Ernest Frederic George Hatch.

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Gift of
Mrs. Leonora B. Lucas













-1 *

URING a tour in Japan, Korea, and China,
made some three years ago, the author was
at pains to collect and note down many facts and
opinions bearing on the varying phases of the Far
Eastern problem, and particularly upon its com-
mercial aspects. The outbreak of the Russo-
Japanese War has suggested to him that these
" impressions " of a business man, who made a point
of seeking and obtaining information from every
authoritative source available to him, might have an
^\j interest at the present juncture, if they were cor-
v rected and brought up to date by later knowledge.
>J^ He has accordingly cast his experiences into narra-
V^ tive form, and now offers his little work to the
\V public with the expression of a hope that it will be
.A understood that it assumes to be nothing more
its title implies.

In the compilation of the work the author has


yi Prefatory Note

been greatly assisted by gentlemen of wide know-
ledge and experience in Far Eastern affairs. He
is particularly indebted to Mr. J. Glass, C.I.E.,
M.Inst.C.E. ; Mr. Burkell, Secretary of the China
League ; and Mr. Arthur L. Pearse, C.E., who
have supplied him with facts of considerable interest
and importance bearing on the topics treated.




Japan Change in the East Japan becomes a Great Power
Her Bitter Resentment against Russia Preparations for
a Revanche Extraordinary Development of Japanese
Trade Japanese and Russian Policy contrasted . . I


Japan First Impressions Yokohama The Japanese Army
Contrasts of Japanese Life National Characteristics
Jealousy of Foreigners Talk with Sir Ernest Satow
Japanese Industries Political Life Japanese Progress
and what it implies Attitude towards Great Britain . .14


The Korean Treaty Ports Seoul Korean Characteristics
Officialdom Imperial Caprice . . . . . .41


Korean Aristocracy Religion Native Superstition Mission-
ary Effort Political History of Korea An Apple of
Discord Japanese Influence 66


Korean Trade Railway Development Openings for Commerce
New Industries Korean Currency Telegraphs British
Shipping 80


viii Contents



Korean Mining Native Methods Foreign Mining Concessions

Japanese Commercial Policy 97


Notes of a Journey into the Interior Horses a Government
Monopoly Korean Houses Native Hospitality Curiosity
of the Koreans Ping Yang and Hung Ju Kimshi
Poverty of the Country 108


China The Integrity of the Chinese Empire Russian
Aggression and British Alarm Kang Yii Wee, the
Chinese Reformer His Solution of the Far Eastern
Problem Interview with Li Hung Chang Sir Robert
Hart's Views 122


British Alarm at Russian Aggression Expert Views The
Northern Railway Official Corruption British Attitude
" Intelligent Anticipation of Events before they occur " .138


Impressions of Pekin Filth and Squalor of the City Chinese
Industry and Thrift Effect of Railways, on Chinese
Attitude towards Reform Industrial China Cotton Mills
at Wuchang Wages of Chinese Workmen . . . 1 50


Struggle for Concessions Political Significance of Foreign
Projects History of the Northern Railway Concession
Other British Concessions The Pekin Syndicate Its
Vast Importance described by Li Hung Chang Mr.
Glass's Expedition 161

Contents ix



Foreign Railway Concessions French and Russian Projects
A Great American Enterprise German Lines Details of
Concessions 182


Significance of Foreign Railway Enterprise Russian and
French Projects German Schemes American Interest in
Railway Development British Concessions Future Link-
ing Up of the Indian Railways with the British Chinese
Lines 194


The Far Eastern Sick Man Striking Views of an Anglo-
Chinese Official a Half Century ago Proposed Triple
Alliance of Great Britain, France, and America Anglo-
Chinese Opinions To-day Dangers of Disruption, Com-
mercial and Political Possibilities of Reform Proposed
Extension of the Duties of the Chinese Maritime Customs . 204


Anglo-Chinese Views of the Russian Occupation of Manchuria
Suggested Lines of a Compromise An Agreement of
the Powers Essential to check Russian Aggression An
Alliance with the United States Is it Practicable ? A
Joint Arrangement Inevitable ultimately Beneficial
Results of such a Combination Reorganisation of our
Foreign Office Necessary 221

CHAPTER XVI (Conclusion)

The Problems of the War Effect of Japan's Successes on the
Asiatic Mind Japanese Intervention in China and its
Danger The Japanisation of China must be resisted
Importance of bringing the War to a Close at the Earliest
Period A Conference of the Powers Desirable after
Peace is concluded Concluding Observations . . . 235


Japanese Soldiers Facing p. 10

Chinese Soldiers n

Yokohama : the Principal Street .... ,, 14

Yokohama : a Street Scene 14

Yokohama : a View of the Harbour .... 15

Tokio : a Street Scene 15

A Street Scene at Nikko : Twelve Men carrying a

Stone 18

Japanese ploughing 18

Japanese Boys counting 19

Japanese Agriculture : planting Rice . . . . ,, 19

Tokio : a Native Water-cart ,, 24

In a Japanese Village : a Group of Women and

Children 24

Japanese Street Advertising 25

Kioto : a Japanese Funeral 25

Osaka : the Manchester of Japan .... 30

Osaka : Cotton Mills 30

Osaka: Native Boats 31

Osaka : the Yokohama Canal 31

Tokio : the Main Street 36

Tokio : Public Buildings ,, 36

Tokio : the Entrance to the Imperial Palace . . ,, 37

Tokio : the Parliament Buildings .... 37

Kobe : Native Boatmen 40

Tokio : a Pipe-cleaner 40

Fusan : a Street Stall 41

Fusan : a Rest by the Way 41

Chemulpo : from the Harbour 44

Chemulpo : a Street Scene 44

xii List of Illustrations

Chemulpo: a Street Scene Facing p. 45

Chemulpo : the Grain Market ,, 45

Seoul: One of the City Gates ,, 48

Seoul : Soldiers parading 48

A Korean Soldier 49

Korean Policemen ,, 49

Seoul : a Street Scene 60

Koreans at Dinner 60

A Korean Lady . 61

A Korean Naval Officer ...... 61

A Korean Nyang-pan (Aristocrat) at Home . . ,, 70

Korean Officials 71

The Emperor 'of Korea's Father ,, 71

A Group of Koreans 80

A Korean Hawker . . 81

Korean Women 81

A Scene in a Korean Village ,, 96

Korean Villagers ,, 96

The Echun Mine, Korea : Natives cleaning Ore . ,, 97

Korean Native Mining : crushing Ore ... 97

A Trip Up-country : the Start from Seoul ... 108

On the Road 108

Korean Villagers ,, 109

Korean Children ,, 109

Native Curiosity: Koreans inspecting an English

Lady 116

A Wayside Inn in Korea 116

A Village Welcome ,,117

Types of Korean Beauty 117

Chefoo from the Sea ,,122

Chefoo: Coaling ,,122

Chefoo : the Roadstead ,, 123

Going down to Taku ,,123

Taku : the Forts ,,138

Taku: from the Anchorage 138

Taku : Native Ships at Anchor 139

Taku: in the Offing 139

On the River off Taku 144

A Street Scene in Tientsin ,,144

A Pontoon Bridge, Tientsin ,, 145

A View near Tientsin, showing Graves . . . 145

Pekin : a Native Funeral 148

List of Illustrations xiii

Pekin : a View from the Wall Facing p. 149

A Scene in Pekin ,, 149

Pekin: a Busy Scene Outside the Gates . . . ,, 152

Pekin: a Wedding Procession ,,152

Pekin: watering the Roads ,, 153

Pekin: a Street Scene ,, 153

The Northern Railway of China : a Station showing
Third-class Passengers in Open Trucks, with

Mules and Baggage 160

The Northern Railway of China where it passes

through the Great Wall ,, 160

Tongshan : Railway Works 161

Shan-hai-kwan : Railway Works .... 161

The Northern Railway of China .... ,, 164

On the Great Wall ,164

On the Great Wall ,,165

Coal-mining in Shansi : a Mule Team with a Load

of Coal 165

British Engineers proceeding to Shansi to inspect the
Coal and Iron Mining Area embraced in the

Concession of the Pekin Syndicate . . . ,, 168

Outside a Chinese Railway Station . . . . 169

On the Great Wall of China near Shan-hai-kwan . 204

A View on the Great Wall ...... ,, 205

The Great Wall near Shan-hai-kwan .... ,, 205




NO one who has visited Japan and China in
recent years can fail to have been struck with
the fact that the phrase a the unchanging East " is
out of date, at least as far as that extreme part of
the Orient is concerned. Change is everywhere
visible. Japan's progress is at such lightning speed
that it is difficult to keep pace with it ; on every
side are manifest the influences of Western thought
and action. Even the inert mass of China has
been stirred by the sharp shocks which it has
received and is receiving from without. It is
stretching its giant frame and turning uneasily on

2 Far Eastern Impressions

its couch, as if preparatory to its awakening from
the long sleep of ages. In what direction the
movement will go or how far it will be carried
he would be a bold prophet who would say. But
that the mantle of jealous seclusion in which the
Far East has from time immemorial wrapped itself
is in rapid process of being torn away, never again
to be worn, is a fairly safe assumption.

Landing in Japan as I did about three years ago,
when the country was settling down after the war
with China, I found myself, as it were, on the
flood-tide of the current of national progress which
has since carried Japan so far, and is destined, in
all human likelihood, to take her much further.
At one bound, as it were, she had jumped from
the position of an Asiatic Power of the second rank
into the company of the world Powers. Her
comparatively easy conquest of her colossal neigh-
bour was not only a triumph of military skill and
organisation, but a revelation of national strength
and stability of purpose which astonished, and in
some directions disquieted, Europe. There were
critics who, judging by the hopeless inefficiency
and corruption of the Chinese official classes and
the general disorganisation of its Government,
grudgingly questioned her title to be considered a
military power. But even these cavillers had
to admit that a Power which could carry out with

Japan a Great Power 3

such tenacity of purpose and thoroughness opera-
tions such as those which marked the campaign
from beginning to finish was no ordinary force.
If not a great Power, as the term is understood in
Europe, at least Japan was head and shoulders
above any other country in the East in all that
concerned the science of government.

As far as Japan herself was concerned, the effect
of the brilliant successes won on sea and land
in the eventful days of 1895 only seemed to
strengthen the view entertained by competent ob-
servers that the country had won more than a
transient advantage over a huge but helpless foe.
Her achievements did not bring in their train that
moral intoxication which has so often affected a
country similarly situated. Though there was a
consciousness of power born of the combat, it was
mingled with a self-restraint and a moderation which
were altogether admirable. Even the stinging
douche administered by the action of Russia,
Germany, and France in depriving Japan in the
hour of triumph of the most substantial fruits of her
victory, did not disturb her superb calm. Yielding
to a force which she could not hope to successfully
oppose, she submitted to the inevitable with quiet
dignity. No riotings occurred, no petulant and
abortive protests were directed to unsympathetic
chancellories. Japan merely retired with clenched

4 Far Eastern Impressions

teeth and set face, registering under her breath a
vow that in her own time she would revenge the
humiliation which had been cast upon her. A nation
which can behave thus cannot be ranked as a mere
upstart intruder into the family of civilised Powers.
Obviously she is a child born in the purple, capable
of working out for herself a great future on the
lines of European progress.

The feeling of national confidence engendered by
the war with China was manifested in many ways
to a traveller who, like myself, visited the country
to study its institutions, trade and modes of
life. Foremost was to be noted a determination
amongst men of all grades and in all walks of
life to build up a navy which for the nation's
purposes should be beyond all question adequate.
It was the revanche of France, but the revanche
with a difference. While across the Channel
demonstrations of a somewhat excitable patriotism
revealed from time to time the fierce fires
burning beneath the surface, in Japan there was
no outward sign of animosity to flutter diplo-
matic dovecotes and provide a topic for the
international press. The Japanese thought and
acted chiefly acted. Enormous sums of money
were applied without a popular murmur to the one
cherished object. The substantial indemnity paid
by China not sufficing for all purposes, heavy

The Revanche in Japan 5

additional taxation was imposed, and never a voice
was seriously raised against the policy. Indeed,
what popular feeling there was tended the other way.
People grumbled because the Government did not
go sufficiently fast for them. They were feverishly
anxious lest, for the want of an adequate armament
at the fateful moment, the great end should not be

Nor was it on the building up of a great
navy alone that national hopes were concentrated.
The army, which had accomplished so much,
must be placed in a position to achieve more.
It had successfully crossed swords with the ancient
hereditary enemy, but a more formidable foe loomed
in the near distance, and if, in the inevitable en-
counter with this Power, Japan was to hold her
own, she must be able to reinforce the strong arm
of the navy with powerful, well-equipped land forces
capable of taking the offensive as circumstances
might demand. A revised scheme of military
organisation, formidable in its dimensions, compre-
hensive in its character as regards equipment, and
designed on approved European principles with
modifications to suit the genius of the Japanese
people, was methodically elaborated. Every detail
was carefully worked out in the light of evidence
gathered by experts commissioned to every great
military country in the world, not omitting our

6 Far Eastern Impressions

own Indian Empire, where a perfect model of an
Asiatic army formed on European lines supplied,
we may assume, much suggestive material for the
Japanese War Office. In this way was evolved
a splendid fighting machine, in numbers three times
greater than the force with which the country
entered upon the war with China, and in efficiency
and equipment immeasurably its superior. Thus
Japan prepared herself for the future, submitting,
meanwhile, to burdens and deprivations which,
seeing how remote were the alternate benefits to
be secured, would have tried the patience of most
other nations.

In its influence on trade the war with China
marked a not less distinct epoch in the history of
modern Japan. Following the close of the military
operations came an enormous development of activity
in all branches of commerce. There had been a
great advance before the war, but afterwards, under
the stimulus of national ambition engendered by the
triumph secured for Japanese arms, there was a
great extension of trading enterprise in many

The shipping interest especially underwent vast
expansion. Recognising that the success of Britain
as a naval force went hand in hand with the
supremacy of her mercantile marine, the Japanese
strained every nerve to build up a trading fleet.

Expansion of Shipping Interest 7

New lines of steamers, largely manned by natives,
were put upon the local seas, and direct com-
munication with England by a splendid line of
fast boats was established. Nothing was left un-
done which would help to increase the maritime
power of the country. Though regarded somewhat
doubtfully at the outset by foreign observers, the
enterprise flourished apace. The capacity of the
Japanese to work and maintain in perfect efficiency
a trading fleet was demonstrated not less strikingly
than had been their ability to keep in commission
a modern navy. The various lines were conducted
with a degree of punctuality and a smoothness
of working which would have done credit to a
first-class European steamship company ; while,
as travellers in the Far East, like myself, can testify,
their internal economy, whether as regards cleanli-
ness or comfort, left nothing to be desired.

The existing war has naturally put a period to
the operations of several companies which are
engaged in the shipping business, and probably it
will be a considerable time, whatever the result
of the campaign, before the services are re-
established on their old footing. But if Japan
emerges successfully from her troubles, nothing
is more certain than an enormous increase of her
shipping interest. She will, it may be anticipated,
be practically supreme in the local trade of her

8 Far Eastern Impressions

own coasts and of those of Korea, and it is also
likely that she will be a keen competitor with
us and Germany for the coasting trade of the
greater part of China. Her genius for the sea
and the natural capacity of her rulers may even
carry her further ; and it is by no means im-
probable that the flag of Japan will float in the
most distant seas of both the new and the old world
side by side with our own. Patriotism is a potent
factor in the building up of the mercantile marine,
as it has been in the creation of a strong navy. It
may be relied on to push forward all projects for
extending the country's trade abroad when in due
time affairs permit of a fresh start being made.

While Japan has been marching forward with
giant strides herself in the last few years, her
example has not been without its influence on
China. When I was in the Far East I was much
impressed by the proofs which were constantly
confronting me of the manner in which the well-
educated section of Chinese were learning to look
towards the Land of the Rising Sun for inspiration
in the arts of government. Their enormous self-
conceit had received a rude shock from the impact
of Japanese power, and irresistibly, if reluctantly,
they were training themselves to look up to their
old enemy as to one who might deliver them from
the thraldom of Europe. Only the corruption and

Japanese Influence in China 9

disorganisation of the central Government prevented
the feeling from having more definite scope. A
Japanese tutelage in matters affecting the military
interests of the empire would have been welcomed
by many, but such was the position of affairs at
Pekin that an arrangement was impossible at that
time. The Boxer rising, with its fatal train of
consequences, effectually extinguished for the time
being the hopes of those who were favourable to an
alliance between China and Japan ; but the idea
itself survived, and as soon as the country was
freed from the occupation of the troops of the
European powers, there was a revival of the old
schemes. How far they have been put into execu-
tion time alone can reveal ; but it is morally certain
that the energetic and ambitious race which is
measuring swords with the Northern Colossus for
the domination of the Far Eastern world has been
exceedingly active in the concerns of her great
neighbour. A steady stream of native students
from the Chinese provinces has been passing
through her naval and military schools, learning
something of the methods by which Japan has
raised herself to her present high position amongst
the nations of the world.

Meanwhile, Japanese agents have crossed the
Yellow Sea in considerable numbers to assist in the
task of preparing China to resist aggression. They

io Far Eastern Impressions

have not proclaimed their mission to the world, but
in that silent, persistent fashion so characteristic
of their race have been working for the ends which
the Japanese Government has in view. These
subterranean influences, according to report, have
already produced tangible results in the partial
rehabilitation of the Chinese arsenals and the
strengthening of the trained military forces of the
empire. But what has been accomplished is of small
account compared with the possibilities of the future,
if Japan herself is able to maintain her position. On
this aspect of the question I shall have something
to say in a later chapter. For the present I only
note the movement as one of the influences which
have been at work in the Far East since the
conclusion of the war between China and Japan.

A factor which has profoundly affected the situa-
tion in the Far East and given strength to this
movement for the intimate association of the two
empires is the course of Russian diplomacy. The
tortuous methods by which the Northern power has
directed her system of " peaceful penetration " until
she has not only fastened herself upon the whole
of Manchuria, but has also menaced Korea on the
one hand and Pekin on the other, has, apart from
the bloody struggle which we are now witnessing,
produced results of the most wide-reaching character.
There has been an awakening of China to the

Danger of Russian Encroachment n

terrible danger which threatens her from the in-
satiable lust for dominion which characterises her
unpleasant neighbour on the north-east. It is
realised by the thinking minds of the country that
if the avalanche is not stayed, the Cossack hordes
may overrun the country to its very centre, and
that the knell of China's independent existence will
be sounded before the world is very much older.
For some time past Japanese counsels have therefore
had considerable weight even at Pekin, despite the
malign influences, partly of terrorism, partly of
corruption which the Russians have been able to
exercise on the feeble Mandarinism of that capital.
The results of this influence have already been
apparent in several ways, and probably they will
be still more manifest before the war has proceeded
much further. The aptitudes of the two peoples
are so similar as to make combination an easy
matter. Where a European would be quite at fault
in negotiations with the Chinese, the Japanese are
perfectly at home. They know their men, and,
knowing them, are able to turn them to their
purpose in the way which seems best to them.

At present there is no desire that the world should
know too much of what is going on behind the
scenes. The new diplomacy has no attractions for
the Japanese. They prefer to work in mole-like
privacy, and only to allow their work to become

12 Far Eastern Impressions

known by its results. It is this element in their
policy which makes them so formidable an opponent
to a European Power like Russia. It is this element
which may make them not less dangerous later
on to other European interests, should the fortunes
of war be in their favour.

At present Japan unquestionably stands for
political and commercial freedom, as against a
blighting despotism. Wherever Russia has put her
foot in the Far East, all freedom, whether of trade
or of political action, has been crushed out. Like the
cuckoo, she appropriates another's nest, and occupies
it to her own advantage. A Russianised China
would mean a China with a great tariff wall built
around it, which would be an effectual barrier to
the trade of every other nation. That she herself
would not profit by the trade would not concern her.
It would be sufficient for her to know that her
dominion was absolute, that her agents gathered
exorbitant dues at the ports and that her legions
ranged unfettered over the Hinterland. The
shamelessness with which she has carried through
her policy of conquest in the face of solemn pledges
repeatedly given is without a parallel in the history
of the world. Nothing like the recently pub-
lished official correspondence over the occupation of
Newchang has ever before probably seen the light.

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Online LibraryErnest Frederic George HatchFar Eastern impressions → online text (page 1 of 15)