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Copyright, 1900, 

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I. St Mi ' 71 




I. NocmuCjE 197 








Facing page 
PLATE I ................ 72 

1-2, Young Sfmf. 

3-4, Haru-Zemi, also called Nawasbiro-Zam. 

PLATE II ................ 76 

" Shinne-Sbinne," also called Yamor-Zimi, and 

PLATE HI ............ .... 80 

PLATE IV .. .84 

1-2, Mugikari-Zemi, also called Gosbiki-Zemi. 

3, Higurasbi. 

4, "Min-Min-Zemi" 

PLATE V ................ 88 

1, "Tsuku-tsuku-Bdshi," also called "Kutsttr-kutsu- 

B5sbi" etc. (Cosmopsaltria Opalifera ?) 

2, Tsurigane-Zemi. 

3, Tbe Pbantom. 


II avait vu brQler d' Granges pierres, 
Jadis, dans les brasiers de la pensee . . . 

The Reconciliation 1 

'The original story is to be found In the curious volume entitled 

The Reconciliation 


THERE was a young Samurai of Kyoto who 
had been reduced to poverty by the ruin 
of his lord, and found himself obliged to 
leave his home, and to take service with the 
Governor of a distant province. Before quitting 
the capital, this Samurai divorced his wife, a 
good and beautiful woman, under the belief 
that he could better obtain promotion by another 
alliance. He then married the daughter of a 
family of some distinction, and took her with 
him to the district whither he had been called. 

But it was in the time of the thoughtlessness 
of youth, and the sharp experience of want, that 
the Samurai could not understand the worth of 
the affection so lightly cast away. His second 
marriage did not prove a happy one ; the charac 
ter of his new wife was hard and selfish ; and he 

6 Shadowings 

soon found every cause to think with regret of 
Kyoto days. Then he discovered that he still 
loved his first wife loved her more than he 
could ever love the second ; and he began to feel 
how unjust and how thankless he had been. 
Gradually his repentance deepened into a re 
morse that left him no peace of mind. Memories 
of the woman he had wronged her gentle 
speech, her smiles, her dainty, pretty ways, her 
faultless patience continually haunted him. 
Sometimes in dreams he saw her at her loom, 
weaving as when she toiled night and day to 
help him during the years of their distress : more 
often he saw her kneeling alone in the desolate 
little room where he had left her, veiling her 
tears with her poor worn sleeve. Even in the 
hours of official duty, his thoughts would wander 
back to her : then he would ask himself how she 
was living, what she was doing. Something in 
his heart assured him that she could not accept 
another husband, and that she never would refuse 
to pardon him. And he secretly resolved to seek 
her out as soon as he could return to Kyoto, 
then to beg her forgiveness, to take her back, to 
do everything that a man could do to make 
atonement. But the years went by. 

The Reconciliation 7 

At last the Governor's official term expired, 
and the Samurai was free. " Now I will go back 
to my dear one," he vowed to himself. " Ah, 
what a cruelty, what a folly to have divorced 
her ! " He sent his second wife to her own 
people (she had given him no children); and 
hurrying to Kyoto, he went at once to seek his 
former companion, not allowing himself even 
the time to change his travelling-garb. 

When he reached the street where she used to 
live, it was late in the night, the night of the 
tenth day of the ninth month; and the city 
was silent as a cemetery. But a bright moon 
made everything visible ; and he found the house 
without difficulty. It had a deserted look: tall 
weeds were growing on the roof. He knocked 
at the sliding-doors, and no one answered. Then, 
finding that the doors had not been fastened from 
within, he pushed them open, and entered. The 
front room was matless and empty: a chilly wind 
was blowing through crevices in the planking; 
and the moon shone through a ragged break in 
the wall of the alcove. Other rooms presented 
a like forlorn condition. The house, to all seem 
ing, was unoccupied. Nevertheless, the Samurai 

8 Shadowings 

determined to visit one other apartment at the 
further end of the dwelling, a very small room 
that had been his wife's favorite resting-place. 
Approaching the sliding-screen that closed it, he 
was startled to perceive a glow within. He 
pushed the screen aside, and uttered a cry of 
joy ; for he saw her there, sewing by the light 
of a paper-lamp. Her eyes at the same instant 
met his own ; and with a happy smile she greeted 
him, asking only : " When did you come 
back to Kyoto ? How did you find your way 
here to me, through all those black rooms ? " 
The years had not changed her. Still she seemed 
as fair and young as in his fondest memory of 
her ; but sweeter than any memory there came 
to him the music of her voice, with its trembling 
of pleased wonder. 

Then joyfully he took his place beside her, 
and told her all : how deeply he repented his 
selfishness, how wretched he had been without 
her, how constantly he had regretted her, 
how long he had hoped and planned to make 
amends; caressing her the while, and asking 
her forgiveness over and over again. She an 
swered him, with loving gentleness, according to 
his heart's desire, entreating him to cease all 

The Reconciliation $ 

self-reproach. It was wrong, she said, that he 
should have allowed himself to suffer on her ac 
count: she had always felt that she was not 
worthy to be his wife. She knew that he had 
separated from her, notwithstanding, only be 
cause of poverty ; and while he lived with her, 
he had always been kind; and she had never 
ceased to pray for his happiness. But even if 
there had been a reason for speaking of amends, 
this honorable visit would be ample amends ; 
what greater happiness than thus to see him 
again, though it were only for a moment? 
" Only for a moment ! " he answered, with a 
glad laugh, "say, rather, for the time of 
seven existences! My loved one, unless you 
forbid, I am coming back to live with you al 
ways always always! Nothing shall ever 
separate us again. Now I have means and 
friends : we need not fear poverty. To-mor 
row my goods will be brought here; and my 
servants will come to wait upon you; and we 
shall make this house beautiful. . . . To-night," 
he added, apologetically, " I came thus late 
without even changing my dress only because 
of the longing 1 had to see you, and to tell you 
this." She seemed greatly pleased by these 

10 Shadowings 

words; and in her turn she told him about all 
that had happened in Kyoto since the time of 
his departure, excepting her own sorrows, of 
which she sweetly refused to speak. They 
chatted far into the night: then she conducted 
him to a warmer room, facing south, a room 
that had been their bridal chamber in former 
time. " Have you no one in the house to help 
you ? " he asked, as she began to prepare the 
couch for him. "No," she answered, laughing 
cheerfully : " I could not afford a servant ; so 
I have been living all alone." "You will have 
plenty of servants to-morrow," he said, " good 
servants, and everything else that you need." 
They lay down to rest, not to sleep : they had 
too much to tell each other; and they talked 
of the past and the present and the future, until 
the dawn was grey. Then, involuntarily, the 
Samurai closed his eyes, and slept. 

When he awoke, the daylight was streaming 
through the chinks of the sliding-shutters ; and 
he found himself, to his utter amazement, lying 
upon the naked boards of a mouldering floor. 
. . . Had he only dreamed a dream? No: 
she was there ; she slept. ... He bent above 

The Reconciliation 11 

her, and looked, and shrieked ; for the 
sleeper had no face ! . . Before him, wrapped in 
its grave-sheet only, lay the corpse of a woman, 
a corpse so wasted that little remained save the 
bones, and the long black tangled hair. 

Slowly, as he stood shuddering and sicken 
ing in the sun, the icy horror yielded to a des 
pair so intolerable, a pain so atrocious, that he 
clutched at the mocking shadow of a doubt. 
Feigning ignorance of the neighborhood, he 
ventured to ask his way to the house in 
which his wife had lived. 

" There is no one in that house," said the per 
son questioned. " It used to belong to the wife 
of a Samurai who left the city several years ago. 
He divorced her in order to marry another 
woman before he went away; and she fretted 
a great deal, and so became sick. She had no 
relatives in Kyoto, and nobody to care for her ; 
and she died in the autumn of the same year, 
on the tenth day of the ninth month. . ." 

A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu 1 

1 From the old story-book, Jikkwt-sbo 

A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu 

THERE was once a very pious and learned 
priest, called Shoku Shonin, who lived in 
the province of Harima. For many years 
he meditated daily upon the chapter of Fugen- 
Bosatsu [the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra] in the 
Sutra of the Lotos of the Good Law; and he 
used to pray, every morning and evening, that 
he might at some time be permitted to behold 
Fugen-Bosatsu as a living presence, and in the 
form described in the holy text. 1 

1 The priest's desire was probably inspired by the 
promises recorded in the chapter entitled " The Encourage 
ment of Samantabhadra" (see Kern's translation of the 
Saddharma Pundarika in the Sacred Books of ibe East, 
pp. 433-434) : "Then the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Saman 
tabhadra said to the Lord: . . . 'When a preacher who 
applies himself to this Dharmaparyiya shall take a walk, 
then, O Lord, will I mount a white elephant with six tusks, 
and betake myself to the place where that preacher is 
walking, in order to protect this Dharmaparyaya. And 


16 Shadowings 

One evening, while he was reciting the Sutra, 
drowsiness overcame him; and he fell asleep 
leaning upon his kyosoku. 1 Then he dreamed; 
and in his dream a voice told him that, in order 
to see Fugen-Bosatsu, he must go to the house 
of a certain courtesan, known as the " Yujo-no- 
Choja," 2 who lived in the town of Kanzaki. 
Immediately upon awakening he resolved to go 
to Kanzaki ; and, making all possible haste, he 
reached the town by the evening of the next 

When he entered the house of the yujo, he 
found many persons already there assembled 
mostly young men of the capital, who had been 
attracted to Kanzaki by the fame of the woman's 

when that preacher, applying himself to this Dharma- 
paryaya, forgets, be it but a single word or syllable, then 
will I mount the white elephant t with six tusks, and show 
my face to that preacher, and repeat this entire Dharma- 
parySya." But these promises refer to "the end of 

1 The Kyosoku is a kind of padded arm-rest, or arm- 
stool, upon which the priest leans one arm while reading. 
The use of such an arm-rest is not confined, however, to 
the Buddhist clergy. 

2 A yuj5, in old days, was a singing-girl as well as a 
courtesan. The term " Yujo-no-Choja," in this case, 
would mean simply " the first (or best) of yujo." 

A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu 17 

beauty. They were feasting and drinking ; and 
the yujo was playing a small hand-drum (tsu- 
%umi), which she used very skilfully, and sing 
ing a song. The song which she sang was an 
old Japanese song about a famous shrine in 
the town of Murozumi; and the words were 
these : 

Within the sacred water-tank l of Murozumi in 


Even though no wind be blowing, 
The surface of the water is always rippling. 

The sweetness of the voice filled everybody 
with surprise and delight. As the priest, who 
had taken a place apart, listened and wondered, 
the girl suddenly fixed her eyes upon him ; and 
in the same instant he saw her form change into 
the form of Fugen-Bosatsu, emitting from her 
brow a beam of light that seemed to pierce be 
yond the limits of the universe, and riding a 
snow-white elephant with six tusks. And still 

1 Mitarai. Mitarai (or mitarashi) is the name especially 
given to the water-tanks, or water-fonts of stone or 
bronze placed before Shinto shrines in order that the 
worshipper may purify his lips and hands before making 
prayer. Buddhist tanks are not so named. 

18 Shadowings 

she sang but the song also was now trans 
formed; and the words came thus to the ears 
of the priest: 

On the Vast Sea of Cessation, 

Though the Winds of the Six Desires and of the 

Five Corruptions never blow, 
Yet the surface of that deep is always covered 
With the billowings of Attainment to the Real- 


Dazzled by the divine ray, the priest closed 
his eyes : but through their lids he still distinctly 
saw the vision. When he opened them again, it 
was gone : he saw only the girl with her hand- 
drum, and heard only the song about the water 
of Murozumi. But he found that as often as 
he shut his eyes he could see Fugen-Bosatsu 
on the six-tusked elephant, and could hear the 
mystic Song of the Sea of Cessation. The other 
persons present saw only the yujo : they had not 
beheld the manifestation. 

Then the singer suddenly disappeared from 
the banquet -room none could say when or 
how. From that moment the revelry ceased; 
and gloom took the place of joy. After having 
waited and sought for the girl to no purpose, 

A Legend of Fugen-Bosatsu 19 

the company dispersed in great sorrow. Last 
of all, the priest departed, bewildered by the 
emotions of the evening. But scarcely had he 
passed beyond the gate, when theyujo appeared 
before him, and said: "Friend, do not speak 
yet to any one of what you have seen this 
night." And with these words she vanished 
away, leaving the air filled with a delicious 


* * 


The monk by whom the foregoing legend was 
recorded, comments upon it thus : The condi 
tion of a yujo is low and miserable, since she is 
condemned to serve the lusts of men. Who 
therefore could imagine that such a woman 
might be the nirmanakaya, or incarnation, of 
a Bodhisattva. But we must remember that 
the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas may appear 
in this world in countless different forms ; choos 
ing, for the purpose of their divine compassion, 
even the most humble or contemptible shapes 
when such shapes can serve them to lead men 
into the true path, and to save them from the 
perils of illusion. 

The Screen-Maiden 1 

Related in the Otogi-Hjraku-Monog atari 

The Screen-Maiden 

SAYS the old Japanese author, Hakubai-En 
Rosui : * 

" In Chinese and in Japanese books there 
are related many stories, both of ancient and 
of modern times, about pictures that were so 
beautiful as to exercise a magical influence upon 
the beholder. And concerning such beautiful 
pictures, whether pictures of flowers or of birds 
or of people, painted by famous artists, it is 
further told that the shapes of the creatures or 

i He died in the eighteenth year of Kyoho (1733). The 
painter to whom he refers better known to collectors as 
Hishigawa Kichibei Moronobu flourished during the 
latter part of the seventeenth century. Beginning his 
career as a dyer's apprentice, he won his reputation as an 
artist about 1680, when he may be said to have founded 
the Ukiyo-ye school of illustration. Hishigawa was especially 
a delineator of what are called furyu, (" elegant manners "), 
the aspects of life among the upper classes of society. 


24 Shadowings 

the persons, therein depicted, would separate 
themselves from the paper or the silk upon which 
they had been painted, and would perform vari 
ous acts ; so that they became, by their own 
will, really alive. We shall not now repeat any 
of the stories of this class which have been known 
to everybody from ancient times. But even in 
modern times the fame of the pictures painted 
by Hishigawa Kichibei ' Hishigawa's Portraits ' 
has become widespread in the land." 

He then proceeds to relate the following story 
about one of the so-called portraits : 

There was a young scholar of Ky5to whose 
name was Tokkei. He used to live in the street 
called Muromachi. One evening, while on his 
way home after a visit, his attention was attracted 
by an old single -leaf screen (t suit ate), exposed 
for sale before the shop of a dealer in second 
hand goods. It was only a paper-covered screen ; 
but there was painted upon it the full-length 
figure of a girl which caught the young man's 
fancy. The price asked was very small : Tokkei 
bought the screen, and took it home with him. 

When he looked again at the screen, in the 
solitude of his own room, the picture seemed to 

The Screen-Maiden 2 

him much more beautiful than before. Appar 
ently it was a real likeness, the portrait of a 
girl fifteen or sixteen years old ; and every little 
detail in the painting of the hair, eyes, eyelashes, 
mouth, had been executed with a delicacy and 
a truth beyond praise. The manajiri 1 seemed 
"like a lotos -blossom courting favor "; the lips 
were " like the smile of a red flower " ; the whole 
young face was inexpressibly sweet. If the real 
girl so portrayed had been equally lovely, no man 
could have looked upon her without losing his 
heart. And Tokkei believed that she must have 
been thus lovely ; for the figure seemed alive, 
ready to reply to anybody who might speak 
to it. 

Gradually, as he continued to gaze at the pic 
ture, he felt himself bewitched by the charm of 
it. " Can there really have been in this world," 
he murmured to himself, " so delicious a creature ? 
How gladly would I give my life nay, a thou 
sand years of life ! to hold her in my arms 

1 Also written mejiri, the exterior canthus of the eye. 
The Japanese (like the old Greek and the old Arabian poets) 
have many curious dainty words and similes to express 
particular beauties of the hair, eyes, eyelids, lips, fingers, 

26 Shadow! ngs 

even for a moment ! " (The Japanese author 
says " for a few seconds.") In short, he became 
enamoured of the picture, so much enamoured 
of it as to feel that he never could love any 
woman except the person whom it represented. 
Yet that person, if still alive, could no longer 
resemble the painting: perhaps she had been 
buried long before he was born ! 

Day by day, nevertheless, this hopeless passion 
grew upon him. He could not eat ; he could not 
sleep: neither could he occupy his, mind with 
those studies which had formerly delighted him. 
He would sit for hours before the picture, talking 
to it, neglecting or forgetting everything else. 
And at last he fell sick so sick that he believed 
himself going to die. 

Now among the friends of Tokkei there was 
one venerable scholar who knew many strange 
things about old pictures and about young hearts. 
This aged scholar, hearing of Tokkei's illness, 
came to visit him, and saw the screen, and under 
stood what had happened. Then Tokkei, being 
questioned, confessed everything to his friend, 
and declared : " If I cannot find such a woman, 
I shall die." 

The Screen-Maiden 27 

The old man said : 

" That picture was painted by Hishigawa 
Kichibei, painted from life. The person whom 
it represented is not now in the world. But it is 
said that Hishigawa Kichibei painted her mind as 
well as her form, and that her spirit lives in the 
picture. So I think that you can win her." 

Tokkei half rose from his bed, and stared 
eagerly at the speaker. 

" You must give her a name," the old man 
continued ; " and you must sit before her pic 
ture every day, and keep your thoughts constantly 
fixed upon her, and call her gently by the name 
which you have given her, until she answers 
you. . . ." 

" Answers me ! " exclaimed the lover, in 
breathless amazement. 

" Oh, yes," the adviser responded, " she will 
certainly answer you. But you must be ready, 
when she answers you, to present her with what 
I am going to tell you. ..." 

" 1 will give her my life ! " cried Tokkei. 

" No," said the old man ; " you will present 
her with a cup of wine that has been bought at 
one hundred different wine -shops. Then she will 
come out of the screen to accept the wine. After 

28 Shadowings 

that, probably she herself will tell you what 
to do." 

With these words the old man went away. 
His advice aroused Tokkei from despair. At 
once he seated himself before the picture, and 
called it by the name of a girl (what name the 
Japanese narrator has forgotten to tell us) over 
and over again, very tenderly. That day it 
made no answer, nor the next day, nor the next. 
But Tokkei did not lose faith or patience; and 
after many days it suddenly one evening an 
swered to its name, 

"Hat!" (Yes.) 

Then quickly, quickly, some of -the wine from 
a hundred different wine-shops was poured out, 
and reverentially presented in a little cup. And 
the girl stepped from the screen, and walked 
upon the matting of the room, and knelt to 
take the cup from Tokkei's hand, asking, with 
a delicious smile : 

" How could you love me so much ? " 

Says the Japanese narrator : " She was much 
more beautiful than the picture, beautiful to 
the tips of her finger-nails, beautiful also in 
heart and temper, lovelier than anybody else 
in the world." What answer Tokkei made to 

The Screen-Maiden 29 

her question is not recorded : it will have to be 

" But will you not soon get tired of me ? " she 

" Never while I live ! " he protested. 

"And after ?" she persisted; for the 
Japanese bride is not satisfied with love for one 
life-time only. 

" Let us pledge ourselves to each other," he 
entreated, " for the time of seven existences." 

" If you are ever unkind to me," she said, " I 
will go back to the screen." 

They pledged each other. I suppose that 
Tokkei was a good boy, for his bride never 
returned to the screen. The space that she had 
occupied upon it remained a blank. 

Exclaims the Japanese author, 
" How very seldom do such things happen in 
this world ! " 

The Corpse-Rider 1 

1 From the Konscki-Monogattrt 

The Corpse-Rider 

THE body was cold as ice; the heart had 
long ceased to beat: yet there were no 
other signs of death. Nobody even spoke 
of burying the woman. She had died of grief 
and anger at having been divorced. It would 
have been useless to bury her, because the last 
undying wish of a dying person for vengeance 
can burst asunder any tomb and rift the heaviest 
graveyard stone. People who lived near the 
house in which she was lying fled from their 
homes. They knew that she was only waiting 
for the return of the man who had divorced her. 
At the time of her death he was on a journey. 
When he came back and was told what had hap 
pened, terror seized him. " If I can find no help 
before dark," he thought to himself, " she will 
tear me to pieces." It was yet only the Hour of 
3 33 

34 Shadow! ngs 

the Dragon ; l but he knew that he had no time 
to lose. 

He went at once to an inyosbi* and begged for 
succor. The inyosbi knew the story of the dead 
woman ; and he had seen the body. He said to 
the supplicant : "A very great danger threatens 
you. I will try to save you. But you must 
promise to do whatever I shall tell you to do. 
There is only one way by which you can be 
saved. It is a fearful way. But unless you find 
the courage to attempt it, she will tear you limb 
from limb. If you can be brave, come to me 
again in the evening before sunset." The man 
shuddered ; but he promised to do whatever 
should be required of him. 

At sunset the inyosbi went with him to the 
house where the body was lying. The inyoshi 
pushed open the sliding-doors, and told his client 
to enter. It was rapidly growing dark. " I dare 

1 Tatsu no Koku, or the Hour of the Dragon, by old 
Japanese time, began at about eight o'clock in the morn 

2 Inyosbi, a professor or master of the science of in-yo, 
the old Chinese nature-philosophy, based upon the 
theory of a male and a female principle pervading the 

The Corpse-Rider 3!> 

not ! " gasped the man, quaking from head to 
foot ; "I dare not even look at her ! " " You 
will have to do much more than look at her," 
declared the inyoshi ; " and you promised to 
obey. Go in ! " He forced the trembler into 
the house and led him to the side of the corpse. 

The dead woman was lying on her face. 
" Now you must get astride upon her," said the 
inyoshi, " and sit firmly on her back, as if you 
were riding a horse. . . . Come ! you must do 
it ! " The man shivered so that the inyosbi had 
to support him shivered horribly; but he 
obeyed. " Now take her hair in your hands," 
commanded the inyoshi , " half in the right 
hand, half in the left. ... So ! ... You must 
grip it like a bridle. Twist your hands in it 
both hands tightly. That is the way! . . . 
Listen to me ! You must stay like that till morn 
ing. You will have reason to be afraid in the 
night plenty of reason. But whatever may 
happen, never let go of her hair. If you let go, 
even for one second, she will tear you into 
gobbets ! " 

The inyoshi then whispered some mysterious 
words into the ear of the body, and said to its 

36 Shadow! ngs 

rider : " Now, for my own sake, I must leave 
you alone with her. . . . Remain as you are ! 
. . . Above all things, remember that you must 
not let go of her hair." And he went away, 
closing the doors behind him. 

Hour after hour the man sat upon the corpse in 
black fear ; and the hush of the night deepened 
and deepened about him till he screamed to break 
it. Instantly the body sprang beneath him, as to 
cast him off; and the dead woman cried out 
loudly, " Oh, how heavy it is ! Yet I shall bring 
that fellow here now ! " 

Then tall she rose, and leaped to the doors, 
and flung them open, and rushed into the night, 
always bearing the weight of the man. But 
he, shutting his eyes, kept his hands twisted 
in her long hair, tightly, tightly, though 
fearing with such a fear that he could not even 
moan. How far she went, he never knew. 
He saw nothing : he heard only the sound of 
her naked feet in the dark, picha-picha, 
picba-picba, and the hiss of her breathing as 
she ran. 

At last she turned, and ran back into the 
house, and lay down upon the floor exactly as 

The Corpse-Rider 37 

at first. Under the man she panted and moaned 
till the cocks began to crow. Thereafter she lay 

But the man, with chattering teeth, sat upon 
her until the inyosbi came at sunrise. " So you 
did not let go of her hair! " observed the in 
yosbi t greatly pleased. " That is well . . . Now 
you can stand up." He whispered again into the 
ear of the corpse, and then said to the man : 
" You must have passed a fearful night ; but 
nothing else could have saved you. Hereafter 
you may feel secure from her vengeance." 

* * 

The conclusion of this story I do not think to 
be morally satisfying. It is not recorded that the 
corpse-rider became insane, or that his hair turned 
white : we are told only that " he worshipped the 
inyosbi with tears of gratitude." A note ap 
pended to the recital is equally disappointing. 
"It is reported," the Japanese author says, 
" that a grandchild of the man [who rode the 
corpse] still survives, and that a grandson of 
the inyosbi is at this very time living in a vil- 


38 Shadowings 

lage called Otokunoi-mura [probably pronounced 

This village-name does not appear in any Jap 
anese directory of to-day. But the names of 
many towns and villages have been changed 
since the foregoing story was written. 

The Sympathy of Benten 1 

9 V ;' ; 

4 The original story is in the Otogi-Hyaku-Monogatari 

The Sympathy of Benten 

IN Kyoto there is a famous temple called Ama- 
dera. Sadazumi Shinno, the fifth son of 
the Emperor Seiwa, passed the greater part 
of his life there as a priest ; and the graves of 
many celebrated persons are to be seen in the 

But the present edifice is not the ancient Ama- 
dera. The original temple, after the lapse of ten 
centuries, fell into such decay that it had to be 
entirely rebuilt in the fourteenth year of Genroku 
(1701 A. D.). 

A great festival was held to celebrate the re 
building of the Amadera ; and among the thou 
sands of persons who attended that festival there 
was a young scholar and poet named Hanagaki 
Baishu. He wandered about the newly-laid-out 
grounds and gardens, delighted by all that he saw, 
until he reached the place of a spring at which he 

42 Shadowings 

had often drunk in former times. He was then 
surprised to find that the soil about the spring 
had been dug away, so as to form a square pond, 
and that at one corner of this pond there had 
been set up a wooden tablet bearing the words 
Tanjo-Sui (" Birth- Water "). 1 He also saw 
that a small, but very handsome temple of the 
Goddess Benten had been erected beside the 
pond. While he was looking at this new tem 
ple, a sudden gust of wind blew to his feet a tan- 
%aku, 2 on which the following poem had been 
written : 

Shirushi ar&o 
Iwai zo somuru 

Tama hoki, 
Torute* bakari no 
Chigiri nar&omo. 

This poem a poem on first love (hatsu koi), 
composed by the famous Shunrei Kyo was not 

1 The word tanjo (birth) should here be understood in 
its mystical Buddhist meaning of new life or rebirth, rather 
than in the western signification of birth. 

2 Tan^aku is the name given to the long strips or rib 
bons of paper, usually colored, upon which poems are 
written perpendicularly. Poems written upon tan^aku are 
suspended to trees in flower, to wind-bells, to any beautiful 
object in which the poet has found an inspiration. 

The Sympathy of Benten 43 

unfamiliar to him ; but it had been written 
upon the tan^aku by a female hand, and so 
exquisitely that he could scarcely believe his 
eyes. Something in the form of the charac 
ters, an indefinite grace, suggested that period 
of youth between childhood and womanhood ; 
and the pure rich color of the ink seemed to 
bespeak the purity and goodness of the writer's 
heart. 1 

Baishu carefully folded up the tan^ahu, and 
took it home with him. When he looked at it 
again the writing appeared to him even more 
wonderful than at first. His knowledge in calig- 
raphy assured him only that the poem had been 
written by some girl who was very young, very 
intelligent, and probably very gentle-hearted. 

1 It is difficult for the inexperienced European eye to 
distinguish in Chinese or Japanese writing those character 
istics implied by our term " hand " in the sense of indi 
vidual style. But the Japanese scholar never forgets the 
peculiarities of a handwriting once seen ; and he can even 
guess at the approximate age of the writer. Chinese and 
Japanese authors claim that the color (quality) of the ink 
used tells something of the character of the writer. As 
every person grounds or prepares his or her own ink, the 
deeper and clearer black would at least indicate something 
of personal carefulness and of the sense of beauty. 

44 Shadowings 

But this assurance sufficed to shape within his 
mind the image of a very charming person ; and 
he soon found himself in love with the unknown. 
Then his first resolve was to seek out the writer 
of the verses, and, if possible, make her his wife. 
. . . Yet how was he to find her ? Who was 
she ? Where did she live ? Certainly he could 
hope to find her only through the favor of the 

But presently it occurred to him that the 
Gods might be very willing to lend their aid. 
The tan^ahu had come to him while he was 
standing in front of the temple of Benten-Sama ; 
and it was to this divinity in particular that lovers 
were wont to pray for happy union. This reflec 
tion impelled him to beseech the Goddess for 
assistance. He went at once to the temple of 
Benten -of -the -Birth -Water ( Tanjo-sui -no -Ben- 
ten) in the grounds of the Amadera ; and there, 
with all the fervor of his heart, he made his 
petition : " O Goddess, pity me ! help me 
to find where the young person lives who wrote 
the tan^ahu ! vouchsafe me but one chance to 
meet her, even if only for a moment ! " And 
after having made this prayer, he began to per 
form a seven days' religious service (nanuka 

The Sympathy of Benten 4 

mairi) l in honor of the Goddess ; vowing at 
the same time to pass the seventh night in cease 
less worship before her shrine. 

Now on the seventh night, the night of his 
vigil, during the hour when the silence is most 
deep, he heard at the main gateway of the temple- 
grounds a voice calling for admittance. Another 
voice from within answered ; the gate was opened ; 
and Baishu saw an old man of majestic appear 
ance approaching with slow steps. This vener 
able person was clad in robes of ceremony ; and 
he wore upon his snow-white head a black cap 
(ebosbi) of the form indicating high rank. 
Reaching the little temple of Benten, he knelt 
down in front of it, as if respectfully awaiting 
some order. Then the outer door of the temple 
was opened ; the hanging curtain of bamboo 
behind it, concealing the inner sanctuary, was 
rolled half-way up ; and a cbigo 2 came forward, 

1 There are many kinds of religious exercises called 
mairi. The performer of a nanuka-mairi pledges himself 
to pray at a certain temple every day for seven days in 

2 The term cbigo usually means the page of a noble 
household, especially an Imperial page. The cbigo who 

46 Shadowings 

a beautiful boy, with long hair tied back in 
the ancient manner. He stood at the threshold, 
and said to the old man in a clear loud voice : 

" There is a person here who has been praying 
for a love-union not suitable to his present con 
dition, and otherwise difficult to bring about. 
But as the young man is worthy of Our pity, you 
have been called to see whether something can 
be done for him. If there should prove to be 
any relation between the parties from the period 
of a former birth, you will introduce them to 
each other." 

On receiving this command, the old man 
bowed respectfully to the chigo : then, rising, he 
drew from the pocket of his long left sleeve a 
crimson cord. One end of this cord he passed 
round Baishu's body, as if to bind him with it. 
The other end he put into the flame of one of 
the temple -lamps ; and while the cord was there 
burning, he waved his hand three times, as if to 
summon somebody out of the dark. 

Immediately, in the direction of the Amadera, a 
sound of coming steps was heard ; and in another 

appears in this story is of course a supernatural being, 
the court-messenger of the Goddess, and her mouthpiece. 

The Sympathy of Benten 47 

moment a girl appeared, a charming girl, fif - 
teen or sixteen years old. She approached grace 
fully, but very shyly, hiding the lower part of 
her face with a fan ; and she knelt down beside 
Baishu. The chigo then said to Baishu : 

" Recently you have been suffering much 
heart -pain ; and this desperate love of yours 
has even impaired your health. We could not 
allow you to remain in so unhappy a condi 
tion ; and We therefore summoned the Old- 
Man-under-the-Moon * to make you acquainted 
with the writer of that tan^ahu. She is now 
beside you." 

With these words, the chigo retired behind the 
bamboo curtain. Then the old man went away 
as he had come ; and the young girl followed 
him. Simultaneously Baishu heard the great bell 
of the Amadera sounding the hour of dawn. 'He 
prostrated himself in thanksgiving before the 
shrine of Benten-of-the-Birth-Water, . and pro 
ceeded homeward, feeling as if awakened from 
some delightful dream, happy at having seen 

1 Gekkawo. This is a poetical appellation for the 
God of Marriage, more usually known as Musubi-no-kami. 
Throughout this story there is an interesting mingling of 
Shinto and Buddhist ideas. 

48 Shado wings 

the charming person whom he had so fervently 
prayed to meet, unhappy also because of the 
fear that he might never meet her again. 

But scarcely had he passed from the gateway 
into the street, when he saw a young girl walking 
alone in the same direction that he was going ; 
and, even in the dusk of the dawn, he recognized 
her at once as the person to whom he had been 
introduced before the temple of Benten. As he 
quickened his pace to overtake her, she turned 
and saluted him with a graceful bow. Then for 
the first time he ventured to speak to her ; and 
she answered him in a voice of which the sweet 
ness filled his heart with joy. Through the yet 
silent streets they walked on, chatting happily, 
till they found themselves before the house 
where Baishu lived. There he paused spoke 
to the girl of his hopes and fears. Smiling, she 
asked : "Do you not know that I was sent for 
to become your wife ? " And she entered with 

Becoming his wife, she delighted him beyond 
expectation by the charm of her mind and heart. 
Moreover, he found her to be much more accom 
plished than he had supposed. Besides being 

The Sympathy of Benten 49 

able to write so wonderfully, she could paint 
beautiful pictures; she knew the art of arrang 
ing flowers, the art of embroidery, the art of 
music ; she could weave and sew ; and she knew 
everything in regard to the management of 
a house. 

It was in the early autumn that the young 
people had met; and they lived together in 
perfect accord until the winter season began. 
Nothing, during those months, occurred to dis 
turb their peace. Baishu's love for his gentle 
wife only strengthened with the passing of time. 
Yet, strangely enough, he remained ignorant of 
her history, knew nothing about her family. 
Of such matters she had never spoken; and, 
as the Gods had given her to him, he imagined 
that it would not be proper to question her. But 
neither the Old-Man-under-the-Moon nor any 
one else came as he had feared to take her 
away. Nobody even made any inquiries about 
her. And the neighbors, for some undiscover- 
able reason, acted as if totally unaware of her 

Baishu wondered at all this. But stranger 
experiences were awaiting him. 



One winter morning he happened to be pass 
ing through a somewhat remote quarter of the 
city, when he heard himself loudly called by 
name, and saw a man-servant making signs to 
him from the gateway of a private residence. 
As Baishu did not know the man's face, and did 
not have a single acquaintance in that part of 
Kyoto, he was more than startled by so abrupt a 
summons. But the servant, coming forward, 
saluted him with the utmost respect, and said, 
" My master greatly desires the honor of speaking 
with you : deign to enter for a moment." After 
an instant of hesitation, Baishu allowed himself 
to be conducted to the house. A dignified 
and richly dressed person, who seemed to be 
the master, welcomed him at the entrance, and 
led him to the guest-room. When the courte 
sies due upon a first meeting had been fully 
exchanged, the host apologized for the informal 
manner of his invitation, and said : 

" It must have seemed to you very rude of us 
to call you in such a way. But perhaps you will 
pardon our impoliteness when I tell you that we 
acted thus upon what I firmly believe to have 
been an inspiration from the Goddess Benten. 
Now permit me to explain. 

The Sympathy of Benten ">1 

" I have a daughter, about sixteen years old, 
who can write rather well, 1 and do other things 
in the common way : she has the ordinary nature 
of woman. As we were anxious to make her 
happy by finding a good husband for her, we 
prayed the Goddess Benten to help us ; and we 
sent to every temple of Benten in the city a 
tan^aku written by the girl. Some nights later, 
the Goddess appeared to me in a dream, and 
said: 'We have heard your prayer, and have 
already introduced your daughter to the person 
who is to become her husband. During the 
coming winter he will visit you.' As I did not 
understand this assurance that a presentation had 
been made, I felt some doubt; I thought that 
the dream might have been only a common 
dream, signifying nothing. But last night again 
I saw Benten-Sama in a dream ; and she said to 
me : ' To-morrow the young man, of whom [ 

1 As it is the old Japanese rule that parents should 
speak depreciatingly of their children's accomplishments 
the phrase " rather well " in this connection would mean, 
for the'visitor, " wonderfully well." For the same reason 
the expressions "common way" and " ordinary nature," 
as subsequently used, would imply almost the reverse of 
the literal meaning. 

J2 Shadowings 

once spoke to you, will come to this street : then 
you can call him into your house, and ask him 
to become the husband of your daughter. He 
is a good young man ; and later in life he will 
obtain a much higher rank than he now holds.' 
Then Benten-Sama told me your name, your 
age, your birthplace, and described your features 
and dress so exactly that my servant found no 
difficulty in recognizing you by the indications 
which I was able to give him." 

This explanation bewildered Baishu instead of 
reassuring him ; and his only reply was a formal 
return of thanks for the honor which the master 
of the house had spoken of doing him. But 
when the host invited him to another room, for 
the purpose of presenting him to the young 
lady, his embarrassment became extreme. Yet 
he could not reasonably decline the introduc 
tion. He could not bring himself, under such 
extraordinary circumstances, to announce that he 
already had a wife, a wife given to him by 
the Goddess Benten herself ; a wife from whom 
he could not even think of separating. So, in 
silence and trepidation, he followed his host to 
the apartment indicated. 

The Sympathy of Benfen $} 

Then what was his amazement to discover, 
when presented to the daughter of the house, 
that she was the very same person whom he 
had already taken to wife! 

The same, yet not the same. 

She to whom he had been introduced by the 
Old-Man-under-the-Moon, was only the soul of 
the beloved. 

She to whom he was now to be wedded, in 
her father's house, was the body. 

Benten had wrought this miracle for the sake 
of her worshippers. 

* * 

The original story breaks off suddenly at this 
point, leaving several matters unexplained. The 
ending is rather unsatisfactory. One would like 
to know something about the mental experi 
ences of the real maiden during the married life 
of her phantom. One would also like to know 
what became of the phantom, whether it 
continued to lead an independent existence ; 
whether it waited patiently for the return of 
its husband ; whether it paid a visit to the real 
bride. And the book says nothing about these 

4 Shadowings 

things. But a Japanese friend explains the 
miracle thus: 

" The spirit -bride was really formed out of the 
tan^aku. So it is possible that the real girl did 
not know anything about the meeting at the 
temple of Benten. When she wrote those beau 
tiful characters upon the tanqaku, something of 
her spirit passed into them. Therefore it was 
possible to evoke from the writing the double 
of the writer." 

The Gratitude of the Samebito 

1 The original of this story may be found in the book called 

The Gratitude of the Samebito 

THERE was a man named Tawaraya Totaro, 
who lived in the Province of Omi. His 
house was situated on the shore of Lake 
Biwa, not far from the famous temple called 
Ishiyamadera. He had some property, and 
lived in comfort ; but at the age of twenty-nine 
he was still unmarried. His greatest ambition 
was to marry a very beautiful woman; and he 
had not been able to find a girl to his liking. 

One day, as he was passing over the Long Bridge 
of Seta, 1 he saw a strange being crouching close 
to the parapet. The body of this being resembled 

1 The Long Bridge of Se"ta (Seta-no-Naga-Hasbi), famous 
in Japanese legend, is nearly eight hundred feet in length, and 
commands a beautiful view. This bridge crosses the waters 
of the Setagawa near the junction of the stream with Lake 
Biwa. Ishiyamadera, one of the most picturesque Buddhist 
temples in Japan, is situated within a short distance from 
the bridge. 


8 Shadowings 

the body of a man, but was black as ink; its 
face was like the face of a demon ; its eyes were 
green as emeralds; and its beard was like the 
beard of a dragon. Totaro was at first very 
much startled. But the green eyes looked at 
him so gently that after a moment's hesitation 
he ventured to question the creature. Then it 
answered him, saying: "I am a Samebito, 1 
a Shark-Man of the sea ; and until a short time 
ago I was in the service of the Eight Great 
Dragon-Kings [Hachi-Dai-Ryu-0] as a subor 
dinate officer in the Dragon -Palace [Ryugu\? 
But because of a small fault which I committed, 
1 was dismissed from the Dragon-Palace, and 
also banished from the Sea. Since then I have 
been wandering about here, unable to get any 
food, or even a place to lie down. If you can 

1 Literally, "a Shark-Person," but in this story the 
Samebito is a male. The characters for Samebito can also be 
read Kojin, which is the usual reading. In dictionaries 
the word is loosely rendered by " merman " or " mer 
maid;" but as the above description shows, the Samebito 
or Ksjin of the Far East is a conception having little in 
common with the Western idea of a merman or mermaid. 

2 Ryugu is also the name given to the whole of that 
fairy-realm beneath the sea which figures in so many 
Japanese legends. 

Gratitude of the Sambito ">9 

feel any pity for me, do, I beseech you, help me 
to find a shelter, and let me have something to 
eat ! " 

This petition was uttered in so plaintive a 
tone, and in so humble a manner, that Totaro's 
heart was touched. " Come with me," he said. 
" There is in my garden a large and deep pond 
where you may live as long as you wish ; and I 
will give you plenty to eat." 

The Samebito followed Totaro home, and ap 
peared to be much pleased with the pond. 

Thereafter, for nearly half a year, this strange 
guest dwelt in the pond, and was every day sup 
plied by Totaro with such food as sea-creatures 

[From ibis point of the original narrative the Shark-Man is 
referred to, not as a monster, but as a sympathetic Person of 
tbe male sex.] 

Now, in the seventh month of the same year, 
there was a female pilgrimage (nyonin-mode) to 
the great Buddhist temple called Miidera, in the 
neighboring town of Otsu ; and Totaro went to 
Otsu to attend the festival. Among the multi 
tude of women and young girls there assembled, 
he observed a person of extraordinary beauty. 
She seemed about sixteen years old ; her face was 

60 Shadow! ngs 

fair and pure as snow ; and the loveliness of her 
lips assured the beholder that their every utter 
ance would sound " as sweet as the voice of a 
nightingale singing upon a plum-tree." Totaro 
fell in love with her at sight. When she left the 
temple he followed her at a respectful distance, 
and discovered that she and her mother were 
staying for a few days at a certain house in the 
neighboring village of Seta. By questioning 
some of the village folk, he was able also to 
learn that her name was Tamana ; that she was 
unmarried ; and that her family appeared to be 
unwilling that she should marry a man of ordi 
nary rank, for they demanded as a betrothal - 
gift a casket containing ten thousand jewels. 1 

Totaro returned home very much dismayed by 
this information. The more that he thought about 
the strange betrothal -gift demanded by the girl's 
parents, the more he felt that he could never 

1 Tama in the original. This word tama has a multitude 
of meanings ; and as here used it is quite as indefinite as our 
own terms " jewel," " gem," or " precious stone." Indeed, 
it is more indefinite, for it signifies also a bead of coral, a 
ball of Crystal, a polished stone attached to a hairpin, etc., 
etc. Later on, however, I venture to render it by " ruby," 
for reasons which need no explanation. 

Gratitude of the Sambito 61 

expect to obtain her for his wife. Even suppos 
ing that there were as many as ten thousand 
jewels in the whole country, only a great prince 
could hope to procure them. 

But not even for a single hour could Totaro 
banish from his mind the memory of that beauti 
ful being. It haunted him so that he could 
neither eat nor sleep; and it seemed to become 
more and more vivid as the days went by. And 
at last he became ill, so ill that he could not 
lift his head from the pillow. Then he sent for 
a doctor. 

The doctor, after having made a careful exam 
ination, uttered an exclamation of surprise. " Al 
most any kind of sickness," he said, "can be 
cured by proper medical treatment, except the 
sickness of love. Your ailment is evidently love- 
sickness. There is no cure for it. In ancient 
times R6ya-O Hakuyo died of that sickness ; and 
you must prepare yourself to die as he died." 
So saying, the doctor went away, without even 
giving any medicine to Totaro. 

About this time the Shark- Man that was living 
in the garden-pond heard of his master's sickness, 
and came into the house to wait upon Totaro. 

62 Shadowings 

And he tended him with the utmost affection 
both by day and by night. But he did not know 
either the cause or the serious nature of the sick 
ness until nearly a week later, when Totaro, 
thinking himself about to die,'uttered these words 
of farewell : 

"I suppose that I have had the pleasure of 
caring for you thus long, because of some relation 
that grew up between us in a former state of 
existence. But now I am very sick indeed, and 
every day my sickness becomes worse ; and my 
life is like the morning dew which passes away 
before the setting of the sun. For your sake, 
therefore, I am troubled in mind. Your existence 
has depended upon my care; and I fear that 
there will be no one to care for you and to feed 
you when I am dead. . . . My poor friend ! . . . 
Alas ! our hopes and our wishes are always dis 
appointed in this unhappy world ! " 

No sooner had Totaro spoken these words 
than the Samebito uttered a strange wild cry of 
pain, and began to weep bitterly. And as he 
wept, great tears of blood streamed from his 
green eyes and rolled down his black cheeks and 
dripped upon the floor. And, falling, they were 
blood ; but, having fallen, they became hard and 

Gratitude of the Same'bito 63 

bright and beautiful, became jewels of inesti 
mable price, rubies splendid as crimson fire. For 
when men of the sea weep, their tears become 
precious stones. 

Then Totaro, beholding this marvel, was so 
amazed and overjoyed that his strength returned 
to him. He sprang from his bed, and began to 
pick up and to count the tears of the Shark -Man, 
crying out the while : " My sickness is cured ! 
I shall live ! I shall live ! " 

Therewith, the Shark-Man, greatly astonished, 
ceased to weep, and asked Totaro to explain this 
wonderful cure; and Totaro told him about the 
young person seen at Miidera, and about the 
extraordinary marriage-gift demanded by her 
family. " As I felt sure," added Totaro, " that 
I should never be able to get ten thousand jewels, 
I supposed that my suit would be hopeless. 
Then I became very unhappy, and at last fell 
sick. But now, because of your generous weep 
ing, I have many precious stones; and I think 
that I shall be able to marry that girl. Only 
there are not yet quite enough stones; and I 
beg that you will be good enough to weep a 
little more, so as to make up the full number 

64 Shadowings 

But at this request the Samebito shook his 
head, and answered in a tone of surprise and of 
reproach : 

" Do you think that I am like a harlot, able 
to weep whenever I wish ? Oh, no ! Harlots shed 
tears in order to deceive men ; but creatures of the 
sea cannot weep without feeling real sorrow. I 
wept for you because of the true grief that I felt 
in my heart at the thought that you were going 
to die. But now I cannot weep for you, because 
you have told me that your sickness is cured." 

" Then what am 1 to do ? " plaintively asked 
Totaro. " Unless I can get ten thousand jewels, 
I cannot marry the girl ! " 

The Samebito remained for a little while silent, 
as if thinking. Then he said : 

" Listen ! To-day I cannot possibly weep any 
more. But to-morrow let us go together to the 
Long Bridge of Seta, taking with us some 
wine and some fish. We can rest for a time on 
the bridge ; and while we are drinking the wine 
and eating the fish, 1 shall gaze in the direction 
of the Dragon-Palace, and try, by thinking of 
the happy days that I spent there, to make my 
self feel homesick so that I can weep." 

Totaro joyfully assented. 

Gratitude of the Same'bito 6 

Next morning the two, taking plenty of wine 
and fish with them, went to the Seta bridge, and 
rested there, and feasted. After having drunk a 

(great deal of wine, the Samebito began to gaze 
in the direction of the Dragon -Kingdom, and to 
think about the past. And gradually, under the 
softening influence of the wine, the memory of 
happier days filled his heart with sorrow, and the 
pain of homesickness came upon him, so that he 
could weep profusely. And the great red tears 
that he shed fell upon the bridge in a shower of 
rubies ; and Totaro gathered them as they fell, 
and put them into a casket, and counted them 
until he had counted the full number of ten 
thousand. Then he uttered a shout of joy. 

Almost in the same moment, from far away 
over the lake, a delightful sound of music was 
heard; and there appeared in the offing, slowly 
rising from the waters, like some fabric of cloud, 
a palace of the color of the setting sun. 

At once the Samebito sprang upon the parapet 
of the bridge, and looked, and laughed for joy. 
Then, turning to Totaro, he said : 

" There must have been a general amnesty 
proclaimed in the Dragon -Realm ; the Kings are 
calling me. So now I must bid you farewell. 

66 Shadowings 

I am happy to have had one chance of befriend 
ing you in return for your goodness to me." 

With these words he leaped from the bridge ; 
and no man ever saw him again. But Totaro 
presented the casket of red jewels to the parents 
of Tamana, and so obtained her in marriage. 


. . . Life ere long 

Came on me in the public ways, and bent 
Eyes deeper than of old: Death met I too, 
And saw the dawn glow through. 



Koe nl mina 
Naki-shimote ya 
Semi no kara ! 

Japanese Love-Song 

The voice having been all consumed by crying, there remains only 
the shell of the semi! 



A CELEBRATED Chinese scholar, known in 
Japanese literature as Riku-Un, wrote 
the following quaint account of the Five 

Virtues of the Cicada : 


< "I. The Cicada has upon its head certain 
figures or signs. 1 These represent its [written] 
characters, style, literature. 

"II. It eats nothing belonging to earth,. and 
drinks only dew. This proves its cleanliness, 
purity, propriety. 

"III. It always appears at a certain fixed 
time. This proves its fidelity, sincerity, truth 

" IV. It will not accept wheat or rice. This 
proves its probity, uprightness, honesty. 

1 The curious markings on the head of one variety of 
Japanese semi are believed to be characters which are 
names of souls. 


72 Shadowings 

"V. It does not make for itself any nest 
to live in. This proves its frugality, thrift, 

We might compare this with the beautiful 
address of Anacreon to the cicada, written 
twenty-four hundred years ago: on more than 
one point the Greek poet and the Chinese sage 
are in perfect accord : 

" We deem thee happy, O Cicada, because, 
having drunk, like a king, only a little dew, 
thou dost chirrup on the tops of trees. For all 
things whatsoever that thou seest in the fields 
are thine, and whatsoever the seasons bring 
forth. Yet art thou the friend of the tillers of 
the land, from no one harmfully taking aught. 
By mortals thou art held in honor as the pleas 
ant harbinger of summer ; and the Muses love 
thee. Phoebus himself loves thee, and has given 
thee a shrill song. And old age does not con 
sume thee. O thou gifted one, earth-born, 
song-loving, free from pain, having flesh with 
out blood, thou art nearly equal to the 
Gods!" 1 

1 In this and other citations from the Greek anthology, 
I have depended upon Surges' translation. 


1-2, Young Semi. 
3-4, Haru-Zemi, also called Nawasbiro-Ztmi. 

And we must certainly go back to the old 
Greek literature in order to find a poetry com 
parable to that of the Japanese on the subject 
of musical insects. Perhaps of Greek verses on 
the cricket, the most beautiful are the lines of 
Meleager : " O cricket, the soother of slumber 
. . . weaving the thread of a voice that causes 
love to wander away !" . . . There are Japan 
ese poems scarcely less delicate in sentiment on 
the chirruping of night-crickets; and Meleager's 
promise to reward the little singer with gifts of 
fresh leek, and with "drops of dew cut up 
small," sounds strangely Japanese. Then the 
poem attributed to Anyte, about the little girl 
Myro making a tomb for her pet cicada and 
cricket, and weeping because Hades, "hard to 
be persuaded," had taken her playthings away, 
represents an experience familiar to Japanese 
child -life. I suppose that little Myro (how 
freshly her tears still glisten, after seven and 
twenty centuries!) prepared that "common 
tomb" for her pets much as the little maid of 
Nippon would do to-day, putting a small stone 
on top to serve for a monument. But the wiser 
Japanese Myro would repeat over the grave a 
certain Buddhist prayer. 

74 Shadowings 

It is especially in their poems upon the cicada 
that we find the old Greeks confessing their 
love of insect- melody : witness the lines in the 
Anthology about the tettix caught in a spider's 
snare, and " making lament in the thin fetters " 
until freed by the poet; and the verses by 
Leonidas of Tarentum picturing the " unpaid 
minstrel to wayfaring men" as "sitting upon 
lofty trees, warmed with the great heat of sum 
mer, sipping the dew that is like woman's 
milk ; " and the dainty fragment of Melea- 
ger, beginning : " Thou vocal tettix, drunk with 
drops of dew, sitting with thy serrated limbs 
upon the tops of petals, thou givest out the 
melody of the lyre from thy dusky skin" . . . 
Or take the charming address of Evenus to a 
nightingale : 

" Thou Attic maiden, honey-fed, hast chirp 
ing seized a chirping cicada, and bearest it to 
thy unfledged young, thou, a twitterer, the 
twitterer, thou, the winged, the well-winged, 
thou, a stranger, the stranger, thou, a 
summer -child, the summer -child! Wilt thou 
not quickly cast it from thee ? For it is not 
right, it is not just, that those engaged in song 

Sdmi 7* 

should perish by the mouths of those engaged in 

On the other hand, we find Japanese poets 
much more inclined to praise the voices of night- 
crickets than those of semi. There are countless 
poems about semi, but very few which com 
mend their singing. Of course the semi are 
very different from the cicadas known to the 
Greeks. Some varieties are truly musical; but 
the majority are astonishingly noisy, so noisy 
that their stridulation is considered one of the 
great afflictions of summer. Therefore it were 
vain to seek among the myriads of Japanese 
verses on semi for anything comparable to the 
lines of Evenus above quoted ; indeed, the only 
Japanese poem that I could find on the subject of 
a cicada caught by a bird, was the following : 

Ana kanashi ! 

Tobi ni toraruru 

Smi no koe. 


Ah ! how piteous the cry of the semi seized by the kite ! 

Or " caught by a boy " the poet might equally 
well have observed, this being a much more 
frequent cause of the pitiful cry. The lament of 

76 Shado wings 

Nicias for the tettix would serve as the elegy of 
many a semi : 

" No more shall /delight myself by sending out 
a sound from my quick-moving wings, because 
I have fallen into the savage hand of a hoy, who 
seized me unexpectedly, as I was sitting under 
the green leaves." 

Here I may remark that Japanese children 
usually capture semi by means of a long slender 
bamboo tipped with bird-lime (mochf). The 
sound made by some kinds of semi when caught 
is really pitiful, quite as pitiful as the twitter 
of a terrified bird. One finds it difficult to per 
suade oneself that the noise is not a voice of an 
guish, in the human sense of the word " voice," 
but the production of a specialized exterior mem 
brane. Recently, on hearing a captured semi 
thus scream, I became convinced in quite a new 
Way that the stridulatory apparatus of certain 
insects must not be thought of as a kind of 
musical instrument, but as an organ of speech, 
and that its utterances are as intimately associ 
ated with simple forms of emotion, as are the 
notes of a bird, the extraordinary difference 
being that the insect has its vocal chords outside. 


" Shinne-Shinne," 

Also called Yama-Zemi, and Kuma-Zemi. 

Smi 7? 

But the insect-world is altogether a world of 
goblins and fairies : creatures with organs of 
which we cannot discover the use, and senses 
of which we cannot imagine the nature ; 
creatures with myriads of eyes, or with eyes 
in their backs, or with eyes moving about at 
the ends of trunks and horns ; creatures with 
ears in their legs and bellies, or with brains in 
their waists! If some of them happen to have 
voices outside of their bodies instead of inside, 
the fact ought not to surprise anybody. 

I have not yet succeeded in finding any Japan 
ese verses alluding to the stridulatory apparatus 
of semi, though I think it probable that such 
verses exist. Certainly the Japanese have been 
for centuries familiar with the peculiarities of 
their own singing insects. But I should not 
now presume to say that their poets are in 
correct in speaking of the " voices " of crickets 
and of cicadas. The old Greek poets who ac 
tually describe insects as producing music with 
their wings and feet, nevertheless speak of the 
" voices," the " songs," and the " chirruping " of 
such creatures, just as the Japanese poets do. 
For example, Meleager thus addresses the cricket : 

78 Shadowings 

"O thou that art with shrill wings the self- 
formed imitation of the lyre, chirrup me some 
thing pleasant while beating your vocal wings 
wit by our feet ! . . . " 


BEFORE speaking further of the poetical 
literature of semi, I must attempt a few 
remarks about the semi themselves. But 
the reader need not expect anything entomologi 
cal. Excepting, perhaps, the butterflies, the in 
sects of Japan are still little known to men of 
science; and all that I can say about semi has 
been learned from inquiry, from personal obser 
vation, and from old Japanese books of an in 
teresting but totally unscientific kind. Not only 
do the authors contradict each other as to the 
names and characteristics of the best-known 
semi; they attach the word semi to names of 
insects which are not cicadas. 

The following enumeration of semi is certainly 
incomplete ; but I believe that it includes the bet 
ter-known varieties and the best melodists. I 
must ask the reader, however, to bear in mind 
that the time of the appearance of certain semi 

Smi 79 

differs in different parts of Japan ; that the same 
kind of semi may be called by different names 
in different provinces ; and that these notes have 
been written in Tokyo. 


VARIOUS small semi appear in the spring. But 
the first of the big semi to make itself heard is 
the haru-^emi (" spring-semi "), also called uma- 
\erni (" horse-semi "), kuma-^mi (" bear- 
semi"), and other names. It makes a shrill 
wheezing sound, ji-i-i-i-i-iiiiiiii, beginning 
low, and gradually rising to a pitch of painful 
intensity. No other cicada is so noisy as the 
baru-^emi ; but the life of the creature appears 
to end with the season. Probably this is the 
semi referred to in an old Japanese poem: 

Hatsu-semi ya ! 
" Kore" wa atsui" to 
lu hi yori. 


The day after the first day on which we exclaim, " Oh, 
how hot it is 1 " the first semi begins to cry. 


THE sUnne-shinnt also called yama-^mi, or 
"mountain-semi" ; kuma-^emi, or "bear-semi "; 

80 Shadowings 

and o-sfoni, or " great semi " begins to sing as 
early as May. It is a very large insect. The 
upper part of the body is almost black, and the 
belly a silvery -white ; the head has curious red 
markings. The name shinnk-sbinni is derived 
from the note of the creature, which resembles a 
quick continual repetition of the syllables shinnk. 
About Kyoto this semi is common : it is rarely 
heard in Tokyd. 

[My first opportunity to examine an o-s&mi 
was in Shidzuoka. Its utterance is much more 
complex than the Japanese onomatope implies; 
I should liken it to the noise of a sewing- 
machine in full operation. There is a double 
sound : you hear not only the succession of 
sharp metallic clickings, but also, below these, a 
slower series of dull clanking tones. The stridu- 
latory organs are light green, looking almost 
like a pair of tiny green leaves attached to the 


THE aburatfmi, or " oil-semi," makes its ap 
pearance early in the summer. I am told that it 
owes its name to the fact that its shrilling resem 
bles the sound of oil or grease frying in a pan. 


Smi 81 

Some writers say that the shrilling resembles the 
sound of the syllables gacharin-gacharin ; but 
others compare it to the noise of water boiling. 
The abura^imi begins to chant about sunrise; 
then a great soft hissing seems to ascend from 
all the trees. At such an hour, when the foliage 
of woods and gardens still sparkles with dew, 
might have been composed the following verse, 
the only one in my collection relating to the 
abura^mi : 

Ano koe" d 

Tsuyu ga inochi ka ? 
Aburaze'mi ! 

Speaking with that voice, has the dew taken life ? Only 
the abura^mi ! 


THE mugi-kari-^mi, or " barley -harvest semi," 
also called gosbiki-^emi, or " five-colored semi," 
appears early in the summer. It makes two 
distinct sounds in different keys, resembling the 
syllables sbi-in, shin chi-i, cbi-i. 


THIS insect, whose name signifies " day-darken 
ing," is the most remarkable of all the Japanese 

82 Shadowings 

cicadas. It is not the finest singer among them ; 
but even as a melodist it ranks second only to 
the tsuku-tsuku-bosU. It is the special minstrel 
of twilight, singing only at dawn and sunset; 
whereas most of the other semi make their music 
only in the full blaze of day, pausing even when 
rain -clouds obscure the sun. In Tokyo the 
bigurashi usually appears about the end of June, 
or the beginning of July. Its wonderful cry, 
kana-kana-kana-kana-kana, beginning al 
ways in a very high clear key, and slowly 
descending, is almost exactly like the sound of 
a good hand-bell, very quickly rung. It is not a 
clashing sound, as of violent ringing ; it is quick, 
steady, and of surprising sonority. 1 believe that 
a single bigurasbi can be plainly heard a quarter 
of a mile away ; yet, as the old Japanese poet 
Yayu observed, " no matter how many higurasbi 
be singing together, we never find them noisy." 
Though powerful and penetrating as a resonance 
of metal, the MgurasU's call is musical even to 
the degree of sweetness ; and there is a peculiar 
melancholy in it that accords with the hour of 
gloaming. But the most astonishing fact in re 
gard to the cry of the higurasbi is the individual 
quality characterizing the note of each insect. 


No two bigurasbi sing precisely in the same tone. 
If you hear a dozen of them singing at once, you 
will find that the timbre of each voice is recog 
nizably different from every other. Certain notes 
ring like silver, others vibrate like bronze ; and, 
besides varieties of timbre suggesting bells of vari 
ous weight and composition, there are even differ 
ences in tone, that suggest different forms of bell. 

I have already said that the name bigurasbi 
means " day-darkening," in the sense of twi 
light, gloaming, dusk ; and there are many 
Japanese verses containing plays on the word, 
the poets affecting to believe, as in the following 
example, that the crying of the insect hastens the 
coming of darkness : 

Higurashi ya 1 
Kururu hi wo. 

O Higurashi ! even if you let it alone, day darkens fast 
enough ! 

This, intended to express a melancholy mood, 
may seem to the Western reader far-fetched. 
But another little poem referring to the effect 
of the sound upon the conscience of an idler 
will be appreciated by any one accustomed to hear 
the bigurasbi. I may observe, in this connection, 

84 Shadow! ngs 

that the first clear evening cry of the insect is 
quite as startling as the sudden ringing of a 

Higurashi ya ! 

Kyo no ke"tai wo 



Already, Higurashi, your call announces the evening ! 
Alas, for the passing day, with its duties left undone ! 


THE minmin-^emi begins to sing in the Period of 
Greatest Heat. It is called " min-min " because 
its note is thought to resemble the syllable 
" min " repeated over and over again, slowly at 
first, and very loudly; then more and more 
quickly and softly, till the utterance dies away 
in a sort of buzz : " min min min-min- 
min-minminmin-d^^^^" The sound is plain 
tive, and not unpleasing. It is often compared 
to the sound of the voice of a priest chanting the 


ON the day immediately following the Festival 
of the Dead, by the old Japanese calendar 1 

That is to say, upon the 16th day of the 7th month. 


1-2, Miigikari-Zemi, also called Gosbiki-Zkmi. 

3, Higiirasbi. 

4, " Min-Min-Zemi." 

Smi 8* 

(which is incomparably more exact than our 
Western calendar in regard to nature-changes 
and manifestations), begins to sing the tsuku- 
tsuku-bdsbi. This creature may be said to sing 
like a bird. It is also called kutsu-kutsu-bosbi, 
cboko-cbffko-uisu, tsuhu-tsuhu-bosbi, tsuku- 
tsuku-oisbi, all onomatopoetic appellations. 
The sounds of its song have been imitated in 
different ways by various writers. In Izumo the 
common version is, 

Tsuku-tsuku-uisu : 





Another version runs, 


Ghi-i yara ! 

Chi-i yara ! 

Chi-i yara ! 

Chi-i, chi, chi, chi, chi, chiii. 

But some say that the sound is Tsukush- 
koisbi. There is a legend that in old times a 

86 Shadowings 

man of Tsukushi (the ancient name of Kyushu) 
fell sick and died while far away from home, 
and that the ghost of him became an autumn 
cicada, which cries unceasingly, TsuhusU-koisU ! 
TsukusU-koisU ! (" I long for Tsukushi ! I 
want to see Tsukushi ! " ) 

It is a curious fact that the earlier semi have 
the harshest and simplest notes. The musical 
semi do not appear until summer; and the 
tsuku-tsuku-bosbi, having the most complex 
and melodious, utterance of all, is one of the 
latest to mature. 


THE tsurigane-semi is an autumn cicada. The 
word tsurigane means a suspended bell, espe 
cially the big bell of a Buddhist temple. I am 
somewhat puzzled by the name ; for the insect's 
music really suggests the tones of a Japanese 
harp, or koto as good authorities declare. 
Perhaps the appellation refers not to the boom 
of the bell, but to those deep, sweet hummings 
which follow after the peal, wave upon wave. 

This se"mi appears to be chiefly known in Shikoku. 


Smi 87 


T APANESE poems on semi are usually very 
brief ; and my collection chiefly consists of 
bokku, compositions of seventeen sylla 
bles. Most of these bokku relate to the sound 
made by the semi, or, rather, to the sensation 
which the sound produced within the poet's 
mind. The names attached to the following 
examples are nearly all names of old-time poets, 
not the real names, of course, but the go, or 
literary names by which artists and men of 
letters are usually known. 

Yokoi Yayu, a Japanese poet of the eighteenth 
century, celebrated as a composer of bokku, has 
left us this nai've record of the feelings with 
which he heard the chirruping of cicadae in 
summer and in autumn: 

" In the sultry period, feeling oppressed by the 
greatness of the heat, I made this verse : 

" Se'mi atsushi 
Matsu kirabaya to 

[The chirruping of the Se'mi aggravates the heat until I 
wish to cut down the pine-tree on which it sings.] 

88 Shadowmgs 

" But the days passed quickly ; and later, when 
I heard the crying of the semi grow fainter and 
fainter in the time of the autumn winds, I began 
to feel compassion for them, and 1 made this 
second verse : 

" Shim-nokore' 
Hitotsu bakari wa 
Aki no s&mi." 

[Now there survives 

But a single one 

Of the se"mi of autumn !] 

Lovers of Pierre Loti (the world's greatest 
prose-writer) may remember in Madame Cbrys- 
antheme a delightful passage about a Japanese 
house, describing the old dry woodwork as 
impregnated with sonority by the shrilling crick 
ets of a hundred summers. 1 There is a Japan 
ese poem containing a fancy not altogether 
dissimilar : 

1 Speaking of his own attempt to make a drawing of 
the interior, he observes : " II manque & ce logis dessine" 
son air frgle et sa sonorite" de violon sec. Dans les traits 
de crayon qui represented les boiseries, il n'y a pas la 
precision minutieuse avec laquelle elles sont ouvrage'es, ni 
leur antiquit^ extreme, ni leur proprete* parfaite, ni les 
vibrations de dgales qu' 'elles semblent avoir emmagasinies pen 
dant des centaines fetes dans leur s fibres dessecbees." 


1 , " Tsukti-tsuku-Bosln," also called " Kutsu-kutsu- 

Bdsbi," etC. (Cosmopsaltria Opalifera ?) 

2, Tsurigane-Zemi. 

3, The Phantom. 

Smi 89 

Matsu no ki ni 
Shimikomu gotoshi 
Se'mi no kog. 

Into the wood of the pine-tree 

Seems to soak 

The voice of the semi. 

A very large number of Japanese poems about 
se'mi describe the noise of the creatures as an 
affliction. To fully sympathize with the com 
plaints of the poets, one must have heard certain 
varieties of Japanese cicadas in full midsummer 
chorus ; but even by readers without experience 
of the clamor, the following verses will probably 
be found suggestive : 

War<< hitori 
Atsui yo nari, 
Se'mi no kog I 


Meseems that only I, I alone among mortals, 
Ever suffered such heat ! oh, the noise of the se'mi I 

Ushiro kara 
Tsukamu yo nari, 
Se'mi no kog. 


Oh, the noise of the se'mi I a pain of invisible seizure, 
Clutched in an enemy's grasp, caught by the hair from 
behind I 

90 Shadowings 

Yama no Kami no 
Mimi no yamai ka ? 

Se"mi no kog ! 


What ails the divinity's ears? how can the God of the 

Suffer such noise to exist ? oh, the tumult of s^mi ! 

Soko no nai 
Atsusa ya kumo ni 

Se*mi no kog ! 


Fathomless deepens the heat : the ceaseless shrilling of s^mi 
Mounts, like a hissing of fire, up to the motionless clouds. 

Mizu kare'te', 
Se"mi wo fudan-no 

Taki no kog. 


Water never a drop : the chorus of se"mi, incessant, 
Mocks the tumultuous hiss, the rush and foaming of 

Kumo mata satt^, 

Se"mi no kog. 


Gone, the shadowing clouds ! again the shrilling of se"mi 
Rises and slowly swells, ever increasing the heat! 

Daita ki wa, 
Ha mo ugokasazu, 

Se"mi no koe ! 


Somewhere fast to the bark he clung ; but I cannot see him : 
He stirs not even a leaf oh ! the noise of that se"mi ! 


Tonari kara 
Kono ki nikumu ya ! 
Se'mi no kog. 


All because of the se'mi that sit and shrill on its branches 
Oh ! how this tree of mine is hated now by my neighbor ! 

This reminds one of Yayu. We find another 
poet compassionating a tree frequented by 
semi : 

Kaze wa mina 

Se'mi ni suwarete", 

Hito-ki kana ! 


Alas ! poor solitary tree ! pitiful now your lot, every 
breath of air having been sucked up by the semi ! 

Sometimes the noise of the semi is described as 
a moving force : 

Se'mi no kog 
Ki-gi ni ugoite", 
Kaz^ mo nashi ! 


Every tree in the wood quivers with clamor of se'mi : 
Motion only of noise never a breath of wind ! 

Take" ni kite', 

Yuki yori omoshi 

Se'mi no kog. 


92 Shadowings 

More heavy than winter-snow the voices of perching 

See how the bamboos bend under the weight of their 

song ! ! 

Morogoe ni 
Yama ya ugokasu, 

Ki-gi no semi. 

All shrilling together, the multitudinous se'mi 
Make, with their ceaseless clamor, even the mountain 

Kusunoki mo 
Ugoku y5 nari, 

Se'mi no kog. 


Even the camphor-tree seems to quake with the clamor 
of se'mi ! 

Sometimes the sound is compared to the noise 
of boiling water : 

Hizakari wa 
Nie'tatsu se'mi no 
Hayashi kana! 

In the hour of heaviest heat, how simmers the forest 
with se'mi I 

Nie"te" iru 
Mizu bakari nari 

Se'mi no kog. 


1 Japanese artists have found many a charming inspira 
tion in the spectacle of bamboos bending under the weight 
of snow clinging to their tops. 

S6ni 93 

Simmers all the air with sibilation of se'mi, 

Ceaseless, wearying sense, a sound of perpetual boiling. 

Other poets complain especially of the multi 
tude of the noise-makers and the ubiquity of the 

noise : 

Aritake" no 
Ki ni hibiki-ke'ri 
Se'mi no kog. 

How many soever the trees, in each rings the voice of 
the se'mi. 

Matsubara wo 
Ichi ri wa kitari, 
Se'mi no kog. 


Alone I walked for miles into the wood of pine-trees : 
Always the one same se'mi shrilled its call in my ears. 

Occasionally the subject is treated with comic 
exaggeration : 

Natte" iru 
Ki yori mo futoshi 

Semi no kog. 

The voice of the se'mi is bigger [thicker] than the tree on 
which it sings. 

Sugi takashi 
Sare"domo se'mi no 

Amaru koe" ! 

High though the cedar be, the voice of the se'mi is in 
comparably higher ! 

94 Shadow! ngs 

Kog nagaki 

Se"mi wa mijikaki 

Inochi kana ! 

How long, alas ! the voice and how short the life of the 

Some poets celebrate the negative form of 
pleasure following upon the cessation of the 

sound : 

Se'mi ni de'te', 
Hotaru ni modoru, 

Suzumi kana! 


When the se'mi cease their noise, and the fireflies come 
out oh ! how refreshing the hour ! 

Se'mi no tatsu, 
Ato suzushisa yo ! 

Matsu no kog. 


When the semi cease their storm, oh, how refreshing the 

stillness ! 
Gratefully then resounds the musical speech of the pines. 

[Here I may mention, by the way, that there 
is a little Japanese song about the matsu no hoe, 
in which the onomatope "zazanza" very well 
represents the deep humming of the wind in the 

pine-needles : 

Zazanza I 

Hama-matsu no oto wa, 
Zazanza I 

Smi 9 

Zazanza ! 

The sound of the pines of the shore, 
Zazanza ! 

There are poets, however, who declare that the 
feeling produced by the noise of semi depends 
altogether upon the nervous condition of the 
listener : 

Mori no se'mi 
Suzushiki koe ya, 
Atsuki kog. 


Sometimes sultry the sound ; sometimes, again, refreshing : 
The chant of the forest-se'mi accords with the hearer's 

Suzushisa mo 

Atsusa mo semi no 

Tokoro kana ! 


Sometimes we think it cool, the resting-place of the 
semi; sometimes we think it hot (it is all a matter of 

Suzushii to 
Omoe'ba, suzushi 
Semi no kog. 


If we think it is cool, then the voice of the se'mi is cool 
(that is, the fancy changes the feeling). 

96 Shadowings 

In view of the many complaints of Japanese 
poets about the noisiness of semi, the reader may 
be surprised to learn that out of semi-skins there 
used to be made in both China and Japan per 
haps upon homoeopathic principles a medicine 
for the cure of ear-ache! 

One poem, nevertheless, proves that semi- 
music has its admirers: 

Omoshiroi zo ya, 
Waga-ko no kog wa 
Takai mori-ki no 

Se"mi no koe ! l 

Sweet to the ear is the voice of one's own child as the 
voice of a se'mi perched on a tall forest tree. 

But such admiration is rare. More frequently 
the semi is represented as crying for its nightly 
repast of dew: 

1 There is another version of this poem : 

Omoshiroi zo ya, 
Waga-ko no naku wa 
Sembu-segaki no 

Kyo yori mo 1 

"More sweetly sounds the crying of one's own child 
than even the chanting of the sQtra in the service for the 
dead." The Buddhist service alluded to is held to be par 
ticularly beautiful. 

Semi 97 

Se'mi wo kike", 
Ichi-nichi naite' 
Yoru no tsuyu. 


Hear the se'mi shrill ! So, from earliest dawning, 
All the summer day he cries for the dew of night. 

Yu-tsuyu no 
Kuchi ni iru made" 
Naku se'mi ka ? 


Will the semi continue to cry till the night-dew fills its 
mouth ? 

Occasionally the semi is mentioned in love- 
songs of which the following is a fair specimen. 
It belongs to that class of ditties commonly sung 
by geisha. Merely as a conceit, I think it pretty, 
in spite of the factitious pathos ; but to Japanese 
taste it is decidedly vulgar. The allusion to 
beating implies jealousy: 

Nushi ni tatakare", 
Washa matsu no se'mi 
Naku bakari I 

Beaten by my jealous lover, 
Like the se'mi on the pine-tre 
I can only cry and cling ! 

98 Shadowings 

And indeed the following tiny picture is a truer 
bit of work, according to Japanese art-principles 
(I do not know the author's name) : 

Se'mi hitotsu 
Matsu no yu-hi wo 

Lo ! on the topmost pine, a solitary cicada 
Vainly attempts to clasp one last red beam of sun. 


PHILOSOPHICAL verses do not form a 
numerous class of Japanese poems upon 
semi; but they possess an interest alto 
gether exotic. As the metamorphosis of the 
butterfly supplied to old Greek thought an 
emblem of the soul's ascension, so the natural 
history of the cicada has furnished Buddhism 
with similitudes and parables for the teaching of 

Man sheds his body only as the se'mi sheds 
its skin. But each reincarnation obscures the 
memory of the previous one : we remember our 
former existence no more than the semi remem 
bers the shell from which it has emerged. Often 

Smi 99 

a semi may be found in the act of singing 
beside its cast-off skin; therefore a poet has 
written : 

Ware to waga 
Kara ya tomuro * 
Se"mi no koe. 


Methinks that se"mi sits and sings by his former body, 
Chanting the funeral service over his own dead self. 

This cast-off skin, or simulacrum, clinging 
to bole or branch as in life, and seeming still 
to stare with great glazed eyes, has suggested 
many things both to profane and to religious 
poets. In love -songs it is often likened to a body 
consumed by passionate longing. In Buddhist 
poetry it becomes a symbol of earthly pomp, 
the hollow show of human greatness : 

Yo no naka yo 

Kagru no hadaka, 

Se"mi no kinu ! 

Naked as frogs and weak we enter this life of trouble ; 
Shedding our pomps we pass : so se"mi quit their skins. 

But sometimes the poet compares the winged 
and shrilling semi to a human ghost, and the 
broken shell to the body left behind: 

100 Shadowings 

Tamashii wa 
Ukiyo ni naite, 
Semi no kara. 

Here the forsaken shell : above me the voice of the creature 
Shrills like the cry of a Soul quitting this world of pain. 

Then the great sun-quickened tumult of the 
cicadx landstorm of summer life foredoomed 
so soon to pass away is likened by preacher 
and poet to the tumult of human desire. Even 
as the semi rise from earth, and climb to warmth 
and light, and clamor, and presently again return 
to dust and silence, so rise and clamor and 
pass the generations of men : 

Yagat shinu 
Keshiki wa mie'zu, 

Smi no koe. 


Never an intimation in all those voices of se'mi 
How quickly the hush will come, how speedily all must 

I wonder whether the thought in this little 
verse does not interpret something of that sum 
mer melancholy which comes to us out of 
nature's solitudes with the plaint of insect- voices. 
Unconsciously those millions of millions of tiny 
beings are preaching the ancient wisdom of the 
East, the perpetual Sutra of Impermanency. 

Smi 101 

Yet how few of our modern poets have given 
heed to the voices of insects ! 

Perhaps it is only to minds inexorably haunted 
by the Riddle of Life that Nature can speak to 
day, in those thin sweet trillings, as she spake 
of old to Solomon. 

The Wisdom of the East hears all things. 
And he that obtains it will hear the speech of 
insects, as Sigurd, tasting the Dragon's Heart, 
heard suddenly the talking of birds. 

NOTE. For the pictures of sSmi accompanying: this paper, I am 
indebted to a curious manuscript work in several volumes, preserved in 
the Imperial Library at Uyno. The work is entitled Cbufu-Zusetsu, 
which might be freely rendered as " Pictures and Descriptions of In 
sects," and is divided into twelve books. The writer's name is un 
known ; but he must have been an amiable and interesting: person, to 
judge from the na'ive preface which he wrote, apologizing for the labors 
of a lifetime. " When I was young," he says, " I was very fond of 
catching worms and insects, and making pictures of their shapes, so 
that these pictures have now become several hundred in number." He 
believes that he has found a good reason for studying insects : 
"Among the multitude of living creatures in this world,'" he says, 
"those having large bodies are familiar: we know very well their 
names, shapes, and virtues, and the poisons which they possess. But 
there remain very many small creatures whose natures are still un 
known, notwithstanding the fact that such little beings as insects and 
worms are able to injure men and to destroy what has value. So I 
think that it is very important for us to learn what insects or worms 
have special virtues or poisons." It appears that he had sent to him 
" from other countries " some kinds of insects " that eat the leaves and 
shoots of trees ; " but he could not " get their exact names." For the 
names of domestic Insects, he consulted many Chinese and Japanese 
books, and has been " able to write the names with the proper Chinese 
characters ; " but he tells us that he did not fail " to pick up also the 

102 Shadowings 

names given to worms and insects by old fanners and little boys." The 
preface is dated thus: " Ansei Kanote, the third month at a little 
cottage " [1856]. 

With the introduction of scientific studies the author of the Cbufu- 
Zusetsu could no longer hope to attract attention. Yet his very modest 
and very beautiful work was forgotten only a moment. It is now a 
precious curiosity ; and the old man's ghost might to-day find some 
happiness in a visit to the Imperial Library. 

Japanese Female Names 

Japanese Female Names 



~ the Japanese a certain kind of girl is 

called a Rose-Girl, Bara-Musume. Per 
haps my reader will think of Tennyson's 
" queen-rose of the rosebud -garden of girls," 
and imagine some analogy between the Japanese 
and the English idea of femininity symbolized 
by the rose. But there is no analogy whatever. 
The Bara-Musume is not so called because she 
is delicate and sweet, nor because she blushes, 
nor because she is rosy ; indeed, a rosy face is 
not admired in Japan. No ; she is compared to 
a rose chiefly for the reason that a rose has 
thorns. The man who tries to pull a Japanese 
rose is likely to hurt his fingers. The man who 
tries to win a Bara-Musume is apt to hurt him 
self much more seriously, even unto death. 

106 Shadowings 

It were better, alone and unarmed, to meet a tiger 
than to invite the caress of a Rose-Girl. 

Now the appellation of Bara-Musume much 
more rational as a simile than many of our own 
floral comparisons can seem strange only be 
cause it is not in accord with our poetical usages 
and emotional habits. It is one in a thousand 
possible examples of the fact that Japanese sim 
iles and metaphors are not of the sort that he 
who runs may read. And this fact is particularly 
well exemplified in i\\t yobina, or personal names 
of Japanese women. Because a yobina happens 
to be identical with the name of some tree, or 
bird, or flower, it does not follow that the per- 
sonal appellation conveys to Japanese imagination 
ideas resembling those which the corresponding 
English word would convey, under like circum 
stances, to English imagination. Of the yobina 
that seem to us especially beautiful in translation, 
only a small number are bestowed for aesthetic 
reasons. Nor is it correct to suppose, as many 
persons still do, that Japanese girls are usually 
named after flowers, or graceful shrubs, or other 
beautiful objects. ^Esthetic appellations are in 
use ; but the majority of yobina are not aesthetic. 
Some years ago a young Japanese scholar pub- 

Japanese Female Names 107 

lished an interesting essay upon this subject. He 
had collected the personal names of about four 
hundred students of the Higher Normal School 
for Females, girls from every part of the Em 
pire ; and he found on his list only between 
fifty and sixty names possessing aesthetic quality. 
But concerning even these he was careful to 
observe only that they " caused an aesthetic sen 
sation," not that they had been given for 
aesthetic reasons. Among them were such names 
as Saki (Cape), Mine (Peak), Kisbi (Beach), 
Hama (Shore), Kuni (Capital), originally 
place-names; Tsuru (Stork), Ta%u (Ricefield 
Stork), and Chi^u (Thousand Storks); also 
such appellations as Yosbino (Fertile Field), 
Orino (Weavers' Field), Shirusbi (Proof), and 
Masago (Sand). Few of these could seem 
aesthetic to a Western mind ; and probably no 
one of them was originally given for aesthetic 
reasons. Names containing the character for 
" Stork " are names having reference to longev 
ity, not to beauty ; and a large number of names 
with the termination " no " (field or plain) are 
names referring to moral qualities. I doubt 
whether even fifteen per cent of yobtna are 
really aesthetic. A very much larger proportion 

108 Shadowings 

are names expressing moral or mental qualities. 
Tenderness, kindness, deftness, cleverness, are fre 
quently represented by yobina ; but appellations 
implying physical charm, or suggesting aesthetic 
ideas only, are comparatively uncommon. One 
reason for the fact may be that very aesthetic 
names are given to geisha and to jor o, and conse 
quently vulgarized. But the chief reason cer 
tainly is that the domestic virtues still occupy in 
Japanese moral estimate a place not less impor 
tant than that accorded to religious faith in the 
life of our own Middle Ages. Not in theory only, 
but in every-day practice, moral beauty is placed 
far above physical beauty ; and girls are usually 
selected as wives, not for their good looks, but for 
their domestic qualities. Among the middle 
classes a very aesthetic name would not be con 
sidered in the best taste ; among the poorer 
classes, it would scarcely be thought respectable. 
Ladies of rank, on the other hand, are privileged 
to bear very poetical names; yet the majority 
of the aristocratic yobina also are moral rather 
than aesthetic. 

But the first great difficulty in the way of a 
study of yobina is the difficulty of translating 

Japanese Female Names 109 

them. A knowledge of spoken Japanese can 
help you very little indeed. A knowledge of 
Chinese also is indispensable. The meaning of a 
name written in hana only, in the Japanese 
characters, cannot be, in most cases, even 
guessed at. The Chinese characters of the name 
can alone explain it. The Japanese essayist, al 
ready referred to, found himself obliged to throw 
out no less than thirty-six names out of a list 
of two hundred and thirteen, simply because 
these thirty-six, having been recorded only in 
kana, could not be interpreted. Kana give only 
the pronunciation ; and the pronunciation of a 
woman's name explains nothing in a majority of 
cases. Transliterated into Romaji, a yobina may 
signify two, three, or even half-a-dozen different 
things. One of the names thrown out of the 
list was Banka. Banka might signify " Mint " 
(the plant), which would be a pretty name ; but 
it might also mean " Evening -haze." Yuka, 
another rejected name, might be an abbreviation 
of Yukabutsu, " precious " ; but it might just as 
well mean " a floor." Nochi, a third example, 
might signify " future " ; yet it could also mean 
" a descendant," and various other things. My 
reader will be able to find many other homonyms 

110 Shadowings 

in the lists of names given further on. Ai in 
Romaji, for instance, may signify either " love " 
or " indigo-blue " ; Cbo, " a butterfly," or " su 
perior," or " long " ; Ei, either " sagacious " or 
" blooming " ; Kei, either " rapture " or " rev 
erence " ; Sato, either " native home " or 
" sugar " ; Tosbi, either " year " or " arrow 
head"; Taka, "tall," "honorable," or "fal 
con." The chief, and, for the present, insuperable 
obstacle to the use of Roman letters in writing 
Japanese, is the prodigious number of homonyms 
in the language. You need only glance into any 
good Japanese-English dictionary to understand 
the gravity of this obstacle. Not to multiply 
examples, I shall merely observe that there are 
nineteen words spelled cbo ; twenty-one spelled 
ki ; twenty-five spelled to or to; and no less 
than forty-nine spelled ho or ko. 

Yet, as I have already suggested, the real signi 
fication of a woman's name cannot be ascertained 
even from a literal translation made with the 
help of the Chinese characters. Such a name, 
for instance, as Kagami (Mirror) really signifies 
the Pure-Minded, and this not in the Occidental, 
but in the Confucian sense of the term. Ume 

Japanese Female Names 111 

(Plum-blossom) is a name referring to wifely 
devotion and virtue. Matsu (Pine) does not 
refer, as an appellation, to the beauty of the tree, 
but to the fact that its evergreen foliage is the 
emblem of vigorous age. The name Take (Bam 
boo) is given to a child only because the bamboo 
has been for centuries a symbol of good -fortune. 
The name Sen (Wood-fairy) sounds charmingly to 
Western fancy ; yet it expresses nothing more than 
the parents' hope of long life for their daughter 
and her offspring, wood -fairies being supposed 
to live for thousands of years. . . . Again, many 
names are of so strange a sort that it is impossi 
ble to discover their meaning without questioning 
either the bearer or the giver ; and sometimes all 
inquiry proves vain, because the original mean-ing 
has been long forgotten. 

Before attempting to go further into the sub 
ject, I shall here offer a translation of the Tokyo 
essayist's list of names, rearranged in alpha 
betical order, without honorific prefixes or suf 
fixes. Although some classes of common names 
are not represented, the list will serve to show 
the character of many still popular yobina, and 
also to illustrate several of the facts to which 
I have already called attention. 




FEMALES (1880-1895):- %<*"' 

so named. 

Ai ... (" Indigo," the color) 1 

At ... ("Love") 1 

Akasuke . . ("The Bright Helper") 1 

Asa . . . ("Morning") 1 

Asa . . . (" Shallow ")U 2 

Au . . . ("Meeting") 2 

flw . . . ("Composition" in the literary sense) 2 1 

Oriha . . ("Near") 5 

Ctitose . . ("A Thousand Years ") 1 

Chiyo . . ("A Thousand Generations") . . . 1 

Cbipt . . ("Thousand Storks") 1 

Cbo . . . ("Butterfly") 1 

Cbd . . . ("Superior") 2 

Ei ... ("Clever") 1 

Ei ... ("Blooming") 2 

Etsu . . . ("Delight") 1 

Fude . . . (" Writing-brush ") 1 

Fuji . . . ("Fuji," the mountain) l 

Fuji . . . ("Wistaria-flower") 2 

Fuki . . . (" Fuki," name of a plant, Nardosmia 

Japonica) 1 

Fuku . . . ("Good-fortune") 2 

Fumi. . . ("Letter")* 5 

Fumino . . ("Letter-field") 1 

1 Probably a place-name originally. 

* Might we not quaintly say, " A Fair Writing " ? 

* Probably in the sense of " near and dear " but not certainly so. 

* Fumi signifies here a letter written by a woman only a letter 
written according to the rules of feminine epistolary style. 

Japanese Female Names 

Fusa . . . ("Tassel") .......... 3 

Gin . . . ("Silver") .......... 2 

Hama . . ("Shore") .......... 3 

Hana . . ("Blossom") ......... 3 

HarUe . . ("Spring-time Bay") ...... 1 

Hatsu . . ("The First-born") ....... 2 

Hide. . . ("Excellent") ......... 4 

Hide. . . ("Fruitful") ......... 2 

Hisano . . (" Long Plain ") ........ 2 

Icbi . . . ("Market") ......... 4 

Iku . . . (" Nourishing ") ........ 3 

Int . . . ("Springing Rice") ....... 3 

kbi . . . ("Stone") ..... ..... 1 

Ho ... ("Thread") ......... 4 

Iwa . . . ("Rock") .......... 1 

Jun . . . ("The Obedient") 1 ....... 1 

Kagami . . (" Mirror ") ......... 3 

Kama . . (" Sickle ") .......... 1 

Kame . . ("Tortoise") ......... 2 

Kameyo . . (" Generations-of-the-Tortoise") 2 . . 1 

Kan . . . ("The Forbearing") 3 ...... 11 

Kana . . (" Character " in the sense of written 

character) 4 ........ 2 

Kane. . . ("Bronze") ......... 3 

i Jun surtt means to be obedient unto death. The word fun has a 
much stronger signification than that which attaches to our word 
" obedience " in these modern times. 

* The tortoise is supposed to live for a thousand years. 

3 Abbreviation of kannin, " forbearance," " self-control," etc. The 
name might equally well be translated " Patience." 

* Kana signifies the Japanese syllabary, the characters with 
which the language is written. The reader may imagine, if he wishes, 
that the name signifies the Alpha and Omega of all feminine charm ; 
but I confess that I have not been able to find any satisfactory expla 
nation of it. 




Katsu . . ("Victorious") 2 

Ka^asbi . . ("Hair-pin," or any ornament worn 

in the hair) 1 

Kaqu . . ("Number," i.e., "great number") . 1 

Kei . . . ("The Respectful") 3 

Ken . . . ("Humility") 1 

Kiku . . . (" Chrysanthemum ") 6 

KikiM . . ("Chrysanthemum-branch"). . . . l 

Kikuno . . ("Chrysanthemum-field") 1 

Kind. . . ("Sovereign") 1 

Kin . . . ("Gold") 4 

Kinu . . . ("Cloth-of-Silk") 1 

Kisbi . . ("Beach") 2 

Kiyo . . . (" Happy Generations") 1 

Kiyo . . . (" Pure ") 5 

Ko . . . ("Chime," the sound of a bell) . . l 

K5 . . . (" Filial Piety ") 11 

Ko . . . ("The Fine") 1 

Koma . . ("Filly") 1 

Kami . . (" Cleaned Rice ") 1 

Koto. . . ("Koto," the Japanese harp) ... 4 

Kuma . . ("Bear") 1 

Kumi . . ("Braid") l 

Kuni . . . ("Capital," chief city) l 

Kuni . . . ("Province") 3 

Kura. . . ("Treasure-house") 1 

Kurano . . ("Storehouse-field") l 

Kuri . . . ("Chestnut") 1 

Kwoa . . ("Mulberry-tree") l 

Masa . . (" Straightforward," upright) ... 3 

Masago . . ("Sand") l 

Masu . . ("Increase") 3 

Masu't . . (" Branch-of-Increase ") 1 

Matsu . . ("Pine") 2 

Japanese Female Names 

MatsuH . . ("Pine-branch") ........ 1 

Micbi . . ("The Way," doctrine) ..... 4 

Mti . . . ("Triple Branch") ....... 1 

MiU'e . . ("Main-branch") ........ 1 

Mine. . . ("Peak") .......... 2 

Mitsu . . ("Light") .......... 5 

MitsuV . . ("Shining Branch") ....... 1 

Moris . . ("Service-Bay") 1 ....... 1 

Naka . . (" The Midmost ") ....... 4 

Nami . . ("Wave") .......... 1 

Nobu. . . ("Fidelity") ......... 6 

Nobu . . . ("The Prolonger") 2 ...... 1 

NobuS . . ("Lengthening-branch") ..... 1 

Nui . . . ("Tapestry," or, Embroidery) . . . 1 

Orino . . ("Weaving-Field") ....... 1 

Raku. . . ("Pleasure") ......... 3 

Ren . . . ("The Arranger") ....... 1 

Riku . . . (" Land," ground) ...... 1 

Roku . . . ("Emolument") ........ 1 

Ryo . . . ("Dragon") ......... 1 

Ryu . . . ("Lofty") .......... 3 

Sada . . . ("The Chaste") ........ 8 

Saki . . . (" Cape," promontory) ..... 1 

Saku . . . ("Composition") 8 ....... 3 

Sato . . . (" Home," native place) ..... 2 

Sawa . . . ("Marsh") ......... 1 

Set . . . ("Force") .......... 1 

Seki . . . ("Barrier," city-gate, toll-gate, etc.) . 3 

1 The word " service " here refers especially to attendance at meal 
time, to the serving of rice, etc. 

2 Perhaps in the hopeful meaning of extending the family-line ; but 
more probably in the signification that a daughter's care prolongs the 
life of her parents, or of her husband's parents. 

3 Abbreviation of sakubun, a literary composition. 



Sen . . . ("Fairy")i ;-. . 3 

Setsu . . . (" True," tender and true) .... 2 

Shid^u . . ("The Calmer") l 

Sbidp . . ("Peace") 2 

Sbiga . . ("Two-fold") 2 

Shika . . ("Deer") 2 

Shikay . . ("Deer-Inlet") l 

Sbime . . (" The Clasp," fastening) . . . . l 

Shin . . . ("Truth") 1 

Sbina . . ("Goods") 1 

Sbina . . ("Virtue") 1 

Shino . . ("Slender Bamboo") l 

Shirushi . . (" The Proof," evidence) .... 1 

Shun. . . ("The Excellent") l 

Sue . . . ("The Last") 2 

Sugi . . . ("Cedar," cryptomeria) .... l 

Bute . . . ("Forsaken," foundling) .... l 

Su^u . . . ("Little Bell") 8 

Supt . . . ("Tin") 1 

S{w2 . . (" Branch of Little Bells") l 

Tag . . . ("Exquisite") l 

Taka . . ("Honor") 2 

Taka . . ("Lofty") 9 

Take. . . ("Bamboo") 1 

Tama . . ("Jewel") 1 

Tamaki. . ("Ring") 1 

Tame . . ("For-the-Sake-of ") 3 

Tani. . . ("Valley") l 

Ta^u. . . ("Ricefield-Stork") l 

1 As a matter of fact, we have no English equivalent for" the word 
" sen," or " sennin," signifying a being possessing magical powers 
of all kinds and living for thousands of years. Some authorities con 
sider the belief in sennin of Indian origin, and probably derived from old 
traditions of the Rishi. 

Japanese Female Names 117 

Tetstt . . ("Iron") 4 

Toku . . ("Virtue") 2 

Tome . . ("Stop," cease) 1 1 

Tomi . . ("Riches") 3 

T&mijff . . (" Wealth-and-Longevity") .... 1 

Tomo . . (" The Friend ") 4 

Torn. . . ("Tiger") 1 

Tosbi . . ("Arrowhead") 1 

Tqyo . . . ("Abundance") 3 

Tsugi . . (" Next," i. e., second in order of 

birth) 2 

Tsuna . . (" Bond," rope, or fetter) .... 1 

Tsune . . (" The Constant," or, as we should 

say, Constance) 10 

Tsuru . . ("Stork") 4 

Ume . . . ("Plum-blossom") 1 

UmegaV . . (" Plumtree-spray " ) 1 

Umeno . . (" Plumtree-field ") 2 

Urano . . ("Shore-field") 1 

Usbi . . . ("Cow," -or Ox) 2 1 

Ufa . . . ("Poem," or Song) 1 

Wakana, . (" Young Na," probably the rape- 
plant is referred to) 1 

Yea . . . ("Eight-fold") 1 

Yasu. . . ("The Tranquil") 1 

1 Such a name may signify that the parents resolved, after the birth 
of the girl, to have no more children. 

2 This extraordinary name is probably to be explained as a refer 
ence to date of birth. According to the old Chinese astrology, years, 
months, days, and hours were all named after the Signs of the Zodiac, 
and were supposed to have some mystic relation to those signs. I sur 
mise that Miss Ushi was born at the Hour of the Ox, on the Day of the 
Ox, in the Month of the Ox and the Year of the Ox " Usbi no Totbi 
no Usbi no Tsuki no Usbi no Hi no Ushi no Koku." 

118 Shadowings 

Yd . . . (" The Positive," as opposed to Neg 
ative or Feminine in the old Chinese 
philosophy ; therefore, perhaps, 

Masculine) 1 

Yone . . . (" Rice," in the old sense of wealth) . 4 

Yosbi . . ("The Good") l 

Yosbino . . (" Good Field ") 1 

Yu . . . (" The Valiant ") l 

Yuri . . ("Lily") 1 

It will be observed that in the above list the 
names referring to Constancy, Forbearance, and 
Filial Piety have the highest numbers attached 
to them. 


A FEW of the more important rules in regard to 
Japanese female names must now be mentioned. 
The great majority of these yobina are words 
of two syllables. Personal names of respect 
able women, belonging to the middle and lower 
classes, are nearly always dissyllables except 
in cases where the name is lengthened by certain 
curious suffixes which I shall speak of further 
on. Formerly a name of three or more syllables 
indicated that the bearer belonged to a superior 
class. But, even among the upper classes to-day, 
female names of only two syllables are in fashion. 

Japanese Female Names 119 

Among the people it is customary that a 
female name of two syllables should be pre 
ceded by the honorific " O," and followed by the 
title " San," as O-Matsu San, " the Honorable 
Miss [or Mrs.] Pine"; O-Ume San, "the Hon 
orable Miss Plum-blossom." 1 But if the name 
happen to have three syllables, the honorific 
"O" is not used. A woman named Kihue 
("Chrysanthemum-Branch") is not addressed 
as " O-Kikue San," but only as " Kikue San." 

Before, the names of ladies, the honorific " O " 
is no longer used as formerly, even when the 
name consists of one syllable only. Instead of 
the prefix, an honorific suffix is appended to the 
yobina, the suffix ho. A peasant girl named 
Tomi would be addressed by her equals as 
O- Tomi San. But a lady of the same name 
would be addressed as Tomiko. Mrs. Shimoda, 
head-teacher of the Peeresses' School, for ex 
ample, has the beautiful name Ufa. She would 
be addressed by letter as " Shimoda Utako," and 
would so sign herself in replying ; the f amily- 

1 Under certain conditions of intimacy, both prefix and 
title are dropped. They are dropped also by the superior 
in addressing an inferior; for example, a lady would not 
address her maid as " O-Yone San" but merely as " Yone" 

120 Shadowings 

name, by Japanese custom, always preceding the 
personal name, instead of being, as with us, 
placed after it. 

This suffix ho is written with the Chinese 
character meaning "child," and must not be 
confused with the word ho, written with a dif 
ferent Chinese character, and meaning "little," 
which so often appears in the names of dancing 
girls. I should venture to say that this genteel 
suffix has the value of a caressing diminutive, 
and that the name Aiko might be fairly well 
rendered by the " Amoretta " of Spenser's Faerie 
Queene. Be this as it may, a Japanese lady 
named Setsu or Sada would not be addressed 
in these days as O-Setsu or O-Sada, but as 
Setsuko or Sadako. On the other hand, if a 
woman of the people were to sign herself as 
Setsuko or Sadako, she would certainly be 
laughed at, since the suffix would give to her 
appellation the meaning of "the Lady Setsu," 
or "the Lady Sada." 

I have said that the honorific " O " is placed 
before the yobina of women of the middle and 
lower classes. Even the wife of a hurumaya 
would probably be referred to as the " Honor 
able Mrs. Such-a-one." But there are very 

Japanese Female Names 121 

remarkable exceptions to this general rule regard 
ing the prefix " O." In some country -districts 
the common yobina of two syllables is made a 
trisyllable by the addition of a peculiar suffix; 
and before such trisyllabic names the "O" is 
never placed. For example, the girls of Waka- 
yama, in the Province of Kii, usually have 
added to their yobina the suffix "e" l signifying 
"inlet," "bay," " frith," sometimes "river." 
Thus we find such names as Namie (" Wave- 
Bay "), Tomie (" Riches-Bay "), Sumie (" Dwell 
ing-Bay"), Sbijue ("Quiet-Bay"), Tama'e 
(" Jewel- Bay "). Again there is a provincial 
suffix " no" meaning " field " or " plain," which 
is attached to the majority of female names in 
certain districts. Yosbino ("Fertile Field"), 
Umeno (" Plumflower Field "), Sbi^uno (" Quiet 
Field "), Urano (" Coast Field "),Utano (" Song 
Field"), are typical names of this class. A girl 
called Namie or Kikuno is not addressed as 
" O-Namie San " or " O-Kikuno San," but as 
" Namie San," " Kikuno San." 

1 This suffix must not be confused with the suffix " 8," 
signifying "branch," which is also attached to many pop 
ular names. Without seeing the Chinese character, you 
cannot decide whether the name TamaZ, for example, 
means "Jewel-branch" or "Jewel Inlet." 

122 Shadowings 

"San" (abbreviation of Sama, a word origi 
nally meaning "form," "appearance"), when 
placed after a female name, corresponds to either 
our " Miss " or " Mrs." Placed after a man's 
name it has at least the value of our " Mr. ", 
perhaps even more. The unabbreviated form 
Sama is placed after the names of high per 
sonages of either sex, and after the names of 
divinities : the Shinto Gods are styled the Kami- 
Sama, which might be translated as " the Lords 
Supreme " ; the Bodhisattva Jizo is called Ji%5- 
Sama, " the Lord Jizo." A lady may also be 
styled "Sama." A lady called Ayako> for in 
stance, might very properly be addressed as 
Ayako Sama. But when a lady's name, inde 
pendently of the suffix, consists of more than 
three syllables, it is customary to drop either 
the ko or the title. Thus " the Lady Ayame " 
would not be spoken of as " Ayameko Sama," 
but more euphoniously as " Ayame Sama," l or 
as " Ayameko." 

So much having been said as regards the 
etiquette of prefixes and suffixes, I shall now 

1 " Ayame' Sama," however, is rather familiar ; and this 
form cannot be used by a stranger in verbal address, 
though a letter may be directed with the name so written. 
As a rule, the ko is the more respectful form. 

Japanese Female Names 123 

attempt a classification of female names, be 
ginning with popular yobina. These will be 
found particularly interesting, because they re 
flect something of race -feeling in the matter of 
ethics and aesthetics, and because they serve to 
illustrate curious facts relating to Japanese cus 
tom. The first place I have given to names of 
purely moral meaning, usually bestowed in the 
hope that the children will grow up worthy of 
them. But the lists should in no case be re 
garded as complete : they are only representative. 
Furthermore, I must confess my inability to ex 
plain the reason of many names, which proved 
as much of riddles to Japanese friends as to 


O-Ai "Love." 

O-Cbti "Intelligence." 

O-Cbif "Loyalty." 

O-Jin "Tenderness," humanity. 

O-Jun "Faithful-to-death." 

O-KaiyS . . . . " Forgiveness," pardon. 

O-Ken "Wise," in the sense of moral 


O-Ko " Filial Piety." 

O-Masa . . . . " Righteous," just. 

O-Micbi .... "The Way," doctrine. 

Misao "Honor," wifely fidelity. 

124 Shadowings 

O-Nao "The Upright," honest. 

O-Nobu .... " The Faithful." 

O-Rei "Propriety," in the old Chinese 


O-Retsu . . . . " Chaste and True." 

O-Ry5 " The Generous," magnanimous. 

O-Sada "The Chaste." 

O-Sei "Truth." 

O-Sbin "Faith," in the sense of fidelity, 


O-Sbi%u .... " The Tranquil," calm-souled. 

O-Setsu . . . . " Fidelity," wifely virtue. 

O-Tame .... " For-the-sake-of," a name sug 
gesting unselfishness. 

O-Tei "The Docile," in the meaning of 

virtuous obedience. 

O-Toku .... "Virtue." 

O-Totno .... "The Friend," especially in the 
meaning of mate, companion. 

O-Tsune .... "Constancy." 

O-Yasu .... " The Amiable," gentle. 

O-YosM .... "The Good." 

O-Yosbt .... " The Respectful." 

The next list will appear at first sight more 
heterogeneous than it really is. It contains a 
larger variety of appellations than the previous 
list ; but nearly all of the yobina refer to some 
good quality which the parents trust that the 
child will display, or to some future happiness 
which they hope that she will deserve. To the 

Japanese Female Names 

latter category belong such names of felicitation 
as Miyo and Masayo. 


O-Atsu " The Generous," liberal. 

O-Cbika .... " Closely Dear." 

O-Cbika . . . . " Thousand Rejoicings." 

O-Cb5 "The Long," probably in refer 
ence to life. 

O-Dai "Great." 

O-Den " Transmission," bequest from 

ancestors, tradition. 

O-E "Fortunate." 

O-Ei " Prosperity." 

O-En "Charm." 

O-En "Prolongation," of life. 

O-Etsu "Surpassing." 

O-Etsu " The Playful," merry, joyous. 

O-Fuku . . . . " Good Luck." 

O-Gen " Source," spring, fountain. 

O-Haya .... " The Quick," light, nimble. 

O-Hide " Superior." 

Hideyo " Superior Generations." 

O-Hiro "The Broad." 

O-Hisa " The Long." (?) 

hamu "The Vigorous," spirited, robust. 

O-Jin " Superexcellent." 

Kameyo . . . . " Generations-of-the-Tortoise." 

O-Kane l .... " The Doubly-Accomplished." 

1 From the strange verb kaneru, signifying, to do two things at the 
same time. 

126 Shadowings 

Kaoru " The Fragrant." 

O-Kata . . . . " Worthy Person." 

O-Katsu . . . . " The Victorious." 

O-Kei "Delight." 

O-Kei " The Respectful." 

O-Ken "The Humble." 

O-KicU .... " The Fortunate." 

O-Kimi .... " The Sovereign," peerless. 

O-Kiwa . . . . " The Distinguished." 

O-Kiyo ) ( " The Clear," in the sense of 

Kiyosbi \ '" *1 bright, beautiful. 

O-Kuru . . . . " She-who-Comes " ( ?).* 

O-Maru .... "The Round," plump. 

O-Masa .... "The Genteel." 

Masayo .... " Generations-of-the-Just." 

O-Masu . . . . " Increase." 

O-Mia "Triple Branch." 

O-Miki "Stem." 

O-Mio " Triple Cord." 

O-Mitsu .... "Abundance." 

O-Miwa . . . . " The Far-seeing." 

O-Miwa. . . . . " Three Spokes "(?). 

O-Miyo . . . . " Beautiful Generations." 

Miyuki* . . . . " Deep Snow." 

O-Moto .... "Origin." 

1 One is'reminded of, " O whistle, and I 'II come to you, my lad " 
but no Japanese female name could have the implied signification. 
More probably the reference is to household obedience. 

2 Such is the meaning of the characters. I cannot understand the 
name. A Buddhist explanation suggests itself; but there are few, if 
any, Buddhist ydbina. 

3 This beautiful name refers to the silence and calm following a 
heavy snowfall. But, even for the Japanese, it is an aesthetic name 
also suggesting both tranquillity and beauty. 

Japanese Female Names 127 

O-Naka .... "Friendship." 

O-Rai "Trust." 

O-Raku 1 .... "Pleasure." 

O-Sacbi .... "Bliss." 

O-Sai " The Talented." 

SakaS "Prosperity." 

O-Saku . . . . " The Blooming." 

O-Sei " The Refined," in the sense of 


O-Sei "Force." 

O-Sen " Sennin," wood-fairy. 

O-Sbige . . . . " Exuberant." 

O-Sbime .... "The Total," summum bottum. 

O-Sbin "The Fresh." 

O-Sbin "Truth." 

O-Sbina .... " Goods," possessions. 

Shirusbi .... " Proof," evidence. 

O-Sbi^u . . . . " The Humble." 

O-SbS "Truth." 

O-Sbun .... "Excellence." 

O-Suki " The Beloved," Aimee. 

O-Suke "The Helper." 

O-Sumi .... "The Refined," in the sense of 

" sifted." 

O-Sute " The Forsaken," foundling. 2 

1 The name seems curious, in view of the common proverb, Raku 
wa ku no tanc, " Pleasure is the seed of pain." 

2 Not necessarily a real foundling. Sometimes the name may be 
explained by a curious old custom. In a certain family several children 
in succession die shortly after birth. It is decided, according to tra 
ditional usage, that the next child born must be exposed. A girl is the 
next child born ; she is carried by a servant to some lonely place In 
the fields, or'elsewhere, and left there. Then a]peasant, or other person, 
hired for the occasion (it is necessary that he should be of no kin to the 

128 Shadowings 

O-TaS "The Exquisite." 

O-Taka .... "The Honorable." 

O-Taka .... "The Tall." 

Takara .... "Treasure," precious object. 

O-Tama .... "Jewel" 

Tamat "Jewel-branch." 

Tokiwa x . . . . " Eternally Constant." 

O-Tomi .... "Riches." 

O-Tosbi .... " The Deft," skilful. 

O-Tsuma .... "The Wife." 

O-Yori " The Trustworthy." 

O-Waka .... "The Young." 

Place-names, or geographical names, are 
common ; but they are particularly difficult to 
explain. A child may be called after a place 
because born there, or because the parental 
home was there, or because of beliefs belong 
ing to the old Chinese philosophy regarding 
direction and position, or because of traditional 

family), promptly appears, pretends to find the babe, and carries it back 
to the parental home. "See this pretty foundling," he says to the 
father of the girl, " will you not take care of it? " The child is re 
ceived, and named " SuteV' the foundling. By this innocent artifice, it 
was formerly (and perhaps in some places is still) supposed that those 
unseen influences, which had caused the death of the other children, 
might be thwarted. 

1 Lit., "Everlasting-Rock," but the ethical meaning is " Con- 
stancy-everlasting-as-the-Rocks." " Tokiwa " is a name famous both 
in history and tradition ; for it was the name of the mother of Yoshit- 
sun6. Her touching story, and especially the episode of her flight 
through the deep snow with her boys, has been a source of inspir 
ation to generations of artists. 

Japanese Female Names 129 

custom, or because of ideas connected with the 
religkm of Shinto. 


O-Fuji [Mount] " Fuji." 

O-Hama . . . . " Coast." 

O-lcU "Market," fair. 

O-lyo "lyo," province of lyo, in Shikoku. 

O-Kawa (rare) . . "River." 

O-Kisbi .... "Beach," shore. 

O-Kita "North." 

O-Kiwa . . . . " Border." 

O-Kuni .... "Province." 

O-KyS " Capital," metropolis, Ky6to. 

O-Macbi . . . . " Town." 

Matsua " Matsug," chief city of Izumo. 

O-Mina 1 .... "South." 

O-Mine . . . . " Peak." 

O-Miya .... "Temple" [SbintS}? 

O-Mon* .... "Gate." 

O-Mura .... "Village." 

O-Nami* .... "Wave." 

Naniwa .... " Naniwa," ancient name of Osaka. 

O-Nisbi .... "West." 

1 Abbreviation of Minami. 

2 I must confess that in classing this name as a place-name, I am 
only making a guess. It seems to me that the name probably refers to 
the icbi no miya, or chief Shinto temple of some province. 

8 I fancy that this name, like that of O-Ski, must have originated 
In the custom of naming children after the place, or neighborhood, 
where the family lived. But here again, I am guessing. 

* This classification also is a guess. I could learn nothing about 
the name, except the curious fact that it is said to be unlucky. 


130 Shadowings 

O-Rin ..... "Park." 

O-Saki ..... " Cape." 

O-Sato ..... " Native Place," village, also, 


O-Sawa .... "Marsh." 

O-Seki ..... " Toll-Gate," barrier. 

Shigeki ..... " Thickwood," forest. 

O-Sbima .... "Island." 

O-Sono ..... " Flower-garden." 

O-Taki ..... "Cataract," or Waterfall. 

O-Tani ..... "Valley." 

O-Tsuka .... "Milestone." 

O-Yama .... "Mountain." 

The next list is a curious medley, so far as re 
gards the quality of the yobina comprised in it. 
Some are really aesthetic and pleasing ; others in 
dustrial only ; while a few might be taken for 
nicknames of the most disagreeable kind. 


Ayako m \ "Damask-pattern." 

O-Aa^ \ 

O-Fumi . . . . " Woman's Letter." 

O-Fusa ..... "Tassel." 

O-Ito ..... "Thread." 

O-Kama'* . . "Rice-Sickle." 

1 Aya-Nisbiki, the famous figured damask brocade of Kyoto, is 
probably referred to. 

* O-Kama (Sickle) is a familiar peasant-name. O-Kama (caldron, 
or iron cooking-pot), and several other ugly names in this list are ser- 

Japanese Female Names 

O-Kama . ; . *;' . "Caldron." 

Ka^asbi . . . . " Hair-pin." 

O-Kinu .... " Cloth-of-Silk." 

O-Koto "Harp." 

O-Nabe "Pot," or cooking-vessel 

O-Nui " Embroidery." 

O-Sbime .... "Clasp," ornamentalfastening. 

O-Some .... "The Dyer." 

O-Taru .... " Cask," barrel. 

The following list consists entirely of material 
nouns used as names. There are several yobina 
among them of which I cannot find the emblem 
atical meaning. Generally speaking, the yobina 
which signify precious substances, such as silver 
and gold, are aesthetic names ; and those which 
signify common hard substances, such as stone, 
rock, iron, are intended to suggest firmness or 
strength of character. But the name " Rock " 
is also sometimes used as a symbol of the wish 
for long life, or long continuance of the family 
line. The curious name Suna has nothing, how 
ever, to do with individual " grit " : it is half- 
moral and half -aesthetic. Fine sand especially 
colored sand is much prized in this fairy-land 

vants' names. Servants in old time not only trained their children to 
become servants, but gave them particular names referring to their 
future labors. 

132 Shadowings 

of landscape-gardening, where it is used to cover 
spaces that must always be kept spotless and 
beautiful, and never trodden, except by the 


O-Gin "Silver." 

O-Isbi "Stone." 

O-Iwa "Rock." 

O-Kane . . . . " Bronze." 

O-Katf l .... "Air," perhaps Wind. 

O-Kin "Gold." 

O-Run*\ _ _ ^ "Emerald," emeraldine? 
Runko > 

O-Ryu " Fine Metal." 

O-Sato "Sugar." 

O-Seki "Stone." 

O-Sbiwo .... "Salt." 

O-Suna "Sand." 

O-5f. .... "Tin." 

O-Tane .... "Seed." 

O-Tetsu .... "Iron." 

The following five yobina are aesthetic names, 
although literally signifying things belonging 
to intellectual work. Four of them, at least, 

1 I cannot find any explanation of this curious name. 

2 The Japanese name does not give the same quality of aesthetic 
sensation as the name EsmeraUa. The ruri is not usually green, but 
blue ; and the term " ruri-iro " (emerald color) commonly signifies a 
dark violet. 

Japanese Female Names 

refer to calligraphy, the matchless calligra 
phy of the Far East, rather than to anything 
that we should call "literary beauty." 


O-Bun " Composition." 

O-Fude " Writing-Brush." 

O-Fumi .... "Letter." 

O-Kaku .... "Writing." 

O-Uta "Poem." 

Names relating to number are very common, 
but also very interesting. They may be loosely 
divided into two sub-classes, names indicating 
the order or the time of birth, and names of 
felicitation. Such yobina as Ichi, San, Roku, 
Hacbi usually refer to the order of birth; but 
sometimes they record the date of birth. For 
example, I know a person called O-Roku, who 
received this name, not because she was the sixth 
child born in the family, but because she entered 
this world upon the sixth day of the sixth month 
of the sixth Meiji. It will be observed that the 
numbers Two, Five, and Nine are not represented 
in the list : the mere idea of such names as O-Ni, 
O-Go, or O-Ku seems to a Japanese absurd. 1 
do not know exactly why, unless it be that they 

134 Shadowings 

suggest unpleasant puns. The place of O-Ni is 
well supplied, however, by the name O- Tsugi 
,("Next")> which will be found in a subsequent 
list. Names signifying numbers ranging from 
eighty to a thousand, and upward, are names of 
felicitation. They express the wish that the 
bearer may live to a prodigious age, or that her 
posterity may flourish through the centuries. 


O-Icbi . . 

. . . "One." 

O-San . . 

. . . "Three." 

O-Mitsu . 

. . . "Three." 

O-Yotsu . 

'. . . "Four." 


" Six." 

O-Sbicbi . 

. . . "Seven." 

O-Hacbi . 

. . . "Eight." 


. . . "Ten." 


. . . "Fifty."i 

O-Yaso . 

. . . "Eighty." 

O-Hyaku . 

. . . "Hundred." 3 

O-Yao . . 

..." Eight Hundred." 

O-Sen . . 

. ,. . "Thousand." 

O-Micbi . 

. . . " Three Thousand. 

O-Man "Ten Thousand." 

1 Such a name may record the fact that the girl was a first-born 
child, and the father fifty years old at the time of her birth. 

2 The "O" before this trisyllable seems contrary to rule; but 
Hyaku Is pronounced almost like a dissyllable. 

Japanese Female Names 135 

O-Cbiyo . . . . " Thousand Generations." 
Yachiyo . . . . " Eight Thousand Generations." 

O-Sbtge .... "Two-fold." 

O-Yat "Eight-fold." 

O-Ka^u . . . . " Great Number." 

O-Mina .... "All." 

O-Han " Half." * 

O-Iku " How Many ?"(?) 


O-Hatsu .... "Beginning," first-born. 

O-Tsugi .... "Next," the second. 

ONaka .... "Midmost." j 

O-Tome .... "Stop," cease. 

O-Sue "Last." 

Some few of the next group of names are prob 
ably aesthetic. But such names are sometimes 
given only in reference to the time or season of 
birth; and the reason for any particular yobina 
of this class is difficult to decide without personal 


O-Haru .... "Spring." 
O-Natsu . " Summer." 

1 " Better half? " the reader may query. But I believe that this 
name originated in the old custom of taking a single character of the 
father's name sometimes also a character of the mother's name to 
compose the child's name with. Perhaps in this case the name of the 
girl's father was HANyemon, or HANbei. 

136 Shado wings 

O-Aki "Autumn." 

O-Fuyu .... "Winter." 

O-Asa "Morning." 

O-Cbo "Dawn." 

O-Yoi " Evening." 

O-Sayo " Night." 

O-Ima "Now." 

O-Toki "Time," opportunity. 

O-Tosbi .... " Year [of Plenty]." 

Names of animals real or mythical form 
another class of yobina. A name of this kind 
generally represents the hope that the child will 
develop some quality or capacity symbolized by 
the creature after which it has been called. 
Names such as " Dragon," " Tiger," " Bear," etc., 
are intended in most cases to represent moral 
rather than other qualities. The moral symbol 
ism of the Koi (Carp) is too well-known to re 
quire explanation here. The names Kame and 
Tsuru refer to longevity. Koma, curious as the 
fact may seem, is a name of endearment. 


Cbidori " Sanderling." 

O-Kame .... "Tortoise." 
O-Koi "Carp."i 

1 Cyprinus carpio. 

Japanese Female Names 137 

O-Koma .... " Filly," or pony. 

O-Kuma .... "Bear." 

O-Ryd "Dragon." 

O-Sbika .... "Deer." 

O-Tai "Bream." 1 

O-Taka .... "Hawk." 

0-Tako .... " Cuttlefish." (?) 

O-Tatsu .... "Dragon." 

O-Tora .... "Tiger." 

O-Tori "Bird." 

O-Tsuru .... "Stork." 2 

O-WasU .... "Eagle." 

Evtnyobina which are the names of flowers or 
fruits, plants or trees, are in most cases names of 
moral or felicitous, rather than of aesthetic mean 
ing. The plumflower is an emblem of feminine 
virtue ; the chrysanthemum, of longevity ; the pine, 
both of longevity and constancy ; the bamboo, of 
fidelity ; the cedar, of moral rectitude ; the willow, 
of docility and gentleness, as well as of physical 
grace. The symbolism of the lotos and of the 
cherryflower are probably familiar. But such 
names as Hana ("Blossom") and Ben (" Petal") 

1 Cbrysopbris cardinalis. 

2 Sometimes this name is shortened into O-Tsu. In Tokyo at the 
present time it is the custom to drop the honorific " O" before such 
abbreviations, and to add to the name the suffix " chan," as in the 
case of children's names. Thus a young woman may be caressingly 
addressed as " Tsu-chan " (for O-Tsuru), " Ya-chan " (for O-Yasu), 


are aesthetic in the true sense ; and the Lily re 
mains in Japan, as elsewhere, an emblem of 
feminine grace. 


Ayame " Iris." l 

Aqxmi "Thistle-Flower." 

O-Ben "Petal." 

O-Fuji "Wistaria." 2 

O-Hana .... "Blossom." 

O-Kiku " Chrysanthemum." 

O-Ran "Orchid." 

O-Ren "Lotos." 

Sakurako . . . . " Cherryblossom." 

O-Ume " Plumflower." 

O-Yuri "Lily." 


O-Ine " Rice-in-the-blade." 

Katde "Maple-leaf." 

O-Kaya. . . . . " Rush." s 

O-Kaya .... "Yew." 4 

O-Kuri "Chestnut." 

O-Kuwa .... "Mulberry." 

O-MaU .... "Fir." 6 

O-Mame . . "Bean." 

1 Ms sctosa, or Ms sibrisia. 

* Wistaria cbinensis. 

8 fmperata arundinacea. 

* Torreya nucifera. 

' Podocarpus cbinensis. 

Japanese Female Names 139 

O-Momo . .'. . " Peach," the fruit. 1 

O-Nara .... "Oak." 

O-Rjnl " Willow.", 

Sanat " Sprouting-Rice." 

O-Sane " Fruit-seed." 

O-Shino . . . . " Slender Bamboo." 

O-Suge "Reed." 3 

O-Sugi "Cedar." 8 

O-Take .... "Bamboo." 

O-Tsuta .... "Ivy."* 

O-YaS "Double-Blossom." 6 

O-Yone .... " Rice-in-grain." 

Wakana. .... " Young Na" 6 

Names signifying light or color seem to us the 
most aesthetic of all yobina ; and they probably 
seem so to the Japanese. Nevertheless the rela 
tive purport even of these names cannot be di 
vined at sight. Colors have moral and other 
values in the old nature-philosophy; and an 
appellation that to the Western mind suggests 
only luminosity or beauty may actually refer 

1 Yet this name may possibly have been written with the wrong 
character. There is another yobina, " Momo " signifying " hundred," 
as in the phrase momoyo, " for a hundred ages." 

2 Scirpus maritimus. 

8 Cryptomtria Japonica. 

* Cissus Tbunbergii. 

6 A flower-name certainly ; but the_ya here is probably an abbrevi 
ation of jrae-^akura, the double-flower of a particular species of cherry- 

Brastica chinensis. 



to moral or social distinction, to the hope that 
the girl so named will become " illustrious." 


O-Mika . . . . " New Moon." 1 

O-Mitsu . . . . " Light." 

O-Sbimo . . . . " Frost." 

O-Teru "The Shining." 

O-Tsuki .... "Moon." 

O-Tsuya . . . . "The Glossy," lustrous. 

O-Tsuyu . . . . " Dew." 

O-Yuki . " Snow." 


O-Ai " Indigo." 

O-Aka "Red." 

O-Iro .... 
O-Kon .... 
O-Kuro . . . 
Midori* . . . 
Murasaki* . . 
O-Sbiro . . , 

" Color." 

" Deep Blue." 

"Dark," lit., "Black." 

" Green." 

" Purple." 

" White." 

1 Mika is an abbreviation of Mika^uki. " the moon of the third night " 
[of the old lunar month]. 

* Midori and Murasaki, especially the latter, should properly be 
classed with aristocratic yobina ; and both are very rare. I could find 
neither in the collection of aristocratic names which was made for me 
from the records of the Peeresses' School ; but I discovered a " Midori " 
In a list of middle-class names. Color-names being remarkably few 
among^ofci'a, I thought it better in this instance to group the whole of 
them together, independently of class-distinctions. 

Japanese Female Names 141 

The following and final group of female 
names contains several queer puzzles. Japan 
ese girls are sometimes named after the family 
crest ; and heraldry might explain one or two of 
these yobina. But why a girl should be called a 
ship, I am not sure of being able to guess. Per 
haps some reader may be reminded of Nietzsche's 
" Little Brig called Angeline " : 

" Angeline they call me so 
Now a ship, one time a maid, 
(Ah, and evermore a maid ! ) 
Love the steersman, to and fro, 
Turns the wheel so finely made." 

But such a fancy would not enter into a Japanese 
mind. I find, however, in a list of family crests, 
two varieties of design representing a ship, twenty 
representing an arrow, and two representing a 


O-Fuku 1 .... "Raiment," clothing. 

O-Fune " Ship," or Boat. 

O-Hina* .... " Doll," a paper doll ? 

1 Possibly this name belongs to the same class as O-Nui (" Em 
broidery "), O-Some (" The Dyer ") ; but I am not sure. 

* Probably a name of caress. The word hiaa is applied especially 
to the little paper dolls made by hand for amusement,, representing 

142 Shadow! ngs 

O-Kono .... "This." 

O-Nao " Still More." 

O-Nari "Thunder-peal." 

O-Mbo " Palanquin'/ ' ( ?). 

O-Rai "Thunder." 

O-Rui " Sort," kind, species. 

.... " Little Bell." 

" Branch-of-Little-Bells." 

O-Tada .... " The Only." 

Tamaki .... " Armlet," bracelet. 

O-Tamt .... "Folk," common people. 

O-Tosbi .... "Arrowhead," or barb. 

O-Tsui "Pair," match. 

O-Tsuna . . . . " Rope," bond. 

O-Yumi .... "Bow," weapon. 

Before passing on to the subject of aristocratic 
names, I must mention an old rule for Japanese 
names, a curious rule that might help to ac 
count for sundry puzzles in the preceding lists. 
This rule formerly applied to all personal names, 
masculine or feminine. It cannot be fully ex 
plained in the present paper ; for a satisfactory 

young ladies with elaborate coiffure ; and it is also given to the old- 
fashioned dolls representing courtly personages in full ceremonial cos 
tume. The true doll doll-baby is called ningyd. 

1 Perhaps this name is given because of the sweet sound of the 
su%u, a tiny metal ball, with a little stone or other hard object inside, 
to make the ringing. It is a pretty Japanese custom to put one of these 
little su%u in the silk charm-bag (mamori-bukero) which is attached to a 
child's girdle. The sv^u rings with every motion that the child makes, 
somewhat like one of those tiny bells which we attach to the neck of 
a pet kitten. 

Japanese Female Names 143 







a ' ?. 

144 Shadowings 

explanation would occupy at least fifty pages. 
But, stated in the briefest possible way, the rule 
is that the first or " head-character " of a personal 
name should be made to " accord " (in the Chi 
nese philosophic sense) with the supposed Sei, or 
astrologically-determined nature, of the person to 
whom the name is given; the required accord 
ance being decided, not by the meaning, but by 
the sound of the Chinese written character. 
Some vague idea of the difficulties of the sub 
ject may be obtained from the accompanying 
table. (Page 143.) 


FOR examples of contemporary aristocratic 
names I consulted the reports of the Kwa^ohu- 
Jogahko (Peeresses' School), published between 
the nineteenth and twenty -seventh years of Meiji 
(1886-1895). The Kwazoku-Jogakko admits 
other students besides daughters of the nobility ; 
but for present purposes the names of the latter 
only to the number of one hundred and forty- 
seven have been selected. 

It will be observed that names of three or 
more syllables are rare among these, and also 

Japanese Female Names 

that the modern aristocratic yobina of two syl 
lables, as pronounced and explained, differ little 
from ordinary yobina. But as written in 
Chinese they differ greatly from other female 
names, being in most cases represented by char 
acters of a complex and unfamiliar kind. The 
use of these more elaborate characters chiefly 
accounts for the relatively large number of 
homonyms to be found in the following 


Aki-ko . . 
Aki-ko . . 
Aki-ko , . 
Asa-ko . . 
Aya-ko . . 
Cbika-ko . 
Cbiyo-ko . 
Ei-ko . . 
Etsu-ko . . 
Fuji-ko . . 

The Clear-Minded." 

Fair Morning." 
Silk Damask." 
A Thousand Springs." 
Near," close. 
1 A Thousand Storks." 
A Thousand Generations." 
A Woman's Letter." 

146 Shadowings 

Hana-ko . . . . " Fair-Blooming." 

Haru-ko . . . . " The Tranquil." 

Haru-ko .... "Spring," the season of flowers. 

Haru-ko .... " The Far-Removed," in the sense, 
perhaps, of superlative. 

Hatsu-ko . . . . "The First-born." 

Hide-ko .... "Excelling." 

Hide-ko .... "Surpassing." 

Hiro-ko "Magnanimous," literally ."broad," 

" large," in the sense of benefi 

Hiro-ko "Wide-Spreading," with reference 

to family prosperity. 

Hisa-ko "Long-lasting." 

Hisa-ko " Continuing." 

Hoshi-ko .... "Star." 

Iku-ko "The Quick," in the sense of living. 

Ima-ko ..,..." Now." 

Iho-ko " Five Hundred," probably a name 

of felicitation. 

Ito-ko "Sewing-Thread." 

Kame-ko .... "Tortoise." 

Kane-ko . . . . " Going around " ( ?).* 

Kant-ko .... "Bell," the character indicates a 
large suspended bell. 

Kata-ko .... "Condition"? 

Ka^u-ko .... "First." 

Ka^u-ko .... "Number," a great number. 

Ka^u-ko .... " The Obedient." 

Kiyo-ko .... "The Pure." 

1 It Is possible that this name was made simply by taking: one char 
acter of the father's name. The girl's name otherwise conveys no 
intelligible meaning. 

Japanese Female Names 147 

K5* " Filial Piety." 

Kd-ko "Stork." 

Koto "Harp." 

Kuni-ko . . . . " Province." 

Kuni "Country," in the largest sense. 

Kyd-ho " Capital," metropolis. 

Macbi " Ten-Thousand Thousand." 

Makoto "True-Heart." 

Masa-ko .... " The Trustworthy," sure. 

Masa-ko .... " The Upright." 

Masu-ko .... "Increase." 

Mata-ko .... "Completely," wholly. 

Matsu-ko . . . . " Pine-tree." 

Michi-ko .... " Three Thousand." 

Mine " Peak." 

Mine-ko . . . . " Mountain-Range." 

Mitsu-ko . . . . " Light," radiance. 

Miyo-ko . . . . " Beautiful Generations." 

Moto-ko .... "Origin," source. 

Naga-ko .... "Long," probably in reference to 


Naga-ko .... "Long Life." 

Nami-ko . . . . " Wave." 

Nao-ko "Correct," upright. 

Nyo-ko* .... "Gem-Treasure." 

1 The suffix "ko" is sometimes dropped for reasons of euphony, 
and sometimes for reasons of good taste difficult to explain to readers 
unfamiliar with the Japanese language even when the name consists 
of only one syllable or of two syllables. 

2 This name is borrowed from the name of the sacred gem Nyoiboju, 
which figures both in Shinto and in Buddhist legend. The divinity 
Jizo is usually represented holding in one hand this gem, which is said 
to have the power of gratifying any desire that its owner can entertain. 
Perhaps the Nyoiboju may be identified with the Gem-Treasure Velwriya % 

148 Shado wings 

Nobu-ko .... "Faithful." 

Nobu-ko .... "Abundance," plenty. 

Nobu-ko .... " The Prolonger." 

Nori-ko "Precept," doctrine. 

Nat "Embroidery," sewing. 

Oki " Offing," perhaps originally a 

place-name. 1 

Sada-ko . . . . " The Chaste." 

Sada-ko .... "The Sure," trustworthy. 

Sakura-ko . . . . " Cherry-Blossom." 

SakaV " The Prosperous," 

Sato-ko " Home." 

Sato-ko " The Discriminating." 

Seki-ko "Great." 

Setsu-ko .... "The Chaste." 

Sbige-ko .... "Flourishing." 

Sbige-ko .... "Exuberant," in the sense of rich 


Sbige-ko .... "Upgrowing." 

Sbige-ko .... "Fragrance." 

Sbiki-ko .... "Prudence." 

Sbima-ko .... "Island." 

Sbin-ko .... " The Fresh," new. 

Sbipt-ko .... " The Quiet," calm. 

Sbi^u? " Quiet River." 

Sono-ko .... "Garden." 

Sut-ko " Last," in the sense of youngest. 

Suke-ko "The Helper." 

mentioned in the Sfltra of The Great King of Glory, chapter i. (See 
Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi.) 

1 A naval officer named Oki told me that his family had originally 
been settled in the Oki Islands (" Islands of the Offing "). This in 
teresting coincidence suggested to me that the above yobina might have 
had the same origin. 

Japanese Female Names 149 






Taka-ko . 

Taka-ko . 

Taka-ko . 

Take-ko . 

Taki-ko . 

Tama-ko . 

Tama-ko . 

Tame-ko . 

Tami-ko . 

Tane-ko . 

Tatsu-ko . 
Tatsuru-ko l 

Teru-ko . 

Tetsu-ko . 

Tome-ko . 

Tomi-ko . 

Tomo-ko . 

Tosbi-ko . 

Toyo-ko . 

Tsune-ko . 

. "The Clear," spotless, refined. 

. " The Veritable," real. 

. " Clear River." 

. "Tin." 

. " Little Bell." 

" Sound of Little Bell." 
. "High," lofty, superior. 
. " Filial Piety." 
. "Precious." 
. "Bamboo." 
. "Waterfall." 
. " Gem," jewel. 
. "Gem," written with a different 


. " For the Sake of " 
. " People," folks. 
. " Successful." 
. " Attaining." 
. " Many Storks." 
." Ricefield Stork." 
. "Beaming," luminous. 
. " Iron." 

" Time." 
. " Cessation." 
. " Riches." 

" Intelligence." 

" Knowledge." 
. " Friendship." 
. " The Quickly-Perceiving." 
. " Fruitful." 

" Constancy." 
. "Ordinary," usual, common. 

1 So written, but probably pronounced as two syllables only. 

Tsune-ko . 

Tsune-ko , 

Tsuru-ko , 

Tsuya-ko , 

Ume . , 

Yacbi-ko , 

Yosbi . . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yosbi-ko . 

Yuki-ko . 

Yuki-ko . 

Yuku-ko . 

Yutaka . , 

" Ordinary," written with a differ 
ent character. 

" Faithful," in the sense of wifely 

" Stork." 

" The Lustrous," shining, glossy. 

" Female Hare." 

" Plum-Blossom." 

" Eight Thousand." 

" Eighty." 

" Eighty-four." 

" The Maintainer," supporter. 

" The Respectful." 

" The Tranquil-Minded." 

" Rice." 

" The Trustful." 

" Eminent," celebrated. 

" Fragrance." 

" The Good," or Gentle. 

" The Lovable." 

"The Lady-like," gentle in the 
sense of refined. 

" The Joyful." 

" Congratulation." 

" The Happy." 

" Bright and Clear." 

" The Lucky." 

" Snow." 

" Going." 

" Plenty," affluence, superabun 

Japanese Female Names 


IN the first part of this paper I suggested that the 
custom of giving very poetical names to geisha 
and tojoro might partly account for the unpopu 
larity of purely esthetic yobina. And in the 
hope of correcting certain foreign misapprehen 
sions, I shall now venture a few remarks about 
the names of geisha. 

Geisha-mmes, like other classes of names, 
although full of curious interest, and often in 
themselves really beautiful, have become hope 
lessly vulgarized by association with a calling the 
reverse of respectable. Strictly speaking, they 
have nothing to do with the subject of the 
present study, inasmuch as they are not real 
personal names, but professional appellations only, 
not yobina, but geimyo. 

A large proportion of such names can be dis 
tinguished by certain prefixes or suffixes attached 
to them. They can be known, for example, 

( 1 ) By the prefix Waka, signifying " Young " ; 

as in the names Wakagusa, " Young Grass " ; 

Waka^uru, " Young Stork " ; Wakamurasaki, 

" Young Purple " ; Wakakoma, " Young Filly ". 


(2) By the prefix Ko, signifying " Little " ; 
as in the names, Ko-en, " Little Charm " ; Ko- 
bana, "Little Flower"; Ko^akura, "Little 
Cherry-Tree ". 

(3) By the suffix Ryo, signifying " Dragon " 
(the Ascending Dragon being especially a symbol 
of success) ; as Tama-Ryo, " Jewel-Dragon " ; 
Hana-Ryo, " Rower-Dragon " ; Kin-Ryo, " Gol 
den-Dragon ". 

(4) By the suffix ji y signifying " to serve ", 
"to administer"; as in the names Uta-ji, 
Shinne-ji, Katsu-ji. 

(5) By the suffix suke, signifying " help " ; 
as in the names Tama-suke, Koma-suke. 

(6) By the suffix kicbi, signifying " luck ", 
" fortune " ; as Uta-kicU, " Song-Luck " ; 
Tama-hicbi, "Jewel -Fortune". 

(7) By the suffix giku (i. e., hihu), signifying 
" chrysanthemum " ; as Mitsu-giku, " Three 
Chrysanthemums " ; Hina-giku, " Doll-Chrysan 
themum " ; Ko-giku, " Little Chrysanthemum ". 

(8) By the suffix tsuru, signifying " stork " 
(emblem of longevity) ; as Koma-tsuru, 
" Filly-Stork " ; Ko-tsuru, " Little Stork " ; Ito- 
%uru, " Thread- Stork ". 

Japanese Female Names 

These forms will serve for illustration; but 
there are others. Geimyo are written, as a gen 
eral rule, with only two Chinese characters, and 
are pronounced as three or as four syllables. 
Geimyo of five syllables are occasionally to be 
met with ; geimyo of only two syllables are rare 
-at least among names of dancing girls. And 
these professional appellations have seldom any 
moral meaning: they signify things relating to 
longevity, wealth, pleasure, youth, or luck, 
perhaps especially to luck. 

Of late years it became a fashion among cer 
tain classes of geisha in the capital to assume real 
names with the genteel suffix Ko, and even aris 
tocratic yobina. In 1889 some of the Tokyo 
newspapers demanded legislative measures to 
check the practice. This incident would seem to 
afford proof of public feeling upon the subject. 

Old Japanese Songs 

Old Japanese Songs 


THIS New Year's morning I find upon my 
table two most welcome gifts from a 
young poet of my literary class. One 
is a roll of cloth for a new kimono, cloth such 
as my Western reader never saw. The brown 
warp is cotton thread ; but the woof is soft white 
paper string, irregularly speckled with black. 
When closely examined, the black specklings 
prove to be Chinese and Japanese characters ; 
for the paper woof is made out of manuscript, 
manuscript of poems, which has been deftly 
twisted into fine cord, with the written surface 
outwards. The general effect of the white, black, 
and brown in the texture is a warm mouse-grey. 
In many Izumo homes a similar kind of cloth is 
manufactured for family use ; but this piece was 
woven especially 'for me by the mother of my 
pupil. It will make a most comfortable winter- 

1 ">8 Shadowings 

robe; and when wearing it, I shall be literally 
clothed with poetry, even as a divinity might 
be clothed with the sun. 

The other gift is poetry also, but poetry in the 
original state : a wonderful manuscript collection 
of Japanese songs gathered from unfamiliar 
sources, and particularly interesting from the 
fact that nearly all of them are furnished with 
refrains. There are hundreds of compositions, 
old and new, including several extraordinary 
ballads, many dancing-songs, and a surprising 
variety of love-songs. Neither in sentiment nor 
in construction do any of these resemble the 
Japanese poetry of which I have already, in pre 
vious books, offered specimens in translation. 
The forms are, in most cases, curiously irregular ; 
but their irregularity is not without a strange 
charm of its own. 

I am going to offer examples of these com 
positions, partly because of their unfamiliar 
emotional quality, and partly because 1 think that 
something can be learned from their strange art 
of construction. The older songs selected from 
the antique drama seem to me particularly 
worthy of notice. The thought or feeling and 

Old Japanese Songs 

its utterance are supremely simple ; yet by primi 
tive devices of reiteration and of pause, very 
remarkable results have been obtained. What 
strikes me especially noteworthy in the following 
specimen is the way that the phrase, begun with 
the third line of the first stanza, and interrupted 
by a kind of burthen, is repeated and finished in 
the next stanza. Perhaps the suspension will 
recall to Western readers the effect of some 
English ballads with double refrains, or of such 
quaint forms of French song as the famous 

Au jardin de mon pre 
Vole, mon coeur, vole ! 

II y a un pommier doux, 
Tout doux! 

But in the Japanese song the reiteration of the 
broken phrase produces a slow dreamy effect as 
unlike the effect of the French composition as the 
movements of a Japanese dance are unlike those 
of any Western round : 

160 Shadowings 


(Probably from the eleventh century) 

Kano yuku wa, 

Kari ka ? kugui ka ? 

Kari naraba, 

(Ref.) Hareyatotot 
Hareya toto! 

Kari nara 

Nanori zo se'mashi ; 

Nao kugui nari-ya ! 

(Ref.) Toto I 

That which yonder flies, 
Wild goose is it ? swan is it ? 
Wild goose if it be, 

Hareya totd! 

Hareya tdtd! 

Wild goose if it be, 
Its name I soon shall say : 
Wild swan if it be, better still ! 

There are many old lyrics in the above form. 
Here is another song, of different construction, 
also from the old drama : there is no refrain, but 

Old Japanese Songs 161 

there is the same peculiar suspension of phrase ; 
and the effect of the quadruple repetition is 
emotionally impressive : 

Isora ga saki ni 
Tai tsuru ama mo, 
Tai tsuru ama mo, 

Wagimoko ga tame to, 
Tai tsuru ama mo, 

Tai tsuru ama mo ! 

Off the Cape of Isora, 

Even the fisherman catching tai, 1 

Even the fisherman catching tai, 

[Works] for the sake of the woman beloved, 
Even the fisherman catching tat, 
Even the fisherman catching tai! 

But a still more remarkable effect is obtained in 
the following ancient song by the extraordinary 
reiteration of an uncompleted phrase, and by a 
double suspension. I can imagine nothing more 
purely natural : indeed the realism of these sim 
ple utterances has almost the quality of pathos : 

1 Cbrjtsopbris cardinal^, a kind of sea-bream. generally esteemed 
the best of Japanese fishes. 

162 Shadowings 


(Old lyrical drama date uncertain) 

Agemaki l wo 
Waseda ni yarite ya ! 
So omou to, 
So omou to, 
So omou to, 
So omou to, 
So omou to, 

So omou to, 
Nani-mo sezushite, 
Harubi sura, 
Harubi sura, 
Harubi sura, 
Harubi sura, 
Harubi sura ! 

My darling boy ! 

Oh ! they have sent him to the ricefields ! 
When I think about him, 
When I think, 
When I think, 

1 It was formerly the custom to shave the heads of boys, leaving 
only a tuft or lock of hair on either temple. Such a lock was called 
agemaki, a word also meaning " tassel " ; and eventually the term 
came to signify a boy or lad. In these songs it is used as a term of 
endearment, much as an English girl might speak of her sweetheart 
as " my dear lad," or " my darling boy." 

Old Japanese Songs 163 

When I think, 
When I think, 

When I think about him I 
I doing nothing at all, 

Even on this spring-day, 
Even this spring-day, 
Even this spring-day, 
Even this spring-day, 
Even on this spring-day ! 

Other forms of repetition and of refrain are 
furnished in the two following lyrics : 


(Supposed to have been composed as early as the twelfth 

Bindatara wo 
Ayugaseba koso, 
Ayugaseba koso, 
Aikyo zuitare ! 

Yareko toto, 
Yar&ko toto! 

With loosened hair, 
Only because of having tossed it, 
Only because of having shaken it, 
Oh, sweet she is ! 

Yareko tots! 
Yareko tots! 

164 Shadowings 


(Probably from the sixteenth century} 

Sama wa tennin ! 

Otome no sugata 
Kumo no kayoiji 
Chirato mita! 

Tontorori I 

Otome no sugata 
Kumo no kayoiji 
Chirato mita ! 

Tontorori ! 

My beloved an angel is ! 1 

Sore-sori ! 

The maiden's form, 
In the passing of clouds, 
In a glimpse I saw ! 

Tontorori ! 
The maiden's form, 
In the passage of clouds, 
In a glimpse I saw ! 

Tontorori ! 

1 Lit.. " a Tennin " ; that is to say. an inhabitant of the Buddhist 
heaven. The Tennin are usually represented as beautiful maidens. 

Old Japanese Songs 

My next selection is from a love -song of un 
certain date, belonging to the Kamakura period 
(1186-1332). This fragment is chiefly remark 
able for its Buddhist allusions, and for its very 
regular form of stanza : 

Makoto yara, 
Kashima no minato ni 
Miroku no mifune ga 
Tsuite gozarimosu. 

Yono I 

Sd iyoe, iyoe ! 
Sd iyoe, iyoe! 

Hobashira wa, 
Kogane no hobashira ; 
Ho niwa Hokkekyo no 
Go no man-makimono. 

Sa iyoe, iyoe ! 

Sd iyoe, iyoe I 

I know not if 't is true 

That to the port of Kashima 

The august ship of Miroku 1 has come I 


Sa iyo'i, iyo'i ! 
Saiyo'6, iyo'il 

1 Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva) is the next great Buddha 
to come. 

166 Shado wings 

As for the mast, 

It is a mast of gold ; 

The sail is the fifth august roll 

Of the Hokkacyo ! 1 

Sa iyo'6, iyot ! 

Otherwise interesting, with its queer refrain, is 
another song called " Agemaki," belonging to 
one of the curious class of lyrical dramas known 
as Saibara. This may be found fault with as 
somewhat " free " ; but I cannot think it more 
open to objection than some of our much-ad 
mired Elizabethan songs which were probably 
produced at about the same time: 


(Probably from the sixteenth century) 

Agemaki ya ! 

Tonton I 
Hiro bakari ya 

Tonton I 

1 Japanese popular name for the Chinese version of the Saddharma 
Pundarika Sutra. Many of the old Buddhist scriptures were written 
upon long scrolls, called makimono, a name also given to pictures 
printed upon long rolls of silk or paper. 

Old Japanese Songs 167 

Sakarite netaredomo, 

Tonton ! 

Tonton / 

Oh ! my darling boy ! 

Tonton ! 
Though a fathom 1 apart, 

Tonton ! 

Sleeping separated, 

By rolling we came together I 

Tonton ! 
By slow approaches we came together, 

Tonton ! 

My next group of selections consists of " local 
songs" by which term the collector means 
songs peculiar to particular districts or prov 
inces. They are old though less old than 
the compositions previously cited; and their 
interest is chiefly emotional. But several, it 
will be observed, have curious refrains. Songs 
of this sort are sung especially at the village- 
dances Bon-odori and Honen-odori : 

1 Lit., "biro." The biro is a measure of about five feet English, and 
is used to measure breadth as well as depth. 

168 Shadowings 


(Province of Ecbigo) 

Hana ka? chocho ka? 
Chocho ka ? hana ka ? 

Don-don ! 

Kite wa chira-chira mayowaseru, 
Kite wa chira-chira mayowaseru ! 

Taichokant ! 

Sokane don-don! 

Flower is it ? butterfly is it ? 

Butterfly or flower ? 

Don-don ! 

When you come thus flickering, I am deluded ! 
When you come thus twinkling, I am bewitched 1 

Taichokane ! 
Sokane don-don ! 


(Province of Kit, village of Ogawa) 

Koe wa suredomo 
Sugata wa mienu 
Fuka-no no kirigirisu ! 

Though I hear the voice [of tie beloved}, the form I can 
not see a kirigirisu 1 in the high grass. 

1 The kirigirisu is a kind of grasshopper with a very musical note. 
It is very difficult to see it, even when it is singing close by, for its 
color is exactly the color of the grass. The song alludes to the happy 
peasant custom of singing while at work in the fields. 

Old Japanese Songs 169 

(Province of Mutsu, district of Sugaru) 

Washi no kokoro to 
Oki kuru fune wa, 
Raku ni misetemo, 
Ku ga taenu. 

My heart and a ship in the offing either seems to 
move with ease ; yet in both there is trouble enough. 


(Province ofSuwd, village of Iseki) 

Namida koboshite 
Shinku wo kataru, 
Kawairashi-sa ga 

Mashimasuru ! 

As she tells me all the pain of her toil, shedding tears, 
ever her sweetness seems to increase. 


(Province of Suruga, village of Coteniba) 

Hana ya, yoku kike ! 
Sho aru naraba, 
Hito ga fusagu ni 

Naze hiraku ? 

O flower, hear me well if thou hast a soul ! When any 
one sorrows as I am sorrowing, why dost thou bloom ? 

170 Shadowings 


lya-na o-kata no 
Shinsetsu yori ka 
Suita o-kata no 

Muri ga yoi. 

Better than the kindness of the disliked is the violence 
of the beloved. 


(Province of Iwami) 

Kawairashi-sa ya ! 
Hotaru no mushi wa 
Shinobu nawate ni 

Hi wo tomosu. 

Ah, the darling ! . . . Ever as I steal along the ricefield- 
path [to meet my lover}, the firefly kindles a light to show 
me the way. 


(Province of Sbinano) 

Ano yam a kage de 

Hikaru wa nanja ? 
Tsuki ka, hoshi ka, hotaru no mushi ka ? 

Tsuki demo naiga ; 

Hoshi demo naiga ; 
Shuto no o-uba no me ga hikaru, 

(Chorus) Me ga hikaru I 

Old Japanese Songs 171 

In the shadow of the mountain 

What is it that shines so ? 

Moon is it, or star? or is it the firefly-insect? 

Neither is it moon, 

Nor yet star ; 

It is the old woman's Eye; it is the Eye of my 
mother-in-law that shines, 

(Chorus) It is her Eye tbat shines i 

(Province of Sanuki) 

Oh! the cruelty, the cruelty of my mother-in- 

(Chorus) Oh! the cruelty! 

Even tells me to paint a picture on running 

water ! 

If ever I paint a picture on running water, 
You will count the stars in the night -sky ! 

Count the stars in the night-sky 1 

Come ! let us dance the Dance of the Honor 
able Garden ! 

Chan-chan ! 
Cha-cha ! 

1 I am not sure of the real meaning of the name Kairi-Odori (lit 
" turn-dance " or " return-dance "). 

172 Shadowings 

Who cuts the bamboo at the back of the 
house ? 

(Chorus) Who cuts the bamboo ? 
My sweet lord's own bamboo, the first he 


The first he planted ? 

Come ! let us dance the Dance of the Honor 

able Garden ! 

Chan-chan ! 
Cha-cha ! 

Oh ! the cruelty, the cruelty of my mother-in- 

Oh ! the cruelty ! 

Tells me to cut and make a hakama 1 out of 


If ever I cut and sew a hakama of rock, 
Then you will learn to twist the fine sand into 


Twist it into thread. 

Come ! let us dance the Dance of the Honor 

able Garden ! 

1 A divided skirt of a peculiar form, worn formerly by men chiefly, 
to-day-worn by female students also. 

Old Japanese Songs 173 

Cha-cba ! 
Chan-chan-chan ! 


(Province of Iga, village called Uenomacbi) 

Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the 

august gate, 
The august gate I find to be of silver, the panels 

of gold. 
Noble indeed is the gate of the honorable 


The honorable temple I 

Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the 

I see young pinetrees flourishing in the four 

directions : 
On the first little branch of one the sbijugara l 

has made her nest, 

Has made her nest. 

1 The Manchurian great tit. It is said to bring good fortune to the 
._ owners of the garden in which it builds a nest, providing that the 
nest be not disturbed and that the brood be protected. 

174 Shadowings 

Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the 


I see little flowers of many colors set all about it, 
Each one having a different color of its own, 

A different color. 

Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the 

I find many kinds of little birds gathered all 

Each one singing a different song of its own, 

A different song. 

Visiting the honorable temple, when I see the 


There I see the priest, with a lamp beside him, 
Reading behind a folding-screen oh, how ad 
mirable it is ! 

How admirable it is ! 

Many kinds of popular songs and especially 
the class of songs sung at country- dances are 
composed after a mnemonic plan. The stanzas 
are usually ten in number ; and the first syllable 
of each should correspond in sound to the first 
syllable of the numeral placed before the verse. 

Old Japanese Songs 

Sometimes Chinese numerals are used; some 
times Japanese. But the rule is not always 
perfectly observed. In the following example 
it will be observed that the correspondence of 
the first two syllables in the first verse with the 
first two syllables of the Japanese word for one 
(bitotsu) is a correspondence of meaning only ; 
ichi being the Chinese numeral : 


(Province of Shimosa, town of Cttosbi) l 

Ichiban bune e tsumi-konde, 
Kawaguchi oshikomu 6-yagoe. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune ! 


Futaba no oki kara Togawa made 
Tsuzuite oshikomu 6-yagoe. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 

1 Choshi, a town of some importance, is situated at the mouth of the 
Tonegawa. It is celebrated for its iwashi-fishery. The iwashi is a 
fish about the size of the sardine, and is sought chiefly for the sake of 
its oil. Immense quantities of twasbi are taken off the coast. They 
are boiled to extract the oil ; and the dried residue is sent inland to 
serve as manure. 

176 Shadowings 


Mina ichido-ni maneki wo age, 
Kayowase-bune no nigiyakasa 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 

Yoru-hiru taitemo taki-amaru, 
San-bai itcho no 6-iwashi ! 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 

Itsu kite mitemo hoshika-ba ni 
Akima sukima wa sarani nai. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 

Mutsu kara mutsu made kasu-wari ga 
O-wari ko-wari de te ni oware. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 
Natakaki Tonegawa ichi-men ni 
Kasu-ya abura wo tsumi-okuru 

Kono tai-ryo-bune! 

Yatebune no okiai wakashu ga, 
Ban-shuku soroete miya-mairi. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune/ 

Old Japanese Songs 177 

Kono ura mamoru kawa-guchi no 
Mydjin riyaku wo arawasuru. 

Kono tai-ryo-bune ! 

Firstly (or " Number One "), 

The first ship, filled up with fish, squeezes her way 
through the river-mouth, with a great shouting. 1 

O Ms ship of great fishing ! a 


From the offing of Futaba even to the Togawa, 8 the 
ships, fast following, press in, with a great shouting. 

O this ship of great fishing ! 


When, all together, we hoist our signal-flags, see how 
fast the cargo-boats come hurrying 1 

O this ship of great fishing ! 


Night and day though the boiling be, there is still too 
much to boil oh, the heaps of iwashi from the three 
ships together! 

O this ship of great fishing ! 

1 0-yagoe. The chorus-cry or chant of sailors, pulling all together, 
is called yagoe. 

2 Tai-ry5 bune, lit. : "great-fishing," or " great-catching-ship." 
The adjective refers to the fishing, not to the ship. The real meaning 
of the refrain is, " this-most-successful-in-fishing of ships." 

* Perhaps the reference is to a village at the mouth of the river To 
gawa, not far from Choshi on the Tonegawa. The two rivers are 
united by a canal. But the text leaves it uncertain whether river 01 
village is meant. 

178 Shadowings 

Fif My, 

Whenever you go to look at the place where the dried 
fish are kept, 1 never do you find any room, not even a 

O this slip of great fishing ! 


From six to six o'clock is cleaning and washing : the 
great cutting and the small cutting are more than can be 

O this ship of great fishing ! 


All up and down the famous river Tondgawa we send 
our loads of oil and fertilizer. 

O this ship of great fishing! 


All the young folk, drawing the Yatai-bune? with ten 
thousand rejoicings, visit the shrine of the God. 

O this ship of great fishing ! 


Augustly protecting all this coast, the Deity of the river- 
mouth shows to us his divine favor. 

O this ship of great fishing ! 

1 Hosbika-ba : lit., " the hoshika-place " or " hoshika-room." " Ho- 
shika " is the name given to dried fish prepared for use as fertilizer. 

* Yatai is the name given to the ornamental cars drawn with ropes 
In a religious procession. Yatai-buni here seems to mean either the 
model of a boat mounted upon such a car, or a real boat so displayed 
in a religious processsion. I have seen real boats mounted upon festi 
val-cars in a religious procession at Mionoseki. 

Old Japanese Songs 179 

A stranger example of this mnemonic arrange- 
ment is furnished by a children's song, composed 
at least a hundred years ago. Little girls of 
Yedo used to sing it while playing ball. You can 
see the same ball-game being played by girls to 
day, in almost any quiet street of Tokyo. The 
ball is kept bounding in a nearly perpendicular 
line by skilful taps of the hand delivered in time 
to the measure of a song; and a good player 
should be able to sing the song through without 
missing a stroke. If she misses, she must yield 
the ball to another player. 1 There are many 
pretty " ball -play songs ; " but this old-fashioned 
and long-forgotten one is a moral curiosity : 

Hitotsu toy a : 

Hito wa ko na hito to iu ; 
On wo shiraneba k5 naraji. 

Futatsu toy a : 

Fuji yori takaki chichi no on ; 
Tsune-ni omoute wasure-naji. 

1 This is the more common form of the game; but 
there are many other forms. Sometimes two girls play 
at once with the same ball striking it alternately as it 

180 Shadowings 

Mitsu to ya : 

Mizu-umi kaette asashi to wa, 
Haha no on zo ya omou-beshi. 

Yotsu toy a : 

Yoshiya mazushiku kurasu tomo, 
Sugu-naru michi wo maguru-moji. 

Itsutsu toy a : 

Itsumo kokoro no kawaranu wo, 
Makoto no hito to omou-beshi. 

Mutsu toya: 

Munashiku tsukihi wo kurashi-naba, 
Nochi no nageki to shirinu-beshi. 

Nanatsu toya : 

Nasaki wa hito no tame narode, 
Waga mi no tame to omou-beshi. 

Yatsu toya: 

Yaku-nan muryo no wazawai mo 
Kokoro zen nara nogaru-beshi. 

Kokonotsu toya : 

Kokoro kotoba no sugu-naraba, 
Kami ya Hotoke mo mamoru-beshi. 

Old Japanese Songs 181 

To toy a: 

Totoi hito to naru naraba, 
Koko mono to iwaru-beshi. 

This is the first : 
[Only] a person having filial piety is [worthy to be] 

called a person : 1 
If one does not know the goodness of parents, one has 

not filial piety. 

Tbe second: 
Higher than the [mountain] Fuji is the favor of a 

father : 
Think of it always ; never forget it. 

Tbe third: 
[Compared with a mother's love] the great lake is 

shallow indeed ! 

[By this saying] the goodness of a mother should be 

Tbe fourth : 

Even though in poverty we have to pass our days, 
Let us never turn aside from the one straight path. 

Tbe fifth. 

The person whose heart never changes with time, 
A true man or woman that person must be deemed 

1 Lit., " A person having filial piety is called a person." The word 
bito (person), usually indicating either a man or a woman, is often used 
In the signification of " people " or " Mankind." The full meaning of 
the sentence is that no unfilial person deserves to be called a human 

182 Shadowings 

The sixth : 

If the time [of the present] be spent in vain, 
In the time of the future must sorrow be borne. 

The seventh : 

That a kindness done is not for the sake of others 

But also for one's own sake, should well be kept in 


The eighth : 

Even the sorrow of numberless misfortunes 
We shall easily escape if the heart be pure. 

The ninth : 

If the heart and the speech be kept straight and true, 
The Gods and the Buddhas will surely guard us well. 

The tenth : 

In order to become a person held in honor, 
As a filial person one must [first] be known. 

The reader may think to himself, " How terri 
bly exigent the training that could require the 
repetition of moral lessons even in a 'ball -play 
song ' ! " True, but it produced perhaps the 
very sweetest type of woman that this world has 
ever known. 

In some dance-songs the burthen is made by 
the mere repetition of the last line, or of part 
of the last line, of each stanza. The follow- 

Old Japanese Songs 183 

ing queer ballad exemplifies the practice, and is 
furthermore remarkable by reason of the curious 
onomatopoetic choruses introduced at certain 
passages of the recitative: 


('"Bell-wrapping-dance song." Province of Iga Naga district) 

A Yamabushi of Kyoto went to Kumano. There resting 
in the inn Chojaya, by the beach of Shirotaka, he saw a 
little girl three years old ; and he petted and hugged her, 
playfully promising to make her his wife, 

(Chorus) Playfully promising. 

Thereafter that Yamabushi travelled in various provinces ; 
returning only when that girl was thirteen years old. " O 
my princess, my princess ! " he cried to her, " my little 
princess, pledged to me by promise!" "O Sir Yama 
bushi," made she answer, " good Sir Yamabushi, take me 

with you now ! 

" Take me witbyou now ! " 

"0 soon," he said, "I shall come again; soon I shall 
come again : then, when I come again, I shall take you with 

" Take yon with me." 

Therewith the Yamabushi, escaping from her, quickly, 
quickly fled away ; with all haste he fled away. Having 
passed through Tanabe' and passed through Minabe', he fled 
on over the Komatsu moor, 

Over the Komatsu moor. 

184 Shadowings 


Therewith the damsel, pursuing, quickly, quickly fol 
lowed after him ; with all speed she followed after him. 
Having passed through Tanab and passed through Minabe", 
she pursued him over the Komatsu moor, 

Over the Komatsu moor. 

Then the Yamabushi, fleeing, came as he fled to the river 
of Amoda, and cried to the boatman of the river of Amoda, 
" O good boatman, good sir boatman, behind me comes 
a maid pursuing ! pray do not take her across, good 

" Good sir boatman ! " 


Then the damsel, pursuing, came to the river of Amoda 
and called to the boatman, " Bring hither the boat ! take 
me over in the boat ! " " No, I will not bring the boat ; I 
will not take you over : my boat is forbidden to carry 

women ! 

" Forbidden to carry women ! 

" If you do not take me over, I will cross ! if you do 
not take me over, I will cross ! there is a way to cross 
the river of Amoda ! " Taking off her sandals and holding 
them aloft, she entered the water, and at once turned into a 
dragon with twelve horns fully grown, 
_. Witb twelve horns fully grown. 

1 These syllables, forming a sort of special chorus, are simply 
onomatopes ; intended to represent the sound of sandalled feet running 
at utmost speed. 

* These onomatopes, chanted by all the dancers together in chorus, 
with appropriate gesture, represent the sound of the ferryman's single 
oar, or scull, working upon its wooden peg. The syllables have no 
meaning in themselves. 

Old Japanese Songs 185; 

Then the Yamabushi, fleeing, reached the temple Dojoji, 
and cried to the priests of the temple Dojoji : " O good 
priests, behind me a damsel comes pursuing ! hide me, I 
beseech you, good sir priests ! 

"Good sir priests!" 

Then the priests, after holding consultation, took down 
from its place the big bell of the temple ; and under it they 
hid him, 

Under it tbey bid him. 

Then the dragon-maid, pursuing, followed him to the 
temple Dojoji. For a moment she stood in the gate of the 
temple: she saw that bell, and viewed it with suspicion. 
She thought : "I must wrap myself about it once." She 
thought: "I must wrap myself about it twice!" At 
the third wrapping, the bell was melted, and began to flow 
like boiling water, 

Like boiling water. 

So is told the story of the Wrapping of the Bell. Many 
damsels dwell by the seashore of Japan ; but who among 
them, like the daughter of the Choja, will become a 
dragon ? 

Become a dragon ? 

This is all the Song of the Wrapping of the Bell ! this 
is all the Song, 

4 II the song! 1 

1 This legend forms the subject of several Japanese dramas, both 
ancient and modern. The original story is that a Buddhist priest, called 
Anchin, having rashly excited the affection of a maiden named Kiyohime, 
and being, by reason of his vows, unable to wed her, sought safety 
from her advances in flight. Kiyohime, by the violence of her frus 
trated passion, therewith became transformed into a fiery dragon ; and 
In that shape she pursued the priest to the temple called Dojoji, in 

186 Shadowings 

I shall give only one specimen of the true 
street -ballad, the kind of ballad commonly 
sung by wandering samisen-players. It is written 
in an irregular measure, varying from twelve to 
sixteen syllables in length ; the greater number 
of lines having thirteen syllables. I do not know 
the date of its composition ; but I am told by aged 
persons who remember hearing it sung when 
they were children, that it was popular in the 
period of Tenpo (1830-1843) . It is not divided 
into stanzas; but there are pauses at irregular 
intervals, marked by the refrain, Yanrei! 


("The Ditty of O-Kicbi and Sei^a ") 

Now hear the pitiful story of two that died for love. 
In Kyoto was the thread-shop of Yogmon, a merchant 

Kumano (modern Kishu), where he tried to hide himself under the great 
temple-bell. But the dragon coiled herself round the bell, which at 
once became red-hot, so that the body of the priest was totally con 

In this rude ballad Kiyohime figures only as the daughter of an inn 
keeper, the Choja, or rich man of his village ; while the priest Anchin 
is changed into a Yamabushi. The Yamabushi are, or at least were, 
wandering priests of the strange sect called Shugendo, itinerant 
exorcists and diviners, professing both Shinto and Buddhism. Of late 
years their practices have been prohibited by law ; and a real Yama 
bushi is now seldom to be met with. 

The temple Dojoji is still a famous place of pilgrimage. It is situated 
not far from Gobo, on the western coast of Kishu. The incident of 
Anchin and the dragon is said to have occurred in the early part of the 
tenth century. 

Old Japanese Songs 187 

known far and near, a man of much wealth. His busi 
ness prospered ; his life was fortunate. One daughter he 
had, an only child, by name O-Kichi : at sixteen years she 
was lovely as a flower. Also he had a clerk in his house, 
by name Seiza, just in the prime of youth, aged twenty- 

Yanrei ! 

Now the young man Seiza was handsome ; and O-Kichl 
fell in love with him at sight. And the two were so often 
together that their secret affection became known ; and the 
matter came to the ears of the parents of O-Kichi ; and 
the parents, hearing of it, felt that such a thing could not 
be suffered to continue. 

Yanrei ! 

So at last, the mother, having called O-Kichi into a private 
room, thus spoke to her : " O my daughter, I hear that 
you have formed a secret relation with the young man 
Seiza, of our shop. Are you willing to end that relation at 
once, and not to think any more about that man, O-Kichi ? 
answer me, O my daughter." 

Yanrei ! 

"0 my dear mother," answered O-Kichi, "what is this 
that you ask me to do ? The closeness of the relation be 
tween Seiza and me is the closeness of the relation of the 
ink to the paper that it penetrates. 1 Therefore, whatever 
may happen, O mother of mine, to separate from Seiza is 
more than I can bear." 

Yanrei ! 

1 Lit. : "that affinity as-for, ink-and-paper-soaked-like affinity." 

188 Shadowings 

Then, the father, having called Seiza to the innermost 
private room, thus spoke to him: "I called you here 
only to tell you this: You have turned the mind of our 
daughter away from what is right ; and even to hear of 
such a matter is not to be borne. Pack up your things at 
once, and go ! to-day is the utmost limit of the time that 
you remain in this house." 

Yanrei ! 

Now Seiza was a native of Osaka. Without saying 
more than " Yes yes," he obeyed and went away, return 
ing to his home. There he remained four or five days, 
thinking only of 0-Kichi. And because of his longing for 
her, he fell sick ; and as there was no cure and no hope for 
him, he died. 

Yanrei ! 

Then one night 0-Kichi, in a moment of sleep, saw the 
face of Seiza close to her pillow, so plainly that she could 
not tell whether it was real, or only a dream. And rising 
up, she looked about ; but the form of Seiza had vanished. 


Because of this she made up her mind to go at once to 
the house of Seiza. And, without being seen by any one, 
she fled from the home of her parents. 

Yanrei ! 

When she came to the ferry at the next village, she did 
not take the boat, but went round by another road ; and 
making all haste she found her way to the city of Osaka. 
There she asked for the house of Seiza ; and she learned 
that it was in a certain street, the third house from a 
certain bridge. 

Yanrei ! 

Old Japanese Songs 189 

Arriving at last before the home of Seiza, she took off 
her travelling hat of straw ; and seating herself on the 
threshold of the entrance, she cried out: "Pardon me 
kindly ! is not this the house of Master Seiza?" 

Yanrei I 

Then the pity of it ! she saw the mother of Seiza, 
weeping bitterly, and holding in her hand a Buddhist ros 
ary. "O my good young lady," the mother of Seiza 
asked, " whence have you come ; and whom do you want 
to see?" 

Yanrei ! 

And O-Kichi said : " I am the daughter of the thread- 
merchant of Kyoto. And I have come all the way here only 
because of the relation that has long existed between Mas 
ter Seiza and myself. Therefore, I pray you, kindly permit 
me to see him." 


" Alas ! " made answer the mother, weeping, " Seiza, 
whom you have come so far to see, is dead. To-day is 
the seventh day from the day on which he died." . . . Hear 
ing these words, O-Kichi herself could only shed tears. 


But after a little while she took her way to the cemetery. 
And there she found the sotoba l erected above the grave 
of Seiza; and leaning upon it, she wept aloud. 

Yanrei ! 

1 A wooden lath, bearing- Buddhist texts.'planted above graves. For 
a full account of the sotoba see my Exotics and Retrospectives : " Th8 
Literature of the Dead." 

190 Shadowings 

Then how fearful a thing is the longing of a person 1 
the grave of Seiza split asunder; and the form of Seiza 
rose up therefrom and spoke. 

Yanrei ! 

" Ah ! is not this 0-Kichi that has come ? Kind indeed 
it was to have come to me from so far away ! My 0-Kichi, 
do not weep thus. Never again even though you weep 
can we be united in this world. But as you love me 
truly, I pray you to set some fragrant flowers before my 
tomb, and to have a Buddhist service said for me upon the 
anniversary of my death." 

Yanrei ! 

And with these words the form of Seiza vanished. " 
wait, wait for me ! " cried 0-Kichi, " wait one little mo 
ment ! 2 I cannot let you return alone ! I shall go with 

you in a little time ! " 

Yanrei ! 

1 In the original : Hito no omoi wa osoroshi mono yo ! (" how 
fearful a thing is the thinking of a person ! "). The word omoi, used 
here in the sense of " longing," refers to the weird power of Seiza's 
dying wish to see his sweetheart. Even after his burial, this longing 
has the strength to burst open the tomb. 

In the old English ballad of " William and Marjorie " (see Child : 
vol. ii. p. 151) there is also a remarkable fancy about the opening and 
closing of a grave : ^ 

She followed him high, she followed him low, 

Till she came to yon churchyard green ; 
And there the deep grave opened up, 
And young William he lay down. 

* With this episode compare the close of the English ballad " Sweet 
William's Ghost " (Child : vol. ii., page 148) : 

" O stay, my only true love, stay !/' 

The constant Margaret cried : 
Wan grew her cheeks ; she closed her een, 
Stretched her soft limbs, and died. 

Old Japanese Songs 191 

Then quickly she went beyond the temple-gate to a moat 
some four or fwecbo 1 distant ; and having filled her sleeves 
with small stones, into the deep water she cast her forlorn 

Yanrei ! 

And now I shall terminate this brief excursion 
into unfamiliar song-fields by the citation of two 
Buddhist pieces. The first is from the famous 
work Gempei Seisuiki (" Account of the Pros 
perity and Decline of the Houses of Gen and 
Hei ") , probably composed during the latter part 
of the twelfth, or at the beginning of the thir 
teenth century. It is written in the measure 
called Imayo, that is to say, in short lines alter 
nately of seven and of five syllables (7, 5 ; 7, 5 ; 
7, 5, ad libitum) . The other philosophical com 
position is from a collection of songs called 
RyutacU-busU (" Ryutachi Airs")> belonging 
to the sixteenth century : 


(Measure, Imaj>5) 

Sama mo kokoro mo 
Kawaru kana ! 
Otsuru namida wa 

1 A ebb is about one fifteenth of a mile. 

192 Shadow! ngs 

Taki no mizu : 
Myo-ho-renge no 
Ike to nari ; 
Guze no f une ni 
Sao sashite ; 
Shizumu waga mi wo 
Nose-tamae ! 

Both form and mind 

Lo ! how these change ! 

The falling of tears 

Is like the water of a cataract 

Let them become the Pool 

Of the Lotos of the Good Law ! 

Poling thereupon 

The Boat of Salvation, 

Vouchsafe that my sinking 

Body may ride ! 


(Period of Bunrokff 1 592-1 596) 

Who twice shall live his youth ? 

What flower faded blooms again ? 

Fugitive as dew 

Is the form regretted, 

Seen only 

In a moment of dream. 


. . . Vainly does each, as he glides, 
Fable and dream 

Of the lands which the River of Time 
Had left ere he woke on its breast, 
Or shall reach when his eyes have 
been closed. 






THE moon had not yet risen ; but the vast of 
the night was all seething with stars, and 
bridged by a Milky Way of extraordinary 
brightness. There was no wind; but the sea, 
far as sight could reach, was running in ripples 
of fire, a vision of infernal beauty. Only the 
ripplings were radiant (between them was black 
ness absolute) ; and the luminosity was amaz 
ing. Most of the undulations were yellow like 
candle -flame ; but there were crimson lampings 
also, and azure, and orange, and emerald. 
And the sinuous flickering of all seemed, not a 
pulsing of many waters, but a laboring of many 
wills, a fleeting conscious and monstrous, 
a writhing and a swarming incalculable, as of 
dragon-life in some depth of Erebus. 

And life indeed was making the sinister splen 
dor of that spectacle but life infinitesimal, 

198 Shadowings 

and of ghostliest delicacy, life illimitable, yet 
ephemeral, flaming" and fading in ceaseless alter 
nation over the whole round of waters even to 
the sky-line, above which, in the vaster abyss, 
other countless lights were throbbing with other 
spectral colors. 

Watching, I wondered and I dreamed. I 
thought of the Ultimate Ghost revealed in that 
scintillation tremendous of Night and Sea; 
quickening above me, in systems aglow with 
awful fusion of the past dissolved, with vapor 
of the life again to be; quickening also be 
neath me, in meteor-gushings and constellations 
and nebulosities of colder fire, till 1 found my 
self doubting whether the million ages of the sun- 
star could really signify, in the flux of perpetual 
dissolution, anything more than the momentary 
sparkle of one expiring noctiluca. 

Even with the doubt, the vision changed. I 
saw no longer the sea of the ancient East, with 
its shudderings of fire, but that Flood whose 
width and depth and altitude are one with the 
Night of Eternity, the shoreless and timeless 
Sea of Death and Birth. And the luminous 
haze of a hundred millions of suns, the Arch 

Noctilucae 199 

of the Milky Way, was a single smouldering 
surge in the flow of the Infinite Tides. 

Yet again there came a change. I saw no 
more that vapory surge of suns; but the living 
darkness streamed and thrilled about me with 
infinite sparkling; and every sparkle was beat 
ing like a heart, beating out colors like the 
tints of the sea-fires. And the lampings of all 
continually flowed away, as shivering threads 
<of radiance, into illimitable Mystery. . . . 

Then I knew myself also a phosphor-point, 
one fugitive floating sparkle of the measure 
less current; and I saw that the light which 
was mine shifted tint with each changing of 
thought. Ruby it sometimes shone, and some 
times sapphire: now it was flame of topaz; 
again, it was fire of emerald. And the mean 
ing of the changes I could not fully know. But 
thoughts of the earthly life seemed to make the 
light burn red ; while thoughts of supernal being, 
of ghostly beauty and of ghostly bliss, 
seemed to kindle ineffable rhythms of azure and 
of violet. 

But of white lights there were none in all the 
Visible. And I marvelled. 

200 Shadowings 

Then a Voice said to me : 

"The White are of the Altitudes. By the 
blending of the billions they are made. Thy 
part is to help to their kindling. Even as the 
color of thy burning, so is the worth of thee. 
For a moment only is thy quickening; yet the 
light of thy pulsing lives on: by thy thought, 
in that shining moment, thou becomest a Maker 
of Gods." 

A Mystery of Crowds 

A Mystery of Crowds 


WHO has not at some time leaned over 
the parapet of a bridge to watch the 
wrinklings and dimplings of the cur 
rent below, to wonder at the trembling per 
manency of surf ace -shapes that never change, 
though the substance of them is never for two 
successive moments the same ? The mystery of 
the spectacle fascinates ; and it is worth thinking 
about. Symbols of the riddle of our own being 
are those shuddering forms. In ourselves like 
wise the substance perpetually changes with the 
flow of the Infinite Stream; but the shapes, 
though ever agitated by various inter-opposing 
forces, remain throughout the years. 

And who has not been fascinated also by the 

sight of the human stream that pours and pulses 

through the streets of some great metropolis? 

This, too, has its currents and counter-currents 


204 Shadowings 

and eddyings, all strengthening or weakening 
according to the tide-rise or tide-ebb of the city's 
sea of toil. But the attraction of the greater 
spectacle for us is not really the mystery of 
motion: it is rather the mystery of man. As 
outside observers we are interested chiefly by 
the passing forms and faces, by their intima 
tions of personality, their suggestions of sym 
pathy or repulsion. We soon cease to think 
about the general flow. For the atoms of the 
human current are visible to our gaze: we see 
them walk, and deem their movements suffi 
ciently explained by our own experience of 
walking. And, nevertheless, the motions of the 
visible individual are more mysterious than those 
of the always invisible molecule of water. I 
am not forgetting the truth that all forms of 
motion are ultimately incomprehensible: I am 
referring only to the fact that our common rela 
tive knowledge of motions, which are supposed 
to depend upon will, is even less than our pos 
sible relative knowledge of the behavior of the 
atoms of a water-current. 

Every one who has lived in a great city is 
aware of certain laws of movement which regu- 

A Mystery of Crowds 20"> 

late the flow of population through the more 
crowded thoroughfares. (We need not for pres 
ent purposes concern ourselves about the com 
plex middle-currents of the living river, with 
their thunder of hoofs and wheels : I shall speak 
of the side-currents only.) On either footpath 
the crowd naturally divides itself into an upward 
and a downward stream. All persons going in 
one direction take the right-hand side ; all going 
in the other direction take the left-hand side. 
By moving with either one of these two streams 
you can proceed even quickly; but you cannot 
walk against it : only a drunken or insane per 
son is likely to attempt such a thing. Between 
the two currents there is going on, by reason 
of the pressure, a continual self-displacement 
of individuals to left and right, alternately, 
such a yielding and swerving as might be repre 
sented, in a drawing of the double-current, by 
zigzag medial lines ascending and descending. 
This constant yielding alone makes progress 
possible: without it the contrary streams would 
quickly bring each other to a standstill by lateral 
pressure. But it is especially where two crowd- 
streams intersect each other, as at street-angles, 
that this systematic self-displacement is worthy 

206 Shado wings 

of study. Everybody observes the phenome 
non; but few persons think about it. Who 
ever really thinks about it will discover that 
there is a mystery in it, a mystery which no 
individual experience can fully explain. 

In any thronged street of a great metropolis 
thousands of people are constantly turning aside 
to left or right in order to pass each other. 
Whenever two persons walking in contrary direc 
tions come face to face in such a press, one of 
three things is likely to happen : Either there 
is a mutual yielding, or one makes room for 
the other, or else both, in their endeavor to 
be accommodating, step at once in the same 
direction, and as quickly repeat the blunder by 
trying to correct it, and so keep dancing to and 
fro in each other's way, until the first to per 
ceive the absurdity of the situation stands still, 
or until the more irritable actually pushes his 
vis-a-vis to one side. But these blunders are 
relatively infrequent': all necessary yielding, as 
a rule, is done quickly and correctly. 

Of course there must be some general law 
regulating all this self -displacement, some law 
in accord with the universal law of motion in 

A Mystery of Crowds 207 

the direction of least resistance. You have only 
to watch any crowded street for half an hour to 
be convinced of this. But the law is not easily 
found or formulated: there are puzzles in the 

If you study the crowd-movement closely, you 
will perceive that those encounters in which one 
person yields to make way for the other are 
much less common than those in which both 
parties give way. But a little reflection will con 
vince you that, even in cases of mutual yielding, 
one person must of necessity yield sooner than 
the other, though the difference in time of 
the impulse-manifestation should be as it often 
is altogether inappreciable. For the sum of 
character, physical and psychical, cannot be pre 
cisely the same in two human beings. No two 
persons can have exactly equal faculties of per 
ception and will, nor exactly similar qualities of 
that experience which expresses itself in mental 
and physical activities. And therefore in every 
case of apparent mutual yielding, the yielding 
must really be successive, not simultaneous. 
Now although what we might here call the 
" personal equation " proves that in every case of 

208 Shadowings 

mutual yielding one individual necessarily yields 
sooner than the other, it does not at all explain 
the mystery of the individual impulse in cases 
where the yielding is not mutual ; it does not 
explain why you feel at one time that you are 
about to make your vis-d-vis give place, and 
feel at another time that you must yourself give 
place. What originates the feeling ? 

A friend once attempted to answer this ques 
tion by the ingenious theory of a sort of eye- 
duel between every two persons coming face to 
face in a street -throng ; but I feel sure that his 
theory could account for the psychological facts 
in scarcely half-a-dozen of a thousand such en 
counters. The greater number of people hurry 
ing by each other in a dense press rarely observe 
faces: only the disinterested idler has time for 
that. Hundreds actually pass along the street 
with their eyes fixed upon the pavement. Cer 
tainly it is not the man in a hurry who can 
guide himself by ocular snap-shot views of 
physiognomy; he is usually absorbed in his 
own thoughts. ... I have studied my own case 
repeatedly. While in a crowd I seldom look at 
faces; but without any conscious observation I 
am always able to tell when 1 should give way, 

A Mystery of Crowds 209 

or when my vis-d-vis is going to save me that 
trouble. My knowledge is certainly intuitive 
a mere knowledge of feeling; and I know not 
with what to compare it except that blind faculty 
by which, in absolute darkness, one becomes 
aware of the proximity of bulky objects with 
out touching them. And my intuition is almost 
infallible. If I hesitate to obey it, a collision is 
the invariable consequence. 

Furthermore, 1 find that whenever automatic, 
or at least semi-conscious, action is replaced by 
reasoned action in plainer words, whenever I 
begin to think about my movements I always 
blunder. It is only while I am thinking of other 
matters, only while I am acting almost auto 
matically, that I can thread a dense crowd 
with ease. Indeed, my personal experience has 
convinced me that what pilots one quickly and 
safely through a thick press is not conscious 
observation at all, but unreasoning, intuitive 
perception. Now intuitive action of any kind 
represents inherited knowledge, the experience 
of past lives, in this case the experience of 
past lives incalculable. 

Utterly incalculable. . . . Why do I think so ? 
Well, simply because this faculty of intuitive 


210 Shadowings 

self-direction in a crowd is shared by man with 
very inferior forms of animal being, evolu 
tional proof that it must be a faculty im 
mensely older than man. Does not a herd of 
cattle, a herd of deer, a flock of sheep, offer us 
the same phenomenon of mutual yielding ? Or 
a flock of birds gregarious birds especially : 
crows, sparrows, wild pigeons? Or a shoal of 
fish ? Even among insects bees, ants, termites 

we can study the same law of intuitive self- 
displacement. The yielding, in all these cases, 
must still represent an inherited experience un 
imaginably old. Could we endeavor to retrace 
the whole course of such inheritance, the attempt 
would probably lead us back, not only to the 
very beginnings of sentient life upon this planet, 
but further, back into the history of non-sen 
tient substance, back even to the primal evolu 
tion of those mysterious tendencies which are 
stored up in the atoms of elements. Such atoms 
we know of only as points of multiple resistance, 

incomprehensible knittings of incomprehensi 
ble forces. Even the tendencies of atoms doubt 
less represent accumulations of inheritance 

but here thought checks with a shock at the 
eternal barrier of the Infinite Riddle. 

Gothic Horror 

Gothic Horror 



LONG before I had arrived at what cate 
chisms call the age of reason, I was fre 
quently taken, much against my will, to 
church. The church was very old; and I can 
see the interior of it at this moment just as plainly 
as I saw it forty years ago, when it appeared to 
me like an evil dream. There I first learned to 
know the peculiar horror that certain forms of 
Gothic architecture can inspire. ... I am using 
the word " horror " in a classic sense, in its 
antique meaning of ghostly fear. 

On the very first day of this experience, my 
child-fancy could place the source of the horror. 
The wizened and pointed shapes of the windows 
immediately terrified me. In their outline I found 
the form of apparitions that tormented me in 

214 Shadowings 

sleep; and at once I began to imagine some 
dreadful affinity between goblins and Gothic 
churches. Presently, in the tall doorways, in the 
archings of the aisles, in the ribbings and groin- 
ings of the roof, I discovered other and wilder 
suggestions of fear. Even the fagade of the 
organ, peaking high into the shadow above its 
gallery, seemed to me a frightful thing. . . . 
Had 1 been then suddenly obliged to answer the 
question, " What are you afraid of ? " I should 
have whispered, " Those points ! " I could not 
have otherwise explained the matter: I only 
knew that I was afraid of the "points." 

Of course the real enigma of what I felt in 
that church could not present itself to my mind 
while I continued to believe in goblins. But long 
after the age of superstitious terrors, other Gothic 
experiences severally revived the childish emotion 
in so startling a way as to convince me that 
childish fancy could not account for the feeling. 
Then my curiosity was aroused ; and I tried to 
discover some rational cause for the horror. I 
read many books, and asked many questions; 
but the mystery seemed only to deepen. 

Books about architecture were very disappoint 
ing. I was much less impressed by what I could 

Gothic Horror 21 

find in them than by references in pure fiction to 
the awfulness of Gothic art, particularly by 
one writer's confession that the interior of a 
Gothic church, seen at night, gave him the idea 
of being inside the skeleton of some monstrous 
animal ; and by a far-famed comparison of the 
windows of a cathedral to eyes, and of its door 
to a great mouth, " devouring the people." 
These imaginations explained little; they could 
not be developed beyond the phase of vague 
intimation: yet they stirred such emotional 
response that I felt sure they had touched some 
truth. Certainly the architecture of a Gothic 
cathedral offers strange resemblances to the archi 
tecture of bone ; and the general impression that 
it makes upon the mind is an impression of life. 
But this impression or sense of life I found to be 
indefinable, not a sense of any life organic, 
but of a life latent and daemonic. And the mani 
festation of that life I felt to be in the pointing of 
the structure. 

Attempts to interpret the emotion by effects of 
altitude and gloom and vastness appeared to me 
of no worth ; for buildings loftier and larger and 
darker than any Gothic cathedral, but of a dif 
ferent order of architecture, Egyptian, for 

216 Shadowings 

instance, could not produce a like impression. 
I felt certain that the horror was made by some 
thing altogether peculiar to Gothic construction, 
and that this something haunted the tops of the 

" Yes, Gothic architecture is awful," said a 
religious friend, " because it is the visible expres 
sion of Christian faith. No other religious 
architecture symbolizes spiritual longing; but 
the Gothic embodies it. Every part climbs or 
leaps ; every supreme detail soars and points like 
fire. . . ." " There may be considerable truth in 
what you say," I replied ; " but it does not relate 
to the riddle that baffles me. Why should shapes 
that symbolize spiritual longing create horror? 
Why should any expression of Christian ecstasy 
inspire alarm ? . . ." 

Other hypotheses in multitude I tested without 
avail ; and I returned to the simple and savage 
conviction that the secret of the horror somehow 
belonged to the points of the archings. But for 
years I could not find it. At last, at last, in the 
early hours of a certain tropical morning, it 
revealed itself quite unexpectedly, while I was 
looking at a glorious group of palms. 

Gothic Horror 217 

Then I wondered at my stupidity in not having 
guessed the riddle before. 


THE characteristics of many kinds of palm have 
been made familiar by pictures and photographs. 
But the giant palms of the American tropics can 
not be adequately represented by the modern 
methods of pictorial illustration: they must be 
seen. You cannot draw or photograph a palm 
two hundred feet high. 

The first sight of a group of such forms, in 
their natural environment of tropical forest, is a 
magnificent surprise, a surprise that strikes you 
dumb. Nothing seen in temperate zones, not 
even the huger growths of the Californian slope, 
could have prepared your imagination for the 
weird solemnity of that mighty colonnade. Each 
stone-grey trunk is a perfect pillar, but a pillar 
of which the stupendous grace has no counterpart 
in the works of man. You must strain your 
head well back to follow the soaring of the pro 
digious column, up, up, up through abysses of 
green twilight, till at last far beyond a break in 
that infinite interweaving of limbs and lianas 

218 Shadowings 

which is the roof of the forest you catch one 
dizzy glimpse of the capital : a parasol of emerald 
feathers outspread in a sky so blinding as to sug 
gest the notion of azure electricity. 

Now what is the emotion that such a vision 
excites, an emotion too powerful to be called 
wonder, too weird to be called delight? Only 
when the first shock of it has passed, when the 
several elements that were combined in it have 
begun to set in motion widely different groups of 
ideas, can you comprehend how very complex 
it must have been. Many impressions belonging 
to personal experience were doubtless revived in 
it, but also with them a multitude of sensations 
more shadowy, accumulations of organic mem 
ory ; possibly even vague feelings older than man, 
for the tropical shapes that aroused the emotion 
have a history more ancient than our race. 

One of the first elements of the emotion to 
become clearly distinguishable is the aesthetic; 
and this, in its general mass, might be termed the 
sense of terrible beauty. Certainly the spectacle 
of that unfamiliar life, silent, tremendous, 
springing to the sun in colossal aspiration, striv 
ing for light against Titans, and heedless of man 

Gothic Horror 219 

in the gloom beneath as of a groping beetle, 
thrills like the rhythm of some single marvellous 
verse that is learned in a glance and remembered 
forever. Yet the delight, even at its vividest, is 
shadowed by a queer disquiet. The aspect of 
that monstrous, pale, naked, smooth-stretching 
column suggests a life as conscious as the ser 
pent's. You stare at the towering lines of the 
shape, vaguely fearing to discern some sign of 
stealthy movement, some beginning of undula 
tion. Then sight and reason combine to correct 
the suspicion. Yes, motion is there, and life 
enormous but a life seeking only sun, life, 
rushing like the jet of a geyser, straight to the 
giant day. 


DURING my own experience I could perceive 
that certain feelings commingled in the wave of 
delight, feelings related to ideas of power and 
splendor and triumph, were accompanied by a 
faint sense of religious awe. Perhaps our modern 
aesthetic sentiments are so interwoven with vari 
ous inherited elements of religious emotionalism 
that the recognition of beauty cannot arise inde- 

220 Shadowings 

pendently of reverential feeling. Be this as it 
may, such a feeling defined itself while I gazed ; 
and at once the great grey trunks were changed 
to the pillars of a mighty aisle ; and from altitudes 
of dream there suddenly descended upon me the 
old dark thrill of Gothic horror. 

Even before it died away, I recognized that it 
must have been due to some old cathedral- 
memory revived by the vision of those giant 
trunks uprising into gloom. But neither the 
height nor the gloom could account for anything 
beyond the memory. Columns tall as those 
palms, but supporting a classic entablature, could 
evoke no sense of disquiet resembling the Gothic 
horror. I felt sure of this, because I was able, 
without any difficulty, to shape immediately the 
imagination of such a facade. But presently the 
mental picture distorted. I saw the architrave 
elbow upward in each of the spaces between the 
pillars, and curve and point itself into a range of 
prodigious arches ; and again the sombre thrill 
descended upon me. Simultaneously there flashed 
to me the solution of the mystery. I understood 
that the Gothic horror was a horror of monstrous 
motion, and that it had seemed to belong to 
the points of the arches because the idea of such 

Gothic Horror 221 

motion was chiefly suggested by the extraordi 
nary angle at which the curves of the arching 

To any experienced eye, the curves of Gothic 
arching offer a striking resemblance to certain 
curves of vegetal growth; the curves of the 
palm-branch being, perhaps, especially suggested. 
But observe that the architectural form suggests 
more than any vegetal comparison could illus 
trate! The meeting of two palm -crests would 
indeed form a kind of Gothic arch; yet the 
effect of so short an arch would be insignificant. 
For nature to repeat the strange impression of 
the real Gothic arch, it were necessary that the 
branches of the touching crests should vastly 
exceed, both in length of curve and strength of 
spring, anything of their kind existing in the 
vegetable world. The effect of the Gothic arch 
depends altogether upon the intimation of energy. 
An arch formed by the intersection of two short 
sprouting lines could suggest only a feeble power 
of growth; but the lines of the tall mediaeval 
arch seem to express a crescent force immensely 
surpassing that of nature. And the horror of 
Gothic architecture is not in the mere suggestion 

222 Shadowings 

of a growing life, , but in the suggestion of an 
energy supernatural and tremendous. 

Of course the child, oppressed by the strange 
ness of Gothic forms, is yet incapable of analyzing 
the impression received : he is frightened without 
comprehending. He cannot divine that the points 
and the curves are terrible to him because they rep 
resent the prodigious exaggeration of a real law of 
vegetal growth. He dreads the shapes because 
they seem alive ; yet he does not know how to 
express this dread. Without suspecting why, he 
feels that this silent manifestation of power, 
everywhere pointing and piercing upward, is not 
natural. To his startled imagination, the build 
ing stretches itself like a phantasm of sleep, 
makes itself tall and taller with intent to frighten. 
Even though built by hands of men, it has ceased 
to be a mass of dead stone: it is infused with 
Something that thinks and threatens; it has 
become a shadowing malevolence, a multiple 
goblinry, a monstrous fetish ! 




OUT of some upper-story window I was 
looking into a street of yellow-tinted 
houses, a colonial street, old-fashioned, 
narrow, with palm-heads showing above its 
roofs of tile. There were no shadows ; there 
was no sun, only a grey soft light, as of early 

Suddenly I found myself falling from the win 
dow ; and my heart gave one sickening leap of 
terror. But the distance from window to pave 
ment proved to be much greater than I supposed, 
so great that, in spite of my fear, I began to 
wonder. Still I kept falling, falling, and still 
the dreaded shock did not come. Then the fear 
ceased, and a queer pleasure took its place ; 
for I discovered that 1 was not falling quickly, 
but only floating down. Moreover, I was float 
ing feet foremost must have turned in descend- 
15 225 

226 Shadowings 

ing. At last I touched the stones but very, 
very lightly, with only one foot ; and instantly 
at that touch I went up again, rose to the 
level of the eaves. People stopped to stare at 
me. I felt the exultation of power superhuman ; 
I felt for the moment as a god. 

Then softly I began to sink ; and the sight of 
faces, gathering below me, prompted a sudden 
resolve to fly down the street, over the heads of 
the gazers. Again like a bubble I rose, and, with 
the same impulse, I sailed in one grand curve to a 
distance that astounded me. 1 felt no wind ; 
I felt nothing but the joy of motion triumphant. 
Once more touching pavement, I soared at a 
bound for a thousand yards. Then, reaching 
the end of the street, I wheeled and came back 
by great swoops, by long slow aerial leaps of 
surprising altitude. In the street there was dead 
silence : many people were looking ; but nobody 
spoke. I wondered what they thought of my 
feat, and what they would say if they knew 
how easily the thing was done. By the merest 
chance I had found out how to do it; and the 
only reason why it seemed a feat was that no 
one else had ever attempted it. Instinctively I 
felt that to say anything about the accident, which 

Levitation 227 

had led to the discovery, would be imprudent. 
Then the real meaning of the strange hush in 
the street began to dawn upon me. I said to 
myself : 

" This silence is the Silence of Dreams ; I am 
quite well aware that this is a dream. I remem 
ber having dreamed the same dream before. But 
the discovery of this power is not a dream : // is 
a revelation! . . . Now that I have learned 
how to fly, I can no more forget it than a swim 
mer can forget how to swim. To-morrow morn 
ing I shall astonish the people, by sailing over the 
roofs of the town." 

Morning came ; and I woke with the fixed re 
solve to fly out of the window. But no sooner 
had I risen from bed than the knowledge of phys 
ical relations returned, like a sensation forgotten, 
and compelled me to recognize the unwelcome 
truth that I had not made any discovery at all. 

This was neither the first nor the last of such 
dreams ; but it was particularly vivid, and I there 
fore selected it for narration as a good example 
of its class. I still fly occasionally, sometimes 
over fields and streams, sometimes through 
familiar streets; and the dream is invariably 

228 Shadowings 

accompanied by remembrance of like dreams 
in the past, as well as by the conviction that 1 
have really found out a secret, really acquired a 
new faculty. " This time, at all events," I say 
to myself, "it is impossible that I can be mis 
taken ; I know that I shall be able to fly after 
I awake. Many times before, in other dreams, I 
learned the secret only to forget it on awakening ; 
but this time I am absolutely sure that I shall not 
forget." And the conviction actually stays with 
me until I rise from bed, when the physical effort 
at once reminds me of the formidable reality of 

The oddest part of this experience is the feel 
ing of buoyancy. It is much like the feeling of 
floating, of rising or sinking through tepid 
water, for example ; and there is no sense of 
real effort. It is a delight ; yet it usually leaves 
something to be desired. I am a low flyer ; I can 
proceed only like a pteromys or a flying-fish 
and far less quickly: moreover, I must tread 
earth occasionally in order to obtain a fresh 
impulsion. I seldom rise to a height of more 
than twenty-five or thirty feet; the greater 
part of the time 1 am merely skimming sur- 

Levitation 229 

faces. Touching the ground only at intervals 
of several hundred yards is pleasant skimming; 
but I always feel, in a faint and watery way, the 
dead pull of the world beneath me. 

Now the experience of most dream-flyers 1 
find to be essentially like my own. I have met 
but one who claims superior powers : he says 
that he flies over mountains goes sailing from 
peak to peak like a kite. All others whom I 
have questioned acknowledge that they fly low, 
in long parabolic curves, and this only by 
touching ground from time to time. Most of 
them also tell me that their flights usually begin 
with an imagined fall, or desperate leap ; and no 
less than four say that the start is commonly 
taken from the top of a stairway. 

* * 

For myriads of years humanity has thus been 
flying by night. How did the fancied motion, 
having so little in common with any experience 
of active life, become a universal experience of 
the life of sleep ? 

It may be that memory-impressions of certain 
kinds of aerial motion, exultant experiences of 
leaping or swinging, for example, are in dream- 

230 Shadowings 

revival so magnified and prolonged as to create 
the illusion of flight. We know that in actual 
time the duration of most dreams is very brief. 
But in the half -life of sleep (nightmare offering 
some startling exceptions) there is scarcely more 
than a faint smouldering of consciousness by 
comparison with the quick flash and vivid thrill 
of active cerebration ; and time, to the dream 
ing brain, would seem to be magnified, somewhat 
as it must be relatively magnified to the feeble 
consciousness of an insect. Supposing that any 
memory of the sensation of falling, together 
with the memory of the concomitant fear, should 
be accidentally revived in sleep, the dream-pro 
longation of the sensation and the emotion 
unchecked by the natural sequence of shock 
might suffice to revive other and even pleasur 
able memories of airy motion. And these, again, 
might quicken other combinations of interrelated 
memories able to furnish all the incident and 
scenery of the long phantasmagoria. 

But this hypothesis will not fully explain cer 
tain feelings and ideas of a character different 
from any experience of waking-hours, the ex 
ultation of voluntary motion without exertion, 
the pleasure of the utterly impossible, the 

Levitation 231 

ghostly delight of imponderability. Neither can 
it serve to explain other dream-experiences of 
levitation which do not begin with the sensation 
of leaping or falling, and are seldom of a pleas 
urable kind. For example, it sometimes happens 
during nightmare that the dreamer, deprived of 
all power to move or speak, actually feels his 
body lifted into the air and floated away by the 
force of the horror within him. Again, there are 
dreams in which the dreamer has no physical 
being. I have thus found myself without any 
body, a viewless and voiceless phantom, hov 
ering upon a mountain-road in twilight time, and 
trying to frighten lonely folk by making small 
moaning noises. The sensation was of moving 
through the air by mere act of will : there was 
no touching of surfaces ; and I seemed to glide 
always about a foot above the road. 

Could the feeling of dream -flight be partly 
interpreted by organic memory of conditions of 
life more ancient than man, life weighty, and 
winged, and flying heavily, a little above the 
ground ? 

Or might we suppose that some all-permeating 
Over-Soul, dormant in other time, wakens with- 

222 Shadowings 

in the brain at rare moments of our sleep-life ? 
The limited human consciousness has been beau 
tifully compared to the visible solar spectrum, 
above and below which whole zones of colors 
invisible await the evolution of superior senses ; 
and mystics aver that something of the ultra 
violet or infra-red rays of the vaster Mind may 
be momentarily glimpsed in dreams. Certainly 
the Cosmic Life in each of us has been all things 
in all forms of space and time. Perhaps you would 
like to believe that it may bestir, in slumber, some 
vague sense-memory of things more ancient than 
the sun, memory of vanished planets with 
fainter powers of gravitation, where the normal 
modes of voluntary motion would have been like 
the realization of our flying dreams ? . . . 



N ightmare-Touch 


WHAT is the fear of ghosts among those 
who believe in ghosts ? 

All fear is the result of experience, 
experience of the individual or of the race, 
experience either of the present life or of lives for 
gotten. Even the fear of the unknown can have 
no other origin. And the fear of ghosts must be 
a product of past pain. 

Probably the fear of ghosts, as well as the be 
lief in them, had its beginning in dreams. It is a 
peculiar fear. No other fear is so intense; yet 
none is so vague. Feelings thus voluminous and 
dim are super-individual mostly, feelings in 
herited, feelings made within us by the ex 
perience of the dead. 
What experience? 


236 Shadowings 

Nowhere do I remember reading a plain state 
ment of the reason why ghosts are feared. Ask 
any ten intelligent persons of your acquaintance, 
who remember having once been afraid of ghosts, 
to tell you exactly why they were afraid, to 
define the fancy behind the fear ; and I doubt 
whether even one will be able to answer the ques 
tion. The literature of folk-lore oral and writ 
ten throws no clear light upon the subject. 
We find, indeed, various legends of men torn 
asunder by phantoms ; but such gross imagin 
ings could not explain the peculiar quality of 
ghostly fear. It is not a fear of bodily violence. 
It is not even a reasoning fear, not a fear that 
can readily explain itself, which would not be 
the case if it were founded upon definite ideas of 
physical danger. Furthermore, although primi 
tive ghosts may have been imagined as capable 
of tearing and devouring, the common idea of a 
ghost is certainly that of a being intangible and 
imponderable. 1 

1 I may remark here that in many old Japanese legends 
and ballads, ghosts are represented as having power to pull 
off people's heads. But so far as the origin of the fear of 
ghosts is concerned, such stories explain nothing, since 
the experiences that evolved the fear must have been real, 
not imaginary, experiences. 

Nightmare-Touch 237 

Now I venture to state boldly that the common 
fear of ghosts is the fear of being touched by 
ghosts, or, in other words, that the imagined 
Supernatural is dreaded mainly because of its im 
agined power to touch. Only to touch, remem 
ber ! not to wound or to kill. 

But this dread of the touch would itself be 
the result of experience, chiefly, I think, of 
prenatal experience stored up in the individual 
by inheritance, like the child's fear of darkness. 
And who can ever have had the sensation of 
being touched by ghosts? The answer is 
simple: Everybody who has been seized by 
phantoms in a dream. 

Elements of primeval fears fears older than 
humanity doubtless enter into the child-terror 
of darkness. But the more definite fear of ghosts 
may very possibly be composed with inherited 
results of dream-pain, ancestral experience of 
nightmare. And the intuitive terror of super 
natural touch can thus be evolutionally ex 

Let me now try to illustrate my theory by 
relating some typical experiences. 

238 Shadowings 


WHEN about five years old I was condemned to 
sleep by myself in a certain isolated room, there 
after always called the Child's Room. (At that 
time I was scarcely ever mentioned by name, but 
only referred to as " the Child.") The room was 
narrow, but very high, and, in spite of one tall 
window, very gloomy. It contained a fire-place 
wherein no fire was ever kindled ; and the Child 
suspected that the chimney was haunted. 

A law was made that no light should be left 
in the Child's Room at night, simply because 
the Child was afraid of the dark. His fear of 
the dark was judged to be a mental disorder 
requiring severe treatment. But the treatment 
aggravated the disorder. Previously I had been 
accustomed to sleep in a well-lighted room, with 
a nurse to take care of me. I thought that I 
should die of fright when sentenced to lie alone in 
the dark, and what seemed to me then abom 
inably cruel actually locked into my room, 
the most dismal room of the house. Night after 
night when I had been warmly tucked into bed, 
the lamp was removed ; the key clicked in the 

Nightmare-Touch 239 

lock; the protecting light and the footsteps of 
my guardian receded together. Then an agony 
of fear would come upon me. Something in the 
black air would seem to gather and grow (I 
thought that I could even hear it grow) till I had 
to scream. Screaming regularly brought punish 
ment ; but it also brought back the light, which 
more than consoled for the punishment. This fact 
being at last found out, orders were given to pay 
no further heed to the screams of the Child. 


Why was I thus insanely afraid ? Partly be 
cause the dark had always been peopled for me 
with shapes of terror. So far back as memory 
extended, I had suffered from ugly dreams ; and 
when aroused from them I could always see the 
forms dreamed of, lurking in the shadows of the 
room. They would soon fade out ; but for sev 
eral moments they would appear like tangible 
realities. And they were always the same fig 
ures. . . . Sometimes, without any preface of 
dreams, I used to see them at twilight-time, 
following me about from room to room, or 
reaching long dim hands after me, from story 
to story, up through the interspaces of the deep 

240 Shado wings 

I had complained of these haunters only to be 
told that I must never speak of them, and that 
they did not exist. I had complained to every 
body in the house ; and everybody in the house 
had told me the very same thing. But there was 
the evidence of my eyes! The denial of that 
evidence I could explain only in two ways : 
Either the shapes were afraid of big people, and 
showed themselves to me alone, because I was 
little and weak ; or else the entire household had 
agreed, for some ghastly reason, to say what was 
not true. This latter theory seemed to me the 
more probable one, because I had several times 
perceived the shapes when I was not unattended ; 
and the consequent appearance of secrecy 
frightened me scarcely less than the visions did. 
Why was I forbidden to talk about what I 
saw, and even heard, on creaking stairways, 
behind wavering curtains ? 

" Nothing will hurt you," this was the mer 
ciless answer to all my pleadings not to be left 
alone at night. But the haunters did hurt me. 
Only they would wait until after I had fallen 
asleep, and so into their power, for they pos 
sessed occult means of preventing me from rising 
or moving or crying out. 

Nightmare-Touch 241 

Needless to comment upon the policy of lock 
ing me up alone with these fears in a black room. 
Unutterably was I tormented in that room 
for years! Therefore I felt relatively happy 
when sent away at last to a children's boarding, 
school, where the haunters very seldom ventured 
to show themselves. 

They were not like any people that I had ever 
known. They were shadowy dark-robed figures, 
capable of atrocious self-distortion, capable, for 
instance, of growing up to the ceiling, and then 
across it, and then lengthening themselves, head- 
downwards, along the opposite wall. Only their 
faces were distinct ; and 1 tried not to look at their 
faces. I tried also in my dreams or thought 
that I tried to awaken myself from the sight of 
them by pulling at my eyelids with my fingers ; but 
the eyelids would remain closed, as if sealed. . . . 
Many years afterwards, the frightful plates in 
Orfila's Traite des Exhumes, beheld for the first 
time, recalled to me with a sickening start the 
dream-terrors of childhood. But to understand the 
Child's experience, you must imagine Orfila's draw 
ings intensely alive, and continually elongating or 
distorting, as in some monstrous anamorphosis. 


242 Shadow! ngs 

Nevertheless the mere sight of those night 
mare-faces was not the worst of the experiences 
in the Child's Room. The dreams always be 
gan with a suspicion, or sensation of something 
heavy in the air, slowly quenching will, 
slowly numbing my power to move. At such 
times I usually found myself alone in a large 
unlighted apartment ; and, almost simultaneously 
with the first sensation of fear, the atmosphere 
of the room would become suffused, half-way to 
the ceiling, with a sombre-yellowish glow, mak 
ing objects dimly visible, though the ceiling 
itself remained pitch-black. This was not a true 
appearance of light: rather it seemed as if the 
black air were changing color from beneath. . . . 
Certain terrible aspects of sunset, on the eve of 
storm, offer like effects of sinister color. . . . 
Forthwith I would try to escape, (feeling at 
every step a sensation as of wading) , and 
would sometimes succeed in struggling half-way 
across the room ; but there I would always find 
myself brought to a standstill, paralyzed by 
some innominable opposition. Happy voices I 
could hear in the next room ; I could see light 
through the transom over the door that I had 
vainly endeavored to reach; I knew that one 

Nightmare-Touch 242 

loud cry would save me. But not even by the 
most frantic effort could I raise my voice above 
a whisper. . . . And all this signified only that 
the Nameless was coming, was nearing, was 
mounting the stairs. I could hear the step, 
booming like the sound of a muffled drum, 
and I wondered why nobody else heard it. A 
long, long time the haunter would take to come, 
malevolently pausing after each ghastly foot 
fall. Then, without a creak, the bolted door 
would open, slowly, slowly, and the thing 
would enter, gibbering soundlessly, and put 
out hands, and clutch me, and toss me to 
the black ceiling, and catch me descending to 
toss me up again, and again, and again. ... In 
those moments the feeling was not fear: fear 
itself had been torpified by the first seizure. It 
was a sensation that has no name in the language 
of the living. For every touch brought a shock 
of something infinitely worse than pain, some 
thing that thrilled into the innermost secret being 
of me, a sort of abominable electricity, dis 
covering unimagined capacities of suffering in 
totally unfamiliar regions of sentiency. . . . This 
was commonly the work of a single tormentor ; 
but I can also remember having been caught by 

244 Shadowings 

a group, and tossed from one to another, 
seemingly for a time of many minutes. 


WHENCE the fancy of those shapes? I do not 
know. Possibly from some impression of fear 
in earliest infancy; possibly from some experi 
ence of fear in other lives than mine. That 
mystery is forever insoluble. But the mystery 
of the shock of the touch admits of a definite 

First, allow me to observe that the experience of 
the sensation itself cannot be dismissed as " mere 
imagination." Imagination means cerebral activ 
ity : its pains and its pleasures are alike insepar 
able from nervous operation, and their physical 
importance is sufficiently proved by their physi 
ological effects. Dream-fear may kill as well as 
other fear; and no emotion thus powerful can 
be reasonably deemed undeserving of study. 

One remarkable fact in the problem to be con 
sidered is that the sensation of seizure in dreams 
differs totally from all sensations familiar to 
ordinary waking life. Why this differentiation ? 
How interpret the extraordinary massiveness and 
depth of the thrill? 

Nightmare-Touch 24$ 

I have already suggested that the dreamer's 
fear is most probably not a reflection of relative 
experience, but represents the incalculable total of 
ancestral experience of dream -fear. If the sum 
of the experience of active life be transmitted by 
inheritance, so must likewise be transmitted the 
summed experience of the life of sleep. And 
in normal heredity either class of transmissions 
would probably remain distinct. 

Now, granting this hypothesis, the sensation 
of dream-seizure would have had its beginnings 
in the earliest phases of dream -consciousness, 
long prior to the apparition of man. The first 
creatures capable of thought and fear must often 
have dreamed of being caught by their natural 
enemies. There could not have been much 
imagining of pain in these primal dreams. But 
higher nervous development in later forms of 
being would have been accompanied with larger 
susceptibility to dream-pain. Still later, with the 
growth of reasoning-power, ideas of the super 
natural would have changed and intensified the 
character of dream-fear. Furthermore, through 
all the course of evolution, heredity would have 
been accumulating the experience of such feeling. 
Under those forms of imaginative pain evolved 

246 Shadowings 

through reaction of religious beliefs, there would 
persist some dim survival of savage primitive 
fears, and again, under this, a dimmer but in 
comparably deeper substratum of ancient animal- 
terrors. In the dreams of the modern child all 
these latencies might quicken, one below an 
other, unfathomably, with the coming and 
the growing of nightmare. 

It may be doubted whether the phantasms of 
any particular nightmare have a history older 
than the brain in which they move. But the 
shock of the touch would seem to indicate some 
point of dream-contact with the total race-ex 
perience of shadowy seizure. It may be that 
profundities of Self, abysses never reached by 
any ray from the life of sun, are strangely 
stirred in slumber, and that out of their black 
ness immediately responds a shuddering of mem 
ory, measureless even by millions of years. 

Readings from a Dream-book 

Readings from a Dream-book 

OFTEN, in the blind dead of the night, I find 
myself reading a book, a big broad 
book, a dream-book. By " dream- 
book," I do not mean a book about dreams, 
but a book made of the stuff that dreams are 
made of. 

I do not know the name of the book, nor the 
name of its author : I have not been able to see 
the title-page ; and there is no running title. As 
for the back of the volume, it remains, like the 
back of the Moon, invisible forever. 

At no time have I touched the book in any 
way, not even to turn a leaf. Somebody, 
always viewless, holds it up and open before 
me in the dark ; and I can read it only because it 
is lighted by a light that comes from nowhere. 
Above and beneath and on either side of the 
book there is darkness absolute; but the pages 

2!>0 Shadowings 

seem to retain the yellow glow of lamps that 
once illuminated them. 

A queer fact is that I never see the entire text 
of a page at once, though I see the whole page 
itself plainly. The text rises, or seems to rise, 
to the surface of the paper as I gaze, and fades 
out almost immediately after having been read. 
By a simple effort of will, I can recall the 
vanished sentences to the page; but they do 
not come back in the same form as before : they 
seem to have been oddly revised during the 
interval. Never can I coax even one fugitive 
line to reproduce itself exactly as it read at 
first. But I can always force something to re- 
turn; and this something remains sharply dis 
tinct during perusal. Then it turns faint grey, 
and appears to sink as through thick milk 
backward out of sight. 

By regularly taking care to write down, imme 
diately upon awakening, whatever I could remem 
ber reading in the dream-book, I found myself 
able last year to reproduce portions of the text. 
But the order in which I now present these 
fragments is not at all the order in which I 
recovered them. If they seem to have any inter. 

From a Dream-book 

connection, this is only because I tried to arrange 
them in what I imagined to be the rational 
sequence. Of their original place and relation, I 
know scarcely anything. And, even regarding 
the character of the book itself, I have been able 
to discover only that a great part of it consists of 
dialogues about the Unthinkable. 

Fr. I 

. . . Then the Wave prayed to remain a wave 

The Sea made answer : 

" Nay, thou must break : there is no rest in me. 
Billions of billions of times thou wilt rise again 
to break, and break to rise again." 

The Wave complained : 

" I fear. Thou sayest that I shall rise again. 
But when did ever a wave return from the place 
of breaking ? " 

The Sea responded : 

" Times countless beyond utterance thou hast 
broken ; and yet thou art ! Behold the myriads of 
the waves that run before thee, and the myriads 
that pursue behind thee ! all have been to the 
place of breaking times unspeakable ; and thither 


they hasten now to break again. Into me they 
melt, only to swell anew. But pass they must ; 
for there is not any rest in me." 

Murmuring, the Wave replied : 

" Shall I not be scattered presently to mix with 
the mingling of all these myriads ? How should 
I rise again ? Never, never again can I become 
the same." 

" The same thou never art," returned the Sea, 
" at any two moments in thy running : perpetual 
change is the law of thy being. What is thine 
' I' ? Always thou art shaped with the sub 
stance of waves forgotten, waves numberless 
beyond the sands of the shores of me. In thy 
multiplicity what art thou ? a phantom, an 
impermanency ! " 

" Real is pain," sobbed the Wave, " and 
fear and hope, and the joy of the light. Whence 
and what are these, if I be not real ? " 

"Thou hast no pain," the Sea responded, 
" nor fear nor hope nor joy. Thou art nothing 
save in me. I am thy Self, thine T: thy 
form is my dream ; thy motion is my will ; thy 
breaking is my pain. Break thou must, because 
there is no rest in me ; but thou wilt break only 
to rise again, for death is the Rhythm of Life. 

From a Dream-book 

Lo ! I, too, die that I may live : these my waters 
have passed, and will pass again, with wrecks of 
innumerable worlds to the burning of innumerable 
suns. I, too, am multiple unspeakably: dead 
tides of millions of oceans revive in mine ebb and 
flow. Suffice thee to learn that only because 
thou wast thou art, and that because thou art thou 
wilt become again." 

Muttered the Wave, 

" I cannot understand." 

Answered the Sea, 

"Thy part is to pulse and pass, never to 
understand. I also, even I, the great Sea, do 
not understand. ..." 

Fr. II 

..." The stones and the rocks have felt ; the 
winds have been breath and speech ; the rivers 
and oceans of earth have been locked into cham 
bers of hearts. And the palingenesis cannot 
cease till every cosmic particle shall have passed 
through the uttermost possible experience of the 
highest possible life." 

" But what of the planetary core? has that, 
too, felt and thought?" 

24 Shadowings 

" Even so surely as that all flesh has been sun- 
fire ! In the ceaseless succession of integrations 
and dissolutions, all things have shifted relation 
and place numberless billions of times. Hearts 
of old moons will make the surface of future 
worlds. ..." 

Fr. Ill 

... "No regret is vain. It is sorrow that spins 
the thread, softer than moonshine, thinner than 
fragrance, stronger than death, the Gleipnir- 
chain of the Greater Memory. . . . 

" In millions of years you will meet again ; 
and the time will not seem long ; for a million years 
and a moment are the same to the dead. Then 
you will not be all of your present self, nor she 
be all that she has been : both of you will at 
once be less, and yet incomparably more. Then, 
to the longing that must come upon you, body 
itself will seem but a barrier through which you 
would leap to her or, it may be, to him ; for 
sex will have shifted numberless times ere then. 
Neither will remember; but each will be filled 
with a feeling immeasurable of having met 
before. . , ." 

From a Dream-book 

Fr. IV 

... "So wronging the being who loves, 
the being blindly imagined but of yesterday, 
this mocker mocks the divine in the past of the 
Soul of the World. Then in that heart is re 
vived the countless million sorrows buried in 
forgotten graves, all the old pain of Love, in 
its patient contest with Hate, since the beginning 
of Time. 

" And the Gods know, the dim ones who 
dwell beyond Space, spinning the mysteries 
of Shape and Name. For they sit at the roots 
of Life ; and the pain runs back to them ; and 
they feel that wrong, as the Spider feels in 
the trembling of her web that a thread is 
broken. . . ." 

Fr. V 

..." Love at sight is the choice of the dead. 
But the most of them are older than ethical 
systems ; and the decision of their majorities is 
rarely moral. They choose by beauty, accord 
ing to their memory of physical excellence ; and 

26 Shadowings 

as bodily fitness makes the foundation of mental 
and of moral power, they are not apt to choose 
ill. Nevertheless they are sometimes strangely 
cheated. They have been known to want beings 
that could never help ghost to a body, hollow 
goblins. . . ." 

Fr. VI 

. . . "The Animulae making the Self do not 
fear death as dissolution. They fear death 
only as reintegration, recombination with the 
strange and the hateful of other lives : they 
fear the imprisonment, within another body, of 
that which loves together with that which 
loathes. ..." 

Fr. VII 

..." In other time the El-Woman sat only in 
waste places, and by solitary ways. But now 
in the shadows of cities she offers her breasts to 
youth ; and he whom she entices, presently goes 
mad, and becomes, like herself, a hollowness. 
For the higher ghosts that entered into the making 
of him perish at that goblin -touch, die as the 

From a Dream-book 

pupa dies in the cocoon, leaving only a shell and 
dust behind. . . ." 


. . . The Man said to the multitude remaining 
of his Souls : 

" I am weary of life." 

And the remnant replied to him : 

" We also are weary of the shame and pain of 
dwelling in so vile a habitation. Continually we 
strive that the beams may break, and the pillars 
crack, and the roof fall in upon us." 

"Surely there is a curse upon me," groaned 
the Man. " There is no justice in the Gods ! " 

Then the Souls tumultuously laughed in scorn, 
even as the leaves of a wood in the wind do 
chuckle all together. And they made answer to 

" As a fool thou liest ! Did any save thyself 
make thy vile body ? Was it shapen or mis 
shapen by any deeds or thoughts except thine 
own ? " 

"No deed or thought can I remember," re 
turned the Man, " deserving that which has come 
upon me." 


" Remember ! " laughed the Souls. "No 
the folly was in other lives. But we remember ; 
and remembering, we hate." 

" Ye are all one with me ! " cried the Man, 
" how can ye hate ? " 

"One with thee," mocked the Souls, "as 
the wearer is one with his garment! . . . How 
can we hate ? As the fire that devours the wood 
from which it is drawn by the fire-maker even 
so we can hate." 

" It is a cursed world ! " cried the Man " why 
did ye not guide me ? " 

The Souls replied to him : 

" Thou wouldst not heed the guiding of ghosts 
that were wiser than we. . . . Cowards and 
weaklings curse the world. The strong do not 
blame the world: it gives them all that they 
desire. By power they break and take and 
keep. Life for them is a joy, a triumph, an 
exultation. But creatures without power merit 
nothing ; and nothingness becomes their portion. 
Thou and we shall presently enter into noth 

" Do ye fear ? " asked the Man. 

" There is reason for fear," the Souls answered. 
" Yet no one of us would wish to delay the time 

From a Dream-book 

of what we fear by continuing to make part of 
such an existence as thine." 

"But ye have died innumerable times?" 
wonderingly said the Man. 

"No, we have not," said the Souls, "not 
even once that we can remember ; and our mem 
ory reaches back to the beginnings of this world. 
We die only with the race." 

The Man said nothing, being afraid. The 
Souls resumed : 

"Thy race ceases. Its continuance depended 
upon thy power to serve our purposes. Thou 
hast lost all power. What art thou but a charnel- 
house, a mortuary- pit ? Freedom we needed, 
and space: here we have been compacted to 
gether, a billion to a pin-point! Doorless our 
chambers and blind; and the passages are 
blocked and broken ; and the stairways lead to 
nothing. Also there are Haunters here, not of 
our kind, Things never to be named." 

For a little time the Man thought gratefully of 
death and dust. But suddenly there came into 
his memory a vision of his enemy's face, with 
a wicked smile upon it. And then he wished 
for longer life, a hundred years of life and 
pain, only to see the grass grow tall above the 

260 Shadowings 

grave of that enemy. And the Souls mocked his 
desire : 

"Thine enemy will not waste much thought 
upon thee. He is no half -man, thine enemy ! 
The ghosts in that body have room and great 
light. High are the ceilings of their habitation ; 
wide and clear the passageways; luminous the 
courts and pure. Like a fortress excellently gar 
risoned is the brain of thine enemy; and to 
any point thereof the defending hosts can be 
gathered for battle in a moment together. His 
generation will not cease nay ! that face of his 
will multiply throughout the centuries ! Because 
thine enemy in every time provided for the 
needs of his higher ghosts : he gave heed to their 
warnings ; he pleasured them in all just ways ; 
he did not fail in reverence to them. Wherefore 
they now have power to help him at his need. 
. . . How hast thou reverenced or pleasured us ? " 

The Man remained silent for a space. Then, as 
in horror of doubting, he questioned : 

"Wherefore should ye fear if nothingness 
be the end ? " 

" What is nothingness ? " the Souls responded. 
"Only in the language of delusion is there 

From a Dream-book 261 

an end. That which thou callest the end is 
in truth but the very beginning. The essence 
of us cannot cease. In the burning of worlds it 
cannot be consumed. It will shudder in the 
cores of great stars ; it will quiver in the light 
of other suns. And once more, in some future 
cosmos, it will reconquer knowledge but only 
after evolutions unthinkable for multitude. Even 
out of the nameless beginnings of form, and 
thence through every cycle of vanished being, 
through all successions of exhausted pain, 
through all the Abyss of the Past, it must 
climb again." 

The Man uttered no word : the Souls spoke on : 

" For millions of millions of ages must we 
shiver in tempests of fire: then shall we enter 
anew into some slime primordial, there to 
quicken, and again writhe upward through all 
foul dumb blind shapes. Innumerable the meta 
morphoses ! immeasurable the agonies ! . . . 
And the fault is not of any Gods : it is thine ! " 

" Good or evil," muttered the Man, " what 
signifies either? The best must become as the 
worst in the grind of the endless change." 

" Nay ! " cried out the Souls ; " for the strong 
there is a goal, - the goal that thou couldst not 

262 Shadow! ngs 

strive to gain. They will help to the fashioning 
of fairer worlds ; they will win to larger light ; 
they will tower and soar as flame to enter the 
Zones of the Divine. But thou and we go 
back to slime! Think of the billion summers 
that might have been for us ! think of the joys, 
the loves, the triumphs cast away ! the dawns 
of the knowledge undreamed, the glories of 
sense unimagined, the exultations of illimitable 
power! . . . think, think, O fool, of all that 
thou hast lost ! " 

Then the Souls of the Man turned themselves 
into worms, and devoured him. 

In a Pair of Eyes 

In a Pair of Eyes 


THERE is one adolescent moment never to 
be forgotten, the moment when the boy 
learns that this world contains nothing 
more wonderful than a certain pair of eyes. At 
first the surprise of the discovery leaves him 
breathless : instinctively he turns away his gaze. 
That vision seemed too delicious to be true. 
But presently he ventures to look again, fear 
ing with a new fear, afraid of the reality, afraid 
also of being observed ; and lo ! his doubt 
dissolves in a new shock of ecstasy. Those eyes 
are even more wonderful than he had imagined 
nay ! they become more and yet more en 
trancing every successive time that he looks at 
them ! Surely in all the universe there cannot 
be another such pair of eyes! What can lend 
them such enchantment ? Why do they appear 
divine? ... He feels that he must ask some 
body to explain, must propound to older and 

266 Shadowings 

wiser heads the riddle of his new emotions. 
Then he makes his confession, with a faint intui 
tive fear of being laughed at, but with a strange, 
fresh sense of rapture in the telling. Laughed at 
he is tenderly ; but this does not embarrass 
him nearly so much as the fact that he can get 
no answer to his question, to the simple 
" Why ? " made so interesting by his frank sur 
prise and his timid blushes. No one is able to 
enlighten him ; but all can sympathize with the 
bewilderment of his sudden awakening from the 
long soul -sleep of childhood. 

Perhaps that " Why ? " never can be fully an 
swered. But the mystery that prompted it con 
stantly tempts one to theorize ; and theories may 
have a worth independent of immediate results. 
Had it not been for old theories concerning the 
Unknowable, what should we have been able to 
learn about the Knowable ? Was it not while 
in pursuit of the Impossible that we stumbled 
upon the undreamed-of and infinitely marvellous 
Possible ? 

Why indeed should a pair of human eyes 
appear for a time to us so beautiful that, when 
likening their radiance to splendor of diamond 

In a Pair of Eyes 267 

or amethyst or emerald, we feel the comparison 
a blasphemy ? Why should we find them deeper 
than the sea, deeper than the day, deep even 
as the night of Space, with its scintillant mist of 
suns ? Certainly not because of mere wild fancy. 
These thoughts, these feelings, must spring from 
some actual perception of the marvellous, 
some veritable revelation of the unspeakable. 
There is, in very truth, one brief hour of life 
during which the world holds for us nothing so 
wonderful as a pair of eyes. And then, while 
looking into them, we discover a thrill of awe 
vibrating through our delight, awe made by 
a something/*?// rather than seen : a latency, a 
power, a shadowing of depth unfathomable as 
the cosmic Ether. It is as though, through some 
intense and sudden stimulation of vital being, we 
had obtained for one supercelestial moment 
the glimpse of a reality, never before imagined, 
and never again to be revealed. 

There is, indeed, an illusion. We seem to 
view the divine ; but this divine itself, whereby 
we are dazzled and duped, is a ghost. Not to 
actuality belongs the spell, not to anything 
that is, but to some infinite composite phan 
tom of what has been. Wondrous the vision 

268 Shadowings 

but wondrous only because our mortal sight then 
pierces beyond the surface of the present into 
profundities of myriads of years, pierces be 
yond the mask of life into the enormous night 
of death. For a moment we are made aware of 
a beauty and a mystery and a depth unutterable : 
then the Veil falls again forever. 

The splendor of the eyes that we worship 
belongs to them only as brightness to the morn 
ing-star. It is a reflex from beyond the shadow 
of the Now, a ghost-light of vanished suns. 
Unknowingly within that maiden- gaze we meet 
the gaze of eyes more countless than the hosts 
of heaven, eyes otherwhere passed into dark 
ness and dust. 

Thus, and only thus, the depth of that gaze is 
the depth of the Sea of Death and Birth, and 
its mystery is the World-Soul's vision, watching 
us out of the silent vast of the Abyss of Being. 

Thus, and only thus, do truth and illusion 
mingle in the magic of eyes, the spectral past 
suffusing with charm ineffable the apparition of 
the present ; and the sudden splendor in the 
joul of the Seer is but a flash, one soundless 
sheet -lightning of the Infinite Memory. 


Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

Col. Lib. 

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