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on which the Japanese piqued them- of a land. Where they are the world selves, than by their own deplorable ends for them. Their pride has no passion for gain. Japan, meanwhile, bounds, and their humanity no horizon. wrapped herself in a garment of thick Vanquished, they accepted a defeat of darkness. Her sons, who in times of which their remoteness from the rest peace had roamed the seas in the char- of their compatriots prevented their acter of adventurous explorers, were feeling all the brutal humiliation. Yet no longer allowed to quit her shores; they will continue for ages to taste the and the only trace left there by the bitterness of that defeat. Their semibrief visitation of the occident was the tropical climate has not rendered them use of tobacco, which became universal, torpid. Neither the charms of woman and a few firearms, that soon turned nor the spell of the bonze have any rusty.
great hold on them. What they love And now let the reader cast his eye best are warlike dances and sword ex. over a map of Japan. Let him con- ercise. Such are the people of Satsusider that slender archipelago lying ma. I have spent some time in their along the Asiatic continent in an ele- capital city, Kagoshima, and I still regant curve, like that of a waving vine- ceive from it the impression of a rude branch hung with unequal clusters of and circumscribed existence, in a bay. fruit. Of all the islands that darken encircled by mountains, a bay of heav. all the seas of earth, I know none so ing waters irradiated by dazzling sungracefully designed; of which the con- shine. In April the hills array them. tours are so supple and charming. But selves in azaleas and anemones, but this wavy empire calls up I know not the craters are always active. what image of a headless and inverte- Move on toward the north and you brate creature, sleeping on the crest will find mountains, forests, volcanoes of the waves. The life that circulates -a nature sweet and wild, but ever through its rings and folds seems not menaced by disaster. What vultures' to be animated by a single soul. But nests! What lairs for rebels! On the if this aspect of the country seems par- left the peninsula of Hizen; in front the tially to explain its lawless agitations, strait of Shimonosaki, under the goverit also fills us with admiration for norship of Prince Choshiu, who is himthose Tokugawa shoguns, who were self one of the vanquished. His two able to inform that serpentine body provinces command the Inner Sea. His with one mind and one will.
subjects are quite as haughty and diffTake first the island of Kuishiu cult as the men of Satsuma, but the at the southern extremity, the last and rivers of Central Japan flow past their biggest of the grape clusters. It lies territory. They have taste, keen inwith its group of lesser islands as telligence and a cultivated form of though severed from the rest of the speech. The Japanese who have been empire, leaning toward Formosa and in Europe say that Satsuma is Sparta, the Philippines. It received the first while Choshiu is Athens. Europeans, and, before them perhaps, The farther you go from this province the Malaysian invaders. But the old
the more docile you find the disposition invasions are forgotten; Christianity of the people and their characters are flourished there for but one hour, and less strongly marked. The very waves the men who people the slopes of the of the mediterranean sea of Japan uttermost cape, add to their insular wear a kind of human aspect from hav. vanity a sort of taciturn grimness-as ing reflected so many heroic faces and of sentinels stationed on the outposts divine phantoms. The island of Shi
koku, however, which forms the boun- iest city. The remote seats of the most dary upon one side of that azure ex. warlike clans, like Satsuma and Cho panse, nourishes a curious population. shiu, he does not venture to touch, but Sheltered by their ramparts of schist, he endeavors to circumscribe them. and facing the unknown Pacific, they The new daimios, who have been enmanage to escape, to some extent, the nobled and enriched by his conquest, observation of their masters. The men will receive the territory bordering on of Tosa live amid the same kind of those formidable fiefs. Down the long scenery as those of Satsuma; and their chess-board of Japan Yeyasu will siview of a wide expanse of ocean begets lently push his pawns against the in them a similar feeling of solitary im- pieces of his adversary, and he will portance. On the great island in their have the extraordinary sagacity to rear-which is a continent for the checkmate without taking them. doubly insulated folk of Japan-are the This man of brilliant genius, one of ancient provinces that constitute the the most notable of all those who have heart of the country and the grass- had the capacity for organizing a nagrown battle-fields; and there the sim- tion, was able, in the end, to reconcile ple web of life is beginning once more the separatism of the feudal system to be shot with threads of gold. There with the centralization of absolute poware Kioto, city of emperors and bonzes, He wrested to the use and made and Nara, once the seat of the imperial the strong support of his beneficent court, a home of art and learning, to despotism the narrow virtues which which the Italian harmony of its sweet feudalism cultivates, and the solidarity and sonorous name seems altogether and reverence for tradition which appropriate.
it imparts to provincial life. This But Yeyasu went farther still, until great pacificator built up a structure of he had put between himself and the peace that was destined to endure for emperor mountains which can
ages, on the foundation of a war of crossed only by the pass of Hakone, caste. He rescued from disgrace and and then he built at the mouth of the exalted the throne of the emperor, Sumida Gawa his new capital of Yed- whose palace had been for the fifty predo. Behind it Japan goes tapering vious years no better than a farmyard, away to the sea of Yeso-first a level where the chickens on which the poor stretch, then foot-hills where the soil god subsisted were caught by ladies on is exceeding rich, then snow-capped the very threshold of the imperial hall. mountains, long winters and infinite Yeyasu restored to the degraded soversecurity. The victor, setting his back eign his honors and his envelope of against that realm which he has first mystery. He enveloped him in a cloud garrisoned with his own creatures, al. of incense, and the reinstated divinity lows his eye to range over the rest of devolved upon his high-priest, the shothe empire. He puts forth a stealthy gun, the trivial care of human affairs. paw and clutches first the cities which The shogun, with the support of a had been exempted from the general council called the Bakufu, and having distribution, and which he transforms at his orders an inquisitorial police, into the shogunal strongholds: Naga- divided up the country into three hunsaki in the province of Kiushiu, the dred and sixty daimiats. Each daimio only port where a European is suffered was the absolute master of his own to land; Osaka, the principal port for province or canton and shogun of his the commerce of the internal sea, the samurai-who are the daimios of the great granary of Japan, and its wealth- lower classes. Shut up with them in
a fortified precinct, the approaches to of solemn fooling. Nevertheless, these which were all occupied by the mer- narrow enclosures, where life is reguchants and artisans who supplied their lated by ancient customs and a religion wants, he lived upon the produce of of the past, are wonderfully preservahis own fief, and everything nourished tive of ancestral institutions, of which in him the delusion of his own inde- they do not suffer the sap to escape. pendence, though, in reality, his power The political scheme of Yeyasu-perwas merely delegated. A strict watch meated as it is by the peculiar characwas kept over him; and he was re- ter of the soil-is the work neither of a moved if occasion required, like a mere revolutionist nor an ideologist. Its prefect. Presently he finds himself main achievement was to give definite obliged to reside half the time, or the employment to all the national in. whole of every other year, at Yeddo, stincts, good and bad, which had been and he must leave his family there as smothered and submerged in the civil hostages when he goes away.
These wars, with their alternations of cloud removals and the obligation to keep and fire. The individual man did not up a sumptuous residence at the sho- count. The family, constituted as in gun's capital, tend to impoverish him. the republics of Greece and Rome, was It is a favorite device in Japan to ruin the sole vital unit. The code under a man by crushing him under a load of which it exists makes no distinction honors.
between legality and morality. Only But if Yeyasu dismantles the feudal high state officials are permitted even fortress, he strengthens the defences to peruse that code. People are judged of the larger intrenchments. Far from by laws of which they know nothing, desiring the absorption of small prov. and are not expected to know anything. inces in a greater, he sedulously keeps Why, indeed, should they, since the inthem closed against one another, and dividual act is never considered from within their encircling walls, he ar- the moral point of view, nor the social ranges a complete hierarchy, a social act from that of utility? The magisscale of minute, but clearly marked, trates, those mirrors of government, degrees. He had grasped the fact that can but reflect its methods. Moreover, the very docility of the Japanese tem- the written laws are by no means 10per demands a restricted horizon. The merous, and the judges interpret them best defence for them against those according to custom, conscience, or the forms of infatuation to wbich their necessities of the moment. natural solicitude inclined them would Since no two of the cases brought be. be an indissoluble attachment to local fore their tribunal were ever precisely opinions and customs. He therefore identical, it would not do, they thought, subjected them to a kind of parochial –it would involve unfortunate mistakes tyranny, which was all the more strict -to depend too much upon previous because they exercised it over them- verdicts. They, therefore, make a new selves. All individuality had to subside jurisprudence for every separate case, to one general level. Men dreaded to and the judgments which they probe singular, and did not even suffer nounce are never referred to another their thoughts to stray outside the cir. court. The abstract idea of law has cle of secular conventions. Naturally never found its way into these minds indolent, their faculties became atro- which pass so easily from extreme vio phied; naturally nice, they perfected lence to extreme docility. But the idea things of no intrinsic value; naturally of duty ennobles and glorifies them, grave, they found pleasure in a species alternately subjugating and exalting. The child is blindly submissive to its steps, as they fall noiselessly on the parents; the wife to her husband; the soft matting, a musical sound becomes husband, if he be of low birth, to the audible, something like a
low, prosamurai; the samurai to the prince; longed whistle. You have trodden on the prince to the shogun. The only the spot where the floor sings. An commandments which are promulgated alarm has been given; and in the next and publicly affixed all over the em- room faces are at once composed, and pire have the brevity and the general- the hands which had been brandishing ity of the Decalogue. Everybody only fans, begin to toy with poniards. knows that the smallest theft is punish- But all these devices of an irresistible able with death. The land belongs to inquisition were partially neutralized nobody, because it all belongs, theoreti- by a sleepless devotion to the interests cally, to that sbadowy personage the of the community and a profound sense emperor. The shogun is but an over- of honor. The okugawa disciplined seer who permits its use by the daimios, others in that stoicism to which the who let it to the samurai, who farm it tragic adventures of the past had inout to the peasants. The whole nation ured their own souls. The individual subsists upon a grand system of equivo- oppressed in intellect, and repressed in cations.
all his native impulses, had no road Buddhism, once disarmed, was no open to renown save that of renunciamore to be dreaded. The noble Toku- tion and sacrifice. He summoned all gawa abandoned it to the common his pride to help him carry a burden people, and Confucianism was still the which he could not shake off. Always Bible of the samurai. They are both prepared for suicide, he despised a life slave-making systems; the one by vir- which offered no scope for thought, or tue of that passive resignation in which loved it only as encouraging the sterile al individuality is speedily dissolved, inventions of an exasperated fancy. the other because it makes men care- The souls of men became crystallized. less of servitude-if servitude be not If peace be indeed the supreme boon too strong a word to use of a nation to any people, Yeyasu may be looked which has preserved, under a long upon as a great benefactor. And if course of rigid constraint, the loftier the morality of the people consists virtues of its heroic time.
merely in the harmonious subordination Enslaved the Japanese surely were,
of its virtues to its political ends, and as much as any people can be. Their the universal subjugation of the indi. minds have borne for ages those two vidual to the state, the pious and traccertain marks of oppression—a habit of table yet valiant Japanese stood on a suspicion and a smiling hypocrisy. higher plane than the Occidental naThose whom I have known at all inti- tions. mately have always made me think of But however stationary a country those ancient seignorial residences may be, the fatal processes of life go which I visited at Kioto. You walk on incessantly within it. A government into them on a level; there are no locks may be, to all appearance, indestruction the doors, and the sliding frames ble, yet opposition and death will forge move silently along their grooves.
their silent way.
Behind that fair Veined woods and painted panels, and front of tranquility and assurance the Snow-white tatamis give you a smiling Tokugawa had to endure the reaction welcome. What frank and simple hos. of the same phenomena, the pitality! The whole palace is at your
anomalies which had preceded and predisposal.
All at once, beneath your cipitated the fall of the ancient
powers. The foresight of Yeyas perial power. But from the day when and the wisdom of Bakufu could Yeddo, in the insolence of its riches, but delay their progress.
abandoned that tradition of courtesy, The shogun became less and less of the eyes of the nation, blinded DO a personage, and gradually disappeared longer by the fumes of civil war, were behind his ministers. His effeminate gradually opened to the startling concourt, where great lords danced atten- trast between the splendor of the shodance and concubines aimed at gunal court and the destitution of the premacy, absorbed the entire wealth Heir of the Sun. Peace brought with of the empire, and all it taught the it to Japan a revelation of the fatal young nobility was to despise the fact that their political tradition had sword and paint their faces with skill. been belied for centuries. Yeddo became a city of courtesans and It was in the noble house of the Toronins, of ostentatious prodigality and wa themselves, in that of the expensive vice. The daimio fell under Prince of Mito, that this subversive the influence of his principal samurai. idea first dawned. He was one of those Intrigues were hatched in dark corners, who had given a warm welcome to the and coteries disputed the possession of Chinese philosophers exiled from their his person and his inheritance. From own country, and under their guidance end to end of Japan the inferior bad collected the materials for a hiswatches, controls, besets and finally tory of Japan. Studies of this nature directs his superior. It becomes the could not fail to bring out the fact unvarying law of Japanese life. But that the imperial power had been reverence for form, care for appear- usurped by the emperor's vassals. It ances, dread of the Bakufu, and the is quite probable that the Chinese, who utter impossibility of conceiving a dif- are keener than the sons of Japan, had ferent order of things, bridle and dis- helped by their explanations of the guise for a time the anarchy which is true doctrine of Confucius once more latent there.
to concentrate upon the Father of his The emperor, pensioned by the sho- People that sentiment of loyalty, which gun, lives in perpetual retirement in the had been wrested by time-honored fal. Residence at Kioto. The government, lacies to the benefit of the shoguns. forgetting the principles of Yeyasu, At all events, the principles of Mito either neglects him altogether or treats slowly worked their way across Japan him with derisive parsimony. Near until they reached the provinces of the beginning of the present century, Choshiu and Satsuma, where they were his divinity was bankrupt and his pal- welcomed with enthusiasm as reinace in such a state of dis-repair that the forcing the undying rancor of those rain came through the roof upon the provinces. imperial head. Of the princes who con- On the other hand, Shintoism, which stitute his immediate suite—the kuges had been disdained by the Tokugawa, -some are actually obliged to work for and cast into the shade by the Buddhist their living. I have been told by the ceremonial,--Shintoism which asserts Japanese themselves of men of that the divine origin of Japan and of its race who used to go in disguise by emperor's person, began to have for night and cook in the most popular res. the first time its theorists and expositaurants of the city. So long as the tors. They made a valiant stand shogun went every year, and did pub- against Chinese civilization, so-called, lic homage to the mikado, the people and those philosophers in pig-tails “who failed to remark the decline of the im- promulgated such fine maxims and as