hilt. At least I cannot tell you all. But there flashed to me, as I
looked at your gift, the remembrance of your ancient proverb: 'The Sword
is the Soul of the Samurai.' And then it seemed to me that in the very
choice of that exquisite souvenir you had symbolised something of your
own souls. For we English also have some famous sayings and proverbs
about swords. Our poets call a good blade 'trusty' and 'true'; and of
our best friend we say, 'He is true as steel' - signifying in the ancient
sense the steel of a perfect sword - the steel to whose temper a warrior
could trust his honour and his life. And so in your rare gift, which I
shall keep and prize while I live, I find an emblem of your true-
heartedness and affection. May you always keep fresh within your hearts
those impulses of generosity and kindliness and loyalty which I have
learned to know so well, and of which your gift will ever remain for me
the graceful symbol!
And a symbol not only of your affection and loyalty as students to
teachers, but of that other beautiful sense of duty you expressed, when
so many of you wrote down for me, as your dearest wish, the desire to
die for His Imperial Majesty, your Emperor. That wish is holy: it means
perhaps even more than you know, or can know, until you shall have
become much older and wiser. This is an era of great and rapid change;
and it is probable that many of you, as you grow up, will not be able to
believe everything that your fathers believed before you - though I
sincerely trust you will at least continue always to respect the faith,
even as you still respect the memory, of your ancestors. But however
much the life of New Japan may change about you, however much your own
thoughts may change with the times, never suffer that noble wish you
expressed to me to pass away from your souls. Keep it burning there,
clear and pure as the flame of the little lamp that glows before your
Perhaps some of you may have that wish. Many of you must become
soldiers. Some will become officers. Some will enter the Naval Academy
to prepare for the grand service of protecting the empire by sea; and
your Emperor and your country may even require your blood. But the
greater number among you are destined to other careers, and may have no
such chances of bodily self-sacrifice - except perhaps in the our of some
great national danger, which I trust Japan will never know. And there is
another desire, not less noble, which may be your compass in civil life:
to live for your country though you cannot die for it. Like the kindest
and wisest of fathers, your Government has provided for you these
splendid schools, with all opportunities for the best instruction this
scientific century can give, at a far less cost than any other civilised
country can offer the same advantages. And all this in order that each
of you may help to make your country wiser and richer and stronger than
it has ever been in the past. And whoever does his best, in any calling
or profession, to ennoble and develop that calling or profession, gives
his life to his emperor and to his country no less truly than the
soldier or he seaman who dies for duty.
I am not less sorry to leave you, I think, than you are to see me go.
The more I have learned to know the hearts of Japanese students, the
more I have learned to love their country. I think, however, that I
shall see many of you again, though I never return to Matsue: some I am
almost sure I shall meet elsewhere in future summers; some I may even
hope to teach once more, in the Government college to which I am going.
But whether we meet again or not, be sure that my life has been made
happier by knowing you, and that I shall always love you. And, now, with
renewed thanks for your beautiful gift, good-bye!
The students of the Normal School gave me a farewell banquet in their
hall. I had been with them so little during the year - less even than the
stipulated six hours a week - that I could not have supposed they would
feel much attachment for their foreign teacher. But I have still much to
learn about my Japanese students. The banquet was delightful. The
captain of each class in turn read in English a brief farewell address
which he had prepared; and more than one of those charming compositions,
made beautiful with similes and sentiments drawn from the old Chinese
and Japanese poets, will always remain in my memory. Then the students
sang their college songs for me, and chanted the Japanese version of
'Auld Lang Syne' at the close of the banquet. And then all, in military
procession, escorted me home, and cheered me farewell at my gate, with
shouts of 'Manzai!' 'Good-bye!' 'We will march with you to the steamer
when you go.'
But I shall not have the pleasure of seeing them again. They are all
gone far away - some to another world. Yet it is only four days since I
attended that farewell banquet at the Normal School! A cruel visitation
has closed its gates and scattered its students through the province.
Two nights ago, the Asiatic cholera, supposed to have been brought to
Japan by Chinese vessels, broke out in different parts of the city, and,
among other places, in the Normal School. Several students and teachers
expired within a short while after having been attacked; others are even
now lingering between life and death. The rest marched to the little
healthy village of Tamatsukuri, famed for its hot springs. But there the
cholera again broke out among them, and it was decided to dismiss the
survivors at once to their several homes. There was no panic. The
military discipline remained unbroken. Students and teachers fell at
their posts. The great college building was taken charge of by the
medical authorities, and the work of disinfection and sanitation is
still going on. Only the convalescents and the fearless samurai
president, Saito Kumataro, remain in it. Like the captain who scorns to
leave his sinking ship till all souls are safe, the president stays in
the centre of danger, nursing the sick boys, overlooking the work of
sanitation, transacting all the business usually intrusted to several
subordinates, whom he promptly sent away in the first hour of peril. He
has had the joy of seeing two of his boys saved.
Of another, who was buried last night, I hear this: Only a little while
before his death, and in spite of kindliest protest, he found strength,
on seeing his president approaching his bedside, to rise on his elbow
and give the military salute. And with that brave greeting to a brave
man, he passed into the Great Silence.
At last my passport has come. I must go.
The Middle School and the adjacent elementary schools have been closed
on account of the appearance of cholera, and I protested against any
gathering of the pupils to bid me good-bye, fearing for them the risk of
exposure to the chilly morning air by the shore of the infected river.
But my protest was received only with a merry laugh. Last night the
Director sent word to all the captains of classes. Wherefore, an hour
after sunrise, some two hundred students, with their teachers, assemble
before my gate to escort me to the wharf, near the long white bridge,
where the little steamer is waiting. And we go.
Other students are already assembled at the wharf. And with them wait a
multitude of people known to me: friends or friendly acquaintances,
parents and relatives of students, every one to whom I can remember
having ever done the slightest favour, and many more from whom I have
received favours which I never had the chance to return - persons who
worked for me, merchants from whom I purchased little things, a host of
kind faces, smiling salutation. The Governor sends his secretary with a
courteous message; the President of the Normal School hurries down for a
moment to shake hands. The Normal students have been sent to their
homes, but not a few of their teachers are present. I most miss friend
Nishida. He has been very sick for two long months, bleeding at the
lungs but his father brings me the gentlest of farewell letters from
him, penned in bed, and some pretty souvenirs.
And now, as I look at all these pleasant faces about me, I cannot but
ask myself the question: 'Could I have lived in the exercise of the same
profession for the same length of time in any other country, and have
enjoyed a similar unbroken experience of human goodness?' From each and
all of these I have received only kindness and courtesy. Not one has
ever, even through inadvertence, addressed to me a single ungenerous
word. As a teacher of more than five hundred boys and men, I have never
even had my patience tried. I wonder if such an experience is possible
only in Japan.
But the little steamer shrieks for her passengers. I shake many hands -
most heartily, perhaps, that of the brave, kind President of the Normal
School - and climb on board. The Director of the Jinjo-Chugakko a few
teachers of both schools, and one of my favourite pupils, follow; they
are going to accompany me as far as the next port, whence my way will be
over the mountains to Hiroshima.
It is a lovely vapoury morning, sharp with the first chill of winter.
From the tiny deck I take my last look at the quaint vista of the
Ohashigawa, with its long white bridge - at the peaked host of queer dear
old houses, crowding close to dip their feet in its glassy flood - at the
sails of the junks, gold-coloured by the early sun - at the beautiful
fantastic shapes of the ancient hills.
Magical indeed the charm of this land, as of a land veritably haunted by
gods: so lovely the spectral delicacy of its colours - so lovely the
forms of its hills blending with the forms of its clouds - so lovely,
above all, those long trailings and bandings of mists which make its
altitudes appear to hang in air. A land where sky and earth so strangely
intermingle that what is reality may not be distinguished from what is
illusion - that all seems a mirage, about to vanish. For me, alas! it is
about to vanish for ever.
The little steamer shrieks again, puffs, backs into midstream, turns
from the long white bridge. And as the grey wharves recede, a long
Aaaaaaaaaa rises from the uniformed ranks, and all the caps wave,
flashing their Chinese ideographs of brass. I clamber to the roof of the
tiny deck cabin, wave my hat, and shout in English: 'Good-bye, good-
bye!' And there floats back to me the cry: 'Manzai, manzai!' [Ten
thousand years to you! ten thousand years!] But already it comes faintly
from far away. The packet glides out of the river-mouth, shoots into the
blue lake, turns a pine-shadowed point, and the faces, and the voices,
and the wharves, and the long white bridge have become memories.
Still for a little while looking back, as we pass into the silence of
the great water, I can see, receding on the left, the crest of the
ancient castle, over grand shaggy altitudes of pine - and the place of my
home, with its delicious garden - and the long blue roofs of the schools.
These, too, swiftly pass out of vision. Then only faint blue water,
faint blue mists, faint blues and greens and greys of peaks looming
through varying distance, and beyond all, towering ghost-white into the
east, the glorious spectre of Daisen.
And my heart sinks a moment under the rush of those vivid memories which
always crowd upon one the instant after parting - memories of all that
make attachment to places and to things. Remembered smiles; the morning
gathering at the threshold of the old yashiki to wish the departing
teacher a happy day; the evening gathering to welcome his return; the
dog waiting by the gate at the accustomed hour; the garden with its
lotus-flowers and its cooing of doves; the musical boom of the temple
bell from the cedar groves; songs of children at play; afternoon shadows
upon many-tinted streets; the long lines of lantern-fires upon festal
nights; the dancing of the moon upon the lake; the clapping of hands by
the river shore in salutation to the Izumo sun; the endless merry
pattering of geta over the windy bridge: all these and a hundred other
happy memories revive for me with almost painful vividness - while the
far peaks, whose names are holy, slowly turn away their blue shoulders,
and the little steamer bears me, more and more swiftly, ever farther and
farther from the Province of the Gods.
NOTES for Chapter One
1 Such as the garden attached to the abbots palace at Tokuwamonji,
cited by Mr. Conder, which was made to commemorate the legend of stones
which bowed themselves in assent to the doctrine of Buddha. At Togo-ike,
in Tottori-ken, I saw a very large garden consisting almost entirely of
stones and sand. The impression which the designer had intended to
convey was that of approaching the sea over a verge of dunes, and the
illusion was beautiful.
2 The Kojiki, translated by Professor B. H. Chamberlain, p. 254.
3 Since this paper was written, Mr. Conder has published a beautiful
illustrated volume,-Landscape Gardening in Japan. By Josiah Conder,
F.R.I.B.A. Tokyo 1893. A photographic supplement to the work gives views
of the most famous gardens in the capital and elsewhere.
4 The observations of Dr. Rein on Japanese gardens are not to be
recommended, in respect either to accuracy or to comprehension of the
subject. Rein spent only two years in Japan, the larger part of which
time he devoted to the study of the lacquer industry, the manufacture
of silk and paper and other practical matters. On these subjects his
work is justly valued. But his chapters on Japanese manners and
customs, art, religion, and literature show extremely little
acquaintance with those topics.
5 This attitude of the shachihoko is somewhat de rigueur, whence the
common expression shachihoko dai, signifying to stand on ones head.
6 The magnificent perch called tai (Serranus marginalis), which is very
common along the Izumo coast, is not only justly prized as the most
delicate of Japanese fish, but is also held to be an emblem of good
fortune. It is a ceremonial gift at weddings and on congratu-latory
occasions. The Japanese call it also the king of fishes.
7 Nandina domestica.
8 The most lucky of all dreams, they say in Izumo, is a dream of Fuji,
the Sacred Mountain. Next in order of good omen is dreaming of a falcon
(taka). The third best subject for a dream is the eggplant (nasubi). To
dream of the sun or of the moon is very lucky; but it is still more so
to dream of stars. For a young wife it is most for tunate to dream of
swallowing a star: this signifies that she will become the mother of a
beautiful child. To dream of a cow is a good omen; to dream of a horse
is lucky, but it signifies travelling. To dream of rain or fire is good.
Some dreams are held in Japan, as in the West, to go by contraries.
Therefore to dream of having ones house burned up, or of funerals, or
of being dead, or of talking to the ghost of a dead person, is good.
Some dreams which are good for women mean the reverse when dreamed by
men; for example, it is good for a woman to dream that her nose bleeds,
but for a man this is very bad. To dream of much money is a sign of loss
to come. To dream of the koi, or of any freshwater fish, is the most
unlucky of all. This is curious, for in other parts of Japan the koi is
a symbol of good fortune.
9 Tebushukan: Citrus sarkodactilis.
10 Yuzuru signifies to resign in favour of another; ha signifies a leaf.
The botanical name, as given in Hepburns dictionary, is Daphniphillum
11 Cerasus pseudo-cerasus (Lindley).
12 About this mountain cherry there is a humorous saying which
illustrates the Japanese love of puns. In order fully to appreciate it,
the reader should know that Japanese nouns have no distinction of
singular and plural. The word ha, as pronounced, may signify either
leaves or teeth; and the word hana, either flowers or nose. The
yamazakura puts forth its ha (leaves) before his hana (flowers).
Wherefore a man whose ha (teeth) project in advance of his hana (nose)
is called a yamazakura. Prognathism is not uncommon in Japan,
especially among the lower classes.
13 If one should ask you concerning the heart of a true Japanese, point
to the wild cherry flower glowing in the sun.
14 There are three noteworthy varieties: one bearing red, one pink and
white, and one pure white flowers.
15 The expression yanagi-goshi, a willow-waist, is one of several in
common use comparing slender beauty to the willow-tree.
16 Peonia albiflora, The name signifies the delicacy of beauty. The
simile of the botan (the tree peony) can be fully appreciated only by
one who is acquainted with the Japanese flower.
17 Some say kesbiyuri (poppy) instead of himeyuri. The latter is a
graceful species of lily, Lilium callosum.
18 Standing, she is a shakuyaku; seated, she is a botan; and the charm
of her figure in walking is the charm of a himeyuri.
19 In the higher classes of Japanese society to-day, the honorific O is
not, as a rule, used before the names of girls, and showy appellations
are not given to daughters. Even among the poor respectable classes,
names resembling those of geisha, etc., are in disfavour. But those
above cited are good, honest, everyday names.
20 Mr. Satow has found in Hirata a belief to which this seems to some
extent akin - the curious Shinto doctrine according to which a divine
being throws off portions of itself by a process of fissure, thus
producing what are called waki-mi-tama - parted spirits, with separate
functions. The great god of Izumo, Oho-kuni-nushi-no-Kami, is said by
Hirata to have three such parted spirits: his rough spirit (ara-mi-
tama) that punishes, his gentle spirit (nigi-mi-tama) that pardons, and
his benedictory or beneficent spirit (saki-mi-tama) that blesses, There
is a Shinto story that the rough spirit of this god once met the gentle
spirit without recognising it,
21 Perhaps the most impressive of all the Buddhist temples in Kyoto. It
is dedicated to Kwannon of the Thousand Hands, and is said to contain
33,333 of her images.
22 Daidaimushi in Izunio. The dictionary word is dedemushi. The snail is
supposed to be very fond of wet weather; and one who goes out much in
the rain is compared to a snail, - dedemushi no yona.
23 Snail, snail, put out your horns a little it rains and the wind is
blowing, so put out your horns, just for a little while.
24 A Buddhist divinity, but within recent times identified by Shinto
with the god Kotohira.
25 See Professor Chamberlains version of it in The Japanese Fairy Tale
Series, with charming illustrations by a native artist.
26 Butterfly, little butterfly, light upon the na leaf. But if thou
dost not like the na leaf, light, I pray thee, upon my hand.
27 Boshi means a hat; tsukeru, to put on. But this etymology is more
28 Some say Chokko-chokko-uisu. Uisu would be pronounced in English
very much like weece, the final u being silent. Uiosu would be
something like ' we-oce.
29 Pronounced almost as geece.
30 Contraction of kore noru.
31 A kindred legend attaches to the shiwan, a little yellow insect which
preys upon cucumbers. The shiwan is said to have been once a physician,
who, being detected in an amorous intrigue, had to fly for his life; but
as he went his foot caught in a cucumber vine, so that he fell and was
overtaken and killed, and his ghost became an insect, the destroyer of
cucumber vines. In the zoological mythology and plant mythology of Japan
there exist many legends offering a curious resemblance to the old Greek
tales of metamorphoses. Some of the most remarkable bits of such folk-
lore have originated, however, in comparatively modern time. The legend
of the crab called heikegani, found at Nagato, is an example. The souls
of the Taira warriors who perished in the great naval battle of Dan-no-
ura (now Seto-Nakai), 1185, are supposed to have been transformed into
heikegani. The shell of the heikegani is certainly surprising. It is
wrinkled into the likeness of a grim face, or rather into exact
semblance of one of those black iron visors, or masks, which feudal
warriors wore in battle, and which were shaped like frowning visages.
32 Come, firefly, I will give you water to drink. The water of that.
place is bitter; the water here is sweet.
33 By honzon is here meant the sacred kakemono, or picture, exposed to
public view in the temples only upon the birthday of the Buddha, which
is the eighth day of the old fourth month. Honzon also signifies the
principal image in a Buddhist temple.
34 A solitary voice! Did the Moon cry? Twas but the hototogisu.
35 When I gaze towards the place where I heard the hototogisu cry, lol
there is naught save the wan morning moon.
36 Save only the morning moon, none heard the hearts-blood cry of the
37 A sort of doughnut made of bean flour, or tofu.
38 Kite, kite, let me see you dance, and to-morrow evening, when the
crows do not know, I will give you a rat.
39 O tardy crow, hasten forward! Your house is all on fire. Hurry to
throw Water upon it. If there be no water, I will give you. If you have
too much, give it to your child. If you have no child, then give it back
40 The words papa and mamma exist in Japanese baby language, but their
meaning is not at all what might be supposed. Mamma, or, with the usual
honorific, O-mamma, means boiled rice. Papa means tobacco.
Notes for Chapter Two
1 This was written early in 1892
2 Quoted from Mr. Satow's masterly essay, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto,'
published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. By 'gods'
are not necessarily meant beneficent Kami. Shinto has no devils; but it
has its 'bad gods' as well as good deities.
3 Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.'
5 In the sense of Moral Path, - i.e. an ethical system.
6 Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.' The whole force of Motowori's
words will not be fully understood unless the reader knows that the
term 'Shinto' is of comparatively modern origin in Japan, - having been
borrowed from the Chinese to distinguish the ancient faith from
Buddhism; and that the old name for the primitive religion is Kami-no-
michi, 'the Way of the Gods.'
7 Satow, 'The Revival of Pure Shinto.'
8 From Kami, 'the [Powers] Above,' or the Gods, and tana, 'a shelf.'
The initial 't' of the latter word changes into 'd' in the compound, -
just as that of tokkuri, 'a jar' or 'bottle,' becomes dokkuri in the
cornpound o-mi kidokkuri.
9 The mirror, as an emblem of female divinities, is kept in the secret
innermost shrine of various Shinto temples. But the mirror of metal
commonly placed before the public gaze in a Shinto shrine is not really
of Shinto origin, but was introduced into Japan as a Buddhist symbol of
the Shingon sect. As the mirror is the symbol in Shinto of female
divinities, the sword is the emblem of male deities. The real symbols of
the god or goddess are not, however, exposed to human gaze under any
10 Anciently the two great Shinto festivals on which the miya were thus
carried in procession were the Yoshigami-no-matsuri, or festival of the
God of the New Year, and the anniversary of Jimmu Tenno to the throne.
The second of these is still observed. The celebration of the Emperor's
birthday is the only other occasion when the miya are paraded. On both
days the streets are beautifully decorated with lanterns and shimenawa,
the fringed ropes of rice straw which are the emblems of Shinto. Nobody
now knows exactly what the words chanted on these days (chosaya!
chosaya!) mean. One theory is that they are a corruption of Sagicho, the
name of a great samurai military festival, which was celebrated nearly
at the same time as the Yashigami-no-matsuri, - both holidays now being
11 Thuya obtusa.
12 Such at least is the mourning period under such circumstances in
certain samurai families. Others say twenty days is sufficient. The
Buddhist code of mourning is extremely varied and complicated, and would
require much space to dilate upon.
13 In spite of the supposed rigidity of the Nichiren sect in such
matters, most followers of its doctrine in Izumo are equally fervent
Shintoists. I have not been able to observe whether the same is true of
Izumo Shin-shu families as a rule; but I know that some Shin-shu
believers in Matsue worship at Shinto shrines. Adoring only that form of
Buddha called Amida, the Shin sect might be termed a Buddhist
'Unitarianism.' It seems never to have been able to secure a strong
footing in Izumo on account of its doctrinal hostility to Shinto.