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hawking, spitting, smoking, scattering ashes,
until the carriage floor looks like an elongated
cuspidor; at the entrances and exits of the
theatres ; at the booths and side-shows of a fair,
or around a popular temple; crowded in a tram-
car; or when you deal with subordinates at a
bank, post-office, railway station, or telegraph
office; then you realize how and why, practically
the people of all nations who have constant
dealings with them, from ambassadors to travel-
ling salesmen, have grown to hate them with an
untempered zeal. Their fussy and self-conscious
politeness; their comical vanity and self-satis-
faction; their parochial assumption that all the
world is wrong, they alone right; their lack
of consideration for others, particularly for their
women ; their callow and sophisticated youthf ul-
ness; the lack of personal dignity, and in its
place a chip-on-the-shoulder assertiveness ; their
new feeling of a scarcely veiled contempt for the
white race, which, by the way, is not even veiled
among the Chinese; all these characteristics,
overlaid with a lacquer of hardness and a
national selfishness which no European ever



JAPAN 433

penetrates — even poor Lafcadio Hearn learned
it to his cost before he died — account to some
extent for this extraordinary shift of opinion
upon the part of Europeans, from condescend-
ing fondness, to virulent and loudly expressed
contempt.

But why, the intelligent reader will ask, have
travellers and writers for years praised the gen-
tleness, the courtesy, the almost primeval hon-
esty, the patience of these people ; their painstak-
ing workmanship of swords, lacquers, carvings,
porcelains, iron-work, to turn upon them now
with all manner of insult and suspicion for their
industrial, commercial and moral standards.
It does not seem to me a difficult question to
answer.

The craftsmen of Japan, in the old days,
worked for their lords or their rich and noble
patrons. They were protected, supported and
praised, not paid, for their work; it was a labor
of love. Buyers and sellers, and hawkers and
traders, were a despised class. The Japanese,
too, have had practically no personal liberty as
we know it. Their work, profession, status and
habitat were fixed; and even small crimes were
punished with death. Their amusements were
simple, their holidays spent as Watteau's shep-
herds and shepherdesses spent theirs, and they



434 TIIE WEST IN THE EAST

were to a man under the thumb of clan rulers,
and without opportunity for moral vagaries, or
personal choice, in the matter of habits and
customs. Everybody worked for some house-
hold, and every household worked for some
clan. A man was oljliged by law, in feudal
times, to earn his living, to marry, to bring up
his family and to die, in the place where he was
born; and even to-day it is expected, and is gen-
erally the custom, though such restrictions are
rapidly passing. The loosening of family bonds,
the greater liberty of the individual, mean little
to us, perhaps, as we read of it; but in Japan it
means the lessening of the restraining power of
religion itself. A nation of ancestor-worshippers
depend upon the integrity of the family life for
all their moral as well as religious sanctions;
and the growth of individualism in Japan was
sure to be followed by a certain moral laxity.
We are seeing that to-day. To do away with
the family cult of each family's ancestors is to do
away with religion, is to do away with the great
spiritual restraining and warning hand, which
had kept moral irregularities in abeyance. It
was the civilization of a jelly-mould. Of a
sudden the mould is broken. Each must take
care of himself, each must make a living for
himself, each must fend and fight for himself.



JAPAN 435

each must learn to make and to spend money.
It is a poor country, the natural wealth of the
country is small, and it is overcrowded; com-
petition is severe, and the old rule of unques-
tioning loyalty is everywhere lessening; and the
new laws of economic competition, both at home
and abroad, come into existence, and there fol-
lows chaos.

On top of this come war, prestige, praise, alli-
ance with the mightiest, and overwhelming na-
tional debts; and there follow^ self-satisfaction,
vanity and self -consciousness. Japan suffers
from being the novus homo among the nations.
She has not our morals, our manners, our dress,
our religion, our familiarity with wealth and lux-
ury, our tastes in art, literature or music, none
of our European traditions in short, or our fa-
miliarity with the written or spoken languages
of ancient and modern culture and civilization.
This nation, which in its own clothes, in its own
home, and in familiar surroundings, and living
by its owTi moral code, was dubbed graceful,
polite, gentle and unassuming, is now, because
judged by an entirely different standard, awk-
ward, unmoral, self-conscious, bumptious and
dishonest.

One sometimes sees an individual of one na-
tion who wishes to appear to be of another.



436 THE AVEST IN THE EAST

There was a time when the Englishman was
proud to be deemed " ItaHanated," or to be
called the "Mirror of Tuscany"; and there are
Englishmen to-day who vaunt the civilization
of France as higher than their own. There are,
alas, Americans who emigrate, socially and na-
tionally, to London or to Paris, and who ape
the accent, the manner and what they deem by
an entirely mistaken view to be the sedulous
anxiety of the Englishman to avoid intercourse
with whomsoever is great-grandfatherless. Try-
ing to be superficially what essentially one is
not, is an awkward business, and these her-
maphrodite patriots are ridiculous abroad and
a mortification at home. In the case of the
Japanese, the whole nation is trying to appear
to be what it is not; they are trying to do things
that are not natural to them; trying to assume
an equality with others along lines that are
foreign to them; and although these efforts are
prodigious, and here and there successful, the
general result cannot help being slightly ridic-
ulous. There was no exaggeration in the old
praise, there is no exaggeration in the new
blame.

To insist upon building the iVntung-Mukden
railway into a broad-gauge road, amply serv-
iceable for troops and freight, if the words of a



JAPAN 437

treaty mean anything, was taking a mean advan-
tage of the Chinese. The concession for the
construction of the Chinchow-Aigun railway,
America making the loan to China, and an
English firm contracting to build the road, was
held up on a protest from Japan, ^^^ly China,
an unconquered and independent nation, should
not be allowed to build a railway, controlled
and owned by the state, and far removed from
any Japanese interest, it is hard to understand.
England declines to assist the project in any
way. England is for the moment interna-
tionally supine. She is fully occupied with the
tearing at her domestic vitals of a demagogue-
fed, and demagogue-bred, class war, which a
knot of recalcitrants, who have paid for admis-
sion with money they have begged in a foreign
country, watch, with their thumbs turned down
to every appeal for fair-play. England's attitude
is apparently that China is to have no rights as
over against her ally Japan's wishes. At Hong-
chow, when I was in China, the Japanese were
trading in the interior in spite of specific treaties
forbidding it, and when ordered away by the
Chinese governor, were leaving with impudent
reluctance.

Three treaties define Japan's position in
Manchuria: I. the Anglo- JajDanese treaty of



438 THE WEST IN TIIE EAST

August, 1905; II. the Portsmouth treaty of
September, 1905; III. the China- Japan treaty
of December, 1905. Japan subscribes in all of
these treaties to the policy of the open door in
Manchuria, but is doing her best to make all
things easy for Japanese enterprise and com-
merce, and the reverse for every other nation.

Though the Chinese and Japanese cannot
understand each other's speech, they can read
each other's writing or ideographs. This helps
the Japanese in their honest trade with the Chi-
nese very materially, because labels, addresses,
firm marks, and brands are made easily plain;
but it helps also in the forgery of patent marks,
labels, and brands, and this has become an occa-
sional feature of Japanese commercial methods.

Half an hour's walk in Tokio, writes the Brit-
ish ambassador, will discover ten to twenty imita-
tions of British trade-marks. One may buy all
over China to-day the English Rodgers's razors,
made in Japan. More than one Chinese news-
sheet is edited and controlled by Japanese;
and these are the sheets which are loudest in
their demands for the driving out of China of
the foreigner. At the final meeting of the Nip-
pon Syndicate, Limited, in London, the chair-
man said that the reason for the winding up of
the company's affairs was due, he regretted to



JAPAN 439

say, "to the wide-spread unreliability of the
Japanese nation in commerce, no less than to
the reluctance of our allies to admit British
enterprise to any share of the resources of the
Far East. The selfish policy of the Japanese
had reduced the doctrine of the open door to
nothing more or less than a fiction." The
Japanese consul himself, in Tientsin, reported
to his government that "the Chinese regard
Japanese goods with serious distrust as being
cheaply and badly packed and not up to sample."
While in India I heard of a large amount of
money involved in the suit of an Indian exporter
from Japan, who claimed that he had been
shamefully deceived by the difference between
samples and the cotton goods received. One of
our American school-books was stolen bodily
and reprinted in Japan. The American pub-
lishers, through our State Department, remon-
strated. The Japanese reply was that the book
was not the same, because they had corrected
certain verbal errors in the original!

The new Japanese tariff comes into force on
July 1, 1911. The average of new duties on
British goods is estimated at an advance of
two-thirds upon existing rates. On goods from
other countries the increase in the average of
the duties is about fifty per cent. But, says



440 THE \VEST IN THE EAST

Count Komura, the Foreign Secretary of Japan,
in an official statement of Japanese policy:
"Great Britain has what is called a free-trade
policy; there is no room for a convention with
that country." This is frank cynicism enough,
one would think, to penetrate the British com-
mercial understanding. If this is not enough,
the new tariff increases the duties on printed
goods from eight pence to twenty-two pence;
on white shirtings the duty is nearly quadru-
pled, and on cotton Italians the increase is even
greater.

In spite of the alliance, the British community
in Japan does not receive the "most-favored-
nation" treatment, but its members are re-
garded as undesirable aliens, as are the repre-
sentatives of other nations ; and now in addition
the tariff wall against British goods has been
raised to an almost unclimbable height.

The total of Japanese imports and exports in
1868 amounted to $13,123,272; in 1904 to
$303,318,980; and in 1908 to $407,251,500. It
may be that the Japanese now believe that they
can afford to look upon their alliance with
Great Britain as a favor bestowed rather than
as a favor received. They have got out of it the
peace and protection they needed in a time of
great strain; their army and navy they assume.



JAPAN 441

some of their high officials even claim as much,
are more needed by Great Britain than is Great
Britain's protection by Japan, and therefore
they can now deal with Great Britain on even
terms. This may or may not be good diplo-
macy, wise commercial methods. With that I
have nothing to do. I cite it as a national ex-
ample of the same spirit which pervades their
dealings as individuals. Whatever else it may
be, it is not "playing the game."

Even their hospitality is suspicious beneath
its outward graciousness. Very few Americans
know, when the American fleet was welcomed
with loud acclaims of friendliness at Yokohama,
that all the rest of the Japanese ships and men
were mobilized near Nagasaki and kept there,
even depriving men of leave, till the American
fleet sailed away. This is of the type of frank
friendliness which leads Japanese officers to
run between the shafts of a jinrickisha w in order
to listen to the conversation of the foreign
officers they draw. Somehow these strike us as
the degrading precautions of a morally vulgar
and low type of civilization. These things are
not easy for us to understand, or to dismiss with
a smile, except of contempt.

I could fill this chapter, and many chapters,
with example after example of the untrustwor-



442 THE ^MEST IN THE EAST

thiness of the Japanese merchants and indus-
trials. I have cited instances merely to show
the reader that this accusation is not gossip.
But I have little taste for accusations, and no
enmity against the Japanese, for I cannot pict-
ure a kindlier hospitality than I received. This
is all by way of explanation, as is much that
is to follow, and by no means a tirade; and
also because it is quite fair, and high time, that
we dropped the songs of the nursery and dis-
cussed Japan by the grown-up standards, by
which she now claims the right to be judged.

We have come to believe in the West, that no
progress along moral lines can be attained with-
out putting women on the same level of moral
and mental opportunity with men. Without
respect for womanhood we believe that men can-
not respect themselves, and that the degradation
of women means the degradation of men. The
Japanese neither believe this nor act upon it.
During the seven years, 1890-1897, there were
2,450,838 marriages in Japan, 821,121 divorces,
and 523,992 illegitimate births. Prostitution in
Japan is regulated, controlled and taxed by the
state. The last census gives the number of
females in Japan as 23,131,207; of this number,
7,587,979 are between the ages of fifteen and
thirty-five, or roughly the age when the Eastern



JAPAN 443

woman is physically attractive. One writer
claims that there are "500,000 public prosti-
tutes, and at least 1,000,000 daruma and meshi-
mori,^ etc., etc.; the total of women practising
prostitution is probably 1,400,000, and if to this
again about 500,000 Geisha be added, the com-
plete grand total cannot be short of nearly
2,000,000." It seems impossible that this can
be true, though I have figures from an official
in the Finance Department, who procured them
from the Home Department, which confirm this
estimate. But even if it were cut in half, and
this is an absurd underestimate, it shows that of
all the women in Japan between the ages of fif-
teen and thirty-five, one out of every seven and a
half is thus employed. It is true, at all events,
and every traveller with eyes to see may investi-
gate for himself, that the whole eastern coast
from Zanzibar to Kamtschatka is fringed with
Japanese prostitutes. In Bombay, Calcutta,
Hongkong, Singapore, Shanghai, and so on all
around the coast, this Japanese export is promi-
nent. The Japanese authorities recognize this
and are trying to stop this emigration of young
women, which is a standing disgrace to them,
along 15,000 miles of sea-coast.

' Japanese words used in the provinces and meaning procuresses,
or low-class Conciliairices.



444 THE ^VEST IN THE EAST

It is a not uncommon thing for a Japanese
girl to sell herself at home or abroad, to gain
the money with which to marry and settle
down, the future husband agreeing to this man-
ner of gaining the marriage portion. As I
have noted, the Emperor sets the example by
giving his people an heir to the throne born of
a concubine ; and no Japanese, of whatever posi-
tion in society, would hesitate to take one, or
as many as were necessary of these women, into
his household to procure a son to continue the
ancestor-worship. A Japanese nobleman, well
known as a diplomat in Europe and in this
country, in discussing this question with me,
remarked: "What a fine thing if you had in
your country a descendant of George Washing-
ton!" He intimated, too, that in his country
the whole question was treated as a matter of
practical hygiene, just as we provide a pure-
food law, while in England and in America we
balked at dealing with the matter frankly and
wisely, and treated it like hypocrites. He was
right up to a certain point, for there are no streets
paraded by soliciting women in Tokio as are
Piccadilly, London; certain streets in New York;
the Boulevards, and the shambles of Mont-
martre, in Paris. In Japan the laws are strin-
gent upon this subject, and the punishment for



JAPAN 445

illegal use of houses is a heavy fine and impris-
onment. The women are segregated in certain
districts, and are regularly taxed and visited.

The three laws for Japanese women are obedi-
ence to father and mother as a child ; obedience
to husband as a wife; finally obedience to her
children as an old woman. The women are
gentle, fertile, and obedient ; and it is disconcert-
ing to the logical mind to find that their most
fervent admirers are to be found among our
American women, who are considered by all the
world to be sophisticated and independent, and
by that unanswerable critic, the Census, to be
rapidly losing the position they ought to hold in
the birth-rate column.

If the American woman knew that every inn,
every tea-house and every hotel, and many of
the temples in Japan offered easy virtue to every
traveller and pilgrim so disposed; and that the
sale of herself by the woman, to relieve family
necessities, is looked upon as a worthy self-
sacrifice in thousands of Japanese households;
if she could see the whole Japanese attitude
toward this question, both at home and abroad,
she would consider the admission of the Japan-
ese in any numbers into this country, to be edu-
cated side by side with our children, in the pub-
lic schools, as an intolerable suggestion. And



446 THE WEST IN THE EAST

she would consider that to permit freedom of so-
cial intercourse between Japanese men and the
young women of America an insulting sugges-
tion. Even when Japanese gentlemen entertain,
professional women are called in for the occa-
sion. It will be time to talk of offering the
freedom of our guarded and cherished homes to
the Japanese, when the Japanese have our ideals
of what such a home ought to be.

Our "Western coast is right, and not till victory
over our forces on sea and land brings them, will
the Japanese be permitted to colonize in any
part of America, until her civilization is purged
and changed in this respect. Far be it from me
to sit in judgment over the nations of the earth,
to claim that we are right and others wrong;
and I trust that the reader will realize that I
have been stating facts, noting differences, and
not offering ponderous protocols, as though the
possession of a pen produced omniscience. I
should be sorry to be included in that category
of travellers, and writers about other countries,
who look upon every difference, every incon-
venience, every displeasing Incident as a griev-
ance. I look upon them not as grievances, but
as experiences, and I try to deal with them as
such, for my own benefit, and that of my
countrymen.



JAPAN 447

It was only recently and after a valiant fight,
led by the members of the European Salvation
Army in Japan, and at the risk of personal vio-
lence to themselves, that the shameful slavery to
which the inmates of the Yoshiwara, or Prosti-
tutes' Quarter, were subjected, was mitigated;
and women who wished to escape were given the
opportunity to do so. Before the Japanese
woman is allowed to stand securely upon the
rhetorical pedestal built for her by Lafcadio
Hearn, and accepted as appropriate to her moral
and social status by indifferent and superficial
travellers, she must be judged by other standards,
and with evidence furnished by less frankly
partial witnesses.

The total net debt of the United States, that
is, what remains after deducting the cash in the
Treasury, was, on June 30, 1908, $938,132,409.
About $155,000,000 was paying at the rate of
four per cent, the balance two or three per cent.
The estimated value of property in the United
States in 1904 was estimated at $107,104,-
192,410.

The debt of Japan, one of the poorest coun-
tries in the world, with more than one-half of its
cultivated area given over to the raising of rice,
was, on March 31, 1908, $1,138,173,226, and
the internal loans pay from five to eight per



448 THE WEST IN THE EAST

cent, and the foreign loans from four to six per
cent.*

A Japanese writer, Adachi Kinnosuke by
name, writes: *' People in Japan with $50,000
a year or more are asked to hand over to the
government $34,000 of it. Wonderful, is it not ?
More wonderful still, they say nothing about it.
Of course it is graded down so that a man with
$500 yearly income pays about seventeen per
cent. On an average the people of Japan pay
about thirty per cent of their net income in taxa-
tion in one form or another — a taxation which
would create a revolution in Europe or America
in twenty-four hours." This Japanese writer,
who is apparently proud of this situation in his
own country, might have gone further and said,
not only that there would be a revolution in
Europe and America, but also that our present
freedom, our religious and political liberty, have

'the expenditures op japan in yen

1901 266,856,824

1905 420,741,735

1910 534,303,861

THE TAXES OF JAPAN IN YEN

1901 135,652,181

1905 264,624,842

1910 320,225,718

THE NATIONAL DEBT OP JAPAN IN YEN

1901 496,765,040

1905 2,082,582,822

1910 2,331,090,448



JAPAN 449

been won by revolutions in the past, to enable
us to escape from just such tyrannical taxation.
The oligarchical clan government of Japan is
bleeding people to death to provide an army
and navy, and for the conduct of war. A little
historical knowledge would have shown this
gentleman that we do not envy him, and that
Magna Charta, Charles the First, the French
Revolutions, and the American Revolution are
incidents in the combined history of Europe and
America to prove it.

In his treatment of the case the slight premise
is assumed that we should all be better off if we
were Japanese! Hearn's brief for the Japanese
women omits the same comer-stone in the build-
ing of his monument. The Japanese have
reached a phase of megalomania, where they
fancy that the rest of the world looks upon them
with awe and env}". No one who has not talked
day after day with the Japanese appreciates this.
Many of them, as is the case with ]Mr. Adachi
Kinnosuke, hold up their hands and say:
"Wonderful, is it not?" It is barely possible
that we do not think it wonderful at all, that
on the contrary we think it deplorable. It Is
barely possible that we prefer American to
Japanese standards; American to Japanese
morality ; American to Japanese women ; Amer-



450 THE WEST IN THE EAST

ican to Japanese national debt and taxation;
American to Japanese civilization; and Ameri-
can to Japanese estimation in the eyes of the
world. As an American I should be mortified to
think that my country, my country's institutions,
my countrymen or my countrywomen, could be
confounded for a moment with the Japanese.

We escaped from the slavery of feudalism
many years ago. Japan is as much in the grip
of the feudal baron and feudal methods to-day
as she was in the days of the Shogunate. Their
Emperor is not a constitutional ruler, but a god,
a puppet-king, as a high Japanese official has
called him; their House of Representatives has
little more final voice in policy and legislation
than have the Boy Scouts upon American policy
and legislation; the Japanese are not taxed,
they are robbed, as were our ancestors when
they were serfs and villeins. If we retrograded
to such taxation as obtains in Japan, it would
be because it could not be helped, as is the case
in Japan to-day. We are not in the stage of
civilization where there is nothing to be bought
with money but rice, sake. Geisha girls, and the
favor of Shinto or Buddhist temple-servers; if
we were, we might not crave wealth, might in-
deed rejoice to be soldiers, as a relief from pov-
erty and monotony.



JAPAN 451

Though life in Japan is not monotonous to
the Japanese, for they are distinctly a bright,
cheerful and happy people, it would be burden-
somely monotonous to us. Their women are



Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 24 of 29)