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Title: A Handbook of Modern Japan

Author: Ernest W. Clement

Release date: May 4, 2021 [eBook #65253]

Language: English

Credits: MFR, Heather McNamara and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



Uniform with this Work

JAPAN AS IT WAS AND IS: A Handbook of Old Japan. By Richard Hildreth. In two volumes. A reprint edited and revised, with notes and additions, by Ernest W. Clement and an Introduction by William Elliot Griffis. With maps and 100 illustrations. 12mo, in slip Case. $3.00 net.

A. C. McClurg & Co.


New Revised Edition














A. C. McClurg & Co.

1903; 1905; 1913

Copyrighted in Great Britain

To the Memory of my Father
and my Mother


THIS book, as its title indicates, is intended to portray Japan as it is rather than as it was. It is not by any means the purpose, however, to ignore the past, upon which the present is built, because such a course would be both foolish and futile. Moreover, while there are probably no portions of Japan, and very few of her people, entirely unaffected by the new civilization, yet there are still some sections which are comparatively unchanged by the new ideas and ideals. And, although those who have been least affected by the changes are much more numerous than those who have been most influenced, yet the latter are much more active and powerful than the former.

In Japan reforms generally work from the top downward, or rather from the government to the people. As another1 has expressed it, “the government is the moulder of public opinion”; and, to a large extent, at least, this is true. We must, therefore, estimate Japan’s condition and public opinion, not according to the great mass of her people, but according to the “ruling class,” if we may transfer to Modern Japan a term of Feudal Japan. For, as suffrage in Japan is limited by the amount of taxes paid, “theviii masses” do not yet possess the franchise, and may be said to be practically unconcerned about the government. They will even endure heavy taxation and some injustice before they will bother themselves about politics. These real conservatives are, therefore, a comparatively insignificant factor in the equation of New Japan. The people are conservative, but the government is progressive.

This book endeavors to portray Japan in all its features as a modern world power. It cannot be expected to cover in great detail all the ground outlined, because it is not intended to be an exhaustive encyclopædia of “things Japanese.” It is expected to satisfy the specialist, not by furnishing all materials, but by referring for particulars to works where abundant materials may be found. It is expected to satisfy the average general reader, by giving a kind of bird’s-eye view of Modern Japan. It is planned to be a compendium of condensed information, with careful references to the best sources of more complete knowledge.

Therefore, a special and very important feature of the volume is its bibliography of reference books at the end of each chapter. These lists have been prepared with great care, and include practically all the best works on Japan in the English language. In general, however, no attempt has been made to cover magazine articles, which are included in only very particular instances.

There are two very important works not included in any of the lists, because they belong to almost all; they are omitted merely to avoid monotonous repetition. These two books of general reference areix indispensable to the thorough student of Japan and the Japanese. Chamberlain’s “Things Japanese”2 is the most convenient for general reference, and is a small encyclopædia. “The Mikado’s Empire,”3 by Dr. Griffis, is a thesaurus of information about Japan and the Japanese.

After these, one may add to his Japanese library according to his special taste, although we think that Murray’s “Story of Japan,” also, should be in every one’s hands. Then, if one can afford to get Rein’s two exhaustive and thorough treatises, he is well equipped. And the “Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan” will make him quite a savant on Japanese subjects. It should be added, that those who have access to Captain Brinkley’s monumental work of eight volumes on Japan will be richly rewarded with a mine of most valuable information by one of the best authorities. “Fifty Years of New Japan” is valuable and unique, because it is written by Japanese, each an authority in his department.4 For the latest statistics, “The Japan Year Book” is invaluable.

We had intended, but finally abandoned the attempt, to follow strictly one system of transliteration. Such a course would require the correction of quotations, and seemed scarcely necessary. Indeed, the doctors still disagree, and have not yet positively settled upon a uniform method of transliteration.x After all, there is no great difference between Tōkiō and Tōkyō; kaisha and kwaisha; Iyeyasu and Ieyasu; Kyūshiu, Kiūshiu, Kyūshū, and Kiūshū. There is more divergency between Ryūkyū, Riūkiū, Liukiu, Luchu, and Loo Choo; but all are in such general use that it would be unwise, in a book like this, to try to settle a question belonging to specialists. The fittest will, in time, survive. We have, however, drawn the line on “Yeddo,” “Jeddo,” and similar archaisms and barbarisms, for which there is neither jot nor tittle of reason. But it is hoped that the varieties of transliteration in this book are too few to confuse.

The author is under special obligations to Professor J. H. Wigmore, formerly a teacher in Tōkyō, and now Dean of the Northwestern Law School, Chicago, for kind criticisms and suggestions; to Mr. Frederick W. Gookin, the art critic, of Chicago, for similar assistance, and for the chapter on “Æsthetic Japan,” which is entirely his composition; and also under general obligations for the varied assistance of many friends, too numerous to mention, in Japan and America. He has endeavored to be accurate, but doubts not that he has made mistakes. He only asks that the book be judged merely for what it claims to be,—a Handbook of Modern Japan.

Ernest Wilson Clement.



THE eight years which have elapsed since this book was revised have been so crowded with great events that another revision seems advisable in order to make the book yet more timely and as valuable as possible. Whenever it was practicable, the statements and statistics in both the body and the appendix of the book have been brought up to date. In some cases, but only a very few, it was impossible to alter the text without breaking up the paging; therefore the original text was allowed to stand, and the corrections have been indicated in notes or some other way. A new chapter, moreover, has been added, with new illustrations, and presents as concisely and yet as comprehensively as possible the facts which warrant its caption, “Greater Japan.”

Tōkyō, January, 1913.


Chapter   Page



Industrial Japan


Travel, Transportation, Commerce


People, Houses, Food, Dress


Manners and Customs


Japanese Traits


History (Old Japan)


History (New Japan)


Constitutional Imperialism


Local Self-Government


Japan as a World Power


Legal Japan


The New Woman in Japan


Language and Literature




Æsthetic Japan


Disestablishment of Shintō


Confucianism, Bushidō, Buddhism


Japanese Christendom


Twentieth Century Japan


The Mission of Japan













The Late Emperor Meiji Tenno


Nagasaki Harbor


Lighthouse Inland Sea


Cotton Mills, Ōsaka


First Bank, Tōkyō


Baron Shibusawa


Group of Country People


New Year’s Greeting


Garden at Ōji


Ōsaka Castle


Perry Monument, near Uraga


Statesmen of New Japan: Prince Sanjō and Count Katsu


Departments of State: Navy, Agriculture and Commerce, Justice, Foreign Affairs


Naval Leaders of Japan: Admiral Enomoto, Admiral Kabayama


Distinguished Land Commanders: General Baron Kuroki, General Baron Oku, General Baron Nodzu


Military Leaders of New Japan: Field-Marshal Ōyama and Field-Marshal Yamagata


Statesmen of New Japan: Count Ōkuma, Marquis Inouye, Count Itagaki, Marquis Matsukata


Court Buildings, Tōkyō


The Mint, Ōsaka


Statesmen of New Japan: Ōkubo, Saigō, Kido, and Prince Iwakura


H. I. M. the Empress


H. I. M. the Crown Prince


Imperial University Buildings, Tōkyō


Educators and Scientists of Japan: Baron Ishiguro, Viscount Mori, Mr. Fukuzawa, Dr. Kitasato


Painting by Ho-Itsu: View of Fuji-San


Painting by Yasunobu: Heron and Lotus


Group of Pilgrims


Buddhist Priests


Gospel Ship, “Fukuin Maru”


Y. M. C. A. Summer School, Dōshisha, Kyōto


Four Gates: Palace, Tōkyō; Palace, Kyōto; Sakurada, Tōkyō; Nijō Castle, Kyōto


The Naval Hero of the War, Admiral Togo


Distinguished Naval Commanders: Admiral Uriu, Admiral Kamimura, Commander Hirose


Distinguished Land Commanders: General Baron Kodama, General Count Nogi, Admiral Prince Itō


The Japanese Peace Envoys: Count Komura, Minister Takahira


H. I. M. the Emperor


Marquis Saionji


Statesmen of New Japan: Marquis Katsura and Prince Itō


Viscount Sone


General Viscount Terauchi


Military Review, Himeji


“Shikishima” in Naval Review, Kōbe


Map of Japan



a like a in father
e   „   e  „  men
i    „   i  „  pin
o   „   o  „  pony
u   „  oo  „ book
ai as in aisle
ei    „    weigh
au as o in bone
ō   „  „   „   „
ū as oo in moon

i in the middle of a word and u in the middle or at the end of a word are sometimes almost inaudible.

The consonants are all sounded, as in English: g, however, has only the hard sound, as in give, although the nasal ng is often heard; ch and s are always soft, as in check and sin; and z before u has the sound of dz. In the case of double consonants, each one must be given its full sound.

There are as many syllables as vowels. There is practically no accent; but care must be taken to distinguish between o and ō, u and ū, of which the second is more prolonged than the first.

Be sure to avoid the flat sound of a, which is always pronounced ah.





Outline of Topics: Situation of country; relation to the United States; lines of communication; “Key of Asia.”—Area of empire.—Divisions: highways, provinces, prefectures, principal cities and ports.—Dense population; natives and foreigners; Japanese abroad.—Mountains, volcanoes, hot springs, earthquakes.—Lakes, rivers, bays, harbors, floods, tidal waves.—Epidemics, pests.—Climate: temperature, winds (typhoons), moisture, ocean currents.—Flora and fauna.—Peculiar position: Japan and the United States.—Bibliography.

THE Japanese may appropriately be called “our antipodal neighbors.” They do not live, it is true, at a point exactly opposite to us on this globe; but they belong to the obverse, or Eastern, hemisphere, and are an Oriental people of another race. They are separated from us by from 4,000 to 5,000 miles of the so-called, but misnamed, Pacific Ocean; but they are connected with us by many lines of freight and passenger vessels. In fact, in their case, as in many other instances, the “disuniting ocean” (Oceanus dissociabilis) of the Romans has2 really disappeared, and even a broad expanse of waters has become a connecting link between the countries on the opposite shores. It may be, in a certain measure, correct to say, as pupils in geography are taught to express it, that the Pacific Ocean separates the United States from Japan; but it is, in a broader and higher sense, just as accurate to state that this ocean binds us with our Asiatic neighbors and friends in the closest ties. Japan was “opened” by the United States; has been assisted materially, politically, socially, educationally, and morally by American influences in her wonderful career of progress; and she appreciates the kindliness and friendship of our people. We, in turn, ought to know more about our rapidly developing protégé, and no doubt desire to learn all we can concerning Japan and the Japanese.

The development of trade and commerce has been assisted by the power of steam to bring Japan and the United States into close and intimate relations. There are steamship lines from San Francisco, Vancouver, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland, and San Diego to Yokohama or Koōbe; and there are also a great many sailing vessels plying between Japan and America. The routes from San Francisco and San Diego direct to Japan are several hundred miles farther than the routes from the more northerly ports mentioned above. The time occupied by the voyage across the Pacific Ocean varies according to the vessel, the winds and currents, etc.; but it may be put3 down in a general way at about 14 days. The fast royal mail steamers of the Canadian Pacific line often make the trip in much less time, and thus bring Chicago, for instance, within only a little more than two weeks’ communication with Yokohama. It must, therefore, be evident that Japan is no longer a remote country, but is as near to the Pacific coast of America, in time of passage, as the Atlantic coast of America was twenty years ago to Europe.

It is true that the steamers of the San Francisco and San Diego lines, especially those carrying mails and passengers, go and come via Honolulu, so that the voyage to Japan thus requires a few more days than the direct trip would take. But, as Hawaii is now part of the United States, our country has thus become only about 10 days distant from Japan. Moreover, as the Philippine Islands are also a portion of our country, and Formosa has been for several years a part, of Japan, the territories of the two nations are brought almost within a stone’s throw, and the people almost within speaking distance, of each other. This proximity of the two nations to each other should be an incentive to draw even more closely together the ties, not only historical, commercial, and material, but also political, social, educational, intellectual, moral, and religious, that bind them to each other, and, so far as possible, to make “Japan and America all the same heart.”

But Japan is also an Asiatic country, and thus holds a peculiar relation to the countries on the4 eastern coast of the mainland of Asia. The islands of Japan stretch along that shore in close proximity to Siberia, Korea, and China, and are not far distant from Siam. With all of those countries she enters, therefore, into most intimate relationship of many kinds. With Russia the relation is one of rivalry, of more or less hostility, at present passive, but likely to be aroused into activity by some unusually exasperating event. In any case, Japan is the only Far-Eastern power that can be relied upon to check the aggressions of Russia; and this fact the wise statesmen of Great Britain have clearly recognized by entering into the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Toward Korea, China, and Siam, Japan sustains a natural position of leadership, because she is far in advance of all those nations in civilization. Ties geographical, racial, social, political, intellectual, and religious, bind them more or less closely together, so that Japan can more sympathetically and thus more easily lead them out into the path of progress. The natural and common routes of trade and travel from the United States to those countries run via Japan, which thus becomes, in more senses than one, “the key of Asia”; and for that very reason she is also the logical mediator between the East and the West.

The Japanese call their country Dai Nihon, or Dai Nippon (Great Japan), and have always had a patriotic faith in the reality of its greatness. But this delightful delusion is rudely dispelled when the5 fact is expressed statistically, in cold figures, that the area of the Empire of Japan is about 175,000 square miles,5 or only a little more than that of California. It has, however, a comparatively long coast line of more than 18,000 miles. The name Nihon, or Nippon (a corruption of the Chinese Jih-pên, from which was derived “Japan”), means “sun-source,” and was given because the country lay to the east from China. It is for this reason that Japan is often called “The Sunrise Kingdom,” and that the Imperial flag contains the simple design of a bright sun on a plain white background.6

Japan proper comprises only the four large islands, called Hondo, Shikoku, Kyūshiu, and Yezo (Hokkaidō); but the Empire includes also Korea, Formosa, the Pescadores, and about 4,000 small islands, of which the Ryūkyū (Loo Choo) and the Kurile groups are the most important. Japan proper lies mainly between the same parallels of latitude7 as the States of the Mississippi valley, and presents even more various and extreme climates than may be found from Minnesota to Louisiana.

The extreme northern point of the Empire of Japan is 50° 56´ N., and the extreme southern point is 21° 45´ N. The extreme eastern point is 156° 32´ E., and the extreme western point 119° 18´ E. These extremes furnish even greater varieties of climate6 than those just mentioned. The Kurile Islands at the extreme north are frigid, and have practically no animal or vegetable life; while the beautiful island of Formosa at the extreme south is half in the tropics, with a corresponding climate, and abounds in most valuable products. Marcus Island, farther out in the Pacific, has guano deposits worth working.

Japan proper is divided geographically into nine “circuits,” called Gokinai, Tōkaidō, Tōsandō, Hokurikudō, Sanindō, Sanyōdō, Nankaidō, Saikaidō, Hokkaidō. The word , which appears in all the names except the first, means “road” or “highway.” Some of these appellations are not much used at present; but others are retained in various connections, especially in the names of railways, banks, companies, or schools. A common official division of the largest island (Hondo) is into Central, Northern, and Western. Japan proper was also subdivided into 85 Kuni (Province), the names of which are still retained in general use to some extent. But, for purposes of administration, the empire is divided into 3 Fu (Municipality) and 43 Ken (Prefecture), besides Yezo (or Hokkaidō) and Formosa, each of which is administered as a “territory” or “colony.” The distinction between Fu and Ken is practically one in name only. These large divisions are again divided: the former into Ku (Urban District) and Gun (Rural District); and the latter into Gun. There are also more than 50 incorporated Cities (Shi) within the Fu7 and Ken.8 Moreover, the Gun is subdivided into Chō (Town) and Son (Village).

But, while the prefix “great” does not apply to Japan with reference to its extent, it is certainly appropriate to the contents of that country. Within the Empire of Japan are great mountains with grand scenery, great and magnificent temples, great cities, and a great many people. For, while the area of Japan is only one-twentieth of that of the United States, the population is about one-half as numerous. Even in the country districts the villages are almost continuous, so that it is an infrequent experience to ride a mile without seeing a habitation; and in the large cities the people are huddled very closely together. The latest official statistics, those of 1909, give the total population of Japan as 53,500,000, of whom the males exceed the females by about 600,000; and as of late years the annual increase has amounted to about 700,000, the present population (1912) may fairly be estimated at more than 55,000,000.9

The number of foreigners resident in Japan in 1909 exceeded 17,000, of whom more than half were Chinese, and less than a quarter were British and American. The number of Japanese in 1909 living abroad was 301,000, of whom 100,000 were in the United States (chiefly in Hawaii), 97,000 in China, and only a few in British territory.

Japan is a mountainous country. The level ground,8 including artificial terraces, is barely 12 per cent of the area of the whole empire. A long range of high mountains runs like a backbone through the main island. The highest peak is the famous Fuji, which rises 12,365 feet above the sea-level, and is a “dormant volcano,” whose last eruption occurred in 1708. Its summit is covered with snow about ten months in the year.10 There are several other peaks of more than 8,000 feet elevation, such as Mitake, Akashi, Shirane, Komagatake, Aso, Asama, Bandai, some of which are active volcanoes. Eruptions happen not infrequently; and earthquakes, more or less severe, registered by the seismometer, are of daily occurrence, although most of the shocks are not ordinarily perceptible. There are also several excellent hot springs, of sulphuric or other mineral quality, as at Ikao, Kusatsu, Atami, Hakone, Arima, Onsen. The mountainous character of Japan has also its pleasant features, because it furnishes means of escape from the depressing heat of summer. Karuizawa, Nikkō, Miyanoshita, Hakone, Arima, Chūzenji are the most popular summer resorts.

There are not many, or large, lakes in Japan. Lake Biwa, 50 miles long and 20 miles wide at its widest point, is the largest and most famous. Hakone Lake, the “Asiatic Loch Lomond,” is beautiful, and especially noted for the reflection of Mount Fuji in its water by moonlight. Lake Chūzenji, in the Nikkō mountains, is regarded by many as “unrivalled9 for beauty” and “hardly surpassed in any land.”

There are many beautiful waterfalls, such as Kegon, Urami, and others in the Nikkō district, Nunobiki at Kōbe, Nachi in Kii, etc.

There are numerous rivers, short and swift; and it is these streams, which, after a rainy season, swelling and rushing impetuously down from the mountains, overflow their sandy banks and cause annually a terrible destruction of life and property. The most important rivers are the Tone, the Shinano, the Kiso, the Kitakami, the Tenryū, in the main island, and the Ishikari in Yezo. The last is the longest (about 400 miles); the next is the Shinano (almost 250 miles); but no other river comes up even to 200 miles in length. The Tenryū-gawa11 is famous for its rapids. Some of these rivers are navigable by small steamers.

Japan, with its long and irregular coast line, is particularly rich in bays and harbors, both natural and artificial, which furnish shelter for the shipping of all kinds. The “open ports,” which formerly numbered only 6 (Nagasaki, Yokohama, Hakodate, Ōsaka, Kōbe, Niigata), have reached the figure 36; and the growing foreign commerce annually demands further enlargement. Of the old ports, Niigata is of no special importance in foreign commerce; but, of the new ports, Kuchinotsu in Kyūshiu, Muroran in Yezo (Hokkaidō), and especially Bakan and Moji,10 on opposite sides of the Straits of Shimonoseki, are rapidly growing. In this connection it is, perhaps, not inappropriate to make mention of the far-famed “Inland Sea,” known to the Japanese as Seto-no-uchi (Between the Straits), or Seto-uchi, which lies between the main island, Shikoku and Kyūshiu.

The long coast line of Japan is a source of danger; for tidal waves occasionally spread devastation along the shore. These, with floods, earthquakes, eruptions, typhoons, and conflagrations, make a combination of calamities which annually prove very disastrous in Japan.

The country is subject to epidemics, like dysentery, smallpox, cholera, plague, and “La Grippe,” which generally prove quite fatal. In 1890, for instance, some 50,000 Japanese were attacked by cholera, and about 30,000 died; and during two seasons of the “Russian epidemic” large numbers of Japanese were carried away. In both cases the foreigners living in Japan enjoyed comparative immunity. And now, on account of the advance in medical science, more stringent quarantine, and better sanitary measures, the mortality among Japanese has been considerably diminished: This fortunate result is largely due to the efforts of such men as Dr. Kitasato, whose fame as a bacteriologist is world-wide. The zoölogical pests of Japan are fleas, mosquitoes, and rats, all of which are very troublesome; but modern improvements minimize the extent of their power.



But, in spite of the drawbacks just enumerated, Japan is a beautiful spot for residence. “The aspect of nature in Japan ... comprises a variety of savage hideousness, appalling destructiveness, and almost heavenly beauty.” The climate, though somewhat debilitating, is fairly salubrious, and on the whole is very delightful. The extremes of heat and cold are not so great as in Chicago, for instance, but are rendered more intolerable and depressing by the humidity of the atmosphere. No month is exempt from rain, which is most plentiful from June on through September; and those two months are the schedule dates for the two “rainy seasons.” September is also liable to bring a terrible typhoon. Except in the northern, or in the mountainous, districts, snow is infrequent and light, and fogs are rare. The spring is the most trying, and the autumn the most charming season of the year.12

On account of the extent of Japan from north to south, the wide differences of elevation and depression, and the influence of monsoons and ocean currents, there is no uniformity in the climate. For instance, the eastern coast, along which runs the Kuro Shio (Black Stream), with a moderating influence like that of the Gulf Stream, is much warmer than the western coast, which is swept by Siberian breezes and Arctic currents. The excessive humidity is due to the insular position and heavy rainfall. Almost all portions of the country12 are subject more or less to sudden changes of weather. It is also said that there is in the air a great lack of ozone (only about one-third as much as in most Western lands); and for this reason Occidentals at least are unable to carry on as vigorous physical and mental labor as in the home lands. Foreign children, however, seem to thrive well in Japan.

“Roughly speaking, the Japanese summer is hot and occasionally wet; September and the first half of October much wetter; the late autumn and early winter cool, comparatively dry, and delightful; February and March disagreeable, with occasional snow and dirty weather, which is all the more keenly felt in Japanese inns devoid of fireplaces; the late spring rainy and windy, with beautiful days interspersed. But different years vary greatly from each other.”13

In Japan “a rich soil, a genial climate, and a sufficient rainfall produce luxuriant vegetation” of the many varieties of the three zones over which the country stretches. In Formosa, Kyūshiu, Shikoku, and the Ryūkyū Islands, “the general aspect is tropical”; on the main island the general appearance is temperate; while Yezo and the Kurile Islands begin to be quite frigid. The commonest trees are the pine, cedar, maple, oak, lacquer, camphor, camellia,13 plum, peach, and cherry; but the last three are grown for their flowers rather than for their fruit or wood. The bamboo, which grows abundantly, is one of the most useful plants, and is extensively employed also in ornamentation.

In the fauna of Japan we do not find such great variety. Fish and other marine life are very abundant; fresh-water fish are also numerous; and all these furnish both livelihood and living to millions of people. Birds are also quite numerous; and some of them, like the so-called “nightingale” (uguisu), are sweet singers. The badger, bear, boar, deer, fox, hare, and monkey are found; cats, chickens, dogs, horses, oxen, rats, and weasels are numerous; but sheep and goats are rare. Snakes and lizards are many; but really dangerous animals are comparatively few, except the foxes and badgers, which are said to have the power to bewitch people!

In conclusion, attention should be called once more to the physiographical advantages of Japan, and it may be of interest to set them forth from the point of view of a Japanese who has indulged in some prognostications of the future of his nation. From the insular position of Japan, he assumes an adaptability to commerce and navigation; from the situation of Japan, “on the periphery of the land hemisphere,” and thus at a safe distance from “the centre of national animosities,” he deems her comparatively secure from “the depredations of the world’s most conquering nations”; from the direction of her chief14 mountain system (her backbone), and “the variegated configurations of her surface,” he thinks that “national unity with local independence” may easily be developed. Likewise, because more indentations are found on the eastern than on the western sides of the Japanese islands, except in the southwestern island of Kyushiu, where the opposite is true; because the ports of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia are open toward Japan; because the Hoang-Ho, the Yangtze Kiang, and the Canton rivers all flow and empty toward Japan; because the latter thus “turns her back on Siberia, but extends one arm toward America and the other toward China and India”; because “winds and currents seem to imply the same thing [by] making a call at Yokohama almost a necessity to a vessel that plies between the two continents,”—he conceives of his native country as a nakōdo (middleman, or arbiter) “between the democratic West and the Imperial East, between the Christian America and the Buddhist Asia.”

But since these comparisons were made, the geography of Eastern Asia and the Pacific Ocean has been altered. Japan has acquired Formosa and Korea; the United States has assumed the responsibility of the Philippines; and China is threatened with partition through “spheres of influence.” Japan, therefore, seems now to be lying off the eastern coast of Asia, with her back turned on Russia with Siberian breezes and Arctic currents, her face turned toward America, with one hand15 stretched out toward the Aleutian Islands and Alaska and the other toward the Philippines, for the hearty grasp of friendship.


For more detailed information concerning the topics treated in this chapter, the reader is referred to “The Story of Japan” (Murray), in the “Story of the Nations” series; “The Gist of Japan” (Peery); and “Advance Japan” (Morris).

For pleasant descriptions of various portions of Japan, “Jinrikisha Days in Japan” (Miss Scidmore); “Lotos-Time in Japan” (Finck); “Japan and her People” (Miss Hartshorne); “Unbeaten Tracks in Japan” (Miss Bird, now Mrs. Bishop); “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd); and “Japan To-Day” (Scherer) are recommended.

The most complete popular work on the country is the “Hand-Book for Japan” (Chamberlain and Mason), 8th edition; and the most thorough scientific treatment is to be found in Rein’s “Japan.”

Students of seismology should consult Prof. John Milne’s works.




Outline of Topics: Agriculture; petty farming; small capital and income; character of farmer; decrease of farmers; principal products; rice; tea; tobacco; silk; cotton; camphor; bamboo; marine products and industries.—Mining.—Engineering.—Shipbuilding.—Miscellaneous industries.—Mechanical industries.—Shopping in Japan.—Wages and incomes.—Guilds, labor unions, strikes, etc.—Mr. Katayama.—Socialism.—Bibliography.

THE chief occupation of the Japanese is agriculture, in which the great mass of the people are employed. On account of the volcanic nature and the mountainous condition of the country, there are large portions not tillable;14 and for the same reason, perhaps, the soil in general is not naturally very fertile. It must be, and can be, made so by artificial means; but as yet not half of what is fairly fertile soil is under cultivation. Large portions of arable land, particularly in Yezo and Formosa, can be made to return rich harvests, and are gradually being brought under man’s dominion. But it can be readily understood that if for any reason the crops fail, severe suffering will ensue, and perhaps become widespread. The prosperity of the country depends largely upon the prosperity of its farmers.


Farming, like almost everything in that land of miniatures, is on a limited scale, as each man has only a very small holding. “There is no farm in Japan; there are only gardens” (Uchimura). Even a “petty farmer” of our Northwest would ridicule the extremely insignificant farms of the Japanese, who, in turn, would be astounded at the prodigious domains of a Dalrymple. A careful investigator, Dr. Karl Rathgen, has summed up the situation as follows: “In Japan are to be found only small holdings. A farm of five chō15 (twelve acres) is considered very large. As a rule the Japanese farmer is without hired labor and without cattle. The family alone cultivates the farm, which, however, is so small that a large share of the available labor can be devoted to other purposes besides farming, such as the production of silk, indigo, tobacco. The average holding for the whole of Japan (excluding the Hokkaidō) for each agricultural family is 8.3 tan15 (about two acres), varying from a maximum of 17.6 tan in the prefecture of Aomori to a minimum of 5.3 tan in the prefecture of Wakayama.” “There are no large landed proprietors in Japan.”

A Japanese farm is so insignificant, partly because a Japanese farmer has only a very small capital, and needs only a slight income to support life. It has been estimated that a man so fortunate as to own a farm of five chō15 obtains therefrom an annual income of 100 or 120 yen.15 And yet the Japanese18 farmers are very careful and thoroughly understand their business. “In spade-husbandry,” says Dr. Griffis, “they have little to learn”; but “in stock-raising, fruit-growing, and the raising of hardier grains than rice, they need much instruction.”16

A Japanese farmer is hard-working, industrious, stolid, conservative, and yet, by reason of his fatalistic and stoical notions, in a way happy and contented. “Left to the soil to till it, to live and die upon it, the Japanese farmer has remained the same, ... with his horizon bounded by his rice-fields, his water-courses, or the timbered hills, his intellect laid away for safe-keeping in the priest’s hands, ... caring little who rules him, unless he is taxed beyond the power of flesh and blood to bear.” He is, however, more than ordinarily interested in taxation, for the land-tax of three and one-third per cent of the assessed value of the land amounts to about half the national revenue, and is no inconsiderable part of the state, county, town, and village taxes. It would have reverted to the original rate of two and one-half per cent; but it has been still further increased on account of the Russo-Japanese War.17


The principal products of the Japanese farms are rice, barley, wheat, millet, maize, beans, peas, potatoes (Irish and sweet), turnips, carrots, melons, eggplants, buckwheat, onions, beets, and a large white bitter radish (daikon). A very good average yield is fifty bushels to an acre. The entire annual production of rice varies each year, but averages about 46,000,000 koku;18 and the annual exportation of rice runs from about 8,000,000 yen to over 10,000,000 yen. The list of fruits19 and nuts grown in Japan includes pears, peaches, oranges, figs, persimmons, grapes, plums, loquats, apricots, strawberries, bananas, apples, peanuts, chestnuts, etc.

Among other important Japanese productions must be mentioned, of course, tea, tobacco, and mulberry trees. Of these the last is, perhaps, indigenous; but the other two are importations in their origin. The culture of tea is most extensively carried on in the middle and southern districts. The annual production is now about 7,000,000 kwan;20 the annual export trade is valued at over 10,000,000 yen. The price of tea runs from five cents to six dollars per pound, of which the last is raised at Uji, near Kyōto. The Japanese are a tea-drinking people; they use that beverage at meals and between meals, at all20 times and in all places. It is true that they drink it from a very small cup, which holds about two tablespoonfuls, but they drink, as we are told to pray, “without ceasing.” Hot water is kept ever ready for making tea, which is sipped every few minutes, and is always served, with cake or confectionery, to visitors.21

Tobacco was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese, but its use was at first strictly prohibited. The practice of smoking, however, rapidly spread until it became well-nigh a universal custom, not even restricted to the male sex. The Lilliputian pipe would seem to indicate that only a limited amount of the weed is used; but smoking, like tea-drinking, is practised “early and often.” The Japanese tobacco is said to be “remarkable for its mildness and dryness.”

The silk industry is the most important in relation to Japan’s foreign trade, and is on the increase. Silk is sent away to American and European markets chiefly in its raw state, but is also manufactured into handkerchiefs, etc. The exports of silk for the year 1910 amounted to about $90,000,000, or about two-fifths of the entire export trade. It would, of course, be beyond the limits of this chapter to enter into the description of the details of sericulture; it may be sufficient here to state that only the stolid patience of Orientals can well endure the slow, tedious, and painstaking process of feeding the silkworms.22



Cotton-spinning is a comparatively new industry in Japan, but is growing rapidly. Cotton is, of course, the principal material for the clothing of the common people, who cannot afford silk robes. But Japan, though raising a great deal of cotton, cannot supply the demand, and imports large quantities from India and America. It is only within a short time that cotton-spinning by machinery has become a Japanese industry; formerly all the yarn was spun by hand; but in 1907 there were 136 cotton-mills in Japan. Some are very small concerns; but in Osaka, Nagoya, and Tōkyō there are comparatively large and flourishing mills. Ordinary workmen receive from 12 to 20 sen a day; skilled laborers make from 30 to 40 sen; girls earn from 10 to 20 sen, and children only a few sen per day; but the stockholders receive dividends of from 10 to 20 per cent per annum.

Since Japan acquired Formosa from China, she has had added to her resources another very important and valuable product, in which she possesses practically a monopoly of the world’s market and a supply supposed to be sufficient for the demands of the whole world for this entire century. It has been estimated, for instance, that the area of interior districts in which the camphor tree is found will reach over 1,500 miles. The camphor business of Japan in Formosa is in the hands of a British firm, to whom, as highest bidder, the government let out its monopoly for a fixed term of years.23


Perhaps the most generally useful product of Japan is the bamboo,24 which “finds a use in every size, at all ages, and for manifold purposes,” or, as Huish expresses it, “is used for everything.” Rein and Chamberlain each takes up a page or more for an incomplete list of articles made from bamboo; so that Piggott is surely right when he states that it is “an easier task to say what is not made of bamboo.”

Inasmuch as Japan is an insular country, with a long line of sea-coast, it is natural that fishing should be one of the principal occupations of the people, and that fish, seaweed, and other marine products should be common diet. From ancient times down to the opening of Japan, the fishing industry was a simple occupation, somewhat limited in its scope; but since the Japanese have learned from other nations to what extent marine industries are capable of development, fishing has become the source of many and varied lines of business. The canning industry, for instance, is of quite recent origin, but is growing rapidly. Whaling and sealing are very profitable occupations. Smelt-fishing by torchlight by means of tame cormorants was largely employed in olden times, and is kept up somewhat even to the present day. The occupation of a fisherman, though arduous and dangerous, is not entirely prosaic, and, in Japan, contributes to art. The return home of the fishing-smacks23 in the afternoon is an interesting sight; and the aspect of the sea, dotted with white sails, appeals so strongly to the æsthetic sense of the Japanese that it is included among the “eight views” of any locality.

Mining is also a flourishing industry in Japan, as the country is quite rich in mineral resources. Coal is so extensively found that it constitutes an item of export. Copper, antimony, sulphur, and silver are found in large quantities; gold, tin, iron, lead, salt, etc., in smaller quantities. Oil, too, has sprung up into an important product.25

Engineering, perhaps, deserves a paragraph by itself. This department in the Imperial University is flourishing, and sends forth annually a large number of good engineers. In civil engineering the Japanese have become so skilful that they have little need now of foreign experts except in the matter of general supervision.

It is worthy of special notice that the Japanese have become quite skilful in ship-building, so that they now construct vessels of various kinds, not only for themselves but for other nations. The Mitsu Bishi Company, Nagasaki, has constructed for the Oriental Steamship Company three fine passenger steamers of 13,000 tons each. At the Uraga Dockyard large American men-of-war have been satisfactorily repaired; and on October 15, 1902, a small United States gunboat was launched,—“the first24 instance in which Japan has got an order of shipbuilding from a Western country.”26

Among the minor miscellaneous industries which can only be mentioned are sugar-raising, paper-making (there are a number of mills which are paying well), dyeing, glass-blowing, lumber, horse-breeding, poultry, pisciculture, ice, brick, fan, match, button, handkerchief, pottery, lacquer, weaving, embroidery, sake and beer brewing, soy, etc. The extent and variety of the industries of Modern Japan are also clearly evidenced in a short article about “The Ōsaka Exhibition” of 1903 in the Appendix.

In what we style “the mechanical arts” the Japanese excel, and have a world-wide reputation. With their innate æsthetic instincts they make the most commonplace beautiful. It is a trite saying that a globe-trotter, picking up in a native shop a very pretty little article, and admiring it for its simplicity and exquisite taste, is likely to find it an ordinary household utensil. Japanese lacquer work is distinctive and remarkable for its beauty and strength; lacquered utensils, such as bowls, trays, etc., are not damaged by boiling soups, hot water, or even cigar ashes. In porcelain and pottery, the Japanese are celebrated for the artistic skill displayed in manufacture and ornamentation. “The bronze and inlaid metal work of Japan is highly esteemed.” Japanese swords, too, are remarkable weapons with “astonishing cleaving power.” To summarize this25 paragraph, it may be said that the Japanese have turned what we call mechanical industries into fine arts, which display a magnificent triumph of æstheticism even in little things.27

This chapter would be incomplete without a paragraph concerning Japanese shops, or retail stores, which are among the first curiosities to attract and rivet a foreigner’s attention. The building is, perhaps, a small, low, frame structure, crowded among its fellows on a narrow lane. The floor is raised a foot or so above the ground, and is covered, as usual, with thick matting. Spread out on the floor or on wooden tiers or on shelves are the goods for sale. The shopkeeper sits on his feet on the floor, and calmly smokes his pipelet, or fans himself, or in winter warms his hands over the hibachi (fire-bowl). He greets you with a profound bow and most respectful words of welcome, but makes no attempt to effect a sale, or even to show an article unless you ask to see it. He is imperturbably indifferent whether or not you make a purchase; either way, it is all right. He will politely display anything you want to see; and, even if, after making him much trouble, you buy nothing or only an insignificant and cheap article, he sends you away with as profound a bow and as polite expressions as if you had bought out the shop. Whether you buy little or much or even nothing, you are always dismissed with “Arigatō gozaimasu” and “Mata irasshai,” which are very respectful26 phrases for “Thank you” and “Come again.” Having dropped into “a veritable shoppers’ paradise,” you will quickly “find yourself the prey of an acute case of shopping fever before you know it!” It is, indeed, true, to quote further from this same writer, that “to stroll down the Broadway [known as the Ginza] of Tokio of an evening is a liberal education in every-day art.”28

From what has already been written, it is easily noticeable that wages and incomes, like so many things in petite Japan, are insignificant. It may be added that ordinary mechanics earn on an average over 50 sen a day, and the most skilful seldom get more than double that amount; that carpenters earn from 70 to 100 sen a day; that street-car drivers and conductors receive 12 or 15 yen per month, and other workmen of the common people about the same. Even an official who receives 1,000 yen per year is considered to have a snug income. It will be inferred from this that the cost of living is proportionately cheaper, whether for provisions or for shelter or for clothes, and that the wants, the absolute necessities, of the people are few and simple. Literally true it is, that a Japanese man “wants but little here below, nor wants that little long.” With rice, barley, sweet potatoes, other vegetables, fish, eggs, tea, and even sweetmeats in abundance and very cheap, a Japanese can subsist on little and be contented and happy with enough, or even less than that. But,27 unfortunately, the new civilization of the West has carried into Japan the itch for gold and the desire for more numerous and more expensive luxuries, and has increased the cost of living without increasing proportionately the amount of income or wages.29

Industrial Japan has already become more or less modified by features of Occidental industrialism, such as guilds, trade unions, strikes, co-operative stores. It is true that feudal Japan also had guilds, which are, however, now run rather on modern lines. One of the oldest, strongest, and most compact is that of the dock coolies, who without many written rules are yet so well organized that they have almost an absolute monopoly, with frequent strikes, which are always successful. Others of the guilds are those of the sawyers, the plasterers, the stonemasons, the bricklayers, the carpenters, the barbers, the coolies (who can travel all over the empire without a penny and live on their fellows), the wrestlers, the actors, the gamblers, the pickpockets, etc. The beggars’ guild is now defunct. The labor unions of modern days include the iron-workers, the ship-carpenters, the railway engineers, the railway workmen, the printers, and the European-style cooks. The last-mentioned is one in which foreigners resident in Japan necessarily take a practical interest! The only unions which have become absolute masters of the situation are those of the dock coolies, the railway laborers, and the railway engineers. As for28 co-operative stores, there are a dozen or more in Tōkyō, Yokohama, and Northern Japan.

The perfect organization of these modern unions is due largely to the efforts of a young man named Sen Katayama, who is the champion of the rights of the laboring man in Japan. He spent ten years in America and made a special study of social problems. He is the head of Kingsley Hall, a social settlement of varied activity in the heart of Tōkyō, and editor of the “Labor World,” the organ of the working classes. That the changes rapidly taking place in the industrial life of Japan will raise up serious problems, there is no doubt; what phases they will assume cannot be foreseen. But “socialistic” ideas are carefully repressed in modern Japan.


“Japan and its Trade” and “Advance Japan” (Morris); “The Yankees of the East” (Curtis); “Japan in Transition” (Ransome), chap. x.; “The Awakening of the East” (Leroy-Beaulieu), chaps. iv. and v.; “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chaps. viii. and xi.; and especially Rein’s “Industries of Japan,” in which the subject is treated in great detail with German thoroughness. But to keep pace with the rapid progress along industrial and commercial lines, one really needs current English newspapers and magazines, such as are mentioned in the chapter on “Language and Literature.” The reports of the British and United States consular officials are also very useful in this respect.

“The Japan Year Book,” issued annually, is a veritable cyclopedia of important facts and figures.




Outline of Topics: Travelling in Old Japan; vehicles of Old and New Japan; jinrikisha; railway travel; telegraph and telephone; street-car, bicycle, and automobile; steamships.—Postal system.—Oil, gas, and electric light.—Foreign commerce; variety of imports.—Mixed corporations.—Stock and other exchanges.—Banking system; coinage; monetary standard.—Baron Shibusawa on business ability of Japanese, prospects of industrial and commercial Japan, and financial situation.—Bibliography.

ONE of the most common and most important indications of a great change in the life and civilization of Japan is to be seen in the improved modes of travel and transportation. The ancient method, though in some sections pack-horses and oxen were used, was essentially pedestrian. The common people travelled on foot, and carried or dragged over the road their own baggage or freight. Couriers, carrying the most important despatches, relied upon fleetness of foot. The higher classes and wealthy people, even though not themselves making any exertions in their own behalf, were carried about in vehicles by coolies, who, with their human burdens, tramped from place to place. On water, too, travel and transportation depended mostly upon human muscular exertion, as all boats, small or large, had to be propelled by oars or poles, except when favored with a30 breeze to swell the sails and allow the boatmen a respite from their toil. But all this hard labor developed, of course, a strength of limb and a power of endurance that even in recent years have enabled the Japanese soldiers to march and fight in either the piercing cold and deep snow of Manchuria or the blistering heat of Formosa. A life of constant outdoor exposure to wind, rain, cold, or heat has toughened and browned the skin, and made an altogether hardy race out of the common people; while the lack of this regular exercise and calisthenic training has left its mark in the comparatively weak constitutions of those who travelled, not on their own feet, but on the shoulders of others.

The common vehicles of the olden days were ordinary carts for freight and norimono and kago for passengers. The norimono is a good-sized sedan-chair or palanquin, in which the rider can sit in a fairly comfortable position. The kago is a sort of basket in which the traveller takes a half-sitting, half-reclining posture, not altogether comfortable—at least for tall foreigners. At present the norimono is seldom if ever employed except for corpses or invalids, but the kago is still used in mountainous regions, where nothing else is available. It must be understood, of course, that the nobles and their retainers often rode on horseback; but the great mass of the people walked and the few rode in kago or norimono.

Now, however, modes of travel have changed greatly, and are changing year by year. There are still many pedestrians; the kago is yet to be seen;31 boats are propelled by stern-end oar or laboriously pushed along with poles; and pack-horses and oxen—even in the streets of Tōkyō—are in frequent use. But there are many other means of communication and transportation. There have come into use the horse-car, the stage, the jinrikisha, the railroad, with the telegraph and the telephone; the modern row-boat, the steamboat; the bicycle, the automobile, and the electric railway, with the electric light to show the road by night. An excellent postal system and various other modern contrivances for facilitating the means of communication have been adopted.

The most common mode of conveyance at present, in all possible localities, is the jin-riki-sha (man-power-carriage), or “Pull-man car,” as it has been wittily called. This is a two-wheeled “small gig,” or large baby-carriage, pulled by one or more men. A ride in a jinrikisha, after one has become accustomed to human labor in that capacity, is really comfortable and delightful. The coolies who pull these vehicles develop swiftness and endurance, but are comparatively short-lived. There is also a two-wheeled freight cart manipulated in the same fashion. It has been estimated that in the Empire there are almost 1,350,000 hand-carts, about 185,000 jinrikishas, about 28,000 ox-carts, more than 66,000 other freight carts, and almost 100,000 carriages and wagons. The business of transportation thus furnishes occupation to thousands of people, but gives to each engaged therein only a scanty remuneration,32 which is often insufficient for the support of life, after the tax has been paid. The fee for a jinrikisha ride averages about 12 or 15 sen per ri (2½ miles), or varies from 20 to 30 sen per hour. If a coolie makes 50 sen in one day, he is fortunate, and is lucky to average 25 or 30 sen per day; for some days he may be wearily waiting and watching from dawn to the dead of night without receiving scarcely a copper. Hard, indeed, is their lot; and their death rate is rather high.30

But even the jinrikisha will eventually be supplanted for long journeys wherever a railroad goes. There are now in Japan over 6,000 miles of railway, and in Korea and South Manchuria there are 641 and 706 miles more. There is one continuous line of railroad from Aomori in the extreme north to Shimonoseki in the extreme south of the main island, and then, after crossing the Straits of Shimonoseki, there is another unbroken line from Moji to Nagasaki and Kagoshima or Kumamoto. In the island of Yezo (Hokkaidō) is a short line built by American engineers after American models; but all other railroads in33 Japan were built and are operated according to the British methods. The rate of fare is 1 sen per mile for third class, 2 sen for second class, and 3 sen for first class, and the rate of speed rarely exceeds 20 or 25 miles per hour; but fortunately the people are not in such a hurry as Americans. Recently, however, express trains, running at the rate of 30 or more miles per hour, have been started on several of the roads, especially between large and important places. Dining-cars and sleeping-cars, too, may be found on some of the lines; and the American check system is used for baggage. The government owns most of the railways; in 1906, the Twenty-second Diet adopted a bill for buying up the seventeen largest private lines. This may have been desirable from a strategic point of view; but from the business standpoint it was not advisable, for the government lines are not so well managed. The best line in the country was a private one, the Sanyō Railway Company, operating west from Kōbe.31

Railroads have been naturally accompanied, and often preceded, by telegraph lines, which now keep the various parts of the empire in close communication with Tōkyō and with each other. During 1910 the telegrams numbered over 28,000,000, and are increasing rapidly in number every year. The Japanese syllabary has lent itself easily to a code like the Morse Code.32 Telephones, too, have been34 introduced and are growing in favor so rapidly that the government cannot keep up with the petitions for installation. According to the latest reports, there were over 100,000 telephones in all Japan. There are many public slot telephones, which can be used for a few minutes for 5 sen.

Horse-cars are largely used in cities, but are being gradually supplanted by electric cars. The bus in the city and the stage in the country are in common use, but cannot be recommended for comfort. Bicycles are very popular, and are cheaply manufactured in Japan; even Japanese women have begun to ride, while young men are very skilful as trick riders and rapid as “scorchers.” Automobiles also are coming into a limited use.

In a country where formerly no ships large enough to make long voyages were allowed to be made, steamship companies are now flourishing. The Ōsaka Shōsen Kwaisha (Osaka Merchant Marine Company) is a very large and prosperous corporation, whose business is chiefly coasting trade, but which also runs to Formosa, the Ryūkyū Islands, the Bonin Islands, Korea, China, and America. The largest steamship company in Japan, and one of the largest in the world, is the Nippon Yūsen Kwaisha (Japan Mail Steamship Company). It has a fleet of 88 vessels with 300,000 tons; and maintains not only a frequent coasting service, but also several foreign lines, to Siberia, Korea, China, India, Australia, Europe, and America. This is the line which runs35 fortnightly from Seattle to Hongkong with excellent passenger accommodations. The Tōyō Kisen Kwaisha (Oriental Steamship Company) is a Japanese organization with three fine vessels running about once a month from San Francisco to Hawaii, Japan, China, and Manila. The word Maru33 in such combinations as “America Maru” or “Kaga Maru” is a special suffix always attached to the name of a ship.

In Old Japan there was no official postal system, and letters were despatched by private messengers and relays of couriers. When Japan was opened to the world, some of the foreign nations represented there maintained special post-offices of their own, but these were gradually abandoned. It was in 1872 that the modern postal system of Japan was organized on American models; and it was only five years later when Japan was admitted to the International Postal Union. The twenty-fifth anniversary of this event was celebrated with great éclat in Tōkyō in 1902. The Japanese postal system has been gradually improved during its quarter-century of existence, so that in some respects it excels its model, the United States postal system, and is really one of the most efficient in the world. It includes registration, money orders, parcel post, reply postal cards, postal savings,34 and universal free delivery. Letter postage is 3 sen within the empire and 10 sen to all countries of the International Postal Union; postal cards are 1½ and 4 sen respectively.36 We also beg leave to remind Americans that letter postage to Japan is not 2 cents, but 5 cents, per ounce.

Oil is most extensively used for lighting purposes; but gas and electricity are also employed, and bring good dividends to companies furnishing such illumination. A very large amount of oil has been annually imported from the United States and Russia; but as rich fields have been found in Northern Japan,35 the Standard Oil Company is also interested in a Japanese corporation, the International Oil Company, organized to work Japanese fields. Foreign capital has also been invested in the Ōsaka Gas Company, and is sought by the Tōkyō Gas Company, as well as by several electric and steam railway companies. The first buildings erected for the Imperial Diet were supplied with electric lights, but caught fire in some way, and were totally destroyed. This calamity was laid at the door of a flaw in the electric lighting apparatus, and so frightened the Emperor that he decided not to use the electric lights in the palace; but if my memory serves me rightly, after one or two nights of imperfect and unsatisfactory lighting, he resorted once more to electricity.

The foreign trade of Japan had increased from $13,123,272 in 1868 to $265,017,161 in 1902,—twenty-fold in a third of a century.36 Of recent years the imports have been larger than the exports; in37 1898 they were more than $55,000,000 in excess; in 1900, almost $41,500,000 in excess; but in 1901 the difference was only about $1,750,000. The chief articles of export are silk (either raw, or partly or wholly manufactured), cotton yarn and goods, matches, coal, high-grade rice, copper, camphor, tea, matting, straw braid, and porcelain. The principal imports are raw cotton, shirting and printed cotton, mousseline, wool, cotton velvet, satin, cheap rice, flour, sugar, petroleum, oil cake, peas and beans, machinery, iron and steel (including nails and rails), steamers, locomotives, and railway carriages. The exports are sent chiefly to the United States, Great Britain and colonies (especially Hongkong), China, and France; while the imports come mostly from Great Britain and colonies (especially England, India, and Hongkong), the United States, Germany, France and colonies, and China.

The variety in the geographical distribution of the imports of Japan may be faintly illustrated by the following partial list of supplies taken by an American family from Tōkyō to the summer resort of Hakone: soap from England and America, cocoa from England, butter from California, cornstarch from Buffalo, N. Y., Swiss milk, Holland candles, pickles from England, Scotch oatmeal, American rolled oats and cracked wheat, flour from Spokane Falls, Washington, canned goods from San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago, and Omaha, and evaporated cream from Illinois.

The first mixed corporation, composed of Japanese38 and foreigners, to be licensed under the new Commercial Codes after the new treaties went into effect in 1899, was the Nippon Electric Company, in which a large electric company of Chicago is specially interested.

Japan has several stock exchanges and chambers of commerce in various localities, and these are all under the strictest supervision and close restrictions.

It was in 1872 that National Bank Regulations were first issued, and a few banks were established; but in 1876 it was found necessary to make radical amendments in those regulations in the way of affording greater facilities for the organization of banks. The result was that by 1879 there were 153 national banks in the country; and in 1886 the further organization of national banks was stopped. In the mean time the Yokohama Specie Bank had been organized (in 1880) for the support of the foreign trade; and (in 1882) the Bank of Japan (Nippon Ginkō) had been organized to “secure proper regulations of the currency.” In 1897 the Industrial Bank, and later provincial agricultural-industrial banks were organized to give special banking facilities to local agricultural and industrial circles. The Bank of Formosa, the Colonial Bank of Hokkaidō, and a Credit Mobilier complete the list of official institutions. By 1899 all the national banks had either been changed into private banks or had gone out of existence. Private banks number almost 1,700, of which the Mitsui, the Mitsubishi, the Hundredth, the Sumitomo, the Fifteenth (Nobles’), the First, and the Yasuda are the strongest. Savings-banks39 are also quite numerous (652), and are helping to develop habits of thrift and economy among the common people.37


The first Japanese mint was established at Ōsaka in 1871, and has been actively at work ever since; and there is an institution in Tōkyō for the manufacture of paper money. The coins now chiefly used the copper, nickel, silver, and gold; but in the country districts it is still possible to find brass coins of less than mill values. The copper pieces are ½ sen (5 rin), 1 sen, and 2 sen; the 5 sen piece is the only nickel coin; the silver pieces are 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, and 50 sen; and the gold coins are 5 yen, 10 yen, and 20 yen. There are also paper notes of 1 yen and upward: these are issued only by the Bank of Japan, and amounted in 1910 to over 400,000,000 yen.

In 1897 Japan adopted the gold standard, so that exchange fluctuations with the Occident are slight, and the Japanese currency has a fixed value, at the rate of about 50 cents for the yen.38

Concerning the prospects of industrial and commercial Japan, it may be well to note the views39 of Baron Shibusawa, one of the foremost of Japanese merchants and financiers. In referring to the capacity of the Japanese for business, the Baron says:—

“There are, however, four peculiarities in the Japanese character which make it hard for the people to achieve40 business success. These are: Firstly, impulsiveness, which causes them to be enthusiastic during successful business and progressive even to rashness when filled with enthusiasm; secondly, lack of patience, which causes easy discouragement when business is not so successful; thirdly, disinclination for union; and fourthly, they do not honor credit as they should, which is so important a factor in financial success. These four peculiarities are to be met with in Japanese business men in a more or less marked degree.

“Although Japan, as a country, is old, yet her commercial and industrial career being new, there are necessarily many points of incompleteness. For example, although we have many railways, yet there is no close connection made between the railway station and the harbor. Again, although we have railways, yet we have no appropriate cars, etc. To complete such work and to open up the resources of the country, and to allow Japan to benefit from them, we need more capital. The capital we have in the country is not enough. So what is now wanted in Japan is foreign capital. A great proportion of the Japanese people, however, are opposed to the idea of sharing any profits equally with any other nation. Their exclusiveness in this respect is a distinct relic of the old era. They ignore altogether the fact that, with the assistance of foreign capital, the profits would be quadrupled. The very idea of sharing with an outside power is distasteful to them. For instance, I have been endeavoring for many years by word and deed to obtain a revision of the laws relative to the ownership of land in Japan by foreigners. I may say that Marquis Itō and other public men are of my opinion in the matter. Because, however, of this exclusive element in Japan, it has still been found impossible to allow foreigners to own Japanese land. Until this change is41 made, foreign investors will naturally feel that there is little safety for their investments.

“I am also anxious to introduce the idea of a system of trusteeship in order to encourage foreign nations to invest their money in Japanese enterprises. There are very many uncompleted works in Japan, which need outside money to finish them and which would return good profits. I feel assured that it would be possible for prominent Japanese bankers and capitalists to make themselves personally responsible for the money of the foreign investor. By such a system the security of the investment would be much increased, and the foreign investor would have the assurance that his money was safe, even if the business in which it had been invested may have ceased to exist. The entire loss caused by the failure of Japanese business enterprises would thus be borne by the Japanese.

“The day will come when Japan will compete with the powers already in the field on all lines of manufactured goods, but this time must necessarily be far distant. The trouble at present is that, while the Japanese can imitate everything, they cannot, at the same time, invent superior things. But the trade of the Oriental countries will come to be regarded as Japan’s natural share, and she is already well capable of supplying it.

“The resources of Japan are very varied and very fair in quantity at present. Raw silk and tea are abundant, while coal is plentiful, as also copper and silver; gold is not so much so. I hope to see our plentiful water supply turned into good account and harnessed to produce electric energy. This would be a great saving of expense and would cheapen the cost of production very much. Oil has been found in several districts and will take the place of coal to a large extent, and it is possible that if fully developed its export trade may be made to42 the neighboring countries. In Hokkaidō we have rich coal and silver mines and oil wells, while in Formosa we have rich gold mines. The iron we use in our iron works in Kiūshiu comes partly from several mines of Japan and partly from China.

“My hope for the future is that foreign capital may be brought into the country and that the economic position of the country may be made so secure as to leave no doubt possible in the mind of the world as to the stability of the Japanese Empire.”

We also take pleasure in quoting the same high authority upon the subject of the present financial situation in Japan, as follows:40

“The present financial difficulty in Japan is only the natural sequence of the over-expansion of business of some years ago. In every country there are waves of prosperity followed by periods of depression. I have known, in the economic history of Japan since the Restoration, five or six such waves. They do not necessarily injure the real financial standing of the country. The peculiarities of the Japanese business character have much to answer for in the way of increasing the appearance of financial insecurity during the times of depression. After the prosperous times of 1893 came the war with China and the subsequent indemnity. Much of the money paid by China was spent in Japan, and the Japanese people came to the conclusion that this increased circulation of money would be permanent. They acted impulsively in many enterprises, and rushed into all kinds of business because the government had over-expanded its enterprises after the war. The depression reached its height in 1900 and 1901, and businesses were abandoned or reduced because it was not such easy work as formerly. By proper management our national income can be made still greater than our expenditure.”



The national debt of Japan January, 1913, was more than 2,500,000,000 yen ($1,250,000,000), of which almost 1,500,000,000 yen ($750,000,000) was in foreign loans.


For interesting accounts of travel when and where modern conveniences were not available, read “Unbeaten Tracks in Japan” (Bird); “The Mikado’s Empire” (Griffis); “Noto, an Unexplored Corner of Japan” (Lowell); “Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan” (Hearn); and papers in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. For similarly interesting accounts of travel with modern conveniences read “Jinrikisha Days in Japan” (Scidmore); “Japan and her People” (Hartshorne); “The Yankees of the East” (Curtis); “Japan To-day” (Scherer); “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd).

On the industrial and commercial phases of these topics, consult books, papers, magazines, and pamphlets mentioned in the bibliography of the preceding chapter; especially, for the latest statistics, “The Japan Year Book.”




Outline of Topics: Ainu; ethnology; two types; comparative stature and weight; intellectual and moral qualities.—Classes in society of old and new régimes; social principle.—Family and empire.—Houses; public buildings; rooms; foreign architecture.—Gardens.—Food; meals; table manners; foreign cooking.—Undress and dress; European costume.—Bathing.—Bibliography.

WHO were the aborigines of Japan is yet a disputed question. Remains have been found of a race of dwarfs who dwelt in caves and pits, but who these people were is not positively known. They may have been contemporary with the Ainu, whom many call “the aborigines of Japan.” It is certain, however, that the Ainu were once a very numerous nation, “the members of which formerly extended all over Japan, and were in Japan long before the present race of Japanese.” But the latter gradually forced the former northward, until a final refuge was found in Yezo and the Kurile Islands. There the Ainu are now living, but are slowly dying out as a race; there are at present only about 17,000 remaining. They are said to be “the hairiest race in the whole world,” “of sturdy build,” filthy in their habits (bathing is unknown), addicted45 to drunkenness, and yet “of a mild and amiable disposition.” Their religion is nature-worship.41

It is well known that the Japanese are classed under the Mongolian (or Yellow) Race. They themselves boastfully assert that they belong to the “golden race,” and are superior to Caucasians, who belong to the “silver race”! As Mongolians, they are marked, not only by a yellowish hue, of many shades from the darkest to the lightest, but also by straight black hair (rather coarse), scanty beard, rather broad and prominent cheek-bones, and eyes more or less oblique. Some think that the Japanese people show strong evidences of Malay origin,42 and claim that the present Emperor, for instance, 46 is of a striking Malay type. It is not impossible, nor even improbable, that Malays were borne on the “Japan Current” northward from their tropical abodes to the Japanese islands; but there is no historical record of such a movement. Therefore the best authorities, like Rein and Baelz, do not acknowledge more than slight traces of Malay influence. A more recent theory concerning the origin of the real Japanese—or Yamato men, as they called themselves—is that they are descendants of the Hittites, whose capital was Hamath, or Yamath, or Yamato!

There are two distinct types of Japanese: the oval-faced, narrow-eyed, small aristocratic class; and the pudding-faced, full-eyed, flat-nosed, stout common people. Of these, the latter is the one claimed to be Malay. The plebeians, having always been accustomed to hard labor by the sweat of the brow, are comparatively strong; the others, having been developed by centuries of an inactive life, have inherited weak constitutions. Indeed, the people, as a whole, are subject to early maturity and early decay. There is a Japanese proverb to this effect: “At ten, a god-like child; at twenty, a clever man; from twenty-five on, an ordinary man.” And, in spite of the fact that there have been remarkable exceptions to this rule, careful investigation by Japanese supports the truth of the proverb. And yet there seems to be no 47 doubt that modern education and conditions of life show a gradual improvement in this respect.


The average Japanese, compared with the average European or American, has a lower stature43 with a long body and short legs. A good authority states that “the average stature of Japanese men is about the same as the average stature of European women”; and that “the [Japanese] women are proportionately smaller.” Some one has wittily called the Japanese “the diamond edition of humanity.”

The Japanese also weigh much less than Europeans. The average weight of young men of twenty years of age in Europe is about 144 pounds, while the average weight of the strongest young men of the suburban districts of Tōkyō was only about 121 pounds; which gives the European an advantage of 23 pounds.

The Japanese are very quick to learn. Their minds are strong in observation, perception, and memory, and weak in logic and abstraction. As born lovers of nature, they have well-trained powers of observation and perception, so that their minds turn readily to scientific pursuits. And as the ancient Japanese system of education followed Chinese models, the power of memorizing by rote has been strongly developed, so that the Japanese mind has little difficulty in becoming a storehouse of historical and other facts. But, as the powers of reasoning and abstraction have not been well trained, the48 Japanese do not take so readily to mathematical problems and metaphysical theorems.

The typical Japanese is loyal, filial, respectful, obedient, faithful, kind, gentle, courteous, unselfish, generous.44 His besetting sins are deception, intemperance, debauchery,—and these are common sins of humanity. In respect to these evils, he is unmoral rather than immoral; and in his case these sins should not be considered so heinous as in the case of one who has been taught and knows better.45 And it is with reference to these very evils that Shintō, Buddhism, and Confucianism have been a complete failure in Japan, and that Christianity is making its impress upon the nation.

There never were distinct and rigid castes in Japan, as in Egypt and India, but formerly there were four classes in society. These were, in order, the official and military class; the agricultural class, or the farmers; the laboring class, or the artisans; and the mercantile class, or merchants. Above all these were the Emperor and the Imperial family; below all these were the tanners, grave-diggers, beggars, etc., who were the Japanese pariah, or outcasts. The first class included the court nobility, the feudal lords, and their knights; they alone were permitted to carry two swords, were exempt from taxation, and were also the special educated and literary class, because they49 had the most leisure for study. The other three classes together constituted the common people, who were kept in rigid subjection and bled profusely by taxes.

Under the present régime there are three general classes of the entire population of Japan: the nobility, the gentry, and the common people. The nobility, created in 1884, comprises five orders: prince, marquis, count, viscount, and baron; the gentry are the descendants of the knights (samurai) of the old first class; the common people include all the rest of the population. By the census of 1903 the nobility numbered 5,055; the gentry, 2,168,058; and the common people, 44,559,015. (These figures are exclusive of Formosa.) Even now the burden of taxation falls upon the mass of the common people, especially upon the farming class, for the land tax is the most important source of revenue in Japan.

The fundamental principle of Japanese society was, and still is, reverent obedience to superiors. This polite and humble deference is exhibited in their language and in their manners and customs, and has become so thoroughly incorporated into their natures that it even yet resists the levelling tendency of the present age. The language is full of honorifics to be applied to or concerning another, and of humilifics to be applied concerning self. I and mine are thus always ignorant, stupid, dirty, homely, insignificant, etc., while you and yours are ever intelligent, wise, clean, beautiful, noble etc. Perhaps there is nothing50 that causes the student of the vernacular deeper chagrin than to find that he has made so serious an error as to transpose the humble and the honorific words or phrases! The ordinary salutation is really an obeisance, as it consists of a profound bow,—on the street with body bent half forward, in the house with forehead touching the floor. This deep and universal feeling of reverence for superiors and elders early developed into worship, both of the family and of the national ancestors. This is the fundamental and central idea of Shintō, the native cult, of which more will be written in a subsequent chapter.

The Japanese family46 was, in its constitution, an empire, with absolute authority in the hands of one man. The husband was, theoretically and practically, the great authority to whom wife and children were subject. He was a veritable autocrat and despot; and he received superciliously the homage of all the family, who literally bowed down before him. The family, and not the individual, was the unit of society; but by the new codes now in operation the individual has acquired greater rights. There is much hope, therefore, that gradually the tyranny of the family will be eliminated.

One writer on Japan has well said: “The Empire is one great family; the family is a little empire.”47 In truth, the empire is founded and maintained on51 the family idea of one line “in unbroken succession” from Jimmu Tennō.

A house alone does not make a “home,” but merely gives it local habitation; and as Japanese houses48 are unique, they deserve some consideration. Although brick and stone are coming into use among the wealthy classes, wood is the chief material employed in building. A typical Japanese house is a slight and flimsy frame structure with straw-thatched, or shingled, or tiled roof. It has no foundation in the ground, but rests on stones laid on the ground, and stands wholly above the surface. This and other peculiar features of construction and ornamentation are the outcome of attempts to lessen the dangers from the frequent and severe earthquakes. The outer doors and windows of Japanese houses are called amado (rain-doors), and are solid wood. They slide in grooves above and below; in stormy weather and at night they are closed and fastened, not so tightly, however, as to prevent them from rattling; at other times they are open. The inner doors, the windows, and sometimes the partitions between the different rooms are lattice frames, covered with a translucent, but not transparent, white paper, and running in grooves. These, too, as well as the opaque paper screens used between the rooms, can be taken out; so that all the rooms may be turned into one, or the entire house be thrown open to the air of heaven. The floors are covered with tatami—thick,52 soft mats of straw, each usually six by three feet in size. Thus the accommodations of rooms are indicated by the terms, “six-mat room,” “eight-mat room,” etc. Inasmuch as on these mats the Japanese walk, sit, eat, work, sleep, it is necessary to keep them very clean. They are carpet, chair, sofa, bed, table, all in one, and must not be soiled by dirty sandals, clogs, shoes, or boots, all of which are, therefore, to be removed before entering a house. It may readily be seen that this is quite an inconvenient custom for foreigners!

Schools, churches, offices, stores, and other places for large and frequent public gatherings are being constructed in Occidental style, with doors on hinges, glass windows, chairs, benches, tables, stoves, grates, and other “modern conveniences.”

A room in a Japanese house seems to an American to be comparatively bare and plain, as it is devoid of furniture and bric-à-brac. There is no stove, for only a small box or brazier, containing a few pieces of charcoal in a bed of ashes, is used for heating purposes. There are no chairs or sofas, for the Japanese sit on their feet on the floor. There are no huge bed sets, for they sleep on thick padded quilts spread on the floor at night, and kept in a closet when not needed. There is no large dining-table, for each person eats sitting before a small, low lacquer tray, or table, about a foot high. There is no dazzling array of pictures and other ornaments on the wall—only a kakemono (wall banner) or two;53 and there are no miscellaneous ornaments set around here and there—only a vase of flowers.

But more and more are the Japanese coming to build at least parts of the house in Occidental style, so that it is now quite common to find, in houses of well-to-do people, a foreign room with carpet, table, chairs, pictures, etc. Stoves and grates, too, for either wood or coal, are being largely used. Mattresses, springs, and bedsteads are also coming into use, because sleeping on the floor, where one is subject to draughts, has been found to be unhealthy. In the case of foreign rooms, moreover, it is generally unnecessary to take off the shoes; and thus another frequent cause of colds is removed. A prevailing style of architecture at present is the hybrid!

The best rooms of a Japanese house are not in the front, but in the rear, and have an outlook upon the garden, which likewise, from its plainness and simplicity, is unique. “Its artistic purpose is to copy faithfully the attractions of a veritable landscape, and to carry the real impressions that a real landscape communicates. It is, therefore, at once a picture and a poem; perhaps even more a poem than a picture.” It is in Japan, moreover, that it is possible to have a “garden” without flowers or grass—with, perhaps, only “rocks and pebbles and sand.” For the Japanese truly and literally find “sermons in stones,” and give them not only “character” but also “tones and values.” More than all that, “they held54 it possible to express moral lessons in the design of a garden, and abstract ideas, such as charity, faith, piety, content, calm, and connubial bliss.” In Japan, therefore, landscape-gardening is and always has been a fine art.49

The Japanese may be called vegetarians, for it is only within a recent period that meat has come to play any part in their diet. Fish, flesh, and fowl were once strictly forbidden as articles of food by the tenets of Buddhism, but gradually, one after another, came to be allowed as eatables. Even now meat, though becoming more and more popular as an article of diet, is not used in large quantities at one meal. Chicken, game, beef, ham, and pork may be found on sale in most large towns and cities. But beef is cut up into mouthfuls, and sold to Japanese by the ounce; chickens are carefully and minutely dissected, and sold by parts, as the wing, the leg, or an ounce or two of the breast. It was a matter of great amazement to the Japanese of Mito that the foreigners living there bought a whole chicken or two, or five or six pounds of beef, at one time, and devoured them all in two or three meals!

Rice is, of course, the staple article of diet, “the staff of life” of the Japanese; and yet, in poverty-stricken country districts, this may be a luxury, with55 barley or millet as the ordinary food. Various vegetables, particularly beans, are much used, fresh or pickled; seaweed, fish, eggs, and nuts are largely eaten; and a sauce, made of beans and wheat, and sold in America as “soy,” is “the universal condiment.” Thin vegetable soups are an important part of their meals, and, as no spoons are used, are drunk with a loud sucking noise, which is a fixed habit in drinking. The principal beverages, even more common than water, are tea and sake. The latter, an alcoholic liquor brewed from rice, is taken hot; the former, without milk or sugar, is also taken hot, and is served, not only at meals, but just about all the time. A kettle of hot water is always kept ready at hand, in house or inn, so that tea may be steeped in a moment and procured to drink at any time. It is always set before a guest as soon as he arrives, and is absolutely indispensable in every household.

At meal time each person sits on the floor before a small, low table on which his food is placed. They use no knife, fork, or spoon, only chop-sticks; and do not consider it in bad form to eat and drink with loud smacking and sucking sounds. Their food, when served, seems to foreigners more beautiful than palatable; it is “unsatisfying and mawkish.” One who has probably had innumerable experiences during a long residence in Japan says: “After a Japanese dinner you have simultaneously a feeling of fulness and a feeling of having eaten nothing that will do56 you any good.”50 Yet, in time foreigners learn to like many parts of a Japanese bill of fare; and when travelling about the country, by carrying with them bread, butter, jam, and canned meats, can get along with rice, eggs, vegetables, and chicken or fish to complete the daily fare. In the summer resorts frequented by foreigners there are always hotels and restaurants where only European cooking is served. With the introduction of Western civilization came wine, ale, beer, etc., which are extensively used by the Japanese.

Indeed, we must not fail to take notice of the change that is taking place in the diet of the Japanese. Bread and meat, which were long ago introduced into the diet of the army and the navy, are pretty generally popular; and many other articles of “foreign food” are largely used. It is quite a common custom in well-to-do families to have at least one “foreign meal” per day; and “foreign restaurants,” especially in the large cities, are well patronized. It is said, indeed, that first-class “foreign cooking” is cheaper than first-class “Japanese cooking.” The standard of living has been considerably raised within the past decade.

It is important to touch briefly on the subject of costume, though it will not be possible or profitable to describe minutely every garment. It may not be57 improper to begin with the topic of undress; for the Japanese, perhaps because great lovers of nature, think it nothing immodest to be seen, even in public, in the garb of nature. Of course, in the open ports and large cities, foreign ideas of modesty are more strongly enforced; but in the interior the primitive innocence of the Garden of Eden prevails to a greater or less extent. In hot weather children go stark-naked, and men wear only a loin-cloth: “Honi soit qui mal y pense”—“Evil to him who evil thinks.”

The ordinary Japanese costume may be said to consist of a shirt, a loose silk gown fastened at the waist with a silk sash, short socks with separate places for the big toes, and either straw sandals or wooden clogs. For ceremonial occasions, “a divided skirt,” and a silk coat, adorned with the family crest, are used; these are called, respectively, hakama and haori. In winter two or three padded gowns are added; and in all seasons many persons go bare-footed, bare-legged, and bare-headed. The female garb51 does not differ greatly from the male costume, except that the sash is larger and richer and the gown is made of lighter fabrics. The women powder and paint, oil their hair, and adorn their heads with pretty combs and hairpins.

The Japanese costume is certainly very beautiful and becoming, and is pronounced by medical authorities to be highly sanitary. For persons, however, in active business, and for those who work in the fields,58 it is not so convenient as the European costume; but it is altogether too charming to be entirely discarded, and, with some modification, might well be adopted in other lands. At court, the European costume is generally used; the frock coat and evening dress have become common ceremonial garbs; and silk hats, gloves, and canes also have become fashionable. The efforts of the Japanese to adopt Western customs and to conform to the usages of the Occident in matters of dress are sometimes quite amusing to those who witness them.52

Chamberlain affirms that “cleanliness is one of the few original items of Japanese civilization.” Surely their practice of frequent bathing ought to have brought them to that stage which is considered “next to godliness.” A bathroom is commonly an important part of the house; but if a room is not available for that purpose, a bathtub outdoors will do, or the public bath-houses afford every facility at a very small charge. Necessary exposure of the person in connection with bathing is not considered immodest; but, in large cities at least, the two sexes are no longer permitted to bathe together promiscuously. The hot baths, with water at about 110° F., are generally unendurable by foreigners. The latter,59 however, after some experience, may become accustomed to such heat and find it quite healthy. “Sea-bathing was not formerly much practised; but since 1885 the upper classes have taken greatly to it, in imitation of European usage, and the coast is now dotted with bathing establishments.”53 The Japanese also resort “to an almost incredible extreme” to the hot mineral springs, which are so numerous in Japan and generally possess excellent medicinal qualities.


Rein’s “Japan” is valuable on these topics; “Advance Japan” has a good chapter on “Diet, Dress, and Manners” (iv.); “A Japanese Interior,” by Miss Alice M. Bacon, gives most interesting glimpses of the inner life of the people; Murray’s “Story of Japan,” chap. ii.; Knapp’s “Feudal and Modern Japan,” vol. i. chap. v. and vol. ii. chap. iv.; and “Japan in History, Folklore, and Art” (Griffis), are useful; Finck in his “Lotos-Time in Japan,” also gives interesting glimpses of these topics; and Miss Bacon’s “Japanese Girls and Women” (revised and illustrated edition) is invaluable concerning family life. Miss Hartshorne’s “Japan and her People” is well worth reading on these subjects. “Japanese Life in Town and Country” (Knox), “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), and “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd) are also valuable.




Outline of Topics: Birth and birthdays; marriage; death and funeral; mourning.—Holidays (national, local, class, and religions); the “five festivals”; New Year’s holidays; the other four festivals; floral festivals; religious festivals.—Games; wrestling.—Theatre; scenery and wardrobes; chorus and pantomime; the .—Music; dancing-girls.—Occidentalization.—Folk-lore; superstitions about lucky and unlucky days, hours, ages, years, etc.—Bibliography.

THE three great events in the career of a Japanese are, of course, birth, marriage, and death, each of which is, therefore celebrated with much formality. When a child is born, he or she is the recipient of many presents, which, however, create an obligation that must eventually be cleared off. A very common but honorable present on such an occasion consists of eggs in small or large quantities, according to circumstances. When the first American baby was born in Mito, she was favored with a total of 456 eggs, besides dried fish, toys, Japanese robes, and other articles of clothing, etc., and her parents were favored with universal congratulations, diluted with condolences because the new baby was a girl instead of a boy! Japanese babyhood is blithesome.54


The birthday of an individual, however, is not especially observed upon its recurring anniversary; for New Year’s Day is a kind of national, or universal, birthday, from which age is reckoned. And this loss of an individual birthday is also made up to the boys and girls by the two special festivals, hereafter described, of Dolls and of Flags.

The wedding ceremony55 is quite simple but very formal. The principal feature thereof is the san-san-ku-do (three-three-nine-times); that is, both the bride and the bridegroom drink three times out of each of three cups of different sizes. This ceremony, however, does not affect at all the validity of the marriage; it is purely a social affair, of practically no more importance than the wedding reception in America or England. In Christian circles this convivial ceremony is omitted, and a rite performed by a Christian minister is substituted. As marriage is only a civil contract, its legality rests upon the official registration of the couple as husband and wife; and this formality is often neglected, so that divorce is easy and frequent. And as “matches” are generally made by parents, guardians, relatives, or friends, the mariage de convenance prevails in Japan. But the new Civil Code throws safeguards around the institution of wedlock; and the teachings of Christianity have already caused considerable improvement in the62 way of elevating marriage from its low standard to a holy rite.

To the fatalistic Japanese death has no terrors, especially as they are a people who seem to take about as much care of the dead as of the living. Funeral ceremonies56 are very elaborate, expensive, solemn, and yet somewhat boisterous affairs. The Shintō rites are much plainer than Buddhist ceremonies. In the former, the coffin is long and low, as in the West, but in the latter it is small and square, so that the corpse “is fitted into it in a squatting posture with the head bent to the knees.” There are other distinguishing features of the two funerals: the bare shaven heads of Buddhist priests in contrast with the non-shaven heads of Shintō priests; the dark blue coats of the Buddhist pall-bearers in contrast with the plain white garb of the Shintō pall-bearers.

The mourning code of Japan is rather strict, and contains two features: the wearing of mourning garments (which are white), and the abstinence from animal food. The regular dates for visits to the grave are the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, thirty-fifth, forty-ninth, and one-hundredth days, and the first, third, seventh, thirteenth, twenty-third, twenty-seventh, thirty-third, thirty-seventh, fiftieth, and one-hundredth years.

As is shown in another chapter (“Japanese Traits”), the Japanese are a merry, vivacious, pleasure-loving63 people, who are satisfied with a simple life. They give and take frequent holidays, which they enjoy to the fullest extent. The national holidays are numerous, and come as follows every year:—

Four Sides’ Worship, January 1.
First Beginning Festival, January 3.
Emperor Kōmei’s Festival, January 30.
Kigen-setsu, February 11.
Spring Festival, March 22 (about).
Jimmu Tennō Festival, April 3.
Autumn Festival, September 24 (about).
Kanname Festival, October 17.
Emperor’s Birthday, November 3.
Niiname Festival, November 23.

Some of the national holidays need a few words of explanation. Kigen-setsu, for instance, was originally a festival in honor of the ascension of Jimmu, the first Emperor, to the throne, and was thus the anniversary of the establishment of the Old Empire; but it is now observed also as the celebration of the promulgation of the constitution (Feb. 11, 1889), and is thus the anniversary of the establishment of the New Empire. The Jimmu Tennō Festival of April 3 is the so-called anniversary of the death of that Emperor. The Kanname Festival in October celebrates the offering of first-fruits to the ancestral deities, and the Niiname Festival in November celebrates the tasting of those first-fruits by the Emperor. The Spring and Autumn Festivals in March and September are adaptations of the Buddhist equinoctial64 festivals of the dead, and are especially observed for the worship of the Imperial ancestors. The Emperor Kōmei was the father of the present Emperor, and reigned from 1847 to 1867. “Four Sides’ Worship” naturally suggests worship from the four principal directions. This and the “First Beginning Festival” make the special New Year’s holidays.

Besides these, there are a great many local, class, and religious holidays, including Sunday, so that comparatively few persons in Japan are kept under high pressure, but almost every one has frequent opportunities to relax from the tension of his occupation or profession. Even the poorest, who have to be content with a hand-to-mouth existence, take their occasional holidays.

The five great festivals of the year fall on the first day of the first month (New Year’s Day), the third day of the third month (Dolls’ Festival), the fifth day of the fifth month (Feast of the Flags), the seventh day of the seventh month (Festival of the Star Vega), and the ninth day of the ninth month (Chrysanthemum Festival). These are now officially observed according to the Gregorian calendar, but may also be popularly celebrated according to the old lunar calendar, and would then fall from three to seven weeks later. And there are not a few people who are perfectly willing to observe both calendars and thus double their number of holidays!

The greatest of these is the New Year’s holiday65 or season, which is often prolonged to three, five, seven, or even fifteen days. The practice of making calls and presents still prevails, and, though quite burdensome, illustrates the thoughtfulness, good cheer, and generosity of the people.57


The Dolls’ Festival is the one especially devoted to the girls; and the Feast of Flags is set apart for the boys. The Festival of the Star Vega commemorates a tradition concerning two starry lovers on opposite sides of the Milky Way, or River of Heaven. The Chrysanthemum Festival seems to have been overshadowed by the Emperor’s Birthday.

There are also many “flower festivals,” such as those of viewing the plum, cherry, wistaria, iris, morning-glory, lotus, maple, etc.58

One of the most important of the Buddhist festivals is that in honor of the spirits of the dead; it is called Bon-matsuri and comes in the middle of July. Buddha’s birthday in April is also observed. There is a Japanese Memorial Day, celebrated twice a year in May and November, when immense crowds flock to the shrines called Shōkonsha, and pay their homage to the spirits of those who have died for their country. Moreover, space would fail to tell of the numerous local shrines and temples, Shintō and Buddhist, where the people flock annually or semi-annually, to “worship” a few minutes and enjoy a picnic for the remainder of the day. And, in Christian circles,66 Christmas, Easter, and Sunday-school picnics are important and interesting occasions.

The common games are chess, go (a very complicated game slightly resembling checkers), parchesi, and cards. Flower-cards and poetical quotations are old-style, but still popular; while Occidental cards, under the name of torompu (“trump”) are coming into general use. Children find great amusement also with kites, tops, battledore and shuttlecock, snow-men, dolls, cards, etc.59 The chief sports of young men are wrestling, rowing, tennis, and baseball. In the great American game they have become so proficient that they frequently win against the Americans and British who make up the baseball club of the Yokohama Athletic Association!

Professional wrestling-matches60 continue to draw large crowds to see the huge masses of flesh measure their strength and skill. Jūjutsu is a kind of wrestling in which skill and dexterity are more important than mere physical strength.61 Sleight-of-hand performers and acrobats are quite popular.

The theatre60 is a very important feature in the Japanese world of amusements, and still remains about the only place where Old Japan can be well studied. Theatrical performances in Japan are, of course, quite different from those in the Occident, and seem very tedious to Westerners, partly because they67 are so long and partly because they are unintelligible. When the writer attended the theatre in Mito, the play began, thirty minutes late, at 3:30 P. M., and continued, without interruption, until almost midnight. Then, according to custom, a short supplementary play of almost an hour’s duration followed, so that it was about one o’clock when he finally reached home. The Japanese, however, are accustomed to this “sweetness long drawn out,” and either bring their lunches or slip out between acts to get something to eat and drink, or buy tea and cake in the theatre.

The wardrobes and the scenery are elaborate and magnificent. The former are often almost priceless heirlooms handed down from one generation to another. Changes of wardrobe are often made in the presence of the audience; an actor, by dropping off one robe (which is immediately carried away by a small boy), entirely metamorphoses his appearance. One convenient arrangement of the scenery is that of the revolving stage, so that, as an old scene gradually disappears, the new one is coming into view. The supernumeraries, moreover, though theoretically invisible, are distinctly present, but seem to distract neither players nor audience. The female parts are usually taken by men dressed as women; and animals are represented by either men or wooden models.

The orchestra plays an exceedingly important part in a Japanese drama. It consists of the samisen (a guitar of three strings), the fue (flute), and the68 taiko (drum). It plays, not between the acts to entertain the spectators, but, like the Greek chorus, during the scene, to direct and explain the drama. Pantomime is an important element in the play and exceedingly expressive. The pantomimic actions are guided by the orchestra and the singers of the chants that furnish necessary explanations. Japanese plays are mostly historical, though some depict life and manners. It is quite interesting to note that in 1903 an adapted translation of “Othello” was put on the Japanese stage with marked success.

The “dances,” as they are sometimes called, were at first “purely religious performances, intended to propitiate the chief deities of the Shintō religion, and were acted exclusively in connection with their shrines.” But they were afterwards secularized and popularized, as lyric dramas. They are comparatively brief, and occupy only about an hour in performing. They are now given chiefly as special entertainments in high society or court circles to extraordinary guests.62

Music, especially in connection with dancing, furnishes another common means of amusement. The chief instruments of the old style are the koto, a kind of lyre; the samisen, already described; the kokyū, a sort of fiddle; lutes, flutes, fifes, drums, etc.; while the violin, organ, and piano are coming into general69 use. These instruments, moreover, are now being manufactured by the Japanese. Individuals, bands, and orchestras, trained under foreign supervision, furnish music, both instrumental and vocal, for private and public entertainments; and concerts in European style are becoming very popular.

It used to be that no evening entertainment was considered complete without the dancing-girls (geisha),63 whose presence is never conducive to morality. But a strong effort is now being made, even in non-Christian circles, to banish these evil features of social entertainments. The Occidental mixed dances have not yet met with great favor, except that in the court circle, which is cosmopolitan, quadrilles, waltzes, etc., are encouraged.

The manners and customs, especially in the large cities, are undergoing considerable Occidentalizing, which results at first in an amusing mixture, or a queer hybrid. This is particularly true of social functions in official or high life. It is, of course, true that the great mass of the people, the “lower classes,” are not yet to any great extent affected by the social changes in the world above their reach and ken, and still conduct their social intercourse more Japonico, that is, in the approved methods of their ancestors; but in the life of the middle and upper classes, and especially in official functions, the influence of Occidental manners and customs is quite marked.


Japanese literature is immensely rich in stories of adventure, most interesting historical and biographical incidents, folk-lore, and fairy tales. All of these are quite familiar to the Japanese child, whether boy or girl, whose mind feasts upon, and delights in, the heroic and the marvellous. The youth and the adults, also, are not at all averse to such mental pabulum, and flock, for instance, to the hall of the professional story-teller, who regales them with fact and fiction ingeniously blended. Yoshitsune, Benkei, Momotarō, Kintarō, and others are common heroes of folk-lore and fiction; while “The Tongue-Cut Sparrow,” “The Matsuyama Mirror,” “The Man who Made Trees Bloom,” are examples of hundreds of popular fairy tales. Japanese folk-lore is an instructive and most interesting subject, which must, however, be now dismissed with references.64

To an audience of Athenians on Mars Hill, Paul said: “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are altogether superstitious.” One might likewise stand before an audience of Japanese and say: “Ye men of Nippon, I perceive that in all things ye are altogether superstitious.” For most faithfully and devoutly do the mass of the people still worship their innumerable deities, estimated with the indefinite expression “eight hundred myriads”;71 and most firmly do they continue to believe in the efficacy of charms and amulets and to hold to inherited superstitious ideas. It is only where the common school and Christianity have had full sway that these “foolish notions” disappear. And while we have not space for a methodical study of Japanese superstitions, we ought at least to present, even in a desultory manner, some illustrations, culled at random from various sources.65

The days of each month were named, not only in numerical order, but also according to the animals of the Chinese zodiac. And the latter names were perhaps more important than the numerical ones, because, according to these special names, a day was judged to be either lucky or unlucky for particular events. “Every day has its degree of luck for removal [from one place to another], and, indeed, according to another system, for actions of any kind; for a day is presided over in succession by one of six stars which may make it lucky throughout or only at night, or in the forenoon or the afternoon, or exactly at noon, or absolutely unlucky. There are also special days on which marriages should take place, prayers are granted by the gods, stores should be opened, and signboards put up.” Dr. Griffis informs us in “The Mikado’s Empire,” that “many people of the lower classes would not wash their heads or hair on ‘the day of the horse,’ lest their72 hair become red.” On the other hand, this “horse day” is sacred to Inari Sama, the rice-god, who employs foxes as his messengers; and “the day of the rat” is sacred to Daikoku, the god of wealth, who, in pictures, is always accompanied by that rodent. As for wedding days, Rev. N. Tamura says: “We think it is very unfortunate to be married on the 16th of January, 20th of February, 4th of March, 18th of April, 6th of May, 7th of June, 10th of July, 11th of August, 9th of September, 3d of October, 25th of November, or 30th of December, also on the grandfather’s or grandmother’s death day.” These dates are probably applicable to only the old calendar. “Seeds will not germinate if planted on certain days” (Griffis).

The hours were named, not only according to the numerical plan, but also according to the heavenly menagerie in the following way:—

1. Hour of the Rat

11 P. M.-1 A. M.

2. Hour of the Ox

1-3 A. M.

3. Hour of the Tiger

3-5 A. M.

4. Hour of the Hare

5-7 A. M.

6. Hour of the Dragon

7-9 A. M.

6. Hour of the Serpent

9-11 A. M.

7. Hour of the Horse

11 A. M.-1 P. M.

8. Hour of the Goat

1-3 P. M.

9. Hour of the Monkey

3-5 P. M.

10. Hour of the Cock

5-7 P. M.

11. Hour of the Dog

7-9 P. M.

12. Hour of the Boar

9-11 P. M.

The “hour of the ox,” by the way, being the time of sound sleep, was sacred to women crossed in love73 for taking vengeance upon a straw image of the recreant lover at the shrine of Fudō.

“After 5 P. M. many people will not put on new clothes or sandals” (Griffis). From “Superstitious Japan”: “If one swallows seven grains of red beans (azuki) and one go of sake before the hour of the ox on the first day of the year, he will be free from sickness and calamity throughout the year; if he drinks toso (spiced sake) at the hour of the tiger of the same day, he will be untouched by malaria through the year. On the seventh day of the first month if a male swallows seven, and a female fourteen, red beans, they will be free from sickness all their lives; if one bathes at the hour of the dog on the tenth day [of the same month], his teeth will become hard.”

There are also superstitions about ages. Some persons, for instance, “are averse to a marriage between those whose ages differ by three or nine years. A man’s nativity also influences the direction in which he should remove; and his age may permit his removal one year and absolutely forbid it the next.” There are also critical years in a person’s life, such as the seventh, twenty-fifth, forty-second, and sixty-first66 years for a man, and the seventh, eighth, thirty-third, forty-second, and sixty-first66 years for a woman. There is a similar story to the effect that a child born (or begotten?) in the father’s74 forty-third year is supposed to be possessed of a devil. When such a child is about one month old, it is, therefore, exposed for about three hours in some sacred place. Some member or friend of the family then goes to get it, and bringing it to the parents, says: “This is a child whom I have found and whom you had better take and bring up.” Thus having fooled the devil, the parents receive their own child back.

From Inouye’s “Sketches of Tōkyō Life” we learn that aged persons provide against failing memory by passing through seven different shrine gates on the spring or autumn equinox. An incantation against noxious insects, written with the infusion of India ink in liquorice water on the eighth day of the fourth moon, Buddha’s birthday, will prevent the entrance of the insects at every doorway or window where it is posted. January 16 and July 16 were and are special holidays for servants and apprentices, and considered sacred to Emma, the god of Hades. At the time of the winter solstice doctors would worship the Chinese Esculapius. “The foot-wear left outside on the night of the winter equinox should be thrown away; he who wears them will shorten his own life. If you cut a bamboo on a moonlight night, you will find a snake in the hollow of it between the third and fourth joints.” “During an eclipse of the sun or moon, people carefully cover, the wells, as they suppose that poison falls from the sky during the period of the obscuration.” “If on the night of75 the second day of the first moon, one dreams of the takara-bune (treasure-ship), he shall become a rich man.” The first “dog day” and the third “dog day” in July are days for eating special cakes. “The third dog day is considered by the peasantry a turning-point in the life of the crops. Eels are eaten on any day of the bull [ox] that may occur during this period of greatest heat.” The author was once warned by a Japanese woman that he must not take medicine or consult a doctor on New Year’s Day, because such acts would portend a year of illness.


There are many good books which portray the manners and customs of the Japanese people; and as for magazine and newspaper articles on the subject their name is legion. The works of Griffis, Chamberlain, Rein, Hearn, Lowell, Miss Bacon, Miss Scidmore, Miss Hartshorne, Mrs. Isabella Bird Bishop, and Mitford’s “Tales of Old Japan” may be recommended. Good novels, like “Mito Yashiki” (Maclay), “Honda the Samurai” (Griffis), “In the Mikado’s Service” (Griffis), etc., give an insight into Japanese life. This may suffice, as more particular references have been given in connection with many of the topics of the chapter. “A Japanese Boy” (Shigemi), “When I was a Boy in Japan” (Shioya), “Japanese Girls and Women” (Miss Bacon), and “The Wee Ones of Japan” (Mrs. Bramhall) give good pictures of child-life; and Dr. Griffis has edited an edition of Mrs. Chaplin-Ayrton’s valuable “Child-Life in Japan.” “Japanese Life in Town and Country” (Knox), and “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd) also contain good material in this connection.




Outline of Topics: First impressions: minuteness; politeness and courtesy; etiquette; simplicity; vivacity; equanimity; union of Stoicism and Epicureanism; generosity; unpracticality; procrastination; humility and conceit; lack of originality; fickleness; æstheticism; loyalty; filial piety; sentimental temperament; susceptibility to impulse; land and people.—Bibliography.

FIRST impressions are, of course, often deceitful, as they are likely to be formed from merely superficial views; but they are quite certain to emphasize the peculiar characteristics of a person or a people. The points of difference are very evident at first, but gradually become less observable or prominent, and in time may scarcely be noticed. It is, of course, undeniable that first impressions must be more or less modified, but it is also true that some remain practically unchanged, or are verified and strengthened by long experience.

In the case of the Japanese, for instance, a first and lasting impression is that of minuteness. This characteristic of “things Japanese” pertains less to quality than to quantity, is not a mental or a moral, so much as a physical or dimensional, feature. The empire, though called Dai Nippon (Great Japan)77 is small; the people are short; the lanes are narrow; the houses are low and small; farms are insignificant;67 teacups, other dishes, pipes, etc., are like our toys; and innumerable other objects are Lilliputian. Pierre Loti, the French writer, in his description of Japanese life, draws extensively on the diminutives of his native tongue. In business matters, moreover, the Japanese seem incapable of managing big enterprises, and do everything on a small scale with a small capital. The saying that they are “great in little things and little in great things” contains some truth. But it must, in fairness, be acknowledged that, of recent years, the Japanese have begun to display a remarkable facility and success in the management of great enterprises. They are outgrowing this characteristic of smallness, and are even now reckoned among the “great world-powers.”

The Japanese are famous the world over for their politeness and courtesy; they are a nation of good manners, and, for this and other qualities, have been styled “the French of the Orient.” From morning to night, from the cradle to the grave, the entire life is characterized by unvarying gentleness and politeness in word and act. Many of the expressions and actions are mere formalities, it is true; but they have, by centuries of hereditary influence,78 been so far incorporated into the individual and national life as to be a second nature. This trait is one which most deeply impresses all visitors and residents, and concerning which Sir Edwin Arnold has written the following:—

“Where else in the world does there exist such a conspiracy to be agreeable; such a widespread compact to render the difficult affairs of life as smooth and graceful as circumstances admit; such fair decrees of fine behavior fixed and accomplished for all; such universal restraint of the coarser impulses of speech and act; such pretty picturesqueness of daily existence; such lovely love of nature as the embellisher of that existence; such sincere delight in beautiful, artistic things; such frank enjoyment of the enjoyable; such tenderness to little children; such reverence for parents and old persons; such widespread refinement of taste and habits; such courtesy to strangers; and such willingness to please and to be pleased?”

As stated above, the innate courtesy of the Japanese manifests itself in every possible way in word and deed. Thus has been developed an almost perfect code of etiquette, of polite speech and conduct for every possible occasion; and while these formalities are sometimes apparently unnecessary, often even a cloak for insincerity, and also a waste of time in this practical age, we cannot but lament the decadence of Japanese manners.


Another prominent and prevailing element of Japanese civilization is simplicity. The people have the simplicity of nature to such an extent that the 79 garb of nature is not considered immodest. They find delight in the simplest forms of natural beauties, and they plant their standard of beauty on a simple base. A rough and gnarled tree, or even a mere trunk or stump; a bare twig or branch without leaves or blossoms; an old stone; all kinds of flowers and grasses have in themselves a real natural beauty. A Japanese admires the beauties of nature just as they are; he loves a flower as a flower. The Japanese truly worship Nature in all her varied forms and hold communion with all her aspects. They enjoy the simplest amusements with the simplest toys which, cheap and frail, may last only an hour, but easily yield their money’s worth and more of real pleasure. They find the greatest happiness in such simple recreations as going to see the plum blossoms or cherry flowers, and gazing at the full moon. They are, in comparison with Americans, childish in their simplicity; but they succeed in extracting more solid enjoyment out of life than any other people on the globe. Americans sacrifice life to get a living: Japanese, by simply living, enjoy life.

And this leads to another impression and characterization of the Japanese people as merry, lighthearted, and vivacious. Careless, even to an extreme; free from worry and anxiety, because easily satisfied with little, and because inclined to be excessively fatalistic,—they not only are faithful disciples of the Epicurean philosophy, that happiness or pleasure80 is the summum bonum of life, but they succeed in being happy without much exertion. They believe that men “by perpetual toil, bustle, and worry render themselves unfit to enjoy the pleasures which nature places within their reach”; and that the Occidental, and especially the American, life of high pressure, with too much work and too little play, is actually making Jack a dull boy. It is certainly to be hoped, but perhaps in vain, that the increasing complexity of modern life in Japan will not entirely obliterate the simplicity and vivacity of the Japanese; for they seem to “have verily solved the great problem—how to be happy though poor.”

The Japanese are, however, extremely stoical in belief and behavior, and can refrain as rigidly from manifestations of joy or sorrow as could a Spartan or a Roman.68 Many a Japanese Leonidas, Brutus, or Cato stands forth as a typical hero in their annals. Without the least sign of suffering they can experience the severest torture, such as disembowelling themselves; and without a word of complaint they receive adversity or affliction. Shikata ga nai (“There is no help”) is the stereotyped phrase of consolation from the least to the greatest loss, injury, or affliction. For a broken dish, a bruise, a broken limb, a business failure, a death, weeping is silly, sympathy is useless; alike for all, shikata ga nai.


It is possibly this combination or union of Stoicism and Epicureanism that makes the real and complete enjoyment of life. The following paragraph pictures graphically the contrasting characteristics of Japanese and American women: “It is said that the habitual serenity of Japanese women is due to their freedom from small worries. The fashion of their dress never varies, so they are saved much anxiety of mind on that subject. Housekeeping is simplified by the absence of draperies and a crowd of ornaments to gather dust, and the custom of leaving footwear at the entrance keeps out much mud and dirt. With all our boasted civilization, we may well learn from the Orientals how to prevent the little foxes of petty anxieties from spoiling the vines of our domestic comfort. If American housekeepers could eliminate from their lives some of the unnecessary care of things, it would probably smooth their brows and tone down the sharpened expression of their features.”

The Japanese are, by instinct, a very unselfish and generous people. These two seemingly synonymous adjectives are purposely used; for the Japanese possess, not only the negative and passive virtue of unselfishness, but also its positive and active expression in generosity; they are not merely careless and thoughtless of self, but they are careful and thoughtful of others. In fact, their philanthropic instincts are so strong that neither excessive wealth nor extreme pauperism is prevalent. These two traits had their origin, probably, in a contempt for82 mere money-making and the lack of a strong desire for wealth. The merchant, engaged in trade,—that is, in money-making pursuits,—was ranked below the soldier, the farmer, and the artisan. The typical Japanese believed that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” and was not actuated by “the accursed greed for gold” (auri sacra fames). No sordid views of life on a cash basis were held by the Japanese, and not even the materialism of modern life has yet destroyed their generous and philanthropic instincts. They are as truly altruistic as Occidentals are egoistic.

The modern characteristic expressed by the term “practical” does not belong to the Japanese, who are rather visionary in disposition. This trait is undoubtedly an effect of the old distaste for money-making pursuits, and renders the Japanese people, on the whole, incapable of attending strictly and carefully to the minutiæ of business. They do not, indeed, appear to possess the mental and moral qualities which go to make a successful merchant or business man.69 This is the testimony both of those who have studied their psychological natures and of those who have had actual business experience with them. The former say that unpracticality and a distaste for money-making are natural elements of the Japanese character, as is evidenced by the fact that, in ancient society, the merchant was assigned to the fourth class—below the soldier, the farmer, the artisan.83 “The temperament, the training, and the necessary materials are, for the most part, lacking”; and these cannot, in spite of the impressionableness of the Japanese nature, be readily acquired and developed. Business men, moreover, who have had actual dealings with the Japanese, complain of dishonesty,70 “pettiness, constant shilly-shallying,” and unbusiness-like habits; and call them “good-natured, artistic, and all that, but muddle-pated folks when it comes to matters of business.”

One illustration of their natural incapacity for business life is found in the fact that they had no idea of time. They did not understand the value, according to our standards, of the minutes, and were much given to what we call a “waste of time.” They were not accustomed to reckon time minute-ly, or to take into notice any period less than an hour, and considered it nine o’clock until it was ten o’clock. Moreover, the hour of the old “time-table” was 120 minutes long.71 Besides, the Japanese are too dignified84 to be in a hurry; so that, if they miss one train, they do not fume and fret because they have to wait even several hours for the next train, but take it all calmly and patiently. And as clocks and watches are still somewhat of a luxury to the common people, we must not expect them to come up at once to our ideas of strict punctuality. But in school and office and business they are learning habits of promptness and coming to realize that “time is money”; so that recent years have shown a marked improvement.

In the character of the Japanese are blended the two inharmonious elements of humility and conceit. Their language, customs, and manners are permeated with the idea of self-abasement, “in honor preferring one another”; but their minds are filled with excessive vanity, individual and national. They call their own country “Great Japan,” and have always had a strong faith in the reality of its greatness. The precocity and conceit of Japanese youth are very noticeable. A schoolboy of fourteen is always ready to express with confidence and positiveness his criticisms on Occidental and Oriental politics, philosophy, and religion. Young Japan, whether individually or collectively, is now in the Sophomore class of the World’s University. Japan is self-assertive, self-confident, and independent. But the marvellous achievements in the transformation of Japan during the past half-century are some excuse for the development of vanity; and the future,85 with its responsibilities, surely demands a measure of self-confidence.

The Japanese are commonly criticised as being imitative rather than initiative or inventive; and it must be acknowledged that a study of their history bears out this criticism. The old civilization was very largely borrowed from the Chinese, perhaps through the Koreans; and in modern times we have witnessed a similar adoption and imitation of Occidental civilization. But it must also be borne in mind that in few cases was there servile imitation; for, in almost every instance, there was an adaptation to the peculiar needs of Japan. And yet even this assimilation might show that the Japanese have “great talent, but little genius” (Munzinger), or “little creative power” (Rein). However, there have been indications of late years that the Japanese mind is developing inventive power. Originality is making itself known in many really remarkable inventions, especially along mechanical lines. Rifles, repeating pistols, smokeless gunpowder, guncotton, and bicycle boats are a few illustrations of Japanese inventions. Moreover, many of the Japanese inventors have secured letters patent in England, Germany, France, Austria, and the United States. In scientific discoveries, too, the Japanese are coming forward.

The Japanese have also been frequently accused of fickleness, and during the past fifty years have certainly furnished numerous reasons for such a charge.86 They have seemed to shift about with “every wind of doctrine,” and, like the Athenians in Paul’s day, have been often attracted by new things. But Dening’s defence against this accusation is worthy of notice, and seems quite reasonable. He claims that “this peculiarity is accidental, not inherent”; that there was “no lack of permanence in their laws, institutions, and pursuits in the days of their isolation”; that in recent times “their attention has been attracted by such a multitude of [new] things ... that they have found great difficulty in making a judicious selection”; and the rapid changes “have not been usually dictated by mere fickleness, but have resulted from the wish to prove all things.” Chamberlain, likewise, refers to so-called “characteristic traits” that are “characteristic merely of the stage through which the nation is now passing.” And certainly a growing steadfastness of purpose and action is perceptible in many phases of Japanese life.

The Japanese are pre-eminently an æsthetic people. In all sections, among all classes, art reigns supreme. It permeates everything, great or small. “Whatever these people fashion, from the toy of an hour to the triumphs of all time, is touched by a taste unknown elsewhere.”72

The national spirit is excessively strong in Japan, and has been made powerful by centuries of development. Every Japanese is born, lives, and dies for87 his country. Loyalty is the highest virtue; and Yamato-damashii (Japan spirit) is a synonym too often of narrow and inordinate patriotism. But the vision of the Japanese is broadening, and they are learning that cosmopolitanism is not necessarily antagonistic to patriotism. They used to harp on “The Japan of the Japanese”; later they began to talk about “The Japan of Asia”; but now they wax eloquent over “The Japan of the World.”

Filial piety is the second virtue in the Japanese ethics, and is often carried to a silly extreme. The old custom of inkyō made it possible for parents, even while they were still able-bodied, to retire from active work and become an incubus on the eldest son, perhaps just starting out in his life career. But now there is a law that no one can become inkyō before he is sixty years of age. And yet filial piety can easily nullify the law!

Professor George T. Ladd, who has made a special study of the Japanese from the psychological point of view, sums up their “character” as of the “sentimental temperament.”73 The following are suggestive passages:—

“This distinctive Japanese temperament is that which Lotze has so happily called the ‘sentimental temperament.’ It is the temperament characteristic of youth, predominatingly, in all races. It is, as a temperament, characteristic of all ages, of both sexes, and of all classes of population, among the Japanese. But, of course, in88 Japan as everywhere, the different ages, sexes, and classes of society, differ in respect to the purity of this temperamental distinction. Many important individual exceptions, or examples of other temperaments, also occur.

“The distinguishing mark of the sentimental temperament is great susceptibility to variety of influences—especially on the side of feeling, and independent of clear logical analysis or fixed and well-comprehended principles—with a tendency to a will that is impulsive and liable to collapse. Such susceptibility is likely to be accompanied by unusual difficulty in giving due weight to those practical considerations, which lead to compromises in politics, to steadiness in labor, to patience in developing the details of science and philosophy, and to the establishment of a firm connection between the higher life of thought and feeling and the details of daily conduct. On the other hand, it is the artistic temperament, the temperament which makes one ‘interesting,’ the ‘clever’ mind, the temperament which has a suggestion of genius at its command....

“Japan is the land of much natural scenery that is pre-eminently interesting and picturesque. It is the land of beautiful green mountains and of luxurious and highly variegated flora. It is the land that lends itself to art, to sentiment, to reverie and brooding over the mysteries of nature and of life. But it is also the land of volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, and typhoons; the land under whose thin fair crust, or weird and grotesque superficial beauty, and in whose air and surrounding waters, the mightiest destructive forces of nature slumber and mutter, and betimes break forth with amazing destructive effect. As is the land, so—in many striking respects—are the people that dwell in it. The superficial observer, especially if he himself89 be a victim of the unmixed sentimental temperament, may find everything interesting, æsthetically pleasing, promising continued kindness of feeling, and unwearied delightful politeness of address. But the more profound student will take note of the clear indications, that beneath this thin, fair crust, there are smouldering fires of national sentiment, uncontrolled by solid moral principle, and unguided by sound, practical judgment. As yet, however, we are confident in the larger hope for the future of this most ‘interesting’ of Oriental races.”


Rein’s “Japan,” “The Gist of Japan” (Peery), “Japan and its Regeneration” (Cary), “The Soul of the Far East” (Lowell), “Feudal and Modern Japan” (Knapp), “Lotos-Time in Japan” (Finck), and Hearn’s works discuss the subject of Japanese characteristics with intelligence from various points of view. The most interesting and instructive Japanese writer on the subject is Nitobe in his “Bushidō, the Soul of Japan.” Dening’s paper in vol. xix. Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan is very valuable. “The Evolution of the Japanese” (Gulick) should also be carefully studied, especially as he differs from Lowell and others, who contend that Orientals in general, and Japanese in particular, have no “soul,” or distinct personality.

Hearn’s best work, entitled “Japan, An Interpretation,” is interesting and instructive in this connection. “Japanese Life in Town and Country” (Knox), “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chap. iii., and “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd) also throw light on this topic.




Outline of Topics: Outline of mythology and history; sources of material; earlier periods; Japanese and Græco-Roman mythology; prehistoric period; continental influences; capitals; Imperialism; Fujiwara Epoch; Taira and Minamoto; Hōjō tyranny; Ashikaga Period; Nobunaga and Hideyoshi; Iyeyasu; Tokugawa Dynasty.—Bibliography.

THE mythology and history of Japan may be outlined in the following manner:—

A. Sources of material.

1. Oral tradition.

2. Kojiki [711 A. D.].

3. Nihongi [720 A. D.].

B. Chronology.

I. Old Japan.

1. “Divine Ages.” Creation of world; Izanagi and Izanami; Sun-goddess and brother; Ninigi; Princes Fire-Shine and Fire-Fade; Jimmu.

2. Prehistoric Period [660 B.C.-400 (?) A. D.]. Jimmu Tennō; “Sūjin, the Civilizer”; Yamato-Dake; Empress Jingu; Invasion of Korea; Ōjin, deified as Hachiman, the Japanese Mars; Take-no-uchi. Native elements of civilization. Chinese literature.

3. Imperialistic Period [400 (?)-888 A. D.]. Continental influences (on language and literature, learning, government, manners and customs, and religion); Buddhism; Shōtoku Taishi; practice of abdication; Nara 91 Epoch; capital settled at Kyōto; Sugawara; Fujiwara family established in regency (888 A. D.).

4. Civil Strife [888-1603 A. D.]. Fujiwara bureaucracy; Taira supremacy (1156-1185); wars of red and white flags; Yoritomo and Yoshitsune; Minamoto supremacy (1185-1199); first Shōgunate; Hōjō tyranny (1199-1333); Tartar armada; Kusunoki and Nitta; Ashikaga supremacy (1333-1573); “War of the Chrysanthemums”; tribute to China; fine arts and architecture; cha-no-yu; Portuguese; Francis Xavier; spread of Christianity; Nobunaga, persecutor of Buddhists (1573-1582); Hideyoshi, “Napoleon of Japan” (1585-1598); persecution of Christianity; invasion of Korea; Iyeyasu; battle of Sekigahara (1600 A. D.).

5. Tokugawa Feudalism [1603-1868 A. D.]. Iyeyasu Shōgun (1603); capital Yedo, girdled by friendly fiefs; perfection of feudalism; Dutch; Will Adams; English; extermination of Christianity; seclusion and crystallization (1638-1853); Confucian influences.

II. New Japan.

5 (continued). Perry’s Expedition; treaties with foreign nations; internal strife; Richardson affair; Shimonoseki affair; resignation of Shōgun; abolition of Shōgunate; Revolutionary War; New Imperialism; Imperial capital Yedo, renamed Tōkyō; Meiji Era.

6. New Empire [1868- ]. Opening of ports and cities; “Charter Oath”; telegraphs, light-houses, postal system, mint, dockyard, etc.; outcasts acknowledged as human beings; abolition of feudalism; first railway, newspaper, and church; Imperial University; Yokohama Missionary Conference; Gregorian calendar; anti-Christian edicts removed; Saga rebellion; Formosan Expedition; assembly of governors; Senate; treaty with Korea; Satsuma rebellion; bi-metallism; 92 Loo Choo annexed; new codes; prefectural assemblies; Bank of Japan; Ōsaka Missionary Conference; new nobility; Japan Mail Steamship Company; Privy Council; Prince Haru made Crown Prince; anti-foreign reaction; promulgation of Constitution; first Diet; Gifu earthquake; war with China; Formosa; tariff revision; gold standard; freedom of press and public meetings; opening of Japan by new treaties; war with China; Tōkyō Missionary Conference; Anglo-Japanese Alliance.

The student of Japanese history is confronted, at the outset, with a serious difficulty. In ancient times the Japanese had no literary script, so that all events had to be handed down from generation to generation by oral tradition. The art of writing was introduced into Japan, from China probably, in the latter part of the third century A. D.; but it was not used for recording events until the beginning of the fifth century. All these early records, moreover, were destroyed by fire; so that the only “reliance for information about ... antiquity” has to be placed in the Kojiki,74 or “Records of Ancient Matters,” and the Nihongi,75 or “Chronicles of Japan.” The former, completed in 712 A. D., is written in a purer Japanese style; the latter, finished in 720 A. D., is “much more tinctured with Chinese philosophy”; though differing in some details, they93 are practically concordant, and supply the data upon which the Japanese have constructed their “history.” It is thus evident that the accounts of the period before Christ must be largely mythological, and the records of the first four centuries of the Christian era must be a thorough mixture of fact and fiction, which it is difficult carefully to separate.


According to Japanese chronology, the Empire of Japan was founded by Jimmu Tennō in 660 B. C. This was when Assyria, under Sardanapalus, was at the height of its power; not long after the ten tribes of Israel had been carried into captivity, and soon after the reign of the good Hezekiah in Judah; before Media had risen into prominence; a century later than Lycurgus, and a few decades before Draco; and during the period of the Roman kingdom. But according to a foreign scholar who has sifted the material at hand, the first absolutely authentic date in Japanese history is 461 A. D.,76—just the time when the Saxons were settling in England. If, therefore, the Japanese are given the benefit of more than a century, there yet remains a millennium which falls under the sacrificial knife of the historical critic. But while we cannot accept unchallenged the details of about a thousand years, and cannot withhold surprise that even the Constitution of New Japan maintains the “exploded religious fiction” of the foundation of the empire, we must acknowledge that the Imperial family of Japan has formed the oldest94 continuous dynasty in the world, and can probably boast an “unbroken line” of eighteen or twenty centuries.

1. “Divine Ages.

2. Prehistoric Period [660 B. C.—400 (?) A. D.].

Dr. Murray, in “The Story of Japan,” following the illustrious example of Arnold in Roman history, treats these more or less mythological periods in a reasonable way. He says: “Yet the events of the earlier period[s] ... are capable, with due care and inspection, of furnishing important lessons and disclosing many facts in regard to the lives and characteristics of the primitive Japanese.” These facts concerning the native elements of civilization pertain to the mode of government, which was feudal; to food, clothing, houses, arms, and implements; to plants and domestic and wild animals; to modes of travel; to reading and writing, as being unknown; to various manners and customs; to superstitions; and to “religious notions,” which found expression in Shintō, itself not strictly a “religion,” but only a cult without a moral code. “Morals were invented by the Chinese because they were an immoral people; but in Japan there was no necessity for any system of morals, as every Japanese acted rightly if he only consulted his own heart”! So asserts a Shintō apologist. And from the fact that so many myths cluster around Izumo, it is a natural inference that one migration of the ancestors of the95 Japanese from Korea landed in that province, while the legends relating to Izanagi and Izanami, the first male and female deities, since they find local habitation in Kyūshiu, seem to indicate another migration (Korean or Malay?) to that locality. These different migrations are also supposed to account for the two distinct types of Japanese.

The story of the creation of the world bears considerable resemblance to that related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses; and this is only one of many points of remarkable similarity between the mythology of Japan and the Græco-Roman mythology.77 And one famous incident in the career of the Sun-Goddess is evidently a myth of a solar eclipse.

Although the Emperor Jimmu cannot be accepted as a truly historical personage, neither can he be entirely ignored, for he is still an important “character” in Japanese “history” and continues to claim in his honor two national holidays (February 11 and April 3). And, just as Jimmu may be considered the Cyrus, or founder, of the Japanese Empire, so Sūjin, “the Civilizer,” may be called its Darius, or organizer. The Prince Yamato-Dake is a popular hero, whose wonderful exploits are still sung in prose and poetry. As for the Empress Jingu, or Jingō, although she is not included in the official list78 of96 the rulers of the empire, she is considered a great heroine, and is especially famous for her successful invasion of Korea, assigned to about 200 A. d. And it is her son, Ōjin, who, deified as Hachiman, is still “worshipped” as god of war; while Take-no-uchi is renowned for having served as Prime Minister to five Emperors and one Empress (Jingu). It was during this period that the Chinese language and literature, together with the art of writing, were introduced into Japan through Korea.

3. Imperialistic Period [400(?)-888 A. D.].

The continental influences form an important factor in the equation of Japanese civilization. The Japanese “have been from the beginning of their history a receptive people,” and are indebted to Korea and China for the beginnings of language, literature, education, art, mental and moral philosophy (Confucianism), religion (Buddhism), and many social ideas. The conversion of the nation to Buddhism took place in the sixth and seventh centuries, and was largely due to the powerful influence of the Prime Minister of the Empress Suiko. He is best known by his posthumous title of Shōtoku Taishi, and is also famous for having compiled “the first written law[s] in Japan.”

For a long period, on account of superstitions, the capital was frequently removed, so that Japan is said to have had “no less than sixty capitals.” But during most of the eighth century the court was located97 at Nara, which gave its name to that epoch; and in 794 A. D. the capital was permanently established at Kyōto.

At first the government of Japan was an absolute monarchy, not only in name, but also in fact; for the authority of the Emperor was recognized and maintained, comparatively unimpaired, throughout the realm. But the decay of the Imperial power began quite early in “the Middle Ages of Japan,” as Dr. Murray calls the period from about 700 to 1184 A. D. The Emperors themselves, wearied with the restrained and dignified life which, as “descendants of the gods,” they were obliged by etiquette to endure, preferred to abdicate; and in retirement “often wielded a greater influence and exerted a more active part in the administration of affairs.” This practice of abdication frequently brought a youth, or even an infant, to the throne, and naturally transferred the real power to the subordinate administrative officers. This was the way in which gradatim the “duarchy,” as it is sometimes called, was developed, and in which seriatim families and even individuals became prominent.

4. Civil Strife [888-1603 A. D.].

Although actual warfare did not begin for a long period, the date of the appointment of a Fujiwara as Regent practically ended Imperialism and was the beginning of jealousy and strife. And yet the Fujiwara Epoch was the “Elizabethan Age” of classical98 literature. But after that family had for about 400 years “monopolized nearly all the important offices in the government,” and from 888 had held the regency in hereditary tenure, it was finally deposed by the so-called “military families.”

The first of these was the Taira, who, after only a short period of power (1156-1185) through Kiyomori, were utterly overthrown in the “wars of the red and white flags,” and practically annihilated in the great naval battle of Dan-no-ura. Next came the Minamoto, represented by Yoritomo,79 whose authority was further enhanced when the Emperor bestowed on him the highest military title, Sei-i-Tai-Shōgun. And from this time (1192) till 1868 the emperors were practical nonentities, and subordinates actually governed the empire. The Japanese Merovingians, however, were never deprived of their titular honor by their “Mayors of the Palace.”

But the successors of Yoritomo in the office of Shōgun were young and sensual, and gladly relinquished the executive duties to their guardians of the Hōjō family, who, as regents, ruled “with resistless authority” and “unexampled cruelty and rapacity,” but yet deserve credit for defeating (in 1281) an invading force of Tartars sent by Kublai Khan. The great patriots, Kusunoki and Nitta, with the aid of Ashikaga, finally overthrew the Hōjō domination in 1333; but the Ashikaga rule succeeded and continued till 1573.


During the fourteenth century occurred the Japanese “War of the Roses,” or the “War of the Chrysanthemums,” which was a conflict between two rival branches of the Imperial family. It resulted in the defeat of the “Southern Court” by the “Northern Court,” and the reunion of the Imperial authority in the person of the Emperor Komatsu II. It was an Ashikaga Shōgun who encouraged the quaint tea-ceremonial, called cha-no-yu; it was the same family who fostered fine arts, especially painting and architecture; it was an Ashikaga who paid tribute to China; it was “in almost the worst period of the Ashikaga anarchy” that, in 1542, “the Portuguese made their first appearance in Japan”; and it was only seven years later when Francis Xavier arrived there to begin his missionary labors, from which Christianity spread rapidly, until the converts were numbered by the millions.80

The next few decades of Japanese history are crowded with civil strife, and include the three great men, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Iyeyasu, each of whom in turn seized the supreme power. The first-named persecuted Buddhism and was favorable to Christianity; the other two interdicted the latter. Hideyoshi, who “rose from obscurity solely by his own talents,” has been called “the Napoleon of Japan.” He is generally known by his title of Taikō; and he extended his name abroad by an invasion of Korea, which was not, however, a complete100 success. He is regarded by many as “the greatest soldier, if not the greatest man, whom Japan has produced.” If this statement can be successfully challenged, the palm will certainly be awarded to Iyeyasu, who, by the victory of Sekigahara in 1600, became the virtual ruler of the empire.

5. Tokugawa Feudalism [1603-1868 A. D.].

Iyeyasu founded a dynasty (Tokugawa) of Shōguns, who, for more than 260 years, ruled at Yedo, surrounded by faithful vassals, and who at least gave the empire a long period of peace. He brought Japanese feudalism to its perfection of organization. His successors destroyed Christianity by means of a fearful persecution; prohibited commercial intercourse, except with the Chinese and the Dutch,81 and allowed it with these only to a limited extent, and thus crystallized Japanese civilization and institutions. It may be true that “Japan reached the acme of her ancient greatness during the Tokugawa Dynasty”; but it is also true that by this policy of insulation and seclusion she was put back two and a half centuries in the matter of progress in civilization.

The long years of peace under the Tokugawas were also years of literary development. Chinese history, literature, and philosophy were ardently studied; Confucianism wielded a mighty influence; but Japanese history and literature were not neglected. The Mito clan especially was the centre of101 intellectual industry, and produced, among a large number of works, the Dai Nihon Shi (History of Great Japan), which is even to-day the standard. The study of Japanese history revealed the fact that the governmental authority had been originally centred in the Emperor, and not divided with any subordinate; and the study of Confucian political science led to the same idea of an absolute monarchy. Thus the spirit of Imperialism grew, encouraged, perhaps, by clan jealousies and fostered by anti-foreign opinions, until “the last of the Shōguns” resigned his position, and the Emperor was restored to his original sole authority. Then the leaders of the Restoration abandoned their anti-foreign slogan, which had been only a pretext, and by a complete but wise volte-face, began to turn their country into the path of modern civilization, to make up for the lost centuries. But the story of this wonderful transformation belongs to the next chapter.


Griffis, in his “Japan in History, Folk-lore, and Art,” gives interesting glimpses of Japanese history; and many other works on Japan present a brief treatment of this subject. Clement’s Hildreth’s “Japan as it Was and Is” is especially valuable for the period of seclusion. Knapp’s “Feudal and Modern Japan” is instructive in its contrasts. The Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan abound in valuable material. For a single volume on this subject, Murray’s “Japan” in the series of “The Stories of the Nations” or Longford’s “Story of Old Japan” is the best. Murdoch’s “History of Japan” in three volumes, of which two have been published, is the most authoritative.




Outline of Topics: Birth of New Japan.—Nineteenth Century Japan; calendars; six periods: (I) Period of Seclusion, chronology and description; (II) Period of Treaty-making, chronology and description; (III) Period of Civil Commotions, chronology and description; (IV) Period of Reconstruction, chronology and description, especially the “Charter Oath”; (V) Period of Internal Development, chronology and description; (VI) Period of Constitutional Government, chronology and description; summary of general progress.—Bibliography.

JULY 14, 1853, was the birthday of New Japan. It was the day when Commodore Perry and his suite first landed on the shore of Yedo Bay at Kurihama, near Uraga, and when Japanese authorities received, in contravention of their own laws, an official communication from Millard Fillmore, President of the United States.

It may be true that, even if Perry had not come, Japan would have been eventually opened, because internal public opinion was shaping itself against the policy of seclusion; but we care little for what “might have been.” It is, of course, true that Perry did not fully carry out the purpose of his expedition until the following year, when he negotiated a treaty of friendship; but the reception of the President’s letter was the crucial point; it was the beginning of the end of103 old Japan. The rest followed in due course of time. When Japanese authorities broke their own laws, the downfall of the old system was inevitable. Mark those words in the receipt—“in opposition to the Japanese law.” That was a clear confession that the old policy of seclusion and its prohibitions could no longer be strictly maintained. A precedent was thus established, of which other nations were not at all slow to avail themselves.

But although New Japan was not born until the second half of the nineteenth century, it suits the purpose of this book a little better, even at the expense of possible repetition, to take a survey in this chapter of that entire century, in order that the real progress of Japan may thereby be more clearly revealed in all its marvellous strides.

Of course, the employment of the Gregorian calendar in Japan is of comparatively recent occurrence, so that it would be quite proper to divide up the century according to the old Japanese custom of periods, or eras,82 of varying length. This system was introduced from China and has prevailed since 645 A. D. A new era was always chosen “whenever it was deemed necessary to commemorate an auspicious or ward off a malign event.” It is interesting, by the way, to notice that, immediately after Commodore Perry’s arrival (1853), the name of the period was changed for a good omen! Hereafter these eras will correspond with the reigns of the emperors.


But it is really more intelligible to divide the history of the century into six periods of well-determined duration. Each one of these periods, moreover, may be accurately named in accord with the distinguishing characteristic of that period. It must, however, be clearly understood that these distinctions are not all absolute, but rather relative. It is also possible, without an undue stretch of the imagination, to trace, in the order of the periods, the general progress that has marked the history of New Japan. These periods are as follows:—

I. Seclusion (1801-1853).
II. Treaty-making (1854-1858).
III. Civil Commotions (1858-1868).
IV. Reconstruction (1868-1878).
V. Internal Development (1879-1889).
VI. Constitutional Government (1889-1900).83

It is of special interest for Americans to notice that the third and fourth periods are almost contemporaneous with the periods of Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States.

We now take up each period in detail.

I. Period of Seclusion (1801-1853).



Resanoff, Russian Embassy.


The “Eclipse” of Boston at Nagasaki.


The British frigate “Phaethon” at Nagasaki.


Golownin’s captivity in Yezo.


Captain Gordon (British) in Yedo Bay.105


Dr. Von Siebold (Dutch) in Yedo.


Beechey (British) in “Blossom” at Loo Choo Islands.


The “Morrison” Expedition in Yedo Bay.


Letter84 from King William II. of Holland.


American whaler “Mercator” in Yedo Bay.


British frigate “Saramang” at Nagasaki.


Dr. Bettelheim in Loo Choo Islands.


Wreck of American whaler “Lawrence” on Kurile Islands.


(United States) Commodore Biddle’s Expedition in Yedo Bay.


Wreck of American whaler “Ladoga” off Matsumai, Yezo.


Ronald McDonald landed in Japan.


United States “Preble” in Nagasaki harbor.


British “Mariner” in Yedo Bay.


Shōgun Iyeyoshi died.


Commodore Perry in Yedo Bay.

It needs only a few words to summarize this period which includes the final days of the two-edged policy of exclusion and inclusion, which forbade not only foreigners to enter, but also Japanese to leave, the country. It would not even allow Japanese ship-wrecked on other shores to be brought back to their native land, as several futile attempts mentioned above attest. Nagasaki was the only place where foreign trade was allowed, and there only in a slight degree with Chinese and Dutch. The events of this period are almost all vain attempts to open Japan. Two important events concern the Loo Choo Islands, 106 then independent, and later visited also by Commodore Perry on his way from China to Japan. Ronald McDonald was an Oregon boy, who, “voluntarily left adrift, got into Yezo, and thence to Nagasaki.” He is reported to have puzzled the Japanese authorities by stating that in America “the people are king and the source of authority”! This period of seclusion came to an end on July 14, 1853, when the Japanese, contrary to their own laws, received from Commodore Perry the letter from President Fillmore to the Emperor of Japan.85

II. Period of Treaty-Making (1854-1858).



Perry’s treaty of peace and amity.


British treaty of peace and amity.


Russian treaty of peace and amity.


Terrible earthquake.


Fire in Yedo; 100,000 lives lost.


Dutch treaty of peace and amity.


Townsend Harris, United States Consul, arrived.


Harris in audience with the Shōgun.


Harris treaty of trade and commerce.


Elgin treaty of trade and commerce.



This is the era which was opened by Commodore Perry, and was almost entirely devoted to the persevering attempts of Perry, Harris, Curtius, Lord Elgin, and others to negotiate treaties, first of friendship and amity, and afterwards of trade and commerce, with Japan. It is rather interesting that the only events chronicled above, besides treaty-making, are terrible catastrophes, which the superstitious conservatives believed to have been visited upon their country as a punishment for treating with the barbarians! It is again a matter of peculiar pride to Americans that the first treaty of friendship and amity was negotiated by Perry; that the first foreign flag raised officially in Japan was the Stars and Stripes, hoisted at Shimoda by Harris on September 4, 1856; that Harris was the first accredited diplomatic agent from a foreign country to Japan; that he also had the honor of the first audience of a foreign representative with the Shōgun, then supposed to be the Emperor; and that he negotiated the first treaty of trade and commerce.

III. Period of Civil Commotions (1858-1868).



Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate opened.


First Christian missionaries.


Assassination of Ii, Prime Minister of the Shōgun.


Frequent attacks on foreigners.


First foreign embassy.    Richardson affair.


Bombardment of Kagoshima.


Bombardment of Shimonoseki.108


Imperial sanction of treaties. Tariff convention.


Shōgun Iyemochi died; succeeded by Keiki.


Emperor Kōmei died; succeeded by Mutsuhito.


Keiki resigned. Reorganization of the Government.


Restoration, or Revolution.

This era has been so named because it was marked by commotions, not merely between different factions among the Japanese, but also between Japanese and foreigners. The anti-foreign spirit that manifested itself in numerous assaults and conspiracies was so involved with internal dissensions that it is quite difficult to distinguish them. The assassination of Ii, the Shōgun’s Prime Minister, who had the courage and the foresight to sign the treaties, was the natural sequence of the opening of three ports to foreign commerce. The conservative spirit, moreover, was still so strong that the Shōgun had to send an embassy, the first one ever sent abroad officially by Japan, to petition the treaty-powers to permit the postponement of the opening of other ports. The murder of Richardson, an Englishman who rudely interrupted the progress of the retinue of the Prince of Satsuma, was the pretext for the bombardment of Kagoshima; and the firing on an American vessel that was passing through the Straits of Shimonoseki was the excuse for the bombardment of Shimonoseki. About the middle of this period the Imperial sanction of the treaties was obtained, and a tariff convention was negotiated.


The civil dissensions, however, continued; the great clan of Chōshiu became engaged in actual warfare against the Shōgun’s troops in Kyōto and were proclaimed “rebels,” against whom an Imperial army was despatched; the young Shōgun, Iyemochi, died and was succeeded by Keiki; and the Emperor Kōmei also died and was succeeded by his young son, Mutsuhito, the present Emperor. Finally, the new Shōgun, observing the drift of political affairs and the need of the times for a more centralized and unified administration, resigned his position; and the system of government was re-formed with the Emperor in direct control. The new Emperor declared in a manifesto: “Henceforward we shall exercise supreme authority, both in the internal and [the] external affairs of the country. Consequently the title of Emperor should be substituted for that of Tycoon [Shōgun], which has hitherto been employed in the treaties.” Of this manifesto, one writer says: “Appended were the seal of Dai Nippon, and the signature, Mutsuhito, this being the first occasion in Japanese history on which the name of an Emperor had appeared during his lifetime.”86

But the effect of the reorganization of the government seemed to the adherents of the former Shōgun to work so much injustice to them that they rose in arms against the Sat-Chō [Satsuma-Chōshiu] combination which was then influential at court. This led, in 1867, to a civil war, which, after a severe110 struggle, culminated in 1868 in the complete triumph of the Imperialists. This event is what is called by some “the Restoration,” and by others “the Revolution.” This was, in fact, the climax of all the civil commotions of the period; the anti-foreign spirit and policy were only secondary to the prime purpose of overthrowing the usurpation of the Tokugawa Shōgunate and restoring the one legal Emperor to his lawful authority. And thus fell, not only the Tokugawa Dynasty, as had fallen other dynasties, of Shōguns, but also the whole system of a Shōgunate; and thus the Emperor of Japan became, not ruler in name and fame only, but sovereign in act and fact. From 1868 to the middle of 1912 Mutsuhito was Emperor both de jure and de facto.

IV. Period of Reconstruction (1868-1878).



Opening of Hyōgo (Kōbe) and Ōsaka.


Emperor’s audience of foreign ministers.


Yedo named Tōkyō and made capital.


Opening of Yedo and Niigata.


The “Charter Oath” of Japan.


Light-houses, telegraphs.


Postal system, mint, and dock.


Feudalism abolished.


Eta and hinin (outcasts) admitted to citizenship.


Colonization in Yezo [Hokkaidō].


First railway, newspaper, church, and Missionary Conference.


Imperial University in Tōkyō.


111Iwakura Embassy to America and Europe.


Adoption of Gregorian calendar.


Removal of anti-Christian edicts. Empress gave audience to foreign ladies.


Saga Rebellion. Formosan Expedition.


Assembly of Governors. Senate.


Sakhalin traded off for Kurile Islands.


Treaty with Korea.


Satsuma Rebellion.


First National Exhibition in Tōkyō.




Promise to establish Prefectural Assemblies.

This period was one of laying the foundations of a New Japan, to be constructed out of the old, and was one of such kaleidoscopic changes and marvellous transformations in society, business, and administration that it is almost blinding to the eye to attempt to watch the work of reconstruction. There were abortive but costly attempts, like the Saga and the Satsuma rebellions, to check the progressive policy. It was the great period of “firsts,” of beginnings: the first audiences of foreign ministers by the Emperor and of foreign ladies by the Empress; the first telegraph, mint, dock, railroad, postal system, newspaper, exhibition, church, etc.; an assembly of provincial governors to confer together upon general policy, and a Senate.

The “Charter Oath” of Japan was not obtained by coercion, but voluntarily taken: it is such an important document that at least a summary may be given:87


“1. A deliberative assembly should be formed, and all measures be decided by public opinion.

“2. The principles of social and political economics should be diligently studied by both the superior and [the] inferior classes of our people.

“3. Every one in the community shall be assisted to persevere in carrying out his will for all good purposes.

“4. All the old absurd usages of former times should be disregarded, and the impartiality and justice displayed in the workings of nature be adopted as a basis of action.

“5. Wisdom and ability should be sought after in all quarters of the world for the purpose of firmly establishing the foundations of the empire.”

Two years later feudalism was abolished by the following laconic decree: “The clans are abolished, and prefectures are established in their places.” In the same year the outcast eta and hi-nin (not-human) were recognized as common people. Then followed the despatch of the Iwakura Embassy to America and Europe, where, although they failed in their prime purpose of securing a revision of the treaties on more nearly equal terms, they learned most valuable lessons. Two immediate results thereof were seen in the removal of the anti-Christian edicts and the adoption of the Gregorian, or Christian, calendar. And finally came the promise to establish prefectural assemblies as training schools in local self-government.


V. Period of Internal Development (1879-1889).



Annexation of the Loo Choo Islands.


Visit of General U. S. Grant.


Promulgation of Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure.


Establishment of prefectural assemblies.


Announcement of Constitutional Government.


Organization of political parties.


Bank of Japan (Nippon Ginkō).


Missionary Conference, Ōsaka.


New orders of nobility in European fashion.


English introduced into school curricula.


Japan Mail Steamship Company (Nippon Yūsen Kwaisha).


Cabinet reconstruction, known as “The Great Earthquake” (political).


Dissatisfaction of Radicals.


“Peace Preservation Act.”


Establishment of Privy Council.


Eruption of Mount Bandai.


Promulgation of the Constitution (February 11).


Establishment of local self-government.


Prince Haru proclaimed Crown Prince.

This period is not marked, perhaps, by so many unusual events as the preceding one; but it was a period of rapid, though somewhat quiet, internal development. We note in financial affairs the organization of the Bank of Japan, which has ever since been a most important agent in maintaining an economic equilibrium; in business circles the114 organization of the Japan Mail Steamship Company, which has been instrumental in expanding Japanese trade and commerce; in society the reorganization of the nobility; and in legal matters the promulgation of new codes. Several political events are noted in the chronology; but they were mostly preparatory to the next period. The promise to establish prefectural assemblies was fulfilled, and these became preparatory schools in political science; and another promise, that of a constitution, was made. The Cabinet was reconstructed, and political parties were organized. The Radicals, however, became dissatisfied with the slowness of political progress, and made such an agitation that, in 1887, many were expelled from Tōkyō by the so-called “Peace Preservation Act,” and those who refused to obey were imprisoned. But finally, in 1889, as the climax of the internal development and political preparations, came the establishment of local self-government and the promulgation of the Constitution, which ushered in the next period.

VI. Period of Constitutional Government (1889-1900).



Anti-foreign reaction.


First National Election. First Imperial Diet.


Promulgation of Civil and Commercial Codes.


Attack on the Czarowitz, now Emperor of Russia.


Gifu earthquake.


Dispute between the two Houses of Diet.


Dispute between the Diet and the Government.


War with China.


War with China. Acquisition of Formosa.


Alliance between the Government and Liberals.


Tidal wave on northeastern coast of main island.


Revised tariff. Gold standard.


Freedom of press and public meeting.


Revised Civil Code. First “Party Cabinet.”


New treaties on terms of equality—Japan wide open.


Wedding of Crown Prince Haru.


Extension of electoral franchise.


War with China—Japan allied with Christendom.


General Missionary Conference, Tōkyō.

This period included wars and other calamities, but also some very fortunate events. It opened, strange to say, with the “anti-foreign reaction” at its height. This reaction was the natural result of the rapid Occidentalizing that had been going on, and was strengthened by the refusal of Western nations to revise the treaties which kept Japan in thraldom. But the period closed with “treaty revision” accomplished, and Japan admitted, on terms of equality, to alliance with Western nations.88 And in quelling the “Boxer” disturbances in China and particularly in raising the Siege of Peking, Japan played a most important part. This period was chiefly occupied with the experimental stage in constitutional government, when the relations between the two Houses of the Diet, between the Diet and the Cabinet, between the Cabinet and political parties, were being116 defined. This was also the period during which new civil, commercial, and criminal codes were put into operation; the gold standard was adopted; the restrictions on the freedom of the press and of public meeting were almost entirely removed; the tariff was revised in the interests of Japan; and the electoral franchise in elections for members of the House of Representatives was largely extended.

It has already been suggested that the very order of these periods indicates in general the progress of Japan during those hundred years. The century dawns, nay, even the second half of the century opens, with Japan in seclusion. But Commodore Perry breaks down that isolation; and Japan enters, first merely into amity, but afterwards into commercial intercourse, with foreign nations. The break up of the old foreign policy accelerates the break up of the old national policy of government, and civil commotions culminate in the restoration of the Emperor to his lawful authority. Japan is then reconstructed on new lines; and a tremendous internal development prepares the Japanese to be admitted by their generous Emperor into a share of his inherited prerogatives. And the century sets with Japan among the great nations of Christendom, and with the Japanese enjoying a constitutional government, representative institutions, local self-government, freedom of the press and of public meeting, and religious liberty. If this is the record of Nineteenth Century Japan, what of Twentieth Century Japan?



It certainly has a good start, in formal alliance with Great Britain to maintain peace and justice in the Far East.


The same as the preceding chapter, with the addition of “The Intercourse between the United States and Japan” (Nitobe); “Matthew Calbraith Perry,” “Townsend Harris,” and “Verbeck of Japan” (all by Griffis); “Advance Japan” (Morris); and Perry’s Expedition (official report).

On the early history of New Japan there are many valuable works by Alcock, Black, Dickson, Dixon (W. G.), House, Lanman, Mounsey, Mossman, and others. See also Satow’s translation of “Kinse Shiriaku.” On the war with China (1894, 1895), see “Heroic Japan” (Eastlake and Yamada); and on the lessons and results of that war, see “The New Far East” (Diosy). “The Awakening of Japan” (Okakura), “The White Peril in the Far East” (Gulick), and “Young Japan” (Scherer) trace thoughtfully the development of New Japan. “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chaps, ii. and iv., may be read with profit. “The Progress of Japan, 1853-1871” (Gubbins), covers thoroughly part of this period.




Outline of Topics: The “Charter Oath” of Japan; popular agitation; promise of a national assembly; a red-letter year; the “Magna Charta” of Japan; Imperial prerogatives; personality of Emperor and Empress; Crown Prince and Princess; Imperial grandchildren; Privy Council; Imperial Cabinet; Departments of State; sundry comments; House of Peers; House of Commons; some “firsts”; rights and duties of subjects; criticisms of Japanese politics; popular rights; personnel of two Houses; cabinet responsibility; political parties; persons and principles; constitutional system satisfactory.—Bibliography.

WHEN the Revolution, or Restoration, of 1868 ended the usurpation, and overthrew the despotism of the Shōgun, the young Emperor, Mutsuhito, restored to his ancestral rights as the actual sole ruler of the empire, took solemn oath that “a deliberative assembly should be formed; all measures be decided by public opinion; the uncivilized customs of former times should be broken through; the impartiality and justice displayed in the workings of nature be adopted as a basis of action; and that intellect and learning should be sought for throughout the world, in order to establish the foundations of the empire.” In that same year an assembly of representatives of the clans was called to meet in the capital, and was given the title119 of Shūgi-in (House of Commons). It consisted of samurai (knights) from each clan; and as they were appointed by each daimyō (prince), the body was a purely feudal, and not at all a popular, assembly. In 1871 feudalism was abolished, and later a senate was established; but that was an advisory body, consisting of officials appointed by the Emperor and without legislative power. In 1875 the Emperor convoked a council of the officers of the provincial governments with a purpose stated as follows: “We also call a council of the officials of our provinces, so that the feelings of the people may be made known and the public welfare attained. By these means we shall gradually confer upon the nation a constitutional form of government. The provincial officials are summoned as the representatives of the people in the various provinces, that they may express their opinion on behalf of the people.”

But a body so constituted and rather conservative could not satisfy the demands of the new age. Itagaki (now Count) insisted that the government should “guarantee the establishment of a popular assembly,” and organized societies, or associations, for popular agitation of the subject. Petitions and memorials poured in upon the government, within whose circles Ōkuma (now Count), Minister of Finance, was most active in the same direction. In the mean time (1878) provincial assemblies, the members of which were chosen by popular election, had been established as a preparatory measure.


It was on October 12, 1881, that the Emperor issued his memorable proclamation that a National Assembly should be opened in 1890. That proclamation read as follows:—

“We therefore hereby declare that we shall, in the 23rd year of Meiji, establish a Parliament, in order to carry into full effect the determination we have announced, and we charge our faithful subjects bearing our commissions to make, in the mean time, all necessary preparations to that end. With regard to the limitations upon the Imperial prerogative, and the constitution of the Parliament, we shall decide hereafter, and shall make proclamation in due time.”

From that time on there was progress, “steadily, if slowly, in the direction of greater decentralization and broader popular prerogative.”

The year 1889 was a red-letter year in the calendar of Japan’s political progress. On February 11 was promulgated that famous document89 which took Japan forever out of the ranks of Oriental despotisms and placed her among constitutional monarchies; and on April 1 the law of local self-government for city, town, and village went into effect.

The Japanese Constitution has very appropriately been called “the Magna Charta of Japanese liberty.” It was not, however, like the famous English document, extorted by force from an unwilling monarch and a cruel tyrant, but was voluntarily granted by a kind and loved ruler at the expense of his inherited121 and long-established rights. The present Emperor holds the throne according to the native tradition, perpetuated even in the language of the Constitution, by virtue of a “lineal succession unbroken for ages eternal.” But even though rigid criticism compels us to reject as more or less mythological the so-called “history” of about 1,000 years; and although Yoshihito, therefore, may not be really the 123d ruler of the line from the Japanese Romulus (Jimmu), nevertheless he remains the representative of the oldest living dynasty in the world. If, then, time is a factor in confirming the claims and rights of a ruler, no king or emperor of the present day has a better title. And his father, born and bred in the atmosphere of Oriental absolutism and despotism, “in consideration of the progressive tendency of the course of human affairs, and in parallel with the advance of civilization,”90 voluntarily and generously admitted his people to a share in the administration of public affairs.

That important document, which signed away such strongly acquired and inherited prerogatives, at the outset, however, seems far from generous. The Emperor, “sacred and inviolate,” is “the head of the empire,” combining in himself the rights of sovereignty; but he “exercises them according to the provisions of the Constitution.” It is only “in consequence of an urgent necessity to maintain public safety or to avert public calamities,” that the122 Emperor, “when the Imperial Diet is not sitting,” may issue “Imperial Ordinances in place of law.” But these ordinances must be approved by the Imperial Diet at its next session, or become “invalid for the future.” To the Emperor is reserved the function of issuing ordinances necessary for carrying out the laws passed by the Diet or for the maintenance of public peace and order; but “no Ordinance shall in any way alter any of the existing laws.” The Emperor also determines the organization of the various branches of the government, appoints and dismisses all officials, and fixes their salaries. Moreover, he has “the supreme command of the army and navy,” whose organization and peace standing he determines; “declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties”; “confers titles of nobility, rank, orders, and other marks of honor”; and “orders amnesty, pardon, commutation of punishments and rehabilitation.”

Now it must be quite evident to the most casual reader that, in carrying out this Constitution, patterned after that of Germany, much depends upon the Emperor and his personality. One, like Kōmei (the father of the recent Emperor), bigoted and intent upon resisting any infringement, to the slightest degree, upon his “divine rights,” could create a great deal of friction in the administration of affairs. But, fortunately for Japan and the world, Mutsuhito was not at all inclined to be narrow-minded, selfish, and despotic, but was graciously pleased to be the123 leader of his subjects in broader and better paths. And although the Empress had no share in the administration and wisely kept “out of politics,” her popularity enhanced the interest felt in the reign recently closed.91

It is, moreover, fortunate for Japan that the new Emperor, Yoshihito, is also a man of most liberal ideas and progressive tendencies. He has had a broad education, by both public and private instruction, and a careful training for the career that lies before him; and he will undoubtedly be found ready to extend popular privileges just so far as conditions warrant. Seated on the ancestral throne, he is the first Japanese Emperor who has received any education in public; for it was in the Gakushūin—or Nobles’ School, as it is called in English—that he completed the elementary course.92 After that, on account of poor health, he was compelled to pursue his studies under private tutors.

And that the Imperial line will, in all human probability, remain “unbroken” for many years, is rendered likely by the fact that the Emperor and the Empress Sada have been blessed with three healthy sons, Princes Michi, Atsu, and Teru, who are being brought up by professional “tutors,” Count and Countess Kawamura, away from court life, with such care as the needs of said Imperial line demand.


But, to return from this digression to the subject of the Constitution, another body recognized by that document is the Privy Council (Sumitsu-In), appointed by the Emperor and consulted by him upon certain matters of State. It consists of 1 President, 1 Vice-President, 25 Councillors, and 1 Secretary, with 5 assistants; and it is composed of “personages who have rendered signal service to the State and who are distinguished for their experience,” such as ex-Ministers of State and others, whose “valuable advice on matters of State” would naturally be sought. The matters coming within the cognizance of the Privy Council are specified as follows: Matters which come under its jurisdiction by the Law of the Houses (of Parliament); drafts and doubtful points relating to articles of the Constitution, and to laws and ordinances dependent to the Constitution; proclamation of the law of siege and certain Imperial ordinances; international treaties; and matters specially called for. The Ministers of State are, ex officio, members of the Privy Council; but although it is “the Emperor’s highest resort of counsel, it shall not interfere with the Executive.”

The Cabinet includes the holders of 10 portfolios: those of the Minister President, or Premier; the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Minister of Home Affairs; the Minister of Finance; the Minister of the Army, or War; the Minister of the Navy; the Minister of Justice; the Minister of Education;125 the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce; and the Minister of Communications. There is one other official who holds the title of Minister, but is not a member of the Cabinet, that is, the Minister of the Imperial Household. When the Cabinet is fully organized, it contains 10 members; but occasionally circumstances compel the Premier or some other Minister to hold an extra portfolio, at least temporarily. Each department of state has its own subordinate officials, most of whom hold office under civil-service rules and are not removable.

The titles of the departments are mostly self-explanatory, and correspond in general to similar departments in Occidental countries; but in some cases there are vital differences, especially in comparison with the United States Cabinet. In a paternal government, like that of Japan, the Minister of Home Affairs holds a much more important position than our Secretary of the Interior, for he has the general oversight of the police system and the prefectural governments; the Minister of Justice holds a broader position than our Attorney-General; and the Minister of Communications has the oversight, not of the postal system only, but also of telegraphs, telephones, railways, and other modes of conveyance and communication. In general, as will be observed, the Japanese Government owns many institutions which, in our country, are entrusted to private enterprise.

The Premier receives a salary of 9,600 yen, and126 other ministers receive 6,000 yen, besides official residence and sundry allowances. In most cases the real work of each department is performed by the subordinate officials, while the frequently changing93 Ministers of State are only nominal heads of the departments. The two portfolios of the Army and the Navy, however, have been taken out of politics, and are not subject to change whenever a ministry goes out of office. Ministers of State, as well as governmental delegates, specially appointed for the purpose, “may, at any time, take seats and speak in either House” of the Imperial Diet.

The Imperial Diet of Japan consists of two Houses, the House of Peers and the House of Commons. The membership of the former comprises three classes,—hereditary, elective, and appointive.94 The members of the Imperial Family and of the orders of Princes and Marquises possess the hereditary tenure. From among those persons who have the titles of Count, Baron, and Viscount a certain number are chosen by election, for a term of seven years. The Emperor has the power of appointing for life membership a limited number of persons, deserving on account of meritorious services to the State or of erudition. Finally, in each Fu and Ken one member is elected from and among the highest tax-payers and appointed by the Emperor, for a term of seven years.

The members of the House of Commons are always127 elected by ballot in accordance with the Election Law, by which they now number 379. Their term of office is four years, unless they lose their seats by dissolution of the Diet, as has often happened. “Those [persons] alone shall be eligible [as candidates], that are male Japanese subjects, of not less than full thirty years of age, and that in the Fu or Ken in which they desire to be elected, have been paying direct national taxes to an amount of not less than 15 yen, for a period of not less than one year previous to the date of making out the electoral list, and that are still paying that amount of direct national taxes.”95 Certain officials, as well as military and naval officers, are ineligible. A voter must be full twenty-five years of age; must have actually resided in that Fu or Ken for one year; and must have been paying direct national taxes of not less than 10 yen. The limits of an electoral district include a whole Fu or Ken, except that an incorporated city (Shi) forms one or more districts by itself. And the number of the latter kind of districts has been increased lately, so that urban populations might have a more adequate representation. The plan of unsigned uni-nominal ballots is employed. The present number of eligible voters is a little over one million.


The first election under the Constitution took place (whether designedly or accidentally, I know not), by a curious coincidence, on July 4, 1890; and128 the first session of the Imperial Diet opened on November 29, 1890. On December 2 the House of Peers received the first bill ever presented to a National Assembly in Japan; and on December 4 the first Budget (for 1891) was laid before the House of Representatives by Count Matsukata, Minister of Finance.

Some notice must be taken of the rights and duties of subjects under the Japanese Constitution. All such persons are eligible to civil and military offices; amenable to service in the army and the navy, and the duty of paying taxes, according to law; have the liberty of abode, inviolate right of property, right of trial by law, and freedom of speech, writing, publication, public meeting, association, and religious belief, “within the limits of law”; cannot be arrested, detained, tried, or punished, “unless according to law,” and can claim inviolate secrecy of correspondence. Moreover, “the house of no Japanese subject shall be entered or searched without his consent,” except in due process of law. All subjects may also present petitions, “by observing the proper forms of respect.” The freedom of religious belief is granted “within limits not prejudicial to peace and order, and not antagonistic to their duties as subjects.” These “rights” are old to Anglo-Saxons, but new to Japanese.

Now we often see and hear rather uncomplimentary statements about the Imperial Diet, political parties, cabinet ministers, and Japanese political affairs in129 general, and are even told that Japan is only “playing” with parliamentary and representative institutions, that her popular assemblies are mere “toys,” her constitutional government is all a “farce,” and her new civilization is nothing but a “bib.” Such criticisms, however, result either from ignorance or from a wrong point of view. It is undeniably true that, viewed from the vantage-ground attained by popular institutions and constitutional government in many Occidental nations, Japan is still lagging behind. It is not fair, however, to judge her by our own standards; the only just way is to estimate carefully the exact difference between her former and her present conditions. This the author has tried to do elsewhere in a pamphlet96 on “Constitutional Government in Japan,” in which he has given a sketch of the workings of the Japanese Constitution during the first decade, or period, of its history. From that he quotes the following conclusions:—

The progress made during the first decade of constitutional government in Japan was considerable. In the first place, popular rights were largely expanded by the removal of most of the restrictions on freedom of the press and public meeting; as much extension of the electoral franchise as seems warranted was accomplished; and public opinion, as voiced in the newspapers and magazines, was wielding an increased and constantly increasing influence.130 On this point the “Japan Times” says: “No one who goes into the country and compares the present degree of the people’s political education with what it was ten years ago, can fail to be struck by the immense progress achieved during that interval.”

In the second place, the character of the two Houses of the Imperial Diet has greatly improved. The inexperienced have given way to the experienced, the ignorant to the intelligent; so that, after six elections, the personnel of the House of Representatives is of a much better quality, and the House of Peers has been quickened by the infusion of new blood. Experience, as usual, has been a good teacher.

In the third place, the Cabinet, theoretically responsible to the Emperor because appointed by him on his own sole authority, is practically responsible to the Imperial Diet and must command the support of a majority of that body. Hereafter it would seem that dissolution of the Diet is not likely to occur as often as dissolution of the Cabinet.

The one weak point in this situation is that, although the principle of party cabinets is thus established, its practical application is difficult of realization, simply because there are no true political parties in Japan. There are many so-called “parties,” which are really only factions, bound together by personal, class, geographical, or mercantile ties, and without distinctive principles. One “party” is actually Count Ōkuma’s following; another is Count Itagaki’s; another is called “the business131 men’s party”; another is composed of politicians of the Northeast; and another tries to maintain the old clan alliances; so in 1913 Prince Katsura assumed leadership of a new progressive party.97

But it is, nevertheless, true that “Japan is at length passing out of the epoch of persons and entering the era of principles,” when, of course, will speedily come the development of parties. It is not, perhaps, strange that the personality of the great statesmen who made New Japan possible has been felt for so long a time, nor that the able men of the rising generation have begun to chafe a little under the prolonged control of those older statesmen. But, as the “Japan Times” says, “the conflict between the old and the new elements of political power, the so-called clan statesmen and the party politicians, has been so far removed that the time is already in sight when the country will see them working harmoniously under the same banner and with the same platform.” Such was apparently the case in the Seiyukwai, Marquis Itō’s new party, organized in 1900, the closing year of the first decade of Japanese constitutionalism. And this problem of political parties is the great one to be solved in the second period of constitutional government in Japan.

We may, therefore, conclude that the working of the new system of government has, on the whole, been satisfactory. We must acknowledge, with the “Japan Mail,” that “it would be altogether extravagant132 to expect that Japan’s new constitutional garments should fit her perfectly from the first. They are too large for her. She has to grow into them, and of course the process is destined to be more or less awkward.” We must agree with Prince Itō, the author of the Constitution, not only that there has been the experimental period, but also that “excellent results have thus far been obtained, when it is remembered how sudden has been the transition from feudalism to representative institutions.” We ought, indeed, to bear in mind, that, when the Constitution was promulgated, Japan was only eighteen years out of feudalism and twenty-one years out of military despotism; so that, by both the Oriental and the Occidental reckoning, New Japan had only just come “of age” politically. She seems, therefore, deserving of the greatest credit for the progress of the first decade of constitutionalism.


“The Story of Japan” (Murray), “Advance Japan” (Morris), and “The Yankees of the East” (Curtis), give some information here and there about the government of Japan. But especially helpful are Wigmore’s articles in the “Nation” and “Scribner’s Monthly,” Iyenaga’s “Constitutional Development of Japan,” Knapp’s “Feudal and Modern Japan,” Count (now Marquis) Itō’s “Commentaries on the Constitution of the Empire of Japan,” and Lay’s “History of Japanese Political Parties” (Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xxx. part iii.). See also “The Political Ideas of Modern Japan” (Kawakami), and “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chaps. xiii. and xiv. Uycharu’s “Political Development of Japan (1867-1909)” is the latest and best.




Outline of Topics: Local government under feudalism; periods of modern local self-government; gradual development therein; prefectural assemblies; candidates and electors; standing committee; sessions; business; speaking; petitions; how bills become laws; powers of prefectural assemblies, theoretical and practical; residents and citizens of cities, towns, and villages; rights and duties of citizens; administration in city, town, and village; city council; town and village officials; city assembly; assemblymen; powers of city assembly; town or village assembly; special provisions for towns and villages; administration of territories; pacification of Formosa; colonial government; policy in Formosa; political progress in Japan.—Bibliography.

WE have already noted incidentally in preceding chapters some of the steps in the development of local self-government in Japan; and now we must treat that subject more particularly. First it is well to observe in passing that the steps from feudalism to local self-government were not so difficult as might be imagined; for under the feudal system local government by clans had prevailed.98 And yet when feudalism was abolished, the reconstruction of local government was entered upon slowly and cautiously in order to minimize jealousies and other obstacles.


Wigmore, in his articles99 on this subject, divides the period from 1867 to 1889 into two parts (1867-1878 and 1878-1889), and explains as follows: “The former was occupied with testing the capacity of the people for self-government; the latter with extending to them a larger and larger measure of power, and in advancing towards a proper degree of decentralization.” As he wrote in 1890, he was just at the beginning of the third period, what he himself calls “a new period,” during which local self-government, under the new constitutional régime, was to be still further expanded in the line of popular privileges.

After the Shōgunate fell, but before feudalism was formally abolished, that is, from 1867 to 1871, the chiefs of the clans were allowed to continue their administration of local affairs under the title of chi-hanji (local governor). But when feudalism was formally abolished in 1871, these feudal lords were retired on annuities; their fiefs (263 in number) were incorporated, regardless of former geographical and feudal boundaries, and with regard for convenience of administration by the central government, into 72 Ken and 3 Fu; and outsiders were largely appointed to the position of governor in these new local governments. The first attempts on the part of the central government to consult local public opinion were by means of meetings of the local officials; but the people were gradually allowed, in135 rather an informal and limited way, to have a voice in certain matters. In 1878, however, as we have seen, prefectural assemblies, the members of which should be chosen by popular election, were established; and just ten years later a law extending local self-government to cities, towns, and villages was enacted, to go into effect in 1889. And these two agencies of local self-government in Japan are worthy of a little study.

The Japanese Kenkwai and Fukwai correspond, in general, with an American State legislature, but differ in many respects, because they are part of a centralized national administration. They are “to counsel about the budget of expenses to be met by local taxation, and about the manner of collecting such taxes.” The members are elected in each Ken or Fu according to the population, at the rate of 1 member for each 20,000 people. Each electoral district may also elect yobi-in (reserve members), twice the number of regular members. As their name indicates, they are to take the places of regular members who may for any reason be unable to serve. It is, therefore, unlikely that there would ever be a vacancy to be filled by a special election; for each member has two “substitutes” ready to step into his vacant place! The term of service covers 4 years; but half of the members retire every 2 years. Each member receives an emolument of 1 yen per diem during the session, and travelling expenses.

A candidate for representative in a prefectural assembly136 must be over 25 years of age, a permanent resident of that Ken or Fu, and be paying an annual land-tax of more than 10 yen. Voters in such an election must be over 20 years of age, permanent residents of that Ken or Fu, and be paying annual land-taxes of more than 5 yen. There are about 2,000,000 voters in all.

From among the members, the assembly elects a “standing committee of from five to seven persons,” who serve for a period of two years. They remain in the capital throughout the year, to give advice when the Governor asks it about the manner and order of carrying out the enactments of the assembly and about the payment of extraordinary expense. A member of this committee receives “from 30 yen to 80 yen per month, and travelling expenses.”

The ordinary annual session of an assembly opens some time in November and continues for not more than 30 days. But the Governor has power to call a special session and to suspend an assembly; while the power to prorogue an assembly rests with the Minister of State for Home Affairs.

Each session of an assembly is formally “opened” by the Governor; and the business to come before the assembly is presented in bills originating with him and his subordinates. At any time, when a member of the assembly wishes explanations concerning any matter within the purview of the assembly, the Governor or his representative must explain. In fact, such officials may speak at any time, provided137 they do not interrupt the speech of a member; but they have no vote.


When a member wishes to address the assembly, he rises, calls out “Gichō” (Chairman), and gives the number of his seat. When the chairman has recognized him by repeating that number, he “has the floor.”100

If other matters, besides those included in the “original bill(s)” of the Governor, seem to at least two members to warrant discussion, they present these matters in the form of petitions; and if the assembly grants permission, these petitions may be discussed, like bills.

No bill becomes a law until it has been signed by the Governor. If the latter does not agree with a bill, he may appeal to the Department of Home Affairs, where it will be finally decided.

If we now endeavor to measure the extent and limitations of the power of a Japanese prefectural assembly, we may say that in theory a Kenkwai or a Fukwai is by no means entirely independent of the central government, nor does it possess absolute control of the matters of its own Ken or Fu. It will be noticed that in all cases the final ratification or decision rests with the Governor or the Department of Home Affairs. The latter also has the power in its own hands of suspending an assembly at its discretion. It would seem, then, that theoretically a138 Fukwai or a Kenkwai is pretty much under the control of the central government, and has very little real power of its own. Its nature appears more like that of an elective advisory board than of a legislative body.

But, in practice and in fact, a wise Governor, though he is an appointive officer of the central government, does not often put himself in opposition to public opinion, unless it be a case of the greatest importance; and the Department of Home Affairs is loath to exercise authority unless it is absolutely necessary. The central government holds the power to control these assemblies if it should be necessary; but it also respects public opinion, and allows local self-government as far as possible.101

The extension of local self-government to cities, towns, and villages (shi, chō, and son) led to the introduction into the Japanese language of several special terms, like jūmin (resident) and kōmin (citizen), and to a careful distinction between the respective rights and duties of the two. The “residents”139 of a city [town or village] include “all those who have their residence in the city [town or village], without distinction of sex, age, color, nationality, or condition in life.” A “citizen,” however, must be “an independent male person,” that is, one who has completed his twenty-fifth year and has a household; he must be “a subject of the empire and in the enjoyment of his civil rights”; and for two years he must have been a resident of the given local division, must have contributed toward its common burdens, and must have paid therein a “national land-tax of 2 or more yen in other direct national taxes.” The rights of a citizen over and above his rights as a resident are simply but comprehensively stated. They consist in the privilege of voting in the local elections, and of eligibility to the honorary offices. There is, however, a slight qualification of this seemingly universal citizen suffrage. Those whose citizenship, for reasons to be given later, is suspended, and “those who are in actual military or naval service,” are disfranchised. Companies, however, and “other juristic persons” are entitled to the suffrage on similar conditions with individuals.102

But when we come to consider the duties of a citizen, we find peculiar conditions. The citizen of a Japanese city, town, or village, is under obligation140 to fill any honorary office to which he may be elected or appointed; and except for certain specified reasons he cannot decline official service without being “subjected to suspension of citizenship for from three to six years, together with an additional levy, during the same period, of from one-eighth to one-quarter more than his ordinary share of contribution to the city expenditure.” Here is compulsory “public spirit”! On the whole, citizenship seems to be regarded more as a duty than as a privilege; and the citizens best qualified to fill official positions of trust would find it much more difficult than in America to “keep out of politics.”

The administration of local affairs in city, town, or village is more or less centralized. In the cities the origination and the administration of the local laws devolves upon a “city council”; and in the towns and the villages, upon certain chiefs and their deputies.

A city council consists of a mayor, his deputy, and a certain number of honorary councilmen. The mayor is appointed directly by the Emperor from among three candidates previously selected by the city assembly, a body to be described later. The deputy-mayor and councilmen are elected by the city assembly. The councilmen hold office for four years, but half of them retire every two years. In the case of a very large city it is permissible to divide the city into Ku (wards), each with its own chief and deputy and even council and assembly. The functions141 of a city council include the preparation of business for the city assembly and the execution of the decisions of the assembly; the administration of the city revenue, and the carrying out of the budget voted by the assembly; and general superintendence of city affairs.

In towns or villages these duties devolve upon the mayors and deputies, who are elected by the town or village assembly from among the local citizens.

The city assembly, already mentioned, is a popular representative body. The number of members varies, in proportion to the population, from thirty to sixty; and the membership is divided into three classes, elected by three classes of voters, according to the amount of taxes paid by the electors to the city. The object of this division, copied from the Prussian system of local government, seems to be to give the highest tax-payers a power and a representation greater than what they might secure by mere proportion of numbers.103

The assemblymen hold office for six years, are eligible for re-election, and, like the councilmen, draw no salary, but receive “compensation for the actual expenses needed for the discharge of their duties.” The assemblymen go out in rotation every two years.

The principal matters to be decided by the city assembly, besides the election of certain city officials by secret ballot, are as follows: the making and142 altering of city by-laws and regulations; the voting of the budget and all matters involving expense; the modes of imposing and collecting all kinds of taxes; the incurring of a new liability or the relinquishment of an acquired right; the modes of management of city property and establishments; etc.

The constitution of a town or village assembly is also based upon the population, according to a fixed ratio. But in the grouping of electors according to the amount of taxes paid, there are only two classes. The rules, powers, and functions of a town or village assembly correspond exactly to those of the city assembly.

There are, in the case of towns and villages, two provisions which are not necessary in the case of cities. One provision prescribes a method by which two or more towns or villages, by mutual agreement and with the permission of the superintending authority, may form a union for the common administration of affairs that are common to them. The other provision prescribes that, by a town or village by-law, decided upon by the Gun council, “a small town or village may substitute for the town or village assembly a general meeting of all citizens having suffrage.” This appears to be an imitation, in theory at least, of the Anglo-Saxon town meeting and village assembly.

The privileges of local self-government are extended to all parts of the empire except Hokkaidō and Formosa, which are administered as “territories”143 by the central government. In Hokkaidō, moreover, a small measure of local administration has been granted, and this will be enlarged as rapidly as possible. But Japanese rule in Formosa is worthy of special consideration, because it is illustrative of what Japan can do in bringing enemies under her jurisdiction into harmony with her government. Japanese colonial government in Formosa may be called a success.

When Formosa104 was ceded by China to Japan in 1895, it was well understood that the Japanese had no easy task in pacifying the Chinese, civilizing the savages, and thus bringing the beautiful isle, with its great resources, under cultivation and proper restraint. But, by a wise combination of military force and civil government, Japan has achieved a remarkable success.

At first, for a brief period, Formosan affairs were under a separate department of State, that of Colonization; but when administrative economy and reform were demanded, this department was abolished, and the Governor-General of Formosa, appointed by the Emperor upon recommendation of the Cabinet, was made directly responsible to the Cabinet. At first, of course, mistakes were made, and a great deal of incapacity and corruption manifested themselves in official circles. But, by a gradual weeding out of the incompetent and the dishonest, the civil service has been greatly improved. Especially in dealing144 with opium smoking and foot-binding among the Chinese has the Japanese government shown remarkable tact. And it has also encouraged local administration among the natives to the extent of employing them in subordinate positions where they can be trained for future usefulness.

The general policy of Japan in Formosa has been stated succinctly by Count Kabayama: “Subjugate it from one side by force of arms, and then confer on the subjugated portion the benefits of civil government.” It is the expressed determination to make Formosa, “body, soul, and spirit,” a part of their empire; and reliable testimony shows that they are making a success of their labors.105

We have now noticed the chief features of local self-government as applied in Japan to prefectures, counties, cities, towns, and villages. Although there are many enactments against which the democratic ideas of Americans would revolt, the system is certainly well adapted to the present needs and capabilities of Japan. It is an interesting fact that Japan’s political institutions have been developed, since the Restoration of 1868, from the top downward. In Japan the people are conservative, and the government is progressive; and the people are simply under the necessity of growing up to political privileges that are gradually bestowed upon them. And we may feel assured that, as the people show themselves capable of exercising power, their privileges145 will be gradually extended. We should not find fault with Japan, because in only a few years she has not leaped into the enjoyment of political privileges which the English and American people obtained only after centuries of slow and often bloody development; but we should congratulate Japan, because by peaceful measures she has gradually removed herself entirely out of the pale of Oriental absolutism, beyond even despotic Russia, and may be classed with her model, Germany.


Especially helpful are Iyenaga’s “Constitutional Development of Japan,” Wigmore’s articles in the “Nation,” and several papers in the Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan. See also the author’s “Local Self-Government in Japan” in the “Political Science Quarterly” for June, 1892, and “A Japanese State Legislature” in the “Nation” for February 27, 1890. On the subject of Formosa, besides Davidson’s book already mentioned, see chap. xiv. of Ransome’s “Japan in Transition,” pp. 167, 169, of Diosy’s “New Far East,” and Takekoshi’s “Japanese Rule in Formosa.”




Outline of Topics: Standards of world-power; conscription; draft and exemption; army; arms and ammunition; officers of the army; navy; types of Japanese war-vessels; coal supply; “Blue-jacket Spirit”; Japan as a sea power; growth of cosmopolitan spirit; Anglo-Japanese Alliance,—natural, guarantee of peace, confession of England’s weakness, admission of Japan’s strength; Japan’s responsibility; meaning for Christianity; the United States a silent partner.—Bibliography.

IT is a sad commentary on the present standards of civilization that a consideration of Japan as a world power requires special attention to military and naval affairs. It is rather a strange coincidence that it was not until little Japan in 1894 showed that she could easily overcome immense China that the “Great Powers” were willing to revise their treaties with her on terms of equality and admit her to the comity of nations. And it is another strange coincidence that it was the Boxer troubles which gave Japan another opportunity to display the efficiency of her military and naval organizations, and win such laurels side by side with troops of the other “Powers,” that Great Britain, the mightiest of them all, abandoned her time-honored policy of “splendid isolation” and sought Japan’s assistance by means147 of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. It is not, however, to be imagined that Great Britain overlooked or ignored Japan’s other elements of power; but it is quite evident that the latter’s military and naval efficiency made a great impression on the former. Therefore it is our duty, having considered Japan’s geographical, industrial, commercial, social, historical, and political features, to take up now her polemic ability.


The Japanese army and navy are created and sustained, as to personnel, by a conscription system, quite like that of Germany. Theoretically, “all males between the full ages of 17 and 40 years, who are Japanese subjects, shall be liable to conscription.”106 This period is, moreover, divided up as follows: (1) Active service with the colors, for 3 years in the army and 4 years in the navy, by those who have “attained the full age of 20 years”; so that those who are between 17 and 20 are apparently exempt except “in time of war or other emergency”; (2) First Reserve term, of 4 years in the army and 3 years in the navy, “by such as have completed their service with the colors”; (3) Second Reserve term of 5 years, “by those who have completed their service in the First Reserves”; and (4) Service in the Territorial Army for the remaining years by those who have completed the preceding term. But the last three services are merely nominal, as the First and Second Reserves and the Territorial Army are ordinarily called out only for drill once a year and are148 mobilized, in order, “in time of war or of emergency.” And, by a special arrangement, the actual service in barracks may be only 2 years.

A very thorough method of drafting carries into effect these provisions, and would make more than 200,000 young men annually liable to service. But, as this is a much larger number than the government could possibly care for, or would need in times of peace, there is a “sweeping system of exemptions” that brings the number of conscripts down within practical limits. This system takes into account physical conditions, educational courses, individual and family necessities, official duties, business requirements, etc. Even then the number of those available who pass the examination is too large, so that it is reduced by lot. Those who are finally enrolled are divided up among the various lines of service according to physique, former occupation and attainments. “Conscripts for active naval service shall be selected from youths belonging to the sea-coast or insular districts.” The term of active service is computed from December 1 of each year; so that the days just preceding or following that day are busy ones for those who are either giving new conscripts a fine send-off or welcoming home those whose terms have expired.

Japan is divided, for military purposes, into eighteen districts, each of which is occupied by a division. The headquarters of these districts are located at Tōkyō, Sendai, Nagoya, Ōsaka, Hiroshima, Kumamoto,149 Asahigawa, etc., etc. There is also the Imperial Guard, with headquarters, of course, at Tōkyō: they are to be distinguished from other soldiers by having a red instead of a yellow band around the cap, and are “a picked corps,” who present a very fine appearance. The war-footing of the Japanese army exceeds 500,000 men, and its peace-footing is almost 200,000: these figures take account only of combatants. The discipline, courage, and endurance of the Japanese army have been clearly exhibited side by side with the troops of Occidental nations in China, and have suffered naught by comparison. The army has been called “the most formidable mobile land force in the Far East, indeed in the whole of Asia,” and “the best army in the world, for its size.” And the remarkable manner in which the various parts of the service coöperate and smoothly carry out the general plans has won the admiration of capable critics.107

The guns for the artillery service used to be purchased abroad, but are now chiefly manufactured in Ōsaka. There is an excellent arsenal in the Koishikawa District of Tōkyō; it is on part of the site of the magnificent yashiki (mansion) of the Prince of Mito, whose beautiful garden still remains a delight to all visitors. This arsenal is where the once famous Murata rifle was formerly manufactured; but that has been superseded by the “30th Year” (of Meiji) rifle; and both of these are Japanese inventions.150 The arsenal is also turning out ammunition at the ordinary rate of a million rounds a day.

According to the Constitution, the Emperor “has the supreme command of the army and the navy”; and under him come the Minister of War, the actual Commander-in-Chief, the Chief of Staff, the generals and other officers and officials in order. The Emperor is not expected to take command in person; but often one of the Imperial Princes will act as Commander-in-Chief in the field. There are now only two living Field-Marshals, Marquis Yamagata and Marquis Ōyama. There are various schools for educating and training the officers of the army and the navy.

As Japan is entirely an insular nation, the importance of her navy cannot be over-estimated. Even before the war with China, the Japanese navy had been rapidly growing; and it showed its marked efficiency in the battles of the Yalu and Wei-hai-wei (1894, 1895). The post-bellum plans for expansion have, moreover, emphasized the value to Japan of sea-power; and the programme of naval expansion, in spite of increased burdens of taxation, has met comparatively little opposition. For purposes of administration, the coast of Japan is divided into five naval districts, each with one fort which is a first-class naval station. These stations are Yokosuka, Kure, Saseho, Maizuru, and (to be established) Muroran. The navy at present includes battleships, cruisers, ships for coast defence, gunboats, torpedo boats,151 torpedo catchers, and despatch ships. Of the first four kinds there are two or three classes in each; and of battleships there are nine first-class ones of more than 15,000 tons each. The organization of the navy is similar to that of the army: below the Emperor, who is nominally in supreme command, come the Minister of the Navy, the actual Commander-in-Chief, the Chief of Staff, the admirals, etc.


Attention should be called to two or three points emphasized by Mr. Arthur Diosy.108 The first is that “Nelson’s own plan, as valid to-day as it was in his time,” has been carried out in the types of vessels built for the Japanese fleet. “The main idea prevailing in their selection is the defence of the national interests by offensive operations against the enemy’s fleets,” but “at no very great distance from the base of operations at home.” The warships of Japan, therefore, are not required to devote so much space to the storage of coal and other supplies for long voyages, and can utilize more space for guns and reserve ammunition, or can be built smaller and “handier.” It is in this way that “they are among the swiftest of all the fighting ships afloat.”

The second point, which is related to the first, is that Japan “stands in the foremost rank as a naval power,” not merely on account of the number and fighting strength of her ships, the efficiency of their officers and crews, and the perfection of the naval organization, but also on account of the well-equipped152 dockyards and arsenals in convenient locations, and the abundant supply of excellent coal in easy reach.

The third point concerns what Diosy calls the “Blue-jacket Spirit,” a “scarcely definable something” that is hard to describe in words, but that shines forth in every word and deed of the officer, the sailor, the marine,—the esprit de corps of the personnel of the Japanese navy. This spirit he finds only in the British, Japanese, and United States navies.

And we cannot refrain from quoting the same writer’s paragraph of summary as follows:—

“Japan possesses all the elements of Sea-Power: swift, powerful ships, adapted to the work they are intended for, numerous good harbors, excellent coal in abundance, capital facilities for the repair of her vessels, and the necessary plant, constantly augmented and improved, for building new ones. Her naval organization is wise and efficient, her administrative services are thorough and honest; her naval officers are gallant, dashing, and scientifically trained, and the armament they control is of the latest and best pattern. Strong in ships, strong in guns, Japan is stronger still in the factor without which ships and guns are useless—‘the Man behind the Gun.’”109

Ten years ago it was improper to speak of Japan as a world power; it was then fitting to treat of her, as Norman did in one chapter of his “Real Japan,” under the caption of “Japan as an Eastern Power.” But, as already pointed out, it was her overwhelming153 defeat of China that at least expedited her formal and nominal recognition in the comity of nations. The new treaties which formulated this recognition went into effect in 1899, from which date it may be eminently proper to begin a seventh period,110 that of “Cosmopolitanism,” in the history of New Japan. And by Japan’s successes in the second war with China arising out of the Boxer troubles, she confirmed her claim to recognition as a world power; and this recognition was completed through the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902. Not many years ago the ideal was still such a narrow theme as “The Japan of the Japanese”; then the vision widened out so as to include “The Japan of Asia”; but now the horizon is unlimited and extends to “The Japan of the World.” Indeed, the Japanese have outgrown “Native Japan,” and even “Asiatic Japan,” into “Cosmopolitan Japan.” They are interested, not only in national, but also international, problems.

It has already been pointed out that the complete recognition of Japan as a world power was manifested in the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. This is the greatest political event of 1902,111 so far as concerns directly the future of the Orient and indirectly the affairs of the Occident. This convention between Great Britain and Japan caused profound surprise and widespread rejoicing, and in Japan particularly it was the occasion for numerous feasts, even in various provincial localities, where more or less profuse154 self-gratulation was the order of the day. But it is now possible to take a calmer view of the situation and to make a more judicial estimate of the importance of the alliance.

In the first place, it is well to remember that this formal alliance is only the natural outcome of a community of interests in the Far East, and is the natural result of practical coöperation for some time past. As Count Ōkuma put it, they (Great Britain and Japan) have been allies in effect for some years; they are now allies in name. Indeed, for several years past this alliance has existed in spirit, and it has now merely become a public acknowledgment of sympathy and similar aims in policy in the Far East. This alliance, then, is not artificial or compulsory, but natural, spontaneous, and voluntary.

The second point to notice is that the Anglo-Japanese Alliance includes the greatest power each of the Occident and of the Orient. This alliance is also the combination of two of the greatest naval powers, as well as two great military powers of the world. It would seem likely, therefore, as a prominent Japanese expressed it, “that there is no power or combination of powers that could make head against this union in the Far East; the attempt would be like spitting at a tiger.” The Anglo-Japanese Alliance is, therefore, a guarantee, of the very first quality, of peace in the Orient, and of just dealings with China and Korea.

Another important point in connection with this155 alliance is the fact that herein Great Britain has abandoned, has broken to pieces, her traditional policy of “splendid isolation.” For many decades she has not been in the habit of contracting alliances with other powers in carrying out plans to advance her own interests. The fact, therefore, that in this case she has seen fit to depart from her usual policy is a positive indication that the situation in the Far East was one of imminent peril and demanded unusual precaution. It is a proof that Russian aggressions were no mere phantoms, but were terribly real and threatening.

And the fact that, when Great Britain broke her policy of grand isolation, it was to enter into alliance with an Oriental rather than an Occidental power, is also one of great significance. It proves more effectively than folios of verbal argument, and speaks out more loudly than a thousand tongues could tell, the present satisfactory status of Japan. The insignificant, “half-civilized” country of a few years ago is now “on the same lotus-blossom” with Great Britain. That little island-empire of the Orient is now but fifty years out of her own practically complete isolation from the rest of the world; she is only thirty years out of feudalism; she has been only a little more than a decade in constitutionalism and parliamentary government, and she has been only a few years in the comity of nations by virtue of treaties on terms of equality; nevertheless, she has become the political partner of that immense island-empire156 which stretches in all directions, and encircles the globe with the drum-beat of her garrisons. The huge empire on whose possessions the sun never sets has taken as its ally the small empire of the rising sun!

This recognition of the status of New Japan has been, of course, a matter of great pride and rejoicing to that nation and therefore a source of encouragement to continue steadfast in the paths of progress along which she has been moving so rapidly.112 It has likewise been recognized that this alliance imposes great responsibilities upon Japan, if she would maintain her new position.113 These responsibilities are along not only military, naval, political, and commercial lines, but also along social, moral, and religious lines. The new alliance means that licentiousness, dishonesty, and other vices should not be tolerated, and that ignorance, superstition, and idolatry should not be allowed to thrive among a people in alliance with such a progressively Christian nation as Great Britain. In other words, this alliance should hasten the spread of the Gospel in Japan.

But this alliance means much to Christianity, not merely in Japan, but over all the Orient. For the157 prime objects of the alliance are the independence of Korea and the integrity of the Chinese Empire; and the prime effect of the alliance is peace in the Orient. This means that Russian aggressions in China and Korea will be, already have been, considerably checked, and that Anglo-Saxon and Japanese influences will be paramount in those countries. And all this means that Christian missionary work will be practically unhindered, unless it be by local and spasmodic prejudice; and that the word will have freer course and be glorified. The alliance of the first nation of Christendom with a largely Christianized nation like Japan cannot fail to Christianize the Far East.


Finally, one significant phase of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance is the fact that, to all intents and purposes, it includes the United States of America, which may be called a “silent partner.” It is well known that the convention was shown at Washington before it was promulgated, and that it was heartily approved by our government. Practically, therefore, it is, in a very broad sense, an Anglo-Japanese Alliance. Certainly our interests in the Far East have been and are identical with those of Great Britain and Japan; and all our “moral influence,” at least, should be exerted toward the purposes of that convention. Indeed, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance should mean the union of Great Britain and the United States with Japan to maintain in the Orient the “open door,” not merely of trade and commerce,158 but of all social, intellectual, moral, and religious reforms; the open door, not of material civilization only, but also of the gospel of Jesus Christ.114


“The Real Japan” (Norman), chaps. v., xiii.; “Advance Japan” (Morris), chap. xiii.; “The New Far East” (Diosy), especially chap. vii.; “Heroic Japan” (Eastlake and Yamada); “The Awakening of the East” (Leroy-Beaulieu), chap. ix; and “Japan in Transition” (Ransome), chap. xv.; “Japan Today” (Scherer), chap. xi.; “The Real Triumph of Japan” (Seaman); “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd); “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chaps. vi., xvi., and xvii.; and “The Imperial Japanese Navy” (Janes).




Outline of Topics: Justice in Old Japan; new codes; list of same; crimes and punishments; convicts; police; arrest; trials; courts; judiciary; prisons; legalized prostitution; crusade against social evil; rescue homes, etc.—Registration.—Taxation.—Foreigners under Japanese law; restrictions upon them.—Leasing land.—Mines.—Railways.—Banking, insurance, etc.; kinds of corporations; foreign associations; Japanese corporations.—Foreigners in business.—Bibliography.

THE difference between Old Japan and New Japan is quite clearly evident when one comes to the study of law and jurisprudence. It would be very misleading to affirm that the administration of justice was a farce; and yet so-called legal decisions were too often arbitrary and tyrannical. The feudal lords were too much inclined to visit summary and cruel punishment on slight pretext; and altogether too few were the men like Oöka, the justice and wisdom of whose decisions won for him the title of “Japanese Solomon.” As a matter of fact, there was in Old Japan, as Wigmore has abundantly shown,115 “a legal system, a body of clear and consistent rules, a collection of statutes and of binding precedents.” The chief characteristics of160 Japanese justice under the old régime, as indicated by Wigmore, were the following: (1) Making justice “personal, not impersonal,” by balancing “the benefits and disadvantages of a given course, not for all time in a fixed rule, but anew in each instance,” and thus “to sacrifice legal principle to present expediency”; (2) the feudal spirit, especially in criminal law, as illustrated by the use of torture, humiliating forms of procedure, and awfully severe punishments; and (3) the attainment of justice, “not so much by the aid of the law as by mutual consent,” by means of definite customs, applied, however, “through arbitration and concession,” so that there was “a universal resort to arbitration and compromise as a primary means of settling disputes,” and only a dernier ressort to the process of law. These characteristics should be noticed, not merely on account of their historical value, but in explanation of certain traits still prominent even in New Japan.

But Modern Japan is pretty well equipped with a system of new codes, based on European models, yet showing some modifications to suit Japan’s peculiar needs. This codification along Western lines was strongly opposed by the conservatives, who insisted that national codes, “interpreting national needs,” should be naturally developed in due course of time. But this opposition was overcome by the demands for treaty revision and the recognition of Japan in the comity of nations; for Occidental powers would not remove their extra-territorial jurisdiction and161 leave their nationals to the mercy of Japanese courts, unless the laws were codified according to Western models.

A list of the new codes is taken, with slight modifications, from Chamberlain’s “Things Japanese,” which has been especially helpful in the preparation of this chapter.

The new codes resulting from the legislative activity of the present reign are: (1) the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, drafted by Monsieur Boissonade, on the basis of the Code Napoleon, with modifications suggested by the old Japanese Criminal Law; these were published in 1880, and came into force in 1882; the Code of Criminal Procedure was, however, revised in 1890, in order that it might be uniform with the Code of Civil Procedure, according to the provisions of (2) the Law of the Organization of the Judicial Courts, promulgated in the month of February, 1890, and put into force on November 1 of the same year; (3) the Code of Civil Procedure, which went into effect at once; (4) the Civil Code, and (5) the Commercial Code, which were put into force in 1898; and (6) divers statutes on miscellaneous subjects.116

There are, according to the Japanese Criminal Code, three kinds of crimes, of two degrees, major162 and minor. The three kinds are: (1) against the State or the Imperial Family, and in violation of the public credit, policy, peace, health, etc.; (2) against person and property; and (3) police offences. Major crimes are punishable by (1) death by hanging; (2) deportation with or without hard labor, for life or for a term of years; and (3) imprisonment on similar terms. Minor crimes are punishable by fines and confinement with or without hard labor. What are called police offences are punishable by small fines running from 5 sen to 2 yen, and by detention for from 1 to 10 days without hard labor. In cases of capital punishment no public visitors, only the necessary officials, are allowed to be present. Deportation is usually made to the northern island of Yezo, to work generally in the mines.

Convicts are easily recognizable by their “crushed strawberry” uniforms, and are often seen in public; for convict labor, in the case both of individuals and of gangs, is utilized by the authorities. In fact, all prisoners, according to their abilities, are required to labor nine hours each day in some kind of employment, either inside or outside of the prison.

The Japanese policeman is one of the most interesting “characters” of his nation. He is the successor of the samurai, who, in the old régime, took upon themselves the duty of enforcing justice. He possesses all the pomp and dignity of his knightly predecessor; and he, too, carries a sword. All the163 people, from children up to grandfather, stand in complete awe of him. And well may they be afraid; for in his dealings, at least with the common people, he manifests no gentleness, but by his dictatorial manners compels the utmost respect for himself and the law. He seldom has to use force in making an arrest, unless in the cases of the professional criminals; and he does not usually find it necessary to use handcuffs, as a strong cord will serve his purpose on ordinary occasions. He is more easily to be found, when wanted, than the proverbial American policeman. He is poorly paid, but richly faithful, and in every sense of the words upholds the dignity of the law. His figure clad in white or blue uniform, respectively, for five and seven months of the year, is familiar and welcome to foreigners, because to them he is invariably kind and courteous.

When a person suspected of some crime or misdemeanor has been arrested by the police, he is taken to the nearest detention station and put through a preliminary investigation before the judge of the local court. As this may be delayed, and bail allowed or not at the discretion of the judge, accused persons are sometimes kept in detention for a considerable period. No counsel is allowed at this secret preliminary examination before a kind of justice of peace. The latter, from the evidence, either dismisses the prisoner, or imposes a suitable punishment, or remands him for trial before the proper court.


A trial in Japan, as in France, is of the “inquisitorial” type, and is conducted by the judge (or judges) alone. “All questions by counsel must be put through him. Counsel do not so much defend their clients as represent them.” Witnesses are sworn, so to speak, by “a solemn asseveration,” without “any religious sanction”; and this takes the form of a written document “duly signed and sealed.” The government is represented by the public procurator, who seems to combine in one person the duties of inspector, grand jury, and prosecuting attorney. Hearsay evidence is admitted; and circumstantial evidence has no small influence.

Japanese courts are organized according to the French system, with some modifications along German lines. They are four in kind, from the Local Court, through the District or Provincial Court, and the Court of Appeal, up to the Supreme Court. The local courts have jurisdiction over police offences and some minor crimes; the district courts conduct preliminary investigations and have jurisdiction over crimes; the courts of appeal hear new trials; while the supreme court hears criminal appeals on matters of law. Japanese courts are very solemn places, with strict regulations as to costume, ceremony, and conduct.

The Japanese judiciary is, by this time, pretty much weeded out of the old judges with antiquated notions, and consists very largely of comparatively young men, educated in the modern systems. A165 graduate of the Law College of the Imperial University may attain a seat on the bench after three years as a probationary judge, and one examination; other persons must pass two severe examinations. The salary of an ordinary judge is small; and just after the Imperial Diet in 1901 had failed to pass a bill for increase of their salaries, a large number went on a strike! Judges are appointed for life on good behavior.


The management of the Japanese prison system will bear favorable comparison with that of any Western country; for it has undergone considerable improvement of recent years, and is quite up to date. It is rather amusing to recall the fact that, before the new treaties came into effect, by which foreigners were to fall under Japanese jurisdiction, considerable anxiety was manifested lest American criminals, for instance, should suffer inconvenience in Japanese jails! And it was a singular coincidence that the first crime committed after the midnight when those treaties went into effect was by an American, who committed a triple murder in Yokohama. But the trial and treatment of Miller showed to the world that Japanese law and prisons were entirely unworthy of the captious criticism that had been passed upon them. With commodious buildings, extensive grounds, ventilated rooms, gardens and shops for laborers, hospitals for the sick, bath privileges, wholesome food, reading matter under certain limitations, rewards for good behavior, part pay for labor,166 the Japanese prison, especially the largest ones at Tōkyō, Yokohama, and other important cities, must be acknowledged to hold high rank among the reformatory institutions of the world.

This is, perhaps, as appropriate a place as any to introduce one of the peculiar legal institutions of Japan, that is, the public brothel. As is well known, the social evil is licensed, and therefore legalized, in Japan; it is not merely not condemned, but actually condoned. In Old Japan the young girl willing to sell herself to a life of shame to relieve the poverty and distress of her parents would be considered virtuous, because filial piety was regarded as a higher virtue than personal chastity. Nor would the parents who accepted such relief be severely condemned, because the welfare of the family was more important than the condition of the individual. And even in Modern Japan, in the eyes of the law, it is no crime to visit a licensed house of ill-fame; and visitors to such places hand in their cards and have their names and addresses registered, just as if they were attending an ordinary public function. Nay more, an ex-President of the Imperial University, and one of the leading philosophers and educators of the day, has come out in public print and affirmed that, from the standpoint of science and philosophy, he can see no evil in prostitution per se. And when such licensed brothels are allowed near Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines, it would appear as if those cults were really culpable not to protest. Indeed, when167 the patriotic youth of New Japan, wishing to pay homage at the most famous shrines of Ise, are compelled to reach the spot by passing along a road lined on both sides with legalized brothels, it looks as if official encouragement to impurity was offered, or at least temptation was presented, to the rising generation.

But Christianity has always taught, in Japan as elsewhere, that prostitution, whether licensed or unlicensed, is a sin, and has sought by various means to check this terrible evil. Formerly no girl was able to escape from her awful slavery, no matter how much she desired to free herself, except by permission of the keeper! But within the past few years a campaign has been waged that has greatly weakened the tyranny of the abominable system. A test case, bitterly fought at every point, was carried up through all the courts to the highest, and finally won by those who contended that a girl could not be kept in a brothel against her will. Another test case, carried up to the Supreme Court, and decided in favor of the keepers, to the effect that the financial obligations of the girls are valid in law, has given the reform movement a temporary set-back. But, in spite of all obstacles and opposition, the crusade against the social evil has achieved a large measure of success. About 14,000 girls have been set free; the number of applicants for admission, as well as of unlicensed prostitutes, has diminished; the number of visitors has so largely decreased, that some brothels168 have been compelled to go into bankruptcy and close up the business; public opinion has been aroused, and the moral tone of society has been elevated and purified.

We must not fail to call attention to the fact that the destructive work of this crusade has been supplemented by the constructive work of establishing “rescue homes” under the auspices of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the Salvation Army, and other Christian organizations. There is also a very large and successful Home for ex-Convicts, conducted in Tōkyō by Mr. Hara, a Christian minister, often called the “Howard of Japan.” This title might also be given to Mr. Tomeoka, another Christian minister, who has made a special study of penology and prison management, and is conducting both a “reform school” and a “school for prison officials.”

Inasmuch as Japan is under a paternal government, the system of registration is carefully and thoroughly employed. It is practically ubiquitous and universal; and it is carried to such an extreme as to be vexatious to Anglo-Saxons, especially to Americans. But to a Japanese the seki (register) is all important; it is the certificate of his (or her) very existence, age, status, occupation, home (permanent or temporary), and almost of the character of the individual. In case of change of residence, this biographical sketch must be transferred from one locality to another; and even in case of travel, or presence in169 a hotel for a single night only, the guest must give an account of himself to the proprietor according to certain blanks supplied by the police. A foreigner is concerned with the following information by Dr. Masujima, the eminent lawyer and jurist of Tōkyō:—

“A foreign householder who intends to stay for more than nine days at one place in Japan, must, within ten days of his arrival, report to the police regarding himself and persons in his company, stating full particulars, ages, profession or other occupation, the place from which they last came, their home domicile, and the relationship of those persons with him; as well as the full address of the house in which he lives, countersigned by the landlord, any changes in such information to be treated in like manner from time to time.”

The subject of taxation is one which may well be mentioned in this chapter, although it is scarcely profitable to devote much space thereto. In Old Japan taxes were paid in kind, chiefly with rice; but in New Japan they are payable only with cash. The system of taxation is rather complicated and oppressive; and yet the people stoically endure their burdens without indulging in the pastime of agrarian riots. The land-tax of 3-1/3 per cent of the assessed value of the land in the case of rural lands and 5 per cent in the case of urban lands is a very important source of revenue, and has always been the cause of great trouble in political circles. Other taxes are the business tax, the income tax, the house tax, etc.170 The last mentioned is the one which foreigners claimed to be exempt from paying, but the Japanese government claimed to have the authority to levy; the question has been submitted to arbitration, and is still sub judice. Under the new treaties Japan has the right to levy duties on imports, and thereby secures considerable revenue. In the list of articles exempt from duties we find books, maps, charts, bullion, coins, cotton, flax, hemp, jute, rice, wool, plants, trees, shrubs, etc.; and in the list of prohibited articles opium and adulterations are most prominent.117

Inasmuch as the status of foreigners under Japanese law is a subject of growing practical importance, we make extracts from an address delivered by Dr. Masujima before the New York State Bar Association in January, 1903:—

“The cases in which foreigners are restricted in the enjoyment of private rights, are the ownership of land or Japanese ships, the right to work mines, to own shares in the Bank of Japan or the Yokohama Specie Bank, to be members or brokers of exchanges, to engage in emigration business, or to receive bounties for navigation or ship building. Any company must, in order to own Japanese ships, have its principal office in Japan, and all members in case of a Gōmei Kaisha, all unlimited liability members in case of either a Gōshi Kaisha or Kabushiki Gōshi Kaisha, and all directors in case of a limited company, must be Japanese subjects.171 Otherwise foreigners are as free as the Japanese to own shares in any Japanese commercial companies organized by themselves alone, or in combination with the Japanese, or to engage in any manufacture or other commercial operations.

“Foreigners may hold a long lease of land to plant trees or erect permanent structures, which may be arranged for an indefinite term almost perpetual, such as one thousand years, or as long as may be agreed upon. Such a holding is called superficies, and it is very much like a long English lease, the only difference being that trees or buildings do not, at the end of the term, revert to the landlord, his right being only that of pre-emption at current valuation. The most advisable way for the enjoyment of the actual and permanent holding of land is for a foreigner to buy land himself through a Japanese, as bare trustee, and to secure its superficies for the period of as long a term as may be desirable for his purposes.

“Although no foreigners may work mines individually, they may be taken on mortgage, and a company registered as a Japanese organization is entitled to engage in mining; the theory is that foreigners as members merge themselves in the entity of a Japanese corporation, although it may be composed of foreigners exclusively.

“No railway or tramway business is allowed to be carried on unless by a limited company and a concession for such purpose has to be secured from the proper authorities. No such railway can be pledged, but it may be hypothecated. Japanese pledge corresponds to English mortgage, differing therefrom in that immediate transfer of possession and holding the pledged property absolutely is essential. Hypothecation does not carry possession nor the right of entry. This condition172 of Japanese railway law has not satisfied capitalists as not affording sufficient security to induce investment by them. There has been some attempt to have this law altered, but it has not yet been accomplished.

“Banking, insurance, shipping, and all other kinds of commercial business may be carried on in Japan by foreign companies by observing the treaties and certain regulations, such as the registration of their branch offices, their representatives or other matters prescribed by law.

“There are two kinds of civil corporations, the one consisting of persons associated together, and the other an estate of aggregate property somewhat like a trust in English law, formed or established for the purpose of religious worship, teaching, art, charity, education, or any other object of public benefit, not aiming at the making of a profit. Such a corporation can come in existence only with the permission of the competent authorities, while Japanese commercial corporations may be formed without it.

“No foreign association of persons or trust property is accorded the same rights and privileges as are enjoyed by similar Japanese corporations; such a foreign corporation has no standing whatsoever in the Japanese courts, and the only way in which it could obtain protection would be to appear in the individual names of its members, just as used once to be the case in partnership actions. Purely technical evidence must be procured and filed before any legal proceeding can be initiated, and the best interests of the corporation might easily be jeopardized. Some foreign religious societies have sought to get themselves incorporated as Japanese corporations, but failed. Japan has no State religion, and she is absolutely impartial in religious173 matters. Any religious body so applying must be and show itself to be a purely Japanese institution, free from all control of any sort from its corresponding religious bodies in foreign countries. Any legal connection whatever between the home body and Japanese organization is a bar to such purpose.118


“A Japanese corporation has almost as large privileges as a Japanese subject. It can own land and exercise other rights not accorded to individual foreigners. A corporation so organized may contain in its ranks foreign members, but it must be of such a nature as not to be under any danger of control of any kind from outside. Even after incorporation, the charter will be forfeited should the policy of the Japanese Government be at any time prejudiced by the conduct of a corporation so sanctioned.

“If foreigners wish to do business in combination with the Japanese, the best way would be to form a Gōshi Kaisha or limited partnership, they themselves carrying unlimited liability. To control a Kabushiki Kaisha, or limited company, they should own more than half the amount of capital, either by holding themselves or through their own nominees, and shares should be tied up so as not to allow their transfer without the consent of the board of directors. The advantage of any business being organized as a Japanese corporation consists, as the law now stands, in owning land and having the full rights of Japanese subjects.”

It should be added here that many prominent Japanese continue to urge that foreigners be allowed to own land, possibly under certain restrictions; and 174that such a privilege is quite likely to be granted before very long.


Suitable works of reference on this chapter are scarce. “The Yankees of the East” (Curtis), chap, viii., and “The Real Japan” (Norman), chaps. iii. and xi., furnish some material. Dr. Masujima’s papers in the Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan on “The Japanese Legal Seal” (vol. xvii.) and “Modern Japanese Legal Institutions” (vol. xviii.) are quite instructive; and so is Longford’s “Summary of the Japanese Penal Codes” in vol. v. Some specific references have already been made in footnotes.

“Every Day Japan” (Lloyd) contains interesting material on these topics. Hozumi’s “Lectures on the New Japanese Civil Code” and “Ancestor Worship and Japanese Law” are very valuable.




Outline of Topics: Not Western “new woman,” but abstract, legal new woman in Japan.—Woman in old régime; wife in old régime; lack of “home”; woman anciently honored.—Legal status in Old Japan, in New Japan; independent person; marriage; right of marriage; husband and wife.—Divorce,—by arrangement and judicial.—Concubinage; child of a concubine.—Prospects of new woman; openings for labor.—The “New Great Learning for Women.”—Enlarged educational advantages; new schools.—Women in business.—The Empress and the Crown Princess.—The woman question; further needs; women and Christianity.—Bibliography.

ANY intention of using the term “new woman” in a jocose or satirical way is disclaimed at the outset. It is not our purpose to refer at all to such a creature as that called “new woman” in the Occident; for it has not yet appeared to any great extent among the Japanese. It may be true, in some cases, that the modernized Japanese woman is “without gentleness or refinement,” and may be called a “parody of a man” or a “sickening sort of person.” But, as the “Jiji Shimpo” explains, “the process of the new woman’s evolution may be disfigured by some accident”; and “the new woman stands176 out with objectionable salience because her environment is so colorless.”

It is desired, in the first instance, to consider, not the new woman in the concrete, in the flesh, but the abstract, legal new woman that has been created by the new Civil Code of Japan. In looking through the translation of that document by Mr. Gubbins, we have been deeply impressed with the possibilities which lie before the women of New Japan through the rights and privileges vouchsafed to them under that code.

In Old Japan, as stated in a preceding chapter,120 the constitution of the family was practically that of an empire, in which all other members thereof were subject to the despotic authority of the master. A Japanese woman was subject to the “three obediences”: as a maiden, to her father; as a wife, to her husband and his parents;121 as a widow, to her oldest son, whether real or only adopted. A daughter might even be called upon, for the sake of her parents, to sacrifice her honor and enter a brothel; and she was still considered virtuous, because personal chastity was a lower virtue than filial piety.

A Japanese, like a Grecian, wife was to her husband a faithful slave, “something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse”; she was both a drudge and a plaything, to be cast aside as capriciously177 as a child throws away a toy. She must tamely submit to having concubines brought, perhaps, right into the house at the will of her lord; or she herself might, under slight and flimsy pretexts, be divorced and sent back to her parents. The following “seven reasons for divorce” were laid down by a celebrated Japanese moralist: disobedience to father-in-law or mother-in-law; barrenness; lewdness; jealousy; leprosy or any like foul disease; garrulousness and prattling; stealing.

It is, therefore, a misnomer to speak of “Japanese homes” of the old régime, in the sense in which we use that little word “home” with all its depth and wealth of meaning and its associated thoughts of “love” and “sympathy.” Indeed, the word “home” cannot be perfectly translated into the Japanese language, and is generally transferred bodily with the pronunciation homu. And one of the far-reaching results of Christian mission work in Japan has been the introduction of the idea and the ideal of the Christian home.

It should, however, be constantly kept in mind that in the most ancient times women were highly esteemed, and even “used to play an important part on the political stage.” In Shintō the central object of adoration is the sun, which is worshipped as a goddess. There have been seated on the imperial throne of Japan eight empresses, one of whom is famous for her martial valor and military exploits. It was when Buddhism became powerful that Hindoo178 and Chinese conceptions of woman’s position moulded public opinion and thus eventually changed the manners, customs, and laws of Japan so as to relegate woman to an abnormally inferior position. As only one striking example out of many possible illustrations of the relative positions of man and woman, we note that, in the case of the death of the husband, the law prescribed mourning garments for thirteen months and abstinence from impurity for fifty days; but, in the case of the death of the wife, mourning garments for three months and abstinence for twenty days were sufficient.

Mr. Gubbins in the introduction to Part II. of his translation of the Civil Code, writes as follows:—

“The legal position of women in Japan before the commencement of modern legislative reform is well illustrated by the fact that offences came under different categories according to their commission by the wife against the husband, or by the husband against the wife, and by the curious anomaly that, while the husband stood in the first degree of relationship to his wife, the latter stood to him only in the second.122 The disabilities under which a woman formerly labored shut her out from the exercise of almost all rights. She could not inherit or own property in her own name, she could not become the head of a family, she could not adopt, and she could not be the guardian of her child. The maxim, mulier est finis familiae, was as true in Japan as in Rome, though its observance may have been less strict, owing to the greater frequency of adoption.


“In no respect has modern progress in Japan made greater strides than in the improvement of the position of women. Though she still labors under certain disabilities, a woman can now become the head of a family and exercise authority as such; she can inherit and own property and manage it herself; she can exercise parental authority; if single, or a widow, she can adopt; she is one of the parties to adoption effected by her husband, and her consent in addition to that of her husband is necessary to the adoption of her child by another person; she can act as guardian or curator; and she has a voice in family councils.”123

Moreover, although it is true that for the performance of certain acts (Art. 14) a wife must obtain her husband’s permission, and that a wife’s acts may be annulled by her husband (Art. 120), yet it is explicitly stated that “a wife who has been permitted to engage in one or more businesses possesses in regard thereto the capacity of an independent person.”

But let us look a little more particularly into the provisions relating to marriage, divorce, etc. The marriageable age is 17 full years for men and 15 full years for women. Marriage takes effect when notice of the fact is given to a registrar, by both parties with two witnesses. From this it will appear that the ceremony is a “purely social function, having no connection whatsoever with law beyond the somewhat remote contingency of its being adducible as180 evidence of a marriage having taken place.” And here is where some Japanese Christians make an unfortunate and sometimes serious mistake, in thinking that the ceremony by a minister of the gospel is sufficient and registration is a matter of convenience. Without registration a marriage is not legal.

The right of marriage is not free, except to the head of a family.124 All other persons, whatever their ages, can marry only with the consent of the head of his or her family. Men under 30 and women under 25 cannot marry without the consent of the parents; and minors in some cases must obtain the consent of the guardian or even of a family council.

In Art. 790 it is stipulated that “a husband and wife are mutually bound to support one another.” A husband manages the property of his wife, unless he is unable to do so, when she manages it herself. “With regard to daily household matters, a wife is regarded as her husband’s agent.”

There are two ways of effecting divorce: either by arrangement, which is effected in a similar way to marriage—that is, by simply having the registration of marriage cancelled—or by judicial divorce, which may be granted on several grounds specified in the Code. But divorce by arrangement cannot be effected by persons under 25 years of age, without consent of the person or persons by whose consent181 marriage was effected. And if the persons who effect this kind of divorce fail to determine who is to have the custody of the children, they belong to the father; but “in cases where the father leaves the family owing to divorce, the custody of the children belongs to the mother,” evidently because she remains in the family. In other words, children are chattels of the family.

The grounds on which judicial divorce is granted include bigamy, adultery on the part of the wife, the husband’s receiving a criminal sentence for an offence against morality, cruel treatment or grave insult such as to render living together unbearable, desertion with evil intent, cruel treatment or gross insult of or by lineal ascendants.

The new Civil Code indirectly sanctions concubinage by stipulating (in Art. 827) that “an illegitimate child may be recognized by the father or mother” by giving notice to a registrar. Such a child is called shoshi, but is not legitimized. It is, however, stipulated (in Art. 728) that between a wife and a shoshi “the same relationship as that between parent and child is established.” That seems clearly enough to mean that a wife must accept a concubine’s child as if it were her own, in case the father “recognizes” it. This would appear to be little, if any, advance over the old régime, where “the wife of the father,” as she was technically called, frequently had to accept as her own child that of a concubine.


Mr. Gubbins makes the following explanation of shoshi:—

“This term illustrates the transitionary phase through which Japanese law is passing. Japanese dictionaries define shoshi as the child of a concubine, and this, so long as concubinage was sanctioned by law, and the question of legitimacy never arose, was the accepted meaning of the term. The law of Japan, which, in the course of its development on western lines, has come to accept the principle of legitimacy, and to admit of the legitimization of children by the subsequent marriage of their parents, now recognizes an intermediate stage between legitimacy and illegitimacy.”

Such is the general outline of the legal status of woman according to the new Civil Code. It will undoubtedly be most interesting to watch the gradual evolution of a new woman in Japan as the outcome of this legislation. It remains to be seen how far the social status of woman will be improved. It is not at all likely that her actual position will be immediately advanced in any great degree. It is probable that custom will continue, for a while at least, to wield a mightier influence than the Code; and that, as Mr. Gubbins remarks, “the present transitional condition of Japanese society may favor a rule being honored more in the breach than in the observance.” But it will probably not be long before here and there certain women will claim the rights accorded by law125 and will find a corresponding improvement183 in their social condition; and thus the general position of the Japanese woman will gradually be advanced.

And, as a matter of fact, the status of woman in Japan is improving in practice no less than in theory, especially in the new openings for work that render her more or less independent of male support. For instance, although the work of weaving, formerly carried on by women in the homes, is now largely transferred to factories, with modern machinery, there is an increasing demand for female hands. This is also true in cotton mills, match factories, tobacco shops, and many other such places of work. Telephone exchanges, post-offices, railway ticket offices, printing offices, also find girls and women deft and skilful. In hospitals and schools, too, the Japanese young woman is finding her sphere. She is likewise showing her skill and taste in both artistic and literary employments. But in Japan, as elsewhere, this drift into industrial and other occupations is producing a scarcity of servants for housework.

Just as Kaibara’s “Onna Daigaku” (Great Learning for Women) was the standard for female education under the old régime, so New Japan most184 appropriately has a “Shin [New] Onna-Daigaku,” by Mr. Fukuzawa, the famous educator and writer. The following summary thereof is from the “Japan Mail”:—

“The ‘Sekai-no-Nihon’ reviews at some length Mr. Fukuzawa’s series of articles entitled ‘Shin Onna-Daigaku,’ which have now appeared in book form. We give in a brief form the gist of the reviewer’s remarks. Mr. Fukuzawa’s object in writing so much on the subject of women’s position in modern times is to endeavor to create a new standard for women. Hitherto the teaching of Kaibara Ekiken’s ‘Onna Daigaku’ has been accepted in all quarters. According to it woman occupies a subordinate position, and must on no account assert her independence or claim equality with man. While showing the untenableness of all such theories, Mr. Fukuzawa does not rush to an opposite extreme. He defines woman’s position in a remarkably common-sense way. He would not have women attempt to imitate men. They have their own spheres and should keep to them. When discussing the education of girls he insists on the necessity of making a special point of giving them a thorough drilling in household duties. They should have a knowledge of cooking; they should be taught how to make the most of money, how to manage servants, &c. Next to these things he attaches great importance to their being instructed in the laws of health. Among other subjects botany is to be recommended as specially suited to the female mind. He further argues that women should be taught Economy and Law. He thinks that a knowledge of these subjects will tend to develop their general intelligence, and save them from becoming the creatures of emotion. In olden times a woman carried a dagger in her girdle to be used185 as a last resource. In modern times a thoroughly enlightened mind will be her best protection against the dangers to which she is exposed. With the tendency to conceit which is said to be engendered by the kind of education recommended, Mr. Fukuzawa deals in his treatise, arguing that this tendency can be rendered harmless by instruction in the kind of demeanor that best becomes a woman.... Marriage according to the old methods Mr. Fukuzawa condemns, and the practice of having the father-in-law or mother-in-law living with the married couple should, he thinks, be discontinued. Marriage should be regarded in a serious light, and the duties and responsibilities it involves should be duly considered. Mothers should take pleasure in instructing their children, and should know enough to gain their respect. The whole system recommended is based on Western life and thought. This new Gospel for woman preached by a man who has spent his whole life in advocating reform, as one of his last messages to the nation, is, says the ‘Sekai-no-Nihon,’ very striking and likely to effect great good.”126

Within the past decade or so the educational advantages for Japanese girls have very largely increased; and the number of girls and young women availing themselves of these advantages has grown encouragingly. There has been a marked increase in the number of female pupils in public and private, including mission, schools of all grades; and there have been new institutions organized especially for186 young women, concerning two of which it is necessary to speak more particularly.

One is a kind of English normal school in charge of Miss Umé Tsuda, herself a type of the best kind of “new woman” in Japan. She was the youngest of the first group of Japanese girls sent over to the United States in 1871 to be educated; and ever since her return to Japan she has been trying to elevate the condition of her sisters. Her school is intended primarily to train young women to be efficient teachers, particularly of English. Another important institution is the University for Women, opened in 1901 in Tōkyō, the first of its kind started in the first year of the new century, as a harbinger that the Twentieth Century in Japan will be largely the women’s century.127

What the new woman in Japan is able to accomplish in business lines is well illustrated in the following paragraphs:128

“Mrs. Asa Hiroöka, of Ōsaka, is well known in business circles as the actual guiding spirit and organizer of the famous banking firm of Kajima. A daughter of the Mitsui family, she was married at the age of 17 to Mr. Shingorō Hiroöka of Ōsaka a few years previous to the restoration. The Hiroöka family was one of those celebrated banking agents of the feudal barons who flourished at Ōsaka during the Tokugawa régime, and, like many of the rest, had its affairs thrown into disorder and was itself reduced to a precarious condition by the political convulsion of three decades ago. The Kajimaya,187 under which style the Hiroöka family conducted its business, would certainly have shared the same melancholy fate that overtook so many of its compeers had it not been for the resolute character and business capacity of Mrs. Asa, who assumed the sole direction of affairs, introducing sweeping changes in the organization of the firm, and in a remarkably short space of time succeeded in starting it on a career of fresh and increasing prosperity.

“About twenty years ago Moji, the present flourishing centre of the coal business, had scarcely come into existence; in other words, few people had yet commenced to turn their attention to the development of coal-mining. In this venture she encountered innumerable difficulties. In the first place, she had to overcome the determined opposition of the other members of the family. Their position was, in fact, so strong and persistent that she had to engage in the undertaking entirely on her own account and responsibility. She had thus to start afresh with little capital, except her own personal credit, and many were the hardships and disadvantages against which she had to struggle. But there is always a way where there is a will, and our fair but indomitable miner was ultimately rewarded with signal success, and succeeded in adding largely to the capital of the firm and in establishing her reputation as a resourceful organizer and a unique business woman.

“All the collieries in her possession have one after another been disposed of at profitable prices, and just at present she is devoting her whole attention to the expansion of the banking business of the firm. An eminently successful financier and business organizer, she is by no means indifferent to interests of a higher sort. Herself well educated, she takes a keen interest in educational matters, especially those relating to her own sex, being one of the principal supporters of Mr. Naruse’s188 scheme for a university for girls. By way of giving practical encouragement to the movement in favor of female education, she already employs some educated girls as clerks at her banks, and intends to place a new department which is about to be opened at those banks almost exclusively in the hands of female clerks.”

This chapter would, of course, be incomplete without a few words about the recent first lady of the land now Empress Dowager, who has proved herself to be in heartiest sympathy with the ideals of New Japan. As she had no children of her own, she adopted the entire nation and completely won their love; she was, indeed, the mother of millions. She is especially interested in educational and benevolent institutions; she is the active patron of the Peeresses’ School, the University for Women,129 the Red Cross Society, and other philanthropic enterprises. In times of calamity her purse is always opened for a liberal contribution to the suffering.130

The lady now of special interest is Empress Sada, the young wife of the new Emperor. She was born in 1884, and was educated in the Peeresses’ School until her betrothal, when she was placed under private tutors. She was married on May 10, 1900,189 and is the mother of three healthy sons. The young rulers live a happy and congenial life.


In conclusion, we make one more quotation, from Miss Bacon’s “Japanese Girls and Women,” as follows:—

“The woman question in Japan is at the present moment a matter of much consideration. There seems to be an uneasy feeling in the minds of even the more conservative men that some change in the status of women is inevitable, if the nation wishes to keep the pace it has set for itself. The Japanese women of the past and of the present are exactly suited to the position accorded them in society, and any attempt to alter them without changing their status only results in making square pegs for round holes. If the pegs hereafter are to be cut square, the holes must be enlarged and squared to fit them. The Japanese woman stands in no need of alteration unless her place in life is somehow enlarged, nor, on the other hand, can she fill a larger place without additional training. The men of new Japan, to whom the opinions and customs of the western world are becoming daily more familiar, while they shrink aghast, in many cases, at the thought that their women may ever become like the forward, self-assertive, half-masculine women of the West, show a growing tendency to dissatisfaction with the smallness and narrowness of the lives of their wives and daughters—a growing belief that better-educated women would make better homes, and that the ideal home of Europe and America is the product of a more advanced civilization than that of Japan. Reluctantly in many cases, but still almost universally, it is admitted that in the interest of the homes, and for the sake of future generations, something must be done to carry the women190 forward into a position more in harmony with what the nation is reaching for in other directions. This desire shows itself in individual efforts to improve by more advanced education daughters of exceptional promise, and in general efforts for the improvement of the condition of women.”

Miss Bacon, in her book, traces very clearly the progress that has been made in the condition of woman, and shows how “better laws, broader education for the women, [and] a change in public opinion” are still necessary. And she affirms that “we can feel pretty sure that, when the people have become used to these [recent] changes [of the new Civil Code], other and more binding laws will be enacted, for the drift of enlightened public opinion seems to be in favor of securing better and more firmly established homes.”

The following is also worthy of quotation: “It is not possible to understand the actual progress made in Japan in improving the condition of women, without some consideration of the effect that Christian thought and Christian lives have had on the thought and lives of the modern Japanese.”


“The Real Japan,” chap. viii.; “Out of the Far East” (Hearn), pp. 85-125; “The Yankees of the East,” chaps. ix., xix.; “An American Missionary in Japan” (Gordon), chap. xv.; “Japan and her People,” vol. i. pp. 178-191; “A Japanese Interior” (Miss Bacon); “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd); and, last and best, Miss Bacon’s “Japanese Girls and Women,” revised edition, illustrated.




Outline of Topics: Japanese syllabary; i-ro-ha arrangement; arrangement of fifty-sounds; modern inventions.—Chinese ideographs; Kata-kana; Hira-gana; Kana-majiri and Kana-tsuki; variety in pronunciation.—Japanese elocution.—Japanese syntax; logic in linguistics; a sample sentence; kind of language; topsy-turvy practices.—Ancient literature; poetry; naga-uta and tanka; hokku; a poem a picture.—Characteristics of Japanese poetry.—Modern literature: newspapers; press laws; English journals; Japanese journals; magazines and periodicals; books; what the Japanese read; their literary taste; foreign books; linguistic reforms, theory and practice.—Bibliography.

THE Japanese language belongs, philologically, to the Altaic family, and is of the agglutinative type. Practically, it is musical and easy to pronounce, but, on account of its long and involved sentences, difficult to learn. Its alphabet is not phonetic, but syllabic, and very simple and regular. It comprises 73 characters, of which 5 are duplicates of the same sounds, so that there are really only 68 distinct sounds. As many of the sounds, moreover, are only slight modifications of other sounds, they are represented by the same characters, with certain diacritical signs attached (as in the case of ha, ba, and pa). There are, consequently, in common use only 48 distinct characters, which are192 arranged in such an order as to form a stanza of poetry131 as follows:—

Iro wa nioedo
Chirinuru wo—
Waga yo tare zo
Tsune naran?
Ui no oku-yama
Kyō koete,
Asaki yume miji,
Ei mo sezu.

Which means, being interpreted by Professor B. H. Chamberlain:—

“Though gay in hue, [the blossoms] flutter down, Alas! Who then, in this world of ours, may continue forever? Crossing to-day the uttermost limits of phenomenal existence, I shall see no more fleeting dreams, neither be any longer intoxicated.” In other words, “all is transitory in this fleeting world. Let us escape from its illusions and vanities.”

Another arrangement, based on the five vowels and their combination with certain consonants, gives fifty sounds, of which, however, two or three are really duplicates. This table of fifty sounds (gojū-on) is as follows:—

a  ka  sa  ta  na  ha  ma  ya  ra  wa

i  ki  shi  chi  ni  hi  mi  (y)i  ri  (w)i

u  ku  su  tsu  nu  fu  mu  yu  ru  (w)u

e  ke  se  te  ne  he  me  (y)e  re  (w)e

o  ko  so  to  no  ho  mo  yo  ro  wo


Those in italics are duplicates; and (w)i and (w)e, though written with different characters from i and e, have practically the same pronunciation.

It will be seen that both of these arrangements are more or less artificial; at least, they appear to be mnemonic contrivances, and are certainly very convenient, because they are flexible. For instance, the demands of modern times and European languages for a v sound has led the Japanese to represent it by the simple device of attaching the common diacritical mark to the w series. By a similar device they might utilize the r series for l and the s series for th!

The Japanese characters, not difficult or complex in formation, are modifications and simplifications of Chinese ideographs. There had been in Japan no written language until after the introduction of Chinese civilization in the sixth century A. D., when Chinese words and characters were absorbed by the wholesale. Later, two systems of contracting the complex and cumbersome Chinese ideographs were invented, and are still used to some extent, indeed almost entirely by the uneducated class.

The oldest and simplest modification is called Kata-kana (side-letters), and consisted merely in taking part of a Chinese ideograph. But, as these characters were separate, and did not easily run together, they have not been used much, “except in dictionaries, books intended for the learned, or to spell foreign names.”


The next modification was a contraction of Chinese characters into a running, or grass, hand, and is therefore called Hira-gana (plain-letters). These are all that the ignorant, especially the women, can read.

But a Japanese who aspires to the smallest degree of education must be familiar with many Chinese characters; and a pupil is, in fact, instructed in that language and literature from the primary school up through the university. Some books are written entirely in Chinese, and, of course, can be read only by the best educated. But the commonest method for newspapers and books which are not intended for a limited circulation among the erudite only, is the use of a mixture of Chinese and Japanese characters, of which the root forms are Chinese, and the connectives, agglutinative particles, and grammatical endings are Japanese; this is called Kana-majiri. For even more general circulation the Chinese characters will be explained by Japanese characters at the side; this is called Kana-tsuki.

This practice of mixing the characters of the two languages leads to some variety in pronunciation. That is to say, a word written with Chinese ideographs may be read with the Japonicized Chinese pronunciation or with that of the pure Japanese word of which it is the equivalent. For instance, the Chinese characters which make up the word meaning “Japan” are usually pronounced Nippon, or Nihon, by the Japanese, but may also be read, in195 pure Japanese, as Hi-no-moto. It is practically the same as when we are allowed to read “etc.” either as “et cetera” or as “and-so-forth” (or “i. e.,” either as “id est” or as “that is”).

In connection with this topic of reading, we may as well touch on the elocutionary element in reading by Japanese. Their style of reading, as amusing to us as ours is to them, may be called “sing-song”: they rise and fall by monotones, and, going very rapidly without attention to the beginning or the end of a sentence, catch breath now and then by a peculiar sucking sound. They seem to make no attempt to read “with expression,” as we call it; and, when they come to study English, are a great trial for a while to the foreign teacher!

The peculiarities of Japanese syntax have been so attractively discussed by Mr. Percival Lowell,133 that any other writer on that subject must at the outset acknowledge his indebtedness to that author. It will be unnecessary in this chapter to go into details; it will be sufficient to mention several of the points in which Japanese and English syntax are different. For instance, a Japanese noun knows no distinction (in form) of gender and number; a Japanese adjective or adverb has no terminational comparison; a Japanese verb is proof to the distinctions of number and person. In the Japanese language the connectives which correspond to our prepositions are placed after their nouns; the verbs always come last; our196 personal and possessive pronouns are supplanted by honorific expressions; and the definite article, the relative pronoun, and the pure temporal conjunction are lacking. To illustrate the first point, it is enough to say that a teacher once asked a young Japanese pupil, “Have you any brothers?” and received this answer: “There are four men; but they are all women.” In the question, the generic term kyōdai, which may be applied to both sexes, although strictly it should be limited to the male sex, was employed; in the reply, the generic term for “man” was used in the first clause, and the proper specification was added in the second clause. What he literally replied was this: “There are [=I have] four [such] persons; but they are all women.” And, in Japanese, “man,” whether singular, dual, or plural, whether single or married, may be simply hito; and yet the idea of “men” may also be expressed by doubling the word into hito-bito; while that of “women” is expressed by suffixing domo or tachi to onna and making onna-tachi, onna-domo.

With reference to language in general, a most patriotic Japanese once proved, to his own satisfaction, “the wickedness of foreign nations, not only in act but in speech,” and illustrated by the fact that the Europeans, for instance, put the verb before the noun, and said, “see the moon.” But the Japanese said “moon see,” because, “if the moon was not there first, you could not see it afterwards”!



Some of the peculiarities of Japanese sentences are illustrated in the following: “The man whom I met yesterday went to Tōkyō by the nine o’clock train this morning,” if translated literally from Japanese, would read: “My yesterday-on met man-as-for, this morning’s ninth-hour’s train-by Tōkyō-to went.”

In short, the Japanese language is an involved, complicated, impersonal, neutral, obscure, but withal a pretty, musical, logical, and polite tongue. Chamberlain says: “Japanese is probably—all things considered—the most difficult language on the face of the earth.”

A Japanese book begins where an English book ends; it is read from top to bottom in lines running from right to left; and the “foot-notes” are at the top of the page, while the reader’s mark is inserted at the bottom. Books are always arranged on a shelf or elsewhere, with the first volume at the right hand, or in horizontal piles. The Japanese call our style of writing “crab-writing,” because it “goes backward” and across the page like a crawfish; and the individual just quoted, claimed to be able to judge of the hearts of foreigners by their writing, “which was crooked”! Inversion appears again in such expressions as “east-north,” “west-south,” instead of “northeast,” “southwest.” The address of a letter runs as follows: “America, United States, Illinois State, Chicago City, Hyde Park District, Washington Avenue, 0000 No., Smith, John,198 Mr.” In dates the order of year, month, day, is followed. The word for roof (yane) means literally “house-root,” because a Japanese house is constructed to fit the roof, which is made first. But, as words are only the expression of thought, this contrariety must be traced back to the thoughts and ideas of Japanese, who, in so many other things, seem to us as “topsy-turvy” as we seem to them.

Japanese literature of the old régime was written partly in classical Chinese, partly in pure Japanese, and comprised mostly mythology, history, law, poetry, romance, drama, and Buddhist and Confucian philosophy. As we cannot go into details on this subject, so tempting, we shall confine ourselves to a few comments on Japanese poetry, which is more original and less Chinese than prose. The Japanese are very much addicted to writing poetry; like Silas Wegg, they drop off into poetry on every possible occasion. They are, in one sense, “born” poets, and, in another sense, made poets: poeta Japonicus et nascitur et fit,—“The Japanese poet is both born and made.” There are certain rigid forms, and only a few, for verse; and all fairly educated Japanese know those forms. In school, moreover, they are carefully taught the theory and the practice of versification.

Occasionally a Japanese poem will be rather long, and is then called naga-uta, (long poem); but usually it is only a “tiny ode” of 31 syllables, arranged in 5 lines of respectively 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables. The199 following is a specimen of such an uta, or tanka, from the famous “Hundred Poems”:—

Kokoro-ate ni
Orobaya oran
Hatsu-shimo no
Shiragiku no hana.
“If it were my wish
White chrysanthemum to cull:—
Puzzled by the frost
Of the early autumn time,
I perchance might pluck the flower.”134

There is also an abbreviated form called hokku, which contains only the 17 syllables of the first 3 lines of the tanka. The following is an example:—

Kare-eda ni
U no tomari keri
Aki no kure.

“On an autumn evening a crow perches on a withered branch.”

The quaintness and simplicity of Japanese thought and expression appear very clearly in their poetry. It has been truly said that a Japanese poem is a picture or even only the outline of a picture to be filled in by the imagination. It may be merely an exclamation, without any logical assertion, like the following, written a thousand years ago:—

Shira-kumo ni
Hane uchi-kawashi
Tobu kari no
Kazu sae miyuru
Aki no yo no tsuki.
“The moon on an autumn
night, making visible the
very number of wild geese
flying past with wings intercrossed
in white clouds.”



Japanese poetry has no rhyme, no parallelism, no alliteration, no accent; it is almost all lyrical, and abounds in acrostics, anagrams, and palindromes. Its chief subjects are taken from nature, and a poem may be evoked by the simplest thing. Although Japanese poetry is difficult to understand, it is interesting to study.

Japanese literature of the new régime is too varied to enumerate, as it covers, in both original and translated work, about all the fields of modern thought, as well as the fields of the old régime, just mentioned.

The development of newspapers is, perhaps, one of the most interesting phases of the progress of New Japan. The year 1902 was the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of Japanese journalism. Before that time small sheets, each like a modern “extra,” were issued to give account of a murder or an important event, and were hawked about by street-criers. But the “Nisshin Shinjishi,” started in 1872 by an Englishman named Black, was the first attempt at a real newspaper.136 Now there are probably more than 1,000 papers, magazines, etc., published in the empire. The newspapers are issued daily, and cost from 25 to 50 sen per month. Most of the metropolitan papers indulge in wood-cuts, even cartoons.

At first the press laws were rigorous and the201 official censors zealous; so that a Japanese editor must weigh carefully his utterances, and even then was likely, in a time of great political excitement, to bring upon his paper the ban of either temporary or total suspension. Some of the papers tried to circumvent the laws by having an extra edition issued under a different name, so that when one was suspended the other might continue; and sometimes a paper had nominal editors, or dummies, to suffer the punishment of imprisonment, while the real editors, or criminals, remained at their desks! It might be added, in this connection, that a public speaker also was liable to interruption by the police if he was considered by them to be uttering sentiments subversive of peace and order. Perfect freedom of speech and liberty of the press do not now, and cannot yet, exist in Japan; but the restrictions have been gradually withdrawn, and are now comparatively small.

Newspapers in foreign languages, most of them in English, are issued in Yokohama, Kōbe, Nagasaki, and Tōkyō. Of all these, the “Japan Mail,” of Yokohama, is facile princeps, for it does not deal in captious criticisms of the mistakes and sins of the Japanese, but is keenly sympathetic with their desire for improvement and progress in all lines. The “Japan Times,” of Tōkyō, is owned, managed, and edited by Japanese, and is a valuable paper. Deserving also of mention are the “Japan Daily Advertiser,” of Tōkyō, and the “Herald” and the “Chronicle” of Kōbe.


It is rather a difficult task to select from the vernacular newspapers the few most worthy of mention; but two from Ōsaka and six from Tōkyō will suffice. The “Ōsaka Asahi Shimbun” is said to have the largest circulation in the whole country; and the “Ōsaka Mainichi Shimbun” is well known. In Tōkyō the most prominent journals are the “Jiji Shimpō,” the “Nichi Nichi Shimbun,” the “Kokumin Shimbun,” the “Mainichi Shimbun,” and the “Hōchi Shimbun.” Another Tokyo paper of very large circulation is the “Yorozu Chōhō.” Almost all the newspapers of Japan are morning papers; but, as they generally go to press early in the evening of the preceding day, the “news” is not the latest. But very important events will always be published in “extras” at any hour.137

There are also magazines galore of every kind. Some of them prove rather short-lived; but most of them find a constituency, as each one seems to have its own field. Probably the largest and most successful magazine is named “Taiyō” (Sun), which issues monthly about 250 pages of Japanese matter, with 24 pages of English matter, and is finely illustrated. Its leading articles by well-known writers cover a great variety of topics. The “Kokumin-no-Tomo” (Nation’s Friend) is another excellent magazine, famous for the admirable style of its contributions. The “Rikugō Zasshi” (Cosmos) is philosophical and religious. There are a great203 many Shintō, Buddhist, and Christian weekly and monthly periodicals, which are published primarily for the edification of the believers.

“Of making many books there is no end” in Japan. Composition is apparently such an easy task, and publishing is so cheap, that every person inspired with an idea is tempted to rush into print. And those who are not so fortunate as to be rich in “original” ideas, have an inexhaustible field in the translation of books from English and other Occidental languages; indeed, a fair living may be made in that way.

Japanese taste in reading is illustrated by a table accompanying a recent official report from the Imperial Library at Tōkyō. During a period of 24 days covered by the report, the readers numbered 7,770, and the books called for were classified as follows:—

  Japanese and
Chinese works.

Theology and religion

635 14

Philosophy and education

2,368 145

Literature and languages

8,038 998

History, biography, geography, travel

9,768 460

Law, politics, sociology, economy, statistics

6,577 304

Mathematics, natural philosophy, medicine

9,506 388

Engineering, military arts, industries

4,943 205

Miscellaneous books

4,840 530

The table will interest American readers as showing how large is the number of European works included. It may be added that the Japanese are decidedly a reading people. Even the “jinrikisha man,” waiting on the street-corner for a customer,204 is frequently to be seen reading a newspaper, magazine, or book.

The leading firm of booksellers in Japan recently asked a large number of eminent Japanese men of letters, of science, of business, etc., to name their favorite European or American books. The 73 answers received have been published in a Japanese periodical, and are interesting as displaying the literary tastes of Japanese readers of foreign literature.

The most popular work is Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” which received 26 votes; next come Goethe’s “Faust,” the “Encyclopædia Britannica,” and Hugo’s “Les Misérables,” in the order named. Among English men of letters, Byron and Tennyson are the most popular. The names of Stevenson, Hardy, Meredith, “Mark Twain,” and other recent writers are rarely met with, while that of Kipling occurs not even once. Among continental writers, Tolstoi, Schopenhauer, Heine, and Zola are frequently mentioned; and Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is characterized more than once as the greatest work in the last decade of the nineteenth century.138

Some interesting information with reference to the demand for foreign works in Japan has been made public in the “Japan Times” by a Japanese importer of foreign books, and several items therefrom are of interest.

Works relating to architecture and building, chemistry,205 electricity and magnetism, engineering and mechanics, manufactures and industrial arts, metallurgy and mining, together with dictionaries and encyclopædias, enjoy the largest demand. In chemistry, Remsen is one of the popular authors; in metallurgy, Phillips’s work heads the list; in electricity and magnetism, Thomson’s works find the largest number of purchasers; and there is an active demand for Taggart’s “Cotton Spinning.” The favorite dictionary is “Nuttall’s Standard Dictionary,” of which the firm above named has already sold between 200,000 and 300,000 copies! Next comes “Webster’s Condensed Dictionary,” and even “Webster’s Unabridged” sells at the rate of from 50 to 60 copies per month. The “Students’ Standard Dictionary” also sells well.

Works on scientific subjects, especially new publications, are in great demand, and show the eagerness of Japanese students to become acquainted with the results of the latest investigations. In astronomy, Newcomb and Holden’s popular treatise comes first. In pedagogics, Herbart is the most popular author at present. In history, Fisher’s “Universal History” heads the list; in general, works on modern history are in greater demand than those of earlier periods. The greater demand for language books, among which the Otto series stands first, may have been due to the arrival of the date [1899] of mixed residence. Mathematical books are only in fair request.

In medicine, German books have practically driven206 from the field works in other languages. In politics and diplomacy, however, French works are preferred; Walker’s “Political Economy,” Jevons’s “Money,” and Bastiat’s “Science of Finance” have a large sale. In law, German works are beginning to predominate. Taine’s “English Literature” heads the list in works of that class, and is used as a text-book or work of reference in several higher institutions of learning. Of books on Japan, Griffis’s “Mikado’s Empire” maintains its ground as the favorite. Works on antiquities and ethnology, elocution and oratory, theology and religion, are said to be practically devoid of demand; but philosophical works find good sale, with Herbert Spencer in the van.

Fifty years ago a foreign book had to be smuggled into Japan and studied secretly; and many an earnest scholar paid with his life the penalty for desiring a broad education through books. Fifty years ago, Dutch books were about the only ones, except Chinese, that got into the empire even by smuggling. Now information is eagerly sought from all quarters of the globe; and books in many languages are readable by Japanese.139

It is generally supposed that languages, like poets, are “born, not made,” and that the changes in a language come, not artificially, but naturally. Interesting, therefore, is the spectacle of an attempt to effect a tremendous reform in a language, many centuries old, by legislative enactment. The nation207 which is making this apparently foolish and useless attempt is Japan, which has already often startled the world by its marvellous reforms. And if its wonderful success in legislative reforms in other lines are any criterion in this case, it will succeed in effecting much-needed reform in its language. At the sixteenth session of the Imperial Diet, a sum of money was appropriated for a “linguistic commission.” This was appointed in the spring of that year, has held several meetings, and has already arrived at some decisions. It has been decided, for instance, that “a phonographic script” is to be employed; but the much discussed question, whether it shall be the common Japanese kana (syllabic characters) or Roman letters, is still on the docket. It is also proposed to reduce the number of Chinese ideographs in common use. Moreover, the differences between the written and the spoken language are to be abolished; and the formal epistolary style is to be reformed. It has also been decided that the whole system of Japanese etymology must be “carefully revised.” Even the “problem of local dialects” is to be attacked, and “a standard dialect fixed.” It is noticeable that the commission is not afflicted with trepidity, but is proceeding with the utmost courage to attack the most difficult problems. It is composed of some of the most practical as well as the most scholarly men of the empire, and its work will be watched with the deepest interest, both at home and abroad. And the great changes already effected in the Japanese language since the208 country was opened are some warrant for believing that this commission will achieve a measure of success.140

And yet we understand that legislative enactment alone cannot make these reforms perfectly effective; but we are gratified that intelligent public opinion will support these reforms, not only theoretically, but also practically. For the full fruition of such reforms must be attained through the schools and the public press; and the latter has already begun to work along these very lines. It is, indeed, well for Japan that her leaders realize the necessity of breaking loose from her thraldom to Chinese letters, literature, thought, and ideals.


Rein’s “Japan”; “Advance Japan” (Morris), chap. xi.; Knapp’s “Feudal and Modern Japan,” vol. ii. chaps. i.-iii.; and “Japan in History, Folk-lore and Art” (Griffis), pp. 76-91, 104-107. For special study of the language, Imbrie’s “English-Japanese Etymology,” Chamberlain’s “Hand-book of Colloquial Japanese” and “Moji no Shirube”141; Aston’s “Grammar of the Japanese Written Language”142; and Brinkley’s “Unabridged Japanese-English Dictionary.”143 On the literature, Aston’s “History of Japanese Literature,” entire; see also Chamberlain’s “Japanese Epigrams” in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xxx. part ii.




Outline of Topics: Old-style education; study of Dutch; modern education; branches of curricula; three kinds of schools; school age; the Imperial Rescript; kindergartens; elementary schools; middle schools; higher schools; universities; normal schools; agricultural schools; technical schools; commercial schools; foreign language schools; art and music; eleemosynary institutions; female education; professional schools; private schools; mission schools; foreign instructors and study abroad; teachers’ associations; libraries; scientific study; defects of Japanese education.—Bibliography.

THE old-style education was at first Buddhist, afterwards Confucian, in method and matter. It comprised chiefly instruction in the Japanese and the Chinese languages, literature, and history, and was mostly confined to the samurai (knights), or military class. Female education consisted mainly of reading and writing Japanese, the elaborate rules of etiquette, and “polite accomplishments” in music and art. All instruction was given pretty much by the Chinese system of lectures; and a “memoriter” method of learning hampered original investigation. Especially in the domain of Japanese history, so called, on which rested the political institutions, skepticism was practically synonymous with treason.


According to a Japanese authority, “the first book published [in Japan] on foreign subjects” was by the famous scholar Arai Hakuseki [1657-1725] under the title “Seiyō Kibun” (Notes of the Western Ocean). Early in the eighteenth century a few scholars were officially commissioned to study Dutch; and many others secretly engaged in the same pursuit. It was almost entirely through the Dutch that, during the period of seclusion, the Japanese obtained their knowledge of Western countries and peoples, of history and science, especially of medical science.144 Several Dutch scholars also studied Japan.

But since the opening of Japan new ideas have gradually come to prevail; and especially since the Restoration of 1868, education, like all other institutions of Japan, has had the methodical and progressive spirit of Western civilization infused into it. Foreigners, especially Americans, were called in to remodel the whole system and to instruct in the new education. Thus in the various provinces the system of education was graded and made harmonious for the entire empire. Kindergartens have been established in many localities, and are especially valuable, because most mothers are incompetent to give satisfactory home instruction. Six is the age at which a child may enter the “elementary school” for a course of eight years; next comes the “middle school” for five years; then the “higher school” for two or three years, and, finally, the Imperial Universities at Tōkyō211 and Kyōto, each with its various colleges. There are also normal schools, “common” and “higher,” for the training of teachers, and a great many technical and professional schools, public and private. Missionary schools of all grades are doing an excellent work, and in many particulars supplying a great need. Co-education prevails only in the elementary schools; and the higher education of woman has been sadly neglected, but better provision for it is gradually being made. The first year of the new century was marked by the establishment at Tōkyō of the first University for Women.145 The present Emperor attended the “Nobles’ School,” and having ascended the throne, becomes the first Japanese Emperor educated in a public school; and the Empress Sada attended the Peeresses’ School.


The principal branches taught in the elementary schools are reading, writing, arithmetic (Japanese and foreign), composition, grammar, geography, history, physical exercise, morals (Confucian), and English; those in the middle and higher schools are Japanese and Chinese history, composition, language and literature, general history, mathematics, sciences, philosophy, morals, physical exercise, English, French, and German; in the universities the lines of study are varied and specialized. The Japanese learn well to translate, write, and speak the modern languages, and in the university may study Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit.


If we classify Japanese schools according to management, there are three kinds: those respectively under the central government, local authorities, and private auspices. Those of the first class are under the supervision of the Department of Education, are mainly special schools and higher institutions of learning, and are supported by appropriations voted by the Imperial Diet in the annual budget. Those of the second class are mainly elementary, middle and normal schools, are under the supervision of the local authorities, and are supported by local taxes, sometimes supplemented by national aid. Those of the third class are supported chiefly by tuition fees, but may also be assisted by individual beneficence.146

The school age for children is from six to fourteen, and covers the period of the elementary school; while the period of compulsory attendance is from six to ten years of age. During the latter period education is free; and in any case tuition fees are arranged to suit the financial ability of the payer. Corporal punishment is not allowed in any school.

The inspiring motive of education in Japan is found in an Imperial Rescript that the late Emperor issued in October, 1890. A copy of this is kept, often hanging framed, in every school, and on special occasions it is read aloud, while all the scholars reverently listen with bowed heads. It reads as follows:147



Our Imperial Ancestors have founded Our Empire on a basis broad and everlasting and have deeply and firmly implanted virtue. Our subjects, ever united in loyalty and filial piety, have from generation to generation illustrated the beauty thereof. This is the glory of the fundamental character of Our Empire, and herein also lies the source of Our education. Ye, Our subjects, be filial to your parents, affectionate to your brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives be harmonious, as friends true; brothers, bear yourselves in modesty and moderation; extend your benevolence to all; pursue learning and cultivate arts, and thereby develop intellectual faculties and perfect moral powers; furthermore, advance public good and promote common interests; always respect the Constitution and observe the laws; should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State; and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth. So shall ye not only be Our good and faithful subjects, but render illustrious the best traditions of your forefathers.

The Way here set forth is indeed the teaching bequeathed by Our Imperial Ancestors, to be observed alike by their Descendants and the subjects, infallible for all ages and true in all reverence in common with you, Our subjects, that we may all thus attain to the same virtue.

There are between 200 and 300 kindergartens, public and private, in Japan; and they are conducted, so far as outward forms are concerned, very much as in America and Europe. The common means of training are games, singing, conversation, and handiwork. But the Christian kindergartens214 are the only ones that carry out to full fruition the real spirit, as expressed in Froebel’s own words: “My system is based upon religion and leads up to religion.” The Christian kindergartens are quite popular and successful.

The Japanese elementary school, like the American grammar school, covers a period of eight years, which is, however, divided into two parts of four years each. The lower portion is called the “common elementary school,” and the upper portion is the “higher elementary school.” In many a small village only the former is maintained, and the latter is often carried on by the co-operation of several villages; but in large places both exist, either separately or conjointly. Under certain circumstances a supplementary course may be established in elementary schools (Shō Gakkō). English may be begun in the higher elementary school, and it is required in every middle school.

Each prefecture must maintain at least one middle school (Chū Gakkō), and three prefectures have as many as seven each. This institution corresponds practically to an American high school; but its course of study covers five years, besides the opportunity of a supplementary year. Candidates for admission must be over twelve years of age, and possess attainments equal to those who have completed the second year of the higher elementary school. Thus two years of these schools lap over each other. The number of middle schools, in spite215 of annual increase, is still inadequate to accommodate all the applicants.

There are in Japan eight “higher schools” (Kōtō Gakkō), located at Tōkyō, Sendai, Kyōto, Kanazawa, Kumamoto, Okayama, Yamaguchi, and Kagoshima. These bear numbers in this order, and are often called by the name “High School,” because the word Kōtō means simply “high grade.” If the reader, for instance, sees elsewhere a reference to the “Third High School,” it will refer to the Kōtō Gakkō at Kyōto. The word “Higher” is, therefore, used in this book to avoid confusion. These schools are clearing-houses, or preparatory schools, for the universities, and have also their own complete departments.

At present there are only two public universities in Japan,—at Tōkyō and Kyōto. The former contains six colleges (Law, Medicine, Engineering, Literature, Science, and Agriculture); and the latter consists of only four colleges (Law, Medicine, Science, and Engineering), but others will be added gradually. There are also just two great private universities, both in Tōkyō: the Keiō-gijiku, founded by the late Mr. Fukuzawa, the “great commoner,” and the “grand old man” of Japan; and the Waseda, founded by that veteran statesman, Count Ōkuma. There is no Christian institution of university grade, although it is confidently expected that the Dōshisha, at Kyōto, will soon be elevated again to that rank. The Japanese universities have very good accommodations and equipment, with strong faculties, and are216 doing work worthy to be compared with that of Occidental universities. One of the most unique phases of university work in Japan is the fact that the Imperial University in Tōkyō maintains a chair of seismology, or, in other words, supports a most important “professor of earthquakes”!

Common normal schools number over fifty; there must be at least one in each prefecture, and in four cases there are two or three each. Besides these and above these is a “higher normal school,” or normal college, in Tōkyō, with an elementary school and a middle school for practice work. There is also in Tōkyō a “higher female normal school,” with a kindergarten, an elementary school, and a high school for practice work. But these provisions are inadequate to supply the increasing demand for teachers in public schools.

Inasmuch as Japan is an agricultural country and is rich in forests, agricultural and dendrological schools are a necessity, in order that the people may be able to make the most out of their resources. The Sapporo Agricultural College, founded by Americans in 1872, is the best of its kind, and furnishes a broader course of study than its name implies.

And, in order that the industrial life of New Japan may be elevated, and both capital and labor may profit by the latest inventions and improvements, manual training and other technical schools have been started and are very popular.



In view of the fact that the Japanese are not fitted by natural temperament for a mercantile life, and yet the geographical position of Japan is so well adapted to a commercial career, the need of thorough instruction in modern methods of business has been keenly felt, and is being supplied by business colleges, of which the Higher Commercial School in Tōkyō is most useful and prosperous.

Formerly an adjunct of the above-mentioned institution, but now an independent organization, is the Foreign Language School, Tōkyō. Besides this, several foreign languages are taught in the middle and higher schools and the universities; and there are also a great many private schools and classes for instruction in one or more foreign languages. English is, of course, the most popular and most useful.

The Tōkyō Fine Arts School is the best of its kind, and gives instruction in painting (both Japanese and European), designing, sculpture, and “industrial arts,” like engraving, puddling, casting, lacquer, etc. The Tōkyō Academy of Music is a type of its kind, and gives instruction in vocal and instrumental music and musical composition. It has accomplished wonders along those lines.

The education of the blind, the deaf, and the dumb is not neglected in Japan; there are ten schools for the benefit of these unfortunates; and the government institution in Tōkyō is the most important. Charity schools and orphan asylums are also carried218 on, chiefly under Christian auspices, in very poor districts in large cities.

During the early years of New Japan female education was almost entirely in the hands of the Christian missionaries, who alone seemed to realize the necessity of a better education and training for the future mothers of the nation. But thinking Japanese have come to realize, with Count Ōkuma, that all countries which have attempted “to work with the male sex as the single standard” have “fallen signally behind in the march of progress”; and that “Japan by raising woman to her proper place should provide herself with a double standard.” Thus it has come about that educational privileges for girls and young ladies are increasing.

Law schools, medical schools, theological seminaries, and other professional schools are numerous; on these lines private enterprise is very active, because the public institutions are inadequate.

There used to be a great dearth of good private institutions of learning, and this lack was partly due to the fact that private enterprise in this direction received little encouragement, and public spirit was lacking on the part of those who might have assisted in this way. But recently both the advantages of private schools and the opportunities thus afforded to men of means have come to be appreciated.

In this connection a few words should be written concerning mission schools, which will also be considered219 in the chapter on Christianity. In spite of limitations both from within and from without, these institutions, having their “ups and downs,” nevertheless maintained themselves and have won popular favor against a strong prejudice. They have always insisted upon a high mental and moral standard, and have without doubt aroused the public schools to raise their standards and ideals. Whatever may be said for or against mission schools as evangelizing agencies, it is generally acknowledged that, as educational institutions, they have been models of correct pedagogical principles and exemplars of high morality.

It is also interesting to note that, after a period during which the Japanese thought that they could teach foreign languages as well as foreigners, there is an increasing demand for foreign instructors. Within the past two years several young men from America have been engaged as teachers of English in middle schools; and such opportunities are increasing. Moreover, a larger number of students than ever are annually sent abroad by the government, or go abroad at their own expense, to finish their education. Thus narrow prejudices are dissipated and minds are broadened.

Another means for improving the educational system of Japan is to be found in teachers’ associations, educational societies, and summer institutes. The first two are local; the last are national. The educational societies are for the purpose of increasing the general interest in education in the different localities;220 the teachers’ associations are, as in America, for the improvement of methods of instruction; and the summer institutes are for the same purpose on a broader scale.

What was written about private schools may be repeated concerning libraries. No Japanese Carnegie has yet appeared; only a few men, like Mr. Ōhashi, and the late Baron Kodama, formerly Governor of Formosa, have endowed libraries as memorials. The largest public library is the Imperial Library148 in Tōkyō, with over 400,000 volumes, of which more than 50,000 volumes are in European languages.

It is in the domain of science that the Japanese have achieved, perhaps, their greatest intellectual successes. Their work in original investigation is always painstaking, and in many cases it has attained an international reputation. The names of Dr. Kitasato, associated with the famous Dr. Koch in his researches, and Dr. Aoyama, the hero of the pest in China, are well known; and now comes Dr. Ishigami, who claims to have discovered the germ of smallpox.

The chief defects in the Japanese educational system are on three lines: dependence on Chinese ideographs, vague instruction in ethics, and encouragement of cramming. The removal of these hindrances to progress is engaging the attention of thoughtful educators, but is a slow and gradual process.



“The Wee Ones of Japan” (Mrs. Bramhall), pp. 97-108; “When I was a Boy in Japan” (Shioya); “A Japanese Boy” (Shigemi); “Japanese Girls and Women” and “A Japanese Interior” (Miss Bacon), all give interesting accounts of school life in both Old and New Japan. The Department of Education issues annually in English, for free distribution on application, a “Report,” which contains the latest statistics and other information. “The Educational Conquest of the Far East” (Lewis) is an excellent discussion of educational conditions and problems of the day in China and Japan. See also Scherer’s “Young Japan,” pp. 284-311. The (English) catalogue of the Imperial University, Tōkyō, is instructive. “Every Day Japan” (Lloyd) contains interesting material on this subject. “Japanese Education” (Kikuchi) is authoritative.




Outline of Topics: Japan’s debt to art.—Wide diffusion of æsthetic ideals.—Chinese origin of Japanese art.—Painting the key-note.—Considered a form of poetry.—Characteristics.—Color prints.—Sculpture.—Keramics.—Metal work.—Cloisonné. Lacquer.—Embroidery.—Music.—Poetry.—Dancing.—Drama. Tea ceremonies.—Flower arrangement.—Landscape gardening.—Unity of the arts.—Bibliography.

IT has been said with a great deal of truth that no other country in the world owes so much to its art as Japan. As Huish puts it, “Japan would never have attracted the extraordinary notice which she so rapidly did had it not been for her art.... Her art manufactures have penetrated the length and breadth of the world.” Yet it is a curious fact, to which Chamberlain calls attention, that the Japanese have “no genuinely native word” for either art or nature. The expression “fine art” is commonly represented by the word bi-jutsu, a Chinese compound meaning literally “beauty-craft.” So intimately are æsthetic ideals bound up with the whole course of Japanese life and modes of thought, that art is not, as in the Western world, a mere sporadic efflorescence, but the inevitable expression of the spirit of the Eastern civilization, and needing therefore223 no distinctive term to denote it as a thing set apart and existing by itself.

While this is true, it is also true that Japan furnishes no exception to Mr. Whistler’s dictum that “there never was an art-loving nation.” The explanation of this seeming paradox is one which needs to be borne in mind. The æsthetic ideals crystallized in the works of the countless generations of artists who for more than a thousand years have held to them firmly as their guiding principles, have become so much the intellectual heritage of the people as a whole that it is most natural that the foreign observer, noting the æsthetic impress upon everything about him, should look upon the Japanese as a nation of artists. To an extent not known elsewhere the Japanese mechanic is indeed an art-isan. And there is a measure of truth in Percival Lowell’s assertion that there are “no mechanical arts in Japan simply because all such have been raised to the position of fine arts.”149 From the Japanese point of view, however, differences in degree of artistic perception are as pronounced among the Japanese as among other peoples. In Japan, as in all other lands, artistic inspiration is given to but few among the many; artists having creative genius tower high above their fellows; and the little touches that excite the wonder and admiration of the outside world are seen to be in large degree the outcome of conventional notions rather than the expression of individual feeling.


The art of Japan like most other elements in her civilization is of Chinese origin. Concurrently with the introduction by way of the Middle Kingdom of that stream of abstract idealism known as Northern Buddhism, China became the fountain head whence until comparatively recent times a succession of æsthetic ideas spread over Japan.150 Modern Chinese art is justly held to possess little merit, but in the days when it exerted its dominating influence upon the Japanese mind it had attained a very high standard of excellence, and in particular some of the Chinese painters were among the greatest the world has ever known. With the exception of a few original modifications, the product of temperament and historical situation, everything in Japanese art has come from China; yet the generic ideas have been so worked over and transformed in the process that the resultant is distinctly not Chinese but Japanese. The influence of Buddhism has been very great; it would indeed, be difficult to overestimate it.151 Most of the earlier artists were Buddhist priests, and, until the revival of Shintō as the State religion, during the present reign, Buddhism was directly and indirectly one of the principal promoters and patrons of the arts.



Foremost among the arts of Japan, both relatively and as the key which is necessary to understanding and appreciation of the others, is painting. It is an art differing in many respects from that of the European schools of painting, but not less worthy of serious consideration, and in certain qualities it ranks supreme. To those who have seen the masterpieces preserved among the temple treasures, or hidden in the collections of Japanese noblemen, and have felt their grandeur and charm, this will seem far short of over-statement. In the West, however, there is little opportunity to gauge the achievements of the great Japanese painters,152 and it is even possible to spend a lifetime in Japan and remain in ignorance thereof.

Japanese critics have always considered painting to be a form of poetry. The painter therefore strives to represent the soul of things rather than their visible forms. Not that he scorns realism, indeed he is often minutely realistic in a way that is unapproachable; but realism with him is only incidental, his main purpose being to produce a poem in form and color. To this end all irrelevant details are necessarily226 omitted. Nothing is given that in any way interferes with the central thought. Reduced thus to its simplest elements, his art calls for the utmost harmony in all that enters into it, and first of all for perfect composition of line, mass, and vacant space. Scarcely less important is color arrangement, including the balancing of light and dark as factors in the result. A high degree of technical skill is also requisite, for the poetry would be lost should the execution seem labored. The greatest works are, in appearance at least, spontaneous to an astonishing degree. Wonderful indeed are the possibilities of a single brush stroke in the hands of a master. The effects produced range from almost microscopic realism to the broadest impressionism, the latter quality being predominant in the works of some of the most eminent artists.

So far as it is possible to sum them up in a brief statement, the distinguishing characteristics of Japanese painting are these:—

1. Excellence of composition.

2. Subtlety and beauty of line.

3. Remarkable command of the brush, and directness of method in its use.

4. Simplicity of treatment, and rigid exclusion of non-essentials.

5. Absence of chiaroscuro, and the employment of notan, or contrast between light and dark.

6. Skilful generalization of forms.

7. Poetical conception.

8. High development of the sense of harmony in color.


Any such summing up is, however, necessarily imperfect. It is not feasible to give here any account of the various schools and artists, and the reader desiring more extended information is referred to the sources indicated in the bibliography appended to this chapter. Before leaving this branch of the subject, mention should be made of calligraphy, which, although justly regarded in Japan as an art, is not so much a separate art as the art of painting applied to writing the Chinese ideographs. It will not appear strange, therefore, that masterly writing should be esteemed equally with painting.

An art closely allied to painting is that of chromoxylography, or color printing from engraved wood blocks. Nothing could be simpler than the method employed, the sheets of paper being laid face down on the block which has been previously inked with a brush, and pressure is then applied by rubbing the back of the sheets with a pad held in the hand of the printer. Nevertheless no greater triumphs of the printer’s art have ever been achieved than the beautiful color prints of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries after designs by Harunobu, Koriusai, Shunsho, Kyonaga, Toyokuni, Utamaro, Hokusai, and other noted artists of the Popular school. Though still in use, this process is largely being superseded by the cheaper, if less artistic, processes of lithography, collotype, etc.

In glyptic art the triumphs of the Japanese have been little less than in that of painting. The most remarkable specimens are the ancient figures in bronze228 and in wood which are preserved in the temples. The Daibutsu, or gigantic bronze statue of Buddha, at Nara will serve as an example, having been illustrated so often that all the world is familiar with its appearance.

The objects upon which the art of the Japanese sculptors has been exercised are many. Particularly in the carving of the masks used in the dances, and the little ornaments called netsuke, the skill and artistic qualities displayed are often of the highest order. It would be difficult to overpraise the best work of such artists in this line, as Deme Jikan, Minko, Tomotada, Miwa, and many others. As in the case of painting, the method used by the carver must be direct and masterly to satisfy Japanese taste. Only clean, strong strokes will pass muster. There must be no niggling nor retouching. Visitors to the shrines at Nikkō will be impressed by this quality in the remarkable works to be found there by the famous seventeenth-century sculptor Hidari Jingorō, that is to say, “Left-handed Jingorō.”

One of the most ancient of the arts of Japan is that of the potter. It is also one of the most profitable for study. The principles which have been enumerated as applicable to painting will be found carefully embodied in the fabrication and ornamentation of keramic wares, the variety of which is endless. In some instances these wares are known by the names of the makers, as Ninsei, Kenzan, Kozan, Seifu, and others; but in general they are designated by the names of the provinces wherein they229 are made. Thus we have the wares of Satsuma, Hizen, Arita, Imari, Kaga, Kyōto, Owari, Bizen, Iga, Ota, Soma, Izumo, and many more. Occasionally the name of a particular locality is used, as for instance that of Seto in Owari. Here it was that Shirozaemon, called “the Father of Pottery,” established himself in the thirteenth century; and such was the repute of the products of his kiln that Seto-mono, or Seto ware, became a generic name in Japan for all keramic productions, quite as in English we use the term “china” for all kinds of porcelain wherever made.

Unfortunately the Japanese potter of to-day is largely under the influence of foreign markets, to the great degradation of his art. The condition is well portrayed by Huish, who says: “The wealthy ‘red-hairs’ who came to him from the West could see no beauties in the objects that had given the greatest pleasure to the men of refinement of his own country; and in order that the potter might participate in the overflow of silver dollars with which the foreigners were blessed, he was obliged to put aside those principles which he and his father before him had looked upon as the fundamental ones of their craft, and produce wares totally at variance with his preconceived ideas of the right.”

Many and distinctive are the arts of the Japanese metal-workers. They are widely renowned for their skill in compounding numerous alloys, for inlaying one metal upon another, for clever manipulation of refractory materials such as wrought iron of exceeding230 toughness which they nevertheless carve and chase almost as though it were wax, for casting in bronze and iron by the cire perdue process, and especially for the manufacture of armor, both offensive (such as swords and spears) and defensive (such as helmets and coats of mail). Japanese swords excel even the famous blades of Damascus and Toledo, and the names of the swordsmiths Munichika, Masamune, Muramasa, and others, are now of international reputation. The blades which were made by these men are not only of extraordinary excellence, but are also veritable works of art and highly prized as such by connoisseurs. Equally celebrated in different lines are the works of the Miochin and Goto families; and among the metal-workers of to-day are many worthy successors of these giants of the past.

The art of enamelling upon metal is, with some exceptions, comparatively a new one in Japan, but is now very popular. The wares are known to the Japanese as Shippō-yaki, and in general, in the West, as cloisonné. The centres of the enamel-workers are Tōkyō, Kyōto, and Nagoya, and the best-known makers are Namikawa, of Tōkyō, the inventor of the “cloison-less” enamel, and his namesake of Kyōto.

One of the most distinctive of the arts of Japan is that of lacquering, and the Japanese product far excels that of any other makers. The lac, which is a varnish made from the poisonous sap of a tree of the sumac (rhus) family, is applied in thin layers on a carefully prepared ground, usually of wood, and231 after being dried in a moist oven or steam-chest, is carefully rubbed down and polished. This is repeated with each layer. Various substances, metallic and other, are mixed with the lac or applied to its surface before it is dry, and it may be carved and inlaid in different ways. This is a bare outline of a process which is long and tedious and which has many variations. Extended accounts with many interesting details will be found in Rein’s “Industries of Japan,” in the ninth volume of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, and in Volume VII. of Captain Brinkley’s “Japan.”


Embroidery, like the designing for brocades and other fabrics, is an art which follows closely the analogies of the art of painting, and is governed by the same æsthetic principles. The embroiderers in Japan are not women but men, and in their work they often display remarkable taste and ability as designers, as well as craftsmanship of the highest order.

To Occidental ears Japanese music, set, as it always is, in a minor key and abounding in discords, seems unworthy of the name of music. To characterize it as merely “strummings and squealings” because it does not conform to our ideas, is, however, an unfair aspersion. The fact is that it is based upon a scale which differs from that which we use, one of its peculiarities being the introduction of a semi-tone above the tonic. In the Japanese mind music is so closely related to the sister arts of poetry and dancing that neither can well be treated separately. As232 Captain Brinkley tells us: “There is no Japanese music that will not serve as accompaniment for the Japanese stanza, and the stanza, in turn, adapts itself perfectly to the fashion of the Japanese dance. The law of the unities seems to have prescribed that the cadence of the stanza should melt into the lilt of the song, and that the measure of the song should be worked out by the ‘woven paces and waving hands’ of the dance. The affinity between them is so close that it is difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends.”

Japanese poetry is also conspicuously different from that of the Occident. It is a form of word painting in brief lyrics, and “it is primarily an expression of emotion.” The odes which all Japanese learn to compose are verbal melodies which can be neither transposed nor translated. Owing to the nature of the Japanese language, there are no accented syllables, nor is there any quantity, nor any rhyme. This is well explained by Aston in his “History of Japanese Literature.” He says:—

“As every syllable ends in a vowel, and as there are only five vowels, there could only be five rhymes, the constant reiteration of which would be intolerably monotonous.... The only thing in the mechanism of Japanese poetry which distinguishes it from prose is the alternation of phrases of five and seven syllables each. It is, in fact, a species of blank verse.”

The art of dancing, which consists mainly in rhythmic posturings, often of great beauty, and requiring233 not only physical training of the most rigorous character but a high degree of skill, is in turn intimately associated with the histrionic art. For an account of the early dances and their gradual merging into the classical drama or dance known as (literally, “accomplishment”), the reader is referred to the third volume of Captain Brinkley’s “Japan: Its History, Arts, and Literature.” Few foreigners ever learn to appreciate Japanese dancing. Its primary purpose is mimetic. “The mechanics of the dance,” says Brinkley, “are as nothing to the Japanese spectator compared with the music of its motion, and he interprets the staccato and legato of its passages with discrimination amounting almost to instinct. In exceptional cases the foreigner’s perception may be similarly subtle,” but as he must generally be unable to apprehend the esoterics of the dance, he is “like one watching a drama where an unknown plot is acted in an unintelligible language.”

As to the Japanese drama proper, it differs from our own chiefly in the stage setting and accessories, and in the greater importance given to the mimetic side of the performance.

An art essentially Japanese is that of flower arrangement. In its origin it is closely related to the Cha-no-yu, or Tea Ceremonial, which developed into a cult during the Shōgunate of Ashikaga Yoshimasa in the fifteenth century. This cult, which was founded on the four cardinal virtues of urbanity, courtesy, purity, and imperturbability, has been a234 mighty force in holding the Japanese true to a high standard in matters of taste, by combining “æsthetic eclecticism of the most fastidious nature with the severest canons of simplicity and austerity.” The end has been achieved not so much by the elaborate code as through what it stands for; the ceremony being in reality a gathering of connoisseurs to view works of art, each of which to win favor must meet the requirements of the most exacting taste. Out of the æsthetic necessity of making fitting disposition of the flowers introduced into the tea-room, grew the art of Ike-bana, or flower arrangement. This has gradually come to have an elaborate code of its own, and several distinct “schools” have arisen. In a general way it may be said that the art consists in arranging flowers with regard to harmonious composition of line, while keeping in mind certain poetic analogies which must not be violated, and the appearance of vitality and natural growth. Here, again, the principles of composition in painting find their application.

Still another application is found in landscape gardening, which in the hands of the Japanese is also a fine art. This too has its different “schools” and its special code of rules, formulated during the many centuries of development at the hands of successive generations of artists.

Japan is, in truth, a shining example of the essential unity of all the arts, and illustrates admirably the truth of the old saying, Natura artis magister235 (Nature the mistress of art). Unfortunately, what has been said in this chapter applies more to Old Japan than to the Japan of to-day. Modern Japan, whether rightly or wrongly, is becoming tired of being praised for æsthetic excellence, and is more anxious to be appraised and appreciated for its material, social, commercial, and political “progress.” To the cultivated Japanese, who regard art as the highest outcome and flowering of civilization, this tendency is not encouraging. And as to the future of Japanese art, its perpetuation must come from excluding rather than attempting to amalgamate Western ideas. In the impressive words of Okakura, the outcome will be “victory from within, or a mighty death without.”


Painting: “The Pictorial Arts of Japan” (Anderson); “Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Museum” (Anderson); “The Painters of Japan” (Morrison).

Prints: “An Outline of the History of Ukiyo-ye” (Fenollosa); “Geschichte des Japanischen Farbenholzschnitts” (Seidlitz); “Japanese Illustration” (Strange); “Japanese Wood Engravings” (Anderson); “Japanese Wood-cutting and Wood-cut Printing” (Tokuno).

Pottery: “Catalogue of the Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston” (Morse); “Japan: Its History, Art, and Literature” (Brinkley); “Keramic Art of Japan” (Audsley and Bowes); “L’Art Japonais” (Gonse).

Glyptic Art: “Histoire de l’Art du Japan,” published by the Japanese Commission for the Paris Exposition of 1900. This work contains much information about all the arts, not available elsewhere.

Metal Work—Lacquer: “The Industries of Japan” (Rein); “Notes on Shippo” (Bowes); “Ornamental Arts of Japan”236 (Audsley); “L’Art Japonais” (Gonse); “Japan and its Art” (Huish).

Music: “The Music and Musical Instruments of Japan” (Piggott); “Miyako-Dori” (Bevan).

Poetry: “History of Japanese Literature” (Aston); “Classical Poetry of the Japanese” (Chamberlain); “Japanese Odes” (Dickins).

Drama: “Artistic Japan,” vol. v. (edited by S. Bing).

Flower Arrangement: “The Flowers of Japan and the Art of Floral Arrangement” (Conder).

Landscape-Gardening: “Landscape-Gardening in Japan” (Conder).

Tea Ceremonial: “The Book of Tea” (Okakura).

General: “An Artist’s Letters from Japan” (La Farge); “Jinrikisha Days in Japan” (Scidmore).




Outline of Topics: Religion in Japan; Shintō; a “natural religion”; simple services; religious patriotism; perfunctory worship; Shintō doomed “as a religion”; secularization of Ise shrines; element of embarrassment to Christians; “worship” (?) of Emperor’s portrait; difficulties in translation of Christian terms; method of reforms in Japan; future of Shintō.—Bibliography.

IT is a curious fact that Japan cannot boast of an indigenous religion, or of much original mental or moral philosophy. “Shintō” (The Gods’ Way), purely Japanese in its origin, is only a cult, a system of worship, not a religion, or even a philosophy. Buddhism and Confucianism came in from China, perhaps through Korea, and Christianity entered from Europe and America.

Shintō is a system in which the deification and worship of heroes, emperors, family ancestors, and forces of nature play an important part. It has no dogmas, no sacred books, no moral code, “no philosophy, no code of ethics, no metaphysics”; it sums up its theory of human duty in the following injunction: “Follow your natural impulses and obey the laws of238 the State.”154 It requires of its adherents nothing except worship at certain temples or shrines on stated days. A “pure Shintō” temple is an exceedingly plain affair, in front of which, at a little distance, is invariably set a torii, or arch. Without idols, the temple contains, as emblems of Shintō, strips of paper hanging from a wand, together with a mirror. The form of ordinary worship is simple: it consists of washing the face, or hands, or both, with holy water; of ringing a bell, or clapping the hands, to call the god’s attention; of casting in a coin as an offering; of standing with clasped hands during a short prayer, and of making a farewell bow. This ceremony is sufficient to “cover a multitude of sins”! At the regular festivals there are special and elaborate services, at which the priests (often laymen) officiate. Pilgrimages to holy spots, usually “high places,” are important in Shintō.

But Shintō seems destined to decay as naturally as it developed. According to the best authorities, it was, in the original and purest form, ancestor-worship combined with the worship of nature. That is to say, it arose from the natural reverence paid to ancestors, whether individual or national, and from239 the awe inspired by the wonderful and frequently horrible forces of nature. In time these two elements became more or less confused, so that eventually, in some cases, national ancestors were identified with heavenly bodies, and the sun, for instance, worshipped as a goddess, was called the special ancestor of the Japanese nation. It seems proper, therefore, to call Shintō, so far as the word “religion” is applicable to it, a “natural religion” in more senses than one of the word “natural.”155

It has just been intimated that the word “religion” is not in all points applicable to Shintō. It has, for instance, no dogmas or creed, except the very simple and general injunction: “Follow your own natural impulses and obey the laws of the State.” Dr. Nitobe says, in his book entitled “Bushidō”: “The tenets of Shintōism cover the two predominating features of the emotional life of our race—patriotism and loyalty.” Its services are very simple,240 and consist of the presentation of offerings and the recital of formal addresses, which are partly praises and partly prayers. In one ritual, that of purification, it is true that there may be seen signs of moral instruction; but this is now a mere formal ceremony, performed, perhaps, only twice a year in some, not all, of the principal Shintō shrines. Certainly, in the sense that Christianity, with its creeds, whether simple or complex, its moral doctrines, its spiritual teachings, its outlook into the future life, its restraining and uplifting influence upon the individual and society, is called a religion, Shintō has no right to that appellation.

But as a system of national as well as of individual worship, including prayers to the deified ancestors or national heroes or to the personified and deified powers of nature, Shintō is properly a religion. And there can be no doubt that, in the eyes of the great mass of the people, it has all the force of a religion. One needs to stand but a few minutes in front of a Shintō shrine to observe that the mode of worship is practically the same as that before a Buddhist temple. This does not refer to the regular public ceremonies at stated times, but to the brief ordinary visits of the common people to the shrines and temples as they may be passing by. In their hearts there is apparently as much “worship” and “reverence” in one case as in the other. And this superstitious attitude of the people toward Shintō has been utilized on more than one occasion241 in political measures, so that Shintō has often been nothing but a political engine. “In its lower forms [it] is blind obedience to governmental and priestly dictates.” It has thus been unfairly used as a test of so-called patriotism, a kind of ecclesiastical patriotism, founded on mythology and superstition. Thus Shintō has been, as Sir Ernest Satow called it, “in a certain sense, a state religion, since its temples are maintained out of the imperial and local revenues, and the attendance of the principal officials is required by court etiquette at certain annual festivals which are celebrated at the palace.” Similarly, local officials are required to be present and “worship” on certain occasions at local shrines. As Dr. Griffis has remarked, “To those Japanese whose first idea of duty is loyalty to the Emperor, Shintō thus becomes a system of patriotism exalted to a religion.”

But the relation of the educated classes toward Shintō is quite different. A knowledge of science has shown the foolishness of personifying and deifying the forces of nature and of worshipping foxes, badgers, and other animals. Moreover, the scientific study of the Japanese annals has revealed the absurdities of much that had been accepted as real history, and has shown that the so-called historical foundation of Shintō is a mass of myths and legends. The well-educated Japanese do not believe the nonsense of the “Kojiki”156 upon which the claim that the Emperor should be worshipped is based; but few, if242 any, dare to give public expression to their own private opinions, for they love life and reputation more than liberty of speech. And many of those who really know better not only will employ the old fictions in word of mouth or on the written page, but will even visit shrines and go perfunctorily through the forms of worship.

Now it is quite evident that, ever since the opening of Japan and the consequent spread of popular education, the diffusion of scientific knowledge, and the propagation of Christianity, Shintō as a religion has been doomed. Not merely monotheism, but also science, ridiculed the Shintō doctrine of myriads of gods; and even atheism and agnosticism, so heartily welcomed in Japan, would not lend any support to the superstitions of Shintō. Ever since the Restoration of 1868, which was, of course, a revival of pure political Shintō, frequent attempts have been made to have Shintō declared, in actual fact, by special enactment, the State religion of Japan. But religious Shintō has been suffering a gradual decline, as Dr. Griffis shows in “The Religions of Japan.” For a little while the council that had charge of Shintō matters “held equal authority with the great council of the government. Pretty soon the first step downward was taken, and from a supreme council it was made one of the ten departments of the government. In less than a year followed another retrograde movement, and the department was called a board. Finally, in 1877, the board became a bureau.” And, in the243 closing year of the nineteenth century, another step downward was taken by making a complete official demarcation between Shintō shrines and Buddhist temples. Hereafter Buddhist and Christian matters come under the charge of the Bureau of Religions; while Shintō affairs are entirely secularized and set apart under a Bureau of Shrines. This is the final step in the official disestablishment of Shintō. It is one of the greatest triumphs of civilization and Christianity in Japan, for it has evidently been made necessary by the spread of the gospel; and this move is fraught with deep significance, with great promise and encouragement.

Even before this official action had been taken, the necessity for completely secularizing Shintō had been fully recognized within its own circles. In 1899 the officials of the Great Shrine at Ise, in which are preserved the mirror, the sword, and the jewel, the three sacred treasures of Shintō, took the proper legal steps to become a secular organization. They asserted that Shintō is “merely a mechanism for keeping generations in touch with generations, and preserving the continuity of the nation’s veneration for its ancestors.” Shintō could never hope “to stand as a religion,” but it might stand “as the embodiment of a national sentiment.” According to the editor of the “Japan Mail,” the leaders of Shintō have “shown great astuteness” in taking that step; and others have even suggested that they have very shrewdly laid a most dangerous trap for Christians244 by attempting to deprive them of a valid reason for not participating in Shintō ceremonies.

And there is no doubt that there still remains an element of embarrassment to Christians. Nominally and theoretically, Shintō is no longer a religion; it is “merely a cult embodying the principle of veneration for ancestors, and having for its chief function the performance of rites in memory of the [so-called] divine ancestors of the empire’s sovereigns.” But the common people will continue to regard Shintō in the light of a religion, and to worship and pray at the shrines. Until, therefore, the masses are educated up to a knowledge of the distinctions between “human” and “divine,” “secular” and “religious,” “reverence” and “worship,” they will continue to bow their heads, clap their hands, and mumble their prayers at Shintō shrines. Christians, of course, ought not to indulge in such practices; but, because such things are done by those who do not know better, should they refrain entirely from participating in national celebrations and patriotic ceremonies? Or should they, regardless of what others may be doing, take part in whatever way their consciences will allow? Is this a case in which Paul’s instructions about eating meat and things offered to idols would be applicable?

This is really much the same question that arose some years ago with reference to bowing before the Emperor’s portrait. To that ceremony the common word for “worship” [reihai or hairei] was245 applied; and therefore many Christians conscientiously refused to perform it. Now, those Japanese words are composed of rei, a very common term indicating any polite act, and hai, which in its original ideographic form was written with a picture of two hands clasped, and therefore naturally indicates worship. But this word hai is an integral part of such words as haiken (a very polite expression for “please let me see”), haishaku (“please lend”), haikei (the humble phrase at the beginning of a letter). In all these cases the word hai expresses a humble request to a superior, originally made with clasped hands and bowed head. These words are in daily use by Christians, including missionaries, without conscientious scruples, because they are apparently cases of what rhetoricians call “fossil metaphors.” It would appear, then, that hai, which gives reihai its significance of “worship,” may have shades of meaning, just as we speak, not only of the “worship of the one, true God,” but also of “hero-worship.” It is, in fact, a question of terms in a language and among a people where such fine distinctions are not drawn between the secular and the religious, the common and the uncommon, the holy and the unholy. In a country where each person must humble himself before others and must express that humility in words and deeds that to Occidentals suggest Uriah Heep, and where profound bows are the most ordinary occurrence, bowing to the Emperor’s portrait is scarcely “worship.” It is no246 more “worship” or “idolatry” than baring the head when the United States flag was raised at San Juan de Porto Rico, or when the British sing “God Save the King,” or than standing with bared and bowed heads before an open grave. To repeat, the whole question is largely one of terms in a language undergoing great transitions and modifications through contact with Occidental thought and speech.

In this connection the whole subject of translation comes up. What Japanese words, for instance, shall be used for “God,” “spirit,” “love,” “home,” “worship,” “personal,” and many other terms? The ideas included in such words do not exist in the Japanese mind, and therefore there are no absolutely equivalent terms. Either old words of lower concepts must be used, or words must be coined; in either case the full idea of the original is not transferred to the Japanese mind without considerable explanation. But this is a digression.

This disestablishment of Shintō is another instance of the peculiar method by which reforms, whether political, social, or moral, are usually accomplished in Japan. In Occidental nations political reforms have been initiated by the people, by the power of public opinion; and popular rights have been wrested by the ruled from the unwilling rulers, whether feudal barons or monarchs. But in Japan all the political and social reforms of the last few decades have been imposed by the ruling classes upon the indifferent247 people. It is probably true that the great mass of the Japanese care very little, if any, whether their government is an absolute or a constitutional monarchy; know scarcely anything about the cabinet, the Imperial Diet, the new codes, and such things; and are contented with the old customs, costumes, ceremonies, and religions. They are not like that Irishman who, when he was asked, immediately upon landing in New York, to which party he belonged, promptly replied, “I’m agin the government.” The common people of Japan go to the other extreme and are always “for the government”; that is, they favor the established order, whatever it may be, and do not want any disturbance. Or it may, perhaps, be nearer the truth to say that they keep “the noiseless tenor of their way,” regardless of what changes may be transpiring in social and political Japan. But, although they are natural conservatives, they are, nevertheless, able to adapt themselves gradually to the new order of things, as soon as these are firmly established. Now this disestablishment of Shintō has not come about, as idolatry has often been overthrown in the isles of the sea, in accordance with the demands of the people, who had learned better from the teachings of Christianity and modern science; but it has been carried out somewhat as a political measure by the government, and the people must still be educated up to an understanding of the new status of Shintō.

But, although Shintō will continue for some time248 to be considered a religion by the mass of the people, and thus the full results of disestablishment cannot be immediately realized; yet this official removal of Shintō from the position of a religion is one of the most important reforms of this great reform era in Japan. When Constantine disestablished the religions of Greece and Rome by establishing Christianity as the religion of his empire, the worship of Zeus (or Jupiter), of Aphrodite (or Venus), and of the other deities of Olympus, did not cease at once; nor, on the other hand, did the efforts of Julian succeed in reviving the old idolatry. Shintō will linger and continue to attract thousands of worshippers to its shrines; but it is doomed to die as perished the Greek and Roman religions. Amaterasu, the sun-goddess, will yet have her votaries in Japan as had Apollo in Greece and Rome; but the rays of the Sun of Righteousness will dispel the darkness of this myth. The farmers will continue to make their offerings and their petitions at the shrines of Inari Sama, the rice-god, and will attempt to propitiate the wrath of the god of thunder and lightning; but they will gradually learn of the Almighty, who sendeth seed-time and harvest, lightning and thunder, rain and sunshine. The sailors and fishermen will continue their worship at the shrines of their special deities, until they know of Him who maketh the seas to be calm and the winds to be still. Therefore, although the Japanese government has pronounced the sentence of death upon the Shintō religion, the execution249 of that sentence will be a very gradual and prolonged affair. In the mean time it behooves the disciples of Jesus Christ to be unremitting in their labors of teaching the Japanese people to substitute for “the Way of the Gods” the religion of Him who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”


See Rein’s “Japan,” Peery’s “Gist of Japan,” Cary’s “Japan and its Regeneration,” Knapp’s “Feudal and Modern Japan,” and Lowell’s “Soul of the Far East,” pp. 162-193. But especially valuable are “The Religions of Japan” (Griffis), “The Development of Religion in Japan” (Knox), “Occult Japan” (Lowell), Hearn’s works, and papers by Sir Ernest Satow and Dr. Florenz in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vols. ii., iii. (App.), vii., ix., xxvii. These references are, of course, on the general subject of Shintō rather than the special topic of this chapter.

Aston’s “Shintō: The Way of the Gods” (1905) is, of course, most excellent. Hozumi’s “Ancestor-Worship and Japanese Law” is very valuable.




Outline of Topics: Confucianism; “Five Relations”; Bushidō; influences of Confucianism and Bushidō.—Buddhism; general view; chief sects; Tendai sect; Shingon sect; Zen sect; Jōdo sect; Shin sect; Nichiren sect; New Buddhism; influences of Buddhism; corruption of Buddhism; control of cemeteries; mixed sects.—Relations of Shintō, Confucianism, and Buddhism.—Religious toleration.—Bibliography.

THE philosophical teachings of Confucius were very popular in Japan among the educated classes, who, caring little for religion, were content to supplement Shintō with Confucianism. Its moral code undoubtedly proved beneficial to Japan in many respects; but now it is practically superseded by the doctrines of Western atheistic, agnostic, and materialistic philosophy.

The “five relations” (gorin), around which clustered the Confucian ethical code, were those of Father and Son, Ruler and Ruled, Husband and Wife, Elder and Younger Brothers, and Friends. In China, “filial piety,” the great virtue of the first relation, was the foundation of the whole system; but in Japanese Confucianism this was relegated to the second place, and “loyalty,” the great virtue of the second relation, was put first. The scope251 of this relation, moreover, was quite wide; it included not only the relation between the sovereign and his subjects, but also that between a lord and his retainers, and even that between any master and servants. The virtue of the third relation was known as “distinction,” which practically meant that each should know and keep his or her own place; that of the fourth relation was “order,” which insisted upon the primacy of seniority in age; and between friends the typical virtue was “faith,” or “trust,” or “confidence.”

The word Bushidō means, literally, “The Warrior’s Way,” which was the code of ethics that prevailed in Feudal Japan, and whose influence is still felt, although waning, in Modern Japan. It was the moral code of Japanese chivalry, of the knight and of the gentleman. It has not inaptly been styled “Japonicized Confucianism,” for it was chiefly Confucian in its constitution. But it gathered elements from Shintō and Buddhism: from the latter it received fatalism (Stoicism); and from the former it received loyalty and patriotism, which meant practically the same thing. It ignored personal chastity (except in women); it encouraged suicide and revenge; but it emphasized justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, veracity, honor, and self-control. One of its most powerful principles was giri (right reason), which is difficult to translate or define, but comes pretty close to what we call “duty” or “the right.” This still maintains a potent influence252 in New Japan, and often accounts for erratic procedures. Indeed, so-called peculiarities of the Japanese cannot be understood without a knowledge of Bushidō, which has been analyzed in a flattering manner in Dr. Nitobe’s book, entitled “Bushidō, the Soul of Japan.”

Inasmuch as the influence of Confucianism in Japan was chiefly manifested through Bushidō, to be correct, we ought to speak of their joint influences. But since Bushidō, as we have just seen, was largely Confucianism, slightly modified to suit the needs of the Japanese spirit (Yamato-damashii), we shall, for convenience, follow other writers in using the term “Confucianism.” Rein testifies that in Japan “widely diffused religious indifference and formal atheism are the consequences” of the pursuit of Confucianism. Chamberlain says that “during the two hundred years that followed, the whole intellect of the country was moulded by Confucian ideas.” Griffis bears similarly strong testimony, and emphasizes the fact that “all Japanese social, official, intellectual, and literary life was permeated with the new spirit of Confucian thought.” It is not strange, therefore, that when Japan was opened to the world, and Occidental learning and literature poured in, the materialism and the agnosticism of the West met with a sympathetic reception.


Buddhism is the accepted faith of the great mass of the Japanese people. It was introduced into Japan from Korea, in the sixth century A. D., and253 spread rapidly. It is now divided in Japan into eight sects, with various sub-sects, which bring the grand total up to about thirty-five. These sects vary, some in doctrines and others in rituals, and are even quite hostile to each other. The Shin sect deserves, perhaps, a special mention; because it opposes celibacy and asceticism, does not restrict the diet, worships only one Buddha, and preaches salvation by faith. It is often called “the Protestantism of Buddhism.” Buddhist temples are usually magnificent structures, and the ritual is elaborate; but, in spite of the assistance of Colonel Olcott, Sir Edwin Arnold, and others, it is fast losing ground. It has degenerated and become idolatry and superstition. It keeps hold of the ignorant masses, and even of intelligent persons, chiefly because it has control of funeral rites and cemeteries. It has been said that a Japanese is a Shintōist in life and a Buddhist at death; and it is also true that he may be during life, at one and the same time, a devotee of both. Buddhism may suffice for a people who are crushed under an Oriental despotism; but Christianity alone is the religion of liberty and progress. Buddha may be “the light of Asia,” but Jesus Christ is “the light of the world.”

Nanjō, the historian of Japanese Buddhism, has written a “History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects”; but as some of these are now defunct, it is sufficient to notice here only eight principal sects, as follows: Tendai, Shingon, Zen, Jōdo, Shin, Nichiren,254 Ji, Yuzu Nembutsu. Moreover, as the last two of these are comparatively insignificant, the mere mention of their names is enough, but a little more should be said concerning each of the other six.

1. The Tendai sect is the oldest, but now ranks among the lowest. It belongs to the school which “sought to define truth and to find salvation in knowledge”: but as the truth was often too abstruse for the mass, it must be dealt out, by means of pious devices, according to the ability of the learner; so that the disciples of this sect have been called the Jesuits of Buddhism.

2. To the same school belongs the Shingon sect, which is only a year younger than the former sect and now ranks third in the list. It was founded by the celebrated priest Kōbō Daishi; and its doctrines also are quite abstruse. This is the sect which is responsible for that mixing of Shintō and Buddhism that prevailed for so many centuries by the adoption of Shintō deities into the Buddhist pantheon. These believers are sometimes called the Gnostics of Buddhism.

3. The Zen sect represents the school which teaches that “abstract contemplation leads to a knowledge of saving truth.” “Look carefully within, and there you will find the Buddha.” This sect arose probably “out of a reaction against the multiplication of idols,” and was “a return to simpler forms of worship and conduct”; therefore its disciples have been called “the Quakers of Japanese Buddhism.” Others call them255 “the Japanese Quietists” or “the Japanese Mystics.” This is now the largest Buddhist sect.

4. A third school, teaching that salvation was to be obtained only through the works of another, has been represented by two sects, the Jōdo and the Shin. The former, which now ranks fourth, was founded upon a very simple doctrine, with an easy rule of life, that is, the frequent repetition of the invocation Namu Amida Butsu, “Hail to Amida the Buddha.” These Buddhists use a double rosary.

5. The Shin sect,157 which sprung out of the Jōdo sect, is that of the Japanese Reformers or Protestants. In numerical strength it is second to the Zen sect, but in real power and influence it is facile princeps. Its priests are allowed to marry, and to eat flesh and fish. It teaches that morality is as important as faith; or, in quite familiar words, that “faith without works is dead.” It is monotheistic, as it worships only one Buddha. It alone of all Buddhist sects provides a way of salvation for women. It upholds a high standard of education, carries on vigorous missions in China and Korea, and has priests even in America.

6. The sect founded by the priest Nichiren and named for him is not large, but very radical and influential. In their controversial and uncompromising attitude toward other religions or even other sects of Buddhism, the disciples of the “fiery Nichiren”256 have been called “the Jesuits of Buddhism.” Their invocation is Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō (Hail to the Doctrine of the Lotus of the Wonderful Law). Their doctrine is complete pantheism; as Dr. Griffis expresses it, Nichiren “was destined to bring religion, not only down to men, but even down to the beasts and the mud.”

Of all these sects, the only one which has been appreciably influenced by contact with Western civilization and conflict with Christianity is the Shin sect. One type of New Buddhism tries to ally itself with the doctrines of scientific evolution. Another type has learned lessons from Christian activity in Japan, and is putting forth its energies in the direction of philanthropic and educational institutions; so that it has its hospitals, magazines, schools, and, to balance the Young Men’s Christian Association, its Young Men’s Buddhist Association, with summer schools, etc. The New Buddhism will die hard.

The influence of Buddhism upon the Japanese people must not be underestimated, especially because it is still manifest, to a high degree, even in New Japan. Chamberlain says:158 “All education was for centuries in Buddhist hands, as was the care of the poor and sick; Buddhism introduced art, introduced medicine, moulded the folk-lore of the country, created its dramatic poetry, deeply influenced politics and every sphere of social and intellectual activity. In a word, Buddhism was the257 teacher under whose instruction the Japanese nation grew up.” Or, as Griffis outlines it,159 the Buddhist missionaries were purveyors of civilization, ministers of art, wielded a mighty influence in military and political affairs, transformed the manners and customs, inspired a tremendous development in education and literature; but Buddhism was “kind to the brute and cruel to man,” neglected charity and philanthropy, degraded woman, and left upon the Japanese character the blight of a merciless fatalism and an awful pessimism.160 It created “habits of gentleness and courtesy” and a “spirit of hopeless resignation.” To sum up, “in a word, Buddhism is law, but not gospel.”

At present, Buddhism in Japan is exceedingly corrupt, is losing its hold upon the educated, but retains a tremendous influence over the great mass of the people. The majority of the priests are ignorant, illiterate, and immoral, “blind leaders of the blind.” The newspapers of the day are unsparing in their denunciation of the immoralities of the priesthood. The following is only one of many such testimonies258 by ex-priests: “Something that did trouble me was the growing conviction that Buddhism was dead, that it had reached the extremity of corruption. Strife and scandal were rife everywhere. The chief priests ... were grasping after worldly place and prosperity. Of the immorality of the priests it makes me blush to speak. It is not a rare thing to see men with shaven heads and attired in black garments wandering about in prostitute quarters, or to find women living in temples, or to discover fish-bones thrown among the graves.... The religion has no rallying power left, no inner life.... It has contributed much to our civilization in the past, but it is now exhausted.”

One element of the strong hold which Buddhism had and has upon the people, even upon the educated classes, is the fact that so many cemeteries have been and are connected with Buddhist temples. It used to be a frequent saying that a Japanese was a Shintōist in life and a Buddhist in death; because, though he may never have espoused Buddhism, he might be laid away in his grave according to Buddhist ceremonies in a Buddhist temple and a Buddhist graveyard. But this control of the cemeteries seems to be passing out of Buddhist hands into the care of the local civil authorities. And this secularization, if it may be so called, of the graveyards not only abolishes the Buddhist monopoly, but also takes away from the priests the golden opportunity of extorting immense fees. The Buddhist control of cemeteries259 has often been a source of great embarrassment to Christians, who were frequently compelled to bury their dead under Buddhist auspices. But there have lately been cases where no objection was made to the burial of Christians with Christian rites in a Buddhist graveyard.

This is, perhaps, the most suitable place to devote just a few words to those sects which are comparatively modern in their origin, and are so composite in their doctrine that they cannot be classed under either Shintō or Buddhism. Indeed, they even show traces, though perhaps slight, of Christian teaching; and they all agree in the one doctrine of faith healing. These are Remmon-kyō (Doctrine of the Lotus-Gate),161 Kurozumi-kyō (Doctrine of Kurozumi, name of founder),162 and Tenrikyō (Doctrine of Heavenly Reason).163 The first and the last were founded by ignorant peasant women, and win adherents mostly among the lowest classes. The first seems more Buddhist than Shintō; the second seems more Shintō than Buddhist; while the third is the one which shows most plainly traces of Christian influence. In Kurozumi-kyō, the Sun-goddess is the chief object of devotion, because the founder was healed by worshipping the rising sun. Tenrikyō is growing rapidly, and is exclusive and intolerant.


The eclecticism of the Japanese in intellectual matters may be explained by calling attention to one phase of their attitude toward the three cults of Old Japan. There was in general a feeling of “with malice toward none, with charity for all”; for the three, to a greater or less degree, overlapped or supplemented each other.164 Shintō, as we have seen, was only a national cult; Confucianism was a philosophy of the relations between man and man; while Buddhism was a true religion, with ideas about sin and salvation. As another has summed up the scope of these three “ways,” “Shintōism furnishes the object of worship, Confucianism offers the rules of life, and Buddhism supplies the way of future salvation.” It was, therefore, possible for a person to be a disciple of two, or even all, of these “doctrines” at one and the same time. He “had constantly before his eyes the emblems of each of these religions. In nearly every Samurai’s house were the moral books of Confucius, the black lacquered wooden tablets, inscribed in gold with the Buddhist names of his ancestors, while on the god-shelf stood the idols and symbols of Shintō.”

Therefore there are to-day probably thousands of Japanese who would readily accept Christianity by simply adding the image of Jesus to their present collection, and giving it equal honor with those of Buddha and their ancestors. They might easily incorporate Jehovah in their pantheon; but they find261 difficulty in appreciating the intolerance of Christians in having “no other gods besides” Jehovah.


The references for this chapter are in general the same as those for the preceding chapter, except that, in place of the special papers on Shintō, should be substituted special papers on Confucianism by Knox and Haga in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xx. pp. 1-192; on Buddhism, by Lloyd in Transactions Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. xxii. pp. 337-506, and in “Every Day Japan”; and Nitobe’s “Bushidō, the Soul of Japan.”

“Japan To-day” (Scherer) contains an interesting chapter (vi.) of Buddhist sermons: see also Mitford’s “Tales of Old Japan.”

Dr. Knox, who is an authority on Confucianism, has given in his “Japanese Life in Town and Country” a few chapters (vi.-xi.) of interest in this connection; and he has also issued (1907) a valuable book, entitled “The Development of Religion in Japan.” Lloyd’s “Creed of Half Japan” is very suggestive.




Outline of Topics: Mediæval Christianity; Modern Christianity; missionaries; Japanese Christians; Christian literature; kinds and methods of work; churches and chapels; Sunday-schools; Christian education; Christian philanthropy; Young Men’s Christian Association and Young Women’s Christian Association; temperance and the social evil; interdenominational institutions; Japonicized Christianity; Christianity and business; Sabbath; Christianity and the press; Christianity and Christians in politics; simple Christianity; status of Christianity.—Bibliography.

THE great Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, was the one who introduced Christianity into Japan, in 1549; and the labors of himself and his successors were so faithful and successful, that at the beginning of the next century there were about 1,000,000 Christians in Japan. But political complications, internal and external, and religious jealousies, brought on a terrible persecution, in which the Church was practically extinguished. In 1638 the following edict was issued:—

“So long as the sun shall continue to warm the earth, let no Christian be so bold as to come to Japan; and let all know that the King of Spain himself, or the Christian’s God, or the great God of all, if he dare violate this command, shall pay for it with his head.”


And, all over the Empire, on special bulletin-boards, notices were published to the effect that this edict must be strictly enforced.165 And yet, in spite of the shrewd measures employed to detect Christians, by compelling suspected persons, for instance, to trample on the cross or be crucified, in some sections the knowledge of the Gospel was handed down in secret from one generation to another; so that, when these edicts were removed in 1873, to a few here and there Christianity was not a strange doctrine.166

Just as soon as it was possible, under the treaties of 1858, for foreigners to reside in Japan, even under restrictions, missionaries began to enter (1859), and are now numbered by the hundreds. This count includes both single and married men, the wives (for in some cases the wife is worth more than the husband), and single ladies.

The work of the Greek Church has been carried on, except for a few years, so far as foreigners are concerned, by only one man, and even now has only two single men connected with the mission; but the remarkable personality of the late Bishop Nicolai and his tact in utilizing Japanese workers made a profound impression and neutralized the prejudice arising out of political animosity to Russia.


The Roman Catholic missionaries, both male and female, have been carrying on their work with the usual devotion and self-sacrifice in a quiet and un-ostentatious manner, and are overcoming to a large extent the inherited prejudice against the Catholic Christians of Old Japan. The present workers are mostly French, and number more than 200; they are scattered all over the empire, even in small places.

The principal Protestant denominations represented by missionaries in Japan are the Baptists, Congregationalists, Disciples, Episcopalians, Friends, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians (including Reformed), Salvation Army, and Universalists. There are in all over thirty different Protestant organizations at work in Japan, of all sorts and shades of belief; and there are several Independents, or free lances. The Protestant missionaries represent High Church, Low Church, and No-Church (Plymouth Brethren et al.); two regular Baptist societies (but only one Japanese Church), besides Disciples and Christians; six branches of the Presbyterian family, but all uniting in one Japanese Church; six branches of the Methodist family, now at work, with good prospects for success, to effect a similar union of their Japanese churches; three kinds of Episcopalians, with one Japanese Church; Seventh-Day Adventists; Dowie’s followers; Faith Mission; Christian Alliance; Scandinavian Alliance; German Liberals; the Young Men’s Christian Association; the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; the Young People’s Society265 of Christian Endeavor;—in short, the entire alphabet for a complete vocabulary of Christian activity. And the Mormons, too, have recently sent emissaries to Japan.

The missionaries have been, and are, a mighty force in New Japan, not merely through their preaching of the Gospel, but also through their practising of the Christian virtues; not only by their teaching of all-sided truth and wisdom, but also by their touching, their social contact with the people; not only by their logic, but also by their lives. They are vivid and impressive object-lessons of the ideal Christian life,—“living epistles, known and read of all men.” They are, in general, well-educated men and women, a noble company, respected and loved by the Japanese.

The Japanese Christians are not strong numerically; but they exercise an influence entirely out of proportion to their mere numbers. There are more than 180,000 nominal Christians of all kinds, who may represent a Christian community of at least twice that number. But, in spite of their faults and failings, due to the fact that they are less than fifty years removed from anti-Christian influences of the worst types, and are still surrounded by various hindrances,167 they are also a noble body of men and women, loved and honored by fellow-Japanese and foreigners.

The Christian literature of Japan is truly voluminous,266 and is an important factor in moulding and elevating public opinion. The Bible has been translated into the Japanese language, and is widely circulated; it is published in many forms by the Bible societies. Until a few years ago, it was almost impossible to induce a non-Christian bookseller to keep the Bible on hand; for its presence in his store might prejudice him in the eyes of the public, and, besides, it was not easily salable. But such prejudice has died away, and a demand for the Bible has sprung up, so that it has become to the book-dealer a profitable article of his stock. Commentaries on the books of the Bible and theological treatises are numerous, and tracts are counted by the millions.168 Christian magazines and books are published and obtain circulation. The Methodist Publishing House and several Japanese companies find the publication of Christian literature a profitable venture. There are daily newspapers, owned and edited by Christians, who use their columns to teach Christian ideals. And in 1901 was issued a popular novel, called “Ichijiku” (The Fig Tree), which is Christian in tone and teaching.

The work of foreign missionaries and native Christians in Japan may be divided into four kinds: evangelistic, educational, publication, and philanthropic. It is, however, very difficult and extremely unwise to attempt always to make and to maintain these distinctions; for these classes of work often overlap and267 supplement each other. The work, as a whole, is carried on much as it is in the West, except that the measures and methods must be more or less adapted to the peculiar conditions in Japan.169 Thus Christianity is represented there by certain institutions, which, according to various circumstances, are flourishing in a greater or less degree in different localities, but which, as a whole, are exerting a tremendous influence upon the nation and are creating the ideals for Twentieth Century Japan.

There are hundreds of churches and chapels, but they are seldom indicated by spires and steeples pointing upward as signs of the doctrine which leads mankind onward and upward. For that reason they are not generally discovered by the “globe-trotter,” who tries to do Japan in a month or less, and is not usually looking for such things, but yet goes back to report Christianity a failure in Japan. Nevertheless, the churches and chapels are there,—perhaps in out-of-the-way places, on narrow side-streets, or even on the principal thoroughfares, and they may be only ordinary Japanese houses; but the work is going on there, quietly and unostentatiously. There is also a “gospel ship” (Fukuin Maru), cruising about the long-neglected islands of the Inland Sea.


In the churches and chapels, or in other buildings, or even in the private houses of foreigners and Japanese, are about 1,000 Sunday-schools, where the children are being instructed in the simplest truths of the Bible. They may not understand at once much of what they hear; but they gradually come to better and better ideas, and when they reach years of understanding, many of them fully accept the truths learned in Sunday-school.170

But the duty of the Christian propagandist is not completed by the conversion of unbelievers; it extends also to the training of these converts into a useful body of Christian citizens. It is unwise to rely entirely upon public education by a system so well organized even as that of Japan. If private schools under Christian auspices are useful, in America, they are an absolute necessity in Japan. It is dangerous to leave Christian boys and girls under the irreligious and often immoral influences of public institutions. As “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” it is supremely important to keep Christian Japanese youth under positive Christian instruction and influences during their impressible period. And it is also necessary to train up a strong body of Christian269 pastors and laymen, who shall be the leaders in the self-supporting Japanese church that is the goal of all missionary effort. Therefore the work of Christianity in Japan includes a system of education, with kindergartens and elementary schools, academies and colleges, universities and theological seminaries, and with a strong emphasis on the education and training of the girls and women.171


But Christianity in Japan is also philanthropic, as it should be, and therein exposes clearly what Buddhism left undone. The latter was, as has already been said, proportionately “kind to the brute and cruel to man”; for it allowed humanity to suffer while it regarded animals as “sacred.” Christianity, however, has not only its Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but also its “Homes,” asylums, hospitals, refuges,—for the poor, the neglected, the widow, the fatherless, the sick, the insane, the outcast, the Magdalene, and the worst criminal. All such institutions it is carrying on in Japan; and most of them never existed there until Christians introduced them or Christian teaching inspired them. This may be predicated even of the Red Cross Society; for although the branch in Japan was first organized as an independent association, yet the very fact that the need of such a society was felt was due largely to Christian influence. Revenge and “no quarter” were the doctrines of Old Japan; but New Japan, aroused by the example of Christian270 nations, and inspired by the teachings of the Bible, now heartily supports the Red Cross Society, a Christian institution with a distinctively Christian banner.

When the forces that have made for true civilization and for righteousness are figured out, it will be found that the work of the Young Men’s Christian Association has been a very important factor. In Japan, as elsewhere, that work is unusually successful in gaining sympathy and forming a common platform on which all Christians may unite in valuable work. It has there both city and student associations, of which the latter are more numerous and powerful, but the former are increasing in number and influence. The work there is varied, as in other lands, and is constantly broadening out. The visits of Mr. John R. Mott have been peculiarly beneficial to the student class. In two special phases the work of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Japan has been most helpful,—in the establishment of Christian boarding-houses for young men in public schools, and in securing for public high schools and colleges Christian young men from America as teachers of English. And it is a matter of great rejoicing to all interested in the welfare of the girls in the public schools, and shops and factories,172 of the large cities of Japan that Young Women’s Christian Association work has been started.

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and271 other Christian temperance organizations are fighting the same battles in Japan as in America. The old religions never made any attempt to check the tobacco, liquor, and social evils; they seemed to assume such to be inevitable. Even now the leadership in these social and moral reforms is almost solely in the hands of Christians. By their untiring efforts the public sentiment against these evils is rapidly growing, and various organizations, by public meetings and pages of literature, are trying to lift the people out of these “habits.” A bill prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors was made a law by the Diet, and one prohibiting the sale of liquor to minors is being pushed. By the indefatigable labors of a Methodist missionary, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Salvation Army, some 14,000 girls have been enabled to free themselves from their slavery in the brothels; some of these wicked resorts had to close up; and public sentiment was so vehemently aroused against this evil that the number of visitors to houses of ill-fame considerably decreased. And it is Christian teaching that has disestablished concubinage and is constantly working to purify the family life of Japan.

The Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, the Scripture Union, and the Evangelical Alliance are other examples of interdenominational institutions which are doing much to minimize sectarianism and remind Japanese Christians that, in272 spite of minor differences, they ought to be and are really “one.”

Indeed, the Japanese converts are naturally much less sectarian than the missionaries, and can change their denominational affiliations without difficulty. The Japanese Protestants are coming nearer and nearer together by minimizing their differences and emphasizing their correspondences. For instance, the innate courtesy of Japanese Baptists makes them loath to insist on “close communion”; while with the Presbyterians and other Pedobaptists, “infant baptism” is unpopular. The Methodists, in their plan for a single church of all their branches, had to choose an ambiguous term for the title, instead of “Bishop,” of their chief official. The Friends cannot emphasize their anti-military doctrine among a people liable to conscription; and though High-Church Episcopal missionaries may be exclusive, their Japanese believers enjoy co-operation with other Christians. There will eventually be developed a “Japonicized Christianity.”

Christianity has already made an impression upon the commercial life of New Japan. The tremendous development of industry, trade, and commerce has required new business standards, and especially does it demand honesty and integrity. It is not infrequent, therefore, for companies and corporations to seek out young men trained in Christian schools, because they are most likely to be actuated by high ideals. The Sabbath, too, although Sunday273 is more a holiday than a holy day, is also proving to be a boon in business and labor circles, and is coming gradually to be observed more strictly. Christian socialism, too, is not without its influence in Japan.

There are a few Japanese newspapers which are owned, managed, and edited by Christians, and are working, in their way, to uphold Christian institutions. They are also striving to introduce into Japanese journalism higher ideals. There is a still larger number of papers, whose managers and editors, though not professedly Christian, favor Christianity, especially in its social and moral aspects, and have, for instance, given a hearty support to the crusade against the social evil. The influence of Christianity may also be seen in the elevation of the tone of the Japanese press.

The impress of Christianity has also been felt even in the political institutions of New Japan. The principle of constitutionalism found no encouragement in the philosophy of Old Japan, but is the fruit of Christian civilization. The doctrine of religious liberty, acknowledged in the Constitution, is of Christian origin. The old idea of impersonality, which recognized no value in the individual, but called him or her a “thing,” could not live long after the Christian teachings of individual worth, rights, and responsibility, and personal salvation became prevalent. These points illustrate some indirect, but important, results of Christianity in Japan.


There are also influential Christian men in public life. Every Diet contains a disproportionately large number of Christians, who may be counted upon on every occasion to stand up for right principles, and most of whom are very influential. The late Speaker Kataoka and Messrs. Ebara, Shimada, and Nemoto may be named as examples of Japanese Christian men in politics. In army and navy circles, on the bench and at the bar, in business, and in many other high positions, Christian men are among the most prominent, and are found even in “Cæsar’s household.”

Christianity is bound to become a greater power in Japan, but it will be a Christianity modified by native ideas and influences. It is the tendency of the Japanese less to originate than to imitate; to adopt, but also to adapt and to simplify. They are not inclined to metaphysical and theological discussions, and they care little for Occidental and accidental denominations differentiated by hair-splitting distinctions embodied in verbose creeds. They are, therefore, desirous of uniting Japanese believers upon a simple statement of the fundamental and essential truths of Christianity. They need less of dogmas and rituals, and more of the spirit of Christ in their lives. The people are superstitious and sensual, and need intellectual and moral training. Superstition can be dissipated by science, and sensuality can be conquered only by spirituality. The great mass of the people are still sunk in comparative ignorance and superstition,275 but are gradually being elevated by the spread of knowledge. But the Japanese public-school education is one-sided and imperfect, without a lofty and inspiring standard of morality. Christian education supplies all needs by developing a well-rounded and balanced intellect, and furnishing the highest and purest ideals of life. Theology is not wanted or needed in Japan so much as a practical and spiritual Christianity.

The condition of Christianity in Japan at the present time is quite like that of Christianity in the Roman Empire in the days of Constantine, who, himself a nominal Christian, “established” Christianity as the official faith of his empire. And yet, as Uhlhorn says,173 “the ancient religion was still deeply rooted in the manners and customs, in the domestic and the public life.” And this situation Uhlhorn represents by the following illustration:—

“In this new city on the Bosphorus, Constantine set up a colossal statue of himself. It was an ancient statue of Apollo. Its head was struck off and a head of Constantine was substituted. Also, inside the statue was placed a piece of what was supposed to be the holy cross. This is a kind of mirror of the age. A heathen body with a Christian head and Christian life at the heart.”

This is a fair illustration of the condition of affairs in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century. There is a heathen body, for the great mass of the Japanese (many millions) still cling to the old faiths.276 But there is a Christian head, because the leaders of New Japan are favorable to Christianity and its institutions, and are reconstructing the nation largely on Christian lines and with Christian ideals. And there is Christian life at the heart, for it is that life, as shown in the preceding pages, which is inspiring Japan with new ideas and ideals. And when we take into consideration how much Christianity has done for Japan in less than fifty years, we feel quite warranted in prophesying that within this twentieth century Japan will become practically a Christian nation.


Those specially interested should not fail to consult “The Gist of Japan” (Peery); “Christianity in Modern Japan” (Clement); “Japan and its Regeneration” (Cary); “Dux Christus: An Outline Study of Japan”; “The Religions of Japan,” “Verbeck of Japan,” and “A Maker of the New Orient” (all by Griffis); and “Sunrise in the Sunrise Kingdom” (De Forest). The “Proceedings” of the Osaka and the Tōkyō Missionary Conferences, and Ritter’s “History of Protestant Missions in Japan” are very valuable. “From Far Formosa” (Mackay) tells of wonderful pioneer work there. For current news, the “Japan Evangelist,” a monthly magazine published by the Methodist Publishing House, Tōkyō, is the best.

The pamphlet entitled “The Christian Movement [in its Relation to the New Life] in Japan,” issued annually by the Standing Committee of Coöperating Christian Missions, is most instructive.

On early Catholicism, the “History of Japan,” by Murdoch and Yamagata, is invaluable.

The authoritative work is Cary’s “History of Christianity in Japan” (2 vols.).




Outline of Topics: Japan in 1801 and 1901; eras; Emperor and Court; Shōgun.—Sealed and wide-open Japan.—Travel and barriers.—Social changes.—Samurai.—Ideals of 1801 and 1901.—Costume.—Architecture.—Diet.—Education.—Newspapers.—Manufactures.—Status of woman.—Christianity.—Permanent transformations.—Prophecy.

IN order to understand as clearly as possible the progress made by New Japan during the past fifty years, it will be profitable to institute some comparisons between conditions then and now. As a matter of fact the greater part of this wonderful advancement was achieved during the last third of the nineteenth century; but it suits our purpose better to compare 1801 and 1901, the first years of the two centuries. Thus can we appreciate fully with how much difference in conditions and prospects Japan has entered upon the twentieth century than she entered upon the nineteenth century.

By the Japanese calendar, the year 1801 was the first of the Kyōwa Era, a short and uneventful period; but the year 1901 was the thirty-fourth of the Meiji Era, or Period of Enlightened Rule,—a most appropriate name for the first era of the New Empire.


The Emperor in 1801 had been known before his ascension of the throne as Prince Kanin Kanehito (from whom the present Prince Kanin has descended); but he is now known by his posthumous title of Kōkaku. He is said to have been “a sovereign of great sagacity”; but he was, as we know, only a nominal ruler, like the fainéant kings of France, while the actual authority was held, and the real power was exercised, by a Mayor of the Palace, a Shōgun of the Tokugawa family. The Emperor was “powerless and lived in splendid poverty.”

The Imperial Court was organized in Kyōto “with all pomp and circumstance; it had its Ministers, Vice-Ministers, and subordinate officials; it had its five principal, as well as more than a hundred ordinary, Court nobles; but the sovereign’s actual power did not extend beyond the direction of matters relating to rank and etiquette, the classification of shrine-keepers, priests and priestesses, and professionals of various kinds,—in a word, actual functions of no material importance whatever.” In an absolute empire Kōkaku was Emperor in name and fame only.

“He was practically confined in sacred seclusion; his person must neither touch the earth nor be polluted by contact with common mortals. The most scrupulous care was exercised about his dress, food, even the very dishes themselves; he was, to the common people, a real invisible deity. It is reported that the Emperors of the olden days must sit motionless upon the throne for a certain number of hours each day, in279 order that the empire might have peace. Their persons were sacred, so that nobody was permitted to lay hands thereon; therefore their hair and nails might have grown to an unseemly length, had they not been clandestinely trimmed during sleeping hours. The dishes from which they had partaken of food were forthwith dashed in pieces, in order that nobody else might ever use them. And the very rice that they ate was picked over kernel by kernel, in order that no broken or imperfect grain might find lodgment in the Imperial stomach.” It is also said that no one was allowed to speak the name of the Emperor or to write in full the characters of his name; in the latter case, for clearness, at least one stroke must be omitted from each character.

But the late Emperor, whose name was Mutsuhito, was an entirely different personage. He did not live in seclusion, but frequently showed himself in public to his subjects, who could look upon his face without fear of being smitten with death. He was, none the less, revered and loved by all the people, and was the real ruler of the land. He had, however, voluntarily surrendered to the people some of his prerogatives, so that the Japanese to-day enjoy constitutional government, parliamentary and representative institutions, and local self-government. And in 1901 the Empire, instead of being divided up, as in 1801, into about 300 feudal fiefs, in each of which a Daimyō was more or less a law unto himself, is divided into about 50 Prefectures, Imperial Cities and Territories,280 in each of which the people have more or less a voice in the administration.

The Empress Dowager, too, although brought up and educated in the old-fashioned way, had yet adopted modern ideas with great ease. She did not have shaven eyebrows and blackened teeth, like her predecessor of 1801. She often appears in public, and continues a generous patron of female education, the Red Cross Society, and artistic and philanthropic enterprises.

The Shōgun of 1801 was Iyenari, who exercised that authority for about half a century. He lived in glory and splendor in Yedo (now Tōkyō) with his vassals around him. Theoretically he was only Generalissimo under the Emperor, and, as a matter of policy, kept up the practice of occasional visits to Kyōto, where he humbled himself before his nominal superior; but, as the highest administrative officer, he was ruler in act and fact. Very appropriately has he been called “the Emperor’s vassal jailer.” During his Shōgunate “the military class remained perfectly tranquil, and the feudal system attained its highest stage of efficiency.”

In 1901 there was no Shōgun; the last of the Tokugawa dynasty abdicated in 1867, and has spent most of his life since then in retirement in Mito and Shizuoka. He is now living quietly in Tōkyō, without much regard, apparently, to the new-fangled ways of these times, except that he is reported to ride a bicycle!


In 1801 Japan was still a sealed country, but not hermetically, because there was one chink at Nagasaki, where occasional intercourse was allowed with the Chinese and the Dutch. Not only were foreigners forbidden to enter, but natives were also forbidden to leave, this “holy land.” Already, however, efforts were being made spasmodically to break down the policy of seclusion, with its two phases of exclusion and inclusion.

In 1901, however, thousands of foreigners of many nationalities travelled and resided in Japan; and thousands of Japanese were travelling and residing in many parts of the globe. Foreign vessels, flying many different flags, freely entered the harbors of Japan; and Japanese ships conducted freight and passenger services to Asia, Australasia, America, and Europe. The figures of the small amount of the foreign trade of Nagasaki in 1801 are not at hand; but the exports and imports of Japan for 1901 amounted respectively to 252,349,543 yen and 255,816,645 yen.

A Japanese of 1801 would have travelled, if he were one of the common people, by foot, and, if he were of sufficient rank or wealth, by norimono, or kago, or on horseback. The Japanese of 1901 might continue to travel by foot, and, in mountainous districts, might still use the kago; but they might also travel by jinrikisha, horse-car, stage, steam-car, steamboat, horse and carriage, electric car, and bicycle. The letter of 1801 was despatched by courier or relays of couriers; that of 1901 by mail, and communication282 by telegraph and telephone was becoming more and more common. There were over 3,600 miles of railway, 9,500 miles of telegraph, and, in Tōkyō alone, over 6,000 telephones. An electric railway was actually disturbing and desecrating the hallowed precincts of Kyōto, once sacred to the Emperor. And even His Majesty’s Palace in Tōkyō had been put into telephonic and telegraphic communication with the rest of the city and even of the world.

Nor was travel throughout the empire itself free and unimpeded to all in 1801. The country was split up into feudal fiefs, of which each lord was intensely jealous of other lords and had to act on the defensive. Every traveller was under considerable surveillance, and had to be able to give a strict account of himself; and many “barriers” were erected where travellers were challenged by guards. The large places where the lords lived were walled towns, entered by gates carefully guarded by sentinels. In Kyōto and Yedo the palaces of the Emperor and the Shōgun were protected by moats and gateway. But in 1901 those historic castles and gateways had mostly crumbled into ruins or been destroyed in war, or demolished by the hands of coolies working under the direction of the Board of Public Works or the Bureau of Street Improvements.

We cannot refrain from referring more particularly to the great change that has been effected in the whole constitution of Japanese society. In 1801, below the Court nobles and the feudal lords, there283 were four classes of society,—the knight, the farmer, the mechanic, and the merchant, besides the outcasts. In 1901, below the nobility, there were only two classes,—the gentry and the common people; and the distinction between these two is one of name only. In official records and on certain occasions the registration of the nominal rank is necessary; but in actual life few questions are asked about a man’s standing, and merit finds its reward.


In 1801 the samurai (knight) was the beau ideal of the Japanese. His courage was unimpeachable; he was the model, not only of a warrior, but also of a gentleman, and before him the common people had to bow their heads to the ground. But now the sword which was his “soul” is a curio, the bow and arrows are also curiosities, and the panoply either hangs rusty in a storehouse or is offered for sale by a dealer in second-hand goods. The samurai is now only an historical character; and when feudalism was abolished, many an individual of that class fell into a pauper’s grave, or, forced into unaccustomed manual labor, learned the culinary art, and entered service in the despised foreigner’s kitchen!

Indeed, although the soldier is still highly honored, and deeds worthy of the best of the old samurai are still performed,174 the merchant, formerly despised because he bartered for profit, has risen in esteem and become one of the most important factors in Japanese society and civilization. The age of 1801 was feudal284 and æsthetic; the age of 1901, democratic and commercial. In 1801, the swords; in 1901, the soroban (abacus): in 1801, the castle; in 1901, the counting-house: in 1801, bushi (knights); in 1901 budgets.

In 1801 the Japanese wore nothing but their own national costume, with strictly prescribed uniforms for every occasion. In hot weather a scarcity or utter lack of clothing was the prevailing style. In 1901 the latter style, though no longer conventional, prevailed under certain limitations,—when and where the police were not strict constructionists of the law! And in 1901 there was a great variety of styles, ranging from pure native to pure foreign, with all kinds of fits and misfits and ludicrous combinations.

Japanese houses of 1801 and 1901 show some differences. The native style has been more or less modified by foreign architecture. Glass, of course, is largely taking the place of paper for doors and windows; carpeted floors are often preferred to matted floors; stoves, chairs, tables, lamps, and bedsteads are coming more and more into use; and brick and stone are more largely employed in the construction of residences, offices, and stores.

The diet of the Japanese has also changed considerably within 100 years. Whereas in 1801 they were practically vegetarians, in 1901 they had learned to eat and drink anything and everything. Foreign cooking had become very popular and also cheap; in many Japanese families foreign food was eaten at least once a day.


A Japanese student of 1801 was compelled to study at night by the dull light of a pith wick floating in vegetable oil, or by the fitful flame of fifty fireflies imprisoned in a small bamboo cage. The student of 1901 burned midnight oil from Russia or America, or studied by the aid of gas or electric light. The studies in 1801 were confined to Japanese and Chinese classics. It was considered practically a crime to seek learning outside of Japan and China, but in 1901 the studies included the whole range of Oriental and Occidental learning; and one school in Tōkyō tried to attract students by assuming the name “School of One Hundred Branches.” And while in 1801 Dutch books were read only by a very select few, and mostly in secret at the risk of one’s life, in 1901 it was possible to find readers of Dutch, English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and other books. In 1801 education was practically confined to the priestly and military classes, but in 1901 there were no such limitations, and elementary education was made free.

In 1801 there were no newspapers in Japan; in 1901 papers and magazines galore, printed in almost all parts of the empire. Indeed, in 1801, books were either copied laboriously by hand or printed from wood-cuts; but in 1901 all the modern improvements in printing were utilized. Moreover, fonts of type of many languages might be found; and in fact, anything needed in the printing line could be manufactured at the Tsukiji Type Foundry, Tōkyō.


The mention of this foundry suggests also the immense number of manufacturing plants that were to be found in Japan in 1901 against none in 1801. Cotton, woollen, and paper mills, iron foundries, electrical apparatus manufactories, engine works, steamships, docks are only a few examples of the development along this line. And in Tōkyō the grounds which in 1801 were entirely devoted to the æsthetic gardens of the Prince of Mito are now partially given over to the practical but sooty purposes of an arsenal.

There is a great difference also between the Japanese woman of 1801 and her descendant of 1901. The former had practically no rights that her husband was bound to respect; she must be respectfully obedient to her husband and his parents, and she could be divorced at will. But, according to the new codes which went into effect in 1899, “a woman can now become the head of a family and exercise authority as such; she can inherit and own property and manage it herself; she can exercise parental authority; she can act as guardian or executor and has a voice in family councils.” Thus her legal and social status has greatly improved.

In 1801 Christianity was under the ban of a strict prohibition, publicly advertised on the official bulletin-boards; and although believers in secret were transmitting the faith which had been secretly handed down to them, it was supposed that “the corrupt sect” had been wiped out. But in 1901 there were287 more than 120,000 enrolled believers, who represented a Christian community of about twice that number. Christian preachers and churches were all over the empire, and a Gospel ship was cruising about in the Inland Sea. According to the Constitution, religious belief is free; so that Christianity was becoming more and more a power in the land and wielding in society an influence that cannot be measured. And in 1901 Japanese troops, in alliance with those of nations of Christendom, had rescued Christian missionaries and Chinese converts from the fury of mobs and soldiery, and Christian missionaries, driven out of China, had found safe and comfortable places of refuge in Japan.

Such comparisons might be carried out with regard to many other items and in greater detail; but these will, perhaps, suffice as illustrations of the extent to which Japan was transformed during the nineteenth century. In some points, of course, especially in modern inventions, there has been no greater change than in Occidental nations during the same period. But it should be carefully borne in mind that these transformations, in geographical, agricultural, mineral, industrial, commercial, manufacturing, social, economic, political, legal, educational, moral, and religious affairs, so far as they have gone, are not temporary or superficial, but permanent and thorough; there is to be no retrogression. Japan has deliberately and firmly started out, not only to march along with the other so-called civilized nations, but also to contribute288 toward further progress in civilization. The only question is, What will be the record of Twentieth Century Japan?

The full answer to this question we must pass on to the man who one hundred years hence may write on “Japan in 1901 and 2001.” But though we do not lay claim to any special gift of prophecy, we venture to indulge in some general predictions which no one, to-day at least, can challenge. We feel sure, for instance, that Twentieth Century Japan will keep apace with the progress of the world in material civilization. We doubt not that during this century the Japanese people, becoming better fitted, will gradually be admitted to a greater share in the administration of the government, local and national. We feel quite certain that the social conditions of Japan will be greatly ameliorated, and education become very widely diffused, so that an immense intellectual improvement will be attained during the next hundred years. We also dare to predict that by 2001 Shintō will have entirely disappeared as a religion, Buddhism will have lost its hold upon the people, and Japan will have become practically a Christian nation.




Outline of Topics: Aims and ambitions of Japan.—Grand park.—Commercial centre.—Advantageous position.—Leader in civilization.—Example of civilized nation.—Transmitter of Western civilization.—Japan and Korea.—Japan and China.—Fuchow, Yangtse Valley, and Manchuria.—Japanese leaders of Chinese.—Dr. Hirth on China and Japan.—Japanese invasion of China.—Siam and Japan.—The United States a Pacific Power.—A complete Anglo-Japanese Alliance.—Russia and Japan.—Two streams of civilization.—New Japan egotistic.—Prospects of Japan.—Confidence in Japan.—Bibliography.

IT is now appropriate to inquire what is apparently the mission of Japan in the world. Since even much less powerful nations have played most important parts on the stage of the world’s history, it is simply inconceivable that Japan should have attained in so brief a period such an eminent position as a world-power without having some special mission to perform and some contribution to make to the sum total of what is called civilization. And in considering this topic of the mission of Japan, it may be well to ascertain what are the aims and aspirations of the Japanese, because it is usually along these lines that a nation, as well as an individual, achieves success. Let us then permit Japanese themselves to answer largely our queries concerning the rôle which290 is to be theirs “in the great world-drama that continues unendingly, like a Chinese play, in the Far East.” And the opinions which are now to be presented, even though the individuals themselves are not, in every case, the most prominent personages that might have been selected, nevertheless fairly represent Japanese public opinion.

One175 says: “Japan is especially favored by nature with beauty and picturesqueness of scenery and a healthful climate, and has been appropriately called the ‘Paradise of the East.’ We shall turn this country into a grand park of the nations, and draw pleasure-seekers from all parts of the world. We shall build magnificent hotels and establish excellent clubs, in most splendid style, to receive the royal visitors of Europe and the millionaires of America.” And while the objection has been raised that this is not “a very lofty rôle for Japan,” it is claimed that “it is seen to be about the rôle that France, the great nation of artists, is content to play in Europe—making herself infinitely beautiful and infinitely charming.” And certainly to minister artistically to the enjoyment of residents and visitors by making the country as pleasant and delightful as possible is an aim that accords well with the naturally æsthetic tastes of the Japanese people. Therefore, concerning success in this endeavor there cannot be the slightest doubt.

That rôle is not, however, purely æsthetic, because291 it contemplates the mercenary advantages to be reaped from the expected throngs of pleasure-seekers, and is, therefore, also practical. And the same person makes another suggestion, wholly practical and pecuniary, as follows:—

“Japan is geographically situated in an advantageous position, as at the centre of the world’s commercial routes. China will be the future market of the world, and Japan will receive the mercantile vessels fitted to be despatched to all parts of the earth. Japan should provide herself with extensive docks at the various ports of the island on the route of the mercantile vessels, to give them shelter and, if needed, necessary repairs and cleaning, and eventually supply fuel and water.”

We have already referred, in the closing paragraphs of the first chapter, to the physiographical advantages of Japan, but we are impelled to dwell more at length on the subject. A noted Japanese176 has emphasized the point with the following suggestions:

“To all appearances, the seas about Japan and China will be the future theatre of the Far East. The Philippines have been reduced to a province of the United States. China, separated from us only by a very narrow strip of water, is offering every promise of becoming a great resource open to the world of the twentieth century. The Siberia railway has been opened to traffic; and the construction of a canal across Central America292 is expected to be finished before long.... As for fuel, our supply of coal from the mines of Hokkaidō and Kyūshiu is so abundant that the surplus not required for our own consumption is exported largely into various parts of the East, where no productive coal mines have been found except a very few ones of poor quality....

“Taking all these [things] into account, it is not too much to say that the future situation of Japan will be that of a central station of various water passages,—a situation most conducive to the good of our country; and that, numerous as the attractive places of historical interest and natural beauty are, it is chiefly from our excellently advantageous position, a connecting link common to the three chains of water passage to and from Europe, America, and Asia, that we shall be able to obtain the largest share of the riches of the nations of the world.”

With reference to the success of Japan in such a purpose as this, there can be very little doubt; for the natural advantages are so great that they require comparatively little improvement.

But, besides this aim of commercial prosperity, there is a higher ambition. One writer177 says:—

“Japan’s mission at this juncture would be to act as the leader to the Asiatic countries in introducing modern civilization: China and Korea, for instance, can learn about civilization much faster and easier than from the countries in Europe and America, for they have common systems of letters and to a certain extent of ideas.”


Prof K. Ukita178 makes the following suggestion:

“It is the mission of Japan to set up an example of a civilized and independent national state for her Asiatic neighbors, and then to make a confederation of all the Asiatic nations on the basis of international law; just as it is the mission of the United States of America to form one vast pan-American Union of all the republics of the new hemisphere, and thus to hasten on the progress toward the organization of the whole world.”

Again we quote from the editor of the “Taiyō” (Sun), as follows:—

“It is our duty to transmit the essence of Occidental civilization to our neighbors, as better success may be realized by so doing than by introducing there the new institutions directly from the West. The present state of things in China does not allow her to appreciate fully the ideas of Westerners, more so because their fundamental conception of morals is at variance with that of Occidentals. But Japan has every facility to win the confidence of China, in consideration of its geographical situation and of its literary affinity. The valor, discipline, and order of our army have already gained the confidence and respect of the Chinese, and it now remains for us to guide them to higher possibilities with enlightened thoughts and ideas. Such a work cannot be accomplished in a day; it will require years of perseverance and toil.”

Now, it may be profitable to ascertain to what extent Japan is fulfilling her self-appointed but natural294 mission to uplift her neighbors and kindred in Eastern Asia. In Korea, for instance, what is the scope of Japanese influence? In that peninsula there are thousands of Japanese, by whom almost all the important enterprises of the country are managed. Of the foreign trade of Korea, by far the largest per cent of both exports and imports is in connection with Japan; while the trade of Russia with Korea is positively insignificant. The principal articles of export to Japan are agricultural products, while the imports from Japan are chiefly manufactured goods. At every open port of Korea there is a Japanese post and telegraph office, through which alone can communication be had with foreign countries. As Korea is almost wholly destitute of shipping, her coasting trade is chiefly carried on by Japanese vessels, which also furnish almost all the means of trade and travel abroad. In railways, too, the Japanese have largest control; and their banks are strong and prosperous. Fisheries and mining likewise furnish employment for Japanese, who also carry on numerous miscellaneous business enterprises.

When we pass on to China, we find most astonishing results, a full treatment of which would require a volume, so that we must be content with a few typical examples. In Fuchow, for instance, in the six years since a Japanese consul first landed there, the number of Japanese residents had increased from 8 to 70, and the number of Formosan natives, now295 naturalized Japanese, who were staying there, was more than 160. The Ōsaka Shōsen Kwaisha179 has a branch office in Fuchow; and the Formosan Bank has sent there a special commissioner. In Amoy also, on account of its proximity to Formosa, Japanese influence is growing.

The great increase of Japanese enterprise on the Yangtse River during recent years deserves a paragraph by itself. There are several Japanese lines of steamers, besides special vessels for the coal and iron trade. “Side by side with this development of carrying facilities many Japanese, in the capacity of merchants, Government employes or projectors, may be seen travelling in the Yangtse Valley; and further the number of persons engaged in the translation of Japanese books into Chinese has increased in an extraordinary degree.... Nothing is more remarkable than the popularity enjoyed by Japanese things and Japanese subjects.”

In view of the complications with Russia, it is well to call attention to the fact that Northern China, especially Manchuria, is most important to Japan from the commercial point of view. The trade with Dalny alone is from 30,000,000 to 40,000,000 yen per year, and that with all Manchuria amounts to about 20,000,000 yen annually. It is perfectly natural, therefore, that Japan should object to continued Russian occupation, from which she has already suffered by direct and indirect interference,296 and that she should demand a fair field with “open doors.”

From such instances, of which more might be cited, it is apparent that Japan is doing her duty in the way of helping China to the benefits of material civilization. But her influence is being exerted for good on higher planes. For, as the editor of the “Japan Mail” observes, “every Japanese subject employed in China in whatever capacity will be a centre for diffusing the light of liberalism”; and “the Chinese are apparently to be led along their new path by the Japanese,” who “have some degree of distant kinship with the Chinese.”

The words of Dr. Hirth will add weight because he is, perhaps, the most eminent Chinese scholar in the country and holds the professorship of Chinese in Columbia University, New York City. He spoke as follows:180

“No capable observer of events in China since the Imperial Court returned to Peking can doubt that the government has decided to adopt the policy of Japan, which is to take the methods of western civilization for their models. In directing the new movement in China, Japan is taking the lead over other foreign nations, and this, it is asserted, is due to her superior command of the language.

“Moreover, every educated Japanese is imbued with the ideas prevalent in Chinese literature, religious and political, and hence he has a different standing in the297 eyes of the Chinese from that of Americans and Europeans. China has thus placed the work of educating the rising generation in the hands of the Japanese as being less likely to destroy the old knowledge while familiarizing the students with the advantages of the new.

“A National University has been established by the Emperor at Peking, which it is calculated will be the model for educational institutions all over the country. Recently a Japanese professor has been selected to draft a new code of laws for the empire. The reason why a Japanese was selected for this work in preference to an equally learned German, American, or Englishman, is because men who are both willing and capable of making due allowance for traditional prejudices will never arise from a country where the study of Chinese institutions is so much in its infancy as with all of us, except Japan.”

The present peaceable invasion of China by Japanese, “not this time with guns for weapons, but with ideas and educational influences,” is along these seven lines:181

“1. The Agricultural College, established some years ago at Wuchang by the Viceroy Chang Chih-tung, and managed for some time by an expert American, has now been given over to Japanese management.

“2. The military school in Hangchau is taught wholly by Japanese.

“3. A large amount of translation work is done by the Japanese.

“4. Many Chinese students have been sent by Chang Chih-tung during recent years to be educated in Japanese schools for Chinese government service.


“5. More than one large and influential Chinese newspaper is owned and edited by Japanese, one of which is an especially strong advocate of closer union between the two great nations of the East.

“6. Nearly 100 Japanese students are in attendance at school in Shanghai, studying Chinese and English with a view to positions of usefulness in China.

“7. A large and increasing number of translation societies are being organized in Shanghai, the principal object of which is to get into circulation books on Western learning. The significant fact is that the large majority of them are translated from the Japanese rather than European languages, because, as they say, the Japanese have already selected the best, and they wish to profit by their experience. Books on Political Economy, General Science, Agriculture, Pedagogics, Ancient and Current History are now commonly on sale in Chinese bookstores, most of which are advertised as having been adapted from the Japanese.”

There is yet another country which is feeling the influence of Japan; and that is Siam. No doubt much of this increased interest in “things Japanese” may be attributed to the recent visit of the Siamese Crown Prince to Japan. He is having a Japanese building constructed for himself; and the king is to have a Japanese garden and house added to the grounds of his palace. The trade between Japan and Siam is not yet very extensive;182 but it is capable of considerable expansion. Siamese boys and girls have begun to resort to Japan for educational advantages;299 so that, in more senses than one, Japan is coming to be the teacher and leader of Siam.

But there is another phase of the Far Eastern situation that demands close attention. The United States has definite and direct interests of several kinds in Japan, Korea, China, and Siam; and she must maintain these at all hazards. Through the possession of Hawaii, Guam, and particularly the Philippines, she has become a Pacific Power, more than ever concerned, and directly, in Oriental politics. The advent of the United States into that field was hailed with joy by the Japanese, who have the utmost confidence in our international policy.

In view of the fact, therefore, that the United States, by virtue of providential necessity, must be reckoned as a factor in Oriental politics, and cannot herself ignore such responsibilities, there is only one course open, only one policy to be pursued. It is most clearly our duty as a nation (passively, if possible, but actively, if necessary) to support the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in its efforts in behalf of the nations of Eastern Asia. The union of the greatest nations of Europe, America, and Asia in a complete Anglo-Japanese Alliance would make a “triple alliance” practically invincible.

There are two rival interests contending for mastery on the other shore of the Pacific Ocean,—Russia and Japan. Toward the former we must feel gratitude for her attitude toward us when our Union was in utmost peril; but that sentiment is overbalanced300 by other considerations. Toward the latter we have an imperative duty, as toward a protégé, because it was America who started Japan on her present career and must acknowledge the responsibility to assist her in every laudable purpose. And certainly her aims in the Far East coincide with ours and with the dictates of civilization. The supremacy of Japan in Eastern Asia means far more for America and American institutions than does the domination of Russia. Japan to-day enjoys rights unknown in Russia: social freedom, political privileges, representative institutions, local self-government, intellectual liberty, freedom of assembly and of the press, and religious liberty. Japan is already far in advance of Russia and, in many respects abreast of Germany, in civilization. And, as “Japan holds the key of the Far Eastern position,” she is our natural ally. Dai Nippon banzai—“Long live Great Japan.”

But let us now revert again to the Japanese writer quoted near the close of the first chapter. With a reminder of the ever westward course of empire, he pens a paragraph so bold and suggestive that it is worth transcribing:183

“Two streams of civilization flowed in opposite directions when mankind descended from their primitive homes on the table-land of Iran or America. That towards the west passed through Babylon, Phœnicia, Greece, Rome, Germany, England, and culminated in America, while301 that through the east travelled through India, Thibet, and China, culminating in the Manchoo Court of Peking. The moral world is also a magnet with its two opposite poles on the opposite banks of the Pacific, the democratic, aggressive, inductive America, and the imperial, conservative, and deductive China. There have been constant attempts for the union of these magnetic currents.... Grander tasks await the young Japan, who has the best of Europe and the best of Asia at her command. At her touch the circuit is completed, and the healthy fluid shall overflow the earth!”

In fact, it seems not improbable that the nation which, having from ancient times imbibed and assimilated the elements of Oriental civilization, has been swallowing and digesting Occidental civilization, may produce a new and strong tissue. It is, therefore, argued with no little force that “to reconcile the East with the West: to be the advocate of the East, and the harbinger of the West: this we believe to be the mission which Japan is called upon to fulfil.”

To most persons, undoubtedly, this conception of the future of Japan appears to be teeming with national vanity. And, indeed, it cannot be denied that New Japan is extremely egotistic. She views with evident self-gratulation the astonishing progress she has made, and believes herself capable of even more wonderful transformations. And surely, when we contemplate the history of the past fifty years, and consider the remarkable facility with which Japan has metamorphosed herself, we need not wonder that she is confident or even boastful. To those conversant302 with this people, their capabilities, and possibilities, the above forecast of Japan’s future seems to photograph, with some exaggerations, the natural and not altogether improper self-confidence and reliance of an able, growing, and independent nation, which has shown an inexplicable power of assimilating the various and diverse elements of civilization. Even a foreigner has so much confidence in the grand future of Japan that he expressed himself in the “Atlantic Monthly” (June, 1892) in the following strong language:—

“In bringing to pass the fusion of eastern and western types, which ... shall create in both hemispheres a far more rounded civilization than either has ever known, Japan has the inestimable privilege of becoming our most alert pioneer. Through her temperament, her individuality, her deeper insight into the secrets of the East, her ready divining of the powers of the West, ... it may be decreed in the secret council chambers of destiny that on her shores shall be first created that new latter-day type of civilized man which shall prevail throughout the world for the next thousand years.”

But while we may not, perhaps, be fully warranted in such sanguine expectations, we cannot help being impressed with the fact that the prospects of Japan are unusually bright. She slept for 250 years while the Occident was moving rapidly onward in the path of civilization, and she must now hasten to catch up. But she can avoid the pitfalls into which the others, now and then, here and there, have fallen, and by which they have been delayed. She can profit by303 the mistakes, by the costly experiences, of those who preceded her along the rough road. She must move quickly to make up for lost time, but not too rapidly; she must “make haste slowly.” She can never go back, except to ruin and death. She has stepped into the path of progress forever. She must discard all things, whether manners, customs, letters, political forms, superstitions, moulds of thought, or anything else which tends to retard her onward movements. But it is sincerely to be hoped that even the demands of modern progress will allow her to retain much of that grace and charm, of that quaint simplicity, of that light-hearted and merry nature, all of which characterize the Japanese.

We believe in Japan. We are confident that she has powers, both patent and latent, which will enable her to achieve still greater successes than she has yet accomplished. We have had our “blue spells,” when, for this or that reason, we felt discouraged over the apparent failure of some movement for reform; but in most instances we have eventually seen success crown the effort. With reference to political affairs F. V. Dickins has well expressed it: “There is a silent strength underlying the sound and fury of Japanese politics which will enable the country to weather much worse storms than any that threaten it.”184 Therefore we reiterate that we have confidence in the future of Japan and the Japanese. We repeat that their achievements up to date are a304 guarantee of continued success in the future. We dare prophesy that they will yet display wonderful transformations in their development. We feel perfectly warranted in applying Vergil’s line,—

Hos successus alit; possunt, quia posse videntur,

which Conington translates into two verses,—

“These bring success their zeal to fan,
They can because they think they can.”


“The Awakening of Japan” (Okakura); “The White Peril in the Far East” (Gulick); “Dai Nippon” (Dyer), chap. xix.; “The Spirit of the Orient” (Knox); and “The Future of Japan” (Watson).




The war between Japan and Russia was inevitable, because, as already pointed out in this volume,185 the two countries represented different and naturally hostile interests. Ever since Russia, shut out from an open port on the European or Western Asiatic seaboard, began to spread eastward through Asia to seek an outlet into the Pacific Ocean, it had been inevitable that the two powers would some day come into collision. And it can be confidently affirmed that the Russians did nothing, while Japan had done much, to avert the conflict. Russia not infrequently committed overt acts to provoke Japan, and had generally treated the latter in an overbearing and insolent manner.

In 1875, Japan was forced to give up Sakhalin for the bleak and barren Kurile Islands. It was just twenty years later (1895) that Russia committed her most unjust act of interference and provocation. Japan, after her successful conflict with China, by the treaty of Shimonoseki, had obtained the cession of the Liaotung Peninsula, of which Port Arthur was then the most important port. “Hardly was the ink dry on it [treaty] before the three great European powers—Russia, France, and Germany—stepped in, and, in order to justify their interference, declared that any holding of Manchurian territory by Japan would constitute a menace to the peace of Asia.”186 Japan, exhausted by her first foreign war under the new308 régime, was in no position to offer any opposition to three of the greatest World Powers, when they tendered her kindly(?) advice. The only two powers who might have assisted her against this combination were neither sufficiently interested nor far-sighted enough to interfere; and they (Great Britain and the United States) kept silent. Therefore, Japan had nothing to do but to submit and accept a monetary consideration for giving up her claim to the Liaotung Peninsula.

This in itself was not a casus belli, but it was enough to arouse to almost fever-heat the excitement of an intensely patriotic and naturally militant nation. The Government was able to hold in check the indignant people; but nothing could prevent the development of a not unnatural desire for revenge. From that time it was definitely and positively known that a war with Russia was inevitable in the not-distant future; and calmly and carefully the Japanese went to work to prepare themselves for that conflict. It is not necessary to go into the details of that preparation, the thoroughness of which has been surprising the civilized world.

But even then war might have been averted, for the spirit of revenge would have faded away in the multitude of other interests and sentiments that have been pressing upon Japan’s attention within the past decade. Indeed, during the Boxer troubles of 1900 and 1901 in China, when the troops of Japan were marching, in company with those of Russia, Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, et al., to the relief of the beleaguered foreigners in Peking, it almost seemed like a harbinger of continued peace in the Far East. But this harmony was only apparent, not real,—only temporary, not permanent.

In fact, it was that very campaign which enabled Russia to complete her practical possession of Manchuria. She309 had, in the meantime, obtained from China a lease of that very territory which she had forced Japan to give up. She had also obtained permission from China to extend the Siberian Railway through Manchuria to Port Arthur and Dalny, and thus obtain an outlet to the Pacific Ocean. Measures of material expansion might not have alarmed Japan, if it had not been that Russia sought to obtain permanent possession of Manchuria through a military occupation ostensibly for the purpose of protecting her commercial interests. She marched her troops in large numbers into Manchuria in order to protect the railway from the depredations of Chinese bandits; she fortified Port Arthur and built up Dalny, the great “fiat city,” and in every way showed no intention of letting Manchuria slip out of her control. All such acts did not tend to allay the spirit of revenge in the hearts of the Japanese, but of course made them more and more indignant.

Nor was this all. Russia began to show most evident signs of encroaching upon Korea. “Japan watched all these things with profound anxiety. If there were any reality in the dangers which Russia, Germany, and France had declared to be incidental to Japanese occupation of part of Manchuria, the same dangers must be doubly incidental to Russian occupation of the whole of Manchuria; the independence of Korea would become illusory ...; an obstacle would be created to the permanent peace of the East.”187

If Russia succeeded in maintaining her position in Manchuria, her next step would take her into Korea, for whose safety and independence there would be no guarantee; and still another step would bring her over against Japan. Thus would be endangered, not only the influence of Japan on the continent, but even her very existence. She would sink at least into the position of a third-rate310 power, and would be completely isolated from all opportunities for expansion.

But, even in spite of insults and provocations, Japan set herself to resist the Russian encroachments by peaceable means and measures, in which she at last had the support of Great Britain and the United States. It was to be presumed that Russia would keep her promise to give up her military occupation of Manchuria and restore to China the administration of the “Three Provinces” on the dates specified in a convention with China signed April 8, 1902. According to this, Russia agreed to withdraw her troops gradually from Manchuria and entirely resign her control thereof within one year.

But when the time came for the final evacuation, Russia showed no sign of intending to carry out her agreement. After futile protests from Japan, Great Britain, and the United States, Japan suggested to Russia to open up negotiations concerning their respective interests in the Far East; and to this Russia assented. It is scarcely profitable to follow the devious windings of these negotiations, which were delayed by Russia on one pretext or another. It is sufficient to state that Japan invited Russia to nothing more than “to subscribe to the policy enunciated by the United States and Great Britain,—the policy of the ‘open door’ and of the integrity of the Chinese and [the] Korean Empires.”

During the course of the prolonged negotiations, Russia was moving troops to the scene of action and making other military preparations. These did not necessarily mean that she anticipated war, but that she at least expected to overawe little Japan and thus obtain her desires.

“The only alternatives for Japan were war or total and permanent effacement in Asia. She chose war, and in fighting, she is fighting the battle of Anglo-Saxondom311 as well as of herself,—the battle of free and equal opportunities for all without undue encroachment upon the sovereign rights or territorial integrity of China or Korea, against a military dictatorship, against a programme of ruthless territorial aggrandizement, and against a policy of selfish restrictions.”188


But it was not till after six months of negotiations that the Japanese Government, on February 5, 1904, “having exhausted without effect every means of conciliation,” and “finding that their just representations and moderate and unselfish proposals in the interest of a firm and lasting peace in the extreme East are not receiving the consideration which is their due,” officially announced to the Russian Government that they would not only “terminate the present futile negotiations,” but also “sever their diplomatic relations with the Imperial Russian Government,” and “reserve to themselves the right to take such independent action as they may deem best.”189 This was tantamount to a declaration of war.

On February 6, Admiral Togo left Sasebo under official instructions, and about midnight of February 8 struck the first blow of the war. Six of his torpedo-boats attacked the Russian squadron in the harbor of Port Arthur, inflicted serious damage upon the enemy, and retired without much loss. On the following day a detachment of the fleet under Admiral Uriu defeated two Russian cruisers in the harbor of Chemulpo, Korea. Thus within a few hours the Japanese gained control of the sea, and landed troops, who soon entered Seoul.

The formal declaration of war was made by Russia on February 9, and by Japan on February 10, for publication in the newspapers of the following day, which was the anniversary of the founding of the Japanese Empire in 660 B. C. and of the promulgation of the Constitution in 1889.


On February 23, a treaty of alliance between Japan and Korea was formally signed at Seoul.190 On the next313 night began a series of attempts on the part of the Japanese squadron to block the mouth of the harbor of Port Arthur. After several essays, in one of which Commander Hirose met his heroic end, the Japanese so far succeeded that the Russian war vessels were shut up in the harbor for a long period. This enabled Japan to land troops with perfect immunity at several points on the coast of Manchuria.

In the meantime, the First Army, under General Kuroki, was marching across Korea without encountering much opposition, and, by brilliant strategy, succeeded in crossing the Yalu River in the face of a well-fortified Russian army. The Second Army, under General Oku, landed at Kinchow, and after bloody contests, especially at Nanshan, was able to get possession of Dalny, and sever connections between the Russians in Port Arthur and their main force under General Kuropatkin. The Third Army, under General Nodzu, having landed at Takushan, soon got into touch with the First Army; and together they continued their march northward in the face of constant opposition.

When Port Arthur was isolated from the rest of the Russian forces, still another army was sent out, under General Nogi, to carry on the investment of that place, so that the former armies might be free to give undivided attention to General Kuropatkin’s force. The attempt of the latter to relieve Port Arthur was checked by the Japanese in bloody battles at Telissu and Kaiping, after which they advanced northward toward Liaoyang.

In the meantime, in March, the Imperial Diet had met and voted unanimously the Government’s proposals to raise from various sources a special war fund of yen 576,000,000. Indeed, in every possible way, the Japanese people, as a unit, supported the Government in the carrying on of war, even to undergoing many hardships. All314 domestic loans thus far issued have been over-subscribed three or four times.

Moreover, on the last day of March, the fiftieth anniversary of Commodore Perry’s treaty with Japan, a memorable meeting to celebrate the event was held in the Y. M. C. A. Hall, Tōkyō. It was attended by a large number of both Japanese and foreigners, and, after listening to eloquent speeches, unanimously adopted a resolution to raise a Perry Memorial Relief Fund for the destitute families of Japanese soldiers and sailors. The subscription of over 60,000 yen on the spot has since been increased to about 100,000 yen.

The events off Port Arthur were colored still more tragically on April 13, when the Russian flagship “Petropavlovsk” of Admiral Makaroff was sunk, and almost all on board, including the admiral and the famous painter Verestchagin, perished. In May, the Japanese suffered their first heavy losses in the sinking of the “Hatsuse” and the “Yoshino.”

In April the Russian Vladivostok squadron had taken the offensive and sunk a Japanese transport with a few troops on board. After that it made occasional sorties toward the Korean Straits in the hope of creating a diversion from Port Arthur, and in one instance sunk the “Hitachi Maru” with a large number of Japanese troops on board. Moreover, in July this squadron succeeded in getting through the Tsugaru Straits to the eastern coast of Japan, where it committed depredations, even just off the entrance of Tōkyō Bay. But later it was met in the Korean Straits by Admiral Kamimura’s squadron and defeated with the loss of the “Rurik.”

By the early part of August the army investing Port Arthur had made such progress, in spite of severe opposition, that it became extremely dangerous for the Russian fleet to remain there longer. Therefore, on August 10,315 they made a sortie with the intention of escaping to Vladivostok. But Admiral Togo was not to be caught napping, and engaged in battle with the squadron. A few vessels, badly damaged, regained Port Arthur; others, some of which were severely injured, escaped to neutral ports, where they had to be dismantled; the “Novik” eluded its pursuers for a short time, but was finally overtaken and sunk in Korsakoff Harbor, Sakhalin.

On August 23 began the great battle of Liaoyang, which continued for over a week, and deserves to go down on the pages of history as one of the severest, bloodiest, and probably most decisive battles ever fought. It was only by the most tremendous exertions that General Kuropatkin was enabled to save his army from having its retreat cut off by the flanking movement of Kuroki, while Oku and Nodzu were pounding away from other directions.

The attempt of Kuropatkin to retrieve his fortunes by advancing with heavy reënforcements to retake Liaoyang met with another disastrous defeat in the battle of the Shaho River, October 10-15. After that, the two armies practically went into Winter quarters and engaged in nothing more than skirmishes until January, 1905, when Mitschenko’s cavalry made an unsuccessful raid upon Newchang and Yinkow, and Kuropatkin’s army, apparently urged on by the political exigencies caused by discontent at home, attempted a flanking movement on Liaoyang, but was repulsed in the battle of Heikeutai.

In view of the lull in hostilities along at the front, popular interest was once more directed toward Port Arthur. The Japanese navy continued faithfully its task of watching the harbor; and, although it could not maintain an absolutely complete blockade, it was nevertheless able to prevent exit and entrance, except in the case of Chinese junks and small steamers, which occasionally316 succeeded in running the blockade under cover of night or stormy weather. The navy also coöperated with the army by means of frequent bombardments of the harbor, in which the remnants of the Russian fleet had sought refuge, and even of the city of Port Arthur.

The Japanese army persistently pushed the attack from the land side; and the Russians stubbornly resisted every step of the advance. The former employed both direct and flanking attacks, and utilized every device known in engineering to overcome the “impregnable” fortress, so well fortified both by nature and by art. Slowly but steadily the besiegers pressed on and obtained possession of various forts. On October 30 they made a general assault, in which they succeeded in capturing several important positions. Just one month later, the “203-metre Hill” fell into the hands of the Japanese and gave them the command of the inner harbor. In a few days they had succeeded in completely disabling the remnants of the Russian squadron, so that the greater portion of their own fleet was released from its long and arduous blockade, and enabled to undergo a thorough overhauling in the docks. A portion of it, under Vice-Admiral Uriu, was despatched to watch the course of the Baltic fleet, and every preparation was made to accord to these visitors as warm a reception as possible.

Admirals Togo and Kamimura, with their suites, returned, for a short period, to Tōkyō, where they were greeted on December 30 with an enthusiastic welcome. And, when the eventful year 1904 passed away, it was generally thought that Port Arthur might be able to hold out a month longer.

It may, therefore, be easily imagined with what complete surprise came the news that on January 1 General Stoessel had opened negotiations with General Nogi concerning surrender. “Hope deferred maketh the heart317 sick”: but the relief from the long suspense showed itself in a kind of prolonged banzai and a series of celebrations which lasted through the month. The stubborn defence and the bravery of the defenders had awakened in every Japanese heart a feeling of admiration; so that the chivalrous treatment of the garrison found a ready response on all sides.


During most of the month of February, the two armies confronting each other along the banks of the Shaho River remained in apparent inactivity, except for occasional skirmishes, but in real preparation for another battle. Just when this began it is a little difficult to state precisely, because some of the earlier operations were only feints to disguise the real purpose. On February 24, the Japanese gained a point by the capture of Ching-ho-cheng after two days of hard fighting. And from this time the struggle went on practically without cessation for two or three weeks. Within a few days the Japanese had turned both flanks of the Russian army, which was compelled to beat a precipitate retreat in great confusion and barely escaped complete annihilation. The Japanese pushed on in hot pursuit, and occupied Fushun, Mukden, Tiehling, Kaiyuan, and Changtu. This was the result of the great battle of Mukden, which was much more decisive than even Liaoyang, and ended the military activity in Manchuria for several months.

In the meantime the Baltic fleet had been leisurely making its way eastward, and, apparently regardless of international law, had been enjoying the hospitality of neutral waters, especially those of Madagascar and Annam. But, although Japan, supported by Great Britain and the United States, vigorously protested against the flagrant violations of international law in the abuse of French hospitality, yet she did not allow herself to swerve from her original plan concerning the Baltic fleet, or to318 be lured away from her own strategic position to a battlefield of Russia’s choosing. The Japanese fleet, under the indomitable Togo, was watching and waiting in the waters between Japan and Korea; and, as all things come to those who wait, to the Japanese came finally the Russian fleet, steering boldly through the Tsushima channel for Vladivostok. May 27 and 28 (the latter the birthday of the Empress of Japan) are the red-letter dates of the great naval battle, which resulted in the practical annihilation of the Baltic fleet, with tremendous loss to the Russians and only slight damage to the Japanese. The Battle of the Sea of Japan, as it is officially designated, was the decisive conflict of the war; and it deserves also to rank among the decisive battles of the world’s history. If Togo had been defeated, the communications of the immense Japanese army in Manchuria would have been severed, and Japan itself would have been at the mercy of the depredations of the Russian fleet. But the destruction of the latter was so complete, that it is not strange that Russia was willing at last to listen to the tactful intervention of President Roosevelt. Peace commissioners were appointed by both combatants to meet in some suitable place in the United States about August 1. The Japanese representatives were Baron Komura, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Takahira, Minister to the United States; and the Russian representatives were Count Sergius Witte, President of the Imperial Committee of Ministers, and Baron Rosen, Minister to the United States.


Accordingly, avoiding the heat of Washington, the peace envoys convened at Portsmouth, N. H., on August 9, after paying their respects to President Roosevelt. The Japanese presented the following twelve articles for the consideration of their opponents:


1. That Russia recognize Japan’s preponderating influence in Korea.

2. That Russia and Japan evacuate Manchuria.

3. That Japan restore Chinese sovereignty and civil government in Manchuria.

4. That both powers respect Chinese sovereignty in Manchuria and the principle of equal commercial opportunity there for all nations.

5. That the island of Sakhalin be ceded to Japan.

6. That Russia surrender to Japan all rights accruing under Chinese leases of the Liaotung peninsula, including Port Arthur, Dalny, and the Blonde and Elliott islands.

7. That Russia surrender to China by arrangement with Japan the branch of the Chinese Eastern railway from Harbin to Port Arthur and Newchwang, with retrocession of all privileges under the concession of 1898.

8. That the Russian concessions obtained in 1896 by which the short route connecting the Trans-Siberian and Ussuri railways in northern Manchuria be given to the Chinese Eastern railway, Chinese imperial police to be substituted for the Russian guards.

9. That Russia pay Japan the substantial costs of the war.

10. That Russia surrender to Japan all warships interned in far Asiatic waters.

11. That Russia limit strictly the naval establishment maintained in neutral waters of the far East.

12. That Russia grant fishing rights to Japan along the Russian littoral in Siberia.

After the agreement by Russia to certain of these articles, and skilful manœuvring by the Russian envoys until the demand by Japan for an indemnity was practically the one remaining cause for dispute between them, the world was startled on August 29 by the surrender of the Japanese of all demand for indemnification and the consequent declaration of peace. As amended the treaty grants to Japan all that Japan contended for before the declaration of war except the maintenance of the territorial integrity of China, with the addition of the valuable320 fishing rights along the Siberian coast and the right to establish a consular service throughout eastern Russia.

The two powers mutually obligate themselves not to fortify the Russo-Korean frontier nor to erect fortifications on the island of Sakhalin, the more valuable portion of which, situated below the fiftieth meridian, is ceded to Japan. Japan obtains the Chinese Eastern railway and the right to build a branch line to Kirin, while the South Manchuria railway is to be used for commercial purposes only, both powers maintaining guards along its right of way. Korea, Manchuria, and Siberia are opened to trade on the most favored nation basis, and Manchuria is given the “open door” for all the world to enter.

Japan finds herself in possession of the sea and land routes to Peking through the ownership of Port Arthur, and her influence in China has waxed as that of Russia has waned, the subjects of the czar standing now in the territorial position they occupied in 1890, with every diplomatic advantage then held at the Chinese capital practically annihilated.

By the surrender of all claim for compensation, except that for the care of Russian prisoners of war, and by the return of the warships interned in far Eastern waters, Japan has shown herself as magnanimous as brave, as thoughtful for the peace of the world as for the details which have brought her such success. Scrupulously respecting all the rules of war, Japan has also set the world a new standard of hygienic efficiency in the care of the wounded and especially in the prevention of disease among her soldiers in the field.

Space fails to tell of innumerable deeds of Spartan heroism at the front; of the calmness and dignity of the Japanese people in the time of war, which they do not allow to interfere with their usual daily duties; of working overtime to increase the productive wealth of the321 country in this crisis; of the extra labor performed, even at night, that a neighbor’s field or business may not suffer loss during his absence from home to fight his country’s battles; of the work of women, young and old, to provide necessary clothing and “comfort bags” for those at the front; of the suffering and self-sacrifice of many at home that loved ones may serve the country on the battlefield; of the kindly care of Russian prisoners, who are “treated more like guests”; of the work of the Red Cross Society, and its abundant labors both at home and at the front. The Japanese are truly heroic in every sense of the word.

Two features have already stood out prominently in this war,—the “splendid tenacity” of the Japanese soldiery, and the coördination of the movements of their armies and navy. The strategic phase of the war reflects the utmost credit upon Yamagata, Ōyama, Kodama, and the others who planned the campaigns.

It ought not to be necessary to consider seriously the so-called “Yellow Peril,” but it may be well to refer briefly to this bogy. For such an idea there is not an iota of a reason. It is true that the Japanese are ambitious to become the leaders and teachers of Korea, China, and Siam;191 but it is for the purpose of leading and teaching them in civilization. Japan has turned her back, whether for good or for ill, upon Oriental civilization, and has turned her face, whether for good or ill, toward Occidental civilization. By this is not meant, either that she will throw away all things Oriental, or that she will accept all things Occidental. But it is simply meant, as before pointed out,192 that she will be the true reconciler between East and West, and will develop that which is good and useful in both civilizations. It is her purpose, therefore, not to array the East against the West, but to bring them closer together in various bonds of unity. It would be322 absolutely impossible for her to take any backward step in the path which she has begun to tread, and in which she is striving earnestly and succeeding rapidly in catching up with Western nations. Japan represents in the Far East the ideals of Western civilization more than does Russia. The immense empire of China with its teeming population under Russian domination or only under Russian influence would constitute a real “Yellow Peril,” or “Muscovite Menace,” terrible to contemplate. But Japanese leadership or hegemony in Korean and Chinese affairs constitutes a guarantee of peace and prosperity, of the “open door,” of the spread of true civilization, in the Far East.

The real policy of Japan in this war has been clearly set forth in various ways, of which one case follows:

On May 16 there was held in Tōkyō a most significant mass meeting of representatives of all kinds and shades of philosophies, cults, and religions. The thousand persons present included foreign missionaries, American and British, and Japanese Shintōists, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, and Protestants of various denominations, besides probably many free-thinkers. There was a small number of women, both Japanese and foreign, in attendance.

There were several speakers, all of whom dwelt upon the necessity of union in the present crisis in the history of Japan. From the “Japan Mail” we extract the following paragraphs in summary of some of the addresses:—

“Mr. Ōuchi, the representative of Buddhism, declared that the Japanese do not constitute the Yellow Peril. The Mongols constitute it, and, above all, the Russians, who are Mongols. Napoleon had well said that a Russian has a white skin over a yellow heart. Japan has a yellow skin over a white heart. The whole practice of Russia,323 her boundless aggressions, her despotism and intolerance, mark her as the true Yellow Peril of the era.”

“Mr. Shibata, representing Shintō, said that the pity of Buddhism, the charity (love) of Christianity, and the pure heart of Shintō are all one and the same thing under different names.”

“Dr. Imbrie (representative of Christianity) adduced as proofs that religion and race have nothing to do with the present war: first, the fact that one of the belligerents, Japan, has a constitution guaranteeing freedom of conscience; secondly, the meeting now assembled, where all creeds and all races united in a common cause. He believed that the heart of the nation was with them in this matter, and that such an assembly might be convened in any part of Japan. He believed also that the victory in the war would be with Japan for the sake of the principles she represented.”

The meeting unanimously adopted the following resolution:—

“The war now existing between Japan and Russia has for its object, on the part of Japan, the security of the empire and the permanent peace of the East. It is carried on in the interests of justice, humanity, and the civilization of the world. With differences between races or religions it has nothing whatever to do. We, therefore, meeting together without distinction of race or religion, agree that we will endeavor to publish to the world, each in a manner accordant with the methods observed in the religious body to which he belongs, the real purpose of the present war, as now described. We also express a most earnest desire for the speedy accomplishment of an honorable peace.”

The significance of this meeting can scarcely be overestimated. It is a perfectly conclusive answer to the attempts made in various quarters “to foment an anti-Japanese324 crusade on the ground of racial and religious prejudices.” Japan stands before the world as a champion of “the equality and fraternity of all races.” The so-called “Yellow Peril” is a myth, a fantasy, a delusion; the reality is to be found in the “Golden Opportunity” to win the Orient for Christ through Japan’s leadership.

H. E. Count Katsura, in his official capacity as Prime Minister and speaking in the name of His Majesty the Emperor, has given assurances that the “Yellow Peril” is a myth, and that the religious liberty guaranteed in the Japanese constitution is to be enforced. He has stated most emphatically that “Japan stands for religious freedom.” The leading statesmen of Japan, whether in or out of office, assert most positively that Japan’s interests in the Far East are practically identical with those of Great Britain and the United States, and that she desires to work in harmony with those nations.193

The cause of Christian civilization in Japan has been indirectly benefited by this war. The people, with minds broadened by the responsibilities of their country, and with hearts touched by the practical sympathy of Christian nations, are listening with deeper interest to the presentation of Christian truths. The noble work of the Young Men’s Christian Association at Antung proved so successful that the military authorities soon requested325 its extension to other portions of Manchuria. The Japanese have felt that though their nation is nominally non-Christian, yet it is fighting the battle of Christian civilization against a nation nominally Christian. The war has been one of the most momentous in history, and decides whether the Far East is to be dominated by conservative, despotic Russia or directed by progressive, liberal Japan.




  5, 1904.    Severance of diplomatic relations.


  8-9.    Japanese naval victories at Fort Arthur and Chemulpo.


Russian declaration of war.


Japanese declaration of war.


Treaty of Japan with Korea.


First attempt to block Port Arthur.

March 13.

Marquis Ito starts on special mission to Korea.


Imperial Diet passed War Budget. Second attempt to block Port Arthur.


Fiftieth anniversary of Perry’s treaty with Japan.

April 13.

“Petropavlovsk” sunk by Japanese mine.


Transport “Kinshiu Maru” sunk by Russians.

May   1.

Battle of the Yalu River.


Third attempt to block Port Arthur.


“Hatsuse” and “Yoshino” sunk.


Pan-Religion Mass Meeting, Tōkyō.


25, 26.    Battle of Nanshan.


Occupation of Dalny.

June 15.

“Hitachi Maru” (transport) sunk. Battle of Telissu.


Naval battle off Port Arthur.


Japanese capture Ta, Motien, and Fenshui Passes.


  6-9.    Battle of Kaiping.


21-30.    Vladivostok Squadron in Pacific Ocean.


Battle of Tashikiao.


Japanese capture Simucheng.

Aug. 10.

Russian fleet made unsuccessful sortie from Fort Arthur.


Vladivostok fleet defeated.


“Novik” sunk in Korsakoff Harbor.


23-Sept. 4.    Battle of Liaoyang.


10-15.    Battle of the Shaho River.327


General assault on Port Arthur.

Nov. 30.

Japanese capture 203-metre Hill, P. A.


  3-11.    Destruction Port Arthur Squadron.


Togo and Kamimura reach Tōkyō.


  1, 1905.    Surrender of Port Arthur.


25-29.    Battle of Heikeutai.


24-March 10.    Battle of Mukden.

Feb. 24.

Japanese occupied Ching-ho-cheng.

March   9.

Japanese occupied Fushun.


Japanese occupied Mukden.


Japanese occupied Tiehling.


Japanese occupied Kaiyuan.


Japanese occupied Fakuman.


Japanese occupied Changtu.


27, 28.    Battle of the Japan Sea.

June   2.

President Roosevelt broached subject of peace.


Japanese occupied Kangping.


Japanese occupied Liaoyangwopeng.

July   8.

Sakhalin in hands of Japanese.


Vladivostok isolated.

Aug.   9.

Peace envoys convene at Portsmouth, N. H.


Terms of treaty of peace settled.


A brief summary of the war shows that at the close of the 570 days which it lasted Russia had 629,614 men in the field in Manchuria, to which Japan was able to oppose 912,730, with 1116 Russian cannon to 1030 Japanese. The Japanese captured 67,701 Russians, losing only 646 prisoners themselves. The total casualty list on land shows 294,779 Russians killed and wounded to 113,086 Japanese. The total loss to Russia in ships is estimated at $155,560,000, including twelve battleships, five armored cruisers, one coast defense vessel, six cruisers, fourteen converted cruisers, and nineteen destroyers sunk, and two battleships, two coast defense vessels, one converted cruiser, and two destroyers captured, nineteen other naval vessels being driven into internment. Japan’s naval loss includes two battleships, four cruisers, as many converted cruisers, and two torpedo boat destroyers sunk, which were valued at $24,720,000, none being captured or interned. On the sea Russia lost 8100 in killed and wounded to Japan’s 3670. The total cost of war is figured at $2,000,000,000, of which Russia spent $1,200,000,000, borrowing $870,000,000, and Japan spent $800,000,000, borrowing $650,000,000.



George Kennan’s articles in “The Outlook” are superior. Of the books which have been issued, the best are “With Kuroki in Manchuria,” by Frederick Palmer, and “From Tōkyō through Manchuria with the Japanese,” by Major Louis L. Seaman. A very thorough, scholarly, and quite impartial presentation of the causes and issues of the war is found in “The Russo-Japanese Conflict” (Asakawa), from which one can understand completely the situation in the Far East. “The White Peril in the Far East” (Gulick) is also valuable in this connection; and “The Awakening of Japan” (Okakura) throws light on Japan’s aims and ideals. “As the Hague Ordains” (Miss Scidmore) throws a great deal of light upon the ideas of many of the chief actors in the bloody drama. “Human Bullets” (Sakurai) relates most simply but vividly the experiences of a Japanese officer, especially at the terrible siege of Port Arthur. “The Tragedy of Russia” (McCormick) is most valuable.




THE Treaty of Portsmouth, which closed the Russo-Japanese War, made Japan one of the great powers of the world; therefore, this chapter is entitled “Greater Japan.” This is not so much because Japan became larger, although she added half of Sakhalin, obtained Russia’s lease of part of Manchuria, and has annexed Korea, but it is because she has become truly greater in many senses of the word. This will appear more evident as one reads carefully the following record of the principal events of the past seven years (1905-1912).

It is, perhaps, not strange that the Japanese nation was, on the whole, disappointed with the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth. They had borne heavy financial burdens, and had confidently anticipated at least a partial compensation in the shape of an indemnity and the re-acquisition of Sakhalin, of which they considered themselves cheated by Russia, in 1875. To get only half of Sakhalin was not so much of a loss, because it was the better half; but to get not a single sen of indemnity was the bitterest kind of a pill, without even a coat of sugar. And, although most of the Japanese people, as is usual, quickly swallowed their disappointment, it is not strange that agitators utilized the occasion to stir up the rowdy element to break out in riots in Tōkyō early in September, 1905. And, after the destruction of considerable property, the city was placed under martial law until the excitement subsided.


The wisdom of the Japanese envoys in bringing the war to a close, even on unpopular terms, was fully justified when it soon became evident that the northern section of the main island, in the region about Sendai, was threatened with a famine, due to the partial or entire failure of crops. But the energy which had been spent on the prosecution of the war was at once transferred to the task of relieving the suffering. To the appeals for assistance a hearty response was made, not only by Japanese and foreigners in Japan, but also by other peoples, East and West.

Another compensation for the unpopular peace was found in September, 1905, when it became known that, in August, even before the Treaty of Portsmouth had been signed, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance had been renewed for a term of ten years.

Therefore, by the beginning of November, the feeling of disappointment had so far subsided that the Emperor’s birthday (November 3) was celebrated in Tōkyō with unusual éclat by a grand triumphal military review, followed later by a grand triumphal naval review at Yokosuka.

The Katsura Ministry, however, being held responsible for the unpopular terms of peace, resigned in December,194 and was succeeded in January, 1906, by a Cabinet under Marquis Saionji, the leader of the Seiyukwai, without special change of policy.

In the meantime, in accordance with a Convention between Japan and Korea, the former established in the latter a Residency-General in Seoul, with Residencies in several parts of the country. And to the most important post of Resident-General the Emperor of Japan appointed [then] Marquis Ito. And by this Convention the333 control of Korea’s foreign affairs passed to the Residency-General.


The Twenty-second Session of the Imperial Diet (December 28, 1905-March 27, 1906) is worthy of special notice because it passed, with slight amendments, the government bill for the nationalization of the railways of the Empire. The original bill contemplated the purchase by the government of all the railroads: but the Diet amended the bill, while accepting the principle, by exempting a few small railways of no great strategic importance, and applying the principle to seventeen large and important lines. In the same year, the railways in Korea passed under the management of the Japanese Government.

Another event worthy of notice is the organization in 1906 of the Japan Peace Society, composed of men and women of several nationalities and of many shades of political and religious belief. And in 1909 this society was honored and strengthened by Count Okuma’s acceptance of the position of President.

The year 1907 was marked by the negotiation of several “Agreements” of prime importance in the maintenance of peace in the Far East. In the first place, the Russo-Japanese Convention (July) “consolidating peace and good neighborly relations,” proved that the Portsmouth Treaty was not merely a sort of truce but a desire to “preserve the peace permanently.” The Franco-Japanese Agreement (June) evinced the strong “desire to strengthen the relations of amity existing between” the two peoples. A new Japan-Korea Agreement (July) gave Japan the control of the internal administrative affairs of Korea and especially established a “clear differentiation” of the Executive and Judicial departments of State. This separation of the judiciary from executive and official interference was further emphasized by the appointment of an earnest Japanese Christian, Judge Watanabe, as Chief334 Justice of the Supreme Court in Korea. Meantime, the Emperor, whose corrupt rule had brought his country to its deplorable condition, abdicated, and his son succeeded to the throne, while the new Crown Prince went over to Japan to be educated and was granted a suitable domicile in Tōkyō. Moreover, the Crown Prince of Japan made a visit to Korea—the first instance of a Japanese Crown Prince leaving his native land—and succeeded in conquering prejudices and winning hearts.

The year 1907 was also memorable for some important events in the Christian movement in Japan. In April, the World’s Student Christian Federation, composed of 625 delegates from 25 nations, in all parts of the world, convened in Tōkyō, and, in an inspiring session of several days, exemplified the practical application of their motto, ut omnes unum sint.

The late General Booth, of the Salvation Army, made a visit to Japan (April 16-May 24), received a most cordial welcome, was honored by an audience with the Emperor, and held a remarkable series of meetings in the principal cities.

The National Sunday-school Association, which was organized in May, was another application of the principle of Christian unity. And the First Conference of the (union) Methodist Church of Japan, meeting in Tōkyō (May 22-June 7), on June 1, elected as its first bishop Rev. Y. Honda, D.D., the first native to be elected to such an important ecclesiastical position in the Far East.

The short stop-over made in Japan by Hon. William H. Taft, then United States Secretary of War, on his way to Manila, was one which truly warranted his additional title of “Secretary of Peace.” In a speech on October 1, at a banquet given in his honor in Tōkyō, he made a profound impression when he said: “War between Japan and the United States would be a crime against modern civilization.”335 And 116 representative missionaries, residing in all sections of Japan, and representing 20 American Christian organizations, besides Independents, signed a series of resolutions expressing their hope “that local and spasmodic misunderstandings may not be allowed to affect in the slightest degree the natural and historic friendship of the two neighbors on opposite sides of the Pacific,” and that all “efforts to maintain peace and good-will may be supported by all patriotic citizens and may be crowned with success.”

And, although the immigration question at one time was a fruitful source of agitation, yet the authorities in Japan, Canada, and the United States dealt with the question in a considerate and statesmanlike manner and came to a satisfactory settlement.

The friendly relations between Japan and the United States were further consolidated, on May 5, 1908, by an Arbitration Treaty, the first which Japan had ever negotiated. This was only one more strong evidence that the two countries do not wish to find a casus belli.

In October of the same year came the first visit of a company of American business men to Japan and the visit of the American fleet, both of which received a most cordial welcome. The business men were given every opportunity to ascertain industrial conditions in Japan, and acknowledged that the visit was an eye-opener. In welcoming the fleet, the “Kokumin Shimbun” said, among other good things, “The sixteen battleships, representative of the noble traditions of American justice, come to our shores as heralds of peace.” And, most significantly, it added that “the time was ripe for an Americo-Japanese camaraderie, which is already so strong as to be tantamount to an unwritten alliance.” This utterance was significant because it was followed so closely by the Americo-Japanese Entente, dated November 30, 1908.336 This is a document195 of immense importance, which must stand as a perpetual reminder that a war between Japan and the United States would be a crime.

In July, 1908, the Saionji Ministry resigned, ostensibly on account of the Premier’s illness, and Marquis Katsura was again called upon to form a Cabinet.

Inasmuch as the great prosperity which immediately followed the Russo-Japanese War had led to some extravagance and reckless speculation, the Emperor felt impelled to issue in October, 1908, an edict of warning to the people.

One more important event of this year should be chronicled—the completion of the railway which runs the length of the island of Formosa. This is facilitating greatly the development of the resources of that “Beautiful Isle.”

In June, 1909, Prince Itō resigned his position as Resident-General in Korea, and was succeeded by Viscount Sone, who had been Vice-Resident-General. In July, the administration of justice and prisons was transferred to the Resident-General. In October, Prince Itō was assassinated at Harbin by a Korean fanatic; and, in December, an unsuccessful attempt was made at Seoul upon the life of the Korean Prime Minister by another fanatic. Prince Itō, as the greatest statesman of Modern Japan, was especially honored with a most elaborate state funeral.

The year 1909 was also marked by a Semi-Centennial Conference, held in Tōkyō, October 5-10, to commemorate the beginning of Christian missions in New Japan. It was “the first national conference in which the Japanese and missionaries coöperated on an equal footing”; it marked “the emergence of the Japanese Church from infancy to youth; from the stigma of being an alien parasite to the acknowledged status of an indigenous institution”;337 and marked the waning of missionary domination and the rapid assumption of control by Japanese Christians. Thus it was a real epoch-making event in the history of the Christian movement in Japan.


A large party of representative Japanese business men started in the fall of 1909 for a trip to the United States, and returned in the spring of 1910. The courteous treatment and generous hospitality extended to them in their hurried tour across the country were highly appreciated. The trip afforded an excellent opportunity to ascertain that the true sentiments of the best Americans are friendly to Japan.

Viscount Sone, Resident-General in Korea, having been compelled, on account of dangerous illness, to return to Japan, resigned his post, and died September 13, 1910. He was succeeded by General Viscount Terauchi, Minister of War, who carried through the plan of annexation, which was formally announced on August 29, 1910. This “passing of Korea” is a truly unfortunate but inevitable occurrence. It was a practical impossibility for Korea, in her peculiar geographical position, to maintain political independence. The “Poland of the Far East” was destined, not to partition, but to absorption by Russia, or China, or Japan; and she has fallen to the lot of the one best able to improve her condition.

The year 1910 was also marked by the discovery of an anarchist plot against the sacred person of the Emperor. Several were arrested as conspirators, of whom a few were acquitted, a few were condemned to imprisonment for terms of years, but twelve were condemned to death and executed (in 1911).

It was in July, 1911, that the term of the revised treaties (which had gone into effect in 1899) expired, and entirely new treaties were negotiated with all the powers. As these treaties included no limitations upon the commercial338 autonomy of Japan, they marked the “end of her extra-territorial embarrassments.” And, in particular, the new treaty with the United States omitted the objectionable provision of the old treaty (see Appendix), in accordance with which it was permissible for the United States to limit the immigration of Japanese. This delicate question was left to a “gentleman’s agreement,” whereby the Japanese Government would exercise the utmost care concerning granting passports to Japanese to travel to the United States.

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance was again revised in 1911 and renewed for a term of ten years. The most significant point in this revision was a provision inserted, in view of the probability at that time of an Anglo-American Arbitration Treaty, that nothing should entail upon either “contracting party an obligation to go to war with the Power with whom such treaty of arbitration is in force.” This was accomplished before the death of Marquis Komura, who thus lived long enough to see this increased influence of that alliance in the original negotiation of which he played a most important part.

That year was also distinguished by the generous Imperial donation of 1,500,000 yen to start a fund for the relief of the sick poor. This contribution was supplemented by gifts from all over the Empire, until the fund has reached a total of about 25,000,000 yen. And to administer properly this large amount, a society called “Saiseikwai” has been organized, with an Imperial Prince as Honorary President.

The year 1911 is likewise a red-letter year in the political history of Japan, because, when the Katsura Cabinet resigned, the duty of organizing a new Ministry was bestowed upon Marquis Saionji (the leader of the Seiyukai), who made up what is practically a party administration.


One of the most significant events of the year 1912 was339 what is known as the “Tri-Religion Conference” (in March). It was called by Mr. Tokonami, Vice-Minister of Home Affairs, and consisted of about fifty Shinto, Buddhist, and Christian representatives. It was no attempt to amalgamate the three faiths; it was merely a means of bringing those representatives together for better acquaintance with each other, for more earnest work in behalf of social and moral amelioration, and for greater emphasis upon the spiritual needs of the nation. The most significant point, however, was the fact that the conference was practically an official recognition of Christianity on the same footing with Shinto and Buddhism.

As the trial of a large number of Korean Christians on a charge of conspiring to assassinate Governor-General Terauchi is still sub judice, it is proper at present merely to mention the fact. It is, however, only right to add, that much of the criticism of the case arises from the fact that Japanese judicial processes follow European rather than American models and are not in accord with Anglo-Saxon ideas of justice.

The most prominent events of 1912 were, of course, the death of the Emperor Mutsuhito, the accession of the Crown Prince Yoshihito, and the close of the marvellous Meiji Era with the beginning of a new era, called Taisho (Great Righteousness). The limits of space forbid more than the mention of the wonderful scenes, especially in front of the Palace, when the prayers of all classes of people, of all religious beliefs and of no belief, were mingled together during the days just preceding July 30. Mutsuhito and Meiji: these two names are practically synchronous and synonymous; the reign of Mutsuhito was the Enlightened Rule of Meiji.196 It was, therefore, most appropriate that the deceased Emperor was given the posthumous340 title of Meiji Tenno. And the Imperial funeral was a most elaborate affair, an interesting combination of the Old and the New, in which the former predominated; for it was a Shinto ceremony with some modern Occidental attachments. And the tragic suicide of General Count Nogi and the Countess at eight o’clock in the evening of September 13, just as the Imperial cortège was leaving the Palace, was in accordance with the old idea of following one’s master in death. But, while it was not in accord with Christian ideas of life and duty, my tongue of criticism is silenced.

A governmental crisis led to the resignation of Premier Saionji and his cabinet in December, and Prince Katsura for the third time was called to the place. Popular opposition to an increase of the army and military expenses, demand for reduction of taxes, belief that Premier Katsura was in sympathy with the military party, that he might influence the Emperor, and that democratic tendencies were likely to be checked, led to an uprising in opposition to him and his ministry. February 5, 1913, a resolution was adopted in Parliament expressing lack of confidence. Rioting in Tōkyō and elsewhere was followed by the resignation of Prince Katsura and his cabinet February 11, and on the 12th, by the direction of the Emperor, Count Yamamoto formed a new ministry.

Mention should be made of some matters which do not fit well into these chronological annals. The fact that Japanese educational authorities are obtaining Christian young men as English teachers through the Young Men’s Christian Association is interesting. It should also be noted that the number of Chinese students resorting to Japan for education increased rapidly, until it was estimated at 15,000 to 20,000. But, as the great mass of these were mere adventurers, there came a natural but heavy reduction, so that only about 5,000 remained by 1910. And, in that year, almost all of these returned to China to341 participate in the Revolution. There are also several hundred Korean students, whose numbers will probably increase, besides many Indians and a few Siamese and Philippinos. And these Oriental students return home imbued with progressive ideas.

This is a summary of the principal events which have made a “Greater Japan.” Dai Nippon (Great Japan) has been enlarged in seven years by the acquisition of considerable territory. She is no longer merely insular, but continental. She is greater in her resources and in her potentialities. She has increased her wealth and her productive capacity; she has enlarged her industrial enterprise; she has expanded her trade and commerce. She has a bigger army and navy to protect herself from aggression. Her educational facilities are greater, and her moral and spiritual development has been enhanced through Christianity. Japan enjoys greater power and influence in the world’s councils, and she is also weighted with much greater responsibilities. New Japan, in 1913 sixty years old, is a truly “Greater Japan.”


“Corea, the Hermit Nation” (7th edition) (Griffis); “Korea and her Neighbors” (Mrs. Bird-Bishop); “Korean Sketches” and “Korea in Transition” (Gale); “The Passing of Korea” (Hulbert); “The Tragedy of Korea” (McKenzie); “With Marquis Itō in Korea” (Ladd); “China and the Far East” (Clark University Lectures); “American Japanese Relations” (Kawakami); “The Japanese Nation” (Nitobe).

map of japan main islands






Provinces and Prefectures

THE following list gives in detail the divisions of Japan into Provinces (Kuni), according to “Circuits”:—

Go-Kinai (Five Home Provinces). Yamashiro, Yamato, Kawachi, Izumi (or Senshiu), Settsu (or Sesshiu).

Tōkaidō (Eastern Sea Road). Iga, Ise, Shima, Owari, Mikawa, Tōtōmi, Suruga, Kai, Izu, Sagami, Musashi, Awa (or Bōshiu), Kazusa, Shimōsa, Hitachi.

Tōsandō (Eastern Mountain Road). Ōmi, Mino, Hida, Shinano (or Shinshiu), Kōzuke (or Jōshiu), Shimozuke, Iwaki, Iwashiro, Rikuzen, Rikuchū, Mutsu, Uzen, Ugo.

Hokurikudō (North Land Road). Wakasa, Echizen, Kaga, Noto, Etchū, Echigo, Sado Island.

Sanindō (Mountain Shade Road). Tamba, Tango, Tajima, Inaba, Hōki, Izumo, Iwami, Oki Islands.

Sanyōdō (Mountain Sunlight Road). Harima (or Banshiu), Mimasaka, Bizen, Bitchū, Bingo, Aki, Suwō, Nagata (or Chōshiu).

Nankaidō (Southern Sea Road). Kii (or Kishiu), Awaji Island, Awa, Sanuki, Iyo, Tosa (or Toshiu), of which the last four are in the island of Shikoku.

Saikaidō (Western Sea Road). Chikuzen, Chikugo, Buzen, Bungo, Hizen, Higo, Hyūga, Ōsumi, Satsuma (or Sasshiu), Iki Island, Tsushima Island, of which all except the last two are on the island of Kyūshiu.



(25 Years) Central Meteorological Observatory (1876-1900)

35° 41´ N. Lat., 139° 46´ E. Long.    Height, 70 feet.    Inches and Fahrenheit degrees.

  Jan. Feb. Mar. April.

Mean temperature

  36.9    38.4    44.2    54.3

Mean max. temperature

  46.8    47.5    53.4    62.9

Mean min. temperature

  28.6    30.4    35.3    45.6

Absolute max. temp.

97.9 (July 14, 1891)

Absolute min. temp.

15.4 (Jan. 13, 1876)

Mean rainfall

  2.14    3.03    4.32   5.04

No. rainy days

  7.2    9.1    12.4    14.8

Days with snow

  4.0    4.5    2.8    0.1

Mean barometer
(reduced freez. point)

  29.96    29.97    29.95   29.94

Mean direction of wind

N.22°W. N.16°W. N.8°W. N.51°E.
  May. June. July. Aug.

Mean temperature

  61.9    68.8    75.8    78.2

Mean max. temperature

  70.2    76.1    83.0    86.0

Mean min. temperature

  53.5    62.2    69.6    71.8

Absolute max. temp.


Absolute min. temp.


Mean rainfall

  5.91    6.52    5.01   4.37

No. rainy days

 13.3   14.4   14.1   11.8

Days with snow

  ...    ...    ...    ... 

Mean barometer
(reduced freez. point)

  29.84    29.77    29.77   29.79

Mean direction of wind

S.44°E. S.39°E. S.20°E. S.21°E.
  Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

Mean temperature

  71.6    60.3    50.1    41.3

Mean max. temperature

  78.9    68.9    60.1    52.0

Mean min. temperature

  65.5    53.1    41.7    32.4

Absolute max. temp.


Absolute min. temp.


Mean rainfall

  8.12    7.07    4.35   2.02

No. rainy days

16.2  13.1    9.0    6.3

Days with snow

  ...    ...   0.2    1.2

Mean barometer
(reduced freez. point)

  29.87    29.98    29.99   29.95

Mean direction of wind

N.47°E. N.4°W. N.14°W. N.25°W.
Mean temperature   56.8   
Mean max. temperature   65.5  
Mean min. temperature   49.1  

Absolute max. temp.


Absolute min. temp.

Mean rainfall   57.90  
No. rainy days 141.6  
Days with snow   12.8  

Mean barometer
(reduced freez. point)

Mean direction of wind N.1°W.  


Hokkaidō (Northern Sea Road). Oshima, Shiribeshi, Iburi, Ishikari, Hitaka, Tokachi, Teshiwo, Kushiro, Nemuro, Kitami (all on the island of Yezo), and Chishima, or the Kurile Islands.

Ryūkyū (Loo Choo) Islands. This group constituted one, the 85th, Kuni.

The following is the list of Japanese Prefectures (Ken and Fu):—

The Fu number three: Tōkyō, Kyōto, and Ōsaka.

The Ken number forty-three: Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gumma, Nagano, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Miye, Gifu, Shiga, Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, Niigata, Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate, Aomori, Nara, Wakayama, Hyōgo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane, Tottori, Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, Kōchi, Nagasaki, Saga, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Ōita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa (Ryūkyū Islands).

Hokkaidō and Formosa are at present administered as “territories” by the Imperial Government, although the former has recently been granted a small measure of local self-government.

Tables of Japanese Money, Weight, and Measure198

Length (Sashi). Japanese Weights and Measures.

As the use of the Japanese weights and measures is becoming more and more frequent in reports and books from the Far East, the following tables will be found useful to all persons who wish to ascertain the equivalents of the Japanese terms in similar terms in use in the United States and in England:—



1 (0.0001 Shaku) 0.000099 foot.
1 Rin (10 ) 0.00099 foot.
1 Bu (10 Rin) 1.4317 lines.
1 Sun (10 Bu) 1.1931 inches.
1 Shaku (10 Sun) 11.9305 inches.
1 Ken (6 Shaku) 1.9884 yards.
1 (10 Shaku) 3.3140 yards.
1 Chō (60 Ken) 5.4229 chains (1.15 m.).
1 Ri (36 Chō) 2.4403 miles (2½ m.).
1 Kai-Ri (Marine Ri) 1.1507 miles.


1 Sun (0.1 Shaku)                       1.4913 inches.
1 Shaku (10 Sun) 14.9130 inches.
1 Tan (about) 11 yards.
1 Hiki (about) 22 yards.


1 0.000008 pound (avoirdupois).
1 Rin (10 ) 0.000083 pound  
1 Fun (10 Rin) 5.7972 grains  
1 Momme (10 Fun) 2.12 drams  
1 Kin (160 Momme) 1.3251 pounds  
1 Kwan (1,000 Momme) 8.2817 pounds  


1 Shaku (10 Sai) 0.00397 gallon.
1 (10 Shaku) 1.2706 gills; 0.0199 peck.
1 Shō (10 ) 1.5881 quarts; 0.1985 peck.
1 To (10 Shō) 3.9703 gallons; 1.9851 pecks.
1 Koku (10 To) 39.7033 gallons; 4.9629 bushels.


1 Square Shaku about 1 square foot.
1 Tsubo (36 Square Shaku) 3.9538 square yards.
1 Se (30 Tsubo) about 119 square yards.
1 Tan (10 Se) 0.2451 acre.
1 Chō (10 Tan) 2.4507 acres.
1 Square Ki 5.9552 square miles.


1 yen $0.4935
1 sen one-half cent.


Money, Weight, and Measure of Various Countries in Terms of those of Japanese


English pound (20 shillings) 9.763 yen.
Shilling (12 pennies) 0.4881 „   
Penny (4 farthings) 0.0407 „   
Hong Kong dollar 0.949   „   
American dollar (100 cents) 2.006   „   
Cent 0.02     „   
German mark 0.478   „   
French franc 0.387   „   
Chinese tael 1.298   „   
Manila dollar 0.985   „   
Mexican dollar 0.965   „   


Mile (1,760 yards) 14 chō and 49 ken.
Yard (3 feet) 3 shaku.
Foot (12 inches) 1 shaku.
Inch 8 bu and 4 rin.


Metre 3 shaku and 3 sun.
Centimetre (1-100 metre) 3 bu and 3 rin.
Millimetre (1-1000 metre) 3 rin and 3 .


Gallon (liquid) 2 shō, 5 , and 2 shaku.
Bushel (wheat) 2 to and 1 .


Gallon (liquid) 2shō and 1 .
Bushel (wheat) 1 to, 9 shō, and 5 .



Ton (20 hundredweight, or 2,240 pounds) about 270 kwan and 946 momme.
Short ton (2,000 pounds) 241 kwan and 916 momme.
Hundredweight (112 pounds) 13 kwan and 547 momme.
Pound (16 ounces) 121 momme.
Ounce about 8 momme.



Pound 99 momme and 5 bu.
Ounce 8 momme and 3 bu.
Grain 1 rin and 7 .



Acre4 tan and 24 ho.

Arable Land in Japan199

The “Nichi Nichi Shimbun” argues that the real question for the Japanese to consider is development of agriculture, not a paltry lightening of the fiscal burden now imposed on agriculturists. When the area of cultivated land in the various countries of the world is compared with the total areas of those countries, startling figures result.

Ratio of Area of Cultivated Land to Total Area of Country

Belgium 53.9
Prussia 50.3
France 50.2
Germany 43.4
Denmark 42.5
Italy 39.9
Hungary 37.7
Austria 36.7
Spain 35.7
Holland 27.3
England 27.9
Portugal 24.9
European Russia 16.4
Japan 13.8

Japanese habitually plead that their extraordinarily low place on this list is the result, not of want of industry, but of natural obstacles, much of the surface of their islands consisting of mountains and hills which cannot be made arable. The “Nichi Nichi” alleges that such an excuse is merely partial, and that a little energy and resolution would soon change the situation. At any rate, the opposition offered by politicians to the present351 land tax is not in the genuine interests of agriculture, but in the interests of political popularity.

Mr. Megata, an official of the Finance Department and an expert statistician, has figured out that in 1901 more than 15,000,000 acres were in cultivation.

The actual yield of rice for ten years (1900-1909) is indicated in the following table:—

1900 41,466,422
1901 46,914,434
1902 36,932,266
1903 46,473,298
1904 51,430,321
1905 38,172,560
1906 46,302,530
1907 49,052,065
1908 51,932,893
1909 52,437,662
Average 46,114,451

Fruit-Growing in Japan200

Fruits originally cultivated, and probably native in Japan, include the orange, pear, peach, sour plum, almond, grape, persimmon, loquat, pomegranate, ginko or salisburia, and fig. The mikan, or Japanese sweet orange, is smaller, sweeter, and less juicy than the oranges raised in America, and the thin membrane separating the sections of the fruit is tougher; it has a very pleasant flavor, and is much used for food by both natives and foreigners. It is cultivated all through the warmer regions of Japan, and is the most plentiful of the fruits raised there, being found in the markets from early autumn until late the following spring. The persimmon352 comes next to the orange in the number produced, and is a favorite with the natives, but its season is comparatively short. It closely resembles the persimmon of America’s Southern States. The sour plum is extensively cultivated and yields a good crop, but the other fruits named above, though more or less widely grown, are produced in much smaller quantities—the fig being most abundant and most valued of the less important fruits. The government has introduced peaches, pears, and grapes from Europe and America, and has found the soil and climate well adapted to their production, so that these are now cultivated in addition to the native varieties of the same fruits. Of the fruits wholly unknown in Japan until introduced from abroad, the apple has proved most successful, and it has become a chief product of some districts in the Hokkaidō, or northern island. The apples are of fine appearance and excellent flavor, and the trees yield a profit very encouraging to the cultivator, so that the area of their production is being increased. The natives eat fruit chiefly fresh, and its use as a table diet is not general, although increasing. The processes of drying and canning fruits are beginning to come into use, but only as a means of preserving the fruit for home consumption, not for export.

Factories in Japan201

  No. of
Horse Power.
No. of Factories
without Motor
1895 2,758 61,252 4,396
1896 3,037 64,429 4,603
1897 2,910 63,434 4,377
1898 2,964 79,016 4,131
1899 2,305 76,885 4,394
1900 2,388 95,392 4,896
1909 6,723 554,571 8,703


Factories with Motor Power

  No. of
No. of
Silk reeling { 1,046
Cotton and silk spinning { 117
Ships, machines, etc. { 155
Weaving { 25
Cement { 251
Printing { 30
Paper-mills { 11

Factories without Motor Power

  No. of
No. of
Silk reeling { 636
Cotton and silk spinning { 2
Ships, machines, etc. { 188
Weaving { 1,025
Cement { 136
Printing { 103


Clearing-Houses of Japan

The following table shows the development of the clearing-house business in the two largest centres:—

First Half-Year
Total of Checks and Bills Cleared.
1895 131,600,000 34,500,000
1896 184,800,000 65,700,000
1897 250,300,000 72,200,000
1898 383,400,000 97,300,000
1899 433,800,000 161,600,000
1900 675,400,000 255,500,000
1901 565,000,000 263,700,000
1902 614,700,000 298,700,000
1903 756,100,000 395,900,000
1908 (whole year) 2,962,973,000 1,418,941,000
1910 (whole year) 3,841,380,000 2,028,605,000

Ship-Building in Japan203

Recent orders which have been placed in the hands of the Nagasaki Dockyard and Engine Works and the Kawasaki Dockyard Company, Limited, by the Nippon Yūsen Kaisha and the Ōsaka Shōsen Kaisha, serve to remind the resident of the rapid development of the ship-building industry in this country, while at the same time affording evidence of the growth of the country’s mercantile marine. The order placed with the first-named yard is for four large steamers of 6,000, 5,400, 2,500, and 1,900 tons, respectively, the largest vessels being intended for the Japan Mail Steamship Company’s European and Australian lines. Nor is the Ōsaka Shōsen Kaisha in a different position. This enterprising company also has found it necessary to order new vessels, and has found it economical to order them in355 Japan instead of from abroad. The fact is worthy of note, for it is the first time in the history of the country that orders for eight ocean-going steamers have been in hand at one time. This may, we trust, be held to indicate that the shipping and ship-building industries are in a healthy and prosperous state.

The contrast between the condition of the local ship-building trade now and that of a few years back is a striking one. Perhaps the first real impetus given to private ship-building here was due to the enterprise of the late Mr. E. C. Kirby, at whose yard at Onohama—the plant of which was subsequently removed to Kure—one large cruiser and several smaller gunboats and steamers were successfully launched. Since then, the yards at Kawasaki, Ōsaka, Ishikawajima, Uraga, and Nagasaki have taken up the work vigorously, and demonstrated beyond possibility of cavil their ability to turn out ocean-going craft, and large river steamers of the highest standard. With the productions of Ōsaka and Kōbe ship-building establishments trading regularly on the Yangtze, and 6,000-ton liners from the Nagasaki Shipbuilding Engine Works, making record voyages between Seattle and the Orient, and others running regularly between home ports and London, there is no longer room for surprise in viewing Japan-built steamers. There is no doubt that with the opening up of additional lines in the China and Japan seas, sufficient work for local ship-builders will be forthcoming for some years to come, and it is therefore unlikely that they will enter into serious competition in the near future with ship-building yards in Shanghai, Hongkong, and Singapore. The home demand seems likely to engage their activities for some years yet, though the presence of a 700-ton steamer for the Shanghai customs on the stocks at Kawasaki may be held to belie the prediction.... Although Japanese ship-builders may have quite enough to356 do in the near future to meet the home demand, a young rival has entered the lists against the great ship-building concerns of the West; and this in itself is no small credit to the nation, which is already able to plume itself upon having accomplished more in a generation than any other people in Asia or in the South Seas, and as much, relatively, as the American and English peoples whose homes are on the Pacific slope.

The Ōsaka Exhibition204

Considering that as recently as 1873 Japan had no such institution as a factory, and knew nothing whatever of iron foundries or machine shops, the Japanese-made machinery display at the exhibition at Ōsaka was astonishing. There we found silk-weaving and mat-making machines, electrical motors and generators, gas and oil engines, locomotives, electrical fittings, tools, beltings, match-making machine, lemonade-making machine, distilling machine, fire-brigade appliances, rice-cleaning machines, huge steam navvy, oil tanks, soap-making machines, printing machines, massive hoisting engine, tea-refining machinery, heavy mining machinery, and many other smaller machines, all of Japanese manufacture, admirably made and efficient.

In general manufactures the empire made a good showing. Straw braid; shibori, a beautiful stuff, making pretty dress material; woollen serges and woven silks, particularly a delicate fabric of mixed silk and cotton (the output of this fabric exceeding $1,500,000 per annum); cheap and good cotton blankets, Japanese towels, artistic designs in tiles and roofing materials, drainpipes, fireproof bricks. In drinkables, also of home manufacture,357 there was beer by the carload; sake, the famous native drink, enough to quench the thirst of an army.

One of the best exhibits was in clocks; some of them very handsome and very cheap, made by one or other of the twelve Japanese clock companies. The porcelain exhibition was good, consisting of beautiful vases, artistic porcelain trays, basins, teacups, etc. The exhibit of Japanese-made shoes was quite creditable. Other native manufactures exhibited were bamboo furniture, whatnots, over-mantels, fire screens, shell buttons, paper lanterns, fine silken rugs, shawls, paper, camphor, oils, soap, all kinds of sauces and relishes, silks of every hue and description, silk lace, gold and silver thread, linen, duck, tent cloths, ivory work, bronzes, lacquer and silver work, surgical instruments, pianos, organs, and other musical instruments, bicycles, gymnastic and athletic goods, microscopes, cameras, barometers, and almost every kind of educational apparatus.

The natural products of the country were exhibited to good advantage. Rice, tobacco (manufactured and un-manufactured), silkworms, various varieties of silk cocoons, tea, huge oranges, sugar, furs, woods, pearls, coral, fish (dried and salted). Mushrooms were a special exhibit of one prefecture, tea of another, and so on. The whole section of the agricultural experiment station was complete and admirable in every way.

In the foreign section we found weaving-machines (only introduced October, 1902, and already largely sold), German shoe-making and cigarette-making machines, and searchlights from Nuremberg, match and matchbox-making machines, rifles, wire samples, chemicals, perfumes, British-made electrical appliances, timber, paints, varnishes, gas and oil engines, steam-engines (British), a turbo-alternator (electric) from Newcastle-on-Tyne, rubber and steel goods from England, Maxim’s famous guns, fountain pens, typewriters, Indian cotton, American358 bone goods, American motor cars and bicycles, meat extracts, American provisions, American lighting and heating apparatus for railway carriages and street cars, refrigerator cars, Boston pile-sinking outfits, New York pumps, marine gasolene engine, and sewing-machines.

Canada also made a good exhibit of the cereals and food products of the Dominion, with the Canadian system of cold storage, and of pulp woods, furniture, and iron work.

Cost of Living in Japan

How Laborers Live

The following tables are from “The Labor World” for July 1, 1898. The editor sent a form to be filled out by the laborers themselves, to get accurate statistics of their lives and work. A few samples throw light upon the inner life of Japanese laborers:—

No. 1.—House, two rooms; a family,—man (30), wife (23), mother (53), two sisters (14 and 11); occupation, blacksmith.

Working days in a month 26
Working hours in a day 12
Daily wages $0.52
Monthly income 13.83
Monthly expenses 13.65
House rent, one month 0.96
Rice 5.76
Fuel and light 1.08
Vegetables. 0.87
Fish 0.96
Sake (rice beer) 0.24
Soy (Japanese sauce) 0.73
Tobacco 0.20
Hair cutting and dressing 0.83
Bath 0.88
Pin money 0.25
Sundries 0.89

No. 55.—House, two rooms, with kitchen; a family,—man (27), wife (25), boy (6), girl (2); business, iron worker.

Daily wages $0.25
Overtime income for one month 1.50
Monthly income 8.28359
Monthly income 8.28
Monthly expense 9.44
House rent 0.75
Rice 3.25
Fuel and light 0.41
Vegetables 0.60
Fish 0.60
Soy and miso 0.23
Tobacco 0.25
Hair cutting and dressing 0.18
Bath 0.20
Pin money 0.60
Sundries, including interest on debt 2.37

Increase in Living Expense

The following interesting comparison between the cost of living in 1889 and 1899 is from “The Miyako”:

(Calculated monthly expenditure of a family of six members—a married couple, a parent, two children, and one servant—living with strict economy.)

  1889. 1899.
  yen. yen.

House rent (a house containing the furnished rooms of 6, 4½, and 2 mats, respectively

2.50 5.00

Cleaned rice (at the rate of 2 shō per day)

4.50 7.00
  (1 to 3 shō
per yen.)
(8 shō 5 
per yen.)


0.45 0.75

Salt and miso (including 1½ of salt and some miso)

0.40 0.70

Oils (3 shō of kerosene and 5 of vegetable oil)

0.45 0.69


0.60 0.90

Milk (1 per day)

0.90 1.10

Newspaper (only 1)

0.25 0.35

School expenses (for 2 children)

0.80 0.90

Stationery expenditure (for the children)

0.60 0.90

Hair dressing

0.34 0.69

Price of bath (every other day for the family)

0.90 1.50


0.90 1.50

Fish food (9 messes for the family)

1.08 1.80

Beef (6 messes for the family, about 2/3 of 1 pound)

0.60 1.20

Tsukudani and other auxiliary foods (6 messes)

0.24 0.42


0.40 0.50


1.00 1.80


17.21  28.20 

Security money for rent

7.00 15.00 

These include necessaries, but if other petty expenses are taken into calculation, a family of 6 members as360 mentioned above will require a monthly income of at least 35 yen on which to maintain themselves decently.

Wages of Japanese Workmen

Following is a table of the average wages:—

    1902. 1911.
    yen. yen.
Carpenter per day .775 1.063
Plasterer .863 1.150
Painter .860 1.238
Tile Roofer .613 1.225
Roofer .913 1.213
Bricklayer .900 1.250
Furniture Maker .800 .988
Stone Mason .925 1.250
Gardener .600 .838
Paper Hanger .825 1.025
Matting Setter .900 1.175
Sawyer .863 1.088
Compositor .575 .750
Printer .400 .650
Wooden Clog Maker .638 .625
Cooper .700 .528
Fireman .550 .813
Coolie .450 .575
Jeweller .650 .650
Tailor, Jap. clothes .688 .738
205Cabinet Maker .550 .888
205Lacquerer .513 .600
205Shoemaker .750 1.038
205Harness Maker .675 1.038
205Cart Maker .550 .588
205Founder .813 .700
205Blacksmith .813 1.075
205Rice Pounder .375 .483
205Dyer per month 8.875 8.375
205Washerman 10.000 7.750
205Jap. Sock Maker 6.000 9.500
205Eur. Confectioner 9.750 13.000
205Male Servant 2.625 4.000
205Female Servant 2.000 3.250
205Tailor, Eur. clothes 17.625 30.000

Railways in Japan

The report on railway development shows that since the government constructed its first line of eighteen361 miles from Yokohama to Tōkyō in 1872, a great trunk line of 1,200 miles has been built, and the total mileage in the country increased to 6,042, which in 1910 handled 153,088,066 passengers and 25,815,000 tons of freight. Of this entire mileage, 506 miles are owned by private corporations, and 5,536 by the government, which was the pioneer in the movement to give the country modern land transportation. No private construction was done until 1883, when the government had 181 miles of railway under operation; and it was not until 1889 that private enterprise for a time led the governmental effort. The state railways to August, 1905, cost the sum of 85,573,511 yen, while the private systems represented a cost for construction to the same date of 191,230,291 yen. In 1910 the grand total had reached almost 577,000,000 yen.


According to the reports made on the railways at the end of the year 1910 the gross earnings of both state and private railways for that year were 89,000,000 yen, the gross expenditures 46,796,000 yen, and the net profit over 43,700,000 yen.

The government has arranged plans for railway construction and development which involve an outlay of 174,523,365 yen, the construction to extend through eight years, and the improvements through twelve.

The line from Nagoya to Haichioji, near Tōkyō, opened to traffic in 1911, is about 224 miles long. The construction represents the best engineering skill, and an outlay of $17,500,000. It has ninety-five tunnels and 350 bridges.

The people of the country opposed the construction of the first line from Yokohama to Tokyo as a dangerous thing, and it was several years before public opposition to the innovation was entirely removed. Bond issues for railway construction were opposed, but the government insisted on its policy and finally won the people to its general support, so that by the end of the year 1908362 on all lines there were 2,156 locomotives, 5,951 passenger coaches, and 34,045 freight cars in use.

Postal Savings in Japan206

It must be admitted at the outset that the system of postal savings in Japan cannot boast of any particularly brilliant record. The study of it reveals, however, a state of things which is not without some encouraging features. We give below the amounts of the deposits and some other items for every third year since the inauguration of the institution:—

Year. Deposits at the End
of the Year.

No. of Depositors. Amount per Depositor.
1875 15,000 1,800   8
1878 286,000 14,100 20
1881 821,000 38,900 21
1884 5,260,000 141,200 37
1887 18,213,000 568,800 31
1890 19,197,000 833,700 25
1893 26,155,000 1,060,200 24
1896 28,251,000 1,273,300 21
1899 23,455,000 1,397,600 16
1902 28,536,000 2,707,500 10
1905 54,754,096 5,858,560   9
1908 92,389,473 7,886,279 12
1911 200,000,000 12,000,000 17

The sudden drop between the years 1896 and 1902 is owing to the fact that the extraordinarily high interest offered by the ordinary banks during that period of monetary stringency diverted deposits from the Post Offices. The gradual fall in the general rates of interest since then has already begun to turn the tide back in favor of the Post Offices, as shown by the figures for late years. What is particularly satisfactory is the increase363 in the number of depositors, the increase in this respect being far more remarkable than the increase in the amount of the deposits, as shown by the decreasing amount per depositor. This means, if it means anything, that the advantages offered by the Postal Savings Bank are more and more extensively appreciated by the poorer classes.

The amount of deposits at the Postal Savings Bank seems to be steadily increasing, as is shown by the table. The figures for 1909, not given there, show 9,717,236 depositors, and 122,098,101 yen deposits.

Not altogether unsatisfactory as is this result of the official efforts to encourage the saving habit among the people, it must be noted that we are in this respect far behind some of the European countries. Consulting the statistics for the year 1898, we find the postal savings reached in that year to £120,000,000 in England, £33,000,000 in France, £21,000,000 in Belgium, £4,800,000 in Austria, £1,000,000 in Hungary, £2,700,000 in Holland, and £3,400,000 in Sweden. In spite of the great improvement effected in the system of late years, especially in the way of simplifying the official procedure connected with the acceptance and repayment of the deposits, much still remains to be done in order to bring the facilities provided by it within easy reach of the people by increasing the number of the Post Offices authorized to receive deposits throughout the country.

While speaking of savings, it may not be uninteresting to mention a few figures on the state of the deposits at the ordinary banks. We do not happen to have at hand the statistics covering all the banking concerns in the country. The “Ginkō Tsushin-Roku,” however, supplies us with reliable statistics up to February, 1902, so far as the principal banking centres are concerned. We find, then, that the total amount of deposits at the banks belonging to the clearing-houses of Tōkyō, Ōsaka, Kyōto,364 Nagoya, Yokohama, and Kōbe, stood at the end of February at 308,289,000 yen, made up as follows, not including the deposits at the Bank of Japan:

Tōkyō 119,268,000
Ōsaka 75,824,000
Yokohama 49,280,000
Kōbe 23,423,000
Kyōto 22,616,000
Nagoya 17,878,000

In June, 1910, the Bank of Japan had a paid-up capital of 37,600,000 yen; in 1909 the deposits were 220,101,784 yen. At that time the Industrial Bank of Japan had deposits of 8,930,050 yen. The deposits in all the Japanese banks in 1909 amounted to 1,617,873,711 yen.

The Oil Industry in Japan207

Japan’s oil industry has a brilliant future before it. The use of kerosene in the country has grown at a wonderfully rapid pace. In the first year of Meiji the amount of oil imported was 639 koku. In 1901 it had reached 1,300,000 koku. The value of the oil imported in 1868 was only 7,236 yen; that imported in 1901 was 14 million yen.208 The following table shows the rate at which the import of kerosene into Japan increased:—

Years. Koku. Value.
1868 639 7,236
1872 8,936 160,608
1877 53,645 605,598
1882 413,644 2,320,905
1887 421,177 1,871,428
1892 653,785 3,328,398
1897 1,221,164 7,667,350
1900 1,356,846 14,162,652
1901 1,379,927 14,943,400


Notwithstanding the large supply that has come from abroad, of late years the demand for the Echigo oil has gone on increasing, as shown in the subjoined table, which covers seven years.

Years. Koku of Crude
Value. Yen.
1895 158,334 526,976
1896 207,470 619,333
1897 257,614 668,677
1898 355,006 670,308
1899 544,583 1,450,904
1900 836,628 2,142,003
1901 1,115,807 2,345,916

It is calculated that about 5/10 of the total quantity of this crude petroleum was used for lighting purposes. It would seem, then, that Echigo supplied 3/10 of the total amount of oil used for lighting in Japan during the seven years, and that the remaining 7/10 came from abroad. Taking the year 1901, the value of the crude petroleum being 2,345,916 yen, it is estimated that when refined this amount of petroleum would fetch not less than 4 million yen. But the fact remains that the proportion of oil imported is still very large, so that there is room for a further great development of the business.

In 1908 Japan’s output of petroleum was 1,872,592 U. S. barrels. Echigo is by no means worked out: new fields are constantly being discovered in that province. Then petroleum has been found in Hokkaidō and in the Yamagata and Shizuoka prefectures. So that among Japan’s modern industries her oil trade may be pronounced to be full of promise. How the quality of the Japanese oil compares with the American and Russian brands, we are not told by the Jiji, but from other sources we gather that when properly refined Japanese petroleum is equal to the best American and Russian oils.



The following table shows the national development in population, finance, trade, railway, vessels, telegraphs, savings, and currency, during the 30 years from 1872 to 1902.

Year. Population.
(in Thousand)
State Expenditure.
1872 33,210 57,730,025 43,204,462 18
1873 33,300 62,678,601 49,742,830 18
1874 33,625 82,269,528 42,779,120 38
1875 33,997 69,203,242 48,586,738 38
1876 34,338 59,308,956 51,676,296 65
1877 (unknown) 48,428,324 50,769,424 66
1878 60,911,336 58,862,974 68
1879 35,768 60,317,578 61,128,772 73
1880 35,929 63,140,896 65,021,987 98
1881 36,358 71,460,321 62,250,133 122
1882 36,700 73,480,667 67,168,344 170
1883 37,017 83,106,859 64,712,861 244
1884 37,451 76,663,108 63,544,112 262
1885 37,868 61,115,313 66,503,659 353
1886 38,507 83,223,960 84,044,745 430
1887 39,069 79,453,036 96,711,932 593
1888 39,607 81,504,024 131,160,744 912
1889 40,072 79,713,671 136,164,472 1,136
1890 40,453 82,125,403 138,332,086 1,339
1891 40,718 83,558,891 142,454,540 1,716
1892 41,089 76,734,740 162,428,833 1,870
1893 41,388 84,581,872 177,970,036 1,938
1894 41,813 78,128,643 230,028,141 2,118
1895 42,270 85,317,179 265,372,756 2,290
1896 42,706 168,856,509 289,517,234 2,507
1897 43,228 223,678,844 382,435,848 2,948
1898 43,763 219,757,568 443,255,909 3,120
1899 44,260 254,165,537 435,331,802 3,638
1900 .... 292,726,996 491,691,839 3,855
1901 .... 266,856,824 508,166,187 4,026
1902 .... 275,751,194    
Year. Vessels.

Money in

1872 22,364 87 .... 132,611,498
1873 26,988 806 .... 159,423,361
1874 26,120 1,758 .... 157,660,830
1875 42,304 1,833 15,224 154,931,596
1876 40,248 2,156 41,845 163,692,344
1877 49,105 2,876 100,138 175,432,023
1878 43,899 3,512 286,289 221,994,874
1879 42,763 3,842 494,114 215,912,239
1880 41,215 4,489 662,091 203,994,171
1881 41,044 5,078 821,938 195,742,688
1882 42,107 5,477 1,058,225 186,376,681
1883 45,350 5,871 2,298,502 182,625,317
1884 49,845 6,122 5,260,484 177,978,053
1885 59,613 6,283 9,050,255 181,433,916
1886 63,314 6,353 15,462,054 198,557,838
1887 72,322 6,818 18,417,022 200,157,163
1888 81,066 7,588 20,142,169 207,825,609
1889 88,816 8,191 19,976,419 220,748,343
1890 93,812 9,250 19,197,942 205,408,438
1891 95,588 9,113 26,424,174 210,872,584
1892 102,301 9,920 30,031,483 219,848,385
1893 110,205 10,230 32,199.954 244,847,437
1894 169,414 11,502 32,772,652 256,088,534
1895 213,221 12,212 41,143,695 291,665,016
1896 227,841 15,431 46,693,884 307,461,803
1897 426,624 18,360 51,550,536 330,470,142
1898 464,246 20,561 52,532,992 285,589,698
1899 498,376 24,342 68,829,712 332,702,090
1900 534,239 27,390 72,897,286 318,280,814
1901 .... .... .... 306,315,006


NOTE.—In expenditure, the figures from 1872 up to 1898 are taken from the settled account, and those of 1899, 1900, and 1901 from the actual account. 1902 is from the Budget. In railways, the figures show the mileages of the lines belonging to the government as well as those belonging to private firms opened to traffic at the end of the respective years. The tonnage of vessels shown in the table is that of steamers. Before 1896, the figures represented the aggregate amount of both registered and unregistered tonnage, while from that year up to 1902, the figures only represented registered tonnage. In savings, the figures show the total amount saved in the post offices as well in the savings banks at the end of the respective years. The figures from 1890 to 1900 indicate, however, the amounts of the postal savings only.

From the “Tōyō Keizai Shimpō” (Oriental Economist).



From the official statistics we give a table of Japan’s foreign trade each year from 1868 to 1901, and for 1909.

1868 15,553,472 870 10,693,071 790 26,246,544 660
1869 12,908,977 990 20,783,633 090 33,692,611 080
1870 14,543,012 510 33,741,637 360 48,284,649 870
1871 17,968,608 660 21,916,727 650 39,885,336 310
1872 17,026,647 220 26,174,814 930 43,201,462 150
1873 21,635,440 850 28,107,390 030 49,742,830 880
1874 19,317,306 090 23,461,814 400 42,779,120 490
1875 18,611,110 610 29,975,627 620 48,586,738 230
1876 27,711,527 500 29,964,678 960 51,676,206 460
1877 23,348,521 600 27,420,902 950 50,769,424 650
1878 25,988,140 280 32,874,834 170 58,862,974 450
1879 28,175,770 190 32,953,002 390 61,128,772 580
1880 28,395,386 660 36,626,601 000 65,021,987 660
1881 31,058,887 930 31,191,246 020 62,250,133 950
1882 37,721,750 570 29,446,593 980 67,168,344 550
1883 36,268,019 590 28,444,841 780 64,712,861 370
1884 33,871,465 500 29,672,647 450 63,544,112 950
1885 37,146,691 430 29,356,967 920 66,503,659 350
1886 48,876,312 790 32,168,432 260 81,044,745 050
1887 52,407,681 150 44,304,251 690 96,711,932 840
1888 65,705,510 210 65,455,234 010 131,160,744 220
1889 70,060,705 820 66,103,766 600 136,164,472 420
1890 56,603,506 030 81,728,580 500 138,332,086 530
1891 79,527,272 340 62,927,268 380 142,454,540 720
1892 91,102,753 630 71,326,079 500 162,428,833 130
1893 89,712,864 590 88,257,171 710 177,970,036 300
1894 113,246,086 150 117,481,955 460 230,728,041 610
1895 136,112,177 920 129,260,578 280 265,372,756 200
1896 177,842,700 620 171,674,474 250 289,517,234 870
1897 163,135,077 320 219,300,771 640 382,435,848 960
1898 165,753,752 880 277,502,156 510 443,255,909 390
1899 214,929,894 310 220,401,925 990 435,331,820 300
1900 204,429,998 980 287,261,845 680 491,691,839 560
1901 252,349,542 100 255,816,644 700 508,166,187 800
1909 413,112,511 .. 394,198,843 .. 807,311,354  
  Imports Compared with Exports.  
1868 ....... .. 4,860,401 080
1869 7,874,655      
1870 19,198,624 850    
1871 3,948,118 990    
1872 9,148,167 710    
1873 6,471,949 180    
1874 4,144,508 310    
1875 11,364,517 010    
1876 ....... .. 3,746,848 540
1877 4,072,381 850    
1878 6,886,693 890    
1879 4,777,232 200    
1880 8,231,214 340    
1881 132,358 090    
1882 ...... .. 8,275,156 590
1883 ...... .. 7,823,177 810
1884 ...... .. 4,198,818 050
1885 ...... .. 7,789,723 510
1886 ...... .. 16,707,880 530
1887 ...... .. 8,103,429 460
1888 ...... .. 250,276 200
1889 ...... .. 3,966,939 220
1890 25,125,074 470    
1891 ...... .. 16,600,003 960
1892 ...... .. 19,776,674 130
1893 ...... .. 1,455,692 880
1894 4,235,869 310    
1895 ...... .. 6,851,599 640
1896 53,831,713 680    
1897 56,165,694 320    
1898 111,748,403 630    
1899 5,472,031 680    
1900 82,831,851 600    
1901 3,467,101 600    


The Wealth of Japan

The following estimate gives an idea of the wealth of Japan and its distribution:—

Land 7,000 millions yen.
Mines 500
Live-stock 80
Buildings 1,900
Furniture 400
Railroads 350
Warships and merchant-ships 250
Specie 200
Miscellaneous 300
Goods and other products 800
Total 11,080

The output of gold in 1908 was 168,883 ounces.

On the position Japanese occupy as regards the acquisition of wealth Mr. Kure Bunso, the well-known statistician, writes in the “Shakaigaku Zasshi” as follows: There are only two men in Japan who pay an income tax on over 250,000 yen. There are only 13 men in the whole country who pay on 39,000 yen, being in the proportion of 4 persons to every 100,000 inhabitants; only 67 who pay on 24,000 yen, being in the proportion of 2 persons to every 10,000 inhabitants; 96 persons who pay on 17,000 yen, being in the proportion of 2.8 persons to every 10,000 inhabitants; those who pay on 11,000 yen number 140, being in the proportion of 4 persons to every 10,000 inhabitants. Out of every 1,000 inhabitants there are only 7 persons who make 2,700 yen a year. Thus it is seen that when compared with the French and the English the Japanese are extremely poor. The Germans seem to be rich to the Japanese, though when compared with the French and English they are poor. General Grant, when in Japan nearly twenty years ago,370 remarked that Japan was fortunate in having such an equality among all classes of the people. He said that the gulf between the rich and the poor did not exist here. Equality may be all very well in its way, but, says Mr. Kure, a state of equality in which most of the people hardly have enough to live on is anything but desirable.209

The new building of the Mitsui Company in Tōkyō is constructed upon steel frames, and is the only one of its kind in the East. The Mitsui Bank is the oldest banking establishment in Japan, more than 200 years old. The building area is 2,600 square yards on a site covering 2½ acres.

Japanese Year Periods

It should be borne in mind that the Japanese year periods do not regularly correspond with the reigns of the Emperors, because “a new one was chosen whenever it was deemed necessary to commemorate an auspicious or ward off a malign event.” But hereafter the era will correspond with the reign of an Emperor. The names of some of these eras are quite famous, like the Elizabethan or the Victorian Era in English history. As the first era was a time of great reforms, it is known as the Taikwa Reformation; the Engi Era, in the tenth century, is celebrated for important legislation; the Genroku Era, in the seventeenth century, was “a period of great activity in various arts”; and the Tempō Era, of recent days, was “the last brilliant period of feudalism before its fall.” This name was also given to the large 8 rin piece coined in that era. The Wadō Era, in the fourteenth century, was so named on account of the discovery of copper; and the second era, Hakuchi, commemorates a “white pheasant,” presented to the Emperor.



Name. Japanese
Taikwa 1305   645
Hakuchi 1310   650
(Blank) 1315-1331 655-671
Sujaku 1332   672
Hakuhō 1332   672
Shuchō 1346   686
(Blank) 1347-1360 687-700
Daihō [Taihō] 1361   701
Keiun 1364   704
Wadō 1368   708
Reiki 1375   715
Yōrō 1377   717
Jinki [Shinki] 1384   724
Tembiō 1389   729
Tembiō shōhō 1409   749
Tembiō hoji 1417   757
Tembiō jingo 1425   765
Jingo keiun 1427   767
Hōki 1430   770
Tenō 1441   781
Enriaku 1442   782
Daidō 1466   806
Kōnin 1470   810
Tenchō 1484   824
Jōwa [Shōwa] 1494   834
Kajō [Kashō] 1508   848
Ninju 1511   851
Saikō 1514   854
Tenan 1517   857
Jōgwan [Jōkwan] 1519   859
Gwangiō [Genkei] 1537   877
Ninna [Ninwa] 1545   885
Kwampei 1549   889
Shōtai 1558   898
Engi 1561   901
Enchō 1583   923
Jōhei [Shōhei] 1591   931
Tengiō [Tenkei] 1598   938
Tenriaku 1607   947
Tentoku 1617   957
Ōwa 1621   961
Kōhō 1624   964
Anna 1628   968
Tenroku 1630   970
Ten-en 1633   973
Jōgen 1636   976
Tengen 1638   978
Eikwan 1643   983
Kwanna 1645   985
Eien 1647   987
Eiso [Eisho] 1649   989
Shōriaku 1650   990
Chōtoku 1655   995
Chōhō 1659   999
Kwankō 1664 1004
Chōwa 1672 1012
Kwannin 1677 1017
Ji-an 1681 1021
Manju 1684 1024
Chōgen 1688 1028
Chōriaku 1697 1037
Chōkiū 1700 1040
Kwantoku 1704 1044
Eijō [Eishō] 1706 1046
Tengi [Tenki] 1713 1053
Kōhei 1718 1058
Jiriaku 1725 1065
Enkiū 1729 1069
Jōhō [Shōhō] 1734 1074
Jōriaku [Shōreki] 1737 1077
Eiho 1741 1081
Otoku 1744 1084
Kwanji 1747 1087
Kahō 1754 1094
Eichō 1756 1096
Jōtoku [Shōtoku] 1757 1097
Kōwa 1759 1099
Chōji 1764 1104
Kajō [Kashō] 1766 1106
Tennin 1768 1108
Tenei 1770 1110
Eikiū 1773 1113
Genei 1778 1118
Hōan 1780 1120
Tenji 1784 1124
Daiji 1786 1126
Tenjō [Tenshō] 1791 1131
Chōjō [Chōshō] 1792 1132
Hōen 1795 1135
Eiji 1801 1141
Kōji 1802 1142
Tenyō 1804 1144
372 Kiū-an 1805 1145
Nimbiō 1811 1151
Kiūju 1814 1154
Hōgen 1816 1156
Heiji 1819 1159
Eiriaku 1820 1160
Ōhō 1821 1161
Chōkwan 1823 1163
Eiman 1825 1165
Ninan 1826 1166
Ka-ō 1829 1169
Jō-an [Shōan] 1831 1171
Angen 1835 1175
Jishō 1837 1177
Yōwa 1841 1181
Ju-ei 1842 1182
Genriaku 1844 1184
Bunji 1845 1185
Kenkiū 1850 1190
Shōji 1859 1199
Kennin 1861 1201
Genkiū 1864 1204
Kenei 1866 1206
Jōgen [Shōgen] 1867 1207
Kenriaku 1871 1211
Kempō 1873 1213
Jōkiū [Shōkiū] 1879 1219
Jō-ō 1882 1222
Gennin 1884 1224
Karoku 1885 1225
Antei 1887 1227
Kwangi 1889 1229
Jō-ei 1892 1232
Tempuku 1893 1233
Bunriaku 1894 1234
Katei 1895 1235
Riakunin 1898 1238
En-o 1899 1239
Ninji 1900 1240
Kwangen 1903 1243
Hōji 1907 1247
Kenchō 1909 1249
Kōgen 1916 1256
Shōka 1917 1257
Shōgen 1919 1259
Bunō 1920 1260
Kōchō 1921 1261
Bunei 1924 1264
Kenji 1935 1275
Kōan 1938 1278
Shō-ō 1948 1288
Einin 1953 1293
Shōan 1959 1299
Kengen 1962 1302
Kagen 1963 1303
Tokuji 1966 1306
Enkiō [En-kei] 1968 1308
Ōchō 1971 1311
Shōwa 1972 1312
Bumpō 1977 1317
Gen-ō 1979 1319
Genkō 1981 1321
Shōchū 1984 1324
Kariaku 1986 1326
Gentoku 1989 1329
Shōkiō [Shōkei] 1992 1332
Kemmu 1994 1334
Rekiō 1998     1338212
Kōei 2002     1342212
Jōwa 2005     1345212
Kwanō 2010     1350212
Bunna 2012     1352212
Embun 2016     1356212
Kōan 2021     1361212
Jōji 2022     1362212
Ōan 2028     1368212
Eiwa 2035     1375212
Kōreki 2039     1379212
Eitoku 2041     1381212
Shitoku 2044     1384212
Kakei 2047     1387212
Koō 2049     1389212
Engen 1996     1336213
Kōkoku 2000     1340213
Shōhei 2006     1346213
Kentoku 2030     1370213
Bunchū 2032     1372213
Tenju 2035     1375213
Kōwa 2041     1381213
Genchū 2044     1384213
Meitoku 2050 1390
Ō-ei 2054 1394
Shōchō 2088 1428
Eikiō 2089 1429
Kakitsu 2101 1441
Bunan 2104 1444
Hōtoku 2109 1449
Kōtoku 2112 1452
Kōshō 2115 1455
Chōroku 2117 1457
373 Kwanshō 2120 1460
Bunshō 2126 1466
Ōnin 2127 1467
Bummei 2129 1469
Chōkō 2147 1487
Entoku 2149 1489
Mei-ō 2152 1492
Bunki 2161 1501
Eishō 2164 1504
Dai-ei [Taiei] 2181 1521
Kōroku 2188 1528
Tembun 2192 1532
Kōji 2215 1555
Eiroku 2218 1558
Genki 2230 1570
Tenshō 2233 1573
Bunroku 2252 1592
Keichō 2256 1596
Genna 2275 1615
Kwanei 2284 1624
Shōhō 2304 1644
Kei-an 2308 1648
Jō-ō [Shō-ō] 2312 1652
Meireki 2315 1655
Manji 2318 1658
Kwambun 2321 1661
Empō 2333 1673
Tenna 2341 1681
Jōkiō 2344 1684
Genroku 2348 1688
Hō-ei 2364 1704
Shōtōku 2371 1711
Kiōhō 2376 1716
Gembun 2396 1736
Kwampō 2401 1741
Enkiō 2404 1744
Kwannen 2408 1748
Hōreki 2411 1751
Meiwa 2424 1764
Anei 2432 1772
Temmei 2441 1781
Kwansei 2449 1789
Kiōwa 2461 1801
Bunkwa 2464 1804
Bunsei 2478 1818
Tempō 2490 1830
Kōkwa 2504 1844
Ka-ei 2508 1848
Ansei 2514 1854
Manen 2520 1860
Bunkiū 2521 1861
Genji 2524 1864
Kei-ō 2525 1865
Meiji 2528 1868
Taishō 2572 1912

The names of these periods are made by the various combinations of 68 Chinese words of good omen.

There are, moreover, other expressions which more closely resemble such common Occidental phrases as the Victorian Era, the Elizabethan Era, the Age of Pericles, except that in the impersonal Orient such expressions are named more often from places. In Japanese history, for instance, it is very common to read of the Nara Epoch, the Heian Epoch, the Muromachi Period, the Kamakura Period, the Yedo Era, the Tōkyō Period (Modern Japan). Personal names are applied, however, in such cases as the Hōjō Era, the Ashikaga Period, the Tokugawa Era, the Fujiwara Period.


Chronological Table of Emperors and Empresses.214

1. Jimmu (660-585 B. C.)
2. Suizei (581-549)
3. Annei (548-511)
4. Itoku (510-477)
5. Kōshō (475-393)
6. Kōan (392-291)
7. Kōrei (290-215)
8. Kōgen (214-158)
9. Kaikwa (157-98)
10. Sujin (97-30)
11. Suinin (29 B. C.-70 A. D.)
12. Keikō (71-130 A. D.)
13. Seimu (131-190)
14. Chūai-(192-200)
[15. Jingō214 (201-269)]
16. Ōjin (270-310)
17. Nintoku (313-399)
18. Richū (400-405)
19. Hanzei (406-411)
20. Ingyō (412-453)
21. Ankō (454-456)
22. Yūryaku (457-479)
23. Seinei (480-484)
24. Kensō (485-487)
25. Ninken (488-498)
26. Muretsu (499-506)
27. Keitai (507-531)
28. Ankan (534-535)
29. Senkwa (536-539)
30. Kimmei (540-571)
31. Bidatsu (572-585)
32. Yōmei (586-587)
33. Sujun (588-592)
34. Suiko (593-628)
35. Jomei (629-641)
36. Kōgyoku (642-645)
37. Kōtoku (645-654)
38. Saimei (655-661)
39. Tenchi (668-671)
40. Kōbun (672)
41. Temmu (673-686)
42. Jitō (690-696)
43. Mommu (697-707)
44. Gemmyō (708-715)
45. Genshō (715-723)
46. Shōmu (724-748)
47. Kōken (749-758)
48. Junnin (758-764)
49. Shōtoku (765-770)
50. Kōnin (770-781)
51. Kwammu (782-806)
52. Heizei (806-809)
53. Saga (809-823)
54. Junna (823-833)
55. Nimmyō (833-850)
56. Montoku (850-858)
57. Seiwa (859-876)
58. Yōzei (877-884)
59. Kōkō (884-887)
60. Uda (888-897)
61. Daigo (897-930)
62. Sujaku (931-946)
63. Murakami (946-967)
64. Reizei (968-969)
65. Enyū (970-984)
66. Kwazan (985-986)
67. Ichijō (987-1011)
68. Sanjō (1012-1016)
69. Go-Ichijō215 (1016-1036)
70. Go-Sujaku (1037-1045)
71. Go-Reizei (1045-1068)
72. Go-Sanjō (1068-1072)
73. Shirakawa (1073-10861
74. Horikawa (1087-1107)
75. Toba (1108-1123)
76. Sutoku (1123-1141)
77. Konoye (1142-1155)
78. Go-Shirakawa (1155-1158)
79. Nijō (1159-1165)
80. Rokujō (1165-1168)
81. Takakura (1168-1180)
82. Antoku (1180-1185)
83. Go-Toba (1186-1198)
84. Tsuchimikado (1198-1210)
85. Juntoku (1211-1221)
375 86. Chūkyō (1221)
87. Go-Horikawa (1221-1232)
88. Shijō (1233-1242)
89. Go-Saga (1242-1246)
90. Go-Fukakusa (1246-1259)
91. Kameyama (1260-1274)
92. Go-Uda (1274-1287)
93. Fushimi (1288-1298)
94. Go-Fushimi (1298-1301)
95. Go-Nijo (1301-1308)
96. Hanazono (1308-1318)
97. Go-Daigo (1318-1338)
98. Go-Murakami (1339-1368)
[99. Chōkei (1368-1372)]
100. Go-Kameyama (1373-1392)
101. Go-Komatsu (1392-1412)
102. Shōkō (1412-1428)
103. Go-Hanazono (1428-1464)
104. Go-Tsuchimikado (1464-1500)
105. Go-Kashiwabara (1500-1526)
106. Go-Nara (1526-1557)
107. Ogimachi (1567-1586)
108. Go-Yōzei (1587-1611)
109. Go-Mizuno-o (1612-1629)
110. Myōshō (1630-1643)
111. Go-Kōmyō (1643-1654)
112. Go-Saiin (1655-1663)
113. Reigen (1663-1687)
114. Higashiyama (1687-1709)
115. Nakano-mikado (1709-1735)
116. Sakuramachi (1735-1747)
117. Momozono (1747-1762)
118. Go-Sakuramachi (1762-1770)
119. Go-Momozono (1771-1779)
120. Kōkaku (1779-1817)
121. Ninkō (1817-1846)
122. Kōmei (1846-1867)
123. Mutsuhito (1867-1912)
124. Yoshihito (1912- )

N.B.—Nos. 36 and 38 were the same empress; likewise Nos. 47 and 49.

We append also a list of the sovereigns of the “Northern Court” during the separation, as follows:

1. Kōgon (1331-1333)
2. Kōmyō (1336-1348)
3. Sukō (1349-1352)
4. Go-Kōgon (1352-1371)
5. Go-Enyu (1371-1382)
6. Go-Komatsu (1383-1392)

In 1392 Go-Komatsu became emperor over the reunited empire.

Ministerial Changes in Japan

The following table shows the Cabinet changes that have taken place since constitutional government was instituted:

Premier. Term of Office. Yrs. Mos.
Yamagata Dec. ’89-Apr. ’91 1 4
Matsukata May ’91-July ’92 1 2
Itō Aug. ’92-Aug. ’96 4 0
Matsukata Sept. ’96-Dec. ’97 1 3
Ito Jan. ’98-June ’98 0 5
Okuma-Itagaki June ’98-Oct. ’98 0 4
Yamagata Nov. ’98-Sept. ’00 1 10 
Itō Oct. ’00-May ’01 0 7
Katsura June ’01-Dec. ’05 4 6
Saionji Jan. ’06-July ’08 2 6
Katsura July ’08-Aug. ’11 3 2
Saionji Sept. ’11-Dec. ’12 1 3
Katsura Dec. ’12-Feb. ’13 0 2
Yamamoto Feb. ’13-                 

In connection with this table, we wish to call attention to the fact that the average duration of eleven Ministries376 is less than two years; and that the average was considerably raised by the unusual length of the two Ministries which covered the periods of the wars with China and Russia, when political rivalries were buried. It is quite probable that, if foreign wars had not occurred to unify the nation, those Ministries would not have had a duration so greatly in excess of the average, especially as, at the outbreak of the wars, party feeling was running very high. In that case the general average would have been reduced by an increase in the number of cabinets. It should also be noticed that three of these Ministries (both Matsukata and the second Itō) came to an end on account of collision with the Diet, and that four Ministries (the Kuroda, the first and third Itō, and the first party Cabinet of Ōkuma and Itagaki) were broken up by internal dissensions; and the last Katsura (February, 1913) was forced out by popular revolt.

Japan’s House of Peers

Among its 373 members only 57 sit by hereditary right; namely, 14 Princes of the Blood, 13 Princes, and 30 Marquises. Among the remaining members, 150 are elected by the Counts, Viscounts, and Barons, 121 are Imperial nominees,—that is to say, men who have earned distinction by eminent services or attainments,—and 45 represent the highest tax-payers in the prefectures.

The Political Parties of Japan216

The idea of popular representation in the government of Japan may be said to have had its birth with the Restoration, although some thoughtful men had been turning their minds in that direction at an earlier date. His Imperial Majesty the present Emperor, in his oath377 on the occasion of his succession to the throne, made known his enlightened desire that men should meet in council from all parts of the country and all affairs of state be determined in accordance with public opinion. This pronouncement may be regarded as the starting-point of the movement for parliamentary representation. The germ of the present House of Peers and House of Representatives is found in the Gi-sei, a department of the government which was organized as early as June, 1868. The Kō-gi-jō, which was opened in the following year, was representative, not of the people, but of the governing authorities in the various localities. The members of the Sa-In, which replaced the Kō-gi-jō (or Shūgi-in) in September, 1871, were nominated by the Emperor and the council of state.

The history of political parties in Japan may conveniently be divided into four periods: (1) From the Restoration up to 1882, while as yet they were in embryo; (2) from the year 1882, when they for the first time took actual shape, until 1888; (3) from the organization of the Daidō-Danketsu in 1887 until 1898; (4) the period since the amalgamation of the two strongest parties to form the constitutional party in 1898.

During the early seventies discussion went on regarding the advisability of the formation of a popular assembly. In 1874 was formed the first political society, the Aikoku-tō, or patriotic society, from which later sprang the Liberal Party (Jiyu-tō). In the previous year a division had taken place in the ranks of the higher officials of the government. The one party was composed of those who desired rapid progress in domestic matters and a vigorous foreign policy; the other desired steady progress at home and conciliation abroad. The latter party retained control of the government, and the former went into opposition. Among the most important of the radical party was Itagaki of Kōchi Prefecture.378 He organized the first local society, and devoted himself constantly to the attainment of his end of bringing about parliamentary institutions in the country. We thus have Kōchi, and later on Hizen, working for the extension of the power of the people, while the government was in the main conducted by Satsuma and Chōshū men.

The agitation for popular representation, although checked for a time by the Satsuma Rebellion, gained strength in 1879 and 1880, and the government became convinced that the question could not longer be postponed. On the 12th of October, 1881, the Emperor promulgated the famous ordinance in which the promise was given that a parliament should actually be established in 1890. As a preparatory measure, Itō, in company with a number of junior officials, was despatched to Europe early in 1882 to study the political systems of the West. The promise of a parliament served to give a more definite purpose to the various political associations, and the year 1882 saw the formal organization of the three parties which, under various names, have continued almost uninterruptedly to occupy the field until the present time. The Jiyu-tō was the first organized, although not the first to be properly registered as a political association.

It is noticeable that the utterances of the various political parties when they first came into existence present in the main no features of a distinctive nature. All put forth excellent doctrines, but usually of extreme vagueness. The same characteristic has been noticeable throughout their history except when some temporary question of urgency has arisen. This is no doubt the reason why the grouping has constantly changed, one merging into another, and secessions occurring without apparent cause. 1883 and the following years saw a falling off in the interest in political parties,—doubtless a379 natural result of the over excitement which had just preceded, and of the apparent certainty of a parliament after 1890. The interest in politics and in parties revived, however, as the date assigned for the granting of the constitution approached.

Since the opening of the first Diet, the efforts of the parties have in general been directed towards the securing of control of the administration,—the establishment of parliamentary government. Except during the period of the war with China, when all party differences were for the time set aside, the parties have all been in more or less constant opposition to the government. Until within the last year or two, however, no party has possessed for any considerable length of time an absolute majority of the membership of the Lower House, sufficient to enable it to control the votes of that body. Political parties have now become a distinct power in the land which no statesman can afford entirely to neglect. From small and unruly beginnings, they have gradually progressed in influence and in organization. As by degrees they have been getting rid of their unruly and dangerous elements, and learning to a greater extent the lesson of responsibility, they have more and more gained the popular confidence. Possessing practically the power of the purse,—for in the Diet the House of Representatives has the first say as to the details of the budget presented by the government,—they have always to be reckoned with....

That there have been no distinct and well-defined party issues may be traced to the fact that feudalism gave place so suddenly to a modern state of society. The leaders of thought and those who have taken up the work of national rejuvenation have all been men of progressive tendencies. That the parties have frequently opposed the government in cases where opposition for its own sake has been the only recognizable380 principle cannot be denied. It must be remembered that they have all along been struggling for a share in the administration. The political parties have well illustrated the intensely democratic character of the Japanese people side by side with marked reverence for the Emperor. The desire for equality and the revolt against the controlling influence of a narrow coterie has all along been exhibited....

I217 may perhaps take this opportunity to mention two characteristics of Japanese political parties which have impressed themselves upon me in the course of my own, as yet comparatively slight, study of the politics of this country. As in so many other aspects of Japanese life, so also in politics, I think we can see a curious blending of Old Japan with the very latest and most advanced which the West has to offer. It was a remark of the most influential, if not the greatest, English political philosopher of the nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill, that, even if we could be assured that an autocrat, an all-powerful individual ruler, would govern more wisely than a popular government, we ought, nevertheless, to prefer the popular government for the educative effect which the effort to govern produces upon the people.

Now it will be found that there has been very much conscious or unconscious following of this idea in the progress of popular government in Japan. In marked contrast to the history of popular government in the West, where parliaments have been forced on the government from below for the protection of popular rights, popular representation has been granted from above in this country, and the people have grown up to it, or are in process of growing. The truth of this is not affected by the fact that contest between rival clans has been an ever controlling factor in the domestic politics of the country since Restoration days. The381 agitation of the parties has been not so much directed against the measures of the government as against the fact that the government is not controlled by the representatives of the people.

The element of Old Japan in the political parties is seen in the nature of political allegiance. What holds the parties together is men rather than measures. In Old Japan personal allegiance to one’s feudal lord was one of the strongest feelings of the individual, and sufficed to give a distinct character to the life of the time. The most important elements of feudalism, the political and economic organization of the society which was founded upon it, have passed away, but the sentimental part remains in the personal allegiance of men to their party leaders of to-day. What would the Seiyukai have been without Prince Itō, or the Progressive party without Count Ōkuma? No doubt other leaders would be forthcoming if these were not present, the names of the parties might be retained, but the membership would almost certainly undergo enormous changes.

Army Statistics of Japan218

Surgeon-Major Koike, in a lecture delivered before the Medical Union in the salon of the Musical College in Uyeno, gave some interesting figures relating to the casualties in the North-China campaign as compared with the China-Japan war of 1894-1895. These will be most easily understood by putting them into tabular form.

Total number of patients in the North-China campaign


Total number of deaths out of the above aggregate


(This, of course, is exclusive of those killed in the field; it shows only the sick and wounded.)



Percentage of deaths

5.1 8.1

Number of sick to each wounded man

5.5 4.1

Number of deaths from sickness to each death from wounds

2.3 9.7

Percentage of deaths among wounded men

3.2 3.9

Percentage of deaths among diseased men

4.2 8.4

Return of the Hiroshima Reserve Hospital

Percentage of deaths among wounded men 2.1
Percentage of deaths among sick men 3.3

Comparative Figures (General)

Total percentage of deaths among wounded men:

Satsuma Rebellion 17.0
China-Japan War 9.7
North-China Campaign 4.6

Comparative Figures Showing the Percentage of Sick during the Occupation of Peking in the Winter

Russian troops

8.75 (typhoid, dysentery, syphilis).

French troops

5.42 (typhoid, syphilis).

German troops

5.33 (typhoid, syphilis, dysentery).

British troops

5.22 (sunstroke, diarrhœa, dysentery, and typhoid).

American troops

4.18 (dysentery, sunstroke, and syphilis).

Japanese troops

2.51 (kakke and typhoid).

Statistics of Russo-Japanese War.219

(Feb., 1904—May, 1905.)

Killed on field


Wounded with colors


Died of those wounds


Sick, including wounds, accidents, etc., not received on firing-line


Died of sickness and disease


Contagious diseases


Died of contagious diseases


Killed and died from wounds


Died from all diseases



Japanese Naval Increment220

Writing about naval increment, the “Nichi Nichi Shimbun” notes the increase of the Japanese Navy during recent years as follows:—

  Total Tonnage.
1897 100,000
1898 134,000
1899 154,000
1900 204,000
1901 232,000

In the immediate future, the total tonnage will be raised to the post-bellum figure of 250,000 tons.221 Everybody agrees that Japan must not rest there. She has to keep up with the rapid additions made by other countries to their naval forces. That is not a matter of serious difficulty so far as ships are concerned: they can always be bought with money. But the men to man them is another problem. After the Restoration any number of recruits were obtainable for the army, as was natural in a country where a military feudalism had existed for centuries. The navy, however, could not be so easily supplied, maritime enterprise having been effectually checked under the Tokugawa rule. Difficulties about seamen may now be said to have been overcome. But that is not true of officers. Our contemporary here gives the following table:—

Year. Number of Officers and Men Actually Serving. Total Force, Including Reserves.
1895 14,463 17,140
1900 28,308 32,981

This shows an increment of only 100 per cent, whereas the increase of tonnage in the same time was 400 per cent.222 The great difficulty is to get a supply of officers384 for the lower ranks—midshipmen and lieutenants. The only college for educating these officers is at Edajima, where not more than 600 cadets can be accommodated. There, then, a change must be effected. It will probably take the form of organizing another naval college at Yokosuka, and making arrangements that the preliminary education of candidates shall be effected in the middle schools.

Japan’s Mercantile Marine223

The “Tōkyō Keizai” publishes some interesting statistics bearing on the development of our mercantile marine. It was 1870 or thereabouts that the Japanese began to turn their attention to the carrying trade in the modern sense of the term, but its growth was slow until the Chinese War of 1894-1895. The following table gives the figures for the eleven years from 1892 to 1902 inclusive:

Year. Tons.
1892 214,000
1893 325,000
1894 320,000
1895 386,000
1896 417,000
1897 486,000
1898 648,000
1899 796,000
1900 863,000
1901 917,000
1902 934,000224

From the comparative statistics published by our contemporary, it is noticed that, while in 1892 our mercantile fleet was the thirteenth in the world in point of tonnage, it had risen by 1901 to the eighth position. It is interesting to observe that it is rapidly coming up to the same relative status as that occupied by our naval385 fleet whose position is the seventh among the navies of the world.225


Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and the United States of America

Signed at Washington, 22nd day of the 11th month, 27th year of Meiji. Ratifications exchanged at that City, 21st day of the 3rd month, 28th year of Meiji.

His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States of America being equally desirous of maintaining the relations of good understanding which happily exist between them, by extending and increasing the intercourse between their respective States, and being convinced that this object cannot better be accomplished than by revising the Treaties hitherto existing between the two countries, have resolved to complete such a revision, based upon principles of equity and mutual benefit, and, for that purpose, have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say: His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Jushii Shinichiro Kurino, of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of the Fourth Class, and the President of the United States of America, Walter Q. Gresham, Secretary of State of the United States; who, after having communicated to each other their full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon and concluded the following Articles:—

Art. I.—The subjects or citizens of each of the two High Contracting Parties shall have full liberty to enter, travel, or reside in any part of the territories of the other Contracting Party, and shall enjoy full and perfect protection for their persons and property.

They shall have free access to the Courts of Justice386 in pursuit and defence of their rights; they shall be at liberty equally with native subjects or citizens to choose and employ lawyers, advocates, and representatives to pursue and defend their rights before such Courts, and in all other matters connected with the administration of justice they shall enjoy all the rights and privileges enjoyed by native subjects or citizens.

In whatever relates to rights of residence and travel; to the possession of goods and effects of any kind; to the succession to personal estate, by will or otherwise, and the disposal of property of any sort and in any manner whatsoever which they may lawfully acquire, the subjects or citizens of each Contracting Party shall enjoy in the territories of the other the same privileges, liberties, and rights, and shall be subject to no higher imposts or charges in those respects than native subjects or citizens, or subjects or citizens of the most favoured nation. The subjects or citizens of each of the Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories of the other entire liberty of conscience, and, subject to the laws, ordinances, and regulations, shall enjoy the right of private or public exercise of their worship, and also the right of burying their respective countrymen according to their religious customs, in such suitable and convenient places as may be established and maintained for that purpose.

They shall not be compelled, under any pretext whatsoever, to pay any charges or taxes other or higher than those that are, or may be, paid by native subjects or citizens, or subjects or citizens of the most favoured nation.

The subjects or citizens of either of the Contracting Parties residing in the territories of the other shall be exempted from all compulsory military service whatsoever, whether in the army, navy, national guard, or militia; from all contribution imposed in lieu of personal387 service; and from all forced loans or military exactions or contributions.

Art. II.—There shall be reciprocal freedom of commerce and navigation between the territories of the two High Contracting Parties.

The subjects or citizens of each of the Contracting Parties may trade in any part of the territories of the other by wholesale or retail in all kinds of produce, manufactures, and merchandize of lawful commerce, either in person or by agents, singly or in partnerships with foreigners or native subjects or citizens; and they may there own or hire and occupy houses, manufactories, warehouses, shops, and premises which may be necessary for them, and lease land for residential and commercial purposes, conforming themselves to the laws, police and customs regulations of the country like native subjects or citizens.

They shall have liberty freely to come with their ships and cargoes to all places, ports, and rivers in the territories of the other, which are or may be opened to foreign commerce, and shall enjoy, respectively, the same treatment in matters of commerce and navigation as native subjects or citizens, or subjects or citizens of the most favoured nation without having to pay taxes, imposts, or duties, of whatever nature or under whatever denomination levied in the name or for the profit of the Government, public functionaries, private individuals, corporations, or establishments of any kind, other or greater than those paid by native subjects or citizens or subjects or citizens of the most favoured nation.

It is, however, understood that the stipulations contained in this and the preceding Article do not in any way affect the laws, ordinances, and regulations with regard to trade, the immigration of labourers, police and public security which are in force or which may hereafter be enacted in either of the two countries.


Art. III.—The dwellings, manufactories, warehouses, and shops of the subjects or citizens of each of the High Contracting Parties in the territories of the other, and all premises appertaining thereto destined for purposes of residence or commerce, shall be respected.

It shall not be allowable to proceed to make a search of, or a domiciliary visit to, such dwellings and premises, or to examine or inspect books, papers, or accounts, except under the conditions and with the forms prescribed by the laws, ordinances, and regulations for subjects or citizens of the country.

Art. IV.—No other or higher duties shall be imposed on the importation into the territories of the United States of any article, the produce or manufacture of the territories of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, from whatever place arriving; and no other or higher duties shall be imposed on the importation into the territories of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan of any article, the produce or manufacture of the United States, from whatever place arriving than on the like article produced or manufactured in any other foreign country; nor shall any prohibition be maintained or imposed on the importation of any article, the produce or manufacture of the territories of either of the High Contracting Parties, into the territories of the other, from whatever place arriving, which shall not equally extend to the importation of the like article, being the produce or manufacture of any other country. This last provision is not applicable to the sanitary and other prohibitions occasioned by the necessity of protecting the safety of persons, or of cattle, or plants useful to agriculture.

Art. V.—No other or higher duties or charges shall be imposed in the territories of either of the High Contracting Parties on the exportation of any article to the territories of the other than such as are, or may be, payable on the exportation of the like article to any other389 foreign country; nor shall any prohibition be imposed on the exportation of any article from the territories of either of the two High Contracting Parties to the territories of the other which shall not equally extend to the exportation of the like article to any other country.

Art. VI.—The subjects or citizens of each of the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories of the other exemption from all transit duties, and a perfect equality of treatment with native subjects or citizens in all that relates to warehousing, bounties, and drawbacks.

Art. VII.—All articles which are or may be legally imported into the ports of the territories of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in Japanese vessels may likewise be imported into those ports in vessels of the United States, without being liable to any other or higher duties or charges of whatever denomination than if such articles were imported in Japanese vessels; and, reciprocally, all articles which are, or may be, legally imported into the ports of the territories of the United States in vessels of the United States may likewise be imported into those ports in Japanese vessels, without being liable to any other or higher duties or charges of whatever denomination than if such articles were imported in vessels of the United States. Such reciprocal equality of treatment shall take effect without distinction, whether such articles come directly from the place of origin or from any other place.

In the same manner, there shall be perfect equality of treatment in regard to exportation, so that the same export duties shall be paid, and the same bounties and drawbacks allowed, in the territories of either of the High Contracting Parties on the exportation of any article which is or may be legally exported therefrom, whether such exportation shall take place in Japanese vessels or in vessels of the United States, and whatever390 may be the place of destination, whether a port of either of the High Contracting Parties or of any third Power.

Art. VIII.—No duties of tonnage, harbour, pilotage, lighthouse, quarantine, or other similar or corresponding duties of whatever nature, or under whatever denomination levied in the name or for the profit of Government, public functionaries, private individuals, corporations, or establishments of any kind, shall be imposed in the ports of the territories of either country upon the vessels of the other country which shall not equally and under the same conditions be imposed in the like cases on national vessels in general or vessels of the most favoured nation. Such equality of treatment shall apply reciprocally to the respective vessels, from whatever port or place they may arrive, and whatever may be their place of destination.

Art. IX.—In all that regards the stationing, loading, and unloading of vessels in the ports, basins, docks, roadsteads, harbours, or rivers of the territories of the two countries, no privilege shall be granted to national vessels which shall not be equally granted to vessels of the other country; the intention of the High Contracting Parties being that in this respect also the respective vessels shall be treated on the footing of perfect equality.

Art. X.—The coasting trade of both the High Contracting Parties is excepted from the provisions of the present Treaty, and shall be regulated according to the laws, ordinances, and regulations of Japan and of the United States, respectively. It is, however, understood that Japanese subjects in the territories of the United States and citizens of the United States in the territories of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan shall enjoy in this respect the rights which are, or may be, granted under such laws, ordinances, and regulations to the subjects or citizens of any other country.

A Japanese vessel laden in a foreign country with391 cargo destined for two or more ports in the territories of the United States and a vessel of the United States laden in a foreign country with cargo destined for two or more ports in the territories of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, may discharge a portion of her cargo at one port, and continue her voyage to the other port or ports of destination where foreign trade is permitted, for the purpose of landing the remainder of her original cargo there, subject always to the laws and custom-house regulations of the two countries.

The Japanese Government, however, agrees to allow vessels of the United States to continue, as heretofore, for the period of the duration of this Treaty, to carry cargo between the existing open ports of the Empire, excepting to or from the ports of Ōsaka, Niigata, and Ebisuminato.

Art. XI.—Any ship-of-war or merchant vessel of either of the High Contracting Parties which may be compelled by stress of weather, or by reason of any other distress, to take shelter in a port of the other, shall be at liberty to refit therein, to procure all necessary supplies, and to put to sea again, without paying any dues other than such as would be payable by national vessels. In case, however, the master of a merchant vessel should be under the necessity of disposing of a part of his cargo in order to defray the expenses, she shall be bound to conform to the regulations and tariffs of the place to which he may have come.

If any ship-of-war or merchant vessel of one of the High Contracting Parties should run aground or be wrecked upon the coasts of the other, the local authorities shall inform the Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul, or Consular Agent of the district of occurrence, or, if there be no such Consular officers, they shall inform the Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul, or Consular Agent of the nearest district.


All proceedings relative to the salvage of Japanese vessels wrecked or cast on shore in the territorial waters of the United States shall take place in accordance with the laws of the United States; and, reciprocally, all measures of salvage relative to vessels of the United States wrecked or cast on shore in the territorial waters of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan shall take place in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of Japan.

Such stranded or wrecked ship or vessel, and all parts thereof, and all furnitures and appurtenances belonging thereunto, and all goods and merchandize saved therefrom, including those which may have been cast into the sea, or the proceeds thereof, if sold, as well as all papers found on board such stranded or wrecked ship or vessel, shall be given up to the owners or their agents, when claimed by them. If such owners or agents are not on the spot, the same shall be delivered to the respective Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls, or Consular Agents upon being claimed by them within the period fixed by the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the country, and such Consular officers, owners, or agents shall pay only the expenses incurred in the preservation of the property, together with the salvage or other expenses which would have been payable in the case of a wreck of a national vessel.

The goods and merchandize saved from the wreck shall be exempt from all the duties of the Customs unless cleared for consumption, in which case they shall pay the ordinary duties.

When a ship or vessel belonging to the subjects or citizens of one of the High Contracting Parties is stranded or wrecked in the territories of the other, the respective Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls, and Consular Agents shall be authorized, in case the owner or master, or other agent of the owner, is not present, to393 lend their official assistance in order to afford the necessary assistance to the subjects or citizens of the respective States. The same rule shall apply in case the owner, master, or other agent is present, but requires such assistance to be given.

Art. XII.—All vessels which, according to Japanese law, are to be deemed Japanese vessels, and all vessels which, according to United States law, are to be deemed vessels of the United States, shall, for the purposes of this Treaty, be deemed Japanese vessels and vessels of the United States, respectively.

Art. XIII.—The Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consular Agents of each of the High Contracting Parties, residing in the territories of the other, shall receive from the local authorities such assistance as can by law be given to them for the recovery of deserters from the vessels of their respective countries.

It is understood that this stipulation shall not apply to the subjects or citizens of the country where the desertion takes place.

Art. XIV.—The High Contracting Parties agree that, in all that concerns commerce and navigation any privilege, favour, or immunity which either High Contracting Party has actually granted, or may hereafter grant, to the Government, ships, subjects, or citizens of any other State, shall be extended to the Government, ships, subjects, or citizens of the other High Contracting Party, gratuitously, if the concession in favour of that other State shall have been gratuitous, and on the same or equivalent conditions if the concession shall have been conditional; it being their intention that the trade and navigation of each country shall be placed, in all respects, by the other on the footing of the most favoured nation.

Art. XV.—Each of the High Contracting Parties may appoint Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls,394 Pro-Consuls, and Consular Agents, in all the ports, cities, and places of the other except in those where it may not be convenient to recognize such officers.

This exception, however, shall not be made in regard to one of the High Contracting Parties without being made likewise in regard to every other Power.

The Consuls-General, Consuls, Vice-Consuls, Pro-Consuls, and Consular Agents may exercise all functions, and shall enjoy all privileges, exemptions, and immunities which are, or may hereafter be, granted to Consular officers of the most favoured nation.

Art. XVI.—The subjects or citizens of each of the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories of the other the same protection as native subjects or citizens in regard to patents, trademarks, and designs, upon fulfilment of the formalities prescribed by law.

Art. XVII.—The High Contracting Parties agree to the following arrangement:—

The several Foreign Settlements in Japan shall, from the date this Treaty comes into force, be incorporated with the respective Japanese communes, and shall thenceforth form part of the general municipal system of Japan. The competent Japanese authorities shall thereupon assume all municipal obligations and duties in respect thereof, and the common funds and property, if any, belonging to such Settlements shall at the same time be transferred to the said Japanese authorities.

When such incorporation takes place, existing leases in perpetuity upon which property is now held in the said Settlements shall be confirmed, and no conditions whatever other than those contained in such existing leases shall be imposed in respect of such property. It is, however, understood that the Consular Authorities mentioned in the same are in all cases to be replaced by the Japanese Authorities. All lands which may previously have been granted by the Japanese Government395 free of rent for the public purposes of the said Settlements shall, subject to the right of eminent domain, be permanently reserved free of all taxes and charges for the public purposes for which they were originally set apart.

Art. XVIII.—The present Treaty shall, from the date it comes into force, be substituted in place of the Treaty of Peace and Amity concluded on the 3rd day of the 3rd month of the 7th year of Kayei corresponding to the 31st day of March, 1854; the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded on the 19th day of the 6th month of the 5th year of Ansei, corresponding to the 29th day of July, 1858; the Tariff Convention concluded on the 13th day of the 5th month of the 2nd year of Keio, corresponding to the 25th day of June, 1866; the Convention concluded on the 25th day of the 7th month of the 11th year of Meiji, corresponding to the 25th day of July, 1878, and all Arrangements and Agreements subsidiary thereto concluded or existing between the High Contracting Parties, and from the same date such Treaties, Conventions, Arrangements, and Agreements shall cease to be binding, and in consequence, the jurisdiction then exercised by Courts of the United States in Japan and all the exceptional privileges, exemptions, and immunities then enjoyed by citizens of the United States as a part of, or appurtenant to, such jurisdiction, shall absolutely and without notice cease and determine, and thereafter all such jurisdiction shall be assumed and exercised by Japanese Courts.

Art. XIX.—This Treaty shall go into operation on the 17th day of July, 1899, and shall remain in force for the period of twelve years from that date.

Either High Contracting Party shall have the right, at any time after eleven years shall have elapsed from the date it goes into operation, to give notice to the other of its intention to terminate the same, and at the396 expiration of twelve months after such notice is given this Treaty shall wholly cease and determine.

Art. XX.—This Treaty shall be ratified and the ratifications thereof shall be exchanged at Tokyo or Washington as soon as possible, and not later than six months after its signature.

In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Treaty in duplicate and have thereunto affixed their seals.

Done at the City of Washington the 22nd day of the 11th month of the 27th year of Meiji, corresponding to the 22nd day of November in the eighteen hundred and ninety-fourth year of the Christian era.

(Signed)    Shinichiro Kurino. (L. S.)
Walter Q. Gresham. (L. S.)

[Amendment to the Foregoing Treaty Proposed by the Government of the United States of America and Ratified with the Treaty.]

Art. XIX.—Clause 2, after the word “time” insert the word “thereafter” and strike out all after the word “time” down to and including the word “operation,” so that the clause will read: “Either High Contracting Party shall have the right, at any time thereafter, to give notice to the other of its intention to terminate the same, and at the expiration of twelve months after such notice is given this Treaty shall wholly cease and determine.”


The Government of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan and the Government of the United States of America, deeming it advisable in the interests of both Countries to regulate certain special matters of mutual concern, apart from the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed this day, have, through their respective Plenipotentiaries, agreed upon the following stipulations:—


1.—It is agreed by the Contracting Parties that one month after the exchange of the ratifications of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed this day, the Import Tariff now in operation in Japan in respect of goods and merchandize imported into Japan by the citizens of the United States shall cease to be binding. From the same date the General Statutory Tariff of Japan, shall, subject to the provisions of Article IX. of the Treaty of March 31, 1854, at present subsisting between the Contracting Parties, so long as said Treaty remains in force, and thereafter, subject to the provisions of Article IV. and Article XIV., of the Treaty signed this day, be applicable to goods and merchandize, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of the territories of the United States upon importation into Japan.

But nothing contained in this Protocol shall be held to limit or qualify the right of the Japanese Government to restrict or to prohibit the importation of adulterated drugs, medicines, food, or beverages; indecent or obscene prints, paintings, books, cards, lithographic or other engravings, photographs or any other indecent or obscene articles; articles in violation of patent, trademark, or copyright laws of Japan; or any other article which for sanitary reasons or in view of public security or morals, might offer any danger.

2.—The Japanese Government, pending the opening of the country to citizens of the United States, agrees to extend the existing passport system in such a manner as to allow citizens of the United States, on the production of a certificate of recommendation from the Representative of the United States at Tōkiō, or from any of the Consuls of the United States at the open ports in Japan, to obtain upon application passports available for any part of the country and for any period not exceeding twelve months, from the Imperial398 Japanese Foreign Office in Tōkiō, or from the Chief Authorities in the Prefecture in which an open port is situated, it being understood that the existing Rules and Regulations governing citizens of the United States who visit the interior of the Empire are to be maintained.

3.—The undersigned Plenipotentiaries have agreed that this Protocol shall be submitted to the two High Contracting Parties at the same time as the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed this day, and that when the said Treaty is ratified the agreements contained in the Protocol shall also equally be considered as approved, without the necessity of a further formal ratification.

It is agreed that this Protocol shall terminate at the same time the said Treaty ceases to be binding.

In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the same and have affixed thereto their seals.

Done at Washington the 22nd day of the 11th month of the 27th year of Meiji, corresponding to the 22nd November, in the eighteen hundred and ninety-fourth year of the Christian era.

(Signed)    Shinichiro Kurino. (L. S.)
Walter Q. Gresham. (L. S.)

Imperial Rescript on the New Treaties

Governing Our realm by the abiding aid of Our ancestors’ achievements, which have enabled Us to secure the prosperity of Our people at home and to establish relations of close amity with the nations abroad, it is a source of heartfelt gratification to Us that, in the sequel of exhaustive planning and repeated negotiations, an agreement has been come to with the Powers, and the revision of the Treaties, Our long cherished aim,399 is to-day on the eve of becoming an accomplished fact; a result which, while it adds materially to the responsibilities of Our empire, will greatly strengthen the basis of Our friendship with foreign countries.

It is Our earnest wish that Our subjects, whose devoted loyalty in the discharge of their duties is conspicuous, should enter earnestly into Our sentiments in this matter, and, in compliance with the great policy of opening the country, should all unite with one heart to associate cordially with the peoples from afar, thus maintaining the character of the nation and enhancing the prestige of the empire.

In view of the responsibilities that devolve upon Us in giving effect to the new Treaties, it is Our will that Our Ministers of State, acting on Our behalf, should instruct Our officials of all classes to observe the utmost circumspection in the management of affairs, to the end that subjects and strangers alike may enjoy equal privileges and advantages, and that, every source of dissatisfaction being avoided, relations of peace and amity with all nations may be strengthened and consolidated in perpetuity.

(Imperial Sign Manual.)                           
(Signatures of all the Cabinet Ministers.)
(Dated) June 30th, 1899.                         

Schools in Japan226

The latest returns compiled by the educational authorities show that education in Japan is in a satisfactory condition. For instance the percentage of the children newly admitted to primary schools throughout the country out of every 100 of those who had attained the school-going age last month [March, 1903] was 93.78 for boys, 81.08 for girls, and 88.05 for boys and girls together, which show respectively an increase of 3.23, 9.18, and 6.38 against the figures for last year. Again, the different schools throughout the country totalled 29,335, while the teachers totalled 110,104, the attendance 5,265,006, and the graduates 911,621, representing respectively an increase of 473; 11,977; 339,333; and 112,737 as compared with the figures for the preceding year. [In 1909-10, these totals were 34,659; 172,228; 7,170,470; and 899,288.]



By the government establishments are meant all institutions under the control of the Department of Education.

Statistical items relating to the Higher Normal School for Females are included among those for the Higher Normal School, and those relating to the three institutes for the training of technical teachers among those for technical schools.

  No. of Schools.
Gov. Public. Private. Total.
Elementary schools 2 26,485 369 26,856
Blind and dumb schools 1 1 9 11
Normal schools .. 52 ... 52
Higher normal schools 2 ... ... 2
Middle schools 1 183 34 218
Higher female schools 1 44 7 52
Higher schools 7 ... ... 7
Imperial universities 2 ... ... 2
Special schools 3 4 41 48
Technical schools 9 265 23 297
Miscellaneous schools .. 122 1,195 1,317
Total 28 27,156 1,678 28,862
1899 27 27,051 1,639 28,717
1898 22 26,799   1,600 28,421
1897 22 26,753 1,677 28,452
1896 21 26,621 1,762 28,404
  Instructors and Teachers.
Gov. Public. Private. Total.
Elementary schools 31 91,767 1,101 92,899
Blind and dumb schools 15 15 25 55
Normal schools ... 958 ... 958
Higher normal schools 110 ... ... 110
Middle schools 22 3,067 659 3,748
Higher female schools 19 525 114 658
Higher schools 345 ... ... 345
Imperial universities 291 ... ... 291
Special schools 128 81 734 943
Technical schools 238 1,382 137 1,757
Miscellaneous schools ... 90 4,273 4,363
Total 1,199 97,885 7,043 106,127
1899 1,128 92,286 6,692 100,106
1898 983 86,634 5,346 92,963
1897 913 81,632 5,310 87,855
1896 785 77,720 5,509 84,014
  Students and Pupils.
Gov. Public. Private. Total.
Elementary schools 1,124 4,622,930 59,544 4,683,598
Blind and dumb schools 231 196 194 621
Normal schools ... 15,639 ... 15,639
Higher normal schools 803 ... ... 803
Middle schools 321 64,051 13,943 78,315
Higher female schools 306 9,746 1,932 11,984
Higher schoolS 5,684 ... ... 5,684
Imperial universities 3,240 ... ... 3,240
Special schools 968 1,447 10,985 13,400
Technical schools 1,730 23,599 2,126 27,455
Miscellaneous schools ... 4,817 80,117 84,934
Total 14,407 4,742,425 168,841 4,925,673
1899 13,230 4,339,490 160,614 4,513,334
1898 11,788 4,086,323 149,230 4,247,341
1897 10,839 4,005,164 152,714 4,168,717
1896 9,321 3,872,794 148,858 4,030,973
Gov. Public. Private. Total.
Elementary schools 318 736,907 8,580 745,805
Blind and dumb schools 14 8 12 34
Normal schools ... 7,323 ... 7,323
Higher normal schools 180 ... ... 180
Middle schools 40 5,584 2,163 7,787
Higher female schools 91 1,832 637 2,560
Higher schools 1,019 ... ... 1,019
Imperial universities 633 ... ... 633
Special schools 138 210 1,687 2,035
Technical schools 349 4,406 249 5,004
Miscellaneous schools ... 721 15,783 16,504
Total 2,782 756,991 29,111 788,884
1899 2,454 655,112 27,201 684,767
1898 2,129 600,528 23,486 626,143
1897 2,146 550,738 20,912 573,796
1896 1,819 507,969 20,419 530,207


Japan’s University for Women228

The most remarkable occurrence in Japan in the opening year of the Twentieth Century was the establishment of a University for Women. What does this mean? It means that the Twentieth Century is to be the century for women in Japan and perhaps in other parts of the Orient, just as the Nineteenth Century was the century for women in the Occident. This new University402 will be the centre of woman’s activity, social, educational, economical (and perhaps political?), in the future in Japan.

About ten years ago Mr. Naruse began to think about establishing a university for girls and went to America to inspect female institutions of learning. There he spent three years going about from place to place, and thus made a thorough observation and study of colleges for women in the United States of America. In 1894 he was encouraged to start the enterprise, in which his special friends were such men as Marquis Itō, Marquis Saionji, Counts Ōkuma and Itagaki, and Baron Utsumi, then Mayor of Ōsaka, now Home Minister.

Among the first promoters of the enterprise were well-to-do persons of Ōsaka, such as Mr. Dogura and Mrs. Hiroöka (of the Mitsui family). The idea was, and still is, to secure 300,000 yen, of which half should be used for property and half for endowment. It was also decided not to begin to build unless at least 100,000 yen had been raised. The money was obtained quite rapidly; and in this Mr. Naruse’s skill and tact were remarkable. Many not in sympathy with the idea of higher female education (like Baron Katō, ex-President of the Imperial University), were won over by Mr. Naruse’s presentation of the cause.

The problem of location was thoroughly discussed in Ōsaka, and at last it was unanimously agreed that Tōkyō, being the capital, was the most convenient place, because the institution was not local, for either Ōsaka or Tōkyō alone, but was national, for all Japan.

The faculty number forty-six in all, among whom are several professors of the Imperial University. The President is, of course, Mr. Naruse; and the Dean is Professor S. Aso, a Dōshisha alumnus. There are also several ladies; and it is the purpose to have as many lady teachers as possible.


There are three departments in the University course:

1. Department of Domestic Science.

2. Department of Japanese Literature.

3. Department of English Literature.

In the first department the greater part of the time is devoted to various branches of Applied and Domestic Science; in the second and third departments the largest number of hours is given up to Japanese and English respectively. Ethics, Sociology, Psychology, Education (including Child-Study) and Calisthenics are required studies in all departments; and Drawing, Music, and Science of Teaching, are electives in all cases.

The boarding-department includes seven “Houses,” each with a matron and a head cook. The girls live just as at home, and take turns in cooking.

This school is not, of course, to be compared with foreign universities, or the Imperial University; nor is it a copy of other universities; but it is intended to make this university just suited to the needs of the time and the social conditions of Japanese women. The standard will be gradually elevated. In the system of female education, it is a university, at least in germ.

It is the purpose as soon as possible to increase the number of courses; to add, for instance, pedagogy (including sociology, psychology, etc.), music, science, art, and calisthenics. It is intended also to extend the preparatory course downward, so that it shall include, not a Kōtō Gakkō only as at present, but also a Shō Gakkō (Grammar School) and a kindergarten. Thus the system of female education will be complete in all its grades: from three to six in the kindergarten; six years in the grammar school; five years in the secondary school (Kōtō Jō Gakkō); three years in the university; with a post-graduate course of three years. Then surely the institution will be worthy to be called a university.


Statistics of Christianity in Japan229

Under the title, “The Present State of Christianity,” the “Tōkyō Maishū Shinshi” publishes a number of statistics culled from the Rev. D. S. Spencer’s “Tidings from Japan.” Here is the “Maishū Shinshi’s” summary of Mr. Spencer’s report:

Missions. Missionaries. Native Pastors and Evangelists. Members.230
Protestant 789 494 50,512
Roman Catholic 229 98 55,824
Greek Church 4 152 27,245

These figures, when compared with those of ten years ago, do not, as far as the Greek Church and the Roman Catholic Church are concerned, indicate remarkable progress, but to Protestants they are on the whole encouraging. There are 23 Protestant denominations working in Japan, but the most important sects are the Congregationalists, the Presbyterians, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, and the Baptists. The statistics for the 5 principal missions are as follows:—

Missions. Foreign Missionaries. Japanese Pastors. Adult Members. Including Children. Baptisms Last Year.
Congregational 71 45 10,856 11,548 880
Presbyterian 153 79 10,156 11,651 1,213
Episcopalian 224 47 9,968 10,997 846
Methodist 233 125 9,283 9,711 1,598
Baptist 56 9 2,213 2,213 328


The following table gives other interesting particulars:

Missions. Churches. Self-supporting Churches. Church Property.
Congregational 81 34 125,794
Presbyterian 71 23 218,252
Episcopalian 69 2  
Methodist 146 13 225,559
Baptist 30    
Missions. Sunday-School Scholars. Native Money Subscribed.
Amount Per Member.
Yen. Sen.
Congregational 6,880 33,791 3.11
Presbyterian 7,879 29,027 2.86
Episcopalian 5,524 15,827 1.59
Methodist 12,613 30,011 3.24
Baptist 3,775 4,283 1.94

It is calculated that if all the different kinds of property
held by the Protestant Church be included, it is worth over 1,500,000 yen.

The Catholic Church in Japan

A writer signing himself “K. M.” contributes to the “Fukuin Shimpō” an account of the methods followed by the Roman Catholics and of their work in Japan, said to have been derived from an interview with L’Abbé E. Ligneul. The following is a summary of “K. M.’s” article. (1) The revival of Roman Catholicism in Japan. This began at Nagasaki in 1865, where a church was built and when the descendants of the old Christians came forward in large numbers to welcome the arrival of foreign missionaries. Having mentioned the principal works of reference on the Roman Catholic Missions in Japan, M. Ligneul went on to speak (2) Of the present state of their churches. The following table gives the numerical strength of the mission:—


Ecclesiastical Districts. Converts. Japanese Priests. Japanese Evangelists. Foreign Missionaries (Male).
Tōkyō 9,245 4 20 37
Nagasaki 38,160 27 180 31
Ōsaka 4,273 2 40 27
Hakodate 4,643 1 20 20
Total 56,321 34 260 115

The fact that comparatively little is known of the work being carried on by the Roman Catholics throughout the country is no accidental affair. It is one of the principles observed by the whole mission to refrain from the use of the methods employed by other missions for making their work known to the public generally.

The Greek Church in Japan

In the issue of the “Tserkovniya Vyedomosti” or “Church Gazette” (the official organ of the Russian Church) for March 29 (O. S.) there is a long article taken from the “Moscow Gazette” on the state of the Greek Church in Japan.

The writer says that there are now 260 congregations, one more than last year; 41 clergymen, including 1 bishop, 2 Russian clergymen (who have now left Japan—Translator), 30 Japanese clergymen, 1 Russian deacon, 7 Japanese deacons: altogether three more persons than last year; Christians 27,245 (935 more than last year); Catechists 1,214 (643 adults, 571 minors, altogether 305 more than last year); deaths 279 (18 less than last year); marriages 29 (9 more than last year); churches or preachers’ houses 174. The sum of the offerings made by the Christians in support of their church totalled 11,870 yen 41.8 sen, 4,505 yen 72.5 sen407 more than last year. The number of pupils in Mission schools totalled 152, 12 less than last year.

The annual meeting of clergy (Shinpin Kwaigi) of the Greek Church Mission was held in the cathedral of that mission in Tōkyō on the 15th inst. It was reported at the meeting that there were 1,037 converts last year, deaths 320; and now that the members of the church number 27,956, including 40 clergymen and 146 denkiosha (preachers or unordained evangelists and helpers).

Japan’s National Song231

Few Europeans have learned to detect and enjoy the subtle beauty of Japanese poetry. Fewer still, perhaps, are acquainted with the delicate charm of the little poem which, although not a hymn, takes the place in Japanese minds and hearts of the Briton’s “God Save the King,” or the American’s “My Country, ’tis of Thee.” It is sung to a native air, the custom being to sing the poem through thrice, and when thus rendered by a large and enthusiastic company it is often truly impressive. The poem itself is very old, being found in the “Manyōshiu,” which dates from about the middle of the eighth century, and its author is unknown. As originally composed, it was not addressed to the actual ruler, but in all probability to an Emperor who had gone into retirement. Now, however, it is exclusively applied to the reigning Sovereign. The poem consists of the usual number of thirty-one syllables, and runs as follows:—

Kimi ga yo wa
Chiyo ni yachiyo ni
Sazare ishi no
Iwao to narite
Koke no musu made.


So far as we are aware only two English translations have been published. One of these is by Viscount Fukuba, and, closely following the original, reads as follows:

“May our Sovereign live for thousands and ten thousands of years, until the tiny pebble becomes a moss-covered rock.”

The other, by Professor Chamberlain, is more finished but less literal than the foregoing, and is included in his excellent “Classical Poetry of the Japanese”:—

“A thousand years of happy life be thine!
Live on, My lord, till what are pebbles now,
By age united, to great rocks shall grow,
Whose venerable sides the moss doth line.”

To the above translations may be added a third by the late Dr. Gordon:—

“O Prince upon the throne!
Ten thousand years live on,
Till pebbles shall great rocks become
With moss all overgrown!”

Floral Japan

The Japanese are a nature-loving people, and frequently give practical expression to their feelings by taking a holiday simply for “flower-viewing.” At the proper season the entire nation, so to speak, takes a day off, and turns out on a big picnic to see the plum blossoms, or the cherry blossoms, or the maples, or the chrysanthemums. No utilitarian views of the value of time or miserly conceptions of the expense of such outings prevail for a moment; for the Japanese are worshippers of beauty rather than of the “almighty dollar.” A few pennies on such occasions bring many pleasures; and business interests are sacrificed at the shrine of beauty. And, as one or more flowers are blooming every month, because twigs, leaves, grasses, etc., are included in the409 scope of the word hana, there is almost a continuous round of such picnics during the year. It is our purpose, therefore, to arrange a calendar of flowers popular each month.

At the very outset we are confronted with a chronological difficulty in presenting this subject to Western readers. For the programme of Japanese floral festivals was originally arranged on the basis of the old lunar calendar so long in vogue in Japan. By that calendar the New Year came in at varying dates from about the 21st of January up to the 19th of February; in 1903 it fell on Thursday, January 29; so that it is from three to seven weeks behind the Occidental solar calendar. And yet, when Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar, many of these festivals were transferred to the “New Style” without regard to the awful anachronism that necessarily followed.

For instance, the following is a floral programme according to the “Old Style”:—

Old Style. New Style.
1st month, February Pine.
2d March Plum.
3d April Cherry.
4th May Wistaria.
5th June Iris.
6th July Tree peony.
7th August Lezpedeza.
8th September Eularia.
9th October Chrysanthemum.
10th November Maple.
11th December Willow.
12th January Paulownia.

Now, the pine is chosen for the 1st month (O. S.) on account of the prominent part that it plays in the New Year’s decorations, but when the new year begins the first of January, that calendar suffers serious dislocation, because all of the other flowers cannot be moved a whole month.


A similar confusion arises in connection with the great festival of the “autumn full moon,” in which certain grasses also figured. By the lunar calendar it fell about the 15th day of the 8th month, which never comes in the Western 8th month, August. It came in 1902 on September 18; and 1903 it will not come until early in October! It may now be readily seen how difficult it is in Japan to run on schedule time!

But, taking all these difficulties into consideration, and harmonizing them so far as possible, we have been able to construct the following modern Japanese floral calendar:—

January Pine.
February Plum.
March Peach.
April Cherry.
May Wistaria.
June Iris.
July Morning-glory.
August Lotus.
September “Seven Grasses.”
October Chrysanthemum.
November Maple.
December Camellia.

Japan and Siam232

Mr. Inagaki, Japanese Representative in Bangkok, has been making strenuous efforts to bring about the establishment of a direct line of steamers between Japan and Siam. He maintains that there cannot be any substantial development of trade without some improvement of the means of communication. Tōkyō newspapers report that the Ōsaka Shōsen Kaisha has been induced to undertake the extension of its Formosan line to Siam, and that arrangements are now under discussion with the Formosan officials.

In a lecture delivered by Mr. Inagaki before the Japan Economic Society, he insisted that Siam could be of the greatest service to Japan in supplying raw materials and food stuffs. Her production of sugar, hemp, and gum is very large, and whereas her export411 of silk ten years ago was only 250,000 yen, it is now 10 millions. The Siamese government has decided to devote a quarter of a million yen to agricultural experimental stations, and there can be no doubt that if Japan sent seeds of raw materials to be grown in that country, fine results would be obtained. It is important that a country like Japan should have a source of supply which would certainly remain neutral in time of war, and Siam is essentially such a source. This question of food supply will one day be as important for Japan as it is already for England, and its solution seems to lie in the direction of Siam.

Formosa under Japan

Concerning Formosa under Japanese rule the following additional items are worthy of notice. The Governor-General, 1913, is Count Sakuma.

It has been pointed out by the “Japan Mail” that the revenue of the new territory in the first six years after its cession to Japan has increased by 600 per cent, as shown in the following table:—

1896 2,710,000
1897 5,320,000
1898 8,250,000
1899 11,750,000
1900 14,900,000
1901 16,370,000

The number of the pest patients in Formosa has been decreasing year after year, as the following returns for the period January 1 to June 17 of the respective years show:—

  Cases. Mortality.
1901 3,481 2,619
1902 1,795 1,352
1903 750 606

The government is making strenuous efforts to increase the export trade. It has subsidized a modern sugar-mill412 which has commenced operations in South Formosa, manufacturing brown sugar for refining purposes; it has likewise given assistance to a white-sugar factory; it has started an experimental paper-factory; in fact, it has devoted all its energies toward increasing the island’s productions. Independent Japanese firms have likewise done a good deal, though not as much as we had reason to anticipate. Two gold-quartz mills, one being of considerable size, are successfully at work in the Formosan gold fields; two wealthy companies are engaged in plantation work on a large scale in Southeast and in North Formosa; and there is a glass-factory in the north, several Japanese-owned coal-mines, a paper-factory at Kagi, several modern salt farms, and other small industries, to Japanese credit. In improving transportation, the Japanese have done much, and are planning to do much more. The Chinese railway line was handed over to the Japanese in such a condition that it had to be all reconstructed. We thus have practically a new line to Kelung and another to Shinchiku (formerly Teckoham). In addition to these, new lines were constructed from Taihoku to Tamsui, and from Takow to Shinyeisho via Tainan-fu, which gives a total of 93 miles of rail. The trunk line connecting the north and south is now in course of construction.233 The Japanese have also built over 200 miles of narrow gauge for the temporary transport of military supplies, general freight, and passengers. Nearly a thousand miles of ordinary road have been constructed.234

Rev. W. Campbell, a Scotch missionary in Formosa, testifies concerning what Japan has accomplished in the island:—

At the outset it should be remembered that, when413 they [Japanese] arrived in 1895, instead of being allowed to take quiet possession, they found the people everywhere up in arms against them, and had literally to fight their way from north to south before anything like settled government could be established.... Immediately after some measure of peace had been restored, the executive sent out qualified experts to engage in survey work and to report on the resources of their newly ceded territory.

A complete census of the population was taken in 1897, 800 miles of roads were made, and a tramway line laid down from Takow to Sin-tek. This was followed by construction of the main line of railway from Kelung to Takow, about one-half of which has already been opened for goods and passenger traffic. Three cables were also laid down, connecting Formosa with Japan, Foochow, and the Pescadores, and over the existing 1,500 miles of telegraph and telephone wires immediate communication has been made possible with every important inland centre. The post offices recently opened in Formosa number over a hundred, and letters can now be sent to any part of the empire for two cents each. Up till the close of 1899, 122 government educational institutions had been established, only 9 of those being for Japanese, and 113 for natives. There are at present 10 principal Government hospitals in the island, at which about 60,000 patients are treated gratuitously every year, while sanitary precautions and free vaccination have become so general that the danger from visitations like small-pox and plague has been very much reduced.235


The Americo-Japanese Entente

“1. It is the wish of the two Governments to encourage the free and peaceful development of their commerce on the Pacific Ocean;

“2. The policy of both Governments, uninfluenced by any aggressive tendencies, is directed to the maintenance of the existing status quo in the region above mentioned and to the defence of the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry in China;

“3. They are accordingly firmly resolved reciprocally to respect the territorial possessions belonging to each other in said region;

“4. They are also determined to preserve the common interests of all Powers in China, by supporting by all pacific means at their disposal, the independence and integrity of China and the principle of equal opportunity for commerce and industry of all nations in that Empire;

“5. Should any event occur threatening the status quo as above described, or the principle of equal opportunity as above defined, it remains for the two Governments to communicate with each other in order to arrive at an understanding as to what measures they may consider it useful to take.”