OSAKA-KYOTO RAILWAY. April 15, 1895.

Feeling drowsy in a public conveyance, and not being able to lie down, a Japanese woman will lift her long sleeve before her face era she begins to nod. In this second-class railway-carriage there are now three women asleep in a row, all with faces screened by the left sleeve, and all swaying together with the rocking of the train, like lotos-flowers in a soft current. (This use of the left sleeve is either fortuitous or instinctive; probably instinctive, as the right hand serves best to cling to strap or seat in case of shock.) The spectacle is at once pretty and funny, but especially pretty, as exemplifying that grace with which a refined Japanese woman does everything, - always in the daintiest and least selfish way possible. It is pathetic, too, for the attitude is also that of sorrow, and sometimes of weary prayer. All because of the trained sense of duty to show only one's happiest face to the world.

Which fact reminds me of an experience.

A male servant long in my house seemed to me the happiest of mortals. He laughed invariably when spoken to, looked always delighted while at work, appeared to know nothing of the small troubles of life. But one day I peeped at him when he thought himself quite alone, and his relaxed face startled me. It was not the face I had known. Hard lines of pain and anger appeared in it, making it seem twenty years older. I coughed gently to announce my presence. At once the face smoothed, softened, lighted up as by a miracle of rejuvenation. Miracle, indeed, of perpetual unselfish self-control.


Kyoto, April 16.

The wooden shutters before my little room in the hotel are pushed away; and the morning sun immediately paints upon my shoji, across squares of gold light, the perfect sharp shadow of a little peach-tree. No mortal artist - not even a Japanese - could surpass that silhouette! Limned in dark blue against the yellow glow, the marvelous image even shows stronger or fainter tones according to the varying distance of the unseen branches outside. it sets me thinking about the possible influence on Japanese art of the use of paper for house-lighting purposes.

By night a Japanese house with only its shoji closed looks like a great paper-sided lantern, - a magic-lantern making moving shadows within, instead of without itself. By day the shadows on the shoji are from outside only; but they may be very wonderful at the first rising of the sun, if his beams are leveled, as in this instance, across a space of quaint garden.

There is certainly nothing absurd in that old Greek story which finds the origin of art in the first untaught attempt to trace upon some wall the outline of a lover's shadow. Very possibly all sense of art, as well as all sense of the supernatural, had its simple beginnings in the study of shadows. But shadows on shoji are so remarkable as to suggest explanation of certain Japanese faculties of drawing by no means primitive, but developed beyond all parallel, and otherwise difficult to account for. Of course, the quality of Japanese paper, which takes shadows better than any frosted glass, must be considered, and also the character of the shadows themselves. Western vegetation, for example, could scarcely furnish silhouettes so gracious as those of Japanese garden-trees, all trained by centuries of caressing care to look as lovely as Nature allows.

I wish the paper of my shoji could have been, like a photographic plate, sensitive to that first delicious impression cast by a level sun. I am already regretting distortions: the beautiful silhouette has begun to lengthen.


Kyoto, April l6.

Of all peculiarly beautiful things in Japan, the most beautiful are the approaches to high places of worship or of rest, - the Ways that go to Nowhere and the Steps that lead to Nothing.

Certainly, their special charm is the charm of the adventitious, - the effect of man's handiwork in union with Nature's finest moods of light and form and color, - a charm which vanishes on rainy days; but it is none the less wonderful because fitful.

Perhaps the ascent begins with a sloping paved avenue, half a mile long, lined with giant trees. Stone monsters guard the way at regular intervals. Then you come to some great flight of steps ascending through green gloom to a terrace umbraged by older and vaster trees; and other steps from thence lead to other terraces, all in shadow. And you climb and climb and climb, till at last, beyond a gray torii, the goal appears: a small, void, colorless wooden shrine, - a Shinto miya. The shock of emptiness thus received, in the high silence and the shadows, after all the sublimity of the long approach, is very ghostliness itself.

Of similar Buddhist experiences whole multitudes wait for those who care to seek them. I might suggest, for example, a visit to the grounds of Higashi Otani, which are in the city of Kyoto. A grand avenue leads to the court of a temple, and from the court a flight of steps fully fifty feet wide - massy, mossed, and magnificently balustraded - leads to a walled terrace. The scene makes one think of the approach to some Italian pleasure-garden of Decameron days. But, reaching the terrace, you find only a gate, opening - into a cemetery! Did the Buddhist landscape-gardener wish to tell us that all pomp and power and beauty lead only to such silence at last?


KYOTO, April 10-20.

I have passed the greater part of three days in the national Exhibition, - time barely sufficient to discern the general character and significance of the display. It is essentially industrial, but nearly all delightful, notwithstanding, because of the wondrous application of art to all varieties of production. Foreign merchants and keener observers than I find in it other and sinister meaning, - the most formidable menace to Occidental trade and industry ever made by the Orient. "Compared with England," wrote a correspondent of the London Times, "it is farthings for pennies throughout.... The story of the Japanese invasion of Lancashire is older than that of the invasion of Korea and China. It has been a conquest of peace, - a painless process of depletion which is virtually achieved.... The Kyoto display is proof of a further immense development of industrial enterprise.... A country where laborers' hire is three shillings a week, with all other domestic charges in proportion, must - other things being equal - kill competitors whose expenses are quadruple the Japanese scale." Certainly the industrial jiujutsu promises unexpected results.

The price of admission to the Exhibition is a significant matter also. Only five sen! Yet even at this figure an immense sum is likely to be realized, - so great is the swarm of visitors. Multitudes of peasants are pouring daily into the city, - pedestrians mostly, just as for a pilgrimage. And a pilgrimage for myriads the journey really is, because of the inauguration festival of the greatest of Shinshu temples.

The art department proper I thought much inferior to that of the Tokyo Exhibition of 1890. Fine things there were, but few. Evidence, perhaps, of the eagerness with which the nation is turning all its energies and talents in directions where money is to be made; for in those larger departments where art is combined with industry, - such as ceramics, enamels, inlaid work, embroideries, - no finer and costlier work could ever have been shown. Indeed, the high value of certain articles on display suggested a reply to a Japanese friend who observed, thoughtfully, "If China adopts Western industrial methods, she will be able to underbid us in all the markets of the world."

"Perhaps in cheap production," I made answer. "But there is no reason why Japan should depend wholly upon cheapness of production. I think she may rely more securely upon her superiority in art and good taste. The art-genius of a people may have a special value against which all competition by cheap labor is vain. Among Western nations, France offers an example. Her wealth is not due to her ability to underbid her neighbors. Her goods are the dearest in the world: she deals in things of luxury and beauty. But they sell in all civilized countries because they are the best of their kind. Why should not Japan become the France of the Further East?"

The weakest part of the art display is that devoted to oil-painting, - oil-painting in the European manner. No reason exists why the Japanese should not be able to paint wonderfully in oil by following their own particular methods of artistic expression. But their attempts to follow Western methods have even risen to mediocrity only in studies requiring very realistic treatment. Ideal work in oil, according to Western canons of art, is still out of their reach. Perhaps they may yet discover for themselves a new gateway to the beautiful, even through oil-painting, by adaptation of the method to the particular needs of the race-genius; but there is yet no sign of such a tendency.

A canvas representing a perfectly naked woman looking at herself in a very large mirror created a disagreeable impression. The Japanese press had been requesting the removal of the piece, and uttering comments not flattering to Western art ideas. Nevertheless the canvas was by a Japanese painter. It was a daub; but it had been boldly priced at three thousand dollars.

I stood near the painting for a while to observe its effect upon the people, - peasants by a huge majority They would stare at it, laugh scornfully, utter some contemptuous phrase, and turn away to examine the kakemono, which were really far more worthy of notice though offered at prices ranging only from ten to fifty yen. The comments were chiefly leveled at "foreign" ideas of good taste (the figure having been painted with a European head). None seemed to consider the thing as a Japanese work. Had it represented a Japanese woman, I doubt whether the crowd would have even tolerated its existence.

Now all this scorn for the picture itself was just. There was nothing ideal in the work. It was simply the representation of a naked woman doing what no woman could like to be seen doing. And a picture of a mere naked woman, however well executed, is never art if art means idealism. The realism of the thing was its offensiveness. Ideal nakedness may be divine, - the most godly of all human dreams of the superhuman. But a naked person is not divine at all. Ideal nudity needs no girdle, because the charm is of lines too beautiful to be veiled or broken. The living real human body has no such divine geometry. Question: Is an artist justified in creating nakedness for its own sake, unless he can divest that nakedness of every trace of the real and personal?

There is a Buddhist text which truly declares that he alone is wise who can see things without their individuality. And it is this Buddhist way of seeing which makes the greatness of the true Japanese art.


These thoughts came: -

That nudity which is divine, which is the abstract of beauty absolute, gives to the beholder a shock of astonishment and delight, - not unmixed with melancholy. Very few works of art give this, because very few approach perfection. But there are marbles and gems which give it, and certain fine studies of them, such as the engravings published by the Society of Dilettanti. The longer one looks, the more the wonder grows, since there appears no line, or part of a line, whose beauty does not surpass all remembrance. So the secret of such art was long thought supernatural; and, in very truth, the sense of beauty it communicates is more than human, - is superhuman, in the meaning of that which is outside of existing life, - is therefore supernatural as any sensation known to man can be.

What is the shock?

It resembles strangely, and is certainly akin to, that psychical shock which comes with the first experience of love. Plato explained the shock of beauty as being the Soul's sudden half-remembrance of the World of Divine Ideas. "They who see here any image or resemblance of the things which are there receive a shock like a thunderbolt, and are, after a manner, taken out of themselves." Schopenhauer explained, the shock of first love as the Willpower of the Soul of the Race. The positive psychology of Spencer declares in our own day that the most powerful of human passions, when it makes its first appearance, is absolutely antecedent to all individual experience. Thus do ancient thought and modern - metaphysics and science - accord in recognizing that the first deep sensation of human beauty known to the individual is not individual at all.

Must not the same truth hold of that shock which supreme art gives? The human ideal expressed in such art appeals surely to the experience of all that Past enshrined in the emotional life of the beholder, - to something inherited from innumerable ancestors.

Innumerable indeed!

Allowing three generations to a century, and presupposing no consanguineous marriages, a French mathematician estimates that each existing individual of his nation would have in his veins the blood of twenty millions of contemporaries of the year 1000. Or calculating from the first year of our own era, the ancestry of a man of to-day would represent a total of eighteen quintillions. Yet what are twenty centuries to the time of the life of man!

Well, the emotion of beauty, like all of our emotions, is certainly the inherited product of unimaginably countless experiences in an immeasurable past. In every aesthetic sensation is the stirring of trillions of trillions of ghostly memories buried in the magical soil of the brain. And each man carries within him an ideal of beauty which is but an infinite composite of dead perceptions of form, color, grace, once dear to look upon. It is dormant, this ideal, - potential in essence, - cannot be evoked at will before the imagination; but it may light up electrically at any perception by the living outer senses of some vague affinity. Then is felt that weird, sad, delicious thrill, which accompanies the sudden backward-flowing of the tides of life and time; then are the sensations of a million years and of myriad generations summed into the emotional feeling of a moment.

Now, the artists of one civilization only - the Greeks - were able to perform the miracle of disengaging the Race-Ideal of beauty from their own souls, and fixing its wavering out-line in jewel and stone. Nudity, they made divine; and they still compel us to feel its divinity almost as they felt it themselves. Perhaps they could do this because, as Emerson suggested, they possessed all-perfect senses. Certainly it was not because they were as beautiful as their own statues. No man and no woman could be that. This only is sure, - that they discerned and clearly fixed their ideal, - composite of countless million remembrances of dead grace in eyes and eyelids, throat and cheek, mouth and chin, body and limbs.

The Greek marble itself gives proof that there is no absolute individuality, - that the mind is as much a composite of souls as the body is of cells.


Kyoto, April 21.

The noblest examples of religious architecture in the whole empire have just been completed; and the great City of Temples is now enriched by two constructions probably never surpassed in all the ten centuries of its existence. One is the gift of the Imperial Government; the other, the gift of the common people.

The government's gift is the Dai-Kioku-Den, - erected to commemorate the great festival of Kwammu Tenno, fifty-first emperor of Japan, and founder of the Sacred City. To the Spirit of this Emperor the Dai-Kioku-Den is dedicated: it is thus a Shinto temple, and the most superb of all Shinto temples. Nevertheless, it is not Shinto architecture, but a facsimile of the original palace of Kwammu Tenno upon the original scale. The effect upon national sentiment of this magnificent deviation from conventional forms, and the profound poetry of the reverential feeling which suggested it, can be fully comprehended only by those who know that Japan is still practically ruled by the dead. Much more than beautiful are the edifices of the Dai-Kioku-Den. Even in this most archaic of Japan cities they startle; they tell to the sky in every tilted line of their horned roofs the tale of another and more fantastic age. The most eccentrically striking parts of the whole are the two-storied and five-towered gates, - veritable Chinese dreams, one would say. In color the construction is not less oddly attractive than in form, - and this especially because of the fine use made of antique green tiles in the polychromatic roofing. Surely the august Spirit of Kwammu Tenno might well rejoice in this charming evocation of the past by architectural necromancy!

But the gift of the people to Kyoto is still grander. It is represented by the glorious Higashi Hongwanji, - or eastern Hongwan temple (Shinshu). Western readers may form some idea of its character from the simple statement that it cost eight millions of dollars and required seventeen years to build. In mere dimension it is largely exceeded by other Japanese buildings of cheaper construction; but anybody familiar with the Buddhist temple architecture of Japan can readily perceive the difficulty of building a temple one hundred and, twenty-seven feet high, one hundred and ninety-two feet deep, and more than two hundred feet long. Because of its peculiar form, and especially because of the vast sweeping lines of its roof, the Hongwanji looks even far larger than it is, - looks mountainous. But in any country it would be deemed a wonderful structure. There are beams forty-two feet long and four feet thick; and there are pillars nine feet in circumference. One may guess the character of the interior decoration from the statement that the mere painting of the lotos-flowers on the screens behind the main altar coat ten thousand dollars. Nearly all this wonderful work was done with the money contributed in coppers by hard-working peasants. And yet there are people who think that Buddhism is dying!

More than one hundred thousand peasants came to see the grand inauguration. They seated themselves by myriads on matting laid down by the acre in the great court. I saw them waiting thus at three in the afternoon. The court was a living sea. Yet all that host was to wait till seven o'clock for the beginning of the ceremony, without refreshment, in the hot sun. I saw at one corner of the court a band of about twenty young girls, - all in white, and wearing peculiar white caps, - and I asked who they were. A bystander replied: "As all these people must wait here many hours, it is to be feared that some may become ill. Therefore professional nurses have been stationed here to take care of any who may be sick. There are likewise stretchers in waiting, and carriers. And there are many physicians."

I admired the patience and the faith. But those peasants might well love the magnificent temple, - their own creation in very truth, both directly and indirectly. For no small part of the actual labor of building was done for love only; and the mighty beams for the roof had been hauled to Kyoto from far-away mountain-slopes, with cables made of the hair of Buddhist wives and daughters. One such cable, preserved in the temple, is more than three hundred and sixty feet long, and nearly three inches in diameter.

To me the lesson of those two magnificent monuments of national religious sentiment suggested the certain future increase in ethical power and value of that sentiment, concomitantly with the increase of national prosperity. Temporary poverty is the real explanation of the apparent temporary decline of Buddhism. But an era of great wealth is beginning. Some outward forms of Buddhism must perish; some superstitions of Shinto must die. The vital truths and recognitions will expand, strengthen, take only deeper root in the heart of the race, and potently prepare it for the trials of that larger and harsher life upon which it has to enter.


Kobe, April 23.

I have been visiting the exhibition of fishes and of fisheries which is at Hyogo, in a garden by the sea. Waraku-en is its name, which signifies, "The Garden of the Pleasure of Peace." It is laid out like a landscape garden of old time, and deserves its name. Over its verge you behold the great bay, and fishermen in boats, and the white far-gliding of sails splendid with light, and beyond all, shutting out the horizon, a lofty beautiful massing of peaks mauve-colored by distance.

I saw ponds of curious shapes, filled with clear sea-water, in which fish of beautiful colors were swimming. I went to the aquarium where stranger kinds of fishes swam behind glass - fishes shaped like toy-kites, and fishes shaped like sword-blades, and fishes that seemed to turn themselves inside out, and funny, pretty fishes of butterfly-colors, that move like dancing-girls, waving sleeve-shaped fins.

I saw models of all manner of boats and nets and hooks and fish-traps and torch-baskets for night-fishing. I saw pictures of every kind of fishing, and both models and pictures of men killing whales. One picture was terrible, - the death agony of a whale caught in a giant net, and the leaping of boats in a turmoil of red foam, and one naked man on the monstrous back - a single figure against the sky - striking with a great steel, and the fountain-gush of blood responding to the stroke.... Beside me I heard a Japanese father and mother explain the picture to their little boy; and the mother said: -

"When the whale is going to die, it speaks; it cries to the Lord Buddha for help, - Namu Amida Butsu!"

I went to another part of the garden where there were tame deer, and a "golden bear" in a cage, and peafowl in an aviary, and an ape. The people fed the deer and the bear with cakes, and tried to coax the peacock to open its tail, and grievously tormented the ape. I sat down to rest on the veranda of a pleasure-house near, the aviary, and the Japanese folk who had been looking at the picture of whale-fishing found their way to the same veranda; and presently I heard the little boy say: -

"Father, there is an old, old fisherman in his boat. Why does he not go to the Palace of the Dragon-King of the Sea, like Urashima?"

The father answered: "Urashima caught a turtle which was not really a turtle, but the Daughter of the Dragon-King. So he, was rewarded for his kindness. But that old fisherman has not caught any turtle, and even if he had caught one, he is much too old to marry. Therefore he will not go to the Palace."

Then the boy looked at the flowers, and the fountains, and the sunned sea with its white sails, and the mauve-colored mountains be-yond all, and exclaimed: -

"Father, do you think there is any place more beautiful than this in the whole world?"

The father smiled deliciously, and seemed about to answer, but before he could speak the child cried out, and leaped, and clapped his little hands for delight, because the peacock had suddenly outspread the splendor of its tail. And all hastened to the aviary. So I never heard the reply to that pretty question.

But afterwards I thought that it might have been answered thus: -

"My boy, very beautiful this is. But the world is full of beauty; and there may be gardens more beautiful than this.

"But the fairest of gardens is not in our world. It is the Garden of Amida, in the Paradise of the West.

"And whosoever does no wrong what time he lives may after death dwell in that Garden.

"There the divine Kujaku, bird of heaven, sings of the Seven Steps and the Five Powers, spreading its tail as a sun.

"There lakes of jewel-water are, and in them lotos-flowers of a loveliness for which there is not any name. And from those flowers proceed continually rays of rainbow-light, and spirits of Buddhas newly-born.

"And the water, murmuring among the lotos-buds, speaks to the souls in them of Infinite Memory and Infinite Vision, and of the Four Infinite Feelings.

"And in that place there is no difference between gods and men, save that under the splendor of Amida even the gods must bend; and all sing the hymn of praise beginning, 'O Thou of Immeasurable Light!'

"But the Voice of the River Celestial chants forever, like the chanting of thousands in unison: 'Even this is not high; there is still a Higher! This is not real; this is not Peace!'"