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Lafcadio Hearn


THERE was a Buddha, according to the Hokkekyo who 'even assumed the shape of a goblin to preach to such as were to be converted by a goblin.' And in the same Sutra may be found this promise of the Teacher: 'While he is dwelling lonely in the wilderness, I will send thither goblins in great number to keep him company.' The appalling character of this promise is indeed somewhat modified by the assurance that gods also are to be sent. But if ever I become a holy man, I shall take heed not to dwell in the wilderness, because I have seen Japanese goblins, and I do not like them.

1 'A bucket honourably condescend [to give].

1 The Kyoto word is maiko.

2 Guitars of three strings.

3 It is sometimes customary for guests to exchange cups, after duly rinsing them. It is always a compliment to ask for your friend's cup.

4 Once more to rest beside her, or keep five thousand koku? What care I for koku? Let me be with her!'


I am going away - very far away. I have already resigned my post as teacher, and am waiting only for my passport.

1 The names Dozen or Tozen, and Dogo or Toga, signify 'the Before-Islands' and 'the Behind-Islands.'

2 'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is only a woman's baby' (a very small package). 'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is the daddy, this is the daddy' (a big package). 'Dokoe, dokoel' ''Tis very small, very small!' 'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is for Matsue, this is for Matsue!' 'Dokoe, dokoel' 'This is for Koetsumo of Yonago,' etc.

3 These words seem to have no more meaning than our 'yo-heaveho.' Yan- yui is a cry used by all Izumo and Hoki sailors.

1 Such as the garden attached to the abbots palace at Tokuwamonji, cited by Mr. Conder, which was made to commemorate the legend of stones which bowed themselves in assent to the doctrine of Buddha. At Togo-ike, in Tottori-ken, I saw a very large garden consisting almost entirely of stones and sand. The impression which the designer had intended to convey was that of approaching the sea over a verge of dunes, and the illusion was beautiful.

2 The Kojiki, translated by Professor B. H. Chamberlain, p. 254.

1 Afterwards I found that the old man had expressed to me only one popular form of a belief which would require a large book to fully explain - a belief founded upon Chinese astrology, but possibly modified by Buddhist and by Shinto ideas. This notion of compound Souls cannot be explained at all without a prior knowledge of the astrological relation between the Chinese Zodiacal Signs and the Ten Celestial Stems. Some understanding of these may be obtained from the curious article 'Time,' in Professor Chamberlain's admirable little book, Things Japanese.

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

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.

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