Notes for Chapter One

1 I do not think this explanation is correct; but it is interesting, as the first which I obtained upon the subject. Properly speaking, Buddhist worshippers should not clap their hands, but only rub them softly together. Shinto worshippers always clap their hands four times.

2 Various writers, following the opinion of the Japanologue Satow, have stated that the torii was originally a bird-perch for fowls offered up to the gods at Shinto shrines - 'not as food, but to give warning of daybreak.' The etymology of the word is said to be 'bird-rest' by some authorities; but Aston, not less of an authority, derives it from words which would give simply the meaning of a gateway. See Chamberlain's Things Japanese, pp. 429, 430.

3 Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain has held the extraordinary position of Professor of Japanese in the Imperial University of Japan - no small honour to English philology!

4 These Ni-O, however, the first I saw in Japan, were very clumsy figures. There are magnificent Ni-O to be seen in some of the great temple gateways in Tokyo, Kyoto, and elsewhere. The grandest of all are those in the Ni-O Mon, or 'Two Kings' Gate,' of the huge Todaiji temple at Nara. They are eight hundred years old. It is impossible not to admire the conception of stormy dignity and hurricane-force embodied in those colossal figures. Prayers are addressed to the Ni-O, especially by pilgrims. Most of their statues are disfigured by little pellets of white paper, which people chew into a pulp and then spit at them. There is a curious superstition that if the pellet sticks to the statue the prayer is heard; if, on the other hand, it falls to the ground, the prayer will not be answered.

Note for Chapter Two

1 Dainagon, the title of a high officer in the ancient Imperial Court.