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The Foundations of Japan
by J.W. Robertson Scott
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YOUNG JAPAN

[Frontispiece



THE FOUNDATIONS OF JAPAN

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

FAR EASTERN

THE PEOPLE OF CHINA JAPAN, GREAT BRITAIN AND THE WORLD. (Nippon Eikoku oyobi Sekai.) THE IGNOBLE WARRIOR. (Koredemo Bushika.) THE NEW EAST. (Tokyo.) Vols. I, II & III. (Edited.)

AGRICULTURAL

A FREE FARMER IN A FREE STATE. (Holland.) WAR TIME AND PEACE IN HOLLAND. (With an Introduction by the late LORD REAY.) THE LAND PROBLEM: AN IMPARTIAL SURVEY SUGAR BEET: SOME FACTS AND SOME CONCLUSIONS. A Study in Rural Therapeutics. THE TOWNSMAN'S FARM THE SMALL FARM POULTRY FARMING: SOME FACTS AND SOME ILLUSIONS THE CASE FOR THE GOAT. (With Introductions by the DUCHESS OF HAMILTON and SIR H. RIDER HAGGARD.) COUNTRY COTTAGES THE STORY OF THE DUNMOW FLITCH IN SEARCH OF AN L150 COTTAGE. (Edited.) THE JOURNAL OF A JOURNEYMAN FARMER. (Edited.)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



THE FOUNDATIONS OF JAPAN

NOTES MADE DURING JOURNEYS OF 6,000 MILES IN THE RURAL DISTRICTS AS A BASIS FOR A SOUNDER KNOWLEDGE OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE

BY J.W. ROBERTSON SCOTT

("HOME COUNTIES")

WITH 85 ILLUSTRATIONS

"In good sooth, my masters, this is no door, yet it is a little window"

LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.

1922



TO

SCOTT SAN NO OKUSAN

FOR WHOLESOME CRITICISM



A concern arose to spend some time with them that I might feel and understand their life and the spirit they live in, if haply I might receive some instruction from them, or they might be in any degree helped forward by my following the leadings of truth among them when the troubles of War were increasing and when travelling was more difficult than usual. I looked upon it as a more favourable opportunity to season my mind and to bring me into a nearer sympathy with them.—Journal of John Woolman, 1762.

I determined to commence my researches at some distance from the capital, being well aware of the erroneous ideas I must form should I judge from what I heard in a city so much subjected to foreign intercourse.—BORROW.



INTRODUCTION

The hope with which these pages are written is that their readers may be enabled to see a little deeper into that problem of the relation of the West with Asia which the historian of the future will unquestionably regard as the greatest of our time.

I lived for four and a half years in Japan. This book is a record of many of the things I saw and experienced and some of the things I was told chiefly during rural journeys—more than half the population is rural—extending to twice the distance across the United States or nearly eight times the distance between the English Channel and John o' Groats.

These pages deal with a field of investigation in Japan which no other volume has explored. Because they fall short of what was planned, and in happier conditions might have been accomplished, a word or two may be pardoned on the beginnings of the book—one of the many literary victims of the War.

The first book I ever bought was about the Far East. The first leading article of my journalistic apprenticeship in London was about Korea. When I left daily journalism, at the time of the siege of the Peking Legations, the first thing I published was a book pleading for a better understanding of the Chinese.

After that, as a cottager in Essex, I wrote—above a nom de guerre which is better known than I am—a dozen volumes on rural subjects. During a visit to the late David Lubin in Rome I noticed in the big library of his International Institute of Agriculture that there was no took in English dealing with the agriculture of Japan.[1] Just before the War the thoughts of forward-looking students of our home affairs ran strongly on the relation of intelligently managed small holdings to skilled capitalist farming.[2] During the early "business as usual" period of the War, when no tasks had been found for men over military age—Mr. Wells's protest will be remembered—it occurred to me that it might be serviceable if I could have ready, for the period of rural reconstruction and readjustment of our international ideas when the War was over, two books of a new sort. One should be a stimulating volume on Japan, based on a study, more sociological than technically agricultural, of its remarkable small-farming system and rural life, and the other a complementary American volume based on a study of the enterprising large farming of the Middle West. I proposed to write the second book in co-operation with a veteran rural reformer who had often invited me to visit him in Iowa, the father of the present American Minister of Agriculture. Early in 1915 I set out for Japan to enter upon the first part of my task. Mr. Wallace died while I was still in Japan, and the Middle West book remains to be undertaken by someone else.

The Land of the Rising Sun has been fortunate in the quality of the books which many foreigners have written.[3] But for every work at the standard of what might be called the seven "M's"—Mitford, Murdoch, Munro, Morse, Maclaren, "Murray" and McGovern—there are many volumes of fervid "pro-Japanese" or determined "anti-Japanese" romanticism. The pictures of Japan which such easily perused books present are incredible to readers of ordinary insight or historical imagination, but they have had their part in forming public opinion.

The basic fact about Japan is that it is an agricultural country. Japanese aestheticism, the victorious Japanese army and navy, the smoking chimneys of Osaka, the pushing mercantile marine, the Parliamentary and administrative developments of Tokyo and a costly worldwide diplomacy are all borne on the bent backs of Ohyakusho no Fufu,[4] the Japanese peasant farmer and his wife. The depositories of the authentic Yamato damashii (Japanese spirit) are to be found knee deep in the sludge of their paddy fields.

One book about Japan may well be written in the perspective of the village and the hamlet. There it is possible to find the way beneath that surface of things visible to the tourist. There it is possible to discover the foundations of the Japan which is intent on cutting such a figure in the East and in the West. There it is possible to learn not only what Japan is but what she may have it in her to become.

A rural sociologist is not primarily interested in the technique of agriculture. He conceives agriculture and country life as Arthur Young and Cobbett did, as a means to an end, the sound basis, the touchstone of a healthy State. I was helped in Japan not only by my close acquaintance with the rural civilisation of two pre-eminently small-holdings countries, Holland and Denmark, but by what I knew to be precious in the rural life of my own land.

An interest in rural problems cannot be simulated. As I journeyed about the country the sincerity of my purpose—there are few words in commoner use in the Far East than sincerity—was recognised and appreciated. I enjoyed conversations in which customary barriers had been broken down and those who spoke said what they felt. We inevitably discussed not only agricultural economy but life, religion and morality, and the way Japan was taking.

I spoke and slept in Buddhist temples. I was received at Shinto shrines. I was led before domestic altars. I was taken to gatherings of native Christians. I planted commemorative trees until more persimmons than I can ever gather await my return to Japan. I wrote so many gaku[5] for school walls and for my kind hosts that my memory was drained of maxims. I attended guileless horse-races. I was present at agricultural shows, fairs, wrestling matches, Bon dances, village and county councils and the strangest of public meetings. I talked not only with farmers and their families but with all kinds of landlords, with schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, policemen, shopkeepers, priests, co-operative society enthusiasts, village officials, county officials, prefectural officials, a score of Governors and an Ainu chief. I sought wisdom from Ministers of State and nobles of every rank, from the Prince who is the heir of the last of the Shoguns down to democratic Barons who prefer to be called "Mr.", I chatted with farmers' wives and daughters, I interrogated landladies and mill girls, and I paid a memorable visit to a Buddhist nunnery. I walked, talked, rode, ate and bathed with common folk and with dignitaries. I discussed the situation of Japan with the new countryman in college agricultural laboratories and classrooms, and, in a remote region, beheld what is rare nowadays, the old countryman kneeling before his cottage with his head to the ground as the stranger rode past.

I made notes as I traversed paddy-field paths, by mountain ways, in colleges, schools, houses and inns. It can only have been when crossing water on men's backs that I did not make notes. I jotted things down as I walked, as I sat, as I knelt, as I lay on my futon, as I journeyed in kuruma, on horseback, in jolting basha, in automobiles, in shaking cross-country trains and in boats; in brilliant sunshine and sweltering heat, in the shade and in dust; in the early morning with chilled fingers or more or less furtively as I crouched at protracted private or official repasts, or late at night endeavoured to gather crumbs from the wearing conversation of polite callers who, though set on helping me, did not always find it easy to understand the kind of information of which I was in search. One of these asked my travelling companion sotto voce, "Is he after metal mines?"

I went on my own trips and on routes planned out for me by agricultural and social zealots, and from time to time I returned physically and mentally fatigued to my little Japanese house near Tokyo to rest and to write out from my memoranda, to seek data for new districts from the obliging Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural College people at the Imperial University, and to eat and drink with rural authorities who chanced to be visiting the capital from distant prefectures. I had many setbacks. I was misinformed, now and then intentionally and often unintentionally. There were many days which were not only harassing but seemingly wasted. I often despaired of achieving results worth all the exertion I was making and the money I was spending. I must have worn to shreds the patience of some English-speaking Japanese friends, but they never owned defeat. In the end I found that I made progress.

But so did the War, which when I set out from London few believed would last long. I was troubled by continually meeting with incredible ignorance about the War, the issues at stake and the certain end. The Japanese who talked with me were 10,000 miles away from the fighting. Japan had nothing to lose, everything indeed to gain from the abatement of Europe's activities in Asia. Not only Japanese soldiers but many administrative, educational, agricultural and commercial experts had been to school in Germany. There was much in common in the German and Japanese mentalities, much alike in Central European and Farthest East regard for the army and for order, devotion to regulations, habit of subordination and deification of the State. Eventually the well-known anti-Ally campaign broke out in Tokyo, a thing which has never been sufficiently explained. Soon I was pressed to turn aside from my studies and attempt the more immediately useful task: to explain why Western nations, whose manifest interests were peace, were resolutely squandering their blood and wealth in War.

If what I published had some measure of success,[6] it was because by this time, unlike some of the critics who sharply upbraided Japan and made impossible proposals in impossible terms, I had learnt something at first hand about the Japanese, because I wrote of the difficulties as well as the faults of Japan, and because I was now a little known as her well-wisher. One of the two books I published was translated as a labour of love, as I shall never forget, by a Japanese public man whose leisure was so scant that he sat up two nights to get his manuscript finished. Before long I had involved myself in the arduous task of founding and of editing for two years a monthly review, The New East (Shin Toyo),[7] with for motto a sentence of my own which expresses what wisdom I have gained about the Orient, The real barrier between East and West is a distrust of each other's morality and the illusion that the distrust is on one side only.

The excuse for so personal a digression is that, when this period of literary and journalistic stress began, my rural notebooks and MSS., memoranda of conversations on social problems and a heterogeneous collection of reports and documents had to be stowed into boxes. There they stayed until a year ago. The entries in a dozen of my little hurriedly filled notebooks have lost their flavour or are unintelligible: I have put them all aside. Neither is it possible to utilise notes which were submarined or lost in over-worked post offices. This book—I have had to leave out Kyushu entirely—is not the work I planned, a complete account of rural life and industry in every part of Japan, with an excursus on Korea and Formosa, and certain general conclusions: a standard work, no doubt, in, I am afraid, two volumes, and forgetful at times of the warning that "to spend too much Time in Studies is Sloth."

What I had transcribed before leaving Japan I have now been able in the course of a leisured year in England to overhaul and to supplement by up-to-date statistics in an extensive Appendix. In the changed circumstances in which the book is completed I have also ruthlessly transferred to this Appendix all the technical matter in the text, so that nothing shall obstruct the way of the general reader. At some future date there may be by another hand a book about Japan in terms of soils, manures and crops. That is the book the War saved me from writing. In the present work I have the opportunity which so few authors have enjoyed of jettisoning all technics into an Appendix.



"It is necessary," says a wise modern author, "to meditate over one's impressions at leisure, to start afresh again and again with a clearer vision of the essential facts." And a Japanese companion of my journeys writes, "Never can you be sorry that this book is coming late. This time of delay has been the best time; we have had enough of first impressions." The justification for this volume is that, in spite of the difficulties attending the composition of it, it may be held to offer a picture of some aspects of modern Japan to be found nowhere else. Politics is not for these pages, nor, because there are so many charming books on aesthetic and scenic Japan, do I write on Art or about Fuji, Kyoto, Nara, Miyanoshita and Nikko. I went to Japan to see the countryman. The Japanese whom most of the world knows are townified, sometimes Americanised or Europeanised, and, as often as not, elaborately educated. They are frequently remarkable men. They stand for a great deal in modern Japan. But their untownified fellow-countrymen, with the training of tradition and experience, of rural schoolmasters and village elders, and, as frequently, of the carefully shielded army, are more than half of the nation.

What is their health of mind and body? By what social and moral principles and prejudices are they swayed? To what extent are they adequate to the demand that is made and is likely to be made upon them? In what respects are they the masters of their lives or are mastered? In what ways are they still open to Western influences? And in what directions are they now inclined to trust to "themselves alone"?

If the masters of the rural journal were sometimes mistaken in the observations they made from horseback, I cannot have escaped blundering in passing through more dimly lit scenes than they visited. "If there appears here and there any uncorrectness, I do not hold myself obliged to answer for what I could not perfectly govern."[8] But I have laboriously taken all the precautions I could and I have obeyed as far as possible a recent request that "visitors to the Far East should confine themselves to what they have seen with their own eyes." As Huxley wrote, "all that I have proposed to myself is to say, This and this have I learned."

I take pleasure in recalling that some years ago I was approached with a view to undertaking for the United States Government a socio-agricultural investigation in a foreign country. Reared as I have been in the whole faith of a citizen of the English-speaking world, I am glad to think that the present volume may be of some service to American readers. The United States is within ten days—Canada is within nine—of Japan against Great Britain's month by the Atlantic-C.P.R.-Pacific route and eight weeks by Suez. There are more American visitors than British to Japan. It was America that first opened Japan to the West, and the debt of Japan to American training and stimulus is immense. But British services to Japan have also been substantial. Great Britain was the first to welcome her within the circle of the Great Powers, and the Anglo-Japanese Alliance did more for Japan than some Japanese have been willing to admit. The problem of Japan is the problem of the whole English-speaking world. Rightly conceived, the interests of the British Empire and the United States in the Far East are one and indivisible.

The Japanese version of the title of this book (kindly suggested by Mr. Seichi Naruse) is Nihon no Shinzui, literally, "The Marrow" or "The Core of Japan." His Excellency the Japanese Ambassador, the beauty of whose calligraphy is well known, was so very kind as to allow me to requisition his clever brush for the script for the engraver; but it must be understood that Baron Hayashi has seen nothing of the volume but the cover.

I greatly regret that the present conditions of book production make it impossible to reproduce more than one in thirty of my photographs.

It is in no spirit of ingratitude to my hosts and many other kind people in Japan that I have taken the decision resolutely to strike out of the text all those names of places and persons which give such a forbidding air to a traveller's page. I have pleasure in acknowledging here the particular obligations I am under to Kunio Yanaghita, formerly Secretary of the Japanese House of Peers and a distinguished and disinterested student of rural conditions, Dr. Nitobe, assistant secretary of the League of Nations, and his wife, Professor Nasu, Imperial University, Mr. Yamasaki, Mr. M. Yanagi, Mr. Kanzo Uchimura, Mr. Bernard Leach, Mr. M. Tajima, Mr. Ono and two young officials in Hokkaido, who each in turn found time to join me on my journeys and showed me innumerable kindnesses. It was a piece of good fortune that while these pages were in preparation Mr. Yanaghita, Professor Nasu and other fellow-travellers were in Europe and available for consultation. Professor Nasu unweariedly furnished painstaking answers to many questions, and was kind enough to read all of the book in proof; but he has no responsibility, of course, for the views which I express. I am also specially indebted to Dr. Kozai, President of the Imperial University, to Mr. Ito and other officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, to Mr. Tsurimi, one of the most understanding of travelled Japanese, to Mr. Iwanaga, formerly of the Imperial Railway Board, to Dr. Sato, President of Hokkaido University, and his obliging colleagues, to the Imperial Agricultural Society, to Professors Yahagi and Yokoi, and to Viscount Kano, Dr. Kuwada, Mr. I. Yoshida, Mr. K. Ohta, Mr. H. Saito, Mr. S. Hoshijima, and many provincial agricultural and sociological experts.

Portions of drafts for this book have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, World's Work, Manchester Guardian, New East, Asia, Japan Chronicle and Christian World. I am indebted to the World's Work and Asia for some additional illustrations from blocks made from my photographs, and to the New East for some sketches by Miss Elizabeth Keith.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] There is a small book by an able American soil specialist, the late Professor King, which describes through rose-tinted glasses the farming of Japan, and of China and Korea as well, on the basis of a flying trip to countries the population of which is thrice that of Great Britain and the United States together. The author of another book, published last year, delivers himself of this astonishing opinion: "The Japanese is no better fitted to direct his own agriculture than I am to steer a rudderless ship across the Atlantic."

[2] Vide Sir Daniel Hall's Pilgrimage of English Farming and articles of mine in the Nineteenth Century and Times, and my Land Problem.

[3] The Japanese have only lately, however, made some acknowledgment of their debt to Hearn, and in an eight-page bibliography of the best books about Japan in the Japan Year Book Murdoch's as yet unrivalled History is not even mentioned.

[4] Ohyakusho must not be confused with Oo-hyakusho or Oo-byakusho, which means a large farmer. O is a polite prefix; Oo or O means large.

[5] Horizontal wall writings.

[6] About 35,000 copies of my two bilingual books were circulated.

[7] With the backing of a London Committee composed of Lord Burnham, Sir G.W. Prothero, Mr. J. St. Loe Strachey and Mr. C.V. Sale.

[8] Tenison, 1684.



CONTENTS

STUDIES IN A SINGLE PREFECTURE (AICHI)

CHAPTER

I. THE MERCY OF BUDDHA

II. "GOOD PEOPLE ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY PRECAUTIOUS"

III. EARLY-RISING SOCIETIES AND OTHER INGENUOUS ACTIVITIES

IV. "THE SIGHT OF A GOOD MAN IS ENOUGH"

V. COUNTRY-HOUSE LIFE

VI. BEFORE OKUNITAMA-NO-MIKO-KAMI

VII. OF "DEVIL-GON" AND YOSOGI

THE MOST EXACTING CROP IN THE WORLD

VIII. THE HARVEST FROM THE MUD

IX. THE RICE BOWL, THE GODS AND THE NATION



BACK TO FIRST PRINCIPLES: THE APOSTLE AND THE ARTIST

X. A TROUBLER OF ISRAEL

XI. THE IDEA OF A GAP

ACROSS JAPAN (TOKYO TO NIIGATA AND BACK)

XII. TO THE HILLS (TOKYO, SAITAMA, TOCHIGI AND FUKUSHIMA)

XIII. THE DWELLERS IN THE HILLS (FUKUSHIMA)

XIV. SHRINES AND POETRY (NIIGATA AND TOYAMA)

XV. THE NUN'S CELL (NAGANO)

IN AND OUT OF THE SILK PREFECTURE

XVI. PROBLEMS BEHIND THE PICTURESQUE (SAITAMA, GUMMA, NAGANO AND YAMANASHI)

XVII. THE BIRTH, BRIDAL AND DEATH OF THE SILK-WORM (NAGANO)

XVIII. "GIRL COLLECTORS" AND FACTORIES (NAGANO AND YAMANASHI)

XIX. "FRIEND-LOVE-SOCIETY'S" GRIM TALE

FROM TOKYO TO THE NORTH BY THE WEST COAST

XX. "THE GARDEN WHERE VIRTUES ARE CULTIVATED" (FUKUSHIMA AND YAMAGATA)

XXI. THE "TANOMOSHI" (YAMAGATA)

BACK AGAIN BY THE EAST COAST

XXII. "BON" SONGS AND THE SILENT PRIEST (YAMAGATA, AKITA, AOMORI, IWATE, MIYAGI, FUKUSHIMA AND IBARAKI)

XXIII. A MIDNIGHT TALK

THE ISLAND OF SHIKOKU

XXIV. LANDLORDS, PRIESTS AND "BASHA" (TOKUSHIMA, KOCHI AND KAGAWA)

XXV. "SPECIAL TRIBES" (EHIME)

XXVI. THE STORY OF THE BLIND HEADMAN (EHIME)

THE SOUTH-WEST OF JAPAN

XXVII. UP-COUNTRY ORATORY (YAMAGUCHI)

XXVIII. MEN, DOGS AND SWEET POTATOES (SHIMANE)

XXIX. FRIENDS OF LAFCADIO HEARN (SHIMANE, TOTTORI AND HYOGO)

TWO MONTHS IN TEMPLE (NAGANO)

XXX. THE LIFE OF THE PEASANTS AND THEIR PRIESTS

XXXI. "BON" SEASON SCENES

IN AND OUT OF THE TEA PREFECTURE

XXXII. PROGRESS OF SORTS (SHIDZUOKA AND KANAGAWA)

XXXIII. GREEN TEA AND BLACK (SHIDZUOKA)

EXCURSIONS FROM TOKYO

XXXIV. A COUNTRY DOCTOR AND HIS NEIGHBOURS (CHIBA)

XXXV. THE HUSBANDMAN, THE WRESTLER AND THE CARPENTER (SAITAMA, GUMMA AND TOKYO)

XXXVI. "THEY FEEL THE MERCY OF THE SUN" (GUMMA, KANAGAWA AND CHIBA)

REFLECTIONS IN HOKKAIDO

XXXVII. COLONIAL JAPAN AND ITS UN-JAPANESE WAYS

XXXVIII. SHALL THE JAPANESE EAT BREAD AND MEAT?

XXXIX. MUST THE JAPANESE MAKE THEIR OWN "YOFUKU"?

XL. THE PROBLEMS OF JAPAN

APPENDICES

INDEX



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

BATH IN AN AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL facing title-page

JUJITSU (AND RIFLES) AT THE SAME SCHOOL

BYGONE DAYS IN JAPAN

THE ROOM IN WHICH THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN

THE MERCY OF BUDDHA

"TO ROUSE THE VILLAGE YOU MUST FIRST ROUSE THE PRIEST"

PLAN OF THE FARMER'S SYMBOLIC TREES

ADJUSTED RICE-FIELDS

LIBRARY AND WORKSHED OF A Y.M.A.

LANDOWNER'S SON AND DAUGHTER

SHRINE IN A LANDOWNER'S HOUSE

MR. YAMASAKI, DR. NITOBE, AUTHOR AND PROF. NASU

THE HOUSE IN WHICH THE TEA CEREMONY TOOK PLACE

AUTHOR QUESTIONING OFFICIALS

AUTHOR PLANTING COMMEMORATIVE TREES

RICE POLISHING BY FOOT POWER

"HIBACHI," A FLOWER ARRANGEMENT AND "KAKEMONO"

SCHOOL SHRINE CONTAINING EMPEROR'S PORTRAIT

FENCING AT AN AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL

WAR MEMENTOES—ALL SCHOOLS HAVE SOME

A 200-YEARS-OLD DRAWING OF THE RICE PLANT

SCATTERING ARTIFICIAL MANURE IN ADJUSTED PADDIES

PLANTING OUT RICE SEEDLINGS

PUSH-CART FOR COLLECTION OF FERTILISER

MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE'S EFFORTS TO KEEP PRICE OF RICE DOWN

MUZZLED EDITORS

"THE JAPANESE CARLYLE"

MR. AND MRS. YANAGI

CHILDREN CATCHING INSECTS ON RICE-SEED BEDS

MASTERS OF A COUNTRY SCHOOL AND SOME CHILDREN

CULTIVATION TO THE HILL-TOPS

IMPLEMENTS, MEASURES AND MACHINES, AND A BALE OF RICE

MOVABLE STAGE AT A FESTIVAL

FARMHOUSE AT WHICH MR. UCHIMURA PREACHED

TENANT FARMERS' HOUSES

AUTHOR AT THE "SPIRIT MEETING"

SOME PERFORMERS AT THE "SPIRIT MEETING"

IN A BUDDHIST NUNNERY

JAPANESE GRASS-CUTTING TOOLS COMPARED WITH A SCYTHE

CHILD-COLLECTORS OF VILLAGERS' SAVINGS

NUNS PHOTOGRAPHED IN A "CELL"

STUDENTS' STUDY AT AN AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL

TEACHERS OF A VILLAGE SCHOOL

GIRLS CARRYING BALES OF RICE

SERICULTURAL SCHOOL STUDENTS

SILK FACTORIES IN KAMISUWA

VILLAGE ASSEMBLY-ROOM

ARCHERY AT AN AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL

CULTIVATION OF THE HILLSIDE

RAILWAY STATION "BENTO" AND POT OF TEA

A SCARECROW

THE BLIND HEADMAN AND HIS COLLECTING-BAG

MR. YANAGHITA IN HIS CORONATION CEREMONY ROBES

PORTABLE APPARATUS FOR RAISING WATER

VILLAGE SCHOOL WITH PORTRAIT OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

RIVER-BEDS IN THE SUMMER

SCHOOL SHRINE FOR EMPEROR'S PORTRAIT

AUTHOR ADDRESSING LAFCADIO HEARN MEETING

A PEASANT PROPRIETOR'S HOUSE

GRAVESTONES REASSEMBLED AFTER PADDY ADJUSTMENT

TEMPLE IN WHICH THIS CHAPTER WAS WRITTEN

FIRE ENGINE AND PRIMITIVE FIGURES

YOUNG MEN'S CLUB-ROOM

MEMORIAL STONES

ROOF PROTECTED AGAINST STORMS BY STONES

OFF TO THE UPLAND FIELDS

FARMER'S WIFE

MOTHER AND CHILD

A CRADLE

FIRE ALARM AND OBSERVATION POST

RACK FOR DRYING RICE

VILLAGE CREMATORIUM

DOG HELPING TO PULL JINRIKISHA

AUTHOR, MR. YAMASAKI AND YOUNGEST INHABITANTS

"TORII" AT THE SHRINE OF THE FOX GOD

TABLETS RECORDING GIFTS TO A TEMPLE

INSIDE THE "SHOJI"

AUTOMATIC RICE POLISHER

AUTHOR IN A CRATER

A TYPE OF WAYSIDE MONUMENTS

GIANT RADISH OR "DAIKON"

CUTTING GRASS



CURRENCY, WEIGHTS AND MEASURES AND OFFICIAL TERMS

The prices given in the text (but not in the footnotes and Appendix) were recorded before the War inflation began. The War was followed by a severe financial crisis. Professor Nasu wrote to me during the summer of 1921:

"You are very wise to leave the figures as they stood. It is useless to try to correct them, because they are still changing. The price of rice, which did not exceed 15 yen per koku when you were making your research work, exceeded 50 yen in 1919, and is now struggling to maintain the price of 25 yen. Taking at 100 the figures for the years 1915 or 1916—fortunately there is not much difference between these two years—the prices of six leading commodities reached in 1919 an average of about 250. After 1919 the prices of some commodities went still higher, but mostly they did not change very much; on the other hand, recently the prices of many commodities—among them rice and raw silk especially—have been coming down and this downward movement is gradually extending to all other commodities. From these considerations I deduce that the index number of general commodities may be safely taken as 200 when your book appears. The reader of your book has simply to double the figures given by you—that is the figures of 1915 and 1916—in order to get a rough estimate of present prices."

Where exact statements of area and yield are necessary, as in the study of the intense agriculture of Japan, local measures are preferable to our equivalents in awkward fractions. Further, the measures used in this book are easily remembered, and no serious study of Japanese agriculture on the spot is possible without remembering them. While, however, Japanese currency, weights and measures have been uniformly used, equivalents have been supplied at every place in the book where their omission might be reasonably considered to interfere with easy reading. The following tables are restricted to currency, weights and measures mentioned in the book.

MONEY[9]

Yen = roughly (at the time notes for the book were made) a florin or half a dollar = 100 sen.

Sen = a farthing or half cent = 10 rin.

LONG

Ri = roughly 2-1/2 miles.

Shaku (roughly 1 ft.) = 11.93 in.

Ri are converted into miles by being multiplied by 2.44.

SQUARE

Ri (roughly 6 sq. miles) = 5.955 sq. miles.

Cho (sometimes written, Chobu) (roughly 2-1/2 acres) = 2.450 acres = 10 tan = 3,000 tsubo.

Tan or Tambu (roughly 1/4 acre) = 0.245 acres = 10 se = 300 bu.

Bu or Tsubo (roughly 4 sq. yds.) = 3.953 sq. yds.

An acre is about 4 tan 10 bu or 1,200 bu or tsubo (an urban measure). The size of rooms is reckoned by the number of mats, which are ordinarily 6 shaku in length and 3 shaku in breadth.

CAPACITY

Koku (roughly 40 gals, or 5 bush.) = 39.703 gals, or 4.960 bush. = 10 to. According to American measurements, there are 47.653 gals, (liquid) and 5.119 bush, (dry) in a koku. A koku of rice is 313-1/2 lbs. (British).

A koku of imported rice is, however, 330-1/2 lbs. The following koku must also be noted: ordinary barley, 231 lbs.; naked barley 301.1 lbs.; wheat 288.7 lbs.; proso millet, 247.9 lbs.; foxtail millet, 280.9 lbs.; barnyard millet, 165.2 lbs.; brickaheat, 247.9 lbs.; maize, 289.2 lbs.; soya beans, 286.5 lbs.; azuki (red) beans, 319.9 lbs.; horse beans, 266.6 lbs.; peas, 306.5 lbs.

Hyo (roughly 2 bush.) = 1.985 bush. = 4 to = bale of rice.

To (roughly 4 gals, or 1/2 bush.) = 3.970 gals, or .496 bush, or 1.985 pecks = 10 sho.

Sho (roughly 1-1/2 qts.) = 1.588 qts. or 0.198 pecks or 108-1/2 cub. in. = 10 go.

Go (roughly 1/3 pint) =.3176 pints or 0.019 pecks.

Rice is not bagged but baled, and a bale is 4 to or 1 hyo.

WEIGHT

Kwan or kwamme (roughly 8-1/4 lbs.) = 8.267 lbs. av. or 10.047 lbs. troy = 1,000 momme.

Kin (catty) = 1.322 lbs. av. or 1.607 troy = 160 momme.

Momme = 2.116 drams or 2.411 dwts. According to American measurements a momme is 0.132 oz. av. and 0.120 oz. troy.

Hyakkin (picul) = 100 kin = 132.277 lbs.

A stone is 1.693, a cwt. is 13.547, and a ton 270.950 kwamme.

LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE TERMS

Ken.—Prefecture. There are forty-three ken and Hokkaido. Ken and fu are made up of the former sixty-six provinces. Sometimes the name of the ken and the name of the capital of the ken are the same: example, Shidzuoka-ken, capital Shidzuoka.

Fu.—Three prefectures are municipal prefectures and are called not ken but fu. They are Tokyo-fu, Kyoto-fu and Osaka-fu.

Gun (kori).—Division of a prefecture, a county or rural district. There are 636 gun. Gun are now being done away with.

Shi.—City. There are seventy-nine cities.

Cho.—A town or rather a district preponderatingly urban. There are 1,333 cho.

Machi.—Japanese name for the Chinese character cho.

Son.—A village or rather a district preponderatingly rural. There are 10,839 son.

Mura.—Japanese name for a Chinese character son.

A true idea of the Japanese village is obtained as soon as one mentally defines it as a commune. There may be a rural community called son or a municipal community called cho. The cho or son consists of a number of oaza, that is, big aza, which in turn consists of a number of ko-aza or small aza. A ko-aza may consist of twenty or thirty dwellings, that is, a hamlet, or it may be only one dwelling. It may be ten acres in extent or fifty. I found that the population of a particular municipality was 10,000 in seven big oaza comprising twenty-two ko-aza.



THE FOUNDATIONS OF JAPAN

STUDIES IN A SINGLE PREFECTURE (AICHI)[10]

CHAPTER I

THE MERCY OF BUDDHA

The only hard facts, one learns to see as one gets older, are the facts of feeling. Emotion and sentiment are, after all, incomparably more solid than any statistics. So that when one wanders back in memory through the field one has traversed in diligent search of hard facts, one comes back bearing in one's arms a Sheaf of Feelings.—HAVELOCK ELLIS.

One day as I walked along a narrow path between rice fields in a remote district in Japan, I saw a Buddhist priest coming my way. He was rosy-faced and benign, broad-shouldered and a little rotund. He had with him a string of small children. I stood by to let him pass and lifted my hat. He bowed and stopped, and we entered into conversation. He told me that he was taking the children to a festival. I said that I should like to meet him again. He offered to come to see me in the evening at my host's house. When he arrived, and I asked him, after a little polite talk, what was the chief difficulty in the way of improving the moral condition of his village, he answered, "I am."

We spoke of Buddhism, and he complained that its sects were "too aristocratic." When his own sect of Buddhism, Shinshu, was started, he said, it was something "quite democratic for the common people." But with the lapse of time this democratic sect had also "become aristocratic." "Though the founder of Shinshu wore flaxen clothing, Shinshu priests now have glittering costumes. And everyone has heard of the magnificence of the Kyoto Hongwanji" (the great temple at Kyoto, the headquarters of the sect).[11] "Contrary to the principles of religion and democracy," people thought of the priest and the temple "as something beyond their own lives." All this stood in the way of improvement.

The fashion in which many landowners "despised exertion and lived luxuriously" was another hindrance. These men looked down on education, "thinking themselves clever because they read the newspapers." Landlords of this sort were fond of curios, and kept their capital in such things instead of in agriculture. Sellers of curios visited the village too often. A wise man had called the curio-seller the "Spirit of Poverty" (Bimbogami). He said that the Spirit visited a man when he became rich—in order to bring curios to him; and again when he became poor—in order to take them away from him! After he became poor the Spirit of Poverty never visited him again.

Yet another drawback to rural progress was petty political ambition. People slandered neighbours who belonged to another party and they would not associate with them. Such party feeling was one of the bad influences of civilisation.

Further, "a mercenary spirit and materialism" had to be fought in the village. There was not, however, much trouble due to drink, and there was no gambling now. There might still be impropriety between young people—formerly young men used to visit the factory girls—but it was rare. Lately there had been land speculation, and some of those who made money went to tea-houses to see geisha.

There was in the neighbourhood, this Buddhist pastor went on, a temple belonging to the same sect as his own, and he was on friendly terms with its priest. It was good discipline, he said, for two priests to be working near one another if they were of the same sect, for their work was compared. In answer to my enquiry, the old man said that he preached four days a month. Each service consisted of reading for an hour and then preaching for two hours. About 150 or 200 persons would attend. He had also a service every morning from five to six. In addition to these gatherings in the temple he conducted services in farmers' houses. "I feel rather ashamed sometimes," he said, "when I listen to the good sermons of Christians."

As the priest was taking leave he told me that he was going to a farmer's house in order to conduct a service. I asked to be allowed to accompany him. He kindly agreed, and invited me to stay the night in his temple.

When I reached the farmhouse there were there about two dozen kneeling people, including members of the family. On the coming of the priest, who had gone to the temple to put on his robes, the farmer threw open the doors of the family shrine and lighted the candles in it. The priest knelt down by the shrine and invited me to kneel near him. In a few words he told the people why I was in the district. Whereupon the farmer's aged mother piped, "We heard that a tall man had come, but to think that we should see him and be in the same room with him!"

When he had prayed, the priest read from a roll of the Shinshu scripture which he had taken reverently from a box and a succession of wrappings. Afterwards he preached from a "text," continuing, of course, to kneel as we did. A flickering light fell upon us from a lamp hanging from a beam. The room was pervaded with incense from an iron censer which the farmer gently swung. The worshippers told their beads, and in intervals between the priest's sentences I heard the murmur of fervent prayer. The priest preached his sermon with his eyes shut, and I could watch him narrowly. It is not so often that one sees an old man with a sweet face. But there was sweetness in both the face and voice of this priest. He spoke slowly and clearly, sometimes pausing for a little between his sentences as if for better inspiration, as a Quaker will sometimes do in speaking at meeting. His tones were no higher than could be heard clearly in the room. There was nothing of the exhorter in this man. His talk did not sound like preaching at all. It was like kind, friendly talk at the fireside at a solemn time. "Faith, prayer, morality: these alone are necessary," was the burden of the simple address. "We have faith by divine providence; out of our thanksgiving comes prayer, and we cannot but be good." It was plain that the old women loved their priest. In the front of the congregation were three crones gnarled in hands and face. When the sermon of an hour or so came to an end they spoke quaveringly of the mercy of Buddha to them, and of their own feebleness to do well. The old priest gently offered them comfort and counsel.

After the service, in the light of the priest's paper lantern, I made my way along the road to the temple. At length I found myself mounting the lichened stone steps to the great closed gates. The priest drew the long wooden bolt and pushed one gate creakingly back. We went by a paved pathway into the deeper shadow of the temple. Then a light glowed from the side of the building, and we were in the priest's house. It was like a farmer's house only more refined in detail.

About half-past four in the morning I was awakened by the booming of the temple bell. It is the sound which of all delights in the Far East is most memorable. I got up, and, following the example of my host, had a bath in the open, and dressed.

Then I was lighted along passages into the public part of the temple. The priest with an acolyte began service at the middle altar. Afterwards he proceeded to a side altar. At one stage of the service he chanted a hymn which ran something like this:

From the virtues and the mercies of divine providence we get faith, the worth of which is boundless. The ice of petty care and trouble which froze our hearts is melted. It has become the water of divine illumination, bearing us on to peace. The more care and trouble, the greater the illumination and the reward.

I knelt on the outside of the congregational group. It was cold as the great doors were slid open from time to time and the kneeling figures grew in number to about forty. Day broke and a few sparrows twittered by the time the first part of the service was over.

The priest then took up his lamp and low table, and, coming without the altar rail, knelt down in the midst of the congregation. In this familiar relation with his people he delivered a homily in a conversational tone. Buddha was to mankind as a father to his children, he said. If a man did bad things but repented, his father would be more delighted than if he got rich. The way of serving Buddha was to feel his love. To ask of the rich or of a master was supplication, but we did not need to supplicate Buddha. Our love of Buddha and his love for us would become one thing. Carelessness, an evil spirit, doubt: these were the enemies. Gold was beautiful to look at, but if the gold stuck in one's eyes so that one could not see, how then? The true essence of belief was the abandonment of ourselves to divine providence.

So the speaker went on, pressing home his thoughts with anecdote or legend. There was the tale of a woman whose character benefited when her husband became a leper. Another story was of an injured lizard which was fed for many days by its mate. We were also told of a mischievous fellow who tried to anger a believer. The ne'er-do-weel went to the man's house and called him a liar. The believer thanked him for his faithful dealing, and said that it might be true that he was a liar. He would be glad, he said, to be given further advice after his wife had warmed water in order that his visitor might wash his feet. "The mind of the vagabond was thereupon changed."

The rays of light from the lamp illumined the large Buddha-like shaven head and mild countenance of the priest and the labour-worn faces of his flock around him. Two weatherbeaten men curiously resembled Highland elders. I saw that they, an old woman and a young mother with a child tied on her back kept their eyes fixed on the preacher. It was plain that in the service they found strength for the day.

I was in a reverie when the priest ended his talk. To my embarrassment he begged me to come with him within the altar rail and speak to the people. I had been quickened to such a degree by the experience of the previous night and by this service at dawn that I stood up at once. But there seemed to be not one word at my call, and my knees knocked because of cold and shyness. I grasped the chilly brass altar rail, and, as I met the gaze of friendly, sun-tanned, care-rutted alien faces, which yet had the look of "kent folk," I marvellously found sentence following sentence. What I said matters nothing. What I felt was the unity of all religion, my veneration for this rare priest, a sense of kinship with these worshippers of another race and faith, and a realisation of the elemental things which lie at the basis of international understanding. Several old men and women came up to me and bowed and made little speeches of kindness and cordiality. Six was striking on a clock in the priest's house as the doors of the temple were slid open, the great cryptomeria[12] which guard the village fane stood forth augustly in the morning light, and the congregation went out to its labour.

As I knelt at breakfast and ate my rice and pickles and drank my miso soup,[13] the priest, after the manner of a Japanese with an honoured guest, did not take food but waited upon me. He asked if the English clergy wore a costume which marked them off from the people. He liked the way of some of our preachers who wore ordinary clothes and eschewed the title of "reverend." He was also taken by the idea of the Quaker meeting at which there is silence until someone feels he has a message to utter. As to the future of Buddhism, he deeply regretted to say that many priests were a generation behind the age. If the priests were "more democratic, better educated and more truly religious," then they might be able to keep hold of young men. He knew of one priest in Tokyo who had a dormitory for university students.

The priest presented his wife, a kindly woman full of character. "This is my wife," he said; "please teach her." I spoke of a kind of kindergarten which I had learnt had been conducted at the temple for five years. "We merely play with the children," she said. "I had the plan of it from the kindergarten of a missionary," her husband added. The priest and his wife were kneeling side by side in the still temple-room looking out on their restful garden. Behind them was a screen the inscription on which might be translated, "We are to be thankful for our environment; we are to become content quite naturally by the gracious influence of the universe and by the strength of our own will."

I could learn nothing from the priest concerning several helpful organisations which I had heard that the villagers owed to his influence and exertions. But the manager of the village agricultural association told me that for a quarter of a century Otera San (Mr. Temple) had superintended the education of the young people, that under his guidance the village had a seven years' old co-operative credit and selling society, 294 families belonged to a poultry society, 320 men and women gathered to study the doctrines of Ninomiya (whom we in the West know from a little book by a late Japanese Ambassador in London, called For His People), and the young men's association performed its discipline at half-past five in the morning in the winter and at four o'clock in the summer.



FOOTNOTES:

[9] Exchange in 1916; in 1921 the yen is worth 2s. 8d.

[10] The chapters in this section are based on notes of several visits paid to Aichi, which is in the middle of Japan, and agriculturally and socially one of the most interesting of the prefectures. It is three prefectures distant from Tokyo.

[11] Throughout this book an attempt has been made to preserve in translation something of the character of the Japanese phraseology.

[12] Cryptomeria japonica, or in Japanese, sugi, allied to the sequoia, yew and cypress.

[13] Miso, bean paste.



CHAPTER II

"GOOD PEOPLE ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY PRECAUTIOUS"

Je ne propose rien, je n'impose rien, j'expose.—De la liberte du travail

He had been through Tokyo University, but his hands were rough with the work of the rice fields. "I resent the fact that a farmer is considered to be socially inferior to a townsman," he said. "I am going to show that the income of a farmer who is diligent and skilful may equal that of a Minister of State. I also propose to build a fine house, not out of vanity, but in order to show that an honest farmer can do as well for himself as a townsman."

When I asked the speaker to tell me something about himself he went on: "My father was a follower of a pupil of the great Ninomiya. Schools of frugal living and high ideals were common in the Tokugawa period.[14] The object sought was the education of heart and spirit. At night when I was in bed my father used to kneel by me,[15] his eldest son, and say, 'When you grow big you must become a great man and distinguish our family name.' This instruction was given to me repeatedly and it went deeply into my heart."

"When I became a young man," he continued, "I had two friends. We made promises to each other. One said, 'I will become the greatest scholar in Japan.' The second said, 'I will become the greatest statesman.' The third, myself, said, 'I will be the greatest rice grower in this country.' If we all succeeded we were to build beautiful houses and invite each other to them.

"I did not graduate at the University because, by the entreaty of my father, when I reached twenty-one, I left Tokyo in order to become a practical farmer. It is twenty-one years since I began farming. I consulted with skilful agriculturists and then I saw my way to make a plan. Rice in my native place is inferior. I improved it for three or four years. I gained the first gold prize at the prefectural show. Some years later I obtained the first prize at the exhibition which was held by five prefectures together. Later still I received the first prize at the exhibition for eighteen prefectures, also the first prize at the exhibition of the National Agricultural Association. Further, I was appointed a judge of rice and travelled about.

"I consumed a great deal of time in doing this public work. One day I was made to think. A collector for a charity said in my hearing that he expected larger subscriptions from practical men because though public men were esteemed by society their economic power was small. I at once resolved that before doing any more public work I should put myself in a sound financial position.

"As I thought over the matter it seemed to me that it was not to be expected that a public man should be able to do his really best work if his financial position were not sound. Again, could he have lasting influence with people in practical affairs if his own practical affairs were not in good order?[16] At any rate I determined not to go out to any more exhibitions or lectures except those which were remunerative, and I resolved to devote myself as my first duty to my farming.

"I set to work and managed my land, 3 cho (a cho is 2-1/2 acres), so as to obtain the gross income of an M.P. [The reader could scarcely have a more striking illustration of the intensity with which Japanese land is cultivated—the average area is under 3 acres per family.] I am now working about 4 cho (10 acres). Later on I am going to farm 7 cho (15-1/2 acres) and from that I am expecting the income of a Minister.[17] I have already collected the materials for my villa, for I am approaching my goal. One of my two friends, who is also forty years of age, is a distinguished chemist in the Imperial Agricultural College. My other friend, who is forty-four, is Secretary of the Korean Government."

The indomitable experimenter swallowed another cupful of tea and declared that "in order to be prosperous, all the members of the family must work." All the members of his family did work. His wife was strong and there were five healthy children. He used the ordinary farm implements and his livestock consisted of only a horse and a few hens. The home farm was five miles from the station. The outlying farms were scattered in five villages—"there are always spendthrift lazy fellows willing to sell their land." "I have a firm belief," the speaker added complacently, "that agriculture is the most honest, the most sincere, the most interesting, the most secure and the most profitable calling."

"Very often," he went on, "good people are not sufficiently precautious"—I give the excellent word coined by my interpreter. "They spend for the public good, and in the end they are left poor. Renowned, rich families have come to a miserable condition by such action. What they have done may have been good. But they are reduced to pauperism and they are laughed at by many persons. People jeer that they pretended to do good, yet they could not do good to themselves. If all people who work for the public benefit are laughed at at last—and many are—it will come to be thought that to work for the public benefit is not good. Therefore I think that the man who would work for the public good must be careful in his own affairs. He must not be a poor man if he is to help public business. However philanthropic he may be, if his financial position is not strong he cannot go on long. He will be stopped on his good way. He cannot help other people. Therefore I am now gathering wealth for strengthening my financial position as a means to attain the higher end."

As the speaker awaited my judgment on his career, I ventured to suggest that gifts, qualities and inspiration which made a man a public man did not necessarily equip him for being a great success in business life. The question was, perhaps, whether the type of man who was pre-eminently successful in promoting his own pecuniary interests was necessarily the best type of public man. Was the average character equal to the strain of many years of concentration on money-making to the exclusion of public interests? When men emerged from the sphere of concentrated money-making, were they worth so very much as public men? Might not the values of things have altered a little for them? Might it not have a shrivelling effect on the heart to resist applications which must be refused when the strengthening of one's financial position was regarded as the chief object in life?

At this point our host, Mr. Yamasaki, the respected principal of the big agricultural school of the prefecture and a well-known rural author and speaker, broke in with the ejaculation, "He has got a needle in your head"—the Japanese equivalent for "touching the spot"—and continued: "Surely he is right who through his life offers freely what he may have as to members of his own family. I give away many pamphlets and I have guests. I could save in these directions. But I am not doing it. I am content if I can support my family. I gave a savings book to each of my five children. When the boy becomes twenty-one he will have enough to finish at the university or start as a small merchant so as not to be a parasite. My girls will be provided with enough to furnish the costs of modest marriage. If I did more I might perhaps become greedy."

I cannot say that the farmer who had so kindly outlined his life's programme was impressed either by our host's views or by mine, but he told us that he now spent 5 per cent. of his income on public purposes, and that 150 yen received for giving lectures was spent on books and recreation "for enlarging mind and heart." He happened to mention that, though his family was of the Zen sect of Buddhism, he was a Shintoist. It is difficult to believe that a genuine Buddhist could have evolved such a life scheme. There is certainly a Shinto symbolism in his plan of tree planting before his house. He has set there, in the order shown, eleven pines which he named as marked:



The virtues inscribed on this plan are the guardians of the farmer and his family, which is represented in the middle of it. The words behind the arrows represent the character of the attacks to which the farmer conceives himself and his family to be exposed. Courage is imagined as going before and Wisdom as protecting the rear.

The talk turned to some advice which had been given to farmers to lay out "economic gardens." They were to plant no trees but fruit trees. To this an old farmer of our company replied: "If you are too economical your children will become mercenary. Some families were too economical and cut down beautiful trees, planting instead economical ones. Those families I have seen come to an evil end. The man who exercises rigid economy may be a good man, but his children can know little of his real motives and must be wrongly influenced by his conduct." We all agreed that there was nowadays too much talk about money-making in rural Japan. "Even I," laughed the owner of the symbolic trees, "planted not persimmons but pines."

FOOTNOTES:

[14] That is, before the Revolution of half a century ago, when the Tokugawa Shogun resigned his powers to the Emperor.

[15] The Japanese bed, futon, consists of a soft mattress of cotton wool, two or three inches thick. It is spread on the floor, which itself consists of mats of almost the same thickness, 6 ft. long by 3 ft. wide.

[16] Most of the really big men of Australia have left political life in comparatively impoverished circumstances. Not only did Sir Henry Parkes die poor. Sir George Reid took the High Commissionership in London; Sir Graham Berry was provided with a small annuity; Sir George Dibbs was made the manager of a State savings bank; Sir Edmund Barton was lifted to the High Court Bench.—Times, January 11, 1921.

To the last day of his life, executions were levied in his house.—Rosebery on Pitt.

[17] For his figures see Appendix I.



CHAPTER III

EARLY-RISING SOCIETIES AND OTHER INGENUOUS ACTIVITIES

I should be heartily sorry if there were no signs of partiality. On the other hand, there is, I trust, no importunate advocacy or tedious assentation.—MORLEY

"The alarum clocks for waking us at four o'clock in the summer and five in the winter"—it was the chairman of a village Early-Rising Society who was speaking to me—are placed at the houses of the secretaries, and each member is in turn a secretary. The duty of a secretary, when the alarum clock strikes, is to get up and visit the houses of all the members allotted to him and to shout for the young men until they answer. Each member on rising walks to the house of the secretary of his division and writes his name on the record of attendances. Then the member goes to the shrine, where we fence and wrestle for a time. At first we thought that if we fenced and wrestled early in the morning we should be tired for our work, but we found that it was not so.

"Sometimes a clock gets damaged and does not ring, so a few of us may be getting up later that morning. Or a man becomes afraid of sleeping too late, fears his clock is wrong, and gets up at 3 o'clock and then goes off to waken members. Hence complaints. Some cunning fellows ask their friends or brothers to write down for them their names on the list of attendances. But we find out their deceit by their handwriting. It is very difficult to form the habit of early rising, because members are not expected to report at the secretaries' houses on a rainy day. As there is no control over them that day, they are easy in their minds and sleep on. Thus they break the habit of early rising that they are forming. Getting up early is necessary not only because it is good to begin work early but because early rising overcomes the habit of gadding about at night which is customary in many villages.

"You may say that all this is a great deal to ask of young men," the chairman continued. "But if you ask from them comfortable practices only, how can you expect from them a remarkable result? Young men should ponder this and be willing to exert themselves." Later on it was explained to me that it had been found that it took a great deal of time for the secretaries to call up all the members in the morning by shouting to them, "so the secretary obtained bugles; but even the bugles were not heard everywhere, so they were changed to drums, and now five drums go round our village every morning."

In every village of Japan there is a young men's association, which is by no means to be confounded with the world-encircling Y.M.C.A.[18] The village Y.M.A. of Japan is an institution of some antiquity and it has nothing whatever to do with religious effort. One day, when I was staying in a rural district, I was invited to a remoter part in order to see something of the discipline that the members of a group of young men's associations were imposing on themselves. The members of this group of Y.M.A. belonged to the branches established in a village of nineteen aza, that is hamlets. This fact, with the further fact that the village containing the nineteen aza had four elementary schools and one higher school, will show that a Japanese village may be much larger than a Western one.

Nearly six hundred young men were in the parade. They were dressed exactly alike in the tight blue calico trousers and kimono of jacket length which the Japanese farmer ordinarily wears. Each man had the usual obi (waist scarf) tied round his kimono, and in the obi was thrust the small cotton towel which Japanese carry with them everywhere. The young men wore puttees, waraji (straw sandals) and caps. It is only of late that the Japanese worker has taken to wearing head-gear, or at any rate head-gear other than he could contrive with his towel. The physical condition of the young fellows was good and their evolutions with dummy "rifles" were smart and skilful. The paraders seemed lost in their desire to do their best for their credit's sake and their own good. After the first movements, the "troops" with "rifles" held as if there were bayonets at the end, made rushes with loud cries. The secret of this somewhat surprising display far away in the heart of Japan was that the work of the young men had been done under the direction of two fit, be-medalled army surgeons, reserve officers, who were present in order to answer my questions.

Every morning half an hour before sunrise these Y.M.A. members assemble in the grounds of their Shinto shrine or of their school, where they exercise until the sun shows itself. In the evenings after work they also fence, wrestle, lift weights and develop their wrists. This wrist development is done by two youths grasping a pole, one at either end, and then trying to rotate it one against the other.

The members endeavour to cultivate their minds as well as their bodies, and they also observe in their dress a self-denying ordinance. On ceremonial occasions they permit themselves to wear a full-length kimono and the hakama or divided skirt, but they deny themselves the third article of a Japanese man's full dress, the haori or silk overcoat. An effort is also made to dispense with the use of "luxurious" geta (the national wooden pattens).[19]

The object of all this varied discipline is to develop physique, self-control, self-respect and what the Japanese call the spirit of association, or, as we might say, good fellowship. The spirit of association is needed in order to promote greater administrative, educational and social efficiency. The modern Japanese village is no longer an historical but a political unit which covers a considerable district. It is, as I have explained, a combination of clusters of aza (hamlets). Each of these aza has its local sentiment, and this local sentiment when untouched by outside influences tends to become selfish, narrow and prejudiced. If, however, anything is to be done in the development of rural life there must be co-operation between aza for all sorts of objects.

I was assured that in addition to the development of physique, moral and the spirit of association, there was to be seen, under the influence of the Y.M.A., a development of good manners and mental nimbleness. A special result of early rising and discipline in one area had been that "the habit of spending evening hours idly has died away, immorality has diminished, singing loudly and foolishly and boasting oneself have disappeared, while punctuality and respect for old age have increased." I was even assured that parents—whom no true Japanese would ever dream of attempting to reform at first hand—parents, I say, moved by the physical and mental advance in their sons, have "begun to practise greater punctuality."

After the drilling was over I was taken to a large elementary school and was called upon to address the young men, who were kneeling in perfect files. Mr. Yamasaki followed me and told the youths that Japanese were not so tall as they might be, and that therefore their physique "must be continuously developed." Nor were rural conditions all they should be from a moral point of view. Therefore, "every desire which interferes with the development of your health or morality must be overcome."

Let me speak of another village. It numbers a thousand families and it rises in the morning and goes to bed at night by the sound of the bugle. It has five public baths and a notice-board of news "to enlarge people's ideas." The shopkeepers are said to "work very diligently, so things are cheaper." The education of such of the young men as are exempted from military service is continued on Saturday evenings for four years. The Y.M.A., in addition to the military discipline, fencing, wrestling, weight-lifting and pole-twisting of which I have spoken, exercises itself in handwriting—which many Japanese practise as an art during their whole lifetime—and in composing the conventional short poem. I was gravely informed that "the custom of spending money on sweet-stuff is decreasing." What this really means is that the young men were not frequenting the sweet-stuff shops, which are staffed by girls who are in many cases a greater temptation than the sweets. The worthy members of this association had "burnt their geta."

In some places Y.M.A. members give their labour when a school teacher or a fellow member is building his house, or they do repairs at the school. Bicycle excursions are made to neighbouring villages in order to participate in inter-Y.M.A. debates, or to study vegetable raising, fruit culture or poultry keeping. The Japanese are much given to "taking trips," and the special training which they receive at school in making notes and plans results in everybody having a notebook and being able to sketch a rough route-plan for personal use, or for a stranger who may ask his way.

Not a few associations favour members cutting each other's hair once a fortnight, thus at one and the same time saving money and curbing vanity. Several Y.M.A.s publish cyclostyled monthlies. Others minutely investigate the economic condition of their villages. Some Y.M.A.s provide public "complaint boxes," and have boards up asking for friendly help for soldiers billeted in the district. One association has issued instructions to its members that they are not to ride when in charge of ox-drawn carts. The reason is that the ox is only partially under control and may injure a pedestrian—unwittingly, I am sure, for the gentleness of the ox and even of the bull in harness arrests one's attention. Many Y.M.A.s devote themselves to cultivating improved qualities of rice or to breaking up new land. Sometimes the land of the Shinto shrine is cultivated. I have heard of Y.M.A.s in remote parts having handed over to them the exclusive sale of sake.

I find a Y.M.A. counselling its members "not to speak vulgar words in a crowd." There is also among the members of Y.M.A.s a certain addiction to diary keeping for moral as well as economic purposes. The diaries are distributed by the associations and "afterwards examined and rewarded"—a plan which would hardly work in the West. There are Y.M.A.s which make a point of seeing off conscripts with flags and music. Others have fallen on the more economical plan of "writing to the conscript as often as possible and helping with labour the family which is suffering from the loss of his services." By some Y.M.A.s "old people are respected and comforted." More than one association has a practice of serving out red and black balls to its members at the opening of every new year, when good resolutions are in order, and at the end of the year recalling either the red or the black according to the degree to which the publicly announced good resolutions have been kept. Among the good resolutions are: to worship at the Shinto shrine or the Buddhist temple regularly, to be tidier, to be more efficient in cropping the land, to undertake work for the common good, to have a secondary occupation in addition to farming, to sit with more decorum at meals, to rise earlier, to visit the graves of ancestors monthly, to be more considerate to parents or elder brothers, and "not to remain idly at people's houses."

One Y.M.A. decrees that a member found in a tea-house in conversation with a geisha shall be fined 20 yen. There is even a village in which the young men's association and the young women's association have united to issue a regulation providing that at night time members, in order that their doings shall be public, shall carry lanterns painted with the ideographs of their societies.[20]

With regard to the young women's associations, I found that one of them studied domestic matters and good manners, "asking questions and receiving answers." The motto of the organisation was "Good Wives and Good Mothers." A member, this Society believes, should be "polite, gentle and warm-hearted, but with a strong will inside and able to meet difficulties." Her hairdressing and clothes "should not be luxurious," and she "must not run after fashions." She must "respect Buddha and abandon sweet-eating," for "taking food between meals is bad for your health, for economy and for your posterity."

Let us now hear something of Societies for the Cultivation of Rice by Schoolboys. The lads become responsible for the cultivation of a tan of their family land, or of a small paddy, and they work it themselves with the help of such advice as the schoolmaster may give them. (The cultivation of a tan of a paddy, a quarter of an acre, is supposed to need in a year about twenty-one days' labour of a man working from sunrise to sunset.) The report of one boy to which I turned in a collection of reports by members of a rice-cultivation society showed that he was between fourteen and fifteen. His diary of work and observations was as follows:

June 5.—4 to of herring applied.

June 7.—Locusts and other insects arrive.[21]

June 20.—153 clumps of rice transplanted from the seed bed.[22]

July 11.—Rice cultivated and 4 to of herring applied.

July 27.—First weeding.

Aug. 6.—Second weeding.

Aug. 8.—Locusts again.

Aug. 11.—Third weeding.

Sept. 10.—All ears shot.

Oct. 10.—Some plants suffering from bacillus.

It was further noted that the soil was sandy, that cold spring water was percolating through the bottom of the paddy field, that the aeration of the soil was bad and that some plants were laid by wind. The young farmer appended to his report an excellent plan. He received marks as follows: Method of planting, 15; levelling, 20; provision against insects, 5; general attention, 25; total, 65. Some boys got as many as 99 marks.

A word concerning a Village Association for Promoting Morality. One of the things it does is to assemble yearly the whole population, old and young, "in order to get friendly." The police meanwhile keep an eye open for strangers who might take it into their heads to visit the village on that day and help themselves from the houses. I may quote three poems in rough translations from a speech made by a priest at the annual meeting:

The legs of a horse, the rudder of a boat, the pin of a fan, and the sincerity of a man. Let your heart be pure and true and you need not pray for the protection of the gods. The bride brings many things with her to her new home, but one thing more, the spirit of sincerity, will not encumber her.

After these varied accounts of rural merit, I could not but listen with attention to a tale of village gamblers, the offence of gambling having been "introduced by the excavators on the new railway." First the headman fined a dozen young men. Then he made a raid and found among the village sinners several members of his own council. "The salaried officials were at a loss to know what to do, and proposed to resign. But the headman brought the prisoners together before the whole body of officials. He spoke of the sufferings of the troops in Manchuria and the heroic deaths among them. (It was the time of the Russian war.) 'Lest your offences should come to be known by our soldiers and discourage them,' said the headman, 'I cannot but overlook your conduct.' It is thought that gambling practically ceased from that time."

Local officials have a way of making the most of historic events in order to touch the imagination of their villagers. Many original undertakings were begun, for example, under the inspiration of the Coronation. One village set about raising a fund by a system of taxation under which inhabitants contribute according to the following tariff:

Birth of a child, 10 sen (that is, 2-1/2 d. or 5 cents). Wedding, 15 sen. Adoption, 15 sen. Graduation from the primary school, 10 sen; advanced school, 20 sen. Teacher or official on appointment, 2 per cent. of salary; when salary is increased, 10 per cent. of increase. When an official receives a prize of money from his superior, 5 per cent. Every villager to pay every quarter, 1 sen.

On the basis of this assessment it is expected that fifty-seven years after the Coronation such a sum will have been accumulated as will enable the villagers to live rate free. Some villages have thanksgiving associations in connection with Shinto shrines. Aged villagers are "respected by being blessed before the shrine and by being given a present." Worthy villagers who are not aged "receive prizes and honour."

More than once when I went to a village I was welcomed first by a parade of the Y.M.A., then by the school children in rows, and finally in the school grounds by two lines of venerable members of an Ex-Public Servants' Association. The object of an E.P.S.A. is to strengthen the hands of the present officials and to give honour to their predecessors. A headman explained to me: "If ex-officials fell into poverty or lacked public respect, people would not be inclined to work for the public good. A former clerk in the village office whom everybody had forgotten was working as a labourer. But as a member of the association he was seen to be treated with honour, so the children were impressed. The funeral of such a man is apt to be lonely, but when this man died all the members of the association attended his funeral in ceremonial dress and offered some money to his memory.[23] His honour is great and the villagers say, 'We may well work for the public benefit.'"

Every village in Japan has a Village Agricultural Association. One V.A.A., which belongs to a village of less than 6,000 people, sees the fruit of its labours in the existence of "322 good manure houses." The gift of a plan and the grant of a yen had prompted the building of most of them. Then the organisation incites its members to cement the ground below their dwellings. This is not so much for the benefit of the farmer and his family as for the welfare of their silkworms. A fly harmful to silkworms winters in the soil, but it cannot find a resting-place in concrete.



A word may also be said about the way in which silkworm rearers have been induced by the V.A.A. to keep the same breed of caterpillar, so facilitating bulking of cocoons at the association's co-operative sales. A small library of silkworm-culture books has been started in the village, and there is a special pamphlet for young men which they are urged to keep in "their pockets and to study ten minutes each day." A general library has 2,400 volumes divided into eight circulating libraries. The cost of the building which provides the library in chief, a meeting hall and also a storehouse for cocoons has been defrayed by the commissions charged for the co-operative sale of cocoons.



Again, there used to be no cattle in the village, but now, thanks to the purchase of young animals by the association, and thanks to village shows, there are 103.

There is a competition to get the biggest yield of rice, and there is also "an exhibition of crops." This exhibition incidentally aims at ending trouble between landlord and tenants due to complaints of the inferiority of the rice brought in as rent. (Paddy-field rent is invariably paid in rice.) These complaints are more directly dealt with by the V.A.A. arbitrating between landlords and tenants who are at issue. In addition to rice crop and cattle shows in the village, there is a yearly exhibition of the prod ucts of secondary industries, such as mats, sandals and hats.

The V.A.A. is also working to secure the planting of hill-side waste. Some 300,000 tree seedlings have been distributed to members of the Y.M.A., who "grow them on," and, after examination and criticism, plant them out. I must not omit to speak of the V.A.A.s' distribution of moral and economic diaries of the type already referred to. The villagers, in the spirit of boy-scoutism, are "advised to do one good thing in a day." I saw several of these diaries, well thumbed by their authors after having been laboured at for a year. One young farmer noted down on the space for January 2 that he said his prayers and then went daikon[24] pulling, and that daikon pulling (like our mangold pulling) is a cold job.

FOOTNOTES:

[18] There are, however, 11,000 members of Y.M.C.A. in Japan. There is also a Y.W.C.A. with a considerable membership.

[19] See Appendix II.

[20] For official action in regard to the Y.M.A.s, see later.

[21] The damage done by insects is estimated at 10 million yen a year. In some parts locusts are roasted and eaten.

[22] For an account of the processes of rice cultivation, see Chapter IX.

[23] It is the practical Japanese custom to make a gift of money to a family on the occasion of a death. The Emperor makes a present to the family of a deceased statesman.

[24] The giant white radish which reaches 2 or 3 ft. in length and 3 in. or more in diameter. There is also a correspondingly large turnip-shaped sort.



CHAPTER IV

"THE SIGHT OF A GOOD MAN IS ENOUGH"

It has been said that we should emulate rather than imitate them. All I say is, Let us study them.—MATTHEW ARNOLD

For seven years in succession the men, old, middle-aged and young, who had done the most remarkable things in the agriculture of the prefecture had been invited to gather in conference. I went to this annual "meeting of skilful farmers." Among the speakers were the local governor and chiefs of departments who had been sent down by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Home Office. According to our ideas, everybody but the unpractised speakers—the expert farmers who were called from time to time to the platform—spoke too long. But the kneeling audience found no fault. Indeed, a third of it was taking notes. It was an audience of seeking souls.

One of the impromptu speakers, a white-haired, toil-marked farmer, told how forty years before he had gone to the next prefecture and opened new land. "With his spectacles and moustache," explained the chairman—if the man who takes the initiative from time to time at a Japanese meeting may be properly called a chairman—"he looks like a gentleman; but he works hard." And the man showed his hands as a testimony to the severity of his labours.

"It was in the winter," he said, "that I went away from my home and obtained a certain tract of waste. I had no acquaintance near. I brought some food, but when I fell short I had no more. I had gone with my third boy. We lived in a small hut and were in a miserable condition. Then a fierce wind took off the roof. It was at four in the morning when the roof blew off. In February I began to open a rice field. Gradually we got a cho. At length I opened another cho, but there was much gravel. Some of my newly opened fields are very high up the hill. If you chance to pass my house please come to see me. The maple leaves are very beautiful and you can enjoy the sight of many birds."

The early meetings of the expert farmers used to last not one day but two, for the men delighted in narrating their experiences to one another. Some of the audience used to weep as the older men told their tales. The farmers would sit up late round a farmer or a professor who was talking about some subject that interested them. The originator of these gatherings, Mr. Yamasaki, told me that he was "more than once moved to tears by the merits and pure hearts of the farmer speakers."

Of the regard and respect which the farmers had for this man I had many indications. Like not a few agricultural authorities, he is a samurai.[25] He is exceptionally tall for a Japanese, looks indeed rather like a Highland gillie, and when one evening I prevailed on him to put on armour, thrust two swords in his obi and take a long bow in his hand, he was an imposing figure. He carries the ideals of bushido into his rural work. He does not sleep more than five hours, and he is up every morning at five.

But I am getting away from the meeting. There was a priest who spoke, a man curiously like Tolstoy. (He had, no doubt, Ainu blood in him.) He wore the stiff buttoned-up jacket of the primary school teacher and spoke modestly. "Formerly the rice fields of my village suffered very much from bad irrigation," he said, "but when that was put right the soil became excellent. In the days when the soil was bad the people were good and no man suspected another of stealing his seal.[26] But when the soil became good the disposition of the people was influenced in a bad way, and they brought their seals to the temple to be kept safe.

"At that time the organiser of this meeting came and made a speech in my village. On hearing his speech I thought it an easy task to make my village good. At once I began to do good things. I formed several men's and women's associations, all at once, as if I were Buddha. But the real condition of the people was not much improved. There came many troubles upon me, and our friend wrote a letter. I was very thankful, and I have been keeping that letter in the temple and bowing there morning and evening.

"I began to ask many distinguished persons to help me. They influenced the farmers. The sight of a good man is enough. Speech is unnecessary. The villagers were not educated enough to understand moralisings or thinking, but the kind face of a good man has efficacy. There was a man in the village who was demoralised, and when I told of him to a distinguished man who lives near our village he sympathised very much. That distinguished man is eighty-four years old, but he accompanied that demoralised man for three days, giving no instruction but simply living the same life, and the demoralised man was an entirely changed man and ever thankful.

"I am a sinful man. Sometimes it happens that after I have been working for the public benefit I am glad that I am offered thanks. I know it is not a good thing when people express gratitude to me, for I ought not to accept it. When I know I am doing a good thing and expecting thanks, I am not doing a good thing. My thanks must not come from men but from Buddha. I am trying to cast out my sinful feelings. It must not be supposed that I am leading these people. You skilful farmers kindly come to my village if you pass. You need not give any speech. Your good faces will do."

But the two speeches I have reported are hardly a fair sample of the discourses which were delivered. The addresses of the earnest Tokyo officials and the Governor were directed towards urging on the farmers increased production and increased labour, and the duty was pressed upon them, as I understood, in the name of the highest patriotism and of devotion to their ancestors. This talk was excellent in its way, but when I got up I hazarded a few words on different lines. If I venture to summarise my somewhat elementary address it is because it furnishes a key to some of the enquiries I was to make during my journeys. I was told the next day that the local daily had declared that my "tongue was tipped with fire," which was a compliment to my kind and clever interpreter, who, when he let himself go, seemed to be able to make two or three sentences out of every one of mine:

I said that my Japanese friends kept asking me my impressions, and one thing I had to say to them was that I had got an impression in many quarters of spiritual dryness. I dared to think that some responsibility for a materialistic outlook must be shared by the admirable officials and experts who moved about among the farmers. They were always talking about crop yields and the amount of money made, and they unconsciously pressed home the idea that rural progress was a material thing.

But the rural problem was not only a problem of better crops and of greater production. Man did not live by food alone. Tolstoy wrote a book called What Men Live By, and there was nothing in it about food. Men lived not by the number of bales of rice they raised, but by the development of their minds and hearts. It might be asked if it was not the business of rural experts to teach agriculture. But a poet of my country had said that it took a soul to move a pig into a cleaner sty. It was necessary for a man who was to teach agriculture well to know something higher than agriculture. The teacher must be more advanced than his pupils. There must be a source from which the energy of the rural teacher must be again and again renewed. There must be a well from which he must be continually refreshed and stimulated. Some called that well by the name of religion, unity with God. Some called it faith in mankind, faith in the destiny of the world, that faith in man which is faith in God. But it must be a real belief, not a half-hearted, shivering faith.

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