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THINGS JAPANESE 489

a jeweller's shop rather than exposed in the open
air, and made to seem all the tinier by the groves
of truly magnificent cryptomeria which sigh and
sob above them.

I happened upon one of the temples on the
day of an anniversary. The Buddhist abbot
and his priests in two rows, squatting opposite
one another, were reciting and reading prayers
antiphonally. The Shinto priest, at a little
distance from the others, was participating by
his presence. It sounded like mumbling and
groaning and hiccoughing to me, but possibly
our disjointed praying in haste, would seem
weird enough to them.

This temple was a huge box of lacquer, ex-
aggeratedly ornamented, and only large enough
to contain a dozen or so of people. The temple
of Higashi-Hongwanji, at Kioto, was built as
lately as 1895. It cost $500,000 to build, and
this amount was contributed in small sums, by
the peasants and small farmers of the surround-
ing provinces. This would indicate no decay of
the ancient religious fealty. There are some
195,000 Shinto shrines in Japan, and many of
Japan's great men have temples dedicated to
them. The tale is told of it, that the timbers
were lifted into place by ropes made of human
hair contributed by pious women. It was



490 THE WEST IN THE EAST

fresher than the others, and brilliant in black
and gold, but no more ambitious in architecture,
and less careful, it seemed to me, in delicacy of
workmanship. At Kioto, too, is one of the huge
heads of Buddha, some sixty feet high, a gro-
tesque affair; although the Daibutsu, or great
Buddha of bronze at Kamakura, not far from
Yokohama, is an imposing monument. Like the
pyramids and the Sphinx, it imposes upon our
restlessness by its unmeaning stability. Just to
last for centuries, asking nothing, answering
nothing, explaining nothing, doing nothing,
brings us up sharp, and face to face, with the
consciousness of how fugitive we are, and how
quickly the traces of the wisest and strongest of
us are obliterated. What an offence such a
monument must be to a citizen of Chicago or
Winnipeg!

At the Art Museum at Kioto is a portrait of
a priest named Fuku Souzo, said to have been
painted by the Chinese artist Choshikyo in the
twelfth century. If it is genuine and has not
been touched up by a later hand, it is one of the
marvels of portraiture of that age, and bears
comparison easily with any portraiture work of
the same time in Europe. Japanese painters,
whether of screens or of kakemonos, had the
best to copy from in the work of the Chinese



THINGS JAPANESE 491

artists of the days when they were pupils of the
Chinese. At a well-assorted and well-arranged
special exhibition at the British Museum last
year, the history and development of Japanese
art was shown in a series of examples of Chi-
nese and Japanese paintings and drawings.
The Japanese have not improved upon their
teachers.

These temples and the grounds around them,
whether the Buddhist temple of Asakusa Hwan-
non, near Tokio, or at Nara, Kioto, Nikko, or
elsewhere, are picnic and pilgrimage resorts. In
the rooms of some of them you may smoke and
have tea; at others you may buy for a small
sum a slip of paper with your fortune told on it;
you may rub a wooden image to ward off disease ;
you may throw money or darts of paper at a
wire screen in front of an image; if it goes
through your prayer is favorably answered;
there are tea-houses, moving-picture exhibitions,
theatres, side-shows of all sorts; in a word, re-
ligion is complacent, the gods may be wooed by
worldly methods, the mysteries remain mysteries,
but the powers are accommodating; the thou-
sands of small wooden slabs nailed up with the
names of donors on them, which one sees in all
these places, denote that there is a cheerful ex-
pectation of rewards in return for gifts.



492 THE WEST IN THE EAST

It is all as open and gay and bright and child-
ish as a sunny day in the nursery, when it is
decided to play at church. One may see in
Spain bright posters announcing the next bull-
fight posted on the walls of the churches; Trust
magnates build churches and support parsons
in America; the House of Commons, to a man,
subscribes to a benefit for a prize-fight; murder-
ers in Italy present candles to favorite saints to
avoid detection, and poisoners become popes,
and have nephews and nieces. One must go
slow, and know many lands and many peoples,
and the manners and morals of them, before one
prances forth on one's provincial prejudices, to
set the world to rights.

This was borne in upon me w^hen I attended
a Japanese theatre, with my intelligent Japanese
friend. A Japanese theatrical performance is
practically an all-day affair. You may go at
noon and stay till nine o'clock at night. An
agent w^ill arrange for your seats, for tiffin, tea,
dinner, cigarettes, sweets, and a hot bath, if you
want it, at a neighboring tea-house. During the
intervals you may walk about in the surrounding
shops. Families and parties come and camp
out comfortably for the day. I am at a loss to
know why this is supremely ridiculous, except
for the one barbaric reason that it is different.



THINGS JAPANESE 493

Did not the Athenians sit from six in the morn-
ing, for five to six hours at a stretch, and again
for hours in the afternoon to see a tragedy of
^schylus performed ? Who has not sat through
plays and operas, and monotonously vulgar
vaudeville performances at home, where a meal,
and a nap, or a bath, would have been consoling,
comforting, and far more profitable to body and
mind alike.

Three American girls and two American
youths sat not far from me. They pointed and
made remarks about their neighbors ; one of the
youths actually had a foot sprawling over the
railing of the box. The girls talked that cockney
jargon of silly slang, which is the mental accom-
plishment which goes with gum-chewing and
that intrepid wardrobe, which is low and per-
forated at the neck and shoulders, and tight to
bursting over the hips. The slender, pale-faced,
cigarette-inhaling youths wore clothes with
padded shoulders; in at the waist, out over the
hips, and in again at the ankles, which are only
produced, and only worn, by those who regard
linings of canvas and cotton-batting as an alto-
gether elusive way of concealing lack of breeding,
exercise, and proper feeding.

How the Japanese must misinterpret us when
they see such a group as this! They do not



494 THE A\TEST IN THE EAST

know that nowadays wealth and leisure to
travel are often at the disposal of the unedu-
cated, ill-mannered, ignorant, and self-assertive
of our race.

They do know the difference, however. A
distinguished Japanese member of the House of
Peers was commenting to me upon the mistake
so many of our men make, whether in diplomacy
or in commerce, in attempting to over-reach
rivals, hustling about for trade, striving at any
cost to get something tangible for their country.
** These are not the men who gain the valuable
and lasting things for your country," he said.
"They seem to, but it is not so. Your scholars
and gentlemen, your modest men, are those who
impress us most and win our most valuable
favors." Then he said: *'I have always thought
it curious that of the three men I have known in
my career as statesman, at home and abroad,
whom I considered good, all were Americans."
One of these, I may say, was a certain Ameri-
can ambassador, who has entirely neglected to
advertise himself.

We have got it into our heads that diplomacy
nowadays demands a sort of political travelling-
salesman. Nothing could be more fatal. Such
men are irritants rather than friend-makers ; and
not only in the East, but everywhere else, they



THINGS JAPANESE 495

are looked upon either as disguised drummers
for trade, or as the best an ignorant country can
send.

It is true, perhaps, that while the civilizations
of the East are ever analyzing fate, we of the
West are ever attempting to express and to
stamp our will ; but all the more reason for doing
this as quietly and as unobtrusively as possible.
I doubt if diplomacy ever gets anything of real
and lasting value by superior and cunning bar-
gaining.

If the foreign and domestic affairs of Japan
were regulated by such men as the gentleman I
have just quoted, and by men of the type of
Prince Ito and others, there would be little to
criticise. Even the taking of Korea is only in
line with our own policy toward Cuba, or Eng-
land's toward Burma.

Korea is a military and commercial necessity
to Japan, as any one may see who travels from
Toklo to Shimonoseki, and there takes steamer
across to Fusan, the southern port of Korea;
travels the length of Korea, from Fusan to the
Yalu River, and then through southern ]\Ian-
churia to Mukden, and then on to Kharbin.

Letters from Tokio paved my way for this
journey. I was officially chaperoned by the
Japanese from the time I left Fusan, escorted



496 THE WEST IN THE EAST

to the railway station by the Japanese consul, till
I took the train at Kharbin for Moscow.

Everything that care and courtesy can do to
make a journey instructive and comfortable
was done. The trip across the water from
Shimonoseki to Fusan was on a fine steamer,
and is made in ten hours at slow speed, from
ten o'clock at night till eight the next morning.
From Fusan on a good broad-gauge railroad to
Seoul takes another ten hours, and from Seoul
to the Yalu River is a fourteen hours' journey.
The bridge across the Yalu River is half built,
and once the broad-gauge railway line from
Antung-Shien, on the Manchuria side of the
Yalu River, to Mukden is completed, the Japa-
nese will control the whole trade of Manchu-
ria. Treaties and tariffs and sentimental open-
do orism will avail nothing. There will be a
wide, well-kept open door to be sure, but with
Japanese in uniform as custom's oflficials, police-
men, and soldiers on both sides of it. Osaka
will then furnish southern China with piece
goods, and the middle China ore fields will be
tapped for the benefit of Japanese factories.
Japanese goods can be shipped in bulk from as
far as Tokio, to Mukden, to Kharbin, to Tien-
tsin, to Peking, and later, when the railway is
finished, not only to Shanghai, but to Canton.



THINGS JAPANESE 497

Two more years, and you may go in a Pullman
car from Paris to Tokio; and as for freight,
steam ferries from Fusan to Shimonoseki will
enable a shipper to send goods in sealed cars
from Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna to
Tokio; and in the same manner from Tokio to
those capitals, if he wishes.

Korea may be of small value commercially;
but with Japanese industry and control, and
with modern agricultural machinery, Manchuria
will become another Canada, and feed all Japan
and more besides.

For many years to come, if these be the lines
of development, if these be the outlets for Japa-
nese energy and emigration, we in America have
nothing to fear either from coolie emigration nor
from military aggression. Only those who do
not know the situation; who have not seen the
feverish activity of bridge and railway build-
ing; the pushing of Japanese settlers into and
through Korea and up into Manchuria; the
government refusal of passports to Japanese
wishing to go West; and the coaxing of Japan-
ese families and laborers into Manchuria, talk
of war as imminent.

During the year ending June 30, 1908, 9,544
Japanese were admitted to the United States
(excluding Hawaii) ; while during the year end-



498 THE WEST IN THE EAST

ing' June 30, 1909, only 2,432 were admitted.
These figures include all Japanese, whether
laborers or not. For the year ending June 30,
1910, only 705 laborers were admitted to the
United States from Japan, all of whom were re-
turning laborers or parents, wives or children of
domiciled laborers. The immigration of Japa-
nese into Hawaii, from the year 1908 to the year
1909, decreased 83 per cent, and during the years
1909 to 1910 more Japanese left Hawaii than ar-
rived there. These figures show the trend of
events in Japan, and point straight to the real
interests, and the important task, which is in
INIanchuria. Not even the most infatuated ad-
mirer of Japan, not even the most sensitive ob-
server of the signs of war, can believe that Japan
at this time can govern, settle and develop
Formosa, Korea and Manchuria, and occupy
the Philippines and our Western coast at the
same time. Russia has been appeased and
is quiescent, and China is still comatose for
the moment, but for years to come Japan will
have all she can do to consolidate her power
there.

Japan is heavily in debt, her resources are
small, and the tasks she has undertaken are
difficult, and until they are finished there will be
no returns, no dividends. She has use for all



THINGS JAPANESE 499

the money and all the men she can lay hands
on ; and for the present, at least, she has no use
for the Philippine Islands or for Alaska. Her
greatest difficulty now is her lack of first-class
trained men to do her work for her. She has
gone much too fast, not only in accepting new
burdens, but in dismissing her European ad-
visers and instructors, whether from conceit or
economy. Even the Chinese are dismissing
Japanese engineers and builders, and turning
again to Europeans, finding them in the long
run cheaper.

The taking over and control of Korea was
not a difficult task. Korea has a population of
about 10,000,000 of the laziest, the most good-
for-nothing Orientals in the world. For cen-
turies they have submitted to robbery, extortion,
and bullying from depraved rulers. As lately
as 1906 the Korean Emperor proposed a dis-
bursement of $600,000 for the suitable celebra-
tion of his wedding, this sum representing about
one-seventh of the total revenues of the country
for one year! Nearly one-half the population
to-day is without regular occupation. Even as
lately as 1895 it was indeed the "Hermit King-
dom," and an unknown land. The king and
an enormous court following treated the Kore-
ans like children, taxed them, beat them, and



500 THE WEST IN THE EAST

robbed them. Shiftlessness, indifference, and
moral recklessness were the result.

China, Russia, and Japan pulled the Korean
Emperor this way and that, until the strongest
and most persistent won, and now Korea is in
the hands of Japan. The export and import
trade of Korea in 1908 amounted to yen 55,138,-
833; both exports and imports have practically
doubled since 1904. Since the Japanese took
control, the rural house tax, for example, has
increased from 454,829 houses and yen 136,448
to 1,946,673 houses and yen 583,994. The
stamp receipts in 1905 were yen 1,860; in 1908
they were yen 120,972. Korea is now gar-
risoned by Japanese soldiers; there is a Japa-
nese police force, with a few Koreans in
subordinate places; the whole administration
system is being reorganized; there are Japanese
courts and judges; the revenues from mines
and forests and taxes, formerly monopolized
and wasted by the imperial household, are prop-
erly used; the legal age of marriage has been
raised to seventeen for men, fifteen for women;
and a sum of $10,000,000 granted to Korea for
needed reforms. Industrial schools, hospitals,
girls' and boys' high schools, normal schools,
many of which I visited, have been set going and
are well managed by the Japanese. At Seoul,



THINGS JAPANESE 501

the capital, I was taken through the law courts,
the prison, police stations, and I spent many
hours in class-rooms, saw the drilling of the
children in calisthenics, and all the machinery
of government, from a chat with jVIr. Watanake,
"President de la cour supreme," down to the
thief brought in to the police station the night
before. All this means a tremendous, drastic,
and disagreeable change for the Koreans.

This miserable work-house civilization has
been turned out and made to begin earning a
living; the beggar and the tramp have been put
to work at the wood-pile. This population in
their baggy, formless white clothing, and their
horse-hair stove-pipe hats, living on highly sea-
soned cabbage, beans and rice; and wedded,
men, women and children, to their tobacco-pipes
as are no other people in the world, are being
prodded and pushed by their energetic conquer-
ors into some sort of regularity of life and work.
They hate it all as a tramp hates a tread-mill.
Prince Ito, the Japanese Lincoln, was assassi-
nated by one of them; and twenty-one of them
were awaiting trial, when I was there, for an
attempt on the life of the Prime Minister, in
November, 1909.

Korea has been a paradise for the missionary.
Nowhere else in the East has he made so many



,502 THE WEST IN THE ExVST

converts. It is not difficult to understand why.
These pliable, indifferent people, too lazy to de-
fend themselves from the extortion and tyranny
of their ruler and his horde of sycophant cour-
tiers, turned to the missionaries; and where the
robbery and cruelty were too flagrant they stood
up for and helped their converts. The Koreans
leaned back upon the missionaries, as they
would have leaned back upon anybody who
would support the burden of their cowardice
and laziness.

The Koreans, like the Chinese, respect the
student, the man of the book; and the man of
the book everywhere finds it easy to get a hear-
ing. The missionaries rehabilitated the simple
alphabetical language, which the Koreans had
spurned as the "Dirty Language." After four
hundred years of disuse, this, the simplest of all
the Eastern languages, was revived, and the
Bible printed in it, and the Koreans had the
New Testament to read as their first book. Un-
like the Japanese and the Chinese, the Koreans
were without a religion of form or ceremony, and
Christianity supplied that need. They had been
Confucians if anything, and Confucianism is a
mere code of morals, and with no more cere-
monial than the Ten Commandments. The mis-
sionaries appealed to the women particularly.



THINGS JAPANESE 503

They had been kept apart and secluded, much
as are the women of India. Then* rehglon had
been a form of Fetichism, the placating of, or
the fighting against. Innumerable evil spirits.
Women were allowed to go to church by their
husbands, and grew to like the opportunities
for meeting and gossip. The w^ord "gossip" it-
self means a sponsor at baptism. The women
on these occasions, by their chatter and spread-
ing of news, gave the word "gossip" the mean-
ing it now holds for us. Why should not Ko-
rean women like gossip as well as the Germans,
who gave the word its present significance.^ I
give these reasons to account for the success of
the missionaries in Korea, because it is entirely
untrue that the philosophy or the morality of
Christianity are alone responsible for the situa-
tion. On the contrary, I look upon it as any-
thing but a compliment to Christianity that the
most contemptible and supine race In the East
should be, of all others, and pre-eminently, the
race most attracted to Christianity. Out of
regard to the good name of our Western creed,
it should be explained that the tax-dodger, the
coward, the dependent, the shiftless, the bullied
found In the missionaries protection and care;
and It Is not surprising that they followed and
fawned upon them, and became what the Chinese



504 THE WHEST IN THE EAST

call *' rice-Christians." Be it said, too, that the
missionaries deserve every credit for what they
have done. It is no slur upon them that the
morally blind, halt and lame have found com-
fort and solace and protection in them. It is
not, however, a matter for boasting.

In Mr. Gale's church I attended a service
where seven or eight hundred Koreans were
present, which was as apparently sincere, rever-
ent, and enthusiastic as any church service I
have ever attended anywhere. Alas, as is always
the case with great missionaries like Xavier, or
Bishop Brooks, of Massachusetts, or Bishop
Hall, of Vermont, and other great spiritual
leaders, they credit their followers with their
own devotion. Gale would have a following
anywhere, from the Bowery, in New York, to a
bazaar in Baroda. He is a man, that's all; and
Korean enthusiasm and piety are merely his
character.

Now that the Japanese have taken over not
only Korea, and its taxes and administration,
but the Koreans and their affairs as well; now
that the taxation is fair to all alike, and justice
meted out to all alike ; now^ that the Koreans are
finding that the missionaries cannot defend them
from the Japanese, as they defended them from
the extortions of their former rulers, there is a



THINGS JAPANESE 505

marked lessening of enthusiasm for Christianity.
The murderer of Prince Ito was a Christian
convert, and eighteeen out of the twenty-one
who made the attempt on the life of the Prime
Minister were also Christian converts.

It is a difficult situation for the missionaries,
for any effort by word or deed to improve the
Korean may be twisted into meaning encourage-
ment of his hatred of the Japanese. It is hard
indeed, if one may not preach to men to be men,
and independent men, without being suspected
of inciting one's hearers to sedition. On the
other hand, the Japanese might well take excep-
tion to an American missionary, who publishes
an account of how Prince Min, when he heard
that the Japanese were in control, committed
suicide, and concludes: "Written large around
his name Korea will ever read the sentence,
'Sweet and seemly is it to die for one's father-
land.'" No American missionary should be
permitted to publish such incendiary sentimen-
tality. Do Christians believe in suicide! Do
Christians believe in a prince who has shuffled
and twisted and shirked and brought his troubles
on himself by lazy debauchery, and then com-
mits suicide! No state department in any
country in Europe, or in America, can defend
such glorification of a mean-spirited prince, with



506 THE WEST IN THE EAST

its evident aim to show sympathy to the con-
quered and to incite to wrong-doing against the
conqueror. What would we do in Cuba, or in
the Philippines, to such an one ? I am not de-
fending the Japanese, but they are quite within
bounds if they suppress such talk and writing,
and that with a heavy hand; and no honest
American would have a word to say against it.

The Japanese, and it is one of his best traits,
holds self-control in the highest esteem. A
young Japanese noble writes in his diary:
*'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." Another writes:
*'To give in so many articulate words one's
inmost thoughts and feelings, notably the re-
ligious, is taken among us as an unmistakable
sign that they are neither very profound nor
very sincere. Only a pomegranate is he who
when he gapes his mouth displays the contents
of his heart." The blatant and voluble Christian
will do well to take such good counsel to heart.

I admit that Japanese domination is hard
to bear. The soldiers, police, and lower class
Japanese generally, strut and swagger, and as
I have written already, are much too rough in
their often rude and unconciliatory methods.



THINGS JAPANESE 507

Not a single day passed wliile I was in Korea
and Manchuria that I did not see Koreans
and Manchus roughly handled. On the other
hand, from the director-general, chief-justice,
chief of police, commissioner of education, I
heard nothing but talk and plans for the better
government of Korea.

At Seoul, the director-general invited me to
a dinner of some twenty prominent officials.
My shoes were removed at the door of the res-
taurant, and in my stocking feet I made my
bow to my host and his assembled guests. It
was a test of one's personal dignity and urbanity!
We sat on cushions on the floor. There was
nothing in the room but a single bush of
azaleas, which was placed at my right elbow.
We were served, and entertained with singing
and dancing and conversation, by Japanese and
Korean women. The long scroll with the names
of the dishes in Japanese and in English, which
is before me as I write, measures just one inch
short of five feet, and includes twenty-six dif-
ferent dishes. I mav not give the entire list.
Some of the dishes were "snipe and young
ginger," *'fish and sea-weed," "green vegetables
and Japanese soy," "eggs (spawn) of the tai
fish and edible ferns," "lobsters with sweetened
chestnuts," "red bean soup," "rice cake,"



508 THE AVEST IN THE EAST

"cuttle-fish," "honey," "preserved fruits." The



Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 27 of 29)