WEDNESDAY, November 20.

We started this morning from Yokohama for Tokio, the great city of the Empire, which contains 1,030,000 inhabitants, according to a census taken last year. Until within a few years past Japan had two rulers - the Mikado, or spiritual, and the Tycoon, or secular ruler, although, strictly speaking, the former was theoretically the supreme ruler, the latter obtaining his power through marriage with the family of the former. The seat of the Mikado was at Kioto, a fine city near the centre of the island, while the Tycoon resided at Tokio, or Yeddo, as it was then called. The Mikado was invisible, being the veritable veiled prophet, none but a privileged few being ever permitted to gaze upon his divine person. A few years ago it was decided to combine the two powers, and make Yeddo the only capital. The Mikado was carried to Yeddo closely veiled, in triumphal procession, and the vast crowds, assembled at every point to see the cavalcade, prostrated themselves, and remained with eyes bent upon the ground as the sacred car approached. An eye-witness describing the entry into Tokio says that few dared to look up as the Presence passed. Lately, the same Mikado has made a royal progress through the country, meeting the principal men in each district, and travelling in view of the entire population, so rapidly have manners changed in Japan. When the Mikado was elevated to supreme power, the feudal system, which had existed up to that time, was abolished, and we now see no more of the Samuri, or two-sworded men, or of the Daimios, the petty princes who formerly promenaded the streets in gorgeous dresses, accompanied by their military retainers. The soldiers, sailors, policemen, and all the official classes are dressed in European style. It is the reigning fashion to be European, and even furniture after our patterns is coming into use. It is the same with food. The hotel where we are rejoices in a French cook, expressly imported, and every night we have parties of wealthy Japanese dining at this Tokio Delmonico's. Last night we had a party of the most celebrated actors enjoying a dinner to commemorate the successful completion of a new piece which had enjoyed a great run. I amused myself trying to select the Montagu, Gilbert, Becket, and Booth of the party, and succeeded well, as I afterward heard. Actors are held in estimation in Tokio, and these attracted great attention as they dined. Matters are much as with us, I fancy. Our interpreter, in his broken English, told us in regard to the two young lovers, "Very high thought by much high ladies - oh, very high!" I do not think European dress improves the appearance of the Japanese gentlemen; they are very short, and - I regret to report it - generally quite crooked in the legs, and their own flowing costumes render them dignified and graceful. Indeed, after a residence in the East for a while one agrees with the opinion he hears often expressed there that our costume is the most unpicturesque dress in the world.

We were fortunate in having as shipmates Captain Totaki, of the navy, and a young lady, Mlle. Rio, who had been in America several years, and had acquired an English education. They were excessively kind to us during our entire stay, and much of the pleasure derived is due to them. The captain gave us one evening an entertainment at a fashionable tea-house, and introduced us to the celebrated singing and dancing girls of Japan, of whom all have heard. We were shown into a large room, the floor of which was covered with bamboo matting laid upon some soft substance. Of course our shoes were laid aside at the door of the house. There were neither chairs nor furniture of any kind, but subsequently chairs were found for us. The salutations on the part of the numerous women servants were most profound, each prostrating herself to the floor, and touching the mat with her forehead every time she entered or left the apartment. Velvet mats were carried into the room by a servant and placed around a brazier of charcoal. In a few minutes servant after servant entered, prostrating herself to the ground, and placing before us some Japanese delicacy. One served soup in small lacquer bowls, another fish, a third cakes, a fourth tea in very tiny cups, and others various things, and finally saki, the wine of the country, was produced, served in small cups like the tea. Then came the girls. Seven approached, each carrying a musical instrument of queer construction. They bowed profoundly, but I noticed did not touch the mat with their foreheads, their rank being much superior to that of the servants, and began to play and sing.

No entertainment is complete without a troop of these Gahazi girls, and such entertainments form about the only social amusement of the Japanese. And now for the music. Please understand that the Japanese scale is not like ours, and nothing like melody to our ears can be produced by it. They have a full tone between each first and second note, and a semitone between each third and fourth, and yet the same feelings are awakened in them by their music as in us by ours, so that harmony itself is simply a matter of education after all, and the glorious Fifth Symphony itself, "Lohengrin," or "Scots wha hae," played or sung as I have heard them, would convey no more meaning to these people than so much rattling of cross-bones; but imagine the Fifth Symphony on any scale but ours! I cannot reconcile myself to the idea that we have not the only scale for such a theme; but one has to learn that there are different ways for every thing, and no one who knows much will assume that he has the best. Owing to the change of the scale, I suppose I missed the sentiment of every piece performed. When I thought they were giving us a wail for the dead it turned out to be a warm welcome, and an assurance on the part of those pretty maidens of their happiness in being permitted the great honor of performing before such illustrious visitors. Our companion, Mile. Rio, took one of the instruments and played and sang a piece for us, but I was not more fortunate in my guess with her. It was a wedding chorus, which I was willing to wager was the Japanese "Miserere"; but this error may have its significance after all. To us, in short, the music was execrable. A falsetto, and a grinding, singsong falsetto at that - the most disagreeable sound I ever heard in music - is very common, and highly esteemed. The instruments resemble banjos, and there is a harsh kind of drum accompaniment; but there is one larger string instrument, the Japanese piano, upon which much older women play, the younger girls not being sufficiently skilled to perform upon it.

After a few songs had been sung, several of the girls laid down their banjos, and after obeisance prepared to dance. Instead of being a sprightly performance to, lively music, "first ae caper syne anither," Japanese dancing is a very stately and measured performance, the body instead of the feet being most brought into requisition. With the aid of the indispensable fan the girls succeed in depicting many different emotions, and all with exquisite grace. It is the very poetry of motion. Each dance illustrates a story, and is as well known by name as is the "Highland Fling" or the "Sailor's Hornpipe." Here there was no difficulty in following the story. Unlike music, acting is a universal language, and in its domain "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin." There are no different scales for the expression of feeling. Love, in some of its manifold forms, as was to have been expected, is the theme of most of these dances. I redeemed my reputation here as a guesser, I think. I could give a very fair report to Mlle. Rio of most that took place in the dances, and we enjoyed this portion of the entertainment highly. To a Japanese, how stupid our people must appear whirling round a room until fatigued or dizzy, all for the fun of the thing!

The dresses of the girls were of the richest and most fashionable description, the quietness of the colors surprising us, and their manners those of high-born women. Indeed, they set the fashions, and are the best educated and most accomplished of their sex. These girls are sent for to furnish entertainment for an evening just as we would engage a band for a party. They are said to be highly respectable as a class, invariably reside with their parents, who educate them at great expense, and often make, we were told, very favorable marriages. The contrast between them and their less accomplished sisters is so great as to strike even us, who have been here only a few days, and must be held ignorant of style.

The most wonderful sights of Tokio are the temples and the famous tombs of the Tycoons. There is much similarity in the latter, but that of the sixth Tycoon, at Shibba, is by far the most magnificent. It has been rendered familiar by photographs and engravings, and at any rate no description would convey a just idea of it. It is gorgeous in color, and the extreme delicacy of the gold is surprising; upon it, too, are found the finest known specimens of the old lacquer. But these tombs totally failed to impress me with any feeling akin to reverence; indeed, nothing in Japan seems calculated to do so - the odor of the toyshop pervades everything, even their temples. As for their religious belief, it is hard to tell what it is, or whether they have any. One thing is sure, the educated classes have discarded the faith of the multitude, if they ever really entertained it, and no longer worship the gods of old. The ignorant classes, however, are seen pouring into the temples with their modest offerings, and asking for prayers in their behalf. It is in Japan as it was in Greece - one religion for the masses, and another, or rather none in the ordinary sense, for the educated few.

As in Catholic countries, some shrines are esteemed more than others. The Temple of the Foxes is the most popular in the Empire. It is adorned with statues of Master Reynard in various postures. His votaries are numerous, for the sagacity of the fox has passed into a proverb, and these people hope by prayers and gifts to move the fox-god to bestow upon them the shrewdness of the symbol. The fox may be justly rated as the most successful preacher in Japan: he draws better than any other, and his congregation is the largest; but he has a rival not without pretensions in the favorite goddess "Emma." We found her to be a large, very fat woman, sitting in Japanese style, and surrounded by images of children. Babies cluster like cherubs around the principal figure, while an attendant sells for a cent apiece ugly painted ones made out of clay, many of which have been placed by worshippers before the goddess. As we approached, a young woman - married, for her teeth were black, and respectably but not richly dressed - was on her knees before the goddess so earnestly engaged in prayer that she appeared wholly unconscious of our presence. There was no mistaking that this was sincere devotion - a lifting up of the soul to some power considered higher than itself. I became most anxious to know what sorrow could so move her, and our interpreter afterward told us that she asked but one gift from the goddess. It was the prayer of old that a man-child should be born to her; and, poor woman! when one knows what her life must be in this country should this prayer remain unanswered, it saddens one to think of it. A living death; another installed in her place; all that woman holds dear trembling in the balance. How I pitied her! I also saw men praying before other idols and working themselves into a state of frenzy. Indeed I saw so much in the temples to make me unhappy that I wished I had never visited any of them. It gives one such desponding hopes of our race, of its present and of its future, when so many are so bound down to the lowest form of superstition.

At one of the principal Shinto temples I saw the sacred dance with which that great god is propitiated. In a booth two stories high, in front of the temple, was a small stage upon which sat three old priests. One beat a drum, the second played a flute, while the third fingered a guitar. To this music a very pretty young daughter of a priest, gorgeously arrayed in sacred robes, postured with a fan, keeping time to the music. This was all. But, like the tom-tom beating of the Buddhist which we heard at the same moment from an opposite temple, the dance is thought to dispose the gods to receive favorably the gifts and prayers of the devotees. We saw at the same temple a large wooden figure which is reputed able to cure all manner of diseases. So much and so hard had this figure been rubbed by the poor sufferers that the nose is no longer there; the face is literally rubbed smooth. The ears are gone, and it is only a question of time when all traces of human form will have vanished. It reminded us of the toe of St. Peter, in the cathedral at Rome, which has been worn smooth by the osculations of devout Christians.

Japan is rapidly adopting the manners and customs of European civilization. There is at present a cry for representative government, and one need not be surprised to hear by and by of the Parliament of Japan. War-ships are building at the arsenal, which are not only constructed but designed by native genius. A standing army of about 50,000 men is maintained. Gas has been introduced in some places, and railroads and telegraphs are in operation; and, not to be behind their neighbors, a public debt and irredeemable currency (based upon the property of the nation, of course,) have been created. The currency is now at 22 per cent. discount as compared with gold, and further depreciation is apprehended. (It has since reached 50 per cent. discount.) It is modelled on our American paper money, and is actually printed in New York. Let us hope that Japan may soon be able to follow the Republic farther by making it convertible - as good as gold. Notwithstanding its wide "base" - in short, our greenbackers' "base" - it doesn't seem to work here any better than at home.

Art in Japan is utilitarian; in no other country are articles of common use so artistic. The furniture of a Japanese house is scanty. We see no walls hung with pictures with showy gilt frames, no portieres or curtains, none of the sofas, chairs, tables, brackets, chandeliers, etc., which give our rooms so crowded an appearance. The bareness of the rooms strikes one at once upon entering, but when one examines the utensils in daily use even by the poorer classes he sees that they are of uncommon beauty. Surely this is of more moment than to have art confined to the few, both as to articles and to persons. In Japan, art may be said to be democratic; all classes are brought under its sway.

One thing must be said, however, about art throughout the East, in China and in India as well as in Japan: up to this time it has been content to remain solely decorative. The higher creative and imaginative power has yet to be reached. Why this should be so is an interesting question, and I resolve to read up the authorities when opportunity offers and see how they account for it. May not the poverty of the East have much to do with it? So very few are rich; indeed, scarcely any are opulent in our sense, six thousand dollars (L1,200) a year being considered a fortune in Japan, I am told, and very few, even of the higher classes, possess as much. In China and India it is much the same, a few rajahs in the latter country excepted.

The start which religion gave to art in Europe is wanting in the East, for the temples are mean and destitute of costly works. Rich commercial and manufacturing classes do not exist in the East - as wealth does not run into "pockets" as it does in Europe - especially in England - and in America. I fear, therefore, that art in the East will not advance much beyond the decorative stage for centuries to come.

       * * * * *