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JAPAN



DESCRIBED BY GREAT WRITERS



' SINGLETON




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




JAPAN



JAPAN

As Seen and Described
by Famous Writers



Edited and Translated by

ESTHER SINGLETON

Author of "Turrets, Towers and Temples,"

"Great Pictures," and "A Guide to the

Opera," and translator of " The Music

Dramas of Richard Wagner."



WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS

t j, _ I. > I I t _j_ I _1. ,t t_ I I _t I, ,t l_.t t-.t I- I ^ * * I _t_ I ^>^ t < _l t^

r* " r r r I ~ i r r T r r ~ r r i i i i i i i i r i j r




I I 1 I I I 1 M I I I I I 1 I I I I 1 I I i I ! I I 'M' I"M I l-Hf

j8eto port

Dodd, Mead and Company



COPYRIGHT, 1904,
By DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

Published March, 1904



Art

Libra rv

OS



PREFACE

IN the following pages I have endeavoured to present
a bird's eye view of Japan, as seen by travellers and
recognized authorities who have given time and study
to the arts, sciences, history, ethnography, manners, cus-
toms and institutions of that country. Within the limits
of a volume of this size, it is, of course, impossible to de-
scribe Japan in detail ; in fact, that country is still a sealed
book to the European and American with the exception of
the circumscribed region around Tokio, Kioto and the
Treaty Ports. I have tried, however, to give a general and
comprehensive view of Japan and Japanese life by drawing
on the records and impressions of those who have been
allowed especial opportunities for examination and forming
their own conclusions.

Beginning with the description of the country, its phys-
ical features, flora, fauna, etc., the writers whom I have
laid under contribution next describe the Japanese race
with ethnological details, and then proceed to treat of the
history and religion of the land. The next division of the
work is devoted to descriptions of special towns, the Inland
Sea, mountains, highways, temples, shrines and places or
popular resort. As these special descriptions give a clearer
idea of Japanese life and thought than more general

v



vi PREFACE

articles, more space has been devoted to this department of
the work than any other. From the topography and special
descriptions, we pass to the manners and customs of the
nation, treating of the home and the special social obser-
vances and amusements peculiar to Japan. After this, the
arts and crafts of the Japanese are treated comprehensively
by recognized authorities in the various branches j and, in
order to give the reader an idea of Japan as it now is, I
have added a few recent statistics and an article on the dawn
of New Japan.

The extracts from Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan^ by
Lafcadio Hearn, are used by permission of, and by special
arrangement with, Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,
publishers of Mr. Hearn's works.

E. S.

New Tork, March 20, 1904.



CONTENTS

PART I

THE COUNTRY AND THE RACE

PAGE

The Country ........ I

Louis Const

Physical Features . . . *3
A. H. Keane

The Japanese Race . 21

Jean Jacques Elisee Reclus

PART II

HISTORY AND RELIGION

The History of Japan .30

Basil Hall Chamberlain

Shinto and Buddhism 44

Toshitaro Tamashita

The Japanese Tori-i 54

Samuel Tuke

PART III

PLACES AND MONUMENTS

The Great Tokaido Road 60

Sir Edward J. Reed
vii



viii CONTENTS

Tokio 77

Frederic H. Balfour

The Temple of Asakusa .82

Judith Gautier

The Temple of Hatchiman ...... 89

Aime Humbert

The Shiba Temple . 97

Christopher Dresser

In Yokohama 102

Lafcadio Hearn
Fuji-San ..no

Sir Edwin Arnold

The Temples of Nikko . 1 20

Pierre Loti

The Ise Shrines . . . . . . . 131

Isabella Bird Bishop

The Dai-Butsu of Nara . . . . . 137

Sir Edward J. Reed

Kioto I4 i

Pierre Loti

The Mikado's Palace . . . . . . 149

Pierre Loti

The Inland Sea . . . . . . . .156

Aime Humbert

Impressions of Kobe . . . . . . .164

Andre Bellessort

Miyanoshita . . . . . . . .172

Sir Edwin Arnold

In the Japanese Mountains 182

Sir Edwin Arnold



CONTENTS ix

Ena-San and Misakatoge . . . . . .191

Noel Buxton

A Large Crater 201

Prof. John Milne

Enoshima . . . . . .210
Lafcadio Hearn



PART IV

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS

Costume of the Gentlemen of Japan . . . .218
Arthur Diosy

Japanese Ladies . . . . . . .227

T. E. M.

Japanese Children 234

Mortimer Mempes

The Geisha 239

Mortimer Mempes

The House and its Customs ...... 243

Marcus B. Huish

The Japanese Hearth . . . , . . . 250
Sir Edwin Arnold

Gardens 257

7. J. Rein

The Flowers of Japan ^263

Josiah Conder

The Tea-Ceremonies (Cha-no-yu) .... 282

Augustus W. Franks

Pilgrimages ........ 287

Basil Hall Chamberlain



x CONTENTS

PART V

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Ornamental Arts . . . . . . . .291

George Ashdown Audslej

Decorative Arts . . . , . . . .297
Sir Rutherford Alcock

Architecture . . . . . . . .305

Christopher Dresser

Painting . . . .-,...,. , . .312

William Anderson

Pottery and Porcelain . . . . . . .316

Augustus W. Franks

Sculpture and Carving . 324

Marcus B. Huish

Lacquer 331

Ernest Hart

Literature 34 ,

W. G. Aston

Theatre . 349

Mortimer Mempes



PART VI

MODERN JAPAN

The New Japan 356

Arthur Diosy

Present Conditions 364

E. S.



ILLUSTRATIONS

YOKOHAMA FRONTISPIECE

To face page

FALLING FOG CASCADE, KIRIFURINOTAKI ... 2

HARBOUR OF NAGASAKI . . . . . . 14

JAPANESE PRIESTS ....... 2*

TOMB OF IYEYASU, NIKKO . . . . . . 32

OSAKA CASTLE ....... 4

SHINTO TEMPLE, KOBE ...... 46

DAI-BUTSU, UENO, TOKIO . . . . . . 5 2

TORI-I, NAGASAKI ....... 5^

STREET IN TOKIO ....... ?8

BUDDHAS, ASAKUSA ....... 88

DAIBOUDHS, KAMAKURA . . . . . . 9^

THE SHIBA TEMPLE, TOKIO . . . . . 100

A JlNRIKI-SHA . . . . . . . ,IO8

FUJI-SAN .116

TEMPLES OF NIKKO . . . . . . . 1 20

SHOGUN'S BRIDGE, NIKKO . . . , . .130
ENTRANCE TO THE TEMPLE OF CHION-IN, KIOTO . . 142
TEMPLE OF KIOMIZU, KIOTO . . . . .148

MIKADO'S PALACE, KIOTO . . . . . .154

KOBE 164

JAPANESE CHILDREN. BY MORTIMER MEMPES . . . 234
JAPANESE INTERIOR WITH ARRANGEMENT OF WINTER FLOWERS 244
GARDENS, TOKIO . . . . . . . 250

GARDENS, KOGOSHIMA . , . . . , 262



xli ILLUSTRATIONS

Tofacepagt
VIEWING THE PLUM BLOSSOMS ..... 268

ON THE SUMIDA RIVER ...... 270

WISTARIA BLOSSOMS AT KAMEIDO .... 274

JAPANESE TEA-ROOM ...... 284

MOTHER AND CHILD. Bv KENZAN (1663-1743), IN

KENZAN-!MADO WARE ..... 294

GATEWAY OF THE SHIBA TEMPLE, TOKIO . . .306
PAGODA AT ASAKUSA . . . . .! . . 308

SPECTACLE BRIDGE, KIOTO. . . . . . 310

KAKEMONO BY HOKUSAI, REPRESENTING OFUKU THROWING

BEANS AT A DEMON ; PAINTED ABOUT I 8OO . . 3 I
VASES OF OWARI PORCELAIN . . . . .318

CARVED IVORY GROUP, BY MEI-GIOKU BUTSU, REPRESENT-
ING THE FAMOUS ARCHER TAMETOMO A.'tD HIS SWORD-
BEARER ....... 326

FOUR LACQUER BOXES . . . . . .334

PANEL FROM A SCREEN, LACQUER, WITH FIGI'SE OF A COURT
LADY AND POETESS OF THE ELEVENT** CENTURY, IN-
CRUSTED IN IVORY ; DESIGN BY YoSAJ . . .344
TEA HOUSE . . . . . . . .358

TEMPLE BELL, KIOTO . . . , . .368



THE COUNTRY

LOUIS GONSE

ALL those who have set foot on Japanese soil agree
in praising its natural beauties. In this respect,
travellers' tales present such unanimity that we
may consider Japan as one of the most favoured countries
in the world. Beauty of sky, mildness of climate, variety
of zone, and configuration to the land all contribute to its
wealth. By its greatly lengthened form, like that of a bow,
the concave side of which is turned towards the Asiatic
continent, and by its extension from north-east to south-
west, the Nippon archipelago covers very different latitudes
and consequently lends itself to cultivations of the most
opposite character. There are no fewer than 750 leagues
between the northern extremity of the island of Yezo, which
is on the forty-sixth parallel, to the extreme south of
Kiushiu, which is on the thirtieth. While the northern
regions are covered with snow the southern ones are vivified
by an ardent sun. From the crossing, around Japan, of
the great Polar current that comes down from the Sea of
Okhotsk and the great tropical current that comes up from
the equator towards the Isle of Formosa and flows along
the east coasts before losing itself in the Pacific, it results
that the difference between the temperatures of the north



2 JAPAN

and south, between summer and winter, is more marked
even than in Europe. At the same latitude, it is colder by
five or six degrees in the north of Japan ; and the heat is
more intense in the south. The medium climate of Yezo
corresponds almost with that of Norway ; that of Kiushiu
with that of Egypt. There is the same difference in the
seasons. It must also be added that the east coasts have a
milder and more humid climate than those on the west.

Four islands, of much greater importance than the others,
form the territory of the Empire of Japan properly speak-
ing j Yezo, Hondo, the largest, which the Dutch named
Nippon ; Shikok, the coasts of which form the Inland Sea,
and Kiushiu. The area of the Empire of Japan, accord-
ing to official statistics, is a little more than three-quarters
the size of France ; and the population numbers about
forty millions. Taking into account the small number of
inhabitants contained by the northern and mountainous
regions, this country must rank as one of the most densely
populated on the face of the globe. The population of
the three imperial cities is, Tokio, 1,507,642 ; Kioto,
351,461; Osaka, 1,311,909. Ten other towns have more
than 100,000 inhabitants each.

The extreme width of Japan, even in the latitude of
Tokio, does not exceed 130 leagues. The extent of the
coast line is enormous and may be set at ten times that of
France. The shores are greatly indented, with deep bays ;
and the islands with which they are dotted are almost in-
finite in number, no less than thirty-eight hundred of




FALLING FOG CASCADE, KIRIFURINOTAKI.



THE COUNTRY 3

them have been counted. This geographical disposition, in
combination with the presence of the ocean currents, re-
sults for a great portion of the year in a very humid condi-
tion of the atmosphere, from which vegetation gains an
incomparable freshness. The almost tropical humidity of
the spring and summer, and the relative dryness of the
autumn and winter constitute the most striking character
of the climate of Japan. Rain and snow are continually
recurring in the compositions of the Japanese artists.

The rainy season corresponds to our months of June and
July. The temperature rises rapidly with the arrival of
the rains, and transforms Japan into a veritable sewer.
The summer, which follows, is short, hot and stormy. We
can imagine the different actions exercised by such a state
of atmosphere upon plants, animals and man. During these
months, the population is attacked by a general anemia.
Everything softens in this warm humidity. Twice as much
rain falls in Japan as in Western Europe ; at Tokio (Yedo),
the meteorological observations show a rainfall of nearly
sixty inches per annum. The bay of Tokio performs the
office of a hole to engulf the clouds brought by the south
winds. The paddy-fields thrive wonderfully in the prov-
ince of Musachi and form stretches of verdure for which
the eye can find no limit. The skies in this region pour
down such masses of water that the waters of the sea are
far less salt here than elsewhere. This enervating return
of warm rain is a real scourge to public health ; it is the
sole complaint that visitors have to make. But it is really



4 JAPAN

serious, and to its influence must be attributed the frail
constitution of the Japanese, especially in the leisured
classes, their premature old age, and the relatively short life
among the dwellers in the plains.

The autumn and winter are the dry seasons. The
autumn particularly is the loveliest part of the year. Dur-
ing the months of October, November and December, the
sky is of exquisite purity, the colours in the landscape
glow with marvellous brilliancy, and the air is light and
full of tonic. Those who visit Japan in these privileged
days carry away with them an image of ineffaceable de-
light. Freed from the excessive influence of the spring,
the plants, like the men, stand up and seem to take strength
from the well-being of Nature. The flowers of spring are
succeeded by a still richer display ; this is the time when
the denticulated leaf of the moumidji illumines the landscape
with its purple hues.

The surface of Japan is very mountainous and of an
essentially volcanic formation. The features of the land
and shores give to the landscapes an extraordinary variety
and an almost tortuous aspect which is very happily softened
by a luxuriant vegetation. A few of the volcanoes that are
scattered over the surface of the Japanese archipelago are
still in activity. The most remarkable of all, on account
of its outline, the beauty of its form, and its isolated situa-
tion, is the celebrated Fusiyama, the snowy mass of which
is so majestically enthroned on the horizon of Yedo ; the
poetical Fusi, sung by all the poets and reproduced by all



THE COUNTRY 5

the artists of the capital. The affection of every good
Japanese for this admirable mountain, the highest in Japan,
is well known. Like Etna, with which it presents singular
analogies, Fusi has no rival. It reigns over Japan as Etna
does over Sicily.

Warm springs are abundant, and the vegetative energy
indicates that the period of volcanic upheavals is not yet
very remote. The soil is wonderfully fertile almost every-
where.

Cascades, streamlets, bridges, mills and miniature lakes
are the necessary accompaniment of every Japanese land-
scape.

The chains of mountains that accentuate Japan are ac-
companied by innumerable valleys, and even by immense
plains, such as that of Yedo, in which the Japanese peasant
finds a generous soil from which he can demand everything.

Japanese cultivation, although greatly laboured, is yet
somewhat restricted ; a small number of vegetables, among
which are egg-plants, roots and potatoes ; watermelons
figure in the first rank ; a few species of fruit-trees, mul-
berries, bamboos, cotton trees, maize,' hemp, tobacco,
indigo, tea and rice, particularly rice, which, with fish, is
the dominant, not to say exclusive, food of Japan. Gar-
dening, by which I mean the cultivation of ornamental
plants and flowers, is, on the other hand, extremely devel-
oped. The Japanese love flowers. The flowers have not
much odour, but they attain magnificent development and
glow with hues unknown to us in Europe. Among the



6 JAPAN

most extraordinary, we may mention the giant chrysanthe-
mums and the rose nenuphars, the calyx of which some-
times measures fifty centimetres in diameter.

The Japanese flora and fauna are similar to our own ;
many plants and animals are common to Europe and Japan.
As for the flora, the number of families and genuses is
greater than ours ; but the varieties are infinitely fewer.
The fauna is poorer.

The centre of Japan, principally in the low regions of the
Tokaido, thanks to the development of cultivation, offers
a remarkable mixture of the plants of the temperate and
tropical zones. There may be seen the banana growing
side by side with the mulberry, the orange with the apple,
the cotton tree with the walnut and chestnut. The edible
fruits seem almost all to be derived from importation from
abroad at a historical period. The peach, cherry, plum
and almond are not indigenous to Japan ; there they have
less flavour than in Europe. Pears attain enormous size
there; the apple is only a wild fruit; the vine, which
thrives in many regions, is not yet used for making wine.
The only fermented drink in use is sake or rice brandy
which contains only a small proportion of alcohol.

The forest vegetation is very remarkable. Trees attain
colossal dimensions. The soil is shaded everywhere;
bushes, ligneous plants, creepers and tall grasses are
mingled in a picturesque jumble. Roads, paths, cascades,
peasants' houses, inns and temples seem to be drowned in
the verdure. The most noteworthy of the plants peculiar



THE COUNTRY 7

ro Japan are : the Kiri (Paulonia imperialii), the imperial
tree, the flower of which united with that of the chrys-
anthemum, symbolizes the power of the Mikado; the
um'e, or wild plum, an angular tree, covered with thorns,
but of most beautiful style, that grows everywhere and
whose dazzling blooms are the messengers of spring ; the
Sought (Cryptomeria japonica) whose strange and strong
forms have been often celebrated by European writers ; the
Hinoki (Retinispora obtusd) that affords the most prized wood
for cabinet-making; the Foudzi (Wysteria sincusii) that
wreathes the columns of the temples, covers the straw-
thatched roofs of the huts, and figures so largely in the
poetic imagination of the Japanese, as the emblem of youth
and of the season of flowers ; the Biva, the Kaki, which
is the fruit-tree par excellence of Japan ; and the peony
(Eotan) which is its most beautiful flower. We may also
mention the Rhus vernicifera^ the lacquer tree, and the
Brussonetia papyrifera^ the paper tree. The olive is
unknown.

The flowers which the Japanese are most fond of culti-
vating in their gardens are orchids, chrysanthemums,
camelias, peonies, azaleas, magnolias, hibiscus, nenuphars,
irises, poppies, volubilis, lilies, begonias, ferns and mosses,
odd forms of which they particularly esteem. The cherry
is cultivated not for its fruit but for its blossom which is
much larger and more beautiful than that borne by our
trees. The double cherry blossom is incomparably mag-
nificent.



8 JAPAN

Neglecting the flowers that are known to have been in-
troduced from China or Europe, Savatier has classified the
flora of Japan in 2,743 species, grouped in 1,035 genuses
and 154 families. The number of plants may be put at
more than 3,000; forty-four genuses have not yet been
found outside the Japan archipelago. As to the southern
flora of Yezo, it is entirely different and almost unknown.
In the forests, the number and mixture of species are much
greater than in other countries of the same latitude. The
virgin forests of Japan, notwithstanding the breaches al-
ready made in them by industry, are still among the finest
in the world. Yezo is nothing but a vast virgin forest of
which the wealth of timber fit for building purposes has
scarcely been touched.

If rice dominates in alimentary cultivation, the conif-
erous and evergreens dominate in forest vegetation. The
resinous species of Japan enjoy universal celebrity. The
pines and wild plums (um'e} are the most beautiful orna-
ments of this region. The whole of decorate art is to
some extent borrowed from the ingenious, delicate and
learned study of these most picturesque trees. The artists
have also made wonderful use of the moumidji, or American
oak, the leaves of which assume a purplish red in Autumn
and glow in great masses in the Japanese landscape; also of
the bamboo the elegant forms of which lend themselves so
readily to their favourite combinations. After rice, the
bamboo plays the chief part in Japanese life ; it seems as if
the country could not subsist without the bamboo.



THE COUNTRY 9

It lends itself to the most multifarious uses and
needs.

After the cereals, the cultivation of the tea-shrub oc-
cupies the first rank, without being so important or so per-
fect as in China. Tea is the national drink. The shrubs
are set out in the fields, or form hedges ; they thrive well
everywhere and are very hardy. The best tea is harvested
in the neighbourhood of Kioto ; as to fineness and delicacy,
it is inferior in quality to the tea of China.

Silk culture occupies the third place in the national
economics. Japanese silk was already celebrated in Europe
in the Sixteenth Century. With respect to suppleness
of tissue and beauty of tone, it has no rival. Un-
fortunately, this industry is in complete decadence, the
quality of the best goods no longer appeals to foreign buy-
ers to the same degree as formerly ; the Japanese now only
think about producing as much as possible without caring
to maintain their old superiority. As for the native con-
sumption, it diminishes daily under the invasion of our
Jinens and cottons.

The fauna of Japan offers few remarkable peculiarities.
Moreover, it is much poorer than the flora. Owing to the
density of population and the development of cultivation,
Japan has preserved very few wild animals. The carnivora
are scarcely represented except by two species of bears, one
of which lives almost exclusively in the isle of Yezo. The
tiger exists only in some of the southern provinces, and the
wolf has almost entirely disappeared. A species of wild



10 JAPAN

dog is also mentioned ; but the two wild animals that are
common over the whole surface of the country are the fox
(Kitsuni), and the badger (Tanukfy which constantly
appear, in popular legend and to which the women's imagi-
nation attributes a baleful power. The fox can assume the
human form. By preference, he chooses that of a young
and beautiful woman, in order to lead belated travellers
astray. The credulity of the lower orders attributes the
most malicious annoyances to him. It is certain that he
devastates the poultry-yards and rice-fields, where at his ease
he can visit during the night the little tabernacles of Inari,
the god of rice. The Japanese custom of offering food to
their divinities attracts Mr. Renard and furnishes him with
excellent repasts. The astute animal is so closely identi-
fied with the peaceable god of the fields that every little
temple (jaciro) is flanked by two foxes coarsely carved in
stone or wood, which has led some European writers to be-
lieve that the Japanese worship the fox under the name of
Inari. For his part, the badger can metamorphose himself
into inanimate objects and kitchen furniture and utensils.
He is fond of the porridge pot. A very popular legend that
has very often inspired the artists relates that one day a
merchant bought a big porridge pot. Having been set on
the fire, it put out a tail, four paws and a head, and then
took to precipitate flight.

The boar and monkey are rather common. Rodents
swarm. The rat is the emblem of fortune. It is always
represented with Daikoku, the god of wealth. Animals



THE COUNTRY 1 1

with prized furs abound in the island of Yezo; but the
Japanese have scarcely begun to take advantage of the
natural resources of that island. The rabbit and hare are
very rare. A few years ago, rabbits imported from Europe
commanded fabulous prices.

All the domestic animals, except the dog, came from
China. The ass is unknown. The ox is employed in
field work ; but, until the arrival of the Europeans, the
Japanese had not thought of using its flesh as food. The
horse alone has any real importance in the normal life of
the people. It is reserved for the saddle and pack, the
drawing of all kinds of vehicles being confined to men.
The sole indigenous equine race is that of the Satsouma
ponies. They are small, fiery and difficult to manage.
Their mane is short and bristling, and they are strong
necked and have a long and flowing tail.

The Japanese ride only entire horses. They have great
veneration for the horses of great personages. On the
death of a prince or a warrior, a talented artist is commis-
sioned to paint the portrait of his favourite horse with a few
rapid strokes. These little pictures, called yemas^ are
piously preserved by the friends, or descendants of the de-
ceased. At Nikko, people still visit the chapel erected to
the battle-horse of Tokugawa lyeyasu.

The ornithological and entomological wealth of Japan is
very considerable. The various species of birds present
much analogy with those of our temperate regions. The
most richly represented are the ducks, wild geese, cranes,



12 JAPAN

herons, and generally all the long-legged birds. Pheasants
and peacocks are reared in gardens, as with us. The gal-
linacae offer superb types, and the Japanese cocks enjoy a
well-deserved reputation. As for insects and butterflies,
they abound throughout Japan.

The marine fauna is no less numerous. The waters of
Japan afford fishing innumerable resources which, it is
true, have somewhat diminished in certain parts of the sea,
but in many others have scarcely begun to be exploited.
One may say that Japan is a nation of fish-eaters. Fish
cooked, salted, smoked or dried is the basis of the food of
the people, and the fish is of excellent quality. There are
very few differences between the Japanese species and our


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Online LibraryEsther SingletonJapan as seen and described by famous writers → online text (page 1 of 23)