Japanese Girls and Women



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The great cities of Japan afford remarkable opportunities for seeing the life of the common people, for the little houses and shops, with their open fronts, reveal the penetralia in a way not known in our more secluded homes. The employment of the merchant being formerly the lowest of respectable callings, one does not find even yet in Japan many great stores or a very high standard of business morality, for the business of the country was left in the hands of those who were too stupid or too unambitious to raise themselves above that social class. Hence English and American merchants, who only see Japan from the business side, continually speak of the Japanese as dishonest, tricky, and altogether unreliable, and greatly prefer to deal with the Chinese, who have much of the business virtue that is characteristic of the English as a nation. Only within a few years have the samurai, or indeed any one who was capable of figuring in any higher occupation in life, been willing to adopt the calling of the merchant; but many of the abler Japanese of to-day have begun to see that trade is one of the most important factors of a nation's well-being, and that the business of buying and selling, if wisely and honestly done, is an employment that nobody need be ashamed to enter. There are in Japan a few great merchants whose word may be trusted, and whose obligations will be fulfilled with absolute honesty; but a large part of the buying and selling is still in the hands of mercantile freebooters, who will take an advantage wherever it is possible to get one, in whose morality honesty has no place, and who have not yet discovered the efficacy of that virtue simply as a matter of policy. Their trade, conducted in a small way upon small means, is more of the nature of a game, in which one person is the winner and the other the loser, than a fair exchange, in which both parties obtain what they want. It is the mediæval, not the modern idea of business, that is still held among Japanese merchants. With them, trade is a warfare between buyer and seller, in which every man must take all possible advantage for himself, and it is the lookout of the other party if he is cheated.

In Tōkyō, the greatest and most modernized of the cities of the empire, the shops are not the large city stores that one sees in European and American cities, but little open-fronted rooms, on the edge of which one sits to make one's purchases, while the proprietor smiles and bows and dickers; setting his price by the style of his customer's dress, or her apparent ignorance of the value of the desired article. Some few large dry-goods stores there are, where prices are set and dickering is unnecessary; and in the kwankoba, or bazaars, one may buy almost anything needed by Japanese of all classes, from house furnishings to foreign hats, at prices plainly marked upon them, and from which there is no variation. But one's impression of the state of trade in Japan is, that it is still in a very primitive and undeveloped condition, and is surprisingly behind the other parts of Japanese civilization.

The shopping of the ladies of the large yashikis and of wealthy families is done mostly in the home; for all the stores are willing at any time, on receiving an order, to send up a clerk with a bale of crêpes, silks, and cottons tied to his back, and frequently towering high above his head as he walks, making him look like the proverbial ant with a grain of wheat. He sets his great bundle carefully down on the floor, opens the enormous furushiki, or bundle handkerchief, in which it is enveloped, and takes out roll after roll of silk or chintz, neatly done up in paper or yellow cotton. With infinite patience, he waits while the merits of each piece are examined and discussed, and if none of his stock proves satisfactory, he is willing to come again with a new set of wares, knowing that in the end purchases will be made sufficient to cover all his trouble.

The less aristocratic people are content to go to the stores themselves; and the business streets of a Japanese city, such as the Ginza in Tōkyō, are full of women, young and old, as well as merry children, who enjoy the life and bustle of the stores. Like all things else in Japan, shopping takes plenty of time. At Mitsui's, the largest silk store in Tōkyō, one will see crowds of clerks sitting upon the matted floors, each with his soroban, or adding machine, by his side; and innumerable small boys, who rush to and fro, carrying armfuls of fabrics to the different clerks, or picking up the same fabrics after the customer who has called for them has departed. The store appears, to the foreign eye, to be simply a roofed and matted platform upon which both clerks and customers sit. This platform is screened from the street by dark blue cotton curtains or awnings hung from the low projecting eaves of the heavy roof. As the customers take their seats, either on the edge of the platform, or, if they have come on an extended shopping bout, upon the straw mat of the platform itself, a small boy appears with tea for the party; an obsequious clerk greets them with the customary salutations of welcome, pushes the charcoal brazier toward them, that they may smoke, or warm their hands, before proceeding to business, and then waits expectantly for the name of the goods that his customers desire to see. When this is given, the work begins; the little boys are summoned, and are soon sent off to the great fire-proof warehouse, which stands with heavy doors thrown open, on the other side of the platform, away from the street. Through the doorway one can see endless piles of costly stuffs stored safely away, and from these piles the boys select the required fabric, loading themselves down with them so that they can barely stagger under the weights that they carry. As the right goods are not always brought the first time, and as, moreover, there is an endless variety in the colors and patterns in even one kind of silk, there is always plenty of time for watching the busy scene,—for sipping tea, or smoking a few whiffs from the tiny pipes that so many Japanese, both men and women, carry always with them. When the purchase is at last made, there is still some time to be spent by the customer in waiting until the clerk has made an abstruse calculation upon his soroban, the transaction has been entered in the books of the firm, and a long bill has been written and stamped, and handed to her with the bundle. During her stay in the store, the foreign customer, making her first visit to the place, is frequently startled by loud shouts from the whole staff of clerks and small boys,—outcries so sudden, so simultaneous, and so stentorian, that she cannot rid herself of the idea that something terrible is happening every time that they occur. She soon learns, however, that these manifestations of energy are but the way in which the Japanese merchant speeds the departing purchaser, and that the apparently inarticulate shouts are but the formal phrase, "Thanks for your continued favors," which is repeated in a loud tone by every employee in the store whenever a customer departs. When she herself is at last ready to leave, a chorus of yells arises, this time for her benefit; and as she skips into the jinrikisha and is whirled away, she hears continued the busy hum of voices, the clattering of sorobans, the thumping of the bare feet of the heavily laden boys, and the loud shouts of thanks with which departing guests are honored.

There is less pomp and circumstance about the smaller stores, for all the goods are within easy reach, and the shops for household utensils and chinaware seem to have nearly the whole stock in trade piled up in front, or even in the street itself. Many such little places are the homes of the people who keep them. And at the back are rooms, which serve for dwelling rooms, opening upon well-kept gardens. The whole work of the store is often attended to by the proprietor, assisted by his wife and family, and perhaps one or two apprentices. Each of the workers, in turn, takes an occasional holiday, for there is no day in the Japanese calendar when the shops are all closed; and even New Year's Day, the great festival of the year, finds most of the stores open. Yet the dwellers in these little homes, living almost in the street, and in the midst of the bustle and crowd and dust of Tōkyō, have still time to enjoy their holidays and their little gardens, and have more pleasure and less hard work than those under similar circumstances in our own country.

The stranger visiting any of the great Japanese cities is surprised by the lack of large stores and manufactories, and often wonders where the beautiful lacquer work and porcelains are made, and where the gay silks and crêpes are woven. There are no large establishments where such things are turned out by wholesale. The delicate vases, the bronzes, and the silks are often made in humblest homes, the work of one or two laborers with rudest tools. There are no great manufactories to be seen, and the bane of so many cities, the polluting factory smoke, never rises over the cities of Japan. The hard, confining factory life, with its never-ceasing roar of machinery, bewildering the minds and intellects of the men who come under its deadening influences, until they become scarcely more than machines themselves, is a thing as yet almost unknown in Japan. The life of the jinrikisha man even, hard and comfortless as it may seem to run all day like a horse through the crowded city streets, is one that keeps him in the fresh air, under the open sky, and quickens his powers both of body and mind. To the poor in Japanese cities is never denied the fresh air and sunshine, green trees and grass; and the beautiful parks and gardens are found everywhere, for the enjoyment of even the meanest and lowest.

On certain days in the month, in different sections of the city, are held night festivals near temples, and many shopkeepers take the opportunity to erect temporary booths, in which they so arrange their wares as to tempt the passers-by as they go to and fro. Very often there is a magnificent display of young trees, potted plants, and flowers, brought in from the country and ranged on both sides of the street. Here the gardeners make lively sales, as the displays are often fine in themselves, and show to a special advantage in the flaring torchlight. The eager venders, who do all they can to call the attention of the crowd to their wares, make many good bargains. The purchase requires skill on both sides, for flower men are proverbial in their high charges, asking often five and ten times the real value of a plant, but coming down in price almost immediately on remonstrance. You ask the price of a dwarf wistaria growing in a pot. The man answers at once, "Two dollars." "Two dollars!" you answer in surprise, "it is not worth more than thirty or forty cents." "Seventy-five, then," he will respond; and thus the buyer and seller approach nearer in price, until the bargain is struck somewhere near the first price offered. Price another plant and there would be the same process to go over again; but as the evening passes, prices go lower and lower, for the distances that the plants have been brought are great, and the labor of loading up and carrying back the heavy pots is a weary one, and when the last customer has departed the merchants must work late into the night to get their wares safely home again.

But beside the flower shows, there are long rows of booths, which, with the many visitors who throng the streets, make a gay and lively scene. So dense is the crowd that it is with difficulty one can push through on foot or in jinrikisha. The darkness is illuminated by torches, whose weird flames flare and smoke in the wind, and shine down upon the little sheds which line both sides of the road, and contain so tempting a display of cheap toys and trinkets that not only the children, but their elders, are attracted by them. Some of the booths are devoted to dolls; others to toys of various kinds; still others to birds in cages, goldfish in globes, queer chirping insects in wicker baskets, pretty ornaments for the hair, fans, candies, and cakes of all sorts, roasted beans and peanuts, and other things too numerous to mention. The long line of stalls ends with booths, or tents, in which shows of dancing, jugglery, educated animals, and monstrosities, natural or artificial, may be seen for the moderate admission fee of two sen. Each of these shows is well advertised by the beating of drums, by the shouting of doorkeepers, by wonderful pictures on the outside to entice the passer-by, or even by an occasional brief lifting of the curtains which veil the scene from the crowd without, just long enough to afford a tantalizing glimpse of the wonders within. Great is the fascination to the children in all these things, and the little feet are never weary until the last booth is passed, and the quiet of neighboring streets, lighted only by wandering lanterns, strikes the home-returning party by its contrast with the light and noise of the festival. The supposed object of the expedition, the visit to the temple, has occupied but a small share of time and attention, and the little hands are filled with the amusing toys and trifles bought, and the little minds with the merry sights seen. Nor are those who remain at home forgotten, but the pleasure-seekers who visit the fair carry away with them little gifts for each member of the family, and the O miagé, or present given on the return, is a regular institution of Japanese home life.

By ten o'clock, when the crowds have dispersed and the purchasers have all gone home and gone to bed, the busy booth-keepers take down their stalls, pack up their wares, and disappear, leaving no trace of the night's gayeties to greet the morning sun.

Beside these evening shows, which occur monthly or oftener, there are also great festivals of the various gods, some celebrated annually, others at intervals of some years. These matsuri last for several days, and during that time the quarter of the city in which they occur seems entirely given over to festivity. The streets are gayly decorated with flags, and bright lanterns—all alike in design and color—are hung in rows from the low eaves of the houses. Young bamboo-trees set along the street, and decorated with bits of bright-colored tissue paper, are a frequent and effective accompaniment of these festivals, and here and there throughout the district are set up high stands, on the tops of which musicians with squeaky flutes, and drums of varying calibre, keep up a din more festive than harmonious. It takes a day or two for the rejoicings to get fully under way, but by the second or third day the fun is at its height, and the streets are thronged with merrymakers. A great deal of labor and strength, as well as ingenuity, is spent in the construction of enormous floats, or dashi, lofty platforms of two stories, either set on wheels and drawn by black bullocks or crowds of shouting men, or carried by poles on men's shoulders. Upon the first floor of these great floats is usually a company of dancers, or mummers, who dance, attitudinize, or make faces for the amusement of the crowds that gather along their route; while up above, an effigy of some hero in Japanese history, or the figure of some animal or monster, looks down unmoved upon the absurdities below. Each dashi is attended, not only by the men who draw it, but by companies of others in some uniform costume; and sometimes graceful professional dancing-girls are hired to march in the matsuri procession, or to dance upon the lofty dashi. At the time of the festivities which accompanied the promulgation of the Constitution, three days of jollification were held in Tōkyō, days of such universal fun and frolic that it will be known among the common people, to all succeeding generations, as the "Emperor's big matsuri." Every quarter of the city vied with every other in the production of gorgeous dashi, and the streets were gay with every conceivable variety of decoration, from the little red-and-white paper lanterns, that even the poorest hung before their houses, to the great evergreen arches, set with electric lights, with which the great business streets were spanned thickly from end to end. An evening walk through one of these thoroughfares was a sight to be remembered for a lifetime. The magnificent dashi represented all manner of quaint conceits. A great bivalve drawn by yelling crowds—which halted occasionally—opened and displayed between its shells a group of beautifully dressed girls, who danced one of the pantomimic dances of the country, accompanied by the twanging melodies of the samisen. Then slowly the great shell closed, once more the shouting crowds seized hold of the straining ropes, and the great bivalve with its fair freight was drawn slowly along through the gayly illuminated streets. Jimmu Tenno and other heroes of Japanese legend or history, each upon its lofty platform, a white elephant, and countless other subjects were represented in the festival cars sent forth by all the districts of the city to celebrate the great event.

Upon such festival occasions the shopkeeper does not put up his shutters and leave his place of business, but the open shop-fronts add much to the gay appearance of the street. There are no signs of business about, but the floor of the shop is covered with bright-red blankets; magnificent gilded screens form an imposing background to the little room; and seated on the floor are the shopkeeper, his family, and guests, eating, drinking tea, and smoking, as cosily as if all the world and his wife were not gazing upon the gay and homelike interior. Sometimes companies of dancers, or other entertainments furnished by the wealthier shopkeepers, will attract gaping crowds, who watch and block the street until the advance guard of some approaching dashi scatters them for a moment.

In Japan, as in other parts of the world, the country people are rather looked down upon by the dwellers in the city for their slowness of intellect, dowdiness of dress, and boorishness of manners; while the country people make fun of the fads and fashions of the city, and rejoice that they are not themselves the slaves of novelty, and especially of the foreign innovations that play so prominent a part in Japanese city life to-day. "The frog in the well knows not the great ocean," is the snub with which the Japanese cockney sets down Farmer Rice-Field's expressions of opinion; while the conservative countryman laughs at the foreign affectations of the Tōkyō man, and returns to his village with tales of the cookery of the capital: so extravagant is it that sugar is used in everything; it is even rumored that the Tōkyōites put sugar in their tea.

But while the country laughs and wonders at the city, nevertheless, in Japan as elsewhere, there is a constant crowding of the young life of the country into the livelier and more entertaining city. Tōkyō especially is the goal of every young countryman's ambition, and thither he goes to seek his fortune, finding, alas! too often, only the hard lot of the jinrikisha man, instead of the wealth and power that his country dreams had shown him.

The lower class women of the cities are in many respects like their sisters of the rural districts, except that they have less freedom than the country women in what the economists call "direct production." The wells and water tanks that stand at convenient distances along the streets of Tōkyō are frequently surrounded by crowds of women, drawing water, washing rice, and chattering merrily over their occupations. They meet and exchange ideas freely with each other and with the men, but they have not the diversity of labor that country life affords, confining themselves more closely to indoor and domestic work, and leaving the bread-winning more entirely to the men.

There are, however, occupations in the city for women, by which they may support themselves or their families. A good hair-dresser may make a handsome living; indeed, she does so well that it is proverbial among the Japanese that a hair-dresser's husband has nothing to do. Though professional tailors are mostly men, many women earn a small pittance in taking in sewing and in giving sewing lessons; and as instructors in the ceremonial tea, etiquette, music, painting, and flower arrangement, many women of the old school are able to earn an independence, though none of these occupations are confined to the women alone.

The business of hotel-keeping we have referred to in a previous chapter, and it is a well-known fact that unless a hotel-keeper has a capable wife, his business will not succeed. At present, all over Tōkyō, small restaurants, where food is served in the foreign style, are springing up, and these are usually conducted by a man and his wife who have at some time served as cook and waitress in a foreign family, and who conduct the business cöoperatively and on terms of good-fellowship and equality. In these little eating-houses, where a well-cooked foreign dinner of from three to six courses is served for the moderate sum of thirty or forty cents, the man usually does the cooking, the woman the serving and handling of the money, until the time arrives when the profits of the business are sufficient to justify the hiring of more help. When this time comes, the labor is redistributed, the woman frequently taking upon herself the reception of the guests and the keeping of the accounts, while the hired help waits on the tables.

One important calling, in the eyes of many persons, especially those of the lower classes, is that of fortune-telling; and these guides in all matters of life, both great and small, are to be found in every section of the city. They are consulted on every important step by believing ones of all classes. An impending marriage, an illness, the loss of any valuable article, a journey about to be taken,—these are all subjects for the fortune-teller. He tells the right day of marriage, and says whether the fates of the two parties will combine well; gives clues to the causes of sudden illness, and information as to what has become of lost articles, and whether they will be recovered or not. Warned thus by the fortune-teller against evils that may happen, many ingenious expedients are resorted to, to avoid the ill foretold.

A man and his family were about to move from their residence to another part of the city. They sent to know if the fates were propitious to the change for all the family. The day and year of birth of each was told, and then the fortune-teller hunted up the various signs, and sent word that the direction of the new home was excellent for the good luck of the family as a whole, and the move a good one for each member of it except one of the sons; the next year the same move would be bad for the father. As the family could not wait two years before moving, it was decided that the change of residence should be made at once, but that the son should live with his uncle until the next year. The uncle's home was, however, inconveniently remote, and so the young man stayed as a visitor at his father's house for the remaining months of the year, after which he became once more a member of the household. Thus the inconvenience and the evil were both avoided.

Another story comes to my mind now of a dear old lady, the Go Inkyo Sama of a house of high rank, who late in life came to Tōkyō to live with her brother and his young and somewhat foreignized wife. The brother himself, while not a Christian, had little belief in the old superstitions of his people; his wife was a professing Christian. Soon after the old lady's arrival in Tōkyō, her sister-in-law fell ill, and before she had recovered her strength the children, one after another, came down with various diseases, which, though in no case fatal, kept the family in a state of anxiety for more than a year. The old lady was quite sure that there was some witchcraft or art-magic at work among her dear ones, and, after consulting the servants (for she knew that she could expect no sympathy in her plans from either her brother or his wife), she betook herself to a fortune-teller to discover through his means the causes of the illness in the family. The fortune-teller revealed to her the fact that two occult forces were at work bringing evil upon the house. One was the evil spirit of a spring or well that had been choked with stones, or otherwise obstructed in its flow, and that chose this way of bringing its afflictions to the attention of mortals. The other was the spirit of a horse that had once belonged in the family, and that after death revenged itself upon its former masters for the hard service wherewith it had been made to serve. The only way in which these two powers could be appeased would be by finding the well, and removing the obstructions that choked it, and by erecting an image of the horse and offering to it cakes and other meat-offerings. The fortune-teller hinted, moreover, that for a consideration he might be able to afford material aid in the search for the well.

At this information Go Inkyo Sama was much perturbed, for further aid for her afflicted family seemed to require the use of money, and of that commodity she had very little, being mainly dependent upon her brother for support. She returned to her home and consulted the servants upon the matter; but though they quite agreed with her that something should be done, they had little capital to invest in the enterprises suggested by the fortune-teller. At last, the old lady went to her brother, but he only laughed at her well-meant attempts to help his family, and refused to give her money for such a purpose. She retired discouraged, but, urged by the servants, she decided to make a last appeal, this time to her sister-in-law, who must surely be moved by the evil that was threatening herself and her children. Taking some of the head servants with her, she went to her sister and presented the case. This was her last resort, and she clung to her forlorn hope longer than many would have done, the servants adding their arguments to her impassioned appeals, only to find out after all that the steadfast sister could not be moved, and that she would not propitiate the horse's spirit, or allow money to be used for such a purpose. She gave it up then, and sat down to await the fate of her doomed house, doubtless wondering much and sighing often over the foolish skepticism of her near relatives, and wishing that the rationalistic tendencies of the time would take a less dangerous form than the neglecting of the plainest precautions for life and health. The fate has not yet come, and now at last Go Inkyo Sama seems to have resigned herself to the belief that it has been averted from the heads of the dear ones by a power unknown to the fortune-teller.

Beside these callings, there are other employments which are not regarded as wholly respectable by either Japanese or foreigners. The géisha ya, or establishments where dancing-girls are trained, and let out by the day or evening to tea-houses or private parties, are usually managed by women. At these establishments little girls are taken, sometimes by contract with their parents, sometimes adopted by the proprietors of the house, and from very early youth are trained not only in the art of dancing, but are taught singing and samisen-playing, all the etiquette of serving and entertaining guests, and whatever else goes to make a girl charming to the opposite sex. When thoroughly taught, they form a valuable investment, and well repay the labor spent upon them, for a popular géisha commands a good price everywhere, and has her time overcrowded with engagements. A Japanese entertainment is hardly regarded as complete without géishas in attendance, and their dancing, music, and graceful service at supper form a charming addition to an evening of enjoyment at a tea-house. It is these géishas, too, who at matsuri are hired to march in quaint uniforms in the procession, or, borne aloft on great dashi, dance for the benefit of the admiring crowds.

The Japanese dances are charmingly graceful and modest; the swaying of the body and limbs, the artistic management of the flowing draperies, the variety of themes and costumes of the different dances, all go to make an entertainment by géishas one of the pleasantest of Japanese enjoyments. Sometimes, in scarlet and yellow robes, the dainty maidens imitate, with their supple bodies, the dance of the maple leaves as they are driven hither and thither in the autumn wind; sometimes, with tucked-up kimonos and jaunty red petticoats, they play the part of little country girls carrying their eggs to market in the neighboring village. Again, clad in armor, they simulate the warlike gestures and martial stamp of some of the old-time heroes; or, with whitened faces and hoary locks, they perform with rake and broom the dance of the good old man and old woman who play so prominent a part in Japanese pictures. And then, when the dance is over, and all are bewitched with their grace and beauty, they descend to the supper-room and ply their temporary employers with the saké bottle, laughing and jesting the while, until there is little wonder if the young men at the entertainment drink more than is good for them, and leave the tea-house at last thoroughly tipsy, and enslaved by the bright eyes and merry wits of some of the Hebes who have beguiled them through the evening.

The géishas unfortunately, though fair, are frail. In their system of education, manners stand higher than morals, and many a géisha gladly leaves the dancing in the tea-houses to become the concubine of some wealthy Japanese or foreigner, thinking none the worse of herself for such a business arrangement, and going cheerfully back to her regular work, should her contract be unexpectedly ended. The géisha is not necessarily bad, but there is in her life much temptation to evil, and little stimulus to do right, so that, where one lives blameless, many go wrong, and drop below the margin of respectability altogether. Yet so fascinating, bright, and lively are these géishas that many of them have been taken by men of good position as wives, and are now the heads of the most respectable homes. Without true education or morals, but trained thoroughly in all the arts and accomplishments that please,—witty, quick at repartee, pretty, and always well dressed,—the géisha has proved a formidable rival for the demure, quiet maiden of good family, who can only give her husband an unsullied name, silent obedience, and faithful service all her life. The freedom of the present age, as shown in the chapter on "Marriage and Divorce," and as seen in the choice of such wives, has presented this great problem to the thinking women of Japan. If the wives of the leaders in Japan are to come from among such a class of women, something must be done, and done quickly, for the sake of the future of Japan; either to raise the standards of the men in regard to women, or to change the old system of education for girls. A liberal education, and more freedom in early life for women, has been suggested, and is now being tried, but the problem of the géisha and her fascination is a deep one in Japan.

Below the géisha in respectability stands the jōrō, or licensed prostitute. Every city in Japan has its disreputable quarter, where the various jōrōya, or licensed houses of prostitution, are situated. The supervision that the government exercises over these places is extremely rigid; the effort is made, by licensing and regulating them, to minimize the evils that must flow from them. The proprietors of the jōrōya do everything in their power to make their houses, grounds, and employees attractive, and, to the unsuspecting foreigner, this portion of the city seems often the pleasantest and most respectable. A jōrō need never be taken for a respectable woman, for her dress is distinctive, and a stay of a short time in Japan is long enough to teach even the most obtuse that the obi, or sash, tied in front instead of behind, is one of the badges of shame. But though the occupation of the jōrō is altogether disreputable,—though the prostitute quarter is the spot to which the police turn for information in regard to criminals and law-breakers, a sort of a trap into which, sooner or later, the offender against the law is sure to fall,—Japanese public opinion, though recognizing the evil as a great one, does not look upon the professional prostitute with the loathing which she inspires in Christian countries. The reason for this lies, not solely in the lower moral standards although it is true that sins of this character are regarded much more leniently in Japan than in England or America. The reason lies very largely in the fact that these women are seldom free agents. Many of them are virtually slaves, sold in childhood to the keepers of the houses in which they work, and trained, amid the surroundings of the jōrōya, for the life which is the only life they have ever known. A few may have sacrificed themselves freely but reluctantly for those whom they love, and by their revolting slavery may be earning the means to keep their dear ones from starvation or disgrace. Many are the Japanese romances that are woven about the virtuous jōrō, who is eventually rewarded by finding, even in the jōrōya, a lover who is willing to raise her again to a life of respectability, and make her a happy wife and the mother of children. Such stories must necessarily lower the standard of morals in regard to chastity, but in a country in which innocent romance has little room for development, the imagination must find its materials where it can. These jōrōya give employment to thousands of women throughout the country, but in few cases do the women seek that employment, and more openings in respectable directions, together with a change in public opinion securing to every woman the right to her own person, would tend to diminish the number of victims that these institutions yearly draw into their devouring current.

Innocent and reputable amusements are many and varied in the cities. We have already mentioned incidentally the theatre as one of the favorite diversions of the people; and though it has never been regarded as a very refined amusement, it has done and is doing much for the education of the lower classes in the history and spirit of former times. Regular plays were never performed in the presence of the Emperor and his court, or the Shōgun and his nobles, but the No dance was the only dramatic amusement of the nobility. This No is an ancient Japanese theatrical performance, more, perhaps, like the Greek drama than anything in our modern life. All the movements of the actors are measured and conventionalized, speech is a poetical recitative, the costumes are stiff and antique, masks are much used, and a chorus seated upon the stage chants audible comments upon the various situations. This alone, the most ancient and classical of Japanese theatrical performances, is considered worthy of the attention of the Emperor and the nobility, and takes the place with them of the more vulgar and realistic plays which delight common people.

The regular theatre preserves in many ways the life and costumes of old Japan, and the details of dress and scenery are most carefully studied. The actors are usually men, though there are "women theatres" in which all the parts are performed by women. In no case are the rôles taken by both sexes upon one stage. As the performances last all day, from ten or eleven in the forenoon until eight or nine in the evening, going to the theatre means much more than a few hours of entertainment after the day's work is over. A lunch and dinner, with innumerable light edibles between, go to make up the usual bill of fare for a day at the play, and tea-houses in the neighborhood of the theatre provide the necessary meals, a room to take them in, a resting-place between the acts, and whatever tea, cakes, and other refreshments may be ordered. These latter eatables are served by the attendants of the tea-house in the theatre boxes while the play is in progress, and the playgoers eat and smoke all day long through roaring farce or goriest tragedy.

Similar to the theatre in many ways are the public halls, where professional story-tellers, the hanashika, night after night, relate long stories to crowded audiences, as powerfully and vividly as the best trained elocutionist. Each gesture, and each modulation of the voice, is studied as carefully as are those of the actors. Many charming tales are told of old Japan, and even Western stories have found their way to these assemblies. A long story is often continued from night to night until finished. Unfortunately, the class of people who patronize these places is low, and the moral tone of some of the stories is pitched accordingly; but the best of the story-tellers—those who have talent and reputation—are often invited to come to entertainments given at private houses, to amuse a large company by their eloquence or mimicry.

This is a very favorite entertainment, and the hanashika has so perfected the art of imitation that he can change in a moment from the tones of a child to those of an old woman. Solemn and sad subjects are touched upon, as well as merry and bright things, and he never fails to make his audience weep or laugh, according to his theme, and well merits the applause he always receives at the end.

The hanami, or picnic to famous places to view certain flowers as they bloom in their season, though not belonging strictly to city life, forms one of the greatest of the pleasures of city people. The river Sumida, on which Tōkyō is situated, has lining its eastern shore for some miles the famous cherry-trees of Japan, with their large, double pink blossoms, and when, in April and May, these flowers are in their perfection, great crowds of sightseers flock to Mukōjima to enjoy the blossoms under the trees. The river is crowded with picnic parties in boats. Every tea-house along the banks is full of guests, and the little stalls and resting-places on the way find a quick sale for fruit, confectionery, and light lunches. Saké is often too freely imbibed by the merrymakers, whose flushed faces show, when returning homeward, how their day was spent. There is much quiet enjoyment, too, of the lovely blossoms, the broad, calm river, and the gayly dressed crowds. Hundreds and thousands of visitors crowd to the suburban places about Tōkyō,—to Uyéno Park for its cherry and peach blossoms, Kaméido for the plum and wistaria, Oji for its famous maple-trees, and many others, each noted for some special beauty. Dango Zaka has its own peculiar attraction, the famous chrysanthemum dolls. These ingenious figures are arranged so as to form tableaux,—scenes from history or fiction well known to all the people. They are of life size, and the faces, hands, and feet are made of some composition, and closely resemble life in every detail. But the curious thing in these tableaux is that the scenery, whether it be the representation of a waterfall, rocks, or bushes, the animals, and the dresses of the figures are made entirely of chrysanthemum twigs, leaves, and flowers, not cut and woven in, as at the first glance they seem to be,—so closely are the leaves and flowers bound together to make the flat surface of different objects,—but alive and growing on the plants. It is impossible to tell where the roots and stems are hidden, for nothing is visible but (for example) the white spray and greenish shadows of a waterfall, or the parti-colored figures in a young girl's dress. But, should it be the visitor's good fortune to watch the repairing of one of these lifelike images, he will find that the entire body is a frame woven of split bamboo, within which the plants are placed, their roots packed in damp earth and bound about with straw, while their leaves and flowers are pulled through the basket frame and woven into whatsoever pattern the artistic eye and skillful fingers of the gardener may select. A roof of matting shields each group from the sun by day, and a slight sprinkling every night serves to keep the plants fresh for nearly a month, and the flowers continue their blooming during that time, as calmly as if in perfectly natural positions. Each of the gardeners of the neighborhood has his own little show, containing several tableaux, the entrance to which is guarded by an officious gate-keeper, who shouts out the merits of his particular groups of figures, and forces his show-bills upon the passer-by, in the hope of securing the two sen admission fee which is required for each exhibit.

And so, amid the shopping, the festivals, the amusements of the great cities, the women find their lives varied in many ways. Their holidays from home duties are spent amid these enjoyments; and if they have not the out-of-door employments, the long walks up the mountains, the days spent in tea-picking, in harvesting, in all the varied work that comes to the country woman, the dwellers in the city have no lack of sights and sounds to amuse and interest them, and would not often care to exchange their lot for the freer and hardier life of the rustic.


To the foreigner, upon his arrival in Japan, the status of household servants is at first a source of much perplexity. There is a freedom in their relations with the families that they serve, that in this country would be regarded as impudence, and an independence of action that, in many cases, seems to take the form of direct disobedience to orders. From the steward of your household, who keeps your accounts, makes your purchases, and manages your affairs, to your jinrikisha man or groom, every servant in your establishment does what is right in his own eyes, and after the manner that he thinks best. Mere blind obedience to orders is not regarded as a virtue in a Japanese servant; he must do his own thinking, and, if he cannot grasp the reason for your order, that order will not be carried out. Housekeeping in Japan is frequently the despair of the thrifty American housewife, who has been accustomed in her own country to be the head of every detail of household work, leaving to her servants only the mechanical labor of the hands. She begins by showing her Oriental help the work to be done, and just the way in which she is accustomed to having it done at home, and the chances are about one in a hundred that her servant will carry out her instructions. In the ninety-nine other cases, he will accomplish the desired result, but by means totally different from those to which the American housekeeper is accustomed. If the housewife is one of the worrying kind, who cares as much about the way in which the thing is done as about the accomplished result, the chances are that she will wear herself out in a fruitless endeavor to make her servants do things in her own way, and will, when she returns to America, assure you that Japanese servants are the most idle, stupid, and altogether worthless lot that it was ever her bad fortune to have to do with. But on the other hand, if the lady of the house is one who is willing to give general orders, and then sit down and wait until the work is done before criticising it, she will find that by some means or other the work will be accomplished and her desire will be carried out, provided only that her servants see a reason for getting the thing done. And as she finds that her domestics will take responsibility upon themselves, and will work, not only with their hands, but with the will and intellect in her service, she soon yields to their protecting and thoughtful care for herself and her interests, and, when she returns to America, is loud in her praises of the competence and devotion of her Japanese servants. Even in the treaty ports, where contact with foreigners has given to the Japanese attendants the silent and repressed air that we regard as the standard manner for a servant, they have not resigned their right of private judgment, but, if faithful and honest, seek the best good of their employer, even if his best good involves disobedience of his orders. This characteristic of the Japanese servant is aggravated when he is in the employment of foreigners, for the simple reason that he is apt to regard the foreigner as a species of imbecile, who must be cared for tenderly because he is quite incompetent to care for himself, but whose fancies must not be too much regarded. Of the relations of foreign employers and Japanese servants much might be said, but our business is with the position of the servants in a Japanese household.

Under the old feudal system, the servants of every family were its hereditary retainers, and from generation to generation desired no higher lot than personal service in the family to which they belonged. The principle of loyalty to the family interests was the leading principle in the lives of the servants, just as loyalty to the daimiō was the highest duty of the samurai. Long and intimate knowledge of the family history and traits of character rendered it possible for the retainer to work intelligently for his master, and do independently for him many things without orders. The servant in many cases knew his master and his master's interests as well as the master himself, or even better, and must act by the light of his own knowledge in cases where his master was ignorant or misinformed. One can easily see how ties of good-fellowship and sympathy would arise between masters and servants, how a community of interest would exist, so that the good of the master and his family would be the condition for the good of the servant and his family. In America, where the relation between servant and employer is usually a simple business arrangement, each giving certain specified considerations and nothing more, the relation of servant to master is shorn of all sentiment and affection; the servant's interests are quite apart from those of his employer, and his main object is to get the specified work done and obtain more time for himself, and sooner or later to leave the despised occupation of domestic service for some higher and more independent calling. In Japan, where faithful service of a master was regarded as a calling worthy of absorbing any one's highest abilities through a lifetime, the position of a servant was not menial or degrading, but might be higher than that of the farmer, merchant, or artisan. Whether the position was a high or a low one depended, not so much on the work done, as the person for whom it was done, and the servant of a daimiō or high rank samurai was worthy of more honor, and might be of far better birth, than the independent merchant or artisan. As the former feudal system is yet within the memory of many of the present generation, and its feelings still alive in Japan, much of the old sentiment remains, even with the merely hired domestics in a household of the present day. The servant, by his own master, is addressed by name, with no title of respect, is treated as an inferior, and spoken to in the language used toward inferiors; but to all others he is a person to be treated with respect,—to be bowed to profoundly, addressed by the title San, and spoken to in the politest of language. You make a call upon a Japanese household, and the servant who admits you will expect to exchange the formal salutations with you. When you are ushered into the reception-room, should the lady of the house be absent, the head servants will not only serve you with tea and refreshments and offer you hospitalities in their mistress's name, but may, if no one else be there, sit with you in the parlor, entertaining you with conversation until the return of the hostess. The servants of the household are by no means ignored socially, as they are with us, but are always recognized and saluted by visitors as they pass into and out of the room, and are free to join in the conversation of their betters, should they see any place where it is possible that they may shed light on the subject discussed. But though given this liberty of speech, treated with much consideration, and having sometimes much responsibility, servants do not forget their places in the household, and do not seem to be bold or out of place. Indeed, the manners of some of them would seem, to any one but a Japanese, to denote a lack of proper self-respect,—an excess of humility, or an affectation of it.

In explaining to my scholars, who were reading "Little Lord Fauntleroy" in English, a passage where a footman is spoken of as having nearly disgraced himself by laughing at some quaint saying of the young lord, my little peeresses were amazed beyond measure to learn that in Europe and America a servant is expected never to show any interest in, or knowledge of, the conversation of his betters, never to speak unless addressed, and never to smile under any circumstances. Doubtless, in their shrewd little brains, they formed their opinion of a civilization imposing such barbarous restraints upon one class of persons.

The women servants in a family are in position more like the self-respecting, old-fashioned New England "help" than they are like the modern "girl." They do not work all day while the mistress sits in the parlor doing nothing, and then, when their day's work is done, go out, anxious to forget, in the society of their friends, the drudgery which only the necessity for self-support and the high wages to be earned render tolerable. As has been explained in a previous chapter, the mistress of the house—be she princess or peasant—is herself the head servant, and only gives up to her helpers the part of the labor which she has not the time or strength to perform. Certain menial duties toward her husband and children, every Japanese wife and mother must do herself, and would scorn to delegate to any other woman except in case of absolute necessity. Thus there is not that gap between mistress and maid that exists in our days among the women of this country. The servants work with their mistress, helping her in every possible way, and are treated as responsible members of the household, if not of the family itself.

At evening, when the wooden shutters are slid into their places around the porch and the lamps are lighted, the family gather together in the sitting-room around the hibachi to talk, free from interruption, for no visitor comes at such an hour to disturb the family circle. The mother will have her sewing or work, the children will study their lessons, and the others will talk or amuse themselves in various ways. Then, perhaps, the maidservants, having finished their tasks about the house, will join the circle,—always at a respectful distance,—will do their sewing and listen to the talk, and often join in the conversation, but in the most humble manner. Perhaps, at times, some one more ambitious than the others will bring in a book, and ask the meaning of a word or a phrase she has met in studying, and little helps of this kind are given most willingly.

We have seen that the ladies-in-waiting in the houses of the nobles are daughters of samurai, who gladly serve in these positions for the sake of the honor of such service, and the training they receive in noble houses. In a somewhat similar way, places in the homes of those of distinction or skill in any art or profession are held in great demand among the Japanese; and a prominent poet, scholar, physician, or professional man of any kind is often asked by anxious parents to take their sons under his own roof, so that they may be under his influence, and receive the benefits of stay in such an honorable house. The parents who thus send their children may not be of low rank at all, but are usually not sufficiently well-to-do to spend much money in the education of their children. The position that such boys occupy in the household is a curious one. They are called Sho-séi, meaning students, and students they usually are, spending all their leisure moments and their evenings in study. They are never treated as inferiors, except in age and experience; they may or may not eat with the family, and are always addressed with respect. On the other hand, they always feel themselves to be dependents, and must be willing without wages to work in any capacity about the house, for the sake of picking up what crumbs of knowledge may fall to them from their master's table. Service is not absolutely demanded of them, but they are expected to do what will pay for their board, and do not regard menial work as below them, performing cheerfully all that the master may require of them.

In this way, a man of moderate means can help along many poor young men in whom he may feel interested, and in return be saved expense about his household work; and the students, while always considerately treated, are able without great expense to study,—often even to prepare for college, or get a start in one of the professions, for they have many leisure moments to devote to their books. Many prominent men of the present day have been students of this class, and are now in their turn helping the younger generation.

The boys that one sees in shops, or, with workmen of all kinds, helping in many little ways, are not hirelings, but apprentices, who hope some day to hold just as good positions as their masters, and expect to know as much, if not a great deal more. At the shop or in the home, they not only help in the trades or occupations they are learning, but are willing to do any kind of menial work for their master or his family in return for what they receive from him; for they do not pay for their board nor for what they are taught. Even when the age of education is already past, grown men and women are willing to leave quite independent positions to shine with reflected glory as servants of persons of high rank or distinction. "The servant is not greater than his master" in Japan; but if the master is great, the servant is considerably greater than the man without a master.

In a country like Japan, where one finds but few wealthy people, there may be cause for wonder at the large households, where there are so many servants. There will be often as many as ten or more servants in a home where, in other ways, luxury and wealth are not displayed. In the oku, or the part of the house where the lady of the house stays, are found her own maid, and women who help in the work about the house, sew in their leisure moments, and are the higher servants of the family; there are also the children's attendants, often one for each child, as well as the waiting women for the Go Inkyo Sama. In the kitchen are the cooks and their assistants, the lower servants, and usually one or more jinrikisha men, who belong to the house, and, if this be the home of an official who keeps horses, a bettō for each animal. There are also gardeners, errand-boys, and gate-keepers to guard the large yashikis. Such a retinue would seem a great deal to maintain; but servants' wages are so low, and the cost of living is so small, that in this matter Japanese can afford to be luxurious. Three or four dollars will cover the cost of food for a month for one person, and women servants expect only a few dollars in wages for that time. The men receive much higher pay, but at the most it is less than what a good cook receives in many homes here. The wages do not include occasional presents, especially those given semi-annually,—a small sum of money, or dress material of some kind,—which servants expect, and which, of course, are no small item in the family expense.

Homes which maintain a great deal of style need many servants, for they expect to work less than the American servant, and are less able to hurry and rush through their work; and they do not desire, if they could, to take life so hard, even to earn greater pay. The family, too, in many cases are used to having plenty of hands to do the work; the ladies are much less independent, and life has more formalities and red tape in Japan than in America. A great deal of the shopping is done by servants, who are sent out on errands and often do important business. Maids accompany their mistresses to make visits; servants go with parties to the theatre, to picnics, or on journeys, and these expeditions are as heartily enjoyed by them as by their masters. It is expected, especially of ladies and persons of high rank, that the details of the journey, the bargaining with coolies, the hiring of vehicles, and paying of bills, be left in charge of some manservant, who is entirely responsible, and who makes all the bargains, arranges the journey for his employer, and takes charge of everything,—even to the amount of fees given along the way.

Perhaps the highest positions of service now—positions honorable anywhere in Japan—are held by those who remain of the old retainers of daimiōs, and who regulate the households of the nobles. Such men must have good education, and good judgment; for much is left in their hands, and they are usually gentlemen, who would be known as such anywhere. They are the stewards of the household, the secretaries of their masters; keep all accounts, for which they are responsible, and attend to the minor affairs of etiquette,—the latter no trifling duty in a noble's home. It is they who accompany the nobles on their journeys,—regulate, advise, and attend to the little affairs of life, of which the master may be ignorant and cares not to learn. They are the last of the crowds of feudal retainers, who once filled castle and yashiki, and are now scattered throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom.

The higher servants in the household must be always more or less trained in etiquette, and are expected to look neat and tidy; to serve guests with tea and refreshments, without any orders to that effect; and to use their judgment in little household affairs, and thus help the lady of the house. They are usually clever with their fingers, and can sew neatly. When their mistress goes out they assist her to dress, and only a few words from her will be necessary for them to have everything in readiness, from her sash and dress to all the little belongings of a lady's costume. Many a bright, quick servant is found who will understand and guess her mistress's wants without being told each detail, and these not only serve with their hands, but think for their employers.

Much less is expected of the lower servants, who belong to the kitchen, and have less to do with the family in general, and little or no personal contact with their masters. They perform their round of duties with little responsibility, and are regarded as much lower in the social scale of servants, of which we have seen there are many degrees.

The little gozen-taki, or rice-cook, who works all day in the kitchen, may be a fat, red-cheeked, frowsy-haired country girl,—patient, hard-working, and humble-minded,—willing to pother about all day with her kettles and pans, and sit up half the night over her own sewing, or the study of the often unfamiliar art of reading and writing; but entirely unacquainted with the details of etiquette, a knowledge of which is a necessity to the higher servants,—sometimes even thrown into an agony of diffidence should it become necessary to appear before master or mistress.

Some of the customs of the household, in regard to servants, are quite striking to a foreigner. When the master of the house starts out each morning, besides the wife and children who see him off, all the servants who are not especially occupied—a goodly number, sometimes—come to the front door and bow down to bid him good-by. On his return, also, when the noise of the kuruma is heard, and the shout of the men, who call out "O kaeri!" when near the house, the servants go out to greet him, and bowing low speak the customary words of salutation. To a greater or less degree, the same is done to every member of the family, the younger members, however, receiving a smaller share of the attention than their elders.

When, as very often happens, a guest staying for any length of time in a family, or a frequent visitor, gives a servant a present of money or any trifle, the servant, after thanking the donor, takes the white paper bundle to the mistress of the house, and shows it to her, expressing his gratitude to her for the gift, and also asking her to thank the giver. This, of course, is always done, for a gift to a servant is as much of a favor to the mistress as a present to a child is to its mother.

When a servant wishes to leave a family, she rarely goes to her mistress and states that she is dissatisfied with her position, and that some better chance has been offered her. Such a natural excuse never occurs to the Japanese servant, unless he be a jinrikisha man or bettō, who may not know how to do better; for it is a very rude way of leaving service. The high-minded maid will proceed very differently.

A few days' leave of absence to visit home will be asked and usually granted, for Japanese servants never have any settled time to take holiday. At the end of the given time the mistress will begin to wonder what has become of the girl, who has failed to return; and the lady will make up her mind she will not let her go again so readily. Just when she has a sharp reproof ready, a messenger or letter will arrive, with some good excuse, couched in most polite and humble terms. Sometimes it will be that she has found herself too weak for service, or that work at home, or the illness of some member of the family, detains her, so that she is not able to come back at present. The excuse is understood and accepted as final, and another servant is sought for and obtained. After several weeks have passed, very likely after entering a new place, the old servant will turn up some day, express her thanks for all past kindnesses and regrets at not returning in time, will take her pay and her bundles, and disappear forever.

Even when servants come on trial for a few days, they often go away nominally to fetch their belongings, or make arrangements to return, but the lady of the house does not know whether the woman is satisfied or not. If she is not, her refusal is always brought by a third person. If the mistress, on her side, does not wish to hire the girl, she will not tell her so to her face, but will send word at this time to prevent her coming. Such is the etiquette in these matters of mistress and maid.

Only by a multiplicity of details is it possible to give much idea of the position of servants in a Japanese house, and even then the result arrived at is that the positions of what we would call domestic servants vary so greatly in honor and responsibility that it is almost impossible to draw any general conclusions upon this subject. We have seen that there is no distinct servile class in Japan, and that a person's social status is not altered by the fact that he serves in a menial capacity, provided that service be of one above him in rank and not below him. This is largely the result of the grading of society upon other lines than those on which our social distinctions are founded, and partly the result of the fact that women, of whatever class, are servants so far as persons of the opposite sex in their own class are concerned. The women of Japan to-day form the great servile class, and, as they are also the wives and mothers of those whom they serve, they are treated, of course, with a certain consideration and respect never given to a mere servant; and through them, all domestic service is elevated.

There are two employments which I have mentioned among those of domestic servants because they would be so classed by us, but which in Japan rank among the trades. The jinrikisha man and the groom belong, as a rule, to a certain class at the bottom of the social ladder, and no samurai would think of entering either of these occupations, except under stress of severest poverty. The bettōs, or grooms, are a hereditary class and a regular guild, and have a reputation, among both Japanese and foreigners, as a betting, gambling, cheating, good-for-nothing lot. An honest bettō is a rare phenomenon. The jinrikisha men are, many of them, sons of peasants, who come to the cities for the sake of earning more money, or leading a livelier life than can be found in the little thatched cottage among the rice-fields. Few of them are married, or have homes of their own. Many of them drink and gamble, and sow their wild oats in all possible ways; but they are a well-meaning, fairly honest, happy-go-lucky set, who lead hard lives of exhausting labor, and endure long hours of exposure to heat and cold, rain, snow, and blinding sunshine, not only with little complaint or grumbling, but with absolute cheerfulness and hilarity. A strong, fast jinrikisha man takes great pride in his strength and speed. It is a point of honor with him to pull his passenger up the steepest and most slippery of hills, and never to heed him if he expresses a desire to walk in order to save his man. I have had my kurumaya stoutly refuse, again and again, my offers to walk up a steep hill, even when the snow was so soft and slippery under his bare feet that he fell three times in making the ascent. "Dai jobu" (safe) would be his smiling response to all my protestations; and, once in a jinrikisha, the passenger is entirely at the mercy of his man in all matters of getting into and out of the vehicle. But though the jinrikisha man is, for the time being, the autocrat and controlling power over his passenger, and though he will not obey the behests of his employer, except so far as they seem reasonable and in accordance with the best interests of all concerned, he constitutes himself the protector and assistant, the adviser and counselor, of him whom he serves, and gives his best thought and intelligence, as well as his speed and strength, to the service in which he is engaged. If he thinks it safe, he will tear like an unbroken colt through the business portions of the city, knocking bundles out of the hands of foot passengers, or even hitting the wayfarers themselves in a fierce dash through their midst, laughing gayly at their protests, and at threats of wrath to come from his helpless passenger; but should hint of insult or injury against kuruma, passenger, or passenger's dog fall upon his ears, he will drop the jinrikisha shafts, and administer condign punishment to the offender, unchecked by thoughts of the ever-present police, or by any terrors that his employer may hold over his head. In no other country in the world, perhaps, can a lady place more entire confidence in the honor and loyalty of her servant than she can in Japan in her kurumaya, whether he be her private servant, or one from a respectable stand. He may not do what she bids him, but that is quite a secondary matter. He will study her interests; will remember her likes and dislikes; will take a mental inventory of the various accessories or bundles that she carries with her, and will never permit her to lose or forget one of them; will run his legs off in her service, and defend her and her property valiantly in case of need. Of course, as in all classes there are different grades, so there are jinrikisha men who seem to have sunk so low in their calling that they have lost all feeling of loyalty to their employer, and only care selfishly for the pittance they gain. Such men are often found in the treaty ports, eagerly seeking for the rich foreigner, from whom they can get an extra fee, and whom they regard as outside of their code of morals, and hence as their natural prey. Travelers, and even residents of Japan, have often complained of such treatment; and it is only after long stay in Japan, among the Japanese themselves, that one can tell what a jinrikisha man is capable of.

If you employ one kurumaya for any length of time, you come to have a real affection for him on account of his loyal, faithful, cheerful service, such as we seldom find in this country except when inspired by personal feeling. When you have ridden miles and miles, by night and by day, through rain and sleet and hottest sunshine, behind a man who has used every power of body and mind in your service, you cannot but have a strong feeling of affection toward him, and of pride in him as well. It is something the feeling that one has for a good saddle-horse, but more developed. You rejoice, not only in his strength and speed, put forth so willingly in your service; in his picturesque, dark blue costume with your monogram embroidered on the back; in his handsomely turned ankles; in his black, wavy hair; in his delicate hands and trim waist,—though these are often a source of pride to you,—but his skill in divining your wants; his use of his tongue in your service; his helping out of your faltering Japanese with explanations which, if not elegant, have the merit of being easily understood; his combats with extortionate shopkeepers in your behalf; his interest in all your doings and concerns,—remain as a pleasant memory, upon your return to a land where no man would so far forget his manhood as to give himself so completely and without reserve to the service of any master save Mammon.

As old Japan, with its quaintness, its mediæval flavor, its feudalism, its loyalty, its sense of honor, and its transcendental contempt for money and luxury, recedes into the past, and as the memories of my life there grow dim, two figures stand out more and more boldly from the fading background,—both, the figures of faithful servants. One, Yasaku, the kurumaya, a very Hercules, who could keep close to a pair of coach horses through miles of city streets, and who never suffered mortal jinrikisha man to pass him. My champion in all times of danger and alarm, but a very autocrat in all minor matters,—his cheery face, his broad shoulders with their blue draperies, his jolly, boyish voice, and his dainty, delicate hands come before me as I write, and I wonder to what fortunate person he is now giving the intelligent service that he once gave so whole-heartedly to me. The other, O Kaio, my maid, her plain little face, with its upturned eyes, growing, as the days went by, absolutely beautiful in the light of pure goodness that beamed from it. A Japanese Christian, with all the Christian virtues well developed, she became to me not only a good servant, doing her work with conscientious fidelity, but a sympathetic friend, to whom I turned for help in time of need; and whom I left, when I returned to America, with a sincere sorrow in my heart at parting with one who had grown to fill so large a place in my thoughts. Her little, half-shy, half-motherly ways toward her big foreign mistress had a charm all their own. Her pride and delight over my progress in the language; her patient efforts to make me understand new words, or to understand my uncouth foreign idioms; her joy, when at last I reached the point where a story told by her lips could be comprehended and enjoyed,—gave a continual encouragement in a task too often completely disheartening.

During the last summer of my stay in Japan, cutting loose from all foreigners and foreign associations, I traveled alone with her through the heart of the country, stopping only at Japanese hotels, and carrying with me no supplies to eke out the simple Japanese fare. Through floods and typhoons we journeyed. Long days of scorching heat or driving rain in no way abated her cheerfulness, or lessened her desire to do all that she could for my aid and comfort. Not one sad look nor impatient word showed a flaw in her perfect temper; and if she privately made up her mind that I was crazy, she never by word or look gave a hint of her thought. Jinrikisha men grumbled and gave out; hotel-keepers resented the presence of my dog, or presented extortionate bills; but O Kaio's good temper and tact never failed her. Difficulties were smoothed away; bills were compromised and reduced; the dog slept securely by my side on a red blanket in the best rooms of the best hotels; and O Kaio smiled, told her quaint stories, amused me and ministered to me, as if I were her one object in life, though husband and children were far away in distant Tōkyō, and her mother's heart yearned for her little ones.


Into the life of a Japanese home enter many customs and observances that have not been dwelt upon in the preceding pages, but without some understanding of which our knowledge of the life of Japanese women is by no means complete. In Japan the woman's place is so entirely in the home that all the ceremonies and superstitions that gather about the conduct of every-day affairs are more to her than they are to the freer and broader-minded man. The household worship, the yearly round of festivals, each with its special food to be prepared, the observances connected with birth and marriage and death; what is to be done in time of illness, of earthquake, of fire, or of the frequent flittings that render life in Japan one succession of packings and unpackings,—all these are matters of high importance to the wife and mother, and their proper observance is left largely in her hands.

Every well-ordered Japanese home of the old-fashioned kind has its little shrine, which is the centre of the religious life of the house. If the household is of the Shintō faith, this shrine is called the kami-dana, or god shelf, and contains the symbols of the gods, gohei in vases, receptacles for food and drink, and a primitive lamp,—only a saucer of oil in which a bit of pith serves for a wick. Daily offerings must be made before this shrine, and reverence paid by the clapping of hands; while on feast days special offerings and invocations are required. In Buddhist families, the Butsudan, or Buddha shelf, takes the place of the kami-dana, and the worship is slightly more complicated. Greater variety of food is offered, and the simple clapping of the hands and bowing of the head that is the form of prayer in the Shintō religion is replaced by the burning of incense and by actual verbal invocation of Buddha. These religious ceremonies must be attended to by the mother or wife. She it is who sets the rice and wine before the ancestral tablets, who lights the little lamp each night, and who sees that at each feast day and anniversary season the proper food is prepared and set out for the household gods.

Upon the wife, and her attention to minute and apparently trifling details, depends much of the well-being of the family. Each child, as it grows toward maturity, gathers from various sources a collection of amulets, which, while worn always when the child is in full dress, are frequently too precious for ordinary play times and the risks and perils of every-day life. These must be kept carefully by the mother as a safeguard against the many evils that beset child-life. I have spoken of the amulets given at the times of the miya mairi,—both the first, when the name is given to the baby, and the subsequent visits made to the temple by the children as they pass certain stated points in their progress toward maturity. These amulets are simply written papers or slips of wood with the seal of the temple from which they are issued stamped upon them. Visits to noted temples by relatives and friends often result in additions to the child's collection. One kind of charm is good to keep the eyes strong; another will help its possessor to that much-prized accomplishment, a good handwriting; another acts as an assurance against accident and saves the child from harm in case of a fall. All these are put together by the careful mother and preserved as jealously as Queen Althea kept the charred stick that governed the destiny of her son. As the children arrive at years of discretion, these treasures pass out of the mother's faithful keeping into the hands of their actual owners, and they are usually kept stored away in some little-used drawer or cabinet until death removes the necessity for any further safeguards over life. Perhaps of all the curious things that go to make up these intimate personal belongings of a Japanese man or woman, there is none more curious than the small white parcel containing a portion of the umbilical cord,—saved at birth and preserved until death that it may be buried with its possessor and furnish him the means of a new birth. These little paper packages, each marked with the name of the child to whom it belongs, are kept by the mother.

Upon the mother of the family rests very largely the determining of lucky and unlucky days for the beginning or transaction of different kinds of business. A fortune-teller is consulted for important things, such as removals or marriages, but in every-day life one cannot be running to a fortune-teller about everything; and yet there is bad luck lurking in the background that may baffle all our plans if we do not observe the proper times and seasons for our undertakings. Just as the Japanese calendar divides time into cycles of twelve years, each year named for a different animal, so also the days and hours are divided into twelves and bear the names of the same twelve animals,—the Chinese signs of the zodiac. These animals are as follows: the rat, the bull, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the cock, the dog, and the boar. Each animal brings its own kind of good or bad luck into the hour, day, or year over which it presides, and only a skillful balancer of pros and cons can read aright the combinations, and understand what the luck of any particular hour in any particular day of any particular year will be. For instance, the rat, which is the companion of Daikoku, the money god, is a lucky animal so far as money is concerned. A person born in the year of the rat will never need money, and will be economical, possibly miserly; and in one born on the day of the rat in the year of the rat these chances and qualities will be doubled. But the luck of the rat may be very seriously interfered with by the bad luck of the monkey or of the proverbially unlucky dog, when their days and hours occur in the rat year. On the other hand, their bad luck may be counteracted by the good luck of the tiger or hare, for as a rule three animals of different portent are presiding over human prospects every hour. This makes prophecy a ticklish business, requiring a wise head, but it also leaves much room for the subsequent explanation of failures by the superior and unusual influence of one or another of the animals, as the case may require. Momentous questions of this kind have frequently to be settled by the Japanese wife and mother, and she gains dignity and value in her home and neighborhood according to her skill in interpreting the portents of the day and hour.

For the greater events of family life the home prophecies are felt to be too uncertain, and the services of the fortune-teller must be called in. No well-managed family would think of building a new house without finding in what direction to face the front door. In an American city this necessity would cause considerable inconvenience, as the position of the front door is usually determined by the relation of the building-lot to the street; but in a Japanese city, where, in all but the business quarters, every house is concealed by a high board fence, and where the gate that admits one within the fence is the only sign by which any one in the street can judge of the worldly condition of the dwellers within, the houses are faced about any and every way, and the position of each is determined by the good luck that it will bring its owner. After this matter has been settled and the house is fairly begun, there are occasional crises in its construction upon which much depends. Of these the most important is the day when the roof is raised. The roof timbers, which are unsquared logs, often rather crooked, after being carefully fitted and framed in some convenient vacant lot, are brought on carts to the site of the new building, and when all is ready, the head carpenter sends word to the house-owner that he is about to set the roof in place. The house-owner then decides whether the day set by the builder is a lucky one for himself and his family. If it is not, a delay in the building is always preferable to any danger of incurring the displeasure of the luck gods. This crisis safely passed, and the last of the roof beams secured in its place, the men take a holiday, and are feasted on saké and spaghetti by the house-owner. A present of money to each workman is also in order, and will conduce to the rapid and faithful execution of the job in hand. When, at last, the house is finished, and carpenters and plasterers are ready to leave it, the local firemen, who have assisted all along in the building as unskilled laborers, often ascend to the roof, and from the ridge-pole cast down cakes, for which the children of the neighborhood scramble joyfully.

When the builders have left, and the house is ready for occupation, even to the soft, thick mats on the floor and the white paper windows, the family will move in on the first day thereafter that is both lucky and pleasant. So far as possible, everything in the old house will be packed and ready the day before, and very early in the morning the relatives and friends of the mover will begin to rally around him. All come who can, and those who cannot come send servants or provisions. Every tradesman or kurumaya who has had or who hopes to have the patronage of the moving household sends a representative to help along the work, so that there is always a sufficient force to carry the household belongings into the new home and settle them in place before the day is over. All these visiting helpers must be fed and provided with tea and cakes at proper intervals, and the presents of cooked food that pour in at such times are highly acceptable and of great practical usefulness. When the long day is ended and the visitors return one by one to their homes, it is the mistress of the house who must see that every servant and representative of a business firm receives, neatly done up in white paper, a present of money properly proportioned to his services, and the style and circumstances of the family he has been aiding. And when all are gone, the shutters closed, and the family left alone in their new home, the little wife must make a list of all who have helped in any way during the day, and to all, within a short time, make some acknowledgment of their kindness by either a call or a present. It is upon the wife, too, that the duty falls of sending to each of the near neighbors soba, a kind of macaroni, as an announcement of the family's arrival. The number of neighbors to whom this gift is sent is determined differently according to circumstances. If the house is one of several in a compound, soba will be sent to all within the gate; but if the compound is very large, so that the sending to all would be too great an expense, the five nearest houses will be selected to receive the gift, or all who draw water from the same well. A very late fashion in Tōkyō, but one that is gaining ground because of its convenience, is to send, not the macaroni itself, but an order on the nearest restaurant at which that delicacy is sold.

As I have already said, much of a woman's time and thought must be given to the proper distribution of presents among friends and dependents. The subject of what to give, when to give, to whom to give, and how to do up the gift acceptably, is one the thorough understanding of which requires the study of years. No foreigner can hope to do more than dabble in the shallows of it. Presents seem to be used more for the purpose of keeping those persons whose services you may need, or whose enmity you dread, under a sense of obligation, than they are as expressions of sentiment. Every housekeeper, for instance, must need the occasional services of a carpenter or a gardener, and in a large city like Tōkyō the chances are that she will some day need, and need very badly, the services of a fireman. A wise woman—one who is not penny wise and pound foolish—will by timely presents keep herself constantly in the minds of such persons, so that when she sends for them, they may feel under sufficient obligation to her to come at once. So will her house be quickly put in repair after earthquake or other accident; her garden show for only the briefest interval the ravages of the typhoon which has gullied out her lawn and leveled her choicest trees; and when some night "the flower of Yedo" blooms suddenly by her side, she will have the speedy assistance of the firemen, who will seal her storehouse securely with clay, wet her roof and walls thoroughly with water, and light at her gates the great alarm lanterns to tell her friends that her house is in danger and summon them to her assistance. No friend can disregard such a signal, but all will rally round her once more to help in this less orderly and cheerful moving,—will pack and cord and carry out her goods, and if at last the fire consumes her dwelling, will gather her household and belongings into their hospitable homes. But the foolish woman, who neglects or forgets her dependents when she does not need them, finds some day that her roof is leaking, but all the carpenters are too busy to mend it, her garden is destroyed because the gardener had an important engagement elsewhere just when she needed him, and her property is burned up or ruined by water and smoke because the firemen attended to her house last when the fire swept over her compound.

When death enters a house in Japan, there are no undertakers to relieve the family of the painful duty of caring for the dead body and placing it in the coffin. There are coffin-makers and funeral managers who supply the great white bier and lanterns and the bunches of paper flowers that adorn every funeral procession, but within the house the preparations are all made by the family and friends, and the heaviest and most painful part of the work falls, as usual, on the women of the family. As soon as the breath finally leaves the body, it is wrapped in a quilt, laid with its head to the north, and an inverted screen placed around it. On one corner of the screen is hung a sword or knife to keep off any evil spirit that may wander into the room in the shape of a cat and disturb the dead.

Etiquette requires that relatives and intimate friends of the family call immediately on learning of the death. To receive these calls the mourners, in full ceremonial dress, must sit in the death chamber and remove for each guest the covering from the face of the dead. The visitors then offer the ceremonial bows to the corpse, as if it were alive. During this time, too, presents to the spirit of the dead are pouring in. The proper offerings are flowers, cake, vegetables, candles, incense, or small gifts of money for the purchase of incense. If the deceased is a person of rank or distinction, the house is flooded with cumbersome and useless offerings. This custom has become so great an addition to the trials necessarily incident to a bereavement that one occasionally sees in the newspaper announcements of deaths a request that no offerings to the dead be sent.

On the day after the death, often in the evening, the body must be placed in the cask-shaped coffin that until recently was the style commonly in use in Japan. Now, among the wealthier classes, the long coffin has superseded the small square or round one, but the smaller expense connected with burial in the old way makes the survival of the old type a necessity for the majority of Japanese. At an appointed time all the relatives assemble in the death chamber, and preparations are made for the bathing of the corpse. Two of the tatami, or floor mats, are turned over, and upon them are placed a new tub, a new pail, and a new dipper. These utensils must have no metal of any kind about them. In the washing of the body none but members of the family must assist, and respect for the dead absolutely requires that all the relatives of the deceased who are below him in rank must have a hand in these final ablutions. In Japan, the mourning for the dead is the duty of inferiors, never of superiors. There is no official, ceremonial mourning of parents for their children, nor does custom require them to perform any of the last rites, or attend the funeral. Upon the younger brothers and sisters falls the duty of attending to all the last sad ministrations. If the wife dies, her husband does not mourn for her, though her children do; but if the husband dies, the wife must mourn the rest of her life, cutting off her hair and placing it in the coffin as a sign of her perpetual faithfulness.

When the body has been washed, it is dressed in white, in silk habutai whenever the family can afford it. The dress, which must be appropriate to the season, in the making of which all the women of the family must assist, is the plain, straight kimono, but must be folded from right to left, instead of from left to right as in life. The body, to be placed in the coffin, must be folded into a sitting posture, the chin resting upon the knees,—the position of the mummies found in many aboriginal American tombs. This difficult, to us apparently impossible feat, safely accomplished, there are placed in the coffin a number of small things that the dead takes with him to the next world. Some of these have been already mentioned, the others are little keepsakes, or perhaps tokens of the tastes and employments of the dead,—dice, cards, saké bottles, the image of a horse, toy weapons,—anything, provided only that it be not of metal, may be used for this purpose. The single exception to this rule about metal is that small copper coins may be put in, to fee the old hag who guards the bank of the river of death. Last of all, the vacant spaces in the coffin are filled in with bags of tea. Then the coffin is closed and nailed up, wrapped with a white silk cloth fastened with a white silk or cotton cord, and placed on a high stand, and food and incense are placed before it.

So long as the coffin is in the house, it must be watched over continually. To aid in this protracted vigil, which must be kept up day and night until the burial, the relatives, friends, and retainers of the dead assemble at the house in large numbers. In the case of a person of wealth and influence, there will often be a hundred or more of these watchers, who must be fed and cared for; and who take turns in watching, eating, and sleeping. It is their duty to see that the incense burning before the coffin is never allowed to go out, while the food for the dead is renewed at regular intervals by the mourners themselves.

This somewhat detailed description of the duties to be performed by the members of a bereaved family in the house of mourning is sufficient to show that the presence of death in the home is made as terrible as possible by the painful ceremonies, the continual bustle and excitement, and the strain upon the resources and executive ability of the housekeeper and her assistants. There are few enlightened Japanese who will defend the present system of cruelty to the afflicted, or who do not long for some change, but so great is the force of conservatism in this regard, so haunting the fear that any change may indicate a lack of respect for the dead, that reform advances slowly.

Individual instances occur in which some of the worst features of these customs are modified. A case in point is that of the late Mr. Fukuzawa, a man whose life was devoted to the advancement of his countrymen in modern ways, and who in his death continued his teaching. In his will he provided that his body was to be buried, without washing, in the clothing in which he died. This provision would seem in most countries to be mere eccentricity, but when one has seen or heard of the gruesome ceremony that follows immediately after death, and the burden of which falls, not on the old and hardened, but on the young and tender, suffering, in many cases, under the weight of a first and crushing affliction, one can see that only through such means as this can the burden ever be lifted from the shoulders of those who mourn. There are young and enlightened mothers in Japan to-day who have felt, in minds awakened to thought and action, the horrors of the system, and who will not allow their children to suffer for them what they have suffered in paying respect to their dead parents. Through this growing feeling and the unselfishness of maternal affection may come in time the release from these mournful ceremonies.

While the body remains in the house, a priest comes from time to time to offer prayers, longer or shorter according to the wealth of the family employing him; and when the funeral cortège sets out on its way to the cemetery, the priests in their professional robes form an imposing part of the spectacle. The day of the burial is selected with due respect to the calendar, for, though there may be little good luck about a funeral, there is a chance of extremely bad luck growing out of it unless every precaution is taken. Just before the procession starts, a religious ceremony is held at the house, which is attended by the friends of the deceased, and which is substantially the same as that performed at the cemetery. On the day of the burial, great bunches of natural flowers are sent to the dead, each bunch so large as to require the services of one man to carry it. Sometimes with the gift a man is sent to take part in the procession, but if the giver feels too poor to hire a man, this burden, too, falls upon the bereaved household, for etiquette requires that all flowers sent be borne to the grave by uniformed coolies, who march in the funeral train. Another favorite present at this time, among Buddhists, is a cage of living birds, to be borne to the grave and released thereon. This act of mercy is counted to the deceased for righteousness, and is believed to aid in rendering his next incarnation a happy one.

A funeral procession is an imposing spectacle, and, to the uninstructed foreigner, a cheerful one; for there is nothing sad or sombre in the white, or bright-colored, robes of the priests, the white, tinsel-decorated bier, the red and white flags borne aloft, the enormous bunches of gay-colored flowers;—the very mourners in white silk, and with faces apparently unmoved by grief, bring no thought of the object of the procession to the Western mind. It seems more like a bridal than a burial. But if you follow the cortège to the cemetery and there listen to the wailing of the wind instruments, and the droning of the priests as they perform the last rites, and watch the silent company that one by one go forward to bow before the coffin and place upon it a branch of sakaki or burn a bit of incense, the trappings of woe in Japan will impress themselves strongly upon your mind, and the gayly appareled funeral processions will seem to you ever afterward as mournful and hopeless a spectacle as you can find in any country.

The house of death remains a place of mourning for forty-nine days after the funeral. During this period the spirit of the deceased is supposed to be still inhabiting the house, and a tablet or shrine is set up in the death chamber before which food and flowers are renewed daily. Visitors are expected to make obeisance to the dead. At the end of this time, some acknowledgment must be sent to every friend who has sent anything to the house at the funeral. For a time after death has come into the family the relatives of the dead are regarded as ceremonially unclean. The period of defilement varies with the nearness of relationship. In the old days, no one thus defiled was allowed to go about his regular business or to mingle with other men; but busy modern Japan does not find it convenient to pause long in its work, so that government officials and school-children are now sent written papers excusing them for coming back to their tasks even while ceremonially unclean. Thus the old custom is passing away. In the first year after death, certain days are observed with special honors before the memorial tablet, and later, certain anniversaries of the death must be kept, until, at last, at the end of fifty or one hundred years, the personality of the spirit seems to become merged with that of the other ancestral spirits, and no offerings are made to it except at the general feasts of the dead.

With the coming in of the last month of the year begin the preparations for the great New Year's festival, and the housekeeper finds herself occupied through every moment of the brief days. A woman who is at the head of a large household has upon her hands in the month of December spring house-cleaning and preparations for Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Easter, all at once. The work of getting the family wardrobe ready for the festival must begin very early in the month, for every man, woman, and child in the household must be provided with new clothes, and the thrifty housewife sends no sewing out. In the old days, it was ordained that the eighth day of the twelfth month should be a needle festival,—a day on which all women rest from their sewing and amuse themselves by indulging their own fancies instead of their husbands', as is their duty on other days. This day was supposed to mark the dividing line between the old year's and the new year's sewing, but, as a matter of fact, the forehanded woman will finish up the old and begin the new even earlier in the month, so as to have this part of her work well out of the way before the house-cleaning, which should be begun not later than the fifteenth.

This house-cleaning, even with the small amount of furniture found in a Japanese house, is an elaborate affair. Every box and closet and rubbish-hole in the house is turned out and put in order, the tatami are taken up and brushed and beaten, the woodwork from ceiling to floor is carefully washed, the plaster and paper walls flicked with the paper flapper that takes the place in Japan of our feather duster. All the quilts and clothing must be sunned and aired, the kakémonos and curios belonging to the family unpacked, carefully dusted, and put back into their wrappings and boxes, and the house and garden put into perfect repair. This work, if thoroughly done, takes about a week. When all is finished, even to the final purification by beating everything in the house with a fresh bamboo, games and festivities and soba are in order. In the old daimiō houses, where great numbers of men and women were employed, and where the women's quarters were in a distinct part of the house, it was considered a great joke to catch a man on the women's side any time between the close of the cleaning and the beginning of the new year. The intruder was promptly seized and shouldered by the women, who carried him about the house in triumph, finally returning him to his own quarters. If, by any chance, they could catch the chief steward, they sang as they carried him about:—

"This is the great pillar of the house!
May he be happy till the stone foundations rot!"
The week following the house-cleaning is devoted to the preparation of food for the festival. Of this, the most characteristic is mochi, a sort of dumpling made of rice steamed and pounded, the preparation of which is so difficult and protracted a process that it is not lightly undertaken. It is so distinctively the festival food of Japan that if you find mochi in a friend's house at any time except the new year, you immediately ask what has happened, and are pretty sure to be told that it is a present received in celebration of a birth or a marriage, or some other domestic festival. It is, to Japanese children, what turkey and cranberry sauce are to American children, not only a delight to the palate, but a dish the very smell of which brings back the most cheerful occasions in the year.

When the mochi is made and set away to await the festal day, the matter of decoration must be attended to. At every gate is erected some token of the season, if it be only a bit of pine stuck into the ground, or a wisp of straw rope decorated with white paper gohei. The great black gates that indicate the homes of the wealthier classes are almost concealed by structures of pine and bamboo, on which oranges, lobsters, straw rope, straw fringe, white paper, and images of the good luck gods are used as decorations. All these things are either efficacious in keeping off evil spirits, or are symbols of good luck. Within the house, in the tokonoma, or place of honor, in the best room, great cakes of mochi, two, three, five, or seven in number, are set one upon another in a dish covered with fern leaves, and the structure surrounded by seaweed.

Before the new year comes in the capable housewife will have sent out presents to every one who has during the year been of service to her husband, her children, or herself in any way. Her own servants will be remembered with gifts of clothing, something will be sent to the servants of friends at whose houses any of the family have visited often, and every dependent, poor relation, employee, and employee's child must be given a present, large or small, according to the amount of obligation felt by the giver. To persons of greater wealth and importance, to whom the family are grateful for past favors or from whom they are hoping for something in the future, gifts, often quite out of proportion to the resources of the givers, are sent,—a method of investing capital that is a little risky, though it sometimes yields prompt and bountiful returns. On the other hand, all the merchants and marketmen who supply the house send presents to the mistress and frequently to the head servants as well, and furushiki (bundle handkerchiefs), cooking utensils, packages of sugar, boxes of eggs, dried fish, etc., flow in at the kitchen; while crêpe, silk, cotton cloth, money, toys, curios, and other valuables flow out of the parlor. All this present-giving is a severe tax upon the strength and resources of the housekeeper, and adds heavily to the burden that the last month of the year imposes upon her.

By the twenty-fifth or twenty-sixth of the month the trades-people begin to send in their bills, for every man expects to square up all his accounts by the last night of the old year, and early payments are expected and made, so that all may begin the new year out of debt. So universal is this custom that the man who finds at the eleventh hour that he cannot clear off all his debts is likely to offer his property at a heavy sacrifice in order to secure the necessary cash. For any one with ready money extraordinary bargains are to be met with in Japanese shops during the last week of the year. In case this resource fails, suicide is still a short and honorable way out of a world that has become too difficult to live in.

The Japanese housewife must feel, when December has been successfully passed, like the Yankee who had noticed that if he lived through the month of March he generally lived through the rest of the year. The observances of January, for which December has been one long preparation, begin with the rising of the New Year's sun, and continue in one form or another for about two weeks. Almost every day has its special food and its special festival duty. For the first three days the very best clothes in the wardrobe are worn by everybody, then till the seventh the second best, and from the seventh to the end of the month new clothes, though not the very best, must be worn. Within the first seven days every man in Japan is expected to call on all his friends and acquaintances, but the women, probably out of consideration for the many duties that the festival season puts upon them, are given until March to finish up their New Year's calls.

The streets of the cities, and even of the small villages, are full of life and interest for a week or two. Kurumayas in their new winter liveries trundle around fathers and mothers and happy children. All manner of mummers, musicians, and dancers go from house to house in search of custom. The manzai, who, with dances and songs and strange grimaces, undertake to drive out from your house for the new year all the devils who may have been residing there hitherto, are a special feature of this season. In every garden and in the public streets little girls, their faces freshly covered with white paint, their shining black hair newly dressed, their wing-sleeved kimonos gorgeous with many colors, play battledore and shuttlecock, toss small bags half filled with rice, or pat balls wound with shining silk to the accompaniment of a weird little chant. For the boys there are kites of many shapes and colors, or tops that they spin under every one's feet, well knowing that no one in Japan is too busy to turn aside for a child's pleasure. The very horses—small, shock-headed, evil-tempered beasts, who drag tremendous loads with many snorts and snaps at their masters—are decked out with gay streamers that reach nearly to the ground, at the ends of which are tinkling bells. The festival season closes on the fifteenth and sixteenth with a visit to the temple of Yemma, the god of hell, and with a holiday for all the apprentices.

Next to the New Year's holiday, perhaps the most important festival of the Japanese year is O Bon, the Feast of the Dead. This is, in its present form, a Buddhist institution, but in spirit it fitted so exactly into the ancient Japanese ideas of the tastes and habits of departed spirits that it merely supplanted the old Shintō feasts of the dead, and it is a little difficult to-day to determine whether its observance is more Buddhist or Shintō in its character. To find the O Bon ceremonies in their most perfect form, it is necessary now to go into the more remote country villages, for though, even in Tōkyō, this feast is still one of the most important in the whole year, it seems to be more distinctly itself in a small village, where all the old forms are still kept up.

In Tōkyō, the three days' festival is kept by the new calendar, and occurs on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth of July. At O Bon, as at New Year's time, it is customary to square off all obligations by a general giving of presents. This, while not quite as important a matter as at the beginning of the year, is still a severe tax upon the time, purse, and memory of the wife and mother in any large family. At this time, too, as at New Year's, mochi or some other festival dish must be provided, but at this point the resemblance between the two occasions ceases. In accordance with its character as a feast of departed spirits, the observance of O Bon is distinctively religious. On the twelfth, the family go to the graveyard and clean and put in order the graves and tombstones, so that the returning spirits may find all properly cared for. Fresh water and flowers are placed before each stone, and sometimes rice and fresh vegetables. At home, the ancestral tablets in the Butsudan form the centre of the ceremonies. Before the shrine are placed, on the thirteenth, offerings of food of any kind that can be made without fish or meat. Great balls of mochi, saké, flowers, and choice new varieties of vegetables are appropriate offerings. All are tastefully arranged, the lamps are carefully lighted every night, and special services are held before the shrine. For the three days of the feast, the souls of the dead are believed to be visiting their old haunts, and to need light and food and all the conveniences that their descendants can spare them. Each house is decorated with lanterns, that the spirits may be able to find their way. It is from this custom that the feast is often called by foreigners the Feast of Lanterns.

As I have already said, in Tōkyō and other modernized places, this feast is not seen at its best. Only the soft glow of the lanterns swinging from every house, and the decorations in the graveyards and at the household shrines, indicate to the traveler that anything unusual is going on. But in the country regions it is quite another matter, and the welcoming, entertainment, and proper dismissal of the visiting spirits form the entire business of the community for three days. Usually the middle of August is the time for the country celebration. On the twelfth, bands of children carrying red lanterns march singing through the village on their way to the graveyard, where the annual cleaning is taking place. That night bonfires in the cemetery and before the houses light the pathway of the wanderers. Then for three nights all the young people of the village gather in the temple court in grotesque disguises and with towels over their faces, and dance all night long in the moonlight, to primitive music produced by a drum and the monotonous chant of the dancers themselves. These three dance-nights are the great occasion of the year to the young peasants, for this is the only time when persons of both sexes meet together in a social way, and it is long looked forward to and enjoyed intensely. Of late years, the government, fearing the abuses that grow out of this exceptional social event, has endeavored to suppress the dancing, but it continues in full vigor throughout most of rural Japan, though conducted with more decorum than formerly on account of the standing dread of police interference. The object of the dance is to amuse the spirits of the ancestors, who must be imagined as hovering in the background, viewing with approval the antics of their descendants.

Other amusements are going on in the village on the O Bon evenings. At a summer resort every hotel-keeper will have a professional story-teller, a company of musicians, or some other entertainment to which the guests of the hotel are invited, and at which as many of the villagers as can crowd to the open house fronts stare until the dance drum in the temple court draws their feet in that direction. And then, on the last night of the feast, bonfires are once more kindled at every house, so that the spirits may find their way safely back to the land whence they came, and not stay to haunt their descendants at improper seasons.

No account of life in a Japanese home would be complete without a little space devoted to the special delights of the small boy. Although this book deals mainly with feminine concerns, the small boy in Japan, as in America, is the life and fun of the home, and one cannot fail to notice his times of surpassing enjoyment. He rules the house and his mother and his grandmother and his sisters, at all times, and his activity and enterprise secure for him a good share in any fun that is going on; but there are certain seasons that appeal to the boyish heart with a special message and of which he is the central figure.

As the Feast of Dolls is to the girls, so is the Feast of Flags to the boys,—their own special day, set apart for them out of the whole year. It comes on the fifth day of the fifth month (now May fifth), and for long before its arrival the shops are gay with all manner of tempting toys, while in every yard rises a great bamboo pole, from which, when the time comes, will float an enormous carp, its body inflated by the strong spring wind, its great mouth wide open, and its eyes glaring hideously, as it fights its way against the air currents. Sometimes there will be half a dozen such poles in one yard,—signs either that the household is blessed with many boys, or that the way to its heart is through gifts of toys to its son and heir. When the great day at last arrives, the feast within the home is conducted in much the same way as the Feast of Dolls. There are the same red-covered shelves, the same offerings of food and drink; but instead of the placid images of the Emperor and Empress and the five court musicians, the household furnishings and toilet articles, there are effigies of the heroes of history and folklore: Jingo, the warrior Empress; Takenouchi, her white-haired prime minister, holding in his arms her son, the infant war-god; Benkei, the giant retainer of Yoshitsune; Yoshitsune himself, the marvelous fencer and general; Kintaro, the fat, hairy, red boy, who was born and grew up in the mountains, and even in his babyhood fought with bears; Shoki Sama, the strong man who could conquer oni;—these are some of the characters to be found on the shelves at the boys' feast. Behind each figure stands a flag with the crest of the hero that it represents, and before them are set all manner of weapons in miniature. The food offered is mochi wrapped in oak leaves, because the oak is among trees what the carp is among fishes, the emblem of strength and endurance. The flower of this day is the iris or flag, because of its sword-shaped leaves,—hence the name, Shobu Matsuri, feast of iris or flag.

Another feast, which, while not founded for the boys, seems to have been adopted by them as a great occasion, is what is known as Buddha's birthday, celebrated on April eighth. On this day in every Buddhist temple a temporary platform is erected, the roof of which is covered with flowers. Upon this platform, in a great tub filled with licorice tea, is set a small image of the infant Buddha. Hither flock the small boys with bamboo dippers, and spend the day ladling up the tea and pouring it over the image, and then ladling it out into small bamboo buckets. This licorice tea, through contact with the image, acquires miraculous healing properties, and the devout, after making offerings of money twisted up in white paper, carry away the little buckets. The tea is good for the eyes and the throat, and if some of it be used in mixing ink, and then, with the ink thus mixed, a charm be written and placed about the house, it will keep away all vermin. It is not easy to see exactly what the fascination of this feast is to the boys, but I am told that many of them like it even better than their own specially appointed day.

But of all the delights that come into the year, there is nothing to compare for joyous excitement with the great matsuri of the parish temple. For at least a week beforehand there are enough interesting things going on in every house and shop along the street to keep every small boy in the parish agog from morning till night. Here are lanterns being made with the mon of the gods on one side and the rising sun of the Japanese flag on the other. There a dancing platform is being erected, and at every stage of its development it is swarming with active youngsters, who shin up its poles, turn somersaults on the platform, and sit in rows on its edge, with bare legs swinging high over the heads of the passers-by; and when it is done, and the drums installed, they take turns all day and far into the night in keeping them going. Then, too, there are the dashi, or floats, on one of which each street in the parish spends its money and its ingenuity. How the boys haunt the shops in which they are being made! How they watch the wondrous changes of paper into flowers, and of bamboo and cotton cloth into sea waves, or castle walls, or monsters of earth or sea or air! How they chatter and wriggle and push and squirm for front places, when at last the great cars are built up in the open street, the marvelous edifices erected upon them, and at the top of all the heroic figures of well-known mythological or historical characters rise majestic in flowing robes! Then, when the black bullocks, resplendent in collars and halters of red rope, are yoked to the triumphal car, and the structure moves slowly down the shouting street, how the boys crawl into every joint and cranny of the dashi, how they hang from every beam, how they yell from before and behind in sheer abandon of joy! And at last, when the procession forms, and with fantastically garbed men marching in front and wild-eyed singers yelling just behind them, with dancing-girls on moving platforms and jugglers and tumblers on the dashi themselves, the twenty or more festal cars move, with frequent stops, down to the temple, to escort the sacred symbols on their annual pilgrimage through the parish, who so noisy or so ubiquitous as these same bullet-headed, blue-gowned boys? They bob up at every turn, ooze out at every pore of the procession, and enjoy, as only boys can enjoy, the noise and confusion, the barbaric splendor, the dancing and tumbling, the mumming and drumming, the excruciating howls of the singers, the jingling of the marshals' iron-ringed staves, the clapping of the great wooden clappers that time the movement and the stops of the pageant.

Better than all, perhaps, is the evening, when the streets, lighted by many lanterns, are filled with throngs of holiday-makers,—now stopping to stare in at some shop where the devout worshiper has established a beautiful shrine, has set out mochi and other offerings before some image, or has arranged a landscape garden in a box, or constructed a matsuri procession just entering the court of a miniature temple; now haggling with the ever-present booth-keepers for lanterns or cakes or hairpins to take back to the friends left at home. Suddenly there is a joyous, rhythmic shout of many excited boyish voices, there is a gleaming of square red lanterns, a whirl and a rush through the crowd. Now is the time to get out of the way, for the boys move quickly and are too excited to turn aside for anything. On they come at a sharp trot, each little round head bound about with a fillet of blue and white toweling, each lithe, active body more or less covered by a blue and white gown, all shouting in unison and bearing on their shoulders a miniature dashi, made most often of a saké tub mounted on a frame, and decorated with lanterns and white paper. They charge through the crowd, which makes way quickly at their approach, until the pace, the weight of their burden, and the frantic shouting exhaust their breath. Then they plunge down a side street, rest for a few moments, gather themselves together, and charge once more into the crowd. There must be some pretty tired little boys in the parish when the fun is all over, for these performances are kept up far into the night; but for absolute and perfect enjoyment there is nothing I have yet seen that seems to me to compare with the enjoyment that a Japanese boy gets out of a matsuri. It is worth being tired for!

There is no space in this work for a more detailed picture of life in a Japanese home. Enough has been said in this chapter to show that it is made up of many little things,—of cares and sorrows and pleasures,—just as is life in any American home, and it is the little things we care about that make the oneness of the family, and the nation, and the oneness, too, of humanity, if we can only understand one another.


The woman question in Japan is at the present moment a matter of much consideration. There seems to be an uneasy feeling in the minds of even the more conservative men that some change in the status of woman is inevitable, if the nation wishes to keep the pace it has set for itself. The Japanese women of the past and of the present are exactly suited to the position accorded them in society, and any attempt to alter them without changing their status only results in making square pegs for round holes. If the pegs hereafter are to be cut square, the holes must be enlarged and squared to fit them. The Japanese woman stands in no need of alteration unless her place in life is somehow enlarged, nor, on the other hand, can she fill a larger place without additional training. The men of New Japan, to whom the opinions and customs of the Western world are becoming daily more familiar, while they shrink aghast, in many cases, at the thought that their women may ever become like the forward, self-assertive, half-masculine women of the West, show a growing tendency to dissatisfaction with the smallness and narrowness of the lives of their wives and daughters,—a growing belief that better educated women would make better homes, and that the ideal home of Europe and America is the product of a more advanced civilization than that of Japan. Reluctantly in many cases, but still almost universally, it is admitted that in the interest of the homes and for the sake of future generations, something must be done to carry the women forward into a position more in harmony with what the nation is reaching for in other directions. This desire shows itself in individual efforts to improve by more advanced education daughters of exceptional promise, and in general efforts for the improvement of the condition of women. Well-to-do fathers are willing to spend more money on the education of their daughters, to send them abroad, if possible, to complete their studies, or to postpone the time of marriage so that plans for higher education may be carried through. Where, ten years ago, the number of women who had been abroad for study might be counted on the fingers of one hand, there are now three or four times that number in Tōkyō alone. Another sign of the times is the fact that husbands going abroad on business or for pleasure are more inclined to take their wives with them, even if it be only for a few months. There are now to be found, in all the larger cities, women who have spent a longer or shorter time in some foreign country, whose minds have been opened and whose horizons have been enlarged by contact with new ideas. All this cannot fail to have its effect, sooner or later, upon the country at large.

The efforts for the improvement of women in general may be grouped into four classes: by legislation, by education, through the press, and by means of societies for mutual improvement.

Of the recent legislation concerning marriage and divorce and its effect on the family, I have spoken in a preceding chapter. The latest statistics show that, while before the new laws were enacted divorces were one to every three marriages, they have now been reduced to one in five. It must be said, however, that the law is still somewhat in advance of public opinion. While the chance of permanence in marriage is better now than it was before the new code came into force, custom is still stronger than the law, and marriage is too often a temporary arrangement. In many cases the wife knows little or nothing of her new rights, and even when she does know, she has seldom the self-assertion to make a stand for them, but meekly submits to the dictates of those whom she is bound by custom, if not by law, to respect and obey without question. But the fact that the laws have actually been improved means, in a country like Japan, in which the government is the moulder of public opinion, that the custom will some day conform to the law.

In the matter of property owning, women, under the new code, are fairly independent. As I have already stated, every woman in Japan is expected to become a wife, and as a matter of fact, the number of unmarried women is so small that it is hardly necessary to mention them. Wives, under Japanese law, are divided into two classes: the wife who enters her husband's family, and the wife whose husband becomes a member of her family. In the latter case the wife is the head of the family, is responsible for the debts of the family, and has the right to use and profit by the husband's property. In the former case (and as I have already stated, the great majority of wives enter their husband's families), the husband is responsible, and has, consequently, the right to use and profit by his wife's property. In all cases, unless the husband is physically or mentally unfit, he has the management of his wife's wealth. In case of the husband's disability the woman takes care of her own. A wife may, by application to a court, cause the husband to furnish security for the property that she has intrusted to him; and she may, with her husband's consent, engage in independent business. The property that she thus acquires is her own and not the husband's. Any property in the family, the ownership of which is not perfectly established, belongs to the head of the family, whether male or female. We thus see that the law of Japan fully recognizes the right of married women to hold property, although only in exceptional cases are they allowed the management of their own holdings. The law also regards the wife, in household matters, as her husband's agent.

In actual practice, it is not uncommon for the wife to manage the entire income of the family, receiving it from her husband and acting as his treasurer. The wife's own earnings are seldom given to the husband, and her position is one of entire independence in the disposal of whatever she adds to the family revenue. But should the wife bring into the family at marriage property which passes into the husband's management, the chances are that, unless a divorce should occur, she will never lay any claim to the principal, or think of it again as her own. While her husband cannot actually dispose of it without her consent, she is pretty certain to give her consent should he ask it, and he may do very nearly anything that he chooses with it. We thus see that the tendency is to give the management of the income, as a part of the management of the household, to the woman, and leave the disposal of the principal, as a part of the outside business, to the care of the man. This system of domestic finance seems not unlike the common practice in thrifty and well-managed homes in America, and shows that a spirit of mutual confidence between husband and wife belongs to Japan as to Western nations. As the result of my own observation in a number of homes, I should say that the judgment of the wife in money matters is quite as much trusted in Japan as in America, and that, in this one respect at least, her place in the home is as responsible a one as that of the Western housekeeper. One instance may be cited of a woman whose business ability is so well known as to have a national reputation. By birth a member of a family which is remarkable for its success in all financial undertakings, she has inherited a large share of the family characteristic, and is credited with the personal management of a large bank, as well as other successful business undertakings. Her husband's name and not her own appears on the prospectuses and in the newspapers, but unless report is very far astray, she is the business man of the family, and her sound sense and good judgment have built up the fortune which is their common possession.

In the educational system of Japan, schools for girls are provided by the government, but no provision for studies more advanced than those of the middle schools for boys is included in the scheme, with the single exception of the Higher Normal School in Tōkyō, in which a limited number of young women are trained to take positions as teachers in the ordinary normal schools for girls. To quote from the Annual Report of the Minister of Education for the year , the latest to which I have access, "Higher female schools are institutions designed to give instruction in such higher subjects of general education as are necessary for females." This shows with considerable completeness the idea that dominates all government and much private effort for the education of women in Japan. The schools are to teach simply such subjects as are necessary for females; anything more would be superfluous, possibly dangerous. The thought of women as individuals, with minds and souls to be trained and developed to their highest possibilities, is still somewhat foreign to the mind of the average Japanese man. In its stead is the idea that females must be instructed in such subjects as are necessary for a proper understanding of their duties as wives and mothers. But if Japan to-day is where England and America were in the first half of the nineteenth century, the country is certainly moving forward, as the statistics in regard to education for the three successive years , , and  show. Great efforts are being made to increase the attendance of girls at the common schools, and with gratifying results.

As we advance into the higher schools, the discrepancy in numbers between the two sexes grows greater. In the kindergartens the attendance of girls is nearly equal to that of boys; in the elementary schools there are three boys to two girls; in the higher elementary schools, seven boys to two girls. The boys' middle schools, which are equivalent in grade to the girls' high schools, have fourteen boys taking their courses to every two girls in the high schools. In the apprentice and technical schools, there are fifteen men to every two women. Even the normal schools, which in our own country are almost given over to women, in Japan have six male students to every female. The "special schools," mainly professional, have, to , men,  women, all enrolled in private schools, and presumably taking medical courses. Beyond this point women have no opportunities offered to them. In the higher schools, equivalent to the college and graduate courses given by universities in America, , young men are given opportunities that women must go abroad to obtain.

These figures are, as I have said, for the year . The year  sees two hopeful movements well begun. One of these is the opening of an institution bearing the title of "Female University," endowed and supported by Japanese, through the strenuous efforts of Mr. Jinzo Naruse, a prominent Christian who has spent some time in America. At its opening, five hundred girls were glad to enter, but of these very few are ready for college work. Mr. Naruse, however, believes that in time he will be able to enlarge his college department and diminish the preparatory, which is now almost the whole of the school. He has the support and encouragement of many wealthy and influential Japanese, among them Count Okuma, the well-known progressive statesman. On the day of the opening of the school, Count Okuma, in a speech from the platform, said that the nation would be twice as strong if its women were well educated. This he called "setting up a double standard." He pointed out that Turkey, Egypt, Persia, and China were countries which had tried to get along with a "single standard," and which had fallen conspicuously behind. He called attention to the fact that Japan's primitive religion had for its central figure the Goddess of Light, but that, unfortunately for the well-being of the state, woman had been gradually dethroned and thrust down into a low place. After speaking of the debt that Japan owed to China for the civilization and the ethical system that had stood her so long in good stead, the veteran statesman went on to say that society in Japan was disfigured by abuses which were beyond any simple remedy. The only effective medicine was to be found in a radical reform of the ideals of family life, and this could only be effected by an improvement in the status of woman,—an improvement which such institutions as the one that day opened would greatly aid in bringing about.

These words from one of the most honored leaders of Japanese thought voice the feeling that is prevalent throughout Japan in this thirty-fourth year of Méiji. That it is actually moving both government and people is shown by the words of Mr. Kikuchi, Minister of Education, to the Council of Provincial Governors held in Tōkyō in June, . In speaking of the progress of education throughout the country, he stated his intention to push forward the work of secondary education for girls, saying that a prefecture which refused to make provision for such education by  might be compelled to do so by the government.

The other hopeful educational effort to which I have alluded is a school started on a small scale, but with a high standard, by a Japanese woman whose name is almost as well known in America as in Japan, as an educator of great ability and earnestness of purpose. After many years of work as a teacher in the Peeresses' School, a place of great honor from the Japanese standpoint, she has resigned her position to carry out a long-cherished plan. With the pecuniary aid of friends in America, she has founded a school for the preparation of young women who have finished the courses heretofore open to them, and who wish to become teachers of English in the Government schools. The examinations for such positions have always been open to women, but, because of the difficulty in securing proper preparation, there are few who pass them. Since its opening in September, , the school has been crowded with promising pupils, and the small accommodations with which it began, although already once enlarged, are stretched to the uttermost. The girls come from the government high schools and from the mission schools, and the course offered to them of three years of study in English literature, composition, translation, and methods of teaching has proved a strong attraction. In recognition, perhaps, of this effort on behalf of her countrywomen, certainly, of her position at the head of her profession, this same woman has this year been appointed on the examining committee for the government English examinations, an honor never before given to one of her sex,—in itself a sign of the change in thought that the last few years have wrought.

There can be no doubt that the education of women is moving forward, pushed by the leading men of the country and aided by the earnest work of the women themselves. It is still far behind the education offered to men, and the ideal of most of its promoters is limited to the purely utilitarian; but as long as it moves forward and not backward, and as long as the years of work show an increased number of women fitted to meet the changing conditions of the time, we do well to approve rather than criticise, remembering that the problem is an exceedingly intricate one, and one of which even the best-instructed foreigner can see only a small part of the difficulty.

The year  sees the printing-press almost as much of a power in Japan as in the Western world, and it is interesting to notice that among the innumerable newspapers and magazines now published in the country there are some twenty or more devoted exclusively to the interests of women. To be sure, these women's magazines do not undertake to furnish the loftiest intellectual pabulum, the best of them covering, perhaps, the same range of subjects that is included in "Woman's Journals" in the United States. They devote themselves largely to lectures on morals and manners, and instruction as to how best to perform the duties of the home. These magazines are for the most part written and edited by men, many of them very young men, and serve to show rather what men desire that women should think and do, than to give any insight into the minds of the women themselves. With a combined circulation of perhaps ,, they enter many homes, and do something, at least, toward the general enlightening and quickening of the feminine mind that is so noticeable in the Japan of to-day. In regard to the general reading of Japanese women who have had the new education, my own observation leads me to believe that they keep themselves well informed of what is going on in their own country, and of the outside world so far as it affects their own country; but that their interest in the world at large is less than that of American women, and only in exceptional cases do they care much for the sayings or doings of foreigners. In this respect they differ widely from the men, whose minds are reaching continually for new things to graft upon the old civilization.

In the whole list of publications on the woman question, nothing has ever come out in Japan that compares for outspokenness and radical sentiments with a book published within a year or two by Mr. Fukuzawa, the most influential teacher that Japan has seen in this era of enlightenment. It is in two parts, the first an attack, conducted with much skill and humor, upon Kaibara's "Great Learning of Woman," a book which for nearly four hundred years has been supposed to contain all that a woman should know. The last part of Mr. Fukuzawa's work is a constructive essay upon the "New Great Learning of Woman." So revolutionary are the sentiments expressed in the book that many Japanese men hesitate about allowing their wives and daughters to read it, and in at least one modern Christian school it has been ruled out from the school library as too advanced for the reading of the girls. A brief survey of the sentiments and ideas thus boldly set forth will show how far is the attitude of the Japanese from that of the American public on the woman question. We find in Mr. Fukuzawa's book the lofty ideal that belongs to the most advanced modern thought, but its promulgation as a practical working ideal in Japan was of the nature of a thunderclap. Among less tolerant races, men have been lynched, or burned at the stake, for slighter departures from the average code of thought and morals.

Mr. Fukuzawa starts out with the proposition that women are quite equal to men, and should hold equal position and influence. Although he allows that woman's work in the world is quite distinct from that of man, he holds that it is as important, and that she should have the same property-holding privileges and rights. The greatest stress is laid on the point that the same moral obligation for purity of life rests on the husband as on the wife. He goes into the details of the unhappiness resulting from concubinage, putting the duty of the husband in this respect as equal to that of the wife to preserve her chastity, and as this is, next to obedience, the virtue of virtues for a Japanese wife, his argument is as strong as it could well be made. He insists that women should demand as a right from their husbands and families the same privileges and opportunities that men have in society.

Such sentiments are a matter of course in America, and they have been held by a few advanced thinkers in Japan, but no one hitherto has dared in so vigorous and positive a way, and with arguments that come so near home, to try to break the chain of custom that holds women down as inferior beings. Kaibara says that if a woman finds her husband doing wrong, she should gently plead with him, choosing a time when he is most inclined to listen. If he refuses, she should not insist on his hearing her, but wait until he is willing to listen, and though she may try two or three times, she should never anger or irritate him. Fukuzawa says that if this applies to the woman, it should also to the man,—that is to say, if a man finds his wife unfaithful, he is to wait for an opportunity when she is in good humor before he remonstrates with her. Fukuzawa also throws new light on the duty of husbands and fathers to their wives and children in another respect. He says that no man should let the sole responsibility for the happiness of the home fall upon his wife; that a man is responsible for the peace of the home as well as the woman. This view of the matter is entirely new in Japan, as the responsibility for an unhappy home is laid as a matter of course upon the wife. The duty of a wife to her parents-in-law is also treated after the same revolutionary manner. Is it to be wondered at that many men fear the influence of such a book upon their gentle, submissive wives? In this connection it is interesting, however, to note that at a recent Shintō wedding, after the religious ceremony, which in itself marks a great step forward in the Japanese ideal of marriage, the priest who united the couple presented to the bride a copy each of the Kaibara and Fukuzawa books, perhaps with a view to letting her take her choice between the old style and the new, perhaps that she might instruct her husband out of the Fukuzawa book while she put in practice herself the time-honored precepts of Kaibara.

One feature of the times in Tōkyō, that is perhaps worthy of passing notice, is the tendency of women to form themselves into societies and clubs for the attainment of some common object. Of these women's clubs, the greater proportion are perhaps educational, the members meeting once a month or once a fortnight to listen to a lecture upon some subject that helps to keep them up with the times. There is also a patriotic society, that concerns itself with raising money for sending supplies to soldiers in the field, or for widows and orphans of soldiers, or to help along some other patriotic enterprise. There are societies, too, for general benevolence, or to help in carrying on the work of some one institution. A glance at the membership lists of these associations shows that the motive power is, in almost all cases, the same group of earnest, educated women, who are, in this way and in countless others, doing their utmost to broaden the horizons of their countrywomen, and lead them out into a larger life. This is probably true in the other cities in which a movement of women into clubs and societies is noticeable.

It is when the active women of the new way of thinking, whose lives and thoughts are devoted to work and endeavor rather than to the passive submission and self-abnegation of the old days, find themselves suddenly placed among the surroundings of thirty years ago, that the change of conditions becomes most evident. I cannot think of a better way to illustrate this than to tell the story of one of my Japanese friends and her visit to her husband's relatives in a distant provincial city. The lady who told me the story is a stirring, capable young matron, educated after the modern ways, who has spent most of her happy married life of some fifteen or sixteen years entirely in Tōkyō, except for a visit of a year to America. She bears a closer resemblance to many kind-hearted, strong, energetic young American women than to the old-time Japanese lady portrayed in these pages. She rises every morning at five, attends to every detail of her housekeeping, watches carefully and with educated common sense over her family of young children, believes in good food, fresh air, and exercise, for boys and girls alike, and is a helpful friend and good neighbor, filling to the full the position of work and influence in which she is placed. Her husband is a successful business man, whom frequent journeys across the Pacific have made thoroughly cosmopolitan, and their children are accustomed to a freedom from conventional restraints and a healthful diet and regimen such as old Japan never knew.

Last year the plan of spending the summer with the husband's relatives, which had been long projected, was actually carried out, and the whole family migrated to the provincial city from which the husband had sprung. The aged mother, a gentlewoman of the old type, was delighted to meet and entertain her daughter-in-law and grandchildren, and did her best, with all old-fashioned courtesy, to make the visit a pleasant one. The house was clean and spacious, the mats soft and white, the bows of the lowest, the voices and speech the politest that Japan could furnish, but the healthy, restless children found the conventional restraints irksome, and the old-fashioned diet of rice and pickles, with hardly a variation from morning till night and from week to week, was quite different from the bountiful table to which they had been accustomed. The younger woman could not criticise her mother-in-law's arrangements, neither could she bear to see her children growing thin and pale before her eyes. She consulted her husband, who, in accordance with the antique ideas of propriety, was served his meals at a different time and in a different room from his wife and family. To his food his mother had always added various delicacies which her old-time Spartan spirit would not allow her to set before her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. It would have been quite contrary to her ideas of rank and etiquette for her to make any modification of her ordinary fare for them. As the son was already supplying the funds for carrying on his mother's establishment, it occurred to him that he might increase her allowance on the plea that her summer expenses must be heavy with so large an addition to her household. But the old lady was sure that nothing more was necessary, and would not think of burdening her son with any larger expenses, and could not be induced to accept the offered increase.

Another effort was made to get along upon the meagre fare, but the youngest boy fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital, and the mother decided that something must be done if all the family did not wish to follow him. The happy thought occurred to her of buying something that would be an addition to their scanty menu, and giving it as a present to her mother-in-law. Now a present in Japan can never be refused, so it seemed to the younger woman that she must have found a way of escape from her difficulties. Of course, the present was accepted with many thanks and expressions of unworthiness, and when the meal-hour arrived, each member of the family found an infinitesimal quantity of the delicacy in a small plate at his side. But as soon as the meal was over, the dear old lady, who had by strict economy managed to leave the greater part of the gift untouched, sent out to all the neighbors presents from what had been intended to feed the hungry children at home. The experiment was tried again and again, but always with the same result. No present could be kept for family use alone. Of everything but the barest necessaries, the greater part must be sent out in gifts to others.

At last the husband and wife put their heads together to decide on some course of action that, without hurting the feelings of the older lady, would secure sufficient nourishment for the children, and forthwith began a series of all-day picnics to the noted places in the vicinity,—picnics that included always a good meal at some well-kept restaurant before the return to the old-fashioned fare of the grandmother's house. In this way the summer was passed without further illness, though the poor mother on her return to Tōkyō spent several weeks in bed,—what with starvation and worry and the effort to bear heroically, and with a smiling face, the hard life and scanty fare that were the life and fare of most of Japan only a few years ago.

In the changes that the past few years have wrought, perhaps nothing is more striking than the new openings for work that Japan now offers to women. The growth of the public school system has made a demand for women as teachers that is steadily increasing. Although in the normal schools the proportion of women to men is still only one to six, and while teaching, even in the primary schools, is not yet mainly in feminine hands as it is with us, there is still a good showing of women employed as teachers. From the figures of the school report of , we find over , women as teachers and assistants in the public and private schools. The profession of nursing, too, which ten years ago was just opening, has already drawn many women into its ranks. In the Red Cross hospitals alone there are this year nearly a thousand nurses taking the course, and a thousand graduates scattered throughout the country hold themselves ready to answer the call of the society in the time of need, in the mean time practicing their profession wherever they may chance to be. The quality of the Red Cross graduates has been tested now in two wars, and they show the soldierly virtues of their nation, as well as the more womanly qualities of tenderness and gentleness; and a self-respect that has kept them pure and free from stain in the midst of severe temptation. It is impossible for me to gather statistics of the work done by other institutions for the training of nurses, but the figures given above may, I think, be doubled with absolute safety in making an estimate of the total number of nurses trained and in training throughout the empire.

The growth of commerce and industry has greatly increased the demand for feminine labor outside the home. In the old days the two most important industries of the country, tea and silk, were mainly carried on by women in their homes, but the use of modern machinery is rapidly taking the weaving industries out of the homes and making factory hands of the women and children.

One of the most noticeable effects of this new demand for female labor is the extreme scarcity of servants. Although wages are nearly double what they were ten years ago, it is extremely difficult for Japanese housekeepers now to find servants to replace the old ones as they drop out of the ranks, and the women who apply for positions are apt to be far inferior to those who came to the same families to do the same work ten years ago.

In other ways, too, women are learning to fill new places in the world. The telephone, which now connects towns and cities and villages in Japan, employs girls in large numbers. In the printing-offices we find women at work, not as compositors, but as compositors' assistants, darting from case to case about the room and selecting for the compositor the ideographs that he needs in his work. Inasmuch as a small printing-office cannot get along with less than four thousand characters, and as larger ones may have several times that number, the need of quick-witted and quick-footed assistants to each compositor may be easily recognized. As the schools turn out each year more girls fitted by education to do this kind of work, and as the number of newspapers and other printed matter is continually on the increase, the demand for and supply of this special variety of labor are likely to increase proportionately for some time to come.

A few women are now making their way as reporters on the daily papers, a few more are engaged in literary work. One of the best of modern Japanese novelists was a woman, but she died several years ago at so early an age that her work was a promise rather than a fulfillment. Artists, too, there are, who are making names for themselves, as well as a living, in a country where art is so common that success in that line means hard work and special talent. A few young women support themselves by stenography, a few more as clerks and secretaries in business offices. Until a writing-machine has been invented that will write four thousand characters, there will not be much demand for typewriter girls in Japan outside of the treaty ports, where a few are now employed. The Japanese government has found, as Uncle Sam discovered some time ago, that for the counting of paper money women's fingers are more deft than those of men, and it consequently gives employment to a few women in that work. One railroad has recently begun to employ women as ticket-sellers, and three medical schools have already graduated some women physicians, though it is still doubtful whether there is any great opening for them in the country. These are some of the ways in which women now find themselves able to gain a little more independence of life. The whole matter is so new that no statistics are available that will show the exact extent of the demand for labor in these directions, but from my own observation I am inclined to think that there is little change in the employments of women except in the neighborhood of the larger cities, and that the new occupations as yet have a very slight effect upon the conditions in this country at large.

It is not possible to understand the actual progress made in Japan in improving the condition of women, without some consideration of the effect that Christian thought and Christian lives have had on the thought and lives of the modern Japanese. If Japanese women are ever to be raised to the measure of opportunity accorded to women in Christian countries, it can only be through the growth of Christianity in their own country, and for that reason a study of that growth is pertinent to a study of their condition.

The past ten years in Japan have been discouraging to the missionaries in many ways, and it is not unusual to hear from the less hopeful of them the statement that their work has been at a standstill, or even going backward, during that time. The statistics of missionary effort show a steady, though slight, increase in the number of professing Christians, but if the sum total of the results of missionary effort were the number of converts made, it might, perhaps, be doubtful whether the money spent on missions in Japan might not be better turned to other purposes. There are now in Japan, of Christians of all sects, Protestant, and Roman and Greek Catholic, ,, or about one half of one per cent. of the total population of the country; but the influence of these Christians as leaders of thought is out of all proportion to their number. Christian men are found in the Diet, in the army and navy, in the universities and colleges, and in the newspaper offices, in a proportion far beyond their ratio to the total population, exerting their influence in many ways for the uplifting of the nation to loftier moral ideals. The proportion of Christian men and women in the government schools with which I have been connected is rather surprising. In the Higher Normal School, training young women to go out into the whole country as teachers, the proportion of professing Christians upon the teaching staff is striking; and in the Peeresses' School, which is as conservative and anti-foreign as any educational institution in Japan, there are five professing Christians among the thirty-five teachers. While, on the one hand, the Japanese Christians are not all models of all the virtues, while there is with many of them a tendency to modify their Christianity so as to accommodate a considerable amount of worldly wisdom, it is true, on the other hand, that the most active workers in the cause of philanthropy are men who have accepted the Christian faith, and who are striving in all earnestness to model their lives after the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian Church in Japan to-day has its heroes and its back-sliders, and has between these two extremes a rank and file of every-day, commonplace men and women, who amidst frequent failures and in the midst of many temptations are making the name of Christian stand for a certain kind of life and a certain standard of virtue quite above and beyond the lives and standards of their countrymen. It is largely because of them that a Christian public opinion is growing up among non-Christian Japanese. Men to-day who have no special leanings toward Christianity shake their heads over vices and sins which a few years ago were not even thought of as wrong. There is a great deal of talk about the growth of moral depravity in the country, but as a matter of fact, the standards of virtue have never been so high since Japan was opened as they are to-day: it is only that Christian thought has held up a mirror to an un-Christian society, in which it views all too clearly its own defects. There is, to my mind, no more hopeful sign of the times than the growing discouragement over the present condition of morals. When there is added to this a steadily increasing respect for the honesty and strength of character of Christian men and women, it must mean that a great and lasting impression has been made. To-day banks, business offices, and other places requiring trustworthy clerks and employees, prefer, other things being equal, Christian young men, for it is generally known that they are more worthy of confidence than the majority of applicants for such places.

One instance of this increased moral sensitiveness may be cited in the recent successful efforts to limit the power of the brothel-keepers over their victims and virtual slaves, the jōrō or licensed prostitutes. As I have stated in a previous chapter, the women who carry on this business in Japan are, many of them, unwilling victims of a system which allows parents to sell their children to a life of shame; and they enter upon that life so young that they can hardly be regarded as morally responsible for their condition. Even after the actual sale of girls was forbidden by an imperial ordinance in , the purchase price was called a loan to the parents of the girl, and subsequent loans for clothing entered upon the books of the establishment kept the unfortunates so continually in debt to their masters that they could never escape from the bondage in which they were held except through death, or by purchase by some infatuated admirer. Public opinion, while it indulged in some sentimental pity for the hard lot of the jōrō, did little or nothing to aid any one who desired to help them, regarding the profession as a necessary one, and caring not at all for the injustice to which the girls were subjected. Ten or twelve years ago, a movement started by some prominent Japanese Christians against the jōroya fell flat for want of a public opinion behind it. Speeches on the subject were hissed down by audiences of young men, and nothing could be done to help even the most innocent and unhappy of the girls to a better life. In the new code, perhaps as an effect of this movement, a new law provided that the jōrō might leave her calling by giving notice to the police. A police regulation, however, forbade any girl to cease her employment, or to leave the house in which she was kept, unless her official notice of cessation was countersigned by the keeper of the jōroya, so that by her own effort she could not free herself.

In the year , one of these girls in a provincial city appealed to an American missionary for help in getting her liberty. Through his aid, and that of his Japanese helpers, her case came before the court, which decided that the contract under which she was held was opposed to the public welfare and good morals, and that the keeper must affix his seal to her notice without regard to her debt. Although the local police refused to act in the matter, and although the missionary and his helpers were subjected to personal violence by the employees of the jōroya, an appeal to the authorities at Tōkyō resulted in an enforcement of the court's decision, and the girl was freed.

At this juncture the Salvation Army, which has a valiant contingent in Tōkyō, and which was actually spoiling for a good fight with the world, the flesh, and the Devil, in any form, took up the cause of the oppressed jōrō. A special edition of the "War Cry" containing appeals to the girls to leave their lives of shame, and offering aid to any one who might apply to the Army, was published and hawked through the Yoshiwara. When the keepers and their employees found out what the strangely costumed news-venders were about, they charged down upon them, and after a street fight, drove them out of the quarter. Thus the war began, but the Tōkyō police took up the matter, the Tōkyō press joined hands with the Salvationists, and in the end the whole country was stirred to aid in the attack. In return, the brothel-keepers and their employees, feeling that the profits of their business were at stake, made it extremely warm for any Salvationists or newspaper reporters who dared set foot in the disreputable quarters, and in their zeal sometimes made mistakes and drove out their would-be patrons. The office of one newspaper was wrecked by sympathetic roughs, and it took a squad of fifty or sixty police to escort Army officers when they had occasion to visit any of the houses to secure the release of a girl. No lives were lost, though some hard knocks were received, and the work was kept up with unabated noise on both sides, until every girl held in unwilling bondage knew how she might escape and to whom she could go for aid.

During the month of September, , as a direct result of the attacks of and upon the Army, the number of visitors to these houses in Tōkyō was decreased by about , a night. On October , a government ordinance was issued that at one stroke removed all obstacles in the way of a girl's securing her freedom at any moment when she wanted to leave the business. The new regulations made the descent to Avernus as difficult as possible, and the return to the upper world a mere step. In Tōkyō alone, in the first four months after the promulgation of this order, , out of the , girls who were licensed as prostitutes left the houses in which they were employed, most of them returning to their homes and families, and as many as applied being cared for in the Rescue Home of the Salvation Army. The places thus vacated are not easy to fill, because the keepers will not advance money to the parents of a girl, now that they can no longer hold her as security for the debt. In consequence, too, of the revelations of the evils of the system, the business has fallen off alarmingly. Thus many of the houses have been obliged to close, owing to lack of custom and to inability to pay the heavy taxes.

We have here the story of a successful attack on a system which has existed in Japan for three hundred years, by a Christian agency acting with the support of so strong a public opinion that police and government have felt bound to obey its behests. There has been no more striking example of the effect of Christian thought upon public sentiment in any country than this crusade against the brothels in Japan. When we remember that ten years ago it was not possible for a speaker to attack the institution before an audience of students without being silenced by hisses, it is interesting to note that this year, the students of that same school greeted with applause and respectful attention an address on this very subject.

It seems to me rather striking that in the year  fifty thousand copies of the Bible were sold in Japan—more than of any other book. Although the present translation is regarded as far from perfect, and much of it is unintelligible to the average Japanese without instruction, whether directly or indirectly, by mission workers, it is still sought after and read for the sake of its literature, and because of the reputation that has been gained for it throughout the country. There are few missionaries of any experience in Japan who cannot tell stories of men coming to them from country villages, who, through the reading of a copy of the Bible in some way fallen into their hands, have been brought by the beauty and nobility of the parts that they could understand to seek additional explanation from some teacher or preacher. One case that is amusing, but at the same time striking, I have heard vouched for from a number of sources:—

Two thieves, one night, broke into the dormitory of a girls' school in search of booty, and by chance awakened two of the girls. As they sat up in their beds, wondering what was best to do under the circumstances, one zealous damsel reached for the Bible in which she had been reading before she went to sleep, and handed it to one of the thieves, saying, "If you read this book, you will not want to steal any more." The other girl followed her companion's example and gave her Bible to the other thief. That was all, so far as the girls knew, and it was some years before the sequel came to light.

There is one place in Japan to which released convicts who are trying to get back to respectability again drift from all parts of the empire. It is a prisoners' home in Tōkyō, where one man, aided by his capable and devoted wife, receives into his own family and gives aid and succor to hundreds of society's outcasts. To this place came one day an ex-convict who told a remarkable story of his conversion, and of his desire to lead a new life. He had received a Bible from a little girl one night in a house that he was robbing, but was too full of professional engagements at the time to follow her advice and read it. Later, however, as he was resting from his labors in the enforced seclusion of a prison, he began to read, and spelled out enough to make up his mind that he did not want to steal any more. Accordingly, as soon as his term was ended, he made his way to the prisoners' refuge, and by the aid of its founder and head, and his good wife, settled down to steady habits of industry. Later, when the prison look had worn off from his face and the prison gait from his walk, he returned to his family and friends, where he is now a respectable member of the society upon which he formerly preyed.

There are other stories showing as deep impressions made on men of culture and respectability, not so striking and amusing as this one, but meaning as much, or even more, for the future of Japan. Such things are hardly possible in Christian countries to-day, for there is little or no novelty in the message that the old book brings to us; but to the Japanese mind the thoughts are absolutely new in many ways, and the reading alone will often change the whole life, because it lifts up the nature to a higher set of ideals.

As a direct effect of Christian thought upon the thought of the Japanese nation, it is interesting to notice the change in meaning of one word. In the teachings of Confucius the highest virtue is benevolence, rendered into Japanese by the word jin; in the teachings of Buddhism the highest virtue is mercy, or jishi. When the Christian missionaries first came to Japan, there was no term in the language that covered the thought of love as it is taught by Christ. For lack of anything better, the word ai, which indicated the love of a superior for an inferior, was made to do duty for the greater thought; and now the old word ai, throughout the length and breadth of Japan, is accepted and understood in its new meaning, a continual witness to the effect of Christianity upon the national mind. Is this a little thing in the education of a race that has shown in the past so great a capacity for living up to its ideals?

One more direct effect of Christian teaching upon Japanese society is the great quickening of philanthropic and benevolent effort. Scattered throughout the country are benevolent or educational societies, orphanages, hospitals, free kindergartens, reform schools, and other evidences of a desire on the part of the more fortunate to help the unfortunate by some means or other; and if you study into the history of any of these efforts, you will usually find that some Japanese Christian, or some man who has come home impressed with the philanthropies of Christian countries, has started the scheme, and has created a society, and a public opinion behind the society, which carries on the work. Even in the government institutions there is no difficulty in tracing the influence of Christians and Christianity. The Red Cross Society, with its seven thousand members, and its hospitals in every prefecture of the empire, bears the sign of Christendom upon all its property and employees. It seems to me quite safe to say that but for the Christian influences of the past forty years, there would be very little altruistic work done in Japan to-day; but by means of the Christians and their teachings, the latest and best thought of the world is working its way out in practical service for humanity in Japan, and this service is ascribed by enlightened Buddhist and Shintō believers alike to the spirit of Christianity, which will not let the fortunate rest while their less fortunate brothers are in want or sin.

No one who studies the religious question in Japan at all can fail to notice the extraordinary revivifying of Buddhism for what it feels to be a life and death struggle with an alien faith. The disestablishment of the Buddhist church by the government at the time of the restoration must be credited with its share of the awakening process; for the priests, finding their own support and that of the temples dependent upon the voluntary contributions of worshipers, were forced to bestir themselves as they had not done since the old missionary days, when they were working for a foothold in the country. But without the competition of Christianity, it is extremely doubtful whether their efforts would have been turned so largely along educational and philanthropic lines, whether the standard of intelligence among the priesthood would have been so quickly raised, whether they would have sent young men abroad to study Sanskrit and history with a view to a better understanding of their own scriptures, or whether they would not rather have relied on less radical methods of quickening the religious life within their body. Certain it is that Buddhism, which upon its introduction into Japan actually lowered the status of women, is now making a bid for public favor by holding meetings and founding societies especially for women, and is doing its best to increase their self-respect and the respect in which they are held by society.

An interesting story which throws some light upon the new influence that is at work among the Buddhists came to me not long ago through a Japanese friend. There were two brothers living in a poor little village on the northern coast of Japan, who were joint heirs to a small piece of property. As the land was not enough for the support of two families, the elder brother, a gentle, thoughtful youth, gave up all title to his share of the inheritance and entered a Buddhist monastery. In the quiet of this retreat, amid the beautiful surroundings, the daily services, the chanting of priests, and the mellow booming of the great monastery bell, his thoughts went out to the poor and the sinful among his own people. He began to feel that a life which seeks merely spiritual uplift for itself is not the highest life, and that only as spiritual gain is shared with others is it real and lasting. Forthwith he began a life of helpfulness to the poor about him,—of teaching and preaching and good deeds that won him many humble friends. Within the monastery, however, his work was not approved. His ideas and actions were not in harmony with the teachings of the sect. He was first disciplined and then expelled, and found his way back at last, penniless, to his native village.

Now, in northern Japan the winters are long and hard, and the most industrious of farmers and fisher-folk can wring only a bare subsistence from the conditions of their toil. It is from these villages, perhaps, more than from any other sources, that the girls are obtained to supply the jōroya of the great cities. At any rate, in this particular village, the only hope that any girl possessed of escaping from the hard home toil was by the sale of her person, and the thought of seeing the great cities, of wearing beautiful dresses, of being admired and petted, and perhaps at last of marrying some rich lover and becoming a great lady, was a tempting bait to these poor peasant girls. To this young man, whose soul had been awakened to a new sensitiveness during his absence, the full horror of the conditions that could so warp and dwarf the souls of women appealed as it had never done before. He must do something to help them, but what to do his previous experience did not help him to know. He sought for aid and sympathy in his native place, among his friends and co-religionists; but the state of affairs was too old and too familiar to excite interest, and at last he worked his way to the capital, feeling that somewhere in that great city he would find light on the question that perplexed him. It was a mere question of ways and means—how to begin a work which he felt driven from within to do. In Tōkyō, as he inquired among his friends, he was told that Christians knew all about the kind of work that he wished to begin, that he must go to them and study their methods, if he would help the people of his native village. So the devout young Buddhist, who had found in his own faith the divine impulse, turned to the study of what Christians had done and were doing for the unfortunate. The story is not finished yet. We cannot tell whether in the end it will result in another addition to the ranks of the Japanese Christians, or whether it will aid in the quickening that has come to Buddhism, but, whatever way it ends, it shows in a concrete example what Christianity is now doing for Japan, and especially for the women of the country.