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man of culture, they were accessories rather than essentials of samurai
training. Intellectual superiority was, of course, esteemed; but the
word _Chi_, which was employed to denote intellectuality, meant wisdom
in the first instance and placed knowledge only in a very subordinate
place. The tripod that supported the framework of Bushido was said to be
_Chi_, _Jin_, _Yu_, respectively Wisdom, Benevolence, and Courage. A
samurai was essentially a man of action. Science was without the pale of
his activity. He took advantage of it in so far as it concerned his
profession of arms. Religion and theology were relegated to the priests;
he concerned himself with them in so far as they helped to nourish
courage. Like an English poet the samurai believed "'tis not the creed
that saves the man; but it is the man that justifies the creed."
Philosophy and literature formed the chief part of his intellectual
training; but even in the pursuit of these, it was not objective truth
that he strove after, - literature was pursued mainly as a pastime, and
philosophy as a practical aid in the formation of character, if not for
the exposition of some military or political problem.

From what has been said, it will not be surprising to note that the
curriculum of studies, according to the pedagogics of Bushido, consisted
mainly of the following, - fencing, archery, _jiujutsu_ or _yawara_,
horsemanship, the use of the spear, tactics, caligraphy, ethics,
literature and history. Of these, _jiujutsu_ and caligraphy may require
a few words of explanation. Great stress was laid on good writing,
probably because our logograms, partaking as they do of the nature of
pictures, possess artistic value, and also because chirography was
accepted as indicative of one's personal character. _Jiujutsu_ may be
briefly defined as an application of anatomical knowledge to the purpose
of offense or defense. It differs from wrestling, in that it does not
depend upon muscular strength. It differs from other forms of attack in
that it uses no weapon. Its feat consists in clutching or striking such
part of the enemy's body as will make him numb and incapable of
resistance. Its object is not to kill, but to incapacitate one for
action for the time being.

A subject of study which one would expect to find in military education
and which is rather conspicuous by its absence in the Bushido course of
instruction, is mathematics. This, however, can be readily explained in
part by the fact that feudal warfare was not carried on with scientific
precision. Not only that, but the whole training of the samurai was
unfavorable to fostering numerical notions.

Chivalry is uneconomical; it boasts of penury. It says with Ventidius
that "ambition, the soldier's virtue, rather makes choice of loss, than
gain which darkens him." Don Quixote takes more pride in his rusty spear
and skin-and-bone horse than in gold and lands, and a samurai is in
hearty sympathy with his exaggerated confrère of La Mancha. He disdains
money itself, - the art of making or hoarding it. It is to him veritably
filthy lucre. The hackneyed expression to describe the decadence of an
age is "that the civilians loved money and the soldiers feared death."
Niggardliness of gold and of life excites as much disapprobation as
their lavish use is panegyrized. "Less than all things," says a current
precept, "men must grudge money: it is by riches that wisdom is
hindered." Hence children were brought up with utter disregard of
economy. It was considered bad taste to speak of it, and ignorance of
the value of different coins was a token of good breeding. Knowledge of
numbers was indispensable in the mustering of forces as well, as in the
distribution of benefices and fiefs; but the counting of money was left
to meaner hands. In many feudatories, public finance was administered by
a lower kind of samurai or by priests. Every thinking bushi knew well
enough that money formed the sinews of war; but he did not think of
raising the appreciation of money to a virtue. It is true that thrift
was enjoined by Bushido, but not for economical reasons so much as for
the exercise of abstinence. Luxury was thought the greatest menace to
manhood, and severest simplicity was required of the warrior class,
sumptuary laws being enforced in many of the clans.

We read that in ancient Rome the farmers of revenue and other financial
agents were gradually raised to the rank of knights, the State thereby
showing its appreciation of their service and of the importance of money
itself. How closely this was connected with the luxury and avarice of
the Romans may be imagined. Not so with the Precepts of Knighthood.
These persisted in systematically regarding finance as something
low - low as compared with moral and intellectual vocations.

Money and the love of it being thus diligently ignored, Bushido itself
could long remain free from a thousand and one evils of which money is
the root. This is sufficient reason for the fact that our public men
have long been free from corruption; but, alas, how fast plutocracy is
making its way in our time and generation!

The mental discipline which would now-a-days be chiefly aided by the
study of mathematics, was supplied by literary exegesis and
deontological discussions. Very few abstract subjects troubled the mind
of the young, the chief aim of their education being, as I have said,
decision of character. People whose minds were simply stored with
information found no great admirers. Of the three services of studies
that Bacon gives, - for delight, ornament, and ability, - Bushido had
decided preference for the last, where their use was "in judgment and
the disposition of business." Whether it was for the disposition of
public business or for the exercise of self-control, it was with a
practical end in view that education was conducted. "Learning without
thought," said Confucius, "is labor lost: thought without learning is

When character and not intelligence, when the soul and not the head, is
chosen by a teacher for the material to work upon and to develop, his
vocation partakes of a sacred character. "It is the parent who has borne
me: it is the teacher who makes me man." With this idea, therefore, the
esteem in which one's preceptor was held was very high. A man to evoke
such confidence and respect from the young, must necessarily be endowed
with superior personality without lacking erudition. He was a father to
the fatherless, and an adviser to the erring. "Thy father and thy
mother" - so runs our maxim - "are like heaven and earth; thy teacher and
thy lord are like the sun and moon."

The present system of paying for every sort of service was not in vogue
among the adherents of Bushido. It believed in a service which can be
rendered only without money and without price. Spiritual service, be it
of priest or teacher, was not to be repaid in gold or silver, not
because it was valueless but because it was invaluable. Here the
non-arithmetical honor-instinct of Bushido taught a truer lesson than
modern Political Economy; for wages and salaries can be paid only for
services whose results are definite, tangible, and measurable, whereas
the best service done in education, - namely, in soul development (and
this includes the services of a pastor), is not definite, tangible or
measurable. Being immeasurable, money, the ostensible measure of value,
is of inadequate use. Usage sanctioned that pupils brought to their
teachers money or goods at different seasons of the year; but these were
not payments but offerings, which indeed were welcome to the recipients
as they were usually men of stern calibre, boasting of honorable penury,
too dignified to work with their hands and too proud to beg. They were
grave personifications of high spirits undaunted by adversity. They were
an embodiment of what was considered as an end of all learning, and were
thus a living example of that discipline of disciplines,


which was universally required of samurai.

The discipline of fortitude on the one hand, inculcating endurance
without a groan, and the teaching of politeness on the other, requiring
us not to mar the pleasure or serenity of another by manifestations of
our own sorrow or pain, combined to engender a stoical turn of mind, and
eventually to confirm it into a national trait of apparent stoicism. I
say apparent stoicism, because I do not believe that true stoicism can
ever become the characteristic of a whole nation, and also because some
of our national manners and customs may seem to a foreign observer
hard-hearted. Yet we are really as susceptible to tender emotion as any
race under the sky.

I am inclined to think that in one sense we have to feel more than
others - yes, doubly more - since the very attempt to, restrain natural
promptings entails suffering. Imagine boys - and girls too - brought up
not to resort to the shedding of a tear or the uttering of a groan for
the relief of their feelings, - and there is a physiological problem
whether such effort steels their nerves or makes them more sensitive.

It was considered unmanly for a samurai to betray his emotions on his
face. "He shows no sign of joy or anger," was a phrase used in
describing a strong character. The most natural affections were kept
under control. A father could embrace his son only at the expense of his
dignity; a husband would not kiss his wife, - no, not in the presence of
other people, whatever he might do in private! There may be some truth
in the remark of a witty youth when he said, "American husbands kiss
their wives in public and beat them in private; Japanese husbands beat
theirs in public and kiss them in private."

Calmness of behavior, composure of mind, should not be disturbed by
passion of any kind. I remember when, during the late war with China, a
regiment left a certain town, a large concourse of people flocked to the
station to bid farewell to the general and his army. On this occasion
an American resident resorted to the place, expecting to witness loud
demonstrations, as the nation itself was highly excited and there were
fathers, mothers, and sweethearts of the soldiers in the crowd. The
American was strangely disappointed; for as the whistle blew and the
train began to move, the hats of thousands of people were silently taken
off and their heads bowed in reverential farewell; no waving of
handkerchiefs, no word uttered, but deep silence in which only an
attentive ear could catch a few broken sobs. In domestic life, too, I
know of a father who spent whole nights listening to the breathing of a
sick child, standing behind the door that he might not be caught in such
an act of parental weakness! I know of a mother who, in her last
moments, refrained from sending for her son, that he might not be
disturbed in his studies. Our history and everyday life are replete with
examples of heroic matrons who can well bear comparison with some of the
most touching pages of Plutarch. Among our peasantry an Ian Maclaren
would be sure to find many a Marget Howe.

It is the same discipline of self-restraint which is accountable for the
absence of more frequent revivals in the Christian churches of Japan.
When a man or woman feels his or her soul stirred, the first instinct is
to quietly suppress any indication of it. In rare instances is the
tongue set free by an irresistible spirit, when we have eloquence of
sincerity and fervor. It is putting a premium upon a breach of the third
commandment to encourage speaking lightly of spiritual experience. It is
truly jarring to Japanese ears to hear the most sacred words, the most
secret heart experiences, thrown out in promiscuous audiences. "Dost
thou feel the soil of thy soul stirred with tender thoughts? It is time
for seeds to sprout. Disturb it not with speech; but let it work alone
in quietness and secrecy," - writes a young samurai in his diary.

To give in so many articulate words one's inmost thoughts and
feelings - notably the religious - is taken among us as an unmistakable
sign that they are neither very profound nor very sincere. "Only a
pomegranate is he" - so runs a popular saying - "who, when he gapes his
mouth, displays the contents of his heart."

It is not altogether perverseness of oriental minds that the instant our
emotions are moved we try to guard our lips in order to hide them.
Speech is very often with us, as the Frenchman defined it, "the art of
concealing thought."

Call upon a Japanese friend in time of deepest affliction and he will
invariably receive you laughing, with red eyes or moist cheeks. At first
you may think him hysterical. Press him for explanation and you will get
a few broken commonplaces - "Human life has sorrow;" "They who meet must
part;" "He that is born must die;" "It is foolish to count the years of
a child that is gone, but a woman's heart will indulge in follies;" and
the like. So the noble words of a noble Hohenzollern - "Lerne zu leiden
ohne Klagen" - had found many responsive minds among us, long before they
were uttered.

Indeed, the Japanese have recourse to risibility whenever the frailties
of human nature are put to severest test. I think we possess a better
reason than Democritus himself for our Abderian tendency; for laughter
with us oftenest veils an effort to regain balance of temper, when
disturbed by any untoward circumstance. It is a counterpoise of sorrow
or rage.

The suppression of feelings being thus steadily insisted upon, they find
their safety-valve in poetical aphorism. A poet of the tenth century
writes, "In Japan and China as well, humanity, when moved by sorrow,
tells its bitter grief in verse." A mother who tries to console her
broken heart by fancying her departed child absent on his wonted chase
after the dragon-fly, hums,

"How far to-day in chase, I wonder,
Has gone my hunter of the dragon-fly!"

I refrain from quoting other examples, for I know I could do only scant
justice to the pearly gems of our literature, were I to render into a
foreign tongue the thoughts which were wrung drop by drop from bleeding
hearts and threaded into beads of rarest value. I hope I have in a
measure shown that inner working of our minds which often presents an
appearance of callousness or of an hysterical mixture of laughter and
dejection, and whose sanity is sometimes called in question.

It has also been suggested that our endurance of pain and indifference
to death are due to less sensitive nerves. This is plausible as far as
it goes. The next question is, - Why are our nerves less tightly strung?
It may be our climate is not so stimulating as the American. It may be
our monarchical form of government does not excite us as much as the
Republic does the Frenchman. It may be that we do not read _Sartor
Resartus_ as zealously as the Englishman. Personally, I believe it was
our very excitability and sensitiveness which made it a necessity to
recognize and enforce constant self-repression; but whatever may be the
explanation, without taking into account long years of discipline in
self-control, none can be correct.

Discipline in self-control can easily go too far. It can well repress
the genial current of the soul. It can force pliant natures into
distortions and monstrosities. It can beget bigotry, breed hypocrisy or
hebetate affections. Be a virtue never so noble, it has its counterpart
and counterfeit. We must recognize in each virtue its own positive
excellence and follow its positive ideal, and the ideal of
self-restraint is to keep our mind _level_ - as our expression is - or, to
borrow a Greek term, attain the state of _euthymia_, which Democritus
called the highest good.

The acme of self-control is reached and best illustrated in the first of
the two institutions which we shall now bring to view; namely,


of which (the former known as _hara-kiri_ and the latter as
_kataki-uchi_ )many foreign writers have treated more or less fully.

To begin with suicide, let me state that I confine my observations only
to _seppuku_ or _kappuku_, popularly known as _hara-kiri_ - which means
self-immolation by disembowelment. "Ripping the abdomen? How
absurd!" - so cry those to whom the name is new. Absurdly odd as it may
sound at first to foreign ears, it can not be so very foreign to
students of Shakespeare, who puts these words in Brutus' mouth - "Thy
(Caesar's) spirit walks abroad and turns our swords into our proper
entrails." Listen to a modern English poet, who in his _Light of Asia_,
speaks of a sword piercing the bowels of a queen: - none blames him for
bad English or breach of modesty. Or, to take still another example,
look at Guercino's painting of Cato's death, in the Palazzo Rossa in
Genoa. Whoever has read the swan-song which Addison makes Cato sing,
will not jeer at the sword half-buried in his abdomen. In our minds this
mode of death is associated with instances of noblest deeds and of most
touching pathos, so that nothing repugnant, much less ludicrous, mars
our conception of it. So wonderful is the transforming power of virtue,
of greatness, of tenderness, that the vilest form of death assumes a
sublimity and becomes a symbol of new life, or else - the sign which
Constantine beheld would not conquer the world!

Not for extraneous associations only does _seppuku_ lose in our mind any
taint of absurdity; for the choice of this particular part of the body
to operate upon, was based on an old anatomical belief as to the seat of
the soul and of the affections. When Moses wrote of Joseph's "bowels
yearning upon his brother," or David prayed the Lord not to forget his
bowels, or when Isaiah, Jeremiah and other inspired men of old spoke of
the "sounding" or the "troubling" of bowels, they all and each endorsed
the belief prevalent among the Japanese that in the abdomen was
enshrined the soul. The Semites habitually spoke of the liver and
kidneys and surrounding fat as the seat of emotion and of life. The term
_hara_ was more comprehensive than the Greek _phren_ or _thumos_ and
the Japanese and Hellenese alike thought the spirit of man to dwell
somewhere in that region. Such a notion is by no means confined to the
peoples of antiquity. The French, in spite of the theory propounded by
one of their most distinguished philosophers, Descartes, that the soul
is located in the pineal gland, still insist in using the term _ventre_
in a sense, which, if anatomically too vague, is nevertheless
physiologically significant. Similarly _entrailles_ stands in their
language for affection and compassion. Nor is such belief mere
superstition, being more scientific than the general idea of making the
heart the centre of the feelings. Without asking a friar, the Japanese
knew better than Romeo "in what vile part of this anatomy one's name did
lodge." Modern neurologists speak of the abdominal and pelvic brains,
denoting thereby sympathetic nerve-centres in those parts which are
strongly affected by any psychical action. This view of mental
physiology once admitted, the syllogism of _seppuku_ is easy to
construct. "I will open the seat of my soul and show you how it fares
with it. See for yourself whether it is polluted or clean."

I do not wish to be understood as asserting religious or even moral
justification of suicide, but the high estimate placed upon honor was
ample excuse with many for taking one's own life. How many acquiesced in
the sentiment expressed by Garth,

"When honor's lost, 'tis a relief to die;
Death's but a sure retreat from infamy,"

and have smilingly surrendered their souls to oblivion! Death when honor
was involved, was accepted in Bushido as a key to the solution of many
complex problems, so that to an ambitious samurai a natural departure
from life seemed a rather tame affair and a consummation not devoutly to
be wished for. I dare say that many good Christians, if only they are
honest enough, will confess the fascination of, if not positive
admiration for, the sublime composure with which Cato, Brutus, Petronius
and a host of other ancient worthies, terminated their own earthly
existence. Is it too bold to hint that the death of the first of the
philosophers was partly suicidal? When we are told so minutely by his
pupils how their master willingly submitted to the mandate of the
state - which he knew was morally mistaken - in spite of the possibilities
of escape, and how he took up the cup of hemlock in his own hand, even
offering libation from its deadly contents, do we not discern in his
whole proceeding and demeanor, an act of self-immolation? No physical
compulsion here, as in ordinary cases of execution. True the verdict of
the judges was compulsory: it said, "Thou shalt die, - and that by thy
own hand." If suicide meant no more than dying by one's own hand,
Socrates was a clear case of suicide. But nobody would charge him with
the crime; Plato, who was averse to it, would not call his master a

Now my readers will understand that _seppuku_ was not a mere suicidal
process. It was an institution, legal and ceremonial. An invention of
the middle ages, it was a process by which warriors could expiate their
crimes, apologize for errors, escape from disgrace, redeem their
friends, or prove their sincerity. When enforced as a legal punishment,
it was practiced with due ceremony. It was a refinement of
self-destruction, and none could perform it without the utmost coolness
of temper and composure of demeanor, and for these reasons it was
particularly befitting the profession of bushi.

Antiquarian curiosity, if nothing else, would tempt me to give here a
description of this obsolete ceremonial; but seeing that such a
description was made by a far abler writer, whose book is not much read
now-a-days, I am tempted to make a somewhat lengthy quotation. Mitford,
in his "Tales of Old Japan," after giving a translation of a treatise on
_seppuku_ from a rare Japanese manuscript, goes on to describe an
instance of such an execution of which he was an eye-witness: -

"We (seven foreign representatives) were invited to follow the Japanese
witness into the _hondo_ or main hall of the temple, where the ceremony
was to be performed. It was an imposing scene. A large hall with a high
roof supported by dark pillars of wood. From the ceiling hung a
profusion of those huge gilt lamps and ornaments peculiar to Buddhist
temples. In front of the high altar, where the floor, covered with
beautiful white mats, is raised some three or four inches from the
ground, was laid a rug of scarlet felt. Tall candles placed at regular
intervals gave out a dim mysterious light, just sufficient to let all
the proceedings be seen. The seven Japanese took their places on the
left of the raised floor, the seven foreigners on the right. No other
person was present.

"After the interval of a few minutes of anxious suspense, Taki
Zenzaburo, a stalwart man thirty-two years of age, with a noble air,
walked into the hall attired in his dress of ceremony, with the peculiar
hempen-cloth wings which are worn on great occasions. He was accompanied
by a _kaishaku_ and three officers, who wore the _jimbaori_ or war
surcoat with gold tissue facings. The word _kaishaku_ it should be
observed, is one to which our word executioner is no equivalent term.
The office is that of a gentleman: in many cases it is performed by a
kinsman or friend of the condemned, and the relation between them is
rather that of principal and second than that of victim and executioner.
In this instance the _kaishaku_ was a pupil of Taki Zenzaburo, and was
selected by friends of the latter from among their own number for his
skill in swordsmanship.

"With the _kaishaku_ on his left hand, Taki Zenzaburo advanced slowly
towards the Japanese witnesses, and the two bowed before them, then
drawing near to the foreigners they saluted us in the same way, perhaps
even with more deference; in each case the salutation was ceremoniously
returned. Slowly and with great dignity the condemned man mounted on to
the raised floor, prostrated himself before the high altar twice, and
seated[19] himself on the felt carpet with his back to the high altar,
the _kaishaku_ crouching on his left hand side. One of the three
attendant officers then came forward, bearing a stand of the kind used
in the temple for offerings, on which, wrapped in paper, lay the
_wakizashi_, the short sword or dirk of the Japanese, nine inches and a
half in length, with a point and an edge as sharp as a razor's. This he
handed, prostrating himself, to the condemned man, who received it
reverently, raising it to his head with both hands, and placed it in

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