THE CRITIC IN THE ORIENT
THE CRITIC IN THE ORIENT
GEORGE HAMLIN FITCH
AUTHOR OF "COMFORT FOUND IN GOOD OLD BOOKS" "MODERN ENGLISH BOOKS OF POWER" "THE CRITIC IN THE OCCIDENT"
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat. —Kipling
ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS
PAUL ELDER AND COMPANY PUBLISHERS . SAN FRANCISCO
Copyright, 1913 by PAUL ELDER AND COMPANY
The chapters of this book appeared originally in the Sunday supplement of the San Francisco Chronicle. The privilege of reproducing them here is due to the courtesy of M. H. de Young, Esq.
The author is greatly indebted to Isaac O. Upham, Esq., for the fine photographs which illustrate the section on Japan and for several photographs of Indian scenes
TO MY FELLOW TOURISTS ON THE MINNESOTA, WHOSE COMPANIONSHIP MADE MANY TEDIOUS JOURNEYS BY LAND AND SEA ENJOYABLE
The Best Results of Travel in the Orient XIII
Japan, The Picture Country of the Orient 1
First Impressions of Japan and the Life of the Japanese— The Japanese Capital and its Parks and Temples—The Most Famous City of Temples in all Japan—In Kyoto, The Ancient Capital of Japan—Kobe, Osaka, The Inland Sea and Nagasaki—Development of the Japanese Sense of Beauty—Conclusions on Japanese Life and Character— Will the Japanese Retain Their Good Traits?
Manila, Transformed by the Americans 49
First Impressions of Manila and Its Picturesque People— American Work in the Philippine Islands—Scenes in the City of Manila and Suburbs.
Hongkong, Canton, Singapore and Rangoon 63
Hongkong, the Greatest British Port in the Orient—A Visit to Canton in Days of Wild Panic—Singapore, the Meeting Place of Many Races—strange Night Scenes in the City of Singapore—Characteristic Sights in Burma's Largest City.
India, The Land of Temples, Palaces and Monuments 93
Calcutta, the Most Beautiful of Oriental Cities—Bathing, and Burning the Dead at Benares—Lucknow and Cawnpore, Cities of the Mutiny—The Taj Mahal, the World's Loveliest Building—Delhi and Its Ancient Mohammedan Ruins—Scenes in Bombay When the King Arrived—Religion and Customs of the Bombay Parsees.
Egypt, The Home of Hieroglyphs, Tombs and Mummies 135
Picturesque Oriental Life as Seen in Cairo—Among the Ruins of Luxor and Karnak—Tombs of The Kings at Ancient Thebes—Sailing Down the Nile on a Small Steamer—Before the Pyramids and the Sphinx.
Hints for Travelers 167
Some Suggestions That May Save the Tourist Time and Money.
Books Which Help One to Understand the Orient and Its People.
The Taj Mahal at Agra Frontispiece
The Yomei-mori Gate, Ieyasu Temple, Nikko Facing 14
The Daibutsu or Great Bronze Buddha at Hyogo 30
Imperial Gate, Fort Santiago, Manila 56
The City of Boats at Canton 74
Hindoos Bathing in the Ganges at Benares 100
Front View of the Taj Mahal, Agra 114
One of the Main Avenues of Bombay 126
The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak 146
Japan Following page 48
Street Scene, Asakusa Park, Tokyo I
Entrance Hall of Modern Home of a Tokyo Millionaire II
Bronze Lanterns and Sacred Fountain, Shiba Temple, Tokyo III
Sacred Red Bridge at Nikko IV
Avenue of Cryptomeria to Futaaru Temple, Nikko V
Avenue of Cryptomeria Trees, near Nikko VI
Great Bronze Torii, Nikko VII
Stone Lanterns, Kasuga Temple Park, Nara VIII
Religious Procession, Kyoto IX
Scene on Canal, Kyoto X
Street Scene in Kobe XI
A Group of Japanese Schoolboys XII
Japanese Peasant Group by the Roadside XIII
Scene in Large Private Garden, Kyoto XIV
Iris Bed at Horikiri, near Tokyo XV
Private Garden, Kamakura XVI
Manila Following page 62
A Glimpse of the Escolta, Manila XVII
Old Church and Bridge at Pasig XVIII
The Binondo Canal at Manila XIX
On the Malecon Drive, Manila XX
View on a Manila Canal XXI
A Filipino Peasant Girl on the Way to Market XXII
The Carabao Cart in the Philippines XXIII
The Nipa Hut of the Filipino XXIV
Hongkong, Canton, Singapore, Rangoon Following page 91
Queen's Road in Hongkong. XXV
Flower Market in a Hongkong Street XXVI
Coolies Carrying Burdens at Hongkong XXVII
The Spacious Foreign Bund at Hongkong XXVIII
Chinese Junks in Hongkong Harbor XXIX
View of the Water-front at Canton XXX
The New Chinese Bund at Canton XXXI
A Confucian Festival at Singapore XXXII
A Main Street in the Native Quarter of Singapore XXXIII
The Y. M. C. A. Building at Singapore XXXIV
The Great Shwe Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon XXXV
Entrance to the Shwe Dagon Pagoda XXXVI
Burmese Worshipping in the Pagoda at Rangoon XXXVII
Riverside Scene at Rangoon XXXVIII
Trained Elephant Piling Teak at Rangoon XXXIX
Palm Avenue, Royal Lakes, Rangoon XL
India Following page 134
One of the Main Gates to Government House, Calcutta XLI
A Street Scene in Calcutta XLII
The Great Burning Ghat at Benares XLIII
View of the Bathing Ghats at Benares XLIV
A Holy Man of Benares Under His Umbrella XLV
The Residency at Lucknow XLVI
Tomb of Itmad-ul-Daulet at Agra XLVII
The Mutiny Memorial at Cawnpore XLVIII
Detail of Carving in the Jasmine Tower, Agra XLIX
The Jasmine Tower in Agra Fort L
Snap-shot of a Jain Family at Agra LI
The Fort at Agra Which Encloses Many Palaces LII
Kutab Minar, the Arch and the Iron Pillar, near Delhi LIII
Shah Jehan's Heaven on Earth, Delhi LIV
Street View in Delhi LV
A Parsee Tower of Silence at Bombay LVI
Egypt Following page 164
A Typical Street in Old Cairo LVII
An Arab Cafe in One of Cairo's Streets LVIII
Women Water Carriers in Turkish Costume LIX
The Rameseon at Karnak LX
The Avenue of Sphinxes at Karnak LXI
An Arab Village on the Nile LXII
The Colossi of Memnon, near Thebes LXIII
The Great Sphinx, Showing the Temple Underneath LXIV
This book of impressions of the Far East is called "The Critic in the Orient," because the writer for over thirty years has been a professional critic of new books—one trained to get at the best in all literary works and reveal it to the reader. This critical work—a combination of rapid reading and equally rapid written estimate of new publications—would have been deadly, save for a love of books, so deep and enduring that it has turned drudgery into pastime and an enthusiasm for discovering good things in every new book which no amount of literary trash was ever able to smother.
After years of such strenuous critical work, the mind becomes molded in a certain cast. It is as impossible for me to put aside the habit of the literary critic as it would be for a hunter who had spent his whole life in the woods to be content in a great city. So when I started out on this trip around the world the critical apparatus which I had used in getting at the heart of books was applied to the people and the places along this great girdle about the globe.
Much of the benefit of foreign travel depends upon the reading that one has done. For years my eager curiosity about places had led me to read everything printed about the Orient and the South Seas. Add to this the stories which were brought into a newspaper office by globe trotters and adventurers, and you have an equipment which made me at times seem to be merely revising impressions made on an earlier journey. When you talk with a man who has spent ten or twenty years in Japan or China or the Straits Settlements, you cannot fail to get something of the color of life in those strange lands, especially if you have the newspaper training which impels you to ask questions and to drag out of your informant everything of human interest that the reader will care to know.
This newspaper instinct, which is developed by training but which one must possess in large measure before he can be successful in journalism, seizes upon everything and transmutes it into "copy" for the printer. To have taken this journey without setting down every day my impressions of places and people would have been a tiresome experience. What seemed labor to others who had not had my special training was as the breath in my nostrils. Even in the debilitating heat of the tropics it was always a pastime, never a task, to put into words my ideas of the historic places which I knew so well from years of reading and which I had just seen. And the richer the background of history, the greater was my enjoyment in painting with words full of color a picture of my impressions, for the benefit of those who were not able to share my pleasure in the actual sight of these famous places of the Far East.
From the mass of newspaper letters written while every impression was sharp and clear, I have selected what seemed to me most significant and illustrative. It is only when the traveler looks back over a journey that he gets the true perspective. Then only is he able to see what is of general and permanent interest. Most of the vexations of travel I have eliminated, as these lose their force once they have gone over into yesterday. What remains is the beauty of scenery, the grandeur of architecture, the spiritual quality of famous paintings and statues, the appealing traits of various peoples.
The Best Results of Travel in the Orient
The Best Results of Travel in the Orient
This volume includes impressions of the first half of a trip around the world. The remainder of the journey will fill a companion volume, which will comprise two chapters devoted to New York and the effect it produced on me after seeing the great cities of the world. As I have said in the preface, these are necessarily first impressions, jotted down when fresh and clear; but it is doubtful whether a month spent in any of these places would have forced a revision of these first glimpses, set in the mordant of curiosity and enthusiasm. When the mind is saturated with the literature of a place, it is quick to seize on what appeals to the imagination, and this appeal is the one which must be considered in every case where there is an historical or legendary background to give salient relief to palace or temple, statue or painting. Without this background the noblest work seems dull and lifeless. With it the palace stamps itself upon the imagination, the temple stirs the emotions, the statue speaks, the painting has a direct spiritual message.
Certain parts of the Orient are not rich in this imaginative material which appeals to one fond of history or art; but this defect is compensated for by an extraordinary picturesqueness of life and a wonderful luxuriance of nature. The Oriental trip also makes less demand on one's reading than even a hasty journey through Europe. There are few pictures, few statues. Only India and Egypt appeal to the sense of the historical, Japan stands alone, alien to all our ways of life and thought, but so intensely artistic, so saturated with the intellectual spirit that it seems to belong to another world than this material, commercial existence that stamps all European and American life. The new China furnishes an attractive field of study, but unfortunately when I visited the country it was in the throes of revolution and travel was dangerous anywhere outside the great treaty ports.
One of the best results of foreign travel is that it makes one revise his estimate of alien races. When I started out it was with a strong prejudice against the Japanese, probably due to my observation of some rather unlovely specimens whom I had encountered in San Francisco. A short stay in Japan served to give me a new point of view in regard to both the people and the country of the Mikado. It was impossible to escape from the fact that here is a race which places loyalty to country and personal honor higher than life, and this sentiment was not confined to the educated and wealthy classes but was general throughout the nation. Here also is a people so devoted to the culture of beauty that they travel hundreds of miles to see the annual chrysanthemum and other flower festivals. And here is a people so devoted to art for art's sake that even the poor and uneducated have little gardens in their back yards and houses which reveal a refined taste in architecture and decoration. The poorest artisans are genuine artists and their work shows a beauty and a finish only to be found in the work of the highest designers in our country.
In one chapter of the section on Japan, I have dwelt on the ingenious theory that it is their devotion to the garden that has kept the Japanese from being spoiled by the great strides they have made in the last twenty years in commerce and conquest. To take foremost place among the powers of the world without any preliminary struggle is an achievement which well might turn the heads of any people; yet this exploit has simply confirmed the Japanese in the opinion that their national training has resulted in this success that other nations have won only by the expenditure of years of labor and study. When you see the reverence which every one in Japan shows at the tombs of the Forty-seven Ronins, you feel that here is a spiritual force which is lacking in every European country; here is something, whether you call it loyalty or patriotism or fanaticism, which makes even the women and children of Japan eager to sacrifice all that they hold most dear on the altar of their country. No less striking than their loyalty is the courtesy of the Japanese which makes travel in their country a pleasure. Even the poor and ignorant country people show in their mutual relations a politeness that would do credit to the most civilized race, while all exhibit toward foreigners a courtesy and consideration that is often repaid by boorishness and insult on the part of tourists and foreign residents of Japan. Another feature of Japanese life that cannot fail to impress the stranger is the small weight that is given to wealth. In their relations with foreigners the governing class and the wealthy people are sticklers for all the conventional forms; but among themselves the simplicity of their social life is very attractive. Elaborate functions are unknown and changes of costume, which make women's dress so large an item of family expense in any European country, are unnecessary. Some of the rich Japanese are now lavishing money on their homes, which are partly modeled on European plans; but in the main the residences, even of rich people, are very simple and unpretentious. These homes are filled with priceless porcelains, jades, paintings and prints, but there is no display merely for the sake of exhibiting art treasures.
In Manila the American tourist has a good opportunity to contrast what has been done by his countrymen with what the British have accomplished in ports like Hongkong and Singapore. Doubtless the English plan will show the larger financial returns, but it is carried out with a selfish disregard of the interests of the natives which stirs the gorge of an American. The Englishman believes in keeping a wide gulf between the dominant and the humble classes. He does not believe in educating the native to think that he can rise from the class in which he is born. The American scheme in the Philippines has been to encourage the development of character and efficiency, wherever found; and the result is that many public positions are open to men who were head-hunting savages ten years ago. Above all other things in the Philippines we have proved, as we have shown at Panama, that a tropical climate need not be an unhealthful one. We have banished from Manila cholera, yellow fever and bubonic plague—three pests that once made it dreaded in the Orient. This, with an ample water supply, is an achievement worthy of pride, when one contrasts it with the unsanitary sewerage system of Hongkong and Singapore.
The small part of the great Chinese Empire which I was able to see gave me a vivid impression of the activity and enthusiasm of the people in spreading the new Republican doctrines. The way old things have been put aside and the new customs adopted seems almost like a miracle. Fancy a whole people discarding their time-honored methods of examination for the civil service, along with their queues, their caps and their shoes. All the authorities have predicted that China would be centuries in showing the same changes which the Japanese have made in a single generation; but recent events go far to prove that Japan will be outstripped in the race for progress by its slow-going neighbor. What profoundly impresses any visitor to China is the stamina and the working capacity of the common people. Tireless laborers these Chinese are, whether they work for themselves or the European. What they will be able to accomplish with labor-saving machinery no one can predict. Certainly should they accept modern methods of work, with the same enthusiasm that they have adopted new methods of government, the markets of the world will be upset by the product of these four hundred million. China is to-day in transformation—fluctuant, far-reaching, limited only by the capacity of a singularly excitable people to absorb new ideas.
In India great is the contrast to China and Japan. Here is an old civilization, founded on caste: here are many peoples but all joined to the worship of a system that says the son must follow in the footsteps of the father; that one cannot break bread with a stranger of another caste lest he and his tribe be defiled. Nothing more hideous was ever conceived than this Indian caste system, yet it has held its own against the force of foreign learning and probably will continue to fetter the development of the natives of India for centuries to come. Some simple reforms the English have secured, like the abolition of suttee and the improved condition of the child widows; but their influence on the great mass of the people has been pitiably small. India bears the same relation to the Orient that Italy does to Europe. It is the home of temples, palaces and monuments; it is the land of beautiful art work in many materials. Most of its cities have a splendid historical past that is seen in richly ornamented temples and shrines, in the tombs of its illustrious dead and in palaces that surpass in beauty of decoration anything which Europe can boast.
In considering India it must always be borne in mind that here was the original seat of the Aryan civilization and that, though the Hindoo is as dark as many of the American negroes, he is of Aryan stock like ourselves. In comparison with the men who carried Aryan civilization throughout the world, the Hindoo of to-day is as far removed as is the modern Greek from the Greek of the time of Pericles and Phidias. Yet he shows all the signs of race in clear-cut features and in small hands and feet.
The journey throughout India is one which calls for some philosophy, as the train arrangements are never good and, unless one has the luck to secure a competent guide, he will be annoyed by the excessive greed of every one with whom he comes in contact. But aside from such troubles the trip is one which richly repays the traveler. If one has time it is admirable to go off the beaten track to some of the minor places which have fine historical remains; but a good idea of India may be obtained by taking the regular route from Calcutta to Bombay, by way of Delhi.
In Benares the tourist first meets the swarms of beggars that make life a burden. Aged men, with loathsome sores, stand whining at corners beseeching the favor of a two-anna piece; blind men, led by small, skinny children, set up a mournful wail and then curse you fluently when you pass them by, and scores of children rise up out of hovels at the roadside and pursue your carriage with shrill screams. All are filthy, clamorous, greedy, inexpressibly offensive. If you are soft hearted and give to one, then your day is made hideous by a swarm of mendicants, tireless in pursuit and only kept from actual invasion of the carriage by fear of the driver's whip.
The feature which makes travel on Indian railways a weariness of the flesh is the roughness of the cars. Each truck on the passenger cars is provided with two large wheels, exactly like those on freight cars, and these wheels have wooden felloes and spokes. With poor springs the result is that though the road-bed is perfect the cars are as rough as our freight cars. When the speed is over twenty-five miles an hour or the road is crooked, the motion of the cars is well nigh intolerable. Ordinarily the motion is so great that reading is difficult and writing out of the question. At night the jar of the car is so severe that one must be very tired or very phlegmatic to get any refreshing sleep. When one travels all day and all night at a stretch—as in the journey from Jeypore to Bombay—the fatigue is out of all proportion to the distance covered. In fact Americans have been spoiled by the comforts of Pullman sleeping-cars, in which foreign critics find so many flaws. Probably the chief annoyance to our party of Americans, aside from the jar of the cars, was the dust and soot which poured in day and night. The engines burn soft coal and the dust on the road-beds is excessive. A system of double windows and well-fitting screens would remove this nuisance, but apparently the British in India think dust and grime necessary features of railway travel, for no effort is made to eliminate them.
No Oriental trip would be complete without a visit to Egypt, and especially a ride on the Nile. It is more difficult to make anyone realize the charm of Egypt than of any other country of the Orient. The people are dirty, ignorant, brutish: their faces contain no appeal because they are the faces of Millet's "The Man With the Hoe." Centuries of subjection have killed the pride which still lingers in the face and bearing of the poorest Arab; the Egyptian peasant does not wear the collar of Gurth, but he is a slave of the soil whose day of freedom is afar off. Yet these degenerate people are seen against a background of the most imposing ruins in the world. Luxor and Karnak and the tombs of the kings near old Thebes contain enough remains of the splendor of ancient Egyptian life to permit study for years. The mind is appalled by this mass of temples, monuments, obelisks and colossal statues. It is difficult to realize that the same people who are seen toiling in the fields to-day raised these huge monuments to perpetuate the names of their rulers. A climate as dry as that of the Colorado desert has preserved these remains, so that in the rock tombs one may gaze upon brightly painted hieroglyphs of the time of Moses that look as though they were carved yesterday.
In this Oriental tour the stamp of strange religions is over all the lands. The temple is the keynote of each race. And religion with the Oriental is not a matter of one day's worship in seven: it is a vital, daily function into which he puts all the dreamy mysticism of his race. The first sight of several Mohammedans bowed in the dust by the roadside, with their faces set toward Mecca, gives one a strange thrill, but this spectacle soon loses its novelty. Everywhere in the Far East religion is a matter of form and ceremony: it includes regular visits to the temple and regular prayers and offerings to the deities enshrined in these houses of worship. But it also includes a daily ritual that must be observed at certain fixed hours, even though the believer may be in the midst of the crowded market place. The spiritual isolation of an Oriental at his prayers in any big city of the Far East is the most significant feature of this life—so alien to all the mental, moral, and religious training of the Occident. Vain is it for one of Anglo-Saxon strain to attempt to bridge this abyss that lies between his mind and that of the Burman or the Parsee. Each lives in a spiritual world of his own and each would be homesick for heaven were he transferred to the ideal paradise of the other. So the traveler in the Orient should give heed to the temples, for in them is voiced the spiritual aspirations of the people, who have little of comfort or hope to cheer them in this world.
JAPAN, THE PICTURE COUNTRY OF THE ORIENT
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN AND THE LIFE OF THE JAPANESE
Yokohama looks very beautiful to the traveler who has spent over two weeks on the long sea voyage from Seattle; but it has little to commend it to the tourist, for most of its native traits have been Europeanized. It is noteworthy, however, as the best place except Hongkong for the traveler to purchase an oriental outfit and it is probably the cheapest place in the world for trunks and bags and all leather goods. Its bund, or water-front, is spacious and its leading hotels are very comfortable.
Of Japan and the Japanese, all that can be given are a few general impressions of the result of two weeks of constant travel over the empire and of talks with many people.
Of the country itself, the prevailing impression of the tourist, who crosses it on the railroad or who takes rides through the paddy fields in a rickshaw, is of a perennial greenness. Instead of the tawny yellow of California in October, one sees here miles on miles of rice fields, some of vivid green, others of green turning to gold. The foothills of the mountains remind one of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, as they all bear evidences of the rounding and smoothing of glacial action.
At a distance the rice fields look like grain fields, but seen near at hand they are found to be great swamps of water, with row on row of rice, the dead furrows either serving as ditches or as raised paths across the fields. Every bit of hillside is terraced and planted to rice or vegetables or fruit.
Often these little, terraced fields, which look like the natural mesa of southern California, will not be over fifty feet long by ten or fifteen feet wide. Between the rows of fruit trees are vegetables or corn or sorghum. The farmers live in little villages and apparently go home every night after tilling their fields. There are none of the scattered farmhouses, with trees around them, which are so characteristic a feature of any American rural scene.
The towns as well as the cities show a uniformity of architecture, as most of the shops are one story or a story and one-half, while the residences seem to be built on a uniform plan, with great variety in gateways and decoration of grounds. Most of the roofs are made of a black clay, corrugated so that it looks like the Spanish-American tile, and many of the walls that surround residences and temples are of adobe, with a tiled covering, precisely as one sees to-day the remains of adobe walls in old Spanish-Californian towns.
The general impression of any Japanese city when seen from a height is that of a great expanse of low buildings with a liberal sprinkling of trees and a few pagodas or roofs of Buddhist temples.
The strongest impression that the unprejudiced observer receives in Japan is of the small value set upon labor as well as upon time by the great mass of the people. In Yokohama and in Kobe, which show the most signs of foreign influence, the same traits prevail.
It is one of the astonishing spectacles of the world, this accomplishment of the business of a great nation by man power alone. Only in one city, Osaka, the Chicago of Japan, is there any general evidence of the adoption of up-to-date methods in manufacturing. Everywhere one sees all the small industries of the country carried on in the same way that they were conducted in Palestine in the time of Christ.
Everywhere men, harnessed to heavy push carts, are seen straining to haul loads that are enough for a horse. The few horses in the cities are used for heavy trucks, in common with bulls, for the Japanese bull is a beast of burden and not one of the lords of creation as in our own country.
The bull is harnessed with a short neckyoke and a saddle on his back, which bears a close resemblance to the riding saddle of the Cossack. Some rope traces are hitched to crude, home-made whiffletrees. The bull, as well as the horse, is guided by a rope line. The carts are remarkably heavy, with wheels of great weight, yet many of these carts are pulled by two men.
In the big cities may be seen a few victorias, or other carriages, and an occasional motor car, but both these means of conveyance can be used with safety only on the broadest avenues. In the narrow streets of the native quarter, which seldom exceed ten feet in width and which have no sidewalks, the jinrikisha is the only carriage. This is a light, two-wheeled gig, drawn by one man and frequently on the steep grades pushed from the back by a second man. The rickshaw man has a bell gong on one shaft, which he rings when approaching a sharp turn in the street or when he sees several trucks or other rickshaws approaching. The bell also serves to warn old people or children who may be careless, for the rickshaw has the right of way and the pedestrian must turn to either side to give it the road. Americans, who are far more considerate of the feelings of the Japanese than other foreigners, frequently may be seen walking up the steep grades in such hilly cities as Nikko, Nara and Kobe, but long residence in Japan is said to make everyone callous of the straining and the sweating of the rickshaw man.
Purposely my itinerary included a number of little towns, which practically have been uninfluenced by foreign customs. In these places may be seen the primitive Japanese life, unchanged for hundreds of years. Yet everywhere one cannot fail to be impressed by the tireless industry of the people, and by their general good nature and courtesy.
In any other country in the world, a party of Americans with their foreign dress would have provoked some insulting remarks, some gestures that could not be mistaken; but here in rural Japan was seen the same perfect courtesy shown in the Europeanized sections of the big cities. The people, to be sure, made no change in their way of life. Mothers suckled their infants in front of their little shops, and children stood naked and unashamed, lost in wonder over the strange spectacle of the party of foreign people that dashed by in rickshaws.
Naked men, with only a G-string to distinguish them from the costume of Adam before the expulsion from Eden, labored at many tasks, and frequently our little cavalcade swept by the great Government schools where hundreds of little Japanese are being educated to help out the manifest destiny of the empire.
This courtesy and good nature among the poorest class of the Japanese people is not confined to their treatment of foreigners; it extends to all their daily relations with one another. A nearly naked coolie pulling a heavy cart begs a light for his cigarette with a bow that would do honor to a Chesterfield.
A street blockade that in New York or San Francisco would not be untangled without much profanity and some police interference is cleared here in a moment because everyone is willing to yield and to recognize that the most heavily burdened has the right of way.
In all my wanderings by day or night in the large Japanese cities I never except once saw a policeman lift his, hand to exercise his authority. This exception was in Tokio, where a band of mischievous schoolboys was following a party of gayly dressed ladies in rickshaws and laughing and chattering. The guardian of the peace admonished them with a few short, crisp words, and they scuttled into the nearest alleys.
The industry of the people, whether in city or country, is as amazing as their courtesy. The Japanese work seven days in the week, and the year is broken only by a few festivals that are generally observed by the complete cessation of labor. In the large cities work goes on in most of the shops until ten or eleven o'clock at night, and it is resumed at six o'clock the next morning.
The most impressive spectacle during several night rides through miles of Tokio streets was the number of young lads from twelve to sixteen years of age who had fallen asleep at their tasks. With head pillowed on arm they slumbered on the hard benches, where they had been working since early morning, while the older men labored alongside at their tasks.
From the train one saw the rice farmer and his wife and children working in the paddy fields as long as they could see. These people do not work with the fierce energy of the American mechanic, but their workday is from twelve to fourteen hours and, considering these long hours, they show great industry and conscientiousness.
In some places women were employed at the hardest work, such as coaling ships by hand and digging and carrying earth from canals and ditches.
Scarcely less impressive than the tireless industry of the people is the enormous number of children that may be seen both in city and country. It was impossible to get statistics of births, but any American traveling through Japan must be struck with the fact that this is a land not threatened by race suicide.
Women who looked far beyond the time of motherhood were suckling infants, while all the young women seemed well provided with children. Girls of five or six were playing games with sleeping infants strapped to their backs, and even boys were impressed into this nursery work. The younger children are clothed only in kimonos, so that the passer-by witnesses many strange sights of naked Japanese cherubs.
In all quarters of Tokio the children were as numerous as in tenement streets of American cities on a Sunday afternoon, and in small country towns the number of children seemed even greater than in the big cities.
Another feature of Japanese life that made a profound impression on me was the pilgrimage of school children to the various sacred shrines throughout the empire. At Nikko and at Nara, two of the great seats of Buddhist and Shinto shrines, these child pilgrims were conspicuous. They were seen in bands of fifty or seventy-five, attended by tutors. The boys were dressed in blue or black jackets, white or blue trousers and white leggings. Each carried his few belongings in a small box or a handkerchief and each had an umbrella to protect him from the frequent showers.
The girls had dark red merino skirts, with kimono waists of some dark stuff. Many were without stockings, but all wore straw sandals or those with wooden sole and heavy wooden clogs. School children are admitted to temples and shrines at half rates and in every place the guides pay special attention to these young visitors.
Pilgrimages of soldiers and others are also very common. Whenever a party of one hundred is formed it receives the benefit of the half-rate admission. No observant tourist can fail to see that in the pilgrimages of these school children and these soldiers the authorities of new Japan find the best means of stimulating patriotism. Church and State are so closely welded that the Mikado is regarded as a god. Passionate devotion to country is the great ruling power which separates Japan from all other modern nations.
The number of young men who leave their country to escape the three years' conscription is very small. The schoolboy in his most impressionable years is brought to these sacred shrines; he listens to the story of the Forty-seven Ronins and other tales of Japanese chivalry; his soul is fired to imitate their self-sacrificing patriotism. The bloody slopes of Port Arthur witnessed the effect of such training as this.
THE JAPANESE CAPITAL AND ITS PARKS AND TEMPLES
Tokio, the capital of Japan, is a picturesque city of enormous extent and the tourist who sees it in two or three days must expect to do strenuous work. The city, which actually covers one hundred square miles, is built on the low shore of Tokio bay and is intersected by the Sumi river and a network of narrow canals. The river and these canals are crossed by frequent bridges. At night the tourist may mark his approach to one of these canals by the evil odors that poison the air. Even in October the air is sultry in Tokio during the day and far into the night, but toward morning a penetrating damp wind arises.
Although Tokio's main streets have been widened to imposing avenues that run through a series of great parks, the native life may be studied on every hand—for a block from the big streets, with their clanging electric cars, one comes upon narrow alleys lined with shops and teeming with life. Here, for the first time, the tourist sees Japanese city life, only slightly influenced by foreign customs. The streets are not more than twelve or fifteen feet wide, curbed on each side by flat blocks of granite, seldom more than a foot or eighteen inches wide. These furnish the only substitute for a sidewalk in rainy weather, as most of the streets are macadamized. A slight rainfall wets the surface and makes walking for the foreigner very disagreeable. The Japanese use in rainy weather the wooden sandal with two transverse clogs about two inches high, which lifts him out of the mud. All Japanese dignitaries and nearly all foreigners use the jinrikisha, which has the right of way in the narrow streets. The most common sound in the streets is the bell of the rickshaw man or his warning shout of "Hi! Hi!"
My first day's excursion included a ride through Shiba and Hibiya parks to Uyeno Park, the resting place of many of the shoguns. This makes a trip which will consume the entire day. Shiba Park is noteworthy for its temples (which contain some of the most remarkable specimens of Japanese art) and for the tombs of seven of the fifteen shoguns or native rulers who preceded the Mikado in the government of Japan. The first and third shoguns are buried at Nikko, while the fourth, fifth, eighth, ninth, eleventh and thirteenth lie in Uyeno Park, Tokio. These mortuary chapels in Shiba Park are all similar in general design, the only differences being in the lavishness of the decoration. Out of regard for the foreign visitor it is not necessary to remove one's shoes in entering these temples, as cloth covers are provided. Each temple is divided into three parts—the outer oratory, a corridor and the inner sanctum, where the shogun alone was privileged to worship. The daimyos or nobles were lined up in the corridor, while the smaller nobles and chiefs filled the oratory. It would be tedious to describe these temples, but one will serve as a specimen of all. This is the temple of the second shogun, which is noteworthy for the beauty of the decoration of the sanctum and the tomb.
Two enormous gilded pillars support the vaulted roof of the sanctum, which is formed of beams in a very curious pattern. A frieze of medallions of birds, gilded and painted, runs around the top of the wall. The shrine dates back for two and one-half centuries and is of rich gold lacquer. The bronze incense burner, in the form of a lion, bears the date of 1635. The great war drum of Ieyasu, the first of the Tokugawa shoguns, lies upon a richly decorated stand. Back of the temple is the octagonal hall, which houses the tomb of the second shogun. This tomb is the largest example of gold lacquer in the world, and parts of it are inlaid with enamel and crystal. Scenes from Liao-Ling, China, and Lake Biwa, Japan, adorn the upper half, while the lower half bears elaborate decoration of the lion and the peony. The base of the tomb is a solid block of stone in the shape of the lotus. The hall is supported by eight pillars covered with gilded copper, and the walls are covered with gilded lacquer. The enormous amount of money expended on these shrines will amaze any foreign visitor, as well as the profound reverence shown by the Japanese for these resting places of the shoguns.
Passing along a wide avenue traversed by electric cars one soon reaches Hibiya Park, one of the show places of Tokio. To the European tourist or the visitor from our Eastern States the beauty of the vegetation is a source of marvel, but San Francisco's Golden Gate Park can equal everything that grows here in the way of ornamental shrubs, trees and flowers. On the south side of the park are the Parliament buildings, and near by the fine, new brick buildings of the Naval and Judicial Departments and the courts. Near by are grouped many of the foreign legations, the palaces of princes and the mansions of the Japanese officials and foreign embassadors. Here also is the Museum of Arms, which is very interesting because of the many specimens of ancient Japanese weapons and the trophies of the wars with China and Russia. In this museum one may see the profound interest which the Japanese pilgrims from all parts of the empire take in these memorials of conquest. To them they rank with the sacred shrines as objects of veneration.
Not far away is the moat which surrounds the massive walls of the imperial palace, open only to those who have the honor of an imperial audience. These walls are of granite laid up without mortar, the corner stones being of unusual size. The visitor may see the handsome roofs of the imperial palaces. Those who have been admitted declare that the decorations and the furniture are in the highest style of Japanese art, although the simplicity and the neutral colors that mark the Shinto temples prevail in the private chambers of the Emperor. In the throne chamber and the banquet hall, on the other hand, gold and brilliant hues make a blaze of color. Near the palace grounds are the Government printing office and a number of schools.
Turning down into Yoken street, one of the great avenues of traffic, you soon reach Uyeno Park—the most popular pleasure ground of the capital, and famous in the spring for its long lines of cherry trees in full blossom. In the autumn it impressed me, as did all the other Japanese parks, as rather damp and unwholesome. The ground was saturated from recent rain; all the stonework was covered with moss and lichen; the trees dripped moisture, and the little lakes scattered here and there were like those gloomy tarns that Poe loved to paint in his poems. Near the entrance to this park is a shallow lake covered with lotus plants, and a short distance beyond from a little hill one may get a good view of the buildings of the imperial university. Here is a good foreign restaurant where one may enjoy a palatable lunch. Near by on a slight eminence stands a huge bronze image of Buddha, twenty-one and one-half feet high, called the Daibutsu. It is one of several such figures scattered over the empire. Passing through a massive granite torii, or gate, one reaches an avenue of stately cryptomeria, or cedar trees that leads to a row of stone lanterns presented in 1651 by daimyos as a memorial to the first shogun. The temple beyond is famous for its beautiful lacquer.
Near at hand are the temples and tombs of the six shoguns of the Tokugawa family, buried in Uyeno Park. These temples are regarded as among the finest remains of old Japanese art. The mortuary temples bear a close resemblance to those in Shiba Park. The second temple is the finer and is celebrated for the gilding of the interior walls, the gorgeous decoration of the shrines and the memorial tablets in gold lacquer. Here, also, are eight tablets erected to the memory of eight mothers of shoguns, all of whom were concubines.
A short distance from Uyeno Park is the great Buddhist temple known as Asakusa Kwannon, dedicated to Kwannon, the goddess of mercy. The approaches to this temple on any pleasant day look like a country fair. The crowd is so dense that jinrikishas can not approach within one hundred yards. The shrine dates back to the sixth century and the temple is the most popular resort of its kind in Tokio. On each side of the entrance lane are shops, where all kinds of curios, toys, cakes, et cetera, are sold. The temple itself is crowded with votaries who offer coins to the various idols, while below (near the stairs that give entrance to the temple) are various side booths that are patronized by worshipers. Some of these gods promise long life; others give happiness, and several insure big families to women who offer money and say prayers.
One of the remarkable jinrikisha rides in Japan is that from Uyeno to Shimbashi station through the heart of Tokio by night. This takes about a half hour and it gives a series of pictures of the great Japanese city that can be gained in no other way. Here may be seen miles of little shops lining alleys not over ten or twelve feet wide, in most of which work is going on busily as late as eleven o'clock. In places the sleepy proprietors are putting up their shutters, preparatory to going to bed, but in others the work of artisan or baker or weaver goes on as though the day had only fairly begun. Most of these shops are lighted by electricity, but this light is the only modern thing about them. The weaver sits at the loom precisely as he sat two thousand years ago, and the baker kneads his dough and bakes his cakes precisely as he did before the days of the first shogun. This ride gives a panorama of oriental life which can be equaled in few cities in the world. Occasionally the jinrikisha dashes up a little bank and across a bridge that spans a canal and one catches a glimpse of long lines of house boats, with dim lights, nestling under overhanging balconies. Overall is that penetrating odor of the Far East, mingled with the smell of bilge water and the reek of thousands of sweating human beings. These smells are of the earth earthy and they led one to dream that night of weird and terrible creatures such as De Quincey paints in his Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
THE MOST FAMOUS CITY OF TEMPLES IN ALL JAPAN
The most magnificent temples in Japan are at Nikko, in the mountains, five hours' ride by train from Tokio. What makes this trip the more enjoyable to the American tourist is that the country reminds him of the Catskills, and that he gets some glimpses of primitive Japanese life. The Japanese have a proverb: "Do not use the word 'magnificent' until you have seen Nikko." And anyone who goes through the three splendid temples that serve as memorials of the early shoguns will agree that the proverb is true.
The railroad ride to Nikko is tedious, although it furnishes greater variety than most of the other trips by rail through the Mikado's empire. But as soon as one is landed at the little station he recognizes that here is a place unlike any that he has seen. The road runs up a steep hill to the Kanaya Hotel, which is perched on a high bank overlooking the Daiyagawa river. Tall cedar trees clothe the banks, and across the river rise mountains, with the roofs of temples showing through the foliage at their base. This hotel is gratefully remembered by all tourists because of the artistic decoration of the rooms in Japanese style and the beneficent care of the proprietor, which includes a pretty kimono to wear to the morning bath, with straw sandals for the feet, and charming waitresses in picturesque costumes.
The first Buddhist temple at Nikko dates back to the eighth century, but it was not until the seventeenth century that the place was made a national shrine by building here the mausoleum of the first shogun, Ieyasu, and of his grandson, Iemitsu. Hardly less noteworthy than these shrines and temples is the great avenue of giant cryptomeria trees, which stretches across the country for twenty miles, from Nikko to Utsunomiya.
One of the chief objects of interest in Nikko is the Sacred Red Bridge which spans a swift stream about forty feet wide. This is a new bridge, as the old one was carried away by a great flood nine years ago. Originally built in 1638, it served to commemorate the legendary and miraculous bridging of the stream by Shodo Shonin, a saint. He arrived at the river one day while on a pilgrimage and called aloud for aid to cross. On the opposite bank appeared a being of gigantic size, who promised to help him, and at once flung across the stream two green and blue dragons which formed a bridge. When the saint was safely over the bridge, it vanished with the mysterious being. Shodo at once built a hut on the banks of the stream. For fourteen years he dwelt there and gathered many disciples. Then he established a monastery and a shrine at Lake Chuzinji, about nine miles from Nikko. Nine hundred years later the second shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty sent two officials to Nikko to select a site for the mausoleum of his father. They chose a site near Nikko, on a hill called Hotoke-iwa, and in the spring of 1617 the tomb was completed and the coffin was deposited under it with appropriate Buddhist ceremonies.
The road to the mausoleum winds around the river. The first object on the way is a pillar erected in 1643 to ward off evil influences. It is a cylindrical copper column forty-two feet high, supported by short horizontal bars of the same material, resting on four short columns. Small bells hung from lotus-shaped cups crown the summit of the column. Just beyond this column is a massive granite torii, twenty-seven and one-half feet high, the gift of the Daimiyo of Chikuzen. To the left is a five-story pagoda, one hundred and four feet in height, which is especially graceful. Inside a red wooden wall are arranged a series of lacquered storehouses, a holy water cistern cut out of a solid block of granite, a finely decorated building in which rest a collection of Buddhist writings. A second court is reached by a flight of stairs. Here are gifts presented by the kings of Luchu, Holland and Korea, these three countries being regarded as vassal states of Japan. On the left is the Temple of Yahushi, beautifully decorated in red and gold lacquer, and just beyond is a fine gate, called Yomei-mon, decorated with medallions of birds. Passing through this gate, one reaches a court bordered by several small buildings, one of which contains the palanquins that are carried in the annual procession on June 1st, when the deified spirits of the first shogun, Hideyoshi (the great conqueror), and Yoritomo occupy them. Seventy-five men carry each of these palanquins.
The main shrines are reached through the Chinese gate. The three chambers are magnificent specimens of the finest work in lacquer, gold and metal. The tomb of Ieyasu, the first shogun, is reached by ascending two hundred stone steps. The tomb is in the form of a small pagoda of bronze of an unusually light color caused by the mixture of gold. The body of the shogun is buried twenty feet deep in a bed of charcoal. Beyond is the mausoleum of Iemitsu, the third shogun. The oratory and chapel are richly decorated, but they do not compare with those of the first shogun's tomb. Back of these tombs, among the huge cedar trees that clothe the sides of the mountain, is a small red shrine where women offer little pieces of wood that they may pass safely through the dangers of childbirth. Near by is the tomb of Shodo, the saint, and three of his disciples.
These mortuary temples and tombs are genuinely impressive. They bear many signs of age and it is evident that they are held in great veneration by the Japanese, who make pilgrimages at all seasons to offer up prayers at these sacred shrines. More impressive than the tombs themselves are the pilgrims. On the day that I visited this sacred shrine several large bands of pilgrims were entertained. One party was composed of over a hundred boys from one of the big government military schools. These lads were in uniform and each carried an umbrella and a lunch tied up in a handkerchief. The priests paid special attention to these young pilgrims and described for their benefit the marvels of carving and lacquer work. Services were held before the shrines and the glorious conquest of the shoguns and of Hideyoshi (popularly known as the Napoleon of Japan) were described in glowing words. The Russian cannon captured at Port Arthur, which stands near the entrance to the tombs, was not forgotten by these priests, who never fail to do their part in stimulating the patriotism of the young pilgrims.
These boys were followed by an equal number of public school girls, all dressed in dark red merino skirts and kimonos of various colors. Some were without stockings and none wore any head covering, although each girl carried her lunch and the inevitable umbrella.
After these children came several parties of mature pilgrims, some finely dressed and bearing every evidence of wealth and position, while others were clothed in poor garments and showed great deference to the priests and guides. All revealed genuine veneration for the sacred relics and all contributed according to their means to the various shrines. Some idea of the revenue drawn by the priests from tourists and pilgrims may be gained when it is said that admission is seventy sen (or thirty-five cents in American money) for each person, with half-rates to priests, teachers and school children, and to members of parties numbering one hundred.
The shops at Nikko will be found well worth a visit, as this city is the market for many kinds of furs that are scarce in America. Many fine specimens of wood carving may also be seen in the shops. The main street of the town runs from the Kanaya Hotel to the railroad depot, a distance of a mile and one-half, and it is lined for nearly the whole distance with small shops.
On his return to the railroad the tourist would do well to take a jinrikisha ride of five miles down through the great avenue of old cryptomeria trees to the little station of Imaichi. This is one of the most beautiful rides in the world. The road is bordered on each side by huge cedar trees which are from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet in height. In many cases the roots of these old trees have formed a natural embankment and the road is thus forced below the level of the surrounding rice fields. These trees were planted nearly three hundred years ago and they are certainly in a remarkable state of preservation. A few gaps there are, due to the vandalism of the country people, but mile after mile is passed with only an occasional break in these stately columns, crowned by the deep green masses of foliage. Another cryptomeria avenue intersects this and runs for twenty-five miles across the country. The two avenues were planted in order that they might be used by the shogun's messengers when they bore important letters to him during his summer residence in Nara.
IN KYOTO, THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF JAPAN
Next to Nikko, one of the most interesting cities in Japan is Kyoto, the old capital under the shoguns, the seat of several fine palaces and many beautiful temples, and the center of large manufacturing works of satsuma and cloissone ware, damascene work and art work on silk and velvet. Kyoto may be reached by a short ride from Kobe, but from Tokio it is an all-day trip of twelve hours by express train. This ride, which would be comfortable in well appointed cars, is made tedious by the Japanese preference for cars with seats arranged along the side, like the new American pay-as-you-enter street cars. For a short ride the side seat may be endured, but for hours of travel (especially when one is a tourist and wishes to see the scenery on both sides of the road) the cars are extremely tiresome.
By selecting the express train and buying first-class tickets it was hoped to avoid any crowd but, unfortunately, the day chosen saw many other tourists on their way across Japan. The result was that the first-class car was packed and many who had paid first-class fares were forced to ride in the second-class cars. In my car one side was occupied almost wholly by Japanese. Two were in American dress, one was an army officer in uniform, another a clerk with many packages, and the remaining two were an old couple, richly dressed. The Japanese, in traveling first-class, generally brings a rug or fur, which he spreads over the seat. On this he sits with his feet drawn up under him in the national style. Smoking is not prohibited even in the first-class cars, so that the American ladies in the cars had to endure the smell of various kinds of Japanese tobacco, in addition to the heat, which was rendered more disagreeable by the frequent closing of the windows as the train dashed through many tunnels. The old couple carried lunch in several hampers and they indulged in a very elaborate luncheon, helped out by tea purchased in little pots from a dealer at a station. The army officer bought one of the small wooden lunch boxes sold along all Japanese railways, which contain boiled rice, fried fish and some boiled sweet potatoes. This, with a pot of tea, made a good lunch. The Japanese in European costume patronized the dining-car, where an excellent lunch was served for one yen, or fifty cents in American money.
The scenery along the line of the railway varied. The road skirts the coast for many miles, then cuts across several mountain ranges to Nagoya, then along the shores of Owari bay (an arm of the ocean), thence across the country to the lower end of Lake Biwa, near which Kyoto is situated. In the old days this journey consumed twelve days, and the road twice every year furnished a picturesque procession of the retinues of great nobles or daimiyos traveling from Kyoto to Tokio to present their respects to the shogun. The road was skirted by great cryptomeria, and avenues of these fine trees may still be seen near Nikko.
Kyoto was a great city in medieval days, when it was the residence of the Mikado. From 793 until 1868, when the court removed to Tokio, Kyoto remained the capital. Its importance, however, began to decline with the founding of Yedo, or Tokio, in 1590, and to-day many miles of its former streets are devoted to the growing of rice. In this way several of the finest temples, which were once in the heart of the old city, are now relegated to the suburbs. Besides the Mikado's palace and Nijo castle, which may be visited only by special permit, Kyoto boasts of an unusual number of richly decorated temples, among which the most noteworthy are the Shinto temple of Inari; the temple of the one thousand images of Kwannon, the Deity of Mercy; the great Buddhist temple of Nishi-Honguanji, celebrated for its art work in paintings and decorated woods; the great bronze Buddha, fifty-eight feet high; the big bell near by, nearly fourteen feet high, and the other in the Cheon-in temple here—these being two of the four largest bells in all Japan. To describe the treasures in art and decoration, in gold and lacquer, in these palaces, would be tiresome. Unless one is a student of Japanese art the visiting of temples soon becomes a great bore, for one temple or one palace is a repetition of others already seen, with merely minor differences in architecture and decoration, which appeal only to the specialist.
Kyoto, however, is of great interest for its many art shops—since applied art, as seen in satsuma and cloissone ware and in damascene, have almost reached the level of pure art. A visit to one of the satsuma factories is an interesting experience, as it shows how little the art of Japan has been influenced by the foreigner. Here one sees the potter at his wheel, precisely as in the days of the Bible. He does not avail himself of electric power but whirls his wheel by hand and foot, exactly as in the time of Christ. Passing from the pottery to the art rooms, one finds a number of Japanese men and girls painting elaborate designs on bowls and vases and other articles. These artists grind and mix their own oil colors, which they proceed to lay on slowly upon the article they are decorating. The patience of these artists is indescribable. Infinite pains is taken with a single flower or tree or figure of man or bird. One vase exhibited here is covered with butterflies which range from natural size down to figures so small that they can be discerned only under a magnifying glass. Yet, this vase, which represents such an enormous outlay of labor and time, is sold at thirty dollars in American money.
At the damascene works both men and women are also employed, although the finest work is done by the men. The art consists in beating into bronze small particles of gold leaf until they have become an actual part of the baser metal. This gold is arranged in a great variety of design and, after being beaten in, the article is subjected to powerful heat, which oxidizes the metal and thus prevents any change due to the weather. At this Kyoto factory were turned out the most artistic jewelry, boxes, cigarette cases and a great variety of small articles, many of which sold at absurdly low prices, considering the amount of labor and time expended on them.
Kyoto will be found one of the best cities in Japan for the purchase of the art work just described, as well as embroidery, silks and other stuffs. In many of these shops the work is done on the premises and hence the prices are cheaper than in any other city except Yokohama. It is worth while to visit the shops that exhibit bronze work, silks, velvets and carvings in ivory and wood, as well as curios of many kinds. Most of these shopkeepers demand more than they expect to receive, but in a few shops the goods are plainly marked and no reduction in price can be secured. At Kyoto the tourist will find many traces of primitive Japanese life, especially in the unfrequented streets and in the suburbs. Here in the bed of the river, a portion of which was being walled up for a canal, were employed a dozen women digging up gravel and carrying it in baskets to carts near by. They had their skirts tied up and they were working in mud and water which reached to their knees. It was not a pleasant spectacle, but it excited no comment in this country, where women labor in the rice fields by the side of men.
A short ride from Kyoto brings the visitor to Nara, the seat of the oldest temples in Japan, and famous for the tame deer in the park. A long avenue of stone lanterns leads to the principal temples, in an ancient cedar grove. The main temple gives an impression of great age by its heavy thatched roof.
Next looms up the gigantic wooden structure, which houses Daibutsa, the great bronze image of Buddha. This statue, which dates back to the eighth century, is fifty-three and one-quarter feet high; the face is sixteen feet long and nine and one-quarter feet wide. The god is in a sitting position, with the legs crossed. The head, which is darker than the remainder of the image, replaced in the sixteenth century the original head destroyed by fire. The expression of this Buddha is not benignant, and the image is impressive only because of its size. It has two images eighteen feet in height on either hand, but these seemed dwarfed by the huge central figure.
The park at Nara is very interesting, because of the tame deer which have no fear of the stranger in European dress, but will eat cakes from his hand. One of the sources of revenue is to sell these cakes to the tourist.
A visit was paid to an old temple at Horyuji, about eight miles from Nara, which is famous as the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. It contains a valuable collection of ancient Japanese works of art. The rickshaw ride to this place is of great interest, as the road passes through a rich farming country and two small towns which seem to have been little affected by European influence. In the fertile valley below Nara rice is grown on an extensive scale, these paddy fields being veritable swamps which can be crossed only by high paths running through them, at distances of thirty or forty feet. Here also may be seen the curious method of trellising orchards of pear trees with bamboo poles. The trellis supports the upper branches and this prevents them from breaking down under the weight of fruit, while it also makes easy the picking of fruit. Agriculture at its best is seen in this fertile Japanese valley. One peculiarity of this country, as of other parts of rural Japan, is that one sees none of the scattered farmhouses which dot every American farming section. Instead of building on his own land the farmer lives in a village to which he returns at night after his day's work.
KOBE, OSAKA, THE INLAND SEA AND NAGASAKI
Kobe is regarded as a base for the tourist who wishes to make short excursions to Kyoto, Osaka and other cities. It was established as a foreign settlement in 1868, and has grown so remarkably during the last ten years that now it exceeds in imports and exports any other city in Japan. Kobe is one of the most attractive cities in the empire, being built on a pretty harbor, with the land rising like an amphitheater. Scores of handsome residences are scattered over the foothills near the sea. Those on the lower side of the streets that run parallel to the harbor have gardens walled up on the rear, while the houses on the upper side of the streets have massive retaining walls. These give opportunity for many ornamental gateways.
Kobe has many large government schools, but the institutions which I found of greatest interest were Kobe College for Women, conducted by Miss Searle, and the Glory Kindergarten, under the management of Miss Howe. Kobe College, which was founded over thirty years ago, is maintained by the Women's Board of Missions of Chicago. It has two hundred and twenty-five pupils, of whom all except about fifty are lodged and boarded on the premises. I heard several of the classes reciting in English. The primary class in English read simple sentences from a blackboard and answered questions put by the teacher. A few spoke good English, but the great majority failed to open their mouths, and the result was the indistinct enunciation that is so trying to understand. Another class was reading Hamlet, but the pupils made sad work of Shakespeare's verse. The Japanese reading of English is always monotonous, because their own language admits of no emphasis; so their use of English is no more strange than our attempts at Japanese, in which we employ emphasis that excites the ridicule of the Mikado's subjects.
Not far from this college is the kintergarten, which Miss Howe has carried on for twenty-four years. She takes little tots of three or four years of age and trains them in Froebel's methods. So successful has she been in her work among these children of the best Japanese families of Kobe that she has a large waiting list. She has also trained many Japanese girls in kintergarten work. All the children at this school looked unusually bright, as they are drawn from the educated classes. It sounded very strange to hear American and English lullabies being chanted by these tots in the unfamiliar Japanese words.
Osaka, the chief manufacturing city of Japan, is only about three-quarters of an hour's ride from Kobe. It spreads over nine miles square and lies on both sides of the Yodogawa river. The most interesting thing in Osaka is the castle built by Hideyoshi, the Napoleon of Japan, in 1583. The strong wall was once surrounded by a deep moat and an outer wall, which made it practically impregnable. What will surprise anyone is the massive character of the inner walls which remain. Here are blocks of solid granite, many of them measuring forty feet in length by ten feet in height. It must have required a small army of men to place these stones in position, but so well was this work done (without the aid of any mortar) that the stones have remained in place during all these years. From the summit of the upper wall a superb view may be gained of the surrounding country.
From Kobe the tourist makes the trip through the Inland Sea by steamer. Its length is about two hundred and forty miles and its greatest width is forty miles. The trip through this sea, which in some places narrows to a few hundred feet, is deeply interesting. The hills remind a Californian strongly of the Marin hills opposite San Francisco, but here they are terraced nearly to their summits and are green with rice and other crops. Many of the hills are covered with a growth of small cedar trees, and these trees lend rare beauty to the various points of land that project into the sea. At two places in the sea the steamer seems as though she would surely go on the rocks in the narrow channel, but the pilot swings her almost within her own length and she turns again into a wider arm of the sea. In these narrow channels the tide runs like a mill race, and without a pilot (who knows every current) any vessel would be in extreme danger. The steamer leaves Kobe about ten o'clock at night and reaches Nagasaki, the most western of Japanese cities, about seven o'clock the following morning.
Nagasaki in some ways reminds one of Kobe, but the hills are steeper and the most striking feature of the town is the massive stone walls that support the streets winding around the hills, and the elaborate paving of many of these side-hill streets with great blocks of granite. The rainfall is heavy at Nagasaki, so we find here a good system of gutters to carry off the water. The harbor is pretty and on the opposite shore are large engine works, three large docks and a big ship-building plant, all belonging to the Mitsu Bishi Company. Here some five thousand workmen are constantly employed.
One of the great industries of Nagasaki is the coaling of Japanese and foreign steamships. A very fair kind of steam coal is sold here at three dollars a ton, which is less by one dollar and one-half than a poorer grade of coal can be bought for in Seattle; hence the steamer Minnesota coaled here. The coaling of this huge ship proved to be one of the most picturesque sights of her voyage. Early on the morning of her arrival lighters containing about a railway carload of coal began to arrive. These were arranged in regular rows on both sides of the ship. Then came out in big sampans an army of Japanese numbering two thousand in all. The leaders arranged ladders against the sides of the ship, and up these swarmed this army of workers, three-quarters of whom were young girls between fourteen and eighteen years old. They were dressed in all colors, but most of them wore a native bonnet tied about the ears. They formed in line on the stairs and then the coal was passed along from hand to hand until it reached the bunkers. These baskets held a little over a peck of coal, and the rapidity with which they moved along this living line was startling.
Every few minutes the line was given a breathing space, but the work went on with a deadly regularity that made the observer tired to watch it. Occasionally one of the young girls would flag in her work and, after she dropped a few basketfuls, she would be relieved and put at the lighter work of throwing the empty baskets back into the lighters. Most of these girls, however, remained ten hours at this laborious work, and a few worked through from seven o'clock in the morning until nearly midnight, when the last basket of coal was put on board. At work like this no such force of Europeans would have shown the same self-control and constant courtesy which these Japanese exhibited. Wranglings would have been inevitable, and the strong workers would have shown little regard for their weaker companions.
Another feature of this Japanese work was the elimination of any strain or overexertion. If a girl failed to catch a basket as it whirled along the line she dropped it instantly. Never did I see anyone reach over or strain to do her work.
The rest for lunch occupied only about fifteen minutes, the begrimed workers sitting down on the steps of the ladders and eating their simple food with keen relish. At night when strong electric lights cast their glare over these constantly moving lines of figures the effect was almost grotesque, reminding one of Gustave Dore's terrible pictures of the lost souls in torment, or of the scramble to escape when the deluge came. The skill that comes of long practice marked the movements of all these workers, and it was rare that any basket was dropped by an awkward or tired coal-passer.
In seventeen hours four thousand five hundred tons of coal were loaded on the steamer. About fifteen hundred people were working on the various ladders, while another five hundred were employed in trimming the coal in the hold and in managing the various boats. The result was an exhibit of what can be done by primitive methods when perfect co-operation is secured.
Nagasaki itself has little that will interest the tourist but a ride or walk to Mogi, on an arm of the ocean, five miles away, may be taken with profit. The road passes over a high divide and, as it runs through a farming country, one is able to see here (more perfectly than in any other part of Japan) how carefully every acre of tillable land is cultivated. On both sides of this road from Nagasaki to the fishing village of Mogi were fields enclosed by permanent walls of stone, such as would be built in America only to sustain a house. In many cases the ground protected by this wall was not over half an acre in extent, and in some cases the fields were of smaller size. Tier after tier of these walls extended up the sides of the steep hills. The effect at a little distance was startling, as the whole landscape seemed artificial. The result of this series of walls was to make a succession of little mesas or benches such as may be seen in southern California.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE JAPANESE SENSE OF BEAUTY
After a trip through Japan the question that confronts the observant tourist is: What has preserved the fine artistic sense of the Japanese people of all classes, in the face of the materialist influences that have come into their life with the introduction of Western methods of thought and of business? The most careless traveler has it thrust upon him that here is a people artistic to the tips of their fingers, and with childlike power of idealization, although they have been forced to engage in the fierce warfare of modern business competition. What is it that has kept them unspotted from the world of business? What secret source of spiritual force have they been able to draw upon to keep fresh and dewy this eager, artistic sense that must be developed with so much labor among any Western people?
The answer to these questions is found, by several shrewd observers, in the Japanese devotion to their gardens. Every Japanese, no matter how small and poor his house, has a garden to which he may retire and "invite his soul." These Japanese gardens are unique and are found in no other land. China has the nearest approach to them, but the poor Chinese never dreams of spending time and money in the development of a garden, such as the Japanese in similar circumstances regards as a necessity. And these Japanese gardens are always made to conform to the house and its architecture. The two never fail to fit and harmonize. A poor man may have only a square of ground no larger than a few feet, but he will so arrange it as to give it an appearance of spaciousness, while the more elaborate gardens are laid out so as to give the impression of unlimited extent. The end of the garden appears to melt into the horizon, and the owner has a background that extends for miles into the country. By the artistic use of stones and dwarf plants, a few square feet of ground are made to give the effect of liberal space and, with bridges, moss-covered stones, ponds, gold fish and other features, a perfect illusion of the country may be produced.
Into this garden the master of the house retires after the work of the day. There he takes none of his business or professional cares. He gives himself wholly to the contemplation of Nature. He becomes for the time as a little child, and his soul is pleased with childish things. For him this garden, with its pretty outlook on a larger world, serves as the boundary of the universe. Here he may dream of the legends of the Samurai, before Japan fell under the evil influence of the new God of Gain. Here he may indulge in the day-dreams that have always been a part of the national consciousness. Here, in fine, he may get closer to the real heart of Nature than any Occidental can ever hope to reach.
It is this capacity to get close to Nature that the Japanese possess beyond any other Oriental people—and this capacity is not limited to those of means or leisure or education. The poor man, who has a daily struggle to get enough rice to satisfy his moderate wants, is as open to these influences as the rich man who is not worried by any material wants. There is no distinction of classes in this universal worship of beauty—this passion for all that is lovely in nature. It was not my good fortune to be in Japan at the time of the cherry-blossom festival—but these fetes merely serve to bring out this national passion for beauty and color, which finds expression not only in the gardens throughout the empire but in painting, drawing and in working on silks and other fabrics. The same instinctive art sense is seen in the work of the cabinet-maker and even in the designs of gateways and the doors of houses. The eye and the hand of the common worker in wood and metal is as sure as the hand of the great artist. Such is the influence of this constant study of beauty in nature and art.
When you watch a busy Japanese artisan you get a good idea of the spirit that animates his work. He regards himself as an artist, and he shows the same sureness of hand and the same sense of form and color as the designer in colors or the painter of portraits or landscapes. All the beautiful gateways or torii, as they are called, are works of art. They have one stereotyped form, but the artists embellish these in many ways and the result is that every entrance to a large estate or a public ground is pleasing to the eye. As these gateways are generally lacquered in black or red or gold, they add much to the beauty and color of each scene. The ornamental lattice over nearly every door also adds enormously to the effectiveness of even a simple interior.
Watch a worker on cloissone enamel and you will be amazed at the rapidity and the accuracy with which he paints designs on this beautiful ware. Without any pattern he proceeds to sketch with his brush an intricate design of flowers, birds or insects, and he develops this with an unerring touch that is little short of marvelous, when one considers that he has never had any regular training in drawing but has grown up in the shop and has gained all his skill from watching and imitating the work of his master on the bench at his side. One day in Kyoto I watched a mere boy gradually develop a beautiful design of several hundred butterflies gradually becoming smaller and smaller until they vanished at the top of the vase. What he proposed to make of this was shown in a finished design that was exquisite in the gradation of form and color. The same skill of hand and eye was seen in the shops of Kyoto where damascene ware is made. Gold and silver is hammered into steel and other metals, so that the intricate designs actually seem to become a part of the metal. In carving in wood the Japanese excel, and in such places as Nikko and Nara the tourist may pick up the most elaborate carvings at absurdly low prices.
CONCLUSIONS ON JAPANESE LIFE AND CHARACTER
In summing up one's observations of Japanese life and character, after a brief trip across the empire, it is necessary to exercise much care and not to take the accidental for the ordinary incidents of life. Generalizations from such observations on a hurried journey are especially deadly. To guard against such error I talked with many people, and the conclusions given here are drawn from the radically different views of missionaries, merchants, steamship agents, bankers and others. Generous allowance must be made for the prejudices of each class, but even then the forming of any conclusions is difficult. This is due largely to the fact that the Japanese a half-century ago were mediaeval in life and thought, and that the remarkable advances which they have made in material and intellectual affairs have been crowded into a little more than the life of two generations.
The most common charge made against the Japanese as a race is that their standard of commercial morality is low as compared with that of the Chinese. The favorite instance, which is generally cited by those who do not like the Japanese, is that all the big banks in Japan employ Chinese shroffs or cashiers, who handle all the money, as Japanese cashiers cannot be trusted. This ancient fiction should have died a natural death, but it seems as though it bears a charmed life, although its untruth has been repeatedly exposed by the best authorities on Japan.
The big foreign banks in all the large Japanese cities do employ Chinese shroffs, because these men are most expert in handling foreign money and because they usually have a large acquaintance all along the Chinese coast among the clients of the banks. The large Japanese banks, on the other hand, employ Japanese in all positions of trust and authority, as do all the smaller banks throughout the empire. Many of the cashiers of these smaller banks understand English, particularly those that have dealings with foreigners. At a native bank in Kobe, which was Cook's correspondent in that city, I cashed several money orders, and the work was done as speedily as it would have been done in any American bank. The fittings of the bank were very cheap; the office force was small, but the cashier spoke excellent English and he transacted business accurately and speedily.
In making any generalizations on the lack of rigid commercial honesty among Japanese merchants it may be well for me to quote the opinion of an eminent American educator who has spent over forty years in Japan. He said, in discussing this subject: "We must always consider the training of the Japanese before their country was thrown open to foreign trade. For years the nation had been ruled by men of the Samurai or military class, with a rigid code of honor, but with a great contempt for trade and tradesmen. Naturally business fell into the hands of the lower classes who did not share the keen sense of honor so general among their rulers. Hence, there grew up lax ideas of commercial morality, which were fostered by the carelessness in money matters among the nobility and aristocracy. Much of the prevalent Japanese inability to refrain from overcharging, or delivering an inferior article to that shown to the customer, dates back to these days of feudal life. The years of contact with the foreigners have been too few to change the habits of centuries. Another thing which must always be considered is the relation of master and vassal under feudal life. That relation led to peculiar customs. Thus, if an artisan engaged to build a house for his overlord he would give a general estimate, but if the cost exceeded the sum he named, he expected his master to make up the deficit. This custom has been carried over into the new regime, so that the Japanese merchant or mechanic of to-day, although he may make a formal contract, does not expect to be bound by it, or to lose money should the price of raw material advance, or should he find that any building operations have cost more than his original estimate. In such case the man who orders manufactured goods or signs a contract for any building operations seems to recognize that equity requires him to pay more than was stipulated in the bond. When Japanese deal with Japanese this custom is generally observed. It is only the foreigner who expects the Japanese to fulfill his contract to the letter, and it is the attempt to enforce such contracts which gives the foreign merchant his poor opinion of Japanese commercial honesty. In time, when the Japanese have learned that they must abide by written contracts, these complaints will be heard no longer. The present slipshod methods are due to faulty business customs, the outgrowth of the old Samurai contempt for trade in any form."
In dealing with small Japanese merchants in various cities, it was my experience that they are as honest as similar dealers in other countries. Usually they demanded about one-half more than they expected to receive. Then they made reductions and finally a basis of value was agreed upon. This chaffering seems to be a part of their system; but the merchants and manufacturers who are brought most often into contact with Europeans are coming to have a fixed price for all their goods, on which they will give from ten to twenty per cent. reduction, according to the amount of purchases. One manufacturer in Kyoto who sold his own goods would make no reduction, except in the case of some samples that he was eager to sell. His goods were all plainly marked and he calmly allowed tourists to leave his store rather than make any cut in his prices. The pains and care which the Japanese dealer will take to please his customer is something which might be imitated with profit by foreign dealers.
A question that is very frequently put is, "What has been the influence of Christianity upon Japanese life and thought?" This is extremely difficult to answer, because even those who are engaged in missionary work are not always in accord in their views. One missionary of thirty years' experience said: "The most noteworthy feature of religious work in Japan is the number of prominent Japanese who have become converts to Christianity. The new Premier, who is very familiar with life in the United States, may be cited as one of these converts. Such a man in his position of power will be able to do much to help the missionaries. The usual charge that Japanese embrace Christianity in order to learn English without expense falls to the ground before actual personal experience. The converts always seemed to me to be as sincere as converts in China or Corea, but it must be admitted that the strong materialist bent of modern Japanese education and thought is making it more difficult to appeal to the present generation."
An educator who has had much experience with Japanese said: "It looks to me as though Japan would soon reach a grave crisis in national life. Hitherto Buddhism and Shintoism have been the two forces that have preserved the religious faith of the people and kept their patriotism at white heat. Now the influences in the public schools are all antagonistic to any religious belief. The young men and women are growing up (both in the public schools and the government colleges) to have a contempt for all the old religious beliefs. They cannot accept the Shinto creed that the Emperor is the son of God and should be worshiped as a deity by all loyal Japanese. They cannot accept the doctrines of Buddha, as they see the New Japan giving the lie to these doctrines every day in its home and international dealings. Nothing is left but atheism, and the experience of the world proves that there is nothing more dangerous to a nation than the loss of its religious faith. The women of Japan are slower to accept these new materialist views than the men, but the general breaking down of the old faith is something which no foreign resident of Japan can fail to see. On the other side patriotism is kept alive by the pilgrimages of school children to the national shrines, but one is confronted with the questions? Will the boys and girls of a few years hence regard these shrines with any devotion when they know that Buddhism and Shintoism are founded on a faith that science declares has no foundation? Will they offer up money and homage to wooden images which their cultivated reason tells them are no more worthy of worship than the telegraph poles along the lines of the railway?'"
The Japanese way of doing things is the exact reverse of the American way generally, but if one studies the methods of this Oriental race it will be found that their way is frequently most effective. Thus, in addressing letters they always put the city first, then the street address and finally the number, while they never fail to put the writer's name and address on the reverse of the envelope, which saves the postoffice employes much trouble and practically eliminates the dead-letter office.
The Japanese sampan, as well as other boats, is never painted, but it is always scrubbed clean. The sampan has a sharp bow and a wide, square stern, and navigators say it will live in a sea which would swamp the ordinary Whitehall boat of our water-front. The Japanese oar is long and looks unwieldy, being spliced together in the middle. It is balanced on a short wooden peg on the gunwale and the oarsman works it like a sweep, standing up and bending over it at each stroke. The result is a sculling motion, which carries the boat forward very rapidly. In no Japanese harbor do the big steamships come up to the wharf. They drop anchor in the harbor, and they are always surrounded by small sampans, the owners of which are eager to take passengers ashore for about twenty-five cents each. All cargo is taken aboard by lighters or unloaded in the same way. These lighters hold as much as a railroad freight car.
The fishing boats of Japan add much to the picturesqueness of all the harbors, as they have sails arranged in narrow strips laced to bamboo poles, and they may be drawn up and lowered like the curtains in an American shop window. Whether square or triangular, these sails have a graceful appearance and they are handled far more easily than ours.
The Japanese carpenter, who draws his plane as well as his saw toward himself, appears to work in an awkward and ungainly way, but he does as fine work as the American cabinet-maker. The beauty of the interior woodwork of even the houses of the poorer classes is a constant marvel to the tourist. Nothing is ever painted about the Japanese house, so the fineness of the grain of the wood is revealed as well as the exquisite polish. A specialty of the Japanese carpenter is lattice-work for the windows and grill-work for doors. These add very much to the beauty of unpretentious houses.
In conclusion it may be said that Japan offers the lover of the beautiful an unlimited opportunity to gratify his aesthetic senses. In city or country he cannot fail to find on every hand artistic things that appeal powerfully to his sense of beauty. Whether in an ancient temple or a new home for a poor village artisan, he will see the results of the same instinctive sense of the beautiful and the harmonious. The lines are always lines of grace, and the colors are always those which blend and gratify the eye.
WILL THE JAPANESE RETAIN THEIR GOOD TRAITS?
Any thoughtful visitor to Japan must be impressed with the problems that confront Japan to-day, owing to the influence of foreign thought and customs. This influence is the more to be dreaded because the Japanese are so impressionable and so prone to accept anything which they are convinced is superior to their own. They have very little of the Chinese passion for what has been made sacred by long usage. They have high regard for their ancestors, but very little reverence for their customs and opinions. This lack of veneration is shown in striking fashion by those Japanese students who come to this country to gain an education. These young men are as eager as the ancient Athenians for any new thing, and when they return to their old homes each is a center of Occidental influence. This is frequently not for the best interests of their countrymen, who have not had their own opportunities of observation and comparison.
The qualities in which the Japanese excel are the very qualities in which so many Americans are deficient. Personal courage and loyalty are the traits which Professor Scherer, a distinguished expert, regards as the fundamental traits of the Japanese character. That these qualities have not been weakened materially was shown in the recent war with Russia. In that tremendous struggle was demonstrated the power of a small nation, in which everyone—men, women and children—were united in a passionate devotion to their country. No similar spectacle was ever shown in modern history. The men who went cheerfully to certain death before Port Arthur revealed no higher loyalty than the wives at home who committed suicide that their husbands might not be called upon to choose between personal devotion to their family and absolute loyalty to the nation. The foreign correspondents, who were on two-hundred-and-three-metre hill before Port Arthur, have told of the Japanese soldiers in the ranks who tied ropes to their feet in order that their comrades might pull their bodies back into the trenches. All those who were drafted to make the assaults on the Russian works in that awful series of encounters (which make the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava seem cheap and theatrical) knew they were going to certain death. Yet these foreign observers have left on record that the only sentiment among those who remained in the trenches was envy that they had not been so fortunate as to be selected to show this supreme loyalty to their country. General Nogi, who recently committed suicide with his wife on the day of the funeral of the late Emperor, had two sons dash to this certain death on the bloodstained hill before Port Arthur. As commander, he could have assigned them to less dangerous positions, but it probably never entered his head to shield his own flesh and blood. And the same loyalty that is shown to country is also proved in the relation of servant to master. The story of the Forty-seven Ronins is too well known to need repetition, but the loyalty of these retainers (who slew the man that caused their lord's death, although they knew that this deed called for their immediate end by their own hands) impresses one with new force when he stands before the tombs of these men in the Japanese capital and sees the profound reverence in which they are still held by the people of Japan.