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JAPAN, [Continued from volume XV slice II.]

After the abolition of the shōgunate and the resumption of administrative functions by the Throne, one of the first acts of the newly organized government was to invite the foreign representatives to Kiōto, where they Japan’s Claim for Judicial Autonomy. had audience of the mikado. Subsequently a decree was issued, announcing the emperor’s resolve to establish amicable relations with foreign countries, and “declaring that any Japanese subject thereafter guilty of violent behaviour towards a foreigner would not only act in opposition to the Imperial command, but would also be guilty of impairing the dignity and good faith of the nation in the eyes of the powers with which his majesty had pledged himself to maintain friendship.” From that time the relations between Japan and foreign states grew yearly more amicable; the nation adopted the products of Western civilization with notable thoroughness, and the provisions of the treaties were carefully observed. Those treaties, however, presented one feature which very soon became exceedingly irksome to Japan. They exempted foreigners residing within her borders from the operation of her criminal laws, and secured to them the privilege of being arraigned solely before tribunals of their own nationality. That system had always been considered necessary where the subjects of Christian states visited or sojourned in non-Christian countries, and, for the purpose of giving effect to it, consular courts were established. This necessitated the confinement of foreign residents to settlements in the neighbourhood of the consular courts, since it would have been imprudent to allow foreigners to have free access to districts remote from the only tribunals competent to control them. The Japanese raised no objection to the embodiment of this system in the treaties. They recognized its necessity and even its expediency, for if, on the one hand, it infringed their country’s sovereign rights, on the other, it prevented complications which must have ensued had they been entrusted with jurisdiction which they were not prepared to discharge satisfactorily. But the consular courts were not free from defects. A few of the powers organized competent tribunals presided over by judicial experts, but a majority of the treaty states, not having sufficiently large interests at stake, were content to delegate consular duties to merchants, not only deficient in legal training, but also themselves engaged in the very commercial transactions upon which they might at any moment be required to adjudicate in a magisterial capacity. In any circumstances the dual functions of consul and judge could not be discharged without anomaly by the same official, for he was obliged to act as advocate in the preliminary stages of complications about which, in his position as judge, he might ultimately have to deliver an impartial verdict. In practice, however, the system worked with tolerable smoothness, and might have remained long in force had not the patriotism of the Japanese rebelled bitterly against the implication that their country was unfit to exercise one of the fundamental attributes of every sovereign state, judicial autonomy. From the very outset they spared no effort to qualify for the recovery of this attribute. Revision of the country’s laws and reorganization of its law courts would necessarily have been an essential feature of the general reforms suggested by contact with the Occident, but the question of consular jurisdiction certainly constituted a special incentive. Expert assistance was obtained from France and Germany; the best features of European jurisprudence were adapted to the conditions and usages of Japan; the law courts were remodelled, and steps were taken to educate a competent judiciary. In criminal law the example of France was chiefly followed; in commercial law that of Germany; and in civil law that of the Occident generally, with due regard to the customs of the country. The jury system was not adopted, collegiate courts being regarded as more conducive to justice, and the order of procedure went from tribunals of first instance to appeal courts and finally to the court of cassation. Schools of law were quickly opened, and a well-equipped bar soon came into existence. Twelve years after the inception of these great works, Japan made formal application for revision of the treaties on the basis of abolishing consular jurisdiction. She had asked for revision in 1871, sending to Europe and America an important embassy to raise the question. But at that time the conditions originally calling for consular jurisdiction had not undergone any change such as would have justified its abolition, and the Japanese government, though very anxious to recover tariff autonomy as well as judicial, shrank from separating the two questions, lest by prematurely solving one the solution of the other might be unduly deferred. Thus the embassy failed, and though the problem attracted great academical interest from the first, it did not re-enter the field of practical politics until 1883. The negotiations were long protracted. Never previously had an Oriental state received at the hands of the Occident recognition such as that now demanded by Japan, and the West naturally felt deep reluctance to try a wholly novel experiment. The United States had set a generous example by concluding a new treaty (1878) on the lines desired by Japan. But its operation was conditional on a similar act of compliance by the other treaty powers. Ill-informed European publicists ridiculed the Washington statesmen’s attitude on this occasion, claiming that what had been given with one hand was taken back with the other. The truth is that the conditional provision was inserted at the request of Japan herself, who appreciated her own unpreparedness for the concession. From 1883, however, she was ready to accept full responsibility, and she therefore asked that all foreigners within her borders should thenceforth be subject to her laws and judiciable by her law-courts, supplementing her 241 application by promising that its favourable reception should be followed by the complete opening of the country and the removal of all restrictions hitherto imposed on foreign trade, travel and residence in her realm. “From the first it had been the habit of Occidental peoples to upbraid Japan on account of the barriers opposed by her to full and free foreign intercourse, and she was now able to claim that these barriers were no longer maintained by her desire, but that they existed because of a system which theoretically proclaimed her unfitness for free association with Western nations, and practically made it impossible for her to throw open her territories completely for the ingress of foreigners.” She had a strong case, but on the side of the European powers extreme reluctance was manifested to try the unprecedented experiment of placing their people under the jurisdiction of an Oriental country. Still greater was the reluctance of those upon whom the experiment would be tried. Foreigners residing in Japan naturally clung to consular jurisdiction as a privilege of inestimable value. They saw, indeed, that such a system could not be permanently imposed on a country where the conditions justifying it had nominally disappeared. But they saw, also, that the legal and judicial reforms effected by Japan had been crowded into an extraordinarily brief period, and that, as tyros experimenting with alien systems, the Japanese might be betrayed into many errors.

The negotiations lasted for eleven years. They were begun in 1883 and a solution was not reached until 1894. Finally European governments conceded the justice of Japan’s case, and it was agreed that from July 1899 Japanese Recognition by the Powers. tribunals should assume jurisdiction over every person, of whatever nationality, within the confines of Japan, and the whole country should be thrown open to foreigners, all limitations upon trade, travel and residence being removed. Great Britain took the lead in thus releasing Japan from the fetters of the old system. The initiative came from her with special grace, for the system and all its irksome consequences had been originally imposed on Japan by a combination of powers with Great Britain in the van. As a matter of historical sequence the United States dictated the terms of the first treaty providing for consular jurisdiction. But from a very early period the Washington government showed its willingness to remove all limitations of Japan’s sovereignty, whereas Europe, headed by Great Britain, whose preponderating interests entitled her to lead, resolutely refused to make any substantial concession. In Japanese eyes, therefore, British conservatism seemed to be the one serious obstacle, and since the British residents in the settlements far outnumbered all other nationalities, and since they alone had newspaper organs to ventilate their grievances—it was certainly fortunate for the popularity of her people in the Far East that Great Britain saw her way finally to set a liberal example. Nearly five years were required to bring the other Occidental powers into line with Great Britain and America. It should be stated, however, that neither reluctance to make the necessary concessions nor want of sympathy with Japan caused the delay. The explanation is, first, that each set of negotiators sought to improve either the terms or the terminology of the treaties already concluded, and, secondly, that the tariff arrangements for the different countries required elaborate discussion.

Until the last of the revised treaties was ratified, voices of protest against revision continued to be vehemently raised by a large section of the foreign community in the settlements. Some were honestly apprehensive as to the Reception given to the Revised Treaties. issue of the experiment. Others were swayed by racial prejudice. A few had fallen into an insuperable habit of grumbling, or found their account in advocating conservatism under pretence of championing foreign interests; and all were naturally reluctant to forfeit the immunity from taxation hitherto enjoyed. It seemed as though the inauguration of the new system would find the foreign community in a mood which must greatly diminish the chances of a happy result, for where a captious and aggrieved disposition exists, opportunities to discover causes of complaint cannot be wanting. But at the eleventh hour this unfavourable demeanour underwent a marked change. So soon as it became evident that the old system was hopelessly doomed, the sound common sense of the European and American business man asserted itself. The foreign residents let it be seen that they intended to bow cheerfully to the inevitable, and that no obstacles would be willingly placed by them in the path of Japanese jurisdiction. The Japanese, on their side, took some promising steps. An Imperial rescript declared in unequivocal terms that it was the sovereign’s policy and desire to abolish all distinctions between natives and foreigners, and that by fully carrying out the friendly purpose of the treaties his people would best consult his wishes, maintain the character of the nation, and promote its prestige. The premier and other ministers of state issued instructions to the effect that the responsibility now devolved on the government, and the duty on the people, of enabling foreigners to reside confidently and contentedly in every part of the country. Even the chief Buddhist prelates addressed to the priests and parishioners in their dioceses injunctions pointing out that, freedom of conscience being now guaranteed by the constitution, men professing alien creeds must be treated as courteously as the followers of Buddhism, and must enjoy the same rights and privileges.

Thus the great change was effected in circumstances of happy augury. Its results were successful on the whole. Foreigners residing in Japan now enjoy immunity of domicile, personal and religious liberty, freedom from official interference, and security of life and property as fully as though they were living in their own countries, and they have gradually learned to look with greatly increased respect upon Japanese law and its administrators.

Next to the revision of the treaties and to the result of the great wars waged by Japan since the resumption of foreign intercourse, the most memorable incident in her modern career was the conclusion, first, of an entente, and, Anglo-Japanese Alliance. secondly, of an offensive and defensive alliance with Great Britain in January 1902 and September 1905, respectively. The entente set out by disavowing on the part of each of the contracting parties any aggressive tendency in either China or Korea, the independence of which two countries was explicitly recognized; and went on to declare that Great Britain in China and Japan in China and Korea might take indispensable means to safeguard their interests; while, if such measures involved one of the signatories in war with a third power, the other signatory would not only remain neutral but would also endeavour to prevent other powers from joining in hostilities against its ally, and would come to the assistance of the latter in the event of its being faced by two or more powers. The entente further recognized that Japan possessed, in a peculiar degree, political, commercial and industrial interests in Korea. This agreement, equally novel for each of the contracting parties, evidently tended to the benefit of Japan more than to that of Great Britain, inasmuch as the interests in question were vital from the former power’s point of view but merely local from the latter’s. The inequality was corrected by an offensive and defensive alliance in 1905. For the scope of the agreement was then extended to India and eastern Asia generally, and while the signatories pledged themselves, on the one hand, to preserve the common interests of all powers in China by insuring her integrity and independence as well as the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce and industry of all nations within her borders, they agreed, on the other, to maintain their own territorial rights in eastern Asia and India, and to come to each other’s armed assistance in the event of those rights being assailed by any other power or powers. These agreements have, of course, a close relation to the events which accompanied or immediately preceded them, but they also present a vivid and radical contrast between a country which, less than half a century previously, had struggled vehemently to remain secluded from the world, and a country which now allied itself with one of the most liberal and progressive nations for the purposes of a policy 242 extending over the whole of eastern Asia and India. This contrast was accentuated two years later (1907) when France and Russia concluded ententes with Japan, recognizing the independence and integrity of the Chinese Empire, as well as the principle of equal opportunity for all nations in that country, and engaging to support each other for assuring peace and security there. Japan thus became a world power in the most unequivocal sense.

Japan’s Foreign Wars and Complications.—The earliest foreign war conducted by Japan is said to have taken place at the beginning of the 3rd century, when the empress Jingō led an army to the conquest of Korea. But as the War with Korea. event is supposed to have happened more than 500 years before the first Japanese record was written, its traditional details cannot be seriously discussed. There is, however, no room to doubt that from time to time in early ages Japanese troops were seen in Korea, though they made no permanent impression on the country. It was reserved for Hideyoshi, the taikō, to make the Korean peninsula the scene of a great over-sea campaign. Hideyoshi, the Napoleon of Japan, having brought the whole empire under his sway as the sequel of many years of incomparable generalship and statecraft, conceived the project of subjugating China. By some historians his motive has been described as a desire to find employment for the immense mob of armed men whom four centuries of almost continuous fighting had called into existence in Japan: he felt that domestic peace could not be permanently restored unless these restless spirits were occupied abroad. But although that object may have reinforced his purpose, his ambition aimed at nothing less than the conquest of China, and he regarded Korea merely as a stepping-stone to that aim. Had Korea consented to be put to such a use, she need not have fought or suffered. The Koreans, however, counted China invincible. They considered that Japan would be shattered by the first contact with the great empire, and therefore although, in the 13th century, they had given the use of their harbours to the Mongol invaders of Japan, they flatly refused in the 16th to allow their territory to be used for a Japanese invasion of China. On the 24th of May 1592 the wave of invasion rolled against Korea’s southern coast. Hideyoshi had chosen Nagoya in the province of Hizen as the home-base of his operations. There the sea separating Japan from the Korean peninsula narrows to a strait divided into two channels of almost equal width by the island of Tsushima. To reach this island from the Japanese side was an easy and safe task, but in the 56-mile channel that separated Tsushima from the peninsula an invading flotilla had to run the risk of attack by Korean war-ships. At Nagoya Hideyoshi assembled an army of over 300,000 men, of whom some 70,000 constituted the first fighting line, 87,000 the second, and the remainder formed a reserve to be subsequently drawn on as occasion demanded. The question of transport presented some difficulty, but it was solved by the simple expedient of ordering every feudatory to furnish two ships for each 100,000 koku of his fief’s revenue. These were not fighting vessels but mere transports. As for the plan of campaign, it was precisely in accord with modern principles of strategy, and bore witness to the daring genius of Hideyoshi. The van, consisting of three army corps and mustering in all 51,000 men, was to cross rapidly to Fusan, on the south coast of the peninsula, and immediately commence a movement northward towards the capital, Seoul, one corps moving by the eastern coast-road, one by the central route, and one by the western coast-line. Thereafter the other four corps, which formed the first fighting line, together with the corps under the direct orders of the commander-in-chief, Ukida Hideiye, were to cross, for the purpose of effectually subduing the regions through which the van had passed; and, finally, the two remaining corps of the second line were to be transported by sea up the west coast of the peninsula, to form a junction with the van which, by that time, should be preparing to pass into China over the northern boundary of Korea, namely, the Yalu River. For the landing place of these reinforcements the town of Phyong-yang was adopted, being easily accessible by the Taidong River from the coast. In later ages Japanese armies were destined to move twice over these same regions, once to the invasion of China, once to the attack of Russia, and they adopted almost the same strategical plan as that mapped out by Hideyoshi in the year 1592. The forecast was that the Koreans would offer their chief resistance, first, at the capital, Seoul; next at Phyong-yang, and finally at the Yalu, as the approaches to all these places offered positions capable of being utilized to great advantage for defensive purposes.

On the 24th of May 1592 the first army corps, under the command of Konishi Yukinaga, crossed unmolested to the peninsula; next day the castle of Fusan was carried by storm, which same fate befell, on the 27th, Landing In Korea and Advance of the Invaders. another and stronger fortress lying 3 miles inland and garrisoned by 20,000 picked soldiers. The invaders were irresistible. From the landing-place at Fusan to the gates of Seoul the distance is 267 miles. Konishi’s corps covered that interval in 19 days, storming two forts, carrying two positions and fighting one pitched battle en route. On the 12th of June the Korean capital was in Japanese hands, and by the 16th four army corps had assembled there, while four others had effected a landing at Fusan. After a rest of 15 days the northward advance was resumed, and July 15th saw Phyong-yang in Japanese possession. The distance of 130 miles from Seoul to the Taidong had been traversed in 18 days, 10 having been occupied in forcing the passage of a river which, if held with moderate resolution and skill, should have stopped the Japanese altogether. At this point, however, the invasion suffered a check owing to a cause which in modern times has received much attention, though in Hideyoshi’s days it had been little considered; the Japanese lost the command of the sea.

The Japanese idea of sea-fighting in those times was to use open boats propelled chiefly by oars. They closed as quickly as possible with the enemy, and then fell on with the trenchant swords which they used so skilfully. Fighting at Sea. Now during the 15th century and part of the 16th the Chinese had been so harassed by Japanese piratical raids that their inventive genius, quickened by suffering, suggested a device for coping with these formidable adversaries. Once allow the Japanese swordsman to come to close quarters and he carried all before him. To keep him at a distance, then, was the great desideratum, and the Chinese compassed this in maritime warfare by completely covering their boats with roofs of solid timber, so that those within were protected against missiles, while loop-holes and ports enabled them to pour bullets and arrows on a foe. The Koreans learned this device from the Chinese and were the first to employ it in actual warfare. Their own history alleges that they improved upon the Chinese model by nailing sheet iron over the roofs and sides of the “turtle-shell” craft and studding the whole surface with chevaux de frise, but Japanese annals indicate that in the great majority of cases solid timber alone was used. It seems strange that the Japanese should have been without any clear perception of the immense fighting superiority possessed by such protected war-vessels over small open boats. But certainly they were either ignorant or indifferent. The fleet which they provided to hold the command of Korean waters did not include one vessel of any magnitude; it consisted simply of some hundreds of row-boats manned by 7000 men. Hideyoshi himself was perhaps not without misgivings. Six years previously he had endeavoured to obtain two war-galleons from the Portuguese, and had he succeeded, the history of the Far East might have been radically different. Evidently, however, he committed a blunder which his countrymen in modern times have conspicuously avoided; he drew the sword without having fully investigated his adversary’s resources. Just about the time when the van of the Japanese army was entering Seoul, the Korean admiral, Yi Sun-sin, at the head of a fleet of 80 vessels, attacked the Japanese squadron which lay at anchor near the entrance to Fusan harbour, set 26 of the vessels on fire and dispersed the rest. Four other engagements ensued in rapid succession. The last and most important took place shortly after the Japanese troops had seized Phyong-yang. It 243 resulted in the sinking of over 70 Japanese vessels, transports and fighting ships combined, which formed the main part of a flotilla carrying reinforcements by sea to the van of the invading army. This despatch of troops and supplies by water had been a leading feature of Hideyoshi’s plan of campaign, and the destruction of the flotilla to which the duty was entrusted may be said to have sealed the fate of the war by isolating the army in Korea from its home base. It is true that Konishi Yukinaga, who commanded the first division, would have continued his northward march from Phyong-yang without delay. He argued that China was wholly unprepared, and that the best hope of ultimate victory lay in not giving her time to collect her forces. But the commander-in-chief, Ukida Hideiye, refused to endorse this plan. He took the view that since the Korean provinces were still offering desperate resistance, supplies could not be drawn from them, neither could the troops engaged in subjugating them be freed for service at the front. Therefore it was essential to await the consummation of the second phase of Hideyoshi’s plan, namely, the despatch of reinforcements and munitions by water to Phyong-yang. The reader has seen how that second phase fared. The Japanese commander at Phyong-yang never received any accession of strength. His force suffered constant diminution from casualties, and the question of commissariat became daily more difficult. It is further plain to any reader of history—and Japanese historians themselves admit the fact—that no wise effort was made to conciliate the Korean people. They were treated so harshly that even the humble peasant took up arms, and thus the peninsula, instead of serving as a basis of supplies, had to be garrisoned perpetually by a strong army.

The Koreans, having suffered for their loyalty to China, naturally looked to her for succour. Again and again appeals were made to Peking, and at length a force of 5000 men, which had been mobilized in the Liaotung Chinese Intervention. peninsula, crossed the Yalu and moved south to Phyong-yang, where the Japanese van had been lying idle for over two months. This was early in October 1592. Memorable as the first encounter between Japanese and Chinese, the incident also illustrated China’s supreme confidence in her own ineffable superiority. The whole of the Korean forces had been driven northward throughout the entire length of the peninsula by the Japanese armies, yet Peking considered that 5000 Chinese “braves” would suffice to roll back this tide of invasion. Three thousand of the Chinese were killed and the remainder fled pell-mell across the Yalu. China now began to be seriously alarmed. She collected an army variously estimated at from 51,000 to 200,000 men, and marching it across Manchuria in the dead of winter, hurled it against Phyong-yang during the first week of February 1593. The Japanese garrison did not exceed 20,000, nearly one-half of its original number having been detached to hold a line of forts which guarded the communications with Seoul. Moreover, the Chinese, though their swords were much inferior to the Japanese weapon, possessed great superiority in artillery and cavalry, as well as in the fact that their troopers wore iron mail which defied the keenest blade. Thus, after a severe fight, the Japanese had to evacuate Phyong-yang and fall back upon Seoul. But this one victory alone stands to China’s credit. In all subsequent encounters of any magnitude her army suffered heavy defeats, losing on one occasion some 10,000 men, on another 4000, and on a third 39,000. But the presence of her forces and the determined resistance offered by the Koreans effectually saved China from invasion. Indeed, after the evacuation of Seoul, on the 9th of May 1593, Hideyoshi abandoned all idea of carrying the war into Chinese territory, and devoted his attention to obtaining honourable terms of peace, the Japanese troops meanwhile holding a line of forts along the southern coast of Korea. He died before that end had been accomplished. Had he lived a few days longer, he would have learned of a crushing defeat inflicted on the Chinese forces (at Sö-chhön, October 30, 1598), when the Satsuma men under Shimazu Yoshihiro took 38,700 Chinese heads and sent the noses and ears to Japan, where they now lie buried under a tumulus (mimizuka, ear-mound) near the temple of Daibutsu in Kiōto. Thereafter the statesmen to whom the regent on his death-bed had entrusted the duty of terminating the struggle and recalling the troops, intimated to the enemy that the evacuation of the peninsula might be obtained if a Korean prince repaired to Japan as envoy, and if some tiger-skins and ginseng were sent to Kiōto in token of amity. So ended one of the greatest over-sea campaigns recorded in history. It had lasted 6½ years, had seen 200,000 Japanese troops at one time on Korean soil, and had cost something like a quarter of a million lives.

From the recall of the Korea expedition in 1598 to the resumption of intercourse with the Occident in modern times, Japan enjoyed uninterrupted peace with foreign nations. Contrast between Foreign Relations in Medieval and Modern Times. Thereafter she had to engage in four wars. It is a striking contrast. During the first eleven centuries of her historical existence she was involved in only one contest abroad; during the next half century she fought four times beyond the sea and was confronted by many complications. Whatever material or moral advantages her association with the West conferred on her, it did not bring peace.

The first menacing foreign complication with which the Japanese government of the Meiji era had to deal was connected with the traffic in Chinese labour, an abuse not yet wholly eradicated. In 1872, a Peruvian ship, the The “Maria Luz” Complication. “Maria Luz,” put into port at Yokohama, carrying 200 contract labourers. One of the unfortunate men succeeded in reaching the shore and made a piteous appeal to the Japanese authorities, who at once seized the vessel and released her freight of slaves, for they were little better. The Japanese had not always been so particular. In the days of early foreign intercourse, before England’s attitude towards slavery had established a new code of ethics, Portuguese ships had been permitted to carry away from Hirado, as they did from Macao, cargoes of men and women, doomed to a life of enforced toil if they survived the horrors of the voyage. But modern Japan followed the tenets of modern morality in such matters. Of course the Peruvian government protested, and for a time relations were strained almost to the point of rupture; but it was finally agreed that the question should be submitted to the arbitration of the tsar, who decided in Japan’s favour. Japan’s attitude in this affair elicited applause, not merely from the point of view of humanity, but also because of the confidence she showed in Occidental justice.

Another complication which occupied the attention of the Tōkyō government from the beginning of the Meiji era was in truth a legacy from the days of feudalism. In those days the island of Yezo, as well as Sakhalin The Sakhalin Complication. on its north-west and the Kurile group on its north, could scarcely be said to be in effective Japanese occupation. It is true that the feudal chief of Matsumae (now Fuku-yama), the remains of whose castle may still be seen on the coast at the southern extremity of the island of Yezo, exercised nominal jurisdiction; but his functions did not greatly exceed the levying of taxes on the aboriginal inhabitants of Yezo, the Kuriles and southern Sakhalin. Thus from the beginning of the 18th century Russian fishermen began to settle in the Kuriles and Russian ships menaced Sakhalin. There can be no doubt that the first explorers of Sakhalin were Japanese. As early as 1620, some vassals of the feudal chief of Matsumae visited the place and passed a winter there. It was then supposed to be a peninsula forming part of the Asiatic mainland, but in 1806 a daring Japanese traveller, by name Mamiya Rinzo, made his way to Manchuria, voyaged up and down the Amur, and, crossing to Sakhalin, discovered that a narrow strait separated it from the mainland. There still prevails in the minds of many Occidentals a belief that the discovery of Sakhalin’s insular character was reserved for Captain Nevelskoy, a Russian, who visited the place in 1849, but in Japan the fact had then been known for 43 years. Muravief, the great Russian empire-builder in East Asia, under whose orders Nevelskoy acted, quickly appreciated the necessity of acquiring Sakhalin, which commands the estuary of the Amur. 244 After the conclusion of the treaty of Aigun (1857) he visited Japan with a squadron, and required that the strait of La Pérouse, which separates Sakhalin from Yezo, should be regarded as the frontier between Russia and Japan. This would have given the whole of Sakhalin to Russia. Japan refused, and Muravief immediately resorted to the policy he had already pursued with signal success in the Usuri region: he sent emigrants to settle in Sakhalin. Twice the shōgunate attempted to frustrate this process of gradual absorption by proposing a division of the island along the 50th parallel of north latitude, and finally, in 1872, the Meiji government offered to purchase the Russian portion for 2,000,000 dollars (then equivalent to about £400,000). St Petersburg, having by that time discovered the comparative worthlessness of the island as a wealth-earning possession, showed some signs of acquiescence, and possibly an agreement might have been reached had not a leading Japanese statesman—afterwards Count Kuroda—opposed the bargain as disadvantageous to Japan. Finally St Petersburg’s perseverance won the day. In 1875 Japan agreed to recognize Russia’s title to the whole island on condition that Russia similarly recognized Japan’s title to the Kuriles. It was a singular compact. Russia purchased a Japanese property and paid for it with a part of Japan’s belongings. These details form a curious preface to the fact that Sakhalin was destined, 30 years later, to be the scene of a Japanese invasion, in the sequel of which it was divided along the 50th parallel as the shōgun’s administration had originally proposed.

The first of Japan’s four conflicts was an expedition to Formosa in 1874. Insignificant from a military point of view, this affair derives vicarious interest from its effect upon the relations between China and Japan, Military Expedition to Formosa. and upon the question of the ownership of the Riūkiū islands. These islands, which lie at a little distance south of Japan, had for centuries been regarded as an apanage of the Satsuma fief. The language and customs of their inhabitants showed unmistakable traces of relationship to the Japanese, and the possibility of the islands being included among the dominions of China had probably never occurred to any Japanese statesman. When therefore, in 1873, the crew of a wrecked Riūkiūan junk were barbarously treated by the inhabitants of northern Formosa, the Japanese government unhesitatingly assumed the responsibility of seeking redress for their outrage. Formosa being a part of the Chinese Empire, complaint was duly preferred in Peking. But the Chinese authorities showed such resolute indifference to Japan’s representations that the latter finally took the law into her own hands, and sent a small force to punish the Formosan murderers, who, of course, were found quite unable to offer any serious resistance. The Chinese government, now recognizing the fact that its territories had been invaded, lodged a protest which, but for the intervention of the British minister in Peking, might have involved the two empires in war. The final terms of arrangement were that, in consideration of Japan withdrawing her troops from Formosa, China should indemnify her to the extent of the expenses of the expedition. In sending this expedition to Formosa the government sought to placate the Satsuma samurai, who were beginning to show much opposition to certain features of the administrative reforms just inaugurated, and who claimed special interest in the affairs of the Riūkiū islands.

Had Japan needed any confirmation of her belief that the Riūkiū islands belonged to her, the incidents and settlement of the Formosan complication would have constituted conclusive evidence. Thus in 1876 she did not The Riūkiū Complication. hesitate to extend her newly organized system of prefectural government to Riūkiū, which thenceforth became the Okinawa prefecture, the former ruler of the islands being pensioned, according to the system followed in the case of the feudal chiefs in Japan proper. China at once entered an objection. She claimed that Riūkiū had always been a tributary of her empire, and she was doubtless perfectly sincere in the contention. But China’s interpretation of tribute did not seem reducible to a working theory. So long as her own advantage could be promoted, she regarded as a token of vassalage the presents periodically carried to her court from neighbouring states. So soon, however, as there arose any question of discharging a suzerain’s duties, she classed these offerings as insignificant interchanges of neighbourly courtesy. It was true that Riūkiū had followed the custom of despatching gift-bearing envoys to China from time to time, just as Japan herself had done, though with less regularity. But it was also true that Riūkiū had been subdued by Satsuma without China stretching out a hand to help her; that for two centuries the islands had been included in the Satsuma fief, and that China, in the sequel to the Formosan affair, had made a practical acknowledgment of Japan’s superior title to protect the islanders. Each empire positively asserted its claims; but whereas Japan put hers into practice, China confined herself to remonstrances. Things remained in that state until 1880, when General Grant, visiting the East, suggested the advisability of a compromise. A conference met in Peking, and the plenipotentiaries agreed that the islands should be divided, Japan taking the northern group, China the southern. But on the eve of signature the Chinese plenipotentiary drew back, pleading that he had no authority to conclude an agreement without previously referring it to certain other dignitaries. Japan, sensible that she had been flouted, retired from the discussion and retained the islands, China’s share in them being reduced to a grievance.

From the 16th century, when the Korean peninsula was overrun by Japanese troops, its rulers made a habit of sending a present-bearing embassy to Japan to felicitate the accession of each shōgun. But after the fall of The Korean Complication. the Tokugawa shōgunate, the Korean court desisted from this custom, declared a determination to have no further relations with a country embracing Western civilization, and refused even to receive a Japanese embassy. This conduct caused deep umbrage in Japan. Several prominent politicians cast their votes for war, and undoubtedly the sword would have been drawn had not the leading statesmen felt that a struggle with Korea, involving probably a rupture with China, must fatally check the progress of the administrative reforms then (1873) in their infancy. Two years later, however, the Koreans crowned their defiance by firing on the boats of a Japanese war-vessel engaged in the operation of coast-surveying. No choice now remained except to despatch an armed expedition against the truculent kingdom. But Japan did not want to fight. In this matter she showed herself an apt pupil of Occidental methods such as had been practised against herself in former years. She assembled an imposing force of war-ships and transports, but instead of proceeding to extremities, she employed the squadron—which was by no means so strong as it seemed—to intimidate Korea into signing a treaty of amity and commerce, and opening three ports to foreign trade (1876). That was the beginning of Korea’s friendly relations with the outer world, and Japan naturally took credit for the fact that, thus early in her new career, she had become an instrument for extending the principle of universal intercourse opposed so strenuously by herself in the past.

From time immemorial China’s policy towards the petty states on her frontiers had been to utilize them as buffers for softening the shock of foreign contact, while contriving, at the same time, that her relations with them should War with China. involve no inconvenient responsibilities for herself. The aggressive impulses of the outside world were to be checked by an unproclaimed understanding that the territories of these states partook of the inviolability of China, while the states, on their side, must never expect their suzerain to bear the consequences of their acts. This arrangement, depending largely on sentiment and prestige, retained its validity in the atmosphere of Oriental seclusion, but quickly failed to endure the test of modern Occidental practicality. Tongking, Annam, Siam and Burma were withdrawn, one by one, from the fiction of dependence on China and independence towards all other countries. But with regard to Korea, China proved more tenacious. The 245 possession of the peninsula by a foreign power would have threatened the maritime route to the Chinese capital and given easy access to Manchuria, the cradle of the dynasty which ruled China. Therefore Peking statesmen endeavoured to preserve the old-time relations with the little kingdom. But they could never persuade themselves to modify the indirect methods sanctioned by tradition. Instead of boldly declaring Korea a dependency of China, they sought to keep up the romance of ultimate dependency and intermediate sovereignty. Thus in 1876 Korea was suffered to conclude with Japan a treaty of which the first article declared her “an independent state enjoying the same rights as Japan,” and subsequently to make with the United States (1882), Great Britain (1883) and other powers, treaties in which her independence was constructively admitted. China, however, did not intend that Korea should exercise the independence thus conventionally recognized. A Chinese resident was placed in Seoul, and a system of steady though covert interference in Korea’s affairs was inaugurated. The chief sufferer from these anomalous conditions was Japan. In all her dealings with Korea, in all complications that arose out of her comparatively large trade with the peninsula, in all questions connected with her numerous settlers there, she found herself negotiating with a dependency of China, and with officials who took their orders from the Chinese representative. China had long entertained a rooted apprehension of Japanese aggression in Korea—an apprehension not unwarranted by history—and that distrust tinged all the influence exerted by her agents there. On many occasions Japan was made sensible of the discrimination thus exercised against her. Little by little the consciousness roused her indignation, and although no single instance constituted a ground for strong international protest, the Japanese people gradually acquired a sense of being perpetually baffled, thwarted and humiliated by China’s interference in Korean affairs. For thirty years China had treated Japan as a contemptible deserter from the Oriental standard, and had regarded her progressive efforts with openly disdainful aversion; while Japan, on her side, had chafed more and more to furnish some striking evidence of the wisdom of her preference for Western civilization. Even more serious were the consequences of Chinese interference from the point of view of Korean administration. The rulers of the country lost all sense of national responsibility, and gave unrestrained sway to selfish ambition. The functions of the judiciary and of the executive alike came to be discharged by bribery only. Family interests predominated over those of the state. Taxes were imposed in proportion to the greed of local officials. No thought whatever was taken for the welfare of the people or for the development of the country’s resources. Personal responsibility was unknown among officials. To be a member of the Min family, to which the queen belonged, was to possess a passport to office and an indemnity against the consequences of abuse of power. From time to time the advocates of progress or the victims of oppression rose in arms. They effected nothing except to recall to the world’s recollection the miserable condition into which Korea had fallen. Chinese military aid was always furnished readily for the suppression of these risings, and thus the Min family learned to base its tenure of power on ability to conciliate China and on readiness to obey Chinese dictation, while the people at large fell into the apathetic condition of men who possess neither security of property nor national ambition.

As a matter of state policy the Korean problem caused much anxiety to Japan. Her own security being deeply concerned in preserving Korea from the grasp of a Western power, she could not suffer the little kingdom to drift into a condition of such administrative incompetence and national debility that a strong aggressor might find at any moment a pretext for interference. On two occasions (1882 and 1884) when China’s armed intervention was employed in the interests of the Min to suppress movements of reform, the partisans of the victors, regarding Japan as the fountain of progressive tendencies, destroyed her legation in Seoul and compelled its inmates to fly from the city. Japan behaved with forbearance at these crises, but in the consequent negotiations she acquired conventional titles that touched the core of China’s alleged suzerainty. In 1882 her right to maintain troops in Seoul for the protection of her legation was admitted; in 1885 she concluded with China a convention by which each power pledged itself not to send troops to Korea without notifying the other.

In the spring of 1894 a serious insurrection broke out in Korea, and the Min family appealed for China’s aid. On the 6th of July 2500 Chinese troops embarked at Tientsin and were transported to the peninsula, where they went The Rupture with China. into camp at Ya-shan (Asan), on the south-west coast, notice of the measure being given by the Chinese government to the Japanese representative at Peking, according to treaty. During the interval immediately preceding these events, Japan had been rendered acutely sensible of China’s arbitrary and unfriendly interference in Korea. Twice the efforts of the Japanese government to obtain redress for unlawful and ruinous commercial prohibitions had been thwarted by the Chinese representative in Seoul; and an ultimatum addressed from Tōkyō to the Korean government had elicited from the viceroy Li in Tientsin a thinly veiled threat of Chinese armed opposition. Still more provocative of national indignation was China’s procedure with regard to the murder of Kim Ok-kyun, the leader of progress in Korea, who had been for some years a refugee in Japan. Inveigled from Japan to China by a fellow-countryman sent from Seoul to assassinate him, Kim was shot in a Japanese hotel in Shanghai; and China, instead of punishing the murderer, conveyed him in a war-ship of her own to Korea to be publicly honoured. When, therefore, the Korean insurrection of 1894 induced the Min family again to solicit China’s armed intervention, the Tōkyō government concluded that, in the interests of Japan’s security and of civilization in the Orient, steps must be taken to put an end to the misrule which offered incessant invitations to foreign aggression, and checked Korea’s capacity to maintain its own independence. Japan did not claim for herself any rights or interests in the peninsula superior to those possessed there by China. But there was not the remotest probability that China, whose face had been contemptuously set against all the progressive measures adopted by Japan during the preceding twenty-five years, would join in forcing upon a neighbouring kingdom the very reforms she herself despised, were her co-operation invited through ordinary diplomatic channels only. It was necessary to contrive a situation which would not only furnish clear proof of Japan’s resolution, but also enable her to pursue her programme independently of Chinese endorsement, should the latter be finally unobtainable. She therefore met China’s notice of a despatch of troops with a corresponding notice of her own, and the month of July 1894 found a Chinese force assembled at Asan and a Japanese force occupying positions in the neighbourhood of Seoul. China’s motive for sending troops was nominally to quell the Tonghak insurrection, but really to re-affirm her own domination in the peninsula. Japan’s motive was to secure such a position as would enable her to insist upon the radically curative treatment of Korea’s malady. Up to this point the two empires were strictly within their conventional rights. Each was entitled by treaty to send troops to Korea, provided that notice was given to the other. But China, in giving notice, described Korea as her “tributary state,” thus thrusting into the forefront of the discussion a contention which Japan, from conciliatory motives, would have kept out of sight. Once formally advanced, however, the claim had to be challenged. In the treaty of amity and commerce concluded in 1876 between Japan and Korea, the two high contracting parties were explicitly declared to possess the same national status. Japan could not agree that a power which for nearly two decades she had acknowledged and treated as her equal should be openly classed as a tributary of China. She protested, but the Chinese statesmen took no notice of her protest. They continued to apply the disputed appellation to Korea, and they further asserted their assumption of sovereignty in the peninsula by seeking to set limits to the number of troops sent by Japan, as well as to the sphere of their employment. Japan then proposed that 246 the two empires should unite their efforts for the suppression of disturbances in Korea, and for the subsequent improvement of that kingdom’s administration, the latter purpose to be pursued by the despatch of a joint commission of investigation. But China refused everything. Ready at all times to interfere by force of arms between the Korean people and the dominant political faction, she declined to interfere in any way for the promotion of reform. She even expressed supercilious surprise that Japan, while asserting Korea’s independence, should suggest the idea of peremptorily reforming its administration. In short, for Chinese purposes the Peking statesmen openly declared Korea a tributary state; but for Japanese purposes they insisted that it must be held independent. They believed that their island neighbour aimed at the absorption of Korea into the Japanese empire. Viewed in the light of that suspicion, China’s attitude became comprehensible, but her procedure was inconsistent, illogical and unpractical. The Tōkyō cabinet now declared its resolve not to withdraw the Japanese troops without “some understanding that would guarantee the future peace, order, and good government of Korea,” and since China still declined to come to such an understanding, Japan undertook the work of reform single-handed.

The Chinese representative in Seoul threw his whole weight into the scale against the success of these reforms. But the determining cause of rupture was in itself a belligerent operation. China’s troops had been sent originally for Outbreak of Hostilities. the purpose of quelling the Tonghak rebellion. But the rebellion having died of inanition before the landing of the troops, their services were not required. Nevertheless China kept them in Korea, her declared reason for doing so being the presence of a Japanese military force. Throughout the subsequent negotiations the Chinese forces lay in an entrenched camp at Asan, while the Japanese occupied Seoul. An attempt on China’s part to send reinforcements could be construed only as an unequivocal declaration of resolve to oppose Japan’s proceedings by force of arms. Nevertheless China not only despatched troops by sea to strengthen the camp at Asan, but also sent an army overland across Korea’s northern frontier. At this stage an act of war occurred. Three Chinese men-of-war, convoying a transport with 1200 men encountered and fired on three Japanese cruisers. One of the Chinese ships was taken; another was so shattered that she had to be beached and abandoned; the third escaped in a dilapidated condition; and the transport, refusing to surrender, was sunk. This happened on the 25th of July 1894, and an open declaration of war was made by each empire six days later.

From the moment when Japan applied herself to break away from Oriental traditions, and to remove from her limbs the fetters of Eastern conservatism, it was inevitable that a widening gulf should gradually grow between Remote Origin of the Conflict. herself and China. The war of 1894 was really a contest between Japanese progress and Chinese stagnation. To secure Korean immunity from foreign—especially Russian—aggression was of capital importance to both empires. Japan believed that such security could be attained by introducing into Korea the civilization which had contributed so signally to the development of her own strength and resources. China thought that she could guarantee it without any departure from old-fashioned methods, and by the same process of capricious protection which had failed so signally in the cases of Annam, Tongking, Burma and Siam. The issue really at stake was whether Japan should be suffered to act as the Eastern propagandist of Western progress, or whether her efforts in that cause should be held in check by Chinese conservatism.

The war itself was a succession of triumphs for Japan. Four days after the first naval encounter she sent from Seoul a column of troops who routed the Chinese entrenched at Asan. Many of the fugitives effected their escape to Events of the War. Phyong-yang, a town on the Taidong River, offering excellent facilities for defence, and historically interesting as the place where a Japanese army of invasion had its first encounter with Chinese troops in 1592. There the Chinese assembled a force of 17,000 men, and made leisurely preparations for a decisive contest. Forty days elapsed before the Japanese columns converged upon Phyong-yang, and that interval was utilized by the Chinese to throw up parapets, mount Krupp guns and otherwise strengthen their position. Moreover, they were armed with repeating rifles, whereas the Japanese had only single-loaders, and the ground offered little cover for an attacking force. In such circumstances, the advantages possessed by the defence ought to have been well-nigh insuperable; yet a day’s fighting sufficed to carry all the positions, the assailants’ casualties amounting to less than 700 and the defenders losing 6000 in killed and wounded. This brilliant victory was the prelude to an equally conspicuous success at sea. For on the 17th of September, the very day after the battle at Phyong-yang, a great naval fight took place near the mouth of the Yalu River, which forms the northern boundary of Korea. Fourteen Chinese war-ships and six torpedo-boats were returning to home ports after convoying a fleet of transports to the Yalu, when they encountered eleven Japanese men-of-war cruising in the Yellow Sea. Hitherto the Chinese had sedulously avoided a contest at sea. Their fleet included two armoured battleships of over 7000 tons displacement, whereas the biggest vessels on the Japanese side were belted cruisers of only 4000 tons. In the hands of an admiral appreciating the value of sea power, China’s naval force would certainly have been led against Japan’s maritime communications, for a successful blow struck there must have put an end to the Korean campaign. The Chinese, however, failed to read history. They employed their war-vessels as convoys only, and, when not using them for that purpose, hid them in port. Everything goes to show that they would have avoided the battle off the Yalu had choice been possible, though when forced to fight they fought bravely. Four of their ships were sunk, and the remainder escaped to Wei-hai-wei, the vigour of the Japanese pursuit being greatly impaired by the presence of torpedo-boats in the retreating squadron.

The Yalu victory opened the over-sea route to China. Japan could now strike at Talien, Port Arthur, and Wei-hai-wei, naval stations on the Liaotung and Shantung peninsulas, where powerful permanent fortifications, built after plans prepared by European experts and armed with the best modern weapons, were regarded as almost impregnable; They fell before the assaults of the Japanese troops as easily as the comparatively rude fortifications at Phyong-yang had fallen. The only resistance of a stubborn character was made by the Chinese fleet at Wei-hai-wei; but after the whole squadron of torpedo-craft had been destroyed or captured as they attempted to escape, and after three of the largest vessels had been sunk at their moorings by Japanese torpedoes, and one by gun-fire, the remaining ships surrendered, and their brave commander, Admiral Ting, committed suicide. This ended the war. It had lasted seven and a half months, during which time Japan put into the field five columns, aggregating about 120,000 of all arms. One of these columns marched northward from Seoul, won the battle of Phyong-yang, advanced to the Yalu, forced its way into Manchuria, and moved towards Mukden by Feng-hwang, fighting several minor engagements, and conducting the greater part of its operations amid deep snow in midwinter. The second column diverged westwards from the Yalu, and, marching through southern Manchuria, reached Hai-cheng, whence it advanced to the capture of Niuchwang and Ying-tse-kow. The third landed on the Liaotung peninsula, and, turning southwards, carried Talien and Port Arthur by assault. The fourth moved up the Liaotung peninsula, and, having seized Kaiping, advanced against Ying-tse-kow, where it joined hands with the second column. The fifth crossed from Port Arthur to Wei-hai-wei, and captured the latter. In all these operations the total Japanese casualties were 1005 killed and 4922 wounded—figures which sufficiently indicate the inefficiency of the Chinese fighting. The deaths from disease totalled 16,866, and the total monetary expenditure was £20,000,000 sterling.


The Chinese government sent Li Hung-chang, viceroy of Pechili and senior grand secretary of state, and Li Ching-fong, to discuss terms of peace with Japan, the latter being represented by Marquis (afterwards Prince) Itō and Conclusion of Peace. Count Mutsu, prime minister and minister for foreign affairs, respectively. A treaty was signed at Shimonoseki on the 17th of April 1895, and subsequently ratified by the sovereigns of the two empires. It declared the absolute independence of Korea; ceded to Japan the part of Manchuria lying south of a line drawn from the mouth of the river Anping to the mouth of the Liao, through Feng-hwang, Hai-cheng and Ying-tse-kow, as well as the islands of Formosa and the Pescadores; pledged China to pay an indemnity of 200,000,000 taels; provided for the occupation of Wei-hai-wei by Japan pending payment of the indemnity; secured some additional commercial privileges, such as the opening of four new places to foreign trade and the right of foreigners to engage in manufacturing enterprises in China, and provided for the conclusion of a treaty of commerce and amity between the two empires, based on the lines of China’s treaties with Occidental powers.

No sooner was this agreement ratified than Russia, Germany and France presented a joint note to the Tōkyō government, recommending that the territories ceded to Japan on the mainland of China should not be permanently Foreign Interference. occupied, as such a proceeding would be detrimental to peace. The recommendation was couched in the usual terms of diplomatic courtesy, but everything indicated that its signatories were prepared to enforce their advice by an appeal to arms. Japan found herself compelled to comply. Exhausted by the Chinese campaign, which had drained her treasury, consumed her supplies of warlike material, and kept her squadrons constantly at sea for eight months, she had no residue of strength to oppose such a coalition. Her resolve was quickly taken. The day that saw the publication of the ratified treaty saw also the issue of an Imperial rescript in which the mikado, avowing his unalterable devotion to the cause of peace, and recognizing that the counsel offered by the European states was prompted by the same sentiment, “yielded to the dictates of magnanimity, and accepted the advice of the three Powers.” The Japanese people were shocked by this incident. They could understand the motives influencing Russia and France, for it was evidently natural that the former should desire to exclude warlike and progressive people like the Japanese from territories contiguous to her borders, and it was also natural that France should remain true to her alliance with Russia. But Germany, wholly uninterested in the ownership of Manchuria, and by profession a warm friend of Japan, seemed to have joined in robbing the latter of the fruits of her victory simply for the sake of establishing some shadowy title to Russia’s goodwill. It was not known until a later period that the German emperor entertained profound apprehensions about the “yellow peril,” an irruption of Oriental hordes into the Occident, and held it a sacred duty to prevent Japan from gaining a position which might enable her to construct an immense military machine out of the countless millions of China.

Japan’s third expedition over-sea in the Meiji era had its origin in causes which belong to the history of China (q.v.). In the second half of 1900 an anti-foreign and anti-dynastic rebellion, breaking out in Shantung, spread Chinese Crisis of 1900. to the metropolitan province of Pechili, and resulted in a situation of extreme peril for the foreign communities of Tientsin and Peking. It was impossible for any European power, or for the United States, to organize sufficiently prompt measures of relief. Thus the eyes of the world turned to Japan, whose proximity to the scene of disturbance rendered intervention comparatively easy for her. But Japan hesitated. Knowing now with what suspicion and distrust the development of her resources and the growth of her military strength were regarded by some European peoples, and aware that she had been admitted to the comity of Western nations on sufferance, she shrank, on the one hand, from seeming to grasp at an opportunity for armed display, and, on the other, from the solecism of obtrusiveness in the society of strangers. Not until Europe and America made it quite plain that they needed and desired her aid did she send a division (21,000) men to Pechili. Her troops played a fine part in the subsequent expedition for the relief of Peking, which had to be approached in midsummer under very trying conditions. Fighting side by side with European and American soldiers, and under the eyes of competent military critics, the Japanese acquitted themselves in such a manner as to establish a high military reputation. Further, after the relief of Peking they withdrew a moiety of their forces, and that step, as well as their unequivocal co-operation with Western powers in the subsequent negotiations, helped to show the injustice of the suspicions with which they had been regarded.

From the time (1895) when Russia, with the co-operation of Germany and France, dictated to Japan a cardinal alteration of the Shimonoseki treaty, Japanese statesmen seem to have concluded that their country must one day War with Russia. cross swords with the great northern power. Not a few European and American publicists shared that view. But the vast majority, arguing that the little Eastern empire would never invite annihilation by such an encounter, believed that sufficient forbearance to avert serious trouble would always be forthcoming on Japan’s side. Yet when the geographical and historical situation was carefully considered, little hope of an ultimately peaceful settlement presented itself.

Japan along its western shore, Korea along its southern and eastern, and Russia along the eastern coast of its maritime province, are washed by the Sea of Japan. The communications between the sea and the Pacific Ocean are practically two only. One is on the north-east, namely, Tsugaru Strait; the other is on the south, namely, the channel between the extremity of the Korean peninsula and the Japanese island of the nine provinces. Tsugaru Strait is entirely under Japan’s control. It is between her main island and her island of Yezo, and in case of need she can close it with mines. The channel between the southern extremity of Korea and Japan has a width of 102 m. and would therefore be a fine open sea-way were it free from islands. But almost mid-way in this channel lie the twin islands of Tsushima, and the space of 56 m. that separates them from Japan is narrowed by another island, Iki. Tsushima and Iki belong to the Japanese empire. The former has some exceptionally good harbours, constituting a naval base from which the channel on either side could easily be sealed. Thus the avenues from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan are controlled by the Japanese empire. In other words, access to the Pacific from Korea’s eastern and southern coasts and access to the Pacific from Russia’s maritime province depend upon Japan’s goodwill. So far as Korea was concerned this question mattered little, it being her fate to depend upon the goodwill of Japan in affairs of much greater importance. But with Russia the case was different. Vladivostok, which until recent times was her principal port in the Far East, lies at the southern extremity of the maritime province; that is to say, on the north-western shore of the Japan Sea. It was therefore necessary for Russia that freedom of passage by the Tsushima channel should be secured, and to secure it one of two things was essential, namely, either that she herself should possess a fortified port on the Korean side, or that Japan should be bound neither to acquire such a port nor to impose any restriction upon the navigation of the strait. To put the matter briefly, Russia must either acquire a strong foothold for herself in southern Korea, or contrive that Japan should not acquire one. There was here a strong inducement for Russian aggression in Korea.

Russia’s eastward movement through Asia has been strikingly illustrative of her strong craving for free access to southern seas and of the impediments she had experienced in gratifying that wish. An irresistible impulse had driven her oceanward. Checked again and again in her attempts to reach the Mediterranean, she set out on a five-thousand-miles march of conquest right across the vast Asiatic continent towards the Pacific. Eastward of Lake Baikal she found her line of least resistance along the Amur, and when, owing to the restless perseverance 248 of Muravief, she reached the mouth of that great river, the acquisition of Nikolayevsk for a naval basis was her immediate reward. But Nikolayevsk could not possibly satisfy her. Situated in an inhospitable region far away from all the main routes of the world’s commerce, it offered itself only as a stepping-stone to further acquisitions. To push southward from this new port became an immediate object to Russia. There lay an obstacle in the way, however; the long strip of sea-coast from the mouth of the Amur to the Korean frontier—an area then called the Usuri region because the Usuri forms its western boundary—belonged to China, and she, having conceded much to Russia in the matter of the Amur, showed no disposition to make further concessions in the matter of the Usuri. In the presence of menaces, however, she agreed that the region should be regarded as common property pending a convenient opportunity for clear delimitation. That opportunity came very soon. Seizing the moment (1860) when China had been beaten to her knees by England and France, Russia secured final cession of the Usuri region, which now became the maritime province of Siberia. Then Russia shifted her naval base on the Pacific from Nikolayevsk to Vladivostok. She gained ten degrees in a southerly direction.

From the mouth of the Amur, where Nikolayevsk is situated, to the southern shore of Korea there rests on the coast of eastern Asia an arch of islands having at its northern point Sakhalin and at its southern Tsushima, the keystone of the arch being the main island of Japan. This arch embraces the Sea of Japan and is washed on its convex side by the Pacific Ocean. Immediately after the transfer of Russia’s naval base from Nikolayevsk to Vladivostok, an attempt was made to obtain possession of the southern point of the arch, namely, Tsushima. A Russian man-of-war proceeded thither and quietly began to establish a settlement, which would soon have constituted a title of ownership had not Great Britain interfered. The Russians saw that Vladivostok, acquired at the cost of so much toil, would be comparatively useless unless from the sea on whose shore it was situated an avenue to the Pacific could be opened, and they therefore tried to obtain command of the Tsushima channel. Immediately after reaching the mouth of the Amur the same instinct had led them to begin the colonization of Sakhalin. The axis of this long narrow island is inclined at a very acute angle to the Usuri region, which its northern extremity almost touches, while its southern is separated from Yezo by the strait of La Pérouse. But in Sakhalin the Russians found Japanese subjects. In fact the island was a part of the Japanese empire. Resorting, however, to the Usuri fiction of joint occupation, they succeeded by 1875 in transferring the whole of Sakhalin to Russia’s dominion. Further encroachments upon Japanese territory could not be lightly essayed, and the Russians held their hands. They had been trebly checked: checked in trying to push southward along the coast of the mainland; checked in trying to secure an avenue from Vladivostok to the Pacific; and checked in their search for an ice-free port, which definition Vladivostok did not fulfil. Enterprise in the direction of Korea seemed to be the only hope of saving the maritime results of the great Trans-Asian march.

Was Korea within safe range of such enterprises? Everything seemed to answer in the affirmative. Korea had all the qualifications desired by an aggressor. Her people were unprogressive, her resources undeveloped, her self-defensive capacities insignificant, her government corrupt. But she was a tributary of China, and China had begun to show some tenacity in protecting the integrity of her buffer states. Besides, Japan was understood to have pretensions with regard to Korea. On the whole, therefore, the problem of carrying to full fruition the work of Muravief and his lieutenants demanded strength greater than Russia could exercise without some line of communications supplementing the Amur waterway and the long ocean route. Therefore she set about the construction of a railway across Asia.

The Amur being the boundary of Russia’s east Asian territory, this railway had to be carried along its northern bank where many engineering and economic obstacles presented themselves. Besides, the river, from an early stage in its course, makes a huge semicircular sweep northward, and a railway following its bank to Vladivostok must make the same détour. If, on the contrary, the road could be carried over the diameter of the semicircle, it would be a straight and therefore shorter line, technically easier and economically better. The diameter, however, passed through Chinese territory, and an excuse for extorting China’s permission was not in sight. Russia therefore proceeded to build each end of the road, deferring the construction of the Amur section for the moment. She had not waited long when, in 1894, war broke out between China and Japan, and the latter, completely victorious, demanded as the price of peace the southern littoral of Manchuria from the Korean boundary to the Liaotung peninsula at the entrance to the Gulf of Pechili. This was a crisis in Russia’s career. She saw that her maritime extension could never get nearer to the Pacific than Vladivostok were this claim of Japan’s established. For the proposed arrangement would place the littoral of Manchuria in Japan’s direct occupation and the littoral of Korea in her constructive control, since not only had she fought to rescue Korea from Chinese suzerainty, but also her object in demanding a slice of the Manchurian coast-line was to protect Korea against aggression from the north; that is to say, against aggression from Russia. Muravief’s enterprise had carried his country first to the mouth of the Amur and thence southward along the coast to Vladivostok and to Possiet Bay at the north-eastern extremity of Korea. But it had not given to Russia free access to the Pacific, and now she was menaced with a perpetual barrier to that access, since the whole remaining coast of east Asia as far as the Gulf of Pechili was about to pass into Japan’s possession or under her domination.

Then Russia took an extraordinary step. She persuaded Germany and France to force Japan out of Manchuria. It is not to be supposed that she frankly exposed her own aggressive designs and asked for assistance to prosecute them. Neither is it to be supposed that France and Germany were so curiously deficient in perspicacity as to overlook those designs. At all events these three great powers served on Japan a notice to quit, and Japan, exhausted by her struggle with China, had no choice but to obey.

The notice was accompanied by an exposé of reasons. Its signatories said that Japan’s tenure of the Manchurian littoral would menace the security of the Chinese capital, would render the independence of Korea illusory, and would constitute an obstacle to the peace of the Orient.

By way of saving the situation in some slight degree Japan sought from China a guarantee that no portion of Manchuria should thereafter be leased or ceded to a foreign state. But France warned Japan that to press such a demand would offend Russia, and Russia declared that, for her part, she had no intention of trespassing in Manchuria. Japan, had she been in a position to insist on the guarantee, would also have been in a position to disobey the mandate of the three powers. Unable to do either the one or the other, she quietly stepped out of Manchuria, and proceeded to double her army and treble her navy.

As a reward for the assistance nominally rendered to China in this matter, Russia obtained permission in Peking to divert her Trans-Asian railway from the huge bend of the Amur to the straight line through Manchuria. Neither Germany nor France received any immediate recompense. Three years later, by way of indemnity for the murder of two missionaries by a mob, Germany seized a portion of the province of Shantung. Immediately, on the principle that two wrongs make a right, Russia obtained a lease of the Liaotung peninsula, from which she had driven Japan in 1895. This act she followed by extorting from China permission to construct a branch of the Trans-Asian railway through Manchuria from north to south.

Russia’s maritime aspirations had now assumed a radically altered phase. Instead of pushing southward from Vladivostok and Possiet Bay along the coast of Korea, she had suddenly 249 leaped the Korean peninsula and found access to the Pacific in Liaotung. Nothing was wanting to establish her as practical mistress of Manchuria except a plausible excuse for garrisoning the place. Such an excuse was furnished by the Boxer rising in 1900. Its conclusion saw her in military occupation of the whole region, and she might easily have made her occupation permanent by prolonging it until peace and order should have been fully restored. But here she fell into an error of judgment. Imagining that the Chinese could be persuaded or intimidated to any concession, she proposed a convention virtually recognizing her title to Manchuria.

Japan watched all these things with profound anxiety. If there were any reality in the dangers which Russia, Germany and France had declared to be incidental to Japanese occupation of a part of Manchuria, the same dangers must be doubly incidental to Russian occupation of the whole of Manchuria—the security of the Chinese capital would be threatened, and an obstacle would be created to the permanent peace of the East. The independence of Korea was an object of supreme solicitude to Japan. Historically she held towards the little state a relation closely resembling that of suzerain, and though of her ancient conquests nothing remained except a settlement at Fusan on the southern coast, her national sentiment would have been deeply wounded by any foreign aggression in the peninsula. It was to establish Korean independence that she waged war with China in 1894; and her annexation of the Manchurian littoral adjacent to the Korean frontier, after the war, was designed to secure that independence, not to menace it as the triple alliance professed to think. But if Russia came into possession of all Manchuria, her subsequent absorption of Korea would be almost inevitable. For the consideration set forth above as to Vladivostok’s maritime avenues would then acquire absolute cogency. Manchuria is larger than France and the United Kingdom lumped together. The addition of such an immense area to Russia’s east Asiatic dominions, together with its littoral on the Gulf of Pechili and the Yellow Sea, would necessitate a corresponding expansion of her naval forces in the Far East. With the one exception of Port Arthur, however, the Manchurian coast does not offer any convenient naval base. It is only in the splendid harbours of southern Korea that such bases can be found. Moreover, there would be an even stronger motive impelling Russia towards Korea. Neither the Usuri region nor the Manchurian littoral possesses so much as one port qualified to satisfy her perennial longing for free access to the ocean in a temperate zone. Without Korea, then, Russia’s east Asian expansion, though it added huge blocks of territory to her dominions, would have been commercially incomplete and strategically defective.

If it be asked why, apart from history and national sentiment, Japan should object to a Russian Korea, the answer is, first, because there would thus be planted almost within cannon-shot of her shores a power of enormous strength and insatiable ambition; secondly, because, whatever voice in Manchuria’s destiny Russia derived from her railway, the same voice in Korea’s destiny was possessed by Japan as the sole owner of railways in the peninsula; thirdly, that whereas Russia had an altogether insignificant share in the foreign commerce of Korea and scarcely ten bona-fide settlers, Japan did the greater part of the over-sea trade and had tens of thousands of settlers; fourthly, that if Russia’s dominions stretched uninterruptedly from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Gulf of Pechili, her ultimate absorption of north China would be as certain as sunrise; and fifthly, that such domination and such absorption would involve the practical closure of all that immense region to Japanese commerce and industry as well as to the commerce and industry of every Western nation except Russia. This last proposition did not rest solely on the fact that to oppose artificial barriers to free competition is Russia’s sole hope of utilizing to her own benefit any commercial opportunities brought within her reach. It rested also on the fact that Russia had objected to foreign settlements at the marts recently opened by treaty with China to American and Japanese subjects. Without settlements, trade at those marts would be impossible, and thus Russia had constructively announced that there should be no trade but Russian, if she could prevent it.

Against such dangers Japan would have been justified in adopting any measure of self-protection. She had foreseen them for six years, and had been strengthening herself to avert them. But she wanted peace. She wanted to develop her material resources and to accumulate some measure of wealth, without which she must remain insignificant among the nations. Two pacific devices offered, and she adopted them both. Russia, instead of trusting time to consolidate her tenure of Manchuria, had made the mistake of pragmatically importuning China for a conventional title. If then Peking could be strengthened to resist this demand, some arrangement of a distinctly terminable nature might be made. The United States, Great Britain and Japan, joining hands for that purpose, did succeed in so far stiffening China’s backbone that her show of resolution finally induced Russia to sign a treaty pledging herself to withdraw her troops from Manchuria in three instalments, each step of evacuation to be accomplished by a fixed date. That was one of the pacific devices. The other suggested itself in connexion with the new commercial treaties which China had promised to negotiate in the sequel of the Boxer troubles. In these documents clauses provided for the opening of three places in Manchuria to foreign trade. It seemed a reasonable hope that, having secured commercial access to Manchuria by covenant with its sovereign, China, the powers would not allow Russia arbitrarily to restrict their privileges. It seemed also a reasonable hope that Russia, having solemnly promised to evacuate Manchuria at fixed dates, would fulfil her engagement.

The latter hope was signally disappointed. When the time came for evacuation, Russia behaved as though no promise had ever been given. She proposed wholly new conditions, which would have strengthened her grasp of Manchuria instead of loosening it. China being powerless to offer any practical protest, and Japan’s interests ranking next in order of importance, the Tōkyō government approached Russia direct. They did not ask for anything that could hurt her pride or injure her position. Appreciating fully the economical status she had acquired in Manchuria by large outlays of capital, they offered to recognize that status, provided that Russia would extend similar recognition to Japan’s status in Korea, would promise, in common with Japan, to respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of China and Korea, and would be a party to a mutual engagement that all nations should have equal industrial and commercial opportunities in Manchuria and the Korean peninsula. In a word, they invited Russia to subscribe the policy enunciated by the United States and Great Britain, the policy of the open door and of the integrity of the Chinese and Korean empires.

Thus commenced a negotiation which lasted five and a half months. Japan gradually reduced her demands to a minimum. Russia never made the smallest appreciable concession. She refused to listen to Japan for one moment about Manchuria. Eight years previously Japan had been in military possession of Manchuria, and Russia with the assistance of Germany and France had expelled her for reasons which concerned Japan incomparably more than they concerned any of the three powers—the security of the Chinese capital, the independence of Korea, the peace of the East. Now, Russia had the splendid assurance to declare by implication that none of these things concerned Japan at all. The utmost she would admit was Japan’s partial right to be heard about Korea. And at the same time she herself commenced in northern Korea a series of aggressions, partly perhaps to show her potentialities, partly by way of counter-irritant. That was not all. Whilst she studiously deferred her answers to Japan’s proposals and protracted the negotiations to an extent which was actually contumelious, she hastened to send eastward a big fleet of war-ships and a new army of soldiers. It was impossible for the dullest politician to mistake her purpose. She intended to yield nothing, but to prepare such a parade of force that her obduracy would 250 command submission. The only alternatives for Japan were war or total and permanent effacement in Asia. She chose war, and in fighting it she fought the battle of free and equal opportunities for all without undue encroachment upon the sovereign rights or territorial integrity of China or Korea, against a military dictatorship, a programme of ruthless territorial aggrandizement and a policy of selfish restrictions.

The details of the great struggle that ensued are given elsewhere (see Russo-Japanese War). After the battle of Mukden the belligerents found themselves in a position which must either prelude another stupendous effort on The Results of the War. both sides or be utilized for the purpose of peace negotiations. At this point the president of the United States of America intervened in the interests of humanity, and on the 9th of June 1905 instructed the United States’ representative in Tōkyō to urge that the Japanese government should open direct negotiations with Russia, an exactly corresponding note being simultaneously sent to the Russian government through the United States’ representative in St Petersburg. Japan’s reply was made on the 10th of June. It intimated frank acquiescence, and Russia lost no time in taking a similar step. Nevertheless two months elapsed before the plenipotentiaries of the belligerents met, on the 10th of August, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A. Russia sent M. (afterwards Count) de Witte and Baron Rosen; Japan, Baron (afterwards Count) Komura, who had held the portfolio of foreign affairs throughout the war, and Mr. (afterwards Baron) Takahira. In entering this conference, Japanese statesmen, as was subsequently known, saw clearly that a great part of the credit accruing to them for their successful conduct of the war would be forfeited in the sequel of the negotiations. For the people of Japan had accustomed themselves to expect that Russia would assuredly recoup the expenses incurred by their country in the contest, whereas the cabinet in Tōkyō understood well that to look for payment of indemnity by a great state whose territory had not been invaded effectively nor its existence menaced must be futile. Nevertheless, diplomacy required that this conviction should be concealed, and thus Russia carried to the conference a belief that the financial phase of the discussion would be crucial, while, at the same time, the Japanese nation reckoned fully on an indemnity of 150 millions sterling. Baron Komura’s mandate was, however, that the only radically essential terms were those formulated by Japan prior to the war. She must insist on securing the ends for which she had fought, since she believed them to be indispensable to the peace of the Far East, but she would not demand anything more. The Japanese plenipotentiary, therefore, judged it wise to marshal his terms in the order of their importance, leaving his Russian colleague to imagine, as he probably would, that the converse method had been adopted, and that everything preliminary to the questions of finance and territory was of minor consequence. The negotiations, commencing on the 10th of August, were not concluded until the 5th of September, when a treaty of peace was signed. There had been a moment when the onlooking world believed that unless Russia agreed to ransom the island of Sakhalin by paying to Japan a sum of 120 millions sterling, the conference would be broken off; nor did such an exchange seem unreasonable, for were Russia expelled from the northern part of Sakhalin, which commands the estuary of the Amur River, her position in Siberia would have been compromised. But the statesmen who directed Japan’s affairs were not disposed to make any display of earth-hunger. The southern half of Sakhalin had originally belonged to Japan and had passed into Russia’s possession by an arrangement which the Japanese nation strongly resented. To recover that portion of the island seemed, therefore, a legitimate ambition. Japan did not contemplate any larger demand, nor did she seriously insist on an indemnity. Therefore the negotiations were never in real danger of failure. The treaty of Portsmouth recognized Japan’s “paramount political, military and economic interests” in Korea; provided for the simultaneous evacuation of Manchuria by the contracting parties; transferred to Japan the lease of the Liaotung peninsula held by Russia from China together with the Russian railways south of Kwang-Cheng-tsze and all collateral mining or other privileges; ceded to Japan the southern half of Sakhalin, the 50th parallel of latitude to be the boundary between the two parts; secured fishing rights for Japanese subjects along the coasts of the seas of Japan, Okhotsk and Bering; laid down that the expenses incurred by the Japanese for the maintenance of the Russian prisoners during the war should be reimbursed by Russia, less the outlays made by the latter on account of Japanese prisoners—by which arrangement Japan obtained a payment of some 4 millions sterling—and provided that the contracting parties, while withdrawing their military forces from Manchuria, might maintain guards to protect their respective railways, the number of such guards not to exceed 15 per kilometre of line. There were other important restrictions: first, the contracting parties were to abstain from taking, on the Russo-Korean frontier, any military measures which might menace the security of Russian or Korean territory; secondly, the two powers pledged themselves not to exploit the Manchurian railways for strategic purposes; and thirdly, they promised not to build on Sakhalin or its adjacent islands any fortifications or other similar military works, or to take any military measures which might impede the free navigation of the straits of La Pérouse and the Gulf of Tartary. The above provisions concerned the two contracting parties only. But China’s interests also were considered. Thus it was agreed to “restore entirely and completely to her exclusive administration” all portions of Manchuria then in the occupation, or under the control, of Japanese or Russian troops, except the leased territory; that her consent must be obtained for the transfer to Japan of the leases and concessions held by the Russians in Manchuria; that the Russian government would disavow the possession of “any territorial advantages or preferential or exclusive concessions in impairment of Chinese sovereignty or inconsistent with the principle of equal opportunity in Manchuria”; and that Japan and Russia “engaged reciprocally not to obstruct any general measures common to all countries which China might take for the development of the commerce and industry of Manchuria.” This distinction between the special interests of the contracting parties and the interests of China herself as well as of foreign nations generally is essential to clear understanding of a situation which subsequently attracted much attention. From the time of the opium war (1857) to the Boxer rising (1900) each of the great Western powers struggled for its own hand in China, and each sought to gain for itself exclusive concessions and privileges with comparatively little regard for the interests of others, and with no regard whatever for China’s sovereign rights. The fruits of this period were: permanently ceded territories (Hong-Kong and Macao); leases temporarily establishing foreign sovereignty in various districts (Kiaochow, Wei-hai-wei and Kwang-chow); railway and mining concessions; and the establishment of settlements at open ports where foreign jurisdiction was supreme. But when, in 1900, the Boxer rising forced all the powers into a common camp, they awoke to full appreciation of a principle which had been growing current for the past two or three years, namely, that concerted action on the lines of maintaining China’s integrity and securing to all alike equality of opportunity and a similarly open door, was the only feasible method of preventing the partition of the Chinese Empire and averting a clash of rival interests which might have disastrous results. This, of course, did not mean that there was to be any abandonment of special privileges already acquired or any surrender of existing concessions. The arrangement was not to be retrospective in any sense. Vested interests were to be strictly guarded until the lapse of the periods for which they had been granted, or until the maturity of China’s competence to be really autonomous. A curious situation was thus created. International professions of respect for China’s sovereignty, for the integrity of her empire and for the enforcement of the open door and equal opportunity, 251 coexisted with legacies from an entirely different past. Russia endorsed this new policy, but not unnaturally declined to abate any of the advantages previously enjoyed by her in Manchuria. Those advantages were very substantial. They included a twenty-five years’ lease—with provision for renewal—of the Liaotung peninsula, within which area of 1220 sq. m. Chinese troops might not penetrate, whereas Russia would not only exercise full administrative authority, but also take military and naval action of any kind; they included the creation of a neutral territory in the immediate north of the former and still more extensive, which should remain under Chinese administration, but where neither Chinese nor Russian troops might enter, nor might China, without Russia’s consent, cede land, open trading marts or grant concessions to any third nationality; and they included the right to build some 1600 m. of railway (which China would have the opportunity of purchasing at cost price in the year 1938 and would be entitled to receive gratis in 1982), as well as the right to hold extensive zones on either side of the railway, to administer these zones in the fullest sense, and to work all mines lying along the lines. Under the Portsmouth treaty these advantages were transferred to Japan by Russia, the railway, however, being divided so that only the portion (521½ m.) to the south of Kwang-Cheng-tsze fell to Japan’s share, while the portion (1077 m.) to the north of that place remained in Russia’s hands. China’s consent to the above transfers and assignments was obtained in a treaty signed at Peking on the 22nd of December 1905. Thus Japan came to hold in Manchuria a position somewhat contradictory. On the one hand, she figured as the champion of the Chinese Empire’s integrity and as an exponent of the new principle of equal opportunity and the open door. On the other, she appeared as the legatee of many privileges more or less inconsistent with that principle. But, at the same time, nearly all the great powers of Europe were similarly circumstanced. In their cases also the same incongruity was observable between the newly professed policy and the aftermath of the old practice. It was scarcely to be expected that Japan alone should make a large sacrifice on the altar of a theory to which no other state thought of yielding any retrospective obedience whatever. She did, indeed, furnish a clear proof of deference to the open-door doctrine, for instead of reserving the railway zones to her own exclusive use, as she was fully entitled to do, she sought and obtained from China a pledge to open to foreign trade 16 places within those zones. For the rest, however, the inconsistency between the past and the present, though existing throughout the whole of China, was nowhere so conspicuous as in the three eastern provinces (Manchuria); not because there was any real difference of degree, but because Manchuria had been the scene of the greatest war of modern times; because that war had been fought by Japan in the cause of the new policy, and because the principles of the equally open door and of China’s integrity had been the main bases of the Portsmouth treaty, of the Anglo-Japanese alliance, and of the subsequently concluded ententes with France and Russia. In short, the world’s eyes were fixed on Manchuria and diverted from China proper, so that every act of Japan was subjected to an exceptionally rigorous scrutiny, and the nations behaved as though they expected her to live up to a standard of almost ideal altitude. China’s mood, too, greatly complicated the situation. She had the choice between two moderate and natural courses: either to wait quietly until the various concessions granted by her to foreign powers in the evil past should lapse by maturity, or to qualify herself by earnest reforms and industrious development for their earlier recovery. Nominally she adopted the latter course, but in reality she fell into a mood of much impatience. Under the name of a “rights-recovery campaign” her people began to protest vehemently against the continuance of any conditions which impaired her sovereignty, and as this temper coloured her attitude towards the various questions which inevitably grew out of the situation in Manchuria, her relations with Japan became somewhat strained in the early part of 1909.

Having waged two wars on account of Korea, Japan emerged from the second conflict with the conviction that the policy of maintaining the independence of Korea must be modified, and that since the identity of Korean and Japan in Korea after the War with Russia. Japanese interests in the Far East and the paramount character of Japanese interests in Korea would not permit Japan to leave Korea to the care of any third power, she must assume the charge herself. Europe and America also recognized that view of the situation, and consented to withdraw their legations from Seoul, thus leaving the control of Korean foreign affairs entirely in the hands of Japan, who further undertook to assume military direction in the event of aggression from without or disturbance from within. But in the matter of internal administration she continued to limit herself to advisory supervision. Thus, though a Japanese resident-general in Seoul, with subordinate residents throughout the provinces, assumed the functions hitherto discharged by foreign representatives and consuls, the Korean government was merely asked to employ Japanese experts in the position of counsellors, the right to accept or reject their counsels being left to their employers. Once again, however, the futility of looking for any real reforms under this optional system was demonstrated. Japan sent her most renowned statesman, Prince Ito, to discharge the duties of resident-general; but even he, in spite of profound patience and tact, found that some less optional methods must be resorted to. Hence on the 24th of July 1907 a new agreement was signed, by which the resident-general acquired initiative as well as consultative competence to enact and enforce laws and ordinances, to appoint and remove Korean officials, and to place capable Japanese subjects in the ranks of the administration. That this constituted a heavy blow to Korea’s independence could not be gainsaid. That it was inevitable seemed to be equally obvious. For there existed in Korea nearly all the worst abuses of medieval systems. The administration of justice depended solely on favour or interest. The police contributed by corruption and incompetence to the insecurity of life and property. The troops were a body of useless mercenaries. Offices being allotted by sale, thousands of incapables thronged the ranks of the executive. The emperor’s court was crowded by diviners and plotters of all kinds, male and female. The finances of the throne and those of the state were hopelessly confused. There was nothing like an organized judiciary. A witness was in many cases considered particeps criminis; torture was commonly employed to obtain evidence, and defendants in civil cases were placed under arrest. Imprisonment meant death or permanent disablement for a man of small means. Flogging so severe as to cripple, if not to kill, was a common punishment; every major offence from robbery upward was capital, and female criminals were frequently executed by administering shockingly painful poisons. The currency was in a state of the utmost confusion. Extreme corruption and extortion were practised in connexion with taxation. Finally, while nothing showed that the average Korean lacked the elementary virtue of patriotism, there had been repeated proofs that the safety and independence of the empire counted for little in the estimates of political intriguers. Japan must either step out of Korea altogether or effect drastic reforms there. She necessarily chose the latter alternative, and the things which she accomplished between the beginning of 1906 and the close of 1908 may be briefly described as the elaboration of a proper system of taxation; the organization of a staff to administer annual budgets; the re-assessment of taxable property; the floating of public loans for productive enterprises; the reform of the currency; the establishment of banks of various kinds, including agricultural and commercial; the creation of associations for putting bank-notes into circulation; the introduction of a warehousing system to supply capital to farmers; the lighting and buoying of the coasts; the provision of posts, telegraphs, roads and railways; the erection of public buildings; the starting of various industrial enterprises (such as printing, brick-making, forestry and coal-mining); the laying out of model farms; the beginning of cotton cultivation; the 252 building and equipping of an industrial training school; the inauguration of sanitary works; the opening of hospitals and medical schools; the organization of an excellent educational system; the construction of waterworks in several towns; the complete remodelling of the central government; the differentiation of the court and the executive, as well as of the administration and the judiciary; the formation of an efficient body of police; the organization of law courts with a majority of Japanese jurists on the bench; the enactment of a new penal code; drastic reforms in the taxation system. In the summer of 1907 the resident-general advised the Throne to disband the standing army as an unserviceable and expensive force. The measure was doubtless desirable, but the docility of the troops had been over-rated. Some of them resisted vehemently, and many became the nucleus of an insurrection which lasted in a desultory manner for nearly two years; cost the lives of 21,000 insurgents and 1300 Japanese; and entailed upon Japan an outlay of nearly a million sterling. Altogether Japan was 15 millions sterling out of pocket on Korea’s account by the end of 1909. She had also lost the veteran statesman Prince Ito, who was assassinated at Harbin by a Korean fanatic on the 26th of October 1909. Finally an end was put to an anomalous situation by the annexation of Korea to Japan on the 29th of August 1910. (See further Korea.)

IX.—Domestic History

Cosmography.—Japanese annals represent the first inhabitant of earth as a direct descendant of the gods. Two books describe the events of the “Divine age.” One, compiled in 712, is called the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters); the other, compiled in 720, is called the Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan). Both describe the processes of creation, but the author of the Chronicles drew largely upon Chinese traditions, whereas the compilers of the Records appear to have limited themselves to materials which they believed to be native. The Records, therefore, have always been regarded as the more trustworthy guide to pure Japanese conceptions. They deal with the creation of Japan only, other countries having been apparently judged unworthy of attention. At the beginning of all things a primordial trinity is represented as existing on the “plain of high heaven.” Thereafter, during an indefinite time and by an indefinite process, other deities come into existence, their titles indicating a vague connexion with constructive and fertilizing forces. They are not immortal: it is explicitly stated that they ultimately pass away, and the idea of the cosmographers seems to be that each deity marks a gradual approach to human methods of procreation. Meanwhile the earth is “young and, like floating oil, drifts about after the manner of a jelly-fish.” At last there are born two deities, the creator and the creatress, and these receive the mandate of all the heavenly beings to “make, consolidate and give birth to the drifting land.” For use in that work a jewelled spear is given to them, and, standing upon the bridge that connects heaven and earth, they thrust downwards with the weapon, stir the brine below and draw up the spear, when from its point fall drops which, accumulating, form the first dry land. Upon this land the two deities descend, and, by ordinary processes, beget the islands of Japan as well as numerous gods representing the forces of nature. But in giving birth to the god of fire the creatress (Izanami) perishes, and the creator (Izanagi) makes his way to the under-world in search of her—an obvious parallel to the tales of Ishtar and Orpheus. With difficulty he returns to earth, and, as he washes himself from the pollution of Hades, there are born from the turbid water a number of evil deities succeeded by a number of good, just as in the Babylonian cosmogony the primordial ocean, Tiamat, brings forth simultaneously gods and imps. Finally, as Izanagi washes his left eye the Goddess of the Sun comes into existence; as he washes his right, the God of the Moon; and as he washes his nose, the God of Force. To these three he assigns, respectively, the dominion of the sun, the dominion of the moon, and the dominion of the ocean. But the god of force (Sosanoo), like Lucifer, rebels against this decree, creates a commotion in heaven, and after having been the cause of the temporary seclusion of the sun goddess and the consequent wrapping of the world in darkness, kills the goddess of food and is permanently banished from heaven by the host of deities. He descends to Izumo on the west of the main island of Japan, and there saves a maiden from an eight-headed serpent. Sosanoo himself passes to the under-world and becomes the deity of Hades, but he invests one of his descendants with the sovereignty of Japan, and the title is established after many curious adventures. To the sun goddess also, whose feud with her fierce brother survives the latter’s banishment from heaven, the idea of making her grandson ruler of Japan presents itself. She despatches three embassies to impose her will upon the descendants of Sosanoo, and finally her grandson descends, not, however, in Izumo, where the demi-gods of Sosanoo’s race hold sway, but in Hiūga in the southern island of Kiūshiū. This grandson of Amaterasu (the goddess of the sun) is called Ninigi, whose great-grandson figures in Japanese history as the first human sovereign of the country, known during life as Kamu-Yamato-Iware-Biko, and given the name of Jimmu tennō (Jimmu, son of heaven) fourteen centuries after his death. Japanese annalists attribute the accession of Jimmu to the year 660 B.C. Why that date was chosen must remain a matter of conjecture. The Records of Ancient Matters has no chronology, but the more pretentious writers of the Chronicles of Japan, doubtless in imitation of their Chinese models, considered it necessary to assign a year, a month, and even a day for each event of importance. There is abundant reason, however, to question the accuracy of all Japanese chronology prior to the 5th century. The first date corroborated by external evidence is 461, and Aston, who has made a special study of the subject, concludes that the year 500 may be taken as the time when the chronology of the Chronicles begins to be trustworthy. Many Japanese, however, are firm believers in the Chronicles, and when assigning the year of the empire they invariably take 660 B.C. for starting-point, so that 1909 of the Gregorian calendar becomes for them 2569.

Prehistoric Period.—Thus, if the most rigid estimate be accepted, the space of 1160 years, from 660 B.C. to A.D. 500, may be called the prehistoric period. During that long interval the annals include 24 sovereigns, the first 17 of whom lived for over a hundred years on the average. It seems reasonable to conclude that the so-called assignment of the sovereignty of Japan to Sosanoo’s descendants and the establishment of their kingdom in Izumo represent an invasion of Mongolian immigrants coming from the direction of the Korean peninsula—indeed one of the Nihongi’s versions of the event actually indicates Korea as the point of departure—and that the subsequent descent of Ninigi on Mount Takachiho in Hiūga indicates the advent of a body of Malayan settlers from the south sea. Jimmu, according to the Chronicles, set out from Hiūga in 667 B.C. and was not crowned at his new palace in Yamato until 660. This campaign of seven years is described in some detail, but no satisfactory information is given as to the nature of the craft in which the invader and his troops voyaged, or as to the number of men under his command. The weapons said to have been carried were bows, spears and swords. A supernatural element is imported into the narrative in the form of the three-legged crow of the sun, which Amaterasu sends down to act as guide and messenger for her descendants. Jimmu died at his palace of Kashiwa-bara in 585 B.C., his age being 127 according to the Chronicles, and 137 according to the Records. He was buried in a kind of tomb called misasagi, which seems to have been in use in Japan for some centuries before the Christian era—“a highly specialized form of tumulus, consisting of two mounds, one having a circular, the other a triangular base, which merged into each other, the whole being surrounded by a moat, or sometimes by two concentric moats with a narrow strip of land between. In some, perhaps in most, cases the misasagi contains a large vault of great unhewn stones without mortar. The walls of this vault converge gradually towards the top, which is roofed in by enormous slabs of stone weighing 253 many tons each. The entrance is by means of a gallery roofed with similar stones.” Several of these ancient sepulchral mounds have been examined during recent years, and their contents have furnished information of much antiquarian interest, though there is a complete absence of inscriptions. The reigns of the eight sovereigns who succeeded Jimmu were absolutely uneventful. Nothing is set down except the genealogy of each ruler, the place of his residence and his burial, his age and the date of his death. It was then the custom—and it remained so until the 8th century of the Christian era—to change the capital on the accession of each emperor; a habit which effectually prevented the growth of any great metropolis. The reign of the 10th emperor, Sūjin, lasted from 98 to 30 B.C. During his era the land was troubled by pestilence and the people broke out in rebellion; calamities which were supposed to be caused by the spirit of the ancient ruler of Izumo to avenge a want of consideration shown to his descendants by their supplanters. Divination—by a Chinese process—and visions revealed the source of trouble; rites of worship were performed in honour of the ancient ruler, his descendant being entrusted with the duty, and the pestilence ceased. We now hear for the first time of vigorous measures to quell the aboriginal savages, doubtless the Ainu. Four generals are sent out against them in different directions. But the expedition is interrupted by an armed attempt on the part of the emperor’s half-brother, who, utilizing the opportunity of the troops’ absence from Yamato, marches from Yamashiro at the head of a powerful army to win the crown for himself. In connexion with these incidents, curious evidence is furnished of the place then assigned to woman by the writers of the Chronicles. It is a girl who warns one of the emperor’s generals of the plot; it is the sovereign’s aunt who interprets the warning; and it is Ata, the wife of the rebellious prince, who leads the left wing of his army. Four other noteworthy facts are recorded of this reign: the taking of a census; the imposition of a tax on animals’ skins and game to be paid by men, and on textile fabrics by women; the building of boats for coastwise transport, and the digging of dikes and reservoirs for agricultural purposes. All these things rest solely on the testimony of annalists writing eight centuries later than the era they discuss and compiling their narrative mostly from tradition. Careful investigations have been made to ascertain whether the histories of China and Korea corroborate or contradict those of Japan. Without entering into detailed evidence, the inference may be at once stated that the dates given in Japanese early history are just 120 years too remote; an error very likely to occur when using the sexagenary cycle, which constituted the first method of reckoning time in Japan. But although this correction suffices to reconcile some contradictory features of Far-Eastern history, it does not constitute any explanation of the incredible longevity assigned by the Chronicles to several Japanese sovereigns, and the conclusion is that when a consecutive record of reigns came to be compiled in the 8th century, many lacunae were found which had to be filled up from the imagination of the compilers. With this parenthesis we may pass rapidly over the events of the next two centuries (29 B.C. to A.D. 200). They are remarkable for vigorous measures to subdue the aboriginal Ainu, who in the southern island of Kiūshiū are called Kuma-so (the names of two tribes) and sometimes earth-spiders (i.e. cave-dwellers), while in the north-eastern regions of the main island they are designated Yemishi. Expeditions are led against them in both regions by Prince Yamato-dake, a hero revered by all succeeding generations of Japanese as the type of valour and loyalty. Dying from the effects of hardship and exposure, but declaring with his last breath that loss of life was as nothing compared with the sorrow of seeing his father’s face no more, his spirit ascends to heaven as a white bird, and when his son, Chūai, comes to the throne, he causes cranes to be placed in the moat surrounding his palace in memory of his illustrious sire.

The sovereign had partly ceased to follow the example of Jimmu, who led his armies in person. The emperors did not, however, pass a sedentary life. They frequently made progresses throughout their dominions, and on these occasions a not uncommon incident was the addition of some local beauty to the Imperial harem. This licence had a far-reaching effect, since to provide for the sovereign’s numerous offspring—the emperor Keikō (71-130) had 80 children—no better way offered than to make grants of land, and thus were laid the foundations of a territorial nobility destined profoundly to influence the course of Japanese history. Woman continues to figure conspicuously in the story. The image of the sun goddess, enshrined in Ise (5 B.C.), is entrusted to the keeping of a princess, as are the mirror, sword and jewel inherited from the sun goddess; a woman (Tachibana) accompanies Prince Yamato-dake in his campaign against the Yemishi, and sacrifices her life to quell a tempest at sea; Saho, consort of Suinin, is the heroine of a most tragic tale in which the conflict between filial piety and conjugal loyalty leads to her self-destruction; and a woman is found ruling over a large district in Kiūshū when the Emperor Keikō is engaged in his campaign against the aborigines. The reign of Suinin saw the beginning of an art destined to assume extraordinary importance in Japan—the art of wrestling—and the first champion, Nomi no Sukune, is honoured for having suggested that clay figures should take the place of the human sacrifices hitherto offered at the sepulture of Imperial personages. The irrigation works commenced in the time of Sūjin were zealously continued under his two immediate successors, Suinin and Keikō. More than 800 ponds and channels are described as having been constructed under the former’s rule. We find evidence also that the sway of the throne had been by this time widely extended, for in 125 a governor-general of 15 provinces is nominated, and two years later, governors (miyakko) are appointed in every province and mayors (inaki) in every village. The number or names of these local divisions are not given, but it is explained that mountains and rivers were taken as boundaries of provinces, the limits of towns and villages being marked by roads running respectively east and west, north and south.

An incident is now reached which the Japanese count a landmark in their history, though foreign critics are disposed to regard it as apocryphal. It is the invasion of Korea by a Japanese army under the command of the empress Invasion of Korea. Jingo, in 200. The emperor Chūai, having proceeded to Kiūshiū for the purpose of conducting a campaign against the Kuma-so, is there joined by the empress, who, at the inspiration of a deity, seeks to divert the Imperial arms against Korea. But the emperor refuses to believe in the existence of any such country, and heaven punishes his incredulity with death at the hands of the Kuma-so, according to one account; from the effects of disease, according to another. The calamity is concealed; the Kuma-so are subdued, and the empress, having collected a fleet and raised an army, crosses to the state of Silla (in Korea), where, at the spectacle of her overwhelming strength, the Korean monarch submits without fighting, and swears that until the sun rises in the west, until rivers run towards their sources, and until pebbles ascend to the sky and become stars, he will do homage and send tribute to Japan. His example is followed by the kings of the two other states constituting the Korean peninsula, and the warlike empress returns triumphant. Many supernatural elements embellish the tale, but the features which chiefly discredit it are that it abounds in anachronisms, and that the event, despite its signal importance, is not mentioned in either Chinese or Korean history. It is certain that China then possessed in Korea territory administered by Chinese governors. She must therefore have had cognisance of such an invasion, had it occurred. Moreover, Korean history mentions twenty-five raids made by the Japanese against Silla during the first five centuries of the Christian era, but not one of them can be identified with Jingo’s alleged expedition. There can be no doubt that the early Japanese were an aggressive, enterprising people, and that their nearest over-sea neighbour suffered much from their activity. Nor can there be any reasonable doubt that the Jingo tale contains a large germ of truth, and is at least an echo of the relations that existed between Japan and Korea in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The records of the 69 years comprising 254 Jingo’s reign are in the main an account of intercourse, sometimes peaceful, sometimes stormy, between the neighbouring countries. Only one other episode occupies a prominent place: it is an attempt on the part of Jingo’s step-brothers to oppose her return to Yamato and to prevent the accession of her son to the throne. It should be noted here that all such names as Jimmu, Sūjin, Chūai, &c., are posthumous, and were invented in the reign of Kwammu (782-806), the fashion being taken from China and the names themselves being purely Chinese translations of the qualities assigned to the respective monarchs. Thus Jimmu signifies “divine valour”; Sūjin, “deity-honouring”; and Chūai, “sad middle son.” The names of these rulers during life were wholly different from their posthumous appellations.

Chinese history, which is incomparably older and more precise than Korean, is by no means silent about Japan. Long notices occur in the later Han and Wei records (25 to 265). The Japanese are spoken of as dwarfs (Wa), and Earliest Notices in Chinese History. their islands, frequently called the queen country, are said to be mountainous, with soil suitable for growing grain, hemp, and the silkworm mulberry. The climate is so mild that vegetables can be grown in winter and summer; there are neither oxen, horses, tigers, nor leopards; the people understand the art of weaving; the men tattoo their faces and bodies in patterns indicating differences of rank; male attire consists of a single piece of cloth; females wear a gown passed over the head, and tie their hair in a bow; soldiers are armed with spears and shields, and also with bows, from which they discharge arrows tipped with bone or iron; the sovereign resides in Yamato; there are stockaded forts and houses; food is taken with the fingers but is served on bamboo trays and wooden trenchers; foot-gear is not worn; when men of the lower classes meet a man of rank, they leave the road and retire to the grass, squatting or kneeling with both hands on the ground when they address him; intoxicating liquor is much used; the people are long-lived, many reaching the age of 100; women are more numerous than men; there is no theft, and litigation is infrequent; the women are faithful and not jealous; all men of high rank have four or five wives, others two or three; wives and children of law-breakers are confiscated, and for grave crimes the offender’s family is extirpated; divination is practised by burning bones; mourning lasts for some ten days and the rites are performed by a “mourning-keeper”; after a funeral the whole family perform ablutions; fishing is much practised, and the fishermen are skilled divers; there are distinctions of rank and some are vassals to others; each province has a market where goods are exchanged; the country is divided into more than 100 provinces, and among its products are white pearls, green jade and cinnabar. These annals go on to say that between 147 and 190 civil war prevailed for several years, and order was finally restored by a female sovereign, who is described as having been old and unmarried; much addicted to magic arts; attended by a thousand females; dwelling in a palace with lofty pavilions surrounded by a stockade and guarded by soldiers; but leading such a secluded life that few saw her face except one man who served her meals and acted as a medium of communication. There can be little question that this queen was the empress Jingo who, according to Japanese annals, came to the throne in the year A.D. 200, and whose every public act had its inception or promotion in some alleged divine interposition. In one point, however, the Chinese historians are certainly incorrect. They represent tattooing as universal in ancient Japan, whereas it was confined to criminals, in whose case it played the part that branding does elsewhere. Centuries later, in feudal days, the habit came to be practised by men of the lower orders whose avocations involved baring the body, but it never acquired vogue among educated people. In other respects these ancient Chinese annals must be credited with remarkable accuracy in their description of Japan and the Japanese. Their account may be advantageously compared with Professor Chamberlain’s analysis of the manners and customs of the early Japanese, in the preface to his translation of the Kojiki.

“The Japanese of the mythical period, as pictured in the legends preserved by the compiler of the Records of Ancient Matters, were a race who had long emerged from the savage stage and had attained to a high level of barbaric skill. The Stone Age was forgotten by them—or nearly so—and the evidence points to their never having passed through a genuine Bronze Age, though the knowledge of bronze was at a later period introduced from the neighbouring continent. They used iron for manufacturing spears, swords and knives of various shapes, and likewise for the more peaceful purpose of making hooks wherewith to angle or to fasten the doors of their huts. Their other warlike and hunting implements (besides traps and gins, which appear to have been used equally for catching beasts and birds and for destroying human enemies) were bows and arrows, spears and elbow-pads—the latter seemingly of skin, while special allusion is made to the fact that the arrows were feathered. Perhaps clubs should be added to the list. Of the bows and arrows, swords and knives, there is perpetual mention, but nowhere do we hear of the tools with which they were manufactured, and there is the same remarkable silence regarding such widely spread domestic implements as the saw and the axe. We hear, however, of the pestle and mortar, of the fire-drill, of the wedge, of the sickle, and of the shuttle used in weaving. Navigation seems to have been in a very elementary state. Indeed the art of sailing was but little practised in Japan even so late as the middle of the 10th century of our era, subsequent to the general diffusion of Chinese civilization, though rowing and punting are often mentioned by the early poets. To what we should call towns or villages very little reference is made anywhere in the Records or in that part of the Chronicles which contain the account of the so-called Divine Age. But from what we learn incidentally it would seem that the scanty population was chiefly distributed in small hamlets and isolated dwellings along the coast and up the course of the larger streams. Of house-building there is frequent mention. Fences were in use. Rugs of skins and rush-matting were occasionally brought in to sit on, and we even hear once or twice of silk rugs being used for the same purpose by the noble and wealthy. The habits of personal cleanliness which so pleasantly distinguish the modern Japanese from their neighbours, in continental Asia, though less fully developed than at present would seem to have existed in the germ in early times, as we read more than once of bathing in rivers, and are told of bathing women being specially attached to the person of a certain Imperial infant. Lustrations, too, formed part of the religious practices of the race. Latrines are mentioned several times. They would appear to have been situated away from the houses and to have been generally placed over a running stream, whence doubtless the name for latrine in the archaic dialect—kawaya (river-house). A peculiar sort of dwelling-place which the two old histories bring prominently under our notice is the so-called parturition house—a one-roomed hut without windows, which a woman was expected to build and retire into for the purpose Of being delivered unseen. Castles are not distinctly spoken of until a time which coincides, according to the received chronology, with the first century B.C. We then first meet with the curious term rice-castle, whose precise signification is a matter of dispute among the native commentators, but which, on comparison with Chinese descriptions of the early Japanese, should probably be understood to mean a kind of palisade serving the purpose of a redoubt, behind which the warriors could ensconce themselves. The food of the early Japanese consisted of fish and of the flesh of the wild creatures which fell by the hunter’s arrow or were taken in the trapper’s snare. Rice is the only cereal of which there is such mention made as to place it beyond a doubt that its cultivation dates back to time immemorial. Beans, millet and barley are indeed named once, together with silkworms, in the account of the Divine Age. But the passage has every aspect of an interpolation in the legend, perhaps not dating back long before the time of the eighth-century compiler. A few unimportant vegetables and fruits, of most of which there is but a single mention, are found. The intoxicating liquor called sake was known in Japan during the mythical period, and so were chopsticks for eating food with. Cooking pots and cups and dishes—the latter both of earthenware and of leaves of trees—are also mentioned; but of the use of fire for warming purposes we hear nothing. Tables are named several times, but never in connexion with food: they would seem to have been used exclusively for the purpose of presenting offerings on, and were probably quite small and low—in fact, rather trays than tables, according to European ideas. In the use of clothing and the specialization of garments the early Japanese had reached a high level. We read in the most ancient legends of upper garments, skirts, trowsers, girdles, veils and hats, while both sexes adorned themselves with necklaces, bracelets and head ornaments of stones considered precious—in this respect offering a striking contrast to their descendants in modern times, of whose attire jewelry forms no part. The material of their clothes was hempen cloth and paper—mulberry bark, coloured by being rubbed with madder, and probably with woad and other tinctorial plants. All the garments, so far as we may judge, were woven, sewing being nowhere mentioned. From the great place which the chase occupied in daily life, we are led to suppose that skins also were used to make garments of. There is in the Records at least one passage which favours this supposition, 255 and the Chronicles in one place mention the straw rain-coat and broad-brimmed hat, which still form the Japanese peasant’s effectual protection against the inclemencies of the weather. The tendrils of creeping plants served the purposes of strings, and bound the warrior’s sword round his waist. Combs are mentioned, and it is evident that much attention was devoted to the dressing of the hair. The men seem to have bound up their hair in two bunches, one on each side of the head, while the young boys tied theirs in a top-knot, the unmarried girls let their locks hang down over their necks, and the married women dressed theirs after a fashion which apparently combined the two last-named methods. There is no mention in any of the old books of cutting the hair or beard except in token of disgrace; neither do we gather that the sexes, but for the matter of the head-dress, were distinguished by a diversity of apparel and ornamentation. With regard to the precious stones mentioned above as having been used as ornaments for the head, neck and arms, we know from the specimens which have rewarded the labours of archaeological research in Japan that agate, crystal, glass, jade, serpentine and steatite were the most used materials, and carved and pierced cylindrical shapes the commonest forms. The horse—which was ridden, but not driven—the barn-door fowl and the cormorant used for fishing, are the only domesticated creatures mentioned in the earlier traditions, with the doubtful exception of the silkworm. In the later portions of the Records and Chronicles dogs and cattle are alluded to, but sheep, swine and even cats were apparently not yet introduced.”

As the prehistoric era draws to its end the above analyses of Japanese civilization have to be modified. Thus, towards the close of the 3rd century, ship-building made great progress, and instead of the small boats hitherto in use, a vessel 100 ft. long was constructed. Notable above all is the fact that Japan’s turbulent relations with Korea were replaced by friendly intercourse, so that she began to receive from her neighbour instruction in the art of writing. The date assigned by the Chronicles for this important event is A.D. 285, but it has been proved almost conclusively that Japanese annals relating to this period are in error to the extent of 120 years. Hence the introduction of calligraphy must be placed in 405. Chinese history shows that between 57 and 247 Japan sent four embassies to the courts of the Han and the Wei, and this intercourse cannot have failed to disclose the ideograph. But the knowledge appears to have been confined to a few interpreters, and not until the year 405 were steps taken to extend it, with the aid of a learned Korean, Wang-in. Korea herself began to study Chinese learning only a few years before she undertook to impart it to Japan. We now find a numerous colony of Koreans passing to Japan and settling there; a large number are also carried over as prisoners of war, and the Japanese obtain seamstresses from both of their continental neighbours. One fact, related with much precision, shows that the refinements of life were in an advanced condition: an ice-house is described, and we read that from 374 (? 494) it became the fashion to store ice in this manner for use in the hot months by placing it in water or sake. The emperor, Nintoku, to whose time this innovation is attributed, is one of the romantic figures of Japanese history. He commenced his career by refusing to accept the sovereignty from his younger brother, who pressed him earnestly to do so on the ground that the proper order of succession had been disturbed by their father’s partiality—though the rights attaching to primogeniture did not receive imperative recognition in early Japan. After three years of this mutual self-effacement, during which the throne remained vacant, the younger brother committed suicide, and Nintoku reluctantly became sovereign. He chose Naniwa (the modern Osaka) for his capital, but he would not take the farmers from their work to finish the building of a palace, and subsequently, inferring from the absence of smoke over the houses of the people that the country was impoverished, he remitted all taxes and suspended forced labour for a term of three years, during which his palace fell into a state of ruin and he himself fared in the coarsest manner. Digging canals, damming rivers, constructing roads and bridges, and establishing granaries occupied his attention when love did not distract it. But in affairs of the heart he was most unhappy. He figures as the sole wearer of the Japanese crown who was defied by his consort; for when he took a concubine in despite of the empress, her jealousy was so bitter that, refusing to be placated by any of his majesty’s verses or other overtures, she left the palace altogether; and when he sought to introduce another beauty into the inner chamber, his own half-brother, who carried his proposals, won the girl for himself. One other fact deserves to be remembered in connexion with Nintoku’s reign: Ki-no-tsuno, representative of a great family which had filled the highest administrative and military posts under several sovereigns, is mentioned as “the first to commit to writing in detail the productions of the soil in each locality.” This was in 353 (probably 473). We shall err little if we date the commencement of Japanese written annals from this time, though no compilation earlier than the Kojiki has survived.

Early Historical Period.—With the emperor Richū, who came to the throne A.D. 400, the historical period may be said to commence; for though the chronology of the records is still questionable, the facts are generally accepted as credible. Conspicuous loyalty towards the sovereign was not an attribute of the Japanese Imperial family in early times. Attempts to usurp the throne were not uncommon, though there are very few instances of such essays on the part of a subject. Love or lust played no insignificant part in the drama, and a common method of placating an irate sovereign was to present a beautiful damsel for his delectation. The veto of consanguinity did not receive very strict respect in these matters. Children of the same father might intermarry, but not those of the same mother; a canon which becomes explicable on observing that as wives usually lived apart from their husbands and had the sole custody of their offspring, two or more families often remained to the end unconscious of the fact that they had a common sire. There was a remarkable tendency to organize the nation into groups of persons following the same pursuit or charged with the same functions. A group thus composed was called be. The heads of the great families had titles—as omi, muraji, miakko, wake, &c.—and affairs of state were administered by the most renowned of these nobles, wholly subject to the sovereign’s ultimate will. The provincial districts were ruled by scions of the Imperial family, who appear to have been, on the whole, entirely subservient to the Throne. There were no tribunals of justice: the ordeal of boiling water or heated metal was the sole test of guilt or innocence, apart, of course, from confession, which was often exacted under menace of torture. A celebrated instance of the ordeal of boiling water is recorded in 415, when this device was employed to correct the genealogies of families suspected of falsely claiming descent from emperors or divine beings. The test proved efficacious, for men conscious of forgery refused to undergo the ordeal. Deprivation of rank was the lightest form of punishment; death the commonest, and occasionally the whole family of an offender became serfs of the house against which the offence had been committed or which had been instrumental in disclosing a crime. There are, however, frequent examples of wrong-doing expiated by the voluntary surrender of lands or other property. We find several instances of that extreme type of loyalty which became habitual in later ages—suicide in preference to surviving a deceased lord. On the whole the successive sovereigns of these early times appear to have ruled with clemency and consideration for the people’s welfare. But there were two notable exceptions—Yuriaku (457-479) and Muretsu (499-506). The former slew men ruthlessly in fits of passion or resentment, and the latter was the Nero of Japanese history, a man who loved to witness the agony of his fellows and knew no sentiment of mercy or remorse. Yet even Yuriaku did not fail to promote industrial pursuits. Skilled artisans were obtained from Korea, and it is related that, in 462, this monarch induced the empress and the ladies of the palace to plant mulberry trees with their own hands in order to encourage sericulture. Throughout the 5th and 6th centuries many instances are recorded of the acquisition of landed estates by the Throne, and their occasional bestowal upon princes or Imperial consorts, such gifts being frequently accompanied by the assignment of bodies of agriculturists who seem to have accepted the position of serfs. Meanwhile Chinese civilization was gradually becoming known, either by direct contact or through Korea. Several immigrations of Chinese 256 or Korean settlers are on record. No less than 7053 householders of Chinese subjects came, through Korea, in 540, and one of their number received high rank together with the post of director of the Imperial treasury. From these facts, and from a national register showing the derivation of all the principal families in Japan, it is clearly established that a considerable strain of Chinese and Korean blood runs in the veins of many Japanese subjects.

The most signal and far-reaching event of this epoch was the importation of the Buddhist creed, which took place in 552. A Korean monarch acted as propagandist, sending a special envoy with a bronze image of the Buddha and Introduction of Buddhism. with several volumes of the Sutras. Unfortunately the coming of the foreign faith happened to synchronize with an epidemic of plague, and conservatives at the Imperial court were easily able to attribute this visitation to resentment on the part of the ancestral deities against the invasion of Japan by an alien creed. Thus the spread of Buddhism was checked; but only for a time. Thirty-five years after the coming of the Sutras, the first temple was erected to enshrine a wooden image of the Buddha 16 ft. high. It has often been alleged that the question between the imported and the indigenous cults had to be decided by the sword. The statement is misleading. That the final adoption of Buddhism resulted from a war is true, but its adoption or rejection did not constitute the motive of the combat. A contest for the succession to the throne at the opening of Sujun’s reign (588-592) found the partisans of the Indian faith ranged on one side, its opponents on the other, and in a moment of stress the leaders of the former, Soma and Prince Umayado, vowed to erect Buddhist temples should victory rest on their arms. From that time the future of Buddhism was assured. In 588 Korea sent Buddhist relics, Buddhist priests, Buddhist ascetics, architects of Buddhist temples, and casters of Buddhist images. She had already sent men learned in divination, in medicine, and in the calendar. The building of temples began to be fashionable in the closing years of the 6th century, as did also abdication of the world by people of both sexes; and a census taken in 623, during the reign of the empress Suiko (583-628), showed that there were then 46 temples, 816 priests and 569 nuns in the empire. This rapid growth of the alien faith was due mainly to two causes: first, that the empress Suiko, being of the Soga family, naturally favoured a creed which had found its earliest Japanese patron in the great statesman and general, Soga no Umako; secondly, that one of the most illustrious scholars and philosophers ever possessed by Japan, Prince Shōtoku, devoted all his energies to fostering Buddhism.

The adoption of Buddhism meant to the Japanese much more than the acquisition of a practical religion with a code of clearly defined morality in place of the amorphous and jejune cult of Shintō. It meant the introduction of Chinese civilization. Priests and scholars crossed in numbers from China, and men passed over from Japan to study the Sutras at what was then regarded as the fountain-head of Buddhism. There was also a constant stream of immigrants from China and Korea, and the result may be gathered from the fact that a census taken of the Japanese nobility in 814 indicated 382 Korean and Chinese families against only 796 of pure Japanese origin. The records show that in costume and customs a signal advance was made towards refinement. Hair-ornaments of gold or silver chiselled in the form of flowers; caps of sarcenet in twelve special tints, each indicating a different grade; garments of brocade and embroidery with figured thin silks of various colours—all these were worn on ceremonial occasions; the art of painting was introduced; a recorder’s office was established; perfumes were largely employed; court picnics to gather medicinal herbs were instituted, princes and princesses attending in brilliant raiment; Chinese music and dancing were introduced; cross bows and catapults were added to the weapons of war; domestic architecture made signal strides in obedience to the examples of Buddhist sacred edifices, which, from the first, showed magnificence of dimension and decoration hitherto unconceived in Japan; the arts of metal-casting and sculpture underwent great improvement; Prince Shōtoku compiled a code, commonly spoken of as the first written laws of Japan, but in reality a collection of maxims evincing a moral spirit of the highest type. In some respects, however, there was no improvement. The succession to the throne still tended to provoke disputes among the Imperial princes; the sword constituted the principal weapon of punishment, and torture the chief judicial device. Now, too, for the first time, a noble family is found seeking to usurp the Imperial authority. The head of the Soga house, Umako, having compassed the murder of the emperor Sujun and placed on the throne his own niece (Suiko), swept away all opposition to the latter’s successor, Jomei, and controlled the administration of state affairs throughout two reigns. In all this he was strongly seconded by his son, Iruka, who even surpassed him in contumelious assumption of power and parade of dignity. Iruka was slain in the presence of the empress Kōgyoku by Prince Naka with the assistance of the minister of the interior, Kamako, and it is not surprising to find the empress (Kōgyoku) abdicating immediately afterwards in favour of Kamako’s protégé, Prince Karu, who is known in history as Kōtoku. This Kamako, planner and leader of the conspiracy which overthrew the Soga, is remembered by posterity under the name of Kamatari and as the founder of the most illustrious of Japan’s noble houses, the Fujiwara. At this time (645), a habit which afterwards contributed materially to the effacement of the Throne’s practical authority was inaugurated. Prince Furubito, pressed by his brother, Prince Karu, to assume the sceptre in accordance with his right of primogeniture, made his refusal peremptory by abandoning the world and taking the tonsure. This retirement to a monastery was afterwards dictated to several sovereigns by ministers who found that an active occupant of the throne impeded their own exercise of administrative autocracy. Furubito’s recourse to the tonsure proved, however, to be merely a cloak for ambitious designs. Before a year had passed he conspired to usurp the throne and was put to death with his children, his consorts strangling themselves. Suicide to escape the disgrace of defeat had now become a common practice. Another prominent feature of this epoch was the prevalence of superstition. The smallest incidents—the growing of two lotus flowers on one stem; a popular ballad; the reputed song of a sleeping monkey; the condition of the water in a pond; rain without clouds—all these and cognate trifles were regarded as omens; wizards and witches deluded the common people; a strange form of caterpillar was worshipped as the god of the everlasting world, and the peasants impoverished themselves by making sacrifices to it.

An interesting epoch is now reached, the first legislative era of early Japanese history. It commenced with the reign of the emperor Kōtoku (645), of whom the Chronicles say that he “honoured the religion of Buddha and despised First Legislative Epoch. Shintō”; that “he was of gentle disposition; loved men of learning; made no distinction of noble and mean, and continually dispensed beneficent edicts.” The customs calling most loudly for reform in his time were abuse of the system of forced labour; corrupt administration of justice; spoliation of the peasant class; assumption of spurious titles to justify oppression; indiscriminate distribution of the families of slaves and serfs; diversion of taxes to the pockets of collectors; formation of great estates, and a general lack of administrative centralization. The first step of reform consisted in ordering the governors of provinces to prepare registers showing the numbers of freemen and serfs within their jurisdiction as well as the area of cultivated land. It was further ordained that the advantages of irrigation should be shared equally with the common people; that no local governor might try and decide criminal cases while in his province; that any one convicted of accepting bribes should be liable to a fine of double the amount as well as to other punishment; that in the Imperial court a box should be placed for receiving petitions and a bell hung to be sounded in the event of delay in answering them or unfairness in dealing with them; that all absorption of land into great estates should cease; that barriers, outposts, guards and post-horses should be 257 provided; that high officials should be dowered with hereditary estates by way of emolument, the largest of such grants being 3000 homesteads; that men of unblemished character and proved capacity should be appointed aldermen for adjudicating criminal matters; that there should be chosen as clerks for governors and vice-governors of provinces men of solid competence “skilled in writing and arithmetic”; that the land should be parcelled out in fixed proportions to every adult unit of the population with right of tenure for a term of six years; that forced labour should be commuted for taxes of silk and cloth; and that for fiscal and administrative purposes households should be organized in groups of five, each group under an elder, and ten groups forming a township, which, again, should be governed by an elder. Incidentally to these reforms many of the evil customs of the time are exposed. Thus provincial governors when they visited the capital were accustomed to travel with great retinues who appear to have constituted a charge on the regions through which they passed. The law now limited the number of a chief governor’s attendants to nine, and forbade him to use official houses or to fare at public cost unless journeying on public business. Again, men who had acquired some local distinction, though they did not belong to noble families, took advantage of the absence of historical records or official registers, and, representing themselves as descendants of magnates to whom the charge of public granaries had been entrusted, succeeded in usurping valuable privileges. The office of provincial governor had in many cases become hereditary, and not only were governors largely independent of Imperial control, but also, since every free man carried arms, there had grown up about these officials a population relying largely on the law of force. Kōtoku’s reforms sought to institute a system of temporary governors, and directed that all arms and armour should be stored in arsenals built in waste places, except in the case of provinces adjoining lands where unsubdued aborigines (Yemishi) dwelt. Punishments were drastic, and in the case of a man convicted of treason, all his children were executed with him, his wives and consorts committing suicide. From a much earlier age suicide had been freely resorted to as the most honourable exit from pending disgrace, but as yet the samurai’s method of disembowelment was not employed, strangulation or cutting the throat being the regular practice. Torture was freely employed and men often died under it. Signal abuses prevailed in regions beyond the immediate range of the central government’s observation. It has been shown that from early days the numerous scions of the Imperial family had generally been provided for by grants of provincial estates. Gradually the descendants of these men, and the representatives of great families who held hereditary rank, extended their domains unscrupulously, employing forced labour to reclaim lands, which they let to the peasants, not hesitating to appropriate large slices of public property, and remitting to the central treasury only such fractions of the taxes as they found convenient. So prevalent had the exaction of forced labour become that country-folk, repairing to the capital to seek redress of grievances, were often compelled to remain there for the purpose of carrying out some work in which dignitaries of state were interested. The removal of the capital to a new site on each change of sovereign involved a vast quantity of unproductive toil. It is recorded that in 656, when the empress Saimei occupied the throne, a canal was dug which required the work of 30,000 men and a wall was built which had employed 70,000 men before its completion. The construction of tombs for grandees was another heavy drain on the people’s labour. Some of these sepulchres attained enormous dimensions—that of the emperor Ojin (270-310) measures 2312 yds. round the outer moat and is some 60 ft. high; the emperor Nintoku’s (313-399) is still larger, and there is a tumulus in Kawachi on the flank of which a good-sized village has been built. Kōtoku’s laws provided that the tomb of a prince should not be so large as to require the work of more than 1000 men for seven days, and that the grave of a petty official must be completed by 50 men in one day. Moreover, it was forbidden to bury with the body gold, silver, copper, iron, jewelled shirts, jade armour or silk brocade. It appears that the custom of suicide or sacrifice at the tomb of grandees still survived, and that people sometimes cut off their hair or stabbed their thighs preparatory to declaiming a threnody. All these practices were vetoed. Abuses had grown up even in connexion with the Shintō rite of purgation. This rite required not only the reading of rituals but also the offering of food and fruits. For the sake of these edibles the rite was often harshly enforced, especially in connexion with pollution from contact with corpses; and thus it fell out that when of two brothers, returning from a scene of forced labour, one lay down upon the road and died, the other, dreading the cost of compulsory purgation, refused to take up the body. Many other evil customs came into existence in connexion with this rite, and all were dealt with in the new laws. Not the least important of the reforms then introduced was the organization of the ministry after the model of the Tang dynasty of China. Eight departments of state were created, and several of them received names which are similarly used to this day. Not only the institutions of China were borrowed but also her official costumes. During Kōtoku’s reign 19 grades of head-gear were instituted, and in the time of Tenchi (668-671) the number was increased to 26, with corresponding robes. Throughout this era intercourse was frequent with China, and the spread of Buddhism continued steadily. The empress Saimei (655-661), who succeeded Kōtoku, was an earnest patron of the faith. By her command several public expositions of the Sutras were given, and the building of temples went on in many districts, estates being liberally granted for the maintenance of these places of worship.

The Fujiwara Era.—In the Chronicles of Japan the year 672 is treated as a kind of interregnum. It was in truth a year of something like anarchy, a great part of it being occupied by a conflict of unparalleled magnitude between Prince Ōtomo (called in history Emperor Kōbun) and Prince Ōama, who emerged victorious and is historically entitled Temmu (673-686). The four centuries that followed are conveniently designated the Fujiwara era, because throughout that long interval affairs of state were controlled by the Fujiwara family, whose daughters were given as consorts to successive sovereigns and whose sons filled all the high administrative posts. It has been related above that Kamako, chief of the Shintō officials, inspired the assassination of the Soga chief, Iruka, and thus defeated the latter’s designs upon the throne in the days of the empress Kōgyoku. Kamako, better known to subsequent generations as Kamatari, was thenceforth regarded with unlimited favour by successive sovereigns, and just before his death in 670, the family name of Fujiwara was bestowed on him by the emperor Tenchi. Kamatari himself deserved all the honour he received, but his descendants abused the high trust reposed in them, reduced the sovereign to a mere puppet, and exercised Imperial authority without openly usurping it. Much of this was due to the adoption of Chinese administrative systems, a process which may be said to have commenced during the reign of Kōtoku (645-654) and to have continued almost uninterruptedly until the 11th century. Under these systems the emperor ceased directly to exercise supreme civil or military power: he became merely the source of authority, not its wielder, the civil functions being delegated to a bureaucracy and the military to a soldier class. Possibly had the custom held of transferring the capital to a new site on each change of sovereign, and had the growth of luxurious habits been thus checked, the comparatively simple life of early times might have held the throne and the people in closer contact. But from the beginning of the 8th century a strong tendency to avoid these costly migrations developed itself. In 709 the court took up its residence at Nara, remaining there until 784; ten years after the latter date Kiōto became the permanent metropolis. The capital at Nara—established during the reign of the empress Gemmyō (708-715)—was built on the plan of the Chinese metropolis. It had nine gates and nine avenues, the palace being situated in the northern section and approached by a broad, straight avenue, which divided the city into two perfectly equal halves, all the other streets running parallel to this main 258 avenue or at right angles to it. Seven sovereigns reigned at Heijō (castle of peace), as Nara is historically called, and, during this period of 75 years, seven of the grandest temples ever seen in Japan were erected; a multitude of idols were cast, among them a colossal bronze Daibutsu 53½ ft. high; large temple-bells were founded, and all the best artists and artisans of the era devoted their services to these works. This religious mania reached its acme in the reign of the emperor Shōmu (724-748), a man equally superstitious and addicted to display. In Temmu’s time the custom had been introduced of compelling large numbers of persons to enter the Buddhist priesthood with the object of propitiating heaven’s aid to heal the illness of an illustrious personage. In Shōmu’s day every natural calamity or abnormal phenomenon was regarded as calling for religious services on a large scale, and the great expense involved in all these buildings and ceremonials, supplemented by lavish outlays on court pageants, was severely felt by the nation. The condition of the agricultural class, who were the chief tax-payers, was further aggravated by the operation of the emperor Kōtoku’s land system, which rendered tenure so uncertain as to deter improvements. Therefore, in the Nara epoch, the principle of private ownership of land began to be recognized. Attention was also paid to road-making, bridge-building, river control and house construction, a special feature of this last being the use of tiles for roofing purposes in place of the shingles or thatch hitherto employed. In all these steps of progress Buddhist priests took an active part. Costumes were now governed by purely Chinese fashions. This change had been gradually introduced from the time of Kōtoku’s legislative measures—generally called the Taikwa reforms after the name of the era (645-650) of their adoption—and was rendered more thorough by supplementary enactments in the period 701-703 while Mommu occupied the throne. Ladies seem by this time to have abandoned the strings of beads worn in early eras round the neck, wrists and ankles. They used ornaments of gold, silver or jade in their hair, but in other respects their habiliments closely resembled those of men, and to make the difference still less conspicuous they straddled their horses when riding. Attempts were made to facilitate travel by establishing stores of grain along the principal highways, but as yet there were no hostelries, and if a wayfarer did not find shelter in the house of a friend, he had to bivouac as best he could. Such a state of affairs in the provinces offered a marked contrast to the luxurious indulgence which had now begun to prevail in the capital. There festivals of various kinds, dancing, verse-composing, flower picnics, archery, polo, football—of a very refined nature—hawking, hunting and gambling absorbed the attention of the aristocracy. Nothing disturbed the serenity of the epoch except a revolt of the northern Yemishi, which was temporarily subdued by a Fujiwara general, for the Fujiwara had not yet laid aside the martial habits of their ancestors. In 794 the Imperial capital was transferred from Nara to Kiōto by order of the emperor Kwammu, one of the greatest of Japanese sovereigns. Education, the organization of the civil service, riparian works, irrigation improvements, the separation of religion from politics, the abolition of sinecure offices, devices for encouraging and assisting agriculture, all received attention from him. But a twenty-two years’ campaign against the northern Yemishi; the building of numerous temples; the indulgence of such a passionate love of the chase that he organized 140 hunting excursions during his reign of 25 years; profuse extravagance on the part of the aristocracy in Kiōto and the exactions of provincial nobles, conspired to sink the working classes into greater depths of hardship than ever. Farmers had to borrow money and seed-rice from local officials or Buddhist temples, hypothecating their land as security; thus the temples and the nobles extended their already great estates, whilst the agricultural population gradually fell into a position of practical serfdom.

Meanwhile the Fujiwara family were steadily developing their influence in Kiōto. Their methods were simple but thoroughly effective. “By progressive exercises of arbitrariness they gradually contrived that the choice of a Rise of the Fujiwara. consort for the sovereign should be legally limited to a daughter of their family, five branches of which were specially designated to that honour through all ages. When a son was born to an emperor, the Fujiwara took the child into one of their palaces, and on his accession to the throne, the particular Fujiwara noble that happened to be his maternal grandfather became regent of the empire. This office of regent, created towards the close of the 9th century, was part of the scheme; for the Fujiwara did not allow the purple to be worn by a sovereign after he had attained his majority, or, if they suffered him to wield the sceptre during a few years of manhood, they compelled him to abdicate so soon as any independent aspirations began to impair his docility; and since for the purposes of administration in these constantly recurring minorities an office more powerful than that of prime minister (dajō daijin) was needed, they created that of regent (kwambaku), making it hereditary in their own family. In fact the history of Japan from the 9th to the 19th century may be described as the history of four families, the Fujiwara, the Taira, the Minamoto and the Tokugawa. The Fujiwara governed through the emperor; the Taira, the Minamoto and the Tokugawa governed in spite of the emperor. The Fujiwara based their power on matrimonial alliances with the Throne; the Taira, the Minamoto and the Tokugawa based theirs on the possession of armed strength which the throne had no competence to control. There another broad line of cleavage is seen. Throughout the Fujiwara era the centre of political gravity remained always in the court. Throughout the era of the Taira, the Minamoto and the Tokugawa the centre of political gravity was transferred to a point outside the court, the headquarters of a military feudalism.” The process of transfer was of course gradual. It commenced with the granting of large tracts of tax-free lands to noblemen who had wrested them from the aborigines (Yemishi) or had reclaimed them by means of serf-labour. These tracts lay for the most part in the northern and eastern parts of the main island, at such a distance from the Capital that the writ of the central government did not run there; and since such lands could be rented at rates considerably less than the tax levied on farms belonging to the state, the peasants by degrees abandoned the latter and settled on the former, with the result that the revenues of the Throne steadily diminished, while those of the provincial magnates correspondingly increased. Moreover, in the 7th century, at the time of the adoption of Chinese models of administration and organization, the court began to rely for military protection on the services of guards temporarily drafted from the provincial troops, and, during the protracted struggle against the Yemishi in the north and east in the 8th century, the fact that the power of the sword lay with the provinces began to be noted.

Kiōto remained the source of authority. But with the growth of luxury and effeminacy in the capital the Fujiwara became more and more averse from the hardships of campaigning, and in the 9th and 10th centuries, respectively, The Taira and the Minamoto. the Taira and the Minamoto1 families came into prominence as military leaders, the field of the Taira operations being the south and west, that of the Minamoto the north and east. Had the court reserved to itself and munificently exercised the privilege of rewarding these services, it might still have retained power and wealth. But by a niggardly and contemptuous policy on the part of Kiōto not only were the Minamoto leaders estranged but also they assumed the right of recompensing their followers with tax-free estates, an example which the Taira leaders quickly followed. By the early years of the 12th century these estates had attracted the great majority of the farming class, whereas the public land was left wild and uncultivated. In a word, the court and the Fujiwara found themselves without revenue, while the coffers of the Taira and the Minamoto were full: the power of the purse and the power of the sword had passed effectually to the two military families. Prominent features of the moral condition of the capital at this era (12th century) were superstition, refinement and effeminacy. A belief was widely held that calamity 259 could not be averted or success insured without recourse to Buddhist priests. Thus, during a reign of only 13 years at the close of the 11th century, the emperor Shirakawa caused 5420 religious pictures to be painted, ordered the casting of 127 statues of Buddha, each 11 ft. high, of 3150 life-sized images and of 2930 smaller idols, and constructed 21 large temples as well as 446,630 religious edifices of various kinds. Side by side with this faith in the supernatural, sexual immorality prevailed widely, never accompanied, however, by immodesty. Literary proficiency ranked as the be-all and end-all of existence. “A man estimated the conjugal qualities of a young lady by her skill in finding scholarly similes and by her perception of the cadence of words. If a woman was so fortunate as to acquire a reputation for learning, she possessed a certificate of universal virtue and amiability.” All the pastimes of the Nara epoch were pursued with increased fervour and elaboration in the Heian (Kiōto) era. The building of fine dwelling-houses and the laying out of landscape gardens took place on a considerable scale, though in these respects the ideals of later ages were not yet reached. As to costume, the close-fitting, business-like and comparatively simple dress of the 8th century was exchanged for a much more elaborate style. During the Nara epoch the many-hued hats of China had been abandoned for a sober head-gear of silk gauze covered with black lacquer, but in the Heian era this was replaced by an imposing structure glistening with jewels: the sleeves of the tunic grew so long that they hung to the knees when a man’s arms were crossed, and the trowsers were made so full and baggy that they resembled a divided skirt. From this era may be said to have commenced the manufacture of the tasteful and gorgeous textile fabrics for which Japan afterwards became famous. “A fop’s ideal was to wear several suits, one above the other, disposing them so that their various colours showed in harmoniously contrasting lines at the folds on the bosom and at the edges of the long sleeves. A successful costume created a sensation in court circles. Its wearer became the hero of the hour, and under the pernicious influence of such ambition men began even to powder their faces and rouge their cheeks like women. As for the fair sex, their costume reached the acme of unpracticality and extravagance in this epoch. Long flowing hair was essential, and what with developing the volume and multiplying the number of her robes, and wearing above her trowsers a many-plied train, a grand lady of the time always seemed to be struggling to emerge from a cataract of habiliments.” It was fortunate for Japan that circumstances favoured the growth of a military class in this age of her career, for had the conditions existing in Kiōto during the Heian epoch spread throughout the whole country, the penalty never escaped by a demoralized nation must have overtaken her. But by the middle of the 12th century the pernicious influence of the Fujiwara had paled before that of the Taira and the Minamoto, and a question of succession to the throne marshalled the latter two families in opposite camps, thus inaugurating an era of civil war which held the country in the throes of almost continuous battle for 450 years, placed it under the administration of a military feudalism, and educated a nation of warriors. At first the Minamoto were vanquished and driven from the capital, Kiyomori, the Taira chief, being left complete master of the situation. He established his headquarters at Rokuharu, in Kiōto, appropriated the revenues of 30 out of the 66 provinces forming the empire, and filled all the high offices of state with his own relatives or connexions. But he made no radical change in the administrative system, preferring to follow the example of the Fujiwara by keeping the throne in the hands of minors. And he committed the blunder of sparing the lives of two youthful sons of his defeated rival, the Minamoto chief. They were Yoritomo and Yoshitsunē; the latter the greatest strategist Japan ever produced, with perhaps one exception; the former, one of her three greatest statesmen, the founder of military feudalism. By these two men the Taira were so completely overthrown that they never raised their heads again, a sea-fight at Dan-no-ura (1155) giving them the coup de grâce. Their supremacy had lasted 22 years.

The Feudal Era.—Yoritomo, acting largely under the advice of an astute counsellor, Oye no Hiromoto, established his seat of power at Kamakura, 300 m. from Kiōto. He saw that, effectively to utilize the strength of the military class, propinquity to the military centres in the provinces was essential. At Kamakura he organized an administrative body similar in mechanism to that of the metropolitan government but studiously differentiated in the matter of nomenclature. As to the country at large, he brought it effectually under the sway of Kamakura by placing the provinces under the direct control of military governors, chosen and appointed by himself. No attempt was made, however, to interfere in any way with the polity in Kiōto: it was left intact, and the nobles about the Throne—kuge (courtly houses), as they came to be called in contradistinction to the buke (military houses)—were placated by renewal of their property titles. The Buddhist priests, also, who had been treated most harshly during the Taira tenure of power, found their fortunes restored under Kamakura’s sway. Subsequently Yoritomo obtained for himself the title of sei-itai-shōgun (barbarian-subduing generalissimo), and just as the office of regent (kwambaku) had long been hereditary in the Fujiwara family, so the office of shōgun became thenceforth hereditary in that of the Minamoto. These changes were radical. They signified a complete shifting of the centre of power. During eighteen centuries from the time of Jimmu’s invasion—as Japanese historians reckon—the country had been ruled from the south; now the north became supreme, and for a civilian administration a purely military was substituted. But there was no contumely towards the court in Kiōto. Kamakura made a show of seeking Imperial sanction for every one of its acts, and the whole of the military administration was carried on in the name of the emperor by a shōgun who called himself the Imperial deputy. In this respect things changed materially after the death of Yoritomo (1198). Kamakura then became the scene of a drama analogous to that acted in Kiōto from the 10th century.

The Hōjō family, to which belonged Masa, Yoritomo’s consort, assumed towards the Kamakura shōgun an attitude similar to that previously assumed by the Fujiwara family towards the emperor in Kiōto. A child, who on Rule of the Hōjō. state occasions was carried to the council chamber in Masa’s arms, served as the nominal repository of the shōgun’s power, the functions of administration being discharged in reality by the Hōjō family, whose successive heads took the name of shikken (constable). At first care was taken to have the shōgun’s office filled by a near relative of Yoritomo; but after the death of that great statesman’s two sons and his nephew, the puppet shōguns were taken from the ranks of the Fujiwara or of the Imperial princes, and were deposed so soon as they attempted to assert themselves. What this meant becomes apparent when we note that in the interval of 83 years between 1220 and 1308, there were six shōguns whose ages at the time of appointment ranged from 3 to 16. Whether, if events had not forced their hands, the Hōjō constables would have maintained towards the Throne the reverent demeanour adopted by Yoritomo must remain a matter of conjecture. What actually happened was that the ex-emperor, Go-Toba, made an ill-judged attempt (1221) to break the power of Kamakura. He issued a call to arms which was responded to by some thousands of cenobites and as many soldiers of Taira extraction. In the brief struggle that ensued the Imperial partisans were wholly shattered, and the direct consequences were the dethronement and exile of the reigning emperor, the banishment of his predecessor together with two princes of the blood, and the compulsory adoption of the tonsure by Go-Toba; while the indirect consequence was that the succession to the throne and the tenure of Imperial power fell under the dictation of the Hōjō as they had formerly fallen under the direction of the Fujiwara. Yoshitoki, then head of the Hōjō family, installed his brother, Tokifusa, as military governor of Kiōto, and confiscating about 3000 estates, the property of those who had espoused the Imperial cause, distributed these lands among the adherents of his own family, thus 260 greatly strengthening the basis of the feudal system. “It fared with the Hōjō as it had fared with all the great families that preceded them: their own misrule ultimately wrought their ruin. Their first eight representatives were talented and upright administrators. They took justice, simplicity and truth for guiding principles; they despised luxury and pomp; they never aspired to high official rank; they were content with two provinces for estates, and they sternly repelled the effeminate, depraved customs of Kiōto.” Thus the greater part of the 13th century was, on the whole, a golden era for Japan, and the lower orders learned to welcome feudalism. Nevertheless no century furnished more conspicuous illustrations of the peculiarly Japanese system of vicarious government. Children occupied the position of shōgun in Kamakura under authority emanating from children on the throne in Kiōto; and members of the Hōjō family as shikken administered affairs at the mandate of the child shōguns. Through all three stages in the dignities of mikado, shōgun and shikken, the strictly regulated principle of heredity was maintained, according to which no Hōjō shikken could ever become shōgun; no Minamoto or Fujiwara could occupy the throne. At the beginning of the 14th century, however, several causes combined to shake the supremacy of the Hōjō. Under the sway of the ninth shikken (Takatoki), the austere simplicity of life and earnest discharge of executive duties which had distinguished the early chiefs of the family were exchanged for luxury, debauchery and perfunctory government. Thus the management of fiscal affairs fell into the hands of Takasuke, a man of usurious instincts. It had been the wise custom of the Hōjō constables to store grain in seasons of plenty, and distribute it at low prices in times of dearth. There occurred at this epoch a succession of bad harvests, but instead of opening the state granaries with benevolent liberality, Takasuke sold their contents at the highest obtainable rates; and, by way of contrast to the prevailing indigence, the people saw the constable in Kamakura affecting the pomp and extravagance of a sovereign waited upon by 37 mistresses, supporting a band of 2000 dancers, and keeping a pack of 5000 fighting dogs. The throne happened to be then occupied (1310-1338) by an emperor, Go-Daigo, who had reached full maturity before his accession, and was correspondingly averse from acting the puppet part assigned to the sovereigns of his time. Female influence contributed to his impatience. One of his concubines bore a son for whom he sought to obtain nomination as prince imperial, in defiance of an arrangement made by the Hōjō that the succession should pass alternately to the senior and junior branches of the Imperial family. Kamakura refused to entertain Go-Daigo’s project, and thenceforth the child’s mother importuned her sovereign and lover to overthrow the Hōjō. The entourage of the throne in Kiōto at this time was a counterpart of former eras. The Fujiwara, indeed, wielded nothing of their ancient influence. They had been divided by the Hōjō into five branches, each endowed with an equal right to the office of regent, and their strength was thus dissipated in struggling among themselves for the possession of the prize. But what the Fujiwara had done in their days of greatness, what the Taira had done during their brief tenure of power, the Saionji were now doing, namely, aspiring to furnish prime ministers and empresses from their own family solely. They had already given consorts to five emperors in succession, and jealous rivals were watching keenly to attack this clan which threatened to usurp the place long held by the most illustrious family in the land. A petty incident disturbed this state of very tender equilibrium before the plan of the Hōjō’s enemies had fully matured, and the emperor presently found himself an exile on the island of Oki. But there now appeared upon the scene three men of great prowess: Kusunoki Masashige, Nitta Yoshisada and Ashikaga Takauji. The first espoused from the outset the cause of the Throne and, though commanding only a small force, held the Hōjō troops in check. The last two were both of Minamoto descent. Their common ancestor was Minamoto Yoshiiye, whose exploits against the northern Yemishi in the second half of the 11th century had so impressed his countrymen that they gave him the title of Hachiman Tarō (first-born of the god of war). Both men took the field originally in the cause of the Hōjō, but at heart they desired to be avenged upon the latter for disloyalty to the Minamoto. Nitta Yoshisada marched suddenly against Kamakura, carried it by storm and committed the city to the flames. Ashikaga Takauji occupied Kiōto, and with the suicide of Takatoki the Hōjō fell finally from rule after 115 years of supremacy (1219-1334). The emperor now returned from exile, and his son, Prince Moriyoshi, having been appointed to the office of shōgun at Kamakura, the restoration of the administrative power to the Throne seemed an accomplished fact.

Go-Daigo, however, was not in any sense a wise sovereign. The extermination of the Hōjō placed wide estates at his disposal, but instead of rewarding those who had deserved well of him, he used a great part of them to enrich The Ashikaga Shoguns. his favourites, the companions of his dissipation. Ashikaga Takauji sought just such an opportunity. The following year (1335) saw him proclaiming himself shōgun at Kamakura, and after a complicated pageant of incidents, the emperor Go-Daigo was obliged once more to fly from Kiōto. He carried the regalia with him, refused to submit to Takauji, and declined to recognize his usurped title of shōgun. The Ashikaga chief solved the situation by deposing Go-Daigo and placing upon the throne another scion of the imperial family who is known in history as Kōmyō (1336-1348), and who, of course, confirmed Takauji in the office of shōgun. Thus commenced the Ashikaga line of shōguns, and thus commenced also a fifty-six-year period of divided sovereignty, the emperor Go-Daigo and his descendants reigning in Yoshino as the southern court (nanchō), and the emperor Kōmyō and his descendants reigning in Kiōto as the northern court (hokuchō). It was by the efforts of the shōgun Yoshimitsu, one of the greatest of the Ashikaga potentates, that this quarrel was finally composed, but during its progress the country had fallen into a deplorable condition. “The constitutional powers had become completely disorganized, especially in regions at a distance from the chief towns. The peasant was impoverished, his spirit broken, his hope of better things completely gone. He dreamed away his miserable existence and left the fields untilled. Bands of robbers followed the armies through the interior of the country, and increased the feeling of lawlessness and insecurity. The coast population, especially that of the island of Kiūshiū, had given itself up in a great measure to piracy. Even on the shores of Korea and China these enterprising Japanese corsairs made their appearance.” The shōgun Yoshimitsu checked piracy, and there ensued between Japan and China a renewal of cordial intercourse which, upon the part of the shōgun, developed phases plainly suggesting an admission of Chinese suzerainty.

For a brief moment during the sway of Yoshimitsu the country had rest from internecine war, but immediately after his death (1394) the struggle began afresh. Many of the great territorial lords had now grown too puissant to concern themselves about either mikado or shōgun. Each fought for his own hand, thinking only of extending his sway and his territories. By the middle of the 16th century Kiōto was in ruins, and little vitality remained in any trade or industry except those that ministered to the wants of the warrior. Again in the case of the Ashikaga shōguns the political tendency to exercise power vicariously was shown, as it had been shown in the case of the mikados in Kiōto and in the case of the Minamoto in Kamakura. What the regents had been to the emperors and the constables to the Minamoto shōguns, that the wardens (kwanryō) were to the Ashikaga shōguns. Therefore, for possession of this office of kwanryō vehement conflicts were waged, and at one time five rival shōguns were used as figure-heads by contending factions. Yoshimitsu had apportioned an ample allowance for the support of the Imperial court, but in the continuous warfare following his death the estates charged with the duty of paying this allowance ceased to return any revenue; the court nobles had to seek shelter and sustenance with one or other of the feudal chiefs in the provinces, and the court itself was reduced to such a state of indigence that when the emperor Go-Tsuchi died (1500), 261 his corpse lay for forty days awaiting burial, no funds being available for purposes of sepulture.

Alone among the vicissitudes of these troublous times the strength and influence of Buddhism grew steadily. The great monasteries were military strongholds as well as places of worship. When the emperor Kwammu chose Kiōto for his capital, he established on the hill of Hiyei-zan, which lay north-east of the city, a magnificent temple to ward off the evil influences supposed to emanate from that quarter. Twenty years later, Kōbō, the most famous of all Japanese Buddhist saints, founded on Koyasan in Yamato a monastery not less important than that of Hiyei-zan. These and many other temples had large tax-free estates, and for the protection of their property they found it expedient to train and arm the cenobites as soldiers. From that to taking active part in the political struggles of the time was but a short step, especially as the great temples often became refuges of sovereigns and princes who, though nominally forsaking the world, retained all their interest, and even continued to take an active part, in its vicissitudes. It is recorded of the emperor Shirakawa (1073-1086) that the three things which he declared his total inability to control were the waters of the river Kamo, the fall of the dice, and the monks of Buddha. His successors might have confessed equal inability. Kiyōmori, the puissant chief of the Taira family, had fruitlessly essayed to defy the Buddhists; Yoritomo, in the hour of his most signal triumph, thought it wise to placate them. Where these representatives of centralized power found themselves impotent, it may well be supposed that the comparatively petty chieftains who fought each for his own hand in the 15th and 16th centuries were incapable of accomplishing anything. In fact, the task of centralizing the administrative power, and thus restoring peace and order to the distracted empire, seemed, at the middle of the 16th century, a task beyond achievement by human capacity.

But if ever events create the men to deal with them, such was the case in the second half of that century. Three of the greatest captains and statesmen in Japanese history appeared upon the stage simultaneously, and moreover Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu. worked in union, an event altogether inconsistent with the nature of the age. They were Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi (the taikō) and Tokugawa Iyeyasu. Nobunaga belonged to the Taira family and was originally ruler of a small fief in the province of Owari. Iyeyasu, a sub-feudatory of Nobunaga’s enemy, the powerful daimyō2 of Mikawa and two other provinces, was a scion of the Minamoto and therefore eligible for the shōgunate. Hideyoshi was a peasant’s son, equally lacking in patrons and in personal attractions. No chance seemed more remote than that such men, above all Hideyoshi, could possibly rise to supreme power. On the other hand, one outcome of the commotion with which the country had seethed for more than four centuries was to give special effect to the principle of natural selection. The fittest alone surviving, the qualities that made for fitness came to take precedence of rank or station, and those qualities were prowess in the battlefield and wisdom in the statesman’s closet. “Any plebeian that would prove himself a first-class fighting man was willingly received into the armed comitatus which every feudal potentate was eager to attach to himself and his flag.” It was thus that Hideyoshi was originally enrolled in the ranks of Nobunaga’s retainers.

Nobunaga, succeeding to his small fief in Owari in 1542, added to it six whole provinces within 25 years of continuous endeavour. Being finally invited by the emperor to undertake the pacification of the country, and appealed to by Yoshiaki, the last of the Ashikaga chiefs, to secure for him the shōgunate, he marched into Kiōto at the head of a powerful army (1568), and, having accomplished the latter purpose, was preparing to complete the former when he fell under the sword of a traitor. Throughout his brilliant career he had the invaluable assistance of Hideyoshi, who would have attained immortal fame on any stage in any era. Hideyoshi entered Nobunaga’s service as a groom and ended by administering the whole empire. When he accompanied Nobunaga to Kiōto in obedience to the invitation of the mikado, Okimachi, order and tranquillity were quickly restored in the capital and its vicinity. But to extend this blessing to the whole country, four powerful daimyōs as well as the militant monks had still to be dealt with. The monks had from the outset sheltered and succoured Nobunaga’s enemies, and one great prelate, Kenryō, hierarch of the Monto sect, whose headquarters were at Osaka, was believed to aspire to the throne itself. In 1571 Nobunaga attacked and gave to the flames the celebrated monastery of Hiyei-zan, established nearly eight centuries previously; and in 1580 he would have similarly served the splendid temple Hongwan-ji in Osaka, had not the mikado sought and obtained grace for it. The task then remained of subduing four powerful daimyōs, three in the south and one in the north-east, who continued to follow the bent of their own warlike ambitions without paying the least attention to either sovereign or shōgun. The task was commenced by sending an army under Hideyoshi against Mōri of Chōshū, whose fief lay on the northern shore of the Shimonoseki strait. This proved to be the last enterprise planned by Nobunaga. On a morning in June 1582 one of the corps intended to reinforce Hideyoshi’s army marched out of Kameyama under the command of Akechi Mitsuhide, who either harboured a personal grudge against Nobunaga or was swayed by blind ambition. Mitsuhide suddenly changed the route of his troops, led them to Kiōto, and attacked the temple Honnō-ji where Nobunaga was sojourning all unsuspicious of treachery. Rescue and resistance being alike hopeless, the great soldier committed suicide. Thirteen days later, Hideyoshi, having concluded peace with Mōri of Chōshū, fell upon Mitsuhide’s forces and shattered them, Mitsuhide himself being killed by a peasant as he fled from the field.

Nobunaga’s removal at once made Hideyoshi the most conspicuous figure in the empire, the only man with any claim to dispute that title being Tokugawa Iyeyasu. These two had hitherto worked in concert. But the question Hideyoshi. of the succession to Nobunaga’s estates threw the country once more into tumult. He left two grown-up sons and a baby grandson, whose father, Nobunaga’s first-born, had perished in the holocaust at Honnō-ji. Hideyoshi, not unmindful, it may be assumed, of the privileges of a guardian, espoused the cause of the infant, and wrested from Nobunaga’s three other great captains a reluctant endorsement of his choice. Nobutaka, third son of Nobunaga, at once drew the sword, which he presently had to turn against his own person; two years later (1584), his elder brother, Nobuo, took the field under the aegis of Tokugawa Iyeyasu. Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu, now pitted against each other for the first time, were found to be of equal prowess, and being too wise to prolong a useless war, they reverted to their old alliance, subsequently confirming it by a family union, the son of Iyeyasu being adopted by Hideyoshi and the latter’s daughter being given in marriage to Iyeyasu. Hideyoshi had now been invested by the mikado with the post of regent, and his position in the capital was omnipotent. He organized in Kiōto a magnificent pageant, in which the principal figures were himself, Iyeyasu, Nobuo and twenty-seven daimyōs. The emperor was present. Hideyoshi sat on the right of the throne, and all the nobles did obeisance to the sovereign. Prior to this event Hideyoshi had conducted against the still defiant daimyōs of Kiūshiū, especially Shimazu of Satsuma, the greatest army ever massed by any Japanese general, and had reduced the island of the nine provinces, not by weight of armament only, but also by a signal exercise of the wise clemency which distinguished him from all the statesmen of his era.

The whole of Japan was now under Hideyoshi’s sway except the fiefs in the extreme north and those in the region known as the Kwantō, namely, the eight provinces forming the eastern elbow of the main island. Seven of these provinces were virtually under the sway of Hōjō Ujimasa, fourth representative of a family established in 1476 by a brilliant adventurer of Ise, not related in any way to the great but then extinct house of Kamakura Hōjōs. The daimyōs in the north were comparatively powerless to resist Hideyoshi, but to reach them the Kwantō had 262 to be reduced, and not only was its chief, Ujimasa, a formidable foe, but also the topographical features of the district represented fortifications of immense strength. After various unsuccessful overtures, having for their purpose to induce Ujimasa to visit the capital and pay homage to the emperor, Hideyoshi marched from Kiōto in the spring of 1590 at the head of 170,000 men, his colleagues Nobuo and Iyeyasu having under their orders 80,000 more. The campaign ended as did all Hideyoshi’s enterprises, except that he treated his vanquished enemies with unusual severity. During the three months spent investing Odawara, the northern daimyōs surrendered, and thus the autumn of 1590 saw Hideyoshi master of Japan from end to end, and saw Tokugawa Iyeyasu established at Yedo as recognized ruler of the eight provinces of the Kwantō. These two facts should be bracketed together, because Japan’s emergence from the deep gloom of long-continued civil strife was due not more to the brilliant qualities of Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu individually than to the fortunate synchronism of their careers, so that the one was able to carry the other’s work to completion and permanence. The last eight years of Hideyoshi’s life—he died in 1598—were chiefly remarkable for his attempt to invade China through Korea, and for his attitude towards Christianity (see § VIII.: Foreign Intercourse).

The Tokugawa Era.—When Hideyoshi died he left a son, Hideyori, then only six years of age, and the problem of this child’s future had naturally caused supreme solicitude to the peasant statesman. He finally entrusted the care of the boy and the management of state affairs to five regents, five ministers, and three intermediary councillors. But he placed chief reliance upon Iyeyasu, whom he appointed president of the board of regents. Among the latter was one, Ishida Mitsunari, who to insatiable ambition added an extraordinary faculty for intrigue and great personal magnetism. These qualities he utilized with such success that the dissensions among the daimyōs, which had been temporarily composed by Hideyoshi, broke out again, and the year 1600 saw Japan divided into two camps, one composed of Tokugawa Iyeyasu and his allies, the other of Ishida Mitsunari and his partisans.

The situation of Iyeyasu was eminently perilous. From his position in the east of the country, he found himself menaced by two powerful enemies on the north and on the south, respectively, the former barely contained by Iyeyasu. a greatly weaker force of his friends, and the latter moving up in seemingly overwhelming strength from Kiōto. He decided to hurl himself upon the southern army without awaiting the result of the conflict in the north. The encounter took place at Sekigahara in the province of Mino on the 21st of October 1600. The army of Iyeyasu had to move to the attack in such a manner that its left flank and its left rear were threatened by divisions of the enemy posted on commanding eminences. But with the leaders of these divisions Iyeyasu had come to an understanding by which they could be trusted to abide so long as victory did not declare against him. Such incidents were naturally common in an era when every man fought for his own hand. The southerners suffered a crushing defeat. The survivors fled pell-mell to Osaka, where in a colossal fortress, built by Hideyoshi, his son, Hideyori, and the latter’s mother, Yodo, were sheltered behind ramparts held by 80,000 men. Hideyori’s cause had been openly put forward by Ishida Mitsunari and his partisans, but Iyeyasu made no immediate attempt to visit the sin upon the head of his deceased benefactor’s child. On the contrary, he sent word to the lady Yodo and her little boy that he absolved them of all complicity. The battle of Sekigahara is commonly spoken of as having terminated the civil war which had devastated Japan, with brief intervals, from the latter half of the 12th century to the beginning of the 17th. That is incorrect in view of the fact that Sekigahara was followed by other fighting, especially by the terrible conflict at Osaka in 1615 when Yodo and her son perished. But Sekigahara’s importance cannot be over-rated. For had Iyeyasu been finally crushed there, the wave of internecine strife must have rolled again over the empire until providence provided another Hideyoshi and another Iyeyasu to stem it. Sekigahara, therefore, may be truly described as a turning-point in Japan’s career and as one of the decisive battles of the world. As for the fact that the Tokugawa leader did not at once proceed to extremities in the case of the boy Hideyori, though the events of the Sekigahara campaign had made it quite plain that such a course would ultimately be inevitable, we have to remember that only two years had elapsed since Hideyoshi was laid in his grave. His memory was still green and the glory of his achievements still enveloped his family. Iyeyasu foresaw that to carry the tragedy to its bitter end at once must have forced into Hideyori’s camp many puissant daimyōs whose sense of allegiance would grow less cogent with the lapse of time. When he did lay siege to the Osaka castle in 1615, the power of the Tokugawa was well-nigh shattered against its ramparts; had not the onset been aided by treachery, the stronghold would probably have proved impregnable.

But signal as were the triumphs of the Tokugawa chieftain in the field, what distinguishes him from all his predecessors is the ability he displayed in consolidating his conquests. The immense estates that fell into his hands he parcelled out in such a manner that all important strategical positions were held by daimyōs whose fidelity could be confidently trusted, and every feudatory of doubtful loyalty found his fief within touch of a Tokugawa partisan. This arrangement, supplemented by a system which required all the great daimyōs to have mansions in the shōgun’s capital. Yedo, to keep their families there always and to reside there themselves in alternate years, proved so potent a check to disaffection that from 1615, when the castle of Osaka fell, until 1864, when the Chōshū rōnin attacked Kiōto, Japan remained entirely free from civil war.

It is possible to form a clear idea of the ethical and administrative principles by which Iyeyasu and the early Tokugawa chiefs were guided in elaborating the system which gave to Japan an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. Evidence is furnished not only by the system itself but also by the contents of a document generally called the Testament of Iyeyasu, though probably it was not fully compiled until the time of his grandson, Iyemitsu (1623-1650). The great Tokugawa chief, though he munificently patronized Buddhism and though he carried constantly in his bosom a miniature Buddhist image to which he ascribed all his success in the field and his safety in battle, took his ethical code from Confucius. He held that the basis of all legislation and administration should be the five relations of sovereign and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, friend and friend. The family was, in his eyes, the essential foundation of society, to be maintained at all sacrifices. Beyond these broad outlines of moral duty it was not deemed necessary to instruct the people. Therefore out of the hundred chapters forming the Testament only 22 contain what can be called legal enactments, while 55 relate to administration and politics; 16 set forth moral maxims and reflections, and the remainder record illustrative episodes in the career of the author. No distinct line is drawn between law and morals, between the duty of a citizen and the virtues of a member of a family. Substantive law is entirely wanting, just as it was wanting in the so-called constitution of Prince Shōtoku. Custom, as sanctioned by public observance, must be complied with in the civil affairs of life. What required minute exposition was criminal law, the relations of social classes, etiquette, rank, precedence, administration and government.

Society under feudalism had been moulded into three sharply defined groups, namely, first, the Throne and the court nobles (kuge); secondly, the military class (buke or samurai); and thirdly, the common people (heimin). These lines Social distinctions in the Tokugawa Era. of cleavage were emphasized as much as possible by the Tokugawa rulers. The divine origin of the mikado was held to separate him from contact with mundane affairs, and he was therefore strictly secluded in the palace at Kiōto, his main function being to mediate between his heavenly ancestors and his subjects, entrusting to the shōgun and the samurai the duty of transacting all worldly business on behalf 263 of the state. In obedience to this principle the mikado became a kind of sacrosanct abstraction. No one except his consorts and his chief ministers ever saw his face. In the rare cases when he gave audience to a privileged subject, he sat behind a curtain, and when he went abroad, he rode in a closely shut car drawn by oxen. A revenue of ten thousand koku of rice—the equivalent of about as many guineas—was apportioned for his support, and the right was reserved to him of conferring empty titles upon the living and rank upon the dead. His majesty had one wife, the empress (kōgō), necessarily taken from one of the five chosen families (go-sekke) of the Fujiwara, but he might also have twelve consorts, and if direct issue failed, the succession passed to one of the two princely families of Arisugawa and Fushimi, adoption, however, being possible in the last resort. The kuge constituted the court nobility, consisting of 155 families all of whom traced their lineage to ancient mikados; they ranked far above the feudal chiefs, not excepting even the shōgun; filled by right of heredity nearly all the offices at the court, the emoluments attached being, however, a mere pittance; were entirely without the great estates which had belonged to them in ante-feudal times, and lived lives of proud poverty, occupying themselves with the study of literature and the practice of music and art. After the kuge and at a long distance below them in theoretical rank came the military families, who, as a class, were called buke or samurai. They had hereditary revenues, and they filled the administrative posts, these, too, being often hereditary. The third, and by far the most numerous, section of the nation were the commoners (heimin). They had no social status; were not allowed to carry swords, and possessed no income except what they could earn with their hands. About 55 in every 1000 units of the nation were samurai, the latter’s wives and children being included in this estimate.

Under the Hōjō and the Ashikaga shōguns the holders of the great estates changed frequently according to the vicissitudes of those troublesome times, but under the Tokugawa no change took place, and there thus Daimyōs. grew up a landed nobility of the most permanent character. Every one of these estates was a feudal kingdom, large or small, with its own usages and its own laws, based on the general principles above indicated and liable to be judged according to those principles by the shōgun’s government (baku-fu) in Yedo. A daimyō or feudal chief drew from the peasants on his estate the means of subsistence for himself and his retainers. For this purpose the produce of his estate was assessed by the shōgun’s officials in koku (one koku = 180.39 litres, worth about £1), and about one-half of the assessed amount went to the feudatory, the other half to the tillers of the soil. The richest daimyō was Mayeda of Kaga, whose fief was assessed at a little over a million koku, his revenue thus being about half a million sterling. Just as an empress had to be taken from one of five families designated to that distinction for all time, so a successor to the shōgunate, failing direct heir, had to be selected from three families (sanke), namely, those of the daimyōs of Owari, Kii and Mito, whose first representatives were three sons of Iyeyasu. Out of the total body of 255 daimyōs existing in the year 1862, 141 were specially distinguished as fudai, or hereditary vassals of the Tokugawa house, and to 18 of these was strictly limited the perpetual privilege of filling all the high offices in the Yedo administration, while to 4 of them was reserved the special honour of supplying a regent (go-tairō) during the minority of the shōgun. Moreover, a fudai daimyō was of necessity appointed to the command of the fortress of Nijō in Kiōto as well as of the great castles of Osaka and Fushimi, which Iyeyasu designated the keys of the country. No intermarriage might take place between members of the court nobility and the feudal houses without the consent of Yedo; no daimyō might apply direct to the emperor for an official title, or might put foot within the imperial district of Kiōto without the shōgun’s permit, and at all entrances to the region known as the Kwantō there were established guardhouses, where every one, of whatever rank, must submit to be examined, in order to prevent the wives and children of the daimyōs from secretly leaving Yedo for their own provinces. In their journeys to and from Yedo every second year the feudal chiefs had to travel by one of two great highways, the Tōkaidō or the Nakasendō, and as they moved with great retinues, these roads were provided with a number of inns and tea-houses equipped in a sumptuous manner, and having an abundance of female servants. A puissant daimyō’s procession often numbered as many as 1000 retainers, and nothing illustrates more forcibly the wide interval that separated the soldier and the plebeian than the fact that at the appearance of the heralds who preceded these progresses all commoners who happened to be abroad had to kneel on the ground with bowed and uncovered heads; all wayside houses had to close the shutters of windows giving on the road, and none might venture to look down from a height on the passing magnate. Any violation of these rules of etiquette exposed the violator to instant death at the hands of the daimyō’s retinue. Moreover, the samurai and the heimin lived strictly apart. A feudal chief had a castle which generally occupied a commanding position. It was surrounded by from one to three broad moats, the innermost crowned with a high wall of huge cut stones, its trace arranged so as to give flank defence, which was further provided by pagoda-like towers placed at the salient angles. Inside this wall stood the houses of the high officials on the outskirts of a park surrounding the residence of the daimyō himself, and from the scarps of the moats or in the intervals between them rose houses for the military retainers, barrack-like structures, provided, whenever possible, with small but artistically arranged and carefully tended gardens. All this domain of the military was called yashiki in distinction to the machi (streets) where the despised commoners had their habitat.

The general body of the samurai received stipends and lived frugally. Their pay was not reckoned in money: it took the form of so many rations of rice delivered from their chief’s granaries. A few had landed estates, Samurai. usually bestowed in recognition of conspicuous merit. They were probably the finest type of hereditary soldiers the world ever produced. Money and all devices for earning it they profoundly despised. The right of wearing a sword was to them the highest conceivable privilege. They counted themselves the guardians of their fiefs’ honour and of their country’s welfare. At any moment they were prepared cheerfully to sacrifice their lives on the altar of loyalty. Their word, once given, must never be violated. The slightest insult to their honour might not be condoned. Stoicism was a quality which they esteemed next to courage: all outward display of emotion must be suppressed. The sword might never be drawn for a petty cause, but, if once drawn, must never be returned to its scabbard until it had done its duty. Martial exercises occupied much of their attention, but book learning also they esteemed highly. They were profoundly courteous towards each other, profoundly contemptuous towards the commoner, whatever his wealth. Filial piety ranked next to loyalty in their code of ethics. Thus the Confucian maxim, endorsed explicitly in the Testament of Iyeyasu, that a man must not live under the same sky with his father’s murderer or his brother’s slayer, received most literal obedience, and many instances occurred of vendettas pursued in the face of apparently insuperable difficulties and consummated after years of effort. By the standard of modern morality the Japanese samurai would be counted cruel. Holding that death was the natural sequel of defeat and the only certain way of avoiding disgrace, he did not seek quarter himself or think of extending it to an enemy. Yet in his treatment of the latter he loved to display courtesy until the supreme moment when all considerations of mercy were laid aside. It cannot be doubted that the practice of employing torture judicially tended to educate a mood of callousness towards suffering, or that the many idle hours of a military man’s life in time of peace encouraged a measure of dissipation. But there does not seem to be any valid ground for concluding that either of these defects was conspicuous in the character of the Japanese samurai. Faithlessness towards women was the greatest fault that can be laid to his door. The 264 samurai lady claimed no privilege of timidity on account of her sex. She knew how to die in the cause of honour just as readily as her husband, her father or her brother died, and conjugal fidelity did not rank as a virtue in her eyes, being regarded as a simple duty. But her husband held marital faith in small esteem and ranked his wife far below his sword. It has to be remembered that when we speak of a samurai’s suicide, there is no question of poison, the bullet, drowning or any comparatively painless manner of exit from the world. The invariable method was to cut open the abdomen (hara-kiri or seppuku) and afterwards, if strength remained, the sword was turned against the throat. To such endurance had the samurai trained himself that he went through this cruel ordeal without flinching in the smallest degree.

The heimin or commoners were divided into three classes—husbandmen, artisans and traders. The farmer, as the nation lived by his labour, was counted the most respectable among the bread-winners, and a cultivator Heimin. of his own estate might even carry one sword but never two, that privilege being strictly reserved to a samurai. The artisan, too, received much consideration, as is easily understood when we remember that included in his ranks were artists, sword-smiths, armourers, sculptors of sacred images or sword-furniture, ceramists and lacquerers. Many artisans were in the permanent service of feudal chiefs from whom they received fixed salaries. Tradesmen, however, were regarded with disdain and stood lowest of all in the social organization. Too much despised to be even included in that organization were the eta (defiled folks) and the hinin (outcasts). The exact origin of these latter pariahs is uncertain, but the ancestors of the eta would seem to have been prisoners of war or the enslaved families of criminals. To such people were assigned the defiling duties of tending tombs, disposing of the bodies of the dead, slaughtering animals or tanning hides. The hinin were mendicants. On them devolved the task of removing and burying the corpses of executed criminals. Living in segregated hamlets, forbidden to marry with heimin, still less with samurai, not allowed to eat, drink or associate with persons above their own class, the eta remained under the ban of ostracism from generation to generation, though many of them contrived to amass much wealth. They were governed by their own headmen, and they had three chiefs, one residing in each of the cities of Yedo, Osaka and Kiōto. All these members of the submerged classes were relieved from proscription and admitted to the ranks of the commoners under the enlightened system of Meiji. The 12th of October 1871 saw their enfranchisement, and at that date the census showed 287,111 eta and 695,689 hinin.

Naturally, as the unbroken peace of the Tokugawa régime became habitual, the mood of the nation underwent a change. The samurai, no longer required to lead the frugal life of camp or barracks, began to live beyond their Decline and Fall of the Shōgunate. incomes. “They found difficulty in meeting the pecuniary engagements of everyday existence, so that money acquired new importance in their eyes, and they gradually forfeited the respect which their traditional disinterestedness had won for them in the past.” At the same time the abuses of feudalism were thrown into increased salience. A large body of hereditary soldiers become an anomaly when fighting has passed even out of memory. On the other hand, the agricultural and commercial classes acquired new importance. The enormous sums disbursed every year in Yedo, for the maintenance of the great establishments which the feudal chiefs vied with each other in keeping there, enriched the merchants and traders so greatly that their scale of living underwent radical change. Buddhism was a potent influence, but its ethical restraints were weakened by the conduct of its priests, who themselves often yielded to the temptation of the time. The aristocracy adhered to its refined pastimes—performances of the No; tea reunions; poem composing; polo; football; equestrian archery; fencing and gambling—but the commoner, being excluded from all this realm and, at the same time, emerging rapidly from his old position of penury and degradation, began to develop luxurious proclivities and to demand corresponding amusements. Thus the theatre came into existence; the dancing girl and the jester found lucrative employment; a popular school of art was founded and quickly carried to perfection; the lupanar assumed unprecedented dimensions; rich and costly costumes acquired wide vogue in despite of sumptuary laws enacted from time to time; wrestling became an important institution, and plutocracy asserted itself in the face of caste distinctions.

Simultaneously with the change of social conditions thus taking place, history repeated itself at the shōgun’s court. The substance of administrative power passed into the hands of a minister, its shadow alone remaining to the shōgun. During only two generations were the successors of Iyeyasu able to resist this traditional tendency. The representative of the third—Iyetsuna (1661-1680)—succumbed to the machinations of an ambitious minister, Sakai Takakiyo, and it may be said that from that time the nominal repository of administrative authority in Yedo was generally a species of magnificent recluse, secluded from contact with the outer world and seeing and hearing only through the eyes and ears of the ladies of his household. In this respect the descendants of the great Tokugawa statesman found themselves reduced to a position precisely analogous to that of the emperor in Kiōto. Sovereign and shōgun were alike mere abstractions so far as the practical work of government was concerned. With the great mass of the feudal chiefs things fared similarly. These men who, in the days of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Iyeyasu, had directed the policies of their fiefs and led their armies in the field, were gradually transformed, during the long peace of the Tokugawa era, into voluptuous fainéants or, at best, thoughtless dilettanti, willing to abandon the direction of their affairs to seneschals and mayors, who, while on the whole their administration was able and loyal, found their account in contriving and perpetuating the effacement of their chiefs. Thus, in effect, the government of the country, taken out of the hands of the shōgun and the feudatories, fell into those of their vassals. There were exceptions, of course, but so rare as to be merely accidental.

Another important factor has to be noted. It has been shown above that Iyeyasu bestowed upon his three sons the rich fiefs of Owari, Kii (Kishū) and Mito, and that these three families exclusively enjoyed the privilege of furnishing an heir to the shōgun should the latter be without direct issue. Mito ought therefore to have been a most unlikely place for the conception and propagation of principles subversive of the shōgun’s administrative autocracy. Nevertheless, in the days of the second of the Mito chiefs at the close of the 17th century, there arose in that province a school of thinkers who, revolting against the ascendancy of Chinese literature and of Buddhism, devoted themselves to compiling a history such as should recall the attention of the nation to its own annals and revive its allegiance to Shintō. It would seem that in patronizing the compilation of this great work the Mito chief was swayed by the spirit of pure patriotism and studentship, and that he discerned nothing of the goal to which the new researches must lead the litterati of his fief. “He and they, for the sake of history and without any thought of politics, undertook a retrospect of their country’s annals, and their frank analysis furnished conclusive proof that the emperor was the prime source of administrative authority and that its independent exercise by a shōgun must be regarded as a usurpation. They did not attempt to give practical effect to their discoveries; the era was essentially academical. But this galaxy of scholars projected into the future a light which burned with growing force in each succeeding generation and ultimately burst into a flame which consumed feudalism and the shōgunate,” fused the nation into one, and restored the governing authority to the emperor. Of course the Mito men were not alone in this matter: many students subsequently trod in their footsteps and many others sought to stem the tendency; but the net result was fatal to faith in the dual system of government. Possibly had nothing occurred to furnish signal proof of the system’s practical defects, 265 it might have long survived this theoretical disapproval. But the crisis caused by the advent of foreign ships and by the forceful renewal of foreign intercourse in the 19th century afforded convincing evidence of the shōgunate’s incapacity to protect the state’s supposed interests and to enforce the traditional policy of isolation which the nation had learned to consider essential to the empire’s integrity.

Another important factor made for the fall of the shōgunate. That factor was the traditional disaffection of the two great southern fiefs, Satsuma and Chōshū. When Iyeyasu parcelled out the empire, he deemed it the wisest policy to leave these chieftains in full possession of their large estates. But this measure, construed as an evidence of weakness rather than a token of liberality, neither won the allegiance of the big feudatories nor cooled their ambition. Thus no sooner did the nation divide into two camps over the question of renewed foreign intercourse than men of the above clans, in concert with representatives of certain of the old court nobles, placed themselves at the head of a movement animated by two loudly proclaimed purposes: restoration of the administration to the emperor, and expulsion of aliens. This latter aspiration underwent a radical change when the bombardment of the Satsuma capital, Kagoshima, and the destruction of the Chōshū forts and ships at Shimonoseki proved conclusively to the Satsuma and Chōshū clans that Japan in her unequipped and backward condition could not hope to stand for a moment against the Occident in arms. But the unwelcome discovery was accompanied by a conviction that only a thoroughly united nation might aspire to preserve its independence, and thus the abolition of the dual form of government became more than ever an article of public faith. It is unnecessary to recount the successive incidents which conspired to undermine the shōgun’s authority, and to destroy the prestige of the Yedo administration. Both had been reduced to vanishing quantities by the year 1866 when Keiki succeeded to the shōgunate.

Keiki, known historically as Yoshinobu, the last of the shōguns, was a man of matured intellect and high capacities. He had been put forward by the anti-foreign Conservatives for the succession to the shōgunate in 1857 when the complications of foreign intercourse were in their first stage of acuteness. But, like many other intelligent Japanese, he had learned, in the interval between 1857 and 1866, that to keep her doors closed was an impossible task for Japan, and very quickly after taking the reins of office he recognized that national union could never be achieved while power was divided between Kiōto and Yedo. At this juncture there was addressed to him by Yōdō, chief of the great Tosa fief, a memorial setting forth the hopelessness of the position in which the Yedo court now found itself, and urging that, in the interests of good government and in order that the nation’s united strength might be available to meet the exigencies of its new career, the administration should be restored to the emperor. Keiki received this memorial in Kiōto. He immediately summoned a council of all the feudatories and high officials then in the Imperial city, announced to them his intention to lay down his office, and, the next day, presented his resignation to the sovereign. This happened on the 14th of October 1867. It must be ranked among the signal events of the world’s history, for it signified the voluntary surrender of kingly authority wielded uninterruptedly for nearly three centuries. That the shōgun’s resignation was tendered in good faith there can be no doubt, and had it been accepted in the same spirit, the great danger it involved might have been consummated without bloodshed or disorder. But the clansmen of Satsuma and Chōshū were distrustful. One of the shōgun’s first acts after assuming office had been to obtain from the throne an edict for imposing penalties on Chōshū, and there was a precedent for suspecting that the renunciation of power by the shōgun might merely prelude its resumption on a firmer basis. Therefore steps were taken to induce the emperor, then a youth of fifteen, to issue a secret rescript to Satsuma and Chōshū, denouncing the shōgun as the nation’s enemy and enjoining his destruction. At the same time all officials connected with the Tokugawa or suspected of sympathy with them were expelled from office in Kiōto, and the shōgun’s troops were deprived of the custody of the palace gates by methods which verged upon the use of armed force. In the face of such provocation Keiki’s earnest efforts to restrain the indignation of his vassals and adherents failed. They marched against Kiōto and were defeated, whereupon Keiki left his castle at Osaka and retired to Yedo, where he subsequently made unconditional surrender to the Imperial army. There is little more to be set down on this page of the history. The Yedo court consented to lay aside its dignities and be stripped of its administrative authority, but all the Tokugawa vassals and adherents did not prove equally placable. There was resistance in the northern provinces, where the Aizu feudatory refused to abandon the Tokugawa cause; there was an attempt to set up a rival candidate for the throne in the person of an Imperial prince who presided over the Uyeno Monastery in Yedo; and there was a wild essay on the part of the admiral of the shōgun’s fleet to establish a republic in the island of Yezo. But these were mere ripples on the surface of the broad stream which set towards the peaceful overthrow of the dual system of government and ultimately towards the fall of feudalism itself. That this system, the outcome of five centuries of nearly continuous warfare, was swept away in almost as many weeks with little loss of life or destruction of property constitutes, perhaps, the most striking incident, certainly the most momentous, in the history of the Japanese nation.

The Meiji Era.—It must be remembered that when reference is made to the Japanese nation in connexion with these radical changes, only the nobles and the samurai are indicated—in other words, a section of the population representing about one-sixteenth of the whole. The bulk of the people—the agricultural, the industrial and the mercantile classes—remained outside the sphere of politics, not sharing the anti-foreign prejudice, or taking any serious interest in the great questions of the time. Foreigners often noted with surprise the contrast between the fierce antipathy displayed towards them by certain samurai on the one hand, and the genial, hospitable reception given to them by the common people on the other. History teaches that the latter was the natural disposition of the Japanese, the former a mood educated by special experiences. Further, even the comparatively narrow statement that the restoration of the administrative power to the emperor was the work of the nobles and the samurai must be taken with limitations. A majority of the nobles entertained no idea of any necessity for change. They were either held fast in the vice of Tokugawa authority, or paralyzed by the sensuous seductions of the lives provided for them by the machinations of their retainers, who transferred the administrative authority of the fiefs to their own hands, leaving its shadow only to their lords. It was among the retainers that longings for a new order of things were generated. Some of these men were sincere disciples of progress—a small band of students and deep thinkers who, looking through the narrow Dutch window at Deshima, had caught a glimmering perception of the realities that lay beyond the horizon of their country’s prejudices. But the influence of such Liberals was comparatively insignificant. Though they showed remarkable moral courage and tenacity of purpose, the age did not furnish any strong object lesson to enforce their propaganda of progress. The factors chiefly making for change were, first, the ambition of the southern clans to oust the Tokugawa, and, secondly, the samurai’s loyal instinct, reinforced by the teachings of his country’s history, by the revival of the Shintō cult, by the promptings of national enterprise, and by the object-lessons of foreign intercourse.

But though essentially imperialistic in its prime purposes, the revolution which involved the fall of the shōgunate, and ultimately of feudalism, may be called democratic with regard to the personnel of those who planned and Character of the Revolution. directed it. They were, for the most part, men without either official rank or social standing. That is a point essential 266 to a clear understanding of the issue. Fifty-five individuals may be said to have planned and carried out the overthrow of the Yedo administration, and only five of them were territorial nobles. Eight, belonging to the court nobility, laboured under the traditional disadvantages of their class, poverty and political insignificance; and the remaining forty-two, the hearts and hands of the movement, may be described as ambitious youths, who sought to make a career for themselves in the first place, and for their country in the second. The average age of the whole did not exceed thirty. There was another element for which any student of Japanese history might have been prepared: the Satsuma samurai aimed originally not merely at overthrowing the Tokugawa but also at obtaining the shōgunate for their own chief. Possibly it would be unjust to say that all the leaders of the great southern clan harboured that idea. But some of them certainly did, and not until they had consented to abandon the project did their union with Chōshū, the other great southern clan, become possible—a union without which the revolution could scarcely have been accomplished. This ambition of the Satsuma clansmen deserves special mention, because it bore remarkable fruit; it may be said to have laid the foundation of constitutional government in Japan. For, in consequence of the distrust engendered by such aspirations, the authors of the Restoration agreed that when the emperor assumed the reins of power, he should solemnly pledge himself to convene a deliberative assembly, to appoint to administrative posts men of intellect and erudition wherever they might be found, and to decide all measures in accordance with public opinion. This promise, referred to frequently in later times as the Imperial oath at the Restoration, came to be accounted the basis of representative institutions, though in reality it was intended solely as a guarantee against the political ascendancy of any one clan.

At the outset the necessity of abolishing feudalism did not present itself clearly to the leaders of the revolution. Their sole idea was the unification of the nation. But when they came to consider closely the practical The Anti-feudal Idea. side of the problem, they understood how far it would lead them. Evidently that one homogeneous system of law should replace the more or less heterogeneous systems operative in the various fiefs was essential, and such a substitution meant that the feudatories must be deprived of their local autonomy and, incidentally, of their control of local finances. That was a stupendous change. Hitherto each feudal chief had collected the revenues of his fief and had employed them at will, subject to the sole condition of maintaining a body of troops proportionate to his income. He had been, and was still, an autocrat within the limits of his territory. On the other hand, the active authors of the revolution were a small band of men mainly without prestige or territorial influence. It was impossible that they should dictate any measure sensibly impairing the local and fiscal autonomy of the feudatories. No power capable of enforcing such a measure existed at the time. All the great political changes in Japan had formerly been preceded by wars culminating in the accession of some strong clan to supreme authority, whereas in this case there had been a displacement without a substitution—the Tokugawa had been overthrown and no new administrators had been set up in their stead. It was, moreover, certain that an attempt on the part of any one clan to constitute itself executor of the sovereign’s mandates would have stirred the other clans to vehement resistance. In short, the leaders of the revolution found themselves pledged to a new theory of government without any machinery for carrying it into effect, or any means of abolishing the old practice. An ingenious exit from this curious dilemma was devised by the young reformers. They induced the feudal chiefs of Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa and Hizen, the four most powerful clans in the south, publicly to surrender their fiefs to the emperor, praying his majesty to reorganize them and to bring them all under the same system of law. In the case of Shimazu, chief of Satsuma, and Yōdō, chief of Tosa, this act must stand to their credit as a noble sacrifice. To them the exercise of power had been a reality and the effort of surrendering it must have been correspondingly costly. But the chiefs of Chōshū and Hizen obeyed the suggestions of their principal vassals with little, if any, sense of the probable cost of obedience. The same remark applies to all the other feudatories, with exceptions so rare as to emphasize the rule. They had long been accustomed to abandon the management of their affairs to their leading clansmen, and they allowed themselves to follow the same guidance at this crisis. Out of more than 250 feudatories, only 17 hesitated to imitate the example of the four southern fiefs.

An explanation of this remarkable incident has been sought by supposing that the samurai of the various clans, when they advised a course so inconsistent with fidelity to the interests of their feudal chiefs, were influenced Motives of the Reformers. by motives of personal ambition, imagining that they themselves might find great opportunities under the new régime. Some hope of that kind may fairly be assumed, and was certainly realized, in the case of the leading samurai of the four southern clans which headed the movement. But it is plain that no such expectations can have been generally entertained. The simplest explanation seems to be the true one: a certain course, indicated by the action of the four southern clans, was conceived to be in accord with the spirit of the Restoration, and not to adopt it would have been to shrink publicly from a sacrifice dictated by the principle of loyalty to the Throne—a principle which had acquired supreme sanctity in the eyes of the men of that era. There might have been some uncertainty about the initial step; but so soon as that was taken by the southern clans their example acquired compelling force. History shows that in political crises the Japanese samurai is generally ready to pay deference to certain canons of almost romantic morality. There was a fever of loyalty and of patriotism in the air of the year 1869. Any one hesitating, for obviously selfish reasons, to adopt a precedent such as that offered by the procedure of the great southern clans, would have seemed to forfeit the right of calling himself a samurai. But although the leaders of this remarkable movement now understood that they must contrive the total abolition of feudalism and build up a new administrative edifice on foundations of constitutional monarchy, they appreciated the necessity of advancing slowly towards a goal which still lay beyond the range of their followers’ vision. Thus the first steps taken after the surrender of the fiefs were to appoint the feudatories to the position of governors in the districts over which they had previously ruled; to confirm the samurai in the possession of their incomes and official positions; to put an end to the distinction between court nobles and territorial nobles, and to organize in Kiōto a cabinet consisting of the leaders of the restoration. Each new governor received one-tenth of the income of the fief by way of emoluments; the pay of the officials and the samurai, as well as the administrative expenses of the district, was defrayed from the same source, and the residue, if any, was to pass into the treasury of the central government.

The defects of this system from a monarchical point of view soon became evident. It did not give the power of either the purse or the sword to the sovereign. The revenues of the administrative districts continued Defects of the First Measures. to be collected and disbursed by the former feudatories, who also retained the control of the troops, the right of appointing and dismissing officials, and almost complete local autonomy. A further radical step had to be taken, and the leaders of reform, seeing nothing better than to continue the method of procedure which had thus far proved so successful, contrived, first, that several of the administrative districts should send in petitions offering to surrender their local autonomy and be brought under the direct rule of the central government; secondly, that a number of samurai should apply for permission to lay aside their swords. While the nation was digesting the principles embodied in these petitions, the government made preparations for further measures of reform. The ex-chief of Satsuma, who showed some umbrage because the services of his clan in promoting the restoration had not been more fully recognized, was induced to take high ministerial office, as were also the ex-chiefs of Chōshū and Tosa. Each of the four 267 great clans had now three representatives in the ministry. These clans were further persuaded to send to Tōkyō—whither the emperor had moved his court—contingents of troops to form the nucleus of a national army. Importance attaches to these details because the principle of clan representation, illustrated in the organization of the cabinet of 1871, continued to be approximately observed for many years in forming ministries, and ultimately became a target for the attacks of party politicians.

On the 29th of August 1871 an Imperial decree announced the abolition of the system of local autonomy, and the removal of the territorial nobles from the posts of governor. The taxes of the former fiefs were to be paid thenceforth Adoption of Radical Measures. into the central treasury; all officials were to be appointed by the Imperial government, and the feudatories, retaining permanently an income of one-tenth of their original revenues, were to make Tōkyō their place of residence. As for the samurai, they remained for the moment in possession of their hereditary pensions. Radical as these changes seem, the disturbance caused by them was not great, since they left the incomes of the military class untouched. Some of the incomes were for life only, but the majority were hereditary, and all had been granted in consideration of their holders devoting themselves to military service. Four hundred thousand men approximately were in receipt of such emoluments, and the total amount annually taken from the tax-payers for this purpose was about £2,000,000. Plainly the nation would have to be relieved of this burden sooner or later. The samurai were essentially an element of the feudal system, and that they should survive the latter’s fall would have been incongruous. On the other hand, suddenly and wholly to deprive these men and their families—a total of some two million persons—of the means of subsistence on which they had hitherto relied with absolute confidence, and in return for which they and their forefathers had rendered faithful service, would have been an act of inhumanity. It may easily be conceived that this problem caused extreme perplexity to the administrators of the new Japan. They left it unsolved for the moment, trusting that time and the loyalty of the samurai themselves would suggest some solution. As for the feudal chiefs, who had now been deprived of all official status and reduced to the position of private gentlemen, without even a patent of nobility to distinguish them from ordinary individuals, they did not find anything specially irksome or regrettable in their altered position. No scrutiny had been made into the contents of their treasuries. They were allowed to retain unquestioned possession of all the accumulated funds of their former fiefs, and they also became public creditors for annual allowances equal to one-tenth of their feudal revenues. They had never previously been so pleasantly circumstanced. It is true that they were entirely stripped of all administrative and military authority; but since their possession of such authority had been in most cases merely nominal, they only felt the change as a relief from responsibility.

By degrees public opinion began to declare itself with regard to the samurai. If they were to be absorbed into the bulk of the people and to lose their fixed revenues, some capital must be placed at their disposal to begin Treatment of the Samurai. the world again. The samurai themselves showed a noble faculty of resignation. They had been a privileged class, but they had purchased their privileges with their blood and by serving as patterns of all the qualities most prized among Japanese national characteristics. The record of their acts and the recognition of the people entitled them to look for munificent treatment at the hands of the government which they had been the means of setting up. Yet none of these considerations blinded them to the painful fact that the time had passed them by; that no place existed for them in the new polity. Many of them voluntarily stepped down into the company of the peasant or the tradesman, and many others signified their willingness to join the ranks of common bread-winners if some aid was given to equip them for such a career. After two years’ consideration the government took action. A decree announced, in 1873, that the treasury was prepared to commute the pensions of the samurai at the rate of six years’ purchase for hereditary pensions and four years for life pensions—one-half of the commutation to be paid in cash, and one-half in bonds bearing interest at the rate of 8%. It will be seen that a perpetual pension of £10 would be exchanged for a payment of £30 in cash, together with securities giving an income of £2, 8s.; and that a £10 life pensioner received £20 in cash and securities yielding £1, 12s. annually. It is scarcely credible that the samurai should have accepted such an arrangement. Something, perhaps, must be ascribed to their want of business knowledge, but the general explanation is that they made a large sacrifice in the interests of their country. Nothing in all their career as soldiers became them better than their manner of abandoning it. They were told that they might lay aside their swords, and many of them did so, though from time immemorial they had cherished the sword as the mark of a gentleman, the most precious possession of a warrior, and the one outward evidence that distinguished men of their order from common toilers after gain. They saw themselves deprived of their military employment, were invited to surrender more than one-half of the income it brought, and knew that they were unprepared alike by education and by tradition to earn bread in any calling save that of arms. Yet, at the invitation of a government which they had helped to establish, many of them bowed their heads quietly to this sharp reverse of fortune. It was certainly a striking instance of the fortitude and resignation which the creed of the samurai required him to display in the presence of adversity. As yet, however, the government’s measures with regard to the samurai were not compulsory. Men laid aside their swords and commuted their pensions at their own option.

Meanwhile differences of opinion began to occur among the leaders of progress themselves. Coalitions formed for destructive purposes are often found unable to endure the strain of constructive efforts. Such lack of cohesion Saigō Takamori. might easily have been foreseen in the case of the Japanese reformers. Young men without experience of public affairs, or special education to fit them for responsible posts, found the duty suddenly imposed on them not only of devising administrative and fiscal systems universally applicable to a nation hitherto divided into a congeries of semi-independent principalities, but also of shaping the country’s demeanour towards novel problems of foreign intercourse and alien civilization. So long as the heat of their assault upon the shōgunate fused them into a homogeneous party they worked together successfully. But when they had to build a brand-new edifice on the ruins of a still vivid past, it was inevitable that their opinions should vary as to the nature of the materials to be employed. In this divergence of views many of the capital incidents of Japan’s modern history had their origin. Of the fifty-five men whose united efforts had compassed the fall of the shōgunate, five stood conspicuous above their colleagues. They were Iwakura and Sanjō, court nobles; Saigō and Okubo, samurai of Satsuma, and Kido, a samurai of Chōshū. In the second rank came many men of great gifts, whose youth alone disqualified them for prominence—Itō, the constructive statesman of the Meiji era, who inspired nearly all the important measures of the time, though he did not openly figure as their originator; Inouye, who never lacked a resource or swerved from the dictates of loyalty; Okuma, a politician of subtle, versatile and vigorous intellect; Itagaki, the Rousseau of his era; and a score of others created by the extraordinary circumstances with which they had to deal. But the five first mentioned were the captains, the rest only lieutenants. Among the five, four were sincere reformers—not free, of course, from selfish motives, but truthfully bent upon promoting the interests of their country before all other aims. The fifth, Saigō Takamori, was a man in whom boundless ambition lay concealed under qualities of the noblest and most enduring type. His absolute freedom from every trace of sordidness gave currency to a belief that his aims were of the simplest; the story of his career satisfied the highest canons of the samurai; his massive physique, commanding presence and sunny aspect impressed and attracted even those who had no 268 opportunity of admiring his life of self-sacrificing effort or appreciating the remarkable military talent he possessed. In the first part of his career, the elevation of his clan to supreme power seems to have been his sole motive, but subsequently personal ambition appears to have swayed him. To the consummation of either object the preservation of the military class was essential. By the swords of the samurai alone could a new imperium in imperio be carved out. On the other hand, Saigō’s colleagues in the ministry saw clearly not only that the samurai were an unwarrantable burden on the nation, but also that their continued existence after the fall of feudalism would be a menace to public peace as well as an anomaly. Therefore they took the steps already described, and followed them by a conscription law, making every adult male liable for military service without regard to his social standing. It is easy to conceive how painfully unwelcome this conscription law proved to the samurai. Many of them were not unwilling to commute their pensions, since their creed had always forbidden them to care for money. Many of them were not unwilling to abandon the habit of carrying swords, since the adoption of foreign costume rendered such a custom incongruous and inconvenient. But very few of them could readily consent to step down from their cherished position as the military class, and relinquish their traditional title to bear the whole responsibility and enjoy the whole honour of fighting their country’s battles. They had supposed, not unreasonably, that service in the army and navy would be reserved exclusively for them and their sons, whereas now the commonest rustic, mechanic or tradesman would be equally eligible.

While the pain of this blow was still fresh there occurred a trouble with Korea. The little state had behaved with insulting contumely, and when Japan’s course came to be debated in Tōkyō, a disruption resulted in the Split among the Reformers. ranks of the reformers. Saigō saw in a foreign war the sole remaining chance of achieving his ambition by lawful means. The government’s conscription scheme, yet in its infancy, had not produced even the skeleton of an army. If Korea had to be conquered, the samurai must be employed; and their employment would mean, if not their rehabilitation, at least their organization into a force which, under Saigō’s leadership, might dictate a new policy. Other members of the cabinet believed that the nation would be disgraced if it tamely endured Korea’s insults. Thus several influential voices swelled the clamour for war. But a peace party offered strenuous opposition. Its members saw the collateral issues of the problem, and declared that the country must not think of taking up arms during a period of radical transition. The final discussion took place in the emperor’s presence. The advocates of peace understood the national significance of the issue and perceived that they were debating, not merely whether there should be peace or war, but whether the country should halt or advance on its newly adopted path of progress. They prevailed, and four members of the cabinet, including Saigō, resigned. This rupture was destined to have far-reaching consequences. One of the seceders immediately raised the standard of revolt. Among the devices employed by him to win adherents was an attempt to fan into flame the dying embers of the anti-foreign sentiment. The government easily crushed the insurrection. Another seceder was Itagaki Taisuke. The third and most prominent was Saigō, who seems to have concluded from that moment that he must abandon his aims or achieve them by force. He retired to his native province of Satsuma, and applied his whole resources, his great reputation and the devoted loyalty of a number of able followers to organizing and equipping a strong body of samurai. Matters were facilitated for him by the conservatism of the celebrated Shimazu Saburō, former chief of Satsuma, who, though not opposed to foreign intercourse, had been revolted by the wholesale iconoclasm of the time, and by the indiscriminate rejection of Japanese customs in favour of foreign. He protested vehemently against what seemed to him a slavish abandonment of the nation’s individuality, and finding his protest fruitless, he set himself to preserve in his own distant province, where the writ of the Yedo government had never run, the fashions, institutions and customs which his former colleagues in the administration were ruthlessly rejecting. Satsuma thus became a centre of conservative influences, among which Saigō and his constantly augmenting band of samurai found a congenial environment. During four years this breach between the central government and the southern clan grew constantly.

In the meanwhile (1876) two extreme measures were adopted by the government: a veto on the wearing of swords, and an edict ordering the compulsory commutation of the pensions and allowances received by the nobles and Final Abolition of Sword-wearing and Pensions. the samurai. Three years previously the discarding of swords had been declared optional, and a scheme of voluntary commutation had been announced. Many had bowed quietly to the spirit of these enactments. But many still retained their swords and drew their pensions as of old, obstructing, in the former respect, the government’s projects for the reorganization of society, and imposing, in the latter, an intolerable burden on the resources of the treasury. The government thought that the time had come, and that its own strength sufficed, to substitute compulsion for persuasion. The financial measure—which was contrived so as to affect the smallest pension-holders least injuriously—evoked no complaint. The samurai remained faithful to the creed which forbade them to be concerned about money. But the veto against sword-wearing overtaxed the patience of the extreme Conservatives. It seemed to them that all the most honoured traditions of their country were being ruthlessly sacrificed on the altar of alien innovations. Armed protests ensued. A few score of samurai, equipping themselves with the hauberks and weapons of old times, fell upon the garrison of a castle, killed or wounded some 300, and then, retiring to an adjacent mountain, died by their own hands. Their example found imitators in two other places, and finally the Satsuma samurai rose in arms under Saigō.

This was an insurrection very different in dimensions and motives from the outbreaks that had preceded it. During four years the preparations of the Satsuma men had been unremitting. They were equipped with rifles and Satsuma Insurrection. cannon; they numbered some 30,000; they were all of the military class, and in addition to high training in western tactics and in the use of modern arms of precision, they knew how to wield that formidable weapon, the Japanese sword, of which their opponents were for the most part ignorant. Ostensibly their object was to restore the samurai to their old supremacy, and to secure for them all the posts in the army, the navy and the administration. But although they doubtless entertained that intention, it was put forward mainly with the hope of winning the co-operation of the military class throughout the empire. The real purpose of the revolt was to secure the governing power for Satsuma. A bitter struggle ensued. Beginning on the 29th of January 1877, it was brought to a close on the 24th of September by the death, voluntary or in battle, of all the rebel leaders. During that period the number of men engaged on the government’s side had been 66,000 and the number on the side of the rebels 40,000, out of which total the killed and wounded aggregated 35,000, or 33% of the whole. Had the government’s troops been finally defeated, there can be no doubt that the samurai’s exclusive title to man and direct the army and navy would have been re-established, and Japan would have found herself permanently saddled with a military class, heavily burdening her finances, seriously impeding her progress towards constitutional government, and perpetuating all the abuses incidental to a policy in which the power of the sword rests entirely in the hands of one section of the people. The nation scarcely appreciated the great issues that were at stake. It found more interest in the struggle as furnishing a conclusive test of the efficiency of the new military system compared with the old. The army sent to quell the insurrection consisted of recruits drawn indiscriminately from every class of the people. Viewed in the light of history, it was an army of commoners, deficient in the fighting instinct, and traditionally 269 demoralized for all purposes of resistance to the military class. The Satsuma insurgents, on the contrary, represented the flower of the samurai, long trained for this very struggle, and led by men whom the nation regarded as its bravest captains. The result dispelled all doubts about the fighting quality of the people at large.

Concurrently with these events the government diligently endeavoured to equip the country with all the paraphernalia of Occidental civilization. It is easy to understand that the master-minds of the era, who had planned and Steps of Progress. carried out the Restoration, continued to take the lead in all paths of progress. Their intellectual superiority entitled them to act as guides; they had enjoyed exceptional opportunities of acquiring enlightenment by visits to Europe and America, and the Japanese people had not yet lost the habit of looking to officialdom for every initiative. But the spectacle thus presented to foreign onlookers was not altogether without disquieting suggestions. The government’s reforms seemed to outstrip the nation’s readiness for them, and the results wore an air of some artificiality and confusion. Englishmen were employed to superintend the building of railways, the erection of telegraphs, the construction of lighthouses and the organization of a navy. To Frenchmen was entrusted the work of recasting the laws and training the army in strategy and tactics. Educational affairs, the organization of a postal service, the improvement of agriculture and the work of colonization were supervised by Americans. The teaching of medical science, the compilation of a commercial code, the elaboration of a system of local government, and ultimately the training of military officers were assigned to Germans. For instruction in sculpture and painting Italians were engaged. Was it possible that so many novelties should be successfully assimilated, or that the nation should adapt itself to systems planned by a motley band of aliens who knew nothing of its character and customs? These questions did not trouble the Japanese nearly so much as they troubled strangers. The truth is that conservatism was not really required to make the great sacrifices suggested by appearances. Among all the innovations of the era the only one that a Japanese could not lay aside at will was the new fashion of dressing the hair. He abandoned the queue irrevocably. But for the rest he lived a dual life. During hours of duty he wore a fine uniform, shaped and decorated in foreign style. But so soon as he stepped out of office or off parade, he reverted to his own comfortable and picturesque costume. Handsome houses were built and furnished according to Western models. But each had an annex where alcoves, verandas, matted floors and paper sliding doors continued to do traditional duty. Beefsteaks, beer, “grape-wine,” knives and forks came into use on occasion. But rice-bowls and chopsticks held their everyday place as of old. In a word, though the Japanese adopted every convenient and serviceable attribute of foreign civilization, such as railways, steamships, telegraphs, post-offices, banks and machinery of all kinds; though they accepted Occidental sciences, and, to a large extent, Occidental philosophies; though they recognized the superiority of European jurisprudence and set themselves to bring their laws into accord with it, they nevertheless preserved the essentials of their own mode of life and never lost their individuality. A remarkable spirit of liberalism and a fine eclectic instinct were needed for the part they acted, but they did no radical violence to their own traditions, creeds and conventions. There was indeed a certain element of incongruity and even grotesqueness in the nation’s doings. Old people cannot fit their feet to new roads without some clumsiness. The Japanese had grown very old in their special paths, and their novel departure was occasionally disfigured by solecisms. The refined taste that guided them unerringly in all the affairs of life as they had been accustomed to live it, seemed to fail them signally when they emerged into an alien atmosphere. They have given their proofs, however. It is now seen that the apparently excessive rapidity of their progress did not overtax their capacities; that they have emerged safely from their destructive era and carried their constructive career within reach of certain success, and that while they have still to develop some of the traits of their new civilization, there is no prospect whatever of its proving ultimately unsuited to them.

After the Satsuma rebellion, nothing disturbed the even tenor of Japan’s domestic politics except an attempt on the part of some of her people to force the growth of parliamentary government. It is evident that the united Development of Representative Government. effort made by the fiefs to overthrow the system of dual government and wrest the administrative power from the shōgun could have only one logical outcome: the combined exercise of the recovered power by those who had been instrumental in recovering it. That was the meaning of the oath taken by the emperor at the Restoration, when the youthful sovereign was made to say that wise counsels should be widely sought, and all things determined by public discussion. But the framers of the oath had the samurai alone in view. Into their consideration the common people—farmers, mechanics, tradesmen—did not enter at all, nor had the common people themselves any idea of advancing a claim to be considered. A voice in the administration would have been to them an embarrassing rather than a pleasing privilege. Thus the first deliberative assembly was composed of nobles and samurai only. A mere debating club without any legislative authority, it was permanently dissolved after two sessions. Possibly the problem of a parliament might have been long postponed after that fiasco, had it not found an ardent advocate in Itagaki Taisuke (afterwards Count Itagaki). A Tosa samurai conspicuous as a leader of the restoration movement, Itagaki was among the advocates of recourse to strong measures against Korea in 1873, and his failure to carry his point, supplemented by a belief that a large section of public opinion would have supported him had there been any machinery for appealing to it, gave fresh impetus to his faith in constitutional government. Resigning office on account of the Korean question, he became the nucleus of agitation in favour of a parliamentary system, and under his banner were enrolled not only discontented samurai but also many of the young men who, returning from direct observation of the working of constitutional systems in Europe or America, and failing to obtain official posts in Japan, attributed their failure to the oligarchical form of their country’s polity. Thus in the interval between 1873 and 1877 there were two centres of disturbance in Japan: one in Satsuma, where Saigō figured as leader; the other in Tosa, under Itagaki’s guidance. When the Satsuma men appealed to arms in 1877, a widespread apprehension prevailed lest the Tosa politicians should throw in their lot with the insurgents. Such a fear had its origin in failure to understand the object of the one side or to appreciate the sincerity of the other. Saigō and his adherents fought to substitute a Satsuma clique for the oligarchy already in power. Itagaki and his followers struggled for constitutional institutions. The two could not have anything in common. There was consequently no coalition. But the Tosa agitators did not neglect to make capital out of the embarrassment caused by the Satsuma rebellion. While the struggle was at its height, they addressed to the government a memorial, charging the administration with oppressive measures to restrain the voice of public opinion, with usurpation of power to the exclusion of the nation at large, and with levelling downwards instead of upwards, since the samurai had been reduced to the rank of commoners, whereas the commoners should have been educated up to the standard of the samurai. This memorial asked for a representative assembly and talked of popular rights. But since the document admitted that the people were uneducated, it is plain that there cannot have been any serious idea of giving them a share in the administration. In fact, the Tosa Liberals were not really contending for popular representation in the full sense of the term. What they wanted was the creation of some machinery for securing to the samurai at large a voice in the management of state affairs. They chafed against the fact that, whereas the efforts and sacrifices demanded by the Restoration had fallen 270 equally on the whole military class, the official prizes under the new system were monopolized by a small coterie of men belonging to the four principal clans. It is on record that Itagaki would have been content originally with an assembly consisting half of officials, half of non-official samurai, and not including any popular element whatever.

But the government did not believe that the time had come even for a measure such as the Tosa Liberals advocated. The statesmen in power conceived that the nation must be educated up to constitutional standards, and that the first step should be to provide an official model. Accordingly, in 1874, arrangements were made for periodically convening an assembly of prefectural governors, in order that they might act as channels of communication between the central authorities and the provincial population, and mutually exchange ideas as to the safest and most effective methods of encouraging progress within the limits of their jurisdictions. This was intended to be the embryo of representative institutions. But the governors, being officials appointed by the cabinet, did not bear in any sense the character of popular nominees, nor could it even be said that they reflected the public feeling of the districts they administered, for their habitual and natural tendency was to try, by means of heroic object lessons, to win the people’s allegiance to the government’s progressive policy, rather than to convince the government of the danger of overstepping the people’s capacities.

These conventions of local officials had no legislative power whatever. The foundations of a body for discharging that function were laid in 1875, when a senate (genro-in) was organized. It consisted of official nominees, and its duty was to discuss and revise all laws and ordinances prior to their promulgation. It is to be noted, however, that expediency not less than a spirit of progress presided at the creation of the senate. Into its ranks were drafted a number of men for whom no places could be found in the executive, and who, without some official employment, would have been drawn into the current of disaffection. From that point of view the senate soon came to be regarded as a kind of hospital for administrative invalids, but undoubtedly its discharge of quasi-legislative functions proved suggestive, useful and instructive.

The second meeting of the provincial governors had just been prorogued when, in the spring of 1878, the great minister, Okubo Toshimitsu, was assassinated. Okubo, uniformly ready to bear the heaviest burden of responsibility Assassination of Okubo. in every political complication, had stood prominently before the nation as Saigō’s opponent. He fell under the swords of Saigō’s sympathizers. They immediately surrendered themselves to justice, having taken previous care to circulate a statement of motives, which showed that they ranked the government’s failure to establish representative institutions as a sin scarcely less heinous than its alleged abuses of power. Well-informed followers of Saigō could never have been sincere believers in representative institutions. These men belonged to a province far removed from the scene of Saigō’s desperate struggle. But the broad fact that they had sealed with their life-blood an appeal for a political change indicated the existence of a strong public conviction which would derive further strength from their act. The Japanese are essentially a brave people. Throughout the troublous events that preceded and followed the Restoration, it is not possible to point to one man whose obedience to duty or conviction was visibly weakened by prospects of personal peril. Okubo’s assassination did not alarm any of his colleagues; but they understood its suggestiveness, and hastened to give effect to a previously formed resolve.

Two months after Okubo’s death, an edict announced that elective assemblies should forthwith be established in various prefectures and cities. These assemblies were to consist of members having a high property qualification, Local Government. elected by voters having one-half of that qualification; the voting to be by signed ballot, and the session to last for one month in the spring of each year. As to their functions, they were to determine the method of levying and spending local taxes, subject to approval by the minister of state for home affairs; to scrutinize the accounts for the previous year, and, if necessary, to present petitions to the central government. Thus the foundations of genuine representative institutions were laid. It is true that legislative power was not vested in the local assemblies, but in all other important respects they discharged parliamentary duties. Their history need not be related at any length. Sometimes they came into violent collision with the governor of the prefecture, and unsightly struggles resulted. The governors were disposed to advocate public works which the people considered extravagant; and further, as years went by, and as political organizations grew stronger, there was found in each assembly a group of men ready to oppose the governor simply because of his official status. But on the whole the system worked well. The local assemblies served as training schools for the future parliament, and their members showed devotion to public duty as well as considerable aptitude for debate.

This was not what Itagaki and his followers wanted. Their purpose was to overthrow the clique of clansmen who, holding the reins of administrative power, monopolized the prizes of officialdom. Towards the consummation The Liberal Party. of such an aim the local assemblies helped little. Itagaki redoubled his agitation. He organized his fellow-thinkers into an association called jiyūtō (Liberals), the first political party in Japan, to whose ranks there very soon gravitated several men who had been in office and resented the loss of it; many that had never been in office and desired to be; and a still greater number who sincerely believed in the principles of political liberty, but had not yet considered the possibility of immediately adapting such principles to Japan’s case. It was in the nature of things that an association of this kind, professing such doctrines, should present a picturesque aspect to the public, and that its collisions with the authorities should invite popular sympathy. Nor were collisions infrequent. For the government, arguing that if the nation was not ready for representative institutions, neither was it ready for full freedom of speech or of public meeting, legislated consistently with that theory, and entrusted to the police large powers of control over the press and the platform. The exercise of these powers often created situations in which the Liberals were able to pose as victims of official tyranny, so that they grew in popularity and the contagion of political agitation spread.

Three years later (1881) another split occurred in the ranks of the ruling oligarchy. Okuma Shigenobu (afterwards Count Okuma) seceded from the administration, and was followed by a number of able men who had owed The Progressist Party. their appointments to his patronage, or who, during his tenure of office as minister of finance, had passed under the influence of his powerful personality. If Itagaki be called the Rousseau of Japan, Okuma may be regarded as the Peel. To remarkable financial ability and a lucid, vigorous judgment he added the faculty of placing himself on the crest of any wave which a genuine aura popularis had begun to swell. He, too, inscribed on his banner of revolt against the oligarchy the motto “constitutional government,” and it might have been expected that his followers would join hands with those of Itagaki, since the avowed political purpose of both was identical. They did nothing of the kind. Okuma organized an independent party, calling themselves Progressists (shimpotō), who not only stood aloof from the Liberals but even assumed an attitude hostile to them. This fact is eloquent. It shows that Japan’s first political parties were grouped, not about principles, but about persons. Hence an inevitable lack of cohesion among their elements and a constant tendency to break up into caves and coteries. These are the characteristics that render the story of political evolution in Japan so perplexing to a foreign student. He looks for differences of platform and finds none. Just as a true Liberal must be a Progressist, and a true Progressist a Liberal, so, though each may cast his profession of faith in a mould of different phrases, the ultimate shape must be the same. The mainsprings of early political agitation in Japan were personal 271 grievances and a desire to wrest the administrative power from the hands of the statesmen who had held it so long as to overtax the patience of their rivals. He that searches for profound moral or ethical bases will be disappointed. There were no Conservatives. Society was permeated with the spirit of progress. In a comparative sense the epithet “Conservative” might have been applied to the statesmen who proposed to defer parliamentary institutions until the people, as distinguished from the former samurai, had been in some measure prepared for such an innovation. But since these very statesmen were the guiding spirits of the whole Meiji revolution, it was plain that their convictions must be radical, and that, unless they did violence to their record, they must finally lead the country to representative institutions, the logical sequel of their own reforms.

Okubo’s assassination had been followed, in 1878, by an edict announcing the establishment of local assemblies. Okuma’s secession in 1881 was followed by an edict announcing that a national assembly would be convened in 1891.

The political parties, having now virtually attained their object, might have been expected to desist from further agitation. But they had another task to perform—that of disseminating anti-official prejudices among Anti-Government Agitation. the future electors. They worked diligently, and they had an undisputed field, for no one was put forward to champion the government’s cause. The campaign was not always conducted on lawful lines. There were plots to assassinate ministers; there was an attempt to employ dynamite, and there was a scheme to foment an insurrection in Korea. On the other hand, dispersals of political meetings by order of police inspectors, and suspension or suppression of newspapers by the unchallengeable verdict of a minister for home affairs, were common occurrences. The breach widened steadily. It is true that Okuma rejoined the cabinet for a time in 1887, but he retired again in circumstances that aggravated his party’s hostility to officialdom. In short, during the ten years immediately prior to the opening of the first parliament, an anti-government propaganda was incessantly preached from the platform and in the press.

Meanwhile the statesmen in power resolutely pursued their path of progressive reform. They codified the civil and penal laws, remodelling them on Western bases; they brought a vast number of affairs within the scope of minute regulations; they rescued the finances from confusion and restored them to a sound condition; they recast the whole framework of local government; they organized a great national bank, and established a network of subordinate institutions throughout the country; they pushed on the work of railway construction, and successfully enlisted private enterprise in its cause; they steadily extended the postal and telegraphic services; they economized public expenditures so that the state’s income always exceeded its outlays; they laid the foundations of a strong mercantile marine; they instituted a system of postal savings-banks; they undertook large schemes of harbour improvement and road-making; they planned and put into operation an extensive programme of riparian improvement; they made civil service appointments depend on competitive examination; they sent numbers of students to Europe and America to complete their studies; and by tactful, persevering diplomacy they gradually introduced a new tone into the empire’s relations with foreign powers. Japan’s affairs were never better administered.

In 1890 the Constitution was promulgated. Imposing ceremonies marked the event. All the nation’s notables were summoned to the palace to witness the delivery of the important document by the sovereign to the The Constitution of 1890. prime minister; salvos of artillery were fired; the cities were illuminated, and the people kept holiday. Marquis (afterwards Prince) Itō directed the framing of the Constitution. He had visited the Occident for the purpose of investigating the development of parliamentary institutions and studying their practical working. His name is connected with nearly every great work of constructive statesmanship in the history of new Japan, and perhaps the crown of his legislative career was the drafting of the Constitution, to which the Japanese people point proudly as the only charter of the kind voluntarily given by a sovereign to his subjects. In other countries such concessions were always the outcome of long struggles between ruler and ruled. In Japan the emperor freely divested himself of a portion of his prerogatives and transferred them to the people. That view of the case, as may be seen from the story told above, is not untinged with romance; but in a general sense it is true.

No incident in Japan’s modern career seemed more hazardous than this sudden plunge into parliamentary institutions. There had been some preparation. Provincial assemblies had partially familiarized the people with Working of the System. the methods of deliberative bodies. But provincial assemblies were at best petty arenas—places where the making or mending of roads, and the policing and sanitation of villages came up for discussion, and where political parties exercised no legislative function nor found any opportunity to attack the government or to debate problems of national interest. Thus the convening of a diet and the sudden transfer of financial and legislative authority from the throne and its entourage of tried statesmen to the hands of men whose qualifications for public life rested on the verdict of electors, themselves apparently devoid of all light to guide their choice—this sweeping innovation seemed likely to tax severely, if not to overtax completely, the progressive capacities of the nation. What enhanced the interest of the situation was that the oligarchs who held the administrative power had taken no pains to win a following in the political field. Knowing that the opening of the diet would be a veritable letting loose of the dogs of war, an unmuzzling of the agitators whose mouths had hitherto been partly closed by legal restrictions upon free speech, but who would now enjoy complete immunity within the walls of the assembly whatever the nature of their utterances—foreseeing all this, the statesmen of the day nevertheless stood severely aloof from alliances of every kind, and discharged their administrative functions with apparent indifference to the changes that popular representation could not fail to induce. This somewhat inexplicable display of unconcern became partially intelligible when the constitution was promulgated, for it then appeared that the cabinet’s tenure of office was to depend solely on the emperor’s will; that ministers were to take their mandate from the Throne, not from parliament. This fact was merely an outcome of the theory underlying every part of the Japanese polity. Laws might be redrafted, institutions remodelled, systems recast, but amid all changes and mutations one steady point must be carefully preserved, the Throne. The makers of new Japan understood that so long as the sanctity and inviolability of the imperial prerogatives could be preserved, the nation would be held by a strong anchor from drifting into dangerous waters. They laboured under no misapprehension about the inevitable issue of their work in framing the constitution. They knew very well that party cabinets are an essential outcome of representative institutions, and that to some kind of party cabinet Japan must come. But they regarded the Imperial mandate as a conservative safeguard, pending the organization and education of parties competent to form cabinets. Such parties did not yet exist, and until they came into unequivocal existence, the Restoration statesmen, who had so successfully managed the affairs of the nation during a quarter of a century, resolved that the steady point furnished by the throne must not be abandoned.

On the other hand, the agitators found here a new platform. They had obtained a constitution and a diet, but they had not obtained an instrument for pulling down the “clan” administrators, since these stood secure from attack under the aegis of the sovereign’s mandate. They dared not raise their voices against the unfettered exercise of the mikado’s prerogative. The nation, loyal to the core, would not have suffered such a protest, nor could the agitators themselves have found heart to formulate it. But they could read their own interpretation into the text of the Constitution, and they could demonstrate practically that a cabinet not acknowledging responsibility to the legislature was virtually impotent for law-making purposes.


These are the broad outlines of the contest that began in the first session of the Diet and continued for several years. It is unnecessary to speak of the special points of controversy. Just as the political parties had been formed on the The Diet and the Government. lines of persons, not principles, so the opposition in the Diet was directed against men, not measures. The struggle presented varying aspects at different times, but the fundamental question at issue never changed. Obstruction was the weapon of the political parties. They sought to render legislation and finance impossible for any ministry that refused to take its mandate from the majority in the lower house, and they imparted an air of respectability and even patriotism to their destructive campaign by making “anti-clannism” their war-cry, and industriously fostering the idea that the struggle lay between administration guided by public opinion and administration controlled by a clique of clansmen who separated the throne from the nation. Had not the House of Peers stood stanchly by the government throughout this contest, it is possible that the nation might have suffered severely from the rashness of the political parties.

There was something melancholy in the spectacle. The Restoration statesmen were the men who had made Modern Japan; the men who had raised her, in the face of immense obstacles, from the position of an insignificant Oriental state to that of a formidable unit in the comity of nations; the men, finally, who had given to her a constitution and representative institutions. Yet these same men were now fiercely attacked by the arms which they had themselves nerved; were held up to public obloquy as self-seeking usurpers, and were declared to be impeding the people’s constitutional route to administrative privileges, when in reality they were only holding the breach until the people should be able to march into the citadel with some show of orderly and competent organization. That there was no corruption, no abuse of position, is not to be pretended; but on the whole the conservatism of the clan statesmen had only one object—to provide that the newly constructed representative machine should not be set working until its parts were duly adjusted and brought into proper gear. On both sides the leaders understood the situation accurately. The heads of the parties, while publicly clamouring for parliamentary cabinets, privately confessed that they were not yet prepared to assume administrative responsibilities;3 and the so-called “clan statesmen,” while refusing before the world to accept the Diet’s mandates, admitted within official circles that the question was one of time only. The situation did not undergo any marked change until, the country becoming engaged in war with China (1894-95), domestic squabbles were forgotten in the presence of foreign danger. From that time an era of coalition commenced. Both the political parties joined hands to vote funds for the prosecution of the campaign, and one of them, the Liberals, subsequently gave support to a cabinet under the presidency of Marquis Itō, the purpose of the union being to carry through the diet an extensive scheme of enlarged armaments and public works planned in the sequel of the war. The Progressists, however, remained implacable, continuing their opposition to the thing called bureaucracy quite irrespective of its measures.

The next phase (1898) was a fusion of the two parties into one large organization which adopted the name “Constitutional Party” (kensei-tō). By this union the chief obstacles to parliamentary cabinets were removed. Fusion of the Two Parties. Not only did the Constitutionalists command a large majority in the lower house, but also they possessed a sufficiency of men who, although lacking ministerial experience, might still advance a reasonable title to be entrusted with portfolios. Immediately the emperor, acting on the advice of Marquis Itō, invited Counts Okuma and Itagaki to form a cabinet. It was essentially a trial. The party politicians were required to demonstrate in practice the justice of the claim they had been so long asserting in theory. They had worked in combination for the destructive purpose of pulling down the so-called “clan statesmen”; they had now to show whether they could work in combination for the constructive purposes of administration. Their heads, Counts Okuma and Itagaki, accepted the Imperial mandate, and the nation watched the result. There was no need to wait long. In less than six months these new links snapped under the tension of old enmities, and the coalition split up once more into its original elements. It had demonstrated that the sweets of power, which the “clan statesmen” had been so vehemently accused of coveting, possessed even greater attractions for their accusers. The issue of the experiment was such a palpable fiasco that it effectually rehabilitated the “clan statesmen,” and finally proved, what had indeed been long evident to every close observer, that without the assistance of those statesmen no political party could hold office successfully.

Thenceforth it became the unique aim of Liberals and Progressists alike to join hands permanently with the men towards whom they had once displayed such implacable hostility. Prince Itō, the leader of the so-called Enrolment of the Clan Statesmen in Political Associations. “elder statesmen,” received special solicitations, for it was plain that he would bring to any political party an overwhelming access of strength alike in his own person and in the number of friends and disciples certain to follow him. But Prince Itō declined to be absorbed into any existing party, or to adopt the principle of parliamentary cabinets. He would consent to form a new association, but it must consist of men sufficiently disciplined to obey him implicitly, and sufficiently docile to accept their programme from his hand. The Liberals agreed to these terms. They dissolved their party (August 1900) and enrolled themselves in the ranks of a new organization, which did not even call itself a party, its designation being rikken seiyū-kai (association of friends of the constitution), and which had for the cardinal plank in its platform a declaration of ministerial irresponsibility to the Diet. A singular page was thus added to the story of Japanese political development; for not merely did the Liberals enlist under the banner of the statesmen whom for twenty years they had fought to overthrow, but they also tacitly consented to erase from their profession of faith its essential article, parliamentary cabinets, and, by resigning that article to the Progressists, created for the first time an opposition with a solid and intelligible platform. Nevertheless the seiyū-kai grew steadily in strength whereas the number of its opponents declined correspondingly. At the general elections in May 1908 the former secured 195 seats, the four sections of the opposition winning only 184. Thus for the first time in Japanese parliamentary history a majority of the lower chamber found themselves marching under the same banner. Moreover, the four sections of the opposition were independently organized and differed nearly as much from one another as they all differed from the seiyū-kai. Their impotence to make head against the solid phalanx of the latter was thus conspicuous, especially during the 1908-1909 session of the Diet. Much talk then began to be heard about the necessity of coalition, and that this talk will materialize eventually cannot be doubted. Reduction of armaments, abolition of taxes specially imposed for belligerent purposes, and the substitution of a strictly constitutional system for the existing bureaucracy—these objects constitute a sufficiently solid platform, and nothing is wanted except that a body of proved administrators should join the opposition in occupying it. There were in 1909 no signs, however, that any such defection from the ranks of officialdom would take place. Deference is paid to public opinions inasmuch as even a seiyū-kai ministry will not remain in office after its popularity has begun to show signs of waning. But no deference is paid to the doctrine of party cabinets. Prince Itō did not continue to lead the seiyū-kai for more than three years. In July 1903 he delegated that function to Marquis Saionji, representative of one of the very oldest families of the court nobility and a personal friend of the emperor, as also was Prince Itō. The Imperial stamp is thus vicariously set upon the principle of 273 political combinations for the better practical conduct of parliamentary business, but that the seiyū-kai, founded by Prince Itō and led by Marquis Saionji, should ever hold office in defiance of the sovereign’s mandate is unthinkable. Constitutional institutions in Japan are therefore developing along lines entirely without precedent. The storm and stress of early parliamentary days have given place to comparative calm. During the first twelve sessions of the Diet, extending over 8 years, there were five dissolutions of the lower house. During the next thirteen sessions, extending over 11 years, there were two dissolutions. During the first 8 years of the Diet’s existence there were six changes of cabinet; during the next 11 years there were five changes. Another healthy sign was that men of affairs were beginning to realize the importance of parliamentary representation. At first the constituencies were contested almost entirely by professional politicians, barristers and journalists. In 1909 there was a solid body (the boshin club) of business men commanding nearly 50 votes in the lower house; and as the upper chamber included 45 representatives of the highest tax-payers, the interests of commerce and industry were intelligently debated.

(F. By.)

X.—The Claim of Japan: by a Japanese Statesman4

It has been said that it is impossible for an Occidental to understand the Oriental, and vice versa; but, admitting that the mutual understanding of two different races or peoples is a difficult matter, why should Occidentals and Orientals be thus set in opposition? No doubt, different peoples of Europe understand each other better than they do the Asiatic; but can Asiatic peoples understand each other better than they can Europeans or than the Europeans can understand any of them? Do Japanese understand Persians or even Indians better than English or French? It is true perhaps that Japanese can and do understand the Chinese better than Europeans; but that is due not only to centuries of mutual intercourse, but to the wonderful and peculiar fact that they have adopted the old classical Chinese literature as their own, somewhat in the way, but in a much greater degree, in which the European nations have adopted the old Greek and Latin literatures. What is here contended for is that the mutual understanding of two peoples is not so much a matter of race, but of the knowledge of each other’s history, traditions, literature, &c.

The Japanese have, they think, suffered much from the misunderstanding of their motives, feelings and ideas; what they want is to be understood fully and to be known for what they really are, be it good or bad. They desire, above all, not to be lumped as Oriental, but to be known and judged on their own account. In the latter half of the 19th century, in fact up to the Chinese War, it irritated Japanese travelling abroad more than anything else to be taken for Chinese. Then, after the Chinese War, the alarm about Japan leading Eastern Asia to make a general attack upon Europe—the so-called Yellow Peril—seemed so ridiculous to the Japanese that the bad effects of such wild talk were not quite appreciated by them. The aim of the Japanese nation, ever since, at the time of the Restoration (1868), they laid aside definitively all ideas of seclusion and entered into the comity of nations, has been that they should rise above the level of the Eastern peoples to an equality with the Western and should be in the foremost rank of the brotherhood of nations; it was not their ambition at all to be the champion of the East against the West, but rather to beat down the barriers between themselves and the West.

The intense pride of the Japanese in their nationality, their patriotism and loyalty, arise from their history, for what other nation can point to an Imperial family of one unbroken lineage reigning over the land for twenty-five centuries? Is it not a glorious tradition for a nation, that its emperor should be descended directly from that grandson of “the great heaven-illuminating goddess,” to whom she said, “This land (Japan) is the region over which my descendants shall be the lords. Do thou, my august child, proceed thither and govern it. Go! The prosperity of thy dynasty shall be coeval with heaven and earth.” Thus they call their country the land of kami (ancient gods of tradition). With this spirit, in the old days when China held the hegemony of the East, and all neighbouring peoples were regarded as its tributaries, Japan alone, largely no doubt on account of its insular position, held itself quite aloof; it set at defiance the power of Kublai and routed utterly the combined Chinese and Korean fleets with vast forces sent by him to conquer Japan, this being the only occasion that Japan was threatened with a foreign invasion.

With this spirit, as soon as they perceived the superiority of the Western civilization, they set to work to introduce it into their country, just as in the 7th and 8th centuries they had adopted and adapted the Chinese civilization. In 1868, the first year of the era of Meiji, the emperor swore solemnly the memorable oath of five articles, setting forth the policy that was to be and has been followed thereafter by the government. These five articles were:—

1. Deliberative assemblies shall be established and all measures of government shall be decided by public opinion.

2. All classes, high and low, shall unite in vigorously carrying out the plan of government.

3. Officials, civil and military, and all common people shall as far as possible be allowed to fulfil their just desires so that there may not be any discontent among them.

4. Uncivilized customs of former times shall be broken through, and everything shall be based upon just and equitable principles of heaven and earth (nature).

5. Knowledge shall be sought for throughout the world, so that the welfare of the empire may be promoted.

  (Translation due to Prof. N. Hozumi of Tōkyō Imp. Univ.)

It is interesting, as showing the continuity of the policy of the empire, to place side by side with these articles the words of the Imperial rescript issued in 1908, which are as follows:—

“We are convinced that with the rapid and unceasing advance of civilization, the East and West, mutually dependent and helping each other, are bound by common interests. It is our sincere wish to continue to enjoy for ever its benefits in common with other powers by entering into closer and closer relations and strengthening our friendship with them. Now in order to be able to move onward along with the constant progress of the world and to share in the blessings of civilization, it is obvious that we must develop our internal resources; our nation, but recently emerged from an exhausting war, must put forth increased activity in every branch of administration. It therefore behoves our people to endeavour with one mind, from the highest to the lowest, to pursue their callings honestly and earnestly, to be industrious and thrifty, to abide in faith and righteousness, to be simple and warm-hearted, to put away ostentation and vanity and strive after the useful and solid, to avoid idleness and indulgence, and to apply themselves incessantly to strenuous and arduous tasks....”

The ambition of the Japanese people has been, as already stated, to be recognized as an equal by the Great Powers. With this object in view, they have spared no efforts to introduce what they considered superior in the Western civilization, although it may perhaps be doubted whether in their eagerness they have always been wise. They have always resented any discrimination against them as an Asiatic people, not merely protesting against it, knowing that such would not avail much, but making every endeavour to remove reasons or excuses for it. Formerly there were troops stationed to guard several legations; foreign postal service was not entirely in the hands of the Japanese government for a long time; these and other indignities against the sovereignty of the nation were gradually removed by proving that they were not necessary. Then there was the question of the extra-territorial jurisdiction; an embassy was sent to Europe and America as early as 1871 with a view to the revision of treaties in order to do away with this imperium in imperio, that being the date originally fixed for the revision; the embassy, however, failed in its object but was not altogether fruitless, for it was then clearly seen that it would be necessary to revise thoroughly the system of laws and entirely to reorganize the law courts before Occidental nations could be induced to forgo 274 this privilege. These measures were necessary in any case as a consequence of the introduction of the Western methods and ideas, but they were hastened by the fact of their being a necessary preliminary to the revision of treaties. When the new code of laws was brought before the Diet at its first session, and there was a great opposition against it in the House of Peers on account of its many defects and especially of its ignoring many established usages, the chief argument in its favour, or at least one that had a great influence with many who were unacquainted with technical points, was that it was necessary for the revision of treaties and that the defects, if any, could be afterwards amended at leisure. These preparations on the part of the government, however, took a long time, and in the meantime the whole nation, or at least the more intelligent part of it, was chafing impatiently under what was considered a national indignity. The United States, by being the first to agree to its abandonment, although this agreement was rendered nugatory by a conditional clause, added to the stock of goodwill with which the Japanese have always regarded the Americans on account of their attitude towards them. When at last the consummation so long and ardently desired was attained, great was the joy with which it was greeted, for now it was felt that Japan was indeed on terms of equality with Occidental nations. Great Britain, by being the first to conclude the revised treaty—an act due to the remarkable foresight of her statesmen in spite of the opposition of their countrymen in Japan—did much to bring about the cordial feeling of the Japanese towards the British, which made them welcome with such enthusiasm the Anglo-Japanese alliance. The importance of this last as a powerful instrument for the preservation of peace in the extreme East has been, and always will be, appreciated at its full value by the more intelligent and thoughtful among the Japanese; but by the mass of the people it was received with great acclamation, owing partly to the already existing good feeling towards the British, but also in a large measure because it was felt that the fact that Great Britain should leave its “splendid isolation” to enter into this alliance proclaimed in the clearest possible way that Japan had entered on terms of full equality among the brotherhood of nations, and that thenceforth there could be no ground for that discrimination against them as an Asiatic nation which had been so galling to the Japanese people.

There have been, and there still are being made, many charges against the Japanese government and people. While admitting that some of them may be founded on facts, it is permissible to point out that traits and acts of a few individuals have often been generalized to be the national characteristic or the result of a fixed policy, while in many cases such charges are due to misunderstandings arising from want of thorough knowledge of each other’s language, customs, usages, ideas, &c. Take the principle of “the open door,” for instance; the Japanese government has been charged in several instances with acting contrary to it. It is natural that where (as in China) competition is very keen between men of different nationalities, individuals should sometimes feel aggrieved and make complaints of unfairness against the government of their competitors; it is also natural that people at home should listen to and believe in those charges made against the Japanese by their countrymen in the East, while unfortunately the Japanese, being so far away and often unaware of them, have not a ready means of vindicating themselves; but subsequent investigations have always shown those charges to be either groundless or due to misunderstandings, and it may be asserted that in no case has the charge been substantiated that the Japanese government has knowingly, deliberately, of malice prepense been guilty of breach of faith in violating the principle of “the open door” to which it has solemnly pledged itself. That it has often been accused by the Japanese subjects of weakness vis-à-vis foreign powers to the detriment of their interests, is perhaps a good proof of its fairness.

The Japanese have often been charged with looseness of commercial morality. This charge is harder to answer than the last, for it cannot be denied that there have been many instances of dishonesty on the part of Japanese tradesmen or employees; tu quoque is never a valid argument, but there are black sheep everywhere, and there were special reasons why foreigners should have come in contact with many such in their dealings with the Japanese. In days before the Restoration, merchants and tradesmen were officially classed as the lowest of four classes, the samurai, the farmers, the artisans and the merchants; practically, however, rich merchants serving as bankers and employers of others were held in high esteem, even by the samurai. Yet it cannot be denied that the position of the last three was low compared with that of the samurai; their education was not so high, and although of course there was the same code of morality for them all, there was no such high standard of honour as was enjoined upon the samurai by the bushidō or “the way of samurai.” Now, when foreign trade was first opened, it was naturally not firms with long-established credit and methods that first ventured upon the new field of business—some few that did failed owing to their want of experience—it was rather enterprising and adventurous spirits with little capital or credit who eagerly flocked to the newly opened ports to try their fortune. It was not to be expected that all or most of those should be very scrupulous in their dealings with the foreigners; the majority of those adventurers failed, while a few of the abler men, generally those who believed in and practised honesty as the best policy, succeeded and came to occupy an honourable position as business men. It is also asserted that foreigners, or at least some of them, did not scruple to take unfair advantage of the want of experience on the part of their Japanese customers to impose upon them methods which they would not have followed except in the East; it may be that such methods were necessary or were deemed so in dealing with those adventurers, but it is a fact that it afterwards took a long time and great effort on the part of Japanese traders to break through some usages and customs which were established in earlier days and which they deemed derogatory to their credit or injurious to their interests. Infringement of patent rights and fraudulent imitation of trade-marks have with some truth also been charged against the Japanese; about this it is to be remarked that although the principles of morality cannot change, their applications may be new; patents and trade-marks are something new to the Japanese, and it takes time to teach that their infringement should be regarded with the same moral censure as stealing. The government has done everything to prevent such practices by enacting and enforcing laws against them, and nowadays they are not so common. Be that as it may, such a state of affairs as that mentioned above is now passing away almost entirely; commerce and trade are now regarded as highly honourable professions, merchants and business men occupy the highest social positions, several of them having been lately raised to the peerage, and are as honourable a set of men as can be met anywhere. It is however to be regretted that in introducing Western business methods, it has not been quite possible to exclude some of their evils, such as promotion of swindling companies, tampering with members of legislature, and so forth.

The Japanese have also been considered in some quarters to be a bellicose nation. No sooner was the war with Russia over than they were said to be ready and eager to fight with the United States. This is another misrepresentation arising from want of proper knowledge of Japanese character and feelings. Although it is true that within the quarter of a century preceding 1909 Japan was engaged in two sanguinary wars, not to mention the Boxer affair, in which owing to her proximity to the scene of the disturbances she had to take a prominent part, yet neither of these was of her own seeking; in both cases she had to fight or else submit to become a mere cipher in the world, if indeed she could have preserved her existence as an independent state. The Japanese, far from being a bellicose people, deliberately cut off all intercourse with the outside world in order to avoid international troubles, and remained absolutely secluded from the world and at profound peace within their own territory for two centuries and a half. Besides, the Japanese have always regarded the Americans with a special goodwill, due no doubt to the steady liberal attitude of the American government and 275 people towards Japan and Japanese, and they look upon the idea of war between Japan and the United States as ridiculous.

Restrictions upon Japanese emigrants to the United States and to Australia are irritating to the Japanese, because it is a discrimination against them as belonging to the “yellow” race, whereas it has been their ambition to raise themselves above the level of the Eastern nations to an equality with the Western nations, although they cannot change the colour of their skin. When a Japanese even of the highest rank and standing has to obtain a permit from an American immigrant officer before he can enter American territory, is it not natural that he and his countrymen should resent this discrimination as an indignity? But they have too much good sense to think or even dream of going to war upon such a matter; on the contrary, the Japanese government agreed in 1908 to limit the number of emigrants in order to avoid complications.

It may be repeated that it has ever been the ambition of the Japanese people to take rank with the Great Powers of the world, and to have a voice in the council of nations; they demand that they shall not be discriminated against because of the colour of their skin, but that they shall rather be judged by their deeds. With this aim, they have made great efforts: where charges brought against them have any foundation in fact, they have endeavoured to make reforms; where they are false or due to misunderstandings they have tried to live them down, trusting to time for their vindication. They are willing to be judged by the intelligent and impartial world: a fair field and no favour is what they claim, and think they have a right to claim, from the world.


Bibliography.—The latest edition of von Wemckstern’s Bibliography of the Japanese Empire contains the names of all important books and publications relating to Japan, which have now become very numerous. A general reference must suffice here to Captain F. Brinkley’s Japan (12 vols., 1904); the works of B. H. Chamberlain, Things Japanese (5th ed., 1905, &c.); W. G. Aston, Hist. of Jap. Literature, &c., and Lafcadio Hearn, Japan: an Interpretation (1904), &c., as the European authors with intimate knowledge of the country who have done most to give accurate and illuminating expression to its development. See also Fifty Years of New Japan, an encyclopaedic account of the national development in all its aspects, compiled by Count Shigenobu Okuma (2 vols., 1907, 1908; Eng. ed. by Marcus B. Huish, 1909).

1 The Taira and the Minamoto both traced their descent from imperial princes; the Tokugawa were a branch of the Minamoto.

2 Daimyō (“great name”) was the title given to a feudal chief.

3 Neither the Liberals nor the Progressists had a working majority in the house of representatives, nor could the ranks of either have furnished men qualified to fill all the administrative posts.

4 The following expression of the Japanese point of view, by a statesman of the writer’s authority and experience, may well supplement the general account of the progress of Japan and its inclusion among the great civilized powers of the world.—(Ed. E. B.)

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