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Full text of "The golden lotus, and other legends of Japan"

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"^HE Japanese say, "The boza [priest] and the /m/m.s-////,,/ [pro- 

fessional story-teller] can pick a man's pocket with their 

tongues"; i.e., the stories told by those men are so amusing and 

admirable that the people empty their purses in order to re\v:ml 

the priest for his sermons and the vagabond for his reeitntions. 

In this book I have endeavored to reproduce some of the 
"Legends o,f ,th.e , Land of, the , Rising Sun," as related by the bozu 
and hanasfi, '/<!, la .Mldiino^,. i have assumed the role of 
and described ' i tin lii'e of the modern Japanese. 


EDWA1M) (illEKY. 







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THE HAXASHIKA (Professional st<n-ii-T< //</) 







No GAKU (Ancient Oj>< m <> 

SlIINDA USAGI-UMA (LujLial f tin. J)nl 




<;: -i 
82 '.'i 

111.-,- 11.-, 



HEAVY drops of rain were plashing upon the 
dusty surface of the broad avenue of Shilia, 
Tokio. The pilgrims, who but a few moments before 
thronged the place, had vanished like " water in sand ' 
into the adjoining restaurants; and the sellers of nonde- 
script trifles, located beneath the magnificent trees, were 
anxiously glancing skyward, and hurriedly covering their 
wares with sheets of oiled paper. 

My companion, a charming old Japanese gentleman, 
knitted his bushy eyebrows, bowed, smiled, and said in 
a gentle tone, "A hundred thousand pardons! I believe 
we are about to have a down-pour. I regret very much 
this inhospitable weather. Would you like to partake 
of a cup of tea?'' 

While he was speaking the rain began to descend in 
a torrent; whereupon we sought refuge in the nearest 
cliaya, which was crowded with men and women in 
white robes. 

We seated ourselves in a retired corner, and as we 
sipped our tea, listened to the babel of conversation 

( vii ) 


around us. Presently a young bozu (priest) entered, 
and after shaking the moisture from his robes, said, 

" It is almost time for the ho-dan (sermon) ; you, 
good people, ought not to miss such a great benefit." 

He was a plump, mild-featured lad, and his head was 
so closely shaven that it almost pained one to look at it. 

The pilgrims, who, upon his entrance, had bowed 
their foreheads to the mats, murmured respectful replies, 
and rising, awaited his departure. 

To my surprise he turned to my companion, and said, 
' All men ought to know of Buddha. It would be 
a benevolent act for you to induce that foreign gentle- 
man to listen to the golden words. Who knows but 
that he might be led into the true path?'' 

My friend, who blushed to the tips of his ears, made 
a respectful gesture of caution, and whispered behind 
his fan, f Reverend sir, this gentleman understands 
what you say." 

The boziij not at all disconcerted, bowed politely and 
invited me to accompany him, remarking, : We have 
many of your preachers in our country: surely you 
will not object to listen to one of ours." 

I replied that I had long wished to have such an 
opportunity, and that I should be most happy to accept 
his invitation. 

"While we were waiting for the shower to pass over, 


we had quite an interesting conversation; and when i 
hinted that his class had neglected to teach the masses 
the pure doctrines of Buddhism, and had allowed tin- 
people to remain in a shocking state of idolniry. In- 
said, "I think you have been misinformed, or do m>t 
quite understand the movement that, is taking place- in 
our religious circles. It is true, before the arrival <>!' 
you foreign gentlemen, there was great laxity among 
some of our sects; now all of us are doing our best to 
instruct our people in the Great Truth": adding. " The 
rain has ceased, honorable sir from afar: will von 


please accompany me and listen to the imperfect teach- 
ing of a humble follower of Shaka?" 

It was a novel sensation to find myself one of a 
procession of pilgrims, while the conversation of our 
devout companions severely taxed my gravity. 

" Hai [yes]," said a weather-beaten dame, "th* 
dark-eyed to-jin [foreigners] are always more- amen- 
able to reason than the oid [imps] with bine eyes. In 
fact, they are more human n (utterly disregarding the 
cautioning signals of my friend). r l am one of tho-, 
who speak my mind. Nobody frightens me by >co\vl- 


? Pray excuse her," whispered the \vorthy old gen- 
tleman. :? Some people are so religions that they have 
enough faith for half a dozen. Such persons have NTV 


little sense"; adding sotto voce, "but then, she is only 

a woman.' 

After a short walk we reached a shed-like building 
connected with one of the temples. Our guide ushered 
us in and saw us seated comfortably on the clean 
matted floor, then retired behind a screen at the upper 
end of the apartment. 

The pilgrims behaved very much like our country 
folks at a church meeting. Some prayed, others stared 
about them, and a few yawned as though they con- 
sidered the affair a bore. 

After a brief interval an ascetic-visaged l)ozu glided 
from behind the screen, and advancing to a platform 
slightly raised above the level of the floor, knelt, 
bowed, and murmured the Buddhist prayer; then sit- 
ting up on his heels, glanced round at the congregation 
until he discovered me. This action reminded me of 
an incident I had once witnessed in a place of worship 
in far-off Massachusetts, and I smiled. 

The 'bozu regarded me sorrowfully, after which he 
began his discourse in a low, musical voice, saying, 

"Man is born without a knowledge of Amida 
[Buddha], therefore it is the teacher's duty to instruct 
everybody, not only in the true doctrine, but also to 
enlighten people concerning the life of the Lord Shaka- 


'I will not insult your intelligence by telling you 
who Shaka was. Every child knows that'' (glancing 
slyly at me). : The wonderful story of his life has been 
translated into all the languages of the world. Every- 
body knows how the king gave up his title and became 
a beggar, that he might give the true light to the world. 

!t Of late years we have had strange teaehers coming 
from various foreign countries, offering us their reli- 
gion" (slyly) "and their merchandise. What can they 
give yon more precious and delightful than the Golden 
Lotus?' (In a chatty tone.) 

:? A few days ago I met a pilgrim who said to me, 
? Holy Father, tell me about the Golden Lotus. I do 
not understand why the Lord Shaka is seated upon 
that beautiful flower.' 

: This ignorance amazed me; however, after I had 
told him the truth, I thought, c Possibly there may be 
many in our land as ignorant as he,' therefore I made 
up my mind, the next time I spoke to the people, to 
explain this portion of the life of Shaka-ni-yorai." 
(Very solemnly, with half-closed eyes.) 

The merciful Lord Shaka had concluded his medi- 
tations on the mountain of Dan-doku, and was descend- 
ing the rocky path on his way toward the city. Xight 
was approaching, the shadows were deepening, and no 
sound disturbed the stillness of the hour. 


r? As ho reached a plateau at the crest of the last 
turn iu the road, he heard some one exclaim in a loud 
voice, ? Shio-giyo mu-jiyo! [The outward manner 
is not always an index to the natural disposition.] ' 

The Lord Shaka was amazed and delighted, think- 
ing 1 , ? What manner of being is this ? I must question 
him and learn more.' 

? He then approached the edge of the precipice, still 
hearing the voice repeating the wonderful sentence. 
On glancing down into the valley he beheld a horrible 
tatsu [dragon], which regarded him threateningly." 

The ~bozu changed his tone into a confidential one, 
and glancing at me, said, 

? I will now explain the meaning of the dragon's 

:? Man is naturally disposed to sin, and if he were left 
without teaching would descend to the lowest depths 
of degradation. The Lord Shaka came into the world 
to teach humility, gentleness, forbearance, and patience. 
Those who listen to his words will gradually lose their 
natural disposition to sin and approach one step nearer 
to the Golden Lotus. This is the true explanation of 
f Shio-giyo mu-jiyo. 7 ' 

(Resuming his solemn manner.) ' The Lord Shaka 
seated himself upon the edge of the rock, and addressing 
the monster, said, r How came you to learn one of the 


higher mysteries of Buddhism? Although I have been 
studying ten years, I have never heard this sentence. I 
think you must know others. Please tell them to me.' 

* The dragon coiled itself tightly round the base of the 
rock, then said in a thunderous tone, * Z<-*]iin metsu- 
po! [All living things are antagonistic to the law 
of Buddha.] ' " 

(Resuming his confidential manner.) 'This truth is 
eternal. How sad it is to know that every year millions 
of people die ignorant of the teachings of the Lord 
Shaka! I beseech you to keep the laws of Buddha, and 
to close your ears to the words of false priests who 
come from outside the civilized world to encourage the 
worst inclination of human nature,- -that is, the viola- 
tion of the Buddhistic law." 

This covert allusion to our missionaries was much 
relished by the old woman who had spoken her mind so 
freely. " Ilai [yes]," she exclaimed, glancing fixedly 
at me, " yes, yes, yes, that is so ! 

The preacher again resumed his earnest manner, 
saying :- 

" ' Ze-sliio metsu-po /' roared the dragon, regarding 
the sacred one. Then it held its peace for a space, 
whereupon the Lord Shaka said, 'That is very good; 
now pray tell me the next sentence.' 

'' Shio-metsu metsu-i! [All living things mu-t die.] ' 


"The Lord Shaka bowed and answered, 'That sen- 
tence is better than the last; I would very much like to 
hear the next.' 

" The dragon looked up at him with a hungry expres- 
sion, and said, i The next truth is the last and most pre- 
cious, but I cannot speak it until my hunger is appeased. 
I have not eaten since daybreak, and am very weak. 
Give me some food and I will tell you the last of the four 
precious sentences.' 

" J I will give you anything you wish,' replied the Lord 
Shaka. ' You have such great wisdom that I will deny 
you nothing. What do you demand? ' 

" ' Human flesh,' was the response. 

" The Lord Shaka regarded the dragon pityingly, and 
said, ' My religion forbids me to destroy life; but as I 
must, for the sake of the people, hear the final sen- 
tence, I will give myself to you. Now tell me all you 

" The monster opened its enormous mouth, and as it 
did so, said, ' JaJku-metsu I-rciku ! [The greatest hap- 
piness is experienced after the soul has left the body.] ' 

" The Lord Shaka listened, then bowed his sacred 
head and sprang into the gaping mouth of the tatsu. 

"When he touched the dragon's jaws they split into 
eight parts, and changed into the eight petals of the 
Golden Lotus." 


(Earnestly and solemnly.) " As the Lord Shaka 
trusted himself to the horrible monster, so you musl 
trust to His teachings. If you do so, and earnestly 
strive to attain perfection, you will, most assuredly, 
some day, learn the full meaning' of the sentence, ' Jakn- 
metsu I-raku!' 

A collection was made for the benefit of the preacher, 
after which the congregation silently dispersed. 

When we reached the avenue, my companion remarked, 
" Although I am only an ignorant man, I cannot help 
making comparisons. After all, there is not much dif- 
ference between our religions. You hope for a crown 
of glory, and I to some day take my place upon a 
Golden Lotus." 


A BOUT seven miles from Yokohama, down the 
.1JL picturesque bay of Yedo, is the famous holiday 
resort of Tomioka, much frequented by overworked 
merchants fleeing from the brain-wearying excitement of 
the tea business, blase globe-trotters, and ruddy-faced 
sea-captains anxious to learn something of the inner 
life of the Japanese; for in that delightfully retired 
spot, cliaya (tea houses) are plentiful, the attendants 
are obliging, and the air is surcharged with ozone and 
asceticism. The visitor sleeps in a temple, bathes in 
the blue waters of the bay, and when he takes his 
meals listens alternately to the pretty conceits of his 
cherry-lipped servitor and to the soothing drone of the 
l)ozu (priests) repeating their monotonous prayer, 
'* Namu Amida Bidsuf (Hail, Omnipotent Buddha!) 
One spring morning I was lying prone upon the soft 
mats of a rear apartment in the temple of Cho-sho, 
enjoying the delightful sensations resulting from a 
plunge in the surf and the contemplation of one of 
those wonderful examples of Japanese patience, a 
><! miniature garden." Before me, in a space about 



six feet by four, was a charming landscape containing 
hills, dales, and a mountain stream and lake; the for- 
mer dotted with tiny clumps of feathery bamboo, artis- 
tically interspersed with gnarled, twisted, dwarfed 
matsu (pine-trees), and the latter spanned by a stone 
bridge, the approach to which was ornamented with 
two diminutive granite toro (lanterns). In the dis- 
tance, standing out in bold relief against the blue sky, 
was a model of :? glorious Fuji-yama," whose white 
peak towered so naturally above the greenery that I 
almost imagined I was looking at the mountain itself. 

As I gazed upon the pretty scene, I noticed some- 
thing move at the base of a beetling cliff on the left, 
and presently beheld an enormous toad, which, slowly 
emerging from its cool retreat, came hopping down a 
winding path that had evidently been made for its 
special accommodation. 

It was a solemn-looking creature, with a rich brown 
and yellow skin and a body as plump as the l)ozn, my 
landlord, who took such minute pains with the flower- 
less paradise in which the Icawadzu resided. 

Although'the Japanese devote much time and labor 
to producing arboreous monstrosities, they seldom at- 
tempt to reduce the size of :c nature's gems," or to 
introduce them among their mimic landscapes, deeming 

blossoms to be out of place amid such surroundings. 


The toad hopped a short distance toward me, then, 
halting abruptly, " corrected its attitude," as the Japan- 
ese terra it, i. e., sat up in a respectful position, 
and eyed me askance, evidently comprehending that I 
was a to-jin (foreigner). At first it gaped slightly, 
as though amazed; after which it recovered its usual 
placidity, and slowly winked one eye as much as to say, 
: This is my hour for feeding, and I do not intend to 
postpone my enjoyment for any one." 

Once more advancing, it came flop, flop, flop down 
the winding path, and on landing upon the little bridge 
sat up as before, closed its eyes, and appeared to listen 
to the droning prayer of the Itozu. 

"While I was watching the creature, O Fuji-nami 
(Miss Waves-of-the-wistaria-blossom) , one of the 
waitresses of the chaya from which I procured my 
meals, noiselessly entered the apartment, knelt beside 
me, placed a tray upon the floor, and bowing her head 
to the mats, murmured, >r Honorable Mister from afar, 
your breakfast is served." 

O Fuji-nami was a gentle-mannered, sweet-tem- 
pered girl of sixteen, with large brown eyes, and a 
well-shaped oval face which, according to custom, was 
liberally covered with bismuth, while on the centre of 
her pouting lower lip was a dab of carmine that con- 
trasted painfully with the dazzling whiteness of her 


complexion. She was dressed quite gayly in silk and 
crepe kimono (garments), and brilliant obi (girdle), 
and was a charming specimen of her class. 

Upon hearing her voice I half rose, turned my face 
toward her, leaned my cheek upon my hand, and bid- 
ding her good morning, inquired if she had ever seen 
the toad. 

Instead of replying immediately, she sat up on her 
heels, sighed, glanced downward until her long eye- 
lashes veiled her beautiful eyes, and thus remained, as 
though thinking over some very painful incident; then, 
after a pause, said in a gentle, sad voice, : Yes, I 
know the unfortunate O Momo [Miss Peach]. Alas! 
that one so lovely should be compelled to assume 
such a garb and " (shuddering) " to cat flies." 

This speech aroused my curiosity, and I begged her 
to explain herself; when she whispered, as though 
afraid the toad would overhear her, 

: Three years ago a foreign sama [gentleman], with 
hair like the sunset in August, came to stay here. He 
was very kind, and we all liked him because he ad- 
dressed us by our proper names, and never called us 
r AYay-tare ' or ' Kome-ear.' My friend, O Momo, was 
a very beautiful girl, and was quite romantic. One day 
I discovered her weeping, and upon inquiring the cause, 
learned that she was in love with our golden-haired 


visitor. Oh! Charlie Smith Sama was very handsome. 
Perhaps yon know him." 

I explained that Smith was not an uncommon name 
in the States; whereupon she sighed, shook her head 
sadly, and continued, 

? He remained here long after the other to-jin [for- 
eigners] had departed." 

Then she paused, covered her face with the ample 
sleeves of her kimono, and wept softly. 

The term to-jin (literally " a Chinaman " ) is not con- 
sidered a respectful one, and is seldom used by the 
Japanese when speaking to a foreigner. It is, however, 
so commonly employed by them in their ordinary con- 
versation, that they in familiar talk with us often 
employ the Avord without thinking of its contemptuous 
meaning. It is sometimes applied to objectionable 
things, such as new diseases, strange insects, etc. 

After O Fuji-nami had recovered from her emotion, 
she continued, 

' r Only the gods know what causes women to love as 
they do. Poor O Momo ! When Smith Sama left us, 
he vowed to return the following summer; but though 
she was always on the watch when the boats from 
Yokohama landed their passengers on the beach below, 
the golden-haired stranger came not, and her heart 
sank. She, who had always been merry, grew sad and 


lost her beauty. The unhappy one waited until the 
leaves of the maples changed to the color of Charlie 
Smith Sama's hair; then one night, when the moon was 
smiling on the water of the bay, she filled her sleeves 
with stones and sought peace beneath the silvery waves. 
Two days afterward her body returned to us for burial. 
"We girls subscribed for a sake tub [commonly used 
as a coffin among the lower orders of Japanese], and 
the good bozu performed the services for half their 
usual fees. Alas that her spirit should now inhabit 
the body of that toad ! " 

f How? " I inquired. 

'Yes! ' (in a very low tone, glancing at the reptile, 
which still appeared to be listening to us,) T you may 
think it strange, but yonder kaivadzu is poor O Momo. 
On the day of her burial she appeared in that place, 
and she has never left the spot" (very sadly). "She 
is waiting for Charlie Smith Sama to return. I be- 
lieve he was a wizard." 

Her grief was too genuine and her manner too earnest 
to provoke a smile; so I comforted her by saying I 
would take every care of the toad, and endeavor to 
discover the destroyer of poor O Momo's peace of mind. 
As I was speaking my attention was attracted by the 
reptile, which was sitting motionless on the bridge 
with its mouth slightly open, ' yanking " in the flies 


that were dancing merrily in the sunbeams overhead. 
It looked so serene and self-satisfied that I could not 
believe it had ever liked any object more romantic than 
a fat bine-bottle. 

? Is she not beautiful?" murmured O Fuji-nami. 
r How hard she must have found it to acquire a taste 
for such food ! ' 

Just then a big miller fluttered on to the scene and 
settled upon one of the dwarf matsu (pines). Presto! 
a long, thin, red tongue darted from between the parted 
jaws of the toad, and in a second the moth was trans- 
ferred to the cavernous mouth. 

It required more faith than I had to imagine that the 
spirit animating the fat, overgorged Tcawadzu had ever 
inhabited the pretty " soul-case ' of O Momo, though 
O Fuji-nami evidently believed such to be a fact. 

It was a comical scene : the reptile mechanically 
blinking at us, with the wings of the miller protruding 
from its mouth and a smug expression on its features; 
the girl, with big tears coursing down her bismuth- 
coated face, sadly regarding the ugly brute ; and myself 
sympathizing with her and pretending to believe her 

While I ate my breakfast she related some wonder- 
ful tales concerning the Tcawadzu, which she assured 
me was gifted with almost supernatural wisdom. 


rf O Momo can foretell an earthquake or a storm, can 
indicate how long- you have to live and whether you will 
be lucky or unlucky in your affairs." 


" Oh, yes, Sama ! she is the dearest, wisest, most 
gentle being in the world, and is known far and near as 
the Toad of Tomioka." 

When I finished my frugal meal, O Fuji-nami knelt, 
bowed her head to the mats, returned the bowls to the 
tray, and rising, retired with her burden, leaving me to 
think about her story and to watch the reptile. 

Away down on the beach I could hear the laughter 
of the bathers, and nearer, in the main hall of the 
temple, the dull hum of the bozu at their prayers ; 
while in the little garden all was still save the before- 
mentioned flies, and they were one by one rapidly dis- 
appearing down the capacious throat of the motionless 

As I was lazily contemplating the creature, a small 
shadow flashed across the landscape, and something 
alighted among the greenery and vanished behind the 
feathery bamboos, from whence presently proceeded a 
low " buzz," evidently music to the ears of the gentle 
O Momo. 

It turned, sat up, looked at me over the back of its 
head, and rolled its goggle eyes as though saying, 


" Listen, my friend from afar. That is the song of a 

" Buzz-wuzz-wum! ' : 

The new-comer hummed among the landscape, but 
did not reveal itself; finding which, the toad once more 
turned politely toward me, closed its mouth and eyes, 
and appeared to be slumbering. 

" Buzz-wuzz-wuzz! " went the unseen insect. 

There was something very soothing in the hum of the 
new arrival, and I presently became affected by it; then, 
all of a sudden, I awoke with a start, and beheld O 
Momo capture a large insect, the action being so rap- 
idly executed that I had no opportunity of ascertaining 
the species of its victim. All I saw was the toad with 
its cheeks distended, winking knowingly and panting 
with excitement. 

In another instant a change came over the counte- 
nance of the kawadzu: its eyes protruded, the corners 
of its mouth assumed a downward curve, and it slowly 
opened its jaws until it looked like a hungry squab 
gaping for a worm. 

As it did so, O Fuji-nami entered with towels and a 
brass bowl containing warm water. On seeing the 
gestures of the toad, she quickly deposited the articles 
on the floor, knelt by the window-sill, clasped her hands 
palm to palm, and tearfully exclaimed, 


l( * Ye gods ! she is dying ! r 

The kawadzu shook its head, tried to insert its hind 
toes in its mouth, turned over on its back, sat up 
against one of the lanterns like a puppy learning to 
beg, and made a wheezing noise; then, happy thought! 
endeavored to dislodge its victim by spitting. I have 
witnessed some very lame attempts, but never more im- 
potent ones than those made by that toad, which, spite 
of the popular belief, " could n't spit worth a cent." 
Meanwhile the imprisoned insect was working away 
like a woodpecker. 

" Oh, what shall I do? " moaned the waitress. " Poor, 
poor O Momo ! She will be killed, and perhaps have to 
be a snake in her next state." 

"While she was sobbing and lamenting, one of the 
bozu, an ascetic-faced old fellow, looked in at the door 
and inquired the cause of her agony. On ascertaining 
the trouble he entered the room, knelt, bowed his head 
to the mats, and sitting upon his heels, said, 

" Probably the amiable creature is bewitched." 

Knowing this was meant for me, and not being desir- 
ous of earning fame as a wizard, I asked him to exam- 
ine the reptile. He took a pair of lictslii (chopsticks) 
from a shelf, advanced to the edge of the mats, reached 
forward, dexterously grasped the toad with the instru- 
ments, raised it from the ground, and peered into its 


gaping 1 month. Turning his shaven head toward me, 
he smiled until his face resembled an animated cobweb 
and I could scarcely see his twinkling eyes ; then once 
more bowing, said, 

:f See how weak women are. When this miserable 
creature was in the more perfect state, she became 
enamored of a red-headed to-jin; now' (chuckling) 
"she has mistaken a to-jin liai r (foreign fly) "for a 
blue-bottle. JVamu Amida Butsu !"* 

He placed the toad upon its back on the mats, 
inserted the liaslii in its mouth, and released the 
cause of its emotion, a big, vigorous yellow-jacket. 
These pests are said to have been introduced into 
Japan by foreigners, hence their name. 

The wasp lay for a moment all of a heap, with its 
wings adhering to its slender limbs and striped body; 
after which it stretched itself, vibrated its flying appara- 
tus, and crawling to the window-sill, buzzed derisively, 
soared across the little landscape, and vanished over the 
peak of Fuji into the blue distance. 

The ~bozu directed O Fuji-nami to bathe the toad in 
the warm water; having done which he retired to his 
cell, murmuring as he went, " Namu Amida Butsu! ' 

Upon looking at the girl I saw she was weeping, and 
on my inquiring the cause, she said, 

f l wish I were a man! Everything is against us 


women. I believe that to-jin lud was Charlie Smith 
Sama! Not contented with causing 1 poor O Memo's 
death in her former life, he has returned to torment her 
in this. Alas! alas! men know not how to love! ' 

After a while the kawadzu sat up and eyed me 
reproachfully, as though I were the cause of its 
swollen head; then it slowly hopped up the pathway 
and disappeared into its retreat beneath the rocks. 

That was the last I saw of the Toad of Tomioka. 



THE sun was beating fiercely upon the heavily tiled 
roof of the temple of Sen-so, the ever-merciful 
Kuwannon, in Asakusa, one of the most celebrated 
places in the ancient city of Tokio. From amid the 
cool recesses of the carved and gilded beams of the 
porch came the soft cooing of the opal-breasted doves, 
which were dreamily enjoying the delights of their 
shady retreat; and from the interior of the dimly 
lighted structure issued thin blue clouds of incense, 
and a gentle murmur like the drone of bees hovering 
over flowers, the voices of the bozu (priests) at their 

No other sounds disturbed the holy cairn of the place, 
and no pilgrims were to be seen on the broad flagged 
pathway leading to the main edifice. The girls who 
sold beans and rice for the sacred birds and animals 
were dozing by their stands; the dealers in rosaries, 
dolls, prayer-books, novels, sacred pictures, photo- 
graphs of the Mikado and of celebrated actors, in- 



cense, and bay rum, were slumbering with one eye 
open, in order to enjoy a brief repose and at the same 
time watch the thieves who infest the spot. The 
withered crones, who had all the morning been howling 
prayers to attract the attention of the charitable, were 
resting from their labors and employing their toothless 
gums in the mastication of their frugal meal of cold 
boiled rice. 

I had spent several hours in the temple, had my 
fortune told by the priests, inspected the well-polished 
image of Bindzuri (one of the Jin-roku Rakan, sixteen 
disciples of Buddha reputed to have the power of cur- 
ing all disease), and gazed on the shrine said to contain 
the little image of Ivuwannon that, twelve centuries 
ago, was fished out of the Asakusa River by Hashi-no 
Xakatomo, who founded the original edifice. 

Truth to tell, I was tired of the Buddhist show and 
anxious to listen to something more exciting than the 
monotonous prayer of the priests; so, quitting the neigh- 
borhood of the temple, I wandered into the shady 
grounds and presently found myself before an open 
booth, on the floor of which squatted a group of people 
listening to the recital of a professional story-teller. 

Notwithstanding the counter attractions of the 
modern stage, cheap sensational literature, and the 
introduction of daily newspapers, the lianasliika holds 


his own in the affections of the masses, and is as popular 
as he was a thousand years ago ; for while relating one 
of the tales of old Japan, the story-teller can covertly 
criticise passing events and express sentiments that find 
a warm response in the hearts of his hearers. 

When the man had ended his narrative, I slipped off 
my shoes and joined his patrons; noticing which, he 
bowed respectfully and bade his attendant serve me 
with tea. 

He was seated on a low rostrum at the back of 
the booth, which was made of split bamboo mats laid 
on a framework of light poles, and was admirably 
arranged to exclude the sun and admit the air. Before 
him stood a tsukuye (table) about six inches high, 
upon which he rapped, drummed, or rattled to em- 
phasize the more thrilling portions of his recitals; 
and on his right was a lower platform occupied by 
his attendant, who replenished the charcoal in the 
hibachi (fire bowl), supplied his master with tea, and 
handed around the fan for contributions. 

The audience was composed of pilgrims, merchants 
out for a day's enjoyment, and boys of various ages. 
All were grave in their demeanor, polite to one another, 
and inveterate smokers. 

After a considerable sum in brass tempo (oval coins 
worth less than a cent) and cash (clio-moku) had been 


collected lyy the attendant, the lianasliika bowed until 
his forehead touched the low table, then said, - 

" Honorable sirs, you doubtless imagine you are about 
to receive great pleasure for your trifling outlay of money, 
and expect that I will alternately cause you to gape with 
amazement, shudder with terror, and laugh until you 
exhibit the roots of your tongues. Yes, yes, I mean to 
give you the full value of your money. My stories are 
jetsu-roku [true history] , not like zu-zan [so called from 
Zu, a notorious Chinese who forged historical records] ; 
my art, like the silken cord of the rosary, connects facts 
and makes them a harmonious whole, illustrating the 
virtues of fidelity, patriotism, and valor. Now listen 
attentively, and endeavor to understand the full mean- 
ing of my narrative." 

He closed his fan, once more saluted gravely, then 
began in a musical voice, " The night guard over the 
gates of the sacred city of Kioto had grown negli- 
gent, and the oni [demons] frequently entered the 
precincts and carried off persons who were unfor- 
tunately compelled to be abroad after sunset : (In 
a significant aside.) " We no longer have any neces- 
sity for guards over our city gates: the latter have been 
removed, and the oni can enter and depart at all hours. 
Hail [yes] this is truly a period of change. However, 
let us be thankful for all things sent by the gods." 


This covert hit at foreigners caused his audience to 
murmur approvingly and to throw him a shower of 
coins. The lower orders of Japanese do not love us, 
and though exceedingly polite, delight in slyly express- 
ing their feelings. Having put his patrons in a good- 
humor, and shown that while tolerating my presence, 
his heart was filled with Yamato damashi (the spirit of 
Japan), he rapped the table with his fan, and bowing, 
recommenced, plunging boldly into his story : 

" The night was cool and the sky was clouded when 
Watanabe Tsuna, one of the faithful soldiers of Raiko, 
chief captain of the imperial guard, started for the Rajo 
gate at the southwestern entrance to the palace of 
Kioto. The wind demons skulked amid the branches 
of the pines, and shrieked menacingly as the brave 
soldier strode along the deserted path which was over- 
shadowed by the massive battlements; but AVatanabe 
knew no fear, for he carried at his side a wonderful 
sword forged by the great Yukihira. 

" Upon reaching his post he examined his weapons, and 
taking an amulet from his sleeve, wound it about the hilt 
of his Tcatana [long sword], then exclaimed defiantly, 
' Hundred million demons advance ! ' The oni heard this 
and trembled; for his face was illuminated with the glow 
of courage, and they also feared the power of the sacred 
charm. The demons consulted, like old women who 


had heard bad news, and gnashed their teeth. They 
had sworn to enter the city that night and carry off a 
beautiful virgin who was coveted by the hideous, red- 
haired-monster, Shu-ten-doji, their master. 

" ' AYuit, wait, wait,' murmured one of their number, 
an old oiii with only one eye and teeth like a dragon's 
claws. ' If we keep quiet, TTatanabe will soon fall 
asleep; then we can attack and kill him, and accom- 
plish our task.' 

" The others thought this advice was good, and held 
their breath ; so Watanabe heard nothing but the amorous 
chirping of the night cricket and the love song of the 
frogs ' cloaping ' in the moat below. ' Ah ! ' he thought, 
* if I only had my tablets in my sleeve, I would write a 

" ' High in the matsu [pine] chirps what? 
Low in the moat sings what? 
The eager lover.' 

" Watanabe, like many great warriors, was a poet ; 
and as composing verses absorbs the soul, he w T as 
presently lost in deep thought and soon slumbered. 
At that moment the one-eyed oni crept to the gate, 
reached its long, hairy arm round the door-post, grasped 
Watanabe by the helmet, and 

Here the hanasJiika paused, and bowing respectfully, 
murmured, " Five tempo, honorable sirs, and I will coii- 



tinue the story. For the mean and trifling sum of five 
tempo yon shall learn what the oni did to "Watanabe." 

He closed his fan, signalled to his attendant to hand 
him a cup of tea, and leaning his elbows upon the table, 
watched the faces of his audience. The pilgrims fum- 
bled in their pouches and sent their coins spinning on 
the mat before him, shouted " Yuke " (go on) , and looked 
as eager as a lot of school-boys listening to a ghost 
story. After the last coin had fallen, he squirted the 
tea from his mouth and continued in a low, " creepy ' 

'The oni endeavored to raise Watanabe from the 
ground. Meanwhile the clouds had gathered around 
them, the demons were hurrying to their comrade's aid, 
and the sky was filled with their exultant cries." (Rat- 
tling his fan on the tsukuye.) " The undaunted soldier 
raised his left hand and grasped the oni's wrist, then 
quickly drawing his sword, made a cut that whistled 
like the autumn wind among the trees, and severed his 
assailant's arm. The monster, howling with pain, 
sprang upon a cloud, and with its companions vanished, 
leaving "Watanabe regarding his bloody trophy. When 
morning dawned he returned to the castle, and laying 
the arm at Kaiko's feet, murmured, ? Accept this as a 
proof of my watchfulness.' 

" Raiko commended him highly, and observed, ' It is 


said if you keep an oni's limb apart from its stump for 
a week, it will no longer have power to reunite itself to 
the creature's body. Guard that carefully; for as long- 
as you possess it, the demons will be unable to enter our 
holy city.' 

Watanabe bowed, conveyed his prize home and 
placed it in a stone chest, which he securely bound with 
a rope of rice straw procured from a neighboring tem- 
ple. He watched his treasure day and night, and grew 
red-eyed with his vigil. On the third evening he heard 
a faint noise outside his house, and the voice of his old 
olxt [aunt] , exclaiming, < Let me in, Tsuna ! I wish to 
see the arm of the oni, and to compliment you upon 
your prowess.' 

: Watanabe, who greatly venerated the aged, drew 
aside the sliding door, and admitting her said, ' Honor- 
able aunt, much as I would like to gratify you, I cannot 
exhibit my treasure until the expiration of a week.' 

? Alas ! ' exclaimed his visitor, who was no other 
than the oni disguised as his relative, f I fear I shall not 
be able to see you then: I have come a long distance, 
and my limbs are very weak.' 

"As she spoke, her tears fell in torrents." (Slyly, 
speaking satirically from the left corner of his mouth.) 
' Honorable masters, beware of a woman who cries too 
easily : she is usually an oni in disguise." 


>r Hai [yes] ," shouted the audience. 

'"Watanabe again expressed his sorrow at not being 
able to comply with her request; on hearing which she 
beat her wrinkled breast and tore her scanty hair until 
he, moved by her grief and despair, yielded." (Speak- 
ing 1 out of the left corner of his mouth.) f Never be 

O ' 

deceived by a woman's tears: the man who commits 
such an act of folly is lost. Of course I except the hon- 
orable mother: always obey her, but" (slyly) "be firm 
with your wives, your sisters, cousins, and aunts, and 
the rest of the deceitful sex." (Lowering his voice and 
speaking in a mysterious tone.) ' Watanabe approached 
the box, removed the straw rope, and partly slid aside 
the lid, when the crone, who had watched him with eager 
eyes and trembling limbs, thrust forth her left hand, 
and grasping the prize, shouted, ' This is my arm ! ' 

T Uttering a derisive yell she flew out of the open 
door, and as she vanished into the western sky resumed 
her true form. 

>f The warrior, furious at being tricked, would have 
destroyed himself, but his chief persuaded him to live 
and to assist in killing Shu-ten-doji. 

T Raiko dreamed that the possession of a celebrated 
sword forged by Ohara Tarndaiyu, Yasutsuna no 
Hoki, which had been placed in the sacred shrine of 
Ise by the shogun Tamura, would enable him to over- 


come the dreaded demon. After obtaining the weapon, 
he, "Watanabe Tsuna, and two others disguised them- 
selves as komusu [begging priests], and tracking the 
demon's course by the blood-marks, followed it to the 
pathless mountain of Oye, in Tango. 

They climbed some distance up its sides, when they 
came to a rivulet in which a beautiful young girl was 
washing the monster's garments. Raiko questioned 
her, and found that the oni devoured all the men and 
the old women they captured, and spared the young, 
whom they compelled to act as their attendants. She 
told the heroes how to find the cave, then resumed her 

"As they warily advanced, they heard a strange, 
crackling noise." (Rattling his fan lightly on the 
table.) '"Was it the rustling of the dried leaves" 
(hoarsely and earnestly) , : ' or the step of a demon 
creeping stealthily toward them, with gleaming eyes 
and gaping mouth? Raiko grasped the hilt of his 
sword. His companions followed his example, and 
though their hearts beat like drums, their souls were 
filled with true courage and they strode forward to meet 
the unseen. Tramp, tramp, tramp! In another moment 
they turned a bend in the pathway and beheld " 

By that time the eyes of his excited audience were 
protruding with horror, their mouths were gaping like 


fishes out of water, and their fingers were clasped palm 
to palm; noticing which he stopped, and bowing said, 
r For a few tem2)o I will relate the rest of this interest- 
ing story. I have an aged mother to support, and a 
family of little ones." 

He calmly lighted his pipe, closed his eyes, and puffed 
complacently, while his audience fumbled for their cash 
and eagerly awaited the continuation of his recital. 

He was a thorough artist and a keen judge of human 
nature, and it was a study to watch him contemptuously 
elevate his pug nose when the coins were not produced 
fast enough. 

' The best is to come," he carelessly remarked. " If 
my efforts are properly stimulated with plenty of tempo, 
I will alternately fill your souls with terror and cause 
you to shout with joy. Only ten more cash and I will 
resume my story." 

Finally, when the spectators began to howl with 
indignation, he assumed a horrified expression of face 
and continued in a hoarse, affrighted voice, 

T Raiko and his companions trembled, for they per- 
ceived that the crackling noise came from a demon cook, 
who r (rattling his fan) "was breaking the bones of a 
human body to make soup for Shu-ten-doji. 

: This sight enraged Raiko : his eyes flashed fire, his 
breath came quickly " ; (in a loud, rapid voice) " he as- 


cended the hill with tremendous strides, and followed by 
his faithful companions, soon reached the cave, the en- 
trance to which was as ragged as the mouth of a dragon." 
(Quietly.) Then the hero paused and composed the fol- 
lowing poem : 

" ' Defeats man}' warriors what? 
Destroys mail}' pleasures what ? 

r? After doing this he became calm, and entering the 
cavern, beheld Shu-ten-doji seated on a pile of silken 
cushions, picking his huge teeth with a bone. Around 
him were grouped his hideous followers, while young 
damsels, beautiful as mermaids, were coming and going 
with steaming dishes of human flesh cooked in a hun- 
dred stvles. Before each oni was a skull filled with 


blood, and ' (hoarsely) " as these were emptied, they 
were refilled from tubs containing the crimson liquid. 

? Raiko and his three trusty friends bowed low; then 
Shu-ten-doji, being too dainty a demon to eat a priest, 
invited them to enter and enjoy the feast. 

r The visitors complied, and in order to entertain the 
oni, amused them by dancing; after which Raiko pro- 
duced a bottle of drugged sake and politely invited their 
host to drink. 

' AVhen the chief demon had swallowed a skullful 
he passed the flask to his followers, and like them 


quickly yielded to its soporific effects." (In a loud voice.) 
" Soon their snores sounded like thunder, and the earth 
shook with the vibrations ; hearing which ' (excitedly 
using his fan as if it were a sword), " Raiko and his com- 
rades threw off their disguises, and drawing their keen 
weapons, cut off the GUI'S heads until the floor of the 
cavern was waist-deep in blood, and the torrent poured 
over the mouth and descended into the valley " (rattling 
his fan in imitation of a falling stream) . 

: When Kaiko attacked Shu-ten-doji, his sword was 
miraculously lengthened, his eyes flashed like spear- 
heads in the sun, he uttered a tremendous shout, and 
raising the blade aloft, brought it to bear upon the hairy 
neck of the ghoul. As the dissevered head touched the 
floor of the cave, Raiko called to Watanabe to help him 
secure it, when to their astonishment it swelled until it 
became larger than the shi-shi no kubi [lion's head] of 
Kanda Miojin." (Excitedly.) " Then followed a scene 
that gladdened the gods, for each of the warriors fought 
like a hundred thousand men, cut, slash! cut, slash! 
After fighting several hours, for all the oni on our 
sacred islands came to the rescue of their friends, the 
warriors despatched the last of the imps, and releasing 
the prisoners, recovered the treasure hidden in the cave 
and returned in triumph to Kioto, carrying the enormous 
head of Shu-ten-doji in procession through the streets." 


(Bowing.) " Honorable sirs, such is the story of Raiko. 
Ah ! in those good days Japan had brave men to kill the 
wicked demons that tormented the people." (Signifi- 
cantly.) " Now the red-headed oni torment us as they 
please and we have to suffer, for there is no one among 
us powerful enough to overcome them. Venerated be 
the memory of the immortal Raiko ! ' 

f Ilai, liai" approvingly murmured the audience. 

I lingered until the last of his native patrons had 
retired, then inquired why he was so bitter against 

At first he protested that I was mistaken ; but on dis- 
covering I understood the double meaning of his story, 
he frankly said, 

:? Some of your countrymen come here with a new 
religion, which they assure us is better than ours; and 
others, rendered furious by the demon of drink, roam 
our streets day and night, and cruelly assault innocent 
persons. Why do you not, instead of inflicting your 
faith upon us, endeavor to convert your Shu-ten-doji? 
I beg that on your return to your honorable land you 
will explain this to your countrymen, and " (bowing low) 
" pardon the free tongue of an ignorant lianasliika,? 


MANY of the most beautiful stories told by the 
lianasliika are of Indian or Chinese origin, and 
are as old as the hills. Among the most popular and 
charming is the legend of Lu-wen, the wood-cutter, 
which bears such a striking resemblance to Irving's 
"Kip Tan Winkle' 1 that the latter appears to be a 
plagiarism of the Oriental tale. The following is the 
Japanese version : 

"The priests say, ' Pray continually : for every prayer 
uttered in this state you will escape a moment of pain 
in the next.' While this is well enough for persons 
who have nothing to do but to supplicate the gods, it is 
a bad doctrine to teach those who have families to 
support; in proof of which I will relate the story of 
Lu-wen, who, many centuries ago, dwelt in the shadow 
of the sacred mountain of Tendai, the highest peak of 
the Nanlin range [China] . 

" The wood-cutter, like most poor people, was blessed 
with many children, whose necessities compelled him 
to labor from daylight until dawn; notwithstanding 



which he was always cheerful, and contrived to keep 
the rice-pot well filled. 

" One afternoon, while he was engaged in felling a 
tree, a begging priest interrupted him and inquired 
wliether he had ever thought of a future state. The 
wood-cutter eyed the ~bozu askance, and curtly replied, 

" ' I have no time to attend to such things. If you 
had to work for your living, as I do, and had a large 
family to support, you would not trouble yourself about 
the future. I find it hard enough to attend to the pres- 
ent. Please stand out of the way, or this tree may fall 
upon you.' 

" The TJOZU, who had a ' golden tongue ' and was used 
to hearing such plain talk, bowed and said, - 

" ' My son, you must not forget that you owe some- 
thing to yourself. Every hour you devote to prayer 
w r ill save you a hundred years' torture hereafter. Pray 
and work; then will your life be happy, and when the 
end of your present state approaches, you will close 
your eyes satisfied that you have attained one step 
toward eternal perfection. Think how terrible it 
would be to pass countless ages in various forms, each 
lower than the last, or to have your restless spirit 
wandering for millions of years amid the horrible lab- 
yrinths of hell. Would you suffer torments that no 
tongue can describe, thirst that even an ocean of water 


could not quench, hunger that no food could satisfy? 
Think of this, my son, and remember that for a present 
miserable outlay, a little self-sacrifice, and a few hours 
spent in holy contemplation, you may avert almost all 
these calamities, and will finally attain a seat on the 
sacred flower in the calm heaven of tranquillity and 

" At first Lu-wen turned a deaf ear to his tempter's 
pleadings. However, being only a poor, ignorant fel- 
low, he could not resist the sophistries of the learned 
man, who, after filling the wood-cutter's soul with appre- 
hension, and emptying his pouch of the savings of a 
lifetime, retired, leaving the unhappy forester a prey to 
the most dismal forebodings. 

" From that hour Lu-wen became a changed being, 
and instead of working with his axe, wasted his time 
in religious disputation with all who would listen to 
him, and in meditation and prayer. 

" When winter came he wo\ild crouch over the scanty 
fire and count his beads, and during the rainy season he 
occupied the sheltered side of the hut, and compelled 
his children to stand in the puddles. Like all ascetics, 
he w r as mild of speech, inoffensive of manner, and will- 
ing to receive anything from anybody. As time rolled 
on his family increased, and their means of subsistence 
dwindled to nothing. 


" At first his wife, who was an industrious, frugal 
woman, silently submitted to his eccentricities and 
turned a deaf ear to the advice of her neighbors, who 
did not fail to plainly express their opinions of her 
husband's conduct; but at last, unable to withstand the 
pitiful cries of her children, she determined to remon- 
strate with him. One morning, after he had dreamily 
swallowed the only food there was in the house, and 
was preparing to ascend the mountain in order to enjoy 
his devotions undisturbed, she approached him, pros- 
trated herself, bowed respectfully, and murmured, 

" i I desire to say something important to you.' 

" ' Be quick,' he returned, ' do not worry me with 
your foolish gossip. I have my prayers to say.' 

" This unkind reply stung her to the quick; and 
rising, she excitedly exclaimed, 

" ? Honorable husband, listen to me. I can no longer 
contain my indignation, or bear the sight of our little 
ones' misery. Are you blind and deaf ? Cannot you 
see that their stomachs are adhering to their back- 
bones, and do you not hear them moaning for food? 
I have worked until my fingers are worn to the bone, 
and my strength is exhausted. I think it is time you 
again took your axe and did something more important 
than mumble prayers.' 

" For a while he could not credit the evidence of his 


ears; however, he presently recovered from his amaze- 
ment, and replied sternly, 

'Woman, the gods are before everything! Your 
words shock me ! See, our children are listening, and 
will be led astray by your thoughtless expressions. 
You forget that I am known as the most pious man in 
this province.' 

? Pious! pious!' ejaculated the heart-broken crea- 
ture, as she glanced around the miserable home and saw 
nothing but hungry faces and empty vessels. : Your 
prayers do not fill our rice-pot ! ' 

You are a vile creature ! ' he wrathfully answered. 
? I will not waste my breath in endeavoring to change 
your nature. Consider yourself divorced. After this 
I will have none of you ! ' 

* He snatched his axe from the corner where it had 
so long rested, and without deigning to look behind 
him, strode up the mountain-side, entered a mist cloud, 
and disappeared from her sight. As he vanished she 
dried her eyes, and indignantly exclaimed, 

'You may go your way: I am satisfied. I would 
rather bear the stigma of divorce than struggle to 
support such a lazy, dreamy, good-for-nothing vaga- 
bond! May the foxes punish you for your unnatural 
behavior to your offspring ! ' 

" Although the woman had in her anger expressed 


the feelings that agitated her soul, she presently, like 
a true wife, began to reproach herself for having been 
so disrespectful to her husband; and when a neighbor 
looked in and inquired after her health, she sighed and 

' I fear I have driven Lu-wen away for good. Oh, 
what shall I do?' 

" The visitor smiled, and glancing at her, said in a 
significant manner, 

'Even ascetics must eat. Don't worry yourself: 
your husband will hurry back when he imagines he 
smells the burnt rice.' 

r Lu-wen slowly ascended the mountain, and as he 
walked beheld the sun goddess drive back the dragon 
of the mist. Upon reaching his usual retreat, he seated 
himself on a shelf of rock and murmured a prayer. 
Overhead was the blue sky; behind him the glorious 
peak of Tendai, with its snowy crest glistening like a 
cone of silver; and at his feet the lovely valley, green 
with early rice and swarming with men and women 
busily engaged in cultivating the soil. The feathered 
pines gave out sweet odors, that, mingling with the 
perfume of ten thousand flowers, floated around him 
and charmed his senses : and as he listened to the song 
of the peli-liny, lark [called hundred-spirit bird], he 
smiled and said, 


' What fools men are to toil and sweat in order to 
amass the dross of this earth ! "When will they learn 
that to acquire happiness it is only necessary to aban- 
don material things and to pray to the gods? Here all 
is peace, and one is not tormented with the chatter of 
a woman's tongue.' 

r Having thus expressed himself, he yielded to the 
soothing influences around him, and closing his eyes 
enjoyed the ecstasy of holy contemplation. While 
thus employed he heard a noise in the undergrowth, 
and arousing himself, saw a fox dart before him and 
vanish into a thicket of bamboo grass. Although not 
fond of hard work, he had a keen love of the chase; 
so he seized his axe, and rising, started nimbly in pur- 
suit, thinking as he beat the covert, : When the 
winter storms howl around the base of Tendai, it will 
be good to have a fox-skin to protect one's head.' 

:t He saw the creature's tail several times, but failed 
to run it down; and finally, after a prolonged chase, 
was about to give up the hunt and return to his devo- 
tions, when, entering a clear space, he to his amazement 
beheld two court ladies seated on a finely woven mat 
playing sho-gi [chess]. 

: The wood-cutter squatted respectfully, rested the 
head of his axe on the ground, and placing his chin on 
the but, watched the progress of the game, his soul 
being filled with a new emotion. 


'Ah!' he murmured to himself, Mf one of those 
glorious creatures would but notice me ! ' 

: The pious Lu-wen, utterly forgetful of his good 
wife and starving children, continued to gaze upon the 
lovely ladies until the hours melted into days, the days 
into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into 
years, and the years into centuries; devoured by his 
passion and oblivious of all save its objects. 

The spring rains which saturated his decaying gar- 
ments glanced harmlessly off the robes of his charmers, 
who neither heeded them, the sun of summer, nor the 
snows of winter, but played on f as calmly as gods ' a 
game that appeared endless. 

? Lu-wen, utterly unconscious of the lapse of time 
and the changes that had taken place in his appear- 
ance, eagerly watched every move made by the mys- 
terious ladies. After three hundred years he detected 
one of them in a false move, when he cried, f Wrong, 
most beautiful woman ! ' 

T In an instant the dames changed into foxes, and 
vanished among the brushwood; seeing which he 
thougkt, : When the winter storms howl round the 
base of Tendai, it will be good to possess two fox-skins 
instead of one. I will secure them.' 

:? As he moved his chin from its resting-place, and 
rose to resume the chase, he discovered that his limbs 



were stiff; while the handle of his axe, which had been 
made of kaslii [the hardest kind of wood], crumbled 
into pimky fragments and scattered about his feet. 
With a tremendous effort he contrived to stand erect, 
when to his horror he found, in lieu of a shaven face, 
he possessed a flowing white beard, and that his head 
was covered with long, silvery hair. 

r Five hundred gods!' he cried, raising his hand 
and clutching his snowy locks. ' What has come over 
me ? Ah, I understand! I have been bewitched by 
those foxes.' 

'He passed his trembling fingers slowly over his 
wrinkled features, and glanced with a dazed expression 
at his withered limbs and time-worn garments; then, 
bent like a bow, hobbled down the mountain path. 

? Although he easily found the main street of his 
native village, everything in it was changed. Saplings 
had grown into trees, the giant monsters that formerly 
shadowed the road were leafless and decayed, and he 
beheld new houses and strange faces; while the awed 
children, who peeped at him around the corners, whis- 
pered to one another, 'Who is that mountain spirit? 
Is he of the demons or of the ancient gods?' 

c Presently he paused to rest, and shading his eyes 
with his palsied hands, quavered, r How different every- 
thing is from what it was this morning! ' 


r? After a while he reached the spot which had once 
been occupied by his hut, when he beheld an aged 
woman, who appeared to rise out of the ground, and 
who was as ragged and weird as himself. He alter- 
nately surveyed her and the wonder-stricken crowd 
that had gathered around them, then querulously 
demanded what had become of his home; adding, 
? Surely I am not dreaming; this is the village of 

r The crone regarded him with a penetrating glance, 
and replied, ' Yes, this is Yu-peen. What is your 
honorable name?' 

'I am Lu-wen, the wood-cutter,' he mumbled. 
'This morning I quitted home, and ascended yonder 
mountain in order to pray undisturbed, and while thus 
employed was bewitched by foxes.' 

This morning ! this morning ! ' she cried. f If you 
are Lu-wen, who left your wife and little ones to starve, 
vou have been absent from here three hundred years.' 

*/ */ 

r Three hundred years! ' he gasped, placing his 
hands palm to palm in agony. : Woman, surely you 
must be jesting ! ' 

r No, I speak the truth,' she bitterly replied. The 
gods, to punish you for neglecting your little ones, have 
prolonged your life until there is not a Lu-wen left to 
burn incense at your tomb.' 


? Lu-wen led the way through the village past the 
old temple, the only building that he recognized, and 
entered the cemetery where rested the bones of his 


The shadows of evening were falling, and the peo- 
ple followed the aged pair with awed faces and bated 

>? Slowly, for the patriarch walked with great diffi- 
culty, the weird ones advanced until they arrived at the 
moss-covered tablets erected in memory of generations 
of Lu-wens, when the woman pointed significantly to a 
hillock, and said, r There rest the bodies of your unfor- 
tunate children, who perished miserably through your 

:t As he gazed on the neglected graves, big tears 
coursed down his withered cheeks and moistened his 
snowy beard, and he covered his eyes with his hands as 
though he could not bear the sight. After a while he 
turned toward the tombs of his ancestors, prostrated 
himself, and for a few moments remained like one who 
is dead. 

The by-standers, pitying his age and infirmities, 
brought incense and assisted him to make his offerings; 
at the conclusion of which he rose, and addressing the 
people, said, 

c My children, do not follow the advice of the bozu 


when they tell you to pray continually. Prayer i- good 
and the gods are merciful, but we must consider othci^ 
as well as ourselves. For thinking solely of my own 
future I have been condemned to lose the happiest por- 
tion of my life, - - my manhood. The foxes justly pun- 
ished me for my inhuman behavior to my offspring. Re- 
member my last words, Work and pray. Farewell ! 

Thus speaking, he turned away sorrowfully and 
moved slowly in the direction of the mountain, followed 
at a respectful distance by the strange old woman, who, 
as he vanished into the gloaming, uttered a triumphant 
laugh and melted into air. 

'" Although some unbelieving persons assert that the 
foregoing is merely an idle legend, invented by story- 
tellers to frighten lazy persons who pretend to be pious 
in order to avoid labor, it is most certain that if you visit 
the mountain of Tendai when the moon is at its full, you 
will encounter the spirit of Lu-wen, the wood-cutter/ 1 


OK the street called Okiyo-koge (High Resting- 
Place of the Mikado) , in Tokio, is a restaurant 
c where persons can enjoy the supreme delight of broiled 
eels." This establishment is kept by a man named 
Maroki, and is well worth a visit. 

Most foreigners profess to dislike native food, and 
will not attempt to overcome their repugnance; while 
others boldly taste everything offered them, and soon 
learn to enjoy the perfect cookery and dainty service of 
the Japanese, and to prefer their dishes to the eternal 
sameness of our own. 

One afternoon in April I was strolling about the 
streets, engaged in watching the interesting occupa- 
tions of the people, when I met a young Japanese who 
had been educated at Harvard, and who appreciated a 
slice off the breast of a canvas-back duck and a tender- 
loin steak as perfectly as :? one to the manor born." 
Having politely saluted me, he said, 

'I am on my way to Maroki's. Would you like to 



join me in a feast of broiled eels? It is said that this 
month the unagi is a fit morsel for the gods." 

? Unagi? r> I replied, with a somewhat dubious shake 
of the head. f I never was very fond of those marine 

f Probably you have never tasted them prepared by 
my countrymen," he slyly returned. ? I remember once 
eating some at Delmonico's ' (shuddering). They 
were soft, flavorless morsels, enclosed in a quivering jelly. 
Come along with me and partake of a dish the taste of 
which will be pleasantly remembered long after you 
return to America. You, who are half a Japanese, 
ought not any longer to remain ignorant of one of our 
chief delicacies." 

Summoning a jin-riki-sha, we squeezed into it in the 
economical native fashion, and after a brief ride turned 
into the Okiyo-koge machi, and alighted at the entrance 
to Maroki's establishment, a two-story building, the 
lower apartment of which was furnished with grated, 
prison-like windows. In the entrance were the pro- 
prietor and his wife, who, as we paid our jin-riki-sha 
man, prostrated themselves, bowed their heads on the 
boards, and murmured, ' Thousand welcomes to our 
humble place " ; then, rising, awaited our pleasure. 

"Are the eels good to-day?' patronizingly inquired 
my friend. ? I have heard that their flavor is not quite 


what it used to be. Do you procure them from the 
city canals, or are they from the Sumida River? ' ; 

The proprietor again bowed, twitched the left corner 
of his mouth, after the fashion of a Japanese uttering a 
joke, and answered, 

r Honorable sir, do you for a moment imagine I would 
offer canal-bred eels to such a judge as yourself? No, 
no ! you know that I have a high reputation, and buy 
nothing but the most beautiful fish that come from the 
Sumida. Remembering that the time was near for you 
to pay us a visit, I have saved some of my finest eels 
for you. "Would you like to come into the kitchen and 
inspect them?" 

r Hai" gently added his wife, who had listened to 
his speech with downcast eyes, "that is so. "We have 
some unagi fit for a daimio." 

What do you say?" inquired my companion, turn- 
ing to me. ' Would you like to visit the culinary 
department? ' 

c Not until I have dined," I answered, sniffing sus- 
piciously at the unmistakable odor of daikon (pickled 
radish) that issued from a rear apartment. : You 
know the old proverb, ? Do not make the acquaintance 
of the cook until the feast is over'? If I relish the 
eels, I may feel like learning how they are prepared for 
the table." 


We slipped off our shoes and followed our hostess up 
a broad ladder to the floor above, which was divided by 
sliding screens of paper into a number of apartments. 
Here we were greeted by a score of chubby-faced, 
cherry-lipped, neatly dressed attendants, who knelt and 
welcomed us with profound bows. 

Which room do you prefer? ' said the mistress. 
'This is not a busy hour, so most of the apartments are 

My companion thought awhile, as though deciding 
an important matter; then haughtily replied, ' AVe will 
occupy the one over the extension. I always feel at 
home there." 

The woman led the way, and we entered a neatly 
matted room, about ten feet by twelve, the sole adorn- 
ment of which were two kakemono (hanging pictures) 
representing Ebisu and Dai-koku, gods of luck. 
Placing cushions on the floor, she invited us to seat 
ourselves upon them, prostrated herself, bowed gravely, 
and retired. In a few moments a black-eyed waitress, 
w r hose hair was polished like ebony and decorated with 
a single pin, entered with a tabakobou (box) containing 
live charcoal for our pipes. She deposited the appara- 
tus on the floor between us, knelt, bowed, sat upon her 
heels, glanced modestly downward, and awaited our 


My friend, who was what we term rather :f airy," 
being a junior official in the foreign office, glanced 
patronizingly at the girl and said, 

" Bring us some trifles with which to amuse ourselves, 
then serve the broiled eels as fast as we require them. 
Mind, we don't want fish that have been cooked an 
hour. My guest is a gentleman who appreciates hot 
food. "What wine have you on tap ? ' : 

The waitress, who, in spite of her drooping lashes 
and humble pose, was slyly watching me out of the 
corners of her eyes and laughing to herself at his affec- 
tation of importance, replied, 

: We have the fuku-boten, the muso-ichi, the otari, 
yebisii-tai, and the unrivalled hanazakari, which is the 
one I suppose your Exalted Excellency will order." 

: Yes," he nodded. "Of course we want the most 
expensive. Bring us some hanazakari: I never drink 
such stuff as fuku-boten. Hurry up." 

When she had retired I remarked, "Do 3^011 not notice 
a strange odor in this place? It makes me feel quite sick." 

He sniffed once or twice in an unconcerned man- 
ner, lighted his pipe, blew the smoke through his nos- 
trils, and regarding me with an amused expression, 

* After you have been in Tokio as long as I have, 
you will be used to these trifles. I suppose you per- 


ceive the perfume which arises from the sewer outside 
the window. If you so desire, we will change to 
another room." 

Upon my replying that I very much wished to do so, 
he summoned the attendant, who conducted us to an 
apartment overlooking the street, then retired for a few 
moments, and returned bearing two small trays contain- 
ing little covered bowls and a bottle of the f flower in 
full bloom." 

She knelt near us, filled two tiny cups with the sate, 
and proffered them to us, murmuring, The wine is 

As I sipped the delicious liquor I glanced at the 
pretty waitress, who was sitting on her heels, holding 
the bottle in her hand ready to replenish our cups. 

'What is your name? ' I asked. 

f Kiku [chrysanthemum] ." 

: What food is there on this tray? ' 

She reached forward, and uncovering the bowls, 
said as she revealed their contents, ' :<r Sliced daikon [a 
rank-smelling radish], niko-go-ri [cakes of fish jelly], 
sliced raw tai [carp] , ginger root, and seven kinds of 

r Please give me some shoyu [soy] ." 

Away she went, and soon was back with a red- 
lacquered tray, on which were two tiny, shallow saucers 
and a small teapot containing the sauce. 


She served each of us with some of the relish, then 
again sat upon her heels and modestly cast down her 

The liaslii (chopsticks) of fragrant red cedar, resting 
on the trays, were unsplit at the top, showing they had 
never been used, and that the restaurant was a first-class 

Taking up my pair I pulled them apart, and grasp- 
ing them in the regulation fashion, proceeded to enjoy 
the food, my companion, who politely waited until I 
had tasted it, following my example. 

The daikon was hot, hard, and salt, and I did not rel- 
ish it; but the fish jelly, cakes, raw tai, and vegetables 
were exceedingly nice. 

: These are only introductions to the real feast," re- 
marked my friend. r Do not eat too freely, or you will 
be unable to enjoy the delicacy of the season." 

When we had emptied the bowls, the waitress re- 
moved them, and quickly returned with some trays 
containing square black lacquered boxes, bearing the 
signs of the house and a number. Placing one before 
each of us, she removed the tightly fitting lids and re- 
vealed the contents, which were sections of nicely 
browned eels, skewered together, that gave out a most 
appetizing odor. 

The girl smiled as she watched my looks, and replen- 


ishing my saucer with slioyu, placed it near me, mur- 
muring 1 , " I think you will find the unagi very pleas- 
ing to your taste." 

I took my liaslii in my right hand, inserted the points 
in the fish, broke off a morsel, and ate. Ye gods, it was 
delicious ! rich, tender, delicately flavored, and boneless ! 

I drew my box toward me, nodded approvingly at 
the attendant, and enjoyed the delectable food. 

The smiling girl brought in box after box, the con- 
tents of each being nicer than the last. 

I have partaken of fried oysters at home, broiled fish 
in all countries, and the delicacies of ever} 7 clime, but 
have never more thoroughly enjoyed any dish than I 
did those unagi. 

At last I laid down my chopsticks, and glancing at 
my friend, exclaimed, : You were right in saying that 
this is a dish for the gods ! We ought to introduce it 
in the States." 

The waitress bowed in acknowledgment of my praise, 
and inquired if we would like some rice. 

Yes," nodded my companion, " I think I could empty 
a bowl or two." 

The girl left us, and after a brief delay returned 
bearing a large tray, on which was a covered wooden 
tub containing hot rice, two lacquered bowls, a teapot, 
and some tiny cups. 


I ate one portion of the delicious, well-cooked cereal ; 
then lighted my pipe and watched my friend, who had 
his bowl refilled a dozen times, and who moistened his 
food by saturating it with tea. 

r How do yon contrive to render the skin of the fish 
so tender?" I asked the girl. 

r l do not know," she answered, glancing timidly 
at the mats. : The cooks never permit ns to learn their 
secrets. If you would like to visit the kitchen, they 
will no doubt explain everything to you." 

"O Kiku, bring something to help us digest our 
food," said my companion. T I am afraid the eels will 
disagree with us." 

The girl quitted the room and soon reappeared with 
a tray, on which was a lacquer cup containing some 
seeds of the xantlwuylon piperitum, called by the Jap- 
anese sanclio, which tastes like orange peel. 

: Try those," he said ; :t if you feel any inconvenience 
from your dinner, they will quickly relieve you." 

!Not having emptied a tub of rice, I did not require 
the medicine. However, I asked the waitress if she 
would put up a few of the seeds for me to take home to 
the States. 

" ]STow for the bill," said my companion, refilling his 
pipe. " Altogether you have given us a very tolerable 


In a few moments she came back, carrying a small 
scoop-like tray, in which was placed a slip of paper 
inscribed with the reckoning 1 . She pushed this along 
the mat toward him, then bowed and remained with her 
face close to the floor, Avhile he minutely scrutinized 
the document. Taking his purse from his sleeve, he 
dropped some paper money into the tray, and remarked 
in a low tone, " You may keep the change " (ten cents). 

His munificence almost overpowered the waitress, 
who bowed repeatedly and murmured gratefully, " Your 
generosity resembles that of a foreigner. Any one can 
see that you have travelled." 

After we had smoked awhile, he asked me whether I 
would like to visit the kitchen; and on my replying in 
the affirmative, summoned the landlady, who said, " You 
honor us too greatly"; offering me a small package, 
"Please accept this sancho"', adding, "My husband 
will show you how we prepare the eels." 

"We rose, quitted the room, and descending the lad- 
der-like stairway, the steps of which were polished as 
smooth as glass, slipped on our foot coverings and 
entered the kitchen. On the hard earthen floor were 
rows of little charcoal furnaces, provided with iron rods 
that served as rests for the skewered eels. Maroki, 
who had a weakness for bowing and politely sucking 
in his breath between his speeches, led the way, and 


was exceedingly attentive. Pointing to a range of tubs 
containing fine specimens of anguilla tenuirostrii, he 

: These were caught this morning. They were the 
most expensive fish in the Nippon Bashi market. Are 
they not worth looking at?" 

? How do you contrive to so completely extract their 
bones?" I demanded. rt Our cooks cannot accomplish 
that feat." 

He motioned to a lightly clad servant and said, 
" Some customers have just come in. Prepare an eel 
in the presence of these gentlemen." 

The man, who evidently took great pride in his work, 
selected a vigorously squirming fish, struck its head 
smartly upon a wooden block placed upon the floor, 
and squatting by it, grasped the creature's neck, in- 
serted a knife in the left side of the vertebras, and 
dexterously ran it down to the tail; then rapidly ap- 
plied his instrument to the other side of the backbone 
and repeated the process, leaving the eel split open. 
Holding up the head, to which were attached the 
vertebras and lateral bones, enclosing the intestines, 
he bowed and said, : There is not a splinter left in 
the fish." 

: That is so," proudly remarked the proprietor. f l 
only employ the most skilful men and cooks." 


The operator washed clown the block, chopped the 
flattened eel into three-inch lengths, and shouted to a 
cook, who advanced and removed it on a dish. 

The next process was a mysterious one, and was 
performed behind a screen, from whence the platter of 
eels was handed out to one of the broilers. My opin- 
ion is that the fish had simply been plunged into boiling 
water, to make the skin tender. 

"We advanced to a range and saw a cook skewering 
the pieces of eel on long bamboo splints. Then he 
placed them on the rods over the glowing coals, and 
when one side was browned, dexterously picked them 
up with a pair of iron chopsticks and turned them. 
After they were thoroughly cooked, he seized the fish 
with the same instrument and plunged it into a vessel 
containing old shoyu, which was as thick and dark as 

The steaming unagi were then drained, placed in a 
lacquer box, and sent up- stairs to the customer. 

: We never prepare our eels until they are ordered," 
remarked the proprietor. ? Xo matter how busy we 
may be, I will not have the fish killed beforehand." 

'What do you do with the bones?" I asked. 

: We boil them down into the delicious jelly you 
have already tasted. Nothing is wasted in this estab- 
lishment. We think of the seven virtues." 



I thanked him and gave the chief cook a gratuity. 
When we quitted the establishment, Maroki with his 
wife and the attendants were assembled in the en- 
trance, boAving and exclaiming, " Iro, iro ariyato! Say- 
onara, sayonara! [Many thanks! Farewell, farewell!] ' 

As we strolled up the street my companion said, 
T I hope you have enjoyed my poor entertainment." 

: Yes," I responded. C I shall not soon forget 
Maroki's broiled eels; they are indeed a Japanese 


ANE afternoon in March, while I was seated on the 
matted floor of a friend's house in Sarngadai, in 
Tokio, chatting with the charming mother of my host, 
the rain suddenly began to patter upon the roof of the 
veranda; noticing which the old lady glanced into the 
garden, and said in a reflective tone, : To-day is the 
fifteenth of the month. Hush,, little Ume \vaka is 



Her observation puzzled me. However, I bowed 
respectfully and remarked in a complimentary manner, 
: What a difference there is between an American and 
a Japanese child! When our youngsters shed tears 
they generally howl at the top of their voices. Little 
Umewaka must be a model boy." 

This speech quite overcame the studied politeness of 
my entertainer, who, after vainly endeavoring to refrain 
from smiling, laughed merrily and said, :f Have you 
never heard the beautiful story of Umewuka-maru? I 
thought you were acquainted with all our legends." 



"Oh, he is dead, is he?" I replied. 'I understand: 
you spoke figuratively. I thought you were referring 
to one of your neighbors' children." 

Her lips twitched, and she said, ' ' To-day the anni- 
versary commemorative service is held in the little tem- 
ple at Muko-jiina, on the left bank of the Sumida River. 
You and my son ought to visit the place. It is a very 
interesting spot." 

As she concluded, my friend entered and said, f l 
have overheard my mother's suggestion. What do you 
say? shall we order our j in-riki-sha ? ' : 

Upon my acquiescing, he directed his servant to sum- 
mon the conveyances, which were presently brought 
to the " mouth of the house." 

Bidding my hostess adieu, I stepped into my car- 
riage; and when I was seated, the jin-riki-sTia man 
stooped, grasped the shafts, raised them breast high, 
and set off at a rapid pace, my companion being a short 
distance ahead. 

The jin-riki-sha (man-power carriage) is a vehicle 
shaped like a baby wagon, and is usually roomy enough 
to accommodate two adults. It is drawn by one or 
more men, who are clad in tightly fitting blue cotton 
lower garments and short tunics of the same material, 
decorated with large white characters. These little, 
sturdy fellows earn from two to four dollars a week, for 


which sum they are expected to do the work of a horse, 
to act as a guide, drag from one hundred and fifty to 
three hundred pounds of humanity, to run from thirty 
to forty miles a day, and be sober, honest, good-humored, 
polite, and attentive to their patrons. 

The shower was over, the sun was shining, and the 
keen, bracing air made our runners " feel good," so they 
rushed us along at a break-neck speed, turned the cor- 
ners with a suddenness that almost deprived us of 
breath, ran helter-skelter down the steep hill of Saruga, 
and rattled us over the bridge of the canal; then, when 
their exuberant spirits were somewhat exhausted, set- 
tled down to a regular trot and began to thread the 
labyrinth of streets leading to our destination. 

Most foreigners, upon first arriving in Japan, feel a 
repugnance to being trundled about in a vehicle drawn 
by a lightly clad human being; but the jin-riki-sha is 
so easy to enter and quit, and runs so pleasantly, that 
the novice soon overcomes his dislike and adopts the 

My runner was a lively fellow, who appeared desirous 
of showing how narrowly he could shave every obstacle 
in his way. Whenever he saw a woman with a child 
on her back nervously crossing the road, a hen or a dog 
enjoying the warm sunshine, or a coolie resting his 
heavy burden in our path, he would utter a savage 


whoop and charge right at them ; then, when within an 
inch or two of his terrified victim, would suddenly 
swerve to the right or left, repeat his fierce cry, and 
continue upon his wild career. 

As we were passing one of the gates of the Kaga 
Yashiki, an aged cat, lying in the road, rose, elevated 
its back, raised its stumpy tail, and spat at my man, 
who, unable to check his speed, ran his vehicle over the 
defiant animal. The poor creature uttered an agoniz- 
ing warro, regained its feet, clambered up a stack of 
bamboos that rested against a neighboring house, and 
vanished; while my jin-riki-sha-jin, regardless of the 
owner's cries, kept right on, shouting, "' Hai, hai, lial! 
[Get out of the way]." 

A little farther on I beheld one of the vehicles of 
the Tokio Rapid Transportation Company bearing 
down upon us. It was a creaking, lumbering, dilapi- 
dated, condemned Broadway stage, drawn by two 
spavined horses, and driven by a wild-eyed, shock- 
headed youth, who cracked a long whip and loudly 
adjured his cadaverous animals. By his side sat a 
fat little ragamuffin armed with a tin horn, which he 
blew in a demoniacal fashion. The conveyance was 
tightly packed with lower-class Japanese, yelling as our 
country folks do when they are coming from camp 


The driver noticed me, said something to the horn- 
blower, whipped up his sorry team, and charged right 
at ns ; noticing which, my runner responded with a fierce 
* Hai-hai" and deliberately collided with the skeletons. 
The frightened creatures shied, the man lashed them 
and swore in mingled pigeon English and Japanese, the 
passengers shrieked, and the spectators waited for the 
climax which soon came. 

Yeli-yeli!' snarled the coachman, sawing at the 
poor brutes' heads and vigorously plying his whip upon 
their trembling bodies. ? Yeh-bakka ! * 

In another moment they were backing furiously; then 
the off wheels sank into a gutter, the axles snapped, the 
body of the stage toppled over and landed in an oil 
dealer's shop, and the animals, released from their bur- 
den, trotted off neighing joyfully. 

My jin-riki-slia man, who had stopped to watch the 
result of his act, wiped his perspiring forehead and said 
in a comical aside, :? People never get anything by run- 
ning against me." 

The scene that followed beggars description. The 
terrified passengers screamed, trembled with fear, 
prayed, and uttered imprecations; while the oil dealer 
and his shopman, who were hidden from view, vigor- 
ously boosted the obstacle, and finally moved it suffi- 
ciently to permit of their quitting the premises. Mean- 


while the thieves gathered from all quarters and eagerly 
watched for an opportunity to ply their trade. After 
the last passenger had been rescued from the over- 
turned stage, a policeman, wearing the inevitable spec- 
tacles, appeared from a neighboring station-house and 
made his presence known by belaboring some of the in- 
nocent by-standers, whose cries added to the infernal din. 

At length the proprietor of the store advanced to the 
officer, and bowing respectfully, said, " Honorable offi- 
cial, what am I to do? Yonder carriage has no busi- 
ness in my shop. It is injuring my trade. Will you 
please order it to be removed?'' 

"Here, why don't you take your coach out of that?' 1 
blustered the policeman, addressing the crestfallen 
driver, who had just returned to the place, leading 
his runaway animals. " Are you aware that your em- 
ployers will have to pay for your clumsiness?' 1 

"Yes, that they will," pompously remarked the oil- 
man, regarding the culprit severely. "In addition to 
the damage to my fixtures, my business is ruined for 
the day. I shall have a very long bill for the Tokio 
Rapid Transportation Company." 

The coachman ruefully scratched his ear, and pros- 
trating himself, said, " Honorable sirs, you are aiming 
at the wrong object"; then, rising, scowled fero- 
ciously, and pointing at me, cried, " He did it ! He did 


it ! ' On hearing this speech, my runner stepped be- 
tween the shafts of my vehicle, picked them up, and 
started at a rapid pace, shouting, u Hal, hai, licdT 

In vain the policeman yelled at us to stop: my man 
was deaf to his commands, and threaded in and out the 
gaping crowd until we were at a safe distance, when he 
halted, and regarding me slyly, murmured, " This sort 
of work makes one very thirsty." I gave him a few 
cash, and when he had refreshed himself, he resumed 
his place in the shafts and ran as nimbly as ever. 

I did not rejoin my friend before we reached the ap- 
proach to the Ogawa-bashi, a broad, well-built bridge 
over the Sumida River. After crossing the structure, 
we alighted and entered an avenue of eherry-trees 
ruddy with the rising sap. As we walked slowly along 
the bank of the river, which was alive with men and 
boys angling for minute fish, my companion halted, and 
pointing to one of the trees, said, " When I look at the 
red bark of the saltum [cherry], I remember the beau- 
tiful poem written by Ivojima: - 

[" l Ten loosen ivo horobosu ncikare 

Toki ni Hanrei naki ni shimo aradzu. 

[O Heaven ! destroy not Koseu, 
While Hanrei still lives.' "] * 

"This translation is quoted from "The Mikado's Empire," by Prof. W. E. 


He uttered the foregoing in the monotonous sing- 
song affected by the Japanese when repeating poetry, 
and covertly alluded to the approach of spring ; though 
a foreigner, ignorant of the peculiarities of Japanese 
thought, would have been greatly puzzled to understand 
the double meaning of the stanza. 

At the end of the long avenue we found the little 
temple, the object of our pilgrimage, which was 
crowded with women, who were listening attentively 
to the droning of some shaven-headed bozu (priests). 
Finding it impossible to enter the building, we retired 
to a neighboring cliaya (tea-house) and ordered re- 
freshments. While we were enjoying ourselves, a trav- 
elling salmon (begging story-teller), holding in his 
hand a wooden instrument which he jingled like a 
sleigh-bell, approached us, knelt, bowed his head to the 
ground, and said, " Honorable gentlemen, would you 
like to hear the beautiful story of Umewaka's tears?' 

"Yes," I replied; "but do not collect a crowd. "We 
will pay you for your entertainment." 

"You had better ask him in," said my companion. 
" If he remains outside he will soon attract people ; 
for he cannot refrain from using his clapper." 

I followed this suggestion, and invited the saimon to 
enter. At first the vagabond pretended to be too bash- 
ful; however, he presently arose, stepped into the room, 


squatted at the regulation distance from us, bowed re- 
spectfully, and commenced his story :- 

" \Yhat is stronger than a mother's love? Though 
demons may part a woman from her son, she will search 
for him everywhere. The gods blessed women by im- 
planting maternal affection in their hearts. Every one 
should pay respect to the honorable mother. 

" The sakura shading the mansion of Yoshida-no- 
sho-sho, in Kioto, were in full bloom, and the moon- 
goddess was illuminating them with her silvery light. 
The attendants of little Umewaka-maru, attracted by 
the glorious scene, had one by one quitted their posts, 
and he was left alone. Stealthily as a tiger advances 
upon its prey, a masked figure, nude as a wrestler, 
enters the apartment. Is it an oni [ghoul], a demon 
from another world, or one of those wretches who tor- 
ture the hearts of parents by stealing children? Alas! 
it is a Icado-mukashi [kidnapper] . 

" The fiend moves warily, pauses frequently, listens 
anxiously to the murmur of the voices in the garden, 
creeps onward and stoops; then, placing his right hand 
over the mouth of the sleeping boy, inserts his left be- 
neath the child's body, raises him in his arms, once more 
listens with breathless attention, and vanishes. 

" The time passed so pleasantly that the attendants 
forgot all about their duty, and it was not until the 


temple-bell sounded the hour of the ox [2 A.M.], and 
the moon was retiring behind a bank of clouds, that 
they remembered their young master, and returned to 
resume their watch over him. As they reached the 
apartment they beheld his mother, who had been awa- 
kened from her sleep by a terrible dream, and who, after 
surveying the empty bed, inquired, ? Where is my son? 
Wretches, what have you done with him? ' 

:r Although they searched every nook and corner of 
the house and grounds, they failed to discover the boy, 
and from that hour never again beheld him. 

? His mother, rendered frantic by grief, cut off her 
hair, and assuming the garb of a nun, roamed from 
province to province, eagerly seeking for her lost dar- 
ling. Meanwhile the poor boy was carried to the 
North, and subjected to the most cruel treatment. 

" One night a party of men, accompanied by a lad 
about thirteen years old, arrived on yonder spot " (point- 
ing to the little temple at the end of the avenue). 
: They were loud of voice, savage of aspect, and con- 
tinually urged him to quicken his steps. 

? Honorable sirs,' he faintly pleaded, r I am too 
weary to go any farther. I pray you to let me rest 
awhile, or my spirit will depart from my body.' 

1 This speech enraged the wretches, who replied to 
his prayer with kicks and blows, and left him in a ditch 
to die. 


" When they were out of sight he contrived to clap 
his hands twice to summon the kami [gods], whom he 
thus addressed : 

f Host of deities, give ear to my humble petition. 
In consequence of heavy crimes committed in a former 
state, I am justly punished in this. Still, gods of the 
high celestial plains, I beseech you to have pity upon 
my youth and misery, and to let me once more behold 
the face of my honored mother.' 

: Then he became unconscious, and the Icami merci- 
fully sent an old farmer to his aid. This good man, 
whose features were knotted like the roots of a bamboo, 
had dreamed that he saw the boy in the ditch, and on 
awakening had taken his lantern, and gone to learn if 
the gods had visited him in his sleep. On seeing 
Umewaka he wept and said, 

: What demons some people are ! This poor child 
doubtless has a father and mother; he has apparently 
been the victim of kidnappers. I will do my best to 
succor him.' 

: The dying child wearily opened his eyes, and gazing 
at the farmer, pitifully exclaimed, r Oh, spare me ; I 
cannot rise! Indeed, indeed, I am not pretending! 
Oh, do not strike me again ! ' 

r Merciful Buddha! this is shocking!' sobbed the 
aged man, kneeling and placing his arm under the 


sufferer's head. ? Fear not, my son : though I am only 
a poor farmer, I have enough for you and myself. I 
will adopt you, and treat you well. Be comforted: 
the good hour has come.' 

"As he spoke the tears trickled down his rugged 
cheeks, and fell upon the features of Umewaka. The 
latter, somewhat revived by the kind words, regarded 
his new friend and said, 

" ? Listen, honorable sir : the thread of my existence 
will soon be snapped, and before it parts I have much 
to say. Though clad in rags, I am Umewaka, the son 
of Yoshida-no-sho-sho of Kioto. I pray you will com- 
municate with my parents, and tell them of my sad 

'I swear to do all you wish,' huskily replied the 
good man. f Have you any other commands for me?' 

: Yes, yes,' feebly responded Umewaka. f Bury me 
in this spot, and plant a yanagi [willow] over my grave, 
which will show my honorable mother that I am always 
weeping for her'; adding, ? Yanagi no yeda ni uki 
orewa nasliil [The snow does not break the branches 
of the willow] .' " 

The salmon paused and sounded his clapper from 
force of habit, when my friend testily remarked, " Go 
on, go on! You will get your pay in a lump, after 
your narrative is finished." 


The story-teller regarded us slyly and murmured, 
' The close atmosphere of this apartment has produced 
a painful dryness in my throat. I have heard that sake 
[wine] is a good thing for such a complaint/' 

I ordered the refreshment to be brought him; and 
when he had partaken of several cups, he continued : 
: The farmer bowed respectfully, and said to the dying 
boy, f Honorable master, rest assured that your command 
shall be obeyed. I will select a vigorous young tree, 
and choose an auspicious day for planting it. While 
I go to seek your honorable parents, my neighbors will 
watch your grave, and see that 110 evil insect attacks 
the yanagi? 

'Umewaka endeavored to reply, but his strength 
failed him. In a few moments he sighed gently and 
closed his eyes, and the thread of his existence was 
snapped in twain. The good old man faithfully kept 
his promise, and after performing the proper ceremonies, 
set out for Kioto. 

"On arriving at the house of Yoshida-no-sho-sho, he 
discovered that its mistress was absent; and as no one 
could tell whither she had gone, he returned to this 
place and resumed his usual occupation. 

: The willow grew miraculously, and within a few 
months attained a great height, and had beautiful 
pendulous branches, the rustling of which was asserted 


by the villagers to resemble the words okka-san 
[mother] . 

r? On the 15th of March, the anniversary of Ume- 
Avaka's death, Avhile the farmer and his neighbors Avere 
Aveeping OA~er the simple grave, a lady dressed in a 
religions garb approached the group, and after Avatch- 
ing them for a Avhile said, 'My soul is strangely 
agitated. I be- you Avill tell me for Avhom you are 

O O */ / 


: The aged man bowed and answered, ? For Ume- 
Avaka-maru, the son of Yoshida-no-sho-sho.' 

rf On hearing this the nun swooned, and remained 
unconscious until nightfall, Avhen she begged the peo- 
ple to leave her to commune Avith the spirit of her 

"At the hour of the rat [midnight], Umewaka-maru 
appeared and saluted her respectfully, saying, r Hon- 
orable mother, my tears have not been shed in vain. 
For a year my soul has inhabited this tree. The 
merciful kami have heard my prayer, and sent A T OU 
to this spot.' 

r The trembling lady clasped her hands palm to palm 
and said, f I have wandered thousands of miles; my feet 
have been cut by the sharp rocks of the mountain, and 
lacerated \w the thorns of the forest. I have suffered 


the pangs of hunger and thirst, and have traA^elled by 


day and night searching everywhere for yon, and hop- 
ing to behold you in this life. Although the gods have 
denied my prayer, I feel happy at being permitted to 
see you thus. What can I do to give your wearied 
soul rest?' 

? Pray with me to the Tc.ami. ~Novr that they have 
granted my desire, they will doubtless mercifully release 
me from my present state.' 

"Spirit and mortal then prostrated themselves, and 
remained for some hours silently petitioning the im- 

'* As the day dawned the beloved form vanished, and 
the lady beheld only the weeping yanagi, the branches 
of which, agitated by the morning breeze, seemed to 
murmur 4 OTcka-san! Okka-san ! "* 

:? She caused yonder temple to be erected to the 
memory of Umewaka, and bequeathed money for the 
annual celebration of a service in his memory. It is 
said that when her spirit quitted her body it assumed 
the form of a white stork, which returns every year 
and listens to the prayers offered for the repose of her 
son's soul." 

The salmon paused, solemnly rattled his clapper, 
and added, r When it rains on the 15th of March, the 
people say, ? Hush ! little Umewaka is weeping.' : 


OF the many novel objects in the wonderful city of 
Tokio, none are more interesting 1 to the foreigner 
than the people who earn their living on the streets. 
These industrious creatures come and go at stated 
periods, have their regular haunts, attract attention by 
their peculiar dresses and strange cries, and play an 
important part in the comedy of city life. 

At dawn, long before the shopkeepers have quitted 
their mats, the Icami-kudzu-liiori (paper scrap collector) 
emerges from his squalid hut and commences his 
rounds. He is usually an old, old man, clad in patches 
and shreds, and wears a very broad-brimmed reed hat, 
while for sanitary or other reasons his nose and mouth 
are covered with a ragged blue towel. Upon his left 
side he carries a huge but light basket, and in his right 
hand two long bamboo rods, used like tongs. He sel- 
dom speaks to any one, goes about his work in a system- 
atic manner, and is to Tokio what the rag-picker is to 
New York; though, unlike his foreign brother, he gen- 
erally confines himself to the collection of waste paper, 
not a scrap of which escapes his ferret-like eyes. 



Having formerly belonged to the despised Eta class, 
he is very humble, and from force of habit bows to all 
the well-dressed persons he encounters. As he silently 
moves along the street he carefully turns over every 
little pile of rubbish with his sticks, picks out the pieces 
of paper, and jerks them into his capacious receptacle. 
It is wonderful how dexterously he handles the instru- 
ments: one moment using them to tear a fluttering frag- 
ment of placard from a fence, and the next inserting 
them between the bars of a window and filching a book 
carelessly left in sight by its owner. He is a wary? 
thievish old rascal, and many a boy's kite and servant- 
girl's novel that have mysteriously disappeared from the 
house have found their w r ay into his basket. In addi- 
tion to having a bad reputation for appropriating all 
kinds of paper, he is said to be a dog-stealer. Apropos 
of this I will relate a somewhat amusing incident. 

One morning, having risen earlier than usual, I took 
my seat by the grated window of my chamber and 
watched the passers. Presently a gentle-faced old 
lady, followed by a dog, came in sight, and encounter- 
ing a friend, bowed low and began an animated conver- 
sation. While they were thus employed a kami-kudzu- 
liiori stealthily approached her from behind, and after 
striking the dog upon the head, picked up the insensible 
creature with his sticks, threAV it into his basket and 


covered it with the contents, then coolly proceeded to 
examine some rubbish deposited by the wayside. The 
old lady soon missed her pet and began to call for him; 
meanwhile the paper collector continued his occupation 
in an unconcerned manner, as though guiltless of the 

: ' Have you seen my beautiful little dog? ' : inquired 
the woman, regarding him suspiciously. 

'Dog, dog?" he answered, bowing servilely. 'Hon- 
orable lady, do you take me for a thief ? ' 

r Yes; I believe you have stolen him," she indig- 
nantly replied. ' I suppose you want to make a few 
cash by turning his beautiful skin into a drumhead." 

'Honorable lady, indeed you are mistaken," mur- 
mured the rascal, shifting his basket on to his back, 
crouching to the ground, and bowing his head. "' It is 
true, I am only a miserable Tcami-lcudzu-Jiiori; still, I am 
strictly honest. I have not set eyes upon your amiable 
animal. If vou will describe him and tell me where you 

*J *J 

live, I may meet him in my walks, when I will restore 
him to you." 

' My little Chin has a black-and-white coat, and he 
wears a red-and-yellow cotton frill round his neck. 
Although you pretend to be so simple, I believe you 
know something about him." 

' The gods will bear witness to my innocence," mur- 


mured the rascal, with his face close to the ground. 
11 It is hard enough to be poor without being charged 
with dishonesty." 

While he was speaking the animal recovered its 
senses, wriggled from beneath the paper scraps, leaped 
upon the thief s back and barked at his overjoyed mis- 
tress, who, taking him in her arms, uttered shrill cries 
of " Police ! " 

The Icami-kudzu-hiori rose hurriedly and was darting 
off, when he ran into the arms of a long-haired, spec- 
tacled policeman, who was clad in a tight blue foreign 
uniform, and who had been attracted by the woman's 
cries. The officer clubbed the fellow until he ceased to 
offer resistance, then sternly inquired what the man had 
done, and on learning the truth, marched the offender 
to the police office. The ladies followed, scolding the 
thief at the top of their voices, and as they went, ex- 
plaining his crime to the passers-by. 

Though the Itami-kudzu-liiori have a bad reputation 
and are objects of scorn, many of them are honest fel- 
lows, who work from dawn to dusk to earn the pitiful 
amount they receive for their collections. When they 
have filled their baskets they proceed to the dealer in 
waste paper, who is, compared with them, a man of 
wealth, and who treats them in a hau'htv and disdain- 

O / 

ful manner, often saying, ' I have no use for such rub- 


bish as you have brought me. "Why don't you secure 
something really valuable?" 

The ragged wretch bows, and exhibiting the con- 
tents of his basket, replies, "You are mistaken. I have 
here a very fine lot of paper. Please weigh it and give 
me my money." 

After squabbling over the price, the dealer produces 
a wooden balance, inserts the hook in the basket, raises 
it from the ground, moves the stone weight along the 
yard, and gravely announces the number of kin (about 
one pound and three quarters). 

The decision is usually disputed by the seller, who 
utters piteous outcries and vows that the man is rob- 
bing him. Finally, when they come to terms, the 
tradesman takes up his soroban (counting-board), and 
after making a calculation with the beads, draws a 
money-bag from his sleeve and drops a few copper rin 
(mills) into the trembling hands of his customer. The 
latter then carefully counts and examines every coin; 
having done which he bows low, rises, slings his basket 
over his back, and resumes his weary round. 

As the sun peeps over the housetops the tradesmen 
begin to take down the shutters of their stores, and the 
tortoise-sellers, pipe-menders, candy-makers, and peri- 
patetic venders appear upon the streets. 

The dealer in objects of natural history squats on the 


ground behind some tubs containing goldfish and little 
tortoises; above the vessels being a sort of bamboo 
gallows, from which are suspended a number of the 
patient reptiles, that move their clawed feet and wave 
their horny tails in a most helpless fashion. He is 
generally an inoffensive, middle-aged individual, with 
peculiar ideas on the subject of zoology, for he will 
gravely assure his customers that his leather-backed 
stock will, if properly treated, attain the age of a thou- 
sand years, and that the possession of one of the stupid 
creatures Avill insure long life and happiness. 

The pipe-mender does not remain any length of time 
in one place, but moves from street to street, carrying 
his tools in a long, narrow box that serves him for a 
bench. He takes his stand in some convenient nook 
apart from the crowd and utters a series of howls, which 
persons profoundly versed in Japanese translate as 
follows: :f Old pipes made new again." 

His patrons, who are of the poorest class, bring him 
dilapidated specimens of the tiny-bowled smoking in- 
struments, and haggle about the price he asks for his 

After carefully examining a worn pipe, the bamboo 
stem of which requires renewing, he will say to the 
ow r ner, ' ( My charge for replacing this old stick Avith an 
elegant new one is only five Tin."* 


f - Five rin! " screams his patron. f Do you think I am 
made of money? I can go into the country and cut all 
the pipe-stems I want. I do not intend you shall make 
your day's rice out of me. The old tube will last yet 

The mechanic utters an exclamation of disgust, and 
responds satirically, "I suppose you expect me to mend 
your pipe for nothing. I do not steal my bamboos, 
like some people." 

This retort, which is highly relished by the crowd, 
turns the laugh against the customer, who haughtily 
replies, "Go on with your work! I will find you in 
food for the next week or two." 

The operator takes a tiny hammer and removes the 
bowl and mouthpiece of the pipe; then, selecting a 
bamboo, proceeds to fit it, carefully saving the rejected 
stick and the fragments that he saws from the new one 
to help boil his rice-pot at night. He is at infinite 
pains to make the joints air-tight, and as he works, 
delivers a comical lecture to the admiring crowd col- 
lected about him. 

:? See the wisdom that animates the owner of this 
pipe! Some men would have thrown it aside or dis- 
posed of it to a second-hand dealer" (closing one eye 
and looking down the stem to ascertain if it were 
straight) . :t For the pitiful sum of five rin, I have 


renewed the beauty of this useful instrument" (taking 
out a piece of soft paper and a little powder, and pol- 
ishing; the mouthpiece). The economical gentleman 
has a soul full of wisdom ; still, one can be too saving. 
For instance, if you have an old pipe and the artist 
who repairs it demands five rin for his labor, it is 
meanness to offer him four, because he will only give 
you an inferior stem that will crack and will not last a 

Then, grimacing at the spectators and politely bow- 
ing and handing the pipe to his customer, he adds, 
" I ought to charge you ten rin for this excellent piece 
of workmanship. HoAvever, I always keep my agree- 
ment, so will be content with what you have promised. 
Five rin, if you please." 

Japanese children, like our own, are very fond of 
sweets, and the stands of the moji-yaki (literally <T let- 
ter burners") and ameya (modellers of rice extract), 
and the little canopied wagons of the masked Icompeito 
(candy) pedlers, are always surrounded by eager 
crowds of boys and girls. 

The moji-f/fd'i is a great favorite with the youngsters, 
who watch his actions with dilated eyes. He is usually 
seated in a recess between two houses, behind a porta- 
ble counter on which are placed a small bowl of live 
charcoal, some little copper griddles, and a vessel filled 


with thick sirup. He generally knows the names of 
all his patrons, whom he addresses after the following 
fashion : 

rf Hcd-yciku-licd! [Hundred bows, a respectful 
form of salutation.] Honorable master boys, my 
bosom opens as I once more behold your faces. You 
all know I am the only man in Tokio who can make a 
sugar fish lifelike enough to deceive the kawasemi 
[kingfisher]. Now produce your money and I will 
begin my manufacture." 

Having secured a customer, he places one of his 
griddles upon the glowing embers, and proceeds to 
pour some of the liquid sugar upon it; then taking the 
handle, runs the melted mass evenly upon the mould, 
and dabs it with patches of brilliant color. When it 
is crisp, he dexterously peels off the candied figure, 
fastens it to a splinter of bamboo, and hands it to his 
customer, saying, : Taro ' : (or "O Momo"), :<: you 
know a good article when you see it. One Tin. 
Thank you. "Who is my next honorable customer?'' 

The ameya is a more accomplished individual than 
the " letter burner," he combining modelling with paint- 
ing. Like his brother artist, he occupies a small bench, 
over which is erected a bamboo frame for the exhibition 
of his manufactures, while the lower part is furnished 
with drawers containing his stock in trade. He is 


usually a shrewd old man who has failed in business, 
and taken to the trade of ameya, which requires very 
little capital. After singing a short ditty to collect the 
children, he smiles benevolently, bows, and says, 

' Tell me what I can do for you. Give me some- 
thing really difficult to make. I am tired of modelling 
ducks and frogs. Don't be bashful, or expect that I 
shall empty your purses: I only charge two rin each 
for my wares." 

rr Please make me a monkey hanging from a tree," 
timidly requests a brown cheeked little fellow, blushing 
at his own forwardness. 

The ameya thinks for a moment, blinks his eyes 
merrily, and replies, " Oh, that is too easy! Give me 
a task that will enable me to display my ability." 

1 Two monkeys," suggests a little girl, who carries 
a great baby on her back, and whose complexion is 
completely hidden with bismuth. 

You are not paying for this, miss," he answers 
sharply, taking a bamboo tube and dipping it into some 
thick, opaque rice gluten. r? Master Taro ordered me 
to make one monkey; if you want two, I will attend to 
you as soon as I have complied with his wishes." 

He applies the other end of the bamboo to his mouth, 
dilates his cheeks, and inflates the viscid substance. 
The little ones anxiously watch him, and as the soft 


mass swells, he punches it here and there, dexterously 
pulls out and models the arms, and presently produces 
a very good representation of a monkey ; seeing which 
the children shout gleefully, and the one who has given 
the order holds out his hand for the prize. 

" One moment, my fat little master," cries the ameya, 
transferring the soft figure to a little stick, to which it 
clings in a very lifelike manner. 'Let me complete 
my work." 

He smiles blandly, takes a number of brushes from 
a drawer in the stand, inserts them between his fingers, 
and charges their points with color. In a few seconds 
the animal's face is adorned with a pair of goggle-eyes; 
blue bars are painted to indicate its nose, a red line is 
added for the grinning mouth, and the paws and feet 
are developed with streaks of black. Then the old 
fellow exhibits it triumphantly, and exclaims, "Master 
boy, I advise you to be very cautious not to tease 
this, or it may bite you." (Handing it to the little 
fellow.) : 'Take my advice: kill the saru [monkey], 
and eat it at once; then you will become as big and 
strong as a wrestler." 

After receiving his fee, he turns to the other children 
and says, " AYhat shall I make next? A mouse nibbling 
a daikon [radish] , a string of rats chasing one another, 
or a gourd for your father's sake [wine] ? ' : 


Although I have often watched the ameija, I never 
saw his customers eat their purchases; but I have 
been told that the children, after keeping the pasty- 
looking, highly colored figures until they become hard, 
devour them with the greatest satisfaction. 

The kompeito seller, who is not a manufacturer, 
attracts his customers by wearing a grotesque white 
mask representing the head of a god Fox. He is also 
provided with a small taiko (drum), which he beats 
continuously, as he does so singing a short stanza in 
praise of the deity who watches over the safety of the 
city. His stock in trade consists of the kompeito (little 
candies covered with spine-like protuberances, and 
flavored with peppermint, ginger, and an essential oil 
that tastes like wintergreen), burnt peas and beans 
coated with suger, lozenges and cakes of bean-flour, 
and a brilliant array of candies, the names of which 
are only known to Japanese children. Each kind is 
exposed in a neatly made box, and the collection is 
carried in a little wagon, with a tent-like roof of paper, 
the sides of the vehicle being furnished with screens 
of split bamboo to protect the delicacies from thieves. 
He moves all over the city, but has regular hours for 
visiting certain places, where he halts, beats his tam- 
bour, lowers his mask, executes a sort of break-down, 
and repeats his song in praise of the god Fox, which 


brings the rin from the sleeves of the mothers and 
enables him to gain a good living. 

The foregoing describes only a few of the many 
quaint objects that may any day be seen upon the 
streets of Tokio. 


WHEN" a Japanese gentleman visits the theatre, he 
does not purchase tickets at the box office, but 
proceeds to a neighboring chaija (tea-house), the pro- 
prietor of which selects the seats required by his pa- 
tron, escorts him to the temple of the drama, takes care 
of his sandals, and during the entertainment furnishes 
him with refreshments. 

Early one morning in May, I went with some friends 
to see the performance at a second-class shibai (thea- 
tre) in Asakusa. The street was thronged with pleas- 
ure seekers out for the day, and contained more than 
one place of amusement, the employes of which ea- 
gerly solicited the crowd and loudly vaunted the supe- 
riority of their respective establishments. 

We entered a chaija, ascended to the upper floor, 
and summoning the host, inquired Avhich company w r as 
the best, and the names and natures of the plays. 

The man bowed respectfully, politely sucked in his 
breath, and replied, " The theatre over the way has no 
rival in the world. It is conducted by persons of great 
ability, who employ only the very highest order of talent. 



Yon have arrived upon an auspicious day, and will 
witness the performance of two first-class pieces. I can 
guarantee you the most comfortable seats in the house." 

We ordered tea, bade the man secure two boxes for 
us, and while he was gone watched the scene on the 
street. The front of the theatre was covered with large 
framed pictures, representing terrible scenes of blood- 
shed; and ranged over the shed-like projections of the 
wide entrances w r ere a number of grotesque life-size 
portraits of the leading members of the troupe. On the 
right was the gallery ticket office ; in the centre, one for 
the persons who paid the second price and had seats on 
the floor of the house; and upon the left the place of 
honor were sold the billets for the boxes. 

After we had enjoyed the tea, our host returned and 
said, " This way, honorable gentlemen : the maye-Tcio-gen 
[opening dance] is about to begin." 

Descending the stairs, we quitted the cliaya and fol- 
lowed the man across the road into the theatre; then as- 
cended the matted, stair-like ladder and were conducted 
along a narrow corridor. When about midway, our 
guide pushed two sliding doors aside, and bowing, said, 
" Honorable sirs, these are your places. See, they are 
provided with elegant cushions and cloths to protect 
your clothes from dust. Shall I bring you tea or sake?" 

We gave our orders and proceeded to squat upon the 


floors of the sajiki (boxes), which were nothing more 
than sections of the first balcony, separated by low rails. 
The "gods'' 1 occupied the shikifune, a raised gallery 
behind the central row of boxes facing the stage, and in 
the same part of the house was an enclosed space re- 
served for the officials of the theatre. 

The udzura (floor of the building) was divided into 
compartments, in which squatted the middle class of 
patrons, and which was intersected by two broad plat- 
forms, extending from the entrance to the stage, termed 
liana-michl (flower paths). The building, above the 
first floor, was open at the sides; the absence of win- 
dows rendering the ventilation perfect, and admitting 
numerous " dead-heads ' : in the shape of swallows, 
doves, and butterflies. None of the woodwork was 
painted, and the interior had an ancient, cobwebbed, 
bare look, that contrasted strongly with the gaudy pic- 
ture on the malcu (curtain) veiling the stage, which 
represented a branch of cherry blossoms and bore the 
following inscription : 

" Presented by Xarita Nurigome, who sells unrivalled 
sakt near this theatre." 

Every temple of the drama has a number of such cur- 
tains, furnished by tradesmen as advertisements for 
their wares, it being understood that the gifts shall be 
exposed at least once during every performance. 


After we were comfortably seated, the geza (orches- 
tra), which was partly hidden from view in a hut-like, 
barred structure on the left of the proscenium, frantically 
began its wild performance. The flutes tooted, the slw 
wailed, the samisen twanged, the Tcokiu (three-stringed 
violins) squeaked, and the drums rumbled. Meanwhile 
the spectators smoked, chatted at the top of their voices, 
and shouted derisively to new-comers who were anx- 
iously searching for friends among the sea of faces. 

About eight o'clock the maku concealing the stage 
was drawn aside, and we beheld a box scene represent- 
ing the interior of a tea-house. The central portion 
rested on a turn-table, level with the rest of the plat- 
form; the wings did not extend as high as the drops, 
and there was only one of the latter. 

The audience murmured approvingly and eagerly 
scanned the scene; then the to-dori (living play-bill) 
advanced to the footlights and announced the title of 
the drama and names of the actors. When he had 
retired, a party of men dressed as the " Seven Lucky 
Ones " bounded upon the stage and danced the maye- 
kio-yen, which greatly delighted my friends; though I 
soon grew tired of it and felt glad when the grotesque 
beings made their exit, and the play was commenced by 
the entrance of a young samurai (gentleman) followed 
by a geisha (singing girl). The youth was blind and 


was desperately in love with the girl, who also had an 
admirer of an humbler order. A very excruciating love 
scene followed, in which the actors hugged themselves 
instead of one another, and the girl frequently veiled 
her features with her sleeves and wept. 

During the entire performance kirrtiuibo (boys clad 
in black robes, with hoods like those worn by the In- 
quisitors) attended upon the actors and arranged their 
dresses, then retired on all fours up the stage and 
squatted like monkeys with their backs to the audience, 
who were supposed not to be cognizant of their pres- 
ence. It was very comical to see the imps crawling 
about and handing the leading people their pipes, etc. 
The action of the play was as follows : 

The blind samurai (gentleman) promises to marry 
the geisha (singing girl). The heavy villain, her lover, 
who is a gambler, finding that he is about to lose his 
sweetheart, determines to rob the samurai's house and 
to kill him. The stage revolves, new wings are pushed 
forward, and we behold a garden and the outside of a 
mansion with the moon shining upon the scene. The 
girl's lover enters silently, accompanied by his wild- 
eyed comrades. They indulge in long, bombastic asides 
and much pantomime, indicative of what they intend 
to do; then stealthily approach one of the paper win- 
dows of the dwelling, push it aside, crawl in and make 


their exits to delirious music, expressive of murderous 
designs. A crash is heard inside the house, then a suc- 
cession of dull thuds, and one after the other the " bold, 
bad men" are artistically "fired" back into the garden. 
As the last of the robbers falls sprawling upon the 
stage, the blind samurai appears in the opening and 
delivers a speech out of the right corner of his mouth, 
describing how he was awakened by his assailants, and 
how he had "clubbed the crowd '' with a weapon that 
belonged to his honorable deceased father. He steps 
down upon the stage, pirouettes, and defies unseen 
enemies to tread on the hem of his kimono. Meanwhile 
the robbers recover their senses and retire, menacing 
him in pantomime. Enter geisJia tinkling her guitar. 
Blind samurai pauses and listens. 

"Ah! 'tis my beloved O Cho-cho [Miss Butterfly]." 
Another love passage ensues, he speaking tenderly 
out of the left corner of his mouth, and amorously 
clasping his arms, and she responding in a shrill fal- 
setto, and significantly hugging her guitar, while the 
orchestra indulges in Wagner-like strains. Naughty 
geisha leads the confiding samurai towards a pillar-like 
stone lantern, bids him a tearful farewell, gives a signal 
to her lover, and retires, waddling like a duck. Orches- 
tra executes more savage music. Re-enter heavy vil- 
lain followed by a fresh detachment of assassins, who 


silently surround the brave youth. The aet now rapidly 
approaches its climax; the audience listens with breath- 
less interest, and gazes fixedly at the performance. 
Though the gallant samurai is hedged in with glitter- 
ing, naked weapons, he defiantly utters a long speech 
that causes the lady patrons to sob and rock them- 
selves, and the men to murmur and suck in their breath 
approvingly. Suddenly he draws his sword, twirls upon 
his toes, delivers blows with lightning rapidity, and 
severs limbs with a dexterity amazing to behold. Heads 
fly about like cannon balls and land in extraordinary 
places. One drops on the top of the toro (stone lan- 
tern), where it continues to wink and blink at the spec- 
tators; another falls on the summit of a post and rolls 
its eyes ferociously at its conqueror. The stage is 
smothered with blood, and soon all the assailants are 
liors de comltat. Then the girl re-enters, coolly surveys 
the remains, and makes a speech of about fifteen lines, 
in which she laments having attempted to betray such 
a brave samurai. The latter struts up and down the 
" flower paths " and exhibits his costume to the admir- 
ing maidens among the audience, who devour him with 
their glances. At the conclusion of the geishas speech 
he stamps alternately with his right and left foot and 
shouts ferociously : 

" Yeh! yeh! I hear a voice." 


Naughty geisha cowers and trembles until the boards 
vibrate beneath her. Young samurai, who is still full 
of fight, imagines that she is one of his assailants and 
rushes upon her. In despair she utters his name ; too 
late! The keen blade is thrust, under her left arm; 
she falls. Tableau. He discovers who she is, hugs 
himself, sobs passionately, tears round the stage to the 
wildest music that ever tortured human ears; withdraws 
the sword from the costume of the prostrate geisha; 
poses dramatically, rolls his sightless orbs, " speaks a 
piece " occupying about thirty minutes in its delivery, 
stabs himself, and expires " like a little man." The 
black demons then advance with large cloths, which 
they hold before the bodies of the slain, while the 
latter make their exits on all fours, and the orchestra 
indulges in low, wailing sounds, descriptive of deep 
woe. The stage is cleared, and the young samurai and 
girl, miraculously restored to life, figure prominently 
in five more acts, after which they commit suicide, pre- 
sumably on account of having had too much of each 
other's society. 

The acting was most excellent, and, notwithstanding 
the absence of plot, the piece was a great hit, moving 
the audience to tears and laughter, and often causing 
them to shout, r Yerai " (wonderful) and " Nipon-iclii '' 
(literally, first-rate Japanese). 


Between each act a different malcu [curtain] was 
exhibited, and at the conclusion of the drama a gor- 
geously decorated screen was drawn before the stage, 
on which signal the people in the body of the house 
produced their picnic boxes and lighted their pipes, and 
the proprietor of our chaya entered, followed by his 
servants bearing trays of refreshments. 

: Would you like to go round and inspect the 
stage?' 1 he asked politely. The proprietors are my 
very good friends, and I can take you over any part of 
the house." 

"We accepted his offer, and, having eaten our lun- 
cheon, accompanied him behind the scenes, where we 
were received by the managers, who, after bowing and 
sucking in their breath, led the way below. 

The circular portion of the stage was pivoted, and 
its outer edge rested on a groove filled with well- 
greased, wooden balls. At a signal from one of the 
officials, twelve nude men grasped the tie-pieces and, 
bending nearly double, caused the platform to revolve 

We returned to the upper world and inspected the 
property-room and its contents, then were conducted 
np-stairs and introduced to the za-yasliira (star). On 
learning that I was a dramatist, he asked me a hundred 
questions about our theatres, and expressed a great 


desire to visit the States. All the actors were men, as 
the Japanese do not care to see women on the stage. 
The star and leading people had commodious dressing- 
rooms, their changes of costume were arranged on pegs 
upon the walls, and they were attended by dressers 
and barbers just like our own actors, the only difference 
being that they squatted on the floor while making 
their changes, and used metal mirrors instead of glass 

The inari macld (supers) dressed in a common room 
and were the apprentices of the various actors. There 
was nothing novel in the arrangements behind the 
scenes, everything being as inflammable and bare look- 
ing as in our own places of amusement. "While we 
were chatting, the signal was given for the curtain to 
be drawn, hearing which we bade adieu to the actors 
and managers and returned to our boxes, where we 
remained until the entertainment concluded. 

The second piece was of even a more sanguinary 
nature than the first, and I felt heartily glad to behold 
the last head severed and the gallant hero close his 
eyes in mimic death. 

As we emerged upon the street the bell of a neigh- 
boring temple began to toll, and on consulting my 
watch I found that I had spent twelve hours in a 
Japanese theatre. 


IN a secluded part of the Kaga Yashiki, Tokio, stands 
a magnificent sngi (cedar), beneath the shadow of 
which is a dismantled shrine of Inari (the god of rice). 
Beside the ruin, half buried in the rank grass, lie two 
stone foxes, that formerly guarded the sacred spot, and, 
though once the object of profound veneration, now 
serve as " horses " for the children of the foreign pro- 
fessors who dwell within the walls of the yasTiiki. The 
red torii (archway) that spanned the approach was 
long ago converted into kindling by the momban (gate- 
keeper), the pathways are choked with weeds, and, 
save the before-mentioned little ones, few persons fre- 
quent the picturesque nook. Twenty-five years ago, 
when I first visited Yedo (Tokio), the Lord of Kaga 
and his ten thousand retainers lived in the yasJiiki, and 
the shrine and its guardians were kept in repair; now 
the noble is in retirement, the grounds contain a hos- 
pital and the residences of foreign teachers, and his 
brave retainers are scattered all over the empire, earn- 
ing precarious livings by following peaceful occupa- 



tions, starving, or pulling the jin-riki-slia of the hated 
to-jin (stranger) 

One afternoon, while I was sitting beneath the tree, 
musing on the changes that had taken place in the Land 
of the Rising Sun, a Japanese, dressed in the garb of a 
pilgrim, approached, and noticing me, bowed and said, 
:t A thousand pardons for thus intruding upon your 
honorable presence. I was once a retainer of the Lord 
of Kaga, and resided in this yctsliikL I now live in my 
old province many ri from here." 

Understanding that he had come upon a pilgrimage 
to the place, I arose to retire and leave him to his 
prayers, when he begged me to remain, saying, 

r I would like to ask a favor of you. My honorable 
mother, who is at the point of death, desires to have a 
stone from this shrine. Would you object to my re- 
moving a portion of it?" 

I explained that I was only a visitor, and, therefore, 
had no power to grant his request, adding, 

' There is nobody looking. If the possession of a 
fragment of the ruin will benefit your honorable parent, 
why not help yourself ? " 

This appeared to please him greatly, and after praying 
fervently at the shrine, he removed a section of one of 
the moss-covered pillars, tied it in a square of blue cot- 
ton, lighted his pipe, and sitting upon his heels, said, 


' Inari is a very powerful god, and this spot was 
formerly the resort of many pilgrims and pious persons. 
I could tell you some wonderful stories concerning the 
god and his servants. You doubtless are curious to 
know why my honorable mother is so anxious to have 
a relic from this shrine. I will tell you. Though she 
had been married many years, and had prayed to the 
gods and continually made offerings, her petitions re- 
mained unanswered. One evening when she was pass- 
ing this place, she thought she would supplicate the 
benevolent Inari." (In a low voice, regarding the over- 
turned images.) T As she concluded her prayer, those 
god-foxes wagged their tails and the snow began to 
descend. Accepting the omens as favorable ones, she 
returned to her residence, on reaching which she was 
accosted by a miserable yeta [beggar], who, prostrating 
himself, cried piteously for something to eat. It so 
happened that the only food in the house was some 
red bean rice, which my mother had saved for her own 
consumption ; however, her benevolence overcame every 
other feeling, and she generously presented the dish to 
the man, who immediately vanished taking the vessel 
with him. The next day, as my father was passing 
this shrine, he saw the platter lying on the ground 
before it, and on reaching home told my mother of 
the circumstance, whereupon she said, 


: The yeta was the god-fox. ~Now I am a happy 

? From that time she daily returned thanks to Inari 
and his servants. When I Avas old enough to under- 
stand, she brought me here and assisted me to make 
my first offering. All my life I have been under the 
protection of the god-fox." 

He relighted his pipe, regarded me complacently and 

? I suppose you do no believe in such things? Well, 
everybody has his faith. You think one way and I 
another. Inari is a very powerful god and a very 
reliable one, and his servants are most kind and benev- 
olent to those who worship him." 

He spoke in a serious manner, and evidently believed 
what he said. 

:? Can you tell me something else about the god-fox ? r 
I asked. 

r I could give you a thousand proofs of his goodness 
to those who believe in Inari. Have you ever heard of 
the conversion of RaikoV' : 

r No" I answered. 

* Ah!" (knocking the ashes from his pipe and regard- 
ing me with a compassionate air,) " you are to be pitied. 
"Well, it is said that the gods will not condemn those 
who have never been taught the truth. I believe, after 


you have heard what I am about to relate, you will ven- 
erate Inuri and his attendants." 

He relighted his pipe, puffed at it for a few seconds, 
and continued : 

Raiko was a very great man in his village. ~No 
one had such a long train of servants, such large rice- 
fields, or extensive plantations; notwithstanding which, 
and though everything he undertook was a success, he 
was miserably stingy. He carried his money in his obi 
[girdle], and his meanness in his face; and no yeta 
[beggar] ever thought of soliciting him for a rin [mill], 
Raiko's visage being like a sign-board that warns tres- 
passers from a field of grain Oh! he was a miserable 
fellow; still, because of his riches, the neighbors paid 
the man great respect and consulted him upon every 
important matter. As he grew older, he became more 
miserly and began to rack his brains how to save a few 
extra coins. 

" One night, when he lay awake hugging his treas- 
ure, he counted the number of his servants on his fin- 
gers, then muttered, 

' It is very foolish for a poor person like myself to 
support such a greedy, lazy crowd. I will dismiss 
them, and in future will attend to my own wants. What 
a wasteful fool I have been ! ' 

' This thought so preyed upon his mind that he was 


presently seized with a fever, which grew worse and 
worse, and threatened to burn up his very bones. His 
faithful servants watched him most tenderly, and did 
not heed his bad-tempered, reproachful utterances. 

? Ah!' he would exclaim, ? if I had been wiser, you 
would not have caused me to suffer this horrible sick- 


"The fever lasted for several days, during which his 
spirits were low and his body became reduced to a 
shadow. On the tenth night, as he was rolling from 
side to side on his bed, a poorly dressed ~bozu suddenly 
appeared by his pillow, and, kneeling, regarded him 
sternly, then said, 

? Hello, Biiiko, how do you feel? Are you no bet- 
ter? I scarcely expected to find you here.' 

'Why not?' growled the sufferer. 

r I thought the oni [imps] would have carried you 
off by this time,' coolly responded the l)ozu. 

r AVho are you, who come thus unannounced into 
my bedchamber?' angrily demanded the sick man. 
r As for the imps, they are no worse than you, Itozu. I 
have never troubled you or entered your temples; so 
now, I beg you will walk out of my house. I know 
what you have come after. You always wait until peo- 
ple are sick, then threaten them with the torments of 
hell. You need not imagine you will ever see the glit- 
ter of my money.' 


'' The bozu, instead of being angry, laughed heartily, 
and replied, 

" ' Listen, Raiko, I do not covet any of your ill-got- 
ten gains. We bozu are very particular whose money 
we handle. We live to perform good deeds, not to ac- 
cumulate wealth. Do you wish to be cured of your 
sickness? Oh, you need not turn your back upon me! 
I know a sovereign remedy for your disease.' 

' I suppose, if you cure me, you will want to be paid 
for it,' snarled Raiko. 

'Not a rin, not a rinj laughingly answered the 

bozu. ' You are so mean that you imagine every one is 

the same. Shall I tell you the cure, or leave you to die?' 

' Raiko half rose in bed, and, surlily regarding the 

bozu, grumbled, 

' If you promise not to ask any recompense, I will 
hear your remedy.' 

'It is this,' said the visitor. 'Loosen your obi 
[girdle], you miserable, selfish man, and let your wealth 
fall for those who need it. If you still keep it bound 
about you, it will cause your death.' 

'IV?/' furiously exclaimed Raiko, snatching a dag- 
ger from his bosom. Though you are a priest, I will 
kill you ! I will never part with my hard-earned money.' 

' The bozu uttered a derisive laugh, and retreating a 
few paces, said, 


1 "Wretch ! I will now tell you the truth. I over- 
heard your mean resolve to dismiss your faithful 
servants, and have nightly visited you, and drained a 
portion of your life-blood. Now I will finish you, 
and strangers shall enjoy your carefully hoarded 

:t As he uttered these words, he blew out the light, 
and Raiko felt some dreadful object advance and attack 
him. The miser, thinking only of his money, vigor- 
ously defended himself, and as he did so, uttered loud 
cries that attracted the attention of his servants, who 
crowded into the room and anxiously inquired the cause 
of his alarm. 

? Bring me a light, quickly!' he cried. 'I have 
wounded that bozu, who, I believe, was a robber in 

: When lanterns were brought Kaiko beheld the 
hairy, horny claw of a monster lying by the side of his 
mat, seeing which he said, 

: Whatever that is, follow and kill it. You ought 
to be ashamed of yourselves for leaving me here alone. 
I have nearly met my death.' 

' The faithful men bowed respectfully, and tracing 
his assailant by the tiny drops of blood on the mats, fol- 
lowed it into the furthermost part of the garden, where, 
scooped out of a little artificial yama [mountain], they 


discovered a large hole, from whence protruded the 
head and shoulders of an enormous spider, who thus 
addressed them: 

' Do not seek to attack the gods, but retire and per- 
suade your master to atone for his sin of covetousness, 
which has almost destroyed him.' 

: The trembling listeners prostrated themselves and 
promised obedience, then returned to the house and 
delivered the message to Raiko. The latter heard them 
respectfully, and felt remorse for his conduct. He re- 
pented and gave large sums of money to the bozu and 
pooi 1 , and lived to a good old age." 

Then the speaker stopped, regarded me significantly, 
and murmured, 

r Now, what do you think of the god-fox? ' 

' I do not quite see what he had to do with it," I 

The man looked at the overturned stone figures, and 
once more lowering his voice, continued, 

? Don't you understand? The spider was one of the 
many shapes assumed by the god-fox." 

Finding that he was in a humor to continue his 
stories, I begged he would relate something more con- 
cerning his favorite deity; hearing which he smiled, 
bowed, and said, 

c There was another covetous man who lived in the 



same town as Raiko. This fellow was a carpenter, 
who used to say, 

> j 

r If I only had a second pair of hands, how much I 
would accomplish and how rich I would grow! ' 

>f One night he prayed to the gods to give him a 
second pair of hands, and on awakening in the morn- 
ing discovered that his petition had been granted. 
Delighted with the benevolence of the deities, he went 
to work with a will and performed the labor of two peo- 
ple. After a while his meanness overcame his delight, 
and he thought, 

" r If I onlv had six hands, how much more work I 


could do. Oh ! for six hands.' 

T Again the grasping wretch petitioned, and once more 
his request was granted; but, by and by, he once more 
began to sigh and moan, and finally he asked the gods 
to give him eight hands, promising he would be satisfied 
with that number. To his delight the additional bless- 
ings were vouchsafed him, and for a while he was really 
contented. One day a travelling showman appeared 
before the carpenter's shop, and after regarding him 
attentively, said, 

' What a foolish fellow you are to work as you do! 
If you Avill come with me I will exhibit you, and will 
make your fortune while you are winking. I know 
millions of people who would give all they possess to 
behold such a curiosity as you are.' 


' He talked so pleasantly and used such skilful argu- 
ments, that the covetous dupe yielded and crawled into 
the cage provided by his tempter. As soon as the 
foolish fellow had entered the trap, the showman locked 
him in and conveyed his prize from village to village. 
Instead of reaping a golden harvest, the many-handed 
man w r as half starved and was exhibited for a few rin to 
every person who wished to gape at him. When he 
expostulated, his master prodded him with a pointed 
stick and made him feel sore all over, in addition to 
which his tormentor told people that his victim was an 
Aino from Yezo." 

The pilgrim then paused, elevated his eyebrows, 
regarded me slyly, and murmured, 

'' Of course you understand that the showman was 
Inari's servant." 

: Why do you permit your gods to lie there in such a 
disgraceful position?' 1 I inquired. f If I were you I 
would place them upright." 

This suggestion appeared to please him greatly, and 
he advanced, set the stone foxes upon their bases, 
bowed to each, picked up the cloth containing the relic 
from the shrine, gravely saluted and retired, leaving me 
listening to the shrill notes of the semi (tree locust) 
chirping in the boughs of the old suyi, and pondering 
over the legends of the god-fox. 



DUKIXG my last visit to Toldo, I was invited to 
witness a no performance, given by the members 
of the Maple Club, an association of Japanese gentle- 
men who own a beautiful place at Royokwan in Shiba. 

The no gciku is of very ancient origin, and is a com- 
bination of slow pantomime, dancing, and high-flown, 
long-drawn sentences, intoned in a language as unin- 
telligible to the ordinary Japanese as Italian is to the 
mass of our people. 

As a relic of the primitive forms of opera and drama, 
it is highly interesting, but were it not for the com- 
paratively modern farces called no-kio-gen, that are 
introduced between the no gcik.u, the entertainment 
would be exceedingly wearisome to the foreigner. 

One charming afternoon in May I accompanied some 
American friends to Kovokwan, where we were received 


and welcomed by the officials of the club. After visit- 
ing the handsomely decorated rooms of the main build- 
ing, we were conducted to the theatre, a neatly built, 


NO GAKU. 117 

shed-like structure of white-wood, which was filled 
with Japanese of the better class, who like ourselves 
were guests of the members. A gentlemanly com- 
mittee-man, dressed in full American evening costume, 
minus the shoes, which are never worn indoors, 
showed us to our chairs in the front row, and presented 
each of our party with a lithographed programme in 

The native portion of the audience squatted on the 
matted floor of the centre and left wing of the building, 
while the ladies and children were accommodated in a 
separate shed on our right. Before us was a roofed 
platform of white-wood, enclosed with railings of the 
same material, the back being furnished with a screen 
on which was painted a gnarled matsu (pine-tree). 
This and an oblong, lacquered tablet, inscribed with 
the characters J\ r o Gaku (no opera), and decorated 
with two massive scarlet silk tassels, was the only 
ornamentation of the stage, the entire arrangement 
being exquisitely simple and restful to the eyes. 

T'pon our left was the actors' dressing-room, which 
was connected with the stage by a bridge of unpainted 
white-wood, furnished with a simple railing of the same 

About four o'clock the curtain veiling the entrance 
to the dressing-room was raised by elevating its corners 

118 NO GAKU. 

on poles, and five musicians entered silently, crossed 
the bridge, crouched at the back of the stage, pros- 
trated themselves and performed the respectful saluta- 
tion, after which, sitting upon their heels, they remained 
as motionless as statues. 

In a few moments the chorus, consisting of ten 
amateurs clothed in gray silk robes, and wearing the 
Icamisliimo (wing-shaped upper garment), entered, and 
moving like spirits over the bridge, knelt in two rows 
on the left of the stage, then saluted in the same 
manner as the musicians had done. 

* Now," said a Japanese friend on my left, producing 
a pocket edition of the plays, which he politely proffered 
to me, ? prepare to be delighted. All the characters 
will be represented by celebrated no performers.'' 

The entertainment commenced by the flute player 
executing some weird staccato passages, then a lean 
singer on his left contorted his visage and proceeded 
to indulge in most agonizing howls. He whooped, 
imitated a person suffering from pangs of seasickness, 
and strained himself in a manner painful to behold, his 
efforts being vigorously seconded by his next neighbor, 
a fat little fellow with a head as bald as a polished 

Although their exertions nearly caused the foreign 
portion of the audience to choke with suppressed 

NO GAKU. 119 

laughter, the Japanese spectators evidently enjoyed the 
demoniacal sounds, for they listened with grave and 
interested countenances, just as lovers of Italian sing- 
ing do to a tour deforce of one of our operatic stars. 

At the conclusion of the infernal sounds, the Tsud- 
zumi uchi (player on a small drum, shaped like an 
hour-glass), and an operator on a little sieve-shaped 
drum, beaten with two long sticks, who had been 
eagerly Avatching the soloists, as though waiting for 
their cue, struck their instruments vigorously, and 
shrieked approvingly, Yee-Jiaa ! ' 

When they had repeated this thrice, the chorus began 
a low, musical Gregorian-like chant that, after the bar- 
barous noises to which we had been treated, sounded 
like a heavenly song. 

While they were intoning, the curtain of the dress- 
ing-room was raised, and a stern-looking man, cos- 
tumed in the garb of a priest, wearing a zu-Jcin (white 
head-dress, shaped like a mob-cap), and having the 
lower portion of his face covered with a towel, slowly 
advanced upon the bridge, and halting, regarded us 
:t with glittering eyes." His garments were drawn up 
about his waist, exhibiting his bare limbs and white 
tcibi (socks), and over his left shoulder he carried a 
naga-nata (long spear), the staff of which was beauti- 
fully decorated and lacquered. 

120 NO GAKU. 

That is Musashibo-benkei," whispered my friend. 
1? Now you will hear something good. The gentleman 
who takes that part is one of our most talented no 

The actor advanced slowly, like a school-boy sum- 
moned to receive chastisement, and upon reaching the 
front of the stage executed a stately dance, then 
chanted in a deeply tragic voice, ? I am Musashibo- 
benkei, the priest of Saito Kitadani. In fulfilment of 
a vow I have been in the Ginsenji for seven days, and 
to-night I go to Kitano on my Avay to Ushinotoki- 
mari." (Calls his servant.) 

Chorus, responding for the latter: 'I think you had 
better not go to-night." 

Benkei, in a guttural, dramatic voice: TVhy so? r 

Chorus : rf Last night, when we were passing the 
Tojo bridge, a young fellow, twelve or thirteen years 
old, attacked us with a small sword. He was as quick 
as a butterfly in his movements, and threatened to kill 
us; so beware of him." 

Benkei, in a contemptuous voice, singing out of the 
left corner of his mouth : ' Though he were as quick as 
a butterfly, you should have surrounded him and cut 
him down." 

Chorus : r When we surrounded him he sprang over 
our heads, and our blows fell upon each other." 

NO GAKU. 121 

Benkei (derisively) : ''If you had attacked him act- 
ively yon must have slain him." 

Chorus: 'He is a supernatural being 1 . Indeed, no 
one could kill him. Though this is a great city, it has 
no other such extraordinary being as he in it." 

Benkei (thoughtfully aside) : : Then I think I will 
not start for Ushinotoki-mari to-night." 

Chorus: " That will be excellent." 

Benkei (slowly and bombastically) : ? It shall never 
be said that Musashibo-benkei was frightened by stories 
of brigands. To-night I will take my stand, alone, 
upon the bridge and conquer that extraordinary per- 


Then he slowly raised his spear and with it performed 
a number of wonderful evolutions, sometimes remaining 
several minutes in one pose, during which the chorus 
intoned a long description of the hero Ushiwaka (a 
name of Yoshitsuni), and ended with the following :- 

" At the hour of midnight, the bell of Santo rang out 
clear upon the air. All was still and the moon shone 
brightly. When the sound of the bell had ceased, 
Benkei advanced upon the bridge. He was dressed in 
his loose armor of black leather, and carried over his 
shoulder his favorite naya-nata. His appearance would 
have frightened demons, and he was well satisfied with 

122 NO GAKU. 

Benkei (in a deep, tragic tone) : ? I am Musashibo- 
benkei. I fear no one." 

Chorus : r Benkei slowly paced the bridge and trod 
heavily upon the planks." 

Benkei (in a hoarse, deep voice) : ' I am Musashibo- 
benkei. TVho dares to cross weapons with me?" 

He stamped alternately with his right and left foot, 
scowled ferociously and moved majestically up the 
stage, while the flute player began a weird air and his 
eccentric companions again imitated persons suffering 
from mal-de-mer. During this excruciating perform- 
ance, the curtain of the dressing-room was once more 
raised, and a youth clad in silken upper garments and 
immensely wide Jiakama (trousers) of white silk, the 
size of which was made more conspicuous by the in- 
sertion of a broad stiffening, glided across the bridge 
and descending the stage, began to deliver a speech in 
a high-pitched monotone. 

He was a chubby-faced, brown-skinned, good-looking 
young gentleman, and w r as fully impressed with a sense 
of his own ability. His coarse, black hair, worn in the 
modern foreign style, was bound with a white fillet, the 
long ends of which floated down his back, and in his 
obi (girdle) he carried a short and a long sword. 

After indulging in a prolonged speech, he turned 
suddenly and revealed the expansive back of his lower 

NO GAKU. 123 

garment. This action, though intended to be highly 
dramatic, excited the risibility of the foreign portion of 
the audience, heedless of which he strutted, stamped, 
and gestured defiantly, while the chorus intoned, 
f Ushiwaka rejoiced to see Benkei, and covering his 
face with a thin cloth, stood still." 

The young actor veiled his features, and slowly 
advanced up the stage; while at the same time Benkei 
descended it, eying him askance and chanting in a 
significant tone, " I am a priest, therefore I will not look 
at her." 

As he passed Ushiwaka, the latter extended his foot 
sideways, and kicked the end of the old man's naga- 
nata (spear), whereupon the warrior scowled and 
chanted in thundering tones, " Impolite creature, I will 
frighten you ! r 

He raised his weapon and made a pass with it, seeing 
which Ushiwaka turned, threw aside his veil, and draw- 
ing his sword, stood on the defensive. Then followed 
an ideal combat; the Japanese, in their stage battles, 
mimicking instead of delivering blows. 

Chorus: ' Benkei was the inferior in the art of war 
and was gradually driven back." 

Benkei (pausing and regarding Ushiwaka from under 
his bushy eyebrows) : ; There is no reason why I 
should be beaten by such a youth as this." 

124 NO GAKU. 

Chorus (during which the two actors slowly illus- 
trated the recitative) : r Benkei cut transversely at 
Ushiwaka, but the latter jumped aside. Then he 
slashed at the young man's legs, when Ushiwaka sprang 
into the air. As Benkei delivered a blow at his oppo- 
nent's head or neck, the youth crouched upon the ground. 
At last Ushiwaka, tired of acting on the defensive, 
attacked Benkei, and wounding his hand, caused him 
to drop his spear. Finding himself disarmed, the old 
man tried to close with his assailant; but so skilfully 
did Ushiwaka use his sword that he was unable to get 
near him." 

Benkei (in a tremulous, enraged tone) : rf I know not 
what to do! Tell me your name." 

Ushiwaka: f I will confess the truth." (Proudly.) '' I 
am Minamoto no Ushiwaka." 

Benkei (falling upon his knees) : ' The son of Yoshi- 
tomo ! ' (Bowing his head to the ground and yielding.) 

Ushiwaka (grandly surveying him) : : Who are 
you? ' : 

Benkei (respectfully sucking in his breath, and reply- 
ing with his head close to the boards, in a low mono- 
tone) : " I am Saito no Musashibo-benkei." 

Chorus (bowing low and singing in a loud, triumph- 
ant manner) : r? Benkei begged pardon for his rudeness, 
and went to Ivujo with Ushiwaka." 

NO GAKU. 125 

At the conclusion of this song, the younger actor 
slowly strutted off the stage and across the bridge, fol- 
lowed at a respectful distance by the conquered Benkei. 
As the actors disappeared behind the curtain, the musi- 
cians once more indulged in their wild strains and the 
solo singers again treated us to their soul-moving per- 
formances, after which they and the chorus rose and 
departed noiselessly. 

The next piece was a no-kio-gen (farce) called " Ishi- 

A woman who has a drunken husband and desires to 
be separated from him consults the nakato (middle-man) 
who had brought about their marriage. The go-be- 
tween, who is a waggish fellow, tells her to relate her 
troubles to the god Ishigami ; then seeking the husband, 
gives him the mask and robe of the deity, and instructs 
him what to do. The wife goes to a thanksgiving fes- 
tival in honor of Ishigami, and approaching the figure, 
which is her husband in disguise, kneels, and after bow- 
ing respectfully, pours out her sorrows, recounting such 
a list of complaints that the husband pushes the mask 
on to the top of his head and regards her with comical 
amazement, saying in a sly aside, f l did not know that 
I Avas half as bad as she makes out." 

: Yes, yes, he is a thoroughly mean fellow," cries the 
woman, with her head still bowed. :<: He is a lazy, shift- 

126 NO GAKU. 

less, good-for-nothing nordkura-mono [vagabond], and 
I have had about enough of him." 

This speech caused the meek god to grind his teeth 
and to replace his mask with a quick gesture, as though 
desirous of shutting out her voice. After treating him 
to much plain talk, she assumed an upright position, 
gazed tearfully and pleadingly at the goggle-eyed visor, 
and folding her hands palm to palm, continued, " Great 
Ishigami, what do you advise me to do?" 

: Woman," he replied in a hollow voice, " while load- 
ing your husband with ten thousand crimes, you forget 
it is your conduct that has driven him to seek consola- 
tion in the sake cup. Your tongue sounds like a bird 
rattle agitated by the breeze. You ought to have 
drowned yourself instead of coming here and so shame- 
lessly denouncing your lord and master." 

On hearing these harsh words she again bowed her 
head, and tearfully replied, 

f I know I am very weak; still it is hard to bear with 
a man who drinks like a shojo [river demigod who is 
fond of sake\ . I admit that I have allowed my tongue 
to run somewhat freely. Pardon me, merciful Ishi- 

While she was speaking, he once more pushed up his 
mask, and placing his arms akimbo, chuckled triumph- 
antly to himself. In the midst of his merriment she 

NO GAKU. 127 

suddenly raised her head to apply her sleeves to her 
eyes, whereupon he once more jerked down the mask, 
refolded his hands, and assumed a godlike pose, say- 

K Some people are never satisfied. "Woman, what do 

you want? Have you not a handsome young husband, 
who is the admiration of all your friends and neighbors? 
You ought to be united to some poor, miserable, surly- 
tempered, withered old fellow, who would make you 
slave from morn till night, and never give you a holiday. 
~No wonder you weep with shame." 

This caused her to sob worse than before, and to bury 
her face in the sleeves of her kimono. During the prog- 
ress of her lamentations he turned adroitly on his seat, 
and shifting his mask to the back of his head, waited 
for her reply. 

Presently she raised her tear-moistened face to the 
visor, and not perceiving the change in his position, 

;r Powerful Ishigami, do not overwhelm me with your 
wrath. You know not how bad it is to have a drunken 
brute come home at night and break things. I have 
borne this until my bosom is wellnigh closed with 
grief. Look kindly on me and relieve me from my 

Then, hysterically raising her voice, she once more 


recounted her husband's imperfections; upon hearing 
which he silently rose, placed his lingers in his ears, 
and retreated up the stage. For several moments she 
continued to address the block on which he had been 
seated, while he stood at the upper part of the stage, 
and expressed his delight in the most comical panto- 
mime. At length she discovered his absence, and after 
gaping some time at the empty seat, rose and gazed 
about her with a terrified countenance, whereupon he 
quickly turned and presented his back to her. She 
moved alter him, bowing at every step, and drying her 
eyes on her sleeves, shrieked her complaints as volubly 
as before; but whenever she neared him he nimbly re- 
treated. Sometimes he crouched, and slipping the visor 
on to the top of his head, presented it toward her and 
pretended to listen; then he would adroitly turn and 
place the mask over one of his ears, as he did so grim- 
acing derisively. 

After a long* chase, he resumed his seat and said, 

'I never had such a persistent suppliant. If you worry 

vour husband as much as vou have done me, I am not 

/ */ 

surprised at his indulging in an extra cup of sakt. You 
ought to make a vow to abstain from talking during the 
remainder of vour life." 


This advice appeared greatly to affect the woman, 
who, throwing herself at his feet, once more began to 


weep bitterly. "While she was lamenting, lie 
the ma^k from his face, calmly fanned him-elf with it, 
regarded her triumphantly, and finally, becoming care- 
lc--, uttered a ^niekrr of satisfaction. IJefore he could 
replace his visor, she raised her head and discovered the 
cheat that had been put upon her; whereupon she 
-eolded furiously and drove him round and round the 
stage, he alternately laughing and pretending 1o be very 
penitent. "When she had thoroughly exhausted her 
anger, he coaxed her back into a good-humor; then, 
making a significant grimace, said, 

? Xo\v we will go home and live peaceably- After 
unburdening your soul, you will feel more comfortable. 
I here solemnly vow to Ishigarni never again to drink 
more than one cup of sake at a time"; adding in a sly 
aside, 'I have only one mouth, and an empty cup can 
always be refilled." 

The by-play of the performers was excellent, and their 
points were made quietly, without glancing significantly 
at the audience. During the farce the orchestra and 
chorus were absent from the stage, but on its conclu- 
sion they returned silently. 

The next piece was called Momijigari (hunting 
among the maples) : a very old play, in which Taira 
Korimochi, a general of the eleventh century, meets an 
oni (ghoul) disguised % as a beautiful woman, and is 

130 NO GAKU. 

drawn into conversation with her. Warned of her true 
nature by the god Hachiman (chorus), he kills her and 
escapes. The costume of Korimochi and the masks and 
dresses of the spirit and her attendants were most elab- 
orate and gorgeous; but their tedious speeches proved 
almost too much for the foreign portion of the audience, 
and we were g'lad when the Momijigari was concluded, 
and the stage cleared for a farce called Hanaori (the 
flower plucking), the plot of which was as follows: 

An old bozu, going on a journey, charges his assist- 
ant not to admit any one to see the cherry blossoms in 
the temple grounds. Xo sooner has the aged man de- 
parted than a crowd (represented by five people) clamors 
at the gate and asks to be permitted to see the flowers. 
Finally, the young bozu good-humoredly admits them, 
and partakes of sake, until he becomes intoxicated and 
tumbles on to -the boards; when the people rob the 
cherry-trees (represented by a branch placed in a 
wooden frame) and retire, chanting a bacchanalian song. 
All the action of the piece was in pantomime; the per- 
formers pretended to drink sake from their fans and to 
admire imaginary sakura (cherry) trees, represented by 
the artificial branch. 

The most amusing portion was when the old priest 
returned and discovered his disciple prone on the ground. 
He approached him with an expression of the greatest 

NO GAKU. 131 

amazement, and, bending, sniffed suspiciously; then, 
applying his thumb and forefinger to his nostrils, mut- 
tered the single word "sr//r " (rice wine), and made an 
exit worthy of a first-class comedian. 

The last play, while apparently interesting to the Jap- 
anese, was wearisome to the foreign guests, some of the 
speeches occupying twenty minutes in their delivery. 
The principal performers were a red-headed shojo, who 
moved like an automaton, and Kofu, a sake seller. 
They strutted, howled, mouthed, and ranted, very much 
after the fashion of our old-time actors, and appeared 
as though they intended to talk all night. The sun was 
setting when the demon made his exit, and the chorus, 
after reciting a short epilogue, wound up to the accom- 
paniment of the flute and drum and the unearthly 
whooping of the soloists. 

I believe, though the young nobles of Nihon profess 
to admire the mechanical acting and the inflated deliv- 


ery affected by the performers, they infinitely prefer 
the elaborate feast, good wine, graceful dancing, and 
lively modern songs of the geisha that usually follow 
the no yaku. 



AMONG the many tales exposing the craft of the 
Buddhist priests, none is more witty and effective 
than that of the Shinda Usagi-uma, which is said to be 
over fifteen hundred years old. It is often recited by 
Japanese story-tellers, but it has never before, to my 
knowledge, been told in English. 

The lianasliika who related the following was a 
wrinkled, sly-looking fellow, who perfectly understood 
his profession, and could at will excite his audience to 
laughter, tears, or outbursts of indignation. 

Having sent round his fan for the preliminary collec- 
tion, he bowed respectfully, and commenced in a quiet, 
somewhat monotonous voice, 

The ancient philosophers asserted that there was a 
sliinda usagi-uma [dead ass] in every faith. This I 
will prove to you by the story of the Chinese priest; 
therefore listen, honorable sirs, and let me illuminate 
your souls. 

'' Many years ago a pious bozu dwelt in a little temple 



in the province of Honan. He was considered to be 
almost a saint, so perfect was his life, so calm, so ascetic 
the appearance of his face." (In a comical tone.) : " Oh, 
it is so easy to be serene of countenance when there are 
plenty of credulous people to find you in rice and wine ! ' 

'//a*/' (an ejaculation like "yes! ") from the audi- 
ence. '* Hai! liai! haif 

The hanashika sipped a mouthful of water, bowed, 
and continued in his ordinary voice, 

Yes, he was a pious man. Pie rose before day- 
break, prayed continually, listened patiently to the fool- 
ish stories of the girls and old women who crowded to 
his retreat, and chuckled inwardly when he heard the 
coins fall into the money-box. He was a perfect ex- 
ample of his class; his life being passed in" (satirically) 
''- doing nothing. 

r In the rear of the little altar of the temple was a 
tomb, carefully protected by a wooden grating, through 
which the faithful thrust their hands to touch the slab 
covering the bones of the saint, and thus rid themselves 
of the hundred million curses of humanity. Wonderful 
is the power of a dead saint." (Slyly.) r Wait until I 
die, honorable sirs: my bones will cure your diseases 
better than any patent medicine." 

* Hai! ' (Laughingly, by the audience.) ' 


The lianasliik.a closed his twinkling eyes and said, 
'The bozu, like all his brotherhood, had an assistant; 
he also kept a white ass to carry his disciple when the 
latter visited the faithful who resided afar. You know 
that it is impossible for a holy being, who is praying 
continually, to use his limbs like a jin-riki-sha man. 
In our cities the bald-heads [derisive term for a Buddh- 
ist priest] are carried in litters; but in China they 
ride on asses, - - a sign of humility, for as everybody 
knows, the lyozu are very meek and humble. 

f As the years passed, the fame of the shrine and its 
guardian increased. Indeed, it was whispered abroad 
that the miraculous power of the sacred relics had 
become communicated to the person of the bozu, and 
that many pious believers had been relieved of their 
infirmities by simply gazing on the old man's face or 
touching the hem of his robe." (Chuckling.) 'For my 
part, I prefer to seek the advice of a physician. The 
touch-cure never did me any good. 

The faithful brought wine, roasted ducks and pigs, 
and sweetmeats for the gods, and the altar was laden 
with offerings. "When the bozu and his disciple ate their 
frugal meal of rice, and drank water from the spring, 
the deities smiled approvingly. It was wonderful how 
much sake the images drank, and how eagerly they 
gobbled up the offerings, never so much as leaving a 


grease mark or the odor of Avine in the A^essels to 
gratify the noses of their attendants." (Slyly.) ' But 
then, bozu do not thirst after intoxicating drink, or 
desire to eat forbidden food like us sinners; no, indeed! 
they are holy beings Avho have burnt moxa on their 
heads, and A'owed to abstain from all nice things. Oh! 
honorable sirs, who would be a bozu, to exist on rice, 
never so much as sniff at a Avinecup or look admiringly 
on a pretty flower? You remember the proverb, r Those 
Avho serve the gods must be contented with the fra- 
grance of the offerings.' The happiness arising from 
a holy life makes the bozu sleek." 

The audience roared their approval of his sarcasm, and 
showered the brass cash upon the mat before him. 
Then he boAved graA r ely and resumed his story : 

' The bozu grew fat through sanctity, and his disci- 
ple waxed lusty from the same cause, when, alas! a 
famine swept over the province. Pious persons were 
no longer able to bring offerings to the gods; and the 
younger bozu, not being endowed Avith miraculous 
poAvcr, became as thin as a crane's leg, and as Aveak as 
thrice-diluted sake, Avhile the old one remained as plump 
as a Avell-fed mouse. 

"One morning, when they were mechanically repeat- 
ing their prayers, a sudden faintness overpowered the 
disciple, who, forgetting his vows, exclaimed abruptly, 


r Look here, I have had about enough of this! How 
do you contrive to keep fat without eating?' 

r For some minutes his superior was too much amazed 
to reply. However, he presently resumed his usual 
ascetic manner and said, f My son, you must have more 
faith. Thrice a day I touch the bones of the sainted 
one resting under the slab at the back of the altar, and 
am sustained. Namu Amida Butsu! [Hail, Omnipo- 
tent Buddha!] ' 

' The lad pondered over this speech, and resolved to 
test the efficacy of the relics. That afternoon, when his 
superior was listening to the pitiful stories of some 
starving women, he crept to the sacred spot, and pros- 
trating himself, inserted his hands between the bars, 
when, to his astonishment, he touched a ' 

Here the hanashika paused, and bowing, said, " Hon- 
orable sirs, if you will give me a few tempo, I will 
continue my story ; but if your purses are exhausted, I 
can wait until another day.'' 

:r Goon!' yelled his delighted audience, liberally re- 
sponding to his request, " go on ! go on ! go on ! ' 

He sipped a cup of tea, gathered up the contribu- 
tions, and when he had slipped the last coin into his 
sleeve, said in a sly, satirical voice, 

" The disciple touched a gourd like those used by pil- 
grims. ' Benevolent gods!' he murmured, 'this -must 


be a relic of the immortal saint. Probably its miracu- 
lous contents have enabled my superior to retain his 
strength and look so nice and fat. What is good for 
the dog is excellent for the puppy.' 

:? Shaking the vessel and applying his snub nose to 
the stopper, he continued, There can be no harm in 
my tasting this holy water.' 

? He reverently removed the wooden plug from the 
neck of the vessel, raised the latter to his parched 
lips, closed his eyes, and was sustained! That 
night, when he thought his superior was slumbering, 
he rose from his mat and returned to the tomb. He 
was about to resume his devotions, when he discovered 
the bozu seated on the grating with the empty gourd in 
his hand. 

' My son,' said the aged man, in a voice husky with 
emotion, 'the revenue of the temple will no longer 
hie sustain two of us ; the thistles are daily becoming 
scarcer, and our faithful hie animal will soon be as 
hie thin as we are. You must take him and go to 
a country where there is no famine. Leave me here to 
die at my hie post ! ' 

'Then, weak with fasting and prayer, he sank upon 
the tomb and slumbered like an infant on its mother's 

rf At daybreak the disciple rose and was about to set 



out on his journey, when he heard the voice of the bozu 
calling feebly, e Come back ! come back ! I must give 
you my blessing, or you will never prosper.' 

r The lad returned and knelt while the old man blessed 
him, thinking, r Every moment I remain here increases 
my hunger. I want to depart and to seek a new retreat, 
where I can practise our holy faith in its purity. How 
prone men are to deceit! ' 

' Though he thought this, he murmured in response 
to his superior's blessing, ? Namu Amida Batsit!'' 

' After saving farewell he mounted the ass, and turn- 

\j <_.> / 

ing his back upon the little temple, started upon his 
journey into the unknown country, sighing -t the du- 
plicity of his master and feeling certain that the gods 
would punish the old man for his impiety. 

"'Ah!' he sighed. f Would that I were able to 
carry off the sacred relics and enshrine them in a spot 
where I could sit and meditate from dawn till eve! I 
fear, spite of his reputation, my venerated teacher is ?t 
heart a hypocrite, and that he, not the gods, drank 
the wine brought by the faithful.' 

:? Meditating thus, he rode on and on, until he reached 
a country where there was no famine, where the men 
walked with their stomachs projecting, the women were 
pious and kind to holy persons, and his steed revelled in 
the sweet grass growing on the roadside. 


"One day, when the sun was high in the heavens, 
the animal, heretofore so sturdy and vigorous, suddenly 
began to tremble, and presently, dropping npon its 
knees, c uttered its last prayer ' and died. This unex- 
pected calamity rendered the young bozu almost speech- 
less with grief. All he could do was to kneel beside 
the motionless form, clasp his hands palm to palm, and 
ejaculate, c Nainu Amida Butsu ! Namu Amida Butsu ! ' 
: While he was thus employed, a man wearing the 
peculiar collar denoting that he was favored of the gods 
[insane or idiotic] approached him, and after listening 
awhile, derisively exclaimed, 

'How remarkable! A bozu earnestly and rever- 
ently calling on Buddha! A quack swallowing his own 
medicine! Here, take my collar and give me your Jsesa 
[sacred scarf]. If you do not know what to do with 
your dead brother, I will tell yon. You should be the 
fool and I the I)ozu.' > 

' I fail to comprehend your words,' said the agitated 
one. ' What can I do if Buddha does not restore this 
poor creature to life? ' 

5 The fool approached close to the mourner and slyly 
whispered, f Make a good living out of its carcass.' 

? I do not understand you.' 
" < No ! Ha, ha ! Which of us is the fool ? > 

' How can I make a livelihood out of a dead ani- 


mal ? ' demanded the mourner. f If this were a holv 


person, I might, --but an ass- (Sighing.) * Namu 
Amida Bids a! JVamu Amida, Bidsu! ' 

: The fool littered a cry of derision, then said, "We 
certainly ought to change places. Listen to me! I 
will teach you your business. Cover that body with 
earth, kneel at a respectful distance from it, address 
Buddha in your usual senseless manner, and between 
your prayers say to the passers-by, T If you would 
spare yourselves torment in a future state, contribute 
a few coins toward building a temple over this sinless 

The TJOZU gaped with amazement, then demanded, 
'Well, what good will that do? ' 

You dull-head,' angrily returned the fool, r where 
have you been trained? Do you not understand there 
arc plenty of credulous, ignorant believers in Buddha, 
who, imagining that to be the body of a saint, Avill give 
you any amount of money? Thousand gods! I Avish I 
had your chance. I shall burst my liver laughing at 
your stupidity! ' 

' He then made a gesture of contempt and walked on. 

' When the simple one was out of sight, the bozu care- 
fully covered the animal with earth, and kneeling at a 
few paces from the mound, placed his bowl before him, 
and alternately prayed to Buddha and cried to the spec- 


lalors, ? If you would spare yourselves torment in a future 
state, contribute a few tempo toward raising a tomb 
over this sinless one.' 

' AVhen the shadows of evening- fell, the bowl was 
heaped with money, and that night the bozu ate and 
drank like any sinner. The next morning he resumed 
his place by the body, and excited the fears -and charity 
of the wayfarers by his whining petitions. Toward 
evening, as the sun was casting long shadows, he saw a 
poor carpenter slowly returning from a hard day's toil. 
My son,' he said, f ~ if you would save yourself from 
a thousand years of torment, build a fence round the 
remains of this sinless one.' 

''In vain the unfortunate man pleaded that he was 
almost worn out. The pains of a thousand years in 
hell avoided by a few hours' work to-night,' said the 

'Ere the bell in the neighboring temple struck the 
hour of the rat [midnight], the dupe had enclosed the 
remains with a neat railing and had gone home to die 
of exhaustion. 

'"Within a month from that time, bricks had taken the 
place of wood, and the lozu had built himself a hand- 
some residence near the spot. Later on, a small temple 
was erected over the remains, the shrine was decorated 
with gilding and lacquer, and it soon became a famous 


place of pilgrimage; for, strange to say, the bones of 
the r sinless one ' worked miracles, often causing the 
deaf to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the 
dumb to speak. 

"All this w r as not accomplished in a day; meanwhile 
the bozu grew as fat as dai-koku-jin, and when he 
walked looked not upon the ground, and when he ate 
and drank partook of more invigorating sustenance than 
rice and water. Around him gathered pious persons of 
both sexes, and it was said that no one could resist his 
saintly smile. 

f One day, when he was meditating upon the hollow- 
ness of the world and upon the joys of celibacy, he re- 
membered his aged superior, the bozit of Honan, and 
determined to pay him a visit, thinking, f I will show 
him the folly of the sage's teaching, "* Admirable is 
the wisdom of age, absurd the stupidity of youth." I 
once thought him deceitful because he kept his wine 
gourd in the saint's resting-place. Ah! he was a 
poor, simple-minded old man, and was only guilty 
of one sin, while I have committed many, and de- 
ceived millions of pious people. It will be an act of 
reparation to visit him and to take the good father 
some fine sake.' 

T In a few days he set out on his pilgrimage, accom- 
panied by a multitude of religious persons, who, while 


paying the expenses of his trip, were deluded into the 
belief that they were getting rid of a load of sin. The 
glorious orb of light was sinking behind the vermilion 
curtain when the cortege arrived at the little temple 
where the TJOZU had spent the peaceful hours of his 
novitiate. In the porch stood the attenuated superior, 
shading his blinking eyes with his withered shaking 

? Ah ! ' murmured the old man, as the cavalcade 
drew near and the fat bozu dismounted. ' AVhat have 
we here? A bishop conveying a company of pious 
.nuns upon a pilgrimage? N~amu Amida Butsu !" 

* As he spoke the stranger approached, and kneeling, 
said, f Holy Father! I am your humble disciple. Have 
you forgotten my insignificant existence?' 

f " He merely uttered these words for the sake of effect, 
he feeling a contempt for one who, for so man} 7 years, 
had been contented to remain in such a wretched place. 
Then he rose, ordered his servants to carry some gold- 
lacquered cases into the sanctuary, and said to his com- 
panions, r Retire to the neighboring tea-houses until I 
join you. I desire to be alone with this venerable father.' 

' The latter led the way to the sacred spot, and when 
the servants had left them, seated himself near the tomb, 
and inviting his visitor to follow his example, said, ? My 
son, Buddha has indeed blessed you.' 


; The fat ~bozu withdrew a flask of liana-zakari [the 
flower in full bloom] from a case, extricated the plug 
from its neck with his teeth, poured out two cups of 
the generous liquid, and proffered one of them to his 
superior; after Avhich he seated himself and related his 
adventures. In his haste he omitted to tell about, meet- 
ing with the fool, and took all the credit of the idea to 
himself. During the progress of the recital, his host 
listened with half-closed eyes, and repeatedly exclaimed, 
c Admirable is the wisdom of youth, absurd the stupid- 
ity of age'; then extended his cup to be refilled, and 
smiled benevolently. 

'The visitor, flattered by his words, grew bold and 
ridiculed his former teacher, saying, ? After all, the sages 
were very ignorant men. It requires the keenness of 
youth to invent anything. While you have been eking 
out a miserable existence upon the relics of a genuine 
saint, I have lived in splendor on those of an ass. Con- 
fess, O holy father, that your disciple has been able to 
teach you something ! ' 

: The ascetic glanced keenly at him, and gravely re- 
plied, ' My son, I do not envy you your grand temple, 
your dazzling shrine, your eloquent tongue, your suc- 
cess in making converts, your overflowing money 
chest, or your beautiful disciples : you are welcome to 
the fruits of your labor ' ; (once more extending his cup,) 


? I no longer care for anything but attaining perfection. 
However, be not too greatly exalted by your own clev- 
erness; and above all, do not imagine you know so 
much more than I do. What you deem to be a new 
idea is as old as the hills, and exists in some shape in 
all faiths and in all countries.' 

:t Then, lowering his voice to a whisper, he pointed 
his lean forefinger toward the tomb, and smiling until 
he exhibited the roots of his two fang-like teeth, added, 
' My son, the mother of your ass lies buried there ! ' 




Between Union Square and Fifth A venue. 

1\/IY collection of Ancient and Modern Oriental 
Porcelain, Japanese Lacquers, Bronzes, Ivory Carvings, 
Kakemono, Screens, Curios, and Decorative Fabrics is open 
to the public from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M.