Sidney Lewis Gulick.

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Fourth Edition.

Evolution of The Japanese

A Study of Their Characteristics
8vo. Cloth. ;^2.oo, net.
" Evidence of first hand and intimate knowl-
edge of the Japanese people is abundant in
every chapter. Marked by sane constraint
and critical acumen and it leaves with the
reader a picture of life in Japan that is clear
and convincing. The reading of this book
is like looking at the Japanese through the
eyes of an observant and clear-headed resi-
dent of Japan." — The Outlook.

Fifth Edition, Revised and Enlarged.
The Growth of the Kingdom of God

Illustrated with Twenty-six Diagrams.

i2mo. Cloth. ;^i.50.
" Commends itself to thoughtful, earnest men
of any nation as a most valuable missionary
paper. Mr. Gulick traces the Christian
religion through history and up to now. The
survey is calm, patient, thoroughly honest,
and quietly assured." — Evangelist.

Fleming H. Revell Company


An Interpretation of the Signifi-
cance of the Russo-Japanese War


New York Chicago Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company

London and Edinburgh

Copyright, 1905, by

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 63 Washington Street
Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street


On the 8th of February, 1904, Japan crossed
swords with a European people. And from the
destruction of the Variag on that day until the
fall of Port Arthur on the ist of January, 1905,
nothing but failure has been Russia's fate, noth-
ing but success Japan's fortune. For the
first time in history has an Asiatic people suc-
cessfully faced a white foe. The Russo-Japanese
war marks an era, therefore, in the history of the
Far East, and of the world, for now begins a re-
adjustment of the balance of power among the
nations, a readjustment which promises to halt
the territorial expansion of white races and to
check their racial pride.

To appreciate the significance of this war as
one act in the tragedy of the white peril we must
understand Japan. How has she attained the
power, material and temperamental, which is
enabling her to face the white man and to con-
quer him ? This question we study in our earlier
chapters. In those that follow we study the sig-
nificance of the war, and the problems of the Far
East in their world-setting. We are not con-

6 Preface

cerned with dates and battles, with armies and
heroes. Rather shall we consider movements
and tendencies, national ambitions and interna-
tional relations.

Emphasis is laid on the peril to the Far East of
the white man's ambitions and methods. Justice
to white races, however, demands recognition
also of the blessings they confer upon those lands.
In a real sense the white peril is becoming the
white blessing of the Orient. Yet the aim of the
present work in these pages precludes adequate
emphasis of this point.

Certain graceful writers, masters of imagina-
tive style, have described Japan as ideal in every
direction, a view widely popularized to-day by
Japan's brilliant military record. But of course
no thoughtful man will be misled, for national as
well as individual perfection is impossible.
Highly admiring Japan as I do, absence of criti-
cism in the following pages does not signify ac-
ceptance of the popular unbalanced admiration.

Whatever value this work may have must be
ascribed in large measure to my Japanese friends
whose thought as to their national character and
destiny and the real meaning of this war has
definitely influenced my own point of view.

I wish also to express the deepest gratitude to

Preface 7

my sister, Mrs. Frances Gulick Jewett, for her in-
spiration in the inception of this study and for
her laborious and invaluable assistance in revis-
ing the manuscript. Indeed this volume owes to
her pen whatever of literary excellence it may



Pre-Meiji Times, ....



The Awakening, ....



The Reaction,



The Period of Discrimination,



Is Japan Oriental or Occidental ? Japanese
Treatment of Russian Prisoners,



The Mission of Japan,



A New Period, . .



Japan's Recent Development,



Japan's Ability to Maintain a Prolonged



The Causes of the War,



The Real Meaning of the War, .



The Yellow Peril vs. The White Peril, .



The Permanent Peace of the Orient — A


The White Peril in the Far East


'* Meiji" means " enlightened rule." This term
was chosen by the present Emperor as the of-
ficial title of the period covered by his rule. The
present year (1905) is called in Japan Meiji 38,
that is, the thirty-eighth year of Enlightened
Rule, and the designation itself doubtless charac-
terizes the Imperial purpose. From the start he
and his councillors determined to depart from
many ancient customs, notably those of interna-
tional isolation.

To appreciate adequately the significance of
the Meiji era and its consequences both to na-
tional life and international relations, we must
glance briefly at the conditions and the spirit of
the people in pre-Meiji times.

In the attitude of the Japanese towards foreign-
ers, ancient history may be divided into two
periods, that preceding the Tokugawa regency

12 The White Peril in the Far East

and that covered by that regency (1600- 1867).
As Occidentals we need to remember that self-
sufficiency and self-determined isolation were
matters exclusively of the second period. It
would appear that from time immemorial Japan
was entirely hospitable to foreign ways and for-
eign teachers. She welcomed Koreans and Chi-
nese who brought to her new philosophical and
ethical ideas, new religious creeds, and a new
civilization. As in recent decades Japanese stu-
dents have flocked to western lands, so in ancient
times Japanese students went abroad for learn-
ing, some, if their histories may be credited,
having travelled even as far as India.

How open-minded Japan was politically, intel-
lectually and religiously in the sixteenth century
may be gathered from the wide welcome given
the first missionaries of Christianity. Not only
Francis Xavier (1549) but scores of European
priests and monks won their way into the hearts
and homes of Japan. Within fifty years many
hundred thousand Japanese had formally ac-
cepted the Christian faith; and not until the rulers
began to suspect the monks of political designs,
was the historic attitude of Japan towards for-
eigners changed. Nor was that change readily
enforced. Edict followed edict, persecution fol-

Pre-Meiji Times 13

lowed persecution. Large rewards were offered
for information as to the whereabouts of foreign
monks and native Christians. Christianity was
branded as ''Ja-kyo," the ''Evil Way." Yet in
spite of Imperial Edicts and numberless " Ban-
ning Boards," in spite of the popular condemna-
tion of Christianity, and in spite of its persistent
persecution by the government, Christianity was
not finally exterminated, nor the foreigner com-
pletely excluded from the country until tens of
thousands of martyrs had given their lives as
well as their fortunes in behalf of their foreign
friends and of their own faith. Well nigh fifty
years of determined and ruthless persecution were
needed by the government to drive the dreaded
foe from Japan, — eloquent testimony to the fidelity
and the open-mindedness of multitudes of the
people to the creeds and the teachers from other

The Occidental often finds difficulty in appre-
ciating the significance of Japanese exclusion of
Christianity and of Occidentals. We are too apt
to count it a rejection of Christianity per se.
But this is an error. Roman Catholicism has
for a thousand years held the view that the
church is superior to the state and should rule it.
From time immemorial Roman Catholic missions

14 The White Peril in the Far East

have insisted on the ultimate political supremacy
of the Pope of Rome. Japan's suspicions of the
political aspirations of Christianity were fully
justified. She logically excluded all foreigners
because all the foreigners she knew held to a po-
litical theory of the Christian religion.

It is safe to say that no form of Christianity
which seeks to subordinate the state to the
Church will ever find permanent lodgment in
Japan. She builded better than she knew in ex-
cluding from her land an organized religion with
political aspirations. It has proved the bane of
Europe and would similarly have brought suffer-
ing to Japan.

Although Japan excluded Christianity and not
only forbade the entrance of all foreigners but also
made it a crime for the Japanese themselves to
visit other lands, yet she was not wholly ignorant
of the movements of the outside world. Three
merchant ships from Holland were annually al-
lowed entrance to Nagasaki, and her small colony
of Dutchmen were permitted to live on a certain
small island in the harbour. Through these
Dutchmen she kept her eye on the West. Japa-
nese writers indeed insist that they received far
more from the West than we have realized. It
must be granted nevertheless that the policy of ex-

Pre-Meiji Times 15

elusion was probably more complete for two hun-
dred and fifty years than that which any other
large nation has ever successfully maintained. Al-
though the government itself might in a measure
have kept in touch with the West, such persistent
isolation, and for such definite reasons of suspi-
cion and fear could not fail to develop among
the people at large a profound antipathy to the
foreigner as such. No caricature of his formor
description of his character was too dreadful for
credence. The Christian religion was popularly
supposed to teach various forms of abomination
and immorality. The very presence of foreigners
on the sacred soil of Japan was supposed to pol-
lute the land and to contaminate her people de-
scended from the gods.

Yet we must guard here against exaggeration.
Such was doubtless the view widely taught
and obediently accepted. From abundant per-
sonal experiences among the farmers and the mer-
chants, I am persuaded that at the present time
this anti-foreign sentiment has relatively but light
hold upon them. Naturally enough it has been
felt and fostered chiefly by the ruling classes, who
have looked at the foreigner not merely as indi-
viduals, as specimens of humanity, but as po-
tential political pirates, and not without much

l6 The White Peril in the Far East

justification, as history has shown both in the
past, and especially at the present moment.

But even in the early days of renewed inter-
course with the West many experiences brought
to unexpected light a real kindliness of heart on
the part of the common people towards the Occi-
dental. Dr. Beltz has told of one such experi-
ence. With a comrade he was travelling in the
interior among farmers who had never seen a for-
eigner. At one place he and his friend proposed
to climb a mountain but they were told that be-
cause it was sacred no one was permitted to do
this. Should they try, some calamity would
surely be visited upon them by the local Deity.
The guides refused to go with them. Smiling at
the superstitions of the natives and trampling on
their religious scruples, the enterprising for-
eigners pressed on. Strangely enough, after a
hard tramp of several miles the comrade was sud-
denly taken ill, and there was nothing for Mr.
Beltz to do but to return for help to the men
whose council he had spurned and whose relig-
ious feelings he had ignored. Under such cir-
cumstances, what treatment was to be expected
from the natives ? No kind attention surely, yet
as a matter of fact responding generously to the
needs of the foreigner, and in spite of their own

Pre-Meiji Times 17

strong religious scruples, those natives climbed the
mountain and brought down on their shoulders
the afflicted white man.

Wide personal experience in the interior of
Japan, where even to this day few foreigners
ever go, and constant intercourse for seventeen
years with merchants, farmers, and artisans, has
convinced me that unreasoning, racial antipathy
has to-day practically no existence among the
common people; particularly is this true at a dis-
tance from the treaty ports : and if there is little
of this sentiment to-day, is it not fair to argue
that it could never have been deep-rooted ? But
I cannot say so much for official Japan nor for the
common people in the ports. Here, suspicion
and deep dislike have often been conspicuous.
And by official Japan I do not mean merely offi-
cers who are on duty ; I refer also to the social
class from which they come, and particularly to
the Samurai. There can hardly be a doubt that
this old warrior class entertained a genuine an-
tipathy to the foreigner as such. In view of past
history, however, the marvel is that in less than
two generations, so great a part of even this
warrior class has been able to set antipathy aside
and to treat the foreigner as a friend.

To sum up then :— no nation has on the whole

i8 The White Peril in the Far East

left a more honourable record in regard to its atti-
tude towards foreigners than has Japan. The
Tokugawa period of fear, suspicion and intense
antipathy on the part of the ruling class, is ex-
ceptional in the history of Japan. But the causes
of that antipathy are clear and they have their

The cause of Japan's long isolation was the
discovery of the white peril. The aggressive
spirit and grasping ambitions of the white man
compelled the rulers of Japan to look not only
with disfavour on their politically organized relig-
ion, but altogether to forbid their coming to
Japan, as the best and easiest solution of the prob-
lems connected with the white peril.

That full justice be done to Japan's attitude
towards foreign peoples, let the reader recall the
mental attitude of occidental nations during the
past four hundred years towards the African,
the Chinaman, and the Hindoo. Do not the
white peoples of Europe and of America feel
that Africa, India and Asia are regions for legiti-
mate commercial and political expansion? Do
we not act on the theory that those regions and
peoples are for us to exploit to our own com-
mercial advantage ?

It may be that we justify ourselves by enu-

Pre-Meiji Times 19

merating our points of superiority. We note
with pride our civilization, and contrast it with
their barbarity; we exult in our strength and
impose on their helplessness. We boast of our
high morality and enlightened religion and
decry their immorality and superstitions. In
these things we think we hear the call of God to
go forth to conquer and to rule. If we are
evolutionists we appeal to the struggle for ex-
istence and felicitate ourselves on the fact that
nature has made us the fittest to survive in the
struggle of nations. In subduing and destroying
other nations and races are we not fulfilling our
destiny and theirs ?

Since the discovery of America, the dream of
conquest, of empire and of unearned wealth
has intoxicated the white people of the earth
and made them the curse and the scourge of all
the world. Japan's first reaction on coming
into contact with the white man was to close
her doors and decline to have anything to do
with him. Who shall criticise or condemn her ?
If she has feared or scorned or disdained the
white man, who shall say that her instinct for
self-preservation has been at fault ?

There is perhaps no truer sign of the essentially
provincial character of the self-centred white peo-

20 The White Peril in the Far East

pie than their failure to discover or appreciate the
noble and the beautiful in the great civilizations
of the Orient, Hindoo, Chinese and Japanese.
We have been blinded to these by the selfish-
ness of our lives, the greed of our ambitions and
the pride of our might. Surely the outstanding
fact in the relations of the West to the East has
been the peril to the yellov^ and brown races
through the presence of the white man, whose
assumption has been the theory that might
makes right.



Japanese historians speak of the era of the
Tokugawa regency (1600- 1867) as "the Great
Peace," because during that period Japan was
practically free from civil war, a condition
sharply in contrast to the preceding 1,000 years
of almost continuous strife.

Recent Japanese writers and public speakers,
however, commonly refer to the same period of
250 years as the ** Long Sleep," and to the Meiji
era as the ** Awakening." While Japan slept,
they say, western nations forged ahead, acquired
knowledge, power, wealth, and world-wide
possessions. When at last Admiral Perry
knocked at her doors (1853), disturbed her
slumbers, and showed to her ships that moved
without sails and against the wind, the insignifi-
cance of her own knowledge and power was
evident. She rubbed her sleepy eyes and
wondered with vague fear what it might

The Tokugawa Shogunate was the first to

22 The White Peril in the Far East

realize in some degree the danger and the im-
potence of forcible resistance to the white man.
Treaties were made, but probably without in-
tention of fully executing them. By a-hand-to
mouth policy of deception and evasion they
hoped by apparent concession to maintain the
old policy of non-intercourse with the white

Fortunate was it for Japan that the United
States was the first nation effectually to seek
entrance to the country and that Townsend
Harris, the American, was the first diplomat to
negotiate treaties. It required infinite tact and
patience and absolute truthfulness and tireless,
unrufified insistence on his part to persuade the
government to make and ratify treaties which
have proved to be wise and useful to Japan. To
this day, the government of the United States
has been the single white nation always free
from aggressive schemes and always regardful
of Japanese rights and interests. This fact per-
haps more than any other has led the Japanese to
discriminate between white peoples and to dis-
tinguish differences, a fact of the greatest im-
portance in the evolution of New Japan.

But although the Tokugawa Shogunate
promptly recognized the dangerous situation

The Awakening 23

of the nation vis-a-vis v^ith the nations of
Europe, and in due time ratified one treaty after
another with those dreaded peoples, admitting
them to live and trade in a few specified " treaty
ports,'* the nation itself did not apparently ap-
preciate the situation nor accept the solution.
This, with other causes, led at last to the civil
war and the overthrow of the Shogunate, known
in Japan as *'Go-ishin" (1867), and resulted in
the abolishment of the dual system of govern-
ment and the establishment of the Emperor upon
the throne with actual as well as nominal

When, however, the Emperor assumed direct
control of atfairs, and studied the problems of
international relations, he, too, with his coun-
cillors, discovered that Japan could not by any
possible means resist the white man and hold
herself aloof as formerly from the western
world. The white man, with power which
seemed supernatural, was already established in
the treaty ports with his solemnly signed and
ratified treaties. Japan discovered that steam and
machinery had made the world too small for
any part thereof to separate itself entirely from
the broadening currents of the world's life.

These considerations were also forced home

24 The White Peril in the Far East

by one or two slight encounters with armed
whites (Shimonoseki and Kagoshima), in which
local authorities realized the absolute military and
naval impotence of Japan as against the West.

Such were the forces that led Japanese states-
men to abandon the old policy of exclusion and
isolation. The Emperor and his councillors now
adopted a plan which for wisdom and boldness
can hardly be surpassed in the annals of history.
While not for a moment failing to appreciate the
aggressive character of white peoples and the re-
sulting necessity of thwarting them in every
move, Japanese leaders recognized that in inter-
national relations the final appeal can only be to
superior power and that power, to be superior,
must be informed and trained. Abandoning,
therefore, her long course of self-sufficient isola-
tion, Japan plunged into the stream of the
world's life, determined to acquire all the knowl-
edge of the world and with that knowledge to
win her way to a place among the nations.
Equipped with the implements and arts of war,
she would then maintain her rights and her life if
need be by the appeal to arms.

That decision was proclaimed to the nation in
the famous edict known in Japan as the "Go
Kajo no go Seibun," the Honourable Five

The Awakening 25

Articled Honourable Edict, of which the follow-
ing is the translation :

1. All the affairs of the state shall be guided

by public opinion.

2. The principles of social and political economy

shall be diligently studied by both the
superior and inferior classes of our people.

3. Every one in the community shall be assisted

to persevere in carrying out his will for all
good purposes.

4. All old absurd usages shall be disregarded,

and resort shall be had to the right way
that exists between heaven and earth.

5. Wisdom and ability shall be sought after in

all quarters of the world, for the purpose
of firmly establishing the Imperial domina-

Especially important are the fourth and fifth
articles which alone made possible that almost
incredible series of transformations whereby
feudal Japan became New Japan. The first and
fourth articles secured the inner reorganization of
the nation, both in form and in spirit, and the
fifth established a totally new attitude towards
the outer world. Sanctioned by the Emperor,
these principles became the established method
and spirit of the people.

In no wise, however, did this mean that fear
of the foreigner had ceased. On the contrary it
signified that he was even more greatly feared

26 The White Peril in the Far East

and that what had been a mere distant possibility
had now become a dreadfully near probability.

As already indicated, the hope was that before
the foreigner should become an active aggressor,
Japan herself might have learned the secrets of
western power and with that power might equip
herself for resistance. Time has proved the wis-
dom of her course. Had Japan not turned face
when she did, she would ere this have become
the subject of some European nation. Had she
not equipped herself with all the military and
naval skill of the West, who would doubt the
issue of the present conflict ?

But the full awakening of any nation is at best
a slow process. Though Japan was opened to
the world by treaty in 1853, not until 1873 were
the edict boards banning Christianity taken down
and not until 1889 was the constitution pro-
claimed which provides for national representa-
tive government and guarantees religious liberty
to the people.

Merchants and missionaries were in Japan in
the fifties, but it was not until the seventies that
their presence exerted any appreciable influence
on the nation. With the removal of the banning
boards and the commencement of direct teaching
and preaching by the missionaries, Japan was

The Awakening 27

fairly started on her new era of western learning.
Groups of young men began to study English
and in due time one after another became earnest
Christians and advocates of western civilization.
They preached their new doctrines with fervour,
gaining the ear of a wider public than could be
reached by the voice of the missionary.

Early in the seventies Japan sent embassies to
America and Europe to secure a modification of
previous treaties, hoping thereby to regain com-
plete sovereignty in her own country. Those
early treaties had in them what were known as
the "extra territorial" clauses, which provided
that all causes of litigation between Japanese
and foreigners should be tried in consular
courts and through this requirement, Japan had

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Online LibrarySidney Lewis GulickThe white peril in the Far East; an interpretation of the significance of the Russo-Japanese war → online text (page 1 of 10)