1902 Encyclopedia > Japan (Part 2)

(Part 2)


The ancient history of Japan, as recorded in the native annals, is so completely enshrouded in mythological legend as to be absolutely untrustworthy. In these legends numerous deities play a conspicuous part, the country itself being styled the "land of the gods," and the pedigree of the sovereign traced back to Tenshô Daijin, the "Sun goddess." It is asserted that there first existed seven generations of "heavenly deities," who were followed by five generations of "earthly deities," who in turn were succeeded by the mortal sovereigns, of whom the present mikado or emperor is the 122d. The earliest date accepted amongst the Japanese themselves corresponds to 660 B.C., when the first emperor (Jimmu) succeeded to the throne. The present year (1881) is thus the 2541st year of the Japanese era. The long line of sovereigns comprises one hundred and eleven emperors and eleven reigning empresses. A strong ground for disbelieving the accuracy of ancient Japanese chronology, even after 660 B.C., is the extraordinary longevity assigned by it to the early mikados. Of the fifteen emperors from Jimmu onwards, eleven are said to have lived considerably over one hundred years; one of them, Suinin, reached the age of one hundred and forty-three years, while his successor Keikô attained to one hundred and forty-three. After the year 399 A.D., however, these wonderful assertions are no longer made. From the commencement of the 10th century the Japanese annals are more to be trusted, and, although many discrepancies no doubt exist, still the events recorded are generally accepted as authentic.3

The precise origin of the Japanese race is by no means easy to determine, and it would seem probable that it is an amalgamation of several different races. The present Aino tribes of the island of Yezo are supposed to be the descendants of the ancient aborigines of the empire. These aborigines, or "savages" as Japanese historians are wont to style them, were at first spread over by far the greater portion of the country, but were gradually driven towards the north by an opposing race who advanced from the south-west.4 This latter race, the ancestors of the present true

FOOTNOTES (page 581)

(1) See also Dr Magel’s papers on "Les Religions du Japon," in the Annales de l’extréme Orient, 1878-1879.

(2) On July 1, 1878, the nine American and six British Protestant missions in Japan had 104 missionaries (77 American), 26 churches, 113 chapels, &c., 1617 church members, 3 theological schools, 173 students, 9 ordained preachers, and 93 assistant preachers, besides many largely attended schools for children. The Roman Catholics and the Greek Church claim many converts also.

(3) See William Bramsen’s Japanese Chronological Tables, from 645 A.D. to 1873.

(4) See D. N. Anutschin, "Der Völkerstamm der Ainos," in Russ Rev., 1877 ; and L, de Rosny, "Étude sur les A_no," Congr. intern. d sciene. géogr, Paris, 1878.

Japanese people, are by some writers supposed to have been of Chinese origin; and Japanese annals certainly make mention of such a colony as founded during the reign of the seventh emperor, Kôrei (290-216 B.C.). It is, however, beyond all doubt that the Malay tribes are also represented in the Japanese people, and his-tory further notes an invasion by "black savages," which would seem to point to the natives of Papua or New Guinea. From the relative positions of Japan and Corea, too, it seems probable that some of the inhabitants of the latter place may also have crossed the narrow seas dividing them from Tsushima and the main island of Japan. Ethnologists are not unanimous in their opinions on these points, but it is generally conceded that there did exist an ancient indigenous race, who were subsequently subjugated and driven towards the north by certain tribes advancing from the south-west. Thus, in the early history of Japan we find that Kiôto and the provinces immediately around it were occupied by the con-querors, from whom descended the modern Japanese; while the aboriginal tribes were with difficulty restrained and pent up in the eastern and northern regions.

The mikado himself dwelt at Kiôto, with his court. The nobles composing the court were styled kugé, and were themselves descended from cadet branches of the imperial family. There was but one sovereign, and to him the whole empire owned allegiance ; he lived in extremely simple style both as regards food and dress, and rode out to the chase surrounded by his retainers. But the inroads of the savages on the eastern borders necessitated constant and vigilant measures for their repression. In such expeditions, however, no special class of generals was created ; everything was ordered in the name of the mikado himself, or in some cases an imperial prince acted as his representative, so that in no instance did the power even appear to pass from the bands of the sovereign. In the Middle Ages, however, the Chinese military system was adopted as a model, and generals were appointed; the able-bodied males in each province were formed into distinct military corps, and men were told off according to the muster-rolls to garrison the capital or to guard the frontiers. Expeditions were carefully organized, being placed under a general (shôgun), who was assisted by subordinate officers. All weapons of war and other appliances were kept in the military stores, and issued as occasion required ; when warlike operations were suspended, the arms were returned to the stores for safe keeping. As time passed on the powerful family of Fujiwara began to exercise the administrative power hereditarily, in virtue of its relationship to the throne by the female side, and it then became the usage that high descent should be the only qualification for office. The rank and title of general were con-stantly conferred on the two rival clans of Hei and Gen, or Taira and Minamoto, as they are also termed. Upon this there first arose the expression "military class," and during the period 770-780 the complete severance of the agricultural class and the soldiery took place. From this time onwards the military domination acquired yearly greater strength, while the power of the mikado decreased in proportion. The turbulent common people of the provinces of Ôshiu, Déwa, and the Kuantô were always in the possession of armour and horses, and openly styled themselves "warriors." In the 10th and 11th centuries the clans of Tair and Minainoto increased in warlike power and influence, became deadly rivals, and virtually ruled the whole country, all the inhabitants owning fealty to one or other of the two factions A terrible civil war ensued, extending from the middle to the end of the 12th century, when the Taira clan was annihilated by its rivals, who thereupon seized the supremacy. They in their turn succumbed and were succeeded by others, down to the last dynasty (that of the Tokugawa family), which existed from 1603 till 1868. All this time the mikados were in reality merely puppets swayed at will by the military faction in power at the time ; the ancient state of affairs was overthrown, and the sovereign himself was kept almost a prisoner in his palace at Kiôto. In 1868, however, the revolution shattered the might of the then ruling clan of Tokugawa, the restoration of the mikado was effected, and the present position of the sovereign is at last almost perfectly similar to what it was in the very ancient times.

The most interesting portion of Japanese history is that of the rise and fall in the Middle Ages of the warlike families which in turn seized the power and overawed the crown. Of these the Taira clan stands pre-eminent, though much of its history is mixed up with that of its rival, the Minamoto clan. The two came first into notice in the 10th century, and quickly increased in influence and strength. It would appear indeed that the court strove to play off the one against the other, being moved by fear that the power of either might become too great. Thus, if one of the Taira rebelled, the Minamoto were authorized by the emperor to subdue him ; while, if any members of the latter clan proved unruly, the Taira were only too glad to obtain art imperial commission to proceed against them. This gave rise to incessant intrigue and frequent bloodshed, ending at last inthe middle of the 12th century, in open warfare. Taira no Kiyomori was at that time the head of his clan; he was a man of unscrupulous character and unbounded ambition, and constant ly strove to secure offices at court for himself, his family, and his adherents. In 1156-59 severe fighting took place at the capital between the rival clans, each side striving to obtain possession of the person of the sovereign in order to give some colour of right to its actions. In 1169 Kiyomori eventually triumphed, and the sword of the executioner ruthlessly completed the measure of his success in the field. Nearly the whole of the Minamoto chiefs were cut off,—among them being Yoshitomo, the head of the clan. A boy Damed Yoritomo, the third son of Yoshitomo, was, however, spared through the intercession of Kiyomori’s step-mother ; and Yoshitsuné, also Yoshitomo’s son by a concubine, was, with his mother and two brothers, permitted to live. Yoritomo and his half-brother Yoshitsuné were destined eventually to avenge the death of their kinsmen and completely to overthrow the Taira house, but this did not take place till thirty years later. In the meantime Kiyomori’s power waxed greater and greater; he was himself appointed daijô-daijin, ("prime minister"), and he married his daughter to the emperor Takakura, whom, in 1180, he forced to abdicate in favour of the heir-apparent, who was Kiyomori’s own grandson. After raising his family to the highest pinnacle of pride and power, Kiyomori died in 1181, and retribution speedily overtook the surviving members of his clan. -The once almost annihilated Minamoto clan, headed by Yoritomo, mustered their forces in the Kuantô and other eastern regions for a final attempt to recover their former influence. Marching west-wards under the command of Yoshitsuné, they started on one grand series of triumphs, terminating (1185) in a crowning victory in a sea-fight off Dannoura, near Shimonoséki, in the province of Chôshiu. The overthrow of the Taira family was complete: the greater number perished in the battle, and many were either drowned or delivered over to the executioner. The emperor himself (Antoku, 82d of his line), then only in the seventh year of his age, was drowned, with other members of the imperial house. The Taira supremacy here came to an end, having existed during the reigns of nine emperors.

The period of the Minamoto supremacy lasted from this time until the year 1219. Yoritomo was the leading spirit, as his sons Yoriiyé and Sanétomo, who succeeded him in turn, did not in any way attain to special fame. Having secured himself against molestation from the Taira, Yoritomo directed his efforts sys-tematically to the consolidation of his power in the east. Com-mencing from the Kuantô, he soon overawed the whole of the northern provinces, and also extended what was virtually his dominion to the westward in the direction of Kiôto. Kamakura, a town on the sea-shore in the province of Sagami, an old seat of the Minamoto family, was made his metropolis. The site of this town faces the sea, and is completely shut in on the rear by a semi- circular ridge of steep hills, through which narrow cuttings or passes lead to the country beyond. Under Yoritomo, Kamakura prospered and increased in size and importance; a large palace was built, barracks were erected, and it became the capital of the east of Japan. In the year 1192 the emperor Takahira (also known as Go-Toba no In) issued a decree creating Yoritomo Sei-i-tai-shôgun (literally, "barbarian-subjugating generalissimo"), and despatched an imperial envoy from Kiôto to Kamakura to invest him with the office. He and each shôgun who came after him were thus nominated commanders-in-chief, holding the office by order of and investment from the emperor, to preserve peace and tranquillity on the eastern marches of Japan. This has given rise, in numerous works on Japan published by different authors (Dr Kaempfer among them), to the common assertion that Japan possessed two emperors,—the one "spiritual," residing at Kiôto, and the other "temporal," residing at Kamakura and afterwards at Yedo. This idea, though entirely erroneous, is not unnatural; for, although each succes-sive shôgun owned allegiance to the emperor and was invested by the latter, still his own position as supreme head of the military organization of the country and his influence over the powerful ter-ritorial nobles made him de facto almost the equal of a sovereign in his own right. This condition of affairs continued until the revolu-tion of 1868, when the shôgun’s power was shattered, the military domination swept away, and the mikado reinstated in his early position of supreme authority. Yoritomo’s two sons Yoriiyé and Sanétomo were in turn invested with the office of shôgun ; they both dwelt at Kamakura. In 1219 Sanétomo was killed by Yoriiyé's son, in revenge for the supposed murder of Yoriiyé him-self, and, as he died without issue, the main line of the Minamoto family thus came to an end.

Upon this commenced the supremacy of the Hôjô family, who had for years been adherents of the Minamotos. The heirs of the latter having failed, the office of shôgun was conferred upon different members of the illustrious house of Fujiwara, who all resided at Kamakura. The military administration, however, was invariably in the hands of the Hôjôs, who acted as regents of the shôgun; their supremacy lasted from 1225 to 1333, through what are com-monly called the "seven generations of the Hôjô family." The event of principal importance during this period was the repulse of the Mongol invasion, which occurred in the year 1281. Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuen dynasty in China, had for some years back repeatedly sent to demand submission from Japan, but, this being refused, about 10,000 of his troops attacked Tsushima and Oki in 1274. This expedition was repulsed, and some envoys despatched to Japan in 1275 and also in 1279 were decapitated by the regent, Hôjô no Tokimuné. Exasperated at this defiance, the Mongol chief collected a mighty armament, which was despatched to Japan in 1281. The numbers of this invading force are by Japanese writers estimated at no less than one hundred thousand Chinese, Mongol, and Corean troops. They descended upon the coast of Kiashiu, where several engagements were fought; even-tually a severe storm destroyed and dispersed the fleet, and the Japanese taking advantage of this favourable opportunity vigorously attacked and completely annihilated the invaders, of whom but three are, said to have escaped to tell the tale. It is not surprising that no further attempt to conquer Japan should have been made by the Mongols. In 1331, towards the close of the Hôjô supremacy, the succession to the crown was disputed, and from that time until 1392 there existed two courts, known as the northern and the southern ; in the latter year, however, the southern dynasty (estab-lished at the town of Nara, near Kiôto) handed over the regalia to the emperor Go-Komatsu, who from that time was recognized as the legitimate mikado. During the period of anarchy and civil war that took place in this century, Kamakura was attacked and destroyed, in 1333, by Nitta Yoshisada, head of a family descended from the Minamoto clan. The rule of the Hôjôs was thus termin-ated, and by 1338 the family had well nigh disappeared.

During the confusion and disturbance created by the contest between the rival courts, and also throughout the whole of the 15th century, Japan was devastated by fire and sword in civil wars of the most terrible description. Several families endeavoured in succession to acquire the supremacy, but none were able to wield it long. The dynasty of shôgun (the Ashikaga line) proved bad rulers, and, though the families of Nitta, Uyésugi, and others came prominently into notice, they were unable to pacify the whole empire. In the early part of the 16th century what was termed the "later Hôjô" family arose in the Kuantô, and for "four generations" established their chief seat at the town of Odawara, in the province of Sagami, immediately to the east of the Hakoné hills. At this time, too, lived the famous generals Ota Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hidéyoshi. The latter is perhaps best known to Europeans as the Taikô Hidéyoshi, or simply as Taikô-sama, "my lord the Taikô." Taikô, it may here be remarked, is not a name (as commonly supposed) but a title, and signifies literally "great lord." Another common error is to speak of Hidéyoshi as the shôgun; he never held that office. The 16th century also saw the first persecutions directed against the native Christians; the religion had been introduced by the Portuguese in 1549, when Xavier first came to Japan. In 1586 Ota Nobunaga was assassin-ated, and the taikô succeeded him in the chief military power. In 1590 the family of the "later Hôjô" was overthrown by him, and the town of Odawara taken. Hidéyoshi then bestowed upon his general Tokugawa lyéyasu the eight provinces of the Kuanté, at the same time directing him to take up his residence at Yedo, which was at that period a town of very small importance. Hidéyoshi died in 1594.

The Tokugawa dynasty lasted from the appointment of Iyéyasu to the office of shôgun in 1603 until the resignation of the last shôgun, Yoshinobu (usually called Keiki), in 1867. This dynasty comprised fifteen generations of the family, and is undoubtedly the most important throughout the whole of Japanese history. Iyéyasu was a consummate politician as well as a successful general, and to him the powerful territorial nobles (daimiô) throughout the whole country speedily submitted, some from motives of personal interest, and others under compulsion after a crowning victory obtained over them by the Tokugawa chief at Sékigahara, on the confines of the provinces of Mino and Ômi, in 1600. This famous battle completely established the supremacy of Iyéyasu, and his rule was gladly accepted by the country as putting an end to the scenes of bloodshed and anarchy from which all classes had so severely suffered for well nigh two centuries back. Under this dynasty of shôgun Yedo became a large and populous city, as the presence of their court gave a grand impetus to trade and manufactures of all kinds. The attendants of the mikado at Kiôto were the old kugé, or court nobles, descended from cadet branches of the imperial line; they were, as a rule, of anything but ample means, yet their rank and prestige received full recognition from all classes. The court of the shôgun at Yedo was, on the contrary, mainly composed of men who were more noted for their territorial possessions and influence than for ancient lineage, for skill in warlike accomplishments rather than in literature and art. This court of Yedo was formed from the terri-torial nobles (daimiô), the petty nobility of the Tokugawa clan (called hatamoto), and lower attendants, &c., known as goké-nin. The hatamoto were originally no less than 80,000 in number, and were in fact the soldiers composing the victorious army of Iyéyasu and en-nobled by him; they resided continuously in Yedo, very rarely even visiting their country fiefs. The daimiô, on the other hand, were forced to attend in Yedo only at certain stated intervals varying considerably in different cases, and spent the rest of their time at their castle-towns in the provinces,—their wives and families remaining behind in Yedo, virtually as hostages for the good behaviour of the heads of their respective clans. The feudal system was thus introduced by Iyéyasu, but he was too wary to force his yoke in a precipitate manner upon the great nobles. He gathered around him is own immediate adherents, upon whom he conferred the more important positions of trust (notably in regard to the garrisoning of a cordon of minor strongholds around his own castle at Yedo) ; and as the power of his clan became more and more firmly established he was enabled more effectively to impose terms and restrictions upon the daimiô. It was, however, reserved for his grandson Iyémitsu (1623-1650) to complete the system thus inaugurated: by the latter the nobles were treated solely as feudal vassals, and many very stringent regulations for their guidance and direction were put into force. A similar course was adopted by the successors of Iyémitsu, and this system prevailed until the fall of the Tokugawa. dynasty in 1868. Under their rule, however, Japan enjoyed the benefit of almost uninterrupted peace for more than two hundred and fifty years; and though the burden imposed by them grew in the end too heavy to be longer borne, it was only cast off after fifteen members of the clan had in turn succeeded to the chieftainship. Instead of being, as of old, one united empire acknowledging as its sovereign the mikado alone, Japan was now portioned out into numerous fiefs, in many ways resembling petty kingdoms. Each fief or territory was ruled by a han or clan of which the daimiô was the chief, assisted by hereditary karô, or "councillors," and other officials. According to the will of each daimiô did the usages and rules to be observed in the respective fiefs differ. Districts actually adjacent to each other might be placed under totally opposite regulations, both as regards taxes and imposts and with respect to the paper money there in circulation. The various han, issued notes of different denomi-nations, for use in that one district alone, and this was done with-out the slightest reference to the paper currency of neighbouring fiefs. The permission of the shôgun’s ministers at Yedo had to be obtained for the purpose, but it is beyond all doubt that large quail-tities of paper money were issued by the han, when pressed by want of funds, without any such authority. The chief evil was that these notes were only local currency, and did not pass freely throughout the whole country; thus a person undertaking along journey might be put to considerable inconvenience as soon as he crossed the boundary of his own clan’s territory. The levying of taxes, too, afforded opportunities for frequent abuse of power: in many han, it is certain, taxes were collected with due regard to the condition of the peasantry, but in other instances cruel oppres-sion and ruthless extortion were but too prevalent. This, as has already been remarked, was chiefly the case on the estates of the hatamoto, who enjoyed a life of ease and pleasure in Yedo, and who cared little or nothing as to the means by which their supplies were wrung from their miserable serfs. Some of the daimiô ruled very large territories,—often a whole province or even more; while others, again, owned an estate measuring but a few square miles. The military class, or gentry, who were entitled to wear two swords as a sign of gentle birth, formed the retainers or clansmen of the great nobles, and were recognized as the first of the "four classes" into which the whole population was divided. These classes were—(1) the military families, commonly known as the samurai ; (2) the agricultural or farming population ; (3) the artisans; and (4) the mercantile or trading class. But, though by this arrangement the peasants were placed immediately after the gentry, their lot was undoubtedly far harder than that of the artisans or traders, seeing that they were at the mercy of any capricious or tyrannical feudal noble who might be made lord over the villages in which they dwelt. There existed a small number of independent yeomen (called gôshi) who owned no allegiance to any chieftain ; but they also were included in the second of the "four classes." The succession to the shôgunate was vested in the head branch of the Tokugawa clan, but, in the event of a direct heir failing, it was determined that the dignity and office should pass to one of the three kindred clans of Mito, Owari, and Kishiu, or, failing these, to one of the three noble families of Tayasu, Shimidzu, and Hitotsubashi These two lines of kinsmen of the shôgun’s house were termed the go-san-ké and the go-san-kié respectively. The ceremonial of in-vestiture of each shôgun by the mikado was always kept up, the latter being thus still recognized as the sovereign, although there only remained to him the title without the power. The shôgun was, in fact, nothing more nor less than the chief subject of the mikado. The chief power and the direction of political affairs were certainly in his hands, but the name of sovereign was never even assumed by him; and in point of actual rank the mighty territorial chieftains were held to be inferior to the poverty-stricken nobles of the mikado’s court.

The earlier period of the Tokugawa supremacy was disgraced by violent persecution of the native Christians. By an edict issued in 1614 by Iyéyasu (who had resigned in 1605 in favour of his son Hidétada, but still continued to exercise administrative functions) Christianity was finally proscribed, a decree of expulsion was directed against the Jesuit missionaries then in Japan, and persecu-tion raged until 1637. In that year the peasantry of a convert district in the province of Hizen, oppressed past endurance by the cruelties to which they were subjected, assembled to the number of 30,000, and fortifying an old feudal castle at the town of Shimabara, declared open defiance to the Government. Iyémitsu, who was then shôgun (1623-1650), despatched an army against them, and after a brief but desperate struggle the Christians were all massacred. These stern measures repressed the profession of the religion, but many clung to it in secret, and several prohibitory edicts were issued through-out the 17th and 18th centuries. So lately, indeed, as 1868 these proclamations might still be seen on the public notice-boards in every village throughout the country.

Although the Tokugawa period was not disturbed by the warlike expeditions or civil conflicts from which Japan had until then suffered, there nevertheless existed considerable cause of uneasiness in the numberless intrigues or petty conspiracies which prevailed among the great han and in the families of the feudal nobles. The question of succession to the chieftainship of a clan not unfre-quently stirred up strife amongst the retainers, and in many cases the most unscrupulous means were adopted in order to obtain the desired result. Towards the close of the dynasty several conspiracies were set on foot, but these were promptly stamped out. Japan was now in seclusion from the rest of the world, the inhabi-tants having been forbidden to leave its shores without express per-mission under pain of heavy punishments; but the direction of the internal affairs of the country was a task that fully occupied the rul-ing house. The jealousy and private feuds of the daimiô increased to such an extent that on several occasions even the sacred pre-cincts of the shôgun’s palace became the scene of quarrel and blood-shed. The great nobles gradually rebelled more and more against the rule of enforced attendance in Yedo, and became far less disposed to brook the restrictions imposed upon them by a lord who was virtually but one of their own class; while to the peasants the feudal system was in most cases exceedingly distasteful. Reaction against the military domination thus set in, and men’s eyes naturaly turned towards the renewal of the ancient régime when the mikado was the sole sovereign, before whose authority every subject, whether gentle or simple, bowed in submission. These, among other causes, gradually led to the revolution of 1868, by which the mikado’s power was restored. In the meantime, since 1858, treaties had been made by the shôgun’s ministers with several of the foreign powers, and the foreign element had thus been introduced into Japanese political affairs. By some writers undue stress has been laid upon this fact, as if the advent of Western nations had been the main cause of the downfall of the Tokugawa supremacy. From an attentive perusal, however, of native works treating of political matters for some time previous, it would appear that of such was not the case. The decay of the shôgunate had gradually been going on for years back; the whole system was tottering to its fall, and it is not improbable that even in the total absence of foreigners the revolution would have occurred exactly as it did. The shôgun was declared a usurper, and the great clans of Satsuma, Chôshiu, and Tosa warmly espoused the cause of the mikado. The Tokugawa clan did not present any very determined front, and the struggle was exceedingly brief. Some fighting, did, however, take place in the vicinity of Kiôto, and also at various points around Yedo ; but the most severe conflict was the siege of the castle of Wakamatsu, in Ôshiu. This castle was the stronghold of the powerful northern daimiô of Aidzu, a partisan of the shôgunate ; his troops offered a stout resistance, but the place was eventually taken by the mikado’s army after a siege of some two months’ duration. The shôgun himself had resigned in 1867, and this virtually settled the question in favour of the emperor’s army, although some desultory fighting occurred both at Yedo and near Hakodaté two years afterwards. In 1869 the official name of Yedo was changed to Tôkiô (the "eastern capital"), and the mikado removed thither from Kiôto with his court. The ex-shôgun retired to the town of Shidzuoka, in the province of Suruga, where he still lives in retirement, his only title being that of a noble of the empire. The ancient form of government was thus restored, and the feudal system is now a thing of the past.

Since this revolution Japan has become tolerably well known to Europeans. Although her relations with foreign countries were never of any very great importance, they nevertheless commenced at an early date. Allusion has already been made to early Chinese and Corean arrivals in Japan. Dr Kaempfer asserts that in later times young Chinese of good family constantly came to Nagasaki on pleasure excursions. In 201 A.D. the empress Jingô invaded Corea, and gained several victories over the troops that opposed her ; and on her return she introduced into Japan the Corean arrangement of geographical division. The Japanese being a maritime nation, it is not surprising that, prior to the edict forbidding them to leave their country, they should have ex-tended their voyages throughout the whole of the Eastern seas. We read of their visitiug China, Siam, and India ; indeed at one time there existed a Japanese colony or settlement at Goa. It is also known that vessels sailed from Japan to the western coast of Mexico. The Mongol invasion in 1281 has been already noticed. In the 16th century Europeans approached the shores of Japan. As early as 1542 Portuguese. trading vessels began to visit the empire, and a system of trade by means of barter was carried on. Seven years later three Portuguese missionaries, Xavier, Torres, and Fernandez, took passage in one of these merchant ships, and landed at Kago-shima in Satsuma. The island of Hirado off the coast of Hizen appears to have been then the rendezvous of trade between the two nations. From that time commercial relations continued until the Portuguese were expelled the country in1639. A second expedition against Corea was undertaken by the taikô Hidéyoshi in 1592; the Japanese troops not only withdrawn till 1598, and it is interesting to note that a number of Coreans were then brought over to Japan, where they practise the art of making pottery. Descendants of these Coreans still occupy a village in the province of Satsuma. Towards the end of the 16th century Spanish vessels visited Japan, and in 1602 an embassy was despatched by Iyéyasu to the Philippines; but the relations between the two nations were never very close. The Dutch first arrived in 1610, and from that date down to the close of the Tokugawa dynasty they enjoyed almost a monopoly of the Japanese trade. They at first settled in the island of Hirado, but afterwards removed to Nagasaki, where they were virtually imprisoned in their factory on the small peninsula of Deshima in the harbour, connected by narrow cause- ways with the town itself. Dr Kaempfer’s History of Japan gives a full and graphic description of the mode of life of the early Dutch settlers ; he himself dwelt in Japan during the rule of Tsunayoshi, the fifth shôgun of the house of Tokugawa, 1680-1709. The first Englishman who visited the shores of Japan was William Adams, a Kentish man, who came out to the East as pilot to a Dutch vessel. He lived in the city of Yedo for a considerable time in the opening years of the 17th century, during which period he is stated to have frequently been at the court of Iyéyasu. He instructed the Japanese in the art of shipbuilding, and the title of hatamoto was conferred upon him. In 1613 Captain Saris succeeded in founding an English factory in Hirado, but it did not exist for any length of time. Finally, in 1854, Commodore Perry’s expedition from America took place, when a quasi treaty was made between him and the ministers of the shôgunate at Uraga, on the Bay of Yedo ; and later in the same year Admiral Stirling concluded a similar negotiation, at Nagasaki, on behalf of Great Britain. In 1858 these treaties were extended, and others were concluded with the Dutch and French, under which the ports of Nagasaki, Hakodaté, and Kanagawa (now known as Yokohama) were thrown open to foreign traders belonging to those nationalities, from the year 1859. Other European powers gradually followed the example, and at the present moment Japan is in treaty with no less than eighteen nations, viz., Austria-Hungary, Belgium, China, Corea, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hawaii, Holland, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Prior to the recent revolution the foreign treaties were concluded with the ministers of the shôgun, at Yedo, under the erroneous impression that he was the emperor of Japan. The title of taikun (often misspelt tycoon) was then for the first time used; it means literally the "great ruler," and was employed for the occasion by the Tokugawa officials to convey the impression that their chief was in reality the lord paramount. It is, however, worthy of note that even in these earlier treaties the title correpending to "His Majesty" was never assumed by the shôgun. The actual position of this official remained unknown to the foreign envoys until 1868, when the British, Dutch, and French ministers proceeded to Kiôto, and there obtained from the mikado his formal ratification of the treaties already concluded with his powerful subject. Since that time all treaties with Western powers are made out in the name of the emperor of Japan. It was thus that the foreigners came prominently into notice at the time of the revolution, with which, however, beyond this they had really no connexion.

In 1873-4 Japan sent an expedition against the aboriginal tribes inhabiting the island of Formosa, off the eastern coast of China, to demand satisfaction for the murder, some years before, of certain Japanese subjects who had been shipwrecked on that island. Some skirmishing took place, in which the Japanese gained the advantage. The most important point in the whole matter was the negotiation with China. Formosa is Chinese territory, but the Japanese contended that, if the Chinese Government would not exact reparation from the aboriginal tribes, they would themselves attack the latter. This they did, and, although at one period it appeared highly probable that war would be declared between China and Japan, the matter was eventually settled amicably, China paying a sum as indemnity for the outrages complained of towards the end of 1875 a dispute arose with Corea, a Japanese gunboat having been fired on from a shore fort while engaged in surveying operations close by the Corean capital. The gunboat returned the fire, and landed a party of men, who attacked and destroyed the fort and stockades, and seized upon the weapons, &c., found in it. Some diplomatic negotiations ensued, by which the matter was settled peaceably, and on February 27, 1876, a treaty was concluded in Corea, by two Japanese high commissioners despatched for that purpose. Japanese officials and traders now reside in Cores, on pre-cisely the same terms as those on which foreigners have dwelt at the open ports in Japan since 1858.

It could not, of course, be expected that the numerous reforms and changes introduced by the present Government would all be accepted without murmur by the people. Riots have of late years occurred in different parts of the country among the farming classes ; and outbreaks of a yet more serious character have been stirred up among the shizoku. The latter took place chiefly in the western provinces, but were soon quelled. The only one of real magnitude was the insurrection in Satsuma, which broke out in the spring of 1877. Excited by various seditious cries, over 10,000 in-surgents collected together and marched in a body northwards from Kagoshima. Their avowed object was to make certain representa-tions to the emperor in person. Delaying in their advance to attack the Government garrison stationed in the castle-town of Kumamoto, in Higo, the rebels allowed time for large bodies of troops to be despatched against them from Tôkiô. The scene of action was thus confined to the island of Kiushiu, and after severe fighting, which lasted for several months, the rebels were annihilated, their leaders either dying on the field or committing suicide. This deplorable attempt was, however, useful inasmuch as it proved the strength of the Government ; and in view of its complete failure it would seem unlikely that any effort of a similar nature should be made in future. The restoration of the ancient régime has united and strengthened the empire, instead of letting it remain broken up into numberless petty territories, each unlike its neigh-hours as was the case under the old feudal system.


The Japanese language is by some philologists thought to have an affinity with the Aryan family; but, as the points of resemblance are very slight and the differences exceedingly great, it is evident that, if there be any affinity at all, the divergence must have taken place at a period when the common ancestor of the Japanese and Aryan tongues was a language exceedingly rude and undeveloped. Nor has any relationship been clearly established with any other language of Asia. Japanese thus stands, as it were, by itself, and must be regarded as an almost entirely separate tongue.

Japanese may be considered under the two distinct heads of the spoken and the written languages; the former is the ordinary colloquial, and the latter the more classical style,—of late years to a great degree mixed up with Chinese. According to native historians, the study of the Chinese classics was introduced in 285 A.D. ; but this assertion may certainly be questioned, and it seems probable that the actual date was considerably later. At the present day, however, the Chinese characters occupy by far the most important place in the Japanese style of writing.

The Japanese kana, or syllabary, consists of forty-seven syllables, viz., i, ro, ha, ni, ho, he, to, chi, ri, nu, ru, wo, wa, ka, yo, ta, re, so, tsu, ne, na, ra, mu, u, i . no, o, ku, ya, m, ke, fu, ko, ye, te, a, sa, ki, yu, me, mi, shi, ye, hi, mo, se, su,— to which may be added n final. The following modifications of some of these syllables increase the munber to seventy-two:—h and f sometimes become b or p ; t may be modified to d, ts to dz, s to z, sh and ch to j, and k to g. This change is called in Japanese the nigori.

a is pronounced like a in father.

e is pronounced like ay in say.

i is pronounced like ee in meet.

o is pronounced like o in more.

u is pronounced like oo in fool.

I and u are frequently almost inaudible ; in such cases they have been written _, _. A final u, in particular, is very seldom sounded in full. The distinction between long and short vowels, and single and double consonants, demands careful attention, as the meaning often depends upon it. Long vowels generally represent the con-traction of two others ; thus au or ou becomes in sound ô, ii becomes î, and so on. The consonants are pronounced as in English, with the exception of r, h, f, n, d, t, and g, which differ somewhat from the corresponding English sounds. The true pronunciation of these letters must be learned from a Japanese. In the case of double consonants, both must be sounded.

In writing there is a character for each of the forty-seven syllables given above ; and each character may be written in either the katakana or the hiragana style. The former is the "square" hand, consisting in each case of a portion of the particular Chinese character whose sound (to the Japanese ear) is most clearly imitated by the sound of the Japanese syllable in question ; the latter is the cursive or "running" hand, adapted from the katakana characters, and having several varying styles. Except by the lower and uneducated classes, these written syllabaries are seldom used in writing letters, &c., unless as mere terminations to be taken in connexion with a Chinese character immediately preceding, as, for instance, to mark the tense of a verb, &c. As in writing the pure Chinese characters, in the letters of the educated class, the "square" and "running" hands are also used, the syllabic char-acters attached are also, according to circumstances, usually written in the katakana or the hiragana for the sake of appearance.

The spoken language may be classified under the heads of noun and particles, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjuction, and interjection. There is also a distinct class of numerals.

The nouns have no inflexions to distinguish gender, number, or case, but they are preceded or followed by particles which serve these and other purposes, Except in the ease of a few common words, no distinction is made between the masculine and the feminine ; when necessary, however, there may be used the prefix o or on for the former, and me or men for the latter. The neuter has no prefix at all. In general there is no mark of the plural, but whenever necessary the plural idea may be expressed by the addition of ra , gata, domo, tachi, or other particles ; a few nouns, again, have a kind of plural formed by a repetition of the noun itself. Compound nouns are formed in various ways, the first letter of the second part of such compounds generally changing in sound by the nigori already noted.

The personal pronoun does not demand much attention, except as regards that of the second person. Here the word used is differ-ent according to the rank or condition of the person or persons addressed. This idea of "honorific" terms is also to be noted in the use of verbs. As a rule, there are three modes of address,—to superiors, to equals and friends, and to inferiors. The plural of personal pronouns is often formed by the addition of the plural particles noticed under the heading of nouns. The personal pronoun is not to be used too frequently in speaking; as a rule, it is not employed by natives except where its omission might cause am-biguity. Possessive pronouns are virtually personal pronouns, with the addition of the possessive particles no or ga. Demon-strative and interrogative pronouns also exist; by the addition of certain particles to the former, the indefinite pronoun is formed. There are but few reflective pronouns, and the relative pronoun does not exist. To express that idea, however, the verb of the relative clause is put before the word to which the relative pronoun refers.

The adjective may be declined,—the chief part being what may be termed the root, from which (by the addition of certain syllables) various other forms (including the adverb) are obtained. The Japanese adjective has no degrees of comparison, but an idea of comparison can be expressed by the use of certain particles and by turning the sentence in a peculiar way. Many nouns do duty as adjectives, and are often considered such.

The verb has no means of expressing the distinctions of number or person. In the spoken language there are two conjugations of verbs, in each of which there are four principal parts, viz., the root, the base for negative and future forms, the present indicative, and the base for conditional forms. To each of the principal parts of the verb a number of particles or terminations are annexed ; and in this way there are produced forms somewhat similar to the moods and tenses of European grammars. There are, however, a few irregular verbs, in the conjugation of which slight differences are to be noticed. The conjunctions and the interjections are but few in number, and do not call for any special remark.1

In a sentence the first place is occupied by the nominative case, the second by the objective or other cases, and the last by the verb. The adjective precedes the noun, and the adverb the verb. Pre-positions are placed after the nouns to which they refer. Conjunctions and interrogative particles are placed at the end of the clause or sentence to which they belong.

The above parts of speech are also to be found in use in the written language. Here, however, there is to be noticed a great difference in the inflexions, which are in most cases totally distinct from those used in the ordinary colloquial. Many old expressions and words that have fallen into disuse in conversation are here still retained, and the written language is by far the more classical of the two.2

In the writing hand at present in use Chinese characters pre-dominate. In official documents, despatches, &c., the square char-acter is commonly used, generally with katakana terminations. In ordinary letter-writing the cursive hand, more or less abbreviated, is employed, being supplemented, when required, by the hiragana. The characters, though identical with those used in China, are arranged in different order, so much so that, though the general meaning and sense of a Japanese document might be intelligible to a Chinese, the latter would scarcely be able to give an exact render-ing of it. The sounds of the characters are also in most cases en-tirely different, the Japanese reading them by what is to them the nearest approach to the true Chinese pronunciation. Thus, a final

FOOTNOTES (page 585)

(1) The student is referred to the Grammar of the Japanese Spoken Language, by W. G. Aston, M.A., London 1873, from which work the above notes have been compiled.

(2) The student is referred to the Grammar of the Japanese Written Language, by W. G. Aston.

ng preoeded by a vowel in Chinese is generally rendered in Japanese reading by a long o, while an initial h is not unfrequently changed into k. Of late years, since the restoration, there has come into prominent notice an ever-increasing tendency to introduce into ordinary conversation numerous Chinese words that had in many cases been never heard before that time. This style is, of course, affected chiefly by men of letters and by officials, and several suc-cessive editions of small dictionaries containing these newly intro-duced expressions alone have been published at intervals ; the increase in bulk of the last edition as compared with the first is very perceptible. A rather stilted style of address has always found favour with the military and literary class ; the personal pronoun of the second person being usually rendered by the word sensei, "teacher," or kimi, "lord," Intercourse with foreign countries has of late years naturally created a demand for certain words and phrases hitherto unnecessary and consequently unknown, and these have therefore been freshly coined as it were for the occasion. It is worthy of remark that certain European words have for years back been in such common use as to be now deemed actually Japanese. Among these may be mentioned the following:—

Pan, bread, derived from the Latin, through the Spanish or Italian.

Kasutera, a kind of sponge-cake, an adaptation from the Spanish (Castile).

Tabako, tobacco.

Dontaku, Sunday, derived from the Dutch.

The English words "minute," "second" (of time), "ton," "electric," &c., are now freely used, the pronunciation being only slightly at fault. Several Malay expressions have also from time to time crept into use ; but these are as a rule heard only among the lower classes at the treaty ports.

Although differences of dialect are distinctly apparent in various localities, these are not by any means so marked as is the case in China. As a rule, a man speaking the pure Yedo dialect might travel through nearly the whole of Japan without experiencing any considerable difficulty; his words would generally be fully under-stood, though he might now and again be unable to catch the true meaning of the answers he received. In the capital a slight n sound is given before the consonant g, making it almost ng; and in the case of an initial h, a slight sibilant is plainly perceptible, giving almost the sound of sh. The interjection né is often heard in the vulgar Yedo dialect; it has no meaning, is little used by men, and serves merely to draw the attention of the person addressed. In the north this né is changed to na, and in other parts of Japan to n_. In most of the northern provinces, and also in the far west, a series of aspirate sounds take almost an initial f instead of h; if is thus apparent, for instance, why the name of the large island off the coast of Hizen is so often termed Firando instead of its true name Hirado. A nasal intonation is very noticeable in Ôshiu and other northern districts, particularly in the neighbourhood of Sendai, and this is also heard in the Ôzaka dialect. In Ôzaka and its vicinity, too, the Yedo né is rendered by the exclamation sakai; at Kiôto. as might be expected, many of the older forms of expres-sion prevail. The Satsuma dialect presents, perhaps, the greatest difficulty: the letter r, particularly at the commencement of a word, is replaced by a very decided j, and there is a strong tendency to clip off final vowels in all words. This dialect possesses, too, many words peculiar to its own province, so much so indeed that a conversation carried on between two Satsuma men is often all but unintelligible to a native of Tôkiô, although the latter might be able to make himself understood by either of the others. In many country districts also a patois is used known only to tne peasants, and presenting great difficulty to any Japanese of the better class who comes from a different locality. Even in cases where the word or expression itself is identical, a Peculiar intonation or pro-nunciation so completely disguises it as to convey the impression that it is totally different.

Reading and writing are often almost unknown in remote dis-tricts, and the abstruse Chinese characters are beyond the knowledge of the ordinary Japanese peasant. Some few of the easier characters are used, and the kana supplies the place of the rest ; on most of the Government notice boards &c,, and also in the newspapers published for the express benefit of the lower classes, the reading of any Chinese characters used is generally added at the side in kana. It is only among the better-educated ranks that the Chinese writing is well understood and in common use. The dictionaries used are arranged after the Chinese style, each character being looked out, according to the number of strokes contained in it under its proper radical. The list of radicals is the same as in China, and they are always printed in regular index form at the commencement of the dictionary. At the side of each character in the workis placed the Japanese attempt at the renderingm of the true Chinese sound, and underneath is given the meaning in Japanese colloquial, There are special dictionaries for the running hand. This style consists of the ordinary cursive hand, which is not as rule very unlike the square hand, and also of what is termed the "grass" hand, which is very much abbreviated and exceedingly difficult to acquire. Unless the square hand of a particular "grass" character be known, it is often wholly impossible to look it up in a dictionary. The pens and ink used in writing are precisely the same as the Chinese ; the lines of writing are perpendicular, and are read in downwards, commencing with the column to the extreme right of the reader. The beginning of a Japanese book is thus where our volumes end. The paper used for letters is thin, and in rolls, the written part being torn off when the note is finished; for official despatches large ruled sheets of superior paper are now in fashion. The signature of the writer is always placed at the foot of the page, while the name of the person addressed is written near the top, with some honorific title appended to it. Whenever the title of the sovereign occurs in an official document, it is either placed as the first character in a fresh column, or else a small space, generally of size sufficient to contain one character, is left vacant immediately above it. In a letter numerous honorifics are used, and these serve to distinguish the second person ; in speaking of himself the writer omits these, and sometimes also writes the characters in a rather smaller hand and slightly towards the side of the column instead of in the centre. This is of course done in affectation of humility, and is a truly Asiatic idea. The honorific expressions applied only to the mikado himself would suffice to compose a small glossary ; some of these are exceedingly flowery, as, for instance, the "Phoenix Car," the "Dragon Chariot," the "Jewelled Throne," &c.

The language of the Aino tribes in the island of Yezo is totally distinct from the pure Japanese tongue. There does not as yet exist any satisfactory dictionary to throw light upon it, and it can now only be regarded as a kind of local patois, intelligible to the Ainos alone. Whether this be the descendant of the most ancient form of speech amongst the inhabitants of Japan, it is impossible to conjecture. It does not in sound resemble pure Japanese, being guttural, and spoken in a much lower key.

The natives of the Riukiu group also possess a language of their own, but this does not differ in any great degree from Japanese. Many of the persons of the better classes speak Japanese with per-feet correctness, and it is also stated that the higher officials are acquainted with the court dialect of China. The Riukiu tongue may be described as nothing more than a very strongly marked dialect of Japanese, and in it there are still preserved many words long since obsolete in Japan itself. In writing, the Chinese characters are chiefly used.1


Literature in Japan has of late years received far more attention and careful study than in ancient times, if we are to judge by the multitude of recently published books as compared with those exist-ing even less than a century ago. The introduction of printing presses with movable type has no doubt been the principal cause of this ; wooden blocks were in use far earlier, but it was a work of great labour to prepare them; and, as only a certain number of copies could be struck from them, in the case of any work much sought after the demand very soon exceeded the supply. As many of the Old manuscripts have been set up in type and published in the modern style, there is no great difficulty in procuring specimens of the ancient literature.

In the earliest times Kiôto was the principal if not almost the only seat of learning and literature in Japan. Interminable wars and feuds kept the inhabitants of the eastern portion of the empire too fully occupied with military affairs to allow of their being able to engage in more learned and peaceful pursuits, even had they so wished. The court of the mikado at Kiôto enjoyed a far more tranquil existence, and the nobles composing that court devoted themselves with zest to literary pursuits. Poetry was by them held in high honour, and received perhaps the greater share of their attention; but thie writing of diaries seems also to have been a favourite occupation, and examples of these, still extant, afford a very interesting insight into the mode of life then prevalent at the court and in the neighbourhood of Kiôto.

The ancient literature of Japan contains but few works of a popular character. Almost everything then composed that is still extant was written by and for the members of the learned circle around the court, and was thus exclusively adapted to the minds of the well-read and highly educated class. Later on, in the 10th century, when the learned were devoted chiefly to the study of Chinese, the cultivation of the Japanese language was in a great measure abandoned to the ladies of the court. A very large pro-portion of the best writings of the best age of Japanese literature was the work of women ; and the names of numerous poetesses and autheresses are quoted with admiration even at the present time.

FOOTNOTES (page 586)

1 The scientific study of Japanese in Europe is of comparatively modern date. The chief names associated with it are Franz von Siebold, J. Hoffmann, Léon de Rosny, and Pfizmaier. Among Léon de Rosny’s works maybe mentioned Introduction à l’étude de la languq japonaise (1857), Manuel de la lecture japonaise (1859), Recueil de textes japonais (1863), Cours de japonais (1869), Dictionnaire japonais-français-anglais (Paris, 1857). Pfizmaier is the author of a Japanese-German-English Dictionary (Vienna, 1851), of a Japanese chrestomathy (Vienna, 1847), Untersuchungen über den Bau der Aino Sprache (1852), &c.,and has published a variety of critical papers and Japanese texts in the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy. English workers in Japanese are E. Satow, Aston, Chamberlain, Alcock, Hepburn.

The earliest of the extant Japanese records is a work entitled the Kojiki, or "Record of Ancient Matters," commonly asserted to date from the year 711. Prior to that time, in 620 and again in 681, two other works treating of ancient Japanese history are said to have been compiled, but neither has been preserved. The emperor Temmu (673-686 A.D.), according to the preface to the Kojiki, resolved to take measures to preserve the true traditions from oblivion, and he therefore had all the records then existing carefully examined, compared, and purged of their faults. Their contents were then committed to memory by a person in the imperial household, named Hiyeda no Are. Before, this record could be reduced to writing, the emperor died, and for twenty-five years Are’s memory was th soh depository of what afterwards became the Kojiki. At the end of this interval the empress Gemmiô (708-715) commanded one of her ministers to write it down from the mouth of Are, and the work was thus completed at the end of the year 711. Soon after this, in 720, another work was completed entitled the Nihongi, or "Japanese Record," which is said to have so far superseded the Kojiki that the latter was almost forgotten. The Nihongi, like the Kojiki, appeared during the reign of an empress (Genshô, 715-723), and the yet earlier work of the year 620 was commenced under the auspices of the empress Suiko (593-628); the person called Are is also by some supposed to have been a woman. The Kojiki is to a veiy large extent pure Japanese, while in the Nihongi there are to be found numerous traces of direct Chinese influence: the chief object of the one was to preserve the form and spirit of Japanese antiquity, while the other rather fell in with the growing adoption of Chinese ideas. Both works may be described as ancient histories, purporting to commence from the "divine age" and the very origin of all things, and replete with allusions to Japanese cosmogony and legends of antiquity; they are held to be the chief exponents of the Shintô faith, or "way of the gods." They formed a basis for many subsequent works of almost similar style, and were the subject of numerous commentaries. Of these latter writings the one demanding special mention is the Kojiki-den, an edition of the Kojiki with an elaborate commentary by a renowned scholar named Motoori Norinaga, who lived during the 18th century. It was commenced in 1764, but the first part was not completed until 1786 ; the second was finished in 1792, and the concluding portion in 1796. The printing of this great work was begun in 1789, and concluded in 1822, Motoori himself having died in 1801.1

Foremost among the later Japanese historical works is the Dainihonshi, or "History of Great Japan," in two hundred and forty books. This was composed under the direction of one of Iyéyasu’s grandsons, the famous second lord of Mito (1622-1700), commonly known as Mito no Kômon sama. This illustrious noble was a noted patron of literature, and collected a vast library by purchasing old books from various temples or shrines and from the people. At the old castle-town of Mito (in the province of Hitachi) there are still pointed out the ruins of this noble’s library building, situated for greater safety within the castle moat, hard by the palace. Tradition says that among the numerous scholars who aided the lord of Mito in compiling the Dainihonshi there were several learned Chinese who had fled to Japan from the tyranny of their Manchu conquerors. This book is the standard history of Japan to the present day, and all subsequent writers on the, same subject have taken it as their guide. Of all the succeeding histories the most worthy of note is the Nihon Guaishi, or "External History of Japan," by an author named Rai Sanyo (born 1780, died 1832), who also composed several other works, all of them in classical Chinese. The Guaishi is the most widely read, and forms the chief source from which Japanese men of education derive their knowledge of the history of their own country. It was first published in 1827, and numbers twenty-two volumes; the author was occupied for no less than twenty years in its composition ; and he appends a list of two hundred and fifty-nine Japanese and Chinese works from which he drew his materials. The book treats, in order, of the great families that held supremary after the commencement of the military domination and the decadence of the mikado’s authority, and thus introduces the reader to the Taira, Minamoto, Hôjô, Kusunoki, Nitta, Ashikaga, later Hôjô, Takéda, Uyésugi, Môri, Ota, Toyotomi, and Tokugawa houses. Many of these sections are necessarily very short, as they treat of only one or perhaps two generations, but the records of the chief clans are of considerable length. The writer invariably identifies him self with the particular family in each case, and thus the transactions of two or more factions who strove together for the supreme power at certain epochs have to be detailed twice or even thrice, each time from a different point of view and with varied colouring. The whole period thus rehearsed extends from the middle of the 12th century to the beginning of the 18th. Many other historical works exist, written in less learned style, and adapted for popular reading and the instruction of young students. The Gempei Seisuiki, or "Record of the Rise and Fall of the Gen and Hei," is a noteworthy specimen of its class ; it treats only of the two rival clans of Minamoto and Taira, and of the deeds and feats of arms performed by the heroes on both sides; Most of these popular histories are illustrated by woodcuts, in any cases taken from portraits, &c., in ancient scrolls or paintings.

Poetry having always been a favourite study, it is not surprising that there should exist numerous volumes of verses either written or collected by tlie old court nobles. Of these the most ancient is the Manyôshiu, or "Collection of a Myriad Leaves," which dates probably from early in the 8th century. But this work, notwithstandingits great antiquity, is perhaps less familiar to the Japanese than the Hiakuninshiu, or "Collection of One Hundred Persons," which appeared considerably later, and includes some pieces written by emperors themselves. This was followed by almost numberless minor volumes of the same kind. Verse-making attained to such favour that it was a usual custom for one of the nobles to invite together several of his friends noted for their scholarship, solely for the purpose of passing away the time in this occupation. The collections thus obtained were either kept in the original manuscript or printed for convenience, the verses were in nearly all cases iii the style known as uta, which may be described as the purer Japanese ode as opposed to the shi, or style of Chinese poetry introduced in later years, and much affected by men of learning. The uta usually consists of thirty-one syllables, the arrangement being in what may be called 5 lines, containing 5, 7, 5, 7, and 7 syllables respectively. The meaning is continuous, though there is often a slight break at the end of the third line, what follows being in antithesis to what has gone before, or a fresh simile with identical meaning but a varied expression. Thus if the position of the two portions of the whole uta be reversed, the meaning is generally in no way altered. Each uta is complete in itself, and expresses one single idea.. The Japanese do not possess any great epics, or any didactic poems, though some of their lyrics are, happy examples of quaint ways of thought and modes of expression. It is, however, a hard task to translate them into a foreign tongue with any hope of giving an exact rendering of the allusions contained in the original.2 The uta are often inscribed on long strips of variegated paper; and it is even now a common practice, when offering a present, to send with it a verse composed for the occasion by tho donor. Again, even down to very recent times, when a man had determined to commit suicide, or was about to hazard his life in some dangerous enterprise, it was by no means uncommon for him to compose and leave behind him a verse descriptive of his intention and of the motive urging him to the deed. It is stated in Japanese histories that Sanétomo, the third and last shôgun of the Minamoto house, was so extravagantly fond of poetry that any criminal could escape punishment by offering him a stanza.

Probably the largest section of Japanese literature is that treating of the local geography of the country itself. The works on this subject are exceedingly numerous, and include guide-books, itineraries, maps and plans, notes on celebrated localities, &c. In most cases only one particular province or neighbourhood forms the subject of the one book, but as very minute details are usually given these works are often of considerable length. Every province in Japan possesses many scenes of historic interest, and can boast of ancient temples, monuments, and other memorials of the past (this is especially the case in those, lying immediately around Kiôto or Tôkiô); and it is to preserve and hand down the old traditions relating to them that these guides to celebrated localities have been compiled. They have much resemblance to the county histories in England. Although mainly geographical, they contain no inconsiderable store of historical information, which, as a rule, is printed at the head of each section. The traveller can thus ascertain without difficulty the names of the principal villages, rivers, hills, &c., and can decide what temples, shrines, or monuments along his route are worthy of a visit. Inns, ferries, lodging-houses, &c.., receive particular attention. The Japanese maps are not, as a, whole, very correct ; the greater part are struck from wooden blocks, copperplate engraving having been but lately introduced. Many of the sheets are coloured. The roads are laid down with some degree of care, and distinctive marks are allotted to the former castle-towns, the post-towns, and the minor villages; the distance from one town to its nearest neighbour is usually added in small characters along the line indicating the road. Very few, maps include the whole of the country; most of them show only a few provinces, and some consist of a series of engravings, each plate being devoted to a single province. Plans of all the cities and of the larger towns are easily procured, and these are drawn for the most part very correctly; there are also road-books of the chief highways showing simply the towns, rivers, &c., along the route in question, much used by travellers in the interior.

There are not many works on art, though there have been published several collections of engravings from drawings by famous Japanese painters. Of late years, however, some slight impetus has been given to this branch of literature, and many of the older

FOOTNOTES (page 587)

(1) See a most interesting paper entitled "The Revival of Pure Shintô," by E. Satow, in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, vol. iii., 1874-5.

(2) See the masterly treatise on this subject, entitled Classical Poetry of the Japanese, by B. H. Chamberlain, London, 1880.

editions have been reprinted. Some works on ancient pottery and other antiquities have also appeared.

The drama does not hold in Japan the position it enjoys in European countries. No classic author such as Shakespeare was ever known, and the pieces represented on the stage are as a rule of a popular character. The style of these plays is often rather stilted, a large number of ancient and almost obsolete words and expres-sions being used; but the ordinary farces and light pieces are in the everyray colloquial. Theatre-going is a favourite amusement, especially among the lower classes in the larger towns.

The growth of the newspaper press during the past few years deserves special attention. At the period of the recent revolution there existed but one publication that could be properly classed under this head,—the so-called "Government Gazette," which was read only by the official class, for whom alone its contents possessed any interest. But since then so many newspapers have come into existence that the list for the whole country now comprises several hundreds. In the chief cities they are issued daily, in country districts every two or three days or only once a week. The Tôkiô papers have the widest circulation, and are forwarded even to the most remote post-towns. Among these the Nicki-nichi Shimbun ("Daily News"), the Chôya Shimbun ("Court and Country News"), and the Hôchi Shimbun ("Information News") are per-haps the best known ; the first-named is a semi-official organ. These journals appear on every day except holidays. They are all similar in style : the first page contains Government notifications and a leading article, the second miscellaneous items of information, and the third contributed articles, sometimes of a political but oftener of a popular or satirical character, while the fourth page is devoted to advertisements. The papers are chiefly printed from movable metal type. The style of composition is principally Chinese, interspersed with kana at intervals ; but the papers published for the express benefit of the very low classes are almost entirely in kana, and are in many cases illustrated by rough wood-cuts. Freedom of the press is as yet unknown, and many an editor has been fined or imprisoned for publishing what was deemed by the officials an infraction of the press laws recently notified. These laws are in some respects very stringent, and the newspaper press is in no slight degree trammelled by them. Before a paper is started, a petition requesting the permission of Government must be sent in and a promise made that if such permission be granted the press laws shall be strictly obeyed. The paper, once it is started, is under the supervision of the local officials, and whatever they may deem to be a contravention of the laws in question is published by fine, imprisonment, or suspension or total abolition of the offending journal. It is needless to point out that under this system anything like free and open criticism of the proceedings of Government is well nigh impossible, although ingenious plans have been contrived, whereby, though keeping within the actual letter of the law, the editor can proclaim his true views on the subject under discussion. A very common method is to draw a satirical picture of Japan under the name of some other country. The bonds imposed by the Government are felt to be galling, and perfect freedom of the press would be hailed with delight by the exceedingly large and influential class interested in the maintenance and publication of this kind of literature.

Another large section consists of romances or novels, some of considerable length. In many instances the fiction is woven in with a certain degree of historical fact, as, for instance, in following the supposed adventures of some noble’s retainer, during one of the campaigns of the medieval civil wars. In these, as in European works of the same description, the reader is generally introduced to a hero and heroine, whose thrilling adventures are described in graphic terms. Pretty little fairy-tales also abound, and short story-books with small woodcuts fill every bookstall in the streets. Many of these are entirely written in kana, and, the prices being very mode-rate, they are within the reach of even the lowest classes. Unfortunately, hardly any of these popular works would bear translation into a foreign language. Children’s toy books, illustrated with large and gaudy pictures in colours, and representing chiefly the warlike heroes of ancient days or the noted actors of modern times, complete the final section of the very interesting literature of Japan. (T. M’C.)


The range of Japanese art, its origin, and its progress, in con-nexion with some of its most characteristic features, cannot fail to interest all true lovers of art, especially as applied to industries and manufactures. In this latter category should be placed all those applications of art "in the vast and diversified region of human life and action," to quote Mr Gladstone’s words, "where a distinct purpose of utility is pursued, and where the instrument employed aspires to art outward form of beauty,"—in which consists "the great mass and substance of the Kunst-Leben, the art-life of a People." As it is within these limits that art has taken its chief development in Japan it is in this respect more especially that some account wild be given here of its leading characters and principles.

If art in its application to purposes of utility may be taken as the first stage in all countries towards the higher art more especially appeal to the imaginative and intellectual faculties, the degree of perfection attained by any nation in this first Kunst-Leben must be taken into account in judging of their artistic power and capabilities. Viewed in this light, it is not too much to say that no nation in ancient or modern times has been richer in Art-motifs and original types than the Japanese. They un-doubtedly have the merit of having created one of the few original schools of decorative art handed down to us from past ages,—a school uninfluenced by any foreign admixture, if we except the first rudiments of all their arts and industries, derived in remote periods from their more advanced neighbours the Chinese, but fron that time left to native influences and powers of development. A strangely constituted race, unlike even the Chinese, from whom in fact they may have descended, voluntarily maintaining an iso-lated state for a long succession of centuries, the. Japanese nation has grown up under the circumstances best adapted to produce originality, and the "insular pride" so natural in their isolated position among a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. Thus left to themselves, the genius of the race has led them rather to direct their efforts to confer beauty on objects of common utility and materials of the lowest value than to create masterpieces of art to be immured in palaces or only exhibited in museums. The faculty of making common and familiar things tell pleasurably upon the ordinary mind, by little artistic surprises and fresh in-terpretations of the common aspects of natural objects and scenes, is specially their gift, and a gift as valuable as it is rare. It is from this standpoint that the art of Japan should be viewed for a right appreciation of its claims to admiration, and for the proper application of the lesson it conveys to art-workmen and manufac-turers of objects of utility.

Previous to the London International Exhibition of 1862 Japan had in fact been a sealed book to the Western world, save in so far as a small collection of industrial and natural products of the country to be seen at the Hague could afford information. The Portuguese via Macao, and later the Dutch traders allowed to occupy a factory at Nagasaki in Japan in the 17th and 18th centuries, were in the habit of shipping a few articles for Europe, of utilitarian rather than ornamental character. These consisted chiefly of dinner services of porcelain made to order after European models-known as "Old Japan"—with heavy gilding and staring colours, as unlike any native work as can well be imagined. Lacquered cabinets and large coffers or chests of rough workmanship also found their way to Europe, and some of these are still occasionally to be met with in old country houses or curiosity shops, both in England and on the continent. When the London exhibition, therefore, made its display in the "Japanese court," followed, as this was, by a great exhibition in Paris in 1867 and in Vienna in 1875, the Japanese contributions to which were carefully selected on a large scale by the Japanese Government itself, the rich treasures of art-work came upon Europe as a new revelation in decorative and industrial arts, and have continued since to exercise a strong and abiding influence on all industrial art-work. In London, as in every Continental capital, specimens of Japanese manufacture in great variety speedily followed in the shop windows ; and large importations, taking place almost monthly at depôts in London, are speedily bought up to be distributed over the country, and sold in retail. In the International Exhibition of Paris in 1878, the "Japanese court" again presented a matchless collection of perfect workmanship and design in every variety of material. In textile fabrics, such as silks, gauzes, crapes, and embroidery; in bronzes, cloisonnés, champlevé, repoussé, inlaid and damascened work ; in art-pottery, faience, and porcelain ; and in lacquer and carved wood and ivory,—there was a bewildering variety; but only one opinion prevailed as to the palm of superiority due to them. The inferiority of most of the articles of the same class exhibited in the adjoining "Chinese court," which from its close proximity provoked while it afforded every facility for a close com parison, was very marked. If other test of excellence were needed, it is amply supplied by the flattery of imitation ; though the mis chief of merely copying Japanese art work, without any knowledge of the history, religion, popular legends, or the artistic tastes which inspire the workman in Japan, is obvious in the vulgarized reproductions and the incongruous combinations now so common. They may be Japanesque, but they are certainly not Japanese in spirit, feeling, or execution. Defects are exaggerated, and excel-lences are lost sight of altogether.

Before proceeding with a general survey of the most characteristic features of Japanese art, it may be useful for purposes of reference to give a list of English works that have appeared in recent years on this subject. Mr John Leighton in the spring of 1863 was the first to draw public attention to the collection of Japanese objects in the exhibition of 1862 and their artistic merit, by a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution, which was afterwards printed. Dr C. Dresser, in his Art of Decorative Design, published his opinion that Japan could "supply the world with the most beautiful domestic articles that we can anywhere procure"; and both in that work and in another entitled Unity in Variety, as deduced from the Vegetable Kingdom, he makes particular reference to Japanese decorative work. A series of articles on "Art and Art Industries in Japan," which appeared in the Art Journal in 1875-76, were priblished, with considerable additions, in a single volume in 1878. About the same time two works appeared on the same subject, J. J. Jarves’s Glimpse at the Art of Japan (1876) and Messrs Audsley & Bowes’s Keramic Art of Japan (1875-80). A fourth work entitled Fugaku Hiyaku-Kei, or a Hundred Views of Fusiyama, by Hokusai, with introductory and explanatory prefaces from the Japanese, and descriptions of the plates by J. V. Dickins of the Middle Temple, reproduces facsimile plates of the original collection of this celebrated native artist, and even to the paper and form of the thin volumes is a perfect counterpart of the original work as published in Japan. Lastly, there has appeared a valuable contribution to our materials for an intelligent judgment, in Thomas Cutler’s Grammar of Japanese Ornament and Design (1881). The plates, exceeding sixty in number, are preceded by a carefully written introductory essay, giving a discriminative survey of the chief art-industries and the principles of Japanese ornamentation.

Art in Japan, it has been well observed, "is not, as in Europe, the grafting of one style upon another, and the accumulated knowledge of all the various schools from the remotest antiquity." It has been a growth unaffected by any extraneous influences, self-contained and strictly national, and hence the astonishment and delight created when the art of Japan was first revealed to the outside world. It is in comparing the decorative art of Japan with that of China that we see how far the former has distanced its early Chinese masters, and how thoroughly it has produced a school peculiarly its own. Commenting on its application to ceramic ware, lacquer, bronzes, textile fabrics, &c., Mr Cutler has well remarked, "if we study the decorative art of the Japanese, we find the essential elements of beauty in design, fitness for the purpose which the object is intended to fulfil, good workmanship, and constructive soundness, which give a value to the commonest article, and some touch of ornament by a skilful hand, together creating a true work of art."

The school of art due to the native genius of the Japanese as a race is essentially decorative, and, in its application, to a great degree purely industrial. Pictorial art as understood in Europe can hardly be said to have any existence in Japan. Most of their decorative designs consist of natural objects treated in a conventional way. This conventionalism is, however, so perfect and free in its allurements that nature seems to suggest both the motive and the treatment. Though neither botanically nor ornithologically correct, their flowers and their birds show a truth to nature, and a habit of minute observation in the artist, which cannot be too much admired. Every blade of grass, each leaf and feather, has been the object of loving and patient study. It has been rashly assumed by some of the writers on Japanese art that the Japanese do not study from nature. All their work is an emphatic protest against so erroneous a supposition. It is impossible to examine even the inferior kind of work without seeing evidences of minute and faithful study. It can in fact be shown conclusively that the Japanese have derived all their fundamental ideas of symmetry, so different from ours, from a close study of nature and her processes in the attainment of endless variety.

It is a special feature in their art that, while often closely and minutely imitating natural objects, such as birds, flowers, and fishes, the especial objects of their predilection and study, they frequently combine the facts of external nature with a conventional mode of treatment better suited to their purpose. During the long apprenticeship the Japanese serve to acquire the power of writing with the brush the thousand complicated characters borrowed from the Chinese, they unconsciously cultivate the habit of minute observation and the power of accurate imitation, and with these a delicacy of touch and freedom of hand which only long practice could give. A hair’s breadth deviation of a line, or the slight inclination of a dot or an angle, is fatal to good caligraphy, both among the Chinese and the Japanese. When they come to use the pencil therefore in drawing, they are possessed of the finest instruments in accuracy of eye and free command of the brush. Whether a Japanese art worker sets himself to copy what be sees before him or to give play to his fancy in combining what he has seen with some ideal in his mind, the result equally shows a perfect facility of execution and easy grace in all the lines.

In their methods of ornamentation the Japanese treat every object flatly, as do their Chinese masters to this day, and this to a certain extent has tendcd to check any progress in pictorial art, though they have obtained other and very admirable decorative effects. Without being, as Mr Cutler, in common with some other writers, assumes, ignorant of chiaroscuro, or the play of light and shadow, it is true that they usually, though not invariably, paint in flat tones as on a vase, and so dispense with both. It is Dot a picture so much as a decoration that they produce, but it is a decoration full of beauty in its harmonized tints and graceful freedom of design. The delicacy of touch is everywhere seen, whether bird or loaf or flower or all combined be chosen as the subject. The Japanese artist especially excels in conveying an idea of motion in the swift flight of birds and gliding movements of fishes, one of the most difficult triumphs of art.

It has been said that the golden age of Japanese art is over and gone, and that the conditions no longer exist, and can never be renewed, under which it has developed its most characteristic excellences. A feudal state, in which the artist and the workman were generally one and the same person, or at least in the same feudal relation to a chief who was bound to support them working or idle, and took pride in counting among his subjects or serfs those who could most excel in producing objects of great beauty and artistic value, is a condition as little likely to return in Japan as the former isolation and freedom from all foreign influences of the people. Under these altered circumstances it is to be feared that Japanese art has culminated, and shown the best of which it is capable. But if the hour of decadence has arrived, and a deterioration of taste inevitably set in, by an intermixture of foreign and debasing influences overlaying original thought and motifs, and loading to imitations of European vulgarities, we have the more reason to be grateful to those who, like Messrs Bowes & Audsley and Mr Cutler, have undertaken to preserve by costly and faithful examples works produced in the most brilliant period in the life of a singularly gifted people. One of the characteristic features of all Japanese art is individuality of character in the treatment, by which the absence of all uniformity and monotony or sameness is secured. Repetition without any variation is abhorrent to every Japanese. He will not tolerate the stagnation and tedium of a dull uniformity by mechanical reproduction. His temperament will not let him endure the labour of always producing the same pattern. Hence the repetition of two articles the exact copy of each other, and, generally, the diametrical division of any space into equal parts, are instinctively avoided,—as nature avoids the production of any two plants, or even any two leaves of the same tree, which in all points shall be exactly alike. The application of this principle in the same free spirit is the secret of much of the originality and the excellence of the art of Japan. Its artists and artisans alike aim at symmetry, not by an equal division of parts as we do, but rather by a certain balance of corresponding parts, each different from the other, and not numerically even, with an effect of variety and freedom from formality. They seek it in fact, as nature attains the same end. If we take for instance the skinsof animals that are striped or spotted, we have the best possible illustration of nature’s methods in this direction. Examining the tiger or the leopard, in all the beauty of their symmetrical adornment, we do not see in any one example an exact repetition of the same lines or spots on each side of the mesial line of the spine. They seem to be alike, and yet are all different. The line of division along the spine, it will be observed, is not perfectly continuous or defined, but in part suggested ; and each radiating stripe on either side is full of variety—in size, direction, and to some extent in colour and depth of shade. Thus nature works, and so following in her footsteps works the Japanese artist. The same law prevailing in all nature’s creation, in the plumage of birds, the painting of butterflies’ wings, the marking of shells, and in all the infinite variety and beauty of the floral kingdom, the lesson is constantly renewed to the observant eye.

Among flowers the whole family of orchids, with all their fantastic extravagance and mimic imitations of birds and insects, is especially prolific in examples of symmetrical effects without any repetition of similar parts or divisions into even numbers. We may take any one of this class almost at random for a perfect illustration. The- Oncidium leucochilum is by no means the most eccentric or baroque member of the family of orchids. But in its uneven number of similar parts, and the variety in form and colour by which a symmetrical whole is produced, there is nothing left to be desired, The sepals are nearly alike, but not quite, either in size, shape, or colour-marking. These are balanced, not by three, but by two petals, which match each other, but are broader and more ovate in shape than the sepals, and, instead of being barred and spotted like the sepals, they are broadly painted to about half their length with a deep chestnut colour; and, while the lip rising from the centre is pure white and wholly different in form, texture, and colour, the crest rising from the base with tubercles is yellowish, with patches of reddish-brown.

This assemblage of parts, so diverse in form, number, and colour, nevertheless forms a single flower of exceeding beauty and symmetry, affording the strongest contrasts and the greatest variety imaginable, such as delight the Japanese artist’s mind. The orchids may be taken as offering fair types of his ideal in all art work. And thus, close student of nature’s processes, methods, and effects as the Japanese art workman is, he ever seeks to produce humble replicas from his only art master. Thus may we understand how he proceeds in all his decorative work, avoiding studiously the exact repetition of any lines and spaces, and all diametrical divisions, or, if these be forced upon him by the shape of the object, exercising the utmost ingenuity to disguise the fact, and train away the eye from observing the weak point, as nature does in like circumstances. Thus if a lacquer box in the form of a parallelogram is the object, the artists will not divide it in two equal parts by a perpendicular line, but by a diagonal, as offering a more pleasing line and division. If the box be round they will seek to lead the eye away from the naked regularity of the circle by a pattern distracting attention, as, for example, by a zigzag breaking the circular outline, and supported by other ornaments.

A similar feeling is shown by them as colourists, and, though some-times eccentric and daring in their contrasts, they very seldom pro-duce discords in their chromatic scale. They have undoubtedly a fine sense of colour in common with other Eastern races, and a similarly delicate and subtle feeling for harmonious blending of brilliant and sober hues. As a rule they seem to prefer a quiet and refined style, using full but low-toned colours. They know the value of bright colours, however, and how best to utilize them cleverly, both supporting and contrasting them with their secondaries and complementaries, as Mr Leighton remarks.

Having thus taken a very rapid glance at some of the leading features of Japanese decorative art as a whole, and traced the prin-ciples that underlie and in great degree determine the processes by which the workman seeks to realize his ideal while taking nature’s methods for his guide, we must now pass in review the several art-industries in which they have most excelled. The following account of these, though by no means supplying an exhaustive list, may be considered to include the principal industries. Such, however, is the delicacy of touch and skill in manipulation exhibited by Japanese workmen of all kinds that, apart from the general principles applied in all decorative processes, the simplest toy box of wood or papier-maché is apt to be made a work of art, and as a piece of constructive workmanship is not easily rivalled, or in danger of being mistaken for the work of any other than Japanese hands.

Pottery and Porcelain.—There has been much discussion as to the source whence the Japanese derived their skill in pottery and porcelain. The general conclusion that, at a remote era, some Corean priests introduced the manufactory of porcelain from China, the country most advanced in civilization in the eastern half of Asia, may be accepted as sufficiently attested. There is evidence that both Chinese and Japanese have since that time borrowed largely from each other, while inventing new forms and processes by their own ingenuity, taste, and skill. Thus differences in treatment and working traditions would become the inheritance of each, giving rise to the very characteristic distinction which may be observed in the present day between Chinese and Japanese por-celain and pottery of all kinds, notwithstanding a certain generic likeness. The discovery of the art of making hard porcelain, the pâte dure of the French in contradistinction to the pâto tendre, cost European workmen much time and labour, after the first importations of Chinese and Japanese porcelain excited the admiration and envy of Europe; and the secret was never revealed by either Chinese or Japanese to any European.

There are to this day many secrets of these crafts as jealously guarded as ever. The mystery of crackled china, of lace-work translucent porcelain covered with glaze, and of the marvellous egg shell cups, and the process whereby these are enamelled and covered by a fine woven case of bamboo, as well as the composition and sources of their colours, are still so many secrets to the European manufacturers, although something has been divined or discovered quite lately as to crackle and lace-work porcelain.

The Japanese of late have been much given to lacquering their porcelain, but very often this is not burnt in, and washes off—nor even in the beginning has it much beauty to recommend it. Their enamel painting on this porcelain is in many cases very delicate and beautiful both in design and colour,—but perhaps not as a rule equal to the fine specimens of China of the Ming dynasty, or even of the reign of Kanghi, who was a great patron of the arts early in the 18th century. Of the art-pottery and stoneware of Satsuma and Hizen, and indeed of many other provinces in Japan, it may be said that nothing better in the material has ever been produced. The Japanese have no pretension to rank with the classic designs on the Etruscan and Greek vases, because they have never learned to draw the human figure correctly. But in flowers, birds, fishes, and insects the Greeks themselves never approached the perfection of Japanese art, where such objects give a beauty and value often to the very commonest piece of pottery, made with the finger and thumb for the chief tools, and retaining the impress of the skin on the surface.

The great variety of pottery and ceramic ware produced in Japan may most conveniently be arranged under the three heads adopted by Mr Franks in his useful Art Handbook for the Collection in the South Kensington Maseum:—(1) common pottery and stoneware; (2) a cream-coloured faience, with a glaze often crackled and delicately painted in colours; (3) hard porcelain. The best account perhaps of the very varied substances used by the Japanese in making these wares and forming their porcelain clay is to be found in the report published under the authority of the Japanese commission, Le Japon à l’Exposition Universelle de 1878.

Porcelain painted or enamelled with flowers and other designs is largely produced in the province of Hizen in the island of Kiushiu, of which Nagasaki, where there are large manufactories, is a port; but it is also manufactured in a great number of other provinces and districts. The decoration, whether in enamel colours or metals, is laid on after the final burning of the clay or pâte, and above the glaze. But the artists often live apart from the factories and independent of them, working at their own homes, and owning, separately or jointly according to circumstances, small ovens, where at a comparatively low temperature they can fix their easily fused enamels. Thus much of the finer egg-shell porcelain used to be sent in the white state to Tôkiô, Hizen, and other places, there to be decorated by artists of local celebrity. But from the Hizen factories also comes a great quantity of low-class porcelain for ship-ment at Nagasaki, to suit the demand of the European markets. That for the most part is vulgar in taste, made on European models for domestic use, and consists of toilet sets, tea services, jars, trays, &c., coarsely even if elaborately painted, akin to the ware so long received from Canton under similar conditions of deterioration. The colours are bad, with no refined tones. Light greens, red, and blue, all poor in quality, are most common, and have a vulgar and disagreeable effect. This is the result of a demand for cheap articles by tradesmen who have no taste themselves. But Arita, Kiôto, Kaga, Satsuma, and Owari are all centres whence the most char-acteristic and admired ceramic wares of Japan are obtained. Several varieties of enamelled and painted faience are produced in all, and from Satsuma and Owari, especially the former, the faience is very rich. The delicate tints of the paste, and the better ground which the pâte tendre furnishes for the reception of enamel colours compared with the pâte dure of the polished porcelain, give a special beauty to all this ware, while the soft creamy-looking crackled glaze adds an additional charm.

There is a kind of terra cotta and pottery or earthenware industry in Japan of which the produce has been largely exported of late years in the form of jars and censers or flower-pots. The objects selected for the decorative part are usually in very high relief and roughly modelled, consisting of flowers, foliage, or animals, but their artistic merit is not great, though as specimens of technical skill and mastery of all the difficulties offered by subject and material they are very remarkable.

Lacquer Ware.—China has given its name to all porcelain in the Western world, as the country whence it was first imported. So has Japan given its name to all lacquer ware, first introduced to the knowledge and admiration of Europe in the 17th century after the discovery of that country. The beauty and excellence of Japanese lacquer ware have never been matched in Europe. Not even in China, where the varnish tree is also indigenous, and the industry may date quite as far back, has equality been ever established. Japan reigns supreme, now as at first, in this, the most beautiful and perfect product of all her skilled labour and artistic power.

The unmatched and apparently unmatchable beauty of Japanese lacquer may be due to many causes. The varnish tree is of several kinds, and the Urushi tree growing in Japan (the fruit of which yields the vegetable wax), from which is derived the lacquer varnish, supplies, it is said, a finer gum than any other of the same species. It is extracted from the tree at particular seasons only, by incisions in the bark, and from first to last is subjected to many manipulations and refining processes, conducted with a patient attention and a delicacy such as could with difficulty be secured in any other country,—-perhaps not in Europe at any cost. It admits in these processes of various admixtures of colouring matter, and from the first gather-ing to the last use of it in highly finished work, increasing care as to the dryness or moisture of the atmosphere, the exclusion of every particle of dust, and other conditions is essential. The articles to be lacquered, whether cabinets or boxes of infinite variety in size and form, are generally made of light fine-grained pine wood, very care-fully seasoned, and smoothed so that not the slightest inequality of surface or roughness of edge remains. Layer after layer of the lacquer is laid on at stated intervals of days or weeks, and after each step the sanio smoothing process is repeated, generally with a lump of fine charcoal and the fingers, as the finest and most perfect of polishing instruments. These layers vary in number, according to the intended effect and perfection of the article, and also in rela-tion to the design. Very frequently this is either in basso or alto rilievo, in which ivory and agates, coral, or precious stones are inserted, as well as gold and silver in rich profusion. Some of the older and finer pieces of lacquer, which even in the early days of treaty relations in 1859 were rarely in the market, and now are exceedingly scarce in Japan itself, represent the labour of months and even years of the most skilled workmen, who must be artists as well as masters of the manual craft. On these articles they lavish all their art, and enrich them by every kind of decoration.

Fret patterns are in constant use in all Japanese art, sometimes in the form of borders, and more frequently in diapers, which they use with excellent effect on surfaces in failing up and varying the spaces, in combination witlr floral and other designs. Their love of vaxiety leads them to adopt several different diapers in covering any surface, often enclosing them tn irregular-shaped compartments, fitting into each other or detached according to the fancy of the artist and the shape of the object ornamented. The same kind of ornamentation and decorative art is carried out in their woodwork, as may constantly be seen in their cabinets of marquetrie and inlaid boxes. Their predilection for geometrical forms is best to be seen in their great variety of diapers.

Nor must their floral diapers be overlooked, consisting as they do of an almost infinite variety for covering whole surfaces, in which flowers and foliage form the material. In the spaces of decoration as in all else, the Japanese artist studiously avoids uni-formity or repetition of exact spacing. He repeats, but with the greatest irregularity possible, to disguise as it were the repetition of what is in effect the same design or pattern. In close connexion with the diaper system of ornamentation is that known as powder-ing, familiar enough in European art ; but in Japan, following the principle of irregularity, the decorator avoids any regular distribu-tion of the design adopted. Lastly, there is a style of ornamentation peculiarly Japanese which consists in the use of medallions grouped or scattered over a surface—of various colours and forms—and filled in with different diapers, the whole producing an effect as pleasing as it was novel when first introduced to European eyes. And in this treatment of medallion powdering may best be seen the triumph of this system for the avoidance of uniformity and diametrical division. The medallions being of definite forms, and usually geometrical in outline, the ingenuity displayed in overcoming the difficulty such forms present is very instructive. They are placed either singly or in groups—in the latter case partially, overlapping, and of different outlines—in different colours, and filled in with various diapers, the whole being irregularly distributed over the surface in such a way as to avoid diametrical division or uniformity of any kind.

This applies to the finer specimens of the work, where all the principles of surface ornamentation and design adopted by the Japanese may be seen in their greatest perfection. But lacquer is the common ware for domestic use, almost as common as pottery and earthenware are in Europe. Cups and saucers, trays and saké bottles, medicine boxes and dishes, are in the poorest houses; and so excellent is the varnish that neither boiling water nor oil will affect the surface. In the finer and older specimens this hardness increases with age, so that some of them can with difficulty be scratched with pin or needle. The value of such specimens, first introduced into England at the London exhibition of 1862, has now been fully recognized, and the cost of the best and oldest lacquer, always high, has greatly increased of late years. Dr Dresser mentioned in a recent lecture a box of about six inches square, for which he was asked in Japan £100, and he was told that in Yedo (now Tôkiô) fine specimens were "bringing their weight in gold." In the Paris exhibition of 1878 there was a large lacquer screen of great beauty valued at 65,000 francs. It, how-ever, was modern, and, with all its beauty, was over-priced. The Japanese also, besides applying lacquer with colours on porcelain, possess in rare perfection the art of lacquering on tortoiseshell and ivory. On these they present minute figures and land-scapes with a mixture of gilding and rich colours, sometimes in relief, at other times engraved and sunk, and in this manner they ornament miniature cabinets, jewel boxes, and other quaintly formed miniature boxes, medicine cases, &c., in a way to defy com-petition in their marvellous beauty and delicacy of execution.

Metals and Bronzes.—In all manipulations of metals and amal-gams the Japanese are great masters. They not only "are in pos-session of secret processes unknown to workmen in Europe," by which they produce effects beyond the reach of the latter, but show a mastery of their material in the moulding and designing of their productions which imparts a peculiar freedom and grace to their best work. A lotus leaf and flower and seed-pod they will produce with inimitable fidelity in the subtle curves and undulating lines and surfaces, and in the most minute markings of leaf and flower. So birds and fishes and insects cast in bronze seem instinct with life, so true are they to nature, while at other times the same objects are adopted for a purely conventional mode of treatment. Their inlaying and overlaying of metals, bronze, silver, and steel, more than rival the best productions of the ateliers of Paris or Berlin, and constitute a special art-industry, with some features of finish and excellence not yet attained in Europe.

Of the metallurgic triumphs of art which the Japanese may justly claim over all competitors, Chinese, Indian, or European, perhaps the greatest is the perfection to which they have brought the designs in "shakudô," an amalgam of which are usually made the breeches or buttons used to fasten their tobacco pouches and pocket-books, or to ornament the handles of their swords. Shakudô is chiefly of iron, relieved by partial overlaying of gold, silver, and bronze. One of the jurors (the late Mr Hunt) of the London exhibition of 1862, an employer of the highest artistic and mechani-cal skill in the working of the precious metals, was convinced, as he stated in his report to the commissioners, that "the Japanese were in possession of some means not known in Europe of forming amalgams, and of overlaying one metal on another, and in the most minute and delicate details introducing into the same subject, not covering an inch, silver, gold, bronze, &c., so as to make a variegated picture of divers colours."

Cloisonné, Champlevé, and Repoussé Work.—In the varied applications of the art of enamelling, the Japanese have run their great son rivals in cloisonné work very close, although upon the whole the Chinese have the superiority, their colouring being more brilliant and finely toned in harmony, and their work more solid and satis-factory both to the eye and the touch. A dull and sombre tone is generally adopted in Japanese cloisonné work, which much impairs the beauty of their good workmanship in its general effect.

The mode of producing cloisonné work has often been described. It derives this name from the process of building up the design in cells formed by raised septa varying from 1/10 to 1/12 of an inch in depth ; these labyrinthine cells forming elaborate patterns of flowers, diapers, frets, &c., are soldered on the surface of the vases selected, made generally of copper ; and into these cells the enamel of the consistence of oil paints and of the various colours required by the pattern is carefully pressed by a wooden spatula. When com-plete the piece is placed in a primitive kind of oven or "muffle," where it is fired with a regulated heat until the paste, is fused and converted into a vitreous substance, when it is allowed very gradually to cool. This is a process which, however primitively conducted, as most things are both in China and Japan, and with very simple tools and rude contrivances, is nevertheless one which requires to be watched with the greatest care and judgment. Too much heat would injure the colours, and might fuse the septa or the copper foundation, in which case the whole vessel would become misshapen, or clouded in colour and otherwise marred and rendered worthless. Apart from the risky nature of the process, the enamel colours are very valuable, and the artistic labour required in the pattern and manipulation is too great to allow cloisonné articles to become otherwise than costly even in China or Japan. And as to their reproduction in Europe, or any rivalry there, M. Christophile of Paris is understood to have devoted much time and money for the attainment of this object, and succeeded in producing some very beautiful specimens which were exhibited at one of the international exhibitions in London ; but the production proved too costly to pay as a matter of business. A good deal has been manufactured in China of late years, it is true, to meet a somewhat indiscriminating demand for articles in such great request. That these modern productions should be inferior to the older work, pro-duced in a much more leisurely way, and for temples or palaces rather than for sale in open market, will be readily understood.

The arts of champlevé and repoussé are not unknown to the Japanese, but both are less practised than the other kinds of metal work above described. Of the latter Mr Mounsey, late secretary of legation in Japan, succeeded in finding and bringing away many very fine specimens in silver.

Carving.—A nation showing such artistic power in metals, and in more fictile material, such as clay, could not fail to excel in wood and ivory carving. Perhaps in no department are they better known, owing to the large number of "nitsuké" as the little ivory groups of figures are called, replete with life and humour, that are to be seen in a hundred shops in every capital. These in the days now rapidly passing away used to be employed as buttons, and were as much matters of costly fancy as seals and rings or brooebes with us. Whether they take wood or ivory for their material, the result is equally admirable. There are nitsuké and nitsuké, however, as there are artists and artists. Many of the nitsuké that have been imported into Europe in vast quantities of late years are but poor specimens of the Japanese carver’s skill, fancy, and invention.

Wall Papers.—There is a great field for the display of their origin ality and love of variety in the wall papers, which are much used to ornament their walls and screens. What has already been said of their decorative system and methods of surface ornamentation applies to their wallpapers; and the system itself is nowhere so severely tried, because something of mechanical reproduction is unavoidable. Whether stencilled or printed, the design of a single square must of necessity be the same in each. By what force of imagination and ingenuity they disguise the effect of exact repetition, and lead the eye away from noticing the uniformity, can only be realized by inspection of the papers covering the walls of an apartment, and no description could supply a substitute. Suffice it to say that their art-principles triumph, even under this severe trial.

Textile Fabrics and Embroidery.—Of textile fabrics and embroidery, in both of which they have developed an industry peculiarly their own, something of the same kind may be said as of their wall papers. These fabrics have, however, been so familiarized in England by the eager adoption of the best and most novel in female costumes that their chief characteristics must be very generally known. It was the custom in former times for each daimio to have his private looms, for weaving the brocades which he himself and his wife and family required, and also the fabrics of less costly materials for his retainers. The robes manufactured for the court at Kiôto and Yedo were in like manner only to be had the imperial looms ; some of these, a gift from the shôgun on a minister taking leave of his court, were to be seen in the n exhibition of 1862.

But in many of the more common textile fabrics the best evi-dence perhaps may be found of the artistic feeling of the nation, and the universality of art work. Towels and dusters of the least expensive material often display very choice designs—as do also the Turkish and Syrian fabrics of the same quality. A piece of bamboo, a broken branch of blossoms, or a flight of birds in counter-changed colours, suffices in their hands to produce the most charming effect, in the most perfect taste. Their embroidery has never been excelled in beauty of diesign, assortment of colours, and perfection of needlework.

This summary of the leading characteristics of Japanese art, and the industries to which it has been applied with such unequalled success, is much too brief to be otherwise than imperfect. The art works and the art thought of a people so truly artistic as the Japanese have proved themselves to be form a subject of wide scope and great complexity. The reports issued by the Japanese commissioners at the great exhibitions held successively in Paris in 1867 and 1878, in Vienna in 1875, and in Philadelphia in 1876; and the report written by direction of the Japanese Government for the South Kensington Museum, and now embodied in the valuabe Art Handbook on Japanese Pottery, by Mr A. W. Franks, its editor, afford the best evidence of the extent and variety of art work for which as a nation they have now a world-wide reputation.

It is true, and strange as true, that the Japanese have apparently never sought to overstep the limits of a purely decorative art, and have thus stopped short of the art development of other nations. Whether this limitation maybe from some organic defect,or is merely a result of their neglect to study the human figure and master the difficulties of rendering the fine harmony of line and proportion seen in greatest perfection there, it is difficult to determine. Certain it is, they have never advanced so far. They have always been content to treat the human figure in a conventional style, much in advance of the Egyptian rendering, and quite incompatible with good drawing. (R. AL.)

Bibliography.—For its knowledge of Japan Europe was for a long time indebted mainly to the members of the Dutch colony; but since the restoration of intercourse between Japan and the Western nations a very extensive literature de rebus japonicis has grown up in the chief European languages. The following works are among the more important:—F. Caron, Beschrijvinge van het machtigh Koninckrijke Japan, Amst., 1649; R. Manley’s English version of Caron, London, 1663; A. Montanus, Gesantschappen . . . aan de Kaisaren van Japan, Amst., 1669; Kaempfer, History of Japan, Lond., 1728, a translation by J. G. Scheuchzer; Titsingh, Mémoires, &c., Paris, 1820; Thunberg, Voy. au Japan, Paris, 1795; G. R Meylan, Japan voorgesteld in Schetsen, Amst., 1830; Fischer, Bijdrage tot de kennis van het Japansche Rijk, Amst, 1833; Pistorius, Bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van Japan, Amst., 1849; Francis L. Hawks, Narrative of the American Expedition by Commodore Perry, New York, 1856; Fraissinet, Le Japon Contemporain, Paris, 1857; Lühdorf, Acht Monate in Japan nach dem Abschluss des Vertrages von Kanagawa, Bremen, 1857; Cornwallis, Two Journeys to Japan, Lond., 1859; Furet, Lettres, 4 M. Léon de Rosny sur l’archipel japonais et la Tartarie orientate, Paris, 1860; Vankattendijke, Uittreksel uit het dagboek van. . . gedurende zijn verblijf in Japan 1857-1859, Hague, 1860; Heine, Japan und seine Bewohner, Leipsic, 1860 (new edition, 1880); De Lyndon, Souvenir du Japan, vues d’après nature, The Hague, 1860; Léon de Rosny, La civilisation japonaise, Paris, 1860; Rob. Fortune, Yedo and Peking, Lond., 1683; Alcock, The Capital of the Tycoon, Lond., 1863, Lindau, Un Voy, author du Japon, Paris, 1864; Paupe van Meerdewort, Virf jaren in Japan 1857-63, Leyden, 1867; LeonPages, Historie de la religion Chrétienne au Japon 1598-1651, Paris, 1867; The Official Report of the Prussian Novara Exped. In East Asia, Berlin, 1864, &c.;Henry Schliemann, La Chine et Le Japon, Paris, 1867; Aimeé Humbert, Le Japon illustré, Paris, 1870 (English transl., Lond., 1873); Griffis, The Mikado’s Empire, New York, 1870-1874; Mitford, Tales of Old Japan, Lond., 1871; Bayard Taylor, Japan in Our Day, New York, 1872; Adams, History of Japan from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, Lond., 1874-75; Savio, Il Giappone al giorno d’oggi, Milan, 1875; Metchnikoff, L’Empire japonais, Geneva, 1878; Le Gendre, Progressive Japan, a study of the Political and Social Needs of the Empire, New York, 1879; I.L. Bird, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan,Lond., 1880; Sir Edward J. Reed, Japan, its History, Traditions, and Religion, Lond., 1880; J.J. Rein, Japan nach Reisen und Studien in Auftrage der K. Preuss. Regierung dargestellt. vol. 1., "Natur und Volk des Mikadoreiches," Leipsic, 1881. In Feb. 1881 appeared vol. 1. of an elaborate and valuable Handbook for Travellers in Japan, by E. Satow and A.G.S. Hawes, arrnaged on the model of Murray’s Handbooks,See further L. Page’s Bibliographie japonaise ou catalogue des ouvrages relatifs au Japon qui ont été publiés depuis le XVe, siècle jusqu’ à nos jours, Paris, 1859; R. Goshe’s Japanese bibliography up to 1862 in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl. Gesellsch. Vol. xx., Supplement; and Bibliotheca japonica, Verzeichniss einer Sammlung japanischer Bücher in 1408 Bänden, Vienna, 1875. Much interesting information on Japanese matters will be found in Annales de l’extréme Orient; Mittheil, der Deutschen Ges. Für Natu-u. Völkerkunde Ostasiens (Yokohama and Berlin). As well as in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan and the Annuaire de la Soc. des Études japonaises, chinoises, &c., for 1873, &c., published with assistance of Em. Burnouf and other Orientalists of note.

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