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Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn

Part 6 out of 6

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out of these beliefs. For one example of hundreds, a person having a
Fire-nature must not marry one having a Water-nature. Hence the
proverbial saying about two who cannot agree--'They are like Fire and

2 Usually an Inari temple. Such things are never done at the great
Shinto shrines.

Notes for Chapter Ten

1 In other parts of Japan I have heard the Yuki-Onna described as a very
beautiful phantom who lures young men to lonesome places for the purpose
of sucking their blood.

2 In Izumo the Dai-Kan, or Period of Greatest Cold, falls in February.

3 'It is excellent: I pray you give me a little more.'

4 Kwashi: Japanese confectionery

Notes for Chapter Eleven

1 The reader will find it well worth his while to consult the chapter
entitled 'Domestic Service,' in Miss Bacon's Japanese Girls and Women,
for an interesting and just presentation of the practical side of the
subject, as relating to servants of both sexes. The poetical side,
however, is not treated of--perhaps because intimately connected with
religious beliefs which one writing from the Christian standpoint could
not be expected to consider sympathetically. Domestic service in ancient
Japan was both transfigured and regulated by religion; and the force of
the religious sentiment concerning it may be divined from the Buddhist
saying, still current:

Oya-ko wa is-se, Fufu wa ni-se, Shuju wa san-se.

The relation of parent and child endures for the space of one life only;
that of husband and wife for the space of two lives; but the relation
between msater and servant continues for the period of three existences.

2 The shocks continued, though with lessening frequency and violence,
for more than six months after the cataclysm.

3 Of course the converse is the rule in condoling with the sufferer.

4 Dhammapada.

5 Dammikkasutta.

6 Dhammapada.

7 These extracts from a translation in the Japan Daily Mail, November
19, 20, 1890, of Viscount Torio's famous conservative essay do not give
a fair idea of the force and logic of the whole. The essay is too long
to quote entire; and any extracts from the Mail's admirable translation
suffer by their isolation from the singular chains of ethical,
religious, and philosophical reasoning which bind the Various parts of
the composition together. The essay was furthermore remarkable as the
production of a native scholar totally uninfluenced by Western thought.
He correctly predicted those social and political disturbances which
have occurred in Japan since the opening of the new parliament. Viscount
Torio is also well known as a master of Buddhist philosophy. He holds a
high rank in the Japanese army.

8 In expressing my earnest admiration of this wonderful book, I must,
however, declare that several of its conclusions, and especially the
final ones, represent the extreme reverse of my own beliefs on the
subject. I do not think the Japanese without individuality; but their
individuality is less superficially apparent, and reveals itself much
less quickly, than that of Western people. I am also convinced that much
of what we call 'personality' and 'force of character' in the West
represents only the survival and recognition of primitive aggressive
tendencies, more or less disguised by culture. What Mr. Spencer calls
the highest individuation surely does not include extraordinary
development of powers adapted to merely aggressive ends; and yet it is
rather through these than through any others that Western individuality
most commonly and readily manifests itself. Now there is, as yet, a
remarkable scarcity in Japan, of domineering, brutal, aggressive, or
morbid individuality. What does impress one as an apparent weakness in
Japanese intellectual circles is the comparative absence of spontaneity,
creative thought, original perceptivity of the highest order. Perhaps
this seeming deficiency is racial: the peoples of the Far East seem to
have been throughout their history receptive rather than creative. At
all events I cannot believe Buddhism--originally the faith of an Aryan
race--can be proven responsible. The total exclusion of Buddhist
influence from public education would not seem to have been stimulating;
for the masters of the old Buddhist philosophy still show a far higher
capacity for thinking in relations than that of the average graduate of
the Imperial University. Indeed, I am inclined to believe that an
intellectual revival of Buddhism--a harmonising of its loftier truths
with the best and broadest teachings of modern science--would have the
most important results for Japan.

9 Herbert Spencer. A native scholar, Mr. Inouye Enryo, has actually
founded at Tokyo with this noble object in view, a college of philosophy
which seems likely, at the present writing, to become an influential

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