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there that the Chinese troops and ships had made
their last stand in the war of 1894-1895, and the
subsequently concluded treaty of peace contained
a provision that the place should remain in Jap-
anese possession pending China's payment of an
indemnity of 200,000,000 taels. The last instal-
ment of the indemnity having been handed over
shortly after Russia's appropriation of Liao-tung,
the world looked to see Japan convert her provi-
sional occupation of Wei-hai-wei into permanent
tenure by way of rejoinder to Russia's action.



But Japan preferred to have England planted at
Wei-hai-wei. She evacuated the place in Great
Britain's favour, thus giving a further and un-
equivocal indication of her political tendency.

Meanwhile the Chinese Court, seeing its terri-
tories filched from it piece by piece, and recog-
nising that a chief source of danger lay in the
apathy of its own subjects, took steps to promote
the organisation of volunteer associations in the
provinces adjacent to the capital. It does not
belong to the scope of this history to describe the
processes by which a movement, possibly legiti-
mate in official inception, assumed, in the summer
of 1900, the character of an anti-foreign rebel-
lion, which, breaking out in Shantung, spread to
the metropolitan province of Chili, and resulted
in a situation of extreme peril for the foreign
communities in Tientsin and Peking. There
did not indeed appear to be any possibility of
despatching a European or American force with
sufficient promptitude to save the legations in
Peking, which were beleaguered by a crowd of
Chinese soldiers and insurgents enormously more
numerous than the little band of defenders.
Hence the eyes of the world turned towards
Japan, whose proximity to the scene of disturb-
ance enabled her to intervene expeditiously, and
whose troops were believed to be qualified for
such a task.

But Japan hesitated. Knowing now with
what suspicion and distrust the development of



her resources and the growth of her military
strength were regarded by some European peoples,
and aware that she had been admitted to the
comity of Western nations on sufferance, she
shrank, on the one hand, from seeming to grasp
at an opportunity for armed display, and, on the
other, from the solecism of obtrusiveness in the
society of strangers. Not until Europe and
America made it quite plain that they needed and
desired her aid did she send twenty thousand men
to Chili, where they acted a fine part, first in the
storming of Tientsin, and subsequently in the re-
lief of Peking, which had to be approached in
the fierce heat of a Chinese midsummer under
most trying conditions. Fighting side by side
with European and American soldiers and under
the eyes of competent military critics, the Jap-
anese acquitted themselves in such a manner as to
establish a high military reputation. Their suc-
cess in the war of 1894-1895 had been largely
discounted by foreign critics, who attributed it,
not to the prowess of the victors, but to the total
helplessness of the vanquished, and who denied
that any inference might be drawn as to the
quality of Japanese fighting material for the pur-
poses of a struggle with Western troops. 1 But
the Campaign of 1900 in Chili furnished an un-
equivocal test. There could no longer be any
doubt about her military capacity, and since also
in the subsequent negotiations she uniformly ef-

1 See Appendix, note 10.



faced herself, subordinating her own interests to
the important object of maintaining the coopera-
tive union of Western Powers, much of the sus-
picion with which she had been regarded in
Europe ought to have been dispelled.

Much of it was dispelled, doubtless, but not
all. Racial prejudice has not been softened by
the touch of time. It is customary with a great
many Europeans, especially those residing in
Japan, to accuse the Japanese of harbouring anti-
foreign sentiments and to upbraid them with not
having fully laid aside their traditional dislike of
aliens. But, if plain truth be told, the anti- Japan-
ese prejudice displayed by the foreign communi-
ties themselves is incomparably more profound and
demonstrative than any anti-foreign prejudice that
can be detected among the Japanese. Nothing
Japanese meets with approval among foreigners
residing in the settlements. The general attitude
there are exceptions of course is one of con-
temptuous tolerance or frank antipathy. Some-
thing of this is an aftermath of the resident
foreigner's long struggle to retain the privilege
of being judged by his own law courts and
exempted from taxation. But racial prejudice is
in the main responsible. The Japanese is counted
an inferior being, and his persistent attempts to
reverse that verdict provoke resentment rather
than approval, while any display of impatient
self-assertion on his part is attributed to inbred
hatred of Occidentals. Himself maintaining an


attitude of ineffable superiority, the foreigner
roundly accuses the Japanese people of conceit,
and living carefully apart from them, charges
them with exclusiveness and unsociability. It is
not conceivable that any community of aliens
living in an Occidental country under similar
circumstances would find the people equally toler-
ant and good-humoured.

There is, of course, another side to the account.
There is the open-handed benevolence with
which the foreign resident responds to every
appeal for aid when calamity overtakes the Jap-
anese ; there is the noble devotion of the mis-
sionaries, Roman Catholic and Protestant, who
labour perpetually for the welfare of their
Japanese brothers and sisters, and there is the
generous appreciation of onlookers from a dis-
tance who see Japan's progress in its true propor-
tions. Such object-lessons do much to mitigate
the harsher mood habitually displayed by the
foreigner within the gates. But the balance is
largely on the side of disdainful superiority, be-
nevolent condescension, or unkind criticism, and
the Japanese, gradually learning to see these
things as they really are, have come to under-
stand that many of the qualities which they are
denounced for not displaying find no place in the
conduct of their denouncers. Additional light
has been reflected on the subject by the anti-
Semitic sentiment in Europe, and by the legisla-
tion of Australia and America for excluding



immigrants of Japanese or Chinese nationality.
It was against similar exclusiveness on Japan's
part that the Powers of the West inveighed when
they required her to open her gates, and the con-
trast between their preaching then and their
practice subsequently cannot but strike Eastern

The Chinese complication in 1900 was sug-
gestive in another respect also. During the war
in 18941895, a section of the Japanese army,
invading the Liao-tung peninsula, committed some
cruel excesses at Port Arthur. There were ex-
tenuating circumstances. The men had been
exasperated beyond endurance by finding the
bones of two of their comrades who had been
roasted to death by the Chinese, and the rem-
nants of others who had been shockingly muti-
lated, and, moreover, the civilian inhabitants of
Port Arthur whom the Japanese slew were
believed to be soldiers in disguise. Foreign
critics, however, refused to take these circum-
stances into account. A veritable shout of indig-
nation was raised ; newspapers wrote as though the
Japanese, permanently forfeiting their title to be
called civilised, had re-established their affinity
with Oriental barbarians ; this one incident of a
war conducted on all other occasions with marked
humanity and unvarying respect for the best
principles of international morality, was magni-
fied into a heinous act of savagery, and altogether
it seemed as though Europe and America were


shocked into hysterical horror. Now, if the
Japanese had killed all the wounded Chinese,
given no quarter under any circumstances, and
sought to exterminate their enemies instead of
subduing them, they would only have followed
the usages of war, as it was known to them by
tradition. But, on the contrary, they treated the
wounded with the utmost kindness, refrained
studiously from all acts of rapine, and with the one
exception of Port Arthur were nowhere guilty of
sacrificing life needlessly. Remembering, then,
how short a time had elapsed since the sacking
of cities was deemed a legitimate perquisite of
European armies, and how only fourteen years
separated Port Arthur from Geok Tepe, the
Japanese, though they made no complaint, were
probably a little bewildered by this experience.
At all events, they concluded that under no provo-
cation would Western soldiers be betrayed into
retaliating on a merciless enemy. But one of
the earliest incidents of the Chinese complication
in 1 900 was a shocking massacre at Blagovest-
chensk by the Russians, an act of savagery which
threw Port Arthur totally into the shade ; and in
Chili the Japanese themselves saw not only the
Cossacks, but also the Germans, follow the prin-
ciple of " no quarter " with terrible fidelity.
The world, however, said very little. It had
been thrown into a tumult of palpitating horror
when Japanese soldiers, remembering their tor-
tured and mutilated comrades, forgot for a



moment to show mercy to a savage enemy ; but
when the troops of great Occidental States delib-
erately reverted to mediaeval fashions of warfare,
a feeble remonstrance, followed by discreet silence,
was the measure of public condemnation. There
could be no mistaking the import of this con-
trast : " one law for me, another for thee " was
to be the governing principle of the Occident's
attitude towards Japan.

The climax of the drama was reached when
Russia planted her foot in Manchuria, and when
Germany pretended that an agreement made by
her with England concerning the integrity of the
Chinese Empire could not be construed as apply-
ing to Manchuria, though Manchuria is as in-
tegral a portion of the Chinese Empire as Prussia
is of the German. Japan was able to congratu-
late herself on having been mainly instrumental
in preventing a convention by which China,
helpless and blind-eyed, would have virtually
added that huge territory to Russia. But
although Russia failed to obtain documentary
sanction for her occupation, she remained in oc-
cupation none the less, and no one, least of all a
person conversant with her historical respect for
engagements, could be so sanguine as to suppose
that her disavowal of permanent occupation would
ever be translated into evacuation. Thus, whereas
the tenure of a portion of Manchuria by Japan
had seemed to Russia, Germany, and France in
1895 sucn a menace to the security of China and



to the peace of the East, that they saw themselves
under the painful duty of expelling Japan, the
appropriation of the whole of Manchuria by
Russia in 1 900 did not seem to Germany to affect
the integrity of China in any way, to menace her
security, or to jeopardise the tranquillity of the
Orient ; seemed to France an arrangement that
she could conscientiously support ; and seemed to
Russia an act not at all inconsistent with her pre-
vious attitude towards Japan.

Russia has thus extended her dominion to
the very boundaries of Korea. She need only
step across the Yalu River and she will find her-
self in a country inviting aggression by helpless-
ness, promising to repay it by ample resources,
and strategically essential to the security of her
position in the Far East. She has conventions
with Japan which, if faithfully observed, would
prevent her from exercising in Korea any influ-
ence baleful to Japanese interests. Similarly at
one time she had a convention with Great Britain
placing Afghanistan entirely outside the sphere of
Russian influence. Yet, in a time of peace, she
deliberately instigated Afghanistan to make war
upon England. Korea has now become the
Afghanistan of the Far East, with this difference
that whereas Afghanistan suggests itself to Russia
merely as a weapon for harassing England in
Asia in order to force her hand in Europe, Korea
presents itself to her as a possession which would
round off her newly acquired empire in the Far



East, secure the sea route between Vladivostock
and Liao-tung, and consummate her long-cher-
ished ambition by giving her full access to south-
ern oceans. If in the past her aggressive progress
had shown any symptom of finality, or if Japan's
vital interests and hereditary inclination suffered
her to abandon Korea to its fate, the situation
now created would be less perilous.

Another important result of the Chinese com-
plication has been to bring Japan, the United
States of America, and England into very close
relations. Japan has always regarded the United
States with exceptionally friendly eyes. In every
instance she has found America considerate, sym-
pathetic, and appreciative, and she cherishes a firm
conviction, which even the absorption of Hawaii
and the Philippines has not shaken, that territorial
aggression will never disfigure American policy
in the Orient. Towards England her feelings
used not to be so cordial. She doubted at one
time whether Great Britain's growth might not
yet be attended by catastrophes to Far-Eastern
nations. But being now fully persuaded that the
unique aim of British policy in China is to keep
the markets of that Empire open on equal terms
to all the world, and to avert its partition among
States which discriminate commercially against
other nations, she sees in England a Power with
which she would willingly clasp hands in any
common emergency.

It may be added that Japan has not lost all



hope of China's resurrection from the grave of
conservative stagnation. Ever since the war of
i 8941 895, the Viceroys of central China, Chang
Chih-tung and Liu Kun-yi, have been sending
youths to Japan to study military and naval
sciences, law, medicine, commerce and industry, 1
and during the complications of 1900-1901 the
Government in Tokyo, acting through these vice-
roys, was able to exercise wholesome influence on
the counsels of the Chinese Court. There is also
a powerfully supported Japanese society under
whose auspices schools have been opened at sev-
eral places in China, and useful books are translated
into the Chinese language and widely circulated.
If events do not move too fast, China may possibly
develop strength to cope with them, or at least to
make some contribution to her own preservation.

1 See Appendix, note n.

Chapter III


ONE of the most important reforms
effected by the Meiji Government was
in the field of education. The for-
mer rulers of Japan paid comparatively
little attention to this matter, and never seem to
have considered that any duty devolved on them
to provide for the instruction of any section of the
people except the samurai. But the statesmen of
the Restoration saw that the nation could not be
left to equip itself with machinery for studying
the arts and sciences of the new civilisation, and
saw further that if there was to be any radical
progress the people must be compelled to extend
their knowledge beyond the Chinese classics.
Thus, without loss of time, an extensive system of
schools was organised, and education was de-
clared to be compulsory. Every child on attain-
ing the age of six must now attend a Common
Elementary School, where during a four years'
course instruction is given in morals, reading,
writing, arithmetic, the rudiments of technical
work, gymnastics, and poetry. Year by year the
attendance at these schools increases. In 1898,



the latest year for which statistics are published,
4,062,418 children received education out of a
total of 7,1 25,966, the percentage of school-goers
being 68.91. The desire for instruction is keener
among boys than among girls: of the former,
82.42 per cent attend school, and of the latter

Onl 7 53-73-

There are 26,322 public Common Elementary

Schools, and the total annual cost of maintaining
them is ^1,715,469. Hence the average yearly
expense of each school is 6$ ; the average num-
ber of students 1 54, and the average annual cost
per child Sj 1 . 6d., to which the child's parents
contribute is. qd. yearly, or \yd. per month.
These Elementary Schools form part of the com-
munal system, and such portion of their expenses
as is not covered by tuition fees, income from
school property, and miscellaneous sources, must
be defrayed out of the proceeds of local taxa-
tion. The tax-payers' burden on this account is
^1,150,446, and it thus appears that the four
years' course of elementary education given to a
Japanese child costs the tax-payer 22s. 6d., and
costs the child's parents js. The expense to
parents will be still less in future, for by an Ordi-
nance issued in August, 1900, it was enacted that
whereas the payment of tuition fees had hitherto
been the rule, and exemption from payment the
exception, hereafter exemption should be the rule
and payment the exception. In short, elementary
education will be virtually free.


There are, also, 1 74 public Kindergartens, with
an attendance of 1 5,000 infants, whose parents
pay 3*/. per month for each child, on the average.
In general the Kindergartens are connected with
Elementary Schools or with Normal Schools.

Many (4,735) of the Common Elementary
Schools have a section where, subsequently to the
completion of the regular curriculum, a special
supplementary course of study may be pursued in
agriculture, commerce, or industry (sewing in the
case of girls). For the same purpose there exist
also 318 Higher Elementary Schools, to which a
child can gain admittance after passing out of a
Common Elementary School. The time devoted
to these special courses is two, three, or four years,
according to the degree of proficiency contem-
plated, and the cost to the parents is 6d. per

If a child, after graduating at a Common Ele-
mentary School, desires to extend its education, it
passes into a Common Middle School, where
training is given for practical pursuits, or for ad-
mission to higher educational institutions. The
ordinary curriculum at a Common Middle School
includes moral philosophy, English language, his-
tory, geography, mathematics, natural history,
natural philosophy, chemistry, drawing, and the
Japanese language. Five years are required to
graduate, and from the fourth year the student
may take up a special technical course as well as
the main course ; or, in accordance with local re-



quirements, technical subjects may be taught con-
jointly with the regular curriculum throughout
the whole time. The law provides that there
must be at least one Common Middle School in
each Prefecture. The actual number is 169, with
2,061 teachers and 49,684 students, being an
average of 244 students to each school, and I
teacher to 24 students. The total annual cost of
maintenance is ^207,1 66. Thus each school re-
quires an average outlay of ^1,226, of which sum
the tax-payers defray ^720. A student in a
Common Middle School costs the State 2 igs.
yearly, and his five years' course represents a local
tax of ^"14 15^. It will be seen, therefore, that
when a child has completed its four years in a
Common Elementary School and five years in a
Common Middle School, its education has cost
the public ^15 ijs. 6d.

Great inducements offer to attend a Common
Middle School. Not only does the graduation
certificate carry considerable weight as a general
qualification, but it also entitles a young man to
volunteer for one year's service with the colours,
thus escaping two of the three years he would
have to serve as an ordinary recruit.

The graduate of a Common Middle School can
claim admittance, without examination, to a High
School, where he spends three years preparing to
pass to a University, or four years studying a spe-
cial subject, as law, engineering, or medicine. By
following the course in a High School, a youth





obtains exemption from conscription until the age
of twenty-eight, when one year as a volunteer
frees him from all service with the colours.
There are six High Schools with a total at-
tendance of 4,664 students, and the instructors
number 351, or i to every 13 students. A
High-School certificate of graduation entitles its
holder to enter a University without examina-
tion, and qualifies him for all public posts.

In addition to the schools already enumerated,
which may be said to constitute the machinery
of general education, there are Special Schools (6)
and Technical Schools (74), where instruction is
given in agriculture, commerce, mechanics,
applied chemistry, navigation, electrical engineer-
ing, aquatic productions, art (pictorial and applied),
veterinary science, sericulture, and various branches
of industry. There are also 1 7 apprentices' schools,
classed under the heading of " elementary," where
courses of not less than six months and not more
than four years may be taken in dyeing and weav-
ing, embroidery, the making of artificial flowers,
tobacco manufacture, sericulture, reeling silk,
pottery, lacquer, wood work, metal work, or
brewing. On the average, each of these schools
has 67 students and 6 teachers, and costs ^520
annually, or ^7 1 5 j. per student. The tax-payers
contribute ^355 yearly towards the support of
each school, and the expense to the student is
about 2s. 6d. per month.

Normal Schools are maintained for the pur-

VOL. V. 6 8 I


pose of training teachers. There are two High
Normal Schools, one for males, the other for
females, the former having 555 pupils, the latter
171 ; and there are 47 common Normal Schools,
with 7,302 male students and 879 females. Great
difficulty is experienced in obtaining a full com-
plement of teachers for elementary public schools.
The total number required is ninety-five thousand,
approximately, and the number actually available
is only sixty-four thousand. That is mainly due
to the very small emoluments given for such
service. Out of sixty-four thousand teachers now
employed in elementary schools, only fifty get as
much as ^48 a year ; eleven thousand have less
than ^10 annually, and the salaries of forty-nine
thousand range from i i to ^24. Considering
that a common labourer now earns ji8 a year,
the insufficiency of teachers' emoluments is

There are two Imperial Universities, one in
Tokyo and one in Kyoto. The latter is not yet
fully organised. The former has 205 professors
and instructors and 2,463 students. Its colleges
number six, law, medicine, engineering, litera-
ture, science, and agriculture, it has a Uni-
versity Hall where postgraduate courses are
studied, and it publishes a quarterly journal giving
accounts of scientific researches which indicate
not only large erudition but also original talent.

All the figures given above are independent of
private educational institutions. Of these there



are 1,600, employing 5,346 teachers and having
149,230 pupils. The tendency of the system
pursued by the State is to discourage private edu-
cation, for unless a private school brings its curric-
ulum into accord with that prescribed for public
institutions, its students are denied the valuable
privilege of exemption from conscription, as well
as the other advantages attaching to State recog-
nition. Further, the disposition to present large
sums for educational purposes has not yet become
widely effective among private individuals in
Japan. Voluntary contributions in aid of public
schools aggregate about ^90,000 annually, but
the efforts made by the people on this account
are still comparatively insignificant.

At first, when the above system was introduced,
students showed a dangerous inclination to neglect
hygienic considerations altogether, and abandon
themselves wholly to the task of acquiring the
new knowledge rapidly. It seemed as though
the rising generation was destined to lose its
physical stamina altogether, and to take for per-
manent companions consumption, impaired vision,
and stunted stature. Many gifted youths perished
on the threshold of promising careers, and others
barely survived as invalids. Happily foreign
teachers assisted to correct this fatal tendency by
example or advice, and the Government, appre-

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Online LibraryF. (Frank) BrinkleyJapan, its history, arts and literature (Volume 5) → online text (page 5 of 16)