Made in Japan


TRAVELERS voyaging west to reach the East find, when they attain the 180th meridian, that going to sleep of a Sunday night they wake up on Sunday morning. This repetition of a day, whose complicated explanation is familiar to the Third Class in arithmetic as it is to sailors, serves for the ordinary passenger as an intellectual stimulus — a kind of pons asinorum. If he crosses the bridge which asses balk at, then he is qualified to travel and grow in wisdom. Some tourists pass the test.

Whether this assertion is libelous or not, the problem usually serves to close the conversational gap which divides you from Yokohama. The first week has disposed of the President, the flaccid stock market, and other staples of small talk. Mathematics is for once a blessing. Besides, as a social asset the Japanese ship you are traveling on is not to be despised. It is a sort of selective exhibit of things Japanese. You are bidden to a garden party where the port deck is hung with lanterns and festooned with wisteria, and booths along the cabin wall are piled high with every confection that bean and fish are susceptible of. Here you are served by cabin boys so kimono’d and powdered that they seem the identical ladies who beautified the fans of your youth. Here too you arc given your first lesson in manners. Young lady, if you can curtsy as prettily as the stewardess when she looks in with her morning smile, — ‘Madam, it would be charming to me if you are comfortable,’ — the success of your début is assured.

Yokohama is big, modern, efficient, and bustling, but its real interest lies in the fact — true, though you can’t believe it — that seven years ago there was n’t any Yokohama. After the earthquake, in the Prophet’s awful words, came the fire, and the city ceased to exist. Yokohama is the port of Tokyo, half an hour distant. Even now we can hardly realize that within the two cities nearly a quarter of a million people were done to death. Sixty thousand corpses incinerated in a huge hecatomb are interred in a single shrine built in Tokyo of solid cement as if in defiance of what Fate may have in store. Such a catastrophe outreaches the imagination. The tragedies of Galveston, of San Francisco even, are incidents beside this holocaust. Think of that scene! Yokohama was a memory, Tokyo an ash heap, and homeless multitudes, gathered in rude cantonments, clung in their agony to the single hope of reaching some city like Kyoto, out of the earthquake belt. But on the sixth day the Emperor spoke. Tokyo, the Imperial Rescript ran, was forever ordained the capital of the Empire. Then people knew that Will had conquered Fate.

One of the prize puzzles in Tokyo is to find an address when you want it. Of course, it would be simpler if the streets had names, but that would spoil the puzzle. Names there are for districts or for wards, but these are utterly irregular and known to instinct alone. Once in the ward, the taxi driver knows that the trail is growing hot. What he next seeks is the cho. Now in the country the cho, properly a lineal measure running sixteen to the mile, — to be computed by the rod, perch, or pole, as the arithmetic book hath it, — also designates an area, but in towns the cho is simply what it is. So, once within its limits, down clambers your driver, while the taxi next in line honks its protest in the narrow street behind. First he inquires of the grocery man. They bow twice in harmonious accord and then get down to business. But the grocer has only lived there for a year or two and is imperfectly informed. The stonecutter, who in Tokyo invariably lives hard by, is called into consultation, and when the party is completed by the policeman the outline of the cho is theoretically determined. Up springs the driver and into the cho you go, grazing (I speak from experience) two bicycles and a pushcart.

Then the driver looks round, talking with desperate rapidity. He must mean: ‘What is your number?’ You have it on the slip of paper with which the hotel clerk has providentially supplied you. ‘Number 18.’ Here it is. Well, you might suppose that would be the end of it. But there are two 18’s. No, four! No, six! Upon my soul, in one instance I can testify that one cho has eighteen 18’s. In such an emergency you can, of course, ring the eighteen doorbells and come infallibly to your destination, or you can wait for the postman. We usually waited — to the taxi tune of six yen an hour!

If there is a more extensive city than Tokyo in the world, I do not know it. London may be large. If you take the bus from Clapham Rise to Wormwood Scrubbs, you will cover a substantial slice of England. But remember, this is an earthquake city, and, foreign buildings aside, every structure is one or, at most, two stories. Spread two million people out fiat, add a quantity of the great parks of the world, throw in a dozen rivers and canals and central arteries of immense width, and you cover a considerable amount of the earth’s surface. Of which the moral is, Start early when you go out to dine.


At Tokyo you will have your first sukiyaki — a repast suggesting friendship and even intimacy. Now, squatting on your heels with quiet dignity for two hours and a half sounds easy, but the habits of a lifetime creakily protest against it, and something of Eastern dignity can still be retained by sitting cross-legged on a cushion. The guests, usually in groups of five, squat about a central pot, always boiling and perpetually replenished with slices of beef, onions, greens, and something that looks like vermicelli but is n’t. Into the hotchpotch the vigilant waitress pours ever and anon a thin sauce made from the omnipresent soy. As the steam rises, juicy and fragrant, each guest plunges his chopsticks into the dish, searching for a tidbit cooked precisely so, and transfers to his personal bowl all he is immediately good for. On and on the process goes. Bowls are refilled before they are emptied. One never knows how much or, for that matter, what he has eaten, till at the close of the feast comes the bowl of steaming rice — universal substitute for bread — to fill the last interior cavity.

As with food, so with sake, which washes it down. Served warm in tiniest bowls refilled as they are emptied, the mild liquor provides the gentle exhilaration which Japanese sociability requires. Sake to an American seems little more potent than spring water, but the Japanese, whose wits are more delicately poised than our own, lose their equilibrium more easily, and sake drunk in cumulative sips represents to them infinitesimal gradations between sober-sidedness and that spontaneous exhilaration which for one hour at least makes a man a hero to himself, transforms a chance gathering into a brotherhood, and metamorphoses this stable world into the unsubstantial fairy place of the poet’s dream.

From these lyrical remarks the reader must not think the Japanese an intemperate people. They are the reverse. Sake is merely their gentle protest against the dull placidity of life.

Little does he appreciate a sukiyaki who rates it in terms of food and drink. Like all Japanese festivals, it is the very efflorescence of leisure. For aught I know, a Japanese alone may dine with businesslike dispatch, but in company the host pauses after every mouthful, and unembarrassed silence follows talk. It is the end of the day. No business presses but the business of fellowship. Hour after quiet hour you sit and chat and eat.

The door of a Japanese house swings open less readily than ours. Their little rooms, lovely and bare, are dedicated to family, not to social, life. But if you are so fortunate as to be asked within, the host’s wife and daughters will take the place of maidservants, and you dine as dined Odysseus when King Alcinous’s wife brought him meat and his cup was replenished by Nausicaa. The American who has been waited on, but not by servants, appreciates the honor which has been done him. If the guest be English, let him note the attitude of the wife as she walks abroad just three steps behind her husband. That gap may strike him as the perfect distance!

The visitor who studies his map will notice that there are two main centres of interest in Japan. One clusters about Tokyo, one about Kyoto. Tokyo is but two hours from Miyanoshita, and three or four from Nikko. After the city, the country is doubly delicious, and neither of these lovely patterns of the Japanese countryside can be neglected. In both the second day is more delightful than the first and the third exceeds the second. I have not the honor of knowing the governors of their prefectures, but the social rulers of these two delightful places are brothers, veritable Dioscuri from their trim figures and hazel eyes to the last sinuous twist of their confident gray mustachios. Both are masters of the honorable profession of innkeeping. Either will give you as comfortable a bed, as hot a dinner, and as lovely an outlook as this old world affords. Both were educated in London, and both illustrate the ancient adage, often so difficult of credence, that life for the wayfarer can be made not only bearable but enchanting.

At Miyanoshita, while the water cascades out of a green forest into a sunny pool right at your feet, you can smoke a confidential cigar with Mr. Yamaguchi, and he will tell you the ways of the world. When quite young he elected to be the Bad Boy of his family, but on his rare visits home made himself so agreeable to his parent, and showed so pronounced a preference for the fatted calf above the husks, that all the rewards of the Prodigal were his. His advice to young men is to do likewise, but, as the golden time is gone for me, I could only lament the discretion of my youth and its lack of early counsel. At Nikko, Mr. Fusiwara (Japanese brothers frequently migrate into different families and change their names) will have a glass with you, looking out over the azalea-tinted hills. The famous lacquer bridge spans the stream sheer below, the temple bells are calling across the valley, and Mr. Fusiwara gives you wise if more conventional advice.

After all, a man’s nature has much to do with his journey’s end and his happiness on the road. A wayward path sometimes leads home, and the gate of virtue is often more strait than comfortable. But these are reflections written in an unchristian land.


All women and some men have an ulterior motive in going abroad. Deep in the female heart, below cathedrals, pictures, statues, is — the shop. And talk as she will in admiration of fixed prices and the matter-of-fact buying in our stores, it is the romance of the bargain, the battle of wits, the desperate lure of something for nothing, that lights a woman’s eye and lifts her heart. There may be a diamond in the glass necklace, the picture may have been painted over a masterpiece. The chill realism of ’one price only’ has crept into Japan. The department stores are rigid as our own, and the larger shops. But curios, as befits them, still linger in the age of romance. In the august galleries of Mr. Yamanaka at Kyoto (I wonder if there is a handsomer shop than his in the round world), perish the thought of bargaining. The golden screens will be a joy forever, and the four thousand yen you paid for them well lost — but lost they will be. Yet drama, the fine essence of shopping, is not gone from Japan. Mr. Yamanaka is the Daimyo of his profession. Among the samurai beneath him, and below them, there is scope and verge enough for shopping in its theatric glory.

At Nikko when you have done your temples, among the most magnificent memorials in the world, when you have spiraled the hairpin turns taking you to a lake outvying Lucerne, and had your laugh over the guide’s perennial joke anent the ’American’ waterfall which ‘some of the time’ is quite dry, the day’s work will bring you home at four o’clock. Three hours to dinner — just time in ceremonious leisure to visit Mr. Kobayashi’s. It stands unpretentiously at a corner of the single street. A few modern Buddhas, brass jugs, and garish brocades clutter up the floor. You show your disappointment. ‘Ah, if the gentleman [I quote my own experience] desires something a little better, we will cross the garden.’ Cross the garden we did, passing a fronded brooklet by a pretty arch of stone, and entered an inner shop. ‘Better, but hardly interesting.’ You shrug your shoulders and the clerk remarks, ‘Perhaps the third shop will have more of the gentleman’s desires.’ Another garden, past azalea borders along the lisping trickle of a brook, leads us to the third shop. A third disappointment. There are good things here, to be sure, but one has come eight thousand miles! ‘Ah,’ says the understanding clerk, ‘Mr. Kobayashi would wish you to see the fourth shop.’

There are the arcana, and there is Mr. Kobayashi. He has the look of intelligence transmitted through the generations. ‘It is a pleasure to welcome so fastidious a gentleman. Come in.’ Two little bowing maids bring you Japanese tea — no milk, no lemon, no sugar, but a thin sweetened cake that will not spoil the flavor. If the tea itself is not to your liking, you will come to appreciate it, for the cup is eggshell china and the aroma quite perfect.

‘ What would you see? Jewels, porcelain, cloisonné, jade?’

‘Jade — white or green, as you please, but unquestioned.’

Two maids and a clerk unpile the teakwood boxes in the corner. ‘Not that, not that. There — that.’ The conversation, for your benefit, has little jets of English in the steady spurt of Japanese.

The box is now in Mr. Kobayashi’s hands. ‘Is the light good?’ His thin brown fingers slide the cover back and draw out something in delicious butternut-colored cloth. Within is a box fashioned of ravishing brocade. ‘ Ah-h!’ The syllable is deliciously prolonged. Then, very slowly, the box is raised in the left hand; with the right the magician draws from it a vase. Foam of the sea over verdurous moss. Six inches of perfection, stately, absolute. The translucent jade is fretted with a noble design. Among the amphoræ on Aspasia’s dressing table it would have reflected glory.

The drama pauses. The vase seems to overflow from the sunlight pent within. The American gentleman catches his breath. ‘I suppose,’ he says slowly, ‘it has a certain value.’

‘I might afford,’ philosophizes Mr. Kobayashi, ‘to let it go for 30,000 yen.’

‘May I have more tea? Thank you. I like it strong.’

Outside, through the open shoji at the rear, you hear the torrent that waters the templed groves above tumbling in thunder. The tracery of the vase prints on your heart of hearts its delicate design. The unebriate cup in your hand has lost its little potency.

‘Twenty-five thousand yen,’ murmurs Mr. Kobayashi, ‘is the lowest possible price.’

You sink into contemplation of the values of life.


Tokyo and Osaka are the muscles and sinews of the Empire. Kyoto is its heart. There the traveler may spend days, months, years, and not know the half of its glory. Nara is near, and what can man desire that is not at Nara, with its temples and its shrines, its forests of cryptomeria, camphor, and redolent fir, its museum of masterpieces, and its fallow deer which come cantering through the glades to meet the passing rickshaw? Nara offers you all that is past. But Kyoto gives to the contemplative more of the sense of eternity — the everlasting Now. I will not describe it, — I could not if I would, — but be grateful to me for giving this advice. Each morning start from the excellent Miyako Hotel betimes, leave word that you will meet your party within half an hour, and walk alone to the little Buddhist garden of Nan-Jengi. It is not in the guidebook, and for that (and that almost alone) the guidebook be blessed, for the omission keeps it lonely.

From the hotel, below azalea’d banks and beneath pines which have sheltered the road these three hundred years, ten minutes will take you there. Pass under the gateway and find Peace. The outer court before the hoary Tokugawa shrine is carpeted with gray sand, swept each morning and raked with a deep-pronged rake in delicious patterns, curving like running water. The azaleas, pink, white, carmine, are in full bloom, and behind them the ancient graveyard. Each monument is of five stones; for, as the pilgrim knows, there are five elements, — Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Ether, — all praising to eternity the way of the Lord Buddha.

Behind the little graveyard rises the majestic mountain, still clothed in primeval forest. You pass on slowly to a little bamboo gate, taking care lest your footprints mar the gardener’s design. Pause then for an instant before a small pine tree cunningly twisted and gnarled by an art unknown outside Japan. It shades a rustic monument of stone and moss, and as the old gardener will tell you (if you find an interpreter), the stones are raised to the spirit of the pine which for three hundred years sheltered the garden gate. The mighty ancestor is gone, leaving its puny descendant to grow great in its place, but its spirit, still haunts the spot, and, not unaware of its presence, you pass into the inner garden.

Here is quiet beyond the silence of the study and the cloister. The forestbordered pools are of two levels. From one to the other the water drips, soundless as a memory of rain. Bordering the shores are the ruddy reflections of massed flowers, and beyond, deep in the twin mirrors, the reflection of infinite forest greens. Sit there pensively on the open porch of the monks’ lodging, and learn a little what contemplation means. It is not thinking, for where will thinking lead you? To try not to think, as the monk within would say, is to think. But try not even to think not to think. Thoughts forge a chain leading you in familiar circles. Let your mind be as a shaken cup, which ceases from its vibration. Ideas that were thoughts precipitate themselves in solution. Gradually, very gradually, through the years, perhaps, effort ceases, the balance grows perfect. Then from without the light strikes in. Dismembered fragments of ideas reshape themselves into new meaning. An atom of the Truth is born.

Another sight there is in Kyoto which, if you would understand Japan, you must not miss. Momo Yama, Hill of Peaches, has for one thousand years been the burial place of emperors, and here lie the ashes of the greatest of them. The Japan we know is herself the monument of Mutsuhito, posthumously revered as Meiji Tenno — Emperor of Enlightened Rule. But what genius among architects devised this memorial? Napoleon’s tomb is less dramatic, and the marble mountain of Victor Emmanuel less tremendous.

You face a steep hill covered with dense forest. Straight up it runs a flight of granite steps, broad and high, two hundred of them. No architectural balustrade, no landscaped border — nothing on either side but the forest pressing in to its ordered limit, and at the top, facing the glorious view, a plateau, wide and level, strewn with gray pebbles. This you cross to the barrier beyond and pause beneath the torii. Right in front, the mountain rises again in a perfect cone, thick-covered with great trees, and in the centre of them, with nothing to part it from the encompassing forest, a vast tumulus of round and polished stones. No inscription, no ornament, nothing superfluous. The dark and gloomy background of the forest, the naked stones, unmortared, uncut, recall the twilight of the Druids, priest and sacrifice among the awful shadows of lonely clearings. All the primitive strength and simplicity of the race are there, its pride, its endurance, yet nothing conceals the modernity of that undeviating flight of granite steps. Again the Imperial anthem, monotonous and haunting as a cicada’s song, goes throbbing through your brain: —

’Ten thousand years roll on.’

Old travelers tell you that when the Emperor was buried, on that memorable night of September 14, 1912, ceremonial more impressive than anything Japan has known marked his translation. Some day in a remote quarter of the Seven Seas the tremendous event will in strange fashion be recalled, for amongst the rites of that day Shinto priests inscribed the story on the backs of three enormous tortoises, painting the record in black lacquer and liberating the ageless creatures to bear their message to generations yet unborn.


Kobe, Gateway of the Inland Sea, is but forty minutes from Kyoto. From there the wise traveler sets out on a voyage through seas safe and lovely as Como, though the water is salt and there is more tang in the breeze. To chronicle its beauty would be to write a new guidebook to Japan, and the genius of the present writer lies in other spheres. But wherever you land, neglect not Miyajima. The island rises blue as the ocean which gave it birth. As the boat points in, you face quite out at sea the giant torii, ancient and magnificent, the only water gate in all Japan. It is the gateway to a great shrine built upon piles and extending so far over the shelving beach that at high tide the water sluices and swishes beneath its endless corridors.

The first night, after your comfortable dinner at the hotel, you will walk to the shrine past the files of stone lanterns, dark but for one jubilant night in May, under the heavy shadows of the pines.

Who is the god of shoes? You pray very earnestly that he may respect yours when you take them off in the blackness, letting them nest close to the entrance and slipping along the windy corridors in your stocking feet. There is no light other than an occasional star, nor sound except the sand sucking in the ripples below you — nothing but the breeze against your cheek and the delicious texture of the waxen floor beneath the soles of your feet. One corridor leads to another. You seem to walk for miles, alone, with the sense of a presence almost visible, when suddenly in the blackness you hear the clapping of human hands. You are passing an altar, and before it, though you see him not, stands a lonely petitioner calling on his gods.

Great men have lived there and loved the island. Great spirits still brood over it. The breeze through the open galleries seems to blow from every point of the compass like the whirring of unseen wings. On the headland overlooking the vast shrine, you see for an instant, as clouds unveil the moon, a penthouse roof supported by huge rows of columns, unwalled and open to the weather. Here the great Captain, Hideyoshi, was once accustomed to summon his chieftains for counsel. By daylight, you may sec his altar, and hanging from the rafters about it gakus of famous warriors, each with its ideograph paying homage to this warrior’s greatness. Among these tributes hangs one which by its brilliance catches the visitor’s instant attention. It is from Togo to Hideyoshi — from the Nelson of our day to the Lion Heart of the days of chivalry.

What greeting this to that restless ghost! ‘Heaven and earth,’wrote Togo in letters of resplendent gold, ‘remain beyond conflict forevermore.’

Something of that spirit there is in the silent corridors of the starlit shrine below. Peace, safeguarded by the generations which have died that their children’s children shall live beyond conflict forever.

Birth, says the Buddha, is born of desire, and death is linked to rebirth. The wheel of life is scaled by Karma. An instinct has led the Japanese to free this enchanted island from the coil of mortality. None are born there and none are buried, though a whole community lives there the life between. The famous Ito loved the island well, and proved his affection by building flights of granite steps which lead from beach to mountain crest. You wander slowly upwards along swept and sanded walks beneath cryptomeria and pine. One flight of stairs leads to the next natural level. Then another flight to another level, up and up, three thousand feet to one of the glorious views of the Eastern world. Almost at the summit a spring gushes out beneath a mossy rock. Beside it, on his pensive lotus, sits a figure of the Buddha. He it is who draws the water through the mountain to its very top, and in gratitude the pilgrim pauses and thrice empties the long-handled dipper over the god’s thirsty head.

At the summit the splendor of Japan lies below you, the silver waters of the narrow sea, and the blue mountains beyond. There, too, are shrines and temples. One I noted where the priest tends an eternal fire, smouldering, when I saw it, as if after six hundred years it might go suddenly out. The flame, it seems, is sacred to the God of Fire, who, if the flame no longer warms him, has sworn to leave the place incontinently and seek his rest beside a hearth at Koya. I had a friendly inclination to chuck a few logs on the fire, but, doubtful about the delicate line which divides courtesy from officiousness, contented myself with studying the gaku which overhangs the door. It was, my guide told me, written by Prince Ito himself. When he translated the golden letters I thought, in my parochial way, that President Eliot might have written the inscription, so instinct it was with his New England philosophy; for the legend proclaims, as the summation of human desire, three things alone:—



It is a traveler’s pleasure to contemplate other travelers. In Paris they are half the show, as you see them, Baedeker in hand, checking off the sights they have ‘done’ with a ‘Thank God for that’ and a determination never, never to do it again. In Japan they are so few in numbers that one can study them in detail. You recognize the French professor (he must be lecturing at a university), obviously troubled that the Japanese give preference to the barbarities of English over the civilities of his own tongue. There is the German, an octave quieter since 1918, and the Britisher whose manner proclaims him in direct descent from the Conqueror. Especially I like to remember the gentle English lady who disapproved of the Japanese relationship to dogs. Straw mattings are not for dogs, and by that fact canine habits are much altered. At Atami the dogs habitually howled, and in particular one moonlight night a hound bayed the moon at precisely one-minute intervals, hours on end. It was more than the little lady could stand. I heard her window in the room next to mine go up with a certain emphasis, and she spoke her mind quite plainly: —

‘Hush, will you hush, you outrageous beast! ’

‘Oh, Mumsie,’ called her daughter from a bed within, ‘he can’t understand a word you say! He’s Japanese! ’

It is not aliens you have come to study, but the native. Wherever you are, do not, in rapture at the loveliness of the place, forget the people. They are worth your preoccupation. If you are lucky enough to find one who has thought seriously and can express himself in English, ask questions and listen. The Japanese is given too much to selfstudy. His school and his religion teach him to examine well his mind and character. By text and formula he learns a definite rule of life. A pantheist both Buddhism and Shinto teach him to be, and he is at once more prone to generalization and more abstract than the Christian. But in his counsel of Perfection is an ethic as exalted as our own. Place his ideal virtues beside ours and who shall say which are higher and which are lower?

First in his creed comes the necessity of Duty. Kant’s Categorical Imperative is not a clearer trumpet call than Gin — the sense of Ought. The conflict between duty and natural affection is as favorite a theme for classical drama as it was in Paris in the days of Racine. No one who in a classical play has seen the sublime Masaoka fling away her own child that heart and mind might be devoted to her lord’s bantling, who has listened to the sobbing of women in the audience and watched men narrow their eyelids lest they too show emotion, can doubt the reality of this precept in the minds of the Japanese. And second, as Professor Harada tells us, is Ho-on, the Sense of Gratitude. Third, Remketsu, the Spirit of Disinterestedness, and fourth, — chiefest of all, if I mistake not the instinct that underlies Japanese character, — Chako, the virtue of Loyalty and Filial Piety.

And if you turn to the teachings of Shinto you will find there four injunctions laid heavy upon you. First, you shall live peaceably and usefully day by day, thinking of the immediate task you have to do. Second, you shall keep clean both heart and body. Third, you shall ever hold in honor and affection those who have gone before and shown you the way. Fourth, you shall make your Emperor’s will your own.

There is nothing here of ambition and less of truculence. When you understand Japan, ‘Heathendom’ will never have quite the old significance again. The future of Christianity there lies not above other faiths, but beside them, intricately entwined. When Japan takes on the new, she never utterly neglects the old; and just as Christianity made her own the ineradicable superstitions of ancient countries, so Buddhism and Christianity alike incorporate customs and beliefs held too tenaciously to be rooted out.

A friend has told me, out of long and intimate experience with the Japanese, the story of a young man of noble blood who very early became a Christian. He married the daughter of a samurai and she embraced her husband’s faith. Years followed of happiness, then of deep anxiety and death. Their eldest child, a beautiful girl not seven years old, died after a devastating illness. My friend, bound to the young people by bonds of old and close affection, went to the house of death. The stricken father met him at the door, the smile of welcome as ever on his lips, while in silence he drew back the shoji of the inner room. There was the mother, kneeling, and beside her the dead child, white as the pear blossoms without. In her right hand the mother had placed her Bible, and across her breast lay her father’s sword, naked and shining. The Word of God was there to guide her to a better world. But while her spirit groped through mortal confines, the rustless blade of the samurai made every thing of evil keep its terrified distance.


Buddhism is, I am told, not a religion but a philosophy, — a way out of the jungle of life, — and the Emperor has declared that Shinto is not a religion but a culture. However all this may be, the Japanese are a reverential people, and few of them even in this rationalistic age are devoid of the religious sense. I asked a businesslike companion, as we visited the temples of a remote mountain top, whether any of his schoolfellows had become priests, Shinto or Buddhist. He laughed boisterously at the idea, but a moment later, as we paused before a shrine, he clapped his hands after his father’s custom, and dropped his head in instinctive communion with his father’s gods.

Holiest amongst the holy places of Japan is Ise. Go from tip to tip of the Empire, from the Kuriles to Formosa. Study the people, their habits, character, history, and life. You will learn innumerable facts, solve some puzzles, and raise others, but Japan herself you cannot know unless you go to Ise. For there is the first of Shinto shrines, the fountainhead of the ancestor worship of the only people whose rulers go back in unbroken line to the earliest history that is recorded. It is the shrine of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Omikami, link between the God of Heaven and Jimmu, first of the Imperial line. Here is kept shrouded as in the Ark of the Covenant her mirror, which with the sword of righteousness and the jewel of beauty has been transmitted through a hundred and twentyfive generations of the race of Emperors. From this mirror comes the universal symbol which is the centre of veneration in every shrine.

No inheritance like the Emperors’ has existed upon earth. The Romanoffs were upstarts beside them, the Hohenzollerns parvenus. The family has not even a name. They are simply Emperors, source of all law, and, in the sonorous phrase to which our ears are accustomed, of might, majesty, dominion, and power. The Emperors are the fathers, the elder brothers of the people. By race and blood the coolie is bound to them and they to him. The Mikado is the Head of the House. All the loyalties of race and nation, of fief and clan, family and household, are blended in one supreme, universal loyalty to him. To live for him is the commonplace of existence; to die for him a privilege coveted and too often denied.

At this shrine he worships. No event of importance to the Imperial House passes which the Emperor does not make known to his ancestors at Ise. Birth, death, war, famine, pestilence, all in Roman fashion are brought in symbol before the altar of the ancestral gods.

The shrine is worthy of its heritage. It stands in a grove of cryptomerias so enormous and so ancient that they seem permanent as the rocks beside them. The buildings, of beautifully grained and polished hinoki (which I take, from its light and delicate color, to be a variety of cypress), are in the usual triple form, but every twenty-one years for over sixteen centuries past they have been absolutely rebuilt. No joist, no beam, no plank is left. All is cut into tiny fragments and distributed to pilgrims, lest profanation come by commercial use. From fresh trees cut in the Imperial preserves on Kiso Mountain the new timber is hewn, and for years, during the entire period of construction, architects and workmen alike are clad in ceremonial robes of white. The doors have panels measuring five feet by ten, without seam or knot, giving the wondering onlooker some idea of the perfection of the huge boles from which they are fashioned. There is no paint, no ornament.

The present buildings, immaculate and perfect, are hardly more than a year old, but the shrine itself is old as the nation. As you stand at the barrier, flanked by mighty trunks, deep in the forest, and gaze through the open doorway toward the mystery beyond, you feel the presence of a Living Faith, ancient as Japan, new as the fern uncurling beneath the shadows. No sound breaks the stillness except the scratching of majestic white cocks sacred to the Goddess, and the clap-clap of the worshipers’ hands before the shrine. Nothing else is like it. To one pilgrim, at least, it seems that while Ise lives, Japan is eternal.

What union of opposites makes Japan! Cherry and battleship, screen and railroad, kakemono and modern newspaper. Nippon, land of the fan and factory, feminine in manners and customs, masculine in courage and power; proud as Lucifer, but full of distressful doubts. Before her the road runs East and West. She ponders, and slowly turns her face to the setting sun.