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docile housewives, who spend next to nothing
upon themselves, and know nothing of liberty or
luxury. They take no part in the social en-
joyments and hospitalities of their husbands,
who when they can afford it, call in the aid of a
restaurant, and Geisha girls, when they entertain.
Neither men nor women have the countless in-
terests of literature, art, theatres, sports, games,
travel, charity, religious societies, clubs, which
make the poorest of us love our independence.

It is not worth gambling, with your soul as
stake, to win the whole world of Japan, because
to the Westerner, be he right or wrong in his
appreciation, the whole world of Japan is not
worth having, at the price of their present sla-
very. We must wait till luxury comes and
wealth; the cry of their women for liberty and
something approaching equality of opportunity;
strikes and the organization of labor ; the escape
of the members of the Imperial Diet from the
sway of a puppet-king endowed with ghostly
powers; the awakening of the nation to the
pleasures and opportunities of life as we know
them; we must wait till then.


They have not been tested as yet with the real
temptations of power ; with the strain and stress
of representative government ; with the poisonous
vapors of prosperity ; with the demands and ex-
pectations of the superficially educated ; with the
unpatriotic lawlessness of millions of aliens ; with
masses of people under no religious restraint.
No devil has taken them up into the high moun-
tain of civilization, and shown them the king-
doms of the world and tempted them; and until
that time comes, the Japanese must be con-
sidered as still in the making, and outside of
any but a hypothetical judgment.

They took their religion, their Confucian code
of ethics, their art, their alphabet even, all that
they have, indeed, from India, China, and Korea.
They adopted them, but they have not improved
them. They have no porcelain, no painting, no
carving, no literature, no ethical code, no religion
which are improvements upon what they imi-
tated. Their past is a copy of the East, their
present is a copy of the West. They have imi-
tated our mills, machines, arms and instruments,
but no Japanese even would claim that they have
invented anything of their own, or improved upon
the Western models. It is evident that a man
who can only imitate must always remain behind.

There is one department of modern life where


the mere Imitator must necessarily find great
difficulties, and that is in the department of
government, especially the governing of other
races far away from one's own country. The
mere machinery of government may suffice at
home, where all men by centuries of conformity
have adjusted themselves, but no machinery is
enough to make the governing of alien races easy.
The machinery then becomes subordinate to
those who use it, adapt it, fit it to daily exigen-
cies, and adjust it nicely to other habits, customs,
and prejudices. Whatever else we may have
added to the fund of the stored-up experience
of civilization, our race may claim an easy pre-
eminence in this domain. Here, at any rate,
we have earned the right to look on with a
critical eye, at the endeavors of other governors,
whether they be French or Japanese.

We may claim, too, that there is no higher test
of a man's all-round ability, and no fairer test of
a nation's claim to greatness, than the individ-
ual's or the nation's prowess in this field of effort.
Whether he be a country parson, the manager of
a great railroad, or the governor of a wide prov-
ince, inhabited by millions of an alien race, he
ranks among the men of unusual powers in his
degree who succeeds In adjusting difterences;
harmonizing conflicting aims ; gaining confidence


by his cheerful but unbending justice; solving
problems by superior wisdom; gaining the al-
legiance of warring factions, and leading all alike
along the path he has marked out for himself
and them; while the greatest rulers, men like
Clive and Cromwell and Lincoln, rank with the
few shining ones in war, art and literature, as
the prize products of humanity.

Japan has not gained the respect, the con-
fidence, or the quiet control of Formosa, Korea,
or lower Manchuria. In all the months I was
in India I never saw a white man ill-use a brown
one; I did not visit Formosa, but the Japanese
are burning villages and shooting down the na-
tives there as I write. I did travel through the
whole length of Korea, crossed the Yalu River,
and travelled through the whole length of the
Japanese sphere of influence in Manchuria, and
never a day passed that I did not see rough and
often violent treatment of Koreans and Manchus
by Japanese soldiers, police, and the lower class
of labor employed there. It is fair to say that
the late Prince Ito, and the present Consul-
General of Korea, and all the many Japanese
officials whom I met, w^ere heartily in accord,
and sincerely in earnest, in their endeavors to
do away w^ith these rough and bullying methods,
but they have not succeeded in preventing them.


The Japanese of all classes, high and low, are
painfully sensitive to ridicule. In their own
country, in the past, their military traditions,
the closely drawn limitations between classes,
the prompt vengeance of slight or insult, made
the rules of politeness to one another as rigid,
and their ceremonious treatment of one another
as elaborate, as religious rubrics.

Both the Koreans and the Chinese look upon
the Japanese as inferior. The Koreans call
them "island savages," "foreign knaves," and
their country "Contemptible Dwarf Land," and
the Chinese call them "monkeys," and both
consider them as even more contempti])le than

I grant that it has a tendency to make a man
self-conscious, and awkward, and inclined to
self-assertion, when he finds himself in a com-
pany that is latently unfriendly, even if he be a
superior person of long training in self-control.

I have seen both Manchus and Koreans make
fun of the little Japanese soldiers and policemen,
and it is perhaps not to be wondered at that they
retaliate with physical force. They do not like
chaff, and do not know how to take it; and they
are very new, one may even say, very raw, at
the business of exercising authority. The white
man, indeed the gentleman everywhere, assumes


his authority, he does not assert it. But one
must be very sure of oneself to do this success-
fully, and the Japanese are not sure of them-
selves by any means. Almost any Japanese is
delighted to be mistaken for a European, puts
himself indeed to great pains to imitate his
institutions, his clothes, his manners, his hab-
its, and to learn his language, and has none of
the Chinese indifference to, and contempt for.
Western standards of civilization.

No man ever does anything well if he is for-
ever looking out of the cornei of his eye to see
if he is copying his model successfully. The
Japanese give you the impression of watching
to see if you think they have done things the
way they ought to be done, whether it is eating
their dinner, drinking their wine, tying their cra-
vats, choosing their hats and coats, or governing
their colonies. This uneasiness about their own
manners and methods, about their right to the
pre-eminence that they have claimed, cannot be
concealed from those they are attempting to rule ;
and as I have said elsewhere, the nervous rider
makes the excitable horse.

This governing of aliens demands a superior
all-round man, and one who possesses in par-
ticular great nervous staying power. The con-
stant pin-pricks, the malicious misinterpreta-


tions, the steady opposition, the daily and
studied efforts at circumvention, are irritating
and nerve-racking. Even the stolid English-
man in India finds it health-destroying. It has
had the effect upon some of the stout little
Japanese of breaking them down, making ner-
vous wrecks of them. I know of more than one
Japanese official recalled already from these
new colonies, completely broken down nervously.
Men who could stand the gruelling hardships of
a winter campaign in Manchuria, and lose no
weight even, waste away under the burdens of
the complicated business of governing peaceably.
Fighting is merely an exciting form of exercise,
but governing is the very rarest accomplishment
of the most highly trained men, of the most
advanced civilizations.

The disease known to us as beri-berl, and
called by the Japanese Kake, which is a malady
of the nerves, resulting in paralysis and numb-
ness, is common in Japan. It played such
havoc in both army and navy that its causes
have been seriously investigated. In the navy,
after certain experiments, the surgeon-general
prescribed a change of diet, giving the men
more meat, bread, vegetables, and less rice. It
may be of interest to our Upton ian school of re-
formers and their allies, the social and political


Saprophagans, to learn that Chicago canned
meat was added to the daily rations of the Jap-
anese navy and army, and helped to stamp out
this dread disease.

The Japanese copy quickly, but they learn,
which is quite another thing, slowly. Accord-
ing to the present school system, a boy enters the
primary school at the age of six, and stays six
years; at the age of twelve he goes to a middle
school where he stays five years; at seventeen
he goes to the high-school for three years, and
thence to the university for a three or four years*
course. If no time is wasted, and there are no
failures at examinations, a boy may graduate
from the university at twenty-three or four, but
most boys are not so fortunate. They are par-
ticularly weak in mathematics, and a large per-
centage of the failures throughout the school
and university courses are in this department.
The result is that many boys do not finish their
education before the age of twenty-eight, or
thu'ty, even. It is to be remembered that this
is an Oriental race, and the men are old men at
fifty. With us, a man who has taken care of
himself is in his prime at fifty, and the respon-
sible and onerous work of our Western world is
done by men between forty-five and seventy.
We have, the best of us, forty years of usefulness


between twenty and sixty. The Japanese, with
exceptions, of course, have twenty-five, between
the years twenty-five and fifty. If the most
valuable thing in life is stored-up experience,
w^ell used, the Japanese, and all Orientals, are
at a tremendous disadvantage in this respect.

There are three questions uppermost in the
minds of intelligent people in regard to the
Japanese: are they really civilized, have they
incorporated our civilization, got it in their
blood, or merely grasped certain features of it
with their deft hands .^ will the alliance with
Great Britain be renew^ed ? are they contem-
plating, and will they be successful in an attack
upon us.'* My own answers to these questions,
and I have tried to avoid being categorical, will,
I trust, be found in what I have written. All the
sober-minded Japanese maintain that not only
have they adopted our civilization, but that they
are putting it into a crucible from which will
emerge a higher form of civilization than that
to which we have attained in the West. They
regard the non-renewal of their alliance with
Great Britain as improbable in the present
timorous state of mind of British statesmen.
They were unanimous in telling me, an Ameri-
can, that war between America and Japan is
preposterous, impossible for financial and stra-


tegical reasons, and that Germany is at the
bottom of all these false alarms, and incentives
to quarrels between her rivals and enemies;
insisting, and I believe with justice, that Ger-
many is now in a position where war between
any other two countries would profit her, weaken
some rival, and be to her commercial advan-

Few men of importance w^ould willingly make
war, incite to war, or believe in war. No one
not crazed by the thought of personal revenge
would: "Pour the sweet milk of Concord into
hell." Those who have seen anything of the
horrors of war detest it; amateurs in uniform,
with staff -appointment military titles, may be
pardoned for wishing to appear as brave as their

I was bored by Philippics as a boy in col-
lege, and my re-reading of the classics after pass-
ing thirty increased my distaste for them. I
should be disappointed and sorry to have what
I write of Japan interpreted as a wholesale
denunciation, as a swaggering sort of ceterum
censeo Carthaginem esse delendam. I am no
sour Cato.

I am, however, of those who believe that the
best arguments for peace are those well fur-
nished with men, arms and ammunition, and


that the ambassadors from a careless, rich, and
defenceless country seeking to bring about an
international court of arbitration, though it is of
all things most to be desired, must necessarily be
impotent envoys.

There is no more doubt that both Germany
and Japan look with envy upon the rich and
thinly populated countries of South America, and
that Japan has entered Manchuria to stay, than
that Germany and Japan are over-populated.
The thin mantle of the Prince of Peace conceals
fang and claw only until the opportunity for
profit, or the pangs of hunger, induce us to throw
it off. It would seem that our bureaus of agri-
culture, our schools of technology are useless
without Annapolis and West Point. The splen-
did gift of Mr. Carnegie for the advancement of
peace does honor to every Christian and to every
American, but that travelled and intelligent
gentleman would be the last to advocate the
sending of emissaries for peace, with the halters
of disarmament and defencelessness around
their necks.

The cost of even the moral progress we have
made has been terrible; and it is not false
pride, but protection for our ideals, that bids us
defend ourselves from what we consider lower
forms of morals, religion, manners and customs.


It is astounding that England and America do
not see that Japan is Materialism proving its
efficiency. The Japanese are smiling atheists
and agnostics, and yet at one time America and
Europe were hailing with admiration their sanity,
happiness, morality, and ability. At any rate,
that attitude means good-by Christianity, and
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Exeter Hall,
must be very frivolous or very ignorant if they
preach a renewal of the alliance in 1915. These
people would make Darwin, Spencer, Wallace
and Haeckel point in triumph. Not one of the
sanctions or authorities of Christendom has con-
tributed to their success or to their present
civilization. It is purely material, touched up
with ghostly awe of ancestordom. If they and
their gods, their woman slavery, their historical
and commercial untrustworthiness, their Ori-
ental secretiveness and cruelty, their imitative
militarism, their tyrannical and unrepresenta-
tive government of themselves and their con-
quered aliens can be received on equal terms
by England and America, then Christ is a mere
ethical luxury, and no more necessary to our
civilization than the *' private god" of my
Hindu friend in Udaipur.



FROM Hongkong to Yokohama ought not
to be a long or a disturbed voyage. I
travelled on rather a small steamer to
avoid waiting for a large one, and from the mo-
ment we steamed away from the dock at Hong-
kong till we were warped alongside at Yoko-
hama, the description of the sea by Horace,
*Hnverso mare,'' was fulfilled to the letter. Seven
days of ^Hnverso mare,'' unrelieved by eruptive
illness, which is a blessing in disguise in such
situations ; during which time I read for the first
time in many years, a shelf or so of modern
novels, made me acquainted at least with the
opiumonic quality of such literature. These
days left me also with increased respect for
Horace as a realist. Verily nothing is so power-
less as water till it gets into motion !

It was a rainy, blustering morning when we
arrived; and I watched with interest the Japan-
ese who handled the ropes and cables thrown to



them. They were skilful and quick, and some-
what uncanny in appearance; long arms and
long bodies on short sturdy legs; long upper lips,
dark, opaque eyes, and an air of doing what they
had to do, as of trained animals. No one, I
imagine, who first comes in contact with the
Japanese, is not impressed by their unhuman
appearance, and their mental and moral aloof-
ness, and difference from any other race of the
same ability he know\s.

The custom-house examination was prolonged,
patient and rigorous, but my luggage was passed
as inoffensive, and, tucked into a jinrickishaw, I
was trotted off to the hotel. The first glimpse of
the interior of the hotel told me, as though it had
been proclaimed by the hotel clerk, that here
the influence of America is paramount. The
steam-heat, and the hall filled with rocking-
chairs, proved it. What combination more
tempting to physical and mental, and conse-
quently to moral, degeneration can be made
than a rocking-chair and a cheap novel in a
steam-heated room! There they were, includ-
ing the degeneration; for in one of the chairs
was an over-plump countrywoman, looking as
though she were choked by her stays, a novel
in her hands, and her high heels tapping the
floor, as the chair swayed back and forth.


Two Japanese in livery take my things to
my room, and when I arrive a few yards behind
them, they are both smirking at themselves in the
mirror. There are many bitter criticisms of the
Japanese these days, and one of the foremost is
that they are conceited. That may be, but
there is another aspect of the case deserving
mention. They are new at the game of civiliza-
tion. The grinding monotony of life, which is
the portion of a great and helpless majority in
every highly civilized society, has not thrown its
pall over them as yet. They carry luggage to
an hotel room, they wait on table, they run
locomotive engines and trolley-cars, wave flags
from the crossings at passing trains, bow for-
eigners in and out of shops, and wait upon them
from behind counters; they take and sell
tickets at railway stations, do housework, serve
as guides and couriers, travel themselves in
trains and ships, wear uniforms as firemen,
policemen, soldiers, sailors, teachers, judges,
school-boys, — Japan has veritably blossomed
into uniforms — govern colonies as in Formosa,
Korea and Manchuria, and all with the de-
lighted alertness, and with sidelong glances at
themselves in mirrors when opportunity offers,
as of children playing with new toys.

The traveller and student of foreign men and


manners, who falls into the error of supposing
that his personal opinions are necessarily dog-
mas because they are intolerant, is of no value
as a guide or teacher. These Japanese maybe
conceited, but the outstanding feature of their
society is their delighted interest, their air of
importance, their solemnity in doing the thou-
sand and one little things that we have done,
and seen done so often, that we are tired of
them, and only do them under the stress of

I have seen a Japanese using a telephone, or
a type-writer, punching tickets at a railway
gate, waving a flag at a crossing, pointing out
sights to travellers, with the smiling delight and
curiosity of a child looking at the inside of a
watch. I am not sure that this unsophisticated
attitude toward life is not as worthy as reading
a novel in a rocking-chair, in a steam-heated

Germans complain that the French are con-
ceited, and prone to ridicule others; Americans
accuse the English of being conceited ; and as for
the English, they simmer slowly but constantly
with amusement at our boasting, our proclama-
tions, our Fourth-of-July oratory. Perhaps we
all think the Japanese conceited, because we
think they ought not to be; assuming that our


ideals and our accomplishments are the only
proper standards of measurement. None of us
would be less agreeable for more humility; and
we should certainly all be gainers if before pass-
ing judgment upon others, we first studied them
more carefully. More than half the distrust be-
tween one another, of the nations of the earth, is
due to nothing more mysterious than just plain,
complete, and indifferent ignorance.

There are two places in every country and
every city, one where the traveller should spend
a few hours in studying the mass, the average;
and in the other the picked few. Those two
places are the railway stations and the book-
shops. In Bombay and Calcutta books on the
French Revolution, on Poland's struggle for
freedom, Herbert Spencer on Education and
Ethics were in demand. Here is the list from
a Japanese book-shop: "Evolution and Adap-
tation," Morgan; "Electricity and Magnetism,"
Webster; "Theory of Heat," Cotter; "Dar-
winism," Wallace; "Pioneers of Science,"
Lodge; "Fruit Growing," Bailey; "Fairy Land
of Science," Lodge. Mills's "Representative
Government," a volume of five hundred pages
in Japanese, has reached its fourth edition.
\Mien I visited the University at Tokio, the
President told me that the popular courses


among: the five thousand students there were
engineering, medicine, lectures on the physical
sciences, and law. Rightly or wrongly, they
have picked out our material successes as best
worth studying and imitating; and they have
thrown themselves into the study and practice
of these things with the enthusiasm and aban-
don of amateurs, to whom it is all fresh and
new and exciting.

It is a commonplace to retail the facts and
figures of their increased commerce and ship-
ping, their growing navy, their successfully
tested army, their use of modern inventions of
all kinds and the development of mills and fac-
tories and ship-building plants at Osaka, Yoko-
hama, Tokio, Kioto, Kobe, Nagasaki, Hako-
date and elsewhere; and their mining activities
in Japan, and in Korea and Manchuria as well.
The important thing to get at is not this
material advancement that stares one in the face
everywhere, and which may be found in detail
in any year-book, but whether it is real and last-
ing, and whether these amateurs who have
stepped boldly into the ring have the mental,
moral and the physically nervous staying power
to stand the strain of it all. Thus far an oli-
garchical government has succeeded in transfer-
ring the old clan allegiance of the Daimyos, and


their followers the Samurai, to the Mikado.
The same obedience, self-sacrifice and dutiful-
ness have been relied upon to take up and carry
on this material and military expansion. The
personal allegiance has been translated into
patriotism; but an office stool, the cab of a loco-
motive-engine, tending mill machinery, building
railroads and bridges, supervising the tiresome
routine of commercial transactions, are worlds
away from serving and fighting for a lord, who
occupies the position toward his followers of
both father and ruler.

Our Western journals have treated the recent
attempt upon the life of the Japanese Emperor
as though it were similar in kind and of no
greater importance than an attempt of the same
kind upon a Western ruler. It is as different
as an attempt upon the life of the Maharana of
Udaipur by Hindus, or upon the life of the Pope
by Catholics, is different from an attempt upon
the King of Italy by Italians. In the latter case
it is a mad expression of discontent, in the
former it is a stab at the heart of a semi-religious
Hindu potentate, or of Japan's god. AYhat re-
ligion and a moral code, backed by the united
sentiments of our best citizens, do to keep us in
order, this allegiance to the Mikado does for
Japan. It is an ominous sign indeed if Mills's


"Representative Government," or Spencer's
"Ethics," has upset the Japanese loyalty, which
far more than any other factor supplies the driv-
ing power for their progress and success. It
seems to have passed unnoticed even, except, I
believe, by one correspondent of an American
journal, that a special tribunal was necessary to
try the case, as the crime was so outside the
realm of the conceivable in Japan, that no Jap-

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 25 of 29)