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produced here with a fidelity as un- carry out tasks in hand with so fine flattering as a photograph to the com- a disregard of the pecuniary value of monplace original. The transition ef- the passing hours. fect is depressing. It does not, some- Of course, such conscientious finish how, seem to imply progress, or at of minutest detail does not make for least not progress in the right direction. general effect. Here, as everywhere in One has the impression (wrongly per- Japan, there is a suggestion of disdain haps, yet unavoidably) of a vulgar for facile ostentation, a hint of secrecy, degeneration. Happily, Japan is a land mystery, dignified reserve, characterisof almost incessant earthquakes.
tic of a people whose habitations are For the rest, it is easy, and does not of the barest simplicity, whose treastake very long, to escape from the dust ured possessions are exhibited only to and noise and bustle of the streets to those who can appreciate them, whose the seclusion of the Shiba Park, where, elaborate and charming courtesy veils girdled by overarching trees and en- one knows not what sentiments, opinclosed by rotting black palings, are the ions, aims. If you wish to enjoy the mortuary temples of the Tokugawa beauties of the Shiba temples you must Shoguns, who for two centuries and look for them, and look rather closely a half ruled Japan from the old Yedo, in that semi-darkness. Yet the general which has not yet been completely con- effect, whether designedly or not, is verted into new Tokyo. Here at least there: an effect at once glorious and one has no sense of change, beyond mournful, which fitly commemorates that wrought by lapse of time, stress departed rulers and an abolished sysof destructive weather, and, unfortu- tem of rule. It is very quiet and still nately, lack of care. For the shrines among these shrines and tombs; the of the Shoguns are not much fre- clop, clop of wooden clogs is heard quented, and the priests in charge are only at intervals in the courts that said to be poor—so much so that repairs surround them; the hum of the living are visibly neglected. But the work of city comes but faintly and fitfully the patient, laborious artists who upon the breeze which sets the leaves adorned these temples, into the 'twilight overhead rustling; the one persistent of which one penetrates through courts sound is the peculiar dirge-like croakfilled with the customary stone lan- Ah! ah! ah!-of ravens, hovering alterns, is virtually imperishable. Em- ways above the temple roofs. ploying only the very best materials, Ravens are long-lived birds, and to they could brave decay. Gold lacquer be old is to be conservative. If they may have been a little rubbed here and lament the vanished magnificences of there, colors may have faded some- Ieyasu and his successors, of feudal what; but the exquisite wood-carving daimyos and attendant samurai, of a remains sharp and clear, the metals civilization which needed not to borrow and crystals and inlaying cannot or imitate, unless from that neighborcrumble away. Here we have the last ing civilization on the mainland word of decorative art; not to be sur- whence it took its start, possibly they passed, nor ever again, one surmises, may have some human congeners in to be equalled; for never and nowhere this abruptly revolutionized country. again, if an ephemeral denizen of this Possibly, and, one would imagine, prohurried, narrowed world may venture bably; although there is not much to to prophesy, will such years recur as confirm conjecture in that direction. those in which Japan, closed against Something in the nature and genius of foreigners and self-sufficing, could the race-patriotism, perhaps, or the ingrained habit of obedience, or one of seeking peace and ensuing it. They the many forms of Oriental fatalism, have been told that they must really seems to lead them towards a ready be reasonable, and have smilingly reand cheerful acquiescence in the de- plied that if they are anything, they crees of their rulers. Without audible are that. Fight Russia single-handed? murmurs they accept all that has been Oh, but of course not! Not, at least, thrust upon them: the preposterous unless their very existence as a nation buildings, the greatly increased cost of should be threatened; in which case, living, the absurd European costume naturally, they would have to defend (which is now obligatory, at least at themselves to the best of their poor Court), the substitution of European ability. They quite understand that laws, customs, and methods of govern- the Great Powers cannot and will not ment for those which, through long use be drawn into a general war for the and wont, must have become dear to sake of their beaux yeux. Glittering, their hearts. And for what equivalent? obliquely set, heavy lidded little bootOnce upon a time, when Napoleon III. buttons of eyes, which reveal nothing. passed for an ambitious would-be con- but see all that there is to be seen! queror, and certain small States lived If the Japanese are as inscrutable as in fear of their formidable neighbor, a diplomatists, merchants, and travellers fire-eating subject of his was engaged unite in pronouncing them, they probain controversy with a Genevese profes- bly have not the same complaint to sor upon the drawbacks and advan- make of us, our ingenuous Western tages of annexation.
motives and methods lying so very "Mais, monsieur," he exclaimed at much upon the surface for the adlast, "ça vous est-il égal de pouvoir dire miration or otherwise of the contemJe suis Fr-r-rançais ou d'avouer que plative.. vous êtes"--and here he dropped hisW ell, let us give ourselves the pleasvoice to a demure whisper-"Suisse?” ure and amusement of watching them
Is it or is it not worth some sacrifice in their surface aspect, since we are of personal convenience to belong to not likely to penetrate far beneath it. a great nation? Does patriotism neces- A foreigner may watch them for a long sarily mean ambition to see one's na- time without ceasing to be pleased and tion powerful, or will desire for the amused. Simple, kindly, good-humored blessings of unobtrusive prosperity folk, one would say; devoted, as everysuffice? Be that as it may, the intense body has noticed, to children and patriotism of the Japanese is beyond dis- boundlessly patient with them; not unpute, and when some forty-five millions like good children themselves, and cerof human beings are admittedly pa- tainly most unlike descendants of the triotic, intelligent, docile, and fearless, truculent warriors whom their artists they are likely to go far, provided that love to depict. The well-knit little they have capable leaders. Japan, we soldiers of to-day, in their clean white are assured, does not dream of becom- linen uniforms, look fit for work, it is ing paramount in Asia; her legitimate true, but convey no impression of the aspirations have been formulated over suppressed cruelty and lust for blood and over again; if only these can be which are so unmistakably legible upon realized, she will not ask for more; the the rascally visages of the Chinamen Yellow Peril is a ridiculous bogey. Per- whom they put to confusion nine years haps so.
ago. Numbers of them are strollingMeanwhile, on this sultry August hand in hand generally-about the Ueno day our Tokyo friends profess to be Park on the other side of the city, a more popular place of resort than Lourdes. The great hall of the temple Shiba. Here, in shrines not less superb- stands open; clogs and sandals are not ly adorned than those which we have removed by the multitudes who make quitted, lie six more dead Shoguns; a thoroughfare and a meeting-place of here, too, is the famous avenue of it. But the altar, resplendent with cherry-trees, which attracts thousands gilding, flowers, lighted lamps and of visitors from all districts in spring; candles, is shut off by a wire screen, and here a lake, charmingly starred behind which some priests are nasally just now with lotus flowers. The air chanting. is heavy, the heat and glare are over. In the Asakusa gardens, hard by, a powering; but the little strollers do species of permanent fair is held, with not seem to mind. It is impossible (at the usual accompaniments of performleast if Western standards of beauty ing bears, monkeys, jugglers, and so are to be accepted) to call them any- forth; also a quaint show of mariothing but ugly; yet one almost loves nettes, which skip nimbly through interthem, and is altogether grateful to minable dramas without wearing out them, for wearing an aspect so free the patience of the enthralled spectafrom care. Our parks and streets at tors. In one of these the scene home can show nothing like that for descends at length to the bottom of the the consolation of wayfarers who have sea, where intrepid divers do battle themselves left the age of gayety be- with submarine monsters and an imhind. Troubled, harassed, despairing, probable crocodile or alligator gobbles or dully vacant, the faces that keep them up for their pains, to the huge flitting past you there have fifty tales amusement of the audience. to tell; but barely among a hundred The day wanes, the sun sinks, the will you detect one which bespeaks a shadows of evening close in, bringing contented owner. In Japan the ap- no abatement of the heat. The little parent percentage of discontent is as people begin to stream back city wards, small. Nowhere else in the world are chattering, laughing, manipulating people to be found so universally, so their paper fans. How can one take palpably enamored of sheer existence. them seriously? How can it be supYet they have little or no objection to posed that they will ever be so crazy being killed. Is that because the Chris- as to match their strength against that tian privilege of looking forward to a of the grim Northern giant whom they possible eternity of torment is denied must, nevertheless, face one of these to them, or because with them love of days in deadly combat, unless they are country is not nominally, but quite sim- prepared to accept virtual vassaldom ply and unfeignedly, stronger than the without striking a blow? They are, no love of life itself?
doubt, a fighting race, little as they have It is a life-loving, laughter-loving the air of it, and their shores have crowd that swarms round about the never been menaced with invasion great Buddhist temple of Kwannon, since Kublai Khan's Mongol fleet was the thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy, dispersed by them some six centuries that strange, busy noisy place, ago; but the question which still rethronged with dealers in toys, charm- mains a question is whether their sellers, loungers, clucking poultry-pos- abrupt and unreserved adoption of a sibly a few pilgrims or worshippers. civilization which is not theirs will Many ex-votos, in the shape of pictures have the results for which alone so and lanterns, adorn the structure, lend much that was more or less definitely ing it the aspect of a cheerful pagan theirs has been flung away. Success
justifies all measures, courage often lodged. From distant Shizuoka they commands success, and fortune favors carried his body in solemn procession, the brave. Yet surely among these miltaking eighteen days about it, crosslions of bold innovators there must be ing the broad plains and scaling the doubting spirits not a few who, if they heights along those straight alleys, say nothing, look forward with dismay bordered by giant cryptomerias, which to the perilous future and backward remain to this day, although their use with a sigh to the days of Japan's has been superseded by railways, and grandeur and isolation under the Toku on a quiet, wooded summit he sleeps, gawa dynasty, which refused all deal with the gorgeous mortuary temple ings, peaceful or warlike, with outer which has been erected to his memory barbarians. As the swift jinrikisha beneath him. What, if he could be skims past those silent, withdrawn aroused from his dignified slumber, temples of the old Shoguns in the fad- would he think of the nation which ing light, the ravens, poised overhead, continues to honor him, though it has renew their monotonous wail-Ah! ah! So diametrically reversed his policy? ah!
What would any great man think of his successors? This one, who was a
brilliant general, a wise law-giver, a A hundred miles away from swelter- munificent patron of literature and art, ing Tokyo, and 2000 feet or there- belonged to his epoch and appears to abouts above the sea-level, lovely have grasped its requirements. His Nikko affords shade and comparative grandson, lemitsu, who abolished coolness to exhausted travellers. Nik Christianity (for reasons which may well ko, embosomed in greenery, traversed have seemed to him sufficient), and who by a tumbling torrent, walled in by finally excluded foreigners, lies near peaked mountains, and famous all the him, and is immortalized by a shrine world over as the last resting-place of of equal beauty and wonder. These the great Tokugawa Shogun and his two mausoleums are considered to grandson, is a straggling village which surpass the Shiba temples at Tokyo, can never, one rejoices to think, be which, for the rest, they closely resemdeprived of its quite special and pecu- ble. Here, as there, is a bewilderment liar natural beauty. It contains, to be of color and detail, an infinite profusure, quasi-European hotels and a fair sion of gold lacquer, of intricate carvnumber of European and American ing, of minute, elaborate design, a sugtourists; but the former, even if they gestion, to tell the truth, of magnified were ugly (which, happily, they are bonbonnières. Here, as there, are many not), could scarcely offend the eye, so courts, with stone lanterns, splendid concealed are they by screens of trees gateways and pagodas, approached aland flowering shrubs; while as for the ways through the simple but strangely latter-well, one must submit to the effective torii, composed of two upconsequences of having been born in right and two transverse beams or the nineteenth century.
blocks of stone, the latter curved upHither, early in the seventeenth, wards at the ends, which are so characwhen Japan had been hermetically teristic of Japan, although, like everysealed against alien intruders, were thing else Japanese, they are said to conveyed for final sepulture the re- have been originally introduced from mains of Ieyasu, founder of his dy- the mainland. Only here the general nasty, and perhaps no dead man on the result is one of enhanced grandeur, of surface of this planet is more regally more spacious symmetry, of a somewhat less grudging concession to themselves upon the memory, like cerspectators who would fain view great tain lines of poetry, because they are achievements as a whole. The Nikko so completely satisfying of their kind. temples, compared with those of Shiba, One celebrated note, alas! makes deare as a symphony to a sonata.
fault-the sacred bridge of vermilion The situation aids-a steep hillside, lacquer, swept away, just a year ago, with long flights of mossgrown stone in a typhoon which wrought terrible steps, shaded by solemn, secular cryp- havoc all along the banks of the sudtomerias, green vistas in which the denly swollen river, wrecking roads, light is always subdued and where paths, and embankments, drowning scarcely a sound is heard, save the stir- many villages and razing their lightly ring of the wind in tree-tops far over- built habitations to the ground. For head. One is reminded of zephyris two centuries and a half the famous agitata Tempe. Ieyasu's tomb, which bridge braved storms and floods, never, stands on the highest crest, is a simple it is said, needing to be repaired during cylinder of pale-colored bronze, in that time, so solidly was it upheld by which there is said to be an admixture its massive stone piers; but-tant va la of gold.
cruche à l'eau! Its day came, and the If these temples of wood and stone, superstitious, if such there be in the the work of men's hands, are the chief land, may see in its downfall at this glory of Nikko, it has to be acknowl- particular juncture a sinister omen. edged that they in their turn are under Probably, however, there is not much a deep obligation to Nature, which has genuine superstition left among a peoprovided for them so exquisite and ap- ple resolved to put away childish propriate a setting. The gayety which things. There remain, of course, a host is the dominant note of Japanese of quasi-beliefs, some of which might towns, villages, and landscapes is be matched upon the banks of the somewhat chastened here, as if out of Thames. It is lucky to do this, unrespect to the mighty dead; the far- lucky to do that; certain numbers or reaching forests, pierced by grassy conjunctions of numbers are best avenues, for which the evergreen trees avoided; ghosts, goblins, and dragons furnish a perpetual lofty arch, breathe have not yet been formally exorcised. of inviolable rest and peace; if it could But upon the whole it would appear in any way matter what becomes of that the Japanese national character, one's discarded body after death, one which exhibits so many irreconcilable might have a fancy for being interred traits to the puzzled European student, at Nikko rather than-shall we say?- is not very readily receptive of the at Kensal Green or the Woking Necrop- supernatural. The most religious races olis. But although there is a sugges- are apt to be the most superstitious, tion of gentle melancholy about this and everybody knows (or, at any rate, mountain gorge, down which the everybody says) that the Japanese are Daiyagawa tumbles impetuously on its not religious. The educated among way towards the sea, abundant color them are rather fond of declaring that preserves it from being sombre. The religion and morality have nothing to silvery foam of the torrent, the masses say to one another, and that it does of foliage, the red trunks of the crypto- not in the least matter which of the merias, Nantaizan, the holy mountain, various creeds professed by humanity towering soft and blue against the sky, a man may see fit to adopt, so long as all harmonize and combine to form a he does his duty. A Japanese does not succession of vignettes which imprint call himself an adherent of Shinto or