amount. He paid for the damage, and in future declined to go around
loosely in a Japanese store.
The Japanese lacquer of the present time is not so highly prized as
that of the last or the previous century.
It is not so well made, partly
for the reason that the workmen have lost their skill in the art, and part-
ly because labor is much more expensive now than formerly. The prices
obtained for some of the specimens of this kind of work have been very
high, but they are not enough to meet the advance that has been made in
wages in the past few years. The manufacturers are anxious to turn
their money as rapidly as possible, and consequently they do not allow
their productions to dry thoroughly. To be properly prepared, a piece
of lacquer should dry very slowly ; and it used to be said that the best
lacquer was dried under water, so that the process should not be too
rapid. The article, whatever it may be, is first shaped from wood or
papier-mache, and then covered with successive coatings of varnish or
lacquer : this is made from the gum of a tree, or, rather, from the juice,
and it is said to have the peculiar property of turning black from expos-
ure to the air, though it is of a milky whiteness when it exudes from the
tree. It can be made to assume various colors by the addition of pig-
ments ; and while it is in a fresh condition coatings of gold-leaf are laid on
in such a way as to form the figures that the artist has designed. Every
coating must be dried before the next is laid on : and the more elaborate
and costly the work, the more numerous are the coatings. Sometimes
EXCELLENCE OF JAPANESE LACQUER.
there may be a dozen or more of them, and pieces are in existence that
are said to have received no less than fifty applications of lacquer. A
box may thus require several years for its completion, as the drying proc-
ess should never be hastened, lest the lacquer crack and peel when ex-
posed to the air, and especially to heat. Good lacquer can be put into
hot water without the least injury ; but this is not the case with the or-
In 1874 a steamer
was lost on the coast of
Japan. She had as a
part of her cargo the
Japanese goods from the
Vienna Exhibition, and
none of them \vere re-
covered for nearly a
year. There they lay
under the salt-water, and
it was supposed that
nearly everything would
be ruined. But it was
found that the lacquered
ware had suffered very
little, and some of these
very articles were shown
JAPANESE ARTIST CHASING ON COPPER.
at Philadelphia in 1876.
A few of the pieces required to be freshly polished, but there were many
of them that did not need even this slight attention.
The boys were greatly interested in their shopping excursions, and
learned a good deal about Japanese art and industry before they had end-
ed their purchases. By the time they were through they had an excel-
lent collection of porcelain and other ware, of ivory carvings, lacquered
boxes, and similar things ; silk robes, wrappers, and handkerchiefs ; and
quite enough fans to set up a small museum. They tried at first to
get a sample of each kind of fan that they could find, but the variety
proved so great that they were forced to give up the attempt. They
bought some curious articles of bamboo, and were surprised to find to how
many uses this vegetable production is put. Frank thought it was a pity
the bamboo did not grow in America, as it could be turned to even more
advantage by the enterprising Yankee than by the plodding Oriental, and
Fred was inclined to agree with him. They changed their minds, how-
Till: BOY TRAVELLERS.
THE BAMBOO AND ITS USES. 253
ever, when the Doctor told them how far the bamboo entered into the
life of the people of the East, and on the whole they concluded that the
American couldn't improve upon it.
" The bamboo," said the Doctor, " is of use from a very early age.
The young shoots are boiled and eaten, or soaked in sugar, and preserved
as confectionery. The roots of the plant are carved so as to resemble
animals or men, and in this shape are used as ornaments ; and when the
bamboo is matured, and of full size, it is turned to purposes almost with-
out number. The hollow stalks are used as water-pipes ; rafts are made
of them ; the walls and roofs of houses are constructed from them ; and
they serve for the masts of smaller boats and the yards of larger ones.
The light and strong poles which the coolies place over their shoulders
for bearing burdens are almost invariably of bamboo ; and where it grows
abundantly it is used for making fences and sheds, and for the construc-
tion of nearly every implement of agriculture. Its fibres are twisted into
rope, or softened into pulp for paper; every article of furniture is made
of bamboo, and so are hats, umbrellas, fans, cups, and a thousand other
things. In fact, it would be easier to say what is not made of it in these
Eastern countries than to say what is; and an attempt at a mere enumer-
ation of its uses and the articles made from it would be tedious. Take
away the bamboo from the people of Japan and China, and you would
deprive them of their principal means of support, or, at any rate, would
make life a much greater burden than it now is."
TIIK BOY TRAVELLERS.
SOMETHING ABOUT JAPANESE WOMEN.
FRANK thought it was no more than proper that he should devote
a letter to Miss Effie. He wanted to make it instructive and inter-
esting, and, at the same time, he thought it should appeal to her personally
in some way. He debated the matter in his own mind without coming to
a conclusion, and finally determined to submit the question to Doctor
Bronson, from whom he hoped to receive a suggestion that would be
The Doctor listened to him, and was not long in arriving at a conclu-
" You have just written to Mary on the subject of Japanese art," said
he, "and she will be pretty certain to show the letter to her intimate
"Nothing more likely," Frank an-
" In that case," the Doctor contin-
ued, "you want to take up a subject
x that will be interesting to both, and
that has not been touched in your let-
ters thus far."
" I suppose so."
"Well, then, as they are both wom-
en, or girls, as you may choose to call
them, why don't } r ou take up the sub-
ject of women in Japan ? They would
naturally be interested in what relates
to their own sex, and you can give
them much information on that topic."
The proposal struck Frank as an ex-
cellent one, and he at once set about
obtaining the necessary information for
A JAPAXK8E LADY S-MAII).
WOMEN IN JAPAN.
BRIDE AND BRIDESMAID.
the preparation of his letter. He
had already seen and heard a great
deal concerning the women of Japan,
and it was not long before he had
all the material he wanted for his
purpose. His letter was a Jong one,
and we will make some extracts from
it, with the permission of Miss Effie,
and also that of Mary, who claimed
to have an interest in the missive.
" From what I can learn," Frank
wrote, " the women of Japan are bet-
ter off than those of most other East-
ern countries. They are not shut up
in harems and never allowed to go
about among people, as in Turkey ;
and they are not compelled to stay
indoors and see nobody,. as in many
other parts of the world. They have their share of the work to do ; but
they are not compelled to do all of it, while their husbands are idle,
as in some parts of Europe, and among the American Indians. The
system of harems is not known here ; or, at all events, if it is known, it is
practised so little that we never hear
anything about it. The Japanese
women do not veil their faces, as the
women of all Mohammedan coun-
tries are compelled to do; and they
are free to go about among their
friends, just as they would be if they
were Americans. They blacken their
teeth when they get married ; but
this custom is fast dying out since
the foreigners came here, and proba-
bly in twenty years or so we shall not
hear much about it. The married
women dress their hair differently
from the single ones ; and when you
know the ways of arranging it, you
can know at once whether a woman
MERCHANT'S FAMILY. is married or not. I suppose they
THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
MYSTERIES OF THK DRESSING-ROOM.
CLOGS AND SANDALS.
do this for the same reason that the women of America wear rings on their
fingers, and let folks know if they are engaged or married or single. They
remind me of what I have read about the Russian women, who wear their
hair uncovered until they are married, and then tie it up in a net, or in a
handkerchief. It is much better to have a sign of this sort than to have
it in a ring, as the hair can be seen without any trouble, while you have to
be a little impertinent sometimes to look at a lady's hand, and find out
how her rings are.
" In China the women pinch their feet, so that they look like doubled
fists, but nothing of the kind is done in Japan. Every woman here has
her feet of the natural shape and size ; and as to the size, I can say that
there are women in Japan that have very pretty feet, almost as pretty as
those of two young ladies I know of in America. They do not have
shoes like those you wear, but instead they have sandals for staying in the
house, and high clogs for going out of doors. The clogs are funny-look-
ing things, as they are four or five
inches high, and make you think of
pieces of board with a couple of nar-
row pieces nailed to the upper edges.
They can't walk fast in them, but they
can keep their feet out of the mud,
unless it is very deep, and in that case
they ought not to go out at all. I
wish you could see a Japanese wom-
an walking in her clogs. I know you
would laugh, at least the first time
you saw one ; but you would soon
get used to it, as it is a very com-
" In China and some other coun-
tries it is not considered necessary to
give the girls any education ; but in
Japan it is not so. The girls are
educated here, though not so much
as the boys ; and of late years they have established schools where they
receive what we call the higher branches of instruction. Every year
new schools for girls are orjened ; arid a great many of the Japanese who
formerly would not be seen in public with their wives have adopted the
"Western idea, and bring their wives into society. The marriage laws
have been arranged so as to allow the different classes to marry among
LADY IN WINTER WALKING-DRESS.
258 THE BOY TRAVELLERS.
each other, and the government is doing all it can to improve the condi-
tion of the women. They were better off before than the women of anv
other Eastern country ; and if things go on as they are now going, they
will be still better in a few years. The world moves.
" A gentleman who has given much attention to this subject says that
of the one hundred and twenty rulers of Japan, nine have been women ;
and that the chief divinity in their mythology is a woman the goddess
Kuanon. A large part of the literature of Japan is devoted to the praise
of woman ; her fidelity, love, piety, and devotion form the groundwork of
many a romance which has become famous throughout the country, and
popular with all classes of readers. The history of Japan abounds in sto-
ries of the heroism of women in the various characters of patriot, rebel,
and martyr; and I am told that a comparison of the standing of women in
all the countries of the East, both in the past and in the present, would
unquestionably place Japan at the head.
" I suppose you will want to know something about the way the Japanese
women dress. I'll try to tell you ; but if I make any mistakes, you must
remember that I have not had much practice in describing ladies' apparel.
" They don't wear any crinoline, such as the ladies do in America ; and
their clothes fit very tight around them when compared to what we see
in Xew York that is, I mean, they are tight in the skirts, though loose
enough above the waist. They fasten them with strings and bands, and
without hooks or buttons or pins. You remember the pocket pin-cushion
you made for me? of course you do. Well, one day while we were taking
tea in a Japanese tea-house, the attendants stood around looking at us,
and examining our watch-chains and the buttons on our coats. I showed
them that pin-cushion, and they passed it from one to the other, and won-
dered what it was; and so I took out a pin, and showed it was for carry-
ing pins. Evidently they did not know what a pin was for, as they looked
at it very curiously, and then made signs for me to show them its use. I
did so by pinning up the wide sleeve of one of the black-eyed girls. She
took the pin out a moment after to return it to me; and when I motioned
that she might keep it, she smiled and said ' Arinyato,' which means ' Thank
you,' as sweetly and earnestly as though I had given her a diamond ring.
Then I gave each one of them a pin, and they all thanked me as though
they really thought they had received something of value. Just think of
it ! half a dozen young women, not one of whom had ever seen a common
" Their dresses are folded around them, and then held in place by an
obi, which is nothing more nor less than a wide belt. It is of the most
ATTENDANT OF A JAPANESE TEA-HOUSE.
A GIRL WHO HAD NEVER SEEN A DRESSING- 1'IN.
THE BOY TRAVELLERa
expensive material that the wearer can afford ; and sometimes it costs a
givur deal of money. Generall}' it is of silk, and they have it of all colors,
and occasionally it is heavily embroidered. It is several yards long, and the
work of winding it into place is no
small affair. I shall enclose some pict-
ures of Japanese women in this let-
ter, and you can see from them what
the dress of the women looks like,
and understand much better than you
will by what I write. I think the
women look very pretty in their dress-
es much better, in fact, than when
they put on European garments.
Their hair is always black, and they
dress it with more grease than I wish
they would. It fairly makes the hair
shine, it is laid on so thick. But they
have some very pretty ornaments for
their hair, which they stick in with
large pins, something like the hair-
pins you use at home. I am told that
you can distinguish the social position
by the number and style of the hair-
ornaments worn on a woman's head ;
but I have not yet learned how to do it. I suppose I shall find out if I
stay long enough in Japan.
" Of course, you will want to know if the Japanese women are pretty.
Now, you mustn't be jealous when I say they are. Fred thinks so too, and
you know it won't do for me to have a quarrel with Fred when we are
travelling together, and especially w T hen I think he's right. They are all
brunettes, and have sharp, bright eyes, full of smiles, and their skins are
clear and healthy. They look very pleasant and happy; and they have
such sweet, soft voices that nobody could help liking them even if he didn't
want to. They have such nice manners, too, that you feel quite at your
ease in their company. They may be wishing you ten thousand miles away,
and saying to themselves that they hate the sight of a foreigner; but if
they do, they manage to conceal their thoughts so completely that you can
never know them. You may say this is all deception, and perhaps it is ;
but it is more agreeable than to have them treat you rudely, and tell you
to get out of the way.
A JAPANESE LADY'S TOILET. 261
" There are women here who are not pretty, just as there are some in
America ; but when you are among them, it isn't polite to tell them of it.
Some of them paint their faces to make them look pretty. I suppose no-
body ever does anything of the kind in America or any other country
but Japan, and therefore it is very wicked for the Japanese ladies to do
so. And when they do paint, they lay it on very thick. Dr. Bronson calls
LADIES AT THEIK TOILET.
it kalsomining, and Fred says it reminds him of the veneering that is some-
times put on furniture to make pine appear like mahogany, and have an
expensive look, when it isn't expensive at all. The 'geishas,' or dancing
and singing girls, get themselves up in this way ; and when the} have their
faces properly arranged, they must not laugh, for fear that the effort of
smiling would break the coating of paint. And I have heard it said that
the covering of paint is so thick that they couldn't smile any more than a
mask could ; and, in fact, the paint really takes the place of a mask, and
makes it impossible to recognize anybody through it.
" It is the rule in Japan for a man to have only one wife at a time, but
he does not always stick to it. If he has children, a man is generally con-
tented; but if he has none, he gets another wife, and either divorces the
lirst one or not, as he chooses. Divorce is very easy for a man to obtain,
but not so for the woman ; and when she is divorced, she has hardly any
means of obtaining justice. But, in justice to the Japanese, it should be
said that the men do not often abuse their opportunities for divorce, and
that the married life of the people is about as good as that of most coun-
tries. Ainong the reasons for divorce, in addition to what I have men-
tioned, there are the usual ones that prevail in America. Furthermore,
divorce is allowed if a wife is disobedient to her husband's parents, and
TIIK BOY TRAVELLERS.
also if she talks too much. The last reason is the one most fre(fuently
given ; but a woman cannot complain of her husband and become divorced
from him for the same cause. I wonder if Japan is the only country in
the world where women have ever been accused of talking too much.
Nearly ever}' amusement that is open to men is also open to women.
They can go to the theatres, to picnics, parties, and anything of the sort, as
often as they please, which is not the case with women in Moslem coun-
tries, and in some others that are not Moslem. They are very fond of
boat excursions, and on pleasant days a goodly number of boating parties
may be seen on the waters around Tokio and the other large cities. On
the whole, they seem to have a great capacity for enjoyment, and it is
pretty certain that they enjoy themselves.
JAPANESE LADIES ON A PICSIC.
" The houses in Japan are so open that you can see a great deal more
of the life of the people than you would be likely to see in other countries.
You can see the women playing with the children, and there are lots of
the little ones everywhere about. I don't believe there is a country in the
world where there is more attention to the wants of the children than in
Japan, and I don't believe it is possible for a greater love to exist between
parents and children than one finds here. There are so many things done
for the amusement of children, and the children seem to enjoy them so
much, that it is very pleasing to study the habits of the people in this re-
spect. I have already told you about the amusements at the temple of
Asakusa, and the sports and games that they have there for the children.
They are not only at that temple, but all over Japan, and the man must
KITE-FLYING IN JAPAN.
LADIES AND CHILDREN AT PLAY.
be very poor to feel that he cannot afford something to make his children
happy. In return, the children are not spoiled, but become very dutiful to
their parents, and are ready to undergo any privations and sacrifices for
their support and comfort. Respect for parents and devotion to them in
every possible way are taught by the religion of the country ; and, what-
ever we may think of the heathenism of Japan, we cannot fail to admire
this feature of the religious creed.
" It would amuse you if you could see the interest that the Japanese
take in flying kites. And the funny part of it is that it is the men who
do the most of the kite-flying, while the children look on, which is the ex-
act reverse of what we do in our country. They have the funniest kinds
of kites, and show a great deal of ingenuity in getting them up. Every-
body has them, and they are so cheap that even the beggars can have kites
to fly. They are of all sizes and shapes ; you can buy a plain kite a few
inches square, or you can get one as large as the side of a house, and cover-
ed all over with dragons and- other things that sometimes cost a neat little
sum for the painting alone. The Japanese understand the trick of flying
a kite without a tail, and they do it by the arrangement of the strings,
which is quite different from ours. On the other hand, some of their
kites will have a whole line of strings hanging down as ornaments, and
sometimes it looks as if the kite were anchored by means of these extra
cords. They make their kites so large that three or four men are needed
to hold some of them ; and there is a story that a man who one day tied the
cord of a kite to his waist was taken up in the air and never heard of
THK HOY TRAVELLERS.
again. And tlicre is another story of a man in the country who had a
kite that he harnessed to a plough, and when the wind was good he used
to plough his fields by means of it. But the story does not explain how
he turned the furrow when lie reached the end of the field. Perhaps he
had an accommodating wind that shifted at the right time.
" The first kite I -saw in the air in Japan was so much like a large bird
PECULIARITIES OF A KITE.
that I mistook it for one, arid the delusion was kept up by a smaller one
that seemed to be getting away from the other. The large one imitated
the movements of a hawk to perfection, and it was some minutes before I
could understand that it was nothing but a combination of sticks and pa-
per and cords, instead of a real live bird. It rose and fell, and every few
moments it swept down and seemed to be trying to swallow the little one
out of sight. I never should have supposed such an imitation possible, and
was thoroughly convinced that the Japanese must be very fond of kite-
flying if they give it the study necessary to bring it to such a state of
" The more I see of the Japanese, the more I like them, and think them
a kind-hearted and happy people. And, from all I can see, they deserve to
be happy, as they do all they can for the pleasure of each other, or, at any
rate, all that anybody ever does."
THE BOY TKAVELLEKb.
FROM YOKOHAMA TO KOBE AND OSAKA.
was going on, and it became necessary that our travellers should
follow its example. The Doctor engaged places for them by the
steamer for Kobe, the port for the western capital of Japan, and at the
appointed time they went on board. Before their departure, they had an
opportunity to visit one of the tea-packing establishments for which Yoko-
hama is famous, and the process they witnessed there was of special in-
A VILLAGE IN THE TKA UISTIUCT.
terest to the boys. Here is the account that Frank gave of it in his next
letter home :
" The Japanese tea is brought from the country to the seaports in
large boxes. It is partially dried when it is picked, but not enough to
VISIT TO A TEA -WARE HOUSE.
preserve it for a long sea-voyage. When it gets here, it is delivered to
the large establishments that make a business of shipping teas to America ;
and let me saj, by the
way, that nearly all the
tea of Japan that is ex-
ported goes to Ameri-
ca, and hardly any of it
to any other country.
When we went into the
warehouse they call
it a 'go -down,' from
a llindostanee word
they showed us a room
where there were prob-
ably a hundred bushels
of tea in a great pile
on the floor. Men were
at work mixing it up
with shovels, and the
clerk who showed us
around said that they
spread all the tea out
in layers, one over the
other, and then mixed
them up. He said it
was a very difficult job
to have the teas prop-
erly mixed, so that the
samples should be per-
" We saw lots of
tea in another room where the same kind of work was going on ; and
then they took us to the firing-room, and it was a firing-room, you may
" It was like a great shed, and it had the solid ground for a floor. On
this floor there were kettles, or pans, set in brickwork, and each one of them
had a little furnace under it, in which there was a charcoal fire. There
must have been two hundred of these pans, and the heat from them was
so great that it almost took away my breath. I don't believe I could exist