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LOTOS-TIME IN JAPAN. Illustrated. Cr. 8vo . . $1.75 

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Flower festivals are the great national holidays in 
Japan, where every month has its floral favorite. Lotos- 
Time extends through July and August. In some 
respects midsummer is not the most favorable season 
for tourists, because of the damp heat and copious 
rains. But while the autumn air is drier and more 
bracing, it is only in summer that one can climb Fuji 
or visit Yezo to advantage ; and summer has this fur- 
ther advantage, that the heat compels the natives to 
remove the fronts of their flimsy houses, so that the 
tourist can see every detail of family life, in countless 
interiors. Thus a trained observer might get material 
enough in a week or two for a volume of description, 
by taking either "the beaten, because most interesting 
tracks," or the more remote regions, where foreigners 
are rarely or never seen. And the longer he remains, 
the more will he realize the truth of Professor Cham- 
berlain's remark that in Japan the subject-matter for 
an author is so plentiful that "the chief difficulty is 
to know what to omit." 

If the reader expects to find in this preface an abject 
apology for adding another volume to the long list of 


books on Japan, he will be grievously disappointed. 
Have I not just as much right to try my hand and luck 
as my "seventy-times-seven-hundred" predecessors? 
Herodotus wrote about Egypt twenty-four centuries 
ago, yet books on that country continue to appear every 
year. Asiatic Japan is certainly not less interesting 
than African Egypt, yet the first European who de- 
scribed it lived only two centuries ago, and after he 
had done his work Japan remained hermetically sealed 
to the rest of the world until about forty years ago, 
so that it still preserves many mediseval customs, the 
contrast and clash of which with the imported elements 
of our Occidental civilization produce a multitude of 
picturesque phenomena that will continue to fascinate 
and tempt authors and artists for many years to come. 
The story of Rip van Winkle is, like so many other 
things, reversed in Japan, where it is the country that 
has gone to sleep, and the visitor that is up to date. 

That there is room for another volume on this re- 
markable country I may perhaps be allowed to infer 
from the fact that, among the hundreds of books in 
various languages that I have looked over, I have not 
found one in which is given a convenient bird's-eye 
view, in a few brief chapters, of the principal points 
in which Japanese civilization is superior to our own. 
In attempting to do this, in a modest way, I have forti- 
fied my arguments with quotations from the authorita- 
tive and admirable volumes of Messrs. Griffis, Cham- 


berlain, Hearn, Black, Alcock, Mitford, Misses Bacon 
and Bird, and others, to all of whom I am indebted for 
much instruction and pleasure. Such a bird's-eye view 
is, it seems to me, particularly timely and desirable, in 
view of the American tendency to estimate Japanese 
civilization from a purely material and military point 
of view. I have tried to show that the Japanese have 
as much to teach us as we have to teach them, and that 
what they can offer us is, on the whole, of a higher 
and nobler order than what we can offer them. Japa- 
nese civilization is based on altruism, ours on egotism. 
Mr. Howells's Traveller from Altruria might have almost 
hailed from Japan, and Mr. Bellamy, while Looking 
Bachvard, might have benefited by looking across the 
Pacific for ideals of social refinement and happiness. 
The comparison of Japan with America is particularly 
suggestive, as her virtues balance our vices, and vice 

The bulk of the present volume is, however, innocent 
of didactic purpose, its sole object being to present a 
few realistic and unbiassed sketches from life and 
nature, and to exhibit to the reader and possible tourist 
specimens of the every-day experiences he would be 
likely to have in Japan. Personal details of a trivial 
nature are given only in situations where it was be- 
lieved that they would increase the vividness of the 
local coloring 1 . Tourist luck was against me in the 
matter of Fuji, while it greatly favored me in Yezo, 


among the Ainos. For my excellent opportunities to 
study certain phases of life in Tokyo, I am especially 
indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Heromich Slmgio, a 
Japanese gentleman who is as well known in New 
York society and clubs as in the aristocratic circles of 
Japan's capital. I also wish to express my gratitude 
to Mr. Yabi, my native travelling companion, whose 
encyclopa3dic knowledge of things Japanese helped me 
to avoid misleading the reader, and added greatly to 
the pleasures of my travels. 

The use of the word "native" in this book calls for 
a line of explanation, in view of the fact that it may 
possibly be read by some of the numerous Japanese who 
now speak English, and whose feelings I do not wisli 
to hurt. It appears that there is current prejudice 
against the word "native," because a standard diction- 
ary translates it as dojin, which means aborigines in 
their barbarous condition. Of course I use the word 
merely in its ordinary sense, as the opposite of "for- 
eign," and to avoid too frequent repetition of the word 

H. T. F. 

New York, March 2, 1895. 


To Japan, via Hawaii 

Time and Expense Five Hours at Honolulu Mount 
Fuji Are American Indians Japanese? Scenes in 
Yokohama Bay Perry and his Oyster 

Yokohama Foreign and Native 

Baby Carriages for Adults Half-way House to 
Japan Barbers and Bar-rooms The Bund and the 
Bluff Clubs Scarcity of Foreign Women Staring 
at Foreigners Young Beggars Oriental Bowery 
Shows Queer Music Godowns and Green Tea An 
Apology for Yokohama 

Railway and Kuruma 22 

America in Japan Locomotives and Natives A 
Typical Station Clog Dance A Eurasian Hotel A 
Polite Clerk A Plea for Lemons A Quiet City 
Bird's-eye View Hills and Parks Traits of Kuruma 
Coolies What is Degrading Work? 

Street Scenes in Tokyo 37 

Recent Changes Daimyos and Samurai Yashikis 
and Moats Policemen Attacks on Foreigners 
Safety in City and Country Shops and Homes exposed 
to View Bazaars Trades Flocking Together Comic 
Signboards Ungrammatical Costumes Brunettes in 
Blue Modest Exposure Japanese Children Bowing 
How the Poor Live Fires and Godowns 



From Morning till Midnight 54 

Tokyo at its Toilet Dogs and Chickens Fish 
Market Dangerous Wells Nap Time A Foolish 
Law Coolies versus Horses Street Sprinkling 
Planed Ice Stewed Tea A Carriage Drive Where 
Missionaries Live Scenes about a Buddhist Temple 
Religion and Fun Archery Girls A Night Crowd 
Flower Show River Festival Day and Night Fire- 
works The City Band 

Wine, Women, and Song . 75 

Beauty of Japanese Women Brunettes only Wait- 
ing Maids and Singing Girls Like the Ancient Greeks 

An Esthetic Banquet Music and Banter Fireboxes 

Rice Wine Soup and Fish Chopsticks Dancing 
and Drums Gilded Vice A Slave Market Trap for 

A Theatre and A School 91 

Only Seven Hours Behavior of the Audience 
Social Status of Actors Trailing Trousers The 
Kneeling Nation Expression of Emotion Chinese 
Falsetto Scenery and Music Stage Illusions Count 
Okuma's School Speeches and Prizes Lunch in the 
Count's Garden 

The Mikado and The Exhibition 103 

A Vast Curio Store Visitors Semi-Foreign Picture 
Gallery A Gastronomic Insult An Imperial Prisoner 

The Mikado's First Outing Invisible No Longer 
Editorial Punishment A Remarkable Monarch 
Personal Appearance Evening Dress in the Morning 

Japanese Journalists Emperor or Mikado? A For- 
eign Dinner 

Off for Japanese Siberia 117 

Climate of Japan Monkeys in the Snow Skating 
in Tokyo Yezo versus Hondo Damp Days Climate 


and Literature Professors at Home Coolie Traits 
Guides A Literary Companion Unusual Privileges 
Mulberry Plantations An Inn at Sendai Transform- 
ing a Room Quilts and Pillows The Bill 

On a Coast Steamer 128 

The Famous Pine Islands The Island Empire 
Melons and Eels Japanese Steamers High Fare 
Meals in "Foreign" Style Yankees Out-Yankeed 

Passengers and Cargo A Large Fishing Village 

Japanese Gibraltar lo5 

Sights in Hakodate New Buddhist Temple An 
Interview A Japanese Interior Toy Garden and 
Fish Pond Barber and Taylor How to please Girls 

Taken to the Bath Courtship and Marriage Odors 
and Noises Dining and Climbing A Sea Bath 
Round the Island "Irish Stewed" Otaru Peasants 
Marvel of Politeness A Mixed Inn 

American Sapporo 151 

Natives in the Ocean Capitol of Yezo Russian 
Designs American Farms and Factories Expensive 
Experiments City and Suburbs Calling on the Gov- 
ernor-General A Eurasian House Beer and Fruit 
The Superintendent's Kindness A Unique Museum 

A Dairy Seeing the Factories Tea-house Girls 
Lamps and "Washstands American and Asiatic Cor- 
respondence A Comic Resemblance 

Into the Virgin Forest 1GG 

A Greek Idyl In a Japanese Coal Mine Convicts 

Ride on a Coal Train A Pond and a Bathing Scene 

Caught in the Rain Horses and Guides Treating 
the Ainos Bear Fights and Poisoned Arrows Ameri- 
can Clearings Japanese Pioneers Forest Enchant- 
ment Nightingales and Flowers Polite Convicts 
A Yezo Song Centre of the Island More Ainos 
Newspapers and Magazines 



The Ainos and the Whale 192 

Yezo Apples Time not Money Stage Ride to Mo- 
roran A Useful Lotos Pond Japanese Chivalry 
Along the "Wild Coast Beach Roses Fireboxes 
A Deserted Aino Town Excitement on the Beach 

"Whale Ashore Blubber and Prayers Aino Women 

Revenge on the Kodaker 

From Mororax to Hakodate 203 

Escorted to the Inn Crossing the Stormy Bay Sub- 
urbs of Hakodate Expense of the Yezo Trip Bath in 
the Sulphur Springs The Typhoon 

Through Mediaeval Japax 208 

Bear Cub Melons Roofs From Railway to Ku- 
ruma Early Morning Scenes Ravages of the Storm 
Changeable Rivers and Coolies Silkworms Foreign- 
ers as a Curiosity A Remarkable Runner Types of 
Female Beauty Ditches and Deaths Rainy Japan 
How Coolies Eat Babies and Pickles Naked and 
not Ashamed An Exciting Ferry A Grand Avenue 

A Pilgrim's Paradise ....... 221 

A Rainy Region Nikko's Long Street Our Summer 
House Pilgrim Processions Nature and Religion 
Ieyasu The Temples Art Works A Sacred Dance 

Ferns, Mosses, and Sun Jewels Lotos Roots What 
Japanese Houses Need 

Nikko Lakes axd Waterfalls 234 

Back View Cascade Tea or Lies Kegon-No-Taki 
Lake Chuzenji A Lakeside Inn Dragon's Head Cas- 
cade Moor of the Red Swamp Lake Yumoto Pub- 
lic Baths The Hot Springs Foam Cascade Nearly 
a Waterfall Snake Stories A Cholera Scare A 
Night half way up Fuji Sleeping under an Umbrella 



Railway Genre Pictures ...... 248 

The Legend of Fuji and Biwa A Popular Railway 
How Japanese Women Smoke A Married Beauty 
The Dress Problem Fat Wrestlers Lunch Boxes 
Cheap Tea Sets 

Fascinations of Kyoto 255 

Watermelons and Cholera The Japanese Rome 
A City of Temples The Corean Ear Mound Buddhist 
Chanting Rascally Priests Silk Factories Southern 
Female Beauty The Spanish Type Photographs of 
Geishas A Blind Musician Koto Concert Cheap 
Art Treasures An Oriental Nocturne 

Lake and Lotos Pond 267 

Otsu Puns and Poetry Japan's Largest Lake 
Acres of Lotos Flowers Difficult to Paint The Lotos 
in Japan, India, and America 

Are the Japanese Topsy-Turvy? 273 

Two Funny Incidents Social Antipodisms A Per- 
verse Language A Japanese Letter Lacquer and 
Wind When we are Topsy-Turvy How to stable 
Horses Proper Way to address Letters 

The Mote and the Beam 280 

Six Hundred Missionaries Denominationalism An 
Agnostic's Opinion Creeds and Deeds Occidental 
Bunkum Indians and Slavery Getting Civilized 
Commercial and Sexual Morality 

Nudity and Bathing 286 

Public Baths Modest Exposure A Foolish Law 
Nudity and Climate Customs of Various Countries 
Shocked at our Habits No "Great Unwashed" A 
Sensuous Luxury Bathing to get Warm Scenes in 
Bath Houses An Esthetic Question Neglect of the 
Nude in Art 



The Esthetic Nation 298 

Music and Nationality Future of Japanese Music 
Sculpture and Architecture Great in Small Things 
Decorative Art Impressionism Irregularity Love 
of Nature Flowers versus Bouquets Flower Seasons 

Poetic Names Mottoes on Screens Japanese Poetry 

Love Letters on Trees 

A Superior Civilization 313 

Care for Parents A Paradise of Babies Children 
born Civilized -School and Holidays A Thousand 
Years of Politeness A Language without Profanity 

Smiling in Grief Altruism versus Egotism Amer- 
ican Rudeness No Flaunting of Wealth American 
Plutocracy Inside and Outside Kindness to Animals 

Transition Period Three Kinds of Patriotism 
Shintoism Criminals and Crowds Sailors' Amuse- 
ments How to enjoy Life 


Geisha playing Samisen 




. 10 


. 16 

A Kago 

. 38 

Silk Store . 

. 46 

Carrying Children . 

. 50 

Pleasure Boat . 

. 70 

Glimpse of an Interior 

. 78 

Tea Plantation 

. 124 

Rain Coats . 

. 172 

Hairy Aino . 

. 200 

Fuji, from Hakone Lake 

. 244 

Koto and Samisen Players 

. 264 

Lotos Pond .... 

. 270 

Artificial Landscape Garden 

. 306 

A Flower Lesson 

. 308 




To most Americans a trip to Japan seems almost 
equal to a globe-trotting expedition, yet it involves 
to-day little more expenditure of time and money than 
a trip to Europe did to our fathers. Thirty or forty 
years ago it was still customary to cross the continent 
from the Mississippi River to California in five months 
in "prairie schooners." The Panama steamers reduced 
that to five weeks from New York to San Francisco, 
and to-day we cross in a Pullman car in five days, half 
expecting that Mr. Edison will before long reduce that 
to five hours. The further reduction to five minutes 
will then be a matter of secondary importance. From 
San Francisco or Vancouver the best steamers of the 
Pacific Mail, the Oriental and Occidental, and the 
Canadian Pacific companies make the trip to Japan in 
twelve to sixteen days, which is about the time it used 
to take to cross from New York to European ports until 
about two decades ago, when the " ocean greyhounds " 
were first let loose. And although the Japanese round 
trip involves about 10,000 miles more travel than the 
European, a New-Yorker can leave home with $1200 
in his pocket, spend three months in Japan, and return- 


with enough left for a dinner at Delmonico's, or an 
opera ticket, or both, if he has been fairly economical. 

The Canadian line has more fast steamers than any 
other, and the distance from Vancouver to Yokohama 
4330 miles is 230 miles less than from San Fran- 
cisco, but the sea is apt to be rougher at all seasons, the 
route being so much further north. To insure smooth 
sailing, you can choose one of the steamers of the 
Pacific Mail when (about once in three months) they 
take a southern course, so as to include a stop at the 
Hawaiian Islands. This implies an addition of 800 
miles to the voyage and three days more in time ; but 
the calm sea and the half-day at Honolulu more than 
compensate for this. When I engaged my passage on 
the City of Peking, I did not know she was going via 
Hawaii ; but the discovery was a pleasant surprise, for 
I had long wished to get a glimpse of the " Paradise of 
the Pacific," so long misnamed the Sandwich Islands. 1 
The City of Peking is a slow steamer, and it took us 
twenty da}^s to reach Yokohama, whereas the China, of 
the same line, has made the trip via Hawaii in fifteen 
days and eight hours. But we were comfortable, and 
that was the main point. The China has made the 
direct trip from San Francisco to Yokohama in less 
than twelve days, and could probably do it in ten if 

1 They were so called after the Earl of Sandwich by Captain Cook. 
But Cook was not the first explorer who discovered these islands, and 
he had no right to inflict on them a name which inevitably suggests a 
ten-cent lunch. The Hawaiians themselves greatly dislike to be called 
Sandwich Islanders, and it was gratifying to see, during the troubles 
of 1894, that that name for them was gradually displaced in American 
newspapers by the original term Hawaiians. As in the case of Mount 
Tacoma (long misnamed Eainier) and Lake Tahoe (misnamed Bigler), 
such arbitrary proceedings and aberrations of taste are usually cured 
by the lapse of time. 


necessary. But ocean racing from California ports is 
not popular, owing to the high price of coal. 

It took us a week to reach Honolulu, and when we 
got there, the captain allowed us only five hours to see 
its sights. To travel 2100 miles to a group of islands, 
world-famed for their palm groves, flowers, sugar 
plantations, dusky Polynesian beauties, luscious melons 
and mangoes, tonic breezes, balmy climate, and the 
most sublime ever-active volcano in the world, and stay 
only five hours seemed, indeed, like the craziest kind 
of globe-trotting. If we had had only a week, we might 
have visited the volcano ; but under the circumstances 
it was impossible to see it unless we were willing to 
wait three months for the next P.M. steamer stopping 
here, or else take one of the occasional Japanese steam- 
ers which are probably ill-equipped for Occidental pas- 
sengers. We consoled ourselves with the thought that 
a trained observer can see more in five hours than a 
careless spectator in five months. We did see enough 
to fill a chapter of description, but the temptation to do 
so must be heroically resisted, as our subject is Japan, 
which claims so much space for itself that it brooks no 
rival. I must omit, too, the many characteristic inter- 
national episodes of our voyage, and pass on at once 
to its last day. 

Before going to Japan I had often dreamed that, in 
the tour of the world, there must be one sight which 
would fill even the shallowest globe-trotter with a thrill 
of awe, and make him a worshipper of nature. Imagine 
the situation. For two or three weeks you have been 
confined in a floating prison, until you have almost for- 
gotten that there are such things in the world as trees, 
fields, houses, rivers, mountains ; and the gray-blue 


ocean is merged with the gray-blue sky in one sensa- 
tion of unfathomable globular monotony. At last, one 
morning, if the sky is blue, you discover a mysterious 
phantom a small, white cone standing in the midst 
of the ocean. As you approach, the cone rises higher 
and swells visibly, till, at last, it looms up as a shapely 
mountain top. It is Fuji, the sacred mountain of 
Japan, whose snowy crown pierces the celestial blue 
at a height of almost three miles above the ocean, 
whence you see it. Yet, at first, the globe's rotundity 
had made it appear to rise but a foot above the sea. 
For hours the pilot steers straight for that snowy land- 
mark, which seems to grow larger and larger, like an 
avalanche rolling toward us. In the hazy atmosphere its 
base is invisible, so that the snow cone continues to float 
in a gray ocean of air, even after the peaks and ridges 
of surrounding mountain ranges have come dimly into 
view, confirming our approach to land, and giving us a 
standard wherewith to measure the grandeur of Fuji. 

Such was my day-dream a dream which youthful 
experiences among the snow cones of Oregon made it 
easy for my imagination to realize vividly. But alas! 
it was to remain a pleasure of the imagination. Our 
blue sky had turned gray as we neared rainy Japan, 
and Fuji was invisible. I had to console myself with 
the malicious satisfaction that few visitors to Japan 
have had better luck. Captain Marshall, of the steam- 
ship Abyssinia, told Mabel Loomis Todd that " enter- 
ing Yokohama harbor very frequently, during nearly 
twenty years, he had but twice seen clearly this great 
landmark." In this respect a ticket to Japan is a lot- 
tery ticket ; and the worst of it is that a second ticket 
would cost another $350 and involve a return trip of 


9000 miles more. Nor could you obviate this by sail- 
ing, say, on a yacht or fishing boat from Yokohama till 
Fuji was out of sight, and then returning. You would, 
indeed, in that case have Fuji revealed to your eyes 
gradually, but it would not be the same ocular feast 
without the preceding ocular fast. 

Yet even without Fuji and under a leaden sky, the 
approach to Japan is fascinating. To me the first sight 
of land on the voyage between Europe and America is 
always a fresh delight, a thrill which repetition does 
not weaken. How much keener, therefore, must be 
the sensation of catching the first glimpse of a country 
a journey to which tourists have united in declaring to 
be like a visit to another planet. Look at the map 
readers of travel sketches should always have a map at 
hand ; it makes everything so much more definite and 
impressive and note, first the large bay, then the 
smaller one, which it takes the steamer several hours to 
traverse before Yokohama is reached. At the entrance 
to the large bay, just half-way between the promonto- 
ries on the right and left, lies the island of Oshima, 
formerly a convict settlement, guarded by a volcano 
whose constant smoke threatens an eruption on the 
slightest provocation. It forms a fine background to 
the scenery left of the steamer's course, while the prom- 
ontory to our right is adorned with curious villages, 
wonderf ully green hillsides, and one of those fine light- 
houses of which the government has erected a hundred 
on this dangerous coast within the last quarter of a 
century. The guide book assures us that here " luxuri- 
ant beds of jonquils and other flowers abound near the 
seashore, and fill the air with their fragrance at 
Christmas time." 


" You would have to travel far in China to find such 
scenery as this," a German passenger residing at Shang- 
hai said to me, as we made our way up the bay. I 
assured him he need not have limited his comparison 
to China. Nor was it the landscape alone that feasted 
the starved eyes ; the ocean itself had lost its ruffled 
monotony, and was now a smooth mirror of gay Orien- 
tal life. During the four or five hours that it took us 
to steam up the bay, with slackened speed, Ave passed 
several Japanese coasting steamers and innumerable 
smaller vessels, fishing boats mostly, with large white 
sails, junks of various sizes, going out to fish in the 
Kuro Siwo the warm, black ocean current which 
traverses the cold Pacific all the way to Alaska and 
down to California, modifying the climate of our Pacific 
coast. In centuries past many a Japanese junk lnis 
been carried across the Pacific by this 400-mile wide 
current, whence the not improbable inference that 
America was originally peopled by the Japanese. The 
faces of the Pacific coast Indians, from Alaska to Ore- 
gon, certainly bear a striking resemblance to the lower- 
class Japanese physiognomy, and there are not a few 
customs (notably those of carrying infants on the back 
and of walking with the toes in) that suggest a common 
origin. If this theory be accepted, the Japanese would 
be the "only genuine and original Americans" which 
is the first of the innumerable paradoxes we shall find 
on Japanese soil. 

Distant Japan is linked to America by the two 
further curious circumstances that it is indirectly 
responsible for the discovery of America, and that it 
was the American Commodore Perry who re-discovered 
Japan. It was the tales of Marco Polo about a myste- 


rious gold country, named Jipangu, that fired the zeal 
of Columbus to start on his voyage of discovery ; and 
it was through the diplomatic shrewdness and perse- 
verance of Perry (fortified by his gunboats) that Japan 
was opened up to the world in 1853, after it had been 
hermetically closed for more than two centuries, except 
at a small island off Nagasaki, where a few Dutchmen 
were kept as a sort of European menagerie. It may 
be that, as Professor Chamberlain bluntly puts it, 
" Perry triumphed by frightening the weak, ignorant, 
utterly unprepared, and insufficiently armed Japanese 
out of their senses." But I, for one, shall not blame 
him ; for from the tourist's point of view the only 
one I am bound to recognize he did a great thing 
when he opened this stubborn old pearl oyster, and 
gave everybody a chance to see the pearl, though it 
was rather cruel to the oyster. 

Perry's expedition is still recalled by the names of 
Treaty Point, Mississippi Bay, and Perry Island, which 
are pointed out to the passengers. As soon as we enter 
the inner bay, we catch sight, to the left, of Yokohama, 
which was a mere fishing village in Perry's day, but is 
now the chief foreign port, with a mixed population of 
122,000 inhabitants. The nearer we get to it, the 
denser becomes the throng of vessels, among which we 
have to pick our way slowly vessels of all sizes, from 
the huge war-ships of various nations, nearly always 
lying anchored there, to the local sampans, which crowd 
around us, and which are sculled by dark-skinned 
natives in various stages of undress. Some wear only 
a sort of blouse of blue cotton ; others, only a pair of 
trousers. The small boys have no use for any sort 
of covering ; and it is easy to guess that the men, too, 


would not encumber themselves with any were they 
not compelled to do so by laws enacted since the 
advent of foreigners. Some of the boats we passed 
carried the female members of families too, engaged in 
cooking, eating, or other domestic occupation, while 
the wind or oars were carrying them to the fishing 
grounds. Products of the farm and garden filled up 
some of the other junks. We just missed coming into 
closer contact with the natives ; for hardly had we cast 
our anchor, a mile from shore, when some of the boats 
came alongside. A rope ladder with a hook was fas- 
tened by means of a long pole to the deck railing, and 
the coolies began clambering up like monkeys. Just 
then our quartermaster came along, seized the hook, 
and compelled the coolies to choose between a hasty 
retreat and a plunge into the bay. It looked, for all 
the world, like an attack by pirates, except that our 
assailants were unarmed, and probably had the most 
peaceful wage-earning intentions. 






The two largest " foreign " hotels in Yokohama send 
their own steam launches to meet the steamers and bring 
passengers ashore. Getting into one of these, we were 
soon on Asiatic soil. The custom-house officers did 
not detain me a minute, as I was luckily provided with 
one of the thousand invitations extended during the 
exhibition year to "distinguished visitors " from abroad. 
There was nothing Asiatic in hotel launches or custom- 
house officers, but our next experience was specifically 
Japanese. Had we landed ignorant of native customs, 
we should have looked about for a conveyance to take 
us and our baggage to the hotel ; we should have been 
disgusted not to find a single cab or 'bus, and wondered 
what that long row of two-wheeled baby carriages was 
there for, with men between the shafts. Did they 
expect a shipload of infants from America ? Our aston- 
ishment would have increased on seeing our fellow-pas- 
sengers sober adult men and women get into these 
baby carriages and trot off with a man-horse between 



the shafts, as if it were the most self-evident thing in 
the world. 

Fortunately we were posted, not only in regard to 
these man-power carriages (jinrikishas, as the Chinese 
word is, or kurumas, as the Japanese more musically 
call them), but even in regard to the ways and tricks 
of the two-legged horses who draw them, and I was 
thus able to astonish at least one native before I had 
been on shore fifteen minutes. Getting into a kuruma, 
I said " Grand Hotel " in purest Japanese accents. The 
intelligent kurumaya understood me perfectly, turned 
to the left, and started down the Bund, as the beautiful 
wide street facing the ocean is called, past cosy private 
residences and fine curio stores, soon reaching the Grand 
Hotel. Here I handed him ten cents (the legal fare 
for an hour, and I had used him only five minutes). 
He held the coin in his hand, looked at it and at me 
with well-feigned astonishment, and exclaimed, " Ten 
sen?" in a tone of injured innocence. I paid no atten- 
tion to him whatever, and moved towards the hotel 
door. Turning again after a few steps, I found him 
getting ready to go, with a resigned expression on his 
face, of " Well, that fellow has evidently been in Japan 

Yokohama is a sort of "half-way house" to Japan. 
You might live in its foreign settlement a year without 
seeing a Japanese house, eating a Japanese meal, or 
knowing as much of native life and sights as you might 
learn of Chinese life by an hour's visit to Chinatown in 
San Francisco. The Grand Hotel typifies this situation. 
A long two-story stone building, it is in Japan, but not 
of Japan. It has rooms with foreign furniture and 
beds, carpeted parlors with a hotel piano, a foreign 


office, billiard and bar-room, a barber shop, separate 
foreign bath rooms, and a spacious dining room, with 
scores of small tables on which are served dishes cooked 
in foreign style and eaten with knife, fork, and spoon. 
The tea is foreign (Chinese or Indian) and is taken in 
the barbarous foreign way, with milk and sugar. But 
the waiters called " boys," as everywhere in the East 
are Japanese, and know very little English ; where- 
fore all the dishes are ordered, like the wines in our 
own restaurants, by their numbers. "European" wines 
are obtainable in Yokohama hotels and restaurants, 
Europe being, as the reader is doubtless aware, situated 
in California. Some of the leading San Francisco wine- 
houses have agencies in Yokohama. The Japanese 
take naturally to foreign wines and are especially par- 
tial to champagne, which, however, few can afford to 
drink at their own expense. The amusing incidents 
related in Perry's account of his expedition show that 
the Japanese took to the exhilarating sparkling wine as 
ducks to water. 

The hotel bar-room is entirely American in appear- 
ance, and here you can get all the American mixed 
drinks, at American prices. American treating is cus- 
tomary, and is rendered still more of a temptation and 
nuisance by the use of "chits," or slips of paper on 
which drinks are recorded with the drinker's signa- 
ture, the bill to be settled once a month, or whenever 

The hotel barber is less prosperous than the bar- 
keeper. The one who shaved me complained that he 
was patronized only by the new arrivals, and that most 
of these soon followed the example of the foreign resi- 
dents, who engage a Japanese barber to come to their 


room every morning to shave them, cut their hair when- 
ever necessary, and take care of their hands and feet 
all for one dollar a month ! 

It is not only in shaving and shampooing that the 
foreign residents in Japan economize by relying on the 
natives. A kuruma costs seventy cents a day, but if you 
engage your own man, the expense is only $10 a month, 
on which the kurumaya can easily support his family 
on fish and rice : fortunately he needs no hay or oats, 
for in his sphere every man is his own horse. Should 
you want a real horse and carriage, you would be 
charged $5 a day, but by paying $30 a month you can 
have your own horse and carriage, besides a betto, or 
runner, who always accompanies the horse. Real 
horses and carriages are, however, little used except 
for pleasure-driving and the display of wealth ; for 
business purposes everybody uses the kuruma. 

I have just said that one might live a year in Yoko- 
hama without seeing much of Japanese life ; nor need 
one remain shut up in a hotel to attain this undesirable 
result. The streets of the foreign settlement are abso- 
lutely un-Japanese, except as regards the displays of 
tempting curios and works of art in the large windows. 
Otherwise you will see just what you see in our own 
towns of from 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants, stone 
sidewalks, solid stone buildings of one or two stories, 
drug stores, groceries, haberdashers, bookstores with 
the latest English, French, and German novels, and 
so on. 

The handsomest street in Yokohama is the Bund, on 
which every visitor takes his first kuruma ride. It 
ends at the Grand Hotel; and as no houses are built on 
its ocean side, it presents everywhere a fine view of the 


harbor, with its international mixture of American, 
English, German, French, and other men-of-war, Japan- 
ese junks, sampans, and yachts. The one row of houses 
on the Bund sublimely illustrates man's confidence in 
his luck. Yokohama and the neighboring Tokyo have 
about fifty earthquake shocks a year. True, most of 
them are insignificant, but the experiences of 1894 
showed that they will, on occasion, knock over a for- 
eign-style building like a card-house. 1 Nevertheless, 
the houses on the Bund and on Main Street are all of 
stone and often two stories high, whereas the more 
wary Japanese build their dwellings of the lightest 
possible materials, wood, bamboo, paper. Typhoons, 
too, annually visit these shores; and only a few years 
ago a tidal wave at Kobe lifted up a steamer, and left 
it high and dry on the beach. Yet the Yokohama 
Bund is so close to the ocean that the waves often dash 

1 During my stay in the third story of the Tokyo Hotel I experi- 
enced two earthquake shocks. They were so slight that I should 
hardly have noticed them had it not been for the moving to and fro of 
the mirror on the wall. I do not know whether to envy or to pity the 
witness of the terrible earthquake at Gifu, whose experiences are 
described in the Japan Mail of Nov. 21, 1891. The following is cer- 
tainly one of the most graphic little pen pictures of an earthquake 
ever written: "He had just finished dressing when the first shock 
came. ... He crawled and dragged himself out of the house, for to 
walk was next to impossible. The next moment, so highly strung 
were his nerves, he burst into laughter at seeing the remarkable way 
a girl was moving down the garden path, lifting her legs high into the 
air, as it seemed. Then, looking over his shoulders, he saw a great 
and ancient temple, which he had been admiring the previous day, 
leap into the air and fall in dreadful ruin. Looking again to his front, 
the whole town was in an instant swept away before his eyes, and 
out of the great cloud of white dust came a screaming, gesticulating, 
wildly frantic crowd of men, women, and children, rushing hither and 
thither, they knew not where, for refuge from the great destruction 
which had come upon them." 


into the middle of the street, and create sad havoc with 
it. One afternoon in September, as I was sitting on 
the Grand Hotel piazza, I heard feminine screams. 
Looking up the Bund, I saw a party of ladies on 
kurumas, being drenched by the ocean spray, although 
the runners were as close to the houses as they could 
get. That night the solid hotel shook and trembled 
like a ship, from the force of the wind; and in the 
morning I found that many of the stone posts lining 
the ocean side of the Bund had been washed out 
and upturned by the angry waves. 

We consider the Japanese topsy-turvy in many ways, 
but in one respect the foreigners at Yokohama beat the 
natives on their own ground. They have numbered 
all the houses in the settlement continuously, regard- 
less of street names. Thus, if you wish to go to the 
English Club, you simply say, " No. 5 " to your kuruma 
man; if the Germania Club is your goal, " No. 235 " 
will take you there. Just as London and New York 
firms will often give their cable address in their adver- 
tisements, so it is customary in Yokohama to print the 
" 'Rikshaw " address. One bank, for instance, is "ni- 
ban," another "hachi-jiu ban." The bank, of course, 
is the first place you will visit, in order to get Japanese 
money, which, luckily, is identical with our own, a yen 
being a dollar, a sen a cent, and the coins similar in 
size and appearance to our own. Formerly every 
Daimyo, or provincial nobleman, had his own paper 
money; but those good old times are no more. But 
foreigners are still pleased on finding that they can buy 
a dollar's worth of Japanese money for fifty or sixty 

Club life plays a very prominent role in Yokohama, 


partly owing to the fact that so many of the residents 
have no family ties. The English Club is affiliated 
with similar organizations in other cities in Japan and 
in China and India, whose members are admitted to 
all privileges while visiting Yokohama. The German 
Club is thoroughly Teutonic, being partly social, partly 
musical. Here, in winter, they have a series of con- 
certs, theatricals, and balls, at which, however, the fair 
sex is always in a grievous minority. The scarcity of 
women is the moral bane of these foreign communities 
in the East. It leads to concubinage and greater evils. 
The local " Yoshiwara " contains the finest buildings in 
the city. The road to Mississippi Bay also is lined 
with tea-houses, where merry girls invite passers-by to 
a cup of tea or rice wine. 

The residences of the well-to-do foreigners at Yoko- 
hama are picturesquely situated on the Bluff, many of 
them being surrounded by luxurious gardens, with 
glorious views of the blue ocean on one side and snowy 
Fuji on the other. These three main parts of the for- 
eign settlement the Bluff, the Bund, and Main Street 
are as sharply marked off from the Japanese division 
of Yokohama, by far the greater part, as the brown 
river Ottawa is for miles after it enters the green St. 
Lawrence. Will the European current ever visibly 
alter the color of the broad Asiatic stream ? Possibly, 
for the Japanese are wonderful imitators and assimila- 
tors. Centuries ago they borrowed most of the oddities 
and all of the idiotities (if I may coin the word) of 
their customs from the Chinese, and they have during 
the last forty years learned an enormous amount from 
Europe and America; witness, for instance, their amaz- 
ingly modern war against mediaeval China. Neverthe- 


less, one can to this day spend hours in the native part 
of Yokohama without being reminded of the foreign 
invasion and the neighboring European and American 
settlement. The homes and habits, the dress and food, 
the employments and amusements, of the natives are 
here almost exactly what they were before Commodore 
Perry awakened the country from its long slumbers. 
They have not even become accustomed yet to the sight 
of foreigners, especially if women are of the party. We 
found that if we walked along with the crowds of men 
and women that fill the main street till midnight, every 
one stared at us, and many stopped to look after us. 
If we stood still a moment to look at anything, they 
immediately formed a circle about us, which soon 
became so dense, that it was difficult to break through 
it. There was no rude staring or jostling, no insulting 
comment, but simply the childish curiosity with which 
we gaze at a monkey or an elephant. But we had not 
expected this in the oldest and largest foreign port in 

The only real annoyance came from the young beg- 
ging children. It has been said that there are few or 
no beggars in Japan, and that the government and pri- 
vate charity allow no one to starve. I have also read 
of raids being made on beggars, and their being sent 
back by the police to their homes in other towns. All 
I know personally is that these young beggars were 
numerous, and that they had an exasperating obstinacy 
and pertinacity that a Spanish beggar might have 
envied. They repeat their monotonous request a hun- 
dred times, and if you lower your umbrella on one side 
to shut out the sight of them, they run to the other side 
and plague you another few minutes. Here, as else- 



where, the offensive beggars are not those who deserve 

Japanese Yokohama has a street which might be 
compared to the Bowery of New York, or even to its 
Coney Island counterpart. It is a sort of dime-museum 
and cheap theatre street, crowded all the evening by 
natives of the lower class, newly arrived foreigners of 
all classes, and foreign sailors with their girls. The 
Japanese pay only one cent for admission, while for- 
eigners are charged ten, without being accorded superior 
accommodations; nor is there any injustice in this, for 
we earn ten cents as easily as these people earn one 
cent. The nature of the show is sometimes indicated 
by pictures outside, while in other booths a method is 
resorted to like that of our sensational story-papers of 
which one number, breaking off in the midst of a blood- 
curdling scene, is distributed free, with the notice " to 
be continued in the next number," which is not free. 
One man raises a curtain till some striking scene within 
is half-revealed, whereupon the curtain is quickly 
dropped, while a noisy crier tells what is going on 
within. We entered some of the shows. In the first 
we saw the common circus trick of men balancing 
themselves on moving globes of various sizes. In an- 
other, a large woman was put into a small barrel, where- 
upon four swords were run through it in all directions, 
and a spear down through the middle. After these 
were withdrawn the woman popped up fresh and smil- 
ing, as badly painted and powdered as before. In one 
of the shows the wonders of electric light, telephone, 
phonograph, and so on, were exhibited to gaping natives. 
We also saw a poor crippled girl, without hands or feet, 
sitting on a table, holding in her mouth a pencil, with 


which she drew very fair pictures of ships and animals. 
Then she took a stick in her mouth and, with the aid 
of her stumps of arms and legs, made a paper-boat. 
After her came an idiotic-looking individual with a 
heavy sack on his shoulders, spinning around like a top, 
evidently having not enough brains to get dizzy with. 
The funniest of the sights was a wrestling match 
between a young boy and a girl, whose legs were as fat 
as the waists of ordinary boys and girls of their age. 
They knocked each other over every time, to the great 
delight of the audience. 

The music accompanying these performances was 
much more of a novelty than the tricks. We heard a 
blind samisen player, who evidently adapted his style 
to his usual audience, indulging in all sorts of vulgar 
tricks with his banjo-like instrument. After playing 
awhile in the proper way, he would invert the instru- 
ment and continue the tune ; then he put the plectron 
under the strings to shorten them, following this up 
with some glissando effects. Finally, he played with a 
short bow, which sounded much more musical than 
when he plucked the strings. He was frequently ap- 
plauded, hand-clapping being one of the foreign cus- 
toms readily adopted by the Japanese. In the larger 
shows there Avas a regular band, on a platform nearest 
the street. The players were mostly females, and their 
instruments were as picturesque as the noises they made 
were unique. Usually there was a sort of drum, a pic- 
colo, a samisen, with a similar instrument, having a 
larger body and a shorter neck (biwa). Of the bowed 
instruments, one had a body like a very small drum, 
with a neck two feet long ; it was pla} T ed with a bow a 
foot long, and much wider than our double-bass bows. 


The Japanese " harp," or koto, was evidently too refined 
and aristocratic to be used in such a place. The gen- 
eral effect of this music was somewhat Moorish in tone- 
color and in the monotonous repetition of the same 
melodic phrase. The showman held a stick in each 
hand with which he rapped to indicate the end of a 
number ; sometimes, too, he emphasized the rhythm by 
pounding the floor rapidly with them, a rap for each tone. 
After these samples of unmitigated Japanese music, 
it was interesting to hear what these people can do with 
European music. On Wednesday evening we found the 
hotel dining-room so crowded that there was hardly 
room for the regular guests. On this evening the band 
plays every week, and many residents take the opportu- 
nity for a social gathering and feast. After dinner the 
band played on the piazza, and many Japanese, mostly 
women and children, gathered in front to listen. What 
they thought of the music I do not know ; probably 
they considered it very funny and meaningless. The 
band consisted of about twenty Japanese youths, who, 
1 was told, had played together only ten months. 
Making allowance for that, and considering how utterly 
different their music is from ours, their performance of 
marches and waltzes was not bad ; from any other point 
of view it was crude and barrel-organy- While the 
band was playing, several jugglers exhibited their 
tricks on the lawn before the hotel ; swallowing 
swords, performing balancing feats, and so on. These 
came almost every evening. With the aid of the large 
telescope on the piazza one can observe other Japanese 
scenes at ease families in fishing boats, or out for 
a picnic ; boys and girls bathing naked in the bay, 
on a promontory to the left ; or, without telescope, 


the various passers-by, who will usually reciprocate 
your curiosity. 

Before leaving Yokohama, one feels tempted to in- 
vestigate one of the large godowns, or one-story stone 
buildings which attract attention by their length and 
by their odor of tea, which you can smell several blocks 
off, like the malt odor of our breweries. Admission 
to them is not readily obtained, but the inside is worth 
seeing. At the door you hear a babel of feminine 
noises, recalling the cigar factories of Spain. Here are 
nearly a thousand women and girls, with bare arms 
and bosoms ; but they do not, like the cigareras of 
Spain, hastily cover up their charms when a man enters. 
Each of them bends over a kettle holding five pounds 
of tea, which she stirs with her hands about ten minutes, 
after mixing a chemical powder with the leaves ; then, 
taking that portion out, five more pounds are put in, 
and the stirring is resumed. The summer heat in 
Japan is great outside ; in a building it is greater still, 
and as there is a fire under every one of these kettles, 
you can imagine the result. But the Japanese are 
salamanders ; heat has no terror for them. These 
women and girls look healthy and contented, though 
they work ten hours a day, and receive only ten or 
fifteen cents for it all. They used to get twenty-five 
cents a day ; but the price of tea fell, and wages were 
reduced. The employers told me that they never 
have any trouble with these women, some of whom 
have stirred tea-leaves in the same hot kettle for ten 
years. Strikes are practically unknown, and would be 
absurd in a country where, for every striker, there 
would be a dozen to take her place at almost any 
wages. A cent an hour seems low, even for an Oriental 


country ; but they manage to live on it, and, strange 
to say, would probably all agree that life is worth 

In reviewing my impressions of Yokohama, I have 
come to the conclusion that its attractions are usually 
underrated by tourists. Is not the native part of the 
city as quaintly Oriental as any other Japanese town? 
Is not the harbor the finest in the country? and could 
you find anywhere more picturesquely perched resi- 
dences than those on the Bluff"? In the matter of 
excursions, too, Yokohama is blessed beyond any other 
harbor town. To name only two, which no globe- 
trotter omits: Kamakura, "the Japanese Babylon," once 
a city of a million souls, now a village noted for its 
Daibutsu, or statue of Buddha, fifty feet in height, a 
grand work of art ; and Enoshima, the " Japanese 
Capri," noted for its shells, divers, sponges, monstrous 
lobsters, its sacred cave one hundred and twenty-four 
yards deep, and its legend of Benten, the dragon goddess. 
It would be foolish to attempt to describe these places 
again, after it has been done so poetically and artis- 
tically by Mr. Griffis, Sir Edwin Arnold, Mr. Robert 
Blum, Mr. John La Farge, and others. 

But the most interesting excursion is from Yokohama 
to Toky5, the new capital of Japan ; and this ever}- one 
is at liberty to write about, as its kaleidoscopic views 
of Oriental life are inexhaustibly novel and varied, 
presenting fresh aspects to every fresh pair of eyes. 







Before 1872 there were no railways in Japan, and 
trips to Kamakura, T5ky5, and so on, could be comfort- 
ably made only by kuruma or on horseback. To-day 
Japan has almost two thousand miles of railroad. The 
first built was the short line of eighteen miles between 
Yokohama and Tokyo. It carries us to the capital in 
less than an hour. By taking it we miss the busy 
multiple scenes of Japanese life which the kuruma 
rider could formerly enjoy on his leisurely run along 
the old road known as the Tokaido. But the view 
from the car- window includes Fuji on one side, the 
Bay of Tokyo studded with sails on the other, and 
there are plenty of genre pictures of village life near 
the stations, while the rural stretches are varied with 
orchards, vegetable gardens, rank bamboo groves, and 
flooded rice-fields with stooping men and women pull- 
ing up the weeds or transplanting the young crop. To 
foreigners residing in Tok} o a few weeks or months, 
this railway is a great convenience, as they somehow 
seem to find it necessary to run over to Yokohama 



every other day, either to replenish their purses at the 
banks, or to procure some of the conveniences and luxu- 
ries to which they are accustomed, and which are less 
accessible in Tokyo, where the number of foreigners is 
not large enough to be specially catered to. To return 
to Yokohama after residing in the capital a week or 
two, seems almost like annihilating the ocean and drop- 
ping into one of our own cities. After an absence of 
a month in the interior, this illusion is so intensified 
that one experiences quite an American or European 
emotion on seeing Main Street or the Bund again. To 
me this was one of the pleasantest experiences in Japan, 
because it constantly kept alive and fresh the contrast 
between Occident and Orient. 

As for the Japanese, they took readily and eagerly to 
the cars, as to everything that is new and practical. 
The railroad to Tokyo was built by foreigners, and was 
at first run by them, the engineers and conductors being 
English, the ticket-sellers Chinamen. To-day every- 
thing is in Japanese hands, and all runs smoothly, thus 
nullifying the foolish fears of those foreigners who, 
when the Japanese first began to take hold of some 
of their own engines, chose those which still remained 
in foreign hands whenever they took a trip. It is 
related that a Spanish peasant, on seeing for the first 
time a train in motion, looked on in amazement and 
finally exclaimed, " But where are the mules ? " Many 
similar scenes occurred when the Japanese peasants 
first sighted a locomotive. The women used to crowd 
around, and then run away screaming when it began to 
puff and move. Here was a monster more terrible 
than all the dragons described in their weird legends ! 
Even* one has heard of the man who. after a late dinner. 


was sent home in a cab, and as soon as it had started, 
took off his boots, opened the cab door and threw them 
out for the porter to blacken. The topsy-turvy Japan- 
ese of course do soberly what we do when we are drunk ; 
at any rate, it is related that one day a peasant, on 
entering a car, took off his wooden pattens and placed 
them carefully on the station platform, expecting to 
find them all right on arriving in Tokyo. 

Every kuruma-puller in Yokohama understands the 
word " station," which has been adopted into the lan- 
guage like many other English words. If you should 
happen to be late for the train, take two pullers, tell 
them " hayaku," and you will be hurried along in your 
" baby carriage with adult wheels " almost as fast as 
a horse could take you. If you are wise, you will at 
least have memorized the phrases relating to travel, 
printed in the little book which some enterprising curio 
dealer has probably left at your hotel door. But even 
if your ignorance of the language is still exhaustive 
and symmetrical, you will have no difficulty at the 
station, as the civil ticket-sellers know more English 
than is necessary to understand your demand for a 
first, second, or third class ticket to Tokj-o. 

The station itself is worth inspection. The third- 
class waiting room is very large, with plain benches. 
The first-class is very small, but has upholstered chairs 
and sofas. The second is of medium size, and has a 
table in the centre, with Japanese and English news- 
papers. Although first-class is here as cheap as third 
is in Europe, almost all the Japanese travel third-class. 
The first is used only by a few high dignitaries, while 
the second takes most of the foreigners and a consid- 
erable number of the well-to-do Japanese. In one of 


the waiting rooms I saw an automatic weighing ma- 
chine in the form of a seat, and with a nickel-in-the-slot 
" cashier " ; but as the numerals were in Japanese char- 
acters only, I could not ascertain whether the climate 
had begun yet to reduce me to the dimensions of the 
miniature natives. The second-class cars are very stu- 
pidly arranged with seats along the sides, like our horse- 
cars. Many of the natives squat on these seats, with 
their legs curled up under them, instead of letting their 
feet dangle down as we do. There is no bell rope con- 
necting the cars, and the guards, who look like boys in 
their foreign uniforms, though they are men, call out 
the names of stations with genuine imported rapidity 
and indistinctness. 

The first vision of Tokyo, as we near the station, 
suggests the railway yards and belching factory chim- 
neys of a western American city, rather than the capital 
of esthetic Japan, and recalls Ruskin's tirades against 
railways as the greatest uglifying agency of modern 
civilization an agency which makes most American 
towns and villages hideous with horrid sights and 
noises. As soon as the train stops, a most extraordi- 
nary clattering and shuffling sound assails the ear a 
sound which we had heard at the way stations, but only 
as a mere hint of what was to come at the Shimbashi 
station, where several hundred third-class passengers 
were dumped at once on the platform and hobbled 
over the stone flooring with their clogs, which, held 
fast by a thong passing between the big toe and its 
neighbor, constitute their foot gear. It sounded like 
a clog dance on a large scale, except that there was no 
rhythmic accent, but mere clattering, deafening chaos. 
It is a sound that can be heard only in Japan, nor 


would it be greatly missed there. These miniature 
stilts may be a great convenience in muddy streets, 
and to facilitate quick entrance into clean-matted 
houses without foot gear ; but they are exceedingly 
ugly, and they give the Japanese the most ungainly 
gait of all nations in the world. 

Outside the Shimbashi station there is a stand where 
you can buy a kuruma ticket to any part of the city 
at a fixed rate a great convenience for greenhorns 
who cannot bargain with the coolies. I took one for 
the Tokyo Hotel, which had been recommended to me 
as convenient and well kept , and so I found it. Tokyo 
has several kinds of hotels purely native, purely for- 
eign, and hybrid. The Tokyo hotel is modelled largely 
after the foreign hotels in Yokohama, yet has more 
Japanese features. After leaving the capital, I made it 
a habit to go to Japanese inns, even where hotels in for- 
eign style were available, because I wished to study the 
ways of the country ; but in Tokyo there are so many 
other things to see than hotels, that it seemed wiser to 
stay where I could feel sure of a real bed and foreign 
food, as I did not yet know how Japanese food and beds 
would agree with me. It was a wise decision, which I 
found had also been reached by Mr. Henry Norman, 
who was a guest at this hotel while collecting notes for 
his graphic and truthful volume entitled The Heal 
Japan, and by Mr. Robert Blum, who was there to illus- 
trate Sir Edwin Arnold's articles and one of his books 
on Japan, and who has also contributed a fascinating 
account of his impressions to Scribnefs Magazine, 
showing Japan, like Mr. John La Targe's admirable 
articles in the Century, through an artist's eyes. 

Although partly arranged after foreign models, the 


Tokyo Hotel contrasts pleasantly with American hotels 
in the courteousness of all the employees. One day J 
sat down on a bench in the office to talk with the clerk, 
who immediately got up and brought me a comfortable 
bamboo chair. Imagine an American hotel clerk doiim- 
such a tiling! Can you imagine it? Our Japanese 
clerks there were two were always ready to give 
us information and hints, to give the coolies directions 
where to take us, to write out addresses or telegrams 
for us in Japanese, and so on. Not that it is necessary 
to send telegrams in the vernacular ; English, German, 
or French may be used, but then the charges are five 
cents a word, counting the address, while in Japanese 
the address is free, and the despatch costs a mere 

In the dining room there is the same prompt atten- 
tion to all w r ants. It is un-Japanese to have male wait- 
ers; but the waiters here are, of course, Japanese, and 
they are among the best it has ever been my good luck 
to be served by. My own waiter was particularly 
prompt and attentive, and one day I could hardly re- 
press my indignation when an American bully, engaged 
in the silk business, sat down at my table, swore at the 
waiter, bossed him like a slave, and actually made him 
run, though there was absolutely no occasion for hurry. 
In this case the Asiatic menial w r as infinitely more of a 
gentleman than the American merchant. However, 1 
swallowed my indignation, with the aid of a quart bottle 
of Bass's ale, which always goes to the right spot in 
a hot climate, and, if taken conscientiously twice a day, 
obviates all danger from the Tokyo drinking water, in 
which often lurk the microbes of typhoid, cholera, dys- 
entery, and other murderous microscopic beasts. I have 


often marvelled at the ignorant inconsistency of tourists 
in Spain, Italy, and other warm latitudes, carefully shut- 
ting out the salubrious night air, but eagerly quaffing 
the suspicious water on hotel tables, or even such as is 
offered by street carriers, whose habits and sources are 
unknown. I have not seldom been in places where I 
thought it prudent to use Apollinaris even to brash my 
teeth with. Japan has fortunately a substitute for Apol- 
linaris, and a very good one, which is, in fact, almost 
identical with it. It is called Hirano water, and is so 
highly charged with its own gas that the bottles have 
to be carefully handled. It makes the most delicious 
lemonade; but, unfortunately, lemons are so scarce that 
one has to pay twice or thrice as much as in America. 
Indeed, the scarcity of lemons seemed to me the most 
deplorable of all the material shortcomings of Japan. 
I say this in all seriousness. The sultry summer cli- 
mate of Japan makes the craving for a refreshing sour 
drink almost irresistible. In the absence of cheap lem- 
ons, the Japanese eat sour green fruit, at the expense of 
their health. He who would truly benefit these people, 
should make lemons or, better still, Mexican limes 
abundant and cheap. They would save thousands of 
lives, too, every year, as the acid of limes and lemons 
is a great germicide. 

T5ky5 is anything but a pleasant summer resort. 
All those who can afford it, leave for the mountains or 
seashore, but as the number of those who can do so is 
very small indeed, the city can hardly be called deserted 
in July and August. The Tokyo Hotel is one of the 
few three-storied buildings in the city, and I took my 
room on the third, so as to catch any stray breezes from 
the bay. But they seemed to go astray in other direc 


tions, or not to exist at all, and I repeatedly " awoke 
after a sleepless night " to find myself in a bath of per- 
spiration, at a temperature not much lower than that of 
the hot bath to which the attendant summoned me early 
in the morning. What lemonade, tea, or beer is esoter- 
ically during Lotos-Time in Japan, hot water is exoter- 
ically, and luckily the Tokyo Hotel has given up the 
communistic tank in favor of the more civilized indi- 
vidual bath tub. 

Apart from the sultry nocturnal heat, there is nothing 
to prevent sound sleep in Tokyo. I believe that Richard 
Wagner is not the only brain worker who chose Venice 
for a temporary residence, largely because the absence 
of horses makes it so quiet at night. In Toky5 horses 
are almost as scarce as in Venice, and there is this 
farther advantage that the streets are unpaved. The 
only sound that rises on the air is the melancholy whis- 
tle of the strolling blind shampooer, seeking a victim 
to knead like a lump of dough; or, perhaps, early in 
the morning, the voices of coolies, passing under your 
window on their way to their daily tasks. Fiendish 
factory whistles, the blatant signals of American unciv- 
ilization, never murder sleep and kill invalids in Japan. 

When the wind blew from a certain quarter, I could 
faintly hear the military buglers, practising their fan- 
fares in the barracks not far away. One of them would 
blow the melody, whereupon twenty others would try 
to imitate him, continuing till success was achieved. 

After the morning bath and breakfast, or, better 
still, before, the first daily act should be to go to the 
roof of the hotel, and see if Fuji is visible. One of the 
great charms of Tokyo is the purity of the air and its 
clearness, due to the fact that charcoal is almost the 


only fuel used, wherefore there are no thousands of 
chimneys belching out black smoke. But mountain- 
wards there is usually a summer mist; and unless you 
look daily, morning and evening, you may fail to see 
the sacred mountain at all from this point of view. 

To get a bird's-eye view of the mountainous sur- 
roundings of Tokyo, the bays and the city itself, the 
best way is to ascend the "men's staircase" or the 
"women's staircase" to the top of the hill called Atago- 
yama, on which a tower has been built. Looking down 
on the ocean of monotonous gray roofs, covering count- 
less one-story Avooden buildings, one misses, most of 
all, the picturesque towers and large buildings which 
give variety to our cities. Obviously, architectural 
wonders are not to be prominent among the things 
that will attract our attention, apart from a few Bud- 
dhist temples with their Chinese pagodas. Prom this 
elevated view-point the city itself is, indeed, far less 
attractive than its surroundings and its site. Wash- 
ington has been called a city of magnificent distances; 
but our American capital is in extension a mere village, 
compared to the Japanese capital, whose 1,400,000 deni- 
zens inhabit an area of no less than a hundred square 
miles, while the 5,000,000 Londoners live within an 
area of no more than 120 square miles, and the 2,000,000 
New-Yorkers manage to find elbow room within forty 
square miles. Yet we always fancy these Asiatic peoples 
to be crowded together to suffocation. 1 

1 Greater New York will cover an area of 317 square miles. Accord- 
ing to Professor Supan of Gotha, there are now in the world twelve 
cities with over a million souls each, ranking in the following order: 
London, Paris, New York-Prooklyn, Berlin, Canton, Vienna, Wuchang- 
Hanggang-Hankan, T5ky5, Chicago, Philadelphia, Siangtan, Singan. 
Thus Tdkyo city ranks eighth. The Tokyo province had 1,857,000 


From our tower, the difference between these cities 
is obvious at a glance. In Tokyo, every family has its 
own house, however humble , in New York, hundreds 
live in a single building, and many of our larger down- 
town buildings have room for a thousand busy men 
and women. One of our sky-scraping fifteen-story 
New York monsters, suddenly dropped into the middle 
of T5kyo, would look a good deal like an ostrich in a 
chicken yard, or a whale in a school of herring. Japan 
is a land of small things, a fact impressed on us 
every minute during our sojourn. The settled part of 
Philadelphia covers more space than that of New York, 
because it has fewer high buildings and more private 
residences. T5kyo is a Philadelphia greatly exagger- 
ated. It has 342,000 houses, one for every four or 
five inhabitants. 

There is another reason for T5ky5's vast area. New 
York has one great park, T5ky5 has many, I don't 
know how many, certainly a great many more than 
even London. The city was originally a collection of 
villages, gradually subsumed under one name, and 
luckily still separated by hills, gardens, and groves. 
On one of these wooded hills, which make up a great 
part of Tokyo, you might fancy yourself miles away 
from all the sights and noises of a city. I remember 
riding in a kuruma one day for a whole hour without 
passing through a single business street! Surely, in 
this mingling of country and city, Tokyo is prophetic 
of what our own cities will be when our esthetic and 
hygienic wisdom teeth are cut, and we begin to value 

souls in 1894. The death rate was only 19.95 as compared with New 
York's 23 per thousand. The new waterworks now in course of 
construction will still further lower the mortality. 


life and nature more than the eager chase of the 
unenjoyed dollar. 

For the sight-seer, the magnificent distances of Tokyo 
are not an unmixed blessing, for they imply a great 
expenditure of time. Steam railways, underground or 
elevated, there are none within the city itself, and the 
one street car line, with wretched mules and irregular 
time, is not noted for its fast time or convenience. Car- 
riages of any kind are an anomaly in the narrow, crowded 
business streets, and can only progress very slowly. 
There are plans for widening the streets and introduc- 
ing electric cars, but that is for the future. At present 
we must content ourselves with the kuruma, which I 
am sure is by far the most convenient and comfortable 
of all conveyances for seeing an Asiatic city. In Yoko- 
hama one has little use for the jinrikishas except for 
excursions in the neighborhood, but in the streets and 
groves of vast Tokyo you need them all day long, and 
soon look on them as a self-evident mode of conveyance, 
which must have existed ever since the days of Adam. 

Most of us, even if we know Japan only superficially 
through books and pictures, are apt to fancy that of all 
tilings the kuruma is most Japanese. But the kuruma 
was unknown in Japan a quarter of a century ago. It 
is even probable that it was invented by a foreigner. 
But the Japanese immediately saw its superiority to 
other modes of conveyance, and to-day Tokyo has about 
40,000 of them, 1 which are used by all who can afford 
to do so, while to foreigners, who would be foolish to 
risk walking in the hot sun, they are indispensable. 

1 The official figures in 1892 were 38,265 kurumas. In the same year 
Tokyo had 71 tram cars, 15 carriages for hire, and 110 vehicles plying 
in the streets, employing in all 1136 horses. 


Many improvements have been made in the kuruma 
since its first invention. To judge by early pictures of 
them (see, e.g., Griffis's Mikado's Empire, p. 335) they 
were not only differently shaped, but less easy to get 
into. In place of the stuffy, unfragrant hoods of oiled 
paper, used to keep off the rain, of which Miss Bird 
complained so frequently, the improved kuruma has a 
regular diminutive carriage cover, making it look some- 
what like a miniature hansom without a driver, and with 
a man between the shafts. It takes some little time to 
get over the mixed feeling of pleasure and humiliation 
one experiences at first in these little vehicles ; they are 
so comfortable, and yet one fancies himself presenting 
a rather ludicrous figure riding through business streets 
in a baby hansom, drawn by a half-naked coolie. But, 
as already intimated, that feeling soon passes away, while 
the pleasure remains (provided the road is smooth). 
An American lady said to me that on her first ride she 
felt as if she were on the back of an ostrich, or some 
other two-legged animal. The kuruma might also be 
compared in its effect to a bicycle ; but the seat is more 
comfortable, the force is supplied by another man's 
muscles, and all responsibility for collisions is shifted 
on his shoulders. One might call it the lazy man's 
bicycle, and if you are no more particular about personal 
attitude and comfort than the Japanese are, you may 
even take a nap in it on the way home after a dinner or 
an exhausting outing. I frequently saw natives thus 
dozing away, with head hanging limp over one side of 
the kuruma. 

Like our cabmen the kuruma pullers have regular 
stands at railway stations and street corners, and in 
their habits and morals they are not unlike the jehus 


of our cities. These horse-men are apt to be "heavy 
chargers," and their tendency to ask more than the 
legal fare has already been referred to as a connecting 
link between America and Japan. Another trait which 
the kurumaya has in common with our cabmen is that 
when he sees a tourist trying to go sightseeing on foot, 
he follows him in the hope that the sun will soon bring 
him to terms ; nor does he often err in his calculations. 
This frequently happened to me. When several were 
in the party, the same number of coolies followed us. 
If they failed in their still hunt, they bore their dis- 
appointment with Asiatic complacency. 

The T5ky5 kuruma is as unique as the Venetian 
gondola, and it might, perhaps, be called a land gon- 
dola. The gondolier always insists that two rowers 
are necessary, till he hears your basta uno ! The kuru- 
maya looks at your girth and weight in simulated dis- 
may (though you may not weigh over 180), and tries 
to make you understand that for such a heavy fellow 
two runners are absolutely necessary. If you consent, 
the second man pushes from behind, or, attaching a 
rope to the shafts, he precedes the man between the 
shafts, tandem style. On country tours, where hills are 
apt to occur, it is always well to take two men, unless 
you are willing to walk up the slopes ; but in the city 
one man is quite enough, unless you are in a hurry. 
You feel, indeed, that you are heavier than the natives, 
but as you constantly see two, three, or even more of 
these natives crowding into a kuruma pulled by one 
coolie, you soon become indifferent to that fact. Be- 
sides, there are some people who have to study economy. 
Compared with a cab, a coolie is always cheap ; he 
charges only ten cents an hour going, and three cents 


waiting, or at the rate of three cents a mile. For sight- 
seers this is cheap enough, but for daily use it would be 
expensive. A New York business man pays ten cents 
to go from Harlem to the Battery and back about ten 
miles each way ; in Tokyo the cost would be sixty cents 
with one runner and 81.20 with two. 

It is probable that the kuruma will be ere long super- 
seded by electric tricycles and cars ; all the more as 
there seems to be a feeling that it is a sort of " degra- 
dation " to the country. I fail to see why it should be 
more degrading for a coolie to draw a gentleman or 
lady on a clean little wagon through the streets, than 
to carry the city sewage in buckets to the rice fields, 
as thousands of them do in spring, or to work knee- 
deep in the malodorous mire of these fields, as millions 
of peasants and their wives do all summer long. I am 
sure the kurumayas would not willingly change places 
with these peasants. 

Let us now entrust ourselves to one of these coolies 
for a ride through the streets of Tokyo. There are 
always half-a-dozen of them waiting at the hotel en- 
trance, in company with several stray dogs, who are 
charitably taken care of, and who sometimes follow us ; 
but some find the sun too warm, and return. If Taro 
is there, do not fail to engage him ; for Taro is a jewel 
among the kurumayas of the capital. Not only is he 
a good runner, who knows his Tokyo as well as Dickens 
did his London (either of which requires a big brain), 
but he speaks a little English, and thus enables you to 
dispense with a guide. Whenever Taro is disengaged 
for an hour, he sits by his kuruma, with a little book 
in hand, busily memorizing English words and phrases ; 
and he has his reward, for he is more in demand than 


any of his colleagues. He has one fault. His national 
and individual politeness is so great that whenever he 
does not understand one of your questions, he says, 
" Yes," fearing that a negative might cause disappoint- 
ment. One day, to test him, I asked if I might cut 
the throat of a pretty girl who was serving the tea, 
whereupon he promptly and cordially replied, " Oh 
yes ! " 









Perhaps no city in the world has ever undergone 
so wonderful a change as has the capital of Japan 
within little more than a quarter of a century. The 
Japanese, says Professor Chamberlain, "-have done in 
twenty years what it took Europe as many centuries 
to accomplish." Descriptions of Tokyo street scenes 
made by Laurence Oliphant and Sir Rutherford Alcock 
three or four decades ago are, in some respects, as anti- 
quated and inapplicable to-day, as the accounts of life 
in medieval Europe are to modern London, Paris, and 
Berlin. Eor example, take the following from Alcock : 

" Every hundred steps, more or less, we pass a ward-gate, which 
at night they can close if an alarm of thieves is given, or by day if 
any disturbance should arise, while a sort of decrepit municipal 
guard is kept in a lodge at each, supposed to be responsible for the 
peace of their wards, and to be ever vigilant ! Some, as we pass, 
rush out with a long iron pole, to the top of which rings are 
attached, and make a distracting noise when the lower end is 
struck on the ground. This is considered an honor," etc. 



When Oliphant visited Tokyo, in 1858, crowds of 
men, women, and children ran after his party, politely 
staring, till one of these barriers was reached. 

" The moment we pass this, the gate is shut, and the old crowd 
is left behind to crane through the bars, and watch with envious 
eyes the new crowd forming. All the cross-streets entering the 
main street are shut off from it by ropes stretched across them, 
under or over which the people never attempt to pass." 

To-day you would look for these ropes, barriers, gate 
keepers, and pursuing crowds, as vainly as in New York. 
In vain, too, would you look for the clumsy and horribly 
uncomfortable norimons and kagos the more or less 
complicated Sedan chairs, litters, palanquins, or what- 
ever you choose to call them with two or more bear 
ers, that used to be the mode of conveyance for the 
well-to-do. They have been superseded in the cities by 
the kurumas, and banished to mountain regions, where 
these modern two-wheelers are useless. Will Adams, 
the shipwrecked English sailor who resided in Japan 
from 1600 to 1620, writes, in one of his quaint letters, of 
" sixe men appointed to carrie my pallankin in plaine 
and even ground. But where the country grew hilly, 
ten men were allowed me thereto.'' To-day one or two 
men do the work which then required six or ten, and 
iron wheels hold the weight which then rested on human 
shoulders. Whatever may be the " degradation " im- 
plied in the use of the kuruma, it certainly has proved 
a blessing to the poor coolie ; and what the well-to-do 
populace thought of the change, may be inferred from 
the rapidity of its adoption and multiplication. 

In vain, again, would you look in modern Tokyo for 
the samurai, or two-sworded soldiers, looking like " some 
new species of biped adorned with two tails," who used 


to swarm in the city by the hundred thousand, and who, 
in their drunken fits, made the streets unsafe for inoffen- 
sive dogs and coolies, on whom they loved to try the 
temper of their steel, so that it was often unsafe to ven- 
ture into the streets after dark. Gone are the daimyos, 
or provincial nobles, the barons of feudal Japan, three 
hundred in number, who used to bring each from a few 
thousand to as many as 30,000 of these burly samurai 
as retainers to the capital, where the daimyos were com- 
pelled by law to spend half the year, leaving their 
families as hostages and pledges of good behavior dur- 
ing their residence at home the rest of the year. 
Luckily some of the buildings in which they lived are 
still in existence, constituting one of the oddest of 
the street sights, puzzling to the globe-trotter unless 
he knows at least as much of Japanese history as is 
conveyed in this paragraph. 

It cannot be said that these yashikis add anything to 
the beauty of Toky5. They are low, unpainted, inter- 
minable buildings which might be taken for Asiatic 
tenement houses, were it not that most of them seem 
utterly deserted. Many have been demolished or de- 
stroyed by fire, and others converted into government 
buildings, but enough remain in their primitive state 
to astonish the visitor, like the endless moats and walls 
along which he passes on the way to the business centres. 
Mr. Griffis has graphically compared these yashikis 
literally " spread-out houses " to military tents, made 
permanent in wood and stone. The plan of the city 
of Yeddo (as Tokyo was formerly called), when it 
was made by the Shogun Iyeyasu, at the beginning of 
the seventeenth century, was, as he says, " simply that 
of a great camp." "This one idea explains its centre, 


divisions, and relations. In the heart of this vast en- 
campment was the general's headquarters a well-nigh 
impregnable castle. On the most eligible and com- 
manding sites were the tents of his chief satraps. 
These tents were yashikis. The architectural proto- 
type of a yashiki is a Japanese tent." 1 

Even more than these yashikis, the moats surround- 
ing them and the great castle, together with the 
numerous canals that intersect the city, and their 
bridges, attract the attention on one's first rides through 
the less populous parts of Tokyo. There are miles of 
broad moats, steep on one side, with sloping banks on 
the other, leading up to massive stone walls, usually 
adorned with green creepers or a row of evergreen 
trees on top, spreading out like large oaks. The moats 
are always filled with sluggish water, almost stagnant, 
and are the home, in winter, of water fowl, secure in 
the protection of the law ; in summer, of the pink 
lotos. But even the sacred lotos, symbol of purity, 
rising triumphantly from the mud, would not, perhaps, 
be able with its faint fragrance to overcome the foul 
odors which arise from some of these canals, and which 
constitute one more reminder of Venice. On my first 
visit to the capital these stenches made it unpleasant 
to cross the bridges, but on my return from Yezo, after 
an absence of several weeks, 1 found that the moats 
and canals had been disinfected by the sanitary authori- 
ties, regardless of expense, to check the ravages of the 
cholera, which had in the meantime made its appear- 

The bridges over these canals are the best places 

1 A vivid idea of life in one of these buildings is conveyed by 
Maclay's romance Mito Yashiki. 


to observe the miscellaneous and crowded boat traffic 
which in the capital (and still more in the commercial 
city of Osaka) largely takes the place of horses and 
wagons. The canals are supplied by the river Sumida, 
which flows through Tokyo, and on them you will see at 
any time of the day, hundreds of roofed boats and 
barges laden with merchandise from or for steamers, or 
vegetables from farms or suburban gardens. The men 
who load and unload them seem to have a liking for the 
direct rays of the sun; for in fair weather their sole 
garment is a loin cloth, whereas the rain is often warded 
off' by a grotesque coat of straw suggesting a porcupine 
on the warpath. 

On one side or the other of a bridge we usually 
passed a policeman, whose peaceful aspect gave no inti- 
mation of the fact that he belonged to the former 
warrior class of the samurai. The Japanese samurai 
have been pronounced unique by the historians, because 
they were at the same time the soldiers and the scholars 
of their country. But are not our scholars also noted 
for their pugnacity ? Do they not dearly love a fight, 
even though they utilize the discovery that the pen 
is mightier than the sword ? The samurai had not 
learned this lesson when they lost their occupation 
through the abolition of the Shogun and the daimyos, 
and the restoration of the Mikado, in 1868. And when 
the new law compelled them to give up their two 
swords many of them joined the police force, where they 
could wear at least one sword. 

Thus it came about that the new Japanese police force 
is the most intelligent, courteous, and efficient in the 
world. Of the old-style policeman we get a glimpse 
in the pages of Oliphant. who describes them as wearing 


a sort of harlequin costume of many colors, and carry- 
ing iron rods, six or seven feet long, with iron rings 
attached to them, which they jingled to inspire awe in 
the crowd. To-day, the policemen are the most foreign- 
looking class of all Japanese. They wear, in summer, 
white linen trousers and sack coats of foreign cut, and 
white hats, with white crepe hanging behind to prevent 
the sun from striking the neck. 

It is this foreign costume that helps to make the 
Tokyo policemen seem so small compared with our Irish 
giants in New York. To us, too, it seems odd to see 
policemen wearing spectacles, as 30 per cent of the 
Japanese are said to do, an inheritance from their 
studious ancestors. They are still fond of reading. In 
Netto's beautifully illustrated quarto there is an amus- 
ing illustration (p. 77) of a policeman guarding some 
convicts at work. The prisoners have things pretty 
much their own way, for their erudite and spectacled 
guardian is sitting on a campstool, reading a big volume, 
with his feet not resting on the ground, but tucked 
away under him on the stool. Yet I fancy that if one 
of those convicts attempted to escape, he would find 
that that samurai had not forgotten the ancestral art of 
wielding the two-handed sword. During my summer 
in Japan I never saw a policeman's sword drawn, nor, 
apart from having to show my passport in rural regions, 
was I ever accosted by one of these scholarky guardians 
of the peace except once, when my man-horse (not Taro) 
had forgotten to take along the lantern, which is pre- 
scribed by law at night, to avoid collisions. For a 
moment it looked serious for the runner, but when I 
produced my official invitation to the exposition, the 
policeman smiled, bowed low, and allowed us to pro- 


ceed in peace. Whether he took my puller's number 
and fined him afterwards, I could not find out. 

Such is the Tokyo policeman intelligent, courteous, 
and sufficiently brave to enforce order even were his 
countrymen a hundred times less peaceable than they 
are. I have been asked repeatedly, " Is it perfectly 
safe to travel alone in Japan?" A perusal of Alcock 
and even more recent books would create a suspicion 
that such a tour would not be without its risks to life. 
Between 1859 and 1870, it is estimated, about fifty 
foreigners were killed in Japan, and at the latter date 
the government still deemed it necessary to protect the 
foreign preachers in Tokyo by an escort of fifty men. 
" During my stay of nearly four years in Japan," says 
Mr. Griffis, " several Europeans were attacked or killed ; 
but in no case was there a genuine assassination or unpro- 
voked assault." An impartial investigation of all the 
attacks made on foreigners has convinced the best au- 
thorities that in most cases the foreigners themselves 
brought on the tragedy by insolent or reckless conduct. 
There were, indeed, some exceptions a few assassi- 
nations by patriotic fanatics, who believed they would 
serve their country and its ruler by murdering a hated 
foreigner ; but even these ceased at once after the 
Mikado's proclamation in 1868, declaring that he re- 
garded such attacks as infamous and detestable, and 
that samurai guilty of them would be degraded, their 
swords taken from them, and their dishonored names 
erased from the rolls of the samurai ; that, further, they 
should be beheaded by the common executioner (instead 
of being allowed the honorable privilege of hara-kiri), 
and their heads be exposed for three days. 1 
1 Black's Young Japan, II. 190, 191. 


The Japanese kindliness and courtesy inspire one with 
such boundless and immediate confidence in the whole 
population, that I cheerfully followed Taro on day and 
night excursions through dark suburban lanes and alleys 
houseless regions, with a ditch on one side, a high 
wall on the other such as I would never dream of 
passing alone and unarmed at night in New York, Lon- 
don, Paris, or Berlin. I may also quote the testimony 
of Miss Bird, who wrote : " I have . . . travelled 
twelve hundred miles in the interior and in Yezo, with 
perfect safety and freedom from alarm, and I believe 
there is no country in the world in which a lady can 
travel with such absolute security from danger and 
rudeness as in Japan." 

Turning to the left, after crossing one of the bridges, 
we suddenly find ourselves in a street crowded with 
kurumas and thousands of men, women, and children, 
moving on in a calm. Oriental gait that would make a 
New York business man nervous and wild with impa- 
tience. It is in wending his way through these slug- 
gish crowds that the kurumaya shows his skill and tact. 
He misses collisions with his colleagues as narrowly, but 
as unfailingly, as a London 'bus or cab driver, and, like 
the Londoner, he always passes to the left, while he dif- 
fers from the Englishman in constantly emitting a warn- 
ing " Hi ! hi ! " We are not sorry that he cannot go 
fast, for here there is so much to see that the countless 
eye lenses of a fly would hardly seem too many for a 

In American or European cities, we understand by 
" street scenes " the sights in the streets and on the 
sidewalks, including, at most, the few wares exposed in 
the windows. In a Japanese city, the whole contents 


of the shops or stores are included in the street scenes. 
It is true that the dealers in silks, works of art, and other 
valuable articles, keep most of their stock locked up in 
their fire-proof Jcura, or godowns, bringing them out only 
as wanted by customers. But these seem to be the ex- 
ception ; and the surmise that most Japanese merchants 
have their whole stock in trade visible from the street 
is probably not far from the truth. The merchants and 
their clerks are, of course, visible too, and so are the 
customers, who, if they have expensive purchases to 
make, take off their clogs and squat on a mat inside, 
partaking of the tea and tobacco offered by the mer- 
chant ; but ordinarily the buyer simply sits on the foot- 
high projecting part of the shop floor, with a sloping 
roof over him, and his feet in the street, for there is 
not even a sidewalk. On sunny days, screens shut out 
part of the view ; but ordinarily, as you ride or walk 
down a Tokyo street, you can see all the goods and all 
the transactions of the clerks, the buyers, and the boys 
who are hauling the things wanted from the godowns ; 
not to speak of the domestic scenes in the interior rooms 
and the garden of persons sleeping, eating, drinking, 
bathing, dressing, gossiping all of which are visible 
from the street, since all the movable partitions between 
the rooms are removed in the daytime to let in day- 
light and fresh cool air, if there is any. It has been 
suggested, with some appearance of probability, that 
one reason why the Japanese of all classes are so court- 
eous and refined is that all their doings, domestic as 
well as public, are constantly exposed to the eyes of 
neighbors and strangers even at night ; for when the 
sliding screens are put back in their places, the oiled 
paper on them, which takes the place of window panes. 


serves as a stereopticon screen, on which are shown 
amusing shadow pictures of whatever goes on within. 

The average Japanese merchant likes to bargain, and 
is apt to charge foreigners much more than he expects 
to get. Strangers, therefore, in purchasing articles of 
everyday use, will do well to patronize one of the large 
bazaars in Shiba Park, or on the Broadway of Tokyo; the 
Ginza, the widest avenue in the city, in which the price 
of each article is plainly marked ; yet even here it is 
well to look out for tricks, especially on the part of the 
kuruma men, who like to get their "squeeze," or per- 
centage. These bazaars are interesting, too, in giving 
one a convenient bird's-eye view of everything that 
goes to furnish Japanese sitting rooms (kneeling rooms 
would be a more correct term), bed and dining rooms, 
libraries, and kitchens. Here you will see tobacco 
pipes and pouches in endless variety ; Japanese paper 
in all colors, for a hundred different uses, some of it as 
tough as linen : toys, lacquer ware, rice bowls, chop 
sticks, wooden pillows, wooden shoes, foot mittens ; 
leather trunks and bags, in foreign style, wonderfully 
cheap ; umbrellas, Japanese and foreign ; ornamental 
screens and fans ; kimonos, obis, and other articles of 
dress ; and so on, till the eye is bewildered, and you 
beg your Taro to take you back to the kuruma ; for 
alone it would not be easy to find one's way out of the 
commercial mazes of these national museums. 

Although New York bankers still flock together on 
Wall Street, and the newspaper and publishing houses 
favor special quarters, as a general thing our Occidental 
cities have outgrown the mediseval habit of monopo- 
lizing certain streets for certain trades. In Japanese 
cities this custom is still largely in vogue ; you will 


ride through streets where everybody is selling paper 
lanterns ; others, where hairdressers ply their loquacious 
trade ; others, where lacquer ware or curios are sold, 
or bamboo furniture, or baskets, or fans, or new and 
second-hand clothing, or books, and so on. In the 
Ginza, however, the various trades and commercial 
branches are strung together at random, as in our own 
Broadway. Here, too, you may see evidences of foreign 
influence, leather shoe shops, tailors using sewing 
machines, and the like. Foreign telegraph lines intro- 
duce a dissonant element in the street views which does 
not please the eyes of the natives, and the newspapers 
plead occasionally to have them put underground. 

Times are hard in Tokyo, as elsewhere, and enter- 
prising merchants make efforts to attract all the foreign 
customers they can. To this end they put out shop 
signs, many of which are amusingly " Eurasian." Here 
are a few samples : " Several Woolen Cloths and Tailor 
Shop." " French Infections." " Great Sail of Man- 
of-War Beer, Wine, Spiritual Liquors." "The Im- 
proved Milk." " Carver and Gilder for Sale." "Wine, 
Beer & other Medicines. " " Best Perfuming Water 
Anti-Fleas." " Washins and Ironins." " Bible Shop." 

The costumes of the natives are sometimes quite as 
ungrammaticalas these shop signs, a ludicrous mixture 
of Europe and Asia. Many of the educated Japanese 
we meet in America and in Tokyo wear foreign clothes 
with such ease and elegance that one might think they 
had never known any other. The policemen, too, seem 
to take kindly to clothes of our pattern, and the soldiers 
are becoming reconciled to them. But in the street 
crowds one meets the oddest mixtures of evening dress 
and bathing: suits, naked leers with a blouse and a 


foreisrn hat, high boots with a kimono, legs and head 
Asiatic, trunk European, or vice versa, with endless 
combinations and variations. As a rule, the Japanese 
men, like the women, go bareheaded ; and when they 
do manage to secure a foreign hat, they do not usually 
improve their appearance. If the Duke of Wellington 
could have lived to visit Tokyo to-day, he would 
confess that his exclamation, u I never saw so many 
shocking bad hats," was no longer applicable to the 
first Reformed Parliament. Trousers too long or short, 
unbrushed silk hats, and a general awkwardness in 
European clothing, prove that Japanese taste in dress- 
ing is an inherited instinct which has great trouble in 
accommodating itself to our present ugly costume. 

It would be a great mistake to suppose that such evi- 
dences of foreign influence are abundant in the capi- 
tal. On the contrary, you may force your way through 
crowded miles of natives without seeing a dozen men in 
foreign clothes or a score in the hybrid masquerade just 
described. As for the women, they represent here, as 
elsewhere, the conservative element. They tried Paris- 
ian costume, a few years ago, and found it odious, ugly, 
and uncomfortable ; a reaction set in, and to-day you 
may spend a whole afternoon or evening in the streets 
of Tokyo without meeting one of them in foreign attire. 
Bareheaded, smiling, armed with parasol and fan by way 
of protection against the sun, they seem like those very 
familiar figures on screens, fans, and vases, touched by 
a fairy's wand and changed into living beings, except 
that their eyes are not so absurdly oblique as in those 
conventional scenes, nor their gowns so picturesque. 
To-day it is only the little girls who wear brightly 
colored gowns. As the maidens grow older, they dis- 


card, these, and the initiated can tell the age of every 
Japanese girl by the increasing sombreness of her dress, 
as well as by the increasing elaborateness of her coiffure ; 
an expert can also tell whether a young woman is mar- 
ried or single, respectable or otherwise, whether from 
the country or city-bred. 

It is a maxim of Western esthetics that brunettes 
should wear some shade of red, while blue is most be- 
coming to blondes. It seems strange, therefore, that 
the Japanese, the esthetic nation par excellence, a na- 
tion of brunettes, should have chosen blue as the almost 
universal color of their everyday gown. There are 
other things I cannot admire about their female cos- 
tume. The kimono is so tight below the waist that 
the women are obliged to shuffle along on their hideous 
clogs, with short, clumsy steps, ruinous to grace. Above 
the waist the kimono is a thing of beauty, and an ideal 
dress for this climate. The women have a comfortable 
way of leaving it open, so as to give the air free access 
to the bosom. It is curious to see how Japanese boys 
will draw their skirts together over their legs, and the 
young women their kimonos over the chest, when they 
pass a foreigner. Among themselves they feel perfectly 
innocent, and they are innocent, much more so than 
some of their foreign visitors with their prurient ideas 
regarding exposure. Complete nudity in public is now 
forbidden by law, but the men still freely expose the 
lower half of the body, the women the upper. 

Although Japanese women are not chaperoned so 
zealously as in other Oriental countries, but mingle 
freely with the men in the streets, they usually keep 
together in a way which suggests the separation of the 
sexes in the promenades along a Spanish alameda. 


There are of course mixed family groups, in which the 
centre of attraction is made by the "wee ones," about 
whose cunning ways whole books have been written. 
I believe I have already mentioned, several things as 
the oddest and most characteristic of all Japanese sights ; 
but I must take all those back and give the first place 
to these tots. Perfect Lilliputian ladies and gentlemen, 
they smile as sweetly and bow as courteously as their 
elders. 1 had been in the country three weeks before 
1 heard an infant cry. Many of the children are 
extremely pretty, and most of them are useful as well 
as ornamental. Of her first child the mother has to 
take care herself, which she does by tucking it away 
in the back of her dress, thus leaving her hands free 
for work. The second child is cradled on the back of 
its elder sister, where it lives, taking in all the sights 
with its black bead-eyes till it gets sleepy, when it lets 
the head drop and dangle as it pleases, while the elder 
sister continues her walk or play regardless of her 
sleeping burden. This sight, which is repeated at every 
street corner, is even more Japanesy than the kuruma, 
kimono, or [taper lantern. 

You cannot spend an hour in the streets of Tokyo 
without coining to the conclusion that the Japanese are 
indeed "the very pineapples of politeness." When 
we meet a friend we say " How d'you do? " or Hello," 
and perhaps we shake hands. To the Japanese of the 
old school such conduct appears both foolish and rude. 
Hand-shaking is unknown to them, and so is kissing 
among friends or even by lovers. In the house, a 
Japanese greeting consists in getting down on the 
knees, spreading the hands on the mats and quickly 
and repeatedly lowering the head till it touches the 



floor. In the street there are no clean mats to kneel 
on, wherefore a different method is adopted. Two 
acquaintances, on meeting, stop, bend over, rub their 
knees with their hands, at the same time sucking in 
the breath audibly ; this is done several times, and the 
one who keeps it up longest feels proudest of himself. 
It takes time, but time is not money in the East. I 
noticed that my kuruma man, though he might be all 
out of breath, never neglected to nod to a passing 
acquaintance. If he happened to be resting, he would 
take his big white umbrella-hat in his hand and make 
several bows. Imagine our " cabbies " bowing to each 
other three times ! 

Among the hundreds of thousands you may pass in 
the streets of this capital, you will rarely see any with 
the nervous, busy, preoccupied mien which is stereo- 
typed on our street crowds. Though most of them are 
poor, their faces wear a mien of placid contentment 
with their fate. Evidently these Orientals get more 
solid enjoyment out of life than the jostling, eager, 
worried, and hurried populace of our Western cities. 

In my daily rides through all parts of Tokyo, I looked 
in vain for those shocking contrasts between extreme 
wealth and extreme poverty that are such a disgrace 
and reproach to our " Christian " cities. A T5kyo 
paper published in June, 1890, the results of an official 
investigation into the extent of destitution in that city. 
Altogether 5423 cases were found. Of these, 163 stood 
face to face with starvation, 581 were living on roots 
and potato rinds, while 4600 were too poor to buy rice, 
but lived on millet and buckwheat meal. This is not a 
cheerful record, but it would be absurd to compare it 
for a moment with the horrible wretchedness and star- 


vation in the slums of our large cities. Moreover, 
however ill-provided Japanese paupers may be in the 
matter of food, they are, at all events, not huddled 
together like hogs in deadly, unventilated tenement 
pens. The poorest family usually has its own house, 
nor is it customary to take in boarders. This implies 
a great many houses in a city of nearly a million and a 
half souls, and explains why Tokyo gives the impression 
of being an immense and rather mean-looking village 
an impression heightened by the fact that the rich 
do not usually display their wealth by adorning the 
street side of their houses, but reserve the interior and 
the back garden for whatever artistic or floral display 
they may desire. 

The cheap appearance of most Japanese houses is 
simply a consequence of the frequent fires. There was 
one in 1879, which destroyed 11,000 houses, making 
50,000 people homeless. In his book on earthquakes, 
Professor Milne says : " In one winter I was a spectator 
of three fires, each of which was said to have destroyed 
upwards of 10,000 houses," together about a tenth 
of all the houses in the city. These fires follow regular 
tracks, like cyclones; and were it not for the fact that 
Greater Tokyo is practically a conglomeration of vil- 
lages, retaining all the intervening hills and groves and 
fields, they would be still more disastrous. A large 
proportion of the city's population depends for its liv- 
ing on building up new houses and streets, and these 
strenuously oppose all efforts to improve the fire-extin- 
guishing service. In case of fire, the victims generally 
succeed in saving their few garments, mats, and kake- 
monos. Their more valuable things are kept in fire- 
proof kura, one, two. or three stories high, made of mud 


or clay, and closed airtight like safes. Hence a fire is 
not so very great a calamity as elsewhere, and is apt to 
be made the occasion of a picnic. The houses are soon 
rebuilt ; and they say it often happens that one man's 
house is burned down twice in one day, because after 
rebuilding the shifting wind brings back the flames in 
his direction. This sounds like a " California story "; 
but it may be true, since some of the Japanese keep in 
stock the material for complete houses, nicely fitted 
and finished, so that they need only to be put together 
and raised like tents. 

The most ornamental features of Japanese streets are 
fortunately easily replaced after a fire. I allude to the 
shop signs, not the comic "Eurasian" ones, already 
referred to, but the large Japanese and Chinese ideo- 
graphs, drawn up and down, of course on door 
posts, screens, paper lanterns, and on the backs of 
coolies. These are real works of art; but as every 
Japanese is an artist in chirography, the supply of such 
decorations is limited only by the demand. They are 
usually in black, but sometimes gold or another color 
is used. Perhaps, after all, it is these signs that are 
the most Japanese thing in Tokyo. 










In Lotos-Time the habit of early rising has not much 
to commend itself in sultry Tokyo, where refreshing 
sleep is attainable only in the cool hours of the morning 
dawn. Yet it would be a great mistake not to set out 
at least once at six o'clock, in order to see the city 
waking up and at its toilet. As Taro trots down the 
deserted streets you have a good chance to notice how 
uniformly clean they are kept, how free from disagree- 
able odors. The law compels every man to sw r eep 
regularly before his house, and if he fails to do so, the 
police swoops down on him. As there are no side- 
walks, everybody walks in the streets and wants them 
clean, while the absence of horses makes it compara- 
tively easy to keep them so. 

Riding along leisurely in your kuruma, you will be 
startled every moment by the rattling noise of the 
amado, or rain doors, being pushed aside to let air and 



light into the windowless houses. We have something 
similar over some of our shop windows, but as we push 
ours up and down, the Japanese of course draw theirs 
to the right or left, the noise alone being the same in 
both cases. In other houses the amado have already 
been pushed aside for some little time, and you behold 
a merchant arranging his goods or a family group 
drinking thimble cups of tea and demolishing bowls of 
hot, snowy rice with the aid of wooden chopsticks ; or 
a man stretched on his back, knocking the ashes out 
of his early pipe, making mien to get up from his hard 
couch ; or a young girl kneeling before her metal mir- 
ror arranging her toilet, stripped to the waist and see- 
ing no more impropriety in the fact than the passers by 
do ; besides other domestic scenes which in our houses 
are enacted only behind curtains. 

In the streets, at this hour, you will see few human 
beings, except, perhaps, some women sweeping the street 
before their houses, or a policeman, or an occasional 
coolie, with or without a kuruma. Yet the streets are 
not deserted, for this is chicken hour ; every street is 
being scavenged by hens, whose eggs are doubtless a 
welcome addition to the scant larder. We have been 
followed by one of our harmless hotel dogs, and at one 
place he scares the hens and their lordly rooster into a 
noisy panic, which brings out the owners, with anxious 
faces, to see who is disturbing their pets. All this in 
the centre of Tokyo. 

A glance at the pocket dictionary, and a word to Taro 
makes him turn about. Ere long we find ourselves at 
the fish market. Fish and rice being to the Japanese 
what beef and potatoes are to the English, I felt sure 
that the Tok} o fish market would present a large variety 


of odd piscatorial sights. Experts say that no part of 
the ocean has so rich an assortment and such large 
numbers of fish as the Japanese waters, which harbor 
about four hundred species. 1 did not count the species 
exhibited, but I saw many odd fish and other sea- 
animals ; some of them small, ugly, slimy beasts, which 
it takes as much courage to taste as the mail must have 
had who ate the first oyster (he was probably a ship- 
wrecked sailor) ; yet 1 afterwards in my travels tried 
many of them, and while some were as tough as snails, 
others were a welcome addition to my gastronomic 
experiences. Some of the fish were kept alive, as they 
all ought to be in every fish market, and have to be in 
Berlin ; others were dried or smoked. Eels seemed to be 
in special demand. There was a tough-looking devil- 
fish, of which you could buy slices, either raw or boiled. 
A large shark was also among the delicacies offered, 
the carcass being divided into sections commanding 
different prices, like the sirloin, tenderloin, and round 
steak of an ox. But the strangest thing about this 
market was the utter absence of women. All the buyers 
and sellers were men. Possibly this absence of fish- 
women may account for the fact that the Japanese lan- 
guage has no terms of abuse and no oaths. 

Among the objects likely to attract one's attention 
in the morning, when the streets are deserted, are the 
wells. Although Tokyo has a system of waterworks, 
it is still full of primitive wells, with plain wooden 
enclosures, around which the women assemble to gos- 
sip, fetch water, or wash their rice. It seems strange 
that in a city where sanitation has made so much prog- 
ress, these wells have not all been closed up. The dust 
from the street can settle down into them all day long, 


and this, during cholera or typhoid time, when microbes 
float in the air, dried but still alive, may mean death to 
hundreds of families. Artesian wells would be safe, 
but there are only a few of these in the city. Fortu- 
nately the Japanese are not addicted to cold water ; 
they make tea of it before they drink it, and the mor- 
tality of the city is not remarkably high, notwithstand- 
ing these wells, the contents of which have been shown 
by chemical analysis to be very impure. 

In the early afternoon Tokyo is as drowsy and de- 
serted as Andalusian Seville. At that hour Taro is not 
anxious to take you out ; he knows that you would 
suffer even more from the sun while riding in the 
kuruma than he would in pulling it. He knows, too, 
that there is comparatively little for you to see, for the 
blue awnings are down, hiding the goods in the shops 
and the domestic scenes in the houses, while the streets 
themselves present no human panorama for your study. 
The glare of the sun, as thrown back from the un- 
painted sides of the houses, is less painful than in 
whitewashed Cadiz or Tangier, yet it tires the eyes 
and begets a desire to sleep ; for, strange to say, the 
same heat which keeps us awake at night compels 
slumber in the daytime. Even the kuruma runners 
take their nap, stretched out on the shady side of the 
hotel ; they are probably dreaming of the good old 
times when a tattoed skin was considered sufficient 
clothing, whereas now they must wear their blue jack- 
ets and trousers in deference to law and the prejudices 
of foreigners. It does seem a cruel and foolish law, as 
any one must admit who has seen how the perspiration 
runs in streams from these coolies, and how, every now 
and then, they have to take the cloth tied around the 


head (with a knot in front) and wring it dry, like a 
washerwoman standing over her tub. 

At four o'clock the sun is still merciless, but we may 
as well start, as the distances are great. Pity for Taro 
is apt to be mitigated both by his own cheerfulness and 
by the sight of other coolies whose task is twice as 
hard. Man-power is applied to freight as well as to 
persons, and a frequent sight is a cart heavily laden 
with stones, slowly pulled and pushed along by two or 
three coolies, whose veins on the forehead are swelled 
to the point of bursting, and who keep on shouting 
" ho ! huida ! " when one would think they ought to 
have sense enough to save their breath for the work. 
Perhaps the rhythmic noise assists them, like sailors. 
These men are often bareheaded in the broiling sun, 
and in this respect are less merciful to themselves than 
to their beasts ; for those who are lucky enough to pos- 
sess an ox to do their work, rarely neglect to protect 
him from the sun by means of a mat suspended over 
him on a long pole. This may be either Buddhistic 
kindness to animals or an enlightened utilitarianism. 
But why do we see so few oxen and dray horses in 
Japanese cities? Probably because the coolies are too 
poor to buy and feed them. It must be remembered 
that their wages are extremely low, and that fodder for 
animals must be comparatively high in a country where 
all level ground is used for rice or other agricultural 
crops, leaving no margin for pasturage. 

Occasionally a horse is seen dragging along a primi- 
tive water-cart for sprinkling the streets an occupa- 
tion in which I sometimes thought half the population 
took more or less part, in one way or another. Besides 
the horse-carts there were smaller carts drawn by 


coolies. Then there were men armed with buckets 
attached to long poles, with, which they dipped the 
water from the green roadside ditches and dashed 
it into the streets. Elsewhere several men would carry 
a large tub of water into the middle of the street, and 
then, with small buckets, scatter it about in a circle. 
The women also assisted in various amateur ways 
in laying the dust, to prevent it from flying into their 
houses, and to keep the air cool. Millions of gallons of 
water must be used up in street sprinkling on a mid- 
summer's afternoon, and I fancy that so much of it as 
comes from the green ditches is a prolific source of 
disease ; for it is thus that the dried microbes of malaria, 
typhoid, cholera, dysentery, etc., get into the dust, and 
with it into open wells and open mouths. 

Compared with the watering cart and other freight- 
coolies, Taro is an aristocrat. To them his income of 
seventy-five cents to one dollar a day must seem 
princely ; he can have all the rice and fish and sake he 
wants ; he can even indulge in the buying of an occa- 
sional glass of kori. Kori is one of the latest mid- 
summer fads in Japan. It is planed ice, served in 
heaped, big tumblers by smiling girls, in special shops. 
When artificial ice was first introduced, not many years 
ago, these shops sprang up like mushrooms on all sides. 
Everybody ate or drank kori greedily, and the craze 
threatened to develop into an epidemic of dyspepsia, 
when the warning voice of Dr. Baeltz of the Tokyo 
University was raised. He intimidated some, but the 
kori shops still flourish ; and it was amusing to see men, 
women, and children crowding around them, eagerly 
waiting for their glasses to be planed full, and greedily 
devouring the noxious stuff, either plain, or. if they 


could afford an extra cent, with a little fruit syrup 
added for flavoring. 

Kuruma runners are crazy for this icy beverage, and 
if you treat them to a glass they are ready to take you 
round the world on a continuous trot, and with a per- 
petual smile. Dripping with perspiration, and all out 
of breath, they gulp it down as fast as a Neapolitan 
beggar does a plateful of free scalding-hot macaroni, 
in order to show a tourist what can be done in that line. 
The result to teeth and digestion must be the same 
in both cases. 

The Japanese also injure their health with hot 
drinks. They undeniably drink tea oftener than is 
good for their nerves, and one kind of tea that they 
favor must be decidedly injurious. My Japanese friend, 
Mr. Shugio, took Mr. Blum and me one afternoon to 
one of the most famous tea houses, where we had a taste 
of that aristocratic variety which is made of the most 
delicate leaves of the most expensive plants. The neat 
but airy little building Avas surrounded by shrubs in 
a garden representing a miniature landscape, with a 
reed-bordered " lake " in the centre, and a number of 
large stones for visitors to step on. After Avalking 
in our stocking feet through the tea house, we sat on 
the verandah facing the garden, where Ave Avere enter- 
tained by the hostess. In the meantime, a young girl 
Avas preparing in the kitchen a puree of tea leaA r es of 
Avhich Laurence Oliphant thus describes the process 
of manufacture : The leaAres " are first stewed, then 
dried and ground in a handmill into a poAvder ; this is 
mixed with hot Avater and Avhipped Avith a split bamboo 
until it creams. It is seiwed up hot and looks like 
physic. Altogether, J thought it more palatable than 


senna. This delicacy is called koitscha or thick tea." 
He adds that it is " a beverage peculiar to the upper 
classes of Japan," and I am sure the lower classes ought 
not to envy them this prerogative. I would as soon 
eat a salad made of green hops as drink another cup 
of that tea, or, rather, eat it, for you swallow it, powder 
and all. Now, I believe that while the phlegmatic 
Turk may not be hurt by drinking the dregs of his 
coffee, the delicate and weakly upper classes of Japan 
are much injured by eating nerve-shattering boiled 
tea leaves. However, they take it only on special occa- 
sions, the daily, or rather hourly, beverage being a 
weak infusion of ordinary tea leaves. This, if properly 
made with water that has not reached the boiling point, 
is comparatively harmless. If made with boiling water, 
it becomes a nasty decoction of tannic acid, strong 
enough to tan leather. I tasted such stuff occasionally 
at wayside inns and wondered no longer that statistics 
attribute one quarter of all deaths in Japan to nervous 
diseases. Another thing wherein Japanese differs from 
Chinese tea is that whereas in the latter, made with 
boiling water, only the first infusion is good, in Japa- 
nese tea the second infusion is less bitter than the first, 
and is accordingly preferred. I once remonstrated with 
a Japanese journalist, who was travelling with me, for 
Ids supposed economy in pouring water a second time 
on the same tea in the pot; but he laughingly explained 
that that was better than the first, being less astringent. 
So far all our excursions had been made by kuruma, 
the most convenient and cheapest of local conveyances. 
But there is one objection to the man-power cab: it is 
unsocial. When several friends out together it is 
difficult to talk on the wav. as there is seldom room for 


two kurumayas to trot side by side. Accordingly, for 
a change, and to see what it was like, I accepted an invi- 
tation one afternoon for a carriage ride down the river 
and a call at Tsukiji, the foreign concession of Tokyo, 
which it seemed proper to visit in a foreign conveyance. 
We drove some way along the river, but found it the 
dullest part of the city rows of commonplace houses, 
with nothing to break the monotony except an occa- 
sional tea house perched high for the sake of the view 
and the breeze. We had, besides the driver, a runner, 
who always got off and ran ahead when we came to a 
corner, in order to clear a track for us in the crowd. 
That a carriage is still a rare sight here was shown by 
the curiosity with which every man, woman, and child 
stopped and stared at us. The horses, too, were evi- 
dently not used to the rapid pace associated with a car- 
riage drive, for they easily got out of breath and sweated 

Tsukiji is hardly worth seeing, except as a historic 
curiosity. As the name implies, this corner of Tcjkyo 
is "made ground," an embankment made on the tidal 
soil near the mouth of the Sumida River. It has the 
reputation of being a not particularly healthy part of 
the city, though it has been greatly improved of late. 
It certainly must have been unhealthy at the time when 
it was selected for the foreign colony's place of exile. 
Like the site of Yokohama, it was originally a swam}), 
a coincidence which might suggest the suspicion that 
perhaps the Japanese officials chose these spots in the 
hope that malaria would help them to get rid of the then 
unwelcome foreigners. To this day no foreigner can buy 
property or rent a private residence in any part of the city 
excepting Tsukiji. unless he happens to be a government 


employee, in which case he can at any rate rent a house 
wherever he pleases. The streets in Tsukiji are wide 
and clean, and the foreign-style but low houses are sur- 
rounded by gardens and shady trees. Here live princi- 
pally merchants and missionaries, who are not usually 
on the most amicable terms. A missionary will perhaps 
tell you of merchants who keep several mistresses and 
change them every month, while a merchant will retali- 
ate by telling you of a missionary who lives at a certain 
hotel paying twenty-five dollars a day for himself and 
family "money which was sent here for the conversion 
of the Japanese to Christianity-" 

Christian Tsukiji is simply a slice of Europe or 
America on Japanese soil, as " Chinatown " is a section 
of Pekin dropped in the centre of San Francisco. To 
the sightseer from abroad it therefore offers no special 
attractions, whereas the Buddhist Asakusa in Ueno Park 
demands at least one afternoon. It is like a free theat- 
rical performance, partly in temples, partly in the grounds 
around them, representing Japanese life in some of its 
most picturesque aspects. I have no desire to describe 
once more what has been done so vividly and comprehen- 
sively by Mr. Griffis ; but what an extraordinary specta- 
cle it is ! what a deference to the world, the flesh, and 
the devil in the very temple of religion ! A New Yorker 
might get a faint idea of it by imagining a Chinese 
pagoda and temple in Central Park : inside the cere- 
monial of a Catholic Cathedral, and midsummer 
Coney Island in full blast on the outside. Within the 
temple there are officiating priests, with their idols. 
candles, and incense ; demons to be propitiated ; votive 
tablets and colossal paper lanterns ; devout worshippers 
calling the gods' attention to their prayers by striking 


;i bell, and clapping their hands to let them know when 
they are through ; others writing their prayers on slips 
of paper which they chew and spit at the idol, hoping 
that it may stick, which indicates that the prayer has 
been heard; others again touching some idol and then 
themselves at a corresponding spot, in the belief that a 
local disease will thus be cured (whereas in truth 
nothing could be better calculated to spread disease); 
and so on through the whole gamut of superstition. 
The Buddhists are even more liberal than the Catholics 
of southern Europe in allowing sightseers to walk 
about admiring the treasures of art even while the 
service is going on. Outside of the temples there are 
flocks of sacred pigeons and other birds ; old women 
selling peas and beans to feed them with ; rows of 
booths where you can buy charms, toys, hairpins, pho- 
tographs, and things to eat ; monkey shows, theatrical 
stalls, singing and dancing exhibitions, shooting gal- 
leries all these having been from time immemorial the 
surroundings of great Buddhist temples, although in 
Tokyo the "'Coney Island" features appear to have 
been somewhat repressed in recent years. I must add 
that there is perhaps nothing in the Buddhist temples 
of Japan which seems more odd and incongruous to 
us than the electric light which has found its way into 
some of them. 

Following the example of the Japanese, we went 
straight from the temple to an archery gallery, in a 
region where there was a whole street of them. As we 
were taking off our shoes preparatory to crawling in 
and squatting on the clean mats, an old woman in rags 
planted herself before the booth and sang a song as 
ugly as her face, accompanying herself with the Japa- 


nese " banjo," or samisen. We gave her a few pennies 
(enough to support her for several days), not for her 
music, but in view of the fact that thirty years before 
she may have been as pretty as the three young maidens 
of fourteen or fifteen who brought us tea and smoking 
materials. After we had refreshed ourselves they 
handed us light bamboo bows and tiny arrows, where- 
with we so successfully and continuously missed the 
mark, that ere long we adopted the lazy Oriental way 
of letting the girls do the shooting for us. Why not, 
since we had to pay for it anyway ? It was fascinating 
to see how gracefully they shot the arrows, and how 
often they hit the mark ; nor was it in the least uncom- 
fortable to recline and have one girl fan you while the 
other shot the arrows. They were so sweet and win- 
some, and smiled so bewitchingly, that it seemed cruel 
not to be able to talk to them except with the aid of 
Taro's very limited vocabulary. While we were there, 
only one Japanese guest came in. He looked solemn 
and stolid, smoked his thimble pipe and sipped his 
yellow tea in silence, while the girls, after supplying 
his simple wants, paid no further attention to him 
possibly because he would pay only a few cents, while 
we paid a dollar, of which Taro, I fancy, pocketed one- 
half ; but since he was interpreter as well as guide, he 
deserved an extra fee. When we left, the maidens 
prostrated themselves on the mats, and there was no 
end to their sayonara (good by) and irasshai (come 
again). It was here that Taro informed me so promptly 
that I might cut the girl's throat. 

Evening excursions are in midsummer Tokyo more 
interesting than afternoon rides and calls. In the cool 
niofht air some of the avenues are crowded till mid- 


night. On account of these crowds, it is advisable for 
two sightseers to go out together, with two kurumas 
and runners. Taro and his companion had an ingenious 
method on such occasions. There are streets where 
the crowds are so dense that kurumas are not allowed 
to enter, a policeman being on hand to enforce the rule. 
As we wanted to mingle with this populace, we got off, 
one of the men took the empty kurumas through another 
street to a place where Taro arranged to meet him, 
whereupon he played the r61e of guide and steered us 
to the various points of interest. In one street where 
there were small theatres similar to those we had seen in 
Yokohama, we had positively to scpueeze our way through 
the crowd ; and this was an ordinary night, not a holiday. 
The shows were a little bigger and more numerous than 
at Yokohama, but the sights were similar, and need not 
be described again. Everything was on a more metro- 
politan scale than at Yokohama, and the variety of 
sights in shops, tea houses, and open-air booths pro- 
portionately greater. The shops were lighted with 
gay paper lanterns, while the booths that were erected 
in two rows in some of the wider streets, were illumi- 
nated with torches. An endless variety of fancy toys 
for the children, and hairpins for the women, seemed 
to constitute the principal stock in trade of these stalls. 
One of the incidents I remember is a woman buying 
a glass globe no larger than an orange, with a small 
goldfish in it. She looked happy over her purchase, 
but it did not seem quite in accordance with Buddhist 
principles to give a poor fish so little elbow-room or 
tail-room, one ought perhaps to say. I bought a few 
toys for some children who were looking at them long- 
ingly, and was abundantly rewarded by their grateful 


smiles and graceful bows. I wish American children 
could bow so prettily. One of the clerks at the hotel 
had two little girls, apparently twins, to whom I never 
failed to bow whenever I saw them, and they always 
returned the bow with the most fascinating girlish 
grace and Oriental gravity. 

During a whole evening thus spent in the most popu- 
lous streets, we did not see a single foreigner, and very 
few Japanese in foreign costume, and those invariably 
men. Almost all of the men and women walked bare- 
headed, not one in a hundred having a hat. The men 
rarely took any notice of us, while many of the women 
turned to stare in a surprised and almost startled way. 
Women being more conservative than men, many of 
them doubtless still look on foreigners as being the 
fiends and ogres they were supposed to be during 
Japan's long seclusion from the world. It is said that 
in the country even noAV some Japanese children scream 
and run away in terror at first sight of a foreigner. 
This never happened to me, doubtless because I am 
somewhat less ferocious and diabolical in appearance 
than most of my compatriots. 

One narrow street was given up almost entirely, for 
a long distance, to a flower show, being lined on both 
sides with pots containing flowering plants or feathery 
ferns, or small pines resembling ferns in softness of 
texture and delicacy of structure, or trees dwarfed and 
cut into various fancy shapes, illumination being sup- 
plied by lamps stuck on bamboo sticks. The owners 
kept the plants fresh by frequently taking a mouth- 
ful of water, as a Chinaman does in his laundry, and 
sprinkling them with a line spray. (I have heard of a 
Chinese cook being detected in making biscuits that 


way.) Down this street men and women walked 
slowly, stooping every now and then to examine a 
choice flower or arrangement of twigs and leaves. On 
the exhibition grounds, the day before, I had watched 
a floral expert arranging some of the potted plants, 
which he did with the same care and attention to 
detail that an artist would use in putting a flowering- 
plant on his canvas. He would give this leaf or that 
flower a different inclination to one side, or up or 
down ; then he would step back a yard or two and take 
a critical look at it ; one more twist of a twig or leaf, 
and the plant looked as if it had grown up in nature's 
garden, untouched by man. 

If the Japanese are not remarkably devout in their 
attitude towards the gods of their pantheon, they make 
up for it by their worship of flowers and other phenom- 
ena of nature, especially the mountains and the rivers. 
In a preceding paragraph I spoke rather disrespectfully 
of the Sumida River, but I discovered that during Lotos- 
Time there is an annual festival in honor of this river 
and its deity, when it presents a scene more fairy-like 
and suggestive of another planet than even the streets of 
Tokyo ever do. I was lucky enough to be in the city 
at the proper time and gladly accepted an invitation 
from Mr. Blum to this river picnic, which proved to 
be one of the most picturesque and unique of my 
experiences in Japan. Hiring a barge. which had to 
be secured days in advance, so great is the demand 
for boats on this popular occasion, we secured two 
coolies, one to steer, the other to push us with a long 
pole, and thus moved down a canal, past dingy ware- 
houses and rather Venetian-looking staircases leading- 
up to the street through high walls from the water. 


Dusky figures were lounging or sleeping at various 
places, enjoying a greater degree of agreeable nudity 
than would be allowed in an Italian city. "We 
passed under a number of bridges, arched and massive, 
and the further we got, the more numerous became the 
boats of all sizes, some two-storied, and all ' of them 
filled with happy, expectant Japanese, so that when Ave 
finally reached the river itself it required careful steer- 
ing to make our way through them. 

It was still broad daylight when we came to our 
anchorage, and hardly had we reached our destination 
when surprise number one was let loose in the shape 
of fireworks. We perverse Occidentals associate fire- 
works with night : consequently the Japanese have them 
in the daytime, as a matter of course. Up goes a 
rocket with a whish-h-h ; and as it explodes in the air 
a large bird emerges from the smoke and slowly circling, 
sinks to the ground. Other rockets carried up bits of 
paper which on exploding in the air took the form 
of a flock of pigeons, or of a horse, or of two boxers, 
or of a dragon unfolding its long tail. The birds 
were in five colors, and among them were of course 
the irrepressible crows, which infest the whole country. 
As the twilight deepened, the exhibition changed to 
regular fireworks, as we understand the word. Some 
of these were very fine, especially a golden weeping 
willow, and a medley of various colored ribbons floating 
away slowly ; but as a whole the nocturnal fireworks 
were not equal to our best, possibly because such 
displays are very expensive. Who paid for those we 
saw I could not find out, as we paid no admission 
fee, and apparently no one else did. Asiatic patience 
had abundant opportunity to manifest itself, for the 


intervals between rockets were from five to ten minutes. 
Imagine how impatient an American or an English 
audience would get under such circumstances, not to 
speak of Spanish spectators, who like to have their 
lire works go off all at once, like their own impetuous 
passions. The Japanese prefer to dally with their 
pastimes, and they are wise. We are too apt to gulp 
down our pleasures as a dog does his dinner. 

For the Japanese the show was principally in the air, 
but to us the centre of attraction was the river, with its 
thousands of boats, the bridges and the river banks 
jammed with spectators, who also crowded the over- 
hanging tea houses, which were gaily decorated with 
colored paper lanterns. As it grew darker, the upper 
rows of these lights seemed to be suspended in the air 
without support, as they emitted just enough light to 
make the surrounding darkness visible. Each of the 
boats, too, had from one to a dozen or more colored 
lanterns, which dotted the darkness as far as eye could 
see. Surely the canals of Venice, in the palmiest days 
of Oriental trade, never witnessed a more striking 
scene ; and surely the suggestion for those " Venetian 
nights " must have come from the Far East. 

In calling this festival a river picnic, I meant exactly 
Avhat I said. All about us the Japanese (we saw no 
foreigners) were picnicking. In these diverse supper 
scenes, it was curious to see the mixture of foreign with 
native elements, less in the food, however, than in the 
implements. Chopsticks were universal, no knives, 
forks, or spoons being in use on any of the boats we 
passed. The food was in lacquer boxes, but in place of 
the pretty lacquer sake (or wine) cups and sake jars, 
coarse foreign glass bottles and tumblers were in use 


everywhere. Our own boatmen had a large bottle 
which the)' rinsed in the dirty river water (we had just 
passed a dead dog), and then had it filled with some 
mysterious liquid by a man who came forward in a sort 
of buffet boat with all sorts of supplies, solid and 
liquid. Their piece de resistance was green beans 
boiled on the stalk and eaten from the pods, as we eat 
green corn. 

One of the larger boats was provided with two ropes 
meeting at the top, like an inverted V, and adorned 
with the flags of all nations in picturesque confusion of 
colors. The Japanese flag was on top, and after it came 
the American, but upside down, as a matter of course. 
It must be extremely annoying to the Japanese to see 
us float our flag wrong side up, with our usual Occi- 
dental topsy-turviness. This boat belonged to the city 
band, which played Japanese and European music alter- 
nately. They played all of our cheap national tunes, 
the vulgarity of which probably escapes their notice at 
present. During an intermission the leader of the band 
came over to us in a row boat, presenting his card, on 
which we read in English that these musicians can be 
hired three hours for $15, and a whole day for $30. 
The Japanese crowd, while it applauded the best effects 
of the fireworkers, paid little attention to the band, but 
some of them had on their own boats music more to their 
taste ; namely, pretty geishas singing to the accompa- 
niment of their samisens. On one boat there was a 
pretty pantomimic dance by geishas, and in another, a 
regular theatrical performance, to judge by the gaudy 
costumes and the peculiar Chinese intonation of those 
who took part in it. On some of the boats, a simple 
drum or horn supplied the needful noise. The Japanese 


love thus to transform their boats into temporary tea 
houses, with all that the name implies. Netto relates 
that the river (here about a thousand feet wide) is 
sometimes so densely crowded with boats that it forms 
a favorite sport of some young men to cross it dry shod 
by stepping from boat to boat. "They seem in no 
great hurry, and if they should happen to come upon a 
particularly merry party, with plenty of wine, pretty 
girls, and clever dancers, they are not at all averse to 
accepting the polite invitation to remain.''' 

We happened to be moored next to the boat of a 
Japanese nobleman, who introduced himself, and gave 
us his card, Japanese on one side, and Le Baron X. 
on the other. He spoke French ; and, after some gen- 
eral remarks, expressed his opinion that the Japanese 
got all their civilization from us , against which 1 
protested vigorously, insisting that in their love of art 
and nature, their avoidance of any display of wealth, 
and their courtesy and refinement of manners, they 
were infinitely superior to us as a nation ; adding that 
there was danger that our civilization, imposed on them 
so abruptly, might make them less contented and 
happy. I called his attention to the utter absence of 
ruffians and rude actions in this picnic crowd, as 
compared with scenes to be witnessed near New York, 
London, and Paris; emphasizing especially the excellent 
behavior of the young people, and the absence of 
scenes of vulgar flirtation such as would make a noc- 
turnal water picnic in those cities an occasion to be 
avoided by refined people. The Baron told me he had 
a son in our naval school at Annapolis. Another of 
his sons was with him, and spoke English ; while his 
daughter, a winsome but delicate looking girl of about 


seventeen, spoke French quite well, and seemed to be 
not at all averse to conversation with a foreigner. She 
informed me, however, that it was more usual for 
young ladies of her class to learn English than French. 
She herself would have been glad, she said, to finish 
her education at one of our female colleges, but her 
father did not wish more than one of his children to 
be across the ocean at the same time. One of her 
friends was then at Bryn Mawr. 






Two hundred years ago Kaempfer, who first described 
for Europeans the manners and customs of Japan, wrote 
that the women of Saga, on the Inland Sea of Japan, 
were " handsomer than those of any other Asiatic coun- 
try." In 1876 Mr. AV. E. Griffis was led to declare that, 
"the fairest sights in Japan are Japan's fair daughters." 
In 1892 Mr. Henry Norman, in describing the " Real 
Japan," said, that " if Japanese women generally adopt 
foreign dress, the stream of foreign visitors will turn 
aside from Japan" ; thereby implying that these women, 
with their picturesque costumes and ways, are the prin- 
cipal attraction to tourists. I quite agree with him in 
this, as well as in his assertion that " prettiness is the 
rule among Japanese women." Every one interested in 
this topic knows of the rhapsodies of Sir Edwin Arnold 
over the Japanese musume. It is true that tastes differ; 
some tourists have blatantly declared that there is 
absolutely no female beauty in Japan. I can under- 



stand these critics, but cannot sympathize with them. 
If a man's taste leads him to look upon a tall, buxom, 
queenly, Scandinavian, English, or German blonde as 
his ideal of beauty, he will be disappointed in Japan, 
for such women do not exist there. But if his ideal of 
beauty is the graceful, elegant, petite brunette of Anda- 
lusia, his eyes will be constantly delighted in Japan by 
visions of loveliness and grace. I frankly confess that 
what made me plan my visit to Japan was the knowl- 
edge that all the women are built after this type. And 
I confess, too, that after a few weeks among these grace- 
ful, miniature beauties, the few large foreign women I 
saw seemed angular, ungainly, plain, and masculine. 
Nowhere on four continents have I seen eyes, black and 
brown, more lovely in color and shape than in T5kyo 
and Kydto ; nowhere hands and wrists more delicately 
moulded ; nowhere arms and busts more beautifully 
rounded ; nowhere lips more refined and inviting, 
though they are ignorant of the art of kissing ; no- 
where more perfect grace of attitude and gesture, 
above the waist. Their gait alone is clumsy, because 
of their clogs and their fashion of turning in the toes. 
I object also to the prevalent use of paint and powder 
on cheeks and lips, and to the national habit of combing 
back the hair from the forehead. Were these objec- 
tionable habits amended, the obvious proportion of 
beauty would be still greater. 

Unless he is a teacher or a missionary, a foreigner 
in Japan finds it difficult to become acquainted with 
women of the better classes, who are kept more or less 
in the background by their lords and masters. It is 
not customary even for Japanese men to make calls on 
the women of other families, and when a Japanese 


friend invites you to dine with him, he takes you, not 
to his house, but to a restaurant, where his wife and 
daughter do not accompany him, as he does not wish 
them to associate with the possibly frail beauties who 
help to enliven tea-house dinners. For, while the 
Japanese have never been cannibals, it must be con- 
fessed that the principal ingredients in their tea-house 
meals are tender young girls pretty waiting maids to 
serve the dishes, and educated geishas to sing, play, 
dance, and enliven the conversation with their spicy 
wit and merry laughter. 

Under these circumstances, foreign visitors those 
who reside in the country a year or two, no less than 
tourists are apt to get their ideas and impressions 
of Japanese women principally at the tea houses. Nor, 
from some points of view, is this a disadvantage ; for 
the waiting maids are chosen for their beauty, while 
the geishas, like the hetairai of ancient Greece, are not 
only trained in all the arts of personal beauty and 
artistic fascination, but are so carefully educated that 
in wit and intelligence they usually surpass the domes- 
tic women in the quiet family circle. The geishas are 
the brightest and most accomplished of all Japanese 
women, and in making their acquaintance one meets, 
therefore, favorable specimens of the country's woman- 
hood, except in the matter of frailty of character. Yet 
this trait must not be exaggerated, as it is by superficial 
observers, who confound the geisha witli the joro. As 
a class, geishas are perhaps no more frail than Euro- 
pean or American actresses, and the most respectable 
men, native and foreign, never hesitate to have their 
meals spiced by their beauty and art. 

In such matters women are much severer judges than 


men ; yet Miss Alice Bacon says, in her thoroughly reli- 
able book on Japanese Girls and Women, that 

" The geisha is not necessarily bad, but there is in her life 
much temptation to evil, and little stimulus to do right ; so that, 
where one lives blameless, many go wrong, and drop below the 
margin of respectability altogether. Yet so fascinating, bright, 
and lively are these geishas, that many of them have been taken 
by men of good position as wives, and are now the heads of the 
most respectable homes. . . . The problem of the geisha and her 
fascination is a deep one in Japan." 

The geishas, after having received a long and careful 
training in the art of making themselves agreeable to 
men, usually live at home with their families. They 
are engaged, as musicians and other social entertainers 
are engaged by us, usually two or more together, at so 
much an hour or evening ; and the place selected is 
almost always a tea house, where tea, food, and rice 
wine serve as accompaniment to the feast of smiles, 
wit, and music. The combination cannot but be con- 
sidered a happy one. 

I said in a previous chapter that one could live a 
year in Japan without ever tasting any of the dishes 
peculiar to the country ; and here I may add that this 
is possible even in travelling in the interior, where 
" foreign " hotels do not exist ; for in every town of a 
few thousand inhabitants, you can now buy Chicago 
canned meats and California canned fruits, besides bot- 
tled beer or ale, condensed milk, jellies, and crackers. 
But a sensible person would no more think of limiting 
his gastronomic experiences to these canned goods, and 
such fresh meats and eggs as he can get, than he would 
of confining his tours of observation to Tsukiji and the 
foreign settlement in Yokohama. An educated palate 


delights in new varieties of local flavor just as much as 
an educated pair of eyes delights in fresh local colors. 

A real Japanese banquet is, therefore, from the gas- 
tronomic as well as the geisha point of view, an indis- 
pensable item iu the Tokyo program, and I may as 
well add that although the Japanese do not usually take 
their own families to such dinners, there is no reason 
whatever why foreign women touring in the country 
should not attend them. They need not fear the slight- 
est breach of propriety, and they may be amused at the 
eager curiosity with which the geishas will examine 
their earrings, finger rings, and bracelets, and the child- 
ish delight they will show if allowed to try them on. 
To see these girls at their best, it is needless to say that 
one or two Japanese who speak both their and our lan- 
guage should be among the guests. 

My first experience in the realms of esthetic Japa- 
nese gastronomy was a lunch or dinner given to Mr. 
Blum, myself, Mr. Shugio, and another Japanese gentle- 
man, by some unknown benefactor whose identity I 
suspect but have not been able to discover. We rode 
in kurumas to a restaurant in Shimbashi, and were re- 
ceived at the door by half-a-dozen pretty and smiling 
maidens. Leaving our shoes at the entrance, we were 
escorted, by two of the girls, upstairs, where they had 
reserved for us a large room, two sides of which faced 
a garden full of flowers, ornamental, stones, and trees. 
Here, at the outset, Ave had the keynote of Japanese 
gastronomy, which is not merely an indulgence of the 
palate, but quite as much, or even more, a matter of 
esthetic enjoyment. For here we were surrounded by 
trees and flowers on the outside, while within the house 
there were trees and flowers and birds painted on the 


screens that formed the walls of our room. Still more 
of an esthetic treat were the girls in attendance, espe- 
cially the youngest one, O Haru, or " Springtime," who 
was quite a beauty, with regular features, refined lips, 
and large black eyes with the merest suspicion of 
obliqueness ; just enough to give them a piquant touch 
of Orientalism. Her smile was as sweet and enchant- 
ing as that of a Houri in the Mohammedan paradise, 
and it would have been difficult to avoid falling in love 
with her at first sight had she always remained on her 
knees, for from the waist up she was the perfection 
of grace ; but the effect was marred whenever she got 
up and walked ; for her gait, like that of all Japanese 
women, was ungraceful, the knees being too far apart, 
and the toes turned in, while her loose slippers napped 
along on the floor without ever quite leaving it, all 
these things being prescribed by topsy-turvy Japanese 
etiquette, with one of those strange inconsistencies in 
taste of which I shall have occasion to point out not a 
few in later pages. 

There were, of course, no chairs or tables in our tea 
house, and if we had asked for a tablecloth we would 
have been looked on as being even greater greenhorns 
than we actually were. As Sir Edwin Arnold has 
pertinently remarked of the Japanese, "they do not 
make streets of their homes/ ' They do not walk with 
dirty boots on their floor mats, any more than we stand 
on our chairs and sofas. The mat is their only seat and 
tablecloth, and every meal is a sort of picnic. We 
accordingly found no visible preparations for our ban- 
quet, except a square section of the floor marked off 
with four soft leather cushions for us to kneel on. We 
were prepared for any further amount of topsy-turvi- 


ness, and it began with the serving of tea first, appar- 
ently because we serve coffee last. In Japan tea is the 
beginning and end of all things, and it need not be said 
that it is the esthetic beverage par excellence. With the 
yellow tea were served tiny wafers, so thin and unsub- 
stantial that they might be called esthetic too. These 
wafers were sweet (because ice reserve sweets for the 
end of a meal), and of course they were round, because 
our wafers are not round. 

The next course was again esthetic. It consisted of 
two hibachis or tire boxes, for lighting our cigarettes. 
The Japanese use matches as freely as we do, but not 
at meals, where they would be voted vulgar. The 
hibachi is made in many varieties, the most popular 
being a round vessel with live charcoals in the centre, 
around which are heaped ashes in the shape of a crater. 
This poetic arrangement enables the imaginative Japa- 
nese to fancy that they are lighting their cigarettes or 
pipes at the original fires of their beloved Fuji, once a 
volcano, now a snow peak lifting its summit above the 
hills and dales of the main island, as a cathedral spire 
rises above the streets and houses of a city, and doubt- 
less visible from our tea house on a clear day. 

Again the course following was esthetic ; it consisted 
of the singing girls and samisen players who had been 
hired to supply the music and smiles. They were of a 
somewhat more intellectual type of beauty than the wait- 
ing maids, and also a few years older, and less given to 
giggling. That they were bright, and saucy too, we soon 
found out. The waiter girls, who had left us the moment 
the music girls entered, now returned with small lacquer 
tables, five or six inches high, and a foot in length and 
breadth, one of which was placed before each of us, 


together with a dainty porcelain bottle containing about 
half a pint of hot sake or rice wine, and for drinking it, 
a tiny cup of thin porcelain, which looked as if it were 
meant to hold our cigarette ashes mind, I do not say 
cigar ashes, for one must not exaggerate in talking of 
things Japanese. The geishas filled these cups for us, 
and after drinking their health we touched them to the 
napkins, handed them to the girls, and filled them up 
for them to drink to our health. To fill your own cup 
would be considered bad form, but with so many geishas 
and waiting girls to vie with each other in keeping the 
cups filled, there was no danger of violating the laws of 
etiquette in that respect. I need hardly point out the 
Orientalism of drinking the wine at so early a stage of 
the proceedings, and hot. Rice wine is not even as 
strong as ordinary claret or Rhine wine, but being taken 
hot, and before eating, it produces an effect sooner than 
it would otherwise, especially on the Japanese, who are 
much more easily affected than we are, and who are, 
therefore, in refined circles, usually moderate in their 

While the sake was being sampled, the geishas tuned 
up their long-necked samisens, and gave us some of 
their vocal and instrumental music, which must be an 
acquired taste, to put it mildly, and which I shall not 
attempt to describe in words, since it cannot even be 
reproduced exactly in our notation. Piggott says that 
the samisen is " irreverently called by some the banjo 
of Japan, an instrument with which it has no affinities." 
But it certainly looks a good deal like a banjo, and 
sounds not so very unlike one. Unlike our banjo, its 
body is square; but there is the same parchment face, 
and an even longer neck. The samisens played by our 


geishas had three silk strings, which they were forever 
tuning, sometimes in different intervals; and it must 
be admitted that they had an excellent ear for pitch. 
They did not pluck the strings with the fingers, but 
with a plectron, which produced a twangy, disagree- 
able, hard tone, mingled with a faint drum sound. 
The sides of their instruments were adorned with 
green velvet, and they carefully wiped the strings 
before playing. So they sang and strummed away, 
usually without any rhyme and reason discoverable to 
a foreign ear; but ever and anon they fell into a polka- 
like rhythm and a distinctly defined melody, which 
my memory was able to retain. Their music was all 
melody, no chords; and when I took one of the sami- 
sens and played a few of our simplest harmonies, they 
frankly confessed that they could hear nothing pleas- 
ing in them. When plucked with the fingers, I found 
that the Japanese samisen has a better tone than our 
banjo; but the girls always use the harsh plectron. 
Among the songs they sang I remember one of a lively 
nature, in which a comic effect was produced by means 
of very high glissandos on the instrument. The faces 
of the geishas brightened up, and their eyes sparkled, 
as they became interested in their music; but their 
voices were not so musical as when they spoke or 
laughed. They were, in truth, as nasal and twangy as 
the tones of their instruments. Nor was there any 
change in loudness. 

So it must be confessed that to us the geishas were 
more interesting personally than musically, nor was 
this an unusual situation; for Professor Chamberlain 
says that the Japanese men, too, "send for singing 
girls chiefly in order to ogle and chaff them, and to 


help along the entertainment by a little noise. To ask 
the name of the composer of any tune the girls are 
singing is a thing that would never enter their heads." 
During the intermissions we plied the girls with ques- 
tions, and they kindly gave us their opinion of our- 
selves. They wanted to know if Mr. Blum and I were 
twins, as they could hardly tell us apart, although we 
do not in the least resemble each other, except in both 
being blond. " One cannot distinguish those foreign- 
ers, anyway," said one of them, " they have all such 
prominent noses." 

One of the girls asked me how old I was. " San- 
jiu-go," I replied. "Thirty-five?" she echoed, with a 
mischievous smile, adding something which went be- 
yond my knowledge of the vernacular, but which my 
Japanese friend interpreted as " I thought you were 
at least forty." Mr. Shugio thought this was a "good 
one " on me, but he, too, was fated not to escape. The 
girls were trying to recall the words of a certain song, 
but did not succeed, and finally appealed to Mr. Shugio, 
who, by the way, was only thirty-six. 

" Why do you ask me ? " he inquired. 

" Oh," was the answer, " it is a very old song, and 
we thought you might remember it from your youthful 

Perhaps I should add, in elucidation of this con- 
versation, that a person's age is a favorite topic of 
conversation in topsy-turvy Japan. On being intro- 
duced to a lady, you ask her age, and, paradox of 
paradoxes, she not only is not offended, but makes no 
secret of it, though it may be ever so much above 

Nothing seemed to please both the geishas and the 


tea girls so much as to hear a few Japanese words 
from foreign lips. They, too, seemed to know a few 
English words, such as, Thank you," "Good by," 
"I love you." Pretty O Haru laughed till she had 
to cover her face to hide her tears, when one of us 
looked at her with an inverted opera glass. Her 
laughter was one of the most delightful and contagious 
musical sounds I have ever heard. When one of 
our Japanese friends threw a back somersault to 
amuse the girls, they were convulsed with merriment. 
Obviously, table etiquette is not very rigid on such 

But I must hasten on to the solid part of our repast, 
lest the reader should fancy that a Japanese banquet is 
entirely a matter of esthetics, of trees and flowers and 
pictures, of yellow tea, red wafers, and miniature craters, 
laughing black-eyed tea girls and geishas with pretty 
poses, saucy wit, and Oriental music. On the contrary, 
it is apt to be a most substantial affair, consisting of 
several compound courses, each of which includes soup 
(we perversely have soup only once). Each course 
was brought in on a separate tray for every diner, and 
placed on his table ; and when the other courses were 
brought in, the earlier ones were not taken away, but 
remained, so that we could, after sampling all the dishes, 
come back to those we liked best. There was only one 
drawback to this arrangement, everything got cold, 
a result aggravated by the constant chaffing and 
laughing, which made of the eating a mere side-show, 
though there were not a few tempting things on our 
trays. We had fish (cooked, raw, and smoked), several 
kinds of seaweed, vegetables (warm, cold, or pickled), 
radishes, mushrooms, boiled bamboo and lotos roots, 


potatoes, chicken and mutton, and several kinds of 
mysterious salads. I sampled every dish, and survive 
to tell the tale. 

The soup was served in small lacquer bowls, black 
outside, and red inside, and had slices of hard-boiled 
eggs, or omelette, or seaweed, or fish floating on top. 
These solids we fished out more Japanieo with our chop- 
sticks, while the soup was drunk out of the bowls. 
The girls at first laughed at my attempts to use the 
chopsticks, and said that I ate like a baby , but they 
kindly and gladly instructed me how to hold and ply 
them. This was my first lesson, and before the end of 
the meal I made considerable progress ; but I never 
quite acquired the skill of the natives, who use their 
sticks as deftly as storks use their bills in fishing solids 
out of the soup, in corraling the coy rice, and in pick- 
ing a small fish clean to the skeleton, which seems the 
most wonderful feat of all. The apparent difficulty 
of eating chicken or mutton is solved by having all 
meat cut up into small morsels before it is sent to 
the table ; the Japanese being of the opinion that all 
carving and cutting should be done by the servants 
in the kitchen, since we consider it more aristocratic 
to have the joints and chickens set on the table 
whole, and carved and cut by the host and the guests 

1 had read so much about rice as forming the sub- 
stance and last course of all Japanese meals, that I was 
surprised not to find it included in our menu at all. It 
is, in fact, not served at expensive dinners unless spe- 
cially ordered. I am sure it was not missed on this occa- 
sion, for of all unappetizing desserts, rice without cream 
and sugar (which are never served with it in Japan) 


seems to me the most insipid. 1 The rice wine, on the 
other hand, I found much better than its reputation 
among foreigners, many of whom, I am afraid, tried it 
once at an inferior tea house, and never had the courage 
to repeat the experiment. Ordinary wayside sake is 
indeed quite as bad as ordinary American beer, but the 
more expensive brands are much superior in taste and 
less heady. Japanese brewers are all rich men, but 
their products differ as widely as those of our beer 
brewers. When Miss Bird says that sake is ,4 faint, 
sickly, and nauseous," she speaks for herself only. Rein 
compares it to the flavor of weak sherry. In truth the 
flavor is unique, and can no more be described than the 
taste of wine could be described to one who has never 
had any. It is said that Japanese experts look for five 
distinct tastes in good sake : " sweetness, sharpness, 
sourness, bitterness, and astringency, with a flavor of 
fusel oil in addition." 

When we left the tea house, at a late hour, all the 
girls belonging to it accompanied us to the street, 
where, with many low bows, they united in the usual 
musical chorus of irasshai and sayonara " come 
again," and "good by." We had enjoyed a typical 
Japanese banquet, from which only one customary in- 
gredient had been omitted, dancing. A few evenings 
later, I made up for this omission by attending, with 
some American friends, an entertainment specially 
arranged for us by one of the hotel clerks, and which 

1 I must add, however, that, after some experience, I found that 
plain Japanese rice has a pleasant, if faint flavor, which, I fancied, 
might so grow on me that after a while I should prefer it to our sweet 
and flavored rice puddings, even as I preferred their plain tea to our 
tea and cream. Expert rice tasters can tell, like tea and wine tasters, 
just what section of the country a sample of rice comes from. 


consisted solely of music and dancing, the gastronomic 
element being represented only by sake, tea, and cake. 
There were again two geishas, ready with song and 
samisen, two dancers, and two other young maidens 
whose duty consisted in smiling and perpetually bang- 
ing away at two small but noisy drums. The dancing 
girls never left their place, and hardly moved their 
feet, their performance being, in Oriental fashion, not 
saltatorial, but pantomimic. By means of facial ex- 
pression, word, and gestures, and the use of fans, they 
enacted several tales, all of which would not have been 
approved by missionaries. 

As for the drum girls, they were at first a comic 
curiosity, but soon became a decided nuisance, for, 
armed, each, with two sticks, they belabored their 
queer, obliquely placed drumheads fortissimo, until my 
tympanum rang in sympathy. For half an hour at a 
time, without a second's intermission, they rapidly beat 
the following rhythm : 


- 4 * 9- 

and so on senza fine. Since drumming seemed to 
be a necessary feature of the entertainment, we did 
not wish to interfere with the program ; but, re- 
membering that a room filled with tobacco smoke 
is less offensive when you light a cigar of your 
own, we tried to apply this nasal experience to 
the realm of tone, by taking charge of the drums 
ourselves, to the amusement of the girls. We found 
drumsticks much easier to master than chopsticks ; and 
the noise really did seem less offensive when we con- 


tributed to it ourselves. But the combined din of the 
drums, samisens, and falsetto geisha voices when we 
got up a grand ensemble was delightfully barbarous 
and picturesquely diabolical. The Chinese, whenever 
there is an eclipse, try to frighten away the devouring 
shadow with their noisiest drums and tomtoms. Had 
there been an eclipse visible in Tokyo at that moment, 
I am sure the shadow of the moon would have slunk 
away in dismay, with its tail between its legs. 

A little of this sort of thing goes a great way, where- 
fore we broke up early in the evening in order to get 
a glimpse of the Yoshiwara on the way home. The 
singing, dancing, and tea-house girls whose acquaint- 
ance we had so far made were, as previously intimated, 
of a class the members of which may be entirely respect- 
able or partially so, in comparison with a more degraded 
class of girls and women who are now, as they were two 
centuries ago, confined by law to a special district known 
as the Yoshiwara. Here vice is indeed gilded. Prop- 
erty is said to be worth four times as much as in most 
other parts of the city, and nowhere else are the houses 
so high and so costly in appearance. Besides some 
shorter streets, there is one long avenue, consisting of 
two rows of palaces, brilliantly illuminated at night. 
In the case of the largest and most sumptuous of these 
buildings there is nothing to indicate their character 
from without, whereas in the more humble ones the 
ground floor, elevated a couple of feet above the street 
level, is open to the view and presents the appearance 
of a human menagerie. These ground floors are liter- 
ally cages, wherein hundreds of imprisoned girls sit 
behind rows of bars every night, some of them stolid 
looking, others smiling or chaffing the passers by. No 


Oriental slave market could present a more pitiable 
and loathsome sight. These poor girls have been sold 
for a term of years to the owners of the palaces of vice, 
and there is no escape for them except through suicide 
or the very rare chance of being ransomed by a rich 
admirer, and elevated to concubinage or possibly even 
to marriage. 

In Japanese novels the heroine is not infrequently a 
girl who has been sold by starving parents into this 
horrible life, or has voluntarily offered this sacrifice of 
her chastity to rescue them from debt. But it is the 
opinion of those best informed that, except among the 
very poorest or in famine times, such cases mostly 
belong to the realm of romance and rarely occur in 
real life perhaps not more frequently than in Europe 
or America. Foreigners usually get erroneous ideas 
on this subject by confounding the Yoshiwara victims 
with the geishas or tea-house girls. These are often 
refined and beautiful, but in the Yoshiwara cages one 
rarely sees a face that could be called pretty ; and 
what little beauty there may be is utterly marred 
by the disgusting daubs of paint and powder with 
which the faces are rouged and whitewashed. Most 
of the girls are in Japanese garb, but some of them 
seek to attract attention by sitting on chairs, wearing 
ill-fitting foreign clothes, crowned by vulgar Parisian 
hats. They are the most offensive ingredient in this 
whole repulsive spectacle, the one redeeming feature 
of which is that by thus collecting all of the women in 
a special region, the other streets are kept undefiled by 
certain nocturnal phenomena which are a disgrace to 
the " Christian " cities of Europe and America. 

The Yoshiwara is the only part of Tokyo where a 


foreigner who behaves himself is liable to insult. Here, 
as we rode and walked along, we encountered now and 
then the sneering looks and taunting words of members 
of the former samurai or the criminal classes. Every 
reader of Japanese novels or police records knows that 
the Yoshiwara is the haunt of the vicious of libertines, 
thieves, forgers, murderers who come here to drown 
their pangs of conscience and spend their dishonest 
gains in carousals. Hence it forms a convenient trap 
for detectives, who usually find their game here without 
the trouble of hunting it. Here, too, for the first and 
only time in Japan, I saw the spectacle of a drunken 








During the hot lotos months the theatres of Japan, 
as of most countries, are closed. On July 7 and 8, how- 
ever, there happened to be, for the benefit of sufferers 
from the failure of the rice crops, a special charity per- 
formance by the Danjiuro Association, at the Shintomi 
Theatre, to which foreigners were able to purchase 
tickets at two dollars each, and which was on no 
account to be missed, for Danjiuro is the greatest of 
Japanese actors. It was expected that a great many 
foreigners would be present, and for their benefit the 
principal play to be given had been abbreviated so that 
it would last only seven hours. For the same reason 
the performance was begun at three P.M. instead of 
at six o'clock in the morning, which is the orthodox 
Japanese hour for beginning a play that usually lasts 
till six in the evening. sometimes like our newspaper 
serials, " to be continued " next day. 

It was raining when we rode up to the theatre, which 
we found to be somewhat larger than ordinary Japanese 



buildings, but without any pretensions to architectural 
beauty, winch would be too expensive a luxury in a city 
where destructive fires are as frequent as in Tokyo. 
Being already provided with tickets, we were able to 
dodge the custom indulged in by well-to-do Japanese, 
of securing their seats in an adjoining tea house, instead 
of at the box office. These tea houses also provide 
lunches during the intermissions of the play, and in 
various ways absorb a large share of the general theatri- 
cal profits, to which fact the frequent collapse of man- 
agers has been attributed. 

Kurumas by the score discharged their foreign or 
native occupants at the door, while hundreds of other 
natives came along on clogs, that lifted them stilt-like 
above the mud of the unpaved streets. Before entering 
they left these clogs near the door, where a pile of at 
least a hundred pairs had accumulated, which servants 
were rapidly carrying to a corner within. Leaving our 
umbrellas but not our shoes in charge of an attend- 
ant, we were ushered up a flight of stairs to a gallery 
facing the stage, and provided with chairs luckily, 
for it would have been torture to sit or squat for hours 
on the mats, as the natives did in the side galleries and 
in the parquet. This parquet was divided into small 
square boxes, somewhat as Ave divide the floor of a 
church into pews ; there were, of course, no benches or 
chairs, but everybody knelt on mats during the whole 

On a first visit to a Japanese theatre the audience is 
quite as interesting as the play, for the reason that the 
family groups in the parquet behave very much as they 
would if they were between the paper walls and screens 
of their own homes. No one is so rude as to disturb 


others by coming or going during the continuance of 
an act ; but between the acts the scenes in the parquet 
constitute an entertaining side-show. Every family 
group is provided with a lunch, which has either been 
brought along, or is ordered from an adjoining tea 
house. Two gangways, right and left, called hana- 
michi or flower paths, on a level with the stage, run 
from it to the other end of the hall, and from these 
gangways (which are also used sometimes for special 
entrances of the actors or for processions) male attend- 
ants distributed tea, cakes, and other refreshments to 
the audience. A number of the spectators took their 
lunch unceremoniously on the stage, in front of the cur- 
tain. Almost every man and woman was smoking a 
thimble-sized pipe, and this indulgence was not limited 
to the intermissions, but continued most of the time, 
except when the tears over a tragic situation threatened 
to put out the pipe. 

Although many Japanese plays are very immoral, 
according to our notions of propriety, boys and girls 
of all ages are taken to them by their parents of the 
lower classes; but in justice to the Japanese, it must 
be added that until recently, on account of the coarse- 
ness of the stage, the upper classes did not frequent 
the ordinary theatre, but only certain ancient and highly 
respectable, unintelligible, and tiresome performances 
quasi-operatic known as No. The actors of these 
were honored in society; but ordinary actors were held 
in such contempt that, as Professor Chamberlain tells 
us, " when a census was taken, they were spoken of 
with the numerals used in counting animals. . . . 
Those to whom Japanese is familiar will," he adds, 
"appreciate the terrible sting of the insult." The 


strictness of Japanese etiquette on this point is illus- 
trated by the account given, only a few decades ago, 
by Sir Rutherford Alcock of a visit to a theatre, which 
lie made in Osaka, prefaced by this information : " In 
Yeddo I had never been able to gratify my desire to 
see this illustration of national manners, because no 
person of rank can be seen in such places ; and it 
would have been a breach of all rules of propriety for 
a minister to visit a theatre." Within recent years 
there has been a change and improvement, in conse- 
quence of which theatres and actors are no longer 
tabooed, which is a fortunate circumstance, for the rea- 
son that, to quote Chamberlain once more, the theatre 
is "the only remaining place where the life of Old 
Japan can be studied in these radical latter days." 

Apart from us foreigners seated on chairs in one 
gallery and our method of applause, which the Japan- 
ese have adopted in their public places, there was noth- 
ing in this theatre that could not have been seen in 
Old Japan. The dresses of the spectators may have 
been less sombre in former days; but this sombreness 
only served to enhance, by contrast, the beautiful colors 
and patterns of the accurate historic costumes worn by 
the actors. I cannot add " and actresses"; for even yet 
women are not considered to be fit to appear in a first- 
class play, and their parts are still taken by men 
admirably taken by them, it must be confessed, with a 
grace truly feminine. Of the men's costumes the odd- 
est were the trailing trousers those most extraordi- 
nary garments, which were part of the court costume 
until a few decades ago, and which amazed Sir Ruther- 
ford Alcock when he was received by the Shogun. He 
relates that facing him were fifty officials, 


"all in gauze and silks. . . . The most singular part of the 
whole costume, and that which, added to the headgear, gave an 
irresistibly comic air to the whole presentment, was the immeasur- 
able prolongation of the silk trousers. These, instead of stopping 
short at the heels, are unconscionably lengthened and left to trail 
two or three feet behind them, so that their feet, as they advanced, 
seemed pushed into what should have been the knees of the 

These trailing trousers played a conspicuous role in 
the drama we saw at the Shintomi. It has been sug- 
gested that, as such a garment must make its wearer 
clumsy and helpless, it was prescribed by the rulers to 
ward off the danger of assassination. But when I asked 
Mr. Shugio what he thought was the original object of 
this strange costume, he replied that it was to give the 
impression that the Shogun's subjects were on their 
knees even ivhen ivalking. The Japanese are indeed 
always on their knees, both for courtesy and comfort, 
except when walking or sleeping, and it would not be 
inappropriate to entitle a book on them. The Kneeling 
Nation. If one of them wrote a book on us, he would 
probably be tempted to entitle it. The Sitting Nation; 
for kneeling and walking are fast becoming lost arts 
among us. 

Our performance consisted of a tragedy in four acts, 
a short comedy, and a dance in four acts, in which last 
the Misses Fukiko and Jitsuko, daughters of Danjiuro. 
took part models of elegance in appearance and grace 
in gesture. An English program was distributed, 
containing the " dramatic (sic~) persona? " and a brief 
sketch of the tragic plot, the scene of which was placed 
at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and which 
had a good deal to do with fighting and plotting and poi- 
soned cakes. I have never seen better acting than that 


in the poisoning scene of this play. However much the 
Japanese may differ from us in customs and etiquette, 
in the expression of grief and joy their faces are like 
ours, and their actors have such wonderful mimetic 
powers that I found no difficulty whatever in following 
the plot, both in the tragedy and the comedy. Danjiuro 
might come to America and act in his own language, as 
Salvini has done ; he is the Salvini of Japan, and would 
be a popular idol anywhere. One of our party had 
intended to return to Yokohama at six, but I heard 
him say that he liked the play (of which he could not 
understand a word) so well that he had decided to stay 
to the end four hours more, including an hour's inter- 
mission for supper. 

The only disagreeable feature of the performance was 
the tone in which the actors spoke their parts. In 
ordinary conversation the Japanese speak in a low, 
musical voice and with natural inflections, but on the 
stage they have adopted the idiotic Chinese sing-song, 
squeaking falsetto, unearthly yells, and other extraor- 
dinary sounds which make a Chinese theatre seem 
like an improvised lunatic asylum. Almost everything 
that is really absurd in Japan comes from China, and 
prominent among the absurdities which ought to yield 
as soon as possible to Occidental influences is the stage 
falsetto. I was surprised by another peculiarity of the 
theatrical diction. My grammars had told me that 
the Japanese have practically no verbal or oratorical 
accent, every syllable and word having about the same 
emphasis. But it seemed to me that these actors 
positively swooped down on certain syllables and 
words, with an emphatic sforzando. I had also noticed 
previously that railway guards often accented one 


syllable much more strongly than the others ; for 
instance, Kamakura. 

In its scenic features the Japanese stage has gone far 
beyond the Chinese, which is still in the primitive con- 
dition of Shakspere's time when a board with " This is 
a Forest," or whatever else was to be suggested, took 
the place of real or painted trees, mountains, and so on. 
It would be strange, indeed, if, with their passionate 
love of nature, which makes them paint a maple branch 
or a Fuji on every fan, screen, and teapot, the Japanese 
had been willing to dispense with a scenic background 
on the stage. Episodes of street life, domestic interiors, 
dogs, horses, boats, moats, and castles, forest scenes 
are all painted, or bodily introduced, with an art that 
is thoroughly realistic, and illusory in its perspective. 
What is more, to save time, or rather, to shorten inter- 
missions, the Japanese were the first to invent a revolv- 
ing stage, which makes it possible to set up one scene 
while another is in use, thus facilitating rapid changes. 
The curtain is sometimes raised, as in our theatres, 
sometimes dropped out of sight, or again pushed aside 
and closed, as at Bayreuth. The Shintomi has two 
ornamental curtains, one Dutch, the other the gift 
of a Hawaiian monarch. 

But again, just as the splendid acting is marred by 
the silly Chinese intonation, so the scenic illusion is 
destroyed by incongruities. One might forgive the 
gangways running from the stage across the parquet, 
and the occasional appearance of actors on them, espe- 
cially when they are arrayed in their most gorgeous 
costumes, genuine works of art which have few counter- 
parts at the present day, and which can be better seen 
this way than on the stage itself ; but one fails to 


understand how the Japanese can tolerate the Chinese 
nuisance of allowing stage attendants to walk about 
among the actors, light up their faces with candles, 
prompt them from an open book, bring on or remove 
furniture, etc., in an obtrusive manner which destroys 
all illusion. What is amusing about this farce is the 
Oriental naivete of supposing these attendants to be 
invisible, as is indicated by their wearing black gar- 
ments and veils. An explanation of this absurdity 
may perhaps be found in the fact that until recently 
the Japanese theatre was frecpuented only by the lower 
classes, whose illusion is not easily marred. 

Shall I attempt to describe the music which accom- 
panied the tragedy ? It must be admitted that the 
Japanese, as well as the Chinese, anticipated Wag- 
ner in the idea that a tragedy needs a musical accom- 
paniment. It is their way of carrying out this idea 
that Western ears object to. I frankly confess that I 
found a certain charm in the barbarous music of the 
Chinese theatre in San Francisco after I had heard it 
four or five times. If this Japanese dramatic music 
gave me less pleasure, it may be owing to the fact that 
it was too deep to be understood at first hearing. I 
will give it the benefit of the doubt, the more will- 
ingly as I did subsequently hear samisen and koto 
playing which was truly musical in its way. What 
was surprising in the play at the Shintomi Thea- 
tre was the variety of musical effects and groupings. 
To the left of the stage was a sort of menagerie cage 
with bars, the occupants of which kept up a monoto- 
nous strumming on their samisens in accompanying the 
dialogue. In a row on the back of the stage there 
were some flute players and more samisenists, whose 


performance sometimes assumed a -well-defined rhyth- 
mic form. In a sort of proscenium box on our right, 
ten feet above the stage, there were two more samisen 
players, besides two doleful vocalists, looking, with 
their shaven crowns, like Buddhist priests. Their song 
consisted of an occasional melodic bud, with a great 
deal of garnishing that it would be impossible to indi- 
cate in our musical notation. But the prima donna of 
the occasion was the fellow with the big drum. He 
had his innings when a ghost came on the stage, and 
again, when the ghost made his exit. That drummer 
could give points to a thunderstorm in the Alps. It 
is said that the Japanese do not stand in real awe of 
ghosts, but look upon their possible appearance with a 
certain kindly interest ; yet I fancy that when accom- 
panied by such an unearthly drum solo, a ghost must 
be awful even to them. 

If I have neglected to mention the name of the play 
or its writer, that is not my fault. No name or author 
was given on the playbill, it being the custom to ascribe 
new dramas to the manager who produces them. 
Many of the plays are the result of the co-operation of 
a writer with the actors, scene painters, and carpenters, 
and there is much improvisation during the perform- 
ance. Such a thing, after all, is not unknown in our 
own theatres. I have been told that of the original 
" Black Crook " nothing whatever remains but the 
name ; yet the author still draws his royalty. 

One great advantage of travelling in a country so 
much like another planet as Japan is lies in this, that 
it is really not necessary to go to a theatre in order to 
enjoy novel and entertaining sights. Here everything 
is novel, the audience as well as the play, and to us the 


oldest is the newest. At the same time what is new 
to them cannot but interest us too, as showing what 
success has attended their efforts to graft foreign ideas 
on Japanese stock. Bearing this in mind, I welcomed 
an invitation, secured for me by my ever-obliging 
friend, Mr. Shugio, to attend the seventh graduating 
exercises of the school of political science and law, the 
T5kyo Semmon Gakko, organized and supported by 
Count Okuma. This school had 800 students, 182 of 
whom were to receive their degrees on this occasion. 
The exercises were held in a large, airy building, pro- 
vided, like all Japanese schools to-day, with desks, 
benches, and chairs, the old kneeling attitude being 
apparently considered incompatible with the modern 
educational spirit. Chairs had been placed on one side 
for the invited guests, while the rest of the hall was 
densely packed with students, no two of whom were 
dressed alike. The majority were in Japanese attire ; 
others had foreign trousers or a shirt, oddly combined 
with native garments, while a few were completely 
attired in foreign dress. The President wore the 
national costume. The order of exercises, as kindly 
translated for me by Mr. Shugio, was as follows : 

Enter the students with their relatives and guardians. 

Enter the guests and the faculty. 


The President distributes the certificates. 

The President distributes the prizes. 


Speech by the President. 

Mr. Teuda responds for the graduates. 


Speeches by guests. 



The prizes consisted of books given to about twenty 
of the best students. The speeches were apparently 
most eloquent, being often interrupted by laughter and 
applause. Before the exercises we had been taken to 
an anteroom, where we found fans, cigarettes, and ice 
water on tap, free for everybody. After the exercises 
we all adjourned to the garden of Count Okuma, where 
the band played foreign music with real swing and 
expression. Having partaken of an open-air lunch of 
cold meats, ice cream and cake, beer and claret lemon- 
ade, we inspected the beauties of the garden, which is 
widely famed for its conservatories and rare flowers 
and shrubs. We then visited the house, which is of 
Japanese construction, except that there is glass in- 
stead of paper in the sliding screens serving as walls. 
Within, some of the rooms are furnished in Japanese 
style, while others have foreign chairs, tables, and car- 
pets, so that one can enter with boots on. But the 
artistic decorations even in these rooms are Japanese, 
showing how a Japanese gentleman of taste can blend 
Occidental features with Oriental art as successfully as 
we do the reverse. It was on the verandah of the Jap- 
anese entrance to the house that I had the pleasure of 
a personal introduction to the Count, who, as the reader 
knows, has long been one of the most prominent of 
Japanese statesmen, noted for his foreign sympathies, 
which had not long before this led to an attempted assas- 
sination by a patriotic fanatic. The Count was still 
suffering from the effects of his wounds, but was in 
a most affable mood. I realized that he was up even 
in foreign slang when, on pouring brandy into my 
tumbler, he looked at me and exclaimed, "Say when!" 


We had a chat on international topics, one of his 
remarks being that the Japanese were like the 
Americans, inasmuch as they borrowed what was 
best from all other countries "a privilege of young 









Shortly before leaving New York, 1 had a con- 
versation with Mr. John La Farge, who remarked that 
he felt very much tempted to revisit Japan that summer, 
were it only to attend the third National Exhibition, 
which would bring under one roof many choice works 
of art ordinarily scattered all over the country, and 
belonging to wealthy ex-daimyos, to whom one must 
get letters of introduction, and then submit to various 
time-robbing ceremonies. There certainly was a great 
advantage in having so many art treasures collected in 
one building ; and one reason why Toky5 proved so 
fascinating to me, in the sweltering lotos months, was 
that I could spend a few hours every day in the 
Exposition grounds. 

Three national expositions have so far been held in 
Tokyo, the government taking an increasing interest 
in them, as is shown by the appropriation of $100,000 
for the first. 8180,000 for the second, and 8500.000 for 



the third. The buildings erected for this last one cov- 
ered about eight acres of Ueno Park. The manager 
had visited several European expositions, and modelled 
his buildings and interior arrangement in accordance 
with his foreign experiences, so that at first sight the 
general impression was European rather than Japanese. 
But on closer inspection, it became apparent that, with 
the exception of some models of electric cars, suites 
of rooms furnished with chairs, tables, and sofas, and 
a few other things, unknown to Old Japan, everything 
on the stands and in the showcases had a purely 
Japanese coloring and origin. The whole exhibition 
building seemed like a vast curio store, containing not 
only art works, but illustrations of all branches of 
industry ; and in passing along these miles of exhibits, 
the thought that most frequently recurred was that 
in modern Japan, as in ancient Greece, art is largely 
industrial ; that is, works of art are not created as 
things apart from daily life, to be preserved in galleries 
and museums, but form an integral part of the vases, 
fans, tea sets, and screens, that adorn the homes and 
throw an esthetic glamour over domestic life. Here 
was room after room of the finest lacquer goods, Japan's 
specialty ; vases of all sizes, of the most exquisite 
texture and realistic or fanciful ornamentation ; tiny 
teacups, so beautiful and delicate that the most in- 
fatuated lover would deem them fit to touch his sweet- 
heart's lips; screens, fans, and pots, on which scenes 
of Japanese life, or landscapes, trees, and flowers were 
illustrated with an art which foreign artists cannot 
approach and most of these at prices that would 
have made connoisseurs and bargain hunters elsewhere 
wild with delight. 


There were about a million visitors in all a daily 
average of over 8000, including foreigners holding 
special invitations, and other deadheads ; but as the 
season tickets were only $2, and a single admission 
only seven cents (fifteen on Sundays), the income did 
not meet the expenditures. The higher admission price 
asked on Sunday was to give the fastidious classes a 
better chance to see the exhibits at leisure, without 
mixing with the crowds, for whom Saturday was the 
principal day. I may add here, in parenthesis, that the 
Christian Sunday is not recognized in Japan, where 
work goes on, and stores are open as on other days, 
except in treaty ports like Yokohama, where the custom 
house and the foreign shops are closed. 

The one disappointing feature of the Exhibition was 
the semi-foreign picture gallery. Both the old and the 
new schools were represented, but the screen-shaped 
pictures still predominated over the modern square 
canvases. Birds and flowers have always been the 
most successful province of Japanese artists, but there 
were also a few good landscapes and scenes from domes- 
tic life. The oil paintings, with few exceptions, did 
not indicate that the genius of Japanese artists finds 
ready expression in oil and canvas and foreign methods. 
Comparing the whole collection of pictures with a sim- 
ilar one in America or Europe, the most striking differ- 
ence, as regards subjects, lay in the entire absence of 
the nude. Female beauty unadorned is the favorite 
subject of Occidental art, but in this gallery there was 
not a single undraped female (or male) form, and in the 
Japanese wood and ivory carvings and bronzes shown 
in other rooms, the figures were also fully clothed. The 
cause of this will be discussed in a later chapter. 


One afternoon I had cause to blush for my country. 
Sitting down at a refreshment booth, I asked for a cup 
of cha, expecting, of course, to receive a tiny sample of 
Japanese tea in a dainty cup. Instead of that, the 
sophisticated attendant brought me one of those heavy, 
thick cups, without a handle, which are used in our 
Wild West hotels to prevent breakage ; and, horror of 
horrors, he had put in milk, taking it for granted that 
I, being a foreigner, would prefer tea in that form. If 
I could have talked Japanese, I should have told him 
that I would as soon put lager beer in my tea as milk 
or cream. I fancy that our unspeakable gastronomic 
solecism arose from the prevailing Occidental ignorance 
how to make tea properly. If tea is boiled, or allowed 
to stand too long (as it almost always is in America 
and Europe), it becomes so bitter that not only sugar 
but cream are welcomed to modify its astringency ; 
but when tea is properly made, it has a bouquet like 
that of a choice old wine, which it is simply a crime to 
spoil with cream. Would you put cream in a glass of 

One of the great events during Exhibition time was 
the chance it gave me to see the Mikado. When the 
newspapers announced one morning that the Emperor 
would preside over the distribution of prizes at the 
Exposition, no one was in the least surprised. Yet 
twenty-five years previous to this the appearance of 
such an item in the newspapers if there had been 
any at that time would have created more incredu- 
lous surprise than would the announcement in a Berlin 
paper of to-day that Emperor William had consented 
hereafter to sweep the street in front of his palace. 
European monarchs sometimes travel incognito for a 


few days ; but in Japan, for many centuries, the mon- 
archs remained always unknown and invisible, and 
Mutsuhito is the first Mikado in hundreds of years 
who has shown his face to his subjects. Every one 
interested in Japan knows that for more than seven 
hundred years the Mikados, though the nominal rulers 
of the country, were in reality little more than puppets 
in the hands of the generals, or Shoguns, the real rulers 
of the land. Many of the Mikados were mere boys 
when they were made to abdicate, to be succeeded by 
other boys, whom the Shoguns found it easy to keep 
in subjection. Others abdicated voluntarily, and re- 
tired to a monastery, preferring the religious medita- 
tions on nirvana to the actual " imperial nirvana " of 
their palace prisons. 

For prisoners they practically were. They lived at 
Kyoto, then called Miaco ("the metropolis"), and were 
supposed by the people to be too holy to trouble them- 
selves with worldly matters, the popular belief about 
the Mikado being that "he lived in a state of sublime 
abstraction, occupying himself from morning to night, 
at all times and seasons, in prayer to the gods, his 
ancestors, for the welfare of Japan." He never left 
the palace grounds except in a closed palanquin, or a 
covered cart drawn by bullocks. 1 Some of the Mikados 
were refined patrons of art and literature, others were 
effeminate voluptuaries, but all were powerless to affect 
the destinies of their country ; nor were they partic- 
ularly wealthy, depending for their income on what the 
Shogun deemed fit to allow them, the real imperial 
pomp and display of wealth and ceremony being at the 

1 One of these clumsy imperial bullock carts, with enormous wheels 
six feet in diameter, is still on exhibition at the Ueno Museum. 


Shogun's court in Tokyo. As late as the year 1808, 
the Japanese statesman, Okubo Ichizo, drew up a memo- 
rial to the Government, in which he thus graphically 
described the Mikado's peculiar position : 

" The residence of the sovereign is called ' above the clouds,' his 
nobles are styled ' men of the region above the clouds,' his face is 
compared to a 'dragon's countenance,' as something not easily to 
be seen, and his 'gem-like person' is spoken of by excess of respect 
as something which must not touch the earth ; so that he begins to 
think himself a more honorable and illustrious being than he is 
until high and low being alienated from him, his condition comes 
to be as miserable as it is now." l 

These were bold words to speak of a monarch who 
was considered as sacred as a medieval Pope, and 
whose descent was traced back directly to the gods 
through Jimmu Tenno, the first of the k * historic " 
Mikados, who is supposed to have flourished in the 
seventh century before Christ ; bold words to speak in 
a country where, as late as 1890, two editors of the Nold 
Nippo were sentenced to four years in prison with hard 
labor, a fine of $100 each, and police supervision for a 
year and a half after liberation, for having spoken dis- 
respectfully of this Jimmu Tenno, who died in 585 B.C. 2 

It seems surprising that the present Emperor should 
not have pardoned these editors, since he himself set 
the example in demolishing the mythical and sacred 

1 To this clay it is said that there are, in remote country villages, old 
men and women who believe that to see the face of the Mikado would 
he a fatal honor. Among the legends current ahout him were such as 
these, that all the rice he ate was picked over by hand to prevent any 
imperfect kernels from getting into the imperial stomach, and that all 
his dishes were dashed to pieces to prevent others from using them. 

2 The case was appealed, but the higher court confirmed the sen- 
tence, on June 21, 1890. 


nimbus about the Mikado's head. He ascended the 
throne in 1867, aged only fifteen, the Shogun having 
been forced by his enemies to abdicate. Thus the 
Mikado was restored to his true position, as not only 
nominal but actual ruler of Japan. But the conserva- 
tives, who had hoped that with this change Old Japan 
would be restored and the foreigners (whom the Shoguns 
had protected) expelled, were doomed to grievous dis- 
appointment. For, whereas the former Mikado had 
opposed the efforts of foreigners to establish them- 
selves in the country, Mutsuhito and his advisers 
changed about and became the foreigners' friends, hav- 
ing come to the conclusion that in the Europeanization 
of Japan, as far as government affairs are concerned, 
lay the only hope of escaping the fate of India and other 
Oriental nations now subject to European powers : a con- 
clusion, the wisdom of which has been proved by the 
successful war made by Japan on China with modern 

The Mikado now gradually became like any European 
emperor, human, visible, and accessible. Black vividly 
describes the transition stage when, on April 15, 1868, 
he went to Osaka : 

"Up to this period he had probably never seen a green field. 
Born in the palace, he was kept strictly within its domain, and 
there he had remained, only being removed to another equally 
secluded residence, a short distance from it, when it was destroyed 
by fire, and until it was rebuilt. Outside of Kyoto he had never 
been; and to a lad sixteen years of age, and some spirit and intel- 
ligence (which he has shown himself to possess), it must have been 
a great pleasure to see something of the beauties of nature and the 
active life of men in town and country. Even now he was not 
allowed to gaze upon them freely, nor was the eye of any loyal or 
curious subject permitted to fall upon him. In a norimon of ex- 


quisite finish made of the purest K iri (Paultownia Imperialis) 
without an atom of either paint or varnish he sat. Fine bamboo 
blinds divided him from the world, allowing him to see without 
being seen 

" He had never been seen except by a few of his more immediate 
family and attendants, and even by his courtiers his face was never 
seen ; a screen falling between him and them concealing the upper 
portion of his body." 1 

All this Orientalism and medievalism was rapidly 
done away with by the bright young monarch as soon 
as lie felt himself his own master. Three years after 
the first outing just described, he adopted European 
clothes for himself and his courtiers, and has never worn 
the Japanese costume in public since. He issued a 
severe edict against patriotic fanatics, which at once 
put an end to attacks on foreigners. He approved and 
fostered the introduction of foreign methods of educa- 
tion, manufacture, agriculture, and trade. He abolished 
odious class distinctions and gave human rights to the 
previously degraded class of Eta. He removed his 
capital to Toky5, where he gave receptions not only to 
his own courtiers and nobles, but to representatives of 
foreign governments, gradually extending his hospitality 
to all ladies and gentlemen who had influential friends 
to introduce them. But his greatest act was his volun- 
tary resignation, in 1889, of his absolute monarchic 
power, and the creation of a parliamentary form of 
government with upper and lower houses, representing 
all classes of voters. 

Surely this remarkable Mikado will be recorded in 
history as the most interesting monarch of the nine- 
teenth century. No other has had such a romantic 

1 Black's Young Japan, II. 195, 196. 


career ; no other has had the privilege of abolishing 
mediaeval feudalism and Oriental despotism with a 
stroke of the pen, and thus placing his country in a 
line with modern European nations. This was the 
monarch I was to see one morning in July. Mv 
guardian angel, Mr. Shugio, had secured an invitation 
for me; and in his company I entered the large pavilion 
which had been erected in the park, capable of holding 
several thousand spectators. The Mikado's throne was 
at one end, and a slightly sloping platform covered 
with white matting led up to it. On both sides of the 
throne a few rows of chairs had been placed for the 
Japanese ministers, the foreign ambassadors, and mem- 
bers of the press. The thousands outside of this 
charmed circle had to stand. 

I found my colleagues of the Japanese press, as on 
several subsequent occasions, extremely affable and 
courteous. There were about a dozen of them ; and 
before the proceedings began, we all met in an ante- 
room, where programs, paper, tables, and chairs had 
been provided for our use. Several of the journalists 
spoke English, and kindly offered to help me in any 
way they could. Their courtesy to each other was 
equally remarkable. Imagine two American reporters 
bowing each time they meet till their heads are on a 
level with their lowest coat buttons ! With the excep- 
tion of the Oriental ambassadors, who wore their 
national costume (the Coreans were a sight to behold), 
and the Japanese officers, who wore dark blue uniforms 
with yellow stripes, all the spectators in our section, 
including the newspaper men, were in full evening 
dress swallow tail, white tie, and high silk hat 
although the performance began at nine o'clock in the 


morning. Indeed, that morning I was arrayed in even- 
ing dress as early as six o'clock, writing a letter home, 
in which 1 naturally had to explain that the American 
inference, that a man who is seen in that attire at such 
an hour has not been in bed at all, did not apply to 
antipodal Japan. There is at present a reaction and a 
decided prejudice against our evening dress, but for 
some years it has been de riyueur in Tokyo society on all 
ceremonious occasions and at all hours. We laugh at 
the idea of appearing in full dress at nine A.M.; but 
if we put aside our traditional notions, and look at the 
matter without prejudice, we must acknowledge that 
the time of the day has little to do with the question, 
and that the ridiculousness of the swallow-tail coat lies 
in its own cut and shape. To the under-sized Japanese 
this costume is particularly unbecoming. One of their 
own papers has argued that the Japanese figure is too 
dumpy and the legs too short to appear to advantage 
in this foreign dress ; and I have seen the statement 
somewhere that the marginal note, " Wear your dress 
suit," is no longer customary on invitation cards. If 
the Japanese fully realized how European and American 
artists detest the swallow-tail coat, they would banish 
it as unceremoniously as they did, not long ago, the 
trailing trousers of the court dress. At any rate, if 
they will persist in wearing our most absurd costume, 
they ought to be more careful to secure a good fit, and 
to keep their silk hats brushed in the right direction. 
Professor Chamberlain says that " it seems scarcely 
credible, but it is true, that the Japanese imagine their 
appearance to be improved when they exchange their 
own costume for ours ; and they are angry with people 
who tell them the contrary. In this, as in many other 


matters, their former exquisite taste has died a sudden 

As the Mikado was now expected to make his ap- 
pearance at any moment, we went into the large hall 
and took seats on the chairs placed for us, to the left 
of the throne, and quite near it. Where there was 
such a mixture of national and foreign things, it seemed 
less barbarous than it would have seemed otherwise, 
for us to walk with our boots over the clean white 
mats that floored the hall. The arrival of the Emperor, 
in the fine carriage (for which he long ago exchanged 
his palanquin) was heralded by the royal brass band, 
which played the Japanese national hymn with German 
harmonies, on German instruments, and followed it 
up at intervals with European dance music, a curious 
preference being shown for polkas. I was curious to 
see how the Emperor would be received by the thou- 
sands of spectators. Would they prostrate themselves, 
as they were formerly obliged to do, whenever his 
Majesty passed in the street? Probably not, since 
the people were notified, as early as 1868, that the 
shitaniro (bow-down) would no longer be enforced. 
Would he be received with a foreign hurrah, or Jwch, 
or Vive V Empereur ! or with the old-fashioned audible 
drawing-in of the breath, resulting in a prolonged 
f-f-f-f sound? The spectators, apparently, did not 
quite know, themselves, what they ought to do. As 
the Mikado walked up to his throne, they all bowed 
their heads, but not as low as in ordinary salutations. 
When he sat down, and again after he had made his 
address, an attempt was made to applaud him by 
clapping hands ; but this did not meet with the ap- 
proval of the maioritv, whose sentiment seemed to be 


that solemn silence was the most becoming way of 
receiving the monarch. 

The Mikado's address was preceded by one delivered 
by the president of the association, both being read in 
so low a tone as to be almost inaudible, even to us who 
were so near. The exhibitors who had received the 
principal prizes now came up in couples to receive 
their diplomas. They bowed before his Majesty, re- 
ceived a huge roll (containing certificates for their 
whole section), whereupon they retreated a dozen steps 
backward, lobster fashion, before etiquette allowed 
them to turn their back on the Mikado. The cere- 
mony lasted about an hour, after which the Emperor 
drove off in his carriage to the sounds of the national 
hymn. While he was sitting on his throne we had 
an excellent opportunity to observe his face. It was 
solemn, almost stern, but there was something majestic 
in his bearing which was prepossessing ; nor could one 
fail to read in that countenance the firm will and the 
keen intelligence which have made Mutsuhito the most 
remarkable ruler of Japan since Ieyasu. He has a 
high forehead, dark complexion, and rather thick lips. 
In height he is somewhat above the Japanese average 
5 feet 9 inches. In former years, according to 
Black, his walk Avas not good, as he turned in his toes 
and shuffled along; but now he walks in the natural way 
approved by us, and has a fine, manly gait. He wore 
a foreign uniform. 

Throughout this chapter I have taken the liberty to 
retain the word ' Mikado," although I know that the 
Japanese themselves no longer consider it good form 
to use it, " except in poetry and on great occasions." 
Ordinarily he is referred to as Tenshi, Tenno, or Shujo, 


which Chamberlain translates, " the Son of Heaven," 
'the Heavenly Emperor,"' "the Supreme Master." 
In the English press of Japan, and in official documents, 
he is usually referred to simply as the Emperor. But 
there is absolutely no reason why foreigners should give 
up the use of such a characteristic word as "Mikado." 
The Japanese have a foolish custom of constantly chang- 
ing names of classes and cities. The samurai are now 
called shizoku, Yeddo is Tokyo, and Miako became 
Kyoto, and later still Saikyo, which last change for- 
eigners have refused to accept. " Mikado " is not only 
a better sounding word than any of its new substitutes, 
but, like " Czar," it has a definite national significance 
which the word %i Emperor " lacks. 

A few days after the distribution of prizes I had 
the honor to be invited to a banquet given at the 
Ueno Hotel by Mr. Hanabusa, Commissioner-General 
of the Exposition. Although it was a dinner in for- 
eign style, I found that I was the only foreigner in- 
vited, except Mr. K. M. Schroff of India. The dinner 
was cooked in the best French style and washed 
down with French wines ; and although several Japa- 
nese of high rank were present, the national courtesy 
was shown by always serving the two foreign guests 
first. Most of those present spoke English, and one 
gentleman astonished me by his idiomatic accuracy 
and fluency of speech. But my principal reason for 
mentioning this dinner is that it provided another 
illustration of the vexed dress problem in the present 
transition stage of Japanese etiquette. I had put on a 
brand new light flannel suit, just made by an English 
tailor at Yokohama clean, stylish, the very thing, it 
seemed to me, for a midsummer, early afternoon dinner 


in a hot climate. To my consternation, on entering 
the reception room, 1 found that every one wore his 
swallow-tail suit. Fearing that I had sinned against 
etiquette, J apologized to the host, who smiled and said 
it made no difference whatever. However, I felt guilty 
until the door opened again, and in came Mr. Schroft' 
attired in an informal white linen duster. I am con- 
vinced that our entertainers secretly envied him his 
cool coat. 







If an American were asked, " What is the climate of 
your country in the region between New Orleans and 
Halifax ? " he would laugh at the absurdity of the 
question. " My dear sir," he would reply, " New York 
alone has several climates every other day; and as for 
New Orleans and Halifax, you might as well ask what 
is the temperature between Peru and Alaska." Yet 
the question is asked every day, " What is the climate 
of Japan ? " when a glance at the map would show 
that (even if we omit a few of the northernmost small 
islands) its southern and northern extremities are as 
far apart as New Orleans and Halifax. If we made 
the comparison on the Pacific coast, the range would 
be from Northern Mexico to Northern Oregon. Thus 
the Japanese Empire is longer than California; but, 
being less broad, its area is about 12.000 square miles 
less than that of the most favored State in the Union. 

Monkeys in the snoiv in these four words the cli- 
mate of Japan might be summed up. Monkeys are 



found near the northern extremity of the main island, 
in places where, according to Professor Chamberlain, 
the snow often drifts to a depth of fifteen or twenty 
feet." Monkeys are always associated in our minds 
with a tropical climate; and when we think of Japan, 
we always have in mind silk and tea, camphor, rice, 
and other products of tropical or sub-tropical regions. 
In truth, however, the general climate of Japan is too 
cold for bananas, or even for oranges and lemons. The 
summers are, indeed, warm enough for tropical plants; 
but the winters are fatal to them, so that it is useless 
to look here for a luxuriant palm vegetation like that 
of the Hawaiian Islands. 

Even as far south as Tokyo (latitude of Raleigh, 
X.C.), there are, on the average, nearly seventy frosty 
nights between November and March. Snow sometimes 
covers the ground for a few days, and the thermometer 
may fall eight or nine degrees below freezing point. 
The ice is seldom thick here ; but in January, 1868, as 
Holtham relates, " foreigners were able to offer the 
natives the spectacle of skating, which they had never 
seen." At this time the Japanese are wrapped in as 
many coats as the core of an onion, and sit shiveringly 
around their charcoal fireboxes; for their frail houses 
have no stoves or fireplaces, and the wind comes howl- 
ing through the holes made by fingers or rats in the 
paper panes of the sliding screens. In the northern 
parts of the main island, the snow is often so deep that 
the villagers have to make steps up to its surface from 
their houses, unless they wish to dig tunnels or snow 

It is not in Hondo, however, but in Yezo, the north- 
ernmost of the three main islands of the Empire, that 


winter snows and blows its worst. For although Yezo 
occupies the latitude of that part of Italy which lies 
between Rome and Venice, its climate is such that it 
may be properly called Japanese Siberia. Geographi- 
cally, too. Yezo is a part of Siberia rather than of 
Japan ; for there is reason to think that it was for- 
merly connected with the northern island of Saghalin, 
which Japan ceded to Russia in 1875, and which itself 
is practically a peninsula of the Siberian mainland, as 
it can be reached on foot in low tide at one point, 
whereas the great depth of the Tsugaru straits make 
it seem probable that Yezo never was a part of the main 
island of Japan a probability changed to certainty by 
zoological facts. "Japan [Hondo] has monkeys, which 
Yezo has not. Yezo has grouse, which Japan has not. 
Even the fossils differ on both sides of the straits." 1 

To these climatic, geological, and zoological reasons 
for calling the northern island "Japanese Siberia," must 
be added the coincidence that to Yezo the dangerous 
Japanese criminals and convicts are sent, just as from 
Russia they are exiled to Siberia. 

But why this essay on Yezo and its climate, while 
we are still in Tokyo? If you had ever been in that 
city at the beginning of August, you would not ask 
such a question, for you would know that then the 
mere thought of going to an island from whose moun- 
tains you can catch a glimpse of Siberia, acts on the 
nerves like a refrigerator. I decided to go to Yezo be- 
cause Tokyo was becoming daily more glaring, drowsy, 
damp, and uncomfortable. Shoes left under the bed, 
or clothes packed away in the trunk a few days were 

1 Chamberlain, Things Japanese. See, also, Blakiston's Japan in 
Yezo, and the writings of Professor Milne. 


covered with green mould, and the whole city seemed 
as clammy as the inside of a bivalve. About the 
middle of July there had indeed been a few cool days 
and nights when an overcoat by day, and a blanket at 
night, were comfortable ; but on other days my room 
and the air outside were like a Turkish bath. It is the 
dampness that makes the Japanese heat so depressing 
in summer, the cold so chilling in winter. In dry 
California it is cooler with a temperature twenty de- 
grees higher ,* in dry Colorado it is warmer with the 
thermometer twenty degrees lower. Japan is a climatic- 
resort for foreigners in China, which is damper yet ; 
but it will never be a climatic resort for Californians. 
I have frequently seen statements in the reports of 
missionaries that they could do only half as much 
brain work in Japan as at home. My own experiences 
confirmed this statement. 

It was not the cooler climate alone that invited a 
visit to mountainous, river-netted Yezo. There are 
cities like Hakodate, the " Japanese Gibraltar," and 
Sapporo, the centre of American agricultural and in- 
dustrial experiments, to tempt the tourist, and, much 
better than that, there are vast gloom}- forests, and 
numbers of the aboriginal Ainos who have been driven 
north by the Japanese, as we have driven our " Ainos,'' 
the red Indians, west. On the way, moreover, there 
was a chance to see the east coast of Japan, and the 
famous Pine Islands. 

Before starting I had a few calls to make. Mr. Knei- 
sel, concert master of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 
had kindly given me a letter to Mr. Dittrich, director 
of the Imperial Academy of Music in Tokyo. Like 
other foreign employees of the government, Mr. Ditt- 


rich had the privilege of renting a house of his own in 
any part of the city ; a privilege of which he had made 
good use by selecting a site on one of the numerous 
hilltops included within Greater Tokyo, where he had 
a view and a breeze. We had a long conversation on 
the prospects of European music in Japan, which then 
seemed bright, although there has since been a reaction, 
Mr. Dittrich himself having resigned in April, 1894. 
I was introduced to one of his pupils, who was in his 
parlor, not to take a lesson, but to make a social call. 
She had been there several hours, in accordance with 
Japanese etiquette, which makes long visits good form 
probably owing to the immense distances and slow 
means of locomotion which discourage frequent calling. 
She was a violin pupil, spoke a little English, and told 
me that she liked our foreign music better than their 
own. After she had left, Mr. Dittrich asked me if I 
thought she was beautiful ; a question which I gently 
but firmly answered in the negative, whereupon he 
laughed and replied that she was considered a beauty 
by his Japanese friends, who, on the other hand, saw 
little to admire in those of their countrywomen who 
approached types that would be considered beautiful 
in Vienna or New York. 

Mr. Dittrich did not seem alarmed at the prospect 
of a cholera epidemic in the capital. He said that his 
native cook was, in fact, rather hoping there would be 
one, on the ground that the rice crop Avas short ; where- 
fore there would not be enough to go round unless the 
population were reduced. Some time previously, this 
reprobate had informed his employer that he would not 
mind if his wife died, as he could easily get another, 
but that he should be very sorry to lose his son. This 


cook's predecessor was a man who knew a little German. 
One day he failed to come, but sent a note to Mr. Ditt- 
rich in which the dictionary had played him false. Jic 
explained that his mother-in-law was dead, adding, 
" Morgen werden wir das Aas begraben " (to-morrow 
we shall bury the carcass). Mr. Dittrich had many 
things to tell about the marvellous adaptability of the 
Japanese to foreign ways ; and he told a striking story 
of the efficiency of the postal arrangements. An Aus- 
trian lady of his acquaintance, having heard that he 
was living in the capital of Japan, consulted an old 
encyclopedia in which she found Kyoto put down as the 
capital. So to Kyoto she forwarded her letter, which 
nevertheless he received all right in Tokyo. Forty 
years ago it would have cost about twenty-five dollars 
to get that letter from the old to the new capital by 
express runner. To-day the cost is two cents ; modern 
Japan having one of the best and safest postal systems 
in the world. 

My next call was on Professor Milne, who had lived 
in Japan fourteen years, studying the phenomena of 
earthquakes, for which that country has afforded him 
such frequent opportunities that he is to-day, perhaps, 
the leading authority on seismology in the world. He, 
too, had chosen an elevated spot "for his residence, which 
was a pleasant mixture of Japanese coziness and Brit- 
ish comfort. He gave me valuable points regarding 
the interior of Yezo, and presented me with a copy of 
the Transactions of the Seismological Society of Japan, 
Vol. IX., Part I., which is brimful of interesting and 
quaint information about the hundred volcanoes of 
Japan. Mr. Shugio had suggested that instead of 
taking a professional guide, who would cost me a 


dollar a day and travelling expenses, not to speak of 
his " squeezes " on every hotel bill, I might be able to 
secure a student who would accompany me for the 
pleasure of the trip, without asking more than the pay- 
ment of his expenses. Professor Milne thought this 
was an excellent idea, and promised to see if he could 
find a candidate among his pupils. 

On the following evening a young man called with the 
professor's card, but in the meantime I had already made 
arrangements with a young man named Yabi, whom Mr. 
Shugio, with his usual painstaking kindness and courtesy, 
had found for me. He was not a student, but, what 
was better still, a young author and journalist, on the 
staff of the Mainichi Shimbun (Daily News), one of the 
leading Japanese papers. He had lived in San Fran- 
cisco several years and spoke English quite well. A 
year or two before I met him he had been imprisoned 
for writing an article in which the government was cen- 
sured. The prison was not in good sanitary condition, 
and poor Mr. Yabi was taken ill with typhoid fever. 
He escaped with his life, but had never fully recovered 
his health, wherefore he welcomed an opportunity to get 
a free outing and vacation, and at the same time a chance 
to see parts of the country which his scant salary, and 
the necessity of helping to support his orphaned brothers 
and sisters, had never allowed him to visit. The pro- 
prietors of the Mainichi Shimbun readily granted him 
leave of absence for a month, without stopping his 
salary, on the understanding that he would write up 
our trip for its columns. Thus the inhabitants of 
Tokyo were kept duly informed of our movements on 
our exploring trip into the virgin forests of Yezo. 

In describing the garden party at Count Okuma's 


residence I forgot to mention that Mr. Shugio intro- 
duced me to various notabilities, one of whom was Mr. 
Kitabatake, chief justice of Japan, a venerable-looking 
gentleman, with a long white beard, such as I never saw 
on any other Japanese. On hearing that 1 was about to 
leave for Yezo, this gentleman, with the spontaneous 
courtesy characteristic of all the Japanese I have ever 
met, asked me if I should like a letter of introduction 
from him to the Governor-General of Yezo. The offer 
would have been gratefully accepted, even without Mr. 
Shugio's explanation that it would mean much in the 
way of superior attention, privileges, and comforts. On 
the following morning a messenger brought the valuable 
document to my hotel. I had also the government invi- 
tation, previously referred to, which enabled me to secure 
a passport allowing me to roam at will all over Japan 
a very unusual privilege, as ordinary passports are for 
routes which have to be minutely specified beforehand. 
A further advantage conferred by this invitation card 
was, that on presenting it at government railway and 
steamship offices I was entitled to a twenty per cent 
reduction in fare quite an item in a trip as far as Yezo. 
At the Tokyo station the same privilege was extended 
to my companion, but not in the interior, where the 
agents seemed to be uncertain as to what they should do 
in such a case. 

The simplest way to go to Yezo is to take the train to 
the northern end of Hondo and cross over the Tsugaru 
Strait to Hakodate ; or else to take a Yokohama steamer 
direct to Hakodate. But as we wanted to see the famous 
Pine Islands, Ave took the train only as far as Sendai, 
which we reached after a few hours' ride through rice- 
fields, varied by an occasional lotos pond, and mulberry 


plantations, looking like California vineyards, as the 
mulberries are not allowed to grow up as trees, but only 
as clusters of tender young shoots and leaves, for the 
benefit of the silkworms. Sendai, a city of 90,000 
souls, is not in any way remarkable, but to me it remains 
memorable because, although I had been in Japan several 
weeks, it was here that I spent my first night in a purely 
Japanese inn, destitute of beds, chairs, tables. However 
much one may have read about such things, the real 
experience always comes as a surprise. Our dinner was 
good enough, although the chicken was spoiled for me 
by being flavored with soy, the everlasting national 
sauce, which I found more unendurable from day to day. 
We had raw sliced fish, which was delicious and tender, 
melting in the mouth like butter. A young girl knelt 
opposite us and refilled our lacquer bowls with rice till 
we cried "enough." 

Japanese inns have no separate dining rooms, every 
guest taking his meals in his own room. In fact, apart 
from the kitchen, there is no "division of labor," among 
the rooms of a house, be it public or private. The 
space assigned to us was first our parlor, then our 
dining room, and finally our bedroom. The absence 
of furniture makes these transformations easy enough. 
For a sitting room nothing is required but clean mats 
to kneel or lie on, and a picture screen or kakemono 
(hanging picture painted on silk) to look at. When 
you feel hungry you clap your hands (as they do in 
the old Arabian tales to call the slaves), and at once all 
the waiting maids within hearing answer with a long 
drawn he-e-e-e (hai), while one of them comes shuffling 
along as nimbly as possible, gets down on all fours, 
and asks your honorable desires. Having received the 


order, she touches the mat once more with her forehead, 
goes out and presently returns with miniature tables 
and trays of food one table and one girl to each diner. 
After the meal, the parlor is restored by simply remov- 
ing the trays and tables. When you are 'ready to re- 
tire, you clap your hands again, the girl returns, brings 
out some wadded quilts from a closet, spreads them on 
the mats, rolls up another for a pillow, fastens a large 
green mosquito net to the corners of the room so as to 
completely cover the bed with a reticulated tent, and 
there 3-011 are, the whole performance being almost as 
simple as opening a folding bed. 

Red Indians call us wt tenderfeet," because we cannot 
walk barefooted or in thin moccasins. The Japanese 
probably feel tempted to call us a tenderbacks, ,, in view 
of the fuss we are apt to make over their beds. Accus- 
tomed as we are to soft springs and mattresses, we find 
their mats and quilts so hard that in the morning it 
would be easy for us to give a lecture on the anatomy 
of the back, locating every bone. Sleeping in a Japan- 
ese bed is a good deal like sleeping in a tent, with a 
handful of hay, fern, or moss for a substratum. But 
the Japanese are kind-hearted and considerate. Mind- 
ful of our pampered backs, they mercifully give us two 
or three quilts to lie on, where one suffices for their 
backs, hardened from infancy. In the larger towns 
the innkeepers are supplied with sheets for the use of 
foreign guests. As for their makura, or pillows, they 
know that it is useless to offer them to us. They are 
crazy little flat wooden boxes, about the size of a cigar 
box set on edge, but with a u rocker *' bottom and shaped 
on top to receive a roll of paper stuffed like a doll, for 
the head, or rather the neck, to rest on. They look 


more like the ground floor of some Oriental guillotine 
than like an arrangement for courting sleep. Men gave 
them up long ago, but women still use them, to prevent 
their hair from needing an elaborate dressing everyday, 
and the pomade from soiling the quilts. Instead of 
makura we simply had a couple of quilts rolled up and 
put under the sheets. This rotund pillow had a detest- 
able habit of getting away from the rest of the bed, in 
spite of the valise I had placed against it, but that did 
not make much difference, as I was kept awake anyway 
by countless black bed-fellows and by the noise and 
conversation in adjoining rooms, which lasted till long 
after midnight. I could not stop the noise, but I got 
up several times during the night to shut the door lead- 
ing to a part of the house whence issued those foul 
odors which I soon found to be the greatest drawback 
toward the enjoyment of travel in Japan. 

In the morning I found that the bill for two persons, 
including dinner, lodging, baths, breakfast, and kuruma 
to and from the hotel, was only $2.18. Seeing my look 
of surprise, Mr. Yabi said, " They don't charge journal- 
ists much." Here was a decidedly un-Asiatic touch, 
proving the " power of the press " in the very antipodes. 
Having settled the bill, we departed amidst a shower of 
sayonara from the host and his wife and a dozen 
maids, all of whom had come out to bow their farewells. 





If Japanese taste in scenery was reliable, we were 
now about to see one of the " three most beautiful views "' 
in the country ; for that is what the Matsushima Archi- 
pelago and the Pine Islands of Shiogama are reputed to 
be. Proceeding from Sendai to its port Shiogama, we 
took a small steamer which on its way to the fishing 
village Oginohama (where we were to wait for the 
Yezo-bound steamer from Yokohama) was to take us 
through this famous archipelago. 

There are places in Japan among which I should 
class Lake Biwa that hardly deserve the fame which 
attaches to them for their scenic charms, but the Pine 
Islands are quite up to their reputation. They are all 
small, but unique and beautiful. The Japanese claim 
that there are 808 of them, and if they count every 
isolated rock as a separate island, we can understand 
how they make out that their Empire consists of 3800 
islands. If we were to count every detached rock 
along the coast of Alaska as an island, that Territory 
would include, perhaps, 38,000 islands. Put the size 
or number of these Pine Islands is a matter of small 



importance ; it is their picturesqueness that cannot fail 
to fascinate even the most travelled tourist. 

A few of the smallest islands are bare rocks, looking 
strangely like Japanese junks and other craft, but most 
of them wear a green vegetable dress, and, no matter 
how small, are surmounted by a few straggling pines 
(sometimes only one or two) of a peculiar species, 
which, at some distance, are not unlike palms, the most 
picturesque of all trees unless that honor be claimed 
by weeping willows, which, also, are simulated on some 
of the islets by small pines gracefully overhanging their 
sides. One island is a regular cone-shaped tower, 
with a few pines on top, and others, seemingly hori- 
zontal, sticking out on the sides. The guide book says 
that, " Each of these, down to the least, has received a 
separate name, many of them fantastic, as ' Buddha's 
Entry into Nirvana,' ' Question and Answer Island,' 
4 The Twelve Imperial Consorts,' and so on." It adds 
that the islands are formed of volcanic tufa, into which 
the sea makes rapid inroads, especially during the vio- 
lent southwest gales ; but it does not mention a feature 
which seemed to me quite as striking and as character- 
istic as the pines ; namely, the caves or archways which 
the waves have worn through many of them in some 
cases perfect tunnels, through which small boats could 
easily pass, as the water on the other side is visible 
through them. One island, though only about three 
hundred feet long, has four of these tunnels, side by 
side. Floating islands some of them seem, and one can 
easily fancy that a strong wind would blow them away 
like rafts, or like the floating icebergs in Glacier Bay, 
Alaska. But from the islands which one sees on the 
way to Sitka they are quite different ; for their green 


dress consists chiefly of young firs growing down to the 
very edge of the water, whereas in these Pine Islands 
the lower part is always a precipitous wall of yellow 
rock, beautifully marked and carved by the waves, and 
this rock is fringed with low vegetation and crowned 
by one or more pines. 

When we arrived in the pretty little harbor of Ogino- 
hama, we Avere received at the wharf, a projecting pier, 
by a bevy of smiling and chattering tea girls, six of 
them, who bowed gracefully, seized our valises, and 
escorted us in st}de to the yadoya. I was sorry to have 
these girls carry my heavy bag, but in Rome Ave must 
do as the Romans do ; if I had offered to carry it myself, 
I should have doubtless committed a grave breach of 
etiquette and forfeited not only their respect, but my 
chances for a first-class dinner, for which I was more 
than ready. We were established in a room on the 
second story, overlooking the harbor, and while the 
meal was being prepared, Yabi took off the edge of his 
appetite with a small yellow melon, looking somewhat 
like a cantaloup, but with no more sweetness or flavor 
than a raw pumpkin. Among the courses we had for 
dinner, I remember, as a special delicacy, a dish of eels 
baked with vegetables. These eels are very small and 
are raised in the irrigation water of the rice fields. 

Having five hours to wait for the steamer from Yoko- 
hama, Ave took an after-dinner stroll through the town 
and along the AA^ater. There Avas nothing particularly 
noA r el in the street scenes, but in a garden I saAv a most 
beautiful AA T hite lily of gigantic size, Avith red spots like 
a tiger lily, and stamens adorned with anthers almost 
as large as almonds, neatly balanced in the middle. 
On the beach, near the Avreck of a junk. Ave found some 


strange animals, including a species of crabs which first 
showed fight, and then surprised me by backing off. 
I had expected that Japanese crabs would, as a matter 
of course, move forward ; but these didn't : probably 
they had forgotten that they were in Japan. 

When our steamer arrived, we found that we had 
happened upon an old boat, the Wakanoura; still, it was 
comfortable enough, and as all the first-cabin berths 
were on the upper deck, they were free from ship odors. 
The captain, first officer, and engineer were Englishmen, 
and I noticed that not only here, but on the smaller boat 
that had brought us to Oginohama, on which officers 
and men were Japanese, orders were always given in 
English. The modern Japanese practice has been to 
engage foreigners to teach them their arts and sciences, 
and as soon as the lesson has been learned, to take 
charge of matters themselves. Ocean steamers being 
somewhat more difficult to manage than trains, foreign 
commanders and officers have been retained on them 
longer. When we consider that for more than two 
hundred years the Japanese were forbidden, under 
penalty of death, to construct or use any vessel larger 
than an ordinary junk, in order to preserve their isola- 
tion from the rest of the world, we can hardly wonder 
that it should take time to give them confidence as to 
the management of our huge modern steamers. It is, 
however, only a question of time for them to equal, 
possibly to surpass, us ; for history tells us that the 
Japanese are born navigators, who were noted during 
the Middle Ages for their bold voyages, peaceful and 
belligerent, to distant lands, their pirates being for a 
long time the scourge of the extreme East. To-day 
the principal steamship company already owns about 


fifty vessels, touching at various Japanese, Corean, 
Chinese, Russian, and Hawaiian ports. In 1890 the 
number of steamers that entered Japan was 492 Eng- 
lish, 365 Japanese, 225 German, 2G French, 20 Ameri- 
can (U.S.), 22 Russian, 26 Norwegian, 4 Corean; 
while the number of sailers was, Japanese 156 (with 742 
junks), British 50, American (U.S.) 33, German 11, 
Russian 3, Swedish 2. This list, supplied by Mr. 
Henson of Hakodate, shows that in the sailing vessels 
Japan is far ahead, and even in steamers is now dis- 
tanced only by England, which she will doubtless soon 

What I found most extraordinary about the steamers 
plying between Yokohama and Hakodate was that 
whereas Japanese railway travel is perhaps the cheap- 
est in the world, the charges made by these steamers 
were absurdly high. It would have cost us twice as 
much to go from Yokohama to Sendai by water as it 
did by rail, whereas in all other parts of the world 
travel is cheaper by steamer than by railway. The 
only reason I could see for this is that the Japanese are 
bound to be contrary. In one detail, however, Yankee- 
ism pure and simple had been introduced on our steamer. 
When I bought my meal tickets, the purser, who was 
a Japanese, asked me if I wished to take my meals in 
foreign or native style. As I wanted to see how the 
natives manage their eating on a steamer, I naturally 
chose the latter, the more willingly as I was told that 
for the foreign meals two dollars more would be charged 
for the trip. Moreover, Mr. Yabi had winked at me 
and said it would be "half-foreign." When the bell 
rang I went to the dining room, expecting to find mats 
to squat on and to have my own table and lacquer trays 


and chopsticks, and a girl all to myself, kneeling op- 
posite, ready to bow and to smile and to fill up the 
sake cup and rice bowl as often as emptied. But I 
found nothing of the sort, for there was a regular 
foreign table and chairs, a table cloth, porcelain plate, 
knives and forks, and a masculine Chinese waiter, not 
a bit pretty. The cook, too, was a Chinaman ; but at 
least the food, I thought, will be Japanese. Judge for 
yourself. Our first course was Julienne soup, French 
style ; the second, roast veal, German style ; the third, 
roast duck, American style. Vegetables : boiled pota- 
toes and green peas, foreign style. Dessert: pie (ex- 
tremely un-Japanese), American cheese, and finally, 
plums (ripe, therefore not a la yaponaise), and Chinese 
black tea. This being the " Japanese " edition of the 
dinner, I had considerable curiosity to know what the 
"foreign" version was like. On comparing notes with 
the other foreigners, who had paid the two dollars extra, 
I found that they had exactly the same things, with this 
difference, however, that they had paid more for them 
and had had to wait for the second table, when every- 
thing was cold and stale. Obviously, these Oriental 
Yankees are making rapid progress in Occidental civili- 
zation! How the great American Barnum would have 
chuckled over that sly scheme for getting extra dollars 
out of the foreign devils! 1 

Although our purser was, as I have said, of the native 
persuasion, he had taken his cue from our pursers, for 
he wore fine clothes (foreign) and affable manners, and 

1 Perhaps I ought to add, that in the second cabin and the steerage 
a real Japanese menu was provided. Our purser, evidently out of 
courtesy, ate at our table once, but then he deserted us for the Japa- 
nese, which was evidently more to his liking. 


took cure of the ladies, making himself useful, among 
others, to a native woman, who took down her hair 
right on deck and put it up again an elaborate and 
lengthy process. Another native woman was a nurse, 
who carried a white baby on her back, just as she would 
have done her own child. I noticed that when this 
child walked, it was somewhat bow-legged, and had the 
native gait, which suggested to me the idea that per- 
haps one reason why the Japanese turn in their toes in 
walking may be found in this cramped way of carrying 
them. It seemed very odd to hear this foreign child 
of about two speak Japanese to his nurse and German 
to his father. Most of the foreign passengers were 
Germans, going North to spend the summer. As for 
the Japanese passengers, there were not many in the 
cabin, and those that were, including my companion, 
were all seasick, although the ocean was almost as 
smooth as a river, thus bearing out a theory explained 
to me on the City of Peking, by Captain Cavarly, that 
blondes were usually better " sailors " than brunettes. 

The cargo of our steamer consisted largely of num- 
berless baskets of fish, destined for Hakodate, especially 
a large kind of eel, of which large numbers are caught 
here, and which is esteemed a great delicacy. On the 
return trip, these steamers take, among other things, 
dried salmon and fish manure. The engineer told me 
these trips were sometimes memorable for their odors. 
But, in going to Hakodate, one might as well become 
accustomed at once to ancient and fish-like smells, 
since that city, though now containing 55,000 inhab- 
itants, remains essentially a large fishing village, its 
chief source of income being still salmon, herring, sea- 
ears, fish manure, and edible seaweeds. 







After a smooth passage of about twenty-four hours, 
during which we passed precipitous coast scenes that 
reminded me of Catalina Island in California, we came 
in sight of Hakodate harbor, and could not help being- 
struck, like Commodore Perry, and many others after 
him, by its resemblance to Gibraltar. These supposed 
resemblances often remind one of Hamlet's weasel-and- 
camel cloud, but in this case the imagination has a real 
basis of comparison. Although the Japanese " Rock,'' 
rising behind the city, is greener than the English, and 
not quite so high, nor bristling with guns, the general 
impression given by Hakodate, nestling at the base of 
this mountain, and built upon its slope, with a flat 
peninsula (the " neutral ground " of Gibraltar) con- 
necting it with the rest of the island, is strikingly sim- 
ilar to that of the English fortress in Spain ; and, what 
is more, owing to its favorable and commanding posi- 
tion on the narrow strait which separates Yezo from 



the Japanese mainland, it might be made to assume a 
military function and importance similar to that at 
Gibraltar. Another British suggestion was the pres- 
ence in the harbor of the English fleet, which, as one of 
our officers informed me, spends the winter at Hong 
Kong and the early summer at Yokohama, following 
this up with a visit to Hakodate in search of a cool cli- 
mate. And why should it not, since the summer heat 
at Hong Kong is dangerous to foreigners ? The officer 
added that wherever the English fleet arrives, beer 
shops spring up at every corner as by magic an 
observation which I was able to verify at Hakodate. 

Leaving our bags in charge of a hotel runner, we 
walked up to our inn, engaged a room, and then sallied 
forth to see the town. In Tokyo we could hardly have 
done such a thing in these last days of July, owing to 
the heat and the great distances , but here the sun's 
rays were tempered by a cool breeze, and it was a 
pleasure to walk. Kurumas are not so fashionable 
here as in Southern Japan, and, after all, walking is 
preferable for sight seeing. We were not surprised 
to find that every other house was a storage place for 
fish, dried, smoked, canned, or fresh ; but it was odd to 
see dried fish stuck on poles, invading even the streets. 
Of course only a small proportion of these fish and 
other marine products are for the local market ; the 
forty million Japanese of Hondo get a good many 
of them, and shiploads are also sent to China, where 
there are ten times forty million hungry mouths to 

In the upper part of the city we stopped half an hour 
to watch some native architects at work on a large new 
Buddhist temple. Though it was almost finished, the 


scaffolding still remained, and was gaily adorned with 
colored flags and hunting. Worshippers were already 
kneeling inside before the unfinished altar. The steps 
leading up to the temple were encumbered by a number 
of old women selling sweetmeats and unripe fruit. 
The fact that new temples are being built, shows that 
Buddhism has not yet lost its hold on the Japanese, 
although the government favors Shintoism, and no 
longer persecutes the Christians. 

Returning to the hotel, we found a reporter of a local 
Japanese newspaper awaiting us. He had read about 
our projected trip into the interior in the columns of 
the Mainichi Shimbun, and came to get the bill of par- 
ticulars, which we gave him as far as it had been made 
out. In the morning the interview duly appeared in 
Japanese type, which Mr. Yabi translated for me : it had 
the effect of bringing another reporter after us the next 
day. While Mr. Yabi sat down to write a letter for 
the Mainichi, I explored the inn, which was entirely 
Japanese, although I had been asked whether I wanted 
foreign chairs and a table. I accepted them at first, 
but when they were brought into the room, the stiff, 
angular, painted, vulgar things presented such a painful 
contrast to the neat, tasteful, Japanese surroundings, 
that I sent them away in disgrace, and lay down on the 
soft, clean mats, after kicking off the slippers which I 
had brought up from the entrance, where there are 
always several pairs for the convenience of guests who 
do not wish to walk about in their stockings, although 
there is, in warm weather, no reason why they should 
not do that, as there are clean, soft mats to step on in 
all the rooms and passages. There was now no furni- 
ture in our room except a folding screen and the dwarf 


table on which my companion was writing his strange 
hieroglyphics, on a long-drawn-out roll of paper. The 
sides of the room were not disfigured by wall paper, 
paint, or whiteAvash, but one of them was adorned 
with an oblong kakemono, on which were painted long- 
necked cranes, in those graceful, natural attitudes of 
flight and rest of which Japanese artists alone have 
copied the secret from nature. It was not a valuable 
picture, but it is a peculiarity of Japanese art that it 
manifests almost as much taste in cheap articles for 
every- day use as in expensive works of genius. 

Our room was on the ground floor and opened 
directly on a sort of Spanish patio, or small interior 
court, with a miniature rock-girded pond in the centre. 
It was inhabited by goldfish, carp, eels, a turtle and 
a frog ; and with a gentle exercise of the imagination, 
such as one needs in a theatre, one could easily fancy 
himself gazing at a real lake and landscape, as the 
Japanese love to do in their toy gardens. I had some 
curiosity to see how Japanese fish would while away 
their time, and I found them in a particularly frolic- 
some mood, playing regular games, as it seemed. I 
remember in particular a large carp lying perfectly 
still, but wiggling its tail very rapidly. Presently a 
small goldfish came alongside, playfully biting the big 
fish in several places, whereupon the carp suddenly 
swam away, but soon stopped and again wagged its tail 
persuasively, seemingly anxious to be tickled again. 
This performance was repeated over and over again. 

After I had seen enough of this, my attention was 
attracted by a characteristic scene in the room opposite 
ours. A man walked in, sat down, and produced a 
razor and other shaving material. In the public barber 


shops I had seen, the victim was sitting in a chair and 
the shaver standing- by his side, trouserless. But here 
the victim remained squatting on his hind legs, and the 
barber managed to polish him off without the use of 
soap. The scene was hardly as amusing as that in 
Rossini's Barber of Seville, but it had its novel points, 
and again brought to my attention that in Japan the 
prophet does not go to the mountain, but makes the 
mountain come to him. In Tokyo I had seen clerks 
carrying whole mountains of assorted goods to the 
houses of customers, whereas in America the goods are 
not sent until selected and paid for. Mr. Yabi- gave 
me to understand that it was not good form to go out 
shopping, and that the proper thing was to have the 
shop come to you. When I asked him if that would not 
cost more, he replied, "No ; rather less." Now I wanted 
a kimono, as I was beginning to envy my friend his con- 
venient Japanese gown, which he usually put on after 
we had reached our room ; it seemed as comfortable as 
pajamas and more easily put on simply throwing it 
over the head and dropping trousers and coat. A word 
to the landlord, and in half an hour a tailor came along 
.with a bundle of samples, which he opened for my 
selection after he had bounced his head against the floor 
a few times. The selection was soon made, and the 
price did not seem prohibitive, 81.25 for the whole 
garment, but presently the tailor began to look per- 
plexed and to size me up, as if I was a Goliath. He 
said that he had never seen such a big man (I measure 
five feet ten and a-half), and that the width of Japanese 
goods was such that he was afraid he would not be able 
to make the gown large enough. Whereupon he pro- 
ceeded (not with a tape measure, but with a stick) to 


ascertain my gigantic, dimensions a process which 
gave him and our waiter girls no end of amusement, in 
which I tried my best to join. Finally the tailor said 
that lie could make it almost big enough, but it would 
cost fifteen cents extra. The garment was duly sent 
on the following day, and when it arrived, Mr. Yabi 
remarked, "If you wear our costume, Japanese girls 
will like you." So there was an extra inducement for 
wearing it, even if it was somewhat short in the sleeves, 
which was my fault, not the tailor's. 

Shortly after my measure had been taken, one of our 
waiting maidens, a comely lass of about seventeen, re- 
turned to inform us that the bath was ready. Mr. 
Yabi told me to go ahead with her, and I followed 
meekly as a lamb, ready to be told just what to do, and 
determined not to flinch at any ordeal. The bathroom 
was divided into two sections, an inner one, where the 
bath tub was, and an outer one for undressing, both of 
them exposed to view from the corridors. Having 
arrived at the dressing room, J supposed that she would 
leave me to my fate, but she knew her duties better. 
She gave me to understand that she would take my 
coat, so I took it off and gave it to her, expecting her 
to retreat. But she waited for more, and more I gave 
her, till there was absolutely no more to give, where- 
upon she quietly deposited her plunder on a box in the 
corner, and opened the door to the inner room. The 
floor of this was very slippery, and I fell flat on it. In 
a moment she came to my assistance with some pitying 
exclamations. I was, however, not seriously damaged. 
She now left me and sent in a young man, who soaped 
me all over, poured hot water over me, and then took 
me to the large bath tub, the contents of which had 


evidently not yet been used. But I was forewarned, 
and, therefore, forearmed ; that is, I put my forearm 
in and found that the water was about ten or twenty 
degrees too hot for a foreigner. A few buckets of cold 
water remedied the evil, and after a few minutes' im- 
mersion, 1 gave myself up again to the young man to 
be towelled and dried. When it was all over, he hinted 
gently that a fee would be acceptable. I gave him ten 
cents, and was then allowed to dress and return to my 
room, enriched by one more Oriental experience. 

The next day I heard about a fussy English officer 
who stirred up quite a commotion in this inn, by being 
unable, in his Occidental perverseness, to see why the 
bathroom should be the only one in the house which 
had no screen, or curtain, and by angrily sending for one, 
and refusing any assistance. 

Shortly after supper Mr. Yabi clapped his hands. 
Our girl responded promptly with a long-drawn-out 
" Ha-e-e-e-e," and when she came, he told her to make 
up the beds. Although this girl was always smiling, 
and seemed as merry as most tea-house attendants are 
expected to be, she was somewhat dissatisfied with her 
lot. She had been brought up here from Southern 
Japan, and was longing to go back. When I asked her 
if she would like to go to America, she said yes, she 
would like that better still. Then she wanted to know 
something about American girls. Happening to have 
the photograph of an American beauty in my valise, I 
showed it to her. She liked it, and seemed particularly 
struck by the way the hair was done up, which she 
admired, although she said she was afraid it would not 
become herself. As a matter of fact it would have 
greatly improved her appearance, since, like all Japanese 


girls, she wore her hair combed back from her forehead 
a coiffure which is becoming to very few women. 

After she had left, two men came in to put up the 
green mosquito net, which, covering almost the whole 
room, would have been too heavy for the girls to handle. 
It formed a canopy over our two beds, which were 
separated only two or three feet from each other con- 
venient for chatting. I told Yabi that I had sometimes 
thought that the Japanese might be descendants of the 
Spaniards, or their partial ancestors, the Moors and 
Arabs. Why? Because I had already noticed several 
points of resemblance. I had seen women in Tokyo, 
dressed in European clothes, with a rose in their foreign 
coiffure, and with sparkling black eyes, that made them 
look very much like Spanish women. I had noticed, 
too, that in the streets of Tokyo, as on the alameda of 
Madrid, the men and the women walked in separate 
groups, and here, in this Hakodate hotel, was a sort of 
patio, which reminded me of Seville. Mr. Yabi replied 
that the Japanese were doubtless a mixed race, and it 
was difficult to tell what the ancestral ingredients were. 
He believed that the separation of the sexes on the streets 
could be traced back to the laws of the Chinese Con- 
fucius, which had been so largely adopted in Japan, and 
that these extended to the home too ; for whereas a mar- 
ried woman might go about freely (especially if accom- 
panied by a servant), it was not proper for her to receive 
a man at home in the absence of her husband. As for 
unmarried girls in the upper classes, they were closely 
watched, and there was no such thing for them as a 
"harmless flirtation." They might go to picnics and 
receptions, or perhaps even to the theatre, but only with 
their parents, and never with a young man alone. 


Courtship is not carried on by the young folks them- 
selves, but the engagement is brought about in a busi- 
ness-like way by the aid of a nakodo, or middleman. 
He admitted that, with all these restrictions and pre- 
cautions, married women were sometimes faithless, and 
girls went astray, but not more frequently, in his opin- 
ion, than in other countries , and he scouted the notion, 
current among the merchants of the treaty ports, that 
virtue is rare in Japan a notion which simply showed 
that their experience was limited to one class of women. 

No doubt he was right in his remarks on Japan, but 
evidently he had not deeply studied the subject of love 
and courtship Avhile in America, for he asked me if it was 
customary there for an engaged couple to go to house- 
keeping at once. He said, also, that in Japan there are 
practically no bachelors and old maids, it being cheaper 
for men to marry a housewife than to remain single, and 
in every way pleasanter, as there are no bachelor quarters 
or even boarding houses. Japanese girls are less pre- 
tentious than Americans, and more willing to work ; 
hence all get married between fourteen and twenty, the 
men between eighteen and twenty-five. Some have a 
wife and one or more concubines ; others hire a girl at 
rive dollars to do all their work and bidding ; in which 
practice many foreigners 1'oIIoav their example. I finally 
asked him which city of his country was reputed to have 
the most beautiful women. He said Kyoto ; and since 
Kyoto was on our schedule, I composed myself for 
slumber, prepared to dream of the belles of Kyoto. 

I forgot to mention our dinner, which had consisted 
entirely of fish and eggs omelette in the soup and 
omelette on a plate. Again I relished the raw fish, but 
by far the best thing Ave had was an immense eel one 


of those our steamer had brought up from Oginohania. 
]t was cooked whole and served in a peculiarly shaped 
two-story lacquered box. We ate what we could of it, 
and Mr. Yabi gave directions to have the rest saved 
for next day's lunch, as it was an extra, not included in 
the regular fare. The host had come to ask if I knew 
how to use chopsticks or wanted knife and fork. 
Afterwards he sent in some " French butter," in an 
unopened can ; I returned it unopened. One of our 
breakfast dishes was a soup with shreds of seaweed 
floating in the bowl. The soup was good, but the sea- 
weed Avas too fishy and tannic to suit my taste. I 
asked Yabi, if it wasn't of the kind that the poor lived 
on, but he said no, it was a more expensive kind, and 
was considered quite a delicacy. It must be an ac- 
quired taste. 

Having been informed that there was a line view 
from Hakodate Head, the peak at the base of which the 
city lies, we decided to devote the forenoon to climbing 
it. On the way we ran across an acquaintance of Mr. 
Yabi, a young merchant who spoke a very little Eng- 
lish. We invited him to join us, but he did not appear 
anxious to exert himself, alleging as an excuse that he 
had on his native clothes, which would put him at a 
disadvantage compared with us, with our foreign trou- 
sers. He was right ; comfortable as is the kimono in 
the house, it is on the street, and especially in climb- 
ing, as great an impediment to a man as her skirts are 
to a woman. In course of our conversation the young 
merchant made a funny but perfectly natural mistake. 
We had exchanged cards, and in addressing me he 
repeatedly called me Mr. Henry. Evidently he had not 
yet got to the page in his grammar where he would 


have found out that we topsy-turvy Americans say and 
write "Mr. John Brown" instead of "Brown John Mr." 
as we ought to, and would if our minds were logically 

A pleasant road led us through shady trees up to the 
peak, which is 1157 feet above the sea, and commands 
an extensive view, embracing volcanoes, rivers, seacoast 
villages, and a picturesque lighthouse. The climb re- 
minded me somewhat of a similar ascent of a peak near 
Malaga, but I missed the intense blue of the Mediter- 
ranean. The foreign men-of-war lay like toy steamers 
below us, but part of the harbor was hidden by a cloud 
beneath us. The city itself presented a most extraor- 
dinary aspect. The low houses, almost all of the 
same level, looked as if some giant had sat down on 
them, crushing them flat as boards ; and the prevailing 
hue was as gray as if one of the neighboring volcanoes 
had strewed a thick layer of ashes and stones over them. 
Only here and there was the gray monotonous level 
interrupted by a temple, in one place by a large tank, 
calling attention to the fact that Hakodate is ahead of 
most Japanese cities in having an excellent system of 
waterworks. These were constructed in 1889, and made 
it possible for the inhabitants to close up their danger- 
ous wells and get their water fresh and pure from a 
mountain stream seven miles away. The backward- 
ness of Japan in sanitary matters may be inferred from 
this, that, recent as these waterworks are, Hakodate 
was preceded by only one Japanese city in adopting 
this reform. 

The afternoon was warm enough to suggest the idea 
that a bath in Japanese salt water would be a pleasant 
novelty. So we went to the beach, and found a booth, 


where we succeeded in getting two towels from an old 
woman. Bathing suits appeared to be an unknown 
luxury, nor did they seem necessary in this climate, 
so I concluded to follow the example of some young- 
sters who were tumbling about in the waves, and two 
naked men riding in their horses for a swim. As my 
companion did not seem to care for a sea bath, I set 
him to guard my watch and my clothes, and then made 
for the water, which I found of a most agreeable tem- 
perature. The spectacle of a naked foreigner in the 
breakers attracted a number of boys and girls, who 
probably marvelled at my white skin (the only thing 
in a blond which the Japanese admire), and afterwards 
seemed greatly interested in watching the process of 
getting into a suit of foreign clothes. Among the 
spectators was a young woman who had a novel way of 
holding a baby on her back. Instead of fastening it 
on the outside of her dress, she had it under her dress, 
right on her skin, with only its head peeping out an 
arrangement which must be pleasanter for the baby in 
winter than in summer. 

This sea bath, combined with the climb up the peak 
and a bottle of hot sake for a nightcap, gave me a 
deep and refreshing night's sleep, such as I had not 
enjoyed since reaching Japan. It began at nine, so that 
I was not disgusted to be aroused at five by the usual 
morning racket. Our plan was to leave Hakodate be- 
fore noon, by one of the steamers which every four 
days round the island to the left up to Otaru, which 
is second in size among the seaports of Yezo, and situ- 
ated only a short distance from Sapporo, the American- 
ized capital of the island. When mine host presented 
the bill, on his knees, I thought at first that the only 


way to square matters was to exchange 1113* letter of 
credit for it. The bill was as long as Leporello's list 
of Don Juan's love affairs, every item, including each 
separate bottle of beer and sake, being marked in 
admirable Japanese caligraphy. It was really a work 
of art, and it has since formed one of the choicest 
ornaments in my bedroom at home. That large eel, I 
found, cost $1 alone, and the whole bill, two persons 
for two days, was $8. This can hardly be called exces- 
sive, still it seemed to indicate that journalists receive 
less discount in Hakodate than at Sendai. 

The steamer Tahasago was not so large as the WaJca- 
nura which had brought us up the coast of Hondo, but 
it had comfortable cabins. The fare again included 
Japanese meals, with $2 extra for " foreign style. 1 " At 
dinner I was rather appalled to see " Irish stewed " on 
the bill of fare, but was relieved to find that it was only 
Irish stew. For breakfast we had about the same menu 
as for dinner coffee, oatmeal and milk, beefsteak, 
eggs, curry and rice, and " Irish stewed " again, besides 
American cheese, prunes, and peanuts ! But I must 
add, in justice, that no one ate these at breakfast. 
There were ten Japanese at our table, but none of 
them spoke a word, although they are always talkative 
and noisy enough when dining in their own rooms. 

In the morning we were far up the western side of 
the island, on the Sea of Japan, of which few visitors 
to that country get a glimpse, as most of the cities and 
places of interest lie on the east coast. Numerous 
fishing boats, each with one or two sails, indicated that 
we were nearing Otaru, on the north coast of Yezo. 
We soon reached it, and sending our baggage ahead to 
the inn, we disembarked for a walk to see the town and 


its surroundings. It is a dismal place, where life must 
be monotonous enough for a hermit. The great busi- 
ness of the people is catching herring, and most of the 
houses are low, decaying fishermen's huts. Far out on 
a pier a large vessel was loading coal which had been 
brought by rail from the Poronai mines in the interior, 
whither we were bound. Our train was not to start for 
several hours, and as the town itself seemed a pleasant 
place to get away from, we started up the hill for the 
woods and suburban gardens. Many peasants passed us 
with their burdens ; most of them were women, with ex- 
traordinarily muscular legs, bare to the knee. Others 
had their limbs swathed in clinging cloth, and with 
their enormous umbrella hats like those of the Moor- 
ish women of Tetuan they seemed to belong to a 
different race from the delicate tea-house girls. The 
patois of these peasants was so peculiar that Mr. Yabi 
could not understand their conversation, although he had 
no difficulty with the townspeople. The Japanese lan- 
guage seems difficult enough without such differences 
of dialect ; still, in this respect China is much worse, 
for there the coolies from different provinces are obliged 
to use "Pidjin English" if they wish to converse with 
one another. 

Many of these Otaru peasants were carrying baskets 
of vegetables, chiefly new potatoes of a lovely, clean. 
pink color. Yezo potatoes are very good, and the peo- 
ple know how to cook them without making them 
soggy ; at least that was my experience. "We soon 
struck a small village, situated near a brook, which 
drained the fields sloping from it fields manured 
with sewage from the town ; yet here the women came 
with their buckets to get water for cooking and drink- 


ing. Turning aside toward the seashore, we came to a 
place, just outside the city, where a number of men 
were digging away the hillside, to make room for more 
houses, in a cool situation, convenient for the fisher- 
men. As we were about to leave for the interior, not 
to see the ocean again for a week or two, I suggested 
that another sea bath would be a pleasant diversion, and 
this time my companion joined me. There was no 
sandy beach, the shore being disagreeably rocky, but 
we managed to find a place to undress, and then swam 
out into the bay. Through the transparent water we 
had glimpses of various kinds of seaweeds, growing 
luxuriantly in their marine garden, and swayed by the 
slow waves as by a gentle breeze. In the shallow places 
we picked up a number of beautiful blue and pink sea- 
stars, apparently the same kinds that adorn the ocean 
shallows of Oregon. When we were out pretty far, I 
noticed that some of the workmen approached our 
clothes ; I expressed a fear that they might steal my 
watch or purse ; but Mr. Yabi said there was no dan- 
ger. When we returned, what do you think we found 
that these laborers had done? They had spread two 
clean, new mats over the sharp rocks, so that we might 
have a place to dress comfortably ! In what other 
country would such an act of gratuitous courtesy enter 
the minds of common workmen ? They looked pleased 
to see us use them, and I thought that perhaps they 
expected a fee, but Mr. Yabi said no, they did it to 
please us, and would be offended at an offer of money. 
I was now convinced that the courtesy of the Japanese 
is not a mere surface polish, like that of Occidentals, 
rubbed off as easily as shoe blacking, but genuine and 
durable as the lustre of their lacquer. 


Our inn proved to be one of those hybrid mixtures 
of tea house and foreign hotel which are among the 
curiosities of modern Japan. If you wish to be enter- 
tained in Japanese style, you remain on the ground floor, 
take off your shoes on the verandah, and at once enter 
your own matted room, with screens and sliding doors. 
If you choose foreign style, you go upstairs into a general 
carpeted sitting room, which you can enter with boots on. 
Nay, more, even in this room you can still have your 
choice, for on one side there is a slightly elevated plat- 
form covered with mats on which those who choose to 
take off their footgear can squat or recline, while for 
others there are chairs on the carpeted part of the room. 
We partook of a simple lunch, and 'in the meantime the 
attendants bought our tickets and checked our baggage, 
as is the custom of Japanese inns, where all such 
errands are attended to without extra charge. A party 
of Americans, including a funny man, took lunch with 
us. One of the ladies was very anxious to ascend one 
of the Yezo volcanoes, and wondered whether any of 
them smoked. "If they are Japanese," replied the 
funny man, " you will rind them smoking, as a matter 
of course." 








The twenty-two mile railroad from Otaru to Sajoporo 
is remarkable for being, according to report, the cheapest 
ever built anywhere. It may also claim the distinction 
of being one of the slowest and most uncomfortable. 
We were foolish enough to buy first-class tickets, only 
to find that, except in being more roomy, the first-class 
car was less comfortable than the second-class, as its 
hard seats were arranged along the sides, while in the 
second-class you could at least sit and look forward. 
In itself the trip proved extremely interesting, full 
of novel sights. For half an hour or so the road is 
obliged, by overhanging rocks, to follow along the 
semicircular coast so close to the sea that there is 
hardly room for the numerous fishermen's huts between 
the rails and the waves. Wretched huts they are, with 
roofs made up of what looked like corn husks, and sides 
consisting of rude mats hanging down from the eaves, 



affording about as much shelter as a bird's nest under 
a tuft of grass. Evidently the whole population lives 
on fishing and seaweeding. Several kinds of kelp and 
other seaweeds were spread out on the rocks every- 
where to dry, like hay, scenting the air with a marine 
odor which I found rather more agreeable when thus 
mingled witli the sea breezes than when emanating 
from a steaming soup bowl. 

The ocean itself presented an animated scene. The 
whole population appeared to be amphibious, the shal- 
lows being full of boys and girls, who seemed to think 
that in such warm water no clothing was needed, not 
even swimming tights. Here was a boat full of naked 
boys, standing up and fishing ; there, a group of women, 
wading in the water, holding each a bucket, into which 
she gathered some marine product or other. It was a 
unique panorama of oceanic village life. 

At last, the train left the ocean, and made for the 
interior, through swamps covered with a dense, luxuri- 
ant vegetation, including a few flowers and plenty of 
lovely red berries. Near Sapporo we noticed some 
highly cultivated fields, and a military station was 
pointed out to us. We were now entering a town 
the capital of Yezo unique among Japanese cities for 
its origin. Hakodate and Otaru grew up into cities, 
because they had good harbors and formed convenient 
centres for the fishing trade, whereas Sapporo was 
created a city by order of the Imperial Government at 
T5ky5. For this there were several reasons. Yezo 
is, at present, the northernmost of the large Japanese 
islands ; but it was not always so. Up to 1875 the 
island of Saghalin-also belonged to Japan; but in that 
year the big boy Russia bullied the little boy Japan into 


exchanging that island (which is valuable for its furs 
and fisheries) for the barren and useless Kurile Islands, 
so-called by the Russians because they could see the 
kuril (smoke) of their volcanoes from the Siberian 
Kamschatka. To prevent Yezo from being similarly 
gobbled up by the voracious Russian ogre (he made a 
serious mien to do so), the Japanese government decided 
that it would be advisable to colonize Yezo and multiply 
its scant population (then only six and a half persons 
to the square mile) as a bulwark against further Mus- 
covite aggressions. Such colonization would, at the 
same time, serve as a convenient way of relieving 
Hondo of part of its surplus population. 

But as the climate of Yezo, with its seven months of 
Siberian cold and its six feet of snow, did not tempt 
any considerable number of the Japanese to pull up 
their stakes and build again so far away from their old 
homes, the government offered inducements to samurai 
and others, in the shape of free homes and grants of 
land, and at the same time undertook to give them 
employment by establishing a number of agricultural 
and industrial enterprises, with Sapporo as a centre. 
Sapporo itself was laid out in the rectangular American 
fashion - and America also Avas the model for the vari- 
ous gigantic enterprises referred to, including grain 
fields, experimental farms for various vegetables, trees, 
flowers, and fruits, horse and cattle breeding farms, 
vineyards, mulberry and hop plantations, sawmills, a 
brewery, and so forth. An American, General Capron, 
was placed at the head of this department, called the 
Kaitakushi. It is said that 850,000,000 were thus 
expended in experiments, many of which proved fail- 
ures. But Sapporo, at any rate, benefited by them, 


and has become a unique city, in which, although only 
a few Americans reside there, the practical American 
spirit prevails to a striking degree, modifying the details 
of life more than in any other Japanese city. Hence 
the seemingly paradoxical heading which I have ven- 
tured to give to this chapter. 

Conspicuous among the American buildings in Sap- 
poro is the hotel, built originally for occupancy by the 
Mikado, when he was expected to visit the most north- 
ern of his cities. We were told that it was well man- 
aged, in the style of the foreign hotels at Yokohama, 
but as a matter of course we went to one of the Japan- 
ese inns, as did the other foreigners on our train ; either 
because they knew it would be cheaper, or because, like 
ourselves, they wanted to see all they could of Japanese 
life. Shortly after our arrival, I sent my letter of in- 
troduction to the Governor-General, who sent back 
word by one of his attendants that he would be pleased 
to have me call the next day before eight in the morn- 
ing or after three in the afternoon. It did not take 
me long, as the " gentle reader " may possibly guess, to 
make my choice, even though it would have been more 
novel and Japanesy to call on one of the highest officials 
in the Empire at seven in the morning. 

An exploring expedition revealed the fact that Sap- 
poro is indeed a curious mixture of America and Japan ; 
America predominating in the surroundings, Japan in 
the city itself. The streets are laid out as regularly 
as an American chessboard, but the shops and the 
shoppers are Japanese, in many cases very much so. 
Certainly there Avas nothing American in the women 
who helped the men with scythes in cutting the barley 
in the suburban fields, nor in the girls of thirteen or 


fourteen who were cleaning the streets and roads with 
hoes, nor in the women with bared bosoms leading their 
perfectly naked children across the bridge or down the 
streets, nor in the blind shampooers with their everlast- 
ing whistles, nor in the low wooden houses and open 
shop fronts ; but there were American fruits and vege- 
tables in the provision stores, and foreign canned goods, 
and rows of beer and wine bottles, with many other 
evidences of our civilization. Then there were sights 
more difficult to classify, like the itinerant seller of 
sweetmeats, blowing a melancholy tune on what looked 
like a trumpet, and sounded a good deal like a Scotch 
bagpipe. Spain was again suggested by the numerous 
packhorses, with a basket on each side laden with vege- 
tables ; but the peasant women who perched on these 
ponies, sitting astride like men, appeared too Oriental 
even for Spain. 

Leaving the city for the suburban fields and gardens, 
we came across some American cows seeking shelter 
from Japanese flies in a dense shady grove , Chinese 
pigs wallowing in Japanese mud ; German geese hap- 
pily navigating a Japanese pond. We passed along 
fields of American corn, acres of barley just ripening 
(two months later than in Toky5, so Mr. Yabi said), 
gardens with beans, carrots, and cabbages, and a vine- 
yard, all of them in excellent condition, eloquent of 
the fertile, swampy soil of this region. Proceeding 
toward Kariki, about two miles distant, we were re- 
warded by a splendid view of dark and densely wooded 
mountains a Japanese Black Forest suggesting the 
environs of Baden-Baden. We took a swim in the 
current of the Ebets River, which gave me occasion to 
note how the Japanese footgear hardens the feet. The 


river bed is covered with rocks and sharp rough 
pebbles which made wading disagreeable for me ; but 
my friend, and some other Japanese who were in for 
a bath, walked over this stony bottom as if it had been 
a smooth marble floor. It is odd, also, to see how the 
foot of a Japanese, even when he wears foreign socks, 
looks as if it consisted simply of two big toes the 
effect of constantly grasping and holding the clogs 
with their foot mittens ; an art quite as difficult as 
eating with chopsticks, as I found on trial. I could 
not hold the getas, and the low slippers supplied in the 
hotels were almost equally difficult to keep on. What 
tourists should do, is to take along their own slippers. 
Shortly after three o'clock on the following day we 
made our call on Nagayama, Governor-General of Yezo. 
His house, so far as we could see from the front, Avas 
entirely foreign in structure, and after passing through 
a foreign door we sent in our cards and were ushered 
into a parlor, with a carpet, comfortable chairs, a large 
table in the centre, and even American pictures on the 
walls. A moment later the Governor-General entered 
and welcomed us cordially to the Hokkaido. There 
was the usual exchange of international compliments, 
his Excellency remarking that all the improvements 
made in Yezo were due to Americans and American 
influence, upon which I replied, as usual, that America, 
too, had already learned much from the Japanese; and 
that if we could only import their universal courtesy, 
kindness to men and animals, passion for nature, taste 
in art, avoidance of vulgar display of wealth, and abil- 
ity to enjoy life on a mere pittance, we should have 
received elements of civilization which would benefit 
us more than our factories, agricultural implements, 


fruits, vegetables, and clothes could ever benefit them. 
He offered to do everything in his power to make our 
stay in Sapporo and our trip into the interior as pleas- 
ant as possible, and promised to put us in charge, next 
day, of Mr. Hashiguchi, superintendent of the Agri- 
cultural College of Sapporo, who would show us all the 
important sights. 

Although the Governor-General did not speak any 
European language, he wore European clothes, and 
shook hands with us in the European fashion. While 
we were conversing, he rang a bell, and gave an order 
to a servant, who presently returned with several bot- 
tles of beer and wine, which his Excellency said he 
wished us to .taste, as they were all of them products 
of Yezo. The wine, he said, came from the vineyards 
I had seen, and the beer from the large German brewery 
in Sapporo. I gave my opinion that this beer was the 
best made in Japan, as indeed it was by far, being, 
indeed, equal to any American beer, and much superior 
to that made at Yokohama and Tokyo. When we arose 
to go, the Governor-General accompanied us to show 
us his garden and orchard, where we found apple, nec- 
tarine, and peach trees, laden with choice, healthy fruit. 
Finally he took us behind the house, and enjoyed my 
surprise on finding myself suddenly in Japan again; 
for the back side of the house was Japanese in every 
detail. "I might have expected," I said, "that your 
house, like everything in Sapporo, would be half Ameri- 
can and half Japanese." He smiled, and said, "If I 
had received you on this side of the house, you would 
have sat on a mat, drinking tea, instead of on a chair, 
drinking beer." He then asked us to call on him again 
in the morning, at his office in the City Hall ; and we 


took our leave, with very pleasant impressions of this 
official, who is one of the handsomest, manliest Japanese 
1 have seen a man in whose bearing military dignity 
is very agreeably tempered by Oriental courtesy and 

We had hardly got up, the next morning, when a 
servant brought us a large basket of apples, with the 
Governor-General's compliments. We made a hole in 
it at once, and found them equal to the best Oregon 
apples, entirely free from blemish, and far superior to 
such fruit as Hondo produces. The trouble with most 
Japanese fruit is that it ripens in the rainy summer 
months, and gets wormy before it is according to our 
notions quite fit to eat, which seems to be one reason 
why the Japanese eat most of their fruit unripe. " We 
try to get ahead of the worms,"' as Mr. Yabi put it. 
But these Sapporo apples were not only sound, but 
unlike most foreign fruits and vegetables in Japan, 
had preserved their flavor. 

At nine o'clock we found our way to the City Hall, 
a fine large building, with a cupola, just in time to 
see the Governor-General ride up on a spirited horse. 
He looked very handsome on his horse, and gave us a 
military salute in passing. We followed him up to his 
private room, where he introduced us to Superintendent 
Hashiguchi, who devoted the whole day to showing us 
the sights of Sapporo. I found him to be a travelled 
Japanese gentleman of the finest type, as intelligent as 
he was courteous, and speaking not only English, but 
French and German, these accomplishments being, as 
he explained, absolutely needed in a man in his position 
in so cosmopolitan a place as Sapporo. 

A carriage was waiting for us when we came down. 


and we drove first to the Museum. It was not open on 
that day, but the keeper had been specially sent for, 
and the alcoholic atmosphere was soon dispelled by 
opening the windows. We saw here a fine collection 
of Yezo animals fishes (including a swordfish which 
had sunk a junk), butterflies, bears, wolves, etc., besides 
minerals (fine sulphur specimens), and a valuable col- 
lection of Aino antiquities upstairs. What perhaps most 
attracted the attention was the enormous stuffed bears. 
I had seen one of these animals at the Ueno Museum 
in Tokyo, which, without the slightest exaggeration, 
had a body as large as an ox, and I had supposed it to 
be an exceptional beast ; but here was another just like 
it. Surely Russian Siberia cannot produce larger 1 tears 
than Japanese Siberia. One of the bears in this museum 
had killed ten horses before he could be killed. He was 
ambushed by soldiers, who climbed on trees, and waited 
for a chance to shoot. The largest of the bears had 
been killed near the city, after gobbling up a child. 
The post-mortem showed that he must have been very 
hungry. The contents of his stomach are shown in a 
large glass jar. It is a ghastly sight. The bear had 
not taken time to munch the child's limbs, for the 
hands and feet, with their little fingers and toes, are 
preserved intact in alcohol. When the other bear, 
which had killed the ten horses, w T as dissected, it was 
found that he had been through more than one Avar, for 
the soldiers found in his flesh several old bullets and 
the point of an Aino arrow. 

From the Museum we drove to the Agricultural Col- 
lege, where there was a fine assortment of ploughs, reapers, 
and other American field implements. There was also 
a large barn filled with fragrant hay, wild as well as 


cultivated. Yezo, with its thin population, lias what 
Hondo lacks, tine pasturage with excellent grasses, 
some local, others imported. Proof of this was afforded 
by the fifty cows belonging to the College : they looked 
sleek and happy, but were kept busy, as to their tails, 
by the troublesome flies. We were taken to the dairy 
cellar, where we had a few glasses of creamy milk, 
which is kept cool by a stream of ice-cold water, and 
which was all the more delicious as I had not tasted 
any since leaving San Francisco ; for milk, cheese, and 
butter are things with which the Japanese have only 
recently become acquainted. Mr. Yabi said that to 
him milk was an acquired taste, and that few Japanese 
liked it at first. The man who handed us the glasses 
spoke English indeed, I was surprised to find how 
many of the young men about the College and the fac- 
tories spoke English, or some other European language, 
fluently. The superintendent kindly offered to send us 
a can of fresh butter in the morning, to take along on 
our trip into the interior a most welcome gift. 

In the afternoon Mr. Hashiguchi again called for us 
with his carriage to show us some of the " American " 
factories. We passed along peat fields with soil eighteen 
inches deep, and potato fields where this tuber was 
growing in rank luxuriance. We visited the large flax 
factory, the manager of which spoke French and ex- 
plained to us the whole process of manufacture. In 
the beet-sugar factory, which we inspected next, the 
manager explained matters in German. Japan is usu- 
ally considered a land of small things, but these factories 
were certainly as big in their way as the Yezo bears we 
had just seen. There are other big things in Japan, 
such as Mount Fuji, that would be a lion even in Swit- 


zerland ; man-eating crabs measuring fourteen feet from 
claw to claw ; the Kamakura Buddha, fifty feet high ; 
pictures by Hokusai, thirty -six yards square ; paper 
lanterns twenty feet high. There is also a legend that 
at one time rice grew as high as a tree and produced 
grains as big as an egg ; and another legend of a devil 
eight feet high, strong as a hundred men, with a face 
black as lacquer, all of which shows that the Japanese 
do appreciate big things on occasion. Nevertheless, 
these are only the exceptions which prove Japan to be 
the land of miniatures ; a land where men average 
about the same in height as our women, and the women 
only four feet five inches ; where houses are usually 
only one story high and large enough for one family; 
where chickens and their eggs are as small as our pigeons 
and pigeon eggs ; where wine and tea cups and tobacco 
pipes seem to have been made for dolls ; where carriages 
are kurumas, and horses men; where life in general is 
seen as through an inverted opera glass. 

Once more we met Mr. Ilashiguchi, in the evening, 
at the foreign hotel, where he had invited us to dine 
with him. He asked many questions about American 
methods of colonizing and booming, and about our 
abandoned farms, giving us much valuable informa- 
tion in turn. The dinner was so good that I almost 
regretted not having put up at this hotel. However, I 
had some novel experiences at the native inn we had 
stopped at. As usual, I had been asked there whether I 
would have a chair and a table, and whether I could use 
chopsticks. I flattered myself that I had made consid- 
erable progress in that art since that first dinner in 
Tokyo, and was, therefore, quite disgusted when the 
black-eyed musume kneeling opposite made the same 


remark I had heard on that occasion, that I plied my 
chopsticks "just like a baby." And I had been so 
anxious to make a good impression on her, for she was 
very pretty. However, I had, ere that, discovered a 
secret which I am willing to impart to the reader. If 
you wish to amuse and please a tea girl, do not sit 
and stare at her mutely, but if you don't know her 
language talk English at her as fast as you can. That 
will cause no end of merriment with peals of laughter, 
especially if you speak with dramatic sincerity and 
gestures, as if you expected her to understand you. 

When I asked for my bath in the morning, the girl 
guided me to the room and left. Just as I was ready 
to get into the tub, she came back to ask if the water 
was not too hot for me. I put in my hand, and dis- 
covered that it was, very much so, so she ran away 
and sent a man who poured in a few buckets of cold 
water. But a glance at the bath showed me that I 
could not use it at all. It had evidently, more Japanico, 
done service for a number of bathers on the previous 
evening, and had not been renewed. I made the man 
dash a few buckets of cold water over me, and after 
donning my kimono, Avent back to my room, where 
Mr. Yabi explained the condition of the bath by saying 
that it was not customary at Japanese inns to bathe in 
the morning. Thereafter I took care to do as the 
Romans do, late in the afternoon. 

As was to be expected, the sleeping arrangements 
were not much better than the bath. At Sendai I had 
two sheets, at Hakodate one, at Sapporo none, and I 
began to wonder what would happen next. It was 
not pleasant to lie thus between two quilts that had no 
washable covers, and had been used by Tom, Dick, and 


Harry, but there was no help for it. These quilts, 
moreover, were stiffer and heavier than horse blankets, 
and altogether too warm for summer nights. In our 
beds we can use a sheet alone for a cover, or with one 
blanket, or with more, but in Japan it is either smother 
or freeze. Another absurd bedroom arrangement is the 
night light ; formerly a candle or a wick in oil, now a 
petroleum light on a pedestal, looking like a metronome. 
These lamps are left burning all night, turned down 
low enough to make a stench, and give one a head- 
ache next morning. Mr. Yabi could give me no ex- 
planation of this custom, and, as a matter of course, 
after one or two experiences, I always put out the light 
after retiring. These lamps are not only very injurious 
to the health of the natives, but in case of earthquakes 
they are upturned, and cause many of the disastrous and 
fatal fires which always accompany those catastrophes. 

For our toilet we usually had the water brought into 
our room, but Japanese inns are supplied with wash- 
stands and copper basins. You must, however, furnish 
your own towel, unless you are satisfied with one of the 
small and always damp washrags that are usually sup- 
plied. Of their teeth the Japanese appear to take 
good care, as they never neglect to clean them with 
small brushes with few bristles, but handles a foot in 
length, six of which, I was told, cost about a cent. 
Why the handles should be so long I do not know, 
unless it is to enable them to brush the throat too. At 
any rate, there is an amount of hemming and retching 
as if they were crossing the English Channel. Some 
brush their teeth dry, others use salt, which is provided 
in a saucer. 

At this inn Mr. Yabi wrote another letter about our 


trip for the Mainichi Shimbun, while I was writing mine 
for a syndicate of my own, including eight American 
Sunday papers. Nothing could have been more differ- 
ent than our methods. The New York journalist sent 
for a table and chair, took eight sheets of tissue paper at 
a time, with a sheet of duplicating carbon paper between 
every two of them, and by means of a hard pencil 
wrote the eight copies of his letter all at once. The 
Tokyo journalist, per contra, wrote his letter on a little 
table about a foot high, before which he squatted on a 
mat, with one knee up in the air. His manuscript 
consisted of a continuous roll of paper (like a small 
imitation of the mile-long rolls which feed our news- 
paper presses), and he wrote, of course, downwards 
and from right to left, unrolling his paper as he needed 
it, and finally sending it off all in one piece, a yard or 
two long, for the copy-cutter to dish up to the com- 
positors in as long or short clippings as he chose. 
Mr. Yabi's hand never touched the paper in writing, 
although, unlike most Japanese (who write with a 
small brush), he made use of pen and ink, a trick, he 
said, which few of his countrymen had learned yet. 

A Japanese written page is as different from a 
printed page as an English book is from a page of 
our manuscript. The printed Japanese resembles the 
Chinese, but of a Japanese manuscript you can get a 
fair idea by taking a page of your own writing, hold- 
ing it up to the light, with the written side facing the 
light, and in such a way that the lines run down 
instead of horizontally. The first time I saw Mr. 
Yabi's handwriting I told him that it looked to my 
Occidental eyes as if a Buddhist rooster had got his 
feet in an inkstand and then tried to get at a worm 


under the paper, at which archaic joke he was polite 
enough to laugh good-naturedly ; but after I had dis- 
covered the resemblance of my inverted manuscript to 
his, I came to the conclusion that it was, after all, only 
a question between horizontal and vertical. I must 
add, however, that Mr. Yabi admitted that he was 
using our pen and ink (penu and inku, in Japanese) 
because he could write faster with it than with a brush, 
and that lie might save still more time by using Eng- 
lish letters in place of the Japanese script. 










Both the Governor-General and Superintendent Ha- 
shiguchi agreed, that if we had to choose between mak- 
ing the circuit of Volcano Bay and seeing the interior 
of Yezo, the latter would be preferable for our purposes. 
The Volcano Bay route presents many fine views of 
mountains and coast, but it has been fully described by 
Miss Bird and others, whereas the road into the interior, 
as far as Kamikawa, which is almost the exact centre 
of the island, had been opened only a short time, and 
seen by only a few foreigners, so that it would be virgin 
soil. On the way there we would be able to utilize 
about twenty miles of the same railway that had brought 
us from Otaru, which would take us as far as Poronai, 
the coal mines of which would deserve a visit. From 
there the rest of the trip would be on horseback. 

In the morning Mr. Hashiguchi met us once more at 



the station, and brought ns a letter recommending us 
to the special care of majors, mine and prison officials, 
and innkeepers, besides a few books and circulars on 
Hokkaido, which I presented to Mr. Yabi, who sub- 
sequently gave me a verbal review of them. AVe also 
caught sight once more of the Governor-General, at the 
head of a band of soldiers ; he returned our greeting 
with the foreign military salute. After the train had 
started, a man (foreigner) introduced himself to us as 
the builder of the road we were on. He had seen sev- 
eral notices about us in Yezo papers, and was anxious 
that we should have a good time. He was then, he 
said, busy building a new railroad northward, which 
was later on to be continued southward to Alororan, to 
form Yezo's trunk line. He told us of several places 
where we could find good fishing. 

The scenery we passed through on the way to Poronai 
gave a foretaste of the forest that was to be our home 
for the rest of the week a dense jungle, varied now 
and then by a swamp or an open stretch. In one of 
these open spaces a "living picture" suddenly burst 
upon the view, that made me rub my eyes, and wonder 
if I wasn't asleep, dreaming of Diana and the ancient 
Greeks. A short distance from the road, in the bend 
of a small stream, a dozen women and girls were bath- 
ing unabashed, in beauty unadorned. Fortunately I 
was not, like Acta)on, changed into a stag for beholding 
this idyllic spectacle. 

It did not take us long to reach the coal region, which 
is the most important in Japan. Coal is the principal 
mineral product of the country, and, oddly enough, the 
chief deposits are near the extreme south, at Nagasaki, 
and near the extreme north, in Yezo, the latter being 


by far the largest. The American engineers who first 
surveyed the coal fields of Yezo for the government, 
estimated that they contained about 150,000,000,000 
tons, or two-thirds as much as the coal fields of Great 
Britain ; and these estimates, according to a recent Eng- 
lish consular report, have been found rather under than 
above the truth. Nine-tenths of this coal is found in 
the Ishikari valley, in which is situated Poronai, where 
we now found ourselves. 

Presenting our card from Mr. Hashiguchi to the 
superintendent of the mines, that gentleman, who 
spoke English fluently, kindly left his work to show 
us the coal veins personally. And what do you think 
was the first thing he told us ? Any man in his senses 
would suppose that in order to get at coal, you must 
dig down into the bowels of the earth, even in Japan. 
Not so here. Japan remains consistently topsy-turvy. 
At the Poronai mines the veins of coal are followed 
upwards into the mountain. Belonging to a compara- 
tively recent geological era, Japanese coal is nearer the 
surface than in other countries ; and a lucky circum- 
stance this is, for it does away with the necessity for 
costly timbering and complicated ventilating apparatus. 

Our guide first took us to a room where coarse Aino 
suits were put over us to protect our coats. Then, 
instead of being lowered in buckets, we simply walked 
along a level tunnel, dug about half a mile into the 
mountain. Having reached the veins, we began to 
clamber upwards, holding on to the primitive timber- 
ing exciting work, especially if you carry your own 
lamp in one hand, and have to look out not to soil your 
only pair of white flannel trousers. At last we reached 
the temporary end a solid wall of black coal, almost 


five feet high, and containing, so we were told, only 
one-tenth of impure matter in the whole mass. The 
three local mines open at the time were worked by 
convicts dangerous criminals from all parts of Japan, 
about 1100 in number, with some 50 soldiers and 
policemen to guard them. We met several detach- 
ments, under guard. They seemed less brutal in ap- 
pearance than criminals of their class elsewhere. They 
get eleven cents a day, of which eight goes to the 
prison for their food, leaving three for clothing and 

When we were ready to return to Ichikichiri (sit 
venia verbo), where we were to pass the night, we 
found that there was to be no passenger train for 
several hours ; but we were informed that we were wel- 
come to avail ourselves of the next coal train. I sup- 
posed that a coal-train ticket would be third class, if 
not fourth, but the station agent, thinking, perhaps, 
that it would be an insult to offer such distinguished 
visitors anything but the best, made us pay for first- 
class tickets! Noblesse oblige we took them. How- 
ever, though we did have to sit on a load of coal, we 
were supplied with clean new mats by way of compen- 
sation. I must add that no American boys and girls 
ever enjoj^ed a hay ride more than we did that coal 
ride. I think that the ideal way to see such incompar- 
able mountain scenery as that of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway would be on the top of coal cars if there 
were any with free access to every breeze, and noth- 
ing to obstruct the view. 

I must not omit to note an amusing scene at the 
Poronai station, while we were waiting for the coal 
train. I watched a native bov who was busy catching 


the large flies that buzzed about the room. The bright 
fellow had discovered that foreign window panes are a 
good thing to corner flies on. We asked him what he 
intended to do with the flies, and he said he would take 
them home to feed to his chickens. 

At Ichikichiri we found an excellent little tea house, 
with a fine view of a green mountain range. But 
alas ! there was no smiling tea maiden to welcome us. 
Women must be scarce at this place. All our attendants 
were boys and men, a very exceptional state of affairs. 
Nevertheless, we had two good meals here, our appetites 
being too good to be spoiled by two pictures on the wall 
intended to represent the Emperor and the Empress. 
They were "foreign" chromos of the most atrocious 
kind, framed in wood, and marked "Number 3." No 
doubt the Japanese think we like such pictures, and 
wonder why. We occupied a back room, of course, 
whence we could see the mountains, and, as I lay lazily 
on the mats, two genre pictures met my gaze. To the 
right, there was a pond occupied by some noisy frogs. 
Presently these were silenced by the arrival of several 
quacking ducks. But these, too, in turn, had to yield 
to superior size, for a large dog came along, and ousted 
them, to take his bath. More Japanesy was another 
bathing scene to the left. In the back yard of our 
neighbor's house there was a bath tub, into which a 
woman poured several buckets of steaming water. She 
then disappeared, and presently returned naked, with a 
ditto baby, which she proceeded to bathe. Then she 
took a dip herself ; and, after she had returned into the 
house, her place was taken by a boy, followed by two 
grown girls, the last to go in being probably the servant 
girl, judging by her more muscular build. 


When we had our first interview with the Governor- 
General, he promised, among other things, to see to it 
that we should be supplied with good horses, and 
especially with European saddles (which are difficult 
to obtain), for our ride into the forest. He kept his 
promise, for when we called on the mayor of Ichiki- 
chiri, in accordance with Mr. Hashiguchi's directions, 
we found that he knew of our coming, and had already 
provided for us. The horses, together with a mounted 
guide, appeared at our inn in time for an earl} T start the 
next morning. Our baggage consisted of two valises, 
which the guide tied together with a rope, and slung 
over his horse's sides, whereupon he perched on top. 
The excellent road was wide enough for a carriage, and 
we congratulated ourselves on seeing a cloudy sky, 
which promised a cool ride ; but, before long, the 
clouds opened their pores and gave us a copious, pro- 
longed shower bath. We had foolishly left our oil- 
paper rain coats behind, as Mr. Yabi thought they 
would be an impediment, and our umbrellas were of 
little use on horseback in a violent, fickle storm that 
drove the rain in upon us from all sides. At the first 
wayside inn our guide stopped, and got us two red 
blankets. Some of the natives we passed were also 
wrapped in blankets, while some had native or foreign 
umbrellas. Others were wrapped in oiled paper, a few 
had on the regular rain coats made of grass, and, to cap 
the climax, and provide still further variety, there were 
some who had simply a mat or two suspended from the 
head or shoulders. 

If our guide had asked us how we wished to be con- 
ducted, I should have replied as Archelaus did two 
thousand years ago, when his prating barber asked him 


how he would have his hair trimmed kk In silence." 
I have read somewhere that Ainos make better guides 
than the Japanese, because they are silent, while the 
Japanese are forever singing. Our guide was no excep- 
tion ; he sang without a pause for about five hours, and 
the expression of his song, amid all its Oriental dis- 
guises, was indubitably joyous, especially after he had 
secured those blankets for us. Subsequently we dis- 
covered the cause of his joy : he had paid only ten 
cents for the use of those blankets, and had charged us 
forty I I must not exaggerate, however, about the 
guide's continuous singing , it was interrupted, now 
and then, by an outburst of anger over his horse, who 
always "wanted to go home." 

About noon we came across another wayside inn, 
at which we stopped for lunch ; that is, we ordered 
some tea and rice, and supplemented them with our 
own corned beef, soda crackers, and delicious fresh 
butter from the Sapporo college creamery. The sole 
occupants of the inn seemed to be a man and his wife 
and a foreign dog. Our dogs, of various breeds, are 
now quite common among the Japanese, who call them, 
as my friend informed me, kami [komee], winch they 
originally supposed to be their name, because they 
always heard the English and Americans at Yokohama 
call their dogs "come 'ere." I made an interesting 
experiment with this dog by offering him a slice of 
corned beef. He smelt of it long and suspiciously, 
then suddenly he pricked up his ears in a knowing 
way, swallowed the meat eagerly, and " wanted more." 
What made him prick up his ears and change his mind 
so suddenly? He could have never in his life tasted 
beef, for it is unknown in the Yezo wilds. Was it a 


> . . ' ' ! 

^'Aij- ;; " 

,. v .:^ 



sudden Platonic reminiscence of a previous state of 
existence in a foreign dog's paradise where beef and 
mutton bones abound ? 

At tins inn we changed horses and guides. Unfor- 
tunately our first guide took along the blankets, and 
there was a difficulty about getting others, for the inn- 
keeper said he had none. Mr. Yabe thereupon asked 
me for the card which Mr. Hashiguchi had given us, 
which he requested the innkeeper to take to some 
soldiers who were encamped not far away, and ask if 
we could not borrow some blankets from them. At 
sight of the superintendent's card, our host's attitude 
changed immediately ; hurrying into an adjoining 
room, he returned in a moment with two beautiful new 
blankets! Thus, in every detail of our Yezo tour, did 
we have occasion to bless the Chief Justice at Tokyo 
for that letter to the Governor-General. 

The road was beautifully lined with morning glories; 
it had been a morning for them to glory in, they 
liked the rain better than we did. However, the ill wind 
blew us this good, that we were not molested by flies, 
which are said to be troublesome here to man and beast. 
In the dismal downpour, the luxuriant, green forest 
jungle made a dreary impression on the senses. My 
new pony was a good traveller, but shied at everything ; 
especially if I opened my umbrella or leaned over to 
adjust my blanket. Raindrops suddenly falling on him 
from a wind-shaken tree, made him jump aside several 
feet ; and when I kept my umbrella open, he fancied 
that the drippings from it on his haunches were flies, 
and tried to brush them away. His tail being covered 
with mud, and long enough to slap my clothes, this 
imaginary fly-brushing did not improve my appearance. 


At an early hour in the afternoon we reached a river 
which we crossed on a primitive rope ferry, the boat- 
man standing up and, after pushing us into the current, 
holding on to the rope and pulling us over. On the 
other side was the village of Takigawo, where I was 
surprised to find planted in the midst of a flower garden 
a really comfortable and tasteful tea house, one of the 
best kept I had yet found in Japan. The manager, 
G. Satomi, proved to be a very intelligent man, avIio 
most courteously showed us the sights of the village, 
and gave us much interesting information. Seeing that 
I was anxious to try fishing in Japanese water, he sup- 
plied us with tackle and bait, and told us where to go. 
We had no special luck, but brought back enough to 
help out our supper. Mr. Satomi said that the best 
fishermen were the Ainos, which led me to remark that 
I had been disappointed so far in my desire to come 
across those aboriginal inhabitants of Japan, the only 
ones I had seen having been a family on the steamer 
which brought us to Hakodate. Having seen many 
pictures of them, I recognized these at a glance by their 
color, foreheads, eyes, noses, and beards, all of which 
resemble those of Europeans much more than the 
corresponding Japanese features. At Hakodate and 
Sapporo I had kept a sharp lookout for xVinos, but had 
not seen a single one. 

" Then you have come to the right place," said Mr. 
Satomi. " There is a small colony of them here, and 
three men are in a house near by at this moment. If 
you will follow me, I will show them to you." 

He preceded me to a hut resembling the simple 
Indian habitations in Alaska, but apparently not a 
regular Aino hut. In the centre of the room there was 


a fireplace with a smoke hole above, around which a 
few rows of salmon were hanging to be cured. We 
found the three Ainos squatting in a corner around an 
enormous kettle full of rice, which they were transfer- 
ring with chopsticks to three hungry mouths. Their 
coal-black hair and beards were long and thick, their 
limbs covered with long hairs almost like a fur, and 
their complexion several shades darker than that of 
the Japanese. Their remarkably high foreheads and 
dense long beards gave them an appearance of intel- 
ligence which was belied by their actions and their 
expression. They looked as gloomy as if they were to 
be hanged after finishing their rice. Knowing how 
fond they were of rice wine, I thought I would try to 
cheer them up a little by treating them to a bottle. 
Mr. Satomi explained my intentions to them, but they 
shook their heads sadly. This was indeed a surprise, 
for I had read in several books that the Ainos not only 
consider intoxication the highest of all enjoyments and 
spend all their gains on it, but even look on sake* 
drinking as the most proper and devout way of wor- 
shipping the gods. A few questions put to them 
revealed the true inwardness of their unexpected absti- 
nence. They had been hired to work on the road, and 
the contractor, familiar with Aino habits, had made 
them promise not to touch rice wine. After a while we 
succeeded in convincing them that our intentions were 
honorable, and they allowed Mr. Satomi to get a bottle. 
Being assured once more that it was " my treat,*' the 
three long-bearded men bowed their heads very low, 
waved their mustache lifters and smiled gratefully at me 
before they filled their cups and eagerly emptied them. 
On the way back to the inn we stopped at a store, 


wherein Mr. Satomi showed us sonic large round cakes 
which he said were made of a powdered root. From 
their hardness I judged that they would make good 
building material, but Mr. Satomi said that this was the 
" bread " of the Ainos. They have learned from the 
Japanese to eat rice, but it is said that they prefer 
the millet which their women raise in their gardens. 
Formerly, when deer and bear were more abundant, 
their two principal meals, morning and evening, con- 
sisted of venison or bear soup, seasoned with various 
vegetables, herbs, and roots, even the poetic but tough 
mistletoe being condemned to form an ingredient in 
this pot-au-feu. They eat the berries of the wild roses 
that abound along the coast, and in the autumn wild 
grapes are among their dainties. It is said that aspara- 
gus grows wild in Yezo, and I myself saw many acres 
of wild rhubarb. The most substantial part of the 
Ainos' meal consists of salmon or other fish, in the 
capture of which, with nets, spears, hook and line, and 
other ways, they show much ingenuity, as might be 
expected in a country where there is a river or moun- 
tain current every few miles. Herring, cod, mackerel, 
sardines, smelt, eels, flounders, halibut, and many other 
food fish abound in Ainoland. The octopus also is 
eaten, clams and crabs are not scarce, and oysters are 
so abundant that canneries have been established. One 
species of oysters reaches dimensions which make our 
Saddlerocks hide their diminished heads in shame. 
What would Thackeray have said to an oyster on the 
half shell measuring eighteen inches ? 

Mr. Satomi kindly made me a present of some Aino 
things, including specimens of the bark which they use 
for torches, and one of the arrowheads with which they 


kill bears. These arrowheads seemed rather small and 
frail for such tough beasts, but they are only intended 
to wound, the killing process being completed by an 
aconite poison into which they are dipped. Formerly 
bear hunting in the Yezo forests gained an added zest 
of danger from the custom of setting traps so arranged 
that a bear on entering was forthwith transfixed by a 
poisoned arrow. To warn hunters, large wooden signs 
were put up near the traps, in the shape of the letter 
T. Even then accidents occurred, and some years ago 
the traps were forbidden in many localities. 
Mr. Blakiston tells us that, 

" notwithstanding bears are so numerous in Yezo, the denseness 
of the underbrush and bamboo scrub is such that they are seldom 
seen, though their presence is not unfrequently made known by a 
rustling among the bushes, or the starting of horses as the less- 
frequented trails are followed. Japanese travellers usually keep 
up a song in such places, in order to scare the beasts away, for it is 
very awkward to come suddenly upon them, as they might, in such 
cases, prove dangerous." 

Was that the reason why our guide had sung five 
hours that morning as a musical charm to soothe the 
savage bear? At any rate, the hope of coming across 
a Siberian monster gave an added interest to our inva- 
sion of the primeval forest. 

In the room which Mr. Satomi had assigned to us, 
there was spread over the mats the most superb bear- 
skin that I have ever seen. Its body was a brownish 
black, but the head was of the purest gold almost 
like a lion's mane a very rare color even in Yezo, 
and the fur was everywhere so thick that I decided to 
sleep on the skin, which, I found, made a softer bed 
than two or three Japanese wadded quilts. I made up 


my mind that 1 must have that skin. Ordinary pelts, 
I knew, could be bought at Hakodate for $10 and less, 
so I offered Mr. Satonii $20 for his. He said it was 
worth $22, but that he did not wish to part with it, as 
it was an heirloom. I have since ascertained that in 
New York such a skin would be cheap at $150. Had I 
offered my host $25 or $30, he would have probably 
succumbed. I have since come to the conclusion that 
ignorance is not always bliss. 

At eight o'clock next morning we were again in the 
saddle. We had left Tokyo on July 22, arrived at 
Hakodate on the 24th, at Sapporo on the 27th, and 
to-day was the 1st of August. Had we remained in 
Tokyo, we should have been sweltering in the heat ; 
here we were almost too cool glad to warm our hands 
at the glowing charcoal brazier before eating our break- 
fast. More experiences with Yezo horses were in store 
for us. Our useless guide rode far ahead, and was out 
of sight and hearing on the only occasion when I 
needed his services. My pony suddenly refused to go 
on, and no persuasion, moral or physical, could make him 
budge for fully five minutes. Then he suddenly de- 
cided he would go on a little longer. His next caper 
was even more annoying. Discovering some dry mud 
on the flap of my coat, I struck it with my flat hand to 
brush it off. There must have been some electric con- 
nection between that coat-tail and the horse's bump of 
shyness, for the very instant that I struck it, I found 
myself sprawling in the middle of the road, fortunately 
with the bridle still in my hands. Then he behaved 
for a while, but every time we passed a tea house or a 
group of huts, he wanted to stop. Once he made up 
his mind he would stop anyhow. A stubborn " neigh " 


was his only answer to all requests to move on. I had 
no whip, but I had a beautiful new silk umbrella, with 
a fine natural-wood handle, which I had bought in 
Tokyo. This I plied on his back and head till it 
broke in two, which made me so angry that I believe 
I should have been pleased to see that horse in a 
Spanish bull ring, doomed to have his belly ripped 
open. I might have remained before that tea house 
all day, had not a Japanese peasant taken pity on me. 
He seized a large stick and drummed on the pony's 
haunches till it set off at a trot. Thereafter we for- 
bade the guide to go out of sight again. He, too, had 
his troubles, as his horse was forever trying to turn 
round, and it was all he could do to steer it ahead. 

Soon after leaving the village where we had spent 
the night, I had a sensation of having been suddenly 
dropped into some Western American "backwoods" 
region with a frontier town. Lining the road on both 
sides, mile after mile, were shanties and " clearings," 
strikingly like our Western pioneer settlements. The 
houses, all in a row on either side of the street, were 
simply wooden boxes standing in the midst of clear- 
ings, in which the trees, recently felled, were still 
smoking, filling the air with the fragrant odor of burnt 
wood and leaves. As the same dense, monotonous 
forest frames in all these houses, which have no more 
individual differences than so many beans or peas, I do 
not see how the inhabitants can find their own homes 
unless they label them, or note the number and relative 
position of the ugly black stumps which still disfigure 
all the yards, or did disfigure them at that time. 
for I have no doubt that since then they have all been 
dug out to make room for vegetable and flower irardens. 


The black, rich soil was being dug up, and, in some 
places, potatoes and other crops were already in full 
bloom. Such a luxuriant growth of potatoes I had 
never seen in my life as along this whole road, culmi- 
nating at Kamikawa. 

These Japanese pioneers will have a pleasanter time 
in summer than their relatives on the main island, but 
] do not envy them during the long Siberian winter, 
when their huts will be buried in six feet of snow for 
six or seven months. The trouble with these people 
is that, as these frail board shanties with paper windows 
prove, they do not know how to adapt their building 
to the needs of a cold climate. If they would only 
build their huts of heavier timber, with open fireplaces 
instead of their absurd charcoal pots, they might be 
tolerably comfortable in winter. Firewood for the 
most voracious of chimne}'s is more than abundant, and 
costs nothing but the trouble of cutting it in the forest, 
which extends inimitably into the howling wilderness 
from every back yard. 

As an international curiosity, these American " clear- 
ings," pioneer shanties, and rows of foreign potatoes 
were interesting, but I was glad when we got away 
from them into the lonely grandeur and silence of the 
forest primeval. Japan is a paradise for trees, because 
two-thirds of its rain falls in the summer months when 
it is most needed. It has " as great a variety of trees 
as Eastern North America, and nearly twice as great 
a variety as Europe." The French Ministry of Agri- 
culture has recently published a treatise of 172 pages 
on the forests of Japan, 1 in which attention is called to 
the great care the government takes to preserve these 
1 A travers le Japan, Paris, 1894. 


treasures, a special college of agriculture and forestry 
having been established near Tokyo, which has as many 
as three hundred students. It is obvious that some 
day, when fires and the lumberman's axe have destroyed 
our noble American forests, Japan will have a store- 
house of great commercial value. " When will our 
nation," asks Mr. Griffis, l * learn to have the same care 
for our forests that is seen even among these people, 
whom Ave consider far less civilized than ourselves ? " 

Of all the Japanese forests, that which covers the 
greater part of Yezo an island about the size of Ire- 
land is the largest, the most varied, and the loneliest. 
Strange to say, for such a northern latitude, pines and 
other evergreens are scarce compared with the hard 
wood or deciduous trees. Many of these, including oak, 
maple, mountain ash, birch, magnolia, elder, chestnut, 
poplar, wild cherry, linden, etc., are familiar to us, yet 
they seem to differ from ours as English children born 
in America or Australia differ from the old stock ; and 
there is a sufficient admixture of k * exotic " creepers and 
bamboos to give the ensemble a distinctly Oriental effect. 
Usually these different kinds of trees are mixed up 
irregularly, but at intervals we came upon colonies 
where one or the other predominated. Some were 
straight as masts, others gnarled and bent crooked by 
wind and snow, while large regions received a tropical 
aspect from the monstrous trailing vines which wound 
themselves around the poor trees, like the tentacles of 
devilfish, crushing them in their unrelenting embrace, 
and putting forth their arms for fresh victims. 

So densely are these trees usually crowded together, 
that our eyes could rarely penetrate more than a hun- 
dred feet from the road. How the bear-hunting Ainos 


can make their way through this tangle is a mystery, 
especially in view of the underbrush. I had expected 
that in this moist northern climate graceful, inoffensive 
ferns and mosses would chiefly clothe the ground, as in 
the damp forests of Oregon and Alaska. Ferns were, 
indeed, not rare, but there was no carpet of mosses. 
Along the road we found a good deal of wild rhubarb, 
with leaves as large as the bottom of a tub, but within 
the woods the undergrowth was chiefly a tough chaos 
of dwarf bamboo scrub, from a foot to three feet in 
height, with hastate leaves, of which we found the 
horses very fond, and which were also useful to brush 
away the flies from them and ourselves. Mr. Yabi 
looked quite picturesque with a bundle of them fastened 
around his head for a sunshade. 

When Sir Rutherford Alcock wrote that Japan is a 
country in which flowers have no fragrance, fruits no 
flavor, and birds no song, he was ignorant of the charms 
of this Yezo forest. It is true that besides crows (which 
are not very musical) we heard or saw few birds or 
other animals, but in one place the air was suddenly 
musical with the song of several birds, one of which, my 
companion said, was the Japanese nightingale. It had 
a rich, full, sustained note almost as sweet as that of the 
German nightingale, and we heard it repeatedly on our 
lonely rides. As for the scent of flowers, has not the 
linden tree flowers, and did we not inhale their delicious 
fragrance by the hour as we rode along the wooded 
mountain sides a fragrance rich and voluptuous as 
the atmosphere of an orange grove ? Yet it must be 
admitted that the eye was better provided for than the 
ear or nose. Among the loveliest sights were the 
abundant morning glories, whose rank vines had climbed 


up and wound themselves around the stalks of plain 
roadside plants, about six feet high, adorning them with 
a beauty that seemed to be their own. There were 
other beautiful flowers in abundance, especially one of 
an exquisite blue color, whose name I tried in vain to 
discover. Though an habitual haunter of forests, I was 
amazed and delighted with the countless tints of green 
on the densely wooded hillsides, where forest fires never 
rage, because it rains so often ; and I noticed again 
the peculiar softness and delicate feminine quality of 
Japanese landscape and atmosphere. For a long dis- 
tance the rapids of the river along with which we rode 
were so wildly turbulent as to suggest the Merced in 
the Yosemite Valley. 

Occasionally I dismounted and waited till the others 
were out of sight, in order to enjoy the ravishing silence 
of the afternoon forest, when not a breeze was stirring. 
The green mountain chain to the right looked unutter- 
ably desolate. Probably no human foot, not even that 
of an Aino, has ever trodden it, and the bears still 
roam its thickets undisturbed. Now and then a crack- 
ling stick, which caused the horse to prick up his ears, 
made me hope that a bear might come into the road, but 
no such luck was mine. We saw no trace of a bear 
except that superb fur at the inn. Yet, after all, what 
is the coarse excitement of seeing a bear compared with 
the esthetic delights of a virgin forest, with nothing 
but poetic sounds to break the golden silence? 

In the chapter headed " Off for Japanese Siberia," I 
referred to the grounds that induced me to choose such 
a name as that for Yezo its proximity to the real 
Siberia, the probability that it once formed a part of the 
Siberian continent, the presence on it of animals found 


also in Siberia but not on the Japanese mainland, the 
great cold and deep snows of winter, the monstrous 
bears, and, finally, by an odd coincidence, its choice by 
the government as a place of exile and punishment for 
dangerous criminals. We had already seen many of 
these convicts at the Poronai coal mines ; on this road 
we met more of them, in numbers increasing as we 
neared Kamikawa. They wore brick-colored trousers 
and coats or blouses of the same color. A Japanese is 
nothing if not polite, though he be but a burglar or a 
cut-throat ; these criminals, condemned to ten or twenty 
years' servitude, never neglected to bow low to us, or to 
lift their head-cover, if they had any, as did also their 
guards. Again I was surprised to see several dozens 
of convicts in charge of only one or two soldiers. Mr. 
Landor says he has heard of sixteen escaping in one 
month, but that must have been at or near Poronai, for 
in this wilderness escape would be difficult and recap- 
ture easy, as they wear a distinctive dress and there is 
but one road. This single road into the wilderness is 
like the thread in the Labyrinthian maze, or else it 
might be compared to a plank laid across the ocean. 
To leave this plank and get lost in the forest would 
be almost certain death ; for, even if not eaten by 
bears, how is an escaped convict to find and make 
his way to the coast through this impenetrable, silent, 
illimitable jungle? Of course there are possibilities 
he might reach a river and follow that, or he 
might be guided by the caws of crows to an isolated 
Aino settlement, or a stray Japanese fisherman's or 
hunter's cabin. But such settlements are extremely 
rare in Yezo, away from the coast. Even on this 
road, after leaving the clearings, there was no sign of 


human life except a semi-occasional straw hut or straw 

Early in the afternoon we reached Kamikawa, the 
terminus for the present of the forest road, which, how- 
ever, we were told, was to be continued some day to the 
northeastern coast at Abashiri. Kamikawa lies, as I 
have said, almost in the exact centre of Yezo, and is 
intended to be its future capital ; but when we saw it 
Sapporo had as yet no cause for jealousy, as there were 
only three or four buildings, surrounded by rows of 
potatoes growing in astounding luxuriance. The largest 
of the buildings was a commodious tea house, where we 
were welcomed and made comfortable. We intended 
to go fishing, but were told the water was too muddy 
after the rain. So we warmed ourselves with the aid 
of a few cups of hot tea and a hibachi, it was so cold 
that I could see my breath, and then the host took us a 
short distance to show us some of the convicts at work. 
These convicts, I should have said before, had made the 
road over which we had ridden, and built the cabins 
in the settlement, which, we were informed, was called 
Sorachi-Buto, and had already a thousand houses scat- 
tered along several miles of the road. We found quite 
a number of the criminals at work making and trans- 
porting logs ; but their crimes did not seem to weigh 
heavily on their conscience, for they were all merrily 
and lustily singing a phrase which I jotted down in my 
note book as follows : 

That evening, as I lay on my quilts, this melody kept 


haunting me, and I could not help thinking what would 
become of us if the convicts should overpower their few 
guards and pay us a nocturnal visit. Somehow the 
polite demeanor of these red-coated fellows had made 
such a soothing impression that this thought had no ter- 
ror, as it would have had in a ''Christian" country ; it 
seemed as if these meek-looking men would be altogether 
too civil to do anything wrong unless they were drunk ; 
and I fancy that this idea was not so very far out of the 
way. Confucianism and Buddhism (perhaps vegetarian- 
ism too) have worked together in making the Japanese 
wonderfully gentle, docile, and amiable. How different 
these religions are in their influence from the fanatical 
Mohammedanism ! This thought led me to compare my 
present situation with my visit to Tetuan, Morocco. 
That place, too, I had reached after a lonely fifty-mile 
ride on horseback ; and when I got there I felt as if I 
had been dropped back at least a thousand years into 
mediaeval barbarism, dirt, and misery, and in the 
one night I spent there I had a slight attack of that 
feeling of utter isolation from the world which is said to 
drive European ambassadors and their companions who 
have to spend a few weeks in the city of Fez, almost to 
distraction and suicide. How different the feeling at 
Kamikawa ! Here I was, in the centre of the Yezo 
wilds, perhaps the only foreigner in a two days' trip, 
among hundreds of the worst criminals, yet I had not 
the slightest feeling of isolation from the civilized world. 
Even that queer fancy, which so often overcomes one in 
Japanese cities, of having been transferred to another 
planet, was absent here, thanks to the cosmopolitanism 
of forest life and scenery. Indeed, the only exotic 
element in my feelings came from the wonder that 


criminals could be so urbane and gentlemanly, so cheer- 
ful and musical. 

When, on our return trip, we rode up again to Mr. 
Satomi's neat little inn at Takigawa, we were barkingly 
received by a dog who had previously amused us by his 
odd conduct, and who had apparently not yet got over 
his surprise at sight of a genuine foreigner. He growled 
and barked whenever he caught a glimpse of me (to 
Yabi he paid no attention) ; yet his curiosity prompted 
him repeatedly to come and peep into my room. 

A short siesta on the brown-and-gold bearskin was 
interrupted by a musical performance in front of the 
inn. A vocal quartet of four men was discoursing 
native music. One of them, who had a good baritone 
voice, sang a short solo, whereupon the others joined 
him in a few bars of chorus. The accompaniment was 
provided by four primitive instruments, a few small 
bells attached to a handle, which the men held in 
their hands and shook all the time, like sleighbells. I 
had on a new but pocketless kimono, which had been 
supplied when I took my bath, and therefore went back 
to my room for a few pennies ; but when I returned the 
strolling musicians were gone, to my disappointment, as 
I wanted to hear more of their music, especially with a 
view to discovering whether the four voices would ever, 
accidentally or purposely, unite in genuine harmony. 

Mr. Satomi showed us a pair of Aino snowshoes 
made of salmon skin, which he said would last several 
weeks. With these shoes on the Ainos pursue the bears 
and deer across the trackless forest in winter. We were 
also informed that if we wished to see some Aino women, 
we must go down to the river. We did so, and arrived 
just in time to see several xVino canoes, propelled by 


long poles, returning from the lower river with a fine 
catch of salmon. On the bank were a number of women 
awaiting the fishermen. The younger ones were rather 
pretty, with almost Caucasian features, and large, ex- 
pressive black eyes. The older ones were hideous in 
their dirty clothes reaching up to the neck, and with 
their tattooed moustaches, which made them look like 
grenadiers in petticoats. Most Aino women have these 
moustaches tattooed on their upper lips. It is done 
before they are old enough to have a definite opinion 
as to whether their appearance is thereby improved or 
otherwise ; but it is said that they like it, because it 
makes them look "very manly." Our "andromaniacs," 
as Dr. Parkhurst calls them, will doubtless be delighted 
to hear that their ideal to be as much like men as 
possible is shared by these Aino women, whom those 
who know them best place even below the black Au- 
stralians in intelligence. 

That evening we had for supper one of the salmon 
caught by the Ainos we had observed. It was juicy 
and well-flavored, though not equal to the best Colum- 
bia River Chinook. In the morning we were favored 
with the usual fog, lasting till after nine. No further 
incident worth recording occurred till we were back in 
our inn at American Sapporo. On examining my ac- 
counts I found that the travelling expenses for myself, 
Mr. Yabi, the guide, and our three horses, were under 
five dollars a day and Yezo is considered the most 
expensive part of Japan. A horse costs three cents a 
mile, and the guide is thrown in free, but expects a fee 
of five cents ! 

That night I was kept awake a long time by a Japa- 
nese sinner reading to himself aloud, so Mr. Yabi said, 


from a religious book, which he did with the singing 
Chinese inflections, such as one hears on the stage. On 
such occasions one realizes that brick is a better material 
for building inns than paper screens, or thin wooden 
walls extending only half-way up to the ceiling. To 
while away time, I asked my friend some more questions 
about Japanese journalism. He said he was anxious to 
start a magazine, if he could raise the necessary capital 
about 83000. It would take four or five thousand 
subscribers to pay expenses, and he added that there 
were already several magazines with 10,000 to 15,000 
subscribers. He knew that American magazines pay 
their contributors from 815 to $25 and more a page, 
whereas in Japan $5 a page is seldom exceeded. The 
editors of the daily papers seldom receive more than $20 
monthly salary, and many would be glad to get that. 
But the publishers cannot afford to pay more, since, 
according to Mr. Yabi, all but a very few lose money. 
Some manage to keep on their feet by resorting to job 
printing ; others are owned by wealthy politicians who 
support their "organ." Although editors receive such 
small salaries, there is no lack of applicants, as journal- 
ism is considered an honorable employment. The low 
price at which most of the papers are sold, half a cent 
to a cent or two per copy. the small amount of adver- 
tising, and the insignificant number of subscribers, 
few having over 10,000. combine to make journalism 
a precarious venture. There are very few newsboys, as 
the Japanese are not in the habit of buying their papers 
in the street, and Mr. Yabi naturally looked on America, 
where almost everybody buys at least one morning and 
one evening paper, as the journalist's paradise. I was 
surprised to hear that there are. in Tokyo, weekly papers 


specially appealing to ladies, with stories and pictures, 
and with large circulations up to 50,000. But it will 
be a long time before Japan can afford illustrated 
weeklies or magazines like ours, though there is no lack 
of able authors and artists. 

The growth of journalism is one of the marvels of 
Japan. In 1871 there were no newspapers in the coun- 
try ; in 1891 they numbered nearly 650. Mr. Black, 
who was the first to start a Japanese newspaper after 
foreign models, relates, in his Young Japan, some amus- 
ing stories of his experiences. An American newspaper 
office can print everything with less than 300 letters 
and marks. Mr. Black started out with 1200 separate 
characters, but gradually found that he needed over 
12,000, which made the compositor's work anything 
but easy. He had considerable difficult}^ too, in get- 
ting subscribers. One day he called on a merchant, 
asking him if he did not want to take his paper. The 
answer was, " Why, I've got it ; what more do you 
want ? " He thought that a newspaper was like a book, 
and that Mr. Black must be joking when he asked him 
to buy his paper every day. When, finally, the matter 
was explained, the merchant exclaimed, k ' What ! as 
much as this changed and fresh every day ? I cannot 
believe it possible ! " 

To-day Toky5 is full of newspaper offices, for each 
political party, most of them rather primitive in appear- 
ance. On account of the strict censorship, every news- 
paper has its special "prison editor." In advertising, 
too, they are up to date. Netto relates how, on one 
occasion, a new liberal paper introduced itself by letting 
off some day fireworks, resulting in a shower of hand- 
kerchiefs, on which the name of the paper was printed. 


Those who caught a handkerchief were not only al- 
lowed to keep it, but could receive the paper free for a 
month. The trouble with Japanese newspapers is that, 
even more than with us, politics takes up most of their 
space. One of the most interesting features of the Japan 
Mail is the summary of the contents of the leading 
Japanese papers, which shows that, in the matter of 
small happenings and crimes, Tokyo is not so very 
unlike New York or London. 







We had made our plans to start for Hakodate over- 
land early in the morning. We had sent a letter of 
thanks to the Governor General, and once more had 
called on Mr. Hashiguchi to tell him how much we had 
enjoyed our trip, in spite of rain, fog, and the rather 
un-Siberian temperature in the afternoon drawbacks 
which were fully atoned for by what we had seen, and 
by the opportunity to sleep a few nights without musty 
mosquito nets over our heads. The superintendent was 
sorry we could not stay a few days longer and take a 
Japanese dinner with him. Shortly after we had re- 
turned to the inn he sent us some cream and another 
peck of apples as parting gifts. The apples were splen- 
did big fellows, almost ripe, and Mr. Yabi said they 
would cost five cents apiece in Tokyo. We ate all we 
dared to, packed some into the corners of our valises, 
and distributed the remainder among the tea-house girls, 
in addition to the regular chadai or tea money. Next 
morning, nevertheless, they made us wait a whole hour 
for our breakfast, which, however, did not make much 



difference, as our wagon also was an hour late. Haste 
is a mystery to all Asiatics, as I had found on the pre- 
ceding afternoon, when I sent my horse-broken umbrella 
to several dealers to have a new handle put in. They 
all returned it with the message that it could not be 
done in so short a time as half a day ! 

To-day the trip from Sapporo to Mororan can be 
made in a few hours by rail. When we were there the 
railroad was not built fortunately, for if it had been 
we might have been tempted to take it, and I should 
have lost the most interesting of all my experiences in 
Japan. After three hours' driving in our covered cart, 
we stopped at a wayside inn to feed the horses and sip 
some tea. The cakes served with the tea were in the 
shape of napkin rings, colored white, with a blue or red 
stripe around them. There were also round wafers with 
yellow leaves painted on them. Near the inn I was 
surprised to find, in this Siberian climate, two small 
lotos ponds full of large pink blossoms of delicious 
fragrance. So it was Lotos-Time even here. I took 
several kodak snapshots at them, to the great amaze- 
ment of a small boy. No doubt the innkeeper and his 
family had sufficient taste to appreciate the beauty and 
fragrance of these flowers, for why, otherwise, should 
they have painted even their cakes and wafers ? Never- 
theless, I suspect that those lotos ponds were primarily 
intended as vegetable gardens for raising the toothsome 
lotos roots ever-welcome ingredients in the soup bowl. 

There were very few houses along this road. For 
hours it passed through a dense forest, which differed 
somewhat from that on the Kamikawa road, especially 
by the absence of ferns and scrub-bamboo in the under- 
growth. Later on the road became very sandy. Pres- 


ently there were no more trees ahead, and at the same 
time a stiff saline breeze indicated that we were nearing 
the ocean. We were, in fact, approaching the coast 
village of Tomakomai, thirty-four miles from Sapporo, 
where we were to spend the night, and as we drove up 
to the inn we heard the roar of the waves. Our room 
faced the beach, which we lost no time in visiting. The 
ocean is never so exhilarating to me as mountain and 
forest, but it is always a pleasant scenic and hygienic 
change. On this occasion it seemed as if we had been 
aAvay for weeks, and the emotion on seeing the illimit- 
able blue expanse once more was tinged by the thought 
that these waves, now dashing themselves against the 
Yezo beach, might have come in an unbroken series of 
swells from the Oregon coast, five thousand miles away. 
Why is it that we dislike a desolate town, but revel in 
the melancholy monotony of an ocean beach ? It was an 
ecstatic pleasure to walk along this wild coast, with the 
foaming waves on the right, and high sand hills shutting 
out the rest of the world on the left. But on their tops 
these sand hills are anything but gloomy, for there they 
are green with the pretty bushes of the dwarf wild rose, 
only six inches high, but covered with thousands of 
large fragrant roses, and millions of large berries, green, 
yellow, and red, that once were roses too, and are no 
less beautiful as seeds than as blossoms. They are 
remarkably large, these berries are, reminding me of 
those lovely clusters of small yellow and red " cherry " 
tomatoes, which seem almost too pretty to eat, and 
which, in truth, are seldom eaten, although they are 
much better than the larger tomatoes. The Ainos eat 
these rose-berries. In Germany they make an excellent 
preserve of them. I hope the reader will pardon these 


frequent lapses from esthetics into gastronomy, but the 
Yezo air stimulates the appetite. 

Like all the other houses in this village, our inn had 
only one story, and a dilapidated aj3pearance. Our 
room, as I have said, faced the beach, and I made up my 
mind to leave everything open and let the sea breeze 
play over us all night long. But I had reckoned with- 
out the host, who came along, soon after dark, to do up 
all the shutters and seal us hermetically in our window- 
less rooms. This was more than I could submit to, and 
I protested firmly. The man said he must close the 
amado because there were many thieves about ; but 
finally, after I had assured him that the burglar would 
have to pass over my body, and that I would make good 
any possible damages, he consented to leave them partly 
open. It seems almost incredible that so intelligent a 
nation as the Japanese should be willing to put them- 
selves on a level with the mediaeval Moors of Morocco, 
by sleeping all the year round in windowless, closed 
houses. Morse says that in some Japanese houses pro- 
vision is made for ventilation, in the shape of long, nar- 
row openings just above the amado. For my part, I 
never saw any such arrangement, but had to fight for 
fresh air almost every night. What makes this sealing 
up the more aggravating is the fact that the Japanese 
are not really afraid of night air or cold air. As one 
writer says, " Their indifference to cold is seen in the 
fact that in their winter parties the rooms will often be 
entirely open to the garden, which may be glistening 
with a fresh snowfall/' 

Were it not for the fact that Japanese houses are not 
quite air-tight, cases of asphyxiation would soon deci- 
mate the population. The amount of kerosene burnt 


at night may be inferred from the standing heading of 
" Floating Kerosene " in the newspapers, with lists of 
fifteen to twenty special vessels under way, at one time, 
from New York and Philadelphia. But the worst 
offender is the firebox, which, unless it is fed with char- 
coal well fired, gives out deadly carbonic acid gas, that 
seeks the level of the sleepers on the floor mats. These 
fireboxes are, however, interesting objects in them- 
selves. The most poetic of them are those which simu- 
late the crater of Fuji. These are portable ; others are 
sunk in the floor, in the middle of the room. Often 
they consist of a section of a tree trunk, hollowed out 
and lined with metal to prevent combustion. Sometimes 
pebbles or ashes take the place of the metal lining. 

The next morning we drove along the desolate sandy 
coast, mostly in sight of the ocean. The soil was poor, 
the road sandy, and many paths led off from it into the 
interior. We passed a few small, miserable villages, 
and as we were now in Ainoland we asked the driver 
where the largest settlement of the hairy men was on 
our road. " At Shiraoi," he replied, adding that we 
would have plenty of time to see them, as he always 
allowed his horses to rest there for an hour or two. We 
soon arrived at that village, which seemed to be a re- 
markably malodorous place, for we smelt it a long way 
off. Yezo is noted for its fishy odors, but this particular 
specimen was so ancient and offensive that I concluded 
it must come from some storehouse or manufactory of 
fish manure, a sort of guano made of the refuse of 
sardines and herrings, from which the oil has been 
extracted. But this theory, as we discovered ten min- 
utes later, was incorrect. 

" Ainotown " is usually separated some distance from 


the Japanese portion of a village, as the Japanese look 
upon the Ainos as inferior beings, which, however, does 
not prevent them from marrying their pretty girls. 
Starting in the direction pointed out to us by our 
driver, we soon came across the Aino district. It con- 
sisted of a few irregular rows of straw houses, as primi- 
tive as gypsy hovels, with doors but no windows. There 
were no regular streets, but the huts were planted at 
random, in squatter fashion. We stopped at one of 
them and peeped in at the door, but saw nothing to 
reward our curiosity, except a mat placed on the bare 
ground, and a fireplace in the centre of the room. 
Nobody was at home, and the same was the case in the 
other huts we looked into. We met, however, several 
groups of women and children, hastening toward the 
beach, and talking so excitedly that they hardly noticed 
us, although a foreigner must be a strange apparition to 
them. Suspecting that something interesting was going 
on, we followed them to the beach, and as soon as we 
got on top of the sand dune which separates the village 
from the ocean we beheld a sight which made my heart 
leap for joy. A large whale had been cast ashore by 
the heaving waves, and around it, in the midst of the 
foaming breakers, were assembled all the Aino popula- 
tion of Shiraoi, about 200 men, women, and children. 
Here was the greatest bit of tourist luck that had ever 
befallen me. I might have lived right among these 
savages for weeks and months without getting such a 
line opportunity to see them in their element. Indeed, 
the innkeeper afterwards told us that such an event 
occurred but once in five or six years. 

The whale had been beached during the night, and 
now, at eight o'clock (Ave had left our inn very early), 


the whole village had turned out to make the most of 
the rare opportunity. The marine monster had been 
fastened, by means of a strong rope, to a stake driven 
in the ground, to prevent it from being washed out 
again. It was a big fellow, sixty feet long, as we were 
informed by one of the two Japanese policemen who had 
appeared on the scene, presumably to prevent quarrels. 
It had been considerably battered by the angry waves, 
and it was no wonder that they had spewed it ashore, 
for it was no longer fresh, and we now knew the source 
of the horrible odor we had noticed on approaching the 
village. We had to keep carefully on the wind side 
of it, but the Ainos appeared to revel in the odor as 
dogs do rolling on dry carrion. They crowded eagerly 
around the carcass, brandishing long knives, with which 
they deftly cut off big slices of flesh and blubber, re- 
treating every other moment with wild shouts when- 
ever a breaker dashed over the carcass. Their faces 
were delightfully expressive and animated by the ex- 
citement of the sport. 

Realizing the rare opportunity, I dashed recklessly 
among them with my camera, holding my breath, and 
firing away as fast as I could wind it up and "touch 
the button." The savages "did the rest." Ainos, 
Ainos, everywhere, in all imaginable attitudes and 
groupings ! Did ever kodaker have such luck? I 
took at least three dozen shots, and before long my 
strange actions with the mysterious little black box, 
which I kept aiming at them, distracted the attention 
of the younger ones from the whale. The girls espe- 
cially Avatched me with wondering eyes, and some of 
them even" followed me about. One young woman, 
of perhaps seventeen, possibly suspecting what I was 


doing, put up her hand before her face when I aimed 
at her, but too late ! She did not realize the rapid- 
ity of instantaneous photography. Several of the girls 
were rather attractive, and one of them was really very 
pretty, with regular Caucasian features, a light bru- 
nette complexion, and large, round, wondering black 
eyes that many an American belle might have envied 
her. She was about thirteen or fourteen, and, besides 
her, there were two or three older ones who would 
have been pretty, according to our standard, had they 
not been disfigured and masculinized by their tattooed 
moustaches, which are almost as bad as the blackened 
teeth and shaved eyebrows of Japanese married women 
under the old regime. 

Some of the women were helping the men by carry- 
ing the big chunks of whale up the beach above the 
high-tide mark, where they made several piles of them, 
for future consumption. For, disgusting as it may 
seem, Aino epicures consider " high " whale as great a 
delicacy as our epicures do limburger and other decayed 
cheeses. These piles of blubber were indeed the sig- 
nals for a grand picnic later on, when the tidbits were 
to be washed down in big chunks with copious draughts 
of rice wine. While the younger men were still en- 
gaged in cutting up the whale, the old men and some 
of the women and children were already squatting in 
groups on the sand, as if waiting for the good things 
to come. Going to windward for a moment, to rest 
my nostrils, I witnessed a comic family tragedy. A 
naked boy, who had evidently been up to some mis- 
chief (perhaps he had stuck his finger in the blubber 
and licked it off), was led by his father outside of 
the group, soundly scolded, and probably told that he 


shouldn't have any of the blubber to eat ; at any rate, 
he tried to find consolation in standing there and blub- 
bering all alone by himself. There he stood, in an 
ideal attitude of remorse, fit for a sculptor. Of course 
I bagged him in my kodak. 

Of the groups that were squatting on the beach, 
the most interesting was at the extreme left. Here a 
dozen or more of the simple, quaint emblems of the 
Aino religion peeled and whittled sticks, with the 
curled shavings hanging down from the top had been 
placed in a row as a boundary, and within that line 
about twenty of the village elders were sitting dig- 
nified-looking old men, with splendid long beards, and 
an intellectual cast of countenance, which was, of course, 
deceptive, as none of the Ainos are noted for their men- 
tal endowments, few being able even to count up to ten. 
They were squatting in a semicircle, facing the sea, 
with their hands uplifted, and waving what I took to 
be prayerful thanks for the godsend on which they 
were about to feast, with perhaps a supplementary 
prayer that there might be wine enough to go round ; 
for it is said that an Aino can drink five times as much 
as a Japanese before he feels tipsy ; and, as previously 
stated, drinking is to him an act of worship. 

Here was an opportunity which no true kodaker 
could possibly miss, twenty superb specimens of the 
aboriginal population of Japan, sitting in a natural, 
photographic group, and needing no instructions as 
to pose and expression ! I suppose it was a rude thing 
to do, but I could not resist the temptation to walk right 
up in front of the venerable group and take two shots 
at them, which I did as undemonstratively and " defec- 
tively " as possible, as I knew that they object violently 



to being photographed, and that, although ordinarily 
" savages in everything except in disposition," they 
have been known to handle artists and photographers 
roughly. Perhaps they did not know that a picture 
can be taken without a tripod, and had never seen a 
kodak. At any rate, they did not resent my actions. 
At first they seemed a little surprised and interested, 
but not at all indignant. But when I moved a few 
more steps, close to the religious sticks, the chief got 
up, and, with a pleasant smile and a gentle motion of 
the hand, begged me to keep away from them. Kind 
old fellow ! I know I deserved a good kicking for my 
impudence, or perhaps an invitation to the picnic, 
but, at any rate, I had safely boxed my surreptitious 
photographs, and once more chuckled over my rare 
good luck. Indeed, this whole whale episode had been 
a combination of lucky coincidences. In the first place, 
mirabile dictu, that in all the miles and miles of 
coast the whale should have been beached exactly in 
front of the Aino village ; secondly, that it was cus- 
tomary for the stage to stop there for an hour ; thirdly, 
that we came there not only on the right day, but at 
the right hour to see the carving; fourthly, that we saw 
some of the last parties hastening down to the beach, 
but for which we might have missed everything and 
seen nothing but a deserted village ; and finally, that 
the sun shone brightly enough to take good photographs, 
while an hour later clouds spread over the coast and 
remained for two days or longer. 

This last bit of luck, however, was only apparent. 
The Aino gods had their revenge for my irreverent act 
in photographing the sacred sticks and the elders in the 
act of worshipping. The chief Aino gods are the forces 


of Nature, and it was Nature, in its manifestation as 
Climate, that came to their aid by almost spoiling all my 
pictures. When I left home I had been warned that if 
I wished to get any good out of my camera, I must 
keep my films in air-tight wrappers. I did so, but 
when the films were placecl in the camera they were no 
longer protected from the extreme moisture of the 
Japanese summer air, the result being that most of my 
Yezo photographs were mere shadow-pictures. 

What I especially regretted was the loss of that 
pretty girl's picture. She may have been a half-breed, 
many of these Ainos of the southern coast are, but 
there was nothing Japanesy in her features, and the 
very Oriental appearance of the Eurasians of the Main 
Island, girls who are half Japanese, half European or 
American, made it seem probable that Japanese phys- 
iognomy would not be entirely neutralized in case of a 
mixture with Aino blood. That the Aino women often 
have Personal Beauty is the opinion of several travellers. 
But it would obviously be hopeless to look for Roman- 
tic Love among these women ; for they have not even 
yet learned to kiss, a gentle bite being the nearest ap- 
proach to it. Naturally one would hardly expect folks 
who boil and eat the amorous mistletoe like cabbage, 
to know anything about the gentle art of osculation. 





After leaving Shiraoi we saw only a few more Ainos, 
but the Japanese settlements became gradually more 
frequent. The scenery did not amount to much till we 
caught our first glimpse of the Bay of Mororan, studded 
with islands and looking like a lake, so completely is it 
land-locked. It is considered one of the finest scenes in 
Japan, and deserves its fame. A few miles from Moro- 
ran a young man on horseback came to meet and escort 
us to the principal inn, following the telegraphic in- 
structions of the courteous Governor-General, whose 
kindness followed us even on our retreat. It was lucky 
that he had done so, for we would certainly not have 
secured the best room in the inn otherwise, as the town 
was full of native travellers waiting for a chance to 
cross the stormy bay. Half an hour after our arrival 
the Prefect called on us, and again he called at half-past 
six in the morning, before we embarked. It had been 
so stormy in this region that the little steamer which 
usually makes a daily trip to Mori had been detained in 
Mororan harbor for three days. This morning, how- 
ever, the captain was going to risk it, although the sea 
was still quite rough. We were frankly told that there 



was a real risk of capsizing, but that the chances were 
in our favor, and the captain said he would return if he 
found it too rough outside where the bay is exposed to 
the Pacific swell. It did prove a very rough trip for 
such a small boat, but we got over safely, and after 
landing hired a covered cart for three dollars and a half 
to take us to Hakodate. 

There were so many of the detained passengers that 
six wagons were filled beside our own. We paid our 
driver fifteen cents extra, which, we were told, would 
secure us first place an advantage in case the road is 
dusty, which it did not happen to be. But it was rough 
and jolting, with pebbles and stones strewn broadcast, 
and we drove all the way at a furious rate of speed. 
Nevertheless, the drivers were very careful of their 
horses. Every two hours we stopped to feed or water 
them. The strange procedure was always the same. 
The driver took a bucket of water in one hand, seized 
the horse's tongue with the other, pulled it out and then 
dashed the water into the mouth to wash out the foam. 
Another bucket was then dashed on his belly, and after 
that the horse was allowed to drink and eat. In the 
meantime we were, of course, always supplied with tea 
and a tabacobon. 


Villages now became more and more frequent, and 
they seemed to be inhabited mostly by young children 
carrying younger ones on their backs. One of the 
roadside curiosities was a man whose costume consisted 
of a loin cloth and a pair of high foreign boots reaching 
to his knees. All the house fronts were, of course, 
open, and the women engaged in cooking or other 
domestic employments were usually naked down to the 
waist. The number of dogs in the streets were legion. 


and almost always they lay right in the middle of the 
road, refusing to get out of the way till our horses were 
within a yard of them. If they had calculated that the 
hoofs and wheels would miss them by an inch or two, 
they refused to stir at all, lazily continuing their siesta. 
The driver, like the kuruma pullers, made allowance 
for this canine peculiarity, and tried to steer clear of 
them. Lucky dogs, to live in a Buddhist country! 
"Christian" drivers would either have lashed them 
with their whips or paid no more attention to them 
than to sticks and pebbles. But the Japanese are not 
all imbued with Buddhistic kindness to animals: we 
met peasants who were cruelly carrying large, fat, living 
ducks by the neck. However, what is that compared 
with the cruelty of Christian gourmets, for whom geese 
are tortured by overfeeding till their diseased livers swell 
to the size required for a first-class pate de foie grasf 

Each of the seven drivers in our procession had a 
posthorn on which he sounded a loud, long tone on 
the slightest provocation, with the enthusiasm of a 
child who has just received his first penny trumpet. 
Not only whenever we entered a village, or neared a 
curve in the road, did the horn wake the echoes, but 
every time we saw a loaded peasant dray in the distance 
(to give it time to make room for us), or even when a 
man was seen coming up the road. Whether from a 
desire to emulate the dogs, or a wish to tease the drivers, 
these pedestrians never turned aside till the very last 
moment. It was well to have such things to amuse us, 
for, apart from a pretty lake with an island that had a 
building on it, there was nothing of interest to see on 
this part of the road, the forest itself being commonplace 
after the wilder scenes on the way to Kamikawa. 


The scattering interminable suburbs of Hakodate 
made me impatient; for to get back to this place 
seemed almost like coming home. At any rate, I ex- 
pected to get my first mail in three weeks, and did find 
it waiting for me at the office of Mr. H. V. Henson, who 
represents a branch of the Yokohama bank, on which I 
had a letter of credit. Mr. Henson contributed the 
articles on trade and shipping to Chamberlain's ency- 
clopedic, and yet so entertaining Tilings Japanese. I 
found it unnecessary to draw much money ; indeed, al- 
though I had taken only 8150 with me on leaving 
Tokyo, I discovered that I had almost enough left to 
take us back. However, I took a small extra sum to 
guard against accidents luckily, as the sequel will 
show. I told Mr. Henson that our trip to Kamikawa 
and back had cost me only $65, or $8 a day for two 
men, including all expenses for horses, Avagons, guides, 
beer, and the best available inn accommodations. He 
replied that he was not surprised : " It is almost impos- 
sible to spend much money in Yezo unless you drink 
poor champagne." 

We had to spend another day in Hakodate, as our 
steamer was delayed. In the afternoon we took a ride 
to the Sulphur Springs, a few miles from the city. 
We met many foreigners, some on foot, some in kuru- 
mas, bearing out Mr. Henson's statement that, while 
Hakodate had only sixteen resident foreign families, 
there were many transient visitors in summer. The 
Japanese passion for bathing in water heated by vol- 
canic forces of nature is shared by foreigners, and 
most of those we met were coming from these springs, 
where we found that things are done in mixed style, 
the semi-communism of our Turkish baths being modi- 


fied by certain Japanese features. First you take a 
room, and a young girl serves tea, cakes, and a tabacobon. 
Then she brings a clean kimono, in which, after leaving 
your own clothes, you accompany her to the general 
room, where she abandons you to do as others do. 
There are two tanks of different temperature, into 
which hot sulphur water flows constantly. You drop 
your kimono and jump first into the tepid tank, then 
into the hot one, staying as long as you choose. There 
are no Japanese in this common room, but ever and 
anon one of the foreigners claps his hands, and in comes 
a pretty, smiling maiden to bring a towel, sponge, or 
whatever else is wanted, or to help in rubbing a bather 
down, utterly unconscious of the fact that her presence 
might embarrass any fastidious person in Adam's cos- 
tume. For all these luxuries the charge is ten cents, 
which Mr. Yabi thought was very high, and so it was, 
perhaps, when you think that in Tokyo a communal bath 
costs only a cent, not including, of course, kimono, 
towel, and tea. 

Returning to the city, we asked our host for the latest 
Tokyo papers (one of which, at least, appears to be on 
file at every tea house), and Mr. Yabi read the cholera 
news. We heard for the first time of the ill-fated 
Turkish man-of-war Ertogroul, on which there had been 
thirty or forty cases of cholera. It was said that the 
corpse of the first victim had been thrown overboard in 
the Bay of Tokyo, in consequence of which the natives 
were afraid for some time to eat fish caught in the bay. 
The Ertogroul afterwards foundered in a typhoon, when 
all on board, including Osman Pasha, were drowned. 








It is said that the island of Yezo is never visited by 
typhoons. When we had that cloudy sky and harm- 
less rainstorm in the virgin forest, we did not dream 
that Yokohama was being visited by a genuine typhoon. 
It was this that had delayed our steamer a day. It 
happened to be the same Wakanoura that had brought 
us, and we greeted the officers as old friends. Poor 
Mr. Yabi was again seasick all the way to Oginokama, 
although the ocean was now like a placid lake. Some 
of the precipitous coast scenery again reminded me of 
Santa Catalina Island as approached from the California 
coast. I whiled away an hour on deck playing with a 
Yezo bear cub and feeding him apples. He was chained 
near a tub of cold water, and did not in the least share 
the aversion to bathing of his enemies, the Ainos. On 
an exploring tour of the steamer, in company with the 
first engineer, I came upon the Chinese cooks and 
waiters, taking their lunch. Strange to relate, they 
used knives and forks instead of chopsticks. 



At Oginokama we were received by the same bevy of 
tea girls, who again seized our valises and escorted us 
to the inn, where we were to wait for the small boat to 
take us to the Sendai harbor. After we had had some 
tea, the girl brought in a dozen pealed slices of a kind 
of muskmelon. Mr. Yabi, still pale from seasickness, 
at once pitched into them, although I warned him that 
in view of our further trip on a small steamer he could 
not very well eat anything more inclined to make his 
stomach rebel. But he ate a few slices all the same. 
I tried a piece too. For a wonder, it was quite ripe, 
and as mealy as a good potato ; but although it was 
slightly sweet, there was hardly a suspicion of the 
melon flavor. Yet the Japanese love their melons 
dearly almost as much as their cucumbers. The first 
officer of the Wakanoura told me a story of a coolie 
whom he once saw sitting on the edge of a brook which 
ran through a village and received part of its sewage. 
He was eating a large cucumber, skin, bones, and all, 
without even salt, just as we eat an apple, and when he 
had finished he lay down and took a long drink from 
the brook. This was during a cholera epidemic. No 
wonder that in 1893, the deaths in Japan from cholera, 
typhoid, typhus, diphtheria, and dysentery numbered 
more than a quarter of a million, "250,250. 

Leaving my friend to enjoy his tasteless melons, 
I occupied myself studying the roofs below us. Our 
room was on the third story, a rarity in this country, 
where most houses have only one story, and very few 
as many as two. In describing the aspect of Hakodate 
as seen from the top of the hill, I referred to the monot- 
onous aspect of Japanese towns. This monotony, as 
1 now saw. disappears partly on a nearer view. Indeed, 


it seemed as if each roof had its individual peculiarities 
of material and form. One was made of tiles, another 
of shingles, a third of straw and mats. Some mat 
roofs were held down by large stones, others had soil 
on them covered with moss or other vegetation to pre- 
vent the rains from washing it away. The roof is the 
most picturesque and varied part of a Japanese house, 
architecture otherwise being an art in which this nation 
does not excel a circumstance for which the frequent 
earthquakes and fires are doubtless responsible ; for it 
seems hardly worth while to expend much money and 
artistic labor on a building which may be tumbled over 
or burned up in a few weeks. 

The captain of the small steamer that took us to the 
harbor of Sendai gave us the startling information that 
the recent storm had destined almost a hundred miles 
of the railway track between Sendai and Toky5. This 
news was confirmed at the Sendai inn, where we were 
told that the only way to proceed would be to take 
kurumas for twenty-nine miles, then an uninjured por- 
tion of the railway for twenty-six miles, followed by 
another forty miles by kuruma. Here was a pleasant 
prospect of having the number of hours we expected 
to devote to the rest of our journey converted into 
as many days ! At first I was annoyed, but after a 
moment's reflection it occurred to me that a luckier 
accident could not have happened to us. Our destina- 
tion was not Tokyo, but Nikko, which, with its temples, 
lakes, and waterfalls, is considered the scenic paradise 
of Japan. After seeing Nikko, my plan was to take 
kurumas, leave the beaten tourist tracks, and devote 
a few days to exploring regions where foreigners had, 
if possible, never been seen, and everything was still 


mediaeval. The interruption of our railroad journey 
made it necessary to reverse these plans to take the 
"mediaeval" trip before seeing Nikko ; that was all. 
Accordingly I accepted the typhoon and its conse- 
quences with true Asiatic composure. 

in order to make connection with the train after our 
twenty-nine mile ride we had to start as early as 3.30, 
after a breakfast consisting of two kinds of soup and 
eggs, my companion taking his eggs raw on the hot 
rice. We each had two runners, and when we left the 
inn, it was still so dark that they had to use their paper 
lanterns. It took us about twenty minutes to get clear 
of the streets of Sendai, which were all neat and clean, 
and of course deserted at this hour, although we passed 
a few stragglers and some policemen with small lanterns. 
Just outside the city limits we had to cross a rapid river 
on a rope ferry. Half an hour later we came upon the 
first traces of the storm. There was a second, larger 
river, divided by sandbanks into several beds. A fine 
bridge stretched intact across the main current, but the 
approaches to it had been completely demolished and 
carried away by the raging current which a few days 
before had rushed down two of the channels which were 
now dry. We had to use a ladder to get down to the 
level of the river, across which we were then ferried, 
the charge for the whole crowd six men and two 
kurumas being twelve cents, which really included 
two ferriages, as the river's third channel also had to 
be crossed on a boat. There was no rope to hold on 
to ; the ferryman simply pushed the boat into the strong 
current and steered it across with a long pole. 

That we had plunged into the midst of Mediaeval 
Japan was plainly manifest when twilight brightened 


into day. We passed through several villages the 
inhabitants of which had just pushed aside the wooden 
amado of their houses, before completing their toilet 
which was perhaps not surprising since the full dress of 
the men consisted in most cases of a loin cloth, and that 
of the women of a short skirt reaching from the waist to 
the knees. Some made their toilet in the house, while 
others preferred to wash themselves in the river or the 
town ditch. 

The ravages of the storm became more and more 
evident as we rode through a long alley of cryptomerias 
stately pines, whose twisted red branches overarched 
the shaded road. To the left, for miles and miles, the 
fields were completely ruined, forming a large morass 
of mire, with the water still stagnant in the furrows 
it had ploughed, The gloomy effect of this devas- 
tation was heightened by contrast with the smiling 
fields to the right, which, having been protected by the 
elevated road and its double line of firmly rooted trees, 
were left standing in all their green beauty. Presently 
we came upon the cause of all this ruin a wide river 
with very low banks, which had not been able to hold 
the waters precipitated by the storm clouds. Mr. Yabi 
remarked that these sudden inundations were the great- 
est curse of Japan, devastating large regions every sum- 
mer and carrying off the laboriously prepared soil. If 
the reader has ever seen a large field green on one 
autumn day with potatoes, corn, or tomatoes, and again 
on the next day, after a blighting, withering frost had 
done its work, he will have some conception of this 
Japanese devastation, minus the mire. 

Some of the streams we crossed were gentle and placid 
enough now, but a few days before none but the costli- 


est stone railway bridges could have withstood the vio- 
lence of their current. In some places the overflowing 
rivers had created a new sand bed a quarter of a mile 
wide, strewn with trees and shrubs rudely torn from 
the undermined soil and now piled pell mell in their 
own funeral pyres. To watch one of these inundations 
from the top of one of the green hills looking down upon 
these valleys, must be a saddening but sublime spectacle. 

The mountains whose green sloping sides had poured 
these devastating waters into the overflowing river 
beds, became gradually higher and the air more brac- 
ing ; yet it still breathed a certain Asiatic languor. 
Indeed, during my whole sojourn in mountainous 
Japan I did not once find the exhilarating air of the 
Swiss or Californian Alps, every inhalation of which is 
a conscious pleasure, like breathing the fragrance of a 
flower. I was told, however, that such bracing air may 
be breathed here on sunny October days. And I had 
discovered this morning that in Japan, as elsewhere, the 
most exhilarating air is that of the hour before sunrise 
an hour which we, with our stupid late hours, always 
sacrifice to sleep. 

In this region almost the whole population seemed to 
devote its time to the silkworm, its products, and its 
food. In some of the villages a basket of white cocoons 
was placed in front of nearly every house, and most of 
the fields were green with the luxuriant young mul- 
berry shoots. In this case the Japanese do not try to 
"get ahead of the worm," but sacrifice the whole tree 
to him. Surely they must know how deliciously sour 
the unripe mulberry is, and how luscious the ripe black 
berry ; but I believe they cultivate chiefly the white 
variety, which is insipid. 


Nowhere in Japan had I been so much on exhibition 
as on this trip. To the children, especially, the appari- 
tion of a foreigner in a kuruma was as good as a circus. 
My runners had orders to pass very slowly through the 
villages, so as to give me time to see all the sights. 
The children seemed to have secret signals announcing 
my arrival ; for no sooner had I entered a street, when 
from every house and side alley boys and girls swarmed 
out, most of them stark naked, and formed into two 
staring, smiling lines, through which I had to pass. 
Most of them probably had never seen a foreigner. 
Mr. Yabi was amused, and suggested that if I would 
let him put me in a cage and charge a few cents a peep, 
he would soon have money enough to start his maga- 
zine. The curiosity of both adults and children was so 
genuine and naive that there was nothing rude in it; 
and although many of them doubtless considered me 
an absurd sort of an animal, there was never a word or 
look of ridicule. Once, as I sat on the verandah of a 
tea house, jotting down a few notes, a man stopped and 
stared at me fixedly fully five minutes. I must have 
looked appetizing ; for suddenly he put his hand into 
his wide sleeve, brought out a raw egg, hit it against 
his teeth, and sucked it clean at one draught. At 
another place a young fellow who had just missed us, 
ran ahead about twenty feet, then turned and had a 
good look at me. I envied him his rare good luck. 

At Shiraisi we had expected to take the train, but 
found that we must go on twelve miles farther. I was 
sorry not to be able to stop a few hours at this place, 
which is beautifully situated amid the mountains ; we 
lingered for lunch in a cool and airy corner room. As 
we bowled down the street again, we passed two men 


with large bundles of papers on their backs, crying some- 
thing for sale. I asked Mr. Yabi what it all meant, 
and he replied that they were newsmen, and that the 
bundles on their backs were newspapers, the contents 
of which (sketches of prominent politicians, etc.) they 
were proclaiming in loud, monotonous tones. We had 
again exchanged runners all but one who actually 
came through with us all the way from Sendai to Kori, 
trotting before my kuruma from 3.30 a.m. till 4.15 
p.m., forty-two miles with less than two hours' rest ! 
Much of our road had been up and down hill, and after 
noon the sun was so warm that I felt uncomfortable 
even on the kuruma and under my umbrella. The 
physical endurance of these fellows is certainly remark- 
able ; nor do they ever complain, as long as they can 
have an occasional cup of tea and bowl of rice, a blue 
towel on the arm for wiping off the perspiration, and a 
bucket of cold well water to dash over their bodies on 
arriving at an inn. How they can do such hard work 
on such light fare is an Oriental mystery. It is an odd 
and interesting experience to ride twelve hours behind 
one of these finely built fellows, watching the play of 
the muscles in his naked thighs and the odd bobbing 
up and down of his bare shoulders and large white 
mushroom hat a sight which continues to haunt one 
in dreams and awake for months afterwards. 

At Kori we were at last able to board the train. The 
first thing I saw in the car was a notice in large Japa- 
nese writing. I asked my friend to translate it, and 
found that it was to the effect that if any passenger 
was suddenly seized with symptoms of cholera, he 
should at once notify the conductor. Obviously the 
dreaded microbes had made their way north bevond 


Tokyo during our trip in Yezo. Mr. Yabi had secured 
the last number of a newspaper published at Fuku- 
shima (where we were to spend the night), containing 
an account of the death of a prominent politician living 
there. He had gone to Tokyo to attend a political meet- 
ing, was suddenly taken ill, got into a kuruma headed 
for a doctor's house, but died before he could reach it. 

Near the station at Fukushima we passed several tea 
houses, whose pleasing exterior and brilliant illumina- 
tion showed that they were the abode of frivolous 
geishas. As we had no desire to spend the night flirting 
with singing girls or being kept awake till dawn by 
samisen and drums played for the amusement of other 
guests, w r e gave these the cold shoulder and sought out 
a more humble but respectable and quiet inn. Its 
exterior was not inviting, but in Japan you must never 
judge a house by its exterior, as the plainest shanty 
often has a beautiful garden in the rear, with clean, airy 
rooms facing it. We chose our room on the second 
story, which is always preferable to the first. Here Ave 
were secure from all noises except the melancholy noc- 
turnal whistling of the blind shampooers and the distant 
rumble of the geisha drums. For supper we had a dish 
of small eels raised in the irrigated rice fields. They 
are killed by being transferred from this rice water to 
rice wine, which gives them a delicate flavor and softens 
the bones ; whereupon they are eaten entire, like our 
whitebait. Had it not been for the cholera, I would 
have tried some of the oysters, which Mr. Yabi said 
were abundant here, costing only five cents a bowl. 
He added that his countrymen did not care much for 
them, whereas eels were a great national delicacy, being 
favored by them very much as oysters are by us. A 


gastronomic surprise at this inn was fried chrysanthe- 
mum leaves, green on one side, with batter on the other. 

The kuruma man who had helped to pull me forty- 
two miles on the preceding day had begged permission 
to follow us on the train and be one of our pullers on 
the second day. He was anxious to go to Tokyo, and 
could not afford to go in any other way. He was a fine, 
healthy, courteous fellow, and we gladly accepted his 
offer, which was a convenience to both sides. He played 
the role of valet, taking care of our baggage, tying up 
our shoes, and doing errands. 

As we proceeded, it seemed to me that the women 
were gradually becoming better looking and better 
formed. The monotonous national style of dressing 
the hair gives Japanese women an illusory resemblance ; 
in reality there are as many types as in other countries. 
In the car which took us to Fukushima there was a 
well-dressed young lady whose beauty would have been 
almost perfect from our point of view, had not her lips 
been a little too thick. And now as we were riding 
along toward Nikko, I was pleasantly startled by meet- 
ing a young girl who had the loveliest Italian Madonna 
face, exquisitely refined. She had the complexion of 
a city belle. We also saw plenty of country girls with 
big arms and legs, large busts, full, rosy faces, like the 
most buxom rustic women of England or Germany. 
Japanese artists do not admire the plump rustic type 
of beauty, even in cases which would win our approval. 
Mr. Yabi spoke rather contemptuously of the mental 
endowments of these country women. Many of them, 
he said, are so stupid that they cannot give the simplest 
directions, and if you ask them a question, they always 
" don't know." 


We had again started very early, and once more 
I received the impression that teeth brushing is the 
universal occupation of the Japanese from five to seven 
o'clock. Everywhere men and women were sitting by 
the gutters, dipping their brushes into the dubious 
communistic water, a habit which perhaps accounts for 
the length of the brush handles. One man walked 
calmly down a village street, vigorously cleaning his 
teeth with a brush that had a handle fifteen inches 
long. On being accosted by a friend, he replied with- 
out removing the brush from his mouth. In one case 
we followed a ditch into which we had seen a number 
of persons dip their brushes, and traced it to the rice 
fields, which are always manured by the village sewage. 
Thus a single case of typhoid, dysentery, or cholera may 
poison the water for a whole village and cause hundreds 
of deaths. In the years 1878 to 1891 six successive 
cholera epidemics killed 313,000 Japanese. Dr. Eris- 
mann of Moscow says that forty per cent of all human 
beings die prematurely of preventable infectious dis- 
eases. If that were generally known, the canvas- 
covered melon stands we passed along the road would 
probably not have quite such large piles of rinds heaped 
all about them during cholera time. 

Effects of the rain storm were still visible on all sides. 
In some places the rivers had drawn their own high- 
water mark by depositing belts of leaves and mud- 
covered shrubs ten feet above their beds. The numerous 
lotos ponds had been filled to overflowing, to the obvious 
delight of their pink blossoms and large thirsty umbrella 
leaves. The mountain sides had all the dust washed 
off their tree mantles and looked bright green and 
happy. These mountains were all in the real Japa- 


nese style small, pleasing, feminine. True, there are 
also mountains representing the martial, rough, mascu- 
line character of historic Japan ; but these we did not 
see till later. A unique and picturesque feature of the 
scenery was the regular recurrence, about half a mile 
apart, of small villages, or groups of from three to a 
dozen houses, nestling at the base of the foothills, partly 
concealed by the trees and bamboos. 

We got up among the clouds, or rather, the clouds 
came down to us, and gave us a few harmless sprin- 
klings. August is supposed to be one of the fine months 
in Japan, and so it is except when it is rainy an 
exception which seems to be chronic. Oregonians 
are called " web feet " by the sun-baked Californians^ 
because Portland has fifty inches of rain a year. 
Japan has sixty. If all of this came down at once, 
the surface of these 4000 islands would be five feet 
under water. Sometimes it seems as if it did try to 
come down all at once. 

Although there was water, water everywhere, and 
Yabi and the runners had their tea every hour or two, 
I had not a drop to drink till we came to the inn where 
we lunched. I made up for lost time by drinking two 
bottles of beer, with but slender assistance from my 
friend, who did not care much for that bitter beverage. 
I was sorry not to be able to get any more o^tlie Sap- 
poro beer, which I had found much better and more 
Germanic than the products of Tokyd and Yokohama 
breweries ; although I was glad enough to find that the 
latter are now to be found in every Japanese village, at 
a price varying from twenty-two to thirty cents per 
quart bottle. The charges for this lunch were ninety- 
one cents, of which sixty were for the beer and only 


thirty-one for the food for two persons, consisting of 
two soups, roast duck, rice, and five boiled eggs ! I 
asked Mr. Yabi how much the five eggs alone would 
have cost, and he replied, after consulting the bill, 
" Eight cents ! " Obviously, if these people are mediae- 
val, their prices are mediaeval too. As usual, the host 
gave us a letter commending us to the next inn, and 
after we had duly paid our bill and a trifle extra for 
" tea money " we were presented with the customary 
fans to take along as a souvenir. At one roadside inn 
we received, in place of fans, a plate of small apples, 
somewhat like Siberian crab apples in flavor. 

While waiting for our more elaborate meals to be 
cooked, I often amused myself watching our runners 
disposing of their frugal lunches usually rice and 
pickles, the pasty rice being moistened with water or 
tea if the pickles were not rasping enough to whet the 
salivary glands. They generally eat standing in front 
of the inn, and having no table, one could hardly expect 
them to have table manners. They use their chop- 
sticks, not with the dainty grace of their superiors, but 
simply to shovel in the rice, in big lumps, the bowl 
being held close to the mouth. Nor do they monkey 
with microscopic teacups, but drink their tea, at the 
close of a meal, out of their large rice bowls. But the 
most remarkable gastronomic sight in Japan is seen 
when one of the coolies invites his children to eat with 
him. It is amusing to see a child of two or three years 
take up its chopsticks and boldly tackle a pickle as big 
as a banana. 

Toward evening all the villages we passed through 
seemed to be on fire, for a dense smoke was pouring out 
of the open sides of the houses. But it was simply the 


smoke from the kitchen fires seeking an easy vent in 
the absence of stoves and chimneys. Kindling wood is 
much used here for cooking, but for warming the fingers 
the smokeless charcoal in the hibachi is preferred. The 
sight of all these gastronomic preparations sharpened 
my appetite, and I was glad when Mr. Yabi called to 
me from his kuruma that we were now entering Shira- 
kawa, Avhere we were to spend our second night. In 
one respect, the inn we put up at was the best I had 
seen in Japan. Our bedquilts were of silk soft, 
light, and clean a great improvement on the coarse, 
heavy futon that had hitherto crushed and smothered 
us. This one experience taught me that it is as foolish 
to generalize from one's experience in inns as to the 
bedding of the better-class Japanese, as it would be to 
infer the quality of the average American bed from the 
coarse horse blankets given to the occupants of the 
expensive rat-holes in our Pullman sleeping cars. 

When supper was served, the waiting maid placed a 
mud-colored liquid before us, in a large cup, looking 
at me with a pleased smile, as if to say, " There, I am 
sure you will like that ! " It had a faint odor of 
coffee, and the girl said it ivas coffee, but I could not 
persuade myself to drink it, even to please her. On 
inquiry, I found it had been made just like tea, by 
simply pouring tolerably hot water on the ground coffee 
and letting it stand a minute or two. The mistake was 
fatal, though not as distressing as that made by a Jap- 
anese host I have read about somewhere, who served 
up to a foreign friend, as a special treat, the remains of 
a bottle of beer that had been opened months before. 
Such little gastronomic solecisms do not disturb an ex- 
perienced traveller. 


Japan has been called the travellers' paradise, and 
after supper I beheld a scene which certainly suggested 
the garden of Eden, from one point of view. Two 
young ladies walked across the verandah opposite 
our room fresh from the hot bath. They were naked 
and not ashamed, their dusky skins suffused with a 
pink flush. It takes the Occidental mind some time 
to get over the surprise of seeing respectable women 
so indifferent to what we consider propriety. Yet 
these women would have been shocked to see an 
American girl in a decollete dress dancing a waltz 
with a young man. 

Next day we again made an early start, and soon 
found that we had not yet got beyond the ravages of 
the storm, which began to grow monotonous. Most 
of the streams were still bridgeless, and my men had 
to carry our vehicles over several of them on planks. 
Over the larger rivers we had to be ferried, and one of 
these ferries presented a wild scene which I shall never 
forget. The bridge had been destroyed, the stream 
was very rapid, though shallow, and the only way to 
get across was on a sort of raft, so frail that it took a 
dozen coolies to prevent it from swamping. As soon 
as the boat was loaded, the dozen men strongly built 
fellows, stark naked pushed it into the current, which 
seized and whirled it across in ten seconds to where the 
water was again shallow, whereupon they took hold 
and pushed it to the shore. Several dozen natives, 
many of them with horses, were there when we arrived, 
and I was afraid that if we had to wait for our turn we 
should lose our train. So I told my companion to 
bribe the boatman with a piece of silver and tell him 
that we were great dignitaries. The boatman took 


the silver hint, and spying me near the bridge, on his 
next return trip, he shouted, " Anata no kuruma" 
"your kurumas." I hastened to call Mr. Yabi and 
our men, and we were set across without delay or 
accident. But I was sorry that my camera was not 
loaded, as I would have given a good deal for a picture 
of those naked, muscular coolies steering that crazy raft 
across the wild current. 

We need not have bribed the ferryman ; for when, 
after a few more hours of trotting, we reached the 
station (I forget its name) where we were to board the 
train, we found that it was almost an hour behind time. 
We paid our coolies, including the man who had accom- 
panied us all the way from Sendai, and I could not help 
wondering at his cheerfulness and unsubdued energy, 
after helping to pull a one-hundred-and-eighty-pound 
man about a hundred miles in two days and a half 
under a broiling sun. 







Before we reached Nikko our train was washed 
clean by one of those rain storms which in a mountain- 
ous region convert a placid rivulet into a furious tor- 
rent in half an hour. This was doubtless to remind us 
that Nikko is the rainiest spot in Japan as Avell as the 
most beautiful. Indeed, much of its beauty is a conse- 
quence of this rain ; for it takes many billion drops of 
water to keep the tumultuous river which runs through 
the town, and the thirty waterfalls and cascades which 
are to be found within a radius of fifteen miles, tuned up 
to "concert pitch." Nor would the picturesque moun- 
tain slopes be so deep green, or the lakes so brimful, 
were it not for these frequent rains. Waterfalls, cas- 
cades, lakes, trees, ferns, mosses, mountains, these are 
the scenic charms of this region, which would attract 
thousands of esthetic pilgrims every summer, even if 
time or fire should destroy the famous temples built 
here centuries ago in honor of departed heroes, and 
considered the most beautiful and richly adorned monu- 
ments in the Empire. 


a pilgrim's paradise 225 

Apart from the treaty ports, there is no town in 
Japan where so many foreigners are to be seen as in 
Nikko, many of them spending the summer here, where, 
two thousand feet above the level of the sea, it is com- 
paratively cool. One gets the impression that all of 
these two thousand feet are gained on the way from the 
railway station to the hotel at the other end of town. 
It is almost two miles, all the way up hill, along a street 
which seems to consist chiefly of small curio and photo- 
graph stores. The harsh twang of the samisen in many 
of the houses indicates an abundance of trained music 
girls. We had been warned against the foreign hotel, 
and would have chosen a yadoya under all circum- 
stances. But we were in the midst of the pilgrim 
season, and the long processions of these bipeds we 
passed made us fear that our inn would be crowded. 
This proved to be the case, but the landlord said he had 
a new little building up on the hillside, where we could 
dwell in peace and aristocratic seclusion, far from the 
noisy crowd. Needless to say that the offer was ac- 
cepted. We were taken up to a plain, but delightfully 
situated little summer house, overlooking the city and 
the green mountains. It had never been used, and 
there were just two rooms and a kitchen, so that we had 
no fear that others would be sent up to mar our isola- 
tion. An old woman was there to prepare our meals, 
and a man and boy to take care of us otherwise. We 
had new bedding and our own bath tub a typical out- 
fit consisting of a wooden box with its own heating 
attachment, so that a hot bath could be prepared in a 
few minutes by simply putting in some burning char- 
coal. Unlike our hot baths, these become hotter the 
longer you stay in them, as I found out to my cost. 


More delightful still than the private bath was our 
private spring. Right behind the cabin a thin stream 
of cold water came trickling out of the mountain 
side. Here, for the first time in Japan, I actually 
drank water, because I saw its source with my own 
eyes. I frankly admit that I see no harm in 
drinking water, provided it is pure. Only a fanati- 
cal anti-hydromaniac would have refused to drink 
that water. 

In this cottage we ate and slept several days, which 
proved very restful and cosy after our fatiguing jour- 
neys. Though situated several hundred yards above 
the main street, it was not far from it, so that we could 
see whatever was going on below. Every morning 
from seven to nine o'clock there was an unbroken pro- 
cession of pilgrims, the middle of August being the 
height of the pilgrim season. Most of them seemed to 
be young men, and some were mere boys. They were 
all dressed in a white upper garment and white cotton 
drawers. On the head they wore large mushroom hats, 
and a fringed mat was generally thrown over the 
shoulders, to serve as rain cloak or sunshade in the day 
time, and as mattress at night. Most of them were on 
foot, while the few who rode on horseback wore rain 
cloaks made of yellow oiled paper. They looked clean 
and expectant as they passed, but on their return, two 
days later, there was a lamentable change in their ap- 
pearance, their white drawers being now mud-colored, 
and the most respectable looking being, indeed, those 
who had taken theirs off entirely, and were returning 
"barefooted to the hips." They were dirty, bedraggled, 
and tired; they had walked many miles in the mud, and 
made the ascent of the sacred mountain, Nantiazan, 


8140 feet in height, with the aid of the pilgrim staff 
which each of them carried. 

Nikko is the paradise of Japanese pilgrims. Here 
they can enjoy some of the finest scenery in the whole 
Empire, and at the same time satisfy their sense of 
religious duty. In Europe and America it is only 
the men of genius and a few other refined souls who 
really love nature ; but with the Japanese the love of 
nature has the intensity of a passion. The poorest and 
most ignorant inherit this passion from generations of 
esthetic ancestors ; if their purse is too slender to per- 
mit them to leave home, they contribute a few cents to 
a special pilgrimage " pool," which gives them at least 
a lottery chance to travel. It is said by those who 
know them well that their love of scenery and travel- 
picnics is much stronger than their religious ardor. 
But the astute priests have here as elsewhere contrived 
to blend the esthetic and religious feelings, making the 
one subserve the other. In the time of their strength 
they usurped all the finest scenic points, built temples 
and monasteries on them, and invited the people to 
come and worship. 

That such a choice site for combined esthetic and 
religious devotion as Nikko could not long escape the 
attention of the priests is obvious. For more than a 
thousand years, as far back indeed as historic records 
go, Nikko has had temples, at first Shintoist, then Bud- 
dhist, and again, by Imperial decree, Shintoist. But 
it was not till 1616, when the body of Ieyasu was trans- 
ferred to Nikko, that it became the goal of the most 
patriotic pilgrimages ; for what Pericles is among the 
Greek statesmen, Cassar among Roman generals, Ieyasu 
is among the military rulers of Japan. It was he and 


Iemitsu (whose body also lies here), the first and third 
Shoguns of the powerful Tokugawa dynasty, that 
founded Yeddo (Tokyo) and inaugurated the policy of 
isolating Japan from the rest of the world, which lasted 
more than two centuries. Apart from the mountains, 
lakes, and waterfalls, it is the tombs of Ieyasu and 
Iemitsu, and the wonderful temples erected in their 
honor, that attract visitors to Nikko. I have no inten- 
tion or desire to describe these sacred edifices. No one 
has ever succeeded in describing them ; the best pen- 
pictures make but a confused impression on the mind; 
and warned by the failure of others, I shall mercifully 
abstain, mentioning only a few striking objects. 

Following the procession of pilgrims to the upper 
end of the street, we come to the river Daiyagawa, 
which rushes noisily down hill. It is spanned by two 
bridges not far apart, on the lower of which we were 
allowed to cross, the upper, the Red Bridge of legend- 
ary fame, being reserved for royalty. This bridge was 
built in 1638 on the spot rendered famous by an old 
Buddhist legend of Shodo Shonin. This saint, accord- 
ing to a fantastic old memoir summarized by Mr. Satow, 
being in pursuit of four miraculous clouds of different 
colors rising straight up into the sky, found his advance 
barred by a broad river which poured its torrent over 
huge rocks and looked utterly impassable ; but he fell 
on his knees and prayed, whereupon there appeared on 
the other bank a divine being of colossal size, who flung 
across the river two green and blue snakes, and in 
an instant a long bridge was seen to span the waters, 
like a rainbow floating among the hills; but when the 
saint had crossed it, both the god and the snake bridge 

a pilgrim's paradise 229 

Stone steps, stone lanterns, rows of cryptomerias, 
granite torii, pebbled floors, carved ceilings, red pago- 
das, gilded bells, shrines and tombs, ferns and mosses, 
hideous idols, gates adorned with beautiful carvings of 
plants and animals, elephants, tigers, lions, monkeys, 
dragons, unicorns, birds, who could describe all these 
and a hundred other temple scenes and details with- 
out the aid of dozens of photographs which would 
make description superfluous? Especially odd are the 
monkeys calling attention by their gestures to their 
various sense organs. These animals are carved true 
to life, for Japan produces monkeys, whence we may 
perhaps infer that the various lions, per contra, are so 
indescribably grotesque for the reason that no Japanese 
sculptor has ever seen the king of beasts, except perhaps 
in a menagerie. Even more grotesque are the green 
god of wind with his wind bag on his back, and the red 
god of thunder with his bolts ; apparently these, too, 
were not copied from life. The general ensemble 
struck me as being Hindoo rather than Japanese, pos- 
sibly because I have never been in India. The eight- 
storied pagoda was of course after the Chinese model, 
but it had red Japanese lacquer over it, which is rather 
expensive to keep in repair, requiring renewal every 
fifty years. It was worn off in some places, and in 
others a red powder had been put on to conceal bald 
spots. Our guide remarked that at present the priests 
were too poor to keep things in thorough repair, though 
the government lends a helping hand. True, before 
the different shrines the floor was covered with money 
offerings ; but these were mostly the perforated rin of 
which it takes ten to make a cent. The Japanese man- 
age to live very economically, and they seem to think 


that their gods and priests can live more cheaply still 
a notion which is becoming rather prevalent in other 
parts of the world. 

In Japan religion and dancing still go hand in hand 
as among the ancient Hebrews. In one of the temple 
courts we passed a small building in which two women 
Avere kneeling, one young, one old, both dressed in 
white. You "drop a nickel in the slot" to see a dance ; 
that is, you wrap a small coin in a piece of paper and 
throw it at their feet, whereupon the girl bows, gets up, 
makes a few slow steps forward and backward, turns 
around, does it over again, all the while swinging a fan 
gracefully in her left hand while her right rings the 
tiny bells attached to a sistrum. This continues about 
a minute, when her feet become rooted, the fan and 
sistrum move more and more slowly, till they too cease, 
whereupon the girl sinks down on her knees, bows, and 
the performance is over. It was amusingly like the 
movements of a wound-up doll, though not without 
a certain dignified grace. Beside this dancing booth 
there were others with more material attractions tea, 
sake, cakes, photographs, carved idols, and various 

Unique among the objects in the temple courts is a 
holy-water cistern cut out of a solid block of granite. 
" It is so carefully adjusted on its bed, that the water 
conducted through a long series of pipes from the cas- 
cade called So-men-daki behind the hill, bubbles up and 
pours over each edge in exactly equal volumes, so that it 
seems to be a solid block of water rather than a piece of 
stone." I am always interested in noting the effect of 
a scene or object on different observers. Miss Bird cites 
part of the sentence just quoted from Mr. Satow's guide- 

A pilgrim's paradise 231 

book, with approval. When I saw that cistern, I wrote 
in my note-book : " Satow's comparison to a block of 
water is exaggerated, but gives a conception of the really 
wonderful regularity with which the water overflows 
the edges/' Messrs. Chamberlain and Mason, in editing 
the new edition of Satow's guide, omitted the above 
passage entirely ; wrongly, I think, because, though 
hyperbolical, it appeals to the imagination. The holy 
water in this cistern, by the way, is not used for dipping 
in the fingers and touching the forehead, as in our Cath- 
olic churches, but for drinking. Cups are supplied for 
that purpose. 

In the Ieyasu museum we saw the beautiful silk 
kimonos worn by that hero, beside many other relics, 
including a row of swords presented by various Shoguns ; 
also the kago in which Ieyasu sat when he was shot at, 
the hole made by the bullet being pointed out near the 
top. To see his tomb, we were obliged to ascend a steep 
hill, where it stands, shaped like a small bronze pagoda, 
surrounded by a stone wall. Had I been a patriotic 
native, I would have been seized here, doubtless, by a 
thrill of historic emotions ; but being merely a foreigner, 
fond of art, and fonder still of nature, I was less inter- 
ested in the tomb than in the approach to it up the stone 
gallery of more than two hundred steps ascending 
between two high walls, which are covered with rare 
ferns, mosses, and liverworts, fed by daily rains and 
shaded by stately, gloomy trees an ideal camping 
place for such amphibious plants. Here it is always 
cool, moist, silent, and rarely does a ray of sunlight get 
a chance to peep in between the moving branches of the 
dark-green trees. One of these trees was a twin half 
hard, half soft wood, the former probably grafted on the 


latter. The priestly guide, evidently an amateur bota- 
nist himself, helped me to find some of the rarer ferns 
and mosses. Say what you will, the carving of these 
ferns is more exquisite even than the famous miniature 
sculptures of the greatest Japanese artists, while the 
natural polish and color of ferns and mosses surpasses 
in beauty the finest and costliest Japanese lacquer. 

We are apt to pity the poor because the beautiful 
things diamonds, gold, works of art are expensive. 
But are not too many of us blind to the beauty of cheap 
things simply because they are so cheap and common? 
So I thought as I sat in the shady silence of that solemn, 
moss-grown staircase. I recalled the first scene which 
had greeted my eyes when 1 looked down on the town 
from our cottage that morning. Nikko itself is not 
beautiful ; its houses are old and decayed, its roofs 
covered with moss and pebbles. But when I looked 
down on these roofs, a rainstorm had just strewn dia- 
monds, rubies, and emeralds all over them; at least, if 
all the royal jewels in the world had been cast on those 
roofs, and all the electric lights poured on them, the 
colors could not have been more brilliant and varied 
than those of the little drops of water left on the peb- 
bles by the shower and irised by the rays of the morning 

When our supper was served that evening, I was 
interested in a dish of lotos roots which our cook had 
prepared for us. It was tempting to the eye, the roots 
having been sliced, perforated, and colored so as to 
look like pink seed pods; but I could not find much 
flavor in them, and I believe that one reason why they 
eat them is because they crackle under the teeth like 
a cucumber or pickle. For this crackling sound they 

a pilgrim's paradise 233 

seem to have a special liking, the tea-house girls often 
having a sort of quill in the mouth with which they 
produce it. 

After our beds had been made up, I had great difficulty 
in persuading the old woman to leave the outside shut- 
ters partly open. She said it was against police regu- 
lations, and that there was danger from burglars ; but I 
pacified her with my usual promise to make good any 
loss by theft, and to ransom her if she was carried off 
herself; with which promise and a bunch of grapes she 
smilingly contented herself. I suspect that this old 
woman was a geisha in her youthful days ; at least, she 
evidently sympathized with the geishas, several of whom 
were indulging in noisy music in a neighboring tea- 
house. She had an animated conversation with my 
friend, in which the word geisha frequently recurred. 
She was offering her services to provide a couple of 
geishas to be our companions while we remained in 








In the morning it was still raining, and we had to 
spend two more days in Nikko. I began to wonder 
what our bill would be, and was surprised to find that 
the charges for the cottage, three nights, with meals for 
two, three servants, and four bottles of beer, was only 
$10.90. At last the rain ceased, and we started, without 
any baggage except tooth brushes, leaving our valises 
in charge of the old woman. We had decided to walk, 
as the road is all the way up hill, difficult for kurumas 
(three runners being required for each), and in some 
places even for horses. Desirous of seeing as many of 
the famous waterfalls and cascades as possible, we did 
not always keep to the main road, but made an occa- 
sional detour. In this we merely followed the example 
of many of the pilgrims, who thus served as free guides. 
The first of the cataracts was the Urami-ga-taki, the 
first view of which, from the bridge over the stream 
below it, resembles that of the Multnomah Falls made 
by one of the small tributaries of the Columbia River. 
The Japanese name means Back View Cascade, the falls 



resembling the Multnomah also in this, that you can go 
behind and under them to the other side. This should 
be done by all means, the best view being on the other 
side. There is a spacious grotto under the falls, cool, 
sprayful, and fern=-clad, also a stone image of a god, 
with strips of paper stuck all over it and a number of 
coins lying around it, of so small a denomination that 
no thief would be petty enough to steal them, though 
he be a disbeliever in idols. Two ice-cold springs are 
also below the falls, tempting to the thirsty. Emerg- 
ing on the other side, we get a fine view of the 
water as it flows from a large cleft in the rock over- 
head, and falls in a wide, green curve into the 
pool fifty feet below, the beauty of the scene being 
increased by the green arch formed by overhanging 
shade trees. 

At these falls I had an odd experience in rural tea- 
house etiquette. On arriving, I had asked Mr. Yabi 
if he was thirsty. He replied that he was not, so I said 
we had better not waste any time on the tea house 
which was perched near the foot of the falls. When 
we were ready to proceed, I noticed that a group of 
pilgrims climbed the hill instead of taking the path. I 
suggested that we follow their example, but he thought 
they might be going in another direction. " Why not 
ask at the tea house ? " I said ; and he replied : ' ; Because 
we did not stop to take tea. They might not tell us the 
truth ! " So it seems that even a Jap's obliging civility 
may be affected by the money question. We soon had 
reason to regret that we had not paid tribute to the tea 
house, or followed the pilgrims, for we got into a muddy 
ditch, and found, on meeting a peasant, that we were 
making a big detour. He set us right, and after a few 


miles of arduous climbing we reached a second water- 
fall, the Kegon-no-taki. 

I am surprised that the excellent Murray guide, the 
joint work of Satow and Hawes, Chamberlain, and 
Mason, should give only a dozen dry lines to this 
superb fall, which I found next to Fuji the grandest of 
all Japanese scenes. I can account for this only by 
supposing that it was " sized up " for the guide book at 
a time when a week's cessation of rain (if such a tiling 
is possible here) had reduced the volume of the fall. 
If that was the case, we were particularly lucky in hav- 
ing been delayed two days by the torrents of rain which 
now swelled the torrent that makes the great fall. We 
had followed this river all the way from Nikko; it was 
almost always in sight, a series of foaming, headlong 
rapids as far as eye could reach. In the seven miles 
to the lake it seemed as if there were hardly a stretch 
of a hundred yards in which a boat could have lived 
half a minute. Were the waters trying to see how 
quickly they could get from the sacred green slopes of 
Xantaizan to the sacred Red Bridge at Nikko ? At the 
falls they make a reckless tumble of 350 feet into a 
huge cauldron. A tea house is situated near the pre- 
cipitous bank whence you look down on this grand 
spectacle. But to realize its true grandeur, you must 
leave the edge and climb down into the cauldron by a 
path behind the tea house. You cannot get down far, 
only a hundred feet or so, but it is enough to bring 
the fall opposite and partly above us, and to help us 
realize its depth and the stupendous dimensions of the 
mountain cauldron into which it tumbles as into a sub- 
terranean prison. There is one narrow outlet for the 
water; the rest, all around, is precipitous wall, the more 


impressive for being bare rock, except in a few green 
spots, to one of which we are clinging, holding on to a 
young tree which may or may not be firmly rooted. 
An earthslide would carry us to perdition in ten 
seconds. But the scene would be worth much greater 
risks. Oiie would like to spend da} r s here, watching 
the effect of the changing light and shade. An odd 
freak is a small stream of water running from the rock 
about half down the fall, on the leftc One wonders 
how it ever found an aperture there Stranger still is 
the fact that in the river below the falls salmon have 
been caught which must have come from Lake Chuzenji 
down the big fall, for they could not have come up 
from below. 1 

Like Niagara, this fall is the outflow of a lake 
Chuzenji which, in this case, is less than a mile 
beyond it. It lies at an elevation of 4375 feet above 
the ocean only about 1500 feet lower than the most 
romantic of our mountain lakes, the Yellowstone and 
Tahoe ; we were, therefore, about half a mile higher 
than we had been at Nikko, and only 3765 feet below 
the summit of Xantaizan, which can be reached from 
here by a two hours' climb. The lake lies at the foot of 
this mountain, being framed in on the other side by low, 
green mountains prettily serrated and densely forested, 
continuous except for one break. The first building 
seen on entering the village named after the lake is the 
fish commissioner's house, situated on an isolated, breezy 
site, looking inviting to a warm pedestrian, with its 
spacious rooms and foreign rocking chairs. Thousands 

1 The authority for this fish story is the Japan Weekly Mail of 
July 11, 1891. It is pretty well established that Norwegian salmon 
can jump up sixteen perpendicular feet. 


of young salmon, salmon trout, ami white trout are 
officially turned loose in the lake every year, and those 
that are not gobbled up at once by the older inhabitants 
(who insist on this income tax) grow up to make hue 
sport for fishermen. 

Chusenji is simply a pilgrims' village, being deserted 
except in Lotos-Time. Most of the pilgrims go no far- 
ther, but make the ascent of Nantaizan and then return 
to Nikko and their homes. To judge by the number 
of long, barrack-like, empty houses on both sides of the 
street, there must have been a time when pilgrims were 
more numerous than they are now ; for Ave were in the 
midst of the season. We put up at a clean-looking inn 
on the edge of the lake, intending to spend the night 
there and proceed leisurely next day to Yumoto. We 
found an unengaged room facing the lake, but were told 
that the charge for it, not including meals, would be no 
less than three dollars a night; the reason given for this 
being that they could put up ten pilgrims in it at thirty 
cents each, and would be sure to get them. The land- 
lord told us, also, that we would not find good accom- 
modations at Yumoto, if we should decide to go on. 
Having some knowledge of human nature, we paid no 
heed to this probable lie and decided to push on after 
consuming the meal we had already ordered. Mr. 
Yabi's lunch, I was surprised to find, did not come with 
mine, but was served much later and was of inferior 
quality. I suspected that the innkeeper was perhaps 
trying to get even with him for not urging me to 
stay, but he said that it was simply a consequence of his 
being taken for a professional guide. " The pilgrims 
and others who pass us," he said, " frequently refer to 
me as a professional 'interpreter,' in a sneering sort of 


way. The extortions of the Yokohama guides, who 
make a regular business of fleecing foreigners, have 
brought them into contempt among their countrymen." 

There was no time to lose if we were to make the six 
more miles of ascent to Yumoto before dark. Owing 
to our detours to see the falls, and our mistake in one 
place, we had walked twelve miles instead of seven. 
There were two more fine cascades between Chusenji 
and Yumoto, one of which I intended to see now, leav- 
ing the second for our return trip. We reached the 
first of them, which bears the name of Dragon's Head 
Cascade, shortly after we had left the lake behind us. 
It reminded me somewliat of a section of the mammoth 
Hot Springs in the Yellowstone Park. The water 
swishes down over half a dozen narrow rock terraces, 
which, however, are not white, but dark, in some spots 
almost black, contrasting strikingly with the white foam 
which, geyser-like, seethes up from the hollows into 
which the water has tumbled. To the left are two 
pretty trout pools, without trout, however, I fancy. At 
the foot of the cascade the water is divided into two 
small streams by a rock from which the finest view is 
obtained, not only of the cascades above, but of the 
deep, tortuous cleft into which the main stream tumbles 
below, where it is soon lost to sight in the gloom. 

After traversing a desolate forest section which, 
according to the guide book, was ravaged by fire some 
years ago, we 'presently came out into the Moor of the 
Red Swamp, " probably so named from the color of the 
dying grass in autumn." It is a genuine mountain 
valley, reminding one in its atmosphere of melancholy 
Andermatt in Switzerland. Had it been earlier in the 
day, we should now have devoted an hour to the Yu- 


no-taki Cascade to the left ; but three waterfalls in one 
day seemed quite enough, and I felt sure that we should 
appreciate the fourth one more in the morning', after 
a night's sleep in the mountain air. So we just cast 
a glance at it in passing and proceeded on our way 
to Lake Yumoto, which was not far off". A prettier 
mountain lake it would be difficult to find anywhere. 
Densely wooded, fragrant, dark green mountain slopes 
form its shores with a few very picturesque promon- 
tories or projections. But the distinctive peculiarity 
of this lake lies in the way in which the trees and the 
water are blended. It looks almost as if some giant 
power had pushed the wooded slopes right into the lake. 
As a matter of fact, I fancy the water must have risen 
till it almost touched the lowest branches of the over- 
hanging pines, which consequently seem at a distance 
to actually grow out of the water. 

Lakes should be seen, not smelled. The waters of 
Yumoto have the one fault that they can be smelled 
even before they are seen, if the wind happens to come 
from the village of the same name at the other end, 
where the famous hot sulphur springs, that attract so 
many health seekers, run into the lake. The clear, 
greenish tint of the lower lake is changed by this sul- 
phurous invasion into a light blue, hardly less pleasing 
to the eye, provided it can forget its nasal neighbor. 

Yumoto village consists chiefly of bath houses con- 
ducted in the old-fashioned Japanese way. The first 
building, to the left, was one of these bath houses or 
rather a large pool with a roof over it, the sides being 
open to the view. Here about a dozen men, women, and 
girls were enjoying the hot water, some immersed up to 
the neck, others reclining on the edge and gossiping, 


all in the original costume of Adam and Eve, and as 
unconscious of impropriety as so many babies. The 
other bath houses usually had two tanks, one filled with 
men, the other with women, but not separated by any 
partition. There were always a few men on the 
women's side, and a few women on the men's side. 
The fashionable costume for bathers on the way to or 
from the baths seemed to be a blue towel hung over 
the arm or shoulder. It is so much more convenient, 
you know, to leave the kimono at home and let the sun 
complete the drying process on the way back to one's 

Of course we were bound to have a hot sulphur bath 
too, and I began to wonder whether our inn would pro- 
vide one, or whether we should have to do as the Romans 
do. We found that the inn did have a private bath, 
not on the premises, but a few hundred yards away, 
in a separate little building to which the hot sulphur 
water was conveyed in a pipe direct from the springs. 
We donned the kimonos and slippers supplied by our 
waiting maid, and taking a couple of blue towels, fol- 
lowed our guide to the bath house. I was amused to 
notice that my companion, in spite of his foreign 
experience, used his towel in the Japanese way ; that 
is, he dipped it in the water, washed himself with it, 
and then, wringing it out, tried* to dry himself with 
it, a process requiring considerable faith or imagina- 
tion. The water was of a supportable temperature, and 
the bath a refreshing luxury after our eighteen miles' 
walk. Somehow water warmed by volcanic forces 
seems to have a more soothing, voluptuous effect on the 
nerves than artificially heated water. "lis an ill wind, 
etc. ; the Japanese suffer terrible calamities from earth- 



quakes, but the same volcanic forces that cause them 
constantly heat for them thousands of these springs in 
which they can luxuriate by the hour and chuckle at 
the great saving in charcoal. 

Our conjecture that the innkeeper at Chusenji lied 
when he said we would find Yumoto crowded, proved 
correct. There were no pilgrims here at all, and we 
had our choice of rooms in the inn, which was clean 
and well kept, our maid being as extravagantly atten- 
tive as she was ugly. She was one of the type of 
peasant women we had met on the way, with limbs as 
massive and well rounded as those of Swiss-Italian 
dairy maids. 

On our way back we stopped at the Yu-no-taki Cas- 
cade. To see it at its best, it is necessary to descend to 
its foot. I do not know what its Japanese name means ; 
but the thought that flashed into my mind, after the 
first almost bewildering impression, was : " This ought 
to be called the Foam Cascade." In the last cascade 
described by me the foam was mingled with the darker 
water ; but here it was all one white sheet of foam 
swishing down over the sloping rock like a perpetual 
avalanche of snow dust. The slightest increase in the 
angle would have entirely altered the scene ; I have 
never seen another cascade which so narrowly escaped 
being a waterfall. I was glad it had escaped ; no fall 
could have taken its place in my admiration ; no fall 
could have thus spread out like a white fan from a nar- 
row top to a broad base ; no fall could have conveyed 
the same " arrow-water " effect of swiftness. A fall 
would have dropped into an agitated pool, whereas 
at the base of this cascade the foam suddenly resumes 
the form of water, and flows away in an almost placid 


brook. It is about thirty or forty feet wide, and sev- 
eral hundred in height. The sides are lined with ferns 
and mosses, the top and the left edge all the way up 
fringed by overhanging trees ; as in the Bridal Veil in 
the Yosemite Valley, the water seems to flow right out 
of the blue sky above. When the overhanging maples 
are touched with autumn colors, the effect must be finer 

Returning to the desolate Moor of the Red Swamp, 
we were favored with a fine view of the sacred Nantai- 
zan, once a volcano, but so long at rest that all traces of 
its crater have disappeared. As we looked, the clouds 
were rent in twain, leaving the summit in mists, while 
the lower slopes were bathed in warm, yellow sunlight. 
To the right a perpendicular rainbow added the finish- 
ing touches to the sublime spectacle. We would have 
ascended this mountain, but as our next expedition was 
to be to Fuji, it seemed scarcely worth while to attempt 
a peak almost a mile lower. The prospect of going 
up Fuji helped to console me for having to leave this 
elevated region, where I had felt more braced up than 
in any other part of Japan. Everything was in our 
favor on the return trip, a cool wind in the face, 
fleecy clouds above to serve as sunshades, and every 
step down hill. Nevertheless, when we reached the 
edge of Lake Chusenji again, we could not resist the 
temptation to take a cooling bath in its clear waters, 
to the delight of the small fry of fish which swarmed 
about us and nibbled at our toes and legs. We had of 
course taken a hot sulphur bath before leaving Yumoto, 
and on getting back to Nikko we had another hot bath. 
Three baths in one day! I began to feel quite Japanese. 

Both in o-oinof and returning 1 we saw a number of 


snakes along the roadside, some of them being two or 
three feet in length. Mr. Yabi said they were harm- 
less, and that although poisonous snakes do exist in 
Japan, they are rare, and their bite not fatal if the limb 
is cut off at once. The peasants boil these snakes (a 
species of adder) and eat them as a medicine. Mr. 
Yabi also maintained that in the southern part of the 
island there exists a kind of boa, large enough to swal- 
low children, and that formerly some of these monsters 
led an amphibious existence at Lake Clmsenji. They 
play a great role in Japanese legends, but the geolo- 
gists have not yet officially certified to their existence, 
although only a few years ago, as Professor Chamber- 
lain tells us, the vernacular press printed a circumstan- 
tial account of the swallowing alive of a woman by one 
of these serpents. 

On the following morning we took the train for 
Tokyo, where Ave remained a day to make preparations 
for an ascent of Fuji. Had we succeeded in reaching 
the summit, it would have been worth while to devote 
a chapter to this excursion ; but as the incessant rain 
made us turn back before we had got half way up, I 
will mention only two picturesque incidents of the trip. 
Knowing that nothing is so refreshing and strengthen- 
ing to climbers as tea, I took along half a pound of the 
English breakfast variety, of which I prepared a strong 
infusion at a wayside inn. We had several miles more 
to ride before reaching Uma-gaeshi, or " horse-send- 
back." Now, on the day before we left Tokyo, there 
had been about thirty local deaths from cholera, and 
about as many at Yokohama. My companion had 
spent the night at home, and knowing his carelessness 
in regard to eating and drinking, I had felt some little 


anxiety about him. He seemed to be all right, how- 
ever, till suddenly, shortly after we had left the inn 
where we had made the tea, he stopped his horse, got 
off, and lay down on the ground, looking pale as a 
ghost. Here was a predicament! I felt sure he had 
caught the cholera, and expected to see him a corpse 
in an hour ; for Asiatic cholera often makes short 
work of its victims. I offered him a spoonful of tea 
mixed with a few drops of acid phosphate (which I 
carried in my pocket as a germicide, in case I should 
have to drink suspicious water or tea), and he took it. 
Five minutes later, to my surprise and joy, the color 
returned to his face, and presently he sat up, smiled, 
and said : " I guess that Chinese tea was too strong for 
me ! " 

So our tragedy luckily ended in comedy, and we pro- 
ceeded up the mountain, clad in oil-paper cloaks, leav- 
ing our horses at the next station. The rain drenched 
us in torrents all the way up, and I wondered more and 
more what became of all the water, which sank into the 
black ground as fast as it fell, and nowhere came to the 
surface again in the form of brooks or springs. We 
passed a few pilgrims with tinkling bells attached to 
their belts, the only thing to break the Alpine silence 
about us. Luckily, the pilgrim season was over; else 
we might have found the station where we had to spend 
the night overcrowded. There are six of these sta- 
tions, ours being, I believe, the third. It was a sort of 
cave dwelling a wretched hovel, dug partly into the 
lava, partly built up of big stones, heavy enough to 
resist the winter winds. We had two porters, and our 
party of four, with the host and his wife and child, just 
about filled up the one small room, the little space avail- 


able being diminished by a large pile of wood and a 
tank full of rainwater. In the middle of the room 
there was a fire hole in the ground, with a tripod, but 
no chimney, or even a hole in the roof ; consequently, 
when the preparations for supper began, the cabin was 
soon filled with smoke so dense that I had to close my 
eyes. This prevented me from seeing what the inn- 
keeper's wife put into our soup. However, I boldly 
drank some of the liquid and, with my chopsticks, 
fished out the pieces of hard-boiled egg floating in it ; 
but I could not persuade myself to tackle the other 
solid ingredients, which had a mysterious appearance 
and taste. Mine host, seeing me push the bowl away, 
asked if I had finished; when I said I had, he seized 
the chopsticks and the bowl and eagerly gobbled up 
the remains. They cannot afford to waste wood or 
food at such an altitude. I found solace in a can of 
cold chicken, with jam and crackers for dessert. We 
must have formed a picturesque group Yabi and I 
on one side, demolishing our foreign canned viands, 
picnic style, and on the other side our porters and the 
innkeeper's family, with a huge bucket of rice between 
them, from which they helped themselves to four or five 
large bowls each, shovelling in the unflavored mush with 
an appetite bred of mountain air. 

Our beds were made up soon after supper, each of us 
receiving one quilt to lie on and one to use as a cover, 
besides a square block of wood for a pillow. By keep- 
ing on all my clothes and putting over them my overcoat, 
which one of the porters had brought up, I managed to 
keep tolerably warm. But the night was a burlesque 
on sleep which I shall never forget, though I should live 
a century longer. The storm was increasing when we 


lay down. After about an hour's nap, I awoke to find 
the rain dripping fast and furious on my unprotected 
nose. I moved my " pillow " a few inches, but the rain 
followed. I opened my umbrella, and Mr. Yabi, whose 
experience was a duplicate of mine, did the same with 
his. This was the first time I ever slept under an um- 
brella, and I have no desire to repeat the experiment. 
When we woke up in the morning, the rain was com- 
ing down more violently than ever, and our host agreed 
with the porters that it would be unwise to proceed. 
It had been raining that way for several days, and all 
the signs indicated that it would continue several days 
longer. We were told that a few pilgrims, who had 
persevered on the preceding day, had seen nothing what- 
ever, and had been so cold in the lava huts on the sum- 
mit that they could not hold the tea cups in their hands. 
Under the circumstances, it would have been foolish to 
proceed, so I named our station jin-gaeshi, man-turn- 
back, and we retraced our steps, the sympathetic clouds 
drenching us all the way down with big tears over our 






In Portland, Oregon, they tell a story of an old resi- 
dent, who took a " tenderfoot " from the East up the 
heights, and with great pride pointed out the snowy 
cone of Mount Hood. " You see that mountain ? It 
is now about 11,000 feet high. When I came to Oregon, 
it was a mere hole in the ground! " 

In Japan they have a legend which beats even that 
story. It is related that one night Fuji suddenly shot 
up from the ground, and what is more, that on the same 
night Lake Biwa, near Kyoto, 110 miles away, was 
formed by the simultaneous subsiding of a correspond- 
ing area of land. These stories, after all, are not quite 
so ridiculous as they seem, for it is known that volca- 
noes have thus risen suddenly from land or sea, and 
that they really do grow from the overflow and harden- 
ing of the lava, to which they owe their regular conical 
shape, which always distinguishes volcanic peaks from 
others. It is only fair to add, too, that not all the 
Japanese believe in the Lake Biwa part of that legend. 
Thus, one old writer says, with some force, " On con- 
sideration, I think that the vulgar reports which say 



that the earth from Hako [Lake Biwa] became Fuji- 
san are falsehoods ; for how could the earth be well 
transported thither when Suruga and Omi are sepa- 
rated by more than 100 ri ? " 

While it may not be true that the mud of Biwa was 
carried 140 miles north, it is undeniable that such mud 
of Fuji as clung to our boots was carried 140 miles 
south to Biwa, as we took the morning train from 
Gotemba to Kyoto. This railway was not completed 
till 1889. Before its construction the trip from the 
new capital to the old took ten days by kuruma, or 
nearly two days by steamer. To-day it can be made 
in sixteen to twenty hours by rail, the distance being 
329 miles. Such a saving in time makes an impression 
even on the leisurely Oriental minds, and as the cost 
is proportionately reduced (onhy one cent a mile, third 
class), the cars are usually as crowded as in America 
and northern Europe, wherefore the Kyoto railway 
affords excellent opportunities for studying manners 
and customs en route. 

Some of the second-class cars have notices forbidding 
smoking. To these the natives do not always pay 
attention, unless specially requested, for the simple 
reason that it does not occur to them that any one 
could possibly object to a habit in which they all 
indulge, women as well as men. A smoking woman 
is to me an unpleasant sight, but I could not help get- 
ting considerable amusement from watching the proc- 
ess. A Japanese pipe, as used by both women and men, 
is not as large as a thimble. about the size of a Chi- 
nese opium pipe, and holds perhaps as much tobacco 
as would make a pinch of snuff. There was a pretty 
girl of about eighteen sitting opposite us, who took a 


smoke several times an hour. She filled her little howl 
from a dainty little pouch, lighted a match, took three 
or four whiffs, then knocked the bowl against her 
wooden shoe, so that the glowing pellet fell on the 
floor. In a moment she refilled her pipe, but instead 
of relighting it with a match, she tried to pick up the 
fiery lump with the bowl, which, after a few failures, 
she dextrously succeeded in doing. Matches are ex- 
tremely cheap in Japan, but one gets the impression 
that they have not been long in use. Most of the 
men, after striking one, perversely hold it head up- 
wards, with the result that it usually goes out before it 
has been of any use. 

The offensiveness and injuriousness of the smoking 
habit are greatly lessened by the smallness of Japanese 
pipes. Every smoker knows that in a pipe or cigar 
the first whiffs are the best. In Japanese smoking all 
whiffs are first whiffs ; there are no offensive cigar 
ends or big bowls saturated with sickening nicotine. 
Smokers do not perpetually smell of the weed as else- 
where, and altogether the indulgence is more esthetic. 
The ideal process of smoking, however, would be to 
simply ignite the tobacco and smell of it, as of incense 
sticks, without taking the smoke in the mouth ; for in 
this way the fragrance of good tobacco would be much 
more agreeable, and the offensiveness of bad tobacco 
much less disagreeable. 

There was a certain historic fitness in making smoke 
studies on the way to Ky5to, for it was in that ancient 
capital that tabako was first made fashionable in Japan, 
about half a century after its introduction into Europe. 
Mr. Satow quotes from a native chronicle of 1605 that 
" the inhabitants of Kyoto contended with one another 


in smoking, and the habit is rapidly spreading over the 
country." In the same year a native physician wrote 
of tobacco as having lately come into use. He describes 
it as leaves " of which one drinks the smoke," and alludes 
to a current belief that it was "a cure for all diseases." 

When the young woman opposite us was not smoking, 
she was chewing not tobacco that filthy habit is 
unknown here nor the flavored gum beloved of our 
young ladies, but something which looked (but probably 
did not taste) like a small red-pepper fruit. My com- 
rade said it was called hodsukS, and was for sale in fruit 
stores. At one of the stations our girl got off, and her 
place was taken by a married woman of about thirty 
accompanied by two children of about five and seven. 
She was still remarkably beautiful, showing that not all 
Japanese women lose their physical charms soon after 
marriage. Of course her teeth were not blackened nor 
her eyebrows shaved, these mediaeval mutilations being 
no longer indulged in by women who are " in the swim." 
On the other hand, I was pleased to see that she had had 
the courage and good sense to retain her Japanese cos- 
tume, although both her husband and son were dressed 
in foreign clothes, from the hat down to the shoes. 
The Japanese female costume undoubtedly has its 
disadvantages in practical life (it hampers the gait), 
but it is infinitely more picturesque and becoming than 
a Parisian costume on a Parisian woman ; and when the 
Parisian costume is transferred to a Japanese woman, 
the effect is usually deplorable an utter absence of 
fit, style, ease, and naturalness. 

Among all the women who entered and left our car 
from station to station there was only one who wore 
a foreign dress, and she was a warning example of self- 


conscious awkwardness, the direct negation of the art- 
less grace which constitutes one of the inherited charms 
of Japanese women. Her dowdiness was emphasized 
by the appearance of a young girl sitting next her, a 
maiden with pretty features and a finely moulded figure, 
whose picturesque dress indicated that she was a geisha. 
She was accompanied by an old man, her guardian, and 
was doubtless on her way to enliven some banquet with 
her song, samisen, or dance. But no rose without 
thorns her complexion was so utterly marred by 
paint and powder on lips and cheeks that even the 
merry twinkle of her coquettish black eyes could not 
repair the damage. 

Japan is proverbially a land of miniatures ; every- 
thing is planned on a small scale. But there are some 
astounding exceptions, to which reference was made in 
a preceding chapter. With one of these, Fujisan, we 
had just wrestled in vain, and I am sure we should have 
fared worse yet had we attempted to wrestle with one 
of the human Fujis who came into our car at Nagoya 
four professional wrestlers, who would have been re- 
garded as giants even in America, while here, among 
the small Japanese, they appeared like actual Brob- 
dingnagians. Their loose dress could hardly cover the 
huge masses of fat and muscle on their arms, abdomen, 
and legs. They looked absurdly like disgustingly fat 
old women, the illusion being heightened by their old- 
fashioned feminine way of dressing the hair. Some of 
these fellows astonished the members of our Perry 
expedition when it opened up Japan. One man carried 
a sack of rice weighing 125 pounds suspended by his 
teeth ; another took a sack in his arms and turned a 
series of somersaults with it, as if it had been a feather. 


But I believe it is by their weight rather than their 
muscle that these monsters win, hence eating is the 
principal part of their training. I had no chance to 
see a match, but in Kyoto, one evening, 1 found a crowd 
of Japanese children and adults in front of an eating 
house, gaping with open mouths at the gluttonous feats 
of a group of wrestlers. I fancied that these brutes 
must belong to a special branch of the Japanese race, or 
at least come from a special province ; but Mr. Yabi 
said that this was not the case. They come from vari- 
ous parts of the country ; they are great popular heroes, 
like the bull fighters in Spain ; hence, whenever a man 
of the lower classes grows up abnormally big, he becomes 
a wrestler for profit and glory, which is sometimes gory. 
A native writer says that his countrymen become so 
excited over wrestling matches that " they throw their 
clothes and valuables into the ring, to be redeemed 
afterwards in money ; nay, in his excitement, a man 
will even tear off his neighbor's jacket and throw it in." 
There are no eating stations along Japanese railways, 
and as the dining-car stage of evolution has not yet 
been reached, we had taken our lunch along. But we 
would not have starved if we had neglected this pre- 
caution, for at meal time the station platforms were 
crowded by boys and men carrying trays full of lunch 
boxes, besides cakes, eggs, unripe fruit, bottled beer, 
lemonade, etc. The lunch boxes usually contain rice 
with fish, or pickles, the more expensive ones including 
sandwiches or cold meat. But the most remarkable 
things real "bargains" are the pots of tea that are 
offered to the passengers small earthen pots, neatly 
decorated, filled with a pint of hot tea and costing, with 
a thin, pretty porcelain cup, only three or four cents ! 


Some of the passengers bought several of these tea sets, 
and before we reached the end of our journey they had 
a regular pantry under their seats. A party of Ameri- 
can missionary women at the other end of our car, 
though supplied with knives and forks, ate their lunch 
with chopsticks, perhaps in order to conciliate the na- 
tives. They distributed tracts from the car windows. 







From Tokyo to Kyoto is almost as far as from Boston 
to Baltimore. It was, therefore, not surprising that 
the fields and mountains gradually assumed a more 
southern aspect as we neared Kyoto. The broom cane 
in the fields reminded one of Missouri ; the wells scat- 
tered through the rice fields indicated that rivers are 
less abundant than farther north. There had been 
much less summer rain here than in Tokyo ; the air 
was drier ; the hillsides were not so luxuriantly green, 
but scarred with many rocky patches entirely bare of 

It was dark when we reached Kyoto. As we rode 
through the streets in our kurumas, it seemed as if the 
houses were even more open to view than at Tokyo, 
hardly a detail of domestic life being concealed. And 
what a careless people they are, taking their pleasure 
to-day, regardless of to-morrow ! On that very day 
there had been a hundred cases of cholera in the city of 
Osaka, only thirty miles away, and a number of cases 



in Kyoto itself ; yet it seemed as if half the population 
had turned out to spend the evening eating water- 
melons. Kyoto would he a real ''nigger's heaven." 
Every other house appeared to he turned into a melon 
stand, and behind each huge pile of green watermelons 
stood a man with a large knife cutting them into juicy 
slices, and distributing them for a trifle to his cus- 
tomers, who stood or sat around on benches demolishing 
them con gusto. There was so much to see that I 
wished our long ride to the hotel were much longer. 
Our men dragged us up a steep hillside, and finally 
landed us at the Yaami hotel, noted for its fine view of 
the city below, and the semi-bare mountains beyond. 
It is a site that any Buddhist temple might be proud 
of, and I found it cooler at night than I had expected. 
The hotel is more than half foreign, and we were 
excellently taken care of, the rooms being airy, the 
beds soft, the meals well cooked ; and while we were 
eating, small boys armed with huge fans kept us cool. 
Yet the guests here were all foreigners ; the charges 
are three dollars a day, which seems very high to 
natives of a country where the average earnings are 
twenty cents a day, and where one can live on about 
seven dollars a month. 1 

Kyoto suggests Rome in some respects. For more 
than a thousand years 794 to 18G8 it was the capital 
of Japan, the seat of culture, licentiousness, etiquette, 
religion, and learning, with a population of over a 
million pleasure-loving people, devoted to religious fes- 

1 A T5ky5 paper, the Jiji Shimpo, says that in that city a man 
can get board and lodging for six or seven yen (dollars) a month. It 
adds that "one summer and one winter suit of clothes should suffice 
a man for three years," and that " to ride to and from one's office in 
a kuruma is simply thriftless self-indulgence." 


tivals and secular picnics. Here dwelt the Mikado, 
revered as sacred, inaccessible, infallible ; here were the 
headquarters of the religious orders. To-day Kyoto, 
like Rome, has dwindled to a quarter of its former 
size ; but whereas Rome, with a population of 270,000, 
has what is considered the remarkable number of 354 
churches, Ky5to, with exactly the same population, 
had, as late as 1875, as many as 3500 temples, with 
8000 priests. Since the disestablishment of Buddhism, 
twenty years ago, their number has rapidly diminished, 
and of those that remain, many have been left isolated 
in the suburbs by the shrinking of the city, like 
anchored vessels stranded by a receding ocean. In 
addition to these city temples there used to be count- 
less others on the picturesque sites of neighboring 
mountains. Thus the "chilly mountain" Hiei-zan 
was, according to the historians, covered during 
mediaeval times with as many as three thousand Bud- 
dhist buildings ; and we read that " the monks, who 
were often ignorant, truculent, and of disorderly habits, 
became the terror of Kyoto, on which peaceful city 
they would swoop down after the manner of banditti," 
until the great warrior Nobunaga arose in just wrath, 
burnt the temples, and dispersed the monks. 

But if the Buddhist monks did not always behave 
themselves, they were great patrons of the fine arts, 
and many are the marvellous sights still to be seen in 
their principal temples in Kyoto. The reader will, I 
am sure, pardon me for dismissing those sights with a 
reference to the red guide book in which they are 
minutely and admirably described by experts, But a 
few running comments at random may not be out of 
place. The kurumayas who took us from temple to 


temple were practical fellows. They brought along 
covers of blue muslin to put over our shoes, so that we 
did not have to waste time by continually taking them 
off and putting them on again. We saw many price- 
less works of art, in looking at which it made one shud- 
der to think that they were constantly exposed to the 
danger of fire in such inflammable wooden buildings. 
We saw old pictures showing that even in conservative 
Japan, costume and the style of wearing the hair have 
often changed. We saw the famous temple with the 
thousand quaint images of Kwannon standing in rows 
like soldiers, and we saw the gigantic bell and the giant 
Daibutsu or Great Buddha, fifty-eight feet in height, 
whose nose is nine feet long and his ears twelve (no 
disrespect intended). Near by, we saw also the Ear 
Mound, in which the ears and noses of slain Corean 
warriors were buried, three centuries ago a mound 
which may without frivolity be said to mark a new era, 
since it had been previously the custom to bring to the 
victorious generals the whole heads of the fallen ene- 
mies. We saw the special room in which Hideyoshi used 
to inspect these heads. Ear and nose cutting, however, 
seems to have had no more effect on the Coreans than 
decapitation, for did not they send the following insult- 
ing and taunting message to Japan as late as 1872 ? 

" We Coreans are a very small country, but yet we have the 
courage to put in writing to you that Western barbarians are 
beasts. The above we intend as a direct insult to you and your 
allies, the barbarians. "We desire that you should join them and 
bring your great ships and your army here. Fusankai is the near- 
est port of Corea to Japan." 

In some of the temples the evidences of rapid decay 
were mournfully apparent. But in one respect these 


were the most interesting of all : their dim religions 
silence harmonized with their dim religions light ; the 
carps in the lotos ponds, unused to the sound of foot- 
steps, splashed to the surface to be fed whenever we 
approached. In one of the more frequented temples we 
stopped to hear the " musical " service. It made me 
long for more of the dim religious silence. A few dozen 
priests were chanting in the inner enclosure. If Scho- 
penhauer called the Catholic cathedral service Pfaffen- 
geplarr, I wonder what he would have said of this 
performance ; I am afraid it would have severely tested 
his Buddhist predilections. Each priest raised his voice 
independently, and after exercising his lungs for a while 
he seemed to make a faint attempt to get somewhere 
near the notes sung by others ; but these efforts rarely 
resulted in exact unison, and the general effect, especially 
at a slight distance, was surprisingly like the bleating 
of a flock of sheep. The congregation listened to the 
service, kneeling, some counting off their beads. Near 
the door stood a group of men, smoking and talking, as 
if in a tavern. But the priests themselves sometimes 
hire temples for political meetings, dramatic dances, 
and other geisha entertainments. 

From the Kiyomizu temple we went down a gulch 
into which tumble three miniature streams of water. 
Here a girl had a stand with selected sweets, and a 
number of bottles filled with sacred water, to the use of 
which the priests ascribe beneficial effects. Another 
of their pious frauds (how the human race does love to 
be bamboozled by priests !) is that you please the gods 
by letting the first of those cascades tickle and chill 
your back. The girl lends bathing tights for the pur- 
pose. We saw ;i poor old woman, between seventy and 


eighty, all shrivelled up and naked, standing under the 
stream, her hands clasped in prayer, shivering in the 
cold water. I felt sorry for the decrepit, foolish vic- 
tim of priestly mendacity. 

They are a rascally lot, these Buddhist priests, quite 
as bad as were the mediaeval monks of Europe. The 
Japanese themselves cheerfully admit this. A Buddhist 
paper, the BuJekyo, points out that the three failings 
of the priesthood are idleness, immorality, and disloy- 
alty to the faith ; while another paper not unfavorable 
to Buddhism, the Ajiya, says that the great evil to-day 
is that " now the priesthood is composed, for the most 
part, of the lowest dregs of society, bankrupt spend- 
thrifts, knaves who have no other place of refuge left, 
and good-for-nothing fellows incapable of earning a 
livelihood in any sterner line of life." 

Theoretically, the Buddhist priests are so averse to 
taking the life of even the humblest living thing, that 
they have invented legends about the punishment 
inflicted in hell on those who spend their life scalding 
silkworms. In practice, however, they are not at all 
averse to wearing silk gowns whenever they can afford 
to do so. Nor do I wonder at their inconsistency ; 
Japanese silks would have tempted a ragged mediaeval 
anchorite to dress up and change his asceticism to 
estheticism. Kyoto has for ages been a famous silk 
centre, and as a matter of course we spent an afternoon 
visiting some of the places where it is woven. In a 
country where silk is made in such enormous quantities, 
both for home wear and for export, one would expect 
to find enormous factories with complicated machinery. 
But Japan has not yet reached that stage of "' civiliza- 
tion" where thousands work for one capitalist. The 


largest place we could find here had only about twenty 
looms. Men, women, and girls were employed, the 
women for the reeling, the men for the weaving. It is 
slow work. Of some of the finer kinds we saw, an expert 
can weave only five feet a day. It was fascinating to 
note the skill and taste with which they wove in the 
patterns of flowers and other ornaments. I asked the 
price of some superb velvet just finished, and was told 
it was fourteen feet for ten dollars. We visited three 
factories and were in each case courteously escorted by 
the proprietor. It is very warm in these places, con- 
sequently the men wear only a loin cloth, and the women 
too are unclothed to the waist. Most of them would 
have been more attractive if they had concealed their 
physical charms ; the silk weavers evidently do not, like 
the innkeepers, choose their assistants for their beauty 
of form and face. 

Kyoto has been famed many centuries for the beauty 
and grace of its women ; and with justice. In Japan, 
as in xVmerica, in Spain, in Italy, in Germany, the 
women become more beautiful, the farther we go south. 
This seems to be a law of nature which can only be 
accounted for by the beautifying effect of abundant 
sunshine and open-air life all the year round. Tokyo 
is not exactly a northern city, yet Kyoto lies three 
hundred miles south of it, and to a trained eye there is 
a perceptible difference in the average physiognomy. 
In all probability Japan was originally peopled by 
Malayans coming from the south and by Tartars and 
other Mongolians coming from the north and west. 
Of the Tartar type, which is perhaps the ugliest in the 
world, one sees many specimens in northern Japan, 
while the Malayan type, physically one of the most 


beautiful in the world, prevails largely in the south, 
with its more regular features and straight, large black 
eyes. True, the ordinary pictures on fans, screens, and 
vases would lead one to think that all these women 
have absurdly oblique, almond-shaped eyes ; but these 
pictures do not correspond to reality, Japanese artists 
being realists only in their paintings of plants and 
animals, Avhereas in human drawings they are idealists, 
or rather conventionalists. 

In Ky5to even more than in Tdkyo, I was struck by 
the fact that, when Japanese girls are very pretty they 
greatly resemble Spanish beauties in their sparkling 
black eyes, dark tresses, olive complexion, petite stature, 
and exquisite grace, at least from the waist up. The 
resemblance would be greatly heightened if they would 
copy Spanish ways of arranging the hair and give up 
their stereotyped style of combing it back from the 
forehead the most trying and least becoming of all 
modes of coiffure. It is to be hoped, too, that Jap- 
anese women will before long realize the vulgarity 
of smearing their hair into a dead, greasy mess with 
their bad-smelling pomade a custom which puts 
them on a level with our " perfumed " masculine bar- 
bers' pets, and makes one sometimes dread to be near 

The Ky5to beauty uses her fan a good deal as a 
cooler, but less frequently in the Andalusian way, 
holding it up as a sunshade. She is more apt to 
use it to keep her lord and master cool and com- 
fortable. Imagine an Andalusian beauty doing such 
a thing or an American ! We have spoiled our 
women, gentlemen ! I assure you there is nothing 
more cosy and delightful in the world than to recline 


on soft white mats on a sultry summer afternoon, 
with one bright-eyed music girl to entertain you, a 
nimble second maiden to bring you dainties to eat and 
drink, and a patient third beauty to cool your brow 
with her gayly ornamented large fan. Why have we 
voluntarily given up man's aboriginal and inalienable 
right to such luxuries ? And yet our spoiled and petted 
women are clamoring for their " rights " ! tempora, 

mores ! 

I asked Mr. Yabi what he thought of Kyoto girls. 
He said the general impression among his countrymen 
was that the Tokyo girls are more lively, the Kyoto 
girls more gentle and pretty. But with the modern 
decline of Kyoto, he added, many of the famous 
beauties had emigrated to richer cities, especially to 
the neighboring Osaka, the commercial metropolis of 
the country. We visited some of the leading pho- 
tographers in Ky5to to add to my collection of Japanese 
beauties. In each place they put before us a number 
of black lacquer trays, each containing a dozen photo- 
graphs of popular geishas. You can buy not only the 
pictures, but the girls too that is, you can secure 
their address and get them to assist at a banquet with 
their song, samisen, or dance. Private pictures are not 
sold by these photographers a fact which some that 

1 saw made me regret exceedingly, for they were faces 
of the most refined and fascinating beauty. 

The charming geishas of Kyoto are also specially 
famed for their skill as musicians ; but when I told Mr. 
Yabi that I would like to hear some of their music, he 
asked: "Would you not rather hear one of the blind 
musicians? They play even better than the girls." 
After a brief struggle with my conscience, I decided 


that I would in this case sacrifice the love of beauty to 
art for art's sake. So a messenger was sent to a famous 
blind musician, and in the afternoon he arrived punctu- 
ally at the hour designated. He had a koto and a 
samisen, the latter in five pieces, so that it could be 
carried in a little box. But it was his koto that I 
specially wanted to hear. He was reputed the best 
player in town; and when he began to tune up in the 
hotel parlor, all the guests, as well as the native attend- 
ants, came in, or crowded around the door. The player 
squatted on the floor and had his instrument lying flat 
before him. 

The koto is the Japanese harp. In national estima- 
tion and artistic value it is related to the samisen as 
a piano is to a banjo. As it lies on the mats it looks 
somewhat like a large zither. Under each of its thir- 
teen strings is a movable bridge, by means of which the 
pitch can be raised or lowered. However widely the 
music of the Japanese may differ from our own, their 
sense of pitch is as keen as ours ; the slightest devia- 
tion was at once detected by the ear of our player and 
corrected by moving the bridge without interrupting 
the playing. To my ears there seemed to be more 
rhythm than melody in his music, and the rhythm had 
the irregularity or lack of symmetry characteristic of 
all Japanese art. Still, there was an occasional melodic 
strain which seemed quite definite, and, what was more 
interesting still, there were suggestions of harmony here 
and there, fifths, sixths, and minor sevenths. His 
glissando effects were as dainty as Paderewski's in a 
Liszt rhapsody. He was indeed a great virtuoso, and 
there was to me a genuine, though somewhat bewilder- 
ing, pleasure in listening to him. Toward the end of 


his last piece he worked himself up to a climax that 
was really admirable, and was more like our own music 
than anything I had heard in Japan. 

I came to the conclusion that the koto is really a 
charming instrument, which could not fail to find favor 
in our own musical circles. Of course there are kotos 
and kotos, as there are pianos and pianos; there are 
four principal kinds, Avith seven minor varieties, the 
cost varying from $5 to $500. Our player's instru- 
ment was probably one of the best ; it had a rich, 
sonorous tone very agreeable to the ear after the 
twang of the samisens that filled the ear every night 
like the chirping of multitudinous insects. After 
every piece or two our blind virtuoso drank a glass 
of sweetened water. A boy kneeling beside him kept 
him cool with a huge fan, while another boy in pictur- 
esque attire provided similarly for my comfort. 

Other artists called on me at the hotel, uninvited, 
but none the less welcome. One of them brought 
some exquisite cloisonne vases, at prices about one- 
tenth of what they would be in New York. Another 
unrolled for me a superb collection of silk kakemonos 
painted with cherry blossoms, lotos, autumnal maple 
twigs, and so on. The silk itself cost him a dollar 
apiece, but he asked only $2.50 and $3.50 for them. 
These poor artists had evidently seen better days, when 
Kyoto was still the capital. 

Our evenings were devoted to sight-seeing along 
the principal streets, especially one which seemed to 
be the fashionable promenade for all classes. Here we 
found the same clean, well-behaved crowds as in 
Tokyo, the same gentle curiosity in our doings, the 
same rows of booths in the street, with toys and 


toilet articles, the same dime museums and theatres, the 
same ice, tea, and fruit stands green persimmons 
being the seasonable novelty on the latter and, of 
course, watermelons everywhere. Here, too, the crowds 
were so dense that we had to leave our kurumas and 
walk. The whole street was brilliant with flaming 
torches and paper lanterns, and when we ctime back 
to the hotel on the hillside, late at night, this street 
could be distinctly traced, from end to end, by the 
string of brilliant lights, threading its way through the 
comparative darkness of the rest of the city. Kyoto, 
in the dark, is a dreamy Oriental nocturne. It is 
pleasant to sit on the hotel piazza and think of all 
the romances, comedies, and tragedies, that are being 
enacted in the thousands of humble houses that lie 
between the hill from which we gaze and the low 
mountains, faintly visible beyond in the rising mist ; 
pleasant to review the kaleidoscopic scenes of the day, 
amid which only one is disquieting the rather fre- 
quent funeral processions we had passed in the streets 
two men, in each case, carrying on their shoulders 
a kago-like box in which the corpse sits upright (invisi- 
ble, of course), followed by a number of mourners. 
Although we had been told at the hotel that the 
cholera had not yet reached the city, these funerals 
aroused suspicions which afterwards proved to be well 





In order to complete the round of famous places in 
Japan, we had intended to extend our trip to Osaka, 
" the Venice of Japan " ; Nagasaki, where for more than 
two centuries the small Dutch colony formed the only 
connecting link between Japan and Europe; and the 
picturesque Inland Sea. But as the ravages of cholera 
were increasing in all this region at an alarming rate, 
we reluctantly gave up this part of the projected 
journej^, and decided to cross Lake Biwa, and then return 
to Yokohama and seek a safe retreat at Miyanoshita, or 
some other mountain resort. In pursuance of this plan, 
we took the evening train to Otsu, the largest city on 
Lake Biwa. I do not know what " Otsu " means, but 
it ought to mean "city of smells" or "poverty city" ; 
for smells and poverty seem to be its most striking- 
features, unless it be the dangerous-looking wells in the 
back yards ideal bacterial breeding places. In this 
stifling atmosphere of bad odors, I was glad to hear that 
the Bon-odori festival was to be celebrated at Otsu that 
very evening. I shall not apologize for that Eurasian pun, 
for in perverse Japan, the pun, as a matter of course, is 
a respectable and highly esteemed literary condiment. 



Indeed, scholars tell us that Japanese wit consists 
almost entirely of punning ; that the different kinds of 
pun are classified and explained in a special treatise 
called " The Philosophy of Wit " ; and that as early as 
the eighth century dexterity in punning was the most 
important element in verse making. It was probably 
this antiquity and respectability of the habit, combined 
with the national amiability, that caused my Japanese 
companion to laugh at my bon-odori pun, just as he 
had laughed on previous occasions when I told him that 
it was impossible to buy furniture in Japan without 
being bamboozled, and that the oddest thing about a 
Japanese fire is that the go-downs are the only build- 
ings that do not go down. Mr. Yabi was kind enough 
to say that if I had been born in Japan I would probably 
have been a poet. Quien sabe ? 

On account of threatening rain the Bon-odori festival 
an annual dance and musical carnival of villagers 
and peasants did not take place, after all. In the 
morning we found ourselves steaming northward on the 
largest body of fresh water in Japan, its dimensions being 
thirty -six miles by twelve, or about the size of the Lake 
of Geneva. In beauty and grandeur, however, it cannot 
be compared with the Swiss lakes of Geneva, Thun, or 
Lucerne, not to speak of our Californian Lake Tahoe. 
Yet it is not strange that the Japanese, who have never 
seen a grander lake, admire Biwa. Its water is perfectly 
sweet, yet its peculiar green color makes it look like a 
bay of the ocean. This verdant hue partly compensates 
for the absence of luxurious green vegetation on the 
sides of the mountains which frame it in. There is con- 
siderable variety of form in these mountains, but on the 
whole they are rather commonplace, and I do not won- 


der that the Japanese poets, in celebrating the " eight 
beauties " of Biwa, should have laid stress on adventi- 
tious features of the mise-en-scene, such as the autumn 
moon, mountain snow, sunsets, evening bells, rain, 
summer breezes, wild geese, and boats sailing on its 
surface. We saw many of these boats, especially at 
the widening upper part of the lake. If they can catch 
fish enough to feed the innumerable villages along the 
shore, the lake must indeed be inexhaustible. 

When we arrived at Hikone, near the upper end of 
the lake, we left the boat and took kurumas to a 
famous tea house about a mile away, noted for its land- 
scape garden with lakes and bridges, and for its fine 
lotos pond covering several acres, the largest and 
loveliest I had seen in Japan. It had once been a 
Daimyo's palace. Its compartments were as numerous 
as the rooms of an American seaside hotel, and we would 
have lost our way hopelessly in its labyrinths had not a 
young musume served as our guide. Leaving us finally 
in a room commanding a fine view of the lotos pond, 
she went back to fetch tea and tobacco for us. She had 
so much beauty that I easily persuaded her that she 
would not suffer if she allowed me to carry off some 
of it in my camera. 

The beauty of that lotos pond in full bloom I shall 
never forget ; unluckily my camera was quite as unable 
to register it as its faint but exquisite perfume. The 
reader has perhaps wondered why, after naming my 
book Lotos-Time in Jajyan, I should not have attempted 
to describe the lotos more fully. But how can any one 
be expected to sketch this marvellous flower in words, 
when even a great painter can give but a vague idea of 
its beauty ? No one has painted Japanese scenes more 


realistically and picturesquely than Mr. Alfred Parsons, 
yet read his confession : 

"The lotos is one of the most difficult plants which it has ever 
been my lot to try and paint ; the flowers are at their best only in 
the early morning, and each blossom after it has opened closes 
again before noon the first day, and on the second day its petals 
drop. The leaves are so large and so full of modelling that it is 
impossible to generalize them as a mass ; each one has to be care- 
fully studied, and every breath of wind disturbs their delicate 
balance and completely alters their forms. Besides this their 
glaucous surface, like that of a cabbage leaf, reflects every passing 
phase of the sky, and is constantly changing in color as clouds 
pass over." 

It is difficult to imagine what the Japanese would do 
without the lotos. In their art it is almost as frequent 
a subject as Fuji. The children use the big leaves for 
sunshades, the seeds for marbles, or to eat, while the 
adults would answer the conundrum, "when is a pond 
not a pond? " with "when it has no lotos in it." The 
one blemish in Professor Chamberlain's delightful Things 
Japanese is the omission of all reference to the lotos ; 
for is not the lotos of all things the most Japanese? 
True, it is an importation from India, and does not 
grow wild in Japan ; but like other foreign things which 
the Japanese adopted centuries ago, they have made it 
peculiarly their own ; and since the Japanization of our 
art and furniture began we have gradually learned to 
take the Japanese esthetic view of the lotos, dropping 
the sensual gastronomic suggestiveness given to it by 
the older poets, who relied on the tales of Herodotus 
and Homer about the lotos-eaters who ate the fruit, and 
drank the wine made of a special variety of the plant. 
In India, too (and in China), the lotos has an esthetic 
significance, being the emblem of female beauty. In 


Southern India it is believed that the color of the red 
lotos comes from the blood of Siva when he was 
wounded by Cupid's arrows. One of the loveliest be- 
quests of Buddhism to Japan is the symbolical idea 
that as this exquisitely pure and fragrant flower grows 
out of the mud of a pond, so the human mind should 
rise above earthly conditions into the pure regions of 
spiritual life. The images of Buddha are usually seated 
on a lotos, and with the worship of Buddha the adora- 
tion of the lotos flower has impressed itself on the 
whole nation. 

America is not likely to be converted to Buddhism, 
but I predict that early in the twentieth century lotos 
ponds will be as frequent in America as they are now 
in Japan. It is perhaps not generally known that 
there is a species of the lotos which grows wild in 
America, but it is shy and rare, and does not flourish so 
well as the imported lotos. Eight years ago an attempt 
was made to acclimatize the Japanese lotos in the 
ponds of Central Park in New York. Ignorant, appar- 
ently, of the fact that it is a very hardy plant which 
flourishes even in the Siberian climate of Yezo, the 
gardeners for a few years carefully housed the roots in 
winter. Now they allow them to remain undisturbed, 
the result being that there are already over five thou- 
sand plants in the Park. Indeed, they grow so luxuri- 
antly that some of the plants have to be weeded out 
every year. The Homeric lotos made the companions 
of Ulysses forget their home, but these lotos plants 
give to parts of Central Park an exotic local color that 
must remind our Japanese visitors of home. I believe 
that these plants have a hygienic value, too, for the 
roots must destroy the foulness in which they live, and 


it seems to me that these ponds are less offensive than 
they used to be. I hope, too, that American epicures 
will ere long ask for the lotos root, because that would 
help to multiply the number of fragrant lotos ponds. 

The lotos is only one of the many desirable gifts 
Japan can send us. The remaining pages of this volume 
will be devoted to a consideration of some of the other 
flowers of civilization which we might advantageously 
transplant to our own gardens. 





Congreve probably knew little or nothing about the 
Japanese, yet he neatly summed up a notion still prev- 
alent about them when he wrote: " Your Antipodes are 
a good rascally sort of topsie-turvy Fellows If I had 
a Bumper I'd stand upon my Head and drink a Health 
to 'em." This notion was naturally confirmed by the 
"Mikado" of W. S. Gilbert, whose specialty is topsy- 
turviness ; and many of the incidents related in the 
present volume bear it out. But the funniest tale 
remains to be told. It was related to me by a Yoko- 
hama friend. One evening he arrived at a mountain 
inn with an educated Japanese companion. They had 
been caught in the rain, and their trousers were wet 
half through. It was too early to go to bed, and no 
change of clothes was at hand ; so what does the Japa- 
nese student do ? He takes off his trousers, turns them 
inside out and puts them on again, explaining this 
strange proceeding by saying that he was afraid he 
might catch cold ! This is almost as perverse as an in- 
cident related by the Rev. W. E. Griffis. When he first 
arrived in Japan, a number of foreigners had been 
t 273 


killed by chauvinistic fanatics, wherefore the govern- 
ment took special measures to protect the imported 
teachers ; and this is the way it was done : " One bette 
(armed man) accompanied one foreigner, four of them 
went with two, and eight with three. One would sup- 
pose that a single foreigner was in greater danger than 
when with a companion." 

Japan is a land without bakers and butchers. Rice 
takes the place of bread, fish, and meat. No meat, no 
hides ; hence shoes are made by the carpenters. If you 
are ill and call on the doctor, you pay for the medicine 
only ; if he calls on you, he charges no fee, but expects 
a present, as it is considered more honorable to take a 
present than a fee. There are no special drug stores. 
The merchant comes to the customer. Tradespeople 
are lower in the social scale than artisans or farmers. 
Our society people pride themselves on their fast horses; 
the Japanese consider it vulgar to ride fast. Theatrical 
performances begin in the morning. Very long calls 
are in good form. A Avoman indicates her exact age 
in dress and coiffure. Dancing is done by hired girls, 
courtship carried on by proxy. There is no harm in 
being seen naked, but a kiss is always improper. Man 
is heavenly, woman earthly. Filial love is above con- 
jugal love ; a bride wears mourning, because she leaves 
her parents. A widower mourns his wife three months, 
a widow must mourn her husband thirteen months. 
Infants under three months are not mourned for at all. 

Japanese religions dwell together in peace. Chris- 
tian missionaries aver that " no sermon can be prolix 
enough to stay the insatiable appetite of their converts." 
Ghosts are not feared, but welcomed. Theatres and tem- 
ples are good neighbors. In literature plagiarism is 


considered a merit, because it proves a good memory. 
A poet's productions are not as a rule published sepa- 
rately, but as part of an anthology of all the poets of 
his time. The pun is the most esteemed form of wit. 
In school, dissatisfied pupils dismiss their teacher. 

Heine wrote that if the Romans had been obliged to 
learn Latin they could not have found time to conquer 
the world. But Latin is child's play compared with 
Japanese, which the early missionaries were convinced 
had been invented by the devil to prevent them from 
converting the natives. One variety of American news- 
paper humor consists in translating jokes verbatim from 
German or French papers ; for instance : " Bachelor (in 
restaurant) ' I know at all not, wherefore a man 
marry should ! One can certainly also quite well alone 
two portions eat.' ' : This, at any rate, is intelligible, 
but what the logical process of the Japanese mind is, 
may be gathered from this letter from Japan which a 
New York merchant has kindly allowed me to copy : 

" "We shall present to your company the bamboo fishing rod, a 
net basket and a reel, as we have just convenience ; all those were 
very rough and simply to your laughing for your kind reply which 
you sent us the catalogue of fishing tackles last, etc. 

" Wishing we that now at Japan there it was not in prevailing 
fish gaming, but fishermen. In scarcely therefore but we do not 
measure how the progression of the germ of the fishing game 
beforehand. Therefore, we may yield of feeling to restock in my 
store your countries fishing tackles, etc. 

" Should you have the kindness to send a such farther country, 
even in a few partake when we send the money in ordering of 
them should you." 

As the reader may possibly suspect, this is an order 
for fishing tackle. The merchant informs me that he 
filled the order and got his money ! But this mixing 


of words, like dice in a box, is only one phase of tlie 
total depravity of the Japanese language. In this lan- 
guage arimas means pretty much anything you please, 
"I am," "you are," "she is," etc., while arimasen 
means the opposite. In English " I " is " I " for short 
and good, but in Tokyo a man says watalcushi in speak- 
ing to a friend, ore in addressing an inferior, temage if 
he wants to be humble, boku if he is a student among 
students, ivattchi among rustics, tvatashi or oira to be 
familiar, and so on. Japanese grammar, in short, re- 
minds one a good deal of the joke played on a French 
emigrant by an American wag who told him on the 
steamer, by way of illustrating the difficulties of the 
English language, that the verb " to go " was conju- 
gated as follows: " I go, you leave, he departs, we clear 
out, you skedaddle, they absquatulate." The French- 
man took the next steamer back to Havre. 

Nature herself occasionally assumes a rascally sort 
of topsy-turviness. Lacquer is the most Japanese of 
all products to japan means to lacquer. And what 
does lacquer do ? It flies in the face of all the laws of 
nature ; it refuses to dry in the sun, but amiably sub- 
mits to any amount of desiccation if you humor its 
whim by supplying a damp atmosphere. Again, the 
prevailing wind is south in summer, north in winter. 
For this, indeed, the most fanatic admirer of Japan 
could offer no excuse. 

But the oddity is not always on the side of the 
Japanese. Often their way is as wise as ours, some- 
times wiser. Circumstances alter cases. We eat rice 
with sugar and cream, the Japanese eat it with pickles. 
Pickles are cheaper, and in a hot climate more agreeable 
and digestible than cloying sweets. Japanese kitchen 


girls wash their dishes in cold water ; it is cheaper than 
hot water, which is not needed, as no butter or grease is 
used in their cooking. We build our houses of the 
solidest materials we can find iron and stone, they 
build theirs of wood, paper, and bamboo ; our walls are 
fixed, theirs movable. Our houses are more sensible in 
solid America, theirs in earthquake-shaken Japan. In 
entering a house we take off the hat, they the shoes ; 
their way is cleaner, and we admit it practically by now 
wearing rubbers on muddy days and removing them at 
the door. Japanese women make the mistake of pre- 
ferring straight hair to curls ; but they atone for that 
by preferring a natural waist to a wasp waist. Court- 
ship by proxy is an absurdity which is largely responsi- 
ble for the fact that there is one divorce to every three 
Japanese marriages ; but I can see some sense, in a hot 
climate, in hiring dancers instead of dancing yourself. 
It is absurd to begin meals with wine and sweets ; but 
I think it is more sensible to drink soup out of a 
lacquer bowl than to sip it from the side of a spoon 
instead of from the end as intended by the spoon- 
makers. It is foolish for the Japanese to make the 
abdomen the seat of the mental faculties, but do we not 
locate the soul in the heart? We prefer sitting to 
kneeling ; but the Japanese attitude keeps the feet 
warm in cold weather. 

The Japanese begin the year in spring, we in mid- 
winter. Which is topsy-turvy ? We think it strange 
that they should cultivate plum and cherry trees for 
their flowers, not their fruits ; but their cherries are like 
choke cherries, and even if they were good to eat, is 
not "cherry blossom viewing" more refined and refining 
than munching cherries and spitting out the stones? 


Consider the Japanese way of carrying babies on the 
back. Is it not much more sensible than our way, 
since it leaves the carrier the free use of her arms and 
hands? Take another case. Everybody has heard of 
the showman who fooled the rustics by advertising a 
horse that had "the tail where the head ought to be, 
and the head where the tail ought to be." He had 
simply turned the horse round in the stable. That is 
the Japanese way of placing a horse, and it is more 
rational than our way. He can be fed from a suspended 
sack or bucket, the hostler runs no risk of being kicked, 
and the horse is in proper position to be taken out 
and hitched to the wagon. Our fire companies have 
admitted our topsy-turviness by adopting the Japanese 

I would even go so far as to approve of the Japanese 
way of beginning a book or newspaper at what we call the 
end. I speak from practical experience. For a number 
of years part of my work in a large newspaper office 
consisted in reading all the English, French, and Ger- 
man exchanges. After a while I found that I had 
unconsciously got into the habit of beginning at the 
last page, in spite of obvious obstacles. Finally, for 
I must stop, not for lack of material, but of space, I 
think we are unpardonably topsy-turvy in the way we 
address letters. When you mail a letter, who gets it 
first ? The postal clerk. What does he want to know 
first? Whether it is for America or Europe. What 
does the next distributor want to know ? What country 
in Europe, and what city it is for. And the next? The 
street, of course ; and finally the number, the family and 
the individual. Now that is the way the Japanese 
address a letter. They write " America, New York, 


Broadway 210, Brown John Mr.," while we say, "Mr. 
John Brown, 210 Broadway, New York," thus compel- 
ling everybody who handles the letter to read it from 
below up, contrary to all our literary usages. 





There are at present more than six hundred foreign 
missionaries in Japan. Nevertheless, the reports do not 
show a rapid rate of conversion ; the whole number of 
native Christians in 1894 was only 105,000 in a popula- 
tion of more than 40,000,000 one Christian to every 
400 Buddhists, Shintoists, and agnostics. The converts 
are, indeed, largely recruited from the educated classes, 
but it is from these same classes that the strongest oppo- 
sition to the new religion comes. They read the books 
of Spencer, Darwin, Huxley, and other leaders of Euro- 
pean thought, and declare bluntly that they do not care 
to take up dogmas which such thinkers are discarding. 
The masses, devoted to ancestor worship, shudder at the 
idea that their beloved ancestors are damned forever, 
because they were not of the true faith : if converted at 
all, they prefer the more liberal creeds. They will never 
adopt a Puritan Sunday, or believe in hanging a cat on 
Monday for catching mice on Sunday. Strict Bud- 
dhists consider attacks on their beliefs as blasphemous 
as Christians do attacks on theirs. On the thoughtful 
Japanese the missionaries are apt to create a bad im- 



pression by their sectarianism, of which Mr. Gordon, in 
his candid volume entitled An American Missionary in 
Japan, says : 

" It is doubtful whether the world has ever seen or ever will see 
a more striking exhibition of the absurdities of Christian denomi- 
nationalism ; more than thirty different societies, all bearing the 
name of Christ, but each with something peculiar in its character, 
its history, or its methods, working in one small country, the 
majority of them in a single city." 

A Japanese agnostic said to me one day : " We have 
just discarded Buddhism, with its numerous sects and 
factions, and we are not going to take up a new religion 
with the same ecclesiastic shortcomings. If the mis- 
sionaries want to convert us to Christianity, would it 
not be well for them first to come to some agreement as 
to what Christianity is ? Another question. I read the 
other day that Berlin has only eighty-eight churches 
for a population of nearly two millions ! I am told 
that other Christian cities are not much better supplied. 
And in a New York newspaper I have read the serious 
assertion that the majority of the people, and more 
especially the educated people, are as much pagans as 
the inhabitants of Tokyo. Why don't the missionaries 
Christianize America and Europe before they come to 

Three centuries ago, when Xavier first attempted to 
introduce Christianity, the Japanese told him that they 
would hear what they had to say and then wait and see 
whether their conduct agreed with their words. Is the 
reason of the slow progress of Christianity to be sought 
in the fact that foreigners have been judged, not by 
their creeds, but by their deeds ? Does not the He v. 


W. E. Griffis bear witness to the fact that " in their 
financial and warlike operations in Japan, the foreign 
ministers seem to have acted as though there was no 
day of judgment " ? To take only one instance, as 
summed up by Professor Wigmore : " The murder of 
Richardson, and the British retaliatory expedition to 
Kagoshima, which bombarded and destroyed an innocent 
city of 100,000 people, in revenge for the well-provoked 
killing of a single insolent brute, and then demanded 
and obtained $3,000,000 from a poor nation, in payment 
(grossly excessive) of the expenses of the raid." Like 
other Eastern nations the Japanese have long ago found 
out that, as Professor Chamberlain remarks, " Our 
Christian and humanitarian professions are really noth- 
ing but bunkum. The history of India, of Egypt, of 
Turkey, is no secret to them. More familiar still is the 
sweet reasonableness of California's treatment of the 

And what can the Japanese say of our " Christian " 
treatment of the Indians when they read Mrs. Jack- 
son's 514 page volume, A Century of Dishono?*, which 
tells a tale "too monstrous to believe" a tale which 
Bishop Whipple of Minnesota characterizes as a "sad 
revelation of broken faith, of violated treaties, and of 
inhuman deeds of violence " which " will bring a blush 
of shame to the cheeks of those who love their country " ; 
a tale based on official documents the commission ap- 
pointed in 1869 by President Grant having reported 
that "in our Indian wars, almost without exception, the 
first aggressions have been made by the white man " 
a verdict true of nineteen out of twenty cases of murder 
of foreigners in Japan. What can the Japanese say 
when they read that American slavery, which John 


Wesley called " the vilest that ever saw the sun," with 
its cruel separation of families and abrogation of the 
marriage institution, was not abolished till 1865, or 
thirteen years after our "civilization" was sup- 
posed to have been introduced in Japan by Perry's 
gunboats? Buddhist Japan never had any slavery, 
while Christian America has only just abolished hers, 
yet we are always throwing stones at Japan. 

There are two charges, in particular, that are con- 
stantly flung in the face of the Japanese by foreign 
merchants and missionaries the imputation of com- 
mercial and sexual immorality. Yokohama merchants 
love to contrast the honesty of the Chinese with the 
rascality of the Japanese. Apropos, I have just read an 
account of a lecture given in London by Mr. A. G. Stan- 
ton, of the condition of the Chinese tea trade. Thirty 
years ago China had practically the monopoly of the 
British market, and to-day it supplies only 12 per cent 
of the imports, mainly because of the commercial dis- 
honesty of the Chinese, their growing habit of selling 
" lie tea." No doubt, Japanese merchants are * not 
always models of honesty and reliability ; but are our 
merchants ? Foreigners at Yokohama tell you that the 
native traders are apt not to keep their promises " if the 
market goes against them" ; but can you blame a guile- 
less native for trying to get out of a trap which may 
have been laid for him by sharp " Wall-Street " prac- 
tices by foreigners who expect to buy in Japan for ten 
cents and sell in New York or London for a dollar? 

Adulteration of food is another form of commercial 
dishonesty for which the Japanese have been censured. 
But I doubt very, very much if Japan could match the 
report of Special Agent A. J. Wedderburn of the United 


States Agricultural Department, which reveals the hor- 
rible fact that the amount of food adulteration " reaches 
the immense sum of $1,014,000,000 annually. As at 
least 2 per cent of the whole is deleterious to health, 
$135,200,000 constitutes the annual amount paid by the 
American people for sacrifice of their lives or injury of 
their health." 

Sexual immorality is no doubt a most prevalent vice 
in Japan as it is in all other countries. It cannot be 
denied that the foulest stain on Japan's fair name is the 
historic habit of selling pure, innocent young girls into 
a life of shame to get their parents out of debt. But it 
is wrong to judge this barbarous custom entirely from a 
Western point of view. It is simply a corollary of the 
Confucian idea that filial love and obedience are the 
highest virtues, to which all others, even chastity, must 
be sacrificed. Thus it happens that a certain ethical 
glamour is thrown around the sacrifice of such girls, 
who are frequently the heroines of Japanese novels. 
But it is extremely absurd to infer from this state of 
affairs that chastity is not esteemed a virtue at all. The 
fate of such girls is deplored, the joro is abhorred, and 
the average of chastity is as high as in Europe or 
America ; Professor Ono's comparative statistics show 
that crimes of personal violence and sexual crimes are 
far fewer than in the West. By the old laws of Japan, 
adultery was punished by crucifixion; later by decapi- 
tation and exposure of the head. Concubinage, though 
allowed by law, is considered a degradation. 

There is nothing in Japan to compare with the hor- 
rible prevalence of incest in the London slums ; nothing 
to compare with the rate of illegitimacy in Vienna, and 
the Japan Mail of May 21, 1892, says: " The unfortu- 


nate truth is that the most flagrantly immoral parts of 
Japan at present are the slums and neighborhood of 
the open ports." " Before they opened any port to 
foreign trade," says the Rev. Mr. Griffis, " the Japanese 
built two places for the foreigner a custom-house and 
a brothel. . . . They believed the foreigners to be far 
worse than themselves. How far were they wrong? " 

How far, indeed ! The New York Medical Journal 
of June 9, 1894, contains an article showing on the con- 
current testimony of the Hon. Elbridge T. Gerry and 
Superintendent Byrnes, of the police department, that 
the number of prostitutes in New York is "at least 
40,000," and that " the yearly expenditure of dissolute 
men in New York upon prostitutes would aggregate 
over 840,000,000." 

Is it not about time to protest against the constant 
references to Japanese immorality in missionary reports? 
" Why beh oldest thou the mote that is in thy brother's 
eye, but not the beam in thy own ? " 






We are so accustomed to regarding Oriental races 
as barbarous or half-civilized, that it is a wholesome 
check to our vanity to dwell occasionally on those 
things in which we are barbarians and the Asiatics 
civilized. In their attitude toward nudity, and in 
their bathing habits, the Japanese are far superior to 
ourselves as a nation ; yet their indifference to nudity 
and some of their bathing customs were largely re- 
sponsible for the moral misrepresentations to which 
foreign visitors have given vogue. Explorers and 
students of anthropology have pointed out that tribes 
which go naked are not a bit less moral than those 
which wear clothing. Yet these visitors fancied that 
because Japanese men and women were seen together 
naked in the public baths, therefore they must be 
as degraded as Americans or Europeans who would 
do such a thing must necessarily be with our ideas 
of propriety. Even so intelligent a man as Com- 
modore Perry made this mistake. Writing of Simoda, 



he says, " A scene at one of the public baths, where 
the sexes mingled indiscriminately, unconscious of 
their nudity, "was not calculated to impress Ameri- 
cans with a favorable opinion of the morals of thu 
inhabitants." Laurence Oliphant notes, without com- 
ment, that when his party passed along the streets of 
Yeddo, " bathers of both sexes, regardless of the fact 
that they had nothing on but soap, or the Japanese 
substitute for it, crowded the doors " to get a glimpse 
of the foreigners. Sir Rutherford Alcock refers to " the 
bathing houses, which, strongly lighted, show through 
their lattice bars and open doors a crowd of both sexes 
on opposite sides, with a mathematical line of separa- 
tion " ; but he is broad-minded enough to explain that 
"where there is no sense of immodesty, no conscious- 
ness of wrong-doing, there is, or may be, a like absence 
of depraved feeling." 

It is characteristic of the Japanese that when Com- 
modore Perry expressed his surprise at the promiscuous 
bathing at Simoda, they told him that it was not a 
universal practice throughout Japan ! They would 
rather tell a lie than have a visitor think ill of them, 
though they doubtless wondered why he should be so 
absurdly fussy. It was this sensitiveness to foreign 
opinion that led the Governor of Kanagawa in 1867 to 
post this notice : 

" Those who come from diverse places to Yokohama, and make 
their living as porters, carters, laborers, coolies, and boatmen, are 
in the habit, especially in the summer, of plying their calling in a 
state bordering on nudity. This is very reprehensible ; and in 
future no one who does not wear a shirt or tunic, properly closed 
by a girdle, will be allowed to remain in Yokohama. The coolie 
masters are to give liberal assistance for the suppression of such 


The historian Black, from whose work the above 
edict is quoted, thus comments on the then prevalent 
habit of going about with only a loin cloth : " No 
Japanese ever saw any impropriety in it until we 
pointed it out to them. And they altered it to please 
us." I am sure it was a foolish thing on the part of 
the amiable Japanese to make this concession to the 
false modesty of foreigners. Instead of passing the 
general law of 1872 against nudity, they should have 
replied to their censors somewhat in this fashion : " In 
a climate where even those who remain idle in the 
shade are covered with a profuse perspiration which, 
on account of the damp air, evaporates very slowly, or 
not at all, clothing of any sort is a torture to those who 
have to toil in the sun ten or more hours a day. The 
well-to-do are more or less dressed anyway, but the 
coolies must be allowed to go naked, for the sake of 
their health as well as their comfort ; and if any for- 
eigners see harm in this, they are at liberty to leave by 
the next steamer. Nudity is essential to the health of 
the coolies, on account of their profuse perspiration. 
Your physiological science tells us that we breathe 
through the pores of the skin quite as much as through 
the lungs ; but if the skin is swathed in wet clothing, 
how can its pores breathe ? A coolie cannot be clean 
unless he is naked ; and do you not say that cleanliness 
is next to godliness ? It is from this point of view that 
we can understand why in some parts of India there is, 
according to an English writer, ' a profound suspicion 
of the irreligiousness of clothing.' Anthropology proves 
that it was not modesty, but the necessity of protection 
against cold, that led to the adoption of clothing. It 
has been found in Java that the children of foreigners 


do not live unless they are allowed to go naked. If 
the English in India would allow their children to go 
naked, they would not have to send them to the moun- 
tains or to Europe to save their lives. Only those who 
submit to the laws of nature are found fit to survive. 

" Furthermore, the attitude of various nations toward 
nudity is purely a matter of convention. Mohammedan 
women think it sinful to show their faces, but uncover 
their legs without hesitation. Chinese women consider 
it shockingly immodest to let any one see their crippled 
feet. Hindoo women hide their faces, while their 
figures are clearly revealed through their transparent 
gauze dress. Plato, whom Christians honor as one of 
the greatest of philosophers, said that young men and 
women should see each other naked in order to be able 
to see what sort of a person they are to many. The 
Greeks in general, whom you honor as the most civil- 
ized nation of all times, would have been as much sur- 
prised as we are at your prudish horror of nudity. 

"Remember the mote and the beam. One of your 
own writers says that ' to a Japanese the sight of 
our dazzling ballrooms, with girls in decollete dresses, 
clasped in the arms of their partners, and whirling to the 
sound of excited music, must seem the wildest debauch 
imaginable ; for in Japan the sexes, except among the 
lower classes, never intermingle.' Another of your 
writers, a woman, has summed up the matter admi- 
rably in these words : ' According to the Japanese 
standard, any exposure of the person that is merely 
incidental to health, cleanliness, or convenience in 
doing necessary work, is perfectly modest and allow- 
able ; but an exposure, no matter how slight, that is 
simply for show, is in the highest degree indelicate. 


. . . To the Japanese mind it is immodest to want to 
show off a pretty figure.' Your ' living pictures ' would 
be strongly condemned by us. You will be able to 
appreciate all these points more easily when you bear 
in mind your own variable standards. If your women 
should reveal their bosoms on the beach as they do in 
a ballroom, they would be denounced as immodest ; if 
they should expose their legs in a ballroom as they do 
on the beach, they would be handed over to the police." 

As a matter of fact, neither the American ball dress 
nor the bathing costume is immodest, whatever Japan- 
ese may think of it ; and, conversely, Japanese expos- 
ure is perfectly proper, whatever we may think of it. 
To a pure mind there is much more modesty in the 
unconscious nudity of rural women than in the con- 
scious gesture with which a T5kyo girl covers her 
bosom whenever she sees a foreigner. It is surprising 
how quickly foreigners usually adopt the naive Japan- 
ese point of view : in a few weeks one looks on naked- 
ness with the same indifference as the Japanese, except 
when a beautiful figure arrests the esthetic attention. 
Our artists go into raptures over the fine opportunities 
for the study of muscles in action afforded in Japan. 
The reader will find in Miss Bird's Unbeaten Tracks 
(I. 305) an amusing illustration of how even such a 
model of propriety as that distinguished tourist found 
herself taking the part of her runners against the 
police trying to enforce the cruel law against nudity. 

Not only are the Japanese in their indifference to 
nudity more sensible and pure-minded than their cen- 
sors, but in the matter of bathing and cleanliness they 
are as a nation infinitely more civilized than Europeans 
and Americans. That Jajyan has no " Great Unwashed" 


is a statement of such wide bearing- that the Occidental 
mind can scarce grasp its significance at first hearing. 
You may be hemmed in by the densest crowd in Tokyo 
on a sultry summer day, or stand among busy work- 
men whose scant clothing is wet, and never will your 
nostrils be offended by that disagreeable summer odor 
of humanity, which would be noticeable in other coun- 
tries under similar circumstances. 

Being a nation of agnostics, the Japanese could 
hardly be expected to sympathize with the old Hebrew 
doctrine which places cleanliness next to godliness. 
They make cleanliness the first of all virtues, and the 
daily bath the first of all duties. While New York 
had to wait until the year 1891, before a project was 
started for supplying the Great Unwashed with baths 
at a reasonable rate, the metropolis of Japan has offered 
such opportunities as far back as the records go. T5kyo 
has to-day about 800 public baths, in which 800,000 
persons, or almost a fourth of the population, bathe every 
day, at a cost of one cent for each hot bath ; and besides 
this every family, except some of the very poorest, has 
its own private bath room in the house, or at least a tub 
and plenty of hot water. If you stop at the humblest 
village inn for lunch, a basin of water is brought, in 
which to wash the feet ; and if you stay for the night, 
hardly has a room been assigned to you, when a girl 
appears to conduct you to the bath, for the use of which 
no charge is made. Nothing surprises them more than 
a foreigner who refuses to take at least one hot bath a 
day. They themselves are more likely to take two or 
three; and the consequence is that they are the clean- 
est people in the world. 

It has been said that they value the bath not so much 


for its cleansing effect as for the enjoyment of a sensu- 
ous luxury. Suppose we were to grant this, what dif- 
ference does it make, so long as it leaves them the clean- 
est people in the world? But it is not true. The 
aspect of their streets and houses shows that they value 
cleanliness for its own sake. They have, besides, a use 
for the hot bath which may be considered unique. 
Their houses affording but poor protection against 
chilling winds, and having no fireplaces, the hot 
bath is frequently used as a last resort for getting 
warm. Professor Chamberlain relates that one day 
some of the inhabitants of a certain village, famed for 
its hot springs, excused themselves to him for their 
dirtiness during the busy summer months. " For," 
said they, "we have only time to bathe twice a day." 
"How often, then, do you bathe in winter?" "Oh! 
about four or five times daily. The children get into 
the bath whenever they feel cold." 

Farsari's guide book attributes the premature aging 
of Japanese women in part to their too frequent indul- 
gence in the hot bath, but Dr. Baelz, the best authority 
on Japanese physique, declares that these baths have 
many advantages, but not a single disadvantage, so far 
as he could ascertain. It is commonly supposed that 
hot baths unbrace the nerves and invite colds, but this 
is true only of warm, and not of hot baths, such as the 
Japanese indulge in, at a temperature of 110 to 115, 
which, in some cases, is increased to 120, and occasion- 
ally even to 130 Fahrenheit. Foreigners cannot endure 
such temperatures, but the natives revel in them, and 
the effect on them is so bracing and strengthening that 
they can, and often do, emerge from the tub and walk 
some distance in the coldest winter weather without 


a stitch of clothing on, and without catching a cold. 
When foreign physicians were first imported and looked 
up to in Japan, about twenty years ago, they actually 
succeeded, in their ignorance, in making the Govern- 
ment pass a law forbidding a higher temperature than 
blood heat; but the mistake was soon discovered, and 
the law repealed. To-day those of the foreign resi- 
dents who are wisest, have given up their cold baths, 
and try to approximate the Japanese temperature as 
closely as possible. 

The Japanese bath tub is usually a square wooden 
tank, sometimes large enough to admit several persons 
at a time. The water can be heated in a short time by 
means of a copper tube standing in one corner of the 
tub, and having a grating for charcoal at the bottom. 
For economical reasons the Japanese never have bath 
tubs to lie in, but usually make them only wide enough 
so that one can sit or kneel, which requires less water, 
and therefore less coal. 

So far all seems well ; but there is (apart from the 
indifference to nudity) one thing about Japanese baths 
which is apt to stagger foreign visitors the use of the 
same water by a number of persons. When the family 
bath is ready, the father, mother, children, and servants 
all enter it in the order here given. In crowded inns, 
a score or two of guests, entire strangers to each other, 
are expected to use the same water (to economize fuel). 
This may seem better than no bath at all, and as the 
natives wash themselves all over before entering the 
tub, the objection may be largely imaginary ; but we 
cannot overcome our predilection for a fresh tub for 
each individual, and communism in bathing does not 
seem an inviting 1 form of hygienic diversion. We have 


similar forms of aqueous communism at Baden-Baden, 
the hot baths in Switzerland, and the large tanks in our 
Turkish baths ; but there, at least, the water flows inces- 
santly. Many of the Japanese are fastidious enough to 
have a bucket of fresh water poured over themselves 
after the communal tubbing. 

It is not only the poorest families those who cannot 
afford a tub at home that frequent the public baths ; 
many go there to gossip with friends ; wherefore, as 
previously intimated, more than a quarter of a million 
of the natives of Tokyo scrub and boil themselves to- 
gether every afternoon. In obedience to law, the bath 
rooms are no longer fully exposed to the street, but they 
are only closed below, and any one who chooses can look 
in through the latticed bars above ; nor do the bathers 
object to such a proceeding. There is always a separate 
tank for women and one for men, but the partition 
between them is only a few feet in height, and what is 
stranger still, a man may be seen waiting on a score or 
more of women on their side, while on the men's side 
a girl stands to receive the admission fee. There may 
be twenty or thirty men or boys on one side, and as 
many women and girls on the other, chatting, scrubbing, 
tubbing, some standing, others kneeling before a small 
tub or bucket, using their bran bags, which make the 
skin soft and smooth. Soap is not favored, for there 
is a superstition that it makes the hair turn red, and 
red is the color of the Japanese devil. Every minute 
one or two leave the room, their skins glowing with 
health, while the newcomers disappear behind a screen 
and in a moment emerge stark naked and join the 
chatting crowd. 

When Taro took us for the first time on a tour of 


inspection of the public baths, he opened the door on 
the women's side and seemed surprised at the Occidental 
diffidence which prevented us from accepting his invita- 
tion to walk right in. It would have been, not improper, 
but impolite to do so. For purposes of esthetic study 
and comparison it was sufficient to take a peep through 
the grating. Thus we saw in Tokyo, and especially 
in Kyoto, many "living pictures'" that would have 
delighted the most fastidious Occidental sculptor of 
Psyches. It is true that the majority of the women, 
in Japan as elsewhere, have ugly or imperfect figures ; 
but the proportion of well-rounded, symmetrical shapes 
to be seen at these baths is larger than one might 
expect. While the faces of the aristocratic women 
(who bathe at home) are as a rule more refined and 
beautiful, there can be no doubt that sculptors would 
find more available models in the communistic bath 
tubs than in the private ones, because in all countries 
the most shapely figures are habitually found among 
the classes who are obliged by poverty to exercise their 
limbs into muscular rotundity. 

A very interesting but perplexing question occurred 
to me in gazing at these Oriental beauties. It is one 
of the commonplaces of art historians that the main 
reason why the Greeks were such great sculptors and 
lovers of human beauty was, that they could feast their 
eyes daily on beautiful nude models at their games and 
elsewhere. If this view be accepted, why is it that the 
Japanese artists, who have had even more abundant 
opportunity to study the nude, have sculptured and 
painted no Oriental Venus, Psyche, and Apollo ? 

It cannot be that the neglect of the nude is due to 
the want of good models, for such models are as abun- 


dant here as anywhere else except perhaps in Spanish 
countries ; and it is, moreover, a function of artists to 
assist nature by judicious selection and imaginative 
combination of perfect parts occurring in different indi- 
viduals. Some writers have attributed the neglect of 
the human figure by Japanese artists to a religious 
prejudice that is, to the Buddhist tradition which, 
like the asceticism of media3val European churchmen, 
inculcated contempt of the human body as being a 
mere prison for the immortal soul, whose chief desire 
is to get away from this living carcass. If this be 
true, and there is doubtless some truth in it, we 
owe to Buddhism a tremendous grudge ; for these 
Japanese painters who have drawn flowers, fishes, 
birds, and other living things, with an art nowhere 
equalled think what visions of loveliness and grace 
they might have copied and perpetuated during the 
centuries when they had so many thousand of living 
human models before their eyes daily ! 

I believe, however, that the deeper explanation lies 
in the traditional eagerness of these artists to paint the 
kaleidoscopic patterns and colors of the kimonos, 
the gorgeous dresses of their women, which afforded 
them an endless variety of patterns and tints. In look- 
ing at the conventional classical pictures of women it is 
easy to see that in most cases "the kimono's the thing." 
Some of these garments are dreams of beauty, and they 
lend themselves to many graceful folds, curves, and atti- 
tudes. Not only the nude figure, but even the face, is 
sacrificed to this love of bright kimonos. Of the whole 
body nothing is usually visible in these pictures, except 
the hands and face, with perhaps a glimpse of the 
neck ; the face being a stereotyped doll physiognomy 


always the same straight nose, the same exaggeratedly 
oblique eyes, barely open enough to admit a ray of light, 
the same impossible distance between eyes and eye- 
brows, and the same tiny and absolutely characterless 
mouth, painted apparently with a single stroke of the 
brush. These pictures no more resemble the faces of 
actual Japanese maidens than an Italian soprano's florid 
aria resembles her every-day speech. 








One of the strangest of Japanese paradoxes is this : 
that, although in the principal arts music, sculpture, 
architecture, painting, and poetry the nations of Eu- 
rope have surpassed all the Orientals, nevertheless, the 
Japanese are the only truly artistic nation in the world 
the Esthetic Nation par excellence. 

Music. It is in the " divine art " that the Orientals 
are most distinctly our inferiors. That Japanese music 
does not, as a rule, please resident foreigners and tour- 
ists, is amusingly obvious from the words in which they 
usually allude to it: "horrible beyond description," 
"an agonizing mystery," and so on. This, however, 
would not prove much in itself, since musical history 
shows that from the time of Monteverde to Wagner, 
Europeans have quite as fiercely and savagely abused 
the music of the men of genius who dared to make in- 
novations within the sphere of their own music ; where- 
fore one could hardly expect them to take kindly to 



such an utterly novel tone-art as the Japanese. It must 
be borne in mind, also, that there are two sides to the 
shield : to the Japanese our music seems quite as funny 
and excruciating as theirs does to us. Netto has an 
amusing page on his experiences in this line, and Cham- 
berlain tells of a memorable performance in Tokyo, by 
Italian opera singers. The native hearers " were seized 
with a wild fit of hilarity at the high notes of the prima 
donna, who really was not at all bad. The people 
laughed at the absurdities of European singing till their 
sides shook and the tears rolled down their cheeks; and 
they stuffed their sleeves into their mouths, as we might 
our pocket handkerchiefs, in the vain endeavor to con- 
tain themselves." 

Some foreign residents have found Japanese music 
an acquired taste which gradually became a fascination. 
Thus Mr. Lafcadio Hearn speaks of " the strange music 
called Ojo and Batto, music which at first no West- 
ern ear can feel pleasure in, but which, when often 
heard, becomes comprehensible, and is found to possess 
a weird charm of its own." As for my own experiences, 
they are related in the preceding pages of this volume. 
I frankly confess that I found the koto musical, and 
even enjoyed an occasional tune on the samisen. 

The Japanese have shown a gift for assimilating our 
music, and I believe they will ere long learn that the 
martial drum is more appropriate in a military band 
than in a tea house or temple ; that the flute is decid- 
edly not a sacred instrument, especially when it deliber- 
ately indulges in quarter-tones-, and that there are 
physiological and esthetic objections to their way of 
making young girls "cultivate" their voices by sitting 
on a roof on cold nights, singing until hoarseness passes 


into dumbness. I believe that Japanese music has no 
future except such as will approximate it to European 
music. It appears to be just learning the first harmonic 
steps, which our music took several centuries ago ; 
but it is likely that herein, as in so many things, Japan 
will jump from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth, 
disdaining to pass through the stages of the parallel 
fifths and fourths of the organum, the parallel thirds 
and sixths of the faux bourdon, and the counterpoint of 
the Netherlanders, but plunging at once into Wagnerian 

In looking over the bound volumes of the Japan 
Weekly Mail, that wonderful storehouse of valuable 
information, I came across a description (printed June 
13, 1891) of a musical performance heard by a corre- 
spondent at Matsue. It lasted an hour, and consisted 
of ballads sung by girls and women of the outcast class 
known as the Yama-no-Mono. Three of them began 
with a " clear sweet burst of soprano song totally 
differing from anything I had ever heard in Japan 
before." Presently, the voices of three more women, 
" deeper but equally sweet, joined in producing a deli- 
cious harmony ; and a kind of burthen was chanted by 
all in unison. . . . Certainly no singing I have heard 
from the geishas could compare in charm with this 
simple ballad singing of a despised outcast class." 
This interesting letter suggested to me the thought : 
Is not perhaps the nasal, shrill voice, and artificial song 
of the geishas a phenomenon similar to the absurd pict- 
ures spoken of in the last chapter a result of conven- 
tionalism and the following of traditional unnatural 
models ; and is it not likely that a lively war on this 
conventionalism would give Japanese music a tremen- 


clous impulse in the right direction ; rubbing off the 
paint and powder, and restoring the clear beauty of the 
natural complexion ? 

Sculpture and Architecture. A few summers ago I 
had the pleasure of spending a few days in the moun- 
tains of British Columbia with Mr. Alfred East, who 
was on his way back to London, where he soon there- 
after had a special exhibition of his 106 oil and water- 
color sketches on Japanese subjects. Before leaving 
Japan he delivered a lecture on its art, one sentence in 
which has been often quoted since as a compact expres- 
sion of its essence. Japanese art, he said, " is great in 
small things, but small in great things." Of course, 
this generalization is too sweeping; for while the neg- 
lect of the nude has, as we saw in the last chapter, pre- 
vented the Japanese from giving us Aphrodites and 
Apollos, they have, nevertheless, created many beauti- 
ful figures, some of them not only large, but gigantic, 
notably the famous Daibutsu of Kamakura. Mr. Wores 
describes some figures he saw which for their action 
and anatomically correct modelling rank, in his estima- 
tion, " as high, as anything in the sculptor's art of 
modern times." In the " small things " of wood and 
ivory carving and metal work, the Japanese are un- 
rivalled. Their netsuke*s have been compared to " the 
Tanagra figures of Greek origin, and to the finest 
sculptures of the Gothic age." 

As regards architecture, it is obvious that monu- 
mental structures are impossible in a land where three 
earthquakes occur every two days. The high pagodas 
are kept from tumbling by means of an ingenious pen- 
dulum arrangement which would be impracticable in 
other buildings. To the remarkable variety and indi- 


viduality of Japanese roofs, reference was made in an 
earlier chapter. This subject is elaborately treated by 
Mr. Morse in his Japanese ffo?nes, wherein it may be 
seen that in many details of house-building and furnish- 
ing the Japanese show a taste far superior to ours. To 
note a sample or two, a Japanese would never be guilty 
of " the absurdity of covering a good grained wood- 
surface with paint, and then with brush and comb try- 
ing to imitate nature by scratching in a series of lines." 
In building a house, great care is taken to secure wood 
that matches in grain and color ; and in order to avoid 
mixing up of woods, the boards into which a log has 
been sawed are replaced and tied together. For pillars, 
twisted trunks are often preferred to straight ones. 
Not infrequently the bark is left on tree trunks which 
are used as pillars, and even when it is removed, the 
holes bored by insects remain, so fond are these people 
of naturalness. 

Painting. In Japan, painting is not a separate art, 
but simply the highest form of the decorative art. The 
painter works, not for galleries, public or private, but 
for the adornment of temples and homes. As Schubert 
could not see a sheet of paper without scribbling a 
song on it, so a Japanese artist cannot see a surface 
without feeling tempted to adorn it with flowers, birds, 
maidens, and mountains. Screens, sliding or folding, 
fans, vases, trays, tea and flower pots nothing escapes 
his pencil, and Nihil tetigit quod non omavit acquires a 
double meaning when applied to him. To the average 
Japanese, art is not a recreation, to be indulged in semi- 
occasionally, but it is, like oxygen, a constituent of the 
atmosphere he breathes every moment ; and the hum- 
blest coolie wants his share of art as much as his oxy- 


gen. The shops contain thousands of objects for use 
and entertainment, and each of these objects, though 
it cost but a tenth of a cent, is artistically shaped or 

" It is the fault of foreign pictures," says a Japanese 
writer, " that they dive too deeply into realities, and pre- 
serve many details that were better suppressed. Such 
works are but as groups of words. The Japanese 
picture should aspire to be a poem of form and color." 

The Japanese artist is usually an impressionist ; 
that is, he avoids superfluous details, seizing only on 
what is essential to his purpose, but presenting that with 
such virtuosity that the mood he desires to suggest is 
transferred to the spectator as instantaneously as the 
current of our emotions is changed by a dramatic modu- 
lation in a Wagner music-drama. Professor Fenollosa 
believes, no doubt justly, that the impetus to French 
impressionism was given partly by a thorough study of 
Japanese art. 1 

Nor is impressionism the only lesson taught Western 
artists by their Japanese colleagues. The principle 
which underlies it the suppression of redundant and 
distracting details is applied by them not only to a 
picture in itself, but also to the surroundings of a pict- 
ure. As we crowd too much furniture into our parlors, 
so we hang too many pictures on our walls, and our 
wall papers usually consist of the same figure repeated 
a thousand times in monotonous geometrical patterns. 

1 While thus indifferent to details, it is a striking fact that the 
Japanese artist has a keener eye than his Western colleague, llerr 
Ottomar Anschiitz of Lissa, Prussia, has shown that certain Japanese 
pictures of birds and other animals which seemed unnatural were really 
correct, as proved by instantaneous photography. 


Not so the Japanese. In painting a screen or kakemono, 
they leave most of the space bare, being contented with 
a simple spray of cherry blossoms or maple leaves, or a 
few cranes in a pond among the lily leaves, or a flight 
of birds, or a tree on shore with a glimpse of the sea, or 
a group of deer under a tree, or a miniature bridge over 
an iris pond thus preventing the spectator's attention 
from being distracted by "a rabble of inartistic patterns 
and ornaments." 

An artistic innovation of still greater charm and 
value is the Japanese passion for irregularity. Western 
art, like Western thought, is utterly distorted by our 
vain habit of making man the centre of *the universe. 
Because we are symmetrical, having a right hand and 
a left, a right eye and a left, a right ear and a left, our 
misguided painters have made symmetry a pervading 
principle of all art, with the result that if, for example, 
"on the right hand there was a Cupid looking to the left, 
then on the left hand there must be a Cupid of exactly 
the same size looking to the right." " The Japanese 
artisan-artists," says Chamberlain, " have shown us that 
this mechanical symmetry does not make for beauty. 
They have taught us the charm of irregularity ; and if 
the world owe them but this one lesson, Japan may yet 
be proud of what she has accomplished." 

Nature and Flowers. It is rather odd that in this 
passion for irregularity versus symmetry, the Japanese 
should again* be on the side of Nature versus Man, as 
in their habit of neglecting the human figure for birds 
and flowers. But the comparison is suggestive ; it 
emphasizes the fact that nature is a passion, a cult, an 
ecstasy, to this Esthetic Nation. Wherever there is a 
site commanding a fine view of lake and mountain, there 


will you find a temple or a tea house, where poor and rich 
alike can enjoy the prospect. Millions of pilgrims make 
long or short journeys every summer, ostensibly to visit 
some shrine, but really to enjoy the scenery and outing. 
Nor is there a lack of enjoyment for those who stay at 
home. " On moonlight nights, in mild weather," says 
Mr. Griffis, " thousands of people throng the bridges, 
walk the streets, or lounge in boats on the river, enjoy- 
ing themselves in looking skyward. The houses have 
moon-viewing chambers." " In August and September 
both young folks and middle-aged will sit up all night 
until well into the morning to see the moon rise over 
the sea, meanwhile drinking rice wine and composing 

There is a sermon in stones as treated by this esthetic 
nation. You find them everywhere, in hills, in parks, 
in cemeteries, in gardens, and they are not stones 
chiselled into artificial shapes of Occidental symmetry, 
but worn into smooth irregularity by rain and frost, 
and other forces of nature. Japanese gardens, again, 
are not aggregations of geometrical flower beds, but min- 
iature landscapes, imitations of famous bits of scenery, 
with lakes and bridges, trees and mountains, lilies and 
lotos, frogs and fishes. Here you may see pine trees 
hundreds of years old, only a foot or two in height, 
embedded in small pots, the prime object of this dwarf- 
ing having been obviously a desire to give verisimilitude 
to the miniature garden landscape. 1 

If, with their usual " rascally topsie-turvyness," the 

1 The poetic charms of a Japanese garden are admirably mirrored 
in Chap. XVI. of Mr. Lafcadio Ream's Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, 
and in Mr. J. Condor's two superb volumes on The Flowers of Japan 
and Landscape Gardening in Japan. 


Japanese do not make flowers the principal feature of 
their gardens, and often, indeed, omit them entirely, 
their attitude toward flowers is nevertheless what most 
unmistakably marks them as the esthetic nation. In 
profusion and variety of wild flowers Japan is not 
nearly so well supplied as Southern California,, for ex- 
ample, but as cultivators and lovers of flowers the 
Japanese stand in the very front rank. A Boston 
gardener once wrote to the Transcript : 

" The Yokohama Gardeners' Association grounds cover 200 
acres of land ; they include greenhouses and stores too numerous 
to mention, and the floral and nursery business is carried on in 
the most perfect manner. Palms, pseonies, plums, cherries, ever- 
greens, magnolias, and all classes of shrubs are in cultivation ; 
also 600 to 800 varieties of chrysanthemums, including about sev- 
enty altogether new ones which I obtained. ... I never saw a 
chrysanthemum flower until I went to Japan, where everybody 
loves it. I visited five hundred places where it is cultivated. But. 
these were only the principal gardens in a few large cities. Go to 
Japan ! " 

Go to Japan, indeed, if you want to see not only 800 
varieties of chrysanthemum, but 269 different shades 
of color in them ! Go there if you wish to see a num- 
ber of kinds on one stem or the energies of a whole 
plant concentrated on one giant flower ; go there to see 
"living pictures " in flowers historic scenes and land- 
scapes made up somewhat like woven tapestry of potted 
chrysanthemums, the pots being of course "behind 
the scenes." Go there to see other favorite flowers 
treated with similar care and love ; to see even forest 
leaves classed and adored as flowers when they have 
taken on their autumn tints, in which Japan rivals 
America. No coolie is too poor to have his flowers 
daily : none too coarse to scorn them ; for a small frac- 


tion of a cent he can select what he wants from one 
of the " hanging baskets " which the itinerant flower 
sellers carry down the street attached to a pole on their 
shoulders. On your travels, if you stop more than a 
day at an inn, the girls will bring in every day a fresh 
potted plant to spice your life with variety ; and the 
same thing is done in the humblest home. Indeed, the 
passion for flowers may become as absorbing as the pas- 
sion of love. Look on this charming genre picture 
drawn by a correspondent of the Japan Mail, after the 
terrible earthquake at Ogaki in October, 1891, while 
the shocks were still continuing every few minutes : 

" In wandering through the desolate waste I saw a girl, not 
even in one of these temporary huts, but simply amongst the 
heaps of broken tiles and the like, tending a few chrysanthemum 
blossoms that she had in a vase of water from wmence she had 
procured them heaven only knows." 

We, too, are fond of flowers, and some of us love 
them as tenderly and treat them as tastefully as the 
Japanese. But as a rule, in our arrangement of them, 
we are utter barbarians compared with them. What 
could be more monstrous and misshapen than the masses 
of inharmonious buds and flowers crowded together 
in a large bouquet, tied with a string, all life and 
individuality squeezed out of them, and perhaps even 
horribile dictu a rim of perforated white paper 
around them? Small wonder that people who are 
willing: to hold such horrors in their hands should value 
them in proportion to their size and expense. The 
only redeeming thing in such a bouquet is its fragrance, 
and possibly an accidental or designed harmony or con- 
trast of colors. Here again the Japanese teach us the 
charm of simplicity, the ugliness of crowding. To 


them a flower in the house is the same as a flower in 
the garden or forest the efflorescence of an individual 
plant whose stem, branches, and leaves, though less 
beautiful than the flower, are quite as important in 
the ensemble. Their list of fine arts accordingly in- 
cludes an art of flower-arrangement which teaches the 
proper training of potted plants so as to make them 
look true to nature. This art is a regular feature in 
the education of girls, and it certainly seems a thousand 
times better suited to bring out those exquisite fem- 
inine qualities of tenderness and taste which make men 
fall in love with women, than the algebra, anatomy, 
and political aspirations which are turning our charm- 
ing women into "andromaniacs" neuter beings who 
have ceased to be women without having become men. 

Flower festivals are a specialty of Japan. Almost 
every month has its favorite flowers which millions 
turn out to see and worship ; the schools have flower 
holidays, and even prisoners are not so cruelly treated 
as to be kept indoors when plums are in blossom. The 
plum comes in January, the cherry blossoms in April, 
May is pseony-time, August lotos-time ; in November 
comes the chrysanthemum, with the colored maple 
leaves, and so on, these being only a few in the long 
list. The plum blossom, coming immediately after 
the snow (like our crocus), is a special favorite, but 
it is in beauty surpassed by the cherry blossom, which 
all who have seen it acclaim as the loveliest floral 
sight in the world. " When, in spring, the trees flower, 
it is as though fleeciest masses of cloud faintly tinged 
by sunset had floated down from the highest sky to 
fold themselves about the branches." Mr. Lafcadio 
Hearn gives this as an ancient Japanese description of 



r_ " "i 

HWS : -- % 


- C "Ti i It 




the cherry trees in full bloom. I wonder if James 
Russell Lowell had ever read that old simile when he 
thus depicted a New England landscape : " The fresh- 
pond meadows made all oriels cheap with hues that 
showed as if a sunset cloud had been wrecked among 
their maples." 

Poetry. Sometimes a mere statement of Japanese 
customs reads like a prose poem, as when Mr. Conder 
says that " Flower-viewing excursions, together with 
such pastimes as shell-gathering, mushroom-picking, and 
moon-viewing, form the favorite occupation of the holi- 
day seeker throughout the year. By a pretty fancy, the 
snowclad landscape is regarded as Winter's floral dis- 
play, and snow-viewing is included as one of the flower 
festivals of the year." How much more poetic, too,, 
than our " Mrs. Tom Brown " and " Mrs. James Smith," 
and the like, are the Japanese names of chrysanthemums, 
"silver world," "thin mist," "terrestrial globe," " com- 
panion of the moon," "basket of flowers," "shadows of 
the evening sun," " sky at dawn," " moon's halo," 
" leaves in the frost," " golden dew," " moonlit waves." 

In poetry, as in painting, the Japanese are impres- 
sionists, a few words being considered sufficient to paint 
a picture in the reader's mind. I used to ask Mr. Yabi 
to translate for me the mottoes on screens at the inns. 
Here is one that I remember ; it was appropriate for a 
summer resort : " Green fields in summer, people sitting 
under shade trees." Only this and nothing more ; the 
rest was left to the trained imagination. " How pleas- 
ant," exclaims a poet, " is the sound of the ship rising 
on the waves, when it wakes us from deep slumber 
during a long night ! " A very different mood gave 
rise to this sentiment : " It is only with the aid of wine 


that one can tolerate this melancholy existence." The 
pun will intrude itself even in a lover's lament, as in 
this : " Like to the pine trees I must stand and pine. . . . 
Till my long sleeve of purest snowy white, with showers 
of tears is steeped in bitter brine." Says an old Japa- 
nese song : " When the roaring waterfall is shivered by 
the night storm, the moonlight is reflected in each scat- 
tered drop." 

The love of poetry seems to be almost as universal as 
the passion for flowers. This is quaintly illustrated 
in the Log of a Japanese Journey by Tsurayuka (tenth 
century), a little book describing a journey of nearly 
two months' duration, from Tosa to Kyoto, a trip which 
a steamer might make in a day or two. There was 
plenty of time to while away during the numerous 
stoppages, and most of it seems to have been devoted 
to the composing of stanzas on anything that happened 
to turn up. Everybody, from the passengers to the 
crew, is accused of perpetrating some of these poems. 
Most of them are rather weak, but they show a great 
emotional susceptibility and sensitiveness to the charms 
of nature. "In Japan," writes Tsurayuka, "and China 
as well, humanity, when moved by sorrow, tells its 
bitter grief in verse." 1 

This universal love of poetry, like the national taste 
for art, is an inheritance from the Middle Ages. In 
those days poets were honored above all other mortals ; 
a poet could b} r means of a successful stanza attain the 
rank of a councillor, a poetess the rank of a lady of 
honor or even empress. We read that the Shogun Sa- 
netomo " was so extravagantly fond of poetry that any 

1 This little book has been translated by Flora Best Harris, and is 
published by Flood and Vincent, Meadville, Pa. 


criminal could escape punishment by offering him a 
well-written stanza." To this day it is said that would- 
be suicides often leave behind a description of their 
woes and intentions in verse. One of the favorite 
amusements at social gatherings is the composing of 
impromptu verses on a given subject. But the most 
fanciful use of poems is the national habit of hanging 
them up among the plum and cherry blossoms. There 
is reason for thinking that this custom is particularly 
appreciated by maidens and youths in a country in 
which flirtation and courtship are not included among 
the legitimate arts of social life. 

A few pages ought perhaps to be devoted in this 
chapter to certain branches of art in which Japan has 
gained unique distinction, such as the ornamenting of 
sword hilts, the fine porcelain and pottery, the exquisite 
cloisonne vases, and the incomparable lacquer-wares. 
But enough has been said to prove the thesis advanced 
that Japan is the esthetic country par excellence. 
It has taught our greatest artists the charms of simplic- 
ity and irregularity ; it has shown us that beautiful 
things can be made cheaply, and that the useful and the 
ornamental can be united in the humblest utensils in 
daily use. It has shown us that with the aid of train- 
ing and hereditary transmission, the art sense can be 
made as keen and fervent as the religious sense ; it 
might almost be said that David Friedrich Strauss's 
ideal of a nation whose civilization is based on esthetics 
instead of on theology, is realized in Japan. 

Strange to say, there are radicals among the Japanese 
who resent our regarding their country as a dreamland 
of flowers, poetry, and art. Our electric machines, big 
factories, and Krupp guns have so dazed their senses 


that they harbor the delusion that capitalists, states- 
men, and warriors make for civilization more tlian 
artists, poets, and the worship of nature. They will 
learn in course of time that esthetic culture is the crown 
and flower of civilization, and that a nation in which the 
love of art is universal stands on a higher level than 
the Occidentals, of whom not ten per cent enjoy the 
blessings of esthetic culture. 









To be superior to all other countries in cleanliness 
and in the sincere appreciation of art and nature, would 
surely be sufficient honor for a nation which Occidentals, 
in their Pharisaic vanity, have been wont to treat as 
semi-civilized. But the Japanese may claim much more 
than that. In morals at least our equals, they are in 
general refinement of manners and in social culture 
far superior to Americans and Europeans. To prove 
this, we will briefly consider the following seven points : 
the attitude of parents and children, politeness, con- 
tempt for the display of wealth, kindness to animals, 
patriotism, the behavior of crowds and criminals, the 
rational enjoyment of life. 

Parents and Children. Mr. Herbert Spencer justly 
holds that of all the feelings which hold the family 
together, filial love, or the care of parents by their chil- 



dren, was the last to be developed. From this point of 
view, Japan represents a much higher stage of evolution 
than we do. There, filial affection has long been the 
strongest of all feelings, whereas we are still in that 
stage of semi-barbarism wherein children indulge in the 
"luxury of disrespect" toward parents. There is noth- 
ing that American and European parents dread more 
than the idea of falling a burden to their children in 
old age, although, since they took care of the children 
for twenty years, there is no reason why the children, 
in turn, should not provide for them. In Japan, says 
Miss Bacon, a man 

"looks with scorn on foreign customs which seem to betoken a 
fear lest, in old age, ungrateful children may neglect their parents 
and cast them aside. An aged parent is never a burden, is treated 
by all with the greatest love and tenderness ; and if times are hard, 
and food and other comforts are scarce, the children, as a matter 
of course, deprive themselves and their children to give ungrudg- 
ingly to their old father and mother. . . . Young America may 
learn a salutary lesson by the study of the place that old people 
occupy in the home." 

Conversely, the treatment of children by parents 
makes Japan " a very paradise of babies," as Sir Ruth- 
erford Alcock called it. Here is the testimony of Miss 
Bird : 

" I never saw people take so much delight in their offspring, 
carrying them about, or holding their hands in walking, watching 
and entering into their games, supplying them constantly with 
new toys, taking them to picnics and festivals, never being content 
to be without them, and treating other people's children, also, 
with a suitable measure of affection and attention." 

Possibly, Japanese parents do not love their children 
more deeply than American parents, but they certainly 


love them more wisely. They dress them more sensibly, 
keep them healthy by constant out-door life, bring them 
up on the food intended for them by nature. And what 
is the result? I was in Japan three weeks before I 
heard a baby cry, and I never saw any of them quarrel 
or fight, among all the thousands I saw in the streets 
and the open houses. Once more I beg permission to 
quote Miss Bacon, who had very unusual opportunities 
for studying Japanese family life. The following cita- 
tion is so important and suggestive, that, contrary to 
the usual custom, I must ask the printer to put it into 
larger type than the author's text: 

"A Japanese child seems to be the product 


The implication of this sentence is that the Japanese 
nation has been civilized so many generations that its 
children are born civilized, while ours too often pass 
through the evolutionary stages of monkey and savage, 
before they reach that of man ; and some never reach 
it. There is no need of scolding or punishing Japanese 
children, no need of urging them to go to school. Japan 
is probably the only country in the world where chil- 
dren prefer school to holidays, dearly as they love the 
latter. As to their behavior in school, let me quote 


the testimony of Mr. Hearn after two years' experience 
in various places : " I have never had personal knowl- 
edge of any serious quarrel between students, and have 
never even heard of a fight among my pupils, and I 
have taught some eight hundred boys and young men." 
On another page he says : " Well, I have been fourteen 
months in Izumo, and I have not yet heard voices raised 
in anger, or witnessed a quarrel ; never have I seen 
one man strike another, or a woman bullied, or a child 

Japan has no society for the Prevention of Cruelty 
to Children. It does not need one. New York has 
one, and needs it badly. During the first twenty years 
of its existence it received and investigated 86,969 com- 
plaints, involving 260,907 cases. Yet we have sent six 
hundred missionaries to civilize the Japanese ! 

Politeness. It is obvious that the esthetic taste of 
the Japanese could not be so genuine and universal 
were it not an inheritance the cumulative result of 
generations of art culture and worship of nature. It 
has become an instinct, like a bird's untaught knowl- 
edge how to build a nest or bower. 1 

So, again, it is obvious that Japanese children would 
not be born free from the " savagery and barbarian bad 
manners that distinguish American children," were it 
not that civilization is so much older in their country 
than in ours that gentle manners have had a chance to 
become instinctive, through hereditary transmission. 
" Fine manners have always been a fine art in Japan," 

1 The aptness of this comparison is proved by the fact that Japanese 
taste ceases to be infallible as soon as it has to do with new conditions 
foreign costume or art methods, for example. A lark cannot build 
a swallow's nest. An interesting essay might be written on this 


says the Rev. W. E. Griffis. " Indeed, it is said that 
as early as the seventh century there were manuals or 
treatises on politeness." And in course of these twelve 
centuries the polish of the Japanese has gradually 
become so smooth and enduring that there is nothing 
to which it can be compared except their own lustrous 

What say you of a people whose language " affords 
absolutely no means of cursing and swearing," as we 
know on the unimpeachable authority of Basil Hall 
Chamberlain, emeritus professor of Japanese philology 
at the University of Tokyo ? Does it not sound almost 
incredible in this " Christian " country of ours, where 
street boys measure their relative " smartness " by their 
proficiency in profanity, and men are not far behind 
them ? Mr. W. S. Liscomb, in a letter to the Providence 
Journal, gives an amusing illustration of the utter ina- 
bility of the untutored Japanese mind even to compre- 
hend the nature of profanity. His "boy" and cook 
one day had a slight misunderstanding, and the boy 
complained afterwards that the cook had said to him 
" G d d n your soul." But upon investigating the 
matter, he found that what the cook had really said 
was almost exactly equivalent to our slang phrase 
" What are you giving us ? " The absence of profane 
words argues the absence of profane and ugly feelings. 
Dr. D. B. Simmons, after residing thirty years in Japan, 
says on the question of scolding by women : " I can 
hardly remember having heard this kind of language 
from their lips." Similar testimony is given by Maclay 
and other residents. 

It is almost impossible to think of Japanese girls 
except as smiling, and this smile is taught them from 


childhood as an essential part of etiquette, which re- 
quires them to keep all painful emotions hidden from 
others. So far does this rule extend, that they must 
even wear a smiling face in telling you of a great loss 
or the death of a relative. Ignorance of this matter 
has been the cause of grave and absurd errors in judg- 
ing Japanese character. 1 

In many details Japanese manners show a refinement 
and courtesy almost incomprehensible to coarse Western 
minds. To give only one illustration from Conger. 
Visitors are often invited to make extempore arrange- 
ments of flowers placed before them. 

" Should the master of the house produce a very rare and valu- 
able vessel for holding the floral arrangement, it is polite for the 
guest to make objections, pleading want of sufficient skill to do 
justice to so precious a receptacle. If pressed, however, he must 
attempt a simple and unassuming arrangement of flowers so as not 
to detract from the merit of the vessel itself." 

The desire to please is the dominant feeling in the 
Japanese mind. Altruism takes the place of egotism, 
wherefore, "in Japanese society, sarcasm, irony, cruel 
wit, are not indulged." " No one endeavors to expand 
his own individuality by belittling his fellows ; no one 
tries to make himself appear a superior being "(Hearn). 
Does not half the misery in Christian America spring 
from cruel gossip, from everybody's anxiety to appear 
socially superior to others, and to make them feel their 
inferiority ? 

If we could induce six hundred Japanese missionaries 

1 Many writers have discoursed on this matter, but Mr. Laf cadio 
Hearn has surpassed them all in a chapter headed " The Japanese 
Smile," which I commend to every reader as a masterpiece of com- 
parative ethnic psychology. 


to come to America, they might begin operations by con- 
trasting the kindness of Japanese coolies, who would not 
run over or disturb even a dog in the streets, with the 
brutality of our drivers, which makes it necessary in our 
cities to place a policeman at every street crossing to 
enable persons on foot to get across without risk to life 
and limb. They might tell our lower classes that habit- 
ual rudeness toward their superiors is not a good way 
to show their " equality." They might explain that if 
a Japanese railway company hung up in its cars the 
notice, posted in every car of the New York elevated 
railroad : " Employees of this road are required to be 
courteous in their treatment of passengers," it would 
cause a ripple of laughter from Nagasaki to Sapporo. 
They might say to American women that their almost 
incredible rudeness in keeping on, year after year, their 
big hats in theatres, in spite of all entreaties and 
remonstrances from those who are thus deprived of 
pleasures much needed for recreation and dearly paid 
for, would be absolutely inconceivable in Japan, the 
only nation of ladies and gentlemen in the world. 
They might tell our women how un-Japanese, i.e. un- 
ladylike, it is to treat shopgirls and servants as super- 
ciliously as many of them do. 

It is in such points as these the consideration for 
the feelings even of servants, the avoidance of profanity 
and cruel gossip, the altruistic smile even in grief, the 
universal desire to please that the Japanese show 
their true heart-politeness, rather than by their bobbing 
and bowing and kneeling, which, to tell the truth, 
are as exaggerated and absurd as their " honorifles " ; 
that is, their habit of speaking of their " stupid " selves 
and wives, and of the " honorable " other persons. It 


is therefore just as well that this old-fashioned etiquette 
is no longer taught in boys' schools, and that even the 
girls are beginning to make fun of it. There is, of 
course, some danger of their going too far during the 
transition period and copying Miss Bird's guide Ito, 
who explained his occasional rudeness as "just mis- 
sionary manners " ; but we may feel sure that the 
inherited heart-politeness of the Japanese will survive 
the wreck of excessive bowing formalities and linguistic 

Contempt for Display of Wealth. Once upon a time, 
in a certain American city, I met a girl who told me 
about a ball she had attended on the previous evening : 
" I danced with a young man who was an expert in 
women's gowns. Just think! he could tell me the price 
per yard of every woman's dress in the room, including 
my own. Fortunately" she added, " mine was very 
expensive." At the risk of seeming rude, I could not 
help smiling at this very naive illustration of the ten- 
dency of this Great Republic to drift into a state of 
plutocracy in which things as well as persons are 
estimated entirely by their money value. Flowers, for 
instance, are valued in "Society" only when they are out 
of season, because they are then more costly. Bouquets 
are judged, not by their beauty and arrangement, but by 
their cost, often even by their size. Newspapers chron- 
icle the doings, not of men of brains (with a few con- 
spicuous exceptions), but of men of wealth, no matter 
how illiterate, boorish, and rascally they may be. Rich 
women have their gowns described at the Opera and the 
Horse Show, and every rich girl is a " beauty " in the 
newspapers, though in life she may be a veritable fright. 
If the average American sees a fine building, his first 


question is "How much did it cost?" James Russell 
Lowell wrote that Thoreau's " whole life was a rebuke 
of the waste and aimlessness of our American luxury, 
which is an abject enslavement to tawdry upholstery." 

From this point of view, again, Japan is infinitely 
more civilized than America. Why? Let Professor 
Chamberlain answer : 

" The bluster which mistakes bigness foi' greatness, the vulgar- 
ity which smothers beauty under ostentation and extravagance, have 
no place in the Japanese way of thinking. The alcove of a Tokyo 
or Kyoto drawing-room holds one picture and one flower vase, 
which are changed from time to time. To be sure, picture and 
vase are alike exquisite. The possessions of the master of the 
house are not sown broadcast, as much as to say, ' Look what a 
lot of expensive articles I've got, and just think how jolly rich I 
must be ! ' He does not stick up plates on walls plates are meant 
to hold food. He would not, whatever might be his means, waste 
1000, or 100, or even 20, on the flowers for a single party: 
flow T ers are natural things, simple things ; it is incongruous to 
treat them like precious stones." 

Instead of valuing flowers out of season because of 
their expensiveness, the Japanese have a strict rule that 
they must be in season to be in fashion. They go so 
far as to taboo certain flowers at certain times because 
they properly belong to another season ; for example, 
late peach blossoms. 

Snobbishness, the insolent conceit of birth or wealth, 
or the aping and worshipping of it, is not a Japanese vice. 
" Daimyos," says the Tokyo Times, " have been mem- 
bers of college classes in Tokyo for months before acci- 
dent made their rank known to their foreign teachers." 
In Japanese towns you can rarely tell from the street 
side of a house whether its owner is rich or poor. He 
does not wish to flaunt his wealth any more than his 


rank in the face of others. Such wealth as he may 
have to spare, he spends on works of art and on his 
garden, which is behind the house. Only the foreign 
buildings in Tokyo have their gardens in front. 

Speaking of Japanese attire, Mr. Wores says that 
" the lining of their gowns is often of a more expensive 
and finer material than the outer stuff." Everybody 
knows, too, that it is a characteristic of Japanese 
embroidered silks that there is no seamy side to them, 
the lower side being as beautiful as the upper. I have 
before me a little Japanese metal tray, which cost fifty 
cents in New York and probably fifteen in Japan. The 
upper side represents a maiden standing on a fantastic 
dragon. On the lower side the artist has ingeniously 
shaped this haut-relief into an intaglio of a lotos plant. 
Only an inborn love of art for art's sake could thus 
induce a workman to emulate nature in making the 
unseen as beautiful as the seen. In such sincerity of 
soul there is infinitely more of the true spirit of Chris- 
tianity than in the building of six denominational chapels 
for every sixteen missionaries. 

The ostentatious display of wealth is in truth nothing 
but a phase of our Occidental lack of true politeness ; it 
is an attempt to make others feel their " inferiority " 
and to arouse their envy. Here lies the true inward- 
ness of our frequent changes of fashion in women's 
gowns, which cause so much needless expense and jeal- 
ous heartburnings. The rich introduce these changes, 
knowing that the less favored cannot at once follow 
their example, whereby the desired plutocratic distinc- 
tion is established. 

Kindness to Animals. From a moral point of view 
Christianity is unquestionably the greatest of all relig- 


ions, but in one respect it is sadly inferior to Bud- 
dhism and even to ancient Paganism, or some of its 
representatives. The Old Testament forbade the muz- 
zling of an ox that treadeth out the corn, the seething 
of a kid in its mother's milk, the taking of a parent bird 
sitting on its young or on its eggs ; but the New Testa- 
ment view is summed up in St. Paul's contemptuous 
question, " Doth God take care for oxen ? " J It makes 
one melancholy to think what an incalculable amount 
of suffering might have been spared the animals of 
Christendom if the New Testament had emphatically 
enjoined the virtue and duty of kindness to animals; 
melancholy to read the annual reports of the New York 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals with 
its sickening record of outrages on helpless animals, 
man's best friends ; melancholy to think that Christian 
women encourage the slaughter of thousands of beauti- 
ful birds at nesting time for their feathers, leaving the 
young to die in the agonies of starvation. Buddhism 
may not have proved an unmixed blessing to Japan, 
but it has taught, among other virtues, that of kindness 
to animals. We may laugh at Buddhist priests sweep- 
ing the path before them lest they step on insects, or 
refusing to drink unfiltered water for fear of killing 
minute animals. We may smile on reading in Kaemp- 
fer that dogs are " treated like regular citizens of the 
town " ; or on finding that to this day animals have 
their regular graveyards, and that in some temples 
prayers are even offered up to them ; but we must 
admit, with Mr. Hearn, that "surely nothing save 
goodness can be expected from a people gentle-hearted 

1 See the fourth chapter of Lecky's History of European Morals, 
where this question is admirably discussed. 


enough to pray for the souls of their horses and cows." 
And. we must admit that the national kindness toward 
animals must have been enormously efficacious in 
making men kind to each other, since we know that 
nothing makes our own children so considerate as 
teaching them to treat their pets gently. 

With the exception of the slicing of raw fish, the bru- 
tality of drunken soldiers (now suppressed), and the 
occasional maltreatment of a car-horse in Tokyo, there 
are hardly any instances on record of Japanese cruelty 
toward animals, although there has never been a law 
against it. " The taking of life being displeasing to 
Buddha," says Mitford, " outside many of the temples 
old women and children earn a livelihood by selling 
sparrows, small eels, carp, and tortoises, which the wor- 
shipper sets free in honor of the deity." " In Tokio," 
says Mr. Griffis, " I used to notice old women sitting on 
the bridges and selling young eels. These were bought 
by passers by, and immediately dropped into the canal 
below, in pious memory of deceased relatives, and to 
shorten their pains in the Buddhist purgatory." All 
cruel sports, such as hunting and cock-fighting, come 
under the ban of Buddhism. 

Patriotism. There are three varieties of patriotism, 
one of which, however, hardly deserves so honorable a 
name. They are based respectively on vanity, defen- 
sive pugnacity, and real love of country. The first 
variety is that which leads a Hottentot to think he is 
better than a Kaffir ; an Englishman, that all foreigners 
are stupid unless they conform to his insular preju- 
dices ; a German, that all other nations are ignora- 
muses ; a Frenchman, that nothing important ever 
happens outside of Paris ; and so on. It is a harmless 


but rather offensive form of vanity, a national egotism, 
the proper name for which is chauvinism. 

The second form of patriotism wears a military cloak 
and has given rise to many noble acts of heroism and 
self-sacrifice in the past. Yet it must not be forgotten 
that many soldiers remain at their post only because 
desertion means death ; nor must it be overlooked that 
in most wars men fight for their home and families, and 
therefore have a strong selfish reason for their courage. 

The highest form of patriotism is the altruistic vari- 
ety, which is manifested in love of one's country for 
its own sake, and in the willingness and desire to obey 
its laws, and preserve its honor at home and abroad. 
This phase of patriotism is still in its infancy in our 
Commonwealth. What ideas of devotion are evoked 
in the mind of an American by the words, "politi- 
cian," 'senator," "alderman"? Is public office gen- 
erally regarded as a public trust, or as a public cow 
which every one who can get at the udders milks 
for his private benefit? What a noble exhibition of 
American patriotism is our pension system, the most 
gigantic swindle on record in all history the annual 
expenditure of nearly 150,000,000, at least one-half of 
which goes to dishonest pretenders who, aside from 
their private immorality, are bringing the very idea of 
patriotic service in the army into disrepute, as a thing 
done for money ! 

In place of this what do our six hundred missionaries 
find in Japan? They find there Shintoism. And what 
are the virtues especially insisted upon and realized by 
Shintoism ? They are cleanliness, courage, courtesy, 
personal honor, and above all, patriotism, or loyalty to 
the country and its ruler. A Japanese, be he a noble 


or a coolie, never hesitates to sacrifice his life for his 
personal honor. Shintoism has taught him that. " The 
spirit of Shintoism," says Mr. Hearn, "is the spirit of 
filial piety, the zest of duty, the readiness to surrender 
life for a principle without a thought of wherefore. 
. . . Ask a class of Japanese students young stu- 
dents of fourteen to sixteen to tell their dearest 
wishes ; and if they have confidence in the questioner, 
perhaps nine out of ten will answer : l To die for his 
Majesty, our Emperor.' And the wish soars from the 
heart pure as any wish for martyrdom ever born." 

One Oriental genre picture must suffice to picture 
this phase of Japanese patriotism. Nine days after the 
murderous attack on the Czarewitch by a fanatic police- 
man at Otsu, in May, 1891, a young woman of respect- 
able appearance cut her throat in front of the local 
government buildings in Kyoto. The wound did not 
prove fatal, and the girl afterwards confessed that she 
had come to apologize to the Czarewitch for the shame- 
ful crime of her countryman, but finding him gone she 
had resorted to this method to prove the sincerity of 
her motives. In Japanese annals suicide to vindicate 
national honor is an event of frequent occurrence. It 
may seem foolish to us, but it indicates the profound 
depth of patriotic sentiment. 

Criminals and Croivds. Nothing proves the innate, 
inherited culture of the Japanese more cogently than 
the fact that even their criminals are less degraded and 
brutal than ours. The reader may remember the sur- 
prise I expressed in the Yezo forest, among the " dan- 
gerous " convicts, at finding that " criminals could be so 
urbane and gentlemanly, so cheerful and musical." I 
got the impression that most of them must have com- 


mitted their crime not from natural vicionsness, but 
under the influence of drink ; an impression confirmed 
by the fact that these men did not have the characteristic 
brutish expression which enabled Mr. Galton to make a 
composite portrait typical of the British criminal. 

With these experiences I beg the reader to compare 
the account of a Tokyo prison in Mr. Norman's The 
Real Japan, from which I will cite only two sentences : 
" I could not help wondering whether there was another 
prison in the world with no method of punishment for 
2000 criminals except one dark cell, and that not used 
for a month." In one department of this prison he 
found " sixty men, common thieves and burglars and 
peace breakers, utterly ignorant previously of cloi- 
sonne making, now making beautiful and delicate ware. 
Fancy the attempt to teach such a thing at Pentonville 
or Dartmoor or Sing-Sing ! " 

Crowds in America or Europe are very apt to de- 
generate into mobs, and wherever they congregate squads 
of police are immediately despatched. Of Japanese 
crowds, Major-General Palmer says that " police in such 
a throng, it seems to us, can have no more to do than the 
lilies of the valley." The following clipping from the 
Japan Mail shows the efficacy of the police system 
where it is needed : 

" Kaxda is a district of Tokyo where all sorts of queer things 
are constantly happening. It is the great student quarter, the 
Quartier Latin, of the metropolis, and statistics show that it boasts 
the largest number of wineshops, tobacconists, bookstores, and 
sly brothels. The first and last of these categories generally run 
in couples. Fires are most frequent there ; brawls and ; rows ' of 
almost daily occurrence. Yet there is no part of the district 
through which one may not walk with perfect safety at night. And 
of what great Continental city may as much be said?" 


Take one more illustration of our general theme that 
the Japanese are naturally more civilized than the cor- 
responding class with us. Our sailors have not exactly 
an enviable reputation for refinement of manners. How 
is it in Japan ? Mr. Hearn (238) has the floor: 

" These Japanese seamen are very gentle compared with our Jack 
Tars, and not without a certain refinement and politeness of their 
own. ... It is quite pleasant to watch their feasting across the 
street. Perhaps their laughter is somewhat more boisterous and 
their gesticulation a little more vehement than those of the com- 
mon citizens ; but there is nothing resembling real roughness 
much less real rudeness. . . . And as the wine flows, the more 
urbane becomes the merriment, until there falls upon all that 
pleasant sleepiness which sake brings, and the guests, one by one, 
smilingly depart. Nothing could be happier or gentler than their 
evening's joviality; yet sailors are considered in Japan an es- 
pecially rough class. What would be thought of our roughs in 
such a country ? " 

Enjoyment of Life. The Puritans, says Macaulay, 
" hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the 
bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators." 
To-day the " infamous charge of Puritanism " (to 
quote a phrase of Swinburne) could hardly be brought 
against the English or Americans. A trace of it lin- 
gers, but the legitimacy, desirability, and hygienic value 
of pleasure are pretty generally conceded. Neverthe- 
less, there has perhaps never been a people so unskilled 
in the art of enjoying life as Americans, although no 
other nation has ever been so plentifully supplied with 
the material comforts of life. Our men chase the dollar, 
not only while they need it, but long after it has become 
a superfluity and a burden, and finally die without hav- 
ing ever made any rational use of their wealth. Our 
millionaires are the unhappiest of mortals. And when 


American men meet, as a rule, they do not rest or play, 
but weary their brains still more by " talking shop." 
Our women have learned the art of loafing gracefully, 
at least in summer ; but at home they too often wear 
themselves out with social jealousies, household worries, 
gowns and other luxuries that are a good deal more 
of a bother and torment than a pleasure. On all these 
points we can learn a great deal by studying the higher 
civilization across the Pacific. 

The Japanese are too wise to continue the chase of the 
dollar after they have earned enough to end their days 
in comfort. They altruistically give others a chance 
by voluntarily dropping out of the race and competition, 
and spending the latter part of their life in elegant 
leisure, enjoying nature, travel, art, literature, and the 
society of relatives and friends. Is not this infinitely 
more rational and civilized than our way of dying in 
harness, without having ever been turned loose in the 
green fields and pastures a privilege we grant even 
to our old horses ? 

Our Japanese neighbors have learned that happiness 
consists not in having all you want but in wanting no 
more than you have. Their average earnings are esti- 
mated at twenty cents a day, yet they are the hap- 
piest people in the world. Many of the peasants are 
too poor to eat the rice they cultivate in the sweat 
of their brow. Yet after toiling all day they go home, 
take a bath, eat a frugal meal of millet, pickles, and tea, 
smoke a thimble pipe, play with their children, and 
look contented and happy. Of the coolie in general, 
Mr. Anderson says he is " childlike in his joys and 
sorrows, polite and kindly in disposition, . . . and 
careless as to who the masters, and what the state 


of religion, so long as his sufficient allowance of rice, 
his inexpensive luxuries, and periodic holidays come 
without undue effort to win them." And so on with 
the other classes, the shopkeepers, for instance, of 
whom Miss Bacon says that they "have still time to 
enjoy their holidays and their little gardens, and have 
more pleasure and less hard work than those under 
similar circumstances in our own country." So that 
in every sphere we find more pleasure and less grinding 
work than with us. Is not that the goal of our civil- 
ization ; the object of all our labor unions and indus- 
trial wars ? Yet we fancy it is our mission to civilize 
the Japanese ! 

Busy Americans have gradually reached a point 
where they consider it almost a crime, and certainly a 
waste of time, to read books, or attend plays ; and 
when they take a vacation, they think it necessary to 
apologize for it, on the ground that they need it for 
their health and to gain fresh energy for work. We 
laugh at the Japanese for going to the theatre in the 
morning, and Richard Wagner aroused no end of sar- 
castic comment when he wanted people to look on his 
art seriously and come to it in the daytime with fresh 
and vigorous brains. But I think the Japanese could 
easily turn the laugh on us, and that too by quoting one 
of our own brightest social philosophers, Mr. Charles 
Dudley Warner, in a passage wherein he refers to 

"the practice, if not the theory, of our society to postpone the 
delights of social intercourse until after dark, or rather late at 
night, when body and mind are both weary with the exertions of 
business, and when we can give to what is the most delightful and 
profitable thing in life, social and intellectual society, only the 
weariness of dull brains and over-tired muscles. No wonder we 


take our amusements sadly, and that so many people find dinners 
heavy and parties stupid. Our economy leaves no place for amuse- 
ments; we merely add them to the burden of a life already full. 
The world is still a little off the track as to what is really useful." 

These are golden words of censure that could never 
have been written of the Japanese. But the climax is 
still to come. It is not in the enjoyment of Recreation, 
after all, but of Work that Japan will prove our most 
beneficial teacher, if we will but try to learn from her. 
The late Robert Louis Stevenson used to declare that 
machinery and the division of labor had utterly ban- 
ished all a man's joy in his work ; and that it was by 
insisting on the necessity for that joy that Ruskin had 
best served the world. The greatest objection to the 
multiplication of modern machinery is not that it takes 
away work from many (for they can still seek other 
employment), but that it makes all such work joyless, 
reducing laborers to the level of machines, caring no 
more than the machines how the goods comes out and 
what becomes of them. In Europe and America it is 
only the author, the scientific inventor, and the artist 
that enjoy the esthetic thrill of creative work. In 
Japan the humblest artisan, making the humblest 
kitchen utensil, enjoys his work because he uses his 
brain and his taste as well as his hands in shaping and 
adorning it. How much the greatest happiness of the 
greatest number is raised by this, is obvious. 

The idea that Japanese civilization began with the 
appearance of Commodore Perry's gunboats, forty 
years ago, is still amazingly prevalent in our midst. 
I have before me a leading Boston paper of February 
16, 1895, with an article entitled " Back to Barbarism/' 
the author of which notes, among other oddities, the 


curious fact that such highly civilized persons as Sir 
Edwin Arnold and Pierre Loti should have been con- 
tented to live for a time in Japan ! He admits, it 
is true, that "in the teeth of current cablegrams," 
about the war with China, "it may be presumptuous 
to class Japan among barbarous nations. But it is at 
least not the country of the steamboat and the railway, 
though it has adopted the ironclad with success." 
In this man's mind and he represents a large class 
of persons civilization obviously consists in railways, 
ironclads, and success in waging war. If judged by 
his own standard, he would have to acknowledge that 
our own " civilization " is very recent indeed, since 
we have had railways and ironclads less than a cen- 
tury. In truth, railways, telegraphs, telephones, and 
the like are simply comforts of life, having absolutely 
nothing to do with real civilization, which, in so far 
as it affects the refinement and happiness of mankind, 
is purely a mental product. 

There is great danger ahead for Japan danger 
that she will introduce our factory chimneys, and whis- 
tles, and soot, and machinery, and division of labor, 
and thus destroy the artistic joy in work, which is the 
highest product of her civilization. But if she will 
heed the warning voices from the West, and avoid that 
danger, it will be for us to be on our guard lest Japan 
entirely outstrip us in the race for supremacy. She 
is systematically adopting all that is really sound in 
our Western institutions, and unless we follow her 
example and graft the best features of her moral and 
social institutions on our own habits, we shall be left 
in the lurch, and the sociologists of the Far East will 
in a future century look at us across the Pacific as we 


do at our untutored mediaeval ancestors in Europe. 
The reader may smile at this contingency, but it would 
be simply a restoration of what has been before. A 
few years ago Captain Brinkley heard an Englishman 
say to his Japanese guide : " Japan has become quite 
civilized, I suppose, in the last twenty years ; " upon 
which he commented as follows in the Japan Mail: 
" This very courteous representative of advanced civil- 
ization was evidently ignorant that when his own an- 
cestors dressed in untanned skins and fed upon acorns, 
the Japanese wore silks and had reached a high pitch 
of refinement in their general mode of life." 


Ainos, 120, 17-1-177, 187, 197-202. 

Alcock, 37, 94, 287. 

America in Japan, 153-105. 

Animals, kindness to, 205, 322-324. 

Archery gallery, 64. 

Architecture, 209, 229, 301. 

Arnold, Sir E., 74, 79. 

Art, at Exhibition, 104, 105 ; in inns, 
137, 138; Nikko temples, 229; ka- 
kemonos, 265. 

Asakusa, 63. 

Bacon, Miss A., 77, 289, 314, 315, 330. 

Barbers, 11, 138. 

Bathing, 19, 140, 145, 149, 152, 162, 

167, 170, 206, 241, 243, 2815-297. 
Bears, 159, 177, 208. 
Beauty (see Women). 
Beds, 126. 
Beer, 27, 219. 
Beggars, 16. 
Bird, I., 44, 86, 290, 314. 
Biwa, Lake, 248, 268. 
Black, 109, 190, 288. 
Blum, R,, 26, 68, 78, 83. 
Brinkley, 333. 
Buddhist temples, 63, 136; and 

priests, 257-260. 

Canadian Pacific, 1, 2. 

Carriages, 12, 62. 

Chamberlain, B. H., 7, 37, 82, 93, 112, 

292, 304, 317, 321. 
Chastity, 284. 

Children, 50, 60, 67, 220, 313-310. 
Cholera, 121, 207, 209, 215, 218, 244. 

Chopsticks, 85. 

Christians in Japan, 280. 

Ckusenji, 237. 

Civilization, Japanese, 72, 313-333. 

Climate, 54, 57, 117, 118, 178, 213. 

Clogs, 25. 

Clubs, 14, 15. 

Coal mine, 16S. 

Conder, 305, 318. 

Costume, 7, 42, 47, 112, 139, 144, 251, 

Criminals, 169, 184, 326. 
Crowds, 66, 291, 327. 
Curiosity, 16, 214. 

Daimyos, 39. 
Dancing, 87, 88, 230. 
Dittrich, 120. 
Dogs, 172, 205. 

Earthquakes, 13. 
East, A., 301. 
Eating (see Gastronomy). 
Enjoyment of life, 328-331. 
Enoshima, 21. 

Esthetics, at a banquet, 78-84. 
Evening dress, 112, 115. 
Exhibition, 103-116. 
Expenses, 1, 127, 147, 188, 200, 211, 
219, 234, 256. 

Factories, 160. 
Fenollosa, 303. 
Filial love, 313. 
Fire boxes, 80, 19(5. 
Fires, 52. 
Fireworks, 08-72. 
Fish, 55, 13(5, 138, 237. 
Flowers, 07, 304-308. 



Food (see Gastronomy) . 
Forest, in Yezo, 171-188. 
Fruit, 192. 
Fuji, 3, 4, 244-249. 

Gastronomy, 11, 27, 70, 77-86, 115, 
130, 132, 143, 192, 209, 216, 220, 221, 
246, 253. 

Geishas, on river, 71 ; at banquets, 
76; accomplishments and charac- 
ter, 76 ; music and chaff, 80-84. 

Governor-General of Yezo, 154, 156, 

Gritris, W. E., 24, 33, 39, 43, 74, 273, 
282, 285, 305, 317, 324. 

Guides, 122, 171, 238. 

Hakodate, 134-147, 206. 

Hashiguchi, 158-168. 

Hawaii, 1-3. 

Hearu, L., 299, 318, 323, 328. 

Henson, H. V., 206. 

Horses, 173, 178. 

Hotels, 9-12, 26-28, 256. 

Ice, 59. 

Ieyasu, 227, 

Indians, 6. 

Inns, 125, 138, 150, 161, 195, 221, 225. 

Inundations, 210-219. 

Jinrikishas (see Kurumas) . 
Journalism, 108, 123, 164, 189-191. 
Journalists, 111. 

Kaempfer, 74. 

Kamakura, 21. 

Kamikawa, 185. 

Kissing, 75. 

Kitabatake, 124. 

Kneeling, 94, 95. 

Kuro Siwo, 6. 

Kurumas, 9, 10, 12, 22, 24, 32-35, 38, 

42, 57, 215. 
Kyoto, 255-266. 

La Farge, J., 103. 

Lamps, 163. 

Language, Japanese, 275. 

Lemons, 28. 

Lotos, Preface, 193, 232, 269-272. 

Merchants, 283. 

Mikado, 106-115. 

Milne, Professor, 122. 

Miniatures, 161. 

Missionaries, 63, 281-285. 

Mitford, 324. 

Moats, 40. 

Money, 14. 

Monkeys, 117. 

Morality, 281-291. 

Mororan, 203. 

Morse, 289, 302. 

Music, iu cheap theatres, 18 ; native 

band, 19; Tokyo city band, 71; 

geishas and samisens, 81, 82 ; 

drums, 87; in the theatre, 98; 

Professor Dittrich, 121 ; among 

convicts, 185; vocal quartet, 187; 

blind koto player, 264; Japanese 

versus foreign, 298-290. 

Nature, love of, 227, 231, 304. 
Nikko, 224-244. 
Norman, H., 26, 74, 327. 
Nudity, 49, 55, 57, 152, 204, 214, 222, 
241, 286-297. 

Okuma, Count, 100-102. 
Oliphant, 38, 287. 
Otaru, 148-150. 
Otsu, 267. 

Pacific Mail, 1-3. 
Painting, 105, 302-304. 
Parsons, A., 270. 
Passports, 124. 
Patriotism, 324-326. 
Perry, 6, 287. 
Piggott, 81. 

Pilgrims, 226, 227, 238, 245. 
Pine Islands, 128-130. 
Poetry, 309-312. 
Policemen, 41. 
Politeness, 50, 149, 316-320. 
Postal system, 122. 
Poverty, 51. 
Puns, 267. 

Railways, 22-25, 167, 169, 248-254. 
Rain, 219, 224, 245. 
Rice, 85, 86. 



Safety, 43, 44. 

Sake, 86. 

Samisen (see Music). 

Sampans, 7. 

Samurai, 39, 41. 

Sapporo, 151-165. 

School, of law, 100. 

Sculpture, 301. 

Sendai, 124-127. 

Shintoism, 325. 

Shopping, 139. 

Shop sigus, comic, 47 ; artistic, 

Shugio, H., Preface, 78, 83, 95, 100, 

111, 122, 124. 
Silk, 213, 260. 
Smoking, 249-251. 
Snakes, 244. 
Stage ride, 204. 
Steamers, 131. 
Stores, 45. 

Taste, 112. 

Tea godowns, 20. 

Tea house, 60 (see Inns) . 

Tea, stewed, 60; with milk, 106. 

Theatres, 17, 91-99. 

Tokyo, railway station, 25; hotel, 
26; in summer, 28, 119; at night, 
29; clean air, 29; bird's-eye view 
and area, 30; parks, 31 ; distances, 
30; street scenes, 37-68; yashikis, 
39; moats, 40; policemen, 41; 
safety, 43, 44; stores, 45-47; comic 
signs, 47 ; costumes, 47 ; exposure, 
49 ; bowing, 50 ; poverty, 51 ; fires, 
52 ; shop signs, 47, 53 ; early morn- 
ing, 54; chickens, 55; fish market, 
55; wells, 56; summer heat, 57; 
freight coolies, 58 ; watering carts. 
58; planed ice, 59: tea house, 60: 
carriage drive, 62; Tsukiji, 62; 
Buddhist temple, (53; archery gal- 
lery, 64; night crowds, 6(5; chil- 
dren, women, and foreigners, 67 ; 
flower show, 67 ; river festival and 
fireworks, 68-73; women, 74: a 
tea-house banquet, 77-86; Yoshi- 
wara, 88-iMJ ; criminals, 90 ; theatre, 

91-99; a high school, 100; Exhibi- 
tion, 103-116. 

Topsy-turvyness, 14, 71, 79-81, 83, 
168, 273-279. 

Tsukiji, 62. 

Typhoons, 13. 

Warner, CD., 330. 

Water, dangers of, 27. 

Waterfalls, 234-243. 

Wealth, display of, 320. 

Wells, 56. 

Wigmore, Professor, 282. 

Wine, 11 (see Sake') . 

Women (see also Geishas), scarcity 
of foreign, 15; musicians, 18; in 
tea godowns, 20; costume, 48; 
brunettes in blue, 49; freedom of, 
49; morning toilet, 55; archery 
.girls, 65; and foreigners, 67; a 
baron's daughter, 73: beauty of, 
74, 75; brunettes, 75; geishas and 
waiting girls, 76-89; grace and 
gait, 79; degraded class, 88; calls. 
121: standards of beauty, 121; 
waiting maids, 125, 130, 140, 141, 
161, 242; relations to men, 142; 
morals, 143; peasant, 148 ; at work, 
154; Aino, 188, 198, 202; rural 
types, 217; smoking, 249; beauty 
after marriage, 251 ; costume, 251 ; 
Malayan and Tartar types, 261 ; 
Spanish resemblances, 262 ; in 
Kyoto, 261-263; chastity, 284: in 
public baths, 294-296; politeness, 

Wores, 301, 322. 

Wrestlers, 252, 

Writing, 1(54. 

Yabi. Preface. 123 et passim. 

Yashikis. 39. 

Yezo, climate, 118. 178; features of, 
120: and Russia, 152: forest, 171- 
188: clearings, 179; criminals, 169, 

Yokohama, 5-21. 

Yoshiwara, 88-90. 

Yunioto, 240-242. 


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