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spirit-possession. Prayer and incantation, pre-
ceded by purificatory rites and assisted by violent
finger-twistings, were the means employed to pro-
duce this mesmeric state, and the person reduced
to it became a spirit-medium, gifted with the
power of performing miracles, of uttering pre-
dictions, and of curing diseases. The range of
miracles was limited to three, sprinkling boil-
ing water over the body without feeling the heat,
ascending on bare feet a ladder of razor-sharp
sword-blades, and walking with naked soles over
a bed of live coals, 1 all of which are constantly
practised by Shinto priests and devotees to this day.
It must be noted that these performances do not
seem to have been degraded by charlatans in any
era into mere money-making spectacles. Their
object has always been to vivify religious faith.
As for the faculty of vaticination supposed to be

1 See Appendix, note 59.



developed during the sacred trance, its uses are
of the simplest character. It might, indeed, be
more accurately described as clairvoyance, since
it discloses events actually happening beyond the
range of normal observation rather than events
still lying in the lap of the future. For the rest,
it does not occupy any prominent place in the
usages or thoughts of the nation. The healing
power, however, is frequently invoked ; for all
sickness and disease being attributed to the influ-
ence of evil spirits, it seems natural and proper
that the tutelary deities should be summoned to
drive out these demoniacal tormentors. This
record is confined to a mere outline sketch of
the connection that the Shinto creed undertakes
to establish between its disciples and supernatural
beings. To fill in the details of the picture would
involve long descriptions of rites and incantations
which precede and accompany spirit-possession,
but are only accessories, having much the same
relation to the central phenomenon as the faceted
glass held before a subject's eyes in Europe has to
the mesmeric state induced by staring at it.

The Ichiko or Kuchi-yose belongs to this con-
text. She is a species of medium who under-
takes to summon the soul of a dead person (shini-
ryo) or a living (t&t-ryo), and to make it speak its
owner's thoughts through the mouth of another.
This custom seems to have had its origin in the
Heian epoch, and to have been continued through
all generations without change. The Ichiko uses



a bow for the rite, and as she draws the string she
utters the following form of incantation :

" Reverentially I entreat the deities, those of heaven,
Bontentaishaku and Shitendaio ; those of hell, Emmao
and Godomeikwan ; all the deities of the sky and of the
earth ; the Deity of the Well ; the Deity of the Hearth;
the Goddess of the Sun at her Shrine in Ise, at her forty
sub-shrines and at her eighty branch-shrines ; the Deity
of Rain ; the Deity of the Wind ; the Deity of the
Moon ; the Deity of the Sun ; all the deities of divine
seats of government and of the Great Shrine of Idzumo;
the ninety-eight thousand and seven gods and the thir-
teen thousand and four denizens of Buddhist sanctuaries.
Vouchsafe the divine presence. Teach us so that there
shall be no lack of knowledge. Oh, God of the Bow !
Oh, Spirits of our relatives ! Oh, Souls of parents !
Man may change ; water may be transformed, but this
bow, five feet in length, is immutable. Let the bow
twang once and its sound will reach the sacred place in
every temple."

The Ichikos function as a medium of penetrat-
ing the thoughts of other persons, living or dead,
is little utilised in modern times, but the sick
often appeal to her, and it is beyond doubt that
many faith cures are effected by her influence.

No form of superstition is more general than
the belief that each individual has special reason
to apprehend misfortune at certain periods of his
existence, the twenty-fifth, forty-second, and
sixty-first years of life in the case of men, and
the nineteenth, thirty-third, and thirty-seventh in
the case of women. During these unlucky years



exceptional attention is paid to religious exercises
of all kinds. There are also years to which the
epithet " closed " (bappo-fusagarf) is applied in the
sense that no change of residence must be made
or journey undertaken during the twelvemonth.
These years are the same for both sexes, the
sixteenth, twenty-fifth, thirty-fourth, forty-third,
fifty-second, and sixty-first.

It need scarcely be said that a prophetic import
attaches to some of the commonest incidents.
The loud cawing of rooks or the prolonged bark-
ing of dogs is considered ominous of evil, whereas
a visit from a spider at daylight, sneezing on
New Year's morn, or a glowing lamp-wick por-
tends good fortune.

There are also various devices for enlisting the
benevolent interest of the deities. Some ladies
never cut out material for a costume without
uttering a set formula of invocation, or placing
three pinches of rice on the shoulder gusset, and
nearly all eschew the " monkey " days of the
calendar and choose the " bird " days for such
operations, the belief being that burns and rents
will result if the former precaution be neglected,
and that in the latter case the garment will be as
durable as the plumage of a bird.

Many superstitions are connected with children.
Thus, when a little one's tooth falls out, it is
thrown under the eaves or the floor with a wish,
in the former case, that it may be replaced by a
demon's tooth, and, in the latter case, by a rat's.



The word "puppy" written on the forehead
averts nightmares ; blood taken from a cock's
comb cures an indigestion resulting from a surfeit
of rice dumplings, and an eruption on the head
is driven away by twice reciting the sentence,
" In the long days of spring weeds may be re-
moved, but those in the garden must be cut down
at once." A baby's crying is stopped by tying
on its back a red cotton bag containing dog's
hair ; by putting under its bed straw taken from
a pig-sty ; by rubbing the powder of an herb on
the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands, or
by writing certain ideographs on paper and plac-
ing it under the pillow. The bone of a mole's
head thrust into a child's pillow charms it to
sleep, and loss of sight from smallpox is pre-
vented by throwing seven peas into a well, saying
seven prayers over them, and then drawing all the
water from the well. Food bought with sixteen
cash on the i6th of June and given to a child of
sixteen guarantees it against penury throughout
life. Pieces of straw taken from under the bed
of a newly born infant's mother and fastened to
the little one's head, ensure it against aversion to
bathing, and if the placenta is buried with a pen,
a cake of ink, and a needle, the baby will ulti-
mately distinguish itself in calligraphy and sewing.
There are numerous devices for facilitating child-
birth, the woman swallows a piece of paper on
which the name of the province of Ise is written ;
or a petal of lotus having the ideograph for



" man " inscribed on it ; or a peach-stone divided
into two parts, one with the ideograph " able "
written on it, the other with the ideograph
" emerge." If the halves of a soja bean are
swallowed, the character / having been traced on
one and the character se on the other, then,
should a male child be born, it will hold the
bean in his left hand, whereas a female child will
have it in her right. These are but a few of the
many superstitions connected with childbirth
and childhood, but in general the details do not
lend themselves to narration.

Quaint methods of dealing with ordinary mal-
adies are also practised. Bleeding at the nose is
supposed to be checked by placing on the head a
piece of paper folded into eight and dipped in
freshly drawn well-water. A hiccough is driven
away by applying under the knee a sheet of
bansbi, folded to the left in the case of a man and
to the right in the case of a woman. It is essen-
tial, however, that this aid should be rendered
without the knowledge of the sufferer. Paralysis
may be cured by putting on the tip of the nose
dust gathered from a floor-mat and saying, " Take
a trip to the capital ; " a pain in the head, by
placing on the pate a saucer containing a burning
moxa ; and toothache, by fumigating the tooth
with the smoke of calcined Nandina domestica?
If a fish bone sticks in the throat, the phrase
" A descendant of Sayemon Kenjuro of Izumo "

1 See Appendix, note 60.



is written on the inside of a sake cup, and water
from the cup is drunk by the sufferer. In case
of dysentery the sick person, facing westward,
swallows seven peas with some well-water drawn
at dawn on the ist of July, and intermittent fever
is driven away by swallowing a paper on which
is written the phrase, " The leaf falls and the ship
sails." Such fantastic nostrums are innumerable.
Sometimes a malady is treated by tying together
a snake-gourd and a section of bamboo, the latter
bearing this inscription : " My disease is hereby

transferred to you. My name and age are ,"

and throwing the whole into a river ; sometimes
the shell of a craw-fish is roasted and the odour
inhaled ; sometimes the skin is smeared with ink
on which certain ideographs are traced ; some-
times the whole body is rubbed with garlic.
One of the most curious is the charm for remov-
ing a wen. The swelling is rubbed with a soja bean
on the 7th of July ; the bean is then planted in the
hollow of the second tile on the southern face of
the roof, and when the bean begins to sprout, boil-
ing water is poured over it so that it withers away,
the wen disappearing simultaneously.

Various methods are in vogue for exorcising
evil influences. Branches of a peach-tree bend-
ing to the south and east are shaped into posts
and erected at the corners of the house ; or the
blood of a white dog is smeared on all the en-
trances. A man desiring to be protected against
calamity or accident traces in the air, with up-


ward-pointing finger, two crossed triangles, and
outlines the ideograph " grow " inside them,
reserving one stroke to be added on the following
morning. There are formulae to be repeated
when an unexpected guest arrives, or when, by
going abroad at night, one has to run the risk of
encountering demons, or when one meets a fune-
ral. In time of an epidemic, straw puppets are
thrown into a river with ringing of bells and
beating of drums, or an amulet showing the
emaciated face of the saint Ganzan Daishi is
fastened above the entrance. A very common
practice is to protect children from whooping-
cough by tracing impressions of their hands on
paper which is posted over the lintel, and on the
same position may often be seen rude sketches
of the Guardian Deities (the Deva Kings), or of
a wolf, satellite of the " God of the Three
Peaks " (Mttsumine), these being a charm against
infectious diseases in general. Similar security is
obtained by carrying copper in the pocket, or by
holding in the hand a red cotton bag containing
the bone of a horse, or by throwing into a well
on the ist of January twenty red beans or seven
pieces of Sesamum orientalis, and then drinking
some of the water. The shell of a crab nailed
over the entrances serves the purpose assigned to
a horse-shoe in the Occident, and when fever is
abroad folks write over their doors " Hisamatsu
not at home," because the common appellation
for contagious fever is osome-kaze t and Osome and




Hisamatsu were lovers whose names have been
handed down in story. Lost children are sought
by a man carrying a cloth measure in his girdle
on the left side, or by a woman carrying the same
object on the right, and when the ideograph for
" dog " is traced with the ring-finger on the fore-
head of a child taken out at night, the little one
is safe against attacks from foxes, badgers, or rats.
It will readily be inferred that many supersti-
tions are connected with love affairs. If one's
night-robe is worn inside out, the object of one's
affections will surely visit one in a dream ; and a
meeting with a lover is foreshadowed by the
loosening of an undergarment's string, or by a
sudden sneeze, or by irritation on the eyebrow or
inside the ear, or by the stumbling of a horse, or
by the appearance of a spider. An ink-stain on
the sleeve indicates that one is loved, and curling
hair, that one loves. On the other hand, the
pain of unfaithfulness may be assuaged by tying
rushes around the body or by keeping a shell of
the wasure-gai (clam of forgetfulness) in one's
pocket. If the bone of a dove that cooed on the
5th of the 5th month is placed in a red bag and
carried on the person, conjugal affection is main-
tained. A wife may be cured of jealousy by
making her eat the broiled flesh of a bush-warbler,
or swallow pills made of red millet and the fruit
of Job's tears ; and her fidelity to her marriage
vow may be tested by hiding in some part of her
garments earth taken from the hoof of a horse

VOL. V. 1 6


travelling eastward. The nose of a tiger sus-
pended from the middle of a " ventilating panel "
(ramma) ensures the birth of a male child, and
barrenness may be cured by swallowing thrice on
a certain day of the sexagenary calendar powdered
blossoms of the ginko and the peach dried in
shade on another fixed day of the same calendar.
The realm of dreamland is peopled with
superstitions. As in the Occident so in Japan,
the dreamer looks for a reality the opposite of
what he sees in his visions, and he also employs
the device of placing an object under his pillow
to procure a lucky dream. A picture of the
" treasure-ship " (takara-bune) laden with riches
and navigated by the Seven Gods of Fortune, is
frequently used on New Year's Eve for that pur-
pose, and a sketch of the Baku a tapir sup-
posed to swallow evil dreams is considered
efficacious for averting unlucky visions. The
latter purpose may also be achieved by placing
one of the person's wooden clogs erect and the
other face downward when going to bed. Some
rustics never fail to go under a mulberry-tree and
repeat three times inaudibly the details of the
preceding night's dream. Otherwise calamity is
inevitable. Special significance attaches to certain
objects seen in dreams, as is the case in all coun-
tries. A conflagration witnessed in sleep por-
tends the birth of a child among one's relatives ;
a woman who has a vision of a sword may ex-
pect a lover ; and of all objects presenting them-



selves in a New Year's dream, the most fortunate
are believed to be, first, Fujiyama ; second, a
hawk, and, third, an egg-plant.

A very long catalogue of curious recipes are
handed down from generation to generation
among the lower orders as efficacious against
mischief from insects or reptiles. Generally
these remedies consist in reciting some formula
or placarding it at suitable places, and it is easy
to perceive the connection between such acts and
the recitation of rituals by Shinto priests in former
times. That explanation, however, does not
cover cases like the blowing of a horn at the
foot of a tree attacked by insects ; or the tracing
of an ideograph (no) in the air to paralyse a
dragon-fly that one desires to catch ; or the re-
moval of a stone from beneath a bee-hive and
placing the foot on its reverse side in order to
avoid being stung by the bees ; or the carrying of
a dried beetle as a charm to increase one's ward-
robe ; or the pulling of one's own ear with the
left hand by way of preliminary to grasping a
snake ; or the burying of an old calendar near a
weazel's hole in order to drive away the animal.
Horses are believed to be specially amenable to
the influence of poetic spells. An untethered
horse can be prevented from leaving a fixed place
by simply informing it in verse that all routes to
the four points of the compass are closed, and it
can be induced to walk quietly into a ship by ut-
tering thrice in its left ear the couplet:



" On the Ryusha River
Floats the Indian ferry ;
Horse and man embarking
Find the way to heaven."

A dog is less open to suggestion, but it may be
prevented from biting by turning towards it the
palm of the hand having the ideograph " tiger "
inscribed ; and its bite can be cured by rubbing
the place with a tiger's bone, or, in default of
that commodity, rubbing with the hand and
muttering " Come tiger, come tiger." There is
an elaborate form of recitation and finger-bending
to deter a mad dog from biting, and the bone of
a tortoise's foot held in the left hand protects a
man against being bewitched by a fox or a
badger. Cats are not generally considered dan-
gerous, though it is deemed necessary to keep
them away from a dead body by placing a sword
near the corpse. To kill a cat is to become ac-
cursed to the seventh generation, and if a pet
cat strays, it may be immediately recalled by
erasing from the calendar the day of the animal's

Among the commonest superstitions may be
mentioned a habit, among children and women,
of hanging out a paper doll (teri-teri-boz,u) to
secure fine weather ; the custom of stand-
ing a broom upside down to drive away an un-
welcome guest, or of burning a . bit of dried
mogusa (Artemisia moxa') on his sandals with the
same object ; and the care taken by females to



avoid the use of words suggesting unfortunate
events. 1

The belief borrowed from Taoism that every
inanimate object has a spirit, and that the ills of
life are due to malignant demons, is utilised by a
large number of persons who make it their busi-
ness to go from house to house, repeating formula?
to propitiate the demons. Some of these quasi-
religionists, who are in reality a species of beggar,
undertake to make the needle of the seamstress
move deftly or the chop-sticks convey only
wholesome food to the mouth. Some pro-
nounce spells against conflagration and burglary;
some pledge themselves to make a religious pil-
grimage in lieu of any one willing to employ
them, and all pronounce a blessing on households
bestowing alms, such a blessing as : " Every
good be with you for the thousand years of the
crane, the ten thousand of the tortoise, the eight
thousand of Urashima Taro 2 and the nine thou-
sand of Tobo-saku. 3 These reverend mendicants
used to be constantly seen in every city of Japan,
wearing pseudo-sacerdotal costume, tolling a hand-
bell or playing a flute as they passed from door
to door, but their occupation has become com-
paratively unprofitable in modern times.

Spells are sometimes employed to bring injury
on an enemy, especially when the latter is a rival
in love. Unfastening her hair, binding a mirror

1 See Appendix, note 61. a See Appendix, note 62.

8 See Appendix, note 63.



on her bosom, and walking on high clogs, the
jealous woman proceeds to a temple at the hour
of the Ox (midnight), and nails to some sacred
tree a straw effigy of her rival. But, on the whole,
the idea of invoking aid from deity or demon for
the purpose of working mischief was never widely
entertained in Japan.

This record might be very much extended, but
it has already reached almost excessive length.
It suggests that the Japanese are eminently super-
stitious ; and so they certainly are with a reserva-
tion, namely, that the upper classes are perhaps as
little troubled by such phantasies as any people in
the world. What has been written above applies
almost entirely to the middle and lower orders of
the people. They unquestionably allow a con-
siderable element of the supernatural to obtrude
itself into their daily lives, and the fact may sug-
gest to some critics a low estimate of Japanese in-
tellectual development. Yet when the student
recalls the history of Occidental credulity from
the days of the Alexandrian Platonists to the
times of Swedenborg and Werner and the era of
American spirit-materialisers, he may be less dis-
posed to pronounce harsh judgments on the tradi-
tional mysticism which has been handed down
from generation to generation in the secluded
family circle of the Japanese nation.





NOTE i. This operation should be called more prop-
erly a reversion to gold monometallism. The currency system,
established by Japanese financiers at the beginning of the Meiji
era was based on the gold standard, the unit being the gold yen,
a coin worth four shillings, in round numbers. But, in the first
place, Japan's stock of gold was soon driven out of the country
by her depreciated fiat currency, and, in the second, as all other
Oriental nations were silver-using, and as the silver Mexican
dollar was the unit of accounts in Far-Eastern trade, Japan ulti-
mately drifted into silver monometallism, the silver yen becom-
ing her unit of currency. So soon, however, as the indemnity that
she received from China after the war of 18941895 had placed
her in possession of a stock of gold, she determined to revert to
the gold standard. Mechanically speaking, the operation was
very easy. Gold having appreciated so that its value in terms
of silver had exactly doubled during the first thirty years of the
Meiji era, nothing was necessary except to double the denomi-
nations of the gold coins in terms of yen, leaving the silver sub-
sidiary coins unchanged. Thus the old 5-yen gold piece, weigh-
ing 2.22221 momme of 900 fineness, became a lo-yen piece in
the new currency, and a new $-yen piece of half the weight was
coined. No change whatever was required in the reckonings of
the people. The yen continued to be their coin of account, with
a fixed sterling value of a little over two shillings, and the de-
nominations of the gold coins were doubled. Gold, however, is
little seen in Japan : the whole duty of currency is done by

NOTE 2. The amounts include the payments made in
connection with what may be called the disestablishment of the



Church. There were 29,805 endowed temples and shrines
throughout the Empire, and their estates aggregated 354,481
acres, together with 1,750,000 bushels of rice (representing
2,500,000 yen). The Government resumed possession of all
these lands and revenues at a total cost to the State of a little
less than 2,500,000 yen, paid out in pensions spread over a
period of fourteen years. The measure sounds like wholesale
confiscation. But some extenuation is found in the fact that
the temples and shrines held their lands and revenues under
titles which, being derived from the feudal chiefs, depended for
their validity on the maintenance of feudalism.

NOTE 3. This sum represents interest-bearing bonds issued
in exchange for fiat notes, with the idea of reducing the volume
of the latter. It was a tentative measure and proved of no value.

NOTE 4. Japan's fleet at the time of the war consisted of
comparatively small vessels, the largest being three coast-defence
ships of 4,278 tons. She captured from China an armour-clad
of 7,335 tons, the first line-of-battle ship in her navy. Her
post-bellum fleet now includes six first-class battleships, ranging
from 12,500 to 15,000 tons, approximately; six first-class
cruisers of 9,200 tons ; nine second-class cruisers, ranging
from 3,700 to 4,800 tons ; ten third-class cruisers, ranging
from 3,300 tons, etc.

NOTE 5 Japan suffers severely from inundations. It has

been estimated that the average annual loss from this source
does not fall short of 19,000,000 yen. In 1887 an extensive
scheme of riparian improvement was undertaken. It involved
a total expenditure of 26,000,000 yen, of which 6,000,000 had
been expended when the war with China broke out.

NOTE 6. All Japan's domestic loans are now placed on a
uniform basis. They carry five per cent interest, run for a
period of five years without redemption, and are then redeemed
within fifty years at latest. The Treasury has competence to
expedite the operation of redemption according to financial con-
venience, but the sum expended on amortisation each year must
receive the previous consent of the Diet. Within the limit of
that sum redemption is effected either by purchasing the stock
of the loans in the open market or by drawing lots to determine
the bonds to be paid off. Perhaps a more suggestive idea may



be furnished of Japan's finance during the Melji era by noting
that, owing to processes of conversion, consolidation, etc., and to

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