundings are invariably picturesque; no sterile lot, or
worthless sand‐hill outside the village, will suit these simple people,
but the most charming and beautiful place is always selected as a site for
their temples of worship.

Whatever may be said regarding the architecture of Japan, the foreigner,
at least, finds it difficult to recognize any distinct types of
architecture among the houses, or to distinguish any radical differences
in the various kinds of dwellings he sees in his travels through the
country. It may be possible that these exist, for one soon gets to
recognize the differences between the ancient and modern house. There are
also marked differences between the compact house of the merchant in the
city and the country house; but as for special types of architecture that
would parallel the different styles found in our country, there are none.
Everywhere one notices minor details of finish and ornament which he sees
more fully developed in the temple architecture, and which is evidently
derived from this source; and if it can be shown, as it unquestionably
can, that these features were brought into the country by the priests who
brought one of the two great religions, then we can trace many features of
architectural detail to their home, and to the avenues through which they

In connection with the statement just made, that it is difficult to
recognize any special types of architecture in Japanese dwellings, it may
be interesting to mention that we found it impossible to get books in
their language treating of house architecture. Doubtless books of this
nature exist,—indeed, they must exist; but though the writer had a
Japanese bookseller, and a number of intelligent friends among the
Japanese, looking for such books, he never had the good fortune to secure
any. Books in abundance can be got treating of temple architecture, from
the plans of the framing to the completed structure; also of _kura,_ or
go‐downs, gateways, _tori‐i,_ etc. Plans of buildings for their tea‐
ceremonies, and endless designs for the inside finish of a house,—the
recesses, book‐shelves, screens, and indeed all the delicate cabinet‐
work,—are easily obtainable; but a book which shall show the plans and
elevations of the ordinary dwelling the writer has never yet seen. A
number of friends have given him the plans of their houses as made by the
carpenter, but there were no elevations or details of outside finish
represented. It would seem as if, for the ordinary houses at least, it
were only necessary to detail in plan the number and size of the rooms,
leaving the rest of the structure to be completed in any way by the
carpenter, so long as he contrived to keep the rain out.

If there is no attempt at architectural display in the dwelling‐houses of
Japan the traveller is at least spared those miserable experiences he so
often encounters in his own country, where to a few houses of good taste
he is sure to pass hundreds of perforated wooden boxes with angular roofs
and red chimneys unrelieved by a single moulding; and now and then to meet
with one of those cupola‐crowned, broad‐brimmed, corinthian‐columned
abominations, as well as with other forms equally grotesque and equally
offending good taste.

Owing to the former somewhat isolated life of the different provinces, the
style of building in Japan varies considerably; and this is more
particularly marked in the design of the roof and ridge. Though the
Japanese are conservative in many things concerning the house, it is
worthy of note that changes have taken place in the house architecture
within two hundred and fifty years; at all events, houses of the olden
times have much heavier beams in their frame and wider planks in their
structure, than have the houses of more recent times. A probable reason is
that wood was much cheaper in past times; or it is possible that
experience has taught them that sufficiently strong houses can be made
with lighter material.

The Japanese dwellings are always of wood, usually of one story and
unpainted. Rarely does a house strike one as being specially marked or
better looking than its neighbors; more substantial, certainly, some of
them are, and yet there is a sameness about them which becomes wearisome.
Particularly is this the case with the long, uninteresting row of houses
that border a village street; their picturesque roofs alone save them from
becoming monotonous. A closer study, however, reveals some marked
differences between the country and city houses, as well as between those
of different provinces.

The country house, if anything more than a shelter from the elements, is
larger and more substantial than the city house, and with its ponderous
thatched roof and elaborate ridge is always picturesque. One sees much
larger houses in the north,—roofs of grand proportions and an amplitude of
space beneath, that farther south occurs only under the roofs of temples.
We speak now of the houses of the better classes, for the poor farm‐
laborer and fisherman, as well as their prototypes in the city, possess
houses that are little better than shanties, built, as a friend has
forcibly expressed it, of “chips, paper, and straw.” But even these huts,
clustered together as they oftentimes are in the larger cities, are
palatial in contrast to the shattered and filthy condition of a like class
of tenements in many of the cities of Christian countries.

In travelling through the country the absence of a middle class, as
indicated by the dwellings, is painfully apparent. It is true that you
pass, now and then, large comfortable houses with their broad thatched
roofs, showing evidences of wealth and abundance in the numerous _kura_
and outbuildings surrounding them; but where you find one of these you
pass hundreds which are barely more than shelters for their inmates; and
within, the few necessary articles render the evidences of poverty all the
more apparent.

Though the people that inhabit such shelters are very poor, they appear
contented and cheerful notwithstanding their poverty. Other classes, who
though not poverty‐stricken are yet poor in every sense of the word,
occupy dwellings of the simplest character. Many of the dwellings are
often diminutive in size; and as one looks in at a tiny cottage containing
two or three rooms at the most, the entire house hardly bigger than a
good‐sized room at home, and observes a family of three or four persons
living quietly and in a cleanly manner in this limited space, he learns
that in Japan, at least, poverty and constricted quarters are not always
correlated with coarse manners, filth, and crime.

Country and city houses of the better class vary as greatly as with
us,—the one with its ponderous thatched roof and smoke‐blackened interior,
the other with low roof neatly tiled, or shingled, and the perfection of
cleanliness within.

In Tokio, the houses that abut directly on the street have a close and
prison‐like aspect. The walls are composed of boards or plaster, and
perforated with one or two small windows lightly barred with bamboo, or
heavily barred with square wood‐gratings. The entrance to one of these
houses is generally at one corner, or at the side. The back of the house
and one side, at least, have a verandah. I speak now of the better class
of houses in the city, but not of the best houses, which almost invariably
stand back from the street and are surrounded by gardens.

The accompanying sketch (_fig. 33_) represents a group of houses bordering
a street in Kanda Ku, Tokio. The windows are in some cases projecting or
hanging bays, and are barred with bamboo or square bars of wood. A
sliding‐screen covered with stout white paper takes the place of our
glass‐windows. Through these gratings the inmates of the house do their
bargaining with the street venders. The entrance to these houses is
usually by means of a gate common to a number. This entrance consists of a
large gate used for vehicles and heavy loads, and by the side of this is a
smaller gate used by the people. Sometimes the big gate has a large square
opening in it, closed by a sliding‐door or grating,—and through this the
inmates have ingress and egress.

                  [Fig. 33.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.]

                   Fig. 33.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.

The houses, if of wood, are painted black; or else, as is more usually the
case, the wood is left in its natural state, and this gradually turns to a
darker shade by exposure. When painted, a dead black is used; and this
color is certainly agreeable to the eyes, though the heat‐rays caused by
this black surface become almost unendurable on hot days, and must add
greatly to the heat and discomfort within the house. With a plastered
outside wall the surface is often left white, while the frame‐work of the
building is painted black,—and this treatment gives it a decidedly
funereal aspect.

                  [Fig. 34.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.]

                   Fig. 34.—Street in Kanda Ku, Tokio.

In _fig. 34_ two other houses in the same street are shown, one having a
two‐storied addition in the rear. The entrance to this house is by means
of a gate, which in the sketch is open. The farther house has the door on
the street.

It is not often that the streets are bordered by such well‐constructed
ditches on the side, as is represented in the last two figures; in these
cases the ditches are three or four feet wide, with well‐built stone‐walls
and stone or wooden bridges spanning them at the doors and gateways.
Through these ditches the water is running, and though vitiated by the
water from the kitchen and baths is yet sufficiently pure to support quite
a number of creatures, such as snails, frogs, and even fishes. In the
older city dwellings of the poorer classes a number of tenements often
occur in a block, and the entrance is by means of a gateway common to all.

Since the revolution of 1868 there has appeared a new style of building in
Tokio, in which a continuous low of tenements is under one roof, and each
tenement has its own separate entrance directly upon the street. _Fig. 35_
gives a sketch of a row of these tenements. These blocks, nearly always of
one story, are now quite common in various parts of Tokio. In the rear is
provided a small plot for each tenement, which may be used for a garden.
People of small means, but by no means the poorer classes, generally
occupy these dwellings. I was informed by an old resident of Tokio that
only since the revolution have houses been built with their doors or main
entrances opening directly on the street. This form of house is certainly
convenient and economical, and is destined to be a common feature of
house‐building in the future.

              [Fig. 35.—Block of Cheap Tenements in Tokio.]

               Fig. 35.—Block of Cheap Tenements in Tokio.

On the business streets similar rows of buildings are seen, though
generally each shop is an independent building, abutting directly to the
next; and in the case of all the smaller shops, and indeed of many of the
larger ones, the dwelling and shop are one, the goods being displayed in
the room on the street, while the family occupy the back rooms. While one
is bartering at a shop, the whole front being open, he may often catch a
glimpse of the family in the back room at dinner, and may look entirely
through a building to a garden beyond. It is a source of amazement to a
foreigner to find in the rear of a row of dull and sombre business‐houses
independent dwellings, with rooms of exquisite taste and cleanliness. I
remember, in one of the busiest streets of Tokio, passing through a
lithographer’s establishment, with the inky presses and inky workmen in
full activity, and coming upon the choicest of tiny gardens and, after
crossing a miniature foot‐bridge, to a house of rare beauty and finish. It
is customary for the common merchant to live under the same roof with the
shop, or in a closely contiguous building; though in Tokio, more than
elsewhere, I was informed it is the custom among the wealthy merchants to
have their houses in the suburbs of the city, at some distance from their
place of business.

               [Fig. 36.—Street View of Dwelling in Tokio.]

                Fig. 36.—Street View of Dwelling in Tokio.

The sketch shown in _Fig. 36_ is a city house of one of the better
classes. The house stands on a new street, and the lot on one side is
vacant; nevertheless, the house is surrounded on all sides by a high
board‐fence,—since, with the open character of a Japanese house, privacy,
if desired, can be secured only by high fences or thick hedges. The house
is shown as it appears from the street. The front‐door is near the gate,
which is shown on the left of the sketch. There is here no display of an
architectural front; indeed, there is no display anywhere. The largest and
best rooms are in the back of the house; and what might be called a back‐
yard, upon which the kitchen opens, is parallel with the area in front of
the main entrance to the house, and separated from it by a high fence. The
second story contains one room, and this may be regarded as a guest‐
chamber. Access to this chamber is by means of a steep flight of steps,
made out of thick plank, and unguarded by hand‐rail of any kind. The roof
is heavily tiled, while the walls of the house are outwardly composed of
broad thin boards, put on vertically, and having strips of wood to cover
the joints. A back view of this house is shown in _Fig. 37_. Here all the
rooms open directly on the garden. Along the verandah are three rooms _en
suite._ The balcony of the second story is covered by a light
supplementary roof, from which hangs a bamboo screen to shade the room
from the sun’s rays. Similar screens are also seen hanging below.

             [Fig. 37.—View of Dwelling from Garden, Tokio.]

              Fig. 37.—View of Dwelling from Garden, Tokio.

The verandah is quite spacious; and in line with the division between the
rooms is a groove for the adjustment of a wooden screen or shutter when it
is desired to separate the house into two portions temporarily. At the end
of the verandah to the left of the sketch is the latrine. The house is
quite open beneath, and the air has free circulation.

                  [Fig. 38.—Dwelling Near Kudan, Tokio.]

                   Fig. 38.—Dwelling Near Kudan, Tokio.

Another type of a Tokio house is shown in _Fig. 38_. This is a low, one‐
storied house, standing directly upon the street, its tiled roof cut up
into curious gables. The entrance is protected by a barred sliding door. A
large hanging bay‐window is also barred. Just over the fence a bamboo
curtain may be seen, which shades the verandah. The back of the house was
open, and probably looked out on a pretty garden,—though this I did not
see, as this sketch, like many others, was taken somewhat hastily.

From this example some idea may be got of the diminutive character of many
of the Japanese dwellings, in which, nevertheless, families live in all
cleanliness and comfort.

                    [Fig. 39.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.]

                     Fig. 39.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.

In the northern part of Japan houses are often seen which possess features
suggestive of the picturesque architecture of Switzerland,—the gable ends
showing, in their exterior, massive timbers roughly hewn, with all the
irregularities of the tree‐trunk preserved, the interstices between these
beams being filled with clay or plaster. The eaves are widely overhanging,
with projecting rafters. Oftentimes delicately‐carved wood is seen about
the gable‐ends and projecting balcony. As a still further suggestion of
this resemblance, the main roof, if shingled, as well as the roof that
shelters the verandah, is weighted with stones of various sizes to prevent
its being blown away by the high winds that often prevail. This feature is
particularly common in the Island of Yezo.

_Fig. 39_ gives a house of this description near Matsushima, in Rikuzen.
An opening for the egress of smoke occurs on the side of the roof, in
shape not unlike that of a round‐topped dormer window. This opening in
almost every instance is found on the gable end, directly beneath the
angle formed at the peak of the roof.

                    [Fig. 40.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.]

                     Fig. 40.—Country Inn in Rikuzen.

Another house of this kind, seen in the same province, is shown in _fig.
40_.  Here the smoke‐outlet is on the ridge in the shape of an angular
roof, with its ridge running at right angles to the main ridge; in this is
a latticed window. This ventilator, as well as the main roof, is heavily
thatched, while the supplementary ridge is of boards and weighted with
stones. A good example of a heavily‐tiled and plastered wooden fence is
seen on the left of the sketch. In the road a number of laborers are shown
in the act of moving a heavy block of stone.

                   [Fig. 41.—House Near Mororan, Yezo.]

                    Fig. 41.—House Near Mororan, Yezo.

Another house, shown in _fig. 41_, was seen on the road to Mororan, in
Yezo. Here the smoke‐outlet was in the form of a low supplementary
structure on the ridge. The ridge itself was flat, and upon it grew a
luxuriant mass of lilies. This roof was unusually large and capacious.

At the place where the river Kitakami empties into the Bay of Sendai, and
where we left our boat in which we had come down the river from Morioka,
the houses were all of the olden‐style,—a number of these presenting some
good examples of projecting windows. _Fig. 42_ represents the front of a
house in this place. This shows a large gable‐roof, with broad overhanging
eaves in front,—the ends of the rafters projecting to support the eaves
and the transverse‐beams of the gable ends being equally in sight. The
projecting window, which might perhaps be called a bay, runs nearly the
entire length of the gable. The panels in the frieze were of dark wood,
and bore perforated designs of pine and bamboo alternating.

The larger houses of this description are always inns. They usually abut
directly upon the road, and have an open appearance and an air of
hospitality about them which at once indicates their character.  One
encounters such places so frequently in Japan, that travelling in the
interior is rendered a matter of ease and comfort as compared with similar
experiences in neighboring countries. The larger number of these inns in
the north are of one‐story, though many may be seen that are two‐storied.
Very rarely does a three‐storied building occur. _Fig. 43_ represents one
of this nature, that was seen in a small village north of Sendai.

            [Fig. 42.—Bay Window, Village of Odzuka, Rikuzen.]

             Fig. 42.—Bay Window, Village of Odzuka, Rikuzen.

               [Fig. 43.—Three‐storied House in Rikuchiu.]

                Fig. 43.—Three‐storied House in Rikuchiu.

Houses of the better classes stand back from the road, and have bordering
the road high and oftentimes ponderous ridged walls, with gateways of
similar proportions and character, or fences of various kinds with rustic
gateways. Long, low out‐buildings, for servants’ quarters, also often form
portions of the boundary wall. In the denser part of larger cities it is
rare to find an old house,—the devastating conflagrations that so often
sweep across the cities rendering the survival of old houses almost an
impossibility. In the suburbs of cities and in the country, however, it is
not difficult to find houses one hundred, and even two or three hundred
years old. The houses age as rapidly as the people, and new houses very
soon turn gray from the weather; the poorer class of houses in particular
appear much older than they really are.

               [Fig. 44.—Street in the Suburbs of Morioka.]

                Fig. 44.—Street in the Suburbs of Morioka.

In entering Morioka, at the head of navigation on the Kitakami River, the
long street presents a remarkably pretty appearance, with its odd low‐
roofed houses (_fig. 44_), each standing with its end to the street,—the
peak of the thatched roof overhanging the smoke‐outlet like a hood. The
street is bordered by a high, rustic, bamboo fence; and between the houses
are little plats filled with bright‐colored flowers, and shrubbery
clustering within the fences, even sending its sprays into the footpath
bordering the road.

The country house of an independent _samurai,_ or rich farmer, is large,
roomy, and thoroughly comfortable. I recall with the keenest pleasure the
delightful days enjoyed under the roof of one of these typical mansions in
Kabutoyama, in the western part of the province of Musashi. The residence
consisted of a group of buildings shut in from the road by a high wall.
Passing through a ponderous gateway, one enters a spacious court‐yard,
flanked on either side by long, low buildings used as store‐houses and
servants’ quarters. At the farther end of the yard, and facing the
entrance, was a comfortable old farmhouse, having a projecting gable‐wing
to its right (_fig. 45_). The roof was a thatched one of unusual
thickness. At the end of the wing was a triangular latticed opening, from
which thin blue wreaths of smoke were curling. This building contained a
few rooms, including an unusually spacious kitchen,—a sketch of which is
given farther on. The kitchen opened directly into a larger and unfinished
portion of the house, having the earth for its floor, and used as a wood‐
shed. The owner informed me that the farm‐house was nearly three hundred
years old. To the left of the building was a high wooden fence, and
passing through a gateway one came into a smaller yard and garden. In this
area was another house quite independent of the farmhouse; this was the
house for guests. Its conspicuous feature consisted of a newly‐thatched
roof, surmounted by an elaborate and picturesque ridge,—its design derived
from temple architecture. Within were two large rooms opening upon a
narrow verandah. These rooms were unusually high in stud, and the mats and
all the appointments were most scrupulously clean. Communication with the
old house was by means of a covered passage. Back of this dwelling, and
some distance from it, was still another house, two stories in height, and
built in the most perfect taste; and here lived the grandfather of the
family,—a fine old gentleman, dignified and courtly in his manners.

                 [Fig. 45.—Old Farm‐house in Kabutoyama.]

                  Fig. 45.—Old Farm‐house in Kabutoyama.

The farm‐house yard presented all the features of similar areas at home. A
huge pile of wood cut for the winter’s supply was piled up against the L.
Basket‐like coops, rakes, and the customary utensils of a farmer’s
occupation were scattered about. The sketch of this old house gives but a
faint idea of the massive and top‐heavy appearance of the roof, or of the
large size of the building. The barred windows below, covered by a narrow
tiled roof, were much later additions to the structure.

In the city houses of the better class much care is often taken to make
the surroundings appear as rural as possible, by putting here and there
quaint old wells, primitive and rustic arbors, fences, and gateways. The
gateways receive special attention in this way, and the oddest of
entrances are often seen in thickly‐settled parts of large cities.

Houses with thatched roofs, belonging to the wealthiest classes, are
frequently seen in the suburbs of Tokio and Kioto, and, strange as it may
appear, even within the city proper. One might be led to suppose that such
roofs would quickly fall a prey to the sparks of a conflagration; but an
old thatched roof gets compacted with dust and soot to such an extent that
plants and weeds of various kinds, and large clumps of mosses, are often
seen flourishing in luxuriance upon such surfaces, offering a good
protection against flying sparks. In Kioto we recall a house of this
description which was nearly three centuries old; and since we made
sketches of its appearance from the street, from just within the gateway,
and from the rear, we will describe these views in sequence.

         [Fig. 46.—Entrance to Court‐yard of Old House in Kioto.]

          Fig. 46.—Entrance to Court‐yard of Old House in Kioto.

The first view, then (_fig. 46_), is from the street, and represents a
heavily‐roofed gateway, with a smaller gateway at the side. The big gates
had been removed, and the little gateway was permanently closed. This
ponderous structure was flanked on one side by a low stretch of buildings,
plastered on the outside, having small barred windows on the street, and a
barred look‐out commanding the gateway both outside and within. On the
other side of the gateway was a high, thick wall, also furnished with a
window or lookout. The outer walls rose directly from the wall forming the
gutter, or, more properly speaking, a diminutive moat that ran along the
side of the street. Blocks of worked stone formed a bridge across this
moat, by which access was gained to the enclosure. The old dwelling, with
its sharp‐ridged roof, may be seen above the buildings just described.

             [Fig. 47.—Old house in Kioto. Court‐yard view.]

              Fig. 47.—Old house in Kioto. Court‐yard view.

_Fig. 47_ represents the appearance of this old house from just within the
gateway. The barred window to the left of the sketch may be seen through
the open gateway in _fig. 46_, and the tree which showed over the top of
the gateway in that sketch is now in full view. The old house has a
thatched roof with a remarkably steep pitch, surmounted by a ridge of
tiles; a narrow tiled roof runs about the house directly below the eaves
of the thatched roof. Suspended below this roof is seen a ladder and fire‐
engine, to be ready in case of emergency. The truth must be told, however,
that these domestic engines are never ready; for when they are wanted, it
is found that the square cylinders are so warped and cracked by the hot
summers that when they are brought into action their chief accomplishment
consists in squirting water through numerous crevices upon the men who are
frantically endeavoring to make these engines do their duty properly.

               [Fig. 48.—Old House in Kioto, Garden View.]

                Fig. 48.—Old House in Kioto, Garden View.

The yard was well swept, and quite free from weeds, though at one side a
number of shrubs and a banana tree were growing in a luxuriant tangle. A
single tree, of considerable age, rose directly in a line with the
entrance to the yard.

The house, like all such houses, had its uninteresting end toward the
street; and here, attached to the house, was a “lean‐to,” or shed, with a
small circular window. This was probably a kitchen, as a gateway is seen
in the sketch, which led to the kitchen‐garden.

In _Fig. 48_ a sketch of this house is given from the garden in the rear.
The house is quite open behind, and looks out on the garden and fish‐pond,
which is seen in the foreground. The tiled roof which covers the verandah,
and the out‐buildings as well, was a subsequent addition to the old house.
The sole occupants consisted of the mother and maiden sister of the famous
antiquarian Ninagawa Noritani. The garden, with its shrubs, plats of
flowers, stepping‐stones leading to the fish‐pond filled with lotus and
lilies, and the bamboo trellis, is a good specimen of an old garden upon
which but little care has been bestowed.

In the cities nothing is more surprising to a foreigner than to go from
the dust and turmoil of a busy street directly into a rustic yard and the
felicity of quiet country life. On one of the busy streets of Tokio I had
often passed a low shop, the barred front of which was never opened to
traffic, nor was there ever any one present with whom to deal. I used
often to peer between the bars; and from the form of the wooden boxes on
the step‐like shelves within, I knew that the occupant was a dealer in old
pottery. One day I called through the bars several times, and finally a
man pushed back the screen in the rear of the shop and bade me come in by
way of a narrow alley a little way up the street. This I did, and soon
came to a gate that led me into one of the neatest and cleanest little
gardens it is possible to imagine. The man was evidently just getting
ready for a tea‐party, and, as is customary in winter, the garden had been
liberally strewn with pine‐needles, which had then been neatly swept from
the few paths and formed in thick mats around some of the shrubs and
trees. The master had already accosted me from the verandah, and after
bringing the customary _hibachi,_ over which I warmed my hands, and tea
and cake, he brought forth some rare old pottery.

                        [Fig. 49.—House in Tokio.]

                         Fig. 49.—House in Tokio.

The verandah and a portion of this house as it appeared from the garden
are given in _fig. 49_. At the end of the verandah is seen a narrow
partition, made out of the planks of an old ship; it is secured to the
side of the house by a huge piece of bamboo. One is greatly interested to
see how curiously, and oftentimes artistically, the old worm‐eaten and
blackened fragments of a shipwreck are worked into the various parts of a
house,—this being an odd fancy of the Japanese house‐builder. Huge and
irregular‐shaped logs will often form the cross‐piece to a gateway;
rudder‐posts fixed in the ground form the support of bronze or pottery
vessels to hold water. But fragments of a shipwreck are most commonly
seen. This wood is always rich in color, and has an antique
appearance,—these qualities commending it at once to the Japanese eye, and
rendering it, with its associations, an attractive object for their

In the house above mentioned a portion of a vessel’s side or bottom had
been used bodily for a screen at the end of the verandah,—for just beyond
was the latrine, from the side of which is seen jutting another wing,
consisting of a single weatherworn plank bordered by a bamboo‐post. This
was a screen to shut out the kitchen‐yard beyond. Various stepping‐stones
of irregular shape, as well as blackened planks, were arranged around the
yard in picturesque disorder. The sketch conveys, with more or less
accuracy, one of the many phases of Japanese taste in these matters.

The wood‐work from the rafters of the verandah roof above, to the planks
below, was undefiled by oil, paint, wood‐filling, or varnish of any kind.
The carpentry was light, yet durable and thoroughly constructive; while
outside and inside every feature was as neat and clean as a cabinet. The
room bordering this verandah is shown in _fig. 125_.

    [Fig. 50.—View from the Second Story of Dwelling in Imado, Tokio.]

     Fig. 50.—View from the Second Story of Dwelling in Imado, Tokio.

_Fig. 50_ gives a view from the L of a gentleman’s house in Tokio, from
which was seen the houses and gardens of the neighborhood. The high and
close fence borders a roadway which runs along the bank of the Sumida‐
gawa. A short fence of brush juts out obliquely from the latrine, and
forms a screen between the house and the little gate. From this sketch
some idea may be formed of the appearance of the balcony and verandah, and
how well they are protected by the overhanging roofs.

The inns, particularly the country inns, have a most cosey and comfortable
air about them. One always has the freedom of the entire place; at least a
foreigner generally makes himself at home everywhere about the public
houses, and in this respect impress a Japanese with his boorish ways,
since the native guests usually keep to their own rooms. The big,
capacious kitchen, with its smoke‐blackened rafters overhead, its ruddy
glow of wood‐fire (a sight rarely seen in the cities, where charcoal is
the principal fuel), and the family busy with their various domestic
duties, is a most cosey and agreeable region.

                  [Fig. 51.—Old Inn in Mishima, Suruga.]

                   Fig. 51.—Old Inn in Mishima, Suruga.

On the ride across Yezo, from Otarunai to Mororan, one passes a number of
inns of the most ample proportions; and their present deserted appearance
contrasts strangely with their former grandeur, when the Daimio of the
province, accompanied by swarms of _samurai_ and other attendants, made
his annual pilgrimage to the capital.

At Mishima, in the province of Suruga, a curious old inn was seen (_fig.
51_). The second story overhung the first story in front, and the eaves
were very widely‐projecting. At the sides of the building a conspicuous
feature was the verge boards, which were very large, with their lower
margins cut in curious sweeps. This may have been intended for an
architectural adornment, or possibly for a wind or sun screen; at all
events it was, as we saw it, associated with buildings of considerable
antiquity. In the middle and southern provinces of Japan the feature of an
over‐hanging second story is by no means uncommon.

             [Fig. 52.—Village Street in Nasaike, Yamashiro.]

              Fig. 52.—Village Street in Nasaike, Yamashiro.

A group of houses in a village street is shown in _fig. 52_. The nearest
house is a resting‐place for travellers; the next is a candle‐shop, where
the traveller and _jinrikisha_ man may replenish their lanterns; the third
is a _jinrikisha_ stand, and beyond this is a light board‐structure of
some kind. All of these are dwellings as well. This street was in the
village of Nagaike, between Nara and Kioto.

The country houses on the east coast of Kagoshima Gulf, in the province of
Osumi, as well as in the province of Satsuma, have thatched roofs of
ponderous proportions, while the walls supporting them are very low. These
little villages along the coast present a singular aspect, as one
distinguishes only the high and thick roofs. _Fig. 53_ is a sketch of
Mototaru‐midsu as from the water, and _fig. 54_ represents the appearance
of a group of houses seen in the same village, which is on the road
running along the gulf coast of Osumi. The ridge is covered by a layer of
bamboo; and the ends of the ridge, where it joins the hip of the roof, are
guarded by a stout matting of bamboo and straw. In this sketch a regular
New England well‐sweep is seen, though it is by no means an uncommon
object in other parts of Japan. Where the well is under cover, the well‐
sweep is so arranged that the well‐pole goes through a hole in the roof.

                        [Fig. 53.—Shore of Osumi.]

                         Fig. 53.—Shore of Osumi.

           [Fig. 54.—Farmer’s Houses in Mototaru‐Midsu, Osumi.]

            Fig. 54.—Farmer’s Houses in Mototaru‐Midsu, Osumi.

The fishermen’s houses are oftentimes nothing more than the roughest
shelters from the elements, and being more closed than the peasants’
houses are consequently darker and dirtier. In the neighborhood of larger
towns, where the fishermen are more prosperous, their houses compare
favorably with those of the peasant class. _Fig. 55_ shows a group of
fishermen’s huts on the neck of sand which connects Hakodate with the main
island. The high stockade fences act as barriers to the winds which blow
so furiously across the bar at certain seasons. Fig. 56 represents a few
fishermen’s huts at Enoshima, a famous resort a little south of Yokohama.
Here the houses are comparatively large and comfortable, though poor and
dirty at best. The huge baskets seen in the sketch are used to hold and
transport fish from the boat to the shore.

                 [Fig. 55.—Fishermen’s Huts in Hakodate.]

                  Fig. 55.—Fishermen’s Huts in Hakodate.

                 [Fig. 56.—Fishermen’s Huts in Enoshima.]

                  Fig. 56.—Fishermen’s Huts in Enoshima.

In the city no outbuildings, such as sheds and barns, are seen.
Accompanying the houses of the better class are solid, thick‐walled, fire‐
proof buildings called _kura,_ in which the goods and chattels are stowed
away in times of danger from conflagrations. These buildings, which are
known to the foreigner as “go‐downs,” are usually two stories in height,
and have one or two small windows, and one door, closed by thick and
ponderous shutters. Such a building usually stands isolated from the
dwelling, and sometimes, though rarely, they are converted into domiciles.
Of such a character is the group of buildings in Tokio represented in
_fig. 57_, belonging to a genial antiquary, in which he has stored a rare
collection of old books, manuscripts, paintings, and other antique

                        [Fig. 57.—Kura in Tokio.]

                         Fig. 57.—Kura in Tokio.

            [Fig. 58.—Kura, or Fire‐proof Buildings in Tokio.]

             Fig. 58.—Kura, or Fire‐proof Buildings in Tokio.

Fig. 58, copied from a sketch made by Mr. S. Koyama, represents another
group of these buildings in Tokio. These _kura_ belonged to the famous
antiquarian Ninagawa Noritani. In these buildings were stored his
treasures of pottery and painting. Often light wooden extensions are built
around the _kura,_ and in such cases the family live in the outside
apartments. An example of this kind is shown in _fig. 59_, which is an old
house in a poor quarter of the city of Hakodate. The central portion
represents the two‐storied _kura,_ and around it is built an additional
shelter having a tiled roof. In case of fire the contents of the outer
rooms are hurriedly stowed within the fire‐proof portion, the door closed,
and the crevices chinked with mud. These buildings usually survive in the
midst of a wide‐spread conflagration, while all the outer wooden additions
are consumed. Further reference will be made to these structures in other
portions of the work. It may be proper to state, however, that nearly
every shop has connected with it a fire‐proof building of this nature.

                    [Fig. 59.—Old House in Hakodate.]

                     Fig. 59.—Old House in Hakodate.

It hardly comes within the province of this work to describe or figure
buildings which are not strictly speaking homes; for this reason no
reference will be made to the monotonous rows of buildings so common in
Tokio, which form portions of the boundary‐wall wall of the _yashiki;_
and, indeed, had this been desirable, it would have been somewhat
difficult to find the material, in their original condition, for study.
Many of the _yashikis_ have been destroyed by fire; others have been
greatly modified, and are now occupied by various Government departments.
In Tokio, for example, the _yashiki_ of the Daimio of Kaga is used by the
educational department, the Mito _yashiki_ for the manufacture of war
material, and still others are used for barracks and other Government
purposes. As one rides through the city he often passes these _yashikis,_
showing from the street as long monotonous rows of buildings, generally
two stories in height, with heavy tiled roofs. The wall of the first story
is generally tiled or plastered. The second‐story wall may be of wood or
plaster. This wall is perforated at intervals with small heavily‐barred
windows or hanging bays. The entrance, composed of stout beams, is closed
by ponderous gates thickly studded with what appear to be massive‐headed
bolts, but which are, however, of fictitious solidity. The buildings rest
on stone foundations abutting directly on the street, or interrupted by a
ditch which often assumes the dignity of a castle moat. These buildings in
long stretches formed a portion of the outer walls of the _yashikis_
within which were the separate residences of the Daimios and officers,
while the buildings just alluded to were used by the soldiers for

The great elaboration and variety in the form and structure of the house‐
roof almost merit the dignity of a separate section. For it is mainly to
the roof that the Japanese house owes its picturesque appearance; it is
the roof which gives to the houses that novelty and variety which is so
noticeable among them in different parts of the country. The lines of a
well‐made thatched roof are something quite remarkable in their
proportions. A great deal of taste and skill is displayed in the proper
trimming of the eaves; and the graceful way in which the eaves of the
gable are made to join the side eaves is always attractive and a
noticeable feature in Japanese architecture, and the admirable way in
which a variety of gables are made to unite with the main roof would
excite praise from the most critical architect.

The elaborate structure of the thatched and tiled roofs, and the great
variety in the design and structure of the ridges show what might be done
by a Japanese architect if other portions of the house‐exterior received
an equal amount of ingenuity and attention.

Japanese roofs are either shingled, thatched, or tiled. In the country,
tiled roofs are the exception, the roofs being almost exclusively
thatched,—though in the smaller houses, especially in the larger country
villages, the shingled and tiled roofs are often seen. In the larger towns
and cities the houses are usually tiled; yet even here shingled roofs are
not uncommon, and though cheaper than the tiled roofs, are by no means
confined to the poorer houses. In the suburbs, and even in the outskirts
of the cities, thatched roofs are common: in such cases the thatched roof
indicates either the presence of what was at one time an old farm‐house to
which the city has extended, or else it is the house of a gentleman who
prefers such a roof on account of its picturesqueness and the suggestions
of rural life that go with it.

The usual form of the roof is generally that of a hip or gable. In the
thatched roof, the portion coming directly below the ridge‐pole is in the
form of a gable, and this blends into a hip‐roof. A curb‐roof is never
seen. Among the poorer classes a simple pent roof is common; and additions
or attachments to the main building are generally covered with a pent
roof. A light, narrow, supplementary roof is often seen projecting just
below the eaves of the main roof; it is generally made of wide thin boards
(_fig. 60_). This roof is called _hisashi._ It commonly shelters from the
sun and rain an open portion of the house or a verandah. It is either
supported by uprights from the ground, or by slender brackets which are
framed at right angles to the main uprights of the building proper. Weak
and even flimsy as this structure often appears to be, it manages to
support itself, in violation of all known laws of structure and
gravitation. After a heavy fall of damp snow one may see thick
accumulations covering these slight roofs, and yet a ride through the city
reveals no evidences of their breaking down. One recalls similar
structures at home yielding under like pressure, and wonders whether
gravitation behaves differently in this land of anomalies.

                           [Fig. 60.—Hisashi.]

                            Fig. 60.—Hisashi.

In the ordinary shingled roof a light boarding is first nailed to the
rafters, and upon this the shingles are secured in close courses. The
shingles are always split, and are very thin,—being about the thickness of
an ordinary octavo book‐cover, and not much larger in size, and having the
same thickness throughout. They come in square bunches (_fig. 61_, A),
each bunch containing about two hundred and twenty shingles, and costing
about forty cents.

Bamboo pins, resembling attenuated shoe‐pegs, are used as shingle‐nails.
The shingler takes a mouthful of these pegs, and with quick motions works
precisely and in the same rapid manner as a similar class of workmen do at
home. The shingler’s hammer is a curious implement (_fig. 61_, B, C). The
iron portion is in the shape of a square block, with its roughened face
nearly on a level with its handle. Near the end of the handle, and below,
is inserted an indented strip of brass (_fig. 61_, B). The shingler in
grasping the handle brings the thumb and forfinger opposite the strip of
brass; he takes a peg from his mouth with the same hand with which he
holds the hammer, and with the thumb and forefinger holding the peg
against the brass strip (_fig. 62_), he forces it into the shingle by a
pushing blow. By this movement the peg is forced half‐way down; an oblique
blow is then given it with the hammer‐head, which bends the protruding
portion of the peg against the shingle,—this broken‐down portion
representing the head of our shingle‐nail.  The bamboo being tough and
fibrous can easily be broken down without separating.  In this way is the
shingle held to the roof. The hammer‐handle has marked upon it the smaller
divisions of a carpenter’s measure, so that the courses of shingles may be
properly aligned. The work is done very rapidly,—for with one hand the
shingle is adjusted, while the other hand is busily driving the pegs.

             [Fig. 61.—Bunch of shingles, nails, and hammer.]

              Fig. 61.—Bunch of shingles, nails, and hammer.

                       [Fig. 62.—Shingler’s Hand.]

                        Fig. 62.—Shingler’s Hand.

                [Fig. 63.—Bamboo Strips on Shingle‐Roof.]

                 Fig. 63.—Bamboo Strips on Shingle‐Roof.

That the shingles are not always held firmly to the roof by this method of
shingling is seen in the fact that oftentimes long narrow strips of bamboo
are nailed obliquely across the roof, from the ridge‐pole to the eaves
(_fig. 63_). These strips are placed at the distance of eighteen inches or
two feet apart. Yet even in spite of this added precaution, in violent
gales the roof is often rapidly denuded of its shingles, which fill the
air at such times like autumn leaves.

_Fig. 64, A_, represents a portion of a shingled roof with courses of
shingles partially laid, and a shingler’s nail‐box held to the roof. The
box has two compartments,—the larger compartment holding the bamboo pegs;
and the smaller containing iron nails, used for nailing down the boards
and for other purposes.

There are other methods of shingling, in which the courses of shingles are
laid very closely together, and also in many layers. Remarkable examples
of this method may be seen in some of the temple roofs, and particularly
in the roofs of certain temple gateways in Kioto, where layers of the
thinnest shingles, forming a mass a foot or more in thickness, are
compactly laid, with the many graceful contours of the roof delicately
preserved. The edges of the roof are beautifully rounded, and the eaves
squarely and accurately trimmed. On seeing one of these roofs one is
reminded of a thatched roof, which this style seems evidently intended to
imitate. The rich brown bark of the _hi‐no‐ki_ tree is also used in a
similar way; and a very compact and durable roof it appears to make. In
better shingled house‐roofs it is customary to secure a wedge‐shaped piece
of wood parallel to the eaves, to which the first three or four rows of
shingles are nailed; other courses of shingles are then laid on very
closely, and thus a thicker layer of shingles is secured (_fig. 64_, B).

                [Fig. 64.—Roof with shingles partly laid.]

                 Fig. 64.—Roof with shingles partly laid.

But little variety of treatment of the ridge is seen in a shingled roof.
Two narrow weather‐strips of wood nailed over the ridge answer the purpose
of a joint, as is customary in our shingled roofs. A more thorough way is
to nail thin strips of wood of a uniform length directly over the ridge
and at right angles to it. These strips are thin enough to bend readily.
Five or six layers are fastened in this way, and then, more firmly to
secure them to the roof, two long narrow strips of wood or bamboo are
nailed near the two edges of this mass, parallel to the ridge (_fig. 65_).

               [Fig. 65.—Ridge on shingle‐roof in Musashi.]

                Fig. 65.—Ridge on shingle‐roof in Musashi.

The shingled roof is the most dangerous element of house‐structure in the
cities. The shingles are nothing more than thick shavings, and curved and
warped by the sun are ready to spring into a blaze by the contact of the
first spark that falls upon them, and then to be sent flying by a high
wind to scatter the fire for miles. A very stringent law should be passed,
prohibiting the use of such material for roofing in cities and large

                       [Fig. 66.—Water‐conductor.]

                        Fig. 66.—Water‐conductor.

The usual form of gutter for conveying water from the roof consists of a
large bamboo split lengthwise, with the natural partitions broken away.
This is held to the eaves by iron hooks, or by long pieces of wood nailed
to the rafters,—their upper edges being notched, in which the bamboo
rests. This leads to a conductor, consisting also of a bamboo, in which
the natural partitions have likewise been broken through. The upper end of
this bamboo is cut away in such a manner as to leave four long spurs;
between these spurs a square and tapering tunnel of thin wood is
forced,—the elasticity of the bamboo holding the tunnel in place (_fig.

Attention has so often been drawn, in books of travels, to the infinite
variety of ways in which Eastern nations use the bamboo, that any
reference to the subject here would be superfluous. I can only say that
the importance of this wonderful plant in their domestic economy has never
been exaggerated. The more one studies the ethnographical peculiarities of
the Japanese, as displayed in their houses, utensils, and countless other
fabrications, the more fully is he persuaded that they could more easily
surrender the many devices and appliances adopted from European nations,
than to abandon the ubiquitous bamboo.

In tiling a roof, the boarded roof is first roughly and thinly shingled,
and upon this surface is then spread a thick layer of mud, into which the
tiles are firmly bedded. The mud is scooped up from some ditch or moat,
and is also got from the canals. In the city one often sees men getting
the mud  for this purpose from the deep gutters which border many of the
streets. This is kneaded and worked with hoe and spade till it acquires
the consistency of thick dough.  In conveying this mass to the roof no hod
is used. The material is worked into large lumps by the laborer, and these
are tossed, one after another, to a man who stands on a staging or ladder,
who in turn pitches it to the man on the roof, or, if the roof be high, to
another man on a still higher staging.  The mud having been got to the
roof, is then spread over it in a thick and even layer. Into this the
tiles are then bedded, row after row. There seems to be no special
adhesion of the tiles to this substratum of mud, and high gales often
cause great havoc to a roof of this nature. In the case of a
conflagration, when it becomes necessary to tear down buildings in its
path, the firemen appear to have no difficulty in shovelling the tiles off
a roof with ease and rapidity.

                     [Fig. 67.—Ridge of tiled roof.]

                      Fig. 67.—Ridge of tiled roof.

The ridge‐pole often presents an imposing combination of tiles and plaster
piled up in square ridges and in many ornamental ways. In a hip‐roof the
four ridges are also made thick and ponderous by successive layers of
tiles being built up, and forming great square ribs. In large fire‐proof
buildings the ridge may be carried up to a height of three or four feet.
In such ridges white plaster is freely used, not only as a cement, but as
a medium in which the artist works out various designs in high‐relief. One
of the most favorite subjects selected is that of dashing and foaming
waves. A great deal of art and skill is often displayed in the working out
of this design,—which is generally very conventional, though at times
great freedom of expression is shown in the work. It certainly seems an
extraordinary design for the crest of a roof, though giving a very light
and buoyant appearance to what would otherwise appear top‐heavy. _Fig. 67_
is a very poor sketch of the appearance of this kind of a ridge. From the
common occurrence of this design, it would seem as if some sentiment or
superstition led to using this watery subject as suggesting a protection
from fire; whether this be so or not, one may often notice at the end of
the ridge in the thatched roofs in the country the Chinese character for
water deeply cut in the straw and blackened (_fig. 82_),—and this custom,
I was told, originated in a superstition that the character for water
afforded a protection against fire.

                  [Fig. 68.—Ornamental coping of tiles.]

                   Fig. 68.—Ornamental coping of tiles.

                  [Fig. 69.—Ornamental coping of tiles.]

                   Fig. 69.—Ornamental coping of tiles.

                  [Fig. 70.—Ornamental coping of tiles.]

                   Fig. 70.—Ornamental coping of tiles.

The tiled ridges always terminate in a shouldered mass of tiles specially
designed for the purpose. The smaller ribs of tiles that run down to the
eaves, along the ridges in a hip‐roof, or border the verge in a gable‐
roof, often terminate in some ornamental tile in high‐relief. The design
may be that of a mask, the head of a devil, or some such form. In the
heavier ridges much ingenuity and art are shown in the arrangement of
semi‐cylindrical or other shaped tiles in conventional pattern. Figs. 68,
69, 70 will illustrate some of the designs made in this way. These
figures, however, represent copings of walls in Yamato.

Many of the heavier ridges are deceptive, the main body consisting of a
frame of wood plastered over, and having the appearance externally of
being a solid mass of tile and plaster The tiles that border the eaves are
specially designed for the purpose. The tile has the form of the ordinary
tile, but its free edge is turned down at right angles and ornamented with
some conventional design.  _Fig. 71_ illustrates this form of tile. In the
long panel a design of flowers or conventional scrolls in relief is often
seen. The circular portion generally contains the crest of some family:
the crest of the Tokugawa family is rarely seen on tiles (see _fig. 73_).

In the better class of tiled roof it is common to point off with white
mortar the joints between the rows of tiles near the eaves, and also next
the ridge; and oftentimes the entire roof is treated in this manner. In
some photographs of Korean houses taken by Percival Lowell, Esq., the same
method of closing the seams of the bordering rows of tiles with white
plaster is shown.

                     [Fig. 71.—Eaves of tiled roof.]

                      Fig. 71.—Eaves of tiled roof.

The older a tile is, the better it is considered for roofing purposes. My
attention was called to this fact by a friend stating to me with some
pride that the tiles used in his house, just constructed, were over forty
years old. Second‐hand tiles therefore are always in greater demand. A new
tile, being very porous and absorbent, is not considered so good as one in
which time has allowed the dust and dirt to fill the minute interstices,
thus rendering it a better material for shedding water.

                     [Fig. 72.—Nagasaki tiled roof.]

                      Fig. 72.—Nagasaki tiled roof.

A tiled roof cannot be very expensive, as one finds it very common in the
cities and larger villages. The price of good tiles for roofing purposes
is five _yen_ for one hundred (one _yen_ at par equals one dollar). Cheap
ones can be got for from two and one‐half _yen_ to three _yen_ for one
hundred. In another measurement, a _tsulo_ of tiles, which covers an area
of six feet square; can be laid for from two and one‐half to three _yen_.
The form of tile varies in different parts of Japan.  The tile in common
use in Nagasaki (_fig. 72_, _A)_ is similar in form to those used in
China, Korea, Singapore, and Europe. These tiles are slightly curved, and
are laid with their convex surface downwards. Another form of tile,
narrower and semi‐cylindrical in section, is laid with its convex side
upwards, covering the seams between the lower rows of tiles.

                   [Fig. 73.—Hon‐gawara, or True Tile.]

                    Fig. 73.—Hon‐gawara, or True Tile.

               [Fig. 74.—Yedo‐gawara, or Yedo‐tile eaves.]

                Fig. 74.—Yedo‐gawara, or Yedo‐tile eaves.

This is evidently the most ancient form of tile in the East, and in Japan
is known by the name of _hon‐gawara,_ or true tile. _Fig. 73_ represents
the form of the _hon‐gawara_ used in Tokio.

                      [Fig. 75.—French tile eaves.]

                       Fig. 75.—French tile eaves.

The most common form of tile used in Tokio is represented in _fig. 71_,
called the _yedo‐gawara,_ or _yedo_ tile. With this tile the upper convex
tile is dispensed with, as the tile is constructed in such a way as to lap
over the edge of the one next to it. _Fig. 74_ illustrates the eaves of a
roof in which a _yedo_ tile is used, having the bordering tiles differing
in form from those shown in _fig. 71_. A modification of this form is seen
farther south in Japan (fig. 72, B), and also in Java.

                     [Fig. 76.—Itami tile for ridge.]

                      Fig. 76.—Itami tile for ridge.

A new form of tile, called the French tile, has been introduced into Tokio
within a few years (_fig. 75_). It is not in common use, however; and I
can recall only a few buildings roofed with this tile.  These are the
warehouses of the Mitsu Bishi Steamship Company near the post‐office, a
building back of the Art Museum at Uyeno, and a few private houses.

Other forms of tiles are made for special purposes. In the province of
Iwami, for example, a roof‐shaped tile is made specially for covering the
ridge of thatched roofs (_fig. 76_, A). The true tile is also used for the
same purpose (fig. 76, B).

In this province the tiles are glazed,—the common tiles being covered with
a brown glaze, while the best tiles are glazed with iron sand. In digging
the foundations for a library building at Uyeno Park, a number of large
glazed tiles were dug up which were supposed to have been brought from the
province of Bizen two hundred years ago. These were of the _hon‐gawara_

                          [Fig. 77.—Stone roof.]

                           Fig. 77.—Stone roof.

In the province of Shimotsuke, and doubtless in adjacent provinces, stone
_kura_ (fire‐proof store‐houses) are seen; and these buildings often have
roofs of the same material. The stone appears to be a light‐gray volcanic
tufa, and is easily wrought. The slabs of stone covering the roof are
wrought into definite shapes, so that the successive rows overlap and
interlock in a way that gives the appearance of great solidity and
strength. _Fig. 77_ illustrates a portion of a roof of this description
seen on the road to Nikko. I was told by a Korean friend that stone roofs
were also to be found in the northern part of Korea, though whether made
in this form could not be ascertained.

The thatched roof is by far the most common form of roof in Japan, outside
the cities. The slopes of the roof vary but little; but in the design and
structure of the ridge the greatest variety of treatment is seen. South of
Tokio each province seems to have its own peculiar style of ridge; at
least, as the observant traveller passes from one province to another his
attention is attracted by a new form of ridge, which though occasionally
seen in other provinces appears to be characteristic of that particular
province. This is probably due to the partially isolated life of the
provinces in feudal times; for the same may be said also in regard to the
pottery and many other products of the provinces.

For thatching, various materials are employed. For the commonest
thatching, straw is used; better kinds of thatch are made of a grass
called _Kaya._ A kind of reed called _yoshi_ is used for this purpose, and
also certain species of rush. The roof requires no special preparation to
receive the thatch, save that the rafters and frame‐work shall be close
enough together properly to secure and support it. If the roof be small, a
bamboo frame‐work is sufficient for the purpose.

The thatch is formed in suitable masses, combed with the fingers and
otherwise arranged so that the straws all point in the same direction.
These masses are then secured to the rafters and bound down to the roof by
bamboo poles (_fig. 78_, A), which are afterwards removed. While the
thatch is bound down in this way it is beaten into place by a wooden
mallet of peculiar shape (fig. 78, B). The thatch is then trimmed into
shape by a pair of long‐handled shears (fig. 78, C) similar to the shears
used for trimming grass in our country.

This is only the barest outline of the process of thatching; there are
doubtless many other processes which I did not see. Suffice it to say,
however, that when a roof is finished it presents a clean, trim, and
symmetrical appearance, which seems surprising when the nature of the
material is considered. The eaves are trimmed off square or slightly
rounding, and often very thick,—being sometimes two feet or more in
thickness. This does not indicate, however, that the thatch is of the same
thickness throughout. The thatch trimmed in these various ways is thus
seen in section, and one will often notice in this section successive
layers of light and dark thatch. Whether it is old thatch worked in with
the new for the sake economy, or different kinds of thatching material, I
did not ascertain.

In old roofs the thatch becomes densely filled with soot and dust, and
workmen engaged in repairing such roofs have the appearance of coal‐
heavers. While a good deal of skill and patience is required to thatch a
roof evenly and properly, vastly more skill must be required to finish the
ridge, which is often very intricate in its structure; and of these
peculiar ridges there are a number of prominent types. In presenting these
types, more reliance will be placed on the sketches to convey a general
idea of their appearance than on descriptions.

              [Fig. 78.—Thatch, and thatcher’s implements.]

               Fig. 78.—Thatch, and thatcher’s implements.

In that portion of Japan lying north of Tokio the ridge is much more
simple in its construction than are those found in the southern part of
the Empire. The roofs are larger, but their ridges, with some exceptions,
do not show the artistic features, or that variety in form and appearance,
that one sees in the ridges of the southern thatched roof. In many cases
the ridge is flat, and this area is made to support a luxuriant growth of
_iris,_ or the red lily (_fig. 41_). A most striking feature is often seen
in the appearance of a brown sombre‐colored village, wherein all the
ridges are aflame with the bright‐red blossoms of the lily; or farther
south, near Tokio, where the purer colors of the blue and white iris form
floral crests of exceeding beauty.

                 [Fig. 79.—End of roof in Fujita, Iwaki.]

                  Fig. 79.—End of roof in Fujita, Iwaki.

In some cases veritable ridge‐poles, with their ends freely projecting
beyond the gable and wrought in a gentle upward curve, are seen (_fig.
39_). This treatment of the free ends of beams in ridge‐poles, gateways,
and other structures, notably in certain forms of _tori‐i_(9) is a common
feature in Japanese architecture, and is effective in giving a light and
buoyant appearance to what might otherwise appear heavy and commonplace.

At Fujita, in Iwaki, and other places in that region, a roof is often seen
which shows the end of a round ridge‐pole projecting through the thatch at
the gable‐peak; and at this point a flat spur of wood springs up from the
ridge, to which is attached, at right angles, a structure made of plank
and painted black, which projects two feet or more beyond the gable. This
appears to be a survival of an exterior ridge‐pole, and is retained from
custom. Its appearance, however, is decidedly flimsy and insecure, and
from its weak mode of attachment it must be at the mercy of every high
gale (_fig. 79_). After getting south of Sendai, ridges composed of tile
are often to be seen,—becoming more common as one approaches Tokio. The
construction of this kind of ridge is very simple and effective; semi‐
cylindrical tiles, or the wider forms of _hon‐gawara,_ are used for the
crest, and these in turn cap a row of similar tiles placed on either side
of the ridge (fig. 80). The tiles appear to be bedded in a layer of clay
or mud and chopped straw, which is first piled on to the thatched ridge.
In some cases a large bamboo holds the lower row of tiles in place (_fig.
81_). What other means there are of holding the tiles I did not learn.
They must be fairly secure, however, as it is rare to see them displaced,
even in old roofs.

            [Fig. 80.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Iwaki.]

             Fig. 80.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Iwaki.

           [Fig. 81.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Musashi. ]

            Fig. 81.—Tiled ridge of thatched roof in Musashi.

A very neat and durable ridge (_fig. 82_) is common in Musashi and
neighboring provinces. This ridge is widely rounded. It is first covered
with a layer of small bamboos; then narrow bands of bamboo or bark are
bent over the ridge at short intervals, and these are kept in place by
long bamboo‐strips or entire bamboos, which run at intervals parallel to
the ridge. These are firmly bound down to the thatch. In some cases these
outer bamboos form a continuous layer. The ends of the ridge, showing a
mass of projecting thatch in section, are abruptly cut vertically, and the
free border is rounded in a bead‐like moulding and closely bound by
bamboo, appearing like the edge of a thick basket. This finish is done in
the most thorough and workman‐like manner. It is upon the truncate end of
this kind of a ridge that the Chinese character for water is often seen,
allusion to which has already been made.

           [Fig. 82.—Bamboo‐ridge of thatched roof in Musashi.]

            Fig. 82.—Bamboo‐ridge of thatched roof in Musashi.

When there is no window at the end of the roof for the egress of smoke,
the roof comes under the class of hip‐roofs. In the northern provinces the
opening for the smoke is built in various ways upon the ridge or side of
the roof. By referring to figs. 39, 40, 41, various methods of providing
for this window may be seen.

Smoke‐outlets do occur at the ends of the roof in the north, as may be
seen by referring to _fig. 44_. The triangular opening for the outlet of
smoke is a characteristic feature of the thatched roofs south of Tokio; on
some of them a great deal of study and skill is bestowed by the architect
and builder. Sometimes an additional gable is seen, with its triangular
window (_fig. 83_). This sketch represents the roof of a gentleman’s house
near Tokio, and is a most beautiful example of the best form of thatched
roof in Musashi. Another grand old roof of a different type is shown in
fig. 84. Where these triangular windows occur the opening is protected by
a lattice of wood. The roof partakes of the double nature of a gable and
hip roof combined,—the window being in the gable part, from the base of
which runs the slope of the hip‐roof.

                  [Fig. 83.—Thatched Roof, near Tokio.]

                 Fig. 83.—Thatched Roof, near Tokio.(10)

Great attention is given to the proper and symmetrical trimming of the
thatch at the eaves and at the edges of the gable. By referring to figs.
83 and 84 some idea may be got of the clever way in which this is managed.
Oftentimes, at the peak of the gable, a cone‐like enlargement with a
circular depression is curiously shaped out of the thatch (_fig. 84_). A
good deal of skill is also shown in bringing the thick edges of the eaves,
which are on different levels, together in graceful curves. An example of
this kind may be seen in _fig. 39_.

                  [Fig. 84.—Thatched roof, near Tokio.]

                   Fig. 84.—Thatched roof, near Tokio.

In Musashi a not uncommon form of ridge is seen, in which there is an
external ridge‐pole wrought like the upper transverse beam of a _tori‐i._
This beam has a vertical thickness of twice or three times its width;
resting transversely upon it, and at short intervals, are a number of
wooden structures shaped like the letter X,—the lower ends of these pieces
resting on the slopes of the roof, the upper ends projecting above the
ridgepole. The ridge at this point is matted with bark; and running
parallel with the ridge a few bamboos are fastened, upon which these
cross‐beams rest, and to which they are secured (_fig. 45_).

Modifications of this form of ridge occur in a number of southern
provinces, and ridges very similar to this I saw in Saigon and Cholon, in
Anam. The curious Shin‐tō temple, at Kamijiyama, in Ise, said to be
modelled after very ancient types of roof, has the end‐rafters of the
gable continuing through the roof and beyond the peak to a considerable
distance. It was interesting to see precisely the same features in some of
the Malay houses in the neighborhood of Singapore. In Musashi, and farther
south, a ridge is seen of very complex structure,—the entire ridge forming
a kind of supplementary roof, its edges thick and squarely trimmed, and
presenting the appearance of a smaller roof having been made independently
and dropped upon the large roof like a saddle. This style of roof, with
many modifications, is very common in Yamashiro, Mikawa, and neighboring
provinces. A very elaborate roof of this description is shown in _fig.
85_. This roof was sketched in Kabutoyama, a village nearly fifty miles
west of Tokio. In this ridge the appearance of a supplementary roof is
rendered more apparent by the projection beneath of what appears to be a
ridge‐pole, and also parallel sticks of the roof proper. This roof had a
remarkably picturesque and substantial appearance. This style of roof is
derived from temple architecture.

        [Fig. 85.—Ridge of thatched roof at Kabutoyama, Musashi.]

         Fig. 85.—Ridge of thatched roof at Kabutoyama, Musashi.

A very simple form of ridge is common in the province of Omi; this is made
of thin pieces of board, three feet or more in length, secured on each
slope of the roof and at right angles to the ridge; and these are bound
down by long strips of wood, two resting across the ridge, and another
strip resting on the lower edge of the boards (_fig. 86_). In the
provinces of Omi and Owari tiled ridges are often seen, and some ridges in
which wood and tile are combined. At Takatsuki‐mura, in Setsu, a curious
ridge prevails. The ridge is very steep, and is covered by a close mat of
bamboo, with saddles of tiles placed at intervals along the ridge (fig.
87). A very picturesque form of ridge occurs in the province of Mikawa;
the roof is a hip‐roof, with the ridge‐roof having a steep slope trimmed
off squarely at the eaves. On this portion strips of brown bark are placed
across the ridge, resting on the slopes of the roof; a number of bamboos
rest on the bark, parallel to the ridge; on the top of these, stout, semi‐
cylindrical saddles, sometimes sheathed with bark, rest across the ridge,
with an interspace of three or four feet between them. _Fig. 88_
represents a roof with three of these saddles, which is the usual number.
These saddles are firmly bound to the roof, and on their crests and
directly over the ridge a long bamboo is secured by a black‐fibred cord,
which is tied to the ridge between each saddle. The smoke‐outlet at the
end of the ridge‐gable is protected by a mass of straw hanging down from
the apex of the window, in shape and appearance very much like a Japanese
straw rain‐coat. The smoke filters out through this curtain, though the
rain cannot beat in.

                [Fig. 86.—Crest of thatched roof in Omi.]

                 Fig. 86.—Crest of thatched roof in Omi.

   [Fig. 87.—Tile and bamboo ridge of thatched roof, Takatsuki, Setsu.]

    Fig. 87.—Tile and bamboo ridge of thatched roof, Takatsuki, Setsu.

Roofs of a somewhat similar construction may be seen in other provinces.
In the suburbs of Kioto a form of roof and ridge, after a similar design,
may be often seen. In this form the supplementary roof is more sharply
defined; the corners of it are slightly turned up as in the temple‐roof.
To be more definite, the main roof, which is a hip‐roof, has built upon it
a low upper‐roof, which is a gable; and upon this rests, like a separate
structure, a continuous saddle of thatch, having upon its back a few
bamboos running longitudinally, and across the whole a number of thick
narrow saddles of thatch sheathed with bark, and over all a long bamboo
bound to the ridge with cords (_fig. 89_). These roofs, broad and thick
eaved, with their deep‐set, heavily latticed smoke‐windows, and the warm
brown thatch, form a pleasing contrast to the thin‐shingled roofs of the
poorer neighboring houses.

               [Fig. 88.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.]

                Fig. 88.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.

               [Fig. 89.—Crest of thatched roof in Kioto.]

                Fig. 89.—Crest of thatched roof in Kioto.

Another form of Mikawa roof, very simple and plain in structure, is shown
in _fig. 90_. Here the ridge‐roof is covered with a continuous sheathing
of large bamboos, with rafter‐poles at the ends coming through the thatch
and projecting beyond the peak.

In the provinces of Kii and Yamato the forms of ridges are generally very
simple. In one form, common in the province of Kii, the ridge‐roof, which
has a much sharper incline than the roof proper, is covered with bark,
this being bound down by parallel strips, or whole rods of bamboo; and
spanning the ridge at intervals are straw saddles sheathed with bark.
These are very narrow at the ridge, but widen at their extremities.

               [Fig. 90.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.]

                Fig. 90.—Crest of thatched roof in Mikawa.

The smoke‐outlet is a small triangular opening (_fig. 91_). In the
province of Yamato there are two forms of roof very common. In one of
these the roof is a gable, the end‐walls, plastered with clay and chopped
straw, projecting above the roof a foot or more, and capped with a simple
row of tiles (_fig. 92_),—the ridge in this roof being made as in the last
one described. In another form of roof with a similar ridge, the thatch on
the slopes of the roof is trimmed in such a way as to present the
appearance of a series of thick layers, resting one upon another like
shingles, only each lap being eighteen inches to two feet apart, with
thick edges. It was interesting and curious to find in the ancient
province of Yamato this peculiar treatment of the slopes of a thatched
roof, precisely like certain roofs seen among the houses of the Ainos of

                [Fig. 91.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.]

                 Fig. 91.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.

In the provinces of Totomi and Suruga a form of ridge was observed, unlike
any encountered elsewhere in Japan. The ridge‐roof was large and sharply
angular. Resting upon the thatch, from the ridge‐pole half way down to the
main roof, were bamboos placed side by side, parallel to the ridge. Upon
this layer of bamboos were wide saddles of bark a foot or more in length,
with an interspace of nearly two feet between each saddle, these reaching
down to the main roof. On each side of the ridge‐roof, and running
parallel to the ridge, were large bamboo poles resting on the saddles, and
bound down firmly with cords. On the sharp crest of the roof rested a long
round ridge‐pole. This pole was kept in place by wide bamboo slats, bent
abruptly into a yoke, in shape not unlike a pair of sugar‐tongs, and these
spanning the pole were thrust obliquely into the thatch. These were placed
in pairs and crosswise in the interspaces between the bark saddles. On the
ends of the ridge there were two bamboo yokes together. The sketch of this
roof (_fig. 93_) will give a much clearer idea of its appearance and
structure than any description. This style of roof was unique, and
appeared to be very strong and durable.

                   [Fig. 92.—Thatched roof in Totomi.]

                    Fig. 92.—Thatched roof in Totomi.

                [Fig. 93.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.]

                 Fig. 93.—Crest of thatched roof in Kii.

In the province of Ise a simple type of roof was seen (_fig. 94_). The
ridge‐roof was quite low, sheathed with bark and bound down with a number
of bamboos. At the gable were round masses of thatch covered with bark,
which formed an ornamental moulding at the verge.(11)

In the province of Osumi, on the eastern side of Kagoshima Gulf, the
vertical walls of the buildings are very low; but these support thatched
roofs of ponderous proportions. These roofs are somewhat steeper than the
northern roof, and their ridges are wide and bluntly rounded. The ends of
the ridge are finished with a wide matting of bamboo, and this material is
used in binding down the ridge itself (_fig. 54_).

There are doubtless many other forms of thatched roof, but it is believed
that the examples given present the leading types.

                [Fig. 94.—Crest of thatched roof in Ise.]

                 Fig. 94.—Crest of thatched roof in Ise.

As one becomes familiar with the picturesqueness and diversity in the
Japanese roof and ridge, he wonders why the architects of our own country
have not seen fit to extend their taste and ingenuity to the roof, as well
as to the sides of the house. There is no reason why the ridge of an
ordinary wooden house should invariably be composed of two narrow weather‐
strips, or why the roof itself should always be stiff, straight, and
angular. Certainly our rigorous climate can be no excuse for this, for on
the upper St. John, and in the northern part of Maine, one sees the wooden
houses of the French Canadians having roofs widely projecting, with the
eaves gracefully turning upward, presenting a much prettier appearance
than does the stiff angular roof of the New England house.

It is indeed a matter of wonder that some one in building a house in this
country does not revert to a thatched roof. Our architectural history
shows an infinite number of reversions, and if a thatched roof were again
brought into vogue, a new charm would be added to our landscape. The
thatched roof is picturesque and warm, and makes a good rain‐shed. In
Japan an ordinary thatched roof will remain in good condition from fifteen
to twenty years; and I have been told that the best kinds of thatched roof
will endure for fifty years, though this seems incredible. As they get
weather‐worn they are often patched and repaired, and finally have to be
entirely renewed. Old roofs become filled with dust, assume a dark color,
and get matted down; plants, weeds, and mosses of various kinds grow upon
them, as well as masses of gray lichen. When properly constructed they
shed water very promptly, and do not get water‐soaked, as one might

           [Fig. 95.—Paved space under eaves of thatched roof.]

            Fig. 95.—Paved space under eaves of thatched roof.

It is customary in the better class of houses having thatched roofs to
pave the ground with small cobble‐stones, for a breadth of two feet or
more immediately below the eaves, to catch the drip, as in a thatched roof
it is difficult to adjust any sort of a gutter or water‐conductor. Fig. 95
illustrates the appearance of the paved space about a house, the roof of
which is shown in _fig. 85_. It is customary in the better class of houses
having thatched roofs to pave the ground with small cobble‐stones, for a
breadth of two feet or more immediately below the eaves, to catch the
drip, as in a thatched roof it is difficult to adjust any sort of a gutter
or water‐conductor. _Fig. 95_ illustrates the appearance of the paved
space about a house, the roof of which is shown in _fig. 85_.

The translation of the terms applied to many parts of the house is quite
curious and interesting. The word _mune,_ signifying the ridge of the
house, has the same meaning as with us; the same word is applied to the
back of a sword and to the ridge of a mountain. In Korea the ridge of the
thatched roof is braided, or at least the thatch seems to be knotted or
braided at this point; and the Korean word for the ridge means literally
_back‐bone,_ from its resemblance to the back‐bone of a fish.

In Japan the roof of a house is called _yane._ Now, _yane_ literally means
_house‐root;_ but how such a term could be applied to the roof is a
mystery. I have questioned many intelligent Japanese in regard to this
word, and have never received any satisfactory answer as to the reason of
its application to the roof of a house. A Korean friend has suggested that
the name might have been applied through association: a tree without a
root dies, and a house without a roof decays. He also told me that the
Chinese character _ne_ meant origin.

In Korea the foundation of a house is called the foot of the house, and
the foundation stones are called shoe‐stones.

The Japanese word for ceiling is _ten‐jō,_—literally, “heaven’s well.” It
is an interesting fact that the root of both words, _ceiling_ and _ten‐
jō,_ means “heaven.”


The interior of a Japanese house is so simple in its construction, and so
unlike anything to which we are accustomed in the arrangement of details
of interiors in this country, that it is difficult to find terms of
comparison in attempting to describe it. Indeed, without the assistance of
sketches it would be almost impossible to give a clear idea of the general
appearance, and more especially the details, of Japanese house‐interiors.
We shall therefore mainly rely on the various figures, with such aid as
description may render.

The first thing that impresses one on entering a Japanese house is the
small size and low stud of the rooms. The ceilings are so low that in many
cases one can easily touch them, and in going from one room to another one
is apt to strike his head against the _kamoi,_ or lintel. He notices also
the constructive features everywhere apparent,—in the stout wooden posts,
supports, cross‐ties, etc. The rectangular shape of the rooms, and the
general absence of all jogs and recesses save the _tokonoma_ and companion
recess in the best room are noticeable features. These recesses vary in
depth from two to three feet or more, depending on the size of the room,
and are almost invariably in that side of the room which runs at a right
angle with the verandah (_fig. 96_); or if in the second story, at a right
angle with the balcony. The division between the recesses consists of a
light partition, partly or wholly closed, which generally separates the
recesses into two equal bays. The bay nearest the verandah is called the
_tokonoma._ In this recess hang one or two pictures, usually one; and on
its floor, which is slightly raised above the level of the mats of the
main floor, stands a vase or some other ornament. The companion bay has
usually a little closet or cupboard closed by sliding screens, and one or
two shelves above, and also another long shelf near its ceiling, all
closed by sliding screens. At the risk of some repetition, more special
reference will be made farther on to these peculiar and eminently
characteristic features of the Japanese house.

                   [Fig. 96.—Guest‐room in Hachi‐ishi.]

                    Fig. 96.—Guest‐room in Hachi‐ishi.

In my remarks on Japanese house‐construction, in Chapter I., allusion was
made to the movable partitions dividing the rooms, consisting of light
frames of wood covered with paper. These are nearly six feet in height,
and about three feet in width. The frame‐work of a house, as we have
already said, is arranged with special reference to the sliding screens,
as well as to the number of mats which are to cover the floor. In each
corner of the room is a square post, and within eighteen inches or two
feet of the ceiling cross‐beams ran from post to post. These cross‐beams
have grooves on their under side in which the screens are to run. Not only
are most of the partitions between the rooms made up of sliding screens,
but a large portion of the exterior partitions as well are composed of
these light and adjustable devices. A house may have a suite of three or
four rooms in a line, and the outside partitions be made up entirely of
these movable screens and the necessary posts to support the roof,—these
posts coming in the corners of the rooms and marking the divisions between
the rooms. The outer screens are covered with white paper, and when
closed, a subdued and diffused light enters the room. They may be quickly
removed, leaving the entire front of the house open to the air and
sunshine. The screens between the rooms are covered with a thick paper,
which may be left plain, or ornamented with sketchy or elaborate drawings.

The almost entire absence of swinging doors is at once noticeable, though
now and then one sees them in other portions of the house. The absence of
all paint, varnish, oil, or filling, which, too often defaces our rooms at
home, is at once remarked; and the ridiculous absurdity of covering a good
grained wood‐surface with paint, and then with brush and comb trying to
imitate Nature by scratching in a series of lines, the Japanese are never
guilty of. On the contrary, the wood is left in just the condition in
which it leaves the cabinet‐maker’s plane, with a simple surface, smooth
but not polished,—though polished surfaces occur, however, which will be
referred to in the proper place. Oftentimes in some of the parts the
original surface of the wood is left, sometimes with the bark retained.
Whenever the Japanese workman can leave a bit of Nature in this way he is
delighted to do so. He is sure to avail himself of all curious features in
wood: it may be the effect of some fungoid growth which marks a bamboo
curiously; or the sinuous tracks produced by the larvae of some beetle
that oftentimes traces the surface of wood, just below the bark, with
curious designs; or a knot or burl. His eye never misses these features in
finishing a room.

The floors are often roughly made, for the reason that straw mats, two or
three inches in thickness, cover them completely. In our remarks on house‐
construction, allusion has already been made to the dimensions of these

Before proceeding further into the details of the rooms, it will be well
to examine the plans of a few dwellings copied directly from the
architect’s drawings. The first plan given (_fig. 97_) is that of a house
built in Tokio a few years ago, in which the writer has spent many
pleasant hours. The main house measures twenty‐one by thirty‐one feet; the
L measures fifteen by twenty‐four feet. The solid black squares represent
the heavier upright beams which support the roof. The solid black circles
represent the support for the L as well as for the verandah roof. The
areas marked with close parallel lines indicate the verandah, while the
double parallel lines indicate the sliding screens,—the solid black lines
showing the permanent partitions. The kitchen, bathroom, and certain
platforms are indicated by parallel lines somewhat wider apart than those
that indicate the verandah. The lines running obliquely indicate an area
where the boards run towards a central gutter slightly depressed below the
common level of the floor. Here stands the large earthen water‐jar or the
wooden bath‐tub; and water spilled upon the floor finds its way out of the
house by the gutter. The small areas on the outside of the house, shaded
in section, represent the closets or cases in which the storm‐blinds or
wooden shutters, which so effectually close the house at night, are stowed
away in the day‐time. The house contains a vestibule, a hall, seven rooms,
not including the kitchen, and nine closets. These rooms, if named after
our nomenclature, would be as follows: study, library, parlor, sitting‐
room, dining‐room, bed‐room, servants’‐room, and kitchen. As no room
contains any article of furniture like a bedstead.—the bed consisting of
wadded comforters, being made up temporarily upon the soft mats,—it is
obvious that the bedding can be placed in any room in the house. The
absence of nearly all furniture gives one an uninterrupted sweep of the
floor, so that the entire floor can be covered with sleepers if
necessary,—a great convenience certainly when one has to entertain
unexpectedly a crowd of guests over‐night. Certain closets are used as
receptacles for the comforters, where they are stowed away during the day‐

The absence of all barns, wood‐sheds, and other out‐houses is particularly
noticeable, and as the house has no cellar, one wonders where the fuel is
stowed. In certain areas of the kitchen floor the planks are removable,
the edges of special planks being notched to admit the finger, so that
they can be lifted up one by one; and beneath them a large space is
revealed, in which wood and charcoal are kept. In the vestibule, which has
an earth floor, is a narrow area of wood flush with the floor within, and
in this also the boards may be lifted up in a similar way, disclosing a
space below, wherein the wooden clogs and umbrellas may be stowed out of
sight. These arrangements in the hall are seen in the houses of the
moderately well‐to‐do people, but not, so far as I know, in the houses of
the wealthy.

               [Fig. 97.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio.]

Fig. 97.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio. _P,_ Parlor or Guest‐room; _S,_
Sitting‐room; _D,_ Dining‐room; _L,_ Library, _St,_ Study, _SR_ Servants’
Room; _B,_ Bed‐room, _K,_ Kitchen, _H,_ Hall; _V_ Vestibule; _C,_ Closet;
             _T_ Tokonoma; _Sh,_ Shrine, _U_ and _L,_ Privy.

In this house the dining‐room and library are six‐mat rooms, the parlor is
an eight‐mat room, and the sitting‐room a four and one‐half mat room; that
is, the floor of each room accommodates the number of mats mentioned. The
last three named rooms are bordered by the verandah.

The expense of this house complete was about one thousand dollars. The
land upon which it stood contained about 10,800 square feet, and was
valued at three hundred and thirty dollars. Upon this the Government
demanded a tax of five dollars. The house furnished with these mats,
requires little else with which to begin house‐keeping.

A comfortable house, fit for the habitation of a family of four or five,
may be built for a far less sum of money, and the fewness and cheapness of
the articles necessary to furnish it surpass belief. In mentioning such a
modest house and furnishing, the reader must not imagine that the family
are constrained for want of room, or stinted in the necessary furniture;
on the contrary, they are enabled to live in the most comfortable manner.
Their wants are few, and their tastes are simple and refined. They live
without the slightest ostentation; no false display leads them into
criminal debt. The monstrous bills for carpets, curtains, furniture,
silver, dishes, etc., often entailed upon young house‐keepers at home in
any attempt at house‐keeping,—the premonition even of such bills often
preventing marriage,—are social miseries that the Japanese happily know
but little about.

Simple as the house just given appears to be, there is quite as much
variety in the arrangement of their rooms as with us. There are cheap
types of houses in Japan, as in our country, where room follows room in a
certain sequence; but the slightest attention to these matters will not
only show great variety in their plans, but equally great variety in the
ornamental finishing of their apartments.

The plan shown in _fig. 98_ is that of the house represented in figs. 36
and 37. The details are figured as in the previous plan. This house has on
the ground‐floor seven rooms besides the kitchen, hall, and bath‐room. The
kitchen and bath‐room are indicated, as in the former plan, by their
floors being ruled in wide parallel lines,—the lines running obliquely, as
in the former case, indicating the bath‐room or wash‐rooms.

The owner of this house has often welcomed me to its soft mats and quiet
atmosphere, and in the enjoyment of them I have often wondered as to the
impressions one would get if he could be suddenly transferred from his own
home to this unpretentious house, with its quaint and pleasant
surroundings. The general nakedness, or rather emptiness, of the
apartments would be the first thing noticed; then gradually the perfect
harmony of the tinted walls with the wood finish would be observed. The
orderly adjusted screens, with their curious free‐hand ink‐drawings, or
conventional designs on the paper of so subdued and intangible a character
that special attention must be directed to them to perceive their nature;
the clean and comfortable mats everywhere smoothly covering the floor; the
natural woods composing the ceiling and the structural finishing of the
room everywhere apparent; the customary recesses with their cupboard and
shelves, and the room‐wide lintel with its elaborate lattice or carving
above,—all these would leave lasting impressions of the exquisite taste
and true refinement of the Japanese.

I noticed that a peculiarly agreeable odor of the wood used in the
structure of this house seemed to fill the air of the rooms with a a
delicate perfume;(12) and in this connection I was led to think of the
rooms I had seen in America encumbered with chairs, bureaus, tables,
bedsteads, wash‐stands, etc., and of the dusty carpets and suffocating
wall‐paper, hot with some frantic design, and perforated with a pair of
quadrangular openings, wholly or partially closed against light and air.
Recalling this labyrinth of varnished furniture, I could but remember how
much work is entailed upon some one properly to attend to such a room; and
enjoying by contrast the fresh air and broad flood of light, limited only
by the dimensions of the room, which this Japanese house afforded, I could
not recall with any pleasure the stifling apartments with which I had been
familiar at home.

               [Fig. 98.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio.]

Fig. 98.—Plan of dwelling‐house in Tokio. _P,_ Parlor or Guest‐room; _B,_
  Bed‐room, _K,_ Kitchen, _SR_ Servants’ Room; _BR,_ Bath Room, _E, E,_
Side‐entrances, _V_ Vestibule; _H,_ Hall; _WR,_ Waiting‐room; _C,_ Closet;
                    _T_ Tokonoma; _U_ and _L,_ Privy.

If a foreigner is not satisfied with the severe simplicity, and what might
at first strike him as a meagreness, in the appointments of a Japanese
house, and is nevertheless a man of taste, he is compelled to admit that
its paucity of furniture and carpets spares one the misery of certain
painful feelings that incongruities always produce. He recalls with
satisfaction certain works on household art, in which it is maintained
that a table with carved cherubs beneath, against whose absurd contours
one knocks his legs, is an abomination; and that carpets which have
depicted upon them winged angels, lions, or tigers,—or, worse still, a
simpering and reddened maiden being made love to by an equally ruddy
shepherd,—are hardly the proper surfaces to tread upon with comfort,
though one may take a certain grim delight in wiping his soiled boots upon
them. In the Japanese house the traveller is at least not exasperated with
such a medley of dreadful things; he is certainly spared the pains that
“civilized” styles of appointing and furnishing often produce.  Mr. Lowell
truthfully remarks on “the waste, and aimlessness of our American luxury,
which is an abject enslavement to tawdry upholstery.”

We are digressing, however. In the plan referred to, an idea of the size
of the rooms may be formed by observing the number of mats in each room,
and recalling the size of the mats, which is about three feet by six. It
will be seen that the rooms are small, much smaller than those of a
similar class of American houses, though appearing more roomy from the
absence of furniture. The three rooms bordering the verandah and facing
the garden are readily thrown into one, and thus a continuous apartment is
secured, measuring thirty‐six feet in length by twelve in width; and this
is uninterrupted, with the exception of one small partition.(13)

In the manner of building, one recognizes the propriety of constructive
art as being in better taste; and in a Japanese house one sees this
principle carried out to perfection. The ceiling of boards, the corner
posts and middle posts and transverse ties are in plain sight. The corner
posts which support the roof play their part as a decorative feature, as
they pass stoutly upward from the ground beneath. A fringe of rafters rib
the lower surface of the wide overhanging eaves, and these in turn rest
firmly on an unhewn beam which runs as a girder from one side of the
verandah to the other. The house is simply charming in all its
appointments, and as a summer‐house during the many long hot months it is
incomparable. In the raw and rainy days of winter, however, it is not so
pleasant, at least to a foreigner,—though I question whether to a Japanese
it is more unpleasant than the ordinary houses at home are with us, with
some of the apartments hot and stifling, and things cracking with the
furnace heat, while other parts are splitting with the cold; with gas from
the furnace, and chimneys that often refuse to draw, and an impalpable
though tangible soot and coal‐dust settling on every object, and many
other abominations that are too well known. The Japanese do not suffer
from the cold as we do. Moreover, when in the house they clothe themselves
much more warmly; and for what little artificial warmth they desire, small
receptacles containing charcoal are provided, over which they warm
themselves, at the same time keeping their feet warm, as a hen does her
eggs, by sitting on them. Their indifference to cold is seen in the fact
that in their winter‐parties the rooms will often be entirely open to the
garden, which may be glistening with a fresh snowfall. Their winters are
of course much milder than our Northern winters. At such seasons, however,
an American misses in Japan the cheerful open fireplace around which the
family in his own country is wont to gather; indeed, with the social
character of our family life a Japanese house to us would be in winter
comfortless to the last degree.

The differences between the houses of the nobles and the _samurai_ are
quite as great as the differences between these latter houses and the rude
shelters of the peasant class. The differences between the interior finish
of the houses of the first two mentioned classes are perhaps not so
marked, as in both cases clean wood‐work, simplicity of style, and purity
of finish are aimed at; but the house of the noble is marked by a grander
entrance, a far greater extent of rooms and passages, and a modification
in the arrangement of certain rooms and passages not seen in the ordinary

The accompanying plan of a Daimio’s house (_fig. 99_)(14) is from a
drawing made by Mr. Miyasaki, a student in the Kaikoshia, a private school
of architecture in Tokio, and exhibited with other plans at the late
International Health and Education Exhibition held in London. Through the
kindness of Mr. S. Tejima the Japanese commissioner, I have been enabled
to examine and study these plans.

          [Fig. 99.—Plan of a portion of a Daimyo’s residence.]

           Fig. 99.—Plan of a portion of a Daimyo’s residence.

The punctilious way in which guests or official callers were received by
the Daimio is indicated by a curious modification of the floor of one of a
suite of rooms, which is raised a few inches above the level of the other
floors, forming a sort of dais. These rooms are bordered by a sort of
passage‐way, or intermediate portion, called the _iri‐kawa,_ which comes
between the room and the verandah. To be more explicit: within the
boundary of the principal guest‐room there appears to be a suite of
smaller rooms marked off by _shōji;_ one of these rooms called the _ge‐
dan_ has its floor on a level with the other floors of the house. The
other room, called the _jō‐dan,_ has its floor raised to a height of three
or four inches above that of the _ge‐dan,_ its boundary or border being
marked by a polished plank forming a frame, so to speak, for the mats. On
that side of the _jō‐dan_ away from the _ge‐dan_ are the _tokonoma_ and
_chigai‐dana._ On entering such a room from the verandah one passes
through the usual _shōji,_ and then across a matted area called the _iri‐
kawa,_ the width of one mat or more; here he comes to another line of
sliding screens, which open into the apartments just described. When the
Daimio receives the calls from those who come to congratulate him on New
Year’s day, and other important occasions, he sits in great dignity in the
_jō‐dan;_ his chief minister and other attendants occupy the _iri‐kawa,_
while the visitors enter the _ge‐dan,_ and there make their obeisance to
the Worshipful Daimio Sama. In the same plan there is another suite of
rooms called the _kami‐noma_ and _tsugi‐noma_ surrounded by _iri‐kawa,_
probably used for similar purposes.

In this plan the close parallel lines indicate the verandahs; the thick
lines, permanent partitions; and the small black squares, the upright
posts. The lines of _shōji_ and _fusuma_ are shown by the thin lines,
which with the thick lines represent the boundaries of the rooms, passage‐
ways, etc.

A more minute description of the mats may be given at this point. A brief
allusion has already been made to them in the remarks on house‐
construction. These mats, or _tatami,_ are made very carefully of straw,
matted and bound together with stout string to the thickness of two inches
or more,—the upper surface being covered with a straw‐matting precisely
like the Canton matting we are familiar with, though in the better class
of mats of a little finer quality. The edges are trimmed true and square,
and the two longer sides are bordered on the upper surface and edge with a
strip of black linen an inch or more in width (_fig. 100_).

The making of mats is quite a separate trade from that of making the
straw‐matting with which they are covered. The mat‐maker may often be seen
at work in front of his door, crouching down to a low frame upon which the
mat rests.

                             [Fig. 100.—Mat.]

                              Fig. 100.—Mat.

As we have before remarked, the architect invariably plans his rooms to
accommodate a certain number of mats; and since these mats have a definite
size, any indication on the plan of the number of mats a room is to
contain gives at once its dimensions also. The mats are laid in the
following numbers,—two, three, four and one‐half, six, eight, ten, twelve,
fourteen, sixteen, and so on. In the two‐mat room the mats are laid side
by side. In the three‐mat room the mats may be laid side by side, or two
mats in one way and the third mat crosswise at the end. In the four and
one‐half mat room the mats are laid with the half‐mat in one corner. The
six and eight mat rooms are the most common‐sized rooms; and this gives
some indication of the small size of the ordinary Japanese room and
house,—the six‐mat room being about nine feet by twelve; the eight‐mat
room being twelve by twelve; and the ten‐mat room being twelve by fifteen.
The accompanying sketch (_fig. 101_) shows the usual arrangements for
these mats.

        [Fig. 101.—Arrangement of mats in different‐sized rooms.]

         Fig. 101.—Arrangement of mats in different‐sized rooms.

In adjusting mats to the floor, the corners of four mats are never allowed
to come together, but are arranged so that the corners of two mats abut
against the side of a third. They are supposed to be arranged in the
direction of a closely‐wound spiral (see dotted line in _fig. 101_). The
edges of the longer sides of the ordinary mats are bound with a narrow
strip of black linen, as before remarked. In the houses of the nobles this
border strip has figures worked into it in black and white, as may be seen
by reference to Japanese illustrated books showing interiors. These mats
fit tightly, and the floor upon which they rest, never being in sight, is
generally made of rough boards with open joints. The mat, as you step upon
it, yields slightly to the pressure of the foot; and old mats get to be
slightly uneven and somewhat hard from continual use. From the nature of
this soft‐matted floor shoes are never worn upon it,—the Japanese
invariably leaving their wooden clogs outside the house, either on the
stepping‐stones or on the earth‐floor at the entrance. The wearing of
one’s shoes in the house is one of the many coarse and rude ways in which
a foreigner is likely to offend these people. The hard heels of a boot or
shoe not only leave deep indentations in the upper matting, but oftentimes
break through. Happily, however, the act of removing one’s shoes on
entering the house is one of the very few customs that foreigners
recognize,—the necessity of compliance being too obvious to dispute. In
spring‐time, or during a rain of long duration, the mats become damp and
musty; and when a day of sunshine comes they are taken up and stacked,
like cards, in front of the house to dry. They are also removed at times
and well beaten. Their very nature affords abundant hiding‐places for
fleas, which are the unmitigated misery of foreigners who travel in Japan;
though even this annoyance is generally absent in private houses of the
better classes, as is the case with similar pests in our country.

Upon these mats the people eat, sleep, and die; they represent the bed,
chair, lounge, and sometimes table, combined. In resting upon them the
Japanese assume a kneeling position,—the legs turned beneath, and the
haunches resting upon the calves of the legs and the inner sides of the
heels; the toes turned in so that the upper and outer part of the instep
bears directly on the mats. _Fig. 102_ represents a woman in the attitude
of sitting. In old people one often notices a callosity on that part of
the foot which comes in contact with the mat, and but for a knowledge of
the customs of the people in this matter might well wonder how such a
hardening of the flesh could occur in such an odd place. This position is
so painful to a foreigner that it is only with a great deal of practice he
can become accustomed to it. Even the Japanese who have been abroad for
several years find it excessively difficult and painful to resume this
habit. In this attitude the Japanese receive their company. Hand‐shaking
is unknown, but bows of various degrees of profundity are made by placing
the hands together upon the mats and bowing until the head oftentimes
touches the hands. In this ceremony the back is kept parallel with the
floor, or nearly so.

                [Fig. 102.—Attitude of woman in sitting.]

                 Fig. 102.—Attitude of woman in sitting.

At meal‐times the food is served in lacquer and porcelain dishes on
lacquer trays, placed upon the floor in front of the kneeling family; and
in this position the repast is taken.

At night a heavily wadded comforter is placed upon the floor; another
equally thick is provided for a blanket, a pillow of diminutive
proportions for a head‐support,—and the bed is made. In the morning these
articles are stowed away in a large closet. Further reference will be made
to bedding in the proper place.

A good quality of mats can be made for one dollar and a half a‐piece;
though they sometimes cost three or four dollars, and even a higher price.
The poorest mats cost from sixty to eighty cents a‐piece. The matting for
the entire house represented in plan _fig. 97_ cost fifty‐two dollars and
fifty cents.

Reference has already been made to the sliding screens, and as they form
so important and distinct a feature in the Japanese house, a more special
description of them is necessary. In our American houses a lintel is the
horizontal beam placed over the door; this is cased with wood, and has a
jamb or recess corresponding to the vertical recesses into which the door
shuts. For the sake of clearness, we may imagine a lintel running entirely
across the room from one corner to the other, and this is the _kamoi_ of
the Japanese room. The beam is not cased. On its under surface run two
deep and closely parallel grooves, and directly beneath this _kamoi_ on
the floor a surface of wood shows in which are two exceedingly shallow
grooves. This surface is level with the mats; and in these grooves the
screens run. The grooves in the _kamoi_ are made deep, in order that the
screens may be lifted out of the floor‐grooves and then dropped from the
upper ones, and thus removed. In this way a suite of rooms can be quickly
turned into one, by the removal of the screens. The grooves are
sufficiently wide apart to permit the screens being pushed by each other.
From the adjustable nature of these sliding partitions one may have the
opening between the rooms of any width he desires.

           [Fig. 103.—Section through verandah and guest‐room.]

            Fig. 103.—Section through verandah and guest‐room.

There are two forms of these sliding screens,—the one kind, called
_fusuma,_ forming the partitions between rooms; the other kind, called
_shōji,_ coming on the outer sides of the rooms next to the verandah, and
forming the substitutes for windows (_fig. 103_).

The _fusuma_ forming the movable partitions between the rooms are covered
on both sides with thick paper; and as it was customary in past times to
use Chinese paper for this purpose, these devices are also called _kara‐
kami,_—“China‐paper.” The frame is not unlike the frame used for the
outside screens, consisting of thin vertical and horizontal strips of wood
forming a grating, with the meshes four or five inches in width, and two
inches in height.  The outside frame or border is usually left plain, as
is the case with most of their wood‐work. It is not uncommon, however, to
see these frames lacquered. The material used for covering them consists
of a stout, thick, and durable paper; and this is often richly decorated.
Sometimes a continuous scene will stretch like a panorama across the whole
side of a room. The old castles contain some celebrated paintings on these
_fusuma,_ by famous artists.  The use of heavy gold‐leaf in combination
with the paintings produces a decorative effect rich beyond description.
In the commoner houses the _fusuma_ are often undecorated save by the
paper which covers them; and the material for this purpose is infinite in
its variety,—some kinds being curiously wrinkled, other kinds seeming to
have interwoven in their texture the delicate green threads of some sea‐
weed; while other kinds still will have the rich brown sheaths of bamboo
shoots worked into the paper, producing a quaint and pleasing effect.
Often the paper is perfectly plain; and if by chance an artist friend
comes to the house, he is asked to leave some little sketch upon these
surfaces as a memento of his visit: others perhaps may have already
covered portions of the surface with some landscape or spray of flowers.
In old inns one has often pointed out to him the work of some famous
artist, who probably paid his score in this way.

While the _fusuma_ are almost invariably covered with thick and opaque
paper, it occurs sometimes that light is required in a back‐room; in that
case, while the upper and lower third of the _fusuma_ retains its usual
character, the central third has a _shōji_ inserted,—that is, a slight
frame‐work covered with white paper, through which light enters as in the
outside screens. This frame is removable, so that it can be re‐covered
with paper when required. This frame‐work is often made in ornamental
patterns, geometrical or natural designs being common. In summer another
kind of frame may be substituted in the _fusuma,_ termed a _yoshi‐do,_ in
which a kind of rush called _yoshi_ takes the place of paper; the _yoshi_
is arranged in a close grating through which the air has free access and a
little light may enter. The _fusuma_ may be entirely composed of _yoshi_
and the appropriate frame‐work to hold it. One of this kind is represented
in _fig. 104_. The lower portion consists of a panel of dark cedar, in
which are cut or perforated the figures of bats; above this panel are
transverse bars of light cedar, and filling up the border of the frame is
a close grating of brown reeds or rushes placed vertically; at the top is
a wide interspace crossed by a single root of bamboo. The _yoshi_
resembles miniature bamboo, the rods being the size of an ordinary wheat‐
straw, and having a warm brown tint. This is employed in many ways in the
decoration of interiors, and the use of so fragile and delicate a material
in house‐finish is one of the many indications of the quiet and gentle
manners of the Japanese.

                         [Fig. 104.—Reed‐screen.]

                          Fig. 104.—Reed‐screen.

Oftentimes a narrow permanent partition occurs in which is an opening,—the
width of one _fusuma,—_ which takes the place of our swinging and slamming
door. In this case the _fusuma_ is a more solid and durable structure. The
one shown in _fig. 105_ is of the nature of a door, since it guards the
opening which leads from the hall to the other apartments of the house. A
rich and varied effect is produced by the use and arrangement of light and
dark bamboo and heavily‐grained wood, the central panels being of dark
cedar. In the vestibule one often sees sliding screens consisting of a
single panel of richly‐grained cedar.

                        [Fig. 105.—Sliding panel.]

                         Fig. 105.—Sliding panel.

Conveniences for pushing back the _fusuma_ are secured in a variety of
ways; the usual form consists of an oval or circular plate of thin metal,
having a depressed area, inserted in the _fusuma_ in about the same
position a doorknob would be with us.  These are called _hikite,_ and
often present beautiful examples of metal‐work, being elaborately carved
and sometimes enamelled. The same caprices and delights in ornamentation
seen elsewhere in their work find full play in the designs of the
_hikite._ _Fig. 106_ shows one from the house of a noble; its design
represents an inkstone and two brushes,—the brushes being silvered and
tipped with lacquer, while in the recessed portion is engraved a dragon.
Fig. 107 represents one made of copper, in which the leaves and berries
are enamelled; the leaves green, and the berries red and white. Figs. 108
and 109 show more pretentious as well as cheaper forms, the designs being
stamped and not cut by hand. Sometimes _hikite_ are made of porcelain. In
the cheaper forms of _fusuma,_ the _hikite_ consists of a depressed area
in the paper formed by a modification of the frame itself. In
illustrations of fine interiors one often notices a form of _hikite_ from
which hang two short cords of silk tied in certain formal ways, on the
ends of which are tassels. From the almost universal presence of these in
old illustrated books, one is led to believe that formerly the cord was
the usual handle by which the _fusuma_ was pulled back and forth, and that
these gradually fell into disuse, the recessed plate of metal alone
remaining. This form of _hikite_ is rarely seen to‐day, though a few of
the old Daimios’ houses still possess it. _Fig. 110_ represents two forms
copied from a book entitled “Tategu Hinagata.”

                           [Fig. 106.—Hikite.]

                            Fig. 106.—Hikite.

                           [Fig. 107.—Hikite.]

                            Fig. 107.—Hikite.

                           [Fig. 108.—Hikite.]

                            Fig. 108.—Hikite.

                           [Fig. 109.—Hikite.]

                            Fig. 109.—Hikite.

                      [Fig. 110.—Hikite with cord.]

                       Fig. 110.—Hikite with cord.

The outside screens, or _shōji,_ which take the place of our windows, are
those screens which border the verandah, or come on that side of the room
towards the exterior wall of the house. These consist of a light frame‐
work made of thin bars of wood crossing and matched into each other,
leaving small rectangular interspaces. The lower portion of the _shōji,_
to the height of a foot from the floor, is usually a wood‐panel, as a
protection against careless feet as well as to strengthen the frame. The
_shōji_ are covered on the outside with white paper. The only light the
room receives when the _shōji_ are closed comes through this paper, and
the room is flooded with a soft diffused light which is very agreeable.
The _hikite_ for pushing the _shōji_ back is arranged by one of the
rectangular spaces being papered on the opposite side, thus leaving a
convenient recess for the fingers.

Sometimes little holes or rents are accidentally made in this paper‐
covering of the _shōji;_ and in the mending of these places the Japanese,
ever true in their artistic feeling, repair the damage, not by square bits
of paper as we should probably, but by cutting out pretty designs of
cherry or plum blossoms and patching the rents with these. When observing
this artistic device I have often wondered how the broken panes of some of
our country houses must look to a Japanese,—the repairs being effected by
the use of dirty bags stuffed with straw, or more commonly by battered
hats jammed into the gaps. Sometimes the frame of a _shōji_ gets sprung or
thrown out of its true rectangular shape; this is remedied by inserting at
intervals in the meshes of the frame‐work elastic strips of bamboo, and
the constant pressure of these strips in one direction tends to bring the
frame straight again. _Fig. 111_ illustrates the appearance of this; the
curved lines representing the elastic strips.

                  [Fig. 111.—Straightening shōji frame.]

                   Fig. 111.—Straightening shōji frame.

There are innumerable designs employed in the _shōji;_ and in this, as in
many other parts of the interior, the Japanese show an infinite amount of
taste and ingenuity. _Fig. 112_ illustrates one of these ornamental forms.
At present in the cities it is common to see a narrow strip of window
glass inserted across the _shōji_ about two feet from the floor. It seems
odd at first sight to see it placed so low, until one recalls the fact
that the inmates sit on the mats, and the glass in this position is on a
level with their line of vision. As a general rule the designs for the
_shōji_ are more simple than those employed for certain exterior openings
which may be regarded as windows, while those which cover the openings
between the rooms are most complex and elaborate. Further reference,
however, will be made to these in the proper place.

                 [Fig. 112.—Shōji with ornamental frame.]

                  Fig. 112.—Shōji with ornamental frame.

It has been necessary to anticipate the special description of the
details of a room in so far as a description of the mats and screens were
concerned, since a general idea of the interior could not be well
understood without clearly understanding the nature of those objects which
form inseparable elements of every Japanese room, and which are so unlike
anything to which we are accustomed. Having given these features, it may
be well to glance at a general view of the few typical rooms before
examining farther into the details of their finish.

The room shown in _fig. 96_ gives a fair idea of the appearance of the
guest‐room with its two bays or recesses, the _tokonoma_ and _chigai‐
dana,_—one of which, the _tokonoma,_ is a clear recess, in which usually
hangs a picture; and in the other is a small closet and shelf, and an
additional shelf above, closed by sliding doors. The sketch was taken from
the adjoining room, the _fusuma_ between the two having been removed. The
grooves for the _fusuma_ may be seen in the floor and in the _kamoi_
overhead. The farther recess is called the _tokonoma,_ which means
literally, “bed‐space.” This recess, or at least its raised platform, is
supposed to have been anciently used for the bed‐place.(15)

Let us pause for a moment to consider the peculiar features of this room.
The partition separating the two recesses has for its post a stick of
timber, from which the bark only has been removed; and this post, or
_toko‐bashira_ as it is called, is almost invariably a stick of wood in
its natural state, or with the bark only removed; and if it is gnarled, or
tortuous in grain, or if it presents knots or burls, it is all the more
desirable. Sometimes the post may be hewn in such a way that in section it
has an octagonal form,—the cutting being done in broad scarfs, giving it a
peculiar appearance as shown in _fig. 113_. Sometimes the post may have
one or two branches above, which are worked into the structure as an
ornamental feature. The ceiling of the _tokonoma_ is usually, if not
always, flush, with the ceiling of the room, while that of the _chigai‐
dana_ is much lower. The floor of the _tokonoma_ is higher than that of
the _chigai‐dana,_ and its sill may be rough or finished; and even when
finished squarely, some natural surface may be left through the curvature
of the stick from which it has been hewn, and which had been selected for
this very peculiarity,—a feature, by the way, that our carpenters would
regard as a blemish. The floor of the _tokonoma_ is in nearly every case a
polished plank; the floor of the _chigai‐dana_ is also of polished wood. A
large and deep _tokonoma_ may have a mat, or _tatami,_ fitted into the
floor; and this is generally bordered with a white strip, and not with
black as in the floor _tatami._ The _tatami_ in this place is found in the
houses of the Daimios.

                   [Fig. 113.—Portion of Toko‐Bashira.]

                    Fig. 113.—Portion of Toko‐Bashira.

         [Figs. 114, 115, 116, and 117. Ornamental‐headed nails.]

          Figs. 114, 115, 116, and 117. Ornamental‐headed nails.

Spanning the _tokonoma_ above is a finished beam a foot or more below the
ceiling, the interspace above being plastered, as are the walls of both
recesses. A similar beam spans the _chigai‐dana_ at a somewhat lower
level. When the cross‐beam of the _chigai‐dana_ connects with the _toko‐
bashira,_ as well as in the joining of other horizontal beams with the
uprights, ornamental‐headed nails are used. These are often of
elaborately‐wrought metal, representing a variety of natural or
conventional forms. Figs. 114, 115, 116, and 117 present a few of the
cheaper forms used; these being of cast metal, the finer lines only having
been cut by hand. These nails, or _kazari‐kugi,_ are strictly ornamental,
having only a spur behind to hold them into the wood.

The partition dividing these two recesses often has an ornamental opening,
either in the form of a small window barred with bamboo, or left open; or
this opening may be near the floor, with its border made of a curved stick
of wood, as in the figure we are now describing.

In the _chigai‐dana_ there are always one or more shelves ranged in an
alternating manner, with usually a continuous shelf above closed by
sliding doors. A little closet on the floor in the corner of the recess is
also closed by screens, as shown in the figure. The wood‐work of this may
be quaintly‐shaped sticks or highly‐polished wood.

This room illustrates very clearly a peculiar feature in Japanese
decoration,—that of avoiding, as far as possible, bi‐lateral symmetry.
Here are two rooms of the same size and shape, the only difference
consisting in the farther room having two recesses, while the room nearer
has a large closet closed by sliding screens. It will be observed,
however, that in the farther room the narrow strips of wood, upon which
the boards of the ceiling rest, run parallel to the _tokonoma,_ while in
the nearer room the strips run at right angles. The mats in the two rooms,
while arranged in the usual manner for an eight‐mat room, are placed in
opposite ways; that is to say, as the mats in front of the _tokonoma_ and
_chigai‐dana_ are always parallel to these recesses, the other mats are
arranged in accordance with these. In the room coming next, the
arrangement of mats, while being the same, have the two mats running
parallel to the line dividing the rooms, and of course the other mats in
accordance with these.  This asymmetry is carried out, of course, in the
two recesses, which are unlike in every detail,—their floors as well as
the lower borders of their hanging partitions being at different levels.
And in the details of the _chigai‐dana_ symmetrical arrangement is almost
invariably avoided, the little closet on the floor being at one side,
while a shelf supported on a single prop runs from the corner of this
closet to the other side of the recess; and if another shelf is added,
this is arranged in an equally unsymmetrical manner. In fact everywhere,
in mats, ceiling, and other details, a two‐sided symmetry is carefully

How different has been the treatment of similar features in the finish of
American rooms! Everywhere in our apartments, halls, school‐houses, inside
and out, a monotonous bi‐lateral symmetry is elaborated to the minutest
particular, even to bracket and notch in pairs. The fireplace is in the
middle of the room, the mantel, and all the work about this opening,
duplicated with painful accuracy on each side of a median line; every
ornament on the mantel‐shelf is in pairs, and these are arranged in the
same way; a single object, like a French clock, is adjusted in the dead
centre of this shelf, so that each half of the mantel shall get its half
of a clock; a pair of andirons below, and portraits of ancestral
progenitors on each side above keep up this intolerable monotony; and
opposite, two windows with draped curtains parted right and left, and a
symmetrical table or cabinet between the two, are in rigid adherence to
this senseless scheme. And outside the monotony is still more dreadful,
even to the fences, carriage‐way and flower‐beds; indeed, false windows
are introduced in adherence to this inane persistency in traditional
methods. Within ten years some progress has been made among the better
class of American houses in breaking away from this false and tiresome
idea, and our houses look all the prettier for these changes. In
decoration, as well, we have made great strides in the same direction,
thanks to the influence of Japanese methods.

While the general description just given of the _tokonoma_ and _chigai‐
dana_ may be regarded as typical of the prevailing features of these
recesses, nevertheless their forms and peculiarities are infinitely
varied. It is indeed rare to find the arrangement of the shelves and
cupboards in the _chigai‐dana_ alike in any two houses, as will be seen by
a study of the figures which are to follow. Usually these two recesses are
side by side, and run at right angles with the verandah, the _tokonoma_
almost invariably coming next to the verandah. Sometimes, however, these
two recesses may stand at right angles to one another, coming in a corner
of the room away from the verandah. The _tokonoma_ may be seen also
without its companion recess, and sometimes it may occupy an entire side
of the room, in which case it not infrequently accommodates a set of two
or three pictures. When these recesses come side by side, it is usual to
have an entire mat in front of each recess. The guest of honor is seated
on the mat in front of the _tokonoma,_ while the guest next in honor
occupies a mat in front of the _chigai‐dana._

   [Fig. 118.—Shelves contrasted with conventional drawing of mist, or

Fig. 118.—Shelves contrasted with conventional drawing of mist, or clouds.

This recess has a variety of names, according to the form and arrangement
of the shelves. It is usually called _chigai‐dana,—_ the word _chigai_
meaning “different,” and _dana,_ “shelf,” as the shelves are arranged
alternately. It is also called _usukasumi‐dana,_ which means “thin mist‐
shelf,”—the shelves in this case being arranged in a way in which they
often conventionally represent mist or clouds, as shown in their formal
designs of these objects (_fig. 118_), in which the upper outline shows
the form of shelf, and the lower outline the conventional drawing of
cloud. When only one shelf is seen it may be called _ichi‐yo‐dana;_ the
form of the shelf suggests such names as willow‐leaf shelf, fish‐shelf,
etc. In this recess, as we have seen, are usually shelves and a cupboard;
and the arrangements of these are almost as numberless as the houses
containing them,—at least it is rare to see two alike. A shelf in the
_chigai‐dana,_ having a rib or raised portion on its free end, is called a
_maki‐mono‐dana._ On this shelf the long picture‐scrolls called _maki‐
mono_ are placed; the ceremonial hat was also placed on one of the
shelves. It was customary to place on top of the cupboard a lacquer‐box,
in which was contained an ink‐stone, brushes, and paper. This box was
usually very rich in its gold lacquer and design. In the houses of the
nobles the top of the cupboard was also used to hold a wooden tablet
called a _shaku,_—an object carried by the nobles in former times, when in
the presence of the Emperor. It was anciently used to make memoranda upon,
but in later days is carried only as a form of court etiquette. The sword‐
rack might also be placed on the cupboard. In honor of distinguished
guests the sword‐rack was placed in the _tokonoma_ in the place of honor;
that is, in the middle of its floor, or _toko,_ in front of the hanging
picture,—though if an incense‐burner occupied this position, then the
sword‐rack was placed at one side. While these recesses were usually
finished with wood in its natural state or simply planed, in the houses of
the nobles this finish was often richly lacquered.

                         [Fig. 119.—Guest‐room.]

                          Fig. 119.—Guest‐room.

Resuming our description of interiors, a peculiar form of room is shown in
the house of a gentleman of high rank (_fig. 119_). Here the _tokonoma_
was much larger than its companion recess, which in this case was next to
the verandah. The _chigai‐dana_ was small and low, and the spaces beneath
the shelves were enclosed by sliding screens forming cupboards. The
_tokonoma_ was large and deep, and its floor was covered by a mat or
_tatami;_ the flower‐vase was at one side.

            [Fig. 120.—Guest‐room, with recesses in corners.]

             Fig. 120.—Guest‐room, with recesses in corners.

The depth of the _tokonoma_ is generally governed by the size of the room.
The appointments of this recess are also always in proportion,—the
pictures and flower‐vase being of large size in the one just described.

             [Fig. 121.—Guest‐room showing  circular window.]

              Fig. 121.—Guest‐room showing circular window.

In a spacious hall in Tokio is a _tokonoma_ six feet in depth, and very
wide. The flower‐vases and pictures in this recess were colossal. In an
adjoining room to the one last figured the _tokonoma_ came in one corner
of the room, and the _chigai‐dana_ was at right angles with it. To the
right of the _tokonoma_ was a permanent partition, in the centre of which
was a circular window closed by _shōji_ which parted right and left. The
_shōji_ may have run within the partition, or rested in a grooved frame on
the other side of the wall. Above this circular window and near the
ceiling was a long rectangular window, also having _shōji,_ which could be
open for ventilation. To the left of the _chigai‐dana_ was a row of deep
cupboards enclosed by a set of sliding screens; above was a broad shelf,
upon the upper surface of which ran _shōji,_ which when opened revealed
another room beyond. The frieze of this recess had a perforated design of
waves (_fig. 120_).

Severe and simple as a Japanese room appears to be, it may be seen by this
figure how many features for decorative display come in. The ornamental
openings or windows with their varied lattices, the sliding screens and
the cupboards with their rich sketches of landscapes and trees, the
natural woods, indeed many of these features might plainly be adopted
without modification for our rooms.

              [Fig. 122.—Guest‐room showing writing‐place.]

               Fig. 122.—Guest‐room showing writing‐place.

                [Fig. 123.—Guest‐room with wide tokonoma.]

                 Fig. 123.—Guest‐room with wide tokonoma.

In another room (_fig. 121_) of a gentleman famous for his invention of
silk‐reeling machinery the _tokonoma,_ instead of being open to the
verandah, was protected by a permanent partition filling half the side of
the room bordering the verandah. In this partition was a large circular
window, having a graceful bamboo frame‐work. This opening was closed on
the outside by a _shōji,_ which hung on hooks and could be removed when
required. In this case the honored guest, when seated in front of the
_tokonoma,_ is protected from the wind and sun while the rest of the room
may be open. In the place of this partition there is often seen, in houses
of the better class, a recess having a low shelf, with cupboards beneath
and an ornamental window above. This is the writing‐place (_fig. 122_);
and upon the shelf are placed the ink‐stone, water‐bottle, brush‐rest and
brushes, paper‐weight, and other conveniences of a literary man. Above are
often suspended a bell and wooden hammer, to call the servants when
required. A hanging vase of flowers is often suspended from the partition
above. For want of an original sketch showing this recess I have adapted
one from a Japanese book, entitled “Daiku Tana Hinagata,” Vol. II. Those
who have chanced to see the club rooms of the Koyokuan will recall the
elaborate and beautiful panel of geometric work that fills the window of a
recess of this nature.

                      [Fig. 124.—Small guest‐room.]

                       Fig. 124.—Small guest‐room.

In _Fig. 123_ the _tokonoma_ occupies almost the entire side of the room,
the _chigai‐dana_ being reduced to an angular cupboard placed in the
corner and a small hooded partition hanging down from above; the small
window near by, with bamboo lattice, opened into another room beyond. A
_tokonoma_ of this kind is available for the display of sets of three or
four pictures. This room was in the house of a former Daimio.

In the next figure (_fig. 124_) we have the sketch of a small room with
the _tokonoma_ facing the verandah, and with no companion recess. The
little window near the floor opened into the _tokonoma,_ which extended
behind the partition as far as the upright beam. The post which formed one
side of the _to__konoma_ was a rough and irregular‐shaped stick. The
treatment of cutting away a larger portion of it, though hardly
constructive, yet added a quaint effect to the room; while the cross‐beam
of the _tokonoma._ usually a square and finished beam, in this case was in
a natural state, the bark only being removed.

               [Fig. 125.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.]

                Fig. 125.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.

In _fig. 125_ is shown a room of the plainest description; it was severe
in its simplicity. Here the _tokonoma,_ though on that side of the room
running at right angles with the verandah, was in the corner of the room,
while the _chigai‐dana_ was next to the verandah. The recesses were quite
deep,—the _chigai‐dana_ having a single broad shelf, as broad as the depth
of the recess, this forming the top of a spacious closet beneath. In the
partition dividing these two recesses was a long narrow rectangular
opening. The little bamboo flower‐holder hanging to the post of the _toko‐
bashira_ had, besides a few flowers, two long twigs of willow, which were
made to bend gracefully in front of the _tokonoma._ The character of this
room indicated that its owner was a lover of the tea‐ceremonies.

               [Fig. 126.—Guest‐koom in Kiyomidzu, Kioto.]

                Fig. 126.—Guest‐koom in Kiyomidzu, Kioto.

The next figure (_fig. 126_) is that of a room in the second story of the
house of a famous potter in Kioto. This room was remarkable for the purity
of its finish. The _toko‐bashira_ consisted of an unusually twisted stick
of some kind of hard wood, the bark having been removed, exposing a
surface of singular smoothness. The hooded partition over the _chigai‐
dana_ had for its lower border a rich dark‐brown bamboo; the vertical
piece forming the other side of the _chigai‐dana_ was a black post hewn in
an octagonal shape, with curious irregular crosscuts on the faces. The
sliding doors closing the shelf in this recess were covered with gold
paper. The _hikite_ consisted of sections of bamboo let in to the surface.
The plaster of both recesses was a rich, warm, umber color. The ceiling
consisted of large square panels of old cedar richly grained. This room
was comparatively modern, having been built in 1868.

               [Fig. 127.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.]

                Fig. 127.—Guest‐room of dwelling in Tokio.

_Fig. 127_ represents a room in the second story of a house in Tokio. The
recesses were remarkably rich and effective. The entire end of the room
formed a recess, having a plaited ceiling; and within this recess were the
_tokonoma_ and _chigai‐dana,_ each having its own hooded partition at a
different level and depth,—the vertical partition usually dividing these
recesses being represented only by a square beam against the wall. A
reference, however, to the figure will convey a clearer idea of these
features than any description. The ceiling, which was quite remarkable in
its way, will be described later.

                [Fig. 128.—Guest‐room of a country house.]

                 Fig. 128.—Guest‐room of a country house.

The next interior (_fig. 128_) represents a room in a country house of the
poorer class. The recesses were of the plainest description. The
_tokonoma_ was modified in a curious way by a break in the partition
above, and beneath, this modification was a shelf wrought out of a black,
worm‐eaten plank from some old shipwreck. The _chigai‐dana_ had an
angular‐shaped shelf in one of its corners, and in the other corner two
little shelves supported by a post. The floor of this recess was on a
level with the mats, while the floor of the _tokonoma_ was only slightly
raised above this level.

The figures of interiors thus far given present some idea of the infinite
variety of design seen in the two recesses which characterize the best
room in the house. The typical form having been shown in _fig. 96_, it
will be seen how far these bays may vary in form and structure while still
possessing the distinguishing features of the _tokonoma_ and _chigai‐
dana._ In the first recess hangs the ever present scroll, upon which may
be a picture; or it may present a number of Chinese characters which
convey some moral precept, or lines from some classical poem. On its floor
rests the vase for flowers, a figure in pottery, an incense burner, a
fragment of quartz, or other object, these being often supported by a
lacquer stand. In the _chigai‐dana_ convenient shelves and closets are
arranged in a variety of ways, to be used for a variety of purposes.

                    [Fig. 129.—Corner of guest‐room.]

                     Fig. 129.—Corner of guest‐room.

The arrangement of the cross‐ties in relation to the _tokonoma_ and
_shōji_ is illustrated in _fig. 129_, which shows the corner of a room
with the upper portion of the _tokonoma_ and _shōji_ showing. The use made
of the ornamental‐headed nail is seen where the _kamoi_ joins the corner

In houses of two stories greater latitude is shown in the arrangement of
these recesses. They may come opposite the balcony, and the _chigai‐dana_
may have in its back wall an opening either circular, crescent‐shaped, or
of some other form, from which a pleasing view is obtained either of the
garden below or some distant range beyond.

Thus far we have examined the room which would parallel our drawing‐room
or parlor; the other rooms vary from this in being smaller, and having, of
course, no recesses such as have been described. By an examination of the
plans given in the first part of this chapter, it will be seen how very
simple many of the rooms are,—sometimes having a recess for a case of
drawers or shelves; a closet, possibly, but nothing else to break the
rectangular outline, which may be bounded on all sides by the sliding
_fusuma,_ or have one or more permanent partitions.

Another class of rooms may here be considered, the details of which are
more severely simple even than those of the rooms just described. These
apartments are constructed expressly for ceremonial tea‐parties. A volume
might be filled with a description of the various forms of buildings
connected with these observances; and indeed another volume might be
filled with the minor details associated with their different schools.

In brief, the party comes about by the host inviting a company of four to
attend the tea‐ceremony, and in their presence making the tea in a bowl
after certain prescribed forms, and offering it to the guests. To be more
explicit as to the mode of conducting this ceremony,—the tea is first
prepared by grinding it to a fine, almost impalpable, powder. This may be
done by a servant before the assemblage of the guests, or may be ordered
ground from a tea shop; indeed, the host may grind it himself. This
material, always freshly ground for each party, is usually kept in a
little earthen jar, having an ivory cover,—the well‐known _cha‐ire_ of the
collector. Lacquer‐boxes may also be used for this purpose. The principal
utensils used in the ceremony consist of a _furo,_ or fire‐pot, made of
pottery (or use may be made of a depression in the floor partially filled
with ashes, in which the charcoal may be placed); an iron kettle to boil
the water in; a bamboo dipper of the most delicate construction, to dip
out the water; a wide‐mouthed jar, from which to replenish the water in
the kettle; a bowl, in which the tea is made; a bamboo spoon, to dip out
the powdered tea; a bamboo stirrer, not unlike certain forms of egg‐
beaters, by which the tea is briskly stirred after the hot water has been
added; a square silk cloth, with which to wipe the jar and spoon properly;
a little rest for the tea‐kettle cover, made of pottery or bronze or
section of bamboo; a shallow vessel, in which the rinsings of the tea‐bowl
are poured after washing; a brush, consisting of three feathers of the
eagle or some other large bird, to dust the edge of the fire‐vessel; and
finally a shallow basket, in which is not only charcoal to replenish the
fire, but a pair of metal rods or _hibashi_ to handle the coal, two
interrupted metal rings by which the kettle is lifted off the fire, a
circular mat upon which the kettle is placed, and a small box containing
incense, or bits of wood that give out a peculiar fragrance when burned.
With the exception of the fire‐vessel and an iron kettle, all these
utensils have to be brought in by the host with great formality and in a
certain sequence, and placed with great precision upon the mats after the
prescribed rules of certain schools. In the making of the tea, the
utensils are used in a most exact and formal manner.

The making of the tea, watched by one knowing nothing about the ceremony,
seems as grotesque a performance as one can well imagine. Many of the
forms connected with it seem uselessly absurd; and yet having taken many
lessons in the art of tea‐making, I found that with few exceptions it was
natural and easy; and the guests assembled on such an occasion, though at
first sight appearing stiff, are always perfectly at their ease. The
proper placing of the utensils, and the sequence in handling them and
making the tea are all natural and easy movements, as I have said. The
light wiping of the tea‐jar, and the washing of the bowl and its wiping
with so many peripheral jerks, the dropping of the stirrer against the
side of the bowl with a click in rinsing, and a few of the other usual
movements are certainly grotesquely formal enough; but I question whether
the etiquette of a ceremonious dinner‐party at home, with the decorum
observed in the proper use of each utensil, does not strike a Japanese as
equally odd and incomprehensible when experienced by him for the first

This very brief and imperfect allusion has been made in order to explain,
that so highly do the Japanese regard this ceremony that little isolated
houses are specially constructed for the express purpose of entertaining
tea‐parties. If no house is allotted for the purpose, then a special room
is fitted for it. Many books are devoted to the exposition of the
different schools of tea‐ceremonies, illustrated with diagrams showing the
various ways of placing the utensils, plans of the tea‐rooms, and all the
details involved in the observances.

The tea‐ceremonies have had a profound influence on many Japanese arts.
Particularly have they affected the pottery of Japan; for the rigid
simplicity, approaching an affected roughness and poverty, which
characterizes the tea‐room and many of the utensils used in the ceremony,
has left its impress upon many forms of pottery.  It has also had an
influence on even the few rustic and simple adornments allowed in the
room, and has held its sway over the gardens, gateways, and fences
surrounding the house. Indeed, it has had an effect on the Japanese almost
equal to that of Calvinistic doctrines on the early Puritans. The one
suppressed the exuberance of an art‐loving people, and brought many of
their decorative impulses down to a restful purity and simplicity; but in
the case of the Puritans and their immediate descendants, who had but
little of the art‐spirit to spare, their sombre dogmas crushed the little
love for art that might have dawned, and rendered intolerably woful and
sepulchral the lives and homes of our ancestors; and when some faint
groping for art and adornment here and there appeared, it manifested
itself only in wretched samplers and hideous tomb‐stones, with tearful
willow or death‐bed scenes done in cold steel. Whittier gives a good
picture of such a home, in his poem “Among the Hills”:—

    bookless, pictureless,
    Save the inevitable sampler hung
    Over the fireplace; or a mourning‐piece,—
    A green‐haired woman, peony‐cheeked, beneath
    Impossible willows; the wide‐throated hearth
    Bristling with faded pine‐boughs, half concealing
    The piled‐up rubbish at the chimney’s back.

             [Fig. 130.—Tea‐room in Nan‐en‐ji temple, Kioto.]

              Fig. 130.—Tea‐room in Nan‐en‐ji temple, Kioto.

             [Fig. 131.—Tea‐room in Fujimi pottery, Nagoya.]

              Fig. 131.—Tea‐room in Fujimi pottery, Nagoya.

But we are digressing. Having given some idea of the formal character of
the tea‐ceremonies, it is not to be wondered at that special rooms, and
even special buildings, should be designed and built expressly for those
observances. We give a few illustrations of the interiors of rooms used
for this purpose.

_Fig. 130_ is that of a room in Nan‐en‐ji temple, in Kioto, said to have
been specially designed, in the early part of the seventeenth century, by
Kobori Yenshiu,—a famous master of tea‐ceremonies, and a founder of one of
its schools. The room was exceedingly small, a four and a half mat room I
believe, which is the usual size. The drawing, from necessity of
perspective, makes it appear much larger. The ceiling was of rush and
bamboo; the walls were roughly plastered with bluish‐gray clay; the cross‐
ties and uprights were of pine, with the bark retained. The room had eight
small windows of various sizes, placed at various heights in different
parts of the room; and this was in accordance with Yenshiu’s taste. Only
one recess, the _tokonoma,_ is seen in the room,—in which may hang at the
time of a party a picture, to be replaced, at a certain period of the
ceremony, by a hanging basket of flowers. The _ro,_ or fireplace, is a
depressed area in the floor, deep enough to hold a considerable amount of
ashes, as well as a tripod upon which the kettle rests.

_Fig. 131_ represents an odd‐looking tearoom, at the Fujimi pottery, in
Nagoya, where tea was made and served to us by the potter’s daughter. The
room was simple enough, yet quite ornate compared with the one first
described. The ceiling consisted of a matting of thin wood‐strips, bamboo
and red pine being used for the cross‐ties and uprights. The _tokonoma,_
having a bamboo post, is seen at the left of the figure. The _ro,_ in this
case, was triangular.

                    [Fig. 132.—Tea‐room in Miyajima.]

                     Fig. 132.—Tea‐room in Miyajima.

In _fig. 132_ is represented a view of a small tea‐room at Miyajima; the
chasteness of its finish is but feebly conveyed in the figure. Here the
_ro_ was circular, and was placed in a wide plank of polished wood. The
room was connected with other apartments of the house, and did not
constitute a house by itself.

In some houses there is a special place or room adjoining the tea‐room, in
which the tea‐utensils are kept properly arranged, and from which they are
brought when tea is made, and to which they are afterwards returned with
great formality. _Fig. 133_ represents one of these rooms in a house in
Imado, Tokio. In this room the same simplicity of finish was seen. It was
furnished with shelves, a little closet to contain the utensils, and a
depressed area in the floor, having for its bottom a bamboo grating
through which the water ran when emptied into it. Resting upon this bamboo
grating were a huge pottery‐vessel for water and a common hand‐basin of
copper. The floor was of polished wood. At the farther end was the
entrance, by means of a low door, closed by _fusuma._

                  [Fig. 133.—Kitchen for tea‐utensils.]

                   Fig. 133.—Kitchen for tea‐utensils.

                  [Fig. 134.—Tea‐room in Imado, Tokio.]

                   Fig. 134.—Tea‐room in Imado, Tokio.

In _fig. 134_ is given the view of a room in a Tokio house that was
extremely ornate in its finish. The owner of the house had built it some
thirty years before, and had intended carrying out Chinese ideas of design
and furnishing. Whether he had got his ideas from books, or had evolved
them from his inner consciousness, I do not know; certain it is, that
although he had worked into its structure a number of features actually
brought from China, I must say that in my limited observations in that
country I saw nothing approaching such an interior or building. The effect
of the room was certainly charming, and the most elaborate finish with
expensive woods had been employed in its construction. It seemed
altogether too ornamental for the tea‐ceremonies to suit the Japanese
taste. The ceiling was particularly unique; for running diagonally across
it from one corner to the other was a stout bamboo in two curves, and upon
this bamboo was engraved a Chinese poem. The ceiling on one side of the
bamboo was finished in large square panels of an elaborately‐grained wood;
on the other side were small panels of cedar. Exotic woods, palms, bamboo,
and red‐pine were used for cross‐ties and uprights. The panels of the
little closet in some cases had beautiful designs painted upon them; other
panels were of wood, with the designs inlaid in various colored woods,—the
musical instrument, the _biwa,_ shown in the sketch, being inlaid in this
way. The walls were tinted a sober brown. It was certainly one of the most
unique interiors that I saw in Japan. To the right of the _tokonoma_ the
apartment opened into a small entry which led to a flight of stairs,—for
this room was in the second story of the house. The corner of the room, as
it appeared from the _tokonoma,_ is shown in _fig. 135_.  The long, low
window (which also shows in fig. 134) opened on the roof of the entrance
below; another narrower and higher window opened on the roof of an L. In
the little recess, which has for a corner‐post a crooked stick,—the crook
forming one border of an opening in the corner.—was hung a picture or a
basket of flowers.

          [Fig. 135.—Corner of the tea‐room shown in Fig. 134.]

           Fig. 135.—Corner of the tea‐room shown in Fig. 134.

The second stories of shops are often used as living rooms. _Fig. 136_
represents a room of this nature in a shop in Kawagoye, in Musashi, nearly
three hundred years old. Two long, low windows, opening on the street,
were deeply recessed and heavily barred; above these openings were low
deep cupboards, closed by long sliding doors. The room was dusty and
unused, but I could not help noticing in this old building, as in the old
buildings at home, the heavy character of the framework where it appeared
in sight.

Reference has been made to the fact that _kura,_ or fire‐proof buildings,
are often fitted up for living‐rooms. _Fig. 137_ (see page 160) represents
the lower room of the corner building shown on page 75 (_fig. 57_). It has
already been stated that the walls of such a building are of great
thickness, and that one small window and doorway are often the only
openings in the room. The walls are consequently cold and damp at certain
seasons of the year.

For the fitting up of such a room, to adapt it for a living‐place, a light
frame‐work of bamboo is constructed, which stands away from the walls at a
distance of two or three feet; upon this, cloth is stretched like a
curtain. The frame‐work forms a ceiling as well, so that the rough walls
and beams of the floor above are concealed by this device. At one side the
cloth is arranged to be looped up like a curtain, so that one may pass
outside the drapery.

[Fig. 136.—Room in second story of an old building in Kawagoye, Musashi.]

 Fig. 136.—Room in second story of an old building in Kawagoye, Musashi.

The owner of this apartment was an eminent antiquarian, and the walls of
the room were lined with shelves and cases which were filled with old
books and pictures, rare scrolls, and bric‐a‐brac. A loft above, to which
access was gained by a perilous flight of steps, was filled with ancient
relics of all kinds,—stone implements, old pottery, quaint writing‐desks,
and rare manuscripts. The cloth which formed this supplementary partition
was of a light, thin texture; and when the owner went in search of some
object on the other side of it, I could trace him by his candle‐light as
he wandered about behind the curtain. The furniture us in the room, and
shown in the sketch,—consisting of bookshelves, table, _hibachi,_ and
other objects,—was in nearly every case precious antiques.

That the rooms of _kura_ were fitted up in this way in past times is
evident in the fact that old books not only represent this method in their
pictures, but special details of the construction of the framework are
given. In an old book in the possession of Mr. K——, published one hundred
and eighty years ago, a figure of one of these frames is given, with all
the details of its structure, metal sockets, key‐bolts, etc., a copy of
which may be seen in _fig. 138_.

         [Fig. 137.—Room in kura fitted up as a library, Tokio.]

          Fig. 137.—Room in kura fitted up as a library, Tokio.

In connection with this room, and the manner of looping up the curtains at
the side, I got from this scholar the first rational explanation of the
meaning of the two narrow bands which hang down from the upper part of the
usual form of a Japanese picture,—the _kake‐mono._ That these were
survivals of useful appendages,—rudimentary organs, so to speak, there
could be no doubt. Mr. K——told me that in former times the pictures,
mainly of a religious character, were suspended from a frame.  Long bands
trailed down behind the picture; and shorter ones, so as not to obscure
it, hung down in front. When the picture was rolled up, it was held in
position by tying these bands. When the custom came to hang these pictures
permanently against the wall, the long bands were finally discarded, while
the shorter ones in front survived. In old books there are illustrated
methods by which curtain‐like screens hanging on frames were tied up in
this way,—the long bands being behind, and the short ones showing in
front. When the wind blew through the apartment the curtains were tied up;
and, curiously enough, the bands on a _kake‐mono_ are called _fū‐tai,_ or
_kaze‐obi,_ which literally means “wind‐bands.” This is the explanation
given me; but it is quite probable that large pictures hanging against the
walls, when disturbed by the wind, were tied up by these bands.

             [Fig. 138.—Framework for draping room in kura.]

              Fig. 138.—Framework for draping room in kura.

While the _kura_ generally stands isolated from the dwelling‐house, it is
often connected with the house by a light structure of wood, roofed over,
and easily demolished in case of a fire. Such an apartment may be used for
a kitchen, or porch to a kitchen, or store‐room for household utensils. A
figure is here given  (_fig. 139_) showing the appearance of a structure
of this kind, which is lightly attached to the sides of the _kura._ This
apartment was used as a store‐room, and in the sketch is shown a wooden
case, lanterns, and buckets, and such objects as might accumulate in a
shed or store‐room at home.

[Fig. 139.—Space between dwelling and kura, roofed over and utilized as a
                            kitchen in Tokio.]

 Fig. 139.—Space between dwelling and kura, roofed over and utilized as a
                            kitchen in Tokio.

The ponderous doors of the _kura,_ which are kept permanently open, have
casings of boards held in place by a wooden pin, which passes through an
iron staple in the door. This casing is to protect the door—which, like
the walls of the _kura,_ is composed of mud and plaster supported by a
stout frame—from being scarred and battered; and at the same time it is so
arranged that in case of fire it can be instantly removed and the door
closed. The light structure forming this porch may quickly burn down,
leaving the _kura_ intact.

               [Fig. 140.—Doorway of an old kura in Kioto.]

                Fig. 140.—Doorway of an old kura in Kioto.

Oftentimes the outside of the _kura_ has a board‐casing kept in place by
long wooden strips, which drop into staples that are firmly attached to
the walls of the _kura._ These hooks may be seen in _fig. 57_, though in
the case of this building the wooden casing had never been applied.
Casings of this nature are provided the better to preserve the walls from
the action of the weather.

In _fig. 139_ (see page 162) the _kura_ had been originally built some
fifteen feet from the main house, and subsequently the intervening space
had been roofed over as shown in the drawing.

The doors of the _kura_ are ponderous structures, and are usually left
open for ventilation; a heavily grated sliding‐door, however, closes the
entrance effectually when the thick doors are left open. _Fig. 140_
represents the doorway of an old _kura_ in Kioto illustrating these
features. In _fig. 141_ the large key is the one belonging to the inner
grated door, while fig. 142 shows the padlock to the outer doors.

               [Fig. 141.—Key to kura, and bunch of keys.]

                Fig. 141.—Key to kura, and bunch of keys.

                       [Fig. 142.—Padlock to kura.]

                        Fig. 142.—Padlock to kura.

The upper room of the _kura_ is often utilized as a store‐room, taking the
place of the country attic; and one may find here bundles of dried herbs,
corn, an old spinning‐wheel, chests, and indeed just such objects as
ultimately find a resting‐place in our attics at home. In this section it
would have been more systematic to deal with the _tokonoma_ and _chigai‐
dana_ separately; but in the description of interiors, it was difficult to
describe them without including under the same consideration these
recesses, as they form an integral part of the principal room.

In my remarks on house‐construction, reference was made to the ceiling and
the way in which it is made and held in place, the form of ceiling there
described being the almost universal one throughout the country. The
Japanese word for ceiling is _tenjo,_—literally, “heaven’s well.”

In selecting wood for the ceiling, great care is taken to secure boards in
which the grain is perfectly even and regular, with no signs of knots. A
wood much prized for the ceiling, as well as for other interior finish, is
a kind of cedar dug up from swamps in Hakone, and other places in Japan.
It is of a rich, warm gray or brown color; and oftentimes planks of
enormous thickness are secured for this purpose. This wood is called _Jin‐
dai‐sugi,_ meaning “cedar of God’s age.” A wood called _hi‐no‐ki_ is often
used for ceilings.

It is rare to see a ceiling differing from the conventional form,
consisting of light, thin, square strips as ceiling‐beams, upon which rest
crosswise thin planks of wood with their edges overlapping. One sees this
form of ceiling everywhere, from north to south, in inns, private
dwellings, and shops. This form is as universal in Japan as is the
ordinary white plaster‐ceiling with us. In many other forms of ceiling,
however, wood of the most tortuous grain is preferred.

In the little houses made for the tea‐parties the ceiling is often of some
rustic design,—either a layer of rush resting on bamboo rafters, or thin,
wide strips of wood braided or matted like basket‐work.

Sometimes the ceiling instead of being flat is arching; that is, the sides
run up like a roof, and meet above in a flat panel, or the ceiling may be
made up of panels either square or angular.

                      [Fig. 143.—Panelled ceiling.]

                       Fig. 143.—Panelled ceiling.

A very elaborate and beautiful ceiling is seen in _fig. 127_ (see page
146).     The structure is supposed to be in imitation of country thatched
roof.    The centre panel consists of a huge plank of cedar, the irregular
grain cut out in such a way as to show the lines  in  high‐relief,  giving
it the  appearance of very old wood, in which the softer lines  have  been
worn  away.    The round sticks which   form  the  frame  for  the plank,
and those bordering  the  ceiling,  as well   as those running from the
corners  of   the  ceiling to  the corners  of the  plank, are  of red
pine  with  the  bark  unremoved.    The  radiating rafters are of large
yellow   bamboo,   while  the   smaller   beams   running  parallel to
the  sides  of   the  room consist of small dark‐brown and polished
bamboo;   the   body   of the ceiling is made up of a brown rush,   called
_hagi_,—this   representing the thatch.    This ceiling was   simply
charming;   it   was  clean, pure, and effective; it gave the    room   a
lofty   appearance, and   was   moreover   thoroughly constructive.
Our    architects might  well   imitate   it   without the modification of
a single feature.

The ceiling figured on page 156 (_fig. 134_) consisted of square panels of
cedar, arranged on either side of a double curved bamboo, which ran across
the ceiling diagonally from one corner of the room to another. Upon the
bamboo was engraved a Chinese poem, in beautiful characters. The beauty of
this ceiling consisted not only in its general quaint effect, but in the
rich woods and good workmanship everywhere displayed in its construction.
The same might be said of the ceiling shown in fig. 126 (see page 145);
here, indeed, the whole room was like a choice cabinet. Lately, these
panelled ceilings have come more into use. _Fig. 143_ represents a form of
ceiling which may be occasionally seen, consisting of large, square planks
of _sugi_, with a framework of bamboo or _keyaki_ wood.

It seems a little curious that the space enclosed under the roof (a garret
in fact) is rarely, if ever, utilized. Here the rats hold high carnival at
night; and one finds it difficult to sleep, on account of the racket these
pests keep up in racing and fighting upon the thin and resonant boards
composing the ceiling. The rats make a thoroughfare of the beam which runs
across the end of the house from one corner to the other; and this beam is
called the _nedzumi‐bashira,_—literally, “rat‐post.”

In my remarks on house‐construction I made mention of the plaster walls,
and of the various colored sands used in the plaster. There are many ways
of treating this surface, by which curious effects are obtained. Little
gray and white pebbles are sometimes mixed with the plaster. The shells of
a little fresh‐water bivalve (_Corbicula_) are pounded into fragments and
mixed with the plaster. In the province of Mikawa I saw an iron‐gray
plaster, in which had been mixed the short fibres of finely‐chopped hemp,
the fibres glistening in the plaster; the effect was odd and striking. In
the province of Omi it was not unusual to see white plastered surfaces
smoothly finished, in which iron‐dust had been blown evenly upon the
surface while the plaster was yet moist, and, oxidizing, had given a warm
brownish‐yellow tint to the whole.

In papering plaster‐walls rice‐paste is not used, as the larvae of certain
insects are liable to injure the surface. In lieu of this a kind of
seaweed similar to Iceland moss is used, the mucilaginous portion of which
forms the cement. This material is used in sizing paper, and also in the
pasteboard or stiff paper which is made by sticking a number of sheets

Plastered rooms are often papered; and even when the plaster is tinted and
the plastered surface is left exposed, is customary to use a paper called
_koshi‐bari,_ which is spread on the wall to a height of two feet or more
in order to protect the clothes from the plaster.  This treatment is seen
in common rooms.

Simple and unpretending as the interior of a Japanese house appears to be,
it is wonderful upon how many places in their apparently naked rooms the
ingenuity and art‐taste of the cabinet‐maker can be expended. Naturally,
the variety of design and finish of the _tokonoma_ and _chigai‐dana_ is
unlimited save by the size of their areas; for with the sills and upright
posts, the shelves and little closets, sliding‐doors with their surfaces
for the artists’ brush, and the variety of woods employed, the artisan has
a wide field in which to display his peculiar skill. The ceiling, though
showing less variety in its structure, nevertheless presents a good field
for decorative work, though any exploits in this direction outside the
conventional form become very costly, on account of the large surface to
deal with and the expensive cabinet‐work required. Next to the _chigai‐
dana_ in decorative importance (excepting of course the ceiling, which, as
we have already seen, rarely departs from the almost universal character
of thin boards and transverse strips), I am inclined to believe that the
_ramma_ receives the most attention from the designer, and requires more
delicate work from the cabinet‐maker. It is true that the areas to cover
are small, yet the designs which may be carved or latticed,—geometric
designs in fret‐work, or perforated designs in panel,—must have a strength
and prominence not shown in the other interior finishings of the room.

The _kamoi,_ or lintel, as we have seen, is a beam that runs entirely
across the side of the room at the height of nearly six feet from the
floor (_fig. 103_). On its under surface are the grooves in which the
_fusuma_ run; between this beam and the ceiling is a space of two feet or
more depending, of course, upon the height of the room. The height of the
beam itself from the floor, a nearly constant factor, is always lower than
are our doorways, because the average height of the Japanese people is
less than ours; and aggravatingly low to many foreigners is this beam, as
can be attested by those who have cracked their heads against it in
passing from one room to another. The space between the _kamoi_ and the
ceiling is called the _ramma,_ and offers another field for the exercise
of that decorative faculty which comes so naturally to the Japanese. This
space may be occupied simply by a closed plastered partition, just as in
our houses we invariably fill up a similar space which comes over wide
folding doors between a suite of rooms.  In the Japanese room, however, it
is customary to divide this space into two or more panels,—usually two;
and in this area the designer and wood‐worker have ample room to carry out
those charming surprises which are to be seen in Japanese interiors.

                   [Fig. 144.—Ramma in Hakòne Village.]

                    Fig. 144.—Ramma in Hakòne Village.

The designs are of course innumerable, and may consist of diaper‐work and
geometric designs; or each panel may consist of a single plank of wood
with the design wrought out, while the remaining wood is cut away, leaving
the dark shadows of the room beyond as a back‐ground to the design; or the
design may be in the form of a thin panel of cedar, in which patterns of
birds, flowers, waves, dragons, or other objects are cut out in perforated
work. Fret‐work panels are very often used in the decoration of the
_ramma,_ of designs similar to the panels now imported from Japan; but the
figures are worked out larger patterns.

                        [Fig. 145.—Bamboo ramma.]

                         Fig. 145.—Bamboo ramma.

Light and airy as the work seems to be, it must nevertheless be strongly
made, as it is rare to see any displaced or broken portions in panels of
this nature.

The design represented in _fig. 144_ is from a _ramma_ in an old house in
the village of Hakòne. The room was very large, and there were four panels
in the _ramma,_ which was nearly twenty‐four feet long. A light trellis of
bamboo is a favorite and common device for this area. Fig. 145 gives a
simple The design represented in _fig. 144_ is from a _ramma_ in an old
house in the village of Hakòne. The room was very large, and there were
four panels in the _ramma,_ which was nearly twenty‐four feet long. A
light trellis of bamboo is a favorite and common device for this area.
_Fig. 145_ gives a simple form of this nature, which may be often seen. In
a house in Tokio we saw a similar design carried out in porcelain (_fig.
146_),—the central vertical rod having a dark‐blue glaze, while the
lighter horizontal rods were white in color. It should be understood that
in every case the interspaces between the designs, except in the
perforated ones, are freely open to the next room. By means of these open
_ramma_ much better ventilation of the rooms is secured when the _fusuma_
is closed. A combination of perforated panels and a grating of bamboo is
often seen (_fig. 147_).

                  [Fig. 146.—Porcelain ramma in Tokio.]

                   Fig. 146.—Porcelain ramma in Tokio.

            [Fig. 147.—Ramma of bamboo and perforated panel.]

             Fig. 147.—Ramma of bamboo and perforated panel.

The _ramma_ requiring great skill in design and execution are those in
which the wood‐carver, having his design drawn upon a solid plank, cuts
away all the wood about it, leaving the design free; and this is then
delicately wrought.

In an old house at Gojio, Yamato, is a _ramma_ having a single panel the
length of the room. _Fig. 148_ illustrates this design, which consists of
chrysanthemums supported on a bamboo trellis, and was carved out of a
single plank, the flowers and delicate tracery of the leaves being wrought
with equal care on both sides; in fact, the _ramma_ in every case is
designed to be seen from both rooms. I have often noticed that in quite
old houses the _ramma_ was of this description.  In an old house at
Yatsushiro, in Higo, I saw a very beautiful form of this nature (_fig.
149_).  The _ramma_ was divided into two panels, and the design was
continuous from one panel to the other. It represented a rustic method of
conducting water by means of wooden troughs, propped up by branched
sticks, and sticks tied together. The representation of long leaves of
some aquatic plant, with their edges ragged by partial decay, was
remarkably well rendered. The plank out of which the design was wrought
must have been less than an inch in thickness, and yet the effect of
relief was surprising. A white substance like chalk filled the interstices
of the carving, giving the appearance that at one time the whole design
had been whitened and the coloring matter had subsequently worn away. The
house was quite old, and the work had been done by a local artist.

It is a remarkable fact, and one well worth calling attention to, that in
the smaller towns and villages, in regions far apart, there seem to be
artistic workmen capable of designing and executing these graceful and
artistic carvings,—for such they certainly are. Everywhere throughout the
Empire we find good work of all kinds, and evidence that workmen of all
crafts have _learned_ their trades,—not “served” them,—and are employed at
home. In other words, the people everywhere appreciate artistic designs
and the proper execution of them; and, consequently, men capable in their
various lines find their services in demand wherever they may be. I do not
mean to imply by this general statement that good workmen in Japan are not
drawn to the larger cities for employment, but rather that the smaller
towns and villages everywhere are not destitute of such a class, and that
the distribution of such artisans is far more wide and general than with
us. And how different such conditions are with us may be seen in the fact
that there are hundreds of towns and thousands of villages in our country
where the carpenter is just capable of making a shelter from the weather;
and if he attempts to beautify it—but we will not awaken the recollection
of those startling horrors of petticoat scallops fringing the eaves and
every opening, and rendered, if possible, more hideous by the painter.

Throughout the breadth and length of that land of thirty‐six million
people men capable of artistic work, and people capable of appreciating
such work, abound. In our land of fifty‐five millions one has to seek the
great centres of population for similar work,—for elsewhere the good work
and its appreciation are exceptional.

At Nagoya, in the house of a poor man, I saw a simple and ingenious form
of _ramma,_ in which two thin boards, one of light and the other of dark
cedar, had been cut in the form of mountain contours. These were placed in
juxtaposition, and from either side the appearance of two ranges of
mountains was conveyed. _Fig. 150_ gives a faint idea of the appearance:
of this simple _ramma._ There are many suggestions in the decoration and
utilization for ventilating rooms through certain portions of the frieze,
which might be adopted with advantage in the finish of our interiors.

         [Fig. 148.—Carved wood ramma in Gojio Village, Yamato.]

          Fig. 148.—Carved wood ramma in Gojio Village, Yamato.

        [Fig. 149.—Carved wood ramma in town of Yatsushiro, Higo.]

         Fig. 149.—Carved wood ramma in town of Yatsushiro, Higo.

    [Fig. 150.—Ramma, composed of two thin boards, in Nagoya, Owari.]

     Fig. 150.—Ramma, composed of two thin boards, in Nagoya, Owari.

As the room, when closed, receives its light through the _shōji,_ the
windows proper—that is, certain openings in permanent partitions which may
be regarded as windows—have in most cases lost their functional character,
and have become modified into ornamental features merely, many of them
being strictly decorative, having none of the functions of a window
whatever. These openings assume an infinite variety of forms, and appear
in the most surprising places in the room. They may be placed low down
near the floor, or close to the ceiling; indeed, they occur between the
rooms when permanent partitions are present, and similar openings may be
seen in the partition which separates the _tokonoma_ from the _chigai‐
dana._ A window often occurs in a partition that continues some little
distance beyond the outer edge of the _tokonoma._ This window is usually
square, and is closed by a _shōji._ The upper cross‐piece of the _shōji_
frame projects at each end, so that it may be hung in place on iron hooks
(_fig. 151_). If the window comes near the _tokonoma_ the _shōji_ is hung
on the outside of the room, as its appearance in this way is better from
within. If it occurs in a partition near the _chōdzu‐bachi,_ the _shōji_
is hung inside the room. Sometimes the _shōji_ rests on grooved cleats or
bars, which are fastened above and below the window, and oftentimes it
runs inside the partition,—that is, in a partition that is double. The
_shōji_ in this case is often made in two portions, and parts to the right
or left. The frame‐work of the _shōji_ forming the windows is often a
marvel of exquisite taste. The designs are often geometric figures, as in
_fig. 152_; though other designs are seen, as in _fig. 153_, representing
a mountain. These designs, being made of very thin strips of white pine,
it would seem that in such examples portions of the frame‐work must have
been fastened to the paper to keep them in place, for there are no means
of sustaining such a frame in position without some such method.

At Nagoya, in an old house, I saw a remarkable partition of dark cedar, in
which a circular window, five feet in diameter, was occupied by a panel of
thin cedar, in which was a perforated design of waves; the drawing was of
the most graceful description. The curious, formal, curled tongues of
water, like young sprouting ferns, the long graceful sweep of the waves,
and the circular drops suspended above the breaking crests presented a
charming effect, as the light coming through from the outside illuminated
these various openings.

                      [Fig. 151.—Shōji for window.]

                       Fig. 151.—Shōji for window.

                   [Fig. 152.—Shōji‐frame for window.]

                    Fig. 152.—Shōji‐frame for window.

                   [Fig. 153.—Shōji‐frame for window.]

                    Fig. 153.—Shōji‐frame for window.

When these windows occur in the second story they are arranged to overlook
some pleasant garden or distant landscape; for this purpose the window is
usually circular, though it may be in the shape of the crescent moon, or
fan‐shaped; indeed, there seems to be no end to designs for these
apertures. Openings of this nature between rooms may or may not have
_shōji,_ but they always have a lattice‐work of bamboo, or some other
material, arranged in certain ornamental ways. The outside windows not
only have the _shōji,_ but may have an ornamental lattice‐work as well. In
_fig. 121_ the large circular window next the _tokonoma_ had a lattice‐
work of bamboo arranged in an exceedingly graceful design.

Great attention is devoted to the window which comes in the recess used
for writing purposes. The frame of this window may be lacquered, and the
lattice‐work and _shōji_ are often marvels of the cabinet‐maker’s art.
Windows of curious construction are often placed in some passage‐way or
space at the end of the verandah leading to the lavatory, when one exists.
The accompanying figure (_fig. 154_) shows a window of this nature, seen
from the outside; the bars were of iron, and below the opening the wood‐
finish consisted of alternate panels of cedar‐bark and light wood.

                           [Fig. 154.—Window.]

                            Fig. 154.—Window.

There are hundreds of forms of these windows, or _mado,_ as they are
called. The few to which allusion has been made serve to give one some
idea of the almost entirely ornamental character of these openings. It is
worthy of note that each form has its appropriate name, and books are
specially prepared, giving many designs of windows and their modes of

In the chapter on Gardens a few descriptions and sketches are given of
other forms of windows belonging to summer‐houses.

The open character of the Japanese house has caused the development of a
variety of forms of portable screens, bamboo shades, curtains, and the
like, upon which much ingenuity of construction and an infinite amount of
artistic talent have been expended. The _biyō‐bu,_ or folding screens, are
too well known to require more than a passing allusion. These consist of a
number of panels or folds covered on both sides with stout paper. A narrow
border of wood forms an outer frame, and this may be plain or lacquered.
The end folds have the corners as well as other portions of its frame
decorated with wrought metal pieces. Just within the frame runs a border
of brocade of varying width, and on its inner edge a narrow strip of
brocade; within this comes the panel or portion to receive the artist’s
efforts. Each fold or panel may have a separate picture upon it; or, as is
most usually the case, a continuous landscape or composition covers the
entire side of the screen. Many of the great artists of Japan have
embodied some of their best works on screens of this kind, and the prices
at which some of these are held are fabulous.

The rich and heavily‐gilded screens now so rare to obtain are marvels of
decorative painting. While the front of the screen may have a broad
landscape, the back may be simply a plain gold surface, or have some
sketchy touches of bamboo, pine, etc., in black. I have been told that the
gold‐leaf was so thick on many of the old screens, that the sacrilege has
often been committed of destroying them for the gold contained on their

The six‐panelled gold‐screen is, beyond all question, the richest object
of household use for decorative purposes ever devised. There certainly is
no other device in which so many decorative arts are called into play. The
rich lacquered frame, the wrought metallic mountings, the border of gold
brocade, and the great expanse for the artist’s brush (for when both sides
of a six‐fold screen is decorated, an area is obtained nearly five feet in
height and twenty‐four feet in length) give great variety for richness of
adornment. The rich, dead gold‐leaf with which it is gilded softens the
reflections, and gives a warm, radiant tone to the light. Its adjustable
nature permits it to display its painting in every light. We refer now, of
course, to the genuine old gold‐screens which came in sets of two. One
possessing a set of these screens may consider himself particularly
fortunate. The one figured (_fig. 155_) has depicted upon it a winter
scene painted by Kano Tsunenobu, and is nearly one hundred and seventy
years old; the companion of this has represented upon it a summer scene,
by the same artist.  On the reverse sides are painted with bright and
vigorous touches the bamboo and pine. _Fig. 156_ shows one corner of the
screen‐frame with its metal mounting. These screens may have two folds, or
three, or even six, as in this case. A set of screens when not in use are
enclosed in silk bags, and then placed in a long, narrow wooden box (_fig.
157_). This box, like other articles of household use, such as bureaus and
chests of drawers, has long hanging iron handles, which when turned
upwards project above the level of the top, forming convenient loops
through which a stick may be passed,—and thus in case of fire may be
easily transported upon the shoulders of men.

                 [Fig. 155.—Biyō‐bu, or folding screen.]

                  Fig. 155.—Biyō‐bu, or folding screen.

         [Fig. 156.—Wrought metallic  mounting of screen frame.]

          Fig. 156.—Wrought metallic  mounting of screen frame.

When the screen is unfolded and placed on the floor, various devices are
provided to prevent the end panels being swayed by the wind. These devices
may be in the shape of some metal figure which acts as a check, or a heavy
weight of pottery made in the shape shown in _fig. 158_, the end of screen
fitting into the slot in the weight.

                         [Fig. 157.—Screen‐box.]

                          Fig. 157.—Screen‐box.

On certain festival days, it is customary for the people bordering the
wider thoroughfares to throw open their houses and display their screens;
and in Kioto, at such times, one may walk along the streets and behold a
wonderful exhibition of these beautiful objects.

                   [Fig. 158.—Foot‐weight for screen. ]

                    Fig. 158.—Foot‐weight for screen.

A screen peculiar to Kioto, and probably farther south, is seen, in which
panels of rush and bamboo split in delicate bars are inserted in each leaf
of the screen.  Such a screen when spread admits a certain amount of light
as well as air, and may be used in summer.

A low screen of two folds, called a _furosaki biyō‐bu_ is placed in front
of the _furo,_ or fire‐vessel, used for boiling water for tea. The purpose
of this is to screen the _furo_ from the wind and prevent the ashes from
being blown about the room. Sometimes these screens are made in a rigid
form of wood, with the wings at right angles, the panels being of rush;
and in the corner of the screen a little shelf is fixed, upon which the
tea‐utensils may be placed. Such an one is here figured (_fig. 159_);
there are many designs for this kind of screen.

                      [Fig. 159.—Furosaki Biyō‐bu.]

                       Fig. 159.—Furosaki Biyō‐bu.

In the old‐fashioned _genka,_ or hall‐way, there stands a solid screen of
wood with heavy frame, supported by two transverse feet. This screen is
called a _tsui‐tate,_ and is an article of furniture belonging to the
hall. It is often richly decorated with gold lacquer, and is usually much
lower in height than the ordinary screen. In old Japanese picture‐books
this form is often represented. Diminutive models of the _tsui‐tate_
(_fig. 160_) are made in pottery or porcelain, and these are for the
purpose of standing in front of the ink‐stone to prevent the mats from
being spattered when the ink is rubbed. In another form of _tsui‐tate_ a
stand is made having uprights placed in such a way that a screen covered
with stout paper or a panel may be placed upon the stand and held in a
vertical position by these uprights, as shown in fig. 161.

                [Fig. 160.—Model of tsui‐tate in pottery.]

                 Fig. 160.—Model of tsui‐tate in pottery.

When the _shōji_ are removed, and the room thrown wide open to the light
and air, curtains composed of strips of bamboo or rush are used as sun‐
screens; these are generally hung up just below the edge of the
supplementary roof or _hisashi_ or may be suspended just outside the room.
They can be rolled up and tied, or dropped to any desired length. These
curtains may be either plain or have traced upon them delicate designs of
vines or gourds, or conventional patterns. These designs are produced
either by the joints on the bamboo being adjusted to carry out a zigzag or
other design, as shown in _fig. 162_ (A.), or else the thin strips of
bamboo may have square notches cut out from their lower edges as in fig.
162 (B).  In this case the shade of the room within gives the necessary
back‐ground to bring out the design as shown in fig. 163. These devices
are called _noren;_ if made of bamboo, they are called _sudare._

In illustrated books there is often seen figured a screen such as is shown
in _fig. 164_. This consists of a lacquered stand, from which spring two
upright rods, which in turn support a transverse bar not unlike some forms
of towel‐racks; dependent from this is a curtain of cloth, which is long
enough to sweep the floor. I have never seen this object, though it is
probably in use in the houses of the Daimios.

                          [Fig. 161.—Tsui‐tate.]

                           Fig. 161.—Tsui‐tate.

                       [Fig. 162.—Bamboo curtains.]

                        Fig. 162.—Bamboo curtains.

                       [Fig. 163.—Bamboo curtain.]

                        Fig. 163.—Bamboo curtain.

                       [Fig. 164.—Curtain screen.]

                        Fig. 164.—Curtain screen.

A screen or curtain is often seen in doorways and passageways, consisting
of a fringe of cords, upon which have been strung like beads short
sections of bamboo, with black seeds at intervals. A portion of one of
these fringed curtains is illustrated in _fig. 165_. Such a curtain has
the advantage not only of being a good screen, but the inmates may pass
through it, so to speak, without the necessity of lifting it. There are
many forms of this curtain to be seen, and at present the Japanese are
exporting a variety of delicate ones made of glass beads and sections of

                      [Fig. 165.—Fringed curtains.]

                       Fig. 165.—Fringed curtains.

Cloth curtains are used at the entrance to the kitchen, and also to screen
closet‐like recesses. The cloth is cut at intervals, leaving a series of
long flaps.  This curtain is not readily swayed the wind, and can easily
be passed through as one enters room (_fig. 166_). In front of the
Japanese shop one may see a similar form of curtain slit at intervals, so
that it may not be affected by ordinary winds.

There are doubtless many other forms of screens and curtains not here
enumerated, but most of those described present the common forms usually

                       [Fig. 166.—Slashed curtain.]

                        Fig. 166.—Slashed curtain.


The kitchen, as an apartment, varies quite as much in Japan as it does in
our country, and varies in the same way; that is to say, in the country,
in houses of the better class, both in Japan and the United States, the
kitchen is large and oftentimes spacious, well lighted and airy, in which
not only the preparation of food and the washing of dishes go on, but in
which also the meals are served. The kitchen of the common city house in
both countries is oftentimes a dark narrow room, ill‐lighted, and
altogether devoid of comfort for the cook. Among this class of houses the
kitchen is the least defined of Japanese rooms; it lacks that tidiness and
definition so characteristic of the other rooms. It is often a narrow
porch or shed with pent roof, rarely, if ever, possessing a ceiling; its
exposed rafters are blackened by the smoke, which finds egress through a
scuttle, through which often comes the only light that illuminates the dim
interior. In the city house the kitchen often comes on that side of the
house next the street, for the reason that the garden being in the rear of
the house the best rooms face that area; being on the street too, the
kitchen is convenient for the vender of fish and vegetables, and for all
the kitchen traffic, which too often with us results in the strewing of
our little grass‐plots with the wrapping paper of the butcher’s bundles
and other pleasing reminiscences of the day’s dinner. In country the
kitchen is generally at the end of the house usually opening into some
porch‐like expansion, where the tubs, bucket etc., and the winter’s supply
of wood finds convenient storage.

           [Fig. 167.—Kitchen in old farmhouse at Kabutoyama.]

            Fig. 167.—Kitchen in old farmhouse at Kabutoyama.

In public inns and large country houses, and also in many of the larger
city tea‐houses, the customary raised floor is divided by a narrow area,
which has for its floor the hard trodden earth; and this area forms an
avenue from the road to the heart of the house, and even through the house
to the garden beyond. This enables one to pass to the centre of the house
without the necessity of removing one’s shoes. Porters and servants bring
the guest’s baggage and deposit it directly upon the mats; and in the inns
more privacy is secured by the _kago_ being brought to the centre of the
house, where the visitor may alight at the threshold of the very room he
is to occupy. A plank or other adjustable platform is used to bridge this
avenue, so that occupants may go from one portion of the house to another
in their bare or stockinged feet.

                        [Fig. 168.—Kitchen range.]

                         Fig. 168.—Kitchen range.

If this area is in a public inn, the office, common room, and kitchen
border one side of this thoroughfare. In the common room the baby‐tending,
sewing, and the various duties of the family go on under the heavily‐
raftered and thatched roof, which blackened by the smoke from the kitchen
fire, and festooned with equally blackened cobwebs, presents a weird
appearance when lighted up by the ruddy glow from the hearth. We speak now
of the northern country houses, particularly where the fireplace, as in
the Aino house, is in the middle of the floor. In country houses of the
better class the kitchen is large and roomy; the well is always
conveniently near, and often under the same roof. An enormous quantity of
water is used in the kitchen of a Japanese house; and if the well is
outside, then a trough is arranged beside the well, into which the water
is poured, and from this trough a bamboo spout conveys the water into a
big water‐tank within the kitchen. In the vicinity of the well it is
always wet and sloppy; the vegetables, rice, dishes, and nearly every
utensil and article of food seem to come under this deluge of water.

_Fig. 167_ (page 186) gives a sketch of an old kitchen Kabutoyama in the
western part of the province of Musashi. This kitchen is nearly three
hundred years old, and is the of a kitchen of a wealthy and independent
Japanese farmer. The great wooden curbed well is seen in front, with a
pulley above in which the rope runs. Near by is a trough from which a
bamboo spout leads to some trough in another portion of the house. The
_kamado,_ or cooking‐range, is seen to the left, an beyond is a room
partly closed by _fusuma._ Directly beyon the well two girls may be seen
in the act of preparing dinner which consists in arranging the dishes on
little raised lacquer trays, which are to be carried in when dinner is
ready. Near the range are little portable affairs made of soft stone used
as braziers. The raised floor is composed of broad planks; kitchens
invariably have wooden floors, which are oftentimes very smooth and

The usual form of kitchen range is represented in _fig. 168_; this is made
of broken tiles and mud or clay compacted together and neatly plastered
and blackened on the outside.  In this range there are two recesses for
fire, which open directly in front; and this structure rests upon a stout
wooden frame having  a place for ashes in front, and a space beneath in
which the wood and charcoal are kept.  Sometimes this range, retaining the
same form, is made of copper; within this water is kept, and little
openings permit the wine‐bottle to be immersed in order to heat it, as the
_sake_ is drunk hot without the admixture of hot water.

In another kitchen in a house in Imado, Tokio, a hood of sheet‐iron was
arranged to convey the smoke outside the building. This is probably a
modern device (_fig. 169_).

             [Fig. 169.—Kitchen range, with smoke‐conductor.]

              Fig. 169.—Kitchen range, with smoke‐conductor.

In _fig. 170_ a sketch is given of a kitchen in Tokio in which the range
was a closed affair made of stone, with a funnel at the end as in our
stoves. I was told by the owner of this house that this kind of a stove
had been in use in his family for three generations, at least. In this
kitchen an area level with the ground is seen, in which stands the sink
containing an invert rice‐kettle. Beside the sink stands a huge water‐jar,
with water bucket and water‐dipper conveniently near; above is a shelf up
which are numerous buckets and tubs. On one of the posts hangs the usual
bamboo rack for skewers, wooden spoons, spatulas, etc., and below it is a
case for the meat and fish knives. On a bamboo pole a few towels hang, and
also two large fishes’ heads from which a thin soup is to be made. On a
post near the mouth of the stove hangs a coarse wire sieve with which to
sift the ashes for the little bits of unburnt charcoal, which are always
frugally saved, and near by is a covered vessel to hold these cinders. The
customary stone brazier for heating water for the tea stands near the

                    [Fig. 170.—Kitchen in city house.]

                     Fig. 170.—Kitchen in city house.

_Fig. 171_ represents more clearly the form of this brazier, which is
called a _shichirin._ It is a convenient and economical device for the
cooking of small messes or for boiling water, charcoal being used for the
purpose. Instead of bellows, a fan is used for kindling or quickening a
fire. A short bamboo tube is also used through which the cook’s lungs act
as a bellows in performing a like service.

_Fig. 172_ gives a clearer view of the bamboo rack and the knife‐case
below, with which almost every kitchen is supplied. Often in public inns
the kitchen opens on the street, where the cook may be seen conspicuously
at work. In our country the chop‐houses oftentimes have the grilling and
stewing ostentatiously displayed in the same way, as an appetizing
inducement to attract guests.

                          [Fig. 171.—Braziers.]

                           Fig. 171.—Braziers.

_Fig. 174_ gives a view of a common arrangement for the kitchen in the
north of Japan, and in the country everywhere. Here the fireplace is in
the centre of the room. A kettle is suspended over the fire by a chain,
and other kettles are huddled around it to be heated. Overhead a rack
hangs, from which fish and meat are suspended, and thus the smoke which
ascends from the fire is utilized in curing them.  Sometimes a large
cushion of straw is suspended above the smoke, and little fish skewered
with pointed sticks are thrust into this bunch of straw like pins in a

In _fig. 175_ a more elaborate affair is shown from which to suspend the
teakettle. This is a complex mechanism with a curious joint, so that it
may be hoisted or lowered at will.

In the hut of the peasant a simple affair is seen (_fig. 173_) made out of
bamboo, which answers the same purpose. This is called a _ji‐zai,_ which
means “at one’s will.” In the front of fig. 175 a square copper box is
noticed, having two round openings. This box is filled with water, which
becomes heated by the fire, and is for the purpose of warming the _sake,_
or wine. The tongs are stuck into the ashes in one corner. These consist
of a long pair of iron chop‐sticks held together at one end by a large
ring, so that one leg of the tongs, so to speak, may not get misplaced. No
inconsiderable skill is required to pick up hot coals with this kitchen
implement, as in unaccustomed or awkward hands the ring prevents the
points from coming together.

                 [Fig. 172.—Bamboo rack and knife case.]

                  Fig. 172.—Bamboo rack and knife case.

                            [Fig. 173.—Ji‐zai]

                             Fig. 173.—Ji‐zai

It may be proper to mention here an arrangement for holding a pot over the
fire, seen in a boat coming down the Kitakami River, and which is probably
used in the north of Japan, though I have never seen it in the house. It
consisted of an upright stick having a groove through the centre. In this
groove fitted a jointed stick resting horizontally, and arranged in such a
way that it could be adjusted at any height. _Fig. 176_ (page 195) will
illustrate the manner of its working better than any description can.

                 [Fig. 174.—Fireplace in country house.]

                  Fig. 174.—Fireplace in country house.

The floor of most rooms, being permanently covered with the mats already
described in previous chapters, has no special  attention bestowed upon
it; at all events, the floor is often of rough boards laid in such a way
that irregular spaces occur between them. When the house has a proper hall
or vestibule, the floor is composed of wide planks; and the smooth, ivory‐
like, polished condition in which such floors are often kept is
surprising. In country houses it is not unusual to see polished‐wood
floors in portions of the front rooms, and as one rides along the road he
may often see the reflection of the garden beyond In their polished
surfaces. In country inns the floor in the front of the house is often of
plank. Matted floors are, however, universal from the extreme north to the
extreme south of the Empire.

                     [Fig. 175.—The best fireplace.]

                      Fig. 175.—The best fireplace.

In houses of traders bordering the street the matted floor properly
terminates a few feet within the sill, the space between being of earth.
The floor being raised, the space between the edge of the floor and the
earth is generally filled with plain panels of wood, though sometimes
designs of flowers or conventional figures are cut in the panel. These
panels are often arranged so that they can be removed, revealing a space
under the floor in which shoes, umbrellas, etc., can be stowed away.

        [Fig. 176.—An adjustable device for supporting a kettle.]

         Fig. 176.—An adjustable device for supporting a kettle.

One of the surprising features that strike a foreigner as he becomes
acquainted with the Japanese house is the entire absence of so many things
that with us clutter the closets, or make squirrel‐nests of the attic,—I
speak now of the common house. The reason of this is that the people have
never developed the miserly spirit of hoarding truck and rubbish with the
idea that some day it may come into use: this spirit when developed is a
mania converts a man’s attic and shed into a junk shop. The few necessary
articles kept by the Japanese are stowed away in boxes, cupboards,
interspaces beneath the floors.

The kitchens in every case have wood floors, as do the halls, verandahs,
and all passage‐ways.  The ground beneath the floor is, in the houses of
the better class, prepared with gravel and mortar mixed with clay, or

   [Fig. 177.—Kitchen closet, drawers, cupboard, and stairs combined.]

    Fig. 177.—Kitchen closet, drawers, cupboard, and stairs combined.

A variety of closets is found in the Japanese house. The larger closets,
closed by sliding screens or _fusuma,_ are used for clothing and bedding.
The _tansu_—a chest of drawers not unlike our bureau—is often placed
within  the closet, which is also a receptacle for chests and trunks. The
ordinary high closet is not so often seen; and where in our houses it is
deemed a necessity to have each chamber provided with a closet, in the
Japanese house bed‐chambers rarely contain such conveniences. There are
low cupboards or closets in certain recesses, the upper part or top of
which forms a deep open shelf. In the kitchen, dressers and similar
conveniences are used for the dishes. In the province of Omi it is common
to see a case of shelves with cupboard beneath; upon the shelves the
larger dishes are displayed. In the kitchen there is often combined with
the flight of stairs a closet; and this closet usually has a door swinging
on hinges. In this closet are often kept the bed‐clothes, pillows, candle‐
sticks, and night‐lamps. _Fig. 177_ illustrates the appearance of this
closet. In the hallway, also, a closet is sometimes seen in which to stow
away the _geta,_ or wooden clogs. A closet of this nature is described
farther on.

As most of the houses are of one story, and the area between the ceiling
and the roof never utilized, as with us, stairways are not common; when
they do occur they are primitive in their construction. A stairway
incorporated into the structure of a building and closed below I have
never seen in Japan; nor is there any approach to the broad, low steps and
landings or spiral staircases such as we are familiar with in American
houses. If the house be of two stories the staircase assumes the form of a
rather precipitous step‐ladder; that is, it has two side‐pieces, or
strings, in which the steps, consisting of thick plank, are mortised. This
ladder is so steeply inclined that one has to step sideways in ascending,
otherwise his knee would strike the step above. Rarely is there any
convenience to hold on by: if present, however, this consists of a strip
of wood fastened to the wall, or a rope is secured in the same way. The
front of the step is open,—that is, there is no riser; but if the back of
the steps face an open room, then slats of wood are nailed on behind.

In a beautiful house recently erected in one of the imperial gardens is a
remarkably pure and simple staircase and rail (_fig. 178_).

In the inns and large farm‐houses the step‐ladder form is often seen, and
this is removable if occasion calls for it. Another kind, common to the
same class of houses, has the appearance of a number of square boxes piled
one upon another, like a set of different‐sized blocks. This is a compact
structure, however, though in reality consisting of a number compartments
which may be separated. There are many forms of this kind of staircase.
The one shown in fig. 177 has the first two step closed; then comes a low
cupboard with sliding doors at the side, its upper corners forming another
step. Upon the cupboard rest three more steps, each of which has a drawer
which pulls out at the side. Next to this comes a high closet, supporting
on its top two or three more steps. This closet usually has a swinging
door,—a feature rarely seen elsewhere within the Japanese house proper.
This closet contains on its floor the night‐lamp, or _andon,_ and tall
candlesticks, and above are stowed away the bedding and pillows; or it may
be used for trays and dishes. The steps are not so steep as in the ladder‐
form, have no baluster or rail, and are remarkably solid. It may be well
to say here that the wood composing the staircase, as well as certain
floors, is highly finished, often with a surface like polished ivory. I
have frequently examined the wood for evidences of wax or polish applied
to its surface, but found none. Inquiry brought out the curious
information that the water from the bath is often used to moisten the
cloth with which the wood is wiped; and evidently the sebaceous secretions
of the skin had much to do with the beautiful polish often attained. When
a house possesses a _genka,_ or hall, the steps, two or three in number,
are as broad as the hall, and generally the steps are somewhat higher than
our steps. These steps are in every case permanently built into the
structure of the floor. In the steps which lead from the verandah to the
ground the usual form is in the shape of square or irregular blocks of
stone or wood; if of wood, the step may be a transverse section of some
huge tree, or a massive plank. Other forms of steps may consist simply of
two side‐pieces, with the steps made of plank and mortised in (_fig.
179_); or a more compact structure may be made with a very low hand‐rail.
These forms are all adjustable; that is, they may be placed at any part of
the verandah.

                         [Fig. 178.—Stair‐rail.]

                          Fig. 178.—Stair‐rail.

                      [Fig. 179.—Steps to verandah.]

                       Fig. 179.—Steps to verandah.

There is no feature of social life in Japan which has been more
ignorantly, and in some cases wilfully, animadverted upon than the custom
of public bathing; nevertheless, I dare to say that there is no feature in
Japanese life to be more heartily commended than this same system of
public bathing. But by this assertion I do not mean to suggest that we
shall forthwith proceed to establish baths after the Japanese style, and
take them after the Japanese fashion. The Japanese, as well as other
Eastern people, have for centuries been accustomed to see nakedness,
without its provoking among them the slightest attention, or in any way
suggesting immodesty.  With us, on the contrary, the effect has been
different; and the dire result is seen in the almost utter extinction in
our country of the classical drama, and the substitution therefor of
ballet‐dancing and burlesques,—of anything in fact that shall present to
the vulgar gaze of thousands the female form in scanty apparel.(16) A
Turkish woman looks upon her Christian sister as not only immodest and
vulgar, but absolutely immoral, because she unblushingly parades the
public street with a naked face; but the Christian woman knows that the
established customs of her country sanction such an exposure as entirely
proper. A girl who in our country would deem it immodest to appear among
the members of her own family in a _robe de chambre,_ and yet under the
glare of a bright gas‐light, in the midst of scores of strangers, appears
with low _corsage,_ is committing an act which to a Turkish woman would
appear inexplicable. To a Japanese, the sight of our dazzling ball‐rooms,
with girls in _décolleté_ dresses, clasped in the arms of their partners
and whirling to the sound of exciting music, must seem the wildest debauch
imaginable; for in Japan the sexes, except among the lower classes, never
intermingle.  No free and happy picnics, sleigh‐rides, boat‐sails, and
evening parties among the girls and boys are known there; no hand‐shake,
no friendly kiss. If the Japanese visitor in this country is a narrow‐
minded and witless scribbler, he will probably startle his friends at home
with accounts of the grossly immoral character of Christians. Unfamiliar
as he is with the corner loafer eying every girl that walks by, or with
that class which throng our walks with the sole purpose of staring at the
girls, who are there for the purpose of being stared at, what must he
think of our people when he visits our summer resorts at the seaside and
sees a young girl—nay, swarms of them—tripping over the sand under a
bright sun, bare‐legged, clad only in a single wrapper, which when wet
clings to her form and renders her an object of contemplation to a
battalion of young men who fringe the beach!

In Japan, among the lower classes, the sexes bathe together, but with a
modesty and propriety that are inconceivable to a foreigner until he has
witnessed it. Though naked, there is no indecent exposure of the person.
While in the bath they are absorbed in their work, and though chatting and
laughing seem utterly unmindful of each other. The grossest libels have
been written about the Japanese in reference to their custom of public
bathing; and I hazard the statement, without fear of contradiction, that
an intelligent Japanese, seeing many of our customs for the first time,
without knowing the conditions under which they had grown up, would find
infinitely more to condemn as immodest, than an intelligent foreigner
would find in seeing for the first time certain Japanese customs, with the
same ignorance at the outset as to what such customs implied.

If cleanliness is next to godliness, then verily the Japanese are a godly
race.(17) The simple statement, without qualification, that numbers of
Japanese in their public baths bathe in the same water would seem a filthy
habit. Certainly if such a statement were really true in regard to our own
lower classes, it would be a most filthy habit. When it is understood,
however, that the Japanese working classes—such as the carpenters, masons,
and others—often bathe two or three times a day, and must of necessity
enter the bath in a state of cleanliness such as our workmen rarely if
ever attain, the statement loses some of its force. When it is further
added that these people do not wash in the baths, but boil or soak in them
for a while, and then upon a platform, with an extra bucket of water and a
towel, wash and dry themselves, the filthy character of this performance
assumes quite another aspect.  A Japanese familiar with his airy and barn‐
like theatres, his public readings under an open tent‐like structure, or
gatherings in a room in which one or all sides may be open to the air even
in mid‐winter, would look upon the usual public gatherings of our people
in lecture‐halls, schoolrooms, and other closed apartments, wherein the
air often becomes so foul that people faint and struggle to the door to
get a breath of fresh air,—a Japanese, I say, would justly look upon such
practices as filthy to the last degree.  And what _would_ he say to one of
our great political meetings, for example, where a vast unwashed herd of
perspiring and excited people actually bathe their delicate membranous
lungs in the combined breath of hundreds!

The public baths, however, do not concern us,—though it may be well to
contrast our country with Japan in this respect, where in the latter
country every village and every town, and in the city nearly every square,
possess public baths where for the price of a cent or two one may find
conveniences for a hot bath; while in our country public baths are only
found in the larger cities, and few of these even can boast of such a
luxury. As for the private houses in our country where bathing is
customary, an inquiry shows that few possess the convenience of a bath‐

Among the masses of our people a Saturday‐night wash may or may not be
enforced; when it is, this performance usually takes place in the kitchen,
with hot water furnished from the kettle. But in Japan nearly every house
among the higher and middle classes possesses the most ample arrangements
for hot baths; and even among the poorer classes, in the country as well
as in the city, this convenience is not wanting, with the added
convenience of public baths everywhere attainable if desired.

                   [Fig. 180.—Bath‐tub with side oven.]

                    Fig. 180.—Bath‐tub with side oven.

                  [Fig. 181.—Bath‐tub with inside flue.]

                   Fig. 181.—Bath‐tub with inside flue.

There are many forms of bathing‐tubs, all of them being large and deep.
Means for applying the heat direct, which is of course the most
economical, is attained in various ways. In the common form (_fig. 180_),
a small chamber of copper is introduced at one end near the bottom of the
tub,—the mouth having a frame of stone, or of clay or plaster. In this
chamber a fire is built, and the water can be brought, if necessary, to
the boiling‐point. Within the tub a few transverse bars prevent the bather
from coming in contact with the hot chamber in which the fire is burning.
In another form a copper funnel or tube passes directly through the bottom
of the bathing‐tub (_fig. 181_). The bottom of this tube has a grating of
wire; charcoal is then placed in the tube, and its combustion rapidly
heats the water. A pan is placed below the tube to catch the coal and
ashes that fall through. In a more elaborate form (_fig. 182_), the bath‐
tub is in two sections, separated by the partition of the room. These two
sections are connected by a number of bamboo tubes or flues, so that the
water may circulate freely. The section outside contains the fire‐box, in
which the fire is built; by this arrangement the bather escapes the
discomfort of the smoke from the fire.

       [Fig. 182.—Bath‐tub in section, with oven outside the room.]

        Fig. 182.—Bath‐tub in section, with oven outside the room.

            [Fig. 183.—Bath‐tub with outside heating‐chamber.]

             Fig. 183.—Bath‐tub with outside heating‐chamber.

A very excellent form of bathing‐tub is shown in _fig. 183_, in which,
outside the tub, is a chamber not unlike a small wooden barrel closed at
both ends; through this barrel runs a copper tube, in which a fire of
charcoal is built. The barrel is connected with the bath‐tub by a large
bamboo tube, having a little square door within, which the bather may
close if the water becomes too hot. In many cases a hood is arranged in
such a way that the smoke from the fire is carried off. These tubs stand
on a large wooden floor, the planks of which incline to a central gutter.
Here the bather scrubs himself with a separate bucket of water, after
having literally parboiled himself in water the temperature of which is so
great that it is impossible for a foreigner to endure it.

A very common form of bath in the country consists of a large and shallow
iron kettle, upon the top of which is secured a wooden extension, so as to
give sufficient depth to the water within (_fig. 184_). The fire is built
beneath the kettle,—the bather having a rack of wood which he sinks
beneath him, and upon which he stands to protect his feet from burning.
This tub is called a _Goyemon buro,_ named after Ishikawa Goyemon,—a
famous robber of Taiko’s time, who was treated to a bath in boiling oil.

                   [Fig. 184.—Bath‐tub with iron base.]

                    Fig. 184.—Bath‐tub with iron base.

There are doubtless other forms of bath‐tubs with conveniences for heating
the water, but the forms here given comprise the principal kinds. There is
no reason why similar conveniences might not be adopted in our country in
cases where aqueducts or city supply is not available. There are many
forms of foot‐tubs and large wooden tubs with high backs, in which hot
water is poured; but there is no necessity of describing them here.

While in a Japanese house, as we have seen, the most ample conveniences
exist for taking a hot or cold bath, the minor conveniences for washing
the face and hands are not always so apparent. In such attempts one is
more often reminded of a primitive country house at home, where one either
goes down to the kitchen, and amid a clutter of pails and pans manages to
wash himself, or else takes a tin basin and goes out to the well,—and this
on a fresh cool morning is by far the more agreeable. In the country a
Japanese may be seen in the yard or by the roadside washing his face in a
bucket or shallow tub; and at inns, and even in private houses, one is
given a copper basin, and a bucket of water being brought he uses a
portion of the verandah as a wash‐stand. That conveniences for this
purpose do exist to some extent may be seen from the accompanying

The one shown in _fig. 185_ may sometimes be found in country inns at the
north. This consists of a shallow trough resting on the floor at the end
of the verandah or passage‐way. In the trough is a stout water‐bucket with
cover, and a copper wash‐basin.

                   [Fig. 185.—Lavatory in country inn.]

                    Fig. 185.—Lavatory in country inn.

The convenience shown in _fig. 186_ was in a private house in Tokio. Here
the trough was above the level of the floor, in a recessed portion of a
passage‐way which ran behind a suite of rooms. The wood‐work about it was
made with great care. The sliding window‐frames, covered with stout white
paper, admitted sufficient light; while the rich brown pottery‐jar, the
clean wooden dipper, copper basin, and quaint towel‐rack were all
attractive features from their very neatness and simplicity.

                  [Fig. 186.—Lavatory in private house.]

                   Fig. 186.—Lavatory in private house.

It may seem odd for one to get enthusiastic over so simple an affair as a
trough and a few honest contrivances for washing the hands and face;
nevertheless such a plain and sensible arrangement is a relief, in
contrast to certain guest‐chambers at home, where one wishing to go
through the rather vigorous performance of dashing into the water with his
elbows outstretched, finds these free movements curtailed to the last
degree by a regiment of senseless toilet articles in the shape of
attenuated bottles, mugs, soap‐dishes with rattling covers, and diminutive
top‐heavy pitchers crowded about his wash‐basin, and all resting on a slab
of white marble. Things are inevitably broken if they are brought down too
hard upon such a bottom. After such recollections, one admires the
Japanese sink, with its durable flat‐bottomed basin, capacious pottery‐jar
for water, and ample space to thrash about in without fear of spattering
the wall‐paper or smashing a lot of useless toilet articles in the act.

The form last described is the usual one seen in private houses.
Conveniences of this nature that are brought to the level of the floor,
while giving the Japanese who are used to them no trouble, are found to be
exceedingly awkward for a foreigner, who is obliged to go through his
toilet in a stooping posture.

Often the toilet places are rendered exceedingly attractive by the
ornamental wood‐work used in their construction.

             [Fig. 187.—Lavatory copied from Japanese book.]

              Fig. 187.—Lavatory copied from Japanese book.

_Fig. 187_ is a drawing from a design in a Japanese book, entitled “Yaye
Gaki no Den.” I have modified the drawing to conform more to our methods
of perspective. This was placed at the end of the verandah, and on a level
with the floor. A low partition formed a screen at one side; within the
recess thus made was a low shelf for the pottery water‐jar. The floor of
the sink consisted of bamboo rods placed close together, through which the
spilled water found its way by proper channels to the ground without. A
paper‐lantern hung against the wall, and dipper and towel‐rack were
conveniently at hand. Other forms might be given, but enough has been
shown to illustrate how well these conveniences are arranged for that
important daily operation of washing the face and hands. Further
conveniences for simply washing the hands are offered in the _chōdzu‐
bachi,_ description and figures of which will be given under that head.

                  [Fig. 188‐192.—Forms of towel‐racks.]

                   Fig. 188‐192.—Forms of towel‐racks.

The towel‐rack merits some attention from its exceedingly simple
structure. There are many forms, most of them rustic in design and made to
be suspended. The following figures (figs. 188‐192) illustrate some of the
forms in common use. The simplest kind is in the shape of a ring of bamboo
suspended by a larger bamboo, to the end of which it is attached. Another
form, and a very common one, is a yoke of bamboo, the lower ends of which
are firmly secured to a larger bamboo, confining at the same time a piece
of bamboo which slides freely up and down on the yoke, and by its own
weight resting on the towel which may be thrown across the lower bamboo.
Another form consists of a loop of bamboo suspended to the side of a board
which is hung against the wall.

The towels are pretty objects, being of cotton or linen, and usually have
printed upon them sketchy designs in two shades of blue.

After living in Japan for a time one realizes how few are the essentials
necessary for personal comfort. He further realizes that his personal
comfort is enhanced by the absence of many things deemed indispensable at
home. In regard to the bed and its arrangements, the Japanese have reduced
this affair to its simplest expression. The whole floor, the whole house
indeed, is a bed, and one can fling himself down on the soft mats, in the
draught or out of it, upstairs or down, and find a smooth, firm, and level
surface upon which to sleep,—no creaking springs, hard bunches or awkward
hollows awaiting him, but a bed‐surface as wide as the room itself, and
comfortable to the last degree. To be more explicit, the bed is made upon
the mats; there is no bedstead, or frame, or circumscribed area of any
kind upon or within which the bed is placed.(18) The bed‐clothes
consisting of lightly or heavily wadded comforters are spread upon the
floor, one or more forming the bed, and another one acting as a covering.
The common ones are wadded with cotton; the best ones are made of silk,
and are stuffed with floss silk. In private houses one often gets a bed
consisting of a number of these silk comforters,—and a most delightful bed
they make. In summer the foreigner finds these wadded affairs altogether
too hot and stuffy; and at all times he misses the clean sheets which at
home intervene between the bed‐clothes and his person,—though a clean
night‐dress is provided if desired, and this answers as a substitute for
the sheets. In the day‐time these comforters are folded up and stowed away
in some closet.

The usual form of pillow, or _makura,_ consists of a light closed wooden
box, with a bottom either flat or slightly convex. On the top of this box
is secured a small cylindrically‐shaped cushion stuffed with buckwheat
hulls. This cushion is tied to the box, and the same string that holds it
in place also secures the pillow‐case, which is simply a sheet of soft
paper folded several times, as shown in the figures here given (_fig.

                [Fig. 193.—Forms of pillow in common use.]

                 Fig. 193.—Forms of pillow in common use.

There are many other forms of pillow, either in the shape of a hard
cushion or of a square oblong box, the ends being of wood, and the rest of
basket‐work. Porcelain pillows are also seen, but rarely. There are also
many forms of portable ones, some of which fold and stow away in small
compass, and others of which are in the shape of a box, within which are
drawers and spaces for paper‐lantern, matches, mirror, comb, and various
articles of the toilet. These are generally used by travellers. The
Japanese, with a pillow of this kind, can literally take up his bed and
walk; for if he has a head‐rest or pillow containing these conveniences,
he can get along very well. Pillows in all cases are arranged to support
the head  naturally, when the shoulder rests on the floor, as in the
following figure (_fig. 194_). To a foreigner, until he becomes accustomed
to it, the Japanese pillow seems exceedingly awkward, and his first
experience with it results in a stiff neck the next morning; and at
intervals during the night he has the sensation that he is falling out of
bed, for any freedom of movement of the head results in its downfall from
the pillow.

Getting used to it, however, one recognizes that this pillow has its good
points; the neck is kept free for the air to circulate beneath, and the
head is kept cool. This peculiar form of pillow was a necessity for the
Japanese so long as the hair was done up in the rigid _queue,_ and is
still a necessity for women with their methods of hair‐dressing; but with
the general abandonment of the _queue_ on the part of the men, a few of
them are resorting to head‐rests more like our pillows, though much
smaller and harder, and on the whole I believe many find this substitute
more comfortable.

        [Fig. 194.—Showing position of head in resting on pillow.]

         Fig. 194.—Showing position of head in resting on pillow.

This simple form of bed entails much less work on the chamber‐maid than do
our arrangements. In a large inn one girl will do the chamber‐work for the
entire house. In fact this work is ridiculously simple. The _futons,_ or
comforters, are rapidly folded up and stowed away, or hung over the
balcony rail to air. She gathers up a huge pile of the light pillow‐boxes
in her arms, and carries them to the room below; here she unties the
strings which hold the cushions in place, substitutes clean sheets of
folded paper for the soiled ones,—and the work of bed‐making is done. With
a duster, consisting of strips of tough paper tied to the end of a slender
bamboo, the rooms are dusted and made ready for the next arrivals. As
matters pertaining to the toilet are performed in other portions of the
house, the rooms are placed in order in an incredibly short time.

                [Fig. 195.—Heating arrangement in floor.]

                 Fig. 195.—Heating arrangement in floor.

In a crowded inn each guest may occupy the dimensions of one mat; and the
entire floor is occupied in this way. In winter a thickly‐wadded comforter
is provided, which is made in the form of a huge garment having capacious
sleeves. Many rooms have a square hole in the floor in which, when needed,
a fire of charcoal may be kindled; this is called a _ro._ Above the _ro_ a
square frame of wood is adjusted, and the bed‐clothes being placed over
this frame are thoroughly heated, so that one may go to bed in the warmest
of nests. In the day‐time one may gather a portion of the bed‐clothes
about him, and keep warm by the little coal‐fire burning beneath. _Fig.
195_ is an illustration of this opening in the floor, with frame‐work
above to keep the bedclothes from falling on the fire below. A little
wooden box is used for the purpose of holding an earthen receptacle for
coals, and this is taken to bed as a substitute for the hot stone or brick
which is often used at home for a similar purpose. From the inflammable
nature of the bedding, many fires must originate from carelessness in the
use of this luxury.

In this connection it may be well to add that oftentimes little square
thin cushions are provided for guests to sit upon; and one often sees a
light round cushion which is used as elbow‐rest when one is reclining
(_fig. 196_).

Mosquito nettings, or _kaya,_ are to be found in all houses, even the
poorest people being supplied with them. The usual form of netting is made
in the shape of a square box, nearly as large as the room, and this, when
placed in position, is suspended at the four corners by cords which are
tied to pegs in the four corners of the room. A smaller netting for
infants is made on a frame work of bamboo like a cage, and this may be
placed over the infant wherever it may drop to sleep on the mats.

                         [Fig. 196.—Elbow‐rest.]

                          Fig. 196.—Elbow‐rest.

An inseparable accompaniment of every Japanese home, from the most exalted
to the very humblest, is the _hibachi._ This object consists of a vessel
partially filled with fine ashes, containing when in use a few bits of
burning charcoal. This vessel may be of bronze, iron, porcelain,
earthenware, or even of wood lined with copper, or a wooden box containing
an earthen vessel. The most usual form of _hibachi_ consists of a square
wooden box lined with copper, between which and the wood is a layer of
clay or plaster (_fig. 200_). A very cheap and common form is a wooden box
in which is a cylindrical jar of black unglazed earthenware (fig. 197).

A pair of iron rods generally held together at one end by a large ring
answer as tongs, being used after the manner of  chop‐sticks. These are
either stuck in the ashes, or when the wooden box contains the fire‐vessel
separately there may be secured in the corner of this box a bamboo tube in
which the tongs are kept.

In bronze _hibachi_ there are handles or rings on the sides for
convenience of moving. In the square‐box _hibachi_ cleats are nailed on
opposite sides to answer as handles; or, as is more usually the case,
narrow holes are cut through the sides of the box to accommodate the
fingers, as shown in the previous figure (197).

                       [Fig. 197.—Common hibachi.]

                        Fig. 197.—Common hibachi.

Much art and skill are displayed in the bronze and iron _hibachi,_ and
forms such as might be found in an ordinary house in Japan would be
regarded as gems in collections of bric‐à‐brac at home. Even the wooden
_hibachi_ are often objects of exquisite taste. We recall an old one made
of the richest grained wood, in which were drawers at one end to hold
pipes and tobacco, and around the base of the box ran a deep band of black
lacquer inlaid with ornaments of pearl, the design representing in various
positions the iron bits of a horse. So various and oftentimes inexplicable
are the surprises in their designs, that one might almost imagine the
decorator to have opened while blindfolded a dictionary of objects, and to
have taken the first word he saw as the theme for his subject.

                           [Fig. 198.—Hibachi.]

                            Fig. 198.—Hibachi.

A very favorite form of wooden _hibachi_ is shown in _fig. 198_. This
consists of a single piece of oak or other hardwood turned in a
cylindrical form, the grain being brought into relief by special
treatment, and the inside lined with copper.  An old one richly colored
and polished by age is much esteemed.

The _hibachi_ may be quite a large affair, and subserve the duties of a
stove as well. An iron ring having three legs, or a grid spanning the box,
is provided on which the tea‐kettle is supported, or even fishes broiled.
The _hibachi_ is a sort of portable fireplace, around which the family
gather to gossip, drink tea, or warm their hands. The one represented in
_fig. 199_ shows a little child warming itself, while wrapped in a thick
night‐garment. One will often observe a Japanese absent‐mindedly stirring
the coals or ashes with the tongs, just as we are fond of doing at home.

                           [Fig. 199.—Hibachi.]

                            Fig. 199.—Hibachi.

A sentiment prompts many families to keep the _hibachi_ fire burning
continually; and I was told that in one family in Tokio the fire had been
kept alive continuously for over two hundred years.

In a winter party the _hibachi_ are previously arranged by the servants,
one being allotted to each guest; and the place where each is to sit on
the matted floor is often indicated by a little square cloth‐cushion.
_Fig. 200_ illustrates the arrangement of _hibachi_ for company.

Whenever you call on a friend, winter or summer, his very first act of
hospitality is to place the _hibachi_ before you. Even in shops the
_hibachi_ is present, or is brought in and placed on the mats when a
visitor enters.

                [Fig. 200.—Hibachi arranged for company.]

                 Fig. 200.—Hibachi arranged for company.

A smaller form of _hibachi,_ called a _tabako‐bon_ (_fig. 201_), is also
usually brought to a visitor. It is a convenience used by smokers, and is
commonly in the form of a square wooden box containing a small earthen
vessel for holding hot coals, and a segment of bamboo either with or
without a cover. This last is a hand cuspidore, and great refinement is
shown in using it, either by averting the head or screening the mouth with
the hand. The cuspidore, or spittoon, as commonly used by us, seems vulgar
in comparison with that of the Japanese. Sometimes the _tabako‐bon_ is
made out of the burl of an oak in which a natural depression occurs (_fig.
202_). This form is often seen in Japanese picture‐books. Another form is
shown in _fig. 203_. There many and various designs for this convenience,
some of then being very odd. To replenish the _hibachi_ with hot coals
there is provided a shallow iron bowl called a _dai‐jū‐no_ (fig. 204).

                         [Fig. 201.—Tabako‐bon.]

                          Fig. 201.—Tabako‐bon.

Upon the bottom of this bowl is riveted a bent strip of iron, which in
turn is secured to a stand of wood.  The bowl has an iron socket, into
which is fitted a wooden handle. In this vessel burning coals are brought
by the servant.

                         [Fig. 202.—Tabako‐box.]

                          Fig. 202.—Tabako‐box.

                         [Fig. 203.—Tabako‐box.]

                          Fig. 203.—Tabako‐box.

When the _hibachi_ is properly arranged, it is customary to heap the ashes
in a pyramidal pile about the coals and mark a series of radiating lines
upon it. The charcoal to replenish the fire is generally kept in a basket,
though sometimes a deep wooden box with a handle is used. The baskets used
for this purpose are always tasty affairs, having often a rich brown color
from age. In the basket is a pair of old brass or copper rods with which
to handle the coal. A single stick of coal buried vertically in the ashes
is burned for several hours. The charcoal‐vender has a curious way of
utilizing the small and pulverized fragments of the charcoal, by mixing
the powder with some kind of sea‐weed, and then forming the mass into
round balls the size of a large orange. In making these balls he goes
through a motion precisely like that seen in making snow‐balls. These are
afterwards dried in the sun, and seem to burn very well. In riding along
the streets one often sees trays filled with these black balls exposed to
the sun.

              [Fig. 204.—Pan for holding burning charcoal.]

               Fig. 204.—Pan for holding burning charcoal.

Before kerosene oil was introduced into Japan the means of illumination
were of the most meagre description. One can hardly realize the difficulty
a student must have experienced in studying his Chinese Classics by the
feeble light emitted from tiny wicks, or the dim and unsteady flame of a
vegetable‐wax candle,—a light rendered all the more feeble when filtered
through a paper lantern. It is related that in former times devout
students of the Chinese Classics were accustomed at night to read a single
character at a time by the dim illumination of a glowing coal at the end
of an incense‐stick held close to the page! Of the many things which the
Japanese have adopted and promptly utilized from Western nations, I know
of nothing which has been so great a boon to all the people as kerosene
oil. The Western practice of medicine is rapidly displacing the empirical
Chinese practice, and this when accomplished will be, beyond all question,
the greatest boon. There are many outlying districts, however, as well as
thousands of inhabitants of the cities, still under the sway of Chinese
methods, and the beneficent effects of the rational treatment of disease
has not yet been widely felt; but everywhere throughout the Empire the
bright light of kerosene has lengthened the day for all.

Japanese candles are made of a vegetable wax, having a wick consisting of
a roll of paper, not unlike the ordinary paper lamp‐lighter. This wick,
being hollow, is fitted to a sharp spur of iron about an inch long, in the
candlestick (in England the pricket candlestick went out of use a few
centuries ago; in Japan it is still retained). At the top of the candle
the wick projects in a firm, hard point. When a candle has burned low, it
is removed from the candlestick and placed on the end of the new candle,
which is then adjusted on the sharp spur. By this simple device all the
candle is utilized in combustion.

A superior kind of candle, made in the province of Aidsu, is beautifully
painted in bright colors, with designs of flowers and other ornamental

Candles are depended upon to illuminate the rooms, as well as to light the
hand‐lanterns which are carried about the streets, and those which are
used for the house,—these last consisting of a square or hexagonal frame,
covered with paper and attached to the end of a short handle.

                      [Fig. 205.—Iron candlestick.]

                       Fig. 205.—Iron candlestick.

A common form of Japanese candlestick, called _te‐shoku,_ is represented
in _fig. 205_. It is a rude affair made of iron, supported on three legs,
and has a wide disk to prevent the melted wax from dropping on the mats,
and a ring about the candle to prevent its falling over. It is easily
picked up from the floor by its longer arm.

Another common form of candlestick consists of a hemispherical base of
brass, ten or fifteen inches in diameter, from which a rod of the same
metal runs up to the height of two feet or more, on the end of which is
the usual cup and spur. Candlesticks of this description are seen in _fig.
177_ (page 196).

The snuffer is usually in the form of a blunt pair of tweezers, with which
the burnt wick is removed; the servants, however, often take the
_hibashi,_ or tongs, and, removing the wick, thrust it into the ashes of
the _hibachi._

Candlesticks of rustic design, manufactured of curious woods, are made at
Nikko and other famous resorts, more as mementos to carry away than as
implements intended for actual use.

The Japanese lamp is usually in the form of a shallow saucer, in which
vegetable oil is burned. The wick, consisting of long slender rods of
pith, is held down by a little ring of iron, to which a spur is attached
for a handle. The unburned portion of the wick projects beyond the saucer,
and as it burns away at one end is moved along. The saucer rests in a disk
or ring of iron, which is suspended within a frame covered with paper. A
common form of this lamp, or _andon,_ is shown in _fig. 206_. It consists
of a square frame of wood covered with paper, open above and below, and
having one side in the shape of a movable lid, which can be raised when
the lamp needs tending. This frame is secured to two uprights, which
spring from a wooden stand in which may be a drawer containing extra wicks
and a pair of snuffers. These uprights extend above the lantern, and have
a cross‐piece by which the lantern is lifted, and another cross‐bar just
below from which the lamp hangs. The light from this night‐lamp is feeble
and uncertain, and by it one can barely see his way about the room.

                            [Fig. 206.—Lamp.]

                             Fig. 206.—Lamp.

                            [Fig. 207.—Lamp.]

                             Fig. 207.—Lamp.

                   [Fig. 208.—Lamp and laquered stand.]

                    Fig. 208.—Lamp and laquered stand.

There are many kinds of _andon,_ some being very ingenious. One form is
cylindrical, being composed of two frames, one within the other,—the outer
frame revolving in a groove in the stand. One half of each lantern is
covered with paper, so that by turning the outer frame the openings are
brought together, and thus access is gained to the lamp. Another form of
_andon_(_fig. 207_) opens in a different way, with a little shelf in one
corner to hold the saucer of oil.

Still another form (_fig. 208_) is copied from an old colored picture‐
book; this consists of an elaborate lacquered stand mounted in metal, with
a lamp supported on the top.

In the passage‐ways, and at the head of stairways, lamps are often fixed
to the wall. In Osaka I saw a curious one, which is represented in _fig.
209_.  The frame was hung by hinges to a board which was affixed to the
wall (the hinges being above), and rested against the board like a cover,
and was lifted up when the lamp needed attention. In an _andon_ in Osaka,
I saw a good bit of iron‐work (_fig. 210_) made to suspend the lamp.

                          [Fig. 209.—Wall‐lamp.]

                           Fig. 209.—Wall‐lamp.

                            [Fig. 210.—Lamp.]

                             Fig. 210.—Lamp.

Lamps made of pottery are rarely seen. _Fig. 211_ is a sketch of an old
lamp of Oribe ware from the author’s collection. An inclined portion
within supports the wick, and the cover is notched in front and behind to
allow the passage of the wick.  Another form from the same collection,
made in the province of Iga, is shown in _fig. 212_. In this lamp the wick
must have been made from some fibre; a hole in the wick‐tube is seen
through which the wick can be moved along. The handle of the lamp has a
slot in it, so that it may be hung against the wall. It is possible that
these two lamps, or at least the last one, are for the _kami‐dana_, a
shelf which supports the household shrine. In connection with lamps made
of pottery, it may be well to add that now and then one meets with a
pottery candlestick. That shown in _fig. 213_ represents one from the
author’s collection, made of Owari pottery.

                        [Fig. 211.—Pottery lamp.]

                         Fig. 211.—Pottery lamp.

Near the _chōdzu‐bachi,_ hanging from the edge of the verandah roof above,
is usually seen an iron lantern, generally a quaint old rusty affair
suspended by a chain, and, when lighted, admitting through the
perforations in its side the faintest possible glimmer. In figs. 240 and
253 (pages 255 and 267) lanterns of this description may be seen.

                        [Fig. 212.—Pottery lamp.]

                         Fig. 212.—Pottery lamp.

Street‐lanterns are often affixed to short slender posts at the gateway or
doorway of a dwelling. The usual form of this frame and lantern is
represented _fig. 214_. It is not over five feet in height, and seems to
be a frail affair to expose on a public street. The very frailty and
lightness of such objects, however, often exposed as they are with entire
safety on busy thoroughfares, are striking indications of the gentle
manners of the Japanese. One is led to wonder how long such a delicate
street‐lamp would remain intact in our streets, with those mobs thronging
by that seem to be solely a product of our civilization. These, and a
thousand similar points of contrast, set a thoughtful man reflecting on
the manners and customs of the two great civilizations.

                     [Fig. 213.—Pottery candlestick.]

                      Fig. 213.—Pottery candlestick.

                    [Fig. 214.—Fixed street‐lantern.]

                     Fig. 214.—Fixed street‐lantern.

In nearly every house one sees perched up on a shelf called the _kami‐
dana_ a curious little architectural affair, which on more special
examination proves to be a model of a Shin‐tō shrine, or a principal
feature of a Shin‐tō altar,—a circular mirror. On the shelf in front of
this are a few lamps (or a single lamp) and trays, containing at times
food‐offerings. If the shrine is in the shape of a box, then accompanying
it are various little brass stands, slips of wood with characters written
upon them, and in short a miniature representation, apparently, of the
paraphernalia used in a large temple. The shelf is high up on the wall
near the ceiling; and in old houses this region is black with the
accumulations of smoke from the little lamp which is lighted every night,
and which may have burned there for a century. These are the Shin‐tō

The Buddhist household shrines, having a figure of Buddha or of one of his
disciples, or perhaps of some other god, are much more ornate, and rest on
the floor,—at least so I was informed. My informant also told me that the
majority of the people worship at the shrines of both great beliefs, and
that all Buddhists, unless very strict, have Shintō shrines in their
houses. Indeed, Buddhists and even Buddhist priests have been known to go
into the Roman Catholic cathedral at Osaka, and bow in reverence before
the altar and other emblems of an alien religion. The tolerance and
charity evinced in such acts is something pathetic, when one recalls the
mutually hostile attitude of the two great branches of the Christian

Flowers and incense‐burning usually accompany the Buddhist household
shrine, while before Shin‐tō shrines incense is not burned. Buddhist
shrines have placed before them lamps of brass, or hanging lamps, while in
front of the Shin‐tō shrine candles of vegetable wax are burned. In
unglazed, hand‐made pottery called _kawarake_ oil is burned, which is also
used for food‐offerings. For offerings of wine, oval bottles of peculiar
shape, with long narrow necks, are used; these are called _miki‐
dokkuri,_—_miki_ being the name of the wine offered to the gods, and
_tokkuri_ the name of a _sake_ bottle. In front of these shrines one may
often see the inmates of the house bow their heads, clap their hands, and
then, rubbing the palms together in an imploring gesture, pray with much
earnestness. So far as I have observed, every house has this domestic
altar. In shops, too, one often sees the shrine; and in the larger and
more wealthy shops the shrine is often a very expensive affair. In a
famous silk‐shop in Tokio is a large model of a Shin‐tō temple suspended
by iron rods from the beams above. In front of it hang two big metal
lanterns. It struck me that this display of piety was rather ostentatious,
and paralleled similar displays sometimes seen at home; in this
supposition, however, I may be doing an injustice. Among the intelligent
classes the household shrine seems to be provided for the female members
of the family only, the men having outgrown these superstitions; and it
was interesting to observe that in Japan, as elsewhere, the women—being as
a rule less informed—made up the majority of those attending public

                      [Fig. 215.—Household shrine.]

                       Fig. 215.—Household shrine.

The sketch here given of a Buddhist household shrine (_fig. 215_) was seen
in a house of the most squalid character. The various vessels were filled
with boiled rice, with loaves of _mochi_ made of a special kind of rice,
and a number of unripe peaches. On the lower shelf, in the right‐hand
corner, are seen a sweet potato and a radish propped up on four legs,
looking like toy deer or beasts of some kind. Whether this indicated the
work of children or represented the horses upon which the gods could take
a ride, was not ascertained.

A household shrine to which the children pay voluntary and natural
devotion are the birds’ nests built within the house. It is a common
thing, not only in the country but in large cities like Tokio, for a
species of swallow, hardly to be distinguished from the European species,
to build its nest in the house,—not in an out‐of‐the‐way place, but in the
room where the family may be most actively engaged, or in the shop
fronting the street, with all its busy traffic going on. The very common
occurrence of these birds’ nests in houses is another of the many
evidences of the gentle ways of this people, and of the kindness shown by
them to animals.

              [Fig. 216.—Swallows’ nests in private house.]

               Fig. 216.—Swallows’ nests in private house.

When a bird builds its nest in the house, a little shelf is promptly
secured beneath it, so that the mats below shall not be soiled. The
presence of the bird in the house is regarded as a good omen, and the
children take great pleasure in watching the construction of the nest and
the final rearing of the young birds. I noticed that many of the nests
built within the house were much more elaborately made than those built in
more exposed positions. From the symmetrical way in which many of these
were constructed, one might almost imagine the birds had become imbued
with some of the art instincts of the people. _Fig. 216_ illustrates the
appearance of a group of these birds’ nests in a house.

                      [Fig. 217.—Interior of privy.]

                       Fig. 217.—Interior of privy.

It would be an affectation of false delicacy were no allusion to be made
to the privy, which in the Japanese house often receives a share of the
artistic workman’s attention. From its position in the house, and
especially in the public house, it is often a source of great discomfort.
In the better class of private houses in Japan, however, there are less
annoyance and infinitely less danger from this source than are experienced
in many houses of the wealthy in our great cities. In the country the
privy is usually a little box‐like affair removed from the house, the
entrance closed half way up by a swinging door. In the city house of the
better class it is at one corner of the house, usually at the end of the
verandah, and sometimes there are two at diagonal corners, as a reference
to the plans will show. A curious superstition among many is attached to
the position of the privy in its relation to the house,—a trace possibly
of the Chinese _Fung‐shui._ The privy generally has two compartments,—the
first one having a wooden or porcelain urinal; the latter form being
called _asagaowa,_ as it is supposed, to resemble the flower of the
morning glory,—the word literally meaning “morning face” (_fig. 219_). The
wooden ones are often filled with branches of spruce, which are frequently
replenished. The inner compartment has a rectangular opening cut in the
floor, and in the better class of privies this is provided with a cover
having a long wooden handle. The wood‐work about this opening is sometimes
lacquered. Straw sandals or wooden clogs are often provided to be worn in
this place.

          [Fig. 218.—Privy of inn in Hachi‐ishi village, Nikko.]

           Fig. 218.—Privy of inn in Hachi‐ishi village, Nikko.

The interior of these apartments is usually simple, though: sometimes
presenting marvels of cabinet‐work. Much skill and taste are often
displayed in the approaches and exterior finish of of these places.

_Fig. 217_ shows the interior of a common form of privy. Fig. 218
illustrates the appearance of one in an inn at Hachi‐ishi, near Nikko. The
planking in the front of the sketch shows the verandah; from this, at
right angles, runs a narrow platform, having for its border the natural
trunk of a tree; the corner of a little cupboard is seen at the left; the
ceiling is composed of matting made of thin strips of wood, and below is a
dado of bamboo. The opening to the first apartment is framed by a twisted
grape‐vine, while other sticks in their natural condition make up the
frame‐work. Beyond the arched opening is another one closed by a swinging
door; and this is usually the only place in the house where one finds a
hinged door, except, perhaps, on the tall closet under the kitchen stairs.
The roof is covered thickly with the diminutive shingles already alluded
to. Outside a little screen fence is built, a few plants neatly trained
below,—and a typical privy of the better class is shown. The wooden trough
standing on four legs and holding a bucket of water and a washbasin is
evidently an addition for the convenience of foreign guests. The _chōdzu‐
bachi_ with towel rack suspended above, as already described, is the
universal accompaniment of this place.

     [Fig. 219.—Privy connected with a merchant’s house in Asakusa.]

      Fig. 219.—Privy connected with a merchant’s house in Asakusa.

As one studies this sketch, made at an inn in a country village, let him
in all justice recall similar conveniences in many of the country villages
of Christendom!

In _Fig. 219_ is shown the privy of a merchant in Asakusa, Tokio. The door
was a beautiful example of cabinet‐work, with designs inlaid with wood of
different colors. The interior of this place (_fig. 220_) was also
beautifully finished and scrupulously clean.

               [Fig. 220.—Interior of a privy in Asakusa.]

                Fig. 220.—Interior of a privy in Asakusa.

The receptacle in the privy consists of a half of an oil barrel, or a
large earthen vessel, sunk in the ground, with convenient access to it
from the outside. This is emptied every few days by men who have their
regular routes; and as an illustration of the value of this material for
agricultural purposes, I was told that in Hiroshima in the renting of the
poorer tenement houses, if three persons occupied a room together the
sewage paid the rent of one, and if five occupied the same room no rent
was charged!  Indeed, the immense value and importance of this material is
so great to the Japanese farmer, who depends entirely upon it for the
enrichment of his soil, that in the country personal conveniences for
travellers are always arranged by the side of the road, in shape of
buckets or half‐barrels sunk in the ground.

Judging by our standards of modesty in regard to these matters there would
appear to be no evidence of delicacy among the Japanese respecting them;
or, to be more just, perhaps should say that there is among them no
affectation of false modesty,—a feeling which seems to have developed
among the English‐speaking people more exclusively, and among some of them
to such ridiculous heights of absurdity as often to be fraught with grave
consequences.  But among the Japanese it would seem as if the publicity
given by them to the collecting of this important fertilizer had dulled
all sensitiveness on their part, if it ever existed, concerning this
matter.(19)  Indeed, privacy in this matter would be impossible when it is
considered that in cities—as in Tokio, for example—of nearly a million of
inhabitants this material is carried off daily to the farms outside, the
vessels in which it is conveyed being long cylindrical buckets borne by
men and horses. If sensitive persons are offended by these conditions,
they must admit that the secret of sewage disposal has been effectually
solved by the Japanese for centuries, so that nothing goes to waste. And
of equal importance, too, is it that of that class of diseases which
scourge our communities as a result of our ineffectual efforts in
disposing of sewage, the Japanese happily know but little. In that country
there are no deep vaults with long accumulations contaminating the ground,
or underground pipes conducting sewage to shallow bays and inlets, there
to fester and vitiate the air and spread sickness and death.

On the other hand it must be admitted that their water supply is very
seriously affected by this sewage being washed into rivers and wells from
the rice‐fields where it is deposited; and the scourge of cholera, which
almost yearly spreads its desolating shadow over many of their southern
towns, is due to the almost universal cultivation of the land by
irrigation methods; and the consequent distribution of sewage through
these surface avenues renders it impossible to protect the water supply
from contamination.


The study of the house‐architecture of Japan, as compared with that of
America, it is curious to observe the relative degree of importance given
to similar features by the two peoples. With us the commonest house in the
city or country will have a definite front‐door, and almost always one
with some embellishments, in the shape of heavy panels, ornate brackets
and braces supporting some sort of a covering above, and steps approaching
it equally pretentious; in the ordinary Japanese house, on the contrary,
this entrance is, as we shall see, often, though not always, of the most
indefinite character. With us, again, the hall or front‐entry stairs may
be seen immediately on entering the house,—and this portion has some
display in the baluster and gracefully curving rail, and in the better
class of houses receives special attention from the architect; in Japan,
however, if the house be of two stories the stairway is never in sight,
and is rarely more than a stout and precipitous step‐ladder. On the other
hand, the ridge of the roof, which in Japan almost invariably forms the
most picturesque feature of the house exterior, is with us nothing more
than the line of junction of the plainest rain‐shed; though in great
edifices feeble attempts have been made to decorate this lofty and
conspicuous line by an inverted cast‐iron design, which is not only
absolutely useless as a structural feature, but, so far as the design is
concerned, might be equally appropriate for the edge of a tawdry valentine
or the ornamental fringe which comes in a Malaga raisin‐box.

Accustomed as we are, then, to a front‐door with steps and rail and a
certain pretentious architectural display, it is difficult to conceive of
a house without some such distinctive characters to its portal. In the
ordinary Japanese house, however, we often look in vain for such
indications. In the common class of their houses, and even in those of
more importance, the entrance is often vaguely defined; one may enter the
house by way of the garden and make his salutations on the verandah, or he
may pass into the house by an ill‐defined boundary near the kitchen,—a
sort of back‐door on the front side. In other houses this entrance is by
means of a small matted area, which differs in no respect from the other
rooms save that the outer edge of its raised floor is some distance within
the eaves, and between this and the sill the floor is mother earth. One or
two steps, consisting of single planks running the width of the room, lead
from the earth to the floor. The roof at this point may be a gable, as
more specially marking the entrance. These indefinite entrances, however,
belong only to the houses of what may be called the middle and lower
classes, though even in houses of the middle classes well‐marked
entrances, and even entrances of some pretensions, are not uncommon. Some
may be inclined to doubt the statement that in the ordinary houses the
entrance is often more or less vaguely defined. As a curious proof of
this, however, I have in my possession Japanese architects’ plans of two
houses, consisting of a number of rooms, and representing dwellings far
above the ordinary type; and though I have consulted a number of Japanese
friends in regard to these plans, none of them have been able to tell me
where the main entrance is, or ought to be!

In a better class of houses the entrance is in the form of a wide
projecting porch, with special gable roof, having elaborately carved wood‐
work about its front, the opening being as wide as the porch itself. The
floor consists of wide planks running at right angles with the sill, which
is grooved to accommodate the _amado,_ or storm‐doors. From this floor one
reaches the floor beyond by means of one or two steps,—the edge of the
floor near the steps being grooved to accommodate the _shōji._ The back
partition of this hall is a permanent one. On either side sliding screens
lead to the rooms within. A dado of wood runs about the sides of the
vestibule, while the wall above is plastered. A low screen, called a
_tsui‐tate,_ is usually the sole ornament of the hall; and in olden times
there hung on the wall behind the _tsui‐tate_ curious long‐handled
weapons, which now are seen only as museum specimens. This screen has no
folds; the frame is thick and lacquered, and the transverse feet are
ponderous and also lacquered.

                   [Fig. 221.—Main entrance to house.]

                    Fig. 221.—Main entrance to house.

In some houses the floor of the hall, as well as that of the vestibule, is
composed of plank; and the polish of the steps and floor is of such
exquisite ivory smoothness that the decorated screen and _fusuma_ are
reflected as from a shaded and quiet expanse of water. Even here no
special display is made beyond the porch‐like projection and gable roof of
the external boundaries of this entrance.

                 [Fig. 222.—Plan of vestibule and hall.]

                  Fig. 222.—Plan of vestibule and hall.

It would seem as if the fitting architecture of this important portal had
been transferred to the gateway,—ponderous hinged‐doors, bolts, bars, and
all; for in the gateways a conspicuous, though oftentimes fictitious,
solidity is shown in the canopy of beams and tiles, supported by equally
massive posts.

In _fig. 221_ is shown a view of the entrance to the house figured on
pages 54 and 55. It is the house of a _samurai,_ and is a fair example of
the entrance to the house of a gentleman in ordinary circumstances. On the
left of the entrance is a plastered partition separating the hall from the
kitchen. On the right is a small room separated from the vestibule by
_shōji,_ not _fusuma._ This may be considered a waiting‐room, where
parties on business are shown; a servant usually waits here to attend
callers. Directly beyond, one enters a suite of rooms which border the
garden at the back of the house. At the immediate entrance is a sill; over
this sill one steps upon the earth floor.

The sill is grooved to accommodate the _amado,_ which are put in place
when the house is closed for the night. When a house has a definite
entrance like this, there are usually conveniences for stowing away
travelling gear,—such as umbrellas, lanterns, and wooden clogs. For
example, in ordinary houses, for the sake of economy in space, a portion
of the raised floor of the vestibule consists of movable planks, which may
be lifted up, revealing a space beneath sufficiently ample to accommodate
these articles.

The plan here given (_fig. 222_) shows a hall often seen in the better
class of houses. The area between the entrance and the _shōji_ projects as
a porch from the side of the house, the three‐matted area coming within
the house proper. The lettering on the plan clearly explains the various

In a narrow hall in an old house near Uyeno, in Tokio, I got the
accompanying sketch of a shoe‐closet (_fig. 223_). The briefest
examination of the various clogs it contained revealed the same
idiosyncrasies of walking as with us,—some were down at the heel, others
were worn at the sides. There were clogs of many sizes and kinds,—common
clogs of the school‐children, with the dried mud of the street still
clinging to them, and the best clogs with lacquered sides and finely‐
matted soles. At one side hung a set of shoe‐cords ready for emergency.

                         [Fig. 223.—Shoe‐closet.]

                          Fig. 223.—Shoe‐closet.

In another house, just within the vestibule, I noticed a shelf‐rack above
the _fusuma,_ designed for holding the family lanterns (_fig. 224_). It
may as well be stated here,—a fact which is probably well known to most of
our readers,—that the Japanese almost invariably carry lighted lanterns
when they walk out at night. Upon the outside of these lanterns is painted
the crest, or _mon,_ of the family, or the name of the house: a man with
an eye to business may advertise it on his lantern by some quaint design.
So persistent is this habit of carrying lanterns, that on bright moonlight
nights the lantern is brought into requisition; and nothing strikes a
foreigner as so ludicrous as the sight of a number of firemen on the top
of a burning building, holding lighted lanterns in their hands! The
lanterns fold up into a small compass; and on the lantern‐shelf which we
have shown were a number of thick pasteboard boxes in which were stowed
away the lanterns. On each box was painted a design corresponding to the
design of the lantern within. In this case the name of the family, or the
crest, was indicated.

                    [Fig. 224.—Lantern‐shelf in hall.]

                     Fig. 224.—Lantern‐shelf in hall.

In this vestibule the _fusuma,_ instead of being covered with thick paper,
consisted of panels of dark cedar. The effect was very rich.

In the houses of the Daimios the entrance is always grandly marked by a
special roof, and by a massive structure of carved beams supporting
it,—brilliantly colored oftentimes, and the surroundings in keeping with
the dignity of this important region.

             [Fig. 225.—Grated entrance, with sliding door.]

              Fig. 225.—Grated entrance, with sliding door.

The doorways of shops and inns, when they definitely occur, are large
square openings stoutly but neatly barred,—and permanently too, a portion
of it being made to roll back. The sill of such an opening is some little
distance from the ground, and one on entering steps over this sill to an
earth floor within, called the _do‐ma._ Here the wooden clogs are left as
he steps upon the raised floor. _Fig. 225_ illustrates the appearance of
this doorway.

The verandah is an essential part of the Japanese house. The word itself
is of Oriental origin, and it is difficult to imagine an Oriental house of
any pretensions without a verandah of some kind. In the Japanese house it
is almost a continuation of the floor of the room, being but slightly
below its level. The verandah is something more than a luxury; it is a
necessity arising from the peculiar construction of the house. The
_shōji,_ with their delicate frames and white paper‐coverings, which take
the place of our glass windows in admitting light to the room, are from
their very nature easily injured by the rain; the edge of the room;
therefore, where these run, must come a few feet within the eaves; of the
roof, or of any additional rain‐shed which may be built above the _shōji._
At this line, therefore, the matted floor ceases, and a plank floor of
varying width continues beyond, upon the outer edge of which is a single
groove to accommodate another set of screens made of wood. These are
called the _amado,_ literally “rain‐door,” and at night and during driving
storms they are closed. At times, however, the rain may beat in between
the _amado;_ but though wetting the verandah, it rarely reaches the

In ordinary houses the verandah has no outer rail, though in the houses of
the nobility a rail is often present. The width of the verandah varies in
proportion to the size of the house. In some of the temples the verandah
floor may be ten feet or more in width, and thickly lacquered, as in some
of the Nikko temples. In common houses this area may be three or four feet
in width. A reference to the plans (figs. 97 and 98; pages 113, 116), and
also to the vertical section (_fig. 103_; page 126), will give a clear
idea of this platform and its relation to the house. There are various
ways of treating this feature; it is always supported on wooden posts,
rough or hewn, which, like the uprights of the house, rest on single
stones partly buried in the ground. The space between the edge of the
verandah and the ground is almost invariably left open, as will be seen by
reference to figs. 37, 48, 49, 50, and 95 (pages 55, 66, 68, 70, 106),
though in Kioto houses it is sometimes filled up by simple boarding or
panelling; and here and there are one or more panels which run back and
forth in grooves, so that one can go beneath the house if necessary. The
planks composing the floor of the verandah may be narrow or wide; usually
however they are quite narrow, and run parallel with the edge of the
verandah, though in some cages they are wide planks running at right
angles.    When this platform turns a corner, the ends of the planks may
be mitred (as in _fig. 226_, A), or square (as in fig. 226, B), in which
latter case the ends project beyond each other alternately.     Sometimes
the floor is made up of narrow strips of thick plank with the edges deeply
chamfered or rounded (fig. 226, C).    In this style a considerable space
is left between the planks.     The effect of this treatment is looked
upon  as rustic and picturesque, but is certainly not so pleasant to walk
upon.    In such a form of verandah the _amado_ runs in a groove in close
proximity to the _shōji._

                       [Fig. 226.—Verandah floor.]

                        Fig. 226.—Verandah floor.

The verandah varies considerably in its height from the ground; more often
it is so low that one sitting on its edge may rest his feet comfortably
on   the ground.     In this case a single wide block, either of stone or
wood, forms the step. When the verandah is at a greater height   from
the ground,  permanent  or adjustable  steps, two or three   in   number,
are   placed  in position.    A common form of verandah‐step is shown in
fig.   179 (page 199).    A very good type of verandah   sketched   from
an  old house in Kioto is   shown in fig. 227.    The manner in which the
uprights support the broad over‐hanging eaves, the appearance of the
supplementary roof called _hisashi,_ the _shōji_ as they are seen, some
closed and some open, disclosing the rooms within, and  other  details
which  will presently be described, are shown in this figure.

               [Fig. 227.—Verandah of an old Kioto house.]

                Fig. 227.—Verandah of an old Kioto house.

Rooms in the second story also open upon a balcony, the platform of which
is generally much narrower than the one below. This balcony has of
necessity a rail or balustrade; and here much good artistic work is
displayed in design and finish, with simple and economical devices,
apparent as in so many other features of the house. This structure, with a
firm hand‐rail above, has the interspaces between the posts which support
it filled with many quaint and curious devices, either of lattice, bamboo,
or panels with perforated designs. Generally a narrow bar runs from post
to post close to the platform, so that any object dropped may not roll
out; between the end posts of the rail this piece is often removable, to
allow dust and dirt to be more easily swept away. (In _fig. 228_ the piece
marked A is removable).

_Fig. 229_ represents a panel from a balustrade in Matsushima. In this the
design of bamboo was cut through, producing a very light and pretty
effect. Fig. 230 shows another panel from a balustrade in Fujisawa; a
perforated design of dragons in various attitudes ornamented each panel,
which was held in place by a frame composed of round sticks of the red

                        [Fig. 228.—Balcony rail.]

                         Fig. 228.—Balcony rail.

It seems surprising that our architects do not oftener employ this method
of perforation in their ornamental work,—the designs can  be so clearly
and sharply cut, while the dark shade of the room or space beyond gives a
depth of color to the design, which is at the same time permanent. With
the Japanese this method of ornamentation is a favorite one both for
outside and inside finish, and they have shown great ingenuity and
originality in the infinite variety of designs for this mode of treatment.
Nothing seems too difficult for them to attempt,—flying birds, swimming
fishes, dashing waves and the rising sun, flowers and butterflies; indeed,
the whole range of pictorial design has offered no difficulties to them.
In their process of figuring cloths and crape, stencil‐plates of thick
paper are employed, and in the printing of wall‐paper the same methods are
resorted to.

             [Fig. 229.—Balcony rail and perforated panels.]

              Fig. 229.—Balcony rail and perforated panels.

In a balcony rail (_fig. 231_) a most delicate device was made using for a
middle rail a  small bamboo, directly beneath which was another rail
composed of a longitudinal section of the middle of a large bamboo; such a
section included the transverse partitions of the bamboo as well. This
process is often resorted to in the construction of the frame‐work of
delicate _shōji,_ but it is rare to see it used in a balustrade. The
effect is exceedingly refined and delicate; and one realizes that in a
country where such fragile tracery is incorporated in such an exposed
structure, there must be an absence of the rough, boisterous children with
whom we are familiar, and who in a short time would be as disastrous to a
Japanese house as a violent earthquake and typhoon combined. One further
realizes that in that country men must keep their feet where they properly

                        [Fig. 230.—Balcony rail.]

                         Fig. 230.—Balcony rail.

The balustrade is often made very solid and substantial, as may be seen in
_fig. 232_, sketched from the house of a celebrated potter in Kioto.
The posts had metal tops, and at intervals along the upper rail metal
plates were fixed.

                        [Fig. 231.—Balcony rail.]

                         Fig. 231.—Balcony rail.

Transient guests  are  often  received   on  the   verandah; which  place
the   _hibachi, tabako‐bon,_ and  tea  and   cake are brought. In summer
evenings it is much cooler here than on the matted floor within, and with
the garden in view forms a pleasant place for recreation. Flower‐pots are
sometimes placed along its edge; children play upon it; and in a long
suite of rooms it forms a convenient thoroughfare from one apartment to
another. It is often the only means of reaching a room at one end of the
house, unless by passing through other rooms, as in many cases there are
no interior passage‐ways, or corridors, as with us. It is needless to say
that the verandah is kept scrupulously clean, and its wooden floor is
often polished.(20)

                        [Fig. 232.—Balcony rail.]

                         Fig. 232.—Balcony rail.

The _amado,_ or rain‐doors, by which the verandah is closed at night and
during stormy weather, are in the form of light wooden screens about the
size of the _shōji._ These are made of  thin boards held together by a
light frame‐work having a few transverse bars.    The _amado_ run in a
single groove on the outer edge of the verandah;   at night the house is
effectually closed by these shutters, and during hot summer nights the
apartments become almost stifling.    In many houses, however, provision
is made for ventilation in the shape of long, narrow opening just above
the _amado._ Panels are made to fit into these openings, so that in winter
the cold to some  extent may be kept out.    On unusually stormy days and
during the prevalence a typhoon,  the house closed in this way is  dark
and gloomy enough.

These shutters are the noisy features of a Japanese house. Within are no
slamming doors or rattling latches; one admires the quiet and noiseless
way in which the _fusuma_ are gently pushed back and forth; and the soft
mats yielding to the pressure of still softer feet, as the inmates like
cats step lightly about, are soothing conditions to overstrained nerves
and one cannot help contrasting them with the clatter of heavy boots on
our wood floors, or the clouds of filthy dust kicked out of our carpets in
any rough play of children. All these miseries are happily avoided in a
Japanese house. Truth compels me to say, however, that in the morning you
are roughly awakened by the servants pushing back into their appropriate
recesses these outer wooden screens; and this act is usually noisy enough.
In public houses this performance takes the place of clanging bell or
tympanum‐bursting gong (a Chinese instrument of torture which our people
seem to take peculiar delight in); for not only the rattling bang of these
resonant shutters, but the bright glare of daylight where before you had
been immersed in darkness, assails you with a sudden and painful shock.

                   [Fig. 233.—Rain‐door lock unbolted.]

                    Fig. 233.—Rain‐door lock unbolted.

                    [Fig. 234.—Rain‐door lock bolted.]

                     Fig. 234.—Rain‐door lock bolted.

The Japanese have a number of curious devices by which lock or bolt these
shutters.    So far as I know, the only night lock the house possesses is
attached to them. So feeble are these devices that they would hardly
withstand the attack of a toothpick in the hands of a sneak‐thief. To a
Japanese our houses must appear like veritable prisons with locks, bolts,
and automatic catches at every opening,—the front door with such
mysterious devices that it is quite as impregnable from within as from
without. What a land of thieves he must think himself in when he finds
door‐mats, door‐scrapers, fountain‐dippers, thermometers, etc., chained,
screwed, or bolted to the house! The simplest device for locking a sliding
door, or _amado,_ is by means of a ring fastened to the post by the side
of which the _amado_ comes. In the frame of the _amado_ is a little loop
of iron; the ring is pushed over the loop, and a wooden pin holds it in
place. Another form of lock consists of an upright bolt of wood that
passes through the upper frame of the _amado_ as well as through a
transverse bar just below. This bolt being pushed up is held in place by
another piece of wood, which slides along in such a way as to prevent the
bolt from dropping back. A reference, however, to the sketches (figs. 233,
234) will better explain the working of this ingenious device. Sometimes a
simple wooden pin is used to hold the last _amado_ in place. All these
various devices are on the last _amado;_ as when this is locked, all the
others are secured.

In old houses round‐headed iron knobs (fig 235) will be noticed on the
outer edge of the groove in which the _amado_ run. These are placed at
intervals corresponding to the number of _amado,_ and are to prevent the
_amado_ from being lifted out of the groove from the outside and thus
removed. This device is rarely seen nowadays.

                     [Fig. 235.—Knob for rain‐door.]

                      Fig. 235.—Knob for rain‐door.

In the second story the _to‐bukuro_ may be on a side of the house which
runs at right angles with the balcony. As the _amado_ are pushed along one
after the other, it is necessary to turn them around the corner of the
balcony, outside the corner post. To prevent them from slipping off the
corner as they turn the post, a little iron roller is secured to the
corner of the balcony; the _amado_ is pushed by it part way, and then
swung around into the other groove. A reference to the sketch (_fig. 236_)
shows the position of this roller, and two forms of it. It will be noticed
that there is no groove at this point, so that the _amado_ may be turned
without lifting them.

In the _amado_ which close the entrance to the house, the end one contains
a little square door called a _kuguri‐do;_ this may slide back and forth,
or may swing upon hinges. It is used as an entrance after the house is
closed for the night. It is also called an earthquake‐door, as through it
the inmates may easily and quickly find egress, at times of sudden
emergency, without the necessity of removing the _amado._

                 [Fig. 236.—Corner‐roller for rain‐door.]

                  Fig. 236.—Corner‐roller for rain‐door.

Not only the verandah but the entrance to the house, as well as the
windows when they occur, are closed at night by _amado._ In the daytime
these shutters are stowed away in closets called _to‐bukuro._ These
closets are placed at one side of the opening or place to be closed, and
just outside the groove in which the shutters are to run.  They have only
the width of one shutter, but are deep enough to accommodate the number
that is required to close any one entrance. By reference to the plans
(figs. 97 and 98; pages 113, 116) the position of these closets may be
seen; and in the views of the houses already given, notably in figs. 35,
38, 49 and 50 (pages 53, 56, 68, and 70), they may be seen at the ends of
the verandahs, balconies, entrances, and windows.

In an ordinary house the _to‐bukuro_ is made of thin boards, and has the
appearance of a shallow box secured to the side of the house. In large
inns the front of the _to‐bukuro_ is often composed of a single richly‐
grained plank. The closet has a notch on the side, so that the hand may
grasp the edge of each _amado_ in turn, as it is drawn toward the groove
in which runs. A servant will stand at the _to‐bukuro_ and rapidly remove
the _amado_ one after the other, pushing them along the groove like a
train of cars.

The _to‐bukuro_ is almost always a fixture on the side of the house;
sometimes, however, it has to come on the verandah in such a position that
if it were permanent it would obstruct the light. In such a case it is
arranged on pivots, so that after the _amado_ are stowed away for the day,
it may be swung at right angles away from the verandah, and against the
side of some porch or addition. This form of swinging _to‐bukuro_ is
presented in the above sketch (_fig. 237_).

   [Fig. 237.—Verandah showing swinging closet for rain‐doors, and also

   Fig. 237.—Verandah showing swinging closet for rain‐doors, and also

A curious evidence of the cleanly habits of the Japanese is seen in the
_chōdzu‐bachi,_ a receptacle for water at the end of the verandah near the
latrine. This convenience is solely for the purpose of washing the hands.
This receptacle, if of bronze or pottery, rests on a stand or post of some
kind, which rises from the ground near the edge of the verandah. Its
importance is shown by the ornamental features often displayed in its
structure and surroundings. In its simplest form it consists of a wooden
bucket suspended by a bamboo which hangs from the eaves of the verandah
roof above. To this bamboo hangs the dipper also (_fig. 238_). A towel‐
rack usually hangs near by. A more common form of _chōdzu‐bachi_ consists
of a vessel of bronze, pottery, or porcelain, supported by a post fixed
firmly in the ground, around the base of which is strewn a number of
beach‐worn pebbles, intermingled with larger stones; so that in washing
the hands (which is always done by dipping the water from the vessel and
pouring it on the hands) the water spilled finds its way through the
pebbles, and thus an unsightly puddle of water is avoided. In simple forms
of _chōdzu‐bachi,_ such as the one shown in fig. 49 (page 68), the pebbles
are enclosed in a frame of tiles fixed in the ground edgewise, this frame
being sometimes triangular and sometimes circular in form.

                        [Fig. 238.—Chōdzu‐bachi.]

                         Fig. 238.—Chōdzu‐bachi.

For a support to these vessels the quaintest devices come into play: it
may be the trunk of a tree, from one side of which a branch springs,
covered with leaves and blossoms; or it may be the end of a carved post
from some old building, as shown in _fig. 237_. A favorite support
consists of a rudder‐post from some old shipwreck, as shown in fig. 239,
at a gentleman’s house in the suburbs of Tokio. Usually the vessel is of
bronze; and one often notices rare old forms used for this purpose,
covered with a rich patina. Oftentimes water is conducted by a bamboo
pipe, to fall in a continuous stream among the pebbles.

Many forms of _chōdzu‐bachi_ are in the shape of ponderous thick blocks of
stone, with a depression on the top to hold the water. Of the stone forms
there is an infinite variety: it may be a rough‐hewn stone, or a square
post, or an arch of stone, with a depression for water at the crown of the
arch; indeed, the oddest conceits are shown in the designs for this
purpose. The usual form, however, is cylindrical (_fig. 240_); the stone
may be wrought in the shape of an urn (_fig. 241_). Whatever the form,
however, they are generally monoliths.

                        [Fig. 239.—Chōdzu‐bachi.]

                         Fig. 239.—Chōdzu‐bachi.

Usually the stone _chōdzu‐bachi_ has a little wooden frame‐work with roof
resting on the top, to keep dead leaves from falling into the water. Large
irregular‐shaped stones, having depressions in them for water, may be seen
near the entrance of the little buildings used for the ceremonial tea‐
parties; in this case the stone rests directly upon the ground. While in
most cases the _chōdzu‐bachi_ is but slightly removed from the edge of the
verandah, so that one may easily reach it with the dipper which always
rests upon the top of the vessel, in more elaborate surroundings a little
platform called _hisashi‐yen_ is built out from the edge of the verandah.
This platform has a floor of bamboo rods, or circular or hexagonal bars of
wood. A hand‐rail often borders this platform, and a quaint old iron
lantern usually hangs from above, to light the _chōdzu‐bachi_ at night.
_Fig. 240_ represents the appearance of this platform with the _chōdzu‐
bachi,_ at the house of a celebrated Kiyomidzu potter in Kioto; and in the
illustration of an old verandah at Kioto; (_fig. 227_, page 244) is shown
a Japanese in the act of washing his hands.

Taste and ingenuity are shown here, as elsewhere, in making this corner
refined and artistic. Rare woods and expensive rock‐work enter into its
composition; beautiful flowers, climbing vines, and dwarf‐pines are
clustered about it; and books are specially prepared to illustrate the
many ways in which this convenience may be dealt with.

The general neatness and cleanliness of the people are well shown by the
almost universal presence of the _chōdzu‐bachi,_ not only in the houses
and inns, but in the public offices in the busiest parts of the city,—the
railway station, to which hundreds throng, being no exception.

                        [Fig. 240.—Chōdzu‐bachi.]

                         Fig. 240.—Chōdzu‐bachi.

While little or no attempt at architectural display is made on that side
of the house that comes next the street, the gateway, on the contrary,
receives a good deal of attention, and many of these entrances are quite
remarkable for their design and structure. These, like the fences, vary
greatly as to their lightness or solidity. The gateways bordering the
street are often of the most solid description,—well barred within, having
a roof above them, and when painted black, as they often are, looking grim
enough. Whether solid or light, however, the gateways are usually
picturesque. Rustic effects are frequently seen, even in the gateways of
the city houses; though often frail in appearance, it is rare to see one
in ruins, or even in a dilapidated condition. Many of them are made of
light thin material, though the upright posts are stout timbers well
braced behind by supplementary posts, with strong cross‐beams above. Often
quaint old ship‐planks or rugged and twisted branches form frame‐work for
the most delicate panelling of braided strips or perforated designs, with
flattened strips of dark bamboo forming the centre ribs of a series of
panels. All these contrasts of strong and frail, rough and delicate in
design, material, and execution, are the surprises which give such a charm
to Japanese work of this nature.

                [Fig. 241.—Chōdzu‐bachi and Hisashi‐yen..]

                 Fig. 241.—Chōdzu‐bachi and Hisashi‐yen.

There are many different types of gateways. In the city, one type is seen
in the long row of buildings which form part of a _yashiki_ inclosure;
these are solid and ponderous structures. A gateway of a similar kind is
seen in the thick high walls of tile, mud, and plaster which surround a
_yashiki._ Another type is seen, in which the gateway is flanked on either
side by tall, light, wooden or close bamboo fences; and still another,
which is found in the garden fences, and is often of the lightest

Of the first kind forming the entrance to the _yashiki,_ the building of
which have not been considered in this work, a rough sketch is given in
_fig. 242_. This is a gateway belonging to a small _yashiki_ not far from
Kudan in Tokio, which opens into a long low building solid and heavy in
construction. The larger gateway has on either side a narrow opening for
ordinary passage. A heavily‐barred and protected window on one side is
provided for the gatekeeper, from which he can see any one that passes in
or out; the narrow though deep moat in front is bridged by stone. The
gateway, though solid, appears far more solid than it is; the gates are
apparently studded with heavy round‐headed bolts, which as we have seen
are often of pretentious solidity, being made of the thinnest sheet‐metal
and lightly attached. The broad metal straps, sockets, and bindings of the
various beams are of the same sheet‐copper. Gateways of this nature are
often painted black or bright red, and in the olden times were wonderfully
decorated with color and metal work.

                 [Fig. 242.—Gateway in yashiki building.]

                  Fig. 242.—Gateway in yashiki building.

Of another group are the ordinary gateways of the better class of city
houses. _Fig. 243_ is a typical one of this description. The sketch shows
the appearance of the gateway from within, and  illustrates the way in
which the upright posts are strengthened by additional posts and braces.
The double gates are held together, by a strong wooden bar, after the
manner of similar gateways at home. In gateways of this description there
is usually a small sliding door, its lower edge a foot from the ground,
just  high enough for a person to crawl through in a stooping attitude.
For an alien resident to get in or out of this opening without tripping,
or knocking off his hat, requires considerable skill and practice. When
this little grated door is slid back it is sometimes arranged to jangle a
bell, or to rattle a number of pieces of iron hung by a string, as a
warning to the servant within. Sometimes this supplementary opening has a
swinging instead of a sliding door; in this case a curious rattle is
arranged by tying a number of short segments of bamboo to a piece of board
which is hung to the gate: these rattle quite loudly whenever the gate is
moved. _Fig. 244_ illustrates the appearance of this primitive yet
ingenious gate‐knocker.

              [Fig. 243.—Gateway of city house from within.]

               Fig. 243.—Gateway of city house from within.

A number of curious ways are devised to lock the little sliding door in
the gateway, one of which is here figured (fig. 245.) To the left of the
drawing a portion of the door is shown. A piece hanging from a panel in
the gate is held against the edge of the door by a sliding bolt, which,
when pushed back, drops into place, allowing the door to slide by. It is,
however, difficult to make this clear by description; a reference to fig.
245 will illustrate it. Not only do the larger gates have these smaller
openings, but in the street‐entrance of shops and inns the door which
closes the entrance has a little door either hinged or on rollers. This is
called the earthquake door, as through this in times of sudden danger the
inmates escape, the larger doors or rain‐shutters being liable to get
bound or jammed in the swaying of the building.

                         [Fig. 244.—Gate‐rattle.]

                          Fig. 244.—Gate‐rattle.

           [Fig. 245.—Bolt for little sliding door in gateway.]

            Fig. 245.—Bolt for little sliding door in gateway.

The gateway shown in _fig. 246_ was sketched on the road which borders the
Shinobadzu pond in Uyeno Park, Tokio. It represents a simple form of
gateway in the high wooden fence which encloses the house and garden from
the street. The double gates consist of single thin planks; above, a
decoration is cut out of the narrow panel; a light coping held in place by
two brackets crowns the whole, and a simple yet attractive gateway is
accomplished.  In this figure the durable way in which a fence is
constructed is well shown. The stout wooden sills supported by flat
stones, which in turn rest on the stone wall, may here be seen; and the
interspace showing between the lower edge of the boards and the sill is a
common feature of fence‐structure. A barred opening in the fence next the
gate permits one to communicate with the inmates from without.

                  [Fig. 246.—Gateway to city residence.]

                   Fig. 246.—Gateway to city residence.

A more elaborate gateway on the same street is shown in _fig. 247_. In
this gateway one of the panels slides in a groove behind the other panel,
which is fixed. These panels are filled with a braiding of thin strips of
cedar.  Above these low panels is a stout net‐work of wood. The round
gate‐posts are held together above by a round beam as well as by a wide
and thin plank, in which is cut in perforated pattern a graceful design.
The roof of the gate is made of wide thin boards, supported by transverse
pieces passing through the upright posts and keyed into place. The door‐
plate, consisting of a thin board upon which the name of the occupant is
painted, is nailed to the post.

_Fig. 248_ represents a gateway on the road leading from Shiba to
Shinagawa, near Tokio. It was remarkable for the beauty of its proportions
and the purity of its design. The two upright posts consisted of the
natural trunks of trees stripped of their bark, showing the prominences
left by the removal of their branches. The transverse piece crowning the
whole had been specially selected to give an upward curve to its ends,
such as one sees in the upper transverse beam of a _tori‐i._(21) It had
been cut on three of its faces, one answering to its lower face, and the
other two to bring it in line with the gate; and these surfaces gave a
picturesque effect by intersecting the irregularities of the trunk,
producing a waved and irregular section. Directly below this beam was a
black worm‐eaten plank from some old shipwreck, and immediately below this
was another transverse tie in the shape of a huge green bamboo. The gate
itself was composed of light narrow strips placed half an inch apart,
between which could be seen four transverse bars within. A small square
area in one corner was framed in for the little supplementary entrance.
The gate was flanked on each side by wings composed of boards, and capped
with a heavy wooden rail; and these wings joined the neatest of bamboo
fences, which rested on a stone foundation, which in turn formed the inner
wall of the street gutter. Heavy slabs of dressed stone made a bridge
across the gutter, and in front of the gateway was an irregular‐shaped
flag‐stone, showing untouched its natural cleavage from the ledge; on each
side and about this slab the ground was paved with round beach‐worn
cobble‐stones. This gateway was exceedingly attractive; and there is no
reason why just such an entrance, with perhaps the exception of the
bamboo, might not be adopted for many of our own summer residences.

                  [Fig. 247.—Gateway to city residence.]

                   Fig. 247.—Gateway to city residence.

Another gateway not so pretty, but showing one of the many grotesque ideas
of the Japanese, is shown in _fig. 249_. Here the upper transverse beam is
a huge and crooked log of wood,—an old log which had been dragged from the
forest just as it fell in ruins from some tree. This peculiar way of
arching a gateway with a tortuous stick is quite commonly seen.

                     [Fig. 248.—Gateway near Tokio.]

                      Fig. 248.—Gateway near Tokio.

                           [Fig. 249.—Gateway.]

                            Fig. 249.—Gateway.

_Fig. 250_ represents a typical form of gateway often observed in the
suburbs of Tokio and farther south. Its roof is quite large and complex,
yet not heavy. The gate has a wide over‐hanging roof of bark; the ridge
consists of large bamboos placed longitudinally in two sets, each set
being kept apart from each other as well as from the roof by thick saddles
of bark resting across the ridge, the whole mass tied together and to the
roof by a black‐fibred root, the ends of these cords being twisted above
into an ornamental plume. Smaller bamboos are placed at intervals nearly
to the eaves of the roof. The rafters below were of different sizes and
shapes in section, being round and square. The sketch will more fully
explain the structure.

Figs. 251 and 252 are rustic gateways in one of the large Imperial gardens
in Tokio. In one, two rough logs form the posts, the fence being composed
of large bamboos in sets of three, alternating on either side of the rails
to which they are tied. This was a portal simply. The other had smooth
round gateposts with a light wooden gate with braided panel, and the fence
of each side was composed of rush. These gateways and fences were
introduced as pleasing effects in the garden.

                       [Fig. 250.—Rustic gateway.]

                        Fig. 250.—Rustic gateway.

In the village of Miyajima the deer come down from the woods and wander
through the streets. To prevent them from entering the houses and gardens,
the passages are guarded by the lightest of latticed gates, against which
hangs a weight suspended from above by a cord or long bamboo. The weight
answers a double purpose by keeping the gate closed, and also when opened
by a caller, by banging loudly against it, thus attracting the attention
of a servant.

Large folding gates are often fastened by a transverse bar not unlike the
way in which gates are fastened in our country. For light‐folding gates an
iron ring fastened to one gate by a staple is arranged to slip over a knob
or nail on the other gate. In the _yashiki,_ one often sees gates that
show evidences of disuse, and learns that in former times such gates were
only used on rare occasions by special guests of great importance.

There is an infinite variety of forms of garden gates; many of them
consisting of the lightest wicker‐work, and made solely for picturesque
effects. Others, though for the same purpose, are more substantial. _Fig.
253_ represents a quaint garden gate leading into another garden beyond.
Frail and unsubstantial as this gate appeared, it was nearly forty years
old. The house to the right beyond the gate is for the tea‐ceremonies, and
the huge fish seen hanging up at the left is made of wood, and gives out a
resonant sound when struck; it is the bell, in fact, to call the party
from the guest‐room to the tearoom beyond at the proper time. The owner of
this place is a teacher and master of the _Cha‐no‐yu,_ and a famous expert
in old writings.

                       [Fig. 251.—Rustic gateway.]

                        Fig. 251.—Rustic gateway.

                     [Fig. 252.—Rustic garden gate.]

                      Fig. 252.—Rustic garden gate.

The variety in design and structure of fences seems almost inexhaustible.
Many of them are solid and durable structures, others of the lightest
possible description,—some made with solid frame and heavy stakes, and
others of wisps of rush and sticks of bamboo; and between these is an
infinite variety of intermediate forms. A great diversity of material
enters into the structure of these fences,—heavy timbers, light boards,
sticks of red‐pine, bamboo, reed, twigs, and fagots. Bundles of rush, and
indeed almost every kind of plant that can be bound into bundles or
sustain its own weight are brought into requisition in the composition of
these boundary partitions.

The fences have special names, either derived from their form or the
substances from which they are made; thus, a little ornamental fence that
juts out from the side of a house or wall is called a _sode‐gaki,_—_sode_
meaning “sleeve,” and _kaki_ “fence,” the form of the fence having a
fanciful resemblance to the curious long sleeve of a Japanese dress. A
fence made out of bamboo is called a _ma‐gaki;_ while a fence made out of
the perfumed wood from which the toothpicks are made is called a _kuro‐
moji‐gaki,_ and so on.

There are many different groups of Japanese fences. Under one group may be
mentioned all those enclosing the ground upon which the house stands. In
the city these are often quite tall, usually built of boards, and
supported on solid frames resting on a foundation of stone. In the country
such fences are hardly more than trellises of bamboo, and these of the
lightest description. Many of the fences are strictly ornamental,
consisting either of light trellises bounding certain areas, or forming
little screens jutting from the side of the house, or from the side of
more durable fences or walls. Of these the designs are endless.

                       [Fig. 253.—Garden gateway.]

                        Fig. 253.—Garden gateway.

Let us examine more in detail some of the principal Japanese types of
fences. A simple board‐fence consists, as with us, of an upper and lower
cross‐tie, to which the boards are nailed. A useful modification of the
ordinary board‐fence consists in having the upper and lower rails of thick
board, three or four inches wide, and nailed sideways to the fence‐posts.
The fence‐boards are nailed to these rails alternately on one side and on
the other. A pretty effect is produced by the interrupted appearance of
the rails, and a useful purpose also is subserved by lessening the
pressure of the wind which so often blows with great violence, since by
securing the boards in this way interspaces occur between the boards the
width of the rails. _Fig. 254_ illustrates a portion of this kind of
fence, with its appearance in section as seen from above. This feature in
board fences might be imitated with advantage in our country.

                    [Fig. 254.—Ordinary wooden fence.]

                     Fig. 254.—Ordinary wooden fence.

                         [Fig. 255.—Stake fence.]

                          Fig. 255.—Stake fence.

Heavy stake fences are made by mortising each stake, which consists of a
stout square piece, and running the rail through the mortises thus made,
and then pinning each stake in position. In many fences of this kind there
are two rails near together, while the lower ends of the stakes are
secured to a foundation‐piece, or sill, which is raised an inch or two
from the ground by stone props at intervals. By this treatment the sill is
preserved both from the ravages of insects and the dampness of the ground.
_Fig. 255_ gives the appearance of this kind of fence. Such fences are
made more secure by driving into the ground additional posts at a distance
of two feet or more, and binding them together by rails, as shown in the
gateway (_fig. 243_, page 258).

                        [Fig. 256.—Bamboo fence.]

                         Fig. 256.—Bamboo fence.

A very serviceable kind of fence is made of bamboo, which is interwoven in
the rails of the fence, as shown in _fig. 256_. The bamboo stakes are held
in place by their elasticity. It will be observed that the post supporting
this fence, and also showing the side of a gateway, is marked in a curious
fashion. This post is a stout stick of wood in its natural state, the bark
only being removed. The design, in a rich brown color, is in this case in
the form of diamond‐shaped spaces, though spiral lines, like those on a
barber’s pole, are often seen. This design is burned in, and the wood
being carbonized is consequently insoluble as well as unchangeable in
color. I was curious to know how such a design was burned in this formal
pattern, and learned that a long stout rope, or band of straw soaked in
water, was first wound around the post in a wide spiral, in two
directions, leaving diamond‐shaped interspaces. A bed of hot coals being
prepared, the post was exposed to this heat, and the wood not protected by
the wet straw‐band became charred. This simple yet ingenious way of
getting plain decorations, in a rich brown and lasting color, is one that
might be utilized in a variety of ways by American architects.

Fences built between house‐lots, and consequently bordering the gardens,
are made in a variety of decorative ways. A very strong and durable fence
is shown in _fig. 257_, sketched in Hakone village. The posts in this case
were natural trunks of trees, and braces of the same material, fastened by
stout wooden pins, were secured to one side. The rail consisted of similar
tree‐trunks partially hewn, while the fence partition consisted small
bamboo interwoven in the cross‐ties.

                   [Fig. 257.—Fence in Hakòne village.]

                    Fig. 257.—Fence in Hakòne village.

                     [Fig. 258.—Rustic garden‐fence.]

                      Fig. 258.—Rustic garden‐fence.

Another fence of a more ornamental character (_fig. 258_) from a sketch
made in Tokio.  In this the lower part filled with a mass of twigs, held
in place by slender cross‐pieces; and the upper panels consisted of sticks
of the red‐pine with a slender vine interwoven, making a simple trellis.

                          [Fig. 259.—Sode‐gaki.]

                           Fig. 259.—Sode‐gaki.

In the _sode‐gaki,_ or sleeve‐fence, the greatest ingenuity in design and
fabrication is shown; their variety seems endless. I have a Japanese work
especially devoted to this kind of fence, in which are hundreds of
different designs,—square tops, curving tops, circular or concave edges,
panels cut out, and an infinite variety shown in the minor details. This
kind of fence is always built out from the side of the house or from a
more permanent fence or wall. It is rarely over four or five feet in
length, and is strictly ornamental, though often useful in screening some
feature of the house that is desired to be concealed.

                          [Fig. 260.—Sode‐gaki.]

                           Fig. 260.—Sode‐gaki.

Fig. 259 represents a fence in which cylindrical bundles of rush are bound
together by a black‐fibred root, and held together by bamboo pieces.
Little bundles of fagots are tied to each columns as an odd feature of
decoration. In _fig. 260_ cylindrical bundles of rush and twigs are
affixed in pairs on each side of _Fig. 259_ represents a fence in which
cylindrical bundles of rush are bound together by a black‐fibred root, and
held together by bamboo pieces. Little bundles of fagots are tied to each
columns as an odd feature of decoration. In _fig. 260_ cylindrical bundles
of rush and twigs are affixed in pairs on each side of bamboo ties, which
run from the outer post to the wooden fence from which the _sode‐gaki_
springs.  In still another form (fig. 261) the upper portion consists of a
bundle of stout reeds tied by broad bands of the black fibre so often used
in such work. From this apparently hangs a broad mass of brown rush,
spreading as it reaches the ground.  Such fences might be added to our
gardens, as the materials—such as reeds, rush, twigs, etc.—are easily
obtained in this country. In the stout wooden fences it is not an uncommon
sight to see openings the size of a small  window protected by a
projecting grating of wood (_fig. 262_).

                          [Fig. 261.—Sode‐gaki.]

                           Fig. 261.—Sode‐gaki.

Besides the fences, a few of which only have been figured, there are
stout, durable walls built up with tile and plaster, or mud intermixed.
These structures rest on a foundation of stone, are two or three feet wide
at their base, and rise to a height of eight feet or more, at which
altitude they may not be over two feet in width, and are crowned with a
coping of tiles like a miniature roof‐top. The interior of these walls is
filled with a rubble of clay and broken tiles, while the outside exhibits
an orderly arrangement of tiles in successive layers.

                  [Fig. 262.—Barred opening in a fence.]

                   Fig. 262.—Barred opening in a fence.

The large enclosures, or _yashikis,_ are generally surrounded by walls of
this nature.


The Japanese garden, like the house, presents features that never enter
into similar places in America. With us it is either modelled after
certain French styles, or it is simply beds of flowers in patches or
formal plats, or narrow beds bordering the paths; and even these attempts
are generally made on large areas only. The smaller gardens seen around
our ordinary dwellings are with few exceptions a tangle of bushes, or
wretched attempts to crowd as many different kinds of flowers as possible
into a given area; and when winter comes, there is nothing left but a
harvest of dead stalks and a lot of hideously‐designed trellises painted

It is no wonder, then, that as our people have gradually become awakened
within recent years to some idea of fitness and harmony of color, the
conventional flower‐bed has been hopelessly abandoned, and now green grass
grows over the graves of most of these futile attempts to defy Nature. The
grass substitute has at least the merit of not being offensive to the eye,
and of requiring but little care save that of the strenuous pushing of the
mechanical grass‐cutter. This substitute is, however, a confession of
inability and ignorance,—as much as if a decorator, after having struggled
in vain with his fresco designs upon some ceiling, should give up in
disgust and paint the entire surface one color.

The secret in a Japanese garden is that they do not attempt too much. That
reserve and sense of propriety which characterize this people in all their
decorative and other artistic work are here seen to perfection.
Furthermore, in the midst of so much that is evanescent they see the
necessity of providing enduring points of interest in the way of little
ponds and bridges, odd‐shaped stone lanterns and inscribed rocks, summer‐
houses and rustic fences, quaint paths of stone and pebble, and always a
number of evergreen trees and shrubs. We, indeed, have feebly groped that
way with our cement vases, jigsaw pavilions green with poisonous compound,
and cast‐iron fountains of such design that one no longer wonders at the
increase of insanity in our midst.  One of every hundred of the fountains
that our people dote upon is in the form of two little cast‐iron children
standing in a cast‐iron basin, holding over their heads a sheet‐iron
umbrella, from the point of which squirts a stream of water,—a perennial
shower for them alone, while the grass and all about may be sear and
yellow with the summer’s drought!

The Japanese have brought their garden arts to such perfection that a plot
of ground ten feet square is capable of being exquisitely beautified by
their methods. Plots of ground that in this country are too often
encumbered with coal‐ashes, tea‐grounds, tin cans, and the garbage‐barrel,
in Japan are rendered charming to the eye by the simplest means. With
cleanliness, simplicity, a few little evergreen shrubs, one or two little
clusters of flowers, a rustic fence projecting from the side of the house,
a quaintly shaped flower‐pot or two, containing a few choice plants,—the
simplest form of garden is attained. So much do the Japanese admire
gardens, and garden effects, that their smallest strips of ground are
utilized for this purpose. In the crowded city, among the poorest houses,
one often sees, in the corner of a little earth‐area that comes between
the sill and the raised floor, a miniature garden made in some shallow
box, or even on the ground itself. In gardens of any pretensions, a little
pond or sheet of water of irregular outline is an indispensable feature.
If a brook can be turned to run through the garden, one of the great
charms is attained; and a diminutive water‐fall gives all that can be
desired. With the aid of fragments of rock and rounded boulders, the
picturesque features of a brook can be brought out; little rustic bridges
of stone and wood span it, and even the smallest pond will have a bridge
of some kind thrown across. A few small hummocks and a little mountain six
or eight feet high, over or about which the path runs, are nearly always

In gardens of larger size these little mountains are sometimes twenty,
thirty, and even forty feet in height, and are built up from the level
ground with great labor and expense. On top of these a little rustic
lookout with thatched roof is made, from which if a view of Fuji can be
got the acme is indeed reached. In still larger gardens,—that is, gardens
measuring several hundred feet each way,—the ponds and bridges, small
hills and meandering paths, with shrubs trimmed in round balls of various
sizes, and grotesquely‐shaped pines with long tortuous branches running
near the ground, are all combined in such a way by the skilful landscape
gardener that the area seems, without exaggeration of statement, ten times
as vast.

                        [Fig. 263.—Garden tablet.]

                         Fig. 263.—Garden tablet.

Irregularly and grotesquely shaped stones and huge slabs of rock form an
important feature of all gardens; indeed, it is as difficult to imagine a
Japanese garden without a number of picturesque and oddly‐shaped stones as
it is to imagine an American garden without flowers. In Tokio, for
example, there being near the city no proper rocks of this kind for garden
decoration, rocks and stones are often transported forty or fifty miles
for this purpose alone. There are stone‐yards in which one may see and
purchase rocks such as one might use in building a rough cellar‐wall at
home, and also sea‐worn rocks of various shapes and colors,—among them
red‐colored stones, that fetch a hundred dollars and more, brought from
Sado, an island on the northwest coast of Japan. So much do the Japanese
admire stones and rocks for garden decoration, that in their various works
on the subject of garden‐making the proper arrangement of stones is
described and figured with painstaking minuteness.  In the figures to be
given of Japanese gardens, reproduced from a work entitled “Chikusan
Teizoden,” written in the early part of the last century, the arrangement
of rocks in the various garden designs will be observed.

Tablets of rock, not unlike a certain type of gravestone, and showing the
rough cleavage of the rock from the parent ledge, are often erected in
gardens. Upon the face of the rock some appropriate inscription is
engraved. The accompanying sketch (_fig. 263_) is a tablet of this sort,
from a famous tea‐garden at Omori, celebrated for its plum‐blossoms. The
legend, freely translated, runs as follows: “The sight of the plum‐blossom
causes the ink to flow in the writing‐room,”—meaning that one is inspired
to compose poetry under the influence of these surroundings. This tablet
was raised on a slight mound, with steps leading to it and quaint pines
and shrubs surrounding it. The sketch gives only a suggestion of its

                      [Fig. 264.—Ishi‐dōrō in Tokio]

                       Fig. 264.—Ishi‐dōrō in Tokio

The stone lanterns _(ishi‐dōrō)_ are one of the most common yet important
accompaniments of garden decoration. Indeed, it is rare to see a garden,
even of small size, without one or more of these curious objects. They are
usually wrought out of soft volcanic rock, and ordinary ones may be bought
for a few dollars. They resemble stout stone‐posts of various contours,
round, square, hexagonal, or octagonal; or the upper part may be
hexagonal, while the shaft supporting it may be a round pillar; or they
may be of irregular form, built of water‐worn rock. The upper portion is
hollowed out, leaving various openings cut in ornamental shape; and in
this cavity a lamp or candle is placed on special occasions.  They are
generally made in two or three sections. There are at least three distinct
types,—short and broad ones with tops shaped like a mushroom, these
generally standing on three or four legs; tall, slender ones; and a third
form composed of a number of sections piled up to a considerable height,
looking like a pagoda, which, for all I know, they may be made to imitate.

                    [Fig. 265.—Ishi‐dōrō in Miyajima]

                     Fig. 265.—Ishi‐dōrō in Miyajima

                [Fig. 266.—Ishi‐dōrō in Shirako, Musashi.]

                 Fig. 266.—Ishi‐dōrō in Shirako, Musashi.

These stone lanterns are called _ishi‐dōrō._ A legend states that in
ancient times there was a pond on a certain mountain, in the vicinity of
which robbers repeatedly came out and attacked travellers. In consequence
of this, a god called Iruhiko caused to be built stone lanterns to
illuminate the roads, stone being a more enduring material.  In a temple
built by Prince Shotoko, in the second year of Suiko (594 A.D.) the first
_ishi‐dōrō_ is said to have been erected, and the legend states that it
was removed from the region above named to this temple.(22)

                   [Fig. 267.—Ishi‐dōrō in Utsunomiya.]

                    Fig. 267.—Ishi‐dōrō in Utsunomiya.

A few sketches are here given illustrating some of the forms of _ishi‐
dōrō_ observed. The one shown in _fig. 265_ was sketched on the temple
grounds of Miyajima, on the inland sea. I was informed by the priest there
that this stone lantern was over seven hundred years old. Its base was
buried, and the whole affair showed evidences of great age in the worn
appearance of its various parts. Figs. 264 and 266 represent forms from
Tokio and Shirako, and fig. 267 an elaborately wrought one from

                      [Fig. 268.—Stone foot‐bridge.]

                       Fig. 268.—Stone foot‐bridge.

The little bridges of stone and wood are extremely good examples of
rustic‐work, and might be copied with advantage in our country. The
ingenious device of displacing the stones laterally (_fig. 268_), or of
combining the bridge with stepping‐stones, as seen in some of them, is
decidedly unique.

_Fig. 269_ illustrates a stone bridge in one of the large gardens of
Tokio. The span of this bridge was ten or twelve feet, and yet the bridge
itself was composed of a single slab of stone. Fig. 270 shows a little
brook in a private garden in Tokio. Here the foot‐bridge consists of an
unwrought slab of rock. The _ishi‐dōrō_ showing in the same sketch
consists of a number of naturally‐worn stones, except the lantern portion,
which has been cut out.

                      [Fig. 269.—Stone foot‐bridge.]

                       Fig. 269.—Stone foot‐bridge.

                [Fig. 270.—Garden brook and foot‐bridge.]

                 Fig. 270.—Garden brook and foot‐bridge.

The summer‐houses are simple and picturesque; sometimes they have a seat
and a _do‐ma,_ or earth floor; others will have a board or a matted floor.
These houses are generally open, the square thatched roof being supported
on four corner‐posts; others again will have two sides closed by permanent
partitions, in one of which an ornamental opening or window occurs. We
cannot understand what so intelligent an observer as Rein means when he
makes the statement that the Japanese garden contains no summer‐house,—for
it is rare to see a garden of any magnitude without one, and impossible to
refer to any Japanese book on the subject in which these little rustic
shelters and resting‐places are not figured.

The training of vines and trees about the summer‐house window is often
delightfully conceived. We recall the circular window of one that
presented a most beautiful appearance. Three sides of the summer‐house
were closed by permanent plaster partitions, tinted a rich brown color,
with a very broad‐eaved thatched roof throwing its dark shade on the
matted floor. In the partition opposite the open side was a perfectly
circular window five feet in diameter. There was no frame or moulding to
this opening, simply the plastering finished squarely at the border; dark‐
brown bamboos of various thicknesses, secured across this opening
horizontally, formed the frame‐work; running vertically, and secured to
the bamboo, was a close grating of brown rush. Over and around this
window—it being on the sunny side—there had been carefully trained outside
a vine with rich green leaves, so that the window was more or less shaded
by it. The effect of the sunlight falling upon the vine was exquisite
beyond description. When two or three leaves interposed between the sun’s
rays, the color was a rich dark green; where here and there, over the
whole mass, a single leaf only interrupted the light, there were bright
green flashes, like emerald gems; at points the dazzling sunlight glinted
like sparks. In a few places the vine and leaves had been coaxed through
the grating of rushes, and these were consequently in deep shadow. I did
not attempt to sketch it, as no drawing could possibly convey an idea of
the exceeding richness and charm of the effect, with the cool and shaded
room within, the dark‐brown lattice of bamboo and rush, the capacious
round opening, and, above all, the effect of the various rich
greens,—which was greatly heightened as the wind tremulously shifted the
leafy screens without, and thus changed the arrangement of the emerald
colors within.

My attention was first attracted to it by noticing a number of Japanese
peering at it through an open fence, and admiring in rapt delight this
charming conception. Such a room and window might easily be arranged in
our gardens, as we have a number of vines with light, translucent leaves
capable of being utilized in this way.

            [Fig. 271.—Summer‐house in private garden, Tokio.]

             Fig. 271.—Summer‐house in private garden, Tokio.

_Fig. 271_ gives a view of a summer‐house in a private garden in Tokio.
Four rough posts and a few cross‐ties formed the frame; it had a raised
floor, the edge of which formed a seat, and two plastered partitions at
right angles, in one of which was cut a circular window, and in the other
a long, narrow opening above; and crowning the whole was a heavily‐
thatched roof, its peak capped by an inverted earthen basin. Whether the
basin was made expressly for this purpose or not, its warm red color added
a pleasing effect to the gray of the thatch. In front and about it stones
and rocks were arranged in pleasing disorder, while a number of exotic
flowers and quaintly trimmed shrubs added their charms, and a little brook
found its way across the path leading to it.

_Fig. 272_ is the sketch of a summer‐house in one of the imperial gardens
in Tokio. The frame, as in the one last figured, consisted of round sticks
with the bark retained; this was capped with a thatched roof, surmounted
by a ridge of thatch and bamboo. A very pretty feature was shown in the
trellises, which sprung diagonally from each post,—the frame of these
trellises consisting of tree‐branches selected for their irregular forms.
The lattice was made of bamboo and rush, and each trellis had a different
design. The seat within was of porcelain; and about the slight mound on
which the summer‐house stood were curiously‐trimmed shrubs and dwarfed

The openings or windows in these summer‐houses are often remarkable for
their curious designs. The following sketches (figs. 273, 274) give a
faint idea of the appearance of these rustic openings,—one representing a
gourd, its frame being made of grape‐vine; the other suggesting a
mountain, the lattice being made of bamboo.

           [Fig. 272.—Summer‐house in imperial garden, Tokio.]

            Fig. 272.—Summer‐house in imperial garden, Tokio.

For border hedges, trees of large size are often trained to form a second
barrier above the squarely‐trimmed shrubs that come next the path. A
jinko‐tree is trained so that it spreads like a fan, in one direction, to
a width of thirty feet or more, while it may not be over two feet in
thickness. An infinite amount of patient work is required in tying all the
big branches and little twigs to bamboo supports in order to bring trees
into such strange forms.

            [Fig. 273.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Kobe.]

             Fig. 273.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Kobe.

           [Fig. 274.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Okazaki.]

            Fig. 274.—Rustic opening in summer‐house, Okazaki.

In the garden of Fukiage, in Tokio, some very marvellous effects of
landscape‐gardening are seen. At a distance you notice high ground, a hill
in fact, perhaps fifty or sixty feet in height; approaching it from a
plain of rich green grass you cross a little lake, bridged at one point by
a single slab of rock; then up a ravine, down which a veritable mountain
brook is tumbling, and through a rock foundation so natural, that, until a
series of faults and dislocations, synclinals and anticlinals, in rapid
succession arouse your geological memories with a rude shock, you cannot
believe that all this colossal mass of material has been transported here
by man, from distances to be measured by leagues; and that a few hundred
years ago a low plain existed where now are rocky ravines and dark dells,
with heavy forest trees throwing their cool shadows over all. You wend
your way by a picturesque forest‐path to the summit of the hill, which is
crowned by a rustic summer‐house with wide verandah, from which a
beautiful view of Fuji is got. Looking back towards the park, you expect
to see the ravine below, but, to your amazement, an absolutely flat plain
of shrubbery, resembling a closely‐cropped tea plantation, level to the
top of the hill and extending to a considerable distance, greets your eye.
Have you lost the points of the compass? Walking out in the direction of
this level growth of shrubbery, a new surprise awaits you; for peering
through the bushes, you look down the slopes of the steep hill you had
ascended. The forest‐trees which thickly cover the slopes of the hill had
been trimmed above to an absolute level; and this treatment had gone on
for so many years that the tops formed a dense mass having the appearance,
from the summer‐house, of a continuous stretch of low shrubs springing
from a level ground.

I have spoken of the love the Japanese have for gardens and garden
effects, the smallest areas of ground being utilized for this purpose. As
an illustration of this, I recall an experience in a cheap inn, where I
was forced to take a meal or go hungry till late at night. The immediate
surroundings indicated poverty, the house itself being poorly furnished,
the mats hard and uneven, and the attendants very cheaply dressed. In the
room where our meal was served there was a circular window, through which
could be seen a curious stone lantern and a pine‐tree, the branches of
which stretched across the opening, while beyond a fine view of some high
mountains was to be had. From where we sat on the mats there were all the
evidences of a fine garden outside; and wondering how so poor a house
could sustain so fine a garden, I went to the window to investigate. What
was my surprise to find that the extent of ground from which the lantern
and pine‐tree sprung was just three feet in width! Then came a low board‐
fence, and beyond this stretched the rice‐fields of a neighboring farmer.
At home such a narrow strip of land would in all likelihood have been the
receptacle for broken glass and tin cans, and a thoroughfare for erratic
cats; here, however, everything was clean and neat,—and this narrow plot
of ground, good for no other purpose, had been utilized solely for the
benefit of the room within.

Reference has been made to the ponds and brooks as desirable features in
garden‐making. Where water is not obtainable for the purpose, or possibly
for the ingenuity of the idea, the Japanese sometimes make a deceptive
pond, which is absolutely destitute of water; so perfectly, however, are
the various features of the pond carried out, that the effect of water is
produced by the illusion of association. The pond is laid out in an
irregular outline, around the border of which plant‐pots buried out of
sight contain the iris and a number of plants which naturally abound near
wet shores. The bottom of the pond is lined with little gray pebbles, and
a rustic bridge leads to a little island in the centre. The appearance of
this dry pond from the verandah is most deceptive.

                [Fig. 275.—Various forms of garden paths.]

                 Fig. 275.—Various forms of garden paths.

The real ponds contain either lotus or other aquatic plants, or they may
be given up to turtles or gold‐fish, and are oftentimes very elaborately
laid out with rustic, wooden, or stone bridges. Little promontories with
stone lanterns standing at their ends like miniature light‐houses, rustic
arbors or seats, trellises above supporting a luxuriant growth of
wistaria, and tortuous pines with long branches reaching out over the
water, are a few of the many features which add so much to that peculiar
charm so characteristic of Japanese gardens.

The pathways of stone are of many kinds. Sometimes the slabs of stone may
be finished squarely, and then each may be arranged in line across the
path, or adjusted in such a way from one side to the other that a zigzag
path is made; in other cases the path may consist of long slabs squarely
trimmed, or of large irregular slabs interrupted with little stones, all
compacted into the hard earth. _Fig. 275_, copied from “Chikusan
Teizoden,” shows some of these arrangements; and an idea of the way in
which the stone paths are laid out is well illustrated in figs. 283 and
284 (pp. 291, 292), copied from the same work. The entrance from the
street is seen at the left. The stone path leads through a courtyard to a
second gate, and from thence to the _genka,_ or entrance to the house.

                  [Fig. 276.—Wooden trough for plants.]

                   Fig. 276.—Wooden trough for plants.

Flowers, shrubs, and dwarf trees in pots and tubs are commonly used in the
vicinity of the verandah, and also about the garden for decorative
features; and here tasteful and rustic effects are sought for in the
design and material of the larger wooden receptacles. _Fig. 276_
represents a shallow trough made from a fragment of an old shipwreck,
blackened by age, and mounted on a dark wood‐stand. In this trough are two
stones, a bronze crab, and a few aquatic plants. Another wooden flower‐pot
of large size (fig. 277) is made from the planks of an old vessel, the
wood perforated by Teredo, and the grain deeply worn out by age. Its form
permits it to be carried by two men.

                   [Fig. 277.—Plant‐pot of old plank.]

                    Fig. 277.—Plant‐pot of old plank.

Among the most extraordinary objects connected with gardens are the dwarf
plum‐trees. Before the evidence of life appears in the blooming, one would
certainly believe that a collection of dwarf plum‐trees were simply
fragments of old blackened and distorted branches or roots,—as if
fragments of dead wood had been selected for the purpose of grotesque
display! Indeed, nothing more hopeless for flowers or life could be
imagined than the appearance of these irregular, flattened, and even
perforated sticks and stumps. They are kept in the house on the sunny
side, and while the snow is yet on the ground, send out long, delicate
drooping twigs, which are soon strung with a wealth of the most beautiful
rosy‐tinted blossoms it is possible to conceive; and, cunously enough not
a trace of a green leaf appears during all this luxuriant blossoming.

_Fig. 278_ is an attempt to show the appearance of one of these phenomenal
plum‐trees. It was over forty years old, and stood about three feet high.
By what horticultural sorcery life had been kept in this blackened stump,
only a Japanese gardener knows. And such a vitality! Not a few feeble
twigs and blossoms as an expiring effort, but a delicious growth of the
most vigorous and dainty flowers. The pines are equally remarkable in
their way. It is very curious to see a sturdy old pine‐tree, masculine and
gruff in its gnarled branches and tortuous trunk, perhaps forty or fifty
years old, and yet not over two feet in height, and growing in a flower‐
pot; or a thick chunk of pine standing upright in a flower‐pot, and
sending out vigorous branches covered with leaves (_fig. 279_), and others
trained in ways that seem incredible.

                         [Fig. 278.—Dwarf plum.]

                          Fig. 278.—Dwarf plum.

                         [Fig. 279.—Dwarf pine.]

                          Fig. 279.—Dwarf pine.

In a large garden in Tokio I saw one of these trees that spread out in a
symmetrical convex disk with a diameter of twenty feet or more, yet
standing not over two feet in height (_fig. 280_); still another one, in
which the branches had been trained to assume the appearance of flattened
disks (fig. 281). It would seem as if the artistic and picturesque taste
of the gardener followed the shrubs even to their winter shrouds of straw;
for when they are enwrapped for the winter’s cold and snow, the objects
even in this guise look quaint and attractive, besides being most
thoroughly protected, as may be seen by _fig. 282_ on page 290.

                 [Fig. 280.—Curiously trained pine‐tree.]

                  Fig. 280.—Curiously trained pine‐tree.

In this brief sketch of Japanese gardens only the more salient features
have been touched upon, and these only in the most general way. It would
have been more proper to have included the ornamental fences, more
especially the _sode‐gaki,_ in this chapter. It was deemed best, however,
to include fences of all kinds under one heading; and this has been done
in a previous chapter. The rustic wells, which add so much to garden
effects, might with equal propriety have been incorporated here; but for
similar reasons it was thought best to include with the wells the few
brief allusions to water supply and village aqueducts,—and these subjects
are therefore brought together under one heading in the chapter which is
to follow.

                        [Fig. 281.—Dwarfed pine.]

                         Fig. 281.—Dwarfed pine.

In this chapter on gardens, I regret the absence of general sketches of
the garden proper; but the few sketches I had made were too imperfect to
hazard an attempt at their reproduction. Moreover, not the slightest
justice could have been done to the thoroughly original character of the
Japanese garden, with all  its variety and beauty. In lieu of this,
however, I have had reproduced a number of views of private gardens, from
a Japanese work on the subject published in the early part of the last
century,—though, so far as their general arrangement and appearance go,
they might have been copied from gardens to be seen in that country to‐

             [Fig. 282.—Shrubs wrapped in straw for winter.]

              Fig. 282.—Shrubs wrapped in straw for winter.

    [Fig. 283.—Showing approaches to house. (Reproduced from “Chikusan
                      teizoden”, a Japanese work.)]

    Fig. 283.—Showing approaches to house. (Reproduced from “Chikusan
                       teizoden”, a Japanese work.)

The first illustration (_fig. 283_) shows the relation of the various
buildings, with the approaches from the street, which is on the left. Here
are seen two gateways: the larger one with swinging gates is closed; the
smaller one with sliding gate is open. The building with the two little
windows and black foundation is the _kura._ The pathway, of irregular
slabs of stone, leads around the sides of the _kura_ to a second gateway;
and beyond this the stone path continues to the _genka,_ or main entrance
to the dwelling. The drawing is a curious admixture of isometric and
linear perspective, with some violent displacements in point of sight and
vanishing points, in order to show fully the various details within the
limits of the plate. The other illustrations represent respectively a
little garden belonging to the priests’ house of a Buddhist temple (fig
284), a garden connected with the house of a merchant (_fig. 285_; the
legend says the owner is a dealer in dress materials and cottons), and a
garden connected with the residence of a Daimio (_fig. 286_). All of these
gardens were to be found in Sakai, Idzumi, nearly two hundred years ago,
and the more enduring features of some of them may still be in existence.
A study of these quaint drawings will enable the reader to recognize the
ornamental fences, quaint rocks, rustic wells, _ishi‐dōrō,__chōdzu‐bachi,_
stone pathways, and curious trees and shrubs so characteristic of the
Japanese garden, and so utterly unlike anything with which we are familiar
in the geometrical patches we are wont to regard as gardens.

 [Fig. 284.—Little garden belonging to the priests of a buddhist temple.
         (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a Japanese work.)]

  Fig. 284.—Little garden belonging to the priests of a buddhist temple.
         (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a Japanese work.)

 [Fig. 285.—Garden of a merchant. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
                             Japanese work.)]

 Fig. 285.—Garden of a merchant. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
                             Japanese work.)

  [Fig. 286.—Garden of a daimio. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
                             Japanese work.)]

  Fig. 286.—Garden of a daimio. (Reproduced from “Chikusan teizoden”, a
                             Japanese work.)

It is a remarkable fact that the various trees and shrubs which adorn a
Japanese garden may be successfully transplanted again and again without
impairing their vitality. Trees of very large size may be seen, almost
daily, being dragged through the streets on their way from one garden to
another. A man may have a vigorous and healthy garden under way in the
space of a few days,—trees forty or fifty feet high, and as many years
old, sturdy shrubs and tender plants, all possessing a vitality and
endurance under the intelligent management of a Japanese gardener, which
permits them to be transported from one end of the city to the other. If
for some reason the owner has to give up his place, every stone and
ornamental fence, and every tree and plant having its commercial value,
may all be dug up and sold and spirited away, in a single day, to some
other part of the town. And such a vicissitude often falls to the lot of a
Japanese garden, enduring as it is. The whole affair, save the circular
well‐hole, may be transported like magic from one end of the country to
the other.


With the exception of a few of the larger cities, the water‐supply of
Japan is by means of wooden wells sunk in the ground. In Tokio, besides
the ordinary forms of wells which are found in every portion of the city,
there is a system of aqueducts conveying water from the Tamagawa a
distance of twenty‐four miles, and from Kanda a distance of ten miles or
more. It is hardly within the province of this work to call attention to
the exceeding impurity of much of the well‐water in Tokio and elsewhere in
Japan, as shown by many analyses, or to the imperfect way in which water
is conveyed from remote places to  Tokio and Yokohama. For valuable and
interesting papers on this subject the reader is referred to the Journal
of the Asiatic Society of Japan.(23)

The aqueducts in the city are made of wood, either in the shape of heavy
square plank tubes or circular wooden pipes. These various conductors are
intersected by open wells, in which the water finds its natural level,
only partially filling them. These wells are to be found in the main
streets as well as in certain open areas; and to them the people come, not
only to get their water, but often to do light washing.

The time must soon come when the authorities of Tokio will find it
absolutely necessary to establish water‐works for the supply of the city.
Such a change from the present system would require an enormous
expenditure at the outset, but in the end the community will be greatly
benefited, not only in having more efficient means to quell the awful
conflagrations which so frequently devastate their thoroughfares, but also
in having a more healthful water‐supply for family use. In their present
imperfect method of water‐service it is impossible to keep the supply free
from local contamination; and though the death‐rate of the city is low
compared with that of many European and American cities, it would
certainly be still further reduced by pure water made available to all.

                  [Fig. 287.—Ancient form of well‐curb.]

                   Fig. 287.—Ancient form of well‐curb.

In many country villages, where the natural conditions exist, a mountain
brook is conducted by a rock‐bound canal through the centre of the village
street; and thus the water for culinary and other purposes is brought
directly to the door of every house on that street.

The wells are made in the shape of barrels of stout staves five or six
feet in height.  These taper slightly at their lower ends, and are fitted
one within another; and as the well is dug; deeper the sections are
adjusted and driven down. Wells of great depth are often sunk in this way.
The well made in this manner has the appearance, as it projects above the
ground, of an ordinary barrel or hogshead partially buried.

Stone curbs of a circular form are often seen. An ancient form of well‐
curb is a square frame, made of thick timber in the shape shown in fig.
287. The Chinese character for “well” is in the shape of this frame; and
as one rides through the city or village he will often notice this
character painted on the side of a house or over a door‐way, indicating
that in the rear, or within the house, a well is to be found. A
picturesque well‐curb of stone, made after this form, is shown in _fig.
288_, from a private garden in Tokio.

              [Fig. 288.—Stone well‐curb in private garden.]

               Fig. 288.—Stone well‐curb in private garden.

While the water is usually brought up by means of a bucket attached to the
end of a long bamboo, there are various forms of frames erected over the
well to support a pulley, in which runs a rope with a bucket attached to
each end. _Fig. 289_ is an illustration of one of these frames. Sometimes
the trunk of a tree is made to do service, as shown in fig 290. In this
case the old trunk was densely covered with a rich growth of Japanese ivy.

In the country kitchen the well is often within the house, as shown in the
sketch _fig. 167_ (page 186). In the country, as well as in the city, the
regular New England well‐sweep is now and then seen.  In the southern part
of Japan particularly the well‐sweep is very common; one is shown in the
picture of a southern house (_fig. 54_, page 73).

                      [Fig. 289.—Wooden well‐frame.]

                       Fig. 289.—Wooden well‐frame.

                      [Fig. 290.—Rustic well‐frame.]

                       Fig. 290.—Rustic well‐frame.

There are many ways of conveying water to villages by bamboo pipes. In
Kioto many places are supplied by water brought in this way from the
mountain brooks back of the city. At Miyajima, on the Inland Sea, water is
brought, by means of bamboo pipes, from a mountain stream at the western
end of the village. The water is first conveyed to a single shallow tank,
supported on a rough pedestal of rock. The tank is perforated at intervals
along its sides and on its end, and by means of bamboo gutters the water
is conveyed to bamboo tubes standing vertically,—each bamboo having at its
top a box or bucket, in which is a grating of bamboo to screen the water
from the leaves and twigs. These bamboo tubes are connected with a system
of bamboo tubes under‐ground, and these lead to the houses in the village
street below. _Fig. 291_ is an illustration of this structure. It was an
old and leaky affair, but formed a picturesque mass beside the mountain
road, covered as it was by a rich growth of ferns and mosses, and
brightened by the water dripping from all points.

             [Fig. 291.—Aqueduct reservoir at Miyajima, Aki.]

              Fig. 291.—Aqueduct reservoir at Miyajima, Aki.

Just beyond this curious reservoir I saw a group of small aqueducts,
evidently for the supply of single houses. _Fig. 292_ illustrates one of a
number of these seen along the road. Fig. 293 represents one of the old
wells still seen in the Kaga Yashiki, in Tokio,—an inclosure of large
extent formerly occupied by the Daimio of Kaga, but now overgrown with
bamboo grass and tangled bushes, while here and there evidences of its
former beauty are seen in neglected groves of trees and in picturesque
ponds choked with plant growth. The buildings of the Tokio Medical College
and Hospital occupy one portion of the ground; and the new brick building
of the Tokio University, a few dwellings for its foreign teachers, and a
small observatory form another group.

                 [Fig. 292.—Aqueducts at Miyajima, Aki.]

                  Fig. 292.—Aqueducts at Miyajima, Aki.

Scattered over this large inclosure are a number of treacherous holes
guarded only by fences painted black. These are the remains of wells; and
by their number one gets a faint idea of the dense commununity that filled
this area in the days of the Shogunate. During the Revolution the houses
were burned, and with them the wooden curbs of the wells, and for many
years these deep holes formed dreadful pitfalls in the long grass.

                 [Fig. 293.—Well at Kaga Yashiki, Tokio.]

                  Fig. 293.—Well at Kaga Yashiki, Tokio.

The effect of rusticity which the Japanese so much admire, and which they
show in their gateways, fences, and other surroundings, is charmingly
carried out in the wells; and the presence of a well in a garden is looked
upon as adding greatly to its beauty. Hence, one sees quaint and
picturesque curbs, either of stone and green with plant growth, or of wood
and fairly dropping to pieces with decay. One sees literally a moss‐
covered bucket and well, too; but, alas! the water is not the cold, pure
fluid which a New Englander is accustomed to draw from similar places at
home, but often a water far from wholesome, and which to make so is
generally boiled before drinking. We refer now to the city wells; and yet
the country wells are quite as liable to contamination.

Having described in the previous pages the permanent features of the house
and its surroundings, a few pages may be properly added concerning those
objects which are hung upon the walls as adornments. A few objects of
household use have  been mentioned, such as pillows, _hibachi, tabako‐
bon,_ candlesticks, and towel‐racks, as naturally associated with mats,
kitchen, bathing conveniences, etc. Any further consideration of these
movable objects would lead us into a discussion of the bureaus, chests,
baskets, trays, dishes, and the whole range of domestic articles of use,
and might, indeed, furnish material enough for another volume.

A few pages, however, must be added on the adornments of the room, and the
principles which govern the Japanese in these matters. As flowers form the
most universal decoration of the rooms from the highest to the lowest
classes, these will be first considered.

The love of flowers is a national trait of the Japanese. It would be safe
to say that in no other part of the world is the love of flowers so
universally shown as in Japan. For pictorial illustration flowers form one
of the most common themes; and for decorative art in all its branches
flowers, in natural or conventional shapes, are selected as the leading
motive. In their light fabrics,—embroidery, pottery, lacquers, wall‐
papers, fans,—and even in their metal work and bronzes, these charming and
perishable objects are constantly depicted and wrought. In their social
life, also, these things are always present. From birth to death, flowers
are in some way associated with the daily life of the Japanese; and for
many years after their death their graves continue to receive fresh floral

A room in the very humblest of houses will have in its place of honor—the
_tokonoma—_ a flower‐vase, or a section of bamboo hanging from its side,
or some form of receptacle suspended from the open portion of the room
above, or in front of some ornamental opening in which flowers are
displayed. On the street one often meets the flower vendor; and at night,
flower fairs are one of the most common attractions.

The arrangement of flowers forms a part of the polite education of the
Japanese, and special rules and methods for their appropriate display have
their schools and teachers.  Within the house there are special places
where it is proper to display flowers.  In the _tokonoma,_ as we have
said, is generally a vase of bronze or pottery in which flowers are
placed,—not the heterogeneous mass of color comprised in a jumble of
flowers, as is too often the case with us; but a few flowers of one kind,
or a big branch of cherry or plum blossoms are quite enough to satisfy the
refined tastes of these people. Here, as in other matters, the Japanese
show their sense of propriety and infinite refinement. They most
thoroughly abominate our slovenly methods, whereby a clump of flowers of
heterogeneous colors are packed and jammed together, with no room for
green leaves: this we call a bouquet; and very properly, since it
resembles a ball,—a variegated worsted ball. These people believe in the
healthy contrast of rough brown stem and green leaves, to show off by
texture and color the matchless life‐tones of the delicate petals. We,
however, in our stupidity are too often accustomed to tear off the flowers
that Nature has so deftly arranged on their own wood stems, and then with
thread and bristling wire to fabricate a feeble resemblance to the
milliner’s honest counterfeit of cloth and paper; and by such treatment,
at the end of a few hours, we have a mass equally lifeless.

In their flower‐vases, too, they show the most perfect knowledge of
contrasts. To any one of taste it is unnecessary to show how inappropriate
our gilt and often brilliantly colored; flower‐vases are for the objects
they are to hold. By employing such receptacles, all effects of color and
pleasing contrasts are effectually ruined. The Japanese flower‐vase is
often made of the roughest and coarsest pottery, with rough patches of
glaze and irregular contour; it is made solid and heavy, with a good
bottom, and is capable of holding a big cherry branch without up‐setting.
Its very roughness shows off by contrast the delicate flowers it holds.
With just such rough material as we use in the making of drain‐tiles and
molasses jugs, the Japanese make the most fascinating and appropriate
flower‐vases; but their potters are artists, and, alas! ours are not.

In this connection it is interesting to note that in our country, artists,
and others having artistic tastes, have always recognized the importance
of observing proper contrasts between flowers and their holders, and until
within a very few years have been forced, for want of better receptacles,
to arrange flowers in German pottery‐mugs, Chinese ginger‐jars, and the
like. Though these vessels were certainly inappropriate enough, the
flowers looked vastly prettier in them than they ever could in the
frightful wares designed expressly to hold them, made by American and
European manufacturers. What a satire on our art industries,—a despairing
resort to beer‐mugs, ginger‐jars and blacking‐pots, for suitable flower‐
vases! Who does not recall, indeed cannot see to‐day on the shelves of
most “crockery shops,” a hideous battalion of garish porcelain and
iniquitous parian vases, besides other multitudinous evidences of utter
ignorance as to what a flower‐vase should be, in the discordantly colored
and decorated glass receptacles designed to hold these daintiest bits of
Nature’s handiwork?

Besides the flower‐vase made to stand on the floor, the Japanese have
others which are made to hang from a hook,—generally from the post or
partition that divides the _tokonoma_ from its companion recess, or
sometimes from a corner‐post. When a permanent partition occurs in a room,
it is quite proper to hang the vase from the middle post. In all these
cases it is hung midway between the floor and the ceiling.  These hanging
flower‐vases are infinite in form and design, and are made of pottery,
bronze, bamboo, or wood. Those made of pottery and bronze may be in the
form of simple tubes; often, however, natural forms are represented,—such
as fishes, insects, sections of bamboo, and the like.

               [Fig. 294.—Hanging flower‐holder of bamboo.]

                Fig. 294.—Hanging flower‐holder of bamboo.

The Japanese are fond of ancient objects, and jars which have been dug up
are often mutilated, at least for the antiquarian, by having rings
inserted in their sides so that they may be hung up for flower‐holders.

A curious form of holder is made out of a rugged knot of wood. Any quaint
and abnormal growth of wood, in which an opening can be made big enough to
accommodate a section of bamboo to hold the water, is used for a flower‐
vase. Such an object will be decorated with tiny bronze ants, a silver
spider’s web with bronze spider, and pearl wrought in the shape of a
fungus. These and other singular caprices are worked into and upon the
wood as ornaments.

A very favorite form of flower‐holder is one made of bamboo. The bamboo
tube is worked in a variety of ways, by cutting out various sections from
the sides. _Fig. 294_ represents an odd, yet common shape, arranged for
_cha‐no‐yu_ (tea‐parties), and sketched at one of these parties. The
bamboo is an admirable receptacle for water, and a section of it is used
for this purpose in many forms of pottery and bronze flower‐holders.

            [Fig. 295.—Hanging flower‐holder of basket‐work.]

             Fig. 295.—Hanging flower‐holder of basket‐work.

Rich brown‐colored baskets are also favorite receptacles for flowers, a
segment of bamboo being used to hold the water. The accompanying figure
(_fig. 295_) is a sketch of a hanging basket, the flowers having been
arranged by a lover of the tea‐ceremonies and old pottery. Many of these
baskets are quite old, and are highly prized by the Japanese. At the
street flower‐fairs cheap and curious devices are often seen for holding
flower‐pots. The annexed figure (fig. 296) illustrates a form of bracket
in which a thin irregular‐shaped slab of wood has attached to it a crooked
branch of a tree, upon the free ends of which wooden blocks are secured as
shelves upon which the flower‐pots are to rest. A hole is made at the top
so that it may be hung against the wall, and little cleats are fastened
crosswise to hold long strips of stiff paper, upon which it is customary
to write stanzas of poetry. These objects are of the cheapest description,
can be got for a few pennies, and are bought by the poorest classes.

                [Fig. 296.—Cheap bracket for flower‐pots.]

                 Fig. 296.—Cheap bracket for flower‐pots.

For flower‐holders suspended from above, a common form is a square wooden
bucket, or one made out of pottery or bronze in imitation of this form.
Bamboo cut in horizontal forms is also used for suspended flower‐holders.
Indeed, there seems to be no end of curious objects used for this
purpose,—a gourd, the semi‐cylindrical tile, sea‐shells, as with us, and
forms made in pottery or bronze in imitation of these objects.

Quaint and odd‐shaped flower‐stands are made in the form of buckets.  The
following figure (_fig. 297_) represents one sketched at the National
Exposition at Tokio in 1877. Its construction was very ingenious; three
staves of the low bucket were continued upward to form portions of three
small buckets above, and each of these, in turn, contributed a stave to
the single bucket that crowned the whole. Another form, made by the same
contributor thought not so symmetrical, was quite as odd.

         [Fig. 297.—Curious combination of buckets for flowers.]

          Fig. 297.—Curious combination of buckets for flowers.

Curious little braided‐straw affairs are made to hold flowers, or rather
the bamboo segments in which the flowers are kept. These are made in the
form of insects, fishes, mushrooms, and other natural objects. These are
mentioned, not that they have a special merit, but to illustrate the
devices used| by the common people in decorating their homes.  Racks of
wood richly lacquered are also used, from which hanging flower‐holders are
suspended. These objects are rarely seen now, and I have never chanced to
see one in use.

In the chapter on Interiors various forms of vases are shown in the

My interest in Japanese homes was first aroused by wishing to know
precisely what use the Japanese made of a class of objects with which I
had been familiar in the Art Museums and private collections at home;
furthermore, a study of their houses led me to search for those evidences
of household decoration which might possibly parallel the hanging baskets,
corner brackets, and especially ornaments made of birch bark, fungi, moss,
shell‐work, and the like, with which our humbler homes are often
garnished. It was delightful to find that the Japanese were susceptible to
the charms embodied in these bits of Nature, and that they too used them
in similar decorative ways. At the outset, search for an object aside from
the bare rooms seemed fruitless enough. At first sight these rooms
appeared absolutely barren; in passing from one room to another one got
the idea that the house was to be let. Picture to yourself a room with no
fire‐place and accompanying mantel,—that shelf of shelves for the support
of pretty objects; no windows with their convenient interspaces for the
suspension of pictures or brackets; no table, rarely even cabinets, to
hold bright‐colored bindings and curious bric‐a‐brac; no side‐boards upon
which to array the rich pottery or glistening porcelain; no chairs, desks,
or bedsteads, and consequently no opportunity for the display of elaborate
carvings or rich cloth coverings. Indeed, one might well wonder in what
way this people displayed their pretty objects for household decorations.

After studying the Japanese home for a while, however, one comes to
realize that display as such is out of the question with them, and to
recognize that a severe Quaker‐like simplicity is really one of the great
charms of a Japanese room. Absolute cleanliness and refinement, with very
few objects in sight upon which the eye may rest contentedly, are the main
features in household adornment which the Japanese strive after, and which
they attain with a simplicity and effectiveness that we can never hope to
reach. Our rooms seem to them like a curiosity shop, and “stuffy” to the
last degree. Such a maze of vases, pictures, plaques, bronzes, with
shelves, brackets, cabinets, and tables loaded down with bric‐a‐brac, is
quite enough to drive a Japanese frantic. We parade in the most
unreasoning manner every object of this nature in our possession; and with
the periodical recurrence of birthday and Christmas holidays, and the
consequent influx of new things, the less pretty ones already on parade
are banished to the chambers above to make room for the new ones; and as
these in turn get crowded out they rise to the garret, there to be
providentially broken up by the children, or to be preserved for future
antiquarians to contemplate, and to ponder over the condition of art in
this age. Our walls are hung with large fish‐plates which were intended to
hold food; heavy bronzes, which in a Japanese room are made to rest
solidly on the floor, and to hold great woody branches of the plum or
cherry with their wealth of blossoms, are with us often placed on high
shelves or perched in some perilous position over the door. The ignorant
display is more rarely seen of thrusting a piece of statuary into the
window, so that the neighbor across the way may see it; when a silhouette,
cut out of stiff pasteboard, would in this position answer all the
purposes so far as the inmates are concerned. How often we destroy an
artist’s best efforts by exposing his picture against some glaring fresco
or  distracting wall‐paper! And still not content with the accumulated
misery of such a room, we allow the upholsterer and furnisher to provide
us with a gorgeously framed mirror, from which we may have flashed back at
us the contents of the room reversed, or, more dreadful still, a
reverberation of these horrors through opposite reflecting surfaces,—a
futile effort of Nature to sicken us of the whole thing by endless

That we in America are not exceptional in these matters of questionable
furnishing, one may learn by listening to an English authority on this
subject,—one who has done more than any other writer in calling attention
not only to violations of true taste in household adornment, but who
points out in a most rational way the correct paths to follow, not only to
avoid that which is offensive and pretentious, but to arrive at better
methods and truer principles in matters of taste. We refer to Charles L.
Eastlake and his timely work entitled “Hints on Household Taste.” In his
animadversions on the commonplace taste shown in the furnishing of English
houses, he says “it pervades and vitiates the judgment by which we are
accustomed to select and approve the objects of every‐day use which we see
around us. It crosses our path in the Brussels carpet of our drawing‐room;
it is about our bed in the shape of gaudy chintz; it compels us to rest on
chairs, and to sit at tables which are designed in accordance with the
worst principles of construction, and invested with shapes confessedly
unpicturesque. It sends us metal‐work from Birmingham, which is as vulgar
in form as it is flimsy in execution. It decorates the finest modern
porcelain with the most objectionable character of ornament. It lines our
walls with silly representations of vegetable life, or with a mass of
uninteresting diaper. It bids us, in short, furnish our houses after the
same fashion as we dress ourselves,—and that is with no more sense of real
beauty than if art were a dead letter.” Let us contrast our tastes in
these matters with those of the Japanese, and perhaps profit by the

In the previous chapters sufficient details have been given for one to
grasp the structural features of a Japanese room. Let us now observe that
the general tone and color of a Japanese apartment are subdued. Its
atmosphere is restful; and only after one has sat on the mats for some
time do the unostentatious fittings of the apartment attract one’s notice.
The papers of the _fusuma_ of neutral tints; the plastered surfaces, when
they occur equally tinted in similar tones, warm browns and stone‐colors
predominating; the cedar‐board ceiling, with the rich color of that wood;
the wood‐work everywhere modestly conspicuous, and always presenting the
natural colors undefiled by the painter’s miseries,—these all combine to
render the room quiet and refined to the last degree. The floor in bright
contrast is covered with its cool straw matting,—a uniform bright surface
set off by the rectangular black borders of the mats. It is such an
infinite comfort to find throughout the length and breadth of that Empire
the floors covered with the unobtrusive straw matting. Monotonous some
would think: yes, it has the monotony of fresh air and of pure water. Such
a room requires but little adornment in the shape of extraneous objects;
indeed, there are but few places where such objects can be placed. But
observe, that while in our rooms one is at liberty to cover his wall with
pictures without the slightest regard to light or effect, the Japanese
room has a recess clean and free from the floor to the hooded partition
that spans it above, and this recess is placed at right angles to the
source of light; furthermor it is exalted as the place of highest honor in
the room—and here, and here alone, hangs the picture. Not a varnished
affair, to see which one has to perambulate the apartment with head awry
to get a vantage point of vision, but a picture which may be seen in its
proper light from any point of the room. In the _tokonoma_ there is
usually but one picture exposed,—though, as we have seen, this recess may
be wide enough to accommodate a set of two or three.

                [Fig. 298.—Framed picture, with supports.]

                 Fig. 298.—Framed picture, with supports.

Between the _kamoi,_ or lintel, and the ceiling is a space say of eighteen
inches or more, according to the height of the room; and here may
sometimes be seen a long narrow picture, framed in a narrow wood‐border,
or secured to a flat frame, which is concealed by the paper or brocade
that borders the picture. This picture tips forward at a considerable
angle, and is supported on two iron hooks. In order that the edge of the
frame may not be scarred by the iron, it is customary to interpose
triangular red‐crape cushions. A bamboo support is often substituted for
the iron hooks, as shown in the sketch (_fig. 298_). The picture may be a
landscape, or a spray of flowers; but more often it consists of a few
Chinese characters embodying some bit of poetry, moral precept, or
sentiment,—and usually the characters have been written by some poet,
scholar, or other distinguished man. The square wooden post which comes in
the middle of a partition between two corners of the room may be adorned
by a long, narrow, and thin strip of cedar the width of the post, upon
which is painted a picture of some kind. This strip, instead of being of
wood, may be of silk and brocade, like a _kake‐mono,_ having only one
_kaze‐obi_ hanging in the middle from above. Cheap ones may be of straw,
rush, or thin strips of bamboo. This object, of whatever material, is
called _hashira kakushi,_—literally meaning “post‐hide.” If of wood, both
sides are decorated; so that after one side has done duty for awhile the
other side is exposed. The wood is usually of dark cedar evenly grained,
and the sketch is painted directly on the wood. _Fig. 299_ shows both
sides of one of these strips.

                       [Fig. 299.—Hashira kakushi.]

                        Fig. 299.—Hashira kakushi.

The decoration for these objects is very skilfully treated by the  artist;
and while it might bother our artists to know what subject to select for a
picture on so awkward and limited surface, it offers no trouble to the
Japanese decorator. He simply takes a vertical slice out of some good
subject, as one might get a glimpse of Nature through a slightly open
door,—and imagination is left to supply the rest. These objects find their
way to our markets, but the bright color used in their decoration show
that they have been painted for the masses in this country. The post upon
which this kind of picture is hung, as well as the _toko‐bashira,_ may
also adorned with a hanging flower‐holder such as has already been

A Japanese may have a famous collection of pictures, yet these are stowed
away in his _kura,_ with the exception of the  one exposed in the
_tokonoma._ If he is a man of taste, he  changes the picture from time to
time according to the season, the character of his guests, or for special
occasions.  In one house where I was a guest for a few days the picture
was changed every day. A picture may do duty for a few weeks or months,
when it is carefully rolled up, stowed away in its silk covering and box,
and another one is unrolled. In  this way a picture never becomes
monotonous.  The listless and indifferent way in which an American will
often regard his own pictures when showing them to a friend, indicates
that his pictures have been so long on his walls that they no longer
arouse any attention or delight. It is true, one never wearies in
contemplating the work of the great masters; but one should  remember that
all pictures are not masterpieces, and that by constant exposure the
effect of a picture becomes seriously impaired. The way in which pictures
with us are crowded on the walls,—many of them of necessity in the worst
possible light, or no light at all when the windows are muffled with heavy
curtains,—shows that the main interest centres in their embossed gilt
frames, which are conspicuous in all lights.  The principle of constant
exposure is certainly wrong; a good picture is all the more enjoyable if
it is not forever staring one in the face. Who wants to contemplate a
burning tropical sunset on a full stomach, or a drizzling northern mist on
an empty one? And yet these are the experiences which we are often
compelled to endure. Why not modify our rooms, and have a bay or
recess,—an alcove in the best possible light,—in which one or two good
pictures may be properly hung, with fitting accompaniments in the way of a
few flowers, or a bit of pottery or bronze? We have never modified the
interior arrangement of our house in the slightest degree from the time
when it was shaped in the most economical way as a shelter in which to
eat, sleep, and die,—a rectangular kennel, with necessary holes for light,
and necessary holes to get in and out by. At the same time, its inmates
were saturated with a religion so austere and sombre that the possession
of a picture was for a long time looked upon as savoring of worldliness
and vanity, unless, indeed, the subject suggested the other world by a
vision of hexapodous angels, or of the transient resting‐place to that
world in the guise of a tombstone and willows, or an immediate departure
thereto in the shape of a death‐bed scene.

Among the Japanese all collections of pottery and other bric‐a‐brac are,
in the same way as the pictures, carefully enclosed in brocade bags and
boxes, and stowed away to be unpacked only when appreciative friends come
to the house; and then the host enjoys them with equal delight. Aside from
the heightened enjoyment sure to be evoked by the Japanese method, one is
spared an infinite amount of chagrin and misery in having an
unsophisticated friend become enthusiastic over the wrong thing, or
mistake a rare etching of Dante for a North American savage, or manifest a
thrill of delight over an object because he learns incidentally that its
value corresponds with his yearly grocery bill.

Nothing is more striking in a Japanese room than the harmonies and
contrasts between the colors of the various objects and the room itself.
Between the picture and the brocades with which it is mounted, and the
quiet and subdued color of the _tokonoma_ in which it is hung, there is
always the most refined harmony, and such a background for the delicious
and healthy contrasts of color when a spray of bright cherry blossoms
enlivens the quiet tones of this honored place! The general tone of the
room sets off to perfection the simplest spray of flowers, a quiet
picture, a rough bit of pottery or an old  bronze; and at the same time a
costly and magnificent piece of gold lacquer blazes out like a gem from
these simple surroundings,—and yet the harmony is not disturbed.

It is an interesting fact that the efforts at harmonious and decorative
effects which have been made by famous artists and decorators in this
country and in England have been strongly  imbued by the Japanese spirit,
and every success attained is a confirmation of the correctness of
Japanese taste. Wall‐papers are now more quiet and unobtrusive; the merit
of simplicity and reserve where it belongs, and a fitness everywhere, are
becoming more widely recognized.

It is rare to see cabinets or conveniences for the display of  bric‐a‐brac
in a Japanese house, though sometimes a lacquer‐stand with a few shelves
may be seen,—and on this may be  displayed a number of objects consisting
of ancient pottery, some stone implements, a fossil, old coins, or a few
water‐worn  fragments of rock brought from China, and mounted on dark
wood stands. The Japanese are great collectors of autographs, coins,
brocades, metal‐work, and many other groups of objects; but these are
rarely exposed. In regard to objects in the _tokonoma,_ I have seen in
different _tokonoma,_ variously displayed, natural fragments of quartz,
crystal spheres, curious water‐worn stones, coral, old bronze, as well as
the customary vase for flowers or the incense‐burner. These various
objects are usually, but not always, supported on a lacquer‐stand. In the
_chigai‐dana_ I have also noticed the sword‐rack, lacquer writing‐box,
_maki‐mono,_ and books; and when I was guilty of the impertinence of
peeking into the cupboards, I have seen there a few boxes containing
pottery, pictures, and the like,—though, as before remarked, such things
are usually kept in the _kura._

                        [Fig. 300.—Writing‐desk.]

                         Fig. 300.—Writing‐desk.

Besides the lacquer cabinets, there may be seen in the houses of the
higher class an article of furniture consisting of a few deep shelves,
with portions of the shelves closed, forming little cupboards. Such a
cabinet is used to hold writing‐paper, toilet articles, trays for flowers,
and miscellaneous objects for use and ornament. These cases are often
beautifully lacquered.

The usual form of writing‐desk consists of a low stool not over a foot in
height, with plain side‐pieces or legs for support, sometimes having
shallow drawers; and this is about the only piece of furniture that would
parallel our table. The illustration (_fig. 300_) shows one of these
tables, upon which may be seen the paper, ink‐stone, brush, and brush‐

In the cities and large villages the people stand in constant fear of
conflagrations. Almost every month they are reminded of the instability of
the ground they rest upon by tremors and slight shocks, which may be the
precursors of destructive earthquakes, usually accompanied by
conflagrations infinitely more disastrous. Allusion has been made to the
little  portable engines with which houses are furnished. In the city
house one may notice a little platform or staging with hand‐rail erected
on the ridge of the roof (_fig. 301_); a ladder or flight of steps leads
to this staging, and on alarms of fire anxious faces may be seen peering
from these lookouts in the direction of the burning buildings. It is usual
to have resting on the platform a huge bucket or half barrel filled with
water, and near by a long‐handled brush; and this is used to sprinkle
water on places threatened by the sparks and fire‐brands, which often fill
the air in times of great conflagrations.

        [Fig. 301.—Staging on house‐roof, with bucket and brush.]

         Fig. 301.—Staging on house‐roof, with bucket and brush.

During the prevalence of a high wind it is a common sight to see the small
dealers packing their goods in large baskets  and square cloths to tie up
ready to transport in case of fire. At such times the windows and doors of
the _kura_ are closed and the chinks plastered with mud, which is always
at hand either under a platform near the door or in a large earthen  jar
near the openings. In private dwellings, too, at times of possible danger,
the more precious objects are packed up in a square basket‐like box,
having straps attached to it, so that it can easily be transported on
one’s shoulders (_fig. 302_).

                [Fig. 302.—Box for transporting articles.]

                 Fig. 302.—Box for transporting articles.

In drawing to a close this description of Japanese homes and their
surroundings, I have to regret that neither time, strength, nor
opportunity enabled me to make it more complete by a description,
accompanied by sketches, of the residences of the highest classes in
Japan. Indeed, it is a question whether any of the old residences of the
Daimios remain in the condition in which they were twenty years ago, or
before the Revolution. Even where the buildings remain, as in the castles
of Nagoya and Kumamoto, busy clerks and secretaries are seen sitting in
chairs and writing at tables in foreign style; and though in some cases
the beautifully decorated _fusuma,_ with the elaborately carved _ramma_
and rich wood‐ceiling are still preserved,—as in the castle of Nagoya, as
well as in many others doubtless,—the introduction of varnished furniture
and gaudy‐colored foreign carpets in some of the apartments has brought
sad discord into the former harmonies of the place.

In Tokio a number of former Daimios have built houses in foreign style,
though these somehow or other usually lack the peculiar comforts of our
homes. Why a Japanese should build a house in foreign style was somewhat
of a puzzle to me, until I saw the character of their homes and the manner
in which a foreigner in some cases was likely to behave on entering a
Japanese house. If he did not walk into it with his boots on, he was sure
to be seen stalking about in his stockinged feet, bumping his head at
intervals against the _kamoi,_ or burning holes in the mats in his clumsy
attempts to pick up coals from the _hibachi,_ with which to light his
cigar. Not being able to sit on the mats properly, he sprawls about in
attitudes confessedly as rude as if a Japanese in our apartments were to
perch his legs on the table. If he will not take off his boots, he
possibly finds his way to the garden, where he wanders about, indenting
the paths with his boot‐heels or leaving scars on the verandah, possibly
washing his hands in the _chōdzu‐bachi,_ and generally making himself the
cause of much discomfort to the inmates.

It was a happy idea when those Japanese who from their prominence in the
affairs of the country were compelled to entertain the “foreign barbarian”
conceived the idea of erecting a cage in foreign fashion to hold
temporarily the menageries which they were often compelled to receive.
Seriously, however, the inelastic character of most foreigners, and their
inability to adapt themselves to their surroundings have rendered the
erection of buildings in foreign style for their entertainment not only a
convenience but an absolute necessity. It must be admitted that for the
activities of business especially, the foreign style of office and shop is
not only more convenient but unquestionably superior.

The former Daimio of Chikuzen was one of the first, I believe,  to build a
house in foreign style in Tokio, and this building is a good typical
example of an American two‐story house. Attached, however, to this house
is a wing containing a number of rooms in native style. _Fig. 123_ (page
142) shows one of these rooms. The former Daimio of Hizen also lives in a
foreign house, and there are many houses in Tokio built by Japanese after
foreign plans.

In an earlier portion of this work an allusion was made to the absence of
those architectural monuments which are so characteristic of European
countries. The castles of the Daimios, which are lofty and imposing
structures, have already been referred to. There are fortresses also of
great extent and solidity,—notably the one at Osaka, erected by Hideyoshi
on an eminence near the city; and though the wooden structures formerly
surmounting the walls were destroyed by Iyeyasŭ in 1615, the stone
battlements as they stand to‐day must be considered as among the marvels
of engineering skill, and the colossal masses of rock seem all the more
colossal after one has become familiar with the tiny and perishable
dwellings of the country. In the walls of this fortress are single blocks
of stone—at great heights, too, above the surrounding level of the
region—measuring in some cases from thirty to thirty‐six feet in length,
and at least fifteen feet in height. These huge blocks have been
transported long distances from the mountains many miles away from the

Attention is called to the existence of these remarkable monuments as an
evidence that the Japanese are quite competent to erect such buildings, if
the national taste had inclined them in that way. So far as I know, a
national impulse has never led the Japanese to commemorate great deeds in
the nation’s life by enduring monuments of stone. The reason may be that
the plucky little nation has always been successful in repelling invasion;
and a peculiar quality in their temperament has prevented them from
perpetuating in a public way, either by monuments or by the naming of
streets and bridges, the memories of victories won by one section of the
country over another.

Rev. W. E. Griffis, in an interesting article on “The Streets and Street‐
names of Yedo,”(25) in noticing the almost total absence of the names of
great victories or historic battlefields in the naming of the streets and
bridges in Tokio, says: “It would have been an unwise policy in the great
unifier of Japan, Iyeyasŭ, to have given to the streets in the capital of
a nation finally united in peaceful union any name that would be a
constant source of humiliation, that would keep alive bitter  memories, or
that would irritate freshly‐healed wounds. The anomalous absence of such
names proves at once the sagacity of Iyeyasŭ, and is another witness to
the oft‐repeated policy used by the Japanese in treating their
enemies,—that is, conquer them by kindness and conciliation.”


It would be an extremely interesting line of research to follow out the
history of the development of the house in Japan. The material for such a
study may possibly be in existence, but unfortunately there are few
scholars accomplished enough to read the early Japanese records. Thanks to
the labors of Mr. Chamberlain, and to Mr. Satow, Mr. Aston, Mr.
McClatchie, and other members of the English legation in Japan,(26)
students of Ethnology are enabled to catch a glimpse of the character of
the early house in that country.

From the translations of ancient Japanese Rituals,(27) by Ernest Satow,
Esq.; of the _Kojiki,_ or “Records of Ancient Matters,”(28) by Basil Hall
Chamberlain, Esq.; and an ancient Japanese Classic(29), by W. G. Aston,
Esq.,—we get a glimpse of the Japanese house as it was a thousand years or
more ago.

Mr. Satow claims that the ancient Japanese Rituals are “the oldest
specimens of ancient indigenous Japanese literature extant, excepting only
perhaps the poetry contained in the ‘Kojiki’ and ‘Nihongi;’ ” and Mr.
Chamberlain says the “Kojiki” is “the earliest authentic connected
literary product of that large division of the human race which has been
variously denominated Turanian, Scythian, and Altaïc, and it if even
precedes by at least a century the most ancient extant literary
compositions of non‐Aryan India.”

The allusions to house‐structure in the “Kojiki,” though brief, are
suggestive, and carry us back without question to the condition of the
Japanese house in the seventh and eighth centuries.

Mr. Satow, in his translation of the Rituals, says that the period when
this service was first instituted was certainly before the tenth century,
and probably earlier. From these records he ascertains that “the palace of
the Japanese sovereign was a wooden hut, with its pillars planted in the
ground, instead of being erected upon broad, flat stones, as in modern
buildings. The whole frame‐work, consisting of posts, beams, rafters,
door‐posts, and window‐frames, was tied together with cords, made by
twisting the long fibrous stems of climbing plants,—such as Pueraria
Thunbergiana _(kuzu)_ and Wistaria Sinensis _(fuji)._ The floor must have
been low down, so that the occupants of the building, as they squatted or
lay on their mats, were exposed to the stealthy attacks of venomous
snakes, which were probably far more numerous in the earliest ages when
the country was for the most part uncultivated than at the present
day…There seems some reason to think that the _yuka,_ here translated
‘floor,’ was originally nothing but a couch which ran around the sides of
the hut, the rest of the space being simply a mud‐floor; and that the size
of the couch was gradually increased until it occupied the whole interior.
The rafters projected upward beyond the ridge‐pole, crossing each other as
is seen in the roofs of modern Shin‐tau temples, whether their
architecture be in conformity with early traditions (in which case all the
rafters are so crossed), or modified in accordance with more advanced
principles of construction, and the crossed rafters retained only as
ornaments at the two ends of the ridge. The roof was thatched, and perhaps
had a gable at each end, with a hole to allow the smoke of the wood‐fire
to escape,—so that it was possible for birds flying in and perching on the
beams overhead, to defile the food, or the fire with which it was cooked.”

From the “Kojiki” we learn that even in those early days the house was
sufficiently differentiated to present forms referred to as temples or
palaces, houses of the people, storehouses, and rude huts. That the
temples or palaces were more than rude huts is shown by references to the
verandah, the great roof, stout pillars, and high cross‐beams. They were
at least two stories high, as we read of people gazing from an upper
story. The peasants were not allowed to build a house with a raised roof
frame,—that is, a roof the upper portion or ridge of which was raised
above the roof proper, and having a different structure. This indicates
the existence at that time of different kinds of roofs, or ridges. Fire‐
places were in the middle of the floor, and the smoke‐outlet was in the
gable end of the roof protected by a lattice,—as seen in the Japanese
country houses of to‐day. The posts or pillars of the house were buried
deep in the ground, and not, as in the present house, resting on a stone

The allusions in the “Kojiki,” where it says, “and if thou goest in a boat
along that road there will appear a palace built like fish‐scales,” and
again, “the ill‐omened crew were shattered like tiles,” show the existence
of tiles at that time. A curious reference is also made to using
cormorants’ feathers for thatch. There were front doors and back doors,
doors to be raised, and windows and openings.

It is mentioned that through the awkwardness of the carpenter the farther
“fin” of the great roof is bent down at the corner,—probably indicating
wide over‐hanging eaves, the corners of which might easily be called
“fins.” Within the house were mats of sedge, skin, and silk, and
ornamental screens protect the sleepers from draughts of air.(30) The
castles had back gates, side gates, and other gates. Some of these gates,
at least, had a roof‐like structure above, as we read in the “Kojiki,”
“Come under the metal gate; we will stand till the rain stops.”

Fences are also alluded to. The latrine is mentioned several times as
being away from the house, and having been placed over running
water,—“whence doubtless the name _Kaha‐ya;_ that is, river‐house.” This
feature is specially characteristic of the latrine, from Siam to Java.
This suggestion of early finities with the Malay people is seen in an
ancient Japanese Classic, dating from the tenth century, entitled
_Monogatari,_ or “Tales of Japan,” translated by Mr. Chamberlain,(31) in
which we read, “Now, in olden days the people dwelt in houses raised on
platforms built out in the river Ikuta.” In the “Kojiki”, we also read,
“They made in the middle of the river Hi a black plaited bridge, and
respectfully offered a temporary palace  to dwell in.” The translator says
the significance of this passage is: “They built as a temporary abode for
the prince a  house in the river Hi (whether with its foundations actually
in the water or on an island is left undetermined), connecting it with the
main‐land by a bridge made of branches of trees; twisted together, and
with their bark left on them (this is here the import of the word

The “Kojiki” mentions a two‐forked boat: may this be some kind of a
catamaran? Mention is also made of eating from leaf‐platters: this is a
marked Malay feature.

These various statements—particularly those concerning the latrine, and
building houses over the water—are significant indications of the marked
southern affinities of the Japanese. Other features of similarity with
southern people are seen in the general structure of the house.

The principal references which have been made to the “Kojiki” are quoted
here for the convenience of the reader. For the history of the origin of
this ancient record, methods of translation, etc., the reader is referred
to Mr. Chamberlain’s Introduction accompanying the translation.

    And the ill‐omened crew were shattered like tiles (p. 8).

    So when from the palace she raised the door and came out to meet
    him (p. 34).

    Taking him into the house, and calling him into an eight‐foot‐
    spaced large room (p. 73).

    Do thou make stout the temple‐pillars at the foot of Mount Uka in
    the nethermost rock‐bottom, and make high the cross‐beams to the
    Plain‐of‐High‐Heaven (p. 74).

    I push back the plank‐door shut by the maiden (p. 76).

    Beneath the fluttering of the ornamented fence, beneath the
    softness of the warm coverlets, beneath the rustling of the cloth
    coverlet (p. 81).

The translator says “the ‘ornamented fence’ is supposed to mean ‘a curtain
round the sleeping‐place.’ ”

    The soot on the heavenly new lattice of the gable, etc. (p.

    Using cormorants’ feathers for thatch (p. 126).

    The manner in which I will send this sword down will be to
    perforate the ridge of [the roof of] Takakurazhi’s store‐house,
    and drop it through!(p. 135)

    In a damp hut on the reed‐moor, having spread layer upon layer of
    sedge mats, we two slept! (p. 149).

    When she was about to enter the sea, she spread eight thicknesses
    of sedge rugs, eight thicknesses of skin rugs, and eight
    thicknesses of silk rugs on top of the waves (p. 212).

    So when the grandee of Kuchiko was repeating this august Song [to
    the Empress], it was raining heavily. Then upon his, without avoid
    the rain, coming and prostrating himself at the front door of the
    palace, on the contrary went out at the back door; and on his
    coming and prostrating himself at the back door of the palace, she
    on the contrary went out at the front door (p. 278).

    Then the Heavenly Sovereign, going straight to the place where
    Queen Medori dwelt, stood on the door‐sill of the palace (p. 281).

    Had I known that I should sleep on the
    Moor of Tajihi, Oh! I would have brought
    My dividing matting. (p. 288.)

    “Then, on climbing to the top of the mountain and gazing on the
    interior of the country, [he perceived that] there was a house
    built with a raised roof‐frame. The Heavenly Sovereign sent to ask
    [concerning] that house, saying, ‘Whose roof with a raised frame
    is that?’ The answeri was: ‘It is the house of the great
    Departmental Lord of Shiki.’ Then the Heavenly Sovereign said:
    ‘What! a slave builds his own house in imitation of the august
    abode of the Heavenly Sovereign!’—and forthwith he sent men to
    burn the house [down]” (p. 311).

    Thereupon the grandee Shibi sang, saying,—

    The further fin of the roof of the great
    Palace is bent down at the corner.

    When he had thus sung, and requested the conclusion of tha Song,
    His Augustness Woke sang, saying,—

    It is on account of the great carpenter’s
    Awkwardness that it is bent down at the
    Corner. (p. 330.)

In the ancient Japanese Rituals, Mr. Satow finds that the rafters
projected upward beyond the ridge‐pole of the roof crossing each other,—as
is seen in the roofs of modern Shin‐tō temples. A curious feature is often
seen on the gable ends of the roofs of the Malay houses near Singapore,
consisting of projecting pieces crossing each other at the two ends of the
roof; and these are ornamented by being cut in odd sweeps and curves
(_fig. 303_). Survivals of these crossing rafters are seen in the modern
Japanese dwelling; that is, if we are to regard as such the wooden X’s
which straddle the roof at intervals, as shown in figs. 45 (page 62) and
85 (page 98). A precisely similar feature is seen on the roofs of houses
along the river approaching Saigon, and on the road leading from Saigon to
Cholon, in Anam (fig. 304).

                 [Fig. 303.—Malay house near singapore.]

                  Fig. 303.—Malay house near singapore.

It has been customary to regard the _tokonoma,_ or bed‐place, in the
Japanese house as being derived from the Aino house. The suggestion of
such a derivation seems to me to have no foundation. In the Aino house the
solid ground is the floor; sometimes, but not always, a rush mat is spread
along the side of the fireplace, which is in the centre of the hut. The
slightest attention to comfort would lead the Ainos to erect a platform of
boards,—and such a platform is generally found next to the wall in the
Aino hut. This platform not only serves as a sleeping‐place, but holds
also boxes and household goods, as well as such objects as were not
suspended to the sides of the houses or from poles stretched across.  In
no case did I see a raised platform protected by a partition, or one
utilized solely for a sleeping‐place. If it were safe to venture upon any
conjecture as to the origin of the _tokonoma,_ or if external resemblances
had any weight in affinities of structure, one might see the prototype of
this feature in the Malay house. In the Malay villages near Singapore, one
may see not only a slightly raised place for the bed exclusively, but also
a narrow partition jutting out from the side of the wall, not unlike that
which separates the _tokonoma_ from its companion recess (_fig. 305_).

                [Fig. 304.—Ridge of roof in Cholon, Anam.]

                 Fig. 304.—Ridge of roof in Cholon, Anam.

Whether these various relations pointed out between the Japanese house and
similar features in the Malay house are of any weight or not, they must be
recognized in any attempt to trace the origin of those features in house‐
structure which have originated outside of Japan. From all that we can
gather relating to the ancient house of the Japanese, it would seem that
certain important resemblances must be sought for among the southern
nations of Anam, Cochin China, and particularly those of the Malay

    [Fig.305.—Interior of Malay house, showing bed‐place. Singapore.]

     Fig. 305.—Interior of Malay house, showing bed‐place. Singapore.

Ernest Satow, Esq., in an article on the Shin‐tō temples of Ise,(33)
which, as the author says, “rank first among all the Shin‐tō temples in
Japan in point of sanctity, though not the most ancient,” has some
interesting matter concerning the character of the ancient house. He

“Japanese antiquarians tell us that in early times, before carpenters’
tools had been invented, the dwellings of the people who inhabited these
islands were constructed of young trees with the bark on, fastened
together with ropes made of the rush _(suge,_—Scirpus maritimus), or
perhaps with the tough shoots of the wistaria _(fuji),_ and thatched with
the grass called _kaya._ In modern buildings the uprights of a house stand
upon large stones laid on the surface of the earth; but this precaution
against decay had not occurred to the ancients, who planted the uprights
in holes dug in the ground.”

The ground‐plan of the hut was oblong, with four corner uprights, and one
in the middle of each of the four sides,—those in the sides which formed
the ends being long enough to support the ridge‐pole. Other trees were
fastened horizontally from corner to corner,—one set near the ground, one
near the top, and one set on the top, the latter of which formed what we
call the wall‐plates. Two large rafters, whose upper ends crossed each
other, were laid from the wall‐plates to the heads of the taller uprights.
The ridge‐pole rested in the fork formed by the upper ends of the rafters
crossing each other. Horizontal poles were then laid along each slope of
the roof, one pair being fastened close up to the exterior angle of the
fork. The rafters were slender poles, or bamboos, passed over the ridge‐
pole and fastened down on each end to the wall‐plates. Next followed the
process of putting on the thatch. In order to keep this in its place, two
trees were laid along the top resting in the forks; and across these two
trees were placed short logs at equal distances, which being fastened to
the poles in the exterior angle of the forks by ropes passed through the
thatch, bound the ridge of the roof firmly together.

“The walls and doors were constructed of rough matting. It is evident that
some tool must have been used to cut the trees to the required length; and
for this purpose a sharpened stone was probably employed. Such stone
implements have been found imbedded in the earth in various parts of
Japan, in company with stone arrow‐heads and clubs. Specimens of the
ancient style of building may even yet be seen in remote parts of the
country,—not perhaps so much in the habitations of the peasantry, as in
sheds erected to serve a temporary purpose.”

“The architecture of the Shin‐tō temples is derived from the primeval hut,
with more or less modification in proportion to the influence of Buddhism
in each particular case. Those of the purest style retain the thatched
roof; others are covered with the thick shingling called _hiwada‐buki,_
while others have tiled and even coppered roofs. The projecting ends of
the rafters called _chigi_ have been somewhat lengthened, and carved more
or less elaborately. At the new temple at Kudanzaka in Yedo they are shown
in the proper position, projecting from the inside of the shingling; but
in the majority of cases they merely consist of two pieces of wood in the
form of the letter X, which rest on the ridge of the roof like a pack‐
saddle on a horse’s back, to make use of a Japanese writer’s comparison.
The logs which kept the two trees laid on the ridge in their place have
taken the form of short cylindrical pieces of timber tapering towards each
extremity, which have been compared by foreigners to cigars. In Japanese
they are called _katsuo‐gi,_ from their resemblance to the pieces of dried
bonito sold under the name of _katsuo‐bushi._ The two trees laid along the
roof over the thatch are represented by a single beam, called _Munaosae,_
or ‘roof‐presser.’ Planking has taken the place of the mats with which the
sides of the building were originally closed, and the entrance is closed
by a pair of folding doors, turning not on hinges, but on what are, I
believe, technically called ‘journals.’ The primeval hut had no flooring;
but we find that the shrine has a wooden floor raised some feet above the
ground, which arrangement necessitates a sort of balcony all round, and a
flight of steps up to the entrance. The transformation is completed in
some cases by the addition of a quantity of ornamental metal‐work in

Coming down to somewhat later times, we find a charming bit of description
of the house in an ancient Japanese Classic(34) entitled _Tosa Nikki,_ or
“Tosa Diary,” translated by W. G. Aston. This Diary was written in the
middle of the tenth century, and is the record of a court noble who lived
in Kioto, but who was absent from his home five or six years as Prefect of
Tosa. The Diary was a record of his journey home, and the first entry in
it was in the fourth year of Shohei, which according to our reckoning must
have been in the early part of 935 A.D., or nearly one thousand years ago.
During his absence from home, news had come to him of the death of his
little daughter nine years old; and he says, “With the joyful thought,
‘Home to Kioto!’ there mingles the bitter reflection that there is one who
never will return.”

The journey home was mostly by sea; and finally, having entered the Osaka
River, and spent several days in struggling against the strong current, he
reaches Yamazaki, from which place he starts for Kioto. He expresses great
delight in recognizing the old familiar landmarks as he rides along. “He
mentions the children’s playthings and sweetmeats in the shops as looking
exactly as when he went away, and wonders whether he will find as little
change in the hearts of his friends. He had purposely left Yamazaki in the
evening in order that it might be night when he reached his own dwelling.”
Mr. Aston translates his account of the state in which he found it:—

“The moon was shining brightly when I reached my house and entered the
gate, so that its condition was plainly to be seen. It was decayed and
ruined beyond all description,—worse even than I had been told. The
house(35) of the man in whose charge I left it was in an equally
dilapidated condition. The fence between the two houses had been broken
down, so that both seemed but one, and he appeared to have fulfilled his
charge by looking in through the gaps. And yet I had supplied him, by
every opportunity, with the means of keeping it in repair. To‐night,
however, I would not allow him to be told this in an angry tone, but in
spite of my vexation offered him an acknowledgment for his trouble. There
was in one place something like a pond, where water had collected in a
hollow, by the side of which grew a fir‐tree. It had lost half its
branches, and looked as if a thousand years had passed during the five or
six years of my absence. Younger trees had grown up round  it, and the
whole place was in a most neglectful condition, so that every a one said
that it was pitiful to see. Among other sad thoughts that rose
spontaneously to my mind was the memory—ah! how sorrowful!—of one who was
born in this house, but who did not return here along with me. My fellow‐
passengers were chatting merrily with their children in their arms, but I
meanwhile, still unable to contain my grief, privately repeated these
lines to one who knew my heart.”

In this pathetic account one gets a glimpse of the house as it appeared
nearly a thousand years ago. The broken fence between the houses; the
gateway, probably a conspicuous structure then as it is to‐day, in a
dilapidated condition; and the  neglected garden with a tangle of young
trees growing up,—all  show the existence in those early days of features
similar to  those which exist to‐day.

The history of house development in Japan, if it should ever be revealed,
will probably show a slow but steady progress from the rude hut of the
past to the curious and artistic house of to‐day,—a house as thoroughly a
product of Japan as is that of the Chinese, Korean, or Malay a product of
those respective peoples, and differing from all quite as much as they
differ from one another. A few features have been introduced  from abroad,
but these have been trifling as compared to the wholesale imitation of
foreign styles of architecture by our ancestors, the English; and until
within a few years we have followed England’s example in perpetuating the
legacy it left us, in the shape of badly imitated foreign architecture,
classical and otherwise. As a result, we have scattered over the land,
among a few public buildings of good taste, a countless number of ill‐
proportioned, ugly, and entirely inappropriate buildings for public use.
Had the exuberant fancies of the village architect revelled in woodsheds
or one‐storied buildings, the harm would have been trifling; but the
desire for pretentious show, which seems to characterize the average
American, has led to the erection of these architectural horrors on the
most conspicuous sites,—and thus the public taste is vitiated.

The Japanese, while developing an original type of house, have adopted the
serviceable tile from Korea, and probably also the economical transverse
framing and vertical struts from China, and bits of temple architecture
for external adornments. As to their temple architecture, which came in
with one of their religions, they had the good sense to leave it
comparatively as it was brought to them. Indeed, the temples seem in
perfect harmony with the country and its people. What shall we say,
however, to the taste displayed by the English, who in the most servile
manner have copied foreign styles of architecture utterly unsuited to
their climate and people! In the space of an English block one may see not
only Grecian, Roman, Italian, and Egyptian, as well as other styles of
architecture, but audaciously attempted crosses between some of these; and
the resulting hybrids have in consequence rendered the modern English town
the most unpicturesque muddle of buildings in Christendom outside our own


Having got a glimpse, and a slight glimpse only, of the ancient house in
Japan, it may be of interest to consider briefly the character of the
house in neighboring islands forming part of the Japanese Empire, and also
of the house in that country which comes nearest to Japan (Korea), and
from which country in the past there have been many both peaceful and
compulsory invasions,—compulsory in the fact that when Hideyoshi returned
from Korea, nearly three hundred years ago,  after his great invasion of
that country, he brought back with him to Japan colonies of potters and
other artisans.

The Ainos of Yezo naturally claim our attention first, because it is
believed that they were the aboriginal people of Japan proper, and were
afterwards displaced by the Japanese,—a displacement similar to that of
our North American savages by the English colonists. Whether the Ainos are
autochthonous or not, will not be discussed here. That they are a savage
race, without written language,—a race which formerly occupied the
northern part of the main island of Japan, and were gradually forced back
to Yezo, where they still live in scattered communities,—are facts which
are unquestionable. How far the Aino house to‐day represents the ancient
Aino house, and how many features of the Japanese house are engrafted upon
it, are points difficult to determine.

The Ainos that I saw in the Ishikari valley, on the west coast of Yezo,
and from Shiraoi south on the east coast, all spoke Japanese, ate out of
lacquer bowls, used chop‐sticks, smoked small pipes, drank _sake,_ and
within their huts possessed lacquer boxes and other conveniences in which
to stow away their clothing, which had probably been given them in past
times by the Japanese, and which were heirlooms. On the other hand, they
retained their own language, their long, narrow dug‐out; used the small
bow, the poisoned arrow, and had an arrow‐release of their own; adhered to
their ancestral forms of worship and their peculiar methods of design, and
were quite as persistent in clinging to many of their customs as are our
own Western tribes of Indians. That they are susceptible to change is seen
in the presence of a young Aino at the normal school in Tokio, from whom I
derived some interesting facts concerning archery.

                      [Fig. 306.—Aino house, Yezo.]

                       Fig. 306.—Aino house, Yezo.

Briefly, the Aino house, as I saw it, consists of a rude frame‐work of
timber supporting a thatched roof; the walls being made up of reeds and
rush interwoven with stiffer cross‐pieces. Within, there is a single room
the dimensions of the house. In most houses there is an L, in which is the
doorway, which may in some cases be covered with a rude porch. The
thatched roof is well made and quite picturesque, differing somewhat in
form from any thatched roof among the Japanese,—though in Yamato, as
already mentioned, I saw features in the slope of the roof quite similar
to those shown in some of the Aino roofs.

                      [Fig. 307.—Aino house, Yezo.]

                       Fig. 307.—Aino house, Yezo.

Entering the house by the low door, one comes into a room so dark that it
is with difficulty one can see anything. The inmates light rolls of birch‐
bark that one may be enabled to see the interior; but every appearance of
neatness and picturesqueness which the hut presented from without vanishes
when one gets inside. Beneath one’s feet is a hard, damp, earth floor;
directly above are the blackened and soot‐covered rafters. Poles supported
horizontally from these rafters are equally greasy and blackened, and
pervading the darkness is a dirty and strong fishy odor. In the middle of
the floor, and occupying considerable space, is a square area,—the
fireplace. On its two sides mats are spread. A pot hangs over the smoke,
for there appears to be but little fire; and at one side is a large bowl
containing the remains of the last meal, consisting apparently of fish‐
bones,—large sickly‐looking bones, the sight of which instantly vitiates
one’s appetite. The smoke, rebuffed at the only opening save the door,—a
small square opening close under the low eaves,—struggles to escape
through a small opening in the angle of the roof. On one side of the room
is a slightly raised floor of boards, upon which are mats, lacquer‐boxes,
bundles of nets, and a miscellaneous assortment of objects. Hanging from
the rafters and poles are bows, quivers of arrows, Japanese daggers
mounted on curious wooden tablets inlaid with lead, slices of fish and
skates’ heads in various stages, not of decomposition, as the odors would
seem to imply, but of smoke preservation. Dirt everywhere, and fleas. And
in the midst of the darkness, smoke, and squalor are the inmates,—quiet,
demure, and gentle to the last degree. Figs. 306 and 307 give an idea of
the appearance of two Aino houses of the better kind, but perhaps cannot
be taken as a type of the Aino house farther north on the island.

Let us now glance at the house of the natives of the Hachijô Islanders, as
described by Mr. Dickins and Mr. Satow.(37) From their communication the
following account is taken:—

“As may readily be supposed, there are no shops or inns on the island, but
fair accommodation for travellers can be obtained at the farmers’ houses.
These are for the most part substantially‐built cottages of two or three
rooms, with a spacious kitchen, constructed with the timber of _Quercus
cuspidata,_ and with plank walls, where on the mainland it is usual to
have plastered wattles. The roof is invariably of thatch, with a very high
pitch,—necessitated, we were told, by the extreme dampness of the climate,
which renders it desirable to allow as little rain as possible to soak
into the straw. Many of the more prosperous farmers have a second
building, devoted to the rearing of silkworms, which takes its name
_(kaiko‐ya)_ from the purpose to which it is destined. There are also
sheds for cattle, usually consisting of a thatched roof resting on walls
formed of rough stone‐work. Lastly, each enclosure possesses a wooden
godown, raised some four feet from the ground on stout wooden posts,
crowned with broad caps, to prevent the mice from gaining an entrance. The
style resembles that of the storehouses constructed by the Ainos and

“The house and vegetable‐garden belonging to it are usually surrounded by
a stone wall, or rather bank of stones and earth, often six feet high,
designed to protect the buildings from the violent gales which at certain
seasons sweep over the island, and which, as we learned, frequently do
serious injury to the rice‐fields by the quantity of salt spray which they
carry a long distance inland from the shore.”

From this general description of the house which incidentally accompanies
a very interesting sketch of the physical peculiarities of the island, its
geology, botany, and the customs and dialect of the people, we get no idea
of the special features the house,—as to the fireplace or bed‐place;
whether there be _shōji_ or ordinary windows, matted floor, or any of
those details which would render a comparison with the Japanese house of

As Mr. Satow found in the language of the Hachijô Islander a number of
words which appeared to be survivals of archaic Japanese, and also among
their customs the curious one, which existed up to within very recent
times, of erecting parturition houses,—a feature which is alluded to in
the very earliest records of Japan,—a minute description of the Hachijô
house with sketches might possibly lead to some facts of interest.

The Loochoo, or Riukiu Islands, now known as Okinawa Shima, lie nearly
midway between the southern part of Japan and the Island of Formosa. The
people of this group differ but little from the Japanese,—their language,
according to Mr. Satow and Mr. Brunton, having in it words that appear
obsolete in Japan. In many customs there is a curious admixture of Chinese
and Japanese ways; and Mr. Brunton sees in the Loochooan bridge and other
structures certain resemblances to Chinese methods.

The following extract regarding the house of the Loochooans is taken from
an account of a visit to these islands, by Ernest Satow, Esq., published
in the first volume of the “Transactions of the Asiatic Society of

    “The houses of the Loochooans are built in Japanese fashion, with
    the floor raised three or four feet from the ground, and have
    mostly only one story, on account of the violent winds which
    prevail. They are roofed with tiles of a Chinese fashion, very
    strong and thick. The buildings in which they store their rice are
    built of wood and thatched with straw. They are supported on
    wooden posts about five feet high, and resemble the granaries of
    the Ainos, though constructed with much greater care.”

Another extract is here given in regard to the house of the Loochooans, by
R. H. Brunton, Esq., published in the “Transactions of the Asiatic Society
of Japan(38) ”:—

    The streets in the towns present a most desolate appearance. On
    each side of these is a blank stone wall of about ten or twelve
    feet high, with openings in them here and there sufficiently wide
    to admit of access to the houses which are behind. Every house is
    surrounded by a wall, and from the street they convey the
    impression of being prisons rather than ordinary dwellings…

    “The houses of the well‐to‐do classes are situated in a yard which
    is surrounded by a wall ten or twelve feet high, as has been
    already mentioned. They are similar to the ordinary Japanese
    houses, with raised floors laid with mats and sliding screens of
    paper. They are built of wood, and present no peculiar differences
    from the Japanese style of construction. The roofs are laid with
    tiles, which however are quite different in shape from the
    Japanese tiles. Over the joint between two concave tiles a convex
    one is laid, and these are all semi‐circular in cross sections.
    The tiles are made at Nafa, and are red in color; they appeared of
    good quality. The houses of the poorer classes are of very
    primitive character. The roof is covered with a thick thatch, and
    is supported by four corner uprights about five feet high. The
    walls consist of sheets of a species of netting made of small
    bamboo, which contain between them a thickness of about six inches
    of straw. This encloses the whole sides of the house,—a width of
    about two feet being left in one side as an entrance. There is no
    flooring in the houses of any description, and there is generally
    laid over the mud inside a mat, on which the inmates lie or sit.”

Considering the presence for so many centuries of strong Chinese influence
which Mr. Brunton sees in the Loochooans, it is rather surprising to find
so many features of the Japanese house present in their dwellings. Indeed,
Mr. Brunton goes so far as to say that the Loochooan house presents no
peculiar differences from the Japanese style of construction; and as he
has paid special attention to the constructive features of Japanese
buildings, we must believe that had differences existed they would have
been noted by him.

It seems to me that the wide distribution of certain identical features in
Japanese house‐structure, from the extreme north of Japan to the Loochoo
Islands, is something remarkable. Here is a people who for centuries lived
almost independent provincial lives, the northern and southern provinces
speaking different dialects, even the character of the people varying, and
yet from Awomori in the north to the southernmost parts of Satsuma, and
even farther south to the Loochoos, the use of _fusuma, shōji,_ mats, and
thin wood‐ceilings seems well‐nigh universal. The store‐houses standing on
four posts are referred to in the description of the Hachijô Islanders as
well as in that of the Loochooans as resembling those constructed by the
Ainos; yet these resemblances must not be taken as indicating a community
of origin, but simply as the result of necessity. For travellers in
Kamtchatka, and farther west, speak of the same kind of store‐houses; and
farther south they may be seen in Singapore and Java,—in fact, in every
country town in New England; and indeed all over the United States the
same kind of storehouse is seen. Probably all over the world a store‐house
on four legs, even to the inverted box or pan on each leg, may be found.

Through the courtesy of Percival Lowell, Esq., I am enabled to see
advanced sheets of his work on Korea, entitled “The Land of the Morning
Calm;” and from this valuable work the author has permitted me to gather
many interesting facts concerning the Korean dwellings. The houses are of
one story; a flight of two or three steps leads to a narrow piazza, or
very wide sill, which encircles the entire building. The apartment within
is only limited by the size of the building; in other words, there is only
one room under the roof.  The better class of dwellings, however, consist
of groups of these buildings. The house is of wood, and rests upon a stone
foundation. This foundation consists of a series of connecting chambers,
or flues; and at one side is a large fireplace, or oven, in which the fire
is built. The products of combustion circulate through this labyrinth of
chambers, and find egress, not by a chimney, but by an outlet on the
opposite side. In this way the room above is warmed. There are three
different types of this oven‐like foundation. In the best type a single
slab of stone is supported by a number of stout stone pillars; upon this
stone floor is spread a layer of earth, and upon this earth is spread oil‐
paper like a carpet. In another arrangement, ridges of earth and small
stones run lengthwise from front to back; on top of this the same
arrangement is made of stone, earth, and oil‐paper. In the third type,
representing a still poorer class, the oven and flues are hollowed out of
the earth alone.  Mr. Lowell remarks that the idea is a good one, if it
were only accompanied by proper ventilation.  Unfortunately, he says, the
room above is no better than a box, in which the occupant is slowly
roasted. Another disadvantage is experienced in the impossibility of
warming a room at once. He says: “The room does not even begin to get warm
until you have passed through an agonizing interval of expectancy.  Then
it takes what seems forever to reach a comfortable temperature, passes
this brief second of happiness before you have had time to realize that it
has attained it, and continues mounting to unknown degrees in a truly
alarming manner, beyond the possibility of control.” This curious and
ingenious method of warming houses is said to have been introduced from
China some one hundred and fifty years ago.

A house of the highest order is simply a frame‐work,—a roof supported on
eight or more posts according to the size of the building; and this with a
foundation represents the only fixed structure. In summer it presents a
skeleton‐like appearance; in winter, however, it appears solid and
compact, as a series of folding‐doors,—a pair between each two
posts,—closes it completely. These are prettily latticed, open outward,
and are fastened from within by a hook and knob. By a curious arrangement
these doors can be removed from their hinges, the upper parts only
remaining attached, and fastened up by hooks to the ceiling. This kind of
a house and room is used as a banqueting hall and a room for general
entertainment. It may be compared to our drawing‐room.

Dwelling‐rooms are constructed on quite a different plan. Instead of
continuous doors, the sides are composed of permanent walls and doors. The
wall is of wood, except that in the poorer house it consists of mud. Says
Mr. Lowell: “In these buildings we have an elaborate system of three‐fold
aperture closers,—a species of three skins, only that they are for
consecutive, not simultaneous, use. The outer is the folding‐door above
mentioned; the other two are a couple of pairs of sliding panels,—the
survivors in Korea of the once common sliding screens, such as are used
to‐day in Japan. One of the pairs is covered with dark green paper, and is
for night use; the other is of the natural yellowish color of the oil‐
paper, and is used by day. When not wanted, they slide back into grooves
inside the wall, whence they are pulled out again by ribbons fastened near
the middle of the outer edge. All screens of this sort, whether in houses
or palanquins, are provided, unlike the Japanese, with these conveniences
for tying the two halves of each pair together, and thus enabling easier
adjustment.” The house‐lining within is oil‐paper. “Paper covers the
ceiling, lines the wall, spreads the floor. As you sit in your room your
eye falls upon nothing but paper; and the very light that enables you to
see anything at all sifts in through the same material.”

It will be seen by these brief extracts how dissimilar the Korean house is
to that of the Japanese. And this dissimilarity is fully sustained by an
examination of the photographs which Mr. Lowell made in Korea, and which
show among other things low stone‐walled houses with square openings for
windows, closed by frames covered with paper, the frames hung from above
and opening outside, and the roof tiled; also curious thatched roofs, in
which the slopes are uneven and rounding, and their ridges curiously
knotted or braided, differing in every respect from the many forms of
thatched roof in Japan.

The Chinese house, as I saw it in Shanghai and its suburbs, and at Canton
as well as up the river, shows differences from the Japanese house quite
as striking as those of the Korean house. Here one sees, in the cities at
least, solid brick‐walled houses, with kitchen range built into the wall,
and chimney equally permanent; tiled‐roof, with tiled ridges; enclosed
court‐yard; floors of stone, upon which the shoes are worn from the
street; doorways, with doors on hinges; window  openings closed by
swinging frames fitted with the translucent shells of Placuna, or white
paper, the latter usually in a dilapidated condition; and for furniture
they have tables, chairs,  bedsteads, drawers, babies’ chairs, cradles,
foot‐stools, and thel like. The farm‐houses of China in those regions that
I visited were equally unlike similar houses in Japan.

From this superficial glance at the character of the house in the outlying
Islands of the Japanese Empire, as well as at the houses of the
neighboring countries, Korea and China, I think it will be conceded that
the Japanese house is typically a product of the people, with just those
features from abroad incorporated in it that one might look for,
considering the proximity to Japan of China and Korea. When we remember
that these three great civilizations of the Mongoloid race approximate
within the radius of a few hundred miles, and that they have been in more
or less intimate contact since early historic times, we cannot wonder that
the germs of Japanese art and letters should have been adopted from the
continent. In precisely the same way our ancestors, the English, drew from
their continent the material for their language, art, music, architecture,
and many other important factors in their civilization; and if history
speaks truly, their refinement even in language and etiquette was
imported. But while Japan, like England, has modified and developed the
germs ingrafted from a greater and older civilization, it has ever
preserved the elasticity of youth, and seized upon the good things of our
civilization,—such as steam, electricity, and modern methods of study and
research,—and utilized them promptly. Far different is it from the mother
country, where the improvements and methods of other nations get but tardy

It seems to give certain English writers peculiar delight to stigmatize
the Japanese as a nation of imitators and copyists. From the contemptuous
manner in which disparagements of this nature are flung into the faces of
the Japanese who are engaged in their heroic work of establishing sound
methods of government and education, one would think that in England had
originated the characters by which the English people write, the paper
upon which they print, the figures by which they reckon, the compass by
which they navigate, the gunpowder by which they subjugate, the religion
with which they worship. Indeed, when one looks over the long list of
countries upon which England has drawn for the arts of music, painting,
sculpture, architecture, printing, engraving, and a host of other things,
it certainly comes with an ill‐grace from natives of that country to taunt
the Japanese with being imitators.

It would be obviously absurd to suggest as a model for our own houses such
a structure as a Japanese house. Leaving out the fact that it is not
adapted to the rigor of our climate or to the habits of our people, its
fragile and delicate fittings if adopted by us, would be reduced to a mass
of kindlings in a week, by the rude knocks it would receive; and as for
exposing on our public thoroughfares the delicate labyrinth of carvings
often seen on panel and post in Japan, the wide‐spread vandalism of our
country would render futile all such attempts to civilize and refine.
Fortunately, in that land which we had in our former ignorance and
prejudice regarded as uncivilized, the malevolent form of the _genus homo_
called “vandal” is unknown.

Believing that the Japanese show infinitely greater refinement in their
methods of house‐adornment than we do, and convinced that their tastes are
normally artistic, I have endeavored to emphasize my convictions by
holding up in contrast our usual methods of house‐furnishing and outside
embellishments. By so doing I do not mean to imply that we do not have in
America interiors that show the most perfect refinement and taste; or that
in Japan, on the other hand, interiors may not be found in which good
taste is wanting.

I do not expect to do much good in thus pointing out what I believe to be
better methods, resting on more refined standards. There are some, I am
sure, who will approve; but the throng—who are won by tawdry glint and
tinsel; who make possible, by admiration and purchase, the horrors of much
that is made for house‐furnishing and adornment—will, with characteristic
obtuseness, call all else but themselves and their own ways heathen and


In the following list of Japanese words used in this work an opportunity
is given to correct a number of mistakes which crept into, or rather
walked boldly into, the text. The author lays no claim to a knowledge of
the Japanese language beyond what any foreigner might naturally acquire in
being thrown among the people for some time. As far as possible he has
followed Hepburn’s Japanese Dictionary for orthography and definition, and
Brunton’s Map of Japan for geographical names. Brunton’s map, as well as
that published by Rein, spells Settsu with one _t._ For the sake of
uniformity I have followed this spelling in the text, though it is
contrary to the best authorities. It may be added that Oshiu and Totomi
should be printed with a long accent over each _o._

The words Samurai, Daimio, Kioto, Tokio, and several others, are now so
commonly seen in the periodical literature of our country that this form
of spelling for these words has been retained. For rules concerning the
pronunciation of Japanese words the reader is referred to the Introduction
in Hepburn’s Dictionary.


Agari‐ba   The floor for standing
           upon in coming out of the
Age‐yen    A platform that can be
           raised or lowered.
Amado      Rain‐door. The outside
           sliding doors by which
           the house is closed at
Andon      A lamp.
Asagao     A colloquial name for a
           porcelain urinal, from
           its resemblance to the
           flower of the morning‐

Benjo     Privy. Place for
Biwa      A lute with four strings.
Biyo‐bu   A folding screen.

Cha‐dokoro     Tea‐place.
Cha‐ire        Tea‐jar; literally, “tea‐
               put in.”
Cha‐no‐yu      A tea‐party.
Chigai‐dana    A shelf, one half of
               which is on a different
               plane from the other.
Chōdzu‐ba      Privy; literally, “hand
Chōdzu‐bachi   A convenience near the
               privy for washing the
Chu‐nuri       Middle layer of plaster.

Dai‐jū‐no    A pan for holding burning
             charcoal, used in
             replenishing the hibachi.
Daiku        A carpenter.
Daimio       A feudal lord.
Dodai        The foundation‐sill of a
Dodai‐ishi   Foundation stone.
Do‐ma        Earth‐space. A small
             unfloored court at the
             entrance the house.

Fukuro‐dana.        Cupboard; literally,
Fumi‐ishi           Stepping‐stone.
Furo                A small culinary furnace,
                    also a bath‐tub.
Furosaki biyō‐bu.   A two‐fold screen placed
                    in front of the furo.
Fusuma              A sliding screen between
Fū‐tai              The bands which hang down
                    in front of a kake‐mono;
                    literally, “wind‐band.”
Futon               A quilted bed‐cover.

Ge‐dan         Lower step.
Genka          The porch at the entrance
               of a house.
Geta           Wooden clogs.
Goyemon buro   A form of bath‐tub.

Habakari          Privy.
Hagi              A kind of rush.
Hashira           A post.
Hashira kakushi   A long narrow picture to
                  hang on post in room;
                  literally, “post‐hide.”
Hibachi           A brazier for holding hot
                  coals for warming the
Hibashi           Metal tongs.
Hikite            A recessed catch in a
                  screen for sliding it
                  back and forth.
Hi‐no‐ki          A species of pine.
Hisashi           A small roof projecting
                  over a door or window.
Hon‐gawara        True tile.

Ichi‐yo‐dana   A kind of shelf.
Iri‐kawa.      The space between the
               verandah and room.
Ishi‐dōrō.     A stone lantern.

Ji‐bukuro.     Cupboard.
Jin‐dai‐sugi   “Cedar of God’s age.”
Jinrikisha     A two‐wheeled vehicle
               drawn by a man.
Ji‐zai         A hook used for hanging
               pots over the fire.
Jō‐dan         Upper step. Raised floor
               in house.

Kago             Sedan chair.
Kaikōsha         Name of a private school
                 of architecture.
Kake‐mono        Hanging picture.
Kaki             Fence.
Kamado           Kitchen range.
Kami‐dana        A shelf in the house for
                 Shin‐tō shrine.
Kami‐no‐ma       Higher room.
Kamoi            Lintel.
Kara‐kami        Sliding screen between
Kawarake         Unglazed earthen ware.
Kaya             A kind of grass used for
Kaya             Mosquito netting.
Kazari‐kugi      Ornamental headed nails.
Kaze‐obi         The bands which hang down
                 in front of the kake‐
                 mono; literally, “wind‐
Keshō‐no‐ma      Toilet‐room.
Keyaki           A kind of hard wood.
Kō‐ka            Privy; literally, “back
Koshi‐bari       A kind of paper used for
                 a dado.
Kuguri‐do        A small, low door in a
Kura             A fire‐proof store‐house.
Kuro‐moji‐gaki   A kind of ornamental

Ma‐bashira       Middle post.
Mado             Window.
Ma‐gaki          A fence made of bamboo.
Magari‐gane      A carpenter’s iron
Maki‐mono        Pictures that are kept
                 rolled up, not hung.
Maki‐mono‐dana   Shelf for make‐mono.
Makura           Pillow.
Miki‐dokkuri     Bottle for offering wine
                 to gods.
Mochi            A kind of bread made of
                 glutinous rice.
Mon              Badge, or crest.
Mune             Ridge of roof.

Naka‐tsubo        Middle space.
Nan‐do.           Store‐room. Pantry.
Neda‐maruta       Cross‐beams to support
Nedzumi‐bashira   Cross‐beam at end of
                  building; literally,
Nikai‐bari        Horizontal beam to
                  support second‐story
Noren             Curtain. Hanging screen.
Nuki              A stick passed through
                  mortised holes to bind
                  together upright posts.
Nuri‐yen          A verandah unprotected by

Ochi‐yen      A low platform.
Oshi‐ire      Closet; literally, “push,
              put in.”
Otoshi‐kake   Hanging partition.

Ramma   Open ornamental work over
        the screens which form
        the partitions in the
Ro      Hearth, or fire‐place, in
        the floor.
Ro‐ka   Corridor. Covered way.

Sake            Fermented liquor brewed
                from rice.
Samisen         A guitar with three
Samisen‐tsugi   A peculiar splice for
                joining timber.
Samurai         Military class privileged
                to wear two swords.
Sashi‐mono‐ya   Cabinet‐maker.
Setsu‐in        Privy; literally, “snow‐
Shaku           A wooden tablet formerly
                carried by nobles when in
                presence of the Emperor.
Shaku           A measure of ten inches.
                Japanese foot.
Shichirin       A brazier for cooking
Shikii          The lower grooved beam in
                which the door or screens
Shin‐tō         The primitive religion of
Shita‐nuri      The first layer of
Shō‐ji          The outside door‐sash
                covered with thin paper.
Sode‐gaki       A small ornamental fence
                adjoining a house.
Sudare          A shade made of split
                bamboo or reeds.
Sugi            Cedar.
Sumi‐sashi      A marking‐brush made of
Sumi‐tsubo      An ink‐pot used by
                carpenters in lieu of the
Sun             One tenth of a Japanese
Sunoko          A platform made of

Tabako‐bon     A box or tray in which
               fire and smoking
               utensils are kept.
Tamari‐no‐ma   Anteroom.
Tansu          Bureau.
Taruki         A rafter of the roof.
Tatami         A floor‐mat.
Ten‐jō         Ceiling.
Te‐shoku       Hand‐lamp.
To‐bukuro      A closet in which outside
               doors are stowed away.
Tokkuri        A bottle.
Toko           The floor of the
Toko‐bashira   The post dividing the two
               bays or recesses in the
Tokonoma       A bay, or recess, where a
               picture is hung.
Tori‐i         A portal, or structure of
               stone or wood, erected in
               front of a Shin‐tō
Tsubo          An area of six feet
Tsugi‐no‐ma    Second room.
Tsui‐tate      A screen of one leaf set
               in a frame.
Tsume‐sho.     A servant’s waiting‐room.

Usukasumi‐dana   A name for shelf;
                 literally, “thin mist‐
Uwa‐nuri         The last layer of


    1 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. v., part i. p.

    2 It may be well to state here that most of the good and reliable
      contributions upon Japan are to be found in the Transactions of the
      English and German Asiatic Societies published in Yokohama; also in
      the pages of the Japan “Mail,” in the now extinct Tokio “Times,” and
      in a most excellent but now defunct magazine called the
      “Chrysanthemum,” whose circulation becoming vitiated by the
      theological sap in its tissues, finally broke down altogether from
      the dead weight of its dogmatic leaves.

      Among the many valuable papers published in these Transactions of
      the Asiatic Society of Japan, is one by Thomas R. H. McClatchie,
      Esq., on “The Feudal Mansions of Yedo,” vol. vii. part iii. p. 157,
      which gives many important facts concerning a class of buildings
      that is rapidly disappearing, and to which only the slightest
      allusion has been made in the present work. The reader is also
      referred to a Paper in the same publication by George Cawley, Esq.,
      entitled “Some Remarks on Constructions in Brick and Wood, and
      their Relative Suitability for Japan,” vol. vi. part ii. p. 291; and
      also to a Paper by R. H. Brunton, Esq., on “Constructive Art in
      Japan,” vol. ii. p. 64; vol. iii. part ii. p. 20.

      Professor Huxley has said in one of his lectures, that if all the
      books in the world were destroyed, with the exception of the
      Philosophical Transactions, “it is safe to say that the foundations
      of Physical Science would remain unshaken, and that the vast
      intellectual progress of the last two centuries would be largely
      though incompletely recorded.” In a similar way it might almost be
      said of the Japan “Mail,” that if all the books which have been
      written by foreigners upon Japan were destroyed, and files of the
      Japan “Mail” alone preserved, we should possess about all of value
      that has been recorded by foreigners concerning that country. This
      journal not only includes the scholarly productions of its editor,
      Capt. F. Brinkley, as well as an immense mass of material from its
      correspondents, but has also published the Transactions of the
      Asiatic Society of Japan in advance ot the Society’s own

    3 Still another English writer says: “It is unpleasant to live within
      ugly walls; it is still more unpleasant to live within unstable
      walls: but to be obliged to live in a tenement which is both
      unstable and ugly is disagreeable in a tenfold degree.” He thinks it
      is quite time to evoke legislation to remedy these evils, and says:
      “An Englishman’s house was formerly said to be his castle; but in
      the hands of the speculating builder and advertising tradesman, we
      may be grateful that it does not oftener become his tomb.”

    4 _Fig. 12_ represents the frame‐work of an ordinary two‐storied
      house. It is copied from a Japanese carpenter’s drawing, kindly
      furnished the writer by Mr. Fukuzawa, of Tokio, proper corrections
      in perspective having been made. The various parts have been
      lettered, and the dimensions given in Japanese feet and inches. The
      Japanese foot is, within the fraction of an inch, the same as ours,
      and is divided into ten parts, called _sun._ The wood employed in
      the frame is usually cedar or pine. The corner posts, as well as the
      other large upright posts, called _hashira (H),_ are square, and
      five _sun_ in thickness; these are tenoned into the plate upon which
      they rest. This plate is called _do‐dai (D);_ it is made of cedar,
      and sometimes of chestnut. The _do‐dai_ is six _sun_ square, and
      rests directly on a number of stones, which are called _do‐dai‐ishi
      (D,1)._ Between the _hashira_ come smaller uprights, called _ma‐
      bashira (M)_  (_hashira_ changed to _bashira_ for euphony); these
      are two _sun_ square. Through these pass the cross‐pieces called
      _nuki;_ these are four _sun_ wide and one _sun_ thick. To these are
      attached the bamboo slats as substitutes for laths. The horizontal
      beam to support the second‐story floor is called the _nikaibari__
      (Ni);_ this is of pine, with a vertical thickness of one foot two
      _sun,_ and a width of six tenths of a _sun._ The rafters of the
      roof, called _yane‐shita (Ya),_ in this frame are nine feet long,
      three _sun_ wide, and eight tenths of a _sun_ in thickness. Cross‐
      beams _(T),_ from the upper plate from which spring posts to support
      the ridge‐pole, are called _taruki._ The first floor is sustained by
      posts that rest on stones embedded in the ground, as well as by a
      beam called _yuka‐shita (Yu);_ this is secured to the upright beams
      at the height of one and one‐half or two feet above the _do‐dai._
      The upper floor‐joists are of pine, two inches square; the flooring
      boards are six tenths of a _sun_ in thickness, and one foot wide.
      The lower floor‐joists, called _neda‐maruta (Ne),_ are rough round
      sticks, three _sun_ in diameter, hewn on opposite sides. On top of
      these rest pine boards six tenths of a _sun_ in thickness.

    5 The accompanying sketches will illustrate the various stages in the
      construction of the ceiling.

    6 General Francis A. Walker, in his Lowell Lectures on the United
      States Census for 1880, shows that carpenters constitute the largest
      single body of artisans working for the supply of local wants. He
      shows that the increase of this body from decade to decade is far
      behind what it should be if it increased in the ratio of the
      population; and though this fact might excite surprise, he shows
      that it is due to the enormous increase in machine‐made material,
      such as doors, sashes, blinds, etc.; in other words, to the making
      of those parts which in former times trained a man in delicate work
      and accurate joinery.

    7 There is no question but that in England apprentices serve their
      time at trades more faithfully than with us; nevertheless, the
      complaints that go up in the English press in regard to poor and
      slovenly work show the existence of a similar class of impostors,
      who defraud the public by claiming to be what they are not. The
      erratic Charles Reade, in a series of letters addressed to the “Pall
      Mall Gazette,” on builders’ blunders, inveighs against the British
      workmen as follows: “When last seen, I was standing on the first
      floor of the thing they call a house, with a blunder under my
      feet,—unvarnished, unjoined boards; and a blunder over my head,—the
      oppressive, glaring plaster‐ceiling, full of the inevitable cracks,
      and foul with the smoke of only three months’ gas.”

      In regard to sash windows, he says: “This room is lighted by what
      may be defined ‘the unscientific window.’ Here, in this single
      structure, you may see most of the intellectual vices that mark the
      unscientific mind. The scientific way is always the simple way; so
      here you have complication on complication,—one half the window is
      to go up, the other half is to come down. The maker of it goes out
      of his way to struggle with Nature’s laws; he grapples insanely with
      gravitation, and therefore he must use cords and weights and
      pulleys, and build boxes to hide them in. He is a great hider. His
      wooden frames move up and down wooden grooves, open to atmospheric
      influence. What is the consequence? The atmosphere becomes humid;
      the wooden frame sticks in the wooden box, and the unscientific
      window is jammed. What, ho! Send for the Curse of Families, the
      British workman! On one of the cords breaking (they are always
      breaking), send for the Curse of Families to patch the blunder of
      the unscientific builder.”

    8 A Government bureau called the _Kaitakushi,_ now fortunately
      extinct, established in Yezo, the seat of its labors, one or two
      saw‐mills; but whether they are still at work I do not know.

    9 A structure of stone or wood, not unlike the naked frame‐work of a
      gate, erected in front of shrines and temples.

   10 This sketch was made from a photograph taken for this work, at the
      suggestion of Dr. W. S. Bigelow, by Percival Lowell, Esq.

   11 We have characterized as a ridge‐roof that portion which has
      truncate ends,—in other words, the form of a gable,—and which
      receives special methods of treatment. The line of demarcation
      between the long reach of thatch of the roof proper and the ridge‐
      roof is very distinct.

   12 An odor which at home we recognize as “Japanesy,” arising from the
      wood‐boxes in which Japanese articles are packed.

   13 In the plan (_fig. 97_) _P_ is an eight‐mat room; _D_ and _L_ are
      six‐mat rooms; _S_ is a four and one‐half mat room; _S, H,_ and
      _St._ are three‐mat rooms; _S B,_ and F are two‐mat rooms.

   14 The following is a brief explanation of the names of the rooms given
      in plan _fig. 99_: _Agari‐ba_ (_Agari,_ “to go up; ” _ba,_ “place”),
      Platform, or place to stand on in coming out of the Bath. _Cha‐
      dokoro,_ Tea‐place; _Ge‐dan,_ Lower Step; _ō‐dan,_ Upper Step; _Iri‐
      kawa,_ Space between verandah and room; _Kami‐no‐ma,_ Upper place or
      room; _Tsugi‐no‐ma,_ Next place or room; _Kesho‐no‐ma,_ Dressing‐
      room _(Kesho,_—“adorning the face with powder”). _Nan‐do,_ Store‐
      room; _Naka‐tsubo,_ Middle space, _Oshi‐ire,_ Closet (literally,
      “push,” “put in”); _Ro‐ka,_ Corridor, Covered way; _Tamari,_ Ante‐
      chamber; _Tsume‐sho,_ Waiting‐room for servants; _Yu‐dono,_ Bath‐
      room; _Yen‐zashiki,_ End parlor; _Watari,—_“to cross over;”
      _Sunoko,_ Bamboo shelf or platform.

   15 See chapter viii. for further considerations regarding the matter.

   16 A correspondent in the “Pall Mall Gazette,” in protesting against
      the attempt to impose European clothing on those people who are
      accustomed to go without any, says: “In many parts of India there is
      a profound suspicion of the irreligiousness of clothing. The fakir
      is distressed even by the regulation rag upon which the Government
      modestly insists, and a fully dressed fakir would be scouted. The
      late Brahmo minister, Chesub Chunder Sen, expressed the belief that
      India would never accept a Christ in hat and boots. The missionary
      should remember that clothes‐morality is climatic, and that if a
      certain degree of covering of the body has gradually become in the
      Northwest associated with morality and piety, the traditions of
      tropical countries may have equally connected elaborate dress rather
      with the sensualities of Solomon in his glory than with the purity
      of the lily as clothed by Nature.”

   17 Rein says: “The cleanliness of the Japanese is one of his most
      commendable qualities. It is apparent in his body, in his house, in
      his workshop, and no less in the great carefulness and exemplary
      exactness with which he looks after his fields.”

   18 From the name _tokonoma,_ which means “bed‐place,” literally “bed of
      floor,” it is supposed that in ancient times the bed was made or
      placed in this recess.

   19 In this connection it may be interesting to mention the various
      names applied to the privy by the Japanese, with a free translation
      of the same as given me by Mr. A. S. Mihara: _Setsu‐in,_ “snow‐
      hide;” _Chodsu‐ba,_“place to wash hands” (the _chōdzu‐bachi,_ a
      convenience for washing the hands, being always near the privy);
      _Benjo_ and _Yo‐ba,_“place for business;” _Ko‐ka,_“ back‐frame.”
      _Habakari_ is a very common name for this place; the word _Yen‐
      riyo,_ though not applied to this place, has the same meaning, it
      implies reserve.

      These words with their meanings certainly indicate a great degree of
      refinement an delicacy in the terms applied to the privy.

   20 The ordinary form of verandah is called _yen,_ or _yen‐gawa._ In
      Kishiu it is called simply _yen,_ while in Tokio it is called _yen‐
      gawa._ A low platform is called an _ochi‐yen;_ a platform that can
      be raised or lowered is called an _age‐yen._ When the platform has
      no groove for the rain‐doors on the outer edge, it is called a
      _nuri‐yen,—nuri_ meaning wet, the rain in this case beating in and
      wetting the verandah. A little platform made of bamboo, which may be
      used as a shelf for plants, is called _sunoko._

   21 A gate‐like structure seen in front of all shrines and temples.

   22 This legend is from a work entitled “Chikusan Teizoden.”

   23 Professor Atkinson, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, vol. vi.
      part i.; Dr. Geerts, ibid., vol. vii. part iii.

      Dr. O. Korschelt has made an extremely valuable contribution to the
      Asiatic Society of Japan, on the water‐supply of Tokio. Aided by
      Japanese students, he has made many analyses of well‐waters and
      waters from the city supply, and shows that, contrary to the
      conclusions of Professor Atkinson, the high‐ground wells are on the
      whole much purer than those on lower ground. Dr. Korschelt also
      calls attention to the great number of artesian wells sunk in Tokio,
      by means of bamboo tubes driven into the ground. The ordinary form
      of well is carried down thirty or forty feet in the usual way, and
      then at the bottom bamboo tubes are driven to great depths, ranging
      from one hundred to two hundred feet and more. He speaks of a number
      of these wells in Tokio and the suburbs as overflowing. There is one
      well not far from the Tokio Daigaku which overflows; and a very
      remarkable sight it is to see the water pouring over a high well‐
      curb and flooding the ground in the vicinity. He shows that pure
      water may be reached in most parts of Tokio by means of artesian
      wells; and to this source the city must ultimately look for its

      For further particulars concerning this subject, the reader is
      referred to Dr. Korschelt’s valuable paper in the Transactions of
      the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xii. part iii., p. 143.

   24 The pier‐glaas is happily unknown in Japan; a small disk of polished
      metal represents the mirror, and is wisely kept in a box till

   25 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. i. p. 20.

   26 Owing to the sensible civil service of England, scholars and
      diplomates are appointed to these duties in the East; and as a
      natural result all the honors,—political, commercial, and
      literary,—have, with few exceptions, been won by Englishmen.

   27 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. ix. part ii. p.

   28 Ibid., vol. x. Supplement.

   29 Ibid., vol. iii. part ii. p. 131.

   30 In Anam I noticed that the bed‐rooms were indicated by hanging cloth
      partition as well as by those made of matting.

   31 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. vi. part i. p.

   32 Satow gives quite a different rendering of this passage.

   33 Translations of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. ii. p. 119.

   34 Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. iii. part ii.

   35 In Mr. Aston’s translation this word is printed “heart,” but
      evidently this must be a misprint.

   36 It is lamentable to reflect how many monstrous designs have been
      perpetrated under the general name of Gothic, which are neither in
      spirit nor letter realized the character of Mediaeval art. In London
      these extraordinary ebullitions of uneducated taste generally appear
      in the form of meeting‐houses, music‐halls, and similar places of
      popular resort. Showy in their general effect, and usually
      overloaded with meretricious ornament, they are likely enough to
      impose upon an uninformed judgment, which is incapable of
      discriminating between what Mr. Ruskin has called the “Lamp of
      Sacrifice,”—one of the glories of ancient art,—and the lust of
      profusion which is the bane of modern design.—_Eastlake’s Hints on
      Household Taste,_ p. 21.

   37 Notes of a visit to Hachijô, in 1878. By F. V. Dickins and Ernest
      Satow. Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. vi. part
      iii. p. 435.

   38 Vol. iv. p. 68.

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